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Taming the Lion by Kerry Adrienne

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Pack bonds are tested in the Shifter Wars as the lion heir must choose between his legacy and his mate.

Title: Taming the Lion
Author: Kerry Adrienne
Series: Shifter Wars
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: August 14, 2017
Publisher: Carina Press

 

0317_9781460397510_Taming the Lion_Kerry AdrienneFor Marco, heir to the lions’ throne, seizing control of the Cave of Whispers from the bear clan is more than just a quest—it’s fulfilling the legacy of his breed. But the latest crusade has left Marco gravely wounded in enemy territory and in the hands of Alicia, healer for the bears. An irresistibly sensuous adversary, Alicia presents a serious problem. She carries the scent of a mate.

Drawn to this dominant master of his den, Alicia knows her allegiance has been compromised. His brooding sexuality is testing her defenses, but falling in love with Marco means falling in league with a rival shifter. And turning her back on the bears in a time of war is a lethal move.

Two breeds united by destiny could inspire a peaceful new future for their opposing clans—or ignite the fiercest battle yet and destroy all of Deep Creek forever.

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Excerpt:

“Go away.” His voice barely a whisper on the thick summer air. “I’ll kill you.”

Alicia gripped the scalpel. She could slide it across his neck in a flash, and it’d be over. No one would have to know. A mercy killing, of sorts. Though she’d be lying to herself to categorize it as such.

Her grandmother’s words echoed. Alicia was a healer, not a killer.

From the looks of the lion’s shirt, already dark, yet now wet with blood, he might not recover even with her best efforts to save him. The scent of gunpowder and burnt flesh peppered the blood-laden air. The lions had left him to die under a bush in bear territory, shot in the shoulder.

She shook her head and settled to the ground on her knees. “I’m not going anywhere.” The strength of her voice hid her fear, though he might sense it anyway. His scent was that of a strong and confident shifter, even in his current state.

He looked at her.

She blinked, trying to calm the adrenaline rush that shot through her. His eyes, mesmerizing and wide, lured her in, and she couldn’t turn away. Deep green or maybe brown or even both, they were a color she’d never seen and his gaze was magnetic. Her mouth went dry.

He was her sworn enemy. Sexy, but injured.

She glanced to the sky, but didn’t see Grandmother Hawk. Typical. Recently, she’d started leaving Alicia to figure out the moral decisions on her own, trusting that she would make the right one.

Part of the training.

“Shit.” The scalpel had warmed in her hands, and the sun glinted off the blade in a flash of silvery-white. What would her grandmother do? No doubt, she’d help the lion. Maybe she wouldn’t tell the bears, who she was loyal to, but she’d never let a lion die if she could heal him. She’d never intentionally let anyone die on her watch.

“War is for the weak minded,” she’d always said. Alicia was beginning to think she was right. Why couldn’t shifters all get along?

Because the damn lions wanted the bears’ territory. If they’d stayed in their own area, none of the bloodshed would’ve happened. Even though Alicia had heard the stories of the lions and bears and wolves sharing the cave, the actuality felt as foreign as items in an ancient history book. As remote as a fairy tale.

Fantasy.

“Go.” He turned away, but she could still see the strain on his face as he winced.

His black hair, falling to his shoulders, was damp and matted. How early in the battle had he been wounded? He was bound to be dehydrated.

“I’m here to help. Like it or not.” She slid the scalpel into its sheath and back into the pocket of her pack. Her earlier assessment was correct. The lion was no threat at the moment. He could barely move. The rise and fall of his chest showed his respirations were high and labored. Blood loss was nearing the severe level.

He needed help before his body went into shock.

She looked back toward the trail to make sure she was alone. If Griff or Derek found out about him, the lion wouldn’t need help anymore and her time as medic would be over.

She’d worry about that another day. She had a lion to save.

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About Kerry Adrienne:

MCP-Kerry-Vail-2-small-large-300x200USA Today bestselling author Kerry Adrienne is repped by Marisa Corvisiero at Corvisiero Literary Agency. Kerry writes in many sub-genres of romance including paranormal, science fiction, erotic, m/m, time travel, and many more.
She loves history, science, music, and art and is the mom to three daughters, many cats, and various other small animals. She loves live music and traveling most anywhere. In addition to being an author, she’s a college instructor, artist, costumer, editor, and bad guitar player.

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Guest Post by Kerry Adrienne:

The art of writing a book blurb

Book Blurbs! The mere mention usually makes authors freak out and doubt their ability to even put a sentence together. Perhaps the only thing worse is the ever-dreaded synopsis!

I mean, really, how do you summarize the high points of a 50-80K word novel in a couple of paragraphs, make it interesting, not give away the plot, and not pull out every hair on your body in the process?

I’ve written a lot of blurbs and edited a lot more. I don’t enjoy it. It’s a ton of pressure and I usually put in too many adjectives and adverbs rather than sticking to the bones of the story.

Who are the main characters, what do they want, and why can’t they have it? And what will make a reader think, I need to read this book!

Sounds easy? It’s not. Not for me. Sometimes, I’ll come up with what seems like a good phrase—then it’s the rest of the blurb that becomes impossible. Sometimes, I ramble about the characters and end up chopping 400 words.

With Carina Press, where my Shifter Wars books are published, I don’t have to stress over the blurb, as they have a team to write them. And I think they do a great job. I cannot tell you how much getting an awesome blurb makes an author go, oh crap! Is my story good enough? And then work even harder to make sure!

Another important thing that blurbs need are keywords for searches. For Shifter Wars, seeing “shifter” and other words is really important. Thankfully, Carina knows all about that, too.

I do have to write the synopsis and the book, though. Haha.

How about you? Do blurbs make you want to read or discard a book? Can blurbs be too long? And which sells a book to you more quickly, a fantastic cover or a great blurb?

Thanks for having me!
Kerry Adrienne

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Brainrush Series by Richard Bard

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Genre: Action/Adventure Thriller, Romantic Suspense

An “international thriller with soul.” Features a broad cast of characters with kids playing significant roles. Ideal reading for fans of Michael Crichton, Clive Cussler, James Rollins, Brad Thor, Dan Brown, Matthew Reilly, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, and Vince Flynn.

Brainrush is a story about second chances, and embracing every day of your life as though it’s your last. Called “a terrifically entertaining thriller” by Publishers Weekly, Book-1 of the series was named The Wall Street Journal #1 Bestselling Action/Adventure in their Guide to Self-Published Big Sellers, while Book-2 was on the Top-10 Amazon Mystery/Thriller Top Rated list for 53-straight weeks. This set the stage for the blockbuster release of the third book in the series, which was heralded by Suspense Magazine as “part science fiction, part thriller, part suspense, part love story, and part mystery. It’s got it all and that’s what makes this novel one of the best.” The characters live on in the final four books of the series. Books 4 & 5 were released in 2014, and were met with rave reviews that outpaced even those from the first three books. Book-5 was named “one of the best books of the year” by IndieReader.com. The final two books in the series, No Refuge and Against All Odds are available now, and they promise to keep you on the edge of your seat in a fashion that lives up to what the series is all about—a thought-provoking, soulful and satisfying rush that will keep you gasping long after the final page.

Get the first three books in a box set!!

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Brainrush

Book 1

Brainrush-web25%_401x600Publishers Weekly heralded the first book in Richard Bard’s Brainrush thriller series as “terrifically entertaining” and “inventive and compelling.” It went on to earn The Wall Street Journal’s #1 Action/Adventure slot in the Guide to Self-Published Big Sellers list.

Before he slid into the MRI machine, Jake Bronson was just an ordinary guy with terminal cancer. But when an earthquake hits during the procedure, Jake staggers from the wreckage a profoundly changed man, now endowed with uncanny mental abilities.

An ocean away, Luciano Battista wants a piece of Jake’s talent. Posing as a pioneering scientist, the terrorist leader has been conducting cerebral-implant experiments in a sinister quest to create a breed of super jihadist agents…and Jake’s altered brain may be the key to his success. But Jake refuses to play the pawn in an unholy war–and when an innocent woman and autistic child are taken hostage to force his cooperation, he embarks on a jihad of his own. Jake and his band of loyal friends are thrust into a deadly chase that leads from the canals of Venice through Monte Carlo and finally to an ancient cavern in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan–where Jake discovers that his newfound talents carry a hidden price that threatens the entire human race.

An “international thriller with soul.” Ideal reading for fans of Michael Crichton, Clive Cussler, James Rollins, Brad Thor, Dan Brown, Matthew Reilly, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, and Vince Flynn.

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The Enemy of My Enemy

Book 2

Enemy-web25%_401x600The Enemy of My Enemy (Brainrush 2) became the Amazon #1 Top Rated (best reviewed) Mystery/Thriller, AND the #1 Top Rated Action/Adventure within one month of its release. It maintained the #1 or #2 slots for 10 straight months.

Bestselling author Richard Bard returns with his highly rated Brainrush thriller series, pitting hero Jake Bronson against his jihadist nemesis–and a new bioweapon that threatens the soul of every mother in America.

When a freak accident gave Jake Bronson near-superhuman mental powers and landed his loved ones in the crosshairs of an Islamic terrorist, the only way out was with guns blazing. But Jake was unable to put a stop to his nightmares or his murderous nemesis, Luciano Battista, in that ferocious Afghan mountains showdown. Now the terror czar and his minions have brought the fight to American soil–along with the most terrifying bioweapon that has ever threatened the free world. They demand vengeance, and Jake’s family and friends are caught in the crossfire.

From California’s beaches and Mexico’s deserts to the depths of a raging underground river and the treacherous Venezuelan jungle, Jake and his unlikely alliance of combat veterans and gangsters wage a rolling war of wits, weapons, and indomitable will–to rescue those they love, to save America from extinction, and to stop a madman’s bid for global conquest dead in its tracks.

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Beyond Judgment

Book 3

Beyond-web25%_401x600With Publishers Weekly heralding the first book in his Brainrush thriller series as “terrifically entertaining” and “inventive and compelling,” and Book-2 holding a death grip on the #1 or #2 slots of the Amazon Top-Rated (best reviewed) Mystery/Thriller and Action/Adventure lists for 10 straight months, Beyond Judgment, the third in the series, sees hero Jake Bronson at the mercy of his hidden past.

After waking up with amnesia from a six-year coma, Jake Bronson’s past is lost to him. But that doesn’t mean the past hasn’t been looking for him–or that it will let him live when it finally catches up.

Jake’s placid, anonymous life in Italy is shattered by the arrival of an assassination squad hell-bent on eliminating him–and he has no idea why he’s in their crosshairs. He’s saved only when an American scientist intervenes, wielding strange technology that briefly reactivates Jake’s dormant memories and deadly skills. As unknown enemies continue to hound Jake’s every step, the scientist helps him reconnect with lost friends and loved ones who believed him long dead.

Any happy reunion is forfeit, though, as Jake’s murky history and mysterious talents conceal a terrible secret that–should it fall into the wrong hands–could trigger the extinction of the human race. Averting this apocalypse means Jake must risk everything to reawaken his true self and stop an ancient order from unleashing humanity’s ultimate judgment.

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Brainchild

Book 4

Brainchild-web25%_401x600The first three books in #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author Richard Bard’s Brainrush series garnered over 2,000 Amazon 5-Star reviews, setting the stage for the continuing story spanning three continents and two more books. With Brainchild (Brainrush 4) called “a high-speed thriller that ignites pages with scenes of action and suspense” by Kirkus Reviews, and Smoke & Mirrors (Brainrush 5) named “best book of the year” by IndieReader.com, this mind-gripping adventure is sure to capture the imagination long after the final heart-stopping chapter.

A gifted boy forced to grow up too fast… A father who will do anything to protect him… A madman bent on destroying them both.

In Amsterdam, a visionary scientist is laying the groundwork for a cybernetic life-extension project that will transfer individual consciousness to a personalized avatar. Halfway around the world, his brilliant grandson is secretly planning to use the same technology to infiltrate the world’s most secure networks. But the scientific advances necessary to perfect the brain-to-computer interface are slow in coming, too slow for the aging founder of the Everlast foundation–who may die before realizing his dream of immortality–and too slow for his ruthless grandson, who will stop at nothing to attain the recognition that is his birthright.

Caught in the middle are Jake Bronson and his seven-year-old son, Alex, whose combined mental gifts might provide the key to leapfrogging the impasse.
When Jake’s family and closest friends are simultaneously abducted in a globally coordinated kidnapping scheme, he races across two continents before uncovering the first clue to their whereabouts, unaware that his hostage son and teenage siblings crash-landed in the jungles of South China, where they must find every ounce of their courage and wits to survive the wilds and escape the ruthless drug lord who is hot on their heels. Can a seven-year-old boy learn to kill to save his family?

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Smoke & Mirrors

Book 5

Smoke-web25%_320x480Named “Best Book of the Year!” by IndieReader.com

Smoke & Mirrors (Brainrush 5) is the exciting conclusion to Brainchild, Book-4 of the Brainrush series.

A gifted boy forced to grow up too fast… A father who will do anything to protect him… A madman bent on destroying them both.

Jake Bronson and his seven-year-old son, Alex, possess mental gifts that could provide the missing link to a cybernetic life-extension project that will transfer individual consciousness to a personalized avatar. But those same gifts are sought by a Chinese underworld mastermind who will use them to infiltrate the world’s most secure networks.

As the story continues from Book-4 of the Brainrush series, Alex and his brother and his sister are lost, and Jake’s wife and best friends have been taken hostage. Jake will risk everything to save them, and he is thrust into a frantic race that takes him from the back alleys of Hong Kong to the depths of the South China jungles, where he must lever every scrap of his failing abilities to rescue his loved ones and crush a madman’s plans to bring the world to its knees.

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No Refuge

Book 6

No-Refuge-25%_320x480#1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author Richard Bard, who entertained fans with his wildly successful Brainrush thriller series, now unleashes the heart-pounding series finale in a two-book ride that will take your breath away.

Jake Bronson’s family and friends are mourning him. They’d watched as he sacrificed himself so their lives could return to normal. But normal wasn’t to be. The megalomaniac whom Jake had killed during his suicide assault left a legacy of videos that damn Jake and everyone associated with him, leading to a price being put on their heads, dead or alive. They go to ground, unaware their every move is being tracked by a new breed of young, tech-savvy jihadists about to unleash vengeance on America’s homeland–with Jake’s family and the unsuspecting citizens of Los Angeles in their crosshairs.

As the jaws of the terrorist trap begin to close, Jake’s eight-year-old son, Alex, faces a threat of his own. He carries a deadly secret that endangers the world, and now that his father is dead, Alex is the only one who can deal with it. He slips away to heed the call of unearthly visions that demand his presence, and his journey draws him to the back alleys of Bogota, Columbia, where he encounters a group of terminally ill orphans. One of their siblings has been abducted by child traffickers. Alex can’t ignore their cry for help, and the unlikely alliance plans a nothing-to-lose rescue mission that has little chance of success.

But the bloodthirsty outcry against Alex’s family and friends reaches beyond those who wish them harm, as do the visions that reveal their dark secrets to Alex. Help is on the way…

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Against All Odds

Book 7

AAO-web25%_401x600The highly anticipated series finale to the #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller Publishers Weekly called “a terrifically entertaining thriller!”

In this conclusion to Richard Bard’s popular Brainrush series, Jake Bronson’s family and friends face their biggest threat ever. The startling challenges revealed in No Refuge (book 6) are coming to a head, and the team must wrest every resource available to them in hopes of preventing a terror-driven cataclysm unlike anything America has seen.

But the menace from within America’s borders pales by comparison to the global threat revealed to 8-year-old Alex Bronson in a series of otherworldly visions. And Alex isn’t the only one targeted by the mind-bending revelations.

The stakes are higher than ever. The fates of America and the world hang in the balance, and Jake Bronson’s family and friends must risk everything to tip the scales against evil.

Releases September 12th!!

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Gifted

A Brainrush Novella

Gifted-web25%_401x600From #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author Richard Bard comes a heart-pounding adventure of love, loyalty, and survival – as a gifted child faces the ultimate question of whether or not he can kill in order to save his loved ones.

A gifted 7-year-old boy and his teen siblings are ripped from their peaceful lives–kidnapped by a sinister organization determined to get back at their father. But when their plane crashes an ocean away in the bear-infested jungles of South China, the mysterious motive behind their abduction is the least of their problems, and they must lever every ounce of their courage and wits to survive the wilds and escape the ruthless drug lord who is hot on their heels.

Important Note: Gifted is a compilation novella taken from the Brainrush thriller novels Brainchild and Smoke & Mirrors, which are books four and five of the series. If you’ve read those full-length novels, then you’ve already read most of the contents of this novella. If you’d prefer to read the entire series from start to finish, then you’ll be happy to learn that Brainrush (Book-1) is currently available FREE.

FREE on Amazon!

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About the Author:

BARD photo crop interiorRichard Bard draws on his own experiences as a former USAF pilot and cancer survivor to craft compelling characters who risk it all for love and loyalty. Born in Munich, Germany, to American parents, he joined the United States Air Force like his father. But he left the service when he was diagnosed with cancer and learned he had only months to live. He earned a management degree from the University of Notre Dame and ran three successful companies involving advanced security products used by US embassies and governments worldwide. Now a full-time writer, he lives in Redondo Beach, California, with his wife and remains in excellent health.

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Guest Post:

Hello, and thanks for being here! It’s all about making new friends, and introducing you to characters whose journeys will keep you turning pages until late into the night. In that spirit, I wanted to tell you a little about me and my buddy, Jake Bronson.

I lived in a 400-yr old apartment overlooking a canal in Venice, Italy, when I started writing Jake’s story in Brainrush. I’d visited the Old City several times before in my life, but each departure left me with a yearning to return. So, when I came back the next time, I did so with a determination to feature the city’s haunts in my very first novel. I walked the cobblestones late at night, absorbing the sights, the sounds, the smells, the history, allowing my mind to run free. The following mornings I’d hover over my laptop at outdoor cafés, sipping cappuccinos as I breathed life into characters who’d lived in my mind for so many years.

The thriller that unfolded on the page was about second chances, and living every day of one’s life as though it was the last. It was a natural first step in my writing since Jake Bronson’s emotional journey—as an Air Force pilot who faces a terminal diagnosis—paralleled my own. In his case, however, I gave Jake a parting gift by endowing him with extraordinary mental abilities after he suffered a traumatic accident at the beginning of the book. I drew that aspect of the story from real-life incidents, where ordinary people develop uncanny abilities after a blow to the head—to become what are known as “sudden-savants.”
Jake’s journey grew from there, and before long I had him swept up in a race against time to save a woman and her autistic child from the clutches of a megalomaniac. The story takes him from the beaches of California, to the canals of Venice, the Grand Casino of Monte Carlo, and finally to an ancient cavern deep in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan, where he discovers his gift carries a price tag that threatens the entire human race.

I loved weaving that first tale. Imagine my excitement when Publishers Weekly called it “A terrifically entertaining thriller,” and it became the #1 bestselling Action/Adventure in The Wall Street Journal. Of all the novels I’ve written, it’s still my favorite. If you’ve read it already, or are about to, I hope you “hate” it as much as the reader who wrote:

Dear Mr. Bard, I hate your books! They keep me up late at night and irritate my wife! Once I read a few sentences I am hooked and can’t put it down! I have just downloaded the next one in the series… How am I going to get anything else done because of these page turner books???

That’s an actual email message I received in March of this year. I loved hearing it – so if you have the same reaction to Jake’s story, I hope you’ll reach out and let me know. That’s the kind of ‘hate’ mail this author can’t wait to get! And guess what? The fan who sent that letter has since written back to tell me his wife is now hooked on the series as well. Made my day!

 

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Captive by Zoe Blake

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Title: Captive
Author: Zoe Blake
Publication Date: August 2017

CaptiveOfChance 27Captain Jacques “Le Chanceux” (The Lucky) Tavernier is a pirate. He is not the bastard son of a wealthy duke, or some tortured hero in disguise on a noble quest. He is a pirate. He does and takes what he wants… and he wants Isabelle.

Isabelle is getting very tired of not controlling her own fate. First, her father ships her off to England to marry some decrepit lord, and now pirates have attacked the ship and taken her captive. No longer willing to be biddable and obedient, Isabelle decides to fight the pirate captain at every turn, even when his forceful seduction and creative punishments give as much pleasure as pain.

The fate of Isabelle’s companion, Marina, is no better. Claimed by not one but two pirates to be used for their own dark pleasure.

Isabelle is playing a dangerous game. Denying a pirate something he wants is never a good idea, especially when that pirate is powerful, handsome and determined to bend you to his will. Will Isabelle’s pirate captor become her master, or will she capture his heart?

This book is a re-release of the previously titled, “Captive of Chance”.

AMAZON

Excerpt:

CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!
The alarm bell startled the two women out of a deep, if not restful, sleep. Sitting up in their cots, they looked about the small cramped cabin in confusion.
“What could it be, miss?”
“I haven’t the faintest idea, but there is only one way to find out.”
Isabelle grabbed her dressing gown from the end of the cot and swung it over her shoulders as she approached the cabin door. She felt a tug on her nightgown and looked to see her companion, Marina, holding tight.
“Don’t do it, miss. Let’s just stay here till the captain comes.”
Pulling the fabric free, Isabelle continued to the door. “Posh! If there is something truly going on, we cannot wait for that old blowhard to come and let us know!”
Isabelle, well to be correct, Esmerelda Leonor Isabelle Catalina de Recalde el Rojo, did not cower easily. Perhaps it was her father’s Spanish blood or even her mother’s English courage. One thing was certain, she did not possess the gentile temperament of the typical female or the patience, for that matter.
Releasing the latch, she threw open the door to a chaotic scene.
CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!
Seaman were scrambling about in various states of undress while the cabin boy, who had been bringing them their meals during the long voyage, vigorously rang the sleep depriving bell.
“All hands! All hands on deck! Captain’s orders!” he shouted over and over again.
“You there. Boy! Boy!” shouted Isabelle. “Yes, you!” she clarified when he gave her a confused look as if surprised to see a partially dressed woman addressing him. “What is going on?”
“Pirates! There are pirates! We’re about to be attacked! Best get back inside and bar the door,” said the boy impatiently as he went back to his duty.
CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!
Isabelle quickly shut the door, threw the latch and turned and braced her back against it for good measure.
“Oh lord! Oh lord! Oh lord!” wailed Marina. She had signed on as companion to the fancy lady for a bit of adventure and fun. True she was hoping to catch the eye of some strapping young seaman because what was adventure without a lusty man by your side, but she did not sign up for pirates!
“Stop that nonsense, Marina! I need to think,” groused Isabelle. Then feeling poorly for shouting at her frightened companion, she crossed the cabin and gave her a quick hug.
“We cannot panic. The captain may be a slovenly man, but he runs a good merchant ship. I’m sure they are prepared and have fought off, well, hundreds of pirate attacks with great success.” Isabelle said with a false sense of confidence.
“Do you really think so, miss?” asked Marina, her eyes filled with hope and fear.
No. “Why of course, I think so!” she said with authority. “Now help me out of my nightgown and into my corset and dress. If we are to be attacked, I don’t want them finding me in my skivy!”
Marina went to do as she was bid while Isabelle was left to ponder for a moment the real possibility of being taken captive by pirates. Her father was a wealthy Spanish noble. Ransom would not be an issue. She could provide the pirates with plenty of gold and jewels, but was that all they would ask of her? She shuddered at the thought.
How bitterly ironic, Isabelle thought. When she set out on this journey, her every thought was how very much she did not want to reach her destination. Fate was cruel. Isabelle had been forced by her parents to leave her beloved warm and sunny Azores islands to travel to cold and dank England to become the betrothed of some stodgy, old English lord. Even the painted miniature he had sent with his marriage proposal showed a thin hairline and at least two chins. One had to assume the painter was being judiciously kind, and in actuality her betrothed had even less hair and probably one or two additional chins!
She had begged, pleaded, stormed and stomped but to no avail. Her parents were stalwart. She would marry the English lord and secure an English title for the family. Her parents also felt Isabelle’s upbringing on the somewhat remote colony island was leading to “unladylike” behavior as her mother put it. They were sending her back to the continent not a moment too soon in their minds.
So it was Isabelle, who found herself alone with only a hired companion for company on a merchant vessel bound for England. In the hold were trunks of silks, jewels and gold. Her dowry. Her father had chosen the well-armed vessel to carry his precious cargo. The galleon had at least fifteen guns. But would it be a match for a pirate ship?
“Not that one, Marina,” said Isabelle when a satin walking dress was pulled out of their trunks. “The heavy worsted wool one.”
“What, miss?”
“The worsted wool one!” shouted Isabelle.
The noise and clamor all around them was getting louder. Above their heads they could hear the pounding of boots and the screeching scrape of wood on metal as the thirty-six pound long guns were rolled towards the gun ports. Indistinct shouts and curses filtered through the wooden beamed ceiling of their cabin. Even without hearing the words, both women could tell from the excited tenor of the shouts, the seamen were scared.
“Hurry, Marina! Hurry!” urged Isabelle.
When both women were dressed in their warmest gowns, they sat on the cot and waited and listened. All the harried activity had suddenly stopped. There was a strange, tense calm.
BOOM! Silence. BOOM!
The women screamed and held their hands over their ears as the whole ship shook and rattled as each long gun was fired. Dust and debris were shaken loose from the ceiling and fell down on them like rain. Marina clutched desperately at the lapels of Isabelle’s dress. Isabelle held the frightened woman tightly to her side. Rubbing a soothing hand down her back, she said, “The sound of the guns is a good thing. I’ll bet they are sending those nasty pirates scattering away.”
Marina raised her head off Isabelle’s shoulder and gave her a look filled with doubt. Isabelle’s attempt to soothe and calm had fallen short. Unfortunately, even she didn’t believe her words anymore.
Her inherent lack of patience came to the fore. Isabelle jumped up and grabbed Marina’s hand. “Come. We cannot stay here like two geese for the slaughter!”
“But where are we to go? It must be safer in the cabin!” complained Marina.
“If they take the ship, they will search the cabins and the hold for treasure. We must find a place to hide where they will not think to look. Hopefully, none of the seamen will betray there are women on board. Now come on!” shouted Isabelle as she forcibly dragged a trembling Marina out the cabin door.
The passageway was strangely quiet compared to the chaos moments before. All the men were above deck fighting off the attack. Isabelle continued to drag Marina down the passageway where they came to a steep wooden ladder leading down to the hold. “This way. Mind your skirts,” ordered Isabelle as she awkwardly descended the ladder. Reaching the wooden floor beneath, she helped Marina on the last few rungs. Taking a look around the dimly lit interior, Isabelle saw the entire space stacked with crates, provisions for the voyage, and trunks. Somewhere in this mess was her dowry trunk, she thought queerly.
“This should be a good hiding place,” offered Marina as she took in all the dark nooks and crannies.
“Usually I would agree, but they will probably come straight to the hold to see what cargo the vessel is carrying. We would be found out. No,” said Isabelle, “we have to go further. Somewhere they won’t think to look.”
Isabelle tried to calm herself and think back to all those boring dinners in the officer’s quarters she had suffered through the past few weeks. They often talked about the ship.
“The bilge!” said Isabelle. “We need to head to the bilge.”
“The bilge? That sounds awful!” whined Marina.
“If what I remember from the officer’s comments, I’m afraid it is going to smell even worse.” groaned Isabelle.
They stumbled and groped their way through the hold, making their way to the back and the side of the ship.
“The bilge is the lowest part of the ship and quite nasty with water and such. There will be no reason for the pirates to go there,” explained Isabelle as she tried not to breathe through her nose the closer they got.
Leaning against the side of the ship, she gingerly stepped into the cold, foul smelling water and lowered herself into a crouch. Pulling Marina down by her side, once again they waited and listened. The sounds of battle were muffled from their low perch. They could better hear the lapping of the waves against the side of the ship. After what seemed liked hours, even the faint sounds of gunfire died out. As much as they were praying for the roaring sounds to cease, the silence was worse. Much worse.
The women were left to wonder what was happening far above them. Had they won? Isabelle cursed her current fate under her breath.

 

USA Today and International Best Selling Author in Dark Romance: Zoe Blake

We are all attracted to the forbidden. Addicted to the rush we get from reading something naughty…something kinky. We love to lose ourselves in the fantasy. The powerful lord who sweeps the lady away to his remote estate to ravish her. The cowboy who takes the sassy city girl over his knee to teach her a lesson. The devilishly charming pirate who seduces his beautiful captive. I write those erotic fantasies.

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Other Books by Zoe Blake:

Dark Romance Historical Titles

The Submission of Little Emmie
Disciplining the Maid
Penelope’s Punishment
Chosen to be His Little Angeline
The Duke’s Possession
Captive
Papa’s Little Pain Princess
His Dark Obsession
The Dark Forest Anthology

Contemporary Titles

Worth Fighting For

Ride Hard Historical Western Series

The Cowboy’s Revenge, Book One
The Gunfighter’s Pursuit, Book Two
The Rebel’s Secret, Book Three

Box Sets

Little Victorian Ladies
A Little Submission

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Vampires Don’t Drink Blue Blood by Lily Luchesi

 

 

Get the thrilling prequel novella of The Paranormal Detectives Series for FREE!

 

In 1988, Angelica Cross worked with a mortal detective to take down a werewolf pack who were feeding on children at a local school playground.

In 2008, the killings begin again, and Angelica is called in to work the case alongside her old partner’s nephew, who likes Angelica as much as she likes garlic.

They need to put their animosity behind them, before more people are murdered.

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Savior by S.L. Scott

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Title: Savior
Series: The Kingwood Series #2
Author: S.L. Scott
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Mystery
Cover Design: Sarah Hansen, Okay Creations
Release Date: August 13, 2017

 

Savior Ebook CoverEverything is not as it seems.

Alexander IV has succeeded to the throne of the billion-dollar Kingwood Empire, but the people he thought he could trust aren’t allies.

They’re enemies.

Everyone he cares about is at risk.

Decisions–SACRIFICES–must be made.

What will he do to protect the people he loves? Will Sara Jane live or die?

Find out NOW in this EPIC conclusion to the bestselling The Kingwood Duet.

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Excerpt:

      I sit outside on a bench, looking at the scuffs on the tips of my black leather shoes. The bottoms are worn from wearing them while riding my bike. It was the only sign that set me apart from the other rich kids where I grew up. Other than Cruise, no one rode motorcycles or had dealt with anything worse than getting a warning after getting busted for smoking, skipping school, sneaking out, smoking weed, getting drunk, or driving over the speed limit. The list could go on.
      I have a car. I just don’t drive it much, preferring the freedom I feel on my bike. It wasn’t just my clothes or the bike that set me a part. None of them had lived, breathed, existed simply because their soul mate did. Not even now.
      From the moment I saw her, I knew Sara Jane was it for me, an angel in a Catholic school uniform, eating a candy bar. She couldn’t have been more innocent. Except she was. The girl had barely been kissed. It’s like she had been waiting to meet me, as if she had saved herself for me. How a girl who looked that good and smelled even sweeter remained untouched for so long was beyond me.
      I would have loved her no matter what. She could have been a prostitute, and I would have only seen her halo. I was a ship navigating a stormy sea, but she called me to her lighthouse, a beacon shining in the dark. It was never about her innocence, or the sins I had inherited. The day I met Sara Jane was about two lives that weren’t meant for only one lifetime, but destined to be together forever.
      Maybe that’s what had given me the confidence to break away from the kids I grew up with. I knew I was meant for something bigger than a life of partying and getting high socially.
      I was meant for Sara Jane, and she for me.

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Author Bio:

S.L. ScottLiving in the capital of Texas with her family, Scott loves traveling and avocados, beaches, and cooking with her kids. She’s obsessed with epic romances and loves a good plot twist. Her favorite color is blue, but she likens it more toward the sky than the emotion. Her home is filled with the welcoming symbol of the pineapple and finds surfing a challenge though she likes to think she’s a pro.

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After the Flowers Die by Melanie Delorme

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After the Flowers Die: A Handbook of Heartache, Hope and Healing After Losing a child by Author Melanie Delorme

“Is it possible to survive the loss of a child?”

 

coverEven though you might be feeling that the answer to this question is no, never, absolutely not; be assured that not only is it possible for you to survive, but you are also strong enough to thrive after this devastating tragedy.

The loss of a child creates a gaping hole in a parent’s heart that seems unbearable and the only people who truly understand your pain are other bereaved parents. Melanie is one of those parents and, in After the Flowers Die, she offers encouragement, hope and honest suggestions for how you can once again experience joy.

This book is written in an easy to read A to Z format and covers topics that many parents may experience, such as anger, bitterness, birthdays, Christmas, hope, signs, and more. If you have lost a child and are feeling hurt and lost, this book is a great starting point for you to acknowledge your loss, celebrate your child’s life and find hope.

Are you ready to begin your journey towards healing?

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Excerpt:

DADS

So often in North American society, dads are expected to follow certain rules. Manly men do not express emotions in public, nor do they ever cry. Dads are expected to be the rock of the family, to hide their self-doubt and pain from the world.

Typically, women are viewed as nurturers, the pillars of the family who are allowed to show softness and emotion without judgement. Whether we like it or not in our age of gender equality, moms are the parents who give birth and sacrifice their bodies, their sleep, and sometimes their careers to raise healthy babies. The connection moms have with their children is instant. If it were possible, a lot of men would switch roles with their wives for that opportunity to bond.

Early in our marriage, Gerry and I read the book Men are from Mars, Woman are from Venus by John Gray. Chapter three is titled “Men Go to Their Caves and Women Talk.” While the book is not about grieving, it does offer some insight into the differences between men and women that can help us understand each other. The gist of the chapter is that while most women are quite comfortable talking about their issues and their feelings, most men prefer to be alone with their thoughts and may retreat into a “cave.” It seems socially acceptable for women to cry publically, yet there is a double standard when it comes to crying men.

Because of these differences, dads can be forgotten mourners, left feeling alone in their grief.

If you are a bereaved father, please know it really is okay for you to express your emotions publicly. If that is something that makes you uncomfortable, let your wife, or someone close to you, know that you are still grieving. Let them know what you need. Accept that it isn’t always possible for you to be the “rock.” In fact, in order for you to be a rock, you need to take care of yourself emotionally to keep any unaddressed grief from manifesting itself in the form of physical ailments.

If you are a bereaved mother, please know that your husband is grieving even though he may not express it outwardly very often. Try to support his need to be alone, even though it may feel like he is abandoning you or not grieving at all.

Recognizing that there are differences in the way people mourn opens the door to healing for everyone. Perhaps we can even learn from one another.

 

 

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mel for timesMelanie Delorme was a content English teacher, wife, mother, sister and friend when without warning she gained the title of bereaved parent when her eight-year-old son Garrett was accidentally killed in a hunting accident. Her road to healing brought her to write her first book. Melanie is involved with her local chapter of Compassionate Friends and is passionate about offering hope to other bereaved parents.

She is currently living on a ranch in Southern Saskatchewan with her husband, Gerry, and their two children.

Website ~

 

Melanie’s Top Ten Favorite Children’s Movies

    • Shrek
    • Monster’s Inc
    • Aladdin
    • Barnyard
    • Madagascar
    • Cars
    • Beauty and the Beast
    • The Fox and The Hound
    • Captain Underpants
    • The Incredibles

 

 

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Under The Parisian Sky by Alli Sinclair

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Title: Under The Parisian Sky
Author: Alli Sinclair
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Pub Date: 7/25/2017

Under the Parisian Sky_400x600In the City of Light, one dancer must confront her fears about love and loss before she can step into a brighter future…

Lily Johannson has returned to Paris, the city that broke her heart and destroyed her ballet career, with two goals in mind: to overcome the grief surrounding her fiancé’s death, and to make amends with her estranged sister, Natalie, also a ballerina. But when Lily meets charming composer Yves Rousseau, he is convinced she has a third mission—as his muse…

Struggling to finish a score about an infamous Ballets Russes dancer from 1917, Yves believes Lily is meant to help him. Despite her resistance, she is swept once more into the exhilarating arms of the dance—and into Yves’ passionate embrace. But when her sister is cast as the infamous dancer and begins to imitate her tragic life, she soon goes missing. Now Lily and Yves must set out to find her—and along the way face their own demons, while also discovering that art, like love, should not be abandoned so easily…

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Excerpt:

The sun had dipped behind the tall buildings and Lily shivered, the perspiration on her body multiplying the effect of the cool evening air. With one rapid footstep after another, she powered on, barely glancing at the crowds exiting their workplaces and closing up shop. It wasn’t until she reached the neighborhood of Vanves, that she realized how far she’d walked. With all the twisting and turning down avenues and alleys, she’d walked for at least an hour. Sure, her back ached, but the rest of her body felt so much better. Standing on the corner of Rue Jean Bleuzen and Rue Danton, staring at the headlights of gridlocked cars, she realized where her feet had led her. She sucked in her breath. Why had she allowed her body to dictate her actions? Once, it had been a tool she’d used to express feelings, especially joy, but this time, just like it had since the accident, her body had betrayed her.

If she walked a few blocks from where her traitorous feet stood, she’d be at Avenue Victor Hugo, the site where she lost the man she’d planned to marry and share a bright and starry future. Even Victor Hugo’s name made her shudder. Aiden had adored Hugo’s works, especially The Hunchback of Notre Dame and he’d insisted, in his charming and convincing way, that they should go and check out the avenue named after one of his favorite authors. After a long day of rehearsals, she hadn’t been in the mood but decided to go just to humor Aiden. Perhaps if she’d dug her heels in more they wouldn’t have gone and he wouldn’t …


A cacophony of horns drew her back to the present as stationary drivers rolled down their windows and screamed at each other. Grateful she’d halted her own progress on foot, Lily turned and started the long trek back to the apartment. Even though she’d had plenty of time on her flight from Melbourne to Paris, she hadn’t given any thought as to how a visit to Aiden’s site would play out. She certainly hadn’t envisioned an impromptu visit during Parisian peak hour but really, what would be the perfect way to visit the place where she’d lost a piece of her heart forever? Her clammy skin and thudding heart told her she was far from ready to go to the avenue, and with nausea swelling in her belly, she suspected the timing was not right and most likely never would be.

 

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Author Bio:

Sinclair, Alli credit Felicity Ellis_522x600Alli Sinclair is a multi award-winning author who spent her early adult years travelling the globe, intent on becoming an Indiana Jones in heels. She scaled mountains in Nepal, Argentina, and Peru, rafted the Ganges, and rode a camel in the Sahara. Argentina and Peru became her home for a few years and when she wasn’t working as a mountain or tour guide, Alli could be found in the dance halls dancing the tango, salsa, merengue, and samba.

All of these adventures made for fun storytelling and this is when she discovered her love of writing. Alli’s stories capture the romance and thrill of exploring new destinations and cultures that also take readers on a journey of discovery.

Alli volunteers as an author role model with Books in Homes, promoting literacy and reading amongst young people.

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