Title: Tempting Heart (Tempt Me #1)
Author: Sara Whitney
Genre: Contemporary Romance
It’s cold outside, but it’s getting hot inside…
An unforgiving blizzard
Tom Castle ended up in the wrong apartment on the wrong day. Now a ferocious snowstorm has him trapped with his onetime crush and longtime regret, which is pretty much in line with his lifelong bad luck.
An unwelcome houseguest
Finn Carey has no choice. Although it’s tempting to let Tom take his chances on the streets of Chicago, she doesn’t want anyone to die in a snowbank– not even the man who hurt her so badly years ago.
An unexpected second chance
At first, Tom and Finn do their best to ignore each other in the close quarters. Then the power goes out, and things between them heat up as the secrets start to flow. Which will thaw first: the storm raging outside or the ice protecting their hearts?
Tempting Heat is the first book in Tempt Me, Sara Whitney’s sassy, steamy new contemporary romance series. It’s a standalone novella with no cliffhangers, so slip on your fuzzy socks and get reading!
Excerpt from Tempting Heat
© 2019 Sara Whitney
On day three of being snowed in with her old friend-turned-nemesis-turned… whatever Tom was at this point, Finn came to the breakfast table armed with plans.
“So I figure we’ve got two options,” Tom announced after his first sip of coffee.
“You do?” She choked back a laugh that roll-with-the-punches-Tom had beaten her to it.
“Yep,” he said. “One, I still have a mountain of editing, so like we’ve been doing, we can work until it’s time for bed. Or two: We declare today a lazy day and lounge.”
His spoon clinked against his mug as he waited for her response.
“Funny,” she said. “I came up with three options as I was falling asleep last night.” He didn’t need to know she’d written them down and numbered them in order of preference in the Bullet Journal she kept on her nightstand.
“Excellent. Hit me.”
“Well, there’s plan A: we keep plugging away on our projects. Plan B: we fire up Netflix. Or plan C: we spend all day in bed, reading and napping.”
He quirked a brow at her. “In bed? Sounds heavenly.”
The words scorched the air around her. She hadn’t meant to say it like that, but it slipped out and now the image throbbed in her brain. Tom, sprawled across her bed, curly head propped on his hand while the other held a book. Setting it aside when he noticed her eyes drifting shut and then wrapping them both in a blanket. Napping together and waking to find his hand sliding under her clothes, seeking--
Her cheeks heated, and she reached for her coffee to halt her wayward thoughts. That wasn’t part of the plan.
“Different beds and different bedrooms of course,” she clarified, inwardly wincing at her prissy tone.
His hot gaze burned into hers for a beat longer than was strictly necessary before his mask slipped back into place and Friend Tom was seated in front of her once more. But was that relief she felt, or disappointment?
About Sara Whitney
Sara Whitney writes sassy, sexy contemporary romance novels packed with wit, charm, and crackling dialogue. A 2019 Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® award finalist, Sara worked as a newspaper reporter and film critic before she earned her Ph.D. and landed in academia. She's a great baker, a so-so karaoke singer, and an expert TV opinion-haver.
Sara and her divorce-attorney husband (yep, she sees the irony of their dueling professions) live in Illinois in a house full of books, cats, and pinball machines. Keep up with Sara by subscribing to her mailing list at http://www.sarawhitney.com/subscribe
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Title: A Whole New Duke
Author: Samantha Holt
Genre: Historical Romance
The Dark Duke they call him.
And he certainly matches up to his name. From his looks to his constantly furrowed brow, Miss Beatrice Edgerton is under no illusions as to the status of their arranged marriage.
It will be very much one of convenience. With him conveniently providing the title her family so desperately wants and her family bringing in plenty of money for his dilapidated home. She is simply grateful he is younger than her first husband.
Lord Morton, Duke of Hartwich, is only a little perturbed by the vibrant Beatrice. After all, he sets her straight from the very first day of their marriage—this is one of mutual benefit. In one way only. She can expect no affection or romance from him.
Because, frankly, he is incapable of such things. Being a one-legged duke with a slightly dark past brings enough challenges without him having to worry about a wife too. His days of concern for anyone are long gone.
Unfortunately, It is not only the duke’s dark demeanor she has to deal with. Someone is trying to cause trouble for them but they cannot fathom who or why.
Grace is determined to make the best of the situation, even whilst spending Christmas with the duke alone in the eerie Hartwich Hall. Why, perhaps she might even be able to change the duke’s mind about their relationship.
Especially after they share a fiery kiss…or three…
Excerpt from A Whole New Duke
© 2019 Samantha Holt
“I’m very tired,” she said through a yawn.
“You need to stay awake, Bea. You may have a concussion.”
“Concussion?” Her words sounded slurred to her but she was not certain they actually were.
“When one is struck on the head, it can make one feel a little strange. I have suffered it myself falling from horses.”
“Oh.” She put an arm over her face to block out the unwelcome light but Adam pulled her arm away from her face and she scowled at him.
“You need to stay awake, Bea. Just until we can be certain you are feeling better.”
“I would rather sleep,” she muttered.
“Mrs. Howard, will you get some ice and tea, please?”
Bea didn’t see the housekeeper leave but she heard her footsteps scurrying off. Adam cupped her cheek and she sank gratefully into the comforting warmth of his touch. “You are quite handsome,” she said softly.
“And you are still charming somehow.”
“I like it when you touch me.”
A smile grazed his lips. “I like touching you.”
“See? That was not so hard to admit was it?”
“Especially because you will likely not remember a thing of what you said tonight.”
“I know exactly what I am saying,” she declared, although the words did seem strange and still incoherent. She yawned and closed her eyes.
“Tell me of this intruder.”
Opening her eyes, she frowned. “It was dark but he was tall.”
“Taller than me.”
“Yes. No...Perhaps.” She let her eyelids flutter shut and found the darkness behind them quite pleasant.
“Anything else you can recall?” she heard him say but it was too hard to respond. Her jaw felt heavy and her tongue thick. “Bea?” A hand tapped her cheek and she ripped her eyes open.
“Stop,” she protested.
“You need to tell me all, Bea.”
“He seemed skinny but strong. He pushed me hard.” She forced her attention to his concerned features. “Adam, will you let me sleep with you tonight? I do not want to be alone.”
His lips tilted. “You will not be alone. I promise.”
About Samantha Holt
SA Today Bestselling author Samantha Holt lives in a small village in England with her twin girls and a dachshund called Duke. If you’re not sure where to start why not try…
▶ Amelia and the Viscount (Bluestocking Brides #1) for a fun, slightly hot shorter length read. Meet the Chadwick sisters and follow their adventures in each of their standalone stories.
▶ You’re the Rogue That I Want (Rogues of Redmere #1) is a longer read with heat, witty dialogue, a feisty heroine and adventure. All books in the series are standalone.
▶ Sinful Confessions is the first in the Cynfell Brothers Series. These are all novella length and standalone–ideal for a quick dip into the world of the sexy Cynfell brothers.
▶ Wake Me With a Kiss is a sweet, fairytale romance. Twists on Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella are also available if you love a clean, fun read.
▶ To Steal a Highlander’s Heart is a full length dive into the world of sexy highlanders. For those who love braw Scots, some steamy scenes, and medieval romance, this series is a perfect escape.
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Title: Panic (Mass Hysteria #1)
Author: Dawn Brazil
Genre: Young Adult, SciFi Romance
Mass Hysteria is a trilogy of young adult romantic/science-fiction serial novels that tell a continuous story. The books must be read in order, to fully understand the unfolding story.
High school can be hard, especially when your favorite horror movie becomes your reality…
High-School senior, Elizabeth calculates the likelihood of finding love to the probability of starring in a slasher film with her best friend, until she meets Brian Thompson. Love isn’t the only thing that eludes Elizabeth, however. Several threatening notes that promise her demise make a long life also questionable.
When Elizabeth’s best friend shares an article about the death of a girl in Italy, she dismisses it. As more girls are murdered, and cryptic messages are tucked in her locker, she realizes something sinister might be at play. Why? Each of the slain girls look like her.
Excerpt from Panic
© 2019 Dawn Brazil
The single slip of manila paper says only two words: “your next.”
Right away, a few things are apparent: this person’s command of the English language is severely lacking; the scrawl is most likely that of a teenage boy or a toddler of any gender; and thirdly, this note is different from the others. I glance around the brick pillar at the front of our house. The street is silent; not one person is outside from where I stand.
I ball the paper up and toss it in my purse.
I slide into the car beside Stacey and we head to the restaurant—in absolute silence. Silence has many forms. The form we exhibit is awkward—at least for best friends.
We both know why we’re going today. Stacey doesn’t agree with my sentiment for the day, though. I’ve read that if you toss a being outside their natural habitat, one of two things will happen—they will rise to the occasion, or die.
I’m a fighter. I should be able to master the social landscape of female teenagerdom, but it seems I can’t. I flounder—a lot. I cannot explain my high intellect and my innate ability to elicit cringes or gasps of shock when I speak.
Today, that changes.
Once we’re at the restaurant, Stacey says only four words: “This is ridiculous, hon.”
I disagree and we head inside to meet the other girls.
We arrive mid-joke. So, I time my laugh to spill from my lips at the perfect moment.
Except, the sensation rises from my abdomen like gravel tumbling through my mouth. Stacey turns, her lips pursed tight. The other girls stop giggling. Their purrs of laughter are in deep contrast to my piercing cackle.
They frown in unison—everyone but Stacey. She has an ‘I’m sorry I got you into this mess, hon’ look on her face. Though lacking in most social skills, I’m able to read their expressions: ‘What the hell was Stacey thinking, bringing the schizoid?’
I’m painfully aware something is off with me. On a scale of weirdness, I’m not Pinhead. I’m more Carrie, without the powers. I’d change this perception of oddness I convey, but I don’t know where to begin to work on myself. That’s why I’m here today.
Glancing around the table, I attempt a quick recovery. Dogs. Girls like dogs. “I have a dog. He’s the cutest little Pomeranian.”
My words are met with oohs and awws, but Stacey shakes her head once, slightly. I don’t know why she does it. I’ve hit a chord with these girls. I block her shaking head and the bombardment of senseless information streaming through my mind, and continue talking. “He’s a handsome little fur ball.”
“I love dogs,” one of Stacey’s friends says. “My Jax is too freaking cute.”
“My FeFe is too adorbs. What’s your dog’s name, Elizabeth?” Melissa, the closest girl to me asks.
“Norman Bates. He’s a—”
“You named your dog Norman Bates?” Melissa asks.
“Like, isn’t that the crazy dude from that movie? The one who cross-dressed like his mom and like killed everyone?” someone else asks.
“It’s kinda weird… well, a lot weird that you named your dog after a homicidal maniac,” Melissa says. No one speaks after her comment. They all stare in opposite directions.
I almost laugh at their reaction, but stop myself. A rush of thoughts hurry through my head: Melissa’s eyes are the color of her heart—black. She’s a modern Cruella DeVille. She’ll trample over her own mother to get what she wants, which is always materialistic and selfish. She’s also beautiful, and she hates me but loves my best friend Stacey.
I shake my head discreetly. They act like I told them I’m naming my firstborn Freddie Krueger. Which I would do, if I could have kids.
I strum my fingers over my jean shorts and count in my head. Counting reminds me not to speak and further add to the awkwardness of the moment.
“Norman Bates is the best dog name, ever,” Stacey says. She gives me a wink. “More importantly, has anyone seen that new movie? You know… the new romance?” Stacey snaps her fingers like she can’t remember. “Oh, I forget the name. But I heard it’s hot—full of steamy love scenes…” Everyone starts talking, each girl stumbling over the other to get a word in. Like if they don’t articulate what they have to say straightaway, their lives might be in peril.
I don’t understand girls, even though I’ve been part of the gender my entire life.
About Dawn Brazil
Dawn wants to live in a world fully inhabited by fictional characters. She thinks fictional characters are cooler than real people. Except herself, of course. But since the world is not comprised of dreamy book boyfriends, she creates them for everyone to fawn over. Her debut novel, Finding Me, book 1 in the Finding Me series, released on March 3rd 2016.
When she is not writing, she can be found with her nose in a book - swooning over another book boyfriend, drying up tears from a recent heartbreak, or shouldering a wound she received in battle. She also loves to create magic in the kitchen with an array of inspiring dishes she pulls from Pinterest. Dawn lives in South Texas with her sports obsessed husband, three technology infatuated teenagers, and her great, big, colossal imagination.
She is a master juggler and is working on two other Young Adult standalone novels - a high fantasy tearjerker and a science fiction story with a romance that will make your heart ache.
And she is passionate about superheroes - especially Wonder Woman!
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Title: To Kill a Fae (Hollowcliff Detectives #1)
Author: C.S. Wilde
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Fae enjoy playing dangerous games…
In detective Mera Maurea’s experience, three things motivate a murder: secrets, convenience, or passion. But none of the three can explain why the Summer King is dead.
With a tight deadline hanging over her head, Mera has to figure out who’s the culprit before the frail balance that holds the nation of Tagrad together crumbles into dust.
To aid her—or turn her life into a living hell, hard to tell which—is her fae partner Sebastian Dhay, a snarky detective with a penchant for the illegal. He’s a volatile wild card who will do anything to solve the murder, even if it means his doom.
The clock is ticking. And Mera is hiding a deadly secret of her own.
Excerpt from To Kill A Fae
Stepping beside her, Julian ran a hand over his hair. “What do you think, Mer? Lovers’ quarrel?”
Her throat suddenly dried at the sight of him.
Julian might be human, but he looked nearly ethereal. Like those marbled statues of the old gods, he was made of perfectly straight lines and sharp cuts. His strong, defined muscles were easy to spot, even covered by a white T-shirt and brown leather jacket.
Clearing her throat, she focused on the dead bodies ahead—the Summer King lying belly up, and the woman resting on her stomach, reaching for him.
“It seems that way,” she muttered.
About C.S. Wilde
C.S. Wilde wrote her first Fantasy novel when she was eight. That book was absolutely terrible, but her mother told her it was awesome, so she kept writing.
Now a grown-up (though many will beg to differ), C. S. Wilde writes about fantastic worlds, love stories larger than life and epic battles.
She also, quite obviously, sucks at writing an author bio. She finds it awkward that she must write this in the third person, and hopes you won't notice.
To be notified of upcoming releases, signup for the Kick-ass Team at www.cswilde.com
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Title: Wylde Fire
Author: Sarah Robinson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Sam Wylde is ready to prove he’s more than just the privileged son of a wealthy Southern dynasty.
Wyldefire Whiskey is poised to take Nashville by storm—and with any luck, overshadow the scandal of his cheating ex-girlfriend marrying his brother. The only problem? This gruff country boy has no idea how to throw a launch party that will get people talking.
The answer to everything might just be Holly Glen.
A party wrapped up in one tiny woman, Holly is tattooed, tempting, and exactly the event planner Sam needs to liven up his brand—and his life. He can give her what she needs, too.
All it will take is a ring on her finger.
Falling in real love with his fake wife was not part of the plan—but one shot of Holly isn’t going to be enough.
Excerpt from Wylde Fire
© Sarah Robinson
"You cannot do this to me, Cassie," Sam Wylde argued over the speakerphone attached to his truck's dashboard. He cringed as his Southern drawl came out a little thicker than usual. Frustration did that to him, and right now it was taking everything in him to not start cussing.
With a deft twist of his wrist, he steered his truck into the parking lot next to Town Hall, cutting off another car with a halfhearted wave of acknowledgement. He needed to pick up several permits before the city offices closed, leaving no room for pleasantries.
Damn, for a Saturday, the lot sure is packed.
He sighed and forced his attention back to the phone call. "We've got a few months until the launch of the entire brand. Everything I've done the last two years is riding on this."
"I'm really sorry," Cassie, his event planner, said from the other end of the phone. Or former event planner, apparently. "But I can't be in two places at once, and neither can my influencers and vendors. We're booked for that day now."
Teetering on the brink of exploding, Sam breathed in slowly. "But. You. Signed. With. Us. First." He ground the words out slow and steady.
"Technically, I haven't signed an actual contract. I was helping you out as a favor to Noah," Cassie informed him. "And where I go…so do my connections."
About Sarah Robinson
Aside from being a Top 10 Barnes & Noble and Amazon Bestseller, Sarah Robinson is a native of the Washington, DC area and has both her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in criminal psychology. She works as a counselor by day and romance novelist by night. She owns a small zoo of furry pets and is actively involved in volunteering in her community.
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Title: Tasting the Apple (The Bootleggers' Chronicles #2)
Author: Sherilyn Decter
Genre: Historical Fiction
A young widow on the edge. A policeman back from the dead. Together, can they take down the city’s most notorious bootlegger?
Philadelphia, 1925. With a son to raise and boarders to feed, Maggie Barnes is at her wit’s end. But when a criminal element infiltrates the police force, the single mother puts her cares aside to help. As she tries to dig up dirt on bootlegger mastermind Mickey Duffey, Maggie realizes she can’t take on the case alone…
Inspector Frank Geyer used to patrol the streets of Philadelphia before Maggie was born. As he attempts to clean up crime from beyond the grave, the spirit uses his Victorian sensibilities to fight back against lawbreakers. But with corruption throughout the police force, can the phantom informant save his city and Maggie’s livelihood?
With the roof leaking and the lawlessness spiraling, Maggie and Frank have one chance to take down a criminal and prevent the unthinkable…
Excerpt from Tasting the Apple
©2019 Sherilyn Decter
The handsome Russian lieutenant gazes down at the helpless woman supine before him. She trembles. His eyes smolder with desire. He is tall, dark, brooding. His Cossack uniform, ripped from his muscled body, lies scattered on the carpeted floor of the Czarina’s palace bedroom. She doesn’t struggle, caught by his magnetic eyes. He lowers his head, her lips part…
“Oh, Rudy,” Edith says. She breathes his name.
“Shh,” Maggie says.
“Oh, shh yourself.” Edith never takes her eyes off the screen until ‘The End’ flashes, and the theater lights come on. The Eagle is Rudolph Valentino’s latest silent movie to hit the theaters. The lineup to get tickets had been around the block.
“Oh, isn’t he just the dreamiest?” Maggie is standing, eyes shut. Raising a languid hand to her forehead, she pretends to swoon.
“Oh, you goof. Come on, let’s go grab a coffee before I run you home.” Edith slips into her fur coat, then links arms with Maggie.
Leaving the movie theater, adjusting to the afternoon light—despite the gathering clouds—the two women are a study in contrast. Edith Duffy, a tall, sleek beauty in her early thirties, has that pampered languidness that wealthy women often get. Her movie companion, Maggie Barnes, a few years younger, is not quite so well-turned out: a cloth coat to Edith’s fur; sensible shoes rather than satin pumps; a plain brown knit hat compared to Edith’s saucy garnet number that sports a jaunty feather.
Maggie is solid; some would say dependable. She’d cringe at that; aspires to something more glamorous. Where Maggie is steady, Edith is flamboyant. Where Maggie is cautious, Edith is devil-maycare. Where Maggie carefully counts out her pennies to pay for the movie, Edith throws a tenner onto
the counter, picking up the tab. Maggie looks forward to the day when she’ll be able to treat Edith. There’s a running tally in her head, keeping track of the obligation.
About Sherilyn Decter
The Roaring Twenties and Prohibition were a fantasy land, coming right after the horrors and social upheaval of World War I. Even a century later, it all seems so exotic.
Women got the vote, started working outside the home, and (horrors!) smoked and drank in public places. They even went on unchaperoned dates (gasp)! Corsets were thrown into the back of the closets, and shoes were discovered to be an addictive fashion accessory after hemlines started to rise. And thanks to Prohibition, suddenly it was fashionable to break the law. The music was made in America- ragtime, delta blues, and of course jazz. Cocktails were created to hide the taste of the bathtub gin. Flappers were dancing, beads and fringes flying. Fedoras were tipped. And everyone was riding around in automobiles (aka struggle buggies and I leave it to your imagination why- wink.)
Bootleggers’ Chronicles grew out of that fascination. Writing as Sherilyn Decter, I will eventually have a series of historical crime fiction novels dealing with the bootleggers, gangsters, flappers, and general lawlessness that defined Prohibition. The Bootlegger blog rose out of all the research that I’ve been doing about this incredible era.
Growing up on the prairies and living next to the ocean, I am a creature of endless horizons. Writing allows me to discover what’s just over the next one. My husband and I have three amazing daughters, a spoiled grandson, and two bad dogs.
Sherilyn Decter is enthralled with the flashing flappers and dangerous bootleggers from the Roaring Twenties and Prohibition. Through meticulous research, that lawless era is brought to life. Living in a century-old house, maybe the creaking pipes whisper stories in her ear.
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Title: Forever Wolf (The Legend of All Wolves #3)
Author: Maria Vale
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Born with one blue eye and one green, Eyulf was abandoned as an infant and has never understood why, or what he is...Varya is fiercely loyal to the Great North Pack, which took her in when she was a teenager. While out on patrol, Varya finds Eyulf wounded and starving and saves his life, at great risk to her own.
Legend says his eyes portend the end of the world...or perhaps, the beginning...
With old and new enemies threatening the Great North, Varya knows as soon as she sees his eyes that she must keep Eyulf hidden away from the superstitious wolves who would doom them both. Until the day they must fight to the death for the Pack's survival, side by side and heart to heart...
About Maria Vale
Maria Vale is a journalist who has worked for Publishers Weekly, Glamour magazine, Redbook, the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is a logophile and a bibliovore and a worrier about the world. Trained as a medievalist, she tries to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don't really need it. She lives in New York with her husband, two sons and a long line of dead plants. No one will let her have a pet. Visit her at mariavale.com.
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Excerpt from A Phoenix is Forever
©2019 Ashlyn Chase
Instead of going straight home, Luca parked nearby and started to walk off his hurt and frustration. He wasn’t in the best part of town, but he didn’t care. He wasn’t in the best mood either. How the heck had he gotten to this point in his life? Up until a short while ago, he had been hopeful about his future. Now, he wasn’t so sure. Still wearing his police uniform, he stuffed his hands in his jacket pockets and walked aimlessly with his head down.
Half an hour later, nearing the fountain of the Christian Science Center, a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, he barely noticed the regal elegance of the domed structure overlooking the calm reflecting pool. But in the quiet of the early morning, his ears perked up in sudden alert when he heard a woman’s strained gasp.
He glanced up and saw a young woman standing near the fountain. She was about five six with short, spiky brown hair, wearing a black leather jacket. Neck tattoos and a lot of piercings gave her a bad-girl vibe, but what was even odder was that she was staring right at him, wide-eyed. Then she passed out.
“Shit,” he muttered and ran over—faster than a human could. Worried she could wind up with a concussion, he cradled her head before she hit the pavement. He shook her shoulder and shouted, “Hey! Are you all right?”
Eventually, she opened her eyes. Big gray-green eyes. Unusual. Supporting her back, he helped her sit up.
“What’s the matter?” He was tempted to ask if she’d ever seen a cop before, but that was because he was in a crappy mood. Sarcasm aside, he was trained not to assume what was going on in a person’s brain. Asking open-ended questions would gain more information.
“I…saw blood.” She paused and closed those big green eyes again, taking a deep breath. “I always faint at the sight of blood.”
“What do you mean? You saw an accident or someone get hurt?” Luca gentled his voice in concern. Perhaps she’d witnessed a murder and had a delayed reaction.
She shook her head and reached out to grasp his hand. “Look, this may sound crazy,” she said, “but I’m a psychic. I saw you walking this way, and I got a dreadful feeling. Did something just happen to you? I see auras and have premonitions. Your aura is just…well, terrible. Then I had a vision. I saw you covered in blood.”
Blood? Luca helped her to stand. He believed in psychics—the genuine kind. After all, he was a shapeshifter, and he came from a family of shifters. But there were a lot of charlatans out there.
Given where his head was at after just being dumped by Lisa, he could only imagine what kind of energy he was giving off, let alone his aura…but blood? This chick could just be some wacko.
He folded his arms. “Do you want money to tell me more?”
“No! I’m not like that. I help people. Maybe the accident I just saw is something you can prevent from happening.”
He cocked his head. “You saw an accident? Where?”
“On a side street. It looked like an older part of town. They were just kids. Maybe sixteen or seventeen at the most. It looked like they were drag racing. A little kid rode his bike into the street and he was struck by one of the cars.”
“What does that have to do with me?”
“I don’t know. Sometimes I see through other people’s eyes. I think I was looking through yours.”
Luca wanted to stay openminded in case she was the real deal.
“Some more weird energy is clinging to you,” she went on, her expression seeming earnest. “I think it has to do with other people in your life. Your aura is red. Angry. But it feels justified—and not just that. I-I feel as if someone is out to get you.”
Who could be out to get him? Was it just his fellow cops, taking advantage of the rookie? Doubtful. That was just for their own chuckles and part of the usual hazing. Something all newbies went through.
No, his dark mood was due to getting dumped. Lisa had acted strange that morning, but he didn’t see her as a danger. Did she have someone else already, and maybe that someone considered him a threat?
He was still mulling over the possibilities when the spiky-haired girl pulled out a card and wrote her name and number on the back.
“I’m sorry if you think I’m trying to take advantage of you. I’m not. Knowing that cops are usually close-minded about psychics, I wouldn’t have even bothered, except I think you’re in danger. And those kids certainly are.”
Glancing at the card, he saw the name she’d written. Dawn Forest. He flipped the card over. It read ScholarTech: Academic Software for Brilliant Minds.
“Is that your real name?”
“Yeah. If I were going to come up with a fake name, it would be better than that.”
“You mean something exotic, like Zelda the Magnificent?”
She laughed. “No. Something like Susan Jones. I don’t think my mom realized how many times people would ask me if my name was fake or if my middle name was ‘inthe.’”
“So you work at this software company?” He wondered why someone who looked like her, with her tats and piercings, would be working for a company that created academic software.
“Yes, I just started there last month. Someday, I’ll get my own business cards instead of the generic ones.”
“Your look doesn’t exactly scream ‘corporate head office.’”
“Well, your assumption is outdated,” she retorted, hands firmly on her hips. “I have a college degree and was top in my class. Not to mention, I’m the only person at ScholarTech, including the engineers, who can recite the entire software manual by heart.”
“Wow. And you’ve only been there a month? How did you learn everything in so short a time?”
“I have a photographic memory.”
“You’re a psychic and you have a photographic memory? Shouldn’t you be raking in the big bucks on Wall Street?” Luca flashed her his trademark grin. It usually got him out of hot water. She smiled back and visibly relaxed.
He took a good look at her, past the tats and piercings and spiky hair, and noticed how pretty she was. Her nose was slightly turned up and covered with cute freckles. The tiny diamond stud in her left nostril almost got lost among them. Her hair made her look like a pixie. Maybe the badass tattoos and piercings were a way to counteract all that cuteness and be taken seriously.
“So do you do anything with your psychic talent, professionally?”
“Like working at a tea room? Or doing parties? No.”
“Anything other than stopping strangers on the street?”
She looked at her feet and kicked at the pavement with the end of her leather-booted toe. “Sometimes. If friends ask me for help, I do what I can for them.”
There was something about her body language that had him questioning that statement.
He tucked her business card into his jacket pocket. “It was nice to meet you, Dawn Forest. I should be getting home though. I worked the night shift, and I need to get some sleep.”
“Okay. Watch your back,” she said and returned to her spot by the fountain to retrieve her backpack.
About Ashlyn Chase
Award winning author, Ashlyn Chase specializes in characters who reinvent themselves, having reinvented herself numerous times. With a degree in behavioral sciences, she mainly worked as a psychiatric nurse and Red Cross RN. She’s happily married to her true-life hero husband who looks like Hugh Jackman if you squint.
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Title: Aries 181
Author: Tiana Warner
Genre: LGBTQ+, Science Fiction
A crime spree to steal aerospace technology. An intern with the brains to stop it.
When Jess uncovers evidence that her boss is stealing technology to build his company, her coveted internship at Aries turns from dream job to catastrophe. Worse, her boss cons another young woman into becoming his accomplice, and the duo’s chemically enhanced skills and weapons help them become the most infamous supercriminals to sweep the tech world. Before they pilfer every aerospace lab in North America, Jess must use her ingenuity to stop them—risking her career, her relationships, and maybe even her life.
Excerpt from Aries 181
©2019 Tiana Warner
A dead engineer was an inconvenient way to start the week.
From the passenger’s seat of his Bentley, Tony used his phone to post a new job opening.
“Get her car out of the parking lot. Torch it so it looks like tragedy struck on her way in.”
“Yes, sir,” said Reah, weaving through traffic as she took him to the Aries office.
Accidents were uncommon in the research lab. The work involved too much time behind a computer for that. But when the occasional ‘whoops’ did happen, it was an annoyance. Covering them up was a pain. Finding a willing and qualified replacement was worse.
“Warehouse,” said Scott when Tony entered the lab to check the damage. “She was modifying the propellant.”
Tony stifled a curse. Of course it was the propellant—the substance too stubborn to realize its own potential.
He and Scott crossed the lab with its white lights reflecting off white tiles, white walls, white tables, and white lab coats. The five other engineers kept working, unease leaking from their pores like sweat. With only seven of Tony’s two hundred employees cleared for the lab, the hole left by their dead colleague was more of a chasm.
Tony was unruffled. Their non-disclosure agreements were thorough enough for a situation like this.
“What’s the damage?”
“She, uh—she was completely burnt, Doctor Ries.”
That much was obvious. Scott’s fluorescent-pale skin and lab coat were smudged, leaving a goggle-shaped clear spot around his eyes. Holes split the toes of his shoes, revealing socks with hamburgers printed on them.
“Was anything else destroyed?”
An empire of technology filled the warehouse. These were his top achievements, past and future. No accident, no matter how messy, could quash the pride he felt every time he entered it.
He flung open the double doors. The stench of burnt metal and hair tickled his gag reflex.
“Minor damage to the surrounding area,” said Scott, dabbing his sweaty brow with a singed sleeve. “No property was ruined.”
It took a moment to blink the warehouse into focus. Dim, cold, and vast, the place could have passed for a storage facility. Walkways snaked between mounds of technology.
An early prototype of the Aries satellites—what the world came to know as the Aries 180 fleet—stole Tony’s attention as he entered. The size of a bald eagle and mounted on a podium, it was the one now-useless technology he refused to incinerate. He caressed it as they passed.
Yet, despite all that filled the floor, the place was a cold vacuum, a void. Like the invisible substance called dark matter, every space in the warehouse represented an irksome gap in knowledge. Empty corners, walkways, every molecule of dead air held promise. As creator of the Aries universe, Tony intended to use any means necessary to fill those gaps.
Tony’s watch vibrated. He looked at it to find a text.
Reah: Need your clearance to get her purse. Locker 4.
He replied, 5 mins, and quickened his step.
The temperature rose as he and Scott drew deeper into the warehouse. A drone whirred overhead, taking photos at intervals. More drones hovered beneath the three-story ceiling, LED lights marking their presence. He would have to review the surveillance images later to see what happened. He might enjoy popcorn with it.
They stopped at the explosion site. The concrete floor rippled, like it had melted and hardened again. Every adjacent surface was dented and singed. Five dry chemical fire extinguishers lay nearby. Most intriguingly, a black, body-shaped imprint traced the floor like a shadow, a dusting of ash in its center.
Tony scattered the ash with his toe. “Looks like this place was pretty lit.”
Scott cast him a sideways glance.
The culprit was the twelve-foot vat towering beside the scene of the accident. Smoke wisped from the top, Tony’s hopes and plans disappearing with it into the black ceiling. The heat wrapped around him like a wool blanket.
“So the propellant isn’t going well,” said Tony, like a challenge.
“It just reacted badly,” said Scott. “I’m confident we’ll get it in time.”
“Hm.” Don’t placate me, Scotty. What churned inside that vat represented tens of millions of dollars.
Sure, every aerospace company had rocket propellant, but no one had this. This was his next opportunity for international success—his next Aries 180 fleet, so to speak. If only the damn stuff would stop failing him. The setback choked his sense of control like a vice around his throat.
His father had told him there was no point in going into business unless you were going to be the best. Rather, the advice had been something like, “You wanna run a business, you gotta do whatever it takes to get on top. Might as well quit and be a shit-scraper if you’re gonna be a pussy about it.”
Tony held that wisdom close. Using methods no one else was brave enough to try, he was on his way to upgrading Aries from a humble Canadian startup to the world’s most cutting-edge aerospace company.
His watch vibrated.
Steve: Korean Space Agency wants you to join the call.
Korea would have to wait. He was already late for an appointment with the bank.
“What are you going to do to fix it?” he said to Scott.
“We’re, uh, looking into it.”
“I hired all of you because you’re the smartest engineers in the world. You’re telling me you don’t know?”
Scott hesitated. Tony hated hesitation.
“There are other engineers who might know more about high-energy liquid tetrapropellant, Doctor Ries.”
“I’ve scoured universities. I’ve head-hunted in the Silicon Valley. They’re too—” Tony waved a hand. “They’re not ready for the scope of the job.”
Scott didn’t need to know how many applicants failed the psychological evaluation. A PhD and a 150 IQ meant squat when the candidate couldn’t pass a basic obedience experiment.
Tony’s watch buzzed again. He ignored it.
If he wanted this propellant, he would have to get his engineers something to work from. Sometimes, they needed a push. Call it inspiration, or pieces of the aerospace puzzle.
This was a gap in the matter that made up his universe. It needed to be filled.
“Give me a week. I’ll get you the data.”
Global Nanosats was making headway in liquid propulsion. They could be of use.
He pulled out his phone to check his calendar. An email notification appeared, reminding him of a development meeting in twenty minutes. He swiped it away.
Stress tickled the base of his brain. He would have to make time to get that data between his other appointments, or cancel a few. This was more important.
He’d known for a while that he was overexerting himself. His universe was expanding faster than he could manage. If he wasn’t careful there would be a stellar collision. He couldn’t keep filling these voids alone.
He needed someone to help him get this information—someone smart, fearless, and malleable. He needed a personal assistant.
About Tiana Warner
Tiana Warner is the best selling author of the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy. Her books have been acclaimed by Writer's Digest, Foreword Reviews, and the Dante Rossetti Awards. She holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia. Tiana enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and is an active supporter of animal welfare.
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Title: A Tale of Two Houses (Defy the Stars #1)
Author: Susan Harris
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Centuries ago, the royal house of witches in Vernanthia split into two factions: House Cambridge and House Montgomery. These two houses warred with each other for an age, causing widespread bloodshed and death. Those without magic--the Nulls—suffered the most. One day, a favored daughter of the Nulls was slain. With her dying breath, she cursed the covens to know no peace until love was possible between the houses.
That curse had long since been forgotten—until now.
Julian Montgomery is the reluctant Prince of House Montgomery and Rowan Cambridge is in no rush to become the Queen of House Cambridge. Both heirs long for freedom from their birthright obligations. When fate throws these two star-crossed lovers together, it sends them on a collision course with destiny that neither could have predicted.
Shakespeare’s classic Romeo & Juliet is reimagined in this compelling drama about two young people drawn by fate into an unwinnable situation. If you think you know how this story ends—think again!
Excerpt from A Tale of Two Houses
©2019 Susan Harris
Underneath the window, a trellis crept up the wall, vines of ivy weaving in and out of the wood. I cupped my hands over my mouth and breathed out to try and put some heat into them. My heart began to beat a steady rhythm against my chest as I placed a booted foot on the end of the trellis, my cold hands less painful than the pit of magic in my stomach.
Creeping up the wall, I managed a quick incline, resting my butt on the window ledge as I considered that I might just be mad enough to knock on his window and beckon him to open it up. The wind whipped my braid against my face as I lifted my head and gave a gentle tap.
Nothing happened, so I tapped again, this time hearing a heavy footfall come toward the window. For a split second, I feared that the Montgomery heir would open the window, pushing me to my death before I could even blink, but as I perched myself on the window ledge, I rolled my shoulders and braced myself for whatever reaction I received.
About Susan Harris
Susan Harris is a writer from Cork in Ireland.
An avid reader, she quickly grew to love books in the supernatural/fantasy and Dystopian genre. She writes books for young adults and adults alike.
When she is not writing or reading, she loves music, oriental cultures, tattoos, creepy snow globes, DC shoes, stationary, anything Disney, Marvel movies, psychology and far too many TV shows. If she wasn't awriter, she would love to be a FBI profiler or a PA for Dave Grohl or Jared Leto.
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