Tag Archives: Sneak Peek Monday

Get your free copy of More Than Passion by JoMarie DeGioia (Regency romance, historical romance, free book)

more-than-passion-500x724Today’s sneak peek is from the Regency historical romance More Than Passion by JoMarie DeGioia. Book 1 in the Dashing Nobles series. AND IT’S FREE!!!

What It’s About:

Geoffrey Kane, Earl of Kanewood refuses to feel anything more than passion. Four years ago, his fiancée betrayed him and he has no desire to experience that again so when he meets the beautiful Rebecca Kingsley, it’s passion at first sight. And only passion.

Rebecca has led a very quiet life working for her father at a small country inn. When she meets Geoffrey she falls in love with him right away. But she’s only the daughter of a baronet and men like Geoffrey never marry country girls like her. Do they?

When Rebecca’s father tries to marry her off to a wealthy old man, Geoffrey intervenes and marries her himself. He wants her very much but he couldn’t possibly love her. Love is for fools. At least that’s what he tells himself. But a sinister enemy soon threatens to destroy all that Geoffrey holds dear, forcing him to face the truth.

His marriage depends on it . . .

And maybe even Rebecca’s very life.

EXCERPT:

The Raven’s Inn was surprisingly elegant. The brick structure was trimmed with dark green, its long windows sparkling in the late afternoon sun. Rebecca Kingsley was straightening the beautifully-appointed parlor of the inn. Her father, Thomas, insisted that all the rooms look fine. His father had been a baronet, but all that was left of the family fortune, as it were, was the inn. As a younger man, he’d traveled in the social circles of the ton and claimed to know what the gentry and lesser folk alike looked for in food and lodging. Many travelers stopped at the inn, and they expected service and accommodations as fine as any in London, or so Rebecca’s father insisted.

At just twenty years old, Rebecca had been working at the inn all of her life. Her mother died when Rebecca was just two, leaving no real memories. Thomas refused to speak of her and Rebecca had long since given up asking. The only thing he’d say was that she took after her mother in looks. This he always said in a gruffly, affectionate manner that never failed to surprise her. She supposed she inherited her fair skin from her mother, that and her thick raven-black hair. She could never see anything of herself in Thomas.

He never really gave her much notice. She worked as hard as the servants at the inn, keeping her own room as well as half of the rest abovestairs. Mary, the chambermaid, took care of the other rooms as well as seeing to the guests’ personal needs. Rebecca served the morning and evening meals in the dining room, as well, along with Emmy. Emmy was funny and kind and a shameless flirt. She never hesitated to share her experiences with Rebecca, who couldn’t help but blush. She listened, though. Closely.

Rebecca was usually free to go about her own business after finishing her chores abovestairs. But this afternoon, she polished the candlesticks and dusted the furniture in the parlor. As usual, she wore her hair plaited in one long braid coiled at the back of her head. Her simple muslin gown was a few seasons old and well-suited to her task. She paused to gaze longingly out the window toward the stables out back. Beyond them, she could see the gently rolling hills over which she so loved to ride. If she didn’t have to see to the parlor today, she’d surely be out riding her black filly.

From her vantage point, Rebecca could see two figures walking out of the stable’s wide doors. One man was slight of stature and fell in step behind the other. The man in the lead was tall with broad shoulders and dressed in a brown coat and tan breeches. He walked with a long, easy stride. Sun glinted off hair she fancied the color of honey. He had a strong profile, and Rebecca couldn’t tear her gaze away from him. What color were his eyes?

“Fool,” she chided herself. She turned back to her work, flicking her dusting cloth in frustration.

* * *

She moved with an easy grace through the dining room, her glossy black hair catching the light given off by the candles. Curls framed the perfect oval of her face and teased the back of her neck. Her simple gown hugged her lush figure, the skirt swaying over her hips as she walked. She carried a pitcher of ale, and Geoffrey couldn’t take his eyes off her as she moved from table to table.

A man’s voice broke through his reverie. “Fetchin’, ain’t she?”

“What …?” He hadn’t even noticed the gray-haired man who joined him at his table. “Yes.”

“Peter Jenkins is the name,” the slight man offered. “How do you do?”

Geoffrey shook the man’s hand. “Kane. Geoffrey Kane,” he answered. “Very well, thank you.”

The older man gave a flick of his head in Rebecca’s direction. “She’s Kingsley’s daughter.”

Geoffrey raised an eyebrow at that. This beautiful creature was related to the florid-faced innkeeper? Impossible.

Just then, the girl approached the two men. Her mouth curved into a smile for the older man before she turned her attention to Geoffrey. Her rose-colored lips parted as she stared into his eyes for a long moment. “Blue.”

Geoffrey blinked. “What?”

She shook her head. “N-nothing.”

Geoffrey could only stare at the girl, dumbstruck. Her eyes were the color of emeralds, and sparkled as prettily. His gaze fell on her lips as she flicked her tongue over them. Desire shot through him, want like he’d never felt before. Once again, Peter’s voice broke in.

“Rebecca, this is Geoffrey Kane. Kane, meet Rebecca Kingsley.”

The girl, Rebecca, curtsied in greeting after a brief hesitation. She seemed as off-kilter as he felt, to his amazement. After a moment, Geoffrey stood and bowed slightly. “Miss Kingsley.”

“I’m pleased to meet you,” Rebecca said.

Her voice suited her. It was soft and a bit husky. And damn sensual.

“Likewise.”

“Will you be staying with us long?”

If I can help it. “A few days, actually,” he said, smiling.

She gasped softly, the sound no more than a whisper. “Well, do enjoy your stay,” she said, shyly returning his smile.

She stared up at him for a moment longer. Finally, she filled his tankard. With a nod of her dark head, she continued on through the dining room. Geoffrey sank back down into his seat, his gaze glued to her form.

“Rebecca.” He breathed. “Becca.”

Like what you’ve read? You can get More Than Passion by JoMarie DeGioia right here at Lachesis Publishing.

JoMarie DeGioia writes historical romances with a touch of mystery for Lachesis Publishing. And her books are always on the steamy side. Her Dashing Nobles series follows the romances of four male friends in Regency London.

You can get JoMarie DeGioia’s books right here at Lachesis Publishing, or on Amazon, Nook, Kobo and Itunes.

Connect with JoMarie DeGioia online on her web site and on facebook and on twitter.

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Filed under FREE BOOKS, free e-book, HISTORICAL ROMANCE, Lachesis Publishing, REGENCY HISTORICAL, REGENCY HISTORICAL ROMANCE, ROMANCE AUTHOR, romance authors, romance books, ROMANCE FICTION, ROMANCE NOVEL, ROMANCE NOVELS, ROMANTIC FICTION, SENSUALITY, SEX, SEXUAL CONTENT, SNEAK PEEK MONDAY

Sneak Peek Monday: Hybrid by Greg Ballan (science fiction, horror and suspense)

hybridToday’s Sneak Peek is the science fiction/suspense thriller Hybrid by Lachesis Publishing author, Greg Ballan (Book 1 in the Hybrid series)

What it’s about:

Erik Knight, a small time private investigator, always knew he was different from everybody else. Keener senses, heightened awareness and an enhanced physical strength that could be called upon by his sheer will.

Erik becomes involved with a team of high profile investigators and local police trying to locate a girl who was kidnapped in the middle of a playground amongst dozens of adults and children. None of the adults saw anything and what the children claim to have seen is too far fetched to be believed. The search evolves into a full-scale manhunt into the dark and desolate woodlands of the Hopedale Mountain.

After a lethal encounter and a fatality, Erik, the investigators and police realize that what they’re dealing with isn’t a man and possibly isn’t of this world. What they’re dealing with is a sentient evil that has an appetite for young children.

EXCERPT:

“Erik!” Shanda whispered in alarm. “Something’s here, stalking the girls. I can’t see it, but I can sense it.”

Erik looked throughout the park grounds, focusing his vision, but he couldn’t see anything. Fifty yards away, the children played unaware of anything but their innocent fun. Erik walked quickly over to where the party was, Shanda following close behind him. As he closed the distance he noticed that his daughter was staring at something and pointing. Erik looked in the direction she was pointing and saw a patch of darkness. His mind shrieked with panic and he ran toward his daughter, screaming for the other girls to leave the park area. The girls looked at the direction Brianna was pointing at and froze. They were terrified, frozen into inaction.

After a quick sprint, Erik was beside his daughter. Several of the other mothers had gone to their children as they all pointed out the closing patch of darkness.

“Get your children back!” Erik commanded. “It wants your children.”

Mothers and children were panicking. Children were crying with fright as the afternoon sun seemed to dim and the temperature in the park suddenly dropped twenty degrees. Brianna hadn’t moved since Erik came by her side.

“What do you see, honey?” he whispered.

Brianna’s eyes were transfixed on the corner of the park. Her finger still pointed in that direction. “It’s a tall man, I think. I can tell that it wants me. It’s calling to me, Daddy. I’m scared. Please don’t let it take me. I can tell it wants to take me.” She screamed in mindless terror.

Erik reached behind his back and pulled his Ruger from its place of concealment. He wrapped both arms protectively around his daughter, his gun pointing in the direction of her finger.

“Bri, point me in the right direction. I won’t let it hurt you. No one is taking you anywhere.”

She gently guided his hands so that the pistol was aiming at the heart of the dark anomaly.

“Daddy,” she whispered, “it’s coming right for us.”

“Go back with Shanda and the others, now!” he told her.

“Daddy, I don’t want to leave you.”

“Go, honey! Please,” he whispered. “Shanda!” Erik shouted, breaking the eerie silence. “Take Brianna.”

Shanda came up quickly and took Brianna. “I can just barely see it, Erik; it’s just like you described. It stopped when you pulled the gun. All the children can see it, but the parents can’t. All they can see is the darkness, and they can feel the cold.”

From behind them, the ponies were shrieking in panic.

“All right, you two, get back!” Erik stood up. He holstered his weapon and began walking toward the darkness.

“I know you’re there!” Erik called out to the inky darkness. “Maybe you can hide from them, but you can’t hide from me!” Erik focused his eyes; concentrating his extra senses on the darkness as he continued forward. Slowly he saw the man-like figure materialize. The figure had stopped its approach and assumed an aggressive stance. Erik paused a scant twenty feet from it and assumed a basic combat stance he used in Kung Fu.

“You can’t have the children!” he shouted, his voice booming above the silence, challenging the being of darkness. “You can’t have my daughter or any other child here.”

The thing responded with silence. Erik finally saw the blood-red eyes looking right through him. He could feel the hatred, the sheer malevolence; yet, now he also felt desperation, a hunger that was beyond his ability to define. The hostility threatened to overwhelm him. Erik fought his own emotions, fought down his own fear and doubt. He knew he couldn’t defeat this thing physically, but he would not let it have his daughter or any other child there, not while he drew breath.

Like what you’ve read? You can get Hybrid right here at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon.com.

To read some of Greg’s musings visit his writing page on facebook, for several short stories and pithy takes on yard work and homelife.

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Sneak Peek Monday: The Accidental Witch by Jessica Penot (paranormal with romantic elements)

THE ACCIDENTAL WITCH COVERIt’s Halloween season so get your spooky on with Today’s Sneak Peek,  The Accidental Witch by Jessica Penot (paranormal with romantic elements). It’s funny, scary, clever, and features a heroine that you will just love to bits.

What it’s about:

Phaedra Michaels is a small town psychologist who is beginning to lose hope. Two of her patients at the local hospital in Dismal, Alabama have just killed themselves, she’s still reeling from her divorce and what turned out to be a disastrous marriage, and her father has died, leaving her without any notion of who her real mother is.

Just as Phaedra decides to commit herself to a serious drinking problem and an eating disorder, or two, a mysterious spell book arrives in the mail. Feeling desperate, Phaedra uses it to cast spells to save her fading patients. Suddenly, good things start happening.  Phaedra’s patients begin to get better and she even starts dating the sexy doctor from the hospital.

Phaedra is so happy she doesn’t notice the small things that start to go wrong in Dismal, or the dark creatures slithering out of the shadows near her house. When Phaedra finally realizes her spells have attracted every card-carrying demon from hell, she has no choice but to accept help from a slightly nerdy, 500 year-old warlock with a penchant for wearing super hero T-shirts and a knack for getting under Phaedra’s skin. Now, if only she could get the hang of this witch thing, she might be able to save her town.

EXCERPT:

I carefully pulled the twine and the brown paper fell off. Beneath the paper was a large, leather bound book. It looked like an old journal or recipe book. It was tied together with a red ribbon and the ribbon held numerous pieces of paper. I ran my hands over the smooth leather and read the title of the book. It simply said Spells.

I laughed and pulled the red ribbon that held the book together. The book fell open. Inside, it was like a recipe book a mother would pass on to a daughter. There were old typed pages with handwritten notes in the margins. There were pages added with handwritten spells on them and drawings.

“What the hell?” I said as I leafed through the old book. There were potions and summoning spells and candle spells. In-between pages, there were pressed flowers and herbs and some of the pages were stained with old candle wax.

I set the book down and went into the kitchen and opened the fridge. At least the kitchen was done. It looked like any other modern kitchen. It had granite counter tops and marble floors. I’d spared no expense making it look like something that belonged in an old southern mansion. I wanted the house to be perfect and I had Johnny Boy’s money to help me achieve that dream. The lights flickered when I entered. I would have to talk to Lawson about that in the morning. I took a beer out of the fridge and opened it. I had a sip and grabbed a roll of cookie dough. Armed with the cookie dough and beer, I returned to the book. It had fallen off the counter, to the floor, and was opened to a page. I laughed again. The page it had opened to was love spells. That was just what I needed.

I sat down and ate and drank and leafed through the book. I stopped at a page with an interesting picture on it. The spell was an awakening spell. It awakened you to the supernatural world. I hesitated and looked at the script around it.

Something fell upstairs and the lights went out. I fumbled around and found the nearest flashlight and switched it on just as the lights flickered back on.

“Lawson, you asshole,” I said as I turned the flashlight off. “The wiring is done in the parlor, my ass.”

A sudden wave of fatigue washed over me and I picked up my mess and carted my sorry butt upstairs. I climbed into bed with my flashlight. I still had the book of spells. It had been so long since someone had given me something that I had forgotten what it felt like. I knew the book was more than weird. It bordered on creepy. A normal woman would probably burn the damn thing, but I wasn’t a normal woman. I was a lonely divorcée living in a house known to be haunted, but I loved it the way most people love their pets. I was the daughter of a man who had made it clear that he loathed me, with a step-mother who’d bought me toilet paper for Christmas. The creepy book was wonderful to me. It meant that someone out there, even if they were a freak, cared about me, and freak love was better than no love at all.

Did you like what you read? You can get The Accidental Witch at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon.

Connect with Jessica online on her web site and on facebook and twitter.

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Filed under Lachesis Publishing, PARANORMAL, PARANORMAL ROMANCE

Sneak Peek Monday: Crossed Out by Kim Baccellia (YA Paranormal)

CROSSED-OUT-COVERToday’s Sneak Peek is from the YA paranormal Crossed Out by Kim Baccellia.

What it’s About:

Following the light can’t be that hard, right? So why don’t the dead just do it and leave Stephanie Stewart alone?

However nothing is ever as simple as it should be, as Stephanie learns when her hidden ‘gift’ becomes more than a nuisance, quickly turning unto a liability.

If she can’t learn to trust someone with her secret, the world as she knows it will go to hell. Literally. But if she doesn’t choose wisely, she might just end up learning firsthand how hard it is to follow that light.

Because she’s next on the list to be crossed out.

EXCERPT:

I couldn’t deal with Mom and her holier-than-thou attitude about decorating crosses. If she had any clue why I needed to do this, maybe she’d back off.

I pushed my hair aside and looked down at the wooden beams. My box of Sharpie pens lay close to my side. I had to get the design just right. Roses, or something plainer? It didn’t help that it was so cold in the garage.

Why was it so hard to help the dead go to the other side? It’d be a whole lot easier if they told me what they wanted on their crosses. Dead girl comes, asks for help, and tells me she’s into pink roses. Yes, that would make my job a lot easier.

But one thing I’ve learned is, life isn’t easy. Cliché, but true.

Figures, this was how I’d spend my time on a Saturday – sitting cross-legged on the floor in our garage, worrying about finishing a cross for some dead girl. In a few hours, Mom would drag me to Mrs. Swanson’s house for a sleepover. I didn’t really have time to decorate a cross.

And each time I tried to sketch, thoughts of the meeting drove any thought of the design out of my mind. I mean, how could I even think of helping others – albeit dead ones – when my own life was such a disaster?

I didn’t want to go. But Mom was using the whole sleepover as a way to get me to be around Hillary, whom she thought would be such a good example for me. But I couldn’t tell my mother the truth – I hated Hillary. Yes, we’d once been close, but it wasn’t as if we were BFFs anymore. No, Hillary made sure of that when I was stupid enough to trust her with my secret. A secret that was better left hidden. No one believed the dead could talk to you.

According to my last counselor, the only way that could happen is through serious Steven Spielberg special effects.

When I admitted to seeing one of my dead friends, he didn’t freak. No, he did something worse. He ended up suggesting to my parents that I needed to see a doctor – for serious psychological help. I mean, only crazy people see the dead.

And, I hate to say this, but the anti-anxiety meds and antidepressants don’t keep them away. Sometimes I wished the drug cocktail could just erase them. It sure would make my life a lot easier.

Sighing, I decided to go with pink roses. What girl didn’t like pink?

A sudden coldness permeated the garage. Jeez did Dad forget to close the back door again?

I pulled my hoodie tighter. Working in near darkness was bad enough without the drop in temperature.

Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.

I dropped my black Sharpie.

Over in the corner of the garage loose papers and dust whirled around – a funnel growing larger and larger.

A light shone next to Mom’s holiday plastic boxes, illuminating some Christmas ornaments, tinsel, and wrapping paper.

“Stephanie…careful….”

The childish voice grew louder. A chill went up my back. I know that voice!

I blinked once and when I opened my eyes I saw the girl. Her long dirty blond hair was clumped into two pigtails, and her bikini top and cut-off Levis brought back memories of the YMCA pool three years ago where I‘d spent my summers.

Allison!

Omigod! I pushed the wooden cross aside. A tingling sensation burned through my whole body. Once I helped a dead person cross over, that was supposed to end the whole rescue scenario. The bright light appeared and poof! Well, not this time.

I scooted away, over the rough, cold pavement. This didn’t make sense. Though I was used to visits from the ―other‖ side, having Allison reappear scared me. I didn‘t know what to do.

“Allison, why are you here?” My voice broke.

She took a step toward me. Her lips trembled. “Careful…danger….”

Danger? Did that mean her murderer was out of prison? Just the thought of that perv touching or killing someone else made me want to hurl.

“No… another….”

Someone else?

“Allison, what are you trying to tell me?” I slowly got up off the ground. “Is the guy who killed you, out?”

Allison shook her head. It still freaked me out how much the dead looked like us, not fuzzy or semi- transparent like they show on TV. The ones I helped still looked the way they had when they‘d been killed, complete with all the blood and stuff.

Yet here was Allison. She should be in Heaven singing in one of those heavenly choirs Mom always talked about.

I bit my hangnail, ripping it off. I couldn‘t deal with this. Not now.

“Careful….”

The wind picked up, tossing loose papers everywhere. None of this affected Allison.

I had so many questions to ask her. I missed her. I knew she‘d understand me, even when others – including my mom – were clueless.

“Allison, what‘s it like to be…?”

The wind howled drowning out her answer. And just as quickly, Allison left.
I felt as if something had punched me in the stomach. I pushed back the sickness threatening to escape.

What was going on? But even worse, I didn’t know what to do. One thing had been made perfectly clear. The rules had all changed and no one bothered to give me the new players’ guide.

Like what you’ve read? You can get Crossed Out at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon.

Connect with Kim Baccellia on her web site and on facebook and twitter.

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Filed under SNEAK PEEK MONDAY, YA, YA PARANORMAL, YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Sneak Peek Monday: For A Short Time by Lori Lapekes (contemporary romance / new adult romance)

FOR A SHORT TIME COVERToday’s Sneak Peek is from the contemporary romance For a Short Time by Lachesis Publishing author Lori Lapekes. For a Short Time is about a young woman who goes through many changes in her life, including realizing whom she truly loves.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Keri has no idea who she really is anymore.

Raised in the Midwest, where catching frogs and shoveling manure is common practice, then spending several adult years traveling the country and hob-nobbing with celebrities and the elite, Keri returns to her roots. She now lives in her sister`s basement, wondering just who she really is anymore.

After a peculiar meeting with the Quinn cousins, Keith and Jeremy, Keri is determined to capture Keith`s attention. An actor, a tall, compelling man, elusive, even abrasive at times, Keith is particularly intriguing to a woman like Keri who is accustomed to capturing the heart of any man she`s ever wanted. Yet it was Jeremy, the humble cabinet-maker and owner of a misshapen dog named Scalawag, who leaped into a bon-fire to rescue a scrap of an old coat that had sentimental value for her.

Following two episodes with the facial disorder, Bell`s Palsy, and after Jeremy has moved out of state, possibly to run from his heartbreak over her, Keri finally realizes not only who she really is─but who she needs to become.

But is it too late . . .

EXCERPT:

“It can’t be over between us, all the signs were there for you to finally be the right one for me,” Keri insisted.

“What signs?” Keith asked.

Keri stared into his shadowy face. Clinging tatters of mist drifted across it, obliterating his eyes for one moment, his mouth the next moment. The fog was cool and clammy to the skin in the dismal mist.

“The signs,” said Keri. “You know, the signs.” But, suddenly, she couldn‘t think of a one.

He turned his back on her, and began to fade away into the mist.

“Keith, come back!” Keri said. “I‘ll remember them, I know I will. It‘ll make a difference!”

But Keith continued to shrink into the fog. Soon he was only a dark patch in the distance, then that was swept away by the wisps of lonely swirling mist.

Keri was left in silence. A silent world of emptiness and chill.

“Keith . . .” she whimpered, “come back, I need you . . .” Only silence.

Keri heard her heart beating against her chest.

“Keith.” she whispered, tears trailing down her cheeks. Her knees went weak, and she sunk into the ground. “Don‘t leave me, I need you, don‘t leave me.”

“Straighten up, Keri,” came a voice behind her.

“What—who?” Keri asked, and slowly turned around. It was clearer where he stood, almost as though the sun was ready to break through the mist that was strangely falling away from him.

Jeremy.

“Please, stand up,” Jeremy said again. Something about the tone of his voice, oddly authoritative yet gentle at the same time, made Keri gather her strength and stand.

“Come here,” Jeremy said, and held out his hand. “

Keith left me,” Keri sobbed, but found herself drawing nearer to Jeremy. He seemed spectral as she stared at his hand, his comforting hand, and it drew her closer. When she reached him, she took his hand, and he pulled her close.

A jolt of something indescribable, joy mixed with peace and an incredible calmness pulsed through her at Jeremy‘s touch. He held her hand tighter, pulled her closer, and Keri began to quiver as she found herself face to face with Jeremy, gazing into wonderful eyes radiating a calm assurance and wisdom she had never before encountered. Heat raced through her and her legs became weak.

Jeremy‘s eyes glimmered. It paralyzed her to stare into them. Those eyes seemed to search into hers, gently probing, as though trying to connect with her soul. Keri became lightheaded, intoxicated, the poison of Keith‘s rejection now drained away.

“You‘re going to be all right now,” Jeremy said, and his voice seemed to roll like thunder and yet felt like a breathy whisper at the same time. It echoed as he continued, and suddenly the fog parted and a warming blaze of sun fell across them.

“I‘ll stay with you,” said Jeremy. “You don‘t have to be afraid anymore. You can finally be yourself.”

Those words flowed through Keri in cascades of relief. Finally, finally she felt it. She couldn‘t quite grasp what it all meant, but a weight had lifted.

“Thank you, thank you, Jeremy,” Keri said, gulping in great breaths of air. “What would I do without you? You‘re the one I need, you‘re the one I was meant for all along”

At those words, Jeremy smiled. Keri‘s eyes strayed toward his lips, and lingered there. His mouth smiled, his eyes smiled, and Keri was sure his heart smiled, too.

And so did she. Keri let go of his hand, and slowly wrapped her arms around his neck. He put his arms around her shoulders and drew her tighter to him. When they fully connected, the warmth of their touch was explosive, and Keri could scarcely control herself. She closed her eyes and suddenly, tantalizingly, his lips were pressed against hers. She gasped inwardly as the warmth and movement of his kiss sent shivers down her spine and into her toes. At first Jeremy‘s kiss was sweet and gentle, but as it became more urgent, its passion leached all of the strength from Keri‘s limbs until she was practically hanging limp in his embrace.

All she could think was—how did he learn to kiss like this? Was it the way it was supposed to be when two people were genuinely . . . in love?

No—it couldn‘t be! Jeremy was just her dear friend, like a brother, really.

Yet . . .

“Aunt Keri, get up!” said a wee voice far, far away. “You promised to play opera lady with me this morning.”

“What?” Keri moaned.

There was a soft shaking on her shoulders. “Aunt Keri, Keri, get up, sleepyhead! Take the pillow off your face.”

Reality crawled back to Keri in a lazy wave. Jeremy‘s embrace vanished, and the scene dissipated into fragments as Keri awoke, reluctantly pulling herself from the dream. Only a dream.

“Jutht a minute, Kate,” Keri mumbled. “Have thum patienth.”

“What?” Katie asked. “You sound weird.”

“It‘th the pirrow on ma face,” Keri said, rising slowly as she removed the pillow. “I like ta thleep like dat.”

Keri noticed the oddity just as Katie‘s eyes bulged at her.

“What‘s wrong with your face?” Katie cried.

Keri‘s hand flew to the right side of her face, which felt heavy and numb. It seemed dragged down, contorted. She could barely see out of her right eye.

“There‘s drool coming out of your mouth, just like Rover‘s,” said Katie. “I think your pillow got too heavy! It melted your face!”

Keri tried to gasp, but her mouth would not work correctly. It seemed weights were pulling her lip down on the right side, making it lopsided.

Dear Lord . . . had she had a stroke?

She flung off her blankets, twisted to the side of her bed, and sat up. It seemed her right arm worked fine, as well as her leg. And she could think clearly. But the horrified look on her niece‘s face confirmed the frightening fact that something was drastically wrong.

If you want to read more you can purchase For A Short Time at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon.

Connect with Lori Lapekes on her web site and on facebook.

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Filed under CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE, Lachesis Publishing, LOVE STORY, New Adult Romance, ROMANCE AUTHOR, romance authors, romance books, ROMANCE FICTION, ROMANCE NOVEL, ROMANCE NOVELS

Sneak Peek Monday: New View by Lynn Jenssen in the Sisters of Spirit Anthology (women’s fiction/romance)

SISTERS-OF-SPIRIT-COVER-300x466I had the pleasure of editing  the lovely and lyrical Sisters of Spirit Anthology (Lachesis Publishing). The anthology features four stories about four very special friends. Written by four real life friends: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Annette Blair, Lynn Jenssen, Christine Mazurk (Lachesis Publishing author of Passion’s Race) and Jeanine Duval Spikes (also known as J.D. Spikes Lachesis Publishing author of The Possession).

What It’s About:

Four life-long friends face the biggest changes of their lives.

Four sisters—not related by blood—but by spirit, each embark on a quest

Four women find out what they’re truly made of, and what love really means.

In “New View” by Lynn Jenssen, a couple’s vow of “for better or worse” is tested to the max under the threat of overwhelming work stress, and marital misunderstandings. But when a danger threatens to tear them apart for good, they face their biggest trial of all.

In “Identity” by Christine Mazurk, a young woman embarks on a complete life-change after losing more than 100 pounds, and through a twist of fate finds herself training for a marathon under the guidance of a super sexy coach. But when she starts falling for the hunky trainer, can she trust her new-found confidence to take her to the finish line?

In “Shaman’s Shell” by Jeanine Duval Spikes, a spunky young woman finds a mystical Native American artifact that could change the course of an archeologist’s career. He wants what she’s got. She doesn’t know if she can trust him. But as an attraction builds between them, the mysterious artifact propels them to discover what they both truly need.

In “Moving Pictures” by Annette Blair, a down-but-never-out woman lands a much-needed job working for one of the top advertising agencies in the country. Her boss is an award-winning exec whose focus has been solely on work for the past few years, to the exclusion of everything else. She doesn’t know why, and he isn’t prepared to tell her. The more reclusive he is, the more determined she is to draw him out, but how can she fight the haunting ghosts of his past?

EXCERPT:

SOS. Her Sisters of Spirit. Whenever they got together, they giggled, and shared, teased, and played. Good times with good friends.

Marina laughed as she put on her whimsical beachcombing find—a pair of red children’s sunglasses with heart-shaped eyepieces—and modeled them for her friends. “How’s this? It’s a new look for me.” She primped her hair and struck a pose.

“Stunning! Who’s the designer?” Bryce teased.

“Seein’ life through rose-colored glasses?” Clara threw out a line.

“What about ‘blinded by luv?’” Anastasia added her quip.

Marina laughed and followed her friends as they made their way to the car. But the good-natured chatter between the friends soon faded as her vision fogged over and a scene flashed in her mind. Cameron, her husband of seven years, as white as the sheets he lay on, unmoving, unconscious. Fear and panic sickened her stomach and stole her breath. The antiseptic smell of a hospital stung her nose. The emotion-laden picture burned itself into her memory, then faded, and the buzz of her friends’ banter returned.

She took a deep, shuddering breath. What happened? She dared not tell the girls. They’d ask questions. They’d guess the truth.

The vision clung to her psyche, though she hid the disquiet behind a smile to her friends who continued the quips back and forth. She flipped the glasses onto her head, holding her hair away from her face, and concentrated on navigating the dirt road to avoid the biggest of the potholes. She listened as the others talked about their finds, but remained distracted by more than the road conditions.

Once they returned from their outing, the friends separated. Clara and Anastasia walked to the small market in search of ingredients for an impromptu dessert while Marina and Bryce stayed home to start dinner. She suspected they contrived the dessert trip to leave her alone with Bryce, who poured them each a glass of wine.

“Mare, what’s going on? I’m getting turmoil from you. Are you the one who sent the SOS?”

She sipped her wine, taking time to choose her words carefully. “That’s the problem. I don’t know what’s going on. But Cam and I . . . we . . . it’s not the same.” So much for careful word choice. Come on, Marina, be specific. She took another sip. Bryce waited. “We’ve always shared stories about our day when we get home. We laughed together. We listened to each other as we went for a walk or got dinner started.” That’s how it had always been.

She covered the salad and put it in the refrigerator. With the steaks marinating and the salad made, they moved to the deck to enjoy the spring breeze. Bryce prodded, “It feels like there’s more to the story.”

Marina sat on the chaise lounge and curled her legs up under her. “Since Cam got his promotion, things have changed. He comes home later, so we miss our chance to walk together, and I’ve already fixed dinner, sometimes eaten mine without him. He’s quiet and tired. We don’t share our day’s happenings. When I ask or try to talk, his response is minimal, like I’m an effort to talk to. He travels more than ever, and that’s been a strain, too. It’s getting worse. We’d hoped this new promotion would give us the financial stability to do the things we want and be together more. Instead we’ve grown apart; everything feels distant.”

She hated that her voice wobbled—she took another sip of wine to collect herself, but the liquid burned her throat as the tears pricked in her eyes. “I miss the old Cam. The one who laughs at my silly jokes, who makes me smile with a simple wink, the one who sends tingles down my spine with a single look. What’s happened to us?”

“I felt something troubling you.” Bryce reached over and took her hand. “I understand. What are you going to do?”

“Keep talking to him. I don’t know what else to do.” Sadness sat in the pit of her stomach. Bryce squeezed her hand and nodded. But Marina wondered about the vision. Did it symbolize his love for her had died?

Laughter and chatter came from the walkway leading to the house, so they knew the others were back from their mission, ending the conversation.

She took a deep breath and pulled herself away from her friends and quickly texted Cam. Marital concerns aside, she needed to know he was okay. A quick response—‘All’s well.’

With her friends on the island, she planned to enjoy their company and get re-invigorated by her writing. Tough writing romance when your own lacked. She didn’t want to dampen the mood, so she tried to hide her worries by smiling and keeping the attention focused on the others.

It didn’t work with Clara, who cornered her in the kitchen after dinner while they were washing dishes. “Are you okay? You seem kind of quiet this weekend.”

“Things with school, Cam’s new job is hectic, and a little overwhelming. We’re still trying to find a balance.” All true statements, but not the whole truth . . . though she wasn’t even sure what that truth was.

“Have faith. It’ll work out. Remember why you fell in love in the beginning. Keep that first in your heart.”

Later on, Anastasia rubbed Marina’s back and shoulders. “You’re tense. If you want to talk, you know I’ll listen.” Each of her Sisters recognized her heart’s disquiet and each in her own way offered support without prying.

As she tidied the house after their weekend on the island, the red sunglasses she’d found fell out of her jacket pocket. She smiled. “Seeing life through rose colored glasses . . .” She put them on her writing desk in the office. Maybe they’d inspire a happy love story next time she came out to the island to write.

They rushed to close up the house and catch the evening ferry. Marina had one more look around before locking up. “Bye, Mom. I’ll be back soon.” A touch of melancholy hit her. Still home.

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Sneak Peek Monday: Dawn of the Sentinel by Richard Blackburn (YA time travel)

DAWN OF THE SENTINEL COVERToday’s sneak peek is from the YA time travel Dawn of the Sentinel by Richard Blackburn (book 1 in the Guardians of the Gate trilogy).

What It’s About:

Jenny has no idea what it means when she stumbles through a magical “gate” at Stonehenge and travels back to the year 1347. She has no idea that the “old lady” who travels back with her is actually a sorceress protector, and a Guardian of the Gate. Most shocking of all, she has no idea that she has powers of her own just waiting to be discovered.

Gwenelda, the Guardian, intends to hide Jenny in the safety of a secret cave until the next time warp, but fate works against them, and Jenny is thrust into the society of the time. She disguises herself as a young man in order to protect herself, but when she discovers a sinister plot master-minded by a former Guardian named Rudigor, who has turned to the dark side—it becomes a race against time as Jenny tries to stop the sorcerer, and rush back to Stonehenge to get back to her own time.

EXCERPT:

Jenny started to tremble. She remembered her last glimpse of Stonehenge. In that flash of lightning she’d seen a dark liquid running from the slab above her head. She looked down at where it had splashed onto her arms. They were stained with blood.

“You saw what was on the altar stone?” the old woman whispered sympathetically.

“Yes,” Jenny answered in a quavering voice. “A . . . a human sacrifice.”

Despite the warning to keep silent, Jenny had to whisper the obvious questions.

“Who are you? What have you done to me?’’

In reply the old woman leaned her face close to Jenny’s ear.

“My name is Gwenelda. I’m one of the Sentinels who guard the time warp, what the ancients called The Gate. And all I did was to try to stop you from standing near that stone,” she whispered, more resigned now than angry. “You were on the actual site of the ancient Druid altar. I’ve guarded it for centuries during the few brief seconds each year it becomes a gateway into the past. But hush!”

As they listened, they could hear sounds of the men searching nearby. Someone prodded the thicket where they were hiding with a stave, but Jenny had curled into a tight ball, her arms protecting her head. She knew that if she made a sound, it would be her last, so she kept absolutely silent.

After a few minutes the searchers moved on.

“Those fools are trying to act like Druids, hoping to stumble upon the secrets of our ancient sect. It’s a dangerous business, though. The Church will burn them at the stake as heretics if they’re caught, so they’ll kill anybody who witnesses their secret meetings. Now they know we’re here, they’ll be desperate to find us.”

Trying not to rustle the leaves of the bush, the old woman looked out carefully.

“When they’re searching on the far side of the columns, we’ll have to run to the ditch over there,” she said, pointing to the opposite edge of the ruins.

Jenny felt as though she’d just been through one round in the boxing ring with Muhammad Ali and was in no shape for even the shortest sprint. Fit though she was, her mental condition had taken a considerable battering, but when Gwenelda croaked urgently for her to run, she somehow found the strength. The memory of her first, close look into the dead eyes of the pagan victim spurred her on. She threw herself the last few feet into the ditch.

“Well done,” Gwenelda whispered.

Jenny couldn’t imagine how the old woman got there first, but she didn’t really care.

“Can I say something now?” she pleaded weakly.

“Not yet,” Gwenelda said. “We’ve got to get well away from here. We can relax later, when we’re sure we’re not being followed, but even then we must stay alert. We have to avoid human contact like the plague. I’m going to take you to a cave I know. It’s nearly a day’s walk from here, but you can hide there until I can return you to your own century. So up you get. The coast is clear. We must get away.”

Twenty minutes later they were able to slacken the pace and walk side by side.

“Please tell me what happened,” Jenny begged. “I’m sure I’ll be of more use to you if I know what’s going on.”

“All right. I’ll tell you the little you need to know for now and when we reach safety, I’ll fill you in on the rest.”

Jenny could hear in her companion’s voice the coldness of a seriously dangerous situation. As they followed the winding path across the lonely moors, Gwenelda told her a story so incredible that, had Jenny not been physically involved, she would never have believed it.

“There are a few places on the face of the Earth where it’s possible to walk through time into the past,” the old woman explained. “They only occur on significant occasions and in very special places. The Egyptian Pyramids, the Easter Island statues, and the Inca temples are just a few of them. Oh, and Stonehenge of course.

“Not many people these days would know how to invoke the magic to travel through time, but in Stonehenge it’s different. Every year the words of the ancient incantations are chanted exactly when the time warp occurs—at dawn on the mid-summer solstice.

“But modern Druids don’t know what they’re doing. It’s just by chance today that the right words were said at the right time. That was the command for The Gate to open at the site of the original Druid altar . . . and you fell into it.”

Jenny was still puzzled so Gwenelda continued to explain.

“If you look at any really old painting of the ’Henge you’ll see that the columns used to be scattered all over the place. It was in Victorian times the authorities took it upon themselves to put the stones in an order they thought was right—but they were wrong. The real place for the altar was exactly where you were standing.

“When I couldn’t get there in time to move you away, I had to come with you, not just to help you, but to preserve the past. So now I’ll have the pleasure of your company until The Gate next opens, the hallowed eve of All Saints Day. That’s in about four month’s time.”

“Four months! You must be joking. I can’t—”

Once again Gwenelda had to silence her unwilling companion.

“Keep your voice down!” she whispered furiously. “We may appear to be alone, but you can never tell. Things aren’t as bad as they might sound, but I can’t explain now. We’ve a long walk ahead of us, so we’d better get a move on. It would be dangerous for two women to be found out alone after nightfall . . . particularly here and now.”

Before they continued, however, Gwenelda seemed to find one spark of amusement in their plight.

“By the way, Jenny,” she said with mock dignity. “Welcome to the year 1347.”

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Filed under ACTION ADVENTURE, Lachesis Publishing, TIME TRAVEL, YA, YA PARANORMAL, YA Time Travel