Sunday, September 24, 2017

Beyond the Mist by Casi McLean Blitz and #Giveaway


Beyond the Mist
Casi McLean
(Lake Lanier Mysteries, #2)
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: September 15th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Time-Travel
Piper Taylor concedes she’ll never fall in love, until a treacherous storm spirals her into the arms of the handsome Nick Cramer. Unrelenting remorse over a past relationship haunts Nick, but he can’t deny the mysterious connection and hot desire Piper evokes.
The allure of a secret portal hidden beneath Atlanta’s Lake Lanier tempts him into seizing the opportunity to change his mistakes. But his time slip triggers consequences beyond his wildest dreams.
Can Piper avoid the international espionage and terrorism of 2001 New York, find Nick, and bring him home before he alters the fabric of time, or will the lovers drift forever Beyond The Mist?
Are you a book reviewer?
You can request a review copy here!
EXCERPT:
A soft mist hovered over the moonlit lake, beckoning, luring him forward with the seductive enticement of a mermaid’s song. Rhythmic clatter of a distant train moaned in harmony with a symphony of cricket chirps and croaking frogs. Spellbound, Nick Cramer took a long breath and waded deeper into the murky cove. Dank air, laden with a scent of soggy earth and pine, crawled across his bare arms. The hairs on the back of his neck bristled, shooting a prickle down his spine that slithered into an icy pool coiled in the pit of his stomach. He clenched his fingers into a tight fist, determined to fight through the emotion consuming him. Fear sliced through his belly like icy shards until he finally heaved, forcing rancid bile to choke into his throat.
I have to do this––he inched forward––only a few more steps and––
A sudden surge swirled around him, yanking him into a whirling vortex, where a violent blue streak dragged him deeper, deeper beneath the lake into the shadowy depths. Heart pounding, he battled against the force, twisting, thrusting toward the surface with all of his strength but, despite his muscular build, he spun like a feather in wind into oblivion. When the mist dissolved, Nick Cramer had vanished.


Author Bio:
Award winning author, Casi McLean, pens novels to stir the soul with romance, suspense, and a sprinkle of magic. Her writing crosses genres from ethereal, captivating shorts with eerie twist endings to believable time slips, mystical plots, and sensual romantic suspense, like Beneath The Lake, WINNER: 2016 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for BEST Romantic Suspense. WATCH THE TRAILER https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwOqm8DUUfA
Casi's powerful memoir, Wingless Butterfly: Healing The Broken Child Within, shares an inspirational message of courage, tenacity, and hope, and displays her unique ability to excel in nonfiction and self-help as well as fiction. Known for enchanting stories with magical description, McLean entices readers in nonfiction as well with fascinating hooks to hold them captive in storylines they can't put down.
Her romance entwines strong, believable heroines with delicious hot heroes to tempt the deepest desires then fans the flames, sweeping readers into their innermost romantic fantasies. Ms. McLean weaves exceptional romantic mystery with suspenseful settings and lovable characters you'll devour. You'll see, hear, and feel the magical eeriness of one fateful night. You'll swear her time travel could happen, be mystified by her other worldly images, and feel heat of romantic suspense, but most of all you'll want more.



#GIVEAWAY
Signed copies of both books 
in the Lake Lanier Mysteries series.
Ends Oct. 5, 2017

XBTBanner1

Running with Wolves by Summer Lane Blitz and #Giveaway


Running with Wolves
Summer Lane
Publication date: September 22nd 2017
Genres: Adventure, Historical, Romance, Young Adult
Alaska, 1898
“They always come back,” she whispers. “Always.”

He spilled their blood. Now, she’s out for revenge.

Jenna Renee is a woman wronged. When her adoptive parents are brutally murdered by an outlaw named Conroy Parker and his gang of thugs, they take everything from her: her family, her happiness, and her money.

Determined to bring Conroy and his boys to justice, she hires a gruff but dangerous gun-slinging trapper and guide, Jeremiah Black, to help her hunt Conroy down.
But there is more to Alaska than meets the eye.
The cold touch of the arctic winter is dangerous, and the corruption of Conroy Parker and his comrades runs deep. The tundra is unforgiving, and so are the wolves. Nothing is as at seems.

If the wilderness doesn’t kill Jenna, the pack will. Revenge comes with a price, and so does love. There will be no mercy….only the hunt.

A romantic adventure from #1 bestselling author Summer Lane, set amidst the gritty and awe-inspiring setting of Alaska during the last great Gold Rush.
Interview with Bestselling Author Summer Lane
(Courtesy of Writing Belle Publishing)
This is your first historical fiction. How different was the writing process, as opposed to the past 17 novels you’ve written – which have all been post-apocalyptic?
A historical novel is more strictly attached to the time period in which it takes place. The way people talk, dress, act, and even eat are different than how we do all of those things modernly. I had to do a lot of research, of course. I have been slowly working on this book for roughly 2 years, when the idea originally occurred to me. I have read so many books about Alaska…toward the end of the writing process, I was devouring whole college textbooks and double fact-checking everything I had until I was entirely sure my eyes were going to fall out of my head.
With my apocalyptic books, the research is tactically-oriented, if that makes sense. With Wolves, I had to make sure the slang and vernacular was correct and that the history was right on target. I took a few artistic liberties with the story, as all writers do, but everything is based in fact. Everything.
Where did the idea for Running with Wolves come from?
I have always loved animals. I have always loved dogs. I first was enraptured by the idea of setting a story in Alaska when I was a little girl, after watching the animated film Balto for the first time. The concept for this particular novel sprung up about 2 years ago. It took me a long time to cultivate the plot to a point where I liked it enough to go ahead and write the book. I have always wanted to write a western-style novel, and that’s what Wolves is. A western novel set in the snow, with adventure and romance.
Where does the story actually take place?
I have constructed a fictional tale within the boundaries of the boomtowns and mining camps that existed in 1898. The main character, Jenna Renee, lives outside of a town called Dyea. I used prominent and famous historical hotspots, such as the Chilkoot Pass and Dawson City, in the book, too.
Can we look forward to some romance, in addition to adventure?
Yes! One of the central themes of the novel is the romance story between Jenna Renee and the rather callous but handsome United States Marshal Jeremiah Black. I love Jeremiah’s character – he’s got a lot of surprises up his sleeve, and I think readers will love him as much as Jenna does.
What are your upcoming projects?
Well, I have a non-fiction novel coming up in the next several months: Prolific: Writing a Hit Novel. I’m also releasing the first installment of the anticipated Resurrection Series in January 2018. Resurrection will continue the adventures, fights, and romances of Commander Cassidy Hart from the hit Collapse Series.


Author Bio:
Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of 18 novels, including the smash-hit Collapse Series. She owns Writing Belle Publishing. Lane is also an experienced journalist and creative writing teacher. Writing Belle is her online magazine, where she has interviewed and featured hundreds of writers from around the globe.
Look for her upcoming books, Prolific: Writing a Hit Novel, and Resurrection: Shadows of Omega, the hotly anticipated continuation of Cassidy Hart’s post-apocalyptic adventures.
Summer lives in the Central Valley of California with her husband, Scott, and their German Shepherd, Kona.

#GIVEAWAY

Kindle Tablet
$20 Starbucks Card
Jack London Novel Collection

XBTBanner1

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Last Man Complete Trilogy by Tobias Wade

The Last Man
The Fantasy Series of Enlightenment
by Tobias Wade

My rating: 4 stars

Complete Trilogy: The Last Man: The Fantasy Series of Enlightenment
Publisher: Tobias Wade (May 27, 2014)
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Genre: YA Coming of Age - Fantasy
Print Length: 646 pages
Available from: Amazon
 
Farris did not believe in the old stories. Grandmother Rochette spoke of such strange things: monsters and magic and impossible heroes who could only exist in legend. But when Tom, her little brother, is kidnapped by the same monsters Grandmother spoke of, Farris is forced to change her view of reality in order to save him.

Following Tom and his captors sends Farris below the crust of the earth, where layer after layer of new worlds await. She travels both within the mind and without, taking a path of harrowing adventure and personal enlightenment as she tries to free Tom. Unlikely companions join her, from her faithful goat Bumble to Gloria the magical fish, a seemingly trustworthy dweller of the Brass City, and Sasha … a man who knows far more about her than he should.  

 
 The Last Man Complete Trilogy by Tobias Wade

The Last Man: The Fantasy Series of Enlightenment - Complete TrilogyGrandmother Rochette always warned of the monsters in her stories, but Farris didn’t see them for anything but fantasy until her younger brother, Tom was taken and those monsters became far too real. Now guilt and the desperate need to save her brother will send Farris on a journey of both the mind and body as she dares to travel deep into the bowels of the earth through untold dangers. For Farris, there will be a price to pay, but both her guilt in not believing and her need to find young Tom is worth any cost. What Farris didn’t see coming was the personal growth she would achieve, the truths and lies she would uncover and the value in the journey itself. For a young girl who was once too wrapped up in her crush and growing up, this journey would forever change who and what she will become, but what will it do to Tom, if he can survive his captors? Why was he chosen to be taken? Is it his youth, his innocence or his belief in the stories from Grandmother? Enter a world where names and naming have power and other races live far from the realm of humans.

Follow Farris’ journey along with her unlikely allies, her goat, a talking fish and Sasha, a young man she once cared for, but can no longer remember. Heroes will dies, truths will be uncovered and lessons will be learned as riddle after riddle are presented and Farris is forced to ferret out their meaning in order to continue her quest.

Tobias Wade’s THE LAST MAN: THE FANTASY SERIES OF ENLIGHTENMENT Trilogy often brought to mind the Beatles’ song, “Come Together” with its mystical and surreal feel. Books one and two were centered around Farris as we witness an envious, child, too caught up in her own world to see beyond what she can see and touch become a young woman, fierce in her convictions to brave the unknown to save the brother who often was a thorn in her side. Definitely not quick or light reading, the writing is both thought-provoking and intense.

Book three really had me, hook, line and sinker as Farris comes even closer to finding Tom, who now plays the role of a participating character, as opposed to the unknown “quest.” Sometimes life’s journey shows us truths we would rather not see, but it does make us stronger for all we go through and everyone is a product of their own journey with a path that differs from ours.

Fantasy characters, levels of reality and the magic of storytelling all make this trilogy one that begs to be savored, lived and believed in, if only for a while! Tobias Wade pays particular attention to creating his world with a keen sense of mystery and a feeling that if we blink, we will lose an important point in his sometimes dizzying puzzles to solve, but suddenly hours have gone by and I never even noticed!

I received this copy from Tobias Wade!



The Hunt by Chloe Neill (Devil's Isle, #3)

The Hunt
by Chloe Neill

My rating: 4 stars

Series: Devil's Isle - Book 3
Publisher: Berkley (September 26, 2017)
Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Print Length: 329 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

When bounty hunter Liam Quinn discovered that Claire Connolly was a Sensitive and infected with magic, he should have turned her in to be locked up in the prison district known as Devil's Isle. Instead, he helped her learn to control her power and introduced her to an underground group of Paranormals and humans who know the truth about the war and those who fought it.
Now the weight of Liam's own secrets has forced him into hiding. When a government agent is killed and Claire discovers that Liam is the prime suspect, she races to find him before the government can. But she'll discover proving his innocence is no simple matter. Their enemies are drawing closer, and time is running out....

 
 The Hunt by Chloe Neill (Devil's Isle, #3)

The Hunt (Devil's Isle, #3)A touch of mystery, a touch of the magic of the supernatural and New Orleans, shake it up, add some fabulous characters and delightful dialogue and voila! Chloe Neill’s THE HUNT is born!

Bounty hunter, Liam Quinn has gone against all the rules and protected and aided Sensitive Claire Connolly. Now Liam is in trouble and Claire is determined to return the favor and will do all she can to protect Liam from the government’s deadly claws by proving him innocent of murder. The clock is ticking and time is running out as agents tighten the noose on their freedom. They are coming…but Claire is growing stronger in her abilities and her heart won’t let her quit when Liam needs her the most.

Hang on tight as secrets will rock this world, rock these characters and ratchet up the paranoia that thrives in NOLA.

Gotta love the dialogue, always a treat from Ms. Neill! Driven by surprising revelations, danger for the paranormals and a world that doesn’t quite sparkle like it used to. THE HUNT is the darker side of living in a world that fears those who are different.

I received an ARC edition from Berkley Publishing Group. This is my honest review.

Hot Pursuit by Julie Ann Walker (Black Knights, Inc., #11)

Hot Pursuit
by Julie Ann Walker

My rating: 4 stars

Series: Black Knights Inc. - Book 11
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (October 3, 2017)
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Print Length: 386 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
He puts the hot...
Christian Watson, a former SAS officer and current BKI operator, never thought he would return to England after a terrible turn of events forced him to abandon his homeland. But now he's back on British soil where old enemies are determined to do him in. Fighting for his life is pretty much SOP for Christian. Doing it with the beautiful, bossy Emily Scott in tow is another matter entirely.

In hot pursuit.
Emily lost her coveted job at the CIA because of a colleague turned rogue, and now she has just one rule when it comes to men: they're for recreational purposes only. But when she and Christian are thrust into very close quarters while evading two mysterious men who want Christian dead, she can't help but question all her ideas about love and life lived on the edge. Battling the bad guys is hard enough, battling her feelings for Christian just might prove impossible.
  

 Hot Pursuit by Julie Ann Walker (Black Knights, Inc., #11)

Hot Pursuit (Black Knights Inc., #11)He is used to living life on the edge, being part of a covert team called the Black Knights, Inc. What Christian hadn’t counted on was having to defend more than just his own life when his past comes back to haunt him on his own home soil.

Emily has vowed to never give her heart away, after all, with a past like hers, she knows it is a losing proposition, but she can’t help her feelings for the wickedly hot Christian, so different from her south Chicago attitude. The man is larger-than-life amazing and he knows what he wants, something he has never dreamed of having and it comes wrapped in the feisty, mouthy package that is Emily Scott.

As their chemistry boils over, hot enough to melt steel, Christian’s past could very well get his team killed, and there is no way anyone will get their hands on Emily, period. As dangerous as those who hunt Christian, Emily becomes like acid burning his very soul, because she just won’t give in and give him anything more than her body.

HOT PURSUIT by Julie Ann Walker is an erotic journey with a side of intrigue and suspense as an unlikely couple play cat and mouse with love.

Christian is “that” hero, hot, alpha and cocksure about life, except when it comes to Emily, but he willing to stick his neck out for something he never thought he could have. Emily is a little harder to know, to like or relate to. On the one hand, she wants what Christian is offering badly, but her denial is as weak as a kitten and her reliance on her past as an excuse, particularly after nearly dying gets a little annoying, I mean really shouldn’t she have realized what a gift life and love are?

Erotic, suspenseful and filled with characters that ooze alpha badassness, Julie Ann Walker certainly cannot be accused of going light on the sensual tension and heated passion!

I received an ARC edition from Sourcebooks Casablanca. This is my honest review.

#Cover Reveal - Sleeping Dragons Series by Ophelia Bell

Sleeping Dragons Series
Ophelia Bell
Publication date: October 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Erika’s spent her entire post-graduate career searching for it. The elusive dragon stronghold her archaeologist professors scoffed at as being only a myth. Now she has the perfect team and has led them into the deepest reaches of the Sumatran jungle. At the edge of the discovery of the century, she’s finally about to prove to everyone how wrong they were.
But when the seven intrepid explorers pass through the doors, they’re barely prepared for the conflict of lust versus logic they’re faced with on the inside. Ages-old magic lingers in the stronghold, dictating that they perform a ritual to awaken the long-slumbering beasts within. And beasts that beautiful only awaken to one thing: the unbridled release of their fated mates in the throes of ecstasy.
The Sleeping Dragons Omnibus is a series of six novelettes. It includes all kinds of fun kinks involving shapeshifting mythical beasts who breathe magic smoke and have very long, prehensile tongues.


Author Bio:
Ophelia Bell loves a good bad-boy and especially strong women in her stories. Women who aren't apologetic about enjoying sex and bad boys who don't mind being with a woman who's in charge, at least on the surface, because pretty much anything goes in the bedroom.
Ophelia grew up on a rural farm in North Carolina and now lives in Los Angeles with her own tattooed bad-boy husband and four attention-whoring cats.
If you'd like to receive regular updates on Ophelia's publications, freebies, and discounts, please subscribe to her mailing list: http://opheliabell.com/subscribe/

XBTBanner1

Saving Jace by Rebecca Rivard (The Fada Shapeshifters Series, #4)

Saving Jace
by Rebecca Rivard

My rating: 5 stars

Series: The Fada Shapeshifters - Book 4
Publisher: Wild Hearts Press; 1 edition (September 25, 2017)
Publication Date: September 25, 2017
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Print Length: 359 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
THE DARKTIME ISN’T OVER.

A black panther shifter with a scarred heart...

Jace Jones, a Baltimore earth fada lieutenant, lost nearly his entire family in the clan war known as the Darktime. Scarred by the deaths, he pours his soul into rebuilding the clan. The only person who has a claim on his heart is his niece, until an attack by a night fae leaves him dying on a human’s doorstep.

A gutsy waitress trying to hold onto her dreams...

Tough, edgy Evie Morningstar is doing her best to raise a teenage brother on a waitress’s pay while taking classes toward a nursing degree. She has no time for men—until she finds the sexy shifter bleeding out in her backyard. After Evie saves Jace’s life, the two take the first steps toward a happily ever after—only to find both Evie and her brother have been drawn into the fada’s dangerous world.

And the Darktime isn't over...

NOTE: Saving Jace is the start of the Darktime Trilogy featuring the Baltimore Earth Fada Clan.

 
 Saving Jace by Rebecca Rivard
(The Fada Shapeshifters Series, #4)

Saving Jace (The Fada Shapeshifters Series, #4)Very hot, very Alpha, panther shifter Jace is dying right on waitress Evie Morningstar’s back doorstep and Fate connects them completely, but will Fate also tear them apart when Evie and her younger brother become pawns in a deadly quest for power and control in the Fada world?

Evie is already burdened with the weight of the world on her shoulders, but she is about to discover there is more to her than meets the eye as the magic and passion between her and Jace become a heated connection that flies off the charts with a tender sweetness that shines. Her first responsibility is to her brother, but the Fada have put them both in jeopardy and now she can only hope that Jace and his clan can keep them safe, a vow Jace has made and will die to keep.

Rebecca Rivard has another steamy hit on her hands! SAVING JACE has all the passion of romance, the intrigue of suspense and the danger of the constant battle of good versus evil, ratcheted up to deadly proportions. Through it all, Ms. Rivard never fails to create characters with heart, compassion and a keen sense of right and wrong, even at the worst of times. Her villains are dark, and downright loathsome and there is no gray area where they stand. From start to finish be prepared to feel the tension, the passion, and even the warmth that these characters can exhibit!

This standalone is a wonderful introduction to the world of Rebecca Rivard’s writing and Jace? This alpha has heart in spades and a vulnerability that is sighworthy!

I received an ARC edition from Rebecca Rivard!


 

Back 2 School FANTASY Promo & #Giveaway

Enter to Win a $30 Amazon Gift Card!

Jessica Jesinghaus' MIRROR, MIRROR Sale & #Giveaway


Mirror, Mirror
by Jessica Jesinghaus
Genre: Paranormal Mystery Thriller

Nearly twenty years ago a teenage girl was murdered...

Samantha Williams was just a young girl when her cousin, Emily, was brutally raped and killed in her own home. As a child, Sam's family did their best to shelter her from the gruesome details. Now, working the crime beat for the Portland Tribune, Sam has the resources at her fingertips to investigate the case for herself.

Through the eyes of a killer...

After inheriting a family heirloom, an antique vanity table that once belonged to her murdered cousin, Sam begins seeing visions in the mirror's depths. Like watching an old home movie, she bears witness to Emily's murder. As if that weren't frightening enough, she starts to see other things too: fleeting glimpses of the killer himself! Are the things she sees just a figment of her imagination or could something otherworldly be trying to communicate with her? When the killer strikes again and leaves clues behind meant specifically for Sam it becomes a race against time to try to catch him.

**.99 cents on Amazon!**


From the Shadow
by Jessica Jesinghaus
Genre: PNR Horror / Occult

What makes a man a monster?

For too long Jacob has lived in isolation. Forsaken by God and cursed by a Shadow, he is doomed to an eternity of solitude with only the demons of his past for company. For nearly two hundred years, he has longed for that which he knows he can never have: forgiveness, love, and redemption.

A chance encounter could hold the key...

When Jacob meets Lynn, she shines a ray of hope across his bleak existence. But will she be strong enough to shoulder the truth of his past? Can she forgive the horrors he has wrought? Can she help him come to terms with his past and move with him into a brighter future?

An old nemesis threatens...

Confronted by an ancient enemy, Lynn and Jacob travel halfway around the world. There, they face the daunting task of sifting through ancient history for clues to their tormentor's weaknesses and a way to loose his grip on their future.

What good can come From the Shadow?

**.99 cents on Amazon!**


Desolation Gulch
by Jessica Jesinghaus
Genre: Romantic Suspense 

Valerie knew fairytales weren't true... at least not the happily-ever-after kind. In her world, nothing ever worked out so neatly. Her life was full of dark secrets and deep hurt. Until she met Fallon. Somehow he could read her hidden chapters and he knew exactly how to turn her life into a dream.

But Fallon isn't everything he seems; he has dark secrets of his own.

When Valerie finds herself in a dangerous situation and must flee, it's a daunting task. With nowhere to run and no way to guarantee Fallon won't follow, Valerie finds herself stranded in a small Central Oregon town at the mercy of a handsome stranger. He promises to help her, but can anyone save her from desolation?
**.99 cents on Amazon!**



Born and raised in Southern Oregon, Jessica has been writing since she was ten years old. She attended Willamette University with the intention of going to law school and becoming a criminal prosecutor. But, as is the way with life, plans changed. Since 2002 she has worked in the medical field and absolutely loves the challenges and positive impact she can have on the lives of others. She loves the outdoors and considers herself blessed to call Oregon her home.

Following the birth of her second child, she committed herself to writing her first novel. Unfortunately for her, story ideas rarely present themselves one at a time and she often has two (if not three) manuscripts in progress at once. When she's not writing her own material, she enjoys reading a wide variety of books, many of them aloud to her husband and two children.



Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!









Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien Blitz and #Giveaway


Carry Me Home
Jessica Therrien
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: September 26th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, Young Adult
“A riveting page-turner… Jessica Therrien broke my heart into a million pieces — and then put it back together again. This book will haunt and uplift readers long after they turn the last page.”
-KAT ROSS, best-selling author of The Midnight Sea
CARRY ME HOME is a fictional novel inspired by the true story of a teenage girl’s involvement in several Mexican gangs in San Jose and Los Angeles. The members of her crew call her, Guera, Spanish for “white girl” and it doesn’t take long for her to get lost in their world of guns and drugs.
* * *
Lucy and Ruth are country girls from a broken home. When they move to the city with their mother, leaving behind their family ranch and dead-beat father, Lucy unravels.
They run to their grandparents’ place, a trailer park mobile home in the barrio of San Jose. Lucy’s barrio friends have changed since her last visit. They’ve joined a gang called VC. They teach her to fight, to shank, to beat a person unconscious and play with guns. When things get too heavy, and lives are at stake, the three girls head for LA seeking a better life.
But trouble always follows Lucy. She befriends the wrong people, members of another gang, and every bad choice she makes drags the family into her dangerous world.
Told from three points of view, the story follows Lucy down the rabbit hole, along with her mother and sister as they sacrifice dreams and happiness, friendships and futures. Love is waiting for all of them in LA, but pursuing a life without Lucy could mean losing her forever.
Ultimately it’s their bond with each other that holds them together, in a true test of love, loss and survival.
EXCERPT:
“You ready for this, Guera?” he asks.
It’s a test, Guera. Only thing I can say is you’re allowed to fight back. Take ‘em out with everything you got.
I’d heard of people being jumped into a gang before, maybe it was Rosa who told me about it. As the girls start to descend from their spots around the room, slowly closing in like encircling wolves, I know what’s about to happen.
The realization takes hold in my chest, a quick plunge of the heart into an icy lake of fear. I back away slowly out of instinct, ready to run, but there’s nowhere to go. The sound of their skittering feet is the first thing I hear before they come at me. Me against all of them. Me against Rose Tattoo and Cigarette Twins. Me against the jealous novias. Ten sets of eyes glinting with the thrill of a fight. I flinch and turn my back to avoid the fists, but they’re all around me. One of them catches me by the shoulders, holding me in place as the other girls hit the back of my skull. My head flies forward, chin to chest.
At first I don’t know whether to swing or cover. I reach up to protect myself, but there are too many points of contact. The rush of adrenaline is intense. It blocks the pain, but there is a fiery need in me to get away. I try and kick or punch, feeling one or two connect, but the girls are everywhere. An elbow slams against my temple. My head splits and my ears ring. I go down.
Every infinite minute of being the enemy feels like it’ll never end.
Someone’s shoe stomps my thigh. Others strike my ribs. I heave and gag until I can’t breathe. But that kind of terror turns me into a resilient kind of crazy. The kind of rabid-mad that is born of desperation. I scrape and flail until I’m on my feet, pulling hair and swinging my fists, making contact with whatever I can. I don’t realize I’m screaming until Toño calls them to a stop.
It ceases the moment the girls hear his voice, and I’m left there shaking and crazed, my breath dragging in and out of my lungs in a feverish effort to return to its normal rhythm. I pant and cry, as softly as I can, but it’s hard to deny my body the relief of all-out sobbing. My head hurts. My brain smashes against my skull with the pulse of too much pressure. I taste blood in my mouth, though no one has touched my face. Now that it’s over, the pain of it all rushes to the surface and makes me want to vomit. I feel like I could die.
Why am I here? Why am I doing this?
“She’s in,” Toño says, and the cheers of the group shock my senses and make me tense up.
They all rush me, and at first I’m terrified it’s about to start again, but instead they hug me and pat me on the shoulder all at once. Each hand on my back or squeeze around the shoulders rocks me with pain, but they’re so happy. Their laughter and cheering is contagious, it flows into me, filling me with a strange sense of pride and belonging. I can’t help my smile when I see their encouraging faces. I even start to laugh.


Author Bio:
Jessica Therrien is the author of the young adult series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. Her trilogy has been translated and sold through major publishers around the world, such as Editions AdA (Canada), EditionsMilan (France), and SharpPoint Press (China).
Aside from her Children of the Gods series, Jessica is the author of a kid’s picture book called, The Loneliest Whale. Her award-winning stories can also be found in a published anthology of flash fiction.
Jessica currently lives in Irvine with her husband and two young sons. She is working on an a YA suspense thriller series and a middle grade fantasy series.

#GIVEAWAY

5 prize bundles of 10 books each (ebooks and at least 1 paperback per bundle)
Signed Hardcover of CARRY ME HOME by Jessica Therrien
Signed Hardcover of OPPRESSION (Children of the Gods #1) by Jessica Therrien
XBTBanner1

Amy Stearman's ALTERED & TOUCHED Tour & #Giveaway

ALTERED & TOUCHED
2 Independent Books
by Amy Stearman
Enter to win a print copy of each book!