RELEASE BLITZ | Sleigh Bells Ring – Shanna Hatfield

Title: Sleigh Bells Ring

Author: Shanna Hatfield

Genre: Holiday Romance

Publication Date: November 1st, 2018
Blurb:
You’re never too old to fall in love . . .

Will over-the-hill neighbors embrace a holiday romance?

Rancher Jess Milne lost his wife years ago, but he’s finally ready to give love a second chance. It’s a shame the one woman in Romance who captures his interest is a prickly, wasp-tongued she-devil. She used to be one of his closest friends until he asked her out. Her vocal, vehement refusal made her thoughts on dating him crystal clear. Despite her animosity, Jess can’t help but be attracted to her fire and spirit.

Widowed more than ten years, Doris Grundy tries to convince herself she’s content with her life. Her recently married grandson and his wife bring her joy. The ranch she’s lived on since she was a young bride gives her purpose. She’s an active member of their close-knit community. But the old coot who lives down the road continually invades her thoughts, keeping her from having any peace. Doris will be the last to admit she longs for the love and affection of her handsome neighbor.

When the two of them are unexpectedly thrown together, will they find a little holiday spirit and allow the love of the season to ring in their hearts? Find out in this sweet novella from USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield.

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USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with

relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”

Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.

Shanna is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, Romance Writers of America, Sweet Romance Reads, Cowboy Kisses, and Pioneer Hearts.

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RELEASE BLITZ | Beauty’s Cursed Beast – Mary E. Twomey

Hi everyone!

Today is release day and I had an opportunity to read and review Beauty’s Cursed Beast!


Title: Beauty’s Cursed Beast
Author: Mary E. Twomey
Genre: Fairytale Retellings/Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: October 2nd, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s Reviews & PR

When you push everyone in your life away, sometimes they stay gone.

Going from being Avondale’s Sexiest Bachelor to becoming hideously deformed turns Adam Fontaine into an angry shut-in. Though he’s doomed to mutate into a growling member of the Lupine when his thirtieth birthday comes, he wants nothing to do with enjoying what’s left of his sentient life.

When his last remaining friend hires a nurse to look after him, Adam realizes there’s more to his life than just his impending curse. Soon Adam has to decide how far he’s willing to go to keep the woman he loves by his side, hoping she’ll stay with him through his last days.

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Review:

I haven’t read a ton of fairytale retellings, so I had to check out Beauty’s Cursed Beast. It was interesting to see the original meshed with modern times, but I would have liked to see the story diverge a bit more from the original source material.

I liked Belle. She is a strong woman, and I enjoyed that she didn’t take crap from Adam. She is determined and sarcastic, and that is always fun to read. Adam starts off as a spoiled, irritating character. With Belle, it was fun to watch his character grow.

I’m impressed with Mary E. Twomey’s writing. I was swept away into the world that she created, and my interest was held the entire way through. It was emotional, and fun to read a retelling of a fairytale that is so well known. I recommend checking this one out.

Rating:

4/5☆


Excerpt:

Chapter Three.
A Word from the Sheriff

The musty basement hadn’t been used in at least a decade, and even then, it hadn’t been for the traditional purpose most would associate with dungeons. Adam’s gaze flitted over the first cell, where he recalled engaging in raucous sex with a woman who’s name he couldn’t recall. He remembered the fire in her eyes when she’d asked about his dungeon, and her wild screams of ecstasy when she got to fulfill her daring wish of defiling a dungeon. Before then, Adam guessed perhaps his great-great-grandfather had used the space for its intended purpose.
The brass two-foot tall candelabra lit the way, casting shadows that made Fabrice jump with trepidation. Fabrice didn’t fight him, but Adam didn’t lessen his jerky movements as he threw the old man into the dank, cold and dark cell. “You should know better than to pull one over on me.”
With arthritic fingers, Fabrice brought himself to his feet and held tight to the bars. “Please, Mr. Fontaine. Sheriff Aston does stuff like this all the time. He’s angry that I won’t give him what he wants, so he abuses his power to try and twist me. If it was anything else, I might bend, but not this.”
“Save your stories for someone who cares.”
“You should care!” Fabrice cried out when Adam turned his back. “You should care because it’s your business that suffers. The sheriff makes up tariffs and takes money we don’t have. Then we’re late on paying our mortgage to you. If it doesn’t affect your conscience, then you should at least be upset that he’s gouging your bottom line. How many homes have you foreclosed on in the past year in the West Village?”
Adam paused, and turned his chin to glance at Fabrice over his shoulder. “Too many. But I always abide by the contracts. I wouldn’t force an eviction on your home if you were only two months late. No sheriff would enforce it if I did.”
Fabrice nodded, now that it seemed they were finally getting somewhere. “Yes, but a notice was posted on my property, and you’ll see I was only two months late. And we wouldn’t have been late if we hadn’t had to pay four thousand dollars in an unexpected bridge tax this year. No one can keep up. As soon as we pay the tax, another comes. I’m telling you, many are losing their homes and their reputations because the sheriff is taking money that’s rightfully yours.” Fabrice’s fingers tightened on the bars. “I’ve only been able to keep up because he didn’t give me the newest tariff. Everyone else in the village had to pay, but we didn’t.”
Adam didn’t like being in the dungeon, but he turned to face Fabrice and folded his arms over his chest, resolving himself to hear the man out if it affected his business, as Fabrice claimed. “And why is that?”
Anger flashed in the old man’s eyes, causing Adam to take a step back. “Because Gabe Aston wants my daughter! He’ll do anything, including throwing me in jail, to get at her. When the newest tariff came about, she went to him without my knowledge and agreed to take him up on his bribe.”
“What bribe?”
Fabrice’s voice shook with palpable pain. “He said he would drop the tax on our family if she agreed to go away for a weekend with him.” Fabrice cringed as he gripped the bars, his eyes squinching tight. “I hope you never have to know what it feels like to have someone you value more than anyone else in the world allow herself to be traded like trash and trinkets to a violent swine like the sheriff.” He sniffed, his wet nose running and red. “The eviction notice was just to scare me. The false charges for arrest is what’s truly dangerous, though. If he takes me away and locks me up, then my daughter will have no one, and he’ll win.”
Adam gaped at the old man, wondering how he’d stumbled into such a tangled web that had apparently been going on right under his nose. All he’d seen were the numbers. The annual household income, and the average mortgage price. He hadn’t understood why the people in the West Village couldn’t pay their rent. On paper, it certainly looked like they had the means. He’d assumed they were lazy, uneducated or frivolous, but apparently it had been something else entirely.
For the second time that day, Adam’s doorbell rang. “That’ll be the police. Faster than I was anticipating. Stay here, and I’ll get it all sorted.” He pointed at the old man with a menacing finger. “Never come to my house with this much drama again.”
It was the humble, “yes, sir,” that made Adam cringe. Had Fabrice been petulantly silent or begged for more time to make his case, Adam wouldn’t be able to justify the gruff behavior he’d never hesitated to heap onto strangers. Adam clenched his fists but didn’t say anything. In fact, just for the man’s sweetness, which had no real place here, Adam shut the door without turning on a single light, taking the candelabra with him, and shrouding the old man in darkness.
Adam’s steps were heavy as he stomped up the stone steps. The chill in his house was far more unforgiving in the basement, making the drafty main floor feel like a heated sunroom by comparison. He stalked over to the front door and flung it open. “Sheriff,” he greeted the dark-haired officer, but didn’t invite him inside.
From a single look, Adam had a hard time finding holes in Fabrice’s story. He’d never seen a cop wearing fine leather shoes before. Gabe’s black, coifed hair was perfectly done, and his face was shaved so closely, it looked like a barber had recently done it. He wore four gold rings, each of them shiny, jeweled, and something to stare at.
It wasn’t the opulence that put Adam off – he himself had plenty of baubles in the safe upstairs – it was the bawdy impracticality, and the obvious display of wealth that didn’t seem befitting with the “servant” aspect of “public servant” all cops usually adhered to.
“Do you have the suspect inside?” Gabe adjusted his gold name badge and flashed a perfectly white-toothed gleaming grin at Adam. His uniform shirt was two sizes too small, which allowed him to show off his musculature with the simplest flex.
“Depends. I do a lot of entertaining. You’ll have to be more specific. Who are you looking for, and what’s he being charged with?”
Gabe’s smile fell, and the squat, portly cop standing on the stoop behind him shoved his hands in his pockets. The deputy had part of his shirt untucked, his pants were too big for his shorter frame, and he had a clubbed foot. “You were the one who called in the tip. Surely Fabrice is here. His old beater is still in your driveway.” He jerked his thumb in the direction of the car.
Adam grimaced at the hideous vehicle, and silently marveled that it had made it all the way to his home from the West Village. “What’s he being charged with?”
“Public disturbance.”
“Well, as you can see, he’s not in public, and he’s only disturbing me. I’ll not press charges for that. Show me the warrant, and then tell me why you posted an eviction notice on his property. I’m the mortgage holder. You can’t carry through that process unless I initiate it, and I haven’t.”
The deputy shifted nervously, and scratched an itchy spot on the back of his head. His brown hair was messy and didn’t look like it had seen the inside of a barber in months. “You saw that, did you?”
Gabe didn’t waver, but Adam could see the lie blooming in his haughty eyes as it curled his upper lip. “Must’ve been a paperwork mix-up, then. I’ll remove the notice. I know he’s late on his payments, though.”
“And how would you know that?” Adam folded his arms across his broad chest, not holding back his stature that towered still a couple inches over the strapping Gabe.
At this challenge, Gabe shrank marginally. “Word around town spreads.”
Adam’s puffy upper lip coiled in a sneer. “You posted an eviction notice on hearsay?”
Gabe backpedaled quickly. “I was over their house. I’m dating Fabrice’s daughter, you know.” He adjusted his belt, as if to brag to Adam about the prize he’d nabbed. “Anyway, I saw the late notice in the mail on the table. Thought I’d do you a favor and start the process for you.”
Adam scoffed, understanding enough of the story to realize Fabrice had been telling him the truth. “How about this: if Prince Henry looks into your dealings with Fabrice and his daughter and finds anything shady, I’ll have you throw in your own jail. How does that sound?” He snarled as he fisted the doorknob. “I don’t need a crooked cop doing me any favors, and I certainly don’t need him breaking the law and blaming it on my company.”
Gabe’s jaw clenched as he took a step back, bumping into his partner, who fell backwards off the cracked concrete dais. “I can have the charges dropped, if that’s what you need.”
“I need you to do your job. If you’re not capable of doing that, Prince Henry will replace you.”
Gabe raised his hands, his sneer juxtaposing with his humble words. “Consider the charges dropped. And I’ll remove the eviction notice first thing.”
Adam was about to slam the door in his face, but the cough of an old red sedan caught his attention. He frowned, wishing the outside world would just leave him alone already, but paused his impending tirade when the squeaky car door opened, and its owner stepped out.
Adam hadn’t seen any woman aside from Rory in so very long. She had long legs, which she put to use stomping toward Gabe with a steadiness that belied the tremble in her slender fingers. With a look of brazen determination on her heart-shaped features, she beelined for the porch with an angry story on her face. “Gabe, how could you? Where is he?”
Gabe hopped down the steps and offered her a cocky smile he produced out of nowhere. It had a sideways tilt, and his voice carried a note of bravado that Adam found off-putting. “Here I am, tasty cakes.”
Adam’s face soured at the term of endearment. He didn’t need to know the woman to understand that the nickname didn’t suit her – or anyone, for that matter.
“Where is my father?” she clarified with a ripple of disgust marring her beauty. “He left a note that he was coming here. Why are you here? Where is he?”
Her hair was the color of pure maple. Despite the bun it had been fashioned into, several bits had fallen out, and blew back with the bite of the wind. The snow was deep enough that her jeans would be wet at the ankles, which for some reason bothered Adam. Her gloves were just as tattered as her father’s, but the holes in her winterwear made him irate instead of indifferent, as he had been with Fabrice.
“Belle, calm down. You’re always so tense. Let me give you a ride home. Your face is positively red with the cold.” Gabe leaned toward her with a smarmy grin that made Adam recoil. “Or perhaps that’s a little blush I see.”
Adam felt as if it could be seen from space how much she loathed the man who was clearly making a pass at her – and badly, at that.
Belle didn’t address Gabe, but made her way past him up the porch. When she took in Adam standing in the doorway, her big brown eyes grew impossibly wider. She seemed to forget her mission at the sight of his beastly features, but finally her shrunken voice found the words. “Sorry to bother you, sir. Have you seen a man around here who answers to Fabrice?”
Adam hadn’t been addressed by a beautiful woman in ages. Sure, the kingdom was enamored of Rory’s delicate features, but he’d known her since they were children, and didn’t appreciate her beauty the way the public did. He straightened his posture and wished he’d changed into proper clothes that morning. Or showered. “You’re welcome to come in and wait for him here.”
Gabe spoke for her the moment she opened her mouth to respond. “I’m sure she would rather wait in my squad car. Come on, Belle. We’ll make Rufus ride in back.” He let out a haughty laugh that Rufus joined along with halfheartedly.
Adam held open the door for her and jerked his head to indicate the choice was hers.
Despite her obvious reluctance to be near the deformed man in pajamas whom everyone knew was a gruff shut-in with mental health issues, Belle braved the unknown rather than stay another second in Gabe’s presence. She would take a chance on the monster who used to be a man, rather than stand another second next to the man who was truly a monster. “Thank you, sir.”
The moment she stepped inside, Gabe moved to follow her. Adam stood in the doorway, his barreled chest blocking the path and proving to the arrogant sheriff that he would not be intimidated. While Gabe was powerful in his village, Adam had deep pockets and even deeper connections. “You don’t step inside without a warrant, Officer. You can call to confirm that the eviction notice has been removed, and then I never want to hear from you again.” He slammed the door and locked it, wondering how his day had gone so very off the rails.


Mary E. Twomey lives in Michigan with her husband and three adorable children. She enjoys reading, writing, vegetarian cooking and telling her children fantastic stories about wombats.

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RELEASE BLITZ | House of Falling Embers – Krystal Jane Ruin

Title: House of Falling Embers
Author: Krystal Jane Ruin
Genre: Paranormal/Retelling (Adult/New Adult)
Publisher: The Narcissistic Rose
Publication Date: October 1st, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s Reviews & PR

Once upon a time there was a witch. She was a kind witch, but that didn’t matter. The people were afraid, and fear often turns to hatred.
When Artemis was thirteen, her best friend Aris was swallowed by the crumbling house they found in the woods. Like a coward, she abandoned him to the horror within.

She moved away. She tried to forget. But when she finds herself back in her old neighborhood after college, the ghosts—and her guilt—are waiting. A charred figure stalks her dreams, and someone, or something, haunts her from the trees.

Going back into the woods might be the only way to save her sanity.
Because nine years later, the house is still there. Still waiting. Still restless.

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Excerpt:

Fenton leads back against the bar, looking every inch the rich playboy. A woman I vaguely recognize as being a country music artist comes up to plants kisses on Fenton’s cheeks.
“Thank you so much for coming.” She bats her lashes at him and doesn’t spare me a glance. She uses her wine glass to gesture to the artwork and tables set up at the front of the room. “The silent auction is over there with all the usual fun stuff. When you have a minute, find me outside. I want to introduce you to someone.” She drifts away, the heavy scent of a flowery perfume trailing behind.
“So, I take it your boyfriend was okay with you going out tonight.” His eyes are fixated on something, or someone, outside by the pool.
I’m not entirely sure why, but both his voice and what he said infuriate me. “I don’t need his permission.”
“You didn’t tell him.”
My fingers tighten around my glass. “I told him.” Not that it’s any of his business.
“Cute house you guys have. Off in the country like that. Surrounded by all those trees.” He shifts so his body is angled my way. “Isn’t that close to where that Asano kid grew up?” He’s still not looking at me when he says this, so he probably doesn’t see me nearly choke on my drink.
“What?” My voice wavers.
“You were friends with him, right?” He shifts his eyes to my face. “How are you holding up?”
It feels like the floor just dropped from under me. I clutch the cold trim of the bar for support. A thick mass of unshed tears fills my throat, and I have to mentally talk myself off a panic cliff.
When I don’t say anything, he continues. “The wellbeing of my employees is important to me.” His eyes trail over the dance floor before stopping back on my face. “I care.”
I lean away from him and drain the rest of my drink.


Krystal Jane is the author of supernatural and paranormal fiction, living in the Tennessee Valley with a collection of swords and daggers. When she’s not hoarding stuffed pandas, hourglasses, and Hello Kitty replicas, she can be found drinking chai tea or blogging about books, writing, and random things at KrystalSquared.net.

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RELEASE BLITZ | The Final Life Series Box Set – Rose Garcia

Title: The Final Life Series Box Set
Author: Rose Garcia
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Paranormal
Publication Date: September 17th, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

This box set includes the first three books of The Final Life Series: Final Life, Final Stand, and Final Death. A complete story, the saga of Dominique’s quest for survival will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Final Life: For seventeen-year-old Dominique, nothing sucks more than moving across the country during senior year. Angry and feeling alone, she thinks things can’t get worse, until her new neighbor pressures her into playing a psychic card game. The cards spark a vision of a red desert where a malignant presence hints at past lives and threatens to kill her…again. If Dominique is to put an end to the evil pursuing her, she must push through her fears and discover the secrets of her past. If she doesn’t, she’ll be dead. For real.

Final Stand: Dominique is still alive after facing Tavion, the Tainted who’s hunted her for lifetimes. Yet her protectors still fear for her life. They force her to flee Houston and abandon the friends she loves, but they can’t protect her from herself. When Dominique starts hearing Tavion’s voice in her head, she realizes that her personal connection to the Tainted still exists. And when her car is ambushed, she discovers another frightening truth…someone close to her is a traitor.

Final Death: Dominique has conquered the evil within her, only to find her one true love has to kill her. Desperate to spare her friends and loved ones from sharing her same fate, Dominique ditches her companions in an effort to protect them. Her new mission is to kill before being killed. With time running out, Dominique is hell bent on finishing what was started nine lives ago, or finally face her final death.

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Rose Garcia is a lawyer turned writer who’s always been fascinated by science fiction and fantasy. From a very young age, she often had her nose buried in books about other-worlds, fantastical creatures, and life and death situations. More recently she’s been intrigued by a blend of science fiction and reality, and the idea that some supernatural events are, indeed, very real. Fueled by her imagination, she created The Final Life Series—a Young Adult science fiction/fantasy series about people who have the ability to control the energy in and around them. Rose is known for bringing richly diverse characters to life as she draws from her own cultural experiences. Rose lives in Houston, Texas with her awesome husband and two amazing kids. You can visit Rose at www.rosegarciabooks.com.

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RELEASE BLITZ | Extra Innings – Lynn Stevens

Title: Extra Innings
Author: Lynn Stevens
Genre: YA Sports Romance
Cover Designer: Najla Qamber Designs
Publisher: Siren Press
Publication Date: September 18th, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Blurb:

Victoria Hudson is a seventeen-year-old with a passion for baseball. When her grandmother buys a new house in the city, Vic discovers a way to play the game for the first time since getting kicked out of little league. She just has to move in with her hippie grandmother and make sure her father, a U.S. Senator and prospective Presidential candidate, doesn’t find out what she’s up to over the summer break.

After proving her abilities on the field, she catches the attention of Daniel Cho, the team’s catcher. Everything seems to be falling apart, and yet falling into place. Vic settles into a life she’s always wanted, that of a normal teenage girl. But Victoria Hudson is anything but normal. Once the press learns that the potential First Daughter is crossing the gender line to play baseball, Vic is thrust back into the spotlight and making headlines. The life she tries so hard to get away from simply won’t leave her alone.

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Excerpt:

Top of the 1st

Acid waved in my stomach, reaching for the peak of my throat.
Stop it. You can do this. Just go at it like you own the place. Stride up to the coach like Mom does when she’s on the donation hunt.

The fields sat at the southern end of Jackson Memorial Park: one for softball, one for baseball. I had parked on the baseball side by a beat-up orange truck. The boys were already there, tossing balls and joking loud enough that I heard them through the closed windows of my car. Thankfully, the softball field was empty. Taking a deep breath, I climbed out of the car, pulling my equipment from the backseat.

Maybe it was my BMW, or maybe it was me, but the only sound I heard as I stalked toward the field were birds chirping to one another. No doubt the guys recognized a girl when they saw one. Mother Nature blessed me a bit too much in the boob department for anybody to mistake me as a boy.

I strode onto the soft dirt of the field and straight toward the older man with the clipboard. Coach Bernie Strauss stared back at me. He was easily six-eight with tree trunk legs and arms that UFC fighters would die for. He looked more like a Marine Corps drill instructor than a summer league baseball coach. I totally wanted to test him by shouting “Semper Fi.”

I stopped in front of him, waiting for what I knew was coming.

“Softball practice ended about twenty minutes ago.” He sounded like he ate gravel for breakfast.

“I’m not here to play softball, Coach.” I straightened my back and channeled my mother’s unbending confidence. “I’m here to help you win the city championship this year.”

No one laughed like I expected. So I exhaled, relaxed. Big mistake.

“Get off my field. I ain’t got time for this,” he shouted loud enough that birds scattered from a nearby tree. Coach Strauss turned his back to me and continued to bark at the team. “If you don’t get back to practice, you’ll be running laps in three … two …” His slight Texan accent made the “you’s” sound like “ya’s”.

The boys started throwing and stretching again, but they didn’t stop watching us.

“Coach –” I began.

“I ain’t your coach.”

I lost my cool, just like my father. “This is bullcrap. Look at your registration sheet.” He didn’t, so I snatched the clipboard from him and pointed. “See the name Vic Hudson? Well, that’s me. I paid to play. And I fully intend to. It isn’t against the rules.”

Coach ripped the clipboard from my fingers and flipped to another page. I waited. He read. I tapped my foot. That’s not nearly as dramatic on a dirt infield. The boys stopped warming up again.

He looked me up and down. “Fine. I’ll give you a shot, Hudson. You suck and you’re gone.”

“I can deal with that.”

“Get out there.” He pointed at a tall, super skinny boy. “Delvin, warm her up.”

I tossed my bag into the dugout and jogged onto the field. It didn’t take me long to figure out why Coach Strauss told Delvin to warm up with me. He kicked his leg like a pitcher and tossed a pretty nasty fastball. If I had to guess, he could hit ninety from the mound on a good day. It would’ve been stupid if I said anything, even though every ball he threw at me stung my fingers like tiny pricks of a hundred safety pins. I didn’t even try to throw my hardest. I warmed up like it was any other day.

Then he began stepping back. One step here, then another.

Idiot.

I threw hard and high to make my point. Delvin had to reach to get it. He may throw harder, but I can throw farther.

“Alrigh’, get in here,” Coach yelled. He raised his eyes at Delvin, who shrugged. “I know most of you from last year. We only got two potential newbies. One’s a girl. Anyone got a problem with that?”

If they did, they sure as hell weren’t going to tell Coach Strauss.

“Good. I expect you to treat her like you’d treat anybody else.” He looked at me and softened his tone. “What position do you play, honey?”

“Third.” I glared at him. He smirked then turned back to the team. Before he could open his mouth, I said, “And I’m not your honey.”

His head snapped back like he’d taken a right hook to the cheek. “Excuse me?”

I pointed at Delvin. “Do you call him ‘honey’?”

Delvin’s cheeks glowed light pink with either rage or embarrassment. I didn’t know which and really didn’t care.

Coach didn’t answer me though. His chin grew beet red, which crept up his cheeks all the way to his pale yellow crew cut. Steam came out of every clogged pore on his face as he yelled, “Everybody at third. Jayden, get your ass to first.” He sneered at me and I expected to get kicked off the field. “We’re going to field some grounders and see who handles them best. I’ll hit you three then rotate. Hudson, ladies first.”

Crap. Me and my big mouth. He’s going to either hit me a line drive at a hundred miles an hour or make me go so far out of range that I make an ass of myself.

I jogged to third and dug my cleats into the stubborn dirt. The rest of the guys lined up along the fence, amused grins matching Strauss’s own jack-o-lantern expression. Coach tossed the ball into the air.

Crack.

I jumped spread eagle and dropped my glove between my legs, catching the line drive. I came down ready to throw to first, but Jayden wasn’t on the bag. He stood three steps off with his mouth open. Smiling, I rolled the ball back to home plate.

Coach didn’t give me time to get back into position when he hit a grounder to my left. In a game, the shortstop would’ve played it, but this was a different type of game. I dove and knocked it down. My throw to first was in the dirt, but I was on my butt when I whipped it across the infield. That shouldn’t be held against me. It was an almost impossible play.

The last ball went up the line. I hustled and would’ve had it clean until it hit the bag. It took a nasty bounce that was nearly out of reach. I jumped and brought it down barehanded, throwing to first off balance as I fell into foul territory.

I stood up without looking to see if Jayden caught it and walked to the fence to wait for my next turn. The guys gawked at me as I leaned against the fence, ignoring them. I’d made my point. I could field. My next time up, Coach hit some routine grounders.

After rotating through every infield position, it was time for batting practice.

“You’re up,” Coach announced as he pointed his chunky finger my way. “Delvin, pitch to her.”

While Delvin threw some warm up tosses, I pulled my large batting gloves on, stretching them over my long fingers. The shin guard came loose as I walked to the plate, but I didn’t dare adjust it. Not yet anyway. I’m a switch hitter in softball but more natural from the right side. So that’s where I started when I stepped into the box. I wasn’t entirely certain I could hit a fastball from the left anyway.

Delvin dug at the rubber. I did the same at the plate. Kicked some rocks out from under my right foot. Buried my left foot in the front of the box. Right arm cocked at a ninety degree angle, my bat perched above my shoulder, I waited. A trickle of sweat ran down my cheek. This felt more like a playoff game than a practice.

My swing was graceful as I rocked the fastball over Jayden. He stretched, revealing his dark walnut skin. His long braids smacked his back as he dropped to the ground. Jayden could jump for a big guy.

“Nice,” Coach said.

The Asian boy behind the plate whistled low and said, “Sweet.”

Delvin tossed a few more pitches before Coach snapped at me to get to third. I didn’t hesitate, grabbing my glove and hustling onto the field.

“Get in the dugout,” Coach commanded after everyone had hit.

I stood at the end of the bench, waiting for the axe to drop. I’d played well enough to warrant sticking around, but I was still lacking the mandatory testosterone. If Coach told me to go, I would. It was his team and I wasn’t about to make things worse by throwing an epic hissy.

“We got a tough schedule this year. Last year, the Rebels kicked our ass to take the district. Well, half those boys can’t play no more. Hell, we’re missing three of our own. It’s time we take our game to the next level. The Rebels need to rebuild more than we do. We can take ‘em. Now get outta here. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He glanced my way. “All of you.”

I grabbed my gear and practically bounced out of the dugout when Coach called me and Shane Anders back.

Shane was short, plump, and had a face pot-marked by zits and craters. Something told me that his dad made him play to get him out of the basement. Coach Strauss towered over him. Shane tremored a little.

“Alright. Vic, what’s your real name?”

“Vic.”

He sighed, sending a poof of peppermint my way that didn’t conceal his bad breath. It smelled like he didn’t bother to brush his teeth in the morning. Ever. “Don’t bullshit me, girl.”

“I’m not, Coach. Vic’s short for Victoria.”

He stared at me and shook his head. “Fine. Here’s the drill. We practice every day at the same time, at the same place until the first game. Ain’t hard to remember. No excuses for tardiness or missin’ a game. Miss a practice, you don’t play the next game. Bring your own equipment. Forget your glove or your cleats, you don’t play.

“Games start next week. Your jersey will be clean. If it ain’t, you ain’t playin’. We play on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays for six weeks. Team that wins their district plays in the city championship tourney. I don’t know nothin’ about either one of you, but there are a couple of boys here that could move on to college ball. Scouts look at summer programs, too, especially if they’re already interested in a player. Neither one of you is goin’ to play baseball at the next level. I just ask that you don’t screw it up for everyone else.

“Now get out of here. Today’s practice was a short one. Tomorrow’s not gonna be this easy.”

Shane took off in a hurry. It was obvious he was scared of Coach. We watched him run to a small pickup truck and scamper in.

“Can I ask you something, Vic?” Coach crossed his arms and glared at me.

“Yeah, sure.”

“Why’re you here?” He nodded toward the empty softball field. “You could be playin’ ball over there. Tell me the truth.”

I knew the question was coming, but I didn’t expect any sincerity behind it. “Softball isn’t baseball, Coach. It may seem similar, but it isn’t the same. I wanted to play ball one more time. That’s all.”

He nodded, then turned away from me and started gathering his bats.

“Am I really on the team?” I asked. I needed absolute confirmation.

“Yeah, got no choice.” He straightened up and smiled at me. “Looked at the regs. Doesn’t say this team is for boys sixteen to seventeen. Just says players. But you already knew that, didn’t you?”

I smiled. Of course I did. “See you tomorrow, Coach Strauss.”

He grunted and I took off to my car, trying not to skip like a ten-year-old.

I’m in. I’m going to play ball again.


Author Bio:

Lynn Stevens flunked out of college writing her first novel. Yes, she still has it and no, you can’t read it. Surprisingly, she graduated with honors at her third school. A former farm girl turned city slicker turned suburbanite, Lynn lives in the Midwest where she drinks coffee and sips tea when she’s out of coffee. She’s the author of Full Count and Game On..

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RELEASE BLITZ | Violet Souls – Abbey MacMunn

Title: Violet Souls
Author: Abbey MacMunn
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Cover Designer: Cora Graphics
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Publication Date: September 5th, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

While searching for clues to her past, shy single mum, Bree Mills discovers a subculture of aliens with supernatural abilities living on Earth.

And she’s one of them.

Finding herself hurled into a world of possibilities, it’s made more alluring by Quinn Taylor, the violet-eyed Evoxian from her childhood dreams.

324-year-old Quinn knows his destiny is entwined with Bree’s, but before he can confess his love, he must wait for her to sense the Akui, a mysterious force tied with ancient Evoxian law.

At a Cotswolds country manor, passions awaken and ignite a love more magical than the once-Utopian planet, Evox. Then Fate delivers a cruel and heart-breaking blow when Bree is kidnapped by a malicious alien who wants her and her power.

Will Quinn still love her when she’s faced with protecting her half-human daughter… whatever the cost?

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Abbey MacMunn writes paranormal and fantasy romance. She lives in Hampshire, UK, with her husband and their four children.

When she’s not writing, she likes to watch films and TV shows – anything from rom-coms to superheroes to science fiction movies. She is a proud member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

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RELEASE BLITZ | The Crane Diaries: Homecoming – Apryl Baker

Title: The Crane Diaries: Homecoming
Author: Apryl Baker
Genre: NA Horror/Paranormal
Cover Designer: Deranged Doctor Design
Publisher: Limitless Publishing, LLC
Publication Date: September 11th, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

New Orleans is a city known for its paranormal history—and it’s the place Emma Rose Crane, AKA Mattie Hathaway, has come home to.

This is a chance for her to start over. In New Orleans, she’s welcome, and her abilities to see ghosts isn’t so freaky.

But the whole thing would be a lot easier if she weren’t faced with a family she barely knows and starting college, all while dealing with the loss of someone she loved.

Can she really escape her past and be semi-normal? Even with her sister Mary and best friend Eric by her side, it’s going to be a wild ride once she agrees to help Mary’s new friends investigate a “haunted” house.

The house’s new occupants are terrified, and the ghost seems to be attacking their little girl, leaving everyone desperate for answers. Emma isn’t sure what to think when she discovers Dr. Lawrence Olivet was also invited to investigate.

Will her gifts be enough to save the family that is currently being stalked in their own home? And when some of her own family’s long-kept secrets come to light, will her fresh start be over before it even begins?

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So who am I?

Well, I’m the crazy girl with an imagination that never shuts up. I LOVE scary movies. My friends laugh at me when I scare myself watching them and tell me to stop watching them, but who doesn’t love to get scared? I grew up in a small town nestled in the southern mountains of West Virginia where I spent days roaming around in the woods, climbing trees, and causing general mayhem. Nights I would stay up reading Nancy Drew by flashlight under the covers until my parents yelled at me to go to sleep.

Now, I live in a small town in West Virginia where I entertain my niece and nephew and watch the cats get teased by the birds and laugh myself silly when they swoop down and then dive back up just out of reach. The cats start yelling something fierce…lol.

I love books, I love writing books, and I love entertaining people with my silly stories.

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RELEASE BLITZ | Worship – Jennifer Domenico

Title: Worship
Author: Jennifer Domenico
Genre: Taboo Romance
Cover Designer: Wicked by Design
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Blurb:

For a few perfect moments, she was my everything, but she was snatched away. Devastated doesn’t begin to describe my pain.

Lost and broken, I turned to the one place that promised wholeness. In the years since, I’ve become an expert at handling grief, loss, and longing, and I help others find the redemption and peace I so desperately need.

In the most unlikely place, she appears like an angel. In her eyes, my soul is healed. In her arms, the belonging I chased for years is finally mine. The emotions I thought long dead, are reborn by her touch.

She becomes my church, her voice my choir, her love my mercy, her kiss my sacrament. My altar is her body and I worship devoutly.

What we’ve done, what we will do, is wrong, but when she’s near, the rules are redefined. I’m not free to love her, but my heart says otherwise. I lost her once, but this time, I’ll do anything to keep her.

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Author Bio:

Jennifer Domenico writes contemporary and erotic romances. She loves alpha males with a soft spot, flawed characters, and strong, sassy women. Her characters usually have a side of kink and aren’t afraid to demand what they want. The author doesn’t apologize for that. She’s a sucker for a happy ending as long as it comes with a lot of heat.

She lives in Phoenix, Arizona but is a Bostonian at heart. The way to her heart can be reached with a foreign accent, a shot of Fireball, and an unlimited supply of cupcakes.

She is also known under her alter ego, Jaelyn LaStoria, author of time traveling romances, because why not. The first title is Lost Within.

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RELEASE BLITZ | Half As Much – E.M. Denning

Title: Half As Much
Author: E.M. Denning
Genre: MM Romance
Publisher: Paper Gold Publishing
Production Date: August 29th, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Blurb:

Rider Dillinger likes who he is, and he knows what he wants. He works hard for one of the toughest teachers on campus and he likes to unwind the same way any other twenty-something does; with sex. When his friends with benefits arrangement ends badly, Rider finds himself at the school health clinic where he meets campus nurse, Eli James. Rider thinks this will be a simple hook-up, but he doesn’t count on the connection that forms between them. He sees this as his golden opportunity to tell Eli his secret desires, after all, what has he got to lose?

Eli James was enamored with Rider from the moment he saw him. His round eyes, and pouty, innocent mouth hid a man who wanted sinfully delicious things. The idea of sharing Rider appeals to Eli, but only on his terms. As they navigate a relationship based on emotional exclusivity and sexual variety, they end up falling deeper and deeper in love.

When an event neither see coming rocks their world, Rider knows he needs to do something drastic to rectify the situation or risk losing Eli to the crushing weight of guilt.

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Author Bio:

E. M. Denning is a writer from British Columbia. She loves her family and animals, and anything cute and fuzzy. She writes romance for the 18+ plus crowd because she’s both a hopeless romantic and a dirty old woman.

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RELEASE BLITZ | Somewhere Out There Anthology

Hi everyone!

Today we are celebrating the release of Somewhere Out There! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!


Title: Somewhere Out There
Genre: Mixed Genre
Publisher: Bathory Gate Press
Cover Designer: Elizabeth Constantopolous
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s Reviews & PR

Blurb:

Sometimes an anthology is more than a collection of great stories.

This anthology is about making a stand.

More than 150 authors, editors, artists, and promoters from all around the world have come together to say, “Enough is enough, and let the children go free.” Immerse yourself in the tales of Somewhere Out There: A Fundraising Anthology that demands we keep immigrant children together with their parents, and out of incarceration.

Experience sizzling romances, journey through fantastic magical realms, and solve engaging mysteries in this collection of stories that encompasses all genres. Bestselling authors and new voices have come together to deliver an incredible and exciting collection that’s bound to keep you on the edge of your seat and turning the pages.

Best of all, know every cent of your purchase is going to a child who needs it. 100% of all net proceeds will go to non-profit organizations that will reunite immigrant families detained and separated at US borders.

It’s your turn to rise up. Will you join us in supporting immigrant families (and get a great reading deal in the process)?

One-click and take a stand today!

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