Archive | August 2015

Challenging Miss Valentine

Challenging Miss ValentineElla Valentine doubts she’ll ever recover when her twin brother passes away in college. Four years later, living in a new city and working for a large corporation, she gets caught in a lie and saddled with a new boss who she suspects might be losing his mind. Now he has her enacting insane acts of espionage while trying to catch the culprit who has embezzled money from their company. If it wasn’t for his deep brown eyes and lazy smile she just might quit. Is this God’s plan for her life? She isn’t even sure who she is anymore without her twin and the way things are going she just might end up in the loony bin.

Charles “Charlie” Murray II may be the heir presumptive to his father’s industrial dynasty, but all he really wants is to create–be it drawings or a marketing campaign. When he’s summoned to the home office to take over the position of CFO, he discovers his new assistant is the same woman who passed him a phony phone number in a diner the previous weekend. If he can figure out who’s been stealing from the company, he just might attain the position of his dreams or will he sacrifice it all to be with Ella.

EXCERPT:

Ella punched the button for the lobby and waited. Oh, why had she waited? Why hadn’t she taken the stairs? Behind her, she heard rapid steps thumping down the hallway. She peeked back to see Charlie Murray rushing toward her. He didn’t appear calm and mellow, like at the restaurant—not even charming and confident, as he’d been in the office. No, he was angry. Why on earth should he be angry? She’s the one who just lost her job.

Oh, dear Lord! I lost my job! No, I just quit my job. She held up the photograph. “George, I am a colossal idiot.”

What had she done? Obviously, she needed more prayer than she thought. And now what was Charlie planning to do to her? She decided not to stick around and find out. In a flash, she took off down the side hall toward the stairs. She pulled open the heavy steel door and glanced over to see Charlie still coming right for her, and this time he was jogging. After running through the doorway, she took the cement steps to the floor below as quickly as she could.

“Ella, stop!”

She paused on a step for just a second to peer up at Charlie staring down at her, a deep frown marring his handsome face.

“Stop following me. I quit, remember?”

“I remember. Now hold on. We need to discuss this.” He started down the stairs.

Her heart raced with panic. With his much longer legs, he was bound to catch up with her in no time. She launched herself down the next set of stairs. “There’s nothing to talk about.”

“Yes, there is,” he shouted back. “Now stand still, because I’m bringing you back to the office with me one way or another.”

She stopped and his footsteps ceased, as well. Would he actually force her back to the office? She could almost imagine him picking her up and tossing her over his shoulder fireman-style to carry her back to the office.

Carefully, she peeked up the stairwell. Shimmering brown eyes filled with determination met hers. Her breathing from all the running remained elevated.

“Ella…what are you running off…like that…for?”

Charlie stood right in front of her now, a little short of breath and patience, too. He couldn’t hide the flash of annoyance ruminating in his dark eyes, as he stared her down.

Like he had any right to be mad at her! What had she done? Not a thing. Except quit. And she had every right to do that. The longer she looked at him and ignored the cute dimple in his cheek, the angrier she got.

“Now, just take a step back, mister.” She held her palm out to him. “I quit, and you have no right to force me to come back.” With her wool coat in place, she felt incredibly warm. Why had she put it on when she was still inside the building? A trickle of perspiration formed at the back of her neck.
“You’re right.” The way he smiled just then made it absolutely impossible to ignore the dimple a second longer and her anger began to wane.

But then she remembered why she could never see this man again, never be in his presence, and most definitely never work for him. That Saturday night. The flirting. The fake number.

“Y…you should have told me,” she blurted out, “who you really are.” His eyes opened wider, as if confused. “At the diner. ‘Just Charlie.’” She firmed her mouth and tilted her head slightly.

In response, he gave her a relaxed smile. He leaned into the wall of the stairwell and placed his hands into his pockets. “I like just being Charlie. It fits me a whole lot better than Charles Murray II.”

His sincerity at that moment moved something deep inside her chest. It must have been her heartstrings. It had been a long time since someone had yanked on them. She’d done her very best to keep them hidden away. Away from the players, the liars and the commitment-a-phobes. Away from anyone looking one iota like Mr. Charles Murray II.

And yet she couldn’t help but think that Charlie wasn’t like many of the men she’d dated. He had eyes that seemed too direct and too earnest to ever intentionally hurt someone. And it seemed as if the boss’s son carried a burden of his own. You probably needed big shoulders to carry the Murray name around. Although, in point of fact, Charlie had mighty broad shoulders, now that she came to think of it.

Oh, she couldn’t think. Her emotions were a blur racing through her system. Pondering the width of Charlie’s shoulders was not helping. She lowered her eyes and leaned against the door to the third floor. If she looked into his eyes one more second, he could probably get her to do whatever he wanted. She glanced at the photograph and focused on George’s face. If only her brother were here now. He’d get her out of this mess.

Purchase Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Challenging-Miss-Valentine-Cindy-Green-ebook/dp/B01267604E/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Challenging-Miss-Valentine-Cindy-Green-ebook/dp/B01267604E/

Amazon Japan: http://www.amazon.co.jp/Challenging-Miss-Valentine-English-Edition-ebook/dp/B01267604E

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/challenging-miss-valentine-cindy-k-green/1122343696?ean=2940151144018#productInfoTabs

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/challenging-miss-valentine

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/562102

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Cindy K. Green has worked as a middle school history & English teacher, a frozen yogurt server and a golf magazine employee. Today she’s a multi-published, award-winning author, a mother, a wife, and a homeschooler too. This native Californian now resides in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and two cats named Chloe & Kassey.

Website www.cindykgreen.com

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Clean Reads Release by J. J. Nite

File Jun 26, 9 16 56 PM

It feels like nothing is ever going to change for Ali Morgan and then she meets Damien. He’s the opposite of everything her parents have hoped she would find, which makes him all the more attractive. The more involved Ali becomes with Damien, the more her parents try to separate her from him. Their actions cause Ali to ignore her parents and jump even further into a world she has been sheltered from.

But now that she has found her confidence thanks to Damien, Ali isn’t going to blindly follow the rules her parents have tried to force upon her. Will Ali’s parents be able to convince her that Damien isn’t the one for her or will Ali discover something much different all on her own?

 

EXCERPT:

ʺI know you’re in there! Open this door, or I’m going to call the cops and let them open it for me! ʺ I heard my dad’s voice yelling from the other side of Damien’s front door.

ʺOh no. That’s my dad, ʺ I said, feeling a paralyzing cold start at my feet and spread upward through my body.

ʺI figured,ʺ Damien said.

I watched as his face, open and loving only moments before, closed off. The hardened mask he showed the world slowly slipped into place as he picked me up and placed me on the couch. He slowly stood up and went to the door.

As soon as Damien opened it, my father stormed through. He looked from me, sitting on the couch in clothes other than my own, to the half‑dressed state of Damien. I could almost see my dad make the completely wrong assumption.

“Dad, let me explain before you say something really stupid!” I said, as I jumped to my feet.

“Something stupid? I think you’ve already accomplished a level I never imagined. Sneaking out of the house! Coming here and doing… I don’t even want to imagine what the two of you have been up to,” my dad said.

“Dad, please stop. I can explain,” I said.

“Don’t. Just stop before you even start. Do you have any idea what your mother and I went through when we woke up and found you gone?” my dad asked.

ʺMr. Morgan, none of this is Ali’s fault,” Damien said, as he walked over to where I was standing.

“I don’t want to hear a word you have to say about my daughter! Ever since you entered her life, nothing has been normal. She’s completely changed, and I don’t even feel like I know her anymore,” my dad said.

“I’ll admit I haven’t been the best influence on Ali, but she hasn’t done anything she didn’t want to do. I haven’t once forced her to do something,” Damien said.

I was sure the look my dad leveled on Damien would be enough to reduce him to a pile of embers. It was full of fury, and I watched as my dad balled his hands into fists.

“Dad! None of this is Damien’s fault. He’s telling the truth about not making me do anything. I’m a big girl, and I can make my own decisions if you and mom would just get out of my way. I’m not a little girl anymore!” I yelled at my dad.

I felt Damien put his arm around my shoulders and then press a kiss to my hair just above my temple. He was doing it to show he supported me, but my dad didn’t see it quite the same way.

In horror, I watched as my dad ripped Damien away from me and pushed him to the ground. I threw myself on top of Damien in a futile attempt to protect him from my father, or my father from him. I didn’t know, but what I did know was this wasn’t how I had wanted the night to end.

“Ali, get out of the way!” my dad yelled.

“No!”

“It’s okay, Ali. I’m not hurt, and you can stop crying,” Damien said quietly at my ear. “Everything’s going to be just fine.”

When had I started crying?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lovely-Paradox-Love-J-Nite-ebook/dp/B010N21BFW

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lovely-paradox-j-j-nite/1122223345

Author Photo2Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/lovely-paradox-lost

J.J.Nite lives in North Alabama with her husband, 3 kids, 2 dogs, and 5 goldfish. She writes young adult sweet romance for Clean Reads and loves reading as much as possible. J.J.’s also found that if she doesn’t write something every day, her mood is that of a bear waking from hibernation. Don’t worry though, the children have learned to let Mommy write a little before approaching.

Twitter: @jjnite

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This entry was posted on August 18, 2015. 3 Comments

The Fourth Generation by Chris von Halle

the fourth generationIn the future, no adults exist. Ever since the plague swept the world 100 years ago, no one has lived past seventeen.

Sixteen-year-old Gorin, a collector of curious artifacts left over from the pre-plague civilization, is on the verge of perishing from that deadly epidemic. And his last wish is to find a way to visit the rulers’ reputedly magnificent, off-limits mansion.

Up against the clock, he and his friend Stausha steal into the mansion and discover a secret more horrifying than they ever could’ve imagined—a secret that holds the key to the survival of the whole human race.

 

Amazon Buy Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Fourth-Generation-Chris-von-Halle-ebook/dp/B013EYISG6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1439297448&sr=1-1&keywords=the+fourth+generation

 

Excerpt:

I raced up the stairwell pretty fast for someone in my awful condition. My empty backpack bounced on my shoulders, my feet landing just in front of the steps’ worn, chipped edges. Sunlight leaked through the dusty windows at the top of each landing, enough to light my way to the decaying apartment building’s eighth floor.

The rest of the Valuable Objects better still be there.

No way I was losing the Tournament of Prestige this year, and the VOs could be worth just enough prestige points to finally push my faction into the top spot. But if someone else found them while I was gone…

At last I made it to the eighth floor. My chest heaved as I sucked in breath, my burning legs threatening to crumple.

You’ve gotta be kidding me.

The second door on the right lay wide open. My heart banged against my ribs, making it tough to breathe, as I crept to the door as quietly as only I could.

I peeked inside the room. My gut clenched, even though I’d seen it coming.

A boy about my size—taller than average with good-size muscles—stood in front of the old wooden cabinets on the left side of the room. He had blotchy, dark gray skin, so was about sixteen years old like me. His back looked a little crooked, like his spine wasn’t quite aligned right. Mine was probably in similar shape.

Even from the doorway I could see through the cabinet doors’ inlaid glass. Empty, except for one measly glass bottle. Sure enough, the boy started to turn away from them. I jerked my head back into the hallway, then peered back in. He made his way to the right side of the room.

No—not there.

He stopped at the faded loveseat wedged against the wall. Patches of peeled leather formed large, complicated shapes that looked like continents on a globe.

Get away from there.

Then again, this room had been scoured countless times over the past fifty years by generations of supply hunters like us, and none of them had found the short, tiny closet behind the sofa. Chances were slim this kid would.

Please, Power, this is my last year, my last chance. Please don’t let him find the VOs.

He walked to the side of the loveseat and put his hands on it. He was about to push it!

I yanked my flashlight out of my pocket, snapped open the battery compartment as quickly and quietly as I could, and hurled a battery across the room. Wasn’t like I needed it. Our faction got fresh batteries every week from the mansion, and could probably get more if we asked.

The battery smacked the back wall by the open window—I felt a light breeze, even from where I stood by the door—and hit the floor with a thud. The boy stopped pushing the sofa. Thankfully, he’d only moved it a couple inches. Not enough to reveal any of the closet.

“What the…?” He watched the battery roll across the wooden floor a bit and stay still.

He walked toward it.

            Yes.

He picked it up and headed toward the window, his back to me. Probably thought someone had thrown the battery through it.

I crept toward the sofa as quietly as I could, so there was no chance the kid could hear me. Few people had feet as soundless as Gorin of Faction 235.

I navigated around the squeaky floorboards. Good thing I’d memorized them during my first two trips to this room, after I’d found the jackpot of a closet this morning. Could never be too careful or prepared for a situation like this. Every VO counted, especially ones worth as many prestige points as DVDs.

When I made it to the loveseat, I shoved it aside as hard as I could and burst into the closet.

“Hey!” the boy cried as I lifted the lid of the plastic blue bin inside and started to stuff the last of the whopping stash—a stack of plastic DVD cases coated in thick dust—into my backpack. Not sure exactly what they were or what they did in the Old World. Us supply hunters weren’t trained to know stuff like that, annoyingly enough, though I’d give all my limbs to be given one hint.

Feet shuffled toward me. “Get your filthy paws off those. They’re mine.”

I turned my head toward the boy. He towered over me, at least by a foot. Thick, muscled arms framed his sides. Okay, so I was wrong—he was bigger and stronger than me. He dug his gaze into mine with pebbles for eyes on his overly broad forehead. A large, beak-like nose jutted from his face.

“Sorry, you know the rules,” I said. “I got to all of these before you, fair and square.” Which meant I got to keep them. Actually, I’d gotten to them way before him, but I had no proof of that, so no use mentioning it.

He folded his meaty arms across his chest. “Sorry, punk, but I don’t play by the rules.”

 

Author Bio:

Chris von Halle has had many different lives in many different worlds—the near and distant future Earth, other planets, and even other dimensions—and his books recreate his childhood memories of such outlandish locations. In this world and life, he lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and enjoys such extraordinary activities as playing videogames, tennis, and basketball, and writing the occasional comic strip.

Social Media Links:

Website: chrisvonhalle.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chris.v.halle?fref=browse_search

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Killing Two Birds With One Stone

Since beginning my writing journey in 2012, I have attended two local and two national writers’ conferences. Each time I have come away with an overwhelming amount of new knowledge about writing, marketing, and many other aspects of an author’s world.

I attended the 2015 Romance Writers of America Conference in New York a few weeks ago and for the first time I didn’t feel out of place. I was able to navigate through the workshops, book signings and my volunteer assignment with a sense of ‘I belong here.’

I met new writers from unpublished to published status and was always happy to meet up with writers I had met at previous conferences. I pitched my latest manuscript to an agent and an editor. I left each appointment amazed that I had been able to communicate during each ten-minute session and remember what had been discussed as I walked away.

All of the above was reason enough to invest my time, money and energy, but there was a flip side that meant just as much. My husband accompanied me to each conference. It was wonderful having him there to talk me down when I was overwhelmed and wondering why I ever thought I belonged here. He made sure I had what I needed – lunch between workshops, a shower cap from housekeeping or a foot rub at the end of a long day.

At the national conferences, we arrived a few days early to have personal time for sightseeing. To explore new places together has been satisfying and given us an appetite to experience future venues wherever they may take us. Last year I attended the Southern Magic Readers Luncheon in Birmingham and this year I was present at the Heart of Dixie Romance Readers Luncheon in Huntsville. Because we live in Georgia, it was an easy drive both times and a lovely weekend getaway from our usual routine.

I am hooked. We are planning our 2016 agenda of events. We will be attending the RWA conference in San Diego and are looking at the Romantic Times conference that will be held in Las Vegas. Who knew writing would open up a world of travel for two people ready to explore and enjoy their approaching retirement years.

 

 

 

 

Lucia’s Web by Sue Searles

LuciasWeb_500x750Creepy characters and shadowy scenes are woven through this suspense-filled story, steeped in strangeness with splashes of humor. When Ali Duncan advertises for two tenants to share an upmarket apartment with her, she has no way of knowing the series of cryptic events that is about to unravel. When one housemate turns out to be a quirky nonconformist, the other a Gothic misfit, she has to rely on her own defective judgment to find her way.

With circumstances stacked against her, whom can she trust when she finds herself alone in her quest for normality, but nothing in the house is as it seems.

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Lucias-Web-Sue-Searles-ebook/dp/B00ZQMOEQI

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lucias-web-sue-searles/1122137024?ean=2940151276801

Kobo Books: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/lucia-s-web

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/551150

EXCERPT:

I sucked in a deep breath and held it, then wiped sweaty palms on my trousers. I’d only arrived home ten minutes ago and hadn’t relaxed enough to freshen up or change out of my work clothes.

Get a grip, Ali. I shouldn’t be so nervous—this was my apartment, my advertisement. So I was in charge.

It took me a little over eight seconds before I snapped myself out of my trance. If Lucia James had seemed distant and sociably inept on the phone, meeting her in person only solidified my impression of her.

Pin-straight hair, dyed jet black with purple streaks, hovered just above a sorry pair of sagging shoulders. A thick, black fringe fell across an insipidly white face, barely hiding brown eyes bordered top and bottom with a heavy band of eyeliner. Black lipstick sapped the girl of any natural color and made her look deathly pale. She clutched a brown leather bag across her chest, and a black leather jacket and studded jeans rounded off the look. The girl bit her lip and dipped her chin, her nervousness palpable.

I closed my mouth when I realized I’d been staring. “Um, sorry…come on in.”

I stepped aside to let Lucia enter. Her brown eyes darted furtively around the spacious lounge, then focused on an invisible speck on the hardwood floor.

“So, do you live nearby?” My eyes remained on her as I asked the question and tried to size her up.

“No, I’m not from around here. I don’t know many people in Umhlanga yet.” A shoulder raised two inches, then went back down.

“Where are you from?” I studied her, trying to draw the girl out of whatever spell she was in.

“Eastern Cape.” Her eyes remained averted, the brown leather bag clutched like a lifeline across her chest. The long fringe hung like a thick, black curtain over her right eye, and I had to resist the urge to reach out and pull it aside.

“So, what brings you to Durban?” I honestly wasn’t trying to sound pushy, just curious. Besides, it was a reasonable question, not so? When Lucia didn’t reply, I crossed the room and closed the front door to give her time to answer. Just as I turned back to face her, she jerked her head away and averted her eyes back to the floor. I felt my frustration levels start to rise. So Lucia could quite easily look at me, as long as I wasn’t looking back at the same time?

I held my palms together and tried to shake off the girl’s unsettling presence. “All right, so…the rent is fourteen grand, split three ways. With water and lights, say an extra grand, we can round it off at five grand each. How does that sound?”

Lucia bit her lip hard and her eyes darted around the room briefly. “Sure. Whatever.”

“Rent’s due by the first of each month.” I tried to keep it upbeat, to sound much friendlier than I felt. “I’d like to check references before I make a final decision.” I gave Lucia a pressing look, one intended to communicate that I wasn’t too convinced about her yet. And in case she hadn’t been looking, I’d made sure she heard the threat in my tone.

“That’s no problem, you don’t have to worry about me not paying or nothing.” My warning didn’t seem to rattle her one bit.

I drew in a deep breath and gathered my thoughts. “Right, so we have a domestic worker who comes in once a week. Name is Thandi.”

Lucia met my eyes for the first time since she’d stepped foot in the place. “A-a cleaning lady?” There was measured trepidation in her voice.

“M-hmm. That’s okay, right? With all three of us girls working—”

She waved her hand. “That’s okay, I’ll clean my own room.” Lucia returned her grip to the bag and her gaze to the floor.

I narrowed my eyes at her, unsure how to respond. For somebody trying to gain approval, she was being surly and aloof, if not downright rude. “Well, if you’re sure. Just let me know if you change your mind.”

She gave a quick nod, obviously just to appease me.

Lucia’s tone was as colorless as her complexion, and lacked any kind of verve or energy whatsoever. The girl was as insipid as a jellyfish, with a personality to match.

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Sue Searles has written several books, ranging from women’s fiction and short stories to poetry and children’s books. Having worked on various forms of storytelling since childhood, writing has been a lifelong passion.

Now somewhat older and wiser, she is passionate about thinking outside the conventional box, and conveys messages that are thought-provoking and life-changing.

Her inspiration comes mainly from studying people, reading, and daily life.

Sue is happily married and lives in sunny South Africa with her husband and son.