ENTRUSTED

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To protect her country’s future, she’ll have to commit treason…

ENTRUSTED by Allegra Gray is a stunning historical Young Adult masterpiece of suspense, hope, and determination. This story follows orphaned Audrey as she’s tasked with keeping ancient relics safe from tyrannical hands and their unholy deeds. With the help of a charming adventurer, Tobias, Aubrey must do all she can to protect the relics she’s been entrusted to guard…even if it costs her life.

Title: Entrusted

Author: Allegra Gray

Series: Relic Guardians

Genre: Historical Young Adult

Release Date: September 8, 2015

Publisher: Silverthorne Entertainment

Print Length: 85K

Format: Paperback and Digital

Print ISBN: 978-0692486146

Digital ASIN: B011MSIKQ4

Synopsis:

Orphan Audrey Thorndale longs for the peaceful life of a convent, but with a younger brother to care for and England’s religious houses falling one by one to Henry VIII’s Reformation, she’ll have to find another way to serve God and country. The Abbot of Glastonbury, aware of Audrey’s dilemma and loathe to see the great treasures of his abbey looted and destroyed, suggests a plan that could save Audrey, the relics, and even the future of Britain…but if she agrees to it, she’ll have to commit treason.

Second son and sometime adventurer, Tobias Seybourne has never left an opportunity unexplored. He’s won the favor of the king, and is aiming for knighthood, when Abbot Whiting offers him the chance of a lifetime—partner with Audrey, and protect England’s greatest legend. Most importantly? Do it without ever giving the king a reason to suspect more devious purposes simmer beneath Tobias’s charming façade.

With help from the abbot, Audrey and Tobias set in motion a plan to ensure that when the abbey walls crumble, one particular treasure will be safely hidden elsewhere.

But as the abbot points out, the king’s minions keep close account of their plunder, and the contents of Glastonbury’s repository are well documented.

With the king’s men bearing down fast, someone must take the fall…

Excerpt:

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You are worried that Glastonbury is in peril, and the treasures it holds will end up in the king’s coffers.”

Yes—and no.” He eyes me. “It’s more complicated than that. You must not repeat anything you are hearing right now.”

No, Father Abbot. Never.” If there is one thing I am, it is loyal.

When I combine what I know—what I, myself have seen and heard—with what the monks who have already lost their homes tell me, I see a future in which certain relics of Glastonbury never make it to the king’s coffers, but are destroyed instead.” He shakes his head sadly. “The idea that the holy relics would go into the king’s hands was disturbing enough, but to destroy them? Sacrilege.

Again, I must emphasize the importance of not repeating this conversation—to anyone. Not even Sam. The Treason Act is too loosely interpreted these days to take chances.”

I gulp, cursing myself for giving in to curiosity. Now it is my hands that tremble. I should tell him to stop, that I don’t want to hear any more, but my tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth. I should never have asked what was troubling him. And yet, I have the sense we have set on an irrevocable course, and I must see it through.

Finally, I pry my tongue loose. “I appreciate your honesty, Father Abbot.”

Should Glastonbury fall, the treasures that can be measured in gold and silver will most certainly find a new home—whether it be the royal treasury or a pilferer’s stash. It is the others that trouble me.”

He rubs his temples, as though even thinking hurts. I begin moving about the room again, straightening things, dusting surfaces…the little, normal, everyday movements that I know, somehow, provide the backdrop of comfort that Abbot Whiting needs right now.

You remember those visitors from Walsingham? They informed me that the shrine there, the shrine to the Virgin, which the king himself has visited, has been destroyed. The statue of the Virgin removed, the shrine itself despoiled, and the buildings looted. The same happened at Roche Abbey this summer.”

Finally, it sinks in, and I know exactly which of Glastonbury’s relics—one with no value in gold, but still of immeasurable worth—is troubling him so.

I stop dusting. My tongue, now loosened, does not have the sense to stop.

If Glastonbury falls, what will become of King Arthur?”

Find out more at: Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | ARe

About Allegra Gray:

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Allegra Gray grew up with her nose in a book and her head in the clouds—that is, when she wasn’t focused on more practical things like, say, learning calculus. Perhaps all those stories inspired a spirit of adventure, because at the age of seventeen she embarked on a career journey that has (so far) included serving as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, grad school at Virginia Tech, teaching English, and managing defense contracts in the Middle East. The best thing about this breadth of experience? When she tried her hand at writing novels like the ones she’d always loved, she recognized at once that she’d found a true passion. Her forthcoming series, The Relic Guardians, is genre-bending mainstream/historical suspense, inspired by her long-held desire to unveil things obscured by the mists of time. Allegra is also the author of four historical romances, including the “Daring Damsels” trilogy of Nothing But Scandal, Nothing But Deception, and Nothing But Trouble.

Connect with Allegra: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Gypsy Hope

Hi everyone,I’m so excited to share the cover of Gypsy Hope with you! I love the way the designer captured Brock and Hope for the cover of their novel. They are a very special couple with a very special story. I promise all of the hot sexiness that always comes with a Gypsy Beach novel, but Brock and Hope’s tale has another element that I think makes their story all the more compelling.

Around the world, 757 million adults over the age of 15 cannot read or write a simple sentence. Thirty-two million American adults cannot read and the illiteracy rates in this country aren’t improving. We know that one in four American children grow up without learning how to read, and that students that don’t read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school.

My oldest son was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was eight. Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects the ability to read and comprehend. Forty million American adults are dyslexic and make up a large portion of illiterate Americans. I wanted to give voice to those who struggle with illiteracy, and I’ve partnered with ProLiteracy for the release of Gypsy Hope to help them stamp out this global crisis. ProLiteracy is an organization that works to educate and provide resources to help teach adults to read. For every copy of Gypsy Hope sold, I will donate $1 to ProLiteracy.

If you love to read hot, sexy romance, or know someone who does, consider ordering a copy of Gypsy Hope and know that you’ve done something to help. Share the cover and the story on social media to help us get the word out. We can all do something to help. Working together, we can make a difference in the lives of so many. By simply purchasing a book, we can help ProLiteracy help those who need it most.

Jillian

Gypsy Hope by Jillian Neal

Date of Publication: September 22, 2015

Blurb

From the time a car accident took her parents lives when she was a child, Hope Hendrix has lived in perpetual fear of most everything. Tired of always chickening out, she decides to grab onto life and really live it. For Hope, that means finally telling her best friend, Brock Camden, that she’s been in love with him since high school.

Misplaced cowboy and the town’s famed football star, Brock Camden, has lived a life of lies for so long all he knows is regret. It was never the life he wanted, but the past can’t be undone. Now, Hope, the one girl he’s always longed for, admits she wants him, too. Can he escape the web of deceit thrust upon him when he arrived at the shores of Gypsy Beach and have a real life with Hope, or will all the lies and uncertainty ultimately be their undoing?

Available From


About Jillian Neal

Jillian somehow manages to blend her brainy sass, her cunning wit, and her loving heart in every novel she writes. She’ll keep your mind engaged while making you believe in the all-consuming power of love. Her characters, their stories, and their passion will keep you constantly coming back for more. Jillian’s novels will make you laugh, cry, and will most definitely leave you panting for breath. She always fills her pages with the breathings of her heart. It’s not something anyone should miss. Jillian lives with her own Romantic hero, her husband, and her two boys just outside of Atlanta and spends her days crafting wicked prose, sexy characters, and stories that will revive your belief in love.

Find Jillian Neal Online

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The Ludzecky Sisters Series By Kathryn Shay

Begin Again 
(Ludzecky Sisters #1)
by Kathryn Shay
 
Blurb: 

BEGIN AGAIN tells the story of Paulina Ludzecky who, since her husband died three years ago, runs a contracting business with her twin, Antonia. She’s ready to dip her toes in romance, when she meets Adam Armstrong, the architect on the new music hall her company is building.

For Adam, opposites attract and he’s drawn to this no-nonsense, down-to-earth girl next door. She’s equally interested in him though he’s too different from her to settle down with. But alpha male Adam has other plans for Paulina and isn’t about to let her go, even when Paulina has trouble with committing to him. Sex, yes! Love, no! This second chance at love story will tug on your heartstrings.

 

Available for purchase at

 

         
Excerpt

 

Prologue

The Ludzecky family was well acquainted with tragedy, but none as horrific as this one.

The matriarch, Donuta Ludzecky, affectionately known as Matka, sat in the front pew of a Catholic church next to her best friend, Rosie Pettrone. The woman had suffered the worst loss any mother could have visited on her—losing a child or, in this case, losing two. Twin boys. Twenty-eight years old. The driver of a truck had barreled through a red light and crumpled the front of the car. The boys were killed instantly. They had been married to Paulina and Antonia, Donuta’s two daughters. Like the good Polish woman that she was, Donuta sat stalwart, holding back any display of her own emotions. Of course, she suffered with and for her friend. But she also could not help thinking of the effect this obscene event would have on her eight children.

Her gaze traveled first to her twin girls, dressed in black, shoulders hunched, sitting on either side of Rosie. Antonia had dissolved into tears the moment they had walked into church and had not stopped crying. Lukasz had to take care of her two-year-old son, who cried into his uncle’s chest. Paulina, stronger both physically and emotionally than Nia, had slid her arms around her boys, and remained stone-faced. The crying would come later for her, Donuta knew. And their lives would never be the same without their men. Donuta had learned that fact from the death of her own husband when she was in her forties.

Her gaze landed on Lukasz. He and his wife, Kelsey, had come down from Binghamton after the accident happened. Their near-perfect lives had been hard-won, and now their happiness would be shadowed by their sisters’ trauma. And Lukasz would suffer over living four hours away from the family. Next in age, Caterina was content as a mother, working in linguistics for the Secret Service, very much in love with her husband Aidan O’Neil. She would want to protect the girls, which would be impossible. She had already made plans to stay in Queens with them for three weeks.

Ana, the third oldest, had helped take care of Donuta’s other children, especially when more babies had come along and Donuta was in the hospital, giving birth or, twice, with exhaustion. Though Ana was happily married with one child, she would smother her twin sisters, trying to make things right for them.

Magdalena, a year younger than Ana, would take over the logistics. A successful businesswoman, she would try to organize, strategize and “fix” whatever she could for her sisters. She did not yet know there was no fixing tragedy, that the girls needed to simply grieve, but Magdalena believed she could do anything she set her mind to.

And then there was Sofia, who had had tragedy of her own. At sixteen, she had been diagnosed with leukemia. The treatment had forced her to give up her dancing aspirations. This one would go into herself unless someone stopped her. Donuta hoped her quiet daughter, fragile, thin as a willow, could withstand the sorrow that had come their way.

And last was Elizabeita. Who knew what the baby of the family would do? Bright enough to be a Rhodes Scholar and earn two degrees at Oxford, pretty enough to be a model and bold enough to sky dive and jump off cliffs, the girl had been impossible to control all her life. Donuta worried about her. How would this one handle the overwhelming grief?

When the priest asked them to stand, Donuta chided herself. She was thinking about her family’s welfare, and here was poor Rosie, who had suffered such loss. However, the fact remained: Donuta would be a friend in every way, but her role as Matka would make her priority her children, as always.

From the way Adam looked at her when they were seated on the bench, Paulina knew he was going to kiss her, so she tried to leave the backyard. But once he’d stopped her, there was no escaping—because she didn’t want to be anywhere else. His mouth touched hers lightly, brushed over her lips, and she savored his taste—coffee and a hint of peppermint, which was soon eclipsed by the essence of him filling her head. After a few seconds, he slid his arms around her and drew her close. She went easily, willingly and fell deeper into the kiss. His tongue explored her mouth, and she allowed it,

welcomed it, returned it. His body aligned perfectly with hers, and he pressed his hips in close. He was hard, and she was going damp, and she wanted to weep with the sensation. She missed the scent of a man, his flesh and bones, his unyielding frame. She inhaled him, crooked her head so he could get better access.

She had no idea how long the embrace went on. All she knew was that at some point, they were both stepping back, breathing hard, staring at each other.

“Well!” he said, raking his hand through his hair. She took pleasure in his loss of composure and consequently wasn’t embarrassed by hers. “That was unexpected.” “Really? You started it.”

“That’s not what I mean.” He arched a brow. “Besides, you wanted it.”

“I’m not denying that.”

“What I meant was, the contact was intense. Right away, without warning. I’m shocked by my reaction.”

Her hand touched her lips as she savored his taste, still on her. “I enjoyed it. But if you didn’t, that’s okay.” Once more, she started away. She didn’t have time for games, and if he was rebuffing her again, she didn’t want to stick around and get her feelings hurt.

“Hold on!” This time he caught her hand, pulled her around and didn’t let go. “Why do you keep running away?”

She took in a deep breath. “I guess because I can’t read you. You flirted, asked in an email if we should meet, then said never mind.”

“I did.”

No hedging. No denial. She liked that. “Why?”

“Because I wasn’t sure we should…do anything like this.”

“Adam, it was only a kiss.”

His expression said it was much more than that.

“But I liked it,” she continued. “Still, don’t worry. I’m not asking you for anything.”

Jamming his hands in his pockets, he rocked back on his heels. “What if I want something?”

“Damn it, Adam, just say what you mean. What you want. I don’t have time for or interest in being coy.”

“Let’s go out.”

She watched him.

“You’ve dated since your husband died, right?”

“No, but recently I made a decision that I wanted to get into the…the swing of things.

I’m seeing someone tonight for supper and a movie.”

His brows knit together. “Is it serious?”

“I met him on first base.”

“Excuse me?”

She laughed at her expression. “At a softball game. I got a hit, and he…never mind all that.”

“So, you’re a free agent, so to speak.”

And would probably stay one. But she’d like to see this man. “I am, but I’m not interested in anything serious. Just some fun.” Some hot sex. She didn’t say that aloud, thank God. Though she knew one thing: she was attracted to him big-time.

“Have dinner with me this weekend.”

“Sofia’s taking the boys on Sunday for the day. I could do an early dinner.”

“All right. I’ll pick you up at five.” He added, “Wear something nice, but no ball gowns.”

Did he think he had to tell her what to wear? What was all that about? Maybe it was nothing. She just wasn’t used to this dating scene. Had never really been in it. He was probably being thoughtful.

“Hey, Paulie, you back here?” Frank’s voice came from the end of the yard.

She said, “I have to go.”

He grasped her arm again. “Would you wear your hair down Sunday?”

“Maybe. Let’s wait and see.”

 

Primary Colors 
(Ludzecky Sisters Series, #2)
by Kathryn Shay


Blurb: 
In PRIMARY COLORS, Nia Ludzecky Pettrone is stuck in her grief and can’t find a way out of her sorrow over the untimely death of her beloved husband. Then she meets famous modern artist Rafe Castle, and she’s intrigued by his gentle demeanor and lack of arrogance. When he shows interest in giving her son the confidence and skills to nurture his budding art talent, she starts falling for him. Still, she finds it hard to leave the past behind and embrace love after loss.

Rafe is definitely interested in a relationship with Nia. If he has his way, she’ll come to love him and he vows to be patient. But when she rejects him in the most elemental of ways, can he control the comparison to past hurts she resurrects for him?

Available for purchase at

 

         
Excerpt

 

  “And the winner of the first grade prize for Excellence in Art is Salvador Pettrone.” Simultaneously, Ben and Tommy jumped up, fists in the air. “Yes!”

Sal sat demurely in his little first grade chair and blushed.

From the gathering of parents and guests off to the side, Nia watched her son, wishing he was outgoing like his cousins but loving him to pieces anyway.

Sal.” The deep male voice of the man at the microphone was filled with excitement. “Come up and get your prize.”

Rafael Castle gave a megawatt smile, making Paulina take in a breath. From beside her, Adam Armstrong leaned in. “Watch it, girl. You’re taken.”

Paulina laughed. “Yeah, but not dead.”

She’d been so happy all summer, now that her relationship with Adam was blossoming. They’d met when their company, Pettrone and Ludzecky Builders, had gotten the bid on a music hall that he’d designed. Surprisingly, Nia had taken a liking to the man despite the fact that he lived in a different world from the family. It seemed that every time she saw him and Paulina together, they were closer. And he’d treated Sal just like Paulina’s boys—kind and gentle, always calm.

Making his way to the front, Sal stood before Rafe Castle, looking up and now smiling broadly. Nia had heard a lot about the man who’d come to Benjamin Franklin Elementary School as an artist in residence for two weeks. She’d voted at the PTA meeting for him to be chosen because his artwork seemed so alive. Sal talked about him often…

Mom, he said I got talent.

Mom, he used my picture as an example.

Mom, he loves my work.

She’d been so grateful to the artist for helping bring her son out of his shell, for making him feel good about himself, even before she’d gotten an email from him: Dear Mrs. Pettrone, Your son Sal is one of the most talented artists of a young age I’ve ever seen. After the Art Fair, can we talk?

Responding in the affirmative, Nia was thrilled, and anxious to hear what he had to say.

The grades were separated in the large gym, and Sal watched as the other winners were awarded their prizes. And he cheered heartily for them. He’s such a nice kid, she thought for the hundredth time. Peter would have been so proud. Though her husband had been a jock, he’d have celebrated his son’s success in art, where Sal had inexplicably shown both interest and talent. It had been one of the many things she’d loved about Peter. Sometimes, at events like this, the hole in her heart became a gaping chasm and she struggled against the emotion.

When the formal part of the presentation was over, Rafe said, “Now mingle, everybody. See what stellar work your classmates have done.” Displays of student art lined the walls. “And parents, please browse, too. Congratulations to them all.”

The groups disbanded, and three little dark-haired, dark-eyed boys ran to where the Ludzecky family had gathered.

Sal threw himself into Nia’s arms. “Mommy, I won!”

“I know, sweetheart. Congratulations.”

Sneaking around his mother, Ben went up to Adam and gave him a high-five. “We didn’t win. Mom told us last night we have other talents.”

“But we’re glad Sal won,” Tommy put in. “I like his drawings.”

Adam ruffled Sal’s hair. “We’re happy for you, kid.”

Nia glanced up to see Rafe Castle approaching them. Before he greeted any of them, he knelt down so he was eye-level with Sal. How thoughtful. “You did good, Salvador. Just like your namesake.”

“What’s a namesake?” Ben asked.

Sal announced proudly, “Who you’re named after.”

“Our Uncle Salvador?”

A male chuckle from the artist. “Nope. I told him I bet he has roots going back to Salvador Dali, the famous twentieth-century artist.”

“Like you, Rafe.” Nia noticed Sal used his first name. “You said maybe you got roots to…who was it?”

“A painter from the Renaissance time period. Raphael Sanzio da Urbino.”

“Yeah, that’s him.”

Standing, Rafe turned his gaze to Nia. “Mrs. Pettrone?”

Nia cleared her throat. Though she’d seen pictures of him online since the school chose him for this position, his physical presence was daunting. Those navy eyes focused on her, increasing their effect. “Yes, I’m Sal’s mother.”

“You’re son’s very talented.”

“So you said.”

“Rafe?”

Castle’s brows rose. “Adam? Hello.”

“You know my teacher, Adam?” Sal asked.

“We’ve met. And I saw his show at the Mitchell Gallery. I bought The Dragon Within. His work is amazing. So individualistic.”

“What does that mean?” Ben wanted to know.

“That everybody gets something different out of it,” Adam explained.

Her sister held out her hand. “I’m Paulina Pettrone.”

When he got a look at Paulina, Rafe startled. “Wow, two of you? How do the men in the world stand it when you’re together?”

“Excuse me?” This from Nia.

“You must bowl them over.”

Paulina rolled her eyes. “It was a compliment, Nia. Say thanks.” She focused on the boys. “Let’s go see everybody’s art before we have to leave. Nia, take your time in getting back to work. No rush.”

“Could Sal go with you?” Rafe asked. “I’d like to speak to Mrs. Pettrone in private.”

Nia stepped back.

“It’s all positive stuff.”

The four of them left, and Nia folded her arms across her chest, watching Rafe Castle. His dark hair was long and curly, and he carried himself in the confident, masculine way that men who looked like him seemed to have. “What did you want to talk about?”

“Salvador.”

“I appreciated your letter.”

“I meant every word, and more. Did you notice how his paintings and drawings evolved the last two weeks?”

“Yes, I did. Some got more realistic. Some more abstract. I liked the latter best.”

His eyes glistened like sapphires, as if she’d said the right thing. “I have a proposal for you. I’d like to continue working with Sal. Free of charge.”

“Why on earth would you do that? Adam said you were hot.”

He winked at her. “I am.”

“Oh, I meant your reputation. But back to Sal.”

“He’s a prodigy. And that kind of talent needs to be cultivated.”

Feeling guilt take root inside her, she sighed. “I’ve thought about getting him art lessons, but we’re so busy…”

“I’ll come to your house. And yes, I’d expect an adult to supervise us, so you’d have to arrange that.”

“We live with my mother and sister. It wouldn’t be too hard to get coverage.” She raised her chin. “But I insist I pay.”

“Then I retract the offer.”

“What?”

“I won’t take your money.”

“Mr. Castle, I might be a widow, but we have enough funds to live on.”

His gaze darkened. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know Sal’s father died. He’s only talked about you, but…please, accept my condolences.”

Nia could feel her face redden. “No, let me apologize. I jumped the gun. The boys told us some things they overheard people saying about them not having a dad, and I’m too sensitive.”

“I don’t think you can be too sensitive about your kids.” He cocked his head. “So, the lessons?”

“I’ll think about it.”

His brows rose, indicating surprise at her statement. “All right.” He took out a card and handed it to her. “Let me know.”

“One thing, Mr. Castle. Thanks for not asking in front of Sal.”

“Of course not. We’re buddies. He’ll want to do this. But it’s your decision. I respect that.”

“Do you have kids?”

“No, never married. So none yet.” A big male grin. “Someday, though.”

As he walked away, Nia stared at his long male stride. And okay, his butt, encased in soft denim, and his broad shoulders in a chamois shirt. But that wasn’t the matter at hand. Now, once again, she’d have to make the right choice for her child alone. She wished Peter was here to help with that and a million other things. Which was enough to worry about. But more pressing was the issue that Nia had not gotten beyond her grief enough to move on like Paulina had and that was as big an issue as the solo responsibility she now had.

Excerpt #2

I remember.” When he didn’t say more, she batted her eyes like Elizabeita did when she flirted. “Mr. Castle, are you asking me to come up and see your etchings?” The old line for seduction.

“Well, Ms. Pettrone, my intention was more honorable until you said that, but I’m up for anything.”

Was she? Right now, Nia felt like she was.

He watched her. When she didn’t move, he took her hand. “Come up to my place. I do want to show you something.”

They walked faster down the two blocks, still holding hands. Once inside his building, they took the elevator in silence and Rafe unlocked the door to his loft.

Nia entered first. “I’m still stunned by how big this place is.”

“I don’t need all this space, but Jonas loved the openness.”

“It suits you, Rafe.”

He turned to her. “Why is that?”

“You’re larger than life and not because you’re famous. It’s your personality. You’re joie de vivre. You live in primary colors.” And her tones ran from cream to beige and often times gray.

“What a nice way to put it. Jonas said I take pleasure in everything.”

“After a difficult childhood, that’s amazing.” He was amazing.

“Now I’m embarrassed.”

Taking her hand, he tugged her to the studio. Several easels stood guard around the room. Two canvases were started. Another was covered with a cloth, and he crossed to it. “Stand about five feet away. Face the other side of the room.”

“Why?”

“I’m going to show you something I did the night you were at my loft. But I want to see your face when you first get a look at it.”

Nia turned to the collection on the opposite wall. The easels there sported scarlets and yellows, peacock blue and pinks.

Rustling, scraping. Then, “Okay, turn around.”

Pivoting back, Nia gasped. Oh, my God. She almost couldn’t take it in. Slowly, she walked closer to the canvas. Studied the way the sky gave way to her image—which was…unbelievable. Every feature was right. And every feature was wrong. He’d drawn her as a sensual siren, floating out of the clouds. The glint in her eyes was unfamiliar.

“I don’t understand. This isn’t me, in so many ways.”

“It’s how I see you, I guess.”

“Rafe, this woman is so…sensual. Sexy. So not me.”

“I think it is. Or had been. Or might be.” He stepped closer, cupped her jaw. “Let me prove that to you, Nia.”

Nia’s first instinct was to run. Fast and far away. Her heart raced, and her palms began to sweat. But she glanced at the painting again, and suddenly, she knew she wasn’t going to leave. So she moved closer and said, “Take me to bed, Rafael.”

 

Risky Business 
(Ludzecky Sisters Series #3)
by Kathryn Shay


Blurb: 
Magdalena Ludzecky is a career woman extraordinaire. A child prodigy, she’s worked her way into a successful private equity firm by the time she was twenty-four. Seven years later, she’s still the gentle, good-hearted sister who hasn’t forgotten her roots, but in business she’s a force to be reckoned with. She’s a woman who has everything, including Logan Price, her coworker and her best friend outside of the family. They support each other through tragedy and loss, vacation together and make million dollar deals together.

But suddenly, they find attraction growing between them. And no, they both think, this can’t happen! They like the status quo. An office romance is unthinkable. It doesn’t seem to be up to them, though, as fate intervenes and brings them together as lovers. Yet fate can be cruel, too, and pulls them apart when Logan’s circumstances change dramatically. Does this friends to lovers romance have a chance or are Logan and Magdalena going to lose each other forever?

Available for purchase at

 

         
Excerpt

 

I think we have what we need for our due diligence, Mr. Holland.” Magdalena smiled graciously at the owner of The Natural Life stores. “I hope you’re as excited as we are about the potential investment in your company by Price and Associates.” Magdalena had joined the private-equity after graduate school.

The owner held her gaze. “Mostly, it feels like I’m handing my first born off to someone else to raise.”

She gave him a sympathetic look. “Most of the companies we do business with have that initial reaction. Maybe you could look at it as sending your child off to school, where others can invest their time, energy and money into him.”

Carter Holland nodded. “So, where do we go from here?”

“Price and Associates analyze all the documents and visit more stores.”

Logan sat forward. “Ms. Ludzecky and I are both operational analysts.” The Power Team, they’d been called by the media. “We’ll analyze your strengths and weaknesses to make sure we want to invest, but we don’t get to this phase without being fairly certain we do.”

“And you’ll complete a management assessment, correct?”

“Yes.” This was Logan’s baby. “We’ll evaluate your staff and see if there’s any overlap or duplication of effort within the stores or in upper management.” There most likely would be layoffs, which Holland had to know.

Once again, Magdalena admired her colleague and friend for being able to handle the personnel task with emotional aplomb. She was glad she didn’t have to do that part of the assessment, though she’d be consulted.

After answering a few more questions, Logan stood. “We’ll be in touch about our decision. Before that, if we need anything else from you. One promise I can make is that we’ll be fair and save as many jobs as we can.”

“Which is why I want to work with your firm.” He stood and so did Magdalena.

She offered her hand first. “Thank you for your time. I’m sure we can take that baby of yours to greater heights than you could alone.”

“I hope so.”

“You won’t be sorry, Mr. Holland,” Logan told him.

Together, they left the office and soon stood on the streets of New York’s Financial District. Magdalena didn’t live too far from here. Early January sported one of its sunny winter days, so she and Logan stopped to talk. “He’s nervous,” she said, glancing back at the building.

“All owners are when they want to grow their business and go with private-equity investment. But Price wouldn’t be pursuing the company if we didn’t think it was good for all of us.”

She squeezed his arm. “Of course we wouldn’t. And I know you’re not crazy about the layoffs.”

Pointedly, he took a bead on her. “Then why don’t you do this part?”

“Because you got your undergrad in human resources. Mine’s in finance.” Checking her watch, she saw it was 1:00 p.m. “Want to get something to eat with me and Ana?”

“No thanks. I have a lunch date.”

Having worked with him for seven years, Magdalena rolled her eyes. “I know what that means. Shall I bring a sandwich back to the office for you?”

“I’ll have you know, Teresa and I are eating this time. She has to be at the theater early to go over some dances with the choreographer.” Logan dated the current star of All of Me, the hottest ticket on Broadway. Magdalena liked the woman, though from what he said about her, she could be mercurial in her moods. Logan called it artistic temperament.

“You’re good at finding time for other business,” she teased.

“Stop.” Though he liked a variety of women in his life, Logan was good-hearted and never duped any of them into thinking the relationship would last forever. He also didn’t give that heart of his to anyone. Often, Magdalena wondered why.

They both crossed to the curb. “Why’s Ana in town?”

Her older sister was the Dean of Admissions at Mount Mary’s in Brooklyn and was often in the city for her job. She still lived in the other borough, in the same house she once shared with Jared the Jerk.

“A recruiting fair.”

“How is she, Mags? I know you worry about her.”

“Because she’s bitter and still very sad, even after more than two years. Why wouldn’t I worry?”

“It’s never what it appears on the surface, why people break up.”

Because she loved Logan in many ways, she listened to him. “You’re right. Have a good lunch.”

He hailed a cab and she took out her phone. As she watched him get into the taxi, which always seemed to come right away for him, she could see why women flocked to him. Six three, all muscles with sky blue eyes, he was a stunner. For the hundredth time, she was grateful she was immune to his charms. She much rather preferred to have him in her life as a friend she could count on.

And she could. In every way.

oOo

Logan climbed into the cab and waved good-bye to Magdalena. He was always shocked that cars didn’t crash into each other when she was on the street. She had to be one of the most beautiful women he’d ever known. That luscious hair in curls down to her waist. Those tawny eyes. She was the picture of loveliness.

Who was not for him. There’d be too much competition for her attention. And he’d never want to lose her as a friend. Then there was the fact that they were colleagues. It would be difficult to have romantic feelings for her. Turning his thoughts to Teresa Allen, he smiled. Now, she was perfect for him, at this point in his life anyway.

He saw her waiting outside the theater. She waved to motion the cab over. When he exited, he embraced her. She went willingly, fully and gave him a big kiss on the mouth. “Hello.”

“Hi, babe.” They walked to the restaurant two doors down from the theater. Once inside, they sat and she scanned the menu.

Hungry?” he asked.

“Always. Order some red meat so I can have a slice.”

Because she was a dancer and singer in addition to an actor, she was scrupulous about her diet. “Already had some this week?”

“Once, my limit. But I’ll cheat with a tiny slice.”

They talked about the play and the changes they were making in the choreography. All of Me had been a big hit, but the choreographer was noted for his perfection. “Will you come to see it again?”

“Of course.”

 

 

The Way We Were 
(Ludzecky Sisters Series #4)
by Kathryn Shay


Blurb: 
Ana Ludzecky had it all—a sexy husband, a beautiful daughter, her dream house and the best extended family in the world. Then, tragedy strikes them and her life turns upside down. Unable to bear the suffering of her sisters, she makes some bad choices that eventually lead to the dissolution of her marriage.

Dr. Jared Creswell, a professor at Mount Mary College, always believed he and Ana would last forever. He’s never loved anybody like he loved her. But a year after the tragedy, she’s still suffering because of the horrific events her family suffered. Jared weakens and makes the biggest mistake of his life.

When their daughter is stricken with a rare kidney disorder, both Ana and Jared must come together to see her through this difficult time. Will his and Ana’s past love be rekindled or have they put it out forever? You’ll root for these two who’ve been dealt a bad hand in life and are trying to find their second chance at love.

Available for purchase at

 

         
Excerpt

 

The dinner was awesome, Daddy.” Opal smiled at her father like she always did, as if he’d hung the moon.

“I’m glad you liked it, princess.”

“Mom does, too.” Her dark-haired, green-eyed daughter looked over at Ana. “Right, Mom?”

“Yep, my favorite of all your dad’s dishes.”

“Did you know, Opalinski”—his Polish nickname for her—“that I made this meal for Mom the first Valentine’s Day after you were born?” Opal had turned ten in October.

“How come you didn’t go out for dinner?”

Ana steeled her heart against the story and transferred her gaze to the family room, where a fire blazed in the hearth and could be seen from the table in the kitchen. Jared had been living here because Opal had to have surgery in a week and he’d insisted he be close to her. Ana had nixed the idea of Opal at his house; instead, he’d moved into the home they used to share. But it was harder than she imagined it would be. These reminiscences were as difficult to listen to as much as rereading the notes Jared, a literary man, had written to her all their lives together.

We had a babysitter all lined up—Aunt Magdalena. But when she got here, your mother started to cry.” His expression, when he turned to Ana, was the one he used to give her when he loved her. “She didn’t want to leave you on your first Valentine’s Day. So I went out to the store, got ingredients for this dish, and we ate at home.”

And, Ana thought, made sweet love that night. Memories of how good they were together devastated her, so she stood. “I’ll clean up.”

Jared’s gaze intensified. God, it wasn’t fair that he looked better at thirty-nine than when she’d met him. He had a touch of gray hair at his temples, but it made his eyes stand out like emeralds, even when he wore his glasses. “Does that have to be done right away?”

She pretended to inspect Opal. Both her height and her slender frame mirrored Jared’s more than Ana’s. And now her face was tense. “I think our daughter is tired.”

As if the suggestion made it so, Opal’s shoulders sagged. “Yeah, I guess.” She bit her lip. “I can’t wait till this is all over.”

Her rare kidney disorder made it necessary to move the ureter from the top to the bottom of her kidney, which would prevent the fluid buildup she was now suffering. Problem was, she’d lose most of the function in that kidney.

“I know this has been hard for you, honey.” Jared stood and kissed the top of her head. “How about if you get ready for bed, and you and I read some?”

“Will you do all those voices in Huckleberry Finn?”

“I’d love to.”

Their daughter left the room, and they heard her footsteps on the stairs. Ana crossed quickly to the sink with dishes in her hands. She began rinsing them, but the gravity of Opal’s situation hit her at the oddest times. Combined with Jared’s trip down memory lane, emotion welled up and clogged her throat. Please don’t let me cry.

Unaware of her emotional state, Jared began to clear the table. When he brought his and Opal’s plates to the sink, he stopped. She knew her body had begun to shake.

Annie.” His pet name for her. He moved in close so his front, his heat touched her. His hands went to her shoulders. “You don’t have to suffer alone. Please, let me comfort you. Let’s comfort each other.”

Without her mind’s conscious consent, she leaned back against him. She couldn’t help it. Because she did that, he slid his arms around her waist and held her to him. His breath at her ear, he said, “We can get through this together. I promise.”

Though she knew he’d made a lot of promises he hadn’t kept, she let herself believe this one. She had to. She’d expended all her strength on getting through the past two weeks since Opal’s diagnosis.

This time, he kissed her hair.

Then, loudly, too loudly, she heard, “Dad, I’m done… What’s going on?”

Jared stepped away. Ana straightened. “Just helping Mom clean up.” He cleared his throat. “I’ll be right up.”

Ana could hear that Opal didn’t move. So she ducked out from in front of Jared and pasted a smile on her face. “You look cute in those new jammies Aunt Mags gave you.” Red and black, they had dogs on them.

“Yeah, to take to the hospital.” Again, she bit her lip. Looked as if Ana wasn’t the only emotional one tonight. Crossing to her daughter, she embraced her.

Ana wished she could keep her child close, not turn her over to doctors who would operate on her. But she couldn’t; she had to be strong. “I promise we’ll be there for you, Opal. You’re not alone in this.”

“Daddy, too?” she asked in a whisper.

Ana glanced at Jared. His face was taut and he’d gone stiff. She could tell he was as worried as she. “Yes, Daddy, too. I promise. We both promise.”

 

Handle with Care 
(Ludzecky Sisters Series #5)
by Kathryn Shay


Blurb: 
Of all the Ludzecky sisters, Sofia is the calmest one. She’s had to be. Diagnosed with leukemia at sixteen, the disease has affected her entire life. When bad things have happened to her—her father’s death, her Secret Service sister and brother getting shot, the deaths of her brothers-in-law–Sofia has gone into herself and found the strength to help them out and also take care of herself. The easy going, laid back lifestyle suits her and she likes it. Her chosen profession is as a yoga instructor and owner of Serenity Yoga, which enhances this way of living.

Football Coach Max Walker doesn’t know what to make of this sweet, demure and pretty woman who is hired by his high school to teach yoga to students. But he’s part of the Physical Education department and has to deal with her every day. Soon he comes to learn how special she is, and though he steered clear of romance with another teacher, he’s drawn to her. But she shies away from him—big time. Why? Women usually flock to Max.

Little does he know that his outgoing personality, his rabid bent for competition and his boisterous athletic family upset her. Opposites attract is not true in her case. But Max wants her, and he’s always gotten what he wants.

Available for purchase at

 

         
Excerpt

 

Sofia calmed herself with rhythmic breathing and stared out the window of Eastside High School’s faculty lounge. Snow covered the ground. Many people hated the weather at this time of year, but not her. She treasured every season’s dawn and end. When she was sixteen, she hadn’t thought she’d experience very many of them again.

From behind, she heard, “Sofia?”

Max Walker had returned. She’d come to the school for a meeting with him and the vice principal and encountered a fight they’d just broken up in the hall. Since she and Max had to wait for the VP to deal with the perpetrators, Max escorted her to the teachers’ cafeteria and detoured to get her tea. The respite from his presence had allowed her to even out her reaction to him. Now he was back.

Turning, she saw him there, this big jock who was probably intimidating to most people. She herself was thrown by the impact of his physicality and his machismo in, well, a feminine way. She nodded to the cup of steaming water he set down. “Thanks.”

They sat and she fished some herbal tea out of her purse.

“Always carry that?” he asked, extending out his legs as if his body required special accommodation most people didn’t need.

She, for example, perched on the chair, sat straight up, spine long, neck relaxed. “I do. I have to be careful of what I eat.”

He tried to stifle the snort. “No Garbage Grub for you, huh?”

At the mention of the fat-filled, bad-for-your-arteries popular dish, she shuddered inwardly. “No, none.” And changed the subject. “I’ve wondered how your staff is reacting to the yoga classes I’m teaching in the fall. As head of the Physical Education Department, you’d know by now.”

“Mostly positive. The female PE teachers especially. One guy is definitely not on board.”

“Let me guess, Mr. Cook.”

Dark brows rose. “How’d you know?”

“I was a student here and had him in class. He used to make snide comments about boys taking Home Economics or whatever they call it now.”

“Family and Consumer Sciences. I didn’t know you went to Eastside.”

“I did.” Though a lot of what she remembered was her illness. For her last two years, she’d struggled with the horror of trying to do schoolwork and not give up because of the cruel anxiety and physical side effects of the leukemia treatment. Thank God she’d found yoga after she’d had to give up dance.

“Not a pleasant experience?”

“Why would you ask that?”

“Your face. It’s expressive.”

“Ah. I was sick, but I’d prefer not to talk about that, Mr. Walker.”

The corners of his mouth turned up. His nice mouth. “Max. We’re gonna be working together.”

“You’re the football coach here, too, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, and I hope to keep the job for a while.”

“Aren’t you good?”

He winked. “Darlin’, I’m great.”

She rolled her eyes. “I meant how’s the team doing?”

“We had a losing season last year. A bad one. Most of the players on our winning teams graduated. It was like starting over. I’m praying for success this year, but they have to be in the right mindset.”

“There are ways to help that along.”

“Sure, I know. The kids are lifting weights with me all winter. And we have a football camp in the summer. Practice starts in August.”

“I didn’t mean your skill preparation or muscle building.”

“What did you mean?”

“Your players should do breathing exercises, centering meditations, in addition to stretches and isometrics.”

He laughed out loud, and heads turned to look at him. “That’s namby-pamby for us jocks, don’t you think?”

It was her turn to laugh—at him—though she was quieter about it. “Seriously? You still use words like that? It’s the twenty-first century.”

He scowled. “Words like what?”

“Let’s see. Pansy. Sissy. Not to mention the more hurtful ones that are feminist put-downs or gender-orientation slurs.”

His gaze turned glacial. “I’m not bigoted. I think yoga is too easy, no, not that, too tame for my guys.”

“And for you?”

“Uh-huh.”

She nodded to his leg. “As soon as we started talking about the team, your knee started bobbing. Fast.”

“Yeah, my mother always said it was a telltale sign of…” He trailed off. “I get it, you think I could use all that stuff you just mentioned.”

“Yes. Everyone can benefit from it. But I’ve been doing some research on yoga for high school kids. Athletes are the number one group they cite for needing yoga practice.”

“That can’t be true, lady.”

“You really should watch your language, Coach. You didn’t mean lady kindly.”

“Christ.”

She sighed. “I’m sorry we’re getting off on the wrong foot, Max. All I was suggesting was that you and your team could be better if you did yoga poses and breathing exercises. I was hoping some of the guys would sign up for the fall session.”

“Ain’t gonna happen.”

“Obviously not, with you as a role model.”

He sat up straight and his fist clenched on the table.

Leaning in, she put her hand over it and felt the tension. She was surprised he didn’t snatch it back. “Again, I apologize. We have a difference of opinion on this. I won’t bring it up again.”

“Yeah, sure, that’d be okay.”

“On one condition.”

Now his gaze narrowed. “What?”

“Come to Serenity Yoga, my studio. Take a few classes. They don’t have to be from me. But we’ll do it free of charge. If your experience there doesn’t convince you that you’re not in as good shape as you think, I’ll be silenced till the end of time.”

As soon as she touched him, Max went off-kilter. He stared at their hands, her small one covering his big paw. Both strength and comfort transferred from her to him. He couldn’t explain it. He raised his head. It was a mistake. She wasn’t exactly pretty, though the long hair, hanging down her back in a braid, was probably stunning spread across a guy’s pillow. In her eyes, he saw…what the hell was that? Confidence. Security. Ah…peace. Which he longed for all of a sudden.

“Max?”

“Sorry. You’re disturbing me.”

“I don’t mean to.”

“No, that’s okay. So, let’s go over this again. You want me to take some yoga classes at the studio where you work. See if I think it can help my players, what? Be better at football?”

“Yes, they wouldn’t be the first.”

Cocking his head, he watched her.

“You know who Ray Lewis, Victor Cruz and Vernon Davis are?”

“Yeah sure. They play for the Baltimore Ravens, the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers.”

Approval in her eyes. Hell, he couldn’t believe he liked it. Because he didn’t much like her.

“They all take or took yoga.”

“Seriously?” Though, even as he said the word, he remembered reading something about that.

“LeBron James and Shaquille, too. They’re athletes who turned to yoga to learn stretching, focus and body awareness.”

Max didn’t know what to say, so he shut his trap.

“The basketball coach from Duke did, too, and they recently won a NCAA championship. When asked how he stayed so calm, he said it was because he practiced yoga.”

Feeling at a disadvantage, he did what all guys do when put on the spot. He went on defense. “You came prepared for this little game, Ms. Ludzecky. I’m not in shape for the argument.”

“Sofia,” she said, mimicking his earlier reference to using his first name. “And yes, I came prepared.”

Max watched her. Suddenly, he realized having her in his department, even for a few classes a week, wasn’t going to be harmless like he’d thought. And the notion bothered him a lot. He looked down. Shit! His knee was bobbing again.

 

Love Story 
(Ludzecky Sisters Series #6)
by Kathryn Shay


Blurb: 
Elizabeita Ludzecky is two different women: one the risk-taking, hip, wild child in the Ludzecky family. Her other side is the Rhodes Scholar and businesswoman who works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The problem is she doesn’t know which is the real her. But what she does understand is the secret she carries inside her, and how it’s helped her survive a family fraught with tragedy.

Hardened cop Nick Casella decides to leave the NYPD because of his distaste for anti-police sentiment that developed after several high profile shootings were not prosecuted in the courts. But he’s asked to be part of a task force for the NYPD, an undercover unit specializing in unique crimes. He’s sent to the Met, ostensibly as a new employee do to set ups and other odd jobs. The famous museum has been besieged by odd emails, hackers and maybe even a stalker.

Nick works with Elizabeita when they put up a new exhibit and, at first, is not at all charmed by her winsomeness, her upbeat attitude about life or her sexy charisma. She’s a baby anyway, as he has more than a decade on her. But she’s getting the emails, too, and might be a victim, so he has to spend time with her. When she sets her sights on him, his first instinct is to run in the other direction. Soon, that changes dramatically. With secret and lies as the basis of a relationship, especially an older man/younger woman romance, does it have any chance of surviving?

 

Available for purchase at

 

         
Excerpt

 

Elizabeita entered one of the conference rooms at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and took a seat in the back. Most of the Contemporary Art staff had already gathered, and she noticed a workman touching up some paint on the side wall. Its scent was strong but not unpleasant

How’s everybody today?” Delores Martin, the head curator in charge of the division, asked. In addition to Dee, three assistant curators, three collections managers, one research associate and a variety of technicians completed their department. Sometimes, Elizabeita had to pinch herself to believe she’d actually gotten an assistant curatorship at this renowned museum three years ago.

Mumbles of good or okay or tired abounded. Elizabeita liked the people she worked with, including the two interns from the School of Art in Manhattan.

After some announcements, Delores zeroed in on her. “Elizabeita, I’ve got good news for you.”

Seriously? We’re getting it?” She’d been working on bringing a touring exhibit of a comparison between Dali and Picasso to the Met.

Yes, we are. A gallery in Chicago had to drop out because of a fire. We’ve gotten their slot at the beginning of November.”

Hallelujah!” Success meant a lot to her.

We don’t have much time to prepare for this, but I’m sure it will sell out in days. Publicity is already underway. You can expect the setup to begin as soon as the Matisse exhibit ends and is broken down.”

Great. Will I still be going to the conference in California the week after next?”

I don’t see why not.” She transferred her gaze to the person next to Elizabeita. “Ellen, about your project. We didn’t receive a grant we expected from the city. It’s impossible to finance your exhibit before the end of the year.”

Also an assistant curator, Ellen Pratt frowned. “But you said it was on track to be accepted.”

I thought it would be. I didn’t plan on the cut.”

Elizabeita knew how Ellen must feel. She’d experienced rejection at work, too. Then again, everybody did.

Make an appointment to see me and we’ll talk.”

They covered other business, then Dee took off her glasses and leaned forward. “We’ll end with something we need to discuss—the emails our department has been getting.”

For a while now, the staff at the Met had been receiving emails which consisted of a line or two about modern art. The missives had gone from innocuous statements about its lack of relevance, its nonsensical presentation to branding the style as pagan, blasphemous and sacrilegious. After studying the history of art at Oxford, Elizabeita knew about art fanatics.

There might be cause for concern,” Delores went on.

Why?” Ellen asked. “We have the best security of any art museum in the world here. And Director Davidson is top-notch.”

We do. Physically.” The museum sported the requisite cameras, guards in every room, motion sensors on each work of art, and vigilant overnight security. “But we may need assistance in dealing with computer issues.”

The collections manager offered, “These emails have been coming periodically for a while now. Aren’t they just from some kook who doesn’t understand genius or wants attention?”

At first, we thought so. Then the frequency increased. And the tenor of the messages has become aggressive. Also, a few employees have noticed lurkers around the quietest spaces in the museum. When security was called, they vanished.”

A lot of people lurk in museums.” This from the research associate. “We call it browsing.”

Elizabeita agreed about the lurkers. Her favorite patron of the museum, a little old Polish man who took the train in from Brooklyn every week, could be considered one. And he was as harmless as a kitten.

All I can say is the director wants you to be on the lookout for anything unusual. And be sure to send your emails to him as soon as you receive them so his team can analyze the data.”

Elizabeita’s gaze strayed to the man painting in the corner. He hadn’t gotten much done. Right now, he was on his haunches doing something she couldn’t see. It was unusual to have a workman in a room during a staff meeting.

When the group broke up, Elizabeita took out her phone. As she walked into the hallway, she checked for messages. Three texts had come in, and she moved to the side to read them. One from a professor she had taken classes from—and more—who lived in London. One from Ana. Another from a guy she’d dated once and didn’t plan to see again. She answered them and then pushed herself off the wall. Right as the workman came out. They collided.

A gallon can went flying. When it hit the wall, the top came off and beige paint spattered everywhere. ““What the hell?” he muttered and whirled around. “You ran into me.”

I wasn’t looking where I was going. I’m sorry.”

Do you have any idea how long that’s going to take me to clean up?”

She frowned. “Quite a while.”

He glanced back to the wall. “Damn it,” he said under his breath.

Listen, I can help you. It was my fault.”

Damn right it was.” He raked her up and down with a disgusted gaze. “Never mind. I can’t see you mopping up paint in those heels and the suit.”

Hmm. Must be he didn’t know who she was. Not a big shot at the museum, for sure, but she’d started working here after she got her second degree in art and had interned in galleries in London and Paris. She planned to climb the art ladder fast. Now, at twenty-six, she was recommending exhibits and had gotten one approved. She could, if she wanted to, get him in trouble.

Sofia would kill her. Sweetie, she’d say. Be forgiving of people. You never know if their cat died, if they were up all night at a second job, or if they’d lost everything they’d worked for.

So she backed up a few steps. “You’re right. I was only trying to help.” Stung, she started to walk away.

And heard behind her, “I could probably leave the paint on the wall, and people would think it was just another piece of that damned modern art.”

Hmm. He had a sense of humor. Who would have guessed?

 

 

About the Author

A NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author, Kathryn Shay has been a lifelong writer and teacher. She has written dozens of self-published original romance titles, print books with the Berkley Publishing Group and Harlequin Enterprises and mainstream women’s fiction with Bold Strokes Books. She has won five RT Book Reviews awards, four Golden Quills, four Holt Medallions, the Bookseller’s Best Award, Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year and several “Starred Reviews.” Her novels have been serialized in COSMOPOLITAN magazine and featured in USA TODAY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and PEOPLE magazine. There are over five million copies of her books in print, along with hundreds of thousands downloaded online. Reviewers have call her work “emotional and heart-wrenching.”

 

You can find Kathryn at
            
Giveaway

 

Presented By

Possessed by Coco Cadence

BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Possessed: The Complete Series Boxed Set
SERIES – Possessed
AUTHOR – Coco Cadence
GENRE – Erotic Romance
PUBLICATION DATE – July 21st 2015
LENGTH – 404 Kindle Pages
PUBLISHER – Coco Cadence
COVER ARTISTClarissa Wild’s Booming Covers


Book Synopsis

The complete POSSESSED series, now available in one bundle!

Possessed – Part One

My boss is an asshole.

I’d take off my heels and throw them at his face, if they weren’t so expensive.

Why? Because my boss, the sexy, billionaire bad boy Leo King, wants me to be his wife.

That’s right. His wife. Except, it isn’t real. It’s all pretend so his family believes it, and I’m supposed to go along with it.

Asshole doesn’t even begin to describe him, and it’s only going to get worse. Especially because his cocky attitude and sudden interest in my private life make it difficult to concentrate on something other than his sexual innuendos. I always do what he wants, and we both know it. It’s not like I have a choice. Agree or get fired.

I’m going to need a drink … Or twenty.

Possessed – Part Two

I thought it couldn’t get any worse when my boss, the billionaire bad boy Leo King, blackmailed me into becoming his fake wife. Turns out he has secrets up his sleeve that put a whole new spin on the word douchebag.

Not only did he put my job on the line, my heart has now also become his playground. He seduced me once, but I refuse to fall for his lies again.

If only I had enough chocolate to distract me from his sexy presence. Something tells me he won’t give up the fight to claim me again.

Is he really only into one-night stands or is he lying to get into my pants? Only one way to find out … Time to buy more booze.

Possessed Part Three

My boss, the billionaire bad boy Leo King, not only tricked me into being his fake-wife, but the dirty secret he’s been keeping from me is now also exposed.

I can’t believe I fell for his lies, and worse, I still want him. He says he loves me, but does that fix everything?

The joke is on me. His crazily hot presence is impossible for me to deny. Fighting temptation or risking it all; the choice is simple, but the consequences are tough.

However, when new revelations threaten to break us apart, there is only one thing I can do: Stock up on chocolate and sit this fucker out until the end.


BUY & TBR LINKS

AMAZON KINDLE US
AMAZON KINDLE CA
AMAZON KINDLE UK
AMAZON PAPERBACK
GOODREADS


EXCERPT

“Fuck, I want you so fucking much,” he murmurs against my lips.

“I hate you …” I murmur.

He chuckles against my mouth. “I know you do. You hate that you want me so much, even though I’m a fucking bastard.” His lips linger on mine. “Nothing’s going to stop me from loving you, though. I want you too much.”

“Me, too …” I can’t even pronounce words properly.

I’m consumed by his tantalizing mouth, wanting it all over my body. It’s never enough. His filthy mouth, dirty mind, and sexual appetite are just the kind I’m looking for. As rough, hotheaded, and dominating as Leo King is, he’s exactly what I need.

“God, you taste so good, Sam,” he murmurs. “I should’ve done this ages ago.”

His words are like chocolate to me—sweet, delicious, and addicting.

For a moment, he takes his lips off me, and then he presses the intercom button. “Take us to my place.”

I don’t even bat my eyes as he moves in for the kill again.

I can ignore my needs all I want, but that’s the truth. I want him so badly that he intoxicates me. Especially when he pushes me to the window with his body, cornering me. My breathing falters as his kisses grow deeper, leaving my lips to occasionally peck my chin and neck. One of his hands is on my waist, the other cups my face while he kisses me senseless. My fingers are entangled in his hair, pulling him closer with each kiss. It’s getting so hot in here that the windows are fogging up. I don’t even notice when the limo comes to a stop.


AUTHOR BIO

Coco Cadence is an erotic romance writer, who loves cocky heroes and smartass heroines. She adores happy ever after’s as much as her fans do, and she will never stop writing them. In her free time she enjoys reading a good book, playing with her cute dogs, and spending quality time with her soon-to-be husband, but you can always find her drifting off into her mind to think of new stories.

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Eyes Wide Open

BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Eyes Wide Open

SERIES – Totally Five Star

AUTHOR – Lucy Felthouse

GENRE – M/M/F BDSM Erotic Romance

PUBLICATION DATE – 22nd September

LENGTH – 68,358 Words

PUBLISHER – Totally Bound Publishing

COVER ARTIST – Posh Gosh


BOOK SYNOPSIS

An ordinary girl catapulted into an extraordinary world meets two even more extraordinary men—but what will she do when she discovers their sexy secret?

Fiona Gillespie moved to London shortly after graduating to take advantage of the opportunities the capital could offer. However, months later, she’s still living in a horrid flat and working in a grimy East End pub. The problem is, she doesn’t really know what she wants to do, career-wise. So when she happens upon an advertisement for a job at a plush Mayfair hotel, she jumps at the chance. A great deal of determination and a spot of luck land Fiona her dream role.

But working at the Totally Five Star London is just the beginning. She adores the role and flourishes, impressing her bosses and making her increasingly determined to climb the career ladder.

While her career is flying, though, her love life is non-existent. She hasn’t even thought about men, never mind met or dated one for months, so when she bumps into two gorgeous businessmen in the hotel, she’s surprised to find her head has been well and truly turned. Even more surprisingly, they flirt with her—both of them! She’s drawn to James and Logan, despite feeling that they’re way out of her league.

When a misunderstanding leads Fiona to James and Logan’s sumptuous top-floor suite, she has no idea what she’s about to uncover. Scenes of people-trafficking, drug-pushing and wild sex parties all appear in her active imagination. Yet what she actually sees is something she’d never even considered before, something that piques her interest.

After discovering their sexy secret, what will she do with this new-found knowledge?

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of anal play, spanking, sex toys and bondage.


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AUTHOR BIO

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100 publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house. She owns Erotica For All, is book editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

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Preorder SEDUCTIVE REASONING

SALE:

THE PREORDER PRICE IS 2.99 and will return to 4.99 October 14th.

RELEASE DATE: October 13, 2015

SERIES: TASK FORCE HAWAII, BOOK ONE

SERIES TAGLINE: EVEN PARADISE HAS A DARK SIDE.

Book Tagline: He’s got a killer to Catch and no time for Love. Fate has other plans.

GENRE: ROMANTIC SUSPENSE/MCIR

BLURB

He’s got a killer to catch and no time for love.

Fate has other plans.

Former Army Special Forces Officer Martin “Del” Delano has enough on his hands chasing a serial killer and heading up TASK FORCE HAWAII. He definitely doesn’t need the distraction of Emma Mitchell. From the moment they meet, she knocks him off his feet, literally. Unfortunately, she’s the best person to have on the team to make the connections to help them catch their killer.

For Emma, it’s hard to ignore the lure of a man like him. Tats, muscles and his Harley cause her to have more than a few fantasies about Del. He’d never be interested in a geek like her, but she can’t resist toying with him. When she pushes the teasing too far, she ends up in his bed. She convinces herself she can handle it until the moment he steals her heart.

Del can’t help falling for the quirky genius. She’s smart, funny and there’s a sweet vulnerable side to her that only he can see. As Emma gets more involved with the investigation, she becomes the target of the psychopath. When the danger escalates, Del promises to do anything to save the woman who not only captured his heart but also his soul.

First chapter: http://bit.ly/srfirstchap

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About Mel

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

WEBSITE: WWW.MelissaSchroeder.net

BLOG: www.melissaschroeder.net/blog

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/MelissaSchroederFanPage

Twitter: www.twitter.com/MelSchroeder

FAN GROUP: www.facebook.com/groups/harmlesslovers

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/melissaschro

Google +: http://www.plus.google.com/u/0/+MelissaSchroeder/

CONTACT: Melissa@MelissaSchroeder.net

TASK FORCE HAWAII SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook: www.facebook.com/taskforcehawaii

Pinterest TFH Page: www.pinterest.com/task-force-hawaii

Pinterest Seductive Reasoning Page: www.pinterest.com/seductive-reasoning

Bio

From an early age, Melissa loved to read. First, it was the books her mother read to her including her two favorites, Winnie the Pooh and the Beatrix Potter books. She cut her preteen teeth on Trixie Belden and read and reviewed To Kill a Mockingbird in middle school. It wasn’t until she was in college that she tried to write her first stories, which were full of angst and pain, and really not that fun to read or write. After trying several different genres, she found romance in a Linda Howard book.

Since the publication of her first book in 2004, Melissa has had close to sixty romances published. She writes in genres from historical suspense to modern day erotic romance to futuristics and paranormals. Included in those releases is the bestselling Harmless series. In 2011, Melissa branched out into self-publishing with A Little Harmless Submission and the popular military spinoff, Infatuation: A Little Harmless Military Romance. Along the way she has garnered an epic nomination, a multitude of reviewer’s recommended reads, over five Capa nods from TRS, thirteen nominations for AAD Bookies, and made the USA Today bestseller list in 2013 with The Santinis.

Since she spent her childhood as a military brat, Melissa swore never to marry military. But, as we all know, Fate has her way with mortals. After twenty years as an AF spouse, she and husband, a long with their brats, both human and canine, are now happy they get to pick where they live. She lives in the middle of wine and horse country in Virginia and shops for million dollar homes in Hawaii.

Devon Drake – Cornerback

BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Devon Drake – Cornerback
SERIES – First & Ten Series
AUTHOR – Jean Joachim
GENRE – Sports Romance, Contemporary Romance


BOOK SYNOPSIS

Devon Drake, star cornerback, has it all: hot super model girlfriend and pro football career, or does he? A childhood friend wanders back into his life, upsetting his ideal existence. Is it finally time to tell her the truth about what happened fifteen years ago?

Stormy Gregory is on the run from an abusive man. Her best friend offers her a safe place at the shelter for abused women and children. Grateful to be out of harm’s way, Stormy helps with a charitable event, not expecting to run into Devon Drake, her friend’s brother. Will she run again rather than face rejection?

Cracks in his perfect world threaten the cornerback’s starting lineup status. An unwelcome surprise short-circuits Stormy’s attempt to build a new life. Can they pull together or will the secret that separates the former friends keep them on a downward spiral?


EXCERPT

But the last thing Stormy wanted was to hang around Devon Drake any longer than necessary. He had filled out since high school with pure muscle. Like Chutes and Ladders, Devon Drake had taken the big ladder from handsome to gorgeous. Hanging around might mean the revival of old feelings, leaving her vulnerable to rejection again. It was destined to happen, since he had a hot, high-powered girlfriend. Stormy needed to watch her step. He wasn’t available, but nobody had told her heart that.

He sat up, his gaze glued to her. She hummed the tune “The Stripper” as she unzipped and peeled off her jacket. The man slid his chair closer to the window. She began to dance slowly. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see people on the sidewalk had stopped moving. She took a deep breath and eased her sweater up as slowly as possible.

Now, the man in the headphones was gesturing and talking. The others in the room turned to stare. Stormy kept humming and dancing. She was getting into it. Ignoring the cold, she pulled her sweater over her head, twirled it around, and flung it at a man standing nearby. He caught it and applauded.


CHARACTER BIO

Stormy Gregory – Life hadn’t been easy for Stormy Gregory. The fighting between her parents drove her to seek the friendship of the two kids down the block, Samantha and Devon Drake.

Stormy continued her friendship with Devon and became Samantha’s shadow in high school. Until he broke her heart. They went their separate ways.

After getting her degree in nutrition, Stormy found a job far from home in Bolton, Illinois. She worked part-time in two senior centers, planning meals. She found success and friendship there with the older crowd, and a little romance with the director.

An old acquaintance from high school looked her up, seeking help finding a job and a new start. She did what she could, but resisted his advances. He became hostile, then violent, forcing her to flee.

Not knowing where to turn, Stormy contacted her old friend, Samantha Drake. Sam made space for her friend in the shelter where she volunteered. During an event, she bumped into Devon Drake.

Stormy hadn’t expected the encounter. It had been fifteen years since she’d seen him. Instead of hating him for past hurts, warm feelings resurfaced. Stormy pushed them down, figuring she couldn’t compete with a super model. Simply being near Devon Drake made her pulse jump. She needed to get away, but the man who had hit her showed up at her door. She had nowhere to go, or did she?


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AUTHOR BIO

Jean Joachim is a best-selling romance fiction author, with books hitting the Amazon Top 100 list since 2012. The Renovated Heart won Best Novel of the Year from Love Romances Café. Lovers & Liars was a RomCon finalist in 2013. And The Marriage List tied for third place as Best Contemporary Romance from the Gulf Coast RWA. She was chosen Author of the Year in 2012 by the New York City chapter of Romance Writers of America.

Married and the mother of two sons, Jean lives in New York City. Early in the morning, you’ll find her at her computer, writing, with a cup of tea, her rescued put, Homer, by her side and a secret stash of black licorice.

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week of 9/19

The Midnight Ceremony: A BBW Paranormal Romance (Lure Academy, #1)The Midnight Ceremony: A BBW Paranormal Romance by Cara Wylde
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

oh wow I couldn’t put it down. great book can’t wait to see what happens next? will she regret her choice? will the guys work together?

 

Vampire Underground: Rescue: A Vampire Menage Paranormal RomanceVampire Underground: Rescue: A Vampire Menage Paranormal Romance by Anthea Kage
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

this book was interesting and not what I was expecting. I love how they are trying to save vampires not kill them. this is a different way to go. makes you stop and think of all the judgements we make and not thinking of the consequences.

 

Two Hot to Handle: BBW Menage Romance (Mill Creek Menage Book 2)Two Hot to Handle: BBW Menage Romance by Marie Carnay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

this book is steamy in more ways then one. we meet three fire fighters who have crushes on each other. then guys take on a challenge to see who will ask her out. who will the winner be? will she accept a date from both guys? what will happen next?

 

BAD LUST: A Stepbrother Romance (A Step Over the Line Book Book 1)BAD LUST: A Stepbrother Romance by Aurora Hayes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For me this book was a bit slow. It was okay but when it was starting to get good it ended. Now we have to wait for book 2 and hope it is better. We meet the typical rich bad-boy and the pampered rich princess. But is it really as simple as it seems. Will it follow the typical step sibling stories or have a twist? Will her father accept her choices or is is it his way or suffer?

 

BBW Paranormal Romance (BBW Paranormal Shifter Menage Romance): Devoured Dragons (Paranormal BBW Menage Shapeshifter Short Stories)BBW Paranormal Romance (BBW Paranormal Shifter Menage Romance): Devoured Dragons by EL Spence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

really good story just way to short. it was getting really good when the story ended.

Malibu Angel

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BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Malibu Angel
SERIES – Guardian Angel
AUTHOR – Mia Fox
GENRE – paranormal/contemporary romance
PUBLICATION DATE – June 27, 2015
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 212 pages
PUBLISHER – Evatopia Press
COVER ARTIST – Evatopia Media


Malibu Angel - Book CoverBOOK SYNOPSIS

All Sam wants is to serve out his time as a guardian angel so that he can return as a human. But his sentence becomes more complicated when he finds himself falling in love with Angeline, his current assignment.

The rules of angels specify that he may not interfere with the course of her life, which naturally includes her dating choices. When Angeline begins surf lessons at the same beach where Sam is assigned to work as a lifeguard, a connection forms between them and the rules of angels collide with the laws of attraction. Sam finds it even harder to keep his distance when he discovers Angeline’s surf instructor hides a dangerous secret.

With Angeline’s life in jeopardy, the lines between his role as a lifeguard and that of guardian angel become blurred. Sam’s choices will redefine his role as a guardian angel to Angeline and force him to contemplate what will become of their love if he is sent away. Whether they find their way back to each other is a question written in the heavens.


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EXCERPT

Angeline gave a noticeable pout. “I’ve been riding the kiddie waves all week. I was really hoping to test out what I’ve learned…but as I said, my instructor seems to be AWOL. Hey, do you think you could take me?”

Sam looked up to the tower at Evan, unsure how to proceed. He would have done anything to say yes right on the spot, but that would certainly get him into trouble. Then again, to send her out alone was irresponsible and could endanger her safety. Knowing exactly how Sam’s mind was playing a game of angel versus devil, Evan shook his head slightly to which Sam rolled his eyes at his new friend, but nodded recognition nonetheless.

“I’d love to, really I would. But, I’m on duty.”

“Oh, of course. That was silly of me. Hey, I’m sorry I bothered you,” Angeline said as she started to turn away from the tower.

“You’re not a bother. Come by anytime. I’ve got sandwiches!” he called out as she headed back down the beach.

Evan smirked at him. “I’ve got sandwiches? Now that’s an original pick-up line.”

Sam ran a hand through his golden hair. “Tell me I didn’t I really say that.”

“Just wondering…did that kind of line work when you were alive?”

Sam smiled in spite of his embarrassment. “Actually, girls found me to be quite cute and charming.”

As if validating his point, Angeline looked over her shoulder at Sam, but seeing him still watching her, she immediately turned back and continued walking to her spot on the beach.

Evan raised his eyes skyward. “Trouble. That’s all I’m gonna say.”

Placing his arms behind his head and leaning back against the lifeguard tower, Sam surveyed his domain over the pristine Malibu beach, taking in the sun, surf, and the beautiful swaying of Angeline’s hips. “That’s the type of trouble that makes life…and the afterlife…worth living.”


 

Trust - Author PhotoAUTHOR BIO

Mia Fox is a Los Angeles-based novelist who writes across varied genres including Contemporary and Paranormal Romance, Chick Lit, and Satire. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from U.S.C.

Before writing full time, she worked as an entertainment publicist, a career she chronicles in her novel, “Alert the Media.” However, she is happy to leave that world behind her, preferring that any drama in her life is only that which she creates for her characters.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, three children, Casey, the Wonder Westie, and Bean, his brother.


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★★ BOOK BLITZ ★★ Second Hand Jane by Michelle Vernal

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Book Blitz

9781495218415

Book Title: Second Hand Jane
Author: Michelle Vernal
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

With her love of all things vintage, Jessica Jane Baré is known as Second-hand Jane to her friends. Life would be sweet if it weren’t for her meddling mother, Marian who views Jess’s life as a newspaper columnist in Dublin as nothing more than a stop-gap until she meets Mr Right. When Jess meets the delectable Nick, he ticks all of Marian’s boxes.

In the meantime, Jess’s latest second-hand collectible–a children’s book—gives her an idea and deciding to track down the girl whose name is scribbled inside the cover of that book, she uncovers more than she expected. “Amy was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” The girl’s taciturn brother, Owen informs her. Intrigued Jess travels to the family pig farm in County Down. With a little help from a rather cute runt of the litter she names Wilbur, Jess is about to help put the past to rest and learn that appearances can be deceptive.

Then Marian announces she is coming to Dublin to sort her daughter’s increasingly tangled love life out and Jess’s chance of a happy ending like those in the story books she collects looks about as likely as Wilbur flying.

excerpt

“Shopping is surprisingly hard work, isn’t it?” Brianna said, not really expecting an answer as she flopped down into her chair.

Jess nodded, laying out their well-earned sandwiches and coffee. “It is when you are looking for something in particular. That’s what I like about op-shopping—I just happen across really cool stuff. Do you know what I was thinking earlier when I was busy getting dressed and undressed?”

“What?”

“That I wish to God someone would open a shop with fitting rooms that are dimly lit. I hate those horrible fluorescent lights that show every lump and bump. It’s not good for one’s psyche.”

“What lumps and bumps?” Brianna was indignant. “You wait until you have a baby—then you’ll know all about lumps and bumps, my girl! You want to see the muffins Harry’s left me with?” She reached around the back of her jeans and squeezed two imaginary pockets of fat. “It doesn’t matter what size I get down to; the only way I’ll get rid of these blueberry babies is by lipo.” Picking up her rather delicious-looking gourmet sandwich, she took a greedy chomp out of it.

Jess looked glumly down at her own meagre low-fat bean sprout veggie sarnie and silently cursed all dressing room mirrors.

“Don’t you have that Cajun cooking class tonight?” Brianna mumbled through her full mouth.

“I do. I’m looking forward to it. Apparently we will be making jambalaya, which sounds vaguely familiar and very exotic.” She frowned. “It also sounds calorific, which is why I am on the bean sprout sanger. Next week, I’m doing a cod fish casserole, which doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. It’s a Portuguese class and I know nothing about Portuguese cuisine apart from the fact they eat a lot of fish.”

“Well, I can’t help you there. We’re having Gran’s bangers and mash for dinner because I’ve got a PTA meeting tonight—good old plain, hearty tucker; you can’t beat it. My Gran says all men need a good serving of potatoes on their plate each night in order to fill them up.”

“So that’s what you do to keep your Pete happy, is it? Serve him up loads of spuds. Anyway, it’s alright for you and Granny Dierdre to advocate bangers and mash because you’re both built like whippets. It sucks—I so much as sniff mash spud and it goes to my waistline, whereas you eat what you like and never put a pound on.”

“It’s running around after Harry. Have a baby, Jess, and you’ll never have to worry about your figure again except for the post-birth muffin overhang, of course, and the sagging boobs and stretched stomach skin,” she lamented.

Jess subconsciously crossed her legs under the table. She was fairly sure Brianna wouldn’t be getting a job as a Weight Watchers advocate in the near future if that was the best dietary advice she could dole out.

“Have you had any more thoughts on your column? What you’re going to write about once you have finished the cooking school series and had enough of stuffing yourself silly on jumbaywotsit and Portuguese cat fish casserole?”

Cod fish, not cat, and I have had a couple of ideas, as it happens. I thought I could write about the celebrity lifestyle in Dublin now that one of my best friends is dating a Hollywood Hottie. Actually, it was you who gave me the inspiration.”

Brianna looked pleased. “When I told you to write about the blind date you were doubling on?”

“Yeah, except we didn’t know then that the other half of the double date was a major celebrity, did we?”

“I know and I still can’t get my head around the fact Nora kept it quiet and that our best friend is actually dating Ewan Reid.” She pulled a face. “It’s not fair you get to meet him first.”

“Yes, but we don’t know at what cost yet, do we? I may have to suffer through an evening with a Gollom clone.”

“Or—ha-ha,” Brianna snorted, “he could be one of those weird Trekkie guys in a giant nylon baby-gro.” She giggled, giving Jess a Vulcan two-fingered salute.

Jess gave her a two-fingered salute of a different kind back. “Yeah, thanks, that’s not helping. Anyway, I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I had another idea as well I wanted to run past you. It’s to do with a name in a book.”

“You’ve lost me. What name in what book?”

“Well, remember the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs book I bought for my collection not long ago?”

“Yes. That reminds me—Harry’s right into all those traditional fairy stories at the moment. I made the mistake of reading him Hansel and Gretel the other night and managed to give myself nightmares. I’d hate to think what my poor son made of it. Though, to be honest, I don’t know what disturbed me more about the story: the abandoning of children in the forest, the wicked witch putting Hansel in a cage in order to fatten him up, or the fact that Harry didn’t seem at all fazed by it! I’d forgotten how horrible some of those old tales actually are.”

“Yeah, you’d have to wonder what was going through the mind of the Brothers Grimm when they penned that one. They wrote Little Red Riding Hood, too. Please don’t read that to Harry just yet. I had a phobia about wolves for years thanks to that little minx.”

“Don’t worry—we’re sticking with good old Hop on Pop, Dr Seuss for the foreseeable future. But, come on then, spill—what’s this idea of yours?”

“Okay, you know how one of the things I find intriguing about second-hand things is the thought of the life they have lived before they come to me?”

Brianna nodded. “That and the thrill of a good bargain.”

“Yeah, well there is that too. But books, especially children’s ones, are really special.”

“Because of the illustrations, right?”

“Definitely that yes but it is more than just the pictures. Children love to mark their territory and every book in my collection has its original owner’s name scrawled inside the cover.”

“I don’t get it—you told me once that decreases the book’s value.”

“It does but I don’t collect them for their monetary value. It’s hard to explain it properly but there’s just something about the idea of another child having loved that book the same way I loved it and I often wonder who they were or are now. Does that sound weird?”

Brianna grinned. “If I was Nora, I would say it definitely sounds weird but since it’s me you are talking to, I think I get it. You’d like to know the story behind the name in the book, is that it?”

“That’s it exactly! Who was that child? Did he or she pore over the stories and the pictures like I did? Were they daydreamers too? Who did they grow up to be?”

“Jaysus, you are such a romantic, Jessica Baré. Where are you going with this?”

“I am going to find her.”

“You’ve lost me again—who exactly are you off to find? And please don’t say yourself because you’re far too young for a mid-life crisis.”

Jess laughed. “Don’t worry; I’m not going to do an Eat, Pray, Love and frolic round Bali. I am going to find out what became of Amy Aherne from Ballymcguinness. She was six years old when her brother Owen gave her Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for Christmas in 1973. So I am going to write about my journey to find the forty-six-year old Amy. I will do the detective work to find out who she is now, what she went on to do with her life and what that book meant to her. What do you think?”

Praise

‘Oh what a unique and amazing love story this turned out to be.’ Terry reviewer for Chicklit Plus

‘The book not only tells an amazing love story, but also the story of a tragedy that lives on in those left behind. The author is amazing with her humour and writes that side very well.’ Terry reviewer for Chicklit Plus

Meet the Author

Michelle Vernal lives in the pretty little town of Oxford, in New Zealand’s South Island. Writing is something she has always used as a way of expressing herself. Her first foray into the romantic and humorous world of her style of women’s fiction is recorded in her thirteen-year-old self’s compulsory school journal. In it, much to the delight of her English teacher, she described in minutiae the heartbreak of being dumped after her first school disco. Thankfully she has moved on since then and is now married with two boys.

After her first son was born, she attended a creative writing course at Canterbury University, and the first piece she ever penned was published by a New Zealand parenting magazine. She went on to write humorous; opinion styled pieces of her take on parenting but when the necessity for being politically correct got too much, she set herself the challenge of writing a novel. To date, she is penning book number five. Second Hand Jane is her third novel and was inspired by an inscription in the second-hand children’s books she collects. All her books are written with her trademark warmth and humour.

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