31 August 2016

Waiting on Wednesday - Stealing Snow

Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow #1)
by Danielle Paige








What they say: Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent the majority of her life within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she's not crazy and doesn't belong there. When she meets a mysterious, handsome new orderly and dreams about a strange twisted tree she realizes she must escape and figure out who she really is.

Using her trusting friend Bale as a distraction, Snow breaks free and races into the nearby woods. Suddenly, everything isn't what it seems, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and she finds herself in icy Algid--her true home--with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai, none of whom she's sure she can trust. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she's destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change the fate of everything...including Snow's return to the world she once knew.

This breathtaking first volume begins the story of how Snow becomes a villain, a queen, and ultimately a hero.

Coming 20th Sept 2016 by Bloomsbury Childrens UK/USA

Add to Goodreads

Buy links:

Amazon UK * Amazon US



Book & Author links:

Why I'm waiting...



  1. A YA fairy tale retelling covering issues of mental health sounds very interesting.
  2. I really liked Danielle's Dorothy Must Die series.
  3. I love the concept and the cover is super pretty!









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30 August 2016

Tell Me A Truth - Release Day Launch

TMAT RDL ban


Tell Me A Truth by Tamara Lush

The final part in the sexy serial novella is now live!

Grab your copy today, and check out Tamara’s giveaway...



TMAT


A billionaire real estate magnate returns from the dead, making his family's dearest dream come true. There's only one problem--Caleb Kin remembers his parents, siblings, home and career … but not Emma, the woman he married, or the child she claims is his.

Don't miss the heart-pounding final installment in Emma and Caleb's journey—get your copy of Tell Me the Truth today!


Get your copy today:

TELL ME A TRUTH

Catch up on the series:

TELL ME A STORY

TELL ME A DESIRE

TELL ME A LIE

TELL ME A SECRET

 

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Exclusive Excerpt:

“Let me have her.” I held my hands in the direction of Colin, who’d been pacing with Charlotte in his arms. She was the only happy person in the room and had entertained herself for the past ten minutes by chewing on her fist.
He deposited her into my arms and resumed pacing. She grabbed at my chunky silver necklace and lunged for my curls. I knew she wanted to play peek-a-boo in my hair because lately that was her favorite entertainment.
“No, babykins. Let’s leave Mommy’s hair alone for tonight.” I swept my curls back with my free hand, and she giggled into my chest. My hair had grown even longer in Caleb’s absence, since I hadn’t had the desire to do anything with it. But my hair didn’t matter, Charlotte’s slobbery little mouth didn’t matter, nothing mattered. We were about to be a family—for the first time.
A surge went through me. I was giddy. Manic, even, at the thought of Caleb’s return.
I blew a fart noise on Charlotte’s cheek and she laughed more.
Bouncing Charlotte on my hip, we turned again to the window, and she reached her chubby hand to the glass, as if trying to touch the night. I’d dressed her in a frothy, hot pink dress with a tulle skirt. She looked unbearably adorable, and it would be impossible for Caleb not to recognize his own child with big blue eyes so identical to his.
Colin’s phone buzzed. “It’s him.” He inhaled sharply, then answered and grinned. “Hey. Yeah, we’re all here. Okay.” He hung up. “Caleb and Dad and Mom are in the lobby.”
Laura gave a little muffled cry and hugged Sarah, who stared hard at me over Laura’s shoulder.
“I’m fine,” I mouthed to her, not feeling fine at all. I kissed Charlotte’s cheek. “Daddy’s home,” I whispered, trying not to shake too much. Charlotte seemed unusually heavy.
After a few seconds, a nervous, barking laugh escaped my lips. “How long does it take for the elevator to crawl up here?”
No one responded.
Then, the ding of the elevator bell.
The sliding open of the doors.
And my husband walked in.



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Author Spotlight:
me

During the day, Tamara Lush writes news as a journalist with The Associated Press. At night, she writes fictional romance tales about complicated, sexy men and the women who love them.

Her first full-length novel, HOT SHADE, was published in September 2015 with Boroughs Publishing Group. INTO THE HEAT is her second full-length novel and it’s also with Boroughs.

TELL ME A STORY is Tamara’s first novella. It’s the first episode of The Story Series, a five-novella serial about a bookstore owner who reads erotica to a billionaire during a literary event in Florida.

When Tamara isn’t reporting, writing or reading, she’s doing yoga, cooking for her Italian husband or chasing her dogs on a beach on Florida's Gulf Coast. She loves connecting with people on social media.


Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest * Instagram 
Amazon Author Page * Goodreads



TMAS giveaway


Enter Tamara’s Giveaway: 


a Rafflecopter giveaway



 



29 August 2016

BBF Monday - King of all Luxen

Daemon Black - anybody?!




Not met Daemon yet? Why Not? I'm kidding, well kinda! 
I'm very much on #TeamDaemon and a huge JLA fangirl.


I first discovered Jennifer L. Armentrout's Lux series years ago when Obsidian appeared on my recommended reading list (probably because I'd recently rediscovered Roswell High). I love the series largely because of the banter between Katy and Daemon.

Daemon Black is a charming, flirty and super hot alien bad ass who completely changes Katy's life.

I love the entire series but I particularly enjoyed the insight into his mind in Oblivion...


Oblivion - Cover





My fav non-spoilery Luz series quotes:

  • "Beautiful face. Beautiful body. Horrible attitude. It was the holy trinity of hot boys."
  • "You know what they say about boys next door..."
  • "Huh. Perhaps I was a bit too much of a dick the first two times I talked to her. Good thing she didn’t know I briefly considered burning her house down."
  • "The skin around her mouth tightened. “I would throw this book at you, but I respect the book too much to do that."
  • "I’ve always found that the most beautiful people, truly beautiful inside and out, are the ones who are quietly unaware of their effect. The ones who throw their beauty around, waste what they have? Their beauty is only passing. It’s just a shell hiding nothing but shadows and emptiness."
  • "A slow, wry smile teased Daemon’s lips. "Simmer down, Kitten, before I have to get you a ball of yarn to play with." Annoyance flared deep inside me. "Don’t start with me, jerk-face."


Lux from Daemon's POV? OBLIVION Buy Links:

Amazon * Amazon UKBarnes and Noble


Experience the epic love story of OBSIDIAN as told by its hero, Daemon Black…

I knew the moment Katy Swartz moved in next door, there was going to be trouble. Lots of it.

And trouble’s the last thing I need, since I’m not exactly from around here. My people arrived on Earth from Lux, a planet thirteen billion light years away. Plus, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that humans can’t be trusted. We scare them. We can do things they only dream about, and honestly, we make them look weak as hell. ‘Cuz they are.

But Kat is getting to me in ways no one else has, and I can't stop myself from wanting her—or wanting to use my powers to protect her. She makes me weak, and I’m the strongest of our kind, tasked with protecting us all. So this one simple girl…she can mean the end for us. Because the Luxen have an even bigger enemy—the Arum, and I need to stay on my game.

Falling for Katy—a human—won't just place her in danger.It could get us all killed, and that’s one thing I’ll never let happen...


The LUX Series

LUX Series Collage


LUX: Beginnings

Amazon * Barnes and Noble

LUX: Consequences

Amazon * Barnes and Noble

OPPOSITION

Amazon * Barnes and Noble

 


Author Spotlight:

Author Photo

# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.






28 August 2016

2000 Blog Posts Giveaway

I've officially reached 2000 Blog Posts. 





Wowzers I cannot believe I'm up to 2000 blog posts! To celebrate I'm having a book swag themed giveaway!!!

Win a special goodie bag full of bookish goodies! 


**Note only mentioned items are signed! The prize pack includes Young Adult, New Adult, Adult and naughty Adult themed goodies so over 18s only please.**






Open International


To enter: Fill out the rafflecopter using as many or few of the options below as you like (I've used different options to give you have a more of a chance of finding a way to enter): 

Free entry if you follow/add the blog on: 
InstagramPinterestTwitter, visit the blog on Facebook or follow the blog (on either Google+BlogLovin'email or GFC) or leave me a comment below.



a Rafflecopter giveaway




Prize pack includes:

Book: The Darkest Secret paperback
Fairy Loot canvas bag
Book teasers: Ink & Broken Sky/Unconventional
Geek Girl Nail Art pack, Nail File & Poster.
Stealing Snow poster.
Book Cards/Bookmarks: Marie Coulson (signed by Marie Coulson), The Island, The George & Finn series, Prepared to Fight (signed by E.J. Shortall), Bastard (signed by J.L. Perry), Coming Down (signed by Carrie Elks), Bibi Paterson, Obsession (signed by Samantha Harrington), Tracie Podger (signed by Tracie Podger) & The Other Girl/Boy.
Other: Nikki Ashton Drinks Mat, Ally Carter Nail sticker samples, Bass Cole magnet (signed), The Choices Trilogy pencil, A. E. Murphy pen, KA-Thunk pen, Nineteen chapstick,  2 x rubber bracelets, LOVE bookmark ribbon, 3 x keyring, Chloe Walsh bookmark/paperclip, 5 x button badges & purple goodie pack.


Please make sure you paste the correct links, info etc when entering as I've had a few entries with broken links etc (this means I have to redraw & you won't win).



The winner has 3 days to reply to winner notification before I redraw.


Giveaway T&C's:
I cannot be held accountable for winners & prizes - I am not responsible for missing prizes & anything lost in transit or any damage. Prizes are sent by standard mail (signed for and tracking is extremely expensive & I'd rather offer more prizes than pay more for postage) and will not be replaced (but proof of postage is gained) . I check all entries before giving out prizes to make sure your entry is still valid. I'm sorry kiddies but you need to be 18 or older to enter, or have a parent enter for your (or have recognised parental permission) as some of the books are for adults. I have purchased or been given these prizes for giveaway purposes & the giveaway is not linked to the publisher, author, company, or any social media unless stated otherwise. You use any product at your own risk & I will not accept responsibility for any reaction you may have to products. If you're not legally allowed to enter then your entry is void. Incomplete entries or giveaway only accounts are also void!! If you don't agree to these conditions please do not enter.




27 August 2016

YA Retelling & Sale

I love a retelling with a YA twist!!

All the Broken Pieces
by Cindi Madsen






Add to Goodreads


I'm a huge fan of Frankenstein so was slightly nervous before reading All the Broken Pieces, but I really enjoyed it when I first read it a while ago (it's not a new release but is defo worth a read). The really good news is that it's currently on sale (at the time of posting).


What they say: What if your life wasn’t your own?

Liv comes out of a coma with no memory of her past and two distinct, warring voices inside her head. Nothing, not even her reflection, seems familiar. As she stumbles through her junior year, the voices get louder, insisting she please the popular group while simultaneously despising them. But when Liv starts hanging around with Spencer, whose own mysterious past also has him on the fringe, life feels complete for the first time in, well, as long as she can remember.

Liv knows the details of the car accident that put her in the coma, but as the voices invade her dreams, and her dreams start feeling like memories, she and Spencer seek out answers. Yet the deeper they dig, the less things make sense. Can Liv rebuild the pieces of her broken past, when it means questioning not just who she is, but what she is?






#YARetellings 


Author Spotlight:

Website * Goodreads * Twitter



26 August 2016

Cover Reveal - Unsuitable

Unsuitable
by Samantha Towle

Fan-girl squeal!!!

Check out the oh so pretty cover for Unsuitable!!






From New York Times bestselling author, Samantha Towle, comes a new sexy, romantic suspense standalone novel...

Daisy Smith has spent eighteen months of her life paying for a crime she didn’t commit. Now out of prison, she has only one focus—to get back custody of her younger brother, Jesse, who is deep in the foster care system. Desperate to rebuild her life and show the system that she is responsible enough to care for Jesse, she takes on the only job available to her—working as a maid at the Matis Estate.

On day one of her new job, Daisy meets Kastor Matis, the only son of the owners and her new boss. An enigmatic, handsome Greek god of a man, Kas is closed off, cold, and…well, kind of a bastard.

The more time Daisy spends around Kas, she starts to see there might be more to him than just his cold, bastard ways. He may actually have a heart beating in that frozen chest of his.

But Kas has secrets, too. Secrets that he’s determined to keep.

Secrets make Daisy curious.

And you know what curiosity can do…



Cover Designed By: Najla Qamber Designs





Author Spotlight:

New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and international bestselling author Samantha Towle began her first novel in 2008 while on maternity leave. She completed the manuscript five months later and hasn't stopped writing since. 

She has written contemporary romances, THE STORM SERIES, THE REVVED SERIES, TROUBLE, WHEN I WAS YOURS and THE ENDING I WANT.

She has also written paranormal romances, THE BRINGER and the ALEXANDRA JONES SERIES, all penned to tunes of The Killers, Kings of Leon, Adele, The Doors, Oasis, Fleetwood Mac, and more of her favourite musicians. 

A native of Hull and a graduate of Salford University, she lives with her husband, Craig, in East Yorkshire with their son and daughter.





THE BACHELOR AUCTION - Excerpt Reveal

Ooh hello special first look at Rachel Van Dyken's THE BACHELOR AUCTION 


Coming October 4th it's the first book her brand new series



TheBachelorAuction11_RGB300 (1)





Cinderella never had to deal with this crap.



Jane isn’t entirely sure that Cinderella got such a raw deal. Sure, she had a rough start but didn’t she eventually land a prince and a happily-ever-after? Meanwhile, Jane is busy waiting on her demanding, entitled sisters, running her cleaning business, and . . . yep, not a prince in sight. That is, until a party and a broken shoe incident leave Jane wondering if princes—or at least, a certain deliciously hunky billionaire—maybe do exist.

Except Brock Wellington isn’t anyone’s dream guy. A prince would never agree to be auctioned off in marriage to the highest bidder. Or act like an arrogant jerk—even if that is just a fa├žade. Now, as Brock is waiting for the auction chopping block, he figures it’s karmic retribution that he’s tempted by a sexy, sassy woman he can’t have. But while he and Jane may not get a fairy tale ending, maybe they can indulge in a little bit of fantasy.

 


Amazon US * Amazon UK * Amazon CA * Amazon AU * 

iBooks * B&N * Kobo * GooglePlay

 

Excerpt: 

Thick wavy auburn hair fell in disarray over his forehead. It was lush, shiny, perfect. Were guys born with hair like that? Or was his somehow chemically engineered? His full lips pressed together in a secret smile as the equally handsome man next to him said something, then erupted in laughter.

The first man stiffened, then shook his head. His broad shoulders seemed to grow tight as a drum. A slight tic in his jaw was the only clue that he was irritated or maybe outright angry.

And then his shoulders slumped as he was handed another drink and then another.

Nervous. He must be nervous. But what could a man like that possibly have to be nervous about?

He easily towered over most of the men in attendance. Suddenly his posture changed, then he smiled.

Jane felt her mouth drop open in shock.

Dazzling.

He was…like a duke or a lord or a prince from a storybook. Clearly, she read too many romance novels, but his entire presence demanded attention; screamed authority, importance, and sex. Lots and lots of sex.

Yes, his virility was a tangible thing, as if she could reach out and grasp it with her fingertips.

“What are you doing?” Esmeralda yelled in her right ear, interrupting her blatant sexual fantasy about a complete stranger. Great. That’s what her life had come to. And sadly? It was the most fun she’d had all night.

Jane turned to Esmeralda, prayed for patience, and answered. “Sorry, I was just thinking.”

“You’re so boring.” Esmeralda rolled her eyes. “No wonder you got dumped.”

Another fun fact? Esmeralda was mean when she was drunk.

The reminder of the breakup burned like acid.

It had been a year ago, not that it mattered. It still hurt that the last guy she’d dated had told her that although she was cute, she wasn’t really doing it for him anymore.

Right. Doing it.

Maybe that was because she hadn’t done anything for him or with him, and he found that lacking. But they’d only dated for a few weeks. Did normal girls do that? Put out after a few weeks? Apparently.

She wasn’t normal.

But if that was normal, maybe she was better off being strange.

“Jane, are you even listening to me?” Esmeralda whined. “Essence needs you to dance next to her for a bit. I’m tired and tipsy. I want to sit. Plus your dress blends in enough that it won’t take attention away from her.”

No way. What? What had she just said?

Jane wrapped her arms around her middle. “I’m sorry, what?”

Without warning, Esmeralda grabbed Jane’s hand and jerked her toward the dance floor, causing Jane to lose her footing and crash directly into Esmeralda’s back. Then, like a domino, she slammed back into Essence.

Jane opened her mouth to shout out an apology, but Esmeralda was already too drunk to listen to reason. With determination in her eyes, she reached for the pearls at Jane’s neck but grabbed the fabric of the dress instead.

Her poorly sewn dress ripped instantly, causing the fabric to slink past her strapless bra. A diagonal slit split up her thigh almost all the way to her hip. In an effort to cover herself, she took a step and tripped, thanks to her clunky shoes.

And then she fell to the floor.

Hard.

Her sisters watched in horror—but neither of them offered a hand. They were probably kicking themselves for forcing her to come. Esmeralda leaned over but missed Jane’s shoulder by a mile, grabbing her hair and giving it a tug, which only made Jane wince harder.

Both sisters were completely tanked.

And she was less than two minutes away from being trampled by the other sweaty bodies around her.

She glanced up.

And into the eyes of the man she’d just been lusting after.

Oh God, the humiliation was complete.

That one glance told her he’d seen it all. She swallowed back the thickness building in her throat. Of course the only time he’d notice her would be when she’d ripped her dress and nearly took out a few guests on her way down to the dance floor.

The crowd gathered around her.

And the sexy man disappeared—probably off in search of a girl with perfect hair, perfect teeth, perfect clothes.

She really should have stayed home.

Tears filled her eyes as a heel pressed into her right hand. With a jerk she tugged her hand free, struggling to get up to stand on her wobbly feet, when suddenly she was pulled to a standing position and then swept up in strong arms.

Jane’s eyes were still so blurry from unshed tears she couldn’t make out the man’s face as he carried her out of the crowd.

He smelled like heaven.

She fought the insane urge to press her face against his chest and just…close her eyes.

Because he felt safe.

Pathetic, when a stranger’s arms provided more safety than her own family. And yet he felt…right.

In a world where things for the past ten years had felt so wrong.

He felt right.

Maybe she’d had too much champagne.

 


  Author Spotlight:

rachelborder
 

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866!

You can connect with her on Facebook or join her fan group Rachel's New Rockin Readers.

FACEBOOK * TWITTER * GOODREADS * AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE * NEWSLETTER

 



25 August 2016

Spotlight: COLD FEAR

COLD FEAR
by Toni Anderson



ColdFear_ToniAnderson_FINAL


If you love romantic suspense or if you're a Criminal Minds junkie, you have got to get your hands on Toni Anderson's Cold Justice series! Both incredibly sexy and suspenseful, this series is a must-read. Find out about the fourth book in this stand-a-lone series, COLD FEAR, below!


2016 Daphne Du Maurier Award For Excellence In Mystery/Romantic Suspense finalist and Bookseller's Best Award finalist.
A relentless FBI profiler hunts a vicious killer.

When old evidence turns up on a fresh corpse, ASAC Lincoln Frazer is determined it won’t delay the execution of a convicted serial killer. But when more young women are brutally slain, it becomes clear—this new killer is intimately familiar with the old murders.

A dedicated emergency physician hides a dark secret.

Former Army Captain Dr. Isadora Campbell helped her mother conceal a terrible crime. After her mother’s death, Izzy resigned her commission and returned to the Outer Banks to raise her rebellious teenage sister. But it doesn’t take long for Izzy to suspect that someone knows exactly what she did, all those years ago.

If they work together, maybe no one else will die.

With pressure mounting to reopen the old case, Frazer will use any means possible to catch the killer. Thrust together during the investigation, he and Izzy find themselves reluctantly attracted to one another, and begin an affair. Meanwhile the killer is much closer than they think. Izzy’s confession of her secret drives Frazer away as he struggles with her deception. By the time he realizes he’s fallen in love with the stubborn woman, the killer has her. Now the race is on to save Izzy, and any chance of a future they might have together.


Add COLD FEAR to your Goodreads list here!

Get your hands on COLD FEAR:


acdp-sale


Did you know the first book in the Cold Justice series is available for free? Get your hands on A COLD DARK PLACE!


Read an excerpt from the first chapter of COLD FEAR:

Helena Cromwell allowed herself to be dragged toward the top of the tallest dune that edged the northern tip of Crane Island.

“Where are we going?” she demanded.

“You’ll see. Come on, scaredy cat.” Jesse Tyson, high school quarterback and her crush of the last six months, had to shout to be heard over the noise of the storm.

“It’s too dark to see anything.” That was a lie. It was pitch black but her eyes had adjusted to the night and the full moon provided short blasts of silvery light that lit up the world whenever the clouds parted for more than a few seconds.

A shadow moved in the periphery of her vision and she whipped her head around, jerking to a stop. “Did you see something?” she yelled.

Jesse tried to pull her forward, but she dug in her heels. Was someone out there? A shiver tip-tapped down her spine. She peered hard into the night, but when the moon reappeared there was only blowing sand and violently lashing grass.

“There’s no one there. Come on, Helena,” Jesse insisted.

Of course there was no one there. It must have been a trick of the light, or the storm making her nerves dance like Mexican jumping beans. She let Jesse drag her another few steps. No one else would be crazy enough to be out here in this weather, especially on New Year’s Eve—she rolled her eyes. This was a stupid idea, and if her dad found out she was here, or that she’d lied about being at Kit’s tonight, he’d kill her.

“Where’s your sense of adventure?” Jesse taunted.

“Same place yours is gonna be if our parents find out where we are and what we’re doing,” she grumbled.

“We haven’t done anything, yet.” Jesse’s dark eyes glistened in the darkness.

Her heart gave a little flutter and she swallowed hard. Oh, my. And that was why she was out on the dunes even though she knew better.

The fact they’d both been drinking alcohol wouldn’t go over well, either. Not that her dad was ever going to find out. He’d ground her for a year and it wasn’t just because she’d lied about where she was going, or was out with a boy. No one was supposed to be on the dunes at Parson’s Point. Her dad worked for Land Management at the Department of Natural Resources and took this kind of trespassing very seriously. The area was part of a stabilization experiment they were conducting to try and protect the Outer Banks from further erosion.

She knew the spiel by heart. If he found out it wouldn’t matter that she was his daughter, in fact, that would make the punishment worse.

The hand that pulled her along was confident and strong, not allowing her to baulk or change her mind. She started to slip backward in the loose sand, but Jesse grasped her tighter and hauled her with him. She couldn’t help but be impressed by all those gorgeous muscles.

Together they staggered over the top of the beach ridge and slid down the other side, sand flying in every direction. She squealed with fright when they stumbled to their knees in the valley between dunes. Then she started giggling hysterically.

“Idiot.” She shoved his arm. Jesse took both her hands in his and she could feel him staring at her in the darkness. For a moment she thought he was going to kiss her but instead he flashed her a grin—the one that had all the girls in high school swooning—and pulled her to her feet. They climbed up the next, shorter dune and landed near the top, lying side-by-side in the sand. Something dug into her thigh and she shifted away from it, closer to Jesse.

The wind howled and she shivered.

“You cold?” It was now officially January and blowing a frickin’ gale. “A little.”

Jesse shrugged out of his down jacket and wrapped it around her shoulders. “What about you?” she asked, even though she was grateful for the body heat still trapped inside the fabric.

“I’m fine.” Wide shoulders brushed hers as he shrugged. Eighteen years old and a star athlete, he wore a red plaid shirt over a bright white t-shirt and jeans. “I dragged you out here. I don’t want you to die of exposure before I even steal a kiss.”

Helena shot him a sideways look. Over the last few months she’d caught him staring at her a few times, but he’d been dating someone from the mainland. The girl had finally broken it off with him on social media—beotch—and just before Christmas, he’d asked Helena to go with him to the New Year’s Eve party his friend was hosting. She’d been both thrilled and nervous the entire Christmas break. Now she was here. Squeezed up tight against him and him talking about kisses. Her cheeks bloomed with heat and she wanted to fan herself, but didn’t dare lest he think she was a total dork.

She was a total dork.

Jesse reached out in front of them and parted the sharp blades of grass that blocked their view, revealing an endless swath of beach, and miles and miles of crashing waves. God, it was beautiful. And so was he.

The ocean merged with the sky in a black abyss. The occasional flash of a lighthouse beacon cut through the otherwise impenetrable gloom. Jesse wrapped his right arm across her back, his hand hooking her waist and pulling her closer. Helena’s mouth went as dry as the sand she lay in. Attraction mixed with the two tequila shots she’d downed at the party before he’d dragged her out here. Her nerves sizzled. All she could think of was his hand on her waist, his hard body pressed snug against hers.

Would he try to kiss her? Would she let him? How far would she let him go? She squeezed her thighs together, a little shocked that she was even thinking about making out with Jesse Tyson.

She’d never had a boyfriend, unless you counted holding hands in third grade. She wasn’t one of the “popular” girls in school. Jesse made her nervous because she liked him and didn’t want to look like an idiot for going out with the best looking guy in school.

Why had he asked her out? Was it a dare? She wasn’t that pretty. Her best friend Kit was way prettier than she was, and smarter. Did Jesse think she was easy? Is that why he’d brought her out here? She frowned.

She pushed the uncertainty away. Kit kept telling her she was beautiful and to relax and enjoy herself, to have a little faith. Maybe she should actually listen to her friend for a change.

Helena’s breath caught as a twenty-foot wave smashed onto the beach, and made the gulls cry out stridently as they fled to safety. Storms made her nervous. She’d grown up with them, but feared the sea was going to wash away her house and drown them all in their sleep. That’s what happened when your dad spouted environmental doom and gloom at every mealtime.

They’d been lucky this time. The storm had skirted the Carolinas and was headed toward Maine and Newfoundland. There was another one on the horizon but it was that time of year. Jesse’s warm hand slipped a little lower on her waist and found the place where her t-shirt met her jeans. His fingers played beneath her waistband as if looking for bare skin.

How had this happened? Her. On a date with the high school quarterback?

“What do you think?” He had to shout to be heard over the howling gale and the fierce roar of the ocean. Hardly romantic, but his laughter was so infectious it took a moment to realize he was talking about the storm, not being with him.

“It’s terrifying,” she admitted with a grin. “But,” she watched another wave pile-drive the shore. “It’s also thrilling—exhilarating. There’s an energy to it…”

“I know, right?” The arm tightened on her waist. “It’s as if there’s electricity sparking through the air. The sea is so rough you know if it caught you you’d never get out alive.”

“And that excites you?” Maybe the guy was nuts. Maybe that’s why he asked her out.

“The power of it.” He looked at her then. Leaned closer so their lips were only an inch apart. “You know what really excites me?”

She raised an unimpressed brow that he probably couldn’t see in the dark. If he gave her a cheesy line she was out of here.

“Kite boarding.” His warm breath brushed against her lips—then he kissed her.

The wind wailed spookily above them but she didn’t notice the weather anymore. Her heart banged her ribs like a hollow drum. Jesse turned her so they were facing one another and took her face gently between his hands. Then he kissed her again, not overly confident, but his lips were firm, warm, not wet or sloppy, feeling their way over her mouth, searching for something.

He tasted very slightly of beer, but also of mint. Curious, tempted, she opened up to him and he took the kiss deeper. Then his tongue touched hers and she jumped.

“Sorry.” She grinned as she pulled back.

A weird huffing noise had her turning. She let out a strangled gasp as a dark figure loomed behind them. Terror squeezed her heart so hard, pain spasmed along her arm.

“What the hell?” Jesse yelled.

Before her frozen limbs could react, the figure lifted something over his head and brought it down with ferocious force. It made a horrific sound as it connected with Jesse’s head.

“Jesse!” she screamed. She grabbed him by the shirt but he lay there, heavy and limp. She tried to shove at the attacker’s legs but he was so much bigger than she was. Run! She scrambled down the dune, trying to scream for aid, but the man swung the object he held sideways, like an axe, and the flat end of it caught her on the side of the head.

A scream rent the air and she realized, almost surreally, that she was the one screaming.


Author Spotlight:


New York Times and USA Today international bestselling author, Toni Anderson, writes dark, gritty Romantic Suspense novels that have hit #1 in Barnes & Noble's Nook store, the Top 10 in Amazon and Kobo stores, and the Top 50 in iBooks. Her novels have won many awards. A former Marine Biologist from Britain, she inexplicably ended up in the geographical center of North America, about as far from the ocean as it is possible to get. She now lives in the Canadian prairies with her Irish husband and two children and spends most of her time complaining about the weather.

Toni has no explanation for her oft-times dark imagination, and only hopes the romance makes up for it. She's addicted to reading, dogs, tea, and chocolate.

If you want to know when Toni's next book will be out, visit her website and sign up for her newsletter. If you want to read other fascinating stories about life in a city that, during winter, is sometimes colder than Mars, friend her on Facebook.





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