Saturday Spotlight – Forget the Stars by Kelsey Kingsley

Forget the Stars Tour BannerTitle: Forget the Stars

Author: Kelsey Kingsley

Genre: Friends-to-Lovers/2nd Chance Romance

Release: August 26, 2019

Cover Design: Danny Manzella

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44427670-forget-the-stars

“From August 26 to September 26, 2019, 10% of all proceeds will be donated to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.”

Blurb:

Guitarist Chad Wilcox’s life isn’t going according to plan. 

At thirty, he never thought he’d still be unmarried and living with his parents. And with the added stress of his poor health, he’s convinced the only thing within his control is the success he’s found as a rockstar.

After reconnecting with his childhood best friend, Chad sets into motion a new plan to regain control over his happiness, and things start looking up. But when he finds himself diagnosed with a potentially debilitating chronic illness, he begins to wonder…

Is this as good as it’s going to get? Or is it at all possible for a guy like him to get everything he’s ever wished for? 

Buy Links: Kindle Unlimited

Universal: http://mybook.to/forgetthestars 

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2ZdNnsu

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2Z8pwKS

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2ZdNR1M

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2Ze3EOj

Book Playlist: 

Direct link: https://spoti.fi/2ZiBGvN 

Giveaway: 

Direct link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28af441c4/        

Early Review Quotes: 

“If you want a book with eternally endearing and relatable characters, a heartfelt, captivating, poignant storyline, and one that has the potential to compassionately enlighten the reader, ponder it no more and get your copy of this one today.” – BookAddict

“There is just something about a vulnerable hero that gets me every time and Chad Wilcox was no exception. His pain becomes your pain thanks to Kelsey’s descriptive writing and the ability to invoke emotional pull. And, with a nickname like Chaddington Bear, he is everything.” – Bree, Goodreads reviewer

“I’m a big Kelsey fan, so I knew I’d love this book before knowing anything about it. What I didn’t know is how deep it would move me. I should have known though, because she always finds a way to break the mold and set a new standard of excellence.” – Katie, Goodreads reviewer 

“This is one of those times I am thanking my lucky stars I took a chance on a new-to-me author. The writing was engaging, smart, and effortless to read. The storytelling was honest and sweetly addicting. I craved it when I wasn’t reading it, I wanted to sink into it for hours, lose time with these wonderful characters and their original, adorable, emotionally satisfying love story. I can’t say it enough: I loved it! I adored it! This is an absolute MUST read!” – Bookgasms Book Blog

“I can’t forget the stars when I have to give this book all the stars! Seriously. All the stars in the universe. I can’t even begin to tell you how special Forget The Stars is. I just want to go around to everyone I know yelling “READ THIS BOOK!”” – Red Hatter Book Blog

FTScoverExcerpt:

“What’s that look for?” she asked with a giggle, as she reached around to secure her bra.

I shook my head as a smile stretched over my lips. “Nothin’. Just …” I swallowed at the warmth crowding my heart and my lungs. “You’re my best friend.”

She tugged a tank top on and sighed, her exhale lingering in the air. “You’re mine.”

Mine. The word was simple and yet held the world. It was an agreement, it was possession. It was an invisible contract that lingered between us, and I would’ve gladly used my own blood to sign on the dotted line.

But instead of pricking a finger and sealing the deal, I simply nodded, as only two words left my mouth.

“I’m yours.”

FTSteaser1 (1) (1)

Author Bio:

Kelsey Kingsley is an author of eight, almost nine, novels. She lives in New York with her family and a cat named Ethel. She loves tattoos, music, makeup, and Frasier reruns. Kelsey is a Slytherin. She curses a lot, and she fucking hates cheese.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.kelseykingsley.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kelswritesstuff

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/kelswritesstuff

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kelswritesstuff

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/kelseykingsley

BookBub: http://www.bookbub.com/profile/kelsey-kingsley 

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/c3K409

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Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

sapphire flames bannerSapphire Flames

A Hidden Legacy Novel, Book 4

by Ilona Andrews 

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance 

s- about the bookFrom #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrew comes an enthralling new trilogy set in the Hidden Legacy world, where magic means power, and family bloodlines are the new currency of society…

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes, powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.

Add to Goodreads

Amazon * Apple * B&N * Google * Harper Collins 

Goodreads: 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41088576-sapphire-flames 

Buy Links
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sapphire-Flames-Hidden-Legacy-Novel-ebook/dp/B07G141J8W
Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/sapphire-flames/id1444702340
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sapphire-flames-ilona-andrews/1129965255?ean=9780062878335#
Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Ilona_Andrews_Sapphire_Flames?id=DAV8DwAAQBAJ
Harper Collins: https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062878342/sapphire-flames

s- about the authorIlona Andrews author photo_266x400“Ilona Andrews” is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Texas with their two children and many dogs and cats.

They have co-authored several NYT and USAT bestselling series. They are currently working on urban fantasy of Kate Daniels, the paranormal romance of Hidden Legacy, and their independently published series, Innkeeper Chronicles.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads 

Author Links

Website: https://ilona-andrews.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ilona.andrews 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ilona_andrews 

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ilona-andrews   

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ilona-Andrews/e/B001RXSCKY 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21748.Ilona_Andrews   

s- giveaway (1)$25 Amazon 

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/sapphire-flames-book-tour-and-giveaway

s- excerptSapphireFlames_FinFlt_Art_cmyk_372x600Chapter One

I was swimming through the warm water of the Gulf when someone knocked on the sky. The bright little fishes following me scattered, the crystal-clear water vanished, and I landed on the sand.

The sky above me shuddered. Boom, boom, boom.

The dream tore like wet tissue, and for a disorienting moment, I didn’t know where I was. Slowly the familiar contours of my bedroom came into focus through the gloom. The alarm clock on my nightstand glowed with bright red. 2:07 a.m.

Someone was pounding on my door.

“Catalina!” my sister yelled. “Get up!”

Panic pierced me. I jumped out the bed, sprinted across the bedroom, and flung the door open. “Did the plane go down?”

“What? No!”

I sagged against the door frame in relief. Our older sister, Nevada; her husband; and her mother-in-law were flying to Spain for a funeral. Over the ocean. It caused me no end of anxiety.

“The plane is fine,” Arabella told me.

“Then what is it?”

Arabella’s face was flushed, and her blond hair stuck out from her head in weird directions. She wore an old, stained Sailor Moon T-shirt, and her basketball shorts were on backward.

“Augustine is downstairs.”

“Augustine who? Augustine Montgomery?”

“Yes!”

I snapped out of my relief back to full alert. “Why?” Why in the world would the Head of House Montgomery be downstairs, in the middle of the night?

“He wants to see you. He says it’s an emergency. Hurry up before Mom shoots him.”

She turned around and ran down the stairs leading from my loft suite to the rest of the warehouse we used as our home and place of business.

Augustine was absolutely the last person I expected at two o’clock in the morning. Something terrible had happened.

I looked at myself. I wore an oversized grey T-shirt that came to my knees and said, “I ♥ Sleep.” No time to change. I took the stairs barefoot and followed my sister into a wide hallway. The light in the media room was on, casting a warm electric glow and illuminating the way just enough to see.

The hallway led to a door on the left where a small section of the warehouse was designated as the Baylor Agency’s office. The entire family congregated in front of the door, all except Mom.

Grandma Frida, thin, tan, with a halo of platinum curls, looked worried. Bern, my oldest cousin, resembled a bear awakened halfway through his hibernation—big, muscular, his dark blond hair disheveled, holding a tablet that looked too small for his hands. Next to him, Leon, his younger half brother, and complete opposite leaned on the wall, totally awake. Lean and dark-haired, Leon was a ball of wiry energy. And he still wore the jeans and T-shirt I had seen him in last night. Either he fell asleep in his clothes, or he felt the need to be fully dressed at two o’clock in the morning for some nefarious reason. Leon didn’t have any other kind of reasons.

Ahead of me, Arabella darted up the stairs and into her bedroom and emerged with a huge Texas A&M sweatshirt. She threw it at me. “Boobs.”

Bern woke up enough to roll his eyes.

“Thanks.” I pulled the sweatshirt on, hiding the fact that I wasn’t wearing a bra. “How did Augustine get here?”

At night, access to the warehouse was blocked by concrete barriers. Only one road remained open, guarded by a checkpoint staffed with our security people, who were supposed to prevent exactly this sort of thing from happening. Augustine was ruthless. He could have killed us all in our sleep.

“Did our guards let him in? Did anyone call and say he was coming?”

“Funny thing,” Leon said. “We have this lovely footage.”

Bern turned the tablet toward me. A view from the surveillance camera inside the security booth showed two guards, a Hispanic female in her forties and a white man in his mid-twenties with dark hair. Lopez and Walton. A silver Bentley Bentayga pulled up to the booth. The passenger window of the car rolled down, revealing me.

“Hello, Ms. Baylor,” Walton said.

The fake Catalina nodded.

“Check the log, check the log . . .” Leon sang out.

The log of arrivals and departures lay right there, on the counter. It would show that I was already home.

The guard reached over, his hand passed above the log to the switch attached to the barrier mechanism.

“Epic fail!” Leon announced.

Walton flipped the switch and a heavy metal clang announced the spiked barrier retracting. The window rolled back up and the armored vehicle slid forward and out of view.

I couldn’t even. My ability to even was severely compromised.

Lopez frowned. “When did they get a Bentley?”

The male guard shrugged. “Who knows? Maybe it was a birthday present.”

“Dumbass,” Arabella said.

Augustine Montgomery was an illusion Prime. He could look like anyone, he could sound like anyone, and he could pass both fingerprint and retinal scanners. And he just breezed past our security like it was nothing.

“We’re in trouble,” I said.

“No shit,” Leon said.

“Catalina,” Grandma Frida said, “your mother is in the conference room with that ass and a Desert Eagle. Get in there before she puts a .50 round between his eyes.”

I opened the door, walked into the office hallway, and shut the door behind me. This part of the warehouse with its high-traffic beige carpet, a drop ceiling, and glass walls looked just like any regular workspace. The three offices on my right and the break room with a kitchenette on my left lay shrouded in gloom. Only the conference room, just past the break room, was brightly lit, and the electric light shone through the glass into the hallway.

I took a step and stopped. As of three days ago, when I officially turned twenty-one, I also became the Head of House Baylor. We were a brand-new House, formed only three years ago. Our grace period, a reprieve which shielded us from attacks by other Houses, was about to expire. I had dealt with magical heavy hitters before in the course of our business, but this would be my first interaction with another Prime as the Head of a House. And Augustine was a shark in a four-thousand-dollar suit, a sleek, deadly great white with razor-sharp teeth.

I had to do this right. I couldn’t just barge in there. Emergency or not, I had to act the part.

My stomach fluttered.

Think Prime, Head of the House, Victoria Tremaine’s granddaughter, confident, dangerous, not afraid, woken up in the middle of the night . . . annoyed. Definitely annoyed.

I walked into the conference room with a slightly irritated expression.

Augustine pivoted toward me in his chair. Louis Auchincloss, who wrote novels about polite society and old money, once famously said, “Perfection irritates as well as it attracts, in fiction as in life.” Augustine was deeply irritating.

Being an illusion Prime, Augustine crafted his appearance the way one would paint a masterpiece. His face was beautifully sculpted with defined cheekbones, a square jaw that communicated masculinity without implying brutishness, a straight nose, and a broad forehead. His cheeks were slightly concave, just enough to communicate maturity. A virtuoso barber had turned his blond, nearly platinum hair into a masterpiece. A thin pair of glasses was the only imperfection Augustine allowed himself and it wasn’t enough. There was something ageless and cold about him. He was about as alive as a marble statue.

At the other end of the table, my mother sat watching him like a coiled cobra. Her right hand stayed under the table, most likely touching the Desert Eagle .50, the largest legal caliber for a handgun in the US. It was the closest thing to handheld artillery Mom could conceal under the table. It could send a round through a full refrigerator and kill a person on the other side.

My mother spent almost ten years as a sniper and her magic guaranteed that she didn’t miss. If she killed Augustine, Montgomery International Investigations, the firm Augustine owed, would crush us. If he miraculously survived, he would kill her. As happened often in life, there were no good options. I had to get him out of here.

I made my tone cold and annoyed. “Mr. Montgomery, while you’re always welcome in our home, it’s the middle of the night.”

“I apologize,” he said. “It’s an emergency.” He reached into his pocket, pulled out a phone, and showed it to me.

On the screen, an adolescent boy smiled into the camera. Bright red hair cut short, grey eyes, pale skin, and the smug grin of a teenage boy who has just gotten away with mischief. He looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember where I saw him before.

“This is Ragnar,” Augustine said. “He’s fifteen. He has a dog named Tank. He likes detective books and the Sherlock Holmes show. He plays a Ranger in Hero Tournament. Two days ago, his mother and sister died in a fire.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“Right now he’s standing on the roof of Memorial Hermann Hospital. He’s thinking of jumping and he’s a Prime, so nobody can get to him. If we don’t hurry, his broken body will be the leading story on the morning news.”

Alarm rolled through me in an electric rush.

“Augustine, you know that’s not what I do. I’ve never pulled someone off a roof before. If I fail, I’ll be responsible for his death . . .”

“But you can do it. It’s within your power.” He looked straight at me. “Your sister asked me for a favor once. I’m now asking you for assistance, one Head of House to another. He has one sister left. Right now, she’s at the hospital praying he doesn’t fall to his death.”

And if I tried and failed, there would be a grief-stricken Prime who could turn all of her agony and rage onto me. This was beyond reckless.

“I don’t know if I can help you. I may make this worse.”

Augustine’s composure cracked, and a human being looked back at me through his eyes. “He’s just a child, Catalina. He already lost so much. He’s in the worst pain of his short life and he has no idea how to contain it. He just wants to stop hurting. Please try.”

I opened my mouth to tell him no and thought of a boy standing on a ledge, all alone in the dark. So desperate and hurt that he was willing to end it in the most painful way possible.

My father had stood on a ledge like that, except his ledge was cancer. We had tried so hard to pull him from it. We fought for every minute. We sold the house and moved here, into the warehouse, to pay for his medical bills. Then we mortgaged our business to Augustine to pay for experimental treatments. My dad had built Baylor Investigative Agency from the ground up. He viewed it as his legacy, a business that would feed and clothe us, and we had used it as collateral to borrow money. It felt like a betrayal, and we hid it from my father, because it would have killed him faster than any cancer. In the end, we only delayed the inevitable by a few months, but it was worth it. I would give anything for one more day with my dad. Anything.

Ragnar was only fifteen years old.

“Yes. I’ll try.”

“Are you sure?” my mother asked.

“Yes.”

“Take Leon with you,” she said.

“No.” If this situation turned ugly, I didn’t want him getting hurt.

“I’ll bring her back safe and sound,” Augustine promised.

My mother gave him her sniper stare. “You do that.”

Augustine’s silver Bentley sped south on Gessner Road. It was after 2:00 a.m. and even the Houston roads lay empty. The chauffer squeezed every drop of speed out of the heavy armored car. Normally, the trip to Memorial Hermann would’ve taken at least fifteen minutes. We would make it in less than half of that.

Augustine rode in the front passenger seat, presenting me with a view of his blond head. I really wanted to reach over and smack it. If someone told me this morning that I would end up in the backseat of Augustine’s car in the middle of the night wearing a sweatshirt over my sleep T-shirt and a pair of sneakers without socks, I would’ve asked them what they were smoking and told them to seek professional help.

I missed my weapons. It made me feel naked.

Augustine was right though. Nevada did owe him a favor.

My father was born into House Tremaine, a small House consisting only of him and my grandmother Victoria. A truthseeker like Nevada, Victoria could wrench information from a person’s mind against their will. My father had no magic and Victoria was a terrible mother, so when he turned eighteen, he had escaped and started a new life under an assumed name. In her search for him, my grandmother had rampaged through the Houses all across the continent. Just mentioning her name made powerful Primes back off.

Three years ago, before we became a House, Victoria came looking for us. Augustine knew Nevada’s identity. He could’ve shared it with my grandmother and benefited from it, but instead, he had allowed Nevada to mess with his mind, so Victoria left empty-handed. I hated debts of any kind. It would be good to get this one over with.

It didn’t change the fact that I had no idea what I was doing.

“How do you know the family?” I asked.

“Ragnar’s sister contacted MII in regard to her mother’s and sister’s deaths. She doesn’t think the fire was an accident.”

“Was it?”

“I’m not at liberty to discuss the details.”

Right. “Did you take the case?”

“She knows our rates.”

“You turned her down. Augustine! She came to you and you turned her down, and now her brother is going to kill himself.”

He looked in the rearview mirror, his expression iced over. “If I’m going to put my people in danger, I have to properly compensate them. I’m not running a charity, Catalina. You of all people should know how much can be at stake when one looks into a Prime’s death.”

Oh, I knew. When a team of hired killers stormed your home, sending tornados of fire and summoning monsters into the slaughter, it tended to leave a lasting impression.

I glanced out the windshield and saw the futuristic crown on top of the Memorial Hermann Tower, outlined with glowing red, white, and blue triangles shining against the ink-black sky from the height of thirty-three floors. Almost there.

“Did you at least tell his sister what to expect if I have to use my magic?”

“I told her the boy would have to be sedated.”

The car pulled into the parking lot. A Hispanic man, his face frantic, ran to the car and swung my door open. A blast of January air hit me. Winter in Houston tended to be mild, but a cold front had come through and the temperature had dropped to below thirty. My bare knees shook.

“Did he jump?” Augustine barked.

“No, sir.”

“Come on.” Augustine jumped out of the car.

I scrambled out of the vehicle. Wind tore at me with icy teeth.

Augustine and I hurried at a near run to the doorway. The glass doors slid open, letting us pass, and the warm air of the hallway bathed me. A group of people waited by the bank of elevators, some in scrubs, others in professional clothes, and all wearing the same panicked expression. They saw us and scurried out of the way, leaving behind a young woman with red hair. She turned. Recognition punched me.

“Runa? Runa Etterson?”

Her tear-stained eyes widened in recognition. “Catalina?”

Three years ago, at Nevada’s wedding, an enemy of House Rogan poisoned the wedding cake. The only reason any of us were alive now, Augustine included, was because Runa purged the toxins before the cake was served. She was a Prime Venenata, a poison mage. She could kill everyone in this room in seconds. And the boy on the roof was her brother. Oh my God.

Augustine strode past me into the open elevator. “Catalina, there is no time.”

I had come this far. Poison mage or no, Ragnar was still a fifteen-year-old boy on the edge of a skyscraper’s roof. If I didn’t try to save him, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

I hurried into the elevator. The doors slid shut. The last thing I saw was Runa looking at me like I was the answer to all her problems.

The elevator hummed, carrying us upward, brightly lit and perfectly normal. I caught my reflection in the mirrored wall. I looked like I had just rolled out of bed. There was a touch of surreal in it all: me in my sweatshirt, standing next to impossibly perfect Augustine in an elevator of mirrors and electric lights and soft music. Maybe I was dreaming.

Runa’s mother and sister were dead. And Augustine must have quoted her an impossible price. I had planned to simply walk away if I managed to get the boy to safety, but this changed everything.

“You didn’t tell me he was Prime Venenata.”

“I told you he wouldn’t let anybody on the roof.”

Dread washed over me. “Did he kill anyone?”

Augustine sighed. “He’s a gentle child. He made them sick enough to turn back, but he didn’t inflict permanent damage.”

“What did he do?”

“Don’t worry. You’ll smell it.”

The numbers in the elevator’s digital display crawled up.

“When the doors open, turn left,” Augustine said. “Go to the door marked exit, and up one flight of stairs. There will be a metal door that will give you access to the roof.”

“That’s a terrible plan,” I told him.

“Ragnar will hesitate to hurt you. If he does, I’ll be there, and I’ll help.”

“If he sees you . . .”

“He won’t see me.”

The elevator doors swung open with a soft chime. I made a left and followed the hallway to the exit door and up the stairs. My hands shook.

The air stank like acid and vomit. A trail of chunky stains marked the steps. I didn’t want to look too closely at it.

The ice-cold metal door handle burned my fingertips. I pushed it and stepped onto the roof. The dark sky unfolded above me, impossibly huge and black, with the crown glowing against it. The frigid wind pierced my body, going straight through me all the way to the bone.

Ragnar stood on the very edge of the roof, a thin figure in faded jeans and a hoodie, balancing on a concrete ledge. He seemed so very small against the night, like an ant on a skyscraper.

He turned and looked at me, his face lit by the neon glow of the crown. I saw certainty and relief in his eyes. He wasn’t relieved to see me. He was relieved because he’d made up his mind and decided to jump. I had no time.

“Tell Runa I’m sorry—”

I hit him with everything I had.

When the Keeper of Records named my magic, he called me siren, which fit me well, because like the sirens of legend, I called people to me and they couldn’t resist. And like ancient sirens, I had wings, beautiful magic wings nobody could see unless I let them. They snapped open behind my back now, as the focused torrent of magic-drenched Ragnar.

He froze. His heels protruded an inch over the ledge. One slip and he would die.

“Ragnar,” I called him, turning his name into a singsong lure.

He licked his lips nervously. “Hi.”

“Hello. I’m Catalina.” Magic stretched from me to him and I wove more and more of it around him with every syllable.

“You’re so pretty,” he said.

“Thank you. It’s cold and dark. Do you think we could go inside?”

He nodded, fascinated.

I held out my hand. “It’s scary up here. Will you hold my hand?”

He moved, stumbled, teetering on the edge, his arms waving . . . My heart jerked, trying to leap out of my chest.

Augustine materialized out of thin air next to Ragnar, grabbed a handful of his hoodie, and yanked him back. Runa’s brother landed on the concrete roof.

Holy crap. My knees almost gave out.

Ragnar righted himself, walked over, took my hand, and offered me a shy smile.

I smiled back. “Let’s go inside.”

We went through the door and down the stairs with Augustine bringing up the rear. I scanned him. Clean. None of my magic had hit him. I had focused all of it in a laser-tight beam on Ragnar. Augustine could turn himself invisible. Nevada would lose her mind when I told her.

We boarded the elevator. Sweat glistened on Augustine’s flawless forehead. He was breathing like he’d run up all thirty-three floors to the roof. Ragnar held my hand very gently as if my fingers were made of glass. It wouldn’t last.

Most magic users had to put some effort into doing magic. I was the opposite. I had to hold mine in. When I was born, a nurse tried to kidnap me. She paid for it with her career. In the years that followed, before I learned to control my power, perfectly normal people did insane things to hold on to me. My elementary teacher attempted to smuggle me out of her classroom and into her car. My classmates tore out chunks of my hair so they could keep a piece of me.

Other kids were encouraged to be cute, to perform for adults. If I smiled, the adults became mesmerized, and if I wanted them to like me, they would love me with obsessive intensity. Their children would cry hysterically when I left the playground.

Right now, Ragnar loved me, madly, beyond all reason. Soon touching me wouldn’t be enough. He would want to hold me, crush me to him, rip out a lock of my hair to smell and taste. He’d want a piece of me to stroke and to bite.

The Keeper might as well have called me Orpheus. Sooner or later those who tasted my magic would want to tear me apart and they would love and worship every precious drop of my blood and shred of my flesh as they killed me. Only my doctor was immune; we didn’t know why. And my family. I didn’t need to magic them. They already loved me.

The elevator stopped. The doors swung open and Runa lunged to hug her brother. Her arms closed around him, breaking Ragnar’s hold on me.

Ragnar screamed as if cut. It was a raw animal sound. His sister let go, stunned, and he dived at me and clamped my hand in his.

A man shouldered his way through the crowd, carrying a small medical case.

“Ragnar,” I called.

He gazed at me with adoration in his eyes. I knew it was temporary, but even so, it made me cringe.

“That gentleman is going to give you a shot. I’m scared of shots. Are you?”

“No.” He shook his head. “No, I’m brave.”

“Will you show me how to be brave, Ragnar?”

He held his arm out, his gaze fixed on me. Runa hugged him. I watched the needle go in. “You’ll feel a little sleepy in a minute. It’s okay to fall asleep.”

“Don’t leave!”

“I won’t leave,” I promised. “I’ll stay here and hold your hand.”

Ragnar’s hold on my hand slipped. He sighed happily, closed his eyes, and sagged in his sister’s arms.

I turned to Augustine. “I need you to transport him back to the warehouse.”

“He needs to be under observation,” Augustine said.

“No, he needs to be back at the warehouse, so I can purge my magic from him. If he wakes up and I’m not here, he may escape and try to find me. And this time, people will die.”

Augustine turned to Runa. “It’s your call.”

I met her gaze. “You know me. You’ve seen what I can do. Please trust me on this.”

“Let’s go,” she said.

The trip home was taking considerably longer. The chauffeur seemed in no hurry, and the Bentley all but crawled up the dark street. Runa’s rented Nissan Rogue had no trouble keeping up. She had insisted on following us with Ragnar in her car.

I sat on the backseat next to Augustine. The adrenaline had worn off, leaving behind a soft fatigue. If I wasn’t in the vehicle of a dangerous Prime, I would have closed my eyes and gone to sleep.

“Well done,” Augustine said.

I didn’t need his approval. “Nevada’s debt to you is paid in full. We’re even.”

“Agreed. Although technically it was a favor to House Etterson.”

“Your dealings with House Etterson are between you and Runa. I’m surprised you cared enough to get involved tonight.”

“I know what it’s like to be responsible for a younger brother.”

Oh. Humanity from Augustine. Unexpected.

Augustine tilted his head. “House Etterson may prove a valuable ally for you, if they survive. They now owe you a favor they can’t refuse. You need allies, Catalina. The reprieve granted to your House is about to expire. People will be coming for you and yours. You’re powerful but inexperienced, and because of your sealed records, you are an unknown. Unfortunately, being an unknown isn’t enough of a deterrent.”

“What are the terms?” I asked.

Augustine raised his eyebrows.

I counted off on my fingers. “You separated me from my family. You’re aware that my older sister and my brother-in-law are out of the country and are unable to advise me at the moment. It’s the middle of the night and I’m tired from expending magic. You’ve complimented me, you’ve mentioned the danger facing my House, and we are driving at barely fifty miles per hour. You have an offer for me. Let’s hear it.”

Augustine cleared his throat. “Good. Skipping extended explanations and hand-holding makes things easier.”

I waited.

“I offer a strategic alliance between House Montgomery and House Baylor. Occasionally, cases which are uniquely suited to the talents of your family cross my desk. I’d like you to handle them. In return, I offer generous financial compensation, access to MII’s resources within the scope of those particular investigations, and the benefits of an association with my House.”

He was offering protection and guaranteed income. More, he offered contacts and data. The MII maintained an extensive network of informants and observers. Very little took place in Houston without Augustine knowing about it. He hoarded sensitive information, holding on to it until someone paid or threatened him. Access to that database was truly priceless.

Augustine was also a master at determining precisely what people needed most. It didn’t take a genius to recognize that our most urgent need was security.

I had to make a decision.

“House Baylor is flattered by your generosity. However, at this time, we must regretfully decline.”

Augustine chewed on it for half a minute.

“Why?”

“You have made a similar offer to Nevada three times. I’m aware that she declined, and I share her reasons for it.”

“Indulge me,” Augustine said.

“Very well. The real value of this partnership for us wouldn’t be in money.” Although we could certainly use it. “It would be in the connections and the elevated profile that comes from working with a Prime clientele. A way for us to enter Prime society and forge relationships and alliances that would anchor our House.”

And of course, the database and access to the MII surveillance agents, who were legendary. We both understood that, so there was no need to mention it.

I kept going. “I want to underscore that I fully understand the value of your offer. However, currently, there is a massive power imbalance between House Montgomery and House Baylor. I have seen how MII operates. If we agree to your proposal, you’ll expect us to abide by your contract, which may require us to compromise our ethics. We’re a family business. All we have is our name and our reputation. We follow only three rules. First, we try not to do anything illegal. Second, once bought, we stay loyal to the client. And third, at the end of the day, we have to be able to look our reflection in the eye. Those are the principles my father laid out for us, they are the rules my older sister followed, and I will follow them as well. If we have an alliance with House Montgomery, we’ll enter this alliance as equals, not as vassals or subcontractors, and we will adhere to our own norms of behavior.”

The silence stretched out between us.

Augustine opened his mouth. “We’re not equals.”

“Exactly. House Montgomery is a behemoth and we’re small and new. As you have said, we may or may not survive. But we must stand on our own. We worked very hard to move out of House Rogan’s shadow and I won’t trade that independence for an easy paycheck.”

Augustine’s face was impassive. “Thank you for your honesty.”

“There may be a time I’ll come to ask for your help,” I told him. “If I do that, I’ll be sure to bring information of equal or greater value.”

The Bentley turned onto our street.

“Then I’ll leave you with this piece of advice,” Augustine said. “It’s free. Do not become involved in the Etterson case. I know exactly what you’re up against, and the price I quoted her was a gift. Sometimes when you search the night, you’ll find monsters in the dark. You’re not ready.”

“I’ll keep it in mind,” I told him.

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AuThursday – Stacy Eaton

my blood runs blue banner

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Stacy Eaton_400x400Please welcome Stacy Eaton to the Clog Blog.  Stacy, can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

Back in October of 2010, I was on duty, driving around and around in circles on a very dark and quiet night shift patrolling. I had grabbed a cup of coffee and was stretching my legs in one of our parks. While I was drinking, I noticed something glowing near the tree line. It looked like eyes peering back at me, but it was too high off the ground to be an animal. For a while, I stared at it, and the hair rose on my neck.

I glanced around to make sure there was no one else around and then when I looked back, it was gone. Needless to say, I got in my vehicle and left a little unnerved. As I drove, my bored imagination wondered if it had been a vampire and if it was. If I was in danger from something, would it protect me or kill me.

The next day I was off, I sat down and wrote 4 chapters using this original concept. When I told my husband that I was writing a book, he laughed. When I handed him the chapters I’d written, he was surprised. When I published my first book, he was amazed and remains that way with over forty books published now. 

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Intense – Quiet – humble – Visionary – loyal 

What is your favorite part of this series and why?

It’s hard to pick my favorite part of the series, but I love the world that I created for these characters. Writing paranormal is different than writing contemporary or even suspense. In paranormal anything can happen, and I think that is what I like best in this series. I have tried to keep it somewhat possible, but at the same times, adding in elements that aren’t typically earthbound. 

Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?

Well, Officer Kristin Greene was based on me. She’s intense, loyal, committed to her job. She holds integrity to its highest level, and when she loves, she loves hard. It was easy to write her because I put myself in her shoes almost every moment of the writing process. What would I think or do in the same situation? How would I feel? One of the biggest things that Kristin is known for is not having control taken away from her. Yep, that’s me. I’m totally a control freak! 

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Many of the characters in the My Blood Runs Blue Series are based off people that I worked with. Kristin, of course, was me. Olivia is one of my best friends in real life. Kat and Izzy are also friends. Mick was my old partner, and Cole, Tom, and Chief Henderson were people I worked with. Most of the men that Kristin deals with (Chief Henderson, Trent, and Alex) are fictional characters, although Julian is someone from my past that I will never forget. 

Do you see writing as a career?

It is my career. Three years ago, I suffered my second major concussion in ten years. It left me with a few issues, one a memory issue. I have trouble remembering some things and have some holes in my memory from the injury. I tried to go back but realized that I was a safety hazard. Cops are adrenaline junkies, and anytime my adrenaline spiked, my brain wanted to shut down. 

So I decided to put my efforts into writing. While I still have issues, like headaches and fatigue, I keep a lot of notes on what I’m working on, and I’m content. I’m also a Pampered Chef consultant and that gives me a social outlet since I spend so much of my time in my own fictional part of my mind. 

Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?

What is silence? Hahaha – I need music, always. I have different music for what I’m working on. With this series, I listened to Evanescence and Within Temptation a lot. It’s dark, edgy and it fit with the plot I was working on. Each series has a different music playlist and I use that to get into my mind frame as I write. 

One thing that I do prefer is to be alone. It’s harder to focus on what I’m doing when my daughter or husband are home. So I tend to write hard during the day when they are gone and do other business when they are home. 

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

This is where the control freak in me comes out. I write what I want. I write what I need to in order to let the creative side come out. Yeah, I want to hear what my readers want, but I write from the heart and soul. I believe in writing real-life. People die, they grieve, they fall in love, and they break up. While we all want happily ever after, they are not always possible, and I tend to write that way. 

So far, my readers have loved my books, so why change that when it’s working. Right?
How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I write really fast. I have written a 56,000-word book in 4 days – this was a crazy exception to my rule. When I am working intensely on a book, my goal is 4-6,000 words a day.

Mixing the Blue Blood was partially written a few years ago, but I stepped away from it because I wasn’t happy with the story. Now, years later, after tons of readers have reached out and asked about the next book, I finally dusted it off and got back to work. I wrote the last 45,000 words in six days. 

When I am writing, and seriously into my book, I become possessed with the story. The characters take over. I write as much each day as my brain and my hands will allow. 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

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“Julian, if you want someone else to go after him, I can send Gabe—” he started to say.

“No, Alexander, I can do this alone. I want him. I need to finish this myself,” I was quick to reply.

“You’re taking this personally, Jules.” He put his hand up to stop me when I would have interrupted. “You know it is better to not have a personal attachment to your assignment. I have allowed you to stay on this case because I know how good you are and how focused you can be. I also figure that maybe your close attachment to him might help you find him, to allow us to finally grieve and move on.” He looked down at his desk, knowing he had made a mistake in his words as he fingered the expensive pen in his hand.

I caught the “us” in there. Yeah, you loved her, too. But she chose me.

I couldn’t repress the sigh as I looked down at the beautifully hand-sewn Oriental rug at my feet, not really seeing it, but noticing its bright reds and blues, the same colors that were swirling around in my mind. Red for hatred and blue for the loss I had suffered. I was taking it personally, I knew that, but I would not allow any other warrior to find Damon and take him to the other world. This would be my vengeance, and mine alone.

I looked back up at him with that heated emotion stark in my expression as he continued.

He tried to redeem his words, and I almost laughed. “We cannot allow Damon to keep up with this behavior. Killing our females and children is not what we are about. If he continues, our race will end.”

“Master, I know it is not. I will be fine; I can distance myself from the attachment. You, of all people, know that.” I said calmly.

“Fine, so be it, but Gabriel is going with you this time,” he said, with a flick of his hand.

“You don’t need to send a babysitter with me, Alexander,” I retorted, as anger bubbled under my skin.

He regarded me with a quick tight-lipped expression which told me he was about to lose his cool. “It is not to watch over you, Julian. It is to assist you.

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Cover Reveal – Forget the Stars by Kelsey Kingsley

Title: Forget the Stars

Author: Kelsey Kingsley

Genre: Friends-to-Lovers/2nd Chance Romance

Release: August 26, 2019

Cover Design: Danny Manzella

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44427670-forget-the-stars

FTScover (1)Blurb:

Guitarist Chad Wilcox’s life isn’t going according to plan. 

At thirty, he never thought he’d still be unmarried and living with his parents. And with the added stress of his poor health, he’s convinced the only thing within his control is the success he’s found as a rockstar.

After reconnecting with his childhood best friend, Chad sets into motion a new plan to regain control over his happiness, and things start looking up. But when he finds himself diagnosed with a potentially debilitating chronic illness, he begins to wonder…

Is this as good as it’s going to get? Or is it at all possible for a guy like him to get everything he’s ever wished for? 

Excerpt:

“What’s that look for?” she asked with a giggle, as she reached around to secure her bra.

I shook my head as a smile stretched over my lips. “Nothin’. Just …” I swallowed at the warmth crowding my heart and my lungs. “You’re my best friend.”

She tugged a tank top on and sighed, her exhale lingering in the air. “You’re mine.”

Mine. The word was simple and yet held the world. It was an agreement, it was possession. It was an invisible contract that lingered between us, and I would’ve gladly used my own blood to sign on the dotted line.

But instead of pricking a finger and sealing the deal, I simply nodded, as only two words left my mouth.

“I’m yours.”

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Author Bio:

Kelsey Kingsley is an author of eight, almost nine, novels. She lives in New York with her family and a cat named Ethel. She loves tattoos, music, makeup, and Frasier reruns. Kelsey is a Slytherin. She curses a lot, and she fucking hates cheese.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.kelseykingsley.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kelswritesstuff

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/kelswritesstuff

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kelswritesstuff

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/kelseykingsley

BookBub: http://www.bookbub.com/profile/kelsey-kingsley 

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/c3K409

 

AuThursday – Gabbi Grey

FTLOFM GG BannerPlease welcome Gabbi Grey to the Clog Blog!  Let’s dive right into it, shall we? Gabbi, tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I work for the government by day and write by night.

How do you make time to write?

Fortunately, I have a nice long commute and try to fit in some writing every trip.  Also, my little dog is my only familial commitment so I have more time to dedicate to writing and editing than if I had children or aging parents.  I have great admiration for writers with multiple responsibilities who manage to fit writing into a busy life.

Do you believe in writer’s block? 

I have a mental illness and there are times when writing is very difficult.  As for writer’s block, I sometimes have to move on to another project for a break.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it. 

I studied English and Theatre in university so had plenty of exposure to literary fiction.  When I started writing, though, I discovered I had to give my characters a happy ending.  I’ve been writing romances ever since.  I also read romance, reveling in the guaranteed happily ever after.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

Currently, I am traditionally published.  I’ve been fortunate to find homes for my short romantic stories.  I am hoping to soon publish a full-length book.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?

I am an introvert through and through.  My biggest challenge is attending writer conferences and interacting with other writers and industry professionals.  I put on my best face and try to make the most of the opportunities.  Networking can be an important part of the business but also the most challenging for someone like myself.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“Writing a book, just like building a library, is an act of sheer defiance. It is a declaration that you believe in the persistence of memory.” Susan Orlean author of The Library Book

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Persistence and a good editor.  I have been writing seriously for almost six years but only when I started working with a freelance editor did I really begin learning the craft.  I’m a much better writer because of finding the right person to work with.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

Genre: Erotic Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

Excerpt from For the Love of Max:Max cover

Procrastinating was getting him nowhere. She was either home or she wasn’t. She was either going to kick him off her property or she wasn’t. She was either going to let him in or she wasn’t.

Wiping his damp palms against his jeans, he sauntered up the steps and knocked.

The door cracked, but the safety chain prevented it from opening fully. He glimpsed a veil of long, black hair.

“Maxine?” She squinted. Damn. The sun behind him was bright in her eyes, casting him in deep shadows.

“It’s Dodge. Remember me? I brought you home after the company Christmas party?” After Garth got wasted and abandoned you? Happy to step in, Dodge had driven her home, trying not to look at her gorgeous legs encased by her tight silver skirt and sheer pantyhose. Red-blooded man he was, he’d adjusted himself when she looked away and had done his best to hide his erection when escorting her to the door.

“Wait.” Say something that’ll keep her talking.

“I—”

The door closed, opening a moment later.

Dodge was a sucker for sun-kissed light-brown skin, wavy long black hair, almond-shaped dark-brown eyes, soft cheekbones, and a pert nose. The bangs were new as was the yellowing bruise on her cheek.

Damn.

Ducking her head, Maxine’s hand shot to the bruise.

He gently touched her chin, and when she didn’t recoil, he tipped it, forcing her gaze to his. “The man is an animal. I’m not like him.”

The smile was tentative. “I know.” Soft words, replete with meaning.

Not going to send him away. Yet. But he needed more.

Maxine extended her hand, which he gratefully took. The electric shock shot through him, so strong he expected a blue arc between them.

Her cheeks flushed, her gaze flying to his before lowering. She tried to pull away, but he held tight.

Buy Links:

♥♥ GiveAway ♥♥

Gabbi is giving away a $10 Amazon GC and 2 ebooks of For the Love of Max during the tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember there is a chance to enter everyday so be sure to follow the Blog Tour. You may find the tour schedule and locations here http://bit.ly/FTLOMGG

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AuThursday – Amiee Smith

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Amiee Smith. Author of the Smart Girl Mafia Series. I write sexy, contemporary romance novels about book smart women and hot men. I started the series on the day of the first Women’s March in 2017. I thought: “Women are going to need something good to read for the next four years.”

All my books are set in California and west coast culture is an integral part of each story.

How do you make time to write?

I stick to a small daily word count goal and plan binge-writing weekends.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

No. Not for me anyway.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

Romance will heal the world. Now more than ever, we need to believe in happily-ever-after. Also, pleasure (in all forms) alleviates pain and suffering. Curling up with a sexy romance novel has got me through some of the most difficult times in my life. Writing and publishing my loving tales is my way of giving back to the genre that has given me so much relief… joy.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

I’m an Indie. Part business mind, part creative; being my own publisher integrates both sides of me.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?

Introvert. I’m energized by my time alone. I’m not sure if it affects my work. It’s who I am.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

All things are possible. OR Miracles are normal.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write [about] what you absolutely love. Polish and make it pretty. Put it out into the world. Repeat. The world needs your unique expression now more than ever.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.AmieeSmith.com

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Excerpt from Break Free, Smart Girl Mafia Series: Book One

CHAPTER 1:
LYNN SCOTT

“We should fuck,” Nick says.

Sugar Ray’s “Fly” streams from the speakers in the backyard a decibel louder than the muffled voices at the party. Jon’s thirty-third birthday celebration, in full swing.

Nick and I are sharing a cigarette in front of our friends’ expansive Craftsman house in the most exclusive neighborhood in Pasadena. The big tree above our heads is decorated in thousands of white lights, illuminating our faces.

Elation. Excitement. Joy forms at the corners of my mouth, but my eyes narrow as I receive the cigarette from his olive-skinned hand.

“Excuse me?” I ask.

“You heard me, Lynn.”

The American Spirit dangles from my brown fingers. Taking the cigarette from me, Nick’s hazel green eyes meet mine. My heart races.

Nick Willingham was my high school crush. He’s the hottest guy I’ve ever seen (like, really). He was the leading man in my schoolgirl fantasies. I taught myself to masturbate using his eleventh-grade yearbook photo.

Back then, we hung out in different cliques. Three years ago, his best friend, Jon, married my best friend, Jen. Since their wedding reception, he and I always share a cigarette during a J + J organized event. During each encounter, we’re cordial. Polite. Responsive in the way friends of friends are, but never anything more… until tonight. In the fifteen years since graduation, I’ve had many dreams come true. But never one as thrilling as the athletic man standing in front of me, initiating a hook-up.

“When?” I whisper.

Nick comes within inches of my face. He’s at least a foot taller than me. I lick my lips. The need to lean into his mouth is intense. I will my hands to stay by my side, fighting the desire to caress his jawline. I can almost feel the dark stubble against my fingertips.

“Now,” Nick says.

Withholding a moan, I long to wrap my arms around his neck and rub my body against his muscular torso. I resist the arousal rooting and sprouting throughout my body— an urge as natural, wild, and organic as bright orange California poppies.

“I’m not having sex with you in the house. And I can’t leave. I have cake duty,” I say, battling every desire within.

J + J assigned all their closest friends a job to do tonight. I can’t skip out on my commitment, even if my impulsive mind would prefer being naked with super-hot Nick Willingham.

“I’m on cake duty too. We have forty-five minutes. How about the back seat of my car?” Nick asks.

An early autumn breeze rustles the leaves in the tree above our heads. The sound beckons my body to proceed. I’ve lost fifty pounds over the last seven months, abstaining from hook-ups to stay focused on my goal. Three weeks ago, I saw my dream number on the scale. I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to relaunch my dirty flirty life with my smaller, fitter body. And he is beyond perfect.

Hooking up with Nick Willingham on a Friday night is a dream come true.

“Let’s go,” I say.

 

AuThursday – Tricia Schneider

Tricia Schneider author picTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a single mom of four children. I worked for several years as Assistant Manager and bookseller at my local Waldenbooks until the company closed its doors. I took that opportunity to focus full-time on my writing career in between naptimes and baseball games.

How do you make time to write?

It’s not as easy as it used to be! Before I had children, I would write during my lunch breaks at work or when I got home after my shift. For the last several years now, I write during naptimes and try to squeeze some writing time in when most of my children are at school during the day. Summer vacations get trickier. I typically write early in the morning before they all wake up and late at night after they go to sleep.

What genre are your books?

Paranormal and Historical Romance. Some are a combination of both.

What draws you to this genre?

I love happily-ever-afters. In the romance genre, HEA’s are a guarantee.

What are your current projects?

I have several shifter romances in the works. Also, a fantasy romance and a couple gothic romances. I always have a couple of projects going at the same time.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?

Introvert. Although I learned how to talk up a good storm with just about anyone from my days as a bookseller, I feel most comfortable on my own or with a few close friends. Writing is a very solitary job which I enjoy.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

I have a couple. Is that bad? Laundry is one for me. With four kids, I have to take care of a lot of laundry. Then that usually leads to tidying the other messes that my adorable little sugarplums make of my house. A messy house drives me crazy. It’s difficult to focus on writing when I see so much that needs to get done around the house.

Self-doubt and perfectionism are others. I think these two go together. I’m always thinking that my writing can be better, so I’m constantly striving to make my writing stronger, more emotional, more action-packed, more…everything. I put a lot of pressure on myself which leads to procrastination, which leads to getting more laundry done.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read. Read everything you can get your hands on and then read some more. Reading in your chosen genre gives you a sense of what readers expect and helps you learn about the genre as you go. And then when you feel ready (or even if you don’t), write and keep writing. Don’t stop. Just keep writing. With every piece of writing you do, your writing gets stronger. Keep reading and writing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website: http://www.triciaschneider.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/triciashneider

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authortriciaschneider

Bookbub: http://www.bookbub.com/triciaschneider

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/triciaschneider

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

This excerpt is from The Wolf’s Bride, included in Guardian: A Collection of Wolf Shifter Romances http://www.triciaschneider.com/books/paranormal-romance/guardian/

 

GuardianMadeline’s fingers tightened around the pistol. She approached the figure reclining in a wooden bathtub lined with linens from behind. With his head resting against the rim, he faced the windows making it easy to approach with him unaware of her presence. She measured each footstep so as not to make a sound, all the while keeping the pistol pointed in his direction.

She was only a few steps away when he spoke.

“Do I owe you money?” His deep voice reverberated through her bones. Madeline stopped moving. Her hand clenched around the pistol, continuing to aim it at the back of his head.

“No.”

“Then why are you here?”

He didn’t move a muscle. He made no attempt to stand. He remained exactly as she’d found him when she entered the room, reclining in the bathtub.

She tilted her head wondering how he had sensed her.

“I have it on good authority that a woman was killed here last night, and you are the man responsible.”

His head lifted.

“How did she die?”

“She was torn to pieces. They say she was ravaged by a wild animal.”

He turned his head to the side as if to see her better, but she stood directly behind him. Madeline suspected he might see her silhouette, but he couldn’t view her completely. Even if he could, he’d have difficulty identifying her with the hood of her cloak pulled low over her face.

“Why would you think I am responsible if they’re saying it was an animal attack?”

“Because I know what you are.”

He inhaled softly. She might have missed the reaction, but beside the crackling of the fire within the hearth nearby, there was nothing but silence in the room.

“And what am I?”

“The stable boy found bloody clothes buried near the edge of the forest. He identified those clothes as belonging to you. They were ripped apart. Shredded.”

The man considered this for a moment. “And how does that condemn me?”

“Because I’ve been searching for you,” Madeline whispered the words, but she knew he heard her when his back stiffened against the rim of the bathtub. “I recognize the signs of a werewolf.”