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  • Rock Chick Reawakening by Kristen Ashley

    Release Day Blitz: Jan. 3th, 2017

  • Lucian Divine by Renee Carlino

    Review: Jan. 8th, 2017

  • Egomaniac by Vi Keeland

    Release Day Blitz: Jan. 16th, 2017

  • Casanova by Emma Hart

    Review: Jan. 25th, 2017

  • The Room Mate by Kendall Ryan

    Review: Jan. 27th, 2017

Friday, January 31

Cover Reveal: Before You by Amber Hart

Before You revised

Before You
By: Amber Hart

Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.
Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.
It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don't care.
Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn’t stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.
At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely. 
Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.   

What other authors had to say:

"Beautiful and evocative!" ~New York Times Bestselling author Sophie Jordan

"Fresh and unique...will hook and hold you." ~Bestselling author K.A. Tucker

 

More About the Author

Amber Hart grew up in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. She now resides on the Florida coastline with family and animals including, but not limited to, bulldogs, a cat, and dragons. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She's the author of BEFORE YOU, AFTER US, ECHOES, and ECHOES' sequel (untitled as of yet). Rep'd by Beth Miller of Writers House.

Website: www.amberhartbooks.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorAmberHart
Twitter: www.twitter.com/AmberHartBooks
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/AmbersShelf
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/AmberHart
Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/AmberHart

Chapter 4 Excerpt

4

Diego

She sees right through me? What does that mean? I wonder for the twentieth time as I enter the cafeteria. I managed to avoid my peer helper after my first few classes, rushing out before she could meet me. Did she really think I couldn’t get another class schedule? Maybe next time she won’t underestimate me.

A sweet smell hits my nostrils as I pass the fruit section. It smells like my peer helper, and I’m reminded of my disgust for her. She thinks she knows me, but she knows nothing. She’s a snob, trying to prove something. They’re all the same.

Girls like her don’t know what it’s like to struggle, really struggle.

She’s probably never gone so hungry her stomach knots. Never roamed the streets wondering if she’ll have a safe place to sleep. With a face and body like hers, she’s probably never had to work for anything in her life. The people she represents, the life she lives, it’s all fake.

Javier, my cousin, warned me about her. She’s one of the Big Five, the ones who think they rule this school. Even with her perfect boyfriend and flawless life, she isn’t fooling me.

I hear Javier before I see him. “Diego, aquí.”

Through the crowd, I spot my cousin sitting with a group of Latinos. With his six-foot, two-hundred-pound frame, he’s hard to miss. I approach him. One of his friends mumbles something in Spanish about how tall I am.

“Hey, what can I say? They make ’em big in mi familia,” Javier says, laughing.

Truth backhands me. I realize now that I never actually thought I would see Javier again. After … after … no. I shove the thoughts away. Not here.

Not here.

“What’s up, ’cuz?” Javier says.

Nada.” I force a smile, though my relief is real. It’s good to see family.

¡Siéntate!” Javier says.

I sit. Sitting is usually an indulgence for those who can afford to relax. I pretend for a moment that I’m one of them. My cousin takes a minute to introduce his friends.

“Diego, this is Ramon, Esteban, Juan, Rodolfo, and Luis.”

Ramon and Esteban, with their slight overbites and similar features, must be brothers. Juan has a large head for his small frame; he’s covered in tattoos. Rodolfo has a smile full of white teeth and a dimple on the left side of his cheek. What happened to the other dimple? It’s as though God had an asymmetrical look in mind when He created him. Next to my cousin, Luis is the biggest. He has lots of freckles, splattered on his face like paint, seeping into his skin.

“Welcome to los Estados Unidos,” Juan says, biting into his burger.

“Gracias,” I reply.

My stomach growls, an animal hungry to live. Javier notices.

“Come with me.” He motions for me to follow him through the crowd.

As we walk to the lunch line, I spot my peer helper at a table, surrounded by her friends. There’s one of her kind at every school. The girl everyone hates to love and loves to hate. She’s probably been stabbed in the back countless times. Not that she would know, since everyone acts fake to her face. Her friends remind me of worker bees, buzzing for the queen’s attention. I wonder if she knows that the workers eventually kill the queen.

“When you get to the front, show them your student ID,” Javier says.

The guidance counselor already explained that I get one free lunch a day because of our low income. As we pass the food selections, I cannot believe the prices.

“Are they for real?” I ask. “Six dollars for chicken and fries?”

I have an image of Faith Watters taking out her designer wallet and easily paying for one of the pretentious lunches.

“Yep. Gringos,” Javier says, eyes hardening. He remembers what it was like in Cuba, the struggle.

Just by looking at the lunchroom crowd, it’s clear who the haves and have-nots are. Surprisingly, though, there are more Latinos than I expected.

I grab a burger and make my way to the register. As I pull out my ID, football players in letterman jackets glance my way. Part of me wishes I had it easy like them: popular, at ease, able to pay for things.

I shouldn’t want to be like them.

I don’t want to be like them.

Yes, I do.

Some days.

The bigger part of me knows that a life like that will never happen for someone like me. It’s just the way things are.

I grab a water bottle and head back to the table with Javier. Do people here know that most of the world doesn’t get water from a bottle, but from a stream or river or muddy ground?

“So, you fittin’ in well?” Javier asks.

“Yep.” For the most part. No one has singled me out for being new.

“Latinos blend around here. One of the good things about Florida,” he says.

We pass a beautiful girl on the way back to our seat. I take a moment to look. She smiles.

“That’s Isabella,” Javier explains. “Sexy, but taken.”

“Too bad,” I say.

I’m not looking for a girlfriend, but it would be nice to have a little fun. I’m almost at the table when someone steps in front of me.

“What’s your problem?” my peer helper asks, one of her friends in tow.

Momentarily shocked by her boldness, I quickly regain my hard stance. Just like earlier, she doesn’t seem fazed by me. She’s either tougher than I thought, or she puts on a great front.

“I don’t know what you mean,” I reply. I try to feign confusion, but a smile creeps through.

“Oh, you think this is funny?” she asks, hands on her hips. For a second, she looks kind of beautiful, eyes hard and old. Wisps of hair fall out of her ponytail and around her face like angel feathers.

“A little.” I grin.

She huffs. “You weren’t there to meet me after your classes this morning. If I report you, you could lose your chance to attend this school.”

Is she threatening me? “Like I said, I already have a mamá. I don’t answer to you.”

I hand my tray to Javier. He sets it on the table so I can deal with her.

“You’re being difficult,” she says.

“So are you.”

What is your weakness? is what I want to ask.

She doesn’t back down. “I’ll be there before the end of your next class. Don’t even think about ditching me again.”

I have to, don’t you see?

“I’m serious,” she says.

This girl is asking for it. I glance at her blond friend, who’s eyeing Javier, not paying us any attention. I wish my peer helper was as easily distracted.

Being tough does not scare Faith Watters. Time to change tactics. I relax and flash a grin.

Mami, why don’t I help you loosen up a little?”

She blinks, but doesn’t show any outward evidence that my words have affected her. I move close, very close. When I look down at her, she doesn’t look away.

Her eyes remind me of stained glass, bright and cutting.

“We could have a good time, you and me,” I say, mischief punctuating my voice.

“I don’t think so,” she says coldly.

I will not let her upstage me. I give her a long, slow onceover. She dresses older than she is, like she doesn’t belong in high school. I wonder what makes her so uptight.

What are you hiding, chica?

I usually don’t have to try with girls. It’s one of the very few advantages life has thrown my way.

“Oh, come on. You might like Latino if you tried it,” I say, voice low. The guys behind me laugh, egging me on.

“When you’re done with him, I’m available, mamacita,” Juan says. “I don’t mind leftovers.”

She sneers. Good. That’s progress.

“Let me take you out,” I say.

I’m not really going to take her anywhere. I just want to make a crack in her icy shield.

Why do you have a shield, anyway?

“Why?” she asks suspiciously.

Because I know it annoys you when someone else has control. “Because it would be fun,” I say, bending close to her face. “And I can promise you one thing.”

She looks cautious.

It’s a look I know well.

“What?” she asks.

That one night with me will relax you.

Girls like her love bad boys, whether they admit it or not. I imagine it’s similar to visiting a haunted mansion. Exciting, at first. One foot slips through the door, then the next. Heart hammers. Blood races. It’s a rush. A fix. Never knowing what’s around the next corner, through the closed door, beyond the shadows. Trying to find a way out. Not really wanting to leave. Wondering how close a person can come to danger before something bad happens. Looking for the moonlight at the end of the tunnel, an exit.

Sometimes there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

I can show her excitement like she’ll never experience with that boyfriend of hers.

But I don’t say any of those things. Instead I let my lips brush her ear lobe as I answer.

“That you will leave satisfied.”

jackie name plate

Thursday, January 30

Taking Something Excerpt Blast

We are thrilled to share an excerpt from Elizabeth Lee's TAKING SOMETHING! TAKING SOMETHING is the second book in Elizabeth Lee’s Give Me Something Series and is set to be released February 18, 2014! To celebrate GIVE ME SOMETHING is on sale for only $.99!! Check out the excerpt and a special thank you bonus for readers from Elizabeth!!!     Taking Something -Front Cover   About TAKING SOMETHING: I know what you're thinking. “You were such a jerk, Nick!”  Believe me, I know I screwed up the best thing I had going in my life, but that was kind of my thing. I’d learned how to run cons before I could even form complete sentences, and I'd always been selfish.  But I changed.  Lila forgave me, my brother and I were getting along, and I was trying to make a name for myself in the music world. At least that was what I was trying to do when I negotiated my way into the recording studio with pop superstar Sadie Sinclair. I thought it would be a piece of cake—charm my way into her heart and into her record label's good graces. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I got mixed up in a web of lies, manipulation, and deception. A web that had me questioning my motives and desires altogether. Was the fame and fortune really worth the price?   Excerpt: “How about you pour me a cup of coffee, sweat pea?” I finally spoke, breaking the trace her graceful hands had on me and pointing at steaming coffee press in between us. She sighed and placed the knife she was holding down on the counter. With her empty hands firmly placed down on the marble, she looked up at me. “Look, sweat pea,” she lipped. “I've got enough people to wait on and one of them actually pays me for it. If you want a cup of coffee, I suggest you get up off your self-entitled ass and pour one.” My feet were on the floor and leading me around the counter to the cabinets before I had a chance to realize what I was doing. It must have been the look in her eyes or maybe I just felt like not being a jerk. I needed to be on her good side before I asked her the question I'd been thinking about all night. “Mugs are in the one next to the fridge,” she told me, picking up her knife to continue her job. “Thanks,” I replied, grateful that her civility was quick to return, and grabbed mug. I moved over next to her. The sweet smell of the fruit coupled with the scent of her shampoo, or soap, or maybe it was just her, had my mouth watering. Then she looked over and smiled at me, watching as I poured the coffee. Barely any make-up and her chocolate hair flowing down to the middle of her back, un-styled. Not my normal type, but something about her had me swallowing hard. And apparently daydreaming, because as I was watching her I decided I was going to fill my hand with scalding hot coffee instead of the mug it was holding. “Son of bitch,” I seethed. Gia reacted quickly, pulling a washcloth from the drawer and soaking it with cool water. She was at my side quickly placing it on my stinging hand. “Let me see,” she said sweetly, her eyes full of concern. She pulled back the rag and pulled my hand up. “I don't think it's going to blister.” God, she's beautiful. The look of concern on her face. The feel of her hand in mine. I had to remind myself to take a breath. I wanted more than anything to reach out and touch her face. Her warm, caring, concerned face. “Thank you,” I said, pulling the rag from her hand and placing it back on the burn. She released her hand from mine and I took a step back. There had only been one other person who looked at me the way Gia was and we all know how that ended. I couldn't let myself get wrapped up in the idea that another person could actually care about me. And I sure as hell didn't deserve her compassion. I had been a total dick to her. “That's beautiful,” she said, reaching over and trailing her fingers across the moon tattoo on my right forearm. I wanted her to run her fingers over my skin again. All of it.   TakingSomething Excerpt Blast   A special thank you from Elizabeth: To celebrate the release Elizabeth is giving away an advanced copy of TAKING SOMETHING! You can enter the Goodreads giveaway here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/enter_choose_address/79978-taking-something Elizabeth is also setting up something very special for readers! You GIVE Nick a shot and add TAKING SOMETHING to your Goodreads TBR and in return you can TAKE home GIVE ME SOMETHING for FREE!!!  That’s right…FREE! Once TAKING SOMETHING hits 1,000 Want To Reads on Goodreads, Elizabeth will drop the price completely on all digital formats of GIVE ME SOMETHING and give you a chance to see where it all started and get ready for the February 18th release of TAKING SOMETHING!   Author PhotoElizabeth Lee Bio: When I'm not writing or playing the part of wife and mother, you can find me dancing back-up for Beyonce, singing back-up for Miranda, or sunning myself on the beach with a drink in hand.  Here's the thing about being born and raised in a small town—you have a very vivid imagination!  Now, I channel it all to create stories where the girl always ends up with the right guy, first kisses are magical, and a happy ending is just that!     Buy Links for GIVE ME SOMETHING: Amazon Barnes & Noble     Links: Facebook: www.facebook.com/elizabethleewrites Twitter: www.twitter.com/elwrites Website: http://elizabethleewrites.blogspot.com Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6542627.Elizabeth_Lee Novel Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18463336-taking-something

Cover Reveal Count Down: Before You

Before You 03

It’s the Cover Reveal Count down for Amber Hart’s upcoming release of Before You. As like the past two days check out the today’s chapter excerpt.

CHAPTER THREE EXCERPT

Faith

“Hi, I’m Faith Watters.”

Those are the first words I speak to the new Cuban guy in the front office. He grimaces. He’ll be a tough one. I can handle it, though. He’s not the first.

I can’t help but notice that he looks a lot like a model from the neck up—eyes the color of oak, strong bone structure. Everywhere else, he looks a lot like a criminal. Chiseled, scarred body … I wonder for a second about the meaning behind the tattoos scratched into his arms.

One thing’s clear. He’s dangerous.

And he’s beautiful.

“I’ll show you to your classes,” I announce.

I’m one of the peer helpers at our school. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but it counts as a class. Basically I spend the first two days with new students, introducing them around and answering their questions. Some parents with kids new to the school voluntarily sign their students up, but it’s only mandatory for the international students, of which we have a lot. Mostly Latinos.

This Cuban guy towers over me. I’m five six. Not tall. Not short. Just average. Average is good.

This guy’s not average. Not even a little bit. He must be over six feet.

I glance up at him, kind of like I do when I’m searching for the moon in a sea of darkness.

“Looks like you have math first. I’ll walk you there,” I offer.

“No thanks, chica. I can handle it.”

“It’s no problem,” I say, leading the way.

He tries to snatch his schedule from my hands, but I move too fast.

“Why don’t we start with your name?” I suggest.

I already know his name. Plus some. Diego Alvarez. Eighteen years old. Moved from Cuba two weeks ago. Only child. No previous school records. I read it in his bio. I want to hear him say it.

“You got some kinda control issues or somethin’?” he asks harshly, voice slightly accented.

“You got some kind of social issues or somethin’?” I fire back, holding my stance. I won’t let him intimidate me, though I’ll admit, he’s hot. Too bad he has a nasty attitude.

The side of his lip twitches. “No. I just don’t mix with your type,” he answers.

“My type?”

“That’s what I said.”

“You don’t even know my type.” No one does. Well, except Melissa.

He chuckles humorlessly. “Sure I do. Head cheerleader? Date the football player? Daddy’s little girl who gets everything she wants?” He leans closer to whisper. “Probably a virgin.”

My cheeks burn hot. “I’m not a cheerleader,” I say through clamped teeth.

“Whatever,” he says. “Are you gonna give me my schedule or not?”

“Not,” I answer. “But you can feel free to follow me to your first class.”

He steps in front of me, intimately close. “Listen, chica, nobody tells me what to do.”

I shrug. “Fine, suit yourself. It’s your life. But if you want to attend this school, it’s mandatory for me to show you to your classes for two days.”

His eyes narrow. “Who says I want to attend this school?”

I take the last step toward him, closing the gap between us. When we were little, Melissa and I used to collect glass bottles. Whenever we accumulated twenty, we’d break them on the concrete. When the glass shattered, the slivered pieces made a breathtaking prism of light.

I cut myself on the glass by accident once. It was painful, but worth it. The beauty was worth it. It’s funny how the bottle was never as beautiful as when it was broken.

You will not shatter me, I silently tell Diego. Somebody already did.

“If you don’t want to be here, then don’t come back,” I say.

A taunting smile spreads across his face. My first thought is that he has nice teeth, but then I scold myself for thinking about him like that.

“My name is Diego,” he says, like he’s letting me in on some kind of secret.

“Well, Diego,” I say, “better hurry. Class starts in two minutes.” I step around him to lead the way.

While we walk to math, I feel Diego’s eyes on me. I don’t know what it is about him. All the other confident students had nothing on me, and I swear I’ve heard it all, but he seems different. He shines. In a dark way. When he looks at me, I get a tingly sensation, like I’m being zapped by electricity.

It doesn’t matter. He’s rude. And besides, I have a wonderful boyfriend. Jason. Think about Jason.

“Quit staring at me,” I say, glancing at him.

He laughs, and strands of black hair fall into his eyes. I imagine it’s a little like looking at the world through charred silk.

“Why? Does it make you uncomfortable?”

He’s messing with me to get under my skin, like a pesky little splinter.

It’s working.

“Yes,” I answer.

In his white shirt, Diego’s skin is dark. Perpetually tanned by heritage.

I keep Diego’s schedule out of his reach. He inches closer, no doubt to grab it and run. I try to concentrate on the newly painted beige walls and tiled floors. Every few feet hangs a plaque about achievement or school clubs or tutoring programs.

When we come to the door, Diego rests an arm on the wall and leans toward me.

“I have a proposition for you,” he says in a sultry voice.

It’s hard to seem unaffected.

“I don’t do propositions,” I say dismissively.

He grins, his mouth arching up like the curl of a wave.

“But you haven’t even heard me out,” he says.

“Don’t need to.”

He ignores my comment. “What do you say we forget about this thing where I follow you around like a little dog? And when the guidance counselor asks, I will say you were superlative.”

“Big word,” I mumble. This guy did not do well on his entry exams, but he says things like superlative? What’s with that?

He glares at me; I sigh.

“You know, it wouldn’t kill you to drop the tough-guy act for two days. You’ll be rid of me soon.”

I turn to leave but Diego grabs my arm gently. My breath catches.

“It’s not an act,” he says, jaw hard.

I wave him away nonchalantly, like his touch didn’t just do all kinds of crazy things to my body—things that make me want to forget about the warning blaring in my mind.

I need to stay away from him.

I need to forget him.

Will you touch me again please?

I walk away. He watches me go.

“By the way,” I say as I flick a look over my shoulder at his hardened face, “I see right through you.”

jackie name plate

Wednesday, January 29

Review: The Thrill of It by Lauren Blakely

Title: The Thrill of It
By: Lauren Blakely
My Copy: Ebook for Review
BookWhisperer Rating:




Some say love can be an addiction. Others say it's the thing that makes life worth living. Let me tell you everything I know about love...Love isn't patient, love isn't kind. Love is a game, a chase. A thrill. Love is wild and war-like, and every man and woman must fight for themselves. At least that's how it was for me. A high-priced virgin call girl by the time I started college, I was addicted to love and to sex. Even though I've never had either. I controlled love, played it, and held the world in the palm of my hands. Then I fell down from those highs, and I'm being blackmailed for all my mistakes, forced to keep secrets from everyone, except the only guy I don't regret.

Trey...

With all the other women, I knew what they were. They were temporary. They were pills, they were bottles, they took away all the pain, and numbed the awful memories that wore down my ragged, wasted heart. Until I met Harley. She's the only girl I ever missed when she walked away. But now she's back in my life, every day, and there are no guarantees for us, especially since I don't know how to tell her my secrets. What happened to my family. All I know is she's the closest I've ever come to something real, and I want to feel every second of it.

How can you love with no regrets when regret is all you know?

What a horrible Mother???? Harley's mother in this story makes me sick. As a Mother of a young girl I could not even imagine any Mother that would push her child toward guys. Worse is that she attempts to instill such traits even before she was an appropriate age. My heart poured out for this young woman that is living the consequences of what she has been taught. That being said there comes a point when anyone can determine right from wrong, so I don't know that I truly feel that her mother pushed her to, for lack of a better word, prostitution. Though I do feel that her Mother taught the characteristic need for love. She was trained from the start to find companionship for happiness, and it is also essential for Sex to accompany this relations. This behavior has not only taught Harley a very unhealthy behavior of codependency, but she has also scarred this young girl by causing feeling of being adequate. With the progression of the story this did not seem to improve. If anything it worsened up to the world shifting climax that shows this woman for her true colors. This Mother continues to leave me appalled at each turn, and I cringed with anxiety every time this young woman step back in the direction of her past. From the start Trey is a bright light in this dimmed world, and I am rooting for the two of them the duration of of the story. If I wasn't distraught enough over the actions of Harley's Mom; I was completely blown away when I discover the when and why of Harley's blackmail. This Mother does not deserve, nor appreciate the devotion of this young woman not matter what her wrong choices were. This is a horrible display of parenting, and a very depressing story line. It does prove to create quite an intriguing story, but please be forewarned that this not an easy light entertaining read. Readers should prepare themselves for the suspenseful and vile story that it truly is.  




Review: Marine for Hire by Tawna Fenske

Title: Marine for Hire
By: Tawna Fenske
Series:  Front and Center #1
My Copy: Ebook from Publisher for Review
BookWhisperer Rating:

She thought she’d sworn off military men for good…

Sam Kercher is every inch a wickedly hot Marine. Tall. Sexy. Lethal. When his best friends call in a favor, Sam is forced to face an entirely new line of duty—playing nanny for their newly divorced sister and her squirming seven-month-old twin boys. If Sam can dissemble an M16 in his sleep, diaper duty should be a cakewalk…right?

Unfortunately, Operation Nanny isn’t quite that simple. Sheridan has sworn off overbearing military men, so Sam must protect her from her dirtbag ex without revealing just how much he has in common with her brothers. Or that he’s been ordered not to touch her. Ever. Problem is, Sheri’s one hell of a gorgeous woman, capable of making this hard-bodied marine even harder. And Sam wants her bad.

Protect the girl. Care for the babies. Hide his identity. And keep his handsoff. But even the most disciplined Marine has weaknesses...and Sheridan is one Sam might not be able to resist.

I loved every bit of this awkward humor. Marine for Hire had me laughing out loud throughout the entire story. Being a Mommy, myself, I loved seeing this broody hunk of man being all protective and loving toward not only Sheridan, but also her two lovely twin boys. Many readers will appreciate the attraction this scenario instills, but I think this story especially grabs those that put much value in deep family ties. The contrast of light laughable moments, and deep and meaningful romance will keep you intrigued and entertained for the story's duration. All Entangled books including a delectably mouth watering romance, and this particular story was another splendid display of just what I have come to expect from this publisher. This was my first experience with this particular author, but color me impressed. I look forward to seeing more, and anticipate another highly commended author in the making. 

Cover Reveal Count Down: Before You

Before You 02

It’s the Cover Reveal Count down for Amber Hart’s upcoming release of Before You. Above is a distorted copy of the cover. Everyday it will get a little clearer, until the final post on the 31st. As a gift you will also receive another chapter for excerpt below.

CHAPTER TWO EXCERPT

Diego

“Diego, vamonos.”

I can’t help the frustrated sigh that escapes my lips, hurled at mi padre, my dad, like a gust of wind that threatens to flatten our house of cards. It’s my fault. I should have built something stronger with the cards I was dealt. But I didn’t. I didn’t know how.

“Go away,” I say. “Vete.”

I’m not planning to attend school today.

In fact, I didn’t plan to be in the States at all.

Vamonos. Let’s go,” mi padre repeats in his heavily accented voice, yanking me off of the couch. “You will not miss senior year.”

He has this new thing where we have to speak English as much as possible now that we live in the States. I almost wish I weren’t fluent. Several trips to Florida, and I am.

With a grimace, I pass him, reluctantly moving toward my room. It feels like my feet are sinking, like I’m walking over sticky sand instead of thick, dirty carpet.

How did I get stuck in this place?

I open my dresser drawer and pull out faded jeans, a white T-shirt, and my Smith & Wesson.

“No,” mi padre says, grabbing the gun.

I take a step toward him, challenging. He does not back down.

“This is why we left,” he says.

Hypocrite. Under his bed is a similar gun, waiting. Just in case. But he’s also the one who taught me how to fight. I’m bigger than he is, but he has more experience. And the scars to prove it.

Not that I haven’t been in countless fights myself.

“Fine,” I say through clenched teeth, and turn toward the bathroom.

The hot water heater goes out after five minutes. The tiny two-bedroom apartment—this hole we now call home—is the only thing mi padre could afford. It’s not much, but it’s inexpensive. That’s all that matters. The plain white walls remind me of an asylum. Feels like I’m going crazy already.

Our jobs keep us afloat. They’re our life vests, our only chance of survival in a sea of ravenous sharks. Mi padre found a job with a lawn crew a couple weeks ago. Not many people would hire him with his scarred face and tattooed body. A restaurant offered me work part-time. Two shifts as a cook, one as a busboy. They promised a free meal every night that I worked. Couldn’t pass that up.

“Don’t be late for school or work,” mi padre says as I step out of the house.

School’s only ten minutes away. I walk, staring at the graffiti-covered sidewalk that stretches in front of me like a ribbed canvas. Latinos roam the block. It didn’t take moving to the States for me to know that’s how it is. The gringos, white people, live in nice houses and drive cars to school while the rest of the world waits for a piece of their leftovers. I’m trying not to think about how screwed up it all is when a Latina walks up to me.

Hola,” she says. “¿Hablas inglés?

“Yeah, I speak English,” I answer, though I’m not sure why she asks since both of us speak Spanish.

“I’m Lola.” She smiles, sexy brown eyes big and wide. She reminds me of a girl I knew back home. Just the thought, the image of home, makes my guts clench.

“What’s your name?” she purrs.

“Lola,” a Latino calls from across the street. She ignores him. He calls again. When she doesn’t come, he approaches us.

One look tells me he’s angry. He has a cocky stance and a shaved head.

“Am I interrupting something?” he snaps.

What’s this guy’s problem?

“Yep,” Lola says, turning her back on him. “My ex,” she explains, brushing a strand of curly hair out of her face.

Perfecto. Just what I need. I didn’t even do anything. Not that I’m going to explain.

“She’s mine,” the guy says, staring me down. “¿Entiendes, amigo?”

“I’m not your friend,” I say, gritting my teeth. “And you do not want to mess with me.”

Lola is smiling. I wonder if she enjoys the attention. Probably. I’ve met too many girls like her. She fits the type.

“You don’t know who you’re messing with,” he says, stepping closer.

A few guys come out of nowhere, closing in on me. Blue and white bandanas hang from their pockets like a bad-luck charm. I know what the colors signify. Mara Salvatrucha 13 Gang, or MS-13.

I turn to Lola. Watch her smile.

This is all part of the game. What I can’t figure out is if the guy really is her ex and she doesn’t care that she could be getting me killed, or if he sent her to see how tough I am, to help decide whether he wants to recruit me.

I turn to walk away, but someone blocks my path.

“Going somewhere?” another gang-banger asks.

This whole time I’ve wondered if I’d end up fighting at school. I hadn’t thought about the fact that I may never make it in the first place. I silently curse mi padre for hiding my gun. He wouldn’t get rid of it completely, though.

“What do you want?” I ask.

The original guy laughs, looks me up and down. The number 67 is tattooed behind his right ear in bold black numbers. It only takes me a second to figure out the meaning. Six plus seven equals thirteen.

“What are those markings?” he asks, eyeing my tattoos.

“Nothing,” I lie.

If they wanted to fight me, they would’ve done it already. This is a recruit.

“Where you from?” he asks.

I don’t answer. Members of MS-13 stretch around the globe like fingers. They can easily check my past. I’m not gonna give them a head start.

“Swallow your tongue?” one of the guys asks.

I’m trying to figure out if I can win a fight against the five guys who surround me. I look for weak spots, scars, old injuries. I look for bulges that might be weapons. I’m a good fighter. I think I can take them. But at the same time, fighting will guarantee me a follow-up visit from MS-13.

Just then, someone speaks behind us. “Is there a problem?” a police officer asks from the safety of his car.

Everyone backs away from me.

“Nope,” one of the gangbangers answers. “We were just leaving.”

“See you around,” 67 says, throwing an arm around Lola.

I turn my back and walk the last block to school. The police officer trails slowly behind, like a hungry dog sniffing for scraps. He leaves as I enter the double doors.

I think about what my dad said. Moving here will give you a brighter future.

His words sit heavily on my mind, like humidity on every pore of my skin. His intentions are good, but he’s wrong. So far, moving here has done nothing but remind me of my past.

jackie name plate

Tuesday, January 28

Release Day Launch: Seeking Her

We are so excited to share in the Release Day Launch and giveaway for Cora Carmack's SEEKING HER!! SEEKING HER is a novella in Cora’s bestselling Finding It Series, published by William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins)! Go out and grab your copy today!   Seeking Her   About SEEKING HER: Jackson Hunt gets his turn in this Finding It prequel novella … Jackson Hunt hasn't been out of the military for long, but he needs to get a job and find a sense of normalcy if he is going to keep his demons at bay. The job that falls into his lap, though, is anything but normal. Becoming bodyguard (and babysitter) to spoiled rich girl Kelsey Summers isn't exactly what he had in mind, but it's a chance to travel, to get away. The catch: Kelsey's father doesn't want her to know she's being followed. She's vibrant and infuriating, exciting and reckless, mysterious and familiar. When Jackson sees her falling into the same patterns he suffered years ago, he decides it's time to stop watching and help her instead. But getting to know Kelsey is more difficult than he thought, especially because the more he knows her, the more he wants her.   Excerpt: I was going to have to find some way to cope with this. If not, I was better off calling Mr. Summers and suggesting he find someone else to take over his daughter-watch. I felt a pang of something at that thought. It was a general kind of discomfort, and I wasn’t sure whether it was the thought of returning home or something else that made that thought so unappealing. After the cooling walk earlier, and now standing under the cool, calming rush of water, it was easier to think that I could control myself, but I knew better. It always seemed easier in my head than it really was. I wiped the water from my eyes, and tried to think of some other way to deal. There was always the hope that Kelsey would get bored. That she would mellow out. If she only partied a couple nights a week, I should be able to resist. But that seemed unlikely. All that restless energy; the way she’d soaked up the attention from the people around her. I couldn’t see her giving that up. And it was working for her. She was still in the phase where partying made her feel good. That was the one thing that helped me stay clean. The few times I’d slipped up since I started the program had left me miserable and angry, and even more frustrated than when I started. I’d found new ways to chase the high. And maybe that wasn’t any healthier, not when one way involved being in the midst of flying bullets. It wasn’t the same kind of rush, but it did the trick. I pictured Kelsey again, laughing with her head thrown back, her shirt falling off her shoulder and displaying the gentle curve of her neck. It reminded me of the way she’d tossed her head back that first day out in the woods. The memory of that caused a different kind of rush in me, and I groaned, pressing my forehead into the tile. Before I could help myself, I pictured her long legs straddling that guy in the gardens. The bright green material of her bra, and the way it conformed to her perfect chest. She leaned back, her fingertips trailing from the bark of the tree to his shoulders. In an instant, the memory shifted into fantasy, and those were my shoulders she clung to, not his. That was my undoing. There was only so much resisting I could do in one night. Buy Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble   Seeking Her Release Day Launch Banner   HeadshotAbout Cora Carmack: Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.     a Rafflecopter giveaway   Links: Website Twitter Facebook Author Goodreads SEEKING HER Goodreads

Blog Blitz: My Sweetest Escape by Cameron Chelsea

MSE_Cover
My Sweetest Escape
Series: My Favorite Mistake #2
Release: January 28th, 2014
The past will always find you.
Jos Archer was the girl with the perfect life; until the night it all came crashing down around her. Now, nine months later, she still hasn't begun to pick up the pieces. Even transferring to a new college and living under the watchful eye of her older sister, Renee, isn't enough to help her feel normal again.
And then she meets Dusty Sharp. For reasons Jos can't begin to fathom, the newly reformed campus bad boy seems determined to draw her out of her shell. And if she's not careful, his knowing green eyes and wicked smile will make her feel things she's no longer sure she deserves.
But even as Dusty coaxes Jos to open up about the past, he's hiding secrets of his own. Secrets about the night her old life fell apart. When the truth is finally revealed, will it bring them closer together;or tear them apart for good?
Buy Links
Amazon: http://amzn.to/LfFN6j
B&N: http://bit.ly/1e2zWgS
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1esy387
MSE_Teaser1
Author Info
chelsea cameron
Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA/NA New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world's worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting (this one time, she was tweeted by Neil Gaiman). She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.
Her New Adult Contemporary Romance titles include My Favorite Mistake, which has been bought by Harlequin along with a sequel, Deeper We Fall and Faster We Burn (April 20, 2013)
Her Young Adult books include Nocturnal, Nightmare and Neither, the first three books in The Noctalis Chronicles. The fourth and final book, Neverend will be out in 2013. Whisper, the first in The Whisper Trilogy is also available, with the second book in the series, Silence and the final book, LIsten coming out in 2014.
Website: http://www.chelseamcameron.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/chel_c_cam Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chelsea-M-Cameron-Official-Author-Page/304422529610919 Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5752359.Chelsea_M_Cameron



BloggerButtonjackie name plate

Cover Reveal Count Down: Before You

Before You 01

It’s the Cover Reveal Count down for Amber Hart’s upcoming release of Before You. Above is a distorted copy of the cover. Everyday it will get a little clearer, until the final post on the 31st. As a gift you will also receive another chapter for excerpt below.

CHAPTER ONE EXCERPT

Faith

My closet is a place of secrets.

This is where I change into Her, the girl everybody knows as me. Searching through hanger after hanger of neatly pressed clothes, I find the outfit I’m looking for. A black knee-length pleated skirt, a loose-fitting white top, and two-inch wedge shoes. Looking good at school is a must. Not that I do it for me. It’s more for my dad’s reputation. I have to play the part.

I am stuffed into a borrowed frame. One that fits too tightly. One that couldn’t possibly capture the real me.

“Faith,” my stepmom calls. “Are you joining us for breakfast?”

There is no time. “No,” I reply, my voice carrying downstairs.

I quickly dress for school, catching my reflection in the closet door mirror. Waking sun shines off my hair, highlighting a few strands brighter than the rest. Everybody has a favorite body part. Mine is my hair, which is the fiery-brown of autumn leaves. My best friend, Melissa, swears my eyes are my best asset. Ivy-green, deep-set, haunting. Like they go on forever.

Speaking of Melissa, her horn blares outside. Beep, beep, pause, beep. That’s our code. I race downstairs, passing my dad, stepmom, and little sister on the way out.

“Wait,” Dad says.

I sigh. “Yes, Dad?”

He glances at my outfit, pausing at my shoes. If it were up to Dad, I would wear turtleneck shirts and dress pants with lace-up boots forever. The perfect ensemble, it seems. As it is, I dress conservatively to protect his image. I’m eighteen. You’d think he’d stop cringing every time he saw me in anything that showed the least bit of skin.

“Hug,” he says, waving me over.

I hug him. Place a kiss on my five-year-old sister’s jelly-covered cheek. Then, grab a napkin to wipe the sticky jelly from my lips.

“Bye, Gracie,” I say to her. “See you after school.”

She waves a small hand at me and smiles.

“Take this.” Susan, my stepmom, hands me a bagel even though I already declined breakfast. It’s poppy seed. I’m allergic to poppy seed.

As usual, I don’t put up a fight. My frame feels especially uncomfortable at the moment. It’s always the same thing. I learned early on that it’s easier to go with the flow than to be different. Different is bad. Standing out attracts attention, something I try to avoid at all costs. Unfortunately, being the dance captain makes that more difficult.

“Have to go,” I say, shoving the bagel in my bag.

The screen door swings shut behind me.

Melissa waits in my driveway. We live in a modest, yellow-paneled house in Oviedo, Florida. The majority of the people here are middle class. We fit in well.

“What’s up?” Melissa smiles. “Took you long enough.”

“Yeah, well, you try waking up late and still looking as good as I do,” I joke.

Melissa whips her blond hair into a ponytail and puts her red Camaro in reverse, careful not to hit my Jeep on the way out. I have my own car, but since Melissa lives three doors down, we have a deal where we alternate driving to school. She takes the first month; I take the second, and so on. Saves gas.

“You look smokin’,” Melissa says, lighting a cigarette.

I roll my eyes.

“Liar.”

She’s always hated the way I dress.

Melissa laughs. “Okay, true, the clothes need to go. But your hair and makeup are flawless. And no matter what you wear, you still look beautiful.”

“Thanks, you too,” I say, eyeing her tight jeans and sequined top. Melissa is effortlessly beautiful with her sun-freckled face and athletic build.

“Prediction,” Melissa begins. This is something we have done since ninth grade: predict three things that will happen during the year. “Tracy Ram will try to overthrow you as dance captain, once again, but you’ll keep your spot, of course, ’cause you rock. You’ll quit dressing like an eighty-year-old and finally wear what you want to wear instead of what society dictates is appropriate for a pastor’s daughter. And you’ll come to your senses and dump Jason Magg for a hot new boy.”

Melissa always predicts that I’ll dump Jason, has done since Jason and I began dating freshman year. It’s not that she doesn’t like him. It’s just that she thinks my life is too bland, like the taste of celery. What’s the point, she figures.

“First of all, I do not dress like the elderly,” I say. “And second, I don’t know what you have against Jason. He treats me nicely. It’s not like he’s a jerk.”

“It’s not like he’s exciting, either,” Melissa says.

She’s right. What I have with Jason is comfortable, nice even, but excitement left a long time ago.

“Prediction,” I say, turning to Melissa. “You will not be able to quit bugging me about dumping Jason, even though last year you swore you would. Despite your doubts, you will pass senior calculus. And you’re going to win homecoming.”

Melissa shakes her head. “No way. Homecoming is all you, girl.”

I groan. “But I don’t want to win.”

Melissa laughs. “Tracy Ram would have a heart attack if she ever heard you say that.”

“Great,” I say. “Let her win homecoming.”

We grin. Melissa and I have been friends since kindergarten. Memories come to me suddenly. I’m in elementary school, and it’s sleepover night at Melissa’s. In my overnight bag, I carry a small stuffed bunny, my steadfast companion since forever. People would laugh if they knew, me carrying around a stuffed baby toy, but Melissa never tells. Fast forward to middle school. The braces on Melissa’s teeth are still so new that the silver catches the light from the fluorescent fixtures when she smiles. The headgear is huge, cumbersome, and no one lets her forget it. But I relentlessly defend my friend. She’s so beautiful, can’t they see? Sometimes I leave flowers stolen from a neighbor’s rose bush at her locker when no one is looking. That way people will know that she is loved. High school. Melissa and me, same as always.

“What do you want to bet?” Melissa asks.

Whoever gets the most predictions right wins.

“Hmm,” I say. “If I win, you have to quit smoking.”

Melissa almost chokes. “Pulling out the big guns, are we? Okay, then. If I win, you have to break up with Jason.”

“Deal,” I say, knowing that she won’t win. She never does.

Melissa purses her lips and gives me the stink eye. She knows I have a better chance.

“Faith, I will find a way to break you out of your mold,” she says.

I laugh, partially because of the determination in my friend’s eyes, but mostly because of the absurdity of her statement. Everybody knows that girls like me never break free.

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Monday, January 27

Cover Reveal: Destroyed by Pepper White

Destroyed

Destroyed
By: Pepper Winters
Expected Release Date: 02/24/2014

She’s a woman with a dirty secret.

I’m complicated. Not broken or ruined or running from a past I can’t face. Just complicated. For good reason.

I thought my life couldn’t get any more tangled in deceit and confusion. But I hadn’t met him. I hadn’t been sucked into his lies or taught to run from everything that he is. Instead, I let him ensnare me, seduce me, trap me with secrets—Hazel Hunter

He’s a man with a killer secret.

I’ve never pretended to be good or deserving. Despite the shadows I live in, I’m ultimately a slave to my secrets and that gives me a free pass to chase who I want, be who I want, act how I want.

I didn’t have time to lust after a woman I had no right to lust after. I told myself to shut up and stay hidden. But how could I deny her? How could I deny my one chance at redemption? But then she tried to run. I’d found a cure to my existence and damned if I would let her go—Roan Fox

And secrets silently destroy them.

PROLOGUE

I didn’t believe her when she said she was complicated.

She didn’t believe me when I said I had secrets.

I didn’t believe the truth, even when she let me glimpse behind her mask.

She didn’t believe that I wasn’t strong enough to live with the consequences.

I thought she was a saint.

She thought I was a sinner.

Too bad we didn’t try to find the truth.

We both paid the price.

We destroyed each other.

Destroyedcoverflat

Review: Beautiful Addiction by Season Vining

Title: Beautiful Addiction
By: Season Vining
My Copy: Ebook from Publisher
BookWhisperer's Rating: 

Josie Banks is a girl without a past.  After being found unconscious with no memory, she was shuffled in and out of foster homes where she suffered years of abuse. An experience that left her broken, damaged, and clinging to drugs and meaningless hook-ups to numb her pain.

When Josie disappeared years ago, she took a piece of Tristan with her.  She’s the girl he thought he lost forever—the one he’s never been able to forget.  Now a twist of fate has brought them back together, and he never wants to let her out of his inked arms again.  But Tristan is haunted by a dark past of his own.  On the run from ruthless criminals that shattered Josie’s world years ago, reentering her life puts them both in danger.

As Josie and Tristan’s lives become tangled once again, they find themselves unwilling and unable to escape the relentless pull that draws them together.  But will the past leave their love in ruins—or bind them together for a lifetime?


With any book, you walk into it having expectations. I would say most of the time, my expectations are exactly are right on the dot.  I was nowhere near the dot when starting Beautiful Addiction. I thought that this book would be a love story with a slightly dark side these characters possess but I didn’t expect what I got.  It is very rare that a book surprises me when I get into the nitty-gritty of it all.   

*Spoilers*

The darkness of the past and present that encompassed this book really molded the characters.  Josie is dark; her life has had no light, no happiness from what she can remember.  The only calm that she can feel is when she gets high or uses somebody.  However, things change when she meets Tristan. Tristan, with his photographic memory, works at bar and meets Josie for the second time in his life.  While she has no memory of him, he has every memory of her.

This book isn’t just about Josie and Tristan; it contains valuable players such as Monica, Alex, Mort, Rob, and Gavin.  All whom are introduced separately but become woven in to the main plot and collide at the very end. 

And while there is a happily ever after ending, it is nowhere near fairy tale land.  For Josie and Tristan, they are surviving just to live. 


As a side note, I would love to have a book about Alex.  His character was so interesting to me that I want to learn more about him.

Guest Post: Beautiful Addiction by Season Vining


Hear a bit from the wonderful author of Beautiful Addictions

Why we love our book boyfriends

The term “book boyfriend” has become increasingly popular, especially among romance readers. When we immerse ourselves in these works of fiction, we are no longer bystanders being told a story, we become part of that world. Being allowed inside a character’s head to hear all their thoughts, live their dreams and experience their emotions connects us in a way that is hard to let go of once the book is closed. This is the reason why we can feel empathy for the guy who is emotionally distant or the one who is hurtful and too aggressive. We know them on an intimate level, and therefore can see all the positive qualities while rationalizing and explaining away the negative ones.

We all have our own tastes when it comes to attraction. You may think you are only attracted to the tall, dark, and handsome ideal, when suddenly you find yourself lusting after the blonde-haired, skinny geek living next door to the female protagonist. This time, it may not be his physical appeal or even an intellectual connection. Reading a story through a female’s eyes can influence you to think and believe things you never have before. The way she sees him, the things that make her heart flutter or her pulse spike, suddenly have the same effect on you. That feeling, whether in real life or through words on a page, is addictive and only leads to wanting more.

In my debut novel, Beautiful Addictions, we are introduced to Tristan through the eyes of Josie. We feel her inexplicable connection to him and her absolute longing. She gives us simple physical descriptions that allow us to start shaping Tristan in our minds.

He pushed the hood back, his nails scraping through dirty hair. It wove through his fingers, staying upturned in a veritable crown of thorns. Heavy footsteps counted off his rhythm as Josie watched him rage.

“Unforgivable,” he said. He tried it again, repeating the quiet chant over and over until it mirrored the beat of Josie’s pulse.

She gasped as he ripped off his hooded sweatshirt and threw it to the ground. Brilliant inked images covered his arms, interrupted only by the white beater that molded to his body.

Tristan is a stranger at this point, but the reader knows by this powerful introduction that he will be vital to this story. His tattoos, intellect, green eyes, strength, and love for the written word are all layers added along the journey. They work to assemble him into someone complicated and desirable, someone worth cheering for. While it’s frustrating that it takes Josie so long to let him into her life, it creates sympathy for Tristan and you find yourself wishing he was yours.

Whether your love life is completely satisfying or nonexistent, book boyfriends work effortlessly to fill our hearts and amp up our passion. They make readers question what they thought they knew about love, attraction, and physical need. The desire we feel for these male characters sometimes make us raise our standards and reevaluate our own lives. His intelligence, protectiveness, ability to express his feelings, along with ideal physicality leads us to imagine what it would be like to have him, to belong to him. While it’s nice to envision a fantasy life with your new man, remember that he is a work of fiction. He exists only as words and dialogue on a page brought to life by an author and made immortal by the reader. As long as you stay grounded in reality, I see nothing wrong with having a few book boyfriends stashed away for a rainy day.


Season Vining is the author of Beautiful Addictions, a New Adult Romantic Suspense novel from St. Martin’s Griffin. It is being released as an eBook first on January 28, 2014 and then in print on June 10, 2014. She first gained attention for the book in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award in which the story was a Quarterfinalist. Season is a graphic designer by trade and adores all form of art. She’s a fan of live music, vintage cars, and people who know the difference between their, there, and they’re.

Twitter: @SeasonVining