It’s the last day of summer vacation! I can’t waste one more minute, second, or millisecond sleeping. This is going to be the most epically awesome day of all time! Like, so good that awesome looks at this day and wishes it was this epic. This might sound like a lot of pressure, but I’m ready. For weeks I’ve been keeping track of the summer stuff I love to do most, so I could pick out all the best things. Now, I have a
mental list just waiting for me to get to it:
-Go to the pool.
-Use sun lightener on my hair.
-Work on my tan.
-Try something new at the Snack Shack.
-Meet three new boys.
-Give at least one of the boys my phone number.
I am determined to squeeze the most amount of fun out of every single second of this day. Obviously, I can’t get any of it done while I’m laying here like a slug! I have to get up and call Robyn.
I roll out of bed, no clue what time it is. My stinking alarm clock has been tick-tick-ticking away the precious minutes of my last summer day, so I have been ignoring it with all of my might. Before I stand up, I smack the clock face down on the nightstand. I should have done that before. The irritating neon numbers, winking in my peripheral, were giving me a headache. And headaches are not epically awesome.
I wonder, would Time stop if I use all my allowance to send it on a vacation to Hawaii? I can find a beachfront resort somewhere far away from me and Time can sit next to the ocean with a fruity little drink. I wouldn’t mind if Time decided to stay there for a couple weeks even. This could totally work. Even Time must need a break sometimes.
Or maybe not, since that darn clock is still going at it, just muffled now.
I plop my pillow down on my nightstand, to shush it even more, and I tiptoe to my bedroom door. As quietly as possible, I ease it open, so it doesn’t squeak. It does like to squeak sometimes, and I don’t want to wake anyone up in case it’s super early. For all that trying to ignore the clock’s tick-tocks, I didn’t actually look at the time.
I’ll just check when I get my phone.
Because of the family ‘no screens in bedrooms’ rule, my phone spends the night in a basket on the coffee table. Out of habit, I look both ways before I slip out of my room and into the hall. Not a creature is stirring. Even so, I prefer to sneak along the walls and slink around corners like I’m in some big deal spy movie. It’s just more fun that way. I serpentine down the stairs and army crawl across the living room. When I’m almost to the coffee table, I execute a super awesome somersault that
leaves me on my back, staring up at the phone basket.
I reach one arm into the basket and rummage around until I feel sequins. My phone! The most beautiful creation of turquoise and silver sparkles, I am very happy to have it in my hand.
I hold the phone above my head, over my face, while I text. My arms start to fall asleep instantly, but I ignore them, because this is super important.
About the Author:
Cori Cooper lives in the magical Arizona Mountains, which she’s pretty convinced is the setting for all the fairy tales.
Besides writing stories, she adores hanging out with her family, playing board games, hiking and baking, baking, baking. Like Cat’s family, she’s positive Cinnamon Rolls fix everything.
You can connect with Cori on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and her website – Coristories.com.
Five elements to save the world, and change what it means to be human. 🌟 Get ready for a magical, action-packed ride full of romance, laughter, tears, twists and turns!Urban Fantasy action and Sci-fi adventure, deliciously combined with Paranormal Romance to give this series all the feels.
💥A secret camp in the woods. A revolution in the making. And a fighter that will change what it means to be human.
Maia is hell-bent on revenge, until a tattooed menace literally stands in her way.
Gabe is a legendary fighter with a soft heart that snags on the wounded woman before him. 💞
Together, they discover much more than they bargained for. When the world is ending, someone’s gotta step up and do the saving, and two MMA fighters might just fit the bill.
The Wood Element is being activated, and with it, a war.
Trigger Warning: Cliffhanger & Cursing, characters discuss history of rape, infant loss
What people are saying about the Five Elements series: 💕
“If you like romance, you MUST give this series a try! This Urban Fantasy / Romance series is so intriguing. I haven’t really read anything like it before.”
“Read this book if you want a perfect introduction to science fantasy! Wow is just not a strong enough reaction to convey the amazing shock and awe I am in…”
“This is one of the most spellbinding stories that I have ever read … so addictive that I could not turn the pages fast enough…”
“A work of a timeless genius … I highly recommend it to all readers as this is a must-read.”
Visually impaired author and current flavour of the Indian literary scene, Dev Arya, has not just triumphed against the odds in his life, he’s annihilated them. He’s got fame, fortune and floozies in abundance. And yet, he’s lonely.
Cafe owner and only child to her differently abled father, Avni Desai is broke, heartbroken and a true survivor. But no matter how hard she hustles, she’s still struggling to stay afloat.
And then, one day, Dev walks into her cafe… and everything changes for both of them. From excellent tiramisu to earshattering singing, from dramatic friends to accident prone sexcapades, they embark on the ride of a lifetime.
Will it all be worth it though? Will two broken souls find a way to heal each other? Or do the fractures go so deep that there is no way for either of them to find the love they so deeply crave and yet can’t seem to have?
She sounded…warm. I’d gotten into the habit of identifying people by the way they made me feel. This determinedly cheerful, husky voiced café owner definitely made me feel warm. She was also honest. Her tiramisu was exceptional.
Across the table from me, I heard her spoon scraping the bottom of her own plate. At least she wasn’t one of those girls who was on a perpetual diet. I could never understand people who existed by just sniffing at their food and then swallowing one tiny nibble of it.
“You were right,” I said. “Your tiramisu is amazing.”
“I know,” she replied. “Actually, pretty much all of my stuff is amazing.”
“So modest,” I murmured, amused at her confidence.
“Except for my carrot cake.” She sounded perplexed.
I grinned. “I’m sorry but in my opinion carrot and cake are two words that shouldn’t go together.”
“Right?” she exclaimed. “And yet, people love it. Mine tastes pretty awful. I’m still trying to figure out why.”
“What do you mean why? I make horrible carrot cake. That’s why.”
“So,” I shrugged. “Don’t make carrot cake. Make something else. Something that you’re awesome at.”
“A menu of only tiramisu would be a bit restrictive, don’t you think?”
I laughed. Her sarcasm had me feeling lighter and more free than all the cloying sweetness I was usually surrounded by.
“I’m Dev Arya.” We hadn’t even gotten around to introducing ourselves to each other.
“Avni Desai. Nice to meet you.”
I smiled. There was something about her voice that made me want to wallow in it.
“So what do you do, Dev Arya?” she asked now.
“I’m an author,” I said, twirling my cane and waiting for her to make the connection. I usually didn’t want people to recognize my name and fawn all over me but some small childish part of me wanted to impress this woman.
“Hmm. What kind of books do you write?” she asked.
My cane froze. “What kind of books do I write?” I repeated. Was she for real? I was currently one of the most recognized names in the commercial fiction world.
“Psychological thrillers,” I said and waited for the squeal of recognition.
It didn’t come.
Disgruntled, I shifted in my seat. “Thank you for the company but I need to go now.”
She pushed her chair back. “I have to get back to work too. It was nice meeting you, Mr. Dev Arya. Good luck with your bride search.”
I grimaced. “It’s more my mother’s bride search. Anyway, good luck with your ex boyfriend thing,” I said lamely. How exactly did you describe what her ex had done to her? And I was supposed to be a writer and good with words. I mentally rolled my eyes.
I heard someone come up at that moment. Two someones, if I wasn’t wrong.
“These are my friends, Sehar and Diana and this is Dev Arya,” she said,
“I know. It is such an honour to meet you, Mr. Arya. I’m Sehar and I’m a huge fan.”
The voice was sleek and smooth. She sounded like expensive crystal, I reflected.
“Me too. I’m Diana. I’ve got a minor role in the OTT adaptation of your book, Just one more.”
An actress. She sounded like it too. If Sehar was crystal, Diana was champagne.
“Oh,” Avni said, sounding strange. “You’re a big deal?”
I grinned. “Clearly not a very big deal if you’ve never heard of me.”
“I don’t really read books.”
My heart stopped. “What kind of monster doesn’t read books?”
Sehar and Diana started to laugh.
“Not everyone is a reader.” Avni sounded miffed but I was enjoying teasing her.
“I don’t think we can eat Tiramisu together again,” I said, consideringly. “I have standards to maintain.”
Did she just growl? It certainly sounded like it but her friend’s laughter drowned it out. I decided not to push her any further.
“So, Diana, what role are you playing in Just one more?” I asked, trying to change the topic.
There was a brief pause and then she said, “The dead body.”
Uh. I wasn’t sure how to respond. The dead body appeared on my first page and just lay there while the detectives poked and prodded at it.
“I’m sure you’ll do a wonderful job,” I said, finally.
“Oh she will,” Avni said, matter of factly. “She’s very good at lying in one place and not doing anything.”
The three of them erupted in a riot of bickering and heckling. I let it all wash over me and soothe the sting of the earlier rejection. Everything felt a little warmer and brighter in that moment.
About the Author:
Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.
An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.
1940 Liverpool. The pressures of war threaten to tear apart two sisters traumatised by their father’s murder of their mother.
With her new husband, Will, a merchant seaman, deployed on dangerous Atlantic convoy missions, Hannah needs her younger sister Judith more than ever. But when Mussolini declares war on Britain, Judith’s Italian sweetheart, Paolo is imprisoned as an enemy alien, and Judith’s loyalties are divided.
Each sister wants only to be with the man she loves but, as the war progresses, tensions between them boil over, and they face an impossible decision.
A heart-wrenching page-turner about the everyday bravery of ordinary people during wartime. From heavily blitzed Liverpool to the terrors of the North Atlantic and the scorched plains of Australia, Sisters at War will bring tears to your eyes and joy to your heart.
At some point his luck was going to run out. As a merchant seaman, Will Kidd was only too aware of the heavy losses sustained by merchant ships and yet, so far, he had come through the first months of the war with barely a sight of a German vessel. On the way south through the Bay of Biscay, towards Gibraltar, just two weeks ago, they had spotted the periscope of a submarine, only to find on closer inspection that it was a piece of driftwood. They had also identified a German warship off the south coast of Ireland but either it was running low on fuel and heading for home, unwilling for an encounter with a convoy, or somehow it failed to spot them. Either way, it sailed on without engaging. Such good fortune could not last forever.
This morning, Will was keeping watch as they headed back to England. The Christina was straggling along, heavily laden with cargo. Being low in the water, they’d been unable to sustain the eight knots the rest of the convoy were keeping to, and Captain Palmer had requested permission for them to continue alone. They were following a course as far from the Spanish and Portuguese coast as possible, as the risk of being sighted was less the further out to sea they were.
Will scanned the dark water around him with a practised eye, all too aware that somewhere out there, danger was lurking. The stretches closer to home were always the most perilous.
The Christina was an ageing tramp steamer. Will knew the ship like the back of his hand, having served on her between African ports before the war. The vessel was slow, cumbersome and would have been all too easily picked off trailing at the rear of the convoy. Better to take their chances alone, rather than slow the other ships down. But the problem of leaving the shelter of the convoy was that they only had a four-inch, low-angle gun, a relic from the last war. If a torpedo struck, they could be heading to the bottom of the sea before they had a chance to fire a shot back.
Night was falling. Will was near the end of his watch and looking forward to a few hours’ sleep. At first, he thought he saw a pod of dolphins, then realised it was moving much too fast – a line of bubbles crossing the bows from starboard to port. Grabbing the voice pipe, he sounded the alarm whistle and within moments Captain Palmer was beside him on the bridge.
‘Bring her about!’ Palmer ordered and the helmsman swung the ship through ninety degrees. The captain ordered them to increase speed but, even at full throttle, the Christina was too slow for a U-boat, even a submerged one whose speed would be constrained by battery power.
As the captain reached for the steam whistle to alert the rest of his sleeping crew, Will saw the unmistakable phosphorescent trail of a torpedo as it narrowly missed the Christina’s bow, closely followed by another.
‘Send an SSS with our coordinates,’ the captain instructed the radio operator.
The first officer appeared on the bridge. ‘Torpedo near miss off the stern.’
‘Turn her again. To port, hard about ninety degrees.’
The Christina turned again so that the stern of the ship faced the attacker. Will was astonished. Three torpedoes and none of them on target. He could barely believe their luck. It couldn’t hold out.
‘Full steam ahead.’ The captain was holding them on a steady course, hoping to put some distance between them before the U-boat fired another torpedo.
Will was the first to see the sub as it surfaced on the port side. He sent out an alarm as shells began raining down.
The radio officer was frantically sending out signals that they were under submarine attack; the Germans were targetting the ship’s aerial masts. The only gun, better suited to anti-aircraft defence, was little use at the angle required to fire at a surfaced submarine.
Palmer continued to steer the Christina on a random zigzag path, to make aiming as difficult as possible for the German vessel, aided by the cover of darkness.
But the shelling had only just begun. The Christina shook and groaned under the onslaught of fire from close range. Shells exploded everywhere across the decks.
Will looked at Captain Palmer, awaiting instructions.
‘Bastards.’ Palmer’s voice was grim. He grabbed the megaphone and gave the order.
The booming of exploding torpedoes continued. Water rushed down the companion ways. Steam shot up as a boiler exploded. Torchlights cut through the blackness of the night.
Everything was happening so fast. Will staggered along the deck to supervise the lowering of the port lifeboat, under the constant bombardment from shellfire.
Looking back, he saw the captain flinging the confidential books overboard, consigning them to the depths, safe from German hands.
As the bosun climbed into the port lifeboat to ready it for lowering, a shell exploded on the deck beside them. Will watched in horror. The explosion killed the first officer instantly and sent the bosun and the lifeboat plunging headlong into the roiling sea. Blinding lights, confusion, noise, pitching back and forth. Will looked over the side but there was no sign of the bosun. Just a mess of shattered timber floating on the black void of the sea.
The Germans must have known that they were abandoning ship, yet the U-boat had fired regardless. Will and the rest of the crew followed Captain Palmer over to the other side where they managed to lower the starboard lifeboat and clamber on board, fumbling in the dark, lit only by torchlight. The waves crashed against the Christina and buffeted the lifeboat as it went into the water.
The boat moved away from the ship and the men watched as the German U-boat continued to hammer shells into the now-blazing hull of the Christina. It was sport – like throwing balls at a fairground coconut shy. Shattering. Blasting. On and on, remorselessly.
The pounding of the old girl was painful to the whole crew. A slow noisy torture. They sat huddled in the lifeboat surrounded by the cold sea, watching transfixed.
It took a full hour before the Christina gave a few earsplitting creaks, roaring like an animal in the jaws of a lion, before she finally succumbed and slipped beneath the waves. No one spoke. But there was a collective sigh as the vessel that had been their home disappeared.
The silence was broken by Captain Palmer reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Thinking of their two lost comrades, the men joined in or bowed their heads respectfully, regardless of their religious beliefs.
Its brutal task complete, the U-boat slid away into the darkness. The destruction of the Christina had been performed with complete disregard for human life or the terms of the Geneva Conventions. The men, drenched with salt water, shivering from cold and shock, began to sing to keep their spirits up, before hoisting sail.
Will exchanged looks with Captain Palmer. They were the longest-serving on the Christina. Will could imagine what Palmer must be going through having lost his ship as well as one of his three officers and a valued crew member. Whilst not the fastest or most elegant of vessels, the Christina had been home to them for a long time and both men had many memories.
The lifeboat limped along, through mercifully calmer seas, in what the compass indicated was towards the north-west coast of Spain. Will sent up a silent prayer of thanks that his life had been spared in his first encounter with the enemy. He would be seeing Hannah again soon.
Clare Flynn is the author of thirteen historical novels and a collection of short stories. A former International Marketing Director and strategic management consultant, she is now a full-time writer.
Having lived and worked in London, Paris, Brussels, Milan and Sydney, home is now on the coast, in Sussex, England, where she can watch the sea from her windows. An avid traveler, her books are often set in exotic locations.
Clare is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a member of The Society of Authors, ALLi, and the Romantic Novelists Association. When not writing, she loves to read, quilt, paint and play the piano.
My statement was brave—considering—and I hoped I’d spoken loud enough to be heard by the intended recipient. I didn’t want to repeat myself. It had taken a lot of courage—or foolhardiness—to say it the first time.
The paranormal was one of those difficult-to-approach topics, especially with my best friend. History had proven our differences of opinion. Despite being inseparable for over ten years, I knew this was a topic where we were unlikely to reach a consensus.
But at this point, I was desperate. I might be going crazy, and only Finn could help me.
Yet, there was no response. No reaction.
Across the small cafe table, Finn furiously typed on his laptop—undisturbed by my nervous confession. He’d made no outward acknowledgment of my words, and it made me wonder if he’d even heard me.
The coffee shop was rather loud, after all.
“Finn.” I pressed my foot against his shin, trying to get his attention. “Finn, did you hear what I just told you?”
With perfect lips turned downward, he glanced up, meeting my gaze. His gray eyes were normally playful and light, but at the moment were sharp—disapproving. At once, I was thankful his black-rimmed glasses offered a filter for his judgment.
“I heard you.” His distinctive baritone dipped an octave lower than normal, signaling his annoyance. “Considering the absurdity of what you said, I chose to ignore it.”
Then without further ado, he refocused his attention on his laptop.
I gasped. How could he be so callous and uncaring?
Even if he didn’t believe me, he could at least hear me out. He was my best friend and the only person in the world I cared about besides my parents. But he could be such a jerk!
I was being haunted. I could die.
MY REVIEW – 3.5 stars
Mu: The Grimm Cases Collection got off to a bit of a rocky start for me. The first few chapters made me feel completely lost. Once I settled into the story a bit more, I found the characters enjoyable. If you like quirky heroines, you’ll love Bianca.
The writing was good. Aside from feeling a bit like I’d been dropped into the middle of something during those first few chapters, I enjoyed the collection. The writing flowed well, and the rest was easy to follow.
There’s more going on with Bianca than the supernatural, but I hate spoilers, so that’s all I’ll say on the matter. The story is rather complex, and full of enough twists and turns that at times I found myself re-reading a passage just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.
Overall, it was good but it just didn’t wow me.
*Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.
About the Author
Lyla Oweds is an Amazon bestselling paranormal romance and urban fantasy author who resides in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania. She grew up near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and has a deep appreciation for the paranormal, hauntings, and Edgar Allan Poe. As such, she loves all things fantasy, mystery, crime, and horror.
When not reading, writing, or working as a web programmer, Lyla can be found doing adult-y things such as being a mom to small children, cleaning, and gardening. She also frequently enjoys makeup videos, massages, wine, and coffee.
“Get those damn charges set, and let’s get out of here,” I growled into
my mic. Shadows moved around me, and a turbaned face appeared out of the
murky darkness. I shot the onrushing insurgent twice and looked around
“Come on, come on, come on,” I muttered. “We’re past time for
evac. Move your slow asses!” Lt. Rodriquez was suddenly at my side,
scowling. “We’re doing the best we can, Corporal. Hold on to your
“Charges set, Lieutenant,” Stevens called out. “That makes all
four; we can blow this popsicle stand!”
“About damn time,” I snapped. “There are hostiles everywhere.
What the hell is this place, anyway?”
McGavin scoffed. “It’s a temple, Brooks. Remember? We had a
briefing and everything.”
“Screw you,” I told him. “This ain’t like no temple that I’ve
ever seen. And it smells like a fucking crypt.”
“No lie,” my buddy, Lance Corporal Jeremy Stevens, chimed in.
“Marines,” Rodriquez barked. “Let’s go.”
I led us back out, the six of us in tight formation. Stevens was
on my left flank; Sgt. Bates was on my right, and the Lieutenant was in the
middle with the beady-eyed “guide” that the Colonel had stuck us with.
McGavin brought up the rear.
Dead bodies were everywhere; our ingress had come with a high body count.
I ignored them.
Two tours had made me immune to corpses. I had bigger priorities.
There was a commotion in front of us; heard but not seen. Voices
cried out in excitement. We froze.
Our position was suddenly hit with massive spotlights. “We’ve been
cut off! Break left!” Rodriquez yelled as gunfire erupted all around us.
We returned fire, hot and heavy.
Being in front has its disadvantages. I got hit three times, twice in the
chest and once in the leg.
My vest took the brunt of the two to the chest, but the leg shot really
sucked. I went down but staggered back to my feet and kept fighting.
Stevens took over point; Lt. Rodriquez slid over to his spot and put me
in the middle with the guide, who looked scared out of his mind. I didn’t
We raced through the gloom, moving downhill but not having a choice in the
matter. McGavin took a round to the lower back and went down. I
shouted, and the unit took up positions around our fallen comrade.
We created a semi-circle facing back the way we’d come, weapons up and
ready. There wasn’t long to wait. The horde was on us quickly, the
heavy sound of their AK-47s threatening to overwhelm the sharper cracks of our
It was over in less than sixty seconds, and to my amazement, we were
still standing. There were bodies all around us, and the air was thick
with the smell of cordite. Clouds of smoke from the gunfire obscured our
lights even further.
It was like being in hell, I thought, sweeping the area with my carbine.
Something flashed in my light, and I swung back.
There was a figure standing at the edge of the light. It couldn’t
be a friendly, so I shot at it. I missed, and it ducked behind a pile of
bodies. The Lieutenant motioned, and Stevens and I went out to get
whoever it was.
I’d taken maybe three steps when the figure reappeared, much closer.
I could tell it was a man, head and neck wrapped in a shemagh. One
arm was holding a bundle, and the other was outstretched toward the ceiling.
His eyes were glowing red. I blinked. His eyes really were
glowing; it wasn’t goggles or an optical illusion. Glowing or not, I knew
what my job was. I put that head with glowing eyes in my sights and prepared
to pull the trigger.
Our guide, who’d been useless and paranoid the entire mission, started
screaming and babbling in complete gibberish. The only part that I could
make out was something about Manziel or manzazu or some such nonsense, but his
outburst caught me off guard, and I missed my shot.
Suddenly there was movement all around us. The bodies of the enemy
combatants were stirring. Impossibly, they were staggering to their feet.
All around us, corpses were rising from the floor, their eyes shining a
“What the fuck?” Stevens shouted. “This ain’t happening, man.”
I put a three-round burst into the chest of the corpse nearest me and
blew out his heart. It didn’t seem to affect him at all; he just kept
shuffling toward me, his arms reaching out. I shot him again, this time
doing the Mozambique technique that had been drilled into all Marines.
The two shots to the body didn’t do anything, but the follow-up round to
the head dropped it.
I could hear my unit screaming, cursing, and shooting the reanimated dead
bodies all around me.
They were coming at us from every direction.
We tightened our circle, trying to cover each other as we changed mags
and shifted targets. It didn’t matter; they overwhelmed us. There were
just too many of them, and we couldn’t put them down fast enough.
I watched in horror as my best friend, Jeremy Stevens, was pulled down
by a mob of freaking zombies and torn apart. Behind me, Lt. Rodriquez
screamed, and then his voice trailed off into a muffled gurgle, and I knew he
was gone, too.
My mag ran dry, and I reached for another, determined to keep fighting.
My fingers closed on air. I was out. The undead pressed in,
their hands clawing for me. I swung the empty rifle like a club, trying
to clear a space.
The undead mob pulled the rifle from my hands, so I drew my Colt 1911
handgun. It was a fine weapon, and I was good with it, but it only held
eight rounds. Those eight rounds went quickly.
When the pistol was empty, all sounds of gunfire ceased.
I was the last of the unit standing. The zombies surrounded me.
To my right, two of the obscene things were eating my Sergeant.
Behind them, more were tearing our guide to pieces.
I spun to my left and saw what was left of Stevens. Hands fastened onto
my vest, and I twisted away. More grabbed hold of my legs, and I went
The zombies crowded around me. Behind them, looking on, was the
man with the glowing eyes, triumph on his face. He cackled with glee.
In desperation, I felt around for anything to use as a weapon. My
hands reached above my head and found the remains of the Lieutenant. His
head had been ripped off. My hands shifted lower and found the detonator
on his belt for the explosive packages that we’d set.
I yanked it free and held it up. The zombies were all over me,
and their leader was looking down at me, sneering.
“Fuck you,” I screamed and pushed the button.
There was a distant rumble, a pressure wave, and then the world collapsed
About the Author:
Dan Coglan, A.K.A. “Samurai Dan” is the acknowledged masters of marital… er, martial mayhem. Dan travels the civilized portions of the U.S., bringing his unique show to curious and horrified audiences alike.
In addition to their high-energy, mostly safe stage shows (where razor-sharp blades and barbs fly), Dan teaches historical and hysterical panels on the way of the warrior. Offering a wide range of lectures and interactive workshops, Dan provides joy and laughs wherever he goes.
Due to a supreme lack of filter, Dan also performs standup comedy in censored and uncensored settings. A storyteller at heart, Dan is releasing his first book in his Deathstalker Chronicle Series: Invasion of the Undead.
A scandal-averse Maharaja.
A free-spirited actress.
What do you get when throw them together and add a fake engagement to the mix?
Depending on whom you ask, you either get a match made-in-heaven or a royal disaster.
Nivy Sharma knows exactly what she needs – the freedom to be herself and follow her passion. Guess what she doesn’t need? A tailor-made husband.
When her meddlesome mother tries to throw her into the arms of a mom-approved suitor, Nivy runs the other way.
Right into the arms of the man who shattered her heart.
His Highness Veerendra Singh can recognise a pain-in-the-ass when he sees it. Especially when it falls into his arms.
Even if said pain-in-the-ass has legs that go on forever and lush lips that just beg to be kissed, Veer vows to run the other way. As he did once before…
But, when the marriage-minded princess of Tejpur sets her sights on him, Veer runs back into Nivy’s arms to propose a fake engagement.
When ‘fake’ starts to feel very real, Nivy and Veer have to decide what is important… long-held prejudices or the chance for a life with the only person they’ve ever loved.
Will this be their second chance at love or will their broken past ruin their hope for a shared future?
There was a soft knock at the door, and Munshi Ji entered, with a trolley containing three cups, a big pot of black coffee, milk, sugar and a huge plate of chunky chocolate chip cookies.
He served us our coffee and just then, Veer walked in.
“Pour me a cup too, Munshi Ji,” he ordered.
I avoided Jessie’s amused gaze and smiled at Veer. He smiled back at me. We kept smiling at each other until we were pelted with bits of chocolate chip cookies.
As one, we turned to glare at Jessie who was doubled over with laughter.
“Would you miss your sister if I pushed her out of the window?” I asked with narrowed eyes.
“Not at all,” replied Veer, promptly.
Jessie ignored my threat and smiled innocently at Veer.
“Veer, do you have any plans for dinner?”
“Because Anika wanted to dine with you guys today. Just you, her and Nivy.”
I choked on a cookie crumb.
“What! Why?” I yelped, while Veer stared at Jessie in horror.
“She wants to get to know you better. I think she just wants to mess with Nivy, though. Have fun,” she said, sweetly.
“I’m not hungry,” I announced.
“You will be, by dinner time,” she replied.
“Not if I go on a fast. Don’t you royals have all sorts of weird customs? I’m sure we can find some obscure text that says that the Maharaja’s fake fiancée can’t eat anything until she does some sort of penance,” I said, grasping for straws.
“I think dinner with Anika is penance enough,” said Jessie, with a laugh.
That girl was enjoying my misery far too much. I snarled under my breath as I tried to think of a way out.
“Alright. I’d like to borrow the Devgarh sword please,” I begged.
Veer shook his head.
“While I’d love to see you swing it at Anika, you can’t. It’s too heavy. Your delicate arms wouldn’t even be able to lift it off the wall,” he said regretfully.
“Can I pay you to swing it on my behalf?”
“A true Rajput doesn’t raise his hand to a woman, even if he’s convinced that said woman is actually a chudail in disguise,” he said softly.
Something went melty in the region of my heart, but I ignored it stoutly.
“Umm, if you guys could stop making sheep eyes at each other, I have a solution,” suggested the pain in our collective asses.
“And you let me go on and on about the Devgarh sword?” I snapped at her.
“It was funny,” she said with an uncaring shrug.
Veer held me back as I lunged at his sister.
“What solution, Jess?” he asked, running a soothing hand down my back.
I allowed him to lead me to the bay window, and we sat down together. I acted as if I couldn’t feel his hand holding mine.
Jessie stared at our joined hands pointedly for a second and then started talking.
“You could take Nivy out for dinner,” she suggested.
“Done,” he replied.
Jessie stood up with a squeal.
Veer refused to analyse why he’d agreed so promptly. He was just trying to keep Nivy out of Anika’s way. It had nothing to do with the fact that he wanted to spend as much time as he could with this maddening girl before she went back to Mumbai and forgot all about him. And it had absolutely nothing to do with how right her hand felt wrapped around his.
“Veer, I’m not sure this is such a great idea,” Nivy whispered.
“It’s better than spending time with Anika,” he whispered back.
“It’s not a real date, just a pretend one. Think of it as two friends sharing a meal,” he said, with his fingers crossed behind his back.
“Fine,” she conceded.
Jessie clapped her hands.
“I’ll make all the arrangements. You guys just go and have fun,” she said, skipping out of the room.
“Jessie, wait,” he called, but his sister had already left.
Veer turned to Nivy in confusion.
“Why is she making arrangements for our date?”
“Date? I thought it was just two friends sharing a meal?” she asked with her arms crossed over her chest.
Veer grinned at the sceptical look on her face.
“Of course, it is,” he said as innocently as he could.
She looked so adorable when she scrunched her nose disbelievingly that he was tempted to kiss the tip of it. Of course, if he did give in to that impulse, she’d punch him in his nose, so he finished his coffee in one gulp and set the cup down.
“Ring the bell when you want all this to be cleared,” he said and left the room before he did something stupid.
Meet the Author:
Alisha Kay is a Delhi based writer, who writes romances set in India.
She doesn’t hold with the concept of damsel-in-distress, which is why her heroines are spunky women with a sharp tongue and the ability to rescue themselves. Her heroes are hot men who are woke enough to find that independence irresistible.
The Maharaja’s Fake Fiancée is Alisha’s first book.
Vladimir Corelia is the second son of the pack alpha. He’s happy with his role in the pack, but it seems the fates have other ideas. When the man he finds living in a cave, caring for a shifter baby and a litter of wolf pups, turns out to be his mate, it begins a chain of events that puts the whole pack in jeopardy.
Frankie Bowers can’t remember anything except a powerful sense of danger. He only knows he can’t go home. With no way to defend himself, he has to rely on Vladimir, a perfect stranger who happens to be his mate, to protect him and the young he’s looking after.
While Vladimir and Frankie’s attraction as mates grows stronger every day, so does the threat to their relationship—and to the pack. As Frankie regains his memory, the threat grows more and more ominous. Vladimir and Frankie must rise to the challenge if they hope to have any chance at the future the fates might have in store.
Ava Moreland has it all planned out. In two months, she will marry her fiancé, Tim. She’ll continue working at Vegas’s famous Cosmopolitan bar while he runs his father’s accounting firm. Soon they’ll start a family and she’ll have the white picket life she’s always dreamed of. Or not.
When her fairytale engagement implodes in a devastating display, Ava embarks on a quest to reclaim her identity and feminine prowess – by sleeping her way through Las Vegas. With her best friend, Jarrod, acting as wingman her plan is foolproof. Or not.
Nothing goes as planned with hilariously disastrous results. Her sexual misadventures will keep you in stitches as Ava searches for herself in Sin City, finding herself and her happily ever after in the unlikeliest of places.
“That’s your master plan? To become known as the slutty bartender?” Jarrod raises one eyebrow, his skepticism written all over his face.
“Well, it sounds bad when you put it like that.” I shrug. “You’re misunderstanding the point.”
“Is the point to see how many STD’s you can rack up?”
I sigh. “No. The point is to reclaim my womanly power. The point is to live life. The point is to embrace life’s opportunities without the expectation of a happily ever after. The point is to forget about Mr. Right and enjoy Mr. Right Now.”
Jarrod shakes his head, leaves me sitting on the sofa alone and goes into his bedroom.
“I thought you’d be totally on board!” I shout to his closed door.
I mean, seriously. It isn’t as if I told him I was going to lay spread eagle in front of The Bellagio holding a sign reading ‘Free Sex’. While I’m not the type of girl to throw her cooter at every guy passing by, I see no reason to be a total prude either. I’ve decided to explore the world of one-night stands. I get hit on all the time at work. What’s so wrong with taking someone up on the offer if I find him attractive? I am no longer beholden to anyone.
A few minutes later, Jarrod jerks his door open. “Ok. I’ve thought about it. You can do this, but you need a chaperone.”
“I don’t need a chaperone.”
“Ok, A wingman, then. I’ll be personally vetting your selections to make sure there’s no psycho vibes.” He plops down next to me on the couch.
FROM THE AUTHOR
I took a risk when I titled my newest book, The Misadventures of a (Wannabe) Slutty Bartender by putting the word ‘Slutty’ in the title. Slutty is loaded word. Hearing it elicits some type of visceral response from everyone, and rarely is that response positive. For most, the word slutty represents a woman of low moral character, someone we should look down upon with disdain and scorn. I’ll admit, there were times in my life I thought much the same way. Calling a woman a slut is usually the result of gossip, driven by virtue signaling and insecurities. When used in a derogatory way, the moniker of slut is a badge of shame, a public declaration of a woman’s unworthiness of love and compassion. We are to believe she is dirty, unclean and impure.
Well, I refuse to continue the tradition of shaming a woman for the choices she makes with her own body. Which is why I decided to put ‘Slutty’ on the front cover, out in the open for God and everyone to see.
As times change and social norms evolve, being called a slut no longer carries with it the negative connotations it once did. For many, a slut is merely a woman who chooses to reject the patriarchal ideology that a woman touched is a woman ruined while men are free to dip their wick in any willing receptacle without damage to their reputation or social standing. What was once a shameful label is now looked at as a symbol of pride by some.
The Misadventures of a (Wannabe) Slutty Bartender is a story about a woman empowering herself (or at least attempting to) by no longer allowing anyone to tell her how she should behave or how she should conduct her private life. The main character, Ava, has been turning herself inside out for several years trying to become the person her fiancé and his stuffy parents would approve of. When her engagement collapses in a heap of shock and lies, she realizes she has lost herself in the outdated and suffocating perception of what makes a woman valuable. In an effort to regain her essence, she embarks on a mission to embrace life my having a series of one night stands. She theorizes the only way as a young, single woman to recapture her lost zest for life is to welcome all Vegas has to offer, including casual sex. It isn’t the sex she is necessarily after, but instead she is chasing the freedom to decide what – and who – she does and when she does it. Unfortunately for her, her escapades rarely live up to her fantasies. Each attempt is more hilariously disappointing than the last, thus making her a wannabe slut. Don’t worry. She eventually gets the HEA all women deserve.
My hope is that in addition to being entertaining, The Misadventures of a (Wannabe) Slutty Bartender conveys the message all women are fabulous, worthy and fierce, regardless of their sexual practices. There is no longer room in a woman’s underwear for societal judgement.
Make no mistake, I am in no way advocating the women of the world suddenly start tossing their cooters at every man passing by. In addition to being an author, I have also been a nurse for over twenty years. While I am all for women having total control over their goodies, my medical training demands I urge you to use good judgement and be safe.
Whether you have one partner or a hundred, you deserve to be valued for the awesome and beautiful person you are.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
WS Carmichael is attempting to write the world into romantic bliss one novel at a time. Based in upstate NY, she travels as often as her hectic schedule will allow. When she isn’t busy writing, she’s a mother, nurse and avid sportswoman.
WS Carmichael fell in love with romance at an early age when she would sneak Harlequins from her mother. A voracious reader, she eventually made the jump to writing.
Writing is her passion and she’s always jotting down new storyline and character ideas. Often, her characters take on a life of their own and don’t always cooperate with her plan for them. Creating well developed, strong alpha male characters that don’t fit into the typical romance hero mold makes her novels exciting and relatable. A woman who believes whole heartedly in happily ever after, she gives her heroes the heroine they deserve.
You can check out her blog and find out more on her website:
It Goes Like This Miel Moreland
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: May 18th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult
In Miel Moreland’s heartfelt young adult debut, It Goes Like This, four queer teens realize that sometimes you have to risk hitting repeat on heartbreak.
Eva, Celeste, Gina, and Steph used to think their friendship was unbreakable. After all, they’ve been though a lot together, including the astronomical rise of Moonlight Overthrow, the world-famous queer pop band they formed in middle school, never expecting to headline anything bigger than the county fair.
But after a sudden falling out leads to the dissolution of the teens’ band, their friendship, and Eva and Celeste’s starry-eyed romance, nothing is the same. Gina and Celeste step further into the spotlight, Steph disappears completely, and Eva, heartbroken, takes refuge as a songwriter and secret online fangirl…of her own band. That is, until a storm devastates their hometown, bringing the four ex-best-friends back together. As they prepare for one last show, they’ll discover whether growing up always means growing apart.
Miel Moreland was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With time spent in California and France, she has a Midwestern heart but wandering feet. When not making pop music references and celebrating fandom, she is likely to be found drinking hot chocolate and making spreadsheets. She currently resides in Boston, where she works in higher education. It Goes Like This is her debut novel.