Book Review ~ ‘Where Petals Fall’ by Melissa Foster.

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Where Petals Fall by Melissa Foster
Genres: Contemporary, Suspense

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SYNOPSIS

On the surface Junie Olson’s life looks idyllic, from her handsome husband and beautiful daughter to her successful business, the bakery she always dreamed of opening. But in the past few months her world has slowly unraveled. Her precocious child is withdrawing, showing unexplainable signs of emotional regression, a condition that frays the bonds of Junie’s once impenetrable marriage.

When her father dies suddenly of a heart attack, Junie packs up her daughter and goes home to help her mother. Her homecoming stirs up memories of the nightmare she thought she had put behind her, the disappearance of her childhood friend, Ellen. Haunted by recurring memories of what happened on that fateful day, Junie must gather the courage to revisit her past and untangle the secrets surrounding her missing friend, and the trauma that has caused her little girl to climb back into herself.

As the pieces come together on the event that shook her small town, and at the risk of losing everyone she loves, Junie will question everything she thought she could rely on and everyone she thought she knew.

WHERE PETALS FALL is a gripping and emotional novel with an undercurrent of suspense, featuring a determined mother whose world slowly comes apart around her. Where Petals Fall will appeal to fans of Lisa Scottoline’s Save Me or Jodi Picoult’s Salem Falls, who love an emotional and gripping read. They will root for Junie as they follow her transition into an indomitable heroine who must reconcile what she discovers about her husband and family’s tragic past, and find a way to put the pieces of her family back together and carry on.

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Book Review ~ ‘Where Petals Fall’ by Melissa Foster ~ 5 Stars!

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Well wow! I had to take a quick second to think hard about whether to request an arc for ‘Where Petals Fall’ as I have a lot of other books to read and review, mostly in the romance genre, but I knew after reading (and loving) Melissa Foster’s ‘Snow Sisters’ Trilogy that I just had to read this one too.

I’m one of those readers who generally needs to have romance in a book for me to really connect to the characters, but there is something about Melissa Foster’s fantastic writing style in which she can move between genres so flawlessly, that gave this book a story that thrilled, scared and excited me all at once. The reason I am writing this review later than I originally planned is that the storyline was so intense and so cleverly created that weeks after reading it I have had the story rolling around in my head and making my heart beat fast again as I remember the suspense in the final chapters.

Melissa Foster always creates such wonderfully three dimensional characters with who it is easy to relate to. I absolutely adored Junie’s character, and really felt for her in her darkest moments. I grieved for the loss of her blissful marriage, and I too felt worried for her child Sarah when we discover that she has regressed back into a younger mindframe, and I got the niggle in the back of my mind that told me this was important for the mystery storyline. The psychological undertones of the book were written perfectly, and I like how rather than information dumping all of the psychological information on the reader, it was given in a reader-friendly and more relatable way to all readers.

I really admired how well Melissa Foster executed the mystery/thriller/suspense storyline. It was a real rollercoaster and I loved every second of it. When I was 60% completed, I put my Kindle down when I noticed it was 1AM, but within half an hour I had the light back on and I read until the last page. I just had to know what happened to the characters, and to see the truth revealed. I won’t give any description for that part of the story as I want everyone to have the same amazing reading experience as I had.

Another part of the story I loved was seeing how Junie and her husband clashed over their opinions on how to help their daughter. I liked to see the more protective mothering side of Junie which remained strong even as her relationship with her husband began to fall apart. In many books, I feel the mother-daughter and father-daughter relationships can often be ignored slightly in order to give more focus to romance, but I loved how Melissa Foster showed us a realistic and sometimes almost painful reality to family life. I think I began to understand the phrase ‘Nothing is as strong as a Mother’s Love’ when I read this book. Even though I kept my fingers crossed that Junie could have her loving marriage back, I loved that the main focus was Junie’s relationship with Sarah.

I loved this book so much. The strength of emotion with which Melissa Foster writes makes her one of my favourite authors, and that she can have me invested in so many elements of different genres in one story is impressive. I recommend this book to anyone who loves heartfelt and mysterious stories, and I believe Jodi Picoult fans would love this!


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Melissa Foster

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New Release ~ ‘Tales by the Tree: An Anthology of Holiday Flash Fiction’

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Hello everyone! I have some very exciting news!

Today is the release day of the debut anthology from J.A.Mes Press Publishing Company in which one of my short stories is available.

‘Tales by the Tree’ is a collection of 75 Christmas holiday-themed short stories and flash fiction by a team of 40+ authors, both published and newbies, and it is designed by the wonderful team at Blue Harvest Creative.

All royalties from this project benefit the Mount Rose Elementary School library in Reno, Nevada.

Please do check out this anthology. It is available now on Amazon in both Print and on Kindle (and if I know you in the real vs. virtual world I’ll sign my story for you :P)

My Story is entitled ‘Teething Troubles at Christmas’ and is under the ‘Holiday Humor’ Category.

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Book Blitz ~ ‘Entwine’ by Rebecca Berto

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Entwine by Rebecca Berto

Publication date: November 25th 2013

Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

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Synopsis

Sarah Langham’s life was the epitome of normal until her dad slept with another woman when she was sixteen. It ripped her family apart.

Twenty-two-year-old Sarah has it together, though.

Waiting at the train station to go home from her first day of her first proper job out of university, she spots a man.

He is an enigma to her. She’s drawn to him, with his square jaw; buzz of hair; and his tall, solid frame, seen under the contours of his business suit. And he’s been looking at her, too. Fate pulls them together that night on a whirlwind date, exceeding anything Sarah’s experienced before. He’s even more into her than she’s into him. Finally, she wants to trust a guy for the first time since she was sixteen.

But then they discover something.

Something that meant they were never two strangers at a train station.

And it threatens to tear their future apart before it, really, ever begins.

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‘Entwine’ is launching at $0.99/77p for a limited time only.

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The smell of the man next to her, panting and sweating from obviously running to catch the train, didn’t matter. Nor did the fact she was standing for a one-hour train trip in heels. There was little that could matter to her right now—except for when the train suddenly stopped, and the driver announced a delay.

“We have stopped to attend to an ill passenger on board,” he said. “I don’t know how long the wait will be, but it could be up to forty-five minutes due to peak hour traffic and the patient’s condition. Thank you for your understanding.”

At that time, Sarah heard a deep, yet smooth voice say, “Lucky I don’t plan on being anywhere.”

She knew it was Him before she looked up to meet his eyes. Apart from the fact she was sure it came from somewhere in front of her, or thereabouts, a voice in her head associated it with the man she’d almost profiled to full detail.

Looking up, she saw his face and, for some reason, knowing what his voice sounded like was like tying up a little bow on top of her perfect package.

“It’s not like I have to be anywhere,” Sarah agreed.

For a moment, she matched his gaze, trying to stop from doing anything suggestive. She wanted to lick her lips as they were dry, and she was sure even a little grin would crack them. Only an hour ago she’d had gloss on them from her special first day at work, but now they felt dry and baron.

Oh, how with every moment she stood here, it got worse. Now her head was itchy. If only she could sneak up a fingernail to scratch. Just above and behind her ear. Just a bit. But Sarah couldn’t. Why was a stranger doing this to her?

Sarah held her place, gazing with as much power as he had. She wouldn’t lick her lips. Or scratch her head. And now she was a dry, twitching freak.

Stuff it.

She turned a little, trying to hide her hand, and covered it by fussing with her hair near her ear, and licked away the cracked feeling from her lips. When she looked up, the man was shamelessly staring. She knew that look. There was no mistaking that, for some reason, he was as intrigued by her as she was him.

“Here,” the man said. He bent and dropped against the railing behind his back, his knees sticking out at the sides, and his huge legs separated in a way that made Sarah want to look away but couldn’t. “Sit here. Your feet must be sore.”

That made Sarah self-conscious, made her unable to move. Had he seen her shoes? Or looked up and down the length of her? The idea thrilled her.

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3 eBooks, 2 bookmarks, and a $15 Amazon gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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What inspired you to write Entwine?

I was in a bit of a rut and my friend suggested to free write to help. So I downloaded a program that blocked out my screen and had a serene and freeing vibe to it. And I wrote.

I wrote one scene and then during my second free writing exercise, I ended up continuing that same character and story. Fearing I’d get in a rut again if I turned it into a novel, I continued to write random scenes until about 10,000 words along.

Then I knew I had something special and I had to create a novel. The two main characters excited and ignited a passion in me I hadn’t felt for a while.

I have to thank my friend for the reason Entwine exists. It turned out beautifully, thanks to the way I approached it differently than I have to my writing in the past.

Tell us about your main character.

Sarah is an every-girl. She isn’t a virgin but she hasn’t slept with the whole town, she isn’t stuck up, or overly reserved, and she isn’t whiny.

Sarah is fresh out of college, starting her dream job but in her personal life, she’s stuck from moving forwards by hurt in her past. When she meets an amazing guy one night, she fears he’s too good since Sarah’s nothing special. It’s the simple, yet realistic quality about her I really connected to.

Sarah is understatedly unforgettable.

Who does your book appeal to?

Entwine is a unique one to classify.

It evokes a dream-like style at times; in other scenes it’s emotionally devastating with the hurt Sarah feels; and sometimes it’s so damn hot your screen will be in danger of igniting into flames.

If you love your sexy reads and your emotional stories, Entwine is a great balance between that.

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 rebecca

Rebecca Berto writes stories about love and relationships. She gets a thrill when her readers are emotional reading her books, and gets even more of a kick when they tell her so. She’s strangely imaginative, spends too much time on her computer, and is certifiably crazy when she works on her fiction.

Rebecca Berto lives in Melbourne, Australia with her boyfriend and their doggy.

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Cover Reveal ~ ‘Draw Me In’ by Megan Squires.

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Draw Me In by Megan Squire

Publication date: December 2013

Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Cover Design by Mae I Design

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SYNOPSIS

He’s a young, up and coming businessman with the keys to his family’s Italian wine enterprise.

I’m a fine arts student, navigating life in the Big Apple, my pencil and sketchpad in hand.

We meet. We fall in love.

But it’s not that story.

Sometimes, by a rare gift of fate, two lives cross paths. And hey, if that happens to occur when staring at Michelangelo’s naked masterpiece, even better. We can tell our future children how a seventeen-foot tall marble guy named David brought us together.

But there’s always more to a relationship than its beginning and ever after. In life, there’s a whole lot of backstory. There are ex-fiancés and hot roommates and family members whose advice continues, even beyond the grave.

When you say you love someone, it’s never just that one person you’re saying it to. And it’s never just that one moment that sets everything in motion.

There is always more that draws you in.

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Megan Squires lives with her husband and two children just outside of Sacramento, California. A graduate from the University of California, Davis, Megan is now a full-time mother, wife, and dreamer—though her characters don’t often give her much opportunity to sleep.
Visit http://www.theoutlierchronicles.com to learn more about her latest young adult series.
 
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Book Review ~ ‘The Selkie Sorceress (Seal Island Trilogy #3)’ by Sophie Moss.

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The Selkie Sorceress by Sophie Moss
(The Seal Island Trilogy #3)
Genres: Romance, Fantasy

The Selkie Sorceress (Seal Island Trilogy #3) by Sophie Moss


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SYNOPSIS

American detective Sam Holt has a knack for finding people who shouldn’t be found. When his last case almost killed an innocent woman, he swore off detective work forever. But when that same woman asks him for one last investigation–to find her husband’s long lost mother–Sam cannot refuse. Clairvoyant Irish artist Glenna McClure will do anything to stop Sam, even if it means teaming up with a powerful sorceress who she knows she cannot trust. But when the petals of a mysterious night-blooming rose begin to turn black, Glenna realizes that an even darker force is at work. To protect the people she loves, Glenna will have to face a terrible curse that has haunted her all her life before the final petal fades to ash.

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 ‘The Selkie Sorceress (Seal Island Trilogy #3)’ by Sophie Moss ~ 5 Stars!

Throughout the past two book in the Seal Island Trilogy I have loved the little glimpses we’ve had into Glenna and Sam’s rather turbulent relationship, and was so excited for the third book that would tell their story.

Needless to say I was not disappointed. I absolutely adored every page of this book just as I loved the last ones, and Sophie Moss’ beautiful prose with which I connected to so much was again present, beautiful descriptions of the magical Irish landscape making the story seem so real and familiar as I get drawn into the life of the Islanders.

Glenna’s character is one that has always intrigued me. I loved the fierce protectiveness she had for her friends in the last two books, and her scenes with Sam in Book One when she tried and succeeded to distract him in order to give Tara more time to escape, made me laugh out loud and give a high five for team girl power.  I always admired the strength that Glenna seemed to exude, and felt for her when she had to keep the facade up to protect her and her friends. Although I didn’t agree with the many choices that Glenna made in her past, I understood why she felt the need to act the way she did, and admired her desire to protect others even though it would be dangerous to herself. The relationship she had with her mother Moira was one that pulled at the heartstrings. Moira’s descent into darkness and Glenna’s habit of pushing away the people who care for her was cleverly entwined and I loved how Sam worked away at Glenna to make her see that they were stronger together.

Another part of this story that I really enjoyed was seeing that Owen’s sudden transition to the human world wasn’t as easy on him as you might think. I always had some sympathy for Owen, even though he had found his true family, as I knew that a child would find it difficult to pass over their affections immediately to a new mother. As much as I love Caitlin and Liam, I was so pleased to see that Owen still felt the need to visit Nuala and sit with her. She was the only mother he knew for the majority of his childhood which was mostly underwater in a completely different world. It would be very difficult for him to adjust to the life on land.

I don’t want to spoil the main storyline of the story so will keep this part of the review brief. The storyline, as with the last two books, was so engaging and kept me on my toes throughout. Sophie Moss expertly entwines hints of mystery, fantasy, intrigue and suspense all wrapped up nicely with some beautiful undertones of the love of family and friends and the power of light in the face of darkness. This story neatly wraps up the entire series without leaving me with any questions unanswered. This series is unique in its story and just so beautifully written that it is a treat to read when you just want to escape from the world for a few hours.


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The Selkie Spell (Seal Island Trilogy #1) by Sophie Moss The Selkie Enchantress The Selkie Sorceress (Seal Island Trilogy #3) by Sophie Moss


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Book Blitz ~ ‘Alive’ by Megan D. Martin

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Alive by Megan D. Martin
(Crave #1)
Publication date: November 22nd, 2013
Genres: New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance

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SYNOPSIS

Flesh-eating zombies, dirty sex, and a shattered past…

What’s more dangerous—the man who broke her heart or those trying to eat it?

Fighting to survive, Eve finds herself alone in the world after the Crave—the only parallel of her former life. On the hunt for her sister, she runs into Gage—the first and only boy to have her heart and break it. It’s been four years and he isn’t a boy anymore, nor is he the same person he used to be. Against her better judgment, Eve agrees to stay with him when he divulges information on a safe haven near the small town they grew up in—but that doesn’t mean she has to like it…

Returning home elicits a myriad of emotions that both Eve and Gage thought they had buried. The past and present collide and they are  forced to the face bitter deceits that ruined them in the before and threaten to destroy them now…

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“Come here,” he whispered, barely recognizing his own voice. He heard her movement in the dark, the rustling of leaves against the thick soles of her boots. His hand slipped down her arm and he reveled at the smooth skin.

“Don’t touch me.” The harsh words were a shock to his system. She jerked her arm away and scooted away from him. What the hell?

“Eve—”

“Go to sleep. I’ll keep watch.”

He took a deep breath trying to get his rioting emotions under control. “How do I know you won’t try to kill me while I sleep?”

“You don’t.”

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Megan

Megan D. Martin

Megan D. Martin is a multi-published author, mother, student and editor. In her spare time she enjoys decorating her house with strange things that do not match, playing her old school Nintendo Entertainment System, and buying fish for her many fish tanks.
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Release Day and Book Review ~ ‘So Fell the Sparrow’ by Katie Jennings.

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So Fell the Sparrow by Katie Jennings
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Release Date: 19th September 2013

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SYNOPSIS

 A skeptic, a ghost hunter, a tech genius, and a medium. Will the spirits win?

After the tragic death of her parents, Dr. Grace Sullivan inherits more than she bargained for. An empty house she’s never heard of, a nosy neighbor, and the restless spirits of a violent, century old murder.

A hard-nosed skeptic, Grace refuses to believe in ghosts despite hearing sounds and seeing things that can’t be explained.

When she unearths antique furniture from the basement, the spirits become agitated and dangerous. Ian Black and Alex Gallagher, a team of ghost hunters, come in to investigate.

Still denying the paranormal events in her home, Grace can’t bring herself to take the ghost hunters or the psychic medium who teams up with them seriously. As Grace struggles with her grief and the feelings she’s developing for headstrong Ian, the disturbing mystery of the house deepens. Now she’ll have to face the unbelievable before the spirits claim her for their own.

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Book Review ~ ‘So Fell the Sparrow’ by Katie Jennings ~ 5 Stars!

I always feel a bit apprehensive before reading a ghost story, and not for the reason you might think. Rather than being worried that I’ll find myself too scared to sleep, I often find myself grumbling at how unaffected I am by the ghostly activities. Despite me being very imaginative it always takes brilliant storytelling and the author being able to really set the scene in a realistic way that makes the fear factor so much higher for me. I had no doubt before reading ‘So Fell the Sparrow’ that Katie Jennings with her fabulous storytelling and brilliant characters, would deliver a fantastic and chill inducing ghost story that would have me quivering in the night, and sleeping with my bedside lamp on.

The heroine of our story is Dr. Grace Sullivan, a character who from the first page is incredibly real. I love flawed and bruised characters as it really helps me as a reader connect with the character’s feelings. Grace’s strict scientific philosophy, completely opposite to Ian’s passionate belief in the paranormal, gave a real contrast in how people view the world, and gives a reminder to readers that we shouldn’t be so quick to judge others beliefs. The tension between Grace and Ian was brilliantly done with their stubborn nature having me both laughing and groaning as I longed to bash their heads together, bless them! Such an amazing couple, with great chemistry. I loved them!

Jackie’s character is one that really interests me. I adored getting glimpses into her background and the problems that having a gift can cause when others don’t understand it. I loved the relationship she had with Alex, and really liked having another girl to keep Grace company. The boys with their ghost busting gear, whilst adorable and nerdy as they were, were a bit too ‘boys with their toys’ for Grace’s liking, so it was great to see how her relationship with Jackie kept her both grounded yet skittish, as Jackie’s ‘gift’ became more real to her. It was a brilliant storyline that saw Grace really develop as a character as she began to struggle between being alone, or having friends that she didn’t connect with spiritually.

The way that Katie Jennings wrote the ghost scenes was spectacular. There were times when reading this book that I couldn’t sleep at night afterwards, which gave me a real thrill that I haven’t experienced since seeing ‘The Woman in Black’ on stage (I did not sleep for a week after seeing that). There was one scene in particular that really struck with me, and that was the prologue, where we see young Sally, a dead girl who cries through the window at her parents when they leave the house and her memory behind. This was the perfect introduction to the story, and had me turning the page to Chapter One without a second thought. All other aspects of the ghost story line were perfect. The story had obviously been very well researched, giving enough information to have us clued up on the technical aspects of ghost hunting without making it an information dump. Having Grace’s less than impressed reaction at the hunting display they made in her basement. The mystery behind which spirits in the house are the most restless and feeding off the fear that they cause was haunting and had me in suspense the whole book.

At risk of giving anything away, I will end with just saying that I cannot recommend this book enough. It is definitely a favourite of mine, and is such a wonderful, intriguing and of course romantic read. Katie Jennings has done it again!


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Book Blitz ~ ‘East of Eden’ by Lee Strauss!

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~ Book Blitz ~ ‘East of Eden’ by Lee Strauss ~

East of Eden by Lee Strauss
Publication date: November 12th, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

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~ SYNOPSIS ~

Regret is a formidable foe. Eden Kelley is the primary caregiver for her mother who’s in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and she’s only twenty-four. Not what she planned to do when she left her husband for a new start with her four-year-old daughter in tow. She’d hoped for free babysitting, but instead she found a mystery. The discovery of an erroneous marriage document leads to more questions, and unfortunately Eden can’t ask her mother for answers because she doesn’t remember.

Her mother’s antics drive her crazy, but Eden’s determined to make the best of it. That includes finding the exciting romantic adventure she’d dreamed about. But when trouble knocks, it’s her husband Cade who arrives to help. It’s awkward and tense. And Eden comes to one sure conclusion: leaving her handsome, caring husband was a huge mistake.

Her parents had a second chance at love? Would she and Cade get one, too?

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~ EXCERPT ~

“So how did they—” he cleared his throat stiffly, “—get back together?”

A beat. It had happened for her parents. Could it happen for them?

“I don’t know, but they did. They never did stop loving each other.” It was little more than a whisper. Despite two pieces of gum, her throat was dry and constricting. She sipped her tea, conscious of her shaky hand. The kitchen clock ticked obtrusively, a time bomb about to explode.

Why couldn’t she tell him the truth about how she felt? The invisible fist grabbed her throat again, threatening to cut off her supply of oxygen if she were to admit to any weakness. Because maybe he didn’t feel the same way. Could she deal with his rejection right now?

Cade sat back in his chair. His eyes narrowed to that deep gaze again. Eden’s mind swirled with desire and regret. Was he waiting for her to say she was wrong? She was wrong, but the demon that held her throat wouldn’t let her say it aloud. Even if she did manage to get the words out, what if he blew her off? Told her what was done, was done?

“I guess we should call it a night, eh?” she said with a thin quivering voice.

“I guess.” His tone was challenging. Somehow she knew the ball was in her court. Where would he sleep tonight? She wanted him to reach for her to ask her one last time to come back to him. She would. She would a thousand times over.

But he said nothing, just pinned her down with his eyes. Eden’s heart pounded so hard she was sure Cade could see it beat through her shirt. She stood abruptly, moving away from him to the counter. She grabbed a dishcloth and wiped an already clean countertop.

Cade got up from the table and walked steadily towards her. His eyes were like tractor beams and she couldn’t break his gaze. She gripped the counter behind her to keep from crumbling to the ground. She wanted him to grab her and shake her like a fabled caveman out to claim his woman. Her pulse roared and heat exploded through her body. His mouth was inches away, his breath hot on her cheek. She willed him to kiss her.

The moment passed and Cade stepped back. She should’ve kissed him. She should’ve grabbed him by the back of the neck and lay one on him. She wanted to, but he’d turned away to pluck his jacket from the chair, and the spell was broken. She stared at the floor feeling weak and brainless.

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~ AUTHOR INTERVIEW ~

  1. I hear there is a story behind the story of East of Eden? Can you tell us about that?

    East of Eden is a back list book meaning it was once published traditionally and went out of print. It was published in 2000 by a German Publishing company in the German language. I made major revisions to the original version including a title change, character name changes. I also deleted scenes, wrote new scenes and moved scenes around. This is the first time it has been available in English and I’m happy to have it out there.

  2.  Is that why it’s set in 1990?

    Yes. I wrote the early drafts in the 1990s (so the setting is authentic!) I didn’t update it because the mystery involved depends on this time frame.

  3. What’s with the funny spelling?

    The story is set in Vancouver, BC and being a Canadian myself I decided with this book I would stick with Canadian/British spelling.

  4. So is this a love story or a mother/daughter story?

    Both. East of Eden is a romance with strong themes of regret, forgiveness and second chances. It’s also a family drama where Eden learns how to look beyond her own needs and wants, and what it means to love unconditionally, especially when it comes to her mother.

    5. Do you have any personal experience with loved ones and Alzheimer’s disease?

My grandmother passed away from complications due to Alzheimer’s disease. I remember the first time she didn’t remember who I was, what that felt like. How I’d lost opportunity to ask her questions about her past. She kept asking me over and over again if my baby was a boy or a girl. It was heartbreaking.

6. What’s next for Lee Strauss?

I’m really excited about my next project, a collection of stand-alone contemporary romance companion books set in the singer-songwriter world called The Minstrel Series. The first book Sun & Moon is set in Dresden, Germany about a risk-taking singer-songwriter whose world collides with a brooding uptown banker. The books will include mp3 links from songs written by talented Indie songwriters whose songs feature prominently in the books. It’s a unique opportunity to collaborate with the Indie Music scene. Sun & Moon will be out Jan 27. Pre-orders are available on iTunes, Kobo and Barnes & Noble

~ AUTHOR BIO ~

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Lee Strauss writes historical and science fiction/romance for upper YA and adult readers. She also writes light and fun stuff under the name Elle Strauss. To find out more about Lee and her books check out her facebook page. Follow her on Twitter https://twitter.com/elle_strauss to find out about new releases sign up for her newsletter at www.ellestraussbooks.com

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