Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Heart Ripper by KA Merikan

Title: Heart Ripper
Author: KA Merikan
Series: Sex & Mayhem #9
Genre: M/M Romance, Motorcyle Club
Release Date: June 15, 2016
Summary:
- - - You always want what you can’t have. - - -

David. Catholic. Gay. Set on keeping his purity ring.

Raja. Biker. Manwhore. Never refuses a bet.

David has always tried to be the best son his parents could dream of.
Always at church on Sunday.
Always eager to help with the garden.
Always trying his best at school.
Prim, proper, innocent, and kind.
But deep inside of him, there is a yearning planted by the devil himself, and when a cocky, foul-mouthed biker pulls him a step too far, David doesn’t fall into the abyss. He leaps.
Raja is all he’s ever dreamed of, yet didn’t dare voice. Older, dangerous, a wall of muscle with a grip so strong David can’t resist him no matter how hard he tries.

As a freshly appointed president of a motorcycle club on the verge of ruin, Raja has a lot to live up to. Being gay doesn’t do him any favors in terms of commanding the respect of his men. He has his way of compensating though.
Always first in a fight.
Always bragging about his sexual conquests.
Always up for a bet.
Daring, tattooed, sexy, and unapologetic.
After he boasts he can have any man he wants, he gets challenged to hook up with the preppy guy wallflowering at a party. Raja can’t wait to pop the innocent cutie’s cherry. But when he finds out the guy is his friend’s younger brother, life gets a whole lot messier.

Why is the one guy who should be off-limits always the most tempting?

***WARNING: This book contains steamy sexual content and graphic violence.***






The books in the Sex & Mayhem series will generally be standalones,
tied only loosely by cameos and mentions of clubs.



Author Bio: 
K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.


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Heart Ripper #9

Series




Brought to you by: 

Safe to Love You by Jude Ouvrard

Title: Safe to Love You
Author: Jude Ouvrard
Series: Ink Spin-Off #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Drama
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Proofreader: MNoelle Editing
Cover Design: Kari March Designs

***Scenes of violence and domestic violence***
Summary:
Abbie…

After wasting years of her life to an abusive man, the love Abbie Rylee once felt for him is replaced by fear. One last fight for her freedom leaves her hurt but fulsome after a gentleman saves her from the brutal hands of her evil ex-boyfriend.

Presley…

Presley Williams has been moping around for too long after being dumped by a beautiful model. It's not until a chance meeting and an opportunity to be the hero that he starts to feel alive again. Craving the flame who brightens his life, the tattooed photographer sets out on a mission to find the girl who left him breathless.

When Abbie and Presley see each other, their mutual attraction flares first. The unconventional guy seems like an intriguing choice for the still-wounded Abbie, but is he actually someone she can feel safe with? Will she be able to move on, continuing with her life unscarred?


The hot water washed against my face as I tried to scrub off the memories once again. Nothing seemed to work. I closed my eyes and tried to think of nothing but the washing of my face. For over a month I’ve been haunting with the thoughts and memories of her…Kelly.

I groaned, just the thought of her name made my stomach ache.

As the water dripped off my face I looked into the mirror and focused onto the ridiculous expression of a pathetic man. What is happening to me?

You are so lame, Presley. Get over it.

I have a good family, good friends and a job I love. That should be enough to keep me happy or on track but I’m losing it.

I thought she was a great girl. An honest girl. I can't believe it. She used me, used my name, and I gave it my all during her photo shoot. It was one of the best I have ever done. We had great chemistry going on, I thought we were getting along great. I even bought a new lens and new equipment, just to please her. I wanted to make it a special day for her, because I thought she deserved it.

I should've known, the second I gave her the portfolio, her attitude would change. She went from super sweet to super bitch. I'm just too naive sometimes. I should've known better. Never date a girl in the business; it brings you nothing but trouble. We had fun while it lasted, but the way it ended was agonizing for me. I liked her free spirited attitude and how wild she was. I was never madly in love with her, but I expected more than to be thrown out like garbage when she was finished with me.

When I met her a year ago, she was working on a photography set as an assistant. We talked a little at the time, but nothing too serious. Kelly was good friends with one of the models I was shooting. I gave her my card, something I do all the time. She’d done a few modeling gigs in the past, but nothing major yet. I'm a busy photographer, but I still enjoy working on portfolios for up and coming models.

Kelly called me, a week after we’d met and we went out for drinks. We discovered we both share a passion for tattoos and music. We had a blast that night; we played pool, drank beers and I thought why not see her again?

We caught up with one another a few more times before we started seriously dating. She had a troubled past and I knew about it, but that didn’t matter to me. Everyone has a past; hers just happened to be a little more challenging. Kelly was sweet and I enjoyed being with her. She made me laugh, she was a real goofball and I needed that in my life.

After a couple of months, she was staying pretty regularly at my place. I liked falling asleep and waking up next to her. We hadn't talked about making the situation permanent, but I believed she was starting to consider it. My life with Kelly mirrored the life of Hollywood stars. Most nights we partied until the early hours, bouncing from one party to the next as if that was our job. Kelly had a lot of friends and even more connections. I had never known this sort of life before I met her.

’Do you think we're ever going to get tired of this?’ Kelly asked me once, in the middle of one of the biggest events we had been invited to. With my camera in one hand and her in the other, I lost myself in the music and atmosphere that surrounded us.

‘I don't know, Kel, but let's just enjoy while it lasts,’ I chuckled. ‘I’ve met some important people tonight; one guy said I should hear back from him later this week. A tattoo magazine shoot–that would be great if it worked out.’

‘Maybe if you keep getting important contracts, your family will stop hating me.’ Kelly had looked pained when she spoke. She’d never done anything wrong around them, but my family had heard rumors about Kelly’s history as a wild child, and disapproved of the way we spent our time.

‘They don't hate you, Kel. They just don’t understand our crazy lifestyle.’

My dad, my brother and my sister never liked Kelly. After I introduced her to them, they warned me to be careful, but I didn't listen. With Kelly, I was having so much fun, I felt like a teenager again. We were always on the go, doing whatever the hell we felt like doing. Almost to the point of selfishness. Running our lives the way we wanted to, became our top priority and to hell with everyone else.

Things changed after I offered to work on her portfolio. Kelly was truly happy about the offer, and it made me happy to help her out. The day of her photo shoot, she was ecstatic. I knew exactly what theme to go for; showing off her ink and making sure she looked her absolute best. I gave her some quick prints that night and the following day, I gave her the professional quality photos. Everything changed that day. I’d given her what she was after–-professional photographs taken by a well-known and well-respected photographer. She didn’t need me anymore and by the time I got home from work that night, Kelly was gone. She packed up everything at my apartment, and left without so much as a goodbye. When I tried to contact her, she wouldn’t return my calls. Days later, I heard from a mutual contact that she’d packed up and headed to Europe, determined to make it as a professional model.

During my crazy relationship with Kelly, I had been seriously slacking at work. One of my major New York contracts was coming up in two weeks and I needed to get my shit together. I had a mantra, which I kept telling myself, almost constantly, while I came to terms with Kelly’s behaviour: Be a man, Presley! This is your life. Your reputation. Everything you've worked so hard for over the years. It’s time to get back in the game. Be better. Be stronger. Man up!

I know life will continue to throw curveballs at me; I’m just tried to convince myself that Kelly was one of those curveballs. I knew it was time to walk away from the hurt, and learn from it.

Getting dressed for the day, I shake my thoughts away and think of something else. No more Kelly. I pick my favorite jeans and t-shirt, tousle my hair just a bit and get something to eat.

Tonight, my favorite band is in town, playing a gig. I decided this is going to be my night. I need to start afresh and move on from the Kelly situation. First though, I need to call Joshua, my brother. I haven't seen him much lately and I miss his company. We get along well; at least, we did until Hurricane Kelly happened.

''Joshua, do you still have my ticket to the concert, or did you find someone else to take it?'' I ask.

"I knew you'd decide to come! I still have it, it's yours, man.''

''Great! I'll meet you at the bar before the concert.'' Already I feel my mood lifting—for the first time in weeks. This is already shaping up to a good night.

''Alright!” Joshua sounds pleased. “Ali is coming along, too,'' he adds and I can hear the smile in his voice when he mentions his girlfriend.

“Great! See you then! Take care, Josh.'' I'm smiling. Shit, I'm finally smiling again. Baby steps, but I already feel better.

I've been pretty boring lately. I haven’t gone out much in recent weeks, I was too upset about the Kelly situation, and quite frankly, I thought I was missing her. It never occurred to me that she was going to be the girl I married, but honestly, being with her was crazily addictive. I didn’t care about anything else when I was with Kelly. Her wildness engulfed me, blinded me to everything else. All that existed was Kelly–the parties, the drinking and fuck...that sex. I was carried away by her intoxicating lifestyle and I drank it up faster that the shots of tequila she used to pour down my throat.

At first, after she left, I missed it. Then, after a while, I figured out that maybe it wasn’t right to live like that on a long term basis. After months of living the life of a rock star, a break was needed. Hell, my body needed it.

So for a long while, I stayed in my apartment most of the time; did some painting, worked on my photos or caught up on sleep. To be honest, I’d had my feelings crushed by her and I turned into a bit of a hermit.

I realize that it has to change. I want a social life again–-I need to get out and about, with my real friends, not the fake people I spent time with when I was with Kelly. I’ve missed hanging out with my siblings. I'm done moping around because of a girl. She kicked down my pride, and it hurt; but today is the beginning of a new chapter in my life.



Author Bio:
Jude Ouvrard is an author who writes from the heart, and reads with passion and devotion. Jude enjoys stories of drama, true love, tattoos, and everything in between. While writing is her therapy, reading is her solace. Life doesn't get better than books and chocolate, and maybe a little bit of shopping.

A romance lover, Jude writes about love, pain, heartbreak and matters that will challenge your heart. A book can tell an unexpected story, no matter which directions it takes. Jude embraces words that have haunted her for years.

Jude is a working mom who dedicates her time to a law firm and writing books. She has an energetic five-year old superhero son, and a supportive boyfriend of thirteen years. Her family is her rock; she could not survive without them. Born a country girl, she transformed into a city woman who now lives in Montreal, Canada. Although French is her first language, Jude decided to write in English because she liked the challenge.

Jude Ouvrard is the author of two novellas, "Under the Sun" and "Wonderland", and three novels, “Lost Dreams”, “Body, Ink, and Soul,” and “Ophelia.” She is currently working on sequels to her novels and a new project.


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Safe to Love You #2

Not Afraid to Love #1

Body, Ink, & Soul #1

Music, Ink, & Love #2

Brought to you by: 

#Kissing by Ellie Brixton

Title: #Kissing
Author: Ellie Brixton
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Summary:
I was always the good girl.

Then when the pressure became too much, I took off and found me a bad boy.

Niko. The hot, British rock star and frontman of the Halos.

He took my angel wings and gave me a lot of things, well, everything but the Big O.

And fidelity.

So with my #fail in hand, I did the worst thing imaginable.

I went home. The insta-nagging, criticism, and impossible expectations reminded me why my life #sucked—the reason I left in the first place.

Well, everything was the same except for JQ, my high school crush. With a snug T-shirt and jeans that fit in all of the right places, it looks like he became man and maybe it was time for me to become a woman.

#Kissing is a sexy, rock star romance for new adult, college, and contemporary romance readers who enjoy love stories with an HEA.

***Author's note: #KISSING is a full-length, standalone novel. Due to strong language and content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.***


The particular frenzy of backstage morphs from last minute monitor repairs—and choking back the remnants of stage fright—to the synchronous heart-pumping anticipation of those opening chords as the music stretches from here to infinity. Instruments and amps and hundreds of voices transform what might be understood as merely sound and instead whisper their truths to our souls.

Since I can't have the dream house and dream life, I'll take this. The moment promising the transcendence of music.

Niko told me he used to puke before going on stage and then said it stopped when I came along. The blowjobs and sex help, I'm sure of it, because he's one-hundred percent swagger as the lights follow him across the stage.

Mitty appears, his bass strung low, but not for style points, rather, his long arms. Jill ghosts into position, but then the light catches her hardcore expression and if nothing else, she's a rock goddess. There's no disputing it even if there's not much else to like about her.

Kenji's last, having changed into a purple robe with a white fur collar and a gold crown studded with jewels. He throws off the robe and pounds his chest, his nightly ritual before going bananas on the drums.

My body hums as I elbow my way to the front. Hundreds of fans keep the autumn chill out of the venue. The lights dim before flaring back on.

My shoulders relax. My mind goes quiet. People all around me cheer, calling out to the band, hands already raised in the air, yearning for that thing only music provides.



With Josie Speedwell, ex-half of Niksie, music lover, and diabetic 
What shade of lipstick do you wear?
Mac: Ruby Woo. When I'm wearing it on my lips, I'm bulletproof.

What's your favorite band? Song? Do you sing along? 
Worst. Question. Ever. Not because I don't have a favorite, but because I have too many. The Halos, of course, but here are a few others:
The classics: ACDC, Billy Holiday, and the Rolling Stones. 
The contemp: Gwen Stefani, Maroon 5, and Pink.
The we're going to start a riot: Arcade Fire, Nirvana, and Band of Skulls.
The rest: Coldplay, Prince, and Madonna.
Yes, I sing along, and I sing loud.

Do you read? What are your favorite books? 
I'm not a bookworm, but more of a music worm (is that a thing?). Give me some CD's with liner notes and I'll get lost. Though I love the classics and a good love story can rob me of hours, but if there's a happy ending, I'm glad for the theft. The last book I read I found on my friend Penny's shelf called Wallbanger. Let's just say I stayed up nearly all night reading it and tried very hard not to wake her up with my laughter and um, other things. 

Do you Netflix and chill? No, seriously, what's your favorite movie? Snack?
I have Netflixed and chilled; I'm a big fan, actually, but mostly the chilling part. I've also hung out and watched a movie on Netflix with my guy while eating popcorn and Twizzlers. No, that's not a euphemism. But I do always go for extra butter. 

If you could have someone star as you in the movie of your life, who would you cast?
Ooh. If I had to pick someone to star in the film depicting my life, it would be Cara Delevingne. Not because we look alike. I don't have a British accent, and I'm not half as funny, though I have been called bonkers. I'd pick her because she has the lethal stare on lockdown. Zoe Kravitz is pretty badass too.

Do you have any weird habits? 
When I leave a bathroom, I always check my teeth for lipstick; it's red, after all and my shoes for toilet paper. When I was in elementary school, I walked out of the bathroom with a piece stuck to my sneaker. Embarrassment for me looks more like a raccoon in a cage. In other words, I consider it a public service to spare others from my embarrassment turned rage.

Do you have any phobias?
Whatever the opposite of freedom is. 

Left side of the bed or right and what do you wear to sleep?
Middle. 
Nothing.

What's your drink order?
I've been easing up on the hard stuff and if in good company I'll have a glass of champagne or RosΓ©. Otherwise, I've been drinking this stuff called Kombucha. Going down it feels like slime going down, but supposedly it's good for you. I also love me a steaming hot dirty chai.

If you could have lunch with someone alive or dead that you admire, who would it be?
Dead? I'd go with my grandmother and Beethoven. We'd have finger sandwiches and tea. I'd ask him what was the single most important thing he learned from his piano teachers because that's what I someday want to pass onto my students. Also, he was her favorite. 

Alive? I'd hang out with Tina Fey and we'd laugh. My laughter is legendary.

Bonus question: What do you want?
Aside from world peace? I want to live a long and happy life surrounded by the people I love and music.

What was the inspiration or the story behind #Kissing? 
I don't know. That's not an answer, is it? I guess it started with a vision of Josie with a kick ass attitude. I love contemporary romance, but had been reading a lot where the main character was sweet, maybe conflicted, but always a good girl. The question that came to mind was, what happens when the good girl goes bad? Josie wasn't always wild and irreverent. I dug a little into my imagination and learned her back-story and what tormented her. It made sense to position her with the backdrop of rock and roll, the romanticized, trashing hotel rooms, taking over the world kind. Then of course, at her core, she's still the good girl, but maybe a little wiser when she comes through it all to the other side.

What was the biggest challenge of writing #Kissing?
The biggest challenge was time. I never have enough time to get done what I want to in a day. Either that or I have poor time management skills, and it's not because I procrastinate or get distracted by social media. Ok, maybe a little bit, but not reeeeaaallly. One trick I read somewhere is to always leave off a scene so you know where it's going or begin the next chapter and leave off. In other words, when you start writing again, you'll have a clear direction. The other challenge was getting the tension right and the intimate scenes and the characters and... The truth is, it was all a challenge, but totally worth it when I wrote the last sentence and now can share #Kissing with readers.

Describe Josie, Niko & JQ in one sentence each. Who's your favorite?
Josie: has a big heart hidden behind her sneer.
Niko: a beautiful and talented bastard.
JQ: perfectly imperfect and deliciously sexy.
They're all my favorites, but probably JQ ;-)

Do you have a favorite scene or line from #Kissing?
The what would happen scene is probably my favorite, but I can't say more than that because spoiler! But I really enjoyed writing the deep point of view concert scenes. I love the feeling of being part of the crowd, dipping right into the wild, noisy, crazy moment when live music reaches right down to my bones.

Describe a typical day of writing for you.
Responding to and sending email to start, then I check in on social media for about a half hour. After that, it depends on what projects I have going on, but I'll either outline, draft, or edit until lunchtime. A little puppy playtime, social media, and then I'm back at it, usually writing. The late afternoon often brings regular life stuff, not the glamorous of a writer in my yoga pants and bare feet. Ha ha. In the evening, I'll spend a little while on social media, emails, and often wrap up something from earlier, organize myself for the next day, or do non-writing writerly tasks such as marketing, promotion, and outreach.

What are you reading right now? To put a spin on #WCW who's your #ACW (author crush)?
My Kindle is stacked! To name a few I have a few Rachel Van Dyken titles in the queue, Mr. O (can't wait!), and I'm kind of feeling like reading Right by Jana Aston again. Also, there are too many series' to name that I want to dive into. I fantasize about a week-long retreat where I lay on the beach and read. That should be a thing. Reading retreats. At a spa. With hot waiters.

Do you have a book boyfriend?
Do I have a book boyfriend? A? As in singular? The beauty of the book boyfriend is that I can have multiple. I'm currently dating Miles from Melanie Harlow's Some Sort of Crazy, Sawyer from Right by Jana Aston, and I've always had a soft spot for Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables.

What's your most guilty pleasure?
Cookies. All kinds of cookies. I've never met a cookie I didn't like. I love cookies. Did I mention cookies? Also brownies are pretty good.

Speed round:
Starbuck's order?
Cold: Passion tea
Warm: Anything pumpkin

Favorite color? 
Pink

Favorite band? 
Of all time: Taylor Swift
Of the moment: Vance Joy

Righty or lefty?
Right handed

Biggest pet peeve?
Websites that take AGES to load are evil, usually it's because they have pesky ads that take forever. I'll find a delicious looking (cookie) recipe on Pinterest, click the link, and then wait so long to get the post that I'll end up closing the window.

This is your first book, what's next? What do you have in the works for readers?
#Kissing started as a standalone-all by itself-no thought of any books beyond a part four in the form of a novella told from the point of view of another key character. Yes, that's happening. It's called XOX and will be available in September.

But then…the gears started turning in my mind (as they so often do), and I came up with a second full length book telling the story of another character and her companion novella. And that was it.

But then…I was lying in bed and had to turn on the light and jot down another idea…a third story, and it became the Rock and Romance series. There will also be a companion novella.

Characters will make cameos in each of the stories, but they'll standalone.

I'm so excited to get working on it!

I have a rough outline for another series that will hopefully come into being in late 2017.

I'm so grateful that I get to write, for the opportunity to connect with readers, and hope that can continue!

Author Bio:
Ellie Brixton is a unicorn by day and an author by night. She's a firm believer in eating dessert first and fancies herself a cookie connoisseur. Although she runs every day, she wishes for a 1959 Cadillac convertible, in pink of course. This is her first novel.


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Brought to you by:

Taking a Chance on Love & To Dance One More Day by Rachel Jones

Titles: Taking a Chance on Love & To Dance One More Day
Author: Rachel Jones
Genre: Contemporary Romance

To Dance One More Day
Summary:
Desertion and death of her family leaves Jillian Russell alone in the world. A medical diagnosis takes away her performance career. Starting over in Charlotte, North Carolina, she opens a ballet company which takes all her resources and leaves no time to build new relationships. 

Trauma surgeon, Alan Armstrong, is determined to fix Jillian’s life before he moves on to set up a rural community clinic that had been the top priority in his life, until he met Jillian. 

Will their undeniable connection cause them to change their ambitions so they can be together? Or will they walk away from each other to continue on the paths they had chosen before they met?

Taking a Chance on Love
Summary:
From childhood, Virginia Manning has planned for a career as a concert clarinetist. Blindsided by family circumstances, her plans are interrupted, taking her down a path she would never have chosen. As a music teacher, Virginia’s relationship with the football coach goes from problematic to romantic. After Blake’s brush with death, a scared Virginia runs away looking for the contentment music has always brought to her life. 

Because Blake Oliver has experienced disappointment and pain, he opts for a fresh start in a small New England town. Accepting the position of football coach, he isn’t looking for love when it finds him. But when Virginia leaves to pursue a performance career, Blake realizes it’s not where you live but having someone to love that matters. His only problem is making her understand that as well.



To Dance One More Day
Jillian lingered behind, thinking about her students. This was the best group of seven-year olds she had taught since opening the school. She enjoyed teaching all ages but this group was the highlight of her week. Sighing, she wondered if maybe it had something to do with the fact Lily would have been seven this year. Brushing the thought away, she moved to the piano and focused her attention on arranging the music for the dance company’s rehearsal the next night.

Her school of ballet was impressive but her dance company was her crowning glory. Expanding her lungs to their fullest she exhaled, feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment. The North Carolina Ballet Company, now in its fifth year of existence, continued to experience growing pains and would for several years to come. As they grew in number they also grew in depth and dimension, becoming a cohesive group of artists excited to tell many stories through dance. Their progress was measured by the reputation they enjoyed for offering professional performances to the surrounding communities.

“You have a good-looking group of ballerinas, Jilly,” remarked David as he crossed the studio floor, followed by Alan.

The familiar voice brought a smile to her face. She had met David soon after moving to Charlotte when she was searching for a financial advisor. They had spent a lot of time together working on the financial end of setting up her school. When she took the plunge a year later, with David’s encouragement, and started the North Carolina Ballet Company, he was her biggest fan. Feeling she could trust him with her life, she was grateful he had accepted her invitation to be a part of the company’s initial board of directors.

Turning around at the sound of the tenor voice her eyes darted from her friend to the familiar form standing beside him. Her smile disappeared.

“You!” Jillian took a step back. “What are you doing here?”

“What’s wrong?” David’s gaze bounced back and forth between his friends. “Do you two know each other?”

Her eyes remained fixed on the doctor as if she were seeing him for the first time. He was tall, about six feet she estimated, with thick brown hair and he had the most gorgeous, deep set brown eyes. It was like looking into pools of chocolate and she was finding it hard not to stare. She shifted her gaze to her friend. “I recall seeing him at the hospital, after the explosion.”

“Oh, come on, Ms. Russell. I performed the surgery on your shoulder and I was your doctor for two days—until you fired me. And all you have to say is, ‘I recall seeing you’?”

“If memory serves it was a day and a half. And I’d prefer not talking about anything having to do with the explosion, if you don’t mind.”

“I see. Well, I hope your recovery is going well.”

“Yes it is thank you.”

Taking a Chance on Love
Blake was awake when Virginia entered the ICU cubicle. She pushed a chair against the hospital bed so she could hold his hand. “I’m so glad you’re here,” he said. Virginia looked at the tiny lines etched on his face. She wished she had magical powers and could erase them and all the pain he had endured the last few days since the accident. “The nurse said I could sit with you. Where’s your father?” “Stephen took him home to sleep for a while. He’ll be back later.” Blake shifted toward her and released a groan. “I hate to see you hurting.” “My nurse was just here asking if I wanted pain medicine. He’s coming back. I would have waited to take the pain killer if I had known a beautiful woman would be stopping by to visit.” “Good,” she said. “I’m glad you’re not one of those macho men who think it’s not masculine to take pain medicine when you need it.” “Normally I wouldn’t. But since I’ve had surgery on my leg and I’m dealing with cracked ribs, a punctured lung, and a ruptured diaphragm, I’m willing to compromise my macho image and take the pain killers.” Virginia frowned at the reminder of what he had been through. The nurse returned with a syringe in his hand. He scanned Blake’s armband and the barcode on the syringe then made a few clicks at the bedside computer. As he pushed the medication into Blake’s IV line, he said, “Mr. Oliver, this will help with the pain, but it will make you drowsy. Sleep’s not a bad thing since your body needs rest to heal.” Virginia smiled, knowing he would be escaping from his pain if only for a while. “I’m going to sit here and hold your hand until they throw me out.” Blake’s eyes flickered open and shut a few times then remained closed. She whispered a prayer for strength, to help her be strong for him. The beeps of the heart monitor became rapid and other alarms sounded. Blake’s nurse rushed into the cubicle. He hit the red button on the wall and shouted, “I need help in here. He’s in V-fib.” Virginia jumped up from her chair as the space filled with hospital personnel. She was pushed back and then outside. Leaning against the full-length window to support her trembling legs, she was aware of the dampness of her skin. Terror gripped her heart as she watched the surreal scene through the glass partition. The nurse performed chest compressions and in the dream state dominating her consciousness, she wondered if Blake’s chest would hurt later from the contact. Unable to move, her mind became mesmerized by the organized events unfolding in front of her. A man with neatly combed hair in a white coat said, “Give Amiodarone, three hundred milligrams.” Someone echoed, “Pushing Amiodarone, three hundred milligrams.” Another set of hands gave the man paddles attached to the defibrillator on the crash cart. “Set to two hundred joules. Clear,” he said as placed the paddles on Blake’s chest and discharged the shock, causing his body to jump. Virginia watched as everyone paused and then someone uttered the words, ‘sinus rhythm,’ which brought a collective sigh of relief. Most everyone dispersed leaving only a few people at the bedside. Blake’s nurse came to her and said, “He’s stable, but he’ll be sleeping for awhile. We’ll be watching him closely.” Virginia brushed at the tears on her cheek. The nurse took a box of tissue from the counter and pushed it toward her. “I know this was a harsh thing to witness. You should go, try to rest and you can come back later.” “Will he be all right? Could this happen again?” “Mr. Oliver’s body has been through a lot. But he’s young and healthy. I’m sorry, but I need to get back inside.” “Please, take care of him.” These were the same words she uttered as she passed the nurses’ station after each visit. But this time, the words were a special plea after witnessing how precarious his medical situation was. If she stayed, her heart would once again be vulnerable as in the past. Virginia turned and walked away, trying to process what had happened as she moved toward the waiting room to call Blake’s father. The pain in her heart was genuine. An intense pain that went beyond her heart and stirred her soul. Was this what it felt like to lose someone who had become so entwined in your life? She wasn’t sure she would want to go on living if Blake didn’t survive his injuries.


To Dance One More Day

Author Bio:
Motto: Despite the struggles, love survives.

While she continued to work her full-time RN job, it was thoughts of what she would do after retirement from her career in healthcare that spurred Rachel to begin writing her first manuscript in March of 2012. Needing guidance and support with her new endeavor, she joined local and national writing groups.

Release day for Rachel’s debut novel, To Dance One More Day, occurred in June 2014. Her second book, Taking A Chance On Love, released in October 2015. She is working on her third manuscript and is planning her first series. Rachel’s books reflect her love of the performing arts. Working as a registered nurse for twenty-five years has influenced the threads of medical drama woven into her storylines.

A music enthusiast for decades, Rachel resides in Kennesaw, Georgia with her husband of thirty-eight years and their spoiled Labrador retriever. She is a member of Georgia Writers Association, Georgia Romance Writers and is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America.


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To Dance One More Day
B&N  /  SMASHWORDS  /  KOBO

Taking a Chance on Love
B&N  /  SMASHWORDS  /  KOBO





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