Antoine DeWitt is a man down on his luck. Broke and recently fired, he knows the winning Money Carlo ticket that has landed in his mailbox from a car dealership is nothing more than a scam. The promise of five thousand dollars, though, is too tantalizing to ignore.
Jon Dangle is a keeper of secrets, many of which are buried deep beneath his dealership. He works hard to keep them hidden, but occasionally sacrifices are required, sacrifices who are penniless, desperate, and who will not be missed. Sacrifices exactly like DeWitt.
When Antoine steps foot on Dangle’s car lot, it is with the hope of easy money. Instead, he finds himself trapped in a deep, dark hole, buried alive. If he is going to survive the nightmare ahead of him, if he has any chance of seeing his wife and child again, Antoine will have to do more than merely hope. He will have to fight his way back to the surface, and pray that Jon Dangle’s secrets do not kill him first.
MICHAEL PATRICK HICKS is the author of a number of speculative fiction titles. His debut novel, Convergence, was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist. His most recent work is the horror novel, Mass Hysteria.
He has written for the Audiobook Reviewer and Graphic Novel Reporter websites, in addition to working as a freelance journalist and news photographer.
In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.
To stay up to date on his latest releases, join his newsletter, memFeed: http://bit.ly/1H8slIg
I obtained a copy of this novella through a giveaway and I freely chose to review it.
Despite my fondness for the horror genre, I review other types of novels more, like thrillers (on occasions there can be a certain crossover between the two), but I hope to remedy this in the future.
I had never read any Michael Patrick Hick’s works before, but I truly enjoyed my first experience of his writing, and I’m sure it won’t be my last.
It is not easy to combine solid, convincing characters and page-turning action that flows well in a short format, but the author manages to do precisely that and his writing is excellent. He has a good eye for detail and his descriptions bring to life the settings and the creatures (sorry to be so cryptic, but I’m trying not to spoil the fun for future readers), without slowing the pace.
The story is narrated in the third-person, from several characters’ points-of-view (mostly Antoine De Witt and Jon Dangle), and the two main characters have very distinct voices and personalities. The author manages to make Antoine an interesting and sympathetic character in the short time we spend with him. He is one of those characters who wake up on the wrong side of the bed and things go from bad to worse. He is a very atypical example of the reluctant hero. He is far from flawless and can be mean at times but I think most readers will find it easy to root for him. The author offers us less information about the rest of the characters but the few details we get help us gain some understanding of their situation and their reasoning, however much we might disagree with them or dislike them. As for the creatures… I’ll leave you to read the story, but I warn anybody who does not like bugs, as you will suffer if you read it.
There is plenty of detailed gore and graphic violence and there is an intense sense of claustrophobia that adds to the horror in some moments of the story. This is not subtle psychological horror but rather punch-in-the-gut scares and an almost physiological sharing of the feelings and sensations of the protagonists. While in the past I have recommended some books that fall within the horror genre to the general public, this novella is not for everybody, but it is perfect for lovers of monsters and creature horrors who don’t mind plenty of creepy details. And it comes with the bonus of fabulous writing and serious social and moral themes that elevate it beyond poor entertainment. Just a word about the ending; It was not totally unexpected, but it was extremely well done and I loved it.
I hope to read more of this author’s work in the future and I encourage other lovers of the horror genre to give him a try. You’re in for a treat.
Thanks to the publisher for the novella, thanks to all of you for reading and remember to like, share, comment, click, review, and keep smiling!
Today I’m taking part in a Blog Tour that Rosie Amber alerted me to. I got a copy of the book, so it’s a blog tour with review. And it has the advantage of including two fabulous giveaways and even a playlist. I loved it and I hope you do too. Ah, and the book launches today. So you won’t have to wait to get it either!
DANGEROUS TO KNOW: JANES AUSTEN’S RAKES & GENTLEMEN ROGUES Edited by Christina Boyd
“One has all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it.” —Jane Austen
Jane Austen’s masterpieces are littered with unsuitable gentlemen—Willoughby, Wickham, Churchill, Crawford, Tilney, Elliot, et al.—adding color and depth to her plots but often barely sketched. Have you never wondered about the pasts of her rakes, rattles, and gentlemen rogues? Surely, there’s more than one side to their stories.
It is a universal truth, we are captivated by smoldering looks, daring charms … a happy-go-lucky, cool confidence. All the while, our loyal confidants are shouting on deaf ears: “He is a cad—a brute—all wrong!” But is that not how tender hearts are broken…by loving the undeserving? How did they become the men Jane Austen created? In this romance anthology, eleven Austenesque authors expose the histories of Austen’s anti-heroes.
Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues is a titillating collection of Georgian era short stories—a backstory or parallel tale off-stage of canon—whilst remaining steadfast to the characters we recognize in Austen’s great works.
What say you? Everyone may be attractedto a bad boy…even temporarily…but heaven help us if we marry one.
Follow our “Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s #RakesAndGentlemenRogues” Blog Tour and comment on each stop to be eligible for #RakesAndGentlemenRogues Pleasures prize pack: ‘Pride & Prejudice’ Print, autographed by Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle; Bingley’s Teas (Willoughby & The Colonel); Jane Austen playing cards; set of 6 Austen postcards; and ‘The Compleat Housewife’ notecards set. (All guest comments will be entered in drawing to win. Comment at each site to increase your odds.) Contest ends midnight, December 30, 2017. One “Grand Prize #2 winner” will be announced January 2, 2018.
And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for, my review:
Thanks to Rosie Amber from Rosie’s Book Review Team for alerting me to this opportunity and to the editor Christina Boyd for providing me with an early ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.
After reading many great reviews of The Darcy Monologues, when I had the opportunity to sign up for this blog tour I could not resist. My fondness for Jane Austen’s novels cannot compare to that of the authors of this anthology, but rest assure that you don’t need to have read several times all of Austen’s novels to enjoy this collection (although I don’t doubt you might enjoy it even more if you have).
Each story centers on one of the rakes or gentlemen rogues in one of Jane Austen’s novels (sometimes several from the same novel). As the editor explains in her note, after The Darcy Monologues she and some of the authors started looking for another project and noticed that there are many characters that are fundamental to Austen’s novels, but we don’t get to know much about, and on many occasions we are left wondering how they got to be how they are, and what happens to them later. All the stories retain the historical period of the novels, sometimes going back to give us information about the background of the characters, to their childhood, early youth, and on occasion we follow them for many years, getting a good sense of who they become when they exit the novel.
Each one of the stories is prefaced by a little snippet about the character chosen, and by one or several quotations (sometimes spread throughout the story) taken directly from Austen’s novel, where the character is mentioned. I must say the authors remain very faithful to Austen’s words although they use their imagination to build upon those snippets, always remaining faithful to the language and the spirit of the period, although the modern sensibility is evident in the stories.
We have stories with happy endings, stories that are dark and sad, stories of broken hearts, funny stories (sometimes thanks to the wit of the characters involved, others thanks to the wit of the writers who follow in Austen’s footsteps and poke fun at the most preposterous individuals), and some touching ones. There are very clean stories and some steamier ones (as it seems only appropriate to these “gentlemen”), but the editor includes a very detailed classification of the degree of heat of each one of the stories, and apart from one of the stories A Wicked Game, the rest are not scandalous (even by Regency standards).
Many of the stories are told in the first person, and that helps us share and understand better the characters (however much we might like them or not), but the few told in the third person also work well, especially as they tend to centre on characters that are perhaps particularly insightless and more preoccupied with appearances than by the truth.
I imagine each reader will have his or her favourite stories. I was a bit surprised because I thought I’d enjoy more the stories featuring characters of the novels I was more familiar with, but that was not always the case. (OK, I truly loved Fitzwilliam’s Folly about Colonel Fitzwilliam from Pride and Prejudice, but not only because of the novel, but because the character is wonderful, witty, yes, Darcy makes an appearance so we get to see him from somebody else’s point of view and someone who knows him well at that, and I loved the female character in the story too). Some writers managed to create a sense of a small society, as it must have felt at the time, where characters from several novels kept meeting or just missing each other but are all connected or know of each other. I know this was a book about the gentlemen, but I was very taken by some of the female characters, that on many occasions were the perfect match for the men.
If you are curious to know which of the characters are featured, here is the list: John Willoughby (Willoughby’s Crossroads by Joanna Starnes), George Wickham (A Wicked Game by Katie Oliver. This is the hottest one and there are some similarities to the previous story but, if you’re a fan of the character, I think you’ll enjoy this one), Colonel Fitzwilliam (Fitzwilliam’s Folly by Beau North. I’ve already mentioned this one. I love Calliope Campbell too. Well, love everything about this story and the style and the repartee reminded me of Oscar Wilde’s plays), Thomas Bertram (The Address of a French Woman by Lona Manning. How blind can one be, or perhaps not!), Henry Crawford (Last Letter to Mansfield by Brooke West), Frank Churchill (An Honest Man by Karen M Cox. One of these characters enamoured of himself who tries to do the right thing but only if it is convenient and at little personal cost. I suffered for poor Miss Fairfax), Sir Walter Elliot (One Fair Claim by Christina Morland. This is one of the stories told in the third person that do follow the character for a long time. The song “You’re So Vain” might as well have been written about him. I really enjoyed this one, first because the comments about the character were funny, later, because the tone changes and I liked his wife, who, of course, loves to read), William Elliot (The Lost Chapter in the Life of William Elliot by Jenetta James. This somewhat related to the previous story but is quite different and particularly interesting for the comments about life in the theatre), General Tilney (As Much As He Can by Sophia Rose. This story, that uses both third and first person, I found particularly touching. Appearances can be deceptive, indeed), John Thorpe (The Art of Sinking by J. Marie Croft. This is a farce, the character a buffoon and the story really funny, especially because the character is the butt of all jokes but remains full of his own importance), and Captain Frederick Tilney (For Mischief’s Sake by Amy D’Orazio. Another great story. The main character justifies his actions insisting that he is helping other men avoid mistakes, but eventually learns to see things from a female perspective. A great female character too, Miss Gibbs).
I highlighted many passages and lines, but I don’t want to make this a never-ending review. I’ll just say the language is perfectly in keeping with the period and the stories and I’ll be exploring the books of all these writers. (There is information included about each one of them after their respective stories).
I did not cry with any of the stories (although some were quite touching), but I did laugh out loud with quite a few. I recommend this book to readers of historical romance and romance of any kind, those who enjoy short-stories with fully-fledged character, and I’m sure anybody interested in Regency novels and Jane Austen’s, in particular, will love this book.
And, I couldn’t leave without sharing a bit of information about each one of the writers and the editor:
ABOUT THE AUTHORS and the EDITOR:
CHRISTINA BOYDhttps://m.facebook.com/TheDarcyMonologues/ wears many hats as she is an editor under her own banner, The Quill Ink, a contributor to Austenprose, and a commercial ceramicist. A life member of Jane Austen Society of North America, Christina lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two busy teenagers, and a retriever named BiBi. Visiting Jane Austen’s England was made possible by actor Henry Cavill when she won the Omaze experience to meet him in the spring of 2017 on the London Eye. True story. You can Google it.
KAREN M COXhttps://karenmcoxauthor.wordpress.com/ is an award-wining author of four novels accented with romance and history: 1932, Find Wonder in All Things, Undeceived, and I Could Write a Book, as well as an e-book novella companion to 1932, The Journey Home. She also contributed short stories for the anthologies Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer and The Darcy Monologues. Originally from Everett, Washington, Karen now lives in Central Kentucky with her husband, works as a pediatric speech pathologist, encourages her children, and spoils her granddaughter. Like Austen’s Emma, Karen has many hobbies and projects she doesn’t quite finish, but like Elizabeth Bennet, she aspires to be a great reader and an excellent walker.
MARIE CROFThttps://www.amazon.com/J.-Marie-Croft/e/B004HZD22W/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1508353662&sr=1-1 is a self-proclaimed word nerd and adherent of Jane Austen’s quote “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.” Bearing witness to Joanne’s fondness for Pride and Prejudice, wordplay, and laughter are her light-hearted novel, Love at First Slight (a Babblings of a Bookworm Favourite Read of 2014), her playful novella, A Little Whimsical in His Civilities (Just Jane 1813’s Favourite 2016 JAFF Novella), and her humorous short stories: “Spyglasses and Sunburns” in the Sun-kissed: Effusions of Summer anthology and “From the Ashes” in The Darcy Monologues. Joanne lives in Nova Scotia, Canada.
https://www.facebook.com/Amy-DOrazio-author-369312830172988/ is a former scientist and current stay-at-home mom who is addicted to Austen and Starbucks in equal measure. While she adores Mr. Darcy, she is married to Mr. Bingley and their Pemberley is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has two daughters devoted to sports with long practices and began writing stories as a way to pass the time spent at their various gyms and studios. She firmly believes that all stories should have long looks, stolen kisses, and happily-ever-afters. Like her favorite heroine, she dearly loves a laugh and considers herself an excellent walker. She is the author of The Best Part of Love and the soon-to-be released A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity.
JENETTA JAMES https://www.facebook.com/jenettajameswriter/ is a mother, lawyer, writer, and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practices full-time as a barrister. Over the years, she has lived in France, Hungary, and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing, and playing with Lego. She is the author of Suddenly Mrs. Darcy and The Elizabeth Papers, as well as a contributing author to The Darcy Monologues.
LONA MANNING https://www.amazon.com/Lona-Manning/e/B01N7UJHJX is the author of A Contrary Wind, a variation on Mansfield Park. She has also written numerous true crime articles, which are available at www.crimemagazine.com. She has worked as a non-profit administrator, a vocational instructor, a market researcher, and a speechwriter for politicians. She currently teaches English as a Second Language. She and her husband now divide their time between mainland China and Canada. Her second novel, A Marriage of Attachment, a sequel to A Contrary Wind, is planned for release in early 2018. You can follow Lona at www.lonamanning.ca where she blogs about China and Jane Austen.
CHRISTINA MORLAND https://www.amazon.com/Christina-Morland/e/B01IJHEZKQ spent the first two decades of her life with no knowledge whatsoever of Pride and Prejudice—or any Jane Austen novel, for that matter. She somehow overcame this childhood adversity to became a devoted fan of Austen’s works. When not writing, Morland tries to keep up with her incredibly active seven-year-old and maddeningly brilliant husband. She lives in a place not unlike Hogwarts (minus Harry, Dumbledore, magic, and Scotland), and likes to think of herself as an excellent walker. Morland is the author of two Jane Austen fanfiction novels: A Remedy Against Sin and This Disconcerting Happiness.
BEAU NORTH http://beaunorthwrites.com/#top is the author of three books and contributor to multiple anthologies. Beau hails from the kudzu-strangled wilderness of South Carolina but now hangs her hat in Portland, Oregon. In her spare time, Beau is the co-host of the podcast Excessively Diverted: Modern Austen On-Screen.
KATIE OLIVER https://www.facebook.com/KatieOliverWriter is the author of nine novels, including the Amazon bestseller Prada and Prejudice, as well as the Dating Mr. Darcy, Marrying Mr. Darcy, and Jane Austen Factor series. She resides in South Florida with her husband (where she goes to the beach far less often than she’d like) and is working on a new series. Katie began writing as a child and has a box crammed with half-finished stories to prove it. After raising two sons, she decided to get serious and get published.
She is convinced that there is no greater pleasure than reading a Jane Austen novel.
SOPHIA ROSEhttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13418187.Sophia_Rose is a native Californian currently residing in Michigan. A long-time Jane Austen fan, she is a contributing author to The Darcy Monologues, Sun-kissed: Effusions of Summer, and Then Comes Winter anthologies, short stories based on Jane Austen’s works. Sophia’s love for writing began as a teen writing humorous stories submitted for Creative Writing class and high school writing club. Writing was set aside for many years while Sophia enjoyed a rewarding career working with children and families. Health issues led to reduced work hours and an opportunity for a return to writing stories that continue to lean toward the lighter side of life and always end with a happily-ever-after.
JOANA STARNEShttps://www.facebook.com/joana.a.starnes lives in the south of England with her family. Over the years, she has swapped several hats—physician, lecturer, clinical data analyst—but feels most comfortable in a bonnet. She has been living in Georgian England for decades in her imagination and plans to continue in that vein till she lays hands on a time machine. She is one of the contributors to The Darcy Monologues anthology, and the author of seven Austen-inspired novels: From This Day Forward—The Darcys of Pemberley, The Subsequent Proposal, The Second Chance, The Falmouth Connection, The Unthinkable Triangle, Miss Darcy’s Companion and Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter. You can connect with Joana through her website www.joanastarnes.co.uk and on Facebook via her timeline and her author page, All Roads Lead to Pemberley.
BROOKE WEST https://www.facebook.com/brookewestwrites/ has always loved the bad boys of literature and thinks the best leading men have the darkest pasts. When she’s not spinning tales of rakish men and daring women, Brooke spends her time in the kitchen baking or at the gym working off all that baking. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and son and their three mischievous cats. Brooke co-authored the novel The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy and the short story “Holiday Mix Tape,” which appears in the anthology Then Comes Winter. Find Brooke on Twitter @WordyWest.
And of course, the links! (You’ll better hurry because the special price is only on offer until the end of the tour!)
Thanks to Rosie, to Christina and all the authors for such enjoyable book and for allowing me to feature it here, thanks to all of you for reading and remember to like, share, comment, click, review, and of course, don’t forget to participate in the giveaways!
I’ve been trying not to post too many things recently, but today I had to make an exception, as I have a very special guest post to share with you that I thought both readers and writers would enjoy. The fabulous Georgia Rose tells us about her experience running giveaways, and of course, I asked her to also tell us a bit about her most recent book, Parallel Lies. I leave you in her very capable hands!
Celebrate your new book release by running a #Giveaway – Parallel Lies by Georgia Rose
To celebrate the launch of my latest novel, Parallel Lies, I decided to have a little fun and run a Giveaway via Rafflecopter. I chose Rafflecopter because that was the Giveaway widget thing I’d seen on blogs all over and I’m not sure if there even is anyone else who provides a similar service.
I had been thinking about this Giveaway for some considerable time and had collected items for it for a while. As an example I wasn’t planning on publishing until September but in February, because that is when they are around, I was buying heart shaped chocolates – in fact I could have sworn I also had some heart shaped marshmallows from that time but they don’t seem to have made it into the final prize photo… ahem… moving on…
I continued to look out for suitable additions and bought them as I went along. Notepads decorated with hearts and some really cute thank you cards (avec hearts!) joined the pile. I bought these extras because although I already knew I was going to offer all of my paperbacks I wanted to make the prize as appealing as possible.
Even with all my planning there was a small misjudgement as come photo taking day the paperbacks for Parallel Lies had not arrived but I made do with the kindle version and made it very clear on the entry form that the kindle was NOT included!
You can run Giveaways for free via Rafflecopter, but your choices on what you want the entrant to do are limited and I wanted to get specific things out of the Giveaway, so there are also various levels of upgrade. After checking with them that a) I could do what I wanted to do when I upgraded, and b) I only needed to upgrade for a month (and finding Rafflecopter incredibly helpful in the process) I went ahead.
By upgrading to the Grow option it meant I could customise the entry requirements because I wanted two things:
To have one of the options to be the purchase of Parallel Lies,
To have one of the options to be for the entrant to sign up to my newsletter.
Other than that I chose the usual, visiting me on Facebook, following me on Twitter and sharing on Twitter options.
Rafflecopter have done a superb job of making the setting up of a Giveaway really easy. They say that it is up front, but you know, people say that all the time and it isn’t necessarily true – however I’m delighted to say, this was.
Adding the prize details, the photo and then the entry requirements was a piece of…, well, very simple and straightforward. You get to choose how many entry points to allot to each entry requirement. I made my main two 5 points each and the others all 1. This, I think, was a mistake and in hindsight I’d have made the buying of Parallel Lies a larger number, as a bigger enticement.
Rafflecopter can also automate the entries that sign up to your newsletter, which is a feature I love, and it means that the email addresses of anyone who does enter this bit get put directly onto your newsletter list with Mailchimp (other email providers are available) and you don’t have to do a thing. Bliss!
You set the dates of when you want the Giveaway to run and deal with the terms and conditions and that’s it. You are given an embed code so that you can put it on your website or in any blog posts. You are shown how to insert it into a Facebook page and you are given a link for if you just want to link it here and there.
The positives that came out of running this were:
I really enjoyed it!
There were a lot of sign-ups to my newsletter, which was tremendous.
There was a lot of interaction on Facebook and the real surprise was the increase in the number of ‘likes’ for my Facebook page as that wasn’t a necessity.
Entrants also did a lot of sharing of the Giveaway on Facebook, which was lovely of them.
I should also add that there were a few people on Facebook who were confused about whether they had entered correctly and another great feature of Rafflecopter is that you can go and look at the entries to check whether someone’s name is on there or not.
The lessons learnt were:
There was a disappointingly low take up of the ‘purchasing my book’ option so it would be interesting to see if increasing the number of points this was worth would improve the numbers willing to take a chance on a new book/new author.
I should maybe have run it over a shorter period of time. It was going for over 3 weeks and I’d lost impetuous in that time in promoting it. It appeared on all the blog posts in the blog tour I had running up to the launch and then there was a bit of a lull before the final push for entries.
I’m sure there must have been others but they escape me at the moment!
Rafflecopter do the whole dipping their hand into the virtual hat brimming with entries at the end so that keeps it all above board and they even announce the winner on the entry form.
Running a Giveaway is an investment in time, prizes, postage etc but you have control over how big or small you want to make those and can tailor what you do accordingly. I was certainly delighted with the results of the one I ran and would definitely do it again. This one was held to celebrate the publication of my fourth novel, Parallel Lies, which is here.
‘My name is Madeleine, Madeleine Ross. It is a name chosen with thought and because it is classy, and that is what is needed here…’
Madeleine Ross has life exactly as she planned it.
Cosy cottage, friendly village, satisfying job.
Company… when she wants it.
It’s an enviable existence for an independent young woman, and one she’s keen to protect.
Enter Daniel – strong, dependable and a danger to everything she’s built. He’s not something she was looking for, but hearts can’t be controlled and maybe, just maybe he might be worth letting into hers.
But, all is not what it seems. Because Madeleine is hiding a lifetime of secrets. Deep secrets.
And they never stay buried for ever.
Her darkest secret returns, like the proverbial bad penny. He is her first love, shadowy, dangerous, the baddest of bad boys. No matter how far she runs, or how well she hides, she can never escape him.
Or her past.
Here he is, on her doorstep, with a proposition she is powerless to resist but which could devastate the future she hoped to have.
Can Madeleine satisfy the old love while keeping the new?
You can’t always get what you want but, desperate to preserve the life she has worked so hard for, Madeleine is willing to risk everything to prove that she can.
I hope you’re well. Don’t worry, it’s not another review (not until next week, anyway!) Some of you must remember the wonderful Marie Lavender, who’s visited my blog on a few occasions. She runs a fantastic blog called Writing in the Modern Age and, to celebrate her 400th post, has decided to organise a mega giveaway. Yes, I’m giving some e-copies of a couple of my books too, but don’t worry if you’ve read them all, there are plenty of opportunities and choices to go around.
The giveaway runs for only a week and starts on Friday the 15th (today) at noon EST. Marie’s recommendation is to enter as soon as possible to make sure you don’t run out of time. You’ll need to provide her with an e-mail address (where we can send you the books, and if you’re lucky enough to get a paperback copy, a real address), and you also need to tell us what genres you prefer. In case you cannot leave a comment on the blog, for technical reasons, you can also e-mail your entry at email@example.com.
Today I share another historical fiction novel, this one by an author I’ve read and reviewed on quite a few occasions and who never disappoints. Ah, and don’t miss a link to a post that offers a giveaway of one of her books, Unexpected Gifts, at the end.
What do a well-bred Southern Belle and a Northern working class Pinkerton detective have in common? Espionage . . . and romance. At the start of the U.S. Civil War, while young men begin dying on American battlefields and slavery is headed toward its end, behind the scenes, female undercover work and Pinkerton intelligence are alive and well. But in the end, can this unlikely Romeo and Juliet couple’s love survive, or will they be just another casualty of war?
S.R. Mallery, Gold Medalist winner of the 2016 READER’S FAVORITE Book Awards for Anthologies, has been labeled nothing short of ‘eclectic’. She has been a singer, a calligrapher, a quilt designer, and an ESL teacher. As a writer, History is her focus and is woven into her stories with a delicate thread. When people talk about the news of the day, or listen to music, Sarah’s imagination likens the story to a similar kind of news in the past and is conjuring up scenes between characters she has yet to meet.
What readers are saying about S. R. Mallery’s books:
“A master storyteller has been at work, and this marvelous piece of writing is the result.” ~ Thomas Baker Thomas on Unexpected Gifts.
“Honestly, I haven’t read a book this unique in quite some time.” ~ John H. Byk on Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads
“Mallery is an extremely talented writer. Her style lures the reader; you actually become a part of her tapestry of expression.” ~ Melinda Hines on Tales to Count On.
The Dolan Girls “was so enjoyable. At times rollicking, at times poignant, but always authentic, well researched and a beautifully told story. Highest recommendation. Five stars.” – B. Nelson
I have read, enjoyed and reviewed several of S.R. Mallery’s novels and short story collections (most recently The Dolan Girls, check the review here) and she has a knack for combining historical fact and characters with gripping stories that grab the readers, transporting them into another world, sometimes closer and sometimes far back in the past.
In this novella, the author takes us back to the period of the early American Civil War, and our guides are two characters, James, a medical student from New York (an Irish immigrant who moved with his parents when he was a child and suffered tragedy and deprivation from an early age) and Hannah, a Southern girl, the daughter of slave owners, although not a typical Southern belle, as she enjoys books more than balls and feels closer to some slaves (including her childhood friend, Noah) than to her own cousin, the manipulating Lavinia.
The story is told in the third person from both characters’ point of view. They meet in Washington D.C. at the beginning of the novel, realise they have plenty in common (their love of books and their political sympathies among other things) and fall in love (more at at-first-meeting than at-first-sight) as they should in these kinds of stories. There are many things that separate them (I’m not sure I’d call them star-crossed lovers, but there is a bit of that), and matters get even more complicated when James decides to join the Pinkerton Detective Agency and ends up chasing Confederate Spies. At the same time, Hannah is forced to spy for the South, much against her will, and… Well, as the author quotes at the start of one of the chapters (thanks, Shakespeare) ‘the course of true love never did run smooth’. I won’t give you full details but let me tell you there are secret codes, interesting hiding places, blackmail, occult passages, and betrayals galore. The underground railway is put into action, Frederick Douglass (one of my favourite historical figures of the period, and I’ll recommend again his Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slavehere in Project Gutenberg) makes a guest appearance, and famous spy Rose O’Neal Greenhow plays an important part. (I must confess I hadn’t heard of her before but the author’s decision of using her as one of her background characters is a great success).
The story flows easily and although there are no lengthy descriptions that deflect from the action, we get a clear sense of the locations and of the atmosphere of the period, including the abuse slaves were subject to, and the social morasses of the time, particularly the different treatment of women and the expectations of the genders and races. I was fascinated by the Washington of the period, the political machinations, and the fantastic description of the Battle of Manassas from the point of view of the spectators (as it seems that the well-off people decided it was a good occasion for a picnic and they ate and observed the fighting from the hilltop). The two main characters and Noah are likeable and sympathetic, although this is a fairly short story and there is no time for an intense exploration of psychological depths (their consciences struggle between complying with their duties and following their feelings but their conflict does not last too long). There is no time to get bored, and the ending will please fans of romantic historical fiction (although some might find it a bit rushed).
My only complaint is that the story is too short and more traditionally romantic than I expected (pushing the suspension of disbelief a bit). I would have liked to learn more about the Pinkerton’s role chasing spies during the war (one of the author’s characters in the Dolan Girls was also a Pinkerton detective), and I hope there might be a more detailed exploration of the underground railway in future stories (although the role of quilts to signal secret messages is discussed in one of the stories of Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads).
Recommended to fans of romantic historic novels looking for a short, enjoyable and thrilling read set in the early Civil War era. Another great story from S.R. Mallery.
And here, a link to a post by Colleen Cheesbro sharing a giveaway for S.R. Mallery’s Unexpected Gifts:
Some of you might remember that I share a Christmas giveaway with you and it included a short novel I had read and thoroughly enjoyed, The Amulet by Effrosyni Moschoudi. You can read the original post here.
The author has joined forces with several others and they are offering another giveaway that sounds to me like the perfect collection of books to take on your holidays. Just in case you weren’t lucky with the previous giveaway or you want to try your luck…
Amazon bestselling author Effrosyni Moschoudi is running a wonderful giveaway this month!
Two winners will get a bundle of 12 ebooks each! Dozens more will receive individual ebooks, as well as paperbacks. One lucky reader will get a copy of Effrosyni’s romantic comedy The Amulet (ebook) and a novelty bookmark to go with it.
The giveaway is open exclusively to Effrosyni’s email subscribers, who enjoy even more exclusive benefits while receiving very sparse emails from the author. To find out more, go to
As you know, I’m up-to-date with my reviews now, and as I was thinking if I would share a post today or give you a rest, I was contacted by Rich Marcello, an author whose book The Beauty of the Fall I read and reviewed a while back. I loved his book, that is one of those that makes one think and is not afraid of trying to tackle important matters and great ideas. (Just in case, I’ve copied the original review below). He asked me if I’d like to share his giveaway on my blog, and I could not let that opportunity pass me by.
Here is the letter he wants me to share with all of you:
My name is Rich Marcello and I’m the author of three novels––The Color of Home, The Big Wide Calm, and The Beauty of the Fall.
When The Beauty of the Fall came out, Olga wrote a wonderful review of the book that you can read below.
As Olga’s review indicates, The Beauty of the Fall is, in part, about having meaningful conversations in a polarized world and turning those conversations into real change. The two main examples I use in the book are climate change and domestic violence.
In light of Donald Trump’s recent decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, I’ve decided to give away 1000 copies of the book at my expense. Some of these books will be given away through Goodreads, but I’ve decided to offer bloggers who’ve written a positive review of TBOTF the opportunity to give them away to their readers. That’s why I’m posting as a guest blogger on Olga’s site.
Here’s the deal. In the States, I can send a reader a physical copy or an ebook. In the rest of the world, I can offer an ebook gift certificate through Amazon. All I ask in return is that readers help spread the word if they like the novel (through reviews or word of mouth or both). If you are interested, just send your address or your email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll get a book out to you.
Here, the novel, including the press release that the author kindly sent me.
The Beauty of the Fall by Rich Marcello
A TECHNOLOGY EXECUTIVE CHARTS A HIGH-RISK, UNCONVENTIONAL PATH WHILE GRIEVING THE LOSS OF HIS SON
Dan Underlight, a divorced, workaholic technology executive, suffers lingering grief over the death of his ten-year-old son, Zack. When Dan’s longtime friend and boss fires Dan from RadioRadio, the company that he helped create, he crashes and isolates himself.
Willow, a poet and domestic violence survivor, helps Dan regain his footing. With her support, Dan ventures on a pilgrimage of sorts, visiting Fortune 500 companies to flesh out a software start-up idea. He then recruits three former RadioRadio colleagues and starts Conversationworks, a company he believes will be at the vanguard of social change.
Guided by Dan’s leadership, Conversationworks enjoys some early successes, but its existence is soon threatened on multiple fronts. Will Dan survive the ensuing corporate battles and realize the potential of his company? Or will he be defeated by his enemies and consumed by his grief?
The Beauty of the Fall takes Readers on Intriguing Journey
In Rich Marcello’s new novel, The Beauty of the Fall, Dan Underlight, a divorced, workaholic technology executive, suffers lingering grief over the death of his ten-year- old son, Zack. When Dan’s longtime friend and boss fires Dan from RadioRadio, the company that he helped create, he crashes and isolates himself.
Willow, a poet and domestic violence survivor and advocate, helps Dan regain his footing. With her support, Dan ventures on a pilgrimage of sorts, visiting Fortune 500 companies to flesh out a software start-up idea.
When Dan returns home with a fully formed vision, he recruits the help of three former RadioRadio colleagues and starts Conversationworks, a company he believes will be at the vanguard of social change. Guided by Dan’s generative leadership, Conversationworks enjoys some early successes, but its existence is soon threatened on multiple fronts. Will Dan survive the ensuing corporate battles and realize the potential of his company? Or will he be defeated by his enemies and consumed by his grief?
This captivating, idea-driven novel appeals to readers who are interested in exploring a technology based solution to many of our current social problems, and to readers who are interested in father-son relationships, gender equality, and working through grief.
About the Author
Rich is a poet, a songwriter and musician, a creative writing teacher, and the author of three novels, The Color of Home, The Big Wide Calm, and The Beauty of the Fall.
As anyone who has read Rich’s work can tell you, his books deal with life’s big questions: love, loss, creativity, community, aging, self-discovery. His novels are rich with characters and ideas, crafted by a natural storyteller, with the eye and the ear of a poet.
For Rich, writing and art making is about connection, or as he says, about making a difference to a least one other person in the world, something he has clearly achieved many times over, both as an artist and a teacher.
“Few novels are as intelligent and relevant as The Beauty of the Fall. Almost none is as eloquent, compelling, heartbreaking, and ultimately, uplifting.” — Mark Spencer,
Faulkner Award winner and author of Ghostwalking
“Rich Marcello’s The Beauty of the Fall takes the reader on two intriguing journeys: the exciting coffee-fueled rise of a high-tech start-up and the emotional near-collapse of the man behind the revolutionary company, his personal journey through grief and healing.”
––Jessamyn Hope, author of Safekeeping
“Rich Marcello’s third novel, The Beauty of the Fall, intermixes poetry and prose fluidly throughout the manuscript, and in fact, incorporates poetry as one of its major themes. As a practicing poet, I was swept away by the lyrical language, the characters, and the unexpected twists and turns in the plot. Overall, a great and inspiring read!” — Rebecca Givens Rolland, author of The Wreck of Birds
I received an ARC copy of this book that I voluntarily review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team.
This beautifully written novel touches on many subjects that are important at different levels: some, like loss (be it the death of a child, a divorce, the loss of not only a job but also a life-project) can be felt (and there are heart-wrenching moments in the novel) understood and managed at a very personal level, others, like the role of communications technology (who must control it? Should it remain neutral or become involved in the big issues? Should it ally itself with governments or be creatively independent?) or domestic and gender-related violence, although no doubt having a personal component, also seem to require global solutions. This ambitious novel tries to give answers to many of these questions and it does so through a first person narrative interspersed with poetry.
The novel is narrated by Dan Underlight, whom we meet at a particularly difficult time in his life. His son died a couple of years earlier and he feels guilty about it (we learn the details quite late in the novel), he is divorced, and now, the technology company he helped to create, and by extension his business partner and the woman he’d been closer to than almost anybody else for many years, fires him. His job, the only thing that had kept him going, is taken away from him. He has no financial worries. He has a good severance pay, a huge house, two cars, but his life is empty. Through the novel, Dan, who still sees his son, has conversations with him and wants to start a project in his memory, meets many people. Most of them are enablers. He has known Willow, a woman who works helping women victims of domestic violence, and herself a survivor (although she doesn’t talk much about it, at least with Dan) for some time and eventually, their friendship turns into a romantic relationship for a while. He has also been attending therapy with Nessa, a very special therapist (as a psychiatrist I was very curious about her techniques, but working in the NHS in the UK I must admit I’d never even heard of a Buddha board) since his son’s death, and during his peculiar pilgrimage, he gets ideas, encouragement, and a few brushes with reality too.
Much of the rest of the novel is taken up by Dan’s creation of a new company, based on his idea that if people could converse about important subjects and all these conversations could be combined, they would reach agreements and solve important problems. As conversations and true communication in real life amount to more than just verbal exchanges, there are technical problems to be solved, funding, etc. I found this part of the novel engaging at a different level and not having much knowledge on the subject didn’t detract from my interest, although I found it highly idealistic and utopian (not so much the technical part of it, but the faith in the capacity of people to reach consensual agreements and for those to be later enforced), and I also enjoyed the underhand dealings of the woman who had been his friend but seemed somehow to have become his enemy. (I wasn’t sure that her character came across as consistent, but due to the subjective nature of the narration, this might have more to do with Dan’s point of view than with Olivia herself).
Dan makes mistakes and does things that morally don’t fit in with the code he creates for his company, or with the ideals he tries to live by (he is human, after all) and things unravel somewhat as life has a few more surprises for him, but, without wanting to offer any spoilers, let’s say that there are many lessons he has learned along the way.
As I said before, the language is beautiful, and the poems, most of which are supposedly written by Willow, provide also breathing space and moments to stop, think and savour both the action and the writing style.
First of all, let me confess I was very taken by this novel and I couldn’t stop reading it and even debating the points with myself (I live alone, so, that was the best I could do). I was also touched by both the emotions expressed and the language used. As a sensorial reading experience, it’s wonderful.
Now, if I had to put on my analysing cap, and after reading some of the reviews on Goodreads, I thought I should try and summarise the issues some readers have with the novel.
The themes touched are important and most people will feel able to relate to some if not all of them. Regarding the characters and their lifestyle, those might be very far from the usual experience of a lot of readers. Although we have a handful of characters who are not big cheeses in technology companies, those only play a minor part in the book. The rapid expansion of the technology and how it is used in the book is a best case scenario and might give readers some pause. Personally, I could imagine how big companies could save money using such technology, but charitable organisations, schools or libraries, unless very well-funded, in the current financial times when official funding has become very meagre, would have problems being able to afford it all, and that only in theoretically rich countries. (The issue of world expansion is referred to early on in the project but they decide to limit their ambitions for the time being).
Also, the fact that issues to be discussed and championed were decided by a few enlightened individuals (although there is some debate about the matter) could raise issues of paternalism and hint at a view of the world extremely western-centred (something again hinted at in the novel). Evidently, this is a novel and not a socio-political treatise and its emphasis on changing the US laws to enforce legislation protecting equality, women’s rights and defending women against violence brings those matters the attention and focus that’s well-deserved.
For me, the novel, where everything that happens and every character that appears is there to either assist, hinder, or inspire Dan (it is a subjective narrative and one where the main character is desperately searching for meaning) works as a fable or perhaps better a parable, where the feelings and the teachings are more important than the minute details or how we get there. It is not meant to be taken as an instructions manual but it will be inspirational to many who read it.
In summary, although some readers might find it overly didactic (at times it seems to over-elaborate the point and a word to the wise…) and might miss more variety and diversity in the characters, it is a beautifully written book that will make people think and induce debate. This is not a book I’d recommend to readers that like a lot of action and complex plots, but to those who enjoy a personal journey that will ring true with many. It is a touching and engaging read to be savoured by those who enjoy books that challenge our opinions and ideas.
Remember, if you want to have a chance to get a copy of the book, you just need to get in touch with Rich Marcello, at his e-mail address,email@example.com and mention the giveaway in the title of the e-mail. And, of course, if you are lucky enough to get a copy, remember to share a review!
Thanks so much to Rich Marcello for this opportunity, thanks to all of you for reading and participating, and I’d be very grateful if you could spread the word in any way possible. Please, like, share, comment and reblog if you can!
You might remember I mentioned working with other authors and sharing events with them and all the advantages of doing that in a post I shared in Literary Word Interviews (just click if you missed it). Well, here we are. Fantastic author Uvi Poznansky has organised an event on Facebook where we introduce our audiobooks and even give them away. It runs from the 20th to the 22nd of this month.
I’ve probably already invited you to the event, but just in case, it’s here.
To gather some support I started a campaign in HeadTalker, so if you can join it shares the message on the chosen date (the 20th in this case. It works a bit like Thunderclap, but you can have a campaign with only 25 people supporting you so it’s a bit more flexible). Here is the campaign, just in case. (And don’t worry. The App doesn’t post anything other than that message or changes anything in your social media account).
I’m offering two of my audios. I thought I’d share some fragments of one of them, today and some of the other one Friday.
First, I Love Your Cupcakes
A sweet culinary romance.
I Love Your Cupcakes by Olga Núñez Miret. Narrated by Gwyn Olson
Dulce, Adelfa and Storm, the protagonists of I Love Your Cupcakes are business partners, friends and share some “interesting” family connections. All the men Dulce meets only want to talk about her cakes and she’s tired of it. Her friend Adelfa, although she’s a Chemistry Professor, can’t manage to find the recipe for the perfect relationship. And Storm, the third of the partners of their bakery/coffee shop/bookshop/art gallery and ex-fire station, is an artist who is not a master in the art of love. How could they imagine that at the TV studio of the program “Do You Have What it Takes to Be the Next Baking Star?” they’d find sexual harassment, cheats, fights and also love? Recipes included (only for cakes, not love!)
Glyn Olson and Red Rose Studio have done a fantastic job bringing my novel to life. You’ll be able to smell the cakes, laugh with their adventures, and fall in love…
You can listen to a sample directly in Sound Cloud:
If you prefer to watch the You Tube video:
And here a few fragments that relate to the theme of the event, gifts and giving.
In the first one, the two friends, Dulce and Adelfa, are setting up their cupcakes shop/bookshop/gift shop and everything else, and they’ve managed to gather a lot of support from within the community.
“We have plenty of organising to get through but you are busy enough. I’ll see if I can get somebody to help us with the cakes once the supplies are here. By the way, Alf, the mayor’s office has sent us an e-mail offering us an old bus. I don’t know what state it will be in but we thought we could have the children’s reading group there, and if it is road-safe and mobile we could take it to different places and give it a bit of exposure. I wasn’t sure if you’d want to have a look…”
“A bus? Of course! I’d love to! Why don’t you send me the e-mail? I’ll ask them to bring it here. Unless we can drive it, then I’d bring it myself. The fire-engine should be safe for visits soon. Ah, and my Dad is coming later to check all the safety measures. We should be more than ready for Wednesday.”
The good news is that the bus in question is an old school bus. Later on in the book, when the bus goes into retirement, they get an even more interesting addition to their float (but I’m not telling you!).
In the second fragment, the friends, who are taking part in a baking contest on the TV, are talking to the two members of another team, about their interesting family relations, and how keeping receipts can get you into trouble sometimes.
“What I don’t understand is… how did Sebastian, I mean Storm, find out that you existed?” Trisha asked.
“It’s an interesting part of the story. Our Dad was always, and I imagine still is, although I’m not in touch with him, very peculiar about keeping receipts, bills and paperwork for everything he got. He came back from some trip and brought Storm a computer game as a gift. Storm already had the same game and asked him for the receipt to be able to exchange it, as he’d bought it in one of the shops of a big chain. Our father gave it to him. Most fathers would have thrown it away and that would have been the end of the story, but not our Dad. When Storm checked he realised that he’d bought other things in the same shop that he’d never given him, and he didn’t know of any other children his age that he would buy presents for. He felt intrigued and made enquiries at the shop with some excuse. They replied that they had sent the other games to the address he had given them. He asked for confirmation to check that they had been sent to the correct place, and bingo! It was our address. Storm has always been very good with computers and handling data and he traced even the marriage certificate back. Then he realised what was going on. Knowing his mother, he decided it would be better to come and tell us himself. His mother travelled so much that he took a chance during one of her trips and instead of going to stay with a friend, he came by…And the rest, as they say, is history” Adelfa concluded, throwing the rest of her ice-cream into a bin.
“Wow! What a story! And Storm must be a remarkable guy!” Candy exclaimed.
The third fragment shares the moment when Rock, a man who works at the studio, brings Dulce a present. He is a very special guy, and so is his gift.
“Come in. I was about to send you a message. I lost track of you and didn’t know where you’d gone.”
“I wanted to finish something I was working on…Here.” He gave her a red velvet box.
It was a necklace. A fairly special necklace. It had what looked like an antique key, with the top in the shape of a heart, enamelled in red, in wrought iron, hanging from a very fine and thin strip of copper netting that served as a chain. It was beautiful and unique.
“It represents the key to my heart,” Rock told her. “I hope you like it. Lance suggested flowers and chocolates but…”
“You’re definitely right. I love it! Thanks, Rock.”
She kissed him on the cheek first but then they progressed to kissing in the mouth several times.
Thanks to Uvi for organising this great event, thanks to all of you for reading, and please, do come and join in if you can! And of course, share, like, comment, and CLICK!
Yes, this is an extra post, but I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss this opportunity. A group of writers I peer into every so often (as you know I write in different genres but these authors are big, really BIG romance writers) have got together to celebrate a special birthday (I’m keeping quiet, she’ll tells us all, hi, Nicole!), the new season (glorious fall) and our love for books and readers, with a giveaway. Ah, and don’t forget to join the Facebook party on 12th September, where you can meet many of your favourite romance authors. You just need to click HERE
Welcome to the Fall Into Romance Kindle Giveaway!
This giveaway is running from the 9th of September to the 14th of October
GRAND PRIZE – Kindle eReader + $25 Amazon gift card
1st PRIZE – $50 Amazon gift card (2 winners)
2nd PRIZE – $50 Amazon gift card (2 winners)
3rd Genuine blue topaz earrings (US only)
4th Signed paperback copy of Dominant Persuasions (US only)
5th Various swag items (3 winners – US only)
The wonderful and talented authors who have made this giveaway possible:
Nicole Morgan, Sharon Hamilton, Desiree Holt, Laura Taylor, Sarah Jane Butfield, Mimi Barbour, Cynthia Woolf, Bethany Shaw, Jerrie Alexander, Elizabeth Marx, Kristine Cayne, Janice Seagraves, Beth Caudill, Olga Núñez Miret, Lisa Gillis, Denyse Bridger, Misha Carver, Laxmi Hariharan, Tina Donahue, Susanne Leist, Lisa Kessler, Tamara Ferguson, Amy J. Hawthorn, Kym Roberts
You’ll remember I shared the cover of Dariel Raye’s new book a while back and she promised to bring us the news when the book was out. And she’s delivered. Here it is!
Destiny’s Favor (Orlosian Warriors Bk. 2)
Destiny’s Favor synopsis
His world shifted the moment she was born. Now, nothing can stop him from making her his.
Imagine meeting a man who looks like an angel, wings and all? What would you do if this man told you he existed with only one purpose – to claim you and only you?
Destiny Carter is a feisty, take charge, Rubinesque beauty with a tough façade, who finds herself in that age old quandary, “always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” A string of lackluster relationships leave her hopeless and ready to settle…Until she meets Japheth, the man her fiancé claims is his best friend! Japheth’s arrival is heralded by an attack on Destiny’s life, and instinctively, she knows this is just the beginning.
Born more than 200 years ago, Japheth looks like an angel but he’s far from it. In his world, the ratio of men to women is 500 to 1, and although he’s a superior being, he’s willing to break the most sacred law of his brothers, even drink human blood, to have one meant for him alone.
When he meets Destiny, he knows she’s the one he’s been searching for. To claim her, he will have to betray a friend, risk his life, and hardest of all, humble himself enough to win her love.
J mowed-down the second of the biggest, rarest T-bones Destiny had ever seen. He ate as if he hadn’t eaten in days. Destiny noticed that J didn’t miss a beat in the conversation, yet his plate got emptier and emptier. She found herself staring at his throat, the muscles moving up and down as he chewed and swallowed.
She wondered absently whether it was wrong to be drawn to his beauty when her inner voice kept telling her something about him wasn’t quite as it seemed, but oh, he was beautiful. No other word described him. In fact, he was unnaturally so. No man should have his looks. It just wasn’t fair.
“…don’t you think so, Baby?”
“W-what?” Lost in her own thoughts, she had missed her cue in the conversation. She glanced up, shifting her gaze too slowly from J’s throat to his eyes. His lips were tilted into a smile, and his eyes held a gleam of mischief. He had seen her watching him. Bastard.
Robert offered her a tolerant smile. “I was telling J he’s staying with us. All the hotel rooms in this area are gonna be taken because of the convention.”
Destiny could see the pleading in Robert’s eyes as he awaited her answer. The apartment was his, and while she stayed over with him at times, she had not felt convinced enough to agree to move in with him.
She appreciated him at least giving the impression that her opinion mattered. The keyword there was impression, because he certainly should have discussed this idea with her before they reached the terminal, and certainly not with J’s unsettling gray eyes boring into her. Again, she thought, it wasn’t her place so she didn’t really have a say. She didn’t even have to be here, let alone at Robert’s apartment, and she could always go back to her place if she felt too uncomfortable.
She glanced at him, then back at J. “Sure. Robert and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” She showed them a few teeth to seal the deal, then tried to focus her attention on the menu again. Well, there goes steering clear of him.
“Don’t you guys want shakes? It’s a rhetorical question.” Destiny raised her hand to get the waitress’s attention. She still felt J’s gaze on her, but avoided looking in his direction.
“No chocolate for you, Baby. Remember? You’re staying with me tonight, and caffeine keeps you awake.” Robert took a paternal tone, showing off. She wanted to slap the back of his head.
As soon as the waitress came over, Destiny addressed her, drawing the woman’s attention away from J. The woman’s big blue eyed gaze seemed to have lit on him without her notice – like a pin to a strong magnet. Destiny had to raise her voice. “I’ll also have a chocolate shake, please.” She put emphasis on the word “chocolate.”
J laughed and turned toward the waitress, who appeared to be enjoying the exchange. “I’ll have chocolate, too. Do you have chocolate cake also, miss?”
The waitress blushed maroon, her hand going to her chest as she laughed, obviously affected by him. “Lily. My name is Lily.” She pointed to her name tag.
J nodded and smiled before breaking the woman’s apparent trance. “Thank you, Lily. Do you have chocolate cake? I’d like to OD on chocolate. Can you help me do that, Lily?”
“Oh!” She covered her mouth like a giddy teen. “Yes. Yes, I’ll bring your chocolate shake and chocolate cake over. We also have hot fudge and chocolate syrup, if you’d like to add one of those. On the house.”
Destiny’s jaw nearly dropped. What the hell did he do to deserve his on the house?
After Lily took J’s order for chocolate cake and a chocolate shake, she turned to Robert. By then, Destiny couldn’t help sharing a conspiratorial smile with J. His eyes seemed to dance, watching the exchange he’d instigated. She had to admit it. The man had charisma to burn.
“Nothing for me.” Robert frowned, patting his slim middle with his palm as he silently judged them with his eyes. “I’m watching my weight, and I don’t have anywhere else to put it, anyway.”
Destiny glared at him. He was already too thin for his height as far as she was concerned. Her weight topped his by at least 30 pounds. Hearing his comment about watching his weight grated like having lunch with a picky, pretentious size zero model. J, on the other hand, probably shopped in the Big and Tall shops. He was muscular and solid without being bulky, and he couldn’t seem to get enough to eat. Something about a man who liked to eat made her toes tingle, not to mention what it did to her other parts.
About the Author
Dariel Raye is an animal lover, musician, and author of powerful IR/MC (Interracial/Multi-cultural) paranormal romance and dark urban fantasy with alpha male heroes to die for, and strong heroines with hearts worth winning. She is a mezzo-soprano who fell in love with books and started reciting stories at the age of 3. She also plays over 11 musical instruments.
Her stories tell of shifters, vamps, angels, demons, and fey (the Vodouin variety). Dariel is currently writing three series: “Dark Sentinels” (wolf shifters), “Orlosian Warriors” (Vampire-like Nephilim), and “Gateway” (a crossover erotic paranormal suspense with romantic elements).
For more about Dariel, follow her blog or visit her website. She also publishes a new release newsletter. If you enjoyed this book, please post a review on review sites. You can also follow her and contact her on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.
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