Elsekind by Celeste Hollister Book Blast

 

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Title:   Elsekind
Author:  Celeste Hollister
Published:  April 20th, 2017
Publisher:   Black Rose Writing
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Synopsis:  Kex Mardugal is half human, half something… Else. With her dark skin and wild eyes, humankind considers her a soulless abomination. In the face of prejudice, Kex has carved a place for herself in human society. She earned the rank of King’s Champion, securing a position of strength within her homeland.
This attracts the attention of an inscrutable sorcerer who entreats Kex to join his party of warriors to fight against an enigmatic evil threatening to overtake their world.
But conflicts within the party undermine their ability to work together. All the while, their enemy, a strange and powerful demon, steadily gains strength, commanding deadly storms and legions of curselings to spread its blight across the land.
As an Elsekind, Kex discovers that she alone can define her code of honor in order to fight against the monsters of the world.
Amazon Paperback | Black Rose Writing | GoodReads

Excerpt from Elsekind by Celeste Hollister:
Kex and Hailan
            Kex curled her knees tight against her chest. She breathed in slow, deep breaths. Her weapon felt cold beneath her palm. Rough boards rasped against her cheek as she pressed her face to the floor. Muffled footsteps approached – barefoot, if she had to guess. She tightened her fist around the weapon and waited. The angle was wrong, but she was too small to overpower him in a close fight. She would rely on quickness and the element of surprise. He would never think to find her here.
            Her pulse quickened as the footfalls paused. The door opened on a well-oiled hinge. A sphere of lamplight revealed two hairy ankles, and – just as she hoped – two naked feet. Kex drew a breath and waited.
            Closer, she thought. Come closer. I dare you.
            Lamplight and legs loomed nearer but still out of reach. The lamp’s handle squeaked as he set it upon the table. Then he turned and shuffled forward, giving her an unpleasant glimpse of his toenails. Inches away, then half-inches, then precisely where she wanted him.
            Kex lashed out, stabbing down into the top of his foot. He howled and hopped – as she hoped – and she kicked out, her heel connecting with his ankle, knocking his other foot out from beneath him.
            He scrabbled to his side, quick for his size, but by then she had used his own leg to haul herself from beneath the bed. She vaulted astride him, pressing her weapon to his freshly-shaven throat.
            “Where is it?” she hissed.
            Eyes wide, he glanced from her to the weapon pressed into his neck.
            “Oh, by the Saints,” he moaned.
            She bore down, sinking it deeper into his skin. “I asked you a question.”
            He stammered, then refocused. “Is that a fork?”
            “Aye.” The skin blanched around the tines as she leaned her weight into it. “I can make you bleed with a fork.”
            “I think you already did,” he whined. She noted that he lay very, very still as he said, “C’mon, Kex, what’s this about?”
            She narrowed her eyes. “Don’t play around, Hailan Chase. You know well what I want.”
            “Nope.” Hailan carefully shook his head. “Not me.”
            “I may not kill you with this,” Kex said through her teeth. She bore down enough to make him squirm. “But I will maim you – four perfect little cuts – and everywhere you go, from this day forward, everyone will know that Lady Kex took you down with a utensil.”
            “Oh, Lady, is it?” Hailan said.
            “Don’t change the subject,” she said. “Where is my book?”
            “Hmm… Book?”
            “The Codex, damn it. Where is it?”
            Hailan raised his hands. “Xylo has it.”
            “Your sister?” Kex clicked her tongue.
            “She’s awful clever.”
            “She’s eight.”
            Kex felt his weight shift. She knew this maneuver. If he thought he was going to roll her, she had to ensure he was too frightened to try. She flicked her wrist, caught the fork with her left hand, and positioned it above his eye.
            His dilating pupils told her all she needed to know. He wouldn’t be moving. He might not dare to breathe.
            “It is my Mother’s book,” Kex said. “I want it back.”
            Hailan swallowed several gulps of air. “She’s a curious girl, my sister. You’re the only Elsekind she’s ever seen.”
            Kex hissed through her teeth. Hailan cringed.
            She said, “Xylo’s seen Alusians.”
            “That’s different,” he said. “You’re different. I mean, not different, not like Halfkin different, but you’re not the same.” He moaned. “You know what I mean.”
            Kex eased back but kept the fork pointed at his face. Yes, she knew what he meant. All too well. “With my permission, Xylo may borrow any object in my possession. But you will not take them without asking. Nod if you understand.”
            Hailan nodded. He looked like he might be sick.
            “Go now and fetch it back,” Kex said. She got to her feet and moved to the door. “I will meet you and Aralund on the pitch in one half hour.”
            Hailan massaged his neck. As she opened the door, he said, “Kex, I was only playing.”
            Though she saw his sincerity, she could not afford to soften. She said, “I know that. Which is why you I leave you unharmed.” With a smirk, she added, “Well. Mostly.”

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About the Author:
Celeste Hollister is a novelist, a mom, a travel writer, and willing cat minion. She writes books for people who struggle with racial identity and LGBT+ representation. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in writing, taught in urban schools for a decade, and lived in South Korea for a year. She loves wine, cookies, traveling abroad, and fanfiction. Currently, she lives in San Marcos with her lovely boyfriend and fabulous daughter.





Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • $20 Amazon gift card.
Giveaway is International. Ends April 24th at 11:59 PM EST

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Ephemeral and Fleeting by Patricia Reding

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Blurb:

A Lost Freedom.

An Ephemeral Existence.

A Profound Mystery.

After Mara and her charges, Reigna and Eden—the ranking twin members of the first family of the Select—discover the twins’ unparalleled magic powers and then move to the palace of the Select at Shimeron, they return to the City of Light. There they train with the Oathtaker forces, preparing a response to the ongoing threat from Zarek, the evil leader of Chiran. But when a traitor in their midst discloses their plans to visit the realm’s border for a closer look, they are captured and imprisoned. Stripped of her Oathtaker’s blade, Mara soon discovers that an unknown power bars her ability to use her attendant magic to escape, or to free the twins.

As Mara’s magic dreams endeavor to inform her of events to transpire, as her cohorts labor to decipher ancient prophecy, as the twins learn of the power of a magic artifact they carry, and as Lucy struggles to uncover the traitor in their midst, Dixon’s rescue attempt takes shape. Meanwhile, Zarek’s son—the twins’ cousin, Broden—seeks to assist his father’s prisoners. But before he can do so, Mara discovers that the loss of her charges is only one painful outcome that could come to pass.

Escape is impossible; survival, questionable; loss, inevitable.

And yet . . . things are not always what they seem.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ephemeral-Fleeting-Oathtaker-Book-3-ebook/dp/B06XTKL872/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490639431&sr=8-1&keywords=patricia+reding

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ephemeral-and-fleeting-patricia-reding/1126026796?ean=9780998276748

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1219575010

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/ephemeral-and-fleeting

Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/342969605/Ephemeral-and-Fleeting-The-Oathtaker-Series-3

 

 

 

My Review:

Wow! What a completely unexpected and undeniably fantastic continuation of this incredible series! I didn’t see any of these wild twists and turns coming. What I found was an exhilarating and edge of your seat adventure that stole my heart and refused to give it back. I was once again won over to this brilliant storyline and its phenomenal characters that never cease to surprise and delight me every step of the way.

Just when you think you know where this story is going, you find that you have absolutely no idea at all. A million different changes in direction lead you to the absolute perfect and best temporary ending that could have possibly happened. Nothing less would bring justice to this marvelous series! I love delving back into the world of Mara, Dixon, Lucy and others that I have come to know and love. Both old and new characters will leave you breathless and wanting so much more. Just when you think all hope is lost you find yourself facing something you never saw coming.

Patricia Reding will always delight and entertain. She knows how to feel her readers on their toes the entire time she leads them from one journey to another. Waiting with bated breath for the next journey is yet another way that she allows us to savor and cherish each of her wonderful books. I highly recommend taking a chance on her books. You will not regret it.

UNWRITTEN by Jen Frederick

This incredible treasure has finally arrived and it’s early!!!

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Don’t wait to enjoy every minute of this wonderful masterpiece!!

Get it today on Amazon!

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My Review

Fun banter, spicy chemistry, and complex relationships will undeniably draw and capture your heart in Unwritten. This is a wildly fantastic story of learning how to find the courage you need to move outside of your comfort zone and into possibilities that seem out of reach and only a part of your fantasies. If any story could so completely stretch you and yet make it feel oh so very good, it would be this story. There is an unusual sense of safety and yet enough daring to wonderfully balance the delicious risks that are just dying to be taken. I dare you to dive into the unknown and prove to yourself that you are still alive and in control as you obliterate anything that stands in the way of your dreams.

Landry lives a small, contained life. Try as she might, she just can’t seem to spread her wings and enjoy what others take for granted, so she works to make the best of what she has been given. Adam enjoys his carefully controlled life that would appear to be utter chaos to some. He leaves nothing to chance, so when the stars aligns and Landry walks into orbit, he is left speechless, unraveled, and wanting so much more. Just when you think you have life under your thumb, is the exact moment that it turns your world upside down in the most unique way. Will a curious, sheltered woman bring a structured, man of the world to his knees, or will they find themselves forcibly pulled in opposite directions while others decide their future for them?

Landry and Adam without a doubt stole my heart, ran off with it, and I could care less if I ever get it back. This is a wonderful example of opposites attracting and that being the glue itself that will either cement them together or allow them to fall apart. When you find a story that cracks open you heart and tears away the jaded scars left by life while allowing you to truly enjoy the simple things in life, you know you have found a priceless treasure. This story is all that and so much more! You are graced with an intriguing plot, high-stakes drama, and incredible characters that will carry you away to the most wonderful heaven while giving you a much needed break from life. What more could you ask for?

Jen Frederick is without a doubt one of the absolute leaders in the romance genre. Her writing is truly inspiring, wholly unique and marvelously entertaining. Her genius is like a brilliantly, warm beacon in a cold, uncaring world that speaks peace, hope, and love to my weary heart. A soft, caring touch is more powerful than cold, hard truth. This is one author that you will not want to go one day without enjoying and savoring all that her incredibly brilliant stories have to offer!

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Check out Jen Frederick’s other titles!

Find your next escape  and find out why people have fallen so hard for her wonderful stories!!

Also, don’t forget to stalk .. I mean follow her on Facebook .

If you want to get to interact with her and learn more about her books, then check out her Facebook group here.

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GRIP by Kennedy Ryan

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Flow, the prequel to GRIP, by Kennedy Ryan is now live and TOTALLY FREE! And GRIP, the riveting full-length conclusion, is LIVE!

FLOW: http://amzn.to/2lAhSSC
GRIP: http://amzn.to/2lKfZVt

Check out the Teespring Campaign! www.teespring.com/GetAGrip

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY on Kennedy’s Page!
www.facebook.com/KennedyRyanAuthor

“The story reads like a movie . . powerful and intoxicating … and sinfully sexy. GRIP has everything—dynamic characters, soulful plot, and a lesson at the end that will change the way you look at life. One of my favorite reads this year. Maybe ever. 5 massive, gripping stars from me!” — Adriana Lock, USA Today Bestselling Author

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EXCERPT:

Grip leans into me, pushing back my hair and rolling his still-icy beer bottle over my neck. I swallow, but don’t dare look at him, hoping he’ll drop it, but he doesn’t.

“When you grow up on the streets, you don’t just develop a sixth sense.” He captures a lock of my hair and tests it between his fingers. “You have six, seven, eight, nine of ’em, because those instincts could be the difference between death or life. My mom and Jade have so many senses they almost know what you’re thinking before you think it. And even though I’ve never told her, Jade only had to be in the room with us for a hot minute to know I want you.”

I clench my eyes closed and pull in a stuttering breath, trapping my bottom lip between my teeth.

“Don’t do this, Grip.”

“Jade’s right,” he continues as if I hadn’t spoken, hadn’t asked him to stop. “My mom would flip if I brought a white girl home. If I brought you home. Maybe it is bigoted and ancient, but that’s just her. You know better than most that we don’t get to choose our family, but we still gotta love them.”

I don’t respond to that. He knows how contentious things have been between my brother and my parents. Beyond the headlines everyone else has seen, he knows how hard I’ve worked to reconcile them. I moved to LA to help Rhyson with his career, yes, but also to bridge the country-wide chasm between the two factions of my family.

“Like you, I’d do anything for my family.” He comes in an inch closer, caressing under my chin and tilting it up with his index finger. “But if you’d ever give me a shot, I wouldn’t give a fuck what anyone thought. I’d take you home to my mama.”

I’m a little too high and a lot too horny for this conversation, for the stone-hard thigh pressing against me, for the heat coming off his body and smothering my resistance. I try to sit up, hoping it will clear my head so I can make my escape, but his hand presses gently into my chest, just above the swell of my breasts, compelling me back into the cushion. His lips hover over mine, and I will him to kiss me because I’ll make the first move if he doesn’t. After years of not moving, I have no idea how I’ll explain that once the smoke clears.

Sometimes at night after the chaos dies, I think about our first kiss at the top of a Ferris wheel. Just like then, his lips start soft, brushing mine like wings in sweet sweeps, coaxing me open and delving into me. Sampling me, he groans into my mouth and chases my tongue. The rough palm of his hand cups my face, angling me so he can dive deeper. He doesn’t come up for air, but keeps kissing me so deeply I can’t breathe. He tastes so good, I’ll choose him over air as long as I can. Why is it never like this with anyone else? I want it to be so bad, but it never is.

He releases my lips to scatter kisses down my neck. My back arches, and my nipples go tight. He knows that’s my spot. After all this time, he still knows. My neck is so incredibly sensitive, a gateway to the rest of my body.

“You taste exactly the same.” His words come on a labored breath in my ear. “Do you know how long it’s been since I kissed you?”

Eight years.

“Eight years.” He shakes his head, eyes riveting mine in light lent by candles and the moon. “And you taste exactly the same.”

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NOW LIVE!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2lKfZVt
Amazon Universal: myBook.to/GetAGrip

Check out the playlist on iTunes: http://apple.co/2lWI9ur
Check out the playlist on Spotify: http://bit.ly/2lWrHdS

JOIN THE SPOILER ROOM AFTER YOU FINISH! http://bit.ly/2m8xEqf

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Blurb:

Resisting an irresistible force wears you down and turns you out.
I know.
I’ve been doing it for years.
I may not have a musical gift of my own, but I’ve got a nose for talent and an eye for the extraordinary.
And Marlon James – Grip to his fans – is nothing short of extraordinary.
Years ago, we strung together a few magical nights, but I keep those memories in a locked drawer and I’ve thrown away the key.
All that’s left is friendship and work.
He’s on the verge of unimaginable fame, all his dreams poised to come true.
I manage his career, but I can’t seem to manage my heart.
It’s wild, reckless, disobedient.
And it remembers all the things I want to forget.

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GRAB IT NOW FOR FREE!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lAhSSC
iBooks: http://apple.co/2mkAG88
Nook: http://bit.ly/2lNxZyo
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2lvKqOQ
Available on WATTPAD: http://w.tt/2kUo8Yk

“Ryan continues her streak of amazingly accessible and authentic romantic fiction. Grip is a bold and unapologetic look at interracial romance and does not shy away from any of the ideals and prejudices that most of us are too polite to acknowledge – head on- amidst one of the sexiest, and most provocative true love romances Ryan has penned to date. Break out the fans folks, Grip is aptly titled and sure to make you need a grip! — Sheena, Smexy Books

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Blurb:

In 8 years, Marlon James will be one of the brightest rising stars in the music industry.
Bristol Gray will be his tough, no-nonsense manager.
But when they first meet, she’s a college student finding her way in the world,
and he’s an artist determined to make his way in it.
From completely different worlds,
all the things that should separate them only draw them closer.
It’s a beautiful beginning, but where will the story end?

FLOW is the prequel chronicling the week of magical days and nights

that will haunt Grip & Bristol for years to come.

GRIP is the full-length conclusion of their story available NOW here: http://kennedyryanwrites.com/grip/

About the Author:

Kennedy loves to write about herself in third person. She loves Diet Coke…though she’s always trying to quit. She adores her husband…who she’ll never quit. She loves her son, who is the most special boy on the planet. And she’s devoted to supporting and serving families living with Autism.

And she writes love stories!

For updates, new releases, giveaways and other adventures, subscribe to her newsletter: https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/j9u8i3

You can learn more at:
Facebook | Book Group | Bookbub | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Google +| Pinterest | Amazon

Keeping Kinley by Annette K. Larsen


Keeping Kinley by Annette K. Larsen

He’s noble. She’s common. It’s complicated.
Kinley is content with her common life until a chance meeting with an old friend—a noble—brings the possibility of love. Though Rylan pursues her with a charming carelessness, she doesn’t dare hope that their relationship will be accepted. When Kinley’s livelihood is threatened, she is thrust into his world as a servant, but the Rylan she encounters there isn’t the quirky friend she thought she knew. Can she trust him, or will she be forced to accept that her dreams are only that—dreams?

Excerpt

My breath caught as soon as he said the name and my eyes searched his features, looking for the little boy I had known in the man that stood before me. “Rylan?” I breathed and he nodded, still with that familiar grin in place. “Oh…my,” was all my idiot brain could say as I took in his fine horse and his fine clothes and his fine eyes.
I probably still had pear juice on my face.
“How are you, Miss Kinley?” he asked with the same light in his eyes that he used to have whenever he would tell me about his favorite part of a lesson.
“I am…well,” I answered in a breathless sort of stuttering. “Very well, thank you. I hope all is well with you and your family. How are Lord and Lady Baylor?”
“My father runs his business affairs with an iron fist and my mother coddles the staff, so everything is as it should be.” He grinned.
“Good.” I had to ignore the grin so that I could speak. “And Master Welsley and Tayana?”
“Welsley takes life too seriously, but is ready to take over for father at a moment’s notice. Tayana is soon to be married.”
“Good, good. That’s very good.” It was so very awkward to be standing in front of this man who had befriended me as a child. How was I supposed to act?
“And what of your family?” he asked eagerly. “It was your brother, was it not? That married…”
“Princess Ariella, yes.” No one seemed to be able to say it out loud, worried that if they were wrong, I’d somehow be offended. I was used to finishing the thought.
He gave a crooked smile. “That must have been an interesting adjustment.”
I laughed, surprised at how succinct that description was. “It was a surprise and an adventure, and I really do adore her.”
“I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting her, but everyone seems to have an opinion one way or the other.”
“I can only imagine.” While most of the common folk had accepted Ella and Gavin, I knew that the nobility had not been so easily convinced when she’d stooped to marry a commoner.
He smiled, so casual, so comfortable.
I felt the need to fill the silence. His horse bobbed its head, trying to get Rylan’s attention. I pointed to him. “And who is this?”
He reached up, stroking the horse behind its ear. “This is Apollo. Say ‘Good day,’ old man.”
The horse actually nodded its head up and down. I was reminded of Herman, who I had abandoned.
“I should go.” I gestured awkwardly down the lane. “It was a pleasure seeing you.”
“Wait, can I see you tomorrow?”
My confusion made the corner of my mouth quirk up. “Why would you do that?”
“Because I’d like to speak with you again,” he said as if it was the most normal thing in the world.
“Oh, um.” He was nobility, and I was decidedly not. “I have to get Herman. My pony, he’s—” I pointed behind me as if that would explain my inability to speak coherently, then turned to walk back the way I had come.

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Author Annette K. Larsen

I was born in Utah, but migrated to Arizona, Missouri, and Virginia before settling in Idaho.
Though I dabbled in writing throughout school, being an author seemed like an unattainable dream. It took me seven years to write my first book, Just Ella. During that time, I taught myself how to write a novel. Not the most time effective method, but it gave me an education I wouldn’t have received from a class or a how-to book. Something about the struggle of writing without a formula or rules worked for me.
I write clean romance because I love it. Jane Eyre is the hero of my youth and taught me that clinging to your convictions will be hard, but will bring you more genuine happiness than giving in ever can.
I love chocolate, Into the Woods, ocean waves, my husband, and my five littles. And I love books that leave me with a sigh of contentment.

Website * Facebook

Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 3/9/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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NEW RELEASE: WICKED SHADOWS

FROM USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR A.D. JUSTICE

The final book in the Steele Security Series runs the full gamut of emotions.

Meet Devon "Shadow" Kane--the elusive assassin, the covert spy, the man in love.

Dangerous. Deadly. Protective. Alpha.

And way past merely pissed off.

He's on a mission, facing the highest stakes of his career.


Readers say this is hands down the best book of the series.

"I want to forget I ever read it just so I can read it all over again for the first time."

"The whole story is flawless and I couldn't put it down until I was done!!"

"…fantastic dose of suspense thrown in which will have your heart beating out of your chest & also make your heart stop a few times…"

"…you have absolutely blown my expectations out of water with this book…"

"Absolutely freaking amazing!! This book pulled me in and wouldn't let me go!"

"Loved this book so hard. I cried like a baby but had a smile throughout."

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BLURB

Devon “Shadow” Kane chose a life of anonymity the moment he entered the clandestine world of the CIA. His training made him a killer, a skill he has no qualms using.
Elle Sinclair, the younger sister of his childhood friend, is far from the girl next door. She’ll be the next big star. She’s also the one he can’t have. The blinding lights of flash bulbs in her celebrity world contradict the stealth and invisibility required in his.
Then she’s gone.
Disappeared, without a word or a trace.
A desperate plea for help from her brother tests Shadow’s undercover skills.
The stakes are high, and Shadow will risk everything for her. The only two constants in the equation are the threat of blowing his cover and the probability he won’t reach her in time.
With peril at every turn, can Shadow and Elle both survive? Or will the wicked shadows surrounding them ultimately cause their demise?
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BUY LINKS


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HAVEN’T STARTED THE SERIES?
No problem! This is the only book in the series that can be read as a standalone.
BUT…if you’re ready to dive into Steele Security, book 1 is FREE for a limited time!
Download Links:
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WICKED SHADOWS TEASERS

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WICKED SHADOWS EXCERPT


PART OF CHAPTER EIGHT

“You look like you’ve been up all night. What did you do? I said to rest and hydrate.” Leslie glared at Elle from around his camera.
“I tried to rest last night, Leslie. The room above mine apparently pulled an all-nighter. They’d stop the music and noise long enough for the manager to threaten to kick them out, then they started up again.” She struck a pose and moved slowly through the constantly clicking of the shutter.
“You should’ve called me. I’ll take care of it right now, though.” He put the camera down and snapped his fingers. On cue, his assistant appeared at his side. “Meechelle, Miss Sinclair needs a new room, with silence and tranquility on all sides. Not around loud revelers.”
A few minutes later, Meechelle reappeared, apprehension covering her face. “Leslie, the hotel is sold out. There are no rooms to move her into.”
“Must I handle everything?” he sighed. “As soon as the shoot is over, you’ll have a new room, Elle.”
She didn’t have the heart to tell him she had no intentions of sleeping that night either. Devon promised he’d stay with her all night. She had twenty days with him, and she planned to make the most of every opportunity she was given. “Maybe the partiers will check out today,” she offered.
“Meechelle, take her to the spa for a couple of hours while I shoot the others. Come back to me when she looks rested and photogenic again.”
Two hours later, Elle emerged from the spa, refreshed and renewed. Leslie and Elle focused on the various moods he needed for the project, directing her into poses and sexy pouts to complete his overall vision.
She felt the change in the air and heard the low murmurs of whispers around the outdoor set. Without visual verification, she knew what had everyone buzzing—or rather, who had everyone’s attention. Devon stepped into her direct line of sight, and their eyes met in an instant.
“That! Yes! That look!” Leslie yelped and moved in for a closeup shot.
Devon watched Elle, ignoring the obvious stares and questioning eyes all around him. In truth, he’d been watching her since she walked out of the spa. His training made him stealthy. Deadly. Invisible, when he wanted to be. He’d been invisible long enough at that point—he wanted her to see him. He wanted to see her reaction, to gauge her response, to read her body language when she was surprised by his presence.
What he got wasn’t at all what he expected.
The look she gave him was more lethal than any he’d encountered. It was deadly to his way of life. The way it struck his core was detrimental to the plans he’d made. The fact that he liked it more than he should warned him to run while he still could.
But he knew it was already too late for that plan to work in his favor. Three weeks. He could handle three short weeks of being exclusive with a beautiful cover model.
Even if she was the younger sister of his friend.
Even if she’d celebrate her twenty-first birthday during their time together, further accentuating the age difference between them.
Even if it meant he had to give up the cover of shadows temporarily and live in her limelight.
“The spa must’ve been exactly what you needed. I’ve never seen you look more beautiful, my dear.” Leslie stepped to the side, the camera all but glued to his face, while another man held Elle’s singular focus. “Oh, honey, I love the fierce look, too. You’re giving me so much to work with today, it’ll be hard to choose just one.”
The smirk covering Devon’s face confirmed he’d heard Leslie, and he knew exactly what prompted the change in her expression. It was bad enough when the buxom sable-haired beauty in the string bikini approached him, but when the overtly flirtatious intruder put her hand on his arm, Elle became irrationally jealous and possessive.
Relief flooded her senses instantly when his response included a gesture toward Elle. The bikini-girl looked over her shoulder, immediately recognized Elle, and scurried away from Devon. Pride over witnessing the small victory swept over her, and Devon’s smirk transformed into a beaming smile.
Smooth, Moore. Real smooth, she thought.
“And that’s a wrap for you, my love. Rest. Hydrate. Come back to me even more gorgeous tomorrow.” Leslie kissed the air on either side of her face and dismissed her when he called the next model into range of his viewfinder.
“I didn’t expect to see you here today.” Elle approached Devon, delighting in the sensation of his eyes heavy on her barely clad skin.
“Where the fuck was that bathing suit when we were on the boat yesterday? It’s probably a good thing you weren’t wearing it. You’d still be held in a secure, remote location where no one except me could find you.”
“Promises, promises.”
He wrapped his arm around her bare waist and pulled her to him. “I’ve warned you about that.” He leaned down and captured her mouth with his, not caring that dozens of cell phone cameras captured their every move. “Let’s go. I have more plans for you today. Do you get to keep the bikini?”
With a chuckle, she shook her head. “Not this time. Are we going back to the boat?”
“That’s not what I had planned, but I’m game if that’s what you want to do.”
“Honestly, I don’t care if we go play Skee-Ball for six straight hours. Just take me with you.”
“Who told you my plans?”
“I’ll never tell. Let me change, and I’ll be ready to get out of here.”
“Shorts. T-shirt. Bikini. Then dress for dinner and dancing tonight.”
She stopped walking, waiting for him to give the punch line of his joke, but none came. “You’re serious?”
“Of course. You’re mine today. Remember? Move that fine ass. You’re wasting daylight.” He playfully smacked her on the ass, making her jump and squeal with laughter at the same time.
“Come on up. I’ll have to pack a bag with all my makeup, hair stuff, shoes, clothes, jewelry—”
“Fine. Start with a bikini, T-shirt, and shorts. We’ll come back here for the rest later. I’m still coming up to your room with you right now, though.”
Devon roamed around her room, making himself at home and checking every nook and cranny of the space while she changed clothes. When she emerged from the bathroom, she found him standing on a chair, checking the smoke detector.
“Everything okay?”
“Absolutely. Just can’t be too careful.” He stepped down from the chair and raked his eyes up and down her. “You could wear a black plastic garbage bag and make it look sexy as hell.”
“Such a sweet talker.” She patted him on the cheek with her palm, accepting any excuse to touch him.
“We need to go now. Or we won’t leave this room at all for a very long time. Then we’ll miss our reservations.”
“By all means, lead the way. I’m curious to see what you have planned for me today.”
“A day you’ll never forget.” He laced their fingers together, picked up her bag, and pulled her into his side after they were through the hotel doorway.
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“It’ll be extremely hard for you to top today. That was so amazing! If we do that every day for the next three weeks, it’d never get old.”
“Hmph.” Devon had sulked since they left the research center.
“Are you still pouting?”
“Yes. Yes, I am.” He crossed his arms over his chest.
“You’re not even going to hold my hand now?” She managed not to laugh, but hiding her smile was impossible.
“Nope.”
“He was just so amazing, Devon. I couldn’t help but fall in love with him.”
He cut his eyes sideways at her, his mouth gaped open in shock, and his eyes narrowed in disbelief. “You’re still defending your actions? Unbelievable.”
“But I’ll probably never see him again,” she argued.
The elevator doors opened, and they stepped in together. Devon punched the button for the seventeenth floor and waited for the doors to slide shut. As soon as they were alone, he pinned her to the wall with his body and kept his eyes trained on hers. “For the record, you’re not allowed to have any other boyfriends. Ever. Not when I’m not around. And especially not when I’m there to witness it.”
“But I’ve always loved dolphins…and you’re the one who took me to see him.”
“He got more kisses than I did. That’s not acceptable by any stretch of the imagination. He knew it, too. Did you see how he smirked at me?”
“I saw the smile all dolphins appear to have on their faces. But I don’t think that was a malicious smirk toward you.”
“It’s an alpha-male thing. You wouldn’t understand,” Devon countered.
“Ah, I see. Well, I’ll make it up to you. Just tell me, in alpha-male code, how to do that.”
“I’d much rather show you.” He covered her mouth with his and gently licked across the part in her lips. “After dinner. You’re making us late again, distracting me, and wreaking havoc on my plans. Go shower and get ready, woman. I’ll be back in an hour to pick you up. You’d better be ready, or you’ll be in even more trouble.”
“Yes, sir.” She saluted him in a joking fashion and slid out of his embrace. “Whatever you say.”
Elle rushed to dress for a night of dinner, dancing, and more with the man she’d never been able to get out of her mind. Giddy with excitement, she hurried through her hotel room, threw on a dress and heels, and perfected her hair and makeup. She was putting the last earring in when the knock on her door came. One hour, on the dot. After peeking through the peephole, she flung the door open and grabbed her clutch from the table.
“I’m ready. On time, even.”
Devon quirked one eyebrow upward. “Damn. I was looking forward to your punishment for making me wait.”
Their date night would forever be etched in her memory. Beth was correct when she said Elle’s professional life didn’t leave her much time for a personal life. After their dinner over candlelight, Devon took her to a loud, packed club to dance. Approaching the bouncer, she was seized by fear at the thought of being turned away for being underage. Devon shook hands with the enormous man guarding the roped entrance, leaned in to his ear to whisper something, and stepped back to give the bouncer room to unhook the velvet barrier.
“Come on in, Shadow. It’s been a long time, brother.”
“Thanks, man. Good to see you.”
“Your private room on the third floor is ready when you are. Enjoy.”
Devon tipped his head at the bouncer, put his hand on the small of Elle’s back, and led her through the crowded nightclub with ease. Whether it was his size or his dark expression, she wasn’t sure, but the sea of people seemed to part willingly to move out of his path. The curved staircase leading to the private rooms gave the hopping club an air of glamour and class. They made their way to the third floor, and he led her to their exclusive corner room.
“Shadow?” she asked when he’d closed the door behind them.
“It was my nickname when I was in the service. The bouncer is an old Army buddy of mine.”
A rapid knock on the door was immediately followed by several waitresses entering with trays of drinks and hors d’oeuvres. They placed them on the private bar and left as quickly as they appeared.
“You’ve thought of everything. I was worried they wouldn’t let me in and I’d be mortified after being turned away in front of the crowd outside,” Elle confessed.
“I’d never let anyone do that to you.” He brushed a strand of hair away from her face, his fingers grazing across her skin and heating her from the inside out.
She stepped into him, held his face in her hands, then raised up on her tiptoes to initiate a kiss. When their lips connected, his reaction was tentative at first, but she was undeterred. Swiping the part of his lips with her tongue, she moved in when his mouth opened to her.
At first, she thought she was in control of their encounter. But he quickly proved her wrong. His fingers weaved through her hair, gripping at the roots, and he angled her head where he wanted it. The urgency and demanding nature of his tongue’s caress overwhelmed her senses with a feeling of sheer perfection. When he broke the kiss, she was afraid he would pull away from her altogether, tell her he thought it was a bad idea, and then disappear from her life.
“Let’s have a drink,” he suggested then moved to the trays. He returned with two glasses—a beer mug for him and a glass of Moscato d’Asti for her. “We need a poignant toast.”
They held up their glasses, and she waited for him to continue.
“To old friends reuniting, creating new memories, and never regretting a single moment.”
“To us,” she added.
“Ready to go dance?” he asked after they’d finished their drinks.
“Absolutely. You don’t have two left feet, do you?”
“You just want to insult me again, don’t you? After repeatedly kissing Sammy right in front of me.”
“Sammy. The dolphin,” she clarified.
“Come on.” He chuckled under his breath as he took her hand. “Let’s go dance so I can pretend to accidentally grope you on purpose while we’re on the dance floor.”
“Mr. Kane, if you keep talking like that, you will absolutely sweep me off my feet. You are such a romantic.”
On the dance floor, in the middle of the throngs of bodies writhing to the music, Devon and Elle moved to their own beat. He held her close to him, bumping and grinding, rubbing and caressing, blocking out every other person in the room. A few hours later, the alcohol had been consumed, the food was eaten, and neither could deny where their course would take them next.
“I heard Leslie say you’re supposed to rest and hydrate tonight. I seemed to have single-handedly screwed that up for you. Maybe we should head back to the hotel now.”
“Absolutely,” she agreed. But sleep was the last thing she wanted.
The ride back to the hotel was quiet, each lost in their own thoughts of how the night would end. Or wouldn’t end. When he turned into the hotel drive, the lines separating the valet parking from self-parking loomed before them.
“Valet.” Her single-word instruction was enough to convince him.
They exited the car, and he escorted her into the lobby. With the bank of elevators in sight, she sensed his second thoughts were getting the better of him. She took his hand in hers and faked confidence she in no way felt.
“Come upstairs with me, Devon. Stay with me tonight.”
Without waiting for a reply, she pulled him toward the bank of elevators and pushed the call button. His hesitation had lasted a split second before they stepped onto the elevator. But once he relented after the doors closed, he gave her hope and reinforced her confidence. He wanted her as much as she wanted him, and there was no way in hell she’d let him back out on her after they stepped out of the elevator.
Holding his hand, she opened the door to her room and mentally noted how he hadn’t even attempted to release hers. With the door closed and locked behind them, she turned to face him, meeting his heated stare.
“You’re sure about this?” he asked, though she knew he still unsure.
“I’ve never been more positive of anything else in my life, Devon.”
With a slight shake of his head, he stepped into her and took complete control of her body. “Then I should warn you first. This is my domain, and when we’re in the bedroom, I’m in complete command.”
Her lips parted with her sudden inhale, her cheeks flushed, and her eyes grew wider at his declaration. Waves of shock and excitement rolled through her. “Okay.” Her reply came out as a raspy whisper.


WICKED SHADOWS. Copyright © 2017 A.D. Justice. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, resold, or transmitted in any form without written permission from the copyright holder, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A.D. Justice is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Steele Security Series, #1 bestselling erotic suspense Dominic Powers duet, the Crazy Series, Immortal Envy, and Intent. She enjoys reading, writing, the great outdoors, the mountains, the beach, and most anything related to water.

When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her own alpha male character in their north Georgia mountain home. She is also an avid reader of romance novels, a master at procrastination, a chocolate sommelier, a twister of words, and speaks fluent sarcasm.


Stalking Opportunities:

Finding Mr. Wrong by A. M. Madden & Joanne Schwehm

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fmw_frontcover_finalversionHere’s a tip: never trust a jackass in preppy clothing.

The phrase “trust me” should have been my first clue to hightail it out the door, but hindsight is always 20/20.

So there I was, on a stage with two other men, being asked ridiculous questions by a woman I couldn’t see, but whose voice made my pants tighten—and not around my ankles.

Before I knew what was happening, I’d signed up for six weeks in paradise, isolated on an island for forty-two days with a complete stranger. And when I finally laid eyes on the sexy brunette who belonged to that voice, a part of me thought this wouldn’t be so bad.

I’ve always been a levelheaded guy. I am a successful, smart, and shrewd business man. But that was when I was listening to the head above my shoulders. Once the blood traveled south, I always ran into trouble.

She called me Mr. Wrong, and that was fine with me.

Lesson learned: lust always trumps logic.

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A.M. Madden is the author of the popular Back-Up Series, as well as several other contemporary romances. She also writes the True Heroes Series for Random House.

Her debut novel was Back-up, the first in The Back-Up Series. In Back-Up, A.M.’s main character Jack Lair caused readers to swoon. They call themselves #LairLovers, and have been faithful supporters to Jack, as well to the rest of his band, Devil’s Lair.

A.M. truly believes that true love knows no bounds. In her books, she aspires to create fun, sexy, realistic romances that will stay with you after the last page has been turned. She strives to create characters that the reader can relate to and feel as if they know personally.

A self-proclaimed hopeless romantic, she loves getting lost in a good book. She also uses every free moment of her time writing, while spending quality time with her three handsome men. A.M. is a Gemini and an Italian Jersey girl, but despite her Zodiac sign, nationality, or home state, she is very easy going.

She loves the beach, loves to laugh, and loves the idea of love.

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Joanne Schwehm is an independent romance author and has written several contemporary romance novels, including The Prescott Series, Ryker, A Heart’s Forgiveness, The Critic and The Chance series.

Joanne is a mother and wife and loves spending time with her family. She’s an avid sports watcher and enjoys the occasional round of golf.

Joanne loves to write and read romance. She believes everyone should have romance in their lives and hopes her books bring joy and happiness to readers who enjoy modern day fairy tales and breathless moments.

Joanne looks forward to sharing more love stories in her future novels.

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