Book Tour & Giveaway: Broken Skies by Theresa Kay #YoungAdult #SciFi @AuthorTheresaK @SDSXXTours

Broken Skies

Broken Skies Book 1

by Theresa Kay

Genre: YA SciFi Adventure Romance

Jax will do anything to save her twin . . . even team up with a teenage alien left behind by the same ship that took her brother.

She agrees to help the alien get back home, and in return, he agrees to sneak her into the alien city to find her sibling.

Too bad it’s not that simple.

Jax soon finds that she’s drawn to the alien boy with bright green hair and jewel-like scales on his back and he’s equally affected by her, the courageous redhead with haunted eyes. But she doesn’t know the alien’s true motives, and he has no idea that she is much more than she seems.

Worse, the connection forming between them has unknown consequences.

The humans and the aliens are both hiding deadly secrets and the forbidden bond linking the two teens threatens to reveal everything. What started as an uneasy alliance and a seemingly straightforward rescue mission could spark an inter-species war.

The Broken Skies series is a completed series filled with action, adventure, aliens, and romance. Perfect for fans of the Lux series, Under Different Stars, and The Fifth Wave.

One click today to dive in!

★★★★★ “A fast-paced and action-packed start to a series that will leave you reeling as you scramble for the sequel.” – Kelly St Clare, USA Today Bestselling Author.

★★★★ “Broken Skies is a captivating read, and its appeal crosses genres. Whether you like sci-fi, dystopian, paranormal, or just anything with a hint of romance, check it out; it’s got something for everyone.”- FicCentral

★★★★★ “I don’t want to give too much away but take an alien/human love story, set it in a post apocalyptic type society, feature a strong but damaged heroine, sprinkle in a compassionate but secretive male lead, add in suspense, drama, shake and you have the wildly entertaining Broken Skies.”-Shannon from Book Crushin

**On Sale for Only .99 cents!!**

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brokenskies - excerpt

With my bare legs extended in front of me, I lean back against the tree, my shoulder butting against my brother’s.

“Make any friends today?” Jace asks.

“No.” I narrow my eyes at him. “I can’t stand those girls.”

“You haven’t even given them a chance. I know Emily’s been—”

“Emily, huh? She spent an awful lot of time batting her eyelashes at you last time she stopped by. Anything you want to tell me about?”

Redness in his cheeks gives away his feelings more than words ever could. “No,” Jace says, frowning. “I’d just like to see you branch out, socialize . . . get better . . .” He glances at me and winces, his next words coming out in a rush. “It’s gotta be a lot more fun than sitting around the house and hiding from everyone. No offense, sis.”

I snort. “A lot more fun for you, maybe.” I settle my back against the tree. “Every time they try to pull me into the fold, I’m worried one of those sheep girls is going to ambush me and force me into a dress so I can be Promised to the first guy willing to take me.”

“Well, it might improve your temper.”

I punch him in the arm.

Jace leans against the tree next to me. “There’s nothing wrong with being sociable, Jax. It can’t be just us forever.”

“I’m happy with just us.” I cross my arms over my chest. “Plus, it’s not about me being sociable. It’s about conforming and being some perfect little obedient robot. Oh, and Dane’s desire to marry me off. The only way I’ll ever be Promised is if they lobotomize me. I am not one of those girls.”

“Lobotomize?” Jace raises his eyebrows. “You’ve got to be reasonable here. I’m sure one of the guys would be more than happy to take you on, bad attitude and all. I mean, look at me, I’m gorgeous and you’re my slightly less attractive twin.” He grins when I nudge him with my shoulder. “What about Flint? He’s nice enough.”

“Oh yes, I’m sure Dane would be willing to part with his precious son.” I roll my eyes. “Besides, it’s not going to happen.”

“It’s not up to him.” He won’t meet my eyes. “Flint is my friend and he makes his own choices. He likes you. He’d take good care of you. It wouldn’t be that awful, right?”

It’s my turn to blush. “Whatever. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” Tomorrow. That’s when I’ll tell him about my plan. We can’t stay in Bridgelake much longer.

            I close my eyes and let the sun warm my skin, enjoying the quiet companionship. Jace’s hand finds mine and I drift off to sleep.

Fractured Suns

Broken Skies Book 2

Almost everything she thought she knew is wrong…

A trip to the city yields some much-needed answers, but Jax is once again forced to leave Lir behind and return to Peter’s cabin where enemies from her past await. But there are bigger things at stake than revenge, and she finds herself traveling with some unexpected companions toward a place she hoped to never see again.

After being imprisoned on the orders of his uncle, Lir hasn’t seen daylight or linked to anyone in weeks, and the pain and loneliness is almost too much to bear. But Jax’s visit gives him renewed hope—and the strength to continue fighting his uncle’s influence over the E’rikon, even when things look hopeless.

While Jax and Lir fight separate battles, their missions have more in common than they realize. It’s a race against time to stop men driven by greed and power. But the ones they trust the most might be the very people working against them—and “family” doesn’t mean what it used to. Will they recognize their friends from their enemies in time to save the people they love…or will they lose each other in the process?

One Click today to continue this young adult science fiction adventure series filled with action, romance, heartbreak, and betrayal!

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Shattered Stars

Broken Skies Book 3

Unexpected allies. Unexpected betrayals. Unexpected abilities.

The last thing Jax ever wanted was to be a weapon. Her abilities are unpredictable at best, but there’s no one else with enough power to take on Jastren and his mental manipulations. She doesn’t have to do it alone, though. Not only can she rely on the unwavering support of Lir, Rym, and her human friends, she also ends up with help from a surprising source.

Meanwhile, her twin brother Jace—his body controlled by Jastren, and the shattered pieces of his mind locked inside—has become a monster. The struggle to hold on to what’s left of his humanity has left him weak and more confused than ever before. Every thought, every impulse, and every memory has the potential to destroy him—and everyone else around him.

The futures of both the humans and the E’rikon are on the line, but as ulterior motives and political machinations are revealed, it becomes clear that the betrayals aren’t restricted to only one species. Can Jax and Lir get everyone to work together in time to prevent the two species from destroying each other? Can Jace find some measure of redemption for all he has done? And will Jax be able to harness her powers without losing herself?

One Click today to read the emotional, action-packed conclusion to this completed young adult dystopian science fiction romance series!

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Theresa Kay writes stories that feature flawed young adult and new adult characters in science fiction, urban fantasy, or paranormal worlds, all with a touch of romance thrown in for good measure. She’s constantly lost in one fictional universe or another and is a self-proclaimed “fangirl” who loves being sucked into new books, movies, or TV shows. Living in the mountains of central Virginia with her husband and two kids, she works as a paralegal by day and spends her free time reading tons of books, binging Avengers movies, anime, and Doctor Who, or playing Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed.

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$25 Amazon,

Audiobook of Broken Skies,

ebook copy of Magic Bound the first book in my other series (Ravencrest Academy)

– 1 winner each!

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Book Blitz: Of the Lilin by Paulette Hampton #paranormal #youngadult @PauletteAnnHamp

Of the Lilin
Paulette Hampton
(The Sage Chronicles, #1)
Publication date: September 1st 2021
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

While dealing with depression, Sage attempts to pull herself into the light. What she finds is better left in the dark.

After the loss of her mother and her stepfather’s mental breakdown, Sage Frankle agrees to move in with her aunt and cousin at the Englewood Inn. Soon, her aunt arranges for Sage to begin working through her trauma with a psychologist. As time passes, Sage finds that she is far from healing and begins to slip from reality into a realm of darkness she is unable to escape. After the arrival of her cousin’s intriguing acquaintance, Sage is forced to realize she is indeed trapped, not by her mind, but by her bloodline.

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TEASERS:

Sage describing her depression: I didn’t deserve happiness. Those joys shouldn’t exist without my family’s and friend’s presence. I should have to endure more suffering for what I had done. I no longer pressed my memory to find out what I was guilty of. It was a blur, a blip in my mind, but it was there. I felt it, and I needed to suffer for it.

Sage, when her dark side appears, describing her feeding: From his wanting mouth, I began to inhale his essence, his spirit. It was exhilarating and decadent. I was filled with what was flowing and still, energetic and peaceful, awe-inspiring and banal. The dichotomies fit like two puzzle pieces. There was not one without the other. This was the only moment that existed. It was completeness.

Author Bio:

Paulette is an indie author who holds a Master of Arts in reading education. Her writing inspiration stems from watching fantasy and paranormal movies, as well as her real-life experiences with mental health issues. She hopes her readers will find humor in her stories, become curious about seeking peace through the present moment, and consider reaching out for help if they are struggling with their own issues.

Paulette loves drawing, watching a good thriller, kayaking, and eating chocolate…lots of it. She and her husband live in North Carolina with their two cats, Linda Hamm and Bree. Of the Lilin is the first book in her new upper YA paranormal series, The Sage Chronicles.

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Book Blitz: Charm Wars by Dan Lutts #fantasy #youngadult @DanLuttsAuthor

Charm Wars
Dan Lutts
(Charm Wars, #1)
Publication date: September 2nd 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Welcome to Caldon, a land of mages and magic, where the noblesse possess massive political and magical power and destroy anyone who threatens the noblesse way of life—especially the commoners.

Rill Larkin, the son of a commoner blacksmith, has high ambitions. To be a mage, join the exalted ranks of the ruling noblesse, and establish his own noblesse family. Defying both the system and his family, Rill becomes the apprentice of Deuth Estati, a powerful archmage. But appearances deceive. As training progresses, Rill learns of decades-long secrets and manipulations that threaten his dream. And Deuth might not be as benevolent as Rill thought.

Alyse Dejune despises magic, even if she does belong to one of the oldest and most powerful noblesse families in Caldon. The deceits and treacheries of noblesse life and the loveless marriage alliances among the noblesse families disgust her. Her family however has high expectations: that she fulfill her role as a noblesse girl by marrying Troy Estati, an arrogant, selfish noblesse boy she does not love. And Alyse harbors a secret—the potential to become one of the most powerful mages in generations and wield forbidden magic—that, if revealed, could mean her death.

In this deadly game of ever-shifting alliances, where the state wages perpetual war against an ancient enemy, Rill and Alyse are thrown together in a land where magic is failing. And as greedy noblesse families raid surrounding family compounds for powerful charms, Rill and Alyse are left standing at a terrible crossroads.

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EXCERPT:

“This place is a real treasure trove,” Rill said as he and Jedd maneuvered the sarcophagus cover onto the ground. “If a charm seeker did open this tomb, why did she take the charm from that one Old Mage but not his staff? And why did she leave all the other charms and staffs behind? I wonder—”

“How fortunate for me she did,” a voice said behind them. “And how unfortunate for you.”

Rill and Jedd whirled around.

Just inside the entrance stood a skinny, middle-aged man of medium height. His gray tunic and tan pants were dirty and patched and his boots old and scuffed. Oily, unkempt hair framed his pockmarked face. In his right hand, he held a staff. The light from Rill’s and Jedd’s torches danced shadows across his face, making his malevolent grin appear even more evil.

A blacksmith’s vise clamped Rill’s chest making it hard for him to breathe. A rohan! A backwatcher or protector—either a mage or a bladeswoman or bladesman—who had been expelled by a noblesse matriarch for breaking her oath to serve and protect the matriarch’s family. An outcast from society no other noblesse First or Lesser Family would touch. A woman or man who was lower even than the criminals, dagger women, and prostitutes living in Caldon’s most dangerous neighborhood, The Slums.

Rill’s gaze fastened on the rohan’s left hand that clutched something beneath his grimy tunic.

A charm.

“Actus,” the rohan mage said, his sinister smile showing he’d deliberately spoken the word loud enough for Rill and Jedd to hear.

Rill eyed the staff, his stomach paining him. The rohan had activated his charm. All he had to do now was point the staff at a target and cast a spell. Rill’s gaze slid to Jedd, who appeared as rigid as a marble statue.

With exaggerated slowness, the rohan aimed the staff at the gap between Rill and Jedd, then deliberately moved it from one to the other. His lips drew up into a cruel smile, making Rill feel like a mouse being toyed with by a cat.

Rill choked on a lump of regret. Why didn’t I listen to Jedd and leave the coffins alone? We could of been partway home by now. I could of been a mage. But now I never will be.

Slowly and deliberately, the rohan inhaled a mouthful of air and said, “Luco!”

Rill’s frightened breath blended with Jedd’s when the crystal burst into life, and white mage light flooded the tomb.

The rohan laughed as if he’d just watched a first-rate comedy routine as he stepped several paces forward. “Scared of a little light, boys?”

Rill’s gaze jumped to Jedd. His cousin was glowering at the man, his hands balled into fists.

The rohan smirked at Jedd.

Slowly, keeping his eyes on the rohan, Rill moved his hand toward his sword’s brown leather grip.

The rohan must have had invisible eyes in the side of his head. With a chuckle, he casually pointed the staff at Rill. “Foolish boy. I can kill you before your sword’s half out of its scabbard.”

Rill let his hand drop to his side.

Tsk-tsk,” the rohan said, drawing closer. “Naughty boys charm seeking. That’s a death offense. Unless you’re mages, of course. Are you mages, naughty boys?”

“You know we ain’t,” Rill said through clenched teeth.

The rohan stepped forward a few more paces until only a staff’s length separated them. “When I came across your well-fed and groomed horses a while ago, I thought that maybe their owners came from good families. Families with money. So I went looking for you. My goodness, you weren’t hard to find. Not with all that racket you made in here with the cougar. Boys with horses and swords. And purses hanging from their belts.” His gaze riveted itself to Rill. “And with such interesting things inside.”

Rill’s heart froze into a lump of ice as he forced himself to return the rohan’s stare. He saw me take the charm.

The rohan flashed them both an evil smile. “So I said to myself, ‘Self, I bet those naughty little boys are carrying some nice shiny gildas in their purses. Or maybe even a goldie.’ You got any?”

“Why don’t you come closer and find out?” Rill said. He’d tried to sound cocky, but his voice broke halfway through the question.

The rohan grinned, obviously enjoying himself. He pointed the staff at Rill. “Naughty boy. I hope you don’t melt.”

Terror ripped through Rill like a barbed arrowhead.

He had only moments to live.

Author Bio:

Dan Lutts was brought up in Quincy, Massachusetts, and began addictively reading Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman comic books at an early age, much to his mother’s distress. In junior high school, he switched to reading science fiction novels. While in high school and college, he wrote science fiction short stories.

Dan taught history and archaeology in high school for ten years. After being laid off because of budget cuts, he used his love of writing to retrain and became a software technical editor and writer. He worked for several computer companies, taught technical writing at the college level, and worked as a freelance writer. Now, combining his love of history and writing, he works at a World War II museum doing research and writing.

Dan loves to read and has varied tastes, including Young Adult, historical fiction, mysteries, 18th-century sea epics, and history. He especially enjoys Young Adult fiction and decided to try his hand at it. Charm Wars, Dan’s first novel, is the result.

Dan lives in rural Maine with his wife, Lisa. When he’s not working or writing, Dan can be found reading, making and shooting medieval arrows with his longbow, or playing with his two dogs and two cats–all rescue animals.

You can learn more about Dan and the world of Charm Wars at https://www.danlutts.com/.

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Release Blitz: The Renascent Effect by Carryn W. Kerr #dystopianromance #youngadult @firstforromance @finchbooks

The Renascent Effect by Carryn W. Kerr

Word Count: 99,566
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 412

Genres:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE
CLEAN AND WHOLESOME
DYSTOPIAN
ROMANCE
SCIENCE FICTION
YOUNG ADULT

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Book Description

 

Of all possible outcomes, I never thought I’d say goodbye to you like this.

After the murder of Cassidy Jones’ mother and the sudden illness of her best friend Harriet, Cassidy must leave the safety of Petriville and brave the unknown both to find a cure for Harriet and the peace she’s struggling to achieve. Plus, only then will Gina release Eric from prison.

It’s a new time for the world and for Petriville. Cassidy yearns to find the truth behind her mother’s murder and to understand why Eric betrayed her to Gina Petri. Without these answers, she cannot move on. But for Harriet and many others, the longevity drug fails, and they age rapidly.

Gina, who’s in prison for the murder of Cassidy’s mother, knows more than she’s letting on. But neither she nor her daughter and successor, Susan, give Cassidy the truth. No matter how Eric tries to explain why he made a deal with Gina, Cassidy won’t listen. In her heart, she knows it was to keep her safe, but to admit that betrays her mother’s memory.

However, if she is to keep Eric out of harm and to help Harriet, she must leave Petriville and find the antidote. With this in mind, Cassidy, her brother Liam and friend Jonas head out to find what they need. If they fail, fifty-two lives are at risk and Cassidy will never find the peace she’s seeking or ever tell Eric that she still loves him.

Reader advisory: This book is best read as a sequel to The Renascent World. It contains violence, attempted murder, reference to murder and an emotionally abusive parent/grandparent.

Excerpt

I peered through my bedroom window at the dark, oppressive thunder clouds rolling across the sky. They seemed to mock me—a personalized manifestation of the cold vise gripping my heart. I slithered into the glossy black dress and smoothed the silky fabric. Ignoring the tingling sensation in my hands, I squinted into the dresser mirror, fingering bits of hair from my up-do and coaxing them into fine ringlets. When I lowered my vision to my face, an icy, haunted chill slid down my spine. But this wasn’t Mom—not her oval face or her deep blue eyes. No, it was me. Red lines mapped the whites in the mirror, the blue irises shimmering like the glistening black fabric of my dress. Except phantom-liquid glossed the dress, not tears. And those fell thick and fast. No matter how I swiped at them, more fell. On top of that, I kept fixating on the sixteen silver sparkle bangles Mom and Dad had presented me with two years earlier, and on my other wrist where Grandma’s wrap-around bracelet pen clung. Too many memories came with both, so I slipped them off and sealed them in my dresser drawer.

After composing myself enough, I left my room but halted on the stairs. Liam was waiting near the front door with Achilles and Yvon lying at his feet. My brother’s sleek outfit glimmered on the polished dark wood floor. He flashed one upward glance but refused to look at me. As I descended the stairs and crossed the hall to him, new tears blurred my vision. “Please don’t do this, Li.”

His otherwise-bright-green eyes dulled, and like mine, red lines streaked the whites.

He didn’t meet my pleading gaze, nor did he reply. I couldn’t leave it at that. “How long are you going to carry on blaming Eric and me for Mom’s murder?”

When I’d left the cage to face Gina, he’d said it wasn’t our fault—only because he’d thought Gina had meant to kill me. Since she hadn’t, he’d gone back to sticking Mom’s murder on us.

He finally spoke, but his voice had turned to stone. “It’s no different from how you blame Eric.”

A few days ago—in fact, the day after Gina had murdered Mom—Eric had broken my heart. “But it is different. Eric confessed to making a deal with Gina.”

Liam glanced upstairs and cleared his throat as Dad descended to join us. Dad wore a dazed expression, a black tie dangling around his neck.

I gulped a lump down my throat and gestured at the tie. “Can I help you with that, Dad?”

He managed one slow nod.

I approached him, raising his collar. “You’re looking thin. When did you last get something into your stomach?”

He gaped at me as if I’d asked the strangest question, and after a long pause murmured a simple, “I ate.”

My fingers trembled as I constructed the Windsor knot and patted it flat. I studied my father’s troubled eyes—the same vivid green as Liam’s. It brought a burning lump to my throat.

He touched my shoulder, his voice flat and neutral. “Mom would be so proud of you, Cassidy. Now please don’t cry. It rips my heart out.”

The pleading in his voice made me swallow the lump, but my harsh words burst out before I could stop them. “I don’t want Mom’s approval. I want her here.”

Dad jerked back, a hoarse whisper grinding from his chest. “My girl, I didn’t mean—”

Liam glared at me, his Adam’s apple bouncing. His words gushed. “Don’t snap at Dad, Cassidy! This is your fault.”

Our father amplified his voice to a broken grate. “Liam!” He blinked. “Please, guys. We can’t go on blaming each other. Gina took Mom from us, not Cassidy. In all fairness”—Dad directed his gentlest tone to me—“neither did Eric. Can either of you tell me in all honesty you’d have done something different in Eric’s place?”

Liam’s Adam’s apple continued to bounce, but fury burned through me. “Eric made a pact with the devil. He betrayed us!”

Dad shook his head in slow repetition, as if he wasn’t disagreeing, just sad I saw it that way. “Now, I think you know very well that he tried to protect you in the best way he knew how.” He laid an arm around both Liam’s and my shoulders. “We shouldn’t entertain those thoughts. Rather, let’s get through today, okay?” Then he let our tan-and-black Dobermans out through the back door.

I didn’t want to fight with my father. He needed us to stand together. Sucking my disagreeing words back, I nodded. Liam must have been thinking along the same lines, because an empathetic frown tugged at his forehead. After heading through the front door…he froze.

Mourners crowded the park over the curved walkway beneath waterproofed, Kaleidotonium umbrellas, which floated over their heads like a thousand black mushrooms. Kaleidotonium was Graham’s discovery and the reason we were alive. The indestructible shell had protected Petriville while we’d lived in Earth’s orbit. Regardless, I hated everything about this place and Gina. I was glad she wouldn’t be here today. Susan Petri had imprisoned her mother for Mom’s assassination, but even though she was imprisoned, I still loathed Gina.

I forced my mind to the present. Graham, the Winters and the Carter families waited on our front lawn. I found my attention flicking to the tall figure at the back of our party of friends. With gritted teeth, I swiveled away. This wasn’t the same as Liam blaming me. Eric had betrayed us all. I wanted to head over to him and tell him he should leave right away—demand that he never return. Not now, not in front of Dad. I’d do it later.

Liam laid a palm over Dad’s shoulder. He matched Dad’s height now. His rapid-fire speech emerged only a tad slower than normal, but as soothing as a melody. “Dad, would you like to lead the procession? Are you up to it?”

A vacant expression glazed our father’s features as he tilted his head at Liam, confused. “Do you think your mother would wish that?”

Liam didn’t skip a beat. “I do, Dad. Mom would like that very much.”

I smiled at Liam, grateful that he treated our father with such tenderness. He didn’t return it. I hung back and trailed them along the walkway. Mom seeped into every memory, looping through my mind, like when we’d arrived home together after Gina had discovered my friendship with Eric, her warm smile whenever I’d walked through our front door, how her ankles had stuck out below the hem of her jeans. Yesterday I’d gripped her beige cashmere turtleneck to my face and recalled my absolute contentment when she’d cuddled me against her. The wool still smelled of her. It broke me.

The nearest transparent intersection footbridge glowed in its reflection of rainbow colors. Behind Dad and Liam, I made for the inbound of the dual conveyors. As we rode the gentle upward slope, I scanned our hometown. Every digital billboard dotted along the conveyor from here to the town square showed images of Mom. Etched beneath her photo were her name, date of birth and date of death—of her murder, more like it.

Even more black umbrellas lined the dual conveyor than filled the park. Their wards stood in clusters between lollipop trees and Victorian street lanterns, while the rain beat a steady rhythm against the Kaleidotonium shells.

From behind, our closest friends ushered us toward the town center—something like a date extending his hand to the small of one’s back, offering support and encouragement. The rest of the funeral procession joined in after they passed.

We drifted beneath several glowing footbridges. The conveyor-ride left me alone with my thoughts for far too long, but finally the town square—or rather, circle—came into view. The large, shiny number two marked the end of the line. If I thought too many mourners had trailed us on conveyor two, even more poured into the town plaza. Thousands dismounted the twelve conveyor streets that, like the hands of a clock, cut wedge-shaped sectors into the area.

Crowds milled about the cobbled paving and the grassed areas, speckling the town center, only avoiding sitting on the wet park benches.

In silence, people cleared a path. We made our way to the far side of the square. I looked over my shoulder, landing on sector five—on Mom’s old-style stone office building. We’d spent many hours together there when she’d taken me on as an intern. Who will teach me now?

As we neared the glossy number seven, I looked up and right toward Dad’s office. Like with every building edging Petriville’s central circle, old-style stone bedecked the walls. I couldn’t recall the last time I’d visited him there.

Behind Dad, Liam rounded the large number and boarded the conveyor beyond. He didn’t turn to see if I’d kept up—my brother who professed to love me so much. I wasn’t sure which cut worse—me hating Eric or Liam hating me.

We sailed toward the graveyard on Petriville’s outskirts. After what felt like forever, I exited the conveyor onto sodden grass. Until now, only a single grave had occupied it. One! It wasn’t right that we were burying Mom in the second gaping wound, scarring Petriville’s soil. The realization hurt as if someone had ripped my soul through my chest.

A bleak, gaunt and hunched-over version of Dad faced the world these days. No longer did he hold his tall, lean physique with calm, erect confidence. Lines of wretched agony raked his prominent forehead.

After we spread out around Mom’s grave, Harriet moved beside Liam. She clung to him and offered me a heavy blink. At least my friend wasn’t siding with my brother in hating me. Her blonde waves hung limp and tears gushed down her face.

A Taiwanese priest from sector four stepped from the crowd, then faced us. He directed his sermon to Dad, Liam and me, humming Mom’s story in a gentle tone. Digital billboards around Petriville broadcast the sermon to those too far away to hear his words. “We gather here today to celebrate the life of Emily Jones, adored by her husband Peter and children, Liam and Cassidy.”

I surveyed the mourners and found Susan Petri. She lingered beneath a tree with Amanda and Gregory, her teenage daughter and son. I scowled, but Susan averted her gaze. Although my reasoning lacked logic, I detested her too.

And because I loved him despite his betrayal, I searched for Eric. He stood with Graham in a clearing. As he trained his gaze on me, I angled away. But I couldn’t keep from looking back. He shuffled his feet, dropped his chin to regard his shoes and wrung his hands. Black circles ringed his aquamarine eyes.

The priest continued. “The strength of an attachment formed over a hundred and thirteen years is incomprehensible. Our equestrian veterinarian, Marissa, can attest to bonds formed over fifty…uh…sixty years”—he surveyed the crowd for Marissa before going on—“having lost her husband, James.” He frowned and fumbled with the sheets of paper in his hand.

Liam glanced at me for the first time in days, and my mouth dropped open. Not because I thought he’d forgiven me, but because none of us had known that Marissa’s husband was the man who’d died all those years ago. No wonder she always looked sour. Harriet and I had still been attending junior school when the rumors had circulated about how he’d died in a kitchen accident.

The priest pressed the microphone into Dad’s hand.

With a long blink, Dad frowned, light creases raking his forehead. He looked so frail as he parted his lashes, skimming from person to person. “Emily,” he murmured, “my wife, my soul, Liam and Cassidy’s mother—gentle, kind, loving. Those words best describe the woman I adore.” He spoke about her school-life, her energy and savvy, her many academic and sporting awards and how a room sparkled when she walked in. He added things about my mother I hadn’t known. Had I neglected to learn about her life while I’d had the chance to discover who she’d been? Dad ignored the crowd and spoke to Mom in the softest croon. “I will love you forever, my most incredible and beautiful Emily.”

Tears streamed down his face and mine. I filtered my attention through the haze. Streaks marked the faces of Liam, Harriet, Jonas, Roger, Megan, Joshua, Caroline, Samantha, Paul and…Susan. Susan crying? It’s probably from guilt.

Dad handed the microphone back to the priest, who cleared his throat and gave Dad three roses—one red and two white. As the sermon concluded, Dad passed a white rose each to Liam and me. A soft whirring jerked the straps holding Mom’s coffin into slow motion, lowering my mother into the ground.

We approached and Dad let the red rose fall, his expression impassive. Liam followed, letting the flower waft out of his fingers. It landed with its stem crossing Dad’s, but when I freed mine, it set down several inches away. My head spun with something like vertigo, and before Liam had the chance to spin from me, I clasped his hand. Until that moment, I hadn’t planned on defending Mom’s honor.

My voice emerged thick, but my tone sounded resolute, giving me the courage to go on. “Our mother didn’t deserve to die. She did nothing wrong!” I fixed on Susan, who never looked away this time. “I want to know why Gina killed my mother, and not the rubbish you fed me about Gina thinking my mom had led the rebellion. As much as I hate her, Gina is not that stupid. I want the real reason.”

Susan’s face reddened as she averted her gaze. Liam released my hand, tears rolling down his cheeks. I thought he’d abandon me to my own embarrassing declaration. He didn’t. Instead, he hauled me to his chest, arms around my body and head, keeping me safe and warm. “Not now, Cass. Not now, little sister. Think of Dad.”

I focused on the priest as he proceeded with his closing words. Numb sadness took hold of me. I never noticed people dispersing. Once more, Eric fixed me with a look. Then he returned his attention to Graham as Susan, Amanda and Gregory joined them.

Liam didn’t pull away from me as we retraced our route along conveyor seven, though he opened a gap and encouraged Dad to fit in between us. I slipped my arm through my father’s and looked up at his fair, sculptured features. My heart fractured. Yes, for Liam and yes, for me, but more for the wonderful man between us. “Dad, tell me you’re going to be okay. Please tell me you’ll get through this.”

Dad blinked and angled his face toward me. “We must, my daughter. We have no choice.”

Susan held Mom’s wake in the town square. Although I didn’t want to, I couldn’t stop myself from scanning the thick flagpole rooted beside the wide Roman stairs. The tall spire rose toward the sky. At its pinnacle, the bright orange Petrician Enterprises flag wafted in the breeze.

I grimaced at the twisted morbidity, the memory slamming into me with the force of a wrecking ball—the scene of Mom’s murder.

When Petriville’s mourners finally dissipated, dusk settled. The antique-like stone of the municipal building which spanned sectors eight to ten awoke, the eerie glow of the amber lights growing brighter.

As Liam, Dad and I made our way home, wrapped in each other’s arms, new tears surged down my face. Drawing a breath, I wiped them away and made myself a pact. From that moment forward, I’d save my tears—for Mom and the few others who mattered.

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About the Author

Carryn W. Kerr

Carryn W. Kerr is a young adult fiction author. She has a deep love for all things relating to the English language and considers stories as the rainbows of a sometimes cruel world. Rather than creating characters, she believes they always existed. Hers was the privilege of meeting them. When writing their stories, words flow through her fingertips like a gushing stream. She finds pleasure in escaping to fictitious realms as they develop and grow in her imagination.

Carryn began the adventure of life in a small South African village in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal. When she isn’t writing, she can be found working out in the gym, running, or trying not to fall off her horse as they train and compete in dressage.

For many years she worked in IT. Carryn lives with her husband and son in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her married daughter is on the beautiful island of Zanzibar.

You can find more about Carryn at her website and follow her on Instagram.

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Book Blitz: Don’t Forget to Breathe by Cathrina Constantine #YoungAdult #mystery @cathconstantine

Don’t Forget To Breathe
Cathrina Constantine
Publication date: September 1st 2021
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult

Leocadia arrives home from school to find her mom’s body. Unaware that the killer still lingers, she rushes to her mother’s side, only to be grabbed from behind. And everything fades to black.

Leo has been battling personal demons after a year of retrograde amnesia. She’s been having vivid dreams of that day. And her dreams are getting worse—she’s starting to remember. Two more bodies are discovered and they are oddly linked to her mom’s unsolved homicide.

Leo befriends her new neighbor. He’s eager to visit Star Hallow’s notorious haunted mansion. It’s located on a deserted cul-de-sac where she once lived and where her mom was murdered. But it’s the Lucien Estate, the mansion next door to her old home, where they happen upon misty ghosts, ghosts that just might help to unravel the homicides.

Will Leo’s memories send her reeling into a relapse, or will she be able to overcome her demons to find her mother’s killer – only to become the next victim?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

The black corners of my room softened into a silvery gray. I turned my head to check the alarm clock, 4:45. I begged the heavens, “Please, let me sleep,” and smothered my head underneath my downy pillow.

A nanosecond after slamming my eyelids closed, I was immediately transported to a year ago…”

My walk down the hallway to my parents’ bedroom became sluggish. She’d been complaining of not feeling well and had stayed home from work today. Was she sick and needed to rest and forgot about the boiling water? The door was shut. I knuckled the frame softly. “Mom?”

My hand twisted the knob and inched it open. I gagged on the smell.

An awkward, half-naked body draped the mattress—porcelain skin sliced apart, and silky blonde hair fanned the floor. Dripping red blood—gobs of blood. Eyes filled with terror watched me. Dead eyes. My jaw moved. Mommm—but no sound. I shuffled a foot forward and doubled over, spewing lunch. That was when I noticed a bloody dagger next to her fingers. Forged in a peculiar camber design like something I’d see in a museum.

Arms swallowed me from behind, “I’m not going to kill you. Not yet.” Then everything faded to black.

I woke with a start and gasped. My heart ached. Struggling upright I crisscrossed my arms over my chest and gripped my shoulders. Tears sprinkled my face—sorry for my loss, sorry for myself.

Author Bio:

Cathrina Constantine is an International Best Selling and Award Winning Author. Her books have won Reader’s Favorite International Book Awards. New Apple Medalist Award. Literary Classics Gold and Silver Award. Literary Classics Seal of Approval. And recently 1st Place Top Shelf Award for YA/Mystery.

Cathrina loves to immerse herself in great books of every kind of genre, which helps her to write purely for entertainment, and hopefully to inspire readers. When not stationed at her computer you can find her in the woods taking long walks with her dog.

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Book Blitz: Seventeen Butterflies by Anna Katmore #bookreview #youngadult #contemporaryromance @XpressoTours

Seventeen Butterflies
Anna Katmore
Publication date: August 23rd 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

The embarrassment of being the only unkissed girl in high school is something Sandy Cardington refuses to accept. The first kiss project is her foolproof plan to finally get rid of the status at her 17th birthday party, while her parents are out of town.

With several kissable boys on her guest list, this should be a walk in the park. But she didn’t count on her older brother returning from college and throwing a wrench into her plans. To make matters even more complicated, he has a friend in tow, and the cute hockey player stirs unexpected butterflies in her stomach every time their paths cross.

While Sandy moves heaven and earth to make her party and project come true, it looks as if Thane Griffyn has his own plans to teach her the real meaning of a first kiss…

A compelling, sweet high school romance, perfect for fans of Kelly Oram, L A Cotton, Cassie Mae, and Erin Watt.

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EXCERPT:

“Who. Are. You?”

The words fly out of my mouth even before the front door falls shut behind me. There’s a stranger in my house—built like a demi-god, demonic dark hair, and with eyes like an angel. He comes out of the bathroom as if he’d just taken a break after parking himself in my home for a cozy film marathon. Hello?

The intruder with the white t-shirt wipes his still damp hands on the back of his washed-out jeans, not even half as confused as I am, obviously. “My name’s Thane,” he says. Then he smiles, and the sun is rising a second time today at half past six in the evening. What the hell?

He cocks his head. “And yours?”

My backpack slides from my right shoulder, pulling one side of my unzipped dark blue hoodie with it, and hits the tiled hallway floor with a thud so loud the neighbors could hear. That’s from the five new books I just borrowed from the library. All hardcovers. “Huh?”

Dimples and an amused look make the young man’s eyes scrunch a little tighter. “Your name?”

Jeez, burglars don’t usually smirk and engage you in conversations, do they? Then again, we’ve never been robbed before, so what do I know?

With a jerk of my shoulder, I push my hoodie back in place and then grab my brother’s old hockey stick from behind the chest in the foyer. We’ve been keeping it there since the day I watched my first murder mystery as a kid, and today I swing it for the first time.

“I’m Sandra Michelle Cardington. Cardington as in the name written on the mailbox outside this house. My house.” Need I say, “I live here!” My fingers clenching around the wood, I move one step closer to the housebreaker. “You don’t.”

“Whoa.” His chuckle runs wild into nice boyish laughter, and he lifts his hands in surrender.

Not gonna help, cutie. I’ll knock your lights out.

As I scowl like a wild dog, he keeps his body rigid, but his star-blue eyes move to the right as he shouts over his shoulder, “You didn’t say you’re living with Harley Quinn, Cam.”

The next instant, he moves forward so swiftly I totally miss the moment. With just one hand, he brings my arms down then casts a friendly look straight into my eyes. “Let me show you how this works. This isn’t a baseball bat, you know. You use it a little closer to the ground.”

MY REVIEW – 5 stars!

Seventeen Butterflies is achingly sweet and guaranteed to make you swoon.

All Sandy wants for her seventeenth birthday is a first kiss… then her brother comes home and ruins her plans. The shy, nerdy bookworm doesn’t want to be the only girl in her class to never have been kissed. But she didn’t count on her brother’s best friend making her want so much more.

Thane and Sandy are so cute together! As with most young adult romances, there’s a bit of drama, but it only adds to the story. The relationship between Thane and Sandy happens almost overnight, but they’re perfect for one another. Thane is romantic, protective, and sweet when it comes to Sandy.

Only downside? It ended! I would have happily read another 20 pages. Fantastic story! Two thumbs up. Five stars. And all the butterflies…

Author Bio:

“I’m writing stories because I can’t breathe without.”

Anna Katmore lives in an enchanting world of her own, which allows only those to enter who are ready to hand in logic and rationalism. But beware, if you dare to step through this door, you’ll never want to leave again…

Disney is her attitude towards life, and if she could, she’d save the world from itself. Her patronus is a wolf, her wand the broken twig of an apple tree, 13 inches long with a unicorn hair core. Glitter on her shoes is a must, though she doesn’t care for Cinderella’s glass slippers. Too risky that something might break…

For more information, please visit http://www.annakatmore.com

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Cover Reveal: Fire Prince (Fire &Reign) by H. Danielle Crabtree #fantasy #YoungAdult @hedanicree

Fire Prince
H. Danielle Crabtree
(Fire & Reign, #2)
Publication date: October 19th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Myah has been betrayed.

Nordlin City lies in flames, destroyed by the Osten Army, and her greatest nightmare has become her greatest sorrow.

To avoid capture, Myah has no choice but to trust the master of the Osten Elite Guard to protect her and keep her out of the hands of her enemy and his people. However, trust is a fragile thing, easily fractured when her companion keeps his secrets as close as his steel, and Garrett’s reputation is not one that is easily dismissed.

Garrett’s secrets have kept him and those he loves safe for years. To reveal one is to unravel them all, and the fire-haired girl of the north has a way of plucking at those threads. A promise is a promise, though, and he gave his word to see her safely to the resistance leader hiding at the edges of Morgensol, the southern kingdom.

But as she has put her trust in him, he knows that he will have to do the same if he wants to regain the most precious thing he has lost in the kingdom wars.

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Author Bio:

H. Danielle Crabtree graduated from the University of Oregon in 2004 with a professional journalism degree and worked in journalism as a writer and editor in Oregon and Arizona. She started freelancing as an editor in 2011.
Her poetry has been published in several literary magazines and anthologies, and she wrote with the G10 Writers group. Her first book with the group was published in 2011.
She lives in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley with her two dogs. Outside her career in health care and her passion for writing, she enjoys hiking, gardening, and dog training, and she is pursuing a master’s degree in public health at Oregon State University.

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Book Blitz: Tempest by C.J. Campbell #youngadult #fantasy

Tempest
C.J. Campbell
(The Veil Chronicles, #1)
Publication date: August 31st 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

To unearth the truth, she must embrace the legend within.

For eighteen-year-old Lexi, freedom is a luxury. She’s spent her life evading capture for a genetic gift that feels more like a curse. Her bulletproof immunity and monstrous disfigurement is of great interest to a secret organization, but they aren’t the only ones. A cryptic tip alerts Lexi that something else hunts her–something darker.

Desperate to enjoy her life before it’s too late, Lexi leaves the protective cocoon her parents created for her and signs up for art classes at her local college. There she meets Conner, who is confined to a wheelchair, and they become friends who are willing to share each other’s secrets. But a chance encounter with Connor’s foster brother Killian changes everything.

Killian shares the same mysterious secret within his blood as Lexi. Their fateful meeting sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic events that exposes the terrifying truth–Lexi is a celestial queen of a bygone race. Connor is their last royal heir, and Killian is a half-breed abomination hated for his very existence. With Connor kidnapped by an ancient god determined to rid the world of the stain of humanity, Lexi and Killian find themselves under the protection of the secretive Order of Kings.

Lexi believes she’s been thrown into a world of myths and legends, but things are not as they seem. Lexi becomes convinced the Order is keeping dangerous secrets that threaten not just her but all of mankind.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

I slide into a slouch and make a happy hum of approval with my next slurp. Resting my head against the window, I close my eyes and listen to the rain pound. The earlier spit has given way to a deluge. This is close to my idea of bliss—coffee, quiet, and the rain.

Between the beats against the car’s chassis, something vibrates. A noise so out of place in the lullaby of rainfall that I sit bolt upright.

Another buzz, and a shiver spider-walks my spine. I squint in the dark, chest so tight it’s impossible to breathe.

A light illuminates the driver’s side compartment. The sound the plastic makes with the third buzz rattles my very bones. I shove my coffee cup into the holder and squeeze my upper half through the gap between the seat and door. Fingers outstretched, I grapple for my father’s cell phone that blurs to life for the fourth time. Once in my hand, I clutch it to my chest and curl into the darkness of the backseat, as if the shadows might somehow protect me.

The screen illuminates for the last time. I peek at the number, but it’s listed as unknown. My heart bangs so loud that I’m afraid it will shatter my ribs. There’s no one outside, at least not that I can tell, but that doesn’t mean anything.

A car pulls into the space opposite, the garish headlights flood the backseat. I gasp and throw myself onto the floor, pulling Father’s jacket over my head. Each second that ticks by feels like an eternity. My breath comes in quick, startled pants, and I shut my eyes to pray. Not that I’m overly spiritual, but right now I’ll try anything.

“Please, please don’t be them,” I mouth, fingernails biting into the plastic of the phone. “Keep my parents inside, please.”

The lights die and doors slam. A second later, feminine laughter bounces around the empty lot and heeled shoes clatter past the car. Relief rushes through every vein in my body until I’m limp as a fish.

“Thank you,” I whisper and rub a hand down my face.

I toss off the jacket and heave up onto the backseat. It takes a full minute before my breathing regulates and I no longer feel my pulse in my ears. All I can do is stare at the phone screen, at the unlisted number, and contemplate what it means.

As if in answer, the phone buzzes in my hand again. I almost drop it, ready to nose-dive to the floor, but morbid curiosity keeps me glued to the spot.

It’s not a phone number this time, but a text.

A simple sentence that reads: You can’t protect her forever, Fred. They’ll come for her. She’ll need us. T.


Author Bio:

Clare is a successful and highly popular author of award winning Fanfiction, with thousands of online fans and over 2 million reads on her Lord of the Rings Fanfic epic. Clare has also won several writing awards within the Fantasy, Inspirational, and Short Story genres. Her story Refuge was a top prize winner and as a direct result published in Faith & Freedom anthology by EA books. She has recently been shortlisted for Writer of the Year 2019.

As well as writing, Clare is an experienced Occupational Therapist, with a passion for enabling people. She has contributed articles for online organizations aimed at highlighting disability as a positive influence in modern literature. Her love of storytelling, merged with her positive messages inspires her to create meaningful narratives that represent diversity, and promote unity.

You can learn more about Clare by visiting http://www.CJCampbellOfficial.com

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Book Review: Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone #gothic #youngadult #NetGalley

A lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer.

There are monsters in the world.

When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.

There are monsters in the woods.

As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn…

There’s a monster in the shadows, and now it knows my name.

Now, to save Rowan—and herself—Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.

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MY REVIEW – 5 stars

Full of magic, darkness, hope, and love, Lakesedge is a gripping tale you won’t soon forget. It will pull you in, hold you in it’s grasp, and leave you feeling emotionally wrung out.

What would you give to save those you love? It’s a question Violeta must answer, multiple times, as she begs Lord Under for help. This dark tale has a Hades and Persephone feel to it. The more we see Lord Under, the more I became convinced what he truly wanted was for Violeta to offer herself to him. The dynamic between the two is quite compelling, and while Violeta’s love for Rowan is something more pure and utterly human, I often felt her place was truly meant to be beside Lord Under.

The secondary characters add a depth to the story, giving it a richer feel. The author created an interesting world where boys crushing on boys and girls crushing on girls seemed to be the norm. With Arien preferring romances where the prince and knight fall in love, and Clover openly flirting with Thea, it set the story in a world where people were more accepting of one another — as long as you weren’t a monster.

With the book ending with a bit of an unfinished feel to it, I’m hopeful there will be a continuation. And yes, I will definitely buy it! Lakesedge may be Ms. Clipstone’s first novel, but I’m already a huge fan!

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Tour: Baited by Jennifer Dean #giveaway #YoungAdult #paranormalromance @msjenniferdean

Baited
Bound Series Book 3
by Jennifer Dean
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Normal seniors worry about if they will get rejected from their dream school, what they are going to wear to their last prom, or if it’s possible to stay close with the friends they grew up with after high school.

But Emma Morgan has come to learn that normality is a thing of the past. Especially when her eighteenth birthday is a mere reminder of the newly accepted deal she has made to lure a vengeful immortal named Thomas back into Alexander territory. A plan that will certainly make the humans of her world safer but comes with the risk of not living to see graduation.

baitedjd - excerpt

Hours later, we all sat chuckling as Pamela mocked her boyfriend, Kyle Bellmen. The smile I held was finally genuine, as I’d been granted my wish: to revel in the normality of my old life without the tense spotlight of talking about my new one.

The laughter in the cabin was at its loudest of the night. Even Heather was joining in with us. Then a thud drew our attention to the starboard side of the boat.

“What was that?” Heather asked.

Without a need for a command, Erika turned down the music. She stood silent, listening as she stared at the ground. After a few seconds of silence, she looked back at the group with a shrug.

“Something probably fell that wasn’t secure on deck. I’ll check it out to be sure.”

She jogged up the steps and creaked open the door hatch to make her way onto the deck. We all sat silent, waiting for news of what she would discover.

“Oh my god,” Erika whined out.

I was out of my seat and up the steps before any of the others had moved. When I reached the doorway I stepped onto the deck only to be met with a darkness that forced me to blink excessively to adjust to the sight.

But my stomach tensed, as I knew that it was taking too long to adjust to the dark when we were so close to the docks. I turned to use the lampposts from the boardwalk as a guide only to realize there were none. My eyes had finally begun to adjust enough to stiffen at the sight.

There were no lampposts because we weren’t near the docks. There was no light except for the cabin lights from below deck. And just as the other girls began to shout out, “What the hell,” and “Oh my god,” I felt my own unease. We were stranded in the middle of the Pamlico River.

I looked to Erika, who seemed to be pleading with me for an explanation—one that I didn’t have.

“I swear the boat was securely tied up to the dock. And even then, it would be impossible without the engine on, right?”

She was scratching her head while looking in all directions, clearly panicking, as most would. But glancing beyond her toward the bow, my eyes caught sight of the problem. Shit.

So much for being normal

Blinded

Bound Series Book 2

Despite the attack that almost took her life, Emma Morgan has accepted the risk that comes from being in love with an immortal like Liam Alexander.

But continuing to seek the approval of her older brother is a whole different struggle, and when tensions finally reach a breaking point between the siblings, looming enemies take advantage of the distraction. And even though the Alexanders are quick to form a search party for their newest coven member, Emma learns that finding her brother may come at a high price.

Bound
Bound Series Book 1

When fate leads Emma Morgan back to her small hometown of Washington, she learns that the life she knew three years ago has changed once she meets the charmingly, mysterious Liam Alexander. But when her brother Sean, voices his disapproval, Emma finds her loyalty in the way of her newfound curiosity of the youngest Alexander. Only the more she tries to avoid Liam the more she finds him in her constant company.
A risk that leads down a dangerous path for both once Emma begins to discover a secret about the Alexanders that no human should ever know.

Jennifer has studied Creative Writing and Literature and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. To find out more about her and her novels you can visit http://www.jenniferdean.net.

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