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Cate Beauman's 1st standalone: SECRETS HIDDEN IN THE GLASS

 
Bestselling author Cate Beauman is back with her 12th full length novel and her first stand-alone title: Secrets Hidden In the Glass.
 
Her multi award-winning Bodyguards of L.A. County series has over 500,000 copies sold and a 4.4 rating with 8000+ reviews.
 
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 Stained glass artist Callie Davis is in desperate need of a vacation. Burnt out and on the edge of a nervous breakdown, she’s fleeing the pressures of her career and is taking refuge on Massachusetts’ tiny Carter Island. Callie yearns for long, lazy days and pretty walks on the beach—blessed solitude and an escape from the complications of her life. Then she bumps into gorgeous Nate Carter and everything changes. 

Sheriff Nathan Carter couldn’t be happier now that the height of the summer season has finally come and gone. After four endless months, tourists have packed their bags and headed for the mainland. The quiet days of autumn are about to befall the town—the way Nate and his fellow Sandersonians like it best.  

But nothing ends up quite the way Nate expects when he meets the beautiful blonde with the big blue eyes. Callie’s pretty smiles hide secrets—deep, dark mysteries that could cost them both their lives if they continue digging into the past and cross a killer’s path.

 
 
The Inspiration Behind Secrets Hidden In The Glass:
I always find the process of writing fascinating—imagining words and thoughts into subsistence that had once only existed in my head. Oftentimes, the undertaking is daunting. Months of research, careful plotting, planning, character development, and revising go into every page. There are many moments of doubt and worry. On occasion, there’s even a triumph or two. But finally, you type The End and you realize you’ve created a miracle of sorts—a story to share with your eager readers who are always waiting for what’s next. 
I had such fun telling Nate and Callie’s adventure. There was something extra enjoyable about bringing Sanderson, Massachusetts to life—the fictitious, tiny town on the equally made-up Carter Island. Imagine dreaming up a beachy setting that gets to be exactly what you want it to be. Add a group of intriguing (and on occasion quirky) characters. Throw plenty of steamy romance and several sprinkles of mystery and suspense into the mix and you’ve got yourself one heck of a good time. 
I hope you’ll enjoy Secrets Hidden In The Glass as much as I enjoyed telling it.
 
 
A Winner Dinner – Any Time Of The Year!
Oh, how I love to cook and bake. When I find recipes that are delicious and nutritious, that’s even better! Oftentimes, life is hectic in my house. Kids and dogs and deadlines are always at the forefront, so when I’m able to put a tasty, healthy, and time-saving meal on the table, I feel quite accomplished.
 
Secrets Hidden In The Glass takes place on fictitious Carter Island, where fresh Atlantic seafood is available for sale straight off the boats. I thought it would be fun to find a yummy little something that Nate Carter and Callie Davis might cook up together. These salmon cakes are worth a mention—and you can eat them any time of the year. Salmon cakes with corn on the cob and a fresh garden salad in the summer or salmon cakes with mashed potatoes or brown rice and steamed broccoli in the winter. Truly, you can’t go wrong! I’ve made a couple of simple tweaks to Self Proclaimed Foodie’s interpretation of sinful salmon. I hope you’ll enjoy these as much as my family and I do. 
 
 
Salmon Patties
(Makes 4)
 
2 6-oz cans salmon (I prefer Wild Planet because the fish is sustainably caught and it’s boneless and skinless.)
1 egg
3 green onions, minced  
½ cup plain whole wheat bread crumbs (can use regular bread crumbs or panko bread crumbs)
½ cup grated parmesan
½ lime, juiced
Olive oil to coat the pan 
 
  1. Drain the salmon and put the meat in a medium size bowl. Add the egg, green onions, bread crumbs, parmesan, and lime juice. Stir well, then form the mixture into patties that are no more than one inch thick.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, adding olive oil then patties when the oil is hot enough to sizzle a bread crumb that is thrown into the pan. Cook until golden brown (about 4-5 minutes on each side). 
Serve warm or cold. (These are great to prepare on a Sunday night and pack for lunch on Monday, along with a salad).
 

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Read an excerpt from Secrets Hidden In The Glass:
 
Chapter 1:
 
Callie stood next to the grease-smudged door, sucking her thumb and clutching Emily Dolly close in the crook of her arm. Tinny music played through cheap speakers as she stared at the big man sitting in a booth across the room, snoring with his chin touching his chest while the food on his plate went cold. Glancing around at empty tables and chairs, Callie recognized that she was in a restaurant. Mommy took her out to eat sometimes, but she’d never been to this place before. She flinched and her gaze flew to a set of metallic doors when a woman with bold red hair pushed them open and walked from the kitchen. 
The woman stopped abruptly and rolled her eyes as she looked toward the man, who sounded like a pig. “Good grief, I need to get off this midnight shift.” The woman shook her head, grabbing a washcloth from a bucket, then wiped down the long counter top. Her dangling hoop earrings caught in the light while she hummed along with the radio and wiggled her hips in the pink skirt she wore. After tossing the cloth back into the bucket, she picked up a stack of menus and turned, gasping when she made eye contact with Callie. “Dear God in heaven,” she said as her free hand flew to her chest. “You scared me half to death.” 
Callie gripped Emily Dolly tighter and stepped back, bumping into the cool glass. 
The woman frowned as her gaze tracked around the room. She set the menus on a table, walked over, and crouched down in front of Callie. “Sweetie, are you alone?”
Callie tried to move farther away but there was nowhere left to go. 
“You don’t have to be afraid of me.” She smiled and stroked her fingers down a lock of Callie’s long blond hair. “I work here.”  
Callie stared into the woman’s green eyes while her stomach twisted and turned and felt yucky.
“Let’s see if I can find your mommy.” The woman gained her feet and walked down a short hallway, opening a door. “Hello?” She moved a few steps and turned another doorknob, doing the same thing. “Hello?” 
The woman came back and pushed through the door Callie stood by, letting in the sounds of the cars driving by as she walked off into the dark. Moments later, she came back inside, hurrying over to the man in the corner, shoving on his arm. “Hey.” She did it again. “Hey, you.”
The man snorted as his eyes flew open. “Jeez, lady. What the hell?”
“Is that your little girl?” The waitress pointed in Callie’s direction.
The man turned his head, looking at Callie. “No, that’s not my little girl.”
The woman’s hand ended up on her hip. “Did you see her come in with anyone?”
He stared at Callie a second longer and shook his head. “I’m seeing her for the first time right now.” 
“Well, where did she come from?”
He shrugged. “Beats me.”
The waitress walked back to Callie, crouched down again, and sent her another warm smile. “Can you talk?”
Callie nodded.
“What’s your name, pretty girl?”
She took her thumb out of her mouth. “Callie.”
“Do you know how old you are?”
She nodded again. 
“How old?”
“Four.”
“Where’s your mommy, sweetie?”
Callie’s breath shuddered in and out when her tummy felt yucky all over again. “I don’t know.”
“How did you get here?”
She blinked rapidly and tears trailed down her cheeks. “I don’t know.”
“Oh, good heavens.” The woman picked her up and hugged her close. “Everything’s going to be all right.” She walked toward the metallic doors and pushed her way into the big kitchen. “Earl, call the police. I think we have an abandoned child on our hands.”
 
 
Did you enjoy the excerpt?  You can read the first chapter on my website, www.catebeauman.com, or you can finish the whole book with the links below! 
 
 
About the author:
 

 International bestselling author Cate Beauman is known for her full-length, action-packed romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Her novels have been nominated for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Golden Quill Award, Writers Touch Award, Aspen Gold Award, Heart of Excellence Award, and have been named Readers Favorite Five Star books. In 2017 FINDING LYLA was chosen as the Booksellers Best Award Winner, the Maggie Award For Excellence, and received the Holt Medallion Award. REAGAN’S REDEMPTION and ANSWERS FOR JULIE were selected as rare co-winners of the Aspen Gold Award in 2016. JUSTICE FOR ABBY received the 2015 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Gold Medal, while SAVING SOPHIE took the Silver Medal. SAVING SOPHIE was also selected as the 2015 Readers Crown Award winner for Romantic Suspense and FALLING FOR SARAH received the silver medal for the 2014 Readers’ Favorite Awards.

 

Cate makes her home in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and their St. Bernards, Bear and Jack.

 
 
 
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HEART ON FIRE Final installment in the Kingmaker Chronicles & GIVEAWAY!

 

Readers of The Kingmaker Chronicles are already well-acquainted with Griffin, but never before have we had the chance to see the world of Thalyria—and Cat—through his eyes. In anticipation of the final installment of the series, Heart on Fire, Amanda Bouchet has written this companion piece from Griffin’s POV!

So, get comfy and dig in!

What Happened in Velos Stays in Velos…
by Amanda Bouchet

Griffin watched Cat figure out their location from only architectural clues and the fact that there was a nearby forest. The way she put things together using a knowledge base most people didn’t possess amazed him.
“How do you know so much about Velos?” he asked, curious. “The circus travels a route farther to the west.”
“I’ve met people, heard things,” she answered with a small shrug.
Annoyance ground against his earlier admiration. Cat knew the truth—always—and yet she lied to him constantly. He could see it in her face, knew when she was hiding something. He wanted what was best for Sinta. Griffin was convinced that Cat did, too, but for them to start making changes happen, he had to break through her animosity first. Sometimes, he saw flashes of something else in her when she forgot to guard her expression, something that made his chest clench. Maybe there was still hope.
“Help me, Cat,” he said, trying not to sound like he was begging. Weakness wouldn’t go over well with her. She responded negatively to force—that much was clear—but she respected strength. “Or at least tell me the truth. I know when you’re lying.”
“Oh?” She looked like her last meal was abruptly curdling in her stomach.
“Your eyes get twitchy.”
“My eyes do not get twitchy!” she spat back, clearly horrified.
Did she really not know? She had so many tells, but he almost felt like he was alone in seeing them. No one else seemed to notice every nuance of her breath and skin.
“This one gets narrower.” Griffin lightly touched the tip of his finger to the corner of her right eye. Cat jolted at the contact. He wasn’t sure if that brought him satisfaction or regret. Maybe it was some of both. He couldn’t figure out a lot of things when it came to Cat, but he knew his own heart and body. They didn’t lie to him. He cared about her deeply; he wanted her madly.
“It’s as if you’re expecting the lie to hurt, but it doesn’t because it’s your own,” he explained.
Still looking like there was a sour grape in her mouth, she leaned away from him and started walking again. “Thank you for telling me. I’ll have to work on that,” she said through clenched teeth.
“Cat…” he growled, stalking after her. “Everything would be so much easier if—”
“—you let me go.”
Griffin shook his head. “I can’t. You’re too valuable.”
“Aren’t you the lucky despot? The one who caught the Kingmaker. Forgive me for not being overjoyed about becoming your slave.”
“Not a slave.” Impulsively, he reached out and grabbed her arm, swinging her back to him. “One of us.”
Cat wrenched out of his hold, looking more than incredulous. She looked furious, her mesmerizing green eyes practically on fire.
Gods, he wanted to shake her. Kiss her. Make her believe him. It should have been obvious to her of all people that he was telling the truth.
Once again, the fact that he’d dragged her unwillingly from her home punched Griffin in the stomach, making his gut twist. What in the bloody Underworld had he been thinking? His logic and reason had seemed to melt in the heat between them and then abandon him entirely when they’d really begun interacting. In the end, he’d just known she had to be with him. They had to be together.
He inwardly grimaced. As far as choices went about how to make that happen, though, there were undoubtedly better ones. And now he was paying. Cat was making sure of it—as she should.
“I’ll never be one of you,” she bit out with enough conviction to almost convince him.
Almost.
Griffin dragged a hand through his hair, tugging it back. “You’re too stubborn for your own good.”
She glared at him. She was something fierce.
Emotion tore through his chest. Would she ever forgive him?
The five of them—Beta Team, Cat, and him—eventually reached the market rows, and Griffin pulled four silver coins from his money pouch.
Flynn’s eyes brightened as he rubbed his hands together. “Payday!”
Flynn, Carver, and Kato each took the coin Griffin owed them, leaving one in the palm of his hand.
“Cat.” Griffin extended the coin to her, an uncomfortable hesitancy making his heart pound. “Your pay.”
As he expected, Cat refused the money. He wouldn’t push her. He wasn’t out to prove she was part of their team with one gesture. It was a long-term effort, one that meant a great deal to him.
He put the coin away. “I’ll hold it for you. I know what you want. You complain about it often enough.”
She looked up sharply, and then her eyes narrowed. Did she like it when he teased her?
Cat moved along next to him while he bought her some fruit he thought she would like as well as some bread and cheese. Not goat cheese. He knew better than that. Griffin tried to keep the rope from pulling taut, but it wasn’t always easy. He hated to remind her it was there. Not that she ever forgot. He just didn’t want to make things worse between them.
He located a soap seller next and tried to find something nice-smelling to replace Cat’s shrinking bar. He’d been using hers, and there wasn’t much left.
The turn of his thoughts reminded him of bathing so close to her, only a few feet apart. Gods, he wished he could see her. Just a glimpse. Just the slope of her bare shoulder while her hair was slicked back and water slid down the column of her throat…
Taking a deep breath, Griffin tried to control the jagged, unsatisfied heat prowling through him like a caged beast.
Cat rolled her eyes. “You’re worse than a woman. Just take the yellow one. It’s always the best.”
He reached for a block of bright-yellow soap, picked it up, and sniffed. “Lemon.” He closed his eyes and inhaled again, imagining breathing against Cat’s smooth skin. “Smells like you.”
“And you,” she shot back, her color rising. “My soap should have lasted another month.”
Ignoring the bite in her tone and doing his best to redirect his blood to his brain, Griffin handed over payment to the vendor. “We’ll take two,” he said in a voice like gravel.
“There is no we,” Cat muttered irritably as they continued down the row of market stalls. “Don’t act like I have a say in any of this.”
Now that wasn’t true. Griffin turned, frustrated again. Yes, he’d willingly pay for his highhanded stupidity. He’d pay forever if it kept Cat with him, but short of letting her go just to watch her walk away from him, from Sinta, and from everything they could accomplish together, he’d give her anything she asked for. And she damn well knew it.
“You could have a say,” he growled at her. “And you could bloody well choose your own soap!”
“I did! I told you to take the yellow one.”
“And I did!” Cursing under his breath, Griffin stalked toward the next vendor, somehow forgetting about the magic rope. The bloody thing pulled taut, and he accidentally jerked Cat right into someone who suddenly stumbled in from the side. The man looked innocuous enough, but off-balance and dazed. High from some spell, no doubt.
Griffin was about to intervene when Cat gasped and reached out to the stranger with a visible shudder. Her face lit up as she grabbed the man’s shoulders and pulled him even closer.
Griffin scowled. What in the Underworld was she up to now?
***
“Cat?” Griffin stepped closer to her. “Cat! What are you doing?”
Laughing, she finally released the stunned-looking man. She turned and stumbled straight into Griffin, sucking in a sharp breath when he caught her bare arms to steady her. Her eyes flared, then softened.
“You’re pink!” She giggled, the sound seeming strange and unnatural coming from her.
Griffin frowned, which apparently made her laugh harder. Her eyes unfocused, Cat splayed her hand over his chest. He thought it was for balance. She probably wouldn’t have touched him otherwise. He still reveled in the warm, light weight of her fingers. He’d longed to have her hands on him.
Cat stared at his chest. She seemed fascinated. She slowed her breathing to match his.
“Poseidon’s balls! What in the Underworld did you do to me?” The man who’d stumbled into Cat didn’t look dazed anymore; he looked infuriated.
Cat blinked. She blinked again, tilting her head to one side. She stayed right next to Griffin, her hand still on his chest.
The man staggered, fighting tremors and hiccupping down a series of short, disjointed breaths. His overly lean, unhealthy frame spoke of dependence and bad choices. Griffin tensed in case the addict got any stupid ideas about accosting Cat—who had clearly done something to him with her magic.
“That dose was supposed to last all day!” the man snarled. “I paid good silver for it. Give it back!” He lunged at Cat.
Griffin wrapped his arm around Cat’s waist and swept her out of the man’s path. The addict howled, and she laughed, leaning into Griffin in a way that warmed his entire side. Enraged, the addict drew a knife and waved it in Cat’s direction, a crazed light sparking in his already frantic eyes.
No one threatened Cat. Griffin shot out his hand and knocked the knife from the other man’s grip. It wasn’t hard; the addict already shook. He had no intention of stopping there. He leapt forward and wrapped his hand around the man’s throat. He held on to Cat as well. There was no way he was letting her go.
Her gaze bright, almost rapt, Cat stared fixedly at Griffin’s arm until he tossed the man to the ground. Kato, Flynn, and Carver formed a perimeter, keeping everyone else away and the addict in. Cat clapped and smiled, wiggling in apparent delight.
“Dose of what?” Griffin demanded in a hard voice. He needed to know what was wrong with her, and he needed to know now.
Cat shivered, and he couldn’t help gripping her tighter. He was self-aware enough to know he didn’t pull her closer solely for her protection.
Banking on sheer intimidation as the best way to handle the addict, Griffin drew a knife and threw it with precision, sticking it a mere inch from the man’s ear. “The next one lands somewhere that hurts,” he snarled.
The addict paled, his mouth going slack as his eyes darted to the blade next to his face.
“Brutal,” Cat commented. She didn’t sound averse.
Griffin glanced at her. “No one touches you.”
She bit her lower lip, looking adorably confused. “You’re touching me.”
Griffin’s eyes fixed on her mouth. “I’m the exception.”
She seemed to stop breathing, to maybe even like what she heard. Hope jerked in his chest. Smiling, Cat swayed toward him, and his fingers tightened on her hip. It took an almost herculean effort to resist hauling her up against him and kissing her like he’d wanted to since the moment he’d first laid eyes on her, weeks ago.
Griffin briefly closed his eyes. Cat wasn’t herself, and he wouldn’t take advantage of her.
Focusing on the addict again, he ground out, “I’m waiting.”
Cat turned back to the man at their feet as well and pointed her finger. “Answer or die!”
She did menace with absolute believability, and the man’s face went cloud-white. Cat burst out laughing.
“Euphoria,” he finally answered, pushing himself up to sitting. “Paid five silvers for it, and the little leech stole it with one touch.”
The addict spat at Cat, and a low growl rumbled in Griffin’s throat. He wasn’t in the habit of beating on people weaker than himself, but right then, he was sorely tempted.
“You bumped into me,” Cat announced, although she didn’t look entirely certain. She peeled Griffin’s arm off her waist and then stumbled away, unsteady on her feet.
The rope snapped tight, and she swayed. Following her, Griffin put his hand on her lower back to steady her, and the slight, momentary hitch in Cat’s stride was the only indication that she’d felt him behind her. She ignored him otherwise.
“What about the addict?” Carver asked, handing Griffin back his knife.
“Leave him.” Griffin stayed close to Cat as he sheathed the blade. “Make sure he’s not following.”
Cat hummed as she walked, almost dancing. Without her usual dark cloud of cynicism and understandable fury in place, there was a brightness to her that riveted him. Griffin wanted to enjoy it, enjoy her, but he was too worried about what she’d done to herself—and how it would end. Highs inevitably came with lows.
She stumbled, dizzy and distracted, and he easily caught her around the waist. Gods, he loved the feel of this woman in his hands. He wanted her under him. Over him. Everywhere.
“You’re high on euphoria.” He slid his hands up her ribcage to better balance her as she swayed. “A strong dose, calibrated to a man twice your size.” Their eyes met, and Griffin felt her soft, dreamy gaze straight down to his groin. “How did that happen?”
Cat beckoned, and he lowered his head. Their faces brushed, and he wished he could turn and capture her lips with his. It was torture to hold back, especially when Cat pressed into him, seeming to enjoy the contact.
“I can steal magic,” she told him in a conspiratorial whisper. “If you had any, I’d steal yours.”
Griffin kept a steady expression, even though her words shocked him. He’d never heard of that. He’d known Cat was valuable, powerful, but good Gods, was there nothing she couldn’t do?
Without his immunity to harmful magic, he could never hold on to a Magoi like Cat—magic rope or not. Although the rope certainly helped.
Helped keep her, he thought grimly. It didn’t help their relationship.
Her sudden smile nearly winded him.
“I can give it away, too.” Cat laid her hands on his chest and then shuddered. She frowned, seeming baffled.
“You don’t want any?” She pushed on his chest again before dropping her hands. “There’s something very strange about you.”
The realization appeared to delight her. Laughter bubbled up straight from her belly. Griffin felt his own mouth twitch.
Her amusement cut off abruptly, and she scooted out of his arms, reaching for Kato. Kato’s eyes glazed over the instant she touched him. He grinned like a fool.
“Everything’s pink!” Kato turned, lost his balance, and knocked over an entire table of leather goods.
“For the Gods’ sakes!” Griffin muttered. Now there were two of them.
The irate vendor started grumbling curses, so Griffin handed over some money. Nothing was broken, and the silver coin would more than pay for the mess.
He turned to someone who still had his wits intact. “Flynn! Take care of him. Take him back to the inn. Make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid or kill anyone by accident.”
“Oh, no!” Cat sang out in a loud voice. “We mustn’t kill by accident. Only on purpose.”
“My sentiment exactly.” Griffin gripped her hand and led her away from the growing crowd of staring people.
Cat giggled. Carver kept pace behind them.
“Where are we going?” Cat asked, starting to dance in circles around him. Griffin turned as well to keep the rope from tangling—not that he’d mind if it drew her right up against him.
Her hands suddenly flew up, and she started almost frantically taking apart her braid.
“We have one more thing to buy,” Griffin answered, wondering if he should help her with whatever she was doing.
“I knew it!” She seemed to forget about her now-disheveled hair and clapped, beaming. “What?”
“A drying cloth.”
Her face fell. Griffin knew a drying cloth wasn’t very exciting, but she needed one, so there was that.
Cat’s head swiveled around, and she walked off to the right, taking Griffin with her.
Her expression brightened once more. “A sword! I want a sword. Can I have a sword?”
The way her eyes glittered when she looked up at him punched a hole of happiness straight through his ribs. Right then, he knew he could deny her nothing—except the freedom she wanted most.
“You can’t even lift a sword.” He followed her toward the table of blades anyway. Maybe the vendor had something small.
“I can. Watch me.” She reached for a huge monstrosity of a weapon. It looked big, even to Griffin’s eyes.
“That’s odd. Someone must have glued it.” She bent over the sword for a closer look and ended up hitting her face on it.
Griffin’s heart spasmed. Was she hurt?
“Ow!” Cat popped up, rubbing her nose and nearly falling over backward. His hand shot out to steady her, but this time, she didn’t need him.
She frowned ferociously at the blood on her fingers, but Griffin breathed a sigh of relief. The cut was a small thing.
Cat eventually shrugged and then wiped the red smudge from her hand, laughing again. The euphoria must still have been strong in her system.
Brushing flyaway hair out of her face, Griffin leaned in for a closer look. The nick had already stopped bleeding.
In a move that startled him, Cat’s hands shot up and gripped his face back. Griffin’s heart stopped dead in his chest. She held on, her grasp tight at first. Then it loosened, and she trailed her fingertips down his cheeks.
Heat rushed through him. He wished he’d shaved for her. He didn’t dare breathe.
“Hmmm.” Her eyelids seemed to grow heavy, her lashing dipping to shade her beautiful eyes. “Scratchy.”
Griffin swallowed hard. Cat was touching him, and circumstances made it so that he couldn’t reciprocate.
He captured her hands in his and slowly lowered them. He couldn’t help the light caress he gave her knuckles. He didn’t do it consciously.
“The cut’s nothing.” Hardly recognizing his own voice, he released her. If he’d held on to her much longer, his skin would have caught fire.
With what felt like an Olympian effort, Griffin turned away from Cat and nodded to a small blade at the end of the table. The merchant handed it over, and he tested it, only partially to distract himself. If it wasn’t a quality blade, it wasn’t for Cat.
The sword turned out to be sturdy, well-crafted, and straight. “We’ll take it,” he announced. “And your smallest sword belt with dagger loops.”
Cat looked thrilled, and Griffin felt his chest expand.
“You’re buying me a sword? And a belt for my knives?” Grinning, she astonished him by leaping on him.
Griffin caught her as her arms and legs clamped around him. His heart thudded hard, his lungs seized, and his whole body ignited. She felt painfully perfect in his arms.
Unable to resist, he angled his head toward her and inhaled deeply. Cat smelled like frosted lemons—fresh and tangy, with a hint of acidity. He loved her bite. He was fairly certain he loved her.
As he breathed her in, his chest pressed against hers. The contact was exhilarating. His long, slow exhale shuddered over her neck, and Cat shivered in his arms.
Breathy laughter fluttered against his ear. “Ack! That tickles!”
A strained chuckle was Griffin’s only response.
He forced himself to unlock his greedy arms from around her and set her back on her feet. He knew Cat—an undrugged Cat—wouldn’t want to be in his embrace.
Staying close to him of her own accord, she smiled up at him in a way she never had before, like she meant it, rather than like she wanted to chew him up, spit him out, and then stomp on him until he was good and bloody.
Was this how things between them could be if she trusted him? If he’d convinced her that night at the circus fair instead of capturing her?
The thought made his chest ache, and Griffin cleared his throat, chasing out regret and need with a gruff sound. He’d figure out a way to win her over. He had to.
“The sword’s really for me?” Cat asked.
He hadn’t fully let her go since she hadn’t stepped back, and his fingers pressed lightly into her sides. “You said you wanted one.”
Cat’s smile grew brilliant. “In that case, I want two! One for each hip.”
He chuckled in spite of everything, imagining it all too well. The problem was, Cat was dangerous enough already.
“Let’s start with one,” he answered, drawing her a fraction closer.
Her breath caught, and it was agony not to lower his head and kiss her.
To avoid temptation, Griffin turned and paid for the sword.
Cat hopped along next to him when he began walking again. “Can I have it? Can I? Can I, please?”
“No.”
“Why not?”
“You can have it when I can trust you.”
She nodded. “Okay.”
“Okay?” Griffin’s eyebrows flew up in surprise. “That’s it?”
“What’s it?” She flapped her hands, swatting at something. “Did you see that?”
He frowned. “See what?”
“The bee. The Centaur bee. The pink one.”
Glancing briefly toward Olympus for guidance—and to keep from laughing—Griffin took Cat’s hand and led her through the market. It would have been easier if she hadn’t been dancing—not that he would ever stop her.
When she looked up at him again, the joy in her eyes almost blinded him. “Thank you.”
Her simple words punched the air from his lungs. “You’re welcome,” he answered gruffly.
“Not you,” she declared in an exasperated tone.
Griffin was content to not comment and watch her dance some more. She stumbled over Carver’s feet. Quick, as always, his brother helped her back up before he could reach for her, and Griffin’s hands clenched with the need to steady her himself.
In thanks for Carver’s aid, Cat dipped into a deep and graceful curtsy that looked like it could have been executed in any royal court. He was surprised she managed it so well, given her current state. The ease with which she moved smacked of years of practice and raised questions he knew she wouldn’t answer.
Carver bowed back awkwardly enough to make Cat laugh until she could barely breathe. They weren’t used to such pomp in the south. Court etiquette was something he and his family still had to figure out—preferably fast.
Feeling a rush of worry for his family right now trying to integrate into royal life in Sinta City without him, Griffin guided Cat toward a table covered in drying cloths. Cat jumped, trying to catch the hanging ones while he looked through the selection on the table, suddenly ready to be done with the market in Velos and get back on the road.
“This one,” he said, selecting a yellow one about the same shade as Cat’s usual soap. She’d like that, wouldn’t she? It was almost like having a set.
“Is that for me?” she asked.
Griffin nodded, his stomach sinking at how disgusted she looked by his choice.
“Not that one. It looks like Cerberus threw up on it.” She glanced from side to side. “I want that one!”
She seemed ecstatic about a flashy red cloth big enough to cover four of her, so he put the yellow one back and bought the red.
He couldn’t think of anything else she—or anyone—needed, so Griffin steered Cat back toward the inn. Without warning, she sat down in the street, yanking the rope tight between them and pulling him to a sudden stop. Griffin let out a grunt of surprise.
Cat looked up at him, her nose scrunching. “Serves you right. You could just untie me. Or let me go.”
There was the usual Cat. Her tongue was still sharp, even if her mind was fuzzy. “And miss all this fun?” he teased.
Her laughter shook her all over. Griffin smiled back, wishing things could always be this easy and enjoyable between them. Maybe they would have been if he hadn’t been such a colossal arse the night they met.
He opened his mouth to apologize for capturing her, to solemnly ask her forgiveness, for another chance, for a better them he was desperate to have, when Cat’s head snapped around, and she jumped up, already running.
Bollocks! He’d missed his opportunity. He knew himself; there was a good chance he wouldn’t take it again. Cat’s barbed tongue could make even him hesitate, and she’d be back to her normal self soon. And in the end, he wasn’t sorry they were together. He’d never be sorry for that. Griffin ran after her.
“Where are you going?” he asked. Carver jogged next to them on Cat’s other side.
She didn’t answer but then veered off and ran up the steps of a bathhouse, crashing through the doors and nearly plowing into a couple. She reached for the woman but then pulled back before Griffin had to intervene. She kept going.
Chortling with glee, Cat raced toward what Griffin suspected was the men’s pool from the artwork on the walls. She didn’t seem to notice the increasingly explicit mosaics lining the corridor.
They arrived at a tall door that Cat tried unsuccessfully to open. She repeatedly groped for and missed the very prominent latch.
Griffin reached around her to open the door, not sure he shouldn’t have been barring the way instead. “I get the feeling you’ve never been high before.”
She glanced up at him. “Have you?”
He shook his head. Never—and he didn’t plan on it.
“Looks like fun,” Carver chimed in, rather idiotically in Griffin’s opinion. It looked like a dangerous loss of control to him.
Cat teetered toward Carver. “Want some? It’s fabulous!”
Carver grinned. “No thanks. Offering anything else?” he asked so smoothly that Griffin had to do a double-take before the urge to punch his brother hit him.
Cat laughed, blushing prettily. Then she sighed. “Don’t flirt.”
“Why not?” Carver asked, completely ignoring Griffin’s hard stare.
“Don’t you know? Poseidon sent your incredibly annoying brother to me with an oracular dream. Once-in-a-lifetime thing. Except for most people. Most people never have one. Anyway”—she rolled her eyes—“he probably thinks it means something.” She snorted like that was beyond ridiculous when it was likely the most important thing that had ever happened to him. “I’d rather eat goat balls. Or goat shit.” She frowned, clearly confused. “Or goat cheese!” she abruptly shouted.
“Oracular dream?” Griffin turned the term over in his mind and in his mouth. He hadn’t known what it was called, or that it occasionally happened to others, but he’d known it was life-changing. He’d known it meant he was supposed to be with Cat.
“She’s a wealth of information,” Carver murmured.
“What? Never heard of one?” Cat shrugged. “I’m hot.” She turned, tripped, and went down before Griffin could catch her.
He helped her to her feet again and then followed as she ran straight into the men’s bathing chamber. Three naked men looked over, startled.
Cat yanked her tunic over her head.
Griffin’s eyes widened. “For the Gods’ sakes, Cat!” He wanted to look. He knew he shouldn’t.
Everyone else needed to get out now.
She kept stripping, and something roared inside him.
“Out!” he shouted to the other men. What in the Underworld was he supposed to do? He couldn’t leave her alone in here. Not looking seemed impossible, especially when he needed to keep her safe. And because he desperately wanted to.
The need to protect her, even from himself, battered his chest. At the savage look on his face, the three men scrambled out of the pool and ran. They averted their gazes from Cat, obviously knowing what was good for them.
Cat turned back to him, completely bare. Heat built in his groin and crept through his abdomen. Griffin wanted to reach for her, to cover her. To cover her with himself. He nearly groaned.
His brother moved in his peripheral vision. What in the Gods’ names was Carver still doing here? A growl ground deep in his throat.
Before his narrowed eyes could snap to Carver, Cat reached up and swept her fingers through his hair. Her touch was light but sure. There was no hesitation, and even some gentleness. He wished she would never stop.
She smiled and patted his head. “Good Beta.”
The growl meant for Carver turned into a grunted laugh.
“Woof!” she barked back.
Gods, she was amazing. And fun. And strong. The knowledge made him grin and hit him square in the chest—which made his eyes automatically drop to hers.
Griffin froze, balling his hands into fists to keep from reaching for her.
She flushed. Her nipples hardened as he watched, and the tension inside him exploded into something nearly unbearable—hot and urgent. Griffin felt a muscle tick in his jaw as he clenched his teeth, fighting to tear his eyes away from her. He lost the battle, and his eyes dipped, sweeping over her. He swallowed hard. He wanted this woman more than his next breath. But he wanted her to like him first.
“Untie me or get in.” Cat’s throaty whisper, her invitation, nearly brought him to his knees.
Griffin stepped closer to hide her nakedness from Carver. He didn’t watch Carver leave the room, but he did watch Cat blow his brother a kiss, and Griffin practically saw red. He’d never felt so barbarically possessive in his life.
Finally alone with her, Griffin lifted his eyes to Cat’s. “Give me your binding word you won’t leave without me.”
“All right,” she agreed.
Could it be that easy? “Say it,” he insisted.
She rolled her eyes with extra exuberance and then bowed dramatically. “I won’t leave the bathing chamber without you, O Imperious One.”
It was hard not to laugh. His ire deflated instantly. Cat was his only concern.
Griffin untied the rope, trying to keep his hands to himself. He accidentally brushed Cat’s waist at one point, though, and his fingers almost caught fire. His whole body tightened with the need to claim Cat for his own.
The instant she was free of the rope, Cat turned and dove into the pool. She stayed underwater for so long that Griffin started to get anxious. He realized he shouldn’t have worried when she popped up a moment later, whooping and laughing.
She swam forever, and Griffin couldn’t do anything but watch and make sure she didn’t hurt herself. She played, frolicking in a way that made him long to join her. But she wouldn’t like that. She might like it now—she’d even splashed him and tried to coax him in—but she wouldn’t like it later. He wouldn’t make the inevitable end of her fun worse by joining her and giving her something more to regret from today.
Besides, how would he keep from touching her? From showing her how hot he burned for her? If he got in, the whole damn pool might evaporate just from the fire inside him.
Another long hour of torture later, Griffin pulled up short. He saw the exact moment Cat’s high burned itself out and fatigue and reality came crashing back to take its place.
She gasped, paling to near-translucent. She started to sink.
Griffin stepped forward, but then she seemed to recover enough to float. He hesitated. He wanted to help her, but she probably wouldn’t want him touching her.
Cat’s face went from white to red so fast it was blinding. She bowed her head, looking defeated, and Griffin’s heart clenched hard.
“That’s why addicts stay high,” he said softly. “It’s too awful when it ends.”
She sniffed but didn’t look up.
“Come.” Dropping his gaze to the marble floor, Griffin held out her new drying cloth. It was more than big enough to cover her up and warm her.
He didn’t look directly at Cat, but he could still tell that she crawled up the steps, shaking, shivering, and almost too weak to make it to the cloth he held. Griffin was going to hand it to her, but then she just oozed into the material and waited. He wrapped it around her and began gently patting her dry.
“Why did you take it?” he asked when she closed her eyes, looking mortified, weary, and utterly alone.
Right then, Griffin wished more than ever that he’d earned the right to take her into his arms and comfort her. But he hadn’t, so he wrapped the cloth more firmly around her instead. She trembled.
“The magic wanted to be inside me.” She spoke so softly he barely heard. “I couldn’t control it. I-I didn’t even try.”
Was it just his imagination, or had Cat leaned into him?
He cleared his throat.
“It wasn’t his magic. It was a spell.” Griffin straightened, wanting a better look at her. Pale face. Grey lips. Blank eyes. The sight of her made his chest ache.
“It doesn’t matter.” She slumped, hardly even upright. “It’s the same to me.”
Not knowing what else to do, Griffin made sure the cloth was secure around her before trying to guide her toward her clothes. “Let’s go.”
Instead of walking, Cat dropped to the floor and curled up in a ball.
Watching her, Griffin’s gut sank. He’d put her in a position where she’d felt compelled to steal unknown magic, undoubtedly to help her escape. Now she was sick and miserable, and it was in good part his fault. No wonder she hated him.
Griffin gathered their belongings and then carefully picked Cat up off the floor. She surprised him by not protesting. She even rested her wet head on his shoulder, her breath a sweet warmth against his neck. He cradled her against him. He’d build trust one heartbeat at a time if he had to.
“You never smell bad,” she murmured, barely forming words around her fatigue.
“Should I?” Griffin asked.
“It would make you mortal, like the rest of us.”
“I am mortal. That’s why I need—”
“—your help,” she finished with a sigh.
“This isn’t a game, Cat.”
“Just leave me here,” she said despondently. “You can’t carry me all the way back.”
Griffin grunted. That was absurd—in more ways than one. “And leave behind my most valued treasure?”
She hesitated. Her breath seemed to catch. “I won’t be used.”
Ah, the usual rhetoric. He smiled vaguely. Was she coming back to herself?
“Egeria will win you over,” he said. And he would, too.
She yawned, bringing the tip of her nose into contact with his neck. He wished she’d let herself come even closer, thought maybe a small part of her even wanted to, but suddenly she stiffened in his arms.
“It won’t get that far.” Those five words were sharper than anything she’d said in hours.
Griffin’s mouth flattened. And so it began again. “You’re wrong. You’re wrong about a lot of things.” And somehow, someday, he would prove it.
“I bled on that sword and didn’t dilute it.” The panic in Cat’s voice shot tension through his body. “They’ll track my blood. It’s been hours. They’re already on their way.”
“Who?” he demanded.
Wilting again, she yawned, exhaustion seeming to drown her fear. “It’s your fault. You exposed me.”
Griffin held her tighter, his heart hammering out adrenaline-laced beats. “I’ll protect you.”
She closed her eyes, looking alarmingly weak. Almost unconscious. “You could try,” she whispered just before her head lolled, and her body went limp in his arms.
Grim-faced, Griffin carried her toward the inn. He had to do better than try. The fate of Thalyria and both of their futures depended upon it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Heart on Fire

The riveting conclusion to The Kingmaker Chronicles coming January 2018! 

GODS. I’M AN IDIOT.

Without Griffin—and apparently a few meddling Gods—to push me along, I’d still be telling fortunes at the circus, lying about my past, ignoring my future, and living as far away from my tyrant mother as humanly possible. 

True understanding thuds into place. Hope isn’t just an abstract concept; it’s me. Flesh and blood me. Griffin knew it all along. Probably everyone did. I’m an idea in human form.

I have the power of the Gods at my fingertips.

The only thing ever stopping me has been me

Pre-order Heart on Fire now! 

USA Today bestselling author AMANDA BOUCHET grew up in New England and studied French at the undergraduate and graduate levels, first at Bowdoin College and then at Bowling Green State University. She moved to Paris, France, in 2001 and has been there ever since. She met her husband while studying abroad, and the family now includes two bilingual children, who will soon be correcting her French. Connect with her at www.amandabouchet.com.   

Experience The Kingmaker Chronicles from the start!             

A Promise of Fire

Breath of Fire

50th Anniversary of PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK ~soon to be a TV series

A 50th-anniversary edition of the landmark novel about three “gone girls” that inspired the acclaimed 1975 film and an upcoming TV series starring Natalie Dormer
PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK
by Joan Lindsay
Foreword by Maile Meloy

Mysterious and subtly erotic, PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (Penguin Classics; On-sale: October 3, 2017; $16.00; ISBN: 9780143132059) was first published 50 years ago and inspired the iconic 1975 film of the same name by Peter Weir—as well as a six-episode TV series starring Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer, scheduled to be released by Amazon next year. Widely considered one of the most important Australian novels of all time, it stands with Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, and Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides as a masterpiece of intrigue.

On a cloudless summer day in the year 1900, everyone at Appleyard College for Young Ladies agreed it was just right for a picnic at Hanging Rock. After lunch, three girls climbed into the blaze of the afternoon sun, pressing on through the scrub into the shadows of the secluded volcanic outcropping. Farther, higher, until at last they disappeared…. They never returned.

Over the course of four weeks in 1966, Joan Lindsay wrote PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, a debut literary novel that became a sensation. The intrigue surrounding it propelled it into Australia’s national folklore. This new Penguin Classics edition, featuring a foreword by Maile Meloy, author of the recent bestselling novel Do Not Become Alarmed, about the disappearance of four children on a family vacation, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the novel’s first publication.

As Maile Meloy recommends in her foreword, new readers are encouraged to delve into PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK with as little information as possible. For whether these accounts are fictional or true is entirely up to the reader to discern.

“A sinister tale…laced with touches of other-worldliness” —The Guardian

“Deliciously horrific.” —The Observer

“The fact that most people believed that this palpable fiction was a record of a real event is not merely a tribute to the writer…but a testimony to the atavistic power of its theme.” —The Spectator

“Beautifully haunting.” —The Sun Herald (Australia).

About the Author:

JOAN LINDSAY was born Joan à Beckett Weigall in Melbourne, Australia, in 1896. She attended Clyde Girls Grammar School, the model for Appleyard College in Picnic at Hanging Rock, and the National Gallery of Victoria Art School, where she studied painting. On Valentine’s Day 1922 she married Daryl Lindsay in London. She chose Valentine’s Day 1900 as the setting for Picnic at Hanging Rock, her best-known work, which was first published in 1967 and is the basis for the 1975 film of the same name by Peter Weir. She died in Melbourne in 1984.

MAILE MELOY (foreword) is the author of the novels Do Not Become Alarmed, Liars and Saints, and A Family Daughter; the story collections Half in Love and Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It (named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review); and the Apothecary series, a middle-grade trilogy. She has received The Paris Review’s Aga Khan Prize, the PEN/Malamud Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Rosenthal Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in Los Angeles.

Terrell Williams’ ~ BUT MY SOUL IS BLACK

Hello. I’m Excited. This is one of my stops during the month tour for But My Soul Is Black by Terrell Williams. This virtual book tour is organized by Write Now Literary Book Tours. This tour runs September 4-29, 2017. Follow the tour here.  Book your own tour here WNL   

ISBN-10: 150069312X

ISBN-13: 978-1500693121

ASIN: B074TCQJDD

Genre: Fiction/Romance

Terrell Williams began life as the 2nd eldest son of 9 children (4 girls and 5 boys) and was reared in less than affluent circumstances. The second in his immediate family to graduate from college, he went on to marry a wonderful woman, and who eventually became the proud parents of 4 children (3 girls and 1 son who is also his namesake).

Mr. Williams enjoys reading and writing poetry, and he has written several plays that have been performed and were well received in Texas. The idea for his debut novel, But my Soul Is Black, lay dormant for many years until Mr. Williams finally finished the novel upon his retirement, fulfilling his dream of becoming a published author. His romantic tale tackles controversial topics such as interracial relationships, generational differences of conceptual thinking about life and love. This novel seeks to remind the readers of the interconnectedness we share as humans, as well as showing that truly, love transcends all!

But My Soul is Black, takes a candid look at interracial romance and the human experience. The book reveals the cultural misperceptions that harm us, and the love that heals us.








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Kaira Rouda’s THE BEST DAY EVER

 

 

 

The perfect couple is the perfect illusion.

Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever.

But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really? How much do they trust each other? Is Paul the person he seems to be? And what are his secret plans for their weekend at the cottage?

Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Evercrackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion.

In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life.

“As I opened the door and stepped into the humid night, her scream followed me out. But I knew there was still love for me in her heart…

I’m unforgettable.”

Where to buy BEST DAY EVER: At your local bookstore or online at

Kaira Rouda is a USA TODAY bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary fiction, including Here, Home, Hope, and The Goodbye Year. Kaira is also the author of Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs and the creator of Real Living, one of the nation’s most successful real estate brands and the first national women-focused brand in real estate. She now lives in Southern California with her family, where she’s lucky enough to write full time, and enjoys the beach whenever possible. Kaira’s latest novel, Best Day Ever, is one of the major launch titles for Harlequin’s new imprint Graydon House, and will be available on September 19, 2017.

To connect with Kaira, visit her website, KairaRouda.com. Connect with her on Facebook.com/KairaRoudaBooks; and on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter – @KairaRouda.

Jessica Scott’s CATCH MY FALL Release Blast

THE FALLING SERIES

     
Former Army Sergeant Deacon Hunter is trapped. 
Trapped in the friend zone. Longing for the woman who captured his heart when they were deployed in Iraq. 
Former Army Sergeant Kelsey Ryder has scars, the kind of scars she hopes that no one ever sees. Working around the guys at the Pint, she’s reminded of everything she lost when she left the Army behind. 
But some scars refuse to stay hidden. 
One fateful night changes everything and neither of them know if their relationship will ever be the same. 
All Deacon knows is that he’ll be there to catch her when she finally falls.
 

ePUB | MOBI

                    Be sure to stop by tomorrow for a Spotlight excerpt!

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THE HOMEFRONT SERIES

(contemporary military romance set at Ft Hood)

Victoria Vane’s VIRTUE (The Sons Of Scotland Bk.1)

If you’ve missed Victoria Vane’s historicals, your wait is over.

A man without a past…  
Abandoned at a monastery as a young child, Alexander serves two masters—God and the fading memories of his past life—the one he never got to live. As he nears the day to take his vows, he’s sent on a last sojourn into the real world, but what begins as a test of faith becomes a journey to manhood.

And a woman who doesn’t know her own heart…
Born from the line of two kings, Lady Sibylla Mac William is abandoned by her sire as a child and then ruled illegitimate. Though she lives a happy life under her uncle’s protection, Sibylla craves something more, but never could she imagine losing her heart to the would-be monk who unexpectedly arrives to tutor her brother.

Together, they will forge the future of a kingdom…
When dark secrets from the past come to light, Alex and Sibylla’s fates become inextricably entwined. Will Alex choose the safe and secure path he knows, or will he reject holy orders to embrace his true destiny… and the woman he loves?

Twilight made a rapid descent on Cnoc Croit na Maoile, cloaking the forested part of the path in deep shadow and making the way difficult. Twice, she stumbled and a short while later, caught her foot on a root that sent her sprawling to the ground.

Alex was there swiftly to help her back up. “Are ye a’right, lass?”

“Aye. I’m nae hurt,” she lied.

He could clearly see that her face was scratched, her palms were scraped, and her tunic had been torn by a limb. He gently brushed away the dirt and tenderly kissed her palms before entwining his fingers with hers. “’Tis best if I lead ye now.”

Although the rest of the way was easier, Alex was reluctant to release her hand.

“Ye still havena told me what troubles ye, Alexander,” she said, breaking the silence.

“I’ve learned some things about my family since coming here,” he said.

“Aye?” She stopped to face him. “How did this come about?”

“Yer uncle recognized my sgian-dubh. He says he kent my faither.”

“He did? How? What did he tell ye?” she asked.

Alex drew a great breath into his lungs and released it on a sigh. There was so much he wished to confide, but what could tell her? How much did he dare to share? “Only that my faither was an enemy of the king.”

“The king has many enemies,” she replied, “especially in Moray. Did ye ken my máthair’s faither was a king in his own right? His lands stretched from one sea to the other, but his son, Angus, forfeited everything when he rebelled against the crown.”

“My faither found himself in a similar situation,” Alex said. “There was substantial… property… that should have come to him by right through his faither, but the king disagreed.”

“’Tis the Cenn Mór way to do such things,” she said.

“Dinna ye also carry Cenn Mór blood?” he asked.

“Only a quarter,” she corrected. “And I dinna regard that part of me any more than my sire regarded his Scots blood. He was a lowlander by birth who chose to be Sassenach. I, on the contrary, choose to be a Highlander.”

Her answer evoked a chuckle.

“Ye should do that more often,” she said.

“Do what?” he asked.

“Laugh. ‘Tis the first time I heard ye laugh.”

“Monasteries dinna encourage much laughter,” he said dryly.

“But yer nae there anymore, are ye?”

“I am nae.”

“Then ye need to laugh more freely,” she insisted.

They’d emerged from the forested path, Alex halted and turned to face her. “If ‘twill please ye,” he said. “I will try.”

“Aye,” she said. “But ‘twould please me even better if ye would kiss me again.”

Alex instinctively leaned toward her, wanting to give her the kiss, but knowing where it would lead. “I canna, Sibylla,” he said, stroking her cheek. “This should ne’er have happened between us.”

“But it did,” she said. “Do ye regret it so much, Alexander?”

“Regret? Nae.” He shook his head. “I only regret that it canna be.”

He’d gone to the promontory seeking solace for his distressed spirit, and found balm in Sibylla’s kiss. He knew it was far more than carnal lust, but it was futile to think they could ever be together. “I am no one with nothing,” he said. “This can go nowhere.”

“But things can change Alexander,” she said. “I believe our destinies lie in our own hands.”

“Ye do nae have faith in Divine Providence?” He wondered again at her lack of piety.

“I do. I believe God sets many things in motion but the choices we make, for better or for ill, are ours alone. I believe ye came here for a reason, Alexander. I believe our meeting was meant to be.”

Alex, once more, recalled the eerie words of her grandmother. “Lady Olith said as much.”

Her eyes grew wide. “My grandmother spoke of us?”

“Aye.” He hesitated to say more, but found himself compelled to ask, “Is she right in the head?”

“She’s a seer, Alexander,” Sibylla answered. “She has visions.”

“Have they ever proven true?” he asked.

“Many times. She kent her son, Angus, would be killed in battle. She also kent that Domnall and I would come here… what did she say to ye?”

“I dinna remember it well,” he lied. He remembered every word but speaking more of it would only give credence to what he could not, would not, believe.

“Surely ye recall something of her words,” she insisted, “else ye would nae have spoken of it.”

“Sibylla!” A shout startled them apart before Alex could respond; it was Domnall galloping toward them. “What is this!” He flung himself down from his mount with an accusing stare. “Where have ye been, Sibylla? The entire clan is looking for ye.”

His gaze darted from Sibylla to Alex and back again, and then narrowed in suspicion as he took in Sibylla’s torn gown and scratched face.

He took a step toward them with his hand on his sword. “What were ye doing with my sister?”

“Nae, Domnall!” Sibylla quickly interposed herself between them. “’Tis nae what ye think!”

His gaze narrowed. “I ken what I see.”

“Alex did nothing amiss,” she said. “I fell out of a tree.”

“Ye fell?” He snorted in disbelief.

“Aye,” she insisted. “I was in the great oak at the standing stones when Alexander came and—“

His raised a silencing hand. “Enough!” Domnall pierced Alex with a challenging look. “What have ye to say about this, monk?”

“I dinna dishonor yer sister,” Alex said. “I give ye my sacred vow.”

Domnall considered him for a long, tense moment. There was no sign of their earlier camaraderie in his expression. Would he draw his sword? Alex fingered his sgian-dubh, praying he wouldn’t be forced to defend himself.

“In my experience, a vow is only as good as the man who makes it. And I still dinna ken what to make of ye. Come, Sibylla,” Domnall commanded. “Ye will ride back with me.”

“I’m sorry,” she whispered to Alex as she passed, her gaze downcast.

Alex warily watched as Domnall lifted her onto the horse. Of all the sins he’d committed in his life, some might be worthy of mortal punishment, but a kiss certainly wasn’t one of them. Then again, if he had perished under Domnall’s sword, he could never regret meeting death with Sibylla’s sweet kiss still lingering on his lips.

PREORDER

Victoria Vane is a bestselling, award-winning author of smart and sexy romance. Her books have received more than twenty awards and nominations to include the 2015 Red Carpet Award for JEWEL OF THE EAST, 2014 RONE Award for TREACHEROUS TEMPTATIONS, and 2012 Library Journal Best E-Book romance for THE DEVIL DEVERE series. Victoria also has a passion for historical fashion and lives in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina with her husband, two sons, a little black dog, and an Arabian horse.

Email: victoria.vane@hotmail.com    Twitter: @authorvictoriav           Website    Blog   Facebook    Amazon   Goodreads   YOU TUBE    Pinterest

 

 

Q&A with Thia Sexton on EVERYBODY BUT YOU

 

Everybody But You Cover | by Thia Sexton“A collection that’s spirited and endearing . . . which she tells with winning self-deprecation and a level of detail that conjures the dusty, sunny fragrance of her travels. Sexton punctuates the pieces in an all-caps-studded brand of wacky humor, mostly in the form of wry one-liners.”  — Kirkus Reviews (from Amazon)

What made you decide to write EVERYBODY BUT YOU?   

I didn’t set out to write a book. Various catastrophes collided at a certain point (devastating breakup, lost job due to embezzling boss, and something too painful to mention). I couldn’t eat or sleep or leave the house, but I could write. Surprisingly, writing about my idiotic life made me laugh. Needing to laugh more, I wrote more. A friend in New York emailed one of the stories to a group who read at COMEDY CENTRAL STAGE (started by Jill Solloway of Transparent fame). I was invited to read, and afterwards people asked where they could buy the book. A famous screenwriter told me I wrote things he was afraid to write about. He said he kept looking around at the audience thinking, “Did she just write that out loud?” It made me feel less alone.

Is there a follow up planned?
At the moment too many things are happening to think ahead. The brilliant animators Matt Yarrington and Sarah Winters Sigor Ros –Rembihnutur“, Snowbird – “Procelain“,  Lanterns on the Lake – “Until the Colours Run” are creating a music video for my song “AWOKEN” (which won a “Great American Song” award). The music video will be entered in festivals world-wide and Matt Yarrington says it’s going to “change the course of animation.” He’s brilliant, so I believe him. The same day as the book release, a book SOUNDTRACK CD of my original songs will be released. Other authors have released soundtrack CD’s, but to my knowledge none have been original songs. So that’s a first!  And I’m currently narrating the audiobook, which is really fun, but surprisingly hard work!
 
Would or have you ever considered writing fiction?
Yes – but honestly, all this wonderful stuff going on in my life at the moment feels like fiction!

www.everybodybutyou.com            www.thiasexton.com     Let’s Do

Let’s Do

40 DAYS OF HEALING

Write Now Literary is pleased to announce The Book Tour for 40 Days of Healing by Danyelle Scroggins. July 27, 2017 

Publication Date: June 12, 2017

Genre: Inspirational

ASIN: B072MS2TLR
ISBN-10: 154806775X
ISBN-13: 978-1548067755

 

40 Days Of Healing takes the reader through 40 days of fasting in hopes of being delivered from the “IT” that has caused separation between them and God, and gives them the opportunity to journal their most personal prayers, thoughts, and intentions.  
40 Days Of Healing is also a complete guide to 40 days of fasting and spiritual renewal. It is an opportunity for mind renewal in your mind, body, and spirit. It is saturated with wonderful scriptures to help usher you into your healing.
Pastor/ Author Danyelle is the Senior Pastor of New Vessels Ministries North in Shreveport, Louisiana. She studied Theology at Louisiana Baptist University, has a Psychology Degree from the University of Phoenix, an Interdisciplinary Degree in Psychology /Biblical Studies from Liberty University, and is presently working on a Master’s in Religious Education from the Liberty University. Pastor Danyelle owns Divinely Sown Publishing LLC and is the author of both Christian fiction and non-fiction books. She is the wife of Pastor Reynard Scroggins Sr., the mother of three by birth and two additional by marriage.




Tour hosted by Write Now Literary Book Tours www.wnlbooktours.com
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Nikola Dimitrov’s THE FOUR IN ONE GOSPEL OF JESUS

Write Now Literary is pleased to announce The Four In One Gospel of Jesus, by Nikola Dimitrov Virtual Book Tour, July 3-28, 2017.

Book Title: The Four in One Gospel of Jesus

Book Release Date: May 1, 2017

Genre: Christian non-fiction
About The Book

The Four in One Gospel of JESUS is the Four Gospels compiled chronologically and contextually, this giving the fullness of each Bible story in the Gospels. This unique material is describing the life of Jesus in its fulness, without the repetitions. It stores all facts about Jesus and comprises a full biography of Jesus Christ. It’s a chronological Bible project, but also a contextual one, featuring subjects such as: Jesus in the Old Testament, the story of the birth of Jesus, Jesus life, Jesus saves, Jesus Cross, Jesus crucifixion, Jesus death, Jesus blood, Jesus tomb, Jesus resurrection, Jesus in Heaven, Jesus works, Jesus miracles, Jesus baptism, Jesus crown, Jesus call, The Jesus teaching, the Passion of Jesus, etc. It shows us how we can be walking with Jesus – the Anointed One, and how we can be servants of Jesus. The book will show You that King Jesus loves You, and will trigger our falling in love with Jesus as well. It’s a one of a kind material indeed, the result of thousands of hours of work in compiling, referencing, structuring and fitting all details in this easy to read, yet, fully referenced edition of the Four Gospels of the Bible.

About The Author

In 1992 Nikola Dimitrov experienced a miraculous conversion, receiving Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Since 1995 he has been a full time minister of the Gospel, serving as pastor, Bible teacher, preacher, and Christian educator. He started his first church in 1994, which is still standing today, and in 1998 he began his traveling ministry. Nikola is currently pastoring several church groups in Bourgas, Bulgaria and is frequently sought out as a speaker around the country. He also serves as a Bible teacher at the Apostolic Kingdom Institute in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria.

As editor-in-chief of Vetil Media Ministry, Nikola has translated and published more than thirty books into Bulgarian, as well as writing some himself. He is passionate for a glorious Church, without spot, wrinkle or any such thing. Nikola’s dynamic preaching pointedly encourages believers to be everything the Lord created them to be. He then encourages his congregations to take responsibility in word and deed toward that end.

As a translator, Nikola has also produced and distributed around the nation nearly 1000 Bulgarian versions of audio and video teachings by famous foreign preachers and teachers.

As part of a charity in Bulgaria, along with other volunteers, Nikola takes care of needy people from the minorities, distributing clothes, food, medicine, and school materials to children.

Nikola is married to Helen, and they have two lovely young-adult daughters, Annie (which means grace) and Mikaela (which means who is like God?). Both are part of Nikola and Helen’s ministry, serving in the area of music.

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Tour hosted by Write Now Literary www.wnlbooktours.com