Friday, April 5, 2019

24 Hour Readathon 2019

It's back for 2019, and it's tomorrow: Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon!

It's going to be a low key year for me since I have a newborn to take care of, but I do hope to at least finish the 3 books I am in the middle of. I have some more books in the wings to read as well, but if I don't get to them it will be okay.

Instead of making multiple blog posts this year like I normally do for each hour update, I'm going to keep one post and update it with my finished books as I go. Keep checking back here for my updates, and let me know if you are reading along with us!

There are some Amazon affiliate links in this post. At no extra cost to you, I receive a small compensation if you purchase through my link. 

Update at Hour 5 (almost 6):

It's now 9:39am my time, and the readathon started at 5am my time. While I did plan on getting up at 5 and even set my alarm, I ended up getting up with our baby around 6 and was tired enough to go back to sleep. At this point I haven't done any physical reading, but I did a little bit of listening to my current audiobook, The Jungle Book. I'm about halfway through it so I hope to finish it today!

In the meantime, I'm catching up on the mini-challenges! Please feel free to leave your links below so I can read yours as well.

Hour 1 Survey:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? I'm in Salem, Oregon!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Honestly, I don't think there is one. I've just been so busy being a new mom that I'm just looking forward to reading again and finishing some books!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Probably my oatmeal cream pies haha.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself! As I mentioned, I have a 6 week old baby who is our rainbow baby. I share lots of photos of him on my Instagram if you want to peek at his cute face!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? I'm being much more relaxed this year. I'm not focused as much on reading the entire time and just looking to get some good reading time in!

Hour 13 Update and Mid-Event Survey:

We took the baby to the first farmers market of the year and got some lunch, so I slowed down a little on my reading. I still haven't finished a book, but I got some good reading in my physical book done (Too Blessed to Be Stressed for Moms) and almost finished The Jungle Book while I was snuggling the baby to sleep for his nap. After a nap for me, I'm going to be grabbing some dinner and getting back into it. How is everyone else doing?

1. What are you reading right now? Still reading my book from the beginning, sadly. I got a few chapters in though! (See above)

2. How many books have you read so far? 0 finished, but dipped my toes in 2.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? I still don't have a favorite. I'm just looking forward to finishing some books!

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I have as I mentioned above, but I was expecting them so it isn't a big deal to me this year. I'm just happy to get some reading time in.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? I'm lazier than I thought I would be this year. I'm not sure why!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Book Blitz: Mountain Rescue Romance Series

Title: Mountain Rescue Romance
Author: Melissa McClone
Genre: Sweet Romance
Publisher: Cardinal Press, LLC

His Christmas Wish
Carly Bishop loved Christmas…until tragedy struck. Distraught and grief-stricken over the deaths of her fiancĂ© and brother, she left Hood Hamlet and her Christmas spirit behind, to start over somewhere new. But now, six years later, her family needs her. Carly returns home to face her past and give her niece and nephew the best Christmas ever.
Burdened with guilt, Jake Porter believes he could have saved his two friends on that fateful day and kept Carly from experiencing such a heart-wrenching loss. When she arrives in town, Jake wants to make amends so they can both finally move forward with their lives.
As Jake helps Carly experience the magic of Christmas so she'll embrace the holiday again, will he also be able to open her heart to something else she’d given up on…love?

Her Christmas Secret
Sean Hughes likes being single—much to his family’s dismay. They want him to settle down…now. When he gives fun-loving snowboarder Zoe Flynn a ride to the slopes, Sean hatches a plan to throw off his matchmaking relatives. He asks Zoe to pose as his girlfriend at Thanksgiving dinner, which will take the pressure off him and make the evening more enjoyable all around.
Zoe agrees to be Sean’s fake girlfriend. Who wouldn’t want a free meal or a chance to hang out with the handsome mountain rescuer and his adorable husky? When an injury occurs, the two are forced to continue their one-night ruse. As Christmas approaches, make-believe turns into reality. But Zoe has a secret…a big one.
Is their new relationship strong enough to withstand the truth, or will she find herself with no one to kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve?

Her Christmas Kiss
Paramedic Leanne Thomas works hard to be “one of the boys” at the fire station and on the mountain. What the guys don’t know is she keeps her inner girly-girl hidden from them. When gorgeous, rookie firefighter Christian Welton turns on the charm, Leanne shuts him down fast. She won’t risk her heart or her reputation by dating a younger man who is also a coworker.
Leanne intrigues Christian. After she rescues him off the mountain, he glimpses a softer, more vulnerable side to her tough-as-nails personality. Christian’s not looking for a relationship, yet he can’t deny his attraction. A surprise kiss under the mistletoe sparks a three-alarm fire, but something is holding her back.
Will Christian’s kisses break through Leanne’s tough exterior and melt her heart? Or will a dash of Christmas magic be required?

His Second Chance
Nothing interests Sarah Purcell more than the volcanoes she studies until she meets Dr. Cullen Gray. Maybe that’s why she marries him two days later. Illogical, yes, but nothing has ever felt so right. As the honeymoon period ends and real life sets in, everything falls apart. A year after their separation, when Sarah is injured, she’s shocked when Cullen shows up to help.
Even though Cullen’s still hurting from their breakup, Sarah has no one else. He brings her to his home in Hood Hamlet to heal. Once she recovers, she can return to her beloved work and he can move on with his life—without her. But soon, sparks fly anew, long-buried emotions resurface, and much-needed conversations happen.
Is Sarah and Cullen’s marriage truly over? Or will they get a second chance at romance and a happily ever after?


His Christmas Family
Two and a half years after Grace Wilcox’s husband died a war hero, the hole in her heart and life remains. She wants to start over with their young son, but a snowstorm thwarts her plans, stranding them in Hood Hamlet. When Grace knocks on a stranger’s door in search of help, a handsome firefighter comes to the rescue.
Bill Paulson invites the two wayward travelers into his home. A relationship and family aren’t on his radar, but something about the widow and her son touches Bill’s heart. While Grace’s truck is being repaired, she wants to give her son a special Christmas. An overgrown kid who loves the holidays, Bill decides to do the same for Grace.
Attraction soon flares between Grace and Bill, but she won’t gamble her heart on another hero and he doesn’t consider himself husband material. Can a little Christmas magic show them love and a family are worth the risks?

USA Today bestselling author, Melissa McClone has published novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group and been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. With a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds, and cats who think they rule the house. They do!

Author Links:
Amazon author page:

Buy Links:
Book 1 - His Christmas Wish:
Book 2 - Her Christmas Secret:
Book 3 - Her Christmas Kiss: 
Book 4 - His Second Chance:
Book 5 - His Christmas Family:
“It’s my mother. She thinks we’re serious. You and me. That I invited you to dinner because we’re in a relationship.”
Lines creased Zoe’s forehead. “Why would she think that?”
Because his mother was a hopeless romantic who wanted her son to get married so she could have grandchildren. “Because I’m bringing you to Thanksgiving dinner.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“My family never makes much sense.”
“Haven’t you ever brought anyone to Thanksgiving dinner before?” Zoe asked.
“Not in a long time.” Sean tried to keep his personal life as private as he could. Not easy living in a small town full of close friends and a large, demanding family who defined the meaning of nosy. “That must be why my mom got the wrong idea.”
“You have to admit it’s kind of sweet.”
“Imagine if it were your mother.”
Zoe winced. “Okay, not sweet at all.”
“My mom’s probably calling my aunts, who will call my cousins…”
“It’s not a problem. Just a little misunderstanding.” Zoe didn’t sound upset. “We can tell everyone the truth when we arrive. Have a good laugh about it.”
He stared at the snow on the side of the road. “Right.”
“You’re not laughing,” she said gently.
“I don’t have to go.”
“You’re not spending Thanksgiving alone.” Sean wasn’t going to let her get away that easily. He blew out a puff of air. “My mom’s expecting you now. If you didn’t show up, she’d be disappointed. She looks forward to the holidays all year. I don’t want to ruin her day.”
“She’s going to be disappointed anyway when we tell her the truth.”
“Yeah. Unless…” His voice trailed off.
We couldn’t, could we? The idea had merit.
“What?” Zoe asked.
“We could pretend to be dating,” he suggested. “Just for today.”
“That could be fun.”
“Yeah.” And solve his problem. Problems, actually. His mom’s Thanksgiving would be salvaged, his opinionated family couldn’t say anything about him settling down, and he would get to spend time with Zoe. A win-win situation for everyone. “You in?”
She shrugged. “Sure.”

Monday, May 21, 2018

Release Blitz: Just One Summer

Title: Just One Summer
Author: Lynn Stevens
Genre: New Adult Romance
Cover Designer: Ampersand Book Covers
Publication Date: May 21st, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Blurb:  One summer, no regrets
Carly Reynolds does not want to work at her father’s Branson theater over the summer, but she has no choice. After wrecking his prized Mercedes on Prom night, she’s got to pay him back somehow before she leaves for college. Now she’s stuck working as the personal assistant to twenty-year-old Gracin Ford, former member of one-hit-wonder boy band Accentuate.
Gracin is demanding, condescending, and an all-around jerk. Carly would rather eat glass than deal with a male diva who’s more famous for his stint in rehab than his music. Until she realizes that Gracin’s lonely. Once she welcomes him into her life, she starts to let him into her heart. Even though she knows it will end when she leaves for school, Carly doesn’t want to look back on her life and wonder what if. Even if it means a broken heart.

Lynn Stevens flunked out of college writing her first novel. Yes, she still has it and no, you can't read it. Surprisingly, she graduated with honors at her third school. A former farm girl turned city slicker turned suburbanite, Lynn lives in the Midwest where she drinks coffee and sips tea when she's out of coffee. She’s the author of Full Count and Game On..
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Nobody sane should ever be up at eight on a Saturday morning. Especially not when said person stayed up until three a.m. for a horror movie marathon with her best friends Ivy and Nena. So totally worth it though. 
What a waste of a Saturday. I could be sleeping, or bungee jumping, or sleeping, or ziplining, or sleeping instead of starting a job I didn’t want in the first place.
I bit back a yawn as I smoothed the wrinkled turquoise polo, the required uniform for Mountain View Resort employees. Taking a deep breath to steady the waves in my stomach, I knocked on the door to room four-oh-two three times, as instructed, and squeezed my clipboard against my chest.
What had my father been thinking bringing this guy to Branson? For the last few years, I’d overheard Dad lamenting to my brother about how the shows didn’t make enough money and the profits from the resort disappeared into the theater. If Dad wanted to revive that dump, he’d need someone to sell out every performance. I had serious doubts about his choice. Another reason I was in the doghouse.
I lifted my fist to hammer the door a second time when it flew open.
A wet torso greeted me, and a hint of the hotel’s jasmine soap drifted from the room. My gaze followed water dripping down tanned pecs and over the only real six-pack I’d ever seen as it disappeared into the thick hotel towel wrapped around his waist. Wow. My face burned hotter than the coffee I’d slammed earlier, and I forced my head up to meet the gaze of The Gracin Ford, celebrity bad boy and former member of Accentuate, a one-hit wonder boy band.
Gracin’s manscaped eyebrows arched as bright blue eyes took a circuit over my body. My skin tingled all over in response to his gaze.
Sadly, he had to open his mouth. “Not my type, but thanks.”
Then he slammed the door in my face.
What? That… that… that son of a bitch! I punched the door three times, fully prepared to give this egotistical asshole a piece of my mind. Meanwhile, my father’s lecture from half an hour ago echoed between my ears: “If you want to go to U of N in the fall, you work for me this summer to pay me back for the damage to the Mercedes. Don’t, and you can go to Southern Community like your brother did.” I counted to thirty, trying and failing to calm myself while I waited for his highness.
The door swung in. At least this time, he’d had the decency to put on a pair of khaki shorts and a t-shirt. His gaze shifted over me once more, and I tried not to squirm, but blue eyes gave me the creeps. And brought back memories I’d rather pretend didn’t exist.
“What now?” he asked. If he was even slightly miffed, he didn’t show it. The cool nonchalance in his voice didn’t stop my temper from shooting toward the atmosphere.
I dug my nails into the back of the clipboard and smiled my best smile. “Hi, Mr. Ford. I’m Carly Reynolds, your … personal assistant. Your father provided us with a detailed itinerary of your day-to-day–”
“Let me see it,” he said, leaning his shoulder against the door jam.
I handed it over, keeping the tremor in my hands at bay. Personal assistant my ass, more like his errand bitch. If he hadn’t fired his previous P.A., I could be lounging by the pool as a lifeguard or cleaning rooms or checking guests at the front desk. Instead, I had to spend my summer following every whim of a twenty-year-old has-been. As he took the itinerary, his eyebrows furrowed at something else. Before my hand could drop back to my side, he snatched it and tugged at the tie holding the leather cuff covering my wrist.
His eyebrows lifted again and amusement danced across his full lips. “Nice tat. Why hide it?”
 “Who says I’m hiding it?” He let go of my hand, and I quickly retied the cuff over the small trinity knot tattoo on my wrist. It had only been two weeks since I’d gotten inked, but Mom and Dad hadn’t noticed. Yet.  I crossed my arms and bit the inside of my upper lip. As much as I didn’t want to be here, I also didn’t want to go to Southern Community. Keeping my mouth shut was kind of required if I wanted to go to Nashville in the fall.
Gracin nodded and refocused on the itinerary. He flipped the paper, shaking his head. “According to this, you’re supposed to take me to breakfast every morning at eight so we can discuss the day’s schedule.” He handed the clipboard back to me. “I’m assuming that’s why you’re here now.”
He sighed. “Let me get my shoes. No doubt the big kahuna will be expecting me.” He moved into the room and I reached out to hold the door open. “I’ll get a more realistic schedule to you.”
“Realistic?” I asked as he slipped on a pair of boat shoes and a Rolex that could pay for half a semester at U of N or the entire two years at Southern Community.
“Yeah, that’s clearly the schedule Dad wants me to keep. Not even close to reality.” Gracin stepped into the hallway, patting his pocket. He groaned and turned to stop the door from shutting completely, but it was too late. He fell forward, letting his forehead thunk against the thick wood. “You wouldn’t happen to have a key to my room, would you?”
“No, but we can get one from the front desk after breakfast. You’re moving into one of the cabins today anyway.” I shrugged because it wasn’t that big of a deal. “No worries.”
Gracin laughed, but there wasn’t any humor to it. “Do me a favor. Keep this key thing between us, okay? The last thing I need is to hear how irresponsible I am. Again.”
I held back the scoff and the sarcastic comment that would normally shoot from my mouth in record speed. Especially since I’d heard the same lecture more times than I could count. “Yeah, okay. But we have to go now, or you’re going to have to hear how irresponsible I am.”
“Well, I won’t say anything about the tat in that case.” Gracin’s smile showed his Hollywood white teeth.
We were half way between his room and the elevator when his cell rang. I tried to ignore his half of the conversation, but when you’re alone with someone, it’s hard not to listen.
“Hey, babe.” Pause. “Yeah, I had a great time too.”
Another pause. Gracin laughed, clutching his hand against his chest.
“Probably best they didn’t catch us. Photographic evidence and all.”
Another pause when we got to the elevator. Gracin’s face turned from California tan to the shade of a bruised red pepper.
“You didn’t? Please tell me you didn’t.”
I wanted to lean closer to hear what the person on the other end had done. Celebrity drama and all. I didn’t seek it out, but that didn’t stop me from reading the headlines when they popped up on my computer.
After I pushed the button for the elevator, we stood side by side. Gracin’s fingers tightened around the phone. I could hear a female voice coming from his speaker but not what she said. Gracin slapped the mirrored doors.
Housekeeping’ll love that.
The doors dinged open as Gracin’s fist soared toward them, and he threw himself into the elevator. He managed not to fall, but it was so hard not to laugh.
“Next time you talk to that jackass, tell him you were just another one-night stand.”
Wow. I’d somehow managed to keep my expression neutral when he fell into the elevator, but my mortification couldn’t be hidden. 
He stared at me in the mirror. “There goes hiding my lack of responsibility today,” he said in a calm voice that didn’t match the fury from a moment ago.
I kept my mouth shut despite the thoughts running through my head and held his mirrored gaze. Both took supreme battles of will. I thought only one thing: U of N. Nothing was going to keep me from going to Nashville.
Gracin tilted his head. His eyebrows sagged as he opened his mouth. A beep sounded from his phone, distracting him from whatever he was about to say. He shook his head at the screen and then handed it to me. “Here. Fair warning before Hurricane Albert leashes his wrath on me.”
I wasn’t interested in getting caught up in his drama, but curiosity got the best of me and I glanced at the image on the screen. It wasn’t anything major. A beautiful girl with bright brown eyes and obviously dyed red hair kissed a smiling Gracin on the cheek. It was pretty clear they were in a bar when this was taken. Several empty beer bottles sat on the table in front of them.
“A hot chick took a photo of you guys in a bar?” I handed the phone back. “Big deal.”
 “The ‘deal’ is she sold it to a tabloid.” Gracin shoved the phone into his pocket. He didn’t spare me a glimpse, even in the mirror. “I can see the headlines already: ‘Gracin Ford Falls Off the Wagon.’ ” Finally, he faced me. “Except I didn’t. I’ve been sober for almost a year. None of those empties were mine. Not that anybody will believe me. Especially King Albert.”
“Yeah, ‘oh.’”
I didn’t say anything, but the heat burning the tips of my ears was enough.
The elevator opened to the lobby. Gracin motioned me out first and followed me to the private dining room. Dad sat at the head of the table in the middle of the room. My mother sat to his right, and a gray-haired man with a stringy comb-over sat on his left. His extensive lack of hair didn’t stop Albert Ford from trying. My older brother, Luke, sat next to three empty seats for me, Gracin, and my little sister, Miranda. Quite the family affair.
“Carly, I’m glad you made it,” Dad said, adding a fake laugh at the end. To anyone else, it might’ve appeared teasing. I knew better. Dad was not happy we were a minute late. Of course, when it came to me, he wouldn’t have been happy had I been two minutes early either. My father was the consummate politician around here. He ruled more like a dictator, but was JFK when guests were around. “I thought you were going to be late.”
“That’s my fault, Mr. Reynolds,” Gracin said. He threw out a hundred-watt smile.
I fought to roll my eyes. At least he’s taking the hit for me.
“Carly rushed me out the door, then let it close before I remembered to grab my key.”
And under the bus I go. Thanks, asshat.
Dad stared through me with his laser pointer green eyes. “Well, Carly, I suggest you head to the front desk and get another. While you’re there, make sure housekeeping stays out of his room until this evening when the cabin is ready.”
“Yes, sir.” I let my head drop in good girl compliance, catching the laughing eyes of my brother. We both inherited Dad’s light brown hair, but Luke lucked out getting Dad’s eyes. Unfortunately, he used them to taunt me at every turn, which only served to remind me who was the chosen one in the Reynolds family. Hint, his name began with an L.
Gracin made his way toward the buffet spread. He piled fresh fruit on his plate, winking at me. I shuddered as I freed myself from the room. Guys who winked were just plain creepy.
My last summer before heading off to college was going to be the worst one of my life. All because of a little dent in a Mercedes. Smashing.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

All of You: Release Blitz

Title: All of You
Author: Fabiola Francisco
Genre: Romance/Women’s Fiction
Editor: Robin Bateman
Cover Designer: Amy Queau
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2018

Cassidy Rae Pressman comes with way more than Jason Stone bargained for, yet she is exactly what he’s been searching for.
I want what all my friends have.
He doesn't need my baggage.
I can't stop thinking about her.
Romance isn't my priority, my daughter is.
I want to show her she can have it all.
He thinks we can be a family.
Her and Rae are my family now, and no one will take them away from me.
He stays even when it's easier to leave.
I'm going to give her her southern fairytale.

Fabiola Francisco loves the simplicity—and kick—of scotch on the rocks. She follows Hemingway’s philosophy—write drunk, edit sober. She writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance, dipping her pen into new adult and young adult. Her moods guide her writing, taking her anywhere from sassy and sexy romances to dark and emotion-filled love stories. Writing has always been a part of her life, penning her own life struggles as a form of therapy through poetry. She still stays true to her first love, poems, while weaving longer stories with strong heroines and honest heroes. She aims to get readers thinking about life and love while experiencing her characters’ journeys. She is continuously creating stories as she daydreams. Her other loves are country music, exploring the outdoors, and reading.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Lovin’ on You:
Love You Thought It:
“You don’t have to help.”
“I want to.” Jason stands next to me as I wash the plates and he dries them for me. “I know I kinda showed up here and interrupted your dinner. Sorry about that.”
“Kinda showed up? More like you did show up,” I tease.
“Potato, potahto. But, I can’t stop thinking about you. This isn’t a line I grabbed from some cheesy movie. I know, I know, I don’t even know you,” he chuckles when I raise an eyebrow. “But I’ve seen enough to know I want to. I want to help you discover what your dreams are and watch you offer your daughter the best life she can have.”
“It’s complicated with her around. She already expects to see you everyday, and this is only the third time she’s seen you. I always thought if I ever met someone, and that was a big if, I’d get to know the man really well first, before introducing him to my daughter. This is backwards. It’s almost as if she’s gotten to know you before I have. It’s confusing for her.”
“So let me get to know you.” He angles his body toward me. “Let me show you who I am. It’s easy with her because she came right up to me, offered me a cookie, and started talking as if I was her best friend. I guess kids are less guarded in that sense.” He casts his eyes down a moment. I place my hand over his.
“They’ve got it easy, don’t they?” I ask him, trying to lighten the mood.
“Yup.” Jason continues drying the plate he was working on.
I’m not the only one with a past.
*Copyright 2018, Fabiola Francisco

Thursday, April 26, 2018

All of You: Pre-Order Blitz

Title: All of You
Author: Fabiola Francisco
Genre: Romance/Women’s Fiction
Editor: Robin Bateman
Cover Designer: Amy Queau
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2018

Cassidy Rae Pressman comes with way more than Jason Stone bargained for, yet she is exactly what he’s been searching for.
I want what all my friends have.
He doesn't need my baggage.
I can't stop thinking about her.
Romance isn't my priority, my daughter is.
I want to show her she can have it all.
He thinks we can be a family.
Her and Rae are my family now, and no one will take them away from me.
He stays even when it's easier to leave.
I'm going to give her her southern fairytale.

Fabiola Francisco loves the simplicity—and kick—of scotch on the rocks. She follows Hemingway’s philosophy—write drunk, edit sober. She writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance, dipping her pen into new adult and young adult. Her moods guide her writing, taking her anywhere from sassy and sexy romances to dark and emotion-filled love stories. Writing has always been a part of her life, penning her own life struggles as a form of therapy through poetry. She still stays true to her first love, poems, while weaving longer stories with strong heroines and honest heroes. She aims to get readers thinking about life and love while experiencing her characters’ journeys. She is continuously creating stories as she daydreams. Her other loves are country music, exploring the outdoors, and reading.

Author Links:
Buy Links:
Lovin’ on You:
Love You Thought It:
All of You (Pre-Order):

Friday, August 18, 2017

Blog Tour: Salt

Title: Salt - a mermaid tale Author: Pauline Creeden Genre: YA Fantasy/Myth Hosted by: Lady Amber's Reviews & PR
Blurb: Her kind treats her as less-than-human, but she’s always been so much more.
Mermaid life has never been easy for Verona. Her scars give evidence of her abuse. When her day of reckoning arrives, she is determined to endure exile. According to her father’s experience, exile is better than becoming a land-walker and risking her life among the humans.
However, when she saves the life of a drowning human boy, she inadvertently sets off a chain of events which force her to choose a path: stay with the humans she has become attached to or return home to a life of scorn. A savage hunter draws closer, threatening even the humans. Her only hope is to keep everyone safe until the next full moon, but those around her devise their own plans.
Pauline Creeden is an award-winning author of inventive fiction.
Armored Hearts, her joint effort with author Melissa Turner Lee, has been awarded the Crowned Heart for Excellence by InDtale Magazine. It is also the 2013 Book Junkie's Choice Winner in Historical Fiction. Her debut novel, Sanctuary, won 1st Place Christian YA Title 2013 Dante Rosetti Award and 2014 Reader's Choice Gold Award for Best YA Horror Novel. Chronicles of Steele Raven won the 2015 Grace Award and IndieBrag Medallion.
Author Links: Website: FB: Twitter: Goodreads: Amazon: Buy Links:Amazon: iTunes: B&N: GooglePlay: Kobo: FREE Coloring Book with purchase:
Bryce shot out an arm in front of Logan, stopping him from his search. “Wait. Alex told you, right? Or were you completely fooled?”
Logan glanced toward Alex whose eyes were downcast, cheeks burning red. Logan spoke through his teeth. “Told me what?”
Now he had Logan’s attention, Bryce stepped toward Alex and slapped him on the chest with the back of his hand. “That whole neighborly deal was all part of the plan. I told him to make sure you came to the party no matter what.” He offered a hyena-like toothy grin. “And here you are.”
Blood rushed to Logan’s own cheeks. This was a set up? So what was the rest of this plan? His hands fisted. “Yep, here I am. What now?”
Bryce pushed on Alex’s shoulder, forcing the boy to sit, and then sat on the cushion next to him. “What now? Nothing. Enjoy the trip. Recognize what a tool you are and how I always get what I want. Oh…and stay away from Jessica.”
It took all Logan had not to roll his eyes. His interest in Jessica was non-existent, but there was no way he’d tell Bryce. In some ways, it was a relief the alpha in this town only wanted to play games and give warnings. It was better than some of the beatings in alleys Logan had endured in middle-school. Things could definitely be worse. His lip pulled up into a half smile. “Whatever you say, Bryce. Awful expensive way to send a message. What did it cost you?”
Alex’s gaze still had not risen from the deck of the boat. The slump of his shoulders and the way he squeezed his hands around that sorry beer can kept Logan from feeling angry with his new pseudo-friend. All he felt for the guy was pity.
Bryce shrugged and pulled a plastic bag from his pocket containing an old-style pocket watch. He eyed it and gave a mock-frown. “It was fun carrying around this old thing…”
The sudden lift in Alex’s shoulders and gaze made it clear the item was something he cherished. The lanky boy couldn’t take his eyes off the glinting silver.
Bryce tossed the watch to Max with a laugh, causing Alex to start from his seat in the same direction. He dropped his beer can when Bryce gripped his shoulder and pushed him back down. Alex’s eyes dropped momentarily, but rose again as if drawn to the item. He whimpered. “Give it back.”
“So you were holding that thing hostage until Alex agreed to get me here?” Logan asked.
Alex’s eyes met Logan’s, wide and pleading. “It was my grandfather’s.”
Bryce shrugged. “It’s not like I stole the piece of junk. Alex lost it in a bet.”
“I did not,” Alex cried.
Bryce smacked him in the back of the head. “Nothing I hate more than a liar.”
Alex whimpered. “I did…but I didn’t mean to.”
They had probably forced a bet of some kind on Alex. It wasn’t surprising. Thugs came in all sizes and social backgrounds. It didn’t matter the size of the town…or the island.
Logan took a step toward Max who held the bag between two fingers and tossed it toward Ben when he saw Logan coming. The tack Logan was taking needed to change. He rocked back onto his heels and crossed his arms over his chest. “Are you a man of your word, Bryce?”
Bryce’s smile faded, replaced with a frown. “Are you calling me a liar?”
Logan shrugged. “Well if you made a deal with Alex to return the watch, why does Ben have it?”
The left side of Bryce’s lip curled as he nodded toward Ben and raised a hand. “Toss it here.”
With a laugh, Ben lobbed the bag underhand toward Bryce’s upraised hand. The sneer on Bryce’s face grew into a smile that would make the Grinch proud as he lowered his hand just before the watch got there. The bag flew over the railing of the yacht into the darkness below.
A yelp went out as Alex scrambled across the bench seat toward the railing on his knees.
Several people lunged in the same direction, all looking over the railing. Logan was surprised to find they’d developed an audience with their little skit. The low hum of the motor and the music both cut off. He shook his head and joined the group. Someone produced a flashlight and shone it across the dark waves. The silver on the watch glinted, several yards away.
“There it is!” Bryce declared and smacked Alex on the back. “Now you just have to hop over and go get it.”
Alex backed away from the railing, his shoulders shuddering and his voice cracking. “But I…I can’t swim.”
The spectators all spit out in various fits of laughter. Bryce literally slapped himself on the knee before he could get a hold of himself. “No worries.” He grabbed a flotation device and tossed it in the general direction of the watch.
“There you go,” snickered Ben.
Laughter erupted in the crowd.
Alex hugged himself with his arms. He had broken out into a panicked sweat. Logan had seen this look before, dozens of times in dozens of towns. Poor Alex had fallen into the trap of being a victim of this alpha over and over again, but this time, he was on the verge of breaking. Tears welled in the lanky boy’s eyes. His grandfather’s watch. If Alex’s grandfather had meant half as much to Alex as Mama Wend meant to Logan, the watch would be worth more to him than just about anything. But if he couldn’t swim, Alex was powerless to recover it.
“I’ll get it.”
Alex’s head shot up and his wide eyes met Logan’s.
Logan was as shocked to hear the words come out of his mouth as Alex was, but he was already pushing his Vans off his feet.
Alex blinked.
The rest of the crowd had grown quiet, but Bryce laughed harder. “You’ll get it? Seriously? Alex put on an act to be your friend just to get you on this boat and now you’re going to get wet for him? What kind of idiot are you?”
Logan pulled his socks off and then his shirt.
An audible gasp went up from several of the girls when he bared his abs. Logan smiled at Bryce’s glare and pushed his shirt and cell phone into Alex’s hands. “Since you spilled beer on it anyway. You can wash it for me.”
“Are you for real?” Bryce leapt to his feet.
“I’ll be back in a minute,” Logan said and nodded to the guy with the flashlight. “Keep that on the watch for me, will you?”
The guy nodded and concentrated his beam on the silver gleam.
A light drizzle started, and Logan decided he’d better hurry before the storm really kicked up. With a laugh and two steps forward, Logan leapt over the railing and down into the darkness.
Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs images from the Wonder Emporium kit by MK-Designs