Threats of Sky and Sea (Elementals: The Threats of Sky and Sea #1) by Jennifer Ellision
Sixteen year-old Breena Perdit has spent her life as a barmaid, innocent to her father’s past and happily free from the Elemental gifts that would condemn her to a life in the Egrian King’s army. Until the day that three Elemental soldiers recognize her father as a traitor to the throne and Bree’s father is thrown in jail—along with the secrets from his last mission as the King’s assassin. Secrets that could help the King win a war. Secrets he refuses to share.
Desperate to escape before the King’s capricious whims prove her and her father’s downfall, Bree bargains with him: information for their lives. It’s a good trade. And she has faith she’ll get them both out of the King’s grasp with time.
But that was before the discovery that she’s the weapon the King’s been waiting for in his war.
Now, time is running out. To save her father’s life and understand her own, Bree must unravel the knot of her father’s past before the King takes his life– and uses her to bring a nation to its knees.
Threats of Sky and Sea - Jennifer Ellison
This is a very riveting book. It pulled me in quickly and kept me there.
I like the characters. They are well-developed. I could feel their emotions strongly.
The setting is well-defined and easy to visualize. The story flowed well from chapter to chapter. The only thing I would have liked better would have been more of the story.
The cover of the book and the title are perfect fit for the story.
I give this book a literary rating of 5/5
written by vickie
Jennifer Ellision was born and raised in South Florida and lives in perpetual fear of temperatures below 60F. She spent a great deal of her childhood staying up past her bedtime with a book and a flashlight. When she couldn't find the stories she wanted to read, she started writing them.
She has an OTP, loves character analysis, and is a master of the fangirl flail, with a particular soft spot for fanfiction. She frequently bursts into song (and they are often of a Disney persuasion). Sailor Moon is one of her favorite things on this planet. If you make her any kind of fanart, she'll love you forever.
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Right Text, Wrong Number by Natalie Decker
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
High school juniors Layla and Tyler are complete opposites. Sure she’s a cheerleader and he’s a football player, but she thinks he’s the biggest jerk in the school and he thinks she is too high on her horse to even be worth of a second glance from him. And when the two of them are near one another, sparks fly in all the wrong directions. They are NOT interested in speaking to one another, let alone date.
But when Layla unknowingly sends Tyler a smack-down text meant for the girl sending naked photos to her then-boyfriend, Adam, Tyler has no idea it’s Layla and decides to play along. After all, Tyler cannot resist messing with the pissed off girl firing off texts about junk pictures, cheating, and girl code.
As the fallout from Adam’s sexting scandal plays out in front of the entire school, Tyler and Layla secretly continue to text one another using fake names. But as days and weeks pass, things take a turn for the serious between them, and suddenly, their texts mean more. They both begin to consider revealing their true identity to the other and taking the relationship from texts to dates, then kissing and maybe more.
They say there's a thin line between love and hate. Can reality live up to the fantasy, or will Layla and Tyler be forever offsides?
Right Kiss Wrong Guy (Offsides #2) by Natalie Decker
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
Publisher: Swoon Romance
You'd think a girl with the most romantic name in the world would have her pick of boyfriends.
But Valentine's Day sucks when you're single. Just ask Juliet Valentine, whose last name happens to also be the name of the most dreaded made-up holiday ever.
A romantic at heart, this year is especially hard on Juliet. Her sister, Layla, is in a new relationship, her mom's match-making business is doing great, and her school's new fundraiser is "Love-Grams."
Juliet's miserable, a little jealous, and lonely.
Quarterback Jared Black is the most popular guy in school. A star athlete, Jared tops the most-eligible bachelor list year after year. But to Juliet Valentine, he's all but invisible. She isn't impressed.
Jared's never had to work hard to get the attention of a girl before. Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and he's determined to ask Juliet out. After all, if Tyler can win over Layla, Jared ought to have a shot with Layla's sister.
Unlike Tyler and Layla, charm, flattery and good looks won't work on Juliet. So with the V-Day dance coming up, Jared uses the school’s Love-Grams to let Juliet know how he feels. Should be simple enough, right?
Wrong. Each attempt ends up either in the trash or thrown in someone's face. Juliet won't play his game.
Now, without a date to the dance Jared realizes it’s going to take a Hail Mary to win the girl of his dreams.
ABOUT the AUTHOR:
Natalie Decker is the Author of Rival Love. She loves oceans, sunsets, sand between her toes, and carefree days. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. Her first passion for writing started at age twelve when she had to write a poem for English class. However, seventh grade wasn’t her favorite time and books were her source of comfort. She took all college prep classes in High school, and attended the University of Akron. Although she studied Mathematics she never lost her passion for writing or her comfort in books. She’s a mean cook in the kitchen, loves her family and friends and her awesome dog infinity times infinity. If she’s not writing, reading, traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, then she’s off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!
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Secrets Abound in Missing Lake by Tanya Fyfe
Publisher: Create Space (April 27, 2017)
Category: Fantasy, Paranormal, Dragons, Young Adult
Tour dates: Apr/May, 2018 ISBN: 978-1545370308
Available in Print and ebook, 342 pages
In the third book in the acclaimed teen fiction, 'Missing Lake' series, Luke Houser is approaching his sixteenth birthday as well as summer vacation in the tiny mountain community of Missing Lake. He continues to try to find balance between real life with friends and their social requirements with the secret world of the mystical dragons. Luke faces challenges with one of his beloved sled dogs as well as with Zagros, the majestic silver dragon, when he has to make choices that could lead to potential disaster. As the summer unfolds, so do more secrets in all aspects of Luke's life and he tries to make sense of everything happening around him. This is the third book in the series which shares Luke's awkward and yet charming journey through adolescence with his beloved team of huskies, his friends near and far, and two dragon eggs that are going to hatch in the middle of nowhere.
MY REVIEW: (LAWonder10)
Although this is Tanya Fyfe's third book in her 'Missing Lake' series, it was still very enjoyable as a "stand alone". It was easy to "pick up" on the main jest of the story, but I am sure it would have even been more enjoyable had I read the first Two!
This is a very enjoyable, relaxing read, especially for young adults. It addresses many of their maturing issues.
Although this is, in part, a story about Luke's secret Dragons, and his interaction with them, this book is primarily about his interactions with parents and friends.
The characters are very endearing and realistic. The scenes are depicted in a way the reader can easily visualize them.
The The Book Cover is AMAZING! It is of high quality card-stock and the texture and artistry is OUTSTANDING! It will certainly catch the browser's eyes. The Title is also a great "fit".
This was gifted me with no suggestion I offer a positive review. This is my honest review
I offer a solid Four Stars rating
Praise for the Book:
Praise Secrets Abound in Missing Lake by Tanya Fyfe“This seems to be a realistic portrayal of coming of age preoccupations and trials--with the added interest of a link with dragons that must be kept secret. Dragons, humans, and sled dogs come to life with equal vividness.”-Margaret, Goodreads Review “The very talented Dr. Tanya Fyfe does it again. In her latest installment of the Missing Lake saga, we romp through Luke’s adventures with high school, veterinary medicine, and of course, dragons. In this third book of the series, Fyfe intertwines the relationships of a blended family, teenagers, and dragons. There is a great bit of fun and just the right dose of medicine.” -Kelly Malinas, DVM, Nevada
Praise Dragons of Missing Lake by Tanya Fyfe“What fun to read books that are imaginative, well paced, varied, and knowledgeable. I plan to go buy the third in the series tomorrow.”- Margaret, Goodreads Review “What a fun adventure Luke goes on in this book. I think his life is about to take a very big change in direction and I can't wait for the next book.”-Cindy C., Amazon Review “Great escape in the pages of this delightful book. Wonderful sequel. I can't wait to read more by this imaginative author.”- Kelly N. Maclellan, Amazon Review
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tanya Fyfe grew up in Canada as a professional figure skater who dreamed of writing books. That dream came true when she wrote and published Lost and Found in Missing Lake in 2014. Now a veterinarian, Dr. Fyfe lives in rural western Montana and is inspired daily by the beauty around her. She and her husband split time between Montana and North Dakota and enjoy improving their golf games and visiting Hawaii every chance they get. They share their home with charming dogs, inquisitive cats, a herd of horses, and three hilarious ferrets named Phillipa, Calypso, and Luigi.
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Buy Secrets Abound in Missing Lake by Tanya Fyfe Amazon Barnes&Noble IndieBound BookDepository
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One print copy or ebook copy of the book. Print is available to Canada and the U.S. only but ebook is available worldwide.
This giveaway ends on May 29, 2018. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.
Book Title: A Penny Lost by Aspen Bassett
Category: YA Fiction, 232 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: World Castle Publishing | Release date: Jan 13, 2018
Tour dates: April 23 to May 4, 2018
Content Rating: PG (There's a kiss and some mild violence)
Penelope Grace, usually forgotten under the shadow of her twin sister's perfection, tries her hardest to hide her freakish ability to see into anyone's soul.
Until she senses an unusual energy like a human-shaped void in the universe. When Penny investigates the source, she gets tossed through a crack in time along with the cute boy next door. The Void follows them through history, increasing the dangers as if testing Penny. But what is it testing for? And why does it claim to know her better than even she knows herself? Even as Penny searches for answers, she must fight to survive the tragedies of both the past and future in order to get back home.
MY REVIEW: (LAWonder10)
This novel begins as a distraught teen feels abandoned by her Mom, but her Twin sister comes to the rescue. The twins are very close but total opposites...Penny is the introverted one. Penny has a secret nobody can explain away. This secret often causes problems, but in 'A Penny Lost', her secret causes a huge problem!
This is a fast paced drama/adventure story the reader will surely become engrossed in.
Author Aspen Benett has created a very unique and eerie series. It is one that will intrigue the reader, leaving him/her anxious to continue with the next book of the series.
Her characters are mostly unique and are portrayed in a realistic way. The scenes are described in a way easily visualized by the reader.
This is a, somewhat, impressive change from the usual cross genre stories.
I feel it earns a strong Four Stars rating.
*This book was gifted me with no requirement for a positive review.
This is my honest review.
The Lazy Adventurer
Call me the lazy adventurer. My mind races with questions. My spirit fights to find the answers. My body? Wants to curl up and sip some tea. Which is what makes writing the perfect way to get some answers. I’ve written for years and have been published multiple times but I’m far from finished. At today’s count, there are six series ideas stewing in my mind, waiting for their moment to shine. And shine they will, I promise.
I read somewhere that, within a person’s lifetime, so much time is spent dreaming that dreams are technically an alternate reality. A world as real to our minds as what we experience during our waking hours. Combined with the fact that no one can prove we see colors the same way or compare how we interpret our surroundings, and pretty soon the truth becomes clear. There’s so much to this world we don’t know. And the less we know, the more we can explore.
Take for example a random question. What if that door opened to, not just a different room, but a different time? What if time wasn’t linear but rather a mess of moments our brains organize in a chronological order for reference? What would happen if I write all night long and then have to work 9-5 tomorrow?
Some questions aren’t worth an actual investigation, like my curiosity about pulling an all-night-er before work, but others deserve investigation. I write to explore the questions I feel deserve attention, the questions that tug at my mind until the only way to get some sanity is to record it.
So here I am, letting you know I’ve asked the questions, I’ve chased the answers, and I’d love to share the results with you. A Penny Lost explores the question of identity and separation both from one’s time and one’s self. Who is Stranger? Who is the Void and who does it believe Penny is? If you’re interested in finding the answers, put your name in for the giveaway or purchase it today on amazon.
About the Author:
Aspen Bassett works at a library, telling stories and suggesting books. When she's not working, she's usually sipping hot cocoa and wondering what would happen if she had superpowers. She's been published in multiple anthologies including Oomph: A Little Super Goes a Long Way and Inaccurate Realities.
Aspen grew up learning about chakras and auras and the true power of imagination which slips into her writing whether she intend it to or not. In college, when she wasn't busy working on her degree in Creative Writing, Aspen also got her certificate in Women's Meditation (basically general energy work). Now, she's working toward a diploma in Integrated Healing Arts with a certificate in Hypnotherapy.
Connect with the Author:
Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram
Prizes: Win a copy of A Penny Lost by Aspen Bassett. Two winners will also receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card (open to USA and Canada only / 10 winners total)
(ends May 12, 2018)
Magnetic by Carissa Miller
Publication date: September 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young AdultSynopsis:
When Elle Christiansen’s rebellion leads to her father’s expulsion from a parsonage in small-town Ohio, the forlorn pair is forced to move to Oklahoma to live with an aunt neither of them has ever met. Here she encounters her aunt’s neighbor—Maverick Mason, the quietly confident son of a wealthy oil tycoon who infuriates her as much as he inexplicably draws her in…
Maverick slowly gains Elle’s trust and coaxes her out from the seemingly impenetrable walls of self-protection she erected around her heart when her mother was murdered. He convinces Elle to confide the secrets of her tortured past: that she saw her mother’s murder before it took place, and she was the one who found her, bleeding to death at the end of a lonely dirt road. Together the unlikely pair begins to unlock the secrets of not only Elle’s sordid past, but her mother’s and grandmother’s as well, to uncover decades of greed, corporate corruption, lies, and murder. Quickly, the sobering realization hits: if they do not solve her mother’s murder, Elle will undoubtedly suffer the same fate. As she continues her journey toward truth alongside the boy she is magnetically drawn to in a way both frightening and uncontrollable, Elle finds the road she is most afraid of going down—that one lane dirt road where her mother was murdered—just might be the only place she can truly find redemption.
Magnetic tells of the enduring pain of living with unsolved violent crime. Inspired by debut author Carissa Miller’s true-life events, it’s a haunting account of a young girl’s struggle in the aftermath of shattering loss. With an unraveling love story, puzzling mystery, unexpected twists and turns, and a gripping pace that will keep you turning pages, our heroine takes you on her journey as she learns one of life’s great lessons: facing your fears instead of running from them, is the only way to truly find freedom.
Goodreads | ~ Purchase: Amazon
Magnetic - Carissa Miller
Awesome story with a great message. You did a fabulous job creating this book, Carissa Miller.
I love the characters, especially Maverick and Elle. They are all well-developed. I could feel their emotions with intensity.
The story is all pulled together so well and flows smoothly from chapter to chapter.
The title of the book is a perfect fit.
Thanks for a good read and job well done. I highly recommend this book to other readers.
I give this book a literary rating of 5/5
written by vickie
Carissa Miller writes a lifestyle and design blog called CC and Mike, where she and her husband blog about their experiences designing, building, and flipping houses in the Midwest. She was inspired to write her debut novel–Magnetic—because of her firsthand experience living with the trauma of an unsolved violent crime, her mother’s attempted murder. When she’s not writing, blogging, or designing, Carissa loves Oklahoma summers on the lake with her husband and three children, going to Oklahoma State sporting events and cheering on the Cowboys, and traveling cross country with her family in the RV she and her husband renovated. Carissa laughs loudly, loves with her whole heart, tells it how it is to a fault, and enjoys living life to the fullest, every moment of every day.
You can follow along with Carissa and her family on Instagram – ccandmikecreative, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Goodreads, or by subscribing to their Blog .
Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)
Dimension Drift (Dimension Drift Worlds, #1)
by Christina Bauer
Published by: Monster House Books | Publication date: April 24th 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Synopsis:“Fans of A Wrinkle in Time can’t miss Dimension Drift!” – Christina Trevaskis,
The Book Matchmaker
Truth time. I go to a Learning Squirrel High School. Don’t judge.
On second thought, judge away. Learning Squirrel is one step above attending class in a junkyard. But what do you expect? Everything’s made out of garbage these days. At least, I have my freelance work to keep Mom and me housed, clothed, and fed. How? I’m your regular high school science geek for hire, except my work manipulates space-time. The good news is that these gigs pay really well; the bad news is that the government likes to kill people like me. Whatever. I’m not worried; hiding from their detection systems is easy for me.
Then I screw up one of my illegal projects. Badly.
In fact, things go so sideways that my house slips into two-dimensional space-time. The shift only lasts for a few seconds, but that’s long enough to set off a dozen government alarms. If those goons track me down, Mom and I are as good as dead. Long story short, I need to pay someone off, hide the evidence, and keep us safe.
Unfortunately, that means asking the Scythe for help. He runs the local underground crime scene and has absolutely no conscience…Or at least, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. It’s hard to think straight when a guy’s that hot in an ‘evil Mafioso kingpin’ kind of way. Most importantly, the Scythe is a crime lord who can conceal my slip-up with a few clicks on his minion’s computer keyboards. But the man has his price. In this case, the Scythe wants me to finish a certain dimensional prototype for him in twenty-four hours. I can do it, but it might mean Learning Squirrel High gets blown up in the process. Oh yes, and there’s also my new hot classmate who may or may not be an alien…and he says he’ll do anything to help me.
This job won’t be easy, but I’ve gotten out of worse scrapes. Maybe.
Goodreads | ~ Purchase: Amazon | B&N | iBooks |Kobo | Google Play |
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.
Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.
Stalk Christina on Social Media – She Loves It!
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Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
Sons of Gods by Arthur J. Gonzalez
Publication date: January 25th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult
Long ago, the wrath of the three God brothers marked the onset of the Great War. The other Gods watched in horror, until they, too, were forced to take sides. Their beloved Mt Olympus collapsed, ruin was brought to all Divine, and the Age of Darkness gripped the world in its clutches. But a group of Gods was wise, and before their impending deaths, they had crafted a pact, committing to one day rebuilding the Territories – the Heavens, Seas, and the Underworld. It would usher in the world they protected and honored out from its darkness. And from it would rise the new Greats: the Sons of Gods.
Cienzo has always had an affliction for metal and fire; never did he anticipate it would one day translate to wielding dormant powers. It is during a journey to fulfill a promise to his dying sister, that he is plunged into a dark and magical world, and where great responsibility is bestowed upon him.
Is he worthy of assuming the throne of the Territories? Can shattering steel and splitting fire change his mind?
Goodreads | ~ Purchase: Amazon |
We asked what is this author's "Top Ten" Favorite Books & Authors.
Below is the author's response!
The Illustrated Man, Ray Bradbury
Red Rising, Pierce Brown
Crooked Kingdom, Leigh Bardugo
Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo
Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi
The Hundredth Queen, Emily Queen
The Bone Witch, Ran Chupeco
Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo
War Cross, Marie Lu
Arthur J. Gonzalez is a Young Adult author of the Photo Traveler series. Originally born in Miami, FL, you can now find him living on the West side in Los Angeles. If he’s not drinking coffee or playing with his adorable Schnoodle, Sookie, then he’s probably enjoying a nap. Also, he forgets the lyrics to nearly every song.
Author links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |
Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)
Wings of Flesh and Bones by Cathrina Constantine
Publication date: April 13th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
An Angel. A Witch. A Demon. And A Choice.
Creatures from outer realms suck, as any gatekeeper worth their salt will tell you. Welcome to Rogan’s life, an orphaned seventeen-year-old who lives and trains with other misfits under her uncle’s roof, keeping Earth safe from non-human realm jumpers. Rogan’s biggest issue concerns her uncle’s short leash with her freedom—that is of course, until she’s taken by a notorious witch, and her life begins to unravel. Soon, the supernatural beauty discovers there’s a reason her uncle kept such a tight lock on her whereabouts, and that she has more than angel blood running through her veins.
Eighteen-year-old Max is an angel, and Rogan’s mentor and guardian. He’s well aware of her tenacious inability to obey orders, though he also knows she’s a fierce fighter. When he’s involved in a scheme that ultimately gets Rogan kidnapped, he must battle his way back to her in an attempt to save her from the darkness threatening to possess her.
Goodreads |~ Purchase: ~ Will be found here come release day: Amazon |
I’m breaking Castle’s rules. Do I care? Not really—not yet.
Rogan’s skin prickled as she snuck through the portal leading to the city, exhilarated to be patrolling on her own for once. She walked along the sidewalk on her way to Pink, a dance club for teenagers. Although, her choice in destination would not involve dancing or enjoying the hyperactive ambiance. No, she was primed and ready to release bottled-up steam threatening her peace of mind. Deviants would be mingling with humans, and she’d be there to put a stop to it.
Crisp autumn air stirred. Inhaling its musky scent, she noticed the lengthening shadows, and prayed to be home before she was missed.
I’m seventeen, she thought with pride, a gatekeeper. At least, that was what she’d been training for.
Keeping her eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary, she tossed her braided hair over her shoulder, catching a few heads turning to look at her. You’d think they’d never seen a girl wearing leather and
A pungent odor pressed in on her, which stopped her in her tracks. Up ahead, blocking the sidewalk, was a giant of a man. The fortuitous encounter took her by surprise, sending her creepster vibes off the charts. With her legs rooted in a rigid stance, she flexed her fingers. As if the giant had been awaiting her arrival, he approached in a blur of motion, whipping his knuckled fist and clipping her on the chin. Grimacing, her eyes watered as blood pooled over her tongue.
She spat a mouthful onto the sidewalk and moved her throbbing jaw from side to side.
She recognized the Vorg towering over her, jutting his demon chin at a superior angle. To humans, he looked like an unnatural hulk of a man, but Rogan saw past his artificial veneer.
“Had enough, sweetmeat?” His sandpapery voice rubbed her the wrong way.
“Screw you.” Fast as a snap, she jerked her elbow, smashing him in the jaw.
For months now, Max had labored to increase her equilibrium and agility. Making her run, hop, and jump over a balance beam. Then he’d taken her outside and taught her how to scale the bricked fortress in the dead of night—and she was proud to say she was even better than Jenna. Tonight, with the aid of moonlight splashing the facade, it should be a cinch.
Rogan pirouetted on her tippy-toes to begin her descent and bungled her footing. Jetting her arms out to cling onto anything she could, she yelped. “Max!” She caught a glimpse of him on the ledge. He didn’t even twitch a finger to help. Whether it was the moonlight playing tricks or the shading, he appeared jaded, as if her trip to death was boring him.
A flurry of fearful thoughts crossed her mind in a span of seconds. Why won’t Max save me? Will I meet my father in heaven?
Will they bury me in this lame outfit?
She toggled the knob to blast the shower and saw dried blood on
her hands. Max’s blood. The crimson fluid had painted her fingers right into the beds of her nails. Shivering with lamenting self-pity, she tried to regulate her breathing before she passed out.
Stepping in, she raised her face to the spout, hot water sprayed
over her trembling body—thawing her icy resolve. Max’s blood swirled around the drain, taking with it her heart, her dreams, her happiness.
She was disintegrating, piece-by-piece. Sheer grit locked her bones
from splintering into the bath. If I can’t handle death, then I can’t handle life, and I’m no good as a gatekeeper. This wasn’t the first time she’d had to rethink her life.
Cathrina Constantine is the Best Selling author of Don't Forget To Breathe. Her book won Readers' Favorite International Book Award for 2015. New Apple Medalist for 2016. Literary Classics Gold Award. Literary Classics Seal of Approval. Her Paranormal Fantasy, Wickedly They Come has been awarded the 5 Star Seal from Reader's Favorite. Tallas from her dystopian series received Literary Classics Silver Award and Literary Classics Seal of Approval.
Cathrina resides in Western New York. I am blessed with a loving family and forever friends. My world revolves around them.
I grew up in the small village of Lancaster, NY, where I married my sweetheart. I'm devoted to raising 5 cherished children, and now my grandchildren.
I love to immerse myself in great books of every kind of genre, which helps me to write purely for entertainment, and hopefully to inspire readers. When not stationed at my computer you can find me in the woods taking long walks with my dog.
Author links: Twitter | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads |
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
Click on this Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251232400/
Release Blitz & Giveaway for Beyond a Darkened Shore By Jessica Leake! [Hurry! Giveaway ends 4/14/18!]
Beyond a Darkened Shore By Jessica Leake
Young Adult Historical Fantasy Hardcover & ebook,
384 pages April 10th 2018 by HarperTeen
The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores. The people of Mide have always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn but the entire world. Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle, the two might have a chance to save their world. With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love...even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.
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Praise for the Book "Beyond a Darkened Shore is thrilling and romantic. This is a must-read for lovers of fantasy, mythology, and folklore." - Kody Keplinger, New York Times bestselling author of The DUFF and Run “With undead armies, flesh-eating spirit horses, and a powerful heroine, fantasy, romance, and historical-fiction readers will have a great time.” - Booklist “While Morrigan and Odin are terrifying, raven-haired Ciara is the star. Beautiful, strong, and independent, she is the perfect warrior princess. Epic historical fantasy filled with deadly creatures, simmering romance, and nonstop action.” - Kirkus Reviews
The waves viciously beat against the worn rock, sending sprays of white water into the air. It should have been deterrent enough, but the Northmen were relentless. Their longship had already landed. Men poured from its side like a wave of death. As I took in the square sail—white with a crimson skeletal dragon—my heart beat a furious rhythm in my chest. I’d fought countless Northmen in battles throughout our kingdom, but the sight of that sail still made every muscle in my body clench in warring fear and anger—and memory. My clansmen’s blood staining the earth red— —my sister’s hand in mine as we tried to escape— —her eyes wide as the blood trailed down her throat, and me, screaming, screaming— I shook my head, banishing the memories before they could weaken my mind further. Sleipnir snorted and pawed the ground in response. Like other horses, he could sense my emotions. But unlike other horses, my apprehension only made him bolder. Fergus wheeled his horse over to me and spat on the ground. “Let us pray the blood of the raiders will flow this day.” I glanced at the men assembled beside me and frowned. A Northman longship of the size of the one on our shore could hold at least sixty men, far more than our own crew. “The battle can go no farther than this cliff—not this time.” “I will cover you as best I can,” Fergus said. “You search for their leader.” I tightened my grip on the hilt of my sword. My arm muscles tensed, and my heart pounded. Anticipation of the battle was always the hardest: the prickling adrenaline, the torrent of memories, the cold dread. I endured it all because my sisters and mother were huddled in fear in their room. We were the only things preventing them from being killed. I snapped my attention back to the battle. The Northmen had begun the treacherous climb to our stronghold. With any luck, we would pick them off as they emerged at the top of the cliff. The Northman raiding strategy was always to ambush. Instead of recognizing such actions as dishonorable, they seemed happy to live to fight again. They wouldn’t expect us to be waiting for them, and if we could defeat their leader quickly enough, they might retreat. There was no dishonor in retreat in their eyes either, not when their strategy to ambush meant they were usually slinking into a castle and catching its warriors unawares. Holding the high ground was our advantage. We had to make it count. With a shout, the first man made it to the top. He showed a momentary flash of surprise that we were lying in wait for him, but he recovered quickly. Battle-axe raised and shield in front of his chest, he charged. More of the enemy followed, their armor and long beards making them indistinguishable from one another. My clansmen made rivers of their blood
About the Author
Jessica Leake is the author of the adult novels Arcana and The Order of the Eternal Sun, both with Skyhorse. She worked for years as a psychotherapist, but even though she loved her clients, she couldn’t stop writing. She lives in South Carolina with her husband, four young children, lots of chickens, and two dogs who keep everyone in line. Beyond a Darkened Shore is her YA debut.
Visit her at www.jessicaleake.com. - Website│Goodreads│Facebook│Twitter│Instagram
Release Blitz Giveaway
1 winner will receive a copy of Beyond a Darkened Shore + $25 Amazon Gift Card - US only
Ends April 14th
NOTES OF MAGIC (THE BOHEMIANS #1) BY JESSICA BUCHER BLOG TOUR, GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY! [Ends 4/27/18]
Notes of Magic (The Bohemians #1) by Jessica Bucher
Publication Date: February 24, 2018
Enchanted city. Old magic. New threat.
Taq, a young fiddler, comes to Prague with dreams of joining the Bohemians—a band of immortal, magic-wielding street performers. With a mission to right past wrongs, things don’t go as planned when he meets the beautiful performer, Katia. Now, he must decide if revealing his secret is worth losing her heart.
Katia has spent one hundred years chained to the city, broken-hearted and silent, waiting for her chance to be free. But with an impending threat on Bohemia itself and a mysterious newcomer, peace is starting look farther than ever. Now she must decide if she should trust Taq or put her faith in the one who broke her heart—the tyrannical Magistrate of Bohemia.
Curses can be broken, but at what cost?
Link toGoodreads: ~ Purchase Links: ~ BAM | Indies | Amazon | B&N | TBD
What were the most difficult challenges you met in getting published? Have you any words of wisdom to others getting published?
Although I am self-published, it did take me a long time to get to this point. I did seek traditional publishing first because I thought that it would validate me as an author. After I started self-publishing, I started to find that the only thing that validates me as an author is
a) writing and
b) connecting with readers.
We are all fans of stories and books, and that’s what makes this business the best to be in. I am both a reader and a writer, and that’s so key. Now I write and publish full time and I couldn’t be happier. This isn’t just my passion, but my business too.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica Bucher is a Young Adult author living in Texas with her husband and children. Her first book, The Hereafter, was published in 2016. When she’s not writing, editing, or chasing her kids, she can be found scrolling through Facebook or planning her next travel adventure.
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*NOTE: This book is directed at an L.D.S. Audience for Women of all ages!
I am a princess! Little girls cherish this simple truth, but as the years advance and childhood fades, it becomes increasingly difficult to hold on to this statement. However, the eternal reality of those simple words is indisputable. Women are princesses, divine children of noble heritage. In her debut book, Wendy Ellison reminds women of that worth—constant, unchanging, and inherent as daughters of God. Now is the time for women to claim that marvelous heritage, to be kinder to self and others, and to truly live in a manner befitting royalty. Featuring scriptural references, prophetic quotes, and personal insights, Worth: Divine Beginnings, Happy Endings will inspire readers to see the evidence of individual worth all around—in the love of our Savior, in our Father’s plan of salvation, and in countless other ways too often overlooked. By learning to hold on to the true definition of worth and to silence those outside influences that interfere with self-esteem, every woman can be empowered to dismiss self-doubt and to embrace the princess within.
MY REVIEW: (LAWonder10)
Worth is an equally inspiring book to uplift both Young Adult Women and Adult Women.
It addresses the Topic of a girl's or woman's self worth.
Through many examples and words of wisdom, Wendy Ellison emphasizes the importance of believing the worth women are to Heavenly Father. She stresses the importance the female population of the world, and especially in the L.D.S. church, in truly believing each is the Literal Daughter of God, therefore, real princesses. It is important we act like a princess.
The author suggests ways to accomplish this task. She also expounds on the Atonement in a way most do not consider. Additionally, she reminds us the importance of being a "window, not a door" to allow the Holy Ghost to enter and influence our lives, and the extreme need to do this.
This is a truly enlightening book for all women of the Church to read and implement into each of our lives.
I offer a Four Stars rating.
*This was gifted me with no requirement for a positive review. This is my honest review
Wendy Ellison was born and raised in Lehi, Utah, where her parents taught by example values like honesty and hard work. She has published articles in the "Friend" and "LDS Living" magazines. Something that happened a few years ago in a fabric store got her thinking and writing about divinely based self-worth. "Worth: Divine Beginnings, Happy Endings" is the result of that sweet experience and is her first published book. Wendy enjoys writing, sewing, fall mornings, burnt almond fudge ice cream and watching sappy 1980s murder mystery reruns. She adores her husband, children, their spouses and six darling littles who call her Grandma.
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At Woods Edge (Of the Trees #2) Author: E.M. Fitch
Release Date: March 27, 2018
It’s only a matter of time before he gets what he’s come for.
Cassie Harris has turned her back on best friend Laney Blake. She had no other choice. Laney is one of them now, a creature of the trees. As Cassie’s senior year wears on, the woods grow quiet, snow blankets the ground, and the murderous beings who once taunted her have drifted away like the brittle leaves of Fall. Though the woods no longer stir with rushed whispers and wind-blown laughter, the fear remains.
No one understands this fear better than Cassie. She wishes she could tell them not to worry. After all, the shape-shifting men of the trees and the women who travel with them, seeking out girls to abduct from carnivals, are gone. And the one that stayed behind? He isn’t interested in anyone but her.
Now, Aidan’s interest in Cassie is a chilling reminder of the what lurks at woods edge. He stalks her home, her school, her bedroom. He won’t stop until he can find a way to lure Cassie into the forest to become one with him forever.
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Of The Trees - E. M. Fitch
I felt the feelings of true friendship as I read this story. The fantasy integrated into the real world story was written very well. I loved the characters and could grasp each of their individual personalities . They were well-developed and it was easy to feel their emotions.
The setting is well-defined and easily visualized.
The story flows well from chapter to chapter making it hard to put down.
I would highly recommend this book to others. It shows true friendship, love and some interesting fantasy mingled with reality.
I give this book a literary rating of 5/5
written by vickie
At Woods Edge - E. M. Fitch
Again, as with Of The Trees, I enjoyed the friendships in this book and liked the way they worked through difficult issues and found their way back to each other by working through their problems and seeing what is really important in life.
As I said in the first book, the characters and setting are well-developed and easy to like. The story flows well from chapter to chapter and the characters emotions are easy to feel.
I highly recommend this book to others. It's a great love story, great friends story, and interesting fantasy filled story.
I give it a literary rating of 5/5
written by vickie
OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES:
Cassie and Laney fancy themselves amateur ghost hunters. When a carnival comes to town, Cassie embraces the chance to try something new.
Carnival workers watch the girls with a collective gaze that ignites in Laney a dark and dangerous fascination, leaving Cassie unnerved.
It's not just their age or the unsettling way they stare. There is something in the shifting of their skin and the way their features seem to change in the shadows.
Cassie can't shake this sickening feeling that there's more to the carnival than meets the eye.
When townspeople suddenly start dying and bloody warnings appear around town, Cassie is lured into a nightmare where trees whisper and strange, shape-shifting men haunt the backwoods she once hunted for ghosts with her best friend.
Then Laney goes missing, and only Cassie can get her back. But the creatures of the trees aren't simply going to hand Laney over to Cassie without getting something in return.
About the Author
E. M. Fitch is an author who loves scary stories, chocolate, and tall trees. Her latest novel, OF THE TREES, is a Young Adult horror/fantasy inspired by haunted cemeteries and the darker musings of W.B. Yeats. Its sequel, AT WOODS EDGE, will be released in the coming year from Month9Books. She is the author of the Young Adult zombie trilogy: THE BREAK FREE SERIES. Her story, BETWEEN SHADOWS, was recently featured in the Fragments of Darkness anthology; and her new collection of short stories entitled THE VEIL: GHOSTS, GOBLINS, GHOULS is coming soon! She has been published in Pulp Metal Magazine, Under the Bed Magazine, and her short stories RELEASE and THE CREEP were featured respectively in CHBB’s Lurking in the Shadows and Lurking in the Mind anthologies. When not dreaming up new ways to torture characters, she is usually corralling her four children, or thinking of ways to tire them out so she can get an hour of peace at night.
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One (1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and a digital copy of At Woods Edge by E.M. Fitch
Enter by clicking on and completing the Rafflecopter below.
Mage Rising (The Black Tower Series, #1) by Alina Jacobs
Publication date: December 10th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Zsanette of the Wulfila clan has just had her world turned upside down. Her best friend, Misko, was kicked out of the clan, and her mother just told her she’s the Emperor’s daughter. After stealing away in the night, she travels to the capital city to rescue Misko. On the way she is captured to be trained as a Black Tower mage.
Teaming up with friends she meets on the way and a small dragon, Zsanette bounces from one mishap to another as she tries to control her unusual and destructive power of magyk.
As she deals with obnoxious fellow students and races to solve a dangerous mystery, Zsanette finds herself fighting to get past the defenses of the handsome and secretive Garrett Walton, the powerful leader of the mages who fascinates her as much as the enigmatic society of Black Tower mages does.
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Excerpt from Mage Rising by Alina Jacobs
Garrett slowly raised a hand and gently took the dagger from her.
"It's me. It's just me," he said.
"There was a…a daemon…and it…it tried to kill me… I…" she stammered, trying to explain.
"There's no such thing as daemons," he said soothingly, as you would to a child with a bad dream. "Everything is all right."
"I know what I saw," she snapped at him, angry at being condescended to.
He ignored her, putting out a hand and petting her hair, repeating, "Everything is all right."
Zsanette brushed him off and climbed to her feet. Her legs ached, and she felt stiff. Her dragon hopped around, all four legs straight out, spitting acid that landed on the floor in smoking droplets. He had obviously seen the monster.
She tried again to explain. "It was a skeleton; I touched it. It had wings and claws." She flexed her fingers to mimic the creature.
Garrett stood and stroked the side of her scratched face with the back of his hand letting his magyk heal her wounds. As he did so, he looked into her eyes, searching for something.
Alina is an architect by day, writer by night. Her favorite thing to do is curl up with a hot drink and a good book. She lives in a large Southern city in an old house with an old dog.
Alina Jacobs is a pen name.
Author links: Website | Twitter | Facebook |
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Book & Author Details:
Through the Glass (The Window Series, #2)
by Erica Kiefer
Published by: CTP Pulse | Publication date: April 3rd 2018
Genres: Romance, Suspense, Young Adult
Still reeling from the discovery of her twin sister, Olivia struggles to face her mother’s betrayal. As Olivia and her friends seek to unravel the dark mystery of how and why the twins were separated, tensions escalate when Emma runs into her sister’s ex—who assumes she’s Olivia. When honesty is abandoned for more secrets and lies, the fallout between the sisters only intensifies. As they sift between truth and deception, it becomes clear that matters of the heart are not as transparent as they may seem.
A page-turning mystery laced with romance and emotional drama, Through the Glass is the satisfying conclusion to the Window Series duology by Erica Kiefer.
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Stepping into Grey By Erica Kiefer
One of the themes explored in Through the Glass is how very grey relationships can be. Now, it’s difficult to use the phrase “shades of grey” without misleading an audience towards a discussion on the popular yet controversial romance trilogy. Let me be clear that I write contemporary YA romance—very clean romance at that—so there’ll be nothing saucy about the content of this post or overly heated between the young love interests in my book. (Did I just lose about half of you? If not, stay with me.) What I do explore, though, with different intensity is how difficult relationships can be when emotions and circumstances do not fit neatly into categorized black and white boxes.
We grow up exposed to structure. Order. We see it all over our nation in government, politics, school, religion. We judge and box things into categories all over the place. Right or wrong? Guilty or not guilty? But what about when it comes to people? How are you meant to feel about someone who is woven so deeply into your life but still hurts you—or someone you love—with a betrayal worth writing about?
The storyline in The Window Series is completely fictional, and yet, perhaps we have all felt the back and forth heart-wrenching pull that makes us question relationships and certain situations in our life. What is the right answer? What is the appropriate response? I found myself exploring these feelings in a poetic piece that inspired pages in my novel. An excerpt from A Story Unseen:
My heart will find its way into writing, a heart that is not pink nor red, nor black nor white. In truth, my heart is grey, worn into shades that blur the rigid lines of love and hate. Of loyalty and scorn. Of truth and lies and all that must be seemingly so defined.
Readers get to feel some of this conflict multiple times with Olivia Cole, the main character in the series as she faces hurt and confusion, love and betrayal. What seems so clear to outsiders remains a muddled mess of indecision, pain, and knowledge she doesn’t want to face. When there are secrets or uncomfortable truths just beyond our immediate sight, psychology refers to them as blind spots—pockets of potentially emotional trauma just waiting to peak our awareness. However, once we cross that path, consequences will ultimately follow. Decisions need to be made. Relationships permanently altered. Is that a step worth taking?
If you’re not yet ready to expose your own blind spots, walk instead beside Olivia Cole as she peers Through the Glass and grapples with her new world of grey.
EXCERPTS from Through the Glass
Excerpt 1 (from Chapter One, Olivia’s perspective)
I never cared to be an actress. Waltzing across the stage with all eyes on me wasn’t my style, nor was feigning confidence as a different character. I admired them really, the performers who could fool an audience into feeling and believing their words. The very best could pull people into their world within minutes, tugging on heart strings and wrapping the crowd around their little finger...Turns out my mother was the true actress around here.
I lifted my eyes from my bowl of stew, a fleeting glance landing on Mom as she sipped wine
from a goblet. Without even meeting my gaze, her words found me from across the table.
“I’ll take it as a compliment that you haven’t spoken since we sat down for dinner.” She
positioned her goblet beside her placemat, careful and precise. Regardless, the red liquid sloshed from side to side, taking a minute to settle.
I tried to hide how my eyes widened. Like an ostrich burying its head in the sand, I bowed mine over my dinner, slipping the spoon into my mouth and forcing myself to swallow another bite. Tasteless, it hit my empty stomach like a punch to the gut. I would never pull this off.
“Are you feeling okay?” Mom asked. She cocked her head to the side, studying me. Her eyes
bore into me like a magnifying glass, reading beyond the obvious signs of my discomfort. She could always see right through me.
I scrambled for some line of truth, knowing it was the only way I’d be able to disguise my lie.
Stalling, I ran my napkin across my lips, still focusing on the carrots and potatoes inside my bowl. How could I talk to her when I could barely maintain eye contact?
“Does this have anything to do with Andre Steele?” Dad asked. Grateful for the interruption, I
found comfort responding to my ally, though he had no idea how deceived he truly was. Until just hours ago, I hadn’t either.
“Um, sort of,” I said, my fingers clenching the napkin in my lap. I couldn’t picture Andre without seeing him with Emma, harboring my twin in his backyard pool house. I’d only just met her after our entire childhood apart, and now we were separated again with more secrets and lies. There would be a time for truth, but that time was not now. Not until we solidified a plan.
Mentioning Andre seemed to fit my unsteady behavior, though. Dad cleared his throat and
exchanged a knowing look with Mom, who gave a tight-lipped smile in return. I needed to play along as truthfully as I could, which, considering Andre and I were still unsure about our relationship status, shouldn’t prove too difficult. So, out with the truth.
“Well, we did kiss the other day—” I paused with an exaggerated sigh. “Come on, Dad. Don’t
make this more awkward with that face. You’re the one who asked,” I reminded him, not actually wanting to talk about Andre and me either. However, it seemed easier than explaining, “Oh, and by the way, the woman you married separated me from my identical twin and has been using us to run a social experiment.” I wasn’t sure I’d ever be equipped to navigate that conversation about the woman he loved and the mother I trusted....Used to trust.
“So…” I continued in a hurry. “We kissed, but then I decided I didn’t want a boyfriend, so I put an end to it. Only… Dominic stopped by on the weekend and I was mad at Andre, so I kissed Dominic, too—” I stopped when Dad dropped his fork against his plate and then clamored to pick it up in a clumsy fashion. I bit my lip, wishing I were only fibbing about kissing Andre and my ex-boyfriend within twenty-four hours of each other. “It’s been a little confusing around here,” I finished, folding my arms against the table. Mom made a curt noise that sounded like judgement to me, not that she had any room for that.
“It sounds like we might need to set up a second visit with your therapist.”
“No, not Todd,” I moaned, a genuine response of humiliation and dread. The first sit-down with that uncomfortable man was enough. However, I’d have to give in. This apparent boy drama seemed to be working as the perfect detour from the truth. And the lies.
“Livvy,” Mom said, her tone softening as she used my childhood nickname. I met her eyes in
surprise. She hardly ever called me that anymore. It wasn’t like her to coddle. “One session alone is not going to help you come to terms with understanding your adoption situation… Yes, I know,” she clarified. “I mean, how I raised you without actually adopting you. We have our differences in opinion, but I’m sure we can agree you suddenly chopping your hair off and kissing a new boy every night might be symptoms of something deeper beneath the surface.”
Ugh. The psychiatrist was back in the house, which was why she’d sent me to a therapist in the first place. She hadn’t wanted to wear her mom and psychiatrist hat at the same time. Little had I known back then that Mom wore multiple hats every day....The client-focused psychiatrist.
...The devoted mother....The twisted social scientist running tests on separated identical twins.
My cheeks burned as images of facing Emma along the river leapt to the forefront of my mind, shadowed by her navy hoodie. Pale and afraid. Nervous to my touch. I’d left her tonight, seated on the edge of the bed inside Andre’s pool house, her eyes wide and uncertain. Andre would take care of her, but I hated how the sister I’d only met hours ago lay just a few miles away from my reach. We had so much to catch up on. So much to try to understand, and a plan to devise.
“Fine, I’ll go see Todd again,” I said, conceding with less fight than normal—anything to keep
this conversation at bay. On second thought, maybe I was conceding too fast, raising suspicion. That didn’t sound like me. “But don’t go pulling one of your favors again and getting me in tomorrow,” I hurried to add, crossing my arms for added effect. I slouched into the back of my seat.
“Give me a week or so to figure out what I want to talk with him about. Deal?” I raised my eyebrows, hoping I’d pulled off my usual stubbornness mixed with compliance.
Dad cleared his throat. “That sounds fair enough. Don’t you think, Evelyn?”
Mom smiled softly at him and took a deep breath. “I suppose so.” She looked my way to say, “I’ll call Todd in the morning and see when he is available. No rush,” she promised. She stood up, gathering dishes from the table, and then disappeared into the kitchen.
At last, the charade was over. I jumped up, taking mine and Dad’s bowl to the sink. I let the water run over them. After a quiet minute, Mom’s hand landed on my shoulder. I let her touch press into me, stifling the urge to knock her hand away.
“I hope you know you can talk to me,” she said. “No matter what’s going on.”
I swallowed. At this point, there was no use professing I was just fine. She was letting me know she saw right through me, a skill I once considered more sentimental than manipulative. I could only do my best to conceal my knowledge for a while longer and hope she chalked my uneasy behavior up to the original adoption issues. Or boy problems.
“I love you, Olivia.” She squeezed my arm.
I unclenched my teeth. “I love you, too, Mom.”
Excerpt 2 (from Chapter Eight, Emma’s Perspective)
I was out.
I eyed my surroundings, skittish and uncertain. Was this a bad idea? This was probably a bad idea. Maybe I’d ruin everything by walking around in public, but the quiet streets comforted me. Any teenagers who knew Olivia would be at school, and if an adult did happen to recognize me, I felt certain I could pull off Olivia’s character briefly enough for a friendly hello and be on my way. Nodding to myself with forced courage, I took off down the road in a brisk walk, inhaling the breeze as it skirted by. I smiled as I followed the road down the hill, tucking my hands into the zippered teal jacket Olivia had given me.
Andre’s home on the outskirts of Kingman led to a longer trek into town than I anticipated. My feet ached by the time I reached a busy commercial street, full of fast food and clothing stores. Regardless, I marveled at my freedom, enjoying being on my own while amid so much bustle. A few store employees smiled at me and I smiled back, polite and superficial. A safe move. I liked how I could be anyone right now, just a wandering, uncommitted customer with nowhere to be but— Strong hands landed on my waist, pulling me backward.
A flash of memory from not many years ago—I gasped and threw an elbow up, nailing my
assailant in the ribs.
“Ow, what the—”
I threw my other arm, slamming it into his chest as I spun around. The guy with a closely shaven head scowled, his arms raised and ready to grab me again. Backing up with rapid steps, I felt the corner of the wall against my back. That paralyzing fear returned, stealing my breath. I remembered the alley. Their hands holding me back. Their faces in my mind’s eye once more.
The phone in my back pocket dug into me, awakening me to my present fear. I slid my hand
behind me to grab it before my attacker made another move. Instead, he rubbed his ribs through his grey military-style jacket, frowning but refraining from approaching further. I paused while he studied me.
“Okay, I probably deserved that. Look, I’m sorry I didn’t text or call after last weekend.”
My mouth slipped open. “Last weekend?”
He nodded, dropping his head. “I thought you might need some space with everything going on. Since you didn’t text me either, I figured you were mad at me or regretful…”
A friend of Liv’s. But not just a friend. He’d called me baby, and the way he comfortably ran his eyes over my body didn’t feel like this was the first time. I crossed my arms over my chest. ..... Assessing..... Panicking.
He looked older than a high school student but not by much. My eyes scanned his attire.
Name-brand jeans with that high-collared jacket fitted with unnecessary zippers and pockets. A simple yet expensive-looking buzz cut with the fine blend of a razor close to his scalp. Shoes that probably cost more than my entire life’s wardrobe, though maybe that wasn’t saying much considering my limited closet. He was a rich kid, I observed, so that certainly fit Olivia’s inner circle.
“Um, what are you doing here?” I tried, glancing up at the café sign above us. It was almost noon. Maybe he’d been about to go to lunch.
He laughed. “I was about to ask you the same question. Why aren’t you in school?”
I put my hands on my hips, an extra defense when I had nothing else. I lifted my chin like I’d
seen Olivia do when teased or challenged by Andre. “I… skipped. So?”
This mystery guy chuckled again, putting up a hand. “It was just a question, not an interrogation. But I have to say… finally! Couldn’t get you to skip school for even half a day last year. Senioritis must be catching up with you.” Now he did move closer, one hand landing on my bicep as he pulled me toward him. The proximity shortened my breath. Made my heart race. Why was he so at ease with this lack of boundaries? He acted like it was no big deal to step into my personal space. Didn’t he know Liv was with Andre?
His other hand landed on my waist, sending a flurry of alarm and adrenaline coursing through me.
Fearful of acting contrary to the norm in… whatever this relationship was… I stood still, not
reciprocating his moves but not thwarting them either.
“What are your thoughts on what happened last Sunday, anyway?”
Last Sunday. What happened last Sunday? A kiss? Something more intimate? Maybe just an
altercation between him and Olivia, though his flirtatious gaze suggested otherwise. I made a general attempt to answer his question.
“I… it seems we have a lot to talk about.”
He smiled. Cute. Really cute.
“Seems we do.” Those brown eyes lingered on me once again, speaking to me without words in a way that made me blush. I needed a distraction. “Listen, I need to meet my mom for lunch, actually, but maybe another time—”
“Tonight,” he interrupted. “I’ve got some friends in town, a few guys I met at ASU. Told them
I’d show them around the ol’ family business.” He smiled with an arrogance that suggested I should know what he was talking about. “You should come.”
Me and a bunch of college guys? No way. “I don’t think so.” I fiddled with my phone just so I
could look anywhere but his face. Maybe I could make an excuse about a text message.
“New phone?” Mystery guy pointed at the black device in my hands.
“Oh, uh…” I fiddled with it, thinking fast. “Yeah, it’s just temporary. I dropped my other phone
and just need to get the screen replaced.” I smiled sheepishly, holding up the phone Andre had given me.
He took the phone from me and I tried not to snatch it back, though my fingers reached for it.
“Relax,” he said, punching the keys. “I’m just putting my number in here. Not that you don’t have it memorized, but… there. This will make it easier.” He returned my phone and I sighed in relief, grateful he hadn’t seen the only two contacts listed on there. “Pick you up at seven?”
“No!” I bit my lip at my over-reactive response. “I mean, I won’t be there. At home. There’s… a
party at someone’s house starting earlier, and I… told Jordyn I’d go with her.”
He rolled his eyes. “Jordyn. Of course.” I picked up on the slight animosity as he mentioned
Olivia’s best friend.
I should have left it there with my excuse. Should have waved goodbye and walked away, but for some reason, I didn’t. “You can pick me up at my friend’s house, though. I’ll just leave the party early.”
His expression brightened. “Cool. Just text me the address and I’ll pick you up out front.” A
perfectly white smile gleamed, genuinely pleased. ...And undeniably attractive.
As we went our separate ways, me entering the chiming door of the café and him jogging to the building across the street, I paused beside the window. He glanced over his shoulder once, just briefly, but enough to catch me staring at him. He waved again, and I lifted my fingers. When he disappeared, I glanced at the new name recorded in my phone, and wondered, who, exactly, this Dominic Wells could be.
Erica Kiefer’s debut novel Lingering Echoes was published by Clean Teen Publishing in November 2013. She continued the series with Rumors (A Lingering Echoes Prequel) and her newest release Vanishing Act. All of her books can be read as stand-alone contemporary YA fiction, touched with romance, emotional drama and suspense. With a degree in Recreation Therapy from Brigham Young University, Erica’s experiences working with at-risk youth have influenced the realistic and relatable nature of her writing. Her first inspirational non-fiction entitled Borrowed Angel (published in April 2014 with Currawong Press) describes the loss of her infant son and her journey towards healing.
Married since 2005, Erica resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with her four children and can often be found satisfying her sweet-tooth with chocolate-chip cookies and a glass of milk. Now and then, she dusts off her collegiate rugby skills and dives back into the game.
Author links: Website : Facebook : Twitter : Goodreads :
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