Blitz | Shopping for a CEO’s Honeymoon by Julia Kent

Shopping for a CEO’s Honeymoon
Julia Kent
(Shopping for a Billionaire, #14)
Publication date: July 15th 2018
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

He says we never had a proper honeymoon.

So, instead, he’s giving me… a prepper honeymoon?

Who knew billionaire preppers were a thing?

I guess I’m about to find out.

Julia Kent’s New York Times bestselling romantic comedy series continues in Shopping for a CEO’s Honeymoon as Andrew and Amanda settle in to married life… and so much more.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play / Audible / iTunes / Amazon Audible

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EXCERPT:

Amanda

It’s Monday.

Our home looks like the set for Extreme Home Makeover, except there’s no bus to move and all of the workmen act like I’m invisible as I wander downstairs after waking up naked in an empty bed.

I throw on clothes and am down the stairs when I spot my husband.

“What is going on?” I ask Andrew, who is huddled over blueprints with some guy who looks like he runs a union hall in South Boston. Tight eyes, distrustful look, goatee, and an intensity that makes it clear you want him on your side.

Andrew breaks away, kisses my cheek, and gives me a saucy half grin. “Just like you wanted. Here we go.”

“Here we go what? We barely talked about what we wanted!”

“We did,” he says, suddenly defensive. “In bed,” he whispers.

“What I want in bed has nothing to do with tile colors and three-season sunrooms!” I say.

Loudly.

“The guys aren’t working on anything like that,” he hisses as a few workmen suppress smiles. “We’re putting in new backup systems.”

“Backups for what?”

“Power outages. Acts of God. Hurricanes. Bomb cyclones that leave six feet of snow.”

I snort. “What, no alien contingency plan? Got a blueprint for a universal extraterrestrial language translator in there?”

Andrew reddens and avoids eye contact.

I frown. “Andrew?” I grab his arm and pull him aside, his muscles tense. “What are you doing? This isn’t how I envisioned remodeling and spending our honeymoon. For one, we didn’t have sex that second time this morning.”

He looks at the clock. “It’s only 7:53. Plenty of time for that.” He grabs me at the waist and pulls me close, trying to divert me with a kiss.

It works.

“We’ve got the geothermal heat unit figured out, and when we redo the gutter system and the roof, in addition to the solar panels, we’ve got an evaporation system set up for clean water collection. Storage is next,” he says to me.

“All that in the first hour of work?” I’m stunned.

“I’m efficient. Two weeks of my focused attention is like five years of a normal human
being’s time.”

“Efficient and humble. I love that in a man.”

“You’d better, because you’re stuck with me forever.”

“Is that a threat or a promise?”

I get a pat on the ass in response.

Author Bio:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. Since 2013, she has sold more than 1.5 million books, with 4 New York Times bestsellers and more than 16 appearances on the USA Today bestseller list. Her books have been translated into French and German, with more titles releasing soon. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men’s room toilet (and he isn’t a billionaire). She lives in New England with her husband and three children in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever, down.

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Life Update | November is Hard

Hey everyone. I’m sure some have noticed that not as many reviews have been going up as I usually post and there is a reason for that. In my everyday life I deal with a lot of things, my job is very stressful and busy and I have a number of autoimmune/invisible illnesses. I don’t talk about this a lot as it’s just not something I like to get into. That being said, that’s some of what I deal with on a daily basis and I do my best to maintain.

On top of all this I recently had a death in the family that was a big blow. It was a diagnosis that came on fast and was unexpected, and was found too late to really combat. My family is hurting right now and I’m doing my best to keep those closest to me on a somewhat even keel. So…while I’ve still been posting daily, I haven’t been finishing a ton of books. I’m in the middle of multiple books that I’m working hard to finish, but maintaining the normal things I’m juggling and then experiencing this has really knocked me down.

I debated even making this post as I don’t share a ton of my personal life on here, but wanted to explain and say that more reviews are on the way as well as other fun posts. I very much try to keep a happy face on for you guys and want to keep that content coming.

Yes, I’m still doing nanowrimo, but will have a lot of catching up to do at the end of the month. Once I’m a bit more centered I will do a post to update on that front as well.

Here’s a picture of Calypso saying hi to hold everyone over.

Happy reading!

Blitz | Merry Ex-Mas by Elizabeth Janette

Merry Ex-Mas
Elizabeth Janette
Publication date: November 10th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday, Romance

It’s been ten years since Delaney Silverman last stepped foot on the Silver Bells Christmas Tree farm her family owns and operates, but when her father dies, she has no choice. Even if it means mending fences with her estranged mother. The last thing this reformed wild-child-turned-Manhattan-marketing-pro has in mind, though, is a second chance at first love. But after life brings her face to face with the sexy, ex-fiancé neighbor boy, she realizes he’s everything she never knew she needed.

Travis Harper knows two things to be true: 1. It’s time to adopt his foster daughter and build a custom home life for themselves, and 2. Laney Silverman is the last woman he’d ever trust with their hearts, even if she is everything he’s ever wanted. Especially since she has a bad habit of walking away from him.

Will twelve days be enough to give two former lovers a Merry Ex-Mas?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Releasing her grip on the luggage, Laney wrapped her arms around her mom, pulling her into an awkward embrace.

Ruth stiffened. “What . . . are you doing?”

“Hugging you. Apparently it’s what people do when they’ve lost someone they love.”

“Yeah, well, stop it. I don’t need your sympathy.”

Whatever emotion Travis thought he saw when looking at Laney’s mother, it wasn’t there now. When she drew back and studied Ruth’s face, no tears clouded her eyes. No grief etched her expression. Only annoyance, pure and simple. Like always. Laney dropped her arms. Same old Mama. Lovable as a freaking porcupine.

Deep breath, girl. You can do this. For Dad. She peered up at the house. Despite the generous square footage of the single-story bungalow-style house, from the outside, the home appeared smaller, darker without her father’s presence. She swallowed hard to dislodge the lump of grief wedged in her throat and forced herself to enter the house.

Crossing the threshold tugged at the threads of memories she’d kept squirreled away. Not all of them welcome. It took only one whiff of the familiar cinnamon coffee scent before the years magically melted away, and she was eighteen again, chafing at the bit, dying for just one ounce of the freedom her friends possessed.

Laney shook off the ghosts that held her hostage and tried to only focus on the positive memories. The ones with her dad.

As she made her way through the living and dining room toward her old bedroom, a smile pulled at her lips as fond memories bubbled up. She’d been closest to her father and everywhere her gaze landed brought forth an image of him to warm her heart. Fingers drifted over the couch, threadbare now but still located in the same place against the wall. Her father’s most-coveted possession, a black leather recliner, nestled in the corner of the living room. The mantle above the stone fireplace where Christmas stockings once hung. The oil paintings of snow-covered barns in the middle of a forest.

An image of her father wafted through the recesses of her mind. Happy and smiling. The world could be falling apart around him, and he’d still be as jolly as good old St. Nick. Hard to believe he was gone. The urge to cry swelled, but she tamped it down like a good girl and turned away, plastering a smile on her face.

“Where on Earth are you going?”

“To my bedroom.”

Your bedroom?” Her mama tsked. “Good heavens, child, it stopped being your bedroom ages ago when you moved out.”

Laney used a foot to push open the bedroom door and stopped dead. “Good Lord Almighty, Mama, what have you done?”

It was like Santa’s workshop had materialized right in the middle of the room. Her mouth hung open as she gawked at the atrocity. Where once stood a vanity filled with cheap cosmetics only a teenager would buy, now a fake Christmas tree loomed, wilting under the weight of too many ornaments. Garland hung from the high shelf spanning the top of all four walls. A toy train chugged its way around the room. A workbench sat along one wall with a dozen or so holiday crafts waiting to be finished. The walls had been stripped of the soft turquoise blue hue her sixteen-year-old self had painstakingly selected, and replaced with a dreadful shade of gold that mirrored the tree ornaments.

And her daybed? Nowhere to be found. The half dozen or so NSYNC and Jonas Brothers rock band posters were conspicuously missing too. Gone were her hot-pink curtains, fuzzy beanbag, and black shag rug as well as anything remotely resembling her teenage years. All signs of her life there had been erased.

She’d been erased.


Author Bio:

Born to parents who loved to read, it’s no surprise Elizabeth Janette’s lifelong love of literacy led her to become both a teacher and a writer. In fact, writing about getting RIF’d from her teaching job in the 2008 recession is what led her to publish an essay about the experience. From then on, she was hooked. Now days, when she’s not teaching sassy 5th graders, Elizabeth Janette writes romance that both sizzles and thrills. And when she’s not teaching or writing, she works for her local chapter of the National Writing Project teaching teachers how to teach writing. Visit http://www.elizabethjanette.com to connect and sign up for her newsletter.

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Review | Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw

Cassandra Khaw’s Nothing But Blackened Teeth is a gorgeously creepy haunted house tale, steeped in Japanese folklore and full of devastating twists.

A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.

It’s the perfect wedding venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends.

But a night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare. For lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart.

And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I absolutely loved the premise of this story, I’m always up for a haunted house story, but I was a little disappointed by the final product. This was one of those novellas that left me wanting more. I wanted more backstory on the relationships between the five main characters as well as on the house itself. We are given the bones of the story behind the mansion and little tidbits here and there but I definitely wanted more.

I did really enjoy the writing style and all the details about the house itself. The descriptions of the house as it changed over time and the things that happened were suitably creepy and easy to imagine in the mind’s eye.

Overall I did enjoy the story as it was, but I would have loved to have so much more.

Happy reading!

Cover Reveal | Glory Unbound by Deborah L. King

Glory Unbound
Deborah L. King
(Glory Bishop, #2)
Publication date: December 14th 2021
Genres: Women’s Fiction

IN THIS SECOND BOOK of the series, Glory Bishop has finally broken free of her mother’s oppressive grasp and is offered a new life by a seemingly altruistic Chicago socialite, but there may be more than good intentions at play. Against the advice of trusted friends and family, Glory chooses the protection of Malcom Porter, her adoring, much older, bad-boy-turned-minister fiancé.

Thrust into a gilded world of wealth, society and privilege, Glory struggles to overcome the guilt of loving her new life. The whirlwind of 1980s designer clothing, penthouse views, and first-class travel is a far cry from her former existence.

With this new reality, comes unexpected complications and temptations. As she struggles to remain true to herself and her fiancé, Glory wonders if she will ever truly feel at home in this new world. Follow Glory Bishop in her continuing search for freedom and independence, as she once again strives to be her own savior.

Add to Goodreads / Pre-order


Author Bio:

Deborah King has been a writer and storyteller her whole life. She published her first short story when she was seven years old. When she’s not writing, Deborah enjoys cartoons, cooking, photography, and Star Trek. Born and raised in Chicago, Deborah has managed to achieve all of her childhood dreams and still lives in the area with her husband and two youngest children. According to her daughter, she has “literally aced her life!”

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Review | All My Friends are Ghosts by S.M. Vidaurri

Effie is lost and only feels like a ghost – till she discovers an actual ghost school in the nearby woods and begins an unforgettable journey of self-discovery.

Effie is lost, and feels like a ghost. She skips school because she doesn’t think anyone will notice, and doesn’t feel like she belongs, or that school offers her anything that she wants. Simply, she has stopped trying. One day, when she realizes no one will notice, she escapes from her every day life… and discovers a ghost school in the nearby woods. But just as she’s beginning to learn all about the amazing things that ghosts can do – like possession, poltergeist-ing, demon magic and more – Effie is asked by her new friends to help track down a mysterious spirit that’s been spotted. But if Effie’s going to succeed, she’ll not only have to show her friends that she’s got something special,but also learn to believe she’s got it too.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is a cute middle grade graphic novel about Effie, who is very awkward and a bit of an outcast among her peers. She feels out of place at school so one day she skips and discovers a world that exists within the nearby forest, making friends with an odd group of ghosts and deciding to try out their school. She’s sure she will fit in there, but learns some hard lessons along the way. This is great for younger audiences, especially if they are having a hard time figuring out where they fit in. Effie learns a lot about interacting with others and what friendship really is. It also teaches the lesson that sometimes you have to work to make friends and that it’s give and take and not always easy.

Happy reading!

Blitz | Ruby Island by Stephanie Ruth

Ruby Island
Stephanie Ruth
Publication date: November 12th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

First impressions are hard to shake…
Big-headed ex-rugby star, Daniel Dante, refuses to believe a word celebrated ceramicist Kanako Janssen says, though why her new landlord’s opinion bothers her so much is anyones’s guess. She has enough to worry about, with her soon to be ex-husband refusing to sign divorce papers, Daniel’s dog appearing regularly to freak her out, and an exhibition date looming.

Kanako is everything Daniel isn’t, and nothing he’s used to. Trust doesn’t come easily to a player who’s been burnt so publicly before, but if he can’t learn to lean on this fresh-faced, quirky artist, he could well lose her altogether.

Like the swallows, Kanako’s only in Otago for the season. But willing or not, the self-proclaimed introvert is being slowly absorbed into small town life on the lake, and she’s in grave danger of falling in love with it.

RUBY ISLAND is the second story in Stephanie Ruth’s Otago Waters series, set in the beautiful South Island of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Each book stands alone, but reading them in order provides a deeper experience. Intended for readers who enjoy their feel-good romance on the steamy side, and promising a happily ever after.

Sign on to Stephanie Ruth’s newsletter to receive bonus short stories, prologues, epilogues, and cut scenes set in the same world, with the characters you love. www.stephanie-ruth.com

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“Imagine I hold in my hand a small, but very potent syringe of truth serum…” Holding his thumb and forefinger a little apart, Rugby twisted his hand from side to side as if shaking up invisible contents. “There’s just enough for two doses.” Flicking the veins of his inner elbow, he looked directly at Kana as he mimed the injection sliding into his vein. “Ahhh…” The grimace of mock pain made her smirk.

When he loosened up, he was almost likeable.

Almost.

Rugby put down his half-biscuit on the paper bag and held out his hand.

“Your turn.”

“What? No.”

“Don’t you want to play?” he spoke with deceptive softness, eyes challenging.

Kana blinked at him, unsure where this was going, or why Rugby was putting in the effort to hook her into his silly game. She slowly extended her arm towards him anyway.

Expecting him to mime the injection sliding into her inner elbow, like he’d done to himself, she faltered when he took her wrist again, trailing one large thumb across the faint blue of the sensitive skin. She had just enough time to wonder if he could feel her pulse skitter in reaction to the intimate touch, before he plunged the imaginary truth serum into her vein.

“It takes a moment for it to kick in.” Rugby continued with the pretence, releasing her arm as he leant back on his hands, out of her personal space but still holding her gaze. “Okay, here comes my truth. I find you very attractive. In fact, you’re stunning. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you. Not since that first time at the lake, when you took your sunglasses off and scowled down your nose at me.”

Seriously?

Kana stared at him.

Yup. Rugby appeared to be dead serious.

He’d been so much easier to deal with when he was wishing her off his property. This close-contact charm-offensive was much more focussed in its assault, and a lot more confusing.

“Ah, thank you, Mr Dante. Mr… ah, Daniel… D. Flattering, but—”

“Your serum should be taking effect about now,” Rugby interrupted, somewhat grim.

“Right.” Kana hugged her knees to herself again. No point in hanging back. If she were upfront and honest, it’d clear the air and perhaps get their landlord-tenant relationship back on an even playing field.

She looked sideways at him. “I don’t want to be attracted to you.”

The statement had the opposite effect to what she’d been expecting. Rugby broke into a slow and beatific grin.

But… you are?”

“That’s not what I said,” Kana negated; realising belatedly it was exactly what she’d implied. And, to be honest, exactly how she felt.

“I’m just out of a long-term relationship, and not looking for any complications.”

“Who said I was aiming for complicated?”

“Just telling you where I stand.” She rose with purpose, grabbing her empty cup with her free hand. She hadn’t made it two steps when Rugby blocked her path. “What are you doing?” she snapped, agitation mounting.

“Did you know who I was when we first met?”

“No.” she shook her head to confirm. “There wasn’t any mention of a landlord on the application information.”

“On the application…?” Rugby shadowed her speech with a frown. “The artist in residence form?”

She nodded.

The confusion on Rugby’s forehead began to clear. “No, I meant did you know… You know what? It doesn’t matter. I think you just answered that. Why did you pretend to be a tourist?”

Kana drew a big, dramatic sigh. “I tried to explain this already. You made out like I was a tourist.”

“I did not. I asked you if you were lost. Polite-local-guy helps woman-with-open-map. Woman thinks, who is this hot guy?” Rugby grinned. “It was a very simple plan.”

“Well, I wasn’t lost,” Kana muttered, a little incensed he was finding this funny.

“But you did think I was hot?”

There he went with his big ego again. She moved to step around him.

“One more question. Did you take my Saturday newspaper?” The words were softer this time, like they meant more.

Kana hesitated only for a moment. “Yes. Sorry. I used it for clay without thinking.”

“You read it first, though.” It was a statement, not a question.

“No. I don’t read the paper. It’s too depressing. I needed it as stuffing for a hand-built piece.” Kana frowned, thinking back. “There is one bit I remember though. A headline. ‘Doctors Fail To…’ I don’t know what they failed to do, because I’d already ripped that piece out and used it. It’s been bugging me ever since.”

“Has it now?” Rugby considered her with an intent gleam.

“It has. Yes.”

“There’s something I’ve failed to do.” The corner of Rugby’s mouth tugged back up into a smile, and Kana was conscious of a faint warning bell in her head. There was something very unpredictable about this man. “One more minute of your time. I’ve been wanting to try something out…”

His hands moved to her shoulders and rested lightly, and Kana could’ve pulled away from him when she realised what he intended to do. Those hazel eyes told her exactly what he was up to. Instead she stood stock-still as Rugby’s head lowered, and his lips slid softly atop hers.

Author Bio:

Award winning New Zealand contemporary romance novelist and short story writer, Stephanie Ruth lives in the South Island, Te Waipounamu, with her husband, three children, and an ever expanding array of animals. If it doesn’t have a happy ending in some form or other, Stephanie’s not writing it.

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Giveaway Reminder | Halloween Giveaway Ends Soon

Hey everyone! Don’t forget that the Halloween Giveaway ends on Monday!

Here are the details, one person will win a book of their choice up to $15 from Book Depository (or Amazon if the winner is in the US). This is available internationally as long as book depository ships to you. For the blog giveaway there are a number of ways to enter, for which I’ve set up a rafflecopter.

Click Here to Enter!

Now for the twitter part – I’m holding a second giveaway (for the same prize) on twitter! You can enter both giveaways, but there will be two separate winners. You can enter the twitter giveaway by retweeting the giveaway tweet AND following me on twitter (if you already follow that counts of course).

Both giveaways will end on 11/15 and I will contact the winners at that point.

Thanks so much and happy reading!

Cover Reveal | Midnight Rendezvous by Anya Summers

Midnight Rendezvous
Anya Summers
(Dungeon Singles Night, #5)
Publication date: December 21st 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

She is untouchable. Forbidden.

His best friend’s stunning, maddening, and deeply stirring younger sister has always been completely off limits. Asher has been fighting the clawing desire to touch her for years.

But when Emilia unexpectedly appears at his office with danger stalking her, he can’t say no.
She chose to ask him for help. For protection. Asher will shield her with both his body and his badge and suffer in agony as he keeps his hands to himself.

Yearning for her surrender, craving her passion, is wrong. He made a vow to her brother never to touch her, and he is a man of his word. A man of honor.

Emilia made no such promise. She craves Asher’s touch.

Even if the heat they generate incinerates them both.

Goodreads / Amazon / iBooks


Author Bio:

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Anya grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Anya never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Anya is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance under the name Maggie Mae Gallagher. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

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Blitz | Cambion’s Law by Erin Fulmer

Cambion’s Law
Erin Fulmer
(Cambion, #1)
Publication date: November 9th 2021
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Lawyer. Demon. Lily Knight is both—half-human, half-succubus, and utterly dangerous.

Lily protects her secret and the safety of those around her by abstaining from the skin-to-skin contact that would grant her superhuman powers. An ambitious criminal prosecutor, she’s all work and no play, determined to prove herself in the courtroom to atone for the ex-lovers she’s left for dead in her past.

But after a fellow succubus turns up murdered and the police arrest an innocent man, Lily discovers evidence of a supernatural killer stalking the foggy San Francisco streets. And when human justice falls short, she launches an unsanctioned investigation to find the real culprit. To stop the killer, she must embrace the full power of her heritage and risk the soul of the handsome suspect she can’t help but fall for. Can Lily face her true nature without losing her humanity—or will she become the monster she fears most of all?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

I stole a glance at the two humans waiting with me at the coffee kiosk and stifled a groan. If I had my way, I’d make PDAs before six a.m. a first-degree misdemeanor.

Quite a hill to die on, huh? Of course, I’d have to leave the D.A.’s office and run for Congress first, but the pithy single-platform campaign slogans wrote themselves: Elect Lillian Knight and Make Singles Jogging Safe Again. Stop Criminal Canoodling. Think of the children—and have mercy on the celibate-by-choice cambion lurking uncomfortably behind you in the coffee line.

Alas, even a half-demon like me didn’t have that kind of power. And my powers of glaring didn’t stop the middle-aged couple in the cafe’s outdoor waiting area from mooning over each other.

I wrapped my arms around myself and set my jaw. This early on a dreary weekday morning, I should have had the park to myself, free from lovestruck tourists and their sloppy, tantalizing energy. And yet, here stood these two grown adults in their puffy jackets, snuggling together like teenagers and harshing the living hell out of my happy place.

Maybe I didn’t need a caffeine fix before my run. Never mind the biting Pacific gusts blowing off the choppy gray waves of the strait, the thick fog blanketing the rust-orange span of the Golden Gate Bridge, or the gritty haze that clouded my brain after another sleepless night.

I could live with all of that. San Francisco’s fog couldn’t rival the Pennsylvania winters I’d grown up with, even after eight years of acclimation. Insomnia and I had an intimate, long-term relationship. And the cold didn’t get under my demon-tough skin like the two walking heart-eye emojis in front of me.

I licked my lips and slapped my change on the counter. Oblivious to my jonesing, the lovebirds entwined their hands and leaned into each other, a bulwark of two against the chill. I turned away, but their mutual desire thrummed in the air around me like a pair of plucked guitar strings tuned to one another. Its sweetness settled, thick and cloying, at the back of my throat.

Damn my succubus senses. They didn’t help anything, and they never knew when to quit.

The synesthetic song of the human couple’s desiderata—the energy of their deep-seated needs and desires—didn’t hold any secrets simple human perception would have missed. Still, their two-part harmony tugged at me. I’d have given a limb, maybe two, to turn it off at will, but no one was buying. Swallowing hard, I grasped at straws: stocks, sports, anything unsexy and boring. The Giants had done well this season, right?

No good. The desiderata behind me hummed all the louder, a tangible vibration running up my spine like a live wire. I risked another peek over my shoulder and winced. The man had bent toward the woman, the breeze ruffling his salt-and-pepper hair. She tilted her head up, lips parted, face aglow, ready for his kiss.

“Screw this,” I muttered, and broke into a run.

The barista’s call floated after me. “Quad cappuccino for Lily?”

I didn’t stop. Bye bye, six hard-earned dollars I paid for the abandoned drink. Too bad, so sad for my wallet, but it wasn’t worth the cost to my peace of mind and my succubus sobriety.

The rhythm of my sneakers on the hard-packed earth of the upper trail beat out a staccato counterpoint to the hiss of the surf and the blood pounding in my ears. About halfway into the grove of cypress and eucalyptus that lined the trail, I hit my stride. The trees blurred into a gray-green smear on either side of me, and the siren call of human desiderata faded away.

And then I tripped over something heavy and dense that lay across the trail and went sprawling face-first into the dirt.

The wind knocked out of me, I lay still for a few seconds, tonguing my split and swelling lip. It leaked a coppery tang tainted with bitter earth into my mouth. My palms stung where I’d flung them out to catch my fall.

I rolled over and the gray sky wheeled above me in a dizzy lurch. Damn it, had I hit my head? A concussion would make this a real banner week. I could heal faster than humans did, but to recover from a serious injury, I would need more than strong coffee. I would have to break a vow I’d made to myself and take kether—human life force, the fuel my powers depended on, transferred by touch and emotional connection from their bodies to mine.

Author Bio:

Erin Fulmer is a life-long writer, real-life social justice warrior (i.e. legal services lawyer), politics junkie, and general bookworm. She lives in sunny California with her husband and two demanding cat daughters. She is currently at work on the sequel to her forthcoming debut urban fantasy, CAMBION’S LAW (11/9/2021, City Owl Press).

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