Blog Tour: Embers of Fire by Ally Shields

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Description


A chilling prophecy. A child in danger.


Following

the defeat of the vampire elders, Guardian fire witch Arianna Calin and vampire

prince Andreas De Luca are considering moving to his estates in Italy to raise

their daughter in its idyllic setting. As if being descended from two powerful

witch bloodlines wasn’t challenging enough, Rayne was born with a mysterious

star tattoo on her shoulder. Her parents suspect she is the Chosen, the focus

of the Star of Esielen prophecy. But that’s something to worry about in the

distant future. Isn’t it? After all, their child may be precocious, but she is

only five.

Then

the murders begin. The stench of demonic activity hangs over Olde Town, and a

symbol carved in blood indicates Rayne may be the next victim. Suspicion points

in several directions: a rival vampire prince, a mysterious stranger, and a

werehyena leader attempting to break the bank at Andreas’s new casino.

<br />

Abandoning plans for a quiet life, Ari and Andreas hunt

for the killers. While Rayne may someday have to face her destiny alone, it’s

up to them to make sure she’s ready…and to keep her alive.

Excerpt

A crisp breeze caught

the last of the early morning fog and swirled it over the gravestones. The Olde

Town cemetery slowly emerged from the mist, its silent memorial to the dead

marred by an unusual amount of activity. A uniformed Riverdale cop completed a

final loop of bright yellow tape around several stone vaults and two small

crabapple trees. CS techs snapped photos and set out evidence markers as they

processed the crime scene.

With a hot Styrofoam

coffee cup in each hand, Arianna Calin bumped her jeans-clad hip against the

iron entrance gate, knocking it open, and slipped inside, her footsteps

crunching the brittle September leaves. When an eerie chill nudged her senses,

she swept the scene with a sharp glance.

Nothing she hadn’t

expected. Not yet. Nothing bad enough to trigger her witch alarms. But then, it

was a graveyard. The remnants of so many dead souls could mask a great deal.

She ducked under a high

section of the bright tape and focused on the blond man in jeans and a dark

gray sweatshirt crouched beside a still form. “ME’s not here yet?” she asked.

Lt. Ryan Foster, her

partner from the all-human Riverdale Police Department, looked up and stood,

his blue eyes lighting on the cups in her hands. “On his way. One of those for

me?”

A smile touched her

lips, and she handed him one, withholding further comment until he’d taken his

first jolt of caffeine. “Dispatch said it was a stabbing. Human female victim.

Is the suspect one of mine?” As a supernatural cop and guardian for Riverdale’s

Olde Town district, Ari wouldn’t be notified of an RDPD case unless the

Otherworld was involved. Usually that meant vampires or werewolves—the

predominant species in town—had run amok

.

“I’m not sure….” Ryan

rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Sorry to drag you out so early on a hunch, but

I have a weird feeling about this one.”

Ari nearly choked on

her coffee. “Oh, no you don’t. That’s my line. There’s only room for one of us

with spidey senses in this partnership.”

“Cop instincts,” he

corrected. His early-morning face was grumpy, displaying his constant annoyance

with things he didn’t understand. “It works for us mere mortals.”

“OK. Show me. What have

you got?” She stepped around him, the humor slipping from her lips at first

sight of the victim.

“Judge for yourself if

something doesn’t feel off.”

Vivid red blood stood

in stark contrast to the middle-aged woman’s light lemon sweater. Not a typical

stabbing…her throat had been slashed, leaving a spray pattern of arterial blood

on the fading grass around her and a glistening trail down the sides of a

gaping wound. It had soaked her neckline.

Ari’s nostrils flared,

taking in the sharp, metallic scent and seeking something more, whatever had

triggered Ryan’s reaction. All kidding aside, working with him for eight years

meant she trusted his gut feelings almost as much as her magic.

Bio

Ally Shields grew up in the Midwest along the Mississippi River, still considers herself “a river rat,” and currently resides near Des Moines. After a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to full-time fiction writing in 2009. Her first urban fantasy, Awakening the Fire (Guardian Witch #1) was published in 2012, and she currently has thirteen published novels. She loves to travel in the US and abroad and incorporates many of those settings into her books. Ms. Shields enjoys chatting with readers through her website/social media and can frequently be found on Twitter.

Author Links

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Cover Reveal: Destroying the Soul by L. Grubb & Abigail Davies

•**•.New Cover Reveal •**•.

#CoverReveal
#Destroyed #LGrubb #AbigailDavies #Dark #Romance
Title: Destroying the Soul
Series: Destroyed Series #2
Authors: L. Grubb & Abigail Davies
Cover Designer: Clarissa Wild
Goodreads:
Synopsis:
I’m a man with a troubled past. Growing up with a drug addict for a
mother and trying to be both mom and dad for my little brother was hard, but I
was determined for him to make something of himself, to help get him in the
best college out there and get him away from the hellhole we call home; even if
it took everything in me.

The plan was to make my business legit and make
some real money so I could make sure he had everything he needed. 

I was on a one track mission, bounding ahead with
tunnel vision.

That was until her. 
Until I saw her sweet face behind the counter of
the coffee shop and suddenly, I had another focus.

She had an aura of sadness about her that drew me
in. Her softly spoken words made me wish I could listen to her all day long. I
made it my mission to make her smile whenever I got the chance to see her. The
invisible thread that connected us started getting smaller and smaller as time
went on, bringing us closer than I’d ever been to anyone before.

At least, I thought we were close. I had no idea
that she was suffering at the hands of a monster. A monster who did everything
he could to keep me from her. He ripped me away from her when she needed me the
most and I was powerless to fight against the law, even if I didn’t break it.

My life was turned upside down and the worst of it
was leaving her without getting to tell her how I really felt. I never once
forgot about our connection and when I finally got out of prison and went to
check on my Ivy League brother, I never expected to see her there. 

I knew it would be hard to explain why I just up
and left without a word, but I never thought it would be near impossible to
even talk to her, to explain that I didn’t even have a choice in leaving. 

Then he turns up, the monster that haunts her memories.
I won’t let him keep me away from her again and I certainly won’t let him hurt
her.

I’ll do anything to protect her. Torture, maim,
kill. And I’ll do it all without a second thought or conscience.

Other Books in the Series:
Destroying the
Game
About the Authors:
L. Grubb:

Lucii is your typical British
girl, hates the sun and hibernates when summer arrives! She lives at home with
her 3 year old daughter, where they spend the day watching Frozen and playing
playdoh.
She started off as a regular
person, job, home life, health issues and a love of reading. After reading the
Fifty shade phenomenon, she went onto social media to seek other authors
writing the same or similar genres. She entered a world she didn’t know existed
and went on to open a successful blog.
Inspiring dreams took a back
burner while she learned the book community and met a bunch of amazing authors
and readers alike.
A year later she decided to
start writing, hoping against hope that her friends and fellow readers will
like what she brings to the table.
Author Links:
Amazon Author
Page: http://amzn.to/2gAedVb
Newsletter sign up: http://eepurl.com/bWnlAH
Abigail Davies:

New Adult and Contemporary romance author Abigail Davies grew up with a
passion for words, story telling and anything pink. Dreaming up characters and
talking to them out loud is a daily occurrence for Abigail. She finds it
fascinating how a whole world can be built with words alone, and how everyone
reads a story differently. Now following her dreams of writing, Abigail has set
out on the crazy journey of being an author. When she’s not writing, she’s a
mother to two daughters, who she encourages to use their imagination, as she believes
that it’s a magical thing. Abigail loves to get lost in a good book and is
rarely far away from her kindle.
Author Links:
Amazon Author
Page: http://amzn.to/2fnO5rv

Spotlight: Scorched Souls by Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef

Scorched Souls in the Spotlight

Welcome to The Scorched Souls Tour! Welcome to another exciting Spotlight Tour with Novel Publicity. Today, I’m sharing the spotlight for Scorched Souls, the final story in the Chosen Trilogy by Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef. Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win some great prizes including an Amazon Gift Card, a Paperback of Scorched Souls and a dream catcher!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Here is an Exclusive Excerpt

I lean back in my chair; he’s dumped a bucket of ice water on my head, and the chill settles into my bones. “So the Chosen were set up to fail. You’ve planted a bomb on the planet to explode when the Deltites take over.”
He nods, a smug self-congratulatory grin on his face. “A Heart Stone to be precise. It was the only logical action to take.”
Bile burns my throat. “But billions of humans live on the planet…. They will all die. They have souls.”
Still, my father’s logic is undeniable.

“Another complication has developed.” Two different human faces materialize above us and hover in front of the image of Earth. “The woman’s name is Summer Stone. She’s what humans call Native American, and is the mother to the Alpha among the Chosen. The man is not from her tribe. He’s what they call Irish.”
“So?” Why does he care?
“The calculations behind the Chosen were extremely advanced and fragile.” A third face
joins that of the others. “The Alpha’s name is Juliet Wildfire Stone. She was supposed to be born from a union between two members of the same Native American tribe. That genetic combination was the only way humans could produce a Chosen strong enough to be an Alpha and draw power from the other three. The secret order had specific rules regarding this, yet they failed to heed them. Fools! I can’t predict what the outcome will be of this particular pairing.”
I study the faces and notice that Juliet has inherited much of her physical appearance from her mother: the long straight black hair, the caramel colored eyes, brown skin and high cheekbones—all but her sharp nose, which resembles her father’s.
Her eyes seem to sparkle, but I shake my head. These are only holographic images. I can’t read too much into them or let my imagination cloud my reason. “I don’t understand the problem. Either she is powerful enough to be the Alpha, or she isn’t. Since you want them to fail, why do you care?”

My father bores his gaze into me, and an icy blade carves into my chest and twists. “There is a third possibility.”
My body turns weak. I’m lucky I’m already sitting. It’s unthinkable, but it’s the only thing that might frighten my father. “You’re afraid she’s an… abomination.”
“I can’t rule it out. Even if she is, she won’t be strong enough defeat an Elite, but we can’t take any chances. I want you to go to Earth. Make sure the Chosen fail and never find out about our plans. They can’t tell the Deltites about the Heart Stone I’ve planted on the planet. If they retrieve that crystal, all would be lost, and they could use its power against us.”
“Me.” I point to my chest. “Why me? Why not send someone else, someone who has already proven—”
“I trust no one else with this! You will succeed and return to Alpha, and when you return you will take the final test. This way we have an excuse for your… reluctance to finish the final exam.”

Two small discs fly into his hand, and he hands one to me. “This one is programmed with my brainwaves. You will use it when you have succeeded. I will keep the second here, so I can contact you… if need be.”
I sense the implied threat in his words and bow my head. “Yes, father. As you command.”
If pure evil exists in this universe, it’s sitting next to me, and I am this monster’s son. What does that make me?
I glance at the hologram of Earth above me. It’s a beautiful planet.
He’s sentenced billions of humans to die, but can I carry out the punishment?

About the Book

Fate and destiny clash in the explosive, heart-pounding conclusion to the award-winning Chosen series.
~~~~~
Survival is not enough.
Alliances will be formed.
Loyalties tested.
A choice made.
My name is Juliet Wildfire Stone and I’m not just a Chosen, I’m the Alpha… and the fate of Earth rests in my hands.
When I finally met the Prime Elector, he wasn’t anything like I expected. He was supposed to be our mortal enemy, a monster I needed to destroy to fulfill my destiny, yet he was nothing like that—he’s young, brilliant, and looks like an angel.
Caught in the middle of a conflict between two ancient foes, which threatens to rip Earth apart, I must do what is right at all costs. To choose my fate, and Earth’s future, I will need to navigate a new path, form unlikely alliances, and solve ancient mysteries forgotten for centuries.
Yet I cannot do it alone. Will the other Chosen follow me? Do I have the strength to make the right choice, or will the people of Earth be enslaved for all time?
 

 

 

amazon.com

About the Authors

Jeff Altabef is an award-winning author who lives in New York with his wife, two daughters, and Charlie the dog. He spends time volunteering at the writing center in the local community college. After years of being accused of “telling stories,” he thought he would make it official. He writes in both the thriller and young adult genres.
Jeff is very happy and proud that his co-author for the Chosen Series is his teenaged daughter, Erynn Altabef. Wind Catcher, the first in the Chosen Series, has won the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal for Coming of Age Novels, the 2015 Beverly Hills Book Award for Best YA Fiction and a Mom’s Choice Award.
As an avid Knicks fan, Jeff is prone to long periods of melancholy during hoops season. Jeff has a column on The Examiner focused on writing and a blog designed to encourage writing by those who like telling stories.

Connect with Jeff on his website,
Facebook, Twitter, <a href=" http://www.jeffaltabef.com/newsletter/.

Erynn Altabef is an avid reader, dancer, and community activist. Some of her favorite authors are Veronica Roth, Joelle Charbonneau, and her dad! (That would be Jeff Altabef.) She just started her freshman year at Connecticut College is proud to be a camel!!!

Connect with Erynn on Facebook.

Release Blitz: Flying Free by Abigail Davies

~*RELEASE BLITZ*~
Title: Flying Free
Author: Abigail Davies
Photog: Eric Battershell
Model: Garrick Murdie
Release Date: October 3, 2016

Goodreads:
Buy Link: ( #FREE on #KU )
Synopsis:
One… Two… Three…

I’m a prisoner in my own mind.

Four… Five… Six… 

The painful memories hold me captive.

Seven… Eight… Nine…

He turned me into this, leaving my body riddled with scars.

Ten… Eleven… Twelve…

I don’t want to be this person anymore.

Thirteen… Fourteen… Fifteen…

I want to be free.

Sixteen… Seventeen… Eighteen…

But I’m afraid that I’ll never be.

Nineteen… Twenty…. Twenty-One…

I’ll ever be good enough.

Twenty-Two… Twenty-Three… Twenty-Four…

Never be normal.

Twenty-Five… Twenty-Six… Twenty-Seven…

There’s only one good memory scattered with all the painful ones.

Twenty-Eight… Twenty-Nine… Thirty…

My savior… My hero… Corey. 

Author
Bio:
New Adult and Contemporary romance author
Abigail Davies grew up with a passion for words, story telling and anything
pink. Dreaming up characters and talking to them out loud is a daily occurrence
for Abigail. She finds it fascinating how a whole world can be built with words
alone, and how everyone reads a story differently. Now following her dreams of
writing, Abigail has set out on the crazy journey of being an author. When
she’s not writing, she’s a mother to two daughters, who she encourages to use
their imagination, as she believes that it’s a magical thing. Abigail loves to
get lost in a good book and is rarely far away from her kindle.
 

Author Links: 

Cover Reveal: Flying Free by Abigail Davies

~* COVER REVEAL & PRE-ORDER BLITZ*~
Title: Flying Free
Author: Abigail Davies
Series: Spin off for MAC Security
Cover Model: Garrick Murdie
Photographer: Eric Battershell
Release Date: October 3rd, 2016
Goodreads:
PRE-ORDER LINKS: 99c!!
Synopsis:
BLURB
One…
Two… Three…
I’m a prisoner in my own mind.
Four…
Five… Six…
The painful memories hold me captive.
Seven…
Eight… Nine…
He turned me into this, leaving my body riddled with scars.
Ten…
Eleven… Twelve…
I don’t want to be this person anymore.
Thirteen…
Fourteen… Fifteen…
I want to be free.
Sixteen…
Seventeen… Eighteen…
But I’m afraid that I’ll never be.
Nineteen…
Twenty…. Twenty-One…
I’ll ever be good enough.
Twenty-Two…
Twenty-Three… Twenty-Four…
Never be normal.
Twenty-Five…
Twenty-Six… Twenty-Seven…
There’s only one good memory scattered with all the painful ones.
Twenty-Eight…
Twenty-Nine… Thirty…
My savior… My hero… Corey.
Author Bio:
New Adult and Contemporary romance author Abigail Davies grew up with a
passion for words, story telling and anything pink. Dreaming up characters and
talking to them out loud is a daily occurrence for Abigail. She finds it
fascinating how a whole world can be built with words alone, and how everyone
reads a story differently. Now following her dreams of writing, Abigail has set
out on the crazy journey of being an author. When she’s not writing, she’s a
mother to two daughters, who she encourages to use their imagination, as she
believes that it’s a magical thing. Abigail loves to get lost in a good book
and is rarely far away from her kindle.
Author
Links:

Cover Reveal: Meddling with Murder by Ellie Campbell

Meddling With Murder by Ellie Campbell
Pages: 350
Series: Crouch End Confidential
Publisher: Across the Pond
Release Date: 9th April 2016
Genre: Cozy Mystery


Blurb:



Crouch End Confidential, the agency started by
housewife, Cathy O’Farrell, with ex-cleaner Pimple, is failing badly. Hardly
surprising when their only clients are little old ladies seeking lost pets.
Until the strange case of the missing dog…




Soon Cathy’s multiple problems include stolen bikes, a
possible murder weapon, the sabotage of her friends’ new shop, drug-dealing
yobbos targeting her children’s primary school and being forced to pose as the world’s
most inept maths tutor. Worse, best friend Rosa hires her to investigate fiancé
Alec and – horrors – Cathy’s husband Declan is intent on moving himself, Cathy
and kids to the safer climes of rural Norfolk. Suddenly Cathy is endangering
her marriage, friendships and her life to untangle these messes. But
that’s what you get for meddling with murder…


 Add-To-Goodreads: Meddling With Murder by Ellie Campbell

Preorder:

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

What the fudge?
The branch creaks alarmingly as I test
my weight against it. For a second I think it might snap but then my foot slips
and we part company anyway. Bark scrapes another layer off my grazed skin and
to my horror I find myself tipping backwards, falling, falling…
Far beneath me my daughter Sophie gives
an unwitting squeal, Henrietta’s twins shriek in unison and I hear son Josh
call out ‘Mummeeee!’ when as much by luck as design my left arm catches a
forked limb long enough for me to grasp it and come to a bone-jolting,
shoulder-wrenching stop. Sweat drips down my body, my knees shake
uncontrollably and something’s poking between my ribs like a sharpened spear,
causing an actual hole through clothes into flesh.
Dangling, I somehow hook one leg round
the main trunk and cling there like my life depends on it. Which, for the
record, it does.
‘Hang on, Mum!’ Sophie yells for perhaps
the fifteenth time. She’d wanted to climb up here but I’d told her it was too
dangerous. When will I listen to my own advice?
I stop panting long enough to call down.
‘I’m OK, sweetheart. Perfectly safe.’ How long since I last clambered up a
tree? Me, an overweight, unfit middle-aged, mother-of-two in not so skinny jeans.
And what did I promise my family – that I’d avoid potentially risky situations?
That any cases I took on would absolutely not involve capturing murderers or
exposing criminals? Not that our patch of North London known as Crouch End is
inundated with killings, just that I’ve somehow succeeded in entangling myself
with two in the last eighteen months. And now the simplest of mundane jobs has
turned an everyday school drop-off into what could possibly be my final
farewell.
A terrified glance below shows Sophie
clutching on to her younger brother’s arm, their long-standing feud forgotten
as they contemplate their mother’s plight. Lauren, Henrietta’s eldest by two
seconds, is hopping from foot to foot, pale with anxiety while her sister’s
nervously studying her watch. I wonder what’s upsetting them most – the thought
of Aunty Cathy’s untimely demise or being late for class. Yet again.
Three feet above me, inches from reach,
a tortoiseshell cat stares down with baleful yellow eyes. I hold out a coaxing
hand. ‘Here, Fluffy. C’mon, kitty. Pishhh whishh.’
Disregarding me entirely, he licks his
paw before stalking further out, balancing on a twig, with the arrogant grace
of a tightrope walker. Oh how I wish I’d ignored him when I saw that
distinctive white-tipped tail swagger across the zebra crossing. But I’d spent
weeks scouring backyards, crawling on hands and knees, peeking under parked
cars, over hedges, listening to sweet old Mrs Thompson choke back sobs as I
admitted failure.
I’m gathering my courage and strength to
scale higher when my mobile rings. I wedge my bum into a crevice between branch
and tree, tighten my hold and, with a few contortions worthy of the great
Houdini, extract my phone from my pocket to peer at the screen.
Caller’s number withheld. Should I
answer it?
Am I in any position to answer it?
Could be urgent.
‘Hello?’ I venture.
‘Is this…?’ A woman. Middle-aged at a
guess, posh sounding. She drops to a muted whisper so low I have to crane to
hear. ‘The HP…um…WS…um…thingy?’
Several months back I’d been donated
this money, you see, ten thousand pounds, which was kind of hot, but gone cold.
Semi-illegal – not to be returned. Brilliant timing as my husband, Declan, had
recently re-evaluated what he wanted from life: Rhode Island Reds and a less pressurised
career, I’d been suspended from work and my house cleaner, Pimple, was tired of
domestic duties. I was thinking maybe it’s time I should do some soul-searching. So we, as in Pimple and myself,
decided to start up a business.
‘That’s right,’ I say briskly, with
enough softness to encourage conversation. ‘The H.P.W.W.O.C.S. Helping People
Who Would Otherwise Commit Suicide. Or even H.P.W.M.O.C.S. – People Who Might
Otherwise…but we’re called Crouch End Confidential now.’ Impromptu market
research among friends had ended up with tongue-tied repetitions and lots of
‘You whats?’
We’d originally substituted the would for might, because after all, how can one predict who’ll kill
themselves? Some people threaten it with no intention of going through with it
and others, not a word and then boom – lives are devastated. Then there’s those
who talk about it all the time and no one gives a hoot because they’re labelled
attention-seekers and before you can say boom again – they carry out what
they’d always said they’d carry out.
‘But you are that organisation? The ones
who help with, uh difficult problems, like er…’
‘Lost pets?’ I finish for her, looking
up again at Fluffy. ‘Yes, we do a fair amount of those.’ Far more than
intended. ‘What kind do you have?’
‘Well, I-I…’ She seems at a loss.
‘Only—’
A strange wailing fills the morning air.
At first I think it’s the cat, but it’s clearly a siren, volume increasing as
it draws closer. Exceptionally loud now. Anyone would think it—
‘Is that the police?’ There’s a fearful
edge to the woman’s voice. Or perhaps she’s merely anxious to be heard over the
noise.
I glimpse through the branches, hearing
cotton rip as I lean forward. A huge red vehicle’s speeding this way, lights
blazing.
‘Fire engine,’ I report back. ‘Can’t see
smoke but it must be nearby. They’re slowing down. They’re—’
Stopping right beside the kids…
What the blazes?
Sophie’s small face gazes up at me,
expression distraught in the strobe lighting, finger pointing in my direction.
‘PERHAPS I’D…’ I find I’m screaming into
the phone as the siren abruptly cuts out. I turn away from the cluster of
grinning helmeted and booted firemen assembling at the foot of the tree as
someone cranks up the ladder. Fluffy takes one look, turns tail and bolts down
the other side. I modulate my voice to more professional tones. Perhaps I’d
better ring you back I’m about to suggest politely, but too late. She’s gone.
***
‘Calling Cathy O’Farrell. Hello? Can you read me?’
‘Yes, I’m here.’ I swiftly hide the nail
polish, climb into my swivel chair and wire myself up to the Skype headset.
‘Where exactly, lovey?’ Pimple’s
bespectacled eyes scan the computer screen. They travel left and right, until
they finally focus on where I’m now perched facing the webcam, sporting a big
beaming smile. ‘Found you. Hang on a jiffy.’
She ducks down, sits back seconds later
clutching a wide-toothed comb and starts tugging vigorously at her tight curls,
turning them into a helmet of grey frizz.
‘That’s better.’ She drops out of sight
again, emerging with pencil in hand. ‘Now update on yesterday?’ She licks the
lead tip.
My business partner, former cleaning
lady and long-time friend. I both love and hate her enthusiasm for news. Love
that she’s still interested in our work even though she’s travelling the globe
on that luxurious cruise ship. Hate that I’ve nothing of interest to convey and
am very likely letting her down, business-wise.
‘Shouldn’t you be in bed?’ I say, having
lost track of the various time zones she’s travelled through.
‘Gosh, no. It’s only just gone
midnight,’ she says cheerfully. ‘I’ve a card game booked in an hour and then
I’m off to the casino. Thought we might have a catch-up in between.’
‘OK,’ I say, reluctantly clicking onto
my spreadsheet. ‘You remember that petrol station cashier with the lost
tomcat?’
‘Sure do. How’s that going?’
‘Good. We fitted him with a tracking
collar. Discovered he not only had two homes but three. All the owners met for
coffee. Arranged a feeding rota. She was very grateful.’
‘How grateful?’
I scroll through the columns – last on
the right – Income. ‘Oh Pimple, I just couldn’t ask her to cough up.’ I drop my
head in shame and twist the headphone wire round and round my finger until it
turns bright pink at the tip. ‘She was skint, stony broke. Only got the cashier’s
job recently. Five kids to feed as well as the cat and still claiming benefits.
And that’s what the fund’s about isn’t it, helping those in trouble?’
‘But Cathy, we’re meant to be running a
viable concern here,’ she says. ‘Fair do’s, we agreed to support a few charity
cases, but we need paying ourselves at some stage.’
‘I know.’ I’m totally feeble at fee
chasing. ‘Oh but I did find Fluffy this morning. Owned by Mrs Thompson.’
‘Pensioner. Harringay Ladder.’
‘That’s right.’ I’m always amazed by her
memory for detail.
‘Marvellous. We got paid for that then,
yes?’
I groan. ‘I was going to charge her, I
swear. But then she pulled out this ancient threadbare purse—’
‘Phooey!’ she scoffs. ‘Oldest trick in
the book, that one. Bringing out the ancient threadbare purse. You’ll need to
wise up, Cath. Those houses on the Ladder are worth a bomb. What else?’ Her
pencil’s poised above her pad.
I run through our list of jobs, which
takes precisely three minutes as apart from our two ex-clients, there’s only
the newsagent who contacted me yesterday to ask if we’d investigate who’d been
stealing his papers and a schoolkid called Ben who’d rung Monday to say his new
mountain bike had been nicked and the police weren’t doing anything about it.
I’d asked him to wait a few days and if
no joy to call back.
‘That’s it?’ She wrinkles her brow.
‘For now.’
‘Looks like I’ll need a new mop when I
get home, after all.’ She lets out a sigh that sounds like a steamship in heavy
fog.
Worse thing is she probably will.
Money’s haemorrhaging faster than I can spell the word. We had to invest in the
computer because mine was horrendously slow. Then there was the cost of
stationery, surveillance equipment, etc. – all the paraphernalia needed in
setting up. At least office space is free. We’re based in Pimple’s Edwardian
semi-detached home, couple of miles down the road from Crouch End. Seemed daft
forking out when she had a spare room – perfect to shove two desks in. It’s
where I am now.
‘Oh I’m sure that won’t—’ I stop.
Because there’s a ploppy sound and she disappears into the ether, like Endora
from Bewitched.
I wait a few seconds, see if she’ll
reconnect, but nothing. No need to call back. We’ve both said what we had to.
The phone, the one all prospective clients are meant to call, is staring at me
accusingly.
I pick it up. Check it’s still working.
Could be a fault and hundreds of sad souls have been trying to connect. Crying
out for help.
I listen a second. Strong, healthy brrr.
Damn.
***
By the time I turn into our drive around five
thirty, I’m bushed. Rest of the afternoon had been spent clearing up the
newsagent’s problem. I’d arrived at his shop, introduced myself, politely
listened to his plans for an elaborate stake-out and then suggested we first
have a good delve around the shop floor, back room and the flat above. Bingo.
Turned out, his elderly widowed mum was nicking the papers and hiding them
under her bed. Early signs of dementia at a guess but at least that’s that one
solved. For us anyway. Frankly it was too bloody efficient. Less than an hour’s
work but the poor guy’s got a long hard journey ahead. How could I possibly
charge him?
On the other hand, I scold my
ineffectual self, I need to toughen up. Do I really want to start again on a
job-search?
I hang up my jacket by the porch and
trudge through to the kitchen.
Declan’s standing over a saucepan which
is bubbling away on the six-ringed range cooker which dominates our good-sized,
somewhat country-style, kitchen. A heavenly tomato-ey aroma permeates the air.
Everything’s worked out great for him. He’s ridiculously happy with his new
postman’s job. Has to leave home at five a.m., but he’s always been an early
riser so never minds. Gets bags of exercise on his assigned pushbike, and he
finishes mid-afternoon, in time for the school run. Never mind that it pays
half what he earned before. It’s the quality of life that counts, right?
Plus, best part, I have dinner waiting
for me every weekday evening. All those years of wedded bliss with me muddling
along, running out of recipes and not really being faffed and now he’s
completely taken charge of the cooking. Wondrous.
I put my nose in the air and sniff.
‘Mmm. Smells delicious. You do know I’m out later?’
‘Wednesday
Once Weekly girls’ night. How could I forget?’ He turns to peck my cheek.
‘Thought I’d make a big stew anyhow. We can eat some over the next few days and
freeze the rest. Much more economical. Talking of which…’ He opens the fridge,
pulls out a used cardboard carton and lifts the lid with a cheesy grin. Five brown
eggs, still with a few feathers attached, smaller than shop-bought but hey.
‘Ta-dah. Even Pocahontas delivered. Fresh, free range, and best of all free.’
He always says this and I always tut and
do an exaggerated who-gives-a-monkey’s shrug. Not that I’m averse to owning
chickens. Can be rather relaxing squatting outside their coop, watching them
scratch the earth and vie for pecking order. And Josh and Sophie wake
themselves up early each morning to see which hen’s laid what, which is a heck
of a lot better than me screeching at them to get out of bed. Plus free
anything’s great with my almost non-existent wages, but I don’t like admitting
it, because he bought them without consulting me – his wife. Then again, at
that time, he was acting weird and buying other things without consulting me
too. Like our super-expensive oven, which we’re still paying off. Male
menopause, my insurance broker reckoned. But we’re over that. Back on an even
keel. Perhaps not financially but definitely hormonally speaking.
‘Where’s the kids?’ I slump onto a chair
and watch him stirring, tasting, stirring again.
‘Upstairs. Sophie’s watching TV. Josh is
on the Xbox, where else. He’s done his spelling homework, though he needs help
with reading later.’
‘OK, I’ll cover that.’
I watch him as he adds a spoonful of
paprika, dash of Worcestershire sauce then a variety of fresh and dried herbs.
He’s tall, few inches over six foot, gingery-brown hair, blue eyes. Irish born
and bred, although you’d never believe it from his London accent. His body’s
still good for his forty-three years. Actually, tell a lie, his body’s
fabulous, but that’s only because he gets to spend afternoons in the gym while
I’m slogging away in my office.
We’ve been married a little over eleven
years. Not saying there’s been no ups and downs in that time, but the ups far
exceed the downs. My friends all consider him Mr Wonderful and sometimes I do
too, even though I maybe don’t say it often enough.
***
‘So how was the gossip at the school gates this
afternoon?’ I ask.
Just after eight and I’m sitting back at
the kitchen table, now set for one sole diner, after doing the
bath-bed-book-lights-out routine. Declan’s preparing a salad and I’m enjoying a
quick cuppa before heading off.
‘Drugs,’ he says, dicing a carrot.
‘Who’s on drugs?’
‘Feral youths supposedly.’
‘So what’s new?’
‘That.’ He nods at a letter on the
sideboard behind him.
I pick it up and begin silently reading.
Dear parent…
‘Says there,’ he starts chopping up tiny
cherry tomatoes into even tinier quarters, ‘two teenagers were spotted hanging
around Princes Road Primary. Offered a pupil some substance. Guess which one?’
I can’t imagine. Love my kids’ school
but they’re famous for blowing the slightest unsettling ripple into a tsunami
of alarm.
‘No, stop. Let me think.’ I hold my hand
up and screw my forehead in concentration. ‘Heroin? Ketamine? Miu Miu?’
‘Meow meow, you mean. Miu Miu’s an
Italian designer, but I wasn’t meaning which drug, I was meaning pupil.’
‘No idea.’
‘Pip Henfield.’
‘Sheryl’s Pip?’
‘Yep, and William was with him.’ He
tosses the tomatoes into a bowl, adding a drizzle of olive oil.
That confirms it. ‘My oh my. Knowing
that family, I’ll bet it was something hideously toxic – like a Diet Coke. Or a
powdered doughnut.’ I’m not too familiar with Pip, but I’ve seen him around,
being the elder brother of Josh’s ex best friend, William. Once inseparable
they’ve recently gone their separate ways, or rather Josh dumped William for
another classmate. Slightly mortifying because I often bump into William’s mum
at morning drop-off. Truth be told, though, if someone’s heart had to break
over an early bromance, then I’d rather it wasn’t my kid’s.
‘School’s taking it seriously. Pip ran
back in and told his teacher.’
‘Of course they are.’ I scan greedily
through the rest of the letter but the details are amazingly vague. ‘They’ve
got to, don’t they, to protect themselves. Besides Sheryl’s running the PSA.
And the way that woman overreacts, it ought to be the drama club. Remember when
she saw Custard lick William’s mouth and went into hysterics about intestinal
worms, giardia and rabies injections? And then when I’d finally calmed her down
and convinced her the poor dog had barely made contact and not to call an
ambulance, William piped up, “It’s OK, Mummy. He does it every time.” I’m sure
Sheryl was gloating like a goat.’
‘Too right she was.’ He fetches a
cucumber from the fridge and slices it into paper thin layers. ‘Holding court
when I arrived. Gaggle of parents hanging on her every word.’
I tap the letter in my hand. ‘Says here
that we should keep vigilant. Talk to our kids.’
‘And so we must. They’re guarding the
gates at pick-up time. The teachers rushed out but the “yobbos”, as Sheryl
called them, had disappeared by then and there was nothing on CCTV.’ He digs
his fingers into an iceberg lettuce and expertly tears it apart. ‘Becoming
worse round here for sure. Honestly, I feel sorry for Josh and Sophie. Probably
have better survival chances with a pack of ravenous wolves than inner cities
today. Drugs at primary school, vandalism everywhere, fourteen-year-old
pregnancies. And that’s without random crazies, potential terrorism and the
local crime…’
Is it my imagination or does a cold wind
suddenly whistle through the kitchen?
‘They love it here. And they’re a darn
sight better adjusted than William and Pip, with their allergen-free,
sugar-free, gluten-free cotton wool existence.’
‘You might be right.’ He opens a bottle
and pours himself a rare glass of wine. I mean rare for him, that is, rather
than vintage. For an Irishman his alcohol intake is shockingly moderate. ‘So
how was your day?’ He eyes me shrewdly. ‘Any more enquiries? Prospective
clients?’
‘One, but the caller got cut off.’ I
feel obliged to sound a bit more positive. ‘Terrible line but she was definitely
interested. Sounded right up our alley.’
‘Uneventful otherwise?’
‘Pretty much. Managed to close a couple
of cases.’ Hopefully he’ll assume that means money in the bank.
‘Good for you. Hang on a second, what’s
that?’ He leans towards me and begins tugging at my hair, emerging with a tiny
twig between his fingers.
‘Thanks.’ I take it from him. ‘Very
blowy outside today. Oh what’s that?’ I pick up a magazine lying on the Welsh
dresser and leaf through pages of bucolic landscapes, slightly uneasy at the way
he’s watching me – kind of sideways, mouth quirking.
‘Got dropped through the letterbox.’ He
brings the saucepan over to the table and ladles a portion onto his plate.
‘Advertising houseboats. Miles cheaper than conventional houses.’
I put the magazine down. ‘No wonder.
Who’d want to live on a leaky old barge with no room to swing a cat?’
‘Speaking of cats,’ he’s still wearing
that weird expression, ‘not seen any lurking around lately, have we?’
‘Well, there’s doubtless loads lurking
around.’ I stand up so I can avoid his eyes, grab a dessert spoon from the
drawer and dip it into the bubbling mixture. ‘They say you’re never more than
six feet from one in London.’
‘Isn’t that rats?’ He laughs.
‘Rats too.’ I blow fast at my spoon,
like a silent flautist. ‘Stands to reason, where’s there’s rats there’ll be
cats. Supplement their Whiskas.’
‘Only…that was the other thing parents
were chattering about. Fire brigade had to rescue a mum who’d chased some cat
up a tree. All on YouTube. Children arrived at class forty-five minutes late.’
‘Talking about being late…’ I leap up,
pointing at the oven clock. ‘Holy Christ, is it really quarter past? Meant to
be meeting the girls at eight thirty. I’ll never
be ready in time.’

Preorder:

Meet the Author:

Ellie Campbell is a pseudonym
for sisters, Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell, who write together from their
respective homes in Surrey, England (Pam) and Colorado, USA (Lorraine). After
years of selling short stories independently, they began their Ellie Campbell collaboration
with a first novel, How To Survive Your Sisters, followed by When Good Friends
Go Bad, Looking For La La, To Catch A Creeper and Million Dollar Question. They
write contemporary women’s fiction laced with humour, romance, and mystery.
Meddling With Murder is their 6th novel and follows Looking For La La and To
Catch A Creeper in the funny, cozy ‘Crouch End Confidential’ mystery series.
 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/EllieCampbell

Giveaway:

Prize: 10 Ebooks of Meddling With Murder by Ellie Campbell.
Ends 3/3/16 
Open worldwide to those who can legally enter. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Njkinny from Njkinny Tours & Promotions and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Blog Tour & Cover Reveal: Trusting Love by Kacey Hamford

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¸.•*¨)


(¸.•´ (¸.•
COVER REVEAL

Title: Trusting Love
Series: South Coast Brothers MC #3
Author: Kacey Hamford
Release Date: Feb 27th

Goodreads:

Synopsis:
The things I wanted most out of life
were the things I’d never had.
To be loved and to be wanted. I was so close to having just that until I lost
my unborn son, the one person who could give me all that, my life.
Since then my world has been a downward spiral. Until a certain Vice President
piqued my interest but I can’t do it, I can’t trust in love again. Can I?

My focus in life was my club and my brothers, they were all I needed. I didn’t
have an interest in an Old Lady.
Well that was until my eyes connected with her pain filled ones and I
fell.
Now I need for her to believe she is worth it, I will make her trust in our
love if it’s the last thing I do.

OTHER BOOKS IN THE
SERIES:

Devon Destroyers
MC

Cornish Crusaders
MC

Blog Tour: Crusaders MC Series by L. Grubb

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(¸.•´ (¸.•` BLOG TOUR


Series: Crusaders
MC
Author: L. Grubb
Cover Models:
Bailey Lee and Tara O’Leoghain
Cover Designer:
Clarissa Wild
ALL BOOKS ARE 99C
FOR ONE WEEK ONLY!!!!
An Honest Mistake:

Synopsis:
Ever since Alexis Newman was young, she knew her path in life, but to
get to the top you have to start from the bottom. With no man in her life, she
sets out with her best friend to dance her frustrations away.

Catching the eye of the crusaders MC resident
assassin was definitely not in her life plans.

Cobra is not the type of alpha you read about,
he’s not romantic, he doesn’t date, he doesn’t care. His life is all about
protecting his club, doing whatever necessary. That all changes when he spots
her across the club. She sparks something in him. Ice cold Cobra starts
wondering whether he can have a happily ever after but at what cost?

Setting his sight on love was not in his life plan.

With war brewing between the crusaders and their
rivals, the hell riders, there is danger lurking around every corner. Will
Cobra bring Alexis to the dark side? Or walk away forever?

Will Alexis give up her perfect life plan for an
unknown future?

Decision time. Head or heart? Life, love or death?

Goodreads:
Buy Links:
The Last Betrayal:
Synopsis:

Prologue.

I was unglued. Completely unhinged to the point of flipping everyone off and
saying fuck this shit, packing my stuff and riding across the country where
no-one can find me.

My heart feels like it’s bleeding wrong, pumping blood in the wrong direction.
Cracked and shattered, it would take a lifetime to repair.

I may have known Lauren just a few months but she flew in, wreaking havoc with
her bubbly persona, latching onto me like I was her Goddamn lifeline.

It was all fucking crap. It was just a bit of fun for her, she told everyone,
wasn’t ready to settle down with the white picket fence and 2.5 kids. Did I ask
for that shit? Hell to the fucking no. Never once did I mention I wanted all
that. I just wanted her, as she was, but mine; only mine.

She broke me. Big bad biker dude and she fucking broke me.

My name’s Champ and it’s my turn to fucking talk.

Goodreads:
Buy Links:
Champ & Lauren

Synopsis:

Lauren
and Champ have a life set up, ready to settle down together as a unit. But with
Christmas around the corner, and danger lurking in the background, will
Christmas be one to celebrate? Or will heartbreak and despair take over?
A Mafia drug lord is making himself known to small MC club, LA
Rebels. But with not enough man power to handle such a fuck up, will the
Crusaders cruise in to save the day?
The turn of events isn’t what Lauren expected, she’s frustrated
with lack of communication between her and her man, will she stay with Champ or
will she finally give in and walk away? Will she be able to cope with the
devastation that is upon them?
Goodreads:
Buy Links:
About The Author:

Lucii
is a your typical British girl, hates the sun and hibernates when summer
arrives! She lives at home with her 3 year old daughter, where they spend the
day watching Frozen and playing playdoh.
She started off as a regular person, job, home life, health
issues and a love of reading. After reading the Fifty shade phenomenon, she
went onto social media to seek other authors writing the same or similar
genres. She entered a world she didn’t know existed and went to open a
successful blog.
Inspiring dreams took a back burner, while she learned the book
community and met a bunch of amazing authors and readers alike.
A year later she decided to start writing, hoping against hope
that her friends and fellow readers will like what she brings to the table.

Launch Day Blitz: Taking the Lead by Cecilia Tan

No-Brainer

No-Brainer

Taking the Lead

TAKING THE LEAD by Cecilia Tan (January 26, 2016; Forever Trade Paperback; Secrets of a Rock Star #1)

When the rich and famous come out to play, nothing is off-limits . . .
Everyone knows Ricki Hamilton as the icy heiress living in a billion-dollar mansion, high up in the Hollywood Hills. But few realize that behind the gilded gates, Ricki is the mistress of LA’s most exclusive private club. A place where no fantasy is forbidden and no one goes unsatisfied-except for Ricki. If she had her way, she’d leave the business behind . . . until she meets the one man with the power to change her mind.

The hottest rock star in the world, Axel Hawke, has the requisite sexy look and bad-boy reputation. Yet even his biggest fans have no clue just how decadently dangerous he can be. From the moment he meets Ricki, he knows there is no other woman who will satisfy him. He can feel the heat hiding beneath her cool demeanor and he’s determined to stoke her flame. Together Ricki and Axel indulge their every desire. The deeper they go, the more she craves. Submitting to Axel opens her eyes, and for the first time Ricki knows exactly what she wants. All she has to do is take it . . .

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And don’t miss WILD LICKS, book two in the Secrets of a Rock Star series, on sale August 2, 2016!

Gwen Hamilton’s family is Hollywood royalty—and they have a family secret. She and her sister are the heirs to a secret BDSM club. Gwen thought it would be difficult adjusting to her surprise inheritance, but soon she finds the environment more liberating and carnal than anything she’s ever experienced. She’s dying to try out the ropes but is struggling to accept the idea of a having a dominant…until she meets sexy guitarist Mal Kennealy. The brooding rock star is everything Gwen thought she didn’t want. But with each seductive command, Gwen starts to realize that being bound to Mal could mean fulfilling her heart’s deepest desires…

Buy the book!

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About the author:  No-Brainer

Cecilia Tan writes about her many passions, from erotic fantasy to baseball. Not only is she an author, but she has also edited over 50 erotic anthologies and founded her own publishing house, Circlet Press. In 2015, Tan was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in erotic romance. She currently resides in Cambridge, MA.

Connect with the author!  

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

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Release Blitz: Nothing Else Matters by Blair Babylon

Brand-new New Adult Rock Star Romance
from USA Today-Bestselling Author Blair Babylon!
The nail-biting conclusion to the Billionaires in Disguise: Georgie and Xan series
Nothing Else Matters
explores the depths of the heart and the healing power of love.
Release: October 27, 2015
Georgie broke up with Xan Valentine, the lead singer for the rock band Killer Valentine, the guy that Rolling Stone calls “sex incarnate.” The magazine isn’t wrong, but they don’t know the half of it. He’s the alpha-est male who ever walked onto a stage or into a bedroom and might be crazy, and Georgie is definitely in love with him. Plus, he hired her ex-boyfriend, her first “real” boyfriend, to play in the band, and now she’s stuck between them.
So she tried to leave. That’s what any sane girl would do.
And just as she feared, the Russian mafia kidnapped her.
She prays that Xan won’t try to rescue her because they said they’ll kill him. But she knows he will, even if it costs him everything.
Nothing Else Matters is the final book in the Georgie and Xan series.
Haven’t read the first one yet?
Get Every Breath You Take (Book 1) Here:
Excerpt from Nothing Else Matters
Georgie pushed the door open and found Alexandre sitting on the bed, his good arm resting across his bent knees. He was wearing his jeans, but he had on a blue hospital gown instead of a shirt. His hair was escaping his ponytail, blond strands of it glinting in the fading sunlight streaming in the long windows. His hurt arm rested in his lap behind his knees.
     He said, “Sorry about making you the fetch-andcarry girl.”
     “It’s fine. I don’t mind.” Georgie pulled the drape that cordoned off the door to the private room and scooted onto the foot of his bed, careful not to jostle the mattress too much under her legs.
     “Are you going to wear your jeans again?” he asked. His weak smile worried her. “It’s considered déclassé to not change into yet another designer outfit for the reception. Perhaps your black jeans?”
     “I have a dress that Flicka brought for me,” she told him. “It’s red.”
     “Too bad you don’t have that black dress with the silver chains from their civil wedding. It looked smashing on you.”
     “And on your floor.”
     “Indeed.” His smile grew a little warmer.
     “Are you okay?” she asked.
     He didn’t even glance at his hand, but his quiet voice was just slightly breathy. “I don’t think so.”
     “Is there anything I can do?”
     He shook his head, a slight movement from side to side, but his expression was still so calm.
     “Are you sure that you want to go tonight? We don’t have to. We can just stay in Geneva tonight, if that would be better. I’d stay with you.”
     “It wouldn’t matter. The surgery is scheduled for tomorrow because the best surgeon in Europe is flying in to do it. Going now wouldn’t change anything. A distraction might be welcome.”
     “Well, then. Let’s get this party started,” Georgie said, bracing her arms on her knees to stand and get their clothes.
     He lifted his wrapped arm from his lap where it had been hidden behind his legs and the long part of the hospital gown. Elastic bandages wrapped his forearm and hand down to his fingertips where the ends of a foam and silver splint stuck out of the beige cloth. “I don’t know how I’ll get clothes on over this.”
     Georgie smiled, cocking her head and looking up from the corner of her eyes like she had been very smart. “I called the concierge at the hotel and got sewing supplies. I have scissors and a needle, and white thread for the shirt and black thread for the jacket. I can sew you into it. If they look closely, it might look like Frankenstein,” she admitted. “But if they don’t, the tux should cover most of that.”
     A slow smile grew on his face while she spoke. He said, “That’s amazing.”
     She patted his long, bare foot because it was closest to her. “It’s okay, man. I’ll just grab those garment bags.”
     Georgie slid off the end of the bed and got the garment bags from Friedhelm, who looked entirely relaxed leaning against the wall, pleasantly hanging out with Paul, except that his brown eyes tracked everyone who moved in the long hospital hallway. He had a resting sweet face.
     When she brought the bags back to Alexandre, he was already standing up and was shrugging off the cotton hospital gown, facing her. The cotton slid down his chest and dropped to the floor. She hoisted the bags up and hung them on the curtain track that ran near the ceiling. “Let’s get you dressed first,” she said. “You’ll wrinkle less.”
     “You can wait outside,” he said. “I’ll just be a minute. Then we can sew me in.”
     “Oh, come on. I’ll just help you button up the shirt.” He unbuttoned his jeans with his one hand and shoved them down his long legs. “I don’t need any help.”
     “One last night, okay?”
     “I beg your pardon?” he asked as he sat on the bed and yanked the denim off his foot with one hand.
     “One last night. I’m going to Atlanta tomorrow. Let me help you.”
     “I keep hearing that, but you never leave.”
     “Now you’re daring me,” she said. He pulled the other leg of his jeans off his foot and threw them behind himself on the pillow. He wore blue boxer-briefs that hugged his slim hips and rode below the ripples of his abs. Red-gray bruises stained his skin on his ribs and thighs, mostly on his left side.
     He said, “I am merely commenting on a trend. One that I like.”
     “Well, I’m just saying that you should let me help you because this really is our last night,” she said, trying not to look at the bleeding under his skin. “Don’t push me away, even for a minute, even to just get dressed.”
     “Then don’t go to Atlanta,” he said.
     She ignored him because she ignored the people on the sidewalks of Southwestern State who hollered that little green men were following her, too. Indulging in fantasies was not something that the Ice Princess did.
     She said, “Even now. Even just for a few minutes. Just pretend that I’m helping you so I can stay.”
     He blinked, those lush eyelashes blinking over his dark eyes. “All right.”
     “So we need to get ready for the reception,” she said.
     He nodded, some of his blond hair slipping over his shoulder.
     “Do you want to shower?” she asked.
     He gestured to the splint and bandages on his left hand and shrugged his strong shoulder, pulling up the ripples of muscle along his torso.
     Yeah, his splint and bandages shouldn’t get soggy.
     “I can give you a sponge bath,” Georgie said. “Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do in hospitals?”