Archive for the ‘excerpt’ Category

the intern

Seventeen-year-old Josie is studying journalism and ends up at Sash magazine to do an internship. Josie has little enthusiasm for fashion and wants to be a serious journalist. But she has little choice. It’s Sash or the local cat fancier’s magazine.

Once at Sash, Josie comes to grips with the fact that the fashion industry isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Plus she has to contend with her fellow interns and the editor, Rae, who is in charge and arbitrary – one day Josie’s her hot new favorite, the next, who knows?

Country girl Josie also has to get used to living in the city, and sharing a small flat with her cousin Tim, and his hotter-than-hot roommate James, is an education. Things come to a head at Sash when Josie manages to connect with Billy, a troubled rock star. But a disastrous episode at a nightclub and the fallout on social media causes Josie to wake up and see the real person behind his glamorous front.

Josie starts to wonder if she’ll ever get the journalistic break she longs for …

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18599572-the-intern?ac=1

Amazon:          http://www.amazon.com/Intern-Gabrielle-Tozer/dp/0732297052/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1410386787&sr=8-15&keywords=the+intern

Barnes&Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-intern-gabrielle-tozer/1117075079?ean=9780732297053

See review here

Melons. The girls. Gazongas. I could rattle off every

nickname in the world for my boobs — oops, nearly

forgot jubblies — but it didn’t change the fact they were

small. Embarrassingly small. Think grapes over melons,

fun-size bags over fun bags, shot glasses over jugs.

Which was why I shouldn’t have been surprised when

my boobs were the catalyst for squeals of laughter from

my younger sister, Kat, on the eve before an important

day. A Very Important Day.

‘Geez, put those puppies away,’ Kat smirked from my

bedroom doorway. ‘Some of us haven’t had lunch yet and

I’d hate to lose my appetite.’

I paused from rifling through piles of crumpled clothes

on my bed. ‘What? I don’t know what you —’

‘Just look down,’ said Kat, tossing her jet-black

ponytail. I hated when she did that.

Following her instructions, I looked down and saw

my left nipple peeking out of my bra. ‘Argh!’ I yelped,

yanking at the faded material. ‘Kat, get out! Get out!’

2

Kat cackled, then plonked onto my bed, squashing the

heaving mass of clothes. Too tired to argue, I sat down

next to her and double-checked that my boob hadn’t

made another escape.

Kat fussed with her thick fringe. ‘So, found something

to wear tomorrow, Jose?’

Broken shoes, stained shirts and fraying dresses burst

from the wardrobe, spilling into an unwearable mess. A

personal stylist would’ve come in handy to tell me why

I shouldn’t tape my sneakers together instead of buying

a new pair, and how to dress like a normal seventeenalmost-

eighteen-year-old.

‘Yep. Well, maybe. Probably. No. I’m screwed. My

sister just saw my boob and I’m screwed.’

Cursing, I lay back on the bed. Kat reapplied her gloss.

It smelled of cherries, reminiscent of summery desserts.

‘Hey Jose?’ she said.

‘Yeah?’

‘I won’t tell anyone I saw your boob.’

‘Thanks.’

‘Well, except Tye,’ Kat added. ‘I tell him everything.

You know, boyfriend rules and all that.’

I sighed. One of those melodramatic I-hate-my-life

sighs, where the air rushed up from the depths of my

stomach and exploded with a raging ‘whoosh’. But if Kat

noticed, she didn’t show it.

‘Hey Jose?’ she said again.

3

‘Yeah?’

‘You’re going to have to look amazing tomorrow, you

know?’

‘I know.’ I know. I know. I know.

Amaaaazing. Seriously, tomorrow’s important. Mum’s

been yabbering to everyone about it.’

‘Heard you the first time.’

During the past few weeks, Kat had been firing off

tips about the Very Important Day. Wear this, don’t

wear that, do this, don’t do that, say this, don’t say

that. I knew she was trying to help me reduce the risk

of embarrassing myself, but it only made me more

panicked. You see, life loved handing me something

amazing, only to backhand me almost straight after.

It had always been that way. In Year Eight, after my

first kiss, the delectable Pete Jordan vomited from

food poisoning and hadn’t spoken to me since. At Year

Ten presentation night, I was named ‘Most Likely

To Succeed’, only to faceplant the ground as I walked

back to my seat. Some moron recorded my historic fall,

making me an overnight YouTube sensation. I won’t

even go into what happened at my Year Twelve formal,

although it involved a spiked punch bowl, ninety rolls

of toilet paper and a paddock of mud. I don’t know why

I thought the next day — the Very Important Day —

would be any different, but I was counting on a fairygodmother-

shaped miracle.

4

Most girls I knew, like Kat, spent their allowances or

pay on make-up, jewellery, fashion, music, phone credit

and magazines.

For me, magazines were a sparkly fantasy filled with

smiling, shiny people who looked too happy all the time.

That didn’t stop me from leafing through Kat’s magazines

when she was out, but instead of checking out the fashion

I was reading the feature stories, scoping out who wrote

them and looking for spelling mistakes.

I’d studied hard at high school for six years because

I was destined to be a news journalist at a newspaper

or radio station. So it had come as a huge shock to

everyone, including me, to discover I would be interning

at a magazine as part of my uni degree’s second semester

And not just any magazine. I’d been signed up to

(translation: pushed into) a one-day-a-week internship

at one of the hottest women’s magazines in the country,

Sash.

When I told Kat my news, she was thirteen per cent

excited for me and eighty-seven per cent envious. In her

world, my inability to use a curling iron meant I didn’t

deserve the intern position. Her warning of ‘Don’t say

anything stupid to the Sash girls and ruin my chances of

working there one day’ hadn’t filled me with confidence.

Unless I underwent the world’s first personality transplant

between here and the city, I knew I’d find a way to put my

high-heeled foot in it.

5

Kat picked up a ratty floral dress from the top of the

pile and threw it into the bin near my desk.

‘Hey! What are you doing?’ I said. ‘I’ve had that for

ages.’

‘Exactly,’ she shot back, rolling her blue eyes in a flurry

of mascara, eyeliner and eye shadow. ‘Tomorrow you

need to look hot and cool. You can’t wear your crappy

old clothes at a place like that. Now, here’s what I’m

thinking …’

I sighed and tuned out. I couldn’t handle another

one of Kat’s pep talks where she criticised my worn-out

sandals, mismatched socks, lack of bold lipstick, split

ends and under-plucked brows.

‘… so come on, it’s makeover time. We’re getting our

shop on,’ barked Kat, unaware that I’d been ignoring her

rant.

‘I’ll sort it. Trust me.’

Grunting in disbelief, Kat held up a daggy blue skirt

and waved it around. ‘This opportunity is wasted on

you — and your small boobs!’

She threw the skirt back onto the bed and stormed out,

her ponytail whipping behind her. I heard her bedroom

door slam — twice, just in case I missed the first. I held

the skirt up against my lower body and took in the

reflection grimacing back at me. Mousy brown hair,

scruffy but fine. Eyes, green and wide, easily my favourite

feature. Eyebrows, semi-unruly but manageable. Lips,

6

pouty and pink, no major complaints but occasionally

clownish. Nose, free from any wart-like protrusions so

doing okay. Boobs, small in size — obviously — but

apparently confident enough to jump free of brassiere at a

whim. Everything from the waist down blurred together:

hips, thighs and legs were all … just there.

I gazed at the skirt. Sure, I’d owned it for five years,

and it was a hand-me-down from my weird cousin

Tracey, but it was all I had. I needed another opinion.

‘Mum, can you come here for a sec?’

Moments later, Mum appeared in the doorway,

balancing an overflowing washing basket on one hip

and holding a bag of pegs. Her shaggy brown hair was

pulled into a loose bun at the nape of her neck and held

with a rusty peg. A fresh yellow daisy played peekaboo

from behind her right ear. Mum loved plucking flowers

from the garden and wearing them until they wilted.

Her dress — another bargain from the op shop — had

faded to a musky pink and clung to her body in all the

wrong places. But none of these things detracted from

her pretty features, which glowed without even a hint of

foundation, blush or mascara.

‘Yes, love?’ she asked, readjusting the basket on her

hip.

I held up the skirt. ‘How hideous is this? Would you

say it’s send-me-home-to-change hideous or let-me-staybut-

bitch-about-me-behind-my-back hideous?’

7

Mum shrugged, then patted me on the shoulder.

‘Josephine Browning, you always look gorgeous.’

‘You have to say that.’

‘Not true. When you were a child you had enormous

ears — reminded me of a baby elephant — and I was the

first person to point them out.’

‘Mum!’

‘But I do like that skirt.’

‘Kat reckons I need a new outfit — new dress, heels,

the works. You know, for tomorrow.’

‘Wait, is that my skirt? I thought I’d passed it on to

your cousin Tracey. I should’ve hung onto it if it’s back in

fashion, love.’

I forced a smile. Kat’s outburst about my lack of

options suddenly didn’t seem so hysterical. It was time to

admit defeat to the self-proclaimed fashion queen of the

house, which ranked number two on my Things I Hate

To Do List. (Number one: cross-country running.)

I knocked on Kat’s bedroom door with its Stay Out

sign sticky-taped above the doorknob. Rock music

pounded from within and I imagined her writing in her

diary about her ugly, frumpy, older sister. Either that, or

sneaking out the window to meet up with Tye. I doubted

she was dabbling in the rare option of cleaning her room,

although when it came to Kat I could never be sure.

The door cracked open. ‘Whaddya want?’

‘Um, what were you saying about the shops?’

8

‘Not another word, I hear your unfashionable cries

for help loud and clear,’ said Kat, scooping up a handbag

from the floor and swinging it over her shoulder. ‘Get

your wallet, Jose, because when we’re done you’re

definitely going to need it.’

I looked like a tarted-up pageant queen. As I stared into

the full-length mirror, all I could see was big green eyes,

big pink mouth, big bold jewellery, big bright patterns

and big high-heeled shoes. Everything was big, right

down to the price tags. I smelled like a perfumery and my

face itched from the foundation and bronzer caking my

skin. Kat beamed, admiring her work. She’d taken me on

a whirlwind tour of the department store, trialling makeup

products at every counter. Before I could stop her, she

called out to a saleswoman who was hovering nearby.

‘She looks amazing, right? Like, amazing,’ Kat said.

‘Oh yeah, amazing,’ gushed the woman, fuelled by the

anticipation of a sale. ‘Hon, you should seriously get that

whole outfit.’

I blushed, reminded of when Mum took me to buy my

first bra in Year Six and invited the shop owner into the

change room to admire my ‘growing buds’. Like Mum,

Kat had the intuition of a dead caterpillar when it came

to sensing my discomfort. I squeezed my wallet a little

tighter as the saleswoman circled me, eyeing me up and

down. She’d detected my fear the moment we’d walked

9

into the store and I’d cried out, ‘Is that a belt or a skirt?’

Mentally, I double-locked my piggy bank and buried it in

a safe three hundred metres below ground level, complete

with security guards and CCTV cameras.

I snuck another peek in the mirror and cringed at the

loud colours competing for my attention. The dress felt

tight, but Kat was convinced it fitted perfectly. I had to

admit, it was creating curves in places usually hidden by

baggy T-shirts or baby-doll dresses.

To my right, a mannequin wearing the same outfit,

down to the bright yellow peep-toes, was looking rather

fashionable. ‘How do you do it?’ I muttered to her.

‘Okay, I’ll say it: this is the best you’ve ever looked,’

said Kat. ‘Wear this tomorrow and you’ll kill it. That

dress is hot.’

‘Weren’t we aiming for hot and cool?’

Kat rolled her eyes. ‘Let’s not go crazy, Jose. It is you

we’re talking about.’

The saleswoman cleared her throat. ‘So do you want

to pay with cash or credit, hon?’

I ran through my wardrobe options at home one final

time. A montage of outdated playsuits, daggy dresses

and worn shoes danced in my mind, the blue skirt at the

forefront. I had no choice: I was getting the outfit.

‘Cash, thanks.’

I handed over the crumpled notes. There was no

turning ba

About the Author:

the internAuthor Photo_GABRIELLE TOZER
Gabrielle Tozer is a senior features writer who has edited, sub-edited and written for several magazines, newspapers and anthologies throughout the past decade. In addition to Gabrielle’s work on Dolly, Cosmopolitan, DisneyGiRL, Mamamia and FamilyFun, she has also written for creative journals such as GOfish and Take It As Red. Born and bred in regional New South Wales, Gabrielle now works at Pacific Magazines and lives in the heart of Sydney.

Giveaway:

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The Intern banner

KingsOfAsphalt_1400px

Alexx Andria delivers a motorcycle club romance between two very bad, yet sexy men and a woman with enough curves to satisfy them both.

 My name is Zoe Delacourte. I thought I was going to build my future on the backs of Jax Traeger and Hunter Ericksen — bad boys from the wrong side of the tracks, running the notorious motorcycle club, the Kings of Asphalt — in my mind, the story had practically written itself. I was so naive. Little did I know they were going to change everything I ever knew about myself.

Jax and Hunter. I can’t even say their names without trembling.

They don’t see a fat girl or a girl who might be pretty if only she’d lose some weight. No, from the moment I walked into their club, they saw a hot, sexy woman with curves for days — and they couldn’t wait to get their hands on me.

Some people call them bad men. They see the rides and the rap sheets and they slap a label on them. I don’t care what they’ve done — all I care about is what they’re going to do to me next.

But loving them is dangerous. In fact, loving them might just get me killed.

*The following MC romance is approximately 41,000 words featuring a strong central love story, danger, and the rough, seedy world dominated by two bad boys and their curvy woman.

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“I-I’m sorry…I think your guy got the wrong idea…”

One black slash of a brow went up in question and he leaned forward, saying, “And what idea would that be?”

“The idea that I’m…oh, I don’t know…um, available for…” Shut up, you idiot! This was what deep cover was all about! Riding the knife’s edge to the ultimate story, finding your discomfort level and pushing past it to get to the good stuff that everyone else was too chicken to look for. Right. Inhaling a discreet, stabilizing breath, she straightened and braved a smile as she sauntered over to Jax, ignoring the flutters in her belly as his gaze darkened with interest. “Available for just anyone.”

“Oh? Isn’t that the whole idea behind being a whore?”

“A ww-hore? Excuse me? I’m not—“

“You’re not what? Not a whore?” His smile slowly faded. “Then you’re not from Dimas and if that’s the case…just who are you?”

Oh crap. Her damn mouth. “I-I just mean…well, of course, I’m from Dimas. I was just taken aback for a minute. I mean, well, I wasn’t sure I was in the right place.”

Faster than she could react, he had her pressed up against the wood paneling, crowding her personal space and sending her heartrate through the roof. He smelled of leathers, a cool midnight ride, and the faint wisp of alcohol clinging to the edge as if as a reminder that his angelic face and body was simply a ruse to lure unsuspecting women to their doom. It should’ve repulsed her — truly, bad boys weren’t to her tastes — but she was oddly, and dangerously thrilled by the threat of caged violence she saw in his eyes and could see rippling through his biceps as he pressed forward. Was he going to ravage her right there like a modern day pirate or simply punt her outside the doors with a growled warning? Was she crazy for hoping — for a wild, irresponsible moment — that he would choose to grind those sensual lips across hers as punishment for daring to breach their inner sanctum? Yeah, don’t answer that. She already knew — it was fucking lunancy.

About the Author

ALEXX 3 

USA Today bestselling author Alexx Andria is the pseudonym for RITA-nominated contemporary romance author, Kimberly Van Meter. Born in a small town with a flair for the dramatic, Alexx Andria has a delightfully perverted nature that she hides behind a mischievous smile.

Alexx loves being the life of the party and doesn’t mind one bit being the center of attention (just ask any of her friends or family!)

She loves to write about Alpha men who are wonderfully flawed and just a little dangerous and heroines who are smart and sassy, but just a little vulnerable, too.

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Procrastination Is A Form Of Genius, Right?

By Alexx Andria

USA TODAY bestselling romance author

Writers of all sorts are proficient in the art of procrastination and I’m no different. Don’t get me wrong, I try really hard to stay on track and in the beginning of a project, I’m very proactive but then inevitably the siren call of anything aside from the WIP starts to tickle my ears. I’ve tried all sorts of things to help me stay focused, concentration apps, mood music, aromatherapy candles, ambient noise, locking myself in a room with nothing but my laptop and my muse — but I’m an expert level procrastinator.

I think I’ve figured out why, though. I need the pressure. I work best somewhere between burgeoning worry and all-out-deadline-panic. My best work is squeezed out of my brain when I’m so consumed with my deadline that I allow nothing else in. Often, I go into a writing frenzy when I’m really stressed about making it and in those frenetic writing jags, I can get 10,000 words in one day — but afterward, I fall into a writing hangover and I’m basically useless for a day or two, so that’s not a very efficient way to get things done.

Funny thing is, I’m not alone. I’ve come to realize that writers are the masters of procrastination and it’s probably just part of everyone’s process at some point. Now, it’s true some of us (possibly me included) just take it to an extreme but all writers can own up to some degree of avoiding what they should be working on.

The question of why is baffling. I love my work. I’m so blessed to be able to do what I do for a living so why do I practice such avoidance?

I think it’s fear. Fear of what, you ask? Writers are a neurotic bunch. We put ourselves into each book, each novella and short story so when we release something new into the world, there’s always the possibility that readers won’t enjoy it, that somehow we’ll miss the mark and completely alienate our fans, and our career will end. I know, I know…we’re neurotic. Or perhaps the worst fear…that the work we just finished, won’t measure up to the one before it — the one the fans loved. So, instead of facing that fear, we jump willfully into the time-sucking abyss known as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

But at the end of the day, we simply can’t stay away from our WIP for too long. The characters start jabbering in our heads more loudly than we can stand and then we’re pounding out the words that we could’ve done all along but couldn’t find the courage.

Then something amazing happens…The End starts to come into view and then the excitement builds again. I always catch a second wind when I know I’m nearing the end of a project. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you’ve done it — you’ve reached The End of yet another WIP and you can breathe again.

Only to start again with the next WIP waiting its turn before you can blink.

Sometimes, months after a project has come and gone, I’ll reopen the file and skim a few scenes only to be quietly shocked at how well it came together. I’m even more shocked when I read a particularly evocative scene that I don’t remember writing. I know it must’ve come out of one of those writing frenzies and that’s when I realize that my crazy process works.

And that’s probably why writers procrastinate — that’s where the magic starts.

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3 $10.00 Amazon Gift Cards and 2 Backlist Ebook Titles

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Book One

I killed a girl last night. I did it with my bare hands and an old piece of pipe I found lying next to the dumpster. But that’s not the part that got me. The part that scared me, the part I can’t seem to wrap my head around and still has me reeling, was that when she charged me, her body shifted – and then she was a wolf. All snapping teeth and extended claws. But by the time I stood over her lifeless body, she was a girl again. That’s about the time I went into shock… And that was the moment he showed up.

Now, all I can do is accept the truths that are staring me in the face. One, Werewolves do exist. And Two, I was born to kill them.

Excerpt

Up ahead, a movement caught my eye, pulling me out of my thoughts. I stopped short and felt my pulse jump at the unexpected company. I didn’t usually see anyone else in this part of the cut-through, but just past the next Dumpster, a girl with long blond hair and pointy-heeled boots stood in the center of the alley, shaking uncontrollably. I took a step towards her, wanting to help in some way, and then stopped again when I saw her face. She was glaring at me with a look of hatred so raw, it sent a shiver down my back.

“Um, are you okay?” I called out, still trying to understand why she was basically convulsing. Was she having a seizure? But she was managing to stay on her feet. Her gloved hands were balled into fists at her sides, and she was breathing heavily now. I tried again. “Do you need some help?” Something about the way she looked at me made my skin tingle. I shivered again.

“Help,” she repeated, through clenched teeth. “Right.” Her words dripped with sarcasm and unconcealed malice.

Then, before I could think of something to say to that, her shaking reached its crescendo and then she … exploded. There was really no other word for it. With a harsh ripping sound, her clothes disappeared, scattering into the air in tiny pieces. In the same second, her body seemed to waver and then morph, leaving in its place the largest wolf I’d ever seen. My jaw dropped. Was I crazy, or had that girl just turned into a giant dog?

I had a split second to stare at her before she charged. The brown fur became nothing more than a blur as she rushed forward, teeth bared, claws extended. In that moment, I was completely sure that I was going to die. I didn’t even have time to be afraid; it would all be over too quickly.

Then, somehow, though my conscious brain had nothing to do with it, my body reacted. Just before impact, I twisted aside, dodging her. Using my body’s momentum, I brought my hand around and swung. I hadn’t even realized I’d made a fist, but my knuckles connected and I heard the crack of bone as my hand slammed into the wolf’s cheek. The hit drove it—her?—back a few paces, but then she straightened and seemed to right herself. Her yellow eyes locked onto mine and she came again. I shed my jacket, and let it fall next to me on the concrete; some hidden part of me knew I needed better use of my limbs.

Three more times I managed to dodge the wolf as she lunged. On the fourth, her claws caught on my shirt and raked down my abdomen on either side, driving me back. I stumbled and fell. My back slammed onto the pavement with a hard thud. Again, I accepted my inevitable death. I watched as she continued to come at me, slower and more confident now that I was on the ground. All I could see were razor canines aimed straight for my throat. I cringed and turned away, unable to look into those bright yellow eyes, knowing what was coming. When I turned, a glint of slivered moonlight caught a piece of piping nearby, probably meant for the Dumpster but somehow had landed here.

Again, subconscious reasoning took over and I felt myself reaching for it, my hand closing around the cold steel. With a grunt, I swung out.

I hadn’t expected to actually land the blow or for the crack to be quite so loud. I felt the vibrations from it all the way up my arm but managed to hold onto the pipe until I felt the wolf’s weight go slack. She crumpled in a heap, half on top of me. I pushed her aside, which wasn’t easy, and scrambled to my feet. I stood, staring down at the giant mass of fur, wondering how in the world no one else had noticed what just happened.

As I stared, the wolf’s form began to shake and then shimmer around the edges, going hazy, and then finally, it was the girl again. Her long hair covered her face in stringy waves, matting to her head on the side where the pipe had made contact. Blood seeped slow and steady from the wound to the pavement. Her body was naked and curled together, almost fetal, except for her knee wedged at an unnatural angle. I could see that her eyes were open and staring vacantly but I didn’t linger on that. I couldn’t. Shock and disbelief surged through me as I gaped at her crumpled form, struggling to accept what I was seeing. No way. It was impossible. People couldn’t be … wolves. That was a myth. A way for Hollywood to cash in.

But there was no mistaking it. The girl lying in a heap in front of me was definitely the same girl as before. And she smelled, distinctly, of animal.

I kept hoping she’d move, or at least groan, from the pain of the head trauma. Ignoring the feminine details of her bare body, I stared hard at her shoulders and chest, looking for any sign that might indicate breathing. I didn’t see any. And I knew, deep down, that I wouldn’t.

My hands began to shake. Maybe from the cold, but I was too numb to feel the temperature against my skin. I took a step back and stumbled.

Hands closed around me, keeping me upright. I jolted and tried to jerk away from the unexpected contact. A strangled scream escaped my lips as the hands whirled me around to face my attacker.

“Whoa, it’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you,” he said.

I didn’t answer. My ability to speak coherently had been momentarily lost; any sound would’ve been a scream, anyway. My breath came in uneven gasps and he waited until I got myself under control.

There was concern in his eyes but that didn’t go very far with me. I noticed vaguely that his eyes were the same exact color as his hair, a sort of bronzed brown. The color was fascinating: unlike anything I’d ever seen, and they seemed to hold some dark edge that hinted at danger, no matter how gentle they got. The rest of him wasn’t bad, either. His face matched his eyes, rugged and hard edges from his cheekbones to his jaw. When he’d spun me around, I’d grabbed out to steady myself and even now my hands still rested on his shoulders, where I’d first gripped. Underneath my fingers, and the leather of his jacket, was solid muscle.

The fact that I was actually checking him out—just moments after killing a girl—was my first clue I was in shock.

I didn’t answer. I couldn’t. Training to fight Werewolves? Because of some age-old promise to protect the human race? This was not happening to me. It was ridiculous, and far-fetched, and impossible. And even if I believed it, which I didn’t want to admit that I did, I couldn’t just run off and train for hours each day. I wasn’t the Karate Kid. And my mom and my friends would definitely know something was up—not that I could explain it to them, and not that they would believe me even if I tried. It took seeing it—up close and personal—for me to believe me.

     And even now, there were two thoughts that were so clear, they felt branded into my mind: One, Werewolves do exist, and two, I was born to kill them.

I felt the air in the car begin to change as I stared back at him. It felt warm and thick, like a humid, post-rain summer day. And even though we were already touching, palm to palm, I suddenly had an intense desire to be closer to him, pressed to him. My muscles ached with it and I had to restrain myself from scooting across the seat, and wrapping my arms around his shoulders, and burying my face in his neck.

The image wouldn’t remove itself from my mind and I finally had to wrench my gaze from his to keep from acting on the impulse. I was breathing heavier, partly because of the thickness in the air and partly from wanting to touch him. I wondered if he was affected, too, but I couldn’t look at him again or I wouldn’t be able to stop myself.

His hand slid free from mine, and he started the car and busied himself with checking the rearview and easing us out of the lot. I pressed the button for the window, letting in a gust of cold air. For once, I didn’t curse the cold, and was relieved when I felt the tension melt away.

When we were on the road, Wes cleared his throat. “Well, that was …”

I lifted my head from where I’d been leaning closer to the open window and looked over at him. He was running a hand through his hair, still searching for a word to describe what had happened. He’d noticed it, too. “Different,” I finished.

He sent me a half smile. “Yeah. Definitely that.”

Wes ran a hand through his hair and exhaled. “I tell you what you need to know to be safe. There are things you still don’t understand about The Cause. I get that you would be drawn to something like this. Our group, the idea of it—it probably seems exciting and noble. But it’s also dangerous and bloody and violent. People don’t always want to listen to reason and some of them don’t even want to talk to begin with. They figure out what message you’re spewing, and they attack you twice as hard. That’s not exciting or noble, and it’s not something you can just jump into with no experience.”

“I get that. But you can’t keep trying to push me out of it all, either. I’m a part of this world too, apparently. And I have to figure out for myself where and how I fit into it all. And I can’t do that if the one person who has promised to help me is keeping secrets or always ordering me around.”

“Fine. I won’t order you, but I will insist, at least for now, that you do what you can to protect yourself and stay out of danger. Which means, staying on the sidelines of our little group.”

“Whatever,” I mumbled, with absolutely no intention of heeding his wishes. It wasn’t that I’d already decided to join, but I didn’t like being told I couldn’t, either.

“And since you don’t have the ability to protect yourself, I’m going to also insist on guarding you, like we discussed at the meeting.” His eyes flashed, challenging me to argue.

Suddenly, the idea of him spending every waking hour with me didn’t sound so good. Especially if he was just going to act like my mother the entire time, lecturing and telling me what I could and couldn’t do. “I managed just fine with Liliana.”

“And what about next time? Metal piping going to become your weapon of choice?”

His mocking tone was meant to make me feel like an idiot, but I was too angry to give in. I didn’t need him. I could handle myself. Probably.

“Next time I’ll be ready,” I shot back. “I have weapons. See.” In a swift move, I reached behind me and yanked out the plunger handles, angling them downward in my palm, in what I hoped was a stance that made me look battle ready.

Wes’s eyes widened in surprise. I got a certain satisfaction out of that. Then his eyes narrowed as he got a closer look at my makeshift weapons. “Where the heck did you get these?”

“I made them.”

“Out of what?” He was still staring at the splintered ends, obviously trying to figure out what it had been before.

I hesitated, already regretting showing them to him. Finally, I sighed. “A plunger.”

Wes bit down on his lip.

I glared at him. “Well, I had to protect myself somehow,” I hissed, “especially that first day. I had no idea where you were taking me or how Jack and Fee would react to me.” I knew I was rambling but I kept talking, hoping the sound of my voice would drown out the laugh I could see building. When I was done, I shoved the wood pieces back in my pockets to get them out of sight.

Wes snickered, and looked like he was trying to hold in something louder. He managed to keep mostly quiet, probably from the murderous look on my face. “Okay, so help me understand,” he said, a little breathlessly. “You’ve actually been carrying these around since last week?”

“Every day.”

“Wow. That’s actually kind of impressive in a strange, disgusting, unexpected sort of way.”

“Whatever. Laugh it up. But I can protect myself.”

Wes’s face turned red from the pressure of holding his breath. Finally, it whooshed out of him, along with loud, knee-slapping laughter. I glared at him a second longer, wondering if now might be a good time to test out the durability of my plunger handles, and then abruptly turned on my heel and strode away.

“Where are we?” I finally asked.

“My apartment.”

My pulse sped up a little and my breath hitched. For a moment, I forgot all about the fact that Wes had just fought another Werewolf for me, or that I was mad at him, or that I’d caught George making out with my mortal enemy in the school gym. All I could think about was that this was Wes’s apartment, his private space, and we were alone.

I realized Wes was giving me an odd look so I did my best to smooth my expression. “So, what now?”

Instead of answering, Wes set his water on the counter and came around to stand in front of me. He stared down at me for a long moment and then, slowly, his arms came around me so that his hands were tangled in my hair. He lowered his face until it was inches away from mine and then stopped, watching me with a question in his eyes. I held my breath and waited. When I didn’t push him away, or move to stop him, he closed the distance and pressed his lips to mine.

Heat coursed through me, and I felt my muscles go deliciously soft. Wes’s arms tightened around me and he stroked my hair, deepening the kiss. I could feel his body relaxing against me. It was satisfying to know he was affected, too, and I wrapped my arms around his neck, pulling him closer, not sure how long it would last and not wanting it to end. I could smell him again, woods and wind. His breath tasted tangy, and there was a hint of animal still in him that was both exciting and scary.

Eventually, he pulled away, but he kept his hands on my hair and face. He stared down at me with an intensity that took my breath away.

“You don’t know how long I’ve been wanting to do that,” he said, his voice gravelly.

“When can we do it again?”

He smiled at that, but it was sad. “Soon, I hope. I mean, if you still want to. There are some things I should tell you first.” He took my hand and led me to the couch, pulling me down next to him. When he turned to face me again, the smile was gone, but the sadness still lingered.

“What is it?” I asked, a heaviness forming in my stomach.

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Book Two

Wood Point Academy is not at all what I expected. For one thing, it looks like a cross between military school and Buckingham Palace. Everyone stares, the floors shine so bright you can see your reflection in them from a mile away, and no one smiles. Unless they’re kicking your butt in the process.

At least I’ve got plenty to take my mind off the fact that my psycho cousin, Miles De’Luca, keeps calling and declaring his love and promising to come for me just as soon as he’s destroyed anyone standing in our way. Wes isn’t going to like that idea. So between Miles, Wood Point’s evil welcoming committee, and the drill sergeant hottie trainer from hell, I just keep asking myself, how did I end up here?

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Book Three

  1. If I had to choose one word to sum up all of my problems, this would be it.
    Without hybrids, I wouldn’t have to watch my best friend slowly becoming a monster. Without hybrids, I could let go of the mentality “hunt or be hunted.” CHAS wouldn’t be scouring the Earth, intent on slaughtering and using Alex to do it. Without hybrids, I wouldn’t have to be on guard that losing my temper meant losing my shape. There would be no monster inside me, struggling to get out.

    Then again, without hybrids, I wouldn’t have Wesley St. John.

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Book Four

Forty-six.
That’s how many hybrids survived the Hunter attack in the woods after I revived them with an injection of my blood. That’s how many followed me home to Frederick Falls. And that’s how many were now mentally linked to me through a blood bond.

Two days. Three valium. Fourteen hours of sleep.
That’s what it took to realize I wasn’t losing my mind as a result of the noise in my own head.

Sixteen.
That’s how many days have passed since I almost killed Alex. That’s how many days I’ve sat by his bedside, waiting for him to wake up. To ease the guilt, to understand his betrayal, to remember the exact shade of brown in his eyes.

Zero.
That’s my chances of skating by with Gordon Steppe and the Hunter Council. They want me for questioning. I’m afraid what’ll happen if I give them answers.

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About the Author

Heather Hildenbrand

Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. Since 2011, she’s published more than eight YA & NA novels including the bestselling Dirty Blood series. She splits her time between coastal Virginia and the island of Guam and loves having a mobile career and outrageous lifestyle of living in two places.

Heather is also a publishing and success coach bent on equipping and educating artists who call themselves authors. She loves teaching fellow writers how to create the same freedom-based lifestyle she enjoys. For more information visitwww.phoenixauthorink.com and find out how to create your own OutRAGEous Life.

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frozen Front Cover“Live your Dreams, Follow your Heart”

Emily Cameron is America’s newest figure skating star looking for her own personal identity. Her high profile life was never her dream, it was her parents.

Jeremy Page is a minor league hockey player who always imagined himself playing for the NHL.

A chance encounter has them crossing paths after several years apart. Which way will his heart lead him? Will Emily embrace his charm?

Just when things finally fall into place, an unexpected event occurs leaving Emily reevaluating everything in her life.

Can Emily escape from under her parent’s intrusive ways and take a chance on love? Will Jeremy be able to break down the barriers that have held her back for so long?

**Mature Subject matter. 18+ due to strong language and sexual situations**

Excerpt

Staring at myself in the mirror, I see what I am. I’m just nothing but a commodity for my parents to use for their own self worth. I’m disgusted with myself for never putting up a fight, even once I was old enough to realize it. So, why is it when Jeremy asked me what I wanted to do with my life once my skating career was over, I froze up? A part of me saw that everything I’ve worked for in my life so far, is going to be gone soon and after that I’ve got nothing. What do I want to do?

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A romance novel addict finds herself staying up well past her bedtime to see how the next story is going to end. Sara spends her days living on a vineyard in wine country with her husband and cat. Her family hailed from Italy where her ancestors lived in the mountains of Rocca di Cambio. A former Broadway star and champion skier whose career was cut short because of her passion for being a wine sommelier. It was on her way west where she met her husband, the President of a very influential MC in California. You can find her riding off through the vineyards on the back of a Harley almost every night.

Her passion for books has been viewed as borderline obsessive. But, when all you have is time and a bottle of wine awaiting you as the sun sets off the veranda writing became second nature.

In Vino Veritas

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Cover ~ Dream On

Love is dangerous for Emily, even in her dreams.

Seventeen-year-old dreamwalker, Em, might have to choose—leave her mother forever in the dreamworld or save the life of hot, rebel Gabe.

Emily Dal Monte and her mother, Lily, are special. They’re humans with a glitch in their genetic code that allows them to explore the fantastic, and often terrifying, world of their dreams for as long as they choose to remain asleep. But when Em’s father is killed in a tragic accident and her distraught mother loses herself more and more in the dreams of her crumbling mind, Em is forced to support the two of them the only way she knows how, by writing down her mother’s amazing dreams and selling them as books. Enter Gabriel Sobel, the handsome punk newcomer at Em’s high school who realizes Em is the daughter of his favorite, reclusive author. Gabe can’t figure out why Em keeps brushing him off and makes it his mission to find out what’s really going at the Dal Monte household. He stumbles upon their shocking family secret just as Lily takes a turn for the worse. It’s up to Em, Gabe, and one very nosy book editor to hop from one

extraordinary dream to the next to find Lily and convince her to wake up before she loses her mind…and before Em loses her first chance at love.

Excerpt

Tiny shafts of sunlight stream down from the treetops above us, forming small rings that illuminate the red pine-covered ground below. It’s weird how quiet it is here. There are none of the sounds you’d normally associate with a forest, like the scurrying tread of small animals or the soft breeze rustling through the trees. Everything is completely still.

I rest my forehead against the warm bark of the tree and try to calm my racing thoughts. How do I get us out of this mess? Mom and Evan aren’t here with Gabe and me. At least, as far as I can tell, they aren’t here, and we don’t have any time to find them. Evan and Gabe need to wake up now, or they could die. It’s so simple, yet so complicated. Do I save Gabe’s life? Or do I continue to risk killing him and try to save everyone? If I pull Gabe out, I could risk losing both Mom and Evan inside this dream. I have no idea if Mom’s recognition of me was a moment’s clarity, or something more lasting. I might never be able to locate her and Evan again.

A sob rises in my throat. I can’t help it. I’m so tired and overwhelmed, and we’re all so deeply in trouble. Despite my best efforts, the sob escapes, and then I can’t seem to stop another one from bursting out of my mouth. And then another one. Huge, wrenching cries tear through me, and I double over, my face in my hands, as the tears stream through my fingertips.

It’s all just too much.

I hear Gabe come to stand beside me, and before I can protest, he draws me back into his arms. I can’t seem to stop crying. I’m so embarrassed, but I just can’t stop.

His rough fingers catch the bottom of my chin, and slowly he tilts my face up toward his, so we’re gazing into each other’s eyes. My breath hitches, and it’s not just from all the crying.

“I’m sorry, Em,” Gabe whispers, his soft words loud in the silence surrounding us. “But there’s no one I’d rather be with right now than you.”

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Guest Post

Five Words to describe “Dream On”

  1. Fantastical – Em and her mother Lily are dreamwalkers, people with a glitch in their DNA who have the power to control their dreams and stay asleep for as long as they desire. Em, Lily, Gabe, and Evan (the main characters in the story) spend a good deal of their time hopping from one fantastical dream to the next. They explore worlds that are completely white, with ghost-filled castles and curious owls, desert marketplaces run by monsters, rooms that explode into swarms of bees, deep caves made entirely of diamonds and abandoned tunnels with giant snakes. Some of the dreams are fantasies and some are nightmares…now all they have to do is figure a way out!
  1. Fragile – To the rest of the world, Emily Dal Monte appears to be a strong teenage girl. After all, she’s had to take care of herself and half-insane mother since she was twelve years old. It isn’t until Gabe comes into Em’s life, and discovers that she’s a dreamwalker, that Em begins to realize how hurt and angry she really is. Gabe helps Em to let her guard down and begin to repair her relationship with her even more fragile mother, Lily. But will Lily find the strength to put herself back together and save them all?
  1. Passion – Em and Gabe start out having a tempestuous relationship. He invades her privacy and learns her closely guarded secret and she can’t stand how arrogant he is—and how much his good looks make her go all fluttery inside. But as a serious of dangerous events unfold; Em and Gabe discover a fiery love that only death has the power to quench.
  1. Terror – A nightmare is something most of us of try to forget, but for Em, nightmares are a way of life. Sure, she can control how long she stays in the dreamworld, but she must first complete whatever dream she’s in so that she can leave. So if Em falls asleep and finds herself face-to-face with her dead father and a mother who’s trying to drown her, she must suffer through every terrifying second until it’s time to wake up.
  1. Vibrant – The dreamworld enhances a person’s senses. Food tastes richer, smells are more intoxicating, colors are so bright that they sometimes hurt your eyes. Dreams can be so sharply beautiful you almost want to stay in them forever, but what if their vibrancy made you forget about your life out in the real world?

About the Author

MKircherHeadshotBook

M. KIRCHER graduated with a B.A. in Fine Arts from Gordon College. She devours YA, science fiction, fantasy, and romance on a regular basis and is immensely happy to pour her time and energy into creating stories for other people to enjoy. Bob Ross and J.R.R. Tolkien tie for her two favorite people of all time.

M. Kircher lives in Connecticut with her husband, energetic son, and new baby girl.

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seeyouin hellcover

Hate your job? Try working in HELL!

Melody Angel takes a job as a temp at the HELL Corporation. Surrounded by eternal bureaucracy gone mad, demons who love making life miserable, and dying for a decent coffee, it may take a miracle for Mel’s mission to succeed. She must find out what evil plans the Lord of Lies has up his sleeve and stop him, using any means necessary. Lucifer and his minions are out to take over the world, but there’s more than money at stake when the Devil drives.

Adding trouble and temptation to Mel’s job is Luce Iblis, the damnably hot CEO, who has set his smouldering eyes on the new office angel and is determined to claim her, body and soul.

Can ultimate evil and angelic perfection escape a limbo of desire and find a paradise of their own?

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Mel carefully blew on her coffee as she returned to the lunchroom turned training room.

Luce reclined against the tiny bar in the corner, resting his arms on it so his hips were pushed into greater prominence.

Mel recognised his stance as one meant to draw attention to the bulge in his pants. The implied message was clear: the pants could be unzipped for the right girl or boy, if someone played their cards right. Mel had far more experience with such a stance than Luce probably realised – for she remembered a time in Russia when it had merely meant the man was rich enough to own a spare pair of socks to stuff in his pants against the frostbiting cold. Ah, Napoleon had been stubborn and arrogant, too, she recalled, but he’d been good for intelligent conversation. He’d also owned an ample supply of socks.

No one seemed game to speak to the CEO, so Mel took pity on him. Resting her elbow on the end of the bar, she asked, “Do you get bored, delivering the same orientation presentation every month?”

“Of course not,” came the easy answer. “Every time I tell new staff about the achievements of the HELL Corporation, I see their pride in being part of my company, knowing the next team of new staff will be hearing about the achievements that they personally helped happen.”

Mel laughed heartily. “That sounds like a rehearsed response if ever I heard one. Do you ever answer a question honestly?”

“Of course,” Luce replied. Mel barely knew the man, yet she knew he was lying.

She pressed her lips together and gave a little smile in response, before turning her attention to her instant coffee. Attention it didn’t deserve, but the muddy brew was an improvement to listening to the demon’s rehearsed rhetoric.

Luce seemed to realise that he’d hit a wrong note. “It’s Mel, right?”

“Yes,” she acquiesced gracefully. “From the Helpful Angels Agency.” A careful sip of coffee kept her eyes from meeting his as the cup hid her smile. She waited for the implied warning to sink in: far from being one of his demons, she played most emphatically for the other team.

“Ah. Ah, yes. I remember now. You’re the new girl who’s working under Lili, right?”

“I’m in the office beside her and I report to her, yes,” Mel corrected. “I’m looking forward to seeing precisely which projects she has in mind for me. I understand the company’s interests are quite diverse, so I expect the work to be different to anything I’ve done before, if nothing else.”

“So what were you doing before deciding to be my angel?”

Mel gave him her serene smile, knowing Hell would freeze over before she’d ever be his angel. He evidently didn’t know that yet, so she replied, “Other temporary assignments, as required. I go where I’m needed, that’s all.” She took a larger mouthful of her cooling coffee, trying not to grimace at the taste.

“I’m sure I’ll need you for something. Lili does a lot of work for me. She may even delegate some of her more delicate tasks to you, if you’re lucky. We could be working very closely together on some of my pet projects.” Luce grinned. “You’ll want to make sure you wear a skirt.” He stared at her pants-clad legs hungrily.

Mel wondered what he’d say if she admitted the closest he’d get to her was precisely where he was now – just out of arm’s reach. She chose to say nothing. Instead, she smiled and nodded, then excused herself so she could wash the sludge out of the bottom of her coffee mug. She wanted to wash her whole body – the sleazy CEO made her skin crawl – but she hardly had time before the next orientation session resumed.

She slipped back into the training room, relieved to see that Luce had left. Somehow, she suspected she’d be seeing him again soon, though she hoped the opposite. Slimy snake of a CEO…

About the Author

syih

Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish.

She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below.

Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world.

The Ocean’s Gift series is her first foray into fiction, followed by her suspense thriller Nightmares trilogy. She swears the Mel Goes to Hell series ambushed her on a crowded train and wouldn’t leave her alone.

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paradise taken

Based on true events.

Four lives, intertwined by friendship and business, whose true story was more devastating

than fiction.

Rob and Kaye were thrilled to be moving to the island of St. John with dear friends, Jake

and Claire. The men were going into business together and relocating with their families to

the beautiful tropical paradise. It was a dream come true for the longtime friends.

But, when feelings are revealed and temptation takes control, one friendship turns from

lust to love and no one can walk away unscathed.

And, one person’s ultimate decision leaves everyone lost and devastated.

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Excerpt

Rob was sitting near Jake and Claire and motioned for me to join him on the lounger. I put my

finger up indicating I needed a minute as I still had to see the caterers out. Rob winked at me

and smiled, reminding me of Jake’s odd response earlier in the evening. I smiled back as I tried

to ignore my thoughts.

Eventually, I made my way over to my husband and crawled into the chair with him. Jake’s eyes

never left me, but Rob didn’t notice. It should have been unnerving, but it wasn’t. I snuggled

deep beside my man, laid my head on his muscular chest, and wrapped my arms around his

waist. He was my home.

I felt Rob stirring and realized I’d fallen asleep in his arms in the lounger. He was still chatting

with Jake about work stuff, and I started to get up, but he pulled me back down and held me in

“Don’t leave. We were thinking of going for a night swim.” Rob grinned. I knew what that

meant. He loved to swim naked with me, but I certainly wasn’t going to do that with Jake and

Claire here. He chuckled at my raised eyebrows because he knew I was about to protest, so he

whispered, “With suits this time.”

saving

 Our love affair wasn’t what everyone wanted it to be. It was raw and full of absolute joy

and unbelievable pain.  My love for another woman had consumed me for years and now that Kaye was mine, I wasn’t ever letting her go. I knew the consequences of our affair would be devastating to our families, but I was too selfish to walk away.

My beautiful Kaye was having my baby and we were determined to get our happily ever

after….until one day, one event, one conversation threatened it all.

“I had to know what went wrong. My stomach was sick with grief and I didn’t know what to

do next or even how to help Kaye.  I needed to get to her.  It didn’t matter what Rob or Claire thought. No one could stop me from going. I knew she needed me. I could feel it deep in my soul.” – Jake

Excerpt

The pain in Kaye’s eyes was almost too much for me to bear. I knew she loved me and wanted

to be with me, but having Rob and the kids standing there when we drove up was painful for her.

I wanted to force her back into my car and drive away. I knew that would never happen. She loved her kids too much, and she still cared a great deal about Rob.

I was certain their kids knew nothing about the baby being mine. It appeared that the affair wasn’t a big surprise, but apparently, the paternity was a secret. That didn’t matter to me—not at that moment.

Reluctantly, I got in my rental and drove away from the love of my life and my baby. I needed to give Kaye some time with Rob and her kids. I hated it, but I didn’t really see a choice.  As I drove back to our hotel, I thought about how things could have been all these years had I just told Kaye about my feelings while we were in college. I didn’t regret my life with Claire, and I certainly didn’t regret my children, but they’d never fully had my heart. It belonged to someone else and the life I’d missed out on.

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About the Author

paradise

I’m a wife, a mom of three, a friend, an aunt, a sister, a daughter and a teacher. Now, I can

add writer to my list! I’ve always wanted to write and finally found inspiration and support

to do it.

I live near Austin, Texas with my family and love to read and travel. Put me on a beach

with a good book and the world just disappears around me.

Paradise Taken was my first novel and is a highly emotional book based on true events. Its

sequel (Saving Us) is due out February 2014.

Loving Her was the second book I wrote after needing a little time off from Paradise Taken.

It is a story close to my heart.

I love that you are willing to take a chance on a new writer and promise to keep striving to

put out great books!

If you don’t like my books, that’s okay. Just please be gentle on my fragile ego. 😉

I’d love to chat with you, so look me up on any of my social pages.

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