Friday, March 25, 2016

Voices Carry by Diane Rinella

Title: Voices Carry
Author: Diane Rinella
Series: Rock & Roll Fantasy
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 15, 2015
Summary:
An incredible romance involving a man, the music he craves, and the voice that haunts him.
Rock and roll turns Brandon Wayne into a juvenile delinquent in all the best ways—crazed, ambitious, and with a slip of danger nagging at his hips. His marketing job at Endeara Candies and hunting down classic vinyl nirvana at Warped Records make his world seem ordinary, but there is another side to his life.

As an anniversary of tragedy approaches, odd occurrences riddle Brandon’s mind with questions. Whose voice is suddenly materializing in his head? Is he fabricating a psychic who looks like one of his favorite rock stars? Why is he having retro dreams involving welded beer cans, disco, and a punk rock girl? The puzzle seems never ending.

Have the musty fumes at Warped Records and the terrible candy at work rotted Brandon’s brain? Has he crossed into the realm of insanity? Or is the reason for the madness beyond his comprehension?


The ambient noise from Dale’s end of the line disappears. I lean back, put my feet up, and close my eyes.

Hold music creeps in. Warrant’s “Cherry Pie”? That’s an odd choice. My foot starts pounding out the rhythm of the bass drum. The song becomes an anthem, beating itself into my head and making me rally behind it. This is totally gonna be stuck in my head all day.

“So far, today has been promising.”

No!

I bolt up in my chair, gripping its arms with white knuckles while my heart tries to gallop out of my chest. That voice came over the phone! It wasn’t any voice either! My words sprint out, cracking as they go. “Dale, you there? Who’s with you?”

Ambient noise returns, followed by Dale’s voice, “Hold on another sec.” I’m definitely not on hold now, yet I still hear Warrant. This is exactly what happened in the car two days ago with MΓΆtley CrΓΌe.

“Anyway,” Dale says, “I was thinking maybe …”

“Sometimes this job can be so boring.”

My lungs struggle for air. There she is again, and she sounds as clear and loud as Dale does. I’m tempted to throw down the phone and run, but all I can do is sit here, frozen and gripping the chair.

Haze begins to coat my inner vision. Pixels form and merge. At first the image is black with a smattering of light peering through, and then browns and creams work their way in, leading to full color, yet it is all buried under fog. My jaw clenches. What the hell is going on?

The haze clears, and although my heart won’t stop racing, something tells me I am safe, regardless of how I have a hard time believing it.

The image before me is of a female arm reaching toward a coffee table and a copy of Neon Angel, the autobiography of Cherie Currie of The Runaways. Next to it is a stereo with an iPod attached. Is that where Warrant is coming from?

“I find myself waiting around, wasting so much time. At least I’m becoming well read.” She chuckles. “If you can call this well read. At least I finally have a chance to look into some of the things that interest me.”

Dale’s voice slips in. “I think I’m headed to great places.”

Everything sounds jumbled to the point where I’m not sure who said what. I don’t want to risk disturbing the vision by asking Dale to stop talking. I also fear that if I speak, I’m so far over the edge my voice won’t work.

The view slips to a dark brown carpet, and although I am still gripping my chair, I seem to be walking; yet I can’t tell where. All I catch are glimpses of what I’m pretty sure are pictures hanging on the wall of a fairly small space. Is this a trailer?

We pass through a door and the music fades, but the sound of heels clicking on tile echo into the mix. The acoustics also change, and I catch sight of a bathroom sink.

“Anyway, I need to head off. We’re getting ready to …”

Was that Dale? I’m not sure anymore.

Sweat builds on my brow as my view turns to a mirror. My ability to breathe is strained when I see the woman wearing jeans and a T-shirt with a design I can’t make out. Her skin is fair and freckled. Her eyes seem hazel or maybe brown. I can’t tell the color of her clipped-up hair, but it seems dark red. Who is this woman whose voice keeps infiltrating my mind? And why am I suddenly seeing through her eyes? It’s almost as if I am her, yet I know I am not.

I’m not, right?

No. I’m Brandon Wayne. I’m sitting at work in Los Angeles, California. I’m thirty-one years old. I’m on the phone with Dale who is in Canada.

I force my view downward and see what I know is real—my hands gripping my chair.

“Yo! Brandon, you there?”


What Others Are Saying:
I think Diane and I are kindred spirits because her books touch my life in ways I cannot explain. I am many years older than her, and yet she hits my soul with her writing. I cannot say enough about her books. She is an incredible writer. I cannot wait for the next one and I can't put them down when they come. By Iolanthesf on February 14, 2016 (Verified Purchase)

I enjoyed this book. The author has so many unique writing styles that make her stories jump of the page. She has crafted, in this book, a finely intertwined bit of interaction between the two lead characters and also managed to tie in her other books in the Rock and Roll Fantasy.

This story introduces Brandon Wayne. He is a marketing person for Endeara Candies and in his spare time-which becomes almost fulltime-tracks down vinyl records. But his life becomes troubled when he thinks he is hearing voices? Is he going crazy. Does it have anything to do with the terrible accident where he lost his love? His co-worked is very concerned about him and gets caught up in the voices.

There are well thought out twists that causes the leader to wonder how Brandon can figure this all out. Since I am anti-spoilers, I highly recommend you read this story and become immersed in the "voices". By Brian P. Lane on January 12, 2016 (Verified Purchase)



Author Bio:
Enjoying San Francisco as a backdrop, the ghosts in Diane Rinella's one hundred and fifty-year old Victorian home augment the chorus in her head. With insomnia as their catalyst, these voices have become multifarious characters that haunt her well into the sun's crowning hours, refusing to let go until they have manipulated her into succumbing to their whims. Her experiences as an actress, business owner, artisan cake designer, software project manager, Internet radio disc jockey, vintage rock 'n' roll journalist/fan girl, and lover of dark and quirky personalities influence her idiosyncratic writing.


FACEBOOK  /  TWITTER  /  WEBSITE  /  B&N
KOBO  /  iTUNES  /  AMAZON  /  GOODREADS



Voices Carry 
AMAZON US  /  AMAZON UK  /  B&N

Scary Modsters & Creepy Freaks
AMAZON US  /  AMAZON UK  /  B&N

It's a Marshmallow World
AMAZON US  /  AMAZON UK  /  B&N
KOBO  /  iTUNES  /  GOODREADS TBR

Queen Midas in Reverse
AMAZON US  /  AMAZON UK  /  B&N





Brought to you by: 

Friday's Film Adaption: Persuasion by Jane Austen


Summary:
'She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older' 

When Anne Elliot falls in love with a handsome and charming young man, she must make a wrenching decision. The man she loves is perfect in every way...except one: he lacks the wealth and social status that would make him a suitable match for Anne. At least, that is what friends and family persuade Anne to believe. So Anne breaks off the match and sends Wentworth away. But she can't help wondering: Did I do the right thing?

It is a question that will haunt her for years until, unexpectedly, Wentworth returns. His circumstances have improved greatly.

But is it too late for Anne?


Chapter 1
Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch-hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs, changed naturally into pity and contempt, as he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century—and there, if every other leaf were powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never failed—this was the page at which the favourite volume always opened:

ELLIOT OF KELLYNCH-HALL
Walter Elliot, born March 1, 1760, married, July 15, 1784, Elizabeth, daughter of James Stevenson, Esq. of South Park, in the county of Gloucester; by which lady (who died 1800) he has issue Elizabeth, born June 1, 1785; Anne, born August 9, 1787; a still-born son, Nov. 5, 1789; Mary, born Nov. 20, 1791.

Precisely such had the paragraph originally stood from the printer's hands; but Sir Walter had improved it by adding, for the information of himself and his family, these words, after the date of Mary's birth—"married, Dec. 16, 1810, Charles, son and heir of Charles Musgrove, Esq. of Uppercross, in the county of Somerset,"—and by inserting most accurately the day of the month on which he had lost his wife.

Then followed the history and rise of the ancient and respectable family, in the usual terms: how it had been first settled in Cheshire; how mentioned in Dugdale—serving the office of High Sheriff, representing a borough in three successive parliaments, exertions of loyalty, and dignity of baronet, in the first year of Charles II., with all the Marys and Elizabeths they had married; forming altogether two handsome duodecimo pages, and concluding with the arms and motto: "Principal seat, Kellynch hall, in the county of Somerset," and Sir Walter's handwriting again in this finale:  "Heir presumptive, William Walter Elliot, Esq., great grandson of the second Sir Walter."

Vanity was the beginning and the end of Sir Walter Elliot's character: vanity of person and of situation. He had been remarkably handsome in his youth; and, at fifty-four, was still a very fine man. Few women could think more of their personal appearance than he did; nor could the valet of any new made lord be more delighted with the place he held in society. He considered the blessing of beauty as inferior only to the blessing of a baronetcy; and the Sir Walter Elliot, who united these gifts, was the constant object of his warmest respect and devotion.

His good looks and his rank had one fair claim on his attachment; since to them he must have owed a wife of very superior character to any thing deserved by his own. Lady Elliot had been an excellent woman, sensible and amiable; whose judgment and conduct, if they might be pardoned the youthful infatuation which made her Lady Elliot, had never required indulgence afterwards.—She had humoured, or softened, or concealed his failings, and promoted his real respectability for seventeen years; and though not the very happiest being in the world herself, had found enough in her duties, her friends, and her children, to attach her to life, and make it no matter of indifference to her when she was called on to quit them.—Three girls, the two eldest sixteen and fourteen, was an awful legacy for a mother to bequeath; an awful charge rather, to confide to the authority and guidance of a conceited, silly father. She had, however, one very intimate friend, a sensible, deserving woman, who had been brought, by strong attachment to herself, to settle close by her, in the village of Kellynch; and on her kindness and advice, Lady Elliot mainly relied for the best help and maintenance of the good principles and instruction which she had been anxiously giving her daughters.

This friend, and Sir Walter, did not marry, whatever might have been anticipated on that head by their acquaintance.—Thirteen years had passed away since Lady Elliot's death, and they were still near neighbours and intimate friends; and one remained a widower, the other a widow.

That Lady Russell, of steady age and character, and extremely well provided for, should have no thought of a second marriage, needs no apology to the public, which is rather apt to be unreasonably discontented when a woman does marry again, than when she does not, but Sir Walter's continuing in singleness requires explanation.—Be it known then, that Sir Walter, like a good father, (having met with one or two private disappointments in very unreasonable applications) prided himself on remaining single for his dear daughter's sake. For one daughter, his eldest, he would really have given up any thing, which he had not been very much tempted to do. Elizabeth had succeeded, at sixteen, to all that was possible, of her mother's rights and consequence; and being very handsome, and very like himself, her influence had always been great, and they had gone on together most happily. His two other children were of very inferior value. Mary had acquired a little artificial importance, by becoming Mrs. Charles Musgrove; but Anne, with an elegance of mind and sweetness of character, which must have placed her high with any people of real understanding, was nobody with either father or sister: her word had no weight; her convenience was always to give way;—she was only Anne.

To Lady Russell, indeed, she was a most dear and highly valued god-daughter, favourite and friend. Lady Russell loved them all; but it was only in Anne that she could fancy the mother to revive again.

A few years before, Anne Elliot had been a very pretty girl, but her bloom had vanished early; and as even in its height, her father had found little to admire in her, (so totally different were her delicate features and mild dark eyes from his own); there could be nothing in them now that she was faded and thin, to excite his esteem. He had never indulged much hope, he had now none, of ever reading her name in any other page of his favourite work. All equality of alliance must rest with Elizabeth; for Mary had merely connected herself with an old country family of respectability and large fortune, and had therefore given all the honour, and received none: Elizabeth would, one day or other, marry suitably.

It sometimes happens, that a woman is handsomer at twenty-nine than she was ten years before; and, generally speaking, if there has been neither ill health nor anxiety, it is a time of life at which scarcely any charm is lost. It was so with Elizabeth; still the same handsome Miss Elliot that she had begun to be thirteen years ago; and Sir Walter might be excused, therefore, in forgetting her age, or, at least, be deemed only half a fool, for thinking himself and Elizabeth as blooming as ever, amidst the wreck of the good looks of every body else; for he could plainly see how old all the rest of his family and acquaintance were growing. Anne haggard, Mary coarse, every face in the neighbourhood worsting; and the rapid increase of the crow's foot about Lady Russell's temples had long been a distress to him.

Elizabeth did not quite equal her father in personal contentment. Thirteen years had seen her mistress of Kellynch Hall, presiding and directing with a self-possession and decision which could never have given the idea of her being younger than she was. For thirteen years had she been doing the honours, and laying down the domestic law at home, and leading the way to the chaise and four, and walking immediately after Lady Russell out of all the drawing-rooms and dining-rooms in the country. Thirteen winters' revolving frosts had seen her opening every ball of credit which a scanty neighbourhood afforded; and thirteen springs shewn their blossoms, as she travelled up to London with her father, for a few weeks annual enjoyment of the great world. She had the remembrance of all this; she had the consciousness of being nine-and-twenty, to give her some regrets and some apprehensions. She was fully satisfied of being still quite as handsome as ever; but she felt her approach to the years of danger, and would have rejoiced to be certain of being properly solicited by baronet-blood within the next twelvemonth or two. Then might she again take up the book of books with as much enjoyment as in her early youth; but now she liked it not. Always to be presented with the date of her own birth, and see no marriage follow but that of a youngest sister, made the book an evil; and more than once, when her father had left it open on the table near her, had she closed it, with averted eyes, and pushed it away.

She had had a disappointment, moreover, which that book, and especially the history of her own family, must ever present the remembrance of. The heir presumptive, the very William Walter Elliot, Esq. whose rights had been so generously supported by her father, had disappointed her.

She had, while a very young girl, as soon as she had known him to be, in the event of her having no brother, the future baronet, meant to marry him; and her father had always meant that she should. He had not been known to them as a boy, but soon after Lady Elliot's death Sir Walter had sought the acquaintance, and though his overtures had not been met with any warmth, he had persevered in seeking it, making allowance for the modest drawing back of youth; and in one of her spring excursions to London, when Elizabeth was in her first bloom, Mr. Elliot had been forced into the introduction.

He was at that time a very young man, just engaged in the study of the law; and Elizabeth found him extremely agreeable, and every plan in his favour was confirmed. He was invited to Kellynch Hall; he was talked of and expected all the rest of the year; but he never came. The following spring he was seen again in town, found equally agreeable, again encouraged, invited and expected, and again he did not come; and the next tidings were that he was married. Instead of pushing his fortune in the line marked out for the heir of the house of Elliot, he had purchased independence by uniting himself to a rich woman of inferior birth.

Sir Walter had resented it. As the head of the house, he felt that he ought to have been consulted, especially after taking the young man so publicly by the hand: "For they must have been seen together," he observed, "once at Tattersal's, and twice in the lobby of the House of Commons." His disapprobation was expressed, but apparently very little regarded. Mr. Elliot had attempted no apology, and shewn himself as unsolicitous of being longer noticed by the family, as Sir Walter considered him unworthy of it: all acquaintance between them had ceased.

This very awkward history of Mr. Elliot, was still, after an interval of several years, felt with anger by Elizabeth, who had liked the man for himself, and still more for being her father's heir, and whose strong family pride could see only in him, a proper match for Sir Walter Elliot's eldest daughter. There was not a baronet from A to Z, whom her feelings could have so willingly acknowledged as an equal. Yet so miserably had he conducted himself, that though she was at this present time, (the summer of 1814,) wearing black ribbons for his wife, she could not admit him to be worth thinking of again. The disgrace of his first marriage might, perhaps, as there was no reason to suppose it perpetuated by offspring, have been got over, had he not done worse; but he had, as by the accustomary intervention of kind friends they had been informed, spoken most disrespectfully of them all, most slightingly and contemptuously of the very blood he belonged to, and the honours which were hereafter to be his own. This could not be pardoned.

Such were Elizabeth Elliot's sentiments and sensations; such the cares to alloy, the agitations to vary, the sameness and the elegance, the prosperity and the nothingness, of her scene of life—such the feelings to give interest to a long, uneventful residence in one country circle, to fill the vacancies which there were no habits of utility abroad, no talents or accomplishments for home, to occupy.

But now, another occupation and solicitude of mind was beginning to be added to these. Her father was growing distressed for money. She knew, that when he now took up the Baronetage, it was to drive the heavy bills of his tradespeople, and the unwelcome hints of Mr. Shepherd, his agent, from his thoughts. The Kellynch property was good, but not equal to Sir Walter's apprehension of the state required in its possessor. While Lady Elliot lived, there had been method, moderation, and economy, which had just kept him within his income; but with her had died all such right-mindedness, and from that period he had been constantly exceeding it. It had not been possible for him to spend less; he had done nothing but what Sir Walter Elliot was imperiously called on to do; but blameless as he was, he was not only growing dreadfully in debt, but was hearing of it so often, that it became vain to attempt concealing it longer, even partially, from his daughter. He had given her some hints of it the last spring in town; he had gone so far even as to say, "Can we retrench? does it occur to you that there is any one article in which we can retrench?"—and Elizabeth, to do her justice, had, in the first ardour of female alarm, set seriously to think what could be done, and had finally proposed these two branches of economy: to cut off some unnecessary charities, and to refrain from new-furnishing the drawing-room; to which expedients she afterwards added the happy thought of their taking no present down to Anne, as had been the usual yearly custom. But these measures, however good in themselves, were insufficient for the real extent of the evil, the whole of which Sir Walter found himself obliged to confess to her soon afterwards. Elizabeth had nothing to propose of deeper efficacy. She felt herself ill-used and unfortunate, as did her father; and they were neither of them able to devise any means of lessening their expenses without compromising their dignity, or relinquishing their comforts in a way not to be borne.

There was only a small part of his estate that Sir Walter could dispose of; but had every acre been alienable, it would have made no difference. He had condescended to mortgage as far as he had the power, but he would never condescend to sell. No; he would never disgrace his name so far. The Kellynch estate should be transmitted whole and entire, as he had received it.

Their two confidential friends, Mr. Shepherd, who lived in the neighbouring market town, and Lady Russell, were called on to advise them; and both father and daughter seemed to expect that something should be struck out by one or the other to remove their embarrassments and reduce their expenditure, without involving the loss of any indulgence of taste or pride.

Film
After turning down a previous marriage proposal years earlier, a young woman is thrown into company with her former beau.

Release Date:  April 16, 1995(United Kingdom)
September 27, 1995(United States)
Release Time: 104 minutes

Cast:
Amanda Root as Anne Elliot
CiarΓ‘n Hinds as Captain Frederick Wentworth
Susan Fleetwood as Lady Russell
Corin Redgrave as Sir Walter Elliot
Fiona Shaw as Mrs. Croft
John Woodvine as Admiral Croft
Phoebe Nicholls as Elizabeth Elliot
Samuel West as Mr. Elliot
Sophie Thompson as Mary Musgrove
Judy Cornwell as Mrs. Musgrove
Simon Russell Beale as Charles Musgrove
Felicity Dean as Mrs. Clay
Roger Hammond as Mr. Musgrove
Emma Roberts as Louisa Musgrove
Victoria Hamilton as Henrietta Musgrove
Robert Glenister as Captain Harville
Richard McCabe as Captain Benwick
Helen Schlesinger as Mrs. Smith
Jane Wood as Nurse Rooke
David Collings as Mr. Shepherd
Darlene Johnson as Lady Dalrymple
Cinnamon Faye as Miss Carteret
Isaac Maxwell-Hunt as Henry Hayter
Roger Llewellyn as Sir Henry Willoughby
Sally George as Mrs. Harville



Author Bio:
Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.

Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer. Her artistic apprenticeship lasted from her teenage years until she was about 35 years old. During this period, she experimented with various literary forms, including the epistolary novel which she tried then abandoned, and wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth. From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it.

Austen's works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew's A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture.


WEBSITE  /  KOBO  /  AUDIBLE
INDIE BOUND  /  AMAZON  /  WIKI



AMAZON US  /  AMAZON UK  /  B&N
KOBO  /  GOOGLE PLAY  /  AUDIBLE  /  WIKI

Film
B&N  /  WIKI  /  IMDB  /  TCM




Claimed by Love by Melissa Foster

Title: Claimed By Love
Author: Melissa Foster
Series: The Ryders #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 23, 2016
Summary:
Family law attorney Gabriella Liakos has one true love, Elpitha Island, where she grew up and hopes someday to return. But Elpitha is in financial ruins, and Gabriella will do anything to keep it from falling into the wrong hands.

Duke Ryder is a savvy real estate investor set on making Elpitha into an exclusive resort. Unlike other investors, he's not scared of purchasing a property where one family has roots so deep they practically reach the ocean floor...until he meets his beautiful, stubborn, and enticing tour host―the daughter of the owner of most of the island.

Gabriella sets out to dissuade Duke from purchasing Elpitha, but Duke has other ideas. He wants Gabriella and the island. Duke's powerful seduction draws Gabriella in, but can a savvy investor who's used to glamour and glitz, and a woman interested in preserving the culture she adores find a happily ever after together?

The RYDERS are the newest addition to the Love in Bloom series. Characters from each series appear in future books. Each book may be read as a standalone novel, or as part of the series.


Chapter One
DUKE RYDER BALANCED his cell phone against his shoulder, listening to his buddy and investment partner Pierce Braden talk about their newest potential investment property as he followed the rickety wooden dock onto the white sandy beach.

“The dock just might be the most stable thing on Elpitha Island,” Pierce said. “Try to soak in a little sand and sun while you’re there. That’s the best part of the island.”

Duke’s eyes were immediately drawn to the sprawling oak trees he’d read about, standing sentinel over the forested acreage beyond. Long, thick branches spread like languid arms draped in moss, reaching for…what? One glance told him that there wasn’t much to reach for, save for a building that looked more like a forgotten Mediterranean villa than the welcome center of the small Southern island. The stone and wood building had a deep porch that spanned the entire length of the left side with stone pillars. A wooden trellis laced with the most captivating flowering vines shaded the area. Although the structure itself was in need of repair, it was surrounded by perfectly manicured, ornate gardens, which contrasted sharply with overgrown and unkempt bushes littering the far edges of the property.

“The proximity to the mainland isn’t bad,” Duke said to Pierce. He set his suitcase on the sand and looked back at the Atlantic. “It only took an hour fifteen to get here.” Elpitha was the smallest of the vacation islands off of South Carolina, and more than half of the land had been owned by the Liakos family for centuries. It was just over eight square miles, and not many investors wanted such a small tract of land, or to deal with families that were as entrenched as the Liakos family was thought to be. Some families might sell out, but they would fight tooth and nail against change, which could cause discourse on an island this small. Duke and Pierce weren’t deterred. The restrictive size of the property would only increase the value, making it an exclusive vacation spot for the elite. 

“With Hilton Head and the other islands so overrun,” Pierce said, “Elpitha is ripe for development. Although we’ll have to work around that name. Who wants to go to an island called Elpitha? It sounds more like a disease than an island.”

Duke squinted up at the blazing sun and loosened his tie. “I don’t know. I kind of like it.” He noticed a plantation-style home tucked behind the trees in the distance. “They weren’t kidding about the strange mix of Mediterranean and Southern feel of the place. This should be interesting.” Duke knew some of the island’s history, and though he still didn’t understand why Greeks would immigrate to the South and try to re-create their country’s feel, it didn’t much matter. If he and Pierce decided to purchase the land, they would bulldoze every structure and give the island a complete Southern overhaul, making it the most desirable resort area in the South. 

“Chuck called earlier and said Liakos’s granddaughter Gabriella is an attorney,” Pierce explained. “He thinks they might bring her in on things. Apparently their family keeps things tight. So if you meet her, play nice.”

The hollow clank of a screen door hitting its frame drew Duke’s attention. A woman stood on the porch of the old building, shading her eyes from the sun as she looked out at the water. Her long dark hair hung halfway down her back. Duke was too far away to see her features, but there was no missing her curvaceous ass and full breasts, not to mention legs that seemed to go on forever beneath her short summery dress. Duke watched with interest as he listened to Pierce relay the most recent information from the attorneys and engineers. 

The woman glanced at her watch, then settled her hand on her hip. A voice rang out from inside the building, and the pretty woman hurried back inside. 

“I just found proof of life,” he said to Pierce as he stepped onto the sandy path. “I’ll call you once I’ve done some recon.” 

His black leather shoes quickly lost their shine from the dusty road as he approached the building. Voices filtered out the open windows as he mounted the steps. He glanced through the screen door, spotting the brunette he’d just seen. She was facing away from him, speaking heatedly in Greek, hands flailing as her exasperated voice pitched higher. 

A thick-waisted man with salt-and-pepper hair sat at a table near the counter, amusement shining in his dark eyes as the brunette ranted to an older woman, and then the man said something Duke couldn’t hear.

“Ugh! Baba!” The younger woman threw her hands up in the air and flew out the screen door, nearly smacking Duke in the face. 

He stumbled backward, giving the angry woman a wide breadth as she paced the front porch. She mumbled something in Greek and then crossed her arms, raised her shoulders, and dropped them quickly with a loud harrumph. Duke couldn’t help but drink in the flush on her smooth, sun-kissed cheeks. Her nose was small and straight, and her almond-shaped, dark—and currently angry—eyes were shadowed by lashes so long they brushed her cheeks.

Having grown up with a younger sister, Duke bided his time in announcing his presence, not wanting to take the brunt of her reaction to whatever the man had said to upset her. 

She inhaled a deep breath, her breasts rising and pressing against the sheer fabric, then falling as she exhaled loudly. Her shoulders lowered, and the tightness around her mouth softened. She turned a full-lipped, mind-numbing smile to Duke, as if she hadn’t just come out in a firestorm.

“My father believes that no matter what he says, I hear something else.” She tilted her head to the side in a thoughtful pose, and in the space of a second her eyes filled with rebellion, making her even sexier. “Hearing and agreeing are two different things.” 

Duke wondered what her father had just said that got her panties in a bunch. Christ. Now he was thinking about her panties.

“I’m Gabriella Liakos. Welcome to Elpitha Island.”

The granddaughter? Playing nice would not be a problem with this feisty beauty. Duke shook her hand, holding it a beat longer than he probably should, still mesmerized by the whirlwind of energy radiating from her. “Duke Ryder. It’s nice to meet you. I didn’t mean to intrude.” 

“No one intrudes on Elpitha,” she said sweetly.

Duke shifted his eyes to the screen door, and she laughed softly. It was the rare type of laugh that floated like the wind and wasn’t easily forgotten. 

“We’re Greek,” she said with a shrug, as if that explained it all.

He arched a brow.

“When you combine a Greek father and a Southern mother, who learned all the best Greek ways, that’s what you get. Food, yelling, guilt, more food. Sweet love. Crazy love. More food. That’s who we are.” She dragged her gorgeous eyes down his suit to his shoes and put one hand on her hip as she had earlier, tapping her lips with the other. 

Duke wouldn’t mind getting his mouth on those succulent lips for some crazy love. 

“You’re the investor, checking out our island so you can line your pockets, right?” 

He couldn’t tell if the look in her eyes was teasing or serious, but her sharp tongue piqued his interest even more. Duke respected confidence, and even though it wasn’t the greeting he’d hoped for, he liked knowing that Gabriella wasn’t a pushover. 

“Something like that,” he answered casually. 

As a real estate investor, Duke knew his clients were vulnerable and, more often than not, taking a deal they didn’t really care for because, by the time he swooped in to save the day, they had gotten a strong dose of what failure tasted like. A hard pill to swallow. Which was why Duke didn’t flinch as Gabriella measured everything about him, from his appearance to his answers. While other investors were cold as sharks, Duke had never quite mastered making ice flow through his veins. But he always got the job done. 

Her eyes flicked toward the water, where another boat was nearing the dock. Her smiled turned genuine at the sight of a handful of children waving from the boat. She waved both arms over her head and yelled something in Greek, then settled her hands on her hips as she watched the children file from the boat.

“It was nice to meet you, Gabriella,” Duke said, hoping he’d see her later. The island had a population of just over two hundred and fifty people, so he imagined it would be hard not to see the same people throughout his stay. “I’ll just step inside and see about my room and a tour.”

“Lucky you,” she said, turning a steady gaze back to him, “I’m your tour host.” She didn’t wait for him to reply as she opened the screen door and hollered something in Greek to the people inside. Over her shoulder, she said to Duke, “Give me a sec to get your keys and the cart, and I’ll show you around and drop you at your place.”

It took a moment for him to remember that they drove golf carts or used bicycles on the island and that cars were prohibited.

She hurried inside and headed directly to her Baba, which Duke now knew meant he was her father, and said something that made the man laugh. She leaned in to kiss and hug her father, and her dress crept up, exposing the backs of her thighs and hugging her ass. He tried to ignore the stroke of awareness racing through him. She walked around the counter and grabbed a set of keys from a hook, then draped an arm around the shoulders of the woman with whom she was speaking earlier. 

“Mama,” Gabriella said to the woman. Her mother’s hair was a shade lighter than hers. “Talk some sense into him, will you, please?” She whispered something, then kissed her, too. 

The woman wiped her hands on an apron and smiled at Duke, catching him observing them. “Welcome to our island, Mr. Ryder. I’m Peggy Ann, and this is my husband, Niko.” 

Her warm Southern drawl took Duke by surprise after hearing her speak fluent Greek, and he realized it shouldn’t have. They were in the South, after all. 

He stepped inside. “It’s a pleasure to be here, and to meet you both.”

Gabriella’s father nodded. “Nice to meet you, Mr. Ryder.”

“I’ll meet you out front,” Gabriella said as she grabbed a large basket from the counter, then disappeared through a door in the back of the room.

As he stepped onto the porch, Duke had a feeling Pierce was wrong about the sand and sun being the best part of the island. Those things had nothing on the intriguing woman who’d just slipped out the back door.



Author Bio:
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary CafΓ© and Fostering Success. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. Melissa hosts an Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family. Visit Melissa on social media. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.


FACEBOOK  /  TWITTER  /  WEBSITE
iTUNES  /  AMAZON  /  GOODREADS



Claimed by Love #2
B&N  /  KOBO  /  GOOGLE PLAY

Seized by Love #1
AMAZON US  /  AMAZON UK  /  B&N
KOBO  /  iTUNES  /  GOOGLE PLAY

Chased by Love #3(August 17, 2016)
AMAZON US  /  AMAZON UK  /  iTUNES

Brought to you by: 

Cover Reveal: Offbeat by Nikki Lynn Barrett

Title: Offbeat
Author: Nikki Lynn Barrett
Series: Love and Music in Texas #5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Expected Release Date: May 31, 2016
Cover Design: Robert Barrett
Summary:
Life is full of choices...

Right before she turned sixteen, Taryn McAllister made several rebellious choices, one which led her to become the drummer for a major teen sensation country star. After a deadly accident, she made another choice - to get back on the wagon and play drums again, no matter that it took adapting because she's confined to a wheelchair.

Now another set of choices is thrust upon her. After reconnecting with her estranged best friend, Taryn is offered a chance to play drums for a local Texas band ready for the Nashville move. Her once strong confidence is shaken, and she's torn between her love of music and the reality that it might not work out.

Chris Roland made a string of bad choices, and it's left him feeling numb. Now he's playing the drums temporarily for his sister's band, but he knows this isn't the life for him. Problem is, he doesn't know what direction to go. He knows what he doesn't want, but can't decide on what he does want.

And then he meets Taryn, the feisty drummer who could be his replacement. He's relieved for a chance to break away....that is until he gets to know her. And while he's getting to know her, she's helping to open up a part of his soul that was long dead and buried.

It's high time to make the right choices. It's just a matter of deciding what choice is right.


Chris glanced around as he entered the house.

“You look nervous,” Matt commented.

“A little. Right now, I'm making sure there aren't any traps set for me. I heard the girls were cooking up something earlier. I'm waiting for my life to flash before my eyes.”

Matt let out a laugh and Kyra smirked. “I promise, we haven't set any death traps. Only because I never know who's going to knock on my door.” She winked. “Taryn! You've got company! Let me know if I need to roll out our plan!”

Chris exchanged a look with Matt. He held up his hands. “I know nothing about this. I've been working all day. Good luck.” Matt patted him on the shoulder and left the living room.

Hell. What in the world had been said about him today?

“Hi,” Taryn said softly as she wheeled down the hallway and stopped right before entering the living room.

“All right, I have to ask. You aren't hiding any sort of weapon, are you?” Chris asked in jest. “Because ever since I walked in here, I have a feeling some sort of master plan has been devised.”

“You're welcome to do a search.” Taryn folded her arms over her chest, casting a grin his way. She eyed the flowers.

“Don't tempt me. I don't do well with surprises.” He held out the vase to her. “I don't know if you do the whole flowers thing, but I didn't let it stop me.”

“I think it's sweet, just saying!” Kyra called from the other room.

“Quiet, Kyra!” Taryn called back, stifling a giggle.

“Don't worry. We're leaving. I'll keep the instigator away for awhile,” Matt promised.

“You're supposed to be on our side!” Kyra protested.

“Someone has to stand up for the poor guy!” Matt and Kyra appeared in the doorway, both laughing.

“Thanks, Matt. Glad to know someone has my back.” Chris shook his head. “Is this a mess with my friend and you get everyone's wrath kind of thing?”

“Pretty much. Some things never change.” Kyra shrugged.

“How do you deal with this?” he asked Matt.

“I stay in their good graces,” came the simple, yet honest reply. “But to be fair, I've feared Kyra's wrath a few times.”

“Yes but Kyra's wrath is to put you in a song. Mine involve drumsticks,” Taryn warned.

“We're going now, I promise. See you two later.” Kyra waved, then allowed Matt to drag her out the door. When they were alone, Chris let out a nervous laugh. “So on a scale from one to ten, how much does everyone want to kill me?”

“Oh, it's been all over the place today.” Taryn nodded.

“Right now?”

Author Bio:
I'm an avid lover of books. I've been writing as far back as I can remember, completing my first "book" by fifth grade in one of those one subject spiral notebooks. I have a passion for music, photography, jewelry and all things creative. I live in Arizona with my husband and son, but dream of being somewhere much colder and stormier. For now, I'll have to live that life through my characters and stick it out with the summer heat.


WEBSITE  /  AMAZON  /  GOODREADS



AMAZON US  /  AMAZON UK  /  B&N
iTUNES  /  KOBO  /  GOODREADS TBR

Brought to you by: