Thursday, June 21, 2018

Book Blitz: Dark Water by J.A. Armitage



Dark Water
J.A. Armitage
(Reverse Fairytales, #4)
Publication date: June 19th 2018
Genres: Fairy Tales, Young Adult

You think you know the story of The Little Mermaid…
A tragic accident on the eve of her eighteenth birthday leads Princess Erica to a chance encounter with a mysterious man on the beach. When he turns up at her birthday party and whisks her off her feet, she knows she has to find out everything about him, but why won’t he speak and where does he keep disappearing to?
Ari knows he’s crossed a line by mingling with the land humans, but how can he resist the beautiful princess whose life he saved? He must decide whether to stay on land and become like her, or continue to live without her in the depths of the ocean.
Trapped in a centuries long battle between his kind and hers, his decision will rock both their kingdoms.
With a sea witch that needs repaying and the small matter of Erica’s engagement to someone else, Ari knows the odds are stacked against him.
Dark Water is the fourth in the Reverse Fairytale series and the first Little Mermaid retelling by USA Today bestselling author J.A.Armitage. Take everything you think you know about fairytales and turn it on its head.



EXCERPT:
CHAPTER ONE
“May God bless her and all who sail on her.”
I cleared my throat, hoping I’d said it correctly, and gripped the bottle of champagne, terrified of letting it go too early or, worse still, missing the ship entirely.
Beyond the ship, the ocean shimmered in the midday sun. Diamond-like sparkles of light bounced off the calm cerulean water—water that looked so inviting, I wanted nothing more than to jump in, to surrender to the balmy ripples. Of course, wanting it and doing it were two different things. First of all, I couldn’t swim, and secondly, my mother would pitch a fit if I took another step closer to the dock edge. She was already a bag of nerves from today’s event.
I looked behind me, needing reassurance from my parents. This was my first official royal engagement, and I was terrified of messing it up. My father beamed at me with pride while my mother gave me a thin smile. I could see the fear in her eyes although she was doing her best to hide it. I was amazed she’d come at all. The ocean positively terrified her. My father’s hand was almost white with how hard my mother was squeezing it. Next to them, my little brother, Anthony, was picking his nose and examining the treasure he found up there. Not for the first time I was reminded how fortunate it was that I was the first in line to the throne.
Beside me, my life-long best friend nudged me to let go of the bottle. Officially, his title was Sir Hayden Harrington-Blythe, but to me, he was just Hayden. He’d been my first crush since our first day in kindergarten when he’d pulled on my pigtails, and I’d stamped on his foot. Despite our unpromising start, over the years we’d turned into friends. My crush on him was long since over, and his pigtail pulling days were long gone, but somehow, our friendship had survived.
“You do know you are supposed to let go of the bottle right?” whispered Hayden in my ear. I gave him a look I only ever reserved for him and lifted the bottle. Letting go, I watched it swing on a length of string, arcing towards the majestic ship’s wooden hull. It made a tinkling sound as it smashed against the side of the ship, scattering glass all over the paved dock. I couldn’t help thinking it was a waste of good champagne and that it would be better served at the ball being held in honor of my birthday in a couple of days’ time. Still, I felt invigorated by the salty smell of the ocean, the atmosphere of a thousand happy people coming out to see the launch, and the fact that I now had a boat that bore my name. I was feeling as excited as I could hope to feel, second only to being allowed to actually go out on the damn thing.
The Erica Rose’s white sails flapped in the breeze below the official flag of Trifork as if she were eager to be off, out onto the ocean. I couldn’t blame her. To sail on the ocean was a lifelong dream of mine. Ever since I could remember, I’d looked out of my bedroom window toward the ocean and dreamed of the day that I’d be able to disappear beyond the rolling waves toward the horizon.
It was a dream that had never, and would never, be realized as long as my parents were in charge. For a kingdom so well-known for its naval and merchant vessels, my parents were ridiculously strict about letting me go near the ocean. This was the closest I’d gotten in the whole eighteen years of my life, and I had a full team of palace guards surrounding me, stopping me from taking one step closer to the water’s edge than I had to. It was all because of my mother, of course. My father might have been the one that ruled Trifork, but in the palace, my mother was the one that wore the pants, so to speak. If my mother said I couldn’t go near the ocean, then my father wasn’t going to argue with her. However, today was a special day, and not even my mother could come up with a good enough reason for us not to be here. She might have been absolutely petrified, but she was the queen, a duty she held above everything, even crippling panic.
Everybody clapped as the wooden ship began pulling up its anchor, its crew readying themselves to set sail.
I took a deep breath and inhaled the salty air. Above the excited chatter of the crowd, seagulls cawed to each other as they flew overhead looking for an easy snack. Oh, how I envied them and their freedom.
My father managed to extricate himself from my mother’s vice-like grip and joined me on the dock’s edge. My poor mother’s face turned even more ashen, and she had to grip a nearby railing instead to save herself from fainting. It was almost cruel, living so close to the ocean and being so frightened of it. I saw her eyes darting past my father and me to the ocean behind us as though it could somehow climb above the dock and swallow us whole. I don’t doubt it could on a stormy day, but today the skies were blue, and the sea was calm.
“We here in Trifork have a rich sailing heritage, one of which I am immensely proud,” began my father into the microphone that had been set up for the occasion. “Today is a big day for me, both as a king and a father. As you all know, my daughter, the princess Erica Rose, will turn eighteen in just two days’ time. Her first official engagement was supposed to be at the ball, but she begged me to be allowed to launch this ship. Being the dutiful father I am, I agreed.” He paused at this point waiting for a laugh. When he got it, he carried on. “This is my birthday gift to you, dear Erica. I know you’ve always had a fondness for the sea and so this ship not only bears your name but also belongs to you.”
I blinked a couple of times, unsure if what I was hearing was true. The ship was mine? I wasn’t allowed to dip my toes in the shallow waves at the beach, but I was allowed to own a ship?
I gazed up at the huge galleon. “She’s mine?” Hope rose in my chest that I might, for the first time in my life, be able to go out on the ocean. My parents had never so much as let me sail in a dinghy before now, let alone go on a ship.
“She’s all yours, sweetheart. As part of our fleet and a working ship, she will be taken out by her captain, Captain Jackson. But when she’s back in Trifork, you will be able to see her whenever you want.”
“See her?”
“Yes,” beamed my father, oblivious to the disappointment I was feeling. Only see her? I didn’t want a ship to look at. I’d spent my entire life watching the ships of Trifork sail in and out of the harbor. I wanted to sail to foreign lands, to feel the sea breeze upon my cheek. I wanted to know what it felt like to roll over the gentle waves with the vastness of the ocean the only thing in view.
My mother caught my disappointment though. She could read me like a book. An elegant woman with a sharp tongue and an even sharper sense of style, she swallowed her terror and took a few steps toward me, toward the ocean. She walked tall and calmly, but a slight tremor in her step gave her away.
“Aren’t you happy with your new ship?”
“Yes ma’am,” I lied. What was the point of having a ship if I wasn’t allowed on it?
She flicked her eyes past me, once again, toward the ocean. What was it she was looking for? Her eyes snapped back to me. “You know my feelings on you going near the sea, Erica. It’s a dangerous place. I nearly drowned when I was about your age.” She took my hand and pulled me a couple of steps toward her—away from the dock’s edge.
I’d heard the story a million times. Every time I even hinted at wanting to go near the sea, she’d dredge up the same story about how she nearly drowned when she was younger. I wasn’t in the mood to hear it again.
The ship was cast off, the gangplank raised. My ship was about to go on an adventure I could only dream of. The wind caught the sails and the majestic vessel began to move, her crew waving at us as she inched away from the dockside.
My father clapped me on the back, a beaming smile on his face. Even my mother, who usually had a face like a prune when it came to anything to do with water, had found her smile again. I glanced over at Hayden. He knew I was disappointed. I talked about nothing but the ocean with him. He loved the water as I did, but unlike me, he could go out onto it whenever he wanted. He even had his own boat. It was nowhere near as grand as the Erica Rose, but at least, he was allowed to sail in it.
He flicked his eyes almost imperceptibly towards the ship. I arched a brow.
“Do it,” he mouthed silently and cast his eyes towards the ship once again.
He wanted me to jump on the ship! He was actually daring me to do it. Thoughts of all the silly childhood pranks and adventures he’d led me into filled my mind. Hayden was the epitome of an irresistible bad idea. I followed his eye line to where the gangplank had been pulled up. The gate was still open, but it wouldn’t be for long. The ship was already a foot away from the dock and moving swiftly towards the open sea. I had seconds to make a decision.
My heart hammered, and adrenaline took over. Without thinking too hard, I ran from my parents, barged past the palace guards, and jumped as far as I could right off the dock. The ship had moved much faster than I’d anticipated, and I missed the gate by a long shot, and instead of landing on the ship, I plunged head first into the sea.
All I could hear were my mother’s screams as the water crowded in around me.
The water that had looked so warm and inviting when I’d been standing on the dock was actually a lot colder than I’d imagined, and as I scrambled for air, its icy grip took my breath away
Mouthfuls of briny water flowed into my mouth, causing me to choke as I tried desperately to keep above the water’s surface. In one terrifying instant, I realized what it was that my mother had been keeping me from for all these years. As I’d never been allowed in water deeper than a bath, I’d never learned how to swim. It occurred to me now that this wasn’t exactly my finest moment.
The dress I’d had picked out for me, a knee length cotton blue dress was perfect for looking smart and launching a ship. It was utterly useless as a floatation device. The heavy, waterlogged fabric weighed me down, making it even harder to try to keep my head above water.
Beside me, I heard a splash. I looked over to see a red and white life ring bobbing close by with a rope attached to it. On the other end of the rope, the Erica Rose’s crew shouted at me to grab hold. After I’d managed to pull myself through it, they heaved me up and pulled me over the side of the boat.
A group of worried faces peered down at me. One of the men reached a hand down to help me up. As I righted myself, my dress dripped ocean water all over the deck and tightened around me. I felt so uncomfortable in the soggy outfit, but when I saw how far from the dock we’d already moved, excitement flooded through me. The fear I’d felt just moments before dissolved, leaving me feeling exhilarated. I was on a ship for the first time in my life, and we were sailing away from the dock.
With giddy excitement, I gripped a railing. On the edge of the dock, my parents shouted and waved for us to come back. My heart fell as I caught the expression on my mother’s face. Her usual stern expression had contorted to one of absolute fear, and she wasn’t trying to hide it anymore. Her screams pierced the air, her usual stoic facade dropped completely as she tore at my father who was desperately trying to pull her back from the edge of the dock.
Her fear of falling into the ocean was obviously smaller than losing one of her children to it.
My stomach churned as I realized the severity of my actions. I’d only wanted to go out to sea. I didn’t want to hurt my mother in the process. I was going to be in the worst kind of trouble for this little stunt, and as we floated further and further out to sea, the more I realized that the adventure was not worth it.
Captain Jackson, a tall man with a perfectly groomed black mustache and oiled down hair greeted me with a salute. I’d never been saluted before. Bowed to and curtseyed aplenty, but a salute was new to me. I raised my hand and saluted back, unsure of the etiquette.
“I’m going to try to turn the ship back, your highness, but it may take a little time to adjust the sails. The wind is not optimal right now. There’s a squall coming, and I’d hoped to get far enough away to miss it.”
I glanced out to the horizon. The seamless blue sky was darkening, and the sea below it matched its threatening color. Where had that come from? Only seconds before, the weather had been as perfect as anyone could wish for.
“Yes, please turn around.” My heart dropped as I realized that my adventure was over before it had even started, and I’d gotten nothing out of it except to embarrass myself in front of thousands of onlookers and terrify my poor mother.
I looked back over to the shoreline. My parents and all the onlookers were barely dots on the horizon now. To my right, I could see the public beach to which people flocked in the summer months. Beyond that were magnificent white cliffs that I’d heard plenty about but never actually seen before as they were only visible from the sea. To my left, the coast was much rockier, and here was where the royal castle stood. Only a wide promenade separated the rocks from the castle. It looked so dark and imposing with its granite grey towers; I barely recognized it from this angle.
“Why don’t you go to my cabin and get changed out of those wet clothes. I’ll have one of my crew show you where it is.”
Captain Jackson swiveled on his toe and left me alone, feeling terrible. I’d not paused to consider the crew or the captain, and now they were going to have to abort their mission. I could chalk up a few more people to the list of those I’d disappointed. With a sigh, I walked to the other side of the deck to look out at the vast ocean. In the distance, the sea turned black and churned ominously almost as though that part of the ocean was alive and out to get us. It was a stark contrast to the crystal clear and calm water beneath the ship. Above me, the crew of the Erica Rose battled to maneuver the sails to turn us around.
“Your Royal Highness.”
I heard someone shouting at me above the wind that was now blustering fiercely. Lightning forked, splitting the sky in two, and the wind tugged my hair from the clip that had been keeping it in place. Strands of long red hair whipped around my face. I turned to see a young man heading toward me.
“I’m Joe, Your Highness, the second in command of the Erica Rose,” he said, giving me a quick bow. “The captain has asked me to escort you to his cabin.”
Joe was barely older than me, with short, dirty blond hair and a winning smile. I was surprised to see someone so young be the second in command of such a ship.
“It’s getting a little choppy,” Joe cautioned, his cheeks red as he took my hand. “They are going to struggle to get the ship back to shore. The forecast mentioned a little bit of turbulent water, but it looks to be shaping up to be a proper storm out there.”
I followed Joe to a big wooden doorway, which he opened for me and beckoned me inside. As I thanked him, a boom filled the darkening sky.
“Thunder,” Joe remarked, taking my hand and leading me down a corridor. I held on tightly to him as the ship listed violently to one side from the sharp turn of the wheel. He showed me to a large room with a writing desk on one side and a bed on the other.
“There will be some clothes in the wardrobe there,” he said, pointing to a small door. “I don’t expect the captain has any dresses, but I’m sure you’ll find something dry to wear.”
I watched the storm unfold through a small porthole as Joe left me to help the captain. It seemed no one was expecting the weather to be this bad and how could they? Only ten minutes earlier, there hadn’t been a cloud in the sky, and now there was barely any blue left, only the darkness of the sea and the sky. It was strange how quickly the storm had taken hold. I certainly had never seen anything like it before. Outside, the rain began to lash down, pitter-pattering on the round window. Thunder crashed as the waves became more intense with the roaring wind that whipped all around us. The storm had sneaked up on us quickly, and as far as I could see, we were getting further and further away from the coastline. Whatever Captain Jackson’s men were doing to turn the ship around, it wasn’t helping.
I hated admitting it to myself after dreaming of the day I could finally sail on the sea for so long, but I was beginning to get scared. My mother’s screams echoed in my head, although we had drifted too far to really hear her. The boat creaked with the strain, and from out of the window, I could see we were being pulled closer and closer toward the storm. A crash from behind me made me jump. I turned to find that some previously neatly stacked dishes had been flung from the cupboard and were now in hundreds of pieces on the floor. Holding on was almost impossible, the ship was lurching so much. I tried walking over to the wardrobe that Joe had pointed out, but the floor beneath me was rocking so much under the motion of the waves that I could barely stand at all. With a shock, I saw a stream of water pushing the remnants of the dishes across the floor. It was coming from the doorway. We were taking on water. I held on to the writing desk to keep myself upright, but the motion of the ship knocked me to the floor. Something sharp pierced my side, and when I looked down, I saw a sliver of broken plate had cut through my dress and into my flesh creating a bloom of fresh blood on the wet fabric.
I looked up to grab hold of the desk to pull myself back up and was shocked to see that the window was now partly submerged. We were sinking, and we were sinking fast. Pulling myself up, I ran to the door quickly. I had to get out, or I would drown. I yanked the door as hard as I could, and as it opened, a deluge of water rushed in knocking me over once again. The lights flickered out leaving me in complete darkness as the water engulfed me, sending me flying into something hard. Water filled my lungs as the blackness folded in around me, my mother’s warnings of the fierceness of the ocean echoing in my head.




Author Bio:
J.A lives in a total fantasy world (because reality is boring right?) When she’s not writing all the crazy fun in her head, she can be found eating cake, designing pretty pictures and hanging upside down from the tallest climbing frame in the local playground while her children look on in embarrassment. She’s travelled the world working as everything from a banana picker in Australia to a Pantomime clown, has climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and the bottom of the Grand Canyon and once gave birth to a surrogate baby for a friend of hers. 
She spends way too much time gossiping on facebook and if you want to be part of her Reading Army, where you’ll get lots of freebies, exclusive sneak peeks and super secret sales, join up here https://www.subscribepage.com/v7o8k4
Somehow she finds time to write.
Reviews for J.A.Armitage's work.
Endless Winter is a unique story that takes place in a beautiful world. J.A. Armitage's writing is lyrical and almost poetic. Janelle Fila for Readers' Favorite
I devoured this book like a rich box of chocolates. Sara C Roethle 

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Book Blitz: Chasing Lacey by January Bain


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. January Bain will be awarding $25.00 via Paypal to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Think being a PI is all dull divorce cases? Think again.

Lacey Cameron, private investigator and treasure hunter, takes being headstrong and passionate to a whole new level. It takes exactly one morning in a school teaching young minds for her and her identical twin sister to break the whiteboard pointer in half, throw their keys on the teacher’s desk, and heed the seductive call of wide open spaces and awesome adventures.

William James Thornton III, a renaissance man and warrior poet who defended his country in Iraq and Afghanistan, knows he’s got his hands full trying to get Lacey to see him as more than just a friend. He’s ready to settle down, marry the woman of his dreams, and make his mother a happy grandmother. Hell, he’s got enough treasure in his bank account for two lifetimes.

And then things go from normal craziness to extremely dangerous in a heartbeat as hired killers are sent after Will and Lacey to prevent them from discovering the truth. They stumble on such an unexpected twist to the story that no one in their right mind would believe it or have suspected. If Will can get them out of this mess, he vows to lay all his cards on the table with Lacey. Get her to recognize what they can share as a couple. Passion. Love. And a commitment to blending her wild nature with his own—the perfect spicy blend. Even if it looks like it might just be the death of him.

Read an Excerpt

Then everything changed in a split-second.

The reef hushed. Gone silent.

The brilliantly-hued school of fish abandoned her, skipping town like an old western’s inhabitants during a showdown at high noon, racing for the security of the reef and the bleached bones of the El Infante. Even the sea anemones shut their flower-like structures, closed to business, paled to gray to match the death-like scene.

Why?

Lacey’s heart nearly stopped, skipping a full beat and making her chest bone shudder.

A lidless black eye. Unblinking and cold as sin. And with the audacity to materialize right smack dab in front of her face.

Sneaky freakin’ bull shark.

He’d blindsided her. Swimming up silently in the warm waters off the Florida coastline while her attention was diverted elsewhere, digging for treasure. She sucked in a lungful of air, almost biting her mouthpiece in two.

Breath. In and out. Slowly. She didn’t want to die on a beautiful summer day by increasing the air bubbles in her bloodstream. That would be a stupid rookie mistake and she was no rookie.

The opportunist slid past her shoulder, casually wheeling around to look her over. He was playing with her, his head the massive size of the front end of a 55-gallon oil drum. Nine feet long, if he was an inch. The shadow cast leached all the warmth and light from the day.

She looked around frantically for Lily. Spotted her twin fanning the bottom of the white sandy beach, searching for her own treasure. Damn it. Too far away.

She peered at the Spanish galleon. Out of striking range.

She glanced back at the advancing shark now giving an impressive demonstration of his awesome ivories. Each was shaped like an arrowhead, a perfect isosceles triangle, razor sharp, capable of tearing through flesh and bone like a hot knife through butter. Breathe.

He made a second pass. Fast. Too darn fast. A marvel of evolution. Huge yet agile with lightning-quick reflexes. She looked longingly at the surface where the boat bobbed enticingly in the soft blue haze, its white anchor line curving upwards. She’d been caught out in the open. Sneaky and smart. Or maybe just another opportunist hungry for its next meal. Not going to happen, buster.

Okay. Move slowly. Face him. Prepare.

She reached for her spear gun. Where the heck was it? Not that the gun would stop a monster of this size, but it might possibly buy her time to escape. Of course, she’d nixed the communication devices this morning. With the wreck sunk in shallow waters, they’d seemed pointless. Good call, Lacey.

About the Author:
January Bain has wished on every falling star, every blown-out birthday candle, and every coin thrown in a fountain to be a storyteller. To share the tales of high adventure, mysteries, and full blown thrillers she has dreamed of all her life. The story you now have in your hands is the compilation of a lot of things manifesting itself for this special series. Hundreds of hours spent researching the unusual and the mundane have come together to create a series that features strong women who don’t take life too seriously, wild adventures full of twists and unforeseen turns, and hot complicated men who aren’t afraid to take risks. She can only hope the stories of her beloved Brass Ringers will capture your imagination as you follow their exploits as much as they did when she wrote them.

If you are looking for January Bain, you can find her hard at work every morning without fail in her office with two furry babies trying to prove who does a better job of guarding the doorway. And, of course, she’s married to the most romantic man! Who once famously remarked to her inquiry about buying fresh flowers for their home every week, “Give me one good reason why not?” Leaving her speechless and knocking her head against the proverbial wall for being so darn foolish. She loves flowers.

If you wish to connect in the virtual world she is easily found on Facebook, twitter and writes a weekly blog about her journey on Blogger. Oh, and she loves to talk books…

Blog Address - http://januarybainjourney.blogspot.ca/
Twitter Name – https://twitter.com/JanuaryBain
Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/january.bain
Goodreads Page - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6437282.January_Bain
Amazon Buy Link - https://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Lacey-Brass-Ring-Sorority-ebook/dp/B07CVCPWNL/ref=sr_1_1

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Book Blitz: Rescued by the Spy by Laura A. Barnes


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Laura A. Barnes 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.

Kidnapped for revenge

Haunted by the man who murdered her family, Raina LeClair must always be two steps ahead of her sworn enemy through disguise and espionage. When her newest masquerade lands her back in the hands of the man she had previously kidnapped, she is awakened to the pleasure of his touch. When the threat of treason comes into play, Raina can no longer work alone to stop the destruction of England. Can she learn to trust the man who she once betrayed or will her obsession for revenge own her heart forever?

Kidnapped for love

Kidnapped and left for dead, Charles Mallory is always two steps behind in the quest to find his lady kidnapper. Discouraged, Charles turns his attention to a treason plot that is threatening his beloved England. Only to discover the lady who not only held him hostage, but stole his heart, mixed up in the crossfire. Unable to persuade her of the danger she is truly in, Charles resorts to kidnapping her to his family’s cottage. There they learn the true threat lies within their passion for each other. Can he convince her of the love in his heart or will he be left destroyed by this lady once more?

Read an Excerpt

Bessie looked back to the bar again and realized that Ray was no longer in sight. She couldn’t afford to lose her job at the tavern, but she was so lonely for a man. It had been ages since a fine-looking bloke like this one, has paid any attention to her. The sea captain who was in last week scared her and she escaped his clutches by faking an illness, but next time she would not be so lucky. He was due back in port any day now and Ray had promised her to the captain.

“Have you seen any other strangers in town, besides myself?” he whispered in her ear.

She would not admit to him about the sea captain. Her life depended on it. The owner of the bar was involved in illegal activities with him and she had overheard their plans. She shook her head no while looking over her shoulder again.

Charles felt her grow tense in his embrace. Her body shook from the fear of something or someone and he had a sense on who that was. He pulled her back into his arms more and nuzzled at her neck, feeling her relax again.

“I can protect you Bessie, you need not tell me a single word. If the question I ask you is correct, stroke your hand along my arm. Do you agree?”

Bessie raised her head to stare into the stranger’s eyes, he did not seem as dangerous as the other men coming into the tavern. More of a charmer than anything. She decided to trust him, he might be able to help her escape before it was too late. Slowly she lifted her hand and let it glide down his arm.

Smiling at her he lowered his head again, pretending to kiss her. “Has there been any unusual activity in town within the last few weeks?”

Her hand caressed his bicep, shaping it to her palm.

“Have there been other strangers in the village?" he questioned her again.

Moving down his arm she wrapped her fingers around his wrist.

“Anyone by the name of Shears?”

Her fingers tightened on his wrist as her body grew tense in his arms again. She raised frightened eyes to his as she slid off his lap.

“I need to get back to work sir,” she explained as she let go of his arm.

His arm snaked out quick, grabbing her by her wrist.

“A few hours you say?”

She nodded her head at him as she picked up his empty glass. He dropped her wrist and swatted her on her backside playfully.

“Well Miss Bessie, I will wait here for you; then we can use that room of yours for more fun later,” he winked at her.

Bessie smiled at him, forgetting he frightened her with his questions. His smile held many promises she wanted to enjoy. She wandered back to the bar with the empty glass, smiling over her shoulder at him.

Charles raised his glass at her when she looked back at him. He continued to smile, looking her body up and down in appreciation. When he noticed her blush, he knew he had her convinced that he only wanted a good time. He would wait around here until he could go to her room, then he would get the answers he desired. She knew a lot more than she was letting on, but something had frightened her. Not something but someone. He was close. If he was near, then so was she.



About the Author:
I have always dreamed of being an aspiring author. I am making my dreams come true, one word at a time. When I am not writing, I am spending time with my family. I love reading books on lazy afternoons, and late into the night. Anytime really. Married 28 years to the love of my life and we have three wonderful children and two sweet grandbabies. Besides writing, I have always wanted to travel. In the last few years we have gotten our passport stamped in England and Scotland. We are hoping to add Italy to the list soon. My debut novel is Rescue By the Captain.

http://www.lauraabarnes.com
Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/lauraabarnes
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16332844.Laura_A_Barnes
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLauraA.Barnes/
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/labarnesauthor

Rescued By the Spy Buy Links

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Spotlight & Tour: Memory Walker by Carly Marino




Memory Walker
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Release Date: May 18th 2018
Evernight Teen



Summary:


Imagine having the ability to walk in a person's memory at the slightest touch of their skin.
High school rumors are the worst. In fact, high school’s the worst. Especially for the school freak who has to avoid human contact.

Freshman year, seventeen-year-old Thea Scott developed the suckiest burden ever. At the brief touch of a person’s skin, she’s forced to walk in their memories. She’d give anything to get rid of this ability—one she can’t control. Well, until the first day of senior year when breathtakingly gorgeous Cole Conway strolls through the auditorium doors and she faints, making an utter fool of herself, again. He acts like he knows her secret, and the last thing she wants is to end up in a lab with her brain in a jar. To protect herself, she decides to do the very thing she runs from, use her ability to enter his memories.

What she didn’t expect to find: out-of-this-world beings who have to “borrow” life essence from humans to survive. Cole unveils dangers she never imagined existed and turns out her own past is her greatest fear. The deeper she falls, the more turmoil and heartbreak crash into her. Dreams of fitting in soon dissolve, and she realizes it was way easier being just a high school freak.



Buy Links:
Evernight Teen: www.Evernightteen.com
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2swVo8W

Facebook Group: http://bit.ly/2kFrBHu



About the Author
I love writing and reading about love. There’s nothing better than two characters finding each other in unusual situations and conquering all odds to be together. *Sigh* Regardless the genre – paranormal, contemporary, fantasy – if there’s romance—I wanna read it!
I was born in Hawai’i but grew up most of my life in the sticks of Michigan and the sunny beaches of Florida. After graduating high school, I return to my island ohana for college where I wrote my thesis on how to write a young adult book. (Oddly enough)
Wife, mother, dog owner, and author, my hat constantly changes but I love every minute of the hustle. Writing is my passion and the wonderful nagging voice in my head. I’m blessed to have amazing family and friends who’ve supported me from my first story, written in poor phonics and elementary chicken scratch.

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 GIVEAWAYS:
Selfie Contest: http://bit.ly/2suAqsf


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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Review: The Marrying Type by Megan Morgan

Title: The Marrying Type
Author: Megan Morgan
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/Adult
Series: The Man Catalog
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Format: ebook via The Romance Reviews
Rating: ✺✺✺
LinksGoodreads
SynopsisNeed a date? Or a temporary boyfriend? How about a husband in a hurry? The professionals at SASS—Singles Arrangement Service Specialists—are here to help.

Libby Dawson has spent her life under the crushing thumb of her controlling father. She wants to escape, which would be easier if she had her half million-dollar trust fund first. However, she can’t have it unless she’s married by twenty-three—six months from now.

Blaine Parker is a savvy but disillusioned stockbroker. Tired of the cutthroat business world, he’s used his genius financial skills to secure most of the funds to retire by thirty. He just needs one more investment to get out forever—and he doesn’t mind selling himself for it.

Brought together by SASS, Libby and Blaine make a complimentary team. However, attraction and emotion—including love—isn’t a promised part of the deal. They soon discover it’s just a bonus.

The Romance Review

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

When you get more than you bargained for...

Image result for good deal gif

Libby is in a pickle. She's dropped out of college with a plan to bring clean water to places in the world that need it most. It's an admirable endeavor and a challenging problem to solve, but she's sure she can do it. Unfortunately, the funding she needs to get the project off the ground is currently being held for ransom by her father. He's incredibly old-fashioned and would never agree to letting her use the money for her work and school.

The solution? She has to get married. And quick. That's how she's found herself forking over thousands of dollars to an agency that specializes in fast and fake marriages. The idea is simple. Libby gets hitched to this stranger and they pretend the marriage is real for a few months, until she has her trust fund in her grasp, then she's free to end the arrangement. Falling for her fake husband, however, was not part of the deal.

Blaine has a problem too. He can't seem to help but fall a little more in love with his new wife each day. It's not supposed to happen, especially since he knows that this situation is temporary. But seeing Libby fit so perfectly in his life--and his bed-- is making the waters of this false relationship turn muddy. But if the two of them don't solve Libby's trust fund problem, neither of them will get what they want from this surprisingly real fake marriage.

I'm starting to really enjoy these fake relationship romances. I have to say that they are quickly growing on me. There is something awkwardly adorable about two people falling in love with each other while pretending to actually love each other. It makes for a lot of funny moments and nice sexual tension.  This is the first of a new series where this will be the theme and I just can't contain my excitement for even more of these stories to come. Even better, this is from one of my favorite authors, so I have even higher hopes that this will be a hit!

So far, I'm correct on that prediction. This story may have shared a theme with other books, but that's about it. The characters were not the usual rich boy with an attitude and girl down on her luck who is in awe of his many 'assets'. The hero here was realistic and compassionate. Our heroine was a hard-working woman with an ambitious career in mind for the future. The pair were a great match and I loved both characters from the start.

The romance was steady to build and steamy. The scenes with Libby's way overbearing father were tense and left me on the edge of my seat. When the conflict happened, I felt terrible for the pair, but it had a great ending. This was one couple who really deserved their happily ever after and definitely earned it by the last chapter. I would still like to give Libby's father a good slap. No lie. That man made me want to throw my Kindle right at his fictional face.

In closing...
I am curious to see who will be the next customer to employ SASS's services. Five suns!



Book provided by and reviewed for:

Friday, June 15, 2018

Excerpt & Tour: Runaway Heiress by Syrie James


When a runaway heiress runs into trouble, she may end up exactly where she belongs… 

Brainy and college-educated, American heiress Alexandra Atherton will do anything to avoid marriage to the English peer her mother has chosen for her–even abandon the life of privilege she’s always known. But as her escape goes horribly wrong, Alexandra must invent a new identity to gain the help of a handsome stranger.

Thomas Carlyle, the Earl of Longford, sweeps in and out of London disguised as a humble artist, earning just enough to keep his ancestral Cornwall estate afloat. When Alexandra crashes into his life, she awakens feelings and desires that he vows will stay buried. Despite himself, he needs this beautiful newcomer, for his sisters have run off another governess.

Alexandra is surprised to find she thrives in her new position at Longford’s home. But as she grows closer to Thomas and his sisters, and her relationship with the emotionally guarded earl unleashes their hidden passions, the truth Alexandra’s been forced to hide may end up coming between her and the only man she’s ever loved. 


About the Book

Runaway Heiress
by Syrie James

Series
Dare to Defy Series

Genre
Adult
Historical Romance

Publisher
Avon Impulse

Publication Date
June 12, 2018





Excerpt

“One first-class ticket for Liverpool, please.” Alexandra Atherton managed a smile for the ticket agent behind the window.

“One way or return?”

“One way.” Alexandra anxiously made her way across the busy train station, hardly able to believe she was doing this: running away, dressed in her maid’s old clothes, bound for Liverpool and the steamship that would take her home.

Her escape, she knew, would cause something of a scandal. Over the past few years, whenever her name or one of her sisters’ names had cropped up in the press, it was always followed by “the American heiress,” or “the daughter of multimillionaire banking tycoon Colis Atherton.” As if they were not actual people in their own right.

Alexandra hated to feed the gossip, but after last night, what choice did she have?

She had left a note explaining where she’d gone and why, which her maid Fiona was to “accidentally discover” later that afternoon. By then, it would be too late for her mother to prevent Alexandra from sailing. She just prayed that upon her reaching Liverpool, a berth would be available aboard the Maritime.

The train platform was alive with the clamor of movement and conversation. Gentlemen in black frock coats and ladies in elaborate plumed hats darted to and fro, checking the printed timetables, studying the large clock hanging from the rafters, purchasing apples from a vendor and papers from the newsstand. As Alexandra wove through the crowd, she heard a high-pitched voice at her elbow:

“Got a penny for a poor orphan?”

She paused. Before her stood a raggedly dressed, dirty little girl. Alexandra’s heart went out to the creature, who gazed up at her with wide eyes, her hair all in a tangle.

Alexandra wondered how a penny could possibly be of any help to a child in such need. Withdrawing her coin purse from her reticule, she offered the child a shilling. “Here you go, little one.” Suddenly, more children in similarly dirty clothing appeared and crowded around her.

“Mine!” cried a boy.

“No, mine!” cried another.

A grubby fist flashed out and snatched the shilling from Alexandra’s grasp. She couldn’t tell if it was the first girl who took it or one of the boys; indeed, she wasn’t entirely sure what happened next. All Alexandra knew was that multitudes of small, filthy hands were striking at her as young voices erupted in raucous shouts. Her coin purse was suddenly wrenched from her grasp, and a second later her handbag was gone.

“Wait! Give it back!” Alexandra cried, as the flock of children fled. “Help! Stop those children! They’ve stolen my bag!”

No one made any move to help her. Alexandra pushed her way through the crowd, racing after the children, but the ragamuffin band vanished as quickly as it had appeared. At the end of the platform, she stopped to catch her breath. The whole incident, she saw now, had been cleverly played, the efforts of a pack of urchins who preyed on unsuspecting travelers.

She searched for a policeman (what did they call them here? Bobbies?), but realized that even if one materialized, she couldn’t report the theft. She was dressed as a servant, in the act of running away.

Alexandra stood rooted to the spot, overwhelmed by a crushing sense of horror and disappointment as the depths of her predicament became clear to her. Her handbag was gone. It had held all her money as well as her train ticket. She hadn’t been able to take anything else with her, and now had nothing left except the clothes on her back. Clearly, there would be no trip to Liverpool today, and no voyage to New York.

Tears stung Alexandra’s eyes as she made her way back through the train station. What should she do now?


Tour Wide Giveaway

To celebrate the release of RUNAWAY HEIRESS by Syrie James, we’re giving away one paperback copy of THE LOST MEMOIRS OF JANE AUSTEN!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of THE LOST MEMOIRS OF JANE AUSTEN by Syrie James. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 6/24/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. 



About Syrie James

Syrie James is the bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Nocturne; Dracula, My Love; The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte (Great Group Read, Women’s National Book Association; Audie Romance Award, 2011), and the international bestseller The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen (Best First Novel 2008, Library Journal.) An admitted Anglophile, Syrie loves paranormal romance and all things 19th century. She lives in Los Angeles and is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America.

Author Links

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Book Blitz: Final Lesson by Shakyra Dunn



The Final Lesson
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: June 13th 2018

Summary:

"Trust none but yourself."

Leilana Erovina's got a bid for power as she takes the final test to become one of her realm's Warlords. As such, she sets out to travel the lands of Adrylis and log magical totems from respectful folk with only one hitch—no ancestral help. The quest is a pilgrimage to learn the basics of human nature. Some would call concepts like gentleness and passion fables of the heart.

In another perspective, war brews in the kingdom of Linmus, throwing Adrylis into chaos. Prince Remiel Vesarus finds himself in exile, vengeance on his mind for those who tore his life asunder. His attendant Solus Brenner at his side, they plan on restoring their kingdom against all odds.

Fate has drawn these two parties together. Conjoined at the hip, the traveler, prince and right-hand will learn the old saying of magic: "It always comes with a price."



Buy on Amazon!


Excerpt:

“U-Um, Leilana?” Leilana glanced up, finding the girl with lavender hair reaching the middle of her back, her bangs covering her forehead, nearly reaching her cerulean eyes. Her cheeks were coated pink, rivaling the shade of her knee-length dress. “There aren’t, um… there’s only a few of us left. Do you want to pair up?”

“Sure thing, uh…” Leilana glanced up at the sky in thought before holding up a finger in realization. “It’s Amelia, right?”

“Amiria,” she corrected sharply, her face reddening more at the affliction of her voice. Sure, the pronunciation had its similarities, but the syllables differed. And that passion of wanting her name to stick was working its wonders in Leilana’s mind. “Amiria Farone.”

“Sorry, sorry,” Leilana interjected, waving a hand in dismissal. “Didn’t mean to upset you.”

“O-Oh!” Amiria held up both hands and took a step back from Leilana, trembling a bit. “It’s fine, you didn’t! I-I’m sorry if I made it seem like I was angry, I’m really not, I promise-”

“Hey now, Amiria, no need to be so scared.” Kindall wrapped an arm around the girl’s shoulders, smirking. “Lei doesn’t bite, not usually.” Amiria held her arms behind her back and turned her head to keep from looking him in the eye.

“It’s Leilana,” Leilana said abruptly. “Not Lei, not Leila, it is Leilana. Live it, learn it, love it.”

Kindall raised an eyebrow at her words as he set Amiria free and allowed her to run off towards Hinju to prepare for her own duel. “Geez, no need to be so crabby. It was just a little fun with friends.”

“We aren’t friends, Kindall.” He jumped back at the proclamation. “We’re students at the same school fighting for the same goal. That doesn’t make us friends, does it?”

“Well, I, uh… I guess not…? But don’t you think it’s better for everyone that we tried to get along and be friends? You’re right, we’re all fighting for the same goal. Some of us are going to be Warlords someday, and we can all support each other until we get there. Right?” Leilana pondered his words before she cleared her throat.

“…I’m sorry. I’ve got a match.” She stepped past him, and Kindall stared at her back a moment longer before sighing, reclaiming his spot on one of the logs.

“You really are just a kid after all,” Kindall mumbled.

Leilana stood opposite Amiria, revealing her grimoire for her opponent to view. Amiria clutched the silver flute in her hands for dear life but kept her attention on the girl and even managed to narrow her eyes to try and stir up some intimidation.

“Come to think of it,” Lancett whispered to Kindall, “I’ve never seen Amiria fight before. She doesn’t seem like she’d hurt a fly.”

“No, she doesn’t,” Kindall replied, retaining focus on the two. “But Amiria has skills that a lot of people don’t understand.”

“Begin!”
Leilana rapidly flipped through the pages of her grimoire and an array of fireballs shot out at the girl. Amiria put the flute up to her lips and closed her eyes, playing out a small melody on the instrument before reflecting the magic back in Leilana’s direction. Leilana side-stepped out of the way, her eyes darting between the singed grass and Amiria herself, who was starting up another melody on her flute. She scoffed before flipping through the grimoire, stopping on a page, mumbling a scripture.

From the book, a pair of teeming hands cloaked in shadows emerged, grabbing the flute from Amiria’s grasp and snapping it in half before her very eyes. Amiria blinked away the tears starting up as she stared at her destroyed instrument, collecting the fractured pieces. With each passing second, her eyes grew dark and clouded. Leilana outstretched her right palm, sending the hands propelling towards her. Before they could reach her, Amiria inhaled deeply and closed her eyes, belting out a single high note in a pitch of middle C.

The single note, prolonged over several seconds, caused the hands to shatter away. Leilana froze as the note progressed, the ground around her beginning to tremble before giving way under her. She let out a shriek as the chasm opened, reaching out a hand as she fell. Amiria gasped when she realized what was occurring, covering her mouth with both hands.

“Leilana!” Lancett raced forward, sliding on his side as he ran, grabbing her by the arm. Several other students rushed to his aide, helping the girl out of the chasm. Leilana laid a hand on her chest, finding it difficult to regain herself, her frame quivering from shock. Lancett gently placed both hands on her shoulders, forcing her to face him. “Are you all right?”

“Y-Yeah, just… just a little shaken up…”

He bowed his head, hands still on her shoulders, sighing heavily. “Good. I’m glad.” Hinju was still in a bit of shock himself, his gaze reflected on Amiria now, who continued to put the pieces together in her mind about what she had done. After coming to his senses, he held up his staff, moving stalagmites of the earth back into place to mend the open crater, sealing it shut.

“I-I… I am so sorry, Leilana!” Amiria choked out, taking one step back after another. “I-I don’t… I don’t know what happened, I just…! I’m sorry!”

“It’s okay,” Leilana replied softly. “I’m not dead or anything.”
“B-But-”

“Hey, don’t beat yourself up over it,” she interjected, “Don’t worry. I’m fine. I promise.” Leilana heaved a sigh. “Okay, maybe not completely true, I’m a little bummed that I lost so terribly, and so fast. After all that work I put into learning the concepts of the Lasette…”

“Remember what Master said,” Lancett told her, smirking. “It’s all a learning experience. You can definitely do better next time.” She averted her gaze from him.


About the Author
Shakyra Dunn can't stray away from the impression that there is always an adventure around every corner! When she isn’t playing the role of the Creator, she is marching through the worlds of her favorite video game characters or taking drives around her city to see the sights. Born in Chicago, Illinois, she currently resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, striving to experience more than the little town.

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