Excerpt & Giveaway: Beneath by Maureen Miller

Genre: YA/Adventure/Romance

From USA TODAY bestselling author Maureen A. Miller comes this young adult adventure that will plunge you deep into the Atlantic Ocean.

It was Stella Gullaksen’s final break before starting her freshman year at college. Joining her best friend, Jill, and Jill’s family aboard the STARKISSED, Stella wakes to a violent storm that capsizes the boat over a hundred miles off the New Jersey shore.

As the waves haul her under Stella knows that she is going to die. Instead, an unusual current drags her deep into the underwater canyons of the Atlantic Ocean. Powerless against the raging waters, she is suddenly sucked into a ventilated cave. One by one, Jill and her family also emerge in the sunken cavern.

With only a faulty diving flashlight to keep oblivion at bay Stella and her best friend’s brother, Colin, search the cave in hope of finding a way back to the surface. What they discover, however, is that they are not alone. There are other survivors in this subterranean grotto–survivors spanning decades of maritime disasters.

Will this discovery prove salvation, or have they all been condemned to the same fate? A grim finale at the bottom of the sea?

On an alliance forged by friendship and attraction, Stella and Colin battle to escape the danger that lies beneath.

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Colin moved, shaking Stella from her daydream.

“Come on. Stay close,” he instructed.

Close. There was no problem with that command. There was no way she was being left behind in this subterranean abyss.

As they started forward, her toe clipped Colin’s heel causing her to stumble and plant a palm on his back for support.

“A little too close,” Colin muttered over his shoulder.

Stella’s hand snapped back. It wasn’t the first time she had inadvertently touched her best friend’s older brother.

In high school, she had taken many fishing trips with the Wexlers. It was common for them to spend the night out at sea so that Jill’s dad could reach the best fishing spot. The cabin was tight on the STARKISSED, and normally Colin would sleep on the bench seat beside the kitchen table while the three females monopolized the v-shaped bed.

On one occasion she, Jill, and Anne Wexler retired into the cabin for the night, while Colin and his father remained up on deck. Stella and Jill took the bunk on one side of the V, and Anne slept on the other. At some point the boat pitched slightly on a wave and Stella rolled off her tight perch into the gap between the mattresses. Expecting to hit the floor she instead landed on something pliant. Something strong. Something that smelled like the sea and Irish Spring.

Stella was a junior at the time. She had already been kissed and maybe pawed a little, but she still had very little knowledge of what a man felt like. Now she was pinned to a wide chest with her legs twined between his. Planting her palms on the carpet, she clambered for balance. Heat rushed to her cheeks and it seemed every move she made to dislodge herself only made matters worse.

Colin didn’t say a word. Powerful arms hefted her back onto the mattress and just like that, his silhouette climbed through the hatch and back onto the deck.

Ever since that incident she had a tough time looking him in the eye. It wasn’t just because of the awkwardness of the situation. The truth she concealed was that she had a big-time crush on her best friend’s brother.

USA TODAY bestselling author, Maureen A. Miller worked in the software industry for fifteen years. She crawled around plant floors in a hard hat and safety glasses hooking up computers to behemoth manufacturing machines. The job required extensive travel. The best form of escapism during those lengthy airport layovers became writing.

Maureen’s first novel, WIDOW’S TALE, earned her a Golden Heart nomination in Romantic Suspense. After that she became hooked to the genre. In fact, she was so hooked she is the founder of the JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE website.

Recently, Maureen branched out into the Young Adult Science Fiction market with the popular BEYOND Series. To her it was still Romantic Suspense…just on another planet! Find more about Maureen at www.maureenamiller.com

 

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New Release Review: Transcend by Jewel E. Ann

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Transcend, an all new romance filled with love in unexpected places from Jewel E. Ann is LIVE!

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“In another life, she was my forever.”

An unexpected tragedy leaves Professor Nathaniel Hunt a widower alone with a newborn baby.

He hires a nanny. She’s young, but well-qualified, with a simple life, a crazy name obsession, and a boyfriend she met at the grocery store.

Over time, he discovers she knows things about him—things that happened before she was born—like a hidden scar on his head, his favorite pizza, and how he cheated on a high school Spanish test.

She speaks familiar words and shares haunting memories that take him back to over two decades earlier when he lost his best friend in a tragic accident.

“I’m afraid of what’s going to happen when you realize I’m not her.”

Transcend is a sexy, mind-bending journey that uncovers possibilities, challenges beliefs, and begets the age-old question: is there life after death?

Good LORD can Jewel E. Ann craft a story… and I’m probably repeating myself from when I reviewed Look the Part, but she. is. amazing.

I promise you’ve never read a romance like Transcend. I hate to even give the plot away because watching it unfold is as entertaining as what happens in the story. I can say that Swayze is aiming for a normal, average adulthood following an unusual youth as a “gifted child.” Her life is in a good place with a degree in Education, the most perfect boyfriend on the planet, and a summer job as a nanny. An unusual conversation with a fellow patient in her psychologist’s office, however, drives her right back into being “gifted,” and it’s not necessary a good thing for all concerned.

As always, the characters, conversations, emotions, settings, and situations are REAL… even if this novel flirts with unusual circumstances. You should read it and open your heart and mind to a type of relationship you’d never see coming.  #MUSTREAD

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Jewel is a free-spirited romance junkie with a quirky sense of humor.

With 10 years of flossing lectures under her belt, she took early retirement from her dental hygiene career to stay home with her three awesome boys and manage the family business.

After her best friend of nearly 30 years suggested a few books from the Contemporary Romance genre, Jewel was hooked. Devouring two and three books a week but still craving more, she decided to practice sustainable reading, AKA writing.

When she’s not donning her cape and saving the planet one tree at a time, she enjoys yoga with friends, good food with family, rock climbing with her kids, watching How I Met Your Mother reruns, and of course…heart-wrenching, tear-jerking, panty-scorching novels.

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New Release: Only You by Melanie Harlow

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Only You, an all-new sexy and emotional standalone from USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow is LIVE!

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Nate Pearson is ridiculously handsome and wears the hell out of a suit and tie, but I’ve seen the parade of beautiful women leaving his apartment across the hall—a different one every time—and I want no part of it. When it comes to romance, I’m looking for something real, something that will last: the happily ever after.

As a divorce attorney, he loves to tell me there’s no such thing.

As a wedding planner, I choose to disagree.

We disagree on almost everything, in fact. Everything except James Bond. The only time we really get along is when we’re watching 007 flicks together, and I’ll admit—he has rescued me from a disaster or five. So when one of the baton twirlers from his parade leaves a baby girl at his door with a note that says “I’ll come back for her” and he begs me for help, I can’t turn him down.

But it’s a mistake.

Because watching him with his daughter, I start to see another side of Nate, a side that has my breath coming faster, my body craving his, my heart longing for him to change his mind about love and tell me there’s a chance for us.

I don’t want to be just another girl leaving his apartment in the morning.

I want to be the one he asks to stay.

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It’s no secret I am a HUGE Melanie Harlow fan… a quick search of her name on this site will return several reviews and posts dating back three years. Trust me: if you enjoy rom-coms with heart and heat… read ANY of her books and thank me later!

Her new Contemporary Romance, Only You, is available today. Like the books that precede it, she puts an original spin on familiar story lines. For example, this book contains “opposites attract,” “sexy neighbors,” “friends to lovers,” “single dad,” and “swoon fest.” What sets it apart from other romances is the author’s storytelling, characters, plot, humor, feels, and depth of complexity.  Even the infant in the book is a three-dimensional character with a history and authentic traits.  Melanie Harlow never does anything half-way, and as a reader: it never gets old.

I LOVE Nate and Emme’s story. How they meet, the kind, supportive nature of their friendship, their mutual attraction, and early in the book, they circle the wagons when Nate’s world is rocked. As he adjusts to his new normal, he comes to depend on Emme – not just for help with a two-month old daughter, but as a safe harbor in the storms surrounding his life. They both struggle with guarding their hearts from getting involved.  How this develops, comes to a head, and is resolved makes for an incredibly satisfying read.

Already looking forward to Melanie Harlow’s next book, but then again: I always do.

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Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.

Melanie is the author of the AFTER WE FALL series, the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.

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Excerpt: ONLY YOU by Melanie Harlow

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Only You, an all-new sexy and emotional standalone from USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow is coming March 12th!

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Synopsis

Nate Pearson is ridiculously handsome and wears the hell out of a suit and tie, but I’ve seen the parade of beautiful women leaving his apartment across the hall—a different one every time—and I want no part of it. When it comes to romance, I’m looking for something real, something that will last: the happily ever after.

As a divorce attorney, he loves to tell me there’s no such thing.

As a wedding planner, I choose to disagree.

We disagree on almost everything, in fact. Everything except James Bond. The only time we really get along is when we’re watching 007 flicks together, and I’ll admit—he has rescued me from a disaster or five. So when one of the baton twirlers from his parade leaves a baby girl at his door with a note that says “I’ll come back for her” and he begs me for help, I can’t turn him down.

But it’s a mistake.

Because watching him with his daughter, I start to see another side of Nate, a side that has my breath coming faster, my body craving his, my heart longing for him to change his mind about love and tell me there’s a chance for us.

I don’t want to be just another girl leaving his apartment in the morning.

I want to be the one he asks to stay.

“You know, even an alpha male can have feelings occasionally.”

“Oh?”

She crossed her arms and leaned back against the counter, giving me the evil eye. “Yes. He doesn’t have to be hard as granite all the way through, all the time.”

Don’t think about being hard. Don’t think about being hard. Don’t think about being hard. I leaned back against the opposite counter and sort of held my glass in front of my crotch. “Why are you even concerned with alpha males? You’re never attracted to them.”

“What? Yes, I am!”

“No, you’re not.” I knew her type well. “You’re always saying how you don’t want to be rescued, you want someone willing to show affection and talk about feelings, you don’t like arrogant or competitive guys or guys who always have to win, you like guys who get along with everyone—”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Nothing. But that’s not an alpha male.”

She chewed her bottom lip. “But look at Bond. Who is he so worried about protecting? Why is he so driven to kill the bad guys? There must be people he cares about more than himself to put himself in harm’s way so often.”

“Maybe he just likes the thrill of the chase.”

“Maybe he’s more selfless than you think.”

“In this case, I think we’re going to have to disagree.”

She sighed heavily, and I knew I had disappointed her by ending the argument in a draw instead of winning or losing it. Any other night, I might have kept it going, but there was something odd going on with me, something that had me wanting to close the distance between us, set her up on the counter, slip my hands beneath that fuzzy white sweater she had on, see what her legs felt like wrapped around my hips. But I knew better.

Get her out of here before you do something stupid.

“Hey, you got fortune cookies? I didn’t see those.” She reached for the little cellophane bag.

“I forgot about them.”

“Can I have one?”

“You can have them both.”

She took one out and cracked it open. “A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not why ships are built.”

“Very deep.”

She ignored me and went on to the next one. “You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.” Her lips pursed. “Hm. I don’t want a dangerous ship or a broken heart.”

I laughed at the anguish in her tone and expression.

“It’s not funny,” she said, shoving pieces of cookie in her mouth. “It means I’m doomed to be unhappy. And then I’m going to die in a shipwreck.”

“It means you take things way too seriously.” I tipped back the last of the bourbon in my glass, and set it in the sink. “Well, I’ve got an early morning at the gym tomorrow.”

She popped the rest of one cookie in her mouth and brushed off her hands. “I’m going. What time is it anyway?”

I checked the digital clock on the microwave. “It’s 11:11.”

Her face lit up. “Ooh! Make a wish!”

“What?”

“It’s 11:11, you have to make a wish.” She closed her eyes for a couple seconds, her lips moving as if saying a silent prayer. Then she opened them. “Did you do it?”

I laughed. “No.”

“Nate! Hurry up! Make a wish.” She glanced at the clock and flapped her hands agitatedly.

“I don’t have a wish to make.”

“So make one for me, then. And do it fast, before it’s 11:12.”

This time it was my turn to roll my eyes, but secretly I wished that the next guy she fell in love with would love her back the way she deserved, and she’d be happy. But I didn’t close my eyes, and I didn’t move my lips, so she had no idea whether I’d made a wish or not.

“Did you do it?” She looked concerned.

“Yes.”

“For me?”

“Yes.”

Her mouth fell open for a second. “What was it? What did you wish for me?”

I started to laugh as I left the kitchen. “Nice try, Calamity. Even I know you don’t tell a wish if you want it to come true.” The credits were still rolling on the television, and I picked up the remote to turn everything off.

“Oh, now you believe in wishes?” She sat down on the couch and tugged on her fluffy boots.

No, I wanted to tell her. I don’t, because I learned a long time ago that wishes and prayers and hopes don’t mean anything. No one is listening. But I didn’t tell her that, not only because she was looking up at me with my favorite expression of hers, the one daring me to fight back, but because at that very moment, I heard a noise in the hall.

A strange and oddly terrifying noise.

I looked over my shoulder toward the door, thinking I must have imagined the sound.

Then I heard it again—the unmistakable, ball-shrinking, cringe-inducing sound of a baby’s wail.

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MelanieHarlow

Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.

Melanie is the author of the AFTER WE FALL series, the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.

Connect with Melanie:

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Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Author Kim Baccellia

 

Crossed Out (Book 1 Crossed Series) by Kim Baccellia

Published May 17th, 2010

Genre: YA/Paranormal/Fantasy

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Following the light can’t be that hard, right? So why don’t the dead just do it and leave Stephanie Stewart alone? However nothing is ever as simple as it should be, as Stephanie learns when her hidden ‘gift’ becomes more than a nuisance, quickly turning into a liability. If she can’t learn to trust someone with her secret, the world as she knows it will go to hell. Literally. But if she doesn’t choose wisely, she might just end up learning firsthand how hard it is to follow that light. Because she’s next on the list to be crossed out.


Selective focus

Crossed Fire (Book 2 Crossed Series) by Kim Baccellia
Published December 18th, 2017
Genre: YA/Paranormal/Fantasy
Stephanie Stewart is a typical sixteen-year-old girl—she loves hanging out with her friends, going to concerts, and sipping mocha lattes. Yup. Just your average teenager . . . Except for one difference—she can see and talk to the dead. In fact, Stephanie helps dead girls who who’ve been murdered or killed, cross over. Just as Stephanie is getting used to her unique “gift”, her mom stumbles into some dangerous witchcraft that backfires and triggers similar abilities in Stephanie’s best friend Cura, and nemesis Hillary.

Stephanie already has enough trouble trying to maintain a “normal” life between school and her cute boyfriend Dylan, who happens to have a supernatural talent all his own. But now she has to help her friend Cura and her “frenemy” Hillary cope with their new-found powers as well as cross over two murdered cheerleaders and battle an evil demon who wants to use Stephanie’s supernatural strengths as a free pass to The Other Side. And she needs to do it all while still getting her term papers in on time. She’s definitely going to need an extra-large mocha latte for this.

Win an ebook of Crossed Out and a print copy of Crossed Fire plus some swag; US only
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Kim Baccellia has always been a sucker for the paranormal. She blames it on her families’ love for such things as having picnics at cemeteries, visiting psychics, and reading her mother’s copies of the daily horoscope. In middle school, Kim wrote a horoscope column for the school newspaper. It was a huge hit!

A member of RWA, Kim is currently putting the finishing touches on a YA multicultural thriller. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.

Her website: http://www.kim-baccellia.com

 

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About the Author

  1. When I was six years old, my mother entered me in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Junior Art Championship. I won honorable mention. I thought it was really cool as they sent me the ‘key’ to the San Francisco zoo, which was shaped like an elephant. **I don’t have that key anymore, but I wonder if I still have lifetime membership to that zoo.

  1. I had a pen pal in England that I wrote to when I was in high school. Her name was Cheryl and she lived in Wolverhampton, England. We both were madly in love with David Cassidy. Cheryl’s the first to the right in this photo.

  1. My first concert was at a Jackson Browne concert. It was billed to benefit an alliance against nuclear power.

 

  1. I’ve always been an activist. When I was a teen and young adult, I marched at numerous rallies held at the California state capital. These rallies included marching for anti-nuclear power to ERA-Equal Rights Amendment. My first major was pre-law as I wanted to continue my activism.
  2. In high school, I was a ‘closet’ Star Trek junkie. I had a huge crush on Dr. Spock. I wrote lots of fan fiction based on this series! This clipping is from Seventeen magazine.

 

  1. I wrote for my high school newspaper. Luther Burbank Banner.

 

 

  1. In my bilingual first grade classroom, I had ‘writer’s workshop’, where my first graders would write and publish their stories in both English and Spanish. We kept the books in our class library and students would check each other’s books out. My husband designed software where students would share their books and parents could follow along online. This was a HUGE hit. My class was mentioned in the S. Whittier, Ca newspaper on this.
  2. I don’t care for milk chocolate.
  3. I sewed most of my clothes in high school. One pair of my homemade jeans were featured on the high school bulletin board. I made this blouse that I wore for my high school junior class photos.

  1. Baccellia is the ‘Americanized’ spelling of my name. The correct Italian spelling is Baccelli.

VALENTINE’S DAY Facebook Hop!

   Welcome to the VALENTINE’S DAY Facebook Hop!   

The Book Beacon is thrilled to participate  in this amazing Facebook Hop! Thanks for stopping by! *Everyone* wins here today! Pick up a #FREE copy of THE RISK here: https://instafreebie.com/public/zlcpz

OVER 80 authors and bloggers have joined forces to SHARE the LOVE with readers this holiday!

With TONS of prizes–including a Kindle stuffed with books and Amazon gift cards–it’s a great way to spend Valentine’s Day Weekend!

HOW THIS WORKS:

1) Check out the prizes here on my page and ENTER to #WIN

2) Then follow the link in this post to the next hop stop.

3) Rinse & Repeat!

That’s it!

Now for the GOOD STUFF!

Today I’m giving away an autographed copy of The Boat House by Jana D Barrett Writing

Please read the instructions below carefully so you’re not disqualified!!!

1. LIKE The Book Beacon

2. LIKE Jana D Barrett Writing

3. COMMENT: Tell us how you’re spending your Valentine’s Day!

The next stop on the hop is: AUTHOR JILL SANDERS!

Visit her page here to see what goodies she’s giving away here:

https://www.facebook.com/JillSandersOfficialAuthor

In case of a broken link within the hop, visit Skye Jordan’s website for an inclusive list! http://skyejordanauthor.com/ValentinesDayHop

Good luck and I hope everyone spends Valentine’s Day with those they love the most!

DON’T FORGET to visit Skye Jordan’s website to enter for the GRAND PRIZE: A Kindle Fire, 50 Ebooks and a $185 AMAZON GIFT CARD! http://skyejordanauthor.com/ValentinesDayHop

Winners will be chosen at random. Giveaway is open from 8am EST on 2/14 until 12pm EST on 2/18.

This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by Facebook.

 

Giveaway & Review: Look the Part by Jewel E. Ann

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“All-consuming, deep, seductive, so damn emotional—this book is everything I expect from Jewel E. Ann.”

Pam Godwin, New York Times bestselling author

Look the Part, an all-new “emotional and breathtaking” standalone from

Jewel E. Ann is LIVE!

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Synopsis

Flint Hopkins finds the perfect tenant to rent the space above his Minneapolis-based law office.

All the T’s are crossed and I’s dotted on Ellen’s application. Her references are good. And she’s easy on the eyes.

Until …

Flint discovers Ellen Rodgers, Board-Certified Music Therapist, plays music. Bongos, guitars, singing—not Beethoven administered through noise-cancelling headphones.

The cut-throat attorney serves up an eviction notice to the bubbly, constantly-humming redhead who’s too sexy for her own good. But luck is on Ellen’s side when Flint’s autistic son, Harrison, takes an instant liking to her. A single dad can’t compete with guitars—and rats. Yes, she has pet rats.

This woman …

She’s annoyingly happy with a constant need to touch him—adjust his tie, button his shirt, invade his space, and mess with his mind.

Still …

She must go.

Their lust-hate relationship escalates into something beautiful and tragic. This sexy, romantic-comedy explores the things we want, the things we need, and the impossible decisions parents and children make to survive.

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Download Now or Read Today Free in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2rLEDd0

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Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2iz3dtC


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I have come to expect the unexpected from this talented author, and Look the Park certainly delivered on all the qualities I love about Jewel E. Ann’s romances: vivid characters, original plot, steamy scenes, and more twists and turns than you’ll ever see coming.

If you have not read any of her work, I highly recommend starting with the Jack and Jill series, and then everything else she has published to date. Before you finish Chapter One of any of her books, you will know you’ve found something special.

Her new release, Look the Part, begins with a simple tenant/ landlord situation and turns it all on its ear. Flint and Ellen are quickly at odds over the noise coming from the office he leased to her. She’s a music therapist, so not much she can do to keep her clients quiet.  He’s a lawyer who found a loophole and spends the majority of the book trying to evict her.  But as I said, it’s never that simple with Ann’s characters and plot, and before you know it, things between Flynn and Ellen get complicated. The only common ground they seem to have is a mutual physical attraction and a love for Flynn’s autistic son, Harrison. Harrison responds to Ellen’s love of music and her pet … wait for it… rats. Yes, pet rats. This is one of many surprises that throw Flynn (and readers) for a loop.

Like all people, Flynn Ellen are flawed and broken… he is punishing himself for a mistake made a decade earlier and she is starting a new chapter in her life after a nasty divorce. I loved this story because what should have been a simple boy meets girl quickly involves an eviction notice, the lives of immediate and extended family, neighbors, employees, fears, regrets, and second chances.

If you have Kindle Unlimited, GET THIS BOOK TODAY and see why Jewel E. Ann writes anything but predictable, formulaic romance. Other examples of this are When Life Happened, Scarlet Stone, and the follow up to the Jack and Jill Series, One. And they are ALL ON KU!! Load up your Kindle and enjoy the ride!

Click Here to Enter!

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Jewel is a free-spirited romance junkie with a quirky sense of humor.

With 10 years of flossing lectures under her belt, she took early retirement from her dental hygiene career to stay home with her three awesome boys and manage the family business.

After her best friend of nearly 30 years suggested a few books from the Contemporary Romance genre, Jewel was hooked. Devouring two and three books a week but still craving more, she decided to practice sustainable reading, AKA writing.

When she’s not donning her cape and saving the planet one tree at a time, she enjoys yoga with friends, good food with family, rock climbing with her kids, watching How I Met Your Mother reruns, and of course…heart-wrenching, tear-jerking, panty-scorching novels.

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Connect with Jewel:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjeweleann/

Twitter: @JewelE_Ann

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http://www.jeweleann.com

Amazon Giveaway, Excerpt, and Guest Post by author Sara Baysinger

Stand up.

When Lark is stolen from Earth to be a slave on the planet Tavdora, she’s determined to find her way back home to her family, no matter the cost. Placed in the household of a notorious slave trader, Lark quickly learns her best assets are her eyes and ears. And if she’s brave enough, her voice.

Be heard.

Kalen is the Tavdorian son of a slave trader and in line to inherit his father’s business. But his growing feelings for Lark, the new house slave who dares to speak of freedom, compel him to reveal his new plan for the slave ships returning to Earth—escape. Together, they just might spark a change that flares across the universe.

Fight back.

Add it to Goodreads

Buy it Here 

Enter to win a signed copy of The Vanishing Spark of Dust,

a $25 Amazon gift card, and a Handmade Adjustable Ring that says “Be heard”

Click Here to Enter ~ Good Luck!

“What have we here. A runaway?”

I can’t think. In my panic I can hardly breathe—

“Easy there.” His voice is lucid and smooth, not rough and unkind like I imagined it would be. He releases me. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

The first scattered thought that crosses my mind when I look at him is, he’s not really too different from Humans. I mean, apart from being exceptionally tall, he really could pass for a Human. His tanned face is clean-shaven, and when he smiles, dimples appear. Dark feathery hair the color of molasses curls around two pointed ears. Amusement flickers in his eyes—and for the first time I notice the strange color of them. They’re not crazy at all, the way Johnson described. They have a purple hue, soft and deep like lilacs. Never look them in the eye. One of Johnson’s many lessons. I avert my gaze.

“What are you doing outside the plantation?” His voice is not accusing but slightly curious. “You shouldn’t be out here unless you have a death wish. Correct?”

My stomach drops. Yes. He thinks I’m a slave. This could be good.

Or really bad.

I glance at the sky, think of something to say, but every Tavdorian word I’ve ever learned has decided to take a vacation.

“The sunset,” I finally say in his language. “You can get the best view from here.” It’s the weakest excuse ever, but it’ll buy me some time.

“The sunset?” He crosses his arms, and I notice how strong he is, his forearms corded in muscle.“You risked your life leaving the plantation…for a sunset?”

One swallow. Two blinks. “It’s worth it, don’t you think?” I gesture toward the sky, now turning a deep shade of crimson.

He swivels his eyes toward the sunset, then back at me. A confused smile forms on his two perfect lips, and I briefly wonder if all Tavdorians are this good-looking or if I’ve officially lost my mind.

“Alno must be lenient. Not many slaves get the privilege of enjoying a sunset.”

My heartbeat spikes. Look away. Johnson told me Tavdorians never speak civilly to Humans. It’s all orders and reprimands. So why is this one speaking to me? Why isn’t he reacting in anger at my “privilege”?

“But you don’t have to worry about a lashing from me.” The Tavdorian steps closer, and my shoulders stiffen. He’s so tall my head barely reaches his chest. If he thought I was a runaway, he could easily swing me over his shoulder and carry me to the plantation himself.

“What do you want with me?” The question comes out in a breathless whisper. I allow myself to peek up at him. He stares back, his eyes sparking with curiosity.

“Simple conversation would be enough.”

A conversation. With a Tavdorian. There’s nothing simple about that.

“You don’t need to tremble so much. I’m not going to harm you.” He waves his hand in the air. “Or tell on you for running away.”

“Thank you,” I manage to whisper, realizing after I speak the words that I just confirmed his suspicion.

“I would suggest you run with more resources, though. Food. Water.” His eyes drift over my threadbare tunic, and he frowns. “Layers of clothing, perhaps.”

“I’m fine, really.”

“Do you know how to hunt?”

I’m starting to wonder if this is an interrogation.

He narrows his eyes and lowers his voice a notch. “Or are you meeting with other runaways? I heard there were two who ran from the plantation. Alno must have a terrible time keeping his fence intact.”

I can’t speak. My mouth has been bolted shut, my fear threatening to choke me.

He sighs and drags his hand through his hair. “This conversation is seriously getting boring. You can either speak to me like a civil…being. Or you can walk away and leave me hanging, wondering who the mysterious copper-haired runaway was that I met on the riverbank.”

My brain screams at me to walk away, but this Tavdorian isn’t the only curious one here.

Top Ten Favorite Books of All Time

I’m going to start from my favorites in high school (that are still my favorites) and work my way until the present. 😉

High School:

A VOICE IN THE WIND by Francine Rivers (Historical Fiction)

DREAMERS by Angela Hunt (Historical/Biblical Fiction)

A LIGHT TO MY PATH by Lynn Austin (Historical/Civil War Fiction)

20’s:

WARM BODIES by Isaac Marion (Zombies/YA)

DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth (Dystopian YA)

THE SELECTION by Kiera Cass (Dystopian/Romance YA)

Current Favorites:

IGNITE ME by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me series, Dystopian/YA)

A COURT OF MIST AND FURY by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses series, YA/Fantasy)

SLAVE by Laura Frances (Dystopian/New Adult)

And a book that was one of the first novels I ever read and is still a favorite today:

THE DRAGON SLAYERS by Bruce Coville (Fantasy)

In reality, I have too many favorite books to list, (who doesn’t?) but these are the books I’ve read again and again, and many of which I own two copies. 🙂

My name is Sara Baysinger and I write books. I was born in the heart of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador where I spent my early life exploring uncharted lands on horseback and raising chickens. I now make my home among the endless cornfields of Indiana with my husband and two children…and I still raise chickens. My dystopian novel BLACK TIGER was self-published in 2016, with books 2 & 3 published in 2017. When not getting lost in a book, I can be found gardening, devouring chocolate, and running off the sugar-high from said chocolate.

I’m currently working on an upcoming science fiction romance novel that will release with Entangled Teen, an imprint of Entangled Publishing.

Website: https://sarabaysinger.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sarambaysinger

 

 

New Release: Sugar Lump by Megan Gaudino

Seventeen-year-old travel blogger CC is stuck on a never-ending road trip with her wanderlust-addicted father. When her dad lands the job of his dreams in Sugar Lump—wedding capital of the world—CC finally finds a place to call home. Complete with two quirky best friends and a quixotic guy to crush on, Sugar Lump is more shades of perfect than she can possibly count.
But when CC accidentally overhears the mayor complaining that she has to “take out” a rogue employee for not fulfilling the terms of his contract, the idyllic town’s facade crumbles. Devastated by the possibility of having to move yet again, CC discovers everyone has been keeping a massive secret from her—including her own father.

Sugar Lump by Megan Gaudino

Genre: YA Mystery

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36679262-sugar-lump

amazon.com/author/megangaudino

Published January, 2018

Published by Evernight Teen

Guest Post, Giveaway & Excerpt: Lions and Tigers and Boys by Tawny Stokes

The last thing a girl as awkward as Dani Gale should be doing is trying to learn the high wire. Yet that’s exactly where Dani ends up—at OZ, the Oswald Zinzendorf School of Circus Arts. Trying to overcome her shyness is near impossible when her new partner—the hottest guy she’s ever laid eyes on, and whose touch seems to give her poise she thought impossible—also seems to be sabotaging her progress.

The last thing Cai Coppersmith needs is a distraction, especially in the form of the new, cute shy girl. He needs to focus on trying not to shape-shift into a tiger on school grounds, and completing his mission to keep Dani from winning the school’s high-wire competition. In fact, the entire safety of OZ is relying on Dani not succeeding. But there’s something about the girl that draws him in. She has magic, he can feel it. So he’ll do what he can to protect her, even if it means pushing her away.

Published by Entangled Crave

To be Released January 8th, 2018

Genre: YA Paranormal

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I spread my legs into a straddle and flattened my torso onto the floor. This was one of my favorite stretches, as it really worked on the lower back. I was rewarded with a whole bunch of snapping and popping sounds when my spine repositioned. As I turned my head slightly to the left, I saw Cai walk into the studio. My belly instantly flip-flopped.

He wore a form-fitting dark blue tank top and baggy knee length shorts. He wasn’t football player big, but he was strong-looking with wide shoulders and trim arms that were cut sharp with muscles. He looked lean but powerful, and I imagined he could do a one armed push-up with little difficulty. He looked a bit like Eddie Redmayne, but with fewer freckles and redder, wilder hair.

His gaze flicked to me briefly, then he strode across the floor and found a spot to toss his bag on the opposite side from where I was. I tried not to make a big deal out of it. He was just sitting with the other sophomores. It wasn’t like he was avoiding me altogether.

I sat up and tried to catch his gaze, but he was talking with the boy stretching next to him. It was probably a good thing, because I needed to focus. I didn’t come to this school to chase a boy. I came to be the best high-wire act the world had ever seen. I came to make my mother proud.

Suddenly the lights flickered overhead. We all looked up to the ceiling to see our instructor Miss Gisele balancing on one of the high wires. She smiled and waved. “Bonjour mes beautés.”

She walked easily across the wire, and it hardly even moved. She then stopped, bent backward, and did a walkover. When she was upright again, she went onto her toes and did a pirouette. I gaped in awe. After another wave, she let herself drop from the wire and landed in the net beneath it.

She was weightless. Like a fairy dancing on a flower petal. That’s what I wanted to do, what I wanted to be.

“Welcome to OZ,” she said, her voice thickly accented. We all got to our feet. “In my class, you will learn to find balance. Not only here,” she held out her arms to her sides, “but in here.” She tapped her head, then her heart, then her stomach.

Fancast for Lions and Tigers and Boys

My dreamcast for Lions and Tigers and Boys if it is ever made into a movie or TV show.  I have a lot of diversity in my school, and would love to see a great diverse cast.

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Cai Coppersmith, 17 played by Hampus Luck, a Swedish male model

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Dani Gale, 16 played by Maia Mitchell, an Australian actressImage result for cole sprouse long hair

Leander, 17 played by Cole Sprouse, an American actor

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Anna, 16 played by Amandla Stenberg, an American actress

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Maggie, 16 played by That Poppy, American singer/artist

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Shen, 18 played by Lee Hong Ki, a Chinese actor

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Professor Morgan Marvel, 40’s,  the showmanship and magic teacher, played by Ben Barnes

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Dean Vasilev, 50’s, the dean of the Oswald Zinzendorf School of Circus Arts, played by Famke Janssen

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Frank Coppersmith, 50’s, animal artist trainer, played by Billy Campbell

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Professor Bo Kwan, 20’s, teacher of acrobatics and balance played by Yi Min Jeong – Korean model/actress

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Professor Li Kwan, 20’s, teacher of acrobatics and balance, played by Park Shi Hoo, Korean actor/model

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Professor Giselle Deveau, 30’s, teacher of high wire and trampoline – Marion Cotillard

Tawny Stokes has always been a writer. From an early age, she’d spin tales of serial killers in love, vampires taking over the world, and sometimes about fluffy bunnies turned bunnicidal maniacs. An honour student in high school, with a penchant for math and English, you’d never know it by the foot high blue Mohawk and Doc Martens, which often got her into trouble. No longer a Mohawk wearer, Tawny still enjoys old school punk rock, trance, zombie movies, teen horror films, and fluffy bunnies. She lives in Canada with her fantastical daughter, two cats, and spends most of her time creating new stories for teens.

You can visit her on twitter @TawnyStokes

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/866822.Tawny_Stokes