Kristie Cook: #AwakenedAngel Release day celebration with #chapter1 #excerpt

ABOUT THE BOOK
 
This novella serves as a stepping stone into the Soul Savers series as it enters a whole new era. You don’t need to have read the previous books to understand and enjoy this one.
As matriarch of Earth’s Angels, Alexis Knight is charged with leading the world to recover and rebuild after being ravaged by human and supernatural wars. So far, the challenge hasn’t been too difficult as most of Earth’s inhabitants remain in underground bunkers. Alexis’s own community, The Loft, is in trouble. Their water source is drying up, so she and her elite team go to the surface to find a new one. But in a surprise attack by a new kind of legendary creature, Alexis loses her memory of who and what she is.
While her team scrambles to find the antidote to the black magic affecting her mind, Alexis makes new plans of her own. Until her memory returns, though, her abilities as a leader are questioned, especially when an outside group arrives to initiate a coup against her and her team.
 
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A SNEAK PEAK

CHAPTER 1

Whispered voices filter through the watery realm of semiconsciousness and grow louder the closer I rise to the surface. Anxiety fills their muffled tones, both male and female. My body shakes, and sharp points dig into my back. The side of my face suddenly lights up with a sting.
“Tell me you did not just slap her,” a male voice accuses.
“She needs to wake the hell up.” The female reply sounds like music, even in its harshness.
“Vanessa, you can’t go around slapping our matriarch,” another woman’s voice reprimands.
The first one huffs. “She’ll get over it and then probably slap me back.”
As my fingers brush over my cheek, I try to open my eyes. My lids feel heavy and scratchy, but I manage a slit. Sunlight glares, and they shut again on their own. With a few flutters against the light, I finally focus on the scene before me. Or rather, above me. I’m lying on the ground with three faces hovering over me—two females and a male—and behind them gleams the sun through an entanglement of bare tree branches.
Where am I? What happened?
“See? It worked,” says the musical voice. My gaze finds her stunning face with skin nearly as white as her hair that’s pulled back into a tight ponytail. Her light blue eyes, however, are like ice daggers as they glower at me. But they fail to pierce through the fog in my mind. “Come on, your highness. Enough of the dramatics. Get up. We need to get out of here.”
A pale hand wraps around my upper arm before I can move, and I flinch.
“Vanessa,” the other female admonishes again, her brown hair hanging around her face as she looks down at me. Her breath plumes in a thin fog as she speaks. She places a long, thin hand over the first and pulls it away. “Give her a minute. She passed out.”
“We don’t have a minute,” Vanessa growls. “And she’s fine now.”
“Sheree’s right,” the guy says. Worry etches three lines between his sapphire eyes as he studies me. He rubs his chin covered with thick scruff, which is a slightly darker hue than the straw-colored hair sticking out from under his knit cap. “She looks out of it. Alexis, are you okay? It’s me, Owen. Can you see me?”
I blink, frown, and try to sit up. My vision wavers, and I close my eyes for a moment, pressing my fingers to my lids. What the hell has happened to me? I slowly open them again. Everyone’s stepped back to give me space, but their gazes remain heavily on me. I swallow, or try to. My throat feels like sandpaper. I lick my lips, tasting the slightly bitter odor hanging in the air, but the effort is pointless, my tongue as dry as my throat.
“Thirsty,” I manage to croak out.
“Aren’t we all,” someone else mutters.
My perspective shifts outward to find two other men beyond the circle around me, both dressed in thick parkas, knit hats, and gloves. They’re armed with a crossbow and a gun that they keep in ready position as they each make a slow circle, watching the woods surrounding the clearing where we’re gathered. The trees are half brown and half gray, with a few withered leaves fluttering from some of the branches as though hanging on even in death. Most branches, however, are bare. Something about them seems odd, as though the limbs aren’t naked only because of the time of year, but for another reason. I can’t pinpoint what I feel like I should know through my hazy mind. Off to my left, the surface of a large lake glitters in the sun, the far shore barely visible in the distance. I gnaw on my lip. I have no idea where I am.
“What happened?” I ask as I rise to my feet.
Vanessa’s hand darts out to help me, her touch cold as ice. I withdraw my arm from her hold as soon as I’m standing and take a step back. Her eyes narrow as they visually assess my condition, the look in them causing a shiver down my spine.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Sheree’s upper body leans toward me, and her head tilts. Her brown-eyed gaze never leaves my face, looking down at me from her much taller height. She has to be nearly six feet tall, her body rail thin and all legs in her cutoff denim shorts. A thick belt cinches the waist, a long knife hanging from it. She probably has another in one of her combat boots. Weapons hang from all kinds of places on everyone in the group, including me.
I press my fingers to my aching temples and rub circles into them. “No, not really.”
“Awesome,” Owen mutters as his long leg kicks a small rock across the clearing. “It’s gotta be dark magic messing with your head, too deep for me to reach.”
“This is your fault,” Vanessa snaps at him. “I can’t believe you let her drink the water.”
He rolls his eyes as his hands drop to his hips. “It’s not like I didn’t try to stop her. Besides, you know how she is. She does what she wants. If she wants to test the water herself before anyone else does, she’s gonna do it.”
“God forbid anyone else take a risk.” Vanessa’s voice changes to a higher pitch, mocking. “They might die, so I better do it instead.”
Owen snorts, and the other guys in the group chuckle.
Sheree frowns. “Hey, be nice. That’s who she is. She wouldn’t ask anyone to do what she won’t do herself. That’s why she’s here. Right, Alexis?”
My brow furrows as they all stare at me again, and I rub the back of my neck. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Of course you don’t,” Vanessa quips. “Come on. Let’s get the hell out of here before more of those little needle things start flying again. Whatever the hell they are.”
“We need to get these water samples back ASAP,” Owen agrees.
Sheree glances at me sideways. “Looking at Alexis, I’m not so sure about that water.”
Owen lifts a brow and holds his hands up, wiggling his fingers. “Do you doubt my magical abilities, woman? It’ll be as pristine as newly fallen snow by the time I’m done with it.”
The guy with the crossbow chuffs. “I don’t think newly fallen snow is so clean anymore. It was blue last time.”
“And purple the time before that,” the other guy adds.
Vanessa gives an impatient flick of her hand as she settles her gaze on Owen. “Are you going to make a portal or what?”
“What about our search for the others?” Sheree asks. “Are we giving up on them?”
Everyone turns and looks at me expectantly. I stare back at them, not understanding what they want. My thoughts bounce all over the place from trying to follow their conversation.
Vanessa sighs and shakes her head. “Let’s get the hell going.”
She strides out of the clearing and into the woods as though everyone would automatically follow, and pretty much everyone does. All but Owen and me. Sheree looks over her shoulder at me and stops.
“Aren’t you coming?”
I shake my head. Is she crazy?
“Do you want to portal back then?” she asks.
When I don’t answer, Sheree and Owen exchange a look. The others stop their movement into the woods.
“Damn water.” Owen gestures toward the lake. “What the heck did it do to you?”
“What do you mean?” I ask.
“I thought I hit the bottle out of your hand, but you dropped to the ground like a stone, lights out for a good two minutes. And now look at you. You’re all whacked out.”
“Whacked out?” I echo.
“Disoriented.” Sheree joins us back in the clearing. “Right? That’s how you feel?”
I squeeze the back of my neck again as I glance around. “That’s one word for it.”
“Hopefully, that’s all it’s done to you, and there’s no other damage,” Sheree says. “Does everything else feel okay?”
I look down at my black boots, leather-clad legs, and torso barely covered in a tight-fitting tank top. A dagger hangs from a belt on my right hip, and a knife is strapped to my left leg. Everything seems to be in order. No pains or aches anywhere but in my brain. “Yeah, I think so. It’s just my head.”
Owen shifts his weight. “I tried to pull the black magic out of you when you went down, but there’s apparently something I can’t reach alone. Let’s get you home, and Blossom can help figure this out.”
“Home . . .” I can’t picture home. My mind comes up completely blank.
“You know, The Loft?” Sheree says. “Where Tristan and the babies are, and the rest of our people?”
“The place we’ve called home for over a year now.” Vanessa returns to the clearing, too. Annoyance crosses her face when I show no recognition. “You know, since that day Lucas and the Demons pretty much destroyed the world with their nuclear and magic bombs?”
My gaze swings to the trees. That’s what I’d noticed to be wrong with them—many of them lack any color at all, even what remains of the leaves. Barely a trace of orange or even brown. I squint my eyes as I look out at the lake and the surrounding land. Lots of gray out there, too. Not all of it, however, as though color has slowly seeped into the landscape. Winter colors, though, except for some scattered specks of pink and yellow on the ground and tree trunks. Is that some kind of pollen? In the middle of winter?
Owen moves his hand closer to my back, a familiar yet hands-off gesture to move along. “Come on. We’ll get you all fixed up, and the whole hellish story will come back to you.”
My muscles stiffen, though, as a small stick, like a miniature arrow or a long needle, whizzes by my nose. A poof of colored dust trails behind it, although none of it lands on us, as if we’re each encased in an invisible bubble. Several more needles sail through the air around us.
“There they are again! What the fuck are they?” Vanessa takes off, running in the direction the sticks had come from.
Owen, however, somehow swoops me into his thickly muscled arms before I know what’s happening and sprints the opposite way.
“What the hell are you doing?” I yell and kick and squirm, the rough wool of his sweater scraping against my bare skin.
“I need to get you home.”
“The hell you are. Put me down!”
“I’m not fighting you on this. Tristan will—”
“I said to put me down!” With a burst of energy, I spring free from his arms.
At the same time, a ripping sound comes from behind me, large, dark shapes explode from my back, and I sail into the air, high out of Owen’s reach. I look over my shoulder and gasp. Purple and black wings spread out to span nearly five feet from each side of me. Although somewhere in the back of my mind I must have known they were there—that they’re a part of me—their unexpected appearance takes me by surprise.
“Come on, Alexis,” Owen growls as I hang in the air above him. “That’s not fair.”
He lifts his palm up toward me as though it’s some kind of threat. With a mere thought, the wings bat against the air, and I rise higher until I hit the tree branches and careen back to the ground. I barely adjust my legs in time to land in a crouch.
Owen steps toward me.
“Stay back,” I warn.
“Then pull yourself together and let’s go,” he counters.
“I’m not going anywhere with you!”
Owen takes another step closer. I draw the dagger from the sheath on my hip. I bend my knees, coiling my muscles, and hold the blade between us.
“Leave me alone!”
He moves to take another step, and I twitch the blade. His deep-blue eyes narrow.
“Alexis . . .”
I rock forward on the balls of my feet.
“Seriously?” He lifts a blond brow. “I’m not going to fight you.”
I glare at him, dagger still out, and then my gaze bounces to the others who’ve come up behind him. They all look at me like I’ve lost my mind. Maybe I have. But they also carefully watch me as though I’m a wild animal. And that’s okay. If I scare them enough, they’ll leave me alone and go back to their so-called home. As if anyone has a home anymore.
“I lost them, whatever they are.” Vanessa runs back over, so fast her body’s nearly a blur. “They must have flashed because they disappeared. Come on. Let’s get the hell out of here.”
When she stops, she glances at everyone, her eyes landing on me while I brandish a weapon at her companions. She blows out an annoyed huff.
“Enough of this. We’re taking you home.”
I don’t see her move, but she instantly has an arm braced around me like a steel bar locking me against her body. She carries me through the woods at an unnatural speed, the trees blurring by us. I thrash against her and dig the tip of the dagger across her forearm. She doesn’t even flinch, and the wound closes up right away. I kick her shins and throw an elbow into her ribs. Her hold loosens. I seize the opportunity and twist free, landing on my feet, dagger pointed at her. She stops in her tracks, and everyone else does, too, as they approach from behind her.
“I’m not going anywhere with you,” I snarl once again. “Who the hell do you think you are to expect me to? I don’t know where I am or who I am, and I certainly don’t know any of you!”
                                        
ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
 
Kristie Cook is a lifelong, award-winning writer in various genres, from marketing communications to fantasy fiction. She continues to write the Soul Savers Series, a New Adult paranormal romance/contemporary fantasy, with the first five books, Promise, Purpose, Devotion, Power, and Wrath available now. She’s also written a companion novella, Genesis: A Soul Savers Novella, currently available. Over 300,000 Soul Savers books have been sold, with Promise peaking at #54 on the Amazon Top 100 Paid list and at #1 in the Amazon Fantasy category.
She has also written The Book of Phoenix trilogy, a New Adult paranormal romance series that includes The Space Between, The Space Beyond, and The Space Within. The full trilogy is available now.
Besides writing, Kristie enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and riding on the back of a motorcycle. She has lived in ten states, but currently calls Southwest Florida home with her husband, three sons, a beagle and a puggle. She is represented by Italia Gandolfo at Gandolfo Helin Literary Management.

 

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#LovestruckTaintedLove cover and blur inside!

Lane Hart’s newest release drops on May 31st!

Pre-order Lovestruck at:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1N0bwas

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1UhBQ1s

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Blurb

Finding love just got a little easier…

What if I told you that there’s a magic potion that could lead you to the man of your dreams?

Would you drink it?

Josie Carter swore that there was no such thing as a “love potion” and that the crazy lady selling it at the hippie festival was a complete sham.

But a tiny little thread of hope is what made her try a sip.

A sip that caused a series of unfortunate events to unfold, wreaking havoc in her life but leading her to a man who just might be everything she’s been missing.

Before time runs out she’ll have to figure out if it’s true love, or if it’s all just too good to be true.

love struck

 

New York Times bestselling author Lane Hart was born and raised in North Carolina. She continues to live in the south with her husband, two daughters, and several pets named after Star Wars characters.

When Lane’s not writing or reading sexy novels, she can be found in the summer on the beaches of the east coast, and in the fall watching football, cheering on the Carolina Panthers.

Stalk Her:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

I’m so stoked that #TheBattleoftheBrains is live! Grab your copy today!

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The Battle of the Brains
The Misadventures of Maggie Moore #2
Publication Date: April 29, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Humor

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Maggie Moore is leaving small-town south Georgia behind to embrace adulthood on her own in big-city Atlanta.

Finding inspiration in the unique people she’s met covering obscure sporting events, Maggie decides it’s time to fill her life with adventure – just as soon as she figures out how to cut ties with good ol’ Murphy, and his pesky laws, once and for all.

Naturally, the universe has different plans.

Before she even sets out to cover her next big story, Maggie is bombarded with old wounds and new insecurities, forcing her to choose between the reality in front of her and the promise of a dream just out of reach.

Channeling the hard-fought lessons of her Dad, Maggie struggles against the seemingly insurmountable force that is her troublesome partner, learning the hard way that things are never as easy as you think they’ll be.

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Purchase: Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

This Book Contains: 1- Novella, 1-Short Story, and 1-Full-length novel!

Maggie Moore has been put on notice: Find a new place to live and a life for that matter.

Spurred on by her mom’s ultimatum, Maggie sets out to fulfill her dream of Life & Style Stardom, a la Martha Stewart. After a colossal failure on her first assignment, which has nothing to do with crafting or curtains by the by, she finds herself fighting to save her career.

Far from home, and struggling with the aftermath of a family death, Maggie’s already hard fought lifelong battle with Murphy, and his pride-stealing Laws, kicks into high gear. Her enigmatic world-renowned photo journalist currently sporting a chip-the-size-of-Mount-Rainier on his shoulder might have something to do with it.

Determined to succeed despite numerous bumps along the way, Maggie throws herself – quite literally – into the heart of her assignments as she travels across the country, unlocking the oddities of various obscure sporting events and surviving the World’s Most Difficult Partnership along the way.

About Michelle Graves

Michelle Graves

Michelle Graves is a self-proclaimed nomad, moving every two to three years with her husband the Army man, her beautiful daughter, and a fat tailless cat named Torri. When she is not writing away trying to purge her mind of yapping characters she can be found entertaining her daughter, attempting to craft (whilst trying not to injure herself with the glue gun), baking yummy treats, or reading. She admits to having a restless spirit and forces her family to go out on adventures whenever possible. They lovingly play along.

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#DemigodsandMonsters has arrived and it is on fire! #excerpt #review and #giveaway tonight! @rayewagner

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Demigods and Monsters (Sphinx #2)
by Raye Wagner
Release Date: April 25th 2016

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Summary:

Can Apollo’s curse be broken?

Seventeen-year-old Hope Nicholas is done running. Apollo’s curse has ruled her entire life, limiting her choices and robbing her of the things that matter most. But she refuses to live in fear any longer. In fact, she’s ready to do whatever it takes to break the god’s power over her existence.

When the goddess Artemis instructs Hope to impersonate a demigod and infiltrate a conservatory to get access to the Olympian library, she doesn’t hesitate. As she sees it, there’s nothing left to lose.

But once inside, Hope discovers the only way to get what she needs is to work with her sworn enemies. As the lines between demigod and monster are crossed again and again, Hope has to dig deep for the courage to accept her fate or fight for the freedom to save herself.

Demigods and Monsters is the second book in the Sphinx series.

Teaser Demigods and Monsters #3

Excerpt:

She opened the door and heard yelling from downstairs. She took two steps before Athan was up the stairs, pushing Hope back into her room.“Hey—”  “Shh!” He hissed and clapped his hand over her mouth, closing the door behind them. “You need to get out of here.”
Her gaze narrowed, and she shook her head. She glanced down at his hand and gave it a tug. It didn’t even budge.
He leaned into her, his lips grazing her ear as he whispered, “I’ll take my hand off your mouth, but be quiet, okay?”
Her heart did a funny flip. How could he still affect her? He pulled his hand away.“What are you talking about?” she snapped. “Get out of my—”
His hand halted her speech. “They’re here.”He swallowed, and the vein in his neck jumped with his erratic pulse. His fear became a thick cloud sur
rounding them. “They’re here, and they’re hunting you.

Mama’s Thoughts: 

As with the first book, Raye Wagner effortlessly infuses ancient mythology into our modern world.  There’s even more action in the second installment of the Curse of the Sphinx series, Demigods and Monsters, and a good deal more of the story of Hope’s purpose unfolds.  I didn’t like Athan nearly as much in the first book as I did with this one, but I think that was on purpose.  I think we are set up to be wary of anyone, just like Hope is.  She’s come a long way, having become more self-sufficient after the previous book’s events.  I love her tenacity and her ability to think fast in situations as they arise.  She’s a character you genuinely root for, even when she’s not sure if she’s in the right, nor are you.  I always appreciate a good young love story, but it’s nice to not have the focus remain on romance.  We have such an exciting premise that it would be difficult not to get completely engrossed in the subject.  I’m always fascinated by mythologies that are rewritten for a new story, and Raye Wagner’s Curse of the Sphinx series is not only original, but also heaps of fun.  Safe enough for younger teens but interesting enough for adults, I’d rate it 13 and up.

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About the Author
Raye Wagner grew up in Seattle, the second of eight children, and learned to escape chaos through the pages of fiction. As a youth, she read the likes of David Eddings, Leon Uris, and Jane Austen. Inspired by a fictional character, Raye pursued a career in nursing, thinking to help the world one patient at a time.
One summer afternoon, when her then young children were playing in the pool, a plot dropped into her head, and she started writing.
She enjoys baking, puzzles, Tae Kwon Do, and the sound of waves lapping at the sand. She lives with her husband and three children in Middle Tennessee.
Author Links:
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Origin of the Sphinx, a novella detailing the story leading up to the creation of the mythological creature, is her first publication. It is the beginning of the Sphinx series.
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SURPRISE!! @alyssaroseivy has a big announcement, and it’s a book! #thegrizzlychronicles #thehuntison #paranormalsuspense

 

There’s a new Alpha in town and he just found his mate, she just doesn’t know it yet.

 

Welcome to Crestview, Montana. Population ~1000 and not all of those are human.

After his brother is murdered, Ian must step up to become Alpha of his bear shifter pack. At the same time law student Mara shows up in town, and Ian knows she’s destined to be his mate.

When a rival pack lays claim to Mara, Ian and his brothers will stop at nothing to protect her.

 

About Alyssa Rose Ivy

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Alyssa Rose Ivy is the bestselling author of more than twenty-five novels with over half a million books sold worldwide. She loves to weave stories with romance and humor, and she is best known for writing about college boys with wings and skinny dipping. After surviving law school and earning her masters in library science, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children, and she can usually be found with a cup of coffee in her hand.

Release Day Blitz #DrydenNightmares 5 authors, 9 stories. Something scary for everyone! Available where ebooks are sold. @tracyddk

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Release Day Blitz

Dryden Nightmares by Fluffy Sama, Laura Konrad, Kitty Sarkozy, Eugene Kelly III, and Katie Papilio

Release Day: April 28, 2016

Genre: Horror

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The Dryden Experiment is expanding its Creative Commons revolution into new genre. Dryden Nightmares gives you nine treasures of the horror genre plus a bonus creepiness from Dryden founder Katie Papillio.

Welcome to the twisted minds of Kitty Sarkozy, Eugene Kelly, Laura Konrad, Katie Papilio, and Fluffy Sama. They are the things that go bump in the night.

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Whoa dudes.  I started reading this collection at night and quickly put it away for day time reading.  I’m not easily scared (Clive Barker cured me of that) but I was chilled to the core with some of these entries!  There’s something for all kinds of horror fans- from psychological terrors to gory messes and everything between.  I loved the style of very short chapters written by the different authors, and the way all the stories coalesced into a greater nightmare.  Dryden has consistently put out some of the most exciting science fiction, so it’s no surprise they would kill it with horror as well! I really hope that Kitty Sarkozy and Laura Konrad give me heaps more of their stories, but I enjoyed each contribution in its own right.  If you’re not easily scared or creeped out, grab this gem from Amazon and get to readin’.

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#WaytoRoll by Mandy Colton #review and #giveaway

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Way to Roll

by Mandy Colton

GENRE:  Romance (humorous)

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BLURB:

Secure your seat belt and get ready for another bumpy ride.

Veronica Lane never considered her life dull as a single woman working in the travel industry as a sales representative—not until one bad day ends in the loss of her dream job, and desperation leads her to Cavalcade Tours. The fun quickly turns into chaos and eyebrow-raising questions. Disaster leads to a shocking revelation leaving Veronica disgruntled and unsure if she has what it takes to begin a whole new career.

Some time away, deep thought, and her own misadventures have her gathering up the remains of her dignity and returning to her job with its interesting group of colorful and charismatic cohorts…with one big change. She’ll no longer just be a tour escort this time. Milton Porter, the owner of Cavalcade Tours, owns another company with secrets.

With her mind made up, new skills, passport in hand, and her bags packed, Veronica is ready to roll out for new destinations. Things get hairy as she tackles the dual roles her new job demands, dodging wild animals, nasty foes, and sometimes even the new men in her life.

Surrounded by kooky tourists, Veronica’s adventures place her in some dramatic and hilarious situations, and each return home to Peachtree City, Georgia has its own drama with her family of oddballs, nutty bunch of friends, and their pets. Her new life is sometimes bumpy and filled with turbulence, but it stays an intriguing and exciting ride.

Excerpt: Tiny Things Make Big Stirs

When Nash came back, he was naked, having shed his own wet clothes, and he was carrying a tray full of food.

That made me giggle. I pointed at his man parts. “Ha! A naked waiter. That’s pretty hot. I wanna place my order right now.”

He snickered and sat down in the floor next to the tub with the tray and began spooning me soup. That’s when I got a really good look at him in the light. He was almost blue!

“Nash?”

“Yeah, kitten.”

I giggled again. “You look like a Smurf.”

He laughed. “So do you. We’re working on that.”

He fed me another bite of soup.

“You have to take some bites too,” I said touching his cold face.

He did and then smiled at me, and we continued to eat until the food was gone. He set the tray aside and then warmed up the water, stepping into the tub behind me and wrapped his arms around me.

“We did it, and we’re safe now, right?”

“Yes, we did, and we are safe.”

Feeling warmer, I was really getting drowsy again, thinking about the way he always seemed to come through and save us, keeping me and others around him safe. The sweet way he took care of me. The thoughts were giving me the warm fuzzies again. I picked up the hand on my stomach and grazed his fingers with my lips. Without thinking, I whispered, “Nash, I really love you.”

His body instantly tensed and minutes went by. Then he finally said in a very monotone voice, “Let’s get out of the tub and go to bed.”

I became more alert as we dried off, and when we crawled into the bed, he put his arm around me, but that was it. It was only a double bed and the cover was thin making me feel like the gesture had been made more out of necessity than affection. He never said a word, he never touched me further, and I felt the uncomfortable void that had suddenly grown between us like the Grand Canyon. And there was definitely emotional distance involved, he didn’t desire me anymore. When Nash was this close, he was always aroused. Not so tonight. It was what I’d said in the bathtub. I hadn’t really meant to say those words, meaning that I…that I really… I sighed. Fudge. They’d just sort of tumbled out and were hanging there for those awkward moments, and now something had changed in Nash. Guess I knew a sure fire way now how to repel him. Mentally and physically exhausted, I closed my eyes and quickly fell asleep.

Nash was up early and had already reported to WIC, and uploaded photos, and a map of the militia location. He had called the lady at the front desk about our wet clothes, and she’d been nice enough to stop by the room and take them for laundering. There wasn’t much we could do about our leather boots and jackets, as they were pretty much ruined. Nash gave the nice lady at the motel a generous tip, and thanked her for all she’d done for us when we left. We headed out, stopped quickly for some food, and moved on toward Crater Lake.

Nash had been unusually quiet all morning. He’d been polite, but curt, and avoided eye contact. It had stung the first time I put my arms around him on the bike and he’d gone nearly rigid like he couldn’t bear my touch. I was left with no doubts about how he felt regarding emotional ties, and I really wished that we could just go home now that we’d completed the mission. The rest of this trip was going to be miserably uncomfortable.

We caught up with the group at Crater Lake at the end of their hike. They were heading to a natural hot spring to soak, relax, and have some beers before dinner. Nash went with them, and I told Jemah to wake me to help with dinner and then headed to the coach for a nap. A while later, when I woke up and stepped off the coach, I noticed that the motorcycle was gone. Damn, the company I worked for had connections.

Nash set up his tent and sleeping bag for me that night, but he never joined me. He was up early, had breakfast with other tour members, and at the next coach stop, he disappeared. Although I wasn’t really surprised, it still hurt that he’d left without saying goodbye again.

The next two nights and days passed quickly. It had helped that I was in a mindless fog most of the time. We toured the caves of Lava Beds National Monument, a place where the U.S. Army and the Modoc Indians faced off at Captain Jack’s stronghold, and then Lassen National Park, currently a quiet volcano. The park had enough cracks in the earth and thermal activity to make the average man nervous and excite a volcanologist. Was supposed to be one of the wonders of the world. Made you wonder when it was really going to blow its stack again and hope you didn’t happen to be the dodo standing in the middle of it like we’d been.

Regarding blowing stacks… We had one more moment of excitement during the tour, and it came in a surprising form the last morning of the trip. I hadn’t slept much since Nash had left and was up early, had already showered and even helped in the breakfast line. Nash surprised the heck out of me and walked off the coach during breakfast, turning to give me a slight smile. I couldn’t believe he wasn’t already back in Atlanta. 

This camp had a nice shower house, and Jemah donned her vintage swim cap again and headed that way after breakfast with her clothes and big scrub brush in hand while the rest of us finished cleaning up.

We had packed up the coach, and I was sitting at a picnic table talking to a few members of the group when we heard a hair-raising, high-pitched shrieking, followed by a sound like a squealing pig on the move. The door slammed open on the bathhouse, and out blasted a dripping wet and au naturel Jemimah, who was moving like the Roadrunner similar to that day after the bear encounter, scrub brush still in hand. We watched her squeal all the way to the coach and hop all three steps at one time like a mad bullfrog. Right before that door slammed shut, we heard a male scream, and Sully’s face appeared, plastered against the door window, looking freaked out with mouth agape. Suddenly, the door opened and he tumbled out onto the ground with a grunt, and then the door slammed shut again behind him. He just sat there on the ground, dazed and blinking, kind of like he was in shock.

After the rest of us had recovered from our own shock at that scene, some of the guys at the picnic table actually formed a plan and donned weapons and gloves to go in the bathhouse like they were expecting to find a killer or rapist like in the slasher flicks. They grabbed a cooking fork, a chopping knife, some big sticks, and a hammer and went to investigate. They came out several minutes later with Jemah’s clothes, howling with laughter. The only thing that they’d found was a tiny little deer mouse with a litter of babies.

Later, when we asked Jemah about it, she swore that it had raised up and tried to attack her like a momma bear with cubs. Poor Sully grumbled that his eyes burned and his butt was bruised for the first fifty miles heading back to Frisco. Nash pretty much stayed clear of me during the trip back.

 

Dedication

The Way to Go series is dedicated to all of the men and women I had the pleasure to work and have fun with in the travel business. The memories of that time and those friends helped to write these books. They were all a great group of people with different personalities, and from all over the globe with one big thing in common; a fascination with the world around us. We shared many good times and laughs when we got to together, when we traveled together, hilarity usually ensued. Some have moved on from travel like myself, and sadly, some are gone.  

Last, and not least at all is my little family. My very supportive husband, my loving son, and Willy the dog with the twitchy back leg.

Mama’s Thoughts:
This was a bit of a slow build up, but once the fun started I was rolling with laughter!  I didn’t easily identify with most of the characters, but absolutely loved Ewan and Fletcher!  They were like the besties I wish I had.  Not your typical romantic comedy, Way to Roll infuses bits of a spy thriller and espionage game into a tightly wound ball of laugh out loud lines and swoony romantic times.  I’d recommend this for adults only, and ones who like to chuckle and snort while they read.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Mandy Colton is from Louisville, KY, and lives a very quiet life with her husband and teenage son. A fan of romance, fun adventure, drama, humor, and on occasion sci-fi stories. The idea for the Way to Go series came from her years, own adventures and experiences working in the travel industry.

Most of the experiences that plague her heroin, Veronica Lane, actually happened to her or someone she knows. The circumstances were sometimes not nearly as glamorous and are embellished some in the books.

She claims that working in the travel business could be horribly stressful but equally laugh-out-loud funny at times. Along the way she met many interesting people all over the world, and enjoyed many priceless and comical experiences with those people, her groups, friends, and peers. Even her clients shared humorous adventures of their own. Her opinion is, that there are just no better stories than those that involve true life.

Subscribe for notifications on future new releases!  http://www.mandycolton.com and www.mandycoltonfiction.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mandycoltonfiction

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Enter the Tour-wide GIVEAWAY for a 25$ amz or bn gift card!

#Lift4Autism #auction now through Friday April 29th! You can win books, signed items and more, or just donate to the cause! Read more info:

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1 in every 68 children is diagnosed with Autism. 1 in every 42 Boys

The LIFT Campaign is a charitable initiative rallying the romance reading community around Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) families in April, Autism Awareness month. Experts estimate that many ASD families spend up to $60,000 out of pocket each year on medical and therapy expenses. This year we’re raising funds to assist families struggling to manage these staggering costs. All profits go to the family scholarship program of Talk About Curing Autism (TACA).

The online auction is LIVE! There are too many items from authors and bloggers up for bid to list here, but we have full signed collections from some of your favorite bestselling authors. We have non-book items like Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon Echo, VIP Tickets to the Mile High Denver author signing, and so many other goodies! So start bidding while doing good!

BID HERE NOW!

(Bidding closes Friday, 4/29/16!)

We have an item for auction, so I really hope you’ll go check it out, there are tons of great deals and one of a kind finds!

Even if you don’t want to bid, you can still make a tax-deductible donation to the scholarship program through our efforts HERE!

Don’t miss a thing! Join the LIFT 2016 Facebook Group for bidding alerts and campaign information.

Wanna stylishly support the LIFT Campaign? Buy your LIFT T-shirt before it’s too late!

All profits benefit TACA!

LIFT 2016 Shirt collage

 

A special thank you from Lisa Ackerman,

Founder & Executive Director of Talk About Curing Autism (TACA).

#TheRoseandTheDagger is live! Details on the #newrelease and a #giveaway inside! @rahdieh @rockstarbktours

I am so excited that THE ROSE & THE DAGGER by Renée Ahdieh releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway!
 
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a paperback of THE WRATH & THE DAWN and a hardcover of THE ROSE & THE DAGGER and an awesome candle from The Melting Library’s Etsy Store, US Only!  So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
 
 

Title: THE
ROSE & THE DAGGER

Author: Renée
Ahdieh
Release Date: April
26, 2016
Publisher: G.P.
Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 432
Formats:
Hardcover, eBook, & audiobook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks 
The much
anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn,
lauded by Publishers Weekly as “a potent page-turner of intrigue
and romance.”

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and
sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her
husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but
his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that
might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge
with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be
happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire.
Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But
she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.
While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t
yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within
her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young
man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true
love.

Praise
for The Rose and the Dagger:
 

“Above all there is the shattering, triumphant
catharsis of love… In a story about stories, love is ‘the power to speak
without words.’ Thrillingly full of feeling.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Fiery romance, a spirited heroine, shifting loyalties… With more than a few
heartrending twists and turns.”—Booklist 

Click to read an Excerpt

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Renée lives in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with her husband Victor and their dog Mushu. Her YA fantasy novel, THE
WRATH AND THE DAWN, will be published on May 12th, 2015. In her spare time, she likes to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of her characters.

She’s also a member of the Society of
Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
, as well as an active member of
theScience Fiction & Fantasy Writers of
America
.
Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a paperback of THE WRATH & THE DAWN, a hardcover of THE ROSE & THE DAGGER, and a His Calipha candle from The
Melting Library’s Etsy Store
, US Only.

 

Ends on May 3rd at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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One more day til #BrightBlazeofMagic unleashes on the world! Read an #exerpt from Author @Jennifer_Estep as well as our #review and enter the #giveaway! #blackbladeseries #yalit #pnr #adventure

 


Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade #3)
by Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: April 26th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, Magic, Supernatural
Rate: 4 stars
Synopsis:
Bad Things Always Come In Threes…
As a thief, I’m good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls.
Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families–and kill every last Sinclair. What they don’t know is that I’m on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I’ve got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side… 

This is such a fun ya fantasy series!  I think Jennifer Estep made the right decision having one complete trilogy, rather than dragging the story out through a larger series.  Although I loved the world she built enough that I wouldn’t mind another set of stories about some of the other characters, especially Devon and Felix!  I had the pleasure of previously reading and reviewing the first two books, Cold Burn of Magic and Dark Heart of MagicHERE if you want any refreshers, feel free to visit the link, so we can focus on book 3 here.
Bright Blaze of Magic is very easy to read, though not by any means is it elementary.  Estep takes care not to over-explain or over-describe things, allowing the plot to move steadily, and the focus to remain on character interaction and development of the overall story.  In shorter books (which for me means less than 400 pages) I prefer this style of narrative to a drawn out, slowly building tale that skimps on adventure.  Furthermore, I greatly enjoyed the fun banter that I’ve come to love throughout the trilogy.  Lila is the right balance of sarcastic and secretly sweet, just a bit closed off until she finds someone worth letting in- something I completely relate to.
If you love your heroines sassy, your action aplenty, and a dose of young love, grab the Black Blade trilogy in its entirety! I dare you not to binge read it.
My favorite quotes:
With his black hair, bronze skin, and dark, soulful eyes, Felix was undeniably cute, but Devon was the one who made my heart race like a tree troll hopping from one branch to another”
“Her frosty power blasted over me in intesnse waves, making me wince, but almost immediately it congealed into an even stronger cold, one that roared through my body like an icy fire.”
“Sincerity shines in his green eyes, along with absolute certainty that we could rescue the others and not get captured or killed ourselves.  It was a certainty I didn’t feel and a confidence-a trust-I didn’t deserve.”
 

Twenty minutes later, we reached the edge of the trees, crouched down, and peered at the structure before us. Technically, it was a mansion, although the gleaming white stone and architecture made it look more like a castle. Tall, skinny, diamond-paned windows. White trellises with red roses winding up through the slats. Towers topped with red flags bearing the Draconi Family crest of a snarling gold dragon. Everything about the castle made it seem as though it had been dropped on top of the mountain right out of a fairy tale. But there were no happy endings here—just danger, despair, and misery.

Devon, Felix, and I had been sneaking over here every night for the past two weeks on our thieves’ errand, and we fell into our usual routine of watching the guards patrolling the grounds. It was almost full dark now, and Devon and Felix were both wearing black cloaks to help them blend into the shadows. I sported my mom’s long, sapphire-blue trench coat, made out of spidersilk that also helped me melt into the growing blackness.

The Draconi guards were dressed in black boots, pants, and shirts, along with blood-red cloaks and matching feathered cavalier hats, making them look like extras from a Three Musketeers movie. But they were much more dangerous than that. All of the guards had their hands on the swords belted to their hips, looking for intruders, as well as keeping an eye out for any monsters that might be creeping up on them. Many an inattentive guard had been snatched by a copper crusher and dragged into the forest, unlucky enough to be the oversize, venomous snake’s dinner date.

“Are we good?” Felix asked, checking his phone. “It’s almost time for us to meet Deah. You know how she worries if we’re even one minute late.”

With good reason. If she was caught helping the enemy, Deah would be executed right along with us, despite the fact that she was Victor’s daughter.

Instead of answering him, I started counting the guards along the perimeter. One, two, three … It didn’t take me long to realize that something was different tonight. Worry shot through me.

“Wait,” I whispered. “There are more guards patrolling tonight.”

Devon frowned and squinted at the compound. “How can you tell?”

“I can see them. Trust me. There are more guards.”

“Can we still take our usual route into the mansion?” he asked in a tense voice, his hand dropping to the duffel bag sitting at his feet. “This is our last trip. If we can get in and out tonight, then we’re done with this.”

“Give me a second to work it out,” I said.

Devon and Felix both fell silent, although they kept looking from me to the guards and back again. I focused on the guards, staring at first one, then another. It took me less than a minute to realize that Victor had only doubled the number of guards, pairing them up in teams of two. I wondered at the change and why he thought he needed so many men up here at the castle, instead of patrolling down on the Midway like usual. But Victor hadn’t altered the guards’ routes, which meant that we could still get into the mansion the same way as before.

“We’re good,” I said. “Text Deah, and tell her that we’re on our way in.”

Felix nodded, his thumbs flying over his phone. A second later, his phone lit up with a message. “Deah says that the coast is clear on her end.”

“Good,” I said. “Follow me.”

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Follow the Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep Blog Tour and don’t miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance.
Her Elemental Assassin series follows the life and times of Gin “the Spider” Blanco, a barbecue restaurant owner who also happens to be an assassin with magical control over the elements of Ice and Stone.
The Mythos Academy series focuses on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. She studies at Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors.
Her Bigtime paranormal romance books feature sexy superheroes, evil ubervillains, and smart, sassy gals looking for love.
Estep’s new Black Blade series is about 17-year-old thief Lila Merriweather, who has a Talent for sight, along with the ability to take magic others used against her to boost her own powers. She tries not to get involved with the Families who control much of the town, but ends up in the middle of a potential turf war.