Saturday, September 20, 2014
Joneblog: Book Review: The Rise of Chaos: AnnMarie Stone has written a very intriguing story about Light versus Chaos. The Rise of Chaos is another take on the classic battle be...
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Book Review Corner
Assuming Names by Tanya Thompson
When it was over, there were a lot of questions.
The detectives were embarrassed but they still wanted answered, "How did a 15-year-old runaway successfully pose as a world traveled countess?"
The newspapers turned it back on them, practically sneering, "How did she do it while under investigation by the FBI, DEA, and Interpol?"
The Mafia had been demanding the same thing for six months, "What is your real name?"
And the psychologists asked the question they always ask, "Why?"
It’s the why of it that will keep a girl in trouble.
Assuming Names is the true story of a young con artist. It’s the tale of a runaway that assumed the title of Countess and then went on to fool the FBI, DEA, and Interpol—as well as a number of other celebrities and institutions—with an elaborate tale of world intrigue.
A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Hello everyone. This is Tanya. You may find yourself reading my book and saying, “No, this did not happen.” You may be inclined to say it is too far-fetched and, quite frankly, impossible. I have provided evidence at my website that what I write is the truth. I mention it at the front of the book but it may be easy to overlook, so I am reiterating here.
At my website are copies of the newspaper and magazine articles mentioned in the book. The articles are from the Austin American Statesman, The Dallas Morning News, and Woman’s World Magazine. They are all nationally recognized media for news. Previous reviewers were concerned I may have gone to Photoshop to create them, and while my book does paint me as the sort that would do such a thing, the reality is that those media institutions would sue me into submission before the cache could be cleared.
In the end, you may not believe me, but you can surely believe what the papers wrote.
Let us start off by saying that I love this book. It was overall very well written and extremely entertaining. I basically read it in two sittings. Love it.
In the foreword, the author explains that the compliment of beautiful is not nearly as good as the compliment of brilliant. This elicited two reactions. First, I was reminded of A Disreputable History of Frankie-Landeau Banks by E. Lockhart, which I loved. Second, I immediately felt a connection to the main character, because I completely agree.
Meet fifteen year old Tanya, who has the same issue as many teenagers. Boredom. But, Tanya has some interesting coping abilities, which lead to quite a few adventures that most teenagers will only ever read about. Only, they don’t stop when she’s done being a teenager.
As far as writing technique goes, I was extremely pleased. While there were a few issues here and there, like scene changes and the like, most of it is likely due to the fact that these events happened quite some time ago, and weren’t major. Or, I would not be surprised, that they were intentional, meant to give you a better understanding of the way Tanya’s brain functioned.
My Recommendation:I absolutely loved this book. Adored it, even. I highly recommend anyone looking for an amusing and enjoyable read.
Monday, September 8, 2014
Angel Rising Book OneDeena Remiel
Hannah Livingston has the most infamous stalker that ever existed- Satan. She spent her sixth birthday with the Brethren, fighting an apocalyptic war that sent the Dark Prince back to Hell, and the rest of her life wondering if he’d be back for her soul someday. She needn’t wonder any longer.
Gabriel Seeker, Brethren Protector, spends his days and nights rescuing kids from sex traffickers and protecting their lives from further damage. He knows all too well the nightmarish world they’ve been stolen into, and it’s gotten harder to keep secret his own past horrors.
Hannah and Gabriel have always gotten along, first as friends, then as co-workers. She manages his life and he protects hers. A perfect, symbiotic relationship, so it would seem, until suppressed feelings for each other surface and forever change the landscape of their lives. Stricken with PTSD, the determined angel seeks to protect the woman he loves from Satan’s greedy and insidious clutches.
Deceit and seduction, desire and repression, collide in this epic, immortal story of love, duty, and sacrifice.
Through a nauseating haze Hannah heard banging, like a jackhammer, and she wanted to murder the bastard who had no care for the condition she currently found herself in. She searched around with her hands for a pillow to cover her ears and realized she was still on the hallway floor. Sitting up was not an option, but slithering on her belly to the bathroom would work. It was miles away, though, and her immediate concern was tossing her cookies all over her beloved hardwood floor.
Her next concern? Someone had just picked her up off the floor. “Wha…who…?”
“Hannah, it’s me, Gabriel. I got ya, honey. Need the bathroom? Yeah, I think you need the bathroom.”
“Gabriel? What are you doing in my hallway? Oh, Lord. I don’t feel so good. I think I’m gonna….” She burped. “Oh, that’s better. On second thought, maybe not.”
Gabriel set her down by the toilet, where she proceeded to fall to her knees and bend over the seat to throw up. She felt her hair being swept up and away, and concentrated on getting everything inside her, out. Dry heaves followed, and Gabriel place a cool, wet rag on her neck. When her stomach calmed, she flushed and leaned against the tub wall, eyes closed. Her hair fell back down around her shoulders, and soon after, Gabriel tapped her shoulder, offering her a cup of water.
“Swish and spit. Then take a sip.”
“Okay.” She followed his instructions, then handed him back the cup.
He offered her some mouthwash.
“I know. Swish and spit.”
She complied and threw the cup away. Before she could say or do anything else, he picked her back up and carried her to the bedroom. After laying her down, he pulled a chair over and sat beside her. She smiled weakly and tears flowed again. His face held no judgment, no reprove, not even pity. He looked upon her with… what?
“I can’t believe you’re here right now. I’m so embarrassed. You even held my hair back for me.”
“Yes, I did.” He moved in and gently swiped her cheeks with the backs of his fingers.
“You watched me empty the entire contents of my stomach, and you’re still here.”
“Yes, I still am.”
Tears turned into sobs, which became wails.
“Please don’t cry. What hurts you, hurts me. Let me comfort you, Hannah. Let me take your pain away.” He moved to sit beside her on the bed and gathered her in his arms.
“No, I don’t want to feel better. I want to feel like shit. I want to feel human!”
“Shh.” He rocked her gently, despite her pleas. “Hannah, immortality doesn’t mean you lose what made you human. It simply enhances who you already are. In fact, if anything, emotions are even stronger as an immortal. Relax. Give in to the calm. Accept your fate and the path laid out for you. I’m sorry it didn’t work out with Rick. I really am. But I know, there’s someone out there that’s crafted especially for you. It just wasn’t him.”
“Somebody’s crafted just for me? That’s a lovely thing to say. Gabriel, you’re a wonderful man. I mean angel. You’re a wonderful angel.”
“And you’re going to make a wonderful angel, too.” He kissed the top of her head and pushed a final dose of peace. The surge set her mind to rest and her soul at ease. She fell asleep in her Protector’s arms.
Connect With The Author
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Book Review Corner
The Necromancer's Betrayal
by Mimi Sebastian
Old loves challenge her. And her worst betrayer may be herself.
Necromancer Ruby Montagne is battling for her life in the realm of demons. Unfairly branded for the death of a fellow necromancer, she’s got to prove her innocence without the full use of her magic. And the real culprit is still on the loose.
While someone is stalking her friends among the witches, Ruby searches for answers inside the dark intrigues of both the demon and necromancer worlds. Ruby must confront this new, sinister threat while reconciling her feelings for her former lover, a demon warrior. Only it’s difficult . . . because a sexy vampire is making it clear that he’d like to be more than just friends.
The competition for Ruby’s trust heats up as the enemy pushes her toward a dark side that could threaten the entire realm. Yet what can Ruby do when she’s not even sure what she is? With the fabric separating the realms at stake, she must decide whom to trust. But will the ultimate betrayal be her own?
The Necromancer's Betrayal is the second installment in Mimi Sebastian's Necromancer Series, yet I read it first. Sometimes a good test for an author is to see if a reader can understand the series out of order, and Mimi nailed it. Granted, there were events that were referred to with brief explanations that made me want to read the first book, but I didn't need to do so to understand this one.
Ruby is a strong independent woman, learning that she may need to accept the help of others. This realization is coming from her own experiences of loss and her failed attempt to hide from who she really is. I look forward to reading book one to learn more about her growth before this book, but I am even more excited an looking forward to the next book in the series.
The Necromancer's Betrayal does not end in a cliffhanger, but the ending definitely sets up a great plot for the next book. I would love to see Ruby find some peace in her life, but the drama is just so much more entertaining! I feel her pain with her forced separation from Ewin, and I can only hope that this rocky road will smooth out for those two before the series ends.
My recommendation: There are a few graphic sex scenes, but not many. There is plenty of suspense, and a little bit of a twist. Those that enjoy paranormal in all forms will find The Necromancer's Betrayal to be a great fit. There are plenty of Supes, Demons, Werewolves, Vampires, Necromancers and Witches. Also some very interesting takes on beliefs and religious foundations.
GET YOUR COPY TODAY!
Friday, August 22, 2014
Book Review Corner
Things Fall Apart by Hilary Neiman
How does one go from being raised in a loving, ethical family and earning an advanced education, including in the law, to being accused in the headlines of joining a baby-selling, human trafficking ring?
Eventually, Hilary would plead guilty, but not to baby-selling. She would forfeit her license to practice law, and spend five months in the Atwood Minimum Security Camp in Lexington, Kentucky. Things Fall Apart is the story of a young woman with nothing but the promise of a fulfilled life ahead of her, whose childhood dream turned into a nightmare.
Things Fall Apart was a compelling read and one that I found myself identifying with. It was refreshing to hear her side of the story, without the media there to influence and throw in facts or terms unrelated to the case in order to add a dramatic flare to the story. This story was dramatic and intense enough without attempting to make it any worse than it was already.
I felt that Hilary wanted to share in her story that regardless of background and positive influences in one's life, anyone can make a mistake that could potentially land them in trouble with the law. No one is safe from their own free will, and her story is a perfect example of just that. People make mistakes in their lives every day, granted some of those mistakes are bigger than others.
Another message in Things Fall Apart that Hilary really drives home is that although anyone can make a mistake, they too can rebuild their lives and come out on the other side. Making a bad decision, or a series of bad decisions, does not mean that good decisions are no longer possible. Hilary learned that herself during her journey to rebuild her own life and now she knows that positive changes in her life can lead her down a new path. This new path may be entirely different than what she had always planned for her life, but a different path for her does not necessarily a wrong one.
Hilary's writing style is engaging and kept me glued to the story from page one. After reading her story, I really felt as if I really know her. It is not up to society to judge her actions, and it is not up to anyone other else to do so either. Hilary has earned forgiveness, and anyone, especially those not directly affected by this case, should consider that forgiveness and empathy are much healthier qualities to have than judgement and arrogance.
My Recommendation: This book is for anyone who is interested in the truth behind the headlines, those that have empathy for others and understand the importance of forgiveness and retribution. Those that read Things Fall Apart should keep in mind that everyone is capable of making poor choices, no matter where they come from, what line of work they are in, or who they are on the inside. The best of intentions can lead to the worst choices.
GET YOUR COPY TODAY!
I give this title 5 out of 5 stars!
Monday, August 18, 2014
Keli's ReviewsBook Review Corner
The Silver Locket By Marie Fostino
When Jennifer finds her daughter is not home from school yet, her past flashed before her eyes with the memories of Jacy, love, death and becoming a mother at the age of sixteen.
People would stop Jenny and ask if the child she was with was her sister. "No this is my child." Yet the looks she got hurt her. She was 16 years old when her life changed forever. Despite being raised in a Christian home with strict religious values, some of her choices were careless, and they came with weighty consequences.
A strange combination of sadness and joy overcome her when she turns back the clock. Names and faces float through her mind like ghosts that still haunted her but as always, a smile forms on her face and she remembers only love.
Going into this book, I was extremely excited. Between the beautiful cover and the title, I expected this to be a typical love story, possibly a Nicholas Sparks type thing, for young adults. After finishing, some might agree with that hypothesis, if you only look at the plot line and not the execution.
I am a grammar nazi, and I've done a fair bit of computer programming; meaning that it is extremely difficult for me to ignore the misuse of words and improper syntax. Fostino used “than” instead of “then” and “disrupt” instead of “erupt”. She also uses “as well” in place of “also” at the beginning of sentences, rather than at the end. All of this sounds trivial, but these things distract from the story. If my problems ended here, I’d put it to poor editing. But.
Another thing that got on my nerves was the naming of characters. Jenny and Jacy are a couple. Their daughter’s name is Janie. This, in my opinion, is something that could have been done much better in order to avoid confusion. Close friends named Susan and Sandra has the same effect. And honestly what’s with using your own name in your book? Really?
Despite all of this, I liked the plot line, truly. The main character Jenny, goes through a complete transformation after moving to Oklahoma, then again when she becomes pregnant, and yet again when she becomes a mother. Character development was good, however, I still had issues with the execution. Introducing the plot device of the train so early on was smart, though it was fairly predictable.
Overall, I was slightly disappointed, because I did not feel a close connection with the characters, because I was distracted with the errors. My last complaint is that throughout the book, I felt that I was constantly being told things. Jenny is depressed. Jenny feels this or that. This also goes for the other characters as well, because the POV jumped.
If you’re not as stuck up as I am when it comes to grammar (thank my English teacher), this book could be extremely enjoyable. If the little things bother you, either be prepare yourself from the start or read something else.
The Silver Locket earns three diamonds, because while I was disappointed, I can easily see how others would not share my feelings.
My rating for this title is 3 out of 5 stones!
Monday, July 28, 2014
Book Review Corner
Darkness Falls by Erin Kellison
(Reveler Series – Book 1)
Agent Malcolm Rook is hunting for people with the rarest of talents—the ability to master dreams. He finds the undeniably gifted Jordan Lane, but she’s wary of mysterious Rook and resists his pursuit as long as she can. Yet the dreamwaters they enter are too exhilarating to resist, and attraction soon ignites electric passions. Delving too deep stirs a nightmare, one they must defeat, or be forever lost to darkness.
I fell in LOVE with Erin Kellison after being introduced to her 'Shadow Series' 2 years ago, so I was pretty excited to read a new series from her. The Reveler Series did not disappoint. As a novella series, I knew that I would fly through each book, so I decided to wait a little while before starting them. With 4 books in the series out now, I thought that it would be a good time to start. Well, in just 2 days I have completed the first two books and have already started reading the third.
Darkness Falls is a short and easy read, but still full of action, adventure, fantasy and romance. Of course I wanted more, I always want more, especially with novellas. But, knowing that the story was a novella I expected it to be short. Still, the idea of shared dreaming, the potential for danger, the unmistakable and irresistible pull of attraction and chemistry were all present. Kellison is known for creating and developing characters that you love, and then jumping between the heads of the two destined to fall in love in her books. I love her concept of following two characters, and introducing others along the way, who will eventually be the star of their own love connection in a future installment. Knowing all that, I was not surprised that she continued her formula here, albeit on a novella series rather than a full length novel series.
In Darkness Falls, we learn about Réve, a way to share dreams and fantasy with other dreamers, yet there are things that are not well-known or understood to the general population about the process. Further, there are people that share unique talents or abilities beyond the norm within the 'dreamwaters,' there are monsters lurking about where they shouldn't, inside and outside the dreamwaters, and although the story is just beginning for Jordan and Rook, it also seems to come to an end rather quickly. However, Kellison does not just leave those characters out in the cold. They are sure to appear in the future installments of the Reveler series, as Kellison has a knack for keeping her lovable characters around.
My Recommendation for Darkness Falls: If you are looking for something different, yet a quick and easy read, this book is a good fit. This Novella series is written more like episodes, meaning that questions will not all be answered in each book, yet there are more just around the corner. Kellison is the author that keeps on giving because she continues to produce books within her worlds, so you are just left hanging wondering what happens next. The Reveler series is not all released at once, yet the books have come out close enough together to make the short wait between installments worthwhile. Plus, this book is FREE right now, so what are you waiting for?
GET YOUR COPY TODAY!
I give this title 5 out of 5 stars!
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Four years ago, Frankie Rios walked away from her best friend and big sister, Iris. To Frankie, Iris died the day that she last rejected Frankie’s attempts at getting Iris alcohol and drug treatment. Rather than accept grief for her beloved sister’s loss, Frankie turned to her music. A renowned cellist, Frankie has managed to ignore the pain and suffering of losing the person she loved most in this world. With Iris out of her mind and out of her life, Frankie was able to move on…or so she thought. Until Iris really died.
Topher went to war in 2001 only to return two years later damaged and broken. Unable to reconcile the war vet with the boy he used to be, Topher gave up on life. When Iris Rios, his long-lost childhood best friend, dies from liver failure at thirty-two years-old, Topher is forced to confront his past. He must decide whether he deserves to heal. He must decide whether he will take that first step and then take another until he can recover what he lost: himself.
Weeping Angels is a story of grief carried and grief ignored. It’s about learning to love and moving on. Mourning someone once is hard enough, but mourning someone twice is unimaginably harder.
Genre: Women’s fiction, romance
Release date: June 27, 2014
A woman hurls herself into the parking lot without even checking to see if a car is coming. Long blonde hair flies like a cape and she moves as though propelled by a rocket. Black, slinky heels flick off her feet, smacking into the asphalt with every rapid step. The scarf wrapped around her neck, despite this god-forsaken humidity, flaps over her shoulder. Any other day, I might have tried to stop her. If not, I might have fallen to the ground and covered my head with my hands, brought back to Afghanistan by some misapprehending synapse fire. But not tonight. Tonight, I merely stand by and watch her go.
She stops abruptly at the edge of the parking lot and just stands there. Her back to us, she drops her arms to her sides and her shoulders slump. I’m not sure what I’m looking at, but whatever it is unfurls as I watch. A woman like that doesn’t need to be crying at the end of the parking lot alone, and we’re watching like a couple of jackals who are just man enough to smoke outside a funeral, but not man enough to rescue her from herself. I’m not sure what it is about her, but I can’t stop staring, so I don’t even try.
I suck on my cigarette, taking the longest pull I can to give myself time to keep from engaging in conversation, when the woman slams her palms to her thighs. If she were any closer or if there was any less traffic on the highway, we might have heard the smacking sound echoing in the air. Even without sound, I feel it. A sonic wave crashes into my chest. My heart stops beating for a second in its wake.
Through a stream of white smoke, I jut my chin to the woman.
”Who’s that?” I ask Jose.
“That’s Frances.” He’s curt, and the sharpness when he says her name makes it sound like an offense. “I thought you knew her,” he adds, raising an eyebrow skeptically.
There’s a silence between us as we keep our eyes trained on Frankie. For the life of me, I would have never known it was her had he not just told me. I wonder now why no one makes his or her way toward her. If there’s a husband or a boyfriend standing about inside, someone needs to tell him that she’s out there alone, grieving.
“Frankie loved Iris. She’s probably taking this hard.”
As soon as the last word has fallen from my lips, Jose chuckles humorlessly and again my eyebrows furrow. I can feel the anger lining my forehead. Jose brings the cigarette to his lips and smoke pours from his nostrils as he inhales and exhales simultaneously like a fuming dragon. He shakes his head as his gaze wanders back to Frankie.
“Frankie loved Iris, that’s true, but Frankie also disappeared and refused to come when Iris got sick.”
“I don’t believe you.”
Shock slaps across Jose’s face when I declare him a liar. There is absolutely no way I can know if what Jose said is true or not.
An ephemeral summer breeze catches her hair. When it passes, she combs her fingers through her hair and twists it into a knot that she promptly releases. Even though she’s far away, I make out the shaking of her shoulders, as if she might burst.
I’ve never felt as intimate with Frankie as I do right now. Sharing in her private, raw space is wrong. I want is to throw a curtain between her and the rest of the world. I want to put my body between Frankie and all the smokers, spread my arms, puff my chest, and yell out, “There’s nothing to see here! Move along!”like some cop directing rubberneckers forward in traffic.
I take my first step off the curb so that I can go to her and do I don’t know what, when she turns around and hugs herself so tightly you’d think it was freezing, when it’s actually a humid ninety degrees Fahrenheit. Her head tilts forward and her blonde bangs sway, falling over her eyes.
She starts walking, slumped and dejected, in my direction. If a car whizzed by her, she might look up, but given by the way she ejected herself from the building, I’m not fully convinced she doesn’t have a death wish. So I do the only thing I can think of, I finish taking that first step and then take another.
What Frankie says breaks me. It breaks me. And it's not even about Iris or me; it’s about Frankie. Everything she said about Iris fills me in on years that I’ve missed. Even when I’d been standing right beside her, I was ignoring what now seems so obvious it’s blinding. Yet, for all the talk about Iris’s alcoholism and suicidal tendencies, what Frankie’s opened up about is herself.
I’m not even sure she notices because she’s so guarded. Never once has she reflected on what she’s said. She’s been stating facts, telling stories. That’s what she thinks, anyway. I know this like I know myself, because it’s what I do. I state facts and I tell stories, and what I’m actually doing is diverting attention from what’s going on inside.
Frankie’s all Iris this, Iris that, but what I hear is: I can’t live with myself because Iris was never happy and I couldn’t save her. It’s what I hear inside myself every minute of every day, and my heart breaks for Frankie and for me. What I do next comes so naturally that it scares the living shit out of me. I don’t let her leave. I hold her as close as I can because what I want is for her to be inside of me the way she’s let me be inside of her.
In this space and time, Frankie and I are one person. I’m angry with her. I’m aggressive about it, maybe even hurting her, but I reason that it can’t be any worse than how she’s been hurting herself by balling this all up for decades.
As much as I need her to be close, I want to push her away. I want her to leave and never come back. I want Frankie to take flight tomorrow morning, and I want to be the one to deliver her to the airport because what I’m feeling is something that I’m not ready to deal with. I tell myself to let her stay here, to give her this space from death that she needs. I’m surer now more than ever that we have an unbreakable bond, but I don’t want it.
We have right now and I need it right now, but I can’t want to have it tomorrow. I can’t want to have it ever again. It’s like being with yourself all the time, but only with the ugliest parts of you. It’s looking at all the broken pieces of your psyche and being forced to confront them.
That’s what Frankie is to me. That’s what she’s been to me all day if I cop to it. Maybe it was like that last night when I went out after her in the parking lot and walked her back to the service. Maybe it’s why I couldn’t believe that she could be out there alone with no one to hide her sadness from the world. I’m making up for it today, though. Right now, I’m making up for leaving her naked and on a slab for the world to pick apart. The more I hold her, the more I fear that I’ll never be able to let her go, but I keep doing it because she’s something worth saving and, if she can be saved, then maybe I can be, too.
Ten Fun Facts about Cristy Rey
1. I am a librarian.
2. For the holidays last year, I knit a Cthulhu scarflette for my good friend, Dre.
3. I have harvested over 100 mangoes from the tree in my yard in the last three weeks. (Please, no more mangoes!) I don’t even like mangoes.
4. My parents are Cuban.
5. I was a vegetarian and, later, a pescatarian for over fifteen years. Thanksgiving 2012 was the first time I had poultry, beef, or pork in half my life.
6. I thought of Weeping Angels as I stood at the funeral of a good friend – the real Iris – observing the mourners, looking at photos of a woman who didn’t match the one I used to know, and holding the hand of my sister, her ex-fiancée.
7. My dog is named after Indiana Jones and Sherlock, and my cat is named after a comic book character by Roman Dirge and a poem by Edgar Allan Poe.
8. I am almost 6’ tall.
9. I am a fangirl through and through: I read comics, I am a Whovian, I am a Sherlockian, I am committed to the Whedonverse, and I have a Fringe tattoo.
10. I make my own Halloween costumes.
About Cristy Rey
Cristy Rey is the author of the romantic urban fantasy Incarnate series. The first book, Taking Back Sunday, and a short prequel novelette, Edge of Seventeen, are available now at online retailers. She also writes and publishes unconventional romantic women’s fiction. Her first standalone, Weeping Angels, is available now, and her second, Heart Grow Fonder, will be out in winter 2014/2015.
Cristy lives in Miami, FL where she is a reader and writer most of the time, and a knitter much less of the time than she was six months before she took up writing again. She writes the books that she likes to read. She describes her writing style as riot grrrl Jane Austen sprinkled with a little magic. There’s always a killer soundtrack running in the background of her novels – all you need to do is turn to the playlist to know what’s up.
A few of Cristy's other novels
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
When a young woman hires her hometown's former bad boy to be her pretend fiance for the holidays, she finds she can't wrap up her feelings as easily as a Christmas gift. New York jewelry designer Graceann Palmer has two days to find a fiance to bring home to Pennsylvania for the holidays so her matchmaking mama will quit fixing her up with jerks. The Falcon, a motorcycle-riding, leather-clad former high school crush, helped her out once before.
Maybe he'll do it again. Jake Falco, man of many mysteries, is back in town on a mission-one the people of Spirit Lake most likely won't appreciate. When Graceann presents him with her crazy scheme, it gives him something he's always wanted-a chance to get to know Graceann. It also gives him the perfect opportunity to add fuel to his project of revenge. But as Jake and Graceann grow closer, their engagement-of-convenience begins to feel like the real deal-until Jake's secrets are revealed.
Can a relationship that began with lies and secrets bloom like a rare Christmas rose into happily-ever-after?
A Groom for Christmas
“I have two days to find a fiancé.” Ignoring the anxiety that tightened her stomach, Graceann Palmer dipped her fork into her apple pie à la mode and slipped the tasty treat into her mouth.
Her friend Kate sat next to her at the counter in the quaint fifties-era Spirit Lake Diner, located just outside the small Pennsylvania town of the same name. Kate grinned. “You could advertise online: Fiancé wanted for Christmas. Good pay. Temporary position.”
“Like I’d get a real upstanding guy that way,” Graceann said.
Kate shot her a sympathetic smile. “Face it. You’ll have to tell your family you lied.”
Bing Crosby’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas flowed from the jukebox, mocking Graceann. Her lie had caught up with her. She would come home for Christmas, minus a made-up fiancé.
Graceann finished her pie and pushed the plate away. “Tell my family the truth and have my mom try to fix me up with someone like the dentist she invited to spend the holidays with us last year? Boring, conceited, and he couldn’t keep his hands to himself. Yuck.”
The door opened, bringing in a fresh round of cold, snowy late December air. Shivering, Graceann drew her sweater closer around her.
“I wouldn’t mind finding that under my Christmas tree,” Kate said.
Graceann followed her friend’s gaze to the tall man who’d just entered the diner. Dressed all in black—black motorcycle boots, black jeans, black leather jacket—and walking with the lithe grace of a panther, he took a seat at the other end of the counter. She studied him while he studied the menu. He had classic “bad boy” written all over his features—sharp cheekbones, dark stubble on a square jaw, and midnight black hair tied into a ponytail. Long, tapered fingers held the menu.
Suddenly, he looked up. Clear blue eyes connected with hers. Recognition spiked through her and sent her pulse jumping like a kid on Christmas morning.
“The Falcon,” she whispered.
“What?” Kate gasped. “You’re right. It is The Falcon.”
His full lips tilted in a slow, sexy grin, showing even white teeth. He nodded at them before turning his attention to the waitress. After he gave his order, he didn’t look in their direction again.
Kate gripped Graceann’s arm, her fingers digging into Graceann’s flesh beneath the heavy sweater. “Wow. The Falcon. I heard he left town the day after his graduation from Spirit Lake High fourteen years ago and hasn’t been heard from since.”
“Wonder what he’s doing back here,” Graceann said. In school, she’d had a crush on The Falcon even though he was two years ahead of her. She’d never told anyone, not even Kate.
“He’s a little scruffy,” Kate said.
“Scruffy, my tush. He’s hot.”
Kate grabbed her arm again as Graceann lifted her coffee mug. Coffee sloshed over the sides onto the counter. Setting the mug down, Graceann gave her friend an exasperated look. “What?”
“I have it,” Kate said. “Your fiancé.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The Falcon. I’ll bet he’ll pretend to be your fiancé. After Zach bowed out, you said you’d be willing to pay someone. The Falcon always needed cash. Do it. Ask him.”
“You’re crazy. I haven’t seen him in fourteen years. He could be a serial killer for all we know.”
Kate shook her head. “He’s not. We would have heard.” She leaned closer. “You’ll be at your grandmother’s with the whole family. You’ll be safe. Your grandmother is old-fashioned. She’ll put you in separate rooms. It’s not like he’s a total stranger. Bring him to meet the family, pretend you’re wildly in love. Your mom will quit trying to fix you up. After the holidays you won’t ever have to see him again. Once you’re back in New York, you can tell your family you broke the engagement. That’s what you planned to do with Zach.”
Graceann put a hand up. “This is the craziest idea you’ve ever had, and you’ve had plenty. I can’t ask this guy to go along with my scheme. I’ll have to resign myself to fending off another loser my mom pushes at me. She means well, but she won’t accept that I’m not interested in marriage. After what Michael did, my whole family feels sorry for me. I don’t want or need their pity.”
“Michael was a jerk. He didn’t deserve you. Listen to me, Graceann. Ask. The. Falcon. What could it hurt to at least ask?”
“His name is Jake, and I’ll think about it.”
“Don’t wait too long. He’ll be out of here and you’ll have missed your chance.”
Graceann sipped her coffee and stole glances at Jake Falco. Maybe Kate was right. Jake had always been nice to her and had even come to her aid once when the mean girls were harassing her. He might help her out now. At her grandmother’s, they’d be surrounded by family. She wouldn’t be alone with him. Her gut feelings were usually on target, so she’d learned to listen. She’d ignored her instincts with Michael and look how that had turned out. Something was telling her to go ahead and take a chance on Jake.
“I’ll do it.” She stood before she lost her nerve.
Next to him, Graceann let out a sigh. “Here we are. Curtain time.”
He unfastened his seatbelt and leaned toward her. “Might as well start now.” Framing her face between his hands, he touched his lips to hers. At first she stiffened, but he continued to press his lips against hers, drinking in her sweetness. Her lips softened and she let out a low moan. Surprised and pleased at her reaction, he deepened the kiss, slipping his tongue into her willing mouth. She slid her hands up his chest and pressed closer.
Suppressing a groan, he fought the desire to skim his hands over her ribcage to her chest. For a petite woman, she had magnificent breasts.
The sound of voices cut through his sensual haze. He reluctantly drew away. Graceann watched him with wonder in her incredible eyes. Her breathing was labored. He resisted a smile. This gig might be lots more interesting than he’d hoped.
“That was for practice, right?” She rubbed a finger over her lips and lowered her voice. “You really know how to play a part.”
“You didn’t like it?”
Her face pinked. “It doesn’t matter what I like. This is a business deal.”
“So you keep reminding me.” He looked toward the steps where a group of people huddled watching them. “Your family?”
She looked over and groaned. “Do you think they saw us?”
“I’m sure they did. You stay there and I’ll come around and open your door.”
“I’m capable of opening my own door.”
He touched the tip of her nose. “But we want to make a good impression, especially on your grandmother.”
“Then maybe we’d better sit here for a little while,” she said with a pointed glance at his lap.
He grinned. “See what you do to me?”
About Cara Marsi
Cara Marsi, an award-winning author and self-proclaimed TV junkie, is a former corporate drone and cubicle dweller. Freed of her fabric-covered cage, she can now indulge her love of all things romance. She craves books with happy endings and loves to write about independent heroines and the strong heroes who love them. And she loves to put her characters in dangerous situations or situations merely dangerous to their hearts and watch them fight for the happy endings they deserve.
An eclectic author, Cara is published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. She’s also published numerous short romance stories in national women’s magazines and online. When not traveling or dreaming of traveling, Cara and her husband live on the East Coast in a house ruled by their fat black diva of a cat named Killer.
Friday, July 18, 2014
Do you love name brand Sunglasses? Then you need to take a look at what Top Sunglasses at www.fashadeslte.com offers. You get FREE shipping when you spend $60, they have a 30-day money back guarantee, secure shopping, easy return process, and fast delivery service. Plus, they have some of the lowest prices for name brand sunglasses I have seen.
What caught my eye first, was a beautiful pair of purple Ray-Ban's for only $15.99 (Suggested Retail $155). I didn't believe it until I saw them for myself, so I suggest you do the same by clicking the link.
For such an affordable cost, I thought I would keep looking to see what else I could find, and I found these beautiful blue Ray-Ban's for only $15.99 as well (Suggested Retail $205). Again, see for yourself.
And if you are looking for something a little more simple, they also have zx-300's for only $12.99 (Suggested Retail $130). Don't miss these deals, I know that I won't.
Split Jacket Oakley's for only $15.99 too (Suggested Retail $220).
Oakley Staright Jacket's als$15.99, these are among my favorite, at a ridiculously low price (Suggested Retail $125).
Oakley Fast Jacket insanely priced at $15.99 (Suggested Retail $220).
The bottom line? You simply MUST take a look for yourself. The deals are unbelievable, and even at these insane prices, they also have a discount section for even lower prices. Check out the Ray-Ban discount section here, and the Oakley discount section here.
With prices like I have shown you here, I couldn't buy just one pair. I lose sunglasses all the time, so I have always just purchased the cheapest pair I could find at Target, which meant that not only did they break easily, but often they were quite uncomfortable or caused headaches. Now, I know that I can get quality sunglasses an affordable price, so if I do lose them they are easily replaced. This is also why I also buy more than one pair, because I know that in one way or another, I will lost them, or loan them to my daughter, which basically confirms that they will be lost within 48 hours.
I have been happiest with the comfort of the Ray-Bans, and the clarity of the Oakley's. But I tell you what, since I am not paying over $100 per pair, I am simply loving the fact that I can have both, choosing the best for the occasion.