It Started with a Dance Tinia Montford
(Pacific Grove University, #2)
Publication date: July 28th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
WILL THEY PULL OFF THE PERFECT PERFORMANCE?
It’s double time for Cami Clinton…
Dance is in Cami’s blood, but a bombshell diagnosis puts her on the sidelines. Now returning for her senior year of college, she’s determined to prove she is the dancer she once was. Each year, at the end of the semester, the campus hosts a dance festival. Cami knows this is her shot at redemption, but while at a party, things go horribly wrong and Cami suddenly has a new boyfriend: Marsh Lincoln.
Marsh Lincoln has two left feet…
He doesn’t dance. A nasty accident haunts Marsh and he’s just ready to graduate. Until he’s told he’s missing credits. The only class left to fill his missing credits? Ballroom dancing. To make matters worse, his girlfriend breaks-up with him in front of everyone at a party, leaving him with a new girlfriend he’s never met before…
It takes two to tango…
Acting like the perfect couple isn’t easy when you’ve just met. When the lines between what’s real and pretend blurs, they have to ask themselves: Can you catch feelings for something that’s all pretend?
Girl, don’t do it; it’s not worth it. Don’t do it… Don’t do it, Cami. Last time was supposed to be it! Don’t…
Paper crinkled under Cami as she shifted on the exam table, facing the cabinet on the wall. It held a box of gloves, a thermometer, an otoscope, and the little disposable thingies that went with it. She exhaled shakily and squeezed her eyes shut. I swear I’m just thinking about stealing the doctor’s glove; I’m not gonna do it. Last time was it… They are good for cleaning. It would be awful if Devin had to bail me out of jail for stealing gloves in a doctor’s office. I’ll get expelled from school and be forced onto the mean streets of the Tenderloin. I’ll have to fight cats for chicken bones and steal cough syrup to stay high.
Cami’s karma was shot to hell based on her last six months of existence. She didn’t want the big man upstairs to send a bolt of lightning down to obliterate her.
She would be good…
Pushing herself up, she strained to hear any footsteps in the hall. The doctor wouldn’t notice a few missing gloves, would she?
Her phone dinged twice with a text message. It was her best friend, Deja. Saved by the bell.
Where are you?? I thought we were getting lunch? Winter and I are in the restaurant.
Cami slapped her forehead. How could she forget? It was their annual back-to-school tradition. Lunch in Japantown and mochi ice cream afterward. A staple in their friendship since freshmen year and even more important since last semester.
I had to meet with my adviser. Let’s meet for dinner?
Deja’s reply was instant.
Fine. Take a sneak pic of your adviser. Clark is foine.
Cami hung her head. Why did I lie? Deja and Winter, her best friends, knew about her hospital stint. They visited her every day until they had to go home for summer break, right before she finally received her diagnosis. Cami still couldn’t utter the words chronic disease…
She told herself she would confess to them, but when the moment came, she found herself saying viral infection instead. Each time after that, the lie flowed easier and it became harder and harder for her to backpedal. She told herself lying was for a good reason. Cami was tired of being the one people needed to look after. She was reinventing herself after this setback, presenting herself as independent and poised. Even if it was a façade.
Anxiety churned in her stomach, and she hoped her doctor would come back with the results she wanted. A glance at her phone let her know the time.
How long had she been sitting here? Twenty or thirty minutes? It was the first day of the semester, and Cami wasn’t letting it slip through her fingers. It was late August and freezing in San Francisco because of the coastal fog and wind. She tugged at the pink chunky sweater she’d paired with a skirt and combat boots. She pulled her knotless braids over her shoulder, biting her lip with a glance at the door before she pushed herself off the exam table.
“I’m just gonna take one. I’ve been through a lot,” she muttered, justifying the petty theft.
Cami plucked a glove from the box and held her breath as if alarms would sound. Once the coast was clear, she took another. Then another. Her hands were full as someone knocked at the door. She squealed, dropping some contraband as she darted across the room and shoved the gloves into her book bag, and plopped her butt back on the exam table, winded from that simple yet covert act.
She tried placing a neutral expression on her face, hoping it didn’t reveal how fast her heart was beating, or her fear that a minor sprint consumed most of her energy.
The door opened, and her doctor’s head appeared. “Camille?”
The last time Cami was in a hospital, besides her own illness, she found out her father had died. Of course, she didn’t remember this. She had been a toddler; her mother and brother recounted the story solemnly to her years later. It was a good enough excuse to avoid hospitals ever since.
Dr. Aguilar almost changed her mind about hospitals. The older woman’s aura of calmness and matronly appearance never failed to put her at ease. Bracelets adorning both arms and rings on all fingers. Plump. Graying hair. She smiled and her eyes went to the blue glove lying on the floor.
“The gloves fell out of the box…” That was a lame excuse.
Tinia (TUH-NIA) Montford is a Pisces who’s a sap for romance, especially when there’s (tons of) kissing. Loves eighties sitcoms and will consume anything with chocolate. She graduated from the University of San Francisco with a degree in English and Graphic Design.
She is a world traveler having climbed a volcano in Nicaragua, scaled Angkor Wat in the blistering sun, and roamed the Acropolis of Athens. Oh, she also dabbles in short stories occasionally.
If you can’t catch her writing, you can bet she’s overindulging on poke bowls, listening to the same four songs, or chilling with her adorbs doggie. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Fiction.
An enemies-to-lovers mash-up of THE HATING GAME and THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE-OFF, in which two rival hosts of a massively popular cooking show have to fake a relationship to save their careers after an explosive on-air fallout, only to find their feelings for each other becoming real.
Their feelings are about to boil over…
Chef Nina Lyon dreams of cooking her way to culinary stardom and becoming a household name. She thought hosting The Next Cooking Champ! was her golden ticket, but she and her co-host/arch-nemesis Leo O’Donnell go together like water and oil and he undercuts her at every turn.
So when Nina unexpectedly quits the show–on live TV, no less–to focus on her restaurant, she doesn’t anticipate the he-devil himself showing up at her door begging her to come back. Nor does she expect the paparazzi to catch them in what looks like a passionate kiss, but is actually Leo tripping into her. When the fans go crazy over Nina and Leo’s “secret romance”, keeping the ruse going might be the only way to save both their careers. That is, if they don’t kill each other first…
Perfect for fans of THE HATING GAME and Netflix’s GREAT BRITISH BAKE-OFF (…if Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood were hot thirty-somethings), FOR BUTTER OR WORSE is the escapist enemies-to-lovers romance we all need right now.
As soon as I saw the comparison to The Great British Bake Off I wanted to pick up this book. I have a fondness fo books that include food elements, so that right there had me hooked.
That being said, I actually enjoyed this book even more than I thought I would. Nina and Leo are both complex characters with a very complicated relationship. Because they are enemies they have a lot to work through and this book has a ton of different tropes at play from enemies to lovers to miscommunication, fake dating and more. I also appreciated the supporting characters such as Leo’s family, they brought an additional human element to the story.
Also, this story isn’t just a romance – there are a lot of real world issues that are tackled and presented not only in Leo and Nina’s relationship, but throughout the story itself. All in all it was a great read and I would definitely pick up more from the author.
ERIN LA ROSA is a writer living in Los Angeles. As a writer for BuzzFeed, she frequently writes about the perils and triumphs of being a redhead. Before BuzzFeed, Erin worked for the comedy websites Funny or Die and MadAtoms, as well as E!s Fashion Police, Wetpaint, and Ecorazzi. Erin has appeared on CNN, Headline News, Jimmy Kimmel, and The Today Show on behalf of BuzzFeed. She is the author of Womanskills and The Big Redhead Book.
When a cold-case serial killer returns, FBI special agent Fiona Kelly has one last chance to stop him before he claims the prize he’s always wanted—her.
The sight of a goose feather at a murder scene modeled after a children’s poem is enough to make FBI special agent Fiona Kelly’s blood turn to ice. Almost two decades ago, a feather was left with her sister’s body—and with every subsequent victim of the Nursery Rhyme Killer. Now he’s back. Only this time, his latest gruesome murder is a message to the only one who ever got away: Fiona.
Finding “Rhyme” is an obsession that’s fueled Fiona’s career—and destroyed her marriage to fellow FBI agent Asa Kodiak. Now Fiona and Asa have to put their past tensions aside and work together one last time. But Rhyme is watching, and catching this killer may force Fiona to reveal her biggest, darkest secret…the one only he knows.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
I hadn’t read from this author before, but the premise of the story had me hooked from the beginning. Right from the get go the story is intense and constantly driving forward as Asa and Fiona have to work together to try and catch the killer. There weren’t any characters which felt unneeded, everyone was very integral to the story. I was not expecting how dark the story would go, but couldn’t put it down. I obviously don’t want to say too much about the specifics of the story as I don’t want to spoil anything, but if you enjoy shows etc. that focus on serial killers then this would be up your alley. A compelling story/mystery/hunt for a killer along with fully developed characters that drove the story made this one an excellent read. I will definitely be picking up more from this author in the future!
Thank you again to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for any honest review.
Storms and Embers C.D. Britt
(The Reign of Goddesses, #3)
Publication date: November 8th 2022
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Archon of Zephyr.
Queen of the Goddesses.
A Broken Woman.
Hera has reigned over Olympus and humanity for millennia. Seen as cold, sarcastic, and callous, she uses this to her advantage, keeping everyone, including her sisters, at a distance. It’s a lonely life, but it worked, until the Titans decided that breaking her father out of Tartarus was a good idea. A move that put her and her sisters against the Titans in a battle for their thrones upon Olympus.
Dr. Viktor Alden understands being alone. As a man who has spent his immortal life as a nomad, living with an oath that has kept him from allowing anyone to really know him, he is fascinated by the enigmatic woman who quite literally runs the world. Too bad they have a battle they may not win, or even live through, for him to learn the intricacies that make up the Queen of the Goddesses.
Now, two people who have spent their entire lives distrusting the world must learn to trust each other if they want to survive the upcoming war.
Storms and Embers is the final book in the Reign of Goddesses series.
TW: violence, cursing, adult situations.
C.D. Britt began her writing journey when her husband told her she needed to use her excessive imagination to write stories as opposed to creating a daily narrative for him. Ever since she penned her first words, life has been a lot more peaceful for him.
She currently resides in Texas where she has yet to adapt to the heat. Her husband thrives in it, so unfortunately they will not be relocating to colder climates anytime soon.
Their two young children would honestly complain either way.
When she is not in her writing cave (hiding from the sun), she enjoys ignoring the world as much as her children will allow with a good book, music, and vast amounts of coffee (until it’s time for wine).
C.D. Britt is the author of Shadows and Vines and the upcoming book, Sirens and Leviathans.
Both books are part of the Reign of Goddesses series.
The small Oregon town of Pear Blossom welcomes the return of its prodigal daughter Ruby McKee. Found abandoned as a baby by the McKee family, Ruby is the unofficial town mascot, but when she and her adoptive sisters start investigating the true circumstances around her discovery, it soon becomes clear that this small town is hiding the biggest, and darkest, of secrets. A raw, powerful exploration of the lengths people go to protect their loved ones, for fans of Lori Wilde and Carolyn Brown.
Ruby McKee is a miracle.
It’s a miracle she survived, abandoned as a newborn baby. A miracle that she was found by the McKee sisters. Her discovery allowed the community of Pear Blossom, Oregon, broken by a devastating crime, to heal. Since then, Ruby has lived a charmed life. But she can’t let go of the need to know why she was abandoned, and she’s tired of not having answers.
Dahlia McKee knows it’s not right to resent Ruby for being special. But uncovering the truth about sister Ruby’s origins could allow Dahlia to carve her own place in Pear Blossom history… if she’s brave enough to follow her heart.
Widowed sister Lydia McKee doesn’t have time for Ruby’s what if’s – when Lydia’s right now is so, so hard. Her husband’s best friend Chase might be offering to share some of the load, but can Lydia ever trust her instincts around him?
Marianne Martin is glad that her youngest sister is back in town, but balancing Ruby’s crusade with the way her own life is imploding is turning into a bigger chore than she imagined. Especially when Ruby starts overturning secrets about the past that Marianne has spent a lifetime trying to pretend don’t exist.
And when the truth about Ruby’s miraculous origins, and the crime from long ago, turn out to be connected in ways no one could have expected, will the McKee sisters band together, or fall apart?
I’ve enjoyed the books I’ve read previously from Maisey Yates, so I was excited to pick this one up. I loved the setting, especially since it’s very similar to my neck of the woods. I did really like the individual personalities and situations of the three sisters, and the look at their past relationships as well as how their current relationships are being shaped through their experiences with each other. I also really enjoyed the mystery element that kept the story going and made it a read that flew by. Maisey Yates’ writing is easy to read and flows wonderfully, which also keeps the story moving at a great pace. All in all this was a read I really enjoyed.
Maisey Yates is a New York Times bestselling author of over one hundred romance novels. Whether she’s writing strong, hard working cowboys, dissolute princes or multigenerational family stories, she loves getting lost in fictional worlds. An avid knitter with a dangerous yarn addiction and an aversion to housework, Maisey lives with her husband and three kids in rural Oregon. Check out her website, maiseyyates.com or find her on Facebook.
Violins and Vampires CEE BEE
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: June 26th 2022
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Lexa Uznetsov is trapped To save my sister, I take on my father’s massive debt to Konstantin the Rus, leader of the New York Bratva. My life becomes a never-ending (and incredibly illegal) stakeout for the mob. There’s barely time to sleep, let alone find love. In desperation, I approach Caelin MacGregor, the handsome Scotsman who runs Empire Investments. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?
Caelin MacGregor is a lost king Ages ago, I ruled a clan of Bloodkin vampires. My people are born to wield magic, drain humans, and live forever. That’s all over now. I’ve been alone for a thousand years. Today, I no longer care about the sunrise, let alone truly desire a woman. Then, I look upon Lexa. My world turns upside down…
Vampires of the Daemonverse Series
1. Violins and Vampires
2. Veils and Vampires
3. Vixens and Vampires
4. Valor and Vampires
This time, I’m in the Big Apple Café, watching the apartment of Dr Khatun. It’s a lot of nursing the same cup of java while staring out a window.
Suddenly, a man pauses on the sidewalk outside. This isn’t just any guy, mind you, but Caelin MacGregor, the so-called King of Empire Investments. Rumors are, Vass is a ruthless in business and a bastard in general. I believe those tales. Then there are other whispers. Folks say Caelin is a vampire with mind control powers. I have a different opinion on that.
What a load of B-S.
Caelin pauses, giving me a chance to inspect him more closely. To say that Caelin is just handsome is like declaring that the Mona Lisa is simply a painting.
The slightest shiver rolls across Caelin’s shoulders. Inch by inch, he turns toward me. My pulse skyrockets. Our gazes meet.
Everything goes haywire.
Lights flash in the coffee shop. Street lamps pulse and crackle. A breeze strikes up out of nowhere. Mist pours across the floor. An electric shock of worry moves through my limbs.
This can’t be good.
Everything in the coffee shop goes dark, except for a few beams of moonlight. Moments pass as my eyes adjust. Once I can see clearly again, I can’t believe what’s around me. The cafe is empty. The street outside is deserted as well. The entire city appears dark and abandoned.
And I’ve changed, too. Now I’m sitting on the tabletop with my skirt up and legs parted. A man towers before me.
Maybe I should scream now or run for the exit, but I don’t. Instead, my entire being seems frozen in shock… Except for my ability to soak in more details of Caelin. Up close, this so-called king even more magnetic. A gentle scruff lines his chin. His face is framed with strong bone structure. His full lips appear ripe for a kiss. The gentle scent of musk and leather assaults me. It isn’t fair for this man to be gorgeous and smell good as well.
All this time, Caelin has been staring at me with a look that can only be described as worshipful hunger. Don’t get me wrong. I make side money in bikini contests. Getting ogled is nothing new. But I’ve never been visually devoured in the way that’s happening right now. The sheer intensity makes my core twist with desire. With every cell in my body, I want to touch the curl of hair at the base of Caelin’ neck. Some part of me screams that this whole situation is impossible.
More of me doesn’t care.
CEE BEE writes stories that blend epic fantasy, steamy romance, and lots of sass. If you want immersive tales that transport you to fresh worlds (and new book boyfriends) then you’ve come to the right author. To learn more about CEE BEE, please visit http://www.ceebeeauthor.com. Her new book, VIOLINS AND VAMPIRES, is available on Kindle Unlimited: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09ZYVCNC3
Micah the Unwilling, fae King of the Forgotten, can tame even the most violent of beasts. Forged on the battlefield, this iron-willed warrior considers his soldiers his family, and he will stop at nothing to reclaim their dispossessed land. Gearing for war with a sadistic enemy, he is disciplined and focused—until a feral beauty he encountered long ago wanders into his camp.
Viori de Aoibheall wields a terrifying ability to sing monsters to life. Having spent her childhood in a forest, raising herself and her frightening creations—the only friends she’s ever known—she’s ill prepared for the scarred royal and his fearsome brutality. Not to mention the ferocity of their connection and the carnality of his touch. But the real problem? Her brother is Micah’s greatest foe. And though the sensual king makes her burn, she must stop him, whatever the cost.
Fifteen-year-old Micah spun slowly, his jaw slack. What is this place? Spears of lightning forked across a dark sky heavy with darker clouds. Glowing silvery orbs hung from tree branches, illuminating a forest clearing he wished he hadn’t discovered. The eeriness of it all boggled the mind.
From the outside, thick white fog had enveloped the interlocking trees set in a wide circle. From the inside, however, he had an unobstructed view of the dried blood that stained the bark—and the faces carved within. Fierce expressions projected everything from dread to malice, and he shuddered.
Someone had gone to great trouble to make the gnarled giants resemble belua. Monsters of unimaginable strength, somehow birthed from the elements themselves. Able to live and breathe and walk among fae.
Micah tightened his grip on a makeshift dagger—a twig he’d sharpened with his teeth and what remained of his nails.
Beady eyes seemed to track his every movement as he trod deeper into the clearing. A large, moss-covered stone with a wide base and a flat top occupied the center of the ring. An altar?
A chilled breeze blustered past, rousing goose bumps on his skin. Scanning… The vibrant moss provided the only foliage here. There were no animals or insects. No other life whatsoever.
Death reigned here.
A crack of thunder boomed, punctuating his thought, and he almost jumped out of his skin. The next lightning bolt charged the atmosphere; electric currents pricked his spine. Micah dragged in the scent of ash and… What was that? Sweetness itself? A unique fragrance brimming with all the glories of the Summer Court. Sunshine, flowers and citrus.
His mouth watered, and his empty stomach protested. When had he last eaten?
Twig at the ready, he approached the stone and gathered a fistful of moss. The first bite proved bitter, the second more so. But as the greenery settled in his stomach, some of his pains faded; he only desired more.
He shoveled another fistful into his mouth, then another and another, unable to slow himself. For over a year, he’d wandered the wastelands of Astaria alone. Originally, he’d traveled with his guardian. A great warrior named Erwen. A great man, period. He’d found baby Micah inside a basket, and saved him from being eaten by trolls.
He bit his tongue, tasting blood. Erwen had died in battle with a belua. A massive snow beast in the Winterlands.
Micah had expected to perish alongside his guardian. A part of him had hoped to die. How he’d loved Erwen, his sole companion—the only person willing to be near him.
Like his guardian, Micah was a chimera. A rare fae born with dual glamaras that were constantly at odds. The clash created a negative force field around them. Unwanted by fae and humans alike. Feared by everyone. Known for scarring—outward evidence of weakness and a badge of shame.
Chilly wind rattled branches. Lightning peppered the sky, spotlighting— Micah froze, his breath hitched. Were their limbs untangling? Had the one to his left narrowed its eyes?
Genuine belua? Had he stumbled into a nest?
He dropped the newest handful of moss, preparing to bolt. But, from the corner of his eye, he perceived an array of color. Smooth gold. Vivid pink. Gleaming scarlet. He meant to glance, nothing more. A quick peek to ensure no one sneaked up on him. Instead, he stared and reared back, his eyes going wide.
Was he seeing what he thought he was seeing? Surely not. And yet…
Heart jumping, he lurched closer to the stone. Sucked in a breath. A girl. A fae. Exquisite. She slept upon the slab, seemingly growing from the surface. Or from the forest itself.
Lightning flashed, there and gone, showcasing a smattering of freckles, pink cheeks and cherry lips that were bowed in the center. Other details hit him, throwing him for loop after loop. They might be the same age. Flawless skin the color of sunlight, vibrant with life. Delicate features usually only found on royalty. A plain gown too short and tight to cover the abundance of shapely curves.
Who was she? Why was she here? What color were her eyes?
Excitement arced through Micah. Would she mind being friends with a chimera?
A rolling rumble precipitated the first splatter of rain. Cold droplets splashed his cheeks, and he grinned. Let the liquid soak him. What did he care? He’d uncovered a treasure of unsurpassed value.
The rain deluged her, too, her gown becoming transparent. Trembling suddenly more pronounced, he reached out to brush droplets from her cheek.
A rustle sounded behind him, and he wheeled around, ready to defend his prize. Too late. A tree loomed before him, and the truth hit, hard.
“Belua!” Hiding in plain sight.
A fat branch slammed into his head. He flew across the clearing, dropping his makeshift weapon when he crashed into another tree.
His lungs emptied. So dizzy. No time to recover. Another branch flung him in the opposite direction.
Ribs broke on impact, and agony seared him. Before he could rise, roots coiled around his ankle and attempted to eject him from the clearing. He clawed at the ground, determined to hold his position and shield the girl. Dirt and blood coated his tongue.
Bark scraped his spine. Limbs stabbed into different bones. Wheezing, fighting the urge to vomit, Micah rolled out of the way.
A limb pierced a vital organ, and an agonized scream burst from him. The pain! Then, suddenly, he was airborne, soaring across the expanse. When he landed, a world of darkness crackled open its jaw and swallowed him whole.
As Micah healed, he realized a startling truth. The monsters safeguarded the girl. They hadn’t attacked until he uncovered her. More than that, they hadn’t struck to kill him. Otherwise, he would be dead.
Why they guarded her—why they had shown him mercy—he didn’t know. But he wondered. Was little Red on that stone slab of her own volition or a captive?
There was one way to find out…
Micah returned to the clearing—to her—with a firm goal in mind. Befriend these belua. If he could join them, protect the girl until she awoke…
Was this a betrayal to Erwen and everything he’d stood for? Surely not. His guardian had lived by four rules.
Do no harm to the innocent. Protect what’s yours. Always do what’s right. Never be without a backup plan.
The sleeping beauty was vulnerable and in need of another fae. Just in case the trees held her against her will.
What better path to travel than keeping her safe?
Micah advanced on the creatures cautiously, both hands lifted. “You had every right to eject me,” he told them. In their minds, he’d committed a terrible offense. Touching a female without her willing consent. Or theirs. Now, he hoped to prove the innocence of his intentions. “I did your fair lady wrong. Allow me to present her with a gift of apology. And respect.” He revealed a red crystal he’d dug from the earth bright and early this morning. “So much respect.”
A prolonged hesitation followed his words, anticipation stealing his breath. Finally, the trees opened a doorway for him.
Giddy but remaining vigilant, he entered slowly, placed the present on a step leading to the altar and backed away. Rather than exit, he faced the largest of the bunch. “I mean her no harm, and I won’t touch her again. If you’ll let me, I’ll help you with her protection.”
He wasn’t immediately impaled, a good sign. Micah set up camp. As one week blended into another, the trees relaxed around him. As their tension faded, bright leaves budded, creating a vibrant paradise.
For the first time in Micah’s life, provision without price abounded. Various species of flowers, fruits and nuts flourished without cease, dropping from overburdened limbs.
Nourishment rained all hours. In offering or apology, he didn’t know which.
Morning and evening, he thanked his companions for the bounty. Never had Micah enjoyed such delicious meals. But…when will she awaken?
Fresh moss covered the girl, protecting her from sun, wind and rain. Her sweet scent magnified daily, coating the air; he considered every inhalation a precious gift.
How did she sleep so deeply? And why? For how long? Why did belua continue to protect her, no matter how much time passed?
Did she crave a friend? If the beautiful fae with freckles sought a fellow fae companion, shouldn’t he oblige her?
Longing gripped Micah. But you aren’t a fae, are you? Not exactly. He shifted in the bed he’d constructed with twigs and fallen hanks of moss. He just…he wanted to belong to someone. To be welcomed. Maybe even admired.
What did such affection even feel like? And what was the beauty’s name? Would she like his offerings? There were many.
Anytime a troll or centaur neared the clearing, Micah departed the ring to end the threat. He collected supplies left by the dead, amassing a treasure trove of weapons, dried meats, clothing, maps, coins and jewels. All for her. Well, mostly for her. He’d kept some of the clothing for himself, exchanging a filthy, tattered tunic and ripped leathers for higher quality garments. Even a cloak to help him hide the scars left by the tree attack.
Would she like him?
As he gathered an array of fruit for breakfast, he stole glances at her. For the first time, much of the moss withered, baring her fully. Morning sunlight lent her golden skin an otherworldly glow. Silken locks of auburn hair gleamed.
Curling black lashes cast spiky shadows over pinkened cheeks. Plump red lips with a bowed center and a stubborn chin added to her captivating allure.
The girl— Wait. Had that cherry mouth parted? Micah froze, every cell buzzing. Even the trees stilled, as if time suspended. Then…
A soft moan left her. The first sound she’d made since his arrival. Then she stretched her arms over her head.
He dropped the bundle in his arms, pink-and-red fruit thudding to the ground, rolling away. Startled by the noise, the girl jolted upright, auburn locks tumbling around her delicate shoulders. She blinked to orient herself.
His mind raced with a thousand thought fragments. Even more beautiful… jade eyes, brighter than the leaves…gown soon to tear apart at the seams…friend… Mine?
She turned, maneuvering her legs over the side of the bed. Standing. Stretching. As graceful as a swan he’d once spied in the Summer Court.
Micah stood in awe, utterly transfixed.
As if sensing him at last, she looked his way and gasped. Her mouth floundered open and closed, fright overtaking her expression.
He hurried to offer a reassurance. “I mean you no—”
A high-pierced scream burst from her. The most horrifying sound he’d ever heard. Sharp pains stabbed his brain, hot blood dripping from his ears. He slapped his palms over the blood-soaked shells, but it didn’t help.
The trees snapped to attention. In an instant, leaves wilted. Fruit dried up. The belua army lunged at him, and this time, they attacked to kill, stabbing and pummeling full force. Pain wracked him, each injury teaching him a new lesson in agony.
Deserve this. He’d foolishly shown favor to an enemy. Had thought to become friends with vessels of evil.
But the girl…
Will come back for her. The trees wouldn’t harm her. Even now, they kept her out of harm’s way. If she required freedom, Micah would free her. But first, he must survive.
He escaped the clearing, crawling out of range before collapsing in a beam of sunlight, eating dirt. Then the darkness came…
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over seventy books, including the acclaimed Lords of the Underworld series, the Gods of War series, the White Rabbit Chronicles, and the Forest of Good and Evil series. She writes sizzling paranormal romance, heartwarming contemporary romance, and unputdownable young adult novels, and lives in Oklahoma City with her family and menagerie of dogs. Visit her at GenaShowalter.com.
Spark of Madness Brynn Ford
(Ember Glen, #1)
Publication date: July 21st 2022
Genres: Adult, Dark Romance, Dystopian
In Ember Glen, men purge under the full moon. It’s the duty of women to serve them. When Mercy refuses to serve, Arlo will force her to find absolution through three brutal trials. But will their forbidden romance destroy their world?
Neglecting my duty to serve is a sin, and during the last full moon, I became a sinner.
He saw me run from my duty, chased me, and caught me.
He promised me that I would be punished.
But I never could have imagined the hellish fate that would be chosen for me. More than that, I never could have imagined the maddening lust that would spark between me and the man who caught me.
This passion is forbidden…and it might set us on fire.
It’s my role to catch the sinners, and Mercy sinned gravely.
I saw her and I chased her, drawn to her inexplicably.
She sparked something within me, but she had to be brought to judgment.
Her punishment is coming in the form of an archaic ritual we’re bringing back to make an example of her. I’ll be her warden, her keeper, the man to ensure she stays alive between her torturous trials.
Something within her brings out the worst of me…and the worst of me wants to ruin her.
AUTHOR NOTE: This is a dark romance series that involves many triggering elements which may be upsetting for some readers. A complete list of tropes and triggers can be found on the author’s website at brynnford.com/triggers.
SERIES NOTE:Spark of Madness is book 1 of 3 in the Ember Glen series and it ends on a cliffhanger. The author plans to publish all 3 books by the end of 2022. The trilogy follows Mercy and Arlo and must be read in order.
Book 1: Spark of Madness (July 21, 2022)
Book 2: Blaze of Misery (October 20, 2022)
Book 3: Embers of Mercy (December 29, 2022)
I rebelled from my soul’s purpose, and I was promised punishment.
He’s come to punish me.
As soon as the realization hits me, I scramble, kicking against the earth to push myself backward and crawl out from beneath him. He ignores me as I awkwardly rush to my feet and back away; instead, he bends to pick up my mother’s journal.
I lunge for it, but he jerks his hand away, holding the journal beside his head.
“Give that back.”
“No,” he says plainly.
He slowly lowers it in front of him, thumbing open the pages.
I lunge again to snatch it, but he only steps back, narrowing his eyes at me with his head tilted toward the pages. “Stop. Your property is my property now.”
What is he saying?
I’m entitled to have my own things.
Except, the Control has license to take authority over the personal property of sinners.
And I’m a sinner now.
I feel frozen as I watch him flip through the pages, reading a sentence here and there. A shiver runs up my spine despite the warmth of the sun, and I hug myself, running my hands up and down my arms. Movement in the distance catches my eye; standing at the tree line, at the edge of the meadow, are the other six members of the Control.
The notion of my death claws through my mind, scratching away all other thoughts.
Have they come to kill me?
Will I die today?
How will they do it? Burned at the stake like my mother?
“What is this?” Arlo asks, closing the journal and holding it up. “Is this your mother’s?”
I hear him, but I struggle to respond. The very essence of my being is trapped behind a thick wall of ice inside my mind, frozen and paralyzed to thoughts of punishment and death.
“Forget it,” he says with exasperation. “Come with me.”
He holds out his palm, covered with a black leather glove, and I stare at it as if it’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen, as if it’s the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen…because it is.
If I take his hand, he’ll lead me away, only I don’t know where to and I don’t know what will happen then. I don’t know if I’ll be hurt or tortured, or if I’ll be killed immediately.
I lift my gaze from his hand to meet his stare. “Are you going to kill me?”
His eyes are blue—bright blue, like the clear sky above. They sparkle as he watches me, waiting for me to take his outstretched hand.
I think it’s the first time I’ve ever really looked at him. I’ve only known him by name and in passing before the other night in the forest. I knew of him; I’d seen him and could identify him easily. But looking at him now, I know I’ve never truly seen him before.
“Not personally, and certainly not today,” he offers. “Come along now. We have things to discuss.”
He takes a step closer, and instinctively, I step back.
“What’s going to happen to me? Please. Can’t you just tell me now?”
“I’m not going to ask you again.” His offered palm twitches with threat. “We will drag you away if you insist on resisting.”
Part of me wants to resist. If my fate has already been decided—and I suspect it has—then resistance won’t change the outcome. Resisting might make me feel like I did something, that I at least tried. That part of me makes my knees bend with the urge to run.
Brynn Ford writes dark romance for daring readers. She is a lover of the dark, twisted, and playful, and strives to bring these elements into her stories.
When she isn’t obsessively writing, you may find her binge-watching favorite shows while eating far too much junk food or fanatically reading, always seeking to lose herself in the emotional roller coaster of a damn good story.
She’s a firm believer that her characters continue to live outside the pages in the minds of her readers. Stories don’t end just because there aren’t any more pages to turn.
Hey everyone! As you may know I have been tackling Camp Nanowrimo again and I’m glad to say that the July session is going far better than the April session. Mostly I’m bouncing between a few different projects and both writing new content as well as editing.
I’m mostly on track to hit 50k for the month, but it’s a soft goal so I’m not going to be upset with myself if I don’t hit it. Still, I’m at almost 25k words cumulatively, so I think if this upcoming weekend goes well I will be able to hit it.
Love You Again Julia Kent
(Love You, Maine, #2)
Publication date: July 19th 2022
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance
Set in the woodsy small town of Luview, “Love You,” Maine – a tourist favorite where every day is Valentine’s Day – local police officer and single dad Luke Luview has spent the last two years making his young daughter his priority after his wife’s death. When first-love Kylie Hood comes back into town under bizarre circumstances, he learns that nothing’s a coincidence – and maybe second chances are possible after all.
If you’re looking for a fun read about first kisses, second chances, featuring a hot single dad small town police officer and his accidental nanny, set in a small town in New England, with a golden retriever named Jester, a heroine whose dream in life is to run a fairy camp, and a hero who wants to build a place where everyone belongs – then this is your book.
Grab a cup of coffee, tea, and maybe some edible glitter, and get your happy meter ready as you read the second book in the Love You, Maine series – where love isn’t just a feeling – it’s a way of life.
✓Small town romance
✓Local police officer and his last-minute nanny
…and a Golden Retriever named Jester
A white puff of air filled the space between him and the steering wheel, and he realized he’d sighed. How long had he been sitting here, mind and memory in the past? Shoving his hands into gloves, he opened the rear door, grabbed the white plastic bag, and made his way to the front of the bin.
Determined, focused, and grim: That was Luke Luview these days. A bad match for a town that existed to make people feel good about love.
Living in Love You, Maine–heck, being a Luview–was never harder than when you had a broken heart.
Time to let go of some of the pain.
“AAAAAAooooooooo,” called out a band of coyotes in the distance, making Luke jolt. His personal weapon was at home. He didn’t carry it in the glove compartment or on his body when he was off duty, but as the coyote population grew in the area, maybe he should.
A few feet from the donation bin’s front, he looked at the lever to pull down, squeezing the bag slightly. A whiff of Amber’s perfume caught his nose, so faint he almost imagined it.
Colleen had washed all the clothes a few weeks ago, so he knew he imagined Amber’s scent. Didn’t matter. He’d take the illusion. That was how much he hurt.
A skitter inside the box made him frown.
Damn animals. They got in those bins all the time. He felt sorry for the poor sap who emptied these metal boxes, carting all the goods to the warehouse in Manchester where they cleaned and sorted, getting it all ready for the second-hand retail stores.
Just do this, he thought, swallowing hard as the coyotes mated in the distance. The sound was violent and creepy, but for whatever reason, it felt fitting.
Throwing the tangible reminders of that terrible day into the donation box felt dangerous, too.
“I love you, Amber,” he murmured. “But I have to let you go. Have to let that day go. Harriet needs a daddy who isn’t tied down by grief. Just because I’m doing this doesn’t mean I love you any less, though.”
Tears pricked his eyes. “Why is this so hard? Because it’s hard,” he said with a huff. “That’s what you would say if you were here. You’d hug me and comfort me and tell me feelings are meant to be felt or they’d be called something else. You’d have all the right words. I don’t have any. I just have a big hole in my life, Amber. And you’re never going to fill it. Colleen says I can’t feel guilty for moving on. I don’t. But I sure do feel weird.”
And then he reached for the handle, pulled it down, and threw the bag in while calling out loudly, “I love you.”
To his utter shock, she replied from the darkness of the box, “I’m in here!”
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. Since 2013, she has sold more than 2 million books, with 4 New York Times bestsellers and more than 21 appearances on the USA Today bestseller list. Her books have been translated into French, German, and Italian, with more titles releasing in the future.
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 met in a romantic comedy).
She lives in New England with her husband and three children where she is the only person in the household with the gene required to change empty toilet paper rolls.