Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday's Montage Mantlepiece: Saddle Up N Ride

Ride 'em Hard Cowboy by J.P. Bowie
Sheriff Joel Harper is being sued, but when he meets young attorney Jason Sherwood, he wants him to handle much more than just the lawsuit!

When Sheriff Joel Harper, ex-wrangler, is falsely accused of assault and battery by a rich rancher’s son, he turns to Royce Chandler and Charles Fletcher for legal advice. What Joel doesn’t expect is to fall immediately in lust with young attorney Jason Sherwood, Royce’s new recruit to his recently opened law office.

Their budding romance is hampered by burglary, hate-filled graffiti, hostile neighbours and co-workers, and by Joel’s own sense of responsibility to his younger brother, Toby. Can their love survive all that’s thrown at them or will Jason decide the ride is just way to rough for him to endure?

Roping His Man by Simone Anderson
When a vacation yields an unexpected surprise, choices must be made and love hangs in the balance.

When Colton Greenleaf returns to his parents buffalo ranch after college, he doesn’t count on long-buried feelings resurfacing or the pull of the Wyoming mountains luring him home to stay. He tells himself its only for two weeks, that he can put up with anything for two weeks. But, when he comes face to face with the man of his dreams his first night home, he isn’t so sure. Now, he must figure out whether to take the chance on love or follow his life plan and face losing out on love all together.

Emmanuel Keegan, known only as Hawk, knows that he is ready to settle down. The only problem is that the man he wants is twelve years younger and the boss’ only son. Not only that, Colt doesn’t plan on sticking around any longer than he has to. Hawk knows following his heart’s desire could make him the happiest man on earth or it could shatter his heart for all time.

A Fistful of Emmett by Jambrea Jo Jones
Emmett Longley just lost his job and home. When he hears of a ranch needing a jack of all trades, he jumps at the chance. What Emmett didn’t expect was to find himself drooling over his new boss. And the man was giving off some weird vibes. Was Kit gay or not?

Christopher ‘Kit’ Younger only looks at men to see if they fit the bill to work his ranch. He doesn’t have time for relationships. He never has, and if he did, they would be with a woman. That was until Emmett Longley drove up to his ranch and applied for the job of foreman. Why was he getting hard over Emmett? There was nothing feminine about Emmett so why did Kit catch himself daydreaming about being in the big man’s arms?

Sing For Your Supper by Jaime Samms
Hunger can drive a man to do just about anything in order to satisfy it, but when it’s hunger of the heart, will past relationships keep three men wanting more?

Taylor has left home, chased out by his family because he’s gay, and pursued across the prairies by the man who violently assaulted him in his own home. Now he’s homeless, friendless and using his charm and skills learned on his knees before his father’s farm hands to pay for his meals.

Matt sees something more than a desperate whore in the young rancher who comes to his diner in hopes a quick blow job will buy him a meal. He sees past Taylor’s current circumstances to a man who just needs a clean break.

Matt sends Taylor off to his friend Jim’s ranch hoping the older man will see the same things in Taylor and give him the opportunity to start over. No one expects the visceral attraction between the rancher and his new hire.

When Taylor’s past catches up to him, and he realizes he’s put both men in jeopardy just for trying to help him, he thinks maybe he deserves to be branded the fool he is.

Jack's Way by Em Woods
When a down-on-his-luck architect meets a closeted cowboy with a cranky horse, can they find common ground or will ghosts from the past destroy their future?

Ben Morillo, a prominent architect, has a good life. He works for one of the leading firms in New Hampshire, owns his flat and stays out of the lime light. That is until his ex-lover shows up at his work months after their violent break-up, making a scene that gets Ben fired.

Jack Marr, ranch owner and closeted cowboy, can’t believe his bad luck when he has to pick up the handsome friend of his veterinarian. Convinced Ben won’t stick around, Jack struggles to protect his heart before the attraction between them leaves him broken.

Ben and Jack must feel their way through an amused veterinarian, a cranky horse and too many misunderstandings, but in the end, will Ben be able prove that Jack’s way is the only way for him?

Straight Cowboy by Jan Irving
Joshua Ryan did a stint for much-needed cash as the ‘straight cowboy’ in gay porn movies but he doesn’t think of himself as gay, so why does he want to do the things to Matt James he once did in front of a camera?

Cowboy Joshua Ryan can’t stop his erotic thoughts about Matt James, the hearing-impaired guest he’s taking into the foothills in search of wild horses. Matt James has dreamed all his life of coming out west. He’s at first taciturn with Josh, afraid he’s as close minded as some other hands they encounter on their excursion, but when Josh reaches for him unconsciously in his sleep, Matt has a tough time hiding his desire for a ‘straight’ man.

Ride 'em Hard Cowboy by J.P. Bowie
Sheriff Joel Harper was pissed, more than that really. He was madder than a hornet, and there was no one within a fifteen mile radius for him to vent his spleen on. Just as well his younger brother Toby wasn’t with him right now. The kid would most likely hear language never intended for his young ears. Who was he kidding? Toby could most likely match him curse for curse.

He just couldn’t believe it. He was being sued—sued by a no good son-of-a-bitch who should be behind bars for his flagrant drug use, but who instead had got himself some city attorney and was suing Joel for kidnapping, assault and battery.

“That lyin’ sack-o-shit,” Joel muttered under his breath still seething after reading the details of the suit in which Daniel Francis Hutchins, the plaintiff, had filed a complaint to the effect that while leaving a local tavern, he was attacked by an assailant he later recognised as Sheriff Joel Harper, taken to the Denton Sheriff’s Office where he had been summarily stripped naked, beaten, and handcuffed to the bars of his cell for several hours while being denied access to a toilet. Hutchins also claimed that the entire time he was subjected to this humiliation, Sheriff Joel Harper—who was not in uniform, and therefore Hutchins surmised him to be off duty—had taunted, slapped him around and generally debased him.

“Bullshit,” Joel muttered again, gunning the engine of his Police Department issue SUV, and sliding back onto the road from the gravel shoulder where he’d pulled over to study what, in his mind, was the biggest pile of horse manure he’d ever read. As he sped down the road towards Denton, a small rural town about twenty miles outside Sacramento, he figured his next step would be to call the Attorney General’s office and find out how they were going to handle this.

His main concern was that Danny Hutchins was the son of one of the wealthiest ranchers in the county, and no doubt his father, who had no love for the Denton Sheriff’s office, would use every ounce of influence he had to get Joel fired. Old man Hutchins just couldn’t let go of the fact that two years earlier, just after Joel had been elected Sheriff, Joel had arrested him for being drunk and disorderly and trying to beat up the manager of the Sizzlin’ Steak, one of Denton’s better restaurants. A night in the local jail cell to cool him off had only angered Hutchins more, swearing to ‘get even’ as he left the following day.

Joel hadn’t listened to Hutchins’ threats of reprisal then, nor would he let the deprecating letters Hutchins would demand the local paper publish on a regular basis, bother him. He didn’t doubt that this latest attempt to get him fired was instigated by Hutchins Senior. Joel figured he wasn’t above using his useless son as a means to an end.

It galled Joel that Danny had turned out to be such a shiftless individual. He and Danny had gone to school together, had been friends briefly until Danny had got himself mixed up with a bunch of riff-raff Joel couldn’t stomach. He’d railed at Danny on several occasions that he was wasting his life, that with his talent for electronics and the fact he was a whizz with computers, he should be out there making a career for himself instead of getting wasted with a bunch of losers. But the last time they’d spoken, Danny had given him the finger and told him to go fuck himself.

Despite all that, Joel would never have imagined Danny would sink this low.

Roping His Man by Simone Anderson
Colton Greenleaf pulled his Jeep Wrangler Safari to a stop in front of the sprawling two-story ranch house butted up against the setting sun and inhaled deeply. Rest and relaxation in the cool mountain air was just what the doctor ordered—or in this case, the Physician’s Assistant, Colton thought, smiling to himself. He planned to do just that for the next few weeks while he waited to hear if he got the job as a P.A. in the trauma centre at the Medical Centre of Louisiana at New Orleans on the outskirts of the French Quarter. Graduating with a four-point-oh from Duke University’s Physician’s Assistant programme and high scores on the PANCE, the Physician’s Assistant National Certification Exam, in addition to his volunteer work, would hopefully help him secure the job.

For now though, he had at least two full weeks of carefree idleness—something he hadn’t enjoyed since he started college almost seven years ago. The only thing that would make the next few weeks better would be getting laid, but that wasn’t about to happen when he was three hours from Casper, forty-five minutes to Cody and fifteen minutes to the small town of Buffalo Heart Springs, which boasted a human population of eighteen hundred and seventy-six, and a livestock population of easily five times that.

“Evening, Colt,” a low male voice said, the sound was familiar and sent shivers through his body, straight to his cock. “Welcome home.”

Damn. Of all the people he had to meet now. He should have realised that the man would be still here and wandering around. He willed his erection away and failed.

“Hiya, Hawk. And it’s Colton.” He prayed he sounded calmer than he felt. The older man had been the source of most of Colton’s fantasies since Hawk had shown up on the ranch two weeks after his sixteenth birthday, slipping into Colton’s thoughts during classes and late night study sessions even when he was on the other side of the country. Colton had a feeling that he could be on the other side of Pluto and still be affected by the gorgeous man. “Thanks, it’s good to be here. Missed it.” Missed you.

“Long drive?” Hawk asked, smiling though concern laced the older man’s voice.

“Yes. Stayed at a hotel about an hour this side of Lincoln last night. Drove the last eleven or so hours today,” Colton replied, trying to replay the lectures, scenery, the women in his cohort, anything to soften his erection. It was a losing battle. Hawk’s voice thundered through his body and enveloped his cock, hardening it. Colt could only hope his parents weren’t home. He’d forgotten to call when he’d stopped in Shoshoni for gas and food to let them know he would be home tonight.

Hawk raised an eyebrow. “You look beat, Colt, let me give you a hand.”

“I was going to leave it until morning, but thanks.”

“Go see your folks, I’ll start bringing it to your room,” Hawk suggested.

“But—you—you don’t have to. I can get it. I just wanted to wait until morning when I could unpack and put things away,” Colton stammered. He hated it when the ranch hands tried to help him out, it made him feel weak and inferior. He was pretty sure they didn’t mean to, but it didn’t change anything.

“If you don’t want your mom’s help in the morning, I suggest starting tonight,” Hawk replied, giving him a knowing smile. “I won’t even peek.”

A Fistful of Emmett by Jambrea Jo Jones
“I’m sorry Emmett, but we’re gonna hafta let ya go. I hate to do it. The bank ain’t givin’ us any options. They’re takin’ the place. Beth Anne and I’ll give you a nice reference letter if ya need it. You’re a good worker. You should be on your feet in no time. You can stay here fer a while. At least until the auction.”

Well didn’t that beat all? What the fuck was he supposed to do now? FBR Acres had been his home for goin’ on ten years. Fred hadn’t told him things had gotten that bad.

“Is there anything I can do?” Emmett took his hat off and ran a hand through his hair. He was uncomfortable about money talk as it was, but this was the only family he had and he’d do anything for them.

“It’s too late. We just can’t do it anymore. We’re gonna retire down Florida way. The kids are puttin’ us up for a bit.”

“Shit, Fred. You should have told me. I would have helped.” He hit his hat against his leg to get rid of some of the dust, and put it back on his head.

“Couldn’t let ya do that, Em. Even with your help, we would have gone under and we weren’t takin’ ya with us. Things just ain’t what they used to be,” Fred lamented.

“When’s the auction?”

“We got two weeks to get everything ready. We ain’t takin’ much with us. The bank is takin’ the rest. Lock, stock and barrel. We get to keep the vehicles and of course the personal items. Red is yours free and clear. Also have a little cash set aside as your last payment. We worked it out the other night. I hate that I have to do this, Em.” Fred frowned and squinted—a sure sign he was upset with the way things had gone down. Emmett had seen that look a time or two over the years.

“Not your fault. Like ya said, I’ll get back on my feet in no time. I have chores to get done and should finish working on the tractor so it’s ready for next week. I assume that goes in with the auction.”

“Yep.” Fred looked down at his feet.

“Thanks for Red. I appreciate it. And don’t worry so much. In two weeks, you’ll be seeing your grandbabies and living a life of leisure. You deserve it.” Em gave Fred a slap on the back and left for his day of chores.

Just because life was going to hell didn’t mean he could let the chores go. He’d worry about what to do later. Not like he had a lot to pack anyway. His life didn’t lead to much in the way of personal items and he never really went anywhere. The ranch was his home. His day consisted of getting up, working and going to bed, with the occasional trip to Austin for a quick lay. He loved the ranch life or he wouldn’t still be here. It was all he knew.

Fred and Beth Anne had helped his momma raise him. Summers had been the best because he got to spend them at the ranch. Sure, it was work, but he loved the animals and he loved feeling needed. When his momma died, he’d moved in full time to help out and he’d never looked back. Now he would have to leave.

Sing for Your Supper by Jaime Samms
According to my map, there should have been a town here. I’d passed a closed gas station five minutes back, and a general store with a curling, paper “out to lunch” sign taped to the window. The crumbling, yellowed tape holding it in place looked like it hadn’t been taken down in months. The doors had been locked up tight.

I glanced at my gas gauge and felt the tension in the back of my neck crawl up towards that spot behind my left eye. I made a point of rolling my shoulders over in a useless attempt to ease the stress. The old Jeep I was driving wasn’t exactly a stellar gas saver, and the needle edged towards the big red ‘E’ awfully fast. I didn’t have to look in my wallet to know filling the tank was going to be problematic.

“Where the hell is ‘Redcliff’?” I glanced again at the map lying on the seat beside me. There was a tiny black dot about the point on the map I was driving through, but the gas station and store seemed to have been plunked down in the middle of nowhere, like tornado casualties deposited on the side of the road.

I rubbed a hand through my hair, trying to ignore the tightening in my gut. The gas tank wasn’t the only tank needing refilling. I was going to have to find a place to stop soon then make the decision—feed myself or fill the tank. I wasn’t going to be able to do both.

And it was Pete’s fault. Bastard. He was supposed to be my brother, was supposed to look out for me, not be the one holding me down…

Don’t. Don’t remember.

I still fell asleep with that image of the red-hot metal coming at me, Pete’s hands vice-like around my upper arms, Luke Driscoll’s leering face. I couldn’t remember what they’d been babbling about. The branding iron seeking my flesh, and the nasty taste of Luke’s spunk still in my mouth, had been about all I could focus on at the time.


Just the memory made my hands shake. Sweat trickled down my back and under the waist band of my jeans. Luke had been the one to lure me into that trap, swaying his tight ass and offering…


The highway blurred before me. It took a minute to clear my vision enough to reveal I was on the wrong side of the tarmac. I eased back to my own side of the road.

The guy had been my friend. Or so I’d thought. He’d certainly acted the part for months, and had no compunction about shoving his dick down my throat. In fact, he’d acted like it was us against the narrow-minded idiots I called family. But no. None of it had meant anything. He’d been bait. Willing bait, eager to take any opportunity I’d offer to get off, but bait, just the same.


I yanked on the wheel, veering off the highway onto the shoulder. Six months, and I couldn’t get the asshole’s betrayal out of my head. Couldn’t think past it.

Jack's Way by Em Woods
“Benjamin.” Joan’s urgent whisper scarcely made it out of the little black box on his desk.

He closed his eyes, wishing for the thousandth time that working for a high profile architecture firm in New Hampshire meant he could escape the big city drama. Setting his pencil down on his drafting table, he slid off his stool and pressed the two-way. “Yes?”

“Christian’s here.”

A loud crash from somewhere down the hall punctuated her statement. Ben’s eyes narrowed as he stared at his closed door. “That’s not possible. He’s still in treatment.”

“He’s in treatment, all right, but it isn’t the one where you get any kind of help.”

He blinked at the intercom, mute.

“Ben?” She was louder this time, more worried.

“What are you talking about?”

“For God’s sake. He’s drunk.” A second bang came from just outside his door at Joan’s desk. The line went dead.

Then, he didn’t need the open line to hear what his assistant was saying to his ex-lover. “You nutcase! Look what you just did to my desk.”

“Where’s Ben?” Christian’s drunken slur carried through the closed door.

“He’s not here. Take your fool self home before I call the police.” She was like a mother hen, all gossip and ruffled feathers. But don’t be the idiot who crossed her. She’d peck your eyes out.

“His car’s in the lot. I know he’s around.”

He didn’t want Joan caught in the middle of this. One thing had been consistent in his relationship with Christian—his ex was violent when he drank. Things usually ended in a nasty brawl because Ben wasn’t the pushover his ex liked to think he was. He had known after only two months of dating he wanted out.

It had taken another four to get it done.

When Christian had agreed to in-clinic therapy after yet another vicious argument, Ben had used the opportunity to make a clean break. That had been three months ago. He’d finally started to relax. Six months was a short-term relationship, after all, and Christian hadn’t so much as called.

Until now.

Ben was gripping the doorknob before he realised he’d even moved. He took one more deep breath before opening the door to take in the scene.

Joan’s back was to Ben and Christian wobbled on weak legs in front of her, poking her in the shoulder. He leaned in, momentarily losing his balance before catching himself on her arm. “Where’s he at?”

“Right here.” Ben leaned against the door jam, crossed one foot over the other. He cocked his head to the side. “What do you want, Christian?”

“You left me.”

“Three months ago.” Ben clenched his teeth. He hadn’t planned to officially out himself at work, but with half the office staff gawking from the hall, there was nothing he could do now. Damn it.

Straight Cowboy by Jan Irving
He knew just how it would feel sliding in, the tight heat clamping around him so his eyes would shut. He’d dig his fingers into the man beneath him, buried so deep in Matt James, a shade of heaven as blinding as the noon day sun overhead.

Joshua Ryan’s eyes saucered at the forbidden thought and he nearly choked on his coffee, which was bitter and grainy in his tin cup, leaving a residue that his Grandmother Ruth could probably have read like tea leaves.

He rubbed his forehead, thinking maybe he was having a weird flashback to his summer job last year. It was just that he hadn’t had sex with anyone since then, it wasn’t that he was craving being with another man. Despite the stint as the ‘straight cowboy’ in gay amateur porn he’d done to make some quick cash, he wasn’t gay and no one knew, thank fuck, that he’d ever done them. They’d just shot his body and the back of his head during a few orgy scenes.

Who knew him well enough to identify him just from that?

“Josh, man… What’s with him?” Tupper nudged him so that Josh put his cards down. He hadn’t wanted to play poker with the hands of the Triple M, but when he and his guest had found them already ensconced at the watering hole, he figured it was best to be friendly while they had some lunch and gave their horses a break. “City boy too good to hang out with us?”

He looked over at Matt, a solitary figure leaning against a pine tree at the edge of the campsite, arms crossed as he looked down the ridge towards the waving tall grass in the prairie below. Matt was slender, about four inches shorter than Josh with glossy brown hair. His eyes were a chocolate almost the same colour as his pupils.

Josh dragged his gaze away from Matt and raised his eyebrows at Tupper, a man in his mid-forties with reddened green eyes and salt and pepper short hair who was in charge of the hands riding fences on the border between their land and the national park.

He debated for a second but then decided to just be honest. Matt hadn’t seemed the type of guy who was into bullshit. “He’s deaf, Tupper.”

Tupper blinked and more of his hands glanced over at Matt.

Matt’s expression hadn’t changed but there was a subtle tension to his posture now that Josh picked up on.

“Deaf? What the fuck is he doing out here then?” Tupper asked.

“He’s up here to photograph and write about the lost horses of Chaos Valley,” Josh said.

“Huh, those mustangs are a damned nuisance. Should shoot them all,” Tupper growled. “But I say again, why is he here? I mean, if he can’t hear anything…”

That wasn’t completely true since Matt had tersely informed Josh the morning they set out on their trail ride that he had an implant, but Josh wasn’t familiar enough with the technology to know how much Matt might pick up.

“He’s got me,” Josh said flatly.

A couple of the hands snickered and Josh threw in his cards, having had enough.

“So you’re his hearing loss dog or something, Josh? Geez, you boys down at Western Trail Rides must be hard up.”

“I’ll see you guys,” Josh muttered. He shoved his blond hair back off his forehead and replaced his dusty cowboy hat, thinking Tupper was right about one thing—Josh was hard up. He’d barely slept last night, restless in his bedroll. It made for one cranky cowboy come morning. Shit, when he finished this trip, he was going to visit Diana this time. She’d made it clear she was available.

Author Bios:
J.P. Bowie
J.P. Bowie was born and raised in Aberdeen, Scotland. He wrote his first (unpublished) novel – a science fiction tale of brawny men and brawnier women that made him a little suspect in the eyes of his family for a while.

Leaving home at age eighteen for the bright lights of London, he found himself in the midst of a “diverse and creative crowd” that eventually led him to the performing arts. For the next twelve years he sang, danced and acted his way around the theatres of London and the provinces, appearing in shows with many famous British singers, actors and comedians.

After immigrating to the US and living for many years in Las Vegas where he worked for that incomparable duo, Siegfried and Roy, J.P. found himself entranced by the fair city of San Diego where he currently lives with his partner, Phil.

Em Woods
All about little ol' me? Hmm. Okay, the normal stuff first. I currently live in the Midwest near Detroit, Michigan with my husband and two sons who are ten and seven years old. All three keep me on my toes. I work in the automotive industry making sure all the parts inside the car look pretty along with handling all the paperwork that goes along with that (you'd be amazed at how much there is!).

Not so normal stuff now. I am an eclectic soul, having lived in three out of the four corners of the United States. I can count as personal friends people from many walks of life (dare I say, some are family too?). I think this is what allows me to see past the things that make us different to the things that make us alike. Hence, I am a person who will accept anyone for what they are, almost to a fault sometimes.

I love angst (as you very well know if you've read one of my stories). I adore digging into an issue, touching on it and those people it effects, and then giving it a happily-ever-after. Research is probably one of my favorite parts of writing. Finding out new facts, meeting new people while I do that…asking them questions they would never expect.

Jan Irving
Jan Irving has worked in all kinds of creative fields, from painting silk to making porcelain ceramics, to interior design, but writing was always her passion.

She feels you can't fully understand characters until you follow their journey through a story world. Many kinds of worlds interest her, fantasy, historical, science fiction and suspense—but all have one thing in common, people finding a way to live together—in the most emotional and erotic fashion possible, of course!

Jambrea Jo Jones
Jambrea wanted to be the youngest romance author published, but life impeded the dreams. She put her writing aside and went to college briefly, then enlisted in the Air Force. After serving in the military, she returned home to Indiana to start her family. A few years later, she discovered yahoo groups and book reviews. There was no turning back. She was bit by the writing bug.

She enjoys spending time with her son when not writing and loves to receive reader feedback. She's addicted to the internet so feel free to email her anytime.

Simone Anderson
Simone lives in West Michigan with her family. She has been writing all of her life, seriously in the past few years, when her writing took on a dark and delicious twist. A college student, she offsets the tedium of lectures by thinking up new and interesting ways to torture her characters, occasionally shrieking in the middle of class ?I got it!? to the puzzlement of those around her.

Jaime Samms
Jaime writes, romance, fantasy, urban fantasy, shifter stories about men, about life, about love. Her work is populated with mostly men, most of whom are into each other, and yes, we do mean into each other. You can find plenty of free reading on her website.

She also reviews for Dark Diva Reviews, mostly the same types of stories, and will happily spout her opinion on the books she reads to her kids, who she home schools. Finally, she's occasionally gainfully employed. She writes for the love it, and hopes to pass on that love to her readers, her kids, and anyone else who comes along.

J.P. Bowie

Em Woods

Jan Irving

Jambrea Jo Jones

Simone Anderson

Jaime Samms


Timekeeper Rising by Allyssa Painter

Title: Timekeeper Rising
Author: Allyssa Painter
Series: Timekeeper Duo #1
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy, Young Adult
Release Date: August 1, 2015
Fifty years ago, the sky cried acid and the earth vomited poison, all due to human destruction. Desperate for a savior, the people called out to the Shunned, a group of Fallen angels on Earth, and allowed them to take over. Now the Shunned rule with unspeakable cruelty, manipulating and torturing the humans in every possible way. Marked for death, Iris Ankea will do anything to end their tyranny and rescue her brother and best friend from their clutches. When she learns that she is God’s chosen Timekeeper and has the power to defeat the Shunned, she sets out with the only man who can help her, the one she thinks just might kill her. With a prophecy about her drawing ever near, Iris must race against time to discover her powers before the world, and her life, end. Can Iris force herself to embrace her role and sacrifice herself to save everyone she loves, or will she lose it all?

     “Can I help you?” she asked in a polite voice, staring the man down, pretending that she had not already embedded her dagger deep into his thigh and did not currently work through ways to gain the advantage. She took mental inventory as she stared the man down, watching for any move he may choose to make. She carried no weapons, while he carried many. He seemed built for sheer strength, while Iris possessed a thin, wiry body, though she had strengthened it. He possessed at least some sort of power since he could deflect her dagger somewhat. Iris had powers too, but they were undeveloped and mostly still a complete mystery to her. So, what could she do to protect herself? How could she win this battle?
     The man sneered at her, looking down at her both literally and figuratively. “Yes, you can. If you’d like to just, oh, I don’t know, die at my feet, that’d be awesome. Thanks.” The man smiled scathingly, revealing two rows of decaying teeth.
     Iris did not even wince, though inwardly she cringed at his disgusting mouth. “No, sorry, I just don’t think that’s going to happen today. Maybe try again tomorrow. Or you know, don’t.” She smiled sweetly as she suddenly spun, bringing a roundhouse kick to the man’s stomach. He stumbled backward a few steps and snarled. He stayed on his feet but he bent over for a long moment to catch his breath. Iris laughed. “What? You didn’t expect a little thing like me to pack a punch? Or rather, a kick? Oh, sorry. I do so hate to disappoint.”
     The man once again stood tall and began to step toward Iris. She stepped away. He stepped to the side. She countered. Iris contradicted every move he made, the two circling each other. He yanked her dagger out of his thigh and allowed the blood to seep. “Apparently I will have the pleasure to kill you with your own dagger.”
     In one movement, he stepped to the left, forcing Iris to counter even as he shoved the dagger toward her heart. She moved more quickly than he and thus earned a slice across her upper right ribcage. She grunted in pain but did not soften her blow. Instead, she shot forward, shoving her right palm to his nose and up. She tried not to wince at the crunching sound his nose made. She did not care for hurting others but she would defend herself and her family until her dying breath. No one would touch them. As the man recovered from the blow to his nose, Iris stepped forward once more and reached for her dagger. He waved his hand and sent her flying.
     With a thump, Iris landed against a nearby tree. She fought to catch her breath as he grinned, those rotten teeth gleaming out at her. He stalked toward her, a glinting pistol in hand. She pushed herself into a standing position as she tentatively reached out with her mind. She caught snippets, just pieces about her position as the Timekeeper and her lack of weapons. She silently cursed herself for leaving the cabin without them. She knew better. Zander had taught her better.
     As the stranger loomed toward her, she forced herself to forget about the pain in her body. She focused on the matter at hand and how she could fix it. But that was the problem. How could she fix it? Few options presented themselves and the few that did were unseemly. Iris gritted her teeth and faced the man attempting to murder her, a virtual stranger. She wondered what could possess someone to track down a stranger and murder them in cold blood without the stranger ever harming them or anyone, for that matter. She should ask Sage. On her own, she could not comprehend it. She could understand if she had killed someone the man loved or something. But she hadn’t. And he did not care.
     The man once again began the dance of stepping ever closer, each step just a bit to the side. Iris mirrored his movements, once again circling. Her mind raced, trying to win this fight before it fully began. Stall, stall, stall, her mind told her. Give up, you’ll never win, her body replied. There is no victory without a battle, her heart countered. The words steadied her. “Tell me, why did you come? What have I, a teenager, done to someone like you, a man of your stature, to warrant this, this attempted murder? Why do you bother with me?”
     The man laughed, a cruel, evil laugh. “Little Timekeeper, you know as well as I why I intend to murder you. And believe me, dear, this is no attempt. I shall succeed. I always do.”
     Iris smiled. “I must disagree with you there, sir. Fate has already woven a far different tale. I shall not die this day. I do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.” She grinned again, a scathing grin meant to match his own. He lunged at her, but she had been prepared for that. As he stepped forward she dropped to the ground, delivering her own low swinging kick, knocking his feet out from under him.
     Iris watched the man topple with a satisfied sigh as she stood and moved to ready herself for another attack. She knew she mostly bought time. If she could keep him from pulling that trigger, eventually she could knock the weapon away from him or snag her own. Or, hopefully, Sage or Sara would come looking for her and bring a weapon. She could not really see Cassian coming to her aid, but hopefully one of the others would. She desperately needed help and she knew it.
     As Iris backed away from the man, he rose to his feet. “You insolent girl, do you really hope to defeat me? You would need an army and I see no army. How do you intend to beat me?”
     Iris wondered the same question as the man lumbered toward her once more. How did she intend to escape this situation?

What I Wish Young Writers Knew -- Age Doesn’t Matter
Yes, you read that correct.  I said (or typed) “Age doesn’t matter.”  It doesn’t, okay?  Let me back up.  Of course age matters in some things.  I’m not saying it’s a good idea to drink at fourteen.  I’m not.  Please don’t do that.  But in writing, age does not matter.  I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but I think I really started becoming serious about it in middle school.  I started writing this story that ended up filling up three or four notebooks.  Yeah, it was ridiculous.  But that’s not the point.  I stopped writing that story after a while and moved on to other things.  In high school, maybe ninth or tenth grade, I wrote my first full-length novel.  It’s a little short, but nothing too crazy.  After that, I couldn’t stop.  I loved writing and I was determined I wanted to publish my book.  I wanted to be an author.
So I started researching.  I read blogs from authors and advice for writers and all sorts of stuff.  And occasionally, someone would address the issue of young authors.  And they’d always say things like, “You need to wait to publish until you’re older.”  “You’re writing isn’t good enough.”  “You’ll look back at those stories later and realize they suck.”  And that was so disheartening.  Everywhere I looked, everyone said, slow down, wait, you’re not old enough, you’re not good enough.  At first, it was enough to make me stop researching.  And then the anger seeped in.  And the stubbornness.  I’m notoriously stubborn.  And I decided that I was going to publish my book.  I was going to be an author, and I wasn’t going to wait fifteen years just because there was some sort of age requirement.
I started querying my first novel when I was 17 or 18 I think.  And I actually had a decent amount of interest.  I even had an offer for publication.  In the end, I turned it down due to moral/creative differences between myself and the company, which is a perfectly fine thing to do, let me add.  You don’t have to take the first contract offered to you.  It’s important to find the right company to work with, because you’ll have to work very closely with them.
Anyways, around that time, I finished the Timekeeper, which is what the Duo started out as.  I then learned it was way too long and still needed more detail and scenes, so I broke it into two books and finished editing Timekeeper Rising.  I queried it for a while, but the idea of angels and demons seemed to turn everyone away.  I believed in my book, though, and in myself, so with a lot of support, I decided to self-publish it anyway.
Here’s the part that applies to my point.  I am twenty years old.  I just turned twenty in May, actually.  And I am publishing a book.  I am an author.  Now, does that suddenly mean all those authors and professionals were wrong, and my book isn’t crap?  Well, I guess not technically.  Not many people have read it yet, and you can publish anything these days.  So, technically speaking, it could be absolutely dreadful.  But I don’t think so.  Several people have read it for me so far, and they all seem to love it.  Is it the best book ever written?  I sincerely doubt it.  But is it good?  Yeah, I think so.
I don’t doubt that one day I’ll look back at this book and think it could be better.  But let me tell you a secret.  I know of several authors who do that.  They look back at the early books and it’s amazing to them to see how far they’ve come.  And some authors won’t even look back at them, because they know their new books are way better (at least in their opinion).  And these are real adults, guys, not fake adults like me.  These people are thirty, forty, fifty years old, and they still do that same thing that people said teens would do.  They look back at their early work and know it’s not as good as it could be.  Why?  Because they’ve grown.  We all grow, especially as authors.  The more we write, the more we read, the more advice, reviews, and comments we see, the more we learn, and the better our books become.  So if this is true for adults, why can’t it be true for teens?  Why does age have to matter?
It doesn’t.  Age doesn’t matter.  Maturity?  Sure.  Writing ability?  Most definitely.  But if you’re mature enough, dedicated enough, strong enough, and you have the writing ability, you can be an author.  I don’t care if you’re fifteen or a hundred and fifteen.  If you can write a good book that people enjoy, and you have tough enough skin and enough dedication to stick through all the unenjoyable businessy stuff of being an author, you can publish a book too, no matter your age.  The point is a simple one: Age doesn’t matter.  Ability does.

Who’s your favorite author?
I… How can anyone ask a reader that?  Top 5 (not in any specific order): Jennifer Anne Davis, Kiera Cass, Maggie Stiefvater, Nicholas Sparks, and Dr. Seuss.  Other amazing authors: Kelly Oram, Amy Harmon, Maddy Edwards, Scarlett Dawn, Rick Yancey, etc.  The list could go on and on.

What are your reading habits like?
Did you not figure out from the first question?  I read basically anything.  I don’t read horror (I’m not a scary story type of person) and I don’t read erotica.  Otherwise, I read pretty much everything.  I mainly focus on YA but I also read NA and Adult.  I read intermediate and children’s books as well.  I love fantasy.  I think it’s probably my favorite.  But I also love dystopian, paranormal (which is fantasy, but still, people specialize it), romance, contemporary, a little sci-fi, etc.  Pretty much, I read anything that catches my eye.

What kind of music do you like?
Everything but rap, I think.  Country and Christian music is what I set my radio to, but my iPod also has soft rock, alternative rock, metal, pop, gospel, etc.

Favorite Food?
I don’t know that I have one.  Do desserts count?  If not, probably pasta in general.

Favorite recipe?
Candy Cake or Somoa Sheet Cake.  Here’s a link to somoa sheet cake:  For candy cake, just make a german chocolate cake, poke holes in it, pour a can of sweetened condensed milk over it, then a jar of caramel ice cream sauce, then whip cream, then crush butterfingers (or your candy of choice) over the top.  It’s a delicious mess.  I do love apple pie too, though.  I usually make homemade apple pie at least once a year, either for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Favorite Color?
Purple.  Especially light purple.  Like lavender.

Besides being an author, which I guess I am now, and attending the WV Book Festival as an author, which I will be in October, my dreams include learning sign-language, visiting Italy, being a foster mom, adopting at least one child, and making my family happy.  I’m sure I have more, but those are the main ones that come to mind.

Favorite past times?
Besides reading and writing, I love photography, baking, and spending time with my family and friends.  Family is a huge part of my life and I’d be lost without them.  I also love to do things outdoors and to make things.  I make cards and scrapbook, and my husband and I usually come up with ideas of things to make our family for Christmas.  Sometimes I work with my dad in our woodshop to create clocks, wooden boxes, etc.

If you won a million dollars what would you do with it?
Y’all are going to hate this answer, ‘cause I’m no fun at all, but here goes.  I would save a good deal of it.  I would give a some of it to charity (my favorite charities are Wounded Warrior Project, Soldiers’ Angels, Avery’s Angels Gastroschisis Foundation, Huntington’s Disease Society of America, and Autism Speaks.)  Then I’d use it on my family.  My dad loves football, so I’d buy him tickets to one of the bowl games (I think he really wants to go to the Rose bowl, but I don’t know.  I don’t know much about football).  I’d take my mom to Italy.  We’ve both always wanted to go.  I’d buy her some books, too.  I’d take my husband to Germany and buy extravagant things for my grandparents, in-laws, etc.  Depending on how much I had left over (I don’t know how much I’d save or give to charity), and when I won it, I may or may not use it for a house or new car or something.  It would just depend on our needs at the time.  Oh, and I’d buy a lot of books.

If you had to move to any state but your own, where would you move?
Probably Colorado, if I actually had a choice.  My husband is in the Navy, though, and he’ll be going active duty in a few years, so I probably won’t have much of a choice.  But I love CO.  It’s beautiful and mountainous and reminds me of home.  I don’t think I’d mind NC or MD too much either, though.  They’re pretty nice.

Author Bio:
Allyssa Painter is the author of Timekeeper Rising, the first in the Timekeeper Duo. She graduated from Sissonville High School and attends Concord University for elementary and special education. She dreams of becoming an elementary teacher and continuing to touch the world around her through the novels she writes. In her free time, she enjoys reading fantastical adventures, spending time with her family, and capturing the world around her in photography and writing.


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Calm Like Home by Kaisa Clark

Title: Calm Like Home
Author: Kaisa Clark
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 15, 2015
Alexa Clausen has never fallen. She’s never soared. She’s lived her entire life floating midway between passion and despondency, never experiencing those extremes. But all it takes is one evening with Adam Westbrook to draw her out of her shell, to leave her feeling bold for the first time ever. He is fiery and magnetic. He is gravitational, that inescapable pull no one can avoid. After a few chance encounters, Alexa finally accepts that she can’t stay away, can’t deny the electricity she feels every time he comes around.

But as the intensity between them deepens, she also can’t avoid the subtle hints that Adam is hiding something. His wide smile and radiant eyes obscure some burning secret, some detail of his past that resurfaces to steal his joy. The farther Alexa falls, the more she realizes just how little she really knows about Adam and how far he is willing to go to cover up the truth.

Calm Like Home is a story about love and longing, growth and stagnation, discovering one’s counterpart but losing oneself, and ultimately finding that one person truly has the power to change everything.

     The early hostess ends up running late so I’m covering the host stand when Damien strolls in through the door. Even in his work uniform, he looks every bit the confident frat boy. He has one hand casually tucked in his pants pocket, the other swinging languidly at his side. His tie is loose at his throat, his light brown hair tousled on his head, lips curled into a relaxed don’t-give-a-fuck smile.      He nods towards me at the host stand then saunters towards the back, likely in search of some new prey to poke fun of.
     And then there’s Adam, his dark head poking through the doorway. Suddenly the room is filled with him, with his energy, with his light. I drink him in, soaking in every detail. His crisp, white dress shirt fits him perfectly, lightly skimming over the muscles in his chest and arms and tapering where his waist narrows. The lightness of the shirt is the perfect contrast to his tan skin, to his dark eyes.
     His gaze slowly sweeps from the floor to my face, and if seeing the four letters of his name earlier was enough to give me butterflies, seeing him now is like being hit by a freight train. It’s been three hundred days and yet everything slams back into me at once. The way his brown eyes sparkle when he smiles, how one corner of his mouth turns up a little higher than the other. And this smile is all for me.
     His stride quickens as he approaches and I can’t help myself. My face breaks into an obvious grin, completely full-toothed and pinched-cheeked. So much for playing it cool.
     “Look who’s back!” I call out, hearing my voice light up. Being around him instantly lifts me. This is what he does to people; it’s what he’s always done to me.

Goodreads Review Quotes:
“What an emotional roller coaster this book took me on! This book was so well written it was like the story was actually happening to me instead of the main character, Alexa.“

“Calm Like Home definitely gave me a book hangover. I finished the book and had to get my emotions in check before I could start another book.”

“Really, the ups and downs of the story couldn't have been more perfect. Kaisa Clark did an amazing job. The story was sweet at times, but very real and raw. I loved it.”

Author Bio:
Kaisa Clark is the author of the new adult novel Calm Like Home. She is passionate about reading and writing and also has an intense love for music, coffee, and dark chocolate. She lives with her amazing husband, sweet dog, and kooky cat.


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Release Day Blitz: Holding Huck's Heart by SM Donaldson

Title: Holding Huck's Heart
Author: SM Donaldson
Series: Marco's MMA Boys #3
Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance
Release Date: August 3, 2015
Huckleberry “Huck” Webb cares only about the two F’s in life – fighting and being the man-whore he is you can figure out the other. As an up and coming celebrity in the MMA world, he can have all the women he wants, no strings attached. And he does.

Chelsea Harmon is the good girl in a mess. She lived her life under the long arm of the law, her detective father. She couldn’t wait to escape. The big world out there was hers for the taking. Only if something is too good to be true, it usually is. The good girl finds herself in a very bad situation with a very powerful and wealthy man.

Everything changes for them both when Chelsea gets the call to come home. Her mom has stage four breast cancer and the future is uncertain. Doing what a good girl should, she drops everything and finds the perfect excuse to run from her present situation. What happens when two complete opposites find themselves together once more? Can Huck handle Chelsea’s past? Can Chelsea face it all and come out on the other side? After walking away once before, can Huck forgive the girl who always held his heart?

Author Bio:
S.M. Donaldson is a born and raised Southern girl. She grew up in a small rural town on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the kind of place where everyone knows your business before you do, especially when your Daddy is a cop and your Mom works for the school system. She married one of her best friends at the age of 20 and has one son. She is a proud military wife, has always had a soft spot for a good story, and is known to have a potty mouth. At the age of 31, she decided there was no time like the present to attempt her first book. Sam’s Choice was born and she hasn’t stopped since. If you are looking for a good, steamy, Southern set romance with true Southern dialect, she’s your girl.


Holding Huck's Heart #3

Letting Lox In #1

In Sly's Eyes #2

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Dangerous Concoctions by Victoria Bright

Title: Dangerous Concoctions
Author: Victoria Bright
Series: Curvy Assignments #2
Genre: Erotic Suspense
Release Date: July 9, 2015
Mixing the past and present could have dangerous consequences…

I’ve always been a man of second chances, forgiving Arianna proved that. Sometimes, a second opportunity was all someone needed to do things right. I knew that better than anyone. Now that I had my girl back and business was prospering, things were finally falling into place. Little did I know, my newfound happiness wouldn’t last very long.

When a man responsible for my near demise resurfaces, my life is shaken up once again. What seemed like an innocent, harmless favor quickly turned out to be a malicious scheme that put my business, relationship, and freedom at risk.

With time running out, I race around the city piecing together the complicated puzzle I was a part of, only to come face to face with the men responsible. In this erotic suspense, will my past repeat itself in order to settle a score or am I doomed to take the fall for something I didn’t do?

Author Bio:
Victoria Bright lives in a small town in North Carolina. You can usually find her hoarding bottles of Cool Blue Gatorade, playing The Sims when not writing, or obsessing over Camaros. She's just a loon with access to a MacBook, a pen, and a 5-Star notebook. Writing is her escape, so run away with her!


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