Saturday, November 30, 2013

Crossroads Blog Tour with Excerpt!

Crossroads

A Demos City Novel
by Jonathan Lister
Release Date: November 4, 2013
Target Reader: Adult
Keywords: Thriller/Suspense, Werewolf

Book Blurb: Werewolf. Bar bouncer. Dad. Standard traits for any self-respecting, reformed criminal, living under the radar in Demos City. For Leon Gray, normal is what he wants — for himself and his not-yet-changed teenage daughter.

Playing bodyguard to crusading reporter David Hastings would totally ruin Leon’s peace, especially since Hastings has hired killers on his trail, pros who know how he takes his espresso in the morning, and where Leon lives.

The payoff, though, would fill up Shauna’s empty college fund, and in a battle between opportunity and ordinary, money wins. He just has to keep Hastings alive long enough to cash the check.

If only he didn’t have to save his daughter, too.

As a budding wolf, she’s piqued the interest of a local pack Alpha — one Leon knows will steal Shauna right out from under him the first chance he gets.

Leon isn’t about to give up on his daughter or Hastings, and will fight for both longer than it took Demos City to see werewolves as equals to humans.

He can only hope it doesn’t take a thousand years.

(*The original photograph provided didn't 'translate well, so here is his Goodreads Author Profile photo.)


Author Bio: Jonathan Lister is a full-time writer with work appearing in outlets of USA Today, The Houston Chronicle and many others. A graduate of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, he’s waited an unspeakable amount of tables en route to having the career he wants, and the ability to the tell stories he loves. Crossroads: a Demos City Novel is Jonathan’s first book-length work of fiction. He currently lives in the Philadelphia area and continues to drink too much coffee.

Author Social Links:  Welcome-to-Demos on Facebook
Twitter: @realjonlister  Blog: ijonathanlister.wordpress.com



Book Excerpt:
ONE

The Bouncer
Breaking a beer bottle over someone’s head rarely knocks them unconscious. Oh, it’s going to hurt like hell, probably make a good-sized gash in the scalp but hardly ever just a quick dose of shut-eye. What they’ll end up with is a wound that looks a lot worse than it actually is. The best an opponent can hope for is the element of surprise and the moments of disorientation that the hit causes. If the bastard is serious about it, he can use the jagged edges of broken glass to do some real damage. A shame this isn’t a Western. When a beer bottle connects with a cowboy’s head in one of those old movies, he hits the floor in a few seconds.
I’m not a cowboy. I’m something else.
“Gray! Watch out!” Jenny shouts from behind the bar, but I already know Frank is coming. Guy lost his job last week—ten years as a call center supervisor. He’s been in here every night since. Now he’s drunk enough to think I’m the reason his company shipped his job off to the Philippines.
It’s taking him forever to swing that damn bottle at me; I’m getting bored.
He’s harmless on most nights, talks a lot about how he’d like to blow up his old work, but ends up passing out in his car. People in front of me are pointing and shouting over the din of music and bar talk, obviously trying to warn me. It’s the whiskey’s fault Frank is coming after me. That doesn’t mean I can make an exception. Everyone in here knows the rules, knows what’s coming.
The bottle connects with the back of my head and shatters. I don’t move. Broken glass sticks in my hair, even draws some blood. I let the pain run down my back along with the cheap beer and hold my breath until the shouting sting fades to a grumbling throb.
Yep—hurts like hell.
“Fuck you, Leon!” Frank shouts. His breath is acrid and brimming with rye as it washes over my neck. Its scent tells me how much alcohol is in his blood. In all the movies Frank has ever probably seen, it’s only supposed to take one hit, so I know he’s is waiting for me to fall down. In fact, he’s probably praying I fall because no way he’s got a next move planned.
A bar that was roaring with life a moment ago is all spectators, front-row seat types. Most everyone in here knows me, knows what I am. Frank does, too; it’s why he needs to quit the whiskey. The pool tables are quiet. No one’s playing darts, not even bringing glasses to their lips. There are no footsteps on the hardwood floors. The customers are all a mixture of bloodlust and pity, waiting to see what my first move is going to look like. The bell sounds in my head as I turn around.

This is the fun part of my job.




Monday, November 25, 2013

Before We Fall ~ I'm Ready for Flight! + Giveaway!


Summary:
One dark moment was all it took to turn twenty-four-year-old Dominic Kinkaide's world black. On the night of his high school graduation, a single incident changed him forever, and he became a hardened man-famous in the eyes of the world, but tortured inside. Now all he cares about is losing himself in the roles that he plays.

At twenty-three years old, Jacey Vincent doesn't realize how much her father's indifference has affected her. She is proof that sometimes it isn't one specific moment that wrecks a person, but an absence of moments. She tries to find acceptance in the arms of men to fill the void-a plan that has worked just fine for her, until she meets Dominic.  When jaded Dominic and strong-willed Jacey are thrown together, the combination of his secrets and her issues turns their attraction into the perfect storm. It could change their lives for good-if it doesn't tear them both apart…

Buy Links:

Bio:
Courtney Cole is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who lives near Lake Michigan with her family.  She's always working on her next project... or staring dreamily out her office window.  To learn more about her, please visit courtneycolewrites.com 

Social Media Links:
http://bit.ly/1bYxR2x (Goodreads)

Review:

Holy Shit.  I can't help but compare this book to #1 and #2 in the series (although I call it a series, each can stand alone; you would just miss the background characterization and 'full story' from book #1 and #2.)  Before we fall blew me away far past the first two.  It seems, each book I read in the series I love more than the last!

Domonic... what are we going to do with you, Domonic?  He's got the allure as an actor (somewhat reminiscent of Between the Lines) but this dark, broody, me-against-the-world almost meets 50 Shades of Grey in the making view of life.  Now, don't start going fangirl or hating right off the bat: This is NOT, I repeat, this is NOT a 50 Shades meets the movies and rock 'n roll.  Domonic likes the dark, like to watch, likes to casually taste life while not actually participating directly.  He's a self-proclaimed dark sexual deviant, but keeps all that bottled up and away from his acting limelight and his brother's rock 'n roll spotlight.  Not that he'd realize it, but that boy has it all.  Family, friends, money, career, fame... but yet he is an island.  Alone.

Jacey... same with you: what are we going to do with you, girl?  She's this little oxymoron of innocence and wild child.  We've seen from previous books that she's far from perfect.  Bad choices in her love life, lies (with overall 'good' intentions), and trying like hell to grab her bootstraps and pull herself up.  Everytime she takes one step up in the world, it seems fate knocks her back two.  I feel bad for her and want to comfort her in spite of the flaws; nay, because of the flaws.  She's that good friend that has a heart of gold, though may cause just as much trouble as fun.

I was sucked in, and I rooted for them.  I wanted it to work out, and my heart wept for them at times.  I watched to smack them, but it's like I didn't have the heart to smack them.  They had already been dealt several crappy cards in life, and I just couldn't quite blame them for their responses, and mistakes.  I loved it, even the more metaphysical small moments... just seemed right.  If you are a fan of 'damaged new adult romance' then this is one you simply MUST NOT miss!  

...And not quite in regard to the book, exactly, but the afterward by the author.  I wanted to highlight bits from there, too; in fact, I did.  I wasn't 'sold' after her first book, but now I am firmly part of Courtney's cheering section.  It's just beautiful, and it's such a blessing that you are sharing these books with us!

I received a free eBook from Grand Central Publishing | Forever Romance via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.




Be sure to check out Passionate Book Divas 
for my review of Book #2, If You Leave!


Prizes include a "Night Out with Dominic Kincaide" gift pack full of naughty and nice items reminiscent of Cole's hot new hero!

Masked Cover Reveal ~ Let's Unmask New World Series #2!


Book Release: Tentative date of February 25th, 2014
Title: Masked
Synopsis:

Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it.

New Berlin, 2040. Rebels prepare to fight against the New World Order, bent on bringing down the world’s greatest tyrant. One girl wanted nothing to do with it, content to keep her head down and make the best of this new world. That is, until she has no choice but to work with the rebels and infiltrate the NWO headquarters. Every moment she spends there puts her in danger, especially when one man, the second in command to the New World leader, continues to make his way into her every thought. She must stay focused and protect not just her mind and body, but also her heart. Will she be able to complete her task without being unmasked? Or will the one man standing in her way ruin it all?

 
Author Contact Info:
Twitter: @jmstalder

Be sure to check out her other stops @ Dark Obsession!



Monday, November 18, 2013

Crushing Summer Blog Tour: Crush Hard! Playlist + Giveaway!


Title: Crushing Summer
Author: C.M. Stunich
Release Date: November 7, 2013
Genre: New Adult Romance
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Synopsis

I'm a girl. I met a boy. Why can't it stay that simple? Here, in this town, summer doesn't just mean tiny bikinis and sunglasses, white toothed grins and lounging at the beach. It means pain. And loss. And false promises. It means liars pretending to be saints, friends pretending to be enemies, rivals pretending to be lovers. For me, it means being crushed. The Crush, actually. The one they all want simply because they were told to. It means being surrounded by beautiful faces and gorgeous bodies, sweet words and sizzling kisses. It means being wanted and despised. My name is Chloe Summer, and I'm afraid that if I'm not careful, this summer could be my last.
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Buy the Book

AMAZON UShttp://www.amazon.com/Crushing-Summer-C-M-Stunich-ebook/dp/B00GIOQ70Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383839448&sr=8-1&keywords=B00GIOQ70Y

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Review

Holy hell. How to rate this.

This has got to be the most bizarre correlation to a group of movies I think I've ever suggested, but the more I think on it, it's the BEST way to sum up the book in a nutshell.  It's like taking the movie 'Heathers' and mixing it with 'I Know What You Did Last Summer', then add a dash of 'Scooby Doo' and 'Fight Club'... maybe even a sneeze from Gossip Girls.  The 'Heathers' and 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' represent how much darker it was than I anticipated.   'Scooby Doo' just ALWAYS comes to mind when you mix teens and a mystery.  Fight Club, because nobody talks about Fight Club The Assignment.  Everybody condones and/or participates in The Assignment.  You can't avoid The Assignment.  The sheer amount of angst and 'cliques' and high school pecking order is the sneeze from Gossip Girls.

Odd mixture, right?  With the exception of the beginning, when I was trying the learn what The Assignment was, why one would want to avoid it, and drowning in angst; I was sucked into the pages.  The early parts, as I mentioned, was a little more of a battle.  I needed chapter breaks and tried to express to my husband (unsuccessfully) what was going on.  I wanted to share- I think this would be a fabulous buddy read choice!   The mystery lead a nice trails of breadcrumbs, although it's set up where I NEVER would have predicted the end based upon the beginning.  Pieces started falling into place quickly enough to engage me (especially getting me over my initial awkwardness.)

It's that early acclimation that really docked that final star off my review.  That, and I wanted more Casper (I'm selfish) and I really fought against the mature residents of the town and their reactions based upon past Assignments.  I just, as a parent, can fathom an entire town supporting this for so long.  It just grates against me so much- and that contributed to my early reluctance.  Ultimately, if you don't mind a more vanilla YA romance mystery with dark overtones of the underbelly of mob mentality, I would HIGHLY recommend picking this up.  Once I was finally hooked, I fell hard and crushed on Crushing Summer!

I received a free eBook from the author in exchange for an unbiased review as part of a Love Between the Sheets blog tour. My thoughts are my own.

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About the Author

6432984 C.M. Stunich was raised under a cover of fog in the area known simply as Eureka, CA. A mysterious place, this strange, arboreal land nursed Caitlin's (yes, that's her name!) desire to write strange fiction novels about wicked monsters, magical trains, and Nemean Lions (Google it!). She currently enjoys drag queens, having too many cats, and tribal bellydance. Always a fan of the indie scene and 'sticking it to the man,' Ms. Stunich decided to take the road less traveled and forgo the traditional publishing route. You can be assured though that she received several rejections as to ensure her proper place in the world of writers before taking up a friend's offer to start a publishing company. Sarian Royal was born, and Ms. Stunich's books slowly transformed from mere baking chocolate to full blown tortes with hand sculpted fondant flowers. C.M. is a writer obsessed with delivering the very best and scours her mind on a regular basis to select the most unusual stories for the outside world. Ms. Stunich can be reached via e-mail or by post and loves to hear from her readers. Ms. Stunich also wrote this biography and has no idea why she decided to refer to herself in the third person. Come visit me at www.cmstunich.com and follow me on Facebook

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CRUSHING SUMMER Playlist


"About A Girl" by The Academy Is…
"Summer Hair = Forever Young" by The Academy Is…
"Swing, Swing" by The All-American Rejects
"One More Sad Song" by The All-American Rejects
"Flavor of the Weak" by American Hi-Fi
"Sk8er Boi" by Avril Lavigne
"The Great Escape" by Boys Like Girls
"Just the Girl" by The Click Five
"Catch Your Wave" by The Click Five
"Hot Mess" by Cobra Starship
"Brand New Skin" by Count the Stars
"On the Way Home" by Count the Stars
"The Curse of Curves" by Cute is What We Aim For
"If It Means a Lot to You" by A Day to Remember
"Graveyard Dancing" by Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows
"Note to Self" by From First to Last
"Secrets Don't Make Friends" by From First to Last
"Ride the Wings of Pestilence" by From First to Last
"Hot N Cold" by Katy Perry
"Roar" by Katy Perry
"The Show" by Lenka
"Trouble" by Never Shout Never
"Time After Time" by Quietdrive
"Both Ways" by Quietdrive
"Say You Like Me" by We The Kings
"Skyway Avenue" by We the Kings
"Check Yes, Juliet" by We The Kings

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Making Connections PODS Tour + Giveaway!





Title:   PODs
Author:   Michelle K. Pickett
Genre:   Science Fiction>Dystopia, Young Adult, Zombies, Romance
Published:   June 4th 2013 by Spencer Hill Press
Page Count:   312 pgs

Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Eva is a chosen one. Chosen to live, while others meet a swift and painful death from an incurable virus so lethal, a person is dead within days of symptoms emerging. In the POD system, a series of underground habitats built by the government, she waits with the other chosen for the deadly virus to claim those above. Separated from family and friends, it's in the PODs she meets David. And while true love might not conquer all, it's a balm for the broken soul.

After a year, scientists believe the population has died, and without living hosts, so has the virus. That's the theory, anyway. But when the PODs are opened, survivors find the surface holds a vicious secret. The virus mutated, infecting those left top-side and creating... monsters.

Eva and David hide from the infected in the abandoned PODs. Together they try to build a life--a new beginning. But the infected follow and are relentless in their attacks. Leaving Eva and David to fight for survival, and pray for a cure.

My Review

As much as I love horror (or at least did in the past) I've always been a little squeamish when it comes to zombies.  I'm a weird one, I know.  Now that I've been reading more and more dystopian over the past year I've been running into 'zombies' a little more often, and oddly getting more comfortable with the subject.  This book is just perfect for the reluctant zombie reader.  Though I was aware of the parallels between zombies and the 'infected', it did NOT feel like a YA Walking Dead rehash, or a Resident Evil reenactment.  It didn't try to explain every little thing, after all a teenage blonde girl is not likely to 'know' all the science and such behind every little thing- and I had no problem with that.  In fact, I think that's one of the reasons I loved it SO much.  It's like a 'layman's' YA zombie book.

Everything is from the perspective of Eva: intelligent, nearly faints at the sight of blood, an only child and rather naive about the world but still wise beyond her years.  Her transformation through the book, reactions to the spreading infection, reaction to the PODs and life within them... it was just all so believable.  I fully felt for Eva, worried over Josh's advances, swooned over David, and was her biggest cheerleader when she fully owned her reality and took life by the pants and kicked some serious butt.  She is a jewel of a character with the perfect balance of vulnerability and moxie, teenage hormones and responsible maturity.  I felt completely at home with her and loved every second.  (*Personal 'Woohoo' for purple hoodies!  Just had to add that!)

The romance was so sweet, and tragic at times.  This may be totally goofy, but the relationship was like a Taylor Swift song in the making.  Sweet, innocent, but charged with passionate longing, and finally tempered by circumstances.  I would consider this to still be a relatively 'clean' read (no forays into teenage porn) but keep in mind that like any horror movie, there WILL be blood.  And 'infected'.  And shotguns, and biting, and ... you get the idea, right?

Any fans of dystopian and YA should really give this book a try.  I will most definitely be continuing the series!  It's on my top 5 list of favorite dystopian books, and I'm flabbergasted I haven't heard more about it from readers.  Seriously, run out to your favorite bookstore (or visit your local library) and read this book!

I receive a free eBook from the author via the Making Connections Blog Tours in exchange for an unbiased review.  My thoughts are my own.
 

About the Author
I'm a wife, mother, author, reader, although not always in that order. I've been an avid reader since a young child. I began writing for personal enjoyment in college, where I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in accounting. Why I chose a degree that didn't encourage creativity is a mystery to me.

I'm addicted to Reese's peanut butter cups and eat way too many while I write. I have a weird obsession with hoodies and can't write without wearing one. I hate to cook, but love to watch cooking shows.

I'm an unabashed romantic and love swoon-worthy happy endings that give me butterflies for days.

Born and raised in Flint, Michigan, I now reside in a small community outside Houston, Texas with my incredibly supportive, not to mention gorgeous, husband, three amazing school-aged children, a 125-pound lap dog, and a cat that thinks she's queen.

I write adult and young adult Sci/Fi, urban fantasy and paranormal romances.

I love to hear from readers and other authors, so drop me a note and say "Hi!"

Social Links

 
Buy the Book

Barnes & Noble –
Add to your Goodreads Shelf – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13425802-pods

Giveaway

1 signed copy of PODs and some Swag!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Last Shadow ~ Pepper Winters ~ UnCovered!


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Title: Last Shadow
Author: Pepper Winters
Genre: Dark Romance
Tentative Release Date: April 2014
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Synopsis
A New Adult Dark Contemporary Romance, not suitable for people sensitive to slavery, cruelty, and non-consensual sex. A story about a killer with no remorse, a woman living in nightmares, and a future that binds them in servitude.
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I’m named after the blackest of shadows. Conjured from earth, created by demons, molded by fire to become the perfect killer. I need no-one. I feel nothing. I am nobody… until her.
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My name is of no consequence, they sometimes call me whore, slut, or possession. I dance by night and waste away by day. Every foul moment of this life is replaced with my hopes and dreams, inked onto my skin for the world to see. I have a promise to keep. I will be free—it’s only a matter of time…until him.
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About the Author
avatar FB Pepper Winters wears many roles. Some of them include writer, reader, sometimes wife. She loves dark, taboo stories that twist with your head. The more tortured the hero, the better, and she constantly thinks up ways to break and fix her characters. Oh, and sex… her books have sex. J She loves to travel and has an amazing, fabulous hubby who puts up with her love affair with her book boyfriends. Her debut book Tears of Tess will be followed with Quintessentially Q. You didn’t think Q could stop so soon, did you? Her other two titles, Last Shadow and Broken Chance will be coming soon.
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Connect with the Pepper

Facebook | Blog | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads

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If you haven’t read Pepper’s best-seller Tears of Tess, now is a perfect time just before Quintessentially Q hits the shelves in December.
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Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Exquisite Betrayal ~ Let's Get Under the Cover! +Giveaway!



BOOK BLURB:
A male Romance Author… a convention in Vegas… a female book blogger… a goal to lose her virginity… what happens when you mix all the above?

Fallon McKinley is headed to Vegas for the Wicked Wenches Romance Con and losing her virginity is only one of her goals. The other is to meet her favorite author of romance novels, R.T. Sinclair. What she doesn’t realize is that the sexy green-eyed god she rams into at the airport is the real R.T. When they keep running into each other, she’s shocked, but excited, because the attraction is irresistible.

Ryland Thomas Sinclair doesn’t want anyone to know his true identity. He’s the author that all women love, but everyone thinks he’s a female. He hides his persona behind the public face of his twin sister, keeping his own a secret. But after meeting the lovely Fallon, his intentions to avoid a relationship come to a screeching halt. She’s put an unwanted kink into his perfectly laid out plans. His unusual reaction surprises him because after a heart-shredding breakup a few years ago, he’s managed to avoid women at all costs.

Resisting Fallon becomes more difficult than he imagines. Soon things are spiraling out of control, until a major miscommunication has Fallon walking out of his home and his life. Will Ryland Thomas succeed in losing the woman he loves? Or can he win her back?


GOODREADS LINK:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18624286-exquisite-betrayal





One day, on her way home from work as a sales manager, A. M. Hargrove, realized her life was on fast forward and if she didn't do something soon, it would quickly be too late to write that work of fiction she had been dreaming of her whole life.  So, she rolled down the passenger window of her fabulous (not) company car and tossed out her leather briefcase.  Luckily, the pedestrian in the direct line of fire was a dodge ball pro and had ├╝ber quick reflexes enabling him to avoid getting bashed in the head.  Feeling a tad guilty about the near miss, A. M. made a speedy turn down a deserted side street before tossing her crummy, outdated piece-of-you-know-what laptop out the window.  She breathed a liberating sigh of relief, picked up her cell phone, called her boss and quit her job.  Grinning, she made another call to her hubs and told him of her new adventure (after making sure his heart was beating properly again).

So began A. M. Hargrove's career as a YA/NA and Adult Romance writer. Her books include the following: Edge of Disaster, Shattered Edge and Kissing Fire (The Edge Series); The Guardians of Vesturon series (Survival, Resurrection, Determinant, reEmergent and Beginnings); Dark Waltz and Tragically Flawed.

Other than being in love with writing about being in love, she loves chocolate, ice cream and coffee and is positive they should be added as part of the USDA food groups. 

AUTHOR LINKS:
Blog: http://amhargrove.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Amhargrove1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AMHargroveAuthor
Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5338829.A_M_Hargrove
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/amhargrove1/



I'm re-reading the latest version right now, and while I admit Ryland Thomas and I got off to a rocky start, my toes are just curling now.  I'd be down with the Ryland Thomas challenge.  Well, after my willies over my youngest son being also named Ryland wore off...




Chapter One
Fallon


Ever since this bucket of metal called a plane left the ground, I’ve been asking myself if spending my last nickel on this trip will be worth it. Even though it means going without food at times, I stashed away every tip I earned to save for this. My mountain of debt is enormous, but then again, I keep telling myself, you only live once, right?
When the plane suddenly lurches, I know it’s going to roll completely over at any minute. I want to get off this carnival ride so badly I can taste it. My fingers tightly clench the armrest and I’m pretty sure if I ever deplane, my imprints will be left behind forever.
I feel a light patting on my arm and then I hear, “It’ll be just fine, dear. Those are only crosswinds from the desert. We always have those in Vegas.” The flight attendant announced moments before that we’ve been cleared for landing, but from the motion of the plane, I fear we won’t make it.
Glancing to my right, I see the tiny, elderly woman sitting next to me. My nerves are so shot, my attempt at smiling is an epic fail.
Fallon, sweetie, always remember to keep your chin up. Negative thoughts will only bring you down.
Dad’s words come back to me, a soothing balm to my tattered nerves and empty bank account. God, how I wish he were still here. I wouldn’t be in this damn mess of debt right now. It’s been six years, but sometimes the pain is so raw that it feels like yesterday.
“Honey, is this your first time flying?” The voice next to me breaks me out of my daydreaming.
“Hmm? Oh, yes, ma’am,” I squeak.
“Ah, I see. Well, this is all part of flying and very normal.”
“Really? I feel like I’m on a sideways Tilt-A-Whirl at the county fair.”
“Oh no, honey, this is smooth. I’ve been on some real doozies, I tell you. So what brings you to Vegas? Are you going to lose all your money to the slots?” she laughs.
“Huh?” My anxiety has me so edgy, I’m not following the conversation for a second and then it hits me. “Oh, no, ma’am. I’m here for the Wicked Wench’s Conference.” I don’t have a spare nickel to spend on the slots as it is.
She nods and eyes me for a second. “So, are you a Wench then?”
“Oh no! I’m a blogger,” I tell her, glad for the distraction from the chaotic flight.
The noise of the engines has picked up so she is leaning closer to me now, trying to hear. “A what? A booger?”
“No! Not a booger! A blogger!”
“Oh, a blogger. I’ve always wanted to see you girls dance. Do you have those fancy clicking shoes? Can you kick your legs high up in the air? I bet you can. You look like you could be limber like that.”
By the time I start to explain that I’m a blogger and not a clogger, the plane rolls to a stop and the seatbelt light goes off. For an elderly woman, she moves like lightening as she shoots out of her seat and flies down the aisle. I sit and stare at her with my mouth hanging open. Obviously she knows the ins and outs of flying much better than I do. I’m lost in the sea of shoving people as eager as I am to get off of that death trap.
As I’m pushed along the jetway, I finally emerge into McCarran International Airport. The place is huge! Taking a deep breath, I knock the monster of intimidation back and follow the signs to Baggage Claim, eager to meet my fellow book bloggers for the first time.
We are a gang of five that met online over our love for romance novels. We teamed up through Twitter first and then Facebook. As we found ourselves chatting and becoming friends, our interest in the same genre triggered the idea for us to start a book blog where we could review and post about our favorite books. I think it was Kat’s idea originally, but it took off like a forest fire in a Santa Ana wind.
We decided to celebrate our first anniversary by attending the Wicked Wenches Con in Las Vegas together. It would finally give us the chance to not only meet each other in person, but also some of our favorite authors of romance. Kat Graham, Amanda Cook, Mandy Henderson and Andrea Simpson are my partners, though I look at them as my family. They’ve done more for me in the last year than my mom has in the past five. Honestly, if they had purchased me a paper clip, they would’ve done more than my mom, however that’s another story.
I finally locate the conveyer belt thingy and watch for my bag when my phone dings. I look to see it’s a text from Kat.
Kat: I’m here. Are you?
Me: Yep…just waiting on my suitcase.
Kat: Where?
Me: Carousel #15
Kat: On my way!
Five minutes later, the bags start to roll down and mayhem ensues. I’ve never seen anything like it. From what I can tell that belt keeps going around in a big circle and eventually it’s going to get back to me again. I can’t figure out why those people are in such a frenzy over it.
Suddenly, I hear a giant screech followed by a squeal and turn around to see a blur with long, light brown hair flying towards me. It comes as no surprise that we both end up on the ground, hugging and laughing. As women tend to do, we find ourselves talking a mile a minute and eventually notice the area around Carousel #15 has cleared out and mine is the only bag still circling on the belt. We laugh for another few minutes before standing up to collect it.
Kat takes one look at my bag and breaks out in peals of laughter. She’s hugging her sides and bent over while I’m worried she’s going to topple on her head.
“Stop already!”
“I’m sorry, but damn, Fallon, where the heck did you get your luggage? From duct tape’s anonymous? You need to go to duct tape rehab.”
I shrug as I give Kat the evil eye, but then I break down in giggles. My suitcase does indeed look like something the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz would carry since it’s mostly silver. Granted, underneath the strips and strips of tape, there is a black bag somewhere, yet I’ll be damned if I can see it now.
“Okay, you win. It is awful, isn’t it? I didn’t have a choice, though. It was either that or less money for shooters and the shooters won.”
Kat nods. “Excellent choice. Come on, let’s go hunt down Amanda.”
We head out of Carousel #15 and don’t have to look far. Walking towards us and shouting at the top of her lungs is a gigantic hot dog nestled inside of a bun, complete with squiggles of mustard and ketchup. The only thing human about it is the face and it’s yelling out, “Where’s the Virgin for Vegas? Where’s the Virgin for Vegas? Have I got a wiener for you!”
I take one look at her and do a one-eighty with the intention of running away. However Kat grabs my wrist before I get the chance. “Oh, no you don’t. You have to take this like a woman!”
“Oh my God. You can’t do this to me!” I’m ready to drop to my knees and beg.
“Oh, yes we can! Now smile and look pretty,” she laughs.
I can’t believe this. What are they doing? Amanda approaches, dressed up like a fully loaded hot dog and hands me a tequila shooter. “How ‘bout a nice shooter for the Vegas Virgin?”
At this point, I down the tequila and want to crawl inside my bundle of duct tape. “Please, you all. Don’t do this.” I frantically look around to see if anyone’s watching.
“We’re not doing anything except for kissing that dreadful virginity of yours good-bye,” the wiener announces.
“Shit, shit, shit!”
“Don’t worry, Fallon. It’ll get better with more tequila,” Kat assures.
I poke out my arm and say, “Then give me some more and make it fast.”
Amanda hands me another shooter. “How ‘bout a nice, juicy wiener to go along with that, ma’am?”
“Oh, dear God.” If anyone ever died of embarrassment, I was sure it would be me. Like right this minute!
Kat puts her hand on my face. “Amanda, I think we need to cool it. Her face is on fire and I’m not sure if it’s the tequila or you.”
“It’s her.” I grab my hunk of duct tape and march straight outside.
Behind me I can hear, “Little Virgin, wait up. Little Virgin, we have to meet Mandy and Andrea!”
I frenetically wave my hand behind my butt. Right now, I only care about one thing and that’s getting away from the giant wiener that’s determined to get me drunk on tequila shooters and announce to the world that I’m a ‘Little Virgin’. I continue to shoo them away as I turn to check if they’re following me when I barrel into something quite firm and hard that sends me flying flat on my ass. The concrete is scorching and my thighs instantly feel like fried eggs hitting the frying pan on sizzling butter.
“Aiyee,” I scream as I try to stand back up. By this time my ass is in the air as I roll to my hands and knees. Now my palms and knees are on fire. “Dammit! Shit, that’s hot!” I say as I jolt to my feet, arms flailing while I try to straighten my skirt.
I finally glance up to find two, deep, emerald green eyes gazing at me. Well, that’s not exactly true. They’re slowly scanning me from top to bottom until they then stop and lock onto my cleavage. The reason for this is that my left nipple is more than half exposed. Okay, it’s completely exposed.
“Oh fuck!” I squeal as I tug my bra up and adjust my top. Why does this crap always happen to me?
I look back to see that Amanda and Kat are just awestruck. Not at me, but at green eyes because, glory-freakin-hallelujah, he’s one beautiful man. And why wouldn’t he be? Only I would fall down, ass in the air, boob hanging out in front of a gorgeous man. It wouldn’t happen in front of a wrinkled up, old, toothless man. Nope, never. I go for full on nipple exposure with the well-built, rugged, green-eyed blond that looks like a sex god, orgasmic-producing Eden.
“I’m sorry,” I say. “Forgive me. I should watch where I’m going.”
“Are you all right?” he asks and then scrapes his teeth across his lower lip right before he bites down on one corner.
Holy-put-my-panties-in-a-wet-wad! That voice and mouth. Green eyes has a sexy British accent to match the rest of his perfect self. Heart meet pink sparkly toe nails.
My head tilts a bit, as if I’m trying to figure out what he just asked me. “Huh?”
“I asked if you were okay. You took a good fall there on your bum. Just wanted to know if all was okay there?”
Somehow my hand starts unconsciously rubbing my butt. “Oh. Yeah, I guess so. All’s good on the bum here.” My voice has gotten all throaty on me.
Tall with unruly dark blond waves falling over his forehead, he stands there and stares at me. Then those magnificent orbs slowly rake me from head to toe again. Even though it feels like it’s a hundred and fifty degrees in the Las Vegas August heat, chills break out over my entire body. Every single haireven the microscopic ones that I so diligently try to keep waxedstand at attention, reminding me of their existence. An overwhelming urge to grab and kiss this hunk of sexiness charges into me, and I have no idea who he is. I can’t stop ogling his face… his bottom lip is full, and when he runs his tongue along it, I have to clamp my lips together to keep myself from moaning.
“So it looks like you’re here for a visit then?”
“Yes, a long weekend.” My voice still sounds funny to me, all husky and throaty.
“Well, perhaps I’ll see you around the strip then.” And again, those magnetic greens of his inspect me from head to toe. “Have a nice day then,” I hear him say.
I can’t move. I’m as still as a marble statue until the girls each grab one of my arms.
“If Vegas is full of those, I’m never going home,” the giant wiener claims.
We walk back inside to meet the other two of our gang, while I’m still addled by my encounter with green eyes.
***
We collect Andrea and Mandy and then seek out our transportation to the hotel. As we wait in line for the bus to take us there, the chills I had earlier have morphed into rivulets of sweat as they stream down my body. Not a single thread of my clothing is dry. This place is a freaking oven. When they talk about desert heat, they aren’t kidding. The only good thing to come out of it is Amanda had to ditch the giant wiener outfit. I think she would’ve died if she hadn’t.
“Did you all realize it was gonna be this damn hot? I feel like I’m in Hell,” Andrea says.
“Hell can’t be this hot, and if it is, well then, I’m gonna start really doing some serious prayin’ cuz you all, this is crazy!” I say. “I think I just sweated off my right butt cheek.”
Our bus finally shows up and we about knock the other people over to get on board. I’m ashamed to admit I’m not sorry in the least for that ghastly behavior of mine. It’s either that, or walk around with only one butt cheek, and the way I am thinking, it will be really hard to lose my virginity with only one butt cheek.
At least the ride to the hotel doesn’t take very long. When we pull up to it, though, we’re kind of disappointed. “Well, they sure made it look a lot nicer online,” Andrea harrumphs.
We all agree with her, but there isn’t anything to do except go inside and check in. So that’s what we do.
The lobby is a bit outdated and has a space odyssey look to it, but it’s clean with a casino and bar. What more can we ask for, right? The other nice thing is it is only a couple of blocks from the conference and all the cool hotels. The Space Nugget will do just fine for the next five days.
We had booked two adjoining rooms so we could share two bathrooms. The rooms are tidy, but they’re seriously lacking in decor.
“Well, it’s clean and cool and what do we care about anything else, right?” Mandy asks.
“Yeah, it’s not like we’re gonna be in here a lot anyway,” Kat replies. “I’m happy if the air conditioning works.”
So we all unpack and decide what to do that night. The convention kicks off in the morning, so that leaves tonight open. Tomorrow night is our big party with R. T. Sinclair.
Everyone starts tossing around ideas of what to do and our excitement mounts. We’re in the world’s largest adult playground and we have a plethora of places to choose from.
Amanda has a look in her eye that I’m beginning to understand. She once talked about hitting the male strip clubs and I’m all for that, but right now my stomach is telling me it wants some food. I’m relieved to hear her say, “Hey, what do y’all say we hit the town? Grab a little food, hit a casino and then do some shooters!” she shouts.
Everyone is on board with her suggestion, so we all get ready for our first night out on the town.