Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Live Me by Celeste Grande

Title: Live Me
Author: Celeste Grande
Series: Pieces of Broken #1
Genre: Contemporary New Adult Romance
Release Date: October 27, 2015

Summary:
Broken…
Shattered…

How can you begin to live again when you’ve already been forced to…die?

Evangelina Ricci is trapped in a world that’s a never-ending nightmare, a constant ache in which consumes her every breath. Unable to bear the torture any longer, she does the one thing she can to take back control.

Run.

With her best friend Jace in tow, Evangelina attempts to escape her darkened past by leaving for college and diving head first into an aggressive schedule, determined with everything she is to make a name for herself. There’s only one problem—she can’t run away from the demons she struggles with. The demons that’ll forever be there, locked inside, battering her soul. Hiding behind a flawless fa├žade, Evangelina faces her ghosts until her world is turned upside down, invaded by…him.

Blake Turner. Sweet, witty, flirtatious and drop-dead gorgeous, he finds Evangelina at every turn. Scared he’ll uncover the truth she keeps so well guarded, Evangelina tries her best to put on her act, deterring him like she has so many times before—only this guy’s different. He’s relentless. Utterly, absolutely and completely relentless. He sees her  and he wants her and won’t stop until she’s his.

Will Evangelina succeed in pushing Blake away? Or will he break down her walls and be the person to make her realize life is worth living?

1. What is the biggest influence/interest that brought you to this genre?
Fifty Shades of Grey, of course ;) After I passed the CPA exam, it opened up more time for reading. I wound up reading Twilight and falling hard for it. Once I got my hands on Fifty Shades of Grey, I never wanted to read another genre again. And I haven’t. I just love a good romance and the world inside it, even when it isn’t the prettiest. Anything that my heart can get invested in.

2. When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process(outline, plot, character names, editing, etc)?
My favorite part is just writing. Once I have the jist of the story in my head, it usually unfolds. I do a general rough outline (sometimes) and then I just go. I love to watch it happen and let the characters tell me their story as my pen moves.

3. When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing?
Honestly, as long as the story is well written, any genre can be intriguing. I love when a story is intricate and parts are weaved throughout and all come together at the end. That’s what keeps me intrigued.

4. If you could co-author with any author, past or present, who would you choose?
Oh my. This is rough. I need more than one. It would be either, Gail McGugh or Colleen Hoover. I just love Gail’s descriptive writing and voice. And Colleen is one of the master-weavers I spoke of. So…

5. Have you always wanted to write or did it come to you "later in life"? 
I loved to write as a young girl. Mostly poetry. And when I was in college, I did think to myself that I should major in English because it came so easy to me, but then thought “How will I make money doing that?”, and majored in accounting. Bleh. Once I started reading again and the indie world blew open, I figured it was finally my time to do what my heart always wanted to do.

Author Bio:
Celeste Grande grew up loving words. From an early age, it was easy for her to open her heart through pen and paper and come away with something poetic. She never thought anything more than releasing her emotions would come of it though. A workaholic that can’t keep still, in her ‘real’ life, she’s a Certified Public Accountant who dreams of writing sexy books all day long. When she isn’t working, she’s reading, writing, mommying and being a wifey to the love of her life.

She lives in New York, still putting pen to paper and anxiously awaiting the debut of her first novel, Live Me, a new adult romance, in October of 2015.



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Jefferson Blythe, Esquire by Josh Lanyon

Summary:
In this fast, fun and dead-sexy male/male new-adult caper from multi-award-winning author Josh Lanyon, twentysomething Jefferson Blythe gets lost, gets found, falls in love and comes out...all in the span of one wild summer

After his first relationship goes disastrously awry, Jeff Blythe uses his savings to tour Europe—the old-fashioned way. Armed with his grandfather's1960 copy of Esquire's Europe in Style, Jeff sets off looking for adventure but finds much, much more than he bargained for...

In London, dodging questions from shady criminals about a mysterious package he most certainly does not have is simple. Losing the gunmen who are convinced he's someone else is not. And when George, an old friend, offers him help—and a place to stay, and perhaps something more—things become complicated.

Is George really who he seems? And is Jeff finally ready to act on his attraction?

From Paris to Rome and back again, Jeff and George fall for each other, hard, while quite literally running for their lives. But trusting George at his word may leave Jeff vulnerable—in more ways than one.


Josh Lanyon has done it again.  Another great mystery and Jefferson Blythe, Esquire is an amazing adventure too.  You can't help but love Jefferson and his innocence and naivete.  George isn't hard to love either with all his apparent confidence and he definitely brings his own air of mystery to the equation.  Together, the adventure is heartwarming, breathtaking, fun, and humorous all in one.  I believe this is meant to be a standalone/one off story but I know I wouldn't mind seeing Jefferson and George in another adventure down the road.  Packed to the brim with all the Lanyon yumminess I've come to love that has made her a guarantee "1-click" must have.

RATING: 


Chapter One
“That is a brilliant disguise.”

I glanced down and met the bright blue gaze of a girl. She was about my age, or maybe a little older. Twenty-three? Twenty-four? Masses of curly platinum hair, a fierce nose that was too big for her thin face, a wide mouth painted tangerine.

I smiled. I didn’t know what she was talking about, but something about her reminded me of Amy, if Amy hadn’t been... Amy.

No, that wasn’t fair because Amy was pretty and this girl really wasn’t, although she definitely had something. She looked at me with bright expectation, and that was confusing because girls like her did not expect much from boys—men—like me.

That’s not a complaint, by the way.

Anyway, we were standing in the middle of Heathrow Airport, and I was trying to figure out where I was. I mean, I was in London, obviously. England. But it was like I’d stepped off the plane into a different world. Onto a different planet. A very busy, very noisy planet. Where the natives did not speak my language. That’s because people in England do not speak English. Or at least, not the same English that you and I speak.

Of course, in fairness, no one can ever understand anything being said over airport loudspeakers.

“A bowtie would have been even better,” the girl offered. Her smile was sly, knowing. “A bowtie would suit you.”

Okay, so now I knew she was making fun of me. I smiled again, to show I could take a joke, tugged down the brim of my hat—which I was already feeling a little self-conscious about; I’m not really the kind of guy who wears hats—and started walking. She walked with me.

People passed us, coming and going, lugging guitars and backpacks or wheeling luggage and children. Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world.

“Where are we going?” the blonde girl asked.

“I’m improvising.”

As a matter of fact, I did have a list. A partial list which included, in no particular order:
The British Museum
Soho
The Victoria and Albert Museum
Ministry of Sound
Claridge’s
The Savoy
The London Eye
The Tower of London
The Globe Theatre

Since I only had four days in England, there was no way I was going to get to everything. But that was okay. The idea was to explore, investigate, broaden my horizons. Or at least get the hell out of Dodge for a while.

She put a hand on my arm. “I think we should go somewhere quiet. Don’t you?”

I paused. Looked at her in alarm.

Surely not? Her makeup was kind of dramatic, and her lacy black top was pretty sheer, but no. No, she was not professional. Just persistent.

“Actually, I’m meeting some people,” I said apologetically, though I’m not sure what I was apologizing for.

She laughed outright. “I should think so!”

This was getting strange. Er. Stranger. I said, “I’m sorry. Do I know you?”

Her brows drew together. “What are you...”

I missed the rest of it as, overhead, a blurred female voice delivered some vital piece of information that no one could make out. There was no mistaking my new friend’s expression though. She looked alarmed and then increasingly angry.

“...suitcase, you’ve got the hat,” she said as the voice above us cut off. “If you’re planning to...” Another overhead announcement. This time the voice was male, but the message remained garbled.

I thought it might be a good idea to bounce, and I smiled, nodded, and turned away. Tightly clutching my suitcase, I hurriedly resumed my search for the Underground.

According to the Heathrow website, the Piccadilly Line provided the most cost-effective rail route between Heathrow Airport and the capital. The capital being... Central London? The trip was supposed to be less than an hour, with trains showing up every ten minutes or so even off-season. And July was not off-season. According to legend—and the website—there were three London Underground stations, but it took me a while to find even one because I kept looking over my shoulder for the girl who sort of looked like, but was definitely not, Amy.

Once or twice I thought I spotted her a few yards behind me, hair like cumulonimbus and a look of fierce concentration on her pale face. Each time she was lost to view.

Assuming she was there at all and not busily accosting some other international traveler.

Finally I found a station, boarded the Tube seconds before the doors whooshed shut, and staggered to a seat. I sighed and wiped my forehead, knocking off the hat that had drawn so much unwanted attention. I looked around uneasily, but there was no sign of pursuit. People had out maps and brochures and electronic devices and snacks. No one was paying me any attention.

I picked up my hat, brushed it off and set it on the seat beside me.

It was just an ordinary hat. Your basic Peter Grimm paper fedora. The kind of thing a lot of guys wore. Not guys like me, maybe. Or not like the old me. But I wanted to be the kind of guy who wore a hat if he felt like wearing a hat. And where better to test the look than on another continent where you wouldn’t have to face anyone again if it didn’t work out?

And then there was that half-heard reference to my suitcase. What was that about? I looked over at my suitcase. It was old, it was battered. That was kind of what I liked about it. It had belonged to my grandfather. Like The Book, that striped tweed suitcase had traveled with him to Europe in the 1960s. It was starting to show its age, sure, and more so after the trip across the Atlantic and down a couple of conveyor belts...so, come to think of it, maybe it hadn’t been the wisest choice.

Especially if it was going to trigger outbursts from crazy English girls.

I looked cautiously around once more.

All clear.

Relax. It hadn’t been the greatest start to my trip, but it was already in the past.

Speaking of the past...

I fumbled around in my backpack, considered pulling out my camera but rejected it as looking too touristy, and finally took shelter behind Esquire’s Europe in Style.

My grandfather had regarded this book as a kind of talisman when he’d made his grand tour fifty years ago. It had been his idea—after the thing with Amy—that I should go abroad for a couple of weeks. He claimed his trip had been a turning point in his life, and there was no question that I was at a crossroads.

I studied the battered cover, decorated with cheeky orange and purple cartoons. I opened to my bookmark.

To be able really to dig Britain, you must be the sort of person who prefers the quiet and subdued to the noisy and strident, and who’s more comfortable with old leather, varnished wood and polished brass than with chrome and plastic. It helps to have a slight allergy to bright colors, loud talk and high-pressure operations in general...

The plan was I would stay at my Aunt Pat and Uncle Mike’s place in Maida Vale. Uncle Mike was English and in the import-export business. Which I used to think was family shorthand for espionage—or worse—but, in fairness, my aunt and uncle did collect an ungodly amount of Third World textiles and ceramics.

They were in the States right now, so I would have the house all to myself. Which seemed like a dream come true. And that was not even taking into account the indoor swimming pool, weight room and fully equipped game room.

Less dreamy was getting there though. It took over an hour, and there were three connections—well, four if I counted getting on the wrong train—but finally I stood on the front steps of a red-brick mansion on a wide, shady street. The house, the whole street, looked like something out of Mary Poppins. The doors and window frames were painted glossy white. There wasn’t a front yard, but the house was surrounded by cobblestones and pale yellow roses. Purple vines grew artistically around the front door with its etched panes of beveled glass.

It was perfect. Really perfect. It was like something right out of Esquire’s Europe in Style. Finally I was starting to feel like I was on vacation and not doing nine days of prayer, penance and pilgrimage.

The only jarring note was the sound of music playing loudly from the second story. “Of All the Gin Joints in All the World.” Fall Out Boy was a long way from home.

Maybe the butler was enjoying a few moments of peace and not-so-quiet? Did Aunt Pat and Uncle Mike have a butler?

I decided it would be better not to use my key. Instead, I rang the doorbell.

It took a few rings and another song from Fall Out Boy. In fact, I had to lean on the buzzer before a pale shadow appeared behind the door panes.

The door swung open to frame a muscular guy in gray sweats and nothing else. He was a little older than me. We stared at each other.

Green eyes, shaved head, a couple of earrings and a new tattoo—this one of a cross-eyed mermaid. My cousin Robbie.

My cousin Robbie who was supposed to be...anywhere but here in England.

Great. There went the neighborhood. “Hey!” I said, trying to sound like I was delighted to see him.

Robbie’s face changed from irritation to alarm as he, in turn, recognized me.

“No,” he said. “No, no, no. You can’t be here.”

“What? I am here.”

“You have to go.”

“I’m staying here. Your pare—”

Robbie leaned forward and hissed, “I don’t care what my parents said, you have to get out of here. Now.”

I began to splutter. “But I’m staying here. It’s all set up.”

“Serena is here,” he replied, like that should settle it.

“Well, great,” I said. Which one was Serena? As far as I could tell, his infinite playlist was stuck on shuffle.

“We’re getting back together. I think. So you can’t be here, Jeff. Go away. Now.” Robbie began to shut the door.

After a disbelieving instant, I put my hand out to try to stop that slow, inexorable swing of the door. “Wait. Robbie, wait a sec. When can I come back?”

“I don’t know!” There was a murmur of inquiry from inside the flat, and Robbie scowled ferociously and pushed harder on the door. I pushed harder too. In fact, I put my shoulder against the gleaming surface, but both I and the door slid back a few inches. Robbie used to play rugby for George Washington University. I did track and field for Georgetown. Runners don’t move mountains; we go around them.

He whispered, “Not today. Not tonight. I’ll let you know.”

“But where am I supposed to go in the meantime?”

“Go wherever you want. Go to a hotel. Just go.” Robbie gave one final, mighty shove, and the door sank into its frame with heavy finality. I could see my sweaty palm print on the glass.

I stood on the cobblestones, staring in disbelief at the red-brick house.

WTF?

Now what? Where was I supposed to go from here?

I started to pull my phone out to call Aunt Pat, but stopped. That would be one step from yelling, “Mom!”

Come to think of it, maybe I could have Mom call Aunt Pa—no. I was twenty-two, not twelve.

I looked around the wide, shady street. If this Serena had any brains, she’d be gone by teatime. Maybe I could just wait. Find a quiet spot beneath one of these trees and check my email for an hour or two. Upload some pics to Instagram?

Yeah. Probably not.

Why didn’t that asshole Robbie go to a hotel?

Well, okay, it was sort of his house. But still.

I tried to think. It felt harder than normal. Probably because I hadn’t been able to sleep on the plane.

I’d wanted adventure and spontaneity, true. But I also wanted a clean, safe place to sleep at night. Plus, I hadn’t budgeted for a hotel while I was in England.

It felt like too many disasters in a row. First that weird girl making fun of my hat. Then Robbie throwing me out on the street.

The July sun beat down on my head. What time was it? Did it matter? Whatever time it was, it wasn’t real time. It wasn’t the same clock my body was on.

I couldn’t just stand here. I would have to find a hotel. I pulled out my phone. The NOTES icon caught my eye.

Call George.

My stomach gave a flop like a dying fish. But actually...why not? I had to call him eventually, and George could probably recommend a close and reasonably priced hotel...or something.

I thumbed in the numbers.

The phone rang. My mouth dried. I considered disconnecting.

“Sorocco.”

Was that George? That deep, brusque tone sounded more like George’s father. Who—not that I would ever say this to George—I always kind of thought was an asshole. I unstuck my tongue. “George?” I asked doubtfully.

“What can I help you with?”

“It’s me, Jeff.”

“Jeff who?” asked the very busy man on the other end of the phone call.

He’d forgotten me?

Four years was a long time, yes. But what about the eighteen years before that? I mean, his parents still lived next door to us. The George who taught me to pop a wheelie on my first bike would not have forgotten me. The George who taught me to win at Game Boy would not have forgotten me. This did not seem to be that same George.

Sorry, wrong number!

Which made this call even more awkward than it would have been. And it was always going to have been awkward.

I said, “Jeff from America. Jeff from next door. Jeff Blythe.”

“Jefferson?” George said in a completely different tone of voice.

I didn’t realize how worried I’d been until the wave of relief washed over me. I relaxed my death grip on my phone. “Yes, it’s me. Hi.”

“This is a surprise.” I think he sounded cautious, and I couldn’t blame him.

“Yes. I guess so. Anyway, I’m here and I th—”

“You’re— I didn’t catch that,” George broke in. “Did you say you’re here?”

“I am, yeah. I’m in London. I wanted to say hi.”

“Hi?” George repeated, like it was an esoteric concept.

Belatedly, I realized how this was going to play. Four years without a word and when I finally popped up it was to ask a favor.

I tried to change course. “So maybe we could have lunch one day. Or dinner. Something?”

“Sure. That might work. How long are you here for?”

“Four days.”

George made a sound that might have been a laugh. “Or that might not work,” he said. “Where are you staying?”

Two seconds earlier I had made the decision not to spill my tale of woe, but out it spewed anyway. “I was going to stay at Aunt Pat and Uncle Mike’s place in Maida Vale, but Robbie’s there— my cousin— and he’d rather I went somewhere else, so I’m not sure. Actually, could you recommend a hotel?”

It took a couple of seconds for George to say, “You don’t have a place to stay?”

“I did. I will; I just haven’t figured it out yet.” The effort of sounding confident and assured somehow served to underline how totally and completely I was on my own. I only knew two people on this entire continent. If something really terrible happened, there was no one within driving distance of rescue. The realization sort of sucked all the wind from my sails.

This time there was no response from George.

He was probably afraid I was hitting him up for a bed, which, there was no denying— my face felt hot— had crossed my mind. So this was another dead end, and given... things... I couldn’t really blame George for not caring whether I slept on a park bench that night. It wasn’t like I couldn’t find a hotel for myself.

It was just that I was so tired. That’s all. Adventure was easy when you had enough sleep.

And George still didn’t say anything.

My eyes stung, which, again, was only jetlag. I had this under control. I started babbling, “Anyway, that’s it. Give me a call if you want to get together—”

“Appreciate it,” George said. His voice sounded muffled as though he had turned away from the phone. The next minute he said in normal tones, “Where are you right now, Jefferson?”

Jefferson. He was the only person who called me Jefferson— not counting my parents when they were pissed off. Jefferson Tyler Blythe, what is the meaning of this outrage?

The age-old question.

I had to squeeze the words past the tightness in my throat. “Randolph Mews. It’s between Randolph Road and Randolph Avenue.”

“All right. That’s just around the corner. Hang tight. I’ll swing by and pick you up.”

Another embarrassing sweep of relief. So embarrassing that I felt like I had to protest. George cut me off with a clipped, “Shut it. You’re sure as hell not staying in a hotel tonight.”

Shut it.

It sounded vaguely foreign, and it served to illustrate how much time and distance lay between me and the George I used to know. He sounded... not impatient, but brisk. I was probably interrupting him at work, and I felt guilty about that, but mostly I was relieved. Here was someone within driving distance of rescue, and he was already on his way.

As much as I didn’t want to look like the nuisance kid from back home, I hadn’t expected to feel so out of my depth.

I needed a little time to get my bearings.

So I said thank you as George hung up. My head felt hot, my face was wet with perspiration. I took my hat off and wiped my forehead with my arm. I hadn’t expected England to be so hot. I’d pictured it cool and misty. Heck, I had pictured billowing fog and gas lamps.

Anyway, maybe this wasn’t that big a deal because once upon a time George had been like a big brother to me, in every way except DNA. I’d have called him sooner or later— I’d been planning to call him— and not only because I owed him an apology.

Remembering that awful day reminded me of the things Amy had said. I’d figured out a long time ago that one reason I’d reacted the way I had back then with George was because I’d secretly been worried that someone might think I—

“Oy!” a woman called from behind me. The tone was sharp, the voice preemptory. Also kind of familiar.

I turned. White-blond hair that seemed to crinkle and crackle with electric energy, blazing blue eyes. She looked like the Jade Raksha from The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom. She wasn’t, of course. She was the girl from the airport. “Where’s my egg?” she demanded.

Author Bio:
A distinct voice in gay fiction, multi-award-winning author JOSH LANYON has been writing gay mystery, adventure and romance for over a decade. In addition to numerous short stories, novellas, and novels, Josh is the author of the critically acclaimed Adrien English series, including The Hell You Say, winner of the 2006 USABookNews awards for GLBT Fiction. Josh is an Eppie Award winner and a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist.


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Cover Reveal: It Started in Texas by MB Feeney

Title: It Started In Texas
Author: MB Feeney
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Expected Release Date: December 17, 2015
Cover Designs: The Graphics Shed
Summary:
Leaving the familiar comfort of her UK home for a weekend in Texas is one of the craziest things Charlotte Evans has ever done. Celebrating her birthday with friends is the highlight of her year until she bumps into her favourite rock star, literally.

Gage Weston is used to having women fall over themselves at his feet … A rock star, an actor, he’s got his fair share of female attention, but what is it about the Brit that grabs his attention from the moment they meet?

Communication issues and crossed wires plague them as they try to work out what is going on with them across thousands of miles. Crazy friends and distance issues aside; can a relationship work, or is it a simple case of ‘a girl in every town’?


"Sounds awesome. I better let you get back to your friends. Mine will come hunting soon if I don't hurry back; it’s my turn to buy the drinks." He held out his hand again. "I'm Gage." I almost burst out laughing as I shook his hand, trying to ignore the warm feeling spreading up my arm.

"Charlotte, it’s nice to meet you."

"You too. Sorry I knocked you on your ass, I hope it doesn't bruise." Oh my God, he actually fucking winked at me. Dare I?

"Maybe I'll get you to check it later." Over his shoulder, I could see some of the girls goggling at me trying to listen to what was being said. "The troops have come to rescue me. I gotta go." With more than a hint of regret, I withdrew my hand from his once again.

"Yeah, see ya." He looked over his shoulder at everyone watching us before disappearing into the gents. I took a deep breath and prepared myself for the Spanish Inquisition. Walking towards the girls, a huge grin on my face. As soon as I was within grabbing distance, they did just that and frogmarched me back to our table.

I was in the middle of my non-story when I felt a tap on my shoulder. Turning around, I was assaulted by those eyes once more as they looked directly into my own.

"You dropped your cell phone." Sure enough, in his hand was my mobile. I internally groaned as I remembered the wallpaper was a picture of him from a recent magazine interview that had been posted online.

"Thanks. I didn't even miss it." Our fingers touched with a sizzle, or so I thought. It could have been the booze.

"No worries Darlin'. How's the ass?" I saw mouths drop open around me at the blunt and flirtatious question.

"Its fine thanks. I'll keep my eye on it." My words made him grin again. I could get used to seeing that smile up close some more.

"Nice job if you can get it." He flashed us all another wide smile and then sauntered back to his band mates.


Author Bio:
M. B. Feeney is an army brat who finally settled down in Birmingham, UK with her other half, two kids and a dog. Currently at university studying for her BA (Hons) in primary teaching, she procrastinates on her assignments by listening to music of all genres and trying to get ‘just one more paragraph’ written on whichever WIP is open. She is also a serious doodler and chocoholic. Writing has been her one true love ever since she could spell, and publishing is the final culmination of her hard work and ambition.

Her publishing career began with two novellas, and she currently has multiple projects under way whilst Honour, a compilation of her own military based shorts, was released in November 2013 and her short novel, The One That Got Away was released February 2015. Always having something on the go can often lead to block which eventually gets dissolved by good music and an even better book.

Her main reason for writing is to not only give her readers enjoyment, but also to create a story and characters that stay with readers long after the book is finished, and possibly make someone stop and think “what if...”

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Before the Dawn by Lindsey Fairleigh & Lindsey Pogue

Title: Before the Dawn
Authors: Lindsey Fairleigh & Lindsey Pogue
Series: The Ending #4
Genre: New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
Release Date: November 20, 2015
Summary:
A year ago, the Virus killed off most people in the world.

A year ago, strange things started happening to those who survived. Some of them transformed into something dark and sinister, while others evolved, becoming something more, something beyond human.

A year ago, Dani and Zoe were lost. They traversed the country to find one another, losing some of the people dearest to them along the way. They fought for their right to simply live, uncovered long-buried secrets, and discovered irreversible truths. And after everything Dani and Zoe have been through—even with the battle wounds that they bear—they’re still not safe.

It’s time for the struggling to end, for survivors to take back their lives, their families, their safety. It’s time to really begin to live, and to do that, they must wait for the first rays of dawn.


I pulled back just enough that I could see Jason’s face. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make us both so grumpy.”

I couldn’t remember the last time we’d been off the farm, just the two of us, and I just had to go and drag us down the nearest doom-and-gloom rabbit hole. So much for our peaceful, relaxing alone time.

Jason pressed a gentle kiss against my forehead. “Tell me about these death caps.”

I relaxed against him, resting my cheek on his heavy raincoat. It was the first period of no rain in weeks that had lasted longer than a day, and we’d jumped at the opportunity to spend the morning together, foraging in the mile-long stretch of woods atop the hills to the east of our valley. But we also weren’t about to risk being caught in a surprise downpour unprotected.

“Well, death caps look like normal mushrooms, I guess. They’re not ugly or anything.” I glanced down at the aforementioned mushrooms. “They’re kind of nice-looking, actually, don’t you think? I mean, as far as mushrooms go…”

Jason held me tight against him with his left arm around my shoulders while his right ventured under my coat, his hand tracing slow, soothing patterns on my lower back. “Sure…”

Smiling, I shivered, just a little. I loved when his voice took on that distracted quality, but only when I was the distraction. “They tend to grow at the base of oaks,” I continued, “especially live oaks, and their caps have a brownish-green or yellow tinge…and there’s a bulbous bulge at the base that makes them look a bit like, well…a bit phallic.”

Jason grunted a laugh. “Somehow I doubt Daniel mentioned that.”

I shrugged as best as I could in his hold. “That might’ve been a personal observation.”

With another laugh, this one low and throaty, Jason brought his lips to my ear. “Gutter-brain.”

I grinned against his jacket. “Takes one to know one.” Thunder rolled in the distance, and I hoped it wasn’t an omen of impending rain.

“That it does, Red.” Without warning, Jason picked me up and turned in a half circle, earning a surprised squeak from me and sending chanterelles and oyster mushrooms flying out of my basket, and pressed my back against the oak’s rough trunk. Beneath our boots, death caps littered the forest floor, scattered and crushed. “That it does.” He leaned in, his hand cradling the back of my skull, and I relaxed my arm, letting the basket fall to the ground.

“Wait!” I hissed. Two blips had just appeared on my telepathic radar. I hadn’t noticed them until it became obvious that they were moving toward us. “Someone’s coming.”

A hairsbreadth from my lips, Jason whispered, “Someone we know?”

“I—” Brow furrowed, I shook my head. “There’s two of ’em, and there’s something familiar about one mind—maybe someone we’ve crossed paths with in New Bodega?”

“Hmmm…” Jason didn’t sound pleased. I couldn’t blame him. I didn’t feel very pleased, either. In fact, I felt decidedly displeased. Gaze scanning my face, lingering here and there, Jason tucked a few flyaway curls back into my braid before stepping away and releasing his handgun from his thigh holster. I did the same.

Squinting, I focused more on my telepathic radar than on the pistol in my hand and, once again, shook my head. “Must just be a couple New Bodega people.” At least, I hoped that was the case.

“What direction?” Jason asked, scanning the spaces between the mossy trees and gnarled, leafless branches.

I pointed to the southwest. “They’re close. Should be able to hear them soon.”

“I know you’re out there,” Jason called, his focus on the woods intent. “Either identify yourselves or start moving in another direction. The choice is yours, but you’d better make it now.” He glanced at me, his eyes filled with questions.

I could only answer one. I shook my head. “They’re still coming.” I did a quick scan of the animal minds lingering nearby. There wasn’t much in the way of predators, but I requested that the few hawks in the area and the murder of crows looting a patch of overgrown and rotting pumpkins head our way, just in case.

Jason raised his gun, his eyes never straying from the gloomy trees. “Remember, Red—shoot first, feel—”

“Feel bad about it later,” I murmured. “I know.” Of course, the last time I’d stuck to that survival philosophy, I’d shot a little girl dead. Sure, she’d been a Crazy who just happened to be lunging at Zoe at the time, and sure, I’d been fairly certain that she was the cannibalistic variety of the post-apocalypse’s less-than-sane brand of survivors, but still, she’d also been a little girl. And I’d killed her without hesitating. The blood blossoming across her chest…her body landing on the forest floor…Zoe’s aghast reaction…that single moment was forever etched into my memory.

“Hello?” a man called ahead. “Who’s there? Can you tell us where we are? We seem to be a little lost.”

I split my attention between watching the woods for the intruders and studying Jason’s face. The skin around his eyes tightened, and his nostrils flared. The man’s words hadn’t put him at ease in the slightest. If anything, they’d only fanned his apprehension.

A man came into view between one of the few pines in the forest and a robust oak tree, a woman a few paces behind him. The man was tall and slender, with silver hair that nearly reached his chin and a closely trimmed beard, while the woman, younger—in her mid-thirties, I thought—was brunette and broad-shouldered, looking like she could put up one hell of a fight.

When the man caught sight of us, he raised his hands defensively. “Whoa, whoa, friends…no need for guns. We’re simply lost and, well, you see, we were looking for mushrooms to trade in town, and—”

“You’re a trader,” I blurted. “I’ve seen you before.” I tapped the muzzle of my gun against my thigh. “You traded my friend and me a bottle of antidepressants for—”

“Tincture of white willow bark.” The man’s face lit up, and he continued walking toward us, though the woman hung back, lounging against a tall pine tree. “Yes, yes, I remember. You were with that pleasant young doctor.” The trader smiled broadly. “Quite effective, that tincture. I’ve had very happy customers. You’ll have to give me the recipe.” He tilted his head to the side, just a little. “Tell me, how did the Sertraline work on the poor dear? A girl, yes—a teenage girl, if I remember correctly?”

“That’s close enough,” Jason said, his gun lowered but still drawn.

I holstered my own gun, then waved my hand at him. “It’s fine, Jason.” I looked at the trader. “Unfortunately, the pills didn’t seem to make any difference for Vanessa. On to the next, I guess.”

It had been Harper’s theory to try Vanessa on the same medications that had worked so well to equalize the brain chemistry of people before the Virus. Chris had been skeptical—which was quickly turning into smugness—saying that something was broken inside Vanessa’s mind, and it was something that made her brain function so differently from the rest of ours that she doubted anything but a time machine would fix the teenage Crazy. Not that Chris’s pessimism stopped her from spending every spare moment studying Vanessa, looking for a way to return her to a state of normalcy. She loved Carlos like he was her own son, and she was bound and determined to give him his sister back. And a determined Chris was a sight to behold.

“Hmmm…well, I have a few other drugs you could try,” the trader said. “I’ll take whatever’s left of the Sertraline back.” Not more than a couple dozen feet away, he reached behind himself. “Exchange it for the same amount of—”

In the blink of an eye, a small, black pistol was in his hand, and it was pointed directly at me.

Author Bios:
Lindsey Fairleigh
Lindsey Fairleigh lives her life with one foot in a book—as long as that book transports her to a magical world or bends the rules of science. Her novels, from post-apocalyptic to time travel and historical fantasy, always offer up a hearty dose of unreality, along with plenty of adventure and romance. When she’s not working on her next novel, Lindsey spends her time reading and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her two very confused cats.

Lindsey Pogue
Lindsey Pogue has always been a little creative. As a child she established a bug hospital on her elementary school soccer field, wrote her first YA manuscript in high school, and as an adult, expresses herself through writing. Her novels are inspired by her observations of the world around her—whether she’s traveling, people watching, or hiking. When not plotting her next storyline or dreaming up new, brooding characters, Lindsey’s wrapped in blankets watching her favorite action flicks or going on road trips with her own leading man.


Lindsey Fairleigh
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Lindsey Pogue
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Release Day Blitz: The Last Betrayal by L Grubb

Title: The Last Betrayal
Author: L Grubb
Series: Crusaders MC #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 24, 2015
Cover Model: Bailey Lee
Photographer: Eric Battershell

Summary:
I was unglued. Completely unhinged to the point of flipping everyone off and saying fuck this shit, packing my stuff and riding across the country where no-one can find me.

My heart feels like it’s bleeding wrong, pumping blood in the wrong direction. Cracked and shattered, it would take a lifetime to repair.

I may have known Lauren just a few months but she flew in, wreaking havoc with her bubbly persona, latching onto me like I was her Goddamn lifeline.

It was all fucking crap. It was just a bit of fun for her, she told everyone, wasn’t ready to settle down with the white picket fence and 2.5 kids. Did I ask for that shit? Hell to the fucking no. Never once did I mention I wanted all that. I just wanted her, as she was, but mine; only mine.

She broke me. Big bad biker dude and she fucking broke me.

My name’s Champ and it’s my turn to fucking talk.



An Honest Mistake #1
Summary:
Ever since Alexis Newman was young she knew her path in life, but to get to the top you have to start from the bottom. With no man in her life she sets out with her best friend to dance her frustrations away.

Catching the eye of the crusaders mc resident assassin was definitely not in her life plans.

Cobra is not the type of alpha you read about he’s not romantic, he doesn’t date, he doesn’t care. His life is all about protecting his club doing whatever necessary. That all changes when he spots her across . She sparks something in him. Ice cold Cobra starts wondering whether he can have a happily ever after but at what cost?

Setting his sight on love was not his life plan.

With war brewing between the crusaders and their rivals the hell riders there is danger lurking around every corner. Will Cobra bring Alexis to the dark side? Or walk away forever?

Will Alexis give up her perfect life plan for an unknown future?

Decision time. Head or heart? Life, love or death?

Author Bio:
Lucii is a your typical British girl, hates the sun and hibernates when summer arrives! She lives at home with her 3 year old daughter, where they spend the day watching Frozen and playing playdoh.

She started off as a regular person, job, home life, health issues and a love of reading. After reading the Fifty shade phenomenon, she went onto social media to seek other authors writing the same or similar genres. She entered a world she didn’t know existed and went to open a successful blog.

Inspiring dreams took a back burner, while she learned the book community and met a bunch of amazing authors and readers alike.

A year later she decided to start writing, hoping against hope that her friends and fellow readers will like what she brings to the table.


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The Last Betrayal #2
AMAZON CA  /  AMAZON AU  /  B&N

An Honest Mistake #1
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