Thursday teaser: Lee

Share

Contemporary romance

Lee: Lucian & Lia book 6 romantic erotica

By Sydney Landon

“So how many exactly have there been since I left?  Assistants, I mean,” I add quickly.  I certainly have no desire to hear about the number of women warming his bed.  He probably can’t count that high. 

“A few,” he says vaguely.  “No one has any type of work ethic anymore.  And the few who managed to show up on time couldn’t take direction if you stapled a detailed list to their damn forehead.  Do you know that I asked one of them for the Camden file, and she came into my office with a purse the size of the Grand Canyon and dumped it out on my floor?  When she started crawling around down there going through the debris, I asked her what she was doing and she said that she didn’t know what name brand her nail file was, but she figured it would do the job.” 

I can’t help it.  I laugh until tears are rolling down my face.  I can so easily imagine Lee’s expression when that happened.  “That’s hilarious,” I manage to croak out as he shakes his head at me.  When I get myself under control, I ask, “So I take it that she didn’t make it long after that?” 

“Hell no,” he grunts.  “As soon as she put all that shit back into her bag, I had HR inform her that her services were no longer needed.  I was half afraid that she’d find that damn nail file and stab me with it, but according to Pete, who was close by, she actually hummed on her way out.” 

“She was probably thrilled to get away from you,” I joke.  Lee wasn’t an easy man to work for, especially if you couldn’t read his mind.  Luckily, we connected from the beginning, and it had never really been a problem for me. 

“I just want people to do what I pay them for,” he states, making no apologies.  And why should he?  Yes, he can be a bit abrupt, but he works just as hard, if not harder, than anyone there.  Plus, the pay scale at Falco is far better than most businesses in North Carolina. 

“I agree with you,” I say softly.  Then as quickly as the moment of familiarity that only comes from working together is there, it’s gone, and I’m on edge once again.  I want to know why he’s here, yet I’m terrified to ask.  But this strange impasse that we’re at must end, and he doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to do it.  Therefore, it’s up to me.  So, squaring my shoulders, I ask point-blank, “Why are you really here, Lee?  You and I both know this is completely out of character for you.” 

He smirks for a moment, then inclines his head to acknowledge the truth of my words.  “I’d like you to come back to work.  Seeing as you’re currently unemployed, it shouldn’t be a problem.  You can start in the morning.  Kara will be more than happy to turn everything back over to you.” 

I gape at him in shock.  “I—er… what?” I manage to get out.  He’s completely unruffled, while my hands twist in my lap as I try to decide if he’s joking or not.  Since when have you known him to joke?  It’s time to make that run for the door. 

He gets to his feet abruptly as if everything has been decided.  “I’ll see you at the usual time tomorrow.”  When I open my mouth to protest, he adds softly, “Don’t even think about not showing up.  Because if you aren’t there, the first place I’ll look is Hunter Wrenn’s home, and I know you don’t want that.”  My vision blurs as I stare at his retreating back.  For the second time that day, the front door is slammed as another angry person leaves.  “Oh, my God,” I whisper as I collapse in my chair.  He knows.  Dear God, he knows!  The voice in my head is in full panic mode, but outwardly, I’ve fallen into some kind of weird trance-like state. 

About Lee, the spicy romance

Romantic erotica

My name is Lee Jacks and I’ve lived a life that few could imagine. When you grow up as the son of a crack whore with little more than the clothes on your back most days being accepted by your peers is the last thing you expect. I was always an outcast which was fine by me. It’s what kept my brother and me alive. Survival is something that isn’t taught in public schools, but it damn well should be.

But I’m no longer a gutter rat to be kicked aside like yesterday’s trash. I’m a sought-after member of the Asheville, North Carolina elite and invited to parties given by the upper crust of society.

The one thing I never counted on was falling in love with my assistant Liza. In one of my few selfless acts, I refused to bring her into my corrupt world. When she quits her job, and walks away from me, I soon discover that I never really knew her at all. For she has secrets of her own and one of them could very well be the need to destroy me.

Graphic content warning: This romantic erotica novel contains depictions of violence, sexual abuse and child abuse.

Get it on

Sydney Landon

is the New York Times & USA Today best selling author of:  Weekends Required, Not Planning on You, Fall For Me, Fighting For You, Betting on You, No Denying You, Always Loving You, Pierced and Fractured.  Sydney is currently working on the next book in the Danvers’ Series as well as the Pierced Series.

When she isn’t writing romantic erotica or romance, Sydney enjoys reading, swimming and the beach.

She lives with her family in Greenville, South Carolina.

Get to know more about Sydney:

Her BestSelling Reads author page   |    Website    |    Amazon Author page    |    Barnes & Noble    |    Kobo    |    Google Play    |    iBooks

Share

What are Reviews?

Share

Thursday teaser from Book Review Secrets for Author Success

By Barb Drozdowich

A book review can run the spectrum of a few words to several pages of critique.

Perhaps this is why it is so difficult to characterize and perhaps this is why many readers are so intimidated at the thought of leaving a review for a book they have read—they imagine it to be a much bigger deal than it actually is.

Or…perhaps readers are having flashbacks to high school English class and don’t want to go there…

Regardless, we as authors need to not only get better at characterizing what a review is (so we can help our readers understand what we want them to do), but also recognize the need or use of various different types of reviews.

Let’s start with what a review is, throw in some rules and then move on from there.

In its simplest form, a review can be “Great Book!” or “Loved this book.” These words can be accompanied by some stars or other type of rating. As I said, on the other end of the spectrum, a review can be pages of critique on various aspects of the book. These brief, or extensive thoughts, can be sent to you by email, they can be posted on a private blog or website, a commercial blog or website, a social media site or a retail site.

With respect to these reviews, certain commercial platforms like Amazon have rules that reviewers have to follow regarding content and most commercial review-granting organizations have guidelines or expectations posted. 

But for the most part, there are no rules. This isn’t high school English class and the teacher hasn’t just handed out a paper for an assignment.

However, a review can still be: “Great book!”

Perhaps this is the crux of the problem. How are we to help our readers understand what we want them to do unless we can be a bit more concrete?

Let’s divide reviews into professional reviews or commercial reviews and reader reviews, as I’m sure you can agree the standards can be expected to be different.

A reader review is the chance for a reader to share their thoughts about what they thought of a book. Keep in mind, this is something that readers have always done—even before the creation of Amazon—we would chat with fellow book lovers. In my mind, there is nothing better than chatting about the latest book I’ve read. I know that urge to shout to the world about a really good book was one of the driving forces behind my book blog creation.

Since the advent of the internet, reader reviews, which were once an in-person activity, have also moved to online. Not only can readers leave reviews on their (or other’s) blogs or websites, but readers are encouraged to leave reviews of books purchased from any of the book retail sites—and will likely get a reminder email from the retailer to do so. In addition, there are various social media sites like Goodreads which encourage readers to list and review books.

Several years ago I was at a conference and a presenter on the subject of reviews said that “reviews” which occur before a book is published are reviews for the author; “reviews” that occur after the book is published are for readers. I initially tried to push back on that thought, but the more I mulled it over, the more I realized how correct it was. As authors we generally see pre-publication reviews as critiques, but they are generally devices to help us improve—to polish our book before it is published. Once published, the book is available for purchase by readers; any one of those readers has the ability to share their thoughts.

We don’t qualify who can and can’t purchase our books. They are available for sale to anyone who has enough money to pay for them. In a similar vein, we can’t control the reviews that are shared about our books. It is true that some people go out of their way to be unkind in their thoughts when reviewing, but in my experience the majority of reader reviews are honest and forthright. In many cases, reader reviews can be quite helpful to us as authors. 

A short story before we move on from this topic. One of the first books I published was on the topic of Goodreads, a reader-centric social website. I was determined to explain to authors how to navigate this rabbit’s warren of a site and take advantage of its powerful features. To help with the navigation of the site, I carefully created 250 color screenshots and other graphics to include in my book in order to help with my step-by-step instructions of “click on the blue button,” etc. I tested the e-book on my 27-inch computer and it looked beautiful! One of the very first reviews I received was very critical and complained that the graphics were too small to be seen on a smart phone screen. My first thought was “why the hell are you reading this book on your phone?” Of course the graphics are small on a tiny phone screen. Trying to be helpful, I replied to the review and suggested the reviewer view the book on a larger screen, perhaps a desktop computer. I was told the only electronic device she owned was a smart phone—she did everything from her phone.

Although I didn’t like this review, it was justified and I learned from it. The next edition of the Goodreads book had links to a video course and the screenshots and other graphics were gone. 

I am the type of person who reads most reviews—especially at the beginning. I find I learn from them. That being said, if you are the type of personality that is easily thrown off by comments from readers, don’t read them.

Let’s move on to professional or commercial reviews—or perhaps we should call these “non-reader” reviews. 

This is a big category and what fits in here can be open to interpretation. To add come clarity, let me define what I mean by “professional or commercial” reviews.

A professional or commercial review, whether it is something the author seeks out or not, is a review that is written by an experienced person generally following a stated set of guidelines.

As I mentioned, the reviewer is typically experienced, and may have an educational or experiential background in reviewing books. An example of this would be a book reviewer for a major newspaper or literary publication. The reviewer may be a person who is well versed in the genre of the book, or an expert in the field if the book is non-fiction. An example of this is a peer review in an industry publication for a non-fiction book.

Focusing on a commercial review—or a review that an author pays for—these reviews, generally speaking, are carried out by an experienced reviewer and follow a stated set of guidelines. Or in other words, if you purchase a review, you should be aware of what may or may not be said and what may or may not be shared publicly. We’ll go into details in a future chapter, but authors should have access to an FAQ of sorts about what they are paying for and if the review is not favorable, they may have the option of preventing the review from being made public.

As I said at the beginning of this chapter, although a review can run the gamut of a few words to several pages of critique, when talking about a professional or commercial review, they are unlikely to be only several words and are much more likely to be at least several paragraphs in length or longer. 

Are you any closer to understanding what a review is? Can you describe a review to your readers when you ask them to share some thoughts? Ultimately, it is part of our job as authors to ask our readers to leave a review. Before moving on to the next chapter, perhaps take a few moments and jot down a blurb asking for a review that you can put in the back matter of your next book!

Book Review Secrets for Author Success

Feel like it’s impossible to get more reviews for your book? Discover a comprehensive guide to every single review gathering method in publishing.

No idea where to start to get reviews for your book? Worried about hiring a professional service or contacting blogs to get those five-star marks? Award-winning author and professional reviewer Barb Drozdowich knows reviews inside and out. As the owner of the world’s largest reviewer database, let her break down the complex and confusing world of author testimonials to help you get the feedback you need to make your book a success.

Book Reviews for Author Success is a step-by-step handbook that describes all possible methods for getting more reviews for your work. From contacting literary and commercial services to bloggers and readers, Drozdowich’s conversational style demystifies the jargon in her laundry list of strategies. Intended to educate authors of all levels, the book leaves no stone unturned in the quest for your first or thousandth review.

In Book Reviews for Author Success , you’ll discover:

  • The rules and guidelines authors must use to earn professional reviews
  • A list of every type of review and how to start getting them
  • The power of social proof and why authors must seek testimonials
  • Practical exercises to help you better understand review gathering
  • A full glossary, pages and pages of extensive resources, and much, much more!

Book Reviews for Author Success is a packed, professional reference for any author looking to generate reviews. If you like easy-to-follow systems, complex subjects taught in plain English, and expert advice from key players, then you’ll love Barb Drozdowich’s superb manual.

Find it on Amazon.

About Barb Drozdowich

Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. Now she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She delights in taking technical subjects and making them understandable by the average person. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about romance novels.

She is the author of 15 books, over 40 YouTube videos an online Goodreads course and an online WordPress course, all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.

Visit her Bestselling Reads author page, her Amazon Author page, or on social media:

wordpress
wordpress
twitter
facebook
mail
linkedin
googleplus
goodreads_icon_100x100-1-1

Share

Tuesday teaser: Once Upon a [Fallen] Time

Share

We know, it’s not Thursday, but we’re excited about the launch today of a brand-new time-travelling paranormal romance

By Samreen Ahsan

“I asked you, Edward, have you ever had a dream?” He looked me in the eye, examining my every expression.

I sank deeper in the velvet armchair and leaned against the backrest to look up at the ceiling. “Dreams are illusive fantasies. They never come true.” I looked back at him.

He didn’t take his deadly eyes off me. “So, you have fantasies?”

“You called to interrogate me?” I asked, irritated.

He chuckled and picked up the book. “I can assure you, dreams do come true.” He opened the book and handed it to me. I looked at the book carefully; the first illuminated parchment grabbed my attention. The book was written in Latin, but I knew it was the translation of Roman de la Rose (Romance of the Rose) by Guillaume de Lorris, a French poet who had existed almost two hundred years ago. I had seen this book back when I’d been a child. I knew it had been given to my father—a gift from an English poet I had once met in my childhood.

I focused on the image, a man lying on the bed, traversing into a dream. The image was surrounded with a text and decorated initials.

“Many men say that there is nothing in dreams but fables and lies,” he watched me as he read the verses. It seemed like he had memorized it. “But many may have dreams which are not deceitful, whose import becomes quite clear afterward.”

I regarded him with a sour expression. What was he trying to imply? That he had some stupid dream, which held some significance in his life? I looked back at the parchment and focused on what he was saying before I closed the book and placed it back on the table. I didn’t want to go down this road with him.

“What is the hurry, son? Don’t you fancy a drink with your old man?” he snickered and handed me a drink in a crystal goblet. He had never spoken to me like this—in a father-son way. It had always been a king and his descendant. I took a sip and looked at him with a raised eyebrow.

“Do you know why I have called you here, Edward?” he asked, drink in his hand while he blew another puff. I waited for him to continue. “Remember I told you how hazardous a beautiful woman is?” I held my breath tightly. I had a feeling this was not going in a good direction. “She could poison our lives.” I bridled my wandering thoughts. “But…”

He stood up and walked about the darkened room. My eyes followed his haughty poise. There was something on the tip of his tongue he wanted to spill, but I didn’t know why he paused.

“But sometimes… a woman can change perspectives too.” He was walking back and forth. When he went towards his bed, I noticed his mirror was missing. Had he moved it somewhere else? He stopped walking and sat back in his chair. I looked at him, waiting for him to elaborate. “Don’t be so indifferent, son, that you don’t know what I’m talking about!”

I averted my eyes and looked towards the missing mirror, followed by the door that led to the secret spring.

“The woman…” he lit another cigar and looked at me, “that you call your captive,” he took a deep puff, “I’m trying to understand who the captive is and who the captor is here.” I threw daggers at him but held my tongue tightly. Anything I’d speak might go against her or me.

“From what I see, you didn’t even ask once if she was a peasant and you invited her to the royal table.” I moved forward while clasping my hands on my knees. “So, get to the point.”

He reciprocated my act by moving forward as well to look me in the eye.

“Didn’t you notice her?” God knew how much I noticed that woman so closely. “She is here…” he moved back and spread his arms, “in this cursed castle,” he shook his head, “and still the flowers in her hair didn’t wither.” He was completely drunk in his fascination for her. “Do you honestly think she was peasantry?” He looked agitated. “The silk she wore, and besides, do you think peasant blood is capable of bringing flowers inside this castle?” There was nothing I could say. I’d have to stick to the lies to protect her. “She is no ordinary woman, Edward.” He looked me in the eye. “The flowers on her didn’t wither. Do you know what this means?” I sod inside but tried to curb my temper. He was completely struck by her powers.

“She is a witch?” I asked hesitantly.

Once Upon a a [Fallen] Time

Samreen Ahsan continues the saga that began in Once Upon a [Stolen] Time.

In Once Upon a [Fallen] Time, the past and future collide in the tale of love, obsession, betrayal and the hope for redemption.

The tortured Edward Hue, the last king in the cursed dynasty, is in deeper anguish over the woman he loves when he discovers which woman his father has chosen for him to marry.

It is available on Amazon today, May 21.

“The author’s style is magical in itself as she sets the past and present onto a direct collision course. 5-stars!”—Tome Tender Book Blog.

Once Upon a [Stolen] Time

2015…

All her life, Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castles—and the kings and princes who once inhabited them. Now, wealthy videogame designer Steve Bernard wants her to model for a princess character in his new game. Myra can’t resist his offer, especially when she learns that Steve plans to film inside the mysterious Hue Castle—a cursed, barren, colorless place forbidden to visitors for centuries. But unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to Hue Castle by blood and sorcery. When she enters its doors, she awakens dark powers that will reach through time—stealing her past, torturing her present, and rewriting her future.

1415…

Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine or held a living flower. Cursed from birth to live in darkness and bring death to all he touches, he is at the mercy of his cruel, tyrannical father, who will not rest until he shatters Edward’s soul and makes his son into a diabolical copy of himself. Edward’s one hope is the mysterious woman who haunts his dreams—who will either break his curse and bring him out of the darkness, or destroy him utterly.

For Myra and Edward, past and future collide in a tale of love, obsession, betrayal, and the hope for redemption.

Find it on Amazon.

About Samreen Ahsan

History, art and literature are my passions. I love digging out information about prophecies, divine miracles and paranormal events that are mentioned in history and holy books, that don’t sound possible in today’s modern world.

Since childhood, I have been into reading and writing—and yes, it can’t happen without imagination, which luckily has no boundaries. Dance and music are also pastimes I enjoy, as well as reading romance fiction. I love to travel and explore historical cities.

Share

A centennial Thursday teaser

Share

Today, April 4, 2019, would have been the one hundredth birthday of Maurice Bury, the late father-in-law of BSR member Scott Bury and the subject of three books. In honor of that centennial, we present an excerpt that tells much about Maurice’s character. Read on to see how you could win a free copy.

Army of Worn Soles

Army of Worn Soles cover

By Scott Bury

The next week, when the boys went to the Jewish quarter, Maurice stepped in front of Bohdan and knocked on the kitchen door. A man dressed all in black answered. He had a long grey beard, spectacles and a cap on his head. “Good morning, sir,” Maurice said. Warm air filled with delicious aromas came out of the kitchen. “We’re here to cut your firewood.”

The man nodded, frowning. His eyes scanned Maurice and his friends, and the pile of uncut wood beside the garden. He didn’t say anything, so Maurice pulled off his cap and smiled as warmly as he could. He held out his hand. “I am Maurice, and these are my friends. We did a good job last week, wouldn’t you say.”

The homeowner nodded without smiling, but he shook Maurice’s hand. “Yes, fine. Go to it, then.”

“Yes, sir, we will, right away, but there is just one thing,” Maurice said. He heard his friends shuffling behind him, mystified as to what he was doing. “Last week, you paid us fifty grozy, just half a zloty each to cut and stack your firewood and make kindling, too. And believe me, we are grateful—hmm, my, that smells good in your kitchen—grateful for the work. But you see, your honour, we are students at the gymnasium. Ukrainians, underdogs like your people. And the food at the gymnasium is not as good as the food in your kitchen. Are you baking?”

“What do you want?”

“Mister—I am sorry, I don’t know your name?”

“Kohn.”

“Mr. Kohn, rabbi—”

“I am not a rabbi, I am a printer.”

“My apologies. Please, sir, Mr. Kohn—we are four poor Ukrainian students, struggling to improve our lives and our families’, too. My mother, for instance, lives on a poor farm near Ternopyl, and my education is a great burden on her. Just think of how hard she had to work to pay the tuition, let alone my living expenses. And my friends are in the same situation.” He indicated the three boys behind him.

Kohn sighed deeply. “What do you want?”

Polish zloty coin. Couttesy Coinquest.com

“A zloty each.”

“A zloty. I can get any goy for a fraction of that. Go on.”

“Hear me out, Mr. Kohn. One zloty for each of us will allow us to buy a good supper tonight, and we are all hard-working boys, and we’ll send money home to our mothers. And in return, we’ll cut twice as much wood as last week—”

“I don’t need twice as much wood. I still haven’t burned all the wood you cut last week.”

“Maybe. But you could sell some of your surplus to other households.”

“So I’m supposed to peddle cut wood to my neighbours?”

Maurice had not anticipated that response.

Bohdan stepped forward. “Of course not. We’ll sell it and give you the proceeds.”

Mr. Kohn shook his head. “You goyim have no head for money. This is how it will work, boys. Instead of fifty grozy each, I’ll pay you twenty-five. You cut as much wood for me as you did last week. Then you cut as much as you like to sell to the Abrahams next door—Abraham never buys enough wood, the cheapskate. You charge him five zlotys for the week. That way you’ll have more money than you did before. And you come back here and give me a quarter of what he paid, and I’ll let you come back next week. I’ll have more wood for you to sell then.”

Maurice turned to the others, who nodded. It was a good deal if it meant more work for each of them.

Kohn dug in a front pocket and pulled out some coins. “Here are another twenty-five grozy for each of you—buy yourselves a beer after. And never let it be said that Chaim Kohn let anyone, even goyim, go hungry.” He closed the door.

Army of Worn Soles

1941: Their retreat across Ukraine wore their boots out—and they kept going. Three months after drafting him, the Soviet Red Army throws Maurice Bury, along with millions of other under-trained men, against the juggernaut of Nazi Germany’s Operation Barbarossa, the assault on the USSR. Army of Worn Soles tells the true story of a Canadian who had to find in himself a way to keep himself alive—and the men who followed him.

Find it in paperback and e-book formats on Amazon.

Army of Worn Soles is the first book in the Eastern Front trilogy comprising Army of Worn SolesUnder the Nazi Heel and Walking Out of War. It’s the true story a Canadian drafted into the Soviet Red Army in 1941, just in time to face Operation Barbarossa, the greatest land attack in history—Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union.

Read more about it on the author’s website.

Win a free e-copy

Army of Worn Soles cover

In the Comments below, share some of the ways you earned extra cash as a young person. Author Scott Bury will share a free e-copy of Army of Worn Soles in return.

Scott Bury

can’t stay in one genre. After a 20-year career in journalism, he turned to writing fiction. “Sam, the Strawb Part,” a children’s story, came out in 2011, with all the proceeds going to an autism charity. Next was a paranormal short story for grown-ups, “Dark Clouds.”

The Bones of the Earth, a historical fantasy, came out in 2012. It was followed in 2013 with One Shade of Red, an erotic romance.

He has several mysteries and thrillers, including Torn Roots, Palm Trees & Snowflakes and Wildfire .

The Eastern Front trilogy, Army of Worn Soles, Under the Nazi Heel and Walking Out of War, is the true story of a Canadian-born man drafted into the Soviet Red Army in World War II.

Scott’s articles have been published in newspapers and magazines in Canada, the US, UK and Australia.

He has two mighty sons, two pesky cats and a loving wife who puts up with a lot. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Share

Be our reading Valentines

Share

It’s Valentine’s Day, and BestSelling Reads’ treat for you are some samples from romance stories you’ll love.

From Limited Partnerships II: Luke

By M.L. Doyle

The problem was, what he’d said, his touch, the way he looked at me, the gasp he made, no matter how fake, no matter how false it all may have been, in a place buried very deep inside me, I wanted what he was selling.

He stood and moved his bar stool a little closer until he sat directly next to me. He leaned his shoulder into mine and continued with his sales pitch.

“Haven’t you ever wondered what it would be like? Wondered what would happen if the man you were with was only there to make sure you were pleased?”

Find Limited Partnerships on Amazon.

From One Shade of Red

By Scott Bury

Chapter 24: Hello, Mary-Anne

My new routine set itself so easily during the second week of classes. Lectures, tutorial groups, visits to the library. Mary-Anne seemed to feel sitting together with me in every class and tutorial we shared was also a part of her natural routine.

She brought back the economics textbook as she had promised on Monday.  I spent the whole week looking for her on the campus, breathing in her presence when she was beside me in classes and tutorials, missing her in the evening.

On Friday, Mary-Anne surprised me as we walked out of the last class we had together. “So we’re hanging out tomorrow night, right?”

I felt surprised, delighted, amazed that she still wanted to hang out. It was a date.

Like my old Friday night dates with Kristen. Only … maybe it could be much more.

Shut up, Dick, I thought. I had one more lecture to get to.

I woke up Saturday at noon, thinking of Mary-Anne. I showered, shaved — I was up to shaving twice a week by that time — and while gulping down instant coffee and Cheerios, texted her. Want to go 2 movie 2nite? Cliché, but sometimes, a standard approach is best.

We went to something completely forgettable. I forgot the point and the plot immediately.

I walked her to her dorm room. “No guests inside after 11:00,” she said.

“Wanna come to my place? I live on my own, off campus.”

“Maybe next time.” And then she tilted her head back and closed her eyes. I leaned closer and we kissed. Deeply. When she pulled away, I swayed on my feet. I felt dizzy.

“See you on Monday?” she said as she pushed the lobby door open.

“Why not tomorrow?”

“Okay.”

Morning could not come fast enough. I woke up insanely early and paced my apartment, waiting for a decent hour to call someone. When I picked up my cell phone, the Message icon flashed.

Find One Shade of Red on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, iBooks or Kobo.

From Return of the Ascendant

By Raine Thomas

Just as Kyra neared the halo of light cast by the closest lamppost, it went out. She staggered to a halt.

That was when the darkness moved.

Not possible, she thought.

She watched the shadows take shape, growing ever taller. Five feet, six feet, seven feet tall…like a creature advancing and casting a longer and longer shadow. Her heartbeat accelerated. The voice in her head ordered her to flee.

Run now!

Before she could command her limbs to move, she felt her arm taken in a firm grip. She barely avoided issuing a terrified shriek over the contact. Her fear had escalated to a point where she couldn’t even get a sound past her throat.

Her head whipped to the side. She realized the man who had grabbed her was a good eight or nine inches taller than her, even in her heels. She got a sense of a chiseled profile and broad shoulders as he urged her to move. Her gaze flew to the ground as she tried to avoid breaking an ankle. Only when they emerged from the darkness did her sense of panic begin to ease.

Her unexpected companion’s pace also slowed once they reached the light. She turned her gaze to him once again. Had he been the one who had cast the shadow?

She didn’t think so. Although she couldn’t tell much about him from his profile, she didn’t sense that he would harm her.

“It isn’t me you need to worry about,” he said in a deep voice. “You were right to fear the dark.”

Find Return of the Ascendant on Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble and Kobo.

From Once Upon a [Stolen] Time

By Samreen Ahsan

She’s gifted me with all the colors, but I painted her with darkness.

As much as I crave feeling the sunlight and the flowers against my skin, I want her touch too. I am cursed and doomed to never experience the beauty of the natural world, for all eternity.

She watches me with extreme hatred in her eyes—her gaze throwing fireballs at me. She doesn’t know I’m already burning, but since she despises me so much, I can’t even dare to come close to her. I want to end this tortuous distance between us—but I was the one who created this hatred in her.

She was a beautiful tender rose—I stole her fragrance, crushed her petals and burned her in hell. If I knew the fire with which I was conflagrating her would come to engulf me—I swear I wouldn’t have done it. Her spell is too strong for me not to fall; her curse is too mighty for me to run away.

Her deadly yet magical existence haunts me, excites me and has thrown me into a pit of deep lust. She is my prisoner, but she doesn’t realize that I’m the one who’s already submitted to her slavery, when I first touched her.

Despite being her captor, I am still her captive.

Find Once Upon a [Stolen] Time at Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords and Chapters Indigo.

Share

Thursday teaser: The Crazy Girl’s Handbook

Share

This week’s crazy romance teaser is from the funny first volume of the Handbook romance series

By DelSheree Gladden

Pain blossomed in more than one spot as my elbows and palms hit the cement and my head whacked into the decorative stone edging that lined the grass. Thor yelped as my dead weight kept him from getting any farther, then doubled back to see what was wrong and stomped all over me at least three times before settling on my head. By the time my senses cleared, I was so tangled in leash and puppy I couldn’t even figure out where to start. My head and arms throbbing didn’t help at all.

“Thor, get off,” a firm voice said.

I thought I wanted to die when I got gum in my hair, or soda ice down my shirt, or an ice cream pedicure. Those were nothing compared to having to be rescued from an over-enthusiastic puppy by Roman Carpenter while covered in dirt, grass, and blood. It was a miracle I didn’t give up right then and just start crying. I loved my nephews, but I was never going to be able to show my face in this neighborhood again.

The heavy weight of the squirming—and rather large—puppy was finally removed from my face. I heard Roman ask one of the boys to hold the leash, but I kept my eyes closed out of pure shame. Not until a pair of hands pressed against my face did I even dare to breathe. Even then, it was a gasp at the urgency behind the touch.

“Greenly, are you okay?” Roman demanded.

The hint of worry in his voice forced me to peel my eyelids apart. I peeked up at him through half-opened eyes and was startled not to find him laughing at me again. There was real, honest fear in his expression and it left me speechless.

“Are you okay?” he repeated.

Breathe, Greenly. “Yeah, uh huh. Yep.”

He stared at me for a moment. Probably because I sounded ridiculous. “Are you sure?” he asked.

I tried to sit up in order to prove I was just fine. The sting of putting my hands on the ground made me hiss and I felt a little woozy when I tried to move.

“Whoa, whoa,” Roman said, which made me feel a little like a horse. “Don’t move. Let me help you.”

Great, just great. I tried again to sit up on my own. “Really, I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not,” Roman said as his arms slid beneath my arms and legs.

I experienced an irrational moment of panic, not because the idea of Roman carrying me off somewhere was frightening, but because being this close to him would expose everything about me I hadn’t already managed to bare. He lifted me easily and my breath caught as he adjusted his arms and I felt momentarily unsupported. Then his grip rolled me against his chest, to a place of absolute security. I don’t think I took a single breath as he walked up to the house.

About The Crazy Girl’s Handbook

Watching her two nephews and a puppy named Thor for the weekend was supposed to be fun for Greenly Kendrick. Sweating to death at a never-ending baseball game while getting gum in her hair, soda down her shirt, and an ice cream pedicure wasn’t part of the deal. Neither is finding out the best blind date she’s ever stood up is there to witness it all.

Longest. Weekend. Ever.

Except it doesn’t stop at one crazy weekend. Embarrassment turns into mortification, a head wound, and being patch up by her amused knight in shining armor.

Roman Carpenter can’t help laughing at Greenly’s mishaps, but for some reason, he sticks with her through it all. At least, until his ex-wife shows up and starts causing trouble. What started off as a strange, yet promising relationship, might be able to survive spiteful exes, but adding in a stalker that puts everyone on edge and pulls the police into the mix, might push everyone past their breaking point.

Get it on:

DelSheree Gladden

was one of those shy, quiet kids who spent more time reading than talking. Literally. She didn’t speak a single word for the first three months of preschool, but she had already taught herself to read.

Her fascination with reading led to many hours spent in the library and bookstores, and eventually to writing. She wrote her first novel when she was sixteen years old, but spent ten years rewriting and perfecting it before having it published.

Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her husband spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family again. Their two children love having their seventeen cousins close by.

When not writing, you can find DelSheree reading, painting, sewing and trying not to get bitten by small children in her work as a dental hygienist.Check out her latest books, get updates and sneak peeks of new projects at

And find her on social media

Share