Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best of 2013 List and Giveaway!!

Best of 2013

My reading year was superb, I've read 351 books this year!! There were so many great reads, that I can't list them all! Here are a variety of my top 17 Must Reads of 2013:

Young Adult-

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi:
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi:
Endless Knight by Kresley Cole:
Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout:

New Adult-

Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki:
Leo by Mia Sheridan:
Arsen by Mia Asher:
Making Faces by Amy Harmon:
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay:

Paranormal Romance-

Feral Sins by Suzanne Wright: 
Broken Dove by Kristen Ashley: 
Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning: 
Fighting Destiny by Amelia Hutchens: 
Lover at Last by J.R. Ward:

M/M and Erotica-

Captive Prince by C.S. Pratt: 
Second Chances by T.A. Webb: 
The Mistress by Tiffany Reisz:

How to enter: Comment on this post on Facebook with one of your favorite reads of 2013, for an extra entry, share the post on Facebook. Winner will receive their choice of book gifted through Amazon or B&N up to $10. Winner will be selected on 1/3/14 via!

Three Broken Promises Release Day Launch and Giveaway!!

Title: Three Broken Promises
Author: Monica Murphy
Breakout New Adult sensation Monica Murphy returns with a hot new contemporary romance—a heartfelt story of second chances, forgiveness, and redemption.

Commitment. That’s what I really want from Colin. Ever since my brother, Danny, died in Iraq, Colin’s done so much to help me, including giving me a job at his popular restaurant so I can leave my crappy waitressing job at the strip joint. But lying in bed with him every night to comfort him from his horrible nightmares isn’t enough anymore. I know he feels guilty about Danny’s death, about not going to Iraq, but I can’t keep living this double life.

I love him desperately, but he’s got so many demons, and if he can’t open up to me now, then he’ll never be the real partner I need him to be. I gave him a month, and now I’m out of here. If he truly loves me like he says, he knows where to find me.

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite. A wife and mother of three, she writes New Adult and contemporary romance for Bantam and Avon. She is the author of One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Covet's December Releases and Giveaways!!

Covets have all the sexiness, emotion, and happily ever after that readers have come to expect and love from Entangled. They are firmly grounded in the contemporary world, but each novel brings in supernatural twists, breaking the contemporary and paranormal rules, alike. To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books you’ll be coveting next, visit the Entangled website, follow them on Twitter, LIKE their Facebook page, and join the Book Club.

Today I'm happy to be featuring Covet's December releases:

Beg Me to Slay by Lisa Kessler

He’ll slay her demons, but it may cost her heart…

Four years ago Tegan Ashton was attacked. Determined never to be a victim again, she devotes her life to martial arts and self-defense. When her assailant returns to finish what he started, only one person can help her.

Gabe is a private investigator by day and demon slayer by night. After losing loved ones, he vows to defend people from a threat they don’t realize exists.

The relationship is supposed to be strictly business, but fighting demons together stirs up emotions they never expected. Turns out demon slaying is a breeze compared to facing their scarred pasts and even worse - hearts.

Ashes by Sarah Gilman

Journalist Ambrosia Pellerin accepts an assignment involving the legendary phoenix, expecting, if nothing else, a little entertainment. Instead, she winds up pregnant—by a surprisingly human-looking firebird, Reece Bennu.

As the Phoenix prince, Reece is next in line to the throne and expected to marry a purebred royal. A common human such as Ambrosia is not in the cards. He swears, though, he’ll never be an absentee father.

As Ambrosia’s due date grows closer, so do the soon-to-be parents. But will their tentative love survive the prejudice of Reece’s grandmother, who will stop at nothing to tear the two apart?

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Wild Blog Tour and Giveaway!!

Title: Wild
Author: Adriane Leigh
Release Date: December 13, 2013
Genre: Erotic Romance
Hosted by: Love Between the Sheets
Kat Kennedy moved to the rugged coast of Maine to start a new life, but encountered much more than she bargained for in dark, dangerous, and seductive Lane Wild…
Desire and temptation smolder before she succumbs to her darkest fantasies with the captivating stranger. She doesn't expect to see him again after an explosive one-night stand leaves her breathless and craving more, but just like lightning in the darkness, he shows up in her life at the most unpredictable moments.
A sensual game of cat and mouse ensues before the attraction between them reaches a fever pitch—the magnetism combustible, the sexual tension nearly unbearable—and Kat finally abandons inhibition and explores the cunning, selfish, and sexual side of a world she's never known.

They have the perfect non-relationship—passion-fueled nights with no strings attached—until lifegets real and the past and present collide in a dangerous storm of lust and obsession. 

Goodreads * Amazon

Join the Wild Release Week Facebook Event

A week-long party to celebrate the release of WILD with giveaways, teasers, book discussion, and more!
Friday at 9:00am until December 22 at 11:45pm

His thumb dragged across the seam of my lip. My eyes fluttered closed as he swiped across the flesh. My body lit up with lust and a dull throb settled between my thighs.
My heart stuttered a beat before I whipped my eyes open and pulled away. “Hands to yourself, Casanova.” I backed away and beelined for the front desk. The guilt was already nagging at me for involving him in my life anymore than I should have. “Can I help you with something or did you just come in to torment me?” I slipped behind the counter, thankful for the space that now separated us.
“Saw your car out front. Had to see those sweet lips again.” His eyes bounced down to the lips he’d just touched.
“Really? That’s your line?” I cocked an eyebrow at him, trying to steel myself against his rugged good looks. His dark hair lay carelessly across his forehead, his thick sculpted eyebrows arched, and his lips pulled into a devilish grin that emphasized his high cheekbones and stunning light blues eyes, which flashed with dangerous amusement.  
He broke out into another laugh, his arms crossing his chest. “You're sexy when you’re sassy, Sugar.”
I am not. And cut it with the ‘sugar.’ I’m no one’s sugar, especially not yours.”
“Hmm, is that so?” His eyes scanned my body, landing for a moment on my chest.
“Eyes up, Casanova.”
His eyes flashed to mine, a small smile curling the corners of his mouth. “Can I take you out?” His large body felt imposing in the small space. His energy was engulfing everything around him, sucking the air out of the room and causing oxygen to rush from my lungs.
“Not a chance.”
“Okay, let’s say we skip the date. I just want you back in my bed.”
My mouth dropped open. “Another original line.” I cocked my head to one side.
“Is it working?” He stepped closer and leaned across the counter, invading my space and sweeping the breath from my lungs.
“Shame. Those lips wrapped around my co—”
“Don’t even go there. I don’t even—that night was a mistake. I hardly remember it and it’s not happening again.” My irritation flared. I'd never met someone so blatantly vulgar.

“Ah, don’t say you don’t remember, Sugar.”

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Adriane Leigh was born and raised in a snowbank in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and now lives amongst the sand dunes of the Lake Michigan lakeshore.She graduated with a Literature degree but never particularly enjoyed reading Shakespeare or Chaucer.
Adriane is married to a tall, dark and handsome guy, plays mama to two sweet baby girls, and is a voracious reader and knitter.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Ever Trilogy Promo and $100 GC AND Kindle Giveaway!!

 Forever & Always  and After Forever
(The Ever Trilogy)
Jasinda Wilder
Expected Release: Dec. 20th, 2013
Hosted by: The Book Avenue
Join the Release Party Here


These letters are often all that get me through week to week. Even if it’s just random stuff, nothing important, they’re important to me. Gramps is great, and I love working on the ranch. But…I’m lonely. I feel disconnected, like I’m no one, like I don’t belong anywhere. Like I’m just here until something else happens. I don’t even know what I want with my future. But your letters, they make me feel connected to something, to someone. I had a crush on you, when we first met. I thought you were beautiful. So beautiful. It was hard to think of anything else. Then camp ended and we never got together, and now all I have of you is these letters. S**t. I just told you I have a crush on you. HAD. Had a crush. Not sure what is anymore. A letter-crush? A literary love? That’s stupid. Sorry. I just have this rule with myself that I never throw away what I write and I always send it, so hopefully this doesn’t weird you out too much. I had a dream about you too. Same kind of thing. Us, in the darkness, together. Just us. And it was like you said, a memory turned into a dream, but a memory of something that’s never happened, but in the dream it felt so real, and it was more, I don’t even know, more RIGHT than anything I’ve ever felt, in life or in dreams. I wonder what it means that we both had the same dream about each other. Maybe nothing, maybe everything. You tell me.

~ ~ ~ ~


We’re pen pals. Maybe that’s all we’ll ever be. I don’t know. If we met IRL (in real life, in case you’re not familiar with the term) what would happen? And just FYI, the term you used, a literary love? It was beautiful. So beautiful. That term means something, between us now. We are literary loves. Lovers? I do love you, in some strange way. Knowing about you, in these letters, knowing your hurt and your joys, it means something so important to me, that I just can’t describe. I need your art, and your letters, and your literary love. If we never have anything else between us, I need this. I do. Maybe this letter will only complicate things, but like you I have a rule that I never erase or throw away what I’ve written and I always send it, no matter what I write in the letter. 

Your literary love,




~ Caden ~

Between art classes and the requisite camp activities—which were stupid bullshit—the first week of camp passed in a blur.

It was Monday afternoon, all-camp free time, so most everyone was gone somewhere—into downtown Traverse City, to Sleeping Bear Dunes, canoeing on one of the two lakes, swimming at Peterson Beach. There were a few students on campus, most of them doing the same as I was, finding a solitary place to play an instrument, paint, draw, or dance. I had found the perfect spot overlooking Green Lake, sitting with my back to a pine tree, sketchbook on my knees, trying to capture the way a duck’s wings curved for landing as they floated over the rippling surface of the water.

I’d been there for over an hour already, the bark scratching my back through my T-shirt, earbuds in and playing my current favorite album, Surfing With the Alien by Joe Satriani. I’d drawn the same picture six times, each one a quick, rough sketch, capturing the outlines, the curves, the angle of the bird’s body and the delicate arch of its neck. None of them were right, though. Like with my work on human hands, one particular detail was eluding me. This time, it was the pattern of the pinfeathers as the duck fluttered its wings, the way each feather rounded into the next, layered, yet separate, while its green head and yellow beak thrust forward, the wings creating a bonnet around its body. I’d stuffed each failed sketch under my foot, using the last as reference for the next. My pencil went still as another duck approached the water. Its wings curved to slow its descent, orange feet outstretched, and then at the very last moment it reared back and flared its wings, braking to a stop and settling on the water with barely a sound or splash. I watched intently, my eyes and mind capturing the moment of wing-flare, watching the tips of its wings, then I glanced down and erased frantically, redrawing, pencil moving furiously now, line overlaying line, adjusting the curve and angles.

“You’re really good,” a voice said behind me.

I knew without turning who it was. “Thanks, Ever.” Had I really remembered her voice after that one conversation?

I wished I didn’t feel so self-conscious all of a sudden. Would she think I was stupid for drawing ducks? Watching them land had been fascinating when I was alone, and drawing them had captivated my focus for the last couple of hours, but now that a pretty girl was standing behind me…I was pretty sure it was the nerdiest thing ever.

I closed the sketchbook and set it on top of the pile of discarded sketches, standing up and brushing off the seat of my shorts. When I finally turned my gaze to Ever, I had to blink several times. I hadn’t seen her since the day we arrived, despite looking for her in the visual arts classes and at meals. She’d been pretty then, dressed casually in jeans and a T-shirt. But now…she was so beautiful it made my stomach flip and tighten.

She was wearing a pair of khaki shorts that barely made it to mid-thigh, and a rib-hugging green tank top that matched the emerald of her eyes perfectly. Her hair hung in loose spirals around her shoulders, and she had a bulky easel under one arm, a canvas under the other arm and a wooden carrying case for paints in her hand. A smudge of red paint stood out on her forehead, matching a similar smudge on her left wrist, and green paint was smeared near her right cheek and earlobe.

I felt an absurd compulsion to wipe away the paint with my thumb. Instead, I reached for the easel and took it from her. “Were you just setting up? Or heading back?” I asked.

She shrugged, and the strap of her tank top slipped over the round of her shoulder, revealing the white strap of her bra. “Neither. I was kinda just…walking around. Looking for something to paint.”

“Oh. I was just…sketching. Ducks. Obviously.” I felt myself blushing as I mumbled, forcing my gaze away from the overlapping green and white straps and the hint of pale skin as she brushed the strap back in place. “I don’t really like ducks, I just…I thought the way they looked when they landed was kinda cool, and I—do you want me to carry your easel?” I felt like a spaz, shifting tracks so suddenly and blurting like an idiot.

Ever shrugged again, and the damn strap of her shirt slipped again. I wished she would stop shrugging so much, because it was wreaking hell on my ability to not stare at her. It wasn’t just the strap, though, it was her chest, the way it lifted and settled along with her shoulders. I felt my cheeks burn and wondered if my thoughts were visible, somehow, like I had a digital marquee on my forehead, announcing the fact that I was staring at her boobs.

“Sure,” Ever said, and I had to refocus to remember what we were talking about. “It is kinda heavy.”

Oh. The easel. Right. I leaned down and scooped up my sketchbook and papers, then adjusted the easel under my armpit more securely. “Where to?”

I was sensing a pattern now, and managed to avert my gaze before she did the shrug.

“I dunno. I was thinking somewhere on that side over there.” She pointed to a not-too-distant portion of the Green Lake shoreline.

We traipsed through the woods along the shoreline, chatting about our art classes, comparing notes and complaints. Every once in a while, Ever would move ahead of me, and the way her shorts clung to her backside was so distracting I almost dropped the easel a few times.

This was new territory for me. Girls were just girls. There’d never been one that had grabbed my attention like this before, and I didn’t know how to handle it. Of course, there were hot girls at school, and I looked at them, ’cause duh, I’m a guy. But this was different. Ever was someone I could see becoming a friend, and it was tricky having a friend who you couldn’t stop staring at like some wonderstruck moron. I felt like she had this power of reducing me to a mouth-breathing caveman.

Ook. Me Caden. You woman.

I trotted up to walk next to her, which was only nominally better. The problem was that anywhere I looked, there was something I shouldn’t be staring at.

Eventually, she came a stop on a little knoll surrounded by trees with a stunning view of the lake. “This is good,” she said. “I could paint this.” I set the easel down and unfolded it, then moved away and watched her arrange her canvas on the easel, open her paint case and select a pencil. “You can’t watch over my shoulder. That’s weird and creepy and I won’t be able to think.” She gestured off to one side. “Find your own spot and we’ll critique each other’s work when we’re done.”

“So we’re both drawing the same basic landscape scene?” I asked.

She nodded. “Well, I’ll paint it. You draw it.”

I found a place off to Ever’s left, framing the lake between two huge Jack Pines. I set my pad on my crossed legs and started sketching, and pretty soon disappeared into capturing the scene before me. I didn’t entirely forget about Ever, because she was hot even while painting—especially while painting, really. She was messy. She had a tendency to use her fingers as much as the brushes. She would swipe her bangs out of her face and get paint on her forehead and cheeks and nose. Even as I tried to force my attention back to the sketch in my book, she scratched her wrist with one hand, smearing orange paint on her wrist, and then rubbed her jaw with the same wrist.

I must have laughed out loud, because she glanced over at me. “What?” she asked.

“It’s just…you have paint all over your face.”

“I do?” She wiped at her cheek with one hand, which of course only smeared it worse.

I set my pad and pencils down and moved to stand next to her. “Yeah, it’s…everywhere.” I hesitated, then dragged my thumb lightly across her forehead and showed her the paint on my thumb.

She frowned, and then lifted the bottom edge of her shirt to wipe her face. At the sight of her stomach and the hint of white bra, I turned away. “Is that better?” she asked.

I turned back around. She had paint all over her shirt, but her face was clean. “Yeah, you got it off your face. Except…” I took a strand of her hair between my finger and thumb, and it came away green. “You have it in your hair too.”

“I’m a messy painter, I guess. I like to use my hands. At home, I don’t even use brushes. But the teachers here want me to try and expand my ‘vocabulary as an artist’ or some bullshit like that.” She put air quotes around the phrase, mocking it. “Mom was the same way.”

Something in her eyes and voice when she mentioned her mother, along with the fact that she’d used past tense, had me on alert. “She’s a messy painter?” I didn’t want to ask, or assume anything.

“Was.” Ever turned away from me and focused on her canvas, dabbing her brush into a glop of green on her palette, darkening the shade closer to the green of the pine needles.

“Why was?”

“Because she’s dead.” She said it calmly, matter-of-factly, but too much so. “Car accident. Not quite a year and a half ago.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I mean…yeah. I’m sorry for your loss.” That was a phrase I’d heard before, but it sounded awkward when I said it. Fake and empty.

Ever glanced at me. “Thanks.” She wrinkled her nose. “We don’t have to talk about it. It happened, and that’s it. No point in getting all weepy about it.”

I felt like she was putting on a brave face, but I didn’t know how to tell her she didn’t have to do that. If she wanted a brave face, what business was it of mine to say she shouldn’t? I took a few deep breaths, and then changed the subject. “I like your painting. It’s not quite realistic, but not quite abstract, either.”

It was an interesting piece. The trees were thick, blurry, smeared representations of trees, browns and greens that barely seemed like anything at all, but the lake beyond and between them was intensely realistic, each ripple detailed and perfect, glinting and reflecting the sunlight.

“Thanks,” she said. “I wasn’t sure it would work when I started, but I think I like it.” She stepped back, rubbing the side of her nose with her middle finger, blotting brown on her skin, then realized what she’d done and sighed. “Lemme see yours.”

I hated showing people my drawings. I drew because I loved drawing. I drew because it just seemed to come out of me, whether I intended to do it or not. I doodled all over my textbooks and notebooks at school, on my desk calendar at home, even on the leg of my jeans sometimes. I didn’t draw to impress people. Letting someone see my work was like showing someone a part of me, it felt like. I showed my dad my drawings sometimes, because he was an engineer with a background in drafting and knew what he was talking about. And he was my dad and wouldn’t be too harsh or critical.

What if Ever thought I was shitty? I liked her and wanted her to think I was cool, talented.

Before I could re-think the decision, I handed her my sketchpad. To disguise my nerves, I picked up a thick stick from the ground and started peeling the bark off. Ever stared at my sketch for a long time, looking from it to the lake, and then walked to where I’d been sitting when I drew it. After what felt like a thousand years, she handed it back.

“You kick my ass at drawing. That’s really amazing, Caden. It almost looks like a photo.”

I shrugged, picking at the bark with my thumbnail. “Thanks. It’s not really all that photorealistic, but…it’s not bad for a quick sketch.”

She just nodded, and neither of us knew what to say. I wanted to be calm and cool and confident, make casual conversation and impress her with my wit. But that just wasn’t me.

I was a bark-picker and a dirt-kicker, words sticking in my chest and tumbling around each other.

“We should draw each other. Just pencils and paper,” Ever said, breaking the awkward silence.

“Sure,” was all I could say. I flipped the page of my book to an empty one, then realized she’d only brought her canvas, so I carefully ripped the page out and handed it to her. “You’ve got a pencil, right?”

Ever lifted her pencil in response, and then sat down cross-legged in the dirt. I sat facing her and tried to pretend that my eyes weren’t drawn to her inner thighs, bared and looking softer than I could possibly imagine. I ducked my head and regrouped, then forced my gaze to her face. I started sketching, getting the basic shapes down first. By the time I’d finished the outline of her face and shoulders, I had an idea. I wanted to mimic her own style, mixing realism with abstraction. It flowed easily once I had the concept down. We were companionably silent then, glancing up at each other every now and again, but focused on our work.

Wind blew in the tree around us, and the sun filtered lower and lower, and somewhere voices echoed, laughing and yelling. The scent of pine trees was thick in the air, a smell so pungent it was almost visible. It was the scent of a northern Michigan summer, to me.

I didn’t know how long we sat there drawing each other, and I didn’t care. I had a sense of complete peace, soul-deep contentment. Our knees were touching, just our kneecaps brushing, and that was enough to make me feel euphoria. Then Ever shifted, and my right knee touched her left shin, pressing close and making my heart skip more beats than could possibly be healthy.

Finally, I knew the drawing was done. I examined it critically, adjusted a few lines and angles, and then nodded. I was pleased. I’d captured her face with as much realism as I possessed, her hair hanging in loose waves around one shoulder, head tilted, eyes downcast. The farther down her torso the drawing went, the more blurred and abstracted it got, so that her feet and knees were charcoal smudges on the paper.

I stood up, leaving the pad on the pine-needle-carpeted ground, and paced, working the blood back into my legs and numb backside. When I returned to my seat in front of Ever, she was holding my sketchbook and staring at it, an oddly emotional expression on her face.

“Is this how you see me?” she asked, not looking up at me.

“I—sort of? I mean, it’s just a drawing. I was trying to mimic the way you did that landscape, you know?” I reached for my book, but she held on. “Are you…I mean, you’re not mad or anything, are you?”

She shook her head and laughed. “No! Not at all. I was just expecting it to be a profile or something, you know? And this is totally not that. I don’t know, Caden. You make me look—I don’t know…prettier than I am.”

“Not—um…I kind of think it doesn’t do you justice. It’s not good enough. You’re…you’re prettier than that.”

“You think I’m pretty?”

I was beet red, I could feel it. Once again I wished I could say something debonair like James Bond would say in the old Sean Connery movies Dad watched every weekend. “Yeah.”

Nice. Might as well have grunted like a Neanderthal.

Ever blushed and ducked her head, smoothing her hair over her shoulder with one hand. “Thanks.” She glanced up at me, and our eyes met, locked. I wanted to look away, but couldn’t. Her eyes were mesmerizing, green and almost luminous. “I almost don’t want to show you my stupid drawing.”

I reached for the drawing, but Ever didn’t let go of it. Our fingers touched, and I swore actual physical sparks shot up from where our skin touched. Neither of us pulled away.

After a forever that could have fit into the space of a single breath, she let me take the sheet of paper, and touch became loss.

It was an amazing portrait of me, ultra-realistic. I was sitting cross-legged with my pad of paper, pencil held in my fingers, head down. You could just barely see the upper portion of my face, the frown of concentration.

“It’s incredible, Ever,” I said. “Really amazing.” I was torn between admiration and jealousy. She was really good.


She held my drawing, and I held hers. A cicada sang somewhere, the loud buzzing sound of summer.

“I have an evening composition class,” I said. “I should probably go.”

“Yeah. I should too.” She stood up, brushing off her backside, an action I tried not to watch, then handed me my sketchpad back. “I had a good time today. Maybe we could do this again. Another day.”

I tore my drawing of her free and gave it to her. “Yeah. I’d like that.”



She gave an odd, half-circle wave, then looked at her hand as if to question why it had done such an awkward thing. Then, before I could say anything, she gathered her things and left.

I watched her go, wondering what this thing was between us. Friendship? Something else? We’d only hung out twice, but it had felt like more than that. Like we knew each other, somehow.

I went to class and then back to my cabin, where I stashed her drawing of me.

~ ~ ~ ~

I didn’t see Ever again until nearly the end of camp, even though I went out of my way to find her. Every time I went by her cabin she was gone, and I never saw her in any classes or workshops, or at dinner. I got a glimpse of her once, swimming with her cabin-mates, laughing and wet and beautiful, but I was with some guys from my own cabin, on the way to shoot hoops in the gym.

It was three days until the end of the camp. Late at night. I was supposed to be in bed, but I couldn’t sleep. I had an unsettled feeling in my stomach, a restlessness that had no source or definition, just an anxiousness that I couldn’t seem to dispel. I snuck out of the cabin and went down to one of the docks.

It was a clear night, moonless and dark, lit only by a sky full of stars. The air held a touch of coolness, whispering over my skin. I hadn’t bothered to put on a shirt, wearing a pair of gym shorts and sports sandals as I stepped lightly on the creaking wood of the long dock.

I was so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I didn’t see or hear her until I was nearly on top of her.

Ever sat on the edge of the dock, feet dangling. I opened my mouth to speak, but then I saw that her shoulders were shaking. She was crying.

I didn’t know what to do, what to say. She’d come down here to be alone—I mean, that much was obvious, right? And asking her if she was okay seemed stupid. I hesitated, turned to leave. I didn’t know how to even begin comforting her, but I wanted to try. So, I sat down next to her, dangling my feet over the black, rippling water.

She wasn’t sobbing, just quietly crying. I put my hand on her shoulder and squeezed, a gentle touch that let her know I was there. A short hesitation, and then she turned into me and my arm went around her and held her. I felt wetness touch my shoulder, her tears on my skin. I held her, let her cry, and wondered if I was doing it right. If there was something I was supposed to be saying that would make it okay.

“I miss her, Caden.” Her voice was tiny, barely audible. “I miss my Mom. I—I miss home. I’m homesick. But most of all, I wish I could go home and see Mom again. Dad doesn’t talk about her. Eden doesn’t talk about her. I don’t talk about her. It’s like she died and now we pretend like she never was.”

“You can talk to me.” I hoped that didn’t sound too cliché.

“I don’t know what to say. She’s been dead a year and a half, and all I can really say is…I miss her. I miss how she made our family a family.” She sniffled and straightened away from my shoulder, although our bodies were still flush against each other, hip to hip. I left my arm around her shoulders, and she didn’t seem to mind it. “Now it’s just each of us by ourselves. Eden and I…we’re twins, did I tell you that? We don’t even really talk about her, or about missing her, or anything. And we’re twins, we almost share a brain sometimes. Like, legit, we can read each other’s thoughts sometimes.”

“Nothing like that has ever happened in my family. I don’t know how we’d handle it if it did. I know my dad probably wouldn’t talk about it. My mom might. I’m like Dad, I think, and I’d have a hard time talking about things. I already do. I’m sure you can tell. I never know what to say.” We were quiet for a while. But Ever needed someone to talk to. And I thought about last week, the two of us sitting by the lake, drawing—both of us knew how to speak with our hands and pencils. An idea came to me, and I said it without thinking. “What if we were pen pals?”

God, that sounded stupid.

“Pen pals?” At least, she didn’t laugh at me outright.

“I know that sounds dumb, or whatever. But it can be hard to talk on the phone. And we don’t really live close to each other, and…I just thought maybe if we wrote letters, we could talk about whatever we wanted, but on our own time.” She hadn’t said anything, and I was starting to feel intensely self-conscious. “I guess it’s dumb.”

“No, I…I like the idea. I think it’s awesome.” She turned and looked up at me. The starlight shone dim silver in her green eyes, and I felt like I could fall into her eyes if I stared long enough. “Like, we’d write actual paper letters? Every month?”

“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. Or it could be more frequently, if we wanted to. Whenever, you know? Whenever we needed to say something.” I ran my thumbnail in the grooved grain of the faded wood.

“I really…I think that would be awesome.” She rested her head against my bicep.

We sat like that in the silence of a northern Michigan summer midnight, close and touching, but not embracing, not talking, lost in our own thoughts.

I heard voices behind us, turned to see two flashlight beams bobbing toward us. “We’ve been found,” I said.

Just before our respective cabin staffers found us, Ever clutched my hand in hers. “Promise me you’ll write?”

“I promise.” I squeezed her with my arm, an awkward hug. “Good night, Ever.”

“’Night, Caden.” She hesitated a beat, and then turned into me, makin it a full fledged hug, bodies pressed against each other.

Totally worth the trouble I got in.

~ ~ ~ ~

Pick-up that Saturday was chaotic, a thousand cars, parents and campers reuniting. I found Dad leaning against the door of his truck, arms crossed. I spotted him from a distance, held up a finger to signal “one minute,” then wove through the crowd, duffel bag on my shoulder, looking for black hair and green eyes and a body that had featured in more of my dreams than I cared to admit.

Ever was standing in the open door of a boxy silver Mercedes SUV, looking around almost frantically. She saw me and flew toward me, slamming into me and hugging me. I was so surprised that I didn’t react for a moment, and then I dropped my bag and my arms went around her shoulders and I was hugging her back, holding her, smelling the shampoo in her hair and the faint, indefinable scent that made a girl smell like a girl.

When we pulled apart, I handed her a folded slip of paper on which I’d printed my name and address as neatly as I could. The paper she handed me had a heart on it, my name written in a curving, looping script within the heart. Did that mean something? Was the fact that she put my name inside the heart significant? Or was that just something girls did? I wished I knew and I tried not to read too much into it.

“You better write me,” she said.

“I will. I promise.” I held onto the folded square of paper, not wanting to put it in my pocket in front of her. That would just feel rude, somehow.

“Good. And I promise I’ll write you back.”

“You better.” I heard her father say something to her sister Eden, and I shuffled back a few steps. “Good luck. You know, with…everything we talked about.”

“You too.” She gave me a half-wave, a stiff semi-circle of her arm. Her eyes were on me, and her lips were smiling, and it was all I could do to tear myself away, grab my duffel bag and trot back toward Dad and the truck. My head was spinning and my heart was doing strange sideways cartwheels.

Dad was waiting for me in the driver’s seat, the engine idling, staring off out his window. His expression was pensive, brooding, and dark. I made sure to wipe the goofy grin off my face as I tossed my bag into the bed of the truck and ran the aged black rubber bungee cord through the handle, slipping the hook securely under the lip of the bed rim. I had Ever’s note in my palm, and I slid my hand against my thigh to hide it.

“Got a number, huh, bud?” Dad’s voice was amused.

I glanced at him, stifling the urge to roll my eyes. “Sort of.”

“How do you ‘sort of’ get a number?”

“It’s not her phone number, it’s her address.”

“Her address?” Dad sounded incredulous. “You must have some serious game, Cade. Where does she live?”

Serious game? My dad was trying to be hip again, apparently. I lifted one shoulder in a shrug, not wanting to tell him about the pen pals idea, but knowing he’d pester me until I did. “I dunno where she lives, I haven’t looked at it yet. Somewhere in Bloomfield, I think.”

“Bloomfield, huh? The ritzy area. Her pops must be loaded.”

I shrugged again, my standby response to pretty much everything. “I guess. I think he works for Chrysler or something. An executive or vice president. Something like that.”

Dad huffed in sarcastic laughter. “‘Something like that.’ How informative. Did you learn anything definite about her?”

“Her name is Ever Eliot. She lives in Bloomfield. She’s into painting and sculpture. She has a twin sister named Eden.” I wasn’t going to mention the fact that her mom had died in a car accident. It seemed like it would be a breach of confidence to tell him. “She’s beautiful.”

“You like her?”

I shrugged yet again. “I guess.”

“You guess.” He shook his head in frustration and then turned up the radio as “Springsteen” by Eric Church came on, and we both tuned in to listen. When the song ended, he turned it down again. “So this Ever girl aside, how was Interlochen?”

“It was good.”

He waited a few beats, glancing at me expectantly. “Thousands of dollars and three weeks, and all I get out of you is “it was good’?”

Ugh. Adults always wanted more information from me than I ever knew how to give them. “What do you want, Dad, a day by day breakdown? I don’t know. I learned about all sorts of artistic bullshit. Angles, shading, perspective, composition. I tried my hand at oil painting and watercolor. Even tried clay sculpture, which I suck at. I took a class on drawing anatomy, which was pretty awesome. It was camp. I swam. Played basketball with some of the guys from my cabin.”

“And met a pretty girl.”

“And that. Yeah.”

“Sounds like a great time.” He grabbed my shoulder in his iron-hard fist and shook me, which was meant to be affectionate, but ended up feeling rough, like he was trying to be casual, or playful. “Think you’ll go back next year?”

I’d been thinking about that a lot the last few days. “Maybe? I don’t really know. I’m torn. I did have a good time, and I learned a lot, but…it was like a whole extra summer of school, just for art. Summers at the ranch with Gramps…it’s just…different. “

Dad nodded. “Well, think about it, I guess. You’ve got a year. I know Gramps would happy to have you back next summer, but do what you want for you.”

We kept quiet after that, listening to country and classic rock as the miles passed. The closer we got to home, the more pinched and worried Dad’s expression became. I opened my mouth several times to ask him what was wrong, but never actually spoke. He’d pass it off, brush it off, say it was nothing for me to worry about. But if he was still acting stressed or worried after three weeks, there was something going on that my parents weren’t telling me.

At home, I tried to ignore it, but as the summer days dwindled, bringing me closer to the start of ninth grade and my fifteenth birthday, I couldn’t help noticing the whispered conversations while I was watching TV, the increasingly frequent times they left together on mysterious “errands,” or the way Mom seemed to be withdrawing into herself. But when I walked into a room or started to ask Mom if she was okay, she pasted a smile on her face and changed the topic to some variation of whether I needed any more school supplies.

When I got home from my absolutely shitty first day of ninth grade, I sat at my desk in my room with the door closed, dug my American Literature notebook from my backpack, and sat down to write to Ever for the first time.

Join the Release Party tomorrow to read more Excerpts

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jasinda Wilder is a Michigan native with a penchant for titillating tales about sexy men and strong women. When she’s not writing, she’s probably shopping, baking, or reading. 

Some of her favorite authors include Nora Roberts, JR Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Liliana Hart and Bella Andre. 

She loves to travel and some of her favorite vacations spots are Las Vegas, New York City and Toledo, Ohio. 

You can often find Jasinda drinking sweet red wine with frozen berries and eating a cupcake. 

Jasinda is represented by Kristin Nelson of the Nelson Literary Agency.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Exquisite Betrayal Release Day Blitz and $100 GC Giveaway!!

Title: Exquisite Betrayal
Author: A.M. Hargrove
A male Romance Author… a convention in Vegas… a female book blogger… a goal to lose her virginity… what next? Find out when you mix all the above!

Fallon McKinley is headed to Vegas for the Wicked Wenches Romance Con and losing her virginity is only one of her goals. The other is to meet her favorite author of romance novels, R.T. Sinclair. What she doesn’t realize is that the sexy green-eyed god she rams into at the airport is the real R.T. When they keep running into each other, she’s shocked, but excited, because the attraction is irresistible.

Ryland Thomas Sinclair doesn’t want anyone to know his true identity. He’s the author that all women love, but everyone thinks he’s a female. He hides his persona behind the public face of his twin sister, keeping his own a secret. But after meeting the lovely Fallon, his intentions to avoid a relationship come to a screeching halt. She’s put an unwanted kink into his perfectly laid out plans. His unusual reaction surprises him because after a heart-shredding breakup a few years ago, he’s managed to avoid women at all costs.

Resisting Fallon becomes more difficult than he imagines. Soon things are spiraling out of control, until a major miscommunication has Fallon walking out of his home and his life. Will Ryland Thomas succeed in losing the woman he loves? Or can he win her back?


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One day, on her way home from work as a sales manager, A. M. Hargrove, realized her life was on fast forward and if she didn't do something soon, it would quickly be too late to write that work of fiction she had been dreaming of her whole life.  So, she rolled down the passenger window of her fabulous (not) company car and tossed out her leather briefcase.  Luckily, the pedestrian in the direct line of fire was a dodge ball pro and had über quick reflexes enabling him to avoid getting bashed in the head.  Feeling a tad guilty about the near miss, A. M. made a speedy turn down a deserted side street before tossing her crummy, outdated piece-of-you-know-what laptop out the window.  She breathed a liberating sigh of relief, picked up her cell phone, called her boss and quit her job.  Grinning, she made another call to her hubs and told him of her new adventure (after making sure his heart was beating properly again).

So began A. M. Hargrove's career as a YA/NA and Adult Romance writer. Her books include the following: Edge of Disaster, Shattered Edge and Kissing Fire (The Edge Series); The Guardians of Vesturon series (Survival, Resurrection, Determinant, reEmergent and Beginnings); Dark Waltz and Tragically Flawed.

Other than being in love with writing about being in love, she loves chocolate, ice cream and coffee and is positive they should be added as part of the USDA food groups. 


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