Posts Tagged With: #blogtour

Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen

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Just Ella

Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen

Book Summary:

A Proper Romance

Ariella was only looking for a distraction, something to break up the monotony of palace life. What she found was a young man willing to overlook her title and show her a new and vibrant way of life. But when her growing feelings for Gavin spiral out of control and clash with the expectations of her station, she will discover that the consequences of her curiosity are far more severe than she’d imagined.

I watched in helpless horror as two guards hauled Gavin to his feet and dragged him from the room. My voice was frozen, unable to protest as another guard took hold of my arm, leading me upstairs. From the confines of my room, I stared into the darkness beyond my window, hoping to catch one more glimpse of Gavin. He was gone, and I wondered if he would have been better off if he had never met me.

I write clean romance. Why? Because that’s what I love to read, but over the years I’ve discovered it’s quite a challenge to find good clean romance. I believe it’s a genre that many people are looking for and too few authors are writing. My first novel, Just Ella, took me many years to write because I wanted it to be more than just a cutesy love story. I wanted it to have depth, to feel genuine. Hopefully I succeeded, but you’ll have to be the judge.

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Praise for Just Ella

“I fell in love with this book. Treat yourself to something wonderful. You can’t go wrong with Just Ella!” ~Inspired Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

“By far one of the best romance novels I’ve ever read. Pulls you in with great, likable characters and keeps you going with a sweet and exciting love story–plus a good plot to give it even more substance. Full of those tender moments you want to go back and read again, plus exciting moments, clever humor, and some suspense as well.” ~Jana Miller

“Annette Larsen writes a love story that takes time, is complicated, and yet still sweeps you up in the romance (without the cheese, thank you). It’s compelling and emotional and sweet and you will love every page.” ~Kimi

Book Blast/Blog Tour Special

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Excerpt

“Now, wait just a minute. You can’t just plunge into a pool of water.”

“Why not?” I should have said something cleverer, but I felt a bit scatterbrained, all thoughts having fled when Gavin’s arm went around me.

He made a noise of exasperation. “Why not, she asks. Because, Princess, what’s going to happen when you show up for your lessons completely drenched? Or, what happens when we both show up on the palace grounds completely drenched? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have to explain that to anybody.”

Unfortunately, he had a point. “Don’t call me Princess.” He had been so relaxed today, so willing to be himself and let me be myself. I hated that he felt the need to remind me of my rank. I was tempted to be angry and walk away but I also wanted to see how long he would keep his arms around me. Simply out of curiosity, of course.

annetteAuthor Annette K. Larsen

I was born in Utah, but grew up in Flagstaff Arizona and St. Louis Missouri, the fifth of seven children. I attended college at Southern Virginia University and Brigham Young University where I studied English and Theater. I now live in Idaho with my husband and four children.

I have Charlotte Bronte to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to sacrifice what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but it the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it.

I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.

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BookBlast Giveaway

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Ends 10/31/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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The Dark Side of Truth by Gary A. Caruso

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Title: The Dark Side of Truth

Author: Gary Caruso

Genre: YA Mystery, Adventure

Tour Host: Lady Amber’s Tours

The Dark Side of Truth_NEW_5Book Description:

Soon after fifteen-year-old Will Reed and his friend Mason stumble over a corpse in the woods, Will’s ex-con father is arrested for the murder—and it’s Will’s fault. With the police about to close their investigation, Will must discover the identity of the ruthless killer before his father wrongfully goes back to prison.

In the spirit of City of Ember and The Goonies, it’s the discovery of a coded message that starts them on an unexpected path of mystery and danger. Will hopes finding an ancient relic will guide him to the truth and prove his father’s innocence. Unfortunately, Will soon learns he isn’t the only one searching for this valuable object. It’s a race to follow hidden clues until Will is confronted with a harsh reality. His determination to help his father has jeopardized the lives of the people he cares for. With a cold-blooded killer on his trail, Will must choose between the safety of his friends and family or freedom for his father.

picture038Author Bio:

Gary Caruso lives in northern Virginia with his wife Jill, but their favorite place is in Ohio with their three beautiful grandchildren. Although Gary is exhilarated when he sits down to write, teaching middle school science is his first love. He’s passionate about empowering students to make thoughtful decisions and positive choices in life. Gary enjoys reading, especially fiction that blurs the line between what’s real and what’s fantasy. He never imagined becoming a writer until an ordinary car ride on a spring day jolted an unlikely thought into his head. Gary’s early experience writing is a reminder that no matter how intimidating the challenge, action and determination are the foundations for fulfilling any dream. Gary has an insatiable love for writing, a blessing he’s excited to share with his readers.

Links:

GR link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18131848-the-dark-side-of-truth

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Side-Truth-Book-ebook/dp/B00FI4HMUE/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1381110520&sr=8-13&keywords=Gary+Caruso

Excerpt:

After returning the box to its hiding place, he reached for his phone, rotating it to different angles. “The next cache is about a mile up the trail. Once we loop around, we’ll stay to the left when the path splits.”

“I’ll follow you.” I didn’t want to admit it, but I was having more fun than I ever thought I would. It was like having a treasure map where “X” marked the spot, except the treasure was a bunch of worthless stuff.

We continued up the path for about a mile. Just like he said, we looped around and headed back on the Confederate side of the trail. After another thirty minute hike, it was time to turn left. That was until we noticed that turning left meant navigating a huge section of fallen trees and thick brush with thorns.

“Now what?” I asked.

“Well, it isn’t much of a trail, but the cache must be over there. The hint has to do with a pile of leaves.” He took a closer look at the trees, rocks, and fallen leaves that blanketed the area. “I think it might be by that big lump of leaves, but the map says it’s a little farther away.”

“Should we check it out?” I asked, hoping he would say no.

“I’ll search this area. Go ahead another hundred yards and see if you can find an easier path to the leaves.”

I started alone up the trail. Mason yelled a couple of times. He must have been knee-deep in thorns. I grinned. It was the first time I had heard him use profanity. I kept moving forward, but my trail narrowed and roots stuck through the dirt like speed bumps. With my attention searching for piles of leaves, I tripped on a root, falling to my hands and knees. As I brushed away the dirt, I looked in Mason’s direction, hoping he didn’t see how uncoordinated I was. The way the trail curved, he was out of sight. There was no way he saw me fall. I continued forward, keeping my eyes on my feet.

“Will!”

My head snapped around when I heard Mason scream. It wasn’t the same, I found the cache scream of joy as before. The pitch of his voice was high and sharp. He was panicking, yelling for help. I couldn’t imagine what could have scared him this much. I sprinted in his direction. The trail led me around a dense area of brush. Then I spotted him. He sat on the ground, frantically driving his feet into the forest floor, pushing himself backwards, away from a pile of leaves.

“Calm down,” I said. “Are you hurt?”

“Get him off me! Help! Get him off me!”

“What is it, a bug?” As I reached for his hand to pull him to his feet, I caught a closer glimpse of his face. He was pale, almost transparent. It was like something had scared him enough to freeze his blood. His mouth hung open and his eyes stretched wide, strained on something in front of him.

“Mason, you’re freaking out. What’s wrong?”

“Oh my God, Will! Help me! Please help me!” Tears now flooded down his face.

I moved behind him, hoping to recreate his point of view. Then I saw what had frightened him. Partially covered by a mound of wet leaves, a light, chalky grey hand, the color of sidewalk cement, lay flat across the ground. It almost touched Mason’s leg, like it was trying to grab at his ankle. I held my breath and my heart thumped in my ears as I followed the shirt-covered arm until I saw the dull, lifeless eyes of someone I knew.

“It’s Mr. Peters.”

 

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The Dumont Diaries by Alessandra Torre

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Synopsis

Candace Tapers’ life finally takes an upward swing when Nathan Dumont, shipping heir and notorious playboy, sweeps her away to a lifestyle of wealth and privilege. But that life comes with strings, and she is soon pulled in directions she never expected, discovering secrets and ulterior motives in the man who shares her bed.

*The Dumont Diaries was originally released, and is still available as a four-part miniseries. This book combines the four pieces of the miniseries into one, full-length novel.

Meet the Author

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Alessandra Torre is a new author who focuses on contemporary erotica. Her first book, Blindfolded Innocence, was published in July 2012, and was an Erotica #1 Bestseller for two weeks. Alessandra has since published an erotic thriller (The Girl in 6E) and an erotic miniseries (The Dumont Diaries). The sequel to Blindfolded, Masked Innocence, will be released in early 2014.

Alessandra lives in a Florida beach town and is married, with one young child. She enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and playing with her dogs. Her favorite authors include Lisa Gardner, Gillian Flynn, and Jennifer Crusie.

Social Links

FACEBOOK | TWITTER| GOODREADS | WEBSITE | PINTEREST

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Follow the Tour

September 30

True Story Book Blog | Deal Sharing Aunt | Booze, Bookz and Bad Boyz | Snarky Mom Reads…

October 1

{Books She Reads} | Mean Girls Luv Books | Three Girls and a Book Obsession | Crash the Party

October 2

Mustreadbooksordie | Madison Says | Cafebiblioart | First Class Books | Stephanie’s Book Reports

October 3

Room With Books | Crystal’s Many Reviews | Island Lovelies | Scandalous Book Blog

October 4

Mommy’s a Book Whore | Sugar and Spice Book Reviews | Life with Lesley | Mia’s Point of View | Sam’s Book Basket

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In Love by Design by Tracy Ellen

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Synopsis

In Love by Design
The Adventures of Anabel Axelrod
(Volume III)
By Tracy Ellen
Cover Art by Samantha Prudhon Falkowski

In Love by Design welcomes you back to Northfield, Minnesota and the life of Anabel Axelrod.

Its official–the sexy, blonde bookstore owner with a sassy attitude, a brain that never stops, and a reluctant penchant for helping her family and friends out of trouble has fallen madly in love.

Anabel doesn’t get to prove what a fabulous girlfriend she’ll make for more than eight hours before Luke disappears out of town. Instead of getting to enjoy being a girl passionately in love, Anabel’s shiny new feelings and trust in her boyfriend are immediately being tested.

Who is the darkly powerful and charismatic Luke Drake? What are his secrets? Does he really love Anabel, or has he been manipulating her to further an intricate plan of cold revenge in the making for over twenty years?

This third book in the series finds the confident Anabel desperately needing her sense of humor and all her understanding of human nature to deal with life. But Anabel soon learns the hard way she has even bigger issues to worry about than family problems and an incredibly hot, but very tricky boyfriend.

She’s made some bad enemies recently and someone wants her dead. After the first attempt on her life, Anabel and Luke team up to solve this mystery, but Anabel is beginning to wonder if she can trust her Dark Prince. Or Is this one fairy tale where love does not conquer all?

Meet the Author

Meet Tracy Ellen…

For all of my life, I’ve always had a thing for shoes that make me say “Oh, yum!” and for reading romance novels written about hot, dangerously smart men and sassy, intelligent women. It’s not an exaggeration to say I’ve avidly read everything I could get my greedy little hands on to find these jewels.

One day this past year or so, I realized that I spend more money on books now than I do on shoes–and I was stunned. Should I be ashamed of this fact or proud? Then an even stranger thing happened. It was like a switch turned off/on inside me. All of a sudden instead of wanting to read about diabolically sexy men, I wanted to write my own story of the building hot romance between a lippy, confident woman and a gorgeously mysterious man.

So began my budding writing career. Then I made another happy discovery—I absolutely love writing and still have a thing for shoes! Since then, my self-published books include A Date with Fate and Courted by Karma in The Adventures of Anabel Axelrod series. The third book in the series, In Love by Design will be released in September 2013.

For those of you who may want to know some pertinent facts: I was born in Indiana to middle-class parents, the third out of five hellions. My mother wanted to go to work every day. I’ve always lived in the Midwest, except for six steamy months in Florida when I was nineteen. Currently, I reside in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota with my family. The college town of Northfield featured in Anabel’s Adventures is just down the road a jaunt.

I love, love, love connecting with readers. Comments, posts, reviews, and emails are always welcome. Follow my blog or like me on Facebook to be aware of events and giveaways, or new books I’m publishing.

Thanks again for reading my books and supporting this indie author!

Social Links

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS AUTHOR

Buy the Book

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RELEASE DAY: SEPTEMBER 12, 2013

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Follow the Tour

September 16

Up All Night Book Addict | Abigail Book Addiction | Reading Rainblog

September 17

Just Booked | Cruising Susan Book Reviews | Addicted to Reading

September 18

Once Upon a Coffin | Keeping It Book Blog

September 19

Dirty Book Club | Read That! | Crash the Party

September 20

The Suburban Eclectic | Keeping it Real Book Blog | Stephanie’s Book Reports

September 23

Mia’s Point of View | Book Geeks Unite | Reading Bliss

September 24

Wine Relaxation and my Kindle | My Daily Romance | Room with Books

September 25

A Cauldron of Books | Literary Nook | Hooked on Books

September 26

We Love Kink | Buried Under Books

September 27

Whoyoucallinabookwhore | The Book Tart

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The Eyes of Love by Angelina Rose

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Today we join Goddess Fish Promotions and Angelina Rose for a Virtual Book Tour featuring Angelina’s novella, The Eyes of Love.

Angelina Rose is giving away a $50 Amazon or BN.com gift card to one lucky commenter during the tour. To enter to win, leave a comment and click the Rafflecopter link below. Increase your chances of winning by visiting other tour stops. Leave your comments and enter there, too. 

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MEDIA KIT Book CoverAfter a tragic loss five years ago, Sally Overby becomes an Attorney in Atlanta. She convinces herself that all she’ll ever need again is her young son, David, and her life as an attorney. Until one day, Colin Dean barges back into her life and promptly blows her safe world apart, driving her crazy as only a guy she’d had a “school girl crush” on can.

Sally is wary to love deeply. Only, with every loving look Colin gives her plus every sweet kiss, as the attraction between them sparks, she can’t help but wonder if she’s met the one she should be with. And although Colin didn’t realize his life was going to change so quickly, amazingly, he isn’t the least bit interested in fighting that change. Instead, he’s gearing up for a different fight altogether. The one for Sally’s heart.

Will Colin be able to convince her that’s it safe to love him… and that forever isn’t really out of reach?

The Eyes of Love is a novella… so you can enjoy it in just one day!

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EXCERPT:

A hush fell over the room for a moment as Stephanie appeared with Jazz trailing behind her. She was wearing a skin tight black dress with stiletto heels which was typical Stephanie fashion. She wanted nothing more than to be the center of attention like she always had been.

Without missing a beat, Stephanie walked straight over to Colin. Sally was shocked.

“Hello, Colin…” she purred as she ignored Sally completely. “You look sexy tonight, as always.” She smiled seductively as Colin looked away. “Who’s your friend?”

“None of your business, Steph. Leave me alone.”

“Oohhh…. Did I touch a nerve, sweetie?” she asked as she reached out to touch his chest.

“Don’t touch me, Stephanie. I’m warning you. Why don’t you go back to Jazz?”

“Oh. Jazz. Boring…” she sang. “We’re not together anymore, just so you know…” she whispered in a husky voice. Colin held onto Sally’s hand for dear life. She had to do something.

“Stephanie, don’t you remember me?” she asked grinning from ear to ear as she slid into Colin’s side. He put his arm around her and stared down in shock at what she was about to say.

“I don’t know you,” Stephanie said looking her up and down.

“Wow. Age is really doing a number on your brain,” Sally said.

“Who are you?” Stephanie snapped. Jazz stood a few feet back obviously trying to hear the conversation.

“I’m your worst nightmare,” Sally growled as she came almost nose to nose with Stephanie, her attorney public speaking skills getting ready to display themselves. She pulled the name tag from her purse without breaking eye contact and held it up. “You see, I’m the nerd that you and your cronies bullied through high school.”

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MEDIA KIT Author PhotoAngelina Rose has wanted to write ever since she could hold a pencil. The first daughter of immigrant parents, Angelina had her head buried in books, lost in a world of heroes, heroines and exotic places.

It was a shocking experience that jump-started Angelina’s author career.

“I awoke in the ICU… I had been unconscious for several days,” Angelina says.

In 2010, Angelina had a long stint in hospital following her involvement in a motor vehicle accident: the longest time off work (as a Registered Nurse), she’d ever had in her life!

It was then she took up pen and paper and started to write again, just as she had done when she was a child. She wrote four short fiction stories for young adults, entered them in several competitions, and managed to win three first prizes!

After happily dipping her toes into writing those short fiction stories for young adults, Angelina has now authored four books in a new “Mill Creek Crossing Romance” series… contemporary romance intended for adults.

MEDIA KIT AR.Sketch.Angelina RoseThe “Starting Over Series” is another contemporary romance series she wrote about a subject she knows well…nurses and their love life. At a recent reunion of her graduating class, she could not help but notice how the same girls would group together and laugh, chat, and even shed some tears over their lives since graduating. Many of the girls had divorced… so Angelina thought “what if a group of the nurses came up with a plan to meet in two years and have a new love story to share?” Then the first story in the series was born.

There is always a story running around in her head. A man with thick dark hair, gray-blue eyes, with an engaging smile and a quick wit…or a girl crying over a broken relationship. She finds herself talking to these characters during her day: when she’s doing dishes, or bathing babies at the hospital. These characters crop up on days at the beach or on walks through the neighborhood. This is how the stories start to grow.

Angelina’s mother was an author, so Angelina grew up with a love of words and stories. If she wasn’t writing a short story about something that took her fancy, her head was buried in books…reading, reading, reading, as her brother constantly told her…

When she’s not spending time with her good-looking man, or quality time with her laptop, she’s working at the hospital, hanging out with her family and friends, or walking her two dogs around the neighborhood. Angelina spends as much time as she can traveling, then coming home and including some of those adventures in her stories.

Angelina really loves to hear from her readers and she invites you to connect with her on Facebook as she interacts daily with her readers there!

Buy Link:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Eyes-of-Love-ebook/dp/B00CRM1Q4I

Facebook:  https://facebook.com/angelinaroseromanceauthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/RoseRomanceBook

Website:  http://AngelinaRoseRomance.com

Goodreads:   http://www.goodreads.com/angelinaroseromance

 

One commenter will receive a $50 Amazon or BN.com gift card.  Please leave a comment belown and click the Rafflecopter code to enter the giveaway: 

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Follow the tour and comment at each tour stop; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates and stops are: 

9/2/2013 Novel Moments
9/3/2013 Author Jinni James
9/4/2013 Hope Dreams. Life… Love
9/5/2013 Straight from the Library
9/6/2013 Erzabet’s Enchantments
9/6/2013 Queen of the Night Reviews
9/9/2013 Rose and Beps Blog
9/10/2013 Musings and Ramblings
9/11/2013 Who’s Reviews
9/12/2013 Sugarbeat’s Books
9/13/2013 Wicked Readings by Tawania
9/16/2013 Room With Books
9/17/2013  Susana’s Parlour
9/19/2013 We Love Kink
9/20/2013 The Muse Unleashed

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Skipping Stones by J.B. McGee

 
 
 
 
Blurb:
 
They say there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Not everyone will grieve in this order, nor will everyone go through every stage. It’s during the stage of denial when Alex Hart meets Andrew Foster. He takes her one-step closer to acceptance: the stage when new, meaningful relationships are formed. The stage when the realization occurs that this is now the new state of normal.

Just when Alex thinks she is on her way to healing, she enters the bargaining phase. That’s the phase where you wonder what you could have done differently. You wonder “what if?” Specifically, what if the ones you loved hadn’t left you?

Leaving…this is what makes heading off to war so difficult and frightening for Alex. She knows all too well what it’s like to be the one on the losing end of life, which is why she’s made it her personal mission in life to save as many lives as possible. The extreme high she gets from treating trauma victims turns into Alex’s own form of therapy, or so she thinks.

When faced with her world being turned upside down, Alex may just find that her true therapy is in the one who has always saved her.
 
 
 
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A Note from J.B. McGee 
 
 
 
Bio:
 

J.B. McGee was born and raised in Aiken, South Carolina. After graduating from South Aiken High School, she toured Europe as a member of the 1999 International Bands of America Tour, playing the clarinet. While attending Converse College, an all-girls school in Spartanburg, South Carolina, she visited Charleston often. It quickly became one of her favorite vacation spots. She met her husband, Chad, during Christmas break her freshman year, and they married in 2001 and she moved back to her home town. 

In 2005, the couple welcomed their first son, Noah. J.B. finished her Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of South Carolina-Aiken in 2006. During her time studying children’s literature, a professor had encouraged her to become a writer.

In 2007, she welcomed their second child, Jonah, and she became a stay at home mom/entrepreneur. In 2009, the found out their two children and J.B. have Mitochondrial Disease. In 2011, a diagnosis also was given to Chad. Please take a moment and learn more about Mitochondrial Disease. Awareness is key to this disease that has no cure or treatments.

J.B. McGee and her family now reside in Buford, Georgia, to be closer to their children’s medical team. After a passion for reading had been re-ignited, J.B. decided to finally give writing a shot. Broken (This Series), is her first book and first series. 
 
 
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End of Dreams by Kim Faulks

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Title: End of Dreams (The Immortal Destiny, Book One)

Author: Kim Faulks

Genre: Dark Paranormal/Horror

Tour Host: Lady Amber’s Tours

CoverA vicious killer hunts a young pregnant woman. He wants more than her blood–he wants her baby too.

Young Eve dreams of being a good mother to her unborn son, that dream is shattered when child killer, Edric Hasting finds her in the middle of the night.

Haunted by the images of black wings on her baby’s ultrasound and the killers last words Eve knows her only hope of survival is to run.

She soon finds hard-bitten detective Adley Scott who dreams of justice for a string of murdered children which hit too close to home.

A group of Immortals are drawn into Eve’s battle for survival as events are played out across the globe by two opposing factions of immortal beings.

The fragile, divine balance of all things is at stake, and the world is the ultimate prize.

Against a background of universe-changing events and an ensemble of vivid, unforgettable characters, Eve and Adley will have to fight to survive as they begin to learn the truth of The Immortal Destiny.

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Excerpt:

Eve tucked her hair behind her ears and straightened her blouse before stepping inside Hurrow’s Federal Hotel. Narrowed eyes and glassy stares followed her all the way to the bar. She sat down on a ruptured leather stool, listening to the juke box belt out some hit from back in the eighties. The song sounded vaguely familiar. Like something Mother had once listened to—before she became a Christian, before she found God.

“What’ll it be?” The bartender’s voice boomed beside her. Eve jumped and her heart sped. He gripped the counter, leaning forward. He was waiting for her to say something, anything. Eve opened her mouth. But no words came, so she closed it again.

This was her first drink. In her first bar. On the first night of her new life. She was finally away from her mother’s controlling rule once and for all—she was free. She stared back at the bartender as a feeling of hope fluttered low inside her belly like a weighed-down moth. Even his scowls wouldn’t dampen her mood tonight. Eve couldn’t help but grin.

The bartender no longer glared at her, but exhaled, closed his eyes and swore. Beer? No. Sex on the Beach? I’m not saying that. Eve’s gaze danced along the row of bottles, trying to find something nice which didn’t look like liquid fire. “Umm. May I have a glass of champagne?”

His brows shot upwards, hovered there for a moment before his forehead creased. “Champagne? Does it fucking look like we serve champagne?”

Like a ghost, Eve’s confidence dissolved, as though it had never been there at all. Someone behind her laughed. A woman who called out behind her, “Champagne? Who does this bitch think she is?”

Eve’s face burned.

“Don’t give the girl a hard time, Trev. Can’t you see she’s nervous? Just give her something sparkling and make it expensive.”

Keeping her head still, Eve glanced sideways at the man sliding onto the seat beside her. He was older, by a lot. His pitted face and long, greasy hair matched a black ensemble of leather jacket and dirty jeans which covered his stick-like physique. He caught her staring and winked. Tiny black stumps she guessed had been teeth were revealed with a smile. She looked away and slid from her seat, her eyes drifting to the door. “No. I’m fine, thank you. I… I’ve changed my mind.”

The stranger caught her arm with a soft hold. His touch made her wince. “Nonsense, come on. You’ve come all this way. Just have one little drink.”

It wasn’t his conviction that made her hesitate—it was his words.

She had come a long way. A lot farther than the four-hour bus ride with one suitcase to her name. Her longest journey was the road she’d traveled within herself. Her fight for freedom, even though she was afraid to be alone, but more afraid she’d give in and go back, so the loneliness was bearable. You won’t survive, you’re too weak. Her mother’s parting snarl still haunted her.

Eve’s vision blurred and her throat thickened, cutting off the air to her lungs. She inhaled sharply, wheezing, coughing. The stench of sweat and nicotine filled her nose as tears blurred her gaze. She thought she’d be able to leave behind all the hurt and the hateful words. There was no new life, here or anywhere. Only the baggage of her old one she dragged behind wherever she went.

Her hair fell into her eyes and she shoved it away with the back of her hand, along with a tear. She’d never escape her father’s suicide, or the depression and Valium which followed. Eve took in the bar, now that her rose-colored glasses were gone. She didn’t belong here. She didn’t belong anywhere. But she had nowhere else to go.

The bartender slid the frosted glass toward her. The drink wasn’t champagne, but at this moment, she didn’t really care. Tiny bubbles surged from the bottom to break free on the surface. She’d tried to break free and yet somehow she still failed. The bartender waited patiently while Eve dug for a crumpled ten-dollar note. Her fingers skirted the tiny yellow pill lodged in the crease of her pocket, her weakness and her disease. She grabbed both the note and the tablet while the stranger beside her opened his wallet. His thick pile of bills was hard to miss. He pushed a twenty along the bar.

“No… please, it’s okay.” She might be a lot of things, but she’d never be bought. Not for a drink in a bar, not for anything. “I can pay myself.”

She palmed the pill and slid the note across the bar. The bartender nodded snatched up her crumbled bill. “Looks like she be buyin’ her own drink tonight, Matty. You just run along now and leave the young lady alone.”

The stranger pushed off the stool to tower over her. A flash of rage filled his eyes and Eve was paralyzed. His lips slithered back over his gums. Her scalp quivered and her hands shook. He loomed over her, breathing heavily and pinning her with a piercing glare for what seemed like forever before he stormed away.

Her cheeks buzzed with heat and her hands trembled. She shoved the pill into her mouth and washed it down with the fake champagne. She wanted for one moment not to feel hurt and humiliation. She wanted for one moment not to feel anything.

For Eve, time wasn’t measured in weeks or days, or even hours. She counted time by the minutes and seconds it took for the magic pill to dissolve the grip clenching her insides, so she could breathe.

Valium and alcohol made for a dangerous combination. By the time she swallowed the last of the bubbles, she felt off-balance. The room spun out of control and took her stomach with it. Her heart beat frantically and the walls closed in around her. The barroom chatter became screams of laughter. The raucous roar was too much for her and Eve slipped from her seat, leaving the stares and snide comments behind, and stumbled for the doorway.

The November air was thick and warm. Eve fanned the bottom of her shirt to catch a breeze and headed for the alley which would lead her home. The haunting bay of a dog caught her attention. Her heavy thoughts were captured by that woeful sound while she turned and stumbled in the dark until hands dug into her back. She was shoved hard against the side of a building. The brick walls were unforgiving. Her head cracked against a wall and the pain slashed like lightening through her head. She stumbled sideways and lifted her hand toward the back of her head, her thoughts frozen.

“Fucking stuck-up bitch! You think you’re too good for someone like me?”

Eve’s world seemed slow and thick, like syrup. The snarl in her ear became distorted. She didn’t understand his words, but revulsion shot like cold fire through her veins, fighting the effects of the pill. He pushed his hand inside her shirt to fumble at the cup of her bra. Her thoughts sharpened. She screamed.

The stranger from the bar invaded her field of vision. He gripped her jaw and squeezed. Eve ignored the pain and whipped her head from side-to-side in an effort to break free. But he held on, snaking his leg around hers to pull her tight against him. Please God, no. Not like this… not like this. “Get away from me! Let me go!

“I’ll show you. I’ll show you good, you stuck up little bitch!”

“No, plea—”

Her words were silenced by his mouth. Eve felt violated, filled with revulsion… sickened by his touch and the fear of what might happen next. His hands were everywhere. Not one part of her body was left sacred. His tongue slithered in and out of her mouth. His fetid breath, forced into her lungs, became hers as she struggled to breathe.

Valium fought against the adrenaline, pushed along by the rapid fire of her heart, Eve hit, scratched, and kicked with everything she had. Her arms felt like lead, her movements seemed as though she moved underwater. She tried to escape his touch, rolling her shoulders forward and tucking her chin down. He held her still, and his hands burrowed deeper, finding the soft flesh of her nipple. Eve’s stomach rolled and the taste of acid filled her mouth. Her attacker stopped moving, his frantic fingers left her bra. Has he given up? Please God….

“I said, take your hands off her.”

A new voice bounced around the alley, low and threatening. Her attacker stilled, but he didn’t let her go. The sound of his voice reverberated against her body as he spoke. “You best be on your way. This doesn’t concern you.”

Eve thrashed, using her weight to break free. He held on, his grip on her mouth became harder, distorting her frantic words. “Pease, pease. Hep me.”

“Shut the fuck up,” her attacker growled into her ear.

The deep voice bounced around Eve once more. “I’ll not say it again. Let the woman go.”

“Or what? You best fuck off or—”

He pulled her forward and slammed her back against the wall. Her shoulders took the brunt of the impact and her head snapped back against the brick. Agony roared inside her skull, the pain took her breath away and dominated her thoughts. White lights sparked in her vision. She stumbled and her knees connected sharply with the sidewalk. Screams from her attacker filled the air. Eve lurched forward as hot wine and acid flowed from her mouth, spilling onto the pavement. Helpless, she rode the waves of panic and revulsion until only dry heaves were left.

She wiped her mouth and glanced sideways. Her attacker flailed on the ground. His body jerked and thrashed in the air and then was slammed to the ground by a blur of a hand. She caught a glimpse of a face, a beautiful face hidden behind savagery. Eve covered her ears, but his screams drilled through the gaps of her fingers. A loud snap fractured his wails. Eve looked up to the night sky. Please… please make this stop.

And the night became silent like the moon above her.

Scared to move, she stayed still and sneaked a glimpse at the fight. The streetlight cut a triangle across the alley entrance, dividing light from the dark. Shiny black shoes and the bottoms of perfectly-creased pants seem to glide toward her.

“It is okay. I will not hurt you.”

Eve wrenched her hands from her ears to grip the edges of her torn blouse.

“You have nothing to fear from me.”

Her rescuer knelt before her, his hand outstretched. The street light illuminated his broad cheek bones, revealing arctic blue eyes and glossy black hair.

Eve searched those eyes for kindness and compassion. She found none. It’s enough he just saved my life, isn’t it? Her gaze shifted to the unmoving feet of her attacker.

“He is not dead, merely asleep.”

Eve turned back to her rescuer. He waited for her to take his hand, like he had all the time in the world. She reached out. Her own hand hovered in the air and trembled before she grasped his and he helped her to stand. The minute she felt steady on her feet, she snatched her hand away and gripped the edges of her shirt tightly. Forcing the words through the pain in her jaw, she whispered, “Thank you.”

“Please tell me you are okay. When I saw him hurting you I thought he had already—”

She cut him off, needing to stay the words for her own reassurance. She wrenched her hand from his grasp. “No. Thank God.”

He stared at her, his eyes reflecting the street light. He smiled. “Yes, thank God. Although you really should be thanking me.”

“I’m so sorry, please forgive me. Thank you, thank you so much, Mr…?”

He shook his head and smiled.

He doesn’t want to give me his name. He’s afraid I’ll drag him into this mess… Into my mess. Can I blame him? “I am grateful for everything you’ve done for me. I’m Eve.”

“Eve. That… is… a beautiful name. The name of the woman who begat the fall of man, if I remember correctly. How… fitting….”

He moved closer to her, drawing her into his gaze. In this moment, Eve no longer stood in the darkened alley with the remnants of cheap wine drying on her lips. Instead, she floated, caught in his ice-blue gaze.

Her mind slowed and then stilled. Her panic eased until everything apart from this stranger seemed to fade away. His words were hypnotic. “May I walk you home?”

“Yes.” She answered before she’d had a chance to think it over. Her response had been so automatic. Should I really allow a stranger to walk me home at night? Shouldn’t I be concerned? Those questions seemed to slip through the numbed fingers of her mind. Instead of fleeing in fear, she found herself nodding and taking his hand when he held it out once more.

He walked beside her, not too close so they touched, nor too distant, giving her space to slip away.

“Are you afraid of me?”

His question was carried to her on the soft night breeze. Even though she wanted to pretend she hadn’t heard him, shame forced her to answer. This man had risked his life to save her. But she couldn’t lie, not even to herself. Honesty forced her to accept the fact Valium was a way for her to cope, hiding the truth from her and everyone else—the truth that everything scared her.

“Look at me.”

She stopped, glimpsing the door to her apartment building in the corner of her eye. Keep walking, don’t stop, said a tiny voice inside her.

“Eve. Look at me.”

There was something about his voice, something so spell-binding and compelling. It was hard not to look, impossible to not obey his commands. Eve turned toward him, yet somehow a part of her was urging her to run. But she couldn’t run, she was frozen. Eve stared into his bottomless eyes, unable to tear away from his gaze, or his touch.

“You are exactly what I am looking for, someone pure and so… tender.”

His accent was so strange, old-fashioned and rigid. It wasn’t Australian that she was sure of. It wasn’t anything she knew. He trailed his fingers down her jawbone. His finger hovered on the end of her chin and then lifted her face to his. His words were jumbled, whispered phrases she couldn’t quite catch. All she could see were his perfect, soft lips. “Shall you succeed where others have failed?”

He didn’t wait for her answer. Instead he stepped closer, towering over her. “Well, we shall see, won’t we?”

He stared into her eyes, as though he seemed to savor this moment, before

~~~~~~~~~~

Author Photo[1]The author of The Fire and Ice Series, No Angel Series and now the Immortal Destiny Series I was raised on a staple diet of Stephen King and Dean Koontz, there I fell in love with the darker styles of writing. I started writing at a young age but quickly realised that I lacked an important ingredient, life experience. Now I have this in spades.

I am firstly a Mum and a wife and second an Author of Dark Fantasy/Horror, although sometimes I’m sure my family feels it’s the other way around. I live in Queensland Australia and work full-time. Writing is my passion and a dream and I’d love to share it with you.

Kim Faulks may be found on her Amazon.com Author’s Page.

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Buy End of Dream on Amazon.com

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Beside Your Heart by Mary Whitney

BBT Beside Your Heart Banner copy

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MEDIA KIT book cover

“It’s an emotional story that will take the reader back to those feelings that made the late teen years such a powerful time.”

Late one night Nicki Johnson plays with emotional fire and Googles her high school love, only to find his name splashed across the British gossip columns. Back in his native England, Adam Kincaid is successful and dating a woman from an aristocratic family like his own. With a career in politics, Nicki’s no slouch, but she knows Adam is living a world away from her life.

Yet there was a time he was no farther than the next locker. Nicki will never forget their year together in high school—the year of her sister’s death, the year her mother checked out. Adam helped Nicki through suffocating grief, and she led him through a coming of age. Was it just high school, or was it something more?

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BBT Beside Your Heart Book Cover Banner copy

“No British literature. Isn’t this supposed to be an English class?” Adam asked.

“Uh.” My ancestors would’ve been proud of the jolt of American patriotism that hit me.  “There was a revolution two hundred years ago. We write our own books now.”

He leaned back in his seat with a smile. “I think I heard about that.”

“We still share the same language.”

“Sometimes I’m not too sure.”

“I bet not.” I could imagine what he thought of a Texas accent.

He picked up the list of books again. “What about Catcher in the Rye?”

“I read it a long time ago when I was, like, eleven.” I laughed a little as I remembered how I’d first come to read it.

“Is there something funny about that?”

“Yeah. My father had suggested I read it then. The book is the classic coming-of-age story. Clearly, he wasn’t really thinking about whether or not it was appropriate for an eleven-year-old.”

“Really? Why?”

“Well, for one thing, the main character is a guy who swears a lot.”

“I suppose I swear a lot.” He cracked a sly smile. “At least compared to you Yankees.”

“Yankees? You’re in the South.” I laughed.

“What else is inappropriate about the book? Now I’m interested. It can’t only be a few swear words.

“No, it’s not just that. It’s…” I hesitated for a moment as I realized I was about to bring up the topic of sex with Adam Kincaid. What the hell, I thought. I should be matter-of-fact about it. He had a girlfriend and would never want anything with me. I could hide I thought he was hot, so I shrugged. “Holden, the main character…he’s a little sexually frustrated.

His eyes twinkled, and it felt as if my words hung in the air. I wanted to squirm in my seat. ‘Sexually frustrated’—like me checking out Adam Kincaid.

His proper upbringing showed again as he sidestepped the issue, yet he smirked. “That sounds like an adventurous book to be on an American high school syllabus.”

“Like I said—it’s considered an American classic.” I laughed. “I guess some things are sacred.”

“But of course.” The gleam appeared in his eye again, and he turned toward me in his seat. “Teenage sexual frustration is sort of a rite of passage, if you will.”

There went the good-English-boy manners out the window. His tone, the look in his eye, his body language—was he flirting with or taunting me? I decided the former was impossible, and if the latter, I wasn’t going to back down. With two parents who were lawyers, debate was a family routine.

“A rite of passage? More like a biological fact, isn’t it?” I asked, casually clicking my pen. I raised a brow. “Especially for guys.”

“You’re right about that,” he said with a grin.

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MEDIA KIT MaryWhitney

Even before she graduated from law school, Mary knew she wasn’t cut out to be a real lawyer. Drawn to politics, she’s spent her career as an organizer, lobbyist, and nonprofit executive. Nothing piques her interest more than a good political scandal or romance, and when she stumbled upon writing, she put the two together. A born Midwesterner, naturalized Texan, and transient resident of Washington, D.C., Mary now lives in Northern California with her two daughters and real lawyer husband.

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