Saturday, April 30, 2016

Viktor blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Clarissa Wild
Publication date: April 27th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

*NOTE: This book is NOT Paranormal*
Animal. Monster. Beast. That’s what they call Viktor Melikov, the man who hides in the dark … But even monsters need to be loved. The moment he sees the girl hired to dance for him, everything ceases to exist. It’s a feeling he’s unfamiliar with … and craves more than anything.

Alexis Kidd sells her body. Not because she wants to, but because she needs to. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to support her family and survive.

Now she must dance for a man hiding behind a veil.
But when the urge to take a look grows too strong … Alexis gets more than she bargained for.
More than Viktor was willing to give.

Inspired by a fairytale, VIKTOR is a standalone Romance by New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author Clarissa Wild.


Without looking away, I grab the cereal and milk and pour them into my bowl. She takes another bite of her cereal, never taking her eyes off mine as I put the spoon in and taste it.
And then we sit and eat … and stare.
“Okay …” Winston says, and he grabs a newspaper and sits down on a stool in the kitchen and blocks us out while reading.
I don’t care. I’m not talking and neither is she. I’m not going to give her any more excuses to make a run for it, and she’s not telling me what she really thought when she saw me, so …
Something’s stuck to my face.
Sticky … milky … cereal.
And her face. It turns from a full-on frown to full-blown laughter.
She places her hand over her mouth, but it can’t hide her sly smile.
Grinding my teeth, I wipe my face off with a napkin and cock my head at her.
Slowly, I put the spoon back into the bowl, watching her stare as I bring it up to my face.
And then I quickly turn it around and catapult it at her.
It smashes right into her forehead.
I grin as it drips off her, and the smile is wiped off her face immediately.
“Motherfucker,” she growls, and she grabs another spoonful. “Oh, it’s on.”
Suddenly, we’re in an all-out war.
Cereal and milk flies everywhere. Spoons too.
“Hey! Watch it! I just bought new China,” Winston says, putting down his newspaper.
“Eat shit!” Alexis yells, throwing her entire bowl at my face.
I only barely manage to catch the bowl, without its contents … which are now splashed over my chest and the floor.
“Oh, now you’ve done it,” I growl, and I pick up my bowl, stand up, walk toward her … and throw it over the top of her head.
She squeals as the cold milk runs over her body, which only a thin nightgown covers. Her instantly hardening nipples catch my attention. They’re hard to miss, and I swallow back the emerging lust.
“Fuck. You’ll pay for that.”
Her fingers are on my chest before I know it, twisting my nipples.
“Ow! Fuck,” I scream, grabbing her wrists. “No, bad Lexi.”
“Woof,” she says, laughing.
I shake my head, laughing too.
I’m fucking angry she threw her food at me, but it was fucking fun too. I can’t decide which one is more important to feel right now.
But when I look into her eyes, everything ceases to matter.


Author Bio:
Want to be the first to get your hands on new books & get access to free short stories, giveaway prizes, previews, and more? Sign up here
Clarissa Wild is a New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author, best known for the dark Romance novel Mr. X. Her novels include the Fierce Series, the Delirious Series, and Stalker. She is also a writer of erotic romance such as the Blissful Series, The Billionaire's Bet series, and the Enflamed Series. She is an avid reader and writer of sexy stories about hot men and feisty women. Her other loves include her furry cat friend and learning about different cultures. In her free time she enjoys watching all sorts of movies, reading tons of books and cooking her favorite meals.

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Friday, April 29, 2016

The Devil's Doorbell Anthology

The Devil's Doorbell

A woman's pleasure is a dangerous thing. A primal appetite that, once awakened, can never be sated. A secret that gives power to those who know it. A magic that, once unleashed, can never be contained.
Some say the clitoris is the devil's doorbell, set to summon him forth at the merest touch...

It's time to ring the bell.
Here are seven tales of sexual empowerment and erotic defiance, featuring the hottest storytellers of erotic fiction.

Anne Calhoun
Christine d'Abo
Delphine Dryden
Megan Hart
Jeffe Kennedy
Megan Mulry
M. O'Keefe

Coming April 26, 2016!

In the Garden, by Anne Calhoun
Forbidden fruit is the most delicious...
A wedding in the bucolic English countryside offers Kelsey ripe temptation in the form of a hot groomsman, Julian. Will the illicit attraction satisfy an old craving or stoke a new desire?

Exact Warm Unholy, by Jeffe Kennedy
Tonight my name is Mary...

Or is it? Sometimes she’s Tiffany or Syd or Bobbi. But whatever face she wears, she returns to the same bar, to find a new man and seduce him, safe in the knowledge that no one will recognize her. Until one man does

Red Leather, by Delphine Dryden
Some activities are definitely not safe for work.
Maggie's sadness over being dumped quickly turns to relief and excitement when she discovers a new freedom...a new Maggie she could have never been with her ex. Combine New Maggie with Tim the Hot Mailroom Guy and an unexpected vibrator...and the office supply room door becomes the portal to a world of devilish fun.

Drowning on Dry Land, by Megan Hart
Some doors stay open until you close them.
Moving on from a past love, Bette Douglas has discovered a whole new world of satisfaction and contentment with her boy Damian...but when the past comes knocking, Bette's decision to answer it could change everything.

Devil in the Dark, by Christine d’Abo
When developer Shona needs to beta test her new app - The Devil's Doorbell - she goes out on the prowl for a man who will fulfil her wildest fantasies - oral sex in public. What could possibly go wrong when she finds her devil in the dark?

London Calling, by Megan Mulry
"Face-sitter wanted, in exchange for free accommodation in Mayfair." -Craigslist
She hadn't planned on being quite so adventurous when she decided to spend the year in London, but when she read the ad, she couldn't resist.

We Are All Found Things, by M. O'Keefe
Rennie's trying to forget her past; her mysterious new tenant is trying to keep his past a secret. But when Rennie finds out the truth about Luka she discovers as much about herself as she does her innocent lover.

Author Websites:

Christine d'Abo -
Megan Hart -
Megan Mulry -

Cover by Book Beautiful -

Buy links:

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook. 
Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review was nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose was nominated for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2014 and the third book, The Talon of the Hawk, won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2015. Two more books will follow in this world, beginning with The Pages of the Mind May 2016. A fifth series, the erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, started with Going Under, and was followed by Under His Touch and Under Contract
She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.
Jeffe can be found online at her website:, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, on Goodreads and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.

Working Stiff: Casimir Cover Reveal!

Working Stiff: Casimir
Blair Babylon
(Inheritance Trilogy, #1)
Publication date: May 17th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Here’s the problem: when Rox was hired, she told her smoking-hot boss Cash that she was married, but she’s not. Now, three years later, she’s kind of accidentally living with him, and he’s being a perfect gentleman, dang it.

Everybody in the office said that Cash was a heartbreaker, that he’d bump her and dump her, so Rox decided not to become a statistic. She went out and bought herself some rings of the finest cubic zirconia so that she could work with Cash, who was several inches over six feet tall, emerald-eyed, ripped, gorgeous, his tailored suit clinging to his athletic body, sporting a British accent, and loaded.

It had seemed like such a good plan at the time.

But now, three years later, she and Cash have become friends. They travel together for work often, and they’re the best of buddies.When Rox gets thrown out of her apartment, Cash insists that she come live with him until they can find her a place because that’s what friends do.

Now, even though everyone insists that Cash never goes after married women, something about him has changed. There are little touches, little slips, and Rox is more and more tempted to tell hunky, gorgeous Cash that she never was married.

And then he’ll take her and break her, and then he’ll walk away, and then she’ll lose her job, and she still hasn’t found a place to live.

And yet, every time her looks at her with mischief in his dark green eyes, every time they’re teasing and it somehow turns into tickling, every time she swats at him and somehow ends up in his arms, she wants so much to risk everything.

What’s a working stiff to do when she falls in love with her friend, the boss?

Author Bio:
Blair Babylon often releases ebooks at a special release-day price of 99c.
To never miss a sale, CLICK HERE:
Blair Babylon is the nom de plume of an award-winning, USA Today-bestselling author who used to publish literary fiction. Because professional reviews of her other fiction usually included the caveat that there was too much deviant sex and too much interesting plot, she decided to abandon all literary pretensions, let her freak flag fly, and write hot, sexy, erotic romance, plus wild, suspenseful thrillers, science fiction, and urban fantasy using the super-secret pen name Blair C. Babylon.

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

His Wolf's Desire Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway!

His Wolf's Desire
Shannon Nydia

Genre: Contemporary, Multicultural,
Paranormal, Shifters

Publisher: Loose Id Publishing

Date of Publication: April 12, 2016

Cover artist: Syneca Featherstone

ISBN: 978-1-68252-093-2

Word count: 52,383
Page count (PDF): 189

Book Description:

Bradford Dalton and Jayla Stanton are both shifters. Each has their own reason for not wanting to be in a relationship with their own kind. Suddenly finding out that they are mates is a shock to both of them. There’s no way in hell these work enemies will ever be together.

Brad and Jayla are desperate to find a way to coexist with their shifter sides. They just have to contend with the fact they have sexual chemistry that is off the charts. Jayla can turn his body to steel with just a smoldering look. Brad can make Jayla quiver in anticipation with just one touch. You won’t hear either one of them complaining about succumbing to their insatiable need for the other. Sure they can have hot sex which knocks them on their ass, but that doesn’t mean they’ll ever fall for the other. Right?


Chapter One

Holding a stick of gum between his thumb and index finger, Brad vigorously tapped it against his thigh as if he were snuffing out a cigarette. Aware of his neurotic action, he shifted in his seat and braced his elbows on the conference table. He resisted the urge to pound his fists on it. With deliberate care he removed the gum from the wrapper. While his gaze darted back and forth, scanning the scene before him, he crinkled the thin scrap of shiny aluminum foil in his large hand. He squeezed until his forearm started to cramp, then popped the gum in his mouth and shoved the tiny piece of trash into his pocket.
Brad felt it would be best today to distance himself from his colleagues. Secluded inside the glass conference room, he found it easier to control his inner animal. He could feel the urge to shift coursing through his veins. He needed to stay calm.
So while his team members were eager to welcome the arrival of the faction from the Seattle office, he kept a safe distance from the chaos erupting. Chewing his gum, he analyzed everyone coming together, shaking hands, behaving in a cordial fashion.
Fuck cordial.
He wanted to strangle Jayla Stanton with his bare hands. She’d succeeded in administering a major blow to the momentum of his career. He’d worked too damn hard, made too many damn sacrifices, for it all to come to a screeching halt because she chose to be a conniving witch. He didn’t like her, didn’t trust her, and didn’t want anything to do with her.
To add insult to injury, he had a front-row seat to witness her invade his territory. One would think a goddess had descended upon them. The pageantry that surrounded her arrival in Albuquerque left a bitter taste in his mouth. He couldn’t care less that they were colleagues. They were no more teammates than they were friends. Everyone else might kiss her ass, but not him.
He’d been able to avoid Jayla for almost two years by finagling his way out of corporate event after corporate event when he knew she’d be in attendance. Truth be told, he couldn’t trust his control over his anger enough to be anywhere near her.
Unfortunately, Mr. Graybar, the CEO of the firm, let it be known he wanted Brad and Jayla working together for the next week, ensuring the smooth transition of the Maldonado account. This happened to be the very account which began their bitter feud.
Years of research, planning, development, building business relationships, it all went down the drain when she swooped in, breaking every rule in business ethics and etiquette. She’d snatched the account right from under his nose. Landing the Maldonado account would have been his golden ticket straight to the executive office. Instead, he would have to endure playing second fiddle to her.
Brad’s alpha-male nature, too stubborn and prideful to even consider defeat, obliterated from his mind any inkling of leaving the firm. Besides, he loved a good fight, and Jayla had just started a war. He refused to let her ride off into the sunset with his account. If she thought he would play nice, she was in for one hell of a week.
Brad eyeballed a few female colleagues; his hunt came to a spellbinding halt when he zeroed in on a breathtaking beauty. He was finally seeing Jayla in person, and she wasn’t at all what he’d prepared for.
Her rounded nose was balanced perfectly above her supple, pouty lips. Prominent cheekbones and a long slender neck made for a stunning combination. Her rich mocha skin color radiated warmth. Angling her head away from him, she unleashed a striking smile while talking with and charming the pants off members of his team.
His jaw and chest tightened as awareness settled over him. He’d spent so much time abhorring her from afar, and her looks had never mattered to him. Since Jayla started working for his firm, Brad had observed her photos printed in the company newsletters. He’d viewed her profile page on the company website on numerous occasions. But in no way did either of those publications capture the essence of her beauty.
She was absolutely stunning, and he couldn’t take his eyes off her. He watched in an angry trance as she swept her fingers across her forehead, feathering a loose strand of hair into place. Then his mouth went bone dry when she faced in the opposite direction. Her full, round, candy-apple bottom came into view, and a noise sounding an awful lot like a groan scratched out from the pit of his belly. His cock thickened with arousal, annoying the hell out of him.
His instant attraction confused him, and he tried to shame his excited loins into calming down. It would be a cold day in hell before he let her beauty distract him. What was wrong with him? To hell with attraction; she was the enemy.
JAYLA FELT SOMEONE’S eyes boring into her and stiffened in response. She turned in the direction her wolf’s instincts guided her. Sweeping her fingers across her brow, she smoothed the tendrils framing her face.
She found and locked gazes with a fine-ass man sitting alone in a conference room. The blatant hostility in his glare sent goose bumps traveling up and down her arms. If she didn’t already know what he looked like, being the only person in the office who hadn’t greeted her and her team would have been all the evidence she needed. She’d just made eye contact with Bradford Dalton, her adversary.
Gunmetal-blue eyes glued her to where she stood, so exceptional in color she felt hypnotized. She could barely breathe. The intensity of his stare made her hands tremble. She pressed her palms into her skirt in an attempt to steady them, mortified by her reaction to him. There was no love lost between them, but the fact that she literally shook in her high heels just by locking gazes with the man gave her cause for concern.
She’d prepared herself for a plethora of emotions spanning across the anger spectrum but not for the instant attraction she felt for the man the second she laid eyes on him. What was wrong with her?
Brad could spin the facts all he wanted, but the truth of the matter was she’d landed the Maldonado account fair and square. He’d dismissed her as nothing more than a joke when she joined the Seattle office of their firm. For almost two years she’d tried in vain to be a part of his team in Albuquerque.
While Brad plotted his course of action for the Maldonado account, Jayla plotted her course of action to try to get Brad’s professional attention. Ironically, she’d never wanted the account for herself. She’d wanted to work with Brad. Learn from Brad. Be mentored by Brad. Having the chance to work with him was the sole reason she’d wanted to join Graybar and Associates. In the end he’d stayed full of himself, letting the opportunity slip through his fingers. She’d landed the coveted account on her own merit.
Breaking eye contact, Brad’s gaze traveled the scope of her body. Tingles prickled her skin, making her suit’s thick tweed material cumbersome and uncomfortable. His gaze crawled along her curves, making her feel exposed. It irritated her how sensitive and receptive her body seemed to be to his fixation. Just because Brad turned out to be easy on the eyes didn’t change one damn thing between them. No matter how handsome the face glaring at her was, he hated her, and the feeling was mutual.
She chastised herself for behaving as if she’d never been given the once-over by a man before. But Brad’s raw gaze unnerved her, fracturing her renowned poise.
She swallowed hard as she willed her hands to stay stuck to her sides and not sweep across her face again. Trying to gain control of the situation, Jayla decided two could play this game. She wouldn’t let him intimidate her. Waiting until his eyes found hers, she tightened her jaw, tilted her head and, with defiance, inspected him right back.
Since he was sitting, she could only appraise his upper half. But boy oh boy… What an upper half to assess. His nose, a straight line from the top of the bridge to the slightly aquiline tip, appeared almost regal. She studied his full bottom lip, larger than the slimmer top half. Short, dark-brown hair, styled as if he combed his fingers through it in the shower, completed his model good looks.
She bit the inside of her mouth to keep from gaping. Never in a million years had Jayla imagined Brad looked like that in person. His online depictions were a travesty compared to his real-life appearance. Now she didn’t know what she found more disappointing: the fact that someone she once admired turned out to be a chauvinistic ass, or the fact that seeing him in person made her wish she possessed naked pictures of his chauvinistic ass.
Brad personified the self-centered ambition she detested about the business world. Men like him made her blood boil. It didn’t matter one iota that he was too fine for his own damn good. On an exhalation, she made herself refocus on the melee at hand.
Team members from both sides began filing into the conference room Brad ruminated in, putting an end to Brad and Jayla’s rubbernecking. Taking advantage of every extra second to collect herself, Jayla lingered and waited to join the meeting last of all. Blowing out a long, shaky breath, she felt her nerves kick into high gear.
Two quick vibrations from her cell phone, indicating she’d just received an e-mail, gave her a valid reason to delay her grand entrance. Grateful for the interruption, she pulled the thin phone from the front pocket of her jacket, opened the e-mail app, and proceeded to read.
The meeting should be getting underway soon. Sorry I’m not there. I have both my phone and computer on the ready if you need anything. Attached in this e-mail is a copy of your presentation notes in case you misplaced them. This is your show. Don’t let Dalton intimidate you. I’ll be in bright and early tomorrow. Remember, when it comes to Brad…it’s on like Donkey Kong!
Holding back a smile, Jayla wanted to thank Monica for e-mailing her, giving her the distraction she needed to help settle her nerves. Monica was a brilliant corporate lawyer and one hell of a colleague. The two of them were sisters in arms in the male-dominated business world. Although they didn’t get to work together as much as they would have liked, they always had each other’s back. Once Jayla knew for sure she’d secured her transfer to the Albuquerque office, she’d done everything in her power to ensure Monica would be part of her team. She’d gotten her wish, but Monica had been bumped from their flight to Albuquerque. Due to the airline error, she wouldn’t be arriving until very late that evening.
Knowing she couldn’t delay any longer, Jayla pushed her phone back into her pocket and headed toward the lion’s den. She stepped into the conference room and took the one seat available to her. Either by sheer coincidence or by intended design, the seat across from Brad remained the lone chair left unoccupied. Person after person passed it up, not even daring to look in its direction. As colleagues intentionally avoided the hot seat, the tension in the room became so thick Jayla thought they would become blinded by it. On-edge associates on both sides of the fence exchanged anxious glances.
Noticing everyone focusing on her, she set her briefcase on the table and offered Brad a tight smile paired with a curt nod. The man had the audacity to arch one eyebrow in response. The lights dimmed, and a video presentation began, directing attention to the large projection screen. Camouflaged as she was by the darkness, no one noticed her grip on her briefcase tighten and her plastered fake smile slip a fraction. She fought the urge to lunge across the table and choke him. Instead, she pulled her phone out of her pocket, turned off the ringer, and placed it inside her briefcase. Once seated, she directed her attention to the screen.
IT DIDN’T TAKE long for Jayla’s subtle vanilla-orchid scent to settle upon Brad. His nose flared the second her delicate and sensual fragrance hit him. He wasn’t one to react to a woman’s perfume, yet her aroma caressed his attention away from the video. Unable to help himself, he peeked out the corners of his eyes in her direction. Once again she swept her fingers across her face, smoothing her hair. Suspecting the action a nervous habit, he felt himself wanting to smirk in satisfaction, knowing she wasn’t as confident as she tried to appear. She crossed her arms on top of the table, and her hands captivated him as she scraped her delicate fingertips across her jacket. Surprising himself, he imagined what it would feel like to have her scoring her nails across his back while she wrapped her legs around his waist, taking him to the hilt.
Without warning, his canines lengthened. Flinching from the shock of his sexual fantasy and his physical reaction to her, he drew unwanted attention to himself. A few of his team members gave him concerned glances, peering at him through squinted eyes in the darkened room. Placing his elbows on the table, he crossed one hand on top of the other, hiding his mouth in his palms as he nodded, trying like hell to appear normal.
Never in his life had his teeth elongated around a group of nonshifters. He could recall a handful of times in his youth when his canines had come out while in the presence of shifters, but always in reaction to being provoked to fight. Now, in his adulthood, once in a while his teeth had a mind of their own when he was alone, but they knew better than to come out of hiding here. No one at his job knew he was a shifter. In fact, no one he acquainted himself with knew he was a shifter. He didn’t have anything against shifters; he just didn’t like living as one. In his opinion, the disadvantages far outweighed the advantages. Although the existence of shifters was a known fact, the misguided perceptions were at times annoying. There were parts of his life Brad didn’t want to have to explain.
His self-control over his inner animal, something he prided himself on, approached a point of no return. It would serve her right if he let her witness the beast inside him. He’d be fired for sure, but at least he’d get to give her the scare of her life. Growing angry that she continued to affect him, he turned his head, giving the evil apparition sitting in front of him his full attention.
JAYLA’S PULSE SPIKED the second she got her first whiff of the manly musk radiating off Brad. The man smelled of carnal sin. His spicy scent delighted her nose, wreaking havoc on her libido. Her thick jacket hid her pebbling nipples and swelling breasts. She clamped her legs together underneath the table, trying to ward off the twinges of lust tickling her pussy. Feeling Brad’s gaze on her, Jayla’s mouth began to water as her canines extended. Panicking, she leaned back in her chair, crossed one arm over her midsection, and rested the elbow of the other on her fist; she covered her mouth with her free hand, trying to pretend to be deep in thought. No one at her job knew she was a shifter. If she shifted into her wolf, it’d be a hell of a way to out herself and probably get fired in the process. The thought of Brad pissing his pants in terror when he found out the person he’d been trying to bully was a she-wolf consoled her for a split second. But she knew she couldn’t let that happen now. Unable to help herself, she turned her head toward him, and their gazes locked.
Unexpected images of the two of them making love flashed through her mind like a silent movie: She imagined her naked curves draped over Brad’s body as she rode him. Depictions of Brad pounding into her doggy style swamped her consciousness. The erotic visualizations caused her animalistic nature to surface.
Deep from within the inner intricacies of their wolves, she heard them both growl. To their human colleagues sitting around them, it sounded like hungry stomachs calling for food. But the low, distinctive sound vibrating from the heart and soul of one wolf to another… Shifters knew this sonance—their bodies calling out to their…
Brad’s startled gaze met hers, and their eyes widened as the reality of the situation became obvious to both of them. Jayla’s canines retracted once her human side understood what her wolf had known from the second she’d made eye contact with Brad: they were mates.
Jayla felt her control over her wolf return, so she rose, grabbing her briefcase. Trancelike, she headed out of the conference room, needing to get away from him. Once out of sight she quickened her pace, speed-walking to safety.
Rounding the corner, Jayla passed the elevators, seeking the heavy metal door leading to the stairwell. She burst through, needing solitude to compose herself. The thunderous sound of the heavy door clanking shut gave her a sense of relief. Her gasps heaved in and out of her chest. Bending over, she dropped her briefcase and clutched at her heart in desperation.
Of all the shifters in the world…he was her mate? A man she despised. Dread tore through her body at the thought of Brad Dalton being the supposed keeper of her heart. No effing way. Not on her watch.

About the Author:

Shannon Nydia grew up in a military family. Her father served in the U.S. Air Force and she was fortunate enough to be stationed all over the United States. Her love of travel and experiencing new places only encouraged her overactive imagination. Shannon is a self-described dreamer and hopeless romantic. She thoroughly enjoys getting swept up in a good story. Shannon loves reading, watching romantic movies and food… not necessarily in that order! She adores strong but feminine female characters and has a soft spot for hunky alpha males.
Shannon is a married mother of two, and loves spending time with her family.

She loves hearing from her readers!

Not the Hot Chick blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Not the Hot Chick: Complete Boxed Set
N. Raines
Publication date: April 26th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Contains Not the Hot Chick, Not the Stand In, Not the Friend with Benefits and Not the Placeholder

No one would call curvy Layla Messner hot. Sweet and smart, yes, but not hot. All that changes when she meets sexy bartender Cam. This bundle contains all four of parts of the Not the Hot Chick serial featuring a BBW heroine with heart and a hero with plenty of substance beneath his seductive style. Contains hot hook-ups, bitchy neighbors, ice skating blunders and—just possibly—love to last a lifetime.

This boxed set contains the complete Not the Hot Chick series. 
Sign up for Nona Raines’s newsletter and get the first book (Not the Hot Chick) in the series for free!
Please sign up here:
Not the Hot Chick (Book 1 in the Not the Hot Chick series) Blurb:
Can she be the hot chick for just one night?
No one would call curvy Layla Messner hot. Sweet and smart, yes, but not hot. She doesn’t stand a chance with Cam, the sexy bartender with the teasing grin—especially since her neighbor Jessi has him dead in her sights. Jessi, who is every man’s centerfold fantasy. All Layla has to look forward to is another night with her trusty vibrator.
But when his hook up with Jessi tanks, Cam looks to Layla. He wants her. Here’s her chance to take what she wants and finally be the object of desire—the Hot Chick. If she says no, she may regret it forever. If she says yes, one night may not be enough.
Please note this is a serialized romance. Not the Hot Chick is Book 1 in the series.


Jessi Wallace eyed the cute bartender’s butt the way a hungry cat might eye an unsuspecting bird. She actually licked her lips. “I am so going to do him.”
Layla Messner held back a sigh, took another sip of her lemon-drop martini, and asked herself for the sixth time that night, Why am I here, again?
She should have known better than to accept Jessi’s invitation to go out tonight. They weren’t really friends, just across-the-hall neighbors in the same apartment complex that housed many of the Buff State students here in Buffalo, New York. She and Jessi would nod and smile when they passed each other, occasionally stop and chat, but they’d never partied together. So it had been quite the surprise when Jessi tapped on her door two hours ago with a smile and an invitation: “Feel like cutting loose tonight?”
Silly Layla, thinking Jessi was trying to be friendly. More likely, she just wanted a wingman—or wingwoman in this case—and had no one else to step out with.
Jessi leaned over the bar provocatively in her low-cut top, calling to the bartender and pointing to her empty glass. “Can I have another down here?”
Oh, God, she was actually batting her eyelashes. And the way she was leaning to flash her cleavage, it was a wonder her boobs didn’t fall right out onto the bar.
Layla glanced down at her own chest, pulling back her shoulders. Her boobs weren’t so bad, even if they weren’t shown off as blatantly as Jessi’s. Layla knew she had nothing to be ashamed of in that department. If anything, she’d been generously blessed.
The problem was, she was a little too blessed in other areas as well. “Curvy” would be a kind description. “Chubby” might be more to the point.
Jessi, on the other hand, had a body that was every guy’s wet dream. She had big breasts and a tiny little waist that curved out to a rounded pair of hips. The tight, short skirt she wore had every guy in the room craning his neck for a second look at her ass.
The place was pretty quiet for a Friday night. But then again, it was the weekend before spring break, and much of the college-age crowd that usually frequented the Shamrock had already left town. Layla had a four-hour drive to get to her parents’ house and was wiped from spending the day with a class of hyper first graders. Morning would be soon enough to make the trip home.
The bartender ambled down their way and gave them both a smile. “Ready for another, ladies?”
Layla’s heart warmed at the way he included her in the offer. He didn’t just ignore her, the way some guys did, to focus on her prettier companion.
Jessi smirked and tapped the rim of her glass. “I’d like another Hard Fast Screw please.” She practically purred the order for the Shamrock’s variation of a screwdriver.
“You got it.” He directed his gaze at Layla, and her heart gave a little flip. It was too dark in the bar to tell what color his eyes were, but she knew they were beautiful. Just like the rest of him. Dark hair, a buff body, and a gorgeous face. High cheekbones, a straight nose, chiseled lips. Those lips moved, but Layla was too mesmerized by his looks to pay any attention to what he was saying.
She blinked. “Uh, excuse me?”
“He asked if you want another drink.” Jessi’s cutesy moves were forgotten as she gave Layla the death stare. Don’t poach on my territory.
As if. Still, a girl could dream, couldn’t she?

Is the door locked-

Author Bio:
N. Raines (who also writes as Nona Raines) is a former librarian who lives in upstate New York with her many pets. She’s currently working on her next novel between walking the dog and shooing the cats off the laptop. Her erotic romances are published with The Wild Rose Press and Loose Id. Her transgender romance His Kind of Woman was nominated for the 2014 DABWAHA sponsored by the Dear Author and Smart Bitches, Trashy Books review blogs. Her most recent work is the romance novella Write to Me and the transgender romance Her Kind of Man.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Painting Sky blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Painting Sky
Rita Branches
Publication date: April 25th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Nobody ever said life was easy…

People pleaser, Jane Skylar wants nothing more than to earn her art degree, start her life, and bask in the bliss of living with her boyfriend.

But things don’t always go as planned…

Struggling with her creative side, Jane finds herself in turmoil, often confiding in her roommate – another, more talented art student, Keith Hale. Keith just so happens to be her boyfriend’s older, brooding brother. After a devastating breakup, Jane turns to Keith for comfort. But when the lines blur between roommate and lover, Jane’s life becomes more complicated than ever before.

When Keith’s past comes back to haunt him, their lives all get turned upside down, forcing the truth to surface. Now Jane must fight for what she wants–even if it hurts everyone she loves.


When I pulled the door open, the last person I wanted to see was sitting on a stool, sipping his morning coffee. He didn’t acknowledge me.
I poured some coffee in a random mug, since Keith was using my favorite one, and tried to reach the last package of cookies on the top shelf. I really didn’t want to use the stool in front of Keith.
What was the least humiliating decision? Trying to reach it by jumping on the counter or getting the stupid stool? I almost decided on just eating something at school when a throat being cleared sounded just behind me. I knew that, if I turned around, he would be invading my personal space. I had no intention of letting him ruin my birthday, so I stayed put with my arms crossed over my chest.
“Were you deciding between the cookies, the canned peas, or the rice? Because I can help with either one of them, just not sure which one you get in the morning.” Keith snickered. I could smell him, and the fact that such a pleasant smell could come from such an unpleasant person puzzled me.
I had the strong urge to turn and flip him the finger. I had never done that in my life, but could now understand why people did it. Instead, I turned slowly, thinking about how to have the upper hand this time.
I was right about the personal space: I leaned back and rested my hands behind me on the counter. He was standing so close to me that I had to look up to see his eyes. For a second, I saw the indecision there, as if he knew he should step back.
I had to think of a witty response fast, but then I noticed he had shaved— that was where the amazing smell was coming from. He had a small cut on his throat.
Keith wasn’t smirking now; he was genuinely waiting for me to do something. I wished I could read his thoughts so I could do the exact opposite of what he was hoping for.
I quickly took the wish back. It was my birthday, after all, and we never did know when a wish would be granted. This was one I really didn’t want to come true. Hearing his words hurt enough without having to hear his thoughts, as well.
“Next time you shave, try standing an inch or two closer to the blade,” I whispered, leaning closer to his shoulder.
I was so pleased with my joke that I pondered going upstairs and writing it down. I smiled triumphantly at my quick response and did a little happy dance inside.
“Did you have to think on that one this whole time, or were you just checking me out?”
My smile faltered and then completely disappeared. That had been a good one. Okay, I must have thought about it a little longer than I realized. Maybe I had been kind of checking him out—not in a “you’re so hot” way, but more of a “if you could just be a statue and never speak or move, I would thank the powers that be” way.
I stuck my chin out to try to appear taller. “That was a good one and you know it.” I crossed my arms again and brushed against his chest in the process.

Author Bio: 
Rita Branches is an independent YA (young adult) author who enjoys spending every free moment (when she´s not reading) writing emotional stories. Visit: 

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Witch's Cursed Cabin Released Day Blitz & Excerpt!

Witch’s Cursed Cabin
Coon Hollow Coven Tales
Book Two
Marsha A. Moore

Genre: Paranormal romance

Date of Publication: 4-27-16

Number of pages: 380
Word Count: 111,000

Cover Artist: Marsha A. Moore

Book Description:

Eager to be on her own away from home, twenty-year-old Aggie Anders accepts a relative’s invitation to live in Coon Hollow Coven. Although she’s a witch from a different coven, what locals say about the Hollow confuses her. How can witchcraft there live and breathe through souls of the dead?

Aggie’s new residence in this strange southern Indiana world is a deserted homestead cabin. The property’s carriage house serves as the coven’s haunted Halloween fundraiser. It’s a great opportunity for her to make new friends, especially with the coven’s sexy new High Priest Logan.

But living in the homestead also brings Aggie enemies. Outsiders aren’t welcome. A cantankerous, old neighbor tries to frighten her off by warning her that the homestead is cursed. Local witches who practice black magic attempt to use their evil to drive Aggie away and rid their coven of her unusual powers as a sun witch.
Determined to stay and fit in, Aggie discovers not only that the cabin is cursed, but she alone is destined to break the curse before moonrise on Samhain. If she fails, neither the living nor the dead will be safe.

About the Coon Hollow Coven Tales Series

The series is about a coven of witches in a fictitious southern Indiana community, south of Bloomington, the neck of the woods where I spent my favorite childhood years surrounded by the love of a big family. The books are rich with a warm Hoosier down-home feel. There are interesting interactions between coven members and locals from the nearby small town of Bentbone. If magic wasn’t enough of a difference between the two groups, the coven folk adhere to the 1930s lifestyle that existed when the coven formed.

Book One

Excerpt from Chapter One: The Homestead

A shove of my shoulder pried the rusty hinges on the heavy log cabin door loose. I flung my blond braid to my back and peered inside. Beings and critters, alive and furry as well as undead and translucent, flew, crawled, or slithered across dark recesses of the hallway, sitting room, and stairwell.

“You weren’t kidding. This place is haunted.” I shuddered and looked over my shoulder at Cerise. She looked perky as always with her dark bobbed hair and lively brown eyes beneath horn-rimmed eyeglasses. “Were those things relations or varmints?” I took a cautious step over the threshold to escape the blustery weather and unbuttoned my corduroy jacket.
“Oh, both, Aggie. Ghosts of witch kin and their talking animal familiars,” she said and moved past me to lift sheets off the sitting room furniture.

I raised a brow, curious about what talking familiars were but was too afraid to ask. She didn’t seem to think they were bad, and I needed a place to stay.

Cerise dropped the sheets in a pile and wiped her dusty hands on her skirt. “Those sorts of ghosts are in all the homes here in Coon Hollow Coven. Maybe some animal spirits, too, from the surrounding woods. This property has at least fifty acres of forest. The ghosts are harmless, part of the family. At least no neighbors have complained, that I’ve heard.”

Eyeing corners of the parlor and the length of the hall, I wondered if I could ever get used to living with ghosts of people who’d lived here before. In New Wish, Indiana, where I’d spent my entire twenty years, we only had an occasional ghost. Usually lost souls who, for some reason, hadn’t found their peace before death took them. Most times, those folks had been tormented by darkness and experimented with black magic while they’d lived. Or so Mom told me, but I always thought that was just her way of keeping me in line.

I pushed those thoughts out of my head. I wanted a place of my own more than anything else, and not in the tiny town of New Wish where everyone knew me…or thought they did. They all said I was the spitting image of my Aunt Faye, with the same light blond straight hair, deep blue eyes, dark brows, and quiet personality. Everyone thought I’d grow up to be like her with a houseful of kids, seven or more. Fact was, they didn’t know me. I wasn’t sure I even knew myself. There was so much I wanted to learn and do that wouldn’t happen if I stayed at my parents’ home.

Cerise struggled to open the stuck window. “Aggie, can you help me here? Some fresh air might tempt a few spirits outside. This place has been vacant since my mother passed in 2009. We might find just about anything in here after five years.”

About the Author:

Marsha A. Moore loves to write fantasy and paranormal romance. Much of her life feeds the creative flow she uses to weave highly imaginative tales.

The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing, as well as other pursuits of watercolor painting and drawing. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and is a registered yoga teacher. Her practice helps weave the mystical into her writing. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transformed into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors where she’s always on the lookout for portals to other worlds. Marsha is crazy about cycling. She lives with her husband on a large saltwater lagoon, where taking her kayak out is a real treat. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical!

Goodreads author page

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Payable On Death Tour & Excerpt!

Payable On Death
The Jax Rhodes Series
Book One
Rachel Rawlings

Print Length: 207 pages

Publication Date: April 5, 2016


Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: R Squared Publishing

Cover Artist: Najla Qamber Designs

Book Description:

A deal with the Devil. Demons haunting your every step. When an Angel offers you the chance to redeem yourself, you take it. Because eternal damnation isn't all it's cracked up to be.

But the Devil always gets his due.

On the streets of Baltimore redemption is..... Payable On Death.

Amazon      BN    Kobo      Itunes



Some people say there is a Hell
Where wicked souls are doomed to go.
But this, by others, is denied,
Who hold there is no Hell below.
I've often heard the place described
By certain preachers in my day,
And trembled like an aspen leaf,
As they its horrors did portray.

That such a place does not exist
I will not undertake to say;
Nor, from the knowledge I possess,
Can I assert the other way.
That there's a Hell, or that there's not,
Is more than mortal man can know;
And in the soul's eternal flight
There's none can say where it shall go.

Were I to say there is a Hell,
Can I, with proof, support the plea?
Did I allege there's no such place?
How can I prove it so to be?
J. H. Stevenson 1890

Have you ever found yourself at a crossroads? You can't go forward, you can't go back. There's only bad and worse. Those were the options facing me the day I sold my soul to the Devil. Sure, it seems like a bad decision now, but at seventeen I thought it was my only salvation. I've spent every day since trying to earn my soul back and reserve my spot in Heaven because eternal damnation isn't all it's cracked up to be.


"You're too young to be so troubled. You haven't even seen a quarter century. You're just a babe." The man flicked his cigarette in to the dark, a shower of little orange sparks erupting when it hit the pavement.
"I'm not your babe. Leave me alone." I pushed off the railing on the pedestrian bridge crossing over I-95 and walked away.
He followed.
"Ah, poor choice of words. I was simply commenting on your age. You're no one's babe, Jacqui. How could you be? You're too afraid to let people get close, lest they see the bruises." He ran a hand along his hair, ensuring each piece in the slicked-back style remained in place.
"Who are you? How do you know my name?" I'd never seen him before in my life. Someone that perfect left an impression. If we'd met before, I would've remembered.
"I can make things better for you. Take away your pain, ease your suffering. You hardly sleep, listening at your bedroom door for any sign of trouble. I can help with that." He was confident. He had to be, walking around Baltimore at night dressed in a three-piece suit, diamond cufflinks gleaming even with only the dim blue light from the police CCTV cameras to highlight them.
"I don't know what you think you know about me or what you've heard but I don't do drugs. So you can go peddle that shit somewhere else. I'm not buying." Despite having more reasons than I could count, I'd managed to avoid getting hooked on heroin - an impressive feat given the amount flooding the city.
"Mmm. I almost wish you were. It makes things so much easier when drugs are involved. Let me ask you a question. Do I look like some street thug drug peddler to you?"
I took in the meticulous tailoring, the expensive shoes. "You're definitely not from around here." I gestured to the boarded up row homes across the street.
Weeds overran the small front yards, brushing the bottoms of the windowsills. Plywood replaced glass in almost every window. Trash littered the street, the city cans overflowing onto the sidewalk to the delight of the ever growing rat population. Sirens echoed in the distance, the dealers on the corner unfazed.
Welcome to Harm City.
Still, it was safer on the street than at home most nights.
"Home for me is a lot farther south of the Mason-Dixon line than Maryland, dear child. What are you doing up here? Shouldn't you be home? With your mother?"
"You don't know me, you don't know my mom. Get the fuck out of here before I call the cops." I held up my phone and pointed at the BPD security camera.
He clucked his tongue, wagging a finger at me. "Such a foul mouth for such a pretty face. I know a lot about your mom. The lie she told about going to a basket bingo with her friend Janice. Mom never made it out of the house by the way. She's very pretty, your mother, I see where you get your looks. Maybe if she hadn't fussed with her hair and makeup so much or if she'd chosen a different blouse..."
I'd heard those excuses from my mother so many times. If she hadn't done this or that, he wouldn't have beat her. Breathing seemed to be what set him off where I was concerned. I avoided going home as often as possible. For my mother's sake as much as mine. He seemed better when I wasn't around.
"It looks bad this time. The neighbors are out for the night. No one to call for help. And he's upset, very upset."
"The neighbors are out? If by ‘out’ you mean abandoned and boarded up, then yeah, they're out. He's always upset. I've begged her to leave, so many times. She won't. She said if she ever did, he'd kill her. Trust me, if I go back now, it will only make things worse.."
"It's different this time, Jacqui girl." The same thing my mother said every time my stepfather came home with flowers and a box of wine to apologize. "He came home early, found the suitcase she packed to take with her to the shelter by the door. She's hurt. All alone in that house. With him."
I started to run, only making it a couple of steps before he grabbed me.
"You'll never make it in time. I can help you, Jacqui girl. I can put an end to all this. Don't you want to help her? Don't you want to save your mother? Save yourself? This isn't the life you deserve. No one should live like this. Forgotten by everyone, left to the drunken rages and violent fits of that monster you live with. Why is this happening? Why did He forget about you? He's supposed to love you. Doesn't He care what happens to you?" He pointed toward the sky.
"What's in it for you? Why do you care what happens to us? If you know all that, you know I don't have any money and neither does my mom." I should have screamed for help.
His breath whispered across my ear. "Money isn't the only form of payment.”
For a moment, I considered it, considered giving over my body in exchange for him following me home and killing my stepfather. In all the years of darkness and misery, I’d managed to stay straight, stay on the path. Faced with the brutal murder of my mother, was I willing to throw it all away?
I nodded.
"I know a place we can go, but not until you hold up your end of the bargain." My stomach heaved when I thought about what I'd agreed to do.
"Oh, you sweet, simple girl. You are so delicious. The soft unmarked skin of youth pulled tight over toned muscle." He licked his lips. "Yes, I am quite sure I would enjoy every moment. However, I don’t recall stating the terms."
"Do we have a deal or not? You said I was out of time." Panic gripped my heart. Was she dead already?
"You're right, Jacqui girl, I did Have you put it together yet? Who I am? He didn't answer you. He never helped you. But I can."
Everything clicked. I should have ran. I should have said no. There were a million things I should have done.
"Can you save her? Can you put an end to this?"
The Devil smiled. "I believe we can come to an agreement."


My mother sat across from me, her hands hidden beneath the stainless steel table. The room was empty apart from the two of us. Neither of us spoke. She looked away every time I made eye contact. She'd lost weight since my last visit, dark circles and sallow cheeks. She wasn't taking care of herself. I worried every day she'd waste away to nothing, vanish.
Maybe that was the point.
I always hoped it would be different, her blonde hair would once again be full and lush, the smile in her eyes reserved solely for me would be back. Nothing changed. Except for the distance between us.
That seemed to be the only thing she nourished.
"Visiting hours are almost up. Five minutes." The guard looked over at us, giving me a weak smile. He felt sorry for me. I didn't want or need his pity. He saw a devoted daughter visiting her mother every Sunday, whether the woman wanted to see her or not. What he failed to see was a daughter who'd dammed her soul to Hell and her mother to ten years in one fell swoop.
"I'll see you next week, Mom." Without looking at her, I pushed my chair back from the table and prepared to leave.
"I really wish you wouldn't."
It was the first time she’d spoken during the entire visit—in several visits, actually. Her last words to me, prior to this, had been that she knew what I'd done. She blamed herself. Apparently, we'd moved past that and the blame now lay squarely where it belonged.
With me.
Stunned, I simply waved goodbye and walked away. With a heavy heart, I went through each security gate wondering if the following Sunday my name would be struck from the list of approved visitors.
In keeping with tradition, I caught the bus back to Fells Point. I got off at the Broadway stop and walked until the unmistakable awning of The Blue Moon Cafe came into view. A stack of Sarah's famous Captain Crunch French toast and a cup of coffee brightened even the shittiest of days. Tucked in the back of the restaurant at my favorite table next to the old fireplace, I sidled up to a platter of carbs and drowned my sorrows in maple syrup.
Two bites in, I knew the sugary sweet breakfast wouldn't be able to beat back the bitterness I felt. She didn't want to see me anymore? I pushed the plate away and took a swig of coffee. I tried to ignore the voices in my head. I'd had this argument with myself too many times. I'd made a mistake. A huge, epic, life-altering mistake. I was still her daughter. Why didn't she understand? Why couldn't she forgive me?
I should have known better than to believe anything he said, but I wanted a way out, an end to the pain and misery my mother experienced every day. He’d delivered—just not in the way I'd imagined. I thought my mother and I would be free to live our lives in peace. Neither of us got peace and only one of us was free. At least from prison.
I wore a different type of shackle.
And the Devil held the key.
My cup of coffee turned cold as I contemplated the fateful night I'd made a horrible decision that changed both my and my mother’s lives for the worse. He'd seemed pleased with his work and, despite my arguments to the contrary, assured me he'd kept his end of the bargain. The monster masquerading around as my mother's husband was gone.
 The Devil never promised me a happily ever after.
I still heard his voice, saw the satisfied smirk and glint in his coal black eyes. "The devil is in the details my dear. You really should be more specific when bargaining something such as your soul."
The flashing lights from the police cars and ambulances lining the street in front of our row home had cast eerie shadows on his face. We’d stood side by side watching my mother being dragged out of the house in handcuffs, screaming that she didn't remember what happened.
I wondered if the Devil had a hand in her sentencing. The public defender had been confident my mother would receive a light sentence given the mitigating circumstances but the hammer of justice fell hard and she received every day of the maximum sentence. I never missed visiting hours and had tried more than once to tell her what happened, stopping every time I got to the part where I'd sold my soul. I couldn't bring myself to do that to her. I'd caused her enough pain as it was.
Three years in, she found peace and salvation and the answers to what happened. The pastor who came to worship with the prisoners took an interest in her case and, after several meetings with my mother, saw all the telltale signs of the Devil's hand in her life. In her daughter's life. She'd begged me to go to Saint Leo's and confess my sins. I'd been christened there. It was my first and last exposure to the church growing up.
Riddled with guilt, I'd tried to do as she asked but the doors of the church wouldn't open to someone like me. My soul belonged to someone other than God. She stopped speaking to me when I told her I couldn't get into the church. And now it seemed she wanted nothing more to do with me. I was damned and she didn't believe I could be saved.
I refused to believe she was right. The Devil hadn't come for me yet. That had to mean something.
I swallowed the last of the ice cold black coffee and dropped a twenty on the table. I'd been coming here every Sunday after visiting my mother for the last five years, none of the regular staff worried I'd short the check. With a nod to my waitress on my way through to the door, I headed home.
Somewhere between the entrance to the Blue Moon and the corner I picked up a straggler.
"I can smell the brimstone on you from here. Why do you fight it? You belong to him."
"Fuck off, Lazarus." Damn demon followed me everywhere, lurking in the shadows.
Lazarus closed the distance between us, his forked tongue slipping between his lips. "It's only a matter of time before he calls in his marker."
"Oh yeah? Well, what's he waiting for, anyway? It's been five years." I knew better than to antagonize him, I just couldn't help myself.
"Yo, Jax, wassup? Who you talking to?"
I let out the breath I hadn't known I was holding, my shoulders slumping. "Nobody, Tommy. Nobody."
"Nobody, huh?" Tommy knew it was a lie, but he didn't call me on it. "Okay, Jax, okay. Hey, I'm going to Atomic today, wanna come with?"
"Perusing the aisles of a comic store sounds amazing, Tommy, but I have to be at the shelter in a couple hours. It's my turn to cook. I want to hit the gym before I go."
"You're cooking? How is that helping the homeless?" The fifteen-year-old looked down at me, his bright blue eyes sparkling beneath his lashes. He hadn't finished growing and already towered over my five-foot-five frame. Despite being a ball buster, he was a good kid and the closest thing I had to a friend.
How sad was that?
"Ha. Ha. You're a real comedian. Come on, I'll walk you to the bus stop." I knew he'd refuse the escort. He always did.
"You wanna hold my hand while I cross the street, too?"
"Maybe I just wanted to spend a little more time with you. You ever think of that?" I smacked the brim of his baseball cap, forcing it further down and covering half his face.
Tommy pulled the hat off, his blond hair spilling out for a moment before he smoothed it all back and tucked it inside the cap. It was a miracle he hadn't fallen prey to the streets. He spun his skateboard on its tail. As much trouble as that damn thing had gotten him into with the cops, it kept him out of even more.
"You're so full of it. I'll catch up with you later." Tommy waved me off.
"Swing by the shelter later. Keep me company in the kitchen." I stepped off the curb, headed toward the soup kitchen I'd been volunteering at for the last four months.
As part of my self-inflicted penance, I volunteered at shelters, donated a third of my paycheck every week to different charities, helped little old ladies cross the street and kept my eye on Tommy. A voice in the back of my mind reminded me I'd never buy my way into Heaven.
No matter how many good deeds I did.
I tried to shake off the dark thoughts creeping into my mind, to stop the anger and self-hatred from worming its way in. Save it for the bag. Leave it all in the gym.
I looked over my shoulder and shouted back to Tommy. "Hey, if you see John Waters picking up his mail again, could you please get me an autograph this time?"
"Jax! Look out!"
A cab whizzed by, inches from hitting me head on. The side mirror clipped my hip as it passed, horn blaring. Some of the people inside the cafe came out to make sure I was okay. I brushed it off before anyone made a fuss.
"I'm fine. I'm fine. Go back inside. Finish your breakfast." I waved to Sarah, the owner of Blue Moon, trying to reassure her that I wasn't hurt. Unconvinced, she ushered her patrons back inside.
"Damn, Jax. You are one lucky...."
"Watch your mouth, Tommy."
"I didn't even say nothing." He looked at me sideways. "You sure you’re all right?"
"I'm fine. If your mom's working late tonight, swing by the shelter. I'll fix you a plate."
"One near death experience a day is my limit."
I couldn't help laughing. "Get the hell out of here. I'll see you later."

I headed toward the gym rubbing my hip, contemplating what Tommy said. People like me didn't have good luck. So what was with all the near misses? It wasn't the first time I'd come close to cashing out and paying my debt to the Devil. If I didn't know better, I'd think someone upstairs was looking out for me.

About the Author:

Rachel Rawlings was born and raised in the Baltimore Metropolitan area. Her family, originally from Rhode Island, spent summers in New England sparking her fascination with Salem, MA. She has been writing fictional stories and poems since middle school, but it wasn't until 2009 that she found the inspiration to create her heroine Maurin Kincaide and complete her first full length novel, The Morrigna.

When she isn't writing, Rachel can often be found with her nose buried in a good book. An avid reader of Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Horror and Steampunk herself, Rachel founded Hallowread- an interactive convention for both authors and fans of those genres.

More information on Hallowread, its schedule of events and participating authors can be found at  and .

She still lives in Maryland with her husband and three children.

Goodreads  Author Page

Amazon Author Page