Saturday, October 24, 2015

Pretty When You Cry blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Pretty When You Cry 
Skye Warren
(Stripped #3)
Publication date: October 20th 2015
Genres: Adult, Romance




Synopsis:

“Dark, perverse, and unbearably erotic, Pretty When You Cry is Skye Warren at her gritty best.”
~ Anna Zaires, USA Today bestselling author of Twist Me
A new dark romance novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Wanderlust and Prisoner…

I came from a place of dirt floors and holy scriptures. They told me the world outside was full of sin, and the first night I escape, I find out it’s true. Ivan saves me, but he does more than that. He takes me. He makes me his own girl.

My conditioning runs too deep. Ivan sees what I am.

That’s the thing about showing a mouse to a cat. He wants to play. And it’s terrifying, even for me. Because the only thing darker than my past is his.


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25705284-pretty-when-you-cry?ac=1


Purchase:
Will be found here come release day:
--Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Pretty+When+You+Cry+sky&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3APretty+When+You+Cry+sky
--B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pretty-when-you-cry-skye-warren/1122097973?ean=2940151961936


Excerpt 

The bed is the largest one I’ve ever seen, but somehow too small for two people. Too small if one of the people is Ivan. He’s physically large and, more than that, terrifying. What will he do to me? I can’t fight him. God, I’m not sure I want to try. Home.
In the end I push back the heavy blankets, almost as thick as my sleeping pallet in Harmony Hills, and climb onto the bed. The pillow is perfectly soft, so clean, and I let myself drift away. I’m floating on a cloud, plush and high up.
I dream in those moments. I dream about color and light. I dream about the sky.
There is a deep voice from above and all around me, telling me to get on my knees. Commanding me to pray. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever skipped bedtime prayers. The first time I haven’t begged for salvation. I’m not going to beg, not ever again.
The hand on my face doesn’t feel angry. It isn’t a slap for my insolence. It strokes down my temple and cups my cheek. My eyes flutter open. Ivan.
His hand falls away.
“Candace,” he says in the same deep voice of my dream.
And there’s a look in his eyes, the same look Leader Allen gives Mama. The same look he started giving me. That look is the reason Mama sent me away.
“You’ll stay here,” he says softly. “I don’t want you to dance, but you can stay.”
The allure of it beats through me, a heart of its own, thumping away to a dream that isn’t mine. Safety. Home. I want those things, but I want freedom more. I want the flash of lights and of skin. I want the power those women had onstage.
Ivan wants to put me in a cage, but what I really want is to fly.
“Okay,” I lie, because one sin becomes many. Leader Allen taught me that, and he was right. I’ll convince Ivan, though. One day I’ll dance on that stage, and Ivan will watch me.
One day he’ll teach me everything there is to know.
“Good girl.”
The praise washes over me, undeserved and darkly pleasurable, a stroke along my spine. It feels good, but I know what it is. A trap. A chain around my ankle to keep me on the ground. In this moment, it locks me so tight that I’d accept anything he did to me. If he were to touch me the way the woman with the kind eyes meant. The way Leader Allen touches Mama during prayer.
Ivan leans down, and I hold my breath. Large hands take hold of the blanket, lift slightly. I feel everything between us—anticipation and denial, lust and fear corded together. We feel them together, breathe them in through the air, pulse them with each beat of our hearts. It’s a kind of knowledge, this feeling, connecting a thousand nerve points to the core of my body. This is what he meant by teaching me. This and so much more.
Then he pulls the blanket higher, tucking it around me. “Good night,” he says, eyes glittering in the dark.
He is silver and light, made even brighter by the shadows behind him. It’s strange, the disappointment I feel that he isn’t going to touch me. He isn’t going to teach me. Not tonight. “Good night,” I whisper back.

Then he’s gone, shutting the door against the dark, locking me in. And I slide away into sleep, without dreams, without color, with only the shameless black of contentedness, knowing I am safe for the night.


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AUTHOR BIO:

Skye Warren is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of dark romance. Her books are raw, sexual and perversely romantic.

Sign up for Skye’s newsletter:
www.skyewarren.com/newsletter

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Visit Skye’s website for her current booklist:
www.skyewarren.com


Friday, October 23, 2015

Svatura Serie Tour & Giveaway!


The Svatura Series
Abigail Owen

Genre: paranormal romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor

Series Description:

Meet the ladies of the Svatura series: Ellie, Selene, Lila, and Adelaide.

One will come out of hiding to protect others from the fate she suffered. One will lead her people after being released from a hellish nightmare. One will try to start a new life only to discover that her path lies where it always has. And one will experience a loss so terrible that only oblivion can stop the pain.

Individually they are strong. But together these sisters of the heart are a force before whom even their most powerful enemies will tremble. However, that may not be enough. Is the key to their salvation power…or love?







Blue Violet
The Svatura Series
Book One
Abigail Owen

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Cover Art: Debbie Taylor
Page Count: 266
Word Count: 62050

ISBN (digital): 978-1-62830-946-1
ISBN (print): 978-1-5092-0358-1


About the Book:

When fairy tales turn into nightmares…

Ellie Aubrey has spent most of her unnaturally long life hiding her extraordinary abilities from the world. On the run from the shapeshifting wolves who murdered her family, she risks discovery in order to secretly watch over another group of similarly gifted people, determined they won’t suffer the same fate.

Alex Jenner has come home to protect his family from an unknown danger lurking in the woods. Suspicious of the new girl in town, he challenges Ellie in ways that will spark one of two possible outcomes: they’ll spontaneously combust, or she’ll lose control of the one power she’s fought so hard to contain.

In this fairy tale, the dragon the prince must slay is also the princess who holds his heart.


  
Hyacinth
The Svatura Series
Book Two
Abigail Owen

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Cover Art: Debbie Taylor

About the Book:

Selene sacrificed everything when she took her brother’s place as ruler of the Vyusher—including her secret love for one-time adversary Griffin Aubrey. When nightmares that are just a little too real start, Selene fears she’s turned into a cold-blooded killer…the monster Griffin thinks she is.

Griffin and Ellie Aubrey are finally safe for the first time in over a hundred years, and Griffin doesn’t want to easily forgive the woman he blames for killing his family. But when an unknown menace drives Selene to leave her people and seek their help, Griffin must decide.

Can he move past his hatred of everything she is? Or will the bond that could bring them both the greatest joy now be the source of their deepest despair?

  

Crimson Dahlia
The Svatura Series
Book Three
Abigail Owen

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Cover Art: Debbie Taylor

About the Book:

Lila Jenner left her family to start a new life away from Ramsey Pierce. After decades of rejection, she needs the chance to discover who she is without him. Helping to rebuild relationships between tribes of Svatura is just the opportunity she needs.

Determined that the fire raging inside him will never harm Lila, Ramsey denies the magical bond that could be theirs alone. But when an old enemy resurfaces and Lila disappears, he realizes he’ll do anything to win her back and make her his.

However, Maddox, driven by a centuries-old quest for revenge, is stronger than any of them ever imagined. Friends and enemies must band together against this shared threat. Even then, they may discover too late that one dragon is not always enough…



Black Orchid
The Svatura Series
Book Four
Abigail Owen

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Cover Art: Debbie Taylor

About the Book:

Only oblivion can stop her pain.

Adelaide Jenner feels nothing… she is completely numb inside. Her fated love abandoned her and joined their enemy. On that day her sister turned off all Adelaide’s emotions in order to save her from a heartbreak that could push her over the edge of sanity. But the great power she claims, wielded without compassion or love, can only lead to pain.

Nate Pierce believes Adelaide used her extraordinary powers to deceive him all these years. So he destroyed a relationship he thought to be false and hungers for revenge. Now, Nate serves Maddox, unaware that his new leader is using him as a pawn in a bid to enslave or kill all Svatura.

The only hope of finally defeating Maddox is for Adelaide and her sisters to combine their growing powers against him. But the key to a Svatura’s power is the heart, and Adelaide is still missing hers.


About the Author:

Award-winning paranormal and contemporary romance author, Abigail Owen was born in Greeley, Colorado, and raised in Austin, Texas. She now resides in Northern California with her husband and two adorable children who are the center of her universe.

Abigail grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. A fourth generation graduate of Texas A&M University, she attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite pastime by earning a degree in English Rhetoric (Technical Writing). However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.







My Stepbrother, My Escort blitz & Giveaway!

My Stepbrother, My Escort 
Leigh James
Publication date: October 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult



Synopsis:

Rising actress Lowell Barton has problems… Lots of them.
One night, she tries to solve them with margaritas… Lots of them. Unfortunately, she throws them up all over a police officer’s shoes. And then a video of the incident shows up all over the Internet.
Now she needs to do damage control. Fast. What she needs is a story juicy enough to throw the press off. A new boyfriend—a perfect, smoking hot new boyfriend—that’d be just the thing.
Unfortunately, it’s just the thing she doesn’t have.
Deciding to throw caution to the wind and money at her mounting problems, Lowell hires a date. But when sexy escort Kyle Richards steps out of her past and onto her doorstep, she finds herself in a fresh hell she couldn’t have even imagined.

Is he the stepbrother-escort from hell, or just the thing to save her career—and herself?

Lowell’s about to find out. One thing she knows for sure: only desperate times call for measures this desperate.


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26809285-my-stepbrother-my-escort


Purchase:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/My-Stepbrother-Escort-Collection-ebook/dp/B016PE1GI4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1445000196&sr=8-1&keywords=My+Stepbrother%2C+My+Escort


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AUTHOR BIO:

Leigh James is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She has a degree in journalism from the University of New Hampshire and a law degree from Suffolk University School of Law.

She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.

You can keep up with Leigh's new releases and sales by signing up for her newsletter: http://www.leighjamesbooks.com/#!form/ccqf

Author links:
http://www.leighjamesbooks.com/
https://twitter.com/leighjames19
https://www.facebook.com/leighjames19author?_rdr=p&ref=hl
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7231254.Leigh_James




Thursday, October 22, 2015

Portia blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Portia 
Christina Bauer
(Angelbound Offspring #2)
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: October 27th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult



Synopsis:

Unlike her famous older brother Maxon, Princess Portia isn’t known for killing demons or attracting admirers. The reason why is simple: a spell was cast on Portia, and the magic has marked her to one day transform into a dreaded Void demon. To fight this horrible fate, Portia’s spent her life hiding in libraries and learning magic. But when the Void demons threaten to destroy all the after-realms—and the handsome dragon Emperor Tempest offers his help—then Portia suspects that her future holds more than just a demonic metamorphosis. Fate is calling the bookworm princess onto the battlefield, and it’s a fight against both deadly enemies and her heart’s desires.

May be read as a stand-alone.


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25353391-portia?ac=1


Purchase:
Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00W2A9Q0G
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/portia-christina-bauer/1121761900?ean=9780990635246


Excerpt

Without thinking, I gesture to the man who’s standing right next to the boy, his arm held high in the air.
“How about your question, Sir?”
The guy rises. “Roy Cotter, Purgatory Enquirer.”
At these words, my heart sinks to my toes. This creep is one of those reporter-stalkers who follow me around looking for tabloid headlines. They always print the same stuff—how any second now, I’ll turn demonic, sprout six arms, and kill everyone in sight. How could I have missed him? He’s tall and bony and has a scorpion’s tail. Not easy to forget.
Roy pulls a small white notebook from his pocket. “What demon will you turn into, Princess?”
Gram leans into the microphone. “The Princess won’t be answering that question.”
Roy’s greasy face stretches into a grin. “Hiding something?”
Suddenly, I’m sick to death of concealing everything that I am. The guy wants an answer? He’ll get one.
I set my hand on Gram’s shoulder, guiding her away from the mic. “No, I’ve got it.” I scan the audience carefully before I answer. You could cut the air with a knife, the anticipation in here is so heavy.
“What demon will I turn into?” I ask. “The answer is, none. I’ve been studying magic so that never happens.” I gesture to my eye. “This is a spell. Spells can be broken.”
Roy rocks on his heels in delight. He’s got me on the defensive and he loves it. “Let me ask it another way, Princess. Most times, those marks are on your face signify a certain type of demon. You know, marking what you’ll turn into one day. Might be something harmless. Might not. None of us can read those marks on your face. Surely, with all your research, you’ve run across the answer to this question. Maybe you won’t turn into a demon, fine. But what are you Marked for?”
What a total set-up. If I tell the truth, I’ll be the laughingstock of the after-realms. If I lie, I look like an expert who doesn’t really know anything. No way am I answering.
“Come on,” says Roy. “What will you ‘not’ turn into one day?” He makes little quotation marks with his fingers when he says the word ‘not.’ A few muffled laughs sound from the crowd.
My torso tightens with frustration. I can’t believe this. I spend sleepless nights wondering how long I have left before I turn into a demon. I’ve worked all my life to break the spell that’s cursed me. I’m always the quiet one, the patient one, and the calm one. I never get angry. But my tragedy is somehow funny to my own so-called people? A new sensation boils through my bloodstream.
Rage. Suddenly, there’s only one thing I can do here.
Let loose on Roy.
“I’m Marked for the Void.”
All the oxygen seems to get sucked out of the room. Shocked faces stare at me from every direction.

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AUTHOR BIO:

Christina graduated from Syracuse University's Newhouse School with BA's in English as well as Television, Radio, and Film Production. Her day job is in marketing for companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and Brainshark. Back in the go-go 90′s, she founded her own software start-up, Mindful Technologies. Christina believes that, upon close examination of Tolkien's text, it's entirely possible that the Balrog was wearing fuzzy bunny slippers.

Author links:
http://inkmonster.net/authors/cbauer
https://twitter.com/CB_Bauer
https://www.facebook.com/authorBauer
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/546812.Christina_Bauer




Five Past Midnight blitz, Excerpts & Giveaway!





Five Past Midnight       
Robin Bielman, Robyn Bachar,
Cassi Carver, Anne Hope,
Corrina Lawson

Genre: Paranormal Romance/
Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Date of Publication: October 20th, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61923-082-8
ASIN: B014SIHRG4

Number of pages: 1200
Word Count: 480,000

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Book Description:

Falling in love has never been so deadly.

Five supernatural thrillers packed with action and romance, each introducing you to an exciting series. Honorable heroes, strong heroines and relentless suspense combine to bring you five page-turners you won’t soon forget.

Samhain    Amazon    Amazon.ca   ARe   BN   Kobo


Veiled Target—USA TODAY bestselling author Robin Bielman

Book One of the Veilers Series

Tess wants revenge, but thrust into an inconvenient alliance with her sexy enemy, she must trust the shifter she’s supposed to kill or risk losing everything.

Blood, Smoke and Mirrors—Robyn Bachar

Book One of the Bad Witch Series

Hunted by a powerful evil, exiled witch Cat must entrust her fate to the man who betrayed her. Now Lex faces the fight of his life to keep her safe. If they both survive.

Slayer’s Kiss—Cassi Carver

Book One of The Shadow Slayers Series

Fallen angels Gavin and Julian have been sent to protect Kara, but she’s determined to track down a killer, even when she realizes her target may be the creature hunting her.

Soul Bound—Anne Hope

Book One of the Dark Souls Series

Jace is no longer human. Something dark and powerful has taken root within him. Something that that could destroy the one woman he’d sacrifice everything to protect.

Phoenix Rising—Corrina Lawson

Book One of the Phoenix Institute Series

Everyone looks at firestarter Alec Farley as a weapon. Beth is the only one who sees a hero. But proving that could be deadly.

Warning: Contains shifters, vampires, witches, fallen angels, a firestarter and troublemaking faeries. Watch out for gratuitous violence, gripping emotion, unconventional sex, some foul language, and a love triangle that gives new meaning to the term hot-wings.


Excerpts

VEILED TARGET BY ROBIN BIELMAN

“Cut the crap, Tess. Why were you following me?”

“How do you know I was following you?” Oops. She meant to say, “What makes you think I was following you?”

He gave a knowing smile—that looked ridiculously sexy rather than irritating. “I know you don’t want to insult my intelligence so let’s just say for argument’s sake, if you were following me, why would that be?”

At least she’d gotten him to change his tone.

“Truthfully?” She leaned a little closer to him. She couldn’t help it.

“That would be nice.”

“I’m really not a very nice person,” she announced.

“Neither am I.” He reached out and moved a strand of hair behind her ear.

Was he trying to confuse her? Because it was working. She’d nearly fallen into his hand before he pulled it away. He was indeed a very bad man.

“That’s good. I hate nice guys. So where does that leave us?”

“I haven’t got all night, Tess.” He lowered his chin, indicating—she presumed—he was growing tired of their banter.

She lifted an eyebrow. “No? That’s too bad. I’m a night owl. I can—”

“Answer my question before I haul you to your car over my shoulder.” His tone sent a little zing of pleasure right to the tips of her breasts.

“As if you could—” She was over his shoulder in one second flat. He moved swiftly, quietly and with superhuman strength. Uh oh. “Hey, put me down!”

He started down the alley, seemingly unbothered by her spastic attempts to get him to let her go. “You ready to walk and talk now?”

“Fine,” she conceded, although the view of his backside was pretty damn good.

When both feet securely hit the ground, she tugged down her dress and shifted the V-neck into place. He watched her squirm to put the rest of the material back where it belonged and his roving eyes heated her from the inside out.

“I followed you because I wanted to help.”

He started walking. “Do I look like I need help?” A little gleam—and major interest?—flickered in his sideways glance.

“Well, no. But I’m very capable and I didn’t feel like going home, so I decided there was no harm in making myself available to you should you need me.” She took a deep breath. It was time to put the question out there. “Did you know Dane is a—”

“Wolfen? Yeah I know.”

“How do you—”

He stopped and turned toward her with confusion and passion in his deep blue eyes. For several seconds he stared at her, like he was trying to get inside her head. Guess what she was thinking. “I’m the leader of the Night Runners,” he finally said.

She imagined he’d told her something he’d never told another human being before.

What the hell was she going to do now?



BLOOD SMOKE AND MIRRORS BY ROBYN BACHAR

“I’ll be here as long as you need me.” Lex looked down at me, seeming sincere, and I shook my head at him.

“Don’t, Lex. You’re only here on orders. You’ll be gone and on to the next as soon as this assignment is over.”

“What if I don’t want that?”

“What if I do? I’m all for the life-saving thing, but I don’t want you in my life again.”

“Are you sure of that?”

Scowling, I took a steadying breath and prepared to launch into an explanation of the myriad reasons why I wasn’t about to go through another round of heartbreak with him, but before I could speak he leaned down and brushed a kiss across my lips.

A warm tingling suffused my body as soon as our lips met, the sort of electric reaction I usually associate with casting magic, but much, much better. He was hesitant at first, probably afraid I’d slap him or zot him with a spell, but when I didn’t object he slowly began to deepen the kiss. My knees went weak as my good sense vanished, and I slipped my arms around him to steady myself. Lex held me close as he continued to kiss me, and I leaned into him. I’d forgotten how well we fit together. He sighed, as though my lips were delicious and he savored them.

“This is a bad idea,” I murmured.

“No, this is a good idea.” Lex nudged me back toward the couch, and I sat down in a less-than-graceful flop. Next he joined me and drew me into his arms.

“Oh yeah? How?” My hormones were obviously happy to see him, but I still had a little bit of brainpower left, enough to be skeptical of the situation.

“Because letting you go was a bad idea. I don’t want to make that mistake again.” His voice was low and strained, and I wished it wasn’t so dark so I could see his expression. I sighed, a mix of old pain and new uncertainty, but he kissed me again and I stopped arguing.

I relaxed into the embrace, returning the kiss passionately. I felt better instantly—safe, warm, desired. Lex stroked my braided hair and let his hand rest at the small of my back. I ran my own hands up and down his back, debating whether or not it would be a good idea to tug his shirt off, but then I felt him unhooking my bra. My pulse jumped, and my magic decided to take that opportunity to wreak havoc on a pair of unsuspecting table lamps. With an electric sizzle followed by two sharp pops the light bulbs flashed and exploded. Startled, we jumped apart, the mood broken. We stared at each other, and I felt a guilty blush heat my face.

“Cat—” he started, and I held a hand up to stop him before he could say anything further.


SLAYER’S KISS BY CASSI CARVER

After a quick handshake, just a fleeting grasp of one wrist to another, Gavin broke away from the other man and came through the door. His gaze arrowed through the crush of bodies and landed squarely on Kara.

Her mouth went dry. Tha-thump. Tha-thump. Her heart throttled from zero to sixty in one glance, hammering as if she’d run a hundred miles through the desert.

But he was the oasis she’d been waiting for.

Gavin reached the bar, pulled out a stool and settled himself on the brown vinyl perch.

“Miss Reed.” He tipped his chin in greeting. His suit jacket was draped across one knee, leaving him in slacks and a white-collared shirt with the first button undone. With the way the fabric stretched around his biceps, he didn’t look like any businessman she’d ever met.

Her mind raced. Maybe he’d thought through her unspoken offer. Maybe she wasn’t the only one who’d felt the connection. Her body flushed, but not in embarrassment this time—this was simply blood rushing to all her important parts.

She nodded back and smiled, trying not to look as smug as she felt. “You found me.”

“I did. It must be nice working so close to home.”

“Yeah. It’s not a bad gig.” She wanted to laugh. It was clear he had something to say, and she already knew what it was going to be. Mutual attraction this strong couldn’t be denied. She wasn’t going to play hard to get just to get even with him. He might deserve it, but that wasn’t her style. She rarely wanted a man, but when she did, she let him know flat-out. “I’m glad you rethought my offer.”

He clasped his hands on the bar before him. “It’s the key.”

She put down the bottle in her hand and cocked her head. “What’s the key?”

“The reason I’m here.”

“Huh? I’m confused.” Confused and sinking like that rock in the pit of her stomach.

Gavin looked like he’d swallowed a bug. “The key doesn’t work.”

The blood drained from Kara’s face. “Oh…you’re not here to see…me.” She was the world’s biggest jackass. Such an ass, in fact, she was surprised she hadn’t brayed the soft, mortified words from between big blocky teeth.

“Technically, I am here to see you. The key doesn’t fit. I can’t move in my things until you open the door.”

She turned her back on him under the pretense of getting another bottle of tequila from the low storage cupboard, but she needed a minute to get herself under control. She rummaged around, shifting bottles, until she thought she could speak without her lips quivering.

“Take this for your trouble.” She handed him a shot of their best tequila. “I’m so sorry. I don’t know what could have happened—they’re all numbered. But don’t worry. I have a set of master keys. As soon as I get off, I can let you in.” She swabbed the counter near him with shaking hands.

“Kara.” He reached out and covered her hand with his. “It’s all right. I waited weeks for that apartment. A couple more hours aren’t going to kill me.”


SOUL BOUND BY ANNE HOPE

He retrieved the driver’s license, which belonged to Jace Cutler. So now he had a first name to go with the second. Unfortunately, it still didn’t trigger a memory. The man in the photograph was a complete stranger. He quickly scanned the description provided: six-foot-two, dark brown hair, green eyes. The height felt about right. The guy in the snapshot had a cleft on his chin. He ran his thumb across his jaw and traced the slight indentation.

Suddenly curious, he headed to the mirror hanging over the pedestal sink. The man gazing back at him was no more familiar than this place, this room, the nurse he’d apparently scared half to death. He wasn’t very old, early thirties he guessed. He slanted a glance at the ID again, quickly did the math. Yup, thirty- two.

Peeling off his hospital gown, he stood in front of the tiny mirror, as naked as the day he was born, studying himself. From the looks of it, he worked out regularly. His legs were long and lean, his stomach flat and ripped. But that wasn’t what shocked him. What blew his mind was that he didn’t have a scratch on him, not even an old scar to show he’d lived some kind of life. How did a person exist for thirty-two years and maintain skin as untarnished as a baby’s?

Another presence slowly invaded the room, one that made everything inside him come alive and the darkness retreat. For a moment, he felt almost human again. Almost.

Jace turned around, not caring that he didn’t have a stitch of clothing on him. The woman entering his room froze at the sight of him.

He squinted. Glancing at her made his eyes hurt. She was so damn bright, he needed a frigging pair of sunglasses just to look at her. The nurse who’d examined him earlier paled in comparison, and not because this woman was any kind of beauty. She was plain at best, with blond hair pinned in a ponytail and not a drop of makeup on. Still, something inside him recognized her.

She checked him out briefly before averting her gaze. “Looks like you’re feeling better.”

He couldn’t find his voice to answer. Waves of emotion washed over him, constricting his windpipe. He’d felt nothing since he’d awakened in this stifling hospital room, and all of a sudden he couldn’t get his feelings under control long enough to offer some kind of greeting. Her glow enfolded him, and the hunger returned with sharpened fangs.

“Katie, the nurse who was just in here, told me you were awake, but I had to see for myself.”

She took a step toward him, then another.

Please, don’t come any closer. I can’t stand it.

“Who—” The word scraped his throat. “Who are you?”

Her gaze latched on to his face. Confusion and a touch of fascination glimmered in her clear blue eyes. Right there and then, he could’ve sworn he glimpsed her soul, and it was a beautiful thing to behold, potent and familiar.

She shook her head, swallowed hard. “The person who watched you die last night.”


PHOENIX RISING BY CORRINA LAWSON

“I’m trying to get you to reconsider what you’ve been forced into doing for your entire life. There’s a whole world out there you haven’t seen.”

She walked over to the coffee table, reached down and brushed her fingertips over the gun. Her hand trembled. The gun looked like the same kind that her kidnappers had used, years ago. If he stayed with the Resource, Alec might become like those men, using any ends to justify the means.

“Hey! What’s with the nerves? Where’s my competent, no-nonsense counselor?”

The gun rose from the coffee table, floating in air. She turned and followed its flight. He snatched the gun out of midair with a smile and holstered it.

“See?” he said. “I control the guns, not the other way around.”

“And who controls you?”

His chest, Kevlar vest and all, rose and fell in a deep sigh. “I know someone in this room who’s trying to control me. What’s wrong, Beth?” He walked to her and lifted her chin with two fingers, his dark eyes crinkling around the edges.

“This is not a life you chose, this is a life that’s been imposed on you, from birth.”

“And?” His fingertips moved along her jaw, in a soft caress. I should move away. It feels too good. But he’s listening.

“I’m scared. About this mission, about you being locked up inside the Resource forever.” Deathly afraid, so afraid her stomach felt like a heavy lump of coal. “There’s so much you don’t know about the Resource and about Lansing, so much you don’t understand. And you need to know it before it kills you.”

“Hey, I know Lansing can be a bastard. And that he’s overprotective and controlling. I’m working on it. But it doesn’t change the fact that this is my job.” Alec leaned closer to her face. “We can talk about that another time.”

“Do you really think there’s going to be another time?” Her voice rose, almost panicked now. She wasn’t getting through. “What if you get hurt tonight?”

“Look, this cell might have a dirty bomb. They need to be stopped, and I’m the one who can do it. I have to do this, right now.”

“Just that simple?”

“Yep. I walk away, people get hurt. I do my job, people are saved. That’s the deal, that’s my life. You analyze things too much.” He cupped her face in his hand. “But if it took this mission to find out you care, then good.”

She shuddered. Wrong, wrong, she shouldn’t let him touch her like this. Yet it felt like he touched her somewhere far deeper than her skin. A shiver, like the one from their first meeting, traveled from her neck to her toes, setting her nerves jangling. “This is wrong.”

“The mission isn’t wrong,” he said, misunderstanding her. “Relax.” His face was less than an inch from her lips and his breath fell on her cheek. Her skin felt inflamed, sensitive to the slightest movement of his hands.

He kissed her.

His lips were softer than she had expected, tender, not at all like his casual, even macho, confidence. She closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around his neck, feeling those strong muscles and pulling him against her, intensifying their contact, even as her mind screamed in protest. This is not what I came for!

Her body became enveloped in that strange energy, alive as never before. It was like the kiss had a second level, one which she responded to instinctively, creating a living connection between them. He drew her lips apart with his tongue, still tender, still allowing her the chance to back away. But she opened her mouth to him instead, her whole self consumed with wanting to touch him, her face flushed with desire. She grabbed the buckles of his body armor for balance, her equilibrium lost along with her reason.

He crushed her against him, no longer tender, a bruising kiss demanding conquest. She allowed him full control, despite the buckles digging into her shoulder. He lifted her completely off her feet and brought her up to his eye level.

“Beth,” he breathed, brushing his lips against her neck before moving back to her mouth.

Her mind whirled, too lost to remember that she should stop him. She wanted him too much. The air heated up, warming them. The papers on the coffee table began to smoke.



About the Authors

 About the Authors

Robin Bielman:

When not attached to her laptop, USA Today Bestselling Author Robin Bielman can almost always be found with her nose in a book. A California girl, the beach is her favorite place for fun and inspiration. Her fondness for swoon-worthy heroes who flirt and stumble upon the girl they can’t live without jumpstarts all of her story ideas. She is a 2014 RITA Finalist, loves to frequent coffee shops, and plays a mean game of sock tug of war with her cute, but often naughty dog, Harry. She cherishes her family and friends and loves to connect with readers.







Robyn Bachar:

Robyn Bachar enjoys writing stories with soul mates, swords, spaceships, vampires and gratuitous violence against the kitchen sink. Her books have finaled twice in the PRISM Contest for Published Authors, twice in the Passionate Plume Contest, and twice in the EPIC eBook Awards. As a gamer, Robyn has spent many hours rolling dice, playing rock-paper-scissors, and slaying creatures in mmorpgs.







Cassi Carver:

Award-winning author Cassi Carver lives in sunny Southern California with two dogs, four kids and a hubby who gives great massages. She gets to the Gaslamp for research (okay, happy hour) as often as possible. She’s never saved the world, but she keeps sexy boots on hand just in case the opportunity arises.






Anne Hope:

Golden Heart Finalist and Amazon bestselling author Anne Hope writes emotionally intense romances with a twist—a twist of humor, a twist of suspense, a twist of magic. Whether they make you laugh or cry or push you to the edge of your seat, all her stories have a common thread. They all feature the redeeming power of love and the heart’s incredible ability to heal. She lives in Montreal, Canada, with her husband, her two inexhaustible kids, a lazy cat and a rambunctious Australian Kelpie.

Website: www.annehope.com





Corrina Lawson:

Golden Heart Finalist and Amazon Bestselling author Corrina Lawson is a former newspaper reporter with a degree in journalism from Boston University. A mom of four, she now works from home writing romance novels with a geeky twist and as the Content Director and co-founder of GeekMom.com. She is also the co-writer of GeekMom Book: Projects, Tips and Adventures for Moms and Their 21st Century Families.









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