Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Queen's Gift by T.R. Allardice - Interview



The Queen's Gift

T.R. Allardice

YA Fantasy
December 15, 2014

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Fifteen-year-old, late-bloomer Jean Elliott dreams of becoming a Genie like her mom. When her family relocates to Tokyo, Jean is forced to use sleight-of-hand tricks to fool everyone at school into believing that she’s a normal Preternatural or risk expulsion. When her power finally appears, it comes in the form of the Queen’s Gift–an unspeakable magic that strips power from all Preternaturals and heralds the arrival of the new queen.

After an absence of two hundred years, not everyone wants the monarchy to return and they’re willing to go to great lengths to keep the status quo. When buried secrets rip Jean’s family apart, she has a choice to make: Walk away and hope for the best or embrace the power that’s known to lead to madness in order to save her family.


Jean’s greatest dream has turned into her biggest nightmare and no matter how hard she tries, there’ll be no wishing the Queen’s Gift away.


Interview with T.R. Allardice

How did you come up with the idea for The Queen’s Gift?

I actually came up with the idea after a trip to Tokyo, Japan. I felt so out of my depth there, yet utterly fascinated by the culture. I wondered what would happen if you sent a teenager there and she had to deal with school plus the cultural divide. Throw in some magic—or lack thereof, and you have a lot of potential conflict.

How many books will be in the series?

Right now, I have two more books planned, but honestly, it depends on what it takes to tell the story. I’d always planned for it to be a trilogy, but I knew there could possibly be four books in the series.

Are you working on any other books?

Yes, I’m currently working on two more young adult books that will be the start of two more series. They have boy lead characters and contain an ensemble cast much like The Queen’s Gift. One is set in Scotland and the other is in New York.

How do you pick the settings?

I tend to go with places I’ve been to so that I have a real feel for the location. Most of the time, I’m traveling someplace and suddenly a story idea comes to me. That’s what happened when I was in London last year. The story that came to me there is currently stewing in my subconscious.

Who are your favorite Young Adult authors?

There are so many great young adult authors out there. It’s going to be hard to name them all. Off the top of my head (and I know I’ll be forgetting some), my favorites are: Melissa Marr, J.A. Templeton, Holly Black, Tawny Stokes, Neil Gaiman, Rachel Caine, Richelle Mead, Rick Riordan, J.K. Rowling, Maggie Stiefvater, Rachel Vincent, and Jennifer Armentrout.

Which Winchester brother would you pick?

Dean, but I do love Sam’s dimples. LOL!

If you could be any character, who would you be?

Probably Superman, but I am tempted by Iron Man and Spiderman.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I try to spend time with real people, though it doesn’t always work. Characters can be very demanding. ;)

If you weren’t a writer, what would you do?

I’d probably go back to school and finish my degree. Not sure what kind of job I could get with a mythology degree though.

Last question. If you could have lunch with any writer, who would it be?

That’s easy. J.K. Rowling. Hands down. Thank you for having me.

About the Author

T.R. Allardice writes young adult, new adult, and humorous horror stories. Most of what she writes incorporates several genres. The content won't always be 'safe'. What's the fun in that? She is a member of the Horror Writer's Association, Novelist Inc. and the Author's Guild. She has thirty-one books published under another pen name. To find out more about her upcoming work, go to: www.trallardice.com

Author links:

Friday, January 23, 2015

Love Notes - Four Musical Romance Novels - Giveaway


Check out the promo event for these four Contemporary Novels Surrounding Love and a Passion for Music.


Release date: February 2nd 2015
Purchases: Amazon

SYNOPSIS VIA GOODREADS:

Pieces of Me by Kira Adams
For sixteen year old Peyton Lane, life has never been easy. She's not popular, overweight, and oh yeah, her sister is embarrassed of her. But over the course of a tumultuous year, everything changes for Peyton. Suddenly all eyes are on her and it's not because she's fat. From a pair of handsome twins to a couple of dangerously sexy rockers, Peyton will have to find out who she can trust with her heart. From the ups and downs to the twists and turns -- this is Peyton's story of finding one's voice and growing into your own.

This is a coming of age romance that involves realistic situations and raw emotions. This is Pieces of Me.

***
The Right Song by Shane Morgan
Pain never truly goes away, until you find something deeper and meaningful that cures the heart and fills it with love.

That is what Aurora desperately wants to believe. That somehow her music can save her, or even touch the unreachable heart of the guy she has liked for years.

Rora yearns for his attention and wants to experience this so-called love that could possibly end her long suffering and inspire her to chase after her dreams.

In deeply understanding the feelings of others and herself, will Aurora give up on ever finding true happiness, or will an intriguing soul teach her about the greatest song ever written?

***
Revenge of a Band Geek Gone Bad by Naomi Rabinowitz
Shy, overweight Melinda Rhodes' sophomore year of high school isn't going so well. Her own mother mocks her weight. Her pants split in the middle of school, earning her the nickname, "Moolinda." She then loses first chair flute in band to Kathy Meadows, her pretty and popular nemesis.

Her luck changes when she catches the eye of Josh Kowalski, a rebellious trumpet prodigy and class clown. Josh has also been hurt by Kathy and asks Melinda to help take Kathy down. Mel figures that she has nothing to lose ... and Josh is adorable with gorgeous blue eyes and a winning smile. She agrees to team up with him and looks forward to finally getting back at her rival.

At first, the pair's pranks are silly, and as they work together, Mel comes out of her shell. Even better, she finds herself falling for Josh and it appears as if he might feel the same way about her.

However, their schemes become more and more dangerous and Mel is surprised to discover her dark side. Just how far will she go to get what she wants -- and is Josh really worth the risk?

***
Straight from the Heart by Breigh Forstner
This is a story about a girl discovering and experiencing life for the first time.

Bryn Schaefler grew up rich. Her parents expected the best out of her, picked her boyfriend for her, and groomed her to be the next trophy wife fresh out of High School. But when they discover she wants to pursue music instead of following in her mothers footsteps, they wanted to hear nothing about it.

That was when Bryn left for good.

By chance, she auditioned for main stream rock band Everlasting. Never in a million years did she think she would make it.

Cale Pelton knew it was his fault for the band scrambling around to find a new guitarist. Once he saw Bryn audition, he knew he had to have her. Not just in the band, but in his mind, body and soul.

This is the first book in the Straight from the Heart series. Follow Cale and Bryn as she goes on her first tour, and discovers there's so much more to her than she ever realized.

click on image for GD link
22910973The Right SongRevenge of a Band Geek Gone BadStraight from the Heart


CONNECT WITH THE AUTHORS:



January 19th - Pieces of Me

January 20th - The Right Song

January 21st - Revenge of a Band Geek Gone Bad

January 22nd - Straight from the Heart

January 23rd - 

January 24th - 
*No posts on Sunday

January 26th - Pieces of Me

January 27th - The Right Song
January 28th - Revenge of a Band Geek Gone Bad
January 29th - Straight from the Heart
January 30th -




Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Mel Series by Demelza Carlton - Review




Welcome to Hell
Mel Goes to Hell #1

Demelza Carlton

Urban Fantasy Romance
Lost Plot Press
February 22, 2014

Amazon iTunes B&N


"Good morning. Welcome to HELL."

Mel hates job interviews - and this one's shaping up to be the interview from Hell.

From the grumpy receptionist to the disturbingly demonic interview panel and the sleazy CEO, it seems landing her first job is the least of Mel's worries.

Can she make it out of the office alive without selling her soul?



See You in Hell

Mel Goes to Hell #2


Demelza Carlton


Urban Fantasy Romance
Lost Plot Press
April 30, 2014



A devilishly hot CEO. The angelic new office temp. A match made in Heaven or Hell?

Melody Angel takes a job as a temp at the HELL Corporation. Surrounded by eternal bureaucracy gone mad, demons who love making life miserable, and dying for a decent coffee, it may take a miracle for Mel's mission to succeed. She must find out what evil plans Lucifer and his minions have in store and stop them, using any means necessary.

Adding trouble and temptation to Mel's job is Luce Iblis, the damnably hot CEO, who has set his smouldering eyes on the new office angel and he's determined to claim her, body and soul.

Can ultimate evil and angelic perfection escape a limbo of desire and find a paradise of their own?



Mel Goes to Hell

Mel Goes to Hell #3


Demelza Carlton


Urban Fantasy Romance
Lost Plot Press
August 1, 2014

Amazon |  iTunes | B&N | Google Play


The ultimate forbidden love - when Lucifer falls for an angel.

Luce and Mel unearth an age-old conspiracy behind his fall from Heaven which could doom their love for eternity. Yet in the deepest levels of Hell lies a secret that could hold their salvation.

Eternal damnation awaits any angel who descends into the Pit of Despair, but Mel will move Heaven and Earth to save Lucifer's soul. Armed with little more than the fury of a righteous angel, Mel will raise Hell in the name of love.

From the heights of Heaven to the depths of Hell, can love truly conquer all?


My Review: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

Looking for a fun diversion for a rainy afternoon or a day at the beach? Look no further than the Mel series. Full of humor, fun characters, and a somewhat silly plot, this series is a great read when you're in the mood for something light. Want an intro to the series? You can pick up Welcome to Hell, a short novella that will give you a taste of what's to come.

The real story begins once Mel starts her new job at the Hell Corporation. Can you imagine an angel working in a nest of demons? And it's not like they aren't aware she's an angel. It just leads to mayhem and very funny situations. I loved Mel-- I think you have to in order to enjoy this series. Though she's an angel, she's anything but innocent.

I really enjoyed the mixture of the Christian religion paired with Greek mythology. I never would've thought to put Persphone side-by-side with archangels, but it works. The story is fast-paced, featuring lots of witty dialogue. At the end of See You in Hell I was grateful I already had the next book because I was excited to continue the story.

Mel Goes to Hell was my favorite of the three I read. Ms. Carlton's descriptions of Hell in Mel Goes to Hell were imaginative, as well as intriguing, I also enjoyed the forbidden romance between Mel and Luce. This is a fun series, and I'm looking forward to reading more.




About the Author

Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish. She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below.

Sensationalist spin? No - Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all.

Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world.

The Ocean's Gift series was her first foray into fiction, followed by her suspense thriller Nightmares trilogy. She swears the Mel Goes to Hell series ambushed her on a crowded train and wouldn't leave her alone.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dating in the Dark by Tracey Rogers - Excerpt, Top Ten & Giveaway

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Dating in the Dark - Sweet Delights Series #1
by Tracey Rogers
Audience: Adult - Genre: Contemporary Romance - Formats: E-book  - Publisher: Beachwalk Press - Cover by: Fantasia Frog Designs - Editor: Kelly Anderson - Pages: 150 (50K words) - ASIN: B00QYB19M2 - Date Published: Dec 15th 2014
   
blurb
Can you find what you need hidden within the dark?

Hiding out in his sister's bakery to recover from a recent injury isn't an ideal solution for newly unemployed meteorologist Damian Trent. Especially since he doesn't like cake. But hiding anywhere is preferable to facing the media frenzy revolving around his life. He has no intention of being seen by anyone. That is, until he hears a honey-toned voice over the phone.

Public relations agent Sophie Rose has a boss who makes her working week a hellish one. He drives her to her need for sugar, so the recently opened Sweet Delights Bakery is perfect for her much needed Friday treat. But one day when she calls to place an order, she gets an unexpected surprise.

Sophie's keen to dump her V-plates, though only the right man will do. Damian, with his sexy, yet familiar sounding voice, seems the ideal person for her to gain some much needed experience with. But why do they need to date in the dark?

Content Warning: contains sensual sex.  
book links
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excerpt

Damian rested his arm across his forehead and sighed, trying to blot out the ringing sound and failing. Sleep wasn’t happening. He ached from his walk after pushing it to a run. With each step he’d remembered Sophie’s voice. He had very little else to occupy his mind, so she was an easy focus. Every stride had gathered pace, and before he knew it a walk had become a jog; a jog becoming a run.

And her voice was still inside his head.

Stretching out on the creaky sofa bed, he winced at the movement. Irritated, he tugged the sheet down from his bare chest to lean over and grab the phone. He placed it to his ear and muttered something unintelligible.

“Hi, sorry—did I wake you?”

“Sophie?” Or was he asleep and dreaming?

“Oh, crap. I did, didn’t I? I’m so sorry. I couldn’t sleep, so I thought… Anyway, my apologies. Pretend I never happened, and goodnight,” she said speeding over her words.

“Sophie, wait!” he called out, wanting to stop her before she hung up, needing to listen to her voice for a little while longer. “I couldn’t sleep either,” he reassured her as he heard her soft breaths. He shuffled higher against his pillow and propped one hand behind his head. Why couldn’t she sleep? Because of him? And how had she gotten his number?

“Really?” Her relieved sigh made him smile. If he wasn’t careful smiling could become a habit of his. “When you left your number in the box, I thought…”

Left his number? He had no idea what his number was.

“What did you think?”

“I thought you might want me to call?” she asked hesitantly, as if she was worried about his response. She wouldn’t be worried if she could see the stirring going on beneath the sheet. Or maybe she would be? Though she seemed confident, he still detected a shyness behind her words.

“And did you want to call?”

“I did.”

His jaw clenched at her immediate response, a muscle flickering in his cheek. Interesting. Her honesty was evoking things inside that he was starting to like. A lot.

“I like hearing your voice.”

Christ, what was she doing to him?
“What do you look like?” he asked, without thinking about the repercussions of his question.

Silence.

“Does that matter?” she said quietly, the warmth in her tone dropping a degree or two.

“No, no it doesn’t.” He frowned, the admission taking him by surprise. “Tell me what you’re wearing instead.”

“Why?”

“Because if you don’t tell me you’re wearing something hideous, I won’t be sleeping for the rest of the night either.”

She laughed then, the sound not helping his libido whatsoever. “Damian.”

“Yeah.”

“I’m not wearing anything hideous.” He groaned then, obviously out loud because Sophie was laughing again. “I’m not wearing anything.”

Oh, hell. A sudden spike of desire sliced through his veins, making him regret his impulsive words. “Then I’m now very grateful I don’t know what you look like.”

“You could. Know what I look like I mean.”

“You want to tell me now?”

“No. I want to show you. On a…date?”

Damian lifted a hand to his face, massaging his fingers above his brow, then lower to scrub over his jaw. His breath felt restricted by his tightening lungs. As much as he wanted to see her, to touch her, to have someone touch him in a way that wasn’t clinical or trying to fix him—he couldn’t do it. How could he see her, without her seeing him?

Top Ten List

Top Ten Favourite Desserts

Thank you for hosting me and asking me to share with you my top ten favourite desserts. Very appropriate considering Dating in the Dark is book one in a series set around the Sweet Delights Bakery. This could take a while as I’ll have to taste test just to make sure they deserve a place on the list ;-)

1. Lemon Tart
2. Apple Crumble (with custard)
3. Lemon Meringue
4. Chocolate Éclair
5. Vanilla Cheesecake
6. Chocolate Fondant
7. Chocolate Fudge Cake
8. Baked Alaska
9. Bakewell Tart
10. Banoffee Pie

Oh that was hard! I could easily list a hundred here. Anyone else drooling?
  playlist
  giveaway
 
about the author
clip_image008Usually found with a pen in my hand, or my head in a book, I’m a contemporary romance author who also thinks fangs and wings are a very attractive accessory. A devourer of books from an early age, imagination was my best discovery. I spent much of my childhood stepping into wardrobes, searching for that magical snowy world where conversing with animals would be expected. When I wasn’t searching for those worlds, I wrote about them instead. My first step into the world of romance was when I stole sneak peeks into my nana’s books. I’m still in that world and I refuse to leave. I live in Staffordshire, UK, with my husband and three wonderful children. An avid reader and writer of romance, I strongly believe that words make the world go around. I like nothing more than to be swept away by the words on a page. I hope I can sweep you away too.

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follow the tour

Tour Schedule - Two Week Blog Tour for Dating in the Dark, Sweet Delights Series by Tracey Rodgers from Jan 19 to Feb 5, 2015.
Jan 19
A Book Junky's Obsession - Promo
Books, Authors, Blogs - Promo & Top Ten
Sassy Southern Book Blog - Review
Jan 20
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! - Promo
Smile Somebody Loves You - Promo & Top Ten
Coffee Books & Art - Promo, & Top Ten
Jan 21
Kimber Leigh Writes - Promo & Top Ten
Sweet Treat Reading Reviews - Promo
Jan 22
Trips Down Imagination Road - Review
The Avid Reader - Promo, Author Interview & Playlist
Jan 23
Lindsey Gray ~ Author & Reviewer - Review
The Idle Musings of a Writer's Mind - Promo & Author Interview 
Jan 26
Cover Reveals - Promo
Jan 27
Rustys Reading - Promo
Books Boys and Badass Bloggettes - Promo
Jan 28
Kelly P's Blog - Promo
Booky Ramblings of a Neurotic Mom - Promo & Top Ten
Jan 29
Cajun Book Lover - Promo
Indy Book Fairy - Promo
Archaeolibrarian - I dig good books! - Promo & Playlist
Jan 30
Deal Sharing Aunt - Promo
Eclipse Reviews - Promo, Character Interview & Playlist
Feb 2
Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog - Promo
Feb 3
G & Co. Book Blog - Promo
Bound 2 Escape - Promo
Feb 4
Portals to New Worlds - Promo, Author Interview & Playlist
Feb 5
Angels with Attitude Book Reviews - Promo, Author Interview & Playlist
Room With Books - Promo
A Little Bit of R&R - Promo

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Prince of Demons by Victoria Danann - Excerpt & Giveaway

Prince of Demon NYT

Welcome, everyone! We're here to celebrate the release of Prince of Demons by Victoria Danann. Prince of Demons is a trilogy of rapid release novellas. 
If you love paranormal romance and haven't read Victoria Danann, you are missing out on a great author!
I hope you enjoy the long excerpt from Chapter One, and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post.

AmazonPOD_Cover

Prince of Demons
The Order of the Black Swann #1-#3

Victoria Danaan

January 19th, 2015
Andromeda LLC, dba 7th House Publishing  



23471163
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR…

USA Today Bestselling Author, Victoria Danann, brings us a tale of romance, suspense, and high adventure.
After Dallas finance manager, Atalanta Ravin, was left standing at the altar in a publicly humiliating jilting, she quit her job, sold her house, gave away her furniture, and set off in search of a new life living on a boat in Boston Harbor. She got the adventure she’d always secretly longed for, but not in a thousand dreams could she ever have imagined that her fantasy lover might turn out to be a prince of demons.

Buy the Book




23924761
    TOO MUCH STORY TO BE CONTAINED IN ONE BOOK!


This is a trilogy of rapid release novellas.

As the witches say, A Fear is an Unrequited Wish…
USA Today Bestselling Author, Victoria Danann, brings us a tale of romance, suspense, and high adventure.

In the second part of this short release trilogy, Lana wakes after a night of too much song, dance, and pub red ale to find herself in a demon dungeon sleeping on top of a fellow prisoner who happens to be seriously drool worthy. When the cryptic stranger proposes an escape plan, she goes along and gets the adventure she’d subconsciously longed for, whether she wants it or not. 

Buy the Book



24278735-1WISHES ARE MYSTERIES FILLED WITH SHADOWS and LIGHT.
USA Today Bestselling Author, Victoria Danann, brings us a tale of romance, suspense, and high adventure.

The third and last part of the Prince of Demons trilogy. Lana seeks out The Order's best witch tracker for help. She hopes to reunite with Brave for a calmer, quieter courtship, the goal being a happily ever after for a prince of demons and a Dallas finance manager turned adventurer.

That's when the adventure really begins.


Buy the Book 

Amazon

Prince of Demons 1
CHAPTER ONE EXCERPT

When she was left standing at the highly polished altar of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in a four thousand dollar dress facing everyone who had ever meant anything to her, she decided Stuart Pruitt was easily the biggest asshole in the universe. Atalanta Ravin spent the next three weeks sitting in ice cream-stained yoga pants and a holey tee shirt, staring straight ahead while two sisters and her best friend tried to convince her that, even if he was easily the biggest asshole in the known universe, life wasn’t over. Not really.

For weeks, she’d been riding a sugar overdose that left her unable to sleep at the time she needed the escape of sleep more than ever before in her life. And it was showing.

“You look like shit, Lana,” Dizzy summed it up unapologetically.

“And why would I care?”

Dizzy had been her friend since they’d been college freshmen and learned that they had both been assigned to dorm rooms with certifiably sociopathic roommates. At the end of the first semester, they scored a room they could share together and had pretty much shared everything but boyfriends since then.

Dizzy was loyal to a fault, a trait highly prized in a best friend. Unfortunately, at least in that case it seemed unfortunate, she was also persistent to a fault.

“Lana, come out with us. You can’t just sit here in a puddle of Starcream and look like shit forever.”

“I can, Desdemona.” She used Dizzy’s birth certificate name knowing it would make her wince, hoping it might also make her give up and go. “Don’t you have something else to do? Go pester Robert. He’s got to be resenting the hell out of the time you’re spending over here trying to get me to do something I don’t want to do.”

“Exasperating, Lana. We can’t help you if you won’t let us.”

“I appreciate the effort, Dizzy, but I’m not going out. I need to spend some time processing. You know. On my own.”

Dizzy, the almost maid of honor, pulled back and stared at her for a full minute. It took even longer to push Dizzy away than it had to get rid of her younger sisters: twins who, like her, were named after figures from Greek mythology. They were responsible for the nickname, Lana, because they couldn’t quite manage Atalanta when they were babies.

They were fiery, freckled redheads named Nike and Nemesis. They’d tried sympathy as far as patience would carry, then turned to threats, vowing to abandon her to her Triple Pecan Crusted Rocky Java Chip Starcream until all that she would require from them was a selection of mumus.

With a sigh of resignation, Dizzy rose saying, “Okay. I actually get that. Call me when you want to talk. If I don’t hear from you by Tuesday…” She let that hang in the air and seemed to be mulling it over. “You know I never liked him. I always knew he was a prick.”

Lana spluttered. “Liar. You were crazy about him.”

“On the inside.” Dizzy looked indignant. “I hated him on the inside.”

“Whatever.” She waved a hand in the air and blew a half-hearted kiss, but Dizzy proceeded to prove that it would take more than a wave of dismissal and an air kiss to get rid of her. Lana had doubts that even the National Guard could deter Allision when she was on a mission.

Eventually Lana had stood in a warm shower not particularly caring about the water temperature, reluctantly pulled on clean clothes and let Dizzy comb out and blow her hair like she was a doll. When Dizzy was satisfied with the cleanup, she marched her prisoner out to Nike’s car where the twins waited and deposited Lana in the backseat

“Where are we going?”

“The Four Sixes.”

It was a chic urban bar on Turtle Creek in the heart of Dallas urban posh, named after one of the famous ranches of Texas. Dizzy’s rescue party never made it inside though.

Nem had started to reach for the big brass handle that was an eclectic cross between Southwest and art deco. The door opened before she touched it letting the muted sounds of thumping bass escape and touch everyone nearby with the vibration. Lana saw out of the corner of her eye that the people who emerged were a couple. He had his arm over her shoulder. They were laughing, nudging and leaning into each other.

What she didn’t notice, until she realized her companions had gone stone still, was that the male half of the happy couple was none other than Stuart. The other half was Lana’s very own goddamn administrative assistant, Stephanie. When the soon-to-be former employee registered that she’d come face to face with the ex, who was also her boss, she was suddenly much more interested in her shoes than in meeting Lana’s gaze.

Stuart nodded to the group in general then added a curt, “Excuse us,” as he placed a hand to the small of Stephanie’s back and gave her a little push to get her started in the right direction. The two of them had almost made it all the way to Stuart’s precious royal blue Audi before Lana’s brain reengaged. A red hot curtain of fury descended in front of her vision as all the missing pieces fell into place and her body took on an agenda of its own as surely as if it was possessed by a devil. With a quickness that would make a superhero proud, she whirled and began sprinting after them.

Stuart and his date had just reached the car, which he had parked himself because Stuart didn’t trust valet parkers. He’d pointed his key fob, been greeted by the car’s answering tweets. Stephanie’s face froze in silent horror when she saw the rundown coming, but Stuart had no warning. Lana didn’t slow the charge. The only adjustment she made was to put her hands out in front of her at the last second. The result was slamming into Stuart from behind with such force that his body was thrown into the side of the vehicle and his face bounced off the roof of his car. Hard. Hard enough to draw blood.

When he turned around and looked at Lana, the devil who had possessed her whooped with satisfaction on seeing reddened eyes and blood dripping down the front of a prissy custom made shirt. With cuff links. Christ. What a tool!

“What the fuck, Lana? I think you broke my nose.” He looked at the blood on his hand as he brought it away from his face and spat. “I should press charges.”

She gaped, but not for long. Stuart’s apparent disconnect with the trail of damage he’d left behind caused Lana’s fury to gel into a cold anger and even colder laughter.

“Press charges, Stuey? Unless you want a lawsuit to pay my family back for a wedding that cost as much as your average priced house, I’d rethink that threat. A hundred pounds of fucking shrimp, Stuey! That’s a lot of fucking shrimp. Fifty cases of Dom Perignon. Shall I go on? Or maybe I’ll just turn my cousins loose and let them take it out of your hide.”

She hoped her smile looked every bit as menacing as the images of revenge that were chilling her blood. He paled a little at the thought of the triplets who were Lana’s cousins. Yes. Multiple births ran in the family on her mother’s side.

Those boys, the McKesson triplets, were privileged, but that was just disposable package wrapping. They were descended from wildcatters who were, well, wild and probably carrying the genetic ancestry of horse thieves. Or worse. The family joked that attempts to reconstruct genealogy met a quick dead end because their forbearers had been one step ahead of the law when they’d come to America. They may have changed names again when they left some landing point on the Eastern seaboard and pushed west. One thing was sure. They weren’t carrying the genes of farmers.

Everybody in Dallas knew the McKesson name by reputation. Among other things, it was rumored that they preferred to settle disputes out of court. So to speak.

Atalanta always laughed it off when she heard those whisperings and said that people love to believe bigger than life stories. From her perspective, her cousins weren’t people to be feared. In her mind they were boys, ripe for teasing, who fumed if you tricked them at blind man’s bluff and ate unhealthy amounts of Bananas Foster if given half a chance. That didn’t stop her from using the rumors to her advantage though.

Lana turned her attention to the soon-to-be-pink-slipped admin. Only then did she recognize that the expression she’d become accustomed to seeing on Stephanie’s face was guilt. Lana had thought Stephie was having some kind of trouble. Maybe money. Maybe a boyfriend. As her boss it wasn’t up to her to ask.

Looked like it was a boyfriend problem after all.

The devil in Lana was roused to dancing in triumphant circles when she startled Stephie into taking a fearful stumble backward by doing nothing more than taking a step toward her.


Lana felt her sisters on either side of her, trying to pull her away. “Come on, sis. Everybody here knows who’s boss,” Nemesis had said. Lana glanced at her sisters just in time to see them throwing identical pointed glares at both Stuart and Stephanie.

Nobody said a word on the drive back to Lana’s house. Her girls were sensitive enough to know that there wasn’t a single word in the English language that would be better than the silence.

When she was finally alone – as she’d wanted to be in the first place, she thought bitterly, she let emotion overtake her. Tears pooled then gushed onto the pillow where she’d landed on her bed, curling into a ball as she fell. She cried freely for the first time, not so much because of two humiliations, a very public jilting and an excruciatingly embarrassing confrontation. Not even because of the high price tag of a wedding that was a nonstarter.

She cried because she hated herself for missing the fucker. He may not have been a great lay and he may not have had any character to speak of, but he’d been company for three years. Long enough to build every aspect of her life around him as if she’d gradually become remnants of personality circling his sun.

She reminded herself that, being perfectly honest, she needed to amend that. He’d been good company until the past six months when his job had become so demanding that he was either away or out late more often than not. He’d been too busy to take part in any of the wedding planning. “Whatever you want will be fine with me, Lana. You have good taste,” he’d said. She didn’t think much of the distancing at the time.

She woke up early the next day, still in her clothes, tangled in bed covers. She rose to go to the toilet then took a look in the bathroom mirror. Her eyes were almost swollen shut from going to sleep crying. She hated what she saw in the mirror and might have broken it if she wasn’t superstitious, the remnants of a heritage that couldn’t be documented, but could be substantiated as Scot-Irish. So instead of shattering the mirror, she came to a conclusion.

Sometime during all the hours of staring straight ahead, not really hearing what people were saying, she’d arrived at a point of absolute clarity. She needed a change. Not a small change. Not even a big change. A change of such monumental proportions it would effectively be hitting the reset button on her life.

She changed into plain pajama pants and a comfy well-worn tee, turned the ringer off on her phone, then sat down in front of the TV with a box of tissue and a grease-stained box of cold day-old extra pepperoni pizza. She chomped into one of the stiff slices thinking that one of the finer privileges of relationship mourning was punishing the body with bad food, alcohol, and no exercise while ignoring the domestic hallmarks of civilized living such as laundry, dishes, garbage control and personal hygiene.

Punching the remote she began going through channels one by one. Stuart had taken control of the remote when their relationship was still new and had never considered relinquishing it, not even on special occasions. He always went straight to the guide and picked out something he already knew he liked and wanted to see. Stuart liked what he called “tried and true”. He had his favorite restaurants and stuck with the same menu items. He had a morning routine, an evening routine, and a weekend routine that involved the same people, places, and things. No sense of adventure whatsoever.

Lana no longer needed to be concerned with Stuart and his damnable preferences. She was her own person. On her own. She would reject Stuart’s lack of adventure. She would channel surf all night if she felt like it! She punched the air with every flick of the remote button as if to say, “Take that, Stuey! I will yield the remote to no man ever again.”
Moving past a cooking show, a rerun of a seventies sitcom, something about criminal midgets who loved pit bulldogs, a home show, a black and white movie starring Tyrone Power, another cooking show, a thing with a boat, and a band of ferret-like creatures standing on their hind legs in a field of brown grass. Then she stopped and backed up two channels. It was the home show.

They were doing a series on alternate lifestyles and that particular installment featured a handsome bachelor who lived on his boat. She washed the mouthful of pizza back with a swig of tequila straight from the bottle and turned the volume up.

Twenty minutes later, by the time the show was over, she knew exactly what she was going to do. She was going to quit her job as portfolio manager for Gelz Leageman Capital and sell her bungalow. It wasn’t a Highland Park estate, but it was an eye-catching brick cottage in one of the posh Dallas park cities. It had been a great investment even if it was next to the noise of the north-south toll road that cut through the middle of the city.

She’d take the proceeds and move far, far away. To New England, where she would buy a boat. To live on.

For somebody who was not quite thirty, she’d done alright for herself. She’d stayed out of trouble, gotten good grades, and made her parents proud. In the process of living up to expectations, she’d accumulated enough net worth to be able to cash in a 401K and do nothing for a while until she decided to do something else. She had no memory of waking up without a goal to pursue. Hitting the reset button meant she would find out what it felt like to wake up without a plan. Maybe she’d do jigsaw puzzles until she got tired of them and then switch to crosswords. Maybe she’d watch every movie she’d wanted to see and hadn’t. Read every book that had been reviewed by the New York Times. She might learn to knit. It was cold where she was going. She’d need lots of knit stuff. Scarves and hats and afghans and such.

She’d never experience another summer with dead brown grass on the sides of the roads and blackened burned out areas every few yards where people had tossed lit cigarette butts as they sped by. She always thought it made the Metroplex look like a version of highway to hell. She wouldn’t experience daily air quality alerts, the result of living in the world’s most populous inland area. Or the constant spring and summer threats that went with residing in “tornado alley”.

Yes. She wanted to live someplace that didn’t have tornado alarms. Clean air. Blue water. Cool days. Sure there might be snow. And ice and single digit temps. Every place had its downside.

Maybe she’d make new friends. Maybe she wouldn’t One thing was certain. It would be very unlikely that she’d run into anyone who had witnessed the color drain from her face when her intended had stood at the front of a church and blurted out, “I can’t. I just can’t,” right before he’d bolted out a side door and left her standing there staring at the best man.

The best man. In her mind she kept replaying the look of pity and apology on his face as he blinked at her with uncertainty as to what to do next since the groom no longer between them. She remembered how she didn’t want to turn her head to the right and see the shocked expressions of eight hundred well-dressed guests.

Later that day, face still mottled red with fury, Lana’s father had promised to take care of Stuart in his own unique Texan sort of way. “I’ll neuter the son of a bitch and throw his balls in with the calf fries down at the restaurant for some stranger to enjoy. Ignorance is bliss. Unless you’d like to have the privilege for yourself, little girl.”

Getting an unbidden image of that, she’d gagged twice.

“Thanks, Dad. I appreciate it, at least the sentiment behind it, but I’m thinking I’ll pass. And unless you want to end up in Huntsville, I think you better find another way to express your displeasure. You know sometimes I think you skipped the twentieth century altogether. You just popped in right out of 1886.”

He nodded. “Something to be said for simpler methods, if you know what I mean.” He looked at her meaningfully.

“Yes. I know what you mean and so does every electronic listening device with surveillance distance.”

Her comment gave him pause. He looked around uneasily as if someone was eavesdropping and kissed her on the top of the head as he was making ready to leave. “You worried about what you say in your own house? There’s no excuse for that. Ever heard of McKesson Security?”

She sighed. “I’m not worried about what I say inside my own house because I don’t plot crimes out loud.”

Lana’s father simply grunted at that as if to say maybe she was slow. “Come have lunch down at the store tomorrow.”

She was pleased that he had calmed a little and smiled. “We’ll see. Maybe.”

She caught his sleeve as he turned toward the door. “You know I’m, um, sorry about the expense and…”

“Don’t you dare apologize!” He’d turned red in the face again and she immediately regretted having said something to cause it. She worried when his coloring went so out of whack. “You haven’t done a thing to be sorry for. It’s that dump of steaming yellow horse turds that needs a good dose of sorry.” He lowered his chin and stepped in closer. “You know your cousins…”

“Dad! Don’t say another word!” He stopped. She grabbed hold of his lapel and squeezed like it had nerve endings. “And make sure you’ve got them under control. Please.” Leaning in she whispered, “Stuart is out of bounds. Let karma deal with it.”

Her dad looked at her incredulously and then guffawed. “Karma! Shit.” He left shaking his head.

Yeah. That’s what she’d told her dad alright. Then she proceeded to break Stuart’s nose herself. Guess the thing about apples not falling far from trees isn’t just horse honky. She didn’t feel a bit of remorse about it. The fucker’s nose was in need of rearranging and she was glad she’d been the one to do it.

She was thus replaying the events in her head when the oddest thing occurred. She’d been staring at the TV that had been the source of her inspiration, and maybe salvation, while her mind had been elsewhere. Then she felt something unusual. It wasn’t sorrow or despair or grief. It wasn’t any of the emotions that usually hang with broken heartedness. It was excitement, sort of a tingly rush at the thought of pulling up stakes, leaving everything and everyone she knew behind. A transformation. The true essence of total “make over”.

She was throwing caution to the wind. Hell. She wasn’t even going to give reasonable notice at work. She knew they had two people prepped and groomed to step in if necessary. So it wasn’t like it would be a serious hardship on anyone. If it ruined her future career? She shrugged at the thought not being able to imagine caring about it anymore.

She took a moment to examine the flutter of anticipation in her tummy and concluded that she liked the adventurous Lana. The one who would leave everything familiar and embark on a whole new life at the drop of a hat.
Quit the job. Sell the house. Give everything away that won’t fit on a boat and move so far out of her comfort zone she might not even be able to remember her own resume.

She chuckled at the thought that it was like putting herself in a witness protection program. Well, not really. She knew that when she got where she was going and decided what she was doing that she would let her family know where she was. And Dizzy, who wouldn’t hesitate to deliver a lecture and say she’d tumbled off the rack. In her fantasy, Lana imagined her reply. “You were hounding me to get out. So I got out. Far out.”

The prospect was delightful from every conceivable angle. Damn. She wondered if there was even a remote chance that Stuey had done her a favor. She hated to admit it, but Stuey was just metrosexual enough that she didn’t have a hard time picturing him in a dress with many layers of tulle in the skirt, holding a star tipped wand. Bing. There you go, little lady. A whole new life to replace the one you thought you had, but didn’t.

Looking around she said, “I’ve got to get this cleaned up. You go up for sale tomorrow morning.” The walls didn’t reply, which made her like them all the more. She decided that talking to herself felt good and could become a habit with little effort. Maybe, once she was moved and settled in, she’d get a cat. She’d be that strange young woman from Texas who lived on a boat with a cat and talked to herself.

Such was her train of thought as she went about picking up Coke cans, tissues and other debris, preparing to face an upheaval that the old Lana would never have considered in a hundred years. In a couple of hours she had the place looking like a little bit of yuppie chic heaven. She heated up a frozen dinner in the microwave and ate in front of the computer. It didn’t take long to decide where she’d start looking for a new home.

Constitution Marina, Boston.
 
About the Author
Victoria120x180   
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

2013 Winner in the categories of:
  • BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES - Knights of Black Swan
  • BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE NOVEL (GENERAL) - A Summoner's Tale
  • BEST PARNORMAL ROMANCE NOVEL (Vampires & Shifters) – Moonlight
My early work (eight-years-old) would be called fan fiction today. I began by writing my version of Bobbsey Twins novels on legal pads that my dad brought home from the office. As an only child - in the days before children became little electronic receivers - there was often not much to do other than seek amusement in my own head.

Childhood fantasies involved being the only girl (for some odd reason) at a ranch for wayward boys. Yes. I do realize this sounds vaguely familiar. T hose fantasies were supported by real life events because the boys included me in the afternoon neighborhood games whether it was cowboy/Indians or G.I. Joe.

When I left the Bobbsey Twins behind I didn't write again until I was married with children and in my mid-twenties. I completed a paranormal romance and gave it to my spouse to read. After hearing his criticisms I didn't write again for decades. At the time I didn't understand that he's the absolute farthest thing from my audience.

It turned out to be a blessing because during that time that I didn't write, I lived an extremely full life. I traveled a lot, raised a family, got an education (I have an M.A. in Psychology.) and explored my compulsion to be a spiritual seeker. The fantasies were a constant companion throughout. The faces and names of the characters changed as I matured, but they remained a source of comfort. They helped me through hellraising teenagers and three near-death scares.

By the time I started writing again, I had something to say. I write cross-genre with uniquely fresh perspectives on paranormal creatures, characters, and themes. Add a dash of scifi and a flourish of fantasy to enough humor to make you laugh out loud and enough steam to make you squirm in your chair. My heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, psychics, or past life therapists. My heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners - usually - whether they be elves, demons, berserkers, werewolves, or vampires.
If you're interested in me personally, I am also a classically trained musician who defected to Classic Rock. This is Roadhouse, the very best in Classic Rock, taken near The Last Concert Cafe, Houston Texas, 2011. I'm the utility player which means I play rhythm guitar, keyboards, sing back ups and a few leads. I authored and illustrated Seasons of the Witch calendars and planners for fifteen years. I live in T he Woodlands, Texas, which is why I sometimes joke about being the witch in the woods. Married. Four children. One very smart, mostly black German Shepherd dog.

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