Please help us celebrate our first cover reveal; Wendy Knight's Fate on Fire novella, Feudlings in Sight! Available Thursday on Astraea Press, Amazon, and all other major ebook retailers!
Boys of war suck at romance.
Charity Delyle has lived in the shadow of her Prodigy cousin and his powerful Guard since the day she was born. And she doesn’t mind—really. Except that being in Hunter’s shadow means that he can’t see her. And she’d like that to change.
Hunter has one purpose in life: Protect the Prodigy, or die trying. That means a social life, school, and even Charity come last until the war is over. For the most part, he’s okay with that—he can lose everything if he has to…except his seer.
Starting at a new school should be much safer than living in a war-ravaged Carules headquarters. But this new school is different than the others. Friendships are forged and destinies are questioned, and Hunter’s decision could cost them all everything they’ve been hoping for.
“Okay, do you want to practice the ones we learned last week or just start new ones?” She had carefully color-coded the spell book with sticky tabs — spells they had mastered, spells they had practiced, spells that would come in handy one day — she was very organized. And if the Council ever found out she put sticky tabs in a book that was over three hundred years old, they would kill her completely dead.
“Learn as much as you can, Shane. Gonna be hard to find a place to practice in the mountains of Utah, surrounded by Normals.” Hunter idly traced spells in the air, letting them fizzle and die without igniting them.
“Well, alright.” Charity flipped to the red section — spells that would come in handy one day. She started at the top. “This one is called an Al-able.” The odd word rolled awkwardly off her tongue. “It’s like… it looks like it’s sort of a flat triangle of flames.”
Hunter and Shane both walked over, studying the spell in the book before tracing it slowly into the air. The spell wouldn’t actually ignite until they lit it with the flames roiling through their blood, but they both wanted to make sure they could do it correctly so as not to explode them all to pieces or something.
“No, no, Hunter. Less harsh lines. Softer.” Charity glanced down at the page and then up at Hunter’s disaster of an attempt. Sighing she laid the book on the metal next to her and pushed herself to her feet. She took Hunter’s hand, trying hard to ignore the way her own blood seemed to explode into flames. There’s no magic there, she told herself harshly. “Like this.” She led his hand through the spell until the air smoked and the image burned in front of them. She looked up, got caught in his gold eyes. He watched her, an unreadable look on his face.
It made her heart stutter in her chest.
Before he could say anything she dropped his hand. “Now try it on your own. I can’t do everything for you, you know.” Charity grinned playfully, dodging out of the way as he tried to push her over. She rescued the book from the twisted metal and perched, watching them expectantly. “Go. Do something.”
Shane rolled his eyes. “Give the girl a book and she’s suddenly the boss.” He moved away several feet so he wouldn’t accidentally ignite her. He’d done it before, and Charity didn’t relish the idea of it happening again.
BIO: Wendy Knight was born and raised in Utah by a wonderful family who spoiled her rotten because she was the baby. Now she spends her time driving her husband crazy with her many eccentricities (no water after five, terror when faced with a live phone call, etcetera, etcetera). She also enjoys chasing her three adorable kids, playing tennis, watching football, reading, and hiking. Camping is also big: her family is slowly working toward a goal of seeing all the National Parks in the U.S.
You can usually find her with at least one Pepsi nearby, wearing ridiculously high heels for whatever the occasion may be. And if everything works out just right, she will also be writing.
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Denver Collins, the heir to Hades, has always been connected to the demons. For so long he lived like them with no remorse. Then he met Cheyenne Loveless and she turned his world upside down. Now he wants to do good and be worthy of her love.
Lucien, the head of the demons keeps getting in his way, however. The demon wants to take over Denver's throne, and will do anything to make it happen – including brainwashing Cheyenne into doing his bidding. Time is running out as Denver races Lucien to win Chey-enne's heart – for the fate of the world.
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Will she be able to save him from himself?
Grace finds herself wed to a man who loathes her. She is shunned and exiled to the farthest corner of the land. It wouldn't hurt so much if he hadn't once been her best friend.
Thomas became a duke long before he was ready. Now he can't go anywhere without women trying to entrap him into marriage. He expected better from his childhood friend.
How can friendship, let alone marriage, thrive in the face of bitterness, suspicion and misunderstanding?
What's to be done when the hurtful choices made in anger have lasting consequences?
It takes a special kind of person to see past the pain to the beauty that lies beyond…
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Lyric is the story of a young, professional woman’s leap of faith from lonely but familiar singledom to a whole new world of committed love.
Lyric Chandler is a 31-year old woman living in a small town in the New York suburbs. While walking her dog, she meets landscape architect Dawes Van Dusen, who’s renovating the local park. For the first time in her life, Lyric finds herself attracted to a man who actually comes from a similar background to herself. But he’s just about to finish up his short-term landscaping project in her town, after which he’ll move on to another assignment far away.
Recently laid off from her job at a hedge fund, Lyric’s now a teaching assistant at the elementary school where she’s up in arms over the children playing in the parking lot at recess time. Little does she know that Dawes is planning to build a sculpture garden on the same plot of land for which she’s petitioned town hall for a school playground. Unaware of her plans for the same property, he’s determined to win the bid so he can prolong his stay in her town to be near her. For the first time in his life Dawes feels as if he’s met the woman of his dreams.
But when Lyric discovers Dawes’ project is going to take away the last bit of land available for the school’s playground, she breaks it off with him. Only after he’s suddenly called out of town does an unlikely source open Lyric’s eyes to why he was so intent on winning the bid. She now has to confront the real reasons why she drove him off – her own fear of letting a man who’s re-ally right for her into her heart.
When Dawes returns, he offers Lyric and the town a new design for an interactive children’s sculpture garden and playground. In return, Lyric is finally ready to give him her heart.
Lyric is a story that will appeal to contemporary women searching for balance between profes-sional and personal satisfaction. In particular it will resonate with young professional women in urban areas who’ve gained so much expertise in extricating themselves from relationships with Mr. Wrong that when Mr. Right comes along, they have no idea how to proceed. The story of Lyric was written for them.
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Lisa works for a top South African magazine as the make-up artist, but writes articles on the quiet. When the chief editor, Daniel, asks for her help in posing as his ex-fiancée to save face with his family, Lisa agrees, hoping to obtain a promotion in return. She doesn’t expect to fall for the handsome editor nor to fit in with his family who love her unconditionally. But Lisa has more secrets, and she doesn’t believe in love and family. After Daniel finds out her secrets, will his forgiveness and determination be enough to cut through all the layers Lisa has put over her heart?
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Money talks, and the way she spends hers tells him all he needs to know…
Richard needs to find a woman he can trust, and he needs to find her fast. He doesn’t have time to waste on getting to know people, which means dating and interviewing are out of the question. So how can he get past that initial mask of good behavior to learn what people are really like? Easy! Give them ten million dollars and watch to see what they do with it.
Genevieve is a freelance journalist who talks to herself, constantly forgets to put appointments on her calendar and can’t go anywhere without being asked to take a survey. Why on earth is Richard interested in her? She doesn’t know it yet, but he has ten million reasons…
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Saturday, July 27, 2013
As a research scientist, Julia Avers travels through time to sleuth out the mys-teries of past ages. When a rich client commissions her company to send her to 1812 London, she never dreams she’ll land in the townhouse of the Earl of Correlton. He’s handsome, and though she’s from the future, he wants her. Too bad he’s not above stranding her in his home by taking away her only means of escape—her invisibility transmitter.
James Noddingdon, the Earl of Correlton, is bored with all the pleasures Lon-don has to offer. When an invisible woman drops into his lap and reveals her-self to him, he feels fate has intervened and given him his intended mate. She claims she needs to find the person who will steal the famed Ring of Claremont. Seeking a way to court her, he demands she stay with him and his grandmother for her week in London.
After their week is over, Julia hopes to return home. But will she find that her home—as well as her heart—now rests elsewhere?
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Thursday, July 25, 2013
Francesca Hartwell adores cats of every kind. Lions, leopards, tigers. And they all love her. Good thing she gets to see them every day, since her father is their caregiver in the Tower of London’s Royal Menagerie. She’d love to find a man with whom she could share her love of animals, but so far, no one has stolen her heart. And there’s the added snag that whoever she marries must not have anything to do with nobility, as her mother had left her and her father for an earl.
John Fairgate has three rules given to him by his uncle. Inherit the title of baron upon his uncle’s death. Give up ornithology. And marry a childhood acquaintance. The first two, John will abide by, but won’t like. But the third, marrying a shrew who makes his skin crawl, he simply cannot do. Meeting Miss Francesca Hartwell at the zoo, however, has given him other ideas for a wife. But she’s not titled or wealthy. How will he be able to convince his uncle that she’s the woman of his heart?
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Jerome Mayer is tall, dark and dangerous to know. Normally Gemma would run a mile, but with a freshly broken heart maybe it’s time for this good girl to take a walk on the wild side. However the danger to them both turns out to be more than just emotional when someone objects to their attempts to uncover a corrupt land deal.
“Dangerous to know.”
Nathalie’s words about her elder brother, Jerome, resonated in Gemma’s mind.
“Strawberries taste better when they’re dipped in chocolate.” Jerome suggested and dangled one near her mouth.
Gemma licked her lips, a gesture that was purely automatic. It felt very warm inside Nathalie’s sitting room and she struggled to draw enough air into her lungs.
Why had she decided the best way to get over being dumped yet again was to boost her confidence by flirting with Jerome? The corners of his deep blue eyes crinkled and she knew he found her naïve attempts at flirtation amusing.
Gemma leaned forward and took the fruit from his fingers with her teeth. She chewed and swallowed as Jerome’s pupils darkened in the soft light from a nearby lamp.
"You’re right. It makes all the difference.” Even to her own ears her voice sounded husky.
He smiled and her heart skipped a beat. “Well, there’s more if you want some.” His fingertips were coated in melted chocolate from the fountain that stood in the centre of the platter of fresh fruit.
His words held the unmistakable note of challenge. Gemma sucked in air. This was not a good idea. She was in too deep. She tried not to stare at his fingers or imagine the taste of his skin. Phew, she felt hot…
“Gemma, Tali says could you come and be on the photo she’s taking?”
Gemma blinked and tore her eyes away from Jerome. Polly, Nathalie’s little stepdaughter, stood waiting in her pink party dress.
“Of course, where is she?”
“She’s in the hall. She said to get you as well, Uncle Jerome.”
“Lead the way then, princess.” Jerome wiped his hands on a napkin and leaned forward to murmur, “Later,” in Gemma’s ear. His words fell soft and intimate on her hot face and her heart rate quickened.
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Blurb: Spicy fiction made novelist Claire Gissler a star, but she can’t pen a sentence to save her life since her husband’s accidental death two years ago. Now, deeply in debt, her only hope of reviving her crumbling career is to flee small town America for big city London. Trouble is, she can’t afford the move. That is, not until handsome Adam Lambright — her husband’s best friend and the man she blames for his death — offers to let her stay in his flat… with him.
Adam Lambright used to know how to smile, how to have fun, how to love, but that was before watching his best friend die and his wife wither away from cancer. Now, ticked off at God, he’s vowed never to love again. That doesn’t mean he can’t help out his best friend’s widow. Heck, her life’s more of a mess than his own.
Seeing no other possible option, Claire moves to London. In that exciting city, she faces the challenges of rebuilding her career — and the attentions of her sexy English publicist. But, it’s her growing feelings for Adam that present the biggest challenge: learn to forgive or face heartbreak once again.
The irritatingly dramatic voice drowned out the squeal of the espresso machine.
"Claire Gissler! Where have you been hiding yourself?"
Sometimes she cursed the day she moved to a dinky Pacific Northwest island. Couldn’t she get a stinking cup of coffee without running into half the people she knew? Okay, one person. Just her luck for it to be the biggest mouth in town.
Claire dug a five-dollar bill out of her jeans pocket, slapped it on the counter in front of the teenage barista and grabbed her extra-hot vanilla latte. “Thanks, Tyler.”
“Take care, Mrs. G.” Tyler gave her a sympathetic smile from behind the register as she turned to leave.
“Hi, Bea. Sorry. I’m in a hurry.” She attempted to brush past the large woman.
No such luck. A simple shift of weight was all it took for Beatrice Atwell to block her exit.
“But I’ve got wonderful news.” Bea leaned in confidentially, although her volume didn’t alter a bit. Apparently she’d never learned the difference between inside and outside voices that any sane mother taught her children. “I’ve found someone for you.” She bared her teeth in what was probably supposed to be a smile.
“A man. He’s taking over Dr. Wainright’s dental practice. I know several women who would love to meet him, but you’re at the top of my list.” Bea looked like she couldn’t have a more perfect gift if she had been Santa Claus himself.
The nerve of the woman! Who did she think she was, throwing random men at her — as if anyone could take the place of Mark? Claire narrowed her eyes and lifted her chin. "I’m not looking to be set up.”
Bea placed a fleshy hand on Claire’s shoulder. “It’s time, dear. And he’s perfect!”
Time? As if there were a limit on how long one could be alone? She bit back an angry retort and tried again. "I don’t date dentists."
"Nonsense. It’s a perfectly good profession. And I hear he’ll be offering Botox." Bea had the gall to point to the creases between Claire’s eyes. Creases that were getting deeper by the second. It was time to try a new strategy.
“Botox? That’s fascinating!” Claire’s voice dripped with sarcasm. “I wonder if he’ll do it for free if I sleep with him? After all, it works for the plumber, the eye doctor, and my lawn boy.”
Bea’s bright pink mouth fell open. Good. That shut her up. Then the single clink of a teacup settling into a saucer alerted Claire to the general silence that had descended on the rest of the patrons. She looked around to find several pairs of eyes resting on her. Most faces wore expressions of shock or disbelief, with the exception of one man leering at her through a grizzled beard, hastily pulling out a business card.
So much for snappy comebacks. When would she learn to just bite her tongue?
Her cell phone rang. Thank heavens. Saved by the bell, for once. She grabbed her cell phone from the pocket of her fleece jacket and buried her attention in it while she made a hasty exit from the coffee shop.
“Well it’s about time you answer your phone.” Flo Liebowitz was her agent. Claire had been avoiding her calls for a week.
She stifled a groan. “Sorry, Flo. I’ve been busy.”
“Writing, I hope.”
She didn’t bother answering. They both knew that wasn’t the case.
“I’ve got bad news.” Flo never beat around the bush.
“What is it?”
“They’ve dropped you.”
And with those simple words, on a rain-soaked sidewalk overlooking the marina, her career ended.
“I heard you.” She sank onto a nearby bench and immediately regretted it. She’d have a cold, wet butt on her mile-long walk home. She sighed deeply.
It wasn’t that she hadn’t seen Flo’s news coming. Her publisher had been threatening to drop her for several months unless she presented him with a new manuscript for her Hetty Graham series. She’d tried, she really had. But without Mark in her life, the words just wouldn’t come.
“What about Emily? Won’t she fight for me?”
“Emily left to have her kid. You’ve got a new editor. And he thinks Hetty’s finished.” To her credit, Flo’s voice softened, as much as her voice ever did. “One more thing.”
“I’m not sure I can take one more thing right now.”
“Understandable. But I have to tell you.”
“They want their advance back.”
One hundred thousand dollars. She closed her eyes. How on earth was she going to pay that back? Unbidden, the stack of unpaid bills on her desk at home came to mind. Claire shook her head and opened her eyes. She couldn’t think about that now. She’d figure out how to pay that back another day.
“I’m sorry, Flo.” Brash though she was, Flo had stuck with her during these last two years of creative destitution. Claire hated to disappoint her.
“We’ll figure it out, hon.” The sympathy in Flo's voice made Claire’s heart swell with affection in spite of the bad news she was delivering. This woman had been there for her in her time of need.
“Now that I’ve dished out the bad, I’ve got good news for you, too.” Flo’s brisk tone meant she was back to business.
“I’ll take any good news I can get.”
“A London publisher is picking up the series.”
“Really? Someone’s finally taken us up on the foreign rights?”
“Yep. They want to publish in August.”
“Well, that’s something.” Claire cradled her coffee to keep herself warm while the sun struggled to shove aside the oppressive March cloud cover. Not likely. The words “sun” and “March” simply didn’t go together in the little island town of Friday Harbor.
“There's one condition.” Were those Flo’s acrylic nails she heard tapping on her desk over the airwaves?
“They insist you do a book tour.”
The gloom that shrouded Claire started to lift. She hadn’t visited London since college. It was one of her favorite cities. One that, sadly, she’d never experienced with Mark. They’d always planned to go, even talked about renting a place there once Anna went off to college. But that hadn’t happened. And now it never would.
Still, it was London. Claire almost smiled. “I could use an all-expense paid trip to London.”
“You’ll be lucky if I can get them to cover your airfare. I wouldn’t count on much more.”
“But, it’s work.”
“Everyone’s cutting costs these days, and you’re in no position to demand much.”
“Well, how on earth am I supposed to do that?” Claire sprang off the bench and stormed down the sidewalk in her frustration, paying no attention to where she was headed. “I’m broke. I have a daughter in college, remember? My credit cards are maxed out. I… oomph—”
She collided with a broad male chest.
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Blurb: Lady Laura Montgomery would much rather spend her summer at the family estate, but instead she must act as her stepsister's chaperone for the London season. She takes solace in her poetry books and in her love of music. They're all she has to comfort her as she once again faces the one man who stole her heart ten years ago. Andrew Bradford, Earl of Covington, needs an heir, but he's not looking for love.
His mother has made her selection, but he can't help being drawn to the girl's chaperone. Can he hope to make a match based on more than beauty and suitability?
Bio: Love's Refrain is Patricia Kiyono's seventh release with Astraea Press. During her first career, she taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her children and grandchildren. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures.
Excerpt: Andrew had just settled back in his chair when the most beautiful music floated through the open window. At first, he thought it was his imagination. But the uplifting of
his soul was not imagined. The smile on his face was real, as was the voice he heard.
Quiet at first, as if the singer tried to hide it, the smooth soprano melody was barely discernible. But gradually, the singer gained confidence, and the volume grew, to Andrew’s delight. The song was one familiar to him — a Scottish air his nanny had sung to him when he was small — and he absently hummed the melody along with the singer. He leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. Suddenly, the weight of his worries drained away. The dull ache in his forehead eased, and he breathed more easily.
Who was the mystery singer? The voice was cultured and had the maturity of a woman but without the force of one trained for the stage. Still, the music was pleasing to his ears… and to his world-weary soul. He settled back to enjoy the performance.
But as soon as it had begun, the singing stopped. An undistinguishable voice called out a command, the singer responded, and footsteps receded away from him. And as the volume of her footsteps decreased, so did his state of euphoria. Silently, he thanked the singer for providing a welcome respite from his daily drudgery. It had been a pleasant interlude, but now it was time to return to his life and responsibilities. With a rueful twist of his mouth, he sorted through the day’s correspondence.
Author links: Patricia Kiyono can be found at her WEBSITE |BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER
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Friday, July 19, 2013
Still reeling from the tragic death of his best friend, Will Wright is now the guardian to the man’s two young children. He is further stunned when his biological daughter appears on his doorstep.
After years of dreaming of children, Charlotte Miller would give anything for her foster daughter, even if it means creating a temporary family with the girl’s father.
At first building a family from five hurting, fragmented people seems impossible, but slowly they come together. Just as things seem to be going perfectly, something happens that threatens to tear their fragile family apart. Do Will and Charlotte have what it takes to fight through the challenges for love and family?
Excerpt: Will moved to sit on the sofa beside Charlotte. He hovered a moment before easing himself onto a cushion at the opposite end. “What do you say to moving in here? You and Lexi. I’m sure the move will only be temporary. Just until I can get custody of Lexi, then you can go back to your own life.”
He watched as Charlotte clenched her jaw. He wondered what was going on in her head. Something told him to keep his mouth shut, which was proving far harder than he had ever imagined. Walker had always been more of the strong, silent type. Wyatt served in the role of family goofball. Will, on the other hand, had prided himself on being the serious one, the honest one, the shoot-from-the-hip one. Now he shut his mouth and decided to keep it shut until Charlotte answered him.
“That could take awhile.” Charlotte kept her eyes down, no matter how much he wished she would look up at him. “The courts can be so slow. I just don’t know how I feel about living here, just the three of us.”
“Sierra and Shane will be here too.”
The look on Charlotte’s face told him that he might have said the wrong thing. Or at the very least confused her. As he thought through the events of the past half hour it dawned on him why Charlotte’s brow was furrowed. In the shuffle of the news that he had a daughter Will had forgotten to mention his guardianship of Sierra and Shane.
Will took a deep breath. “My best friend and his wife named me temporary guardian of their children. They’ll be living with me until their grandparents come for them.”
He watched as Charlotte pinched lumps of stuffing under the fabric of the throw pillow. She had long, graceful fingers, but short, unpolished nails. Refined, yet practical. The paradox of this woman intrigued him, and Will found himself mentally shaking himself to bring the conversation at hand back into focus.
“They’re great kids. Sierra’s five, and Shane is three.” Will felt a knot of emotion rise up in his throat, and he stopped talking. This grief he felt was so out of character for Will, and while he knew it was fine to feel it, he couldn’t stop himself from being embarrassed. He certainly didn’t’ want Charlotte to see this weakness.
To his surprise, a moment later Charlotte’s hand curled over the top of one of his fists. She didn’t say anything, simply held on to him. The connection Will felt to this virtual stranger nearly overpowered him. When he looked up and their eyes met in a gaze that caught something deep inside Will, he let go of Charlotte’s hand like it was on fire. Grief was making him soft.
“I just don’t know,” Charlotte said softly.
Silence settled over them as Will watched Charlotte. Her teeth caught at her bottom lip, and he could read her nervousness no matter how hard she was trying to hide it. Emulate Walker. That would be his new motto.
“I’d have to take a leave of absence from work, and I don’t think that’s even possible,” Charlotte continued after a few minutes. “And Lexi would have to leave her school. She just started there a few weeks ago. How would that make her feel?”
“We could ask her,” Will said, glad to hear his voice sounding even and like himself again.
“She’s thirteen and desperate for a relationship with her real parents. I can guarantee she’ll happily agree, but I can’t let her make this choice. She’s a child, and I’m still responsible for her well being.” Charlotte leaned back and crossed her arms.
“And I’m her father, so I think I should have some say in her well being.”
Charlotte laughed a short laugh. “You just found out that you are her father not even thirty minutes ago.”
“There’s no doubt in my mind that she’s mine,” Will said, knowing that he meant it. “I can see my family in her.”
“But how does that qualify you to make decisions for her so soon?”
Irritation rankled Will. Many retorts came to mind, but he bit them back instead only shrugging. “I’m her father. That’s all the qualification I need, in my mind anyway.”
The look Charlotte gave him actually made Will shiver. Her eyes narrowed, and her mouth became a line so thin it appeared to disappear into her face.
“So… I’m guessing this isn’t something you’re really considering?” Will felt defeated, and confused. Defeat wasn’t in his nature, but he couldn’t very well bully Charlotte into moving to the ranch. He’d feel guilty even if it did mean having his daughter there with him. Still there had to be a way.
Susan Ann Jones created the perfect, self-sufficient world for herself. She's organized, unattached, childless, and has worked in the same business office for twenty-two years. She's the only child of devout Catholics, but does just fine without spirituality. It's when her life hits a wall---her company is outsourced the same week she turns forty---that she concludes she’s disappointed herself and everyone else by not extending herself more. In a depressed mood late one night, she goes against well-ordered character and lowballs a bid on five acres of vacant ranch land in her native state of Arizona. Times being what they are, she's shocked a few days later to learn her bid was accepted! For the escape she throws herself into “the mistake” and decides to go camping. Yet, it’s here that God will tell her how much she means to Him by sending a unique angel: Beulah, a British White Bull raised by a little girl who died of cancer and whose father became a minister after her loss. With a funny and touching style, Susan tells her story of blossoming faith in herself, in others, and especially in things known only to the soul.
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Thursday, July 11, 2013
Mandy McKinney lives the charmed life. She is beautiful, athletic, popular, dating the hottest jock in school, and certainly doesn't have any time for her loser twin sister. But Mandy also has a secret. When the truth is unveiled, her world is twisted upside down, and her very life is at stake.
Mandy's twin sister, Brianna, has never had any success in the dating department. When Brianna finally meets the guy of her dreams, it turns out that he has secrets of his own. Dangerous secrets. Just her luck.
The twins are about to be swept away into a world of beauty and power beyond their wildest imaginations where nothing is what is seems, danger is lurking in the shadows, and their only chance of survival is finding themselves, and each other, once again.
Brianna's eyes felt as big as saucers. "What's it like?"
Jared took a deep breath. "It's like…magic. I'd rather show you than tell you."
She hesitated. "I don't know."
"Do you trust me?" Brianna searched his eyes and was captured by his gaze.
"Yes." She meant it.
"Then come with me."
The air beside her began to glimmer, every shade of every color emerging in the black of the night. An immense oval of colorful lights were suspended in midair, as if thousands of glowing gems had been melded together. Jared took her hand. "Come inside," he said.
Brianna took a deep breath and then stepped into the sparkles.
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Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Thanks to an embarrassing incident involving a wedding and her ex-boyfriend Marcus, Lucy has to leave her home town in a hurry and needs a place to escape to for a while.
Best friend Fiona is convinced now would be a good time for Lucy to get herself a new life with some potential for romance thrown in. Fate seems to agree when Lucy is given the once-in-a-lifetime chance to star in a TV show and be a contestant on The Love Programme - two weeks of luxury living on a grand Highland estate coupled with, she hopes, fun and romance in wildest Scotland.
When Lucy meets Paul - the young, handsome owner of the Highland estate - she thinks she may have found the love of her life but who is the mysterious Hannah and what part does she play in his life? When she discovers that Marcus is planning to follow her to Scotland to win her back Lucy has some serious soul searching to do. Does she have a future with Paul, with Marcus or is she yet to find the man of her dreams?
“Just sit on this suitcase, will you, Fi? I can’t get the stupid thing shut!”
Fiona, obligingly perching her bottom on the bulging case so Lucy could tug the zipper to close it up, said, “I can’t believe you’ve agreed to do this. You’re going to be on a TV show about love! Won’t you be embarrassed having everyone know all your business?”
Her face red from doing battle with the suitcase and, thankfully, managing to win, Lucy shook her head. “No, it’s all for a good cause. Where else could I get a few extra weeks off work and live the life of luxury whilst a man tries to impress me with extravagant dates? Plus, I’ll be getting relationship coaching from a top expert.”
Making sure she hadn’t forgotten anything, Lucy checked around the room. “Do you think I’ve packed the right clothes?”
Fiona lay back on the bed, stretching and spreading her arms out around her as though she was making the duvet version of a snow angel. “How should I know?”
“Mel said the programme is being recorded at the home of some Scottish laird. It’s a real mansion with a spa and acres and acres of land.”
Fiona pushed herself into an upright position, suddenly all attentive. “A laird, eh? Sounds interesting. What else do you know about him?”
“He’s not going to be one of the dates so don’t get all excited. He’s just rented his home out to the TV production company.” Having risked unzipping the case a few inches, Lucy was now trying to wedge a pair of sparkly silver sandals into it.
“Apparently he’ll be away on business most of the time we’re there, so we probably won’t even get to meet him.”
Moving to help Lucy ease the heel of the last sandal into the case, Fiona shook her head. “Shame, how exciting would it have been? Meeting a real life laird would be amazing.”
“He’s probably about sixty, balding, as round as he is tall and arrogant to boot.”
Fiona slapped Lucy on the arm. “Don’t spoil it for me. I was just picturing him as about our age, the classic tall, dark and handsome type. Big brown eyes…” She sighed happily. “Is it just me or do you find all those green wellies and Barbour jackets the country gents wear incredibly sexy?”
“No, it’s definitely just you!” Lucy shook her head despairingly.
As Fiona stared into space, no doubt continuing her little country gent fantasy, Lucy flopped down onto the bed. “Do you think I’m doing the right thing?”
“Of course you are. This could be a life-changing opportunity.”
“I’d like to be able to go on dates without feeling guilty about Marcus all the time.” Sighing, Lucy added, “I want to be free to have relationships like everyone else does.”
“I know you do. So, how can you doubt if you’re doing the right thing? You have to go to Scotland. You know you do.”
“I suppose so but will you be okay? I hate leaving you with your wedding just weeks away. There’s still some preparations to do and I am chief bridesmaid. Maybe I shouldn’t go.” Putting her head in her hands, Lucy muttered, “This is all crazy, I won’t go. I must be mad even contemplating it.”
“You’re going! End of story! The wedding is being perfectly managed by my mum and by Luke’s mum, so no worries there.” Fiona hauled Lucy to her feet. “What time’s your train?”
“I’m getting the overnight sleeper up to Inverness and then Craig, the TV guy, is going to meet me at the station and drive me to the country estate.”
“I’m so envious.” Fiona sulked, folding and unfolding the corner of the duvet around her fingers.
“I thought you were happy with your Mr-Not-So-Perfect?”
“I am.” Fiona sighed. “But a girl can dream, can’t she?”
Sunday, July 7, 2013
Nathalie Mayer is thirty-four. On the surface she is an attractive, happy, single, successful woman running her own bridal business. Despite her line of work and her obvious delight in other people’s weddings, including that of her twin brother, Nate. Nathalie has always declared that a settled relationship is not for her. There has only ever been one man whom Nathalie felt she could love.
Evan Davies is back in town after a six year absence. Last time he was here, he and Nathalie had tentatively begun to take their friendship to a different level. Now he’s home again and has the reason for his sudden departure from six years ago with him – his daughter, Polly.
The shop bell jangled again and a delivery man came in with an enormous basket of dark red roses.
“Oh, aren’t those gorgeous!” Gemma and Karen exclaimed together.
“Delivery for a Miss Nathalie Mayer?” The man read from a clipboard he carried in his other hand.
“Tali, they’re for you,” Gemma breathed.
“Wow, you must have an admirer?” Karen’s face was alive with curiosity.
Nathalie quickly took the basket from the man. “Thank you.” She moved away and rested the flowers on the counter. Karen and Gemma crowded around as the delivery man left.
“Open the card,” Gemma urged.
“Who are they from?” Karen asked.
Nathalie’s hand trembled as she slid the small white card from the envelope, even though she already knew who they must be from.
“Evan!” Karen announced in a triumphant voice before Nathalie had a chance to hide the card from view.
Nathalie pushed the card into the pocket of her jacket. “Can you take these through into the back of the shop please, Gemma?”
Gemma looked puzzled. “I’ll put them in your office.”
“Just friends, hmm?” Karen queried.
“The flowers were a thank-you for something I’d given his daughter,” Nathalie fibbed. She didn’t want Karen to spread her private life all over town. Unfortunately, she had a feeling it might already be too late. Karen had drawn her own conclusions.
“Are you bringing him to my rehearsal dinner?” Karen asked.
“I told you, no. We aren’t on those kinds of terms.” Nathalie felt herself flush.
“Well, those flowers look to me like the kind a man sends to a woman when he wants to be on those sorts of terms.” Karen picked up her handbag ready to leave. “Dark red roses? Please. Those are the flowers a woman gets the morning after a night well-spent with a man.” She nudged Nathalie’s arm. “And you look as if you didn’t get much sleep last night.” She swept off out of the shop.
Saturday, July 6, 2013
Blurb: Adventure wasn't something Lorelei Alundra was interested in. Gifted with two otherworldly talents for singing and healing, she’s always shied away from her gifts and the spotlight, preferring quiet anonymity, over attention and fame. But when she meets the enigmatic Adrius, with his dark and dangerous mystique and eyes that could see into her soul, her uneventful life becomes irrevocably altered.
Adrius turns up in every one of her classes and knows more about her than any newcomer should. Including the condition of her mother who is suffering from a mysterious illness. Accepting his offer to help leads her into a terrifying and thrilling world, where Elves are even hotter than Legolas, and Faeries.... are nothing like Tinkerbell. The two magical beings are fire and ice opposites. One Lorelei can’t help falling for, and the other she's compelled to be with.
Now she’s trapped, expected to prevent a war between witches and faeries, or forfeit her mother’s life. Nothing is what it seems. Not her family. Not the Fey. Not even Adrius, whose feelings for her balance precariously between desire and danger. Despite her better judgment, she can’t say away from him.
As secrets unravel and unsettling truths are revealed, Lorelei must fight to save much more than her mother’s life. One mistake could put the fate of his world, and her soul in jeop-ardy.
But hey, no pressure… right.
I’d die for him. When all was said and done, that’s what it came down to. I would give my life in exchange for his. Only he was immortal, blessed with eternal life. —And I was the one who was dying. Even after everything we’d been through I still wasn’t sure what he’d be willing to give in exchange for my life.
Climbing out of bed, I wandered out to the courtyard, towards the south border of the Wyldewood Forest. Apparently, I’d been granted one last night to sleep in my room. Adrius had given the guards posted outside my door his assurance that I wouldn’t try to escape, although there was the unmistakable click of a lock when he closed the door. Even if it had occurred to me to use magic to free myself, I wouldn’t have known how. The powers I’d somehow summoned with Octăhvia had receded to some inaccessible place deep inside me.
The message that had arrived hours earlier was as short and curt as the messenger who’d delivered it. Golden scrawled parchment simply read ‘Meet me in the glen bordering the south forest before daybreak.’ I’d been awake ever since, too anxious to sleep.
Sunrise dragged. I wanted to see Adrius again; see that he was past the worst of whatever he was thinking. I wanted everything to go back to normal. Normal; that was funny. Nothing had ever been normal here. In truth, nothing in my life ever had been.
I waited for what seemed like an eternity, pacing an uneven groove in the dew-soaked grass. It wasn’t yet daybreak and the sky was still laced with Mediterranean hues. A soft breeze carried the fragrance of wild herbs. It caressed my skin and the tiny hairs on my arm stood on end. I didn’t have to turn around to know who was behind me.
Adrius. I would recognize the electricity of his presence blindfolded. He was surreally gorgeous. Even now as he regarded me with distant, unreadable eyes. He was aloof; not as angry as he’d been last night, but still not himself. He had sent for me and so of course, I came. And now here we were in the very place we’d been when I first arrived in Mythlandria so many weeks ago. There was a familiarity but also an unnerving strangeness. I didn’t like not knowing what to expect. Or what he was thinking. I attempted to use the Inner Eye necklace to access his thoughts, but a seerer can see when he’s being read. And his mind was completely closed to me, leaving me in the dark.
“Follow me.” He said with a fleeting gaze.
I took a deep breath and I followed him, to what could possibly be my end. He was an Elven knight bound to his father’s will. And right now his will equaled me dead.
The thickness of the forest encircled us, swallowing us in its mist. Twigs snapped and crunched beneath our steps and occasionally his arm brushed mine, but he made no attempt to take my hand. Given the circumstances, it was pretty insane for me to hope that he might.
By the time the sunrise peeked through the trees, the silence had become deafening. It was clear I would have to be the one to break it if I wanted any answers. I didn’t like feeling so unsure about him. I knew what the curse could do, but I’d always felt comfortable. Safe. It was different now and I hated it.
“Where are we going?” I asked a little breathless from the quick pace he’d been keeping.
“Not much further.” He looked back at me. “Are you cold?”
I was doubly puzzled by his cryptic behavior. Wintry and detached one minute, worried about my comfort in the next.
I shook my head, suddenly aware I was shivering.
That was all he said before dropping into another uncomfortable stretch of silence. I realized he didn’t answer my question. It made me cringe to consider why.
Light dappled through the leaves. Something in the way the beam hit the ground reminded me of my mother. She’d always loved the play of sunlight. That was one of the reasons our house had been designed with so many large windows. My stomach twisted. I missed my mother. My house. My life. I had to go home... but, he could come with me. That was the best solution. We’d be far from his father, and Venus and the spell that bound his soul to hers and his mind to his father. Far from Zanthiel. We could pretend to be normal. Human. Finish school and then head off to college. Together. That was the plan. It could still work. We just had to get past this. If he could find the strength to spare my life, we’d be halfway there.
He glanced at me, his lips pressed in a thin line, and for a moment I wondered if he had been listening to my thoughts. Then I remembered the chain hanging from my neck, and the protective pendant blocking his access to my mind, tucked safely inside my dress.
We climbed uphill over thick coiled roots still sleeping on the forest floor, which confirmed how early it was; the trees weren’t even awake yet. Then he stopped so abruptly I nearly slammed into him. High above the forest below, we stood, still enclosed by the thickness of trees.
He’ll get over this. We can get over this. He needs some time, I told myself. The words weren’t very convincing. I could feel something burning a hole in my chest. Panic maybe.
He turned to face me. The air was thinner here and I shivered, but not from cold. I felt sick and a little dizzy, like I was teetering on the edge of a precipice, about to fall. I tried to steady my breathing. I kept telling myself it was all going to work out. That everything would be fine. But the look on his face made it impossible to believe that was true. I twirled a lock of hair around my finger. His eyes followed my hand, and for a split second his gaze softened. A half smile touched his lips; that same slightly crooked smile that melted my heart. Only it didn’t have time to reach his eyes before it faded. Then it was gone, as quickly as it had come leaving his emotions carefully shielded behind expressionless eyes. They were still beautiful....they were always beautiful, but the chill had returned. More than anything I missed their warmth.
I stood motionless, unable to breathe. Barely noticing the coiling mist that had risen and was swirling knee high.
Being alone in the forest with him used to be my favorite place to be. Now I was chocking from the dread rising in my throat. For an agonizing length of time he stared at me with those eyes that once lit up when he looked at me. His jaw tightened, and his hands clenched and unclenched at his sides. He shifted his weight, and frowned. A vein in his temples pulsed. Gritting his teeth, his hand reached for his sword. But then fell away. Raking a hand through his hair once, he finally broke the throbbing silence.
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