Rogue bannerTitle: Rogue
Series: Convergence #1
Author: S.A. Stephenson
Genre: Science Fiction
Age category: Adult
Release Date: 19 September, 2017

 

As a rogue government official orders an alien attack on the Empire of America, two women must uncover the government’s dark truth and unravel the weave of lives that have spanned decades. They’ll learn why alien-human hybrids were created, and will need to master their own alien powers in order to survive.

RogueGenetic testing on humans began during the Cold War, when ancient alien DNA was discovered in the artic. As super soldiers were created during the war, Americans soon began to create the first wave of alien-human-hybrids in preparation for the day when the aliens would strike.

Nearly a century on, the world has been broken by an extra-terrestrial war and Kit Valletta is a human-mutant trying to survive in one of the only free zones left in the Empire. But the President wants her dead and is going to stop at nothing until all the mutants Kit freed are back in her control.

When Kit meets Evie Fox, one of the President’s scientists, who’s broken free of the wire, the two begin their fight for freedom and justice as the alien attack hits Empire soil. Together, both women will need to accept the secrets they’ve been trying to hide and decide if they’re the ones who are powerful enough to save the Empire from the President’s dictatorship regime and alien invasion.

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Excerpt:

Prologue

         Kit Valletta was asleep when the world erupted into sirens and blaring red lights. Her eyes flew open and when she looked up and saw an empty bed above her. Gia Russo, her long-time partner in crime, had a knack of knowing how the Shard’s system worked. She knew what happened at each well-timed moment, the movement of guards and the few seconds that were exposed in their well governed lives. She had managed to avoid being caught as the rest of them had filed into the dorms, or she had been caught and was on the way to one of the camps in the Nevermore. Kit quickly dismissed that thought, Gia wasn’t someone who would let a guard capture her so easily and they had been preparing for tonight for too long for Gia to get herself caught now.
         Kit needed to find her father, Edward and Gia had been preparing for this night for months, everything down to the last detail had been thought of and through a number of heated debates, they had managed to convince Kit to escape with them.
         The alarms were deafening and Kit swung her legs round from the bed, reluctantly leaving the brief comfort her blanket provided. The smell of her mother lingered in the fabric, a sweet perfume of motherly love, Kit dwelled in the moment for a fraction longer than she should, wishing Erin were there with them but she shook the thought away as she filed out with the other residents and went to find her father. Erin had been killed, Kit knew that, but there was something in her subconscious that told her mother had to be alive. They hadn’t found a body, there had never been any proof.
         The Shard Building was one of the hundreds of nondescript bunkers in Volt that housed soldiers and government workers, segregated by position and ability according to the great State of Volt’s processing system. The men were located in the Z Quarter of the Shard, the women were located in the L Quarter and they had begun to file out of the building, undisturbed by the noise that deafened the air. Kit pushed her way against the crowd when she saw Gia ahead of her.
         ‘Gia!’ She called.
         ‘Kit, what’s going on, is it time?’ She asked.
         ‘It’s time,’ Kit told her.
         ‘They’ll be heading to the Domain,’ Gia said.
         ‘We need to get to my father,’ Kit told her. Gia agreed and they continued to in the opposite direction of the crowd. The women marched around them, their expressions blank as they fell into the well-trained response that they could not break free from.
         Kit followed Gia down a flight of stairs as the sprinkler system kicked in. ‘Great,’ Gia said as they reached a door. She pushed against it and entered a back-passage way to the Z Quarter. The male quarter was filled with the male soldiers, like the women, they filed out of the bunker and Kit took a moment to survey the crowd. Her pupils widened as she tried to zoom in on the faces, looking for the one that was the most familiar. When she saw him, her heart rested. Edward was a well-built man, prime material for a soldier in Volt. His silver hair flickered against his dark grey fatigues. The wrinkles on his forehead had deepened in the previous months as concern had found a way into their conversations. The planning, the secret meetings, had all led to this moment. Edward had never been built for the walls that Galen’s presidency had created, he had come here during the late days of the plague, when there was nowhere else left to go. Kit had grown up with him telling her stories of the world and how it used to be. He told her about New York, how it had fallen and become known as the Spire, how the great Plains of America had become wastelands, the Nevermore, and how the once free United States, had fallen to become the Empire of America. Kit wondered how the world had ever been so different, but she had believed in her father’s passion for the world that once was and was determined to try and find it again.
         ‘Dad!’ Kit called over the noise of the crowd, he heard her and began to make his way over to them.
         ‘Are you ready?’ He asked.
         ‘As I’ll ever be,’ she said.
         ‘The wire is a good 15kms away,’ Edward said. ‘We need to be ready because they’re not going to let a bunch of us mutants out so easily.’
         ‘Then we’ll show them what mutants can really do,’ Gia said.
         They headed out with the rest of the soldiers, and once they had made it to the courtyard Kit saw the extent of the evacuation.
         ‘Oz really did a job on the security system,’ Gia commented.
         ‘He’s a good kid,’ Edward said. ‘This way,’ he told them and began to break away from the crowd who were heading to the Domain. Kit could see Armistice Guards high up on the brick wall that surrounded the government quarters. Their rifles were aimed down at the soldiers below.
         ‘It’s almost cute that they think bullets kill mutants,’ Gia said.
         ‘They’re designed to slow us down, not kill us,’ Edward said.
         ‘Where’s Logan?’ Kit asked. ‘He was supposed to be here with-’
         An explosion ripped through the wall, the Armistice Guards were flung from their positions and the wall crumpled as a large army truck drove through it. Kit smiled when she saw Logan James at the wheel.
         ‘Run!’ Edward ordered and they sprinted for the truck. Kit leapt high into the air and landed in the back as Gia and Edward scrambled into the passenger seats. Logan quickly began reversing the truck as Armistice guards began shooting at them. Kit felt their energy pulsating through the air, determination emanating from them in a way she had never felt before, their intent was set to kill. She had become their prey, through all her training she had been taught to be the hunter, the one who would track down any enemy who entered the Empire’s boarders, now she would have to use those skills to survive the men who had operated alongside her for so long.
         A group of mutants broke out and followed the truck, they’d got weapons and were firing any ammunition they had up at the Armistice Guards.
         Kit looked back at the scene. ‘How far to the wire?’ She asked.
         ‘7ks,’ Logan called back to her as jets began to fly overhead. ‘Hold tight,’ he said.
         He turned the truck quickly as a plane flew down low and began firing at them. Kit dropped for cover as the bullets ricocheted off the bumper. She looked up at the plane and felt energy burn behind her eyes, their natural brown shone green and the plane quivered in the air before it came crashing down behind them. The impact caused the truck to rear up and Logan skidded it to a stop as the engine died.
         ‘Great,’ he said as he hit the wheel. ‘They’ve cut the electric grid,’ he said.
         ‘Which is why we learnt to love running,’ Gia said as she climbed out of the truck.
         More jets were approaching them as Kit climbed down from the back. She was weak, struggled to stand after her last attack. ‘You gonna be okay?’ Gia asked her.
         ‘Fine,’ Kit said. ‘Come on, we gotta bail.’ She took Gia’s hand, it’s familiar warmth helped her feel strength and they ran after Edward and Logan.
         The land outside the buildings was rough, dead earth filled with landlines. Edward guided them, his sonic vision able to see through what was normal, to what was underneath. He guided them round a number of mines and Kit’s eyes widened with hope when she saw the wire. She had heard so much about life beyond the tall electric wire, heard stories of people trying to escape, but being killed before they had even made it this far. Life beyond this tall, wired fence was as unknown. The concept of freedom, was something that had been talked about in hushed whispers, Kit and Gia had talked late into the night about what there could possibly be beyond the world that they were confined to. The world they were created in. Edward had inspired and encouraged these conversations, he wanted his daughter to experience freedom outside of a compound that a dictatorship government had created.
         ‘Remember how we’re going to get through?’ Edward asked her as the truck slowed. Kit nodded.
         Gia went over to the edge of the fence and could feel the electricity vibrating from it. She felt it shake in her fingers and smiled. Armistice Guards were close behind them. Their voices blurred into one over the sound of radios. ‘We don’t have time to hang around,’ Edward said. ‘Gia, time to shine.’
         Gia smiled, her eyes golden, Kit leant against her father as dizziness swept over her, she could hear the guards getting closer. They were only minutes away.
         Gia made a fist and punched the ground. Electric energy, that she had always called magic when they were growing up, shook throughout the soil, Kit heard the blood of the Armistice Guards boil and the bodies drop to the floor. The fence was dead, the electricity had been cut. Logan grabbed a knife from his boot and quickly cut through the chinks. He made his way through as Armistice Guards came out of the forest behind them. Gia hurried through the gap and turned back for Kit. Her nose was bleeding and she looked pale. Gia had seen this before and quickly grabbed for her. ‘I got you,’ she said. Kit pushed her way through the gap and turned back for her father to see him being held down by Armistice Guards.
         ‘Run!’ He yelled at her.
         She paused as exhaustion began to take over her. She couldn’t leave him. They had planned this for too long. Their new life in a free world, where they could be like the other humans, the ones who hadn’t been trained to be super soldiers for the Empire of America’s new army. Where he could take her to school, before he went to work in an office somewhere. Edward had been her constant support in this world of uncertainty, he raised her with her mother and after she had been taken away Kit had clung to him tighter, listened to him with more intent and believed in his ideology of how the world should be. He was born to be free, to set her free.
         ‘We gotta blaze,’ Logan said and pulled Kit to her feet as another wave of Guards came after them. They ran through the forest on the other side of the wire, Kit’s heart raced against her chest as tears streamed down her face. She could hear her father screaming in the distance. Being dragged back to the world he had wanted to destroy for so long as she ran for her freedom.

 

About the Author:

S.A. StephensonS.A. Stephenson is a sci-fi author, blogger and editor. She writes LGBTQ+ stories about kickass women and can be found hanging out at writing events in Auckland.

She’s originally from the UK but now calls New Zealand home.

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This is my stop during the book blitz for Rogue by S.A. Stephenson.

I hope you enjoyed reading.

The book blitz runs from 13 till 19 November.

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Something Down There by Nancy Widrew

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Title: Something Down There
Author: Nancy Widrew
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Azure Spider Publications
Publication Date: November 15, 2017

Not all caves are uninhabited

something-down-thereHorror erupts when newlyweds, Karen and Jeremy, cross paths with members of a diabolical cult inside a West Virginia cave. Living below the earth’s surface has triggered mutations, rendering the cult members nearly infertile. Their leader, a wild-eyed, cunning brute, refuses to let the couple leave, believing they and their potential offspring hold the key to surviving underground. Are Karen and Jeremy doomed to spend their lives inside this sunless, subterranean wasteland, or do they escape before their minds shatter and their bodies betray them?

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Excerpt:

 

      Reaching into his pants pocket, he drew out a small leather case attached to a silver chain and dangled it before her eyes.
      Karen grabbed it from his hand and looked it over as if she needed to make certain it was real. “I know I took the damned keys from the car,” she said. All the same, she felt a moment of relief at having a new set in her possession. That relief, however, ended in a flash.
      With a powerful leap to a ledge above, Rahm crossed his arms over his chest like a dictator about to make a pronouncement. “They won’t do you any good,” he bellowed.
      Jeremy swallowed hard, raising a hand to his throat. “W-what do you mean?” he said, reaching out for something to grab onto. Finding nothing, he spread his legs wide, feet flat on the floor, trying to maintain his balance.
      Rahm, aware of the significance of this moment and wanting to ensure that it remained stamped in everyone’s mind, stood tall, chin out. “While you were sleeping last night, I climbed out and drove your car off a bridge. You will not be allowed to leave.”
      Karen’s hands flew to her face. She began to cry and dropped to one knee. Protectively, Jeremy rushed to her side, encircled her in his arms, and pulled her close. He glared at this insane man, his new enemy, standing above. With hate etched in the dark hollows of his cheeks and in the lines of his furrowed brow, he said, “What do you mean? Why can’t we leave? You won’t get away with this!”
      Rahm, a leader of few but a leader nonetheless, addressed his flock, gathering with solemnity about the pair, now unofficial members of the tribe, even if against their will. All eyes riveted up.
      “You can’t leave because we need you. That is, we need your baby—the baby you will have, sooner or later. And yes, we will get away with it. You see, the harnesses are gone, and we dismantled the machinery that lowered you down. You will never be able to find your way out. Don’t even try. It would be suicidal.”
      Karen stared at her husband, her jaw dropping in disbelief, as the horror of her predicament bore down with jackhammer force into her brain. Unless she and Jeremy were guided out, they were snared, trapped, condemned, damned. Without the candles, lanterns, or torches they couldn’t see the tips of their fingers, and even with their carbide lamps they wouldn’t know the way through this puzzling maze with its unknown levels and intricate network.
      Jeremy’s nails dug into his wife’s shoulders. “Dear God,” he wailed. “We’re doomed, and it’s all my fault. Forgive me, Karen. Please!”
      She looked at him blankly, then blinked, her breath coming in staccato bursts, piercing her lungs like wounds from a knife. She began to run blindly, crying, “Let me die! Let me die!”

 

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Author Bio:

nancy-widrew2Nancy Widrew was born and raised in NYC before settling in New England with her husband. She has two grown children and two four-legged furry ones, always a source of amusement. She has had short stories published in webzines and a print anthology. This is her first novel.

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White Water Passion by Dawn Luedecke

WhiteWaterPassion

Title: White Water Passion
Series: Montana Mountain Series
Author: Dawn Luedecke
Genre: Western, Historical, Romance
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: November 14, 2017

WhiteWaterPassionThe Montana Territory is one of the last outposts of the American West—where adventure as grand as the wide-open plains is around every corner, and passion as wild as the land itself beats in every heart . . .

Elizabeth Sanders isn’t afraid of anything, except what will happen to her beloved town if the Big Mountain Lumber Mill is destroyed. When she overhears a plot to do just that, she vows to put a stop to it, even if it means dressing as a young lumberjack to expose the saboteur. There’s only one problem with her plan—her brother’s handsome friend and fellow logger Garrett Jones, who arouses a desire within her soul as fierce as the river rapids.

When Garrett discovers that the odd new lad on the crew is in fact Beth, he’s shocked. A logging camp is no place for a young woman—especially the spirited beauty he’s admired for so long. Keeping her safe is easier said than done, however, as the attraction between them flares into true passion. As the danger mounts, Beth and Garrett must work together to survive the last log run down the wild rapids and claim any chance of saving the mill—and their chance at a future . . .

 

White Water Passion is the first in a trilogy featuring a unique group of loggers in Montana in the late nineteenth century.

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“Well written, well researched. Like the river, this plot runs faster and faster. Readers won’t be able to put it down.”
—New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas

Author Bio:

IMG_8079eA country girl born and bred, Dawn Luedecke has spent most of her life surrounded by horses, country folk, and the wild terrain of Nevada, Idaho and Montana.

As a child she would spend many afternoons reading books, watching western classics, and Rogers and Hammerstein movies.

When she grew up she decided to leave the quiet country life for a chance to find adventure by serving a successful tour in the United States Coast Guard. During that time she found her soul mate (and alpha male) and started a family and writing career.

She enjoys writing historical and paranormal romance and spends as much time as she can working on her current manuscript.

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The Achlivan Cycle by Cloud S. Riser

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Series: The Achlivan Cycle
Author: Cloud S. Riser
Genre: SciFi, YA Romance

 

Displaced

Book 1

Displaced 1400x2100_400x600Chevelle Donahue thought going into work would be just like any other boring day at the mall. Sure, there was her annoying co-worker Wicken Sanders, and a promotional visit from teen heartthrob Timber Hudson, to watch and keep her entertained. But who was she kidding? Working retail was lame no matter what happened. A terrorist attack changes everything – an attack from aliens of all things. The patrons are given two options: comply or else. Complying means giving in to a new set of rules and changing her entire life. “Or else” means she has no chance of going home again. She must figure out the truth behind why the aliens are holding everyone hostage. In doing so, she risks her chance at freedom – but by the time she learns what’s really happening, she might not want it.

**FREE on Amazon!**

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Excerpt:

I DON’T KNOW what I was thinking when I chose to escape through the hallway instead of face my enemy. Was I afraid for my life? You bet, but it was more than that. I guess I would have rather been shot down trying to be free than taken hostage. In the end, my actions didn’t seem to make much of a difference in my fate.

The first thing I had to do was push Chevelle out of my mind. Was I disappointed she decided to not come with me? Yes. Did I understand why? Definitely. She was scared. We all were. I had to respect her decision to stay behind and face whatever was ahead of her. Maybe she ended up making the better choice, maybe she didn’t. If I thought too much about her while I was trying to get away, I know I would have caved and gone back to her. I love her. Leaving her behind was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Somehow, I thought if I could get free, that would be the best way to help her.


The halls behind the stores at the mall would make a great setting for a horror movie. The ceiling wasn’t tiled over like the rest of the mall, so if you looked up, you saw all of the insulation and pipe work. Fascinating stuff, let me tell you. The halls themselves had some of the rust from the pipes overflowing onto them, so they have bizarre red tentacles splaying over the sheetrock. That’s not the scariest part, though. No, that award goes to the trash chute. It’s about the size of an elevator and would be a fantastic place to dump bodies. I certainly was always extra aware of where I placed myself anytime I went to throw any garbage away for the store.


My plan was to see if I could get to a stairwell. I figured that since the power was off that meant the cargo elevator would be out of order. Stairs were always the best bet. From there I could get down to the garbage incinerator which was close to a massive truck loading center. Easy, right? Wrong.


The back halls were a lot like a maze. It’s hard to tell just where you’re going with the lights on. With the lights off, it’s even worse. My cell phone put off a good amount of glow for me to work with, but it didn’t hit the higher points of the halls where the signs were. This of course meant I had to work off of memory. I’d been back there enough times to have a good idea of what I was doing, but the adrenaline of the situation was more or less blocking my better judgment and memory. If anyone had asked me my name, I probably wouldn’t have been able to answer, I was that freaked out.


My hands were shaking; my entire body was shaking, and sweating. So badly in fact, that my cell phone fell out of my hands and broke apart. The thing was always a piece of junk anyway.


I got down onto my knees and frantically started to search for the pieces, the darkness enveloping me, suffocating me, and making my isolation complete. If the battery had only popped out of the device, I could fix it and get moving again. My fingers had just wrapped around the casing of the phone when I heard solid footsteps coming my way from in front of me. Then I saw the glowing blue light and the ghostly thin face of its carrier.


Get up and run, or stay and forfeit. Neither option sounded all too great. I’m not a quitter, but I’m also not a coward. If I thought I stood a chance in a fight against the guy, I would have plowed through him, stolen his light, and bailed. The thing is, I’ve never been a fighter. Sure, I come across as tough, but I like to use my brain over my brawn any day. Why? Because it’ll keep me alive longer.


Plus, the guy was pointing a gun at me.


As much as I want to say I’m a noble hero, willing to die for my cause, and all that poetic stuff, I’m not. People who aren’t afraid of death really have a lot of guts, let me tell you. They also believe strongly for whatever they’re dying for. It wasn’t my time. There was a lot I still needed to do, and one of those things was protect Chevelle.


I placed my hands up, staring into the eyes of the man in front of me. There was a softness in his gaze, and that made me a little less afraid. But then I noticed how tall he was. Like, he had to be at least eight-foot-five, and skinny. Lean muscle covered his body, but I’m pretty sure I was wider than he was all the same. It wasn’t normal, natural or…human.


He flicked his fingers upward and I stood. Then he circled around me like some kind of bird of prey, nodding every so often. Cuffs appeared in his hands like magic. Yeah, those were for me.

 

 

Invited

Book 2

Invited 1400x2100_413x600It’s been three months since Chevelle Donahue, Wicken Sanders, and Timber Hudson were taken from Earth by the Achlivans – an alien race kidnapping humans in the name of preserving as much of Earth as possible before it is destroyed.

Wicken has been sold to another alien race – The Gorgachan – and their way of life is no where near as peaceful as the Utopia the Achlivans have set up. While he tries to figure out a way back home to his beloved Chevelle, he is caught in the middle of a fight that shouldn’t involve him.

Meanwhile, Chevelle and Timber work together to find a way to bring Wicken back home again, along with how they can save their families back on Earth. Someone on the Achlivan ship is working against them and their happily ever after. Timber and Chevelle must choose between their own desires and doing the right thing – and each must prepare to give the performance of their lives if they’re going to survive.

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Sheltered

Book 3

Sheltered 1400x2100_400x600The exciting conclusion to the Achlivan Cycle!

Timber Hudson must come to terms with the loss of his family and friends while at the same time being tasked with his greatest challenge: saving humanity from becoming mindless drones. It’d be a lot easier if Rumor would keep her nose in her own business and in prison where it belongs.

Meanwhile, Chevelle and Wicken must choose sides. One offers them the chance to rebuild Earth from the ground up, and the other will return them to Sanctuary to be with their family and friends. Neither choice is as black and white as it seems.

And all must face great dangers.

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About the Author: 
CloudCloud S. Riser is a Minnesota native. She has lived in Minnesota her whole life. She will probably remain there for her whole life too. The mother of The Squid, Skyscraper, and two cats, her life is definitely never dull. An adventure she braves with her husband. In order to stay sane, she creates massive amounts of fiction which she has decided to share with the rest of the world for the simple reason of: she is a storyteller.

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Heir of the Hamptons by Erika Rhys

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Title: Heir of the Hamptons
Author: Erika Rhys
Publication date: November 7th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

A playboy heir. A near-bankrupt floral designer. A fake marriage gone awry.

HeirRONAN
I was born into money, but I can’t touch my trust fund until I turn 35. Unless I get married. But I’m not a one-woman man, and marriage isn’t a trade-off worth even considering.

Until now. With my business on the line, I need to tap my trust. And to do that, I need a wife.

Ava’s beautiful, classy, and smart. She’s also a hell of an actress, and more than capable of fitting into Hamptons society.

In every way, she’s the perfect fake wife for me. Except that I want to tap her, too.

 
AVA
I never imagined I would consider a fake marriage. All I wanted was to get my floral design business off the ground, and someday—eventually—to meet Mr. Right.

But with my dreams about to end in bankruptcy, Ronan’s offer is my only way out. Unfortunately, there’s a catch. When he looks at me, my knees turn to rubber, and when he touches me, my body lights up like a g*ddamned disco ball.

He’s anything but Mr. Right. He’s domineering, stubborn, and hot-tempered, and while he also knows how to turn on the charm, I can’t let myself fall for it—or for him.

He’s my financial salvation. But if I don’t protect myself, he could also break my heart.

Heir of the Hamptons is a steamy, standalone romance with an HEA. If you like sizzling romance, razor-sharp wit, and characters who you’ll laugh and cry with, then you’ll love Ronan and Ava’s story!

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Excerpt:

“Why don’t you just get married?” my sister Cara said.

“You can’t be serious,” I picked up my water glass and downed half of it, hoping that its icy contents would stimulate my brain into sparking a fresh idea. In the aftermath of my latest loan rejection from Bank of America, I needed a new plan to save my company, Kingsley Technologies, and I needed it fast. Either that, or I’d be forced to lay off most of my employees, which was a betrayal I wasn’t ready to contemplate.


Not that I expected Cara to solve my problems over lunch at Bar Six, a mellow West Village bistro that I hit up regularly for its savory Croque Monsieur sandwiches. I adored my outspoken younger sister, but her art degree and career as an aspiring painter hadn’t given her a lick of business sense. Still, she was the only one in my family who was always on my side, which was why I had just told her about my financial dilemma. Cara’s unwavering support gave me strength, which was exactly what I needed right now.


Cara flicked a strand of her long, straight blonde hair away from her face and fixed me with her bright blue gaze. “Your share of Grandfather’s trust is around fifty million,” she said. “Isn’t that enough to solve your problems?”


“It’s more than enough,” I said. “But there’s no way to tap that money until I’m thirty-five.”


“Think creatively,” she said. “Under the terms of the trust, we get unrestricted access to our money when we turn thirty-five, when our father dies, or when we marry—whichever happens first.”
“I’m two years away from thirty-five, our father is in perfect health, and marriage is out of the question,” I said. “When it comes to monogamy, I’m my father’s son. You know that about me.”


“You’re nothing like our father,” she said, dipping her fork into her arugula-and-parmesan salad. “He’s a chronic liar and cheater—you’re neither.”


“I know who I am,” I said. “Like our father, I’m not a one-woman man. Unlike him, I don’t make promises I can’t keep.”


“You wouldn’t have to,” Cara said. “Not if your marriage was purely a business arrangement.”


I stared at her. “What?”


She rolled her eyes. “Come on, Ronan. I can’t believe you haven’t thought of this yourself. You’ve only dated half the women in New York—there must be one of them who would be willing to take a big fat check to marry you.”


“It would never work,” I said.


“Why not?”


“Lots of reasons.”


“Such as?”


“There’s no point in even discussing it,” I said.


“Then consider this a theoretical discussion,” Cara said. “I’m curious. Why are you so sure my idea couldn’t work?”


“Two words,” I said. “Job qualifications. No woman in her right mind would sign on to be my fake wife. Any woman crazy enough to take it on would lack the brains to carry off the amount of acting involved.”


“I get that your fake wife couldn’t be just anyone,” Cara said. “She’d have to look convincing to Dad and Veronica. She’d have to be trustworthy and intelligent.”


“Convincing our father and stepmother would only be scene one of the farce you’re proposing,” I said. “This imaginary fake wife would have to live with me for two years, pose as my wife in public, and not fall in love with me.”


Cara screwed up her face at me. “Ewww. I can’t believe you just said that.”


I shrugged. “Women like me—they always have.”


It was no less than the truth. The genetic lottery had gifted me a handsome face and a muscular six-foot-two body, which I kept toned with regular workouts. And while no woman had ever tempted me to consider a long-term relationship, I had the short-term thing down. Be a nice guy, make the woman I was with feel beautiful, and attend to her pleasure as much as my own. I didn’t do commitments, I didn’t make promises, and three nights was my self-imposed limit—although in practice, I rarely took it beyond one. Manhattan was filled with gorgeous, single women, which made it the perfect playground for a guy like me.

 

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Author Bio:

ErikaErika Rhys is the international best-selling author of Heir of the Hamptons and the Gentlemen’s Club, Over the Edge, and On the Brink series. A romantic at heart–and a lifelong fan of reading romance novels–she decided to start writing them herself in 2013. Nine books later, she hasn’t looked back.

Due to spending much of her life in Boston and NYC, she’ll always be a city girl at heart, but she now lives in coastal Maine, where she enjoys fresh ocean air, poop-free sidewalks, and the novelty of cooking in a real, human-sized kitchen–something that eluded her for years when she lived in the city.

If she’s not working on her latest book, you can find her reading, watching nature programs on Netflix, or indulging in a double espresso at a nearby café. She can also usually be found at www.facebook.com/ErikaRhys.Author, and you can learn more about her upcoming projects at www.erikarhys.com.

 

 

 

Christmas in The Sisters by Becki Willis

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Title: Christmas in The Sisters
Series: The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series Book 6
Author: Becki Willis
Genre: Cozy Mystery

The latest book in the Award-Winning The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series!

Xmas-3_388x600Madison Reynolds can’t wait for Christmas this year. Rebuilding her life as a single mom hasn’t been easy, but after a challenging twelve months, she’s excited about the holidays. She and her twins have settled quite nicely here in The Sisters, renovations on the house are complete, her business is slowly growing, and, best of all, Chief of Police Brash deCordova is in her life. Visions of the perfect Christmas dance in her head.
 
The tinsel begins to tangle when someone targets the community for a series of ‘Christmas Crimes.’ Homes are broken into and wrapped gifts are stolen from beneath trees. Even vehicles loaded with presents aren’t safe, particularly on a lone stretch of highway. Things like this just don’t happen in Naomi and Juliet. Torn between solving the rash of burglaries and shutting down the gambling ring that’s active in the area again, Brash does the only thing he can: he hires In a Pinch to help with the investigation.
 
Finding the common link between cases is like finding the bad bulb on a string of lights. Every lead is a short circuit. The frustration mounts when Madison and the Angel Tree she’s involved with fall victim to the crimes. Only the worst kind of Grinch steals from needy children!
 
Brash has plans of his own for the perfect Christmas. With the help of a new jewelry store, he thinks he’s found just the right gift for Madison, until the Grinch strikes again. This wasn’t the surprise he had in mind.
 
Ready or not, Christmas is on its way, and time is running out to create the holiday of their dreams. As the house fills with unexpected guests, Madison and the twins honor favorite traditions from the past while creating a few new ones of their own.
 
Who has time for being kidnapped by men in Santa suits and bad beards?
 
This is one Christmas that no one in The Sisters will ever forget!

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Excerpt:

      Emergency lights clashed with the festive Christmas scene.
      Beyond the police car’s glaring strobe, cheerful strands of twinkling white icicles dripped from the eaves of the house. Each porch post was wrapped in green. A profusion of multi-color lights sprang up in the yard, garnishing every bush, every bird feeder, and every tree in sight.
      Wedging the cruiser into a slim niche between a Ford Expedition and a Pontiac Grand Am, Brash deCordova came within inches of a gigantic inflatable snowman. The chief of police picked his way between a stand of lighted candy canes, a herd of reindeer, and an animated gingerbread man. The obstacle course led him to the front porch, where a trio of wooden carolers greeted him, and a motion-activated wreath began the first bars of We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
      It came as no surprise when the doorbell twinkled out the tune of Jingle Bells. Brash shook his head in wonder. The Hutchins certainly loved the season.
      The door swung open and a plump woman motioned him inside. “Brash! You’re here.” The relief in Vanessa Hutchins’ voice was palatable. “Come in, come in.” She turned slightly away and bellowed down the hall, “Larry! The police are here!”
      “I’m sorry to come calling like this, Vanessa,” Brash apologized, tugging the cowboy hat from his auburn head. “Larry tells me you’ve had some trouble.”
      “I’ll say! Look! Just look at that!” She flung her arm toward the massive Christmas tree centered at the front windows. Dozens of bulbs, baubles, and ornaments covered every tip, illuminated by hundreds of miniature white lights. A red and green tree skirt peeked from beneath the lower branches.
      “Nice tree,” Brash murmured, wondering how it kept from collapsing.
      “Nice? It’s empty! Glory be, someone stole all our presents!”
      A groove of worry puckered the officer’s brow. “All of them? How many did you have under there?”
      “You mean an exact number?”
      “For now, an estimate will do.”
      Vanessa cocked her head to one side, mentally tallying up the gifts. “At least thirty. I’m almost done with my shopping. Or I was, until this happened!” She gave another emphatic wave toward the barren tree skirt.
      “Calm down, Nessa,” her husband said, coming into the room carrying a steaming mug. He thrust it at his wife before offering his hand to Brash. “Brash, thanks for coming out so quick. Vanessa, take a few sips of hot chocolate and try to relax. Everything is going to be all right.”
      “All right? You’re not the one who shopped for those gifts. And you didn’t wrap a single one of them, Larry, so don’t tell me to calm down!” Her voice rose with every word, both in pitch and volume.
      “Can we have a seat?” Brash suggested.
      Appalled by her lack of manners, the frantic woman immediately turned apologetic. She fussed around the officer, fluffing a snowman afghan at his back and producing a Santa-shaped ottoman for his feet. Brash politely settled among the excessive holiday pillows, grimacing when he activated one with music. Over the digital notes of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, he struggled to sound professional. “Tell me exactly what happened.”
      “We were robbed, that’s what happened!”
      “Were there any signs of forced entry?”
      “The back door was jimmied open, if that’s what you mean,” Larry Hutchins offered. “We didn’t touch anything, in case you want to dust for prints.”
      “Smart thinking. Was anything else taken?”
      “Not that we’re aware of. We checked the gun case, jewelry box, desk drawers where we keep the checkbook, that sort of thing. Everything else seems to be here.”
      “They were only interested in the presents,” his wife concurred. Hot chocolate already forgotten, she had taken to wringing her hands.
      Brash jotted down notes in his trusty little notebook. It traveled with him everywhere he went, tucked into his shirt pocket. “Take me through this evening. We need to establish some sort of timeline.”

 

Don’t miss the other books in The Sisters, Texas series!

sister series

Chicken Scratch

Book 1

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When The Stars Fall

Book 2

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Stipulations and Complications

Book 3

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Home Again: Starting Over

Book 4

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Genny’s Ballad

Book 5

Amazon * Goodreads

 

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About the Author:

BeckiBecki Willis, best known for her popular The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series and Forgotten Boxes, always dreamed of being an author. In November of ’13, that dream became a reality. Since that time, she has published eleven books, won first place honors for Best Mystery Series, Best Suspense Fiction and Best Audio Book, and has introduced her imaginary friends to readers around the world.

An avid history buff, Becki likes to poke around in old places and learn about the past. Other addictions include reading, writing, junking, unraveling a good mystery, and coffee. She loves to travel, but believes coming home to her family and her Texas ranch is the best part of any trip. Becki is a member of the Association of Texas Authors, the National Association of Professional Women, and the Brazos Writers organization. She attended Texas A&M University and majored in Journalism.

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