Of Frustration and Temptation by Lisabet Sarai – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Lisabet Sarai as she celebrates the release of her newest book Damned If You Do. Lisabet will be giving away three $10 bookstore gift certificates during her release blitz, and three free ebook copies of her BDSM erotic romance The Gazillionaire and the Virgin. The blitz ends June 1st.

To enter, readers must:

Sign up for her VIP email list AND/OR leave a comment with their email address on her release day announcement page.

Of Frustration and Temptation

Being an author is not for sissies. You pour your heart and soul into your stories. You spend hours of your scarce time and more money than you can afford on marketing. With each new release, you hope you’ll finally grab the attention of the book-buying crowd, that you’ll get the readership and the remuneration you deserve.

If that doesn’t happen (and given the number of people publishing books these days, odds are that it won’t), you’re stuck with the bitter knowledge that all your passion and effort were for nothing. This can be deeply demoralizing, even if you’re not trying to make your living as an author. If you depend on your writing to pay your bills, you’ve got financial anxiety added to your frustration.

I know this frustration only too well. My books receive consistent five star reviews, but somehow I’ve never been a commercial success. Thus, Damned If You Do is a rather personal story.

What would I do if I could magically turn my books into best sellers? How much would that be worth to me? That’s the question my romance author heroine faces when a mysterious stranger shows up waving a contract and promising her fame and fortune, sensual pleasure and the fulfillment of her most secret desires.

All he asks in return is her soul.

Crazy. Dangerous, maybe. But so, so tempting!

Wendy Dennison is tired of being a starving author. The royalties from her critically acclaimed romance novels barely pay her bills. Her devoted agent Daniel Rochester may be smart and sexy, but he can’t get her the sales she needs. Then a charismatic stranger appears at her coffee shop table, promising her fame and commercial success, as well as the chance to live out her dreams of erotic submission. But at what cost?

Nothing you can’t afford to lose, my dear.

Seduced by the enigmatic Mister B, she signs his infernal contract. He becomes both her Master and her coach, managing her suddenly flourishing career as well as encouraging her lusts. Under her mentor’s nefarious influence, she surrenders to temptation and has sex with Daniel. The casual encounter turns serious when she discovers her mild mannered agent has a dominant side. As the clock ticks down to her blockbuster release and Mister B prepares to claim her soul, Wendy must choose either celebrity and wealth, or obscurity and true love.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The limo deposited her in front of her little house and floated away. A bit weary from the lengthy ordeal at the salon, Wendy almost tripped over the figure sitting on her front steps.

“Dan! What are you doing here?”

Her agent looked rumpled and haggard. He didn’t even bother to stand, though his eyes were hungry as he surveyed her.

“You don’t answer my calls. You ignore my emails. I figured the only way I could get through to you was to show up at your door.”

“Emails? I haven’t heard from you in months! I figured you were mad at me…”

“Every day, Wendy. I’ve sent you a message every single day. I’ve called again and again. That damned personal assistant of yours answers every time.” He rose to his feet finally, looking around with a scowl. “Where is the bastard, anyway?”

“I—um—I’m not sure. I think he’s doing some errands.” She rummaged in her bag for her key. “Come inside. We’ll talk.”

“No. You come with me.” He grabbed her sleeve, pulling her down the walkway toward a gray Taurus with a Steelers Rent-a-Car decal parked across the street. “You’ve got to get away from that guy. He’s dangerous.”

“Dangerous? What are you talking about? He’s been great for my career.”

Dan grabbed her shoulders and shook her, hard. “Wake up, Wendy! He’s got you under some kind of spell. You’ve become a totally different person.”

She tore herself free. “Yeah, I have. Instead of being a loser, I’m finally a successful author.”

“You’ve cut yourself off from everyone. I got an email from Jenna the other day. You do remember Jenna, right? Your old friend Jenna Martin? She was worried. Said she hadn’t been able to get in touch for weeks.”

Jenna. How odd. Wendy hadn’t even thought about her, not since that afternoon in the coffee shop when her crit partner sent the link about Sapphire Sands. The afternoon Mister B had come into her life. In the old days, they communicated nearly every day.

“I’ve been busy. Busy writing.”

“Is that all you’ve been doing? That slimy character Bent loves to suggest you two have been involved in other activities…”

She tried to take his arm. He shook her off. “Please, Dan, calm down. I’m fine. I’ve finally found my writing groove. Everything is going great.” She flashed him what she hoped was a charming smile. “I’m going to be on the Breakfast in America show later this week.”

“I wondered why you were all gussied up.” His bitter tone made her wince.

“You should be happy for me. After all, I’m making plenty of money for you, too!”

“Forget about money for once. What about feelings?” He grabbed her with both hands, pulled her close and held her tight against his body.

About the Author:LISABET SARAI occasionally tackles other genres, but BDSM will always be her first love. Every one of her nine novels includes some element of power exchange, while her D/s short stories range from mildly kinky to intensely perverse.

You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website, along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance, she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads and finally, on Twitter.

Foolish Bride by A.S. Fenichel and Knight Secrets by C.C. Wiley – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding a digital copy of both of the books on tour to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Sadly ever after . . . unless some dreams really do come true?

Elinor Burkenstock never believed in fairy tales. Sure, she’s always been a fool for love—what woman isn’t? But Elinor knows the difference between fiction and truth. Daydreams and reality. True love and false promises. . . . Until the unthinkable happens, and Elinor’s engagement is suddenly terminated and no one, least of all her fiancé, will tell her why.

Sir Michael Rollins’s war-hero days seem far behind him when, after one last hurrah before his wedding, he gets shot and his injuries leave him in dire shape. He wants nothing more than to marry Elinor, the woman of his wildest dreams. But Elinor’s father forbids it . . . and soon Michael is faced with a desperate choice: Spare Elinor a life with a broken man or risk everything to win her heart—until death do they part?


*****

Sworn to protect the crown, a Knight of the Swan must never surrender—not even to love . . .

England, 1415. Ordered never to leave the lonely tower on her family estate, Lady Clarice Margrave is suddenly set free when her home is plundered. Now she is determined to discover the truth behind her father’s alleged treason. But an act of daring only propels her into a new prison, with the very knight who destroyed her home as her keeper. Sir Ranulf, Lord of Sedgewic, is ruthless in his inquisition, though there is a searing tenderness in his touch. Is it possible her bold jailor is the Red Wolf of whom her father spoke—and the one man she might be able to trust?

As a knight, Ranulf never questions his troth, but his beautiful prisoner stirs his heart and mind like no other. Clarice is achingly vulnerable—and extremely closed-mouth about her possible ties to the plot against the king. Duty demands he keep his distance, though he yearns to take her to his bed and adore her until he discovers what lies within her heart. And he would—if he weren’t in danger of losing his own . . .

Enjoy an Excerpt from Foolish Bride

Her heart beat wildly. “But is that not why you pursued me?”

He kissed the tip of her nose. “I will not deny I came to London this season because I needed to marry to restore the money that my father squandered.” He kissed her cheek. “I had every intention of finding a rich bride to enable that plan.” He kissed her other cheek. “Then I met you, and you were the perfect solution to my problems.”

She tried to pull away, but he held her close and kissed her lips. It was only a peck, but the thrill of it traveled to her toes and hit everywhere in between.

His body filled all her curves as he hugged her and spread kisses along her cheek and neck. “I knew you were the one, Elinor. So beautiful, charming, and sweet, I could not resist you. I want to be worthy of your love, and in the weeks we courted, I found a way to get enough money to repair my country home and still have enough to make a good start of the marriage. I made the deal on some grain. It will take a bit of time for my plans to pan out, but in a couple of months, I should be able to show your father that I am worthy of you.”

About the Authors:

A.S. Fenichel adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story. Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey. She now lives in the southwest with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When she is not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history and puttering in her garden.


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Buy Foolish Brides at Amazon, iBooks, Google, Kobo, or Barnes and Noble.


*****

C.C. Wiley is a longstanding member of the Romance Writers of America, and a published author with Samhain Publishing. She lives in Salt Lake City with her high school sweetheart of over 35 years and their four wacky dogs. When given a choice, she prefers a yummy, well-written, historical or contemporary romance that is chock-full of hope, love and a Happy Ever After. She believes there are wonderful courageous characters waiting for someone to tell their story. It’s her hope that each adventurous romance she writes will touch the reader and carry them away to another place and time, where hopes and dreams abound.


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Buy Knight Secrets at Amazon, iBooks, Google, Kobo, or Barnes and Noble.

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How to Make a Spanish Omelet by Laura Bailo – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Laura Bailo whose debut novel The Sun Still Rises releases today.

How to make a Spanish omelet

If there’s one thing I love about writing books set in Spain, it’s introducing people to our food and making them curious to try it. In The Sun Still Rises, David and Erik cook a Spanish omelet, so here’s the recipe for that one.

But first, the ingredients. You’ll need:
• Potatoes – let’s say four mid-sized ones.
• Eggs – let’s say four.
• Onion – one. Also, there’s a whole fight between Spanish people that prefer their omelets with onion, and those who prefer them without.
• Olive oil – enough to cook the potatoes in.
• Salt – a pinch.

As for the cooking, it’s quite easy:
• Cut the potatoes into pieces and cook them in olive oil. When they’re half done, add the onion.
• Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a big bowl.
• One the potatoes and onion are done put them in the bowl with the eggs and mix well, adding a pinch of salt.
• Save most of the olive oil in a jar for another time, leaving only enough in the pan to cook the omelet in.
• Heat that oil in the pan (shouldn’t be too hot or the omelet will burn) and drop the eggs and potatoes mixture into it.
• When you see that the side that’s in contact with the pan is done, you’ll have to turn the omelet. I recommend turning it with the help of a plate.
• Finish cooking – the time is up to you. Some people like them a bit runny, while others will only eat it dry.
• Now eat!

You can also get creative with it once it’s done: cut it in half and add some ham and cheese in the middle, or some salad, or whatever you can think of. In some places here you can now find omelets covered in tomato sauce, basil, oregano and cheese, kind of an omelet-pizza.

Give the recipe a try and tell me how it goes! Erik certainly likes it, as you can see in the next excerpt.

David nodded and got up, looking back at Erik. “Have you ever tried a Spanish omelet?”

Erik shook his head.

“Come with me, then. We’re going to make one.” He offered his hand to Erik, who took it and followed him into the kitchen. This should be fun.

He’d been right—it was the most fun Erik had had in the kitchen in ages. He liked cooking, but cooking just for one got tedious after a while and he’d lost the passion for experimenting. But there was David, showing him how to do something completely new. It was an easy dish to prepare, not very challenging, but peeling potatoes and frying them while David whisked the eggs, along with heated looks and stolen touches, had been exhilarating for Erik. He admired David’s easiness and skill in the kitchen, and couldn’t contain a gasp when he flipped the full omelet with just one hand. That must have taken some practice. He clapped, prompting David to give him a bow in return, that had them both laughing for a few minutes.

While the omelet finished cooking, David prepared a quick salad to go on the side and Erik set the table. He was amazed by how natural all of it felt, how they’d gotten used to each other so fast. Going back home without David was going to be difficult, but he couldn’t stay in his house forever, and there were things he needed to do.

They sat down to eat, David serving Erik the first slice, and he couldn’t contain a moan after trying it. “Oh my God! This is so good! How is it so good?”

David was grinning smugly. “I know, right? I’m sure you were thinking it was really easy to make and wondering what all the fuss was about. But you can’t say the same now, can you?”

Erik forced himself to eat slowly and not put it all inside his mouth as he wanted to do. “Certainly not. I may need you to prepare a few of these for me to take home.”

“You know the recipe now. You can make them yourself.”

Erik swallowed. “Yes, but it won’t taste the same.”

David’s expression went soft, and he put his fork down to take Erik’s hand. “I’ll make this for you whenever you want. But we have to finish this one first.” He took his hand back and pointed at Erik’s plate. “Go on, eat.”

After another slice, Erik couldn’t eat another bite, and he said so to David, who laughed while looking at the half of omelet still left. “Well, I guess we won’t have to cook dinner tonight. Why don’t you head over to the living room and I’ll make coffee?”

: Erik’s father lived for Pamplona’s yearly festival and the running of the bulls. Now he’s gone, and Erik flies to Pamplona on a whim to see the festival his father loved—without booking a room first. He’s looking at sleeping on the ground until friendly David from the tourism office offers to share his home.

When Erik realizes he trusts David, that he might even be willing to face his anxiety to get to know David better, he begins to understand what this trip could mean. Pamplona is even more beautiful when seen through David’s eyes, and Erik might have traveled around the world just to find himself. But can he hold on to his newfound confidence—and to David—when it’s time to go home?

About the Author:Laura Bailo is a veterinarian and a teacher in training who can do surgical sutures but can’t sew on a button to save her life.

She lives in Spain with far too many books and boxes full of notebooks. She loves exploring the narrow streets of Pamplona and she’s known to have gotten lost in her own city. She loves reading, singing and trying out new cooking recipes, and if she’s feeling adventurous she may try to do all of these at the same time.

She loves hearing from people and you can find her at the following social media links.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Website

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, or Kobo.

The Devil Orders Takeout by Bill A. Brier – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author is awarding a randomly drawn commenter a $25 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A tax attorney with integrity…a powerful mobster determined to bend his will…

Grayson Bolt isn’t about to compromise his integrity to help a notorious crime boss escape the cross-hairs of the IRS. But there’s a steep price to pay for defying The Man–Grayson’s beloved wife and older son.

There’s only one way for Grayson to prevent his younger son, Jim, an innocent golf prodigy, from also being taken out: play a dangerous game of cat and mouse. And what will Jim be forced to do when the woman he loves gets ensnarled in a web of betrayal and deceit?

Enjoy an Excerpt

“I’m afraid you’re going to get it hard, Mr. Bolt.” Costanzo had that fatherly tone of this will hurt me more than you. “Did you ever stop to think that there’s only one way of being dead, but many ways of dying?”

Grayson felt something cold touch his spine, all the way down. “I don’t follow.”

“Take your man Stockard. He killed two of your beloved family members, wife and eldest son. Isn’t that right?”

A strangling tightness gripped Grayson’s throat. “That— that’s right.”

“Wouldn’t you say a part of you died too?”

“What’s your point?” Grayson’s voice erupted in suppressed panic.

“You don’t have to die to feel dead. I’m going to kill your other son. That’ll be your punishment.”

The blood drained from Grayson’s face. Just like that. Most people held the basic principle that no man should be punished for the deed of another. Costanzo was not one of them. Grayson would be cut right to the bone, and his son would be the sharpest knife Costanzo could use. Costanzo had spelled out the thought in invisible brushstrokes. It was there and Grayson had tried not to see it.

About the Author:Bill grew up in California and went to Hollywood High School, then served in the Air Force as a combat cameraman.

After hiring on at Disney Studios as a film loader, he soon advanced and moved on to other film studios.

He earned a master’s degree in psychology. A big help when working with Trumpish Hollywood producers. You’re fired!

During his more than twenty-five years in the movie business as a cameraman, film editor, and general manager, Bill worked on everything from the hilarious, The Love Bug, to the creepy, The Exorcist, to the far out, Star Trek and Battle Star Galactica.

Eight years ago, Bill switched from reading scripts to writing thriller/mysteries and driving racecars. After completing three award-winning novels, he signed with Black Opal Books. His first novel, The Devil Orders Takeout, is about a devoted father and husband who makes a deal with a real-life devil to protect his golf-prodigy son after his wife and older son are killed in a mysterious accident — and pays hell for it.

Bill’s second mystery, The Killer Who Hated Soup, is Book One in the 1950s The Killer Who series, and it launches this Summer. The Internet? Never heard of it. Smart phones? Who you kiddin’?

Energetic and eager to make his mark on what Time magazine called the next great boom town, Bucky Ontario leaves his daddy and little sister in Louisiana and rides a bus to Defiance, Oklahoma, a town not particularly adverse to murders, just the embarrassment of them when committed by high officials.

Book Two, The Killer who Wasn’t There, will be on bookshelves this fall.

Bill writes every day and golfs infrequently (that damn right knee!). His five children and eight grandchildren keep him busy going to birthday parties, and he never misses a one!

The Brier Patch is Bill’s wildly entertaining blog about his shameless early days in Hollywood. It’s on his website along with a contest linked to The Devil Orders Takeout, which will award the grand prizewinner $1,000.

Bill is a member of Mystery Writers of America.

Bill’s USA Today revealing interview

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What Kind of Writer Am I? by Joshua Hedges – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding three individual prizes, a $10, a $25 and a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to three randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What Kind of Writer Am I?

I’m a writer who loves tough drama. Characters and plots have an expiration date. For me a happy-ever-after might be a good death for a character, especially if it pushes another character in a more interesting direction. Flawed characters have more room to grow and their triumphs are more deserving of celebration. When creating a character, I put them on a scale of good to evil based on the decisions I envision them making. A believable, evil character won’t always make an evil decision. What drives a character has to be deeply rooted, ideally something the reader can relate to. I look at my scale and where a character fits, and I try to think of a situation that would push an evil character in a good direction and a good character evil. If I can then I feel I’ve built the core of a character.

Focusing your character’s personal drives doesn’t stop at what they say and do. It also requires the writing to be focused on the details. I stick to the point. We’re all busy and the vast majority of readers don’t have much free time. Describing a one-of-a-kind ballroom isn’t as important as what a character is thinking and feeling in that ballroom. Maybe the character is poor. Maybe they would do anything to not have to go back and live in their one bedroom, dirt-floor apartment. Between reading sessions, readers aren’t going to remember what the room’s crown-molding looked like, but they’ll recall how it changed the way the poor character views themselves and their circumstances. During revisions, I review each paragraph and ask myself two questions: Does this give me insight into a character? Will this paragraph advance the plot? If I can’t answer “yes” to one of those questions then I cut it. I can’t ever recall not liking a story because the author focused on advancing characters and plot.

The characters are the story. As a writer, it’s my job to convey what that character is in a way that makes the reader know them and want to learn more about them.

Joshua Hedges is a debut Science Fiction writer from Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Computer Science. When he’s not writing stories or code, he ventures outdoors with his wife and three-year-old son to hunt dragons in the forest. He is the author of “The Dealer.”

This gripping collection of stories – fiction, nonfiction, and narrative poem – will make your imagination run wild! Featuring stories by Sarah Smith Ducksworth, Elaine Crauder, Luanne Smith, Keith R. Fentonmiller, Lisa Montagne, Ann Stolinsky, A.J. O’Connell, Aimee LaBrie, Kristan Campbell, Jack Hillman, Bill Scruggs, Joshua Hedges, Gary Zenker. You will travel alternative planets, run away away like teens in search of adventure, solve a murderous mystery, come to grips with your fears, and much more.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The jumpsuit was a thing of beauty. Made of dark-blue, shiny denim, it had an orange zipper that spanned from the crotch to the cleavage. It even sparkled ever so slightly in the sun, like it had been dipped in a vat of finely grained fairy dust. It sported capped sleeves, a wide collar, and bellbottoms. It was worthy of Cher or Liza Minnelli— certainly a back-up singer for Diana Ross. Nonetheless, it made me queasy. But, the jumpsuit also made me feel sexy and daring, which incited an occasional wave of sweaty armpits. In it, I was anxious to flaunt my new body and my new image. Seventh grade, here I come! There was no stopping me. I would no longer be the nerdy, fat kid. I would be a star.

~From Lisa Montagne’s “The Jumpsuit”

About the Authors:

Running Wild Press Facebook

Elaine Crauder’s fiction is also in Cooweescoowee, The Boston Literary Magazine, The Eastern Iowa Review , and Penumbra. Another story received the Westmoreland Short Story Award. Eleven of her short stories have been finalists or semi-finalists in contests, including finalists in the Tobias Wolff and Mark Twain House contests. ”The Price Of A Pony,” under the title”Christmas the Hard Way,” was a semi-finalist for both Ruminate Magazine’s short story prize and for the Salem College Center for Women Writers Reynolds Price short fiction award.

Richard D. “Ky” Owen is a lawyer with Goodwin & Goodwin, LLP, in Charleston, West Virginia. He earned a B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University in 1981 and a J.D. from Hamline University in 1984. Coming from a family of writers, he considers himself a “writer by birth.” He is the author of
None Call Me Dad and he blogs about parenting and Michigan State sports on his website.

Keith R. Fentonmiller is a consumer protection attorney for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. Before graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, he toured with a professional comedy troupe, writing and performing sketch comedy at colleges in the Mid-Atlantic States. His Pushcart-nominated short story was recently published in the Stonecoast Review. His debut novel, Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat, will be published March 20, 2017 by Curiosity Quills Press.

Based in Southern California, Dr. Lisa Montagne currently divides her time between writing poetry and prose, teaching writing to (mostly) willing college students, and overseeing educational technology projects and support at Fullerton College. She is also a Swing, Blues, and Argentine Tango dancer, host, DJ, and instructor. She likes to drink Champagne in as many places as she can, including Europe; to read poetry aloud to anybody who will listen; to cook for anybody who is willing to sit down long enough to enjoy her food; to dabble in drawing, painting, and photography; and to read anything plopped in front of her, ranging from D.H. Lawrence to Vogue magazine. She also likes to watch television and movies, and to imagine how much better she would have produced them herself. She lived in Las Vegas at one time, so she likes to tell people that she was a stripper there. She was really just a graduate student and high school teacher, but it’s more fun to let people wonder. Although rumored to be a direct descendent of Oompa Loompas, Lisa is actually the offspring of a college professor and a circus dwarf. You can find some more of her writing at archive405.com and her website and see evidence of her adventures on Instagram.

Ann Stolinsky is a Pennsylvania-based word and game expert. She is the founder and owner of Gontza Games, an independent board and card game company, and three of her games are currently in the marketplace: “MINDFIELD, The Game of United States Military Trivia”; “Pass the Grogger!”; and “Christmas Cards.” Check out her website. She is also a partner in Gemini Wordsmiths, a full-service copyediting and content creating company. Visit the site for more information and testimonials. Ann reviews books for Amazing Stories Magazine, an online sci-fi magazine, and is an Assistant Editor for Red Sun Magazine. Her most recent publishing credit is a poem in the Fall 2015 issue of Space and Time Magazine. She is a graduate of the Bram Stoker award-winning author Jonathan Maberry’s short story writing class.

Lisa Diane Kastner is a former correspondent for the Philadelphia Theatre Review and Features Editor for the Picolata Review, her short stories have appeared in magazines and journals such as StraightJackets Magazine and HESA Inprint. In 2007 Kastner was featured in the Fresh Lines @ Fresh Nine, a public reading hosted by Gross McCleaf Art Gallery. She founded Running Wild Writers and is the former president of Pennwriters, Inc. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University, her MBA from Pennsylvania State and her BS from Drexel University (She’s definitely full of it). Her novel THE KEEPER OF LOST THINGS was shortlisted in the fiction category of the William Faulkner Words and Wisdom Award and her memoir BREATHE was a semi-finalist in the nonfiction category of the same award. Born and raised in Camden, New Jersey she migrated to Philadelphia in her twenties and eventually transported to Los Angeles, California with her partner-in-crime and ever-talented husband. They nurture two felonious felines who anxiously engage in little sparks of anarchy.

Aimee LaBrie works as a communications director at Rutgers University. She earned her MFA in fiction from Penn State, and her MLA from University of Pennsylvania. Her short story collection, Wonderful Girl, was awarded the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction and published by the University of North Texas Press in 2007. Her second collection of stories, A Good Thing, placed as a finalist in the BOA Short Fiction Contest. Her short stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in Pleiades, Minnesota Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Permafrost, and other literary journals. In 2012, she won first place in Zoetrope’s All-Story Fiction contest. You can read her blog.

Kristan Campbell is a short story writer born in Washington, D.C. but has only visited her grandmother there during some of the summers of her childhood. She’s more familiar with Philadelphia, New York City, and Paris than her native city and aims to weave her experiences in those places into tales based on places and people that are out of the ordinary. She studied Journalism at Temple University (what seemed like a practical approach to writing at the time) and Comparative Literature at Hunter College (which seemed like a fun idea at the time) before accepting that she should have been an English major all along. Kristan completed her B.A. in English at Temple University in 2010 and an MFA in Fiction at Fairfield
University in 2016. She’s currently attempting to eke out a living doing freelance editing with the help of her cat, Fishy, who manages her desktop printer with enthusiasm.

Bill Ed Scruggs spent his younger years meeting the Southern mountain countryside and exploring the people, taking time out as needed for work in various occupations. He lives (temporarily) in Connecticut and has one child, a psychiatrist. Presently he is reconstructing his memories and imaginings in a series of novels and short stories (Facebook page Foothills Fiction – Bill Ed Scruggs) Warrensburg is a fictional photo of a country village in the illumination of fireflies.

Joshua Hedges is a debut Science Fiction writer from Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Computer Science. When he’s not writing stories or code, he ventures outdoors with his wife and three-year-old son to hunt dragons in the forest.

Gary Zenker is a marketing professional whose days are filled with creating business and marketing plans, and writing ad copy and media content. By night, he applies his imagination to flash fiction tales that cross genre and focus on revealing various facets of human nature. He is the author of Meetup Leader, a book on running successful groups; is editor and publisher of 19 books in the rock & roll Archives series; and co-author of Says Seth, a humorous collection written with his then six-year-old son. His work has earned a dozen marketing awards and placed in four writers’ contests, including a first place recognition from Oxford University Press. He founded and continues to lead two writers groups in southeastern PA, assisting others to develop their skills and achieve their writing goals. Zenker Marketing

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Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti – Q&A and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour for Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti, which is being released on May 16. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a LETHAL LIES prize pack.

If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?

That’s a little personal. 😉

Is there a writer you idolize? If so who?

I really like Kristen Ashley. She’s sweet and very supportive of other authors…and she’s an awesome writer. I like how she helps everyone around her and is always kind.

What would we find under your bed?

Hmm…let me go look. Two socks (that don’t match), a quarter, a heating pad, and chapstick.

What makes you happy?

My family. They’re the best.

Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.

I received a letter from a female soldier stationed ‘down range from Afghanistan,’ which I took to mean she was in the battle zone. She and the other female soldiers were arguing about which hero they liked the best in one of the series. I thought that was amazingly cool that they’d take time to read the books, maybe escape a little, and then drop me a line. I thanked them all for their service.

A deadly secret can’t stay buried forever . . .

Revenge. It’s the only thing that will help Anya Best sleep at night. The serial killer who murdered her sister is on the loose, and Anya will stop at nothing to put him behind bars—even use herself as bait to lure him out of hiding. But she can’t do this alone.

Private investigator Heath Jones’s job is to bring bastards to justice. This time it’s personal. He knew the Copper Killer’s latest victim so when her sister asks for his help, he’s all in. But when Anya uses the media to taunt the killer, she exposes Heath’s identity, putting them both in jeopardy. Now, secrets buried long ago are coming to light and the forces determined to destroy him are watching Heath’s every move, waiting to exact their own revenge. And they’ll use anything and anyone to get to Heath.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“All the more reason to get you out of town,” Heath said quietly.

She shook her head. “No. I’m staying.” Her words were brave, but her chest hurt. No way could she deal with a serial killer all on her own. She could train every day for the rest of her life and not end up as practiced or as deadly as Heath already was, and she knew it. “I understand you have other cases and people after you. So leave, and I’ll handle this myself.”

“Those are big words, baby,” he said softly.

Her lip quivered, and she bit down on it. “I know. I promised her, Heath. It’s all I have left to give to her.”

He paused, understanding crossing his expression. “Ah, sweetheart. Your sister wouldn’t want that for you.” His voice turned velvety and soft. Soothing.

Anya nodded. “I know. But she was my sister. We shared blood and part of a childhood. She took me trick-or-treating when I was five, and it’s one of my best memories. Then when I needed help as an adult, she didn’t hesitate. She came to me right away, like family. She was the first person I really cared about in far too long, and it hurts like hell that I got her killed.”

He breathed out, the emotion in his eyes deepening.

She swallowed. “I have to do this for her. Either you understand that or you don’t.”

“Why don’t you just let us handle it?”

She pressed her point. “I could, but you need me. I’m the bait.” Inwardly, she winced at the description. That wouldn’t help her to convince him. “Also, here’s the deal. This could be a long op. At some point, you have to leave and deal with whatever is haunting you from your past. When you do, I’ll just challenge him again, and next time you won’t be around to assist.”

“That’s extortion,” Heath said, amusement curving his lip.

She grinned. “Apparently I’m getting quite good at it.”

Heath shook his head. “You’re putting me in an untenable position, baby.”

“No, I’m not.” She shrugged out of his hold. Finally. “I’m not yours to protect, Heath. We’re not together, and we’re not responsible for each other.” The words sliced through her even as she said them. “You’ve been more than clear on that score.”

“There’s something here, Anya. Maybe something real and lasting, if I get everything done I need to do.”

She blinked. “What’s that?”

“The less you know the better. Believe me.”

“What a bunch of bullshit. Go back to your ‘This is fake’ proclamation,” she all but yelled. “Your position is one of work . . . and this is just work.”

His chin lifted. “You think this is just work?” The tone—low and filled with tension—zinged through her body.

Her legs trembled with the urge to take a step back. “Yes.”

“Want me to prove otherwise?” His eyes darkened to the color of the sky right before midnight hit.

As a threat, as a warning, it was damn good. But she’d gone too far to give in now. “You can’t.” Yeah, she’d just waved a red flag in front of a bull.

He didn’t move a muscle. His focus on her was so absolute, she wanted to squirm. “You’re into challenging dangerous men these days, aren’t you?”

She kept her stance. “You’re not all that dangerous, Heath.”

His smile stole her breath. Then he moved. Faster than she could track, he had her by the armpits and up in the air as he carried her toward the bedroom with such speed that her legs automatically wound around to clasp his rib cage. By the time she sucked in air to protest, her butt was on the bed, and he was flattening himself over her.

She struggled, her body on fire, fighting the urge to laugh out loud.

His mouth crushed hers, and she stilled.

Heat.

Fire.

True danger.

He held nothing back, kissing her hard, pressing her head into the comforter. His tongue worked hers, his powerful body plastered against hers, and his hands dug into her hair to hold her in place. Desire spun so quickly into need she couldn’t breathe, even when he wasn’t controlling her mouth.

She shifted against him, closing her eyes to kiss him back. This was what she’d wanted. All of this.

He nipped her lip, soothing the slight pain with another kiss. Then he traced along her jawline, kissing and nipping, finally reaching her earlobe, where he bit.

She arched against him, letting out a soft sigh.

“Anya.” His fingers tangled in her hair, and erotic pain tingled down her scalp. One of his strong arms slid around her waist and then down. His palm spread across her butt, and he ground her against his hard cock.

Pleasure swamped her, and mini explosions flew through her sex. The idea passed, somewhat fleetingly, that he wasn’t playing. Not at all.

Yet she couldn’t stop herself. Her knees widened, and she rubbed against him. “This feels real,” she whispered.

About the Author: Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five romantic suspense, dark paranormal, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestseller lists. She has received a Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review for Wicked Edge, Romantic Times Reviewer Choice Nominations for Forgotten Sins and Sweet Revenge, and RT Top Picks for several of her novels. She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family. She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out.

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The Call House by C.P. Stiles – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A war on vice In Washington, DC—a city constantly awash in scandals? Hard to believe, but it really happened. Only not exactly the way it’s told here.

All Mattie Simon knows is that she wants adventure and her hometown doesn’t have any. She wants independence, maybe some romance.
All Andrew Stevens wants is to do his job as a newly-elected congressman.

But Washington has a way of changing people—even when they get what they want.

Fast-paced and funny, The Call House takes you back to a time of relative innocence, when people flocked to the nation’s capital to do good works and instead got caught up in sex, money, and politics. What else would you expect?

Enjoy an Excerpt

IN the mornings, the bathroom was crowded with the sweet smells of lavender soap, gardenia perfume, and lilac dusting powder, with the bright colors of pink-red lipsticks and near-orange rouge, with drying stockings and still damp lingerie. With five women in one apartment, even an apartment as grand as Flo’s on the top floor of the building on Connecticut Avenue, mornings were hectic.

Awake early but unsure what to do, Mattie ended up being last in line for the bathroom. She wasn’t used to waiting.

She’d grown up with only her mother; her father had been wounded in the last war, his lungs badly damaged by gas. She barely remembered the man who died when she was four, but his absence lingered in the white clapboard house. Upstairs, her mother kept always to one side of the bed and lived so quietly, Mattie almost felt as if she’d grown up on her own.

A tall girl, with soft ash-blond curls, walked past Mattie waiting in the hall.

“You’ll have to learn to be pretty fast around here if you want to get in the shower while we’ve still got hot water.”

“That’s all right,” Mattie said. She’d never showered in hot water back home. Her momma hadn’t wanted to trouble anyone to fix the water heater after it broke. She didn’t like troubling anyone for anything, so when something broke, and it couldn’t be fixed by prayer, it stayed broken. Mattie thought her momma’s whole life stayed broken after her daddy died.

“I’ll show you how it’s done,” the tall girl said.

She banged on the bathroom door. “Vera, there’s exactly one of those jelly donuts left. If you want it, you’d better come grab it fast.” She had to step back, the door opened so quickly.

About the Author:

C. P. Stiles is a fiction writer living in Washington, DC. This is her first novel.

From the Author

I’ve been writing all my life.

When I first heard the story about the best-known, high-priced call house on the East Coast located right in the middle of a nice residential neighborhood – I was intrigued. I’m still not sure why. Even after spending a few years researching and many more years writing. Maybe it’s the idea of having something sort of shady going on right down the street and none of the neighbors had the faintest idea. (Warning: No sex or even steamy scenes)

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Emily’s ‘Must-Haves’ for a Good Romance Novel by Emily Mims – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Emily Mims will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Emily’s ‘Must-Haves’ for a Good Romance Novel

I began my career as a romance writer as an avid romance reader. I discovered Harlequin Romances back in the seventies and eagerly devoured both their books and their rivals Silhouette and Candlelight. I eventually wrote eighteen books for Candlelight. When that came to an end, I took some time off from romance novels until about ten years ago. I returned to the genre to find it much changed, with a more diverse and varied offering of subgenres to choose from. Nevertheless, all good romance novels must have certain elements to make it a compelling read for me. These became the elements that I strive to include in each and every one of my stories.

The first must-have for a good romance novel is an interesting story line. Sounds simple, right? But I don’t know how many times I’ve come away from a story disappointed that there was simply no story to the book. Sure, sexual tension is great, hot love scenes are great, but something besides sex has to be happening for a story to work for me. A rule of thumb for me-if I took out the sex and there wasn’t anything left, it wasn’t a good book! In my own work, if the book is to be a full-length novel, I will frequently add an element of suspense around which I build my plot.

The second must-have for a good romance novel is a likeable hero and heroine. The reader must be able to empathize with both the hero and heroine or the story falls flat. A huge pet peeve for me is the harsh, cruel hero and the doormat heroine who falls for him anyway. Perhaps in reaction to this, my heroes are usually sweethearts (my editors rave over them)…but I have been instructed numerous times by numerous editors to make my heroines nicer and more loveable! Hopefully I have learned to do this.

Another absolute necessity is an ongoing conflict that is serious enough to keep these likeable characters at odds for most if not all of the story. This conflict, which can take many forms, must be compelling. No simple misunderstandings that could be resolved in a simple conversation. This conflict should be something they must work together to resolve in a way that will satisfy both them and the reader.

An important element of the story is the backdrop or setting. Almost any setting will work if, and only if, the story would believably take place in that environment. That was much of my motivation for setting the Smoky Blue series in Eastern Tennessee and not writing those stories as a continuation of the Texas Hill Country series. The characters are bluegrass and mountain music musicians and Acoustics is a bluegrass nightclub. While I love bluegrass and mountain music dearly, the genre is not popular in Texas and bluegrass music as a backdrop would be totally unrealistic.

The last element that is needed for a romance novel, or any written work, to be good is that it be well-written and painstakingly edited. A good novel is not written in a vacuum, and a professional author hopefully knows this. My stories are seen by more eyes than my own. They go first to a skilled beta reader and next to a professional content editor. These two people tell me that my hero wouldn’t do or say that in a particular situation or that my manuscript is waaay too long! Then, after I have addressed their concerns, I have a copy editor who tackles spelling, capitalization and punctuation. I am grateful to my publisher, Boroughs Publishing, for the quality editing that helps me make my stories just that much better.

Of course, other authors would include other elements-humor, nail-biting suspense, maybe a hard-core villain or two, depending on what stories they write. But these are mine. If I pick up a book and these elements are present, I’m going to enjoy the story!

Thirty-year-old musician Leilani Mahuiki is in Tennessee to find Joe Barstow, the birth father whose bone marrow might save her daughter’s life. She finds Bradley, too, Joe’s adopted son. Against all odds, she and Bradley make wonderful music together, she on the ukulele, he on the banjo. And Bradley is everything else she’s ever wanted in a man.

Bradley wants her, too. But is that enough? He needs a family of his own. Having grown up an outsider, he’s always dreamt of something simple and old-fashioned. No entanglements. No complications. Just mom, dad, and the kids. Not something Leilani can ever offer. She already has the very complications and entanglements that he so desperately wants to avoid, and that are not going away any time soon. And yet, as he and Leilani pull out all the stops to save her daughter’s life, he knows Leilani is the only woman for him. The most beautiful music in the world can sometimes happen when disharmony resolves—and a lonely Tennessee winter can become a tropical paradise.

Enjoy an Excerpt

He eased open the bedroom door and tiptoed down the hall to the landing, where he could see down the stairs into the living room. What in the world? Leilani carried a garbage sack across the room to her small dining room table. Bradley watched as she eased open the sack and started slowly withdrawing colored cups and spoons. It was the garbage from the club tonight, the cups and spoons they’d all used to eat the pudding and drink the Bay Breeze. His eyes narrowed as she zeroed in on the red and blue cups and the red spoon. He’d watched enough crime scene television shows to know what she was doing. She wanted somebody’s DNA sample. But whose? And why?

Only one way he knew to find out.

Bradley tiptoed down the stairs and stood with his arms folded as Leilani carefully put the cups and spoon into a gallon-sized plastic sack and zipped it shut. Intent on her task, she didn’t notice him until she’d loaded the rest of the garbage back into the sack and turned around with the sack in her arms. She stared at him in shock and the bag slipped out of her arms, spilling dirty cups and spoons all over the floor. “Shit, Bradley, you startled me.” Her eyes widened and she looked like a deer caught in the headlights.

Bradley did not try to hide his suspicion. “Care to explain what the hell you’re doing?”

She shrugged, looking resigned. “I may as well, you’re all going to find out anyway. Help me get this mess cleaned up first. I don’t want the sticky pudding soaking into the carpet.”

“To hell with the carpet,” Bradley said harshly. “Tell me what’s going on.”

“To hell with your attitude. The mess first, then the explanation.” Leilani held two dishtowels under the tap and threw one at him, hitting him in the middle of his chest. “Help me clean up and I’ll tell you all about it.”

He gave her a go-to-hell look but started picking up the dirty cups and spoons. He sneaked a glance in her direction. Her face was expressionless, but her trembling hands gave her away. She was in the grip of powerful emotion, so powerful that she was hanging on by a thread. Whatever was going on was important to her.

They got the mess cleaned up. Leilani took the soiled dishtowel from him and motioned to the sofa. “This may take a few minutes.”

Bradley sat down across from her. “Okay, spill. Whose DNA are you after and why?”

“Joe’s. I have reason to believe that Joe Barstow is my father.”

Bradley felt a river of ice gush down his back. “What the hell do you mean, you think Joe Barstow’s your father? You’re from Hawaii. Joe’s never been to Hawaii.”

“No, but Debbie Pickens has been to Tennessee. Mom used to sing on the bluegrass circuit. She was a damned fine dulcimer player.”

“Which is why you know bluegrass music and play the dulcimer so well. She taught you.”

Leilani smiled faintly. “We are the only two dulcimer players in Hawaii. Anyway, she got pregnant with me somewhere in Tennessee at a bluegrass festival. I figured out about when I was conceived and found an old festival flyer in her keepsake box. She’d circled her picture and the picture of The Barstows on that flyer. I don’t know, obviously, but I think she and Joe hooked up that weekend. Here, let me show you.” She ran upstairs and came back a moment later with an old flyer. “Take a look.”

Bradley took the flyer from her with fingers that trembled, and stared down at the circled pictures of a pretty young woman and The Barstows as they appeared thirty-one years ago. A much younger Joe, the only original member of the band still performing, smiled up at him out of the picture. “So based on just a date and a flyer, you think Joe’s your father? What else do you have that makes you think that?”

Leilani lifted her hands and pulled the hair up off her face, exposing the wide forehead and sharp widow’s peak that so defined both Joe’s and his brother’s faces. And the cheekbones and the blue eyes. Bradley’s breath caught in his throat. How could he have missed it? How could any of them have missed it? No wonder she’d looked so familiar the first time he’d laid eyes on her. Underneath all the hair she wore down around her face, she looked like Joe. Even more strikingly, she looked like Jake.

She looked like her dead brother.
She looked like her father.

About the Author: Author of thirty romance novels, Emily Mims combined her writing career with a career in public education until leaving the classroom to write full time. The mother of two sons and grandmother of six, she and her husband Charles live in central Texas but frequently visit grandchildren in eastern Tennessee and Georgia. She plays the piano, organ, dulcimer, and ukulele and belongs to two performing bands. She says, “I love to write romances because I believe in them. Romance happened to me and it can happen to any woman-if she’ll just let it.”

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Past the Breakers by Lucie Archer – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release today of Past the Breakers by Lucie Archer. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $15 Amazon GC.

In the immortal words of the Cowardly Lion, “I do believe in spooks.”

Okay, that’s a lie. I’m a skeptic, which might sound strange considering I’ve just written a paranormal romance staring a ghost, but that’s one of the beautiful things about being a writer. Despite my own feelings on the subject matter—and the challenges they present—with the help of my keyboard, I can create worlds in which ghosts and spirits and anything else I dream up not only exist, but also interact with the living in very tangible and meaningful ways. And that’s exactly what I’ve done in Past the Breakers.

At the start, Casey is a skeptic as well. His head is a mess after he loses his restaurant and girlfriend, and at first, he attributes Myles’s presence as the delusions of a man on the brink of a breakdown. But Myles does his best to turn him into a believer.

Casey’s evolution makes me wonder what it would take for me to become a believer, but I honestly don’t know. It’s definitely a subject I enjoy exploring. I like watching paranormal shows and videos on YouTube. They may send a shiver up my spine, but things on camera are too easily faked these days for them to convince me. It’s the same with pictures people have taken claiming to have photographed ghosts. Even though they are fun to look at.

Ghost stories are entertaining by their very nature, and during my research, I spent quite a few hours on a website dedicated to people who claimed to have had incubi and succubi encounters. Lucky bastards! But I know second hand accounts won’t convince me either. There are too many unknown variables, including the unreliability of the human mind and our faulty senses, for me to take those with anything more than a grain of salt.

I think I’d have to experience something paranormal before I’d believe it, but that’s also not a guarantee. I did a lot of research on different aspects of paranormal exploration while I wrote Past the Breakers, and tons more before that just for fun. Which means I’ve also read quite a bit about debunking such phenomena. I admit there is a lot we don’t know about the world around us, most of which we may never know, but something rather significant would have to occur in order for me to believe in ghosts.

I couldn’t even begin to tell you what that is, because I wouldn’t know until I experienced it.

With all that said, I had a lot of fun getting into Casey’s mind and exploring his development from skeptic to believer. I also enjoyed playing with the ghostly aspects of Myles’s character. But the most interesting part for me was where their two worlds collided. At that intersection is where the heart of the story lays, and I hope, despite your own stance on ghosts and apparitions, you’ll enjoy the book as much as I do.

Happy haunting!

Casey North lost everything when his restaurant burned to the ground: his hopes, his dreams, his reason for living. With nothing tying him to LA, he packs up and moves back to his hometown of Land’s End. He takes up residence in a beach house and attempts to shake the depression he’s fallen into after his life collapsed. There’s just one tiny problem: the ghost haunting his kitchen.

Myles Taylor wasn’t always trapped in the Between. One minute, he was about to propose to his boyfriend of five years as they sat out on their surfboards, and the next, he woke up on the beach to find his long-dead uncle walking toward him. After his shock fades, he must learn to navigate his new reality as he searches for a way to move into the Great Beyond. But first he must deal with the man who’s invaded his territory.

With Myles tied to the beach house and Casey unwilling to leave it, the two must learn to cohabitate as the lines separating them begin to blur. They grow closer than either expected, but what will become of them once Myles finally escapes the Between?

About the Author:Lucie Archer is a student of the universe who is obsessed with the stars, in love with beaches, and crazy about dudes falling in love. She tells stories of romance, love, and life, with a little bit of passion thrown in for good measure. Because what’s life without a little pop and sizzle?

When she’s not writing, she can be found tending to her garden, playing with her four-legged children, or procrastinating. Although, she spends a lot of time fending off random plot bunnies that threaten to derail her WIP’s.

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Bishop by Marie Johnston – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Marie Johnston will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Fyra is on the run. Permanently. Pursued by fellow underworld demons—and one very angry vampire, she’s running out of options. After failing her last mission of forcing vampire, Bishop, to give the demon world the information they want, Fyra knows she’s as good as dead. Too bad she’s no good at hiding. Everywhere she goes, fires break out. Her combustible personality is more than annoying—it’s going to get her killed. Tracked by the random fires reported on the news, her enemies can easily find her—unless Bishop can find her first.

Bishop Laurent has to free himself of the bond Fyra tricked him into…and do it without exposing his own icy secrets to anyone, especially his team. But after he captures her, he sees past her fiery demeanor. Her knowledge of the underworld would be a huge asset, a perfect reason to keep their bond intact. Only Fyra overhears them and refusing to be a pawn, goes on the run again. Bishop has to find her first, and this time, he must admit his real feelings for her…at least to himself. Can he find her in time to save her life and make their bond last forever? Or will they be killed fighting Hell with fire and ice?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Sirens wailed, disrupting the silence of the night. Ahead of Bishop, an orange glow carried through the moonless night. Must be a fire, a mile, maybe two, away.

Bishop almost dismissed it until he remembered the seared plastic tape at the house.

His demon was hot.

Pressing on the accelerator, he aimed for the blaze. Firetrucks zoomed in front of him, racing to the scene.

Bishop stopped a block away, blending in with other late night rubberneckers. Smoke rolled from a building. A gas station. And not a building, but a car parked at the pumps was engulfed in flames. Did she really have to pick the most dangerous place for open flame? If it was her. But his old friend, intuition, curled through his gut like a tendril of smoke.

Yes. It was her. He’d catch her and finish her. Cover his mistake before she threatened his team. The dependable, calm Bishop had royally messed up. He’d make it right. His friends had been through a lot and Bishop would mop up his own mess and keep them protected, while protecting himself. He’d do it to honor his mam.

Firemen hopped out, but Bishop remained in his vehicle. Hoses were unraveled and they battled the fire as people fled the premises but stayed within watching proximity.

Bishop scanned the crowd. His demon should be in her own form. Could she possess another human without the help of the humans who would summon someone like her? It was possible, but his pull to her was stronger, likely not from being muted in a host. He had no clue what she looked like, but he studied the crowd closely.

His bond didn’t ping, didn’t tighten his gut sensing her proximity. She wasn’t among the spectators.

You can’t hide from me, demon.

About the Author:Marie Johnston lives in the upper-Midwest with her husband, four kids, an old cat, and a young dog. After trading in her lab coat for a laptop, she’s writing down all the tales she’s been making up in her head for years. An avid reader of paranormal romance, these are the stories hanging out and waiting to be told, between the demands of work, home, and the endless chauffeuring that comes with children.

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