February 26, 2020

MEANT FOR HER on #sale for 99-cents until 4/11!


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 Links

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He crossed his arms over his chest and stared at her. It was all she could do to keep her eyes on his face. She’d already seen the black tattoo on the inside of his left forearm that read Strength, but she hadn’t seen his others yet. Across his pecs was a longer tattoo, some sentence or phrase that she couldn’t read from where she stood. He had another one on his right bicep, high enough to be covered by a sleeve whenever he wore a shirt.

She wanted to run up to him and touch and examine every inch of his tanned skin, especially where his spectacular abs disappeared into a V where his towel cut him off. If she didn’t already look like a whacked out, creepy stalker, that would be sure to do the trick.

After a long moment, he said, “It’s not broken.”

Relief flooded through her, both because he apparently wasn’t filing charges and because Beck’s paw was only sprained. She went back down to her knees to pet him some more.

“I’m so glad to hear it. Did Dr. Paulk give you the anti-inflammatories?”

Evan made a face. “Yeah. When I tried to give one to Beck, he puked on me.”

She made a sound of sympathy and kissed the top of Beck’s head. “Poor thing. You’re not feeling well at all, are you, big guy?”

“You know, I’m the one who got puked on,” Evan grumbled.

That was way too good a segue to pass up. Getting to her feet, she slowly walked over to him. His eyebrow lifted.

“Poor, Evan,” she said, her eyes on his as she stopped in front of him. “You’ve had a rough couple of days, haven’t you, big guy?”

“You petted Beck,” he reminded her.

Smiling, she reached out and placed her palms on his chest. As she ran her hands over his hard muscles, she read his chest tattoo.

Play as if you’ll live forever.

“An oversight I’m happy to remedy,” she murmured, meeting his gaze as her right hand lowered to his abdomen. “How rough have you had it these past couple of days, Evan?”

He grabbed her hand when it reached the waistband of his towel. She hadn’t had any intention of going beneath it…this time. But it pleased her to look down and see the results of her touch on his body.

Figuring he wanted her to stop teasing him, she stepped away. He yanked her back against him and brought his mouth down on hers.

All sense of teasing was gone like a snap. Desire raged between them. The kiss was hot, open-mouthed, carnal. She buried her fingers in the hair at the base of his neck, barely aware when he reached down to lift her so that her legs wrapped around his waist. She just knew how happy she was to have even easier access to his fabulous mouth.

She met the thrust of his tongue with hers, mimicking the mating that they both clearly wanted. Soft moans and growls filled the room, none of them from the dogs. They backed against a wall. His lower body pressed hard against hers, the towel and her clothing suddenly unbearable barriers.

When she reached for the towel, he stopped her, breaking off the kiss. The sound of their ragged breathing blended with her pulse racing in her ears.

“Mother of God,” he panted, bracing himself against the wall. “I could take you right here.” 


Release Day Blitz + #Giveaway: RISE OF THE FAIRE-AMANTI by Raine Thomas

It’s launch day for Rise of the Faire-Amanti (Ascendant Series #3), and I’m is celebrating with a big giveaway! Read on for more details…



Book Blurb:

Stranded in the desolate Dark Lands, Kyr and Ty share a bittersweet reunion. Alametria lies on the brink of darkness. Their people are still reeling, believing she’s dead at Ty’s hands. With no other choice, many have turned to the Guardians and Advisor Vycor for guidance, never suspecting they’re being led to slaughter.

Kyr and Ty encounter overwhelming challenges in their fight to save their people: a deadly environment, murderous Marauders, and powerful protections preventing them from reaching the palace. When the journey itself could mean their deaths, the one thing that keeps them going is the thought of bringing VycorDane to justice.

Facing a battle on multiple fronts, lacking resources, and significantly outnumbered, Kyr and Ty must rely on each other in the race to save their planet. Will they beat the odds and restore peace to Alametria…or will Vycor’s evil destroy them all?



Turning so he faced Kyr, he lifted a gloved hand to her shoulder. Are you sure you want to do this?

She nodded, but he saw the rapid pulse in her neck belying her fear. They were both struggling to ignore the flight reflex pounding in their minds.

He considered walking to the storage bay and pulling out the sleeping pallets Gren had packed for their use, but he worried that taking even that much time would have them both abandoning this plan and giving in to the protections. Instead, he bent down and kissed her.

The feel and taste of Kyr shoved every other thought to the far corners of his mind. Although it had only been a few days since he last touched her like this, he felt like a starving man being offered a sumptuous buffet. Her soft lips eased open beneath his, begging him to deepen the kiss. He obliged, rubbing his tongue against hers as she tasted him just as thoroughly.

He ached to touch her. He broke away from her long enough to yank off his goggles and gloves. She hastily did the same. As if of one mind, they didn’t stop there, stripping out of their flight gear with quick, purposeful movements. When Ty was done, he helped Kyr remove the rest of her clothing. Then they came together in a mad rush, their mouths once again finding each other in a searing kiss.

Open your mind to me, Kyr thought. Only to me.

Yes. Only you.

He barely processed her demand over the raging need coursing through his body, but understood what she wanted. Since their first time joining here in the Dark Lands, he had learned that he had to keep a barrier between them when they made love. If he didn’t, they ran the risk of their joined power spiraling out of control like it had that time. On the more practical side, there was also the fact that if he allowed himself to feel everything she felt, their lovemaking would be over practically before it started.

Trust in us, she encouraged him as her hands ran along the muscles of his arms and chest.

Heedless of the consequences, he did as she asked, fully opening his mind to hers.


Buy Rise of the Faire-Amanti:

Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ B&N ~ iBooks ~ Kobo


Haven’t read the first two books in the series? Start with Return of the Ascendant today!


Buy Return of the Ascendant:

Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ B&N ~ iBooks ~ Kobo




About the Author:

Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine recently signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Connect with Raine:

Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Pinterest ~Linkedin ~ Website ~ Blog

Amazon Author Page



To celebrate the launch of Rise of the Faire-Amanti, I’m offering a Kindle Paperwhite to one lucky winner! This giveaway will only run for TWO DAYS (12/14 & 12/15).

To enter, please visit My author page on Facebook and Like, Comment (on the giveaway post), and Share. You could win a Kindle just in time for the holidays!


Blog Tour: THE NEXT DAY by Milt Mays @mmthriller


Enjoy Happy Geek Media’s Debut of The Next Day



The-Next-Day-Book-stack Author Milt Mays The Next Day

The Next Day by: Milt Mays

Genres: Thriller, paranormal, sci-fi

395 Pages

Release date: November 10, 2014


Top secret bio-warfare after 9/11 changes an American geneticist and an Iraqi jihadist into the next evolution of man, one evil and one good, and their end game will decide the fate of the human race.

Alex Smith, an adventure seeking American geneticist, remembers 9/11 with crystal clarity. A girlfriend was incinerated at the Twin Towers at the same time he was infected by a lethal virus he genetically modified in an illegal, U.S. bio-warfare facility in the Amazon jungle. Then he changes, physically and psychologically, into a creature he hates and must learn to control before he loses his work, his new love, and his life and country.

Jabril El Fahd’s Iraqi mother, a nurse, dies in his arms, killed by the American embargo. His dreams of being a doctor are consumed in the fires of revenge and hate. He becomes a jihadist, Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man, and comes up with a plan to not just cripple, but destroy the United States. Infecting himself with a deadly virus to wipe out the American infidels, he changes into a monstrous creature he loves, and becomes more powerful with every hateful and lustful thought. Nothing stands in his way.

Nothing except Alex.





Jesse pressed into the seat next to him. “Hey, Alex. How’s it hangin’?” The blue scrubs she wore barely contained all of her six-foot-two and well over two hundred pounds. Jessibelle Yanaha Macallan was beautiful, sexy, and one of the smartest microbiologists Alex knew. He liked her even more because she’d been a rebellious youth at the University of Arizona, once being jailed as a grad student for protesting sanctions against Iraq. She was responsible for decoding parts of the Ebola DNA and was helping him transplant viral codes from smallpox-like monkey viruses to the middle of Ebola DNA.

She always liked to sit close, too close. Okay, maybe he liked it a little.

“Hi, Jesse. I’m good. Except I think my mind is still an hour behind.” Truth was, even his eyes ached. But he had to get going. Work meant money. “Give me a few minutes, though, and I’ll be multitasking as usual. Right now, how about some of that good old Colombian?”

“Sure, baby.” Her smooth voice was nonchalant. “But you know I don’t bring any of that stuff with me to the job.”

“Right…just pass the coffee.”

Macallan was a weird last name for an Apache. She’d explained it as a Scottish trapper hired by James Kirker to tame the northern New Mexico Jicarilla Apaches. Raised on the rez, she hated government oppression. She’d told him Yanaha came more from distant Navajo relatives, and translated to One who confronts her enemies. Fit her perfectly. Y this. Y that…Oh, yeah. Alex also loved it that “Y” fit right in with the D.C. acronym game. The best part: it was only one initial.

Nov 24 Like a Bump on a Blog Kick-off post

Nov 25th Work Money Fun Spotlight & Excerpt

Nov 26th Unorthodox Blog Spotlight

Nov 28th Erica Lucke Dean Spotlight

Dec 1st John Lindholm Spotlight & Excerpt

Dec 2nd Ciara Ballintyne Spotlight

Dec 3rd Homeless Chronicles in Tampa Spotlight/Possible review

Dec 4th Publishing Push Spotlight

Dec 5th Write as Raine Spotlight Excerpt

Dec 8th John Lindholm Review

Dec 9th Terri’s Little Haven Spotlight

Dec 10th Becca Hamilton Books Spotlight

Dec 11th McClellan Books Spotlight

Dec 12th KP’s Book Nook Review

Dec 15th Fever of a Lava Mama Spotlight

Dec 16th Chrystan’s Thoughts Review

Dec 17th Like a Bump on a Blog Review

Dec 18th Momma D Saves Spotlight/Review

Dec 19th eBookBuilders Spotlight

Dec 22nd Happy Geek Media Spotlight Q&A



Author Milt Mays

Milt grew up in Colorado, then spent most of his adult life as a Navy doctor. After graduating from the Naval Academy and medical school, he traveled all over the world with the Navy, the Marines, and a Navy Security Group, finally coming back to rest in Colorado. He’s worked as a fly fishing guide and currently is a primary care doctor for the VA.

Other published works by Milt include the novels The Guide and Dan’s War and the short stories “Thanksgiving with Riley” and “The Dry-Land Farmer.” He lives with his wife in Colorado.

Visit his website to find out more about him.






Tour hosted by…


Good luck and happy reading and winning!


RISE OF THE FAIRE-AMANTI Available for Pre-Order + Exclusive Sneak Peek!

This is a very exciting day for me, my friends! I’ve never had one of my books available for pre-order. While this may not seem like a big deal, it is for me. In my mind, it helps build anticipation. It also put me on a real writing deadline for the first time ever, which was completely nuts. Ultimately, though, I’m so glad I’ve had this experience!

Let’s hop right into the book details so you can get your pre-ordered copy of Rise of the Faire-Amanti…then, as a special “thank you,” I’m posting the entire first chapter for your reading enjoyment. Here we go:


Stranded in the desolate Dark Lands, Kyr and Ty share a bittersweet reunion. Alametria lies on the brink of darkness. Their people are still reeling, believing she’s dead at Ty’s hands. With no other choice, many have turned to the Guardians and Advisor Vycor for guidance, never suspecting they’re being led to slaughter.

Kyr and Ty encounter overwhelming challenges in their fight to save their people: a deadly environment, murderous Marauders, and powerful protections preventing them from reaching the palace. When the journey itself could mean their deaths, the one thing that keeps them going is the thought of bringing VycorDane to justice.

Facing a battle on multiple fronts, lacking resources, and significantly outnumbered, Kyr and Ty must rely on each other in the race to save their planet. Will they beat the odds and restore peace to Alametria…or will Vycor’s evil destroy them all?

Pre-Order Now:

Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ iBooks ~ Kobo

Add it to your To-Read list on Goodreads

~     ~     ~

And now, a Sneak Peek at Rise of the Faire-Amanti

Chapter One

“Your cousin Sem is dead,” Vycor sneered.

Ty tried to move, but he couldn’t. Vycor’s Mynders had ambushed him. He was strapped to one of the seats in the palace’s Ritual Chamber…the same seat he had sat in while he mentally tortured Vycor just a couple of lunar cycles before.

They had been so close to defeating the Advisor. His demise had been within their grasp. There had been just one misstep.

One deadly misstep.

“He died screaming for mercy,” Vycor said as he laid out implements beside the altar in the center of the chamber. “He cursed your name, TaeDane. He knew it was your fault that he suffered so long before death claimed him.”

“You’re lying,” Ty growled. He knew Sem had gotten out of the palace.

He had to have gotten out.

“Am I?”

At a silent command, one of the Mynder guards standing in the chamber brought forth a basket. Ty’s stomach clenched when he saw the blood leaking out of the basket’s bottom and dripping onto the floor, but he controlled his reaction so Vycor couldn’t see his wariness. Without any preamble, the guard dumped the basket at Ty’s feet. Sem’s head flopped out, splashing gore onto Ty’s boots.

“He was still alive when we dismembered him,” Vycor said conversationally, his gaze on Ty’s face. “In fact, his ‘member’ was one of the first things I cut off. I’ll have to be even more inventive when I kill you.”

Horror blended with rage and grief, gripping Ty around the throat as he stared at Sem’s ghastly expression. Forcing his gaze away from it, he tried to reach out with his mind. He had to connect with Kyr. He had to warn her.

But his thoughts were blank. No one was hearing them.

“Oh, I’m hearing them,” Vycor assured him. “I’m stronger now than you ever were. You’ll admit it before I’m done with you.”

Ty shook his head. This couldn’t be. He was the Faire-Amanti. He and Kyr were paired. They were fated to be together. Their abilities were stronger than Vycor’s. Than anyone’s.

Weren’t they?

“You are such a fool,” Vycor laughed. “I can’t wait to have you pleading and sniveling like your cousin did. I imagine you’ll feel as though you’ve died at least twice once I finish with your amanti. You do feel everything she does, don’t you?”

Ty went utterly still. His heart dropped, then thudded painfully against his breastbone. His palms tingled with panicked sweat. Once again, he sent out a desperate thought to Kyr. He had to protect her.

“She can’t hear your thoughts,” Vycor said, his smile lethal. “But fear not.”

The chamber doors opened, admitting more Mynders. Ty’s head jerked in their direction. Then it moved from side to side in slow denial.

“Ah, here she is,” Vycor said, watching as the Mynders placed Kyr’s unconscious form on the altar. “This will be fun.”

Ty strained against his bonds as Vycor reached for the fastenings of Kyr’s lightweight armor. Although he had vowed not to let Vycor see any signs of weakness, he shouted, “Don’t touch her!”

“Oh, I intend to do much more than just touch her.” Vycor smirked as the first of Kyr’s armor hit the floor. “I intend to take her as many times as I please in whatever ways I please, and I imagine a number of the Mynders in this room would enjoy a turn, too.”

Ty didn’t have to look around to sense the lecherous expressions of the guards over Vycor’s dark promise. His muscles burned and protested as he pulled against his bonds. He watched helplessly as Vycor completely disrobed Kyr and secured her wrists and ankles to the far corners of the altar.

“We can’t enjoy ourselves if she sleeps through it, can we?” Vycor said.

He reached over into the satchel on the side table and pulled out a small snifter. Removing the top, he waved it under Kyr’s nose. Ty’s own nose burned as Kyr jerked away from the source of the pungent smell. Her low moan sent fear clawing through him.

“Leave her alone!” Ty begged. “Take me instead!”

Vycor chuckled. “Oh, we’ll get to that. But first…”

He slapped Kyr. The sharp strike made Ty flinch. Kyr gasped and fully opened her eyes. As realization set in, her gut iced in terror. Ty felt it blend with his own.

“Stop!” he cried hoarsely. He knew it was useless and only served to spur Vycor on, but he couldn’t stop himself. “I’ll do anything you ask!”

“It’s too late for that,” Vycor replied, removing his robe and revealing his heavy state of arousal.

“What are you doing?” Kyr choked out. Chains rattled as she tried to free herself. Her gaze moved to Ty. “Ty, help me!”

I can’t, he thought uselessly, but he pulled hard enough on his own bonds to feel blood trickling along his wrists. His eyes blurred as Vycor climbed up onto the altar.

Now, I’ll finally take everything from you, TaeDane, Vycor thought.

“Help me!” Kyr screamed. “Ty!”

*     *     *

Ty jerked awake. Sweat coated his skin. Moisture that might not have been sweat dripped along his temples onto his pillow. His tensed muscles slowly eased as his mind accepted that he’d been dreaming.


The dream had started not long after Kyr met up with him in the Dark Lands. At first, it was nothing more than flashes of images and a sense of defeat and powerlessness. With each new incarnation of the dream, though, more details appeared. The sequence of events never changed. It just got more and more vivid and intense.

He reached shakily for Kyr, who still slept soundly beside him. Battling the sharp blade of desolation that threatened to slice into his soul, he pulled her against him and wrapped her in his arms. She slept on, oblivious to his torment.

The light, familiar fragrance of her hair helped calm him, but not much. The fear from the dream haunted him, and would stay with him for a long time to come. There would be no more sleep for him that night.

How could he sleep when he suspected that such a specific recurring scene wasn’t a dream, but a vision of things yet to come?

Release Day Blitz + Giveaway: 15 MINUTES by Bethany Lopez

Join us in celebrating the release of 15 Minutes by Bethany Lopez!

Title: 15 Minutes (Time for Love #4)
Author: Bethany Lopez
Age Group: NA
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Models: Tessi Conquest and Fernando Cedeno
Photo by K Keeton Designs
Cover by B Designs

Raised to be the “perfect” wife, Victoria has spent her days maintaining her impeccable outward appearance and her nights mingling with the rich and entitled. When her engagement to Scott ended, Victoria thought she’d be rid of him and his circle of friends forever, but a chance encounter with Brock will change not only the way she sees him, but the way she sees herself.

Brock is a man who’s happy and content with his life. A surrogate parent to his now-adult brothers, he spends his days running the company he built himself and his nights playing in his brothers’ local band. When he runs into Victoria in the bar after a show, sparks unexpectedly fly, and he’s interested in seeing where it goes.
But can the man who’s happy with his life, convince the woman who always wants more, to give him a shot with only 15 Minutes on the clock?

I was waiting for my beer when the hint of something spicy and expensive wafted toward me. I turned my head to see the back of a woman. She wasn’t dressed for a night at the bar. At least, not a bar like this one. Even from behind she looked like she belonged in a country club. Her skirt was long enough to be demure, but the way it hugged her ass clued me in to the fact that the ass was magnificent, no matter what the package. Her blouse was tucked in the skirt, and she wore stockings with her high heels. Definitely not jiving with the jeans and T-shirts most of the other patrons were


I let myself fantasize that the stockings led to garters underneath that fancy skirt, as her perfume did crazy things to my senses. I felt my dick harden as my fantasies got away from me, then the bartender interrupted by saying, “Here’s your beer, Brock,” and I saw her stiffen before she turned to look at me.Her hair was dark brown and fell past her shoulders, straight and silky. Her face was striking. It could have been beautiful, if she’d ever fucking smile … Instead, it always looked pinched and unhappy.

“Hello, Brock,” Victoria said dryly. Her eyebrow rose as if she thought I was standing next to her on purpose.

Snooty Bitch.

“Tori,” I tipped my beer to her in greeting, suppressing my grin as I waited for her reaction. I knew I’d get one. “Here for the show?”

“It’s Victoria, and no, I’m not here for the show,” she answered. Even when she spoke she looked constipated.

“Why are you here then?” I asked, not because I cared, just to irritate her.

She huffed out a breath, the loss of control almost cute, then spat out, “Not that it’s any of your business, but I’m supposed to be meeting my sister. She hasn’t shown up yet.”“I didn’t know you had a sister,” I replied before taking a pull of my beer.

Victoria watched my mouth as I drank, then my throat as I swallowed, and my dick jumped back to life of its own free will. Shit, maybe it’d been too long.I grinned when she looked up and saw that I’d caught her looking, and she scowled, “Why would you know that I have a sister? You don’t know the first thing about me.”

I stepped a bit closer, inserting myself in her space, and when she realized she couldn’t back away, she squared her shoulders and glared at me.

“I could get to know you,” I murmured suggestively, close enough for her to feel my breath on her cheek. She flinched slightly, but maintained her stiff posture.“Why would you want to do that?” Victoria asked, her voice almost vulnerable.

Then laughter off by the dance floor grabbed her attention, and I knew she was looking over at Gaby’s table.

She pulled back and looked up into my face, and I was surprised to see that her eyes were so blue that they were almost purple.

“Don’t think just because we’re rejects of your buddies over there, we have anything in common.”

I turned my head to look deliberately at my friends, then back at her and said deeply, “I’m no one’s reject, Tori, I can promise you that.” Then I tilted my head to look at her, curious. “Are you still hung up on Scott?”

I didn’t know why, but I held my breath as I waited for her response.

She didn’t disappoint when she curled her lip and said, “Absolutely not. If he’d rather be with a mutt than a thoroughbred, that’s his problem.”

I chuckled at her haughty words and replied darkly, “You really do have a stick up your ass, don’t you. I don’t know why I like it, Tori.” I inched closer as I spoke, stopping when my chest brushed hers, and she had to crane her neck to look at me. “But I do. I’d like to help you remove it.”

Her expression turned incredulous and she asked, “Are you hitting on me?”

“I must be doing something wrong if you have to ask,” I replied cockily.“Why?” That vulnerability flashed again, causing a fire to flick in my belly, then she extinguished it when her face pinched back up again and she asked, “Do you want to make them jealous?”

Maybe she was more hung up on Scott and Gaby than I’d thought. She had been engaged to Scott after all. They’d had a long-term relationship, so it would only make sense that it would take her longer to get over it than me.

Still, there was something about her bitchy attitude and that tight little ass that made me want a taste, no matter the circumstances.

“It could be about revenge, if that’s what you want.” I lowered my head farther and gently took the soft lobe of her ear into my mouth.

The taste was fleeting, but it was potent. Especially coupled with her astonished gasp.

I pulled away, giving her room to breath and think, drinking beer as I watched her thoughts dance across her face. I’d definitely succeeded in confusing her.

The sound of my name being called had me looking up, and I nodded when Fast Eddie indicated it was time for us to go on.

“I have to get on stage now,” I said softly. Victoria looked up at me, then at the stage, confusion on her face.

“On stage?”

I nodded but didn’t explain.

“Hang around, watch the show … I’ll find you after.” I could tell she was ready to bolt, so I gave her one last shove, lowering my voice to say, “Just give me fifteen minutes, Victoria. Fifteen minutes and I’ll convince you to give this a shot.” I gestured between the two of us as I spoke. When she opened her mouth, I put a finger up to silence her. “No illusions, Tori. I know you’ve probably never been with a man like me, but don’t worry, I’m not offended. I don’t expect you to fall in love and take me home to meet Daddy.” Her eyebrow cocked again and I laughed; damn, but she sure was a spoiled brat.

I leaned down once more, my voice low and rough in her ear, and said, “No strings, no expectations, just pure pleasure.” I stood and finished with, “I’ll see you after the show.” Then turned to find my brothers. I was in the mood to rock the house.

Series Reading Order:
8 Weeks

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords | iTunes

21 Days

Amazon | B&N | Smashwords | iTunes

42 Hours

Click on covers for more information.
Pre-Order 10 YEARS Now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:
Award-Winning Author Bethany Lopez began self-publishing in June 2011. Since then she has published various YA and NA books. She is a lover of romance, family, and friends, and enjoys incorporating those things in what she writes. When she isn’t reading or writing, she loves spending time with her husband and children, traveling whenever possible.

Release Day Blitz: Pathogen by E.L. Loraine

  What if the government doesn’t want a cure? 

blinding light in the Southwestern sky changed everything. Nothing worked
anymore and all Alexis could do was hope that her boyfriend and fellow
scientist Jackson would still head to New Orleans for their week end together. 

couldn’t help thinking the worldwide pockets of viral outbreaks and this were
 somehow connected. If she and Jackson combined
their efforts just maybe they could stop this before it became an epidemic.

she was stuck on the road alone and it wasn’t long before she
it was too late; they couldn’t out run a virus. If the world was over run all
could do now all they could do was to figure
out how to survive and keep the uninfected from becoming, mindless, flesh
eating monsters. Now there’s something else, a mutation a strain of virus the
government doesn’t want to cure and they want Alexis and Jackson to help them
harness it. They aren’t about to let that happen.

world and character building of best-selling author E.L. Loraine with the
specialty horror telling skills of Tim Frasier has combined in this
 dystopian –
Pathogen. It’s chilling in an all too believable way. 




Here are a few short Teasers from

Teaser #1
While Jackson’s exterior was the definition of calm and control,
he was screaming inside. He had to get Alexis out of New Orleans. He approached
the compound commander, Major Johnston, and made a calculated plea.
“I need to get to New Orleans. One of the world’s top
pathologists is there, and would be invaluable in fighting whatever we’re up
Teaser #2
Alexis frowned, gun at the ready, and continued up the stairs,
alleviating further squeaking by positioning her feet on the extreme sides of
the treads.
She stopped at the landing and stood there holding her breath,
listening, trying to decide what to do. Moving to the door to her right, sure
the whimpering sound was coming from that room, she slowly reached out to the
In one movement she twisted the knob, and shoved the door hard.
The door swung to her right, banging on the wall behind it. Lexy moved through
the opening and into the interior of the room with her gun close to her body,
rotating first to the left and then to the right.
Teaser #3
She moved further inside, aiming the pistol back and forth, as
she looked through the room.
She gulped and took herself in hand, preparing inwardly for the
next move.
Stepping to the closet door she took another quick breath,
gripped the knob and pulled it open.

Immediately, something inside the closet screeched and Lexy
dropped down to one knee, gun extended, with a screech of her own.

I grew up in a small northern Minnesotan town, married my high
school sweetheart, had two beautiful children and as soon as we could, we moved
to a warmer climate. I have worked with my husband building and decorating
custom homes for years. After loving every kind of vampire book, movie, and
series, I decided that I wanted to know more. I can write a book I thought, how
hard can that be? Well….very hard. But I stuck to it and finished my first book
Royal Blood Chronicles Book One, Katrina, The Beginning, in August 2009. There
are now nine books in that series; The Protectors, The Dark Prince, Cain, the
Quest, Bloodline and Legacy, Redemption and Destiny, and book nine Sabine, with
book ten- Power of the Secret -out this fall.
I’ve also started to write mystery/suspense contemporary adult
romances under my E.L. Loraine brand. The first release is Corporate Ties, A
Silken Ties Novel, the second a sweeter romance – Western Escape. A second
Silken Ties Novel will be released in August 2014.

The feedback has been great. I have also released Phantom Lives – Collier, and
new paranormal series, book two of that series Phantom Lives – Power, book
three to be out around Christmas. I also have just published book one of my
Shifter Chronicles – Green River. My parents always told me that I could do
anything that I wanted, work hard, study, and do it right. I believe that and
live that way every day.

I started writing this new vampire series for teens and their
moms because I myself wanted something different to read. I was tired of all
the modern versions of vampire books, there had to be more to these long lived
beings. Where had they been, what had they seen? I wanted, no I NEEDED to know
more so Royal Blood Chronicles was born! Strong female characters and action
and adventure mixed with romance, friendship and a historical backdrop. Phantom
Lives continues with another strong female character, which is very important
to me. Phantom Lives is a modern day, paranormal romance, filled with mystery,
magical places and beings.


A Red Coat PR Interview!
RCPR: Your newest book, PATHOGEN releases onOctober 28th.  Tell us a little about it.
Elizabeth: I was invited to write a short story for an anthology and worked with Tim Frasier on a piece. We just clicked, and I asked him if he would write this story with me, an idea I’d had for a while. Two scientists, who are in a long distance relationship are set to meet each other again in New Orleans when the world suddenly changes. Pathogen has been released and an EMP has taken out almost all communications, electrical and power. Now the main characters, Alexis and Jackson are trying to get to each other. The government and other factions also want them to stabilize the Pathogen, if not cure it. Both sides want to control it for their own purposes. So they, along with a band of people who they’ve joined or helped along the way are on the run.
RCPR: I have to say, your cover is a mixture of stunning and freaky.  What inspired the idea for the cover and who was your designer?
Elizabeth: Conzpiracy Digital Arts does most of my covers, he’s amazing, but horror is his specialty. I only have to give him a concept and then get out of the way. This scientist has been infected. Because it’s true; you can’t run from a virus.
RCPR: Your tag line, “What if the government doesn’t want a cure” is amazing!  Do you personally believe in government conspiracies or does it just make for a good book?
Elizabeth:  Oh I love a good conspiracy and I believe they go on. Yes I believe not every faction of the government knows everything about the others. It’s scary, that’s what makes it good.
RCPR: PATHOGEN is a co-written venture that you partnered with Tim Frasier on.  How did you find the process of co-writing to be?
Elizabeth: It was amazing and while Tim wasn’t sure if it would work it has and our style and our imaginations mess seamlessly. It started out by Tim writing Jackson’s part and I wrote Lexy’s point of view. Once they were together however we just took turns, each writing around 1000 words a day and passed it back and forth. We had the first book done in six weeks, the second in an additional five weeks. We wrote a novella, a prequel next and will start the third book next week. I have to say it was soooo fun. It was like Christmas morning every day waiting to read what he’d written and adding to the story.
RCPR: Aside from the horror/thriller genre, what other genre’s have a dabbled in?
Elizabeth: I started writing YA fantasy and paranormal, but now I also write romance/mystery and thrillers too. I find it keeps writing exciting to try new things and engage a new audience.
RCPR: With the new year quickly on approach, are there any new writing goals that you’re thinking of setting for yourself in 2015?
Elizabeth: I am expanding my YA series Royal Blood Chronicles and Phantom Lives as well as my Lillian, a Vampire tale series. We will continue the Pathogen series or maybe a spin off or something new. Silken Ties, the adult romance/thriller series will get two novels next year as well.
RCPR: As an author, the more you write the better you become.  Have you ever been tempted to go back and re-work your first books?  Did you?
Elizabeth: I have been through all of them again yes, and may do it again. You’re always learning so I may do a re-write on the first books again. That’s what’s so great about self publishing, you’re in charge.
RCPR: Do you tend to do a lot of research for your books or do you like to create new rules and history?
Elizabeth: I do a lot of research, but it is fiction after all, so I mix the real history with my fiction. I do the same with anything I’m writing. If it’s about the FBI, the military, government, serial killers, whatever. I do the research. I really enjoy that part of writing.
RCPR: If you could spend a day in any time period in history, which would it be and why?
Elizabeth: I think I’d like to see the early West so mid 1800’s would be my choice, but all history fascinates me. Walk with Louis and Clark.
RCPR: What is your biggest writing pet peeve? Why?
Elizabeth: Writing the dreaded blurb! I hate condensing an entire novel into a two paragraph blurb and I know I’m not the only one.

 Did you know there is a Release Party for Pathogen on October 28th from 6pm-9pm EST? No you didn’t well be sure to click the link below so you can join in the fun!

FOR EVERLY’s New Cover + 99-cent Sale Until 10/12!

Check out For Everly’s new cover by the amazing Regina Wamba of MaeIDesign!


**This is a New Adult novel recommended for ages 16+.

Determined to overcome a dark and tragic past, college student Everly Wallace is only months away from earning her degree in physical therapy. She’s consumed with school, caring for her ailing grandfather, and figuring out how to pay the next bill. The last thing she wants is a relationship, but it just might be the one thing she needs.

Major League pitcher Cole Parker hasn’t fought for anything in his life. He went from a privileged upbringing to a multimillion dollar All-Star career. But when his pitching shoulder starts to give him trouble at only twenty-four years old, he faces the possibility of his injury becoming public knowledge and costing him everything.

In a desperate bid to save his career, Cole decides to hire someone to treat his injury, someone who will keep things off the record and out of the media. He finds the perfect solution in Everly. As mysterious as she is beautiful, she provides an enticing distraction from his pain. Soon, physical therapy is the last thing on his mind.

When an act of betrayal brings the truths they both fear to light, Cole will have to fight for the first time in his life…not just for his career, but for Everly’s love.

Buy For Everly for just 99 cents until 10/12!


Amazon * Amazon UK * B&N * iBooks * Kobo 


“I know you’re not seeking any romantic connections right now, Everly,” Wyatt interrupted, giving Cole a quelling look. “We’re here in a strictly professional capacity.”

Now she looked more at ease. “I see. Are you seeking a consultation over Cole’s rotator cuff injury?”

Cole stiffened. He glared at Wyatt.

“I haven’t told her a thing,” Wyatt said with raised palms.

“You didn’t have to say anything,” she said with a shrug, leaning back against Rowan’s desk. Her keen gaze met Cole’s. “I noticed that you favored your left hand throughout your meal, using it to drink, eat, and bring your napkin to your mouth, but you’re a right-handed pitcher. And just now, when you moved to clear space on the couch, you stopped breathing and swallowed hard when you moved your right arm, telling me you’re hiding pain and have a reduced range of motion.”

His mouth opened over her observations. He looked again at Wyatt. His brother gave him a look that said, See?

“But how do you know it’s a rotator cuff injury?” Cole asked. Could other people see what she did? If so, he was so screwed.

“That, I’ll admit, was an educated guess based on your age and profession,” she answered. “I’ve only observed your symptoms and haven’t done any scans or tests to confirm. You’ll want to rule out bursitis, tendonitis, adhesive capsulitis, and other possible causes of your shoulder pain, of course.”

Despite what he’d seen this evening and his brother’s assurances, Cole was surprised by Everly’s quick assessment. She looked like she should be out club-hopping, not spouting medical jargon with such an intent expression on her face.

He also realized, since she knew his profession, that she had known who he was the moment she saw him. So why hadn’t she mentioned that before now? Maybe she wasn’t a fan.

“We’ve had scans done,” Wyatt said. “X-rays, an MRI—the whole load.”

He moved over to the desk. Everly stepped to the side as Wyatt reached over to retrieve the large manila envelope resting there. She hit Cole’s leg and nearly toppled onto his lap. Out of instinct, he reached out to help her maintain her balance. His hands ended up on her nicely shaped rear end.

She sprang away like a gazelle fleeing a lion. When she turned to look at him, he realized her cheeks were nearly as red as her hair. Her reaction went a long way toward putting him back on an even keel.

“I don’t bite,” he said with a grin. “Come and have a seat.”

He patted the cushion beside him. She looked at it warily, then moved her gaze to him. He patted the cushion again. Her lips moved on a whispered comment of some kind as she stepped around his legs and sat down. It was a small victory, but he felt better.

When he turned to look at her, he caught her scent, a unique fragrance that reminded him of whipped vanilla cream and frosted wildberries. She met his gaze. The combination of her nearness, her scent, and the cautious look in her lovely eyes had his whole body reacting.

Oh, this was such a bad idea.

Author Bio:
Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine recently signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Author Links:


Book Spotlight: SUDDENLY SORCERESS by Erica Lucke Dean

Today I’m delighted to feature the latest release by my talented author pal, Erica Lucke Dean. Her book, Suddenly Sorceress, was published by Red Adept Publishing in December and has received tons of praise by reviewers. If you love your romance laced with humor and paranormal elements, this is one book you don’t want to miss. Check it out and pick up your copy today!

About Suddenly Sorceress

PMS can be a real witch.

Ivie McKie isn’t your run-of-the-mill kindergarten teacher. After an encounter with a horny goat, Ivie has a confrontation with her lying, cheating fiancé. She is shocked when the big jerk suddenly transforms into a skunk—the black and white furry variety.

Enlisting the help of her shopaholic friend Chloe and sexy club magician Jackson Blake, Ivie is forced to play a literal game of cat and mouse as she races against the clock to change her ex back before she’s arrested for his murder.

With every new spell, a fresh wave of sexual desire draws Jack further into Ivie’s troubles, along with her panties, the car, the kitchen, and assorted seedy bathrooms.

Ivie soon discovers what every witch worth her spell book knows: There’s nothing worse than a bad case of Post Magical Syndrome.

~    ~    ~

Excerpt from Suddenly Sorceress

“You’re too sexy, my ass!” I tried to tune out the Right Said Fred ringtone as I fished my fiancé’s cell phone from the pocket of his discarded Dockers. I glared at the flashing caller ID. “You just don’t give up, do you?”

That was lucky number thirteen. Thirteen missed calls in the span of an hour. Thirteen calls he was unable to answer.

Because of me.

After pressing ignore one more time, I shoved the phone back into the pocket where it belonged, hoping it would muffle the sound somewhat. I didn’t know why I didn’t just turn off the damn thing. I’d endured his ridiculous ring tone more times than anyone should have to, obviously determined to punish myself. Between the maddening song and the horrible smell, I certainly felt punished. Even if it wasn’t nearly enough.

Way down deep in my bones, I knew my life had been forever changed. Even if I could somehow fix things—put them back to normal—nothing would be the same again. Not ever.

Swallowing against the crystal ball-sized lump in my throat, I dropped Matt’s pants where I’d found them, along with his shirt, his boxers, and his shoes, and I collapsed onto the rumpled blankets on the bed.

That sort of thing didn’t happen in the real world. Only small children or crazy people believed in… no, I refused to even think the word, let alone say it. It’s impossible. But I’d seen it with my own eyes, and whatever it was, it definitely wasn’t normal.

My scruffy housecat made another frantic orbit around my feet as the phone sounded again, the self-centered lyrics looping, making me cringe. Apparently, he’d also grown weary of the tune.

If only I could say the choice of ring tone was ironic, a product of his wry sense of humor. But he didn’t have much of a sense of humor. Matthew Green was exactly that arrogant. Despite every despicable thing he’d done to me, every insult, lie, and betrayal that had led us there, I truly wished Matt could answer his stupid phone himself. Unfortunately, wishing didn’t seem to be on my side that morning.

Stifling a groan, I pulled myself from the warmth of the bed to dig the phone out of Matt’s pocket again. Geez, persistent much? With a deep, cleansing breath, I mashed down the button to accept the call.

“Matt! Where are you?” Matt’s receptionist, Ginger, snapped before I had a chance to say hello. “Friday’s your busiest day. Do you have any idea what time it is? You’ve already missed two appointments.”

Even without caller ID, I would have recognized her breathy Betty Boop voice. She sounded as though she’d been sucking helium all morning. I didn’t know her well, but I suspected she was banging my fiancé.

“We’ll be lucky if there’s enough time for a quickie before the next patient arrives,” she continued in a whisper.

Yep… definitely banging him.

“And another thing.” Her sweet baby voice morphed into a feral growl. “Candy’s been standing outside your office all morning. I thought you said you were done with her? I’m not kidding, Matt, if I find out you’re still screwing her, I’m going to cut off your balls.”

Apparently, I was engaged to a pathological cheater. Of course, I hadn’t known that when I agreed to marry him. There were a lot of things I didn’t know about Matt. Then again, there was a lot I didn’t know about me.

“Well? Aren’t you going to say anything?”

“Uh… hi, Ginger.” I cleared my throat and resisted the urge to “say anything.” “This is Ivie. Matt can’t come to the phone. I… uh… don’t think he’s going to be able to… uh… make it into work today.” I managed to stammer through the basics without my voice cracking.

“Oh, hi, Ivie.” Her voice changed again; she sounded as if she’d been sucking lemons. She didn’t even have the decency to be embarrassed. “What’s wrong with Matt? He hasn’t missed a day in… Actually, I don’t think he’s ever called in sick.”

My eyes darted to the closed bathroom door, and I shuddered. “He’s really not feeling like himself today.” Understatement of the century.

“Is he sick?”

“Um… I definitely don’t think anyone wants what he has.” I tiptoed around the answer. I wasn’t good at coy, but I gave it my best shot.

“Oh… Well, in that case, maybe it’s best if he stays home.” I could almost see her coiling a lock of her thick red hair around her finger as she spoke. “Just tell him I hope he feels better, and not to worry. I’ll reschedule his appointments for him. Do you think he’ll be well enough to come in Monday?”

I tamped down a flicker of panic. “I really hope so.” But I seriously doubt it.

After listening to Ginger rant for a minute about missed appointments and the difficult task of rescheduling, I ended the call, staring at the bathroom door as if I expected a silent command to open it. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine the door swinging wide and my fiancé sauntering out. I popped open one eye. The door hadn’t moved—not even a crack.

For far too long, I’d avoided that room. With three tentative steps, I closed the distance between myself and the master bathroom, covering my mouth and nose with one hand as I cracked the door. I’d almost gotten used to the foul odor in the bedroom. It was bad but not unbearable. The stench in the bathroom was overwhelming. The fumes poured out, bringing tears to my eyes. The small space reeked worse than when I’d locked him in there last night. It smelled as if someone had cooked up a potion of burning tires and rotten eggs in a boiling vat of sour ammonia, and even that comparison wasn’t quite bad enough.

Blinking back the sting of tears, I scanned the room. I didn’t see him anywhere, just a puddle that looked suspiciously like urine in one corner and in the other, a makeshift bed fashioned out of—were those my good bath towels?

No Matt.

A quick rush of adrenaline kick-started my heart. What’s happened to him now? This is bad. Very, very bad. As if things weren’t bad enough already. What sort of person was I? What I’d done was unspeakable, so horrible even I didn’t know what I’d done.

Just as I was about to have a full-blown panic attack, he slinked out from behind the hamper. I should have been relieved he was still alive, but I wasn’t sure if his current state was much better. He stared up at me—his beady little black eyes blinking in the harsh fluorescent light—so much smaller than he used to be and covered in a thick pelt of black and white fur. My fiancé.

The skunk.

Buy the Book

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble

~     ~     ~

About the Author

“I’m an author of fluffy romance and paranormal romance novels, with a twist. I blog about life in my haunted farmhouse and other ridiculous things. And I laugh at myself when I trip.” –Erica Lucke Dean

After walking away from her career as a business banker to pursue writing full-time, Erica moved from the hustle and bustle of the big city to a small tourist town in the North Georgia Mountains where she lives in a 90-year-old haunted farmhouse with her workaholic husband, her 180lb lap dog, and at least one ghost.

When she’s not busy writing or tending to her collection of crazy chickens, diabolical ducks, and a quintet of piglets, hell bent on having her for dinner, she’s either reading bad fan fiction or singing karaoke in the local pub. Much like the main character in her first book, To Katie With Love, Erica is a magnet for disaster, and has been known to trip on air while walking across flat surfaces.

How she’s managed to survive this long is one of life’s great mysteries.

How to Contact Erica

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Pinterest ~ Google+ ~ Wattpad ~ Publisher Book Page ~ LinkedIn

Book Blitz: MYSTIC (Seer Series #1) by S.G. Tillery

Today I’m delighted to feature a Young Adult fantasy novel filled with action, magic and intrigue. The author, S.G. Tillery, is also offering a giveaway, so be sure to read the entire post and enter below! First, let’s learn more about the book and this wonderful author.

Book Summary:

When a procession of knights returning from the Crusades passes through her village, the last thing 16 year old Anabel expects is that her father will sell her and her brother to one of the knights and his mysterious companion. Anabel is thrust into life at court and agrees to use her special gift to spy on the handsome new king in the weeks leading up to his coronation.

When Anabel’s visions of the future become more frequent and vivid, she learns that she and her brother are at the center of a dangerous plot — one that puts them both in danger and threatens to alter the course of her nation’s future.

As she is growing ever closer to King Fabian, all Anabel wants is for those she loves to be safe. But soon, the reality of her situation comes crashing down on her, and her life is altered once again. The power she is learning to harness is growing inside her and soon, everything she loves will be in danger.

Exclusive Excerpt from Mystic:

I turned to my father. I was furious, terrified, and above all, heartbroken. Thomas was my dearest friend. My only friend.

“You sold him? No, you can’t! You can’t do that!” I knew it was a mistake speaking out of turn to my father, but I didn’t care. He was sending away the only person who completely accepted me. He grabbed me, dragging me toward the house. My mother screamed and tried to put herself between us.

He shoved her aside easily, causing her to fall against the knight’s strange yellow woman, who tried to catch my mother as she fell. The instant they touched, she jerked away as if burned and her eyes turned to me, wide and shocked.

My mother scrambled toward the knight, grabbing at the bottom of his long tunic, looking up at him tearfully. “Take my daughter too, sir. Please!”

“I cannot take her. I only have need of the boy.” The knight did not seem to be affected by the scene before him- my mother, sobbing at his feet, and my father attempting to drag his screaming, crying daughter into the house, stopping once to strike me hard across the cheek.

“My lord.” The strange woman spoke for the first time, her voice husky, surprising us all. My father stopped dragging me, turning to look at her, and I stopped struggling.

“My Lord,” she repeated, once she had the knight’s attention. “I believe I can make use of the girl, if you would agree to bring her with us.”

Something unspoken passed between the knight and the mysterious lady. He nodded once, and turned back to my father.

“Sir, I would be willing to take your daughter as well, if you are so inclined.”

“I don’t know about that, now.” My father still held my arm, but he loosened his grip slightly. “She does quite a bit of work around here. I don’t fully know how we might manage without her help.”

A look of disgust crossed the knight’s face, only for a brief instant before he composed himself. He removed a coin purse from his belt and tossed it to my father.

“I believe you will find yourself well compensated for your loss.”

Buy the Book on Amazon for just 99 cents!

Author Info:

S.G. Tillery was born and raised near Fort Worth, Texas. She still lives in north Texas with her husband and four daughters, but she rebels against the Texan stereotype. She loves God, her family, and all things involving books, and is a self-proclaimed nerd, a history buff, and vintage enthusiast. Mystic, a young adult historical fantasy, is her first published novel. She loves hearing from her fans and encourages them to find her on Facebook.

Connect with the Author:

Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

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($10 Amazon Gift Card + 4  Kindle Copies of Mystic)

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New Year, New Book: Sneak Peek at RETURN OF THE ASCENDANT

Happy New Year!

I’m sure everyone is busy making their New Year’s Resolutions, and I’m no exception. For me, 2014 will be particularly motivating because it will be my last year as a thirty-something. Might sound strange to some folks, but it would be great to achieve some big goals before my 40th birthday next January. We’ll see how it goes!

My first goal of the year is to finish and publish Return of the Ascendant, a New Adult SciFi Romance. Some of you might be scratching your head over my choice to write a SciFi book, but there’s a story behind it that I’ll share in a future post. Suffice it to say that if you’re a fan of the Estilorian books (and you’re 17 or older), I think you’ll love the Ascendant series.

To give you a glimpse into Return of the Ascendant, I wanted to share the first chapter with you. **Please keep in mind that this excerpt is unedited and not necessarily the final version that will appear in the published book.** I hope you enjoy it! Let me know what some of your goals are for 2014. Curious minds want to know…

For now, I’ll wish you a very Happy New Year. Best wishes in 2014!

Return of the Ascendant by Raine Thomas

Chapter One

The screaming started when Kyra was halfway down the hall. She was surprised it had taken this long for things to escalate. She’d been listening to the constant bickering between the two freshmen moving into dorm room 1411 for nearly thirty minutes. Based on past experience, she’d known it was only a matter of time before things got violent.

Picking up her pace, she made it to the open door just as a ceramic figurine flew out and crashed into the opposite wall, missing her nose by inches. One of the resulting shards nicked her right cheek. The brief jab of pain made her temper rise.

“Hey!” she snapped out, rushing into the room and forcing herself between the two females, who were now grappling in an embarrassing display of cat-fighting. “Knock it off!”

It took two solid minutes before she managed to separate them. The fact that they held fistfuls of each other’s hair made it particularly challenging. She wondered where the hell the dorm monitor was and why all of the other girls just stood in the doorway with unhinged jaws. Eventually, she forced the roommates apart and managed to hold them at arm’s length.

She glowered at them. “This is ridiculous. You two have to spend at least a full semester together. You need to get over yourselves and work this out.”

“She’s hoggin’ all the space!” whined the blonde with a nasally southern accent. “These rooms are small enough as it is. Why should she get extra space just ‘cause she claims she needs a mini fridge? No one else is allowed to have one.”

“I’m diabetic,” retorted the brunette with more calm than her red-faced roommate. “My insulin has to be refrigerated.”

Kyra rolled her eyes and turned to the blonde, who had the grace to look down at the floor. “You’re complaining that someone with a life-threatening disease needs extra space to keep her medicines?”

The blonde sniffled, moving quickly from anger to tears. “I just really hoped to fit the storage chest Gran gave me before she died. The fridge makes it impossible.”

Glancing at the brunette, Kyra saw a softening of her expression. She realized the two girls hadn’t discussed the specifics of why space was an issue. They’d just gone straight to arguing. It was a scenario Kyra had seen too many times to count in her two years in the dorms. Young freshmen, especially, were already so stressed out about the many changes in their lives that every little thing set them off.

Lord, she wouldn’t miss this next year.

“I’m sorry that I’m taking up more room than my side allows, Savannah,” the brunette said in a quiet voice. “If I could change things…”

“We can change things,” Kyra said when the brunette drifted off. “First and foremost, we can change the room’s layout.”

Both girls looked at her. The blonde—Savannah—shook her head. “Dorm policy states that the room can’t be altered from the condition we find it in.”

“You’re right,” Kyra agreed in a reasonable tone. “But in situations like these where one roommate has a special condition requiring the room to be altered, changes can be made until both parties are satisfied.”

Savannah’s mouth opened. Hope lit her eyes. “You mean I might be able to fit Gran’s chest after all?”

“We’ll make sure of it.”

Crisis averted, the hallway outside the room quickly cleared. Kyra put a hand on her chin and surveyed the room and its contents. After a short discussion with the roommates about any remaining items they intended to bring into the room, she started directing them on furniture placement. In less than thirty minutes, the room had been arranged in a way that fit both the refrigerator and the chest while leaving room to maneuver.

“Thanks, Kyra,” said the brunette, whose name Kyra had discovered was Patrice. “You’re a life saver.”

Smiling, Kyra shook her head. “Nah. I just don’t like to see two smart young women resorting to aggression and violence in an attempt to get their way.”

“We’ve learned our lesson,” Savannah said, leaning over and giving Patrice a one-armed hug. “From now on, we’ll talk things out.”

Kyra thought they just might. In fact, judging by the way they exchanged grins and the earlier plans she’d heard about using part of the mini fridge to store energy drinks, she thought they’d become life-long friends.

That thought made her think of her own freshman and sophomore roommate, Avana. Kyra was supposed to be going out with her and their mutual friend, Sam, tonight. Her eyes shifted to the single window in the room. She finally noticed that the sunlight was dimming into a deep pink color. Glancing at her watch, she realized she was running late.

“Sorry, ladies,” she said. “I’ve got to go.”

“Oh, sure,” Patrice said. “Thanks again. Sorry we kept you.”

“Are you in one of the neighborin’ rooms?” Savannah asked.

“I was, but I’ve just moved out.”

Savannah’s face fell. “Bummer. Well, it was nice to meet you.”

“It really was,” Kyra said with a smile. “I’m sure we’ll see each other around campus. I start my junior year next semester.”

Both of the girls smiled back. “Yay!” Savannah cheered. “We’ll catch ya at a party or somethin’.”

Waving and giving a vague commitment to see them again soon, Kyra hurried back down the hall to her former dorm room. She hadn’t gone ten feet before she spotted the dorm monitor, Rachel Ferris, stepping off the elevator with a distinct post-coital glow. She wore a self-satisfied smile, an incorrectly buttoned short-sleeved top, and a mussed hairdo. The sight of her had Kyra narrowing her eyes even as she debated whether to talk to her at all. She’d be out of this dorm forever in a few more minutes. It wasn’t like she had to say something.

Her mother’s censuring voice rang in her head, making Kyra sigh. “Hey, Rachel,” she said, halting the other woman’s progress. “I wanted to talk to you about something.”

“What?” Rachel said, her smile fading. “Surely you can’t have another complaint about the way I monitor the floor. You’re leaving…aren’t you?”

Kyra could tell Rachel was worried she wasn’t about to get rid of the bane of her existence. While others may have turned a blind eye to Rachel’s blatant disregard for campus policies about appropriate dorm room activity, Kyra hadn’t been able to do so. How could the person responsible for upholding the rules disregard them and expect everyone else to respect her?

“While you were out,” Kyra said, not bothering to answer the question put to her, “there was an incident in 1411.”

Rachel didn’t comment as Kyra walked through the basics of the altercation and ultimate resolution. Her posture stiffened, though, as she realized she had missed something significant that had been witnessed by most of the tenants on the floor. Kyra knew she was considering what this might mean for her future as dorm monitor.

“Anyway, it’s all resolved now, but I thought you’d want to know why the room had been rearranged,” Kyra finished.

Rachel’s eyebrow lifted. “That’s it?”

“What do you mean?”

“You aren’t going to spend ten minutes lecturing me on how I should have been here instead of spending time with my fiancé? You’re not going to threaten to report me to the dean? You’re not going to storm off in a huff to vent to your weird roommate?”

Kyra shrugged. “My not-weird roommate is probably waiting for me in the quad, and I think the other things can take a pass in light of the fact that I am, indeed, leaving. But Rachel, these girls are counting on you. College campuses are ripe for drugs, rape, and violence. Don’t let them down.”

Rachel’s eyes widened. She seemed about to say something, then just nodded. Seeing she understood, Kyra nodded back and hurried on to the room she’d shared with Avana for the past two years.

She’d offered to supervise the move-out that afternoon because Avana had to attend a family function. She wanted to do a thorough walk-through of the small space to make sure nothing was overlooked. When she reached the door, she paused in the threshold.

Scanning the nearly empty room, she wondered how she’d ever managed to fit her belongings into half of the tiny space. Hell, she hadn’t even really had half. Avana had all but taken over the room by freshman year’s end. It was a rather accurate reflection of their overall friendship, she couldn’t help but think in an affectionate way.

She eyed the small bed with the rock-hard mattress she’d slept on and pitied the poor soul who would inhabit it next. She’d suffered on that sucker for much too long, but she’d be living the apartment life as a junior. Her new job as an admissions assistant would finally allow her the freedom to live off-campus. Well, that and Avana’s agreement to room with her and split the rent. Unlike Kyra, Avana never had to worry about money. Her parents were made of it. She’d only chosen to room in the dorms for the social element.

Walking over to each bed, Kyra looked underneath them and made sure she didn’t spot anything. She opened each of the drawers on the two small dressers and the shared nightstand, but didn’t find anything there either. Her search complete, she deemed the move-out acceptable and stepped back out of the room, closing the door behind her. An unexpected pang struck her as she realized that this was the last time she’d do so. Despite the hassles and headaches, she’d miss this place.

A faint noise reached her ears. The dull bonging sound of the university’s bell tower striking the hour.

Damn! It’s eight o’clock, she thought, running for the stairs.

She was supposed to meet Avana and Sam in the quad at quarter to eight. She hadn’t realized how much time it took to talk to Rachel and finish her inspection. Pulling her cell out of her purse as she descended the few flights of stairs, she texted Avana.

Sorry. Be there in 5.

The dorms were only steps away from the edge of the quad, but the spot where she’d agreed to meet Avana and Sam was on the far side of the heart of the campus. The three of them were headed to a party hosted by Sam’s fraternity, and she’d dressed before the move was finished to make sure she was ready on time. She was wearing a red and white knee-length sundress and matching red peep-toed heels. The adorable shoes added three inches to her five-foot five height, but greatly hindered her ability to hurry across the grassy ground of the quad.

Her cell buzzed in her hand as she walked. K. C U then.

She smiled. Of course Avana wouldn’t have been worked up over her tardiness. She was a free spirit, more inclined to go where the wind directed her on any given day than to follow a compass or path. Punctuality had never been one of her hang-ups.

Her phone’s screen went dark. Looking up, she realized she was walking in shadow. Typically, the quad was well-lit by tall lamps designed to look like old-fashioned gas lamps. The posts stood about twenty feet apart and surrounded the square area, offering plenty of luminescence and providing a sense of safety. Now, at least three of the lamps along Kyra’s route had gone out.

Her steps faltered. She looked to her right, where the school’s science building stood. Rows of bushes cast deep, uneven shadows along the brick face. A breeze rustled the leaf-covered limbs, generating an eerie scratching sound as they brushed the harsh surface of the wall.

Feeling as though someone was watching her, she cast a furtive look around the quad. On any normal evening, there would be plenty of people walking around the area. Now, however, not another soul was in sight. Kyra supposed they were all either still moving into their dorm rooms or had already left for the big party.

Despite the visual confirmation that she was alone, she had the pressing urge to call out and ask who was there. An image of herself acting like a horror movie cliché kept her lips firmly sealed, however.

Another scraping noise on her right had her starting. She clutched her purse closer to her body and picked up her pace. Surely the shadows were just making her jumpy, she reasoned. That didn’t explain why every hair on her arms and neck now stood on end.

Swallowing her rising fear, she almost broke into a run as she reached the last twenty feet of darkness. Her eyes didn’t move from the gloomy bushes. She couldn’t explain her reaction, as the university was in a small, sleepy town and had a low crime rate. But every instinct in her told her to run.

Just as she neared the halo of light cast by the closest lamppost, it went out. She staggered to a halt.

That was when the darkness moved.

Not possible, she thought.

She watched the shadows take shape, growing ever taller. Five feet, six feet, seven feet tall…like a creature advancing and casting a longer and longer shadow. Her heartbeat accelerated. The voice in her head ordered her to flee.

Run now!

Before she could command her limbs to move, she felt her arm taken in a firm grip. She barely avoided issuing a terrified shriek over the contact. In truth, her fear had escalated to a point where she couldn’t even get a sound past her throat.

Her head whipped to the side. She realized the man who had grabbed her was a good eight or nine inches taller than her, even in her heels. She got a sense of a chiseled profile and broad shoulders as he urged her to move. Her gaze flew to the ground as she tried to avoid breaking an ankle. Only when they emerged from the darkness did her sense of panic begin to ease.

Her unexpected companion’s pace also slowed once they reached the light. She turned her gaze to him once again, wondering if he’d been the one who had cast the shadow. Although she couldn’t tell much about him from his profile, however, she didn’t feel as though he would harm her.

“It is not me you need to worry about,” he said in a deep voice. “You were right to fear the dark.”