Category Archives: Teaser

[Blitz & Giveaway] At Any Price by Brenna Aubrey



At Any Price by Brenna Aubrey
(Gaming the System #1)
Publication date: December 9th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Synopsis:


Achievement Unlocked: Geek Virgin

When Mia Strong, proud geek-girl and popular gaming blogger, auctions off her virginity online, she knows she’ll make waves. But what she will not be making is a love connection. Her rules are set in stone: One night. No further contact.

It’s a desperate step, but it’s the only way she can go to medical school and pay her mother’s mounting hospital bills.

Difficulty Level: Millionaire CEO

Adam Drake, the enigmatic auction winner, is a software prodigy who made his first million at seventeen. Now, in his mid-twenties, he’s sexy, driven and–as CEO of his own gaming company–he’s used to making the rules. Before Mia knows what’s happening, he’s found the loophole in the rules of her auction. Every stipulation she’s made to protect her heart gets tossed by the wayside.

She can’t tell if he’s playing her…or if he’s playing for keeps.

This New Adult book is intended for audiences over the age of 18 due to adult language, sexual content and adult situations.

 

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18716577-at-any-price?ac=1

 
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AUTHOR BIO

Brenna Aubrey is an author of New Adult contemporary romance stories that center on geek culture. Her debut novel, AT ANY PRICE, releases in December, 2013.

She has always sought comfort in good books and the long, involved stories she weaves in her head. Brenna’s favorite author is Jane Austen and favorite novel is PERSUASION.

Brenna is a city girl with a nature-lover’s heart. She therefore finds herself out in green open spaces any chance she can get. A mommy to two little kids and teacher to many more older kids, she juggles schedules to find time to pursue her love of storycrafting.

She currently resides on the west coast with her husband, two children, two adorable golden retriever pups, two birds and some fish.


LINKS:




 
EXCERPT

“I’m quite capable of understanding sexual attraction, Mr. Drake.”

“Adam,” he said quietly, his eyes lowering to focus on my mouth. My heart skipped a beat in its frenetic pace.

“Adam.”

“Why does it make you uncomfortable to call me by my first name?”

I locked gazes with him, suddenly intensely aware of how close we were standing. I could smell him—a subtle scent, masculine, clean, like the ocean and the hint of peppermint candy on his breath. I could almost feel the heat and power oozing off of him in waves. I swallowed in a suddenly dry throat.

“I don’t know.”

“I want to give you one more thing to think about.”

“And what is that?”

He leaned closer, his head approaching mine. I didn’t have the time to step back nor, I think, the willpower to do it even if it had occurred to me. His mouth met mine in a firm, sure kiss.

It wasn’t overpowering. That was the first thing that surprised me. It was a subtle give and take—gentle, at first, a warm pressure of his lips on mine. Then he took a step closer and slid a hand around my waist, the other going to my back.

He retreated, just slightly, just enough to allow me to pursue him. His mouth moved against mine, teasing, pressing it open. Now his body pressed against mine, his head angled down to reach me, for I was at least five inches shorter than him.

I opened my mouth to him then and his tongue slid in easily. Nothing tentative in this kiss. He knew exactly what he was doing. He was telling me I had the control, declaring the decision mine and then swooping in and taking no prisoners.

His hands stayed put. I was glad of that though I wanted his touch everywhere—my aching breasts, the throbbing between my legs. Goose bumps prickled up and down my arms. His tongue explored my mouth with surety, easy possession. And—to my utter humiliation—I let loose a small whimper at the back of my throat.

The arm around my waist tightened when he heard it, responding immediately, almost instinctively. He pulled his tongue back, as if inviting me to follow him with my tongue. And tentatively, I did.

I’d been kissed before—back in high school when I was normal and I actually dated. But it had been years, now, and I’d never, ever been kissed like this. My tongue entered his mouth and he made a noise at the back of his throat, not quite a growl, kind of more like a huff. It emboldened me. Empowered me. I thrust my tongue, lacing my hands around the back of his neck. Our heads moved together for long minutes and I felt like I hadn’t breathed in a lifetime.

Everything was spinning around me and I—I was spinning too, delirious with want. Like a woman drowning in the middle of stormy sea, in desperate need of a life raft. That sea was Adam Drake and he was pulling me adrift, stranding me in some strange and forgotten land.

When finally he ended it, he pulled away so slowly that I could hardly tell our lips had parted until cool air passed between us. It was then that I saw that he was as affected as I was—flushed cheeks, his breath coming fast, his eyes dark and drunk with desire.

 

 



 

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[Release Day & Giveaway] Dear Emily by Trudy Stiles

For more fun & giveaways, come join our Facebook Release Party & Blog Tour Event ~ Sunday, December 8th 7-9pm EST – CLICK HERE

Happy Release Day to Trudy Stiles for her debut novel “Dear Emily”. Make sure to check out the TRAILER, TEASERS & enter the GIVEAWAY for a Kindle HDX below!

Now Available

________________________________________________________________________

Author: Trudy Stiles
Book Title: Dear Emily ~ Series: Forever Family #1
Genre: New Adult/Romance

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Two women. Carly & Tabitha. Both have suffered life-altering events that have left them both traumatically damaged.
Carly Sloan’s life was perfect until the night her security and innocence was torn from her. The vast repercussions from that horrific night threaten to destroy her stability and her chances for a happily ever after. Kyle Finnegan comes into Carly’s life at the height of her turmoil. Can he help her find what she desires most?
Tabitha Fletcher, on the other hand, has suffered from a very young age. She has been hiding from her past, which was full of abuse, loss and turmoil. She has been so brutally damaged that she has very little hope of redemption. The revolving door of men only leads her deeper into misery.
What circumstance brings these two women together unexpectedly and can they help each other heal? And will they each find what they need?
Redemption.
Love.
Family.
This book is not suitable for young readers. It is intended for mature adults only (18+). It contains strong language, adult/sexual situations, non-consensual sex and some violence.
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*** BOOK TRAILER & TEASERS ***

Dear Emily from t. h. snyder on Vimeo.

________________________________________________________________________

About the Author:

Trudy Stiles is a New Adult author, avid reader, mom to two beautiful children and married to the love of her life. She just wrote her debut novel, “Dear Emily, and cannot wait to share it with everyone.
You’ll know that she’s writing when you see her plugged into her laptop with her earbuds and she always has a playlist ready for her writing sprints.
When she’s not writing, she’s carting her children to their various activities while avoiding any kind of laundry or housework. She also loves to run along the boardwalk of the beautiful New Jersey shore.
She’s always been an avid reader and frequently escapes into the fictional worlds of the many characters that she has come to love. Well now there are some fictional characters in her head dying to get out!
This first story is called “Dear Emily” and will begin the “Forever Family” series.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authortrudystiles
Website: http://www.trudystiles.com
Twitter: @trudystiles
Author page on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7255897.Trudy_Stiles
________________________________________________________________________

*** GIVEAWAY ***

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[Blitz & Giveaway] Quintessentially Q by Pepper Winters

 
 
 
 
Quintessentially Q by Pepper Winters

(Monsters in the Dark #2)
Publication date: December 15th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance


Synopsis:

“All my life, I battled with the knowledge I was twisted… fucked up to want something so deliciously dark—wrong on so many levels. But then slave fifty-eight entered my world. Hissing, fighting, with a core of iron, she showed me an existence where two wrongs make a right.”

Tess is Q’s completely. Q is Tess’s irrevocably. But now, they must learn the boundaries of their unconventional relationship, while Tess seeks vengeance on the men who sold her. Q made a blood-oath to deliver their corpses at Tess’s feet, and that’s just what he’ll do.

He may be a monster, but he’s Tess’s monster..

 

 
 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18398089-quintessentially-q?ac=1
 
 

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Teaser

Goddammit, she said I scarred her soul… would she let me scar her skin?

Tess stood in front of me. Her toned legs splayed, hands on her hips. So proud and regal in her own body. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. My mouth went dry as the beast inside prowled and hurled itself against the cage, trying so hard to get at her. To rip her. Ravage her.

 
 

 

AUTHOR BIO:

Writer, reader, sometimes wife.

An avid devourer of sexy romance and angsty New Adult.

Nothing beats lolling in a bubble bath with her array of book boyfriends.

Her two titles: Tears of Tess and Broken Chance are coming soon.

 

Author links:

 
“I understand you want me to show you what my fantasies are, but you have to give me time, esclave.” My heart raced at the word. For four days, I refused to call her anything but Tess. She wasn’t my slave. She wasn’t my possession. Never had been and never would be. I hated how even though I knew she was there on her own accord, I still wanted ultimate ownership. I wanted her chained and completely dependent on me. I wanted to feed her and bathe her. I wanted to be the very reason she stayed alive.
Fuck, I should get a pet.

 
Every shallow breath was a hardship as Q slowly cut off my air supply. When I grew lightheaded, Q licked his lips and bent to kiss me. The rough dominance of his fingers didn’t match the soft sensual kiss he bestowed.
He didn’t kiss me. He worshiped me.

 
“Now is not the time to talk about hearts and falling, esclave. Now is the time for pain and fucking. See how the two don’t mix?”

 
The world didn’t matter. This was us. This was our fuckedupness learning how to live.

#1

 

#2

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Filed under Book Blitz, Contemporary, Giveaway, Monsters in the Dark, New Adult, Pepper Winters, Romance, Synopsis, Teaser

[Blitz & Giveaway] If Only We by Jessica Sankiewicz

If Only We
Release Date: 10/27/13
Summary from Goodreads:
They say all it takes is one wrong move and you lose the game. One false step and you’re trapped. One slip-up in your choice of words and you ruin a friendship forever. That is what they say. They say I lost.

I do not believe them.

At the end of the summer after graduation, Adrienne wonders what happened to cause her life to be in ruins. She isn’t getting along with her mom, her stepsister isn’t talking to her, and, to top it off, the boy she’s been in love with doesn’t want anything to do with her. She believes the turning point was a choice she made at graduation. When she wakes up the next day, she has been transported back three months to that moment, the one where everything started to fall apart.

Adrienne realizes she has been given a second chance—and this time she doesn’t want to mess anything up. Reliving the entire summer, though, turns out to be a lot harder than she thought. As the same days and weeks go by, she starts to see how simple decisions can make a huge impact on the world around her. Despite knowing some of what lies ahead, there are some things she didn’t anticipate. She thought she knew what mistake led her to where she ended up the first time. She was wrong.

And by the time summer is over, she discovers what was really at stake.

Available from:
 photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg  photo smashwordsicon_zps931b0409.jpg
About the Author
Jessica is the 28-year-old author of IF ONLY WE, a YA contemporary. You can often find her either reading or marathon watching TV on DVD, her favorites being Castle and Veronica Mars. She frequently mismatches her clothes and giggles uncontrollably. She knows almost every Billy Joel song by heart. She collects books and toys, and she has an intense love of cats and lemurs. Currently in the midst of her quarter-life-crisis, she is still takin’ names and getting very close to reaching an epiphany.


Author Links:
    photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png  photo iconpinterest_zps6fcf02a7.png

EXCERPT:

I never imagined a day when I wouldn’t want the sun to shine. One of the best things about summer is the sunshine; its warmth and the light it casts late into the evenings. It beats the chill and shorter days of the winter. Today is different. Today isn’t just another summer day.

Today I am heading to the cemetery.

I flip the dial on my car radio to find something to listen to on the way. I hate driving without something playing. Nothing comes on that is appropriate. No music sounds good right now, so I just turn it off. I wish something would feel good and distract me from the already awful day I’m having.

Since I got in late last night, I didn’t speak to my mom until this morning. I should have just skipped breakfast and avoided the kitchen entirely.

When I sat down, she said, “Based on what Lyndsay has told me, River’s Bend would be a great place to work.”

I tried to not openly flinch but it was impossible. Not only impossible to not do, but also impossible for my mom to not notice.

“What was that for? It’s not my fault you missed out on that opportunity because you ran off to your father’s.”

“I’ll be going to school on Monday. I’m still going to be a nurse. You should be happy.”

“I am happy that you will be a nurse.”

I sighed. “Then why is it such a big deal that I didn’t volunteer this summer? It’s not like that one thing makes a difference in the long run.”

“It shows how dedicated you are in carrying out family tradition.”

Instead of rehashing the same conversations I had with her all summer, I stood up and left the house without another word.

I pull into the drive for the cemetery and park under the shade of a maple tree. I sit there with one hand on the wheel and the other on the key in the ignition. It’s time. Time to get out of the car.

It’s time for me to face him.

GIVEAWAY:
One print copy of If Only We (INT)

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[Promo & Giveaway] The Suicide Princess by Anthony Bryan




The Suicide Princess by Anthony Bryan
Release Date: November 5th, 2013
Genre: Erotic Thriller / Contemporary Romance (not suitable for younger readers)


Blurb:

“Not your mother’s romance, this is an erotic thriller that will leave you breathless and have you begging for more…”

Stephanie Bradford is a young, attractive, and successful District Attorney on her way to the top. She has the near-perfect life, with an amazing husband, and she has it all in the palm of her hand. When her marriage falls into a romantic rut, Stephanie is skillfully swooned by a charming, mysterious and intriguing stranger who looks to be the answer to all of her fantasies. A whirlwind and erotic affair quickly spirals out of control, and before long, she learns that things aren’t always as they appear and people are rarely who they seem. One poor decision becomes the catalyst for a series of events that rips her life apart, and Stephanie is left with nothing but the thirst for revenge against the man who viciously stole everything from her. The Suicide Princess is a sexually charged roller coaster ride where nothing is as it seems and everything is at stake!


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18395391-the-suicide-princess

 


 Amazon Buy Link –

 


 


Author Bio:


Born and raised in London, UK, Anthony’s hope, more than anything, is that his words can provide an escape for you, and he hopes they take you on a journey you won’t soon forget. His goal is to give you something different, refreshing and unlike anything you’ve ever read. In a sea of authors pumping out the same cookie-cutter stories, Anthony can only try to be the one who stands out and takes you on one hell of a ride.  Find your favorite reading spot, pour yourself a drink (or two) and love every second of every page he writes… After all, he writes them for you!

At 27 years old, Anthony now resides in the U.S. where he divides his time between Boston, Massachusetts and Sarasota, Florida.  He served with the American military in eastern Afghanistan, and he is a combat veteran as well as an accomplished fighter training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai kickboxing.  He may not seem like the typical erotic writer, and he’s not.  He’s different, and his work is different – get ready to be blown away!

Throughout his entire life, even as a young child, reading has always been Anthony’s escape from reality. It was a way to temporarily leave the boring monotony of day-to-day life, and it allowed him to visit far off lands, meet unusual characters, take incredible adventures, and even learn about the very edges of our universe. Being able to take his love of reading and transform it to a passion for writing has been the greatest gift he has ever been given.

Contact Links for Author:

 
 

Author Interview
Anthony Bryan,
Author of The Suicide Princess

 

Q: First, tell us a little about you, who you are, and your background.

A: My name is Anthony Bryan, and I’m a writer. I’ve been writing for almost my whole life, and a couple of years ago I began ghost writing for others – it’s basically my work with their name on it. I decided it’s time to start writing for me, and I couldn’t think of a better, more fun genre than an erotic thriller.

I was born and raised in London, U.K., but I’ve spent the bulk of my adult life in the United States.  I actually served with the American military, and I served in combat operations in eastern Afghanistan.  I train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai fighting, and a perpetual black eye is part of my attire.  I guess you could say I’ve been around, and I’m not the stereotypical erotic author.  But that’s a good thing – I’m different, and so is what I write…

 

Q: So, you said you’re a writer. Tell us some of what you’ve written.

A: Unfortunately, I can’t reveal the work I did as a ghost writer because of agreements I’ve signed with the listed authors. But I’m stepping out of the shadows and into the spotlight with my debut title The Suicide Princess.

 

Q: The Suicide Princess? That sounds like a powerful title. Is the story behind it equally as impressive?

A: It’s even better.  Imagine taking a suspenseful thriller, a contemporary romance, and the hottest erotica and slamming them all together at over one hundred miles per hour – what you’d have is The Suicide Princess.  Stephanie Bradford has a near perfect husband and what looks like the perfect life. But when her marriage falls into a romantic rut, she’s skillfully swooned by a charming and intriguing stranger who looks to be the answer to all of her fantasies. A whirlwind and erotic affair quickly spirals out of control, and before long, Stephanie learns that things aren’t always as they appear, and people are rarely who they seem. One poor decision becomes the catalyst that rips her life apart, and Stephanie is left with nothing but the thirst for revenge against the man who viciously stole everything from her. It’s going to leave you begging for more!

 

Q: Your ARC reviews all comment on how incredibly hot this book is. Tell us more about that.

A: I know there are a lot of amazing stories out there that have little if any raw sexual appeal. And on the flip side, there are a lot of erotic stories that are smoking hot but have no story. I wanted to write something that has both. I created an incredibly hot story that will absolutely leave you wanting to grab your significant other and tear him apart.  It’s a “change your panties, close the bedroom door, and get you laid,” kind of hot… but with an awesome story going on at the same time.  I can’t think of a better way to write!

 

Q: You mentioned “raw sexual appeal” in your last response. So, speaking of which, we noticed both of your leading male characters, Derrick and Jacob, have their own sex appeal.  Which of the two are you more like?

A: I think any author will admit that a part of themselves will always seep into their characters, so I guess in many ways I’m a lot like both Derrick and Jacob. Jacob, being an airline pilot and having served in a combat role in the military, has a lot of similarities to my life. But Derrick, with his cocky, funny, and charming personality, has a lot in common with my personality.  They both have their own kind of sexual appeal, and since they’re so different from one another, Stephanie is completely torn between them.  To be perfectly honest, I think I’m equal parts Derrick and Jacob.  Jacob is my nice side, and Derrick is my bad-boy side.

 

Q: Ok, before we start asking about your bad-boy side, we need to change the subject fast! Tell us how you started writing.

A: When I first came home from Afghanistan, I was kind of in a dark place. I had a hard time adjusting to what I had been through, and I was just “lost,” for lack of a better word.  But I started writing about my experiences there, my feelings, and my emotions, and I started feeling better.  It didn’t take long for writing to become my “safe place.”  I could go there any time I wanted, and I just loved the stories I was creating. It took a while, but eventually I started sharing what I was writing, and everything just grew from there.

 

Q: Wow! That is an amazing story and very deep – thank you so much for serving for us.  So, you’re a fighter/soldier turned writer with a British accent and an amazing imagination.  Thanks so much for doing this interview, and we can’t wait for your book to be released.

A: You’re so welcome, for both, and The Suicide Princess will be out on November 5, 2013. Visit my website at www.AnthonyBryanAuthor.com, and there are links there to follow me on Facebook and Goodreads.

 

 

Excerpt From The Suicide Princess
by Anthony Bryan

 

One of Derrick’s new friends invited him to play pool, but Derrick kindly declined, “Sorry, man. I have someone else I need to focus my attention on.”

The stranger coaxingly said, “Yeah, I’d be scared, too.”

Derrick glanced at Stephanie as she leaned in and said, “If you don’t go play and kick that guy’s ass, I’m leaving you here alone.”

Derrick smiled his mischievous smile and looked to the stranger, “For money or fun?”

The stranger said, “One hundred?”

“One hundred it is, my man. Rack ‘em up,” Derrick said as he shook his new friend’s hand.

Stephanie sipped her third drink as she watched Derrick easily defeat his new friend. At the end of the game, Derrick said, “Must be my lucky night! One hundred, right?”

The stranger pulled a fold of money from his pocket and began counting when Derrick continued, “No, no, no. It’s cool, man. I had fun.”

The stranger said, “A bet’s a bet, and I always pay up.”

“Tell you what,” said Derrick. “Let me and my girl cut in for a game on the table, and we’ll call it even. That’s worth more than the hundred to me.”

“It’s all yours,” said the stranger while giving Derrick a pat on the back.

Derrick reached his hand out toward Stephanie, and she grasped it tightly, intertwining their fingers. She pulled in close to him and said, “I’m your girl, huh?”

“Tonight you are,” Derrick said as he shot Stephanie a wink.

“Your break,” Derrick declared as he racked the balls.

Derrick then watched as Stephanie began to shoot. He stood behind her and said, “Here put your hands like this.”

“Okay, and then what?” she asked.

 Derrick pulled in close behind Stephanie as he was showing her how to correctly hold the cue. His lips were an inch from her ear, and Derrick took the opportunity to whisper “Did that get your panties wet watching me beat that guy?”

Stephanie turned back, smiled, and said, “It would have, if I was wearing any.”

Derrick reacted by sliding his hand across Stephanie’s stomach and gently pulling her back into him. He simultaneously pressed himself forward, and Stephanie felt Derrick’s bulge pressing into her. Stephanie could easily feel how hard Derrick was as he said, “Feel that? That’s what you do to me.”

Stephanie looked around as she slid her hand down Derrick’s stomach and over his crotch. She said, “I think it’s time for me to leave, but I’m scared. Think you could walk me to my car?”

“It depends where your car is. This neighborhood can be awfully sketchy,” Derrick said with a mocking tone.

Stephanie told Derrick, “It’s in the very dark, very secluded parking lot in the alley out back.”

Derrick replied, “Then I’m definitely not going back there. Look at what I’m wearing, I might end up getting raped back there,” as he laughed.

Stephanie started walking away and said, “Up to you. But if you do want something bad to happen, come follow me.”

Derrick watched as Stephanie took a few steps away without looking back. He looked at how her tight skirt formed beautifully around her ass, and he noticed how sexy her legs were in her red heels. It only took another step before Derrick was close in tow behind Stephanie.

The pair quickly reached the driver’s side door of Stephanie’s brand new white Volvo as she said, “This is me.”

Without saying a word, Derrick turned Stephanie so her back was pressed against the car door. He wrapped his right arm around her lower back, and he slid the fingers on his left hand through her hair at the nape of her neck and pulled her head in and began kissing her.

Stephanie, again trying desperately to not think of Jacob, noticed how different this kiss was compared to the kiss of her husband. Jacob’s kisses were always soft, slow, gentle, and deliberate. Derrick’s kiss was filled with depth and passion. The way his lips met hers and the way Derrick caressed her tongue with his set Stephanie on fire.

As they were kissing, Derrick’s hand slid down and began caressing Stephanie’s ass. As he felt, Derrick said, “You lied, you are wearing panties.”

Feeling the potent combination of Derrick’s powerful sexuality and the cocktails from the bar, Stephanie started opening the car door and replied, “Then get in here and punish me.”

Stephanie sat in the soft tan leather of the driver’s seat, but she quickly moved herself over to the passenger’s side to make room for Derrick. Derrick sat in and adjusted the seat all the way back, and the new car smell mixed with the leather interior to create a wonderful scent. The two continued their passionate kissing as Derrick’s hands wandered all over Stephanie’s toned, sexy body.

Stephanie started to slide over on to Derrick’s lap, and she pulled her skirt up just enough so she could straddle her legs around him while facing him. Once on top of Derrick, she began unbuttoning her top, and she said, “Remember what you told me you wanted to watch the other day? That show you wanted?”

Derrick said he remembered it quite well.

“Well…..” Stephanie said as she pulled her skirt even higher revealing the front of her red, lace thong. She continued, “Just watch.”

Stephanie stared directly at Derrick as she unbuttoned her top further and pulled the front of her bra down. She revealed her perfectly shaped C-cup breasts, and she began massaging them with both hands. After a moment, only one hand remained on her breasts as she began to place two fingers in her mouth, sucking them to get them wet. Once her fingers were dripping with saliva, Stephanie slid her hand down the front of her thong, and Derrick watched as she began fingering herself under her panties.

 
 
 

Teaser Lines:

1). Derrick seems like the answer to Stephanie’s romantic rut, and she shatters every boundary to be with him; however, she soon learns people are rarely who they seem to be. Will Stephanie see the truth before it’s too late, or will she lose everything as part of one man’s vicious game? The Suicide Princess, coming November 5, 2013

2). Stephanie Bradford has always had fantasies of being one man’s ultimate desire. When Derrick appears to be her dream come true, she releases her inhibitions to temptation and falls into an out-of-control, erotic affair. But things aren’t always as they seem, and before long, revenge becomes Stephanie’s only desire. The Suicide Princess, coming November 5, 2013

3). Have you ever wanted someone so badly they are all you can think about? What if you needed to risk everything to have them – would you? When Stephanie Bradford takes that risk, she enters a collision course with disaster, and she’s left with nothing but the thirst for revenge to get her life back. The Suicide Princess, coming November 5, 2013



 

 
 

 

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Filed under Anthony Bryan, author Interview, blurb, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Thriller, Excerpt, Giveaway, Teaser

[Blitz] Shards of My Heart by Nicole Andrews Moore

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Blurb

When I took the vows for better or worse, I meant them. Then I started to wonder if there was a limit as to how much worse I was supposed to endure. Am I supposed to stay if worse means that me and my daughter are in danger? What if the worse was because of a mental illness? When is enough simply too much?

This is a different kind of love story. Read Nina’s journals for a tale of hope, strength of spirit, and unconditional love.


Dream Cast for Shards of My Heart



Excerpt

    
 
I blame fairy tales.

There was something about being raised to believe that once I found my prince, I would get to live happily ever after that set me up for disappointment. Life isn’t like that. Yet time after time, fairy tale after fairy tale, that’s where the story ends.
We don’t get to see that Prince Charming snores, leaves the seat up, goes out hunting with the guys a little too often, or isn’t as loving and supportive as Cinderella imagined him to be. And the Prince, well, he might just tire of a bunch of rodents running around in clothes, coupled with a wife who talks to animals and bursts out in random songs.
The chase is the part that is glorified. That’s why marriages fail. How can they possibly live up to the hype of the chase? How can anything compare to the excitement of new love?
That’s why there are so many divorces. After all, divorce seems simple. It’s the ultimate do over. If that marriage didn’t result in happily ever after…no worries, just find someone new and start all over again.
At the same time, for those of us who are stubborn, who have a hard time giving up and giving in, how do we know when it is time to let go, to move on, and then admit we made a horrific mistake? What is an acceptable excuse for sticking a fork in a relationship?


Shards of My Heart Trailer 
http://animoto.com/play/vmdT2ryTNHnYxu6esKuyZg


Nicole has lived in Charlotte, North Carolina for the past twelve years and now…she lives in secrecy in another state.
  Her journey of elf-discovery and recovery has barely begun and she faces it with her head held high, her shoulders back, a smile on her face, and hope in her heart. Every day of her life seems to bring new adventures, some bigger, better, shinier and prettier than others. 

For fun, she spends time with those she cares about, cooks, reads, writes, and especially lives to travel. The current travel goal: visit every Margaritaville. Three down! (Eleven to go?)

In May, Nicki started the blog Stories and Swag to promote authors. Several months later, she started Stories and Swag Tours, a blog tour company offering cover reveals, release blitzes, release parties on Facebook, and blog tours. In addition, she started Dominatrix Publishing, a boutique publishing company, to help other authors achieve publishing success.

Her writing can also be found on Shine, where she is a Shine Parenting Guru and an award winning Yahoo! Contributor on YourWisdom as the relationship and dating expert. In addition, she has been published by McClatchy News in their syndicated papers. 

Her books can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, and Smashwords in ebook, paperback, and even some audiobooks.

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[Release Day Blast] A Home for Christmas by Ann Vaughn

 

A Home for Christmas

Ann Vaughn


Publication: November 28, 2013

Synopsis

Single mom, Jenna Blackwell wasn’t having a very good start to the Christmas season; her purse got stolen on Black Friday. She’s cursing her luck and herself for even being out in the Black Friday madness when the store manager brings in Riley Stanton, a former Navy SEAL who chased down the thieves and recovered her purse. Jenna is blown away by Riley: his looks, his smile, the fact that he ran down the purse snatchers, everything.

Riley Stanton had no idea when he chased down the kids who stole a few purses that he would walk into a room and have his life changed forever. He looked into the eyes of Jenna and saw a strength in her that he found intriguing.

Riley soon learns that Jenna is everything he ever wanted in a woman. He falls for her and for her son harder than he expected to. Jenna is cautious but welcoming and hopes that she and her son can give Riley the one thing he hasn’t had in years, A Home for Christmas.

 

Excerpt:

Riley came over every evening after work. He helped Cam with his homework. he got there before she did on Wednesday and he and Cam had dinner ready by the time she got home. Jenna had to fight tears as she sat at the table. It had been so long since someone had cooked for her. To be honest, other than her mother, she didn’t think anyone ever had. Wade, her ex, certainly never did. Watching Cam work so closely with Riley, having Riley there filling the role that Wade had abandoned, even sitting at a table with candlelight and roses and food she hadn’t had to prepare…it was a lot for her to handle. She was barely hanging on by a thread and when Riley had initiated the blessing, she lost it. “Mom?” Cam asked, uncertain of what was happening. Jenna covered her face with her hands, silently crying. She heard the scrape of a chair and then suddenly Riley was there, his arms around her, lifting her from the chair. She heard him say something to Cam and then he carried her from the room.

He sat on the sofa and cradled her in his lap and just held her while she cried. After several minutes, when her tears had subsided somewhat, Riley reached down to cup her chin in his hand and lift her head so he could look into her eyes. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “Nothing to be sorry about,” he said, smoothing his hands over her cheeks to wipe her tears away.

“Mom?” Cam asked again, drawing her attention. “You OK?” “I’m good, bud, I’m sorry.” Riley looked up at Cam and made eye contact with him. Jenna wasn’t sure what passed between them, but Cam got up and left, leaving her there with Riley. “Look at me,” he said, softly. When she raised her eyes to meet his gaze, he lifted her hand and kissed her knuckles. “What’s going on?” She took a deep breath. “It’s just…no one’s ever done something like this for me before.” “Like what? Take care of you?” She nodded. “Better get used to it, babe. I’m not going anywhere.” She squeezed his hand, tears falling down her cheeks again. This time, Riley leaned forward and kissed them away before touching his lips to hers. For the first time, Jenna didn’t hold herself back.

Maybe it was because Cam was just down the hall and she knew it couldn’t get out-of-control. Whatever the case, she turned in his arms and wrapped her arms around his neck, deepening the kiss. “Thank you, Riley,” she whispered when they pulled apart, pressing her forehead to his, and placing her fingertips against his lower lip. He nipped her fingertip lightly, then ran his tongue around her finger. “Anytime,” he replied, “and I mean that. You don’t have to do it all alone any more.” “Riley,” she whispered, kissing him, “please don’t make promises you can’t keep. My heart is fragile enough, but Cam…” He kissed her back. “Quit while you’re ahead. Don’t piss me off.” She smiled and combed her fingers through the hair at his nape. “I’ll try.” “Good. Let me take care of you, Jenna.

You and Cam.” She took a deep breath. “Tell you what. You’re still here by Christmas? We’ll talk,” she said, giving him a final kiss then sliding off his lap. He watched her walk down the hall to Cam’s room. Closing his eyes and letting his head fall back on the couch, he reached down to adjust himself in his jeans. For the first time since leaving the Navy, Riley felt like he wasn’t just spinning his wheels.

 
 

Dreamcast: 

 
 

 

 
 

Check out Ann’s previous novels:

 

 
Publication Date: August 7, 2013
 
 
Shane McCanton and Tessa Kelly were childhood enemies. Everything was a contest to them and Tessa always seemed to show Shane that nice guys finished last. Things change, however, when hormones take over and Shane begins to see the perpetual thorn-in-his-side as more than just his childhood nemesis…
Tessa had never meant to set into motion events that led to their childhood rivalry, but once it started, she embraced it with gusto…until her world started to fall apart and she realized that Shane was the one constant in her life, her rock who would never leave her and help her find her Long Way Home…
 
 

Book Trailer:

 

 
Publication Date: November 4, 2013
 
Colt Harris wasn’t on the hunt for love when he looked up from his lunch and spotted Sarah. As cliched as it was, time stood still – all he could see was her. Hearing her laugh sealed his fate; he knew his life was about to change.

Sarah Sauter was used to being alone. She lost her parents when she was eighteen and after a really bad love affair, had given up on ever finding love. Since then, her life had been all about simply surviving. Little did she know that when she went to lunch with her co-workers, she would have a chance encounter with a man who would literally turn her world upside down.

When Colt steps into Sarah’s life, he finds that things with her aren’t exactly as they appear to be. Secrets hidden deep in her past begin to surface, dropping Colt and Sarah in the middle of a nearly twenty-seven year old mystery. It will take all of Colt’s strength, patience and resolve Finding Home for Sarah.

 
 
Playlist:
1. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams (for the opening scene when Jenna’s sitting in the store manager’s office…because this version of this song gets on my nerves so it would grate in her nerves while she’s sitting there thinking about how stupid she was to shop on Black Friday)
2. Trenches by Pop Evil (during Cam’s race)
3. My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark by Fall Out Boy (during Cam’s race)
4.  Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk
5.  Coming Home for Christmas by Jim Brickman
6.  O Holy Night by Celtic Woman
7. I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Amy Grant
8. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland
9. To Get Me To You by Lila McCann
10. Winter Wonderland by Kenny G
11. All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey
12. Auld Lang Syne by Jim Brickman
 

About  the Author

 
Ann Vaughn is a Native Texan now living in Oklahoma. She’s been writing since the seventh grade (many MANY moons ago) when she and her friends were obsessed with the Sweet Valley High series. Back then, access to books wasn’t as easy as it is now, so to tide her over between SVH releases, she began writing her own, Texas versions of SVH, full of lots of Texas Friday Night Lights and pitfalls and perils of teenage life in the 80s. Writing has always been a comfort and a release for her, though she never expected to be published. It wasn’t until a conversation with her husband about the rise of eBooks that she decided to try her hand at self-publishing. It was scary and exciting and ever since the release of her first book, Long Way Home on August 7, 2013 she has been on a wild roller coaster ride that she wouldn’t trade for the world. 

 
 
Contact Ann:
 

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1731657.Ann_Vaughn

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[Cover Reveal] Star-Crossed by Luna Lacour

Star-Crossed
Release Date: January 2014
Summary from Goodreads:

Secrets

Deception

Lies

…Lust.

It started with a game – seduce the new teacher.

Eighteen-year-old Kaitlyn Laurent is living the American Dream. Born into a wealthy, socialite family with more opulent surroundings and material things than any girl could even fathom, Kaitlyn is the fresh, young face amidst a sea of morally-amiss Manhattan Debutantes. She is educated, poised, and on the outside – entirely virtuous. Her life, in short, is perfect.
Or so it would seem.
Inside the walls of her Upper East Side mansion, Kaitlyn is struggling. After her parents’ divorce and her father’s remarriage to a beautiful but otherwise utterly vapid woman, Kaitlyn quickly finds herself living in a realm of self-created fantasy, completely detached and entirely clashing with her new family – particularly, her classmate-turned-stepbrother, Marius. Arrogant and with a penchant for playing games, he is intrigued and infatuated by Kaitlyn’s faux-chaste outer facade that she uses to cover an otherwise calloused heart.
When the two of them enter into into their final semester at Trinity Prep, and the buzz around campus is that a gorgeous new teacher has set foot in the classroom, Marius makes Kaitlyn a bet: seduce the man who is now her Literature teacher.
If she wins, she gets his trust fund. Money that she can use to finally escape a life that she has come to loathe.
If Marius wins…he gets her virginity.
When an initial spark turns into full-blown obsession, and her affections are inevitably returned – Kaitlyn learns that there are no actions without consequence, and some affairs are simply star-crossed.

About the Author
I’m a reader, lover of coffee and all things comical, and the author STAR-CROSSED (January 2014).

Author Links:
   photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png
Cover Reveal organized by:

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[Release Day] Not Alone by Amber Nation

Release Day Blitz Banner

Synopsis
Emmalynne Morgan thought that getting married to her High School sweetheart and starting a family was all she wanted in life. Everything was perfect until circumstances change and devastating blows occur.
Fast forward five years, Emmalynne thinks she is broken, not only emotionally but physically as well, so her confidence was severely lacking. Being a single mother to her son, Tucker, as well as an owner of a small town Bookstore, she does everything she can to keep men at arms-length, not thinking she is worthy anymore with her plus-sized body and scars.
Taking it upon themselves, Emmalynne’s best friends, Toby and Tessa make it their mission to bring her out of her tight-knitted comfort zone. That is when she locks eyes on the male perfection that is Grady.
Grady Finnegan was the gorgeous new guy in town. Recently injured and discharged from the Army, Grady comes to his Uncle’s aid in helping manage the family bar. Not being anywhere near innocent when it comes to women, Grady meets Emmalynne and he knows one thing, that he wants her.
Sparks fly and passion ignites, but will that be enough? Not ready to lay her heart on the line, Emmalynne guards it as best she can and ultimately fails. When chaos erupts and Grady’s past comes back to haunt him, it leaves Emmalynne’s already broken heart, shattered.
Will past circumstances prevent Emmalynne from having the future she deserves? Or can Grady help her follow her heart and show her that she is Not Alone
Buy Now
 
 
NotAlonemock6

Teaser

With her gone for a minute now was my chance to ask Tucker about this morning. “Hey Tuck, what did you mean about your mom twirling her necklace?” I asked in a muted voice, just to be sure Emmalynne wouldn’t hear me. “Man, whenever she is lying, she takes her necklace into her hand and twirls it around her fingers. I can always tell by that move what I’m getting for my birthday, it’s so awesome,” he stops to look towards the door to the garage, realizes the coast is still clear, and continues, “I’ll be like am I getting the new Lego Batman? If she says no and twirls that necklace…BOOM! Lego Batman,” he had the most devilish grin appear on his face about the same time Em came back inside through the door leading to the garage. This is very valuable information I’ve just obtained. Now I’m going to be trying to think back to see if she’s ever twirled her necklace when giving me an answer….hmm… “Tucker, my child you are relieved of your apple peeling duties, Drew’s parents are on their way here to pick you up,” Emmalynne said to Tucker, and no sooner than the words came out of her mouth he took off, leaving me stuck peeling apples without a backwards glance. Traitor.

Meet Amber:
Author Photo

Goodreads / Facebook I am a wife, mother of two beautiful girlies, an avid reader, and a new Romance and New Adult author. I was born and raised in Southern Indiana, but resided in Texas for five years while my husband was in the US Army. It was definitely a journey, but I am so glad to be back in my home state. Whenever I’m not doing my motherly duties or at the soccer field I absolutely love to read whenever I have a moment to spare. My kindle is never far from my side. My love of reading increased about a year ago and due to my love of books I decided to try my hand at writing. Already having a set of characters screaming to get out, my story took over and came to life.

 
 
 

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[Book Blitz & Giveaway] Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki

Branded (Sinners #1)
by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki
Release Date: 06/28/13
252 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.

The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.


Available from:
 photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg
 
 
 


CHAPTER 1

 

I’m buried six feet under, and no one hears my screams.

The rope chafes as I loop it around my neck. I pull down, making sure the knot is

secure. It seems sturdy enough. My legs shake. My heart beats heavy in my throat. Sweat

pours down my back.

Death and I glare at each other through my tears.

I take one last look at the crystal chandelier, the foyer outlined with mirrors, and the

flawless decorations. No photographs adorn the walls. No happy memories here.

I’m ready to go. On the count of three.


I inhale, preparing myself for the finality of it all. Dropping my hands, a glimmer

catches my eye. It’s my ring, the last precious gift my father gave me. I twist it around to

read the inscription. Picturing his face forces me to reconsider my choice. He’d be

heartbroken if he could see me now.

A door slams in the hallway, almost causing me to lose my balance. My thoughts

already muddled, I stand waiting with the rope hanging around my neck. Voices I don’t

recognize creep through the walls.

Curiosity overshadows my current thoughts. It’s late at night, and this is a secure

building in High Society. No one disturbs the peace here—ever. I tug on the noose and

pull it back over my head.

Peering through the eyehole in our doorway, I see a large group of armed guards

banging on my neighbors’ door. A heated conversation ensues, and my neighbors point

toward my family’s home.

It hits me. I’ve been accused and they’re here to arrest me.

My father would want me to run, and in that split second, I decide to listen to his

voice within me. Flinging myself forward in fear, I scramble up the marble staircase and

into my brother’s old bedroom. The door is partially covered, but it exists. Pushing his

dresser aside, my fingers claw at the opening. Breathing hard, I lodge myself against it.

Nothing. I step back and kick it with all my strength. The wood splinters open, and my

foot gets caught. I wrench it backward, scraping my calf, but adrenaline pushes me

forward. The voices at the front door shout my name.

On hands and knees, I squeeze through the jagged opening. My brother left through

this passage, and now it’s my escape too. Cobwebs entangle my face, hands, and hair. At

the end, I feel for the knob, twisting it clockwise. It swings open, creaking from disuse. I

sprint into the hallway and smash through the large fire escape doors at the end. A burst

of cool air strikes me in the face as I jump down the ladder.

Reaching the fifth floor, I knock on a friend’s window. The lights flicker on, and I

see the curtains move, but no one answers. I bang on the window harder.

“Let me in! Please!” I say, but the lights darken. They know I’ve been accused and

refuse to help me. Fear and adrenaline rush through my veins as I keep running, knocking

on more windows along the way. No one has mercy. They all know what happens to

sinners.

Another flight of stairs passes in a blur when I hear the guards’ heavy footfalls from

above. I can’t hide, but I don’t want to go without trying.


Help me, Daddy. I need your strength now.


 

My previous desolation evolves into a will to survive. I have to keep running, but I

tremble and gasp for air. I steel my nerves and force my body to keep moving. In a matter

of minutes, my legs cramp and my chest burns. I plunge to the ground, scraping my knee

and elbow. A moan escapes from my chest.


Gotta keep going.


 

“Stop!” Their voices bounce off the buildings. “Lexi Hamilton, surrender yourself,”

they command. They’re gaining on me.

I resist the urge to glance back, running into what I assume is an alley. I’m far from

our high-rise in High Society as I plunge into a poorer section of the city where the

streets all look the same and the darkness prevents me from recognizing anything. I’m

lost.

My first instinct is to leap into a dumpster, but I retain enough sense to stay still. I

crouch and peek around it, watching them dash by. The abhorrent smell leaves me

vomiting until nothing remains in my stomach. Desperation overtakes me, as I know my

retching was anything but silent. My last few seconds tick away before they find me.

Everyone knows about their special means of tracking sinners.

I push myself to my feet and look left, right, and left again. Their batons click against

their black leather belts, and their boots stomp the cement on both sides of me. I shrink

into myself. Their heavy steps mock my fear, growing closer and closer until I know I’m

trapped.

Never did I imagine they’d come for me. Never did I imagine all those nights I heard

them dragging someone else away that I’d join them.

“You’re a sinner,” they say. “Time to leave.”

I stand defiant. I refuse to bend or break before them, even as I shiver with fear.

“There’s no reason to make this difficult. The more you cooperate, the smoother this

will be for everyone,” a guard says.

I cringe into the blackness along the wall. I’m innocent, but they won’t believe me or

care.

The next instant, my face slams into the pavement as one guard plants a knee in my

back and another handcuffs me. A warm liquid trails into my mouth. Blood. Their fingers

grip my arms like steel traps as they peel me off the cement. The tops of my shoes scrape

along the ground as I’m dragged behind them until they discard me into the back of a

black vehicle. The doors slam in unison with one guard stationed on each side of me, my

shoulders digging into their arms.

Swallowing hard, I stare ahead to avoid their eyes. My dignity is all I have left. The

handcuffs dig into my wrists, so I clasp them together hard behind me and press my back

into the seat, unwilling to admit how much it hurts.


Did they need so many guards to capture me?


 

I’m not carrying any weapons, nor do I own any. I don’t even know self-defense.

High Society frowns on activities like that.

The driver jerks the vehicle around and I try to keep my bearings, but it’s dark and

the scenery changes too fast. Hours pass, and the air grows warmer, more humid the

farther we drive. The landscape mutates from city to rolling hills. They don’t bother

blindfolding me because they escort all the sinners to the same place—the Hole. Twentyfoot

cement walls encase the chaos within. There’s no way out and no way in unless they

transport you. They say the Hole is a prison with no rules. We learned about it last year in

twelfth grade.

To the outside, I’m filth now. I’ll never be allowed to return to the life I knew. No

one ever does.

“All sinners go through a transformation,” one of the guards says to me. His smirk

infuriates me. “I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of stories.” I don’t respond. I don’t want

to think about the things I’ve been told.

“You won’t last too long, though. Young girls like you get eaten alive.” He pulls a

strand of my hair up to his face.


Get your hands off me, you pig. I want to lash out, but resist. The punishment for


disobeying authority is severe, and I’m not positioned to defy him.

They’re the Guards of the Commander. They’re chosen from a young age and

trained in combat. They keep the order of society by using violent methods of

intimidation. No one befriends a guard. Relationships with them are forbidden inside the

Hole.

Few have seen the commander. His identity stays under lock and key. His own

paranoia and desire to stay pure drove him to live this way. He controls our depraved

society and believes sinners make the human race unforgivable. His power is a crushing

fist, rendering all beneath him helpless. So much so, even family members turn on each

other when an accusation surfaces. Just an accusation. No trial, no evidence, nothing but

an accusation.

I lose myself in thoughts of my father.

“Never show fear, Lexi,” my father said to me before he was taken. “They’ll use it

against you.” His compassionate eyes filled with warning as he commanded me to be

strong. That was many years ago, but I remember it clearly. My father. My rock. The one

person in my life who provided unconditional love.

“Get out,” the guard says while pulling me to my feet. The vehicle stops, and I’m

jerked back to reality. The doors slide open and the two guards lift me up and out into the

night. A windowless cement building looms in front of us, looking barren in the darkness.

The coolness of the air sends a shiver up my spine. This is really happening. I’ve

been labeled a sinner. My lip starts to quiver, but I bite it before anyone sees. They shove

me in line, and I realize I’m not alone. Women and men stand with faces frozen white

with fear. A guard grabs my finger, pricks it, and dabs my blood on a tiny microchip.

I follow the man in front of me into the next room where we’re lined up facing the

wall. Glancing right, I see one of the men crying.

“Spread your legs,” one of the guards says.

They remove my outer layers and their hands roam up and down my body.


What do they think I can possibly be hiding? I press my head into the wall, trying to


block out what they’re doing to me.

“MOVE!” a guard commands. So I shuffle across the room, trying to cover up.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four.

Five of us sit in the holding room. One by one, they pull people into the next room,

forcing the rest of us to wonder what torture we’ll endure. An agonizing amount of time

passes. I lean my head back and try to imagine a place far away. The door opens.

“Lexi Hamilton.”

A guard escorts me out of the room, and I don’t have time to look back. As soon as

the door closes, they pick me up and place me on a table. It’s cold and my skin sticks to it

slightly, like wet fingers on an ice cube. Then they exit in procession, and I lie on the

table with a doctor standing over me. His hands are busy as he speaks.

“Don’t move. This will only take a few minutes. It’s time for you to be branded.”

A wet cloth that smells like rubbing alcohol is used to clean my skin. Then he places

a metal collar around my neck.


Click. Click. Click.


 

The collar locks into place, and I struggle to breathe. The doctor loosens it some as I

focus on the painted black words above me.

The Seven Deadly Sins:


Lust ⎯ Blue

Gluttony ⎯ Orange

Greed ⎯ Yellow

Sloth ⎯ Black

Wrath ⎯ Red

Envy ⎯ Green

Pride ⎯ Purple


“Memorize it. Might keep you alive longer if you know who to stay away from.” He

opens my mouth, placing a bit inside. “Bite this.”

Within seconds, the collar heats from hot to scorching. The smell of flesh sizzling

makes my head spin. I bite down so hard a tooth cracks.

“GRRRRRRRRR,” escapes from deep within my chest. Just when I’m about to pass

out, the temperature drops, and the doctor loosens the collar.

He removes it and sits me up. Excruciating pain rips through me, and I’m on the

verge of a mental and physical breakdown. Focus. Don’t pass out.


Stainless steel counters and boring white walls press in on me. A guard laughs at me

from an observation room above and yells, “Blue. It’s a great color for a pretty young

thing like yourself.” His eyes dance with suggestion. The others meander around like it’s

business as usual.

I finally find my voice and turn to the doctor.

“Are you going to give me clothes?” A burning pain spreads like fire up from my

neck to my jaw, making me wince.

He points to a set of folded grey scrubs on a chair. I cover myself as much as I can


and scurry sideways. Grabbing my clothes and pulling the shirt over my head, I try to

avoid the raw meat around my throat. I quickly knot the cord of my pants around my

waist and slide my feet into the hospital-issue slippers as the doctor observes. He hands

me a bag labeled with my name.

“Nothing is allowed through the door but what we’ve given you,” he says.

I hide my right hand behind me, hoping no one notices. A guard scans my body and

opens his hand.

“Give it to me,” he says. “Don’t make me rip off your finger.” He crouches down

and I turn to stone. I don’t know what to do, so I beg.

“My father gave this to me. Please, let me keep it.” I smash my eyes shut and think

of the moment my father handed the golden ring to me.

“It was my mother’s ring,” he’d said. “She’s the strongest woman I ever knew.”

With tears in his eyes, he reached for my hand and said, “Lexi, you’re exactly like her.

She’d want you to wear this. No matter how this world changes, you can survive.” I

turned the gold band over in my palm and read the engraving.

You

can

overcome

anything…

short

of

death.



“You’re going to take the one thing that matters the most to me?” I say, glaring into

the guard’s emotionless eyes. “Isn’t it enough taking my life, dignity, and respect?”

A hard blow falls upon my back. As I fall, my hands shoot out to stop me from

smashing into the wall in front of me. The guard bends down and grabs my chin with his

meaty fist.

“Look at me,” he commands.

I look up and he smiles with arrogance.

“What the hell?” He staggers a step backward. “What’s wrong with you? What’s

wrong with your eyes?”

“Nothing,” I respond, confused.

“What color are they?”

“Turquoise.” I glower at him.

“Interesting,” he says, regaining his composure. “Now those’ll get you in trouble.”

Reality slaps me across the face. I have my father’s eyes. They can’t take them from

me. I twist the ring off my finger and drop it in his hand.

“Take the damn ring,” I say. I walk to the door. He swipes a card and the massive

door slides open to the outside.

“You have to wear your hair back at all times, so everyone knows what you are.” He

hands me a tie, so I pull my frizzy hair away from my face and secure it into a ponytail.

My neck burns and itches as my hand traces the scabs that have already begun to form.

Squinting ahead in the darkness, I almost run into a guard standing on the sidewalk.

“Watch where you’re going,” he says, shoving me backward. His stiff figure stands

tall and I cringe at the sharpness of his voice.

“Cole, this is your new assignment, Lexi Hamilton. See to it she feels welcome in

her new home.” The guard departs with a salute.

“Let’s move,” Cole says.

I take two steps and collapse, my knees giving out. The unforgiving pavement

reopens the scrapes from earlier and I struggle to stand. A powerful arm snatches me up,


and I see his face for the first time.


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About the Authors
Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

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***GIVEAWAY***
2 grand prize winners with photo and notebook of Matt with signed paperback (INT)
5 ecopies of Branded with promo pic of Matt (INT)

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Filed under Abi Ketner, Giveaway, Missy Kalicicki, Teaser