Sunday, August 31, 2014

Not Here For a Bit *Update*

I hate that I have to write this.

My Dad left this world on Wednesday. From what we know he went very peacefully in his sleep, so we have that to comfort us. He had been having some health issues the last month or so, but was at home and recovering.

I will be taking a little blogging break. My posts are scheduled to go up on the days that they are set, but reviews and such will be missing. I WILL fulfill my obligations to review, I just cannot focus on anything right now. I'm sure you all understand.

Everyone hug your loved ones as many times as you can and let them know all the time how much you love them.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

~Fallen by Laury Falter~

Young Adult Fantasy
Date Published: April 1, 2009

Maggie is unaware of the terrifying fate that awaits her. It isn’t until she lands in New Orleans for a full year at a private high school and her unknown enemies find her does she realize that her life is in danger.

As a mystifying stranger repeatedly intervenes and blocks the attempts on her life, she begins to learn that there is more to him than his need to protect her and that he may be the key to understanding why her enemies have just now arrived.

Laury Falter

Laury Falter is a bestselling author of young adult romantic suspense and urban fantasy. She is also an animal rights activist, a sailor, a one-handed golf putterer, and a Colorado River conqueror.
She has three series out: the Guardian Trilogy, the Residue Series, and the Apocalypse Chronicles.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

~ Naughty Spotlight on Rescued by her Alien Warriors by Doris O'Connor~

Rescued by her Alien Warriors (The Warriors, 2)
 A warship is no place for a human mother and her child. However, Drakan Commander Alzaar and his second in command, Bentaan, have no choice but to bring Sapphyre and Jayde on board. Not least, because their instincts scream at them, that she is the one woman who can turn them into a family again.   Sapphyre just wants to keep her daughter safe. How on earth does she do that surrounded by droolworthy Aliens, when her libido keeps leading her astray? It is abundantly clear that Alzaar doesn't want her on board ship. At least Bentaan does and the sex is out of this world. If only her heart wasn't involved, and she didn't want both of them.  

When the Tamarillion is attacked, Sapphyre has to fight for her men and the ship she now calls home. Without her all would be lost, and Alzaar finally shows his emotions.   However, when regulations and their pasts collide, can they rescue each other?   

Authors Bio:

Glutton for punishment would be a good description for Doris... at least that's what she hears on an almost daily basis when people find out that she has a brood of nine children, ranging from adult to toddler and lives happily in a far too small house, cluttered with children, pets, dust bunnies, and one very understanding and supportive husband. Domestic goddess she is not.   There is always something better to do after all, like working on the latest manuscript and trying not to scare the locals even more than usual by talking out loud to the voices in her head. Her characters tend to be pretty insistent to get their stories told, and you will find Doris burning the midnight oil on a regular basis. Only time to get any peace and quiet and besides, sleep is for wimps.  

She likes to spin sensual, sassy, and sexy tales involving alpha heroes to die for, and heroines who give as good as they get. From contemporary to paranormal, BDSM to F/F, and Ménage, haunting love stories are guaranteed.  

 Writer of sensual, sassy, sexy romances

 RBHAW Banner

Spotlight on ~Comic Books~ This Week's Pick is: Saga

Saga is an epic space opera/fantasy comic book series written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, published monthly by Image Comics. The series is heavily influenced by Star Wars, and is based on ideas Vaughan conceived both as a child and as a parent. It depicts a husband and wife from long-warring extraterrestrial races, Alana and Marko, fleeing authorities from both sides of a galactic war as they struggle to care for their newborn daughter, Hazel, who occasionally narrates the series. (from wikipedia)

I stumbled upon this series one day while browsing through my local Books-a-Million store. I picked it up, and flipped through it quickly..then went back and started to read it slowly. This isn't a child friendly comic, but it is amazing. The artwork is weirdly beautiful and unique. The story lives up to it's name! It's a very intensely emotional story of a couple that is bringing up their child in a world that wants to tear them apart (both literally and figuratively)

This is purely fantasy but has a very clear statement about acceptance that can be applied to real life. I love that Alana and Marko have their differences and have roadblocks, but they come together for each other and their kid. The secondary characters are pretty spiffy too. I'm definitely a new fan and I am totally in love with this series!

If you are looking for a new comic book series, this is definitely one to check out!

Next Week I'll Focus On My Favorite Movie
come back next Wednesday to find out what it is!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Excerpt: Chaperoning Paris

Contemporary Romance

Date Published: June 11, 2014

Gigi Dumont never forgot how she walked away from the only man she ever loved.
She’s a teacher who has led her students to the finals of an international French competition to be help in Paris. The night before the trip, the Principal tries to cancel the trip before he, in turn, loses his job to her high school boyfriend, Sean Collins.
Sean Collins has survived cancer, a divorce , and Gigi having aborted their child back in high school. He assumed he’d hate her, if they ever crossed paths again. But he discovers she’s exactly what he wants.
When Gigi and Sean are stuck together for a week in Paris, Gigi feels she has lost all her control. How can she survive her attraction to Sean? The man’s sexier now than he was back in the day, and once upon a time, he’d had her heart. She finds herself falling for him, even knowing forever is impossible.


Victoria Pinder

Victoria Pinder grew up in Irish Catholic Boston before moving to the Miami sun. She’s worked in engineering, after passing many tests proving how easy Math came to her. Then hating her life at the age of twenty four, she decided to go to law school. Four years later, after passing the bar and practicing very little, she realized that she hates the practice of law. She refused to one day turn 50 and realize she had nothing but her career and hours at a desk. After realizing she needed change, she became a high school teacher. Teaching is rewarding, but writing is a passion.
During all this time, she always wrote stories to entertain herself or calm down. Her parents are practical minded people demanding a job, and Victoria spent too many years living other people’s dreams, but when she sat down to see what skill she had that matched what she enjoyed doing, writing became so obvious. The middle school year book when someone wrote in it that one day she’d be a writer made sense when she turned thirty.
Besides her full time job of teaching, in 2013 and 2014, she sold on her own sold books to three different publishers. The Zoastra Affair, Chaperoning Paris, Borrowing the Doctor, and Electing Love will be published from Soul mate Publishing. Mything the Throne will be published with Double Dragon Ebooks. Favorite Coffee, Favorite Crush will be published with Jupiter Press.
Now she is represented by Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency and she hopes to continue selling her novels that she writes. Moving up to the next level from hard work and determination is rewarding, and partnerships bring new opportunities.
Also she’s the Vice President of Programs for the Florida Romance Writers. She’s gone to multiple conferences and intends to continue. She learns and meets so many people at conferences. Her website is, and she’ll continue to grow my web presence. She is working hard on other projects and found the time to plan her wedding this year.
Before writing, her father had taken her to many star trek conventions and on her own she grew up as the only girl in the 90s at the comic book store. Science Fiction was her first love, but contemporary romance was her second. She’s sticking with contemporaries for the near future.
Member of Florida Romance Writers, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of RWA, Celtic Hearts and Savvy Authors.

The Frost of Springtime - PROMO Blitz

Historical Romance
Date Published: February 14, 2014
Publisher: Black Lyon Publishing, LLC

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To rescue her was to rescue his own soul.

On a cold Parisian night, Vicomte Aleksender de Lefèvre forges an everlasting bond with a broken girl during her darkest hour, rescuing her from a life of abuse and misery. Tormented by his own demons, he finds his first bit of solace in sheltering little Sofia Rose.

But when Aleksender is drawn away by the Franco-Prussian war, the seasons pass. And in that long year, Sofia matures into a stunning young woman—a dancer with an understanding of devotion and redemption far surpassing her age.

Alongside his closest friend, Aleksender returns home to find that “home” is gone, replaced by revolution, bloodshed, betrayal—and a love always out of reach. Scarred inside and out, he’s thrust into a world of sensuality and violence—a world in which all his hours have now grown dark, and where only Sofia might bring an end to the winter in his heart.

Inspired by the 1871 Paris Commune, The Frost of Springtime is a poignant tale of revolution, redemption, and the healing power of love.


Sofia saw the memories buried within his eyes. Gunshots. Screams. Rolling cannons and the faded cries of despair. They lodged inside Aleksender, battling for his soul.
Sofia rose from the ground and tentatively crouched behind him. Remaining silent, her hands sunk below the material of his dress shirt and encouraged him with gentle caresses.

“Disease and death were everywhere. Men with boils and rashes the size of saucers. Anyway, we almost managed to escape. It was a good mile away that we were spotted. They were corrupt soldiers, nothing but hungry dogs with a taste for blood-lust. We were tied at the wrists and ankles, crammed inside a tent. Whether it was days or weeks, I cannot say.” Scoffing under his breath, he spat, “The fools demanded answers. They demanded our plans. Strategies. We refused each time. Even so none of us knew anything.”

“Oh, Alek. Why didn’t you tell them? To think you could have avoided so much pain.”

His shoulders lifted into a dry shrug. “I suppose we took a morbid delight in their frustration.” His voice was icy, harsh and void of all emotion. “And besides—it was the prospect of whipping information from our skin that kept us alive. But we were eventually returned to the camp. Bloodied, battered and burned—but alive.” Aleksender passed fingertips through his hairline. “Till this day, I have no idea what changed their minds …” Aleksender sighed and gave an afterthought, “Word had spread of their rather unorthodox methods, so to speak. According to rumor, they’d paid dearly.”

“I pray they burn in hell,” Sofia gasped. “Every last one of them!”

Aleksender laughed, amused by her goodhearted blasphemy. “Ah, Sofia, ma chérie. You do wonders for me.” And then a sudden thought came to his mind. “Christophe was there with me.”

“In the tents?” Sofia murmured, her heart reaching out to both heroes.

Aleksender merely nodded.

Although she’d never had the pleasure of meeting Monsieur Cleef, his name inspired a strange twinge of nostalgia inside her gut. Aleksender had often spoken of his dear friend—a rather admirable man of big ideas and too little restraint. From what she knew of the roguish skirt-chaser, she’d always admired him very much.

“Such wonderfully brave men,” she crooned, caressing one of many scars. “You have a soldier’s heart.”

Cloaked beneath the darkness, Sofia’s fingertips moved over his back in hypnotic motions, not leaving an inch of him unloved. “Do they pain you much?”

“No,” he hoarsely answered, “they are no bother.” His body trembled within her arms. “Not any longer.”

Between tentative kisses and muffled sniffles, she whispered, “To think of the pain you endured. The cruelty—your suffering.”

Aligning their two bodies, Aleksender cradled Sofia’s face between his palms and sweetly stroked her skin. Sofia’s toes curled against the barrier of her slippers. It was intoxicating. By far the sweetest moment in her nineteen years of life. With a last kiss, he whispered into her mouth, “Pain is in the mind. And, in my mind, ma chérie … I was with you.”


About the Author

Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and high school sweetheart of ten years. She enjoys writing dark, edgy romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and examine the redeeming power of love.

Imagining stories and characters has been Rachel’s passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mom would jot them down for her. She has a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether sculpting the protagonist or antagonist, she always ensures that every character is given a soul.

Rachel strives to intricately blend elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some common themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness. Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words.

Author Links

Buy Links



$5 Amazon Gift Card
5 signed “The Frost of Springtime” bookmarks
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Mirrored *Great Read*

Title: Mirrored
Release Date: 2/17/14
Author: Dalia Florea
Genre: Mystery, Suspense Romance


The body of a teenage girl murdered in the Lincoln Houses is just the beginning…..

Investigative reporter, Nicole Watkins is assigned to the story, but when she comes face to face with homicide detective Andre Moore, she finds herself guarding more than just her sources.

Shaken by the murder of a teenage girl, Detective Andre Moore must put his own emotions aside or risk not only his life, but that of the attractive reporter, but is he strong enough to ignore his growing attraction?

Love is the last thing either is looking for but when the case brings them together, the complications of the murders only seem to intensify the attraction.

My Review:
I like my mysteries sprinkled with some romance. Definitely keeps me turning the pages when I get a good mystery that gives me just a little bit of something more juicy too. So when I read the synopsis for this one, I jumped on the chance to read it!

I really enjoyed Nicole's character. She's a very strongly written character that comes across as smart and confident. She's interesting and reads like a real person! Andre is instantly intriguing. He's got that something that not only makes Nicole take notice, but makes the reader wanna get to know him MUCH better. The intrigue stays for a while too. They have sizzling hot chemistry and it feels organic and not something forced.

The writing is good. I felt that the plot moved quickly but Ms. Florea didn't move TOO fast. The characters were vivid enough to make it feel like they were real. I had a great time reading this book and will read more from Dalia Florea in the future!
Buy Links:






Authors Bio:

Dalia Florea enjoys writing fiction. She believes that growing up in New York, obtaining a degree in psychology and having a nursing background have all helped her to mold and get into the hearts and minds of her characters. She loves to read all genres, but favors suspense romance like the Marie Force Fatal Affair series. In addition to reading and writing she enjoys solving Sudoku and cryptogram quotes, attending jazz concerts and visiting wineries in and around her northern Virginia home. Dalia has parlayed her love of suspense romance novels into her first published work, Mirrored, and has two more novels in the works.

Author Blog:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Forward to Camelot Cover Reveal

Time-Travel / Thriller
Date Published: October 31, 2013

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On the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination comes a new edition of the extraordinary time-travel thriller first published in 2003, now extensively revised and re-edited, and with a new Afterword from the authors.

On November 22, 1963, just hours after President Kennedy’s assassination, Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as President aboard Air Force One using JFK’s own Bible. Immediately afterward, the Bible disappeared. It has never been recovered. Today, its value would be beyond price.

In the year 2000, actress Cady Cuyler is recruited to return to 1963 for this Bible—while also discovering why her father disappeared in the same city, on the same tragic day. Finding frightening links between them will lead Cady to a far more perilous mission: to somehow prevent the President’s murder, with one unlikely ally: an ex-Marine named Lee Harvey Oswald.

Forward to Camelot: 50th Anniversary Edition brings together an unlikely trio: a gallant president, the young patriot who risks his own life to save him, and the woman who knows their future, who is desperate to save them both.

History CAN be altered …

About the Authors

SUSAN SLOATE is the author of 20 previous books, including the recent bestsellerStealing Fire and Realizing You (with Ron Doades), for which she invented a new genre: the self-help novel. The original 2003 edition of Forward to Camelot became a #6 Amazon bestseller, took honors in three literary competitions and was optioned by a Hollywood company for film production.

Susan has also written young-adult fiction and non-fiction, including the children’s biography Ray Charles: Find Another Way!, which won the silver medal in the 2007 Children’s Moonbeam Awards. Mysteries Unwrapped: The Secrets of Alcatraz led to her 2009 appearance on the TV series MysteryQuest on The History Channel. Amelia Earhart: Challenging the Skies is a perennial young-adult Amazon bestseller. She has also been a sportswriter and a screenwriter, managed two recent political campaigns and founded an author’s festival in her hometown of Mount Pleasant, SC.

For updates and more information about Forward to Camelot: 50th Anniversary Edition, please visit

After beginning his career as a television news and sports writer-producer, KEVIN FINN moved on to screenwriting and has authored more than a dozen screenplays. He is a freelance script analyst and has worked for the prestigious American Film Institute Writer’s Workshop Program. He now produces promotional trailers, independent film projects including the 2012 documentary SETTING THE STAGE: BEHIND THE SCENES WITH THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, and local content for Princeton Community Television.
His next novel, Banners Over Brooklyn, will be released in 2015.

Buy Links


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Saturday, August 23, 2014

#Bout of Books Update

Bout of Books
First Book of the Day: (FINISHED)
Book 2:

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone

Addison Stone's sudden death left nothing but questions; everyone felt they knew her best, but once she died it seemed to be so much smoke and mirrors. 

So I decided to find out: who was Addison, really? What were we to her? THE UNFINISHED LIFE OF ADDISON STONE tells her inner circle's story. 

Adele Griffin is a two-time National Book Award finalist and the highly acclaimed author of numerous books for young adult and middle grade readers. Her works include Sons of Liberty and Where I Want to Be, and most recently, Loud Awake and Lost. Adele lives with her husband, Erich; their two young children; and their dog, Edith, in Brooklyn, New York.
Book Links: 
This novel was BRILLIANT! The book was so well done with the pictures and the art. The story felt real and really unique. This is the first like this that I have ever heard of. I am not even sure what to call it, but it's a very intriguing concept and book. Adele Griffin is super talented at weaving fiction with just a hint of reality to make you totally forget that this was not a real life person.

Addison was a rebel and a talented one at that. She was a spark that was about to erupt into a full on firestorm. Her life was cut tragically short and definitely left a lot of questions and sadness behind. The wonderful thing about this book was the fact that the way Ms. Griffin wrote the story, you connect to Addison..even if it's indirectly and second hand, you feel the loss. This book will stay with me for quite a while.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bout of Books Update-Onward to the Weekend!

Bout of Books

I have been horrible at participating this time! I have good reasons, but I still feel bad. I had such high hopes of reading a crap ton and a half! My Dad was in the hospital after having a mini-stroke. He's okay now and after a surgery to remove a blockage, he's at home and resting. We had to pick him up from the hospital at the last minute. He lives about an hour from us and was in a hospital an hour away. I'm glad he's home now. It's been quite a challenge adjusting to not only that, but my son going back to school, and my husband being off on vacation. Quiet time has been very limited and spare time even more so!

But..this weekend is all about some reading! I have my books and snacks and very little actual work to do, so I am ready!

My stats are as follows:
Books Read-1
Pages Read-343

~Love Match by Reggie Thomas~

Book Title: Love Match  Author: Reggie Thomas
Release Date: May 16,2014   Genre: New Adult Romance

Book Synopsis

Harper Reed loves balls. Tennis balls, that is. A tennis ace, Harper earned a full scholarship to a prestigious Philadelphia universi-ty. There, the demure virgin meets her first lover, the gorgeous, rich, connected, football star Wes Wood. Harper thinks Wes is the man of her dreams, but is he? Or will some other lover capture the beauty’s heart, like the exotic surgeon Dr. Raj Sharma or the irresistible actor Cam Carpenter?  Or maybe Harper’s sexy tennis pro, Gabriel Garcia, is Harper’s true love. Read Harper’s account of her wildly enter-taining adventures and find out. The fascinating young woman will instantly captivate you with her re-markable life, straight out of Sex and the City, and leave you yearning for more.


Book Links:Goodreads * Amazon
Author Bio:
Reggie Thomas is a native of the Philadelphia area with a wealth of different life experiences. A spouse and hands-on parent of two teenagers, Reggie has worked as an Atlantic City casino cocktail server, a substitute teacher, and a labor and employment lawyer. Her debut novel, Love Match, is the culmination of a lifelong dream.
Author Links:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Gifted: An Anthology

Title: Gifted: An Anthology
Author: Sandra Ely
Release Date:  April 26, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance

In these four installments we follow four young women as they discover love and their own strength.

My Traitorous Heart: When Miriah Anderson finds a rose on her door, it can only mean one thing- her former lover and once savior has returned; together they must put her demons to rest to ensure not only their lives, but their future together. Nearly two years have passed since Miriah was abducted and tortured at the hands of a demon-beast. Now, after leaving her to face her recovery alone, James is back, begging for her help. Miriah must put her fear aside in order to end her nightmare once and for all now that the hunters have been lead to her door step. Through her eyes we watch as she works with James and realizes the spark of their love is still present. Can she trust him not to leave her in her moment of weakness again?

Whispers on the Wind: The darkness is coming and it's up to Rebecka to stop it before it takes over, destroying the whole town and everyone in it. Tyler knows her secret and is determined to help, whether she wants it or not. With time growing short, he must take aggressive action and inform her of a fate beyond their control. Will Rebecka crumble under the pressure? Or can they find a way to work together to banish the coming of an endless night?

Heart of the Hurricane: After a tragic accident takes the lives of Alyssa's mom and sister, she is left alone to piece her life back together. With the aid of her life coach-Ryan, she has to overcome her fears, if she wants to obtain her heart's desire. Is she strong enough to overcome her past and become the woman she was meant to be?

When the Earth Shakes: Between planning her best friend's wedding, working full time, and dealing with family issues, Lyla needs a vacation. When she's gifted a week long trip to get to know her last remaining grandparent, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Through Lyla's perspective, we are taken on a journey of self discovery as she falls in love and learns the power of forgiveness.

Barnes and Noble Online:

Authors Bio:

A stay-at-home wife and mother of two incredible boys, Sandra enjoys writing fiction dealing with supernatural aspects. She lives in Missouri, although she has lived in several other states including: Arizona (where she was born), Colorado, Florida, South Dakota, Kansas, Montana, Iowa, California, Ohio and Michigan.

Author's Links:


From My Traitorous Heart (Book One in the Anthology):

    A scarlet rose was taped to my door. This could only mean one thing- he was back. I felt my heart skip a beat as I reached out to take the red rose. I caught my thumb on one of the protruding thorns and immediately put it to my lips. Of course his return would be marked in blood, I thought.

    I opened the door with my free hand. Locking the door had never become a habit of mine. I lived in a relatively safe neighborhood (if any could be considered such anymore) and had my own special set of defenses. Perhaps, though, I would start, if for no other reason than the annoyance it would cause.

    I took the rose straight to the kitchen and got down the smallest vase I had. At 5'2”, it was a reach for me to get to the top shelf , which should show the frequency I have use to display fresh flowers. They'd been gifts from someone I had come to think of as just short of forgotten, which is why I failed to get rid of them.

    I filled the vase with luke-warm water, humming as I went about the unplanned chore. I slid the flower's stem gently into the glass vase. I had no desire to remove the thorns; they would do well to remind me: even the most beautiful creations can be dangerous.

From Whispers on the Wind (Book Two in the Anthology):

    Thinking on her feet had never been one of her strong suits.  As a rule, she didn't give into impulses.  Today she had, and more and more she had come to regret the decision.  “So, you intend to keep secrets, then?”

    He knew she was stalling for time.  A slow smile spread across his face.  “I suppose you have a right to know, but given the circumstances, I think I'll keep my secret for now.  You, though,” he stood now, slowly moving towards the woman who was just shy of cowering in his living room, “Have no secrets.”

    “Don't come any closer,” she warned, some internal alarm tickling her solar plexus.

    “This is my house and I'll go where I please.”  He took a step forward, then another.

    Rebecka's heart was beating furiously in her chest.  She took a deep breath.  “Stay away from me.”
    “Is that what you really want, my little wind sorceress?”

    Focus, she told herself, And breathe.  That was all she'd been taught.  She had no sense of control, but usually her will was accomplished.  Then again, prior attempts had always occurred when her nerves weren't stretched so thin and her mind was relaxed and open.  “Last warning.”  Her cerulean eyes frosted over with a glaze of power.  He continued his pursuit.

    She waved her hand.  The handful of books on the shelf flew off and landed with a loud thud against the wooden floor.  Concentrate, she thought and waved her hand again.  His chestnut hair fluttered in the unnatural breeze, but still he continued his advance.

    “You're going to have to do better than that, sweetheart.” He was upon her now.  “I don't back down easily.”  In one swift movement, he grabbed her hands in his and pinned them above her head.

He bent his head closing the few inches that separated their faces.  “What motivates you?”

    She felt paralyzed as his breath whispered over her skin.  The pressure continued on her wrists as she tried to pull them free and push him away.  And then his lips met hers and she felt something inside herself break.  The flood gates fractured, her power rushed out from her very core and sent the man flying across the room.  She wasn't entirely sure what she was doing, but she let her instincts guide her.

From Heart of the Hurricane (Book Three in the Anthology)

    Sorrow filled Alyssa's deep aqua eyes as she stared at the shallow pool before her. She couldn't give into the memories that always waited just beneath the surface, threatening to consume her.
    “It's all about control,” she let Ryan's velvet voice wash over her, grounding her in the present. “Focus on your breathing.” He took hold of her hand, “We'll do this together.”

    Alyssa didn't speak as they took their first step together into the luke warm pool. The water climbed over her ankle and a tremor of fear ran through her body.

    “Relax, Aly. Clear your mind. Now, let's take another step.”

    She grit her teeth and tightened her grip on his hand. For three weeks she had been meeting with Ryan as they worked together to banish her fear. She had to admit, it was helping. When she first started coming, just the sight of a puddle had sent her into an almost paralyzing fear.... Now, she was standing in water that rose half way up her slender calves.

    “Okay. Now, look down,” he instructed; his voice acting as a shield against the darkness in her mind.

    She did as she was told. After all, this is what she paid him for. For the price he charged, she expected no less than miraculous results. She saw the clear water stretching out in front of her, too deep to classify as a kiddie pool, but Ryan assured her it was the perfect depth for an aquaphobic like her to start in.

    Panic raced through her system; she felt the adrenaline build in her body's natural fight or flight instinct. She had an overwhelming urge to get away, but Ryan's hand in hers kept her in place. Her body trembled and she could swear she saw waves forming in what should have been still water.

From When the Earth Shakes (Book Four in the Anthology)

    “Maybe that's because nobody ever looked at you like I do.” Where'd that come from? “But I think you're wrong. I think my grandmother saw your potential. I didn't know her well, but she never struck me as the type of person to tolerate weakness on any scale.”

    He chuckled, “You'd be right. I always just thought it was because everyone always spent all their time fawning over my sister.”

    “I think you have as much to learn as I do.” I hadn't moved my hand away from his face. Lightly I stroked my fingers over his firm jaw line. The light stubble he had growing was prickly on my fingertips, but the skin beneath was smoother than I anticipated. I thought with all the hours he spent in the sun, his skin would have taken on a more leathery consistency.

    He didn't seem to mind my casual exploration of his features. “Let's do something tomorrow,” he suggested.

    I dropped my hand. What was I getting myself into here? I was definitely attracted, but I'd been attracted to other guys before. Never like this, though, I reminded myself. The intensity I felt when I was with him wasn't just for him, but more like he made all my senses come alive. The sun was brighter, the air sweeter, the world itself was more vibrant. “I don't know,” I hoped my voice wasn't shaking as much as my insides were.

    “Tomorrow,” he spoke as if there was no chance I would say no. How could he know he was the sun and I was but a measly planet trapped in orbit of this insane gravitational pull? Could he be feeling it, too?

    “I'm leaving in a couple days, Rob.”

    The light in his eyes dimmed as if my reminder caught him off guard. “Then,” he continued, a firm resolve in the velvety smooth voice of his, “Give me a chance to show you a night you won't forget.”
    Everything about him seemed cool, calm, confident... Everything except those eyes that seemed to be pleading with me on some base level. Something was telling me he needed me as badly as I needed him. “But Grand-dad,” I started.

    “Will be busy,” he finished for me. “He's got a standing monthly date with a couple of his buddies. They've been getting together like this for years.”

    “Oh.” And just like that, I was all out of his excuses.


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