Featuring Juli D. Revezzo ~Why Are We So Fascinated With Dragons & THE DRAGON’S SEAMSTRESS

Why are we so fascinated with dragons?

by

Juli D. Revezzo

Why are we so fascinated with the dragons? It’s a question that I’ve never really thought about. And yet they are so preveleant in our society. From Sleeping Beauty where in Maleficent turns into a dragon to harry the prince to Disney’s The Sword in the Stone where the witch turns into a dragon. You can find them in The Hobbit, of course, in the form of Smaug and in Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series wherein the main characters tamed dragons and use them as transport and, indeed, companions for their warriors. Even Morgan Le Fay commanded dragons from time to time (for instance, the 12th century story Eerc by Hartmann von Aue). And of course, dragons are in far more books than just these.

They’re even found in Welsh mythology and of course the Welsh so love dragons that they put one on their country’s flag. They’ve also returned as a major part of the hit HBO series Game of Thrones. Since the show’s popularity has grown, it seems the popularity of dragons is growing along with it. (My goodness, a search of Amazon brings up over ten thousand hits on a search for dragons in non-romantic fantasy alone!)

Why is that?

Perhaps because the dragon is seen as a symbol of strength and power? Or perhaps it’s an old memory that we brought with us down through the ages from our medieval ancestors who told the stories of dragons and knights around the castle fireplace on long, dark winter nights. Dragons have been found everywhere from ancient Egypt to Biblical references. And even now, as author Todd McCaffrey said in a recent article, perhaps our love of them harkens back to how, many of us, fell in love with dinosaurs when we were children, either from some mention in school, or a cartoon, or a toy passed down from an older sibling, a father or a cousin, or even… from catching old Godzilla movies on the Saturday or a children’s program (HR PufnStuff! J).

At any rate, when I built my latest release, The Dragon’s Seamstress, as it is part of my Antique Magic series, a series wherein, so far, the heroine Caitlin and hero Trevor have already dealt with other things coming from their neighboring Otherworld—fantastical things such as ghosts, imps, and goddesses—and as they’ve visited the Otherworld and seen for themselves just how vast it is, I thought, why couldn’t there be dragons hanging out in a section they’d never yet visited? Happily, the Welsh myths provided a reason for the dragon’s appearance to my helpful witch couple in this book, in the form of an antique cloak made from the beards of defeated Welsh kings, why he had it, and how he related to the piece was a fun thing to create.

I hope you will enjoy The Dragon’s Seamstress as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Synopsis:

Since Caitlin and Trevor vowed to assist the Otherworld and opened their enchanted antique shop, they’ve seen many strange things. But now, someone comes in asking for a mundane item: kitschy “witches” brooms. Has their magical life returned to normal?

As the couple prepares to host a family gathering, fate intervenes and something they’ve never seen before roars into their life: A creature out of Welsh legend and fantasy: A blundering, somewhat underdeveloped dragon—not at all the type of dragon they ever expected to meet. Forced to undertake his unique challenge, Caitlin and Trevor are perplexed by his demands, but the magical beast is certain they are the only witches who can help him.

Doing so might unlock an ancient hidden secret. Refusing might destroy them.

If you’d like to check out The Dragon’s Seamstress, it is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon: https://smarturl.it/ojdlj8

Thanks for having me here today, Ivy!

Bio:

Juli D. Revezzo loves fantasy and Celtic mythology and writing stories with all kinds of fantastical elements. She is the author of The Dragon Seamstress, part of the Antique Magic paranormal series,  the historical romances, Courting the Stationmaster’s Daughter, House of Dark Envy, the fantasy Gothic romance Lady of the Tarot, and much more. She is also a member of the Independent Author Network and the Magic Appreciation Tour.

Author’s Website and blog: https://julidrevezzo.com/Follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/julidrevezzoor Twitter: https://twitter.com/julidrevezzo
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/juli-d-revezzo
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5782712.Juli_D_Revezzo
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/julidrevezzo/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Juli-D.-Revezzo/e/B008AHVTLO
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/julidrevezzo
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jewelsraven

References:

Violence and Conflict Resolution in Hartmann von Aue’s Erecand Iwein, Wirnt von Grafenberg’s Wigalois, and Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival by Melanie Kay Piltingsrud, dissertation, University of Kansas, 2014

Here (And There, And Really Everywhere) Be Dragons, All Things Considered, Allison Keyes, url: https://www.npr.org/2012/03/31/148295380/here-and-there-and-really-everywhere-be-dragons

Morgan Le Fay, Wikiwand, url: https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Morgan_le_Fay

Jane Ashford’s HOW TO CROSS A MARQUESS excerpt & giveaway

The warmth in his expression left Fenella shaken. She’d been braced for blame. She knew how to dismiss unjust accusations, taught by those her father had been tossing at her for as long as she could remember. But not to have to. That was another matter entirely. Relief was a pale word. Her throat thickened with tears.

She looked away to hide them, blinked them back. Their horses had ambled along at their own direction while their riders talked, and she saw that they’d veered closer to Clough House. Before them lay a dip in the land that was filled with bushes. “The raspberry thicket,” said Fenella. “I used to come here and pick berries whenever I could sneak away. How Mama scolded me for spoiling my dresses! But I couldn’t resist. I love raspberries.”

“I’ll pick some for you.”

“The thorns will tear your clothes.”

“No, they won’t. You can sit in the shade over there.” He turned his horse toward a cluster of saplings at the side of the thicket, grinning over his shoulder. An antic mood seemed to have overtaken him.

The breeze carried the scent of sun-warmed raspberries. Fenella’s mouth watered. “I could pick my own,” she said.

“Please allow me.”

He spoke like a knight offering some perilous feat of chivalry. She decided to let him.

They dismounted, leaving their mounts to the rich grass on the side of the hill. Fenella settled in the shade and watched Roger plunge into the raspberry bushes. He pulled out his handkerchief and began to fill it with ripe berries. Stains spread over the linen as he added to his haul. She saw the thorns catch at his coat sleeves and riding breeches. They scratched his glossy boots as well. His valet wouldn’t appreciate that. But Roger didn’t appear to care. He moved deeper into the thicket, until only his hat was visible above the arching canes. And then that too vanished. “Are you all right?” called Fenella.

“Dashed briars snatched my hat,” he replied. “Just a… Got it.” The crown of his hat reappeared above the branches. He was near the center of the thicket, at the bottom of the dip. It was much harder to get out of that little valley than to go in, Fenella remembered. The slant of the bushes seemed to push one back down.

Roger’s face showed above the vegetation. He must be standing on tiptoe. “There you are,” he said. “I got turned around.”

He moved slowly toward her, obviously having to fight his way out. His head, and then his broad shoulders, came into view. He held one arm in front of his face to stave off the thorns.

“Hotter in there,” he said when he finally emerged. Sweat gleamed on his face. He came over to her, bowed, and set his bundle of berries beside her as if they were indeed the result of a knight’s quest. Fenella noted an angry scratch across the back of his right hand. At least it wasn’t bleeding. She took a raspberry and ate it. The fruit was warm from the sun, sweet and tart at the same time. It melted on her tongue, utterly delicious. “Berries picked here are always better than any others,” she said.

Roger sat down in the grass beside her.

“You must have some, too. You did all the work.”

He ate one. “Very good.”

“Better than that,” Fenella said. “Luscious.” She held out a berry. He bent a little forward and took it, his lips brushing her fingertips, light as a butterfly’s wing, and still it stirred her.

“Luscious,” he agreed.

The word vibrated between them, expanding out to encompass far more than berries. The air was heavy with the hum of bees and the scent of fruit under the heat of the August sun.

They were hidden from the world here, Fenella noted. Even the horses would not be easily visible, due to the dip in the land and the height of bushes. They might have stepped outside of time. Her everyday life seemed far away.

Roger took a raspberry and held it out to her. Fenella leaned forward and opened her lips. He put the berry on her tongue. She bit into it, the intense flavor filling her mouth—piquant, delicious, another dart of pleasure. She held out a berry. He followed her example, bending toward her. She set the crimson fruit in his mouth without touching him. He held her gaze as he bit down.

The sultry atmosphere went to her head—the languorous warmth, the rustle of leaves overhead, the soft grass beneath her, Roger’s lips red with berry juice. Hers must be as well, Fenella thought. The same hue, the same taste. The idea seemed to pull her forward, and the next time he held out a berry, she leaned past it and kissed him.

He did taste of raspberries. But the kiss was so much more than that. The sweet taste of the fruit slid slowly into a melting of her whole body.

Strong arms came around her and pulled her close. She put hers around his neck and let herself sink with him onto the grass. The world contracted into a kernel of dizzying sensation.

What kisses, she thought. She’d known she was drawn to Roger, but she hadn’t realized it would be like this. His touch set her vibrating with desire. She wanted to give him all he could ask, to take everything he could offer. She pressed up against him. Their kisses wove a tapestry of longing, begging to be unraveled. He murmured her name.

“It went this way,” shouted a boy’s voice from other side of the thicket.

“Into the brambles?” replied another.

“Right under, the cunning little devil.”

“I ain’t desperate keen to crawl in there.”

“It’s John and Tom,” whispered Fenella.

“Deuce take them,” replied Roger.

“Perhaps it will come out the other side,” said John. “We can go around.” Footsteps pounded along the edge of the thicket.

Roger pulled her closer as if to protect her from this intrusion. But his instinct was wrong in this case. They couldn’t be found embracing. Fenella pulled away and sat up. Her hat had fallen off. She retrieved it and set it on her head, plucking and pinning stray strands of hair into place.

“Must speak to you,” Roger whispered.

“Shh. Not now.”

“Must.” He couldn’t stay silent. He had to tell her. This was the tricky bit, where he could win her, or lose everything. If only he could make his damnable tongue form the right phrases, and in a hurried whisper, no less.

***

Excerpted from How to Cross a Marquess by Jane Ashford. © 2019 by Jane Ashford. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

“A refreshingly different, sweetly romantic love story [readers] will long remember.”—Booklist for Brave New Earl

The Marquess of Chatton and his neighbor Fenella Fairclough have known each other all their lives. They refused to marry each other years ago when their parents demanded it, and they won’t concede now—even if circumstances have brought these former enemies much closer than they ever could have anticipated…

The Way to a Lord’s Heart:

Brave New Earl (Book 1)

A Lord Apart (Book 2)

How to Cross a Marquess (Book 3)

Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight was part of what led her to study English literature and travel widely. She’s written historical and contemporary romances, and her books have been published all over Europe as well as in the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. Find her on the web at www.janeashford.com and on Facebook. If you’d like to receive her monthly newsletter, you can sign up at either of those sites.

Author Website: www.janeashford.com

Amazon                 B&N                  Apple                      IndieBound                         BAM                       Kobo

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’VE GOT YOU, BABE excerpt & giveaway with Lynnette Austin

Where do you go when you’re at the end of your rope?

Former Marine Tucker Wylder wants nothing more than to work with his brothers in their vintage car restoration business and be left alone with his nightmares and regrets. The last thing he needs is to take on someone else’s troubles…

Then Elisa Danvers and her young daughter arrive in Misty Bottoms, Georgia. Elisa has reached the end of the line—flat broke, engine trouble, sick in body and spirit. Tucker steps up to the rescue and finds himself reluctantly taking care of a feisty preschooler and her independent mother, who doesn’t seem to want his help. And Tucker isn’t sure he’s ready for the way precocious little Daisy and headstrong, beautiful Elisa herself capture first his bachelor household and finally his carefully guarded heart…..

Must Love Babies Series: Must Love Babies (Book 1)  &  I’ve Got You Babe (Book 2)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A cup of hot, black coffee in hand and a well-earned—and desperately needed—weekend fishing trip on his mind, Tucker unlocked the front door of Wylder Rides. The smell of oil and new tires welcomed him like an old friend. He liked the peace and quiet of the early morning, the solitude before his brothers arrived.

When a breeze drifted in through the open bay door, he thanked the stars the calendar had finally flipped to October. This summer, his first in Misty Bottoms, Georgia, had been hotter than Hades. With the onslaught of autumn, though, temperatures had dipped to a less humid mid-seventies.

Still, even the Georgia low-country summer had been a hell of a sight better than the sweltering heat he’d suffered during his Middle East deployment. There the July temperatures hovered above the hundred-degree mark. Add in the blistering sun, and the place could turn a man’s hide to shoe leather in no time. Don’t even get him started on the never-ending sand that found its way into every crack and crevice on the human body and scoured exposed skin raw.

A tough place to live. A worse place to die.

Involuntarily, his hands clenched into fists. Taking a deep breath, he relaxed them. Not today. He dropped to the creeper, slid partially beneath the ’Vette, and got busy replacing the brake lines.

Southern rock blasted from his stereo. Over the magic of Charlie Daniel’s fiddle, Tucker heard a car slow, then pull in out front. Its muffler was shot. The engine knocked, coughed and sputtered, then shut down with a rattle.

Seconds later, a totally different sound caught his attention—high heels on the garage’s concrete floor. Tucker slid a sidelong glance toward the front of the bay and almost swallowed his tongue. Framed in the narrow window between the floor and the car’s bumper were a pair of legs that would have any red-blooded man drooling…and they crossed slowly toward him. Laying the wrench on the floor beside him, he gave a push with his foot and slid the creeper from beneath the car.

Flat on his back, he let his gaze travel up over a body that matched the legs beat for beat, then on to a face only angels could have created. The heart-shaped face, with its sensuous lips and the biggest, bluest eyes he’d ever seen, sent a shockwave rocketing through him. Long, pale blond hair had been caught back in a ponytail.

An illusion? Maybe he’d breathed too many gas fumes and was hallucinating?

Nope. This woman was real and, from the expression on that stunning face, in trouble. 

“My car—” She waved a hand toward the front of the building.

“Could use some work,” Tucker finished, slowly getting to his feet. Wiping his hands on a grease rag, he moved toward her. “Look, we’re not a repair shop, but I can probably figure out what’s wrong. If it’s minor—”

She swayed and reached out toward the wall.

“You okay?” Even as Tucker spoke, he saw those mind-blowing eyes go blank. Dark lashes fanned her cheeks.

With a muttered curse, he lunged, barely reaching her before she hit the floor. Heart racing, he held her against him and swore again. Out cold.

“Hey, can you hear me?” He tapped her cheek but got no response. “Wake up.”

Sweat broke out on his brow. Where were his brothers? They should be here by now. What was he supposed to do with an unconscious woman? He leaned his head close to hers, relief flooding him when her breath whispered against his cheek.

A high-pitched wail split the air. Panicked, his head whipped up, and he glanced toward the beater parked out front. The driver’s side door hung open; in the back, strapped into a child’s seat, sat a little girl with her mama’s pale blond hair—a little girl winding up for one hell of a crying jag. 

And the day just got better!

He shook the limp woman gently, noticed the sheen of perspiration on her face. “Come on, sugar. For God’s sake, open those baby blues.”

She didn’t.

Kneeling and taking the woman down with him, he spread an old garage blanket and laid her carefully on it, straightening the short skirt of her flower-print dress.

With his forearm, he swiped the sweat from his brow. “Hey, wake up.”

She didn’t.

Okay. Time to tackle the second half of this double-feature horror show.

Edging toward the used-up Ford Escort and its young occupant in much the same way he’d approach a suspected sniper’s nest, he pulled out his phone and hit 911.

The sheriff answered on the first ring. “Misty Bottoms Police Department. What can I do ya?”

“Jimmy Don, it’s Tuck Wylder. I’m out at my shop.” Opening the sedan’s back door, he stared at the young child, at her tear-covered face and runny nose. He’d guess her to be maybe two or three years old. An opened bag of pretzels lay on the seat. Leaning in, he grabbed one and handed it to her. She raised it to her mouth and chewed, her cries dying to quiet whimpers.

Thank you, Jesus.

“Tuck? What’s goin’ on?” the sheriff demanded.

“A woman pulled up in front of our place, and, well, she’s passed out.”

“Been drinkin’?”

“I don’t think so, but she’s hot.”

“I don’t care how good lookin’ she is.”

“No, Jimmy Don. Not hot hot, hot! As in sweating.”

“Well, why didn’t you say so?”

“I did!” Who’s on first? he thought.

“Do I hear a kid?”

Exasperated, Tucker raked fingers through his short hair, his gaze travelling over the woman. She still hadn’t moved. What a friggin’ mess!

“Yeah, you do. She came with the woman who’s passed out on my garage floor.”

“She okay?”

Tucker raised his eyes to the heavens and rubbed at his forehead. “Which one?”

“The kid.”

“How would I know? Nothing wrong with her lungs, I can tell you that.” The nagging beginning of a headache bloomed into a full-fledged whopper.

“You need an ambulance or you gonna take the gal in to see Doc Hawkins?”

“What?” Tucker pulled the cell away to stare at it. Bringing it back to his ear, he asked, “Are you serious, Jimmy Don? You want me to pick up an unconscious stranger, toss her in my car, along with the baby, and drive them into town?”

“So I guess you want me to send the town’s ambulance out there.”

“Bingo.”

***

Excerpted from I’ve Got You, Babe by Lynnette Austin. © 2019 by Lynnette Austin. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

Lynnette Austin has been a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Contest, PASIC’s Book of Your Heart Contest, and Georgia Romance Writers’ Maggie Contest. Having grown up in a small town, that’s where her heart takes her—to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody…and all their business, for better or worse. Visit her at http://www.authorlynnetteaustin.com. Lynnette splits her time between the beaches of Florida and the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia.

Author Website: http://www.authorlynnetteaustin.com

Amazon          B&N          Apple           IndieBound              BAM                 Kobo

Special Feature! Sylvia Day’s BUTTERFLY IN FROST Excerpt & Giveaway!


Roxy bounces on her feet with excitement. “Les and Marge sold their house.”

I blink. “I didn’t know they were selling.”

She laughs and heads toward the front door. “That’s the thing. They weren’t.”

“Wait, what?” I hurry after her as she steps outside.

I look to the right at my home, a lovingly restored butterfly-roofed midcentury, then on to the traditional house just beyond it that belongs—belonged—to Les and Marge. Including Roxy’s, all three of our homes have unique lots set between the homes that line the street and the Sound, affording us unhindered views of the water as well as exceptional privacy—all within a twenty-minute drive of the airport.

Roxy shortens the length of her stride to allow me to catch up, then glances over at me. “The day after you flew to New York, a Range Rover pulled into their driveway, and the guy inside offered them cash to close—and move out—in fourteen days.”

My step falters, and Minnie gets momentarily tangled in her leash. The dog shoots me what I would describe as an irritated look, then keeps trotting forward. “That’s crazy.”

“Isn’t it? Les wouldn’t say how much the offer was, but I’m thinking it was huge.”

We march up the inclined driveway, my head tilted back to take in the houses scaling the hillside. Designed with big windows to maximize the view, the homes have a look of wide-eyed wonder. Our little stretch of the Sound used to be a secret, but with the housing boom taking over Seattle and Tacoma, we’ve been discovered. Many residences are undergoing major renovation to suit the tastes of new owners.

Reaching the road, we turn left. To the right is a dead end.

“Well, if they’re happy,” I say, “I’m happy for them.”

“They’re overwhelmed. It was a lot to happen all at once, but I think they’re happy with their decision.” Roxanne stops when Bella does, and we wait as the two dogs mark one of their usual spots on the gravel edging the asphalt. There are no curbs on the streets in our neighborhood and no sidewalks. Just beautiful lawns and a profusion of flowering shrubs.

“We all tried prying information out of them,” she goes on, “but they weren’t sharing anything about the sale.” She gives me a sidelong glance. “But they did share a bit about the buyer.”

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Because Mike and I both think the buyer is someone famous. A film director maybe. Or an artist. Can you imagine? First Emily, a bestselling author. Then you, a reality-TV surgeon. Now this guy! Maybe we’re sitting on the new Malibu—beachside living without wildfires or state income tax!”

The mention of Roxy’s husband, Mike, coaxes an inner smile. A New York transplant like me, he adds a welcome touch of the life I left behind to the reality I’ve since created for myself—a reality that’s just been rocked by the loss of neighbors I like.

“What are the clues you’re working with?” I ask, deciding to play along. If I’ve learned anything the past year, it’s to accept the things I cannot change. A tough task for a control freak like me.

“Les pointed out to this guy that he hadn’t even seen the inside of the house. The guy said he didn’t need to. He knew already that ‘the light is perfect.’ I mean, who would say that? Gotta be someone who’s in visual arts, right?”

“Maybe,” I agree tentatively, disquieted by the unexpected conversation. The road rises sharply before us, the incline steep enough to put a little burn in my thighs. “Doesn’t mean he’s famous, though.”

“That’s the thing.” Her words carry a note of breathlessness. “Les wouldn’t give numbers, but he did say it was crazy the guy didn’t just buy that huge compound at the end of the street. That house is listed for three and a half million!”

My mind staggers at the thought. Les and Marge have—had—a beautiful home, but it’s not worth anywhere near that much.

“I think I saw the buyer once through that big arched window in the living room,” Roxy goes on. “The blonde with him was a looker. Supermodel skinny with legs for days.”

I’m panting when we reach the top; Roxy, who hits a gym most days of the week, is not.

A quarter mile farther, there’s a street to the right leading to Dash Point. Beyond that and straight ahead, the road slopes back down and around until it’s at water level. Redondo Beach is there, as is Salty’s, a restaurant on stilts in the water with expansive views of Poverty Bay and beyond. I’m about to wax poetic about Salty’s seafood chowder when a runner dashes around the corner at a full sprint. His sudden appearance rattles me. A closer look makes me freeze midstride. My breath locks in my lungs.

There are too many things to register at once, so my mind attempts to absorb the whole man. Dressed only in black shorts and shoes, he is a visual feast of deeply tanned skin, intricate sleeves of tattooed art, and sweat-slicked, flexing musculature.

And his face. Sculpted. Square-jawed. Brutally, breathlessly handsome.

Roxy, now a few feet in front of me, gives a low whistle. “Hot damn.”

Butterfly in Frost
Author: Sylvia Day
Release Date: August 27, 2019
Publisher: Montlake Romance

Once, I would never have imagined myself here. But I’m settled now. In a place I love, in a home I renovated, spending time with new friends I adore, and working a job that fulfills me. I am reconciling the past and laying the groundwork for the future.

Then Garrett Frost moves in next door.

He’s obstinate and too bold, a raging force of nature that disrupts the careful order of my life. I recognize the ghosts that haunt him, the torment driving him. Garrett would be risky in any form, but wounded, he’s far more dangerous. I fear I’m too fragile for the storm raging inside him, too delicate to withstand the pain that buffets him. But he’s too determined…and too tempting.

And sometimes hope soars above even the iciest desolation.

Author Biography

Sylvia Day is the #1 New York Times, #1 USA Today, #1 Sunday Times, #1 Der Spiegel, and #1 international bestselling author of over twenty award-winning novels sold in more than forty countries. She is a #1 bestselling author in twenty-eight countries, with tens of millions of copies of her books in print. Visit the author at www.sylviaday.com.

Buy Link

Website      FB        Twitter           Instagram          Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Juno Rushdan’s NOTHING TO FEAR excerpt & giveaway

“Juno Rushdan is the real deal. Every Last Breath is an electric combination of heart-stopping thriller and swoon-worthy romance.”—LEXI BLAKE, New York Times bestselling author

The clock is ticking.

Fearsome Gray Box operative Gideon Stone is devoted to his work and his team. He’s never given reason to doubt his loyalty…until he’s tasked with investigating Willow Harper, a beguiling cryptologist suspected of selling deadly bio-agents on the black market.

He knows she’s innocent. He knows she’s being framed. And he knows that without him, Willow will be dead before sunrise.

Thrust into the crossfire of an insidious international conspiracy, Gideon will do anything to keep Willow safe…even if that means waging war against his own. With time running out, an unlikely bond pushes limits—and forges loyalties. Every move they make counts. And the real traitor is always watching…

**********

Willow’s car nosedived down a long ramp that mouthed open to three lanes. Vehicles lining the two on the left were stopped at a red light.

She grabbed the wheel and veered toward the empty right lane.

Relief flashed through her. But as quickly as it came, it was gone. Her car had no brakes and was on a collision course with a major intersection of traffic.

Pressure welled in her chest.

Figures. She’d just had the most highly charged experience in her short life with a guy she was crazy attracted to, and now she was going to die. After living a neutral—

Neutral. She shifted from drive to neutral and dragged the tires against the concrete curb. The friction would shave off some speed but not enough. Not while pitched downhill on a trajectory sending her right into traffic with the cruise control jammed at sixty.

She had to avoid causing a domino effect of collisions in the intersection. Cranking the wheel, she plowed over the curb, scraping the undercarriage, and climbed the grassy berm over uneven terrain. Her gaze flickered up to the rearview mirror and to a red Jeep speeding up behind her.

A concrete barricade ahead stole her attention and her breath. She spun the wheel, turning into the main street traffic. Cars squealed, braking. Another skidded and rear-ended a truck.

The Jeep bulldozed up beside her in the left lane, horn honking.

What was she supposed to do? What could she do?

The four-wheel-drive vehicle nosed past her bumper and crashed into her car, forcing her to make a hard right—straight into the parking lot of a grocery store.

A woman yapping on her cell phone while rooting in her purse crossed in front of them. Willow’s chest turned to a block of ice.

The Jeep that had run up beside her tapped her car to the right, engaging her focus.

She steered away from the woman to the side of the building and a vacant part of the lot.

“Willow!”

The sound of her name penetrated her shroud of fear. She looked over through the Jeep’s open passenger-side window.

Gideon.

He signaled to her, punching his hand down and yanking his fist up toward his shoulder. She glanced to her side.

Gear selector? No.

Emergency brake. He wanted her to pull up on the emergency brake.

She gripped the handle and wrenched up. The car whipped into a wild spin. She gasped. Light swirled into a haze of gray. Nausea flooded her in a violent wave. Her body shivered like it wanted to splinter into a hundred pieces.

Pressing her head against the seat, she released the wheel and crossed her arms, hands to her shoulders. The tail of the car crashed into something, shattering the back window. The vehicle rocked, jostling her forward.

Phfowmph!

A dense pillow punched her, throttling her back. A white cloud engulfed everything. The airbag sucked up the space around her. A scream strangled in her throat and died.

Dust and white powder clogged her nose and esophagus. She choked on the remnants of terror.

Her car door swung open. “Willow! You okay?”

A loud pop echoed. Her airbag deflated with a hiss, as if it’d been cut. She drew in a shuddering breath and waved to clear the congesting dust from her face.

Gideon whipped a double-handled knife closed and reached for her.

A whimper slipped from her lips as she cringed, raising her arm. It was all too much—losing the brakes, the sound of metal grating, hitting vehicles. Almost dying. She needed to breathe, gain her bearings, before he touched her.

“I want to help you from the car and make sure you’re okay. I won’t hurt you.” He reached for her slowly. “Okay?”

Shutting her eyes, she clutched the strap of her purse still draped over her and nodded.

He unfastened her seatbelt. One strong arm slipped under her legs, the other curled around her shoulders. He lifted her out the car, tucking her against his large frame.

Particles clung to her nostrils, burned her throat, and filled her lungs. She coughed and raked in a glorious breath of fresh air.

Gideon’s long legs stretched quickly, carrying her to his car. In his powerful arms, warm and solid, a blanket of calm covered her, dampening her chaotic thoughts save one.

She was safe with him.

He opened the passenger’s door and set her inside, but she didn’t want him to let go. Not yet.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

Everything had unraveled in minutes. Trying to slow the car, the parking lot. Gideon helping. She still couldn’t make sense of it.

Gideon crouched in front of Willow and examined her, smoothing his big hands over her face and her hair. He tilted her chin up. “Did you hit your head? You might have a concussion.”

Staring into his wide eyes, now darkened to the bluish gray of a stormy sky in this light, her breathing slowed and her bunched muscles uncoiled. He looked shaken, off beat from his normal steady cadence.

“Willow? Are you all right?”

I’m okay. How bizarre since she’d almost died. “Everything is fuzzy, but I didn’t hit my head. I don’t think I have a concussion.”

“You can get it from whiplash. A doctor should check you.”

Before she voiced objections, a sheriff’s car pulled into the lot, lights flashing, siren muted. Gideon patted her knee and left her side. He spoke to the officer, pointing to her car, waving his hands in the air as if explaining everything that’d happened.

What exactly had happened?

This morning, nothing was wrong with her brakes. She’d had the car checked recently, never pushed the service due date. Yet she’d nearly been killed.

***

Excerpted from Nothing to Fear by Juno Rushdan. © 2019 by Juno Rushdan. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Juno Rushdan draws from real-life inspiration as a former U.S. Air Force Intelligence Officer to craft sizzling romantic thrillers.  Although she is a native New Yorker, wanderlust has taken her across the globe. She’s visited more than twenty different countries and has lived in England and Germany. When she’s not writing, Juno loves spending time with her family. She currently resides in Virginia.

Author Website: www.junorushdan.com

Amazon                 B&N             Apple                 Indiebound                  BAM                       Kobo

A chat with Carolyn Brown on her latest, EMPTY NEST & giveaway

Jump Into Author Carolyn Brown’s Empty Nest   
Good morning, and thank you for inviting me to stop by to talk about my new book, The Empty Nesters. I’ll be giving all y’all a few of my favorite scenes and a little commentary during the time we get to spend together.

As Ma used to say on Golden Girls, imagine this—Carmen, Joanie and Diana have just dropped their daughters off at the recruiter’s office. They’ve managed to keep the tears at bay and put up a brave front, but now it’s time to let the tears loose. 

“For the first time ever, Natalie and I won’t decorate the house for Halloween together. Nine months of carrying them, then we basically raised them on our own while our husbands were deployed or got sent someplace to train other officers. And now they’re gone, and we won’t see them for Halloween or Thanksgiving. And who even knows about Christmas? It’s not fair.” 

It’s always amazing what comes to mind during a sad time, isn’t it? Things pop into our heads that seem trivial in the face of the event, and yet, at the time, the good memories are what keep us sane.

Tootsie, their elderlyneighbor, has just lost her husband, after they’d bought the huge RV and planned a trip to northeast Texas. She’s trying to convince the women that they need to get away from their empty nest for a while.

“You need to get away for a little while and get some perspective,” Tootsie said.

“Let’s pool our money and blow it all on a trip to Paris. We can shop and have lattes in little bistros,” Diana suggested. 

Joanie sighed. “That’s a pipe dream. We probably don’t have enough money to even get to Paris, Texas, between the three of us.” 

The three of them have known the support of each other through the past thirteen years, and just because they’re now alone in their homes, they have no doubt that the love is still there between them—and that it’s even stronger than blood sisters.

“We’re only half a block and a phone call away. If any of us feel the world dropping out from under our feet, we can get back together in less than five minutes.” 

I was amazed at how supportive all of them, including Tootsie, were of each other. They might disagree, but Lord help the person that tried to come between them, or who had the nerve to say an ugly word about one of them.

Everything happens for a reason and in the time that it should happen. I believe that with my whole heart. Diana had gotten her divorce years before the book opens, but she remembers the pain and anger of it all. Then she focused all her energy and time on raising her daughter. But now it’s her time to find a new love, and a new life—maybe with a younger man.

“That many trips into town on those roads would shake the hell out of their Caddy. And believe me, Aunt Tootsie treats that car like family.” Luke chuckled. “Age, on a truck or on a person, makes no difference. It’s how well they’re maintained that matters.” 

Why, oh, why, couldn’t he have smooth pickup lines like other men? Luke asked himself. What he’d just said could be taken as an insult. She might think that he thought she looked like an old pickup truck at her age, when in reality she was downright gorgeous. He wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she still got carded at bars when she ordered a drink. 

Thank you again, for inviting me into your world, and letting me talk about the amazing ladies (and Luke of course), from The Empty Nesters. Happy reading to each and every one of you!

***

Dear friends and army wives Diana, Carmen, and Joanie have been through war, rumors of war, marital problems, motherhood, fears, joy, and heartache. But none of the women are prepared when their daughters decide to enlist in the army together. Facing an empty nest won’t be easy. Especially for Carmen. With emotions already high, she suffers an even greater blow: divorce papers. Diana understands the fury and tears. She’s been there.

With nothing to lose and no one at home, the girlfriends impulsively accept an unexpected offer from their elderly neighbor. The recently widowed Tootsie has an RV, a handsome nephew at the wheel, and an aim for tiny Scrap, Texas, to embrace memories of her late husband. Still grieving, she can use the company as a balm for her broken heart. So can the empty nesters.

Embarking on a journey of hope, romance, and healing, Diana, Carmen, and Joanie are at a turning point in their lives. And with the open road ahead of them, it’s just the beginning.

***

Carolyn Brown is a New York TimesUSA TodayPublisher’s Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and a RITA finalist with more than ninety published books. Her genres include romance, history, cowboys and country music, and contemporary mass-market paperbacks. She and her husband live in the small town of Davis, Oklahoma, where everyone knows everyone else, knows what they are doing and when . . . and reads the local newspaper every Wednesday to see who got caught. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them young. Visit Carolyn at www.carolynbrownbooks.com.

FB          Goodreads        

a Rafflecopter giveaway

End of content

No more pages to load

Close Menu