Book Blitz ~ ‘The Prisoner’ by Annika Martin & Skye Warren.

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Prisoner by Annika Martin & Skye Warren
Publication date: October 23rd 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance

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SYNOPSIS

He seethes with raw power the first time I see him—pure menace and rippling muscles in shackles. He’s dangerous. He’s wild. He’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

So I hide behind my prim glasses and my book like I always do, because I have secrets too. Then he shows up in the prison writing class I have to teach, and he blows me away with his honesty. He tells me secrets in his stories, and it’s getting harder to hide mine. I shiver when he gets too close, with only the cuffs and the bars and the guards holding him back. At night I can’t stop thinking about him in his cell.

But that’s the thing about an animal in a cage—you never know when he’ll bite. He might use you to escape. He might even pull you into a forest and hold a hand over your mouth so you can’t call for the cops. He might make you come so hard, you can’t think.

And you might crave him more than your next breath.

“Sexy, dark and thrilling. I loved every second of it!” – New York Times bestselling author Katie Reus

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I back up until the truck stops me. I’m sweating, but the hot metal is almost a relief. Warmer and more human than the flesh-and-blood beast that looms in front of me.

But I have something to say too. Something true. And I want him to listen. “You might hurt me. You might touch me. But I will never, ever touch you. Not of my own free will.”

I’m shaking by the time I’m finished talking. Tears are threatening again, but I don’t care about them. They don’t make me weak. I know what real weakness is. I saw it inject itself with drugs and hook up with abusive men just to get its fix. I watched it die. That will never be me. Never.

He reaches up to cup my cheek—the side without the scrape. On purpose? I don’t know. He trails his thumb over my eyebrow and down my temple. Places he couldn’t touch when I had my glasses. Like he’s learning me, mapping my face. The inside of my chest feels bright and quivery, but I keep my frown.

“So I can touch you?” he asks gently. “But you won’t touch me back.”

My voice trembles. “I didn’t say that.”

“Didn’t you?” His hand trails lower, down my neck. Goose bumps rise all across my chest and over my arms despite the heat.

He caresses my skin right where my collarbone is, softly, with the back of his knuckles. I clench my fists at my sides, dreading what comes next. He’s going to keep moving lower, until he’s touching my breasts. And then what will I do? Cry? Scream? There’s no one to hear me. The guy from the truck has disappeared over the ridge.

I let my eyes close. “Stop.”

“You don’t want this.” His tone is conversational.

“I hate you.”

“What do you want, then?”

“I want you to die. I want to hurt you. I want you to let me go.”

He laughs softly, a puff of breath against my forehead. “In that order?”

My teeth clench together. “Take your pick.”

“You know what I think, Abby? I can call you that, right? It’s cute. Like you.” His hand curves to the side, feathering light touches along the cashmere of my sweater. He grips my hip as if we’re dancing. And we are dancing. It’s a sick song he plays.

“I think you want to fix me. That’s what you were doing at the prison. That’s what you’re doing now. But the thing is, Abby, it’s not going to work.”

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~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~

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Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

 

SW – Nothing and everything. I love the actual writing, coming up with a story and falling in love with them. But reader expectation is such a tough thing—it’s tough in any genre but has particular challenges for dark books. Even the word dark means different things to different readers. But ultimately I can only write the books I love and hope that my readers enjoy them.

AM – A lot of writers hate revising and love first drafts, but I’m the opposite – I am crazy about revising–I like to mold and change things in big ways once the words are there. But I write a sloooooow and grueling first draft, and I daydream a lot and change my mind a lot. It’s a total challenge! That was one really nice thing about writing in a team—knowing Skye was at the other end, expecting me to come up with something new and exciting every day was kind of nice. But getting those first words down is hard and slow for me.

What are your current projects?

 

SW – I’m working on a boxed set with two of my books, Trust in Me and Don’t Let go, which will have some exclusive content—a new prologue and epilogue. That’s coming in November. And next I’ll have a dark mafia based on the Cinderella fairy tale.

AM – I’m working on the next book by my other pen name, Carolyn Crane. It’s one of my gritty, sexy romantic suspense books. This one is about Zelda, who helps run this shadowy organization. She has to go undercover as a prostitute, taking her twin sister’s place to infiltrate a drug cartel. The hero is a very dangerous assassin. I wanted to call him Sessimo, but everybody hates that name, so I’m thinking of a different one now.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

 

SW – Message is too strong a word, but there are certain recurring themes in my books. Redemption is a big one, trying to atone for your past failings, believing you had overcome only to be sucked back into it, fighting to better this time, stronger this time. The other recurring theme in my books is that everyone deserves to find love. That means some very dark characters walk the pages of my books.

AM – There are themes that writers return to over and over. One of my themes I return to, even when I’m not trying, is two super messed-up people finding love with each other, and being messed up together, and loving each other for their flaws (and not getting rid of them, because to me, flaws are what make people who they are!) So I guess my message is, even if you feel like you’re really screwed up, being really and truly yourself is beautiful and you deserve love.

Are there any new authors that have grasp your interest?

 

SW – Most recently I really loved Push by Claire Wallis. It’s dark and original. And these aren’t new but they’re new to me. I loved the Roxie Rivera Russian protector series, because it incorporates very serious issues while still being sweet and sexy. I’m currently reading Fallen by Leslie Tentler, it’s a gripping romantic suspense. After I read her first series, she’s an auto-buy author for me.

AM – Rebecca Rogers Maher wrote this fabulous novella about two people who meet on a bridge they are going to kill themselves on. It’s just wonderful – she’s a very exciting author. I am also super loving the work of Serena Bell. She has such great characters.

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Annika

Annika Martin

I’m a NYT bestselling author living a stone’s throw away from the Mississippi with my awesome husband and two cats in a home full of plants, sunshine and books. I’m heavy into writing love stories about criminals–some of them are dirty and fun (my Kinky bank robbers!) others are dark and intense (Prisoner!)

I also write gritty romantic suspense as the RITA-award winning author Carolyn Crane.

~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter ~ Website ~

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Skye Warren

Skye Warren is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of dark romantic fiction. Her books are raw, sexual and perversely tender. For those new to her work, consider the bestseller Wanderlust or Don’t Let Go.

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Book Blitz organised by Xpresso Book Tours.

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Book Blitz ~ ‘Frost’ by Kate Avery Ellison.

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Frost by Kate Avery Ellison
(The Frost Chronicles #1)
Publication date: March 28th 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult

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SYNOPSIS

In the icy, monster-plagued world of the Frost, one wrong move and a person could end up dead—and Lia Weaver knows this better than anyone.

After monsters kill her parents, Lia must keep the family farm running despite the freezing cold and threat of monster attacks or risk losing her siblings to reassignment by the village Elders. With dangers on all sides and failure just one wrong step away, she can’t afford to let her emotions lead her astray. So when her sister finds a fugitive bleeding to death in the forest—a young stranger named Gabe—Lia surprises herself and does the unthinkable.

She saves his life.

Giving shelter to the fugitive could get her in trouble. The Elders have always described the advanced society of people beyond the Frost, the “Farthers,” as ruthless and cruel. But Lia is startled to find that Gabe is empathetic and intelligent…and handsome. She might even be falling in love with him.

But time is running out. The monsters from the forest circle the farm at night. The village leader is starting to ask questions. Farther soldiers are searching for Gabe. Lia must locate a secret organization called the Thorns to help Gabe escape to safety, but every move she makes puts her in more danger.

Is compassion—and love—worth the risk?

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~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ B&N ~

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He came out of nowhere, hitting me hard from one side and knocking me over. We rolled together across the floor and he came out on top, his hands on either side of my head, holding my wrists down against the stones. His burning eyes bored into mine.

I couldn’t seem to find my breath. The whole world slowed down, and I realized with perfect clarity that he might kill me.

“Don’t scream,” he hissed.

I shook my head.

“How far is the village?” He whispered it, the words harsh and raspy in the air between us. I could see his mind working behind his eyes—was he calculating how long it would take him to try to struggle away on his own, how long before they found my lifeless body?

I was neither brave nor stupid. I told him what he wanted to know. “The village is less than a mile.”

He grimaced, and I realized he must be half-mad with the pain. Maybe if I moved suddenly, I could throw him off and get to the door…

He must have sensed my plan, for he pressed down harder on my wrists, keeping me pinned. “And the gate?”

“What gate? You mean the village gate?”

He didn’t explain. “The mountains, then.”

“The farm sits in its shadow,” I gasped. His hands were cutting off my circulation. “But killing me does nothing to help you. You are too weak to get far, and the Watchers fill the woods.”

His eyebrows drew together sharply, and he coughed. He was weakening—I could see it. “Kill you?”

His grip on my wrists slackened. I saw my chance, and I took advantage of it.

I slammed my elbow into his face. The Farther cried out, falling sideways like a puppet with its strings cut. I scrambled up for the door and yanked it open.

“Stop—wait—”

I turned. He was crumpled on the ground, his limbs shaking. I could see that he had no strength left.

“I’m sorry if I hurt you,” he gasped. “I just needed answers.”

I lingered, not running but not relaxing, either. “You would kill me for information, then?”

He pressed a hand against his side and wheezed a bewildered laugh. “I’m not a murderer of farm girls. Not even those who plan to harm me.”

“Harm you?” My words were sharp. “I’m sticking my neck out for you. I’m putting my family in danger for you. I’m sheltering and feeding you—and for what? It’s you who just tried to harm me.”

“I just needed information about my location,” he said, wincing at my words. He struggled up into a kneeling position and raised his dazzling blue eyes to mine. Blood colored his lip red. “I won’t try anything again, I promise, even though I know you want me dead.”

It was my turn to laugh, breathlessly. “You make no sense.” I grabbed the herbs from my pocket and brandished them at him. “I came to bring you these for your wound. I’m not going to kill you. I just want you gone before you can cause any more trouble.”

His expression turned inside out—the planes of his face softened in surprise, and his eyes widened slightly. But then they slitted shut, and I could tell he didn’t believe me. “You’re lying.”

“Why would I lie?” I snapped. “If I wanted to kill you, I’d have done it by now. I could have simply left you in the snow, or refused to clean your wounds, or refused to feed you.”

He was silent, considering this. Some of the wild terror on his face eased at the logic of what I’d said. “Why haven’t you? Left me to die, I mean?”

I didn’t answer that, because I didn’t know how to put my reasons into words. I didn’t even quite know what the reasons were.

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What book are you reading now?

Requiem, by Lauren Oliver. Fantastic book. Every word she writes is poetry.

Do you read a lot?

Yes! Although lately I’ve been reading more nonfiction. I try to read voraciously and widely, though—it’s important to stay exposed to lots of genres and styles as a writer.

Where do you like to write?

I usually write at my local public library, or a coffee shop near my house. I like to lose myself in the noise and atmosphere of quiet hustle and bustle—it keeps me focused and somehow filters out my own mental distractions. When I’m at home, I tend to procrastinate with Youtube or Netflix too much.

What is your writing process like?

I usually start with an outline, or something that you might call an outline if you squinted at it just right. I hate outlining, but it’s a useful way to organize preliminary thoughts and make sure you have a clear direction for the story. Then I sort of ignore the outline and just start writing. I almost always write in order from start to finish, but it depends on the book. If there’s a scene I’m itching to write and I see it all perfectly in my head, I might skip ahead and get it down on paper. When I’m done with the first draft, my editor and my beta reader get their hands on it, give me feedback, and then I revise. Rise and repeat. Most of the writing process comes down to revision and editing.

What was it like to write Frost?

When I write, I get immersed in the world of the story. Frost is set in a cold, dangerous place, so I lived in this mindset of chilly, grimness. When I’d finished the series, I started work on a new series set in about as different a place as I could imagine—warm and tropical. That became my Secrets of Itlantis series.

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Kate

Kate Avery Ellison

I live in Georgia with my wonderful husband and two spoiled cats. When I’m not writing, I’m usually catching up on my extensive Netflix queue, reading a book, giggling at something funny online, or trying to convince my husband to give me just ONE bite of whatever he’s eating.

Learn more about my writing and books at my blog find teasers for upcoming works on my Facebook page, and subscribe to my new releases newsletter to be notified of new novels as soon as they hit stores.

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Book Blitz organised by Xpresso Book Tours.

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Book Blitz ~ ‘Day Zero’ by Summer Lane.

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Day Zero by Summer Lane
(The Zero Trilogy #1)
Publication date: October 10th 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult

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SYNOPSIS

Elle is a survivor.

Since the collapse of modern society, she’s been living in the remains of downtown Hollywood, California, foraging for food and fighting for her life.

And then everything changes.

After she is forced out of her home, she heads north. What she finds is a group of bunker survivors, unlikely comrades, and the hope of a safe haven. Together, they journey toward the dregs of civilization, facing starvation, imprisonment and death.

They are alone, but they are ready.

Day Zero begins today.

Day Zero is a novella, the first installment in The Zero Trilogy, a novella series complementing the international bestselling Collapse Series.

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Writing about Post-Apocalyptic Hollywood and Santa Monica

Writers of post-apocalyptic fiction have the interesting task of taking the world in which we live and transforming it into an entirely different reality. For Day Zero, I chose Hollywood and Santa Monica, California, as the primary setting for my novella. Why those two cities? For one, I’m very familiar with them. I’ve spent a lot of time in southern California, visiting the Walk of Fame and Santa Monica Boulevard. It’s always best to base fiction on the legs of reality, so I went with what I knew.

I also recall asking myself the question, What would happen if Hollywood became uninhabitable? It’s interesting to think about the city without the glitz and glamour, with only the threads of civilization hanging on. I researched and visited famous places like Wilshire Boulevard, the Santa Monica Pier and Millions of Milkshakes on Santa Monica Boulevard. I believe grounding a story in something that exists makes it relatable to the reader – and fun for the author!

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INTL Giveaway

A pack of eBooks including:

    • Dead Girl Walking, by Ruth Silver
    • Fractured Dream, by K.M. Randall
    • Spirit Warriors: The Scarring by DEL Connor
    • Eyes of the Enemy by Kelly Hess
    • Jacob, King of Portalia by Casey Club
    • Destiny Gift by Juliana Haygert
    • Aftershock by Roberta Trahan

~ A Rafflecopter Giveaway ~

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Summer

Summer Lane

Summer Lane is the author of the international bestselling Collapse Series, which includes State of Emergency, State of Chaos, State of Rebellion and State of Pursuit. The fifth installment, State of Alliance, is releasing January 2015. Summer is also the author of The Zero Trilogy and an upcoming survivalist/science fantasy series coming in 2015. She owns WB Publishing, Writing Belle Magazine, and is an accomplished creative writing teacher and journalist.

Summer lives in the Central Valley of California, where she spends her time writing, teaching, and writing some more. When she is not writing, she enjoys leisurely visits with friends at coffee shops, dates to the movies, hiking in the mountains and strolling on the beach.

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Book Blitz organised by Xpresso Book Tours.

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Book Blitz ~ ‘Scratch’ by Rhonda Helms.

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Scratch by Rhonda Helms
Published by: Kensington
Publication date: September 30th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance

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SYNOPSIS

The most painful scars are the ones you never see.

In her DJ booth at a Cleveland dance club, Casey feels a sense of connection that’s the closest she ever gets to normal. On her college campus, she’s reserved, practical–all too aware of the disaster that can result when you trust the wrong person. But inexplicably, Daniel refuses to pay attention to the walls she’s put up. Like Casey, he’s a senior. In every other way, he’s her opposite.

Sexy, open, effortlessly charming, Daniel is willing to take chances and show his feelings. For some reason Casey can’t fathom, he’s intent on drawing her out of her bubble and back into a world that’s messy and unpredictable. He doesn’t know about the deep scars that pucker her stomach–or the deeper secret behind them. Since the violent night when everything changed, Casey has never let anyone get close enough to hurt her again. Now, she might be tempted to try.

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He looked down at my mouth again, then back in my eyes, and his eyelids grew hooded. He leaned a fraction closer. “I have a confession.”

My pulse kicked up just a notch. “Why?”


“Why . . . what?”

I swallowed, fought every instinct to stare at his mouth. His full lips, now only six inches from mine. My body began to respond to his nearness, and I dragged in a ragged breath of his cologne. He smelled fresh, like a soft breeze on a spring day at the lake. I wanted to inch closer. No, stop it, I ordered myself. This was dangerous, to let myself even be this close to him.

“Um, why are you confessing something to me?” I finally asked him.

“You ask me the most unusual questions.” He gave a ghost of a smile. “Honestly, I don’t know. But I feel like I want to talk to you all night. Which is why I wanted to confess that I haven’t been able to get you off my mind.”

I swallowed, let his words sink in, then swallowed again. His honesty was disarming me, chipping piece by piece at the careful shield I had around myself.

“Casey,” he said on a soft breath. “You intrigue me.”

He opened his mouth to speak again, but before he could get out another word, I pushed my head forward, past the last few inches separating us, and pressed my lips to his. Daniel froze in surprise for just a moment, then slipped a hand to my forearm, stroking down until his fingers met mine.

With his other hand he cupped the back of my head and teased my mouth open with his tongue, tilting so he could deepen the kiss. He tasted like chocolate and Coke and something purely male, a combination that intoxicated me more than the beer.

My heart thrummed in a wild, erratic beat as he drank from my mouth. I opened wider, our tongues slipping and sliding, my breaths falling into his mouth in little pants. I moved closer, breasts brushing his lean and firm chest. His hand tangled deeper in my hair, and his body heat flooded through my thin shirt into my torso.

I was dizzy, drunk on him, aching with a surge of something intangible coursing through my veins. My core tightened; my belly fluttered.

He pulled back for a moment with a small gasp of air, eyes nearly black as he peered down at me. Then he gave me a crooked smile and kissed me again. Took my mouth in a sensual move that fluttered my lower belly.

I cupped his shoulders with both hands. His muscles bunched and flexed beneath my fingers. Heat poured off him, thickened the air around us.

His fingers stroked my scalp as he tasted me. The thumb on his right hand brushed against my thigh then moved up my leg, to the crease between my thigh and torso. The sensation of him so close to my stomach gave me a brief pause.

When his hand moved aside the bottom of my shirt and the very tip of his fingers brushed my bare stomach, I jerked away, pulling back to the other side of the car. It was like a bucket of ice water had been poured over my head. I tugged my shirt down as low as it could go, heart jackhammering against my rib cage.

God, please tell me he didn’t feel it, I prayed. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready.

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GIVEAWAY – Ends October 13th

*A $25 iTunes gift card (INTL)*

*An e-copy of ALL I EVER WANTED (INTL)*

*A paperback copy of Scratch (US/Can)*

~ A Rafflecopter Giveaway ~

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Music is a strong running element in SCRATCH, which even includes a playlist at the end. How has music factored in your own life?

I started in music when I was 9—I played clarinet. Stayed involved in band through high school and college. I sang in a jazz ensemble, was a singer in a cover band, and I even DJ’d for a while. In short, music was a huge part of my life for a long time. I miss performing and have even been considering getting involved in it again!

Where did you get the idea for SCRATCH?

Part of it came from a real-life incident I’d heard that had stuck with me for many years. I always wondered what had happened to the girl who’d gone through such a traumatic event. How did she cope? How did she move on to love and trust again? This book was my exploration of how a woman who’d gone through hell could move forward and find real happiness.

Which scene in SCRATCH was the hardest for you to write?

Oh, it had to be the scene where Casey confesses to Daniel about her past. Finally opens up and divulges the painful truth. I sobbed as I wrote it—her pain was so vivid to me that I couldn’t shake it off for a while afterward. That was actually one of the hardest scenes I’ve ever written in my whole publishing career.

What is the follow-up book to SCRATCH?

The sequel to SCRATCH is BREAK YOUR HEART, which is her roommate Megan’s story. I can’t wait for you guys to read it—this one’s a little sexier, a little scandalous. And Nick is so foxy. 😉 Coming end of July, 2015!

You write young adult novels too—what do you have coming out in teen romance?

Next year I have two teen romances coming out with Simon Pulse—SPARKS IN SCOTLAND, which is a Scotland-set story about a girl who falls for a local Scottish boy while on vacation, and PROMPOSAL, which follows a girl and her best guy friend as they navigate love and drama during prom season. You can go to rhondahelmsbooks.com to find out more about the other teen romances I have out, too!

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Rhonda

Rhonda Helms

Rhonda Helms started writing several years ago and loves writing teen and New Adult romance. She has a Master’s degree in English and a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. She also freelance edits manuscripts.

When she isn’t writing, she likes to do amateur photography, dig her toes into the sand, read for hours at a time, and eat scads of cheese. WAY too much cheese.

Rhonda lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, two kids, a dog and a really loud cat. Visit her website at http://www.rhondahelmsbooks.com for more information about her and her releases.

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Book Blitz organised by Xpresso Book Tours.

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Book Blitz ~ ‘Let Me In’ by Erin McCarthy.

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Let Me In by Erin McCarthy
(Blurred Lines #3)
Publication date: September 25th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

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SYNOPSIS

A girl in danger…

Aubrey Walsh never dreamed that she would find herself in an abusive relationship, but after her boyfriend hits her so hard he breaks her tooth, she flees the University of Maine to hide on a remote island with her best friend. Only to discover that she is pregnant. Terrified of what will happen if Jared finds out, she is walking along the rocks, deciding her future, when she slips.

A guy with a secret past…

After a job gone wrong, Riker has left the assassin business and is incognito as a ferryboat operator off the shores of Maine. It’s a lonely life, and when he sees a young woman almost fall off the rocks, he doesn’t hesitate to save her and take her in, though he’s determined to stay unemotionally uninvolved. But when the truth about her situation is revealed, he will do anything to protect Aubrey and her unborn child.

Even marry her. Even kill for her.

When Jared comes looking for the only girl who has ever rejected him, Riker won’t allow it. And Aubrey is torn between protecting herself and her child, or protecting the mysterious husband she has come to love.

And when chance brings them together but fate tears them apart, can their love survive the storm?

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“What’s wrong?” Cat asked me, turning towards me as I came into the living room.

“Nothing,” I lied, putting my hand in my pocket so the stick wouldn’t slide down out of my sleeve, where I had tucked it. “I’m going for a walk.”

So I could cry and rage in private.

But she didn’t believe me. She knew me too well.

“Aub, come on. You can tell me. Did you hear from Jared?”

I heard from Jared all the time. I had changed my number, but then he’d found me on social media. I’d blocked him, then he’d emailed me. No matter what I did, he found a way to track me down. A way to alternate between coaxing and cajoling me with pleas for me to come home, vows of love, and scathing condemnations on my character. How a man could claim he loved me and turn around and call me a dick-sucking whore was something I would never understand. Then again, how could a man who loved me knock out my teeth and leave me bleeding on the floor?

But this anxiety wasn’t about a communication from Jared.

It was about what I’d been suspecting but was determined to ignore.

“I haven’t heard from Jared today. I just want to take a walk. Am I allowed to do that?” I sounded bitchy and I knew it, but I needed to get away, to escape.

Living with Cat and her boyfriend, Heath, for the last month had allowed me time to think, feel, heal. I was grateful to both of them for taking me in when I hadn’t been able to face my family with the shame of what had been done to me, what I had become. I owed Cat everything for hiding me, helping me to feel safe, not pressuring me to make decisions, and listening to me when I needed to talk.

I wasn’t ready to share this yet though. I wasn’t even ready to admit it.

Her look was one of sympathy, which made me feel worse. I was the girl everyone felt sorry for. That was the identity Jared had created for me.

“Of course you can do that. I just don’t want you to keep everything bottled up. You can tell me anything.”

“You just don’t want me to throw myself off a cliff,” I said dryly, leaning over the back of the couch and giving her a hug from behind. “For which I thank you. No worries. I’m not suicidal.”

I wasn’t. The opposite in fact. Staring into Jared’s eyes, seeing his rage, had made me realize just exactly how much I wanted to live.

Even now, even with this, I wanted to survive more than anything. I wanted to reclaim my life, find me again. Or at least a new version of me.

She leaned forward and glanced up at me over her shoulder. “I still can’t get over your hair.” She touched the ends of loose, auburn strands. “It’s so different now that you dyed it.”

I was a natural blonde, but that didn’t feel right anymore. There was nothing carefree and beachy about the way I moved, always glancing over my shoulder, keeping my mouth closed as much as possible, self-conscious of the two missing teeth on the back right side. Dark auburn suited me better. It was moody, mysterious. It made my skin seem pale, and that was how I felt. Pale. Fragile.

“Redheads are feisty,” I said. “I’m trying to find my inner feisty.”

“You’ve always been feisty. And the master of sarcasm.”

Not anymore. Cat had been living on an island off the coast of Maine for the last eighteen months. She’d never seen me with Jared. I was glad. The less witnesses to my humiliation the better, and maybe with her seeing me as I had been, I would become me again.

“I think the feisty got knocked out of me. Literally.”

“Don’t joke about it.” Her dark eyes searched mine. “I don’t think that’s healthy.”

Nothing about it was healthy. But I was trying my best to cope. And when she looked at me like that…that’s when I needed to escape.

“I’ll be back in an hour tops. Don’t send Heath out looking for me again. I promise I’ll be fine.”

That was why I’d come to Cat in Vinalhaven—it was remote, isolated. Everyone knew everyone, and the only way on the island was by ferry. If, for some insane reason, Jared tried to track me down, I would know immediately that he was there. It made me feel safe, protected. Walking helped clear my head.

The porch door slammed behind me, and I put the hood of my sweatshirt up. It was only September, but I was always cold. I used to think I would go to grad school down South. Now, the future was a great gaping hole filled with fear.

And a baby.

I fingered the stick stuck up my sleeve and tried to process the truth. I was pregnant. With Jared’s baby. Tears filled my eyes as I walked down the gravel drive towards the shoreline, my feet moving faster, my head hunched down. Heading in the direction of the least possibility of seeing any other humans, I cursed when I realized almost immediately that the guy who lived in a crumbling farmhouse was out in his yard. Chopping wood with his shirt off. He was in his mid-twenties and I’d seen him twice before. He never smiled, he never waved, he never spoke to me, and he was muscular, ominous. There was no joy on his face, only a kind of silent disdain as he watched me walk by. He was the kind of man who could corner me, beat me, rape me, kill me.

Five years ago, I would have seen his sweaty shoulders, watched the ripple of muscles in his back, and I would have flirted with him, smiled, flipped my hair. He might have flirted back and we might have gone into his farmhouse and fucked just because it felt good. Now, the thought of him touching me made me flinch in fear, and I rushed past him, glancing up only to track his movements, make sure he wasn’t following me.

Cat had said that his name was Riker and he was harmless. That he’d come back from being in the military and he had PTSD, so he kept to himself. Riker was sweet, she’d insisted. He had always been a good guy.

Whatever. What he was then didn’t make him that now, and I was afraid of the intensity of his stare.

He was doing it now. His ax paused as he eyed me. Then his gaze shifted back to the log and the sun hit the blade as it came down with a violent whack. I winced. The wood split in two directions and tumbled to the ground.

Suddenly, it was too much—the realization that a guy forty feet away could frighten me, that I was pregnant, that I had let myself get in this situation by wanting so desperately to be important to Jared in the beginning that I had ignored all the warning signs. I started to run, wondering how I was going to support myself and a child, afraid that if Jared ever found out, he would take my baby away from me. Knowing that, at some point, I had to face my family.

I ran, pumping my arms hard, the hood falling back off my head, my lungs straining. When I reached the edge of the island by the rocks, I came to a crashing halt, sobbing in frustration. Yanking the pregnancy test out of my sleeve, I stared at the pink line showing my new reality.

“It’s not fair,” I whispered.

I’d always wanted to be a mom. But not like this. Not with that man.

“No,” I said, louder this time. “No. This isn’t fair!” Then I pulled my arm back and hurled the test stick as hard as I possibly could.

I was panting, my vision blurry from tears as I watched it sail through the air and drop down onto the rocks. Leaning forward to see where it landed, I slipped on the wet turf.

Suddenly, I was falling and screaming and trying to grab on to anything. Pain shot through my hip, but clipping the rock helped slow my fall and I landed on my chest, my legs dangling, my grip tenuous, but no longer free falling. The air whooshed out of my lungs and I clawed at the slippery rock with my feet, trying to find a ledge to haul myself up. But my shoes slid around uselessly and I paused, panting, arms straining. I was wasting too much energy and I needed to think.

Looking up, I opened my mouth to scream for help.

What I saw almost made me lose my hold entirely.

A man’s face stared down at me with dark, intense eyes.

Riker.

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Q: Tell us about Let Me In.

A: Let Me In is the third book in my Blurred Lines series.  It features Aubrey, who we met in book one, You Make Me.  Aubrey was Cat’s best friend and her fiance Ethan’s sister.  In this book, Aubrey comes to stay with Cat and her boyfriend Heath on a remote island off the coast of Maine after being abused by her boyfriend.  She is also pregnant.  The next door neighbor is a sexy and mysterious former Marine who vows to keep Aubrey safe from harm.  I loved giving Aubrey her own story.  She was alternately sad and snarky in You Make Me and it was interesting to dig into her thoughts.

Q: How many books will there be in the Blurred Lines series?

A: As of right now, I have committed myself (haha, I might need to after this release schedule) to writing six books in the series.  Book four, Meant For Me, will release in December.  That book will feature Ethan, who has had trouble picking up the pieces of his life after he and Cat broke up.  Then book five will be sometime in the spring, most likely April.

Q: Is Let Me In based on a classic novel?

A: While You Make Me and Live For Me were inspired by Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, I confess I’ve strayed from that.  As I introduced these characters in the first two books, I wanted to write their stories without trying to muscle them into classic plots.  But they still retain the angst and the drama of the Bronte sister novels, which to me is perfect for New Adult romance.

Q: Do you have any contemporary romances releasing that aren’t New Adult?

A: Always!  In October, Final Lap, book eight in my Fast Track series is out.  Also, Close Up, the second in a trilogy from Harlequin Blaze will be out.  November brings Sexy Mistakes, an anthology with myself and two other authors featuring online/social media snafus.  Finally, in December there will be a fun, sexy novella titled The Nemesis Affair, featuring an Irish rugby player and the woman he hires to be his nemesis.

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Erin

Erin McCarthy

USA Today and New York Times Bestselling author Erin McCarthy sold her first book in 2002 and has since written almost fifty novels and novellas in teen fiction, new adult, and adult romance. Erin has a special weakness for New Orleans, tattoos, high-heeled boots, beaches and martinis. She lives in Ohio with her family, two grumpy cats and a socially awkward dog.

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Book Blitz ~ ‘Private Internship’ by Kitsy Clare.

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Private Internship by Kitsy Clare
(An Art of Love novel)
Published by: Inkspell Publishing
Publication date: September 29th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance

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SYNOPSIS

Sometimes sugar isn’t so sweet and secrets can be deadly . . . especially with matters of the heart.

Sienna’s bestie, Harper warned her not to intern for famous bad boy artist, Casper Mason. After all, he just fired Harper who helped Sienna get the interview. But the moment Sienna sees Casper—or Caz—sweaty, practically shirtless and swinging from chains as he works on his sculpture, she’s hooked. He’s the richest, hottest artist in New York, and he lives in the fabulous Williamsburg Sugar Factory. But he’s also an incorrigible game-player, who seems to relish testing Sienna’s loyalty with a string of unsettling tests.

She knows she should get away fast. But by the time Sienna sneaks into his locked storage room and begins to unearth his dark and terrifying secret, she’s fallen way too hard for the handsome, charismatic Caz.

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How did you come up with the concept for Private Internship?

Private Internship is all about artists who live, love and work in New York City (and Brooklyn). I know this scene intimately because before I turned to writing novels as my main passion, I showed my paintings in galleries for years. In book two, Sienna lands a high-level internship with a rich, famous, and very bad-boy sculptor, Casper Mason. I set the novel in a real sugar factory that I lived near in Brooklyn. The place fascinated me. Caz creates installations there, using the piles of leftover sugar.

Is this book part of a series?

Yes, it is the second in my Art of Love series. The first is a novella called Model Position where artist Sienna has trouble deciding whether to date Erik, a mysterious live drawing model or Dave, the well-connected nephew of a trendy art dealer. Who would you choose? You don’t have to read the series in order.

 

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I love thinking up names of characters and titles and I always think them up before I set to writing a manuscript. I choose very carefully, because it really does make a difference. The name has to be matched to the personality, to their purpose and quest. For instance, Sienna’s love interest in Private Internship is named Casper Mason, Caz for short. Why Casper? Well, he’s carrying a deep and shameful secret, and as a result he has become a ghost of his former self. The nickname Caz also fits because even though he’s troubled he has a fun, charismatic side for sure. Sienna was also chosen consciously. She’s a visual artist, and Sienna is actually a color—a rich earthy tone.

Do you write while you listen to music?

I rarely listen to music while I write, though I love to daydream about my characters with music as a backdrop. It’s odd to me, because when I used to paint I always listened to music. The acts of painting and writing are so similar in many ways (creative, visual, narrative), yet in that one aspect, they are different for me. That said, I enjoy thinking up playlists for my novels. A Private Internship playlist would include “Factory Girl” by the Stones, and Jena Irene’s version of “Bring me to Life” by Evanescence.

Do you write in other genres, or for other ages?

Yes, I write YA using my name Catherine Stine. I have a YA horror, Dorianna launching on October 24 with Evernight Teen. It’s a fresh twist for the Internet generation on Oscar Wilde’s A Picture of Dorian Gray. Just in time for Halloween, too! I like writing for teens and adults.

Tell me something about you that may shock your readers?

I’m almost a music groupie, and I’ve met many a musician. To name a few: Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, Mark Anthony and Jamar Rogers from season two of the Voice. I’ve also gone to backstage parties with John McLaughlin, and the entire set of finalists for this year’s American Idol. Don’t believe me? Check out my recent Facebook photos. J

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

A writer’s first job is to entertain. A writer’s second task is to pull a reader in through the characters’ emotions. I tell my students when I teach workshops that each scene must have an emotional heart. This also holds true for the novel as a whole. Part of the craft is voice, and the other is the ability to make us care deeply about the fictional world. Sometimes the characters are too formulaic. But even if they are interesting, if there’s not enough action or high stakes to propel the story, we don’t care enough. One must examine plot, voice, character and stakes—all of it to diagnose issues and revise properly. Take your time and polish your manuscript completely. Good luck!

A hint of what you’re working on next?

Well, I am crafting the plot for book three in The Art of Love series. Who will Sienna end up with? That is the pressing question! Any guesses? Plus, I am halfway through writing an historical paranormal set in 1932 on the Jersey shore. The lead is a witch, but she doesn’t know it—yet…

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GIVEAWAY: Open Internationally

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*25$ Amazon gift card*

*12 eBooks from several authors (titles listed on the Rafflecopter)*

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Kitsy

Kitsy Clare

Kitsy Clare hails from Philadelphia and lives in New York. A romantic at heart, she loves to write about the sexy intrigue of the city, and particularly of the art world. She knows it well, having shown her paintings here before turning to writing. Model Position, her new adult novella is about artist Sienna and her friends. Living in a Bookworld says: “Beautifully written! We get to learn things about art & painting, which is refreshing. A colorful story from a promising new adult author.” The next in her Art of Love series, Private Internship launches in September with Inkspell.

Kitsy loves to travel, draw, read romance, speculative fiction and teach writing workshops. She also writes YA as Catherine Stine. Her futuristic thriller, Ruby’s Fire was a YA finalist in the Next Generation Indie book awards. Fireseed One, its companion novel, was a finalist in YA and Sci-Fi in the USA News International Book Awards, and an Indie Reader notable. Her YA horror, Dorianna, launches fall 2014 with Evernight Teen. She’s a member of SFWA, RWA and SCBWI.

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Book Blitz ~ ‘Stronger’ by Sarah Greyson.

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Stronger by Sarah Greyson
(The Unit #2)
Publication date: September 26th 2014
Genres: Erotica, Romance

Stronger

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SYNOPSIS

Haunted by the loss of his beloved fiancée a year and a half ago at the hands of a terrorist cell, ex-Green Beret Rob Fabik doesn’t know how to let go. The sounds and sights of her death replay in his mind, and he tortures himself with the guilt he feels over not being able to save her life, distracting himself with alcohol and women.

Attending Harvard University, Lola Sardeson is a down-to-earth, rich girl who is tired of living under her father’s thumb. One night out with friends quickly turns into a nightmare as she is kidnapped from a busy Boston nightclub. Her nightmare intensifies as she learns that the Ortiz Cartel sells young, innocent girls into the sex-slave trade.

The Unit’s mission is to rescue Lola from the nefarious clutches of the Ortiz Cartel. From the instant Rob sees Lola, she touches something deep inside him, drawing out his protective nature. These feelings only serve to intensify the guilt he feels over losing his dead fiancée.

Forced by circumstance under the same roof, Lola inspires Rob to grow stronger. Can he suppress his feelings for Lola, or will guilt consume him alive? Can he forgive himself for not saving his fiancée? Can Rob save Lola and protect her from the greedy hands of the Ortiz Cartel?

Intended for mature audience 18+ for sexual language and violence.

This book can be read as a standalone.

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Lola sat in the SUV with Rob right next to her on the way back to Blackrain’s office. She was very conscious of where Rob’s leg was because it kept brushing against hers. Each touch would heat her stomach and make her feel longing deep in her core. She felt butterflies at just the sight of Rob. She had never experienced anything close to this before. Sure she had guys rubbing up against her when she danced, but never in her life had she ever felt this emptiness mixed with fluttering in the pit of her stomach, this longing for a man to be inside her, filling her up, like she felt for Rob.

They pulled in front of a small, non-descript two-story brick building that housed Blackrain Security. High-tech security cameras followed them. The inside was much like she expected. The downstairs had a few fake plants in a few corners and there were cubes that each held desks. She walked past the kitchenette on her way to the stairs. The kitchen contained a small table and three chairs, a microwave, a stove and oven, a refrigerator, and a coffee pot. It was a complete setup. Often, the men stayed overnight; they needed a working kitchen. The staircase was on the outside of the wall and led to a closed glass door. She imagined the upstairs was where they held their meetings. She didn’t see any conference tables in amongst the cubes. They made their way up the metal staircase and entered through the glass door. The upstairs was much more modern, with Impressionist paintings adorning the walls. Again, she saw the same fake plants she saw downstairs. Someone liked their greenery. Rob stopped outside of another door, this one frosted glass. The name on the door read ‘Tyrrell Greenwood.’ Rob knocked twice and heard, “Come in.”

Rob placed his hand on the small of Lola’s back and led her into the office. Lola’s father was seated at the large conference table. He stood and rushed to hug her. She hugged him back with all her might. She was happy to see the relieved look in his eyes. As soon as they finished with the embrace, Mr. Sardeson stepped back to look at his daughter. She was still wearing the white negligee and coat from the previous day.

“Can someone get her some clothes for Christ’s sake?” Mr. Sardeson bellowed through the office.

“Of course, sir. Aaron, please get Ms. Sardeson some clothes from the locker room.” Tyrrell motioned for Aaron to move quickly.

Rob found Mr. Sardeson in three long strides. He grabbed the man by the collar of his expensive suit and bunched it up at the neck. “How could you?” Rob spat into his face. He was so close to Mr. Sardeson he felt the huffed breath from the man on his face.

“What are you talking about?” Mr. Sardeson accused acting tougher than he felt.

“You could have gotten her killed. All over money,” Rob yelled. “They came after us. Your guy, who pulled the money, didn’t wait long enough. You know what? Forever won’t be long enough. They want her. She is worth three hundred and seventy five grand to them. You think they are just going to let her walk away?”

“I only provided three hundred and fifty thousand. Where did the other money come from?” Mr. Sardeson’s only question.

“That’s not your concern,” Rob responded. He really didn’t want Lola to know he put up the remaining amount.

“Wait just a second. What do you mean he pulled the money?” Tyrrell asked looking to Rob.

“He gave us about a twenty-minute window from the time the auction closed to the time he pulled his money. Thank God we were already in the SUV when Ortiz’s men started after us. We barely made it back alive. We had a good, old-fashion shoot out in the streets of some Mexican town.” Rob looked directly at Mr. Sardeson. So much for Lola’s father liking him.

“Mr. Sardeson, is this true? Did you pull your funds?” Tyrrell asked moving to pry Rob’s hand from his expensive collar.

“There was no way I was paying some criminal for the return of my own daughter. That is what I hired you to do. And I see I made the wise choice.”

“Mr. Sardeson,” Tyrrell said in his most patronizing voice. “Rob is right. They consider Lola their property. They are going to come after her.”

“I plan on having her back under my protection this afternoon. She will no longer be attending Harvard. She will have around the clock body guards . . .”

“I’m not going back with you, Daddy,” Lola interrupted in a low-pitched voice. “I will continue to go to Harvard. I will continue to have my own life.” She raised her chin and met her father’s calculating eyes. She stood solidly waiting for his tirade. Surely, he wouldn’t cause a scene in front of people. Nevertheless, she stood rooted to her spot, spine straight, eyes focused on her father’s.

“You, young lady, will be coming home with me.”

“I will not. I will find my own protection.”

“With what means? I will cut you off so fast . . .”

Inhaling deeply through her nose, she responded, “Good. I’ll use what I have in my trust fund. I’ll find a job like everyone else. I don’t want you to hate me, Daddy. I just want to have my own life. I’m tired of you controlling me.”

“And how are you going to afford protection? You need me.” He was looking straight into her eyes begging her to defy him. “Around the clock protection isn’t cheap. It will eat through your trust fund in a couple of months.”

“I will be her protection, sir.” Rob moved to stand beside Lola.

“See, Daddy. It’s settled. Rob will protect me.”

“I forbid it.”

“You don’t have a say, sir,” Rob’s steel grey eyes met dark, menacing ones. “Your daughter is an adult. If she doesn’t want to go home with you, she doesn’t have to. But rest assured, I will die before I let anything happen to her.”

“Lola,” Mr. Sardeson resorted to begging.

“I’m sorry, Daddy, but my mind is made up.”

“If I provide funding for this protection, can we make sure he has backup.” Mr. Sardeson could never refuse his daughter anything. It was his fault she was still in danger.

“We can work something out.” Tyrrell looked at Rob. “Care to tell me where the additional funds came from?”

“I’d rather not,” Rob responded.

“That wasn’t really a question.”

“Fine. I put in the twenty-five grand, or we would have lost the auction,” Rob said lowering his head embarrassed.

Lola’s mouth dropped open. “Why?” she whispered.

“I couldn’t lose you,” Rob said looking into her beautiful sea-foam colored eyes. All of the men in the room exchanged glances. What did he mean?

“I will pay you back,” Mr. Sardeson said reaching into his breast pocket and removing his checkbook.

“Lola, do you mind if I talk to my boss and your father for a minute, alone?” Rob asked aware that damage had been done, aware that he had revealed too much.

“Perfect timing. Aaron, will you show Ms. Sardeson to the ladies’ room so she can change?” Tyrrell asked.

Aaron opened the door for Lola, and she followed him down the hall. When Rob could no longer hear footsteps, he spoke. “I do not want my money back. I don’t want payment for this job. I’m protecting her because I want to. If you want to pay the company for the other men’s involvement, that’s fine, but I will not take a penny of your money.” He looked at Tyrrell, and Tyrrell knew he was serious.

“If you aren’t doing this for the money, son, then why are you doing this?” Mr. Sardeson asked cutting through the bullshit.

“I care for your daughter. Nothing will happen to her. No one will touch her, not as long as I am around. That’s all you need to know.”

“Tyrrell, I guess that leaves you and me to talk business,” Mr. Sardeson said, dismissing Rob and turning his attention back to Tyrrell.

Rob waited outside the Ladies’ restroom for Lola. He wanted to be the one to tell her the good news. She would get what she wanted. She could go back to Harvard. But he also had to explain his new role in her life. She exited the bathroom dressed in men’s jeans at least two sizes too big for her and a man’s plain white V-neck undershirt. She had to keep a hand on the pants or they would fall down.

“Thanks for that. With my father. No one has ever stood up to him for me before.”

“You don’t have to thank me. You deserve to live your own life. I do need to talk to you though,” Rob said, trying hard to avoid looking at her perky breasts covered by the thin fabric.

“Sure,” she said joining him in his walk down the hallway.

When they reached his cube, he pulled out his chair and offered her a seat.

“Thank you.”

Rob leaned against his desk and crossed his arms over his chest. “Listen, I know we just met, but this detail I signed up for means you and I live together – twenty-four seven. You are never out of my sight.”

“What about classes?” she inquired anxious to get some resemblance of her old life back.

“I will escort you to your classes, and I will be waiting for you when you leave.”

“What about your life?”

“Until this is over, you are my life.”

“What about your girlfriend?” Surely he had to have a girlfriend, a man as gorgeous as he was. She let her eyes wander down his toned neck, over his Adam’s apple, down to his broad, muscular chest. Her eyes traveled further still, subconsciously, down to his narrow hips and his strong, powerful legs to the tips of his work boots. She liked everything she saw. She took her time working her eyes back up his body while she waited for his response.

He felt it. He felt her eyes as if they were a soft caress. Her eyes pierced his body and heated him. His groin pulled. She wanted him. His heart actually fluttered in his chest. She made her appreciation of his body known. He liked that. She was bold and brave. He admired that about her. She was also honest. He thought about it and realized he had been completely honest with her about everything. Even with how he was feeling, although under the guise of protecting her. He told her she was his life, and he meant it.

“I don’t have a girlfriend,” he said suddenly feeling sad. His thoughts were turning back to Lizzie. He started to feel the guilt of forgetting his Lizzie for as long as he had. Lola had taken his mind and cleared it of everything but her. How could he forget the love of his life? Could he ever forgive himself for forgetting her? Whatever this pull Lola had over him was, he would have to fight it. She was his mission. He would protect her because, if he was being honest with himself, he cared about her. She affected him, relieved his scarred mind. But he would never forget his Lizzie again. She deserved better than that.

“Oh,” she said in surprise.

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 Q) What inspired you to write this story?

I absolutely love to read erotic romantic suspense. My first series is about a group of Green Berets who are out of the military and working for a private security firm. However, being a Green Beret is part of who they are as men. I was inspired to use Green Berets as my protagonists because my brother is one, and I am very proud of him and of all of the men and women that serve our country selflessly.

 Q) How long did it take you to write?

I only write on the weekends. I need to work my day job to pay for my writing habit. Therefore, it takes approximately two and a half months to write a 68000 (estimate) word novel.

 Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?

I love getting to know my characters. I love delving deep into their psyches and learning how they would respond to the world I have created for them. I adore talking to my readers about my book. The ladder is my utmost favorite part!

 Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?

Editing.

 Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?

I would be Sylvia Day. I want to be inside her mind for a day – to think like she does.

 Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?

There are some stuffed shells from a week ago still in my fridge. Thank you for reminding me that I need to toss them into the garbage can.

 Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?

The third book in The Unit series is slated for release late January 2015. Then I will start on a new erotic romantic suspense series. I love writing erotic romantic suspense. I love combining the danger, the love, the sex, the bad guys (I secretly love torturing bad guys), and the good guys into one novel. I think it makes for an intense escape. That is what I hope to create for my readers: an escape.

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Sarah Greyson

Sarah is an Amazon Best Selling Author. She lives in Virginia with her husband, two children, and four spoiled animals. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with a concentration in Professional Writing and her Master’s Degree in Education.

When she is not writing or spending time with her family, she loves reading sizzling romantic suspense novels that make her blush. She loves a glass of pinot grigio, back-yard barbecues with friends and family, and helping her kids with their homework (in that order).

Her interests span all genres: from Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger to Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen to Slave by Shari Hayes to The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama XIV. Sarah’s favorite genres are contemporary romantic suspense and erotic suspense; the types of novels she crafts. While the concepts are familiar and comfortable, she brings her own unique story and personality to everything she writes. She loves the feeling of crafting a spicy, action-packed novel. Writing is her passion. She wants to leave her readers breathless after experiencing the intense ride that is her novel.

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