The Journey Kelsey Ketch
(Death Island, #1)
Publication date: November 25th 2020
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, New Adult
With her family name tainted by her great-grandfather’s crimes, Meriden Cummings could only dream of fleeing her oppressive life. Then she unearthed a piece of tanned skin, and her blood revealed an ancient map adorned with Mayan glyphs, launching her on the journey of a lifetime. However, she finds herself bound to the map, and there is a cost to her newfound freedom. One that will torment her mind as well as her soul.
After being shanghaied by pirates, Gregory Wilson escapes to a small English village where he runs into an obnoxious auburn-haired beauty. When he learns she is about to set sail on dangerous waters, he signs up to join her crew, hoping to defend her from the pirates seeking her great-grandfather’s treasure. But, will he be able to protect her from the ghost that haunts her or the curse running through her veins?
Tucker barked at something that had recently washed up onto the shore. Curious, I walked toward the obvious tangled mess. “What do you have there?”
I pushed him aside and grabbed the green and grey mass. I peeled off the debris and seaweed and rinsed the mud and sand off in the Mouth of the Severn. From the mess appeared an object, which I could only describe as an elaborate golden coin, about four inches in diameter. Yet, the slightest touch caused three outer rings of glyphs—similar to the ones painted on the map—to rotate around a sitting man with a long headdress, bowl, and club. His face profiled, and his legs crossed. The most outer ring consisted of nineteen complicated glyphs, including an eagle’s head, a goat-like face, and a demon face; the middle ring held twenty square glyphs with three curls underneath, some depicting things like hands, skulls, and faces; and the innermost ring had a series of dots and lines—much like Roman numerals—that counted up to thirteen. On the other side of the coin, the same skeletal figure from the map sat in the center while nine teetered glyphs were spaced out along the outer rings—five on the outer ring and four in the middle. Among the glyphs of the middle ring were four arrows pointing in what I would call the cardinal directions. Overlapping the middle and inner rings were three large arrows. Much like a compass pointing north, east, and west. And to the south, two skulls faced each other, leaving a microscopic gap.
My mind spun with disbelief. This had to be related to Death Island. I was sure of it. But how? And where did it come from? How did it get here?
The breeze carried my hair off my shoulder, a shiver ran down my spine, and goose bumps unraveled across my arms when I sensed a presence nearby. I turned to spy a man as pale as ash with a beard as white as snow watching me. Black veins stretched throughout his exposed flesh. His eyes nothing but two black pieces of coal. The mere sight of him made me jump in my own skin, nearly causing me to drop the Mayan coin as I gasped in fright. In an attempt to regain my composure, I took my eyes off the man for a second to steady myself, only for them to fall back on the gardener, or ghost, I met at the Railings’ home.
Kelsey Ketch is a young-adult/new-adult author, who works as a Wildlife Biologist and Data Analyst. During her free time, she can often be found working on her latest work in progress. She also enjoys history, mythology, traveling, and reading.
Christmas in Smithville Kirsten Fullmer
Publication date: November 30th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday, Romance
Even though Gloria is determined to change her reputation, most of the women in town still think she’s a tramp. Sure, she may have dressed a little flashy and dated pretty much every single guy in town, but that’s the past. Now that she wants to make a fresh start, will Smithville give her a second chance?
Ned has heard all the gossip, but being the Sheriff’s Deputy, he sees all the kind things Gloria does behind the scenes for the folks of Smithville. It looks like the upcoming Christmas Pageant will offer him the opportunity to spend time with her, but can he overcome a frustrating stutter and talk to her, face to face?
Your favorite characters from the Hometown Series bring craziness, love, and Smithville Christmas style, to a whole new romance about overcoming your past and sharing your deepest secrets. Fall in love and be swept away with the Christmas Eve celebration of your dreams.
“Then I just had to wr—wrap the baby up and hand her to her mother,” Ned said as he dropped his paint roller in the bucket of hot water.
Gloria stared at him, her eyes wide in fascination. “I can’t believe you delivered a baby by the side of the road. I don’t think I could have—”
“Sure you could,” he said with a shrug. “When the time comes and work needs doing, folks like us st—step up.”
Unsure, she scoffed. “Well, baking a casserole is one thing, but—”
Ned reached out to take her paint roller. “Yeah, okay, the baby was kind of a big deal,” he conceded, “Usually, I just end up learning w—way more about people than I want to know.”
“I understand that.” Gloria nodded. “Given my past, I know—” She stopped, realizing what she was saying. “Of course, I’ve forgotten all about those guys…” She faltered, her words fading away and her cheeks burning red under her freckles.
Ned’s laughter rang out into the workshop. “Oh, I’m sure you don’t know which guys in town burp at the table, who is connected at the hip to their momma, or who snores—” The words chopped off and it was his turn to blush. “I… I d—didn’t mean… I—I w—wasn’t…” His stutter always got much worse when he was upset. Frustrated, he stopped talking and turned back to the water bucket.
“Don’t be embarrassed,” Gloria said, feeling bad for him. “It’s true though, especially with your job. What do you do when you meet someone on the street, and you know intimate details about their personal life?” She waited, but he just pumped the paint rollers up and down in the water, so she tried again. “I’m asking for advice, honest. Do they train you on this stuff at the police academy?”
He shrugged, then straightened and shoved one hand in the front pocket of his jeans. “Well we have to t—take ethics classes, but—” he looked up, making eye contact, “no, they don’t tell you that stuff. You just h—have to act like you weren’t at their house two n—nights ago with the fire chief, helping them get their hand unstuck from the k—kitchen drain they were trying to fix.”
Her eyes widened, and she chuckled in surprise. “Who? No, no don’t tell me.”
He shook his head; his hand raised to stop her. “I wouldn’t,” he said, but his eyes were bright with humor. “It’s a th—thing you have to learn to do I guess. I know you’re g—good at it, I’ve seen you in action.”
She shrugged modestly. “Oh, well, I just try to put myself in their place.”
They were both quiet for a minute, contemplating all the dirt they’d collectively compiled on the people of Smithville.
“Yeah, ” she continued with a sparkle in her eye. “Because if I were a great big guy, I wouldn’t want everyone to know that I scream like a little girl when I see a spider.”
Ned’s eyebrows rose, and a big grin spread across his face. “Now I have to wonder…”
“It will go with me to the grave,” she assured him, looking solemn. But she couldn’t help it and broke into laughter. “Oh my gosh, it was the funniest thing. I thought he was going to run away, but he kept screaming for me to ‘get it’. Of course, I was far too busy laughing and taking video.”
He chuckled, enjoying the way her eyes shone when she was happy. Her laughter was like music, and her cheeks turned rosy with happiness. His own heart swelled, catching him off guard. “You’re a mean one, aren’t you,” he teased.
“Me?” she asked, with her hand on her chest. “No, no, I finally took pity on him and smashed the bug.”
“Well that’s good,” he said, wishing he could make her laugh like that all the time.
“Anyway,” she trailed off, “I better get moving. I have a ton of sewing to do.”
“I wish I could help you with th—that,” he said, collecting the butcher paper he’d spread for them to paint. “But I have no idea how to even thread a needle.”
Her head tilted to one side. “I doubt that.”
“Okay, okay,” he relented, crumpling the paper to stuff it in the trashcan. “I can thread a n—needle, but choir robes and sh—shepherd costumes are way beyond my scope.”
She waved him off. “Oh, these are pretty simple. I figure they’re for one night and no one will really see them up close.”
He waited for her to continue, watching her think, wishing he could hear what was on her mind.
“Well, it’s just,” She chuckled. “Practically every family in town has someone in this thing, so I guess in reality, everyone will see them up close.”
“Right?” he laughed. “I wonder sometimes, who is going to watch the show.”
“Me too!” she agreed. “We may need to set up a bus service to bring folks from Uniontown.”
He rubbed his chin. “Not a bad idea.”
She reveled in the shared moment, then turned away, looking for her purse. “Well, I’d better get going.”
“Thanks for the help,” he said, wishing he knew how to make her stay. “ Do you have to go?”
The question froze Gloria in her tracks. Normally at this point, if a gorgeous man was being funny and sweet and she liked him, she’d stay and talk. And not only that, she amended, she’d sign up for more. But things were different now. She was different. She wasn’t doing any of this to get a man, and, truth be told, she wouldn’t know what to do with one at this point anyway. She wanted to prove to the women in town she didn’t need to flirt, and that she could do a job and do it well, without attracting male attention. She frowned. That wasn’t going so well evidently. Was she attracted to Ned?
Turning back toward the shop, she regarded him carefully. He had a swipe of red paint across one cheek, but that only made him more approachable. The man was a knock out no matter how you looked at him. The paint spear made him cute. Shocked by her appraisal, her eyebrows lifted. When was the last time she’d thought a grown man was cute? Especially one with a physique like the deputy.
He grew uncomfortable under her stare, and she realized she was being rude. “I really do have to go,” her words said, but the rest of her said, “I want to stay.” He was easy to talk to and friendly. He didn’t judge her. He was nice. It came to her then; she had a friend in Ned. They had some things in common, and they could have a laugh together. Given her situation, a friend was something she needed. Gaging her words carefully, she hoped she could make him understand how much she appreciated him. “I really do have to go, but this has been… this has been great.”
He looked so disappointed that she nearly relented, but she knew it was for the best. This pageant was not the time or place to be looking for a new boyfriend. And she was sure she didn’t want to ruin the budding friendship they’d forged. This was new territory, and she had to move carefully and use her head.
“I have to go.” She turned toward the door, then, with her hand on the door handle, she stopped and looked over her shoulder. “But I’ll see you tomorrow night at practice, right?”
For a minute she thought he wasn’t going to respond, but finally he nodded, and an easy grin lit his face. “Sure.”
All she could manage was a quick nod, and then she ducked out the door before she could change her mind.
Kirsten is a dreamer with an eye for art and design. She worked in the engineering field, taught college, and consulted free lance. Due to health problems, she retired in 2012 to travel with her husband. They live and work full time in a 40′ travel trailer with their little dog Bingo. Besides writing romance novels, she enjoys selling art on Etsy and spoiling their three grandchildren.
As a writer, Kirsten’s goal is to create strong female characters who face challenging, painful, and sometimes comical situations. She believes that the best way to deal with struggle, is through friendship and women helping women. She knows good stories are based on interesting and relatable characters.
Terra Nova M.T.G.
(Terra Nova, #1)
Publication date: July 28th 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Evangeline is living the life of a normal teenager—going to school and hanging out with friends—until mysterious, severe symptoms begin appearing. After passing out in the middle of a party, life as she knows it spirals beyond her grasp. She is then diagnosed with a rare, genetic blood disorder that causes her body’s white blood cells to kill the red ones. In the delirium of her deteriorating health, a door to a parallel world opens before her; however, once she steps through it, the portal closes, and she is unable to return to Earth.
The place Evangeline now finds herself in is called Terra Nova, a world wherein vampires rule supreme, with no traces of humanity left to speak of. Curious but afraid, she quickly learns that Terra Nova is not the shadow-side of Earth, but rather the tragic result of government experimentation. In order to survive, she must keep her mind open and accept the changes her body is undergoing; soon enough, those who she initially thinks are murderers become her trainers, whose help she must enlist if she ever hopes to return home—and soon enough, a romantic bond begins to bloom.
Meanwhile, Evangeline’s brother and friends back on Earth try to figure out what happened to her, and how the government is involved, and how to bring her home. Unbeknownst to any of them is the mysterious outcast Bambi, whose secrecy disguises her power in making a devastating choice: save one world at the risk of destroying the other.
A horrible sound was ringing in Evangeline’s ears. She opened her eyes to find Eros standing above her, dangling a large bell.
“Stop! Oh my God. You can just tell me to go to my room. I must’ve passed out. I’m sorry. I’ll go sleep in my room. I’m going. I’m going.”
“You can go and get dressed and ready in your own room,” Eros said with a sardonic smile.
“What?” Evangeline asked, bleary-eyed.
“It is the middle of the night, again. We have all had our meal. Yours is waiting for you in the kitchen. Hurry up. The citizens are beginning to think we ate you.”
Evangeline sat up and looked at him, “I slept all day? Are you serious?”
“Do I jest much?”
She looked around his bed and then up at him, “I’m…sorry. You had to sleep on the chair.”
“No. I slept on my bed,” Eros said evenly.
“Oh,” Evangeline’s eyes went slightly wider and she immediately regretted letting him see her confusion. Eros narrowed his eyes and ran his tongue across his teeth, looking at her.
“Do you think I seduced you while you were sleeping?” he said, his lips curling down, “I believe Josepina explained the likelihood of that. I rested on the other side of the bed, wench. On top of the covers. We rarely feel cold, except for in extreme temperatures. The covers are for…nostalgia, I suppose. If you choose to hibernate on my bed do not expect me to sit on the chair all night.”
“You could have just woken me up, you know,” Evangeline said, standing up to go.
“I considered it. However, you had already slobbered on my book and the option of ringing a large bell in your face this evening appealed to me.”
Evangeline gave him a dirty look, which had the effect of bringing a wide smile to his face. She was about to leave the room without a word when a thought came to her head and squinting her eyes at him she began to laugh, “Sorry, I was just imagining you seducing someone.”
Eros’ smile began to lower into a confused frown and she burst out laughing harder, “It’s just that, well, how did you do it before? I mean, seduce someone? I can’t imagine you being charming for the life of me.”
MTG has worked in numerous positions, mainly in managerial and executive roles. Terra Nova, her first publication, is Book 1 of a series. The series’ concept emerged when she, like the protagonist, was diagnosed with the blood disorder paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), and her then-boyfriend (now husband) joked she was becoming a vampire. She currently works and resides in Canada.
Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a shameful secret: she loves Christmas. For a decade she’s hidden her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family. Her talent has made her a bestseller even as her chronic illness has always kept the kind of love she writes about out of reach.
But when her diversity-conscious publisher insists she write a Hanukkah romance, her well of inspiration suddenly runs dry. Hanukkah’s not magical. It’s not merry. It’s not Christmas. Desperate not to lose her contract, Rachel’s determined to find her muse at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, even if it means working with her summer camp archenemy—Jacob Greenberg.
Though Rachel and Jacob haven’t seen each other since they were kids, their grudge still glows brighter than a menorah. But as they spend more time together, Rachel finds herself drawn to Hanukkah—and Jacob—in a way she never expected. Maybe this holiday of lights will be the spark she needed to set her heart ablaze.
Let me preface this review by saying that I cannot speak to the Jewish representation in this book, or some of the finer nuances referenced in this book. I know there are some things referenced/talked about that are not the most sensitive to current events and that is affecting a lot of people’s enjoyment of this book. That being said I went into this looking for a fun rom com feel and second chances/hate to love holiday romance and for me it totally met that brief.
I enjoyed the story itself and the relationship between Rachel and Jacob. Yes there were misunderstandings and messy bits, but seeing them both working through their issues and their relationship. I did feel that the talk about Rachel’s illness and the representation there (as someone who has chronic illness/invisible illnesses) was well done. As a rom com with a holiday touch I did really enjoy the story and found it to be a fun read.
Author Jean Meltzer studied dramatic writing at NYU Tisch, and served as creative director at Tapestry International, garnering numerous awards for her work in television, including a daytime Emmy. Like her protagonist, Jean is also a chronically-ill and disabled Jewish woman. She is an outspoken advocate for ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), has attended visibility actions in Washington DC, meeting with members of Senate and Congress to raise funds for ME/CFS. She inspires 9,000 followers on WW Connect to live their best life, come out of the chronic illness closet, and embrace the hashtag #chronicallyfabulous. Also, while she was raised in what would be considered a secular home, she grew up kosher and attended Hebrew School. She spent five years in Rabbinical School.
I took my lip beneath my teeth before opening my soul up as much as I was capable of. The words I were about to ask, meant more to me than she would ever know.
“I need you to trust me.”
I held my breath. Ready to wait for her reply but was surprised at how fast it actually flew from her mouth.
I stilled. “What? You trust me?”
I didn’t believe it. I was almost angry at Hendrix’s answer.
How could she trust me after everything I’ve put her through?
Everything I’ve hidden. It didn’t make any sense.
What also made no sense was her reaction either because she shook her head before taking a seat on the edge of her bed (which was too far away from me) where she played with the hem of her tee that was resting on her lap.
“Crazy huh? That I trust you. But… I can’t explain why I do. I’ve just always….”
“You’ve always what?”
She glances up, piercing my heart with her hazel eyes honing in on me with so much raw emotion. “I’ve always…” she starts, before seemingly coming to some realisation within herself. “When I was younger… I always sensed when things were wrong you know? Like that sixth sense that something bad was about to happen, or when danger was nearby. Even when I was too young to really understand my situation, I always knew deep down the kind of dangerous situation I was in. That it wasn’t normal. Well, it wasn’t everyones normal at least. I don’t expect you to understand, but I’m sure from those photos you saw that you have some idea of what I grew up in.” She pauses and my fists ball at the reminder instantly. I don’t have time to let that anger consume me though before she continues. “But I’ve just always trusted my instincts. They’ve never let me down and I guess in a lot of ways I’ve relied on it since I had no actual family to have my back. And…” she pauses again, nervously this time, when she notices me taking slow, measured steps toward her.
“And….?” I whisper, until I’m standing over her causing her head to tilt back to look up at me.
“And my gut? For some reason it trusts you Paxton. Despite you making me nervous, despite the things you say and the things you do. I feel safe around you. Protected. Like the only person capable of hurting me when you’re near – is no one else. Only…. you.”
My hand finds her cheek, letting her warmth seep into my palm. A palm, that was capable of so much destruction. So much hurt. But everything she just said was true. Because I’d always had this sense to protect her, like somehow our souls recognised the pain and destruction we both endured in our lives and wanted to somehow heal together. In most of our time together though, I wanted to protect her from me too. But this girl….
I held her as delicately as a guy like I could, when she gave me something of hers that was beyond precious. Her trust. I almost couldn’t believe she was giving it to me but it was something I was determined to keep. No matter the cost.
“You never asked me you know.”
“I never asked you what?”
“If I had something to do with… You never asked me.”
Her small fingers wrap around my wrist that’s still cupping her cheek and her eyes never sway from mine. “I may not know everything about you Pax, but I know you aren’t capable of something like that. I’ve been around monsters my entire life and you aren’t one. You’re not.”
I suck in a breath, wanting so much more in this moment when I breathe, “You called me Pax.”
She tilts her head, a knowing smirk crossing her delicate face. “It’s your name isn’t it?”
“I guess I like how it sounds coming from you.”
Then for the first time in a long time, I let myself feel…
Kathleen grew up in the south-western suburbs of Sydney, where family holidays by the beach and tormenting her two younger brothers, was how she spent her early years. But at the young age of 11, when she submitted a short story to a talented writing competition through the NSW schools program, not only did she win it, but she quickly found a love for it as well.
Throughout her schooling, writing was a hobby, along with sketching and various sports. But fast forward to her adult years when she moved to Europe to follow her husbands field hockey dream, and her love for writing surged to the surface.
Her debut story, Cut, was penned over two years where her hobby seemed to lead to the completion of Pennys’ world. The rest of the series came the following year.
Kathleen enjoys writing stories full of self-discovery, emotional journeys and of course, love.
Something else she loves is hearing from her readers, so feel free to follow her blog or drop her an email.
Christmas Wish List N.R. Walker
(Hartbridge Christmas Series, #2)
Publication date: November 25th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday, Romance
In need of work and a change of scenery, Aussie ex-pat Jayden Turner agrees to a short-term chef position at a Bed and Breakfast over the Christmas holidays. After all, how hard could it be in a small town in the mountains of Montana? What he finds is a grand old house in a beautiful town, and his new boss is gorgeous, gay, and single.
After his divorce, Carter “Cass” Campion bought his great-aunt’s rundown country manor in his home town, and he’s determined to get it ready for the busy holiday period. Recently out as gay, he’s been focused solely on his business and hasn’t had time for a man. Not that many gay men come through Hartbridge . . .
As his new clients arrive, and being away from his two kids, celebrating Christmas is the last thing on Cass’s mind, but his new chef has other ideas. And if there’s one thing on his Christmas Wish List this year, Jayden can make it come true.
The last thing Reggie Sommerville wants is to come back home for Christmas. It’s only been a year and a half since her boyfriend, Jake, proposed and then broke up with her, all in one weekend, and the prospect of facing the entire town is humiliating. But when her parents reveal that they’re renewing their vows in the lavish wedding they always wanted and her mother asks her to be a bridesmaid, Reggie knows she can’t say no. No matter how much she wants to. She expected the town would be gossiping about her relationship with Jake, but she never expected to run into Toby, her first love that broke her heart all those years ago, living in town and raising his son. She always thought things between them were long over…but this Christmas is full of surprises.
Dena Sommerville has only ever wanted one thing: to have a child. But motherhood has been alluding her because she never met the right man…until she took the bull by the horns and decided to have a baby as a single mom. She knew it would be difficult and the morning sickness alone is knocking her down for the count, but she’s determined to do this on her own. So when a handsome musician checks into the inn where she works, Dena is surprised when a friendship develops. He has his own issues to work through—that much is clear. But she can’t deny there’s something between them
This Christmas, guilted into being bridesmaids at their parents’ vow renewal ceremony, Reggie and Dena Sommerville just might find the most unexpected gift of all—love.
I was definitely ready to pick up a book to get me in the Christmas spirit and this one absolutely fit the bill. I loved the small town setting that Mallery created for this series, it felt like a place I would love to visit and enjoy. I was a little worried with dual romances happening that one would far overshadow the other but I was pleasantly surprised at the balance between the two and how the stories wove together. Each relationship had real issues and believable scenes and just felt very organic. I also really enjoyed the characters themselves and how they balanced off of each other, there were unique personalities with depth, especially with the sisters. All in all a great holiday book to kick off the season.
Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—40 million copies of her books have sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.
Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as mom.
Midlife Witch Unexpected Melle Amade
(Cougar Creek Coven, #1)
Publication date: November 23rd 2021
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Women’s Fiction
Middle-aged and starting over is the last thing I ever wanted on my bucket list. But since my husband announced he was gay and my daughter left for college, I don’t really have a choice.
If I’m going to get my “Happily Ever After” I have to start making new choices, starting with picking guys who like women rather than women’s makeup would be a good start.
I’m way past the point of caring what other people think. I’m 49, about to turn 50 and I’m pretty sure I’m entering the prime years of my life. It’s time to make my mark and do things the way I want to do them.
I am sooooooo leaving the city that has sucked me dry with the commute and the executive position. There’s no way I’m doing that anymore. I have enough money from the divorce to buy a house, almost any house, outside of California. I take one suitcase and my jeep, and I leave town, not stopping until I get to Cougar Creek, which is so small I think it’s barely a town, but I’m all about it. This is where I will get my fresh start.
I inherited my Aunt’s home here years ago and never even visited, but the renters just moved out and I might as well make it my home.
But Cougar Creek has a lot more in store for me than I ever imagined. There is a load of eligible young men from the local ranches, a couple of new BFFs in similar situations, and a strange invitation to a local secret society who think I’m the new high priestess of their local coven. I didn’t stop laughing until I realized they wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. They have a massive problem in the cemetery and they expect me to solve it.
But I didn’t trade in one life of rules for another one, so if they want me to be high priestess, they’re going to have to accept that I make the rules.
“That’s her?” A deep voice came from the front door.
“See anyone else around here, Branson?” Bianca swiveled away from me and spoke to the golden man who stood by the front door.
His laughter reverberated from his throat and all the way to my thighs. My eyes opened wide as I looked him over. Thankfully he was staring down at his phone, his golden eyes almost hidden by his blond locks falling forward over his tan skin. He wore a plaid red, white, and blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He was broad, lean, and muscular, and way too young for me.
“Who the heck is that?” I asked.
“Your caretaker,” Bianca raised an eyebrow at me.
“My caretaker?” I asked.
“The caretaker of The Estate,” Bianca explained it slowly as if she was talking to an ignoramus, which at the moment I actually felt like.
“The Estate,” I repeated like a parrot. Then suddenly snapped out of it. “Aunt Emma’s estate! Okay! Got it.”
“Round here we all just call it The Estate,” Bianca said with a shrug.
“And that’s the caretaker?” I whispered to Bianca, my voice catching in my throat.
“Every last inch of him,” she nodded, stealing a covert glance at the tall, broad man who dwarfed the front office space of the Cougar Creek cop shop.
“Lord have mercy,” I said under my breath.
Branson went straight to the sign-in sheet as if this wasn’t his first time here. But his handsome features scowled as he looked over at me. I stared back as he stepped across the sheriff’s office to tower above me, his arms folded over his chest.
“Well, that’s not intimidating at all.” I craned my neck to look up at him.
He started as if he hadn’t been aware of himself, took a step back, and unfolded his arms. “You’re Mae.” He stated the obvious. “I’m here to drive you home.”
“That’s a long way to drive.” My mind suddenly thought of a long leisurely drive back to L.A. with my caretaker, Branson.
“Pardon?” Branson looked at me a bit confused.
“Never mind.” I stood up turning to Bianca. “Do you need anything else from me tonight? It’s late and I’m exhausted. You are remanding me into Branson’s custody?”
“My custody? I’m just giving you a ride home.” Branson held up his hands in protest.
“Sheriff said you’re to verify who she is, take her home, and bring her back tomorrow to get her jeep,” Bianca confirmed for Branson.
I covertly looked him over thinking I wouldn’t mind being in his very good hands. But instantly my heart squeezed. Men weren’t safe; not at all. As I poured back through the years of lies, I realized there was probably not one single moment of truth in my relationship with my ex-gay husband. How was I ever going to trust any man ever again? Clearly, I was an idiot; a vulnerable, gullible idiot who believed anything anybody said to me.
“Are you sure he’s safe to take me to my house?” I asked Bianca.
“I have a police tracker on,” Branson wiggled his leg.
“Seriously?” I took a step back.
Bianca and Branson burst out laughing. “No not seriously,” Bianca said. “There’s only one person around here on the radar.”
“And it’s not me.” Branson pointed out. “Now come on. I’ve got a poker game waiting for me. Let me get you home and all tucked in.”
I looked over my shoulder at Bianca and we both did a slight giggle at his words, clearly thinking the same thing about being tucked in. It was a relief to feel an instant bond to this other middle-aged divorced woman, even though she’d never left this town. I guess that was nothing to hold against someone.
I shook my head as I trailed behind Branson to the door.
I wasn’t here to make friends. I wasn’t here to have romance. I was here to get some space, clear my head, and more than likely sell a house. My divorce was almost through and then I could start my new life.
Branson held the door open for me. “I’ll take you home, boss, and have you delivered to your jeep in the morning.”
My stomach sank. That’s right. He was my employee.
Well, of the estate, but as I was the sole owner of the estate, he was still my employee.
And a “no fraternizing with the staff” rule went without saying. There was no way to even have a little fling with Mr. Rock Solid Biceps.
He was way off-limits.
USA Today Bestselling Author. Farm Girl. Marketing Director.
Since I was eight, I have been writing stories that capture the adventures in my head and the characters strong enough and flawed enough to have them. When I look at an empty field, I see a formidable citadel. When I meet a vulnerable old man, I greet an emeritus warrior. When I walk through city streets, I feel dimensions hiding around every turn. It has been my lifelong passion to explore these worlds that reveal the pain of loneliness, the joy or self-actualization, and the hope of magic.
I grew up in a place called Potter Valley where the Milky Way is held aloft by a circle of mountains and the central business district consists of a bait store and a saloon. At 19 I moved alone to London and spent the next ten years exploring the world, even becoming an Australian citizen, before I returned to California and found a new home in Los Angeles. My world revolves around my two wee children, storytelling, and my love of travel.
Dating Dracula Kinsley Adams
(Dating Monsters, #1)
Publication date: March 15th 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Paranormal, Romance
The Legend. The Immortal. My… Boyfriend?
You know, I really only had two goals in life:
1) Unearth the truth about vampires and,
2) Become hella famous.
Nowhere on that list did I have “die” or “get turned into a bloodsucker.” But guess what? Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Now, thanks to an unfortunate back-alley encounter, I’m the newest member of the undead country club (fangs, coffin, and all). And my savior? Sire? Whatever…
Freaking. Dracula. Himself.
Even stranger, he claims I’m his mate. Like… eternal love. But come on! I don’t have time for that. Not only do I need to track down my attempted murderer, but I also need to learn how to be a vampire. Falling in love is the last thing on my mind right now.
Too bad Dracula has other plans for me.
Fans of Dracula will love this new modern and chic take on the immortal legend himself. Scroll up and one-click now!
“I’m sorry,” she whispered with her back still to me. “I just…. You died, Anna. You’re dead.”
“Undead,” my savior clarified for like the third time.
“It’s still dead!” Lucy snapped.
Even I glared at him. Now wasn’t the time for his little comments.
“I—I don’t know how to handle all this. Do I grieve for you? Or celebrate the fact that you’re still walking around? You’re a vampire, Anna. For frick’s sake, do you know what that means? You drink blood, you sleep in a coffin… you aren’t you anymore. How am I supposed to handle this?”
My dead heart shattered. “You’re supposed to accept me as I am,” I said, struggling to keep my voice steady. “We’re sisters. Always. Forever.”
“Except always and forever means two very different things to us now,” she said.
I forced myself to swallow. From the sounds of it, Lucy was breaking up with me. Which almost made me laugh. She was my longest relationship ever. And she wanted to walk away from it? All because of an accident I had no control over?
I ran a hand down my face and turned toward my savior. Someone whose name I really needed to learn. I couldn’t keep referring to him as my savior or I was going to develop some major hero worship issues.
“Anna, I’m sorry,” Lucy repeated. “But I think I need some time to process all this.”
I nodded, all the while keeping my gaze trained on my savior. He was the only thing keeping me calm right now. The thought that I might lose my best friend over all this was too much. I couldn’t show her how much this hurt, because if I did, I might never recover. Lucy had stormed into a vamp club at my side, but apparently, she drew the line at death.
And honestly? I didn’t blame her. This time, tears really did spring to my eyes, but I blinked them back before they spilled. If I started crying, I had a feeling I’d never stop.
“I’m going to head back to the hotel,” she said. “I’ve been staying there the past few nights.” Wait, what? Past few nights? But before I could question that little tidbit, she continued speaking. “Do you want me to call your parents for you? Explain what happened?”
“No,” I rasped. That wasn’t her responsibility. If anyone was going to tell them about my transformation, it would be me.
“I’ll text you,” she mumbled, but her voice was already fading. She was leaving.
Text me. Ugh. Why not just tell me you hope we can still be friends?
I hated this. What happened to best friends forever? I’d like to think that if this had happened to her, I’d still be standing by her side. Lucy was my world. Nothing could have convinced me to leave her.
“I’m sorry” was her final comment before I heard the door shut.
I took a few minutes to absorb everything. Thankfully, my savior let me brood in silence. I appreciated that. I wasn’t in the mood to hear platitudes right now.
Once I was sure I had schooled my expression, I turned toward him and nodded. It was embarrassing to have someone witness a break-up, but there wasn’t anything I could do about that now.
I needed a distraction. I didn’t want to think about Lucy right now. I’d reserve that for later, when I was alone and could process everything myself. Instead, I stared up at him, once again stricken speechless when our gazes met. Why did I find him so enthralling? So fascinating? It felt like I could stare at him for hours.
Clearing my throat, I rubbed the bridge of my nose and asked, “Well, do you have a name?”
His brows shot upward, and an amused smile claimed his lips, exposing the tips of his fangs. Intrigued, I reached for my own, poking them with my fingertip. They must have been what scraped my tongue earlier. Seemed they were a permanent fixture too. I’d have to remember that when talking and laughing. Vampires might be public knowledge now, but as seen by Lucy, humans weren’t one hundred percent ready to accept them yet.
“Forgive me,” he said, his voice deliciously rumbly. “I’m so accustomed to being recognized wherever I go that I often forget to introduce myself.”
So, he was like vampire royalty or something?
Fangs still peeking out from behind his lips, he gave an old-fashioned bow, one he executed flawlessly, then peered at me through long, dark lashes. I shit you not, the boy almost breathed life back into me. He was just that gorgeous.
“My name is Vlad.” He took my hand and lifted it to his lips before brushing a gentle kiss across my knuckles. “But most know me as Dracula.”
I wish I could say I absorbed that information with grace and poise. But that would have been a lie. Instead, I burst out laughing, and said, “No shit!”
Kinsley Adams is a thirty-something-year-old author who stopped counting when she turned twenty-five. When she isn’t writing uproariously hilarious romantic comedies, she’s raising her womb-gremlin with the hopes that he might one day become the world’s first Supreme Leader.
Things I Learned in the Night is a beautifully illustrated tribute to young love in a society that so often tries to invalidate it. Many of the poems in this book are exquisitely woven with nature imagery; a subtle reminder that through our struggles and joys we must all remember to take deep breaths and run in the rain every now and then.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
I did enjoy this poetry collection as it was in the same vein as some that I have recently liked, but a lot of it felt too similar to other poets that I read from. There were a few poems that definitely felt poignant and new, but many were very similar to those using the same subjects. The language used is definitely beautiful and there is a good development of imagery in the poems themselves. For a poetry collection it was good and enjoyable, but again was too similar to other collections I have read to be a stand out for me personally.