Spotlight Tour: The Truth About Happily Ever by Karole Cozzo

Welcome to my tour stop of The Truth About Happily Ever by Karole Cozzo hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. You can find the full tour schedule here.


Title: The Truth About Happily Ever After
Author: Karole Cozzo
Standalone
Expected Publication: May 16th, 2017 by Swoon Reads
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, [Young-Adult]

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Chin up, Princess, or the crown will slip.

A theme park princess must put her life back together after her happily ever after falls apart in The Truth About Happily Ever After, a contemporary YA romance from Karole Cozzo, author of How to Keep Rolling After a Fall and How to Say I Love You Out Loud.

Everything was supposed to be perfect. Alyssa has a job she loves, working as Cinderella at her favorite theme park; a fantastic group of friends; and a boyfriend who will no longer be long distance. But as the summer progresses, her prince becomes less charming and more distant, and Alyssa’s perfect summer falls apart.

Forced to acknowledge that life is not always a fairy tale, Alyssa starts working to pull her herself back together. Fortunately, she doesn’t have to do it alone. With her friend Miller’s support, she’s determined to prove that she’s more than just a pretty princess. And with his help, maybe she’s finally ready for something better than dreams. Maybe she’s ready for something real.


Excerpt:

Before I can fully process my thoughts, Rose is whirling me around to reveal the finished product in the full-length mirror behind me.

         “Holy crap!” I almost fall off the stool. “How did you create that in fifteen minutes?” I ask, leaning forward as I touch my face, because I’m not really sure it’s mine anymore. It’s practically three-dimensional.

         I’m the Jackal. I have his hollow cheekbones, his dark, haunting eyes, his signature scar marring his right cheek. But with the proper shading and lipstick and contouring, Rose has made the look sexy and alluring, like some kind of predator of man.

         “Wow . . . ,” I murmur. I can’t stop staring.

         Behind me, she shrugs, but I can tell she’s struggling to stay humble. “Just a little bit of this, little bit of that,” she says.

         She pulls out her phone and instructs me to turn around so she can take a picture to help her remember what she did. Then she glances at her phone again. “Do you think you have time for me to try one more thing? After looking at the costumes, I really want to see what I can come up with for the Sea Snake.”

         “I have time,” I assure her, hopping off the stool. “You’re so quick.”

         “Here.” Rose hands me a clean cloth and some kind of heavy-duty makeup remover. “You’re going to need both of these. And probably the regular face wash, too.” She giggles. “Maybe, like, three times. Again . . . many thanks.”

         “Yeah, sure,” I mumble, walking away, feeling distracted.

         Something is still nagging at me, and until I can figure out what it is . . . I’m going to be preoccupied.

         I lock the bathroom door behind me, turning on the light and staring at my reflection.

         Her words keep turning over on themselves in my brain.

         Internalize the illusion . . . internalize the illusion . . .

         I pour some of the makeup remover onto the cloth and swipe it over to the left side of my face. The sexy Jackal disappears at once. She vanishes like that; she was never real. There’s no trace left behind.

         And that’s the thing about illusions.

         I put the cloth down, figuring out why her words got to me.

         Sometimes internalizing an illusion is a good thing.

         And sometimes it’s not.

         Today marks four weeks since Jake broke up with me. But the truth is, our relationship was over a lot longer than that. Because our relationship was an illusion, one that I wanted to believe in, one that I had internalized, because I so badly wanted it to be the real thing.

         I loved the idea of Jake. I loved that we started out as a fairy tale, and that my fairy-tale prince was good looking and stable and on his way to an honorable career. I loved the illusion.

         Beyond it . . . I stare down at the sink, feeling particularly foolish. Beyond it . . . I’m hard pressed to remember the last time Jake had made me feel more happy than nervous in his presence, the last time he gave me a sense of security rather than a fear of loss. The last time we felt like pleasure rather than work.

         So I guess . . . sometimes . . . Rose is right. An illusion can be empowering. But sometimes an illusion can be debilitating.

         You stare at an illusion for too long, you stop looking for something real. Maybe you stop even remembering what it feels like.


Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Author Bio:

Karole lives outside of Philadelphia, PA with her loving husband, exuberant little girl, and smiley little boy. She adores YA Romance, because it would be awesome if life in general had a requisite feel-good happy ending rule. Vices include obscene Haribo gummy consumption, addiction to Starbucks NF vanilla lattes, and tendency to hoard Bath and Body Works 3-wick candles.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Blog Tour & Excerpt: I’ll be Home for Christmas by Lori Wilde

Author: Lori Wilde

Tittle: I’ll be Home for Christmas

Series: Twilight Texas series, book 7

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, [Adult]

Published: 27th October, 2015 by Avon Romance

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Nothing says Christmas like New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde and Twilight, TX, and now Lori returns to Twilight for a brand new heartwarming holiday tale. The matchmaking members of the Cookie Club are up to their old tricks again!

Christmas in Twilight, Texas, is all merriment and mistletoe. The Cookie Club is whipping up their most festive sweets, the townspeople are scrambling to get their holiday shopping done, and Joe-a hometown guy with a restless heart-is dreaming about the woman he wants to kiss most…

…And who happens to be staying at his sister’s place over the holidays, while Joe’s sister is away. But Joe isn’t quite sure he wants to be a living Christmas present to runaway law student Gabi Preston.

Joe thinks the sassy sweetheart he nicknames “Trouble” won’t inconvenience anything but his healthy sex drive. But when he discovers the reasons Gabi escaped from her life, he aches to give her everything she’s never had. As the magic of the season draws them together, the gift of love is the only one worth giving…


Excerpt:

The chirp of a bird. The whisper of the wind. The gentle sound of her own breathing.  

Ah, peace. Nice. Very nice. She could get used to this.  

The ping of a metal axe against wood cut the quiet. Gabi lifted her head and glanced around. Less than fifty yards separated her from the Christmas tree farm, and through the branches of the trees she spied a man chopping at a fir that he felled in three easy whacks.  

He wore a blue flannel shirt that rippled in the back every time he swung the axe. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled up to the elbows, exposing forearms corded with muscles and giving her a show of strength, agility, and timing as he picked up the downed tree and tossed it effortlessly onto a flatbed trailer parked down the row of trees.  

Her gaze dropped to his masculine backside hugged by a pair of faded Levi’s. Uh- oh, she knew that butt. It was the same scrumptious ass she’d seen less than half an hour earlier at the coffee shop.  

It was He- Man.  

He pulled a red bandana from his pocket, mopped his face, then turned and caught her staring. Across the distance, his gaze slammed into her harder than a head- on collision. The air shot from her lungs so quickly, she couldn’t even hiccup.  

Holy writ of attachment!  

With two ground- munching strides, he reached the barbwire fence, and gracefully climbed it.  

Eeps! He was coming over.  

Unprepared for a face- to- face with him, Gabi backed up. Fast.  

She smacked into the door of the tent. Heart racing, she spun around, fumbled for the key, got the door open, and tumbled inside. The strap of her designer handbag dropped from her shoulder to the floor, and she sagged against the door.

This was crazy. She wanted him. Truly wanted this stranger, but of course she was too unnerved by that realization to have a conversation and figure out where this was going.  

Nowhere. It was going nowhere. She wasn’t here for an affair. She was here to get her head screwed on straight, and all he would do was unscrew it.

Chicken.

Maybe. But she wasn’t ready to talk to the likes of him. He was just too damn hot.  

Outside, a truck horn tooted. She peeked out the window to see that a red pickup with a trailer hitched to it had driven up to the front gate of the Christmas tree farm. Did everyone around here drive pickup trucks?  

He- Man, who was halfway across the road toward her, stopped, shrugged, and went back where he belonged, waving to the man who got out of the red pickup. Whew. Crisis averted.


Author Bio:

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Lori Wilde has sold seventy-eight works of fiction to four major New York Publishing houses. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Christian University and a certificate in forensic nursing from Kaplan University. She is a member of the International Association of Forensic Nurses.

Her first NYT bestseller, the third book in her Twilight, Texas series, The First Love Cookie Club has been optioned for a television movie. The town of Granbury, Texas, upon which her fictional town of Twilight, Texas is loosely based, honors Lori with an annual Twilight, Texas weekend each Christmas. http://www.twilighttexas.com

A popular writing instructor, Lori is a two time RITA finalist and has four times been nominated for Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. She’s won the Colorado Award of Excellence, the Wisconsin Write Touch Award, The Golden Quill, the Lories, and The More than Magic. Her books have been translated into 27 languages and excerpted in Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Complete Woman, and Quick and Simple magazines. She lives in Texas with her husband, Bill, and her two New American Shepherds.

Author Links:

Website || Twitter || Facebook || Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon || B&N || iTunes || Kobo


Blog Tour organised by:

Harper Collins

Excerpt & Giveaway: Edge of Something More by Andi Loveall – Blog Tour

EdgeOfSomethingMoreTourBanner

Welcome to my tour stop of Edge of Something More by Andi Loveall hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. You can view the full tour schedule here.


EdgeOfSomethingGood.v2 (1)Author: Andi Loveall

Tittle: Edge Of Something More

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, [New Adult]

Published: November 10th 2015 by Swoon Romance

Blurb (from Goodreads):

After a nasty breakup, twenty-two-year-old Devin Ashford is on a mission to travel the world one random excursion at a time. He wants to forget his ex, discover new experiences and end up with some awesome stories to tell. If it takes spending all of his savings to do it, he is ready.

His first stop is a communal homestead in the Appalachians of North Carolina, which turns out to be a bohemian paradise. The weed is plentiful, the owners adore him, and the very sight of Cora, their nineteen-year-old goddaughter, makes him want to set up a permanent camp.

Cora warns that she isn’t ready for a serious relationship, but Devin is falling hard. Playful kisses turn into passionate sex, and each day is spent connecting and enjoying the mind-numbing awesomeness—until he makes the mistake of saying “I love you.” Discussing the future kills the good vibes, and Cora pushes him away.

Pissed off and rejected, Devin begins preparing for his next excursion: backpacking India. But just when it’s time to go, the death of one of the homestead’s beloved animals leaves Cora upset and in need of a friend. Devin’s kindness wins him another shot at romance.

With a plane ticket in hand and his pride on the line, Devin and Cora find themselves teetering on the edge of something more.


Excerpt:

She smiled, holding them out. “Would you like one?”

“Yes. Don’t mind if I do.” He took it from her, letting his fingers rest on her hand a beat longer than necessary. If she noticed, she didn’t let it show.

“We just dug them up from the greenhouse this morning. They’re good. Raven doesn’t believe in peeling them because why waste the resources, you know?”

He stuck the carrot between his teeth, secured his foot on the log fence, and hauled himself up. A sweet scent wafted over from her wet hair. It was pure and natural, like the earth after a rainstorm.

She looked over at him and narrowed her eyes. “Welcome to the fence.”

He laughed through the carrot and leaned forward, dropping it from his mouth into his hand. “Thank you, thank you.”

Judy was lumbering over. Cora leaned forward, holding out a carrot.

“Come here girl,” she said, feeding it to her. “Come here Rainbow.”

“I thought her name was Judy.”

“It is,” she said. “But I call her Rainbow. We were here visiting when Walter and Raven brought her home. They said we could name her, my sister and me. But we couldn’t agree. She wanted Mrs. Jenkins and I wanted Rainbow. We got in such a fight about it that Raven decided to name her Judy. It was this huge scandal, and I cried for like three days. Then, I realized I could just call her Rainbow.”

“How old were you when this happened?”

“Maybe six.”

“This is good, by the way,” he said, chewing a bite of carrot. “Kind of outrageously good.”

“Told you.”

“Carrots are such an all-or-nothing thing, too.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well.” He swallowed. “Take garlic, for instance. It might be a little green in the middle, or a little too dry, but for the most part, obvious reasons such as spoilage aside, garlic is garlic. Onions are onions. And potatoes? Hard to go wrong with potatoes. If nothing else you can mash them up and you’re good to go. But with carrots, they’re either bitter and awful or completely amazing. There’s absolutely no middle ground.”

“What kind of weird carrot experiences have you had?” She laughed. “They’re almost always good.”

He made a grim face. “If only that were true. After being hit by a carrot truck and bashed in the head with a can of carrots by an unknown assailant, I can only assume the position the carrots have taken. This carrot here? It just might be a sign the war is over.”

“Maybe it was fate,” she said. “You having so many bad carrots. Now you can really appreciate the good ones.”

“I do appreciate,” he said, gazing at her.


Author Bio:

AndiAndi Loveall grew up in the blistering heat of California’s Central Valley and has since traveled far and wide in search of adventure and romance. From the steamy streets of Bangkok to the dancing fireflies of the Appalachians, the places, people and things she has seen have convinced her of two things: Life hurts no matter where you go, and the world is a crazy-beautiful place.

A freelance writer by day and storyteller by night, Andi is on a mission to create characters that come alive in worlds she can’t quite reach. When she’s not writing, she’s usually hula hooping, dying her hair bright colors or making delicious home-cooked meals for herself and the people that she loves.

Author Links:

Website || Facebook || Twitter

Purchase Link:

Amazon


Giveaway!

$10 Amazon gift card + eBook copy of Edge of Something More, ends November 26th, 2015.

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Excerpt: Sing Your Heart Out by Crystal Kaswell – Blog Tour + Giveaway!

SingYourHeartOutTourBanner1

Welcome to my tour stop of Sing Your Heart Out by Crystal Kaswell hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. You can view the full tour schedule here.


SingYourHeartOut-lg (1)Author: Crystal Kaswell

Tittle: Sing Your Heart Out

Series: Sinful Serenade, book 1 [Can be read as a standalone]

Genres: New Adult, Romance

Publication date: Fall 2015

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Good girls don’t date rockstars.

They certainly don’t take rock stars as fuck buddies.

Still a virgin at 21, Meg Smart walks a straight and narrow path. She aces her classes, excels at her part time job, and carefully avoids the black hole that is mourning her sister. There’s no room in her life for trouble–no drinks, no drugs, and especially no boyfriends.

Fine with Miles.

Rock star Miles Webb doesn’t do boyfriend. He doesn’t do intimacy, or love, or anything that isn’t effortless and casual. The only time the singer reveals himself is on stage. His gorgeous, tortured voice hints at the kind of unspeakable pain Meg understands all too well. Only the second he steps off stage he transforms into a cocky, know-it-all player.

Their chemistry is red-hot. He’s tattooed, tall, and totally irresistible. She can’t handle a one-night stand, and a relationship is totally out of the question.

That only leaves one option:

Friends with benefits.

Just sex.

Just fun.

No secrets, no feelings, no falling in love.

Only neither one of them can quite abide by the terms.


Excerpt:

I try to make small talk, but nothing comes to me. Instead, I press my back into the seat and watch the city fly by the windows. “You want the Wilshire exit of the 405.”

“That all?”

“Yes. That’s all.”

“Nothing else you’d like to discuss?”

I play with the seatbelt. “We’re friends by association, so how about we agree never to discuss this again? I am sorry, and it was an accident.”

A smug smile spreads across his face.

“I can’t agree to that.”

“Why not?”

“You’re too cute when you blush.”

“I’m not cute.” I bite my tongue so I don’t snap.

“Let’s pretend it never happened.”

“If it bothers you that much.” He stops at a red light.

“But it’s not a big deal. Nothing you haven’t done before.”

Right. Because I’m a twenty-one-year-old college senior. And no normal college senior is quite so sexually inexperienced.

“Of course,” I say.

Miles looks at me. That smug smile gets wider. He says nothing, but he’s practically screaming with his eyes. I try my most confident voice.

“I’m very experienced. I had a boyfriend last year.”

“There’s no shame in being a virgin.”

“I know, but I’m not.” He raises his eyebrow. “It’s not really any of your business.”

The light turns green. Miles steps on the gas. Changes gears until he’s going way over the speed limit. “What’s your favorite sexual position?”

“I’d rather not discuss that with a stranger.”

“What happened to us being friends by association?”

A compelling point. I shrug like I’m as unaffected as he is. “Missionary.”

He turns to me for a second, shaking his head. “Now, I know you’re lying. I’ve never met a girl who wanted to do missionary.”

“Out of the ten thousand girls you’ve screwed, none wanted to do missionary?”

“Not one.”

He stops short at a yellow light. “If you want your first time to be good, I’m happy to throw you a bone.”

“Excuse me?”

His eyes find mine. His expression is the epitome of cocky. “You do want to fuck me.”

“I do not.”

He shakes his head. “You do. The way you were staring at me in the living room–you were picturing me naked.”

“Because I saw you naked. I couldn’t help it.”

“Mhmm.” The light turns green and he slams on the gas. He turns the corner and speeds onto the freeway onramp. “And now you’re thinking about it.”

“I’m not.”

“I’m better than whatever you’re imagining.”

“Did you even know that girl’s name?”

“Yeah.”

“What was it?”

“Stephanie. Pretty sure it was Stephanie.” He shrugs. “It’s just sex. You’d know if you ever–“

“Whatever.” I cross my legs. “I don’t need your pity sex offer.”

“There’d be no pity about it,” he says. That same blush spreads across my cheeks.

“What do you mean?” His eyes turn towards me. “I want to fuck you, too.”

“There’s no ‘too.’ I do not want to have sex with you.”

He smirks.

I bite my tongue. It’s only getting me into trouble.

We drive in silence for a few minutes. It’s too much, so I turn the car radio on. It’s tuned to KROQ and, God help me, the station is playing a Sinful Serenade song. The vocals are a low moan, a sound meant to express an extreme outpouring of emotion. I can’t get past the moan. Is that what Miles sounds like when he’s mid orgasm?

My cheeks are still scalding. They’ve been hot for the last fifteen minutes. I scramble to change the station. The next preset is another rock station. That won’t do. There. The oldies station is sure to be free of Miles’s voice.

He laughs. “You’re cute when you’re nervous.”

“I’m not nervous.” I fold my arms over my chest. “Just not in the mood to listen to rock music.”

“Mhmm.”

Whatever. I watch the sky whiz by outside the windows. The rest of the drive, I only open my mouth to give Miles directions. It feels like an eternity passes, but, finally, we arrive at Kara’s apartment.

I help her out of the car and up the stairs. I fish through her purse for her keys.

She looks at me with concern. “Thanks for coming out, but Meg–“

“Yeah?”

Her gaze drifts to Miles. “Be careful. I know Miles is cute, but he’s a heart breaker.”

“Drink some water.”

“Seriously. Not worth the trouble. Okay?”

“Since when have I found any guy worth the trouble?” I ask.

She steps into her apartment. “You’re looking at him like he’s way worth it.”

“You’re imagining things.” She shakes her head, certain she has the right idea about things.

I shrug, attempting an effortlessly cool expression. It does nothing to convince her.

“Goodnight.” She shuts the door.

I turn around and rush down the steps. Now it’s not just this Miles guy who’s certain of my attraction. My best friend is in on it, too.

I set my foot on the last step, only it’s not the last step. It’s the ground. I try to steady myself, but it’s not good. I go down, landing on all fours.

Ow. I inspect my wrists and knees. Nothing serious except for some scraped skin. Nothing a washcloth and a Band-Aid won’t fix.

Someone offers his hand. Must be Miles. Fine. I take it, allowing him to help me to my feet. He stares at me.

“You went down hard.” He said it that way on purpose. He must have.

“I’m fine,” I say. “I can walk home from here. It’s close.”

“Uh-huh. Drew will kill me.”

“He won’t kill you for offering to take my virginity?”

“Some things are worth dying for.”

Miles kneels, expecting my knees. But I’m more concerned with how short my skirt is and how close his head is to the hem. “That’s a bad scrape,” he says. “You have a first-aid kit?”

“Yeah. At home.”

“I’ll bandage it.”

“It’s nothing.”

“I bruised plenty of knuckles in my day. I’m bandaging that.” He rises to his feet. His eyes meet mine.

“Either we do it at your apartment, or we go to a twenty-four hour pharmacy.”

“I don’t need your help.”

“Consider it a perk of our mutual friendship.”

“Fine.” I get back in the car. My knee doesn’t hurt at all. And what the hell could he possible know about scrapes that I don’t? I’m an ER scribe. He’s a rock star. It’s clear which of us has the experience.


Author Bio:

CrystalCrystal Kaswell writes steamy new adult and erotic romance books. She loves when flawed characters fall head over heels for each other. Especially if they fall into bed first. She loves police procedurals, tea, and The Hunger Games series. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

Author Links:

Website || Twitter || Goodreads

Purchase Link:

Amazon


Giveaway- $20 Amazon Gift Card, ends Oct 15th.

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Book Tour organised by:

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Excerpt: The Ark by Laura Liddell Nolen – Blog Tour

TheArkTourBanner1-2

Welcome to my tour stop of The Ark by Laura Liddell Nolen hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. You can view the full schedule here.


TheArkAuthor: Laura Liddell Nolen

Tittle: The Ark

Genre: Science Fiction, [Young Adult]

Published: March 26th 2015 by HarperVoyager

Blurb (from Goodreads):

There’s a meteor headed for Earth, and there is only one way to survive.

With her criminal record, sixteen-year-old Char is never going to get a place on an Ark, one of the five massive bioships designed to protect Earth’s survivors. The Arks are reserved for the real goody-goodies, like Char’s mom, dad, and brother, all of whom have long since turned their backs on her.

With Earth on the brink of destruction, Char must use all her tricks of the trade to swindle her way into outer space, where she hopes to reunite with her family, regardless of whether they want to see her or not.

Once she arrives on the North American Ark, Char discovers that the remnants of humanity haven’t achieved the egalitarian utopia they’d planned for. For starters, the “Officers of the Peace” are anything but peaceful, especially since stealing a spot on an Ark is a crime punishable by death…


Excerpt:

On the last day of Earth, I couldn’t find my hairbrush. That probably seems like a silly thing to worry about, what with the imminent destruction of, well, everything, but my mom was always after me about my usual ratty ponytail. Normally, I’d ignore her. Or, if I were having a really bad day, I’d tell her what she could do with her hairbrush. But like I said, it was the last day of Earth. And I figured, since it was the last time she’d ever see me, I wanted it to go smoothly. I wanted her to remember me, if not fondly, then at least without anger.

A girl can dream.

I slipped out of my cell as soon as the door swung open. I’d done the same every day for the past month, and my family had yet to show up. Their OPT—Off-Planet Transport—took off in eighteen hours, so they still had time. Barely. I couldn’t blame them if they didn’t come. It wasn’t hard to imagine that they’d rather escape to the stars without so much as a backward glance at me, their big disappointment. Even my father’s influence couldn’t persuade the government to give me a spot on an OPT.

Turns out, when humankind is deciding which of its children to save, the last place it looks is in prison.

But I was pretty sure they’d come. West had said as much in his last transmission. The thought of my younger brother actually halted me mid-step, like one of those punches in the gut where you can’t breathe for a few seconds.

“Looking for something?” The lazy drawl floated out of the nearest cell.

Against my better instincts, I turned to see Cassa lying on her bunk, her arm draped across Kip. My Kip. Or at least, my ex-Kip. Whatever. In twenty-two hours, I wouldn’t have to think about him anymore.

See? Silver lining. And they called me a perpetual pessimist at my last psych workup.
They barely fit next to each other on the flimsy mattress, but that wasn’t the weird part. The guys’ ward was separated by a substantial metal wall. We were kept apart during evening hours, for obvious reasons. Not that anyone cared anymore. The med staff had been the first to go, followed by the cleaning crew, followed by the kitchen crew. To show you where girls like me fell on the government’s list of priorities, there was still a skeleton crew of guards lurking around, despite the fact that I hadn’t had a real meal for going on a week. The guards would be gone soon, too, and then there’d be no one in here but us chickens.

I figured either Kip had a key, or the guards had left already. A key could be useful. My curiosity got the best of me. “How’d he get in here before the first bell?”

He cocked an eyebrow. “I got some tricks you ain’t seen, babe. Why don’t you join us? End of the world and all.”

The guards were gone, then. I felt a small trill of anxiety deep in my chest. If the guards were gone, my family was even less likely to show. But it was never smart to show fear. “The Pinball could be headed straight for this building, and I still wouldn’t be desperate enough to touch you. Oh, wait. Guess you don’t have to take my word for it.”

I turned to leave, but he continued. “Now is that any way to treat your dear ole partners? Be nice or I won’t give you back your stuff.”

“Ugh, you were in my room?” I flexed my shoulder blades, making sure my gun was still tightly secured between them.

“Don’t worry, Char. I didn’t handle the merchandise. Didn’t want to wake you up. Just lifted me a few keepsakes.” He pronounced my name the way I like: Char, as in charred. Something that got burned.

I wasn’t sure what Kip and Cassa were planning, but I knew I wouldn’t like it. They were thieves and liars. I would know. I used to be one of them. That was before the last job, when Cassa had attacked an elderly man in the home we were robbing. She’d kicked him until he stopped fighting back. Kip had called her off after a few licks, but I just stood there, staring. The old man looked at me, like right at me, while we made our getaway, and my stomach twisted into a knot so tight that I tasted bile. That was the moment I knew I wanted out.

But by then, no one believed me. Or, if they did, no one cared. Except for Kip and Cassa, of course. They’d taken the news pretty hard, to put it lightly.

If I lunged for the box, I could probably grab my hairbrush and get out of there. I wouldn’t have time for more than that. Then again, I’d be doing exactly what they expected, and I didn’t have time for delays. My family could be in the commissary any second now.

“Ahem. Seeing as it’s your last day of life, I might let you have one thing back,” said Kip.
“In exchange for what?”

“I’m hurt. All our time together, and you still don’t believe in my inherent generosity. But now that you mention it, I’ve got a hankering for some peanut butter crackers.”

“Sorry, Kip. I’m fresh out of food. Kinda like everyone else.”

“Nice try, Charrr.” He drew my name out, as though tasting it. “I saw them yesterday. Figured you were hiding them under your pillow when I couldn’t find them last night.”

“You figured wrong.”

All I could think about was my brother’s face. And how I had this one last chance to apologize to my parents, for everything. I shrugged and turned to leave.

That was probably a mistake.

About five steps past Cassa’s cell, an enormous weight tackled me from behind. My chest and face hit the dirty concrete. My anxiety over my parents leveled up into near-panic territory. I could not afford to deal with this right now. I flipped onto my back and jerked my knee upward, and Kip let out a groan.

But Cassa was already there, standing over us. She kicked my head, and my arms and legs quit obeying me. I was vaguely aware of the dispassionate stares coming from other cells as Kip and Cassa dragged me back to their room.
“Now, now, love,” Kip murmured. “That was no way to treat your old friends.”

“She’s gone soft. Must have been distracted.” Cassa wasn’t British, but she had the intensely annoying habit of using a fake accent. Not all the time, either. Just with certain words or phrases. In my opinion, that made it even worse. It was probably an attempt to impress Kip. Or to prove to everyone she spent a lot of time with him.

They propped me up against the wall, and Kip began tying my wrists with a twisted black cord he pulled out of nowhere.

“Screw you.”

“Is that any way for a lady to talk?” he said cheerfully, slipping his hand up my shirt. His fingers were like ice, and I winced. “Aha—found them.” He removed a packet of crackers and waggled them in front of my face. Those were going to be my last meal. I bit back a curse. Wouldn’t have made much difference in the end, anyway.

I didn’t fully panic until they tied the ends of the cord to the exposed pipe of the sink.
“Wait, no. My family’s going to be here. I have to get downstairs.”

“No one’s coming for you. And even if they were, do you really think they want to see you?”
Cassa grinned down at me. “But me and Kip, that’s a different story. We’re busting out of here.”

“Figured we’d do a bit of traveling in our twilight years. I mean, hours. See the world, that sort of thing. So we need all the supplies we can get. And no one has supplies like you,” said Kip.

Cassa spat. “And if you hadn’t rolled on us, we might be bringing you along. Think about that while you wait for the Pinball. Alone.”

I kicked at them, once, and Cassa responded by plopping down on top of my legs. Normally I’d have been able to deal with that, but nothing about today was normal, and I had to settle for growling at her. Somehow, that made me feel even more helpless. My face was abruptly hot, and I gave myself temporary permission to hold my breath. If I cried, I’d never get over it.
I didn’t breathe until I had to. Gradually, my head cleared. “Don’t tell me you’re going hunting for the Remnant. They don’t exist.”

Cassa paused, just for an instant, and Kip gave me a hard look. “She couldn’t possibly know that.”

“She’s friends with the Mole.”

Kip rolled his eyes. “He couldn’t possibly know that. He doesn’t know everything, Cass.”

“You sure about that?” I said. “He knows the way out. He wouldn’t still be here if they exist. If there were even a chance.”

Cassa bit her lip, but Kip ignored me and continued his search. He was a bit rougher than before. “Ah, what have we here? Little blade-stick-doohickey?” He pulled a makeshift knife from the leg of my pants and twisted it in his fingers. “Fair enough. Not your best work though, if I’m honest.”

“Hello, what’s this?” Cassa yanked me forward and pulled my shirt up in the back. There was a tearing pain as she ripped the duct tape off my shoulder blades. “Bingo. Char, you never disappoint.”

Kip held the gun up to my face and grinned while peeling the remainder of the tape from the barrel. It had been my finest moment. The guard I stole it from never saw it coming. I consoled myself with the thought that, in a few short hours, I would never need a gun again. The thought was a lot more comforting than it should have been. It was probably the only silver lining I would cling to, in the end. No more guns, no more eternally disappointed family members. No more pitying glances from judges or lawyers or parole boards. Or West.

“I believe our work here is done,” Cassa said. She couldn’t get away from me soon enough. “Time to make our way in the world.”

“Good luck with that,” I muttered.

They stood to leave, but Kip stopped at the door. “Here,” he said, pulling my shoebox off the bed and tossing it to the ground in front of me. “For old times’ sake.”

And then they were gone.


Author Bio:

LauraLaura grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where she spent an excellent childhood playing make-believe with her two younger brothers. The Ark is the direct result of those stories and a lifelong devotion to space-themed television. It received a Work in Progress Grant from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Laura has a degree in French and a license to practice law, but both are frozen in carbonite at present. She lives in Texas with her family.

Author Links:

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Goodreads

Buy Links:

Amazon || B&N


Book Tour organised by:

Xpresso Book Tours

Excerpt + Blog Tour & Giveaway – Little Miss Somebody by Christy Lynn Abram

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Welcome to my tour stop of Little Miss Somebody by Christy Lynn Abram hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. You can view the full schedule here.


LMSAuthor: Christy Lynn Abram

Tittle: Little Miss Somebody

Series: Little Miss Somebody, book 1

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult

Publication date: July 1st 2015

Blurb (for Goodreads):

Based on a true story

Fourteen-year-old Nikki is forced to leave her whole world behind when her mother makes an impulsive move to Missouri. Once in the heart of Saint Louis, her mother begins a vicious cycle of abuse and abandonment, leaving Nikki to fend for herself at her grandmother’s house, amidst her mother’s drug addicted siblings.

Humiliated, lacking resources, and feeling more than ever like a burden, Nikki decides to take matters into her own hands—when she embarks on a journey to find her father, a missing piece to the puzzle of her life. Along the way she unravels more pain and layers of family abuse, causing her to want to give up.

But she won’t give up. Not yet. Not Nikki. Not until she finds what she’s looking for. But, will Nikki find the love she desperately needs?


Excerpt:

“Mama, why are you so mad at me? I didn’t do anything,” I repeated, flinching at her every move.

“What? Don’t talk back to me!” Mama followed her sentence with a slap to my face. “You ain’t worth shit. Who’s gonna want you? Hell, I don’t even want you.”

Tears rolled down my cheeks and through my fingers as I held my face. But, instead of allowing her feeble remarks to break me down, I found the courage to bark back.

“That’s fine! I don’t want to live with you anymore. I hate it here. I want to go back to Washington.”

Mama laughed and taunted me. “Yeah right, who’s going to take your simple-minded self?”

“Donny. We told him everything. How you leave us with no food while you go and hang out with different men. He’s on his way to get us.”

“You little bitch! I knew you were up to something!” Mama lunged for me, grabbed my shirt and commenced to beat me in the face and head. Each blow to my head made me dizzy, eventually causing me to fall against the living room wall. I did my best to cover my face and head, but she kept on hitting me.

“Mom! Please stop!” Sissy pleaded with her, but she kept on hitting me until she was too tired to continue.

Out of breath, she found haven on the wall nearest the stairs. “Don’t you ever talk back to me again, you hear me? Next time, I’m going to beat your ass into a coma.” After she caught her breath, Mama made her way up the stairs.

Sissy ran over to me, crying. “Nikki, are you okay?” She tried to comfort me by rubbing my wounds, but I pushed her hand away. “It’s okay. I’m fine.” The truth was, I wasn’t okay. My head was pounding so loud I could hardly hear myself think. The pain was agonizing. Tears fell from my eyes like raindrops, causing the blood from my nose to ease into my mouth.

“Nikki, your nose is bleeding.” I balled up the bottom corner of my t-shirt and wiped the blood from my nose.

“Why did she hit you like that? I want to go home, Nikki.” Sissy and I hugged and cried until we heard Mama coming down the stairs. I held my breath, hoping she wasn’t coming back for more. “Nikki, watch Sissy. I’m going out.” Before I had a chance to respond, she left out the door.


Author Bio:

ChristyAfter enduring years of trauma and struggling with depression and PTSD, Christy Lynn Abram embarked on a journey to self-healing using holistic wellness as her guide. Now, as an Expressive Writing Coach and author, she teaches others how to love themselves healthy.

Christy is trained in eight healing modalities, including: a Reiki master, EFT practitioner, reflexologist, massage therapist, and a crystal healer, all of which aided in her discovery of how to heal herself naturally. These life-changing skills also served as the foundation to enhancing her gift as an intuitive healer. She has been recognized for her knowledge of the chakra system (by best-selling author of the Chakra Bible, Patricia Mercier), gemstone healing, and energy medicine. She also contributes to several online publications on the subject of holistic healing and offers individual coaching, e-courses, and workshops all designed to assist and encourage others on their journey toward a better, fuller life. Christy also loves to use her gift of writing to help others.

In her book Chakra Wellness: 7 Ways to Renew the Total she dives into the seven chakra centers from a mind-body-soul perspective. Readers learn how to discern key issues, heal imbalances, and maintain energetic barriers to eliminate stress and increase their overall well-being.

In her emotional novel, Little Miss Somebody, Christy wears her heart on her sleeve and delivers a poignant tale of love and sacrifice. Based on a true story, Little Miss Somebody will be released in July 2015.

Author Links:

Website || Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter

Buy Links:

Amazon


Giveaway– Signed copy of Little Miss Somebody and 2x eBook copies of Little Miss Somebody, ends August 20th.

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Book Tour organised by:

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