Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pieces of Autumn Book Blast + Giveaway

Pieces of Autumn photo PiecesofAutumn_zps694fd9a0.jpg

Pieces of Autumn photo autumnfinal-400_zpsd40add7d.jpgTitle:  Pieces of Autumn

Author:   Mara Black

Genre:  Dark Romance 18 +

Publish Date:   July 31, 2014

Publisher:  Indie Published

Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.













~ Book Synopsis ~


I wish I could tell you that I was stolen.


Kidnapped off the street in some third-world country, sold against my will, while a desperate family back home waited and prayed and talked about me on the news.


I wish I could tell you that, because then you might understand.


What really happened? I walked to my fate with my eyes wide open. But before you say I deserved whatever happened to me, you should know. I was desperate. I was alone. I was afraid for my life. You would have done the same thing.


I thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse.


But then, I woke up in darkness, unable to move. There was only one thing I was sure of: I wasn’t alone anymore.


And then I heard HIS voice...


Add to Goodreads: 







About the Author



Mara Black is a connoisseur of love that lurks in the shadows .




~ Giveaway ~


~ Signed book of Pieces of Autumn ~


 


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Giveaway





http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/07c2363f18/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
Quiz: Which Type of Historical Romance Heroine Are You?

#1 What word best describes you?

a) effervescent
b) nonconfrontational (mostly) 
c) stealthy

#2 My favorite hobby is ...

a) comparative study of the male form
b) looking after my darling baron   
c) target practice

#3 What is the perfect late night snack?

a) bread, cheese, meats, lemon tarts … whatever can be liberated from the kitchen
b) the baron's kisses
c) ratafia, shaken not stirred

#4 My ideal man must have ...

a) a sublime derriere
b) an aptitude for growing hardy, contrary flowers 
c) brains

#5 What accessory do you never leave home without?

a) my corset (large bosoms are such a trial)
b) my composure 
c) my pistol

***
 

 
If you choose mostly As ... then you are as sparkling and resourceful as Her Serene Royal Highness Dagmar from The Truth About Leo by Katie MacAlister. Dagmar may have been raised in a strictly formal manner, but she’s never let that stop her from pursuing anything that catches her interest. She’s a bit quirky, marches to her own drummer, and has a fine, fine appreciation of the manly form.

 
 
 
If you choose mostly Bs … then you are clearly the stuff a baroness is made of, much like Millicent, from The Traitor. Milly is sweet, fierce, determined, and brave but slow to trust. Sebastian, Baron St. Clair, is ALSO sweet, fierce, determined and brave, and relentless when it comes to protecting those he cares for. Alas for both Sebastian and Milly, an enemy stalks them who is not sweet. By the time Milly is done with Sebastian's enemies, they are not very brave either. So if you chose mostly B's, the bad guys better steer mighty clear of you!
 
 

 
If you choose mostly Cs … then you are equipped to be a master spy like Jane Bonde from Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen. Jane is smart, cunning, and loyal, but she has her weaknesses too. Her latest weakness goes by the name Dominic Griffyn. Planning a wedding and defeating a villain intent upon the destruction of England is tricky, but if you're the sort who multitasks easily, then you too have Jane's unique skills and panache.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Alloy Entertainment Launches New Digital-First Imprint with Amazon Publishing

First three books release today


 


SEATTLE—(NASDAQ: AMZN)—July 29, 2014—Today, Amazon Publishing and Alloy Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros. Television Group, announced a digital-first imprint that will focus on young adult, new adult and commercial fiction. The new imprint, named Alloy Entertainment, will be part of Amazon Publishing’s Powered by Amazon program. Powered by Amazon enables publishers and authors to leverage Amazon’s global distribution and personalized, targeted marketing reach.

Today also marks the publication date for the imprint’s first three titles:



Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand, which follows Ven, the clone of a wealthy, 18-year-old named Raven. Imitations like Ven only leave the lab when their Authentics need them—to replace the dead, be an organ donor, or in Ven’s case, serve as bait when Raven’s life is threatened. It is Ven’s job to draw out Raven’s assailants, but she must decide if she is prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she has never met.




Every Ugly Word by Aimee Salter, a coming-of-age story about a teenager named Ashley who sees her 23-year-old self when she looks in the mirror. Her older self has been through it all before, and helps Ashley survive torment from high school bullies, unrequited love for her best friend and a volatile relationship with her mom. But her older self also carries the scars of a terrible and imminent event in Ashley’s life that she’s powerless to stop.



Rebel Wing by Tracy Banghart, a sci-fi fantasy adventure set in the war-torn Dominion of Atalanta. For Aris, the fighting is worlds away from the safety of her seaside town until her boyfriend Calix is drafted into the military. When Aris herself is recruited to become a pilot for an elite search-and-rescue unit, she leaps at the chance, hoping to be reunited with Calix. But what starts as mission driven by love turns into one of duty as Aris becomes a true soldier determined to save her Dominion…or die trying.

Alloy Entertainment acquired the books based on the unique voices of the authors and originality of the stories. The company worked closely with each of the writers throughout the publishing process in an effort to gain the widest possible readership. The books will be published under the Alloy Entertainment publishing banner, which currently includes more than 75 New York Times bestsellers.

"One of our strengths is working with talented authors to create and develop properties that have mass entertainment appeal," said Leslie Morgenstein, President of Alloy Entertainment. "This program is an exciting extension of our business and will allow us to leverage Amazon’s ability to distribute to an incredibly diverse and broad readership."

"Rebel Wing is the book of my heart. It’s a story I felt compelled to tell, both from the perspective of an Army wife and as someone who believes you can never have enough strong female characters in the world," said author Tracy Banghart. "Being given the opportunity to work with the incredibly talented folks at Alloy to make it the best version of itself was an exciting and affirming process, and knowing that its distribution will be handled by Amazon—a company that has already made so much possible for me as an indie author—is pretty much the definition of win-win as far as I’m concerned."

"Alloy has a tremendous track record developing stories, like Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries, that our customers love," said Jeff Belle, Vice President of Amazon Publishing. "We’re thrilled to promote these books from Alloy Entertainment with our Powered by Amazon program. It’s a great fit."

Authors who publish with Alloy Entertainment’s new digital-first imprint receive an advance and royalties paid on a monthly basis. Alloy Entertainment will also look for opportunities to develop acquired titles as television series, feature films, and digital entertainment.


About Alloy Entertainment
Alloy Entertainment, a division of the Warner Bros. Television Group, develops and produces original novels, television series and feature films. More than 75 of AE’s books have been on The New York Times bestseller list, including The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Luxe, Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, and The 100. AE has successfully adapted several of its properties into hit television shows for broadcast across multiple networks, including The CW, ABC, ABC Family and Nickelodeon. Current Alloy Entertainment television series include Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals and The 100. AE feature films include Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 1 & 2, Sex Drive and The Clique, with several additional projects currently in development including Sisterhood Everlasting, The Merciless and The Brokenhearted.

 


About Amazon.com
Amazon opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995. The company is guided by three principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, and long-term thinking.  Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire phone, Fire tablets, and Fire TV are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon.

Mad as Helen Blog Tour + Giveaway

Banner Mad as Helen photo MadasHelen_zps998e71a6.jpg

Mad as Helen photo 20957452_zps1a332688.jpg

Title: Mad as Helen (Road River Mystery)


Author: Susan McBride


Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller


Publish Date: July 29, 2014


Publisher: Witness Impulse an imprint of HarperCollins


Synopsis



In the second River Road Mystery from USA Today bestselling author Susan McBride, Helen Evans must find a killer before her granddaughter is arrested for murder!


When tiny River Bend, Illinois, is hit by a string of burglaries even Sheriff Frank Biddle can't solve, the clients of LaVyrle's Cut 'n' Curl can hardly talk of anything but. There are no signs of forced entry and no fingerprints, and valuables are missing from secret hiding places, as if the thief knew what he wanted and just where to look.


Helen Evans wonders what the world has come to if even their once-quiet town isn't safe anymore. Then Grace Simpson, a big-city psychotherapist who had opened up shop in River Bend, is found dead on her bedroom floor, and Helen's granddaughter is caught with the murder weapon in hand.


Sure of the girl's innocence, Helen embarks on a little investigation of her own and turns up plenty of folks who aren't grieving a bit now that Grace is dead …


Goodreads





Purchase Links



Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes |HarperCollins



About The Author: 



Susan McBride photo susanfoto21_zps7a628b4b.jpg

Susan McBride is the USA TODAY bestselling author of Blue Blood, the first of the Debutante Dropout Mysteries.

T he award-winning series also includes T he Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, T he Lone Star Lonely Hearts Club, Night of

the Living Deb, and Too Pretty to Die. She’s also the author of T he Truth about Love & Lightning, Little Black Dress, and

The Cougar Club, all Target Recommended Reads. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband and daughter.

Visit Susan’s web site at www.SusanMcBride.com for more info.



Connect With the Author












Monday, July 28, 2014

Khaki=Killer tour




An author who has been unfailingly encouraging, to me, and, therefore, stands as a literary beacon for me, is William F. ("Bill") Nolan.

I was assigned to interview Bill for "Reflection's Edge," (an online e-zine) back in 2003. Bill was then 78 years young.

reflectionsedge.com/.../the-runner-wholl-never-die-an-interview-with-wil...

I was a new-comer to fiction writing, having spent all my writing life as a journalist. Yes, I took some courses in writing fiction, but even those I took under the Journalism number "19" at the University of Iowa's famed Writers' Workshop.

Honestly, I didn't feel I had "lived" enough to be writing stories when I was only 18 years old. What did I know of life, love, loss?

When I met William F. Nolan (a living legend in Dark Fantasy and, perhaps most famously, the co-author of the acclaimed science fiction film "Logan's Run") he was kind enough to take a look at something I was working on at the time (Something that never saw the light of day.)


Bill was not super critical of my fledgling efforts. He did not praise insincerely, either. He mentioned that a fictional character in my book (the Sheriff) was a name he felt he had lived in another life. Bill has some interesting ideas like that, and he is an ardent vegan/vegetarian and animal rights activist.

Time went by, and I continued to write short stories (I suspect we both prefer that format but have been forced by circumstances to write "long"), culminating in two volumes entitled HELLFIRE & DAMNATION, which are organized around the sins or crimes punished at each of the 9 Circles of Hell.. I asked Jason V Brock to write the Introduction to the second volume, because I greatly admire Jason's work, as does Bill.

Jason and Sunni, his wife, had taken up residence near Bill (or vice versa) and were helping the now-86-year-old guru to adapt to changes in the modern publishing world. As a "mature" person of a certain age, I could relate to Bill's feeling that the computer kept him from producing work. [The Internet does have that effect.] Yet he has embraced change and prospered with it, producing award-winning work into his eighties. (We should all be so lucky!)

With Sunni and Jason's expert assistance, Bill produced a reminiscence of his 60 years of friendship with Ray Bradbury, published soon after Bradbury's death, and won a Bram Stoker award with that book this awards season (Horror Writers Association). (You can read my review of his book on www.WeeklyWilson.com).

But William F. Nolan is far from just a writer of horror, as am I. To quote his Wikipedia entry: Nolan is perhaps best known for coauthoring the novel  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logan%27s_Run \o "Logan's Run" Logan's Run , with  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Clayton_Johnson \o "George Clayton Johnson" George Clayton Johnson , but has written literally hundreds of pieces, from   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poetry \o "Poetry" poetry to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonfiction \o "Nonfiction" nonfiction , to prose, for many publications, such as  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_Illustrated \o "Sports Illustrated" Sports Illustrated , "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_(magazine)" \o "Rogue (magazine)" Rogue ,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playboy  \o "Playboy" Playboy , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Discoveries \o "Dark Discoveries" Dark Discoveries , http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Nameless_Digest&action=edit&redlink=1 \o "Nameless Digest (page does not exist)" Nameless Digest , and others. He also had a long career in the   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movie_industry \o "Movie industry" movie industry , primarily working for  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Curtis \o "Dan Curtis" Dan Curtis ("Dark Shadows" and "The Night Stalker") and co-wrote the screenplay for the 1976 horror film   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burnt_Offerings_(film) \o "Burnt Offerings (film)" Burnt Offerings which starred  " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Black  \o "Karen Black" Karen Black and   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bette_Davis  \o "Bette Davis" Bette Davis . Bill was also a cartoonist for Hallmark in his early days and never fails to place a drawing within the autographed books he sends me, which I treasure, just as I treasure him, his encouragement, and his unfailing support.

He took the time (two days' worth) to read my very first solo novel (THE COLOR OF EVIL) through in its entirety and suggest editorial changes. He gave me good advice about a writer who was harassing me in every way possible. Nolan knows wheat from chaff, and his endorsement means something---to me and to many, many others.

Bill provided some wonderful blurbs for my book(s): "Connie Wilson is a born storyteller!" for instance, and a guarantee that the reader would enjoy my novels.

Because of William F. Nolan's praise, THE COLOR OF EVIL was reviewed in some well-read magazines that might not, otherwise, have taken a second look. THE COLOR OF EVIL series went on to win awards (E-Lit, Pinnacle, Shelf Unbound, Silver Feather).

Not horror, since it is more paranormal thriller (just as "Logan's Run" was more science fiction), but awards, nonetheless.

Recently, I received a hardbound copy of Bill's latest book, "Like A Dead Man Walking," which is autographed as follows, "For Connie! A friend and fellow writer whose talent I respect! As ever! Bill"

I cherish William F. Nolan's work and his friendship, and I hope he keeps writing forever.



HAKI = KILLER, the third novel in THE COLOR OF EVIL series, follows young Tad McGreevy and friends at Cedar Falls' Sky High Lab School through the second semester of their senior year.

Recently named a "PageTurner" by Shelf Unbound magazine and NABE Pinnacle Thriller winner, the series details the adventures of the young man (Tad McGreevy) with the power to detect auras around others (Tetrachromatic Super Vision) and to relive the crimes of those with "the color of evil" in his dreams. Khaki = Killer.



Khaki=Killer Web Tour Schedule

THYPERLINK "http://theteddyrosebookreviewsplusmore.com/"eddy Rose Book Reviews Plus June 20 Spotlight & Giveaway

Books HYPERLINK "http://www.heatherpearson.com/"&HYPERLINK "http://www.heatherpearson.com/" Quilts June 23 Review

Room With Books June 24 Review

Let's Talk About Books June 25 Review

Cassandra M's Place June 26 Review & Giveaway

The News in Books June 30 Review

Like a Bump on a Blog July 1 Review & Giveaway

BK Walker Books July 7 Review

Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author July 14 Excerpt

Giveaways and Glitter July 18 Review

Bound 4 Escape July 21 Review

The Wormhole July 22 Review

fuonlyknew July 23 Review

Cheryl's Book Nook July 28 Guest Post

Paranormal Romance July 29 Review

Slaves, Queens, and Deception!




1,001 EROTIC NIGHTS PART 1: SLAVE GIRL by Lisa Cach
 
SUMMARY:
 
A sex slave who’s never been touched… National bestselling author Lisa Cach spins an erotic, passionate novel about a young Roman Empire slave who’s intended to become her king’s concubine—until a rugged barbarian prince takes her heart…and more.

Lovely Nimia is a slave to King Sygarius, who’s grooming her to be his consort as soon as she reaches full womanhood. And that time is very close. Nimia is forced to attend shocking lessons in the erotic arts; lessons that leave her body aroused and her mind conflicted. Because while she’s attracted to Sygarius’s power and eroticism, her spirit rebels at being his slave.

Then one of Sygarius’s allies comes to visit. Smart and ambitious, Clovis burns to take over Sygarius’s kingdom—and the beautiful Nimia. And though her virginity is meant for Sygarius, Clovis takes it with her enthusiastic consent.

When Sygarius learns that she is no longer a virgin, Nimia flees for her life. But can she find Clovis before the wrath of Sygarius—and imminent death—finds her first?
 
EXCERPT:
 
Darian blew upon his pipes, and I could sense, even from my hiding spot in the dark colonnade behind a curtain, that the notes of the music I’d written were casting their spell over the gathering. The melody was both calming and subtly strung through with anticipation; the peaceful beauty of the musical phrases ended, more often than not, one note short of where a listener knew they should.
 
Kina began to pluck a lyre, which was my cue to go in.
 
Gods above and gods below, I did not want to do this. It had been fun and bawdy, and I’d laughed so hard that I nearly wet myself when Terix and I had acted out the tale of Lotus—but that had been in private, with friendly eyes upon us. Eyes I had no need to impress, and whose owners would not judge me.
 
I didn’t understand how that which had delighted me so in one circumstance, threatened so much shame in this.
 
And yet Kina plucked on, and I had no choice but to perform.
 
Rebellion welled up inside me like a bubble, choking in my throat, and for one dangerous moment I thought I would flee. I’d run across the dark garden, through rooms, up stairs, ending in the quarters I shared with the other female slaves. I’d spend every moment in terror of my punishment for disobeying, and then either tonight or tomorrow, I’d be summoned before Lady Lydia, or Hermina, or perhaps the house steward, and berated, scolded, perhaps beaten. There would be no acceptable
excuses I could give. Sygarius would understand the quaking of my pride at performing in front of strangers, but he would not understand how I could believe my pride to be more important than following his command.
 
Flee, and salve my pride; or perform, and declare myself no better than a prostitute in front of Clovis.
 
“Make your choice,” I heard my mother’s voice saying.
 
Dreams, or reality.
 
I knew where my body lived, and who held the chain.
 
“Fuck them all,” I whispered, and with the harsh words I shoved aside my shame and the curtain and stepped into the room.
 
A space had been cleared for the performance, for which the only prop was a small couch. I wore a voluminous, transparent green gown, my heavy black hair loose down to my hips, and a large, fake lotus flower tucked behind one ear. I knew the men’s gazes would be searching through the filmy gown, looking for nipples and cunny; they probably thought they weren’t seeing either. The spiral tattoos over my breasts and loins confused the eye, and in uncertain light made it look as if I wore an ornate breast band and breeches beneath the diaphanous green silk. Neither the Franks nor the Roman nobles had probably ever seen the like, as they were a tradition of my vanished people, the Phanne. It gave me a perverse satisfaction to think that I flaunted my near-naked body in front of them and they did not know.
 
Truth be told, it sent a wicked thrill through me, and made my cunny swell.
 
I imagined I could feel Clovis’s gaze upon me. Did he know what he was looking at? I told myself he did; that he, of them all, knew that it was not a costume he was seeing, but my own skin.
 
It didn’t matter, though, for as Kina plucked the lyre, I became the nymph, Lotus, and the audience faded away. Music, dance, and song always transported me to a place beyond the present—or perhaps it was a place deep inside myself. All I knew was that the world around me disappeared, replaced by one of my imagination.
 
The lyre was my voice, expressing my emotions as I wandered through a meadow, picked a flower, and savored the warmth of the sun on my skin. An imaginary butterfly landed on my fingertip, and as it flew away I grasped two thin reeds that had been hidden in my full skirts, one on each side. Their bottom ends were attached to my hem, and when I lifted one reed in each hand, the flowing yards of fabric lifted into the air like butterfly wings. A sigh of delight went through the room, the soft echo of it barely piercing my trance.
 
I danced and spun to the music of the lyre and flute, flicking my wrists and looping my arms to make my fabric wings ripple and flow. As my body followed the choreographed moves that I’d practiced so many times before, my soul began to float free.
 
Yes. This is what I sought, this transcendence, this freeing from the bonds of the earth, my body, my thoughts. Though I still saw the meadow in my imagination, new visions began to flicker at its edges: a face I did not know; a stormy sea; a haze of shimmering gold.
 
The shimmering gold . . . there was something important about it. I strained toward it, trying to see it more clearly, but the dance was almost at its end. There was one more chance, one more moment when I might see it all.
 
I drew a gasp from the audience when I took a great leap into the air, wings outspread, seeming to hover there as if truly I could fly—while in my mind I sought that shimmer of gold only to have it fade away, a mystery still. I landed in a small crouch upon the floor, my wings together above my back, resting with the slightest of trembles like a newborn butterfly drying its wings in the sun.
 
One tense note played upon the lyre, plucked again and again.
 
The moment stretched, tension rising, and then a burst of music from the pipes—and of laughter from the audience—heralded the arrival of Donkey, played by a servant named Marcelius, in a plaster donkey’s head with laughably large ears and teeth. He lumbered into Lotus’s meadow and tried to eat her wings, his movable jaw champing loudly. Lotus laughed and shooed him away, and then nymph and donkey capered together, playing at chasing one another.
 
Then, oh, Lotus grew so sleepy and in need of a nap. And look, here was a lovely couch upon which to lie. I patted Donkey and then gracefully lay down on my back, twisting my lower body slightly onto my side to better show the dip of my waist and the swell of my hip. I lay my arms partially folded above my head, leaving my body open, vulnerable.
 
A feast for the taking.
 
 
 
Link continuing the excerpt to XOXOAfterDark:
  
 
 
 

THE FETISH QUEEN PART 1 REBORN by Nicole Camden

 
SUMMARY:


Newly single and loving every minute, Lille—a.k.a. the Fetish Queen—is unleashed and ready to dominate in the first chapter of the sexy, enticing Fetish Queen series.

Blond, buxom, and bold, pin-up girl Lillehammer Marceaux can get any man she wants, but she leaves her fiancĂ© to move to Florida and run a sex shop called The Fetish Box, owned by her best friend. She immediately clashes with Max Jobman, the rough-hewn tattooed Irishman who owns the local pub. Not a very trusting man, Max is convinced she’s a spoiled beauty who’ll stay just long enough to find a rich husband. He quickly learns that Lille isn’t interested in a husband; she’s focused on making the business a success—but that doesn’t stop her from thinking about what an excellent lover Max will make…

What neither Max nor Lille realizes is that her efforts to become the Fetish Queen, which include making a type of reality show, have caught the attention of a dangerous figure from Lille’s past. Will her troubled past come back and drag her down, or will the Fetish Queen get her way?
 
EXCERPT:
 
            Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn, and Katharine Hepburn had been Sarah Wells’s babysitters when she was growing up—which explained a lot about how she turned out. She’d go to her neighbor Miss Gloria’s apartment in the afternoons and watch old movies while her mother entertained one of her “guests.” Mom’s guests could get violent sometimes; a couple of them had even suggested they preferred Sarah’s undeveloped body over her mother’s, so Sarah had learned to stay gone most of the time. Miss Gloria, an eighty-year-old black woman who’d grown up in Brooklyn, liked to drink black coffee wearing a muumuu and house slippers and watch the classics until she fell asleep on the couch. Sarah felt safe surrounded by the floral wallpaper and the old-fashioned images on the tiny black-and-white screen Miss Gloria wiped down with Windex every morning.
“That was true beauty,” the old woman would croon every now and then when she’d wake up and see Marilyn or Greta on the screen.
Sarah figured that if Miss Gloria was right, her mother qualified as truly beautiful. She had big eyes, big, pouty lips, and clear, flawless skin. Even after years of smoking, Sarah’s mother was still beautiful; but that didn’t stop her from getting pushed around by her clients every now and then, or drinking herself into oblivion. Those were the worst nights, the nights when her mother would get drunk and talk about Sarah’s father, about how he’d kill them both if he ever got out of prison. She’d made Sarah promise, over and over again, that if he ever got out, Sarah would run away, as far and as fast as she could. Sarah didn’t understand why her mother was so certain he’d come after them or why he was even in prison in the first place, but she knew well enough that if her mother considered him dangerous, he was someone to avoid.
Bad things happened all the time in their neighborhood; women and girls were snatched off the streets, stores were robbed, people were killed. Sarah was certain that the Desert Palms apartments had always been dingy and nondescript since they were first built in the fifties, but by the early nineties, things had gotten even worse. Graffiti covered most of the walls and the sign outside. The palms that had been planted around the buildings had long since died. Only one
lone cactus remained, which she admired for its sheer stubbornness. Even spray-painted with crude lettering, it somehow managed to look defiant.
When Miss Gloria was transferred to a nursing home, Sarah stayed at the library during the afternoons, and in the evenings her mother would take her to the club she worked most nights, a place with a large black man guarding the door, lots of bright purple lights, and women dressed in sparkles. The club, Dominoes, hidden pretty deep in the middle of nowhere, had always been a popular destination for wealthy foreigners. Sarah had loved the clothes the women wore there; she had wanted to wear feathers and diamonds and high-heeled shoes, too. Sometimes the strippers would dress her up and tell her that someday she would be a heartbreaker.
“Probably,” Sarah usually agreed, although she didn’t see how being beautiful had helped her mother, or any of the other strippers.
Some of them thought they had power when they danced. Sarah heard them talking about how all the men in the audience had been begging for it, and how much the strippers liked keeping it from them. Sarah could understand that. She supposed that if she were at the mercy of the vicious men who ran the club, she’d be looking for power any way she could find it, but she wasn’t about to spend her life taking her clothes off for money.
One night, just after she turned fourteen, she was doing her homework in the dressing room of the club when she realized that a couple of the dancers were looking at her and whispering. Sarah was used to this kind of behavior at school, where her rather large breasts and pretty porcelain skin were the subject of many hushed conversations, but the girls at the club rarely bothered to notice her.
“What’s up?” she asked, curious.
Colleen, a frowsy redhead, looked a little worried, chewing on her lower lip with her teeth.
“Nothing, honey. We just can’t find your mom.”
“What do you mean?” Sarah demanded. “She’s dancing.” She set her schoolbooks aside and stood. “Show me where she’s supposed to be.” Even though Sarah was only fourteen, people tended to do what she asked of them.
The girls, Megan and Colleen, led her out of the dressing room into the curtained-off area where the dancers waited for their cues.
Feathers were floating cheerfully in the air, the liberated plumage of a boa that had been used in one of the acts before a dancer had accidently ripped it in half onstage.
Colleen pulled her away from the center of the curtains where the girls stalked out onto a type of runway and led her down the side of the crescent-shaped waiting area to another opening in the curtain. Her long nails dug into Sarah’s arm.
“She’s supposed to be over there,” Colleen whispered, and pointed to the far corner. “She never misses a dance.”
Sarah knew that—that’s why she was worried.
                                              
 
Link continuing the excerpt to XOXO After Dark:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 DECEPTIVE INNOCENCE by Kyra Davis
 
SUMMARY:
 
Kyra Davis, the New York Times bestselling author of Just One Night, returns with book one in the thrillingly erotic Pure Sin series featuring a beautiful young woman out for revenge—until she falls in love with the one man whose secrets are as dangerous as her own. (Note: this volume collects Parts 1 - 3 of the previously serialized Deceptive Innocence ebook series.)

Ever since Bell’s mother died while serving time for a murder she didn’t commit, Bell’s been focused on one thing: revenge. She knows her mother was set up by Jonathon Gable, the head of both the powerful Gable family and an international banking corporation. Now she’s determined to take him down—from the inside.

Bell needs access to the Gable home and offices, so she poses as a bartender to seduce her way into the bed—and life—of Jonathon’s rebellious youngest son, Lander. He’s not a typical Gable, spending more time in the dive bars of Harlem than the posh cocktail lounges of the Upper East Side. He has an attraction to danger, a vulnerability Bell isn’t shy about exploiting. It should be easy to uncover the secrets she needs to destroy his family and clear her mother’s name.

But it turns out Lander is much more complicated than she ever imagined. He’s enticing, intelligent, mysterious—plus their sexual chemistry is off the charts. Even though Bell knows he’s the enemy, she can’t help but be moved, both physically and emotionally, by the man she swore was just a target. When he finds out the truth she’s sure both their hearts and her plan will be crushed...until she begins to realize that Lander might be hiding his own secrets, darker than she ever imagined.
 
 
EXCERPT:
 
My heart’s beating a little too fast and my eyes keep darting toward the door. He’ll walk through there any moment now. There are only a handful of barflies to distract me, and the kinds of drinks they order don’t take a lot of thought to make. This is not a Mojito Sparkler type of crowd.
 
Most of the people who come to drink at Ivan’s are men. They come to lose themselves in alcohol and sports. The few women who show up are looking for a special kind of trouble. This isn’t the place you come to in hopes of picking up a nice guy.
 
I know these women. Maybe not personally, but essentially I know who they are and what they’re about: disheartened or damaged, looking for men who can inflict enough pain to help them forget the pain that’s coming from within. Screwing assholes, making themselves vulnerable to emotional predators—it’s just another form of cutting, really. Every time they smile at a Hells Angels type I can see the unspoken words hovering over their heads.
 
Here’s the knife. Hurt me so I don’t have to hurt myself. Take away the responsibility and just give me the pain.
 
I get it, I really do. But it’s not my game, not anymore.
 
So I just pour the beer, keep the whiskey flowing, keep my smile evasive, cold enough to scare away the more aggressive ones, warm enough to coax the tips out of the passive . . . and keep my eyes on the door.
 
And then it happens. At exactly seven fifteen, he shows up.
 
I feel an acute pang in my chest, right where my heart is.
 
Lander Gable. How many times have I seen this man walk into this bar while I was sitting across the street in a cab or rental car? But now, today, I’m in the bar, and he’s walking toward me, not away. I’ve never been so close to him before. I can almost touch him!
 
And soon I will.
 
The ringing of the phone momentarily distracts me.
 
I pick up and ask, “Ivan’s, can I help you?” The person on the other end mumbles an embarrassed apology for calling the wrong number and hangs up, but I keep the phone pressed to my ear long after hearing the click, pretending to listen while I study the perfect specimen in front of me: a clean-shaven face, bronze skin, a watch that’s worth more than everything I own . . . Only he’s replaced the suit he wore to the office today with a pair of Diesel jeans and a sweater. Less conspicuous, but still a little too clean for this place. His physique hints at time spent at a gym, not a dockyard.
 
You’d think some of the other guys would kick his ass just for entering their bar.
 
And yet absolutely no one gets in his way.
 
It’s not until he’s almost at the bar stool that we make eye contact. He doesn’t smile, but there’s something there—curiosity maybe, perhaps surprise at finding a woman bartending, definitely appraisal.
 
I’ve gotta give myself a major pat on the back for that one. I must have spent two hours putting myself together today for him. He’s why I’m wearing my wild black hair down, letting it cover my bare shoulders. He’s why I matched the loose, low-slung jeans with a fitted tank that subtly reveals the benefits of my new push-up bra. He’s why I’m wearing thick mascara and sheer lip gloss. I know this guy’s tastes.
He takes his seat, pulls out a ten, and gestures to the bottle of whiskey still in my hand from the last drink I poured. “On the rocks, please.”
 
“You sure?” I ask even as I fill a glass with ice. “I could make a whiskey sour if you like. Maybe throw in a cherry?”
 
He raises his eyebrow slightly. “Mocking a patron when you’re new to the job? Risky, isn’t it?”
 
“How do you know I just started?”
 
“I’m here a lot.”
 
“Every day?”
 
“A few times a week.” He reaches for his drink, brings it to his lips. Over the glass he offers a bemused smile. “I like your prices.”
 
“Really?” I ask. “Drinks more expensive where you’re from?”
 
“You make it sound like I’m visiting from some far-off land.”
 
“Are you?”
 
His light-brown hair looks darker in this room, his eyes brighter. “Upper East Side,” he says.
 
“Ahhh.” I take a step back and cross my arms over my chest. “That’s about a million dollars from here.”
 
He winces. “Not necessarily.” On the other side of the bar a few men burst into cheers as a UFC fighter’s arm is broken on live TV.
 
“You living at the 92nd Street Y, then?” I quip.
 
“No,” he answers, his smile returning. “I’ve managed to avoid that fate.” He studies me for a moment, trying to gauge what he’s dealing with. “How ’bout you? You live here in Harlem?”
 
“Occasionally. I’m a bit of a drifter.” I fiddle with a glass, playing at cleaning it. “So why do you really come here . . . I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name.”
 
He gives me a quizzical look. “Considering how coy you’re being about what part of town you live in, I feel like maybe I shouldn’t volunteer my name just yet. That way we both have an air of mystery.”
 
“Oh, I’m only coy about inconsequential things.” I lean forward, put my elbows on the bar, and cradle my chin in my hands. Ever so slightly I arch my back. “I’m very straightforward about the things I want.”
 
“Really?” He takes another sip. “And what exactly is it that you want?”
 
“Tonight?” I pause for a moment, pretending to think. “Tonight I want . . . your name.”
 
His smile spreads to a grin. “You think you can coax it out of me?”
 
“Maybe.” Out of the corner of my eye I spot one of the regulars on the other side of the bar waving his empty glass in the air. “When I have the time.”
And I walk away to pour the next drink.
 
The foreman needing the refill is too drunk to notice that I’m trembling while taking his money.
 
God, is this working? Am I being too forward? Too much of a tease? My mother would have chewed me out for behaving like this.
 
 
Link continuing the excerpt to XOXO After Dark:
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Afterworlds

I saw an ad for this book and it sounded good. So when I got the chance to get an early review copy I jumped at the chance. I liked the concept of the duel storylines. The author did a good job of keeping them separate but intertwining them as well into one huge book. Although I found Lizzie's story way more exciting than Darcy's.  The storyline with Lizzie had more depth and the concept of her being a soul guide (yeah I did not like the word "psychopomp either) was cool. The alternate world or "afterworld" was another cool thing that I liked. It made the idea of the underworld not as scary. Darcy was fine but she was a tad boring. She was a wallflower. Luckily I still had a good time reading this book despite the slow moments with Darcy. Before I knew it I was already half way down with this book and then I was finished. Now that I have been introduced to Scott Westerfeld, I will be keeping an eye on what he comes out with next.