The Earl and the Courtesan by Raven McAllan

Well what can I say? I’m growing old disgracefully and loving it.

DH and I live on the edge of a Scottish forest, and rattle around in a house much too big for us.

Our kids have grown up and flown the nest, but roll back up when they want to take a deep breath and smell the daisies so to speak.

I write in my study, which overlooks the garden and the lane. I’m often seen procrastinating, by checking out the wild life, looking—only looking—at the ironing basket and assuring tourists that indeed, I’m not the bed and breakfast. That would mean cooking fried eggs without breaking the yolks, and disturbing the dust bunnies as they procreate under the beds. Not to be thought of.

Being able to do what I love, and knowing people get pleasure from my writing is fantastic. Long may it last.

Social Media Links:

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https://www.facebook.com/ravenandkera    (my page)

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https://twitter.com/RavenMcAllan

http://amzn.to/2r3i55e     (Amazon. com page)

http://amzn.to/2r32baI      (Amazon UK)

 

 

13 June – Tea Time and Books
13 June – Tome Tender
13 June – Indie Book Fairy 
13 June – Stormy Nights
14 June – Celtic Lady’s Reviews
15 June – Seeing Night Reviews
15 June – Foreplay & Fangs
16 June – Stephanie’s Book Reviews
16 June – Torie James
19 June – Writing Dreams
20 June – Ash Stone Author
05 July – Romance Reviews Today

 

Once a courtesan, not always a courtesan. It’s time to move on, and who better to do it with than a rake?

Theresa Kyle, ex-courtesan, will not kowtow to any man in marriage, let alone an odious ex-pupil. When the man rejects her refusal of his proposal, she reluctantly agrees to seek help.

Jamie, the Earl of Weston, is in a fix of his own. The marriage mart is not for him, let alone a compulsory wedding due to the machinations of his mother.

A mutual friend seems to have the perfect solution. The earl and the courtesan—what better way to foil those who want to see them married against their wills?

Alas, the best-laid plans go awry, for neither had expected to fall in love. Needless to say, as far as Jamie is concerned, being a member of the aristocracy comes in handy when you need to bend the rules to your will. Convincing Theresa, however, may well be harder than winning over the ton.

Buy yours now!     Totally Bound    Amazon.co.uk    Amazon.com    Kobo

 

“I think we should start a club,” Theresa ruminated. “One for people like us who do not want to be ruled by convention.”

Her friend Maria sat back in her chair and contemplated Theresa. “There are plenty of us. What’s our name?”

“How about the Daring Ladies Club?”

Maria sniggered. “Oh, I like it. And the members?”

“Well, you and me for a start. We can begin small.”

“Excellent. When do we have our first meeting?” Maria reached for a nearby bottle of wine and poured two glasses full.

“I rather think we’re having it now,” Theresa said with a laugh. She took her glass and held it high. “To the Daring Ladies Club. Be this the only meeting or not, we can at last acknowledge who and what we are.”

“Interesting, unconventional and ready to take on the world?”

“Something like that.”

Theresa sat back in the large comfortable chair and smiled at her friend over her glass of wine. Theresa’s long black hair was half in a knot on the top of her head and the rest had left its pins and spiraled over her shoulders in a waterfall the color of midnight. She pushed it back impatiently. At times it was the bane of her life.

“So, that apart, who is your next client?”

“Who’s next?” she said in reply to Maria, her friend, confidante and seamstress to the ton. “Nobody. I’ve decided to retire.” She sipped her wine and savored the silky-smooth apricot and gooseberry-scented liquid with enjoyment. “This is good.”

Maria put her own glass down with such a thump that the fine French contents slopped dangerously near the rim. Her mouth dropped open and she gaped at Theresa as if she were hallucinating.

Theresa grinned and held the glass in the air to look at the light amber-colored liquid. “Where did you find it?”

“Never mind the wine,” Maria retorted. “Say that again, slowly.”

Theresa opened her eyes as wide as possible and waved her glass from side to side as a toast. It wasn’t often possible to shock or surprise Maria, and therefore every time it happened was immensely satisfying. “Theresita is no more. From now on I’m plain Theresa Kyle, spinster of the parish.”

“Why?” Maria sounded bewildered, as well she might, Theresa thought. She hadn’t mentioned her intentions to Maria until she’d firmed up her decisions and set certain plans in motion. “You’ll never be plain anything,” Maria continued. “Black hair and blue eyes combined with a stunning figure will ensure that.” She tugged a strand of her own soft brown tresses. “Not forgettable like mine.”

“Exactly.” Theresa chose to misunderstand her. “You are not forgettable, and you know it. Your hair is glossy and your figure…”

“Is voluptuous. Top-heavy. Why do you think I became a seamstress?” Maria asked, then chuckled. “I know what suits me.”

“You know what suits others as well,” Theresa replied. “That is why you are successful.”

“Just as well, because now I can afford to dress in the style I enjoy,” Maria said. “Something that pleases me. However, stop changing the subject. Why are you retiring?”

“Why?” Theresa said. “Because I’ve had enough.” She shrugged and raised her eyebrows as she tried to put into words just how she felt. “Of men and my life as it has been. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, I’d be a liar if I said otherwise. But think about it, Maria. I’ve spent the last fifteen years earning my living on my back.” She snorted then took a mouthful of wine. “Well, not necessarily on my back, but you know what I mean.”

Theresa winked and Maria choked. “Water,” Maria spluttered. “No, wine will do.” She took a large swig and wiped her streaming eyes. “How can you say something so audacious with such a straight face?” she asked when she could speak in a coherent manner once more.

“Practice,” Theresa responded without any embellishment to her reply. “Back, front or sideways on, it all has the same end. To instruct certain gentlemen of the ton that there are two people in each coupling and both have desires and needs that must be addressed.”

“So? You’re successful, well liked and a definite asset to lots of relationships, even if that is not admitted to. You can’t tell me there are no more men who need help, because after listening to the women in my salon whinge I won’t believe it.” Maria rolled her eyes. “Some of the things I hear would make the most confident of men blanch. I hear about sizes of appendages, how long a man can last, the best position to ensure you do not get with child… You name it and I probably can give you five different opinions. I’m sure you are needed.”

“More than likely, but no more help from me.” Theresa sat forward and began to count on her fingers. “First, I’m one and thirty, and would have what, three, four more years before all the bits that are now firm and attractive to gentlemen begin to wobble more than is seemly. Second, I’m not as agile as I was.”

She hiccupped as Maria began to laugh uncontrollably. “Not… Oh my, the picture that conjures up,” Maria tilted her head to one side. “Just how agile do you need to be?”

“As a…and oh, do stop it…” Theresa shook her head and sniggered. “You’d be surprised. Well, no, on reflection, maybe you wouldn’t, but believe me it isn’t as easy to twist and turn as it was five years ago.” She stood and began to pace Maria’s snug sitting room. One long stride and her swirling skirts set a side table rocking. She stooped to steady it. If the dainty china figures on it smashed, Maria would not be best pleased. “It’s not just that. I think I need to remove from town for a while, and get out of a certain honorable’s orbit.” She turned in a flurry of elegant skirts and faced Maria. “One who doesn’t understand the words ‘it is over’.”

Blog Tour – Regency Ever After Boxed Set

regency-ever-after-with-namesJoin us on a Regency adventure of love and romance with seven brand new stories by some of today’s most sought after historical romance authors in Regency Ever After: Timeless Tales and Fables 2

Stolen by My Knave by Dawn Brower
Enticed by Lady Elianna by USA Today Bestseller Amanda Mariel
The Ugly Duckling Debutante by USA Today Bestseller Meara Platt
A Diamond for a Duke by Collette Cameron
His Elusive Nightingale by USA Today Bestseller Ari Thatcher
The Fairy Palace by Sue London
Hunting for A Lady’s Heart by USA Today Bestseller Tammy Andresen

Buy your copy now                Amazon     Barnes and Noble     iTunes

 

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08 Mar – Tome Tender
09 Mar – Tea Time and Books
10 Mar – Girl With Pen
10 Mar – Indie Book Fairy
10 Mar – Romance Reviews Today
13 Mar – Writing Dreams
14 Mar – Ash Stone Author
15 Mar – Celtic Lady’s Reviews
16 Mar – Foreplay & Fangs
17 Mar – Torie James

Dawn Brower: A best selling and award winning author, DAWN BROWER writes both historical and contemporary romance.There are always stories inside her head; she just never thought she could make them come to life. That creativity has finally found an outlet.

Growing up she was the only girl out of six children. She is a single mother of two teenage boys; there is never a dull moment in her life. Reading books is her favorite hobby and she loves all genres.

For more information about upcoming releases or to contact Dawn Brower go to her website: authordawnbrower.com

Amanda Mariel: USA Today Bestselling author Amanda Mariel dreams of days gone by when life moved at a slower pace. She enjoys taking pen to paper and exploring historical time periods through her imagination and the written word. When she is not writing she can be found reading, crocheting, traveling, practicing her photography skills, or spending time with her family.
Website: www.amandamariel.com

Meara Platt: Meara Platt is a USA Today bestselling, award winning author, and an Amazon UK All Star. Her Regency romances infuse humor and heart, and her Regency paranormal stories add just enough darkness to keep her readers intrigued.

She is happily married to her Russell Crowe look-alike husband, and they have two terrific children. She lives in one of the many great towns on Long Island, New York and loves it, except for the traffic. Her favorite place in all the world is England’s Lake District, which may not come as a surprise since many of her stories are set in that idyllic landscape.

Collette Cameron: A bestselling, award-winning author, COLLETTE CAMERON pens Scottish and Regency historicals featuring rogues, rapscallions, rakes, and the intelligent, intrepid damsels who reform them.

Blessed with three spectacular children, fantastic fans, and a compulsive, over-active, and witty Muse who won’t stop whispering new romantic romps in her ear, she still lives in Oregon with dachshunds, though she dreams of living in Scotland part-time.

Admitting to a quirky sense of humor, Collette enjoys inspiring quotes, adores castles and anything cobalt blue, and is a self-confessed Cadbury chocoholic. You’ll always find dogs, birds, occasionally naughty humor, and a dash of inspiration in her sweet-to-spicy timeless romances.

Visit Collette’s website to peek into her author world: http://collettecameron.com

Ari Thatcher: USA Today Bestselling author Ari Thatcher is the naughty side of sweet romance author Aileen Fish. Ari has always loved sexy romance where love takes the leading role. Reviews have called her work “captivating” and “compelling”, and her characters “intelligent, intriguing and realistic.”

Sue London: Bestselling author Sue London created the beloved Regency romance series The Haberdashers. If you like your historical romance with a little action, a little humor, and a lot of strong-minded women, then this is the series for you!

Sue’s author website: http://bysuelondon.com

Tammy Andresen: USA Today Bestselling Author, Tammy Andresen lives with her husband and three children just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up on the Seacoast of Maine, where she spent countless days dreaming up stories in blueberry fields and among the scrub pines that line the coast. Her mother loved to spin a yarn and Tammy filled many hours listening to her mother retell the classics. It was inevitable that at the age of 18, she headed off to Simmons College, where she studied English literature and education. She never left Massachusetts but some of her heart still resides in Maine and her family visits often.

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Once upon a time seven historical romance authors created a fairy tale inspired Regency world with all the romance of Regency and timelessness of fairy tales.

Stolen by My Knave
 by Dawn Brower
As a child, Lady Elizabeth Kendall glimpsed an image of a handsome gentleman in her looking glass. Imagine her surprise when years later she meets the Duke of Whitewood, who bears a striking resemblance to her imaginary man. Will they accept fate’s decision or ignore all the signs that brought them together?

Enticed by Lady Elianna by Amanda Mariel
Lady Elianna has been forced into servitude by her cousin. Still she dares to dream. Lord Sinclair is intrigued by her and determined to discover her secrets. Might he be the key to her freedom?

The Ugly Duckling Debutante by Meara Platt
Gennalyn, a lonely young woman far from home thinks of herself as an outcast, ugly duckling. But Roarke, a much sought after war hero just returned home, sees her for the beautiful swan she truly is.

A Diamond for a Duke by Collette Cameron
A dour duke and a wistful wallflower–an impossible match until fate intervenes one enchanted night, resulting in a passionate interlude neither can forget.

His Elusive Nightingale by Ari Thatcher
When a pompous duke offers a large reward to anyone who’ll bring his favorite opera singer to perform for him, an amateur sleuth and the singer’s maid conspire to accomplish the challenge. Little does the sleuth know what intrigue lies ahead, and the damage a few passionate nights with a maid will do to his heart.

The Fairy Palace by Sue London
Lord Williams indulges his sheltered ‘cousin’ with the visit to London she always wanted. Now he’s in trouble that the Mad Clan may not be able to get him out of.

Hunting for A Lady’s Heart by Tammy Andresen
Lord William Fairfield is an experienced hunter, so when he encounters the beautiful, raven-haired Lady Eirwen White in the forest running for her life, he knows that he must use his skills to save her. But will Eirwen allow him to put his life at risk to aid her against her wicked stepmother?

Join us on a Regency adventure of love and romance with seven brand new stories by some of today’s most sought after authors in Regency Ever After: Timeless Tales and Fables 2

Blog Tour – Solomon’s Bell by Michelle Lowery Combs

author-pic-michelle-lowery-combsMichelle Lowery Combs is an award-winning writer and blogger who studied business and English at Jacksonville State University. She lives in Alabama with her husband and their army of children. When not in the presence of throngs of toddlers, tweens, and teens, Michelle can be found among the rows of her family’s farm, neglecting her roots and dreaming up the next bestseller.

She is a member of the Alabama Writers’ Conclave and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). Check Michelle out at her website MichelleLoweryCombs.com

Author Twitter       Publisher Twitter       Publisher Website

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07 Mar – Ash Stone Author
07 Mar – Indie Book Fairy
07 Mar – Stormy Nights
07 Mar – Teatime and Books
08 Mar – Romance Reviews Today
08 Mar – Tome Tender
08 Mar – Girl With Pen
09 Mar – Writing Dreams
13 Mar – Celtic Lady’s Reviews
13 Mar – Girl Who Reads

cover-solomons-bellTo save her family, Ginn uses her newfound genie powers to transport herself and her friends to 16th century Prague. Only one thing there remains the same as at home:  she can’t let anyone know what she really is.

The Emperor of Prague and those closest to him are obsessed with magic. In pursuit of it, they’ve waged war on the citizens of their city. In the citizens’ defense, someone has brought to life a golem, a dangerous being with connections to an artifact capable of summoning and commanding an entire army of genies.

Can Ginn escape the notice of the Emperor as she attempts to discover a way to defeat Prague’s golem in time to save her family from a similar creature?

Solomon’s Bell is the sequel to Heir to the Lamp and the second book of the Genie Chronicles series.

Grab your copy now!

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     iTunes     World Weaver Press

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Haley Hardy blinks up at me, her big blue eyes made larger with surprise. Haley’s the newbie: a tiny ten-year-old my family has been fostering for the last few months. Mom and Dad want to adopt Haley, but she hasn’t decided on Charles and Molly Lawson and their chaotic brood of six children yet.

“What’s up, Haley?” I ask, trying to sound as though I don’t know she’s seen me appear from out of nowhere. I turn my back to her, retrieve the lamp from the ground, and stuff it into my pack.

“Sixty-four percent of people believe the Loch Ness monster really exists,” Haley says in her high voice. “Of course, you’d have to use a point zero one significance level to test that claim; the survey I saw was online.”

Half the time I have no idea what Haley is talking about. She’s insanely smart—a genius even. I can practically feel my IQ plummet whenever I try to have a conversation with her.

“Um, really?” I ask, trying to imagine where this is going. Haley half turns toward the open door of the small barn as if she’s about to leave. I sigh with relief, but Haley seems to think better of it and turns to face me again.

“Did you know that there’s an ongoing project to have collected evidence validated by science and the Sasquatch officially recognized as a species?”

What? “Haley, where do you come up with this stuff?” I sink onto the wooden bench behind me, peering into the bright eyes of the strangest kid I’ve ever met.

“I like to read,” she says, looking away. Between her right thumb and first two thin fingers, Haley rolls the fat glass marble she carries with her at all times. Mom says it’s a kind of security object, like how some kids develop attachments to stuffed toys or blankets from their babyhood. Mom also says the rest of us kids shouldn’t make a huge deal about it. Haley’s been in six foster homes in five years, and Mom figures the marble could be a keepsake from her life before all that, though Haley hasn’t said as much. She’s so intense sometimes; I don’t think anyone knows what to make of her. Mom says some of the other foster families exploited Haley; she’s been on a major talk show and even won twenty-five thousand dollars for one of her foster families on some game show before they abandoned her on the steps of the Children’s Methodist Home on their way to Las Vegas. Watching her with her marble, seeing how slowly she works the ball of glass flecked with every color of the rainbow, I can tell I’ve hurt her feelings.

“Reading’s cool,” I say, hoping to reassure her. Sure, I thought about divorcing my parents when I found out we were taking in another kid, even when in the beginning the arrangement was supposed to be only temporary, but I kind of like the little brainiac. Mostly because of the way she’s able to keep Eli and Jasper in line. The Twosome are crazy about our new foster sister. Part of me is starting to wonder if Haley’s stats on Bigfoot could have anything to do with the boys’ obsession with B-grade horror movies.

“I’d be satisfied with being half as smart as you, Haley. I’m having the worst time in algebra.”

“Mr. Lawson is teaching me trigonometry,” Haley says brightening. “Algebra was a breeze.” My parents are homeschooling Haley; they say it’s for the best. She’d be at least a junior at my high school otherwise. I can imagine all four and a half feet of her struggling on tip-toe to reach a locker—that is if her statistics about the Loch Ness Monster didn’t get her stuffed into it. “I’m happy to tutor you,” she tells me.

“Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.”

I stand and watch Haley eye the backpack on my shoulder. She looks from my face to the pack a few times. I think she’s about to say something about what she’s seen or thinks she’s seen with the lamp when Jasper bursts through the barn door.

“Hay-wee!” he exclaims. “We need wou, quick! I fink we found a chupacabwa!”

“It’s highly unlikely that a goat sucker or el chupacabra would be found this far north of Latin America, Jasper,” Haley says. She corrects my seven-year-old brother even as she allows him to tug her excitedly from the barn.

 

 

Blog Tour – All She Never Wanted by Carolyn LaRoche

36651-author-pic-carolyn-laroche-343x400Carolyn LaRoche grew up in snow country but fled the cold and ice several years ago. She now lives near the beach with her husband, their two boys and one sweet kitty.

When she is not at the baseball field cheering on big hits and home runs, she is busy teaching science to unwilling teenagers.

Connect with her online… she’d love to hear from you!

Facebook

Goodreads

Twitter

Amazon

Blurb Skinny

One moment changed everything…cover-all-she-never-wanted-by-c-laroche

Evie Ward had everything she’d ever dreamed of. An action-packed job where no two shifts were ever the same, the best friend a girl could ever want, and a fairy tale wedding just days away. Her life was absolutely perfect. Until one bullet—one horrible choice—left her with a broken heart and shattered dreams. Fleeing the city she loved and a lifetime of memories, Evie took a job in the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the hopes that the ocean air and fresh beaches could somehow restore her soul. Falling in love again wasn’t part of the plan.

Landon Reed was on top of the world. The money, the women, the status—he had it all until one bad decision nearly cost him his life. His father gave him three months to get his act together or be cut off from the family fortune and business. No house, no job and no money. His will and his patience are tested further when his father hires a nurse to whip him into shape. She may be little but she’s mean and it looks like Landon has finally met his match.

With her shattered heart and his broken spirit, the road to recovery will be long. Can they help each other heal or will their fractured pasts be too much to overcome?

Grab your copy here…

Amazon          Barnes and Noble     iTunes

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tour-graphic-all-she-never-wanted
05 Jan – Stormy Nights
06 Jan – Tome Tender
10 Jan  – My Reading Room
11 Jan – CA Milson Author
12 Jan – Girl With Pen
12 Jan – Writing Dreams
13 Jan – Stephanie’s Book Reviews
13 Jan – The Write Path
14 Jan – Cynthia Bloggs
16 Jan – Celtic Lady’s Reviews

16 Jan – Indie Book Fairy
17 Jan – Ash Stone Author

 

Excerpt skinny

“Good morning, Landon!” Amelia hummed a little tune quietly as she set up the bedside table. “It’s a beautiful day, today. Perhaps you’d like to go down to the beach after your physical therapy appointment?”

I pulled the covers over my head. “I changed my mind. I’m not going to any appointment.”

“Come on, Landon. You can’t spend the rest of your life sitting here in this room.”

“Yes, I can.”

“You are going to physical therapy.” The covers disappeared from my face as I looked up into the smiling grey eyes of Amelia. “Rise and shine!”

“I’m not getting up.” I buried my head under my pillow.

Amelia walked toward the door. “Maybe you’ll have better luck with him.”

“Good morning, Mr. Reed. Do you plan to stay in bed all day?” A different voice, one thick with the distinctive accent of New York City replaced Amelia’s soft southern sound.

“What’s it to you?”

“Well, it’s all the same to me if you want to rot away in that bed. I get paid either way.” I heard soft footsteps cross the room toward the little sitting area.

Rolling over on my side, I shifted the pillow enough to peek out. From my vantage point, all I could see was a pair of canvas shoes. The television turned on. I heard her flip through channels, finally settling on that home improvement show with the twin brothers. Every woman I knew loved them.

“Nobody watches those stupid shows anymore.”

Either she didn’t hear me or she was ignoring me.

“Those shows are ridiculous.” I made sure to project my voice from under the pillow.

“No more ridiculous than a grown man hiding under a pillow and acting like a two-year-old.”

I threw the covers off and shot up to a sitting position, ignoring the burning pain in my leg. “What the fuck is your prob…” Holy shit. The woman sitting on the couch looking at the television and completely ignoring me wasn’t hideous or horrible. In fact, she was fucking hot. “Who the hell are you?”  I knew exactly who she was.

She looked over at me, boredom in her expression, before returning her attention to the television. “The nurse your father hired. Who do you think I am?”

“I don’t need a nurse.”

“I agree.” She flipped the channel to a news program and grimaced. “The way you’re acting, you need a nanny.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I turned so I could swing my legs over the side of the bed, my knee making my movements jerky not angry and pronounced like I’d intended.

“It means, you can’t even dress yourself so how can anyone expect you to do anything?”

I followed her glance down to my lap. “See something you like?

“Nope. I’m a nurse. I’ve seen worse. Of course, I’ve seen better too. Much better.” She clicked to another station. I could have sworn I saw her lip twitch as I growled over her insult.

“Just get out. I don’t need you. Tell my father to go to hell.”

She tossed the remote control on the coffee table and checked her watch. “You have ten minutes to get ready for physical therapy or I’m taking you the way you are.”

I pulled the sheet onto my lap and crossed my arms over my bare chest. “I already told Amelia, I’m not going.”

“You are going to get dressed.” She stood and looked me in the eye. “You’re down to nine minutes.”

“And just how do you expect me to get down all of those stairs?”

“The same way you got up them. Walter showed me the elevator.”

Damn it. I was hoping she hadn’t found that yet. “Are you planning to watch?”

“Watch what? There’s nothing to see.” She dropped her gaze to my lap and gave me a little smile that was way more taunting than friendly.

“Fine. Suit yourself.” I whipped the sheet back and reached for my wheelchair. Instead of turning away, she stayed right where she was with that little smile dancing around on her lips. With about as much grace as a bull in a china shop, I managed to get from the bed to the chair while she just stood there and watched.

“I thought you were supposed to be here to help me.”

“You didn’t say you needed my assistance.”

“Really? I had to ask? Isn’t that what you are here for?”

“Let’s get something straight, Mr. Reed.” She put her hands on her hips and glared at me. “I’m a trauma trained RN. I am not your maid or your gopher or any other thing. It is my job to get you back on your feet both literally and figuratively. I’ll handle your medical care and your personal care as needed but I am not at your beck and call.”

“Just get out of my way so I can get dressed.” I pushed past her to the large walk-in closet and started grabbing clothes. Dragging a pair of sweats, some boxer briefs and a t-shirt into the bathroom, I struggled my way into them. The doctors had promised me that things would get easier once the pain wasn’t so excruciating but my knee just refused to bend like it used to.

When I was done, I ran a comb through my wild hair, mostly so I won’t have to see the look on Amelia’s face when we leave the house.

“Come on, we’re going to be late!” The nurse called.

“I’m coming already!” I whipped open the bathroom door and scowled at her. “You never told me your name.”

She shrugged. “You never asked.”

She was fucking infuriating—despite the way her long brown hair tumbled in sexy waves over her shoulder from the pony tail it was secured in.

“Fine. What is your name?”

“Evie.”

“What’s your real name?”

“That is my real name.” She stepped behind me and turned the wheel chair toward the door. She stopped and grabbed a pair of tennis shoes from the floor, placing them in my lap.

“I meant, is Evie short for something?”

“Yes.” She pushed the chair down the hall toward the door at the end and pressed the button for the small service elevator—the number one reason I had chosen the beach house as my home base after the accident.

“Are you going to tell me what it is?” The elevator opened and Evie pushed me inside.

“Nope.”

“Why not?”

“It’s none of your business. You can call me Evie or nurse. That’s all you need to know about me.”

“Anyone ever tell you that you can be a real bitch?”

“Honey, I grew up in New York. They teach a class on that in high school.”

The door opened at the ground level. Evie pushed me out of the elevator and down the ramp Walter had constructed to get me in and out of the house.

“I’m going out on a limb here but I bet you aced that class.”

“You’re smarter than you look, Mr. Reed.”

Blog Tour – The Pact by Brantwijn Serrah

100_1651When she isn’t visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills  her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends.

She can’t handle coffee unless there’s enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you.

She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours on end sketching characters and scenes in her secret notebooks.

Facebook     Goodreads     Amazon     Google+     YouTube Channel     Foreplay and Fangs     Blog     Twitter 

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cover-the-pactFleshlings and darklings… Rune-weavers and demons… When you walk in the land of the Reaper, who will survive?

Serenity Walker has cast runes for as long as she can remember. Her teachers call her a prodigy, and her secret studies hold the key to unlimited potential. Once an orphan left on an old woman’s doorstep, Serenity finally belongs. But when her mentor is murdered right in front of her, her hopes of a home die with him.

Her quest for vengeance leads her into a dangerous deal with a demon. Armed with its dark power and her own talent with the runes, she blazes a trail across the lands where ranchers and railroad men are kings, where the prevailing law is the law of the gun. To find the man who reshaped her past, Serenity offers up her future. She’ll face a world where weavers are hunted down to be hanged, whipped, or burned alive…but she won’t face it alone.

As Serenity’s mission takes her farther than most weavers are willing to go, she’ll have to decide who her true enemy is: the wicked men of the world, or the powerful demon inside her.

Buy your copy now!     Amazon     Champagne Books

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A Rafflecopter giveaway

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The monk stood in wait for her, halfway up the aisle. He’d appeared out of nowhere again, quick and quiet as a scavenging rat, and glared at her with eyes full of mean shock and disgust.

“Witch,” he spat. “I knew it as soon as I saw you. Devil! Bride of—”

Serenity threw the sigh of fehu at him, the sign of the cattle’s horns, and it caught him high in the chest to send him stumbling backward. The power issued forth a bit weaker than usual. Her demon felt suffocated in the holy place, sapped by the wards against their kind and hollowed out by the ravaging spells she’d twisted back in the tavern. But it cast the insufferable priest to the stone, striking him down with a callous resentment, and she stalked across the aisle at him.

“How dare you come into this place of worship!” he sputtered, crawling backward on his behind as she came closer. “How dare you—”

“How dare I?” she snarled.

“Murderer!”

“All I wanted was a place to rest for the night,” she muttered. “A room and a bed, and to be left alone. I didn’t come here to harm anyone. But somehow I get you, chastising me in the street, thinking to tell me what I can and can’t wear even while you sit there ogling, and I get your servants breaking into my room and burning years and years’ worth of study, and then I get a mob of your people screaming for my blood, planning on hanging me in the middle of the night. And you, padre, you have the gall to call me a murderer?”

“The Lord will repay you in kind!” the priest shrieked. “When you come here, doing the devil’s work! Wearing his symbol upon your breast! Whore! Devil’s whore!”

She leaned down and grabbed him by the front of his robes, pulling him up to meet her eyes.

“You’re right,” she hissed. “I do the devil’s work. I wear his mark. I traffic with demons and I command their power. So it might have been wise of you and your people not to piss me off.”

Blog Tour – Meddlers of Moonshine by A.E. Decker

author-photo-ae-deckerA.E. Decker hails from Pennsylvania. A former doll-maker and ESL tutor, she earned a master’s degree in history, where she developed a love of turning old stories upside-down to see what fell out of them.

This led in turn to the writing of her YA novel, The Falling of the Moon. A graduate of Odyssey 2011, her short fiction has appeared in such venues as Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Fireside Magazine, and in World Weaver Press’s own Specter Spectacular.

Like all writers, she is owned by three cats. Come visit her, her cats, and her fur Daleks at wordsmeetworld.com.

Twitter     Goodreads

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cover-meddlers-of-moonshineSomething is rotten in the town of Widget, and Rags-n-Bones knows it’s all his fault. Ever since he snitched that avocado from Miss Ascot’s pack, things have been going wrong. Armed with a handful of memories he never realized he had, Rags-n-Bones searches for a way to put right whatever he did to Widget in the past. If only he knew what it was! Unfortunately, the only person who seems to have answers is a half-mad youth that only Rags can see.

Widget is also suffering from a ghost infestation that has the townsfolk almost as spooked of outsiders as they are of actual spooks. While Rags-n-Bones seeks answers in the past, Ascot offers the town leaders her service as an exorcist, only to be handed an ultimatum: banish the ghosts or be banished herself!

Who’s meddling with Widget? To catch the culprit, Ascot and Rags-n-Bones must match wits with a shifty sorcerer, a prissy ex-governess, and a troublingly attractive captain before the town consigns itself to the graveyard of history.

Buy your copy here

Amazon      Barnes & Noble      Kobo     iTunes      World Weaver Press

 

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the-meddlers-of-moonshine-blog-tour

24 Oct – Book, Dreams, Life
25 Oct – Celtic Lady’s Reviews
25 Oct – Girl With Pen
26 Oct – Savvy Authors
27 Oct – Romance Reviews Today
27 Oct – Ash Stone Author
27 Oct – Stephanie’s Book Reviews
28 Oct – Writing Dreams
28 Oct – Romancing the Book
28 Oct – Indie Book Fairy
28 Oct  – Reading In Sarah’s Corner
29 Oct – Stormy Nights
30 Oct – Shelli Rosewarne
30 Oct – Cynthia Bloggs
30 Oct – Making It Happen
03 Oct  – Dana’s YA Book Pile

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There was a hand in the forest, and it held an avocado.

“Miss Ascot bought it for me,” said Rags-n-Bones, clutching it to his chest as he ran. The dead leaves crunched softly underfoot, thick and bouncy as a crispy cloud. “That means it’s not stealing.”

On his shoulder, Nipper squeaked. Being a rat, Nipper was hazy on the concept of “stealing.” Generally, he felt if you could get something in your mouth, it was yours.

Rags-n-Bones wished he were a rat. It would make dealing with guilt much easier. I should never have rummaged through Miss Ascot’s pack, he thought, ducking around a birch. His thumb caressed the avocado’s soft, pebbly skin. If I’d waited, she, or the Captain, or Sir Dmitri, or the Mighty Terror from the Deepest Shadows would’ve awakened and given it to me. He leaped over a log, mouth watering in anticipation of the avocado’s rich, buttery flavor. I should go back right now and—

Squeak? Nipper stuck his nose in Rags-n-Bones’ ear impatiently.

Rags-n-Bones gave up. He’d take whatever punishment arrived later. Right now, the torment of not eating the avocado was too great to bear. “There’s a grove up ahead,” he replied. “Around that cone-shaped boulder. We’ll eat it there.” Avocados required privacy for proper consumption.

How could you possibly know there’s a grove ahead? asked a small part of his brain not drunk on avocado-lust. You’ve never been here before.

He shrugged. Ahead just seemed like a convenient place for a grove. A small circle of beech trees, with an old oak smack in the center, its gnarled, moss-covered roots gripping the hummock it sat atop like an old man clutching a tea cake.

A foot skidded out from under him as he rounded the boulder, kicking up a trail of wet leaves and the smell of tannin. That’s a lot of detail for a mere hunch. Why, you can visualize the oak, can’t you? That thick, knobby trunk. Those bare, crooked branches. And carved into the bark—

Six feet into the grove, Rags-n-Bones stumbled to a halt and stared vacantly at a patch of earth. Something was very wrong. Was he being watched?

He whimpered. He was being watched. A disapproving stare pressed almost tangibly on the top of his bowed head. Branches swayed creakily overhead. He watched the wind skitter a fallen acorn across the carpet of leaves.

Squeak? Nipper scrabbled at his cheek.

I have to do it. Slowly, Rags-n-Bones lifted his gaze to meet the watcher’s.

The avocado hit the leaves with a soft crunch as his fingers abruptly slackened. Punishment had arrived sooner than expected.

Blog Tour – On A Black Horse by Monica Corwin

Monica
Monica Corwin is an outspoken writer attempting to make romance accessible to everyone, no matter their preference.

As a Northern Ohioian Monica enjoys snow drifts, three seasons of weather, and a dislike of Michigan. When not writing Monica spends time with her daughter and her ever growing collection of tomes about King Arthur.

Facebook               Twitter                        Website

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cover-on-a-black-horseWhen a Sun God makes a prophecy, it’s best to heed the warning.

Katherine stands on the edge of ruin. With Ragnarok in full swing and her friends off finding thier own lives she can’t find a purpose in her existence. When Baldr, their missing Sun God, kidnaps Katherine and entreats her to care for his friend, a wounded hellhound, Katherine makes a selfish choice for the first time in her life.

Arwan never expected to meet a God, let alone fight a group of them to begin the Apocalypse. After the battle between Bianca, the Horseman of Conquest, and Hel, the Goddess of the Underworld, Arwan, escapes home to the Welsh coast intent to die on his own land.

With Hel dead, the Horseman believe they’ve stalled Ragnarok. But Baldr has a dream that convinces the Horseman to take out the remaining hounds loyal to Hel which includes the incapacitated Arwan.

Can Katherine go against her friends to save a man she promised to protect? Even if Arwan could end the Horseman for good?

Click HERE to buy your copy!

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Excerpt

The woman shifted in the arm chair and then rocketed to standing. She blinked at the fire and then around the room spinning slowly until her eyes locked on Baldir. “YOU! What the hell is wrong with you? How could you just abduct me like that? I have a cell phone. You could ask for anything and I would give it if it were in my power.”

Arwan looked her over again from the soles of her scuffed up sneakers to the skinny jeans hugging the strong curve of her upper thighs and the purple tank top that set off the olive tone of her smooth skin. “Are you a genie?”

Her eyes locked on his and for a moment he could swear he felt something melt within him under that fiery gaze. “Who the hell are you?”

“I could ask you the same question since you are standing in my house.”

She threw up her hands. “I don’t want to be in your house. I was brought against my will.”

They both looked to Baldir who wore a sheepish grin and a pink flush.

He stood so he could look between them both. “Ok look.” He faced the woman. “If I had asked you to come here you would have refused. I know it.” Then he turned to Arwan. “And you would have been your surly self about the whole thing and just died out of spite instead of letting me get help.”

Arwan glared at him. He’d been called surly, pig-headed, and any other synonym of stubborn over the years. He took a deep breathe and glanced back at the woman. “Fine, again I ask who are you?”

She crossed her arms under her breasts. He couldn’t help but notice the full weight of them propped up by her forearms. He shook that thought path off. He was dying, there was no time for thoughts like that. “My name is Arwan.”

She huffed. “Katherine.”

“So what are you then?”

Katherine shuffled from foot to foot. “I’m a barista.”

Baldir interjected. “She owns a coffee shop. It’s in New York City, no less. She’s a little more than a barista. Not that her coffee making skills will apply in this situation.”

“Why am I here?” Katherine asked still clutching herself tightly while attempting to give off more attitude than Arwan could see she possessed. Some of her brown hair had escaped it’s confines casting a halo around her head in wavy curls. She looked so young, so innocent to be involved in their world.

“No.” Arwan pushed himself off the bed with effort. His forehead sprouted a fine sheen of swear by the time he reached his full height. She barely stood as tall as his chin but at 6’4 he towered over most people. “She is too innocent for this. I won’t corrupt another poor soul to save myself.”

He tried to move toward her but caught the chair the wrong way and went down. Her arms were around him before he hit the floor and she set him carefully on the scuffed and aged hardwood.

“You’re hurt,” she said, softly, still holding him.

The heat of her body sunk into him reaching those dark places long chilled by the absence of others. She smelled of chocolate and coffee beans. A heady scent comforting him before he that realization set in.

Other books in the series…

On A Red Horse (Book 1)
On A White Horse (Book 2)

 

 

Blog Tour – Decoherence by Liana Brooks

author-pic-liana-brooks
Liana Brooks writes science fiction and sci-fi romance for people who like fast ships, big guns, witty one-liners, and happy endings. She lives in Alaska with her husband, four kids, and giant mastiff puppy. When she isn’t writing she enjoys hiking the Chugach Range, climbing glaciers, and watching whales.

Social Media Links:

New Release Newsletter | GoodReads | Amazon Author Page

Website: www.lianabrooks.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LianaBrooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ByLianaBrooks/

 

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Readers of Blake Crouch’s DARK MATTER and Wesely Chu’s TIME SALVAGER will love Liana Brooks’ DECOHERENCE–the thrilling, time-bending conclusion to the Time & Shadow series!

cover-decoherenceSamantha Rose and Linsey MacKenzie have established an idyllic life of married bliss in Australia, away from the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, away from mysterious corpses, and—most of all—away from Dr. Emir’s multiverse machine.

But Sam is a detective at heart, and even on the other side of the world, she can’t help wonder if a series of unsolved killings she reads about are related—not just to each other, but to the only unsolved case of her short career.

She knows Jane Doe’s true name, but Sam never discovered who killed the woman found in an empty Alabama field in spring of 2069. She doesn’t even know which version of herself she buried under a plain headstone.

When Mac suddenly disappears, Sam realizes she is going to once more be caught up in a silent war she still doesn’t fully understand. Every step she takes to save Mac puts the world she knows at risk, and moves her one step closer to becoming the girl in the grave.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo |  HarperCollins | Google Play | iBooks

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decoherence-blog-tour12 Sept – Book Girl Knitting
13 Sept – Indy Book Fairy
15 Sept – Books on Fire
15 Sept – Torie James
16 Sept – Writing Dreams
16 Sept – Romance Reviews Today
17 Sept – Stormy Nights
18 Sept – Shelli Rosewarne
18 Sept – Cynthia Bloggs
20 Sept – Romancing the Book
23 Sept – Girl With Pen
03 Oct  – Literary Misfit
13 Oct   – Patricia Stoltey
14 Oct   – Celtic Lady
17 Oct   – Night Owl Reviews

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Decoherence (n): a period of time when all iterations collapse and there is only one possible reality.

~ Excerpt from Definitions of Time by Emmanuela Pine, I1

Day 247

Year 5 of Progress

Capitol Spire

Main Continent

Iteration 17—Fan 1

… three. Rose stood and peered through the frosted, warped glass of the conference room as the speaker turned away. It didn’t matter which iteration she was in, Emir was predictable. She had seven seconds to do a head count. She didn’t need that long.

A quick head count was all it took to confirm that the einselected nodes she’d been sent to assassinate were where they belonged.

Every iteration had nodes, people or events that kept that variation of human history from collapsing. Dr. Emir had created a machine that allowed people not only to move along their own timeline, but at critical convergence points, it allowed them to cross between realities. But the Mechanism for Iteration Alignment’s greatest ability was the one that allowed Dr. Emir and Central Command to steer history by erasing futures they didn’t want.

Rose knelt beside the door, did one final sweep for alarms, and nodded for her team to move in. It was her job to cross at convergence points, kill the nodes, and collapse the futures that no one wanted.

One look at the version of herself watching this iteration’s Emir with rapt fascination was enough to make Rose want to snip this future in the bud.

Chubby was the first thing that came to mind. Rose’s doppelganger was enjoying being at the top of the social pyramid and probably gorging on whatever passed as a delicacy here. The squared bangs with a streak of riotous red only accented the corpulence and lack of self-control the inferior other had.

Even with a heavy wood door between them, Rose could hear that this iteration’s Emir was hypothesizing things the MIA was never meant to do. Everyone with half a brain knew that decoherence didn’t combine iterations, it crushed them. Only the true timeline, the Prime, would survive decoherence. Planning to welcome and integrate doppelgangers into the society was pure idiocy.

The techs sealing the door shut gave her the high sign.

Rose nodded to her hacker.

“Cameras locked. Security is deaf and blind, ma’am” Logan’s voice was a soft whisper in her earpiece. He was a genius with computer systems, a fact that had saved him when they collapsed I-38 three years ago. “We have a fifteen-minute window.”

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Blog Tour – Coming In Hot Medical Romance Boxed Set

Joy’s Edge By D.F. Krieger

from the Coming In Hot Medical Romance Box Set (featuring 22 talented authors)

df-author-picWhen D. F. Krieger was banned from writing contests at her school, she immediately set it in her head that she would become a professional writer. Since then, she has thrown away her plans of world domination through books, but she still enjoys writing. By the time she pens her final book with a hand ravaged by age, she hopes to introduce her readers to many alternate worlds, lines of thinking, and captivating characters.

When she’s not writing, she can be found surrounded by rescue cats who call her, “Mom” while she’s cross-stitching, crocheting, painting, or playing video games. Her family loves that she plays video games, though they refuse to play first person shooter games against her anymore because she makes an awesome sniper.

You can find D. F. on the East Coast, hiding away from the real world with a gleam in her eye and a plot in her head. She resides with her husband, kids, and pets; who all kindly put up with her random bouts of laughter—over things she can’t explain—and journal collecting fetish.

Wanna keep an eye on D. F. online? You can find her at her website dfkrieger.com where she updates what she’s working on and occasionally posts to a blog.

Social Media Links: https://www.facebook.com/cominginhotboxedset/

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cover-joys-edgeJoy’s Edge by D.F. Krieger 

Joy wants two things from life—to be the best damn veterinarian possible, and to meet a Dom who can handle her deepest desires. The problem is finding a man who knows the difference between “no” and “make me.”

When a new potential Dom starts messaging her on the kink site she frequents, she’s torn between making her dreams a reality or letting her desires be nothing more than talk.

coming-in-hot-promoBoxed Set Blurb:
Get a dose of romance, STAT! **Brand New and Exclusive** novella to novel length books.

Featuring NYT, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling authors, we’re Coming In Hot with paranormal to contemporary, and sizzling to seductive bedside manners by the doctors, nurses, paramedics, and more in this boxed set.

BUY NOW! Amazon     Nook      ARE

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joys-edge-blog-tour
05 Sept – Erzabet’s Enchantments
08 Sept – Indy Book Fairy
08 Sept – Books on Fire
08 Sept – Foreplay & Fangs
08 Sept – Torie James
08 Sept – Romancing the Book
10 Sept – Stormy Nights
11 Sept – Shelli Rosewarne
11 Sept – Cynthia Bloggs
13 Sept – Romance Reviews Today
22 Sept – Celtic Lady
07 Oct – Night Owl Reviews

 

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I clicked the computer off without responding to that. How was I supposed to? I’d tried to dominate him, flat out. The man had effectively turned the situation around to his advantage. As much as it chaffed, it also thrilled me. Maybe I’d well and truly met my match. But would I give in to his command?

Knowing time was of the essence, I darted to the bathroom and took a shower. The idea of going to dinner wreaking of barn, antiseptic, and cleaning agents didn’t appeal to me. I was sure it wouldn’t exactly incite desire in my dinner date either. Then again, he’d seemed perfectly at home in the barn. Normally, I would have enjoyed my little friend I had stashed in the shower, but I’d set a pretty restrictive time limit so the vibrator would have to wait…again.

“If I don’t get some kind of action before this night is over, by his hand or mine, I’m going to scream,” I grumbled to myself as I towel-dried my hair.

I picked out a cute little sundress that fell just past my knees. A date was a date, after all. When it came time to slip my panties on, I hesitated. Would he really spank me in the parking lot? How would he know if I didn’t wear them? Maybe I should wear them, then decide over dinner whether they stayed after I had a chance to get an idea of his personality.

Yes, that’s what I’d do. I would wear the damn things, and see if he was even worth taking them off for.

Blog Tour – Love Theories by C Clark Jefferson

Author Pic C Clark JeffersonC Clark Jefferson is a correspondent, blogger, playwright, speaker and writing coach. She was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and has been writing since the age of nine.

She obtained her MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management and studied abroad in London, United Kingdom while attending undergraduate school.

Love Theories Short Stories Collection is her new release.

Author Website

 

Blurb Skinny

ICover - Love Theories by C Clark Jeffersonn our lifetime, we all experience it. It’s that intimate tugging at our heart that controls our thoughts and our actions. Love Theories is a fly-on-the-wall moment into how others interpret and ultimately function given varying heart-to-heart interactions involving the universal feeling of LOVE.

Xiomora is a bi-racial teen struggling to find her place in life. Antonia, a recent college grad, meets a disc jockey and ends up in a world of trouble. A blue-collar working Wyatt, battles an unfair system to clear his name after his wife’s sudden disappearance. Majesty and Ainslie, best friends, face life challenges but with different responses. Jordan—the fearless, punctual, and sometimes ruthless venture capitalist—stands her ground in a male dominated industry. A Barbadian girl with big dreams leaves her home country in pursuit of higher education in the United States. A career-driven Angelina, once blinded by love, tries to give Cupid’s arrow another chance despite her mother’s interference. And the list goes on along this journey into the lives of an interracial couple, a culturally-biased doctor, a fraud examiner who has to withdraw from a case that involves her ex-lover, a rich man seeker, and a single mom who left her former church on bad terms.

They are each normal, everyday people, but they all are dealing with the most common and universal emotion known to man. Love Theories asks the question: How do YOU equate LOVE?

Buy your copy now

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Love Theories Blog Tour

28 June – Indy Book Fairy
30 June – Books on Fire
01 July – Night Owl Reviews
01 July – Room with Books
02 July – Books & More
03 July – Stormy Nights
03 July – Shelli Rosewarne
03 July – Cynthia Bloggs
04 July – Erzabet’s Enchantments

 

Excerpt skinny

In The Middle

The breezy weather blows the palm tree leaves in a mild way as the green-violet colored hummingbird sucks out the nectar from one of her neighbor’s plants. Out of nowhere, a large honey bee goes around in circles, making loud buzzing noises while she’s moving in the opposite direction, trying to fan the stinging creature away from her. Obviously the Cotton Candy scented Calgon body mist she sprayed after swim class caught the bee’s attention. Just like Calgon’s slogan, she was hoping the day would could where someone would take her away from the madness at home.

The cookie-cutter, Orange County homes with driveways filled with cars, motorcycles, and children playing in the nearby park, wasn’t much different than the interior of her home. It was a neighborhood that screamed of peace, comfort and security.

Looks can be deceiving.

Before reaching the steps to the house, a sharp pain rushed through her ear, reminding her of that terrible day.
“Look at you. Rough hair, light eyes, thick lips and you’re much too big for a Chinese girl. You won’t make any friends. In my country, your kind is nothing more than peasant farmers.” Her mother spoke in a tone slightly above a whisper as her daughter’s eyes began to flood her face with tears.

“Showing feelings means no self-control.” A grin appears moments before the wooden spoon is swung across her daughter’s head. And to make matters worse, this was her first day of starting kindergarten.

As the door opens, she sees her mother mopping the kitchen floor. A curt whisper of “hello” escapes her lips as she makes a beeline to her room. The blinking cursor on the blank email silently mocked Xiomora as she stared at the computer screen in front of her. Mei enters the room without as much as a knock on the door.

“Is something wrong?”

Xiomora has been through this same routine enough times to know that something’s behind the act of kindness coming from her mother’s lips.

“No, mother, nothing’s wrong.”

Mei stares for a moment, but Xiomora continues to sit at the computer, staring at nothing and praying that she could be left alone. Immediately, the door is shut and Xiomora is happy as a clam in high tide. At times, she feels like Waverly from The Joy Luck Club. Just like Waverly, she’s criticized by her mother for having too many American ways, which puts a relationship barrier between the two of them. Just like Lindo Jong, Mei left her home country under unfavorable terms and hasn’t gotten mentally acclimated with North America. Bother Waverly’s and Xiomora’s mothers wanted them to become a prodigy for showoff purposes.

Xiomora goes to her Facebook account and her friends Svetlana, Kate, and Moon’s pages. Svetlana’s part Russian and Native American. She used to attend UHS with Xiomora, but her family moved to a small British Virgin Island of Bequia to tend to their boating business. She’s tall, blond, slim, piercing baby blue eyes and has the typical directness of an Eastern European. Kate, on the other hand, is popular, a teen model, fashionista, and a little envious of Xiomora because her runway walk is better. Moon is the complete opposite of all four. The raspberry colored haired, gothic-clothing wearing Latino hodgepodge, likes to smoke and read about Astrology. Xiomora looks at pictures of Kate’s modeling shoot on her page.

I wanted to be a model, but she prefers the violin and I hate that thing. She says inside her mind. Kate must have read her mind because she sends a chat message to Xiomora.

“How’s everything with you and your mom?” she asks out of pure concern.

“The same,” Xiomora quickly responds without giving it a moment’s thought.

She then types, “Hello” in the small chat box to Moon, but she hasn’t noticed that Moon has already logged out.

Svetlana sends an inbox message to her.

Before she could respond to her friend, she hears her mother’s footsteps a distance away from the room. To be on the safe side, Xiomora abruptly shuts down her computer. She then lays on her bed to listen to music. Xiomora had used her savings from her allowance to buy a MP3/MP4 player so she could have a chance to listen to music that she liked. She setup a password on her laptop to make sure that her mother couldn’t repeat her previous action of deleting all her old songs and replacing them with classical and traditional Chinese music.

“Mei, why did you do that?” Mr. Greene was home from work early one day and clearly not in the mood for nonsense.

Mei proceeded to tell her father every associated superstition she could think of as rationale for why she changed the music. Mr. Greene, on the other hand, had no problem with the music selection she listened to. His main concern as a parent was to keep her off the pole and to make sure she didn’t follow the tradition of some of his trifling sisters and nieces by depending on the government system for the rest of her life. He was willing to work three jobs a day to make sure that never happened.

“You’ve been home all day, why is this house untidy?” Clyde asked his wife in a mean manner.

Mei remained silent.

Clyde is offended, “Mei did you hear what I just said?”

Not in the mood to be confrontational with him, she quickly spits, “I was getting around to it.”

She walks away without giving him a chance to ask anything else. Xiomora is glad Mei was out of sight, so she resumes listening to her music while Clyde walks to his study.

Later that same day, Mei still tried to harass Xiomora. While behind the sanctity of her closed bedroom door, Xiomora heard her mother’s footsteps long before she came barging in.

The weekend came and went. Monday evening came quicker than a black mamba hunts down its prey. Xiomora had a light day at school, no homework and she was in her room reading a fashion magazine. As usual her mother was in one of her moments. “Why aren’t you reading music sheets?” She sighed loudly when she noticed that the wooden spoon hadn’t hit XiXi as intended. “When you come home, you are to study violin.”

After her initial questioning, Mei began to chastise Xiomora for not being smart and dependent like traditional Asian girls and belittling her for not having a GPA over 4.0.

“I’ll excuse your ignorance since you are part of that other race.”

Not believing what she just heard, Xiomora was speechless. Her father happened to be standing behind his wife. He took off his glasses and gave Mei a disgusted look before uttering, “What did you just say?”