“In The Best Interest of the Child” by Felicia Denise #Excerpt #ComingSoon

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*Unedited and subject to revisions

When Olivia exited the elevator heading for her fifth floor office, she didn’t realize she was smiling. Karen from word processing was the first to notice.

“Wow, someone’s in a good mood!” Puzzled, Olivia shook her head and continued on. Peter, who specialized in adoptions, was standing in the door of his office.

“Hey now! Did you get laid last night?”

“Sheffield! Do you mind? Have you had lunch? Was it in a shot glass?” He laughed maniacally as she rounded the corner and nearly collided with Randie, her paralegal. Olivia quickly reached out to catch the files slipping from Randie’s arms.

“I’m so sorry, Randie! Sheffield was giving me a bad time and I…I… well, I walked right into you. Are you okay?” She shuffled the file folders together and handed them to Randie. She accepted the files while giving Olivia a scrutinizing look.

“Did you do something different with your hair? You look different today.” Olivia squeezed her eyes shut, shaking her head.

“Did I walk into an alternate universe? Why is everyone acting so strange and what’s so different about me?”

“It’s not a bad ‘different’, Olivia. It looks good on you.” Sighing, she let it go.

“Thank you, Randie…I think.”

Margo Schultz was simultaneously on the phone and Internet when Olivia passed her desk. She held up a finger to get Olivia’s attention and thrust a handful of files and messages in her direction. Olivia chuckled, knowing she had a full afternoon ahead of her. Entering her office, she quickened her step to her desk where she unceremoniously dumped the stack of paperwork and documents. Closing the west facing blinds to block out of the glare of the afternoon sun, Olivia turned up the air conditioning then plopped into her custom-made office chair. She loved that chair. With an extra high back, extra wide seat, cushioned armrests, and built-in massagers from the lumbar all the way to the neck, she didn’t mind the long hours she sometimes had to spend in it.

Kicking off her shoes under her desk, a glance at her desk clock startled her. 1:15? Had she really spent half the day with her newest client? Thinking back over the morning, Olivia pulled out the notes she’d made at the hospital, then grabbed a fresh legal pad and made notes in three columns – ‘Known’, ‘Unknown’, and ‘???’. Getting Rena an appointment for a psyche eval was a priority. Olivia wasn’t sure if it was consciously or subconsciously, but Rena Averest was holding in an incredible amount of emotions. Pain, loss, fear, and even anger were probably waging war inside her, and not knowing how to deal with them all at the same time, she held them all in. Olivia had seen it too many times. She had lived it too many times.

*** Flashback***
Livvie stared at the wall, willing her tears not to fall. “Oh, sweetie. Please don’t be angry. It will only make you feel worse. Everyone was only thinking of what was best for you”, the nurse cooed. She reached out to touch Livvie’s arm, but stopped short and pulled her hand back. The child met her gaze with defiant glare.

“You wait days to tell me my daddy’s dead, and now days later, you tell me they already had his funeral.”

“Honey, you were so weak, and your social worker said it was best for everyone not to tell you at the time, and just let you get better.”

“What social worker?”

“Your social worker, Mrs. Jenkins.” Livvie’s eyes widened.

“That tall woman with the ugly hair and mean face is my social worker?”

“Livvie! That’s not nice!”

“I only remember seeing her once, and she never looked at me…not one time. I don’t want her to be my social worker!” The nurse sighed heavily.

“Certain decisions have to be made for you right now, Livvie, and since you’re not an adult, the state has to step in and help out.”

“What about my mom?” The nurse looked away and smoothed the bed covers. “She’s still in a coma, isn’t she? And you were not going to tell me.”

Straightening her back and standing to her full height, the nurse’s voice took a firmer tone.

“You have no idea what your body…and your mind have been through, Livvie. As a child, you’re not able to understand how serious this all is.” Livvie pushed herself into a sitting position, wincing from the pain.

“My daddy’s dead, my mom’s in a coma and I have no one. People who don’t even know me get to tell me what to do.” She continued before the nurse could speak. “We don’t have any more family. We only had each other. So strangers buried my daddy, and no one told me. I’m ten and a half, not stupid.” She reached for the child, but Livvie pulled away, wincing again.

“I didn’t even get to say goodbye. My daddy’s gone…and I didn’t get to say goodbye.”

“Livvie, I’m so sorry-…” Ignoring the pain, Livvie turned on her side with her back to the nurse, and spoke barely above a whisper.

“Go away. Just go…away.” Livvie exhaled when she heard the door open, then close. The tears she had fought so hard to hold on to, now wouldn’t come at all. She wanted to scream and cry. She wanted her daddy to run into the room and save her. Instead she felt as if the lump in her throat would choke her.

Livvie massaged her forehead slowly and closed her eyes. “Why did you leave me, daddy? I’m so scared, daddy. I need you.” Livvie felt her legs and back begin to throb and knew someone would come to give her medicine soon to stop the pain. The medicine would make her sleep and she wouldn’t have to talk. That thought made her smile slightly and remember another time when she couldn’t talk. She’d had her tonsils removed two years ago, and despite being able to eat all the ice cream she wanted, she still cried because of the pain. Her daddy sat close to her on the bed and rubbed her back.

“It’s okay to cry, Livvie-Lou, everyone cries. But I’m going to need you to work towards being strong for your dad. Too much crying is not good for your throat and I know you don’t want to go back the hospital. And you know how your mom feels about hospitals.” Livvie opened her eyes suddenly.

No. She had no idea how her mother felt about hospitals.
***End Flashback***

“So are you going to tell me what’s going on?” Olivia jumped at the sound of Margo’s voice.

“What?”

“I’m used to you zoning out and getting lost in your thoughts. I learned long ago that was standard Olivia Chandler. But when you do it right after walking through the office positively glowing, I have to ask why?” Olivia pulled a face and tossed her pen onto the desk.

“What. The. Hell? Why is everyone acting so weird today? Saying I must be in a good mood, I must have gotten laid, I did something different with my hair!” She sat back in the chair and closed her eyes. “You people act like I’m Oscar the Grouch.”

“Oh, you’re a sweetheart and you know it. Your usual demeanor is just a tad more…reserved.” Margo guffawed. She made herself comfortable in one of the overstuffed office chairs across from Olivia.

“You just called me boring, didn’t you?”

“Did you get laid?” Olivia rolled her eyes at her assistant.

“Really? That’s all you got from my rant?” Margo shrugged.

“It was you who taught me to prioritize the details.” They smirked at each other, then laughed. Margo stretched her arms upwards, then laced her hands behind her head. “Sooooo…the details?”

“Margo! No! Did we not talk earlier? I was with our new client. Remember her? An eleven-year-old girl?” Margo acted as though she was pondering an answer.

“Um, that’s true. But, I called you ‘several’ times before you called-…”

“Stop it, Schultz!” Margo tried to suppress her grin.

“Alright. What’s up with our latest little darling?”

“It’s not good, but it could be worse. Eleven-year-old Rena Averest and her parents were involved in that horrible accident on Morrissey Highway back in June. Her mom was killed, and her dad was gravely injured. He broke just about every bone on the left side of his body, had severe internal injuries, suffered brain trauma, and was in a coma for quite some time only recently coming out of it.”

“Damn! And Rena?”

A concussion and several broken bones, including an ankle and hip. Poor thing had a total hip replacement.”

“Oh no!”

“Yeah. And you know as young as she is, there’s the chance of having to have the replacement replaced somewhere done the road. Just depends on how active her life is.”

“And emotionally? Mentally?”

“I am concerned with both. She only mentioned her mom twice and both times were about her death. There’s no “I miss my mommy”, or “Mommy always did this or that”. The only time she mentioned her dad was when we first met, and she thought I was there to tell her he had died. She’s blocking a lot or holding it in. She’s also in a considerable amount of pain, which is definitely distracting.” Margo reached and snagged the legal pad and a pen off the desk.

“Okay, boss lady – what are we doing?”

“Lawrence Metzgar for a psyche eval and Daniel Kilgore for a complete physical, ASAP.” Margo frowned.

“A physical? I can’t remember you ever having one done for an accident victim.”

“I never have. Rena is tall for her age, and appears to have lost quite a bit of weight. Not unusual for what she’s been through, but I’d feel better covering all the bases. She has physical and occupational therapy daily at St. Mary’s. I need copies of her COT and her ELOT.” She pushed several forms across her desk. Margo picked them up and flipped them all over.

“They’re blank.”

“Yep. Ever see that before?”

“Nope. What gives?” Olivia folded her arms and leaned on the desk.

“It doesn’t feel right. I’ve seen Family History forms with one name, first names only, not applicable and deceased. I’ve even seen “alive but we’re not on speaking terms”, but totally blank? That’s intentional. Rena and I were having a reasonably good meeting until I asked her about extended family. She shut down on me. Her mom has a brother back east, but he’s too ill to care for Rena, and she wouldn’t likely get upset at the mention of that. Get Louis on that for us, please, along with complete background checks for Duncan and Irene Averest. I also need Rena’s old medical records from her pediatrician. Daniel is going to need something to compare his findings to. Judge Dennison will sign subpoenas for anything we need.” Olivia stood and began to pace.

“Uh oh. That’s your thinking stance.” Olivia grinned, but did not stop pacing.

“My initial meeting with the Bellamys, Rena’s caregiver family, went well. I didn’t pick up on any signs of deception, they’re genuinely concerned about her, and Rena interacts well with them. It’s obvious there was a well-established family friendship prior to the accident. The Bellamys are also Rena’s godparents, so they must have been pretty close to her parents. They have a nice, well-kept home, and both seem very genuine.” She continued to pace.

“But…”

“They’re not blood relatives, and to my knowledge, there was nothing in writing prior to the accident appointing them guardians.”

“Can the father make that appointment now?” Olivia threw her arms then let them fall to her sides.

“That’s something else I don’t know. I need to meet with him and his doctor to find out his medical and mental state. If he’s not judged competent, we’ll have a fight on our hand with DCS. This could take time, and as you and I both know, DCS could swoop in at any time and take custody of Rena. Once they get her into their system, it will almost take a military coup to get her out.” A mischievous grin slowly spread across Margo’s face.

“You have a plan.”

“Of course I do, but the clock is working against us.” Margo scooted to the edge of her seat.

“What’s the play?” Olivia returned to her chair.

“I still have to complete the Bellamy formal interview, but I don’t see any immediate problems…except their familial responsibilities can, and have changed. Marissa’s mom goes to dialysis three times a week, and while an aunt heals from a small stroke, Marissa is her transportation, not to mention helping them also with their household needs. Rena feels like she’s an added burden to the family. Once I see the Averest insurance and financials, I’m going to see Judge Dennison. He gave this case to me for more than a couple reasons, not the least being he doesn’t want to see this child go into the foster care system. I plan to ask His Honor to let me hire some part time help.”

“Woman, are you nuts? They’re not blood relatives, AND they have to hire help to care for her? DCS will be out for blood!” Olivia leaned back in the chair and crossed her legs.

“How private money is spent is none of DCS’ concern. But just when did I say I was hiring someone to help with Rena? I plan to hire someone to help with her mother and aunt, and while Marissa does not seem like the type of woman to want or need a housekeeper, having someone for a few hours a week to dust, vacuum, and maybe do a load or two of laundry would take a bit of the workload off her. She has more time for Rena, Rena benefits.”

Margo leaned back in her chair. “That’s why it has to be paid for with Averest money and not the county’s. Boss Lady, I’m so glad you use your powers for good!” Olivia laughed easily, but turned serious.

“This child has been through hell. She’s had no time to properly mourn her mother or see and spend time with her father. Her body was battered and bruised and she’s far too young to know the kind of pain she deals with. The very last thing she needs is to have to adjust to a foster family who may or may not care about her and treat with her kindness or compassion. And let’s not forget about the nightmare referred to as DCS. The state made their budget cuts and is passing financial burdens on to counties. It’s only a matter of time before Hennepin County loses more employees, and social workers are always near the top of the cuts list. Keep in mind, these are my plans and this is what I think is best. But I’m not an attorney ad litum, so what I may think is best takes a back seat to what Rena wants.”

“Do you truly believe she wants to go into foster care?”

“No way. But until I’m certain where her head is emotionally and mentally, I won’t try to second guess her. She might feel it’s the thing to do to free the Bellamys from having to take care of her. I’m walking a very narrow path with this one. Did you hear back about the updated docket schedule?”

“Oh yeah. You’re off the hook until Tuesday.”

“Then let’s get to work and make some magic!” Margo stood and headed for the door. She stopped and slowly turned back to her boss.

“Olivia?”

“Yes?”

“Don’t think for one second that we’re not having a discussion about what had you glowing earlier, got it?” Olivia smirked, but silently said a prayer for having someone like Margo in her corner.

“I hear you loud and clear, Miss Marple!”

“The only reason we’re not having that discussion now is,” she took a couple of steps closer, “because this little girl needs us to move our asses and give her our best. And… you have another call you should make first.” Olivia gave her a curious look.

“Just who am I calling?” Her assistant took a deep breath.

“Willis Benson.” Olivia’s face fell.

Why is nothing ever easy?

“Savage” by Kat Austen #BlogTour

 

 

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He’s been alone for years. Marooned on a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, he long ago let go of the pleasantries and mannerisms of civilization. He’s become a savage, driven by instinct and impulse—more animal than man.

Then she washes up on his island, and everything changes. Her survival becomes more important that his. Her needs more essential than his own. Her pleasure more imperative than his.

This woman becomes his whole life. Not because she’s the first woman he’s seen in years, but because she’s the one he’s spent his whole life waiting for.

But will she feel the same? Will she be able to bring the man back from the savage? Or will she bring even more of the savage out of the man?

Either way, this tropical island’s about to get even hotter.

 

 

 

“Make love to me,” I whispered, slowly wrapping one finger at a time around his erection straining through his loincloth. It was the first time he’d let me touch him like this, and feeling his arousal in my palm spurred my own into uncharted territory until I was consumed by my need.
His head fell back when I stroked him. “Right now, after everything”—he spoke as though each word were a chore to utter, his forehead creasing deeper with every slide of my hand—“I couldn’t make love to you the way a woman like you deserves.”
Instead of disappointing me, the prospect of the alternative made my need grow. “Why not?”
His arms fell back, his hands curling into the sand like he was trying to get a good grip as my touch became stronger. “I’ve been alone for years . . .” He thrust his hips when I circled his head with my pinkie. “I’ve been fantasizing about you for weeks . . . I couldn’t make love to you the way you mean.”
I needed to feel him, flesh to flesh—I needed to feel his steel sliding against the soft flesh of my palm. Working the ties of his loincloth free as quickly as I could, I let it fall to the sand, exposing his body.
“Then what would you do to me?” My teeth sank into my lip as my eyes dropped to his manhood. Everything about him was large and male. Every part of him made me feel sick with want. “What have you been fantasizing about?”
Unable to stare without touching any longer, I moved my hand back to his straining cock, drawing a moan from both of us.
“I’ve lived as a savage for years. I’ve lived an existence more animal than human. That’s the way I want to take you.” His eyes clamped closed as I stroked him. “I want to throw you onto all fours, shove between your legs, and fuck you until you can’t walk. I want to come inside you until I can’t come anymore and every last seed in my body is swimming in yours. I want to mate with you. I want to breed you. I want to mount you and make you scream my name while I take your body again, and again”—something dark flashed in his eyes when they opened, his cock throbbing in my hand—“and again.”
I wasn’t sure when I’d stopped breathing, but I had. I was so wet from his words and feeling his cock in my hand that it was running down my legs. “Then what are you waiting for?”  
Glancing at the ground behind me, he lifted his chin. “I’m waiting for you to get on all fours and show me you want the same.”
My nipples hardened at the rumble in his voice. Letting go of his cock, my hands slipped under the shoulders of the coat, slowly letting it fall down my arms. When Grant’s gaze dropped from my face, his throat bobbed as he roamed my chest. As his eyes dropped down my stomach, landing on my pussy, the corners of his eyes creased. I looked down with him, unable to miss the glistening wetness coating my body down there. The ache to feel him moving inside me became too much to bear. Turning around, I slowly lowered onto my hands, digging my knees into the cool sand.
Behind me, Grant’s breaths were ragged as I heard him stir from his position. He didn’t touch me as he moved up behind me, making me feel like I was choking on my heartbeat. “Make sure this is what you want.”
“Why?” I panted, tipping my hips up higher, needing him to sheath himself inside me before I passed out.
“Because once I have you, I’m going to want you again right after. And again right after that.” His palms drilled into the meat of my backside, kneading me roughly. “You give me your body now, you’ll give it to me again. Whenever I ask you to. Whenever I feel my cock stir, it will be your body that sates it.” One of his hands skimmed down my ass, pausing outside of my opening. He grunted when he felt fresh wetness spill from me. “I’ve been patient for a long time. Let me mate with you like the animal I’ve become, and I’ll never be patient again. Are you sure you’re ready for that? Are you sure you know the magnitude of my need?”

 

 

 

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Kat Austen is the secret pen name of a New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author. Kat writes short and steamy reads that leave hearts (and other parts) satisfied.

 

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A Cricket Gave Me Writer’s Block!

Mr Cricket

Not an actual cricket, but an artist’s (ME!) representation. I couldn’t snap a photo because I left my cell on the desk, next to the wall…where the cricket was.

2:40 AM, sitting here writing, minding my OWN business and what “appears” next to me on the wall? A cricket the size of Phoenix! Why are bugs so big in Arizona? Had it been your standard little Michigan-size cricket – no problem! Several pairs of shoes happen to be under my desk. (Don’t judge me.)

But no such luck. This cricket was large enough to register for kindergarten. It heard me gasp, and turned its head to give me a look of disdain.

Oh, really Mr. Cricket? Fine!

Time to wake the mister, who looked at me and jumped out of bed. I may or may not have been mildly hysterical.

Mister: What? What’s wrong, Fle??
Me: *Pointing* In there!!!
Mister: WHAT?
Me: *Still pointing* ON THE WALL!!!

He walks into the room…right up to wall.

Mister: Oh. It’s a cricket. *Looks at ME* How did he get in here?
Me: I don’t know, Dennis…he caught an Uber over for coffee? KILL IT!

Now, you would think after nearly thirty-three years of marriage, I’d know better and kill bugs on my own, but apparently I never learn. Because true to form, Mr. Humanitarian goes ALL THE WAY TO THE KITCHEN to get a bowl and lid. (Because the cricket will jump. *Eye roll*)

He returns, passing me in the hallway…because that’s where I was safe…and proceeds with his plan of ‘catch and release’, and, OF COURSE, the cricket jumps away! I can see it from my strategic vantage point of twenty-five feet away. And, of course, Mr. Cricket jumps BEHIND the desk.

Me: Oh, great! Why didn’t you just smash it?
Mister: Calm down! You could have smashed it too and I’d still be asleep.
Me: Nope.

He’s peering behind the desk like he’s sightseeing. Ugh!

Me: Now you have to kill it!

Without waiting for the snarky comment I know is coming, this time, I go to the kitchen…for the mega-sized bottle of Home Defense, and take it to him. (I was helpful despite my trauma.)

The mister proceeds to spray AROUND the desk like he’s building a force field. Not a bad idea for spiders, but it’s a cricket. They jump. I witnessed it.

Me: Why are you spraying there? Spray BEHIND the desk!
Mister: Do you wanna do it?
Me: Nope.

After soaking the cricket (and the carpet) with enough spray for Michael Phelps to swim through and win yet another gold medal, the mister pronounces the cricket dead.

My spidey-senses may not be as sharp for crickets, but I didn’t feel the calm that comes with bug-death. (However, I was feeling the dizziness that comes from inhaling excessive bug spray fumes.) I walked over to the desk and moved the bulletin board, and there it was! Mr. Cricket trying to schlep away from the scene! Despite the fact the mister was standing right next to me, I felt the need to scream out, “THERE IT IS!!!” Giving me a side-eye glance, the mister started to use the spray, but stopped and instead grabbed one of my black sandals – the cute ones with the crystals across the bridge – and smashed the cricket.

Grabbing the bottle of bug spray, the mister is heading for the door, actually leaving me with a smashed cricket on the floor, and bug slime on my cute black sandals with the crystals across the bridge. I grab a tissue and hold it out to him, and after tossing me ANOTHER side-eye glance (that’s two – I’m keeping count) he picks up the evil, but dead cricket.

But then…THEN…he tries to toss the tissue holding the dead cricket carcass into MY trashcan!!! Dude! Seriously? Did you just meet me? So not happening! With a huff of disgust, he goes to the kitchen to dispose of that…thing. I hear him putting things away while I do a quick reconnaissance to make sure there wasn’t a weekly cricket meeting or cricket family reunion happening, and other vermin are lurking about.

Calmly, (finally) I sit down again and realize I have no clue what I’m supposed to be writing about. There was a scene…a confrontation…many, many words were said…someone was really angry. Geeze, just like that, Mr. Cricket has wiped the scene I was eager to write from my mind. Now I must browse Pinterest and drink large amounts of coffee until the scene plays out in my mind again. Damn cricket!

The mister passes by on his way back to bed, I throw out a cheerful, “Thank you! Good night!” He mumbles something unintelligible under his breath.

Me: Remember, the vow’s said ‘for better or worse’, and there’s nothing worse than bugs!

Mister: Yes, there is. A wife with an irrational fear of bugs!

Irrational? REALLY? The vegetable in today’s dinner just got switched from the corn he loves…to the broccoli he loathes.

How’s that for irrational?

 

“Choosing Happy (Madison Square Series)” by Samatha Harris #CoverReveal

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Book Title: Choosing Happy (Madison Square Series)
Author: Samatha Harris
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Madison Buchanan’s life has imploded…

Her husband left her for his nineteen-year-old intern, leaving her alone and faced with starting over in her forties. With the help of her feisty best friend, Madison reinvents herself, armed with a new look and open to new possibilities.

Sean Taylor is gorgeous, fun, and young—very young…

He hasn’t had the best of luck. Sean’s track record with women is less than stellar, but when he walks into The Den one day, he just can’t help but be captivated by a dark haired beauty with the sad eyes and killer legs. She’s a little older, but he doesn’t discriminate. More than anything, he wants to be the one to make her smile.

Sean personifies the only thing that has eluded Madison all of her life—joy…

It was meant to be a fling, something fun, with no strings and zero drama, but Sean wants something more, and Madison is just not ready. She’s lived by the rules her family, her friends, even her boss have laid out for her, but her new life is not what she expected. Being with Sean opens feelings she never thought she’d experience.

The the demands of her family and her job throw her boring, simple life into chaos, and Sean is no exception…

Madison is left with a choice. Give in to the expectations of the world around her—or choose to follow her heart and be happy.

But choosing happy is so much harder than it seems.

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excerpt

I had talked myself into and out of going at least fifty times by the time Margot sauntered into my office for lunch. As per usual, she took one look at me and knew something was wrong.

“Now what?” she asked. Margot dropped her bag on the table in front of me, a hand on her hip and a no nonsense look on her face.

“I said yes, and now I am freaking out!”

“You said yes to what?” she asked.

“To Sean. I said yes to a date with Sean.”

She took a deep breath then turned quickly and sauntered her way over to the door. “Jeremy, get in here,” she called and glanced back at me as I slumped over the table. “She’s gonna need both of us for this one.”

I told them everything, starting with my mother’s insanity and ending with the phone call to Sean. By the time I finished, I was exhausted. They both just sat across from me, wide eyed. After taking in the whole story, they both sat up and shouted, “It’s about damn time,” in unison. They turned and looked at each other with a smirk then faced me again.

“You have to go,” Margot said like it was obvious.

“I know,” I sighed. “It’s just…I haven’t been out with anyone other than Michael since college, and I pretty sure my skills with a crimper will not help me prepare for this date.”

“What’s a crimper?” Jeremy said, scrunching his nose in distaste.

“Just kill me now,” I said dropping my head in my hands.

“Ignore him,” Margot said, waving a dismissive hand at Jeremy. She leaned toward me, her hands clasped together with her elbows propped up on her knees. “You’re thinking too much, as usual. This is not the start of a relationship. You don’t want a relationship right now, and neither does he.”

“I don’t?”

Jeremy laughed. “God no! You fuck the rebound. You don’t date him.”

I raised my eyebrows. I wasn’t used to Jeremy being so colorful around me. I’m still his boss.

“Exactly,” Margot agreed. “Tonight’s about fun, that’s it. Normal dating rules do not apply. You don’t have to impress him. The pressure’s off. You already know he likes you. He’s made that much pretty clear. Now all that’s left to do is make your intentions clear.”

“My intentions?”

“Yes,” Jeremy said, nodding his head in agreement. “Honesty is crucial when it comes to a casual relationship. If you don’t let him know up front that you’re only interested in sex, then he’ll get all heartbroken and clingy when it ends. Make it clear, just sex.”

“How do I know that’s what he wants?” I asked.

They looked at each other and smiled.

“He’s male and under thirty. He will be fine with this arrangement, trust me,” Jeremy said.

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meet the author

Samatha “Sam” Harris lives near Baltimore, Maryland with her husband David and daughter Ava. Born in Florida, she migrated north which most people agree was a little backwards. She has been an artist all of her life, a Tattoo Artist for more than ten years, and a storyteller since she was a kid.

Sam has a slightly unhealthy love for Frank Sinatra, classic movies, and Jazz and Blues music, but her first love will always be reading. From Romance, to Thrillers, to Historical Fiction and everything in between, she loves to become a part of the story. As a writer she tells the stories that she would want to read.

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“Devil’s Cove” by R.C. Matthews #BlogTour

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Book Title: Devil’s Cove
Author: R.C. Matthews
Genre: Gothic Romance
Release Date: August 28, 2016
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Devil’s Cove cowers in the dark shadows of an abandoned manor, shrouded in horror and spoken of only in the faintest of whispers.
Captain Devlin Limmerick knows its secrets, keeps them hidden with his own. Feared as ‘The Devil’ on the high seas, he is lured to the manor by an unquenchable thirst for revenge. It is a thirst matched only by his hunger for the powerful medium he has coerced to aid him. Her presence at the manor invites strange, inexplicable happenings, forcing him to believe nothing is as dead as it seems. Especially his heart.
Blinded from youth and touched with an ability to communicate beyond the grave, Grace has been both feared and revered by the uneasy town folk. Yet she is powerless against the unrest brewing within the manor walls and finds herself wickedly drawn to the Devil’s darkness. Still, she refuses to sacrifice her soul to set Devlin’s unspeakable plans in motion.
In the throes of passion and danger, their skills will be tested beyond any foe they’ve ever fought, and not a single soul is safe. The only way out is deep within … if they dare to believe.

excerpt

Emma placed a hand on her shoulder and gave a reassuring squeeze. “I’ve prepared a nice bath for you. The captain thought it might soothe your aching muscles. Perhaps the hot water will bring some of the color back into your cheeks. You’re still awfully pale. Let me help you in the tub, and then I’ll return in a while with your breakfast. How does that sound?”

Grace stood, and this time the groan that erupted from her was a result of the pain coursing through her. Every muscle in her body burned from the simple movement, as if she had exercised for hours on end the day before.

“That would be lovely,” she said, allowing Emma to pull her nightgown over her head and lead her to the bathtub.

Grace slipped her toe into the water and sighed, then followed with her entire body. The moment she settled against the back, a waft of lavender filled her nostrils. A bar of soap was thrust into her left hand and a cloth into her right.

“You can wash at your leisure,” Emma said, the sound of her feet bustling around the room. “And I’ll bring rosemary tea to rinse out your hair.”

The door snapped shut, and Grace relaxed her shoulders, letting the hot water seep into her sore muscles. Every minute or so, she stretched out her legs and enjoyed the waves of hot water rippling over her skin. When the ache in her muscles subsided, she rubbed the bar of soap into the washcloth and ran it along the length of her arm.

The doorknob rattled, startling Grace. “Back so soon, Emma? I haven’t even washed yet.”

“Would you care for help?” a woman asked, her voice close and oddly familiar.

Grace pulled her legs to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. “Excuse me, but who are you?” The undeniable scent of rosewater permeated the air, reminding her of the first morning, when she’d sniffed the warm sheets. And against her will, the smell aroused evocative feelings in her that were better left to her dreams. Shame flooded her chest, and she buried her face against her shoulder. “Please ask Emma to return.”

A light scraping sounded against the wooden floor, back and forth, back and forth. She recognized it immediately, and chills raced up her spine, despite the warmth of the water surrounding her. She clasped her hands even tighter about her legs, drawing into herself.

“Don’t be afraid,” the woman said, her words a soft hiss. “My name is Josephine. I won’t hurt you, my sweet.”

Grace’s stomach lurched as she fought to control the trembling spreading through her limbs. Good Lord, she was going to die. She wanted to scream, but she found herself incapable, held in a trancelike state of ineptitude.

meet the author

R.C. Matthews was raised in the Metro-Detroit area along with three sisters and a brother by deaf parents. Her father is a voracious reader and that gene lives on in all of his children. Now the reading gene is sprouting in her own two sons who love to read J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan and may others. She enjoys traveling with her family (loving husband, two sons and a stepson), reading, down-hill skiing and playing board games with her family.

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“In The Best Interest of the Child” by Felicia Denise #CoverReveal

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Book Title: In the Best Interest of the Child
Author: Felicia Denise
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Psychological
Release Date: September 17, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Ten-year-old Olivia Chandler has a school she loves, good friends, a nice home, a talented mom, and a successful father she adores. Tragedy rips all of this away from her, and plunges Olivia into the foster care system, where for eight years she is neglected, humiliated, abused, and nearly raped.

Fate smiles on Olivia shortly before she ages out of the system, allowing her the means to attend college and law school.

Years later, Olivia is a successful child advocate attorney, giving a voice to children who are so easily ignored by those claiming to act in their best interest. She has little time for personal relationships, and her lifelong fear of abandonment reminds her never to get too close to anyone.

The successful attorney stumbles though when she’s assigned a case by the court that too closely mirrors her own haunted childhood. Olivia never gives her minor clients less than her all, and the only way she can help her eleven year old client is to face down and acknowledge her demons. This same case also brings a man into her life who sees her for who she truly is, and will not allow Olivia to push him away.

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excerpt

Olivia wasn’t sure how long she had been standing in the doorway to her office, lost in memories from so long ago. Willis Benson had been true to his word and kept her father’s estate intact. Because of Willis, she had this home…the home her daddy had built for his family. Willis’ dogged efforts had also made Olivia a wealthy woman. She still had issues with spending money on herself, and usually found a way to discreetly spend it on others in need.

She turned and glanced at the closed door across the hall. She walked over and touched the cool cherry wood. Her father’s office. While Livvie had made a concerted effort to redecorate the entire house after she graduated from law school, Ben’s office remained untouched. Everything was nearly exactly the way he left it the morning before the accident.

Livvie only entered the room once or twice a year to dust or…during a thunderstorm. Terrified of storms as a child, Ben first tried to console Livvie with the explanation that thunder was just the angels bowling, but his baby girl was entirely too sharp for that. Talk soon turned to cumulonimbus clouds, gusty winds, heavy rain and sometimes hail. Whether she was calmed by science, or simply just being with him, Livvie never figured out. But now, all these years later, she could feel his presence closest when she curled up in his favorite chair and watched the rain dance across the window.

She lovingly ran her hand over the headrest of the chair. Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply and was sure she could still smell hints of his aftershave, woodsy and pine with just a hint of citrus.

Daddy.

Livvie sat down in the chair and covered her face with her hands. Why couldn’t she just be normal? She had a life Ben would approve of. Well, she had a profession he would approve of since she followed in his footsteps. But she didn’t have a life. She didn’t have friends over for gourmet dinners and game night. She rarely visited anyone’s home when invited, always begging off because of a work overload. Once or twice a month…at Margo’s pleadings, Olivia would stop into Overruled, the local watering hole frequented by the courthouse crowd. She would have her usual one glass of Sweet Red, while fending off advances, propositions and quick feel ups by an assortment of tipsy attorneys, judges and clerks. She never took offense, nor did she take any of them seriously…which of course, Margo said was her problem.

“Olivia, if you don’t even open up your mind to the possibilities, how will you ever make a connection or find The One?”

“Oh Margo, please! We’re talking about Happy Hour with the same circle of people we work with. I fail to see how someone I want to run over with my car at 10:30 in the morning can become the one I want to spend the rest of my life with at 6:30 in the evening.”

“That’s because at 6:30 in the evening, alcohol is involved. Um…wait. With some of these guys, alcohol is involved at 10:30 in the morning too!”

Olivia allowed herself to smile remembering one of countless conversations with her dauntless assistant.

She glanced around the room and her eyes fell on the cherry oak book case next to the desk. Moving before she realized it, Olivia was out of the chair and heading for the book case. She knelt before it and open the doors below the shelves. Olivia pulled the large black photo album out and ran her fingers over it, almost reverently. Sitting down on the floor, she slowly opened the front cover. The first photo was of her parents on their wedding day. ‘Benjamin Foster Chandler and Sarina Lenora Baker, united in marriage, November 3, 1966.’ They looked so happy. Her father seemed to radiate male pride, his arm curled around the waist of his new, beautiful wife. Olivia had seen this photo hundreds of times over the years, but for the first time, she really looked at her mother. Her joy was obvious, but there was a look in Sarina’s eyes that Olivia had never noticed before. Frowning, she tried to define it and could only come up with…relief. Resting her chin on her hand, Olivia’s mind raced as she wondered why her mother would be relieved on her wedding day. Maybe nervous jitters, all the pre-wedding preparations and endless to-do lists. That had to be it.

Turning more pages in the album, Olivia saw photo after photo of her parents celebrating each wedding anniversary, always smiling…always hopeful. She knew what was coming after the ninth wedding anniversary photo. Olivia broke into a wide grin while she stared at the page. ‘Olivia Louise Chandler, born June 22, 1976, 3:14 AM, 6 pounds, 0 ounces, 22 inches long, Parents – Benjamin F. Chandler & Sarina B. Chandler.’ Even as a newborn, the features she received from each of her parents stood out. She had her mother’s light brown eyes with flecks of gold and dark brown with her dad’s thick, bushy eyebrows. Her high ‘chipmunk’ cheekbones screamed Sarina Chandler just as her thick full lips said Benjamin Chandler. Olivia wondered what they saw when they looked at her. Had they seen themselves? Had they seen the future? Were they looking forward to school dances, graduations and grandchildren? Slamming the album shut, Olivia returned it to the shelf and quickly stood. She had been cheated. Her parents had been cheated. Her daddy always told her that life was not fair…he told her a lot of things. It was as though he knew he wouldn’t be there for her.

Giving herself a mental shake, Olivia walked to the office door, but turned to glance around the office. I wish I knew what I’m supposed to do. Raising her eyes heavenward, she smiled. “Sure could use a bit of your wisdom now, daddy.”

Pulling the door closed, she padded across the hall to her office and settled in for a long evening of work.

Little Livvie

meet the author

An avid reader from a very early age, Felicia would re-write the stories she read, making the women a little bit tougher. Not to outdo the men, but raised by parents who taught their six daughters to always stand up for themselves, and to always “be a lady”, Felicia has very little patience with ‘crybabies’ – female or male. Introduced to creative writing in grade school, Felicia amused herself by creating stories, poems, and song lyrics…that she never showed to anyone.

Now embracing the concept of sharing, Felicia’s first published novel, “In The Best Interest of the Child” debuts in September 2016.

Felicia left the harsh winters of Michigan and now resides in Arizona with her husband of more than thirty years, who’s always trying to read over her shoulder. Their three adult children are scattered around Arizona. She is looking forward to having grandchildren, but feels she may win the lottery first…or get struck by lightning. Though she enjoys a good rain storm, Felicia no longer goes outside when it rains. She’s not taking any chances.

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“The Matriarch: An Erotic Superhero Romance” by Sloane Howell

 

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Betrayal is easy, sex is a weapon, and information is power. Maggie Madison sits in the lofty towers of her city during the day, but at night she lurks the seedy underbelly, looking to snare the man who stole her innocence. Her simple quest becomes complicated when she meets a man who is as light as she is dark, as straightforward as she is deceptive. When a villain rises and sets her world alight, she must weigh her need for revenge against the good of the city she vowed to protect

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I turned the key again. Same result. Men yelled and raised their guns in my direction. I heard the crackling of handheld radios and orders being barked.
“There! There!”
The men howled and ran toward me. I beat on the gas tank of the motorcycle.
“Start you fucking piece of shit.”
To my surprise, I flipped the key and it came to life, purring between my legs. With a twist of the wrist, I hammered the throttle. The back wheel slid sideways, trying to gain traction.
The men opened fire. Bullets peppered the trees and bushes around me as I tore up the grass, before finding pavement. The bike howled as I shifted the gears, my body wrapped tightly around it. I looked back as the men and their guns grew smaller, the sound of gunfire fading. I stared straight ahead at two black cars blocking the street. Men in uniform pointed weapons at me.
They opened fire. Bullets ricocheted off the plexiglass shield that curved in front of my face.
Thank god Grandpa installed this shit.
I looked around for any means of escape. Hammering the brakes and flipping the handle bars, I spun to my right as the back end of the motorcycle slid and my foot planted on the ground. My forearm flexed, hammering the throttle as I rocketed toward a side street. A steep, man-made irrigation ditch appeared between me and the road.
I leaned into the bike and cocked my wrist on the throttle, pegging it to red. I ramped a small hill in front of the creek, soaring through the air. Bullets sliced past me. I floated over the creek bed and braced myself as the tires slammed into the asphalt.
The bike corrected and I sped down the road with a smile on my face, thinking about Kiril’s bandaged face and his reaction when he learned of my escape. I laughed to myself.

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Sloane Howell lives in the Midwest United States and writes dirty stories. When not reading or writing he enjoys hanging out with his family, watching sports, playing with the dogs, traveling, and engaging his readers on social media. You can almost always catch him on Twitter posting something goofy.

Visit his web page http://www.sloanehowell.com to sign up for his mailing list to get updates on new releases, promos, and giveaways. Thanks for reading.

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