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October Releases

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Release Day Blast + Excerpt + Giveaway: The Beautiful Ashes (Broken Destiny #1) by Jeaniene Frost


Author: Jeaniene Frost
Series: Broken Destiny
Number in Series: 1
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: New Adult/Paranormal Romance
Presented byRock Star Lit
Goodreads



Synopsis from Jeaniene Frost
In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate. 
Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who's bound by an ancient legacy to betray her. 
Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn't mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn't: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…

Buy here:


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EXCERPT

Even on a good day, I hated when guys were cryptic. Those of the Testosterone Persuasion already came with a mountain of senseless tendencies—did they really think they needed to add purposefully vague statements on top of that?
The fact that Adrian refused to elaborate on his enigmatic warning while I was tied up in his backseat made it unbearable. As the time ticked on, I consoled myself by imagining hitting him in the head with something heavy. Or leaning over the seat and choking him with the band of duct tape around my wrists. If the back of this vehicle had had a cigarette lighter, I might’ve gotten creative with fantasies about that, too.
Guess being kidnapped turned me into a violent person.
Are you a sex slaver?” I asked abruptly.
Someone’s watched Taken too many times,” Adrian said, and the amusement in his tone grated on my last nerve.
Why wouldn’t I think that?” I shot back. “You saved my life, but you’re taking me somewhere against my will, and you refuse to untie me.”
You picked truth, remember?” was his infuriating response.
I swear, the first heavy object I got a hold of…!
 “You didn’t give me that, either.”
Yes, I did.” He said it with a heavy-lidded, backward glance that would’ve made me straighten up and smile if he’d done it while we were sitting at a bar. “Just not all of it, but don’t worry. We’re here.”
With that statement, Adrian turned down a long road that led to a set of soaring, elaborately carved gates.
Wait a sec while I open the gates,” he said, turning the car off and taking the keys with him.
I waited…until he was far enough away for me to make my move. Then I leaped over the seats. When I yanked on the driver’s side door, however, a large hand on the window prevented it from opening.
Why am I not surprised?” Adrian said with irony dripping from his tone
I stared at his hand, as if that could explain how the rest of him was attached to it. A second ago, he’d been in front of those barbarically ornate gates, doing something that caused them to swing open with a mechanical moan.
No one could move that fast. Or, more accurately, no one should be able to move that fast.
What are you?” I breathed.
His teeth flashed in a smile that was predatory and sexy at the same time.
A couple hours ago, I wondered the same thing about you.”
Me? Before I could ask what he meant, he opened the door and let me out. Ice raced through my veins when I saw the knife in his other hand. That was also the moment when I noticed the sign on the gates: Green-Wood Cemetery.
Don’t,” I gasped.
He raised a brow, cutting through the duct tape around my wrists. “You’re the one who wanted to be untied.”
My arms fell to my sides while relief roared over me, replacing the surge of fear-fueled adrenaline. Just as quickly, something snapped inside me. All the grief, anger, fear and frustration of the past ten days hurtled through my defenses, turning me into someone I didn’t recognize.
A rage monster.
My hand cracked across Adrian’s face with enough force to make it tingle and burn, and still, it wasn’t enough. I began beating on his chest, part of me horrified by my actions, but the rest urging me to hit him harder.
What is the matter with you?” I yelled. “You pull out a knife with no explanation? I thought you were going to kill me!”
Adrian grabbed my hands. Any sane person would have recognized how overmatched I was and calmed the hell down, but I was way past sanity. With my hands out of commission, I kicked his shin hard enough to send pain shooting up my leg. He grunted, backing me up until I was pressed against the car hood. Now I had a wall of steel behind me and a wall of muscled flesh on top of me.
Stop it,” Adrian ordered, his strange accent thicker with his vehemence. “I promise, I’m not going to hurt you!”
My breath came in pants. Adrian countered my attempt to drop down and wiggle free by pressing his thigh between my legs. I stopped that course of action at once, which was the same as admitting defeat. I couldn’t use my arms to push him away. He felt more solid and heavy than a stone gargoyle.
Get off me,” I said between ragged breaths.
Not until you calm down,” he replied sternly. Then the barest grin tugged at his mouth. “Feel free to take your time.”
I glanced down, only now registering that my breasts were pressed against his chest just as tightly as his thigh was wedged between my legs. Any movement on my part caused an embarrassingly personal friction, as if inhaling each other’s breaths while we panted wasn’t intimate enough.
I tried to slow my breathing, not to mention my galloping heartbeat. If not for his grin, I wouldn’t have known he thought anything of the compromising position he had me in.
If nothing else, he didn’t seem angry that I’d slapped, kicked and pummeled him. Now that my reckless rage had passed, I realized how stupid I’d been. One punch from his massive fist would’ve meant lights out, but he hadn’t hit back. Instead, he’d promised that he wouldn’t hurt me. Despite his kidnapping me and his refusal to give me answers about what was going on, I decided to believe him.
Sorry I attacked you,” I said, my voice no longer shrill.
He shrugged like he was used to it. “Don’t worry. You were overdue for a breakdown, anyway.”
Just how many people have you kidnapped? I almost asked. Since I didn’t really want to know, all I said was, “Can you get off me? You’re heavy.”
He slowly uncurled his body from mine, but that silvery blue gaze stayed glued to me. I shivered, suddenly aware of how cold it was, now that I wasn’t covered by over two hundred pounds of warm-blooded male.
Adrian shrugged out of his coat, revealing a crew-neck black shirt that hugged his physique like it was paying homage. Of course he’d noticed the shiver. I wondered if anything escaped those piercing eyes.
I put it on. The hem had been mid-calf on him; it pooled on the ground with me. I’d never felt dainty around a guy before. I was comfortable at a size eight because I didn’t have to starve to maintain it, and my five-six height meant I could usually wear heels without being taller than my dates. Next to Adrian, however, I seemed to drop twenty pounds while also shrinking a few inches. Of course, his bulk was all muscle. Feeling him on top of me had made that clear….
I nixed that line of thought before it led to other, more dangerous musings, and tightened his coat around me.
If we’re not here so you can kill me and bury my body in an empty plot, what else is there to do at a cemetery?” I asked with admirable calm.
He laughed, the deep, masculine rumble teasing something inside me that was too stupid to realize kidnappers were off-limits. That’s why I refused to notice the chin dimple it revealed, or how his lower lip was fuller than the top one.
Lots of things, but we’ll get to that later.”
Sure there’s going to be a later?” I challenged him.
Of course.” Another tantalizing smile. “Since you and I are from the same line, you’ll be seeing a lot more of me.”
Line? “You think we’re related?”
His gaze brushed me like a physical caress. “Not like that, thankfully. That would make our first date awkward.”
I stared at him in disbelief. “You’re hitting on me?” I finally managed. “Do you have any idea how twisted that is?”
He shrugged. “I don’t do subtle, it wastes time. Besides—” the silvery part of his eyes gleamed like liquid moonlight “—if you say you don’t find me attractive, I’ll know you’re lying.”
Under other circumstances, I might have blushed at being busted ogling someone I’d just met, but my kidnapper was hitting on me! Should that make me more afraid, or less? He’d already saved my life once and had had plenty of chances to harm me since, yet he hadn’t.
Plus, I wouldn’t be much fun as a date if I was dead.
How about we hold the date talk until you give me the answers you promised?” I said, part of me wondering if tonight could get any stranger. The other part felt happy for the first time in over a week. Stupid ovaries. Down, girls, down!
Adrian’s expression turned serious. “I’m taking you to the person who can give you those answers.”
Zach?” I asked, remembering Adrian mentioning the name.
That’s him. This cemetery is almost five hundred acres, so if you don’t want to spend hours walking around in the cold—” he went over to the passenger side of the vintage-looking muscle car and opened the door “—get in.”
He was giving me a choice. Or at least, the illusion of one. If I ran, we both knew he could catch me.
The car’s interior light showed a hint of stubble trying to break through the smooth skin along his jaw, shadowing it in a way that was far too attractive. His exotic accent wasn’t helping, either. If I was ever kidnapped again, it had better be by an old, ugly guy. That would be less confusing to my emotions./div>
And less embarrassing. What idiot got caught lusting over her kidnapper? No wonder he’d asked me out. He must have thought I gave “easy” a whole new definition.
I walked over, thinking that even if I could run away from him, I wouldn’t. My sister was trapped in a place that shouldn’t be real, yet somehow was, and Adrian was my only ally because he could see the same crazy things that I did. More importantly, Adrian had proven that he was able to kill those things.
If he was able to help me save my sister, I’d not only take him up on his date offer. I’d pay for everything and seriously consider putting out.
I got in the passenger side, hearing the door lock as soon as he shut it. I tried to open it. Nothing. My sense of unease returned. What kind of person saved people just to kidnap them, and had a vehicle you could only exit from the driver’s side?
Then again, as Adrian slid into the seat next to me with an almost spooky fluidity, I realized what kind of person he was might be less important than what he was.


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About Jeaniene Frost


Jeaniene Frost is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the Night Huntress series, the Night Prince series, and the upcoming Broken Destiny series. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to twenty different countries. Jeaniene lives in North Carolina with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling – by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her.

For information on Jeaniene's books, reading the first 20% of each book free, book trailers, deleted scenes, creature mythology, and more, please visit: www.jeanienefrost.com

Connect with Jeaniene Frost here:
Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Twitter  |  Website


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GIVEAWAY TIME!!!



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Friday, August 15, 2014

Cover Reveal - Devotion (The Seductors #3) by B. L. Wilde




Author: B. L. Wilde
Series: The Seductors series
Number in Series: 3
Expected Release Date: September 12, 2014
Cover Artist: Jo Matthews
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Erotic Romance/Romantic Suspense
Goodreads



Synopsis from B. L. Wilde
Falling in love is never easy, but when you’re a Seductor who has fallen for your target, it’s impossible.  
Now that Jade has learned the whereabouts of the powercore made by Oliver’s company, her mission is almost over. The chances of being able to stay with him at the end of her contract are slim and she knows that. Would her organization really keep their word? When has a Seductor ever been able to stay with their mark? 
When disaster strikes near the end of her assignment, Jade is faced with the biggest decision of her life—she must choose between her heart’s desire and doing the right thing for the sake of the world. Her choice may just be the catalyst that sets her free. 
What happens when the truth comes out? Will Oliver be able to let her go this time? Or will their love for each other be enough to finally bring The Seductors down?One thing is for certain—devotion will seal their fate.

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Check out my 5 star reviews:



Author: B. L. Wilde
Series: The Seductors series
Number in Series: 1
Release Date: December 6, 2013
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Erotic Romance/Romance Suspense

Synopsis from Goodreads
Jade has worked as a Seductor in a secret organization for five years now. Her main job? To earn the trust of her targets and secure the object or information her company was hired to steal—by any means necessary. She’s damn good at it, too.

With five years left on her contract, she is handed an assignment that turns her world upside down.

Oliver Kirkham is the attractive, young CEO of Kirkham Industries, a weapons manufacturing company, and is currently in possession of some very important blueprints—blueprints that could change the way war, as we know it, works. He’s extremely focused and doesn’t have time to date, at least until he comes to the rescue of a shy but very alluring Jade Gibbs.

What happens when one night of passion turns into more? Will Jade allow her feelings for Oliver to get in the way of her mission? Or will she do what she was hired to do and secure the steal?
Buy here:
Amazon  |  Amazon (UK)  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords



Hunger (The Seductors #2)

Author: B. L. Wilde
Series: The Seductors series
Number in Series: 2
Release Date: June 3, 2013
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Erotic Romance/Romance Suspense

Synopsis from Goodreads
When Jade walked out on Oliver six months ago, she left her heart behind. Little did she know her mission was far from over. Given a new mission—to secure a secret nuclear power core—she’s thrown back into his world and has to earn his trust once more. The only problem is that she’s competing directly with another Seductor that she despises, who has already been on the mission for two months.

Oliver was devastated when he discovered Jade had left him, so he closed himself off to the world, focusing solely on his job. Everything is thrown into chaos when she resurfaces, working for an old friend of his.

Will Jade be able to win Oliver back while fighting her jealously that another Seductor might steal the mission from her? Consumed with love, controlled by a hunger she has never known, can she protect her heart a second time around if Oliver takes her back?

Buy here:


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About B. L. Wilde

B.L. Wilde is a British author obsessed with many things, including heated love stories. Fully supported by her husband, she can often be found at her desk working on her next project.

Her journey into the world of erotica began when she started writing online stories over three years ago, and she hasn't looked back since.


Connect with B. L. Wilde:
Blog  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Twitter  |  Website


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Passion and Propriety Blog Tour - Book Review: Passion and Propriety (Hearts of Honour #1) by Elise de Sallier

Author: Elise de Sallier 
Series: Hearts of Honour
Number in Series: 1
Format: ARC  PDF (Netgalley)
Pages: 270
Release Date: August 7, 2014
Publisher: The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Historical Romance













Buy here:


Synopsis from Goodreads

A hidden beauty. A wounded beast. Can the curse threatening their happiness be broken?


There is absolutely nothing improper about Hannah Foster, the vicar of Hartley’s eldest daughter, nursing the badly wounded Viscount Blackthorn back to health—that’s if the returned officer can be saved. At twenty seven she is two years the man’s senior, a confirmed spinster, and far too sensible to develop feelings for her patient. The fact he was once her childhood friend and has grown into a fine specimen of a man—his terrible scars notwithstanding—has no bearing on the matter.

Even if the unthinkable were to happen and William was to see past her plain exterior and recognise the caring, intelligent, passionate woman beneath, he is determined to break the curse that has plagued his family for generations by letting his bloodline die out. Her best friend, Grace’s, warnings are moot. A man of Lord Blackthorn’s wealth and position would never be interested in a woman like Hannah . . . would he?

* Passion and Propriety is a stand alone story, the first in the Hearts of Honour series. *

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     Passion and Propriety is a story that follows a man named William. William has a death wish. He has come home from the war and has little interest on continuing life. He is covered wit scars and injuries that won't heal and wants to be left alone. But all of that changes when his childhood friend, Hannah, finds him on the brink of death. Instead of listening to the rumors of William's cursed family, she gets close enough to save him. They both realize they have feelings for each other, but society and superstitions have other plans.

      I am really in love with de Sallier. When I saw her name attached to this book on Netgalley, I jumped on it as quickly as possible. Her writing is just so engrossing. I find myself easily lost in her books. You immediately get attached to the characters and their world. I don't read a lot of historical romances, so I am extra happy I landed on de Sallier and her work.

      I loved Hannah. Hannah is a self-proclaimed spinster. Spinsters are unmarried women who intend on staying unmarried. Men don't take an interest, so she doesn't bother. She is a woman not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for herself. These are character traits that, of course, may not make a suitable wife. William however, finds her captivating even though he shouldn't. He is of a higher class than her and would be expected to find someone of equal class to be with. But he also is not that interested in marriage given his family curse. Any woman he ends up with will be met with a terrible fate. I really loved William. He does come off quite the jerk in the beginning. But as the story goes on, you can't blame him for being bitter.

      The best thing about this book was the connection between Hannah and William. The way it was paced and how they came together was simply perfect for me. Nothing was rushed and unrealistic. The reasons for their doubts were appropriate for the time period. I loved it. Another aspect I found interesting was the descriptions of the characters. They are immediately referred to as "gorgeous" and "perfect". William has scars (both internal and external) as well as a limp. Hannah is not considered traditionally beautifully, but still attractive. I just thought that was an interesting change not having characters that are basically supermodels. Hell, they were both virgins before being together. Yeah, you read that right. I have to say, it is nice when the hero of the story isn't a manwhore. Maybe it is just me, but it gives the story something extra. It makes it more intriguing. Again, maybe just me.
   
      This isn't a story with a villain or anything like that. Instead, de Sallier uses circumstances as the real "antagonist" of the story. William's family is cursed. His family were very greedy and vicious. That viciousness is in the blood now. The women die at childbirth and William's bloodline is now non-existent. You also have their social classes. William is an officer and an aristocrat. Hannah is the vicar's daughter. They shouldn't be anywhere near each other. It is bad enough that Hannah has been taken care of William's every need without someone around (specifically a man). People are bound to talk.

      I really loved this story. de Sallier definitely has a voice and i must be heard. It is refreshing and intriguing. The characters are impossible not to love. They are the kind of characters that you will cling to. Their insecurities and personalities make them unforgettable. This story is unforgettable. Despite the time period, I think we can all find something to relate to in this book. I recommend this even if historical romance isn't your thing. Add de Sallier on your authors to watch list. You will be glad you did.


Rating: 




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About Elise de Sallier
 
Elise began her lifelong obsession with the romance and paranormal genres when she was far too young to be reading either. After many happy years of marriage, she now believes great relationships don’t just ‘magically’ happen they take work . . . which doesn’t mean writing about them can’t be a whole lot of fun.
After surviving all manner of health obstacles while raising a family and nursing her elderly grandmother –her writing name-sake, though she’d have been shocked by her granddaughter’s steamy love scenes—Elise established a career as a counsellor and family therapist. Seeking an escape from the stresses of work in romance stories, Elise discovered the world of fan fiction, and her timid writer’s muse began to make its voice heard. Two point three million hits, twelve and a half thousand reviews, and one request from a publishing company to try her hand at writing an original historical romance story later, and her life found a new and fascinating direction.
While enjoying the opportunity to create her own worlds and stories, Elise likes to see her characters grow, experience passion and adventure, and find lasting love . . . eventually.
 

Connect with Elise de Sallier here:

Blog  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Twitter



Friday, August 8, 2014

Love Edy Blog Tour - Book Review: Love Edy by Shewanda Pugh




Author: Shewanda Pugh
Format: ePub
Pages: 254
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Young Adult
Publisher: Smashwords


Buy here:


Synopsis from Goodreads
When Edy Phelps falls hard for her best friend, she knows nothing can come from it. Forget actual chemistry, or the fact that she cherishes his mother more than her own; centuries of tradition say that Hassan will grow up, marry the girl his parents pick, and forget his best friend: the dancer with the bursting smile. Except he can't. In a world erupting with possibilities for the boy with a body of steel and dreams of the NFL, everything seems promised while nothing at all is; when he's denied the girl he wants most. 
Two hearts. Two families devoted through generations of friendship. Could Edy and Hassan really risk all that? And yet ... how could they not?

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     Love Edy is an interesting story about a girl named Edy. Edy is a 14 year old girl who is in love with her best friend Hassan. Hassan is quickly becoming one of the popular guys in school which means plenty of other girls have taken notice. Edy doesn't know what to do since she can't have him either. His family has already picked out his bride. Edy and Hassan start to notice their lifelong friendship dwindling because of everything and everyone around them. They have a long way to go before they figure out what they want and what they will do.

      First off, give me a second to gush over that gorgeous cover again. I love it. Second, thank you "Irresistible Reads" for introducing me to a new author. I really enjoyed this book. I loved how Pugh tapped into various social issues her characters had to face. Pugh also understands the mind of a teenager. Nothing felt far fetched because I could see all the characters the way they are. This is exactly how they would act. It made the book even more interesting for me.

      The characters were very interesting and surprisingly complex given their young ages. I both liked and disliked Edy. She is a smart girl, more book smart than street smart, but still. Her family is very rich and established, so Edy is very privileged. There are times when that comes through, but she isn't stuck up. Some things I disliked about her had more to do with how she treated some people. She could be a bit judgmental and is very quick to assume the worse of someone or at least the lowest of them. For instance, let's talk Wyatt. When Edy first sees him she immediately assumes he is hired help, not the actual people moving into her neighborhood. But she quickly finds out that is not the case.

     I liked Wyatt a lot. He, however, also has his flaws. I loved how despite his family issues, he doesn't let it swallow him whole. That could be also because of Edy. He is so take by her after they first meet. He was a bit obsessive at times though. This could have easily turned into a stalker story.  But he wasn't creepy. He was actually really sweet. Wyatt couldn't believe that Edy wanted to be his friend. Although it does piss me off for her reasoning to befriend him. Wyatt definitely doesn't have anyone in his life to depend on and I hated how Edy didn't think much on that. But the main love was Hassan. I liked Hassan, but he is in the same boat as Edy, well, at times. His protectiveness of Edy was cute, but quite hypocritical. Not to mention his decision making is awful. He loves Edy, but he doesn't ever confront it. The both of them will drive you crazy with their feelings. But I am rooting for them especially given that no on seems to be in support of them being together.

     The side characters are also very interesting. Some I love, some not so much. One in particular I am convinced is the devil. I loved Ronnie. He is Hassan's cousin who Edy spends the summer with. He is going through something that no one knows about and for good reason. I would have liked an entire story of him dealing with his family especially his father. It is heartbreaking. But he was a great character. We also had parents. Yeah, parents in a young adult book. That makes me happy. The parents play actual roles here as well specifically the moms. Hassan's mom, Rani, was great, but very set in her ways. There were times I wasn't sure if she really liked Edy or was pretending. But you do kind of see the reason halfway in the book. She is still a good second mom to Edy.

     Now Edy's actual mom though...oh boy. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce the devil in a pantsuit. This woman was atrocious. She treats Edy like trash every chance she gets and you don't understand why. Edy does everything her mom tells her to do. She is fourteen and acing AP classes and was accepted into a prestigious ballet school. Any real mom would be happy about that, not Edy's politically-minded mother. Actually it felt like there was some sort of jealousy on her part at times. I have heard of moms' like this, but man, what the hell. Edy's mom plays a much bigger part in the book than I thought and I can't wait to see what comes next. All I know is that it will not be good.

    The story was fast paced. I love Pugh's writing style. Although I admit the transitions of the POVs were a bit weird for me. One second we woukd would be in Edy's mind and it would switch to another character without any indication. But it didn't happen to often, so it won't take you out of the book. But what I love most was how Pugh made the book feel real. I love how she brings up issues of religion, tradition, politics, and more that made the book very modern. I love how all of these played a part in Edy and Hassan's friendship and why it couldn't grow into more. I also love the mystery we are given about Wyatt and some unknown girl named Lottie. We get glimpses of it throughout the book. There is still a lot more to learn. The way we learn it is really insane though. I can't wait for the next book. I don't know what is going on, but s**t just got real.

     Overall, this was a good read. I had a few issues, but they didn't take away from the story. I am very excited for book 2. The characters will drive you crazy for all sorts of reasons, but you will be enthralled. You will be put into the mind of teenagers, so it may grate on someone's nerves. But I think you will still enjoy it. It is going to be quite a journey seeing Hassan and Edy fight for each other. They are going to be pushed to their limits given the obstacles they must go through. Again, dying to get my hands on the next book.


Rating:





*This book belongs to the following challenges*
The Book Vixen's 2014 Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge
The Book Vixen's 2014 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge


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About Shewanda Pugh



Shewanda Pugh is a tomboy who credits Stephen King with being the reason she writes romance. In 2012 she debuted with the first novel in a three part contemporary adult romance series, Crimson Footprints. Since then, she's been shortlisted for the AAMBC Reader's Choice Award, the National Black Book Festival's Best New Author Award, and the Rone Award for Contemporary Fiction in 2012 and 2013. She has an MA in Writing from Nova Southeastern University and a BA in Political Science from Alabama A&M University. Though a native of Boston, MA, she now lives in Miami, FL, where she can soak up sun rays without fear of shivering. Her first young adult romance, Love Edy, is scheduled for release on June 24th, 2014.

Connect with Shewanda Pugh here:
Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Twitter  |  Website


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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Stolen Dreams Blog Tour - Spotlight + Excerpt + $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway: Stolen Dreams (Cassie Scot #4) by Christine Amsden

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Author: Christine Amsden
Series: Cassie Scot
Number in Series:  4
Release Date: October 15, 2014
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Genre: Mystery/New Adult/Paranormal/Urban Fantasy


Synopsis from Christine Amsden
Edward Scot and Victor Blackwood have despised one another for nearly a quarter of a century, but now their simmering hatred is about to erupt. 
When Cassie Scot returns home from her sojourn in Pennsylvania, she finds that her family has taken a hostage. Desperate to end the fighting before someone dies, Cassie seeks help from local seer Abigail Hastings, Evan Blackwood's grandmother. But Abigail has seen her own death, and when it comes at the hand of Cassie's father, Victor Blackwood kills Edward Scot. 
But things may not be precisely as they appear. 
Evan persuades Cassie to help him learn the truth, teaming them up once again in their darkest hour. New revelations about Evan and his family make it difficult for Cassie to cling to a shield of anger, but can Evan and Cassie stop a feud that has taken on a life of its own? Conclusion to the Cassie Scot series.

Buy here:


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EXCERPT



From Chapter 3


When I arrived that Friday, it was to an empty store; Aunt Sherry had gone out for more paint so we could finish that stage of the operation. Since she had given me a spare key, I let myself in, heading for the back room to change into an old sweat suit I used for painting. I had come straight from Abigail’s home, so I still wore my stonewashed jeans and pale pink sweater. The outfit had looked cute when I had bought it a few years earlier, but I had to admit the potion belt riding low on my hips was cramping my sense of style.
It’s worth it, I silently reaffirmed when I pushed open the door to the back room, fumbling for the light switch. The single bulb didn’t provide much illumination in that unloved space, but it clearly showed that the room contained a squatter.
I didn’t recognize him at first, curled up in a corner of the room inside an old sleeping bag. In fact, it took me a minute or so to even realize what I was looking at. It’s not like Eagle Rock has a homeless population. Then, slowly, the form shifted and a head, supported by broad shoulders, rose from the tattered bundle.
He was filthy, ragged, and he stank, but underneath all that I did recognize my cousin Jason, vampire-hunter turned vampire. Letting out a tiny squeak of surprise, I stepped backward, wondering why I hadn’t decided to wear a cross as part of my new powerhouse style. Or at least decided to add a vial of holy water to my belt.
I didn’t make it out the door before hitting a brick wall of resistance. Jason, thanks to his supernatural speed, had gotten behind me. I felt the wind in the split second before I smacked against him.
My heart began pounding, but I did everything in my power to remain outwardly calm. Show no fear. It had been my motto for some time now, and had been particularly useful against the attempts to manipulate me into marrying a slew of troglodytes. It might not be so useful here, but I knew that cool reason always prevailed over panic. He hadn’t killed me yet, that was something. He could easily have snapped my neck as he sped behind me. The thought wasn’t even close to comforting, but it did help me to keep a clear head.
He pushed me, hard, into the room. I stumbled, just saving myself from the fall. I let the graceless tumble cover my next movement–my hand going for the water gun at my right side. It was the electric shock potion, which I imagined would work about as well as the fire potion against a vampire. That is to say, not at all.
I spun and fired in the same motion, but Jason moved too quickly and the potion splashed harmlessly against the door frame. The next thing I knew, he was wrenching the gun from my hand, nearly twisting my wrist off in the process.
“Keep still,” Jason said. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
He didn’t? “What are you doing here?”
“Hiding.”
“From who?”
“Everyone.” He let go of my wrist and pushed me away. This time I didn’t fall, and didn’t go for my remaining water gun.
“Does your mom know you’re here?” I dared a look into his eyes, which weren’t the feral yellow of a vampire on the hunt. They were blue, the same color they had been in life. They were his mother’s eyes. My mother’s eyes. My eyes. Looking into them made me want to believe he hadn’t turned into a monster, but I couldn’t afford such dangerous thoughts.
“No. I overslept. Meant to be out before anyone came by.”
He didn’t seem to be threatening me in any way. I didn’t want to trust that impression; but at the same time, as my mind eased away from the initial shock of discovering him here, I began to notice some serious problems with his being anywhere near Eagle Rock. It wasn’t just about him being in his mother’s shop–that might have been the safest place in the area for him because vamp or no, his mom wouldn’t turn him in. He had to know that. Her loyalty toward her son was the big reason Kaitlin hadn’t taken to her, despite Aunt Sherry’s many friendly overtures toward the mother of her first–and probably only–grandchild.
No, the big question was what he was doing in Eagle Rock at all. A known community of sorcerers didn’t make a good hiding place for a vampire. Frank Lloyd might have done it for years before he was caught, but no one had known about him, and he had managed to keep the secret until Belinda had gotten in the way. Everyone knew Jason was a vampire. Unless he went around in disguise, he would get caught here. He would die.
I started to ask what he was doing there once again, when I recalled his answer. He was hiding... from everyone. Rumors had him in the company of a two-centuries-old vampire named Xavier, the most wanted bloodsucker in the United States. I had made it a point to study Xavier’s wanted poster when rumors about Jason first surfaced. On a superficial level, the old vampire looked like anyone else, well capable of blending in with a crowd–brown hair, brown eyes, a round, almost cherubic face, and a moderate build. But beneath all that, he was a hunter. A killer. And so powerful that he had taken out seven linked vampire hunters working together against him. Jason had been a part of that group. Had he turned traitor, as everyone supposed, or been overcome? Many wanted to believe the former, because to believe the latter would put Xavier in a danger class all his own.
“Are you going to tell anyone you saw me?” Jason asked.
“Is that a trick question?” I mean, of course I was, but maybe he was offering me my life if I promised not to mention him to anyone. I’d make the promise in a heartbeat, but he and I both knew I wouldn’t keep it, making the question moot.
“Please, don’t tell anyone.”
It was the please that struck me, I think. Why beg? Why not simply rip my throat out and be done with it? Not that I wanted to die, of course, but he shouldn’t care if I died or not.
“Are you a vampire?” I found myself asking.
He shuddered. “Don’t you dare trust me.”
“That didn’t really answer the question, did it?”
“No, it didn’t.”
“Where’s that vampire you were supposed to be with.... Xavier? Or are you hiding from him, too?”
“Didn’t I say, 'everyone'?”
Something was very, very wrong. I could sense it, and I longed to help, but I also sensed that Jason would bolt in a second if spooked. I had my doubts about whether or not he was a vampire, but at the moment, it was beside the point.
“If you’re in trouble,” I began, “I can help. My family can help.”
He laughed, a hollow sound followed closely by a series of coughs. He wasn’t in good health.
Vampires didn’t have health.
“Don’t you think I tried?” Jason asked. “Uncle Edward nearly killed me before I had a chance to ask, and then....”
“And then?” I prompted.
“It doesn’t matter.”
“It matters to me.”
“You won’t convince your father to help me,” Jason said. “He’ll just believe I hypnotized you or thralled you.”
That was true enough, but I didn’t have to go to my father for help. “I can help you.”
This time when he laughed, it was with unflattering disdain.
“You obviously want something from me,” I said, “or you wouldn’t still be here. What’s wrong? What’s going on with you? Are you a vampire, and if not, why does everyone think you are?”
“It’s safer that way,” Jason said. “Xavier....”
“What about Xavier?” I asked.
He shook his head. “Nothing. It’s not about him anyway.”
“Who’s it about?”
“My father.”
“Your father?” The last time he had mentioned his father, the man had just been some nameless, faceless sperm donor to me and, I imagined, to him too. Now I knew the man had destroyed both of our mothers–killing their sister, stealing their magic, selling my mother as breeding stock, and raping his. I sucked in a breath at that last thought, and the implications.
“You know,” Jason said.
I nodded.
“I shouldn’t even exist,” he said.
“No!” I took a step forward, reaching out a hand, perhaps to comfort him, but he danced away.
“You have no idea. My father’s a bigger monster than anyone knows. If he thought I wasn’t dead already–”
The bell over the door at the front of the store jingled, bringing us both up short. Jason stood frozen for half a heartbeat, and then in a blur of movement he was gone, taking his ratty sleeping bag with him.
“Jason, wait!” I started after him even though I knew it was hopeless. I had to know what else he was going to say. I had to find a way to help him. He was no vampire, but something in our conversation made me want to add a yet to the end of that sentiment. He was in terrible trouble, the kind that made my own concerns pale in comparison.
With that in mind I started to run out of the shop; but for the second time in less than fifteen minutes, I saw something to stop my heart before sending it racing again: Evan Blackwood.
4

He stood there, framed in the doorway of Aunt Sherry’s shop, blocking both the exit and, it seemed, all the sunlight. Of course someone had opened the door, sounding the bell and keeping Jason from saying whatever he had been about to say. I had only assumed it was Aunt Sherry.
He looked terrible, which isn’t the same thing as saying he was unattractive. I could never think of him that way, though I wished I could. Looking at him, with hollow eyes, two day’s growth of stubble on his chin, and his once luxurious hair shorn off into a sort of military buzz cut, I shouldn’t have felt the tiniest twinge of attraction. But I did.
He wore a long black trench coat during the winter months, making him look a bit like a washed-out cliché. I tried to focus on that fact as he strode toward me, instead of the palpable thrum of magic in the air around him.
I had imagined this moment for months, trying to figure out what I would say or do when I came face to face with Evan again. It had to happen sooner or later, unless one of us left town, which wasn’t likely. Now here he was, and I couldn’t remember any of it. I just stood there like an idiot, hands dangling at my side, watching and waiting for him to make the first move.
He’s the enemy, said a small voice at the back of my mind. How many curses had flown back and forth between his family and mine during a chance meeting like this? None had been aimed my way, and if that was strange, it hadn’t occurred to me until the moment Evan strode toward me, his face a perfect, impenetrable mask. His eyes never wavered from mine. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought he was hypnotizing me.
“Are you all right?” he asked.
I blinked. First, a known vampire had begged me to keep his secret, and in such a way that had me seriously doubting his bloodsucker status. And now, the man leading the war against my family wanted to know if I was all right?
When I continued to look confused he added, “Something just ran past me.”
“What are you doing here?”
He took two steps closer, bringing him within easy touching distance. “We need to talk.”
They were the same words he had used in voicemail messages, text messages, and e-mails last fall. Never an apology, simply “We need to talk.” In some of the e-mails, he had gone on to say that he knew I still loved him deep down inside, that my actions at the conclave had proved it. I hadn’t responded to a single message, nor bothered trying to explain myself. If his arrogance blinded him to the truth, that was his problem.
His attempts to contact me had stopped abruptly before Thanksgiving, right around the time he–or someone in his family–had blown up Robert’s car.
“We have nothing to say to one another. You’d better go before Aunt Sherry gets back.”
“Or what? She doesn’t have any magic.”
I took a step backward. Evan wasn’t usually so insensitive, but who knew how he had changed in the months since I had last seen him?
“I’m sorry,” Evan said. “That didn’t come out the way I meant it.”
“Didn’t it?” There he stood, full of inflated pride that was largely the result of having far more than his fair share of magical talent. It had been that way ever since middle school, when he decided to go from taking it to dishing it out.
“Your aunt was tied up at the hardware store when I passed by. It’s why I came over. I knew you’d be here, and would be alone for a while.”
“How did you know I’d be here?” I asked. “Are you spying on me?”
“Yes.”
It had been some time since I’d been faced with his disconcerting honesty. I didn’t know what to do with it, so I just stood there, opening and closing my mouth like an idiot.
He took another step closer. Now we were practically touching. His familiar scent surrounded me, intoxicating me, almost enough to make me forget he was the enemy.
Almost.
“Haven’t you done enough to me and my family?” I asked, stepping backward out of reach.
“I haven’t done anything to you or your family. Some of my relatives have, but only when provoked.”
“You’re suggesting we started this?”
“I’m suggesting that we need to put an end to it.” Evan stepped closer, and again I stepped back. He paused, his mask still set, his expression unfathomable. “Are you afraid of me?”
“Under the circumstances, wouldn’t you be?”
“No. I would never hurt you. No matter what.”
“You have a funny way of showing it.”
“Your family put a price on my head. A million dollar price. Do you have any idea what that’s done to me?”
“The reward wasn’t my idea,” I said. “I’m sorry you had to become a killer.”
“It wasn’t the first time.”
That did surprise me. “It wasn’t?”
“It doesn’t matter, but no, it wasn’t.”
I wanted to ask him more. When? Where? Why? And most especially: How do you feel about it? I refrained.
“That’s not what I’m here about, though,” Evan said. “Things are escalating, and if we don’t find a way to stop this, someone else is going to die. Someone close to one of us.”
“I know.” It was why I had gone to Abigail, although so far, that hadn’t amounted to much. She had told me to talk to Evan, and now here he was.
He took another step closer, but this time, I couldn’t step back. I was against a wall, and he was close. Way. Too. Close.
“I just have to ask you one thing,” he said. “Why did you agree to marry him? Was it because of me?”
Torn between outrage that he would think I’d get engaged to spite him and incredulity that he still believed the ridiculous rumors, I just stood there, not able to say anything at all.
“Well?” he demanded.
“You’re too close.” What a stupid thing to say. Now he’d know how he was affecting me.
“Am I?” He leaned in closer, until we were almost nose to nose. His lips were right there, slightly parted, inviting me to partake of temptation.
I lifted my hands against his chest, intending to push him away, but I let them linger there for a second too long. It was, apparently, all the invitation Evan needed to seal his lips over mine.
I had been hit with innumerable lust and love spells over the past few months, both from Matthew and his successors. Some were potent, some were subtle, some tried to be both, but none of them could compare to the simple, primal joy of Evan’s kiss. It had been my first lust spell, and it still hit me the hardest, invading my senses in a fierce, targeted strike.
Reason fled. Only Evan existed for me–him and the things I wanted to do to him, with him.
I moaned into his mouth before breaking the kiss and trailing my mouth along his stubbly jawline to his ear. I sucked the lobe into my mouth, feeling a surge of pride and power at his sharp intake of breath. Before I could move to the other side, however, he took control, kissing a path down my neck and into the V of my low-cut sweater. His hands dove beneath and he was about to lift it over my head when he suddenly stopped himself, taking an abrupt step backward.
“Evan!” I launched myself at him, but it was his turn to dance backward.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.”




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About Christine Amsden


Christine Amsden has been writing science fiction and fantasy for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone. 

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt's Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. (You can learn more here.) 


In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work. 

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children. 

Her latest book is Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective




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