Tuesday, September 2, 2014

We Own the Night by Kristen Strassel Book Blitz and Giveaway




We Own the Night 
by Kristen Strassel
(Night Songs Collection #3)
Publication date: September 1st 2014
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Synopsis:

Callie Chabot would stop at nothing to save her ex-boyfriend Blade Bennett from the clutches of vampire clan leader Talis de Rancourt, even if means becoming immortal herself. What she doesn’t know is that Blade has already defeated Talis, and he’s waiting for Callie in the afterlife.
Now Callie only has her creator, Tristan Trevosier, to turn to for guidance. But he’s too wrapped up in the debauchery of the Las Vegas rock scene to give a damn about the particulars of being undead. That’s enough to drive Callie crazy on its own, but female vampires are automatic clan leaders.
Not only does Callie have no idea how to wrangle a vampire clan, but her would-be followers have more to gain from her failure. They instead choose to follow Blade—and he’s hell-bent on making Callie pay for her bad decisions. Since he took out the existing clan leader, that automatically puts him at the helm of what should be Callie’s new clan.
That’s when seasoned rogue vampire, Cash Logan, shows up, shrouded in magic and mystery. No one is sure which side Cash is on, but Callie needs to take a chance on the one vampire who is willing to give her the answers she needs, no matter how dark and frightening they may be. Callie must trust her instincts and form alliances that may backfire. Cash shows Callie that playing nice is no longer an option, and that fixing her wrongs won’t always make everything right.
To take control of her clan, Callie must look to her rival to discover exactly what makes her a leader.


Purchase:

  

THE NIGHT SONGS COLLECTION:
We Own the Night--Available September 1, 2014

Venomtini Drink Recipe
By Kristen Strassel
In The Night Songs Collection, the vampires enjoy an alcohol called Venom. It’s too strong for humans, but at The Sin City Vampire Club, the bartenders have created a knock-off cocktail that the fans can enjoy while they watch Immortal Dilemma on stage.
Recipe
1 part Navan vanilla liquor (Venom is amber colored, Navan is made from black vanilla)
1 part vodka (the smoother the better)
  • Pour into shaker over ice
  • Shake well
  • Pour into a sugar rimmed, chilled glass.
Best enjoyed while listening to vampire glam rock!


AUTHOR BIO
Kristen Strassel is the author of The Night Songs Collection, a paranormal romance series about vampire rock stars in Las Vegas. After all, they tell you to write what you know. She is a passionate music fan who also loves football games and diners. Kristen works as a makeup artist on film and TV shows when she's not writing, and loves being behind the scenes. A former resident of Las Vegas, Kristen now lives in the Boston area.
Connect with Kristen!
www.kristenstrassel.com
www.facebook.com/kristenstrasselauthor
www.twitter.com/kristenstrassel
deadlyeverafter.com


Giveaway
Ebook copy of 
We Own the Night 
by Kristen Strassel
(open Internationally) 
September 2 -16,2014

Sophie Moss's The Seal Island Trilogy Book Blitz

2  
Blitz and Review: The Seal Island Trilogy by Sophie Moss
The Selkie Spell
The Seal Island Trilogy #1
by Sophie Moss
Publication Date: November 6, 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance
Purchase from AmazonPurchase from Audible

Synopsis

American doctor Tara Moore wants to disappear. On the run from an abusive husband, she seeks shelter on a windswept Irish island and dismisses the villagers' speculation that she is descended from a selkie—a magical creature who is bewitching the island. But when a ghostly woman appears to her with a warning, Tara realizes it was more than chance that brought her to this island. Desperate to escape a dark and dangerous past, she struggles against a passionate attraction to handsome islander, Dominic O'Sullivan. But the enchantment of the island soon overpowers her and she falls helpless under its spell. Caught between magic and reality, Tara must find a way to wield both when a dangerous stranger from her past arrives, threatening to destroy the lives of everyone on the island.

Winner of the Best Romance/Fantasy Novel in the 2013 International Book Awards
Add to Goodreads
Also in the Series
The Selkie Enchantress - Sophie Moss The Selkie Sorceress - Sophie Moss
Book One: The Selkie Spell (99c)

Book Two: The Selkie Enchantress ($1.99)

Book Three: The Selkie Sorceress ($3.99)

About Sophie Moss

Sophie Profile Pic Square July 2014
Sophie Moss is a USA Today bestselling author of four full-length romance novels. She is known for her captivating Irish fantasy romances and heartwarming contemporary romances with realistic characters and unique island settings. As a former journalist, Sophie has been writing professionally for over ten years. She currently lives in San Diego, California, where she’s working on her next novel. When she’s not writing, she’s walking the beach, testing out a new dessert recipe, or fiddling in her garden. Sophie loves to hear from readers. Email her at sophiemosswrites@gmail.com or visit her website sophiemossauthor.com to sign up for her newsletter.
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Monday, September 1, 2014

The Face Transplant by A. Arundel

The Face Transplant
by R. Arundel

My rating: 4 stars

Publication Date: (Original December 10, 2013) May 1, 2014
Publisher: Createspace
ISBN: 9780991979905
Genre: Adult Mystery \ Suspense
Paperback: 378 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis:

An epic journey of suspense, murder and sacrifice.
Dr. Matthew MacAulay is a Facial Transplant Surgeon at a prestigious New York hospital. His friend and mentor, Tom Grabowski, dies under mysterious circumstances. Matthew is forced to investigate. He uncovers his friend’s secret. A new technique that allows perfect facial transplants. No incisions, no scars. The surgeon is able to transplant one person’s face to another with the perfect result. Tom was able to accomplish this monumental feat with the help of Alice, a supercomputer robot with almost human abilities. While trying to find the people responsible for murdering his friend Tom, Matthew realizes he is the prime suspect. Matthew must flee for his life with the help of Dr. Sarah Larsson, a colleague and reluctant helper who has a secret of her own. Alice helps them make sense of a baffling series of seemingly unrelated events. Matthew is forced to undergo a facial transplant to hide his identity and help to uncover the truth. The clues carry Matthew and Sarah around the world. Matthew stumbles onto a sinister plot of monumental proportions, the real reason Tom was murdered. This discovery leads Matthew all the way to The White House with a dramatic conclusion. Matthew never wavers in his quest for the truth and perseveres against all the odds. He must race to stop a major catastrophe, ratcheting up the excitement until the thrilling conclusion. The Face Transplant is a powerful medical suspense thriller of the first order. The novel was written by a surgeon. The novel has a realism that only a surgeon can bring. The plot weaves politics, medicine and espionage into a tightly paced, intelligent thriller. The novels crescendos page by page to a totally unexpected conclusion.
R. Arundel is a practicing surgeon, his novel, The Face Transplant, takes the readers on a thrilling adventure. Set in the near future this novel tells the story of a young facial transplant surgeon who is forced to solve the mysterious death of his friend and mentor. The novel weaves an exciting medical triller with high level political intrigue. The story is set within the backdrop of facial transplantation, a world where anyone can have a new face, just ask. R. Arundel brings an authenticity to the story only possible from a real surgeon. Murder, Politics and Medicine intertwine for a refreshingly innovative novel.

The Face TransplantMy Review
The Face Transplant by A. Arundel
Medical science has made huge leaps in necessary reconstructive surgery, but imagine if the time had come when total face transplants could become almost routine with the aid of computers, robots and miracle drugs that caused the tissues to heal almost immediately. For R. Arundel’s The Face Transplant that time is now, and there are those who would use this medial gift for greed and the twisted machinations to devine world power and control. Someone has set Matthew, a top facial transplant surgeon, up to take the fall for murder and conspiracy. Just one slip of the scalpel and his world becomes a nightmare game of cat and mouse, where the cat is more like a stealthy cougar on the prowl. Is it a national government after him? A foreign cartel? A crazed group with powerful strings to pull? One false move and Matthew and those around him will be killed. Already they are dying one bullet at a time and no one knows who or why. Who can be trusted? The answer may shatter Matthew, and worse, get him killed. From start to finish, Matthew is a man on the run.

R. Arundel writes with strong, short strokes, as if playing a hard staccato with a pen. Abrupt lines, almost like dictation, the flow is rather choppy, as if to punctuate the stark world the characters have been created for. Dark mystery, dark intrigue and unlikely heroes on the run make this medical mystery part science fiction and part suspenseful reading that will keep you just one step behind the solutions until the very end. Love the hard prose, the jagged edges and the leap into the darker side of medical and scientific advances.

I received a review copy from AuthorBuzz in exchange for my honest review.



The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato (Clockwork Dagger Duology)

The Clockwork Dagger

Written by: Beth Cato
Series: Clockwork Dagger Duology
Sequence in Series: 1
Page Count: 368 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager; Original edition
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Rating: 3.5 Stars
ISBN-10: 0062313843
ISBN-13: 978-0062313843
Genre: Steampunk | Fantasy
Find this book on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis:

Orphaned as a child, Octavia Leander was doomed to grow up on the streets until Miss Percival saved her and taught her to become a medician. Gifted with incredible powers, the young healer is about to embark on her first mission, visiting suffering cities in the far reaches of the war-scarred realm. But the airship on which she is traveling is plagued by a series of strange and disturbing occurrences, including murder, and Octavia herself is threatened.

Suddenly, she is caught up in a flurry of intrigue: the dashingly attractive steward may be one of the infamous Clockwork Daggers—the Queen’s spies and assassins—and her cabin-mate harbors disturbing secrets. But the danger is only beginning, for Octavia discovers that the deadly conspiracy aboard the airship may reach the crown itself.

The Clockwork Dagger (Clockwork Dagger Duology, #1)My Review
The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato

Mystery, treachery, magic and mechanics provides a compelling tale in The Clockwork Dagger.

Octavia Lender is breaking out on her own. Recently leaving Miss Percival's school for medicians, Octavia is making her way to a small town to help cure a plague. Octavia is an extremely gifted healer, causing many opposing factions vying to control her.

While traveling on an airship, the struggle to control Octavia turns deadly. Who is trying to take Octavia out and who is trying to imprison her.

I really enjoyed reading The Clockwork Dagger, but there were a few things that didn't work for me. While reading the story, I felt like I missing a previous book. The story speaks of a prior character activities that make you feel you should be acquainted with but are not. I also wasn't crazy about all of Octavia's constant religious chants. It did become a little distracting from the main storyline.

What did make the story for me was the amazing world created by Beth Cato. We are brought into a world of mechanics, magic and the mayhem of war. The characters are intriguing and you never know who might be friend or foe.

The Clockwork Dagger was a good read for a die hard steampunk fan like me. I am excited to see what direction Cato will take next.

I received this ARC copy of The Clockwork Dagger from Harper Voyager in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication September 16, 2014.



For the Love of Death by Tamara Rose Blodgett (The Death Series #7)

For the Love of Death

Written by: Tamara Rose Blodgett
Series: The Death Series
Sequence in Series: 7
Publication Date: September 5, 2014
ISBN-10: 1496053613
ISBN-13: 978-1496053619
Genre: Dystopian |SciFI
Find this book on: Amazon

Synopsis
The year is 2049 and in the new dystopian order, the Randoms have risen to the top like cream. Earth faces dire consequences because of the Helix Complex and their illicit use of mass-sterilization. Many who could have children, were made into mules from the virulent Zondorae concoction of 2030.

Now middle-aged, Death's children do their best to move forward in a world where technology and paranormal powers collide in a mix of tragedy and circumstance. Zombies have been raised for the slave trade by those Randoms in power.

Paxton Hart and Parker's twin girls are grown and on the radar for those that understand how critical they are for the future. The tight-knit circle of friends continues to network for solutions to the depravity that has taken hold.

Can the original group right a tremendous wrong? Will the new generation of Randoms find a solution for propagation, or will their power base cannibalize those who choose harmony instead of greed?

For the Love of Death (The Death Series, #7)
My Review
For the Love of Death by Tamara Rose Blodgett

For the Love of Death feels like coming home after a long time away. Its been awhile since I was able to delve into Blodgett's dystopian world, 631 days to be exact but who's counting LOL. Yes, it was well worth the wait.

For the Love of Death is intense, hold onto your ass and hope we all survive. Non-stop action, heartwarming reunions, and unexpected twist will keep you on your toes. New powers, totally evil machinations and dimensional jumping will keep you vigilant to the the very end.

The whole gang is back, plus a few new characters to get to know. Caleb's and Jade's twins have grown and they are all full of trouble and power. Some what to study them, some want to control them and some just want their power...

Once again Blodgett provides a phenomenal adventure. The world building is astounding, the journey tortuous and perilous and the ending is a HUGE CLIFFHANGER...leaving you wanting more.

I received this ARC copy of For the Love of Death from Tamara Rose Blodgett in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication September 5, 2014.


Night Unbound Immortal Guardians by Dianne Duvall Blog Tour


New York Times and USA Today Best Selling Author, Dianne Duvall, returns with the much-anticipated 5th book in her paranormal romance Immortal Guardians series, NIGHT UNBOUND!  


Title: Night Unbound 
Series: Immortal Guardians #5
Author: Dianne Duvall
Format: eBook/Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Publication: September 2nd 2014 by Zebra
ISBN: 1420129805
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Praise for the Immortal Guardians series:
"Duvall is a major player." --RT Book Reviews
"The Immortal Guardians series is one you'll want to follow." --The Romance Review
"These dark, kick-ass guardians can protect me any day!" --Alexandra Ivy on Darkness Dawns
"Whizzing along at light speed. . .this sophomore effort sizzles." --Publishers Weekly on Night Reigns
Dianne Duvall's Immortal Guardians protect humanity from unspeakable horrors--but their hearts are as fragile as any mortal's. . .

For centuries, Lisette d'Alençon has been a warrior against the dark. She fights alongside her brothers and comrades. But when the dreams start coming, she can't bear to confess them to the Immortal Guardians' command. Dreams of a dark-haired man with soft eyes and brutal wounds, a man her heart aches for--and a man she knows has been declared a traitor.

Zach is an exile, a loner. He won't defend himself against false accusations or grovel to those who should have faith in him. But he'll damn sure defend the woman who kept him sane against a plague of super-vamps that seems to have appeared from nowhere. The Guardians will blame him, and that will make Lisette suspect, too. With life, death and eternity on the line, who can they really trust?



Night Unbound (Immortal Guardians, #5)
My Review:
Night Unbound

Written by: Dianne Duvall
Series: Immortal Guardians
Sequence in this Series: 5
Page Count: 432 pages
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Rating: 5 stars
ISBN-10: 1420129805
ISBN-13: 978-1420129809
Genre: Paranormal | Romance
Find this book on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Night Unbound is a magical journey into the world of the Immortal Guardians...but this time our Immortal Guardian, Lisette, finds herself drawn to a totally new ethereal creature who is extremely deadly.

Night Unbound provides a hot and steamy building romance between a much loved Guardian and sister, Lisette, and an unknown outcast/enemy of the Guardians, Zach. Mistrust is seeded and grows rapidly, threatening the core of the Guardian's family.

Duvall brings past character interaction to a whole new level, making them integral participants in each story...not just told and then snippet mentioned.

Duvall has been slowly unraveling the mysteries behind the Immortal Guardians. In Night Unbound, we are given a huge hunk of the puzzle but those missing pieces still keep us from putting it all together. Definitely tantalizing you with the what ifs and possibilities to come...

When I read Duvall's first work, I knew this was going to be a brilliant series. Duvall's storytelling is simply spellbinding, sucking you in and keeping you invested. I highly recommend any paranormal romance reader to check out the Immortal Guardian series, you won't be disappointed.

I received an ARC copy of Night Unbound from Kensington Books - Zebra in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication September 2, 2014.
NIGHT UNBOUND
Excerpt


Zach landed on the parched ground several feet away from Lisette and drew his wings in close to his back. He smiled as she removed her helmet and coat and stashed them on the bike.

Her movements, usually graceful, were now stiff with what he came to discern as anger as she turned to face him. “Are you out of your mind?” she came close to shouting.

No,” he answered. “Why do you ask?”

She growled—actually GROWLED—with fury and stomped toward him. “What the hell were you thinking?”

Zach’s heart began to beat faster.

Her alabaster skin seemed to glow in the moonlight. Luminous amber eclipsed her brown eyes. Color flushed her cheeks. The full breasts beneath her tight T-shirt rose and fell with swift, angry breaths.

Absolutely stunning.

What’s the subject here?” he murmured.

Why did you follow me to David’s?” she demanded, stopping only a couple of feet away. “You keep telling me Seth has it in for you, and then you show up at a meeting you know he will attend? What the hell?”

She smelled good, too, he thought as he surreptitiously drew in her scent. “Technically, I didn’t SHOW UP at the meeting. I eavesdropped upon it.”

She waved a dismissive hand. “Don’t bullsh** me, Zach. Are you, or are you NOT on Seth’s sh** list?”

I am.”

Then why were you at David’s? If he had sensed your presence—”

I was there for you,” Zach interrupted, curling his hands into loose fists to keep from reaching out and touching her. There was something so . . . stimulating about seeing her like this: full of pique and energy and life. “I was there to protect you.”

She blinked. “What?”

Your mental barriers are no defense against Seth’s or David’s intrusion. If they were to read your thoughts and discover you’ve been meeting with me in secret, I wanted to be there to prevent them from rendering whatever punishment they thought your defection warranted.”

Frogs and crickets competed in song while she stared up at him, lips parted in surprise. “You were there because you were worried about me?”

Yes.”

More frogs and crickets.

Zach, if Seth and David had read my mind and decided to punish me, you couldn’t have stopped them. As immensely powerful as you are, I don’t see how you could defeat both Seth AND David if they combined forces. And I know they would have. David and Seth are like this.” She held up two fingers and crossed them.

Seth and David WERE close. But, after everything Zach had seen in the past year, he knew that Seth wouldn’t NEED to combine forces with David to defeat him.

Something it galled Zach to admit. “It was a risk I was willing to take.”

She threw up her arms. “Why?”

I already told you. I was worried about you and wished to protect you.”

Well, you can’t do that,” she declared, confusion flirting with irritation in her features. “You can’t just—”

He took a step closer to her.

She broke off.

He took another. “I want to try something.”

She closed her mouth. Something flared in her incandescent eyes.

He had spoken the same words to her in her dream. Did she remember?

Her throat moved in a swallow. “What?” she asked, voice hesitant.

I want to try something,” he repeated, mere inches separating them.

Okay.”

Zach raised a hand to her face, slid his fingers over her soft, soft skin.

Her breath caught.

Dipping his head, he pressed his lips to hers.

Electric.

His heart leapt to life inside his chest, ramming against his ribcage.

Lisette’s heart began to beat as fast as his.

Tilting his head, he increased the pressure, deepened the contact, and drew his tongue across her lips. She tasted INCREDIBLE. Even better than she had in the dream.

Heat rushed through him when she parted her lips and touched her tongue to his. Looping an arm around her waist, he drew her closer. Every muscle tightened with need as she rose onto her toes and leaned into him. He thrust his tongue into her mouth, wanting more. And she met the intrusion eagerly, returning stroke for stroke.

Zach had never felt anything like it in his long existence.

Fire ignited in his veins as she slid her arms around his neck and ground her hips into the erection that strained against the front of his leather pants.

And he didn’t want it to end.

Breath coming fast, he raised his head.

She stared at him, face flushed with desire.

You didn’t pull away,” he whispered.


Shaking her head slowly, she smiled. “Are you going to try something else now?”



Immortal Guardians series:


New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Dianne Duvall earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of St. Thomas, where she studied fiction writing, playwriting, and poetry writing. Darkness Dawns, the first book in her Immortal Guardians paranormal romance series, was nominated for the RT Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Vampire Romance by RT Book Reviews and for Best Paranormal Romance - Vampire by The Romance Reviews. It was also deemed a Top Pick by The Romance Reviews and a Best Book by Long and Short Reviews. Night Reigns, the second book in the series, was nominated for Best Best Book of 2011 - Paranormal Romance by The Romance Reviews and declared an “utterly addictive” Top Pick by RT Book Reviews. Phantom Shadows, the third book in the series, has been declared a Top Pick by both The Romance Reviews and Night Owl Reviews. Her Immortal Guardians novella In Still Darkness was released in the Predatory anthology on May 7, 2013, and has received many fabulous reviews. Darkness Rises, the fourth book in the series, hit the USA Today Bestseller list, has been nominated for the RT Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Vampire Romance by RT Book Reviews and was deemed a Night Owl Reviews Top Pick.

Dianne has also completed two not-yet-published paranormal romance novels that are prequels to Darkness Dawns. A Sorceress of His Own is a medieval romance with paranormal elements that won awards in the Lone Star, Where the Magic Begins, Southern Heat, Picture This, Book of Your Heart and Suzannah national writing competitions. Rendezvous With Yesterday is a time travel romance and won second place in the Picture This writing contest.

In addition to writing romance, Dianne has completed a one-act play (comedy) and teamed up with an award-wining screenwriter to write a spec script for a new situation comedy. Several of her poems have also been published in anthologies.

When she isn’t writing, Dianne is very active in the independent film industry and once even appeared on screen as a machete-weilding maniac not unlike the vampires she so loves to create in her novels.

1st Prize – 1 Winner
$25 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize – 2 Winners
Autographed copy of DARKNESS RISES, tote bag, and swag
3rd Prize – 3 Winners
Autographed paperback of winner’s choice from backlist + Immortal Guardians Swag Pack
4th Prize – 5 Winners
Immortal Guardians Swag Pack



Renaissance of the Heart by Lori M. Jones

Renaissance of the Heart
by Lori M. Jones

My rating: 5 stars

Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Print Length: 259 pages
Available from: Amazon

Synopsis:

After her husband of fifteen years comes out of the closet, a blindsided, forty-year-old Amanda Lewis is forced to salvage what remains of her shattered heart and navigate a new life for herself and her teenage daughter. But will a sizzling secret romance with a famous young NFL quarterback lead her to winning the life she deserves or set her up for her biggest loss yet?

As she embarks on the journey of rebuilding her home, Amanda discovers that finding forgiveness and repairing her damaged self-worth are her biggest challenges of all. While searching her soul–and even searching inside her city's history–she finds answers. But will answers come too late and can a broken heart ever be truly fixed? 

Renaissance of the HeartMy Review
Renaissance of the Heart by Lori M. Jones

Divorce is painful, especially when you are the last to know that your husband has left you for someone else. For Amanda, when Derek announced the 'someone else' was a man, she was crushed, afraid and emotionally shattered. Forty years old, alone, trying to gain some balance, fate puts a twenty-eight-year-old football star directly into her path. Handsome, a wealthy celebrity and so much younger, Bradley would be any woman’s dream, but Amanda fears being inadequate in every way. Between the bitterness of her divorce, the arguments with her ex and trying to be a good mother to her young teen daughter, how can Amanda believe this wonderful and caring man could possibly want her? Will Bradley hang in for the long haul, or will Amanda or public opinion push him away?

A delightful contemporary romance full of twists to the heart, lessons in personal growth and self-esteem, Ms. Jones has nailed a quick-paced, multi-layered romance that will warm you to your toes, love the characters and leave you wanting more! Too bad Bradley may be taken, he would make the perfect book boyfriend, not too alpha, no knuckle-dragging, just a warm, caring man who is gifted with a heart filled with love.

Lori M. Jones’ Renaissance of the Heart is a heartwarming tale of loss, anger and learning to accept there is someone for everyone, if you open your heart, your mind and your arms.

I received a review copy from the author as part of the Renaissance of the Heart Tour and Giveaway stopping at Tome Tender Sept 1, 2014.

In Her Wake by K. A. Tucker Release Day Launch & Giveaway

IHW RDL Banner  

We are stoked to bring you all the Release Day Launch for K.A. Tucker's IN HER WAKE! IN HER WAKE is a new adult contemporary romance and a prequel novella in the Ten Tiny Breaths Series, published by Atria Press (an imprint of Simon & Schuster).

  In Her Wake

Amazon | B&N | iBookstore | BAM | Bookish | Other

EXCERPT: That’s how I spot her. There’s no doubt that it’s her; I’ve memorized her face. Leaning against a wall on the opposite side, her lips wrapped around a clear bottle filled with clear liquor, her fiery red hair a wild mane against the stark white wall, a tight black T-shirt showing off toned arms. She’s in no rush to part with that bottle, guzzling back a good portion before she hands it off to someone, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. Her eyes at half-mast. She’s wasted. My heart starts racing. What the hell is Kacey Cleary doing here? By my calculation, she’s probably finishing her last year of high school, having lost at least half a year while recovering. I tug my cap down even farther, though I doubt she can see two feet in front of her.
  1. What if she does recognize me? How would she react? Does she know my real name? What I look like? I can’t say for sure that my face wasn’t printed in a newspaper somewhere. She could have Googled my name and found a dozen game shots with me in them. I have my helmet on in most of them, but you can find a profile picture of me easily enough if you’re looking.
I don’t know that she was, though. I wonder if Kacey Cleary gives a fuck about anything anymore. Her Facebook account is inactive. She hasn’t posted a single word and the well-wishes have dwindled, as everyone moves on. I do know that she shouldn’t be at a party in this state. I’ve heard of bad things happening when girls get that drunk. Especially when they don’t care. But what do I do? A blonde stumbles into my chest with two beers in hand. “Hey, do you go here? What’s your name?” She’s tipping her head back way farther than necessary to look up at me, telling me she’s trying to flirt but is too drunk to do it right. I smile down at her anyway. She’s a good cover. I can stand right here and watch Kacey. “I’m Trent, and I used to go here.” “Really? When’d you graduate?” From the corner of my eye, I see Kacey shift from the wall and begin climbing the stairs, her arm hooked around the railing to help her. Two guys following her. IHW Promo banner  
About IN HER WAKE: Cole Reynolds had it all. And then one night he makes a bad choice... and loses everything. When a drunken night out at a Michigan State college party results in the death of six people, Cole must come to terms with his part in the tragedy. Normally, he'd be able to lean on his best friends. The best friends that have been in his life since he could barely walk. Only, they're gone. Worse, there's the shattered body of a sixteen-year-old girl lying somewhere in a hospital bed, her entire life ripped from her because of a case of beer and a set of keys. Everyone assures him that they know it wasn't intentional and yet he can't ignore the weight of their gazes, the whispers behind his back. The all-consuming guilt he feels every time he thinks of that girl who won't so much as allow him near her hospital room to apologize. As the months go by and the shame and loneliness festers, Cole begins to lose his grip of what once was important-college, his girlfriend, his future. His life. It's not until Cole hits rock-bottom that he can begin to see another way out of his personal hell: forgiveness. And there's only one person who can give that to him...
 TenTinyBreathsSeries

And don’t miss the previous titles in the Ten Tiny Breaths Series!

 

Author PhotoABOUT K.A. TUCKER: Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.    

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Author Goodreads ** YouTube ** Pinterest ** Instagram

 

Renaissance of the Heart Review Tour & Giveaway



RENAISSANCE OF THE HEART

By Lori M. Jones



After her husband of fifteen years comes out of the closet, a blindsided, forty-year-old Amanda Lewis is forced to salvage what remains of her shattered heart and navigate a new life for herself and her teenage daughter. But will a sizzling secret romance with a famous young NFL quarterback lead her to winning the life she deserves or set her up for her biggest loss yet?

As she embarks on the journey of rebuilding her home, Amanda discovers that finding forgiveness and repairing her damaged self-worth are her biggest challenges of all. While searching her soul–and even searching inside her city's history–she finds answers. But will answers come too late and can a broken heart ever be truly fixed?

Excerpt

 Chapter 1
"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant. If we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome." -Anne Bradstreet 

JANUARY
Six days of relentless self-pity mingled with bouts of guttural sobbing. Pain so persistent her hair hurt. The raw grief now behind her, Amanda recognized the brilliant face of hope poking through her dank mood, offering a piece of relief from the misery. Although an unshowered, disheveled mess, she intended to celebrate hope. The sunshiny face of hope. Her focus now, along with surviving a Saturday night alone, would be getting to the root of why he left, and then fixing the problem.
Three drops of red wine cascaded from the glass's rim, adding another stain to Amanda's sweatpants. Making her way to the sofa, her comforting friend, she tugged at the drooping waistband. One benefit to Derrick announcing the end to their fifteen year marriage one week ago, she mused, was the loss of a few pounds. What a cruel diet plan. She flipped through the movie channels unable to find one she hadn't already seen this week. Enough with the nauseating love stories.
The remote hit the floor as she reached for her cell phone, which alerted her to a new text. Probably another friend checking in or a family member inviting her to a sympathy dinner, she thought.
It was Derrick. His name on the phone screen shot a ball of sickness into her gut. After a quick response, she bolted up the steps to her bedroom, hitting her sister's number on her speed dial on the way.
"Deb, Derrick wants to meet me for a drink tonight. What do you think?" Amanda asked, yanking her pink sweater from the hamper, Derrick's favorite.
"I think maybe he finally got his head out of his ass and wants his perfect life back." Her sister's irritated tone evident and expected. But his life obviously hadn't been perfect here, and Amanda had to know what she did to cause his departure.
With another sigh, Amanda spoke, not really wanting advice or comfort, but just needing her sister's reassuring company. "I'm not sure what's gonna happen, but I'm nervous, really nervous."
"Text me if things aren't going well and I'll come over and key his precious Beamer in the parking lot."
Amanda laughed—a laugh only her sister could create. "That would be wonderful. Thank you!"
"You got it. Hey, because of this snowstorm coming in, Lilly's going to just sleep over. Don will bring her home in the morning if the roads are clear, okay? It's teen horror movie night at the Pucharelli household!"
"Sounds great. Lilly deserves a fun distraction. Thanks again!" Although the thought of her daughter not sleeping in the next room tonight caused a wave of sadness to wash across her heart, she knew she needed to focus on Derrick.
"Good luck tonight, Mand. Be tough."
After dressing, she peered into Lilly's room. What would life be like for Lilly if Derrick stayed away for good? How many other nights would Amanda spend alone in this house? With a hard sigh, she headed to the garage.
In typical Pittsburgh fashion, the gray January sky hung low, the snowflakes increasing in volume. Amanda's impractical choice of pumps over snowboots screamed vanity, but her attempt to look attractive for her husband reflected her desperation and her hope he would come home to her. Praying out loud in her SUV over the blaring courage-building music, she pleaded with God to end this nightmare. With a glance upward into the grayness, she petitioned for her greatest fear to be dispelled; Derrick had found another woman.
Since his departure, her imagination had played out the possibility of infidelity. Pulling into the restaurant's parking lot, her mind traveled there one final time. Perhaps their basically sexless marriage had been a warning of his unhappiness. He had been visiting the gym more often and wearing cologne at odd times. Could those be signs of a new love?

She forced the gear shift into park while sucking in one more breath. She entered the snowy night.
Her eyes, sore from crying the night before, scanned through the trendy restaurant. She moved through the irritating noise of people engaged in conversations and followed the sounds of the Saturday night crowd into the bar. A pungent waft of heavy garlic turned her stomach.
She instantly recognized the back of his dirty blonde hair, shiny with hair products. Derrick turned in his barstool. Dressed as if he had just walked from a Banana Republic ad in his dry-cleaner pressed khakis and lime green oxford, he faced her, looking as handsome as the day they had met in college. She thought it unfair his graying temples only added to his good looks. Locking eyes, she felt the same excited flutter she had when she spotted him in their Greek Mythology class nineteen years ago. Her mind knew his scent before she was close enough for her nose to detect it.
Standing with an exaggerated eagerness, he pulled out a barstool and slid it toward her. She interpreted this as his attempt to avoid hugging her.
"Hey…hi there, Amanda."
"Hi...Hey, Derrick, how are you?"
Their words stumbled over each other's like two people on a blind date attempting small talk, weighted with awkwardness. Keeping the discussion to the topic of Lilly, their only child, they finished half of their beers. Although not typically affectionate with each other in public, she touched his thigh twice during their conversation, reminding him she had been his wife for a long time.
"Look," he said, redirecting his eyes to the dwindling foam on top of his beer.
She tensed. Pushing her long auburn hair over her shoulder, she knew conversations starting with "look" are typically not good.
"I have something difficult to tell you but I think it's something you've known all along."
"What?" Her eyes hit his, and then fell to her glass. Her heart pounded.
"Will you look at me, please?"

She did. In the moment of silence, she studied his flawless face and remembered the times she would joke he had a prettier face than she had. His tired eyes, she thought, seemed to be straining, perhaps trying to tell her his news without having to speak.
He blew a long breath through his lips, proclaiming, "I'm seeing someone."
She knew it. With three words, her fear turned reality.
"Who? What… who?"
"It's not important--"
"Not important? Who is she? How long, Derrick, has this been going on?" His secretary? A woman at the gym?
"It's a man, Amanda. I'm seeing a man. I'm gay. I'm so sorry. I've known for long time--"
"No. No. You're joking…" Her head shook as if it could knock out his words.
"Amanda, I'm sorry. I need to end the lying."
Her breathing paralyzed; her body wanted to faint, to shut down. The blood left her head and her limbs. From deep within her gut, she forced out, "You bastard." A week ago when Derrick walked out of the house with a suitcase he had packed without her knowledge, she thought there could never be a greater feeling of shock than at that moment. But, she had been wrong.
Caught in a nightmare, she needed to escape. She wanted to run, to scream, to grab a vodka bottle from behind the bar and smash it across his beautiful face. Jolted by laughter from a group of men watching the NFC Wild Card playoff game next to her, she started to breathe again.
Questions rattled in her mind like coins loose in a spinning dryer. Voice quivering, she asked, "Why? Why all these years of lying? Why now? Why cheat on me and not be honest? Do I deserve that?"
His face twisted in anguish as he attempted to explain, "It never seemed like the right time to hurt you or Lilly. I was happy, most of the time. You are… my best friend. I do love you, Amanda." His patronizing touch on her arm burned. "I pushed it away. I tried every day to push who I was away so we could have our life. Then I met Jake and I knew I couldn't live this lie any longer. I couldn't face you and Lilly anymore."
Since his words weren't diminishing the sting, she attacked, "I hate you. I hate you so much."
The polished young couple next to them halted their possibly first or second date conversation to look her way in stunned curiosity, causing Amanda to swallow her words. She cursed him internally for doing this to her in public.
Looking away from all eyes, pretending to watch the football game, something she would ordinarily enjoy, she continued in a weak whisper, "You are nothing but a coward and a liar. You stood in a church and promised to love me forever and honor me. You're a liar. Oh my God, you're definitely leaving me. You have a boyfriend! Oh my God…"
Unlike a week ago when his announcement left her frozen, staring at him unable to cry, the tears came easily now. She buried her face into a napkin and watched a mental video of their life together. Then flashed the signs. Signs that should have told her he was gay. He had loved cooking and shopping. Were those signs? Of course not, her mind yelled as she pressed her fingers into her temples. What about a voice inside her whispering that something was not quite right?
Though what he told her clearly ended their marriage, her mind searched for ways to fix the situation. Her heart naively searched for hope. Maybe this was a temporary mid-life crisis?
He touched her shoulder. Pulling her posture upright, she inhaled causing the anger to devour the sadness, creating a strength needed to continue. "Why not do this before we walked down the aisle? You robbed me of fifteen years of my life." Then she saw Lilly's face. If they had not walked down that aisle, there would be no Lilly, no beautiful Lilly.
"I wish I had been brave enough to face who I was back then. I'm so sorry. I loved you and I chose you, Mand. I know I was a coward. I suppose I let society's expectations of me decide my fate. But I'm ready now to start my life over."
Start his life over? So, he rewound the video of his life so he could record a new one, erasing her. Her thoughts froze and she ended the questioning. Outwardly, anyway.

They discussed the cold details of divorce: lawyers, living arrangements and Lilly. Gracious and giving at this point due to his guilt, Amanda doubted he could remain agreeable throughout a divorce process. The Derrick she knew loved a good argument.
DII'S 5 STAR REVIEW
Divorce is painful, especially when you are the last to know that your husband has left you for someone else. For Amanda, when Derek announced the 'someone else' was a man, she was crushed, afraid and emotionally shattered. Forty years old, alone, trying to gain some balance, fate puts a twenty-eight-year-old football star directly into her path. Handsome, a wealthy celebrity and so much younger, Bradley would be any woman’s dream, but Amanda fears being inadequate in every way. Between the bitterness of her divorce, the arguments with her ex and trying to be a good mother to her young teen daughter, how can Amanda believe this wonderful and caring man could possibly want her? Will Bradley hang in for the long haul, or will Amanda or public opinion push him away?

A delightful contemporary romance full of twists to the heart, lessons in personal growth and self-esteem, Ms. Jones has nailed a quick-paced, multi-layered romance that will warm you to your toes, love the characters and leave you wanting more! Too bad Bradley may be taken, he would make the perfect book boyfriend, not too alpha, no knuckle-dragging, just a warm, caring man who is gifted with a heart filled with love.

Lori M. Jones’ Renaissance of the Heart is a heartwarming tale of loss, anger and learning to accept there is someone for everyone, if you open your heart, your mind and your arms.
About the Author
Lori lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she writes women's and children's fiction. RENAISSANCE OF THE HEART is her debut novel. She's also the author of children's books, RILEY'S HEART MACHINE and CONFETTI THE CROC, both written with the hope that children will celebrate what make them unique. She's also written award-winning flash fiction pieces and her articles have been featured in various publications.
Lori serves on the Board of Directors for the Children's Heart Foundation and is the president of their Pennsylvania chapter. She visits schools to speak about writing, about the human heart and about embracing what makes you special.
Besides writing and spreading awareness about Congenital Heart Defects, her passions include her two daughters, her husband, Mark, her Pittsburgh sports teams and running in 5Ks. Lori is a member of Pennwriters and she loves her local writing groups! She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication and journalism. She also holds a paralegal certificate from Duquesne University and is a former Washington, D.C. paralegal. Visit her website at www.lorimjones.com.

*RILEY'S HEART MACHINE (Guardian Angel Publishing)
*RENAISSANCE OF THE HEART
(Soul Mate Publishing, Spring 2014)
*CONFETTI THE CROC (Winter 2014)

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