March 29, 2020

Teaser Tuesday: WILDFIRE (A Wine Country Mystery) by Scott Bury #excerpt

Today I’m delighted to help promote the latest upcoming release by talented bestselling author, Scott Bury, by posting a teaser to tempt all of you. Scott lives to entertain, writing stories that span genres and audiences. He’s been a cohort of mine for a number of years now, and I know you’ll love this latest project of his! Check out this beautiful cover:

Read on to learn more about this incredible book, and be sure to buy the novel after the excerpt pulls you in!

~     ~     ~

Title: Wildfire

Series: Wine Country Mysteries

Author: Scott Bury

Genre: Mystery

Release Date: March 22, 2018

About the Book: 

Wildfires swept across California wine country in 2017, destroying thousands of homes and businesses, and killing dozens of people. Law school grad and single mother Tara Rezeck finds herself in the middle of the catastrophe. When she returns to her job at the most award-winning vineyard in Sonoma County, she finds her employer’s body in the ashes.

The question that challenges her brains and her legal training is: was it an accident? Or was his body burned to hide evidence of murder?

~     ~     ~

EXCERPT: “Neighbors Stick Together”

The Harris family had arrived minutes after their call, carrying baskets and bags of food.

Mrs. Harris was a small woman with thick glasses, thick, wavy brown hair and a wide, bright smile. She wrapped her arms around Veronica as soon as she saw her, rocking the larger woman gently. “Oh, my poor dear. This is just awful. Awful. I feel so badly for you, dear.” She stepped back and looked at Veronica carefully. “You are holding up so bravely. Let me tell you that if there’s anything you need—absolutely anything—all you have to do is call. We had a little damage, but nothing like your loss.”

She carried three big grocery bags into Veronica’s kitchen. Tara went to help her unpack. “Thank you, Mrs. Harris. I think this will mean a lot to Veronica.”

“Call me Janet. My name isn’t ‘Harris,’ anyway. It’s Oakley. Steven and I aren’t married, and I’m not Cameron’s mother.”

“Sorry. I guess I just assumed—”

“Perfectly understandable, dear.” Janet began unpacking produce and plastic containers of prepared food into the refrigerator. “Oh! Is the power out?”

“Is it okay at your place?”

“Yes, thankfully. We lost a lot of grapevines, and one of the outbuildings we use for storage is gone. But we have power.”

“It’s got something to do with weird wiring,” Tara explained. Janet gave her a quizzical look. “I’m not sure, but it seems that the power comes in through the garage, so with the garage gone, all the power for every building is out.”

“Well, I guess I better not leave the fridge door open, then.”

They returned to the living room. Mr. Harris wanted to see the fire damage, so Tara decided to take him and Cameron to look, leaving Veronica in the warmth of Janet Oakley.

“Did you have any damage?” Tara asked Steven Harris.

“Some to one of our outbuildings, and we lost a couple of acres of vineyard,” the elder Harris replied. He walked toward the gate that led to Rocky Creek’s vineyard.

“What happened to you?” Tara asked, pointing with her eyes at the bandage on Cameron’s arm.

“This? Oh, I ah … I fell when we were evacuating.”

“You fell on your arm?”

“Sometimes, the boy can be clumsy,” said the elder Harris. “It’s the damnedest thing.”

“What is?” Tara asked.

“How this kid can be an athlete, a rock-climber, and fall and damn near break his arm walking from the vineyard to get into the car. And you know what else is damned strange?”

“Uhhh …”

“This vineyard is between mine and the garage. It’s untouched. Damnedest thing.”

“Flying embers,” Cameron said. The other two looked at him. “Embers. That’s how wildfires spread. The wind was really strong. They’re what started the fires in the first place. Didn’t you hear? High winds knocked down a power line, and sparks started a fire. It’s been so awfully dry all summer, which made perfect conditions for a fire. Those same winds spread them fast. They blew embers from our vineyards, which are upwind here,” As if to prove his point, a gust ruffled Cameron’s curly hair. “to the DaSilva property, setting the garage on fire.”

“And skipping the vineyard completely? There are acres of property in between,” said the elder Harris.

Cameron shrugged. “They were really strong winds, remember?”

“I remember.”

“Have you ever had anything like this happen before?” Tara asked.

“Wildfires are a yearly problem in California,” the older Harris answered. “If it’s not wildfires, it’s mud slides.”

“Yes, but fires with winds like this? Skipping over large areas?”

“Wildfires are very unpredictable,” Cameron interjected. “The news reports are full of stories about how one house is burned to the ground, and the next-door neighbor is untouched.”

Cameron strode back to the garage. “Look at these bushes,” he said, pointing to a pile of charred wood on the ground between the gate and the garage. “This is where they must have landed. The bushes started burning, and that set the garage on fire. But since the wind was pushing from the east, the fire didn’t go back toward the vines. It pushed the fire into the garage. Plus, there’s always lots of flammable material in a garage.”

“Alan was always very neat and careful,” Harris growled. “He wouldn’t be one to leave flammable material lying around.”

~     ~     ~


 Amazon ~ Smashwords



~     ~     ~


After a 30-year career as a journalist and editor, Scott Bury turned to writing fiction with a children’s story, Sam, the Strawb Part, and a story that bridged the genres of paranormal occult fiction and espionage thriller: Dark Clouds. Since then, he has published 12 novels and novellas without regard to staying in any one genre.

In 2012, he published his first novel, the historical magic realism bestseller The Bones of the Earth. His next book, One Shade of Red, was a satire of a bestseller with a similar title.

From 2014 to 2017, he published the Eastern Front Trilogy, the true story of a Canadian drafted into the Soviet Red Army in 1941, and how he survived the Second World War: Army of Worn Soles, Under the Nazi Heel and Walking Out of War.

Scott was invited to write for three Kindle Worlds, where authors base novellas on the fictional worlds of bestselling series. For Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Kindle World, he wrote Torn Roots, Palm Trees & Snowflakes, Dead Man Lying and Echoes.

For Russell Blake’s Jet Kindle World, he contributed Jet: Stealth, featuring the explosive duo of Van and LeBrun.

And for Emily Kimelman’s Sydney Rye Kindle World, he brought Van and LeBrun back for The Wife Line and The Three-Way.

Now, he is beginning a new mystery series with Wildfire, featuring the smart and passionate Tara Rezeck. Find out more about Scott and his writing on his website,

New Release for 99 Cents: XOXO NEW ADULT COLLECTION



16 New Adult Stories from 16 of your favorite New Adult Authors
Find your next book boyfriend here!


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Featuring MY UNEXPECTED FOREVER by USA and NYT Bestselling Author Heidi McLaughlin
They say you should expect the unexpected, I didn’t realize my unexpected would be the forever kind.

FOR EVERLY by Raine Thomas
The last thing physical therapy student Everly Wallace wants is a relationship, but when she’s roped into working with sexy Major League pitcher Cole Parker, she’ll discover that it just might be the one thing she needs.

INDELIBLE by Bethany Lopez
Sam’s a single mom, working her way through college while raising her toddler. Judd’s a college baseball player, who on the outside, looks like he doesn’t have a care in the world. Can two people at different stages in their life find a way to make a life together?

TATTOOED DOTS by Kimberly Knight
Brooke and Easton learn that people are brought into their lives for many reasons. Over time, they find out what those reasons are. Some are to be a temporary acquaintance while others are there for life.

MANGLED HEARTS by Felicia Tatum
Can two loves find their way back to each other despite an addiction and a hardened heart, allowing their love to overcome it all? Can these mangled hearts be mended?

BREAKDOWN by Amanda Lance
After Charlotte Ferro’s suicide attempt is ruined by a handsome do-gooder he introduces her to a world of fast cars and cool criminals. But can their newfound friendship survive the secrets of their past?

MAVERICK by Anna Cruise
International surf sensation Kellen Handler has it all – fame and fortune and more women than he can count – but he’s riding his own personal wave toward disaster. Can PR genius Gina Bellori rescue his reputation…and his heart?

DO ANYTHING by Wendy Owens
A broken heart is only the beginning for her. He thinks he has his life figured out. Will they risk their hearts on a new chance at love?

RESIST ME by A.O. Peart
Ethan, a former-Marine-turned-firefighter, has never really cared for any woman, while living his life to the fullest and enjoying the bad boy stigma. Until the street-smart Lisbeth comes along, and instantly turns Ethan’s world upside down, making him want to protect her, no matter the consequences.

THE MAN TEST by Amanda Aksel
Couple therapist Marin Johns tries to prove that all men are liars and cheaters by beginning a fictitious relationship. Will her new “boyfriend” be the statistic or will Marin regret the satisfaction of being right?

A RISK WORTH TAKING by Heather Hildenbrand
For college grad, Summer Stafford, watching her parents’ divorce has taught her that, above all, love is a risk. For a drifter like Ford O’Neal, love isn’t just a risk, it isn’t even on the table. But attraction quickly leads to something more and they are both forced to realize they’re risking a whole lot for a summer fling.

Nineteen-year-old Karma points is cursed. Cursed with a ridiculous name, self-esteem issues and the inability to lose her virginity. That is until Jax, the tattooed bouncer, comes into the picture.

THE FALL OF SKY (PART ONE) by Alexia Purdy
Singing duo Audrey and Liv Westing hope to be discovered as the next big thing. While fumbling through their turbulent existences, they attract the eye of a deadly but powerful Cartel family.

If you dig into the deepest parts of your soul, what would you find? Happiness, pain, love, regret, peace, sorrow?
Follow Lennox’s journey of rediscovery, falling in love, and searching for her own fairy-tale ending.

One moment can change your life forever.
One moment to find love.
One moment to lose it.

A cowboy with a mysterious past. A ranch princess with an eye for the one she can’t have. What happens when their two world collides one weekend in a snowstorm?

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Presented by…

Last Weekend to Buy HIDDEN WORLDS (20 Novels) for 99 Cents!


We will never be able to offer our 20-book boxed set at this low price again. Amazon won’t let us. We’ve been warned!

So buy it for 99 cents while you still can. After this weekend, it will double in price.

What do you get for 99 cents?

Hidden Worlds promo

Enter the hidden worlds of humans who shift to beasts, perilous enchantments and stars uncounted. Awaken in secret laboratories or walk among gods.

Appropriate for ages 13+:

Devour, by Shelly Crane
Inescapable, by Amy A. Bartol
The Forgotten Ones, by Laura Howard
Elsker, by ST Bende
History of Fire, by Alexia Purdy
Everblue, by Brenda Pandos
Guardians: The Girl, by Lola St. Vil
The Gatekeeper’s Sons, by Eva Pohler
From Gods, by Mary Ting

Appropriate for ages 16+ due to language, sexual situations, and violence:

First, by Alyssa Rose Ivy
Darkness of Light, by Stacey Marie Brown
Lark, by Erica Cope
Catalyst, by Jennifer Snyder
Promise, by Kristie Cook
Redemption, by RK Ryals
Return of the Ascendant, by Raine Thomas
A Matter of Fate, by Heather Lyons
Runes, by Ednah Walters
Freak of Nature, by Julia Crane
River’s Recruit, by Charlotte Abel

Get your copy for 99 cents between 11/20 and 11/23 before Amazon forces us to double the price!

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Hidden Worlds Boxed Set

Cover Reveal: The Space Within by Kristie Cook

With the release of The Space Beyond by Kristie Cook barely more than a week away (May 19), how would you like to see the cover for the final part of The Book of Phoenix series, The Space Within? If you haven’t read this New Adult Paranormal Romance series, you are so missing out!

The Space Within
Part Three in The Book of Phoenix series
Author: Kristie Cook
Release Date: July 14, 2014
Where: Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo (all countries)

~     ~     ~

When Darkness threatens, what matters most lies in The Space Within

Completing a mission that reunites Guardian Twin Flames turns devastating when the Book of Phoenix throws Leni and Brock into a Dark world, leaving Jeric and Asia behind. They count on their other halves to rescue them, but when that doesn’t happen, they must fight through the Darkness and find a Gate that will take them home.

Except all of Earth’s Gates are sealed.

Enyxa, ruler of Darkness, and her horde of Dark souls storm the Gates to push their way through to Earth. While Leni and Brock fight Enyxa on their side, Jeric and Asia must figure out how to save their Twin Flames without jeopardizing all of Earth’s souls. Through it all—and with a little help from Enyxa—Brock and Asia begin questioning their relationship and whether they’re truly meant to be together…or if they’re two Lost souls forced to become one.

If the Broken dyads don’t find each other fast, they’ll be lost to the Dark forever. But to reunite means choosing themselves over all of Earth’s souls. Can Jeric make that decision? And will Brock and Asia find the love they both desperately crave? Or are they all doomed to perpetual Darkness?

Discover how it all ends in The Space Within, the explosive conclusion to The Book of Phoenix trilogy.

Other books in the series:

The Space Between
Part One in The Book of Phoenix series
Author: Kristie Cook
Currently Available – ON SALE FOR 99C

When Life Falls to Pieces, Answers Lie in the Space Between

Leni Drago can’t make a smart decision on her own, according to her mother anyway–the few times she’s tried resulted in disaster. When her uncle sends her on a dance tour in Italy to find her real self, she returns to an empty home and any evidence of his existence wiped out. Then things get even stranger, like the mysterious appearances of Jeric Winters–inked, pierced and a hit-’em-and-quit-’em type. He’s one decision that should be easy for Leni. Or is he?

Jeric doesn’t do girlfriends. Unless they’re someone else’s. He left the fighting cage and modeling for a reason, and girls who want more than a night of fun are distractions he doesn’t need. Especially when they come with as much baggage as Leni carries. But he can’t shake the gut feeling that he needsto know her. All of her.

To discover the truth behind their connection and their ties to a journal from 1989, they must face painful secrets from their pasts. And they must do so quickly because their own existences are falling to pieces.

This first part of The Book of Phoenix takes you on a heart-wrenching ride as you discover the answers that lie in The Space Between.


The Space Beyond
Part Two in The Book of Phoenix series
Author: Kristie Cook
When: May 19, 2014
Where: Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo (all countries)

Hearts break. Souls shatter. Love lies in The Space Beyond.

As members of the Phoenix, Jeric and Leni are thrust into their new lives, expected to lead Earth’s Guardians. But Leni struggles with trusting her own soul, and Jeric is more concerned about keeping Leni safe than meeting others’ demands. When Darkness swarms Lake Haven, they embark on their first mission with little preparation and no idea which soul the Dark hunts.

Born and raised in Lake Haven, Bex hopes to escape her small-town life, ideally in the arms of her soul mate. She knows he exists, and her heart aches with the need to find him. When her long-lost mama calls to announce she’s knockin’ on death’s door, Bex reluctantly makes the trip to see the uncaring bitch (bless her heart), only to be knocked off her feet by the sexy and charming Dr. Mason Hayes. Is he really The One?

Leni’s soul felt an instant connection to Bex, but if Bex found her soul mate, she isn’t their mission. So who is, and why does Leni instinctively feel drawn to her? Can Leni even trust her intuition? And will Jeric step up and lead when the time comes or continue to hold them back?

If they don’t learn to trust themselves and each other quickly, Darkness will claim them all…along with the rest of Earth’s souls.

About Kristie Cook:

Kristie Cook is a lifelong, award-winning writer in various genres, from marketing communications to fantasy fiction. She continues to write the Soul Savers Series, a New Adult paranormal romance/contemporary fantasy, with the first four books, Promise, Purpose, Devotion, Power and Wrath available now. She’s also written a companion novella, Genesis: A Soul Savers Novella, currently available.

The Space Between kicks off her second New Adult paranormal series, The Book of Phoenix, which includes The Space Beyond (May 19, 2014) and The Space Within (July 14, 2014).

Besides writing, Kristie enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and riding on the back of a motorcycle. She has lived in ten states, but currently calls Southwest Florida home with her husband, three teenage sons, a beagle and a puggle. She can be found at:

Author’s Website & Blog:
The Book of Phoenix Website:
Soul Savers Series Website:

It’s Time to Vote for the 3rd Annual UtopYA Awards!

Yes, my friends…it’s that time again. Time to go and cast your votes for the 3rd Annual UtopYA Awards!

I’m thrilled, honored, and humbled to have been nominated for six awards this year. When I saw that, it really blew my mind! Thank you so much to all of my peers for the support. You and this conference have made a huge impact on my writing career!

Here are the categories in which I’ve been nominated:

  • Best Sci-Fi Book of the Year ~ Return of the Ascendant
  • Best Book Trailer ~ Ascendant Series Teaser by Raine Thomas (produced by Flatline Films)
  • Best Supernatural Hero ~ TaeDane in Return of the Ascendant
  • Best Supernatural Villain ~ VycorDane in Return of the Ascendant
  • Best Couple ~ Kyr and Ty in Return of the Ascendant
  • Utopian of the Year

I have to confess that of all of these nominations, I’m most humbled by the last one, Utopian of the Year. This is a new award that exemplifies what this conference is all about…education, collaboration, and inspiration. It may sound cliche, but it’s an honor just to have been nominated.

I’m sure you’re already planning on attending the conference in Nashville on June 20-22nd (you ARE, aren’t you???), but you can find more information here. I hope to see you there! Once more, please go and vote for the awards and show your support of your favorite authors, bloggers, books, and characters. We all appreciate the support!


LAST CHANCE to get Curses, Fates & Soul Mates for 99 Cents!

Sale ends on 3/17!

This weekend is your last chance to pick up the Curses, Fates & Soul Mates Box Set for 99 cents! Don’t miss this opportunity to purchase five full-length paranormal romance novels from five bestselling authors for one amazing price! After Monday, the price will go up to $5.99. That’s quite the savings!

Learn more about the set:

Escape reality and immerse yourself in these steamy paranormal romances. With everything from tattooed bad boys and sexy demons to hot, otherworldly bodyguards, you’re going to fall in love. Beware: you’ll be up reading well past your bedtime!

THE SPACE BETWEEN by Kristie Cook: Self-contained dancer Leni Drago and inked-and-pierced playboy Jeric Winters must discover the truth behind their connection as well as their ties to a journal from 1989 – and they must do it fast, before all evidence that they ever existed disappears. Two love stories, one mystery, and a paranormal twist that readers call “mind blowing.”

FROSTBITE by Lynn Rush: Love is warm and fuzzy for most people, and it would be for eighteen-year-old Amanda Smith, too, if her kisses didn’t cause frostbite.

CURSED by R.K. Ryals: Sometimes being bad is better… A vintage-loving witch. A cocky demon. An old grimoire. An ancient curse. A family secret that changes everything.

RETURN OF THE ASCENDANT by Raine Thomas: Party plans derail for college student Kyra Vaughn when she’s nearly killed…twice. She’ll have to rely on a sexy stranger with unusual abilities to keep her alive and help her discover who she’s destined to be.

REPOSSESSION by Rachael Wade: The Invaders have come for Earth, and Skylla Warden’s in the very center of the upheaval. On a mission to take back what is rightfully theirs, Earth’s population is determined to make sure this isn’t the end. But some endings were never theirs to begin with.


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Book Spotlight: SHATTERED PALMS by Toby Neal

Today I’m happy to feature a book by an indie author whose work I deeply respect and admire. Shattered Palms is the latest book in Toby Neal’s highly-appraised Lei Crime series. Read on for more details about the book and how you can grab your copy today!


Maui is lush mountains, cloud forest and exquisite birdsong—but for Detective Lei Texeira, arrows break that peace.

Someone is stalking poachers that are capturing Maui’s rarest birds, and Lei pursues the case with her usual leap-first, look-later style—but will she be able to catch a killer, save the birds, and still make it to her own wedding? Shattered Palms is a roller coaster ride from the top of Haleakala to the beach and back again, with extinction at stake.

 ~     ~     ~

“Toby Neal creates a captivating balance of the beauty of the islands contrasted with the ugliness of murder, and complicated by the trials of Lei’s personal life. A must-read for Neal fans.” Thomas K. Matthews, author of Rejection.

Buy Shattered Palms Now

About the Author:

Twitter: @tobywneal

Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy Optioned by Back Fence Productions… Next Stop, Hollywood!

Hollywood or Bust!

Three years ago, I finalized the edits on what would become the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy. Having lost my job in December of 2008, I’d found myself with time on my hands and a number of stories in my head. The first complete book I wrote during that period of unemployment will likely never see the light of day. The next three books, however, launched my career as an author.

Since I first published the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy in July of 2011, two of my Estilorian books, Becoming and Defy, have won awards. My books have hit multiple bestseller lists on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, including breaking the Amazon Top 100. I’ve published a follow-up Estilorian trilogy (the Firstborn Trilogy) and two New Adult Contemporary Romances, For Everly and Meant for Her. My next release, coming in February, 2014, is a New Adult Paranormal Sci-Fi Romance titled Return of the Ascendant.

I say all of this to encourage other writers not to give up. If you believe in yourself, you can achieve great things!

I’ve loved writing all of these different characters and genres, but the Daughters of Saraqael will always hold a special place in my heart. That’s why I’m particularly excited (okay, giddy!) to announce that the trilogy has been optioned by multiple award-winning producer, Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions. Mr. Chenowith has film credits that include work with Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts, Alec Baldwin, Dan Ackroyd, Christopher Walken, Brenda Blethyn, Alfred Molina and James Denton, among others. His films have won 11 Best Picture Awards and 29 total awards. I know the Daughters are in great hands!

To celebrate the Daughters of Saraqael taking their first huge step on the path to Hollywood and the big screen, I’m hosting a giveaway. Here’s what you could win:

~ Signed paperbacks of the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy

~ Three bracelets inspired by the books

~ One $10 Amazon gift card


Pay special attention to that last one. There will be a seventh book in the Estilorian series releasing in 2014. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the books, now’s the time to get started! The first book in the series, Becoming, is on sale for just 99-cents until December 27th. If you want to read the entire trilogy at once, the three-book bundle is only $4.99 during that time. Find out why the Estilorians have been such a big hit with thousands of readers, and please help me celebrate the big news!

Take Advantage of the Big Book Sale!!!



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Book Release + Giveaway: MEANT FOR HER by Raine Thomas

It’s here! Release day for my New Adult contemporary romance, Meant for Her!

As you can probably imagine, release days are equally full of excitement and stress. So much work goes into (properly) launching a book. I’ve spent weeks organizing a launch tour of my own, and I also hired the wonderful gals at A Tale of Many Reviews to host separate tours celebrating the launch. I’ll be working like crazy on promotions from now until mid-November, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Today celebrates the story of Sierra Stratton and Evan Dorsey, two characters who I loved before I ever started writing their story. Without further ado, I’d like to share the details about Meant for Her and recognize the wonderful bloggers and authors helping me during this exciting event!

Book Blurb

Photographer Sierra Stratton views the world through a lens all her own. She has an uncanny sense about people, something that often causes her trouble. When she meets the sexy and brooding Evan Dorsey, her intuition tells her he’s suffering, and she wants to be the one to help him.

Evan isn’t open to help from anyone, however. His focus is on his Major League career and making himself as marketable as possible for his upcoming free agency. He plans to ride out the season in Atlanta and then sign with another team, away from the painful memories that haunt him.

Someone’s eager to send him on his way, too. Between anonymous threats and equipment sabotage, it’s clear he’s earned himself an enemy along the way. To him, it’s one more sign that he’s right to move on.

But Sierra threatens his conviction. Her contagious smile proves hard to resist, as does her kiss. She tempts him in ways he never anticipated, making him question his plans for the first time. If he’s not careful, she might just convince him that he’s meant for her.

Buy the Book!

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Add it to your list on Goodreads!

Follow the Tour (and enter the GIVEAWAY!)

October 17

FANdemonium Network

Fiction Dreams

Indie Writer’s Review

Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands

October 18

Books Over Boys

I Read Indie (Review)

Kiss and Tell Book Reviews

October 19

Every Free Chance Book Reviews

A Book Vacation

A Crazy Vermonter’s Book Reviews

October 20

A Diary of a Book Addict

October 21

K.D. Carrillo Books

Step into Fiction

The Bibliophile’s Corner

October 22

Book Boyfriend Reviews

Bring on Lemons

Jess’s Book Blog

October 23

Bump on a Blog

Page Princess

Sandwich Making Book Bitches

October 24

Endless Reading

One More Chapter

Writing on the Sunny Side of the Street

October 25

A Page Away Reviews

Two Sassy Chicks

My Pathway to Books

October 26

Author Allison Cosgrove

Luna’s Book Sweets

Sarah’s Book and Life

October 28

Author Carlyle Labuschagne

Bookcrastinators in Wonderland

The Book Rogue

October 29

Always YA at Heart

Book Freak

No BS Book Reviews

October 30

Nancy’s Book Review Blog

The Book Hookup

October 31

Hackaroo’s Reviews

Jeanz Book Read n’ Review

Writing Stuff and Nonsense

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The Estilorians Turn Two + Sneak Peek of MEANT FOR HER!

This might sound dramatic (hey, I’m a writer!) but my life changed forever two years ago today. Late in the evening on July 24, 2011, my husband and I hovered over our computer, questioning whether we were doing the right thing. Then we did it. We clicked “Publish.”

I’ll never regret the decision. Seeing the Daughters of Saraqael in the hands of readers will always be its own reward. Hearing from fans–both old and new–keeps me up late at night, typing away on whatever story happens to be in my head at the time. Since I still work full-time, I write through holidays and weekends, often bypassing “fun” outings and time with family and friends, all to share more stories with readers.

It’s truly a labor of love, and I can’t thank my friends and family enough for understanding that. Without their support, these past two wonderful years might have turned out quite different. Now I have six Estilorian novels out, one Estilorian short story, and a New Adult Contemporary Romance with a second on the way. My books have won awards and hit multiple bestseller lists, including the Top 100 on Amazon. I’m working with a producer interested in pitching the Daughters of Saraqael to Hollywood, which is exciting beyond words.

All because we decided to click “Publish.”

Those of you who are pursuing your own writing dreams, I encourage you not to give up. Whenever you harbor doubt (and you will…we all do!), find a source of inspiration to keep you going. You CAN do it!

In celebration of my two-year anniversary of becoming a published author, I wanted to share a sneak peek of my upcoming New Adult Contemporary Romance, Meant for Her, which is tentatively scheduled for release in late September (details to come). Please note that this is an unedited excerpt and subject to change before publication. I’d love to know your thoughts once you’ve checked it out!

As always, thank you so much for reading my books and being a key source of my inspiration. I couldn’t do this without you!

Meant for Her, Chapter 1

A drunk woman fell into Evan’s lap about two hours into the wedding reception. He’d seen her coming from across the dance floor. She’d been glancing his way for the better part of an hour, so he wasn’t surprised when she made her way on unsteady legs in his direction. The part where she exaggerated a stumble so she ended up on top of his thighs was an added touch. Not a very original one, though, he thought.

“Oh!” she gasped as she pressed against his chest to steady herself. “I’m sorry. I might have had a little too much to drink.”

Easing her away from him and off his lap, he met her glassy gaze without comment. Whatever she saw in his expression had her smile fading.

“Hey there, Tanya,” came a male voice. “Everly was just asking about you. I think she’s hoping you can show her how to do this line dance.”

Evan and the woman—Tanya, apparently—looked over as his friend Cole Parker stopped a few feet away. Cole gave Tanya a good-natured smile and reached out to steady her when she swayed. She looked relieved over having been rescued from a potentially embarrassing scene.

“I’m sure she’s doin’ fine,” Tanya said with a slow wink. She reached out to hug him. “Congratulations, Cole. I’m so happy for you and Everly.”

He patted her between the shoulders. “Thanks, Tanya. Now be a sweetheart and go help my wife look like a dance champion. This is being recorded for posterity, after all.”

She laughed and waved, wobbling back to the dance floor. Evan wondered if she’d make it through the dance without breaking her ankles in her four-inch heels.

Cole took the empty seat next to him. Evan was sitting at one of the round tables in the back of the large ballroom, trying to stay away from the action on the thriving dance floor. At the moment, he was the only one sitting at the table.

“Don’t mind Tanya,” Cole said. “She’s harmless.”

“Friend of your wife’s?”

Cole nodded. “Damn, that sounds weird. I have a wife now.”

“You sure do.” Evan shook his head. “Tied down at barely twenty-six.”

Cole grinned and shoved his shoulder. They sat together for a couple of minutes, watching the crowd. The bride was holding her own with the line dance, laughing in the middle of the energetic floor. Her long red hair, worn mostly down for the mid-November wedding, bounced around her shoulders as she moved. Cole had sure married a looker. Judging by the way his friend stared at her, he was only too aware of that. He looked just as happy as his new wife did.

The wedding had been enjoyable enough so far, Evan admitted to himself. Although he didn’t generally enjoy these kinds of spectacles, the couple hadn’t gone over the top in extravagance to a point that felt pretentious or uncomfortable. Considering Cole’s status as one of the best pitchers in the Major Leagues, that was really saying something. They’d been married in the bride’s church, then hosted the cocktail hour and reception at a country club in town. Soft lighting, tasteful floral, and touches of elegant décor gave the venue a romantic, welcoming feel. He supposed if he was going to attend the wedding of one of his closest friends, this one was all right.

“I appreciate you coming, Dorsey,” Cole said at last. His hazel gaze reflected his serious tone. “I know it’s a long way from L.A., but it wouldn’t have been the same without you.”

Evan shrugged. “It’s no big deal.”

“You and I both know that isn’t true.”

Not responding, Evan focused on the dance floor. He’d been friends with Cole since he was thirteen and Cole was fifteen. They’d lived down the street from each other and played together on their high school baseball team until Cole was drafted by Atlanta. Although Evan had also hoped to play for Atlanta once he graduated, that hadn’t been in the cards. He’d ended up getting drafted by St. Louis and had bounced around since then.

Still, he and Cole had remained friends, getting together whenever their teams played against each other. Prior to this, they’d last seen each other two months ago. The memory had Evan’s jaw clenching and releasing.

“Thanks for coming to the funeral,” he said at last. “I didn’t think to say anything at the time.”

“Of course.” After another moment, Cole reached over and picked up Evan’s untouched beer, taking a swig. “So, are you going to talk to Wayne about getting the hell out of L.A.?”

Evan shrugged. He still had a year left on his existing contract, though the team could option to trade him. In fact, rumors indicated they would. He was the first to admit that he hadn’t been playing at his best toward the end of last season. He hadn’t yet talked with his and Cole’s agent, Wayne Shelton, about what lay ahead. His career had been the last thing on his mind over the past few months.

Not wanting to spoil his friend’s wedding day, he offered, “I do need to talk to Wayne.”

Cole seemed to sense that he didn’t want to talk. Smiling, he got to his feet. “Don’t suppose you’ve had enough beer for me to talk you into hitting the dance floor?”

“Not nearly enough, mate. Go on. Dance with your gorgeous wife.”

Clapping him on the back, Cole headed into the crowd. Evan watched him stride onto the floor and say something to Javier Rios, one of Cole’s teammates and Everly’s current dance partner. Javy gave a dramatic show of disappointment over the cut-in before kissing the back of the bride’s hand and turning to dance with someone else.

Evan’s gaze settled on Javy’s new partner. The young woman with the chin-length, curly blonde hair had caught his attention a few times throughout the evening. She had an infectious dimpled smile that made it impossible not to feel a little more cheerful just seeing it. Her deep green gown had a flowing skirt and a high waist accented by a band of glittering stones just beneath her breasts. The style suited her. Something about the way she moved kept his gaze returning to her time and again.

Just as he was about to make his excuses so he could leave, she abandoned the dance floor and started walking in his direction. Bare feet accented by dark toenail polish and a silver toe ring peeped out from the bottom of her gown. Intrigued despite himself, he rose and waited until she stood in front of him. His eyebrow lifted as he spied her small diamond nose stud and a couple of purple curls framing her pretty face. He hadn’t noticed those details from a distance.

She tipped her head back to look up at him once she stopped. Judging by where the top of her head met his chest, she couldn’t be more than five-six.

“Hi, Evan.”

Her direct approach didn’t surprise him. Many people knew who he was thanks to his baseball career.

“Good evening,” he said.

He expected a comment on his Australian accent. Most women were compelled to say something once they heard him speak. Although he’d lived in the States since he was thirteen, this reminder of his heritage lingered.

“Would you come with me for a moment?” she asked instead, reaching out and taking his hand. “I could use a break, and you look like you could, too.”

Her eyes were the same shade of green as sea glass, he realized. She wore makeup that enhanced them, making it hard to look away. Though he had no idea why, he found himself nodding.

She gifted him with her impish smile and tugged on his hand. He gazed down at her as they wove through the tables toward a side door. He noticed a tattoo at the base of her neck and another on the inside of her wrist above where her hand connected with his. The lighting didn’t allow him to make out the details of either.

They passed through the side door into a large hallway lit by crystal chandeliers. She kept walking until they reached the glass double doors directly across the hall and then pushed through those, too. The doors led out onto a quiet outdoor terrace surrounded by lush greenery. A few landscaping lights softened the enveloping darkness. Because the temperature had dropped, no one else stood out under the clear night sky.

When they reached the center of the terrace, they stopped walking. She turned to face him, smiling again.

She took a deep breath and slowly released it. “I love being outside, don’t you?”

He studied her for a moment, then looked around. For the first time, he noticed the bite of autumn that tinted the air, the promise of the winter to come. As he inhaled, the cool air burned his lungs. The stars stood out more distinctly against the inky sky.

“There’s something invigorating about autumn in Atlanta,” she said. She shared the same southern accent as Cole, he realized. “It represents promise.”

“Promise for what?”

She shrugged. “Endless possibilities.”

He frowned. What the hell did that mean?

Once again, she took his hand. Her hand was dwarfed by his, but he couldn’t deny that the contact felt nice.

“You looked lost in there, Evan Dorsey. I thought maybe I could do something to help guide you on your way.”

Pulling his hand from hers, he said, “You don’t know anything about me.”

“I don’t need to.” She tilted her head to the side and looked at him with her compelling eyes. “Have you been sick?”

The question made him glance away. He supposed she hadn’t done her research before making this approach. Still, she was closer to the truth than made him comfortable.

Her voice was quiet when she continued, “I ask because your suit looks tailored, but it’s loose on you right now, as though you’ve lost weight. There are dark circles under your eyes, making me think you aren’t sleeping well and probably haven’t been eating right. And your hair is short, like it’s just growing back. Since your scalp is pale, I assume you don’t normally wear your hair that way.”

Jesus, she was observant. Shaking his head, he turned to walk back into the reception.

“I see,” she said. Her tone made him hesitate. “I’m so sorry for your loss, Evan.”

When her slender arms went around him from behind, he didn’t know what to do. No one had ever offered him such a pure gesture of comfort. Everyone who attended the funeral had been too emotionally involved to do so, not that it would have been welcome.

But this hug from a stranger was about to undo him.

Fortunately, she released him before his emotions got the better of him. He stood frozen in place as she walked around him to face him again. His gaze moved down to her bare feet and noted that her nails were the same shade of purple as the streaks in her hair. Belatedly, he considered how cold she must be.

“I can see that you’re in a dark place,” she said, touching the side of his face. It was just the whisper of a caress, but it made his throat tighten. “It’s good that you honor the memory of this person you loved. But don’t be afraid to live now. What you’ve gone through, it will bring you where you need to be. Even the stars can’t shine without darkness.”

Mesmerized, he didn’t resist when she pulled him down. He closed his eyes when her lips touched his. She kissed him, an expression of comfort more than passion. The taste of sweet champagne lingered when they parted. She smiled again, her dimples teasing him, then turned and walked back inside.

After a moment, he followed her. This woman whose name he didn’t even know had given him more to think about in their few minutes together than anyone had in a long time. For someone who appeared no older than her early twenties, she had incredible insight.

She’d given him a glimpse of light that he hadn’t even known he craved. He supposed the least he could do was thank her.

Returning to the reception, he went looking for her. He figured she’d return to the dance floor, so he started there. After twenty minutes, he had to give up.

She was gone.