Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Book Details:
Hex Hall
By Rachel Hawkins
Genre: Young Adult
Published 2010, Disney-Hyperion Books
Hardback, 323 pages
ISBN: 9781423121305

     Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
The first thing that I found curious was that the author does not begin with when Sophie first discovers who she is, but instead begins with what incident propels her to switch to the paranormal-reject-filled boarding school, Hecate Hall - also affectionately known as "Hex Hall." The incident shows the softer side of Sophie, so it is easy to predict the choices she makes throughout the rest of the book.
Hecate Hall is similar to any other high school, just with a paranormal twist. The werewolves can still talk and walk upright, so they are not considered true shapeshifters. The fairies don't have to hide their wings, can turn into balls of light for travel, communicate through mirrors, as well as many other traditions of legend - but all seem to be pretentious snobs. The witches are divided into dark and light, and Sophie is unknowingly cast as a dark witch, though she can't guess how, which puts her in the line of fire from the other three dark witches on campus, who swing from classic "mean girls" to her best friends unpredictably. Plus, what school would be complete without the resident "hottie", whom Sophie can't help but fall for, especially since fate keeps putting the two of them together. And finally, two vampires also reside at school - though they are not considered equals - Sophie's roommate, Jenna, as well as a teacher condemned into hiding, none other than Lord Byron, the poet. While Lord Byron's role turned out to be a major disappointment, Jenna seemed to be the one with all of the secrets, even as she is repeatedly blamed for the new deaths cropping up.
Sophie is easy to like, with a fantastic sense of humor and strong moral sense. The flip-flopping emotions of the cast of characters matched the average teenager well, and made for many entertaining situations. The many surprises that saturated the plot made the book engaging, and I look forward to reading about what Sophie does with her new-found information about herself in the next book, Demonglass.

The Cover: The cover is one of the major reasons I wanted to read this. The duality it suggests is intriguing, though I must say the cat does NOT belong, as is made clear early in the plot.

First Line: "Felicia Miller was crying in the bathroom. Again."
While a depressing way to begin a book, I am curious as to who she is and why she is crying, plus my maternal instincts flare up and all I want to do is give her a hug.

Favorite Quote: “Let's just say you may regret that second piece of cake.' Oh my God. Regret cake? Whatever was about to happen must be truly evil.”

Read For: Young Adult Challenge, What's in a Name Challenge

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Guest Post: Guy's Angel by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Today's guest is author of Guy's Angel, Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy. Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is a full-time romance author. A native of the old historic city of St. Joseph, Missouri, one time home to both Jesse James and the Pony Express, she now lives and writes in the beautiful Missouri Ozark region. Her romance novels include Wolfe’s Lady (December 2010 Evernight Publishing), Love Tattoo, (March 2011, Evernight), Love Scars (June 2011, Evernight), Love Never Fails (May 2011, Rebel Ink Press), Kinfolk (July 2011, Champagne Books), The Marriage Cure (Astraea Press, July 2011), Love Scars, July 2011 (Evernight Publishing). Love Tattoo, Love Scars, and Love Knots, Love Shadows are the first four books of the six book Love Covenant series. Other novels include Witness Protection Program (Rebel Ink Press, A Time To Love (Champagne Books. Sing We Now of Christmas (Rebel Ink Press, December 2011). 2012 is already kicking off with more novel releases including A Patient Heart, Miss Good Samaritan, Guy’s Angel, In Love’s Own Time, Heart of the Ozarks) In The Shadow of War, and a novella, Long Live The King (Champagne Books). Her work also appears in more than twenty anthologies and she has multiple short story/non-fiction credits.
She is a member of RWA, Missouri Writers Guild, EPIC, and the Ozarks Writers League.
Her work also appears in multiple anthologies. She earned a BA degree in both English and History from Missouri Southern State University as well as an AA Degree in Journalism from Crowder College. She worked in broadcast media for a decade and also has a background in education. Her weekly column “Hindsight” appears each week in the Neosho Daily News.
She is married to Roy W. Murphy and the couple has three children, Emily, Megan, and Patrick Murphy.
If Lee Ann – or Lee as many of her writing friends know her – isn’t writing, she’s reading or spending time outdoors.
In Neosho, Missouri, the small town she now calls home, she serves on the local library board, is active in the annual Relay For Life fight against cancer, has worked with the local Arts Council, and is active in her parish.

Lee Ann is here to talk about her new book, Guy's Angel. On to you, Lee Ann!
          Guy’s Angel is born out of the old stories, birthed out of the vintage streets of the old’ hood, and inspired by my own love of flight. The story is fiction but the setting is very real or was. My grandparents brought it to life for me in their tales and I hope I did the same for readers.
My grandmothers came from two different generations, my Granny who came of age in the late 1910’s and 1920’s, and my Grandma who was more part of the 1930’s and 1940’s. Granny was my caregiver, my babysitter while my parents worked. Granny and Pop reared me as if I’d been their child so I’ve always been out of sync with my own generation. And they both told stories, many tales. The 1920’s were their heyday and my Granny lived in what I like to think of as the “old” family neighborhood, part of the same area of town but a different section. My grandparents lived there at one time, my dad grew up there, my mom was born (at home) in a house there, and in my childhood I still had relatives who lived there. One of my uncles had the area as his postal route.
The places in the story are real enough. Wyeth Hill remains a bluff top park overlooking the Missouri River and over into Kansas where Rosecrans Airport is located today. The streets are actual streets and the places my characters visit were real in 1925 in St. Joseph. Krug Park remains a beautiful place today and the doctor they visited (you’ll have to read the book to find out why) existed. My family bought the house from a family of doctors, first non-related folks to own it, and in 1925, the doctor had his office in his home. In the early drafts, I let a few relatives read it and they loved the way I brought the old neighborhood to life.

Here’s the blurb:

When a young woman really believes the sky is the limit, amazing things can happen…
Lorraine Ryan wants to fly airplanes so she heads for the local airstrip in 1925 to make her dream come true. Most of the flyboys think she’s cute but a woman’s place is in the home, not the cockpit. When Guy Richter steps up and offers to teach her to fly, she’s captivated with both Guy and flight. He nicknames her “Angel” and takes her up into that wild blue yonder. Before long, they’re deep in love. Love, however, isn’t always enough……
Guy, a former World War I flying ace, is haunted by his past. His demons include his war service, the death of his only brother in an accident the previous year, and the Valkyries that he evaded in France who trail him in the hopes that they can complete his destiny. But his dreams lie with Angel and as they grow closer and closer, he soon realizes that if anyone can save him, it’s his Angel.

As she started back across the field, mincing a little in her patent leather shoes, she heard one of the fellows rag her new friend.
“Hey, Guy, what did you want to do that for? This dumb Dora won’t learn how to fly.” She paused, marked his name and listened for the answer. When it came, she grinned all the more.
“The kid deserves a fair chance. Angel’s going to show up all the rest of you, just wait and see.”
With those simple words, he baptized her “Angel” and she knew it was who she would be with them, forever. She liked it very much.
Because they could no longer see her face, she let the grin she’d been hiding stretch across her mouth and once out of sight, she ran like a kid going home from school. To get to where she lived on Poulin Street with her mother and brother, she had to wind through long blocks no matter which way she took but when she climbed the hill to the small house near the top of the river bluffs, she paused long enough to pull back her hair and smooth her dress down.
“Is it you, Lorraine?” her mother called from the kitchen at the rear.
“Yes, Mama,” she said, schooling her face to innocence. Her mother didn’t understand her fascination with airplanes and the men who flew them. She also didn’t like the fact Lorraine painted her lips and sometimes her face. As a widow, she worked baking cakes and other sweet treats at the Federal Bakery in downtown St. Joseph. “What’s for supper?”
“Hamburg steaks,” Mama replied. “You’re late. Did you work over?”
“Nah,” she said, hating to lie more than she must. “I stopped to talk with some friends of mine and lost track of the time.”
Mama, always tired since Lorraine’s father died, sighed as she removed the hamburger steaks from the skillet and filled a bowl with fried potatoes. “Go wash up, then, and tell Frank to come to the table.”
As she washed her hands with Ivory soap and splashed her face with cool water, Lorraine looked at her own reflection to see if her inner excitement could be seen. Her face appeared normal, even placid so she stuck her head into the tiny back bedroom and told her brother, “Supper’s ready so c’mon.”
Frank, fifteen, bolted for the kitchen after putting aside the library book he read. Unlike Lorraine, he still went to classes over at the new high school, first named North High, now called Lafayette.
“Where you been?” he asked as he passed her like a whirlwind.
“None of your business,” she answered.
“I saw you heading out toward French Bottoms after school.”
“So, you want to tell me?”
She hesitated and then said, “I’ll tell you later if you promise not to tell Mama one word about it.”
He lifted his hand in the familiar gesture. “Scout’s honor.”
Mama’s voice shrilled from the kitchen, “Come on, it’s getting cold!”
“I’ll tell you later,” she hissed before she hurried back to the table.
They ate with little conversation, her mother staring off into space as she so often did these days, thinking about her late husband or wondering how she might pay the bills or worrying about her wild daughter. Lorraine thought it might be the latter but she wasn’t sure and with the chance to fly in her immediate future, she wasn’t going to do or say anything to cause a ruckus.
Lorraine didn’t share her plans with Frank until Wednesday night when Mama headed off to visit her sister and they stayed behind. Frank pleaded a heavy load of homework and she claimed to have “her time” so they were excused. As soon as she watched her mom trod down Poulin Street hill, she turned to her brother with a grin, “I’m going flying on Saturday!” She dropped the piece of news with as much quiet confidence as she could summon. Like her, Frank loved to walk over to Wyeth Hill, the little park perched on top of the river bluffs where they could watch the planes take off from the airfield. Both brother and sister spent many hours watching the aircraft take off and soar into the skies over the Missouri River. Now Frank looked at his sister, open-mouthed.
“Applesauce!” he said. “Go on, you’re not.”
“I am! One of the aces told me he would take me up and if I like it, he said he’ll teach me to fly!”
“Jeepers! You ain’t serious, are you?”
“I am, Frankie,” Lorraine said. “And I need a favor, kid brother. I need to borrow a pair of your pants and some boots.”
“You got it!” Frank’s enthusiasm was real. “But if you learn to fly, you gotta take me for a ride, Sis.”
“Sure, you can count on it!”


A Page In The Life:

Rebel Writer: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy: http://leeannsontheimermurphy.blogspot

Seanachie Stories: Tuesday Tales And More:

Thank you for the visit, Lee Ann!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Book Details:
By Lauren DeStefano
Genre: Young Adult
Published 2011, Simon & Schuster BFYR
Hardback, 358 pages
ISBN: 9781442409057

          By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?
The world that Lauren DeStefano builds in this book combines several dystopian concepts - genetic engineering and reproduction, a virus of epic proportions, anarchy and survival of the fittest. 70 years ago mankind finds a way to make "perfect" babies, and then their babies suffer the consequences - death at 25 for men and 20 for women - with no cure on the horizon. Prostitution, polygamy, human experimentation, wide-scale murder, the prevalence of orphanages, and a country divided on whether mankind is worth saving are all issues in the plot. Plus, all of this takes place after a world war has destroyed all but North America - or so the history goes.
The main character, Rhine Ellery, is forced into a polygamous marriage at the age of 16 to the rich Linden, age 21, along with the flighty 14-year-old Cecily and ex-prostitute, 18-year-old Jenna. Rhine's main goal is escape, but each girl in the marriage has her own motivations and goals. I found their relationships with one another far more interesting than each one's relationship with Linden. Poor Linden lives under the illusions that his aging father feeds him while suffering from the loss of his first love, Rose. While Rhine makes part of her goal to avoid consummating the marriage with Linden, her sister wives have other ideas, but ironically, jealousy among the wives is not the green-eyed monster that I think many would expect. While Cecily is typically self-absorbed and high maintenance, she still wants her sister-wives to bear children, and even Jenna, who hates Linden from the first day, sees no hypocrisy in sharing a bed with him. I also admired Rhine for her extreme patience and endurance with Cecily's immature and naive behavior, though I don't think I would have chosen denial over full disclosure to both Cecily and Linden.
Rhine's secret relationship seems to find it's power in free-formed friendship, without any expectations or requirements. Simply put, Rhine wants her freedom, and she will find it in any form she can grasp. Except for Rhine's memories, almost the entire book takes place on the grounds of Linden's mansion, so I am anxious to see what will happen in the next book in the series, Fever.

The Cover: It's the cover that really interested me enough to read this book, not just the girl and the dress, but the graphic design - so very unique.

First Lines: "I wait. They keep us in the dark for so long that we lose sense of our eyelids. We sleep huddled together like rats, staring out, and dream of our bodies swaying."
A beginning that is both dark and enticing, I am thoroughly intrigued.

Favorite Quote: “Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”

Read For: Young Adult Challenge, Dystopia Challenge

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Guest Post: City of the Gods by S. J. McMillan

Today's guest is S.J. McMillan, author of City of the Gods: The Descendant. Here is a quick blurb of the book:

          700 A.D. Teotihuacan, Mexico – The High Priest believed himself to be as powerful as the Gods and set a plague on the city as a demonstration of his power. The Gods took pity on the few remaining survivors and granted each immortality and an extraordinary ability. Three of these survivors were given a mission of great importance: train the lone human descendant of their civilization to stop the evil priest from damning the rest of humanity.
2012 A.D. San Diego, California – The time has come to make Katalina Deckard aware of her destiny. Her life has been a constant struggle since the loss of her parents when she was young, but has it prepared her to save the world? Can her friends, who have survived so long, convince her she has what it takes to accept the mantle of Redeemer?

Take it away, S. J. !

                                              Why I Write… By: S.J. McMillan

In doing interviews I’ve noticed many ask the question how I got started writing, or what inspired me to write. In all honesty, life inspired me to write. Back in school, I was shy and kept to myself, with the exception of the few close friends I did have. I also kept many of my feelings hidden away so no one could tell if I was angry or hurt. The best way to express the feelings I had was through writing. That’s when I started writing poetry. All the poems I’ve ever written start out dark and unkind, but always end in strength and hope. It’s my way of expressing my sadness, pain, or anger. But they also show I can, and will, overcome any obstacle, no matter how big or small.
I write for the simple joy of writing. It takes me back to the safe haven that my poetry took me to, but in a different way. I’m able to express myself easier through my characters. They say things in books I would never allow myself to say to someone here in the real world. My characters do things in my books that, in the real world, would get someone killed and someone thrown in prison. I’m free to let my imagination run wild and I love every minute of it.
But I don’t just write books. I have a blog where I tell humorous stories about my family. I don’t do it to seek praise from an audience of strangers. I do it because someday I will want to go back, when I’m old and grey, and remember the wonderful times we had as a family. If I happen to bring a smile to a strangers face, then I’ve done my good deed for the day. I love to laugh, carry on, and have a good time. Writing about my family makes me feel good. Not to mention my kids love it. They’re constantly asking me to blog about something they did or said. It’s very cute.
The only time I don’t like to write is when it takes time away from my family. I don’t like telling my kids, ‘Mommy’s busy. She can’t listen to you explain what lightening bugs eat because she’s writing. You can tell her tomorrow.’ The looks on their faces breaks my heart. I schedule my writing around my family. I’ll wait until the kids to go bed to hop on the computer to write, even if it’s only for the five minutes I get in between their bed time and the husband/wife time that me and the hubster make sure we get.
I didn’t start writing to get rich or famous, because that’s really not very likely. I started writing a story. I wanted to get published to share that story. I’ll continue to write until all the stories floating around in this head of mine finally silence, and because writing is my addiction. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. Thank you for having me today. I appreciate your time and hope you enjoyed.

Thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Guest Post: Laura DeLuca

Today's guest is Laura DeLuca, author of Phantom. Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children. She loves writing in the young adult genre because it keeps her young at heart. In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the sole author of a popular review blog called New Age Mama. She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been studying Wicca for close to eight years.

Laura is here to tell us how she conceived her characters in her new book. Take it away, Laura!

          People often ask writers how they come up with their characters. Are they based off real people or are they entirely fictional? For me, it’s normally a mix of both. I might give a character the first name of one friend or the last name of another. The bad guy might have the same name as the nasty customer I had to deal with at work that day. And sometimes characters completely create themselves. But I have to admit, that the characters in Phantom were inspired by the people around me more than any other book I have written. I thought it would be fun to introduce some of the people who helped make Phantom one of my favorite novels so far.
Rebecca Hope- Rebecca is the main character, and she gets the lead role of Christine in the play. She isn't really based on anyone in particular, but I did give her a few of my own characteristics. In the first chapter, I mention that she was normally hiding in the orchestra with her violin instead of trying out for a role. That was totally me in high school. I was always too shy to try out for the musicals, even though I really wanted to. But unlike Becca, I was actually a much better violinist than a singer anyway, so I was better off where I was. She also shares my nervous energy, and of course, we are both obsessed with the Phantom of the Opera in all its incarnations.
Jay Kopp - In my book, Jay Kopp is the class clown. The one making jokes at all the wrong times, and who thinks he is a whole lot cooler than he really is. The real Jay Kopp is not much different. Instead of the class clown, he is the office clown. Here is a man who is in his forties, but still makes faces behind the executive president's back while he's handing out awards; a man, who, every single solitary day, walks out the door at closing time and yells, "Stick a fork in me, I'm done." ; a man who has somehow wound up with the nickname of "Muffin" among his female coworkers. Some of his other shenanigans include tapping a picture of my husband (than new boyfriend) all over the office, including the toilet seat, and dressing up as Flavor Flav, and no, it wasn't Halloween. As you can tell, our little group had a tendency to stray away from corporate etiquette and we loved every minute of it. All that being said, Jay is actually a really sweet guy, a hard worker, and a wonderful husband and father. I think I stayed pretty close to Jay's real personality in my book. I just made him thirty years younger.
Mr. Russ - Mr Russ is the school janitor. He's a little on the dirty side and he’s definitely not all there. Again, he is based on a real person, but I can't say his name because I don't want to get sued. When I was working, there was an old man who worked in one of the buildings on the same street. I would run into him at Wawa all the time, and he decided he had a crush on me. Finally, he came in the office one day with a pack of tickets for the Lion King on Ice, and wanted to take me and my children. Ummmm...creepy! Of course I told him as nicely as possible that I couldn't do that, and explained I was in a relationship for the hundredth time. He got a little angry, I got a little freaked out, and thus I had to turn him into the creepy school janitor in my book. His name is different, but his physical description is right on. If you read this book, you'll understand why he made me nervous.
Carmen Webber - Carmen is one of Rebecca's best friends. When I created Carmen, I was really thinking about one of my best friends, Viv. I gave her a lot of Viv's personality traits, but when it comes to her looks, I was thinking more about her daughter Sarah. Sarah is closer to Carmen's age. So she sort of wound up being a combination of them both, but she definitely has a little more attitude than either of them. On a side note, their last name is Zarfati, which is also the name of one of the characters in my Destiny series.
Debbie O’Neill & Wendy Wright - Both of these girls got their first names from people I worked with. Wendy is the class snob, and there was a girl at one of our offices in North Jersey that always had an attitude when she called. Plus she sounded like a valley girl. I was trying to decide on a name for Wendy and she happened to call that day in a particularly miserable mood, and so she became my b***h. With Debbie, it was more a physical thing. Someone was leading a meeting and she looked exactly the way I envisioned Debbie, so she took her name.
Darlene & Matt - Darlene is a good friend and was my former High Priestess before she moved out of state. She opened her arms to me when I was new to the Craft and completely on my own, and I learned a lot from her. When she didn't get "a part" in Destiny, I promised to put her name in Phantom. She took it a step further and asked me to add in her best friend Matt as well. So I made them someone's parents. What's funny is, I never really intended to include any parents in the book, but adding Darlene became a big part of one of my favorite scenes. Meeting Darlene & Matt is a fun part of the book, so I can't say too much more. But if you met the real Darlene, you would definitely find that she and her namesake have the same remarkable ability to speak in complete paragraphs without taking a single breath.
Tom Rittenhouse - This is the guy who gets the role of Raoul, the hero. Tom is very much like my first real boyfriend, even though I don't think I realized it myself until I read back through the book when it was done. He was a surfer. He was the star of the high school musicals. He even had hopes of being an actor someday. He did get a few small parts in TV and Broadway in college, but as far as I know, he gave up on Hollywood and is back home now. Darron from Destiny has some of his characteristics as well. I think since he was my high school sweet heart, and my first love, he comes back to haunt my high school characters...
Tempest - Tempest is a Gothic Belly Dancer. I consider myself truly blessed to have not only met Tempest, but to have shared Sacred Space with her on a few occasions. About three years ago, I was introduced to Tempest through my best friend and coven sister, Donna. She was taking her belly dance class at a local gym, and convinced me to come along. The class was fun, but was nothing compared to watching Tempest perform live. When she begins to move, it’s like she is magically transformed into the Goddess herself. Her movements are fluid and graceful. Her costumes (which she often designs herself) are enchanting. She has created her own version of Gothic Belly Dance that is elegant and breathtaking. It literally brought tears to my eyes. Even as a writer, I find it hard to express just how amazing it is to watch her perform. Tempest is one of the most beautiful women I have had the privilege to meet. It is a beauty that emanates from her soul and is transferred to the fluid movements of her body. All the wisdom of the ages is expressed in the poetic motions of her dance. She is a true artist.
Justyn Patko (AKA-Lord Justyn) - When I tell people that Lord Justyn was based on a real person, most of them look at me like I'm crazy. They think he's my imaginary friend. But, nope, he’s is real. Like my character, the real Lord Justyn is a Gothic Pagan who also happens to be a musician and an actor. I have never spoken to Justyn outside of cyber space. We met on MySpace before I met my husband. I don't even remember how. But I do remember how all his notes would have a little old world charm in them. We would talk about books and movies, and, of course, magic and the Craft. He even read Destiny way before it was published. I would be lying if I said I didn't have a little crush on him. But in the real world, when we lived in different states and I was a single mom, there was no way it could have worked. Not to mention the fact that I am several years older, and not really the cougar type. Maybe in another time or another life it could have happened. But in this life, I could only make him into one of the most amazing characters I have ever created. It all started because I was writing him an email while Andrew Lloyds's Weber's musical was playing the background. I started to think how great he would be in the role of the thought led to another, and Phantom was born.
Finally, Justyn’s last name came from my friend Jared Patko. He was handsome. He was fun. He was hilarious. He was an amazing artist. He also suffered from severe Bipolar Disorder. In 2009, Jared took his own life. I had just started writing Phantom when this happened, and I wanted to immortalize him in some small way. I had promised him I'd use his name in a book eventually, and he had hoped to draw the cover art. Phantom is also dedicated to Jared as well as the real Lord Justyn. Well, that pretty much sums it up. It’s amazing how even the smallest things that people do and say can touch our lives and bring about inspiration. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing for these folks will probably depend on who lives, who dies, and who the killer really is. But you'll have to read Phantom to find all that out. I have to wrap up this post with one of my favorite quotes. "Be careful, or I'll put you in my novel!"
Thank for coming, Laura, this has been very interesting!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Review: Destined by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

Book Details:
By P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Genre: Young Adult
Published 2011, St. Martin's Griffin
Hardback, 325 pages
ISBN: 9780312650254

          Zoey is finally home where she belongs, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, by her side, and preparing to face off against Neferet—which would be a whole lot easier if the High Counsel saw the ex-High Priestess for what she really is. Kalona has released his hold on Rephaim, and, through Nyx’s gift of a human form, Rephaim and Stevie Rae are finally able to be together—if he can truly walk the path of the Goddess and stay free of his father’s shadow...
But there are new forces at work at the House of Night. An influx of humans, including Lenobia’s handsome horse whisperer, threatens their precarious stability. And then there’s the mysterious Aurox, a jaw-droppingly gorgeous teen boy who is actually more—or possibly less—than human. Only Neferet knows he was created to be her greatest weapon. But Zoey can sense the part of his soul that remains human, the compassion that wars with his Dark calling. And there’s something strangely familiar about him...
Will Neferet’s true nature be revealed before she succeeds in silencing them all? And will Zoey be able to touch Aurox’s humanity in time to protect him—and everyone—from his own fate? Find out what’s destined in the next thrilling chapter of the House of Night series.
I was pleasantly surprised in the improvement of characters in this book, as my expectations of this series have dimmed over the course of the series. This book was better. Both Dragon and Lenobia's character are shown more insight as their back stories are revealed, which I'm sure is further explored in the books, Dragon's Oath and Lenobia's Vow. Also, one of the "twins" shows some backbone and stands alone in her beliefs - about time, I might add. Those two drove me nuts every time their dialogue appeared on the page.
Rephaim also continues to battle with his origins and his new lease on life, thanks to Nyx's forgiveness. Though Rephaim himself does little to progress the plot, his presence serves as a major catalyst for both sides and drives Kalona to make some interesting choices.
There is also the addition of a new fledgling to the mix, whose addition answers one question about the red fledglings, but brings up many new questions as she has a new gift of True Sight. From the descriptions, she can see auras, though the word is never used for whatever reason, which I also found annoying. One other addition is another adult to the Tulsa House of Night, a major supporter of Zoey and company, who brings a good dose of sanity and maturity that it so desperately needs. I have renewed hopes in the continuation of this series.

The Cover: This cover features Neferet's supposed creature, Aurox, with a hint of his true nature in the shadow of the bull.

First Line: "I think my mom is dead."
This is certainly a shocking way to begin the book, and it reminds me of what happened in the previous book.

Favorite Quote: “The question of what we are can only be answered by ourselves. We each decide what we are by the life choices we make. How we were made, who are parents are, where we are from, the color of our skin, who we choose to love, all those things do not define us. Our actions define us, and will keep defining us until even after death.”

Read For: Young Adult Challenge, Finishing the Series Challenge

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Guest Post: Revealing Hamilton by Sarah J. Carr

Today's guest is Sarah J. Carr, author of Revealing Hamilton. Sarah Carr is a novelist who can be found most evenings with a cup of tea in-hand and her imagination racing from plot to plot. When away from her work, part of her mind is constantly brainstorming her next story and she always has writing paraphernalia within reach. She wrote stories as a child, but became more serious about her passion during her twenties. In her spare time, she likes to read, splash in mud puddles, smell bookstores and eat Honeycrisp apples. Yearly, she participates in NaNoWriMo and has mentored others through the program. Due to her dedication to National Novel Writing Month, she is part of an amazing writing group.
Born and raised in Washington State, Sarah still resides in the area. Her life is richly filled with her supportive, yet swashbuckling husband and their golden Nugget.

Sarah is here to share a little insight into her main character, Amelia Hamilton.
                    (Blog Entry From Amelia Hamilton’s Perspective)

How do you tell customers that you’re raping their checkbooks on behalf of your boss?

Dear Loyal Customers,
I regret to inform you that due to the inclement weather, Ellie’s is raising their prices. In this extreme time, this is necessary due to supply and

Crap. The supply and demand bit wasn’t going to work. I didn’t buy it and didn’t expect the customers at Ellie’s to fall for it either.

Dear Patrons,
We’re sorry to say prices have gone up. The severe storm has caused us to re-evaluate our menu.

This wasn’t working either.

Damn Lorenzo. My stupid boss always gave me the most undesirable tasks and raising prices twice within the same day when we were the only restaurant open in town didn’t sit well with me. As if making me deliver meals on roller skates wasn’t bad enough, now I could add “lying” to my resume. How do you nicely say, “My boss is a greedy sleaze-face who would take bread from your starving child”? With my accident-prone nature, platters and glasses were as good as weapons in my hand and I fantasized about lobbing a plate right at Lorenzo’s forehead.

I didn’t know what else to do. Needing this job meant doing whatever Lorenzo wanted. I couldn’t get fired. Connor would be pissed and I didn’t want to envision the reprimand I would receive. Thinking about my drunken boyfriend, a wave of melancholy sadness washed over me. When did the need to require alcohol begin? I couldn’t even remember. It was pathetic. I could tell the brand of Scotch he drank by smelling his breath. I couldn’t afford to live on my own and stupidly, I gave up the lease on my inexpensive apartment. In retrospect, I relocated to become his maid. Bad move on my end.

Ugh. I was losing track of my “task” and the diner’s door would open for dinner in less than twenty minutes. I needed to act fast. Maybe I shouldn’t have turned down Donovan’s offer for help. No. He was my co-worker and my best friend. I needed to keep him out of Lorenzo’s web of lies. Besides, he was starting to give me the goo-goo eyes again. I wished he’d stop pining after me. We were friends, nothing more.

Was this really everything there was to my life? Go to school. Go home. Go to work. Go home. It was a perpetual revolving door and it was getting me nowhere.

Sometimes I wished another world would swallow me whole. Sadly, that would remain a fantasy.

I’ve got to get back to lying to customers….

Thank you for stopping by, Sarah!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Guest Post: 77 Days in September by Ray Gorham

Today's guest is Ray Gorham, author of 77 Days in September. Ray Gorham was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1966. Prior to settling in the United States in 1991, Ray had the good fortune to live in a variety of locations around the world. Years in Australia, England, Lebanon, Japan, Canada, and the United States all helped shape his background, worldview, and appreciation for other people and cultures.
Upon graduating from college with a degree in Accounting, Ray decided he couldn’t foresee spending a future studying tax law and sitting in front of a computer all day, so he took a management position with Wal-Mart and spent the next 10 years in retail management where he had the opportunity to interact with hundreds of employees and thousands of customers on a weekly basis. After growing tired of working for large corporations, Ray next opened and tried running a restaurant but decided after a year that the restaurant business wasn’t for him either. From there, he found a small, log home business for sale in Montana in 2006 and settled in for what he hoped would be a long-term career.
When the construction industry slowed down in 2008, Ray knew he was going to have a lot of time on his hands, so he determined to cross off one of the items on his bucket list—writing a novel. After thousands of hours of writing and editing, he had the final draft of his first novel, a 108,000-word story of a husband struggling to return to his family after a major terrorist attack incapacitates the country. While agents and publishers have passed on his efforts to this point, Ray has found significant success in digital format, selling over 10,000 copies of his work.
Facebook link:

Take it away, Ray!

                                                               Living With Your Editor
As I came to the conclusion of the second draft of my book, I decided I had probably better have someone with better English skills than myself do a little bit of editing. In school I had always been a good reader and decent speller, and strong in math and science, but for some reason the rules of English, beyond the basics, never made sense to me. Fortunately, I have a very talented wife.
Feeling pretty good about my book, I approached her with a 2” stack of paper (I had managed to talk her into editing). “Prepare to be amazed,” I said (or something equally witty, I’m sure). She stuck her hand out for the manuscript. “I’m pretty busy, but I’ll get to it as soon as I can,” she replied. From the expression on her face, I could tell she wasn’t expecting to be amazed.
Being in need of affirmation after such a long project, I was very anxious to get her feedback. It was probably only a week, but it seemed like a month before she announced she had the first chapter done. I eagerly snatched the papers from her hand, expecting to see smiley faces on each page, an occasional missing comma fixed, and a mushy love note at the end of the chapter telling me how wonderful my writing was and how glad she was she married me.
She turned to go make dinner and missed seeing my legs buckle as I glanced down at the first page. Red ink everywhere! I stumbled to the bedroom and fell into my writing chair. With shaking hands I fanned through the 20 or so pages in my hand, more red than black. My head spun. I had thought my wife was pretty smart, now I wasn’t so sure.
Commas, apostrophes, possessives, verbiage, wording—you name it, she nailed me on it. I opened the document on my computer and started making corrections. Okay, maybe I need a comma there. I guess that word fits better. I’ll trust you on this one. By the end of the night the first chapter was done, and it was looking and sounding quite a bit better than it had hours earlier.
We did make it through the book, and the final product is much, much better than my original version. We liked the process so much that we went through it two more times for the book (just kidding about the like part). In my defense, I can proudly report that there were some pages towards the end of the book that didn’t need any editing, but they were few and far between.
I learned a few things from the process. A second set of eyes on your work is essential, because no matter how thorough you think you’ve been, you’ll miss a ton. Editing isn’t personal. Rules are rules, and no matter how good I think something is, it needs to be said the right way. Also, English can be learned—she’s been through part of my second book and has commented that I’ve improved greatly on the technical side of writing (hooray for me!).
Finally, I’ve realized why we never hear about people falling in love with their editor. Agent? Yes. Bodyguard? Yes. Backup dancer? Yes. Director? Yes. Fans? Yes. Editor? Not on your life. I don’t think it is humanly possible to fall madly in love with someone who points out everything you do wrong. Fortunately for me, I had fallen in love with her years before, so we didn’t have that hurdle to cross. So my life, and my writing, is much better for it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Book Details:
By Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult
Published 2011, Katherine Tegen Books
Hardback, 487 pages
ISBN: 9780062024022

          In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
So this book is a bit of a recycled plot - whether or not Roth was aware that it resembled Hunger Games. Honestly, though, I really don't care. The book was entertaining, the world-building was still unique, and I can't wait to read the next one.
I found the idea of dividing society into factions based on a specific personality trait interesting in that I wanted much greater detail about each faction, much more so than the main character, Tris, was willing to provide. Tris is a teenager being forced into making the greatest decision of her life, and there just is not time for dwelling on the details. I found the simulation that is designed to help decide the faction of each individual too simplistic. Human beings are complex creatures, and an individual's personal prerogatives can change very easily from year to year. Abnegation, Amity, Erudite, Candor, Dauntless, or the rebellious Divergent - I could easily fit into any of these at different times in my life. The characters in the book are no different.
Much of the book centers around Tris undergoing the trials of becoming Dauntless, with details of the other factions trickling in, as well as the state of the political current. While this world of factions was originally created with the best of intentions, corruption has set in at all levels, and Tris's world will be toppled by the end of the book. While her trials are a journey of self-discovery, she is also forced to grow up quickly to protect the people she loves.
The only thing I would have liked to end differently is what happens to Tris's mother - with everything that we discover about her, she could have been a fountain of fascinating plot elements. Unfortunately, in most YA books, parental figures rarely stick around. Hopefully, I will get my hands on Insurgent soon!

The Cover: I love the image on the cover, though it is not explained right away in the book. It's both exciting and mysterious, even if it does remind me of the Hunger Games book covers.

First Line: "There is one mirror in my house."
An interesting way to begin the book, and it perplexes me enough to keep reading.

Favorite Quote: "Sometimes crying or laughing are the only options left, and laughing feels better right now."

Read For: Young Adult Challenge, Dystopia Challenge

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Review: A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison

Book Details:
A Perfect Blood
By Kim Harrison
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published 2012, Harper Voyager
Hardback, 438 pages
ISBN: 9780061957895

          Ritually murdered corpses are appearing across Cincinnati, terrifying amalgams of human and other. Pulled in to help investigate by the FIB, former witch turned day-walking demon Rachel Morgan soon realizes a horrifying truth--a would-be creator is determined to make his (or her) own demons. But it can't be done without Rachel's blood, in this latest blockbuster by a "New York Times"-bestselling author.
Harrison pulls off another stellar installment in the Hollows series, a book I could hardly put down for anything. Rachel Morgan's drama expands to epic proportions with the threat of HAPA, an underground organization that is working to eradicate all non-human species. Combine that with Rachel's neutered magic thanks to Trent's bracelet, and it's a catastrophe waiting to happen. My frustration at Rachel's indecision is near constant from cover to cover, and that is just with the bracelet situation.
Rachel's romantic interest is also in limbo, as she ignores her attraction to Trent and bickers with her new bodyguard, Wayde - yet another source of frustration. Meanwhile, romance buds for both Ivy and Jenks, and secrets hover in the periphery, such as Glenn's personal motivations and the identity of the vampire Felix. The subplots provide nice diversions to the main one, and will expand in the next book in the series certainly.
The introduction of HAPA to the series also adds some backstory to the history prior to the beginning of the series as to the revealing of the inderland species, which I appreciate. Once upon a time, HAPA was much more vocal about their hatred for the inderlanders, and now it seems they have a much greater presence than previously assumed. This provides much fodder for plot possibilities!
I also rather enjoyed the interactions between Al and Trent's family at the end of the book. Personally, I think Harrison could turn Al into a very good dad - and children could be the key to truly taming him. Just keep writing, Harrison!

The Cover: The cover is vague, but tantalizing, and still fits in with the theme of the current plot.

First Line: "The woman across from me barely sniffed when I slammed the pen down on the counter."
As always, I love the snark and humor that Harrison's book brim with from the first page.

Favorite Quote: "They forget we need to see the outcome of pain before we willingly put ourselves through it. How else would we suffer nine months to have a beautiful child? We already know we have guts."

Read For: Finishing the Series Challenge

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Guest Post: Faythe Reclaimed by Lisa Sanchez

Today's guest is Lisa Sanchez, author of Faythe Reclaimed. Lisa Sanchez is a California cheer mom taxiing her way through life, one car ride at a time. Along with chauffer, she sports several job titles, including, but not limited to: author, chef, seamstress, videographer, nurse, enforcer, and general slave to her three daughters.
The first two books in her Hanaford Park series (Eve Of Samhain, Pleasures Untold) are published with Omnific Publishing. The third book, Faythe Reclaimed, is currently on submission. Her erotic suspense, Obsessed was published March 29th 2011 with Loose Id.

Here is a quick blurb of Faythe Reclaimed:
          Running through a strange forest with a bloodthirsty demon hot on her heels wasn’t Taylor’s idea of a rockin’ evening. Then again, neither rwas soaring backward through time and space. Time travel chafed and left a rank, nasty aftertaste. So, when she finds herself floundering amidst a sea of Commandment-loving holy rollers who fling accusations of witchcraft and bedevilment like hotcakes in a diner, finding her way home jumps to the top of her to do list. Too bad she can’t remember who she is or where she came from. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Taylor realizes she’s fallen for Gabriel, the mysterious Latin warlock who came to her rescue.
Battling an identity crisis and lost in a time that’s not her own, Taylor is determined to find her way back to twenty-first century Hanaford Park. But first, she and Gabriel must work together to uncover the dark scourge lurking in the shadows of Salem Village, and in doing so, save their lives, and the lives of countless innocents from a lethal date with the hangman’s noose.

          Before I start chatting, I’d like to say thank you to Jacob’s Beloved's Books for hosting my tour today. I’m both excited and honored to be here.
A lover of all things paranormal, I’ve been fascinated with the Salem Witch trials since my early teens. The mob mentality and ease in which people accused and condemned their brothers and sisters sparked my curiosity and boggled my mind at the same time. How could people be so judgmental? So self-righteous?
I find it very interesting that the things that once scared our early colonial American relatives (witchcraft, ghosts etc.) completely fascinate us in the present. The paranormal genre is booming, and full of incredible stories filled with all kinds of magical, supernatural creatures.
Two of my favorite movies feature the oppressive nature of that time: The Crucible, and The Scarlett Letter. Both films also showcase a super hottie male lead (I’ve got a sick love for Gary Oldman in the above mentioned flick) and a beautiful love story to round out all the hatred and angst. If you haven’t had a chance to watch either, I highly recommend.
It was my hope, when writing Faythe Reclaimed, that I could capture the dark, unforgiving beliefs of that time period, while sharing Gabriel and Taylor’s love story. The task was daunting, to say the least––time travel stories are tricky buggers to write, lol––but in the end, a challenge I believe I conquered. Faythe Reclaimed is not only larger than its two predecessors, but darker and sexier, and I hope readers love it as much as I do.
That sounds like a great read! I've always wondered about the accusers in the Salem Witch Trials myself. I share the sentiment of being a slave to three daughters, too!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Guest Post: Sins of the Mind by L. J. Garland & Debie Gould

Debbie: Well, (turns to Laura) this is the first stop on our tour of Red River. You’d think we would have stopped at the Bakery, but no here we are in front of Red River’s steakhouse. The one where Abby went on that blind date with...(huge eye roll) Elliot.
Laura: Yeah, Elliot Swanson, attorney at law. Hmm…what can I say? Let’s look at the menu.
Debbie: Well, the food looks excellent. They certainly do give huge portions, lol. Remember how disgusted Abby was by the huge hunk of rare steak Elliot devoured?
Laura: OMG! Disgusting. (chunks a roll at Debbie) Okay…if you don’t quit talking about that man, I’m going to lose my appetite.
Debbie: You just jinxed yourself woman. He's heading this way.
Laura: Crap. Of course he is. (glares at Deb then looks up) Elliot Swanson, what a surprise. So good to see you. Why don’t you join us? Take a seat next to Debbie, she was just talking about you.
Elliot: Why Elliot would be honored to sit next to such a beautiful woman.
Laura: Yes she is. And she’s single, too.
Elliot: (raises brow) Is that so? Well, play your cards right, and Elliot might ask you out for a date.
Debbie: (kicks Laura HARD under the table) Why, bless your little heart. I'm sure I'd be honored, Elliot, but I'm just not sure I'm ready to take that step yet. But do, please tell us about yourself. Now, since Laura and I wrote you, I know you're not a main character, so what is your role in the book. (beyond being an insufferable pig)
Elliot: Why I’m Elliot Swanson, attorney at law. (pops a card, hands it to Debbie, and grins) This town couldn’t survive without his expertise. Why, Elliot is an expert at lots of things, if you catch the meaning.
Laura: Ahem. Um, I heard you were called down to the police station for questioning about those horrible murders.
Elliot: What? That buffoon, Detective Parker, doesn’t know his head from a hole in the ground. Elliot Swanson did not murder anyone. Elliot’s a lover not a killer. (turns toward Debbie) Though he has been referred to as a killer lover on more than one occasion. Can I buy you a drink?
Debbie: I'm DD tonight, sorry. So, what makes you so important to this town? I still don't get it. You're a defense attorney. I guess that in itself could be important, but you seem to think there is more to it than that. By the way, Detective Parker did get his guy, so I guess he knows something.
Elliot: (snorts) He stumbled into it. The whole town knows he’s a joke.
Debbie: Well, Abby sure doesn't. They seem quite happy together.
Elliot: Poppycock. It won’t last. The whole town knows she’s one step away from the loony bin, what with her going into hysterics over a peppermint. It’s a piece of a candy, for Pete’s sake. Who’s ever heard of such a thing?
Debbie: Elliot, why do you keep referring to yourself in the third person? Don't you find it annoying?
Elliot: (snicks air against his teeth and narrows eyes) Exactly what are you driving at, Ms. Gould? There’s no need to poke a tiger with a pointy stick. I’ve heard this song and dance before. Abby Montgomery lied about her availability for dating as well. Caught her at the cafĂ© across town with her high school heartthrob. (puts hand over his heart) You cut deep, Ms. Gould, all because Elliot Swanson flirted with a beautiful and desirable woman. 
Debbie: (spews the drink of water she'd just taken all over the front of Elliot) What the f—?
Laura: (abruptly sits up and looks toward the window) Wait. Did someone just have a wreck outside?
Elliot: (brushes shirt off and stands) Elliot needs to go check on the people outside, see there was anyone at fault. They might need a lawyer. (nods) Ms. Garland. Ms. Gould. And don’t be afraid to use that card. (winks)
Laura: A lawyer? What about a paramedic? I swear, I think he really believed he had a shot with you. (eyeballs Deb) You’re not gonna call him, right?
Debbie: Not if he was the last man alive in Red River!
Laura: LOL I didn’t think so. (looks at menu) Hmm…what looks good to you?
Debbie: Ohhh this Vermont Maple chicken looks awesome!
Laura: Perfect. Gotta keep our strength up for this blog tour.
Debbie You know it. Okay so lets eat and decide the next place we should check out. And please make it somewhere Elliot is NOT! That is one creepy dude. It's no wonder Ethan considered him a suspect.

Vermont Maple Chicken

Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 1 chicken, 2-1/2-3 pounds, cut up or equivalent chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Pure Vermont Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • Dash of pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sliced, chopped or slivered almonds
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken pieces in a shallow, buttered baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients and pour evenly over chicken. Bake uncovered 50-60 minutes. Baste occasionally.

....Seven years ago, Abby Montgomery survived a brutal attack. Now she is ready to put her pain in the past and move on with her life. The problem is, one by one the men in her life are being viciously murdered.
....The detective assigned to the case, Ethan Parker, has demons of his own to hide. As the danger gets closer to Abby, so does Ethan. But can they get past his secrets before the killer gets to them? Sometimes the sins of the mind are more depraved than the sins of the heart.

....“Moment?” He raised his eyebrows, tried for a surprised expression. “We were having a moment? Where was I?”
....A husky laugh escaped Abby’s lips. She gave him a playful shove, but he caught her hand, his fingers encircling her delicate wrist. With great care, he bowed his head and pressed his lips to the center of her palm. Her sharp intake of air told him she liked it.
....“Is this the moment you were referring to?” He kissed her wrist. “Or this?” His mouth grazed along her skin, up the side of her neck to the tender point below her ear.
....“Mmm.” She tilted her head, offering him better access.
....He inhaled, reveled in her unique scent. A mixture of spicy vanilla and exotic flowers invaded his senses and sent the room slowly spinning. Primal lust roared through him, demanded he possess her in a rush of carnal passion.
....But Ethan resisted.
....Intent on enticing Abby into a wild, heated frenzy, he trailed the tip of his tongue along her throat. Her pulse hammered beneath his ardent attention, and he reveled in her response. His fingers slid over her supple skin. One hand sought the silky tresses adorning her head while the other coaxed her legs across his lap then slipped around her waist.
....He pulled back, stared into her lovely face. Eyelids fluttering, she sighed in his arms. When she looked at him, desire burned bright in her eyes. His heart stuttered at the sight, and hot need rushed to his groin.
....“Abby.” Her name rolled from his tongue in a mix of desperation and lust. A voracious hunger to taste every inch of her body washed over him. The urge to kiss the small of her back, to run his tongue along her skin, delving and dipping into her secret, sensitive places, all but overwhelmed him. “Tell me to stop. If you’re not ready, honey, tell me to stop right now and by all that’s holy, I will. But you need to know how much I want you right now.”

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