Mondays are for Excerpts

20 Oct

HIDDEN HEART– Excerpt

“Last night,” Tessa began, her voice cracking. She cleared her throat, “Last night, you said . . . you said you wish you could stop loving me.” She glanced again at him, holding her breath.

Alessandro shook his head, and rubbed his chin, “I’ve never had so much to drink.” He paused, sighed and shook his head again. “Again, I regret coming last night.”

She saw him walking away and said quickly, “I didn’t get rid of you because I wanted to be with another man.”

He waved a hand and glanced over his shoulder. “You don’t have to explain yourself, Tessa. It’s your life to live free and do whatever you want.”

Alessandro’s glacial tone made her shiver.

Tessa walked to him and when she was only a step away, she grabbed his arm, forcing him to stop and whispered, “And what if what I want is to be with you? Is that still an option?”

Alessandro turned around to face her. “Why, so you can break my heart again, throwing me away like a bad shoe?” His stern gaze froze her, his words jabbing her heart like boxing gloves.

Tessa let go of his arm. “I’m not seeing anyone,” she mumbled.

“What about the man you were with last night?”

“That man is my . . . my brother.”

Alessandro burst into a fake laughter and began applauding, “Bravo, Tessa, you’re quite a remarkable actress. My sister—your brother. How convenient. You forget I know your family? You forget I know both your sisters, or did you just forget to mention him while we were dating?”

She slapped him over his arm. “Stop it. He is my half-brother. His name is Cristian Mincu and I found him by finding my biological father. As is turns out, my mama had an affair and I’m the result of it.” Tears stung her eyes, but she’d be damned if she’d let him see her embarrassment. She turned on her heels and marched to the sink once more to finish cleaning up. She turned on the faucet, picked up a sponge and scrubbed a plate vigorously, as if she could scrub away the suffering disgrace since she read her mama’s letter for the first time.

“Is this true?” Alessandro’s voice sounded shaken.

“No, I made that up so I can try out my acting skills,” she snapped at him.

“I’m sorry,” she heard Alessandro’s soft tone behind her back.

She straightened her backbone, “Don’t be. I don’t need your pity.”

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Mondays are for Excerpts

20 Oct

HIDDEN HEART– Excerpt

“Abuse resides next door. A countless number of women among us are physically, verbally, and emotionally abused. I was one of them. A year ago to the day, I almost died at the hands of the man I planned to spend my life with. I thought I knew him inside and out. I was wrong.

“One day he came to my apartment, hit me, and raped me. My body healed, in time, but my soul and heart bled for months. I lost my identity. I wanted to die and stop the pain, stop the nightmares, stop the voices in my head, the voices that told me I deserved it, that I looked for it, because I’d done nothing to stop him.” Tessa took a few short breaths, forcing herself not to cry. She saw shocked faces and heard murmurs around the room, but she needed to say it out loud for everyone to hear.

She sniffled and, looking at her audience, she continued, “For months I’ve been an empty body, with nothing to give, nothing to hold onto. My life wasn’t mine anymore. And then, one day, my dear friend Dina told me about this shelter for women in need and I have this desperate desire to do something for them. But I can’t do it alone. I need your help. There are so many ways you can help. Don’t be a bystander. Thank you for coming, thank you for your generous donations. Let’s make this a memorable event. Hopefully many more will follow.”

From the corner of her eyes, Tessa saw someone standing and applauding. It was her favorite actor, who surprised her by accepting her invitation. Others followed his example and the room exploded with applause. Out of nowhere, Victor appeared next to her, handing her a bouquet of white roses. He gave her a heartfelt hug, and helped her walk down the few steps off the stage.

“I can’t believe you never told me,” Cristian whispered in her hair, holding her tight. “We need to talk about it.”

Tessa laughed and cried at the same time. “I have no idea how I got the courage to walk out there and tell my story in front of those strangers, but my therapist was right. It feels darn good! And I don’t want to talk about it anymore. It’s over,” she said, between sobs mixed with laughter. “I have my life back, I have my life back,” she kept saying against her brother’s shoulder. She felt safe in his arms, an embrace she’d become accustomed to and looked forward to in the years to come.

She felt a light tap on her shoulder. Cristian let go of her and when she turned around, she saw Adrian. He pinched the tip of his nose and shuffled on his feet.

“Father,” she exclaimed, hugged him briefly and then realized what she just called him. Embarrassed, she said, “Sorry, Adrian, my emotions are running wild tonight.”

Adrian kissed her hand, patted her cheek and said, “No need to apologize. I don’t hear it enough.” He looked at Cristian, who scratched the back of his head, then pulled at his hair, spiking it.

Tessa knew her brother enough by now to recognize the signs of nervousness. She elbowed him, “This son of yours and brother of mine has done an incredible job helping me put this event together. I’d like to thank him by having dinner at my place and I’d like to invite you as well.”

Adrian pretended not to see Cristian’s frown and said, “Pepin would make a fuss over my eating anything but his food, but I’d be more than happy to join you.”

“Great, I’ll call with details. If you’ll excuse me, I have to say hi to someone.” She kissed Adrian’s cheek, then Cristian’s and left them. She’d get hell from her brother later, no doubt about it.

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Mondays are for Excerpts

13 Oct

HIDDEN HEART– Excerpt

“I guess we have something else in common other than the same father,” Tessa said when she couldn’t take the silence any longer.

Cristian glanced at her, “What’s that?”

“Stubbornness.” She pulled her legs underneath her and rested an elbow on the back of the black sofa, staring at him. “As children, my sisters and I played this game called mum and we’d mimic and grimace until whoever made the slightest noise would be disqualified. You wanna try it?”

He turned off the TV and turned to face her, copying her body position. “You came all the way here to play mum with me?”

“I came because I was worried about you. Besides, that’s what siblings do, right?”

“Tessa, you have to stop this sibling this, sibling that, brother here, sister there. I still have a huge issue with this and I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Why does it bother you so much? Is it because it’s me or do you struggle with the notion of a half-sister?” she asked.

He didn’t say anything. Instead he picked up the remote and held it as if he wanted to turn the TV back on, but he didn’t.

“It’s because . . . because of you,” he said, not looking straight at her. He stood and walked away, looking out the window. “I feel like such an idiot for putting my heart out there and finding out afterward that you’re my sister. When I saw you at my father’s house it was like the rug had been pulled from under my feet. I just can’t look at you without feeling ashamed for wanting you. Can you imagine what it would’ve been like if that night we would’ve had sex?” He shook his head and turned to look at her, his eyes sparkling with apprehension.

Tessa stood and came to face him. Shrugging a shoulder, she said, “I’ve been asking myself the same question, freaking out over it. But I can’t and won’t do it anymore. We haven’t slept together and that’s what matters. I want you and Adrian in my life and I’ll be damned if I can’t have you both. We belong together. True, not in the way you wanted, but hopefully in time you’ll forgive him. I want to grow old together, share holidays together, have our children play together. You can’t deny our bond, no matter how pissed off you are at Adrian right now.”

Cristian shook his head and walked away, returning to the sofa. The boxing match was back on.

“He is pretty worried about you,” Tessa said.

“And you drive me nuts, you know that?”

“Get used to it.” She came next to him, ruffled his hair, then placed a kiss on top of his head and walked away. “See you tomorrow night. Dinner’s at six. I have Eva, a friend coming over, and she’s amazing. The fundraiser is around the corner and I asked her to help us. And if you have any leftover pie from your neighbor, bring it. I love cherry pie.”

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Winner Announcement for the Book To Movies Giveaway Hop

12 Oct

The Book To Movies Giveaway Hop is over. Using random.org the lucky winner taking home a copy of The Best of Me is…. Judy Schechter.

Spotlight–Tisha Wilson

9 Oct

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Alicia Pool is an Immortal Werewolf Hunter who has been riding the night alone for more than eight years. She lives for the thrill of the hunt after losing her family tragically to their vicious bite. Officer Jerry Caymen believes he is living a sedate, somewhat boring life in his small town prison. Once a big city cop, a messy divorce leaves him with no choice but to retreat to the town of his roots. Unbeknownst to him, his life is about to get far more interesting than he ever imagined. When the bad-ass biker chick rides into town in her form fitting leathers, she initiates him into a world he never knew existed. If he is going to survive, he is going to have to learn to Tame the Night.

The Creatures of the Night series was born in me almost five years ago. Alicia first appeared to me as a ghost in the darkness. She rode up to me on her silver platted motorcycle, smoking a cigarette, and holding that bike up like she owned the world when she was on it. I saw her leathers and the purple flames snaking up the gas tank, and I wanted to know her secrets. I spent two years really getting to know her and her habits before the rest of the cast of Protectors began to show themselves to me. In book one, we visit Alicia and Jerry, the characters that will carry the main story line, the Balance.

In the next three books, we meet the Protectors, the ones that will protect the Balance until the Healer is discovered. Braden is a thousand year old werewolf hunter born during the times of the Vikings. We find Braden in the biggest conflict of his life. He is so old that he has become tired of carrying the burdens of the hunter. He considers giving himself over to the wolves and is thus distracted when a tiny wheelchair bound woman stumbles into the middle of his battle. She is bitten and he expects he will have to end her life should she become Wolf, but as she turns her deep blue innocent eyes up to him, he feels something he hasn’t felt in ages… his heartbeat.

The third book introduces you to the Suave and Sexy Latino Assistant-Mentor, Saul Munoz. We met Saul in previous books, but when he drops off the radar in the midst of the biggest attack the Wolves have ever made on Mentor compounds, no one suspects that he has been kidnapped by the Day Walkers (Wolf Shifters). Turned into a Hunter against his will in the Day Walker lab, Saul feels betrayed by the society. The Mentors should have at least sent someone to look for him. After making his own escape, he runs from the society and back home to Alaska. It is there that he meets up with an old friend of his little sister, Cenora Moon. He has known her for years, since she was a child in fact, but can no longer seem to see her as a child. Feeling a force beyond his control pulling them together, he finds he neither has the will nor desire to pull away from her, even when it seems to be destroying them both.

The forth book mixes both the elements of the Hunter and the Witch. Miriam Sweeney, born a reluctant Witch, never really gave her power much consideration. She attempts to lead a normal life, free of Grandma Maggie’s crazy ranting. It is not until her little brother goes missing that she fully explores every possibility. She discovers a talent living within her that she never knew she possessed. Unfortunately, the Wolves find out about her talent as well. Ian Christopher finds her on a bus bench looking as if she has been assaulted. After being in the grips of the wolves for so many months, attempting to get them to release her brother, Miriam thinks there is no way to stop their dark force. Until Ian comes along, cleans her up, and restores her faith. He is her knight on shinning motorcycle, and she discovers she will do anything to save him and her brother from the clutches of darkness.

The final book, Unleashed, brings all the Protectors and Balances back together, uniting them in the fight of their lives against the growing horde of Wolves and Day Walkers. Though the government knows of the secret society, so much has transpired that they have pulled funding and support from the Hunters. Without the resources of weaponry and Assistant-Mentors, other than those few who volunteer, the Hunters are well and truly on their own. The Day Walkers may have more than just their deaths in mind, however. There is a secret that the Walkers know that not even the Mentors know. Who will win? You must read the series to find that out.

About the Author:

First off, I sometimes feel that as people experience a little bit of success, they tend to pull away. Sometimes it is out of necessity. There is so much going on with promoting, blogging, tweeting, and website building, it is dizzying. But I am also a person that does the laundry and makes fabulous dinners and takes my kid to gymnastics. I have been writing for over seventeen years and my desire is as much the same today as it was way back then. I write for the readers. I will never get so busy that I forget that. I write these for you so that hopefully it will give you some encouragement or laughter or joy. Life is hard, and for me, reading is like my chocolate break from reality. I pray that is what you experience as you read these novels.

Find Tisha at Creatures of the Night

Mondays are for Excerpts

6 Oct

HIDDEN HEART– Excerpt

“Why?” Tessa asked moments later, the most important question of all, the question that should put her worries to rest, her past behind her and free her up to live her future—a future free of deception, fear and betrayal.

Adrian stood, walked to the window, holding both his hands behind his back. He seemed lost in his thoughts for a while. When he spoke, his voice sounded as if he were returning from a different universe.

“Why? Why do people cheat? Why do people fall in love? Why do they hurt their loved ones? Why did I get involved with your mother even though we both were married?”

Adrian returned to the sofa and sat next to Tessa, slightly facing her. “I can tell you that I was trapped in a marriage that didn’t give me the things I wanted, needed, craved. I can tell you that I wanted a divorce even before I met your mother or after we became involved. I can tell you that I lived thinking of Ana night and day, a living hell for so many years, I lost track of them. I can tell you so many things now, but honestly, none of them would change what we’ve done.

“They’d be nothing but excuses, and I doubt that’s what you want to hear. I made a few mistakes in my life, mistakes I am not proud of, but if there’s one thing I’ve done right it’s getting to know Ana, loving her and being so lucky to be loved by her. She had been my world, my everything. I still love her with the same intensity, the same passion I did thirty years ago.” He didn’t bother to wipe his tears away, his face contorted with pain.

“How long had you been together?”

“I returned to Bucharest after several years and I didn’t look for her, trying to go on with my life. But we met again and we tried to resist . . . to stay away. I asked her if we could maybe just have a cup of coffee now and then. For about a year we did that. One day, she worked the nightshift and I waited for her in the morning. It was pouring rain outside and I offered to give her a ride home. We were together after that, until she got the news about the cancer.

“She called me and told me to come to our apartment, she had news for me. I got there thinking she finally decided to accept my marriage proposal. Instead she told me that day would be our last day together,” Adrian said and a new wave of tears filled up his eyes, his voice choked. He struggled to speak again, swallowing hard a few times.

He cleared his throat and continued, “She told me that she wanted me to always remember her as the woman I fell in love with, whole, healthy, alive, and not some butchered, empty body she’d turn into after the mastectomy and the chemo. I told her all I wanted was to grow old with her, no matter how little time we had left, but she was adamant about it. She made me promise not to ever try to contact her and not to come to her funeral.

“I was weak and visited her once in the hospital after the surgery, but she didn’t see me, still under anesthesia. I never really said goodbye to her. And here I am, a year after she has passed away, still waiting for her to come back to me.”

Tessa had been brave since she got there, keeping her emotions in control. She knew her mama loved this man. She knew they’d fallen prey to a passion that consumed them even after they stopped seeing each other. She knew they’d been too weak to resist each other.

She came wanting to be mad at Adrian, mad at her mama, and judge them for being unfaithful. Judge them, point her fingers at them and scream for making her feel shameful for something she hadn’t done. But she couldn’t. The anger inside her heart mysteriously disappeared, replaced by acceptance. And forgiveness. And hope.

Tessa put her hands on top of his and when Adrian raised his eyes to hers, she smiled and said, “I’m tired of being mad, I’m tired of hurting. I want to live in the present, free of the past’s burdens. You loved Mama and she loved you back. I can’t promise much, but if you let me, if you allow me in your life, I’d be willing to try . . . try to accept you. Don’t get me wrong, I had a father, a father that loved and raised me. But knowing what you and Mama had, the love you gave her and how happy you made her . . . I’m at peace with that.”

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VBT–Rewind to You by Laura Johnston. Guest Post & Giveaway

2 Oct

Rewind to You Tour

Blog Tour Schedule

Rewind to You Cover

One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.

But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.

When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…

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GUEST POST My Trip to River Street and How REWIND TO YOU Came to Be

Ever been to Georgia? Go! I fell in love with the coast of Georgia when my husband, young daughter and I lived there for a short while. The idea for Rewind to You came to me while I was sitting on the beach with KC. Picture a sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. Gorgeous. I wished I could pause time. You know, save the moment so I could “rewind” to it someday and never forget it.

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That got me thinking. What if we could rewind to pivotal moments? At first it seemed like a great idea. The longer I thought about it, however, the more potential conflicts I saw arising from this scenario, especially if we were powerless to change certain things about those moments.

 

If you could rewind to a point in your past, would you want to do something to change the future you’re living? Do you have regrets? REWIND TO YOU’s female protagonist, Sienna, sure does. And it’s going to take more than determination for her to move on.

 

A trip to River Street in Savannah, GA sealed the deal for me. The premise in my head developed into something more as we ate at The Pirate House Restaurant (also featured in my novel) and walked down the quaint pathway along River Street. Just as Austin, the hero in Rewind to You, claims, the best pralines in the world are right on River Street! That street is lively, charming—magic, basically.

The Pirate House Restaurant

Sienna’s walk down River Street marks the beginning of change. Austin saves the day—and her—in many ways. But Sienna isn’t the only one who harbors secrets. Without realizing it, Sienna and Austin begin an adventure that will help them both understand when it’s best to hold on and when it’s time to let go.

River Street Sweets

For more about River Street and Rewind to You, visit my website: http://www.laurajohnstonauthor.com

Thanks for having me!

 

 

Laura Rewind to You AuthorAuthor Laura Johnston

Laura Johnston lives in Utah with her husband and two children. Growing up with five siblings, a few horses, peach trees, beehives and gardens, she developed an active imagination and always loved a good story. She fell in love with the young adult genre both through her experience in high school as well as her job later as a high school teacher. Laura enjoys running, playing tennis, sewing, traveling, writing, and above all, spending time with her husband and kids. REWIND TO YOU is her debut novel.

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Praise for the Book 

“Johnston’s debut spotlights romance and familial relationships, including themes like grief and self-sacrifice. It’s an ideal story for readers looking for a deep-rooted YA love story with the emotional ups and downs and poignancy of a Nicholas Sparks contemporary. There’s also a touch of wit and a sigh-worthy hero – a definite on your TBR list.” – RT Book Reviews

“This is contemporary YA fiction at its best! –Kay Lynn Mangum, author of The Secret Journal of Brett Colton

Rewind to You will steal your hear away.” –Kelly Nelson, author of The Keeper’s Saga

 

 

 

BookBlast Giveaway

$75 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 10/5/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an iTunes Gift Code or River Street Sweets Gift Card. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.