**BOOK BLITZ** ~ Sorrow Woods, by Beckie Stevenson (excerpt and giveaway)

Beckie

 

SYNOPSIS:

“How did you even get here?”
I blink at him, confused by his question. “We live here.”
“You live here, in these woods?”
When Kaiden stumbles across Serena Scott while hunting in Sorrow Woods he thinks all of his birthdays have come at once. Finally, the girl that’s haunted and intrigued him  and his parents for the last fourteen years is standing in front of him.
And she’s alive.
Serena should have known that he would shatter her life into a thousand pieces. It wasn’t because of the gun, or the tattoos that snaked around his arm, but because he was the
first boy that she’d ever set eyes on.
 
He wasn’t just any boy either; he was Kaiden Matthews. He was dark, dangerous and  strangely alluring. And he was beautiful.
 
Serena’s life as  she knows it is destroyed after Kaiden drops his bombshell. As the consequences of his actions begin to penetrate through into her life she vows to stay away from him, and while she might have been in his past, she refuses to be his future.
 
Kaiden knows that in order for either of them to salvage anything from the mess he’s made he needs to make sure the secrets of his past stay hidden, but as they start to rebuild their lives they find themselves stuck in a whirlwind of secrets and confessions that could threaten to break their already fragile relationship.
 
PURCHASE LINKS:
 
 
 
 
 
Kaiden
  
FOUR HOURS LATER, when the sun is at its highest in the sky and all of my bodily fluids have been sweated out of me, I find myself hiking up a mountain behind Serena, while trying not to constantly stare at her toned ass. The trees are scarce up here now, and I still have no idea where it is
that we’re going.
After breakfast, I spent an hour telling Elodie and Serena where in the world we live and about the different ways people go about their days. I still can’t believe that they have no idea how normal people live. What sort of person keeps children hidden away like this?
“We’re here,” says Elodie, interrupting my thoughts. She pulls all of her clothes off until she’s standing in nothing but her faded grey panties.
I look around and see nothing but the valley below us and the sky above us. “What do you mean we’re here? I thought we were going to the lake?” I ask, confused.
Serena smiles and peels her black sundress over her head. I wasn’t expecting her to do that, which is why I don’t avert my eyes. Underneath her black, strappy dress, she is wearing a tiny black crop top and a pair of black panties. She pulls off her shoes and stands stock still, staring at me.
“You’re not going into the water like that are you?” she asks, not answering my questions.
My eyes are travelling all over her body. I can’t believe the way it looks, as if she goes to the gym every single day. It’s not manly muscle but slender, womanly curves and defined muscles that stare back at me. I look down at my clothes and shrug. I pull my jeans and socks off, peeling my t-shirt off
over my head. I leave my boxers on.
“Are you going to tell me where this lake is?” I ask again.
Serena wraps her fingers around my wrist and pulls me across the rocky ground until we’re at the very top of the mountain. I step forward and see a  huge body of water below me. I look back at Serena and feel my heart jump into my throat when I see Elodie sprinting past us, launching herself off the side of the mountain. Serena laughs.
“You’re not too scared to jump into a little lake, are you?” she teases.
I shake my head but don’t look at her. I’m too busy watching Elodie plummet through the sky before slicing through the water. I don’t breathe for the entire four seconds that Elodie is under the water, not until her head bobs up and I see her hand waving at us.
“Come on, wimpy boy.”
I turn back around and watch as Serena does exactly the same as Elodie, except instead of just jumping, she dives cleanly through the air. She’s only under the water for two seconds before she bursts back through the surface and grins at me. I don’t know how far the drop is, but it’s more than I’ve ever jumped before.
Still, I can’t stay here so I take four steps back and run as fast as my body will carry me off the edge. The warm air whips across my skin as I drop through the sky. The water is getting closer and closer to my feet. I can’t remember what to do. Do I point my toes? Yes, I must or else I’ll break my
feet. Should my arms be close to my side? I have just enough time to make myself as streamlined as possible before I feel the coolness of water on the tip of my toes.
My whole body plunges into the freezing cold water, stealing my breath away. I kick hard until my head surfaces, and then I pant and cough the breath back in my lungs. The shock of going from boiling hot to freezing cold is too much. My chest aches and my eyes sting.
“There he is,” says Serena, laughing as she swims up to me. “Are you  alright?”
I nod and cough. “I think so,” I rasp.
“He’s not like us,” says Elodie with a grin. “He’s not used to it.”
Serena treads water directly in front of me. The water drips off her hair and down her face. I want to touch her and see what her skin feels like in  the water. Before I can reach out to her, she kicks out and swims away from me.
I shake my head, sending droplets of water flying out around me. I shouldn’t be thinking about her like that anyway. I keep forgetting that I’m supposed to hate her. I rub my face with my hands and spin around to see where they’re swimming to, but I can’t see anything except water.
“Where are we going?” I ask, trying to keep up with them. I’ve never met anyone else in my life that can swim or run as fast as these two.
“To land,” says Serena. “Keep up, wimpy boy.”
I wish she wouldn’t call me that. She wouldn’t think I was a wimpy boy if she knew all of the horrible shit I’ve done over the years. My parents certainly wouldn’t call me a wimpy boy. I think about my Dad and what he would say if he could see me now. I smile as I think about the look on his face.
 
MY WATCH TELLS me that we’ve been swimming for over two  hours. I think back to my swim sessions at school when I used to be able to swim a mile in an hour. Despite the fact that I’m going faster than ever before, Serena is still miles ahead of me. I can feel my muscles aching, even  though I’ve had years of soccer and track training. No wonder Serena has a body like an athlete.

When we finally arrive on land, we walk for ten minutes until we find a  pool of water that Serena says we can drink from. I flop down and gulp it as if it’ll run out. When my belly is full and I can’t physically drink any more, I lie down on top of the dry grass, staring at the water that’s sparkling against Serena’s skin. She turns her head, snaps her sizzling green eyes onto me, and smiles. And in that instant, I can’t help but think that she’s slowly starting  to melt my cold, hard heart.

AUTHOR BIO: 

Beckie - Author Photo (2)Beckie’s real name is Rebecca, but she get’s called (and answers to)  any of the following…Beckie, Bek, Becca, Rebecca, Pip, Pippy or Stevo. Beckie is the author of ‘Sorrow Woods,’ the ‘Existing’ series and Noah and Me.’ She  is due to publish more YA, NA and Adult novels in 2015/16. She lives in Staffordshire, England, with her partner and two children. Beckie likes putting music on in the house and dancing around like a mad woman. When she isn’t playing with her children, doing housework, dancing around the house like a mad woman, walking, cycling, reading or writing, then she can be found working in an investment bank. Or sleeping.
 
AUTHOR MEDIA  LINKS:
Twitter:  @BeckieStevenson
Instagram:  BeckieStevo
 
 

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**BLOG TOUR** ~ First Sun, by Tara Tolly

We welcome Tara Tolly’s YA release *FIRST SUN* to our blog today. It looks a fabulous read! Scroll down to read the blurb, check out the teaser and connect with the author. Tina ❤

When the bad boy son of the United States president sets his sights on Eden Warren, she is not impressed. The first son is dubbed “First Disaster” by the public for his questionable antics and Eden has no intention of becoming his latest conquest. What could this former playboy do to convince Eden that he has truly changed his ways, especially when she discovers he’s hiding a government-protected secret that could permanently alter the course of life on Earth?

Buy on Amazon|Buy on B&N

First Sun Meme 2

About Tara:

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Tara Tolly lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with her husband and four children (two human and two canine) where she spends her days shaping the minds of impressionable fourth graders and her nights and summers shaping the lives of her make-believe characters.
She loves to escape the pressures of the real world by entering into the fictional worlds she creates within the depths of her imagination. When not immersed between the covers of a book (or in reality, the glow of her Nook screen) or typing away on her computer, she loves spending time with her family, running, and participating in other creative endeavors such as photography, crafting, and baking.
FIRST SUN is her first YA novel and is forthcoming in September 2014 by Fire & Ice YA.

Visit Tara Around the Web:

Facebook|Website|Twitter

First Sun Meme 1

**BOOK BLITZ** ~ Prisoner, by Skye Warren and Annika Martin (includes excerpts and super giveaway!!!)

Young Adult, Dark Erotic Romance 18+

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I have been waiting impatiently for the release of this dark erotic romance, a collaboration between Skye Warren and Annika Martin and I’m over the moon to be able to share the book blurb and a couple of smexy excerpts with you today!

The authors  have also been very generous  in allowing each blog participating in the blitz to host a giveaway (and that includes us YAY!). The lucky winner will win one e-book copy of On the Way Home by Skye Warren and one e-book copy of The Kinky Bank Robbers boxed set by Annika Martin. Open internationally. For a chance of to winning the giveaway on our blog scroll down and follow the details at the bottom of this post. Tina ❤

Book & Author Details:

Prisoner by Annika Martin & Skye Warren
Publication date: October 23rd 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance
prisoner

Synopsis:

He seethes with raw power the first time I see him—pure menace and rippling muscles in shackles. He’s dangerous. He’s wild. He’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

So I hide behind my prim glasses and my book like I always do, because I have secrets too. Then he shows up in the prison writing class I have to teach, and he blows me away with his honesty. He tells me secrets in his stories, and it’s getting harder to hide mine. I shiver when he gets too close, with only the cuffs and the bars and the guards holding him back. At night I can’t stop thinking about him in his cell.

But that’s the thing about an animal in a cage—you never know when he’ll bite. He might use you to escape. He might even pull you into a forest and hold a hand over your mouth so you can’t call for the cops. He might make you come so hard, you can’t think.

And you might crave him more than your next breath.

“Sexy, dark and thrilling. I loved every second of it!” – New York Times bestselling author Katie Reus

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23303963-prisoner?ac=1

Purchase Links

Amazon US   Amazon UK

Excerpt 1 

Heavy bars close behind me with a clang. I feel the sound in my bones. A series of mechanical clicks hint at an elaborate security mechanism beneath the black iron plating. I knew this would happen—had anticipated and dreaded it—but my breathing quickens with the knowledge that I am well and truly trapped.

 “Can I help you?”

 I whirl to face the administrative window where a heavyset woman in a security guard uniform stares at her screen.

 “Hi,” I say, pasting on a smile. “My name is Abigail Winslow, and I’m here to—”

 “Two forms of identification.”

 “Oh, well, I already filled out the paperwork at the front desk. And showed them my IDs.”

 “This isn’t the front desk, Ms. Winslow. This is the east-wing desk, and I need to see two forms of identification.”

 “Right.” I dig through my bag for my driver’s license and passport.

 She accepts them without looking up, then hands me a clipboard with a stack of papers just like the ones I’d already filled out.

 I’ve been dreading this day for weeks, wishing I’d been assigned any other project but this one. You’d think I was being sent here for a crime. My professor—the one who’d forced me into this—warned me that prisoners were not always receptive to outsiders. Apparently nobody here is.

 I complete each form, arrange the pages neatly on the clipboard, and bring them back up to the window. The guard accepts them and gives back my IDs…still without looking at me.

 My hands clench and unclench, clench and unclench while the guard eyes my paperwork.

Seconds pass. Or are they minutes? The damp chill of the place seeps in through my cardigan and leaves me shivering.

 Leaning forward, I read the name tag of the guard. “Ms. Breck. Do you know what the next steps are?”

 “You can have a seat. I have work to do now, and then I’ll escort you back.”

 “Oh, okay.” I glance at the bars I just came through, then the open hallway opposite. “Actually, if you just point me in the direction of the library, I’m sure I can—”

 The woman’s hand hits the desk. I jump. Her dark eyes are faintly accusing, and I wish we could go back to no eye contact. How did I manage to make an enemy in two minutes?

 “Ms. Winslow,” she says, her voice patronizing.

 “You can call me Abby,” I whisper.

 A slight smile. Not a nice one. “Ms. Winslow, what do you think we do here?”

 The question is clearly rhetorical. I press my lips together to keep from making things worse.

 “The Kingman Correctional Facility houses over five thousand convicted criminals. My job is to keep it that way. Do we understand each other?”

Heat floods my cheeks. The last thing I want to do is make her job harder. “Right. Of course.” I shamble back, landing hard on the metal folding chair. It wobbles a little before the rubber feet stop my slide. 

I understand the woman’s point. She has to keep the prisoners in and everyone else out, and keep people like me safe.

 I reach down and pull a book from my bag. I never leave home without one, even when I go to classes or run errands. Even when I was young and my mother used to take me on her rounds.

Especially then.

I would hide in the backseat with my nose in the book, pretending I didn’t see the shady people who came to her window when we stopped.

A little green light above the barred doors flashes on and there’s an ominous buzz. Somebody’s coming through, and I doubt it will be a library volunteer. I slide down.

Pretend to be invisible.

It’s no use. I peer over the top edge as a prisoner saunters through the door, and my pulse slams in my throat double time.

He’s flanked by two guards—escorted by them, I guess you’d say. But they seem more like an entourage than anything. Power vibrates around him like a threat.

Read, read, read. Don’t look.

The prisoner is half a foot taller than the guards, but he seems to tower over them by more than that. Maybe it’s his broad shoulders or just something about the way he stands, or his imperiously high cheekbones. The dark stubble across his cheeks looks so rough and unforgiving I can feel it against my palm; it contrasts wildly with the plushness of his lips. His short brown hair is mussed. There’s one scar through his eyebrow that somehow adds to his perfection.

The little group approaches the window. I can barely breathe.

“ID number 85359,” one of the guards says, and I understand that he’s referring to the prisoner. That’s who he is. Not John Smith or William Brown or whatever his name is. He’s been reduced to a number. The woman at the desk runs through a series of questions. It’s a procedure for checking him out of solitary.

The prisoner faces sideways, spine straight, the corner of his mouth tilted up as if he’s slightly amused. Then it clicks, what else is so different about him: no visible tattoos. Tough guys like this, they’re always inked up—it’s a kind of armor, a kind of fuck you. This guy has none of it, though he’s far from pristine; white scars mar the rough skin of his hands and especially his forearms, a latticework of pain and violence, a flag proclaiming the kind of underworld he came from.

The feel of brutality that hangs about him is compelling and…somehow beautiful.

I drink him in from behind my book—it’s my mask, my protective shield. But then the strangest thing happens: he cocks his head. It’s just a slight shift, but I feel his attention on me deep in my belly. I’ve been discovered. Caught by searchlights. Exposed.

My heart beats frantically.

I want him to look away. He fills up too much space. It’s as if he breathes enough oxygen for twelve men, leaving no air for me at all. Maybe if we were in the library and he needed help finding a book or looking something up, then I wouldn’t mind the weight of his gaze.

No. Not even there. He’s too much.

Two sets of bars on the gate. Handcuffs. Two guards.

What do they think he would do if there were only one set of bars, one guard?

My blood races as the guards draw him away from the window and toward the inner door, toward where I sit. His heat pierces the chill around me as he nears. His deep brown eyes never once meet mine, but I have the sense of him looming over me as he passes, like a tree with a massive canopy. He continues on, two hundred pounds of masculine danger wrapped in all that beauty.

Even in chains, he seems vibrant, wild and free, a force of nature—it makes me feel like I’m the one in prison. Safe. Small. Carefully locked down.

How would it feel to be that free?

“Ms. Winslow. Ms. Winslow.”

I jump, surprised to hear that the woman has been calling my name. “I’m sorry,” I say as a strange sensation tickles the back of my neck.

 The woman stands and begins pulling on her jacket. “I’ll take you to the library now.”

 “Oh, that’s great.”

 That shivery sensation gets stronger. Against my better judgment, I look down the hallway where the guards and the prisoner are walking off as one—a column of orange flanked by two thinner, shorter posts.

The prisoner glances over his shoulder. His mocking brown gaze searches me out, pins me with a subtle threat. Though it isn’t his eyes that scare me. It’s his lips—those beautiful, generous lips forming words that make my blood race.

Winslow.

No sound comes out, but I feel as though he’s whispered my name right into my ear. Then he turns and strolls off. 

Excerpt 2

I’m coughing, wheezing. I had asthma as a kid, and that’s what it feels like now as the pepper spray stings me all the way down. “Get off!” I gasp. “You’re too heavy—I can’t—get air.” 

“It’s the spray you hit me with,” he says. “Breathe normal.” 

I gasp for air, panicking. “I can’t!” Is this how I die? Suffocation? 

“Pretend,” he says, letting up his knee. He shifts so that he’s straddling my back. He grips my wrists now, pressing them above my head, and I feel his boots locked over my thighs. His weight is off my back. “It’s something every thug like me knows, how to not breathe in the fucking Mace.” 

I choke and cough. I still can’t breathe. He’s going to let me die. He’s going to sit on me and watch me die.

 “Relax,” he says softly. “You’re making it worse by panicking.”

Hoarsely, I try to get air. The sounds scare me. I really can’t breathe. I suck faster as the panic rises.

“Hey,” he whispers. “Shhh.” He brings his head near mine, breath tickling the back of my neck. “Pepper spray is an inflammatory agent, okay? It swells your throat and sinuses, but it doesn’t shut them.”

 I gasp.

 He continues to speak in his calm, strangely soothing voice. Why is he soothing me? I can feel him rattling against my defenses with every word. “You’re still getting air, okay? Focus on that, Ms. Winslow. That little passage of air you can still breathe through. Slow it down now, got it?”

I can’t slow it down. It’s like I don’t know how to breathe anymore, and I’m shaking.

 And suddenly he’s stretching his big body over me, on top of me. His weight isn’t entirely on me, or else I’d be squished; it’s more of a dull weight, as though he’s holding himself against me, warming me, pressing me to the forest floor. Into my ear he whispers, “Breathe with me.”

 I suck in a faint breath. “Get off me, you caveman!” Why is he even trying to help me? 

“You’re okay, baby,” he says. “Match my breath.” 

I feel his chest expand against my shoulder blades. He’s like a big, warm animal on me. I twist, but there’s no moving. He presses down harder, and something about his weight soothes me. I hate that he’s actually calming me, helping me. I don’t want him to make me feel good—he’s my enemy.

 I wheeze lightly. 

He breathes on, hot and slow against me. A bird calls in the distance. I can hear the hum of the highway, the drone of a helicopter. My eyes tear, and my limbs feel floppy and warm, and suddenly I’m doing it—I’m breathing. I take an almost regular breath.

“There you go,” he whispers.

“Fuck you. I don’t want your help.” I gasp in another breath.

His whisper caresses my cheek. “Nice and slow, Ms. Winslow.” There’s something sensual in the way he says it. “Nice and slow.”

 He breathes again, as if to demonstrate. On the next breath I match him. Soon we’re breathing together. It’s strangely intimate, like we’re two wounded creatures under the forest canopy. It’s almost like dancing. 

Almost like having sex.

 I crane my head around just enough to see that he still has his eyes shut tight, dark eyelashes wet with tears from the irritation of the spray. Did I hurt him? Did I burn his eyes?

 “Stop moving around,” he growls. “Lie still.”

 Like I have any choice with him pinning me. My heart pounds under his weight.

 Breathe in, breathe out.

 It’s as if we’re in some kind of time-out, a no-man’s-land with the two of us fucked up and lying on the forest floor on a bed of pine needles that actually feels sort of soft and nice. The moments stretch on and on. I wonder how long it will take him to recover.

 Maybe I really injured his eyes. Could I have hurt his eyes permanently?

He shifts, and I think maybe he’s getting up. But he doesn’t.

In a weird way I’m glad. If he got off me, that would end this strange, relaxing time out. It would bring back the harsh reality of who we are to each other.

For now, there’s nothing I can do with him lying on my back, and I let my limbs go soft, let my breathing calm, giving myself permission to relax. I feel like jelly suddenly, spread underneath him, spine flattened out. Us breathing together.

My eyes drift closed. The warm patch on my neck feels lit up every time he breathes out, and I imagine his lips hovering just over my skin.

 I imagine him kissing me there, and a wave of forbidden feeling swells through my core.

 My eyes fly open. There is no way I’m turned on.

 Except I am.

 My heart races. My breath gets fitful again.

 “Hey,” he says. And then more softly. “You’re okay.”

I become aware of a hardness against my thigh. An erection. A melty sensation pulses through my pelvis. I’m trembling deep down, and it’s not just fear; it’s excitement.

 Horrified, I try to shake him off, and he tightens his legs and arms around me. I feel his weight and warmth keenly now. “You don’t want to give me any more trouble, do you?” 

“No,” I whisper huskily.

The energy of sex runs wild between us, and I don’t know how to stop it. Does he know? I flash back on him in the prison waiting room, the way he looked at me, and all that power and beauty barely contained in shackles. How stupid I was to think he was beautiful.

“No, you don’t want to give me trouble,” he affirms. “So we’re going to stay just like this until my eyes can recover.”

“So you can kill me? 

“If I was going to kill you,” he says, warm and tickly beneath my earlobe, “don’t you think you’d be dead?” There’s something about the way he says this that makes my belly quiver, and I can’t stop focusing on his erection. His big, strong heart beats against my back, beating my heart like we’re conjoined in some primitive way. 

His breath feels soft on the side of my neck, and heaven help me, I want to feel more of him. I imagine his skin on my skin. Dimly I’m aware that my breath is changing, speeding, shallowing. 

I stiffen as he presses his lips to the warm spot; it’s a kind of kiss. Or is it? And then he whispers, “Penny for your thoughts, Ms. Winslow.” 

Oh God, he knows. This man who’s going to kill me, this man I’ve been breathing with, he knows. 

 Author Bios

Annika

Annika

I’m a NYT bestselling author living a stone’s throw away from the Mississippi with my awesome husband and two cats in a home full of plants, sunshine and books. I’m heavy into writing love stories about criminals–some of them are dirty and fun (my Kinky bank robbers!) others are dark and intense (Prisoner!)I also write gritty romantic suspense as the RITA-award winning author Carolyn Crane.

Author links:

http://annikamartinbooks.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AnnikaMartinBooks

https://twitter.com/Annika_Martin

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5826888.Annika_Martin

Skye 

Skye Warren is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of dark romantic fiction. Her books are raw, sexual and perversely tender. For those new to her work, consider the bestseller Wanderlust or Don’t Let Go.

Author links:

http://www.skyewarren.com/

https://www.facebook.com/skyewarren

https://twitter.com/skye_warren

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5339130.Skye_Warren

Giveaway 

The winner of the giveaway on our blog will win one e-book copy of On the Way Home by Skye Warren and one e-book copy of The Kinky Bank Robbers boxed set by Annika Martin. Open internationally. To enter it’s easy – just leave a comment on this post with your email address by November 10th, the closing date for the giveaway on this blog. You can also enter by leaving your name against this post on our FB page. A winner will be selected at random and contacted after this date and their prize will be sent out after November 18th.

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~**SNOW IN JULY**~ by Kim Iverson Headlee ~ Excerpt, Spotlight and Giveaways!

Snow In July - Tour Banner

 

BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Snow in July
AUTHOR – Kim Iverson Headlee
GENRE – Young Adult Paranormal Historical Romance
PUBLICATION DATE – July 2014
LENTH (Pages/# Words) – 386 pages/94K words
PUBLISHER – Pendragon Cove Press
COVER DESIGNER – Natasha Brown

 

Snow in July - Book Cover

 

BOOK SYNOPSIS

Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre has been granted what every man wants: a rich English estate in exchange for his valiant service at the Battle of Hastings. To claim this reward, the Norman knight must wed the estate’s Saxon heiress. Most men would leap at such an opportunity, but for Alain, who broke his vow to his dying mother by failing to protect his youngest brother in battle, it means facing more easily broken vows. But when rumors of rampant thievery, dangerous beasts, and sorcery plaguing a neighboring estate reach his ears, nothing will make him shirk duty to king and country when people’s lives stand at risk. He assumes the guise of a squire to scout the land, its problems, and its lady.

Lady Kendra of Edgarburh has been granted what no woman wants: a forced marriage to an enemy who may be kith or kin to the man who murdered her beloved brother. Compounding her anguish is her failure to awaken the miraculous healing gift bequeathed by their late mother in time to save his life. Although with his dying breath, he made her promise to seek happiness above all, Kendra vows that she shall find neither comfort nor love in the arms of a Norman…unless it snows in July.

Alain is smitten by Lady Kendra from the first moment of their meeting; Kendra feels the forbidden allure of the handsome and courtly Norman “squire.” But a growing evil overshadows everyone, invoking dark forces and ensnaring Kendra in a plot to overthrow the king Alain is oath-bound to serve. Kendra and Alain face a battle unlike any other as their honor, their love, their lives, and even their very souls lie in the balance.

 

BUY & TBR LINKS

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EXCERPT

FIFTEEN THOUSAND MEN and horses writhed across the valley below, appearing as toys in a children’s game.

Many might consider war a game, but Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre, knight of Normandy bound to the service of Duke William and commander of a unit in the cavalry reserves, did not number among their ranks.

Edward the Confessor, King of England via his Saxon father but Norman by his mother, was dead. This battle, raging near the coastal hamlet called Hastings, would decide the right of one man to wear the English crown: William the Norman, acknowledged by Pope Alexander to be Edward’s lawful successor; or Harold the Saxon, brother of Edward’s wife, the man alleged to be Edward’s deathbed choice.

Stroking his war horse’s glossy charcoal neck to calm her, Alain pondered Harold’s claim. It had to be true. This many men would not sacrifice their lives for a lie. Yet the vast majority of Harold’s supporters were Saxons harboring no wish to bear the Norman yoke. Perhaps such men might be desperate enough to fight for a lie that promised to restore Saxon rule.

A trumpet blared. He signaled his men forward, couched his lance, and spurred Chou to send her careening into the melee.

Harold’s shield wall, which had seemed impregnable, began to crumble under the onslaught of Alain’s unit, hastened by the desertion of men who no doubt decided they weren’t quite so willing to die. Their lord stood exposed just long enough for a Norman archer to sight his mark. Harold fell, screaming and clutching an arrow that protruded from one eye.

Harold’s supporters closed ranks around him, blocking Alain’s view and giving him more than enough to do as the Saxons redoubled their efforts to guard their lord’s body.

A familiar whirl of colors caught Alain’s attention. The saffron leopard prowling on a green field—Étienne! A Saxon knight, with a blue arm and fist blazing defiance across his gray shield, bore down upon Étienne with leveled lance. Étienne tumbled from his horse. He scrambled to his feet and retrieved his sword, putting it to good use on the Saxons surrounding him, although the knight who’d unhorsed him had already ridden in search of other targets.

Lance long since discarded and sword now rising and falling with fatal precision, Alain surged to reach his brother’s side. Protection of her youngest son had been their dying mother’s wish, and he had sworn on his own life to keep Étienne safe.

Before he could close the distance, another Saxon knight fought past Étienne’s guard to thrust a war-knife into his throat. Through the visor the knight’s eyes gleamed with startling, fathomless malice. Alain could only watch in stunned disbelief as he laid his hand upon Étienne’s chest for a few moments. Uttering a soul-freezing howl, the Saxon yanked out his seax and disappeared into the press with Étienne’s shield, denying Alain vengeance.

Shame and grief rent his heart asunder.

He had failed the two he loved most; failed them so utterly that he could never beg their forgiveness in this lifetime.

Pain slammed into his shoulder, toppling him from the saddle. Étienne’s body broke his fall. He tried to roll clear, but a spear through his chest pinned him to Étienne. His gut convulsed, and bile burned his throat. Blinding agony killed his struggle to free himself. Death’s stench invaded his nostrils.

He closed his eyes and waited for his final journey to begin.

 

Snow in July - Book Spine

AUTHOR BIO

Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, and assorted wildlife. People & creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins — the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-20th century — seem to be sticking around for a while yet.

Kim is a Seattle native (when she used to live in the Metro DC area, she loved telling people she was from “the other Washington”) and a direct descendent of 20th-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the 7th-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.

For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels under her new imprint, Pendragon Cove Press. She also writes romantic historical fiction under the pseudonym “Kimberly Iverson.”

 

AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGEWEBSITE / BLOGFACEBOOK
TWITTERGOOGLE+PINTEREST
GOODREADSSHELFARILINKEDINYOUTUBE CHANNEL
Video Interview

 

GIVEAWAY PRIZES

• Ebook copies of Snow in July

(MOBI/Kindle file-EPUB/B&N file-or sent as a gift via Amazon.com/BN.com)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY

• 10 Autographed copies (US residents only) of the print edition

via Goodreads (scheduled to run July 1-31, 2014)

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GOODREADS GIVEAWAY

 

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1-MINIBUTTON

*INTERVIEW* with Shannon A. Thompson and an EXCERPT from her forthcoming release SECONDS BEFORE SUNRISE!

Headshot of Shannon ThompsonToday we are delighted to feature an interview with Shannon A. Thompson, author of The Timely Death Trilogy, a Young Adult paranormal romance. The first novel in the series, Minutes Before Sunset, one of our top reads for 2013, was reviewed on this blog last year and I have re-posted it underneath this post to give you a chance to read about it again. It is a series which examines the elemental power struggle between Dark and Light and the power of love, destiny and self-sacrifice.  Paranormal romance lovers will not want to miss it!

Seconds Before SunriseLater this week, on 27th March, Shannon will be releasing the second novel in the trilogy, Seconds Before Sunrise. I was fortunate to receive an Advanced Reader Copy of this book to review and I’ll be posting my thoughts on it tomorrow – but I will say that it is just as an addictive read as the first instalment! Now over to Shannon!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

1.Your first published novel, November Snow, is a YA Sci-Fi tale and The Timely Death Trilogy is a YA paranormal. What do you think prompted you to write in these genres and have you any plans at the moment to write in another genre?

I’m actually a huge believer in writers exploring every possible genre they have time for. I have poetry and a short story (military fiction) published, too. Artists grow by pushing through their comfort boundaries. My next novel is going to be a YA, dystopian, but my most challenging work yet has been a novel directed at 20-somethings.

2. Your website is full of helpful advice to writers and aspiring writers. Can you describe your writing process in five words?

The characters are in charge.

3. Are any of the characters in your novels based on people you know or reflect elements of your own personality? As a writer how useful do you think the art of people watching is?

I don’t purposely base my characters off of real-life people, but after I’ve been removed from a piece for a few years, I start to see similarities. Watching people is really important, but I mainly study psychology and sociology in my spare time. In college, I was originally a psychology major, but I decided on English instead because I knew I had to follow my dream. I think I made the “write” decision.

4. If you could give an aspiring writer one tip, what would it be?

Write with passion; succeed with self-disicipline. This has been my personal mantra, but it mainly means this: if you remind yourself of how much you love writing, nothing will stop you from achieving your dreams.

5. Congratulations on graduating from University and gaining your bachelor’s degree in English. What are your plans for the future and when do you hope to complete the final novel in The Timely Death Trilogy?

Thank you! It’s been a wild ride. The trilogy was actually completed before I ever submitted it to my publisher, so it’s already written. I plan on publishing the first of a new series before I publish the last book of my trilogy. I’m very excited for my next novel plans, too, because I think it’ll give my readers another range of emotions and experiences. It’s a lot more serious and dark, like November Snow is, but it’s going to be my first novel that is told from only one perspective. I also got to include pets this time!

6. What is your favourite genre to read and what are you reading at the moment?

The 5th Wave – my friend recommended it, and I’m always up for recommendations. I’m planning on reading more poetry next. I love poetry.

7. What do you love most about being a writer?

Being able to wake up and go to bed knowing that I am pursuing what I love and always will love. Too many people sacrifice their dreams, which is truly tragic, because I think our dream is how we ultimately express ourselves, even after we are long gone.

8.Tomorrow our blog is featuring our review of Seconds Before Sunrise, the second book in The Timely Death Trilogy. Do you want to say anything about the book or share anything about it with readers?

How about I give you an inclusive excerpt???

ERIC

“Dad.” My tone was sharp. “You can’t change it now, and you shouldn’t want to.” I wanted to continue, but the door rattled with an assortment of rushed knocking.

“It’s probably Jonathon,” my dad said, standing, but I stopped him.

“I got it,” I said, walking downstairs to get it myself. My aggravation grew as Jonathon continued to knock. He knew Mindy and Noah wouldn’t be home. He could’ve transported in.

“You don’t have to knock—” I silenced when I opened the door and saw the person in front of me. Her hand hung in the air, ready to knock again, and her brown hair frizzed around her scowl. “Jessica—”

“We need to talk,” she said, barging into my house.

“Wha—what?” She was the last person I needed around me. “You can’t be here.”

“I don’t care,” she said.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Thank you for the interview Shannon! Your answers to the questions are fascinating for both readers and writers to ponder. I particularly liked your answer that ‘the characters are in charge’ when you are writing. I also find that you delve deep into the characters’ psyches in your writing and this clearly reflects your interest in psychology. I am glad that you opted to follow your dream and wish you every success with your upcoming release Seconds Before Sunrise and your future works. Tina 🙂

To Find out More

You can read more here (http://www.amazon.com/Seconds-Before-Sunrise-Shannon-Thompson/dp/1940820030/ ) or if you want to check out the first novel, Minutes Before Sunset, click here (http://www.amazon.com/Minutes-Before-Sunset-Timely-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00CKN4RFE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392688743&sr=8-1&keywords=Minutes+Before+Sunset )

Minutes Before Sunset recently hit 100 ratings and 58 reviews with a 4.48 star average on Goodreads! (https://www.goodreads.com/series/121294-the-timely-death-trilogy)

To Connect with Shannon

Author Shannon A Thompson website

Facebook

AEC Stellar Publishing

Cover artist Grace Griffin, Autumn Fog Photography

Banovic Siblings – Friends and Liars, #2 in the Family Portrait Series, by Gillian Felix

Sibs-tour-banner

Today we are delighted to be participating The Siblings Tour which sees the launch of Friends and Liars, book #2 in Gillian Felix’s Banovic Siblings Young Adult series, set on America’s West Coast.

Read on for the blurb, read an excerpt from the book and click on the link to enter the giveaway for a digital copy each of Changes & The Banovic Siblings !!!  A review to come soon. Tina 🙂

Book Blurb

College boy Kevin Banovic’s casual affair with Savi DaCosta suited him perfectly. Things change when he finds out that Savi is his mom’s high school bestie. When Kevin tries to end their affair, Savi blackmails him. After Kevin rescues Savi’s stepdaughter, L’Wren, from her abusive boyfriend, he can’t stop thinking about her. He must find a way to handle Savi, protect L’Wren, and keep his sanity.

Bad girl Adriana Banovic is pleased with herself for getting her nemesis expelled from Westwood Academy. As feelings between her and her latest victim Haze Lyndon escalate, an unexpected rival discovers her secret and threatens to expose her. With emotions on the line, will her new rival beat her at her own game or end up another casualty of Adriana’s wrath?

Zax Banovic has it all. Tall and handsome, he’s an academic genius, with a killer smile and a heart of gold. When his best friend gets into trouble, he feels responsible and covers for him. But his best friend is not as honorable and has other plans for Zax.

The Banovic Siblings learn that blackmail is a gift that keeps on giving. This is the second book in the Family Portrait novel series.

If you like shows like the original Melrose Place, Beverly Hills 90210 and Nashville, where the guys and girls are hot and the schemes are hotter, you will like The Banovic Siblings.

Excerpt: Chapter 19: Cocktails and Dreams

L’Wren entered Bacchanal Jake’s with two of her girlfriends. While their intention was to have fun and enjoy the attention of guys, her mission was to see Kevin Banovic again. She knew he worked there and, without alerting her friends to her plan, casually chose Jake’s as the hangout spot for the evening.

She hated the way they’d left things. Why did she care what he thought of her? He was just some guy—some guy who cared enough to stand up for her and got hurt in the process. She carried around immense guilt, and he’d made her feel worst when she tried to apologize. She had no idea what she was going to say to him. She just knew that she had to see him again.

They ordered drinks and found a booth. L’Wren’s eyes combed the room, her breath unsteady, her palms sweaty and her stomach in knots. Maybe he had the night off.

L’Wren’s friends noticed her distraction.

“Hey, what’s going on with you?” one friend asked.

“Nothing.” She smiled nervously.

A couple of guys came over with drinks for the girls. They began chatting them up. L’Wren was not interested. She just smiled and nodded and kept an eye out for Kevin.

Her hopes began to fade after an hour. L’Wren was about ready to leave when she spotted Kevin. She took a deep breath. The air in the room was getting tight again. She watched as he flirted with a woman at the bar. The scene reminded her of Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail, minus the bar theatrics. 

She felt a twinge in the pit of her stomach that surprised her. The guy next to her said something, but she didn’t hear him. Her mind was focused on Kevin. Mentally she tried to muster courage and find something to say to him.

Her legs felt heavy as she stood and walked over to the bar. With every step her heart pounded harder and faster. As she got closer, she straightened her spine, lifted her head, and steadied her breath. She walked straight towards the end of the bar where he stood still chatting up the brunette, who looked like she was ready to ravish him. Kevin said something to her, and she smiled, then tossed her long mane, retrieved her cell phone, and touched hers with his.

Kevin stood up and looked at L’Wren. The brunette shot her a menacing look.

“What can I get you?” he asked as if she was a complete stranger.

“I just thought I’d come over and introduce myself,” she heard herself say. New-formed confidence took over. “Hi, I’m L’Wren.” She extended her arm.

The brunette’s eyes switched between them. She eventually walked away without saying a word.

“What are you doing?” Kevin asked.

“Starting over.”

Kevin was unsure where she was going with this but played along. “Kevin, nice to meet you.” He gently shook her hand.

“I’d like a martini, please. Shaken not stirred.” She perched herself on the bar stool.

They looked at each other for a moment, and then started to laugh at the obvious James Bond reference.

It was late when L’Wren’s friends said their goodbyes and left her at the bar.

Kevin served drinks, and then returned his attention to her.

It was last call when Kevin walked her to her car. “You okay to drive, or should I call for a cab?”

“Kevin,” she leaned in close to him, “when you weren’t looking, I ordered diet Sprite from the other bartender.”

“What about the martini?”

“I don’t drink martinis. I sent it to my girlfriend.”

“Oh, I feel so duped, seriously?”

She nodded affirmative.

“Since we’re confessing … I saw you the minute you walked into Jake’s.”

“Liar! You were nowhere around.”

“I was in the back room … I wanted to see if you were waiting for someone.”

“I don’t believe you. You can’t stand to be duped.” She laughed.

Kevin watched her as she got into her white Prius V and drove away.

L’Wren looked at him in the rearview mirror and smiled. That turned out better than she’d expected.

As she pulled into her driveway, she hummed ‘Kokomo’, the theme song from Cocktail. The house was dark, and she knew no one was home. Leighann had gone to the game with Zax, and who knew where Savi was. L’Wren smiled as she thought about Zax and Leighann. Those Banovic boys had charm. If Zax was anything like his brother, Leighann was a lucky girl. Just then she heard footsteps and turned around quickly.

“Jeff! You scared me.” She playfully punched him.

“Hey, baby.” He kissed her. “Here let me.” He took the keys and opened the door for her.

They began turning on the lights.

“I didn’t realize we were supposed to get together tonight,” she said, feeling uneasy.

“Do I need an appointment to see my girl?”

“No … if I knew you were coming over, I would have gotten here sooner.” She busied herself in the kitchen.

“Where were you?”

“Traffic on the 405 was a bitch.”

“Where did you say you were again?”

“Out with a couple of friends. No place special.”

“You could have called me. I would have gone to no place special with you.”

“Jeff, we talked about this. You can’t have a cow every time I go out with my friends.”

“You never invite me anywhere with your friends. Are you ashamed of me?” Jeff towered over her.

“Don’t be silly. It was just us girls. None of them had their boyfriends with them.”

“Did you have a good time?”

“Yes.” She tried to walk away from him, but she was trapped between the counter and Jeff.

He boxed her in with his arms. “Did guys hit on you?”

“What? No.” She tried to move his arm, but it was firmly planted against the counter. “Why don’t we go in the living room and talk,” she suggested, trying to sound calm.

“Why can’t you look me in the eye and tell me that guys didn’t hit on you?”

“Jeff, I think you should leave.”

“Is he coming over? Is that why you want me to leave?” Jeff raised his voice.

L’Wren knew what was coming next. She braced herself for him to either punch her in the gut or pull her hair. He wouldn’t slap her face; he didn’t like to leave visual bruises. He couldn’t have his friends know that he beat up on his girlfriend. He was quarterback of the football team and had a reputation to uphold. She gripped the counter as he yanked on her hair, tugging her head back, causing her to bump her head on the overhead cupboard.

“I have absolutely no qualms about putting a bullet through your brain right now,” Savi said calmly.

Jeff turned around to face the business end of Savi’s shiny silver revolver. L’Wren gasped. Something in her eyes told him that she meant it.

“As far as I’m concerned, you broke into my daughter’s house. I came home and found you roughing her up … a plausible story … for the police.”

Jeff held her gaze.

She clicked the gun. “Bounce.”

Jeff did as he was told. Savi walked out behind him and locked the door. L’Wren was still shivering in the kitchen.

“Where do you find those losers?” Savi asked casually. She set the gun down on the counter and poured herself a glass of wine.

L’Wren stared at the gun. She had never seen one up close before. “Why do you have a gun?”

“Target practice.” Savi drank the wine and poured another. This time she also poured a glass for L’Wren, whose hands were shaking so badly that she could barely hold the glass.

“I don’t want to be around it.”

“Then move out.” Savi picked up the offending object and walked out into the living room.

L’Wren followed. “This is my house. You’re a guest.”

Savi placed the gun in her Dior handbag.

“What if Leighann finds it?” L’Wren continued.

“It’s not a dildo, for Christ’s sake.” Savi headed to her room and shut the door.

Purchase and Contact Links

The Banovic Siblings (Family Portrait V.2):

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H1AQ8H6

Barnes & Noble : http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/gillian-felix?store=allproducts&keyword=gillian+felix

Sign up to receive exclusive book release info and giveaways https://tinyletter.com/GillianFx

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FamilyPortraitNovels

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Gillianfx

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7210783.Gillian_Felix

Click on one of the links below to enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a digital copy each of Changes & The Banovic Siblings!!!

Double-books

Rafflecopter code: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjUzMTkyNzE4NTcwZjY1MDliNWU1MGM0MWRiMzMwOjQ=/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

 

 

Seconds Before Sunrise (The Timely Death Trilogy, Book #2), by Shannon A Thompson, Cover Reveal

Seconds Before SunriseWe are delighted to be participating in the Cover Reveal for Shannon A Thompson’s Young Adult Paranormal Romance, Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2 in the Timely Death Trilogy. The book releases March 22 2014 and promises to be a great continuation of the elemental power struggle between Light and Dark, which began in Minutes Before Sunset. Read on to find out more, including the Goodreads link to this book and the link to our review of the previous book. Tina 🙂

Synopsis: Two nightmares. One memory.

“Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of our love.”

Eric has weeks before his final battle when he’s in an accident. Forced to face his human side, he knows he can’t survive if he fights alone. But he doesn’t want to surrender, even if he becomes the sacrifice for war.

Jessica’s memory isn’t the only thing she’s lost. Her desire to find her parents is gone and so is her confidence. But when fate leaves nightmares behind, she decides to find the boy she sees in them, even if it risks her sanity.

Scavenger Fact #16: The author was very sad no pets were involved in this book. But Jessica’s parents are allergic and Eric doesn’t have the time to even consider the responsibility.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18805475-seconds-before-sunrise

My review of Minutes Before Sunset (click on the title)