Guest Authors Blogging on Manic Readers!


Interested in guest blogging on Manic Readers? Please contact Ivy.
ivydtruitt at gmail (dot) com.

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HAROLD HARDSCRABBLE by G. D. Dess

Harold Hardscrabble is a sympathetic novel filled with philosophical musings on the state of society and our place within it. It captures the feelings of frustration and helplessness that many of us experience in our daily lives. These sentiments are embodied in the story’s contemplative, quietly charming protagonist, Harold, who, like Walter Mitty, lives largely in his own world of thoughts and dreams. We follow Harold’s transformation from a dreamer to a man of action as he struggles to discover how to live a meaningful life in a materialistic world.

A contemporary novel that recounts the journey of its ordinary, quietly charming protagonist Harold, whose search for self-realization goes extraordinarily wrong. It is today’s American tragedy.

 

Harold remains resilient in the face of the many disasters and injustices that assail him along the way; but, finally overcome by despondency, he feels forced to take matters into his own hands to attain justice for all the misfortunes he has been made to suffer. The story of his quest for self-realization unfolds slowly as it builds to its ineluctable, explosive climax.

“Harold Hardscrabble is a thoughtful and well-written observation of the human condition. Dess pushes members of the modern world to question many things and consider that maybe even something unlikely could come to be true.” Red City Review

“Harold Hardscrabble is smartly written, informed by the philosophies and ideas of various documents and writers, including Karl Marx, David Foster Wallace and Noam Chomsky.”Blue Ink Review

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G.D. Dess is the author of the novel His Vision of Her (Harper & Row). His critical reviews and essays appear in the Los Angeles Review of Books and Goodreads. Mr. Dess was born in Michigan and has lived in six states and ten cities throughout the country. For several years, he lived in Paris, France, where he taught English and worked as a translator. Currently he lives on the east coast with his Wheaton Terrier, Beckett.

 

AN AMOROUS DANCE by Jessica Lauryn

Hello, everyone!  I’m excited to be back, sharing my latest release, An Amorous Dance [The Rabourn Theater Series]!  Set in a majestic theater in New York, An Amorous Dance is a second-chance romance featuring a rather “villainous” hero, stage director Evan Masters, a man in need of reform and a lesson in the error of his ways, prior to winning the heart of his former flame, theater owner, Hannah Rabourn.

While writing my debut novel, Dangerous Ally, I fell in love with the idea of reforming former villains.  Much like the woman who pines for a dangerous man from the wrong side of the tracks and dreams of reforming him, I often find myself writing and reading about heroes plagued demons, in need of the love of the right woman, who alone can set them on a better path.  I enjoy writing series and I have been known to take the villain from a previous story and transform him into the hero in my current work.  In fact I like it so much, and have so many thoughts on the subject that a couple of years ago I crafted a workshop and hosted it for my writer friends from New Jersey Romance Writers (our local chapter of Romance Writers of America) entitled, Reforming the Former Villain: Does He Have What it Takes to be a Hero?

So, why reform a former villain?  In short, no work of fiction I’ve ever has the potential to bring about a more powerful happily ever after.  Think about it.  That moment in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, when the formerly unloving Scrooge has seen the error of his ways and he goes out into the world as a new man, brightening the lives of everyone he’s wronged.  The moment is incredibly profound, and that’s because we’ve seen Scrooge make such tremendous strides, having had, essentially, a total transformation of character.  The transformation is thrilling.  And the journey of a hero-to-reform is one well-worth reading!

When Hannah Rabourn, daughter of Rabourn Theater’s late owner, is attacked, a surge of flashes prompts her to consider that her father may have been murdered. Hannah’s antagonistic stage director insists her subconscious is merely seeking closure. But as she and Evan become close once again, Hannah’s suspicions about the past deepen, and she wonders whether the man she’s falling in love with for the second time knows more than he’s letting on.

Evan Masters’s dreams were shattered when theater-owner Baron Rabourn destroyed his budding acting career. Having forged an alliance with Rabourn’s former partner, Evan assumed a mission to transform Rabourn Theater into what it always should have been. Fellow conspirators believe Rabourn’s daughter is the key to power, and Evan is the means by which to achieve their ends.

But Evan’s feelings for Hannah are stronger than he believed. And when he realizes Hannah’s life is in danger, he must decide between his passion and his heart.

 

Unable to stay still, Hannah maneuvered her way around the surrounding obstacles so that she could pace. She’d been trying to convince herself that these flashes of memory didn’t mean what they appeared to, but the truth was that she’d always had her suspicions about the way her father died.

The doctors she’d spoken with had confirmed her father had a heart attack, but she’d always found it hard to believe that a man in his fifties—a man in excellent physical condition with no history of heart disease—would die suddenly, for what appeared to be no reason at all. Having felt this way from the get-go, she’d conducted a bit of research, from which she’d discovered that her father had had an argument with Bruce Lancaster prior to the start of her birthday dinner. The stress of whatever the they’d discussed might have taken a toll on him, and for years Hannah had believed that a heated discussion with the theater’s former owner had directly contributed to her father’s death. But if the images she’d been seeing were real, maybe her father’s death had had nothing to do with physiology at all.

Maybe he had been murdered.

“Hannah?” Evan called out as he opened the door. Failing to flick the light switch, he made his way around, almost tripping over the settee in the corner before asking, “Hannah, are you in here?”

Hannah covered her tearstained mouth. She had no desire to reveal herself, but she realized before she could hide that Evan had already seen her. After hastily wiping her face in hopes that he wouldn’t realize she’d been crying, she snapped, “What the hell are you doing in here?”

“Me? What the bloody hell do you think I’m doing in here?” Evan demanded, squinting at the gigantic mushrooms behind his back, as if they were going to agree with how ridiculous her question was.

“You shouldn’t have followed me. I wasn’t thrilled to see that my cousin decided to stay in a show her former stalker is a part of, but…I’m a big girl. I can handle anything that’s thrown my way, Evan Masters, I promise you.”

“Hannah, you’re shaking,” Evan said, catching her arm and pulling her back to him before she could walk away.

As Hannah looked downward, she realized Evan had no intention of releasing her. His grip was strong, but his palm felt like melted butter against her skin. She attempted to laugh at him, but instead fresh tears formed in her eyes. Evan took her into his arms before she could stop him, bringing her against his body with a force that demonstrated he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Unable to fight him, or whatever it was he was doing, Hannah allowed herself to be drawn against his warmth. His lightly bearded cheek sent tingles up her spine as it brushed against her own.

Evan held her, cupping the back of her head as he urged her toward the settee he’d all but killed himself staggering over a moment before. As he whispered a couple of soft, indiscernible things into her ear, the familiarity of his masculine scent soothed her raw nerves. In her mind, she held an unpleasant picture of him about to kiss her cousin’s shoulders, but the present moment played right over it, and Hannah let go of her anxiety, allowing herself to simply feel, to let her lover from another lifetime make everything right.

Evan brought his fingers beneath her chin and lifted her head so she was looking into his eyes. His smile giving way to a smirk, he said, “I saw you, Hannah. I saw the way you were looking at me when I was holding your cousin. The heat in your eyes wasn’t there out of concern for Alicia, or even because you were angry about my going ahead with the play. You emitted that scream because you wanted to be playing Blair on that stage. More so, because you wanted to be the woman that I was holding in my arms.”

Her eyes widening as her body grew cold with fury, Hannah said, “Clearly the sky-high opinion you’ve always had of yourself has only gotten higher. You make it sound as though you actually think I could still want you after all this time, knowing that I’m fully aware of what a bastard you really are.”

“You may hate me on the surface, Hannah, but I daresay your body responds quite differently. You shiver when I touch you and your skin warms on contact because it wants more, just as you wanted more the night I carried you off to the dressing room and gave you the passion that both of us so desperately craved.”

“So apparently you aren’t just egotistical, you’re also certifiably insane. You know, you’re offered an extensive benefits package as part of the position that you cling to with the very balls of your existence. You ought to ask HR for a referral—clearly the shrink who ought to be treating Sebastian Nathanson has some extra time on her hands.”

Evan secured her in a grip that prevented her from running. Easing her back against the wall, he said with fire in his eyes, “Is this crazy, Hannah?”

 

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Jessica Lauryn is the author of the bestselling romantic suspense series, The Pinnacles of Power. The Romance Reviews says that her debut release, Dangerous Ally, has, All the twists that a good suspense should have with just the right amount of passion and romance! Jessica is a proud member of Romance Writers of America as well as her local chapter, New Jersey Romance Writers, for which she has served on the executive board in several capacities. She has a talent for remembering her dreams, many of which are explored in detail in her stories. Though she resides in central New Jersey, her heart will forever belong to the picturesque White Mountains of northern New Hampshire.

A PASSIONATE PLAY By Jessica Lauryn

Hello, Manic Readers!  I’m excited to be here today, sharing a bit about my latest release, A Passionate Play [The Rabourn Theater Series], a contemporary romantic suspense, set in a majestic theater in Briarcliff Manor, New York.

As people who are constantly on the go, we do and are responsible for doing many things in any given day.  But one thing that I always look forward to—and make the time for—is reading.  Fiction is so powerful as it holds the ability to transport you, the reader, to another place and time.  It does not subtract anything from the world around us but rather, it enhances our world, stirring our imaginations and giving us jolts of inspiration that fuels creativity into our thoughts and into our lives.

Whenever I am asked the single most important piece of advice I’d give to other writers, I say, “Write the story that’s in your heart!”  I have great respect for writers who follow trends, who strive to give readers the popular sub-genre of the moment, which takes a large deal of effort and dedication to deliver.  But for me, I like to take a different approach, go where the wind takes me so-to-speak. Sometimes it only takes a moment, for a thought, a phrase, or a person I encounter to inspire and single story. And after one magical night at the theater I was filled with the inspiration that was to blossom into 5 action-packed stories full of drama, romance and passion so strong my characters would kill for it, and in some instances, do!  I hope you enjoy this preview into the world of Rabourn Theater. It promises to be a most suspenseful ride!

On the heels of a major performance, theater actress Alicia Coleman is attacked in an alleyway. She is struck over the head with a pistol and the blow causes her to lose her memory. Injured and afraid, Alicia struggles to remember the details of her life. The only person who appears to know who she is, is the man she fears may also be her attacker.

In the midst of several failed attempts to escape, Alicia comes to know the man whose home she awoke in and realizes that the two of them share a complicated past. Though Nick refuses to tell her much beyond her first name, a series of dreams, in which she and he are sharing a lot more than the second story of a secluded mansion, cause Alicia to suspect the most outrageous of possibilities—that the man holding her prisoner may actually be her lover. Surrounding threats, including that of a midnight intruder, cause Alicia to realize that proving her theory true (or not) may be her only chance of keeping her attacker from coming after her a second time.

 

“I mentioned to you that we’re in Mohegan Lake,” Nick said some time later, “in Westchester County, New York. Does the name of the town, the county, or the state sound at all familiar to you?”

“Not really.” Alicia racked her brain. “Should they?”

Nick shrugged. “Only if you think they should. So, you really don’t remember anything about your life, your friends, or your career before waking up in this house?”

“My career?” Alicia dropped her empty glass onto the table. Having felt a sensation comparable to an electric shock when he’d said the word career, she asked, “What is it that I do, exactly? Am I a lawyer? Do I perform surgeries alongside of a team of brain surgeons?”

“Something like that,” Nick answered with a secretive smile.

Furious that he refused to tell her whatever he knew about her life, Alicia said, “You must be holding out on me because you’re familiar with my work and the knowledge of my success makes you feel completely emasculated.”

“I never said—”

“Understandable. Considering that you appear to spend the majority of your time hiding out in the woods, collecting the latest additions from Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn.”

Failing to offer anything in the way of a response, Nick grunted.

“I may not remember what I do for a living but there’s no doubt in my mind that I’m capable of doing a lot of interesting things.”

“Are you now?” Her companion gave her a thoughtful glance. Coming to his feet, he extended his hand and said, “How about sharing a dance with me?”

Alicia’s face became as hot as the candle flames. Looking from Nick’s open palm to the empty room around them, she swallowed and said, “There’s no music.”

“Well, I think we can do something about that.” Nick wandered across the floor to the area behind the curio cabinet. There was a stereo there that Alicia hadn’t noticed before. He pressed a button, causing the room to fill with soft, romantic music.

Nick extended his hand once more as he came toward her. His smile was cool but also insistent and it contained a hint of danger. Dark brown eyes looked into hers, willing her to trust, to comply with her very mysterious and yet compelling desires.

Allowing herself to operate on pure instinct, Alicia slipped her hand into Nick’s. His warmth surrounded her and she felt a hint of anticipation as he urged her gently forward. Nick led her into the middle of the floor. Placing one large hand against her waist, he brought her beside his powerful, broad frame.

They began to move and Alicia swayed in unison with her partner as though they had danced together a thousand times before. In her mind, she was in the arms of a stranger, but her body reacted as though he was anything but, as though he were someone whom she knew intimately. Nick’s eyes, his scent, the very feel of him seemed familiar to her, and as his hand slid from her hip to the small of her back she realized that she ought to be telling him he was getting too close. Except she didn’t want him to back away—it felt good, being close to him like this.

As her partner drew her closer still, Alicia felt chills, yet at the same time she began to let go of the tension she was holding. She was encased in a blanket of heat, and as that blanket spun her around and brought her back against its softness she was taken into a realm of comfort and dreams. Dancing with her captor felt right to her and in a strange way, safe. Nick had gone out of his way to make her happy tonight and she got the feeling that wasn’t something he did every day. Letting her eyes fall closed, she inched beside him and when he didn’t resist she rested her head against the cushion of his shoulder.

Nick’s arms enveloped her, and Alicia became aware that he didn’t only smell of pinewood but of something darker, something she couldn’t quite define. She sensed a degree of rebelliousness in this man and for some strange reason the idea of that intrigued her. Strength seemed to emanate from every part of him and she wondered what it would be like to taste that strength. Filled with the strongest desire to do just that, she settled her hand against the back of his neck and tilted his head so that she could just about feel what she wanted to so desperately.

“Kiss me,” she insisted, lifting her chin.

Nick stilled but didn’t comply. She opened her eyes to find his lips were looming above hers.

“Alicia, I….”

The music stopped playing as if on cue. Nick held her, not quite letting go but not doing what she’d asked him to, either. After a long moment, he released her. He cleared his throat and shifted his eyes, making sure that she was steady on her feet before backing away. He paced the length of the room.

“I’m glad you’re feeling better.” Stopping in front of the table, Nick said, “I’ll get this cleaned up. You ought to get back to bed. You’ve had a hell of a day, and even though you slept a good bit of it you still need your rest. I’ll be up to check on you in a few hours. Good night, Alicia.”

Turning to hide a face that was surely as red as it felt, Alicia walked to the door. She offered a cool smile along with a wave before slipping soundlessly from the room.

Alone in the foyer, Alicia placed one hand over her trembling mouth. She released it a moment later, body braced against the wall as she said to herself quietly, “Good night, Nickolas.”

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Jessica Lauryn is the author of the bestselling romantic suspense series, The Pinnacles of Power. The Romance Reviews says that her debut release, Dangerous Ally, has, All the twists that a good suspense should have with just the right amount of passion and romance! Jessica is a proud member of Romance Writers of America as well as her local chapter, New Jersey Romance Writers, for which she has served on the executive board in several capacities. She has a talent for remembering her dreams, many of which are explored in detail in her stories. Though she resides in central New Jersey, her heart will forever belong to the picturesque White Mountains of northern New Hampshire.

Five Jetsetter Settings from Nikki Navarre's Foreign Affairs Series

 

A Whirlwind Tour of Five Jetsetter Settings

in Nikki Navarre’s Foreign Affairs Series

 

Nikki Navarre is a globetrotting ex-diplomat and award-winning author of the sexy spy romance Foreign Affairs series. Loosely inspired by her work as a weapons of mass destruction expert at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, she writes about renegade Russian submarine captains, ex-KGB agents, fighter pilots, cyber spies and smugglers—and the brainy, beautiful, rising-star American diplomats who can’t resist falling for them.

Strap in for a whirlwind tour of Nikki’s top five jetsetter settings:

  1. Moscow, Russia: In modern-day Moscow, Las Vegas meets the Wild West. Every girl’s a supermodel or a spy, every guy’s a mobster or a mole, and the energy’s as bracing as a bucket of ice water flung in your face. In The Russian Seduction, the U.S. Embassy’s a citadel in a storm. Where sober-suited diplomats execute classified orders with discretion and decorum…most of the time.

 

  1. Siberia: In Stalin’s day, rebellious Russians were shipped off to the gulag in Russia’s frozen north. Today, if you’re chemical weapons expert Skylar Rossi, determined to uncover the truth about a Russian military site secretly churning out tons of deadly nerve agent, you pull on your fur hat and silk thermals and catch the night train to Siberia.

 

  1. Isle of Capri: A Roman villa on this affluent Italian island in The Russian Temptation is where refined and lethal ex-KBG hit man Nikolai “the Maestro” Markov is hired to take out the only target who’s ever eluded him—a brainy and beautiful American ambassador who just won’t do what she’s told. Nikolai never expects to find himself wanting to protect her instead.

 

  1. Juba, Sudan: Ex-Russian fighter pilot Max Vasylko will fly your illicit cargo anywhere in the world in twenty-four hours—no questions asked. Even if his cargo is a smart, scared, scrappy viral engineer named Christabel with two passports, one backpack, and no memory. In a Turkish bath in a breakaway African republic, the heat melts even Max’s battle-hardened heart.

 

  1. Cloud Cap, Corsica: A champagne magnate once built this ultra-luxe mountain hideaway for his femme fatale mistress on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica. In The Russian Obsession, it’s where the love-him-or-leave-him clock strikes midnight for Max and Christa.

Hope this whirlwind tour piqued your interest!

Bon Voyage and Happy Reading!

 

www.NikkiNavarre.com

www.Facebook.com/NikkiNavarreAuthor

www.twitter.com/Nikki_Navarre

 

Read an excerpt from BUNYAN'S GUIDE to the GREAT AMERICAN WILDLIFE

 Bunyan’s Guide to the Great American Wildlife
by Quentin Canterel

What happens when the Manhattan zoo empties its cages?

John, part radicalized anarchist, part ticking time bomb, is haunted by a particular story, that of Willow, a 9-year old mute who flees to New York after her brutal rape. The only way his girlfriend, Felicity, can stop the clock counting down is by disentangling the riddle of their pasts, before their entwined futures are blown to pieces.
Quentin Canterel’s second novel presents a collage of voices, dead and alive, in a unique and unnerving novel that experiments with form, structure and language. Truly a mystery shrouded in an enigma.

Author’s Website     Amazon       Goodreads

 

Oh, muses, what shall we say about Felicity: Church of England, slender, little beanpole, waxy pallor of a holy relic, blush of a broken rose, cupid bow lips, preternatural and possibly, yes probably, possessed.

And you, John, black raven-haired, androgynous locks, the faintest of crow’s feet, fashionably skinny and, for a man, certainly heteroclite. Thin voice and long fingers, slender lips always a snide remark away from disaster.

“U ARE A SHITHEAD”

In those days (really the cigarette butts of nights snuffed out at 2 or 3a.m), your daily toil up Hill Lucre began at six crossing paths in the Financial District with By-ends and that unrestful gaggle of carbon suited I-bankers. In the fogs and snows of February, the city was given over to grisaille. Always late, you hopped on the R line. Arriving, at Rector Street, only to be met by “that Basilisk”, your boss, the abdominous Mr Skill. For months, you toiled in that “slick glass dick”, temping for $14.50 an hour. What prosperity!

“These shitheads are virtually throwing money out the windows. Bankers paying me for next to nothing.”

It was then, while collecting rejection slips from small magazines, that you began The Guide. In between fits of all-nighters, you’d invite me round and we became a threesome, united by a common hatred of clubs, house music, and nouvelle French cafes. Building, by fits and starts, our own little mutual admiration society…

I remember us once being stuck uptown at an illegal rave, the Russians and Israelites taking turns spinning their trance, the base tones detonating like little depth charges through the low hum of gas generators. We swayed in the summer heat and leaned against a tree stump as a police boat cast its fiery eye through the surrounding trees, setting each branch aflame. You somehow managed to share a bitter pill of ecstasy with that tenderest of Felicities so that the world nudged against you like purest organza silk.

About the author: Born in and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Quentin Canterel grew up never far away from stream, glade or wood. Quentin went on to study at Yale University, ultimately graduating with a Bachelor’s degree. Pursuing a career in New York, he wrote for journals such as Fortune magazine and also embarked on a career in quantitative research and programming. Moving to London in 2005, he continued his graduate studies at the University of London. He currently resides in London with his wife.

MOONLIGHT w/ Ines Johnson

“Moonlight” by Ines Johnon

Publication Date: January 10, 2017

She was no damsel but he rescued her anyway.

You can never go home again…

Viviane Veracruz is on her way home from university with a degree in one hand…and a baby in her belly. Desperate to escape the judgement of her family, she accepts a sexy stranger’s offer to pose as the father for a few days. The plan is for him to run off leaving her family none the wiser. But the longer Pierce Alcede stays, the more she can’t let him go.

Home is where the heart is…

Pierce Alcede has finally come to terms with the fact that he is a lone wolf, prone to roam the wilderness alone and never settle down with a family of his own. When he meets a pregnant woman in need, he thinks nothing of stepping in to take the brunt of her family’s ire. But somewhere between working on the Veracruz Ranch by day and climbing into Viviane’s bed at night, Pierce forgets to run away.

Can a woman searching for a place to belong find a home with a man who lives to roam?

Moonlight is the second in a paranormal romance series full of alpha men and the strong, capable women that bend them to their knees. If you like a touch of magic in your romance novels, then you’ll love the witches, fairies, and wolves in the dystopian world of the moonkind.

“Is this seat taken?”

The husky feminine voice called Pierce’s attention away from the window and up long legs, down dangerously curved hips, around high, pert breasts to end at a heart-shaped face engulfed in a halo of dark curls. The dark curls and lush curves marked her as a wolf.

Pierce cleared his throat and shifted in his seat. He motioned with his hands for the she-wolf to take the place across from him. She struggled to lift her luggage into the overhead compartment. Pierce stood to offer assistance.

“I’ve got it,” she insisted and hefted the bulk over her head with a grunt.

Pierce stepped back. He was used to strong, independent women. He’d been surrounded by them his whole life. He took no offense that this woman didn’t want his assistance. That didn’t mean he wasn’t a gentleman. He waited to be sure she’d secured the case. Then he waited some more until she was seated.

When she’d finished with her case and stepped into the booth, she stopped in front of her seat and blinked at him. Confusion and then irritation played across the angles of her beautiful face. Her brows rose to her hairline. She tilted her head towards his seat. When he failed to sit down, she motioned with her hand.

Pierce flustered down into his seat, averting his gaze. Had he made a mistake?

Perhaps she wasn’t a wolf? Perhaps she was a witch?

It wouldn’t be the first time he’d mistaken a witch for a wolf. His last encounter with a witch -on a train no less- had led to a wedding. It had nearly been his wedding. Until his older brother, Jackson, had stepped in and claimed Lucia as the mate to his soul. The wolf and witch lived happily in a quaint little cottage in the woods.

With Pierce now in his seat, the woman sat. She crossed those mile long legs. Then she cleared her throat.

Pierce blinked. Then he realized; he’d been staring. That’s when he knew she wasn’t a witch. Had she been one he’d have been under a spell by now.

He looked up to offer a sheepish apology. When his eyes met hers, his breath caught in his throat. Beneath the halo of dark, thick hair she had eyes of the lightest blue. Pierce had seen the ocean of the Arctic. That body of water was a dark, murky swamp compared to the crystals set deep in this woman’s face.

He was a lone wolf, prone to roam. He was also a man with needs. Both man and wolf salivated at this woman before him. He was certain his interest was plain. He heard himself panting. His mouth watered. He brushed his thumb at the corner of his lip to capture the drop of evidence.

In response, the she-wolf closed her eyes and sighed. Her foot tapped an irritated song on the floorboards. She turned her head and focused her attention outside at the scenery.

“This is beautiful countryside,” he tried.

They were now far from Sequoia and nearer to the Mexican border.

“Yes,” she said. She turned her head from the window and produced a book from the bag in her lap. She held the book up in front of her face, blocking him from her beauty.

The terse response indicated that she wasn’t interested in him. It should’ve turned Pierce off. It didn’t. The last thing he wanted was an entanglement. Her disinterest in him would serve him well. If he could flip that disinterest, and by extension her, on its back for the morning.

Pierce rarely went for she-wolves. The hot-blooded females could form attachments with males who were not their mates. It was in their natures.

He saw no bite marks on her collarbone. He scented no other wolf on her skin. Though he noted a male scent; probably human. Wolves played with humans, but they didn’t mate for life. Which meant she likely wasn’t looking for any entanglements herself. If he could just capture her attention, he might spark her interest.

“I hope you don’t mind my saying,” he began, a wolfish smile on his face. “But you have the most beautiful-”

“You know, I’m perfectly fine if we dispense with all the niceties and sit here in companionable silence.” She said it with the most polite, most beatific smile.

That smile made Pierce’s blood pump and his cock harden. He’d give her anything to keep her smiling at him like that. “If that’s what you wish.” “It is.” She aimed the smile pointedly at him.

From his peripheral view, he caught a look at the stupid grin on his face in the glass window. “Then that’s what you’ll have.”

“Thank you.” She pulled the book up, hiding her smile and those eyes, breaking the spell.

With her smile gone, Pierce’s grin turned into a frown. He read the cover of the thick book in her hands; Sheep Health, Husbandry, and Disease. He doubted it was for pleasure reading. Perhaps it was a textbook? Maybe she was a student? Sequoia University was near the train station.

“Are you a student?”

She lowered the book and arrowed those light-colored eyes at him. “I thought we agreed to dispense with the niceties?” She smiled, but the facial expression was tight and full of annoyed patience.

His wolf wanted to poke it with his paw. “I can’t help it. I’m always nice. My mother raised a gentleman.”

Her false facade dropped at the word gentleman. “The only time males are gentlemen,” she practically spat the word, “is when they want to get up a female’s skirt.”

Pierce’s eyes darted to those long legs and the hem of her skirt. By the time he made it back to her face, he knew he was caught. He put on his most winning smile. This smile had gotten him an A in Ms. Peckham’s Chemistry class even after he failed both the midterm and final exams. Fairies fell to their knees at this smile. Hell, even a witch had fallen under the spell of this smile. Pierce launched it at the wolf across from him.

Before he could put forth words, she opened her mouth to speak. Then she swallowed. She rubbed her hand over her flat abdomen. Finally, she lurched forward, vomiting in his lap.

So much for his A game.

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THE MOONKIND SERIES

Kevin Pryslak’s THE *%&# IT LIST w/ giveaway

Bucket Lists are everywhere. Everyone’s always talking about adding things to theirs or being able to mark something off. Not me, no bucket list here and there never will be. Kevin Pryslak shares my opinion of these self induced lil stress lists and has taken it a step further. He’s written THE *%#@ IT LIST. According to Kevin, he wrote THE *%#@ IT LIST because:

I was at my 30 year college reunion and all of my “college friends” were talking about all the things on their bucket lists. Needless to say I thought they were all pretty pathetic. Who really wants to swim in the Ganges in feces? Who wants to go to a nudist colony? I don’t know about you guys but I have nothing there to write home about. Plus they have a new thing called an iPhone! This book is full of things I have no interest in doing and quite frankly you shouldn’t either.

Also, I needed the money!”  

Face it, life is short and who has time to see 1000 places, read 1000 more “classics” or see 1000 movies somebody else deems essential, and all that nonsense? Here is a list of 101 things you should never bother with from the fiendishly clever mind of Kevin Pryslak. The F*ck It List is a hilarious middle-finger salute to all those absurd life goals that will ensure an anxiety-filled middle age will be followed by shame-filled golden years. It pokes a sorely needed pin into a bloated rite of passage that’s ripe for deflation. Do you really need to firewalk or didn’t Oprah and Tony Robbins take care of that for us? Swimming with sharks is a really dumb idea, so let’s leave that with the gullible reality tv desperadoes, shall we? Kevin Pryslak has come up with a “to don’t list” that will have you laughing out loud and leave you with lots more time to do the all the things YOU really want to do!

Chapters include:

  • I’m not going to a nudist colony
  • I’m not going to become a millionaire
  • I’m not getting a coffee enema
  • I’m not getting back in shape
  • I’m not going to start a band
  • I’m not walking the Great Wall of China
  • I’m not going to run for public office
  • I’m not going to quit work

So, where do you stand on Bucket Lists, yay or nay?  Tell us, keeping it PG please, and be entered to win a copy. Winner will be chosen at random on Christmas Eve night (EST).  Please be sure and leave your email in your comment so you can be contacted if you win. Good Luck!

Kevin Pryslak maintains his existence in Brooklyn, NY. When he’s not writing about things that suck, you can find him reviewing delivery dumplings, playing with his two rescue dogs, Stevey and Gilligan, organizing his socks by color and length.

NEVER ~ Joy Avery

Write Now Literary is pleased to announce Never, Book Release Tour with author Joy  Avery on December 13, 2016.

Publication Date: November 14, 2016.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

ASIN: B01MSLP8FO


About The Book


Never say what love can’t—or won’t—do.

Balloon Artist Gadiya Lassiter never imagined waking up without the love of her life, small-town fire chief Nico Dupree. Then one day, it becomes her tortured reality. Fast-forward two years…he’s back and making his intentions to rekindle their flame known. But she vows to never love him again. As determined as she is to keep her heart out of his hands, love seems to have its own agenda.

For Nico, returning home to Mount Pleasance, North Carolina is not without its benefits. The most valuable, Gadiya. He’s determined to reclaim her heart—despite her obvious goal to hate him. But he’s not giving up on her; not again. He’ll just have to convince her the disdain she harbors for him is far less potent than the love he knows she still has for him. And he’ll do it one scorching kiss at a time.

As their attraction grows hotter and hotter, will Gadiya be able to escape the flames, or will Nico’s fire consume her?
About The Author

By day, Joy Avery works as a customer service assistant. By night, the North Carolina native travels to imaginary worlds—creating characters whose romantic journeys invariably end happily ever after.

Since she was a young girl growing up in Garner, Joy knew she wanted to write. Stumbling onto romance novels, she discovered her passion for love stories; instantly, she knew these were the type stories she wanted to pen.  Real characters. Real journeys. Real good love is what you’ll find in a Joy Avery romance.

Joy is married with one child. When not writing, she enjoys reading, cake decorating, pretending to expertly play the piano, driving her husband insane, and playing with her two dogs.
Joy is a member of Romance Writers of America and Heart of Carolina Romance Writers.
Excerpt
Nico allowed Gadiya to escape his hold. He may not have broken her shell, but he’d surely cracked it. As she made her way across the floor, he said, “I’ll tell you what’s a waste of time. Your fighting this. You have a right to be pissed at me, Gadiya, but you can’t deny you still feel something for me.”
This stopped her in her tracks. Whipping around, she charged him like a raging bull. “Anything I may have felt for you in the past is long gone. I feel nothing for you now, Nico Dupree. Nothing. And I never will.”

“Is that why you’re still single?” He regretted the words the moment they escaped. There could have been a myriad of reasons why she wasn’t in a relationship, none of them having anything to do with him.

Gadiya slowly shook her head, something in her expression turning sad. “The reason I’m still single has nothing to do with you. But if you must know, I decided to never give my heart to another man, because the one man I trusted with it, shattered it into tiny pieces. I loved that jerk, that coward, far more than he deserved. I loved him far more than breathing, which was okay, because, with him, I never feared suffocating. He gave me life. Then he took it away.”
Nico hadn’t expected her powerful summation. He couldn’t speak, couldn’t move toward her, could hardly breathe. All he could do was dumbly stare into her glistening eyes, then at her back as she turned to leave.

Gadiya stopped at the door. Over her shoulder, she said, “On second thought, I guess my being single has everything to do with you. I never want to see you again, Nico. You are dead to me. Just like the idea of me ever loving you again.”
With that, she was gone.


Connect with Joy




Tour hosted by Write Now Literary Book Tours 



Click here To Follow the Tour 




Thomas Jay Berger, MD – Dueling in Death’s Backyard – From Doctor to Writer

Exposing a scandal at the VA hospital was Dr. Cooper Logan’s responsibility, and his first mistake.  The world was background noise as Cooper worked to save lives.  He’d won his scholarship wrestling and keeping Death off-balance was his new passion.  But, politics wasn’t what Cooper was interested in and learning them the hard way cost him his residency.  But when the nurse who had betrayed him turns up dead Cooper’s life begins to unravel.  And the danger he faces now has Death staring him in the face.

We caught up with retired cardiac surgeon Dr. Thomas Jay Berger to ask him what it was like to go from surgeon to award winning writer.  He agreed to give us some inside scoop about his journey.

Tell us about your journey as an author writing this book.  How long did it take? How much research did you do? What did your friends and colleagues say when they found out you were writing a thriller? 

In 2002 I took the only writing workshop I have ever attended.  I had to write a short story to bring to the class as a teaching tool.  My short story, Incompatible With Life, was based on my experiences as a surgery resident in Birmingham.  I later submitted that story to the Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition and it won first place over 700 other entries.  With my skills as a writer validated I decided to create an entirely new literary form.  I would write a novel following all the usual rules for a novel but with one exception.  Instead of building the novel out of a series of chapters I would build the novel out of a series of short stories.  Incompatible With Life would be one of the short stories.  I thought this was a brilliant idea and spent years working on it.  As it turned out, I was the ONLY who thought it was a brilliant idea.

So finally I bit the bullet, gave up on being the creator of a new literary form, and just expanded the short story itself into a normal novel constructed from chapters.  Along the way, the title morphed into Dueling in Death’s Backyard.  After thousands (it felt like thousands anyway) of rewrites, Dueling was published in 2015.  So you might say it was over ten years in the making.

Tell us about your own background, about what you do when you’re not writing and what you’re doing today. 

Retired from active surgical practice due to vision problems, my wife and I bought a 50 ft. sailboat and sold or gave away everything that wouldn’t fit on board.  We spent about 8 years sailing all around the Caribbean.  Three years ago we settled in Miami, where we each have moms in their nineties who need us to be close by.  Other than my medmail expert business, I box twice a week, pump iron twice a week and try to get to the shooting range whenever I can.  If one is going to write thrillers with action scenes, including fist and gun fights, one should have a clue how to actually do these things.  A famous medical thriller writer (who shall not be named) once wrote a gunfight scene where a revolver did not fire because the safety was on.  He apparently knew absolutely nothing about firearms – not even the basic fact that revolvers do not have safeties.  Fistfight scenes by meek or sedentary authors are often even worse – describing techniques that would never work in real life.  I am proud of my OR scenes, which no one but I could ever write.  But I am also proud of my action scenes which my own knowledge, experience, and constant training allow me to portray realistically.

Who inspires you as an author? 

Dueling was inspired by my mentor, the late Dr. John Kirklin, the real life Dr. Kirkwood.  Dr. Kirklin was the first person to do a series of open heart operations with a heart-lung machine.  He is the true Father of Cardiac Surgery, although that title is often wrongly attributed to C. Walton Lillehei.  Lillehei used another human being as the heart-lung machine for his operations; a technique that soon hit the dustbin of surgical history.  Lillehei is no more the Father of Cardiac Surgery than Elvis is the King of Rock ‘n Roll; a title that clearly belongs to Jerry Lee Lewis.

Dr. Kirkwood, in Dueling, IS Dr. Kirklin.  I hope that the novel will give immortality to my mentor, a remarkable and fascinating man and the true Father of Cardiac Surgery.

What inspired this particular story?  Why Cooper’s story? 

It’s really my story, except for the nurse being murdered.  I wrote several novels before writing Dueling and even before writing its short story version.  After reading them, my mother kept telling me that I should write about my own life.  Eventually, I took her advice.  That is one reason why Dueling is dedicated in part to Mom.  (It is also dedicated to my wife, Red)

What does your wife think about your becoming an author? 

My wife, Red, has been totally supportive of my writing and is always the first to read everything I write.

While we were cruising she would often be working on the teak deck of our boat in the hot sun while I was writing in the air conditioned comfort of our boat’s salon.  Her input has been of tremendous help in making my female characters realistic and in making Dueling speak to female readers.

In Red’s amazing life she has associated with Miami smugglers back in the sixties and flown planes and helicopters.     At 5’ 2” and maybe 107 pounds soaking wet, she also drove an 18 wheeler for a few years.  She loves adventures as much as I do and we had many of them while cruising the Caribbean.

Our lives have depended on each other more times than I can remember.  She is part of everything I am and everything I do, including the writing.


DUELING IN DEATH’S BACKYARD is an intensely, fast-paced medical thriller written by retired cardiac surgeon Thomas Jay Berger, MD who is the winner of a Faulkner award for writing.

Exposing a scandal at the VA hospital was Dr. Cooper Logan’s responsibility, and his first mistake. The world was background noise as Cooper worked to save lives. He’d won his scholarship wrestling and struggling with Death in the operating room was his new passion. But, hospital politics wasn’t Cooper’s strong point and learning them the hard way cost him his residency. Then, to make matters even worse, the druggy nurse Cooper had exposed, turns up dead and Cooper is framed for the murder. Now Cooper must duel with death outside the OR and this time it’s his own life that’s at stake.

And the danger he faced now had Death staring him in the face.

About the Author:

Retired from active surgical practice due to vision problems, my wife and I bought a 50 ft. sailboat and sold or gave away everything that wouldn’t fit on board. We spent about 8 years sailing all around the Caribbean. Three years ago we settled in Miami, where we each have moms in their nineties who need us to be close by. Other than my medmal expert business, I box twice a week, pump iron twice a week and try to get to the shooting range whenever I can. If one is going write thrillers with action scenes including fist and gunfights, one should have a clue how to actually do these things. A famous medical thriller writer (who shall not be named) once wrote a gunfight scene where a revolver did not fire because the safety was on. He apparently knew absolutely nothing about firearms – not even the basic fact that revolvers do not have safeties. Fistfight scenes by meek or sedentary authors are often even worse – describing techniques that would never work in real life. I am proud of my OR scenes, which no one but me could ever write. But I am also proud of the of action scenes which my own knowledge experience and constant training allow me to portray realistically.

Cate Beauman's latest ~ DECEIVING BELLA with giveaway

Ethan Cooke Security and their bodyguard team return to action in Deceiving Bella – book eleven in Cate Beauman’s Bodyguards of L.A. County series.  

With over 7700 reviews and a 4.4 rating for the entire series, see why the Bodyguards of L.A. County is a multi-award winning series.  

Buy It Now!

 

Amazon | Kobo | Nook | iBooks

 

New to the series? No problem! Each book in the “Bodyguards” series is a stand-alone title. Although reading the books in order is preferred, it is not necessary.  Each title features brand new primary characters and limited overlapping secondary characters.  Don’t hesitate to jump right in!

 

Isabella Colby has always yearned for normalcy. Now that she’s settled in LA, she finally has it. Good friends, a pretty home, and her thriving career as the Palisades’ top skincare specialist are a dream come true. Bella is content until she meets her hunky new neighbor, but her attraction to the blue-eyed cutie is the least of her worries when contacting her long-lost father threatens to destroy her happy life.

Reed McKinley is more than ready to forget the past. His seven-year stint as an NYPD detective nearly got him killed. His wounds have healed and he’s starting over as Ethan Cooke Security’s latest recruit. With sixty-hour workweeks and little time to himself, the last thing on his mind is a relationship. Then he bumps into the gorgeous woman next door.

Reed and Bella become fast friends. Before long, Reed discovers that Bella is keeping dangerous secrets. Bella may have the answers to decades-old questions he’s been searching for. Reed will risk it all to uncover the truth, but he soon realizes that the deeper he digs, the direr the consequences.

 

 

The Inspiration Behind Deceiving Bella:

It’s no secret that I’m a crime television junky. I love watching anything that might bring about an idea for another story. Several months ago, I found a series on Netflix about La Cosa Nostra—or the five mafia families of New York. I was immediately drawn to the information I was observing. Within minutes, I knew I wanted to weave together an adventure that would bring Isabella Colby and Reed McKinley face to face with organized crime. I hope you’ll enjoy reading Deceiving Bella as much as I loved writing it.

 

Read an excerpt from Deceiving Bella:

 

Should we get started?” Bella gestured to the kitchen.

“After you.”

She walked in front of Reed, hurrying to the table to pull out a chair. “Does this work?”

“Yeah, it’s fine.” He sat down.

She immediately draped him with the black cover, wanting to get to his hair while it was still wet. “So, what are we doing here, exactly?”

“Just a cleanup, especially on my neck.”

“Sure.” She grabbed the sheers and took her place by his side, sliding her fingers though his short hair and stopped. “Oops.”

His shoulders tensed. “What?”

“Just kidding. A little haircutting humor.”

He tilted his head up, meeting her eyes. “A comedian.”

She laughed as he smiled. “I haven’t even started cutting yet.” She gave him a bump. “Try to relax. I promise you’re in good hands.”

“Chop away.”

“Thanks.” She combed her fingers through his hair once more, using small snips to freshen up his look. Silent seconds ticked by as she breathed in the masculine scent that was Reed. He didn’t seem to wear cologne or use any fancy shampoos, but he smelled good just the same. “So, how was your day?”

“Not too shabby.”

She worked her way around his head, finding his cut a breeze to clean up. He easily could have gone another week without any problems. “What did you do?”

“Worked a little. Boxed.”

“Fascinating.”

“I could make up something about stopping a bank robbery in progress or rescuing a cat from a tree.”

She smiled. “The truth is fine, thanks.”

“What about you?”

“It was pretty much a normal day at the office—a second-session tattoo removal, a microdermabrasion, two stretch mark reductions, the usual stuff.”

“What’s the tattoo of? The one you’re taking off?”

“A woman’s name. Genevieve. The relationship didn’t work out.”

He winced. “Ouch.”

“Triple ouch. Tattoo removal is not a pain-free procedure, nor is it cheap—and he went pretty ornate with Genevieve. Hopefully next time he’ll pick a woman with a shorter name or abstain from getting himself tatted up altogether.”

He laughed.

She grinned, loving that sound. Did he have any idea how gorgeous he was when he smiled like that? She picked up the clippers off the table and let her knees rest against his as she leaned in and gently lifted his chin, evening out his sideburns. She swallowed, feeling his breath on her skin and his eyes studying her face. Licking her lips, she met his gaze. “You better hope I get this part right, or you’ll have to tilt your head for the next four days.”

He sent her another one of his pulse-pounding smiles. “You’ll have to help me decide if I should lean more to the left or right.”

Oh, this cutie had the potential to be trouble. Her eyes darted to his mouth mere inches from hers as his five o’clock shadow tormented her sensitized fingers. She took a step back and a steadying breath. It was a good thing they were just friends—currently the only relationship status she was interested in.

 

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!

 

Amazon | Kobo | Nook | iBooks 

 

The Unofficial Deceiving Bella Soundtrack 

I love music! I can’t imagine a world without catchy tunes playing, especially when I’m writing. Music is inspiration. Melodies, beats, and the mood of each song help me portray emotions and feelings as I tell a story. It’s a rare day when I don’t have my headphones in place, bopping my head, while my fingers race across the keyboard. You can listen to the “soundtrack” for each book on my website www.catebeauman.com.

 

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Deceiving Bella:

  • Favorite Song by Ben Rector
  • Lay It All On Me by Rudimental w/Ed Sheeran
  • Into You by Ariana Grande
  • Cake by the Ocean by DNCE
  • Truth by Steve Moakler
  • Any Other Name by Thomas Newman
  • Rock Bottom by Hailee Steinfeld
  • All I Want by Kodaline
  • Crash by Usher
  • Stand By You by Rachel Platten

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, and have been named Readers Favorite Five Star books. In 2015, JUSTICE FOR ABBY was selected as the Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Gold Medalist, 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. Currently Cate is working on her twelfth full length romantic suspense novel.

 

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