Category Archives: Excerpt

Excerpt: Gone Country by Lorelei James

Gone Country
(Rough Riders, #14)
By: Lorelei James
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: Dec. 11, 2012
Genre: Erotic Romance

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She’s a little bit country, and he’s…not.

Arizona businessman and long-lost McKay love child Gavin Daniels has been awarded sole custody of his teenage daughter Sierra for one year. In order to steer Sierra back on track after a brush with the law, he pulls up stakes and heads to Wyoming, looking for support from his ranching family…even if he isn’t sure where they fit in the McKay dynamic. He’s prepared for every contingency with the move: the less-than-enthusiastic response from his daughter, learning to run his corporation remotely, but he’s thrown for a loop when his new housemate, Rielle, is a whole lot sexier, funnier and sassier than he remembered.

Rielle Wetzler has finally overcome the stigma of having hippie parents and being a young single mother. In the two years since she sold her ailing B&B to Gavin Daniels, she’s become financially stable running the homespun businesses she loves. But now Gavin is in Sundance to claim the house that’s rightfully his. Although Rielle knew this day would come, she isn’t prepared to leave the home she built for herself and her now-grown daughter. And to further complicate matters, her long-dormant libido is definitely not ready to live with this newly buff Gavin—who isn’t a cowboy, but has the take-charge attitude to prove he’s all McKay.

Sharing a roof, their troubles and their triumphs is too much temptation, and before long, Gavin and Rielle are sharing a bed. But sharing their hearts and lives forever? That’s a whole ’nother ball of wax.

 

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Excerpt: The Journey by John A. Heldt

The Journey
(Northwest Passage, #2)
By: John A. Heldt
Publisher: Self-published
Published: Nov. 3, 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Seattle, 2010. When her entrepreneur husband dies in an accident, Michelle Preston Richardson, 48, finds herself childless and directionless. She yearns for the simpler days of her youth, before she followed her high school sweetheart down a road that led to limitless riches but little fulfillment, and jumps at a chance to reconnect with her past at a class reunion. But when Michelle returns to Unionville, Oregon, and joins three classmates on a spur-of-the-moment tour of an abandoned mansion, she gets more than she asked for. She enters a mysterious room and is thrown back to 1979.

Distraught and destitute, Michelle finds a job as a secretary at Unionville High, where she guides her spirited younger self, Shelly Preston, and childhood friends through their tumultuous senior year. Along the way, she meets widowed teacher Robert Land and finds the love and happiness she had always sought. But that happiness is threatened when history intervenes and Michelle must act quickly to save those she loves from deadly fates. Filled with humor and heartbreak, THE JOURNEY gives new meaning to friendship, courage, and commitment as it follows an unfulfilled soul through her second shot at life.

 

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Excerpt: The Siren of Paris by David LeRoy

The Siren of Paris
By: David LeRoy
Publisher: David Tribble Publishing
Published: July 9, 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Born in Paris and raised in the United States, 21-year-old Marc Tolbert enjoys the advantages of being born to a wealthy, well-connected family.. Reaching a turning point in his life, he decides to abandon his plans of going to medical school and study art in Paris. In 1939, he boards a ship and heads to France, blissfully unaware that Europe — along with the rest of the world — is on the brink of an especially devastating war.

When he arrives at l’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, more ominous signs surface. There are windows covered with tape, sandbags shielding the fronts of important buildings, whispers of Parisian children leaving the city, and gas masks being distributed. Distracted by a blossoming love affair, Marc isn’t too worried about his future, and he certainly doesn’t expect a Nazi invasion of France.

Marc has a long journey ahead of him. He witnesses, first-hand, the fall of Paris and the departure of the French government. Employed by an ambassador, he visits heads of state, including the horribly obese gray-haired Mussolini and the charismatic Hitler. He witnesses the effects of the tightening vise of occupation, first-hand, as he tries to escape the country. He also participates in the French resistance, spends time in prison camps, and sees the liberation of the concentration camps. During his struggles, he is reunited with the woman he loves, Marie, who speaks passionately of working with the resistance. Is she working for freedom, or is she not to be trusted?

 
Excerpt

“Marc, Marc,” a voice called out from the bustling Metro crowd. Marc turned, but could not see who had called his name, and doubted if it was even for him. As he turned back, he heard his name again. David emerged from behind a crowd of young school children.

     “Shouldn’t you be out at Fontainebleau?”
     “Hey, yes, I am heading back now. I came into Paris to line up my next flat,” Marc said, shaking David’s hand.
     “Dora said the same, plus that she had been showing you off around town,” David said as the crowd of young school children moved around them.
     “Ah, yes, the gang. How is Nigel?”
     “Good. He is out of town right now on some banking business. I have been busy as well. I have a new supplier and have been lining up the contracts back in the States.”
     “David, I need to catch this train.”
     “No problem. When you are in Paris, we can meet up at Dora’s for a Sunday brunch.”
     “You bet.”
     Marc patted David’s shoulder and left to board the train that would take him to the southeast side of Paris. On board, a woman moved through the cabin toward the rear, passing row after row of school children. “Are all you little ones going on a holiday?” she said as she passed.
     “We are going south in case the Germans bomb the city,” a boy said, looking up at her.
     “That is absurd. Nothing will happen, but you have a good trip all the same.”
     After making a connection back to Fontainebleau, Marc spent the evening drawing.
     “How was Paris?” his roommate asked.
     “A bit tense. It appears they are sending the little ones out of the city.”
     “The drama of it all. I bet that was the government’s idea. Always trying to convince us of the impending doom.”
     “You think it is all a hoax?”
     “Don’t you?”
     A light breeze entered through the open windows of the third-floor life-drawing classroom the following afternoon of September 1, 1939. Marc could not quite figure out if the room at one time had been a drawing room, dressing room, or parlor. The gold leafing of the plaster molds was barely visible. The mirrors held cracks in the gilding. He knew it was not a valuable room; otherwise, it would never have become home to an art class. The entire school might be held within the servants’ quarters, but Marc preferred not to ask and instead allowed his imagination to run wild. “They say in the papers nearly 16,000 children have now left the city,” Marc overheard from a discussion next to him.
     “I believe they are now passing out the gas masks,” another student said in a hushed tone.

 
 
 author

A native of California, David received a BA in Philosophy and Religion at Point Loma Nazarene College in San Diego. After returning from a European arts study program, he became interested in the history behind the French Resistance during World War Two. Writing fiction has become his latest way to explore philosophical, moral and emotional issues of life. The Siren of Paris is his first novel.
For more information about David, visit his website.

Excerpt: The Charmed Souls by Christine Wenrick

The Charmed Souls
(The Charmed Trilogy, #2)
By: Christine Wenrick
Publisher: Red Treehouse Publishing
Release Date: Nov. 22, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance

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Olivia Ann Greyson is a Charmer, a Dhampir with the power to lure the supernatural world’s most dangerous of creatures – and she’s in an impossible situation. She must leave behind Caleb Wolfe, the strong, protective vampire she has fallen madly in love with, in order to learn how to protect herself from the vampires, shifters and demons that will be drawn to her for the rest of her life.

Human Guardian, Alec Lambert, has been assigned to see to Olivia’s training by the organization he belongs to, which is known simply as The Brethren. He takes Olivia to the group’s stronghold in the mountainous regions of Alberta, Canada, where she discovers the answers to her family’s painful past and the extent to which those hunting her will go to capture her. But she also uncovers many secrets and even more questions about this mysterious group she has trusted to protect her – secrets that will have her fighting to get back to the man she left behind.

. . . but will it be too late?

 

Excerpt

The first thing I noticed when I opened my eyes again was the darkness outside the glass balcony doors to my room. It appeared so black and still, surely one would be chilled to the bone the moment they moved within it. That kind of steely cold could reach inside a person and penetrate every bone and sinew until one was forced to find a heat strong enough to defeat it. That kind of cold was warring within me now, and the only heat I had to fight it with was coming from the cast-iron stove warming my room . . . and it wasn’t enough.

“Olivia?” Dr. Li spoke softly above me. “Do you know where you are?”

I nodded but offered him no words.

“We brought you back here because we thought it’s where you’d be most comfortable. Do you remember what happened?”

I nodded again, finally noticing his concerned face.

“You have some cuts on your wrist that I’ve stitched up. And that arm was hyper-extended, so it’ll be pretty sore for a few hours. Your physical injuries should be healed in a day or so, but I’ll want to check on you a few times over the next twenty-four hours just to make sure there are no other problems.”

“Thank you, doctor,” Gideon replied when I didn’t. “I can see to her from here.”

Dr. Li nodded. “Let me know if there are any changes.”

After Dr. Li left, Gideon pulled a chair close to my bed but maintained a good distance. His expression was grim, quiet, like a father who was unsure what to say to his daughter after an incident like this. “Olivia, I—”

“Thank you,” my raspy voice scratched against my throat.

His brow arched high in surprise at that.

“For getting there in time,” I finished.

 

author

 Christine is the author of The Charmed Trilogy. She lives in the scenic Pacific Northwest where she enjoys hiking, camping and photographing many of the wonderful places that served as inspiration for her novels. Her biggest reward in life is any given day when one of her books connects with a reader, because she herself is such a lover of reading.

You can connect with Christine via her:
website | twitter | facebook 

 

☆ I just finished reading The Charmed Souls and I must say that the excerpt above was the most powerful moment in the entire storyline for me. Rape scenes are my least favorite thing to read, it’s right up there with killing puppies and kittens but the author did an amazing job writing it.

Excerpt: Undeadly by Michele Vail

Today we have a great excerpt to share from the YA novel, Undeadly by author Michele Vail.

Undeadly
(The Reaper Diaries, #1)
By: Michele Vail
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: Nov. 20 2012
Genre: YA

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The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird…

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper—and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite boarding school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath.

Life at Nekyia has its plusses. Molly has her own personal ghoul, for one. Rick follows her there out of the blue, for another…except, there’s something a little off about him. When students at the academy start to die and Rath disappears, Molly starts to wonder if anything is as it seems. Only one thing is certain—-Molly’s got an undeadly knack for finding trouble….

 

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Excerpt: The Tragedy of Knowledge by Rachael Wade

Today is a special day. Not only do we have the wonderful Rachael Wade joining us today to share an excerpt from the final installment of the Resistance Trilogy, The Tragedy of Knowledge, but it’s also the release day of TOK! In celebration of the new release, Rachael is also offering one lucky reader the chance to win all three books in the Resistance Trilogy!

The Tragedy of Knowledge
(Resistance Trilogy, #3)
By: Rachael Wade
Publisher: Rabbit Hole Press
Published: Oct. 25, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance

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The Battle Comes Home.

After arranging a hopeful but risky alliance during their visit to the Amaranthian realm, Camille, Gavin, and the resistance don’t have much time to recover from their failed mission. Forced to create a new strategy to achieve their goal, they embark on a different mission—one that possibly holds the missing key to their quest for victory, and their deadliest one yet.

As they attempt round two to restore peace and freedom for their kind, they must rely on help from the living, the bayous, and beyond to decipher allies from enemies, good magic from bad, and whether the source claiming to lead the way to their destiny can be trusted. Racing against the clock to solve the mystery of their fate, they find the battle has come right to their doorstep, and this time, everyone must pay a price.

 
Excerpt

***SPOILER ALERT: This excerpt includes spoilers from The Gates, book 2 of the series. If you haven’t read book 2 yet, you can pick it up here.*** 

“All right. Look,” he said. “I’m going to come at you again from the same angle—when you’re not expecting it—and I want you to deflect my strike this time. All it takes is one stab of this silver, and you’re instantly slowed down, do you understand? It can mean the difference between living and dying. One strike will make it easier for your attacker to land another strike, and then another. Each one making you weaker. Which means seconds until you’re completely incapacitated. Then they can do whatever the hell they want to you. Think of it as paralyzing venom.”

“Gavin. I got it. We’ve been over this.” I pulled my hair tighter in the ponytail and wrapped it with an elastic tie, positioning myself in front of him again, knees bent, arms up, stance ready.
“Then get it together. I need you focused.”
“Did I mention I really don’t like your bossy side?”
“Did I mention I really hate that you don’t do as you’re told?”
He met my stance with an amused grin, rubbing his hands over his shoulders to push up his sleeves. My gaze caught the movement, zoning in on his defined arms. I swallowed, and managed, “Do as I’m told?”
“Uh huh.” He shuffled closer with slow, easy steps. “Out here, I’m not your husband. I’m not your lover. I’m your trainer. It’s my responsibility to show you how to defend yourself. And it’s your job to listen.”
“I am listening. You just make it difficult … to stay focused.”
“Oh, yeah?” He reached out and brushed a strand of hair from my forehead, letting his fingers trail slowly over my skin while he peered down at me, licking his lips. “Why do I make it difficult for you to stay focused, love? Are you having a hard time keeping up?” Pushing the hair back behind my ear, he leaned in farther, grazing his nose against my cheek, smirking when he heard me exhale a low, shaky breath.
Damn him. “You know why.”
“Do I?” His grin widened.
“You do. And I won’t give you the satisfaction of hearing it come out of my mouth.”
“Cam,” he dragged his lips across my cheekbone to the base of my ear, “I can feel it, too. You don’t have to say it, because I’m in tune with your body like never before. We’re on the same level now. All that pent-up energy, trying to claw its way out of you …” Nipping my earlobe, he let out a low chuckle and skimmed his hand underneath the hem of my shirt, tracing the waistband of my jeans with rough, teasing fingers. My entire body came alive at his touch, blood singing, knees quaking, mouth watering. His scent was divine and his lips called to me like some wicked, elemental magic.
He knew exactly what he was doing. The bastard.
More than willing to play along, I inhaled a sharp breath and reciprocated, dragging my fingers down his torso, then back up, stopping just above his navel. His mouth still near the base of my ear, his breath hitched against my skin at the contact. Encouraged, I headed south again, rubbing and teasing, feeling him grow beneath my fingers, tilting my head to the side to expose my neck. He moaned and grazed his teeth over my shoulder and down to my collarbone, dropping his blade to the ground with a loud thud.
“You make me crazy. Do you know that?” He gripped my hips and pressed me against him. “Do you feel what you do to me?”
“It’s too intense,” I whispered, my voice breathy. I was already panting when he moved to the other side of my neck, nudging my head to tilt it in the opposite direction.
“I warned you. You had a taste back in Amaranth, right after you changed.” He started on the buttons of my shirt.
“But the pull is even harder to fight now. When you touch me … I have no self-restraint. Sometimes I feel like … like I can’t handle all the extra energy. Like I’ll detonate if I don’t act.”
“That’s part of the fun.”
“Gav … we’re in an open field.”
“Hasn’t stopped you yet.” He popped two more buttons. “I know you want me. Just relax and let me make you feel good, baby. That panic lessens when you give it an outlet.”
Shutting my eyes tight, I leaned up on tiptoe and wrapped my arms around his neck to kiss him hard, then released him and slowly sashayed in the other direction, challenging him from underneath coy lashes, the need to run singing in my veins. “Fine. And I know you want me, but you’ll have to catch me first.”
His mouth fell open and his brows raised, a surprised smile pulling at the corner of his lips; he was ready to take the bait. I surged forward into a turbo-charged sprint, clear across the field toward the woods ahead, feeling him feet behind me, fast on my trail. I blew through the edge of the brush and into the thick marsh, lifting off my feet into flight, deeper and deeper into the bayou.

 

 

Rachael Wade is the Amazon #1 bestselling author of the paranormal romance series, The Resistance Trilogy, and the contemporary romance, Preservation. When she’s not writing, she’s busy learning French, watching too many movies, and learning how to protect wildlife and stop animal cruelty.

For more information on Rachael, check out her website.

You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

Excerpt: The Russian Seduction by Nikki Navarre

Today we have romantic suspense author, Nikki Navarre joining us to not only give us a sneak peak of her new novel, The Russian Seduction. She is also offering one lucky reader a chance to win a copy of their own!

The Russian Seduction
By: Nikki Navarre
Publisher: Affluent Press
Published: Oct. 1, 2012
Genre: Romantic Suspense

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All Romance

Victor Kostenko was the golden boy of the Russian Navy, a submarine captain with a maverick image, until he lost his command for an act of treason he didn’t commit. Now it’s rumored he’ll do anything to get back in his government’s good graces.

Rising-star American diplomat Alexis Castle always plays by the rules. She’ll torpedo her career for sure if she falls for a bad-boy Russian who breaks every rule in the book.

In this teaser from The Russian Seduction, my debut romantic suspense release set in the glittering cosmopolitan world of modern-day Russia, Victor and Alexis have just made contact in a private box at the Bolshoi Ballet. It’s an unconventional choice of locale for political negotiation, set up by Victor, that has Alexis pretty unsettled. Her career rests on establishing a dialogue with the renegade captain, but each of them suspects the other of being an intelligence agent with a hidden agenda. Given the risk that Victor is under orders to compromise her—not to mention the virtual certainty that they’re under surveillance—the sizzling chemistry between them is an itch she can’t afford to scratch.

 

Excerpt

Her senses snapped to full alert when Victor leaned in close behind her, measured breath teasing her neck.“How would you describe the theme,” he whispered, “to one who hasn’t seen it?”

So much for her vaunted indifference. Tremors of unease rippled through Alexis at his nearness: an aggressive global power that was her country’s greatest rival, and he was breathing down her neck. A sleepless eye that watched in the deep, a cunning predator with infinite patience—and now he’d fixed his sights on her.

“The theme of this ballet?” She held herself apart, and strove for a casual tone. “Lost love, I suppose, or something equally melodramatic. What else would it be?”

“Are you so indifferent to passion?” He uttered a soft laugh. “As for myself, I think the theme is longing…for the physical consummation of love.”

Whisper-light, his lips brushed her nape and lingered there, caressing. Even as the shock of his touch jolted through her, a shudder of raw pleasure rippled along her nerves, turning her bones to water, dancing like tongues of fire over the fine hairs along her body. As the intimate darkness embraced them and the violins moaned, the deep throb of oboes and bassoons vibrated through her blood.

My God, I’m in way over my head here. She gripped her elbows with shaking hands.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing, captain?” she whispered.

“The hell if I know,” he murmured against her skin, stirring tendrils of her hair. “Last night I concluded that you’ve been positioned by your government to compromise me—since it worked so well the last time, with my unfortunate predecessor. I’ve been cautioned that a prudent man would refrain from springing for the bait, no matter how… enticing it may appear.”

He paused. “But I’ve never been known for being prudent. As you’ve undoubtedly read in my dossier, Counselor.”

“According to your dossier,” she said huskily, striving to regain her footing, “you’re an adventure junkie. You’ve never met a risk you won’t take. Isn’t that right, captain?”

“While you’re a model diplomat whose conduct in country is invariably flawless,” he breathed.

“However, I find continuing to address you as ‘Counselor’ while I’m inhaling your fragrance is something of a stretch, even for a man of my considerable talents. Alexis…may I call you this?”

“Do you really think I’m such an easy mark?” she countered softly, far too conscious of his breath teasing her skin. “This is about retaliation, isn’t it? A little diplomatic ‘tit-for-tat’ for the stunt we just pulled on you.”

“Don’t you think that would be a bit obvious, even for my government? You would be the very last woman I’d target, for precisely that reason,” he said calmly. “And you can believe I’m the last man they’d use. I’m in disgrace, or hadn’t you noticed?”

“Then why am I here?” she whispered.

Though she had to admit his arguments made a certain degree of sense. Russian ops usually were quite a bit more subtle. They were experts at the art of deception. Besides, Victor Kostenko didn’t strike her as the kind of guy who’d perform sexually on demand, for the Motherland or anyone else.

“If you require a justification you can cable back to Washington, tell them tonight was about dialogue.” His warm breath on her neck receded as he straightened. “Opening a back channel for communication between our countries, yes? If we…enjoy one another’s company in the process, this is not a crime.”

Tell that to her boss, who’d just been booted out. Or to his, who’d just been fired.

Sure and strong, his hands closed over her shoulders. “The performance is ending, Alexis. I’m going to take you someplace else now.”

“You know we can’t do that,” she said sharply, alarm flashing through her. “Besides, there’s really no point to prolonging this appointment. I believe we’ve each accomplished our meeting objectives.”

“Speak for yourself,” he murmured, accent thickening.

author
Nikki Navarre is the sinister twin of unsuspecting historical romance author Laura Navarre. In her other life, Nikki is a diplomat who’s lived in Russia and works on weapons of mass destruction issues. In the line of duty, she’s been trapped in an elevator in a nuclear power plant and has stalked the corridors of facilities churning out nerve agent and other apocalyptic weapons. In this capacity, she meets many of the world’s most dangerous men.
Nikki holds an M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine, an M.A. in National Security Policy from The George Washington University, and other alarming credentials. Based in Seattle with her screenwriter accomplice and two Siberian cats, she divides her time between her writing career and other adventures for U.S. government clients. Her notorious adventures in the world of diplomacy will get her in trouble one of these days.
The Russian Seduction (October 2012) may be the last mistake she ever makes.
For more information about Nikki, check out her website.
You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Excerpt: Illicit Desire by Tina Donahue

Joining us today we have Tina Donahue, author of Illicit Desire. She’s stopping by to share an excerpt from her new erotica novel and to give one lucky reader the chance to win an ebook from her backlist.

Illicit Desire
(Outlawed Realm, #2)
By: Tina Donahue
Published: Sept. 25, 2012
Genre: Erotica

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Pleasure that destroys all thought. Love that shatters all barriers.

Once a sex slave marked for termination, Lukan was miraculously liberated from E4’s Pleasure Palace, where E2’s fine, upstanding rulers secretly indulge their cravings for every imaginable vice. But freedom is not enough.

He left his heart behind with Arez. Within her fragrant, heated caress, he knew everything denied him. Rapture, contentment, tenderness…and love. Desperate to have her back in his arms, he embarks on a dangerous mission to deliver his untamed temptress from the certain death she does not know awaits her.

Within her velvet cage Arez knew only carnal submission and loneliness—until Lukan. But he has disappeared, and she senses something different in the way the supreme ruler is using her. Then, as if Lukan felt her longing for his strong arms and fevered kisses, he is there to sweep her from this twilight dimension to another.

But true freedom lies just out of his grasp. To reach the last portal—and their destiny—Lukan and Arez must first outwit an army of predators that hunt them. Human, subhuman…and monsters.

 

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Excerpt: The Burning Star by Jessie Lane

The Burning Star
By: Jessie Lane
Published: May 24, 2012
Genre: YA

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Can she reach her destiny before tragedy strikes?

The doctors have told Kay that she will die before she reaches her eighteenth birthday. Her mother’s determination to save her life leads them to a move outside of Asheville, NC to a new set of cancer specialists in the hopes to help her. But it’s not what Kay and her Mom find in the doctor’s offices in Asheville that lead them on the journey to save her before time runs out. It’s what Kay finds in the woods outside of Asheville, and an inhumanly gorgeous guy named Ryan, instead.

Myths and fairy tales come to life before Kay’s eyes, bringing her closer to the ultimate cure if she can stay alive long enough to get there. And if the cancer doesn’t kill her before she finds the cure the secrets her mother has hidden from her may be the beginning of the end.

 

 

Excerpt
All I could think was that if I concentrated on cleaning his gash then maybe I wouldn’t make myself look like an idiot anymore. The concentrating helped because I could just feel his eyes on me. I wanted to ask him what he was thinking, or why he was staring, but I thought it was better to just stay quiet and clean his arm. I worked quickly and when I was done I looked up into his face with a somewhat steely determination not to make an ass out of myself anymore today. “Hey, you think you can handle it if we clean it off with alcohol. I bet it’s going to sting like a bitch, but I’m afraid it might get infected if we don’t.”“Yeah, that’s fine.” He said as he concentrated on my face.

“Are you sure? Because a cut like that, I bet it’s going to hurt. Like hurt a lot.” I inwardly debated if he was trying to be brave, or if he was nuts enough that he just didn’t care. My bet was nuts.

Ryan put on a confident face and said, “I think I can handle it. But if it makes you feel any better I promise I won’t scream like a little girl.”

Well at least I could go get the alcohol without feeling like I hadn’t warned him properly. “Ok, wait here. I’ll go get the alcohol out of the bathroom, and I’ll be right back.” I headed out of the kitchen and turned right down the hall towards that bathroom. I snagged it out from underneath the bathroom sink cabinet and hurried back to the kitchen because some part of my brain still couldn’t believe that there was an exceptionally hot half naked guy in my kitchen. But sure enough I rounded the corner and he was still standing there waiting for me. “So, do you want me to like pat it on with the rag or…”

“No just pour it straight into the wound. That’s the best way to avoid any infection.” And with that comment he positioned his arm over the sink so that we wouldn’t make a mess. I just shook my head. He really was nuts.

“I’m betting twenty bucks you scream like a girl.” I chided.

“And I’m betting a date with you that I won’t scream like a girl.” He stared intently at my shocked face with a cocky little grin as I absorbed his comment in.

“Ok.” Really? I thought to myself. That’s all you can come up with is ‘ok’? He’ll think you’re oh so smooth now. In fact, I’m sure I just won the ‘smooth award’ somewhere.

I shook my head and gingerly started to pour the alcohol into the gash that ran nearly from his shoulder to right above his elbow. As I braced myself for the scream that I was sure he had coming, when the alcohol hit his wound he gasped from the pain and then snapped his jaw shut. His face became clenched and contorted from pain and his entire body literally locked up in a spasm of sorts. Jerking the bottle upright and setting it on the kitchen counter; I stared into his distorted face. He was in so much pain that I had absolutely no idea how he was not screaming. His body shuddered and then I saw where there were beads of sweat on his forehead that started trickling down his face.

I inadvertently took a step back from him afraid that he was going to crack and instead of screaming throw a punch or something. Then the strangest thing happened; I felt a blast of hot air that was strong enough to lift my hair a little as if it was in a breeze and then there was a rich smell of some kind of flowers I couldn’t identify that practically engulfed my senses. My body started tingling in response to something, and I felt a flash of heat ripple through me. Then as quickly as it had started, it was over. I looked around my house somewhat wildly for a minute trying to figure out what just happened. “What was that? Ryan did you feel that?”

“Feel what Kay? The alcohol burning the crap out of my arm. Yes, I most certainly felt that.” He was looking at me somewhat analytically, and I thought that maybe he was thinking that I belonged in the loony farm or something.

I was seriously going to have to reread the side effects of that new medication I was on. Maybe I was having hallucinations? But it felt so real. In fact, my body was still humming with something that I couldn’t place.

“Right, you’re right. It must have been the heater coming on or something. I just wonder when my mom got that smelly thing. It has such a strong smell of some kind of flower.” I started scanning the wall outlets for an air freshener plug in and then the counters for some kind of new smelly candle. Nothing. There had to be an explanation for it. The hot air came on and hit whatever air freshener Mom had put out, right?

“Kay, are you all right?” The way Ryan was watching me now I was obviously never getting that date. What a freak he must think I am.

“Yeah, yeah. I’m fine. Sorry, I guess I’m a little out of it today. How’s your arm? I guess we should wrap it up now.” I reached for the ace bandage and shook my head to clear the crazy fog that was still in there. I glanced up into Ryan’s face before I touched his arm just to make sure that he was ok with me trying to take care of him.

He must want me to stand, like, fifty feet back so he didn’t catch my crazy.

 

 

author

Jessie Lane is the writing team of Crystal Leo and Melissa Pahl. The two sister-in-laws share a great love of breathtaking romance, cliff hanging suspense, and out-of-this-world characters that demand your attention or threaten to slap you around until you do pay attention to them. Because really, it is ALL about the characters. (They’re kind of megalomaniacs)

When not losing themselves in a story, they remember they have real lives. Crystal lives in Kentucky with her husband and two little girls who plot daily the many ways they can drive their poor mother crazy. At the end of the day, Crystal calls Melissa and threatens to ship her two nieces to their favorite Aunt with lots of air holes punched through their box. Melissa answers Crystal’s crazed calls in Washington state where she lives with her husband and big furry baby of a Rottweiler named Yuffie, and reminds her that children are not shippable.

This is their first novel, but they are all geared up and excited to be releasing other projects soon!

For more information on Jessie Lane, check out their website. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Excerpt: The Mine by John A. Heldt

The Mine
By: John A. Heldt
Publisher: Self-published
Published: Feb. 12, 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction

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In 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can’t use, money he can’t spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of Whirlaway, swing dancing, and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.

 

Excerpt

 

For the next fifteen minutes, Joel and Linda stood at the edge of the water, arm in arm, and watched dusk turn into night. Neither said more than a few words, but neither had to. Their silence was a source of comfort, not discontent.The tranquility was broken a moment later, when two couples noisily emerged from the hall. One walked to a shiny black Ford parked near the front of a dirt lot. The other stayed on the deck and propped open an exit, allowing the upbeat sound of “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller to drift across the lawn and drown out a cricket philharmonic.

“You sure you don’t want to dance?” Linda asked.

“I’m sure – and not just because I don’t want to fall on my face. I’d rather stay out here with you.”

“Really?”

“Really.” Joel grabbed both of Linda’s hands and looked at her face. “Why would you think otherwise?”

“Well, to be honest, I wasn’t sure you even wanted to go out. I didn’t exactly make the best first impression at Tom’s graduation party. I had a little too much celebration,” she said, staring at her feet. “And I’ve noticed you’ve become rather sweet on Grace.”

“I wasn’t sure about going out tonight, not at first. But I’m glad we did. You look stunning – breathtaking – and you’ve been perfect company. I could not have asked for a better date,” he said. “As for Grace, I do like her. I like all of you. But I’m here with you now, not her, not anyone else, and I’m very happy to be here.”

Joel meant it too. His feelings for Grace had not ebbed a bit, but for the first time in weeks he began to ask serious questions – questions he should have asked at the start. Did he and Grace actually have something? Or was he just a fool holding Paul McEwan’s jacket until he returned on leave?

And what about his so-called consolation prize? She had no restrictions and came exactly as advertised: smart, pretty, honest, flawed, and unabashedly interested in the new kid in town. If nothing else, Linda deserved a fair shake and an open mind. The old saying about a bird in the hand began to gnaw.

Joel considered another thing as well. It felt good having a woman in his arms and in his life. It had been two months since he had enjoyed a similar moment with Jana, two months and fifty-nine years. Life as a monk was getting old.

“Are you OK?” Linda asked. She looked at him with soft, expressive eyes, eyes any man could get used to. “You look kind of lost.”

He smiled and pulled her closer.

“I was,” he said, “but not anymore.”

Joel put a hand to Linda’s face and took a long look at his Second Impression. He kissed her and, for a few splendid minutes, forgot why he was lost in the first place.

 

author

John A. Heldt is a reference librarian who lives and works in Montana. The former award-winning sportswriter and newspaper editor has loved reading and writing since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of both the University of Oregon and University of Iowa, he is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. THE MINE is his first novel.

For more information on John, check out his blog