Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Giveaways of Make it Last, Nissa, and Indelible



Goodreads Book Giveaway


Make it Last by Bethany Lopez

Make it Last

by Bethany Lopez


Giveaway ends December 31, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.


Enter to win





Goodreads Book Giveaway


Nissa by Bethany Lopez

Nissa

by Bethany Lopez


Giveaway ends December 31, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.


Enter to win





Goodreads Book Giveaway


Indelible by Bethany Lopez

Indelible

by Bethany Lopez


Giveaway ends December 31, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.


Enter to win

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Five Questions with Melanie Stinnett


Five Questions with Melanie Stinnett

 

1.     When you think of your favorite books, what is it that draws you to them and makes you want to read them over and over again?

I love stories with some sort of salvation – either from an outside danger or some sort of internal struggle. In the end, what really gets me is the emotion of the story. If they make me laugh or cry or want to throw my Kindle at the wall – that makes a good book.

 

2.     Did you consciously decide to write the genre you write, or did it choose you?

I have always enjoyed reading contemporary romance so in a way I chose to write in this genre. However, I feel like my characters chose their story.

 

3.     If you could sit down for a drink and a chat with any writer, who would it be, and why?

Fisher Amelie – I love her stories and would love to learn more about the series she’s writing! I’d love to tell her in person that, in the initial stages of writing my novel, she was a big inspiration to me.

 

4.     When you are not writing (or reading) what is your favorite pastime?

I love spending time with my husband and my two boys. We like to do things outdoors – love going to the lake and to the park. I also love music, so some days are good for just having a dance party with my two year old.

 

5.     At what point were you sure that your book was ready to be published, and how did you go about making it happen?

 

When I sent my completed manuscript to my post-edit beta readers and they gave me great feedback. Until that point, I still had doubts and concerns about publishing on my own, but I always pressed forward. From the minute I decided to write a novel, I made sure to surround myself with others who had already gone through the experience. Although no journey to self-publishing is the same for everyone, knowing that others have made it through and had success has been a big encouragement to me.
 
You can find Melanie's debut novel, Crossing Paths, on Amazon.

Friday, October 4, 2013

What's New and What's Ahead

Happy Friday Everyone!
 
I have some things happening and I wanted to give you all an update to let you know what's been going on, what I'll be doing for the next several months, and what's ahead for 2014.
 
First off, I will be deploying for several months, so my Internet time may be intermittent. I won't really know until I get there, but I'm hopeful that I'll still be around here and there.
 
During my move from CA to NC, I signed with Inkslinger PR and they will help get the word out about any books I have coming out. You can also check out their Facebook page.
 
I have finished TTYL and it is currently with my editor, Kristina at Red Road Editing. Once she is done with it, I will see what I can do to get it released no later than Nov.
 
I am working on a new Contemporary Romance as well, and have scheduled the photo shoot for the cover with K Keeton Designs in Nov. I'm not sure what my timeline will be for this one, but I will get it out as soon as I can.
 
Unfortunately, due to my deployment, I will no longer be able to attend the New Adult Sleepover Weekend, The Readers Favorite Book Awards in Miamai, or The Novel Experience. I'm really disappointed that I can't be there, as I was really looking forward to meeting everyone and getting to be on panels with some wonderful writers.
 
That being said, I do have some events scheduled after I return in 2014:
 
UtopYA - Nashville - June 20 - 22 2014https://www.facebook.com/UtopYAcon
https://www.facebook.com/groups/314920831946257/
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Southern Girls Author Event - Greenville - July 19 2014
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Southern-Girls-Author-Event/435655953209301
https://www.eventbrite.com/event/7382993733
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Authors After Dark - Charlotte - Aug 6 - 12 2014
https://www.facebook.com/authorsafterdark?ref=br_tf
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Penned Convention - St, Louis, Missouri - September 13, 2014
www.pennedcon.com
https://www.facebook.com/authorsafterdark?ref=br_tf#!/pennedcon
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Queen City Indie Con - Cincinnati- Oct 24 & 25 - 12 2014
https://www.facebook.com/#!/QueenCityIndieCon
http://queencityindiecon.com/
 
Hope to see you at one of these Fabulous events. Please drop my a line if you need anything, either here, on my FB Page or on Twitter.
Thanks!
 
 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Cover Reveal of TTYL ~ New Covers for the Stories about Melissa Series

To Celebrate the Upcoming Release of Book 4 in the Stories about Melissa series, TTYL, I decided to re-vamp the series. I had them re-edited, re-formatted, and had new covers done.
 
I have to say a HUGE THANK YOU to the fabulous people who have helped me make the series better!
 
Cover Photo's: K Keeton Design
Cover Design: B Design
 
I hope you all love the updates to the Stories about Melissa as much as I do. I will be releasing book 4 soon (and Yes, there are still going to be 8 books in the series), but for now, let me share with you the new covers for Ta Ta for Now!, xoxoxo, and Ciao, as well as the cover for TTYL.
 
I think they are Fresh & Fun and embody what I want the series to be!
 
 





Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Release Day Blitz ~ Fade into the Woodwork by Kristina Circelli

Join author Kristina Circelli today in the release of her new
book, Fade into the Woodwork! This nail-biting novella is now available on the Kindle and Nook, as well as in paperback!





Synopsis:


Abducted in broad daylight, locked away in a basement cage,
starved for food and light - how would you escape your prison?


Valentina Murdoch finds herself asking that same question
after she is attacked and kidnapped one ordinary morning. Brought to a secluded
hideaway in the middle of the woods to await her fate at the hands of "the
boss," she has but days to survive.


Utilizing her love of action movies to create a plan,
Valentina plots her escape while battling a crippling fear of the dark - for
the dark is where her childhood nightmare lurks, waiting for her one moment of
weakness. But as the clock winds down and her husband's search for her
threatens his own life, Valentina realizes that her true fight lies within
herself.


Will she have the strength to survive, or will the dark -
and all the figures that haunt it - finally win?




Meet the Author:


Night owl, Dorito lover, and quiet eccentric - Kristina
Circelli is the author of several fiction novels, including The Helping Hands
series, The Whisper Legacy, The Never, and The Sour Orange Derby.


A descendent of the Cherokee nation and niece of a Cherokee
elder, Circelli holds both a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English
from the University of North Florida, where she teaches creative writing. She
also heads Red Road Editing, a full-service editing company for independent authors
and commercial clients.


She currently resides in Jacksonville, Florida with her
husband, Seth, and cats, Lord Finnegin the Fierce and Mr. Malachi the Mighty.




Connect with Kristina:
Email - mailto:Kristina@circelli.info


Twitter: @KCircelli




Monday, September 16, 2013

Cover Reveal ~ Meant for Her by Raine Thomas

COVER REVEAL!

Meant for Her

A New Adult Contemporary Romance

by
Raine Thomas
Cover design by Regina Wamba of www.MaeIDesign.com

Cover photos by Kelsey Kukal-Keeton of K Keeton Designs
 
 
 
 
 
 
Blurb
Photographer Sierra Stratton views the world through a lens all her own. She has an uncanny sense about people, something that often causes her trouble. When she meets the sexy and brooding Evan Dorsey, her intuition tells her he's suffering, and she wants to be the one to help him.
Evan isn't open to help from anyone, however. His focus is on his Major League career and making himself as marketable as possible for his upcoming free agency. He plans to ride out the season in Atlanta and then sign with another team, away from the painful memories that haunt him.
Someone's eager to send him on his way, too. Between anonymous threats and equipment sabotage, it's clear he's earned himself an enemy along the way. To him, it's one more sign that he's right to move on.
But Sierra threatens his conviction. Her contagious smile proves hard to resist, as does her kiss. She tempts him in ways he never anticipated, making him question his plans for the first time. If he's not careful, she might just convince him that he's meant for her.


Coming October 17, 2013
Add it to your to-read list on Goodreads
Check out For Everly on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and get to know some of the characters making appearances in Meant for Her!
 
 
Raine Thomas
Brief author bio: Raine Thomas is the author of bestselling YA and NA romantic fiction, including the award-winning Estilorian series. She's a proud member of Romance Writers of America and is a contributing blogger to The Writer's Voice. When she isn't planning weddings, writing, or glued to social networking sites, she can usually be found on one of Florida's beautiful beaches with her husband and daughter or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.



Ways readers can connect with Raine:

Twitter (http://twitter/Raine_Thomas)

Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/rainethomas)

Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5053436.Raine_Thomas)

Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/raine_thomas/)

Linkedin (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/raine-thomas/53/111/bb3)

Website (http://rainethomas.com)

Blog (http://RaineThomas.com/blog/)
 

 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Lucky 13 #Giveaway & How Nissa Got Lucky



a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
How Nissa Got Lucky
 
Being a Fairy Godmother can be hard work, and for my first mission, I looked forward to cutting my teeth on a real challenging subject. When I initially learned that my first mission was Vicky, a high school senior dealing with bullies, I was disappointed. When I met Vicky, and her brother, Levi, it was a blessing in disguise. Now I realize, that the day I was given that mission, was the day I really got lucky!
 
 




At 900 years old, Nissa is finally ready to follow her mother's path and become the best Fairy Godmother she can. She’s not thrilled when her first assignment turns out to be a teenage human girl with self-esteem issues, but she knows she has to start somewhere. Her assignment has dealt with bullies since her freshman year and they haven’t let up. If Nissa can’t help her regain her self-confidence her future is bleak.

To complicate matters Nissa experiences all the signs that she's met the being fated for her. This impossibility distracts her from her purpose. After all, fairies and humans aren't meant for each other. How can her heart believe otherwise? Can Nissa successfully complete her first assignment as a Fairy Godmother? Will the fates allow Nissa and Levi to be together? And even if they do, will Levi believe Nissa once she reveals the truth?

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Cover Reveal of Break You by Jennifer Snyder


Today I’m taking part

in the cover reveal for Jennifer Snyder’s novel Break You. Break You is a New

Adult Contemporary Romance.








Ready for the cover?

Here it is…












Isn’t it a beauty? 


The cover was created

by Once Upon A Time Covers and features the photography of K. Keeton.





Releasing November 8, 2013





Blaire Hayes enjoys a quiet life, spending her days as

a CNA at the local nursing home and nights studying for exams. She prefers

things to be as uncomplicated as
 possible—but

 when her friends drag her to a

party and she bumps into her high school crush, the path of Blaire’s life veers

in an entirely different direction than what she had planned for herself.






 Jason Bryant created a nice life away from

his hometown, putting distance between himself and the suffocating sadness of

his father’s death. But when he finds out his grandfather’s health is

deteriorating, he decides he must return home. Partying was not on his agenda

while in town, but it’s how he bumps into Blaire Hayes—the girl he’d always

thought of in high school as an unobtainable pass.




 Together the two learn there are moments

in life that hold within them all the power to break you...












 
Jennifer Snyder lives in North Carolina were

she spends most of her time writing New Adult and Young Adult Fiction, reading,

and struggling to stay on top of housework. She is a tea lover with an

obsession for Post-it notes and smooth writing pens. Jennifer lives with her

husband and two children, who endure listening to songs that spur inspiration

on repeat and tolerate her love for all paranormal, teenage-targeted TV shows.


Find her here:

 



Monday, September 2, 2013

Paperback Giveaway ~ Stories about Melissa ~ Original Covers

I'll be revealing new covers for Ta Ta for Now!, xoxoxo, and Ciao, as well as the cover for book 4, TTYL in Oct. So I figured now is a good time to do a giveaway of signed paperbacks with the orignial covers.
 







a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Trust in Me Wins The Bronze ~ Readers' Favorite International Book Awards

What a wonderful way to wake up ~ Trust in Me won the Bronze Medal in Contemporary Romance for the 2013 Readers' Favorite International Book Awards!!!
 
I really can't believe it. I'm humbled, speechless, and beyond grateful.
 
I'm so happy that Roni & Rich's story resonates with people, and that readers love them as much as I do.
 
Thank you so much to the Readers' Favorite Awards and to everyone who has read Trust in Me!
 


Trust in Me:

Roni’s dreams of becoming a contemporary dancer were smashed under the brutal rage of her ex-husband's fists. Getting divorced and starting over at the age of twenty-two was never her plan, but maybe in Texas, she'll find her path. When the town's local player, Rich, opens a Rec Center, she sees a way to rekindle her dancing dreams...and maybe have a little fun with her sexy new boss.

Rich never expected to fulfill his dreams in the town he planned to leave behind, but that's just what he's doing. His reputation as a noncommittal ladies' man might make it challenging to earn respect in the business world, but he's willing to prove that he's serious. In fact, when it comes to pursuing Roni, he's more than willing. But she's taking a page out of his book, not wanting to risk another relationship. Can he convince her that his playboy days are over and that she can trust him with her heart?

Buy Links for Trust in Me:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Smashwords

If you are interested in reading the entire Friends & Lover's Trilogy, which I recommend if you haven't read Make it Last or I Choose You, your best bet is to buy the omnibus, which has all three books, plus a bonus ending for each couple.




Buy Links for the Friends & Lovers Trilogy:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Smashwords




Friday, August 30, 2013

Blog Tour ~ Mark of the Dragon by Bill Morgan and M. R. Polish


Mark of the Dragon


by


Bill Morgan and M.R. Polish 

 




Bill and I were asked to give over our secret list of top ten favorite Sci-Fi books. So, here they are as a combined list and in no particular order! hahahah....


10. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne


9. The Song of Dragons Trilogy by Daniel Arenson


8. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams


7. Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey


6. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien


5. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne


4. The Modified by CA Kunz


3. Harper Hall Trilogy by Anne McCaffrey


2. The Belgariad Series by David Eddings


1. Redwall by Brian Jaques

 

Mark of the Dragon Blurb

 

In a land of warriors and dragons, everything is about to

change...

Countries are divided and war is raging, but none of that matters to Andra. She

is destined to be a dragon rider. There has never been a woman rider, but that

doesn't matter to her. After her father's death, she trains harder than any man

to be a worthy candidate. Even when the Aquastrian leader wants her dead, she

fights back. Can she over come traveling hundreds of miles on foot, surviving

hunger, bandits, assassins and wild carnivores? 


Liam is just another warrior who hopes he is worthy of the Mark of the Dragon.

He must endure the long trek from Aquastra to Santerrian, avoiding all people,

especially those who may be hired to kill him. Meeting Andra along the way changes

everything. He admires her willful spirit and is inspired to do even more as a

warrior and stop the war. He fights to help her, kills to protect her, but will

it be enough to get them both to their dragons before it's too late?


Buy Links:



 
About the Authors


M.R. Polish was born in Idaho, a long, long, long, well, maybe not that

long time ago.... Writing has always been there for her. Growing up, her mind

was filled with stories, some she shared and others she filed away to write

down later in life. It wasn't until 2011 that she decided to publish her

stories for everyone to enjoy. Her first award, and when writing became more

than just an idea, was in the 5th grade. She won the scary story contest for

the school newspaper. It is one story she still has tucked away for memories.

Her teacher told her she could be anything she wanted and that she had a talent

for writing, being creative and drawing people into her stories. M.R. took that

to heart and continued to write, although mostly in secret until recent years.


Now you can find her enjoying life with her family -

wrangling her four kids, setting traps in the house with toys for unsuspecting

victims (aka, her husband) and writing down all her crazy and fun stories.

"Life is too

short to stand by and watch everyone else live your dreams. The bigger the

dream, the bigger the adventure!
" ~ M.R. Polish

 

Bill Morgan is M.R.’s dad, and if she was born that long ago, You all

should shudder at how long ago he was born. 

He has always been creative.  As

an amateur artist and an avid woodworker, he always could see the hidden beauty

in a blank piece of paper or a piece of wood.

He joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1986 and spent twenty years saving

lives and serving his country.  He always

had stories running around in his head, but he never tried to put them onto

paper until M.R. convinced him to do this book with her.  Now he is actively writing two additional

sci-fi/fantasy novels.   Hopefully she

hasn’t created a monster.  Bill’s

favorite thing is his family.  He has a

wonderful wife, two adult daughters, four sisters, and more wonderful nieces

and nephews than you can believe.  His

last count was over one hundred and he loves them all.   One of his favorite quotes comes from a

movie, but it applies to writing a fictional novel as well:


 “Don’t know where we’re going, but there’s no sense in being late.”  ~Mathew Quigley


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

#SizzlingSummerGiveaway





YA Bound Book Tours is organizing the Sizzling Summer Giveaway event featuring 50 authors!  This giveaway event will take place July 22nd to July 27th.  The giveaway is 2 Kindle Fire HD's with e-book prize packs! (shown below)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Never by Kristina Circelli #Free for your Kindle



The Never - A Free Kindle
Book!


“Part fantasy, part startling
depiction of a broken, shattered reality, this book is a story of
layers.”

You’ve dreamed of adventure,
excitement, a world away from your own. In The
Never
by Kristina Circelli, fantasy becomes reality. Don’t miss the amazing adventure waiting for you in this FREE Kindle book!

The Never is FREE July 16th - 20th, so take advantage of this opportunity! Get your copy today by clicking
here
.

Want to know more about The Never
and its author? Check out the details below!
 

Synopsis:

*Due to sexual content, The Never is recommended
for readers ages 18+*

“Out of nothing, we create something.”

Arianna has spent her entire life being called a
dreamer, an artist who created a world no one else can see. And for her entire
life, she has taken the medication that keeps that world – and the one who
brought her there – at bay.

Now an adult, Arianna reawakens that part of
herself kept locked away in the darkest corners of her mind. When she hides her
medicine from her fiancĂ©’s ever-watchful eye, he returns – the shadow in the
night who collects her for an adventure known only in her fantasies.

But something is different about this world called
The Never. It is no longer the cheerful place filled with light and laughter
that she knew as a child. Now, the sea creatures drag their visitors into the
depths of murky waters. The natives battle to the death against the tribe of
children. And the pirates, led by the feared captain called The Hunter, seek
out Arianna for their own sinister plans.

As Arianna goes deeper into The Never, she
discovers just what her connection to the land means – and must choose between
her life rooted in reality, and the world where anything is possible.



What Readers Are Saying:
 

“This book is an excellent escape, where your imagination can run wild as you drink in the beautiful realm called The Never.”

 
“It's the kind of book where you're sad when you've reached the end because the adventure is over. You fall in love with the characters and identify with each of them in some way.”

 
“A literal page-turner. A wonderful adventure!”

 
“Circelli…paints an achingly beautiful yet stark landscape in the reader's eye, a true vision of a land that lost its way along with the woman who lost her place in the world. I knew I was going to enjoy the writing right from the foreword, but I had no idea how deeply enthralling it would be.”

 
“Circelli wrote adventures that had me holding my breath…”

 
Meet the Author

Night owl, Dorito lover, and quiet
eccentric - Kristina Circelli shares her passion for fiction in her multi-genre
novels.

Her titles include The Sour Orange
Derby
, a young adult novel about family and childhood imagination steeped in
southern traditions; Beyond the Western Sun and Walk the Red Road of The
Whisper Legacy, which centers on Native American cultures and the legends that
come to life in the spirit realm; and The Helping Hands, a book that follows a
gang of friends who rescue abused children.

Currently, Circelli works as a
copywriter supervisor, author, indie book editor, and creative writing professor at
the University of North Florida, where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s
degrees in English. She resides in Florida, with her husband and two kittens, Lord Finnegin the Fierce and Master Malachi the Mighty.
 
 
Connect with Kristina:

 

 

 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cover Revel of Courage - Mark of Nexus Book 2 - by Carrie Butler


Title: COURAGE
Series: Mark of Nexus - Book 2
Author: Carrie Butler
Category: New Adult (NA)
Genre: Paranormal Romance (PNR)
Release: October 15, 2013
Formats: E-Book & Paperback

Cover Credits:


Design: Carrie Butler
Photography: Subbotina Anna & Yuri Arcurs


Courage (Mark of Nexus #2) features four unique points-of-view. While the novel stands alone, it is best enjoyed after Strength (Mark of Nexus #1).

  

Making a deal with the bad guys wasn’t the highlight of Rena Collins’ semester, but, hey, it saved her boyfriend. Now, in order to appease the human-altering organization known as ERA, she’ll crawl under their microscope while they study the Mark of Nexus and plot their eye-glazed version of the future—until she realizes that’s not all they’re plotting.

Wallace Blake has always known his girlfriend is unlike most girls. But now that information has surfaced regarding the two bloodlines that balance his supernatural race, he finally understands why. Rena belongs to one of them. She’s been augmenting his power, all along...

Enter: Corynn Catley. Brought into the country under the guise of an internship, she’s intended to become ERA’s secret weapon. Kind of. Her abilities cancel out Wallace’s, rendering him powerless, but that’s exactly what he’s always wanted. Too bad it only works when his girlfriend’s not around.

All the while, Rena fails to notice the crush her geeky best friend, Aiden Ross, is nursing. He’d give anything for her to see him in a new light—even reinvent himself through questionable means—but there’s a reason people are told to be careful what they wish for. Finding the courage to tell her could put everyone’s lives in danger.

Where to find Carrie:
WEBSITE  |  BLOG  |   TWITTER  |  FACEBOOK  |  GOODREADS  |  GOOGLE+  | NA ALLEY | PINTEREST 

Where to find Courage (Mark of Nexus #2):
BOOK PAGE  |  GOODREADS  |   BOOK TRAILER

Book Bloggers may start requesting e-ARCs via this form. :)
(http://www.carrieabutler.com/reviewers.html)



Book Trailer:

 


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Release Day Blitz for Dreamscape by Christie Rich

The day is finally here! Dreamscape is the first book in the Netherworld series by Christie Rich, and because I'm awesome, I'm helping her out today!








Here's the blurb:

Every night before Amelia falls asleep she makes a wish to dream of him – the man who calls her to their beautiful private oasis, her sanctuary where she is free of her greedy landlord’s threats. But tonight, he will not call Amelia to him. Tonight, another man will step into her world to claim her. Tonight, Amelia’s shattering reality will crumble - and disappear into the Dreamscape…along with her freedom.

When Amelia dreams tonight, her nightmare becomes her new world where Seth is her captor and anything is possible…except escape. Seth needs Amelia to break the curse that binds him to the Dreamscape. He must convince her that she was made to free him, that she was made to join him.

For if he fails, he will never escape his prison, and he will lose Earth to the Netherworld where the evil Erobos wait to consume the human realm and everything in it. If he fails, Seth will lose the one thing that matters to him: Amelia.



How about an excerpt?



Amelia

 
Varner’s voice cuts through the front door

just before three juddering bangs reach me. “I know you’re in there, Amelia. If

you’re not gone by eight, I’m coming in.” His voice lowers, probably to avoid

wandering ears. My spine stiffens more with each word. “You’d better be ready

for me if you decide to stay.”


I’ve already packed my stuff. Pitiful as it

is, one beat-up suitcase sits by the door.


“Amelia!”


I turn up the volume on my MP3 player until

it won’t go any higher, clutching Justine’s picture to my chest. “Yeah!” I

yell, my voice tight with anger. Hot tears cut a path down my cheeks. I scrub

them away before they can slide any farther. To take my mind off the pit in my

stomach, I grit my teeth until my jaw hurts. I need more time, but I’m not

about to give Varner what he wants for it. “I got it. Go! Away!” I pull one bud

out of my ear to make sure he’s leaving.


He says something about not signing leases

with old ladies before his voice fades into nothing. The lecher thinks he’s got

me.


Ha. No one has me, especially not him. And

to think I used to consider him cute.


When I told Varner ‘no’ earlier, he didn’t

exactly take me at my word, until I landed a good hit to his jugular. He shoved

me down, and I let him go. On his way out he made no pretense about eyeing

what’s left of Justine’s china doll collection. The minute he was through the

door, I smashed the majority of them rather than have him get his hands on

them. I really don’t have room, but I couldn’t destroy her favorite. She said

it looked just like me.


I sold everything else to make last month’s

rent, but I ran out of time with the dolls. I was hoping for a collector.


It doesn’t matter now.


Even though I’ve tried to pick up extra

shifts at the diner, tips have been awful. I have two hundred bucks in my

account, which Varner is not getting a penny of. I need everything I have to

find a place to live. The reality of the moment sets in. This is my final night

in Justine’s apartment.


The shabby place shouldn’t mean anything to

me, but it still smells like her. She had this sweet perfume that she liked to

slather on. I got used to it after a while. She wasn’t exactly old, either.

Varner’s just too strung out to know the difference. He doesn’t even own the

place, but he’s way better to deal with than his psychotic uncle, who likes to

call me his chipmunk when nobody else is looking. One way or another, I’ll be

out of here by six.


Justine used to say, “Stay sharp, kid. No

one knows when their time’s up.” Well, she sure didn’t. Justine was my grandma.

She died last month at only fifty-eight. She didn’t even get a lousy funeral.

They stuck her in a furnace and handed me her remains. I took her up Provo

canyon to Sundance and watched her float away on the wind. The cremation was

expensive enough that I couldn’t afford a separate plot for her. I couldn’t

have brought myself to visit the cemetery anyway. Besides, we all crumble to

dust one way or another. She is better off flying.


No matter what my life becomes, Justine

saved me from tumbling around the foster system. I had a few years of stable,

and I’ll never forget what she did for me. She helped me to see there are other

ways of living. Although we didn’t have much to live on, we were never short on

love.


I miss her fiercely. If she were here, she’d

tell me to get over it, so I’m trying.


Thank my lucky stars she waited until I got

my diploma to ditch me; although, I’m not quite sure how it’ll help me now. I’m

alone in this world.


My mom only made it to twenty-one before she

overdosed on crack. My dad lasted to a ripe old age of thirty. He got killed in

some weird accident when I was twelve. I never saw him anyway, so my life

hasn’t been much different since he bit it. As far as I know, he was short on

family too. If he does have family stashed somewhere on this planet, I probably

wouldn’t want to know them. He never did a thing for me, so why would they?


Justine was my ticket to normal, and she

left me with no money, no prospects—unless you count the hazy offer I got from

Roberto.


I hang out with him when I have nothing else

to do. When I told him the news he graciously asked me to share his pad under

the viaduct. I gave him a swift ‘no thank you’ even though I should have told

him not even if I weren’t half his age and he had most of his teeth. I couldn’t

hurt his feelings like that. One day, once I’m settled and he’s still around,

I’m going to do something to help him.


If I hadn’t just turned eighteen I might

have found somewhere to camp in the foster system for a while. As horrible of a

thought as it is, being homeless is probably better than wading through

families until one stuck or I got kicked out again.


With nothing else to do, I try to sleep. Try

is the operative word. Ever since my grandma went, I can’t seem to stay in slumberland.

It doesn’t help that I haven’t seen Jason, either.


Although Jason is a figment of my

imagination, he’s helped me through some rough times. I’ve dreamt of him every

night for nearly four years now, at least I used to. I haven’t had that particular

dream in two weeks, and as stupid as it is, I miss him. After Justine died, he

held me on the grass while I cried, listening to the beat of his heart and the

thrum of the waterfall behind us. I’ve wished him alive or that I could join

him in that place for good so many times. I cry every time I wake up without

him.


Maybe it’s for the best that he’s gone.

Dreams aren’t real, and a dream boyfriend can’t help me find a new place to

live.


I shift onto my side, adjusting my pillow,

trying not to think about the dingy beige carpet under my arms. It prickles my

skin, but everything else is gone. Even if I hadn’t already packed the one I

kept, it’s too hot for a blanket.


Focusing on the beat of the music, I sway,

Justine’s picture lying beside me, and will myself to sleep. Somewhere between

my thoughts about tomorrow and dawn I drift away.





My dreams shift and whirl until my mind

rests in the familiar oasis I’ve sought out for years. Finally.


The afternoon sun warms my moistened skin as

I take in the jagged cliffs in front of me and the thick jungle that surrounds

the pool, trying to locate him. The breeze brings an intoxicating aroma of

tropical blooms. Every time I come here, I’m wet, yet I don’t know how I got

that way. “Jason?” I call.


No answer.


Where is he?


My teeth clamp onto the inside of my upper

lip. I’ve never been away from the water, but I need to find him. He has to be

here.


If nothing else, I’d like to tell him

goodbye…thank you. I have no idea if I’ll see him again, and his absence

presses in on me. This world is not right without him.


The cool grass bends under my bare feet

while a breeze blows wet tendrils into my eyes. I glance up at the falls. Last

time I was here, Jason dared me to dive from the top of the waterfall. Here, I

can do anything. Fear is meaningless, or is it? Strangely, tension prickles my

spine.


A foreign tremor rushes along my skin,

leaving a trail of goose bumps in its wake. I scan every inch of the landscape

until my eyes meet someone else’s gaze.


It is not Jason.


The man is tall with dark hair like Jason,

but everything else about him is wrong. He’s standing twenty feet away from me

at the edge of the jungle. The wind picks up, blowing his brown locks around

his chiseled features.


As he steps closer, I glance behind me to

the pool, judging the distance. I should be able to get away from him if I need

to.


When I face him again, he’s standing

directly in front of me. My heart explodes and my body coils to run.


He doesn’t move to touch me, but his eyes

hold a warning his lips confirm. “We have no time. He’s coming for you. Learn

all you can then find me. Prepare yourself!”





I jolt upright, my fingers digging into the

carpet. I’m breathing so hard I have to wait a minute to stand up. What the

hell kind of dream was that?


Somehow, I always thought the oasis was mine

and Jason’s, as if no one else existed but us. That guy violated our sanctuary.

A gusty laugh comes out of me from the thought. A dream man violated my dream.

His warning still echoes in my throbbing veins.


A bit unsteady, I make my way into the

kitchen. My fingers fumble for the light switch, but nothing happens when I

flip it. Yeah, I forgot. The power was shut off yesterday. At least the water

still works.


I hope.


Clutching my cup, I fiddle with the sink

until I finally get the knob to twist. The tepid water eases my dry throat, but

it does nothing for my nerves, or my belly. It groans at me again. I’m going to

have to eat soon, even if I have to check the dumpsters behind Fred’s Bakery.

There’s no point in checking the fridge. I found the final remnants of food the

day before last. For not the first time, I wonder what I’m going to do when

tomorrow comes. Two hundred dollars aren’t enough for anything. Even if I use

it only for food, it will disappear before I get paid again, and that’s

assuming I don’t get canned for not having a mailing address.


Even though it’s three AM, I’m gonna head

out. I have a lot to do today, and since I can’t sleep, I might as well get

started. When I find the faucet again and shut it off, my ears prickle with an

unwelcome noise.


A door creeks open and I stiffen where I

stand.


Varner.


All I’ve got to defend myself are my fists,

my feet and my plastic cup. My knife is in my bag. Light from the living room

filters through the doorway. He probably thinks he’s gonna blind me with his

flashlight so he can get his greedy hands on me. Not in this lifetime.


I inch my way to the doorway and peek around

it. What meets my gaze doesn’t make any sense.


A man stands opposite me, framed by the

closet. His big body could never be mistaken for that of Varner Walsh.


The light behind him comes from a roaring

fire that somehow spans forever. Orange flames dance and flicker, casting his

face in shadow while haloing him in gold.


I’m dreaming. I have to be.


I’ve had some weird ones lately, but nothing

has been as real as this. When I dig my nails into my palms, the dream theory

disintegrates with the pain.


Maybe he’s a fireman, but where’s the smoke?

Why aren’t the flames burning anything? Where’s his gear? He’s wearing a suit

for hell’s sake.


His face turns as if he’s scanning the room,

so I take the opportunity to scurry to the opposite wall.


My pulse pounds in my ears and sweat drips

down my back. From here, the front door is four, maybe five lunges away. If he

goes into the bedroom, I might be able to—


“Amelia?” he calls, his deep voice somehow

familiar.


That’s impossible. I don’t know him, but

even if I did I wouldn’t stick around. Who told this guy I was here? He can’t

be with Child Protective Services. I no longer qualify. My mind flits back to

the weird fire. I’m not sticking around to figure out his magic act.


I make my move, jetting through the

near-empty living room. My fingers fumble with the bolt before I move for the

lock on the knob. I’m taking too long. He’s going to—


Arms clamp around me, hauling me up against

a wall of muscle. The shock nearly makes me pee myself. My mouth opens on a

scream, but he whirls me around and tosses me over his shoulder, cutting off my

air.


I kick and punch and bite into cloth. He twists

around, making my head spin on delirium.


I scream for help, but my throat thickens

immediately. I struggle to breathe. I can’t think.


He bends until my face is right over his

rear end, but he stands up before I can sink my teeth into anything substantial.

As if he’s getting comfortable, he jostles me around. My pulse quickens while

my head hurts from the rush of blood and fear. When he moves toward the closet,

I find my voice.


“Help!” I scream, kicking and punching

against his hard muscles.


No one answers as he plunges us into the

flames.


I expect death, but what I get is deposited

on my rear end in a spacious room with a wall of fire at my back. My eyes sweep

the perimeter of what looks like an upscale apartment with a bed tucked in one

corner and a living area in front of me. The dark paneled walls lend an old

world feel that is only mirrored by the heavy furnishings. There are rich

velvets and leather. Even the air is different. Instead of Justine’s sweet

scent, a dark musk fills the space.


How is this possible? We were just in my

hall closet.


The man steps away from me. His chest lifts

with each sharp breath he takes.


The flames should have fried me, but I’m

here. I have to be dreaming. The only thing is, I don’t quite think I am. It’s

absurd to think that, but the heat from the fire wall has intensified now that

the guy is standing away from me. Sweat drips down my scalp and my shirt clings

to my back. I’m going to have to move soon.


The only thing is I don’t know what this guy

will do. I turn my head and look through the flames, but all I see is a huge

pendulum, like from a clock, swinging back and forth.


All of the sudden the flames disappear and

all that remains is a crevice that runs the length of what should be a wall.

The pendulum is easier to see now, at least the lower half. The upper part of

it is cut off by the ceiling. Only darkness lies beyond the fire pit, like it

opens into a cavern.


This has got to be the strangest place I’ve

ever seen.


“I know you must be frightened,” says the

man. “I’m sorry about that. I have much to explain to you. Would you please

join me on the sofa?”


“As if,” I tell him. Even though I’m still

thinking this has to be a dream, I ask, “Who are you? What is this place? Why

am I here?”


His voice comes out low, guttural. “You

don’t remember me?”


“I’ve never seen you in my life.”


Intense blue eyes latch onto mine. “Things

are not always what they appear, Amelia.”


This is a dream. He’s a figment of my

imagination.


A smile stretches on his full lips. “In

time, all will be revealed.”


He takes a step toward me and I jump to my

feet. I move back and back until my feet are near the pit. Even this close, I

can’t see what’s beyond it.


“Stay away from me,” I tell him.


He spreads his hands, but his eyes are wild.

Veins on his forearms bulge as he puts his hands in his pockets. “Please. Let

me explain.”





I nod, taking a seat on the floor again.

There is no way I’m getting anywhere near him, dream or not.





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About the Author

 


I grew up daydreaming about

fairytales, and my love for discovering new worlds has never died. I am not one

of those writers who always knew I would write. I thought that was what other

people did until one day a few years ago, I took a challenge from a friend and

typed my first words. My journey has been wonderful, and I cannot imagine a day

where I would ever give up writing. My love for reading is what fueled my

imagination in the first place and still does. When I am not writing or

reading, I am enjoying family time with my husband and two children. My family

and I live in a quiet community in Northern Utah, and I am so thankful for the

rich life I have been blessed with.