New Release and Giveaway! TEMPTED BY A TOUCH by Kris Rafferty (An Unlikely Hero #2)

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Tempted By a Touch
by Kris Rafferty
An Unlikely Hero #2
Publication Date: October 24, 2016
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Select, Romantic Suspense

Synopsis:

People keep dying around Harper MacLain. Try as she might, she can’t stop bad things from happening to those she loves. When her closely guarded secret lands her in the middle of her ex-boyfriend’s investigation, she’s in over her head. She hates that Detective Lucas Sullivan is in her life again, tempting her to fall back into bad habits…and his bed.

When Harper left him, Lucas tried not to care, burying himself in his job instead. Then Harper became the job. Now they’re on the run, and all he can think about is keeping her safe…and his hands off her. Lucas knows she’s the key to solving his case, if he can keep them alive long enough to do it. And that’s the trick…because falling in love can kill you.

 

Excerpt:

“What are you doing?” she said.

A trick question. He was either waiting for her to gather the courage to meet the evil fuck that was Joseph Folsom, a disgraced cop, murderer, kidnapper, and friend, or he was waiting to congratulate her on the decision to back out of the meeting.  He supposed either wouldn’t be kind to point out, so he equivocated. “Enjoying the breeze and your gardens.  It’s much better than waiting downtown under fluorescent lights, smelling day-old coffee in a littered conference room.” He took a cleansing breath and stretched his neck.  The scent of freshly mown grass was competing with the roses perfuming the air. “This neighborhood is great.”

She arched a brow, clearly skeptical. “Kids playing outside? Lawn mowing? Ice cream trucks? It’s a family neighborhood. Careful, Lucas, it might give you the hives.”

He smiled, wondering if she were right. She could be. No one knew Lucas better than Harper. That’s why it was a blow when she left. “Seems nice enough.” Right out of a 1950s sitcom. Unreal. Glancing at his watch, he knew time was getting tight, and the porch stairs weren’t becoming any more comfortable. “Ready to go?”  He hoped she’d take this chance to back out of the meeting.  “Or stay.”

“Go.”

He sighed, knowing if he pressed too hard, she’d dig in and stop listening to him altogether.  His best bet was to bide his time and work on her during the trip downtown.  She stood, hung her leather pocketbook over her shoulder, and led him down the walkway and through the gate. As was his habit, he surveyed the neighborhood as he hurried her to the street and the passenger side of his car. He wanted to say something to ease the tension, but Harper beat him to the punch.

“I see you finally gave her a new paint job.” Harper ran her fingers along the sleek lines of his Chevy, reminding him it wasn’t so long ago she’d caressed him with such studied attention. He wondered if she’d triggered his memories on purpose, but then a quick study of her expression told him he was suffering from wishful thinking. She was oblivious and he was resigned and disappointed by that reality.

“The Chevy’s a work in progress.” The new black paint, two white stripes down the hood’s center, hid delayed maintenance, but one day Lucas would make the innards as beautiful.  He gripped the passenger door’s handle, about to open it for her, when a breeze wafted the scent of her new shampoo toward him, distracting him long enough to morph his glance into a stare. Harper noticed, flushed, and looked away.

“Aren’t we all?” she said.

“Aren’t we all what?”

“A work in progress. Are you going to open the door or do you want me to wrestle you for it?”

Lucas realized he was still holding the handle.  He popped the door open and stood back, thinking it unfair only he was affected by their close proximity, only he felt the electricity in the air. His body thrummed with it. He was grateful she took care not to brush against him as she entered the car, sitting in the bucket seat. He wouldn’t have been able to handled that.

 

Synopsis:

Marnie Somerville is sure Dane MacLain is just another bad guy. Her job as resident investigator at Whitman Enterprises is to track down the owners of delinquent accounts, but something about Dane’s case is off, and Marnie can’t resist a good mystery. The secret files and cover-up she finds after hacking her boss’s computer are more than she expected, and now she’s fleeing her former employer…right into Dane’s arms.

Former detective Dane MacLain has spent the last year gathering intel against Whitman Enterprises, the company he believes responsible for his wife’s death. When a beautiful and intense woman shows up with information, Dane is willing to accept all she has to offer, especially when the help comes in such a sexy package. Caught in a deadly cat and mouse chase, Dane must do everything he can to protect Marnie as they run for their lives.

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ABOUT KRIS RAFFERTY

Kris Rafferty

Kris Rafferty was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the youngest of four in a rambunctious Irish-American family. She became obsessed with books early on, and remembers her first library adventure. She wrote her first story when she was six and never stopped. She received her BA at U/Mass Boston, married the love of her life, has three perfect children, and earned her third degree black belt in Parker American Kenpo Karate. She plays classical piano, loves road trips, and is a fanatic for warm water ocean. If she’s not writing, she’s reading all sorts of romance. Ms. Rafferty lives happily ever after in North Carolina, writing.

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New Release! SAY YOU WANT ME by Corinne Michaels

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There’s no way I’ll fall for Wyatt Hennington.

He can keep his Southern drawl, irresistible smile, and those pick-up lines all to himself. I made the mistake of sleeping with him not once, but twice. I’m not stupid enough to give him round three, especially after he left me in the middle of the night so I could see myself out. I vow to return to Philadelphia and forget him.

It proves easier said than done.

When the doctor informs me I’m the winner of door prize number two, I put my life on hold and head back to Bell Buckle. Three months and if we can’t make this work, I’m gone.

The problem is—when the cards are stacked against us, and I can’t bring myself to leave him, I’ll finally know if he truly loves me or if all my fears were real . . .

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Corinne Michaels is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of The Salvation Series and Say You’ll Stay. She’s an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife. After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness.

Both her maternal and paternal grandmothers were librarians, which only intensified her love of reading. After years of writing short stories, she couldn’t ignore the call to finish her debut novel, Beloved. Her alpha heroes are broken, beautiful, and will steal your heart.

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Pre-Release and Giveaway! LEFT AT THE ALTAR by Margaret Brownley (Match Made in Texas #1)

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Title: Left at the Altar
Series: A Match Made in Texas, #1
Author: Margaret Brownley
Pub Date: November 1, 2016
ISBN: 9781492608134

 

Welcome to Two-Time Texas:
Where tempers burn hot
Love runs deep
And a single marriage can unite a feuding town
…or tear it apart for good

In the wild and untamed West, time is set by the local jeweler…but Two-Time Texas has two: two feuding jewelers and two wildly conflicting time zones. Meg Lockwood’s marriage was supposed to unite the families and finally bring peace. But when she’s left at the altar by her no-good fiancé, Meg’s dreams of dragging her quarrelsome neighbors into a ceasefire are dashed.

No wedding bells? No one-time town.

Hired to defend the groom against a breach of promise lawsuit, Grant Garrison quickly realizes that the only thing worse than small-town trouble is falling for the jilted bride. But there’s something about Meg’s sweet smile and determined grit that draws him in…even as the whole crazy town seems set on keeping them apart.

Who knew being Left at the Altar could be such sweet, clean, madcap fun?

 

Excerpt:

I can’t do this!” Meg cried out, hands planted on her waist. At long last, she and Tommy had managed to escape the crowd of well- wishers. Now it was just the two of them, facing each other on her front porch like two combatants.

“I hafta marry you, Meg. Don’t you see? It’s the only honor’ble thing to do.” Tommy looked like he’d just been in a fight. Shirttails hanging over his trousers, he’d somehow managed to lose his bow tie, and his spiked hair stood on end as if it had been combed with an eggbeater.

“Don’t talk to me about honor. If you were all that honorable, you would never have left me at the altar in the first place!”

“I don’t blame you for bein’ riled. If I was you, I’d be mad too.”

“Mad doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel!” She threw up her hands. “You knew the judge was about to rule in my favor. That’s the only reason you agreed to marry me.”

Tommy grimaced and raked his fingers through his hair. His shoulders drooped along with his expression. “Meg…the only way my family can come up with ten grand is if we sell the shop and mortgage the house. Even then”— he shook his head— “that won’t even begin to pay for legal fees.”

“Oh, Tommy, no. You can’t do that.”

“If I don’t marry you, my family will end up at the county poor farm.”

She felt trapped. Worse, she felt sorry for him. For the whole Farrell family. “I don’t want your money, Tommy. I don’t.”

“It doesn’t matter. The judge said if I don’t marry you this time, I better come up with the big bucks else he’s throwin’ me in jail.”

“Oh dear goodness.” Her heart rose to her throat. “He can’t do that.”

“He’s the judge. He can do anythin’ he wants.”

Her mind whirled. There had to be a way. “I’ll have Papa talk to him. Tell him we don’t want the money.”

Tommy shook his head. “The judge made his rulin’. There ain’t nothin’ we can do. ’Sides, everyone is countin’ on the Farrell-Lockwood feud comin’ to an end.” He was right. It was no longer just the two of them affected. It was the whole town. How did life become so complicated?

“What did Grant…uh…your lawyer say?”

If Tommy noticed her slip of tongue, he gave no indication. “He said that marryin’ you was the only way out.”

Tommy only confirmed what she already suspected, but still Meg felt her heart squeeze tight. “He…he said that?”

So he had planned this all along. The kiss was just a…what? A ruse? A game? A way to keep her distracted?

“Don’t look so horrified, Meg. You make it sound like marryin’ me is the end of the world.”

That’s exactly what it felt like, but she didn’t want to say as much. “What…what about Asia and the Pacific Islands?”

Tommy shrugged as if his dreams were of no consequence, but the faraway look in his eyes told her otherwise. “It won’t be so bad. I’ll be a good husband to you, Meg. I swear. I’ll never stray, and I won’t cause you any more problems. Maybe one day, we can go the islands. Just you and me.”

She tried to breathe, but something like a boulder was lodged in her chest. This whole mess was partly her fault. If only she’d known her true feelings from the start. She loved Tommy, she did, but now she realized that love was more like for a brother than a lover.

“I don’t know, Tommy…”

“We don’t have to go to the islands,” he said, misunderstanding her hesitation. “We can go to Paris or Ireland or even Italy.”

The more he talked, the lower Meg’s spirits fell. Her feelings for Tommy had never caused her to lose sleep or stop eating, not even when he’d left her at the altar. Not like the people who wrote to Miss Lonely Hearts. She’d experienced none of the tortured misery of a broken love affair as described in the letters. None of the heartache.

If she could force herself to love Tommy as he deserved to be loved, she would gladly do so. But the heart had a mind of its own, and the most anyone could do was follow.

Of course, that didn’t mean she had feelings for anyone else. Certainly not for Grant. Not now. Not after he’d thrown her under a train, so to speak, rather than lose his case.

“There’s somethin’ else,” Tommy said, staring down at his feet.

She gulped and knotted her hands by her sides in an effort to brace herself. Something in his voice told her that things were about to get a whole lot worse. “What is it, Tommy?”

He looked up. “Judge Lynch is only in town for another week.”

She frowned. “So?”

“That means that I have seven days to come up with ten grand or— ”

Her stomach turned over. “Or…or what?”

“Marry you.”

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MARGARET BROWNLEY penned her first novel at age eleven and has been writing ever since. She’s now a New York Times and CBA bestselling author and has written thirty-five novels and one nonfiction book. Margaret and her husband have three grown children and make their home in Southern California.

 
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New Release and Giveaway! DEKKIR by Lara Larue (Galaxy Alien Warriors #1)

Dekkir
Lara Larue
(Galaxy Alien Warriors, #1)
Publication date: October 26th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Science Fiction

This Alien Warrior will fight—kill—any who dare attempt to take his female.

Dekkir, war chief and military leader has found his mate…a human. She is tiny contrasted to his hulking size, but her luscious curves and delectable scent call out to his heart like no other.

Anthropologist Grace was sent by Earth Military Command to act as emissary to Dekkir’s planet. Her mission was clear: make contact and live among the aliens recording details on their culture and world. The job should’ve been simple but like the story of her life, sh*t got complicated fast. Now she has a hot alpha alien warrior trying to claim her like some caveman. WTH?

Adding to the chaos of her life, she’s attacked by her own military command. Dekkir is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep her safe. Can they survive the coming battles? Or will they die before he can claim his mate?

Dekkir is the first book in the Galaxy Alien Warriors series, it features steamy sex, thrilling battles, and plenty of romance. All books in this rock-hard science fiction series can be read as standalones, there are no cliffhangers, and happily ever afters are guaranteed!

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Grab yours for 99c for a limited time only!

EXCERPT:

I smoothed his tangled hair back from his brow, and gentle warmth swelled inside me. Perhaps the bond was not completed, but I could feel it now. And it was time for me to do something about it.

I took off my boots and settled on the bed with him. After a moment, he stirred, and his eyes opened.

He sat up, startled to see me leaning over him, and then stared at my face. “Your eyes,” he murmured. “What have you done?”

“What I knew had to be done. Anything else wouldn’t have been fair to either of us.”

“But—”

I laid a finger on his lips and then moved forward and put my arms around him. It was like embracing a sun-warmed statue. There was nothing soft about him but his skin and hair. I ran my hands over his muscled back through his tunic, eagerly mapping the contours of his body with my fingertips. He shuddered, his eyes hooding again, but held himself still, as if wary of frightening me off. I reassured him the best way I could think of, leaning up and pressing my lips to his.

He caught me in his arms, pulling me against him hungrily. The kiss ignited suddenly as we clung to each other, intensifying until my lips stung, stealing our breaths until we finally had to lean back from each other just to catch them.

“I… do not wish to hurt you,” he murmured. I could feel his muscles tighten with restrained strength as he held me.

I smiled. “You’ve bled for me twice, Dekkir,” I purred as I ran the back of my hand down his cheek. “I’m not worried about you hurting me in any way I wouldn’t like.”

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Author Bio:

Lara LaRue is a romance author who lives in New York City. She loves writing sizzling, sexy stories.
To learn more about Lara LaRue and her collection of romance novels, visit her at www.laralarue.com.

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New Release Review! SEDUCING THE MARQUESS by Callie Hutton (Lord and Ladies in Love #1)

 

Richard, Marquess of Devon is satisfied with his ton marriage. His wife of five months, Lady Eugenia Devon, thought she was, too, until she found the book. Their marriage is one of respect and affection, with no messy entanglements such as love. Devon’s upbringing impressed upon him that gentlemen slake their baser needs on a mistress, not their gently bred wives. However, once married, he was no longer comfortable bedding a woman other Eugenia. When
she stumbles onto a naughty book, she begins a campaign to change the rules.

Lady Eugenia wants her very proper husband to fall in love with her. But her much changed and undeniably wicked behavior might inadvertently drive her confused husband to ponder the unthinkable—his perfect Lady has taken a lover. But the only man Eugenia only wants is her husband. The book can bring sizzling desire to the marriage or it might cause an explosion.

 

Review:

Loved!

Though I’m sure their language wasn’t always 100% correct for the period (and I’m not convinced that Eugenia’s book actually existed, though it certainly should have ;)), both Eugenia and Devon themselves felt more authentic than characters in modern-day historical fiction often do. The way they seemed to settle for a ton marriage–until Eugenia didn’t anymore–the things they were brought up believing about husbands and wives and mistresses–it all felt real.

Which is what made Eugenia’s seduction of Devon all the more delicious.

I loved how she wasn’t content to settle anymore once she found “the book” and all of her clumsy attempts to put what she read into practice. And his confusion over what he grew up being told and how his wife was making him feel? Just fantastic. For once the “they could have solved this with a conversation” actually worked for me, because the chances that they would have had a conversation in that instance? Pretty slim. It all served to make everything that much more fantastic when Devon is finally seduced 🙂

Here’s hoping this is the first of a series, because I want more! Eugenia does have a brother, after all…

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

 

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New Release Review! TRICKED by Rebecca Zanetti (A Dark Protectors & 1001 Dark Nights novella)

We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Review & Excerpt Tour for TRICKED by Rebecca Zanetti, a novella in her Dark Protectors Series brought to you by 1001 Dark Nights! Grab your copy of this sexy novella today!

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About TRICKED:

He Might Save Her

Former police psychologist Ronni Alexander had it all before a poison attacked her heart and gave her a death sentence. Now, on her last leg, she has an opportunity to live if she mates a vampire. A real vampire. One night of sex and a good bite, and she’d live forever with no more weaknesses. Well, except for the vampire whose dominance is over the top, and who has no clue how to deal with a modern woman who can take care of herself.

She Might Kill Him

Jared Reese, who has no intention of ever mating for anything other than convenience, agrees to help out his new sister-in-law by saving her friend’s life with a quick tussle in bed. The plan seems so simple. They’d mate, and he move on with his life and take risks as a modern pirate should. Except after one night with Ronni, one moment of her sighing his name, and he wants more than a mating of convenience. Now all he has to do is convince Ronni she wants the same thing. Good thing he’s up for a good battle.

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Excerpt:

His muscles tightened as he held himself in check.

She stretched her neck, her body moving against him. “I feel so good.” Holding out her hand, she twisted her arm left and right. “Strong. Well, stronger than I just was.” She rubbed her palm along his whiskers. “That’s not all.”

Yeah. He felt it, too. Attraction. So he turned her to straddle him, feeling her body warm several degrees. “Let me know if I go too fast.”

She leaned in and settled her lips on his. “The first time I saw you, I thought wow. A real wow.”

Her breath brushed his mouth, and he stiffened to remain in control. “Is that a fact?” he asked, waiting for her to make a move. The last thing he wanted to do was frighten her, and he couldn’t tell how much stronger his blood had made her. If at all.

“Yes.” She nibbled at his bottom lip.

Magma boiled through his blood. “When I first saw you, I thought your eyes were the prettiest color I’d ever seen,” he said against her mouth. “Like a fine whiskey that has just caught the light.”

She kissed him, and he could feel her smile. “That’s sweet,” she whispered.

Yeah. That was him. Sweet. Nobody in his entire life had called him that. “I don’t want to rush you,” he said.

She tunneled her hands through his hair and hummed. “But we’re on a bit of a deadline?”

“Yeah.” The slight tug of her fingers hazed red over his vision. “Don’t know how long your extra strength will last.” Probably not very long. And there could be repercussions to her damaged heart from his blood, so they had to mate and now. He stood, easily holding her to him. “Bedroom.”

She wrapped her legs around his waist. “Um. Okay.”

 

Review:

I haven’t read any of the Dark Protectors series before (why? Why haven’t I? I have no excuses here) but though it’s clear that they have some connection (Tricked is the middle novella of three in the 1001 Dark Nights series dealing with three vampire brothers–between Teased and Tantalized) I did just fine starting here.

I loved Jared and Ronni–he’s all gruff and alpha and vampire-y and she’s feisty and independent and…kinda likes for him to take charge sometimes. But hates it too. And loves it. It all makes for some fun reading 😉

The novella format worked nicely here–the ending did come a bit quickly, and they did get to the “I love you”s after a fairly short amount of time, but somehow it doesn’t feel like instalove when there’s supernatural creatures involved. Especially supernatural creatures who double as sex gods. But I digress…

This story was just enough to really whet my appetite for more from this series–at the very least, I’m going to get my hands on Teased ASAP and grab Tantalized as soon as it comes out! (Because, hello–I knew that witch was up to no good!)

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

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rebecca-zanetti-headshotAbout Rebecca Zanetti:

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five dark paranormals, romantic suspense, and contemporary romances. She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own Alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family. She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out. Her current series are: The Dark Protectors, The Maverick Montana Cowboys, and the Sin Brothers series. Upcoming series are: The Realm Enforcers and The Scorpius Syndrome.

 

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Rebecca Zanetti’s TRICKED – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

October 26th

A Fortress of Books – Review

Letter Shelves Blog – Review & Excerpt

Marie’s Tempting Reads – Review & Excerpt

October 27th

GraveTells – Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

She Hearts Books – Review

Reese’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

October 28th

Natalie TheBiblioholic – Review & Excerpt

Booknista – Excerpt

The Escapist Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

October 29th

The Reading Cafe – Review & Excerpt

Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt

Vagabonda Reads – Review & Excerpt

October 30th

WTF Are You Reading! – Review & Excerpt

Alphas Do It Better Book Blog – Review

Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog – Excerpt

Sofia Loves Books – Review & Excerpt

October 31st

Reading in Pajamas – Review & Excerpt

Always YA at Heart – Review & Excerpt

Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – Excerpt

Untamed Bibliophiles – Review & Excerpt

November 1st

Dog-Eared Daydreams – Review & Excerpt

My Nook, Books & More – Excerpt

Oh My Growing TBR – Review & Excerpt

Hannah’s Words – Review & Excerpt

November 2nd

Bookaliciousbabes Blog – Review & Excerpt

Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt

Mistress of Romance – Review & Excerpt

Romance Book Nerd – Excerpt

November 3rd

The Romantic Angel Blog – Review

The BookWhisperer – Review

British Book Binge – Review & Excerpt

November 4th

G & T’s Indie Café – Excerpt

The Sassy Bookster – Review & Excerpt

Knotty Girl Reviews – Review

Robinson Reviews – Review

 

Father and Daughter Playing Together at the Beach at Sunset. Happy Fun Smiling Lifestyle

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Marti Johnson, One of the Authors of IN THE BEGINNING Explains the Anthology (with a giveaway!)

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Sight unseen, In the Beginning has been rejected by some as being too clerical or religiously partisan. While this is far from the case, it is easy to see why someone would make that assumption. The seeds for each of the stories are culled from passages within the Christian Bible.

The problem of retelling a Biblical story for a modern audience begins with the perception that it will be adherent to a religion and religious philosophy, and it will require a certain faith to be relevant. You might think of Sunday School, stained glass and hard wooden pews full of worshipful devotees.

Devout Christians familiar with the Bible will need to prop their minds firmly open when they read In the Beginning. There are inhabitants within these chronicles that will shake them. The narratives are peopled with witches and demons, dragons and spirits, people caught up in bloodlust, plain lust and somber twists of consciousness. But you will recognize many of the individuals and their dilemmas, because they are as old as time.

This book does not proselytize. It is not religious. In fact, it does not take sides. It leads the reader onto dark and dangerous paths, into a maze that will challenge, delight, titillate and entertain the young adult reader.

Readers who have faith in no religion, who think of themselves as agnostics, pagans and free-thinkers, or mere skeptics for whom the idea of faith is an anathema may want to dismiss anything remotely related to the Bible as irrelevant or pointless. But the stories in this book are emphatically not written from the perspective of the pulpit, but are ancient stories fantastically retold for the imagination of the young modern audience more attuned to Dungeons and Dragons, Game of Thrones, zombies, space travel and aliens.

Today we are bombarded with so many images from cable television and Netflix, communication by e-mail and Facebook and Twitter. It seems our appetite for connectedness and relevance is boundless. And this profusion of information might make the ideas in the ancient text of the Bible seem irrelevant.

But the Bible itself is a book full of mystery and intrigue, compelling plots and machinations. This is just where the ideas for the short stories of In the Beginning are born. Each story begins with a passage from the Bible, but like a headstrong child, heads off into its own realm, borne on the imagination of the author. There are stories from ancient times, and others set in modern times.

These are not stories from some pulpit. They do not preach. They do not judge, and they are raw and dark, fearsome and somewhat twisted.

In the Beginning challenges the reader to put aside any preconceived notions he may have about the passages from which they are wrenched. They are not meant to proselytize. They do not preach. They take twists and turns not foreseen, and not to be forgotten.  And they are somewhat messy, like life itself.

Marti Johnson wrote “THE DELUGE”, a retelling of the story of Noah and the flood.

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In the Beginning: Dark Retellings of Biblical Tales
Publication Date: October 25, 2016

Publisher:  Month9Books

Eight authors come together to build a powerful collection of dark young adult short stories inspired by the mysteries, faith, and darkness found within the Bible. Old Testament and New Testament, iconic and obscure figures alike are illuminated, explored, and re-envisioned throughout this charity anthology from Month9Books.
Daniel and the Dragon by Stephen Clements
A troubled orphan named Habakkuk dutifully follows his master, the prophet Daniel, into temples of blood-thirsty demon-gods, battles with unspeakable horrors, and bears witnesses to mind-breaking evil until his master’s zealous defiance of the king’s law seals their fate.

Babylon
by Nicole Crucial

Far above the earth, in Second Eden, where moments and eternities all blur together, young Babylon befriends Sefer, the Book of Life. As Babylon awaits the moment she’ll fulfill her destiny, she and Sefer try to understand the world in which they live.

Last Will and Testament by Mike Hays
A homeless young boy, Baz, bears the weight of humanity on his shoulders and upon his body. When dark forces test a new-found friendship, Baz’s willingness to bear the ugliness of their world will be shaken.

The Demon Was Me by Sharon Hughson
Based on the story of the demon-possessed boy healed by Jesus, this tale provides a glimpse into a post-apocalyptic world where a teenage boy seeks to journey to a better land and yearns to discover the kind of man he’s meant to be, only to be hijacked by an evil spirit intent upon chipping away at the hope, faith, and resilience of its host.

The Deluge by Marti Johnson
A non-believer shares the story of Noah’s ark-building and the deadly downpour that follows. Fear, faithlessness, and the fallibility of mankind collide in a community where second chances aren’t unlimited and a better-late-than-never attitude just might be your doom.

Condemned by Elle O’Neill
Just sixteen-years-old, Barabbas finds himself pulled out of Routlege Academy and into a reality show competition—against Jesus himself—where the reward for the winner is life.

First Wife by Lora Palmer
In a first-person retelling of the saga of Jacob, Rachel and Leah, themes of family, deception, guilt, and heartache emerge amidst the first days of Leah’s marriage to Jacob—a marriage mired in trickery a mere week before Jacob was to marry Leah’s sister Rachel.

Emmaculate by Christina Raus
Based on the story of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, we enter the troubled mind of Emma, who finds herself torn between her religious upbringing and the purity ring that binds her to her boyfriend and the pregnancy that results from her relationship with another boy.

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Marti Johnson

Marti Johnson was born on an American Naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She has lived in Massachusetts, Maine, Colorado, Nevada and California. Marti hiked and climbed mountains as a girl and young teen, and spent many years on horseback in the scenic eastern Sierras in California. She is the author (under her given name, Margaret Johnson) of DARK HORSE SPIRIT: BEYOND REDEMPTION published in 2014, and is currently working on a sequel.

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Stephen Clements

Stephen Clements earned a Masters in Political Science from the University of Memphis, served a stint in the US Army with a heaping long tour in Iraq, and would never recommend Baghdad as a vacation spot. When he got out, he cornered and married a mean, beautiful woman, and they have three corgis and one murderous cat. He has three books, with a recent short story in MEMPHIS NOIR. He loves history, theology, travel, and making wine.

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Nicole Crucial

Nicole Crucial is a creative writing student at UNC Wilmington. Her hobbies outside of reading and writing include social media, Netflix, yoga (sometimes), costuming, organizing things, and spoiling her cat. She loves writing about fantastic worlds because she is certain that she would not survive in them. You can visit her website at: http://www.nicolecrucial.com.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

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Mike Hays

Mike Hays is from Kansas, a tried and true flatlander by birth. He relishes the fact his adult self can now make stuff up and not be sent to the principal’s office for it. His life is built around stories—whether as a dad, a molecular microbiologist, a high school sports coach, or as an author— stories are key. He writes mainly from a boy point of view and hopes to spread ideas and stupid-funny inspiration through his books, blogs, and social media. His upper middle-grade historical fiction, THE YOUNGER DAYS, is about a family’s survival in the fallout from the violent Border War over “Bloody” Kansas. Connect with him on Twitter (@coachhays64).

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Sharon Hughson

Nurtured through a troubled teenhood by Aslan in Narnia, Sharon Hughson has long appreciated the power of the written word. She has published romance and women’s fiction, but her dream is to write young adult fantasy, a genre she credits for keeping her alive during her parents’ turbulent divorce and the chaotic readjustments that followed. Sharon fuels her imagination with recollections from years of motherhood and a lifetime of experience working with young people, at church and in public school. She resides in Oregon with her husband, sons and three cats, where she spends her non-writing hours substitute teaching, reading, playing piano, enjoying the outdoors and scrapbooking her family’s memories.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

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Elle O’Neill

Elle O’Neill loves reading and writing—from her first all-nighter as a seven-year old with autographed copies of David Adler’s Cam Jansen books to her high school and college English and creative writing classes. She believes that you can fall into the world of a book and find yourself. While she sometimes has a hard time separating fiction from reality (or is it that she prefers not to?), she likes to think that’s a whimsical asset. She enjoys reading just about anything, but treasures underdogs and bluestockings—their trials and successes feel close to home.

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lora-palmer

Lora Palmer

Lora Palmer writes science fiction and fantasy for young adults. Her debut novel, THE MIRRORMASTERS, is forthcoming from Clean Reads. Bucks County, Pennsylvania is her home, where she resides with her wonderful husband and their mischievous cat. She has earned a graduate degree in Psychology and works at a local residential facility serving autistic children and teens. In her spare time, she also sings in a praise band, Chalice Sounds.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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Christina Raus

Christina Raus earned her BA in Creative Writing from Western New England University in 2015. She received the Max Y. Litman English Prize for literary analysis and written communication upon her graduation. She has written articles for Lioness Magazine, a digital publication for female entrepreneurs. Originally from Massachusetts, she currently resides in New York, where she is attending Sarah Lawrence College and working on a novel. She is expected to graduate from Sarah Lawrence’s MFA in Creative Writing Program in 2017. “Emmaculate” is her first fiction publication.

Twitter | Goodreads

LAUREEN P. CANTWELL, Editor:

Laureen grew up in eastern Long Island and eventually found her way to Memphis —“the rock ’n’ roll side of Tennessee,” where she worked as a librarian at the University of Memphis and grew to love the darkness of the city—and Elvis. While there, she proposed and co-edited an anthology of short fiction, Memphis Noir, part of Akashic Books’ renowned Noir series published in November 2015. That adventure led to a conversation with Georgia McBride at a library conference, and to the thrilling experience of working with In the Beginning and putting together a charity anthology full of complex stories suitable for a young adult audience. She currently lives in Western Colorado and works as a librarian for Colorado Mesa University.

GEORGIA McBRIDE, Editor:

Georgia lives in North Carolina with her kids and husband. She has three dogs, one bird, and a fish. She loves to read, watch movies, listen to music, and go see films. She is a publisher, producer, writer, and editor. She has never met a piece of bacon she did not eat, or a cup of coffee she did not drink.

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New Release and Giveaway! THREE AMAZING THINGS by Jill Mansell

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Title: Three Amazing Things About You
Author: Jill Mansell
Pub date: October 4, 2016
ISBN: 9781492618065

Hallie has a secret…doesn’t everybody?

Hallie doesn’t have long to live. And to make things even more complicated, she’s in love with a guy who’s seriously out of bounds. She’s never going to let him know, of course; she’s just going to enjoy every remaining moment of her crush. She’s also determined to spend her last months helping those who write into her Dear Rose column with problems of their own. Her doctors can’t fix her, but maybe she can fix a few other people’s dilemmas before it’s too late.

Flo has a dilemma. She really likes Zander. But his scary sister won’t be even faintly amused if she thinks Zander and Flo are becoming friends – let alone anything more.

Tasha has a problem. Her new boyfriend is the adventurous type. And she’s afraid one of his adventures will go badly wrong.

All our lives are full of choices, for better or worse. The amazing thing to see is how connected we all are—in ways we don’t even know. On occasion, we have the chance to see the ways we change one another’s lives for the better.

*****

With over ten million copies sold, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author JILL MANSELL writes irresistible, funny, poignant, and romantic tales for women in the tradition of Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella, and Jojo Moyes. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England.

 

Excerpt:

Pleased with herself, Tasha turned left and headed for the last shop. As she pushed open the door, her favorite Christmas song was playing and a blast of cool, deliciously scented air filled her lungs. She overheard a small girl say, “Mummy, look at that lady in the pink coat, she’s pretty,” and quite suddenly all was right with the world. A wave of joy enveloped her. This afternoon she was flying off to see her mum in the South of France and they would spend Christmas together…what could be more perfect than that?

Twenty minutes later, all was no longer right with the world and icy fingers appeared to be closing around her heart, while her own fingers scrabbled desperately for the third time through her handbag and pockets.

“It’s here somewhere. It has to be here. I had it in the last shop…”

The line behind her had already begun to tut with irritation at the delay.

“Better see if you left it there, then,” said the singularly unsympathetic girl manning the payment desk.

“But I know I didn’t leave it behind. I had it in my hand…” It was impossible to mentally retrace your steps when Slade were bellowing MERRY CHRIIIIIIIISSSTMAAAAAS out of the speakers and you were gripped with panic.

The man behind her in the line said loudly, “Excuse me, my parking meter’s about to run out. Can I pay for my stuff?”

“Yes.” The girl behind the till pushed Tasha’s items to one side and reached for the next customer’s basket.

Oh God, where was her credit card? What had she done with it? Feeling sick, Tasha searched through her pockets again. Three days ago, her debit card had snapped in half when she’d stupidly used it to clear ice from the car windscreen, and the replacement hadn’t arrived yet.

And now her credit card had vanished. Nightmare, nightmare. “If it’s been stolen, you need to cancel it,” a woman in the line reminded her.

Stolen…

Images of the card falling to the ground and being stealthily pocketed filled Tasha’s brain. They could rack up so much money on it, even in just twenty minutes. She nodded and said, “I don’t know the number to ring to report it stolen.”

“Nor me,” said the woman, adding helpfully, “but I know it’s printed on the back of your card.”

Gathering up her bags, Tasha turned and hurried out of the shop. When she’d been struggling to carry everything in M&S, she’d given up trying to fit the card back into her overstuffed purse. It was all coming back to her now; she’d slid it into one of the plastic bags instead. Her heart galloped into optimistic overdrive at the realization that the shopping bag was one of those she’d discarded during her Tetris-style reorganization.

Which meant, fingers crossed…it should still be in the trash can.

Out of breath and panting, Tasha stood and stared at the trash, relieved that it hadn’t been emptied but slightly put off by the amount of junk that had been crammed in since she’d left it, not least the upended polystyrene container now dripping the remains of an unwanted doner kebab over the items beneath it.

Life would be easier too if it could have been one of those topless cans that were open to the elements. But no, this was the rectangular kind with an enclosed roof and letter-box openings around the side. Although luckily a bit wider than an actual letter box.

Oh well, better get on with it. Tasha put her many bags down on the pavement, removed her pink woolen coat and rolled up the sleeves of her black dress…

Eurgh, this was truly gross. Within seconds her hand was gluey with chili sauce, there were bits of shredded lettuce stuck to her bare arm, and an upside-down McDonald’s cup was spilling melted ice cream over her too. There were cigarette butts in there, vinegar-soaked chips, and something repulsively slimy and unidentifiable.

“Hungry, are we? If you’re that desperate, I’ll buy you a burger!”

Fabulous, just what she needed. A gaggle of teenage boys with skateboards and micro-scooters had gathered round to watch.

“I saw an old drunk bloke puking up in that can earlier,” one of the boys called out.

“He had a piss in it too.” His friend, joining in, caused the rest of them to crack up.

OK, that wasn’t true, they were just saying it to wind her up. Pointedly ignoring them, Tasha knelt down and leaned against the icy cast-iron trash can, pushing her arm further into its grim depths. The boys were still snickering, other shoppers were stopping to stare and she was floundering helplessly in the dark, trying to feel for a lone credit card inside a scrunched-up plastic bag…

“Could you get your hand out of there?” barked a hatchet-faced woman holding a coffee cup.

“I’m just looking for something.”

“Well, I need to throw this in the trash, and I’m in a hurry.”

“Sorry, but—”

Too late: the woman had already lobbed the cardboard cup into the trash, leaving Tasha with an arm drenched in lukewarm cappuccino.

Under her breath she muttered, “And a very merry Christmas to you too.”

“I bet there’s dog crap in there an’ all.” The boys were by this time helpless with laughter, competing to come up with more and more stomach-churning ideas. One of them had started skateboarding in circles around the trash can, and the sound of the wheels whizzing menacingly round her feet, missing her by inches, was making it all that much harder to bear.

“Right, you lot, that’s enough. Off you go now.”

It was an in-control voice, belonging to someone not remotely fazed by a bunch of hoody-wearing teenagers and effortlessly taking command of the situation. Since it was coming from directly behind her, Tasha couldn’t see the owner of the voice, but she was certainly glad he’d turned up.

 

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New Release and Giveaway! LESSONS IN GRAVITY by Megan Westfield

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Lessons in Gravity
by Megan Westfield
Publication Date: October 24, 2016
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Embrace, New Adult, Romance

Synopsis: All eyes are on Josh Knox…Fearless. Guarded. Cut-to-perfection. Daredevil rock climber. The best in the world.

This time he’s poised to scale Yosemite’s notoriously treacherous Sorcerer Spire, with Walkabout Media & Productions filming every move.

April Stephens’s dream to be a documentary filmmaker rests on her acing her internship with Walkabout, and that means getting the abrasive Josh to give her more than one-word answers in his interviews.

The problem is, with every step forward professionally, she and Josh are also taking a step forward personally, and after watching her stunt pilot father die in a fiery crash, a guy who risks his life for a living is the last person she should be falling for. Especially because in one month her internship will have them dangling three thousand feet in the air from the side of the Sorcerer. She’ll be filming. He’ll be climbing without a rope.

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Excerpt:

She had to make a move. And soon.

She breathed calmness into her jackhammering foot and then hooked the toe of her shoe across a

gumball. Pressing her thigh into the wall, she put her weight on the gumball and stood.

Suddenly, the handhold was in reach. She lunged for it. It wasn’t a good hold. Her hand was

slipping off it. She threw her foot over to a higher gumball, and before she knew it, her foot was

on a solid ledge and her hands gripped a nice, deep pocket.

Down below, Danny, Madigan, Theo, and Ernesto were cheering. She glowed with her

accomplishment. She rocketed up the final section of the route and then sat back in her harness

and Madigan lowered her down. She’d done it! There were high fives and cheers all around

when she reached the ground.

The knot through the front of her harness had tightened in on itself from being lowered.

Her fingers shook with fatigue, and she couldn’t get it to budge. Madigan helped her loosen it.

“Take a rest, and then I’ll teach you how to belay.”

The rock-climbing shoes were pinching like lobster claws, and she couldn’t wait to get

them off. She grabbed her running shoes from the base of the cliff and started toward the rock

pile to put them on.

And there was Josh, sitting on top of the pile. She continued toward the rocks like it was

no big deal. Had he been there the entire time?

He grinned and gave her a high five. She couldn’t help grinning back.

“Hollywood, huh?” he said. “That’s your nickname?”

“Not by choice.”

“I thought you went to UCLA.”

“Yeah. The two are totally different things. Theo likes to pretend he doesn’t know that.”

She pried the climbing shoes off her hot and clammy feet. Worried they smelled, she hurried to

get her running shoes back on.

“How’d you like climbing?” Josh asked.

Their eyes met, and the sensation was a little like falling, only euphoric instead of scary.

“It was really hard,” she said. “But fun.”

“That was a five-eight,” he said. “Not bad for your first climb.”

She looked down and tied her shoes to hide her blush. The rock pile wasn’t very wide,

and she was sitting quite close to Josh. Surprisingly, it felt natural. Preferable. She wouldn’t

mind being around him like this a lot more.

April looked up, and Madigan was watching her with a disapproving look, like she was a

schoolgirl caught doodling a boy’s initials in her notebook.

“Hey, Josh,” Madigan yelled over. “Do you have a second so we can talk

about tomorrow?”

April forced herself not to look at Josh as he got off the rocks. Did Madigan actually need

to talk to Josh, or was he just trying to rescue her from her faux pas—being too familiar with the

talent?

She forced her eyes over to Danny, who was climbing the route she had just finished, but

her mind remained on Josh. Surely he had better things to do than hang around here and watch

mortals scrape their way up the cliff. Was it possible he had known the Walkabout crew was

coming here this afternoon and his being here was not a coincidence?

Mostly, though, she replayed their high five. Unless it was her imagination—or wishful

thinking—Josh had squeezed her hand a smidge longer and tighter than everyone else.

 

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ABOUT MEGAN WESTFIELD:megan-westfield

Megan Westfield has dabbled in many hobbies and pastimes over the years, ranging from playing the cello to cake decorating (i.e., icing eating) to a dozen different outdoor adventure sports. Eventually, she discovered the only way to do it all was though writing—her first and strongest passion. She writes new adult fiction because she loves exploring the powerful and formative years between high school and the quarter-life crisis. As a reader, her favorite books are those with a truly unique, real-world setting, and, of course, a love story.
Megan grew up in Washington state, attended college in Oregon, and lived in Virginia, California, and Rhode Island during her five years as a navy officer. She is now a permanent resident of San Diego where she and her husband count family beach time with their two young kids as an adventure sport. Megan was formerly the editor of a small weekly newspaper in Southern California and is represented by Melissa Edwards of Stonesong Priest Literary Agency.

CONNECT WITH MEGAN:

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