Till Death Us Do Part – Cristina Slough

 

 

Till Death Us Do Part
Cristina Slough
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: December 29th 2015
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

The fateful day Mimi Marcus has dreaded begins with a phone call…

The wife of a U.S. Marine, Mimi spent countless nights worried that her husband Joel would fall in the line of duty. He had fought valiantly and served his country with honor. That’s exactly what they tell her when they deliver the news—Joel was taken by the enemy in Afghanistan. Her husband is dead.

In desperate need of closure, Mimi travels to the one place Joel still has ties—The Marcus Ranch in Texas, inherited by his handsome younger brother Austin.

New beginnings are only an illusion…

The closer Mimi grows to the Marcus family, the more she considers it home. But when suspicions of Joel’s past surface, Austin refuses to disclose family secrets—even to his brother’s widow. It’s only by accident she uncovers evidence of Joel’s tainted past. Devastated by his lies and betrayal, she slowly opens up to Austin, and together they unfold layers of pain and grief.

Mimi is sure she’ll never love again, but is Austin the man to prove her wrong? Then the unthinkable happens…

Just as Mimi finds new hope in a future with Austin, Joel returns home from war. Enraged, traumatized, and teetering on the edge of insanity, Joel confesses to a history of deception, revealing yet another secret—this one too terrible to forgive.

In an awful twist of fate, Joel proves marriage vows are made to be honored.

No matter what.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes

Teaser 4 Till Death Us Do Part

EXCERPT:

Mimi had been dreaming of a storm. Heavy rain, violent claps of thunder, and lightning flashing simultaneously.

She saw Joel, reaching out for her, his body bloody and wet. She awoke in the darkened room. It was 2:17 a.m.—the exact time she had woken up for three nights in a row. She slipped out of bed, her pyjama bottoms loose around her ever-shrinking waist. The air was freezing. She dashed across the room to wrap herself in the fleecy dressing gown her mother had just bought her for Christmas.

6:47 a.m. in Afghanistan.

Her stomach growled, begging for food. She couldn’t eat. She clicked onto her Twitter feed to check for more updates since the suicide bombing in Kabul, which had claimed at least six—two were American Marines.

Mimi had contacted the Embassy several times, but nobody could tell her anything. The pain of not knowing was taking away her ability to breathe normally. The silence was too loud. She had tried to remember their last conversation. Did she tell him that she loved him? Words so quick to fall off the tongue to end a phone call. Love you—bye. Often she had felt like she was holding a grenade—being the wife of a Marine, always waiting for a letter, hearing his voice, waiting for news that he was alive or dead.

Playlist:

 

Author Bio: Novelist, movie addict, and animal lover, Cristina Slough is the author of Till Death Us Do Part, her debut novel.

Cristina has always been a bookworm, rarely seen without a pen and paper in her hand, she loves delving into a literacy fictional world of her own.

At the age of 11, her junior school teacher told her mother that she would be wasting her life if she didn’t become an author. Throughout her teenage years and beyond, her parents spurred her on to keep writing. She later began a career in commercial real estate, working in London’s West End, a corporate bubble where she was unable to fuel her passion to write.

It was on her Californian honeymoon in 2012 that the bug to write was becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. After visiting Yosemite National Park she was inspired by the natural beauty of the land that surrounded her. Holding a special place in her heart, Yosemite would later be written into her debut novel.

She finally gave up the ‘big smoke’ when her son, Lucas, was born in October 2013.

When Lucas was a newborn, Cristina was told to sleep when the baby sleeps. She never could. There was a calling inside her to write. After getting to grips with her new role as a mother, she began working a psychological thriller, but she couldn’t fully connect to the characters she created. She ditched the manuscript and started Till Death Us Do Part (Limitless Publishing, 2015).

Cristina is married to Adam, who runs a successful business; together they share their Bedfordshire home with their son, crazy white German Shepherd and three spoiled cats. They can be found trekking through woodlands, or around the many shops Cristina loves to explore. As a family, they love to travel frequently, the United States being a firm favorite.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Hosted by:

ButtonXBT1

Call Me Maybe – Ellie Cahill AVAILABLE TODAY!

Enter to Win a $25.00 Amazon eGift Card

 

CALL ME, MAYBE

Ellie Cahill

Releasing on February 9, 2016

Loveswept

 

 

 Ellie Cahill is definitely one to watch!” raves bestselling author Cora Carmack, and this steamy, upbeat modern romance about connecting in all the best ways proves it once again.

Clementine Daly knows she’s the black sheep. Her wealthy, powerful family has watched her very closely since she almost got caught in an embarrassing scandal a few years ago. So when Clementine’s sent on a mission to live up to the Daly name, politely declining isn’t an option. Of course, the last thing she does before boarding the plane is to grab a stranger’s phone by mistake—leaving the hunky journalist with her phone. Soon his sexy voice is on the line, but he doesn’t know her real name, or her famous pedigree—which is just the way Clementine likes it.

Despite all the hassles, Justin Mueller is intrigued to realize that the beautiful brown-eyed girl he met at the airport is suddenly at his fingertips. They agree to exchange phones when they’re both back in town, but after a week of flirty texts and wonderfully intimate conversations, Justin doesn’t want to let her go. The only problem? It turns out that Clemetine has been lying to him about, well, everything. Except for the one thing two people can’t fake, the only thing that matters: The heat between them is for real.

BUY NOW

Amazon | B&N | GooglePlay| iTunes | Kobo

EXCERPT

The sun was just starting to set later when I took Justin’s phone out to the pool deck and settled onto a lounge chair to call him.

There were no new messages for Justin, but I’d gotten one from my own phone. Someone named the Duchess keeps calling. My grandmother. My code name for her always seemed so funny to me when she called, but now I was embarrassed to think of a stranger seeing it. And I couldn’t get much in the way of tone from Justin’s message. I wanted a chance to talk to him, to have a better interaction than we had earlier in the day.

It was probably stupid. I could have left well enough alone. I didn’t even have to reply. Or I could have just answered with a Thank you. Sorry for the inconvenience. I should treat this like a business arrangement. Give him the messages, try not to cause him too much trouble and get his phone back to him in one piece. Prove that I could handle a gaffe like this without causing the family trouble. Make this stupid mix-up nothing more than a strange story to tell down the road.

And yet.

I found myself selecting my own number from the call log.

He answered on the second ring. “Hello?”

“Justin? It’s Clementine.”

“It’s so weird to see my own number show up when you call.”

I couldn’t read his mood. Not much of a surprise, I barely knew him. “Yeah. It’s pretty weird to call my own number, too.”

“Did you get my message?”

“Yeah, I did. Sorry about that. My grandmother can be kind of . . .”

“Persistent?” he supplied.

I laughed. “That’ll do. Anyway, I’m sorry she keeps calling.”

“It’s okay.” His tone was so relaxed; I could imagine the shrug that went with the words. “The name is, um, interesting.”

“Sorry, I have this thing about not putting people’s real names in my phone.” A mandated thing, but one I’d grown accustomed to. I kind of enjoyed coming up with goofy nicknames for people.

“Huh. Also interesting.”

“I—sorry. You’ll see some others, I’m sure.”

“Don’t apologize. I got a good laugh out of it. Did I get any other messages?”

“Someone wants you to sub for darts on Tuesday?”

“Andy. Can you screenshot it and send it to me?”

“Sure.”

“God, it’s horrible that I don’t know my own roommate’s phone number. How did people used to memorize phone numbers all the time?”

I laughed. “I seriously don’t know. Oh, you had another message from the University of Florida. They want your money.”

“They always do.” He sighed amiably. “You can just delete that one. And any others from them for that matter.”

“I take it you went there? For college?”

“Undergrad, yeah.”

“When did you graduate?” In other words, how old are you? I picked nervously at the seam of the lounge chair’s cushion.

“Three years ago.” That made him, what? Twenty-five?

“So, how on earth did you end up in Chicago?” It was the eternal Midwesterner’s question. As a people, we could scarcely imagine a climate less desirable than our own, a region more likely to earn the mockery of others, or a final destination less understandable than a flyover state. Even Chicago.

“I got into Medill.”

Medill? I scrambled for context. It rang a bell, but I couldn’t place it. “Where?”

“The journalism grad school at Northwestern.”

“Oh!” I did know the name. I certainly should, considering my family owned about half the media market in Chicago. “That’s . . . great!” I wanted to ask a dozen follow-up questions about what he was doing there, but before I could organize my thoughts, he’d moved on.

“What about you? How did you end up in Chicago?” His tone was still casual, and I jumped at the chance to prove myself normal.

“I’ve lived there, on and off, since I was about five.”

An awkward silence descended. So much for being normal. I figured I should go back to business. “So, are there any calls you’ll need to know about immediately?”

“Technically, I’m on vacation. But I gave your number to a few crucial people, so I hope I can keep the calls to a minimum for you.”

“It’s no problem,” I said in a rush. I didn’t want to remind him of how annoyed he was earlier. “Whatever you need.”

“You’re being really nice about this.”

“Well, it is my fault.”

He laughed softly. “True.”

Ouch. “It’s actually my brother’s fault, remember? He’s the one who unplugged my phone—your phone at the airport.”

“Right. Our scapegoat.”

“I’m the girl who sort of fell on you,” I confessed out of the blue.

“You are? Wait, how do you know that was me?”

Heat rushed up the back of my neck. “I . . . I may have looked at a couple of your pictures. I’m sorry! I know that was a total invasion of privacy, but I just wanted to know whose phone I had, and I’m really sorry.”

“Clementine?”

“Yeah?”

“It’s okay.”

I didn’t know what to say, so I made some kind of noncommittal noise.

“But now I get to look at yours.”

My heart caught in my throat. He was right. It was only fair. But the idea scared the hell out of me.

When I didn’t respond he asked, “Are you there?” He’d put me on speakerphone from the sound of it.

“Yes.”

“Okay, hang on . . . let me just—wait a second, before I do this. How old are you?”

“Twenty-three, why?”

“Just didn’t want to be a creeper.”

I laughed. “Nope. You’re in the clear.”

“Okay then . . .”

My pulse beat in my ears while I waited.

“There you are. Oh yes, I remember.”

“You barely looked at me.” A nervous laugh slipped out, and every insecurity I have ever had in my life clamored for attention. “You must have a good memory.”

“Not hard with that face.”

Which is when I had to lie down or I was very possibly going to faint. So I fell back on the lounge chair’s cushion. I managed to clear my throat. “Technically, you could mean that in a good way or a bad way.”

“Do you want to know?”

“Um, no.”

“Okay then. I guess you’ll just have to wonder.”

Was that flirting or was I imagining it? I could have sworn his voice had gotten warmer, maybe a little softer.

“Yeah, I definitely remember you,” he murmured.

Was he still looking at pictures? My toes curled. “Well, at least we’ve sort of met, I guess.”

“Sort of,” he agreed.

“So, nice to meet you . . . again.”

“Nice to meet you, too.”

A silence fell between us then, and after a few breaths I couldn’t stand it anymore. “Um . . . I guess I’ll be in touch tomorrow.”

“Sounds good. Have a good night, Clementine.”

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

 

 

Ellie Cahill is a freelance writer and also writes books for young adults under the name Liz Czukas. She lives outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her husband, son, and the world’s loudest cat.

 

Leaving Yesterday (Laurel Falls #1) – Zoe Dawson NOW AVAILABLE

Enter to Win a $25.00 Amazon eGift Card

 

LEAVING YESTERDAY

Laurel Falls #1

Zoe Dawson

Releasing on February 9, 2016

Loveswept

 

 

If you love Susan Mallery, Kristan Higgins, or Rachel Gibson, don’t miss the start of this captivating small-town romance series! Laurel Falls, Montana, features spectacular mountain scenery—but it takes a rugged cowboy to convince one woman to slow down and enjoy the view.

Rafferty Hamilton doesn’t plan on putting down roots anytime soon. With her divorce final, the hotel heiress has left Manhattan behind to scout new locations for her family’s chain of resorts. Which is why it’s so frustrating to be stranded in Laurel Falls while a good-looking, slow-talking, Stetson-wearing mechanic takes his sweet time with her overheated coupe.

A decorated vet who paid his dues in Afghanistan, Trace Black can fix anything with an engine and get it revving—even Rafferty’s ridiculous sports car. He’s couldn’t say the same for the knockout driver, who looks like she’s never gripped a gear shaft in her life. Women like Rafferty don’t usually stick around in Laurel Falls, but Trace finds himself showing her everything his hometown has to offer before she cruises on down the road.

As the days pass, Rafferty finds herself charmed by the pace of life and the openhearted warmth of the residents. She’s even tempted to trust again—and it’s all thanks to Trace. He’s not the kind of guy she’s used to falling for, but he just might be the man she needs.

BUY NOW

Amazon | B&N |Google Play| iTunes | Kobo

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

EXCERPT

“Trace!”

His sister Cadence’s voice carried all the way out to the garage bay where Trace Black was currently installing a new muffler. He rolled himself out from under the car and rose, grabbing a clean rag and wiping his hands. He headed to the ranch house that was to the back and side of Black’s Garage, their family business. Situated on a tree-lined street with other houses, some looking a bit worse for wear and some empty and foreclosed, the worn-clapboard green house with the covered front porch was in pretty good shape. Trace and Reese handled most of the upkeep, the original wood floors and woodwork intact and refinished. The garage in the back filled with car parts and a couple of vintage cars lying unfinished since their father’s death.

Black’s Garage was now really his business, although he supported his sister with the income. Trace liked working with his hands. When he hadn’t been killing insurgents in the desert, he had been fixing the engines of the Humvees his unit traveled in. His skills had kept his platoon mobile, and when they were mobile, they were just a tiny bit safer.

He looked at his watch and was surprised to find how early it still was. He was usually up at six in the morning—old marine habits were hard to break. The military taught him that sleep was optional. But Harley, his younger brother, was restless ever since he got home from the VA hospital, so he’d been up and down throughout the night, giving up on sleep at about four that morning. Trace entered through the back door, where his brother Reese was in the kitchen making his breakfast. He shot his older brother a withering look. “Can’t you—”

Reese held up his hands with a knife slathered in peanut butter in one and a slice of toast in

the other. “This involves teenage angst and girly things.”

“Aw, kee-rist, and you’re leaving it to me?”

“Trace!”

“I’m in the kitchen.” He managed not to bellow, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Can you keep your voice down?” he said when she came into the kitchen still in her PJs. “Harley is probably still sleeping.”

“He’s probably not now,” Reese said, arching a brow at his brother. He was fully shaved and dressed in a blue polo shirt and a pair of jeans, brown-tooled Western boots on his feet. Reese did like his boots fancy. His tall, muscled brother was a veteran firefighter in Kalispell, about thirty minutes away from Laurel Falls, but was currently off shift.

“You, big brother, are being such a big help.” Actually, Reese was a big help. Ever since their flaky mom had left—twice—Trace and Reese had taken responsibility for household chores and their younger brother and sister. That responsibility increased even more once their dad hit the bottle after the loss of his wife. Trace had been ten when his mother left the first time and his dad went after her. She came back, seemed to settle down, got pregnant with Cadie, and then disappeared when Cadie was only two. This time for good. He had no idea where she was.

Reese shrugged.

“What is it, Cadie?” Trace cocked his hip at his sister’s my-teenaged-problem-is-now-your-problem look.

“Have you seen my mango bra and panty set?”

He cut a look to Reese, but he quickly looked down and finished slathering his toast with peanut butter.

Trace rubbed at his tired eyes and ran both hands through his hair. “Why would I know where that is?”

“You did the wash. It was in the last load.” She shot at him like an accusation. Like a mango bra and panty set could be stolen and sold on the black unmentionables market.

He tried to remember the wash and the clothes that were part of the loads he’d done, but it all blurred together. “Does it have black lace on it?”

“No,” she said with a long-suffering teenaged sigh. “That is my orange set.”

“Wait. What is the difference between mango and orange?” he said, winning him another contemptuous look.

“Well, for one thing they’re different fruits,” Reese piped up.

Trace gave his brother his best sergeant-I’m-going-to-kick-your-ass glare, but Reese just smirked.

“Trace, really. Mango is much lighter than orange,” Cadie said as if he were the village idiot.

“Yeah, Trace, any moron would know that.” Reese nudged him as he walked past toward the counter and settled on one of the stools.

“Shut up,” Trace said, giving his brother a nudge back, then turning his attention back to Cadie. “Can’t you wear some other . . . ah . . . set?”

Her chin lifted and her eyes squinted. “No. I can’t,” she said, placing her hands on the counter. “I have cheerleader practice and I can’t wear a different set.”

Somehow that was supposed to make sense to him.

“Cadie.” He stepped to the island, his lips pinching together. He set his hands down on the counter, too, his fingers tapping. Speaking through his clenched teeth, he said, “You are going to be late for school.” He gestured with his thumb. “Now, get your butt in your room and get dressed.”

Cadie’s face set into a determined mask. She marched up to Trace and thrust out her chin. “It’s the only bra I have that holds—”

“For the love of God, do not finish that sentence. My ears will bleed.” He walked away, his shoulders hunched, cringing.

 

Zoe Dawson had always dreamed of becoming a full-time romance writer, and with determination, persistence, and a little luck that wish came true. Her other passions include traveling the world, owning a beach house (she believes she was a mermaid in another life), and seeing her books in movies. When she’s not writing, she’s painting or killing virtual MMORPG monsters in World of Warcraft. She lives in North Carolina with her two grown children and one small, furry gray cat.

The Year of the Monkey – Penny’s Reading Resolution

Today is the Chinese New Year and as such is a time for new beginnings. Typically, I am not the most prolific of reviewers in the first quarter of the year as I have other commitments that supersede my reading (the horror!) but that doesn’t mean that I can’t regularly share what I am reading and what I have added to my towering TBR pile. Without further ado, Happy New Year! I hope the Year of the Monkey brings you all luck and prosperity.

 

giphy

During my sci-fi binge last summer I came across an utterly fantastic writer, Ruby Dixon. Her Ice Planet Barbarians series is literally the only one that I will immediately drop everything to read. To my delight the latest installment was released yesterday, true to my words above I dropped everything and now am about halfway through and this one could very well be my favorite of all!

READING NOW

Barbarian’s Prize (Ice Planet Barbarians #5)

BPIt’s hard being the most popular girl on the ice planet. The alien men are falling all over themselves to impress me in the hopes that I’ll take them to my furs. But they don’t know my secrets – none of them do. And they don’t realize that behind my smile, I just wish they’d go away.
I don’t want any of them. I want someone else – someone with a gorgeous blue body, big horns, and the most intense gaze ever. He’s the only one that knows the truth. Maybe with him, I can work through my fears of the past….but I’m pretty sure he wants more than just friendship.
He wants forever, and I’m not sure I can give it.
 

16c25-goodreads

While one might think that a series featuring the romance between two different species, human women abducted by aliens and 7’ft tall blue barbarians would possess about as much depth as a puddle, they would be quite wrong. Throughout Ruby Dixon’s writing are displays of razor sharp wit and raw sensuality while simultaneously the Ice Planet Barbarians series skillfully addresses issues, like rape, illness and abandonment. Without question this author was my favourite discovery of 2015.

UPCOMING

Alien Attachments (Alien Attachments #1) – Sabine Priestly

Will their love be strong enough to keep them alive and get them back to Earth?

Finding one’s psi-mate is something every Sandarian hopes for, but when Ian Cavacent accidentally starts the bonding process with the Earthling, Dani, he has to fight his desire with every ounce of his being. If the process is completed, it means both political and financial suicide for Ian and his family.

A natural klutz, Dani somehow always manages to land on her feet and win her mixed martial arts matches. At home on Cat Island, her balance is thrown when bazillionaire Ian takes notice. Unfortunately some Torog aliens also take notice, sending her life spiraling out of control and into Ian’s arms. But Dani isn’t the type of woman to let alien voodoo decide her future or her mate. . .no matter how gorgeous the man is or how much pleasure he gives her.

For centuries the Cavacents have mined Earth for a precious element, carnium, while protecting the planet from other alien species. Thanks to the Torogs, Dani and Ian must flee to Sandaria. As Dani learns to use her newfound psi powers, the empire crumbles around them.

16c25-goodreads

 

#REV (GearShark #2) – Cambria Herbert COMING SOON!

 

 

#Rev
Cambria Hebert
(GearShark, #2)
Publication date: March 18th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Male/MaleRomance

Trent Mask puts the REV in revolution.

A line has been drawn.

Indie vs Pro

Here at GearShark, we’re straddling that line to bring you exclusive coverage of what some have dubbed the war of racing.

Every war starts with a spark and ends in revolution.

Drew Forrester was the spark, but his second-in-command is the REVolution.

What does it take to stand brave in the face of opposition?

Resolve of steel…

Stubborn will…

And a heart that refuses to give up.

It isn’t just the drivers in this war.

The revolution is about more than just racing.

It’s about shattering labels and taking risks.

So we asked Trent Mask: Truth or Dare?

His answer?

Both.

Check out the full feature article inside…

Add to Goodreads

REV-final

RevT1 rev promo

Book 1:

27824473

Find book 1 on:

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

Author Bio: Cambria Hebert is an award winning, bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair.

Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (the real boss of the house).

Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: The Hashtag Series, Text, Torch, and Tattoo.

Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest

 

Hosted by:

ButtonXBT1

In the After by Elisa Dane – BOOK BLITZ

 

 

In the After
Elisa Dane
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: February 2nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Sadie Reynolds is a liar with secrets. At school, she’s part of the popular crowd known as AE, despite being broken inside. She hides it well. She has to. The slightest bit of imperfection will land her in the same shoes as her Geeky neighbor named Ian.

Ian and his only friend are the object of Sadie’s friends’ ridicule, ire, and entertainment. The AE rule the school with intimidation and retribution against anyone who would dare question their supremacy.

Sadie steers clear of most of it, terrified someone will find out her secret. She isn’t the least bit perfect. In fact, she suffers from PTSD stemming from the murder of her mother right before her eyes when she was a child. She can barely cope from day-to-day, hiding her truth and trying to fit in. But she knows it’s only a matter of time.

Hayden is a “Waverly,” a kid with the misfortune of living in the small farming town of Waverly that borders the very affluent Lexington Parrish. The AE doesn’t mix with “Waverlies.” Ever.

Desperate to get away from her oppressive friends, Sadie crashes into Hayden at a bonfire and the attraction that sparks between them is nothing short of electric. But Hayden’s an outsider and when things heat up, Sadie will be forced to choose between her friends and her new boyfriend.

Only Queen Bee Britt isn’t having it. She will not allow Sadie to cross her. Sadie can either do what Britt wants her to do or she will reveal Sadie for the PTSD freak that she is.

Sadie does some soul searching about who she is and who she wants to be. She can’t live her life like this. Not any more. One fateful night will help her see how much things have to change.

She’s determined to no longer allow the AE to rule her life. She will be strong, stand up for Ian and love who she wants in Hayden. Determined and invigorated, Sadie goes to school feeling hopeful for the first time in forever.

But, the unthinkable happens.

Shooters attack dozens of students before the two eventually take their own lives,leaving the school a decimated shadow of what it once was.

Suddenly who lives where, wears what or loves whom seems like the least of Lexington Parish’s problems as everyone and everything changes forever in the after.

IN THE AFTER by Elisa Dane is a hard-hitting and heart-warming story of tragedy, love, loss and redemption. It is recommended for readers 14+.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“No! Stop it! Don’t hurt her. Mom! Mommy!”

I thrashed awake, my throat on fire, my skin cold and soaked with sweat along with my pajamas and sheets. That damn, fucking night. That final image of my mom bleeding out across our hardwood floor before the monster tied me up and locked me in the closet—it wouldn’t disappear. Burned into every deep, dark crevice of my mind, it haunted me daily, and replayed itself on an endless loop every night while I slept.

The three night lights dousing my room with a soft, warm glow, failed to provide the sense of safety and comfort they normally did and I hugged my blanket to my chest in a vain attempt to chase the chill away. My room wasn’t cold. The chill lay deep inside me in the place the darkness had taken up residence. Dying of thirst, I reached for the glass of water sitting on my nightstand.

“Sadie!”

My body seized, my arms flew up with a scream, and water rained down over everything within a five-foot radius as the glass tumbled through the air. It shattered upon impact with the wood floor. Mocha went crazy. The fur at the nape of her neck standing on end as she paced back and forth at the end of my bed, growling and barking.

Barely able to control my limbs they were shaking so badly, I floundered around for my cell phone, which had gotten lost somewhere between my sheets.

“Sadie! Let me in.” The window shook each time the attacker rammed his fist against the glass and panic spiked, a high-pitched wail blowing past my lips as I ripped apart my bedding.

I found my phone buried beneath the blanket near my feet. Dizzy and hyperventilating, I fumbled with it, repeatedly stabbing the touchscreen in a vain attempt to unlock the damn thing.

“Come on! Come on, you stupid thing.” My heart felt like it was in my throat and my chest felt like it was going to explode any minute.

“Ginger! It’s me, Hayden.”

It felt like I’d been trapped under water and was finally able to surface and take a deep breath. The thick haze of fear slowly dissipated, the fog inside my head clearing enough for me to recognize his voice. “H-Hayden?”

Hot tears trickled down my cheeks as I stumbled out of bed and made my way over to my window. I grappled with the extra locks my dad had installed when we first moved

in, unable to contain the loud sob that blew past my lips when the window finally slid open.

Hayden was in my room with his arms around me before I had a chance to draw breath. “I heard you screaming and I got scared.” His body stiffened and he pulled away, his gaze scanning the room. “Did you hear something? Is that why you were screaming?” He took a step toward my bedroom door, stopping when I caught his wrist.

“It’s okay, Hayden. No one’s here. I had a nightmare.”

He stared down at me with narrowed eyes, then closed the gap between us, drawing me into his arms again. His arms felt warm and strong, the space at the center of his chest where I laid my head as though it was made for me and me alone. As if on autopilot, his hand found its favorite spot on the side of my neck, his touch both soothing and electric as he peered down at me with concern. “Nightmare? You were screaming like someone was trying to murder you.”

I flinched.

His eyes grew wide for a millisecond, realization and understanding warring for dominance behind his eyes. Thankfully, the gentleness I craved in his deep blues returned as quickly as it had left. He swept me off my feet without warning and carefully placed me on my bed, sliding between the sheets right along beside me. I rolled onto my side, my body shuddering in relief when he pulled me against him and wrapped his arm around me. “Sleep, princess. You’re safe. I won’t let anyone hurt you.”

Safe. It was such a small word with such a big meaning. Lives either flourished or fell apart in search of it. I’d known the warmth of safety. Taken it for granted. Wasted the warmth and comfort that came with it like a spoiled child. I also knew the festering terror that came with the absence of safety. I walked in its darkness. Choked and smothered beneath it nightly. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever believe I would truly feel safe again. But, for reasons I couldn’t explain, that’s exactly how I felt in Hayden’s arms. Completely safe.

And so very tired. Too tired to care about my dad’s warning about talking to Hayden and letting him in the house. My lids grew heavy and I was asleep within moments.

 

Author Bio:

ELISA DANE is a self-proclaimed book junkie. A lover of handbags, chocolate, and reality television, she’s a proud mother to three All- Star cheerleaders. Writing is her absolute passion, and it’s her mission to create stories that will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but help you find a new respect and interest in the sport of All-Star cheerleading.

Elisa is no stranger to the publishing world. She writes steamy paranormal romance under her real name, Lisa Sanchez. Her adult works include the Hanford Park series (Eve Of Samhain, Pleasures Untold, and Faythe Reclaimed), Obsessed (an erotic suspense), and a paranormal novella, Cursing Athena. Elisa lives in Northern California

with her husband, three daughters, and a feisty Chihuahua who stubbornly believes she’s human.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

 

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Hosted by:

ButtonXBT1

Book Reviews and Literary Musings

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,291 other followers

%d bloggers like this: