31 July 2015

Chapter 1 Reveal: Finding You by Kelly Elliot

If Grace Johnson knew one thing at all, it was that all men were dirtbags.

All men … except Noah Bennet.

“I was lost in his eyes. Lost in his tears. My goal was to pull him out of the darkness … even if it dragged me in as well.”

If Noah Bennet knew one thing at all, it was he needed Grace Johnson.
Needed her … desperately.

“My pain was pulling me under … she was my only saving grace.”

Grace is willing to put everything on the line to help bring back the man she is hopelessly in love with. Even if it costs her the future she’s been longing for.

“If finding you means losing a part of me … I’ll do it.”


*Subject to change before publishing* Unedited version*

Chapter One ~ Grace

I sat in the library as I rolled my neck around and let out a sigh. My mind had been pre occupied and I couldn’t afford to not be focused. I’d fallen behind in my classes when Lauren got sick.

Glancing back down at my book, I tried to read the words on the pages but my mind quickly drifted off to a memory of Noah and me.

Sitting back, I let the sun warm my face as Noah rowed the canoe.

“So are you going to just sit there while I do all the work, Grace?” Noah asked in a teasing voice.

“Yep,” I said with a smile.

Keeping my eyes closed, I could tell he had turned directions. Trying not to smile, I asked, “Are you getting tired, Noah? Was last night to much for you?”

Noah chuckled. It was the first night I’d stayed over at his apartment he shared with one other guy who also attended A&M. I wasn’t sure why I was keeping how close Noah and I were getting away from everyone. Maybe it was my way of keeping this relationship distant from my real world. That or I didn’t feel like answering Alex, Lauren, and Libby’s constant questions.

Whatever my reasons were, I pushed it from my mind.

“Baby, you could never be to much.”

Opening my eyes, I tilted my head and gave Noah a sexy smile. As hard as I tried to keep from falling in love with him, I fell deeper every moment we spent together.

“Is that a challenge?” I asked as I leaned forward, making sure to squeeze my arms together so my breasts showed just the right amount of cleavage since I only had a tank top over my swimsuit.

Lifting his eyebrows, Noah glanced over to the shore. When I looked over my shoulder, there was a small path. Noah paddled us over and jumped out. Reaching his hand out for mine, I placed it softly in his. The rush I got just from his touch about caused me to let out a moan. Stepping up onto the shore, I watched as Noah pulled the canoe up and grabbed my hand.

Leading me down the path, he pushed me against a tree and smiled at me.

“That is indeed a challenge. Let’s see if you can keep up with me now, Grace.”

My heart dropped to my stomach as I fought back those three words.

Lifting me up, Noah pushed his hard dick into me as I gasped. Desire pulled in my lower stomach and I was ready for anything Noah was going to give me.

Except for the three little words he was clearly not afraid to say.

“I love you, Grace.”

My mouth parted open slightly as I whispered back, “I love you too, Noah.”


My phone buzzed on the table, pulling me from my memory.  Glancing down, I saw it was Alex.

                        Alex: Hey. I’m finished with classes today. Want to go grab some food?

                        Me: Where’s your hubby?

                        Alex: Sleeping. We both have been trying to get caught up on classes.

Letting out a laugh, I nodded my head at my phone.

                        Me: I love Lauren, but she screwed this semester up!

                        Alex: Right? So food or not? I’m starving and my baby wants food.

                        Me: I’ll meet you at Fuego’s.

                        Alex: Yes! I was hoping you’d say that. See you there in a few.

Smiling, I stood and gathered up my books. Turning to head out of the library, I came face to face with Doug Richards.

“Hey, Grace.”

My eyes traveled over his body as I suppressed the moan I wanted to let out. Damn he was fine as hell and it had been to long since I’d had sex. My mind had been filled with memories of Noah and I was horny as hell.


Pushing all thoughts of Noah away, I smiled as I quickly gave my lower lip a seductive bite and purred, “Hey, Doug.”

Doug’s eyes lit up. I’d always been friendly with Doug, but this was the first time I’d ever put a little bit of something more into my normal Oh hey Doug how’s it going.

Seeing Noah at the hospital with his new wife only proved to me that I needed to move on. I couldn’t shake the way Noah had looked at me though. I swear I saw the same look in his eye as I saw the first night he made love to me. Actually, the first time he ever looked at me I saw the passion.

“Plans for tonight?” Doug asked as he ran his fingers lightly up and down my arm. My body shook with the idea of being with someone. I needed a good hard fuck to pull me out of this funk. What would one mindless one-night stand do?

It would at least ease the throb between my legs. I’d gone through to many vibrators. I was ready for the real thing.

Licking my lips, I winked. “I believe you’re picking me up around eight? Taking me to dinner and then a little bit of … dessert afterwards.”

The smile that spread across Doug’s face caused me to smile. “I like that plan.”

My eyes roomed his body as they landed on his lips. Hopefully he was a good kisser. He had big shoes to fill.

Reaching into my purse, I took out a pen and grabbed Doug’s arm as I wrote down my address. “See ya at eight handsome.”

The second I turned to walk away I wanted to spin around and tell him to forget it. That I forgot I had plans with a friend. Worry my lip, I continued to walk toward the exit door.

No, Grace. It’s time to move on. What I needed was one evening of pure fun and Doug was the one who was going to provide it. Noah was married and I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself. What we had shared was amazing and I let it spoke me. I pushed away the only man I’d ever truly loved.

It was time to move on.

Tonight I was getting laid.


“What do you mean you have a date?” Alex asked with a stunned look on her face.

I took a bit of my taco and shrugged my shoulders. “You know, Alex. That thing you do when you’re single and haven’t had normal sex in I don’t know how long. Even my vibrator wants me out of the house.”

Alex giggled as she quickly looked around. “You’re terrible, Grace Hope Johnson.”

Shrugging my shoulders, I said, “Hey, you’re getting dick every night. I wonder if I should get a Brazilian wax?”

Laughing, Alex shook her head. “That was random as hell.”

“I just got to thinking, I think I want my hoo-ha to smooth for tonight.”

Alex started choking on her taco. “What? Grace, you can’t do that today and then have sex tonight?”

Pulling my head back in a shocked expression, I asked, “Why not?”

“Have you ever had anything waxed on your body before?”

Tilting my head, I thought about it. “Nope, I can’t say that I have.”

Leaning in toward the table, Alex motioned for me to come closer. “Grace, it hurts like hell to get waxed for the first time. I don’t think you want your hoo-ha to be tortured before you dive back into the whole sex thing again. I mean I get the whole, I just want mindless sex thing, but do you really want to mistreat her like that all in one day?”

About to state my case, I heard someone clear her throat. Alex and I both turned to see a mom staring at us with her daughter sitting there with her mouth dropped to the table. Smiling, I said, “I’m not going to have mindless sex tonight … well actually I am but I always use protection and… ouch!” I called out as I felt a stabbing pain in my shin from where Alex kicked me. Turning back to her, I yelled, “What the hell, Alex?”

Alex eyes were widened as she shook her head. “Grace, stop talking.”

The mother stood and motioned for her daughter to follow as Alex sat back and moaned, “Great, some mother I’m going to be.”

Letting out a laugh, I shook my head and said, “You’re going to be a kick ass mother. Just like Ellie. Hey, so we never really got to talk about how your parents and Will’s parents reacted to the big baby news.”

Alex, shrugged her shoulders. “I think they were all in shock. My father biggest worry was school. I’m so glad we’re all graduating this December.”

Taking a bite of my taco, I nodded my head. “Yeah, I’m glad too.” After swallowing the taco, I worried my bottom lip. I had been trying to figure out how to ask Alex if she had changed her mind about our plans.

Alex reached across the table and took my hand in her hand. “The baby doesn’t change anything, Grace. I want to still follow our dream of opening up Wild Flower. We’ve been dreaming of opening a flower nursery for years. Nothing is going to change that.”

I instantly felt my body relax. Our whole focus throughout school had been to open a nursery between Fredericksburg and Mason. The news of Alex having a baby had scared the piss out of me. Smiling, I said, “I’m not going to lie, I thought I might be doing this on my own and I was scared as hell.”

Letting out a chuckle, Alex shook her head. “No way. Will and I have already talked about it. I fully intend on pursuing our dream, Grace.” Shrugging her shoulders, she said, “Besides, we will own the place! I can bring the baby. She learn to dig in the dirt probably before she learns to walk.”

Sitting up straighter, I let out a gasp. “Oh my gosh! We can build a little baby nursery besides your office. I mean, I’m sure y’all will have more kids in the future. I bet my dad or your dad could easily add that into the design. Move that storage space somewhere else.”

Alex’s eyes lit up as she nodded her head. “Grace, that’s a great idea! This will be perfect for both of us.”

Narrowing my eyes, I let out a confused chuckle. “How is a baby room perfect for me?”

Giving me a sly smile, Alex said, “For when you have kids.”

Nearly choking on my tea, I held up my hands. “Whoa! Whoa! Holy hell woman! Don’t even speak such words. This girl has no plans for kids in the near future. Fuck, I’m not even having sex and the last time I checked … you can’t get knocked up from a vibrator.”

Alex looked around as she put her finger up to her lips. “Why do you have to talk so loud?”

“Why do you have to say such things? My God! There is already something in the water with you and Libby both getting pregnant. I’m sure Lauren is probably going to be announcing something in the next few months. Well …  no thank you. I’m not having kids any time soon.”

Alex’s eyes looked sad. “Grace, do you not want kids?”

My heart instantly hurt as I plastered on a fake smile. “Someday I’m sure I’ll want kids. Right now it is the furthest thing from my mind. All I want right now, Alex, is to move on and have a good time.”

“Grace, I talked to Noah the day Lauren got out of the hospital. He desperately needs to talk to you.”

Swallowing hard, I fought to hold back my tears. “W-what did he say?”

Shaking her head, Alex said, “He asked how Lauren was and then for your number. I gave it to him. He said he needed to talk to you.”

Feeling my entire body start shaking, I quickly stood up. “Why would you give him my phone number, Alex? He’s married for Christ’s sake! Besides, it’s been over two weeks since Lauren left the hospital. He must not be that desperate to talk to me. Damn it, Alex. Why did you give him my number?”

Alex motioned for me to sit down. “Grace, just give me one second to explain.”

Grabbing my food and drink, I glared at Alex. “I have to go, I have to head home and grab a book a forgot and head to class.”

“Grace! Let me finish talking!” Alex called out.

Racing to the door, I pushed it open and quickly dragged in the fresh air. Glancing at my watch, I sighed. I was going to be late for class now. Quickly making my way to my car, my phone buzzed. Pulling it out of my purse, I saw it was Alex.

Alex: I didn’t mean to upset you. It’s just he seemed desperate. You really need to talk to him, Grace.

Rolling my eyes, I threw my purse and phone onto the passenger seat and headed back to the house I shared with Alex and Will. Now that Luke, Libby, Lauren, and Colt had moved out it seemed cold and empty all the time. Even when they did live there, I spent more time at Noah’s place than I did at home. Well, at least I did until I freaked out and pushed him away.

Wiping my tears away, I concentrated on thinking about nothing but my date tonight with Doug. I’ll deal with Alex later. Right now I needed to push Noah Bennet far from my memory. I needed to move on and this date tonight was long over due.

Copyright Kelly Elliott 2015

Kelly Elliott is married to a wonderful Texas cowboy who has a knack for making her laugh almost daily and supports her crazy ideas and dreams for some unknown reason...he claims it's because he loves her!

She’s also a mom to an amazing daughter who is constantly asking for something to eat while her fingers move like mad on her cell phone sending out what is sure to be another very important text message.

In her spare time she loves to sit in her small corner overlooking the Texas hill country and write.

One of her favorite things to do is go for hikes around her property with Gus....her chocolate lab and the other man in her life, and Rose, her golden retriever. When Kelly is not outside helping the hubby haul brush, move rocks or whatever fun chore he has in store for her that day, you’ll find her inside reading, writing or watching HGTV.


Chapter 1 Reveal: Getting Hot by Mia Storm

Rules of engagement:
1) You have the right to use force to defend yourself.
2) Fire may be returned to stop a hostile attack.
3) You may not seize the property of others to accomplish your mission.
4) Detention of civilians is authorized in self-defense.

Delilah Morgan and her older sister Destiny have been on their own for two years, since their parents burned down the family home and went to jail for cooking meth. She’s street smart and tough. Nothing about her says sixteen, and she’s not about to tell anyone, especially Bran, the hot ex-marine bartender Destiny has her eye on. He’s stable and successful and everything her sister needs to keep them off the street. The only problem, something about Bran inspires her and suddenly she’s writing the best music she ever has. About him.

Branson Silo knows what it means to be in the line of fire. Home for a year from his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, he thinks he’s safe…until he meets Delilah. Despite her sharp tongue that makes him want to take cover, he can’t deny the attraction. But when he hires her to play weekends at his family’s saloon, he finds out she’s more than he can handle…which is saying something considering he used to blow things up for a living.
When the grenade finally explodes and the shrapnel flies, will Bran be left standing? Or has he survived years at war only to be taken down by Jail Bait?

Chapter 1

I shouldn’t have fucked her last week. That was my mistake, and I feel like a douche—something I’m not used to.
I watch Destiny tuck a long strand of platinum hair behind her ear with her pen as she finishes taking drink orders at the table near the door. She shoots me a secret smile when she turns and makes her way over, and I mentally shoot myself for getting caught looking. This train’s already careening down the track, barely holding onto the rails, and when I pull shit like this, it only picks up momentum.
“We got Hendricks?” she asks, slapping her order on the ancient mahogany bar between us.
I look over the order. “Closest thing I got is Tanqueray.”
The smile falls off her face and she blows out a sigh. “I’ll ask him.”
I follow the curve where her tiny waist blooms into a killer ass as she turns and heads back to the table.
She’s hot. That’s what it boils down to. When I took her home last week, it was after her first training shift with Carol. We’d sat at the bar and knocked back a few after closing and I got caught up in everything she had going on. I totally missed the signs. I didn’t see that she was looking for more than a hookup until after it was too late—until she didn’t leave after we’d done the deed.
The only guy at the table with three women—some total wannabe with a dark suit jacket over a turtleneck and pressed jeans—scowls and gives Destiny some lip. I can’t hear what he says over the piped in Kat Country, but she shrugs and says something back, then offers me an apologetic squint when the guy pushes up from his seat. He starts my direction on polished loafers, but his eyes widen slightly and he pulls up short when he sees me.
The reaction’s not unusual. When I left for boot camp six years ago, I was already in decent shape. I was Oak Crest High’s first ever (and only, as far as I know) four sport athlete all for years—football in the fall, wrestling in the winter, and baseball and track in the spring. Which is probably a big part of the reason my grades weren’t good enough to do anything but enlist. But the Marines made all that training look like fucking Romper Room, and it was only a matter of weeks before my bulk didn’t fit into any of my old clothes anymore. Since Pop owns the local gym and my sister Brenda runs it, when I’m not working behind Mom’s bar at the Sam Hill Saloon, I spend most of my time lifting weights. I’ve managed to stay in pretty decent shape…which means guys like this pansy ass are generally intimidated. Course, the tattooed six-foot-three thing doesn’t hurt the intimidation factor. Since I let my dark flattop grow out, I look more like a biker than an ex-Marine.
After a beat, his shiny shoes start moving again but he stops three feet short of the bar, out of my wingspan. “Tanqueray or Tanqueray number ten?” he demands, putting on a “big man” show for the women he’s here with.
I step aside to show him the rack behind me and he flinches a little at my movement. “For top shelf gin, Tanqueray’s what I got.”
He closes his eyes for a moment and exhales his disappointment, then scans my top shelf again. “Tanqueray isn’t even in the same league as Hendricks.”
I shrug. “You want the citrus, I’d go with the Seagrams. Something drier, I’ve got Beefeaters.”
He rolls his eyes toward the ceiling as if my suggestions are all so far below him he’s afraid of getting a nosebleed if he has to look all the way down at them. “Just give me the Tanqueray. Make it a Tom Collins so I don’t have to taste it.”
He stalks back to his table and drops into his seat as I start on their order.
Destiny comes over and watches me mix. “That guy’s a jerk,” she say with a flick of her eyes back toward the wannabe professor. “Thank God he’s Carol’s to deal with in fifteen.”
“You’re giving Carol the tip?” I say with raised eyebrows.
Her lip curls. “Guys like that don’t tip.”
I lift my eyes to him as I shake his Tom Collins. “He give you a hard time?”
“He thought I should’ve known what kind of Tanqueray we have.” Her face scrunches. “I didn’t even know there were different kinds.”
I glance at the table again. City folk for sure. Probably up here in the foothills for something at the college. “Guess he didn’t realize he’d wandered out of his natural habitat.”
She busts out a laugh as I pour his drink into the highball. “So, I was thinking…” she says when her laugh dies. “I could swing by your place when you get off. If you want.”
“Listen…” I start, setting the drink on her tray. But just as I open my mouth to tell her I don’t do relationships, Mom shoves through the swinging door from the kitchen. Five years in the Marines and two tours in Afghanistan, and I’ve yet to come across another single person who intimidates me…except my mom. She makes some of my Marine COs look like kindergarten teachers.
“Hey Vicky,” Destiny says. “Has Carol punched in yet?” She tosses her eyes at Mr. Hendrick’s. “I’m giving her that table as soon as she does.”
“She just clocked in,” Mom answers, glancing suspiciously at the table. “What’s the issue?”
Destiny shrugs a shoulder and picks up the tray of drinks I slide across the bar to her. “That guy needs to get over himself. Carol’s better at dealing with people like that.”
It’s the “take no crap” chromosome in the Silo family gene pool. My cousin is almost as intimidating as Mom. She has a way of putting pricks like that in their place without them even realizing how it happened.
Just as I’m thinking it, I see her pass by the porthole in the wooden door to the kitchen, pulling her dark curls back into a ponytail. A second later, she pushes through the door.
She looks at the three of us and her eyes narrow as she slings her short, black apron under her bulging belly and ties it. “You guys do know that when everyone clams up and stares at you when you walk into a room, that’s a dead giveaway they were talking about you, right?”
“All good, cuz,” I say, lifting one hand in surrender while picking up my bar rag with the other.
She gives us a glare that could fry bacon. “I’m not fat.”
“No, you’re not,” Destiny says, handing her the tray of drinks. “But I’m punching out and I need you to take that table.”
Carol’s gaze shifts to the table in question. “What’s wrong with them?”
“The guy’s a sanctimonious prick,” I say wiping down the bar. “He needs to be reminded his shit still stinks in the way only you can.”
A slow smile pulls at her mouth and she takes the drink tray.
“He’s the Tom Collins,” Destiny says. “The chardonnay is for the girl on his right and the Cosmos are for the other two.”
She bats her eyelashes and starts toward the table. “Coming right up,” she says, all breathy and sweet.
Mom turns to me once she’s gone, her frown deepening. “I came out here to remind you to put a note in the drawer if you pull petty cash, Bran.”
I give her a dubious smirk. “Really, Ma? I’ve been doing this for almost a year. Think I’ve got the drill down by now.”
“Well, the drawer came up exactly sixty short last night. So how else do you explain that?”
I feel my brows lift. My drawer’s never off by anything more than a few pennies. “You sure you didn’t pull it for the wine order?”
She scowls at me and crow’s feet crease the corners of her eyes. “I might be old, but I’m not senile yet.”
For her age, I have to say Mom looks pretty damn amazing. She met Dad sometime in the stone ages, when she used to dance at a strip club in San Francisco, and even still, I can see why he picked her out of the crowd. She’s got a deep worry line at the inside corner of her right eyebrow, but otherwise her face is deceptively youthful. The only thing that gives her age away is the skunk stripe that starts on the left side of her forehead and winds through the sea of dark hair pinned onto the back of her head like a the first swirl of cream into black coffee.
“I didn’t take any cash, Ma. Seriously.”
She sighs wearily and rubs her eyes. “It’s been a long day. I’ll check the numbers again tomorrow morning when I can think.”
I lean down and give her a peck on the cheek. “’Night, Ma.”
She hooks her elbow around my neck and yanks me in for a hug. “See you tomorrow, baby boy.”
She’s the only one I’d ever let call me baby or honey or any shit like that because, like I said, I’m a little scared of her. I watch her disappear through the kitchen door.
And then it’s just Destiny, waiting for an answer.
I take a deep breath and blow it out slowly as I turn to her. “Listen, Destiny. There’s no question you are fucking amazing, and I had an awesome time the other night…but I feel like you might have gotten the wrong idea about what this is.” I drop the bar rag and splay my hands on the bar between us, holding her gaze. I may be a dick, but I’ve got a moral compass that points in the right general direction most of the time. She deserves to be told straight up. “I’m not the kind of guy that does relationships, and even if I were, you wouldn’t want one with me.”
It’s not like I expect her to whine or beg. I’ve only known her for a week, since Mom hired her for day shifts, but she seems generally more together than that.
What I also don’t expect is a shameless smile to spread over her face as she leans closer. “So, are you saying that pounding me until I scream your name is too much of a commitment?”
I blow out a laugh and give my head a slow shake. “This isn’t how I pictured this conversation going.”
She pushes away from the bar and unties her apron. “I’ll be back before closing. Maybe have a drink or two. And when you leave, if you take me with you, you won’t be sorry. If not…” She shrugs. “…no harm no foul.”
I watch as she disappears through the kitchen door behind Mom to punch out. Carol drops another drink order on the bar on her way to the kitchen and I go back to work.
The Friday evening crowd picks up and it’s not long before all the tables are full and patrons start lining the bar. I dim the lights—the closest we come to ambiance.
The Sam Hill Saloon has been here since the gold rush, when the town of Oak Crest was established as a mining camp. After they got married, Dad brought Mom out here and bought her this bar to keep her “busy,” since he didn’t want her taking off her clothes for horny men anymore. She got it in the divorce and has run it for the last thirty years, but the truth is, almost nothing here has changed for nearly three quarters of a century. There are pictures on the walls of grimy gold miners lined up at this very bar. Even most of the chunky wooden barstools and tables have survived. At some point, some owner lined the front wall under the windows with three booths, and Mom added a big-screen TV, but other than that, it looks exactly like the pictures. And there’s the faint stench of stale beer emanating from the floor planking that no amount of bleach will ever get out.
But it’s a landmark, and the only bar in town, so we’re usually busy.
I’m blending a pair of frozen daiquiris with one hand and shaking a martini with the other when out of the corner of my eye, I see a solo blonde slide onto the barstool at the end, near the beer taps. I finish what I’m doing and prepare the tray for Carol to pick up before glancing over and seeing its Destiny.
A guy in the middle of the bar makes eye contact and nods at his empty beer mug. I grab it and start filling without really looking up at her. “Didn’t think I’d see you again till closer to closing.”
“Sorry?” she says. “Are you talking to me?”
The voice is off—slightly raspy and a pitch lower than her usual. I look up again and squint at her, wondering if she’s already started drinking. She’s taken her straight hair down from the ponytail she always wears it in and it’s not as long as I remember it from the other night—the only other time I’ve seen it down. There’s also a fading blue stripe cutting through the platinum over her right ear that I’ve never noticed before.
“What can I get you?” I ask her instead of pushing it.
I’m already reaching for the vodka and cranberry to start on a Madras, her drink of choice last week, when she answers, “Rum and Coke.”
“That’s different,” I mutter, shooting her another glance.
She gives me a puzzled look. “Look, I really just wanted to find out if you hire entertainment.”
My face mirrors her puzzlement, I’m sure, as I try to process her statement. “Why?”
She hunches to the side and pulls something up from her feet. I see it’s a battered black guitar case when the narrow end peeks over the top of the bar. “Because I need a gig.”
“Didn’t know you played,” I say, pushing her drink across the bar to her.
That baffled look is back as she pulls it toward her and takes a swallow. I can’t help following the curve of her long neck downward toward a pair of large round tits perfectly outlined by her snug, low-cut T-shirt. She is definitely hot, and if we’re on the same page, then I’ve got nothing to feel guilty about. She wants me to fuck her till she screams? I’m perfectly capable of that. She sets her drink down and catches me staring. She cuts me that wicked smile again, causing my cock to stir. I return the smile, sending the innuendo right back at her.
She props her elbows onto the bar and leans forward, giving me a clear look down her shirt. “Considering that we’ve never met before, I don’t find that surprising.”
I’m so absorbed in images of my face buried in those magnificent tits that it takes me a second to process what she said.
My eyes snap to hers. “Wait…what?”
She reaches across the bar, offering me a hand. “Lilah.”
There’s a full second all I can do is stare, wondering if this is one of those split personality things you hear about sometimes. And in that second, through the dim lighting, I take in all the tiny details—a dark mole at the outer corner of her right eye; her eyes, silver instead of blue; the missing white crescent-shaped scar above Destiny’s right eyebrow; and lips, a little fuller than I remember—which are smirking at me now.
“You’re not Destiny,” I say as it all clicks.
It’s not a question, but she shakes her head. “No. I am most definitely not Destiny.”
“Twins?” I ask.
She cocks her head playfully. “What do you think?”
“You’ve got to be. You’re fucking identical except for the eyes.” I tap my forehead. “And you’re missing a scar.”
Her perfect blond eyebrow raises in amusement. “She’s the pretty one and I’m the smart one.”
I bark out a laugh as I reach across and shake her hand. “Bran Silo. Good to meet you.”
She doesn’t let go of my hand for a second after we’re done shaking—just long enough to send a clear message that she’s interested.
A knot forms in my gut, and I realize it’s guilt. Destiny and I have an understanding, but regardless, I’m pretty sure fucking her sister would be way outside the bounds of gentlemanly behavior. Not that anyone would ever mistake me for a gentleman. “Destiny never mentioned she had a sister.”
“Doesn’t surprise me.” She takes another drink, nearly polishing it off in a few big gulps.
I tip my head at it her glass. “Another?”
“My limit is one,” she says, pushing her glass toward me. “Just Coke this time, thanks.”
Carol sweeps by on her way to the kitchen, dropping an order on my bar. “Thought you left,” she says to Lilah without slowing down. “Careful or your favorite customer might ask for you,” she adds, jerking her head at Mr. Hendricks as she disappears through the swinging door.
I bark out a laugh as I scoop ice into Lilah’s glass and fill it with Coke. “Good to know I’m not the only one.”
Lilah shrugs. “Happens all the time.” She slides out of her chair, lifting the guitar case. “So do you want to hear me play or what?”
I look around the crowded room, loud with chatter, drowning out the background music. “We don’t generally have live entertainment,” I say, which is really an understatement. We’ve never had live entertainment. But for some reason, I’m not willing to shut Lilah down so fast.
When my eyes find her again, annoyed impatience shines loud and clear out of her gaze. “So that’s a no?”
I feel my mouth pull into a cocky half-smile. “I didn’t say that.”
She opens her case and pulls out her guitar, unabashedly climbing through the window I left ajar for her. I watch as she sets herself up on the stool and rests the guitar in her lap, gripping it softly but confidently. She starts strumming, and I expect her to be discrete, since this is basically an audition, but there’s not a shred of self-consciousness or embarrassment anywhere in her disposition as she begins to belt out lyrics—an old No Doubt song that I can’t remember the name of.
The way she plays, as if on instinct; the passion in her voice, and the fact that she’s really fucking good, starts to turn heads at the tables closest to us. As they quiet and listen, more tables still, and soon the only thing she’s competing to be heard over is the Kat Country on the speakers. But she doesn’t decrease her volume. If anything, as eyes find her, she becomes louder, feeding off the attention.
I reach under the bar and click off the stereo, then lean onto the back counter and cross my arms, listening as she finishes one song and launches into the next.
A guy at the bar pulls a five from his pocket and flags me down with it. I grab his beer mug, but he shakes his head. “Is there a tip jar?” he asks with a nod toward Lilah.
I pull a fresh mug from under the bar and he slips the five inside, then I set it at the end of the bar near Lilah. She cuts me a smile and her eyes slide down my body as she sings.
And fuck me. I lean my hands on the bar and press against the lower counter when my dick won’t yield to my will. Without a doubt, everything Destiny has going on, Lilah’s got that and more.


About the Mia Storm:

Mia Storm is a hopeless romantic who is always searching for her happy ending. Sometimes she’s forced to make one up. When that happens, she’s thrilled to be able to share those stories with her readers. She lives in California and spends much of her time in the sun with a book in one hand and a mug of black coffee in the other, or hiking the trails in Yosemite. Connect with her online at MiaStormAuthor.blogspot.com , on Twitter at @MiaStormAuthor, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MiaStormAuthor

30 July 2015

ARC August: All August, All The ARCs

Good Morning Lovelies! I decided to take part in ARC August hosted by Read. Sleep. Repeat 
I had never heard about this before but I am excited to be apart of it this time around! I have so many ARCs old and new that need to be read and I am confident that I will get a lot of them finished during this month!

I am not going to make a list of what I intend to read and that is because I will most likely not read them if I do that. So on august first I am going to pick a new ARC or continue with the one I am reading if I still am reading one. So for now my goal is at least 5 ARCs!


28 July 2015

Cover Reveal: The Affiliate by K.A. Linde

TA AmazonToday we’re revealing the cover of Kyla Linde’s The Affiliate! I am so excited about this fantastic YA fantasy!!    
Title: The Affiliate (Ascension, 1)  
Author: K. A. Linde 
 Release Day: September 15th  
Genre: YA Fantasy 
 About The Affiliate: On the day of her Presenting, in front of the entire Byern Court, seventeen-year-old Cyrene Strohm's lifelong plans come to fruition when she's chosen as an Affiliate to the Queen. Or so she thinks. When Cyrene receives a mysterious letter and an unreadable book, she finds nothing is as it seems. Thrust into a world of dangerous political intrigue and deadly magic, Cyrene's position only grows more treacherous when she finds herself drawn to the one man she can never have... King Edric himself. Cyrene must decide if love is truly worth the price of freedom. Find out in this first book in USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde’s new Ascension series.  

Pre-Order Now: Amazon | Itunes  

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]

Exclusive Excerpt: 
 “Do you enjoy the view?” King Edric asked. “The rains have made the gardens bloom, and it warms my heart to see it so.” “It is good to know that the gardener approves of the work.” Cyrene laughed lightly. “I have not gardened in a month’s time. I fear I can no longer call myself a gardener.” She remembered when she had told the king of her interest in gardening at the last feast day almost a week ago. After that dance, Queen Kaliana added a list of plants to her assignment, forcing her to reread every page she had already dredged through for information. It had wasted two entire days. “Perhaps I could change that,” he offered. He directed her down the staircase and into the courtyard below lit solely by the setting sun in the distance. Her stomach churned at the thought of him offering assistance to any of her needs. It was like what she had read in her children’s books of the tales of Leifs, and how one request would be necessitated by a much larger sacrifice. Her biggest sacrifice at the present moment was time. She wanted nothing more than to finish her work on agriculture and prove that she could get moved somewhere that involved traveling…and adventure. “On the contrary, My King, I am fully enthralled in my Affiliate duties, and believe that gardening would only distract me from my work.” “You cannot spare one afternoon to spend in my gardens?” His blue-gray eyes searched her face. “If you have half the green thumb you suggest, then it would be delightful to have you on the grounds.” She swallowed. “I really have much work to accomplish before we go on Processional.” “I could speak to the Queen and request it be lessened,” he whispered into the evening air. “No!” It was the first time he had ever admitted to discussing her with the Queen. Hearing him admit it aloud made her voice come out strangled. Cyrene missed her footing on the pebble path and stumbled forward a pace. Edric steadied her. He turned his body to face her in the middle of the garden, and her breath caught at the sight of him in the setting sun. “You do not wish me to speak to the Queen?” “I spoke out of turn. Please forgive me.” “I cannot forgive that which I do not understand. Did the Queen somehow offend you?” Cyrene shook her head. “I fear that the Queen does not…like me.” Edric laughed softly, taking one of her hands in his own. “Oh Cyrene, I believe that the Queen likes no one but herself.” Cyrene found that she, too, could laugh at his comment. “Now, tell me what the Queen has done to make you believe that she dislikes you.” “It’s nothing, my King.” She turned her face away from his. She couldn’t possibly tell him the real reason. “Enough to infuriate you, which is enough for me.” When she looked back up into his blue-gray eyes she felt that same magnetic pull between them. Somehow she had not realized how close they were standing. His hand felt warm against her bare skin. His body only a few inches away from her. His breath hot on her face. Her heart contracted in her chest, and she forced herself to respond. “She speaks of…of your interference, as if…as if you…” Time stretched between them, and she thought for a split second he might move even closer to her. She was rooted in place, captivated by his gaze. “Yes?” His other hand drifted to her waist, and she was suddenly on fire. Their breath mingled together as she murmured, “As if you favor me.” “And do you think that?” “I…” “Yes?” he asked, stepping closer. “I think you have your queen,” she breathed.    

kalinde copyAbout K. A. Linde: USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde is the author of The Affiliate, the first book in the Ascension Series. As a military brat, she traveled the world with her family, imaginary friends, and ever-increasing supply of books. She has spent much of her life dreaming up new worlds and characters and forcing them into uncomfortable, usually life-threatening scenarios. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a masters degree in political science, she began spending every waking hour putting those characters onto paper. When not writing, she spends her time dancing, collecting paperbacks in the hopes of filling a Beauty and the Beast style library one day, traveling to visit her friends who live all over the country, and still reading anything she can get her hands on. She currently resides in North Carolina with her husband and two puppies, Lucy and Riker, where she is hard at work on her next novel. 

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27 July 2015

Review: Maximum Ride Forever by James Patterson

Maximum Ride Forever by James Patterson 
Publisher: Little Brown, & Company
Release Date: May 18, 2015
Book Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 400
Synopsis: THE NINTH AND ULTIMATE MAXIMUM RIDE STORY IS HERE! Legions of Max fans won't be disappointed by this encore episode in the beloved series about the incredible adventures of a teenage girl who can fly. As Maximum Ride boldly navigates a post-apocalyptic world, she and her broken flock are roaming the earth, searching for answers to what happened. All will be revealed in this last spectacular "ride"- a brand-new grand finale featuring all of the nonstop action, twists and turns that readers can rely on in a blockbuster Patterson page turner!

My Review: 
I borrowed Maximum Ride Forever by James Patterson from Barnes & Noble and this is my honest review.

After finishing what I thought was the last book this series, Nevermore I was sad. I have read this series non-stop until I finished from 7th grade, and I was not ready for this world to end. As you can imagine, when it was announced that this book was coming out I was ecstatic!

This story was different from all of the others because it was finally the end of the world, and everyone was pretty much going crazy. The flock had problems left and right starting from the very first page. Even though the problems stabbed me in the heart over and over again it is one of the reason why I love these books. The non-stop action, and adventure thrilled me until the last page. Another thing I love about Patterson books is that the chapters are only a few pages so it makes it almost easier to fly through it. For me, when I read I do not like to stop in the middle of chapters so reading is books is a breeze because the chapters start and end within two or three pages.

Half way through the book I was convinced that this book was going to be the worst ending out of all 9 books. The reason I say this is because many many people were dying and I just could not see there being a good turn out. But then Patterson showed his skills and took everything I was thinking at the moment and threw it completely out the window. I was dumbfounded, but I also felt so much better!

There was so much heartbreak here that at times I did have to put it down because I did not want to believe what was happening. But I have to say, I like this in books because it shows that us as readers are connecting with the characters, and I would imagine this is a goal writers have in general. I believe though, that by the ending this is finally the last book in the Maximum Ride series, and that for me is really hard. This series is one of the book series that really got me into reading when I was younger and I am not ready to let it go. But I have to say that the way Patterson ended everything pleased me greatly, and I have no hard feelings towards these books at all. I would recommend these to anyone, and everyone!


25 July 2015

Book Blitz: Unexpected by Lilly Avalon

Release Date: 07/21/15
New Adult/Standalone

Summary from Goodreads:
Ever had one of those days? Alina Lyons is having one. Everything keeps falling apart and going wrong. Just when she thinks it couldn't get worse, it does. After a case of mistaken identity and a broken heart, she finds herself questioning the things she thought she knew. She wonders who she can turn to or trust anymore.

An unlikely bond with her former best friend's ex, Ryan Wilcox, sends her life in a new direction. He offers her a place to stay while she gets her life back on track. His friendship is exactly what she's been missing—what she's been needing. Alina's never felt this alive. As time goes by, the dynamic of their relationship becomes more than either of them expected. A few innocent kisses could lead them in a new direction, but are they prepared for what's on the other side?

Only one way to find out.

*Unexpected is a standalone new adult novel* 

About the Author:
Lilly Avalon is the author of the RESIST series as well as other erotic romances. She's somewhere in the midst of her twenties and lives mostly in the stories in her head. When she's not enveloped in the worlds she creates, she's out in the real world making stories happen. That or reading other romances. It's a toss-up.

Author Links:
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After saying goodbye to her mother, Alina and I get in our cars and drive back to my apartment. I stop at the taco place on the way and bring back a dozen tacos. When we get inside, Alina takes one look at them and says, “Good Lord, Mr. Hungry. How many are you planning on eating?”

“However many you don't eat,” I answer with a grin.

She rolls her eyes. “Typical.” She places two on her plate. “Don't think this means you get to have the other ten. I might have one more.”

“I'll save it for you.” We take our food to the living room and sit on the couch. I turn on the TV. “Anything you want to watch? I have basic cable, but I'm sure we could find something.”

She shrugs. “Doesn't really matter to me.”

I scroll until I find a Nash Bridges rerun. I raise an eyebrow at her and she nods, so I leave it and start eating. At the first commercial break, I hit the mute button and turn to her. “So...if we're going to be friends, we need to know a little more about each other.”

“Like what?”

“Well, I know your name is Alina Lyons. And you used to work at a diner. And you were friends with Victoria since senior year in high school. But I don't really know anything else.”

“So, are we going to play twenty questions?” she asks, a smirk playing across her lips.

I make a funny face at her and smile. “No. Let's just go over some of the basics.”

She wipes her mouth with a napkin and sets down her plate on the coffee table. “Okay, I'll bite. What kind of basics?”

“Okay, so Nash Bridges—better or worse than Miami Vice?”

She giggles. “Well, they both have Don Johnson, so that alone makes them tied. I am partial to Nash Bridges, though. I used to watch it with my dad and brother growing up.”

Interesting. A girl near my age who actually knows about sitcoms from the eighties and nineties. I can't remember the last time I was able to talk to someone outside my family who's familiar with shows that didn't premiere in their teenage years. Most of my peers were more interested in the latest X-Men movie or who was voted off last night on American Idol. Not that I didn't care about “teenager” things, I just had a broader spectrum of taste. “Well played...but,” I say, pausing to hold up a finger, “you forgot to mention Yasmine Bleeth.”

“I didn't forget. I'm surprised that part matters to you when she doesn't run in slow motion in a red bathing suit on Nash Bridges.”

Not to mention a girl who's cheeky to boot by referencing Baywatch. “She doesn't have to. That's the beauty of it.” I wink and she laughs, shaking her head and covering her face. “You know what, Alina?”

“What?” she asks, peeking through her fingers.

“I think I'm going to like being friends with you.”

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23 July 2015

Blog Tour: Haunted Echoes by Emma Bloom

Haunted Echoes by Emma Bloom
Release Date: July 20, 2015
Synopsis: Freak!




The world sees Abby as unsavory, making her feel isolated. But she most certainly isn’t alone. Everywhere she turns she hears disembodied voices, sees things move as if by unseen hands. Bullies constantly torment her, threatening what remains of her sanity. Her mother is too busy trying to fix her craziness to see what is truly happening.

Abby is tired of the world around her, and wants nothing more than to escape. When her life spirals out of control, she is invited to Hildebranch Academy, a school for spirited kids like her. Can Abby learn to live a normal life?

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Meet Emma, 
Author Emma Bloom, that’s me! I was born in southern Illinois and am the youngest in my family. From an early age I found a great love for reading and dreamed of one day creating books that would capture the minds of young readers. I am an avid lover of all things paranormal, even though I admit I’m the first to duck and cover in a haunted house.

Author Links:

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21 July 2015

Review: In A World Just Right by Jen Brooks

In A World Just Right by Jen Brooks
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Book Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 432
Synopsis:  High school senior Jonathan Aubrey creates worlds at will. In Kylie-Simms-is-my-girlfriend, he’s given himself everything he doesn’t have in real life-–the track team, passing grades, and his dream girl–-until one day he confuses his worlds and almost kisses the real Kylie Simms. Now his girlfriend Kylie and the real Kylie are changing, and Jonathan must solve the mystery of his own life to save his love from a gruesome fate.

My Review:
I bought In A World Just Right by Jen Brooks with my own money, and this is my honest review.

In A World Just Right is the story of a boy who has the ability of creating multiple fantasy worlds. When Jonathan was young, he and two other adults were the only few people to survive a horrible plane crash. His family, including his mom, dad, sister, and aunt did not survive. As his life moved forward he had a hard time finding things to make his life okay again. He then discovered his ability to make worlds, and it took off from there.

My favorite part of this book was the time spent in creative writing class. I had different forms of writing classes while I was in high school, and the closest to creative writing was fiction writing 1 and 2. Those were my most favorite classes in school because I have always wanted to be a writer. Creative writing is also my major in college. So the fact that Jonathan and Kylie were writers was awesome!

Before reading the book I thought I remembered Kylie being portrayed as a really mean. But as I got into the book she seemed a little mean here and there but she never seemed like a royal bitch. She just seemed like someone who was weirded out because some guy she barely knew was suddenly trying to kiss her. Which, I think is normal.

Jonathan was such a sweet guy. He really loved Kylie I could see that from page one. He was having a really hard time with a lot of his problems but no matter what he still loved Kylie more than anything. She was a very lucky girl.

I felt bad for Jonathan when everything started to fall apart. I will not tell you which one, but Kylie's attitude was ridiculous. I could not stand it but I think it gave the book a nice touch. The reason she was that way is because of the circumstances with the Jonathans worlds. In the end I enjoyed what happened a lot. I have never read anything like this and I am glad I got the chance to. 

20 July 2015

Trailer Reveal: Break The Spell by A.M. Bostwick

Break the Spell
Release Date: September 2015
Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC

Summary from Goodreads:
Alone. On the run. Until she came along.

When Allison Evans walks out of high school the last day of her senior year, she has no idea that her carefully guarded life is about to unravel.

Ethan Knight is on the run. Accused of dealing drugs and armed with nothing but a bad reputation and his motorcycle, he takes refuge for the weekend inside the old high school. Thinking no one will find him and no one does.

Until Allison. Panicked and left with no other choice, Ethan takes her captive. It should be a nightmare, but together, both of their lives take an unexpected turn. It’s time for them both to stop running from their problems. 

About the Author
A.M. Bostwick writes Middle Grade and Young Adult novels. Her debut middle grade novel, The Great Cat Nap, earned the 2014 Tofte/Wright Children's Literature Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers. An early draft of her young adult novel, "Break the Spell," was a finalist in the 2013 Wisconsin Romance Writers of America Fab 5 Contest. She took third place in the 2014 Rochester Writers’ Summer Writing Contest for her flash fiction piece, “Paint the Stars.” She holds degrees in both art and earth science. Her young adult novel, "Break the Spell," is forthcoming in September 2015 from Fiery Seas Publishing. A.M. Bostwick lives in northern Wisconsin with her husband, dog and thrill-seeking cat.

Author Links:
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