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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.

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Beta Reading 101, by Shannon Mayer

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For authors, beta readers can be the lynch pin in making or breaking our books. Beta readers can find the little details that somehow slip past the editors (I use my beta readers after editing, other authors use them before). For some reason, my beta readers remember the story lines BETTER than my editors. Why? Because they are so invested in the story, and it isn’t about the monetary gain for them. It’s about the characters they love.

lovetoreadBut how do you become a beta reader, how do you approach an author, and why would you want to be beta reader?

More important than anything else you need to LOVE to read. Love it. Or this relationship between you and the author won’t work.

Have you ever followed a series of books where there are OBVIOUS mistakes later on, incorrect references to characters you KNOW are wrong? For instance, I read a series where a secondary character was a lesbian in the early books. Then in the later books, she was suddenly straight, and even derogatory of other lesbians with no apparent reason. I could care less about her sexual orientation, but I was PISSED that the author would try to pull that on the readers. Or maybe, she just missed it.

As a beta reader, you get to point out these kinds of things. You get to help make sure that the characters you love don’t do, say, or even wear clothes that they shouldn’t. You basically get to yell at your favorite author when they mess up. What fun, right? 😉 You also get the books WAY before the release dates, which is a perk if you are super invested in the author’s series/writing.

How to approach an author is easy, though there are no guarantees. Send an email or private message on one of their social thCA2605QNmedia sites. Here’s what I would say to my favorite author if I wanted to beta read. Be sure to point out any credentials you might have (like reading for other authors), and try to keep it short. You are really pitching yourself to them, just as authors pitch to agents.

Dear  ——–,

I realize you might already have all the beta readers you need, but I would love to offer my services as a new set of eyes on your work. I’ve read everything you’ve written and have a mind like a steel trap when it comes to your characters and storylines. I’ve done beta reading for Stephen King (who found my beta reading extremely helpful on ‘Carrie’ as I suggested the pig’s blood scene) and also for JK Rowling (who pointed out that without me, Harry never would have been a wizard but instead just a boy in the cupboard).

I would love to read for you if you are looking for another excited beta reader, I’m your gal! (Insert email here)

 Once you send the email, you are going to have to just wait. Not ALL authors will respond. Don’t get your feelings hurt. The big authors just don’t always have the time to respond to every email.

RI_FINALNow, we are going to assume you have the author you love dearly responding to you, and they WANT you as their beta reader! Don’t wet your pants yet. There are a couple more items you need to check off your list.

1.       Beta reading is not a leisurely pastime. An author needs you to read and respond in a reasonable amount of time. I’m going to say less than two weeks and ideally less than one. Sure, you can probably read the book in a day or two, but you want to be able to think about the book and give some feedback.

2.       Feedback. Don’t be vague. No, you aren’t a paid editor, but saying you liked/loved the book isn’t helpful either. Point out chapters that you got bored in. Point out characters you like or didn’t like and try to give specifics as to why. Honesty is the best policy even if you HATED the book.

3.       Recognize that your ideas/suggestions might not make it into the book. You are there to help, but don’t expect that everything you suggest will happen.

Finally, realize that authors LOVE their beta readers and the immeasurable help they can be. You are a part of a journey that would be far more difficult without your insights and suggestions. So to my beta readers, and all those who take the time to be beta readers—you rock the writing world.

 

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ShannonMayerShannon Mayer is the author of the bestselling urban fantasy Priceless which has sold over 20,000 copies in its first two months. On her down time, she hangs out on the farm coming up with ideas for her next books, herds old people to the local cribbage club, and in general makes a nuisance of herself.

Connect with Shannon on Amazon  Facebook  Twitter  or of course on her Blog

 

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