0

Cover Re-Reveal: Dollar Series by Pepper Winters

SBPRBanner-DOLLARS-CR

NEW COVER AND BLURB REVEAL FOR THE MULTIPLE USA TODAY BESTSELLING DARK ROMANCE SERIES.

Please note: all ebooks and paperbacks will be the new covers. Ebooks will take a few days to generate. Paperbacks will take 6-8 weeks. Preorders will be delivered with these NEW covers. Interior content will not change.

Pennies and Dollars are OUT NOW! Pennies is only 99c. Hundreds will be releasing in a few weeks. Release date will be announced very soon!

ebook copy 3

PENNIES BLURB

“I’m not the hero in this story, girl. You’d do best to remember that.”

Once upon a time, I was an eighteen year old psychology student.

Now, I’m a man’s property.

Stolen and sold, I’ve been decorated in bruises since the day my world changed two years ago.

I suffer in silence, I crave freedom, but I never break.

I can’t.

Until he arrives.

Elder Prest, the only man to look at me and see me. The only man more ruthless than my owner.

He wants me for reasons I don’t understand.

He claims me for one night then leaves and never looks back.

Until he returns.

And life becomes much more complicated.

PENNIES BUY LINKS

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jRHjOl

iBooks: http://apple.co/22yGfPb

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1TXN1uq

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1WVHdEZ

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1Plgtvw

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1X2jy4I

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/2n24rh0

Amazon.com.au: http://amzn.to/2n24rO2

Amazon.com.ca: http://amzn.to/2mvK7kR

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2m34KsD

ebook

DOLLARS BLURB

“I should never have asked for a night with you. This would never have happened if I’d had more willpower.”

Once upon a time, I was a mute captive who wished for death.

Now, I’m stowed away on a yacht.

Saved and taken, the thief who stole me demands my voice, my past, my everything.

I won’t give in.

But Elder refuses to take no for an answer.

He pushes and cajoles, slowly discovering who I am. Until I find out he plays the cello to escape his demons, all while his music conjures mine.

He’s rich, I’m bankrupt.

I’m mute by choice, he’s curious by nature.

So many reasons why we can never work.

But that doesn’t stop our connection, our passion.

Until one night, he ruins everything.

And our relationship becomes twisted and full of sin.

DOLLARS BUY LINKS

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1t2hTBj

iBooks: http://apple.co/1ROpBTE

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1VxvqM7

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1XKTYRS

Google Play: http://bit.ly/24jqbzX

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/22DyeZ8

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/1UvlS1W

Amazon.com.au: http://bit.ly/1VxA6lc

Amazon.com.ca: http://amzn.to/1t2kQ57

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2mR7RTg

ebook copy

HUNDREDS BLURB

“Pim is the most dangerous woman I’ve met. Not because she can ruin me but because she has the power to steal my heart.”

Once upon a time, I wished to go home and forget.

Now, I’m strong and ready to fight.

Seduced and claimed, Elder no longer just demands my voice, he commands me to be a thief like him.

I refuse.

But he offers me things I shouldn’t want, favours I should run from.

In return for his protection, I’m ordered to steal enough pennies and dollars to buy back my freedom.

Only, we both aren’t prepared for how he changes me, evolves me.

It’s my turn to learn about him.

It’s his wish to teach me how to be normal.

Until something goes wrong.

And our life together comes to an end.

HUNDREDS BUY LINKS

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1XQAiML

iBooks: http://apple.co/20U4y8E

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2e6rd42

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1OZDwq2

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1UvlFM6

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1ZkHqzI

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/1TXNX1V

Amazon.com.au: http://bit.ly/1sNjevj

Amazon.com.ca: http://amzn.to/1Y3hiuB

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2nupCpA

ebook copy 4

THOUSANDS BLURB

Blurb to come…

THOUSANDS BUY LINKS

Amazon: http://amzn.to/20U37qG

iBooks: http://apple.co/1TKttYc

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1TYvR0R

Kobo: http://bit.ly/27ZPxrq

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1TQwkEe

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1Y75K9I

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/1ROqXOq

Amazon.com.au: http://bit.ly/1TQwY4v

Amazon.com.ca: http://amzn.to/1Y3hRVo

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2mv7ied

ebook copy 2

MILLIONS BLURB

Blurb to come…

MILLIONS BUY LINKS

Amazon: http://amzn.to/25yL2So

iBooks: http://apple.co/1sqg28W

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1ZebBbC

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1TOtyPS

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1sqgfcl

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1O7ZHQh

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/1PlhcwB

Amazon.com.au: http://bit.ly/22yHZYx

Amazon.com.ca: http://amzn.to/22yIgL6

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2mLpiCU

About the Author:

Pepper Winters is a multiple New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today International Bestseller.

After chasing her dreams to become a full-time writer, Pepper has earned recognition with awards for best Dark Romance, best BDSM Series, and best Hero. She’s an multiple #1 iBooks bestseller, along with #1 in Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense, Contemporary, and Erotica Thriller. With 19 books currently published, she has hit the bestseller charts twenty-six times in three years.

Pepper is a Hybrid Author of both Traditional and Self-published work. Her Pure Corruption Series was released by Grand Central, Hachette.

Her books have garnered foreign interest and are currently being translated into numerous languages, including already released titles in Italian and Turkish. Audio Books for her entire back-list will be available in 2017.

Connect with the Author:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pepperwintersbooks/

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lLHxdG

Twitter: @PepperWinters

Facebook Fan Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1511645192400372/

Never miss an update! Sign up for Pepper’s newsletter today!

http://www.subscribepage.com/www.pepperwinters.com

https://pepperwinters.com

0

Release Blitz: The Devil’s Kiss Series Box Set by Gemma James

TDKBoxedSet_BANNER_LIVE

The Devil’s Kiss series Boxed Set by Gemma James is NOW LIVE!
Don’t miss out on this deliciously dark complete romance!

TDKBoxedSet.jpg

BUY NOW:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nbx6Ny
iBooks: http://apple.co/2lBfBJX
Nook: http://bit.ly/2mCjgHd
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2miWinn

ADD TO GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/2n2Ckfd

TheDevilsBoxedSet_BonusTeaser

Blurb:

Nothing is black and white when everyone has secrets.

Broke and desperate, Kayla Sutton siphons thousands from her employer to pay for her daughter’s treatment, but when her boss finds out, he demands repayment…in the form of her submission.

What started as a game turns into so much more when the past returns, testing the chains that bind Gage and Kayla’s hearts together.

She fell for his wicked ways after he blackmailed her, stayed after he kidnapped her, went back to him after he almost destroyed them both with his fury. Now she wants to give him her future.

Willingly.

INCLUDES:

The Devil’s Kiss
The Devil’s Claim
The Devil’s Wife
The Devil’s Spawn

NOTE TO READERS: THE DEVIL’S KISS BOX SET is a dark romance with a BDSM edge that does NOT conform to safe, sane, and consensual practices. Includes explicit content and subject matter that may offend some readers. Intended for mature audiences

About the Author:

Gemma James is a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author of a blend of genres, from new adult suspense to dark erotic romance. She loves to explore the darker side of human nature in her fiction, and she’s morbidly curious about anything dark and edgy, from deviant sex to serial killers. Readers have described her stories as being “not for the faint of heart.”

She warns you to heed their words! Her playground isn’t full of rainbows and kittens, though she likes both. She lives in Oregon with her husband and their four children–three rambunctious UFC/wrestling-loving boys and one girl who steals everyone’s attention.

Connect with Gemma:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorgemmajames/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/gemmajames80
Website: www.authorgemmajames.com
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2eW8W5X
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/gemmajames
Newsletter: http://authorgemmajames.com/newsletter/

0

Review: Riot: A Scarred Souls Novel (Scarred Souls #4) by Tillie Cole

riot

Stolen by the Arziani Georgian crime mob as a child, 152 was raised and conditioned to be a Mona—the most subservient of the Arziani Blood Pit slaves.

Gorgeous and kind, she has been and under the imprisoning influence of the Type B drug and under the command of the Blood Pit Master’s sister, Mistress Arziani, for most of her life, until the Master calls her back home to Georgia.

He wants her under his total control, and Master always gets what he wants.

But when 152 is gifted to the Blood Pit’s fearsome champion death match fighter as a prize, 152 suddenly finds out that the men who appear most brutal, may just own the kindest hearts. And love may be found, even when living in hell.

Freedom, family, love, 152 will have to fight for what she wants and ultimately make an impossible choice.


My Review

“I am the Russian Pit Bull. The collector of souls. This was my domain. The Blood Pit was my arena. And I’d fight until the end.”

“You are more.” “My more. 152, my more.”

“You have made me feel, in here. You have made me want things I never dare myself to want. You have made me want to fight for survival, not pride. I no longer want to die on the pit’s sand, like a warrior. I no longer want to die at all.” “You make me want to live.”

“You are my heart. You are in my scarred soul. You are my male. My Ilya….I am not free if I don’t have you.”

Riot is the epic and thrilling conclusion to The Scarred Souls Series. In this final book, our characters will be put to the test in the most unimaginable ways. The stakes have never been higher. Riot is incredibly well written, raw and intense. This story is not going to be an easy one and at times, it might be hard to read. The situations and circumstances our characters will experience are not easy, but I promise that the journey will be worth it. It is not all dark. There are some light moments among the dark. There is hope in unimaginable circumstances. There is unexpected love that will last a lifetime.

Riot will grab on to you from the beginning and just hits the ground running. There is never a dull moment and you will be on the edge with anticipation. This book was everything that I wanted and more. I enjoyed every minute of this story from beginning to end and loved seeing this series come full circle. Fans of this series, you are going to love this epic and heart-pounding ending.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review*

0

Release Blitz: Kept From You by Nashoda Rose

Kept From You (Tear Asunder #4) by Nashoda Rose

Book Title: Kept from You (Book 4: Tear Asunder)
Author: Nashoda Rose
Genre: Erotic Romance
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Goodreads Button with Shadow

Cover photo: Copyright © 2016 Wander Aguiar Photography (http://www.wanderbookclub.com)
Model: Nick Bennett (https://www.facebook.com/nickbennett6/)
Cover design by: Kari Ayasha, Cover to Cover Designs

A first kiss that changed everything.

Killian Kane.
He was the most feared guy in high-school.
Guarded. Angry. A fighter.
But when I caught him watching me with his captivating green eyes I saw something more. Something protective and kind. 


He warned me to stay away from him.

I did.
Until I didn’t and he kissed me. A knee weakening, body tingling kiss that left me breathless. 
And scared the hell out of me.


And then…
He warned me never to come near him again or next time he wouldn’t let me go.



That was eleven years ago.
We aren’t teenagers anymore. He has probably forgotten me. 
He’s a famous rock star now. I’m a dance instructor with a broken dream and desperate for a job.
So, when we cross paths again I don’t expect him to remember me.
He does.
And his warning eleven years ago? I’m about to find out exactly what that meant.

The thin sweet crunch mixing with the light, airy cream tickled my tongue.

Indulging was rare. Indulging in something like crème brûlée was heaven on a spoon.

But what made it even more like heaven was that Killian watched me with desire blazing in his eyes.

I swallowed, then with the tip of my tongue, I slid it over my lower lip, licking the remnants of cream.

“Fuck,” he growled.

I secretly smiled, heart pumping wildly.

I’d never been sexy or tried to be sexy, but I wanted to be with Killian. He made it easy for me to be brave.

Lights dim, candles flickering, the soft jazz music in the background, skin tingling from the sexy-as-hell man next to me, yeah, I was brave.

I dipped the spoon in again, but Killian’s fingers spanned my wrist, stopping me.

I met his eyes and without a word, but knowing exactly what he wanted by the silent exchange of his steady expression, I released the spoon to him.

His attention went to the dessert where he tapped the light thin sugar shell before breaking through and sinking into the airy lightness.

He lifted the overfilled spoon at the same time as his eyes.

I thought he was going to take a bite himself, but he held the spoon out to me. “Open.”

I nervously laughed, thinking he was kidding; it was a huge mouthful. “It’s too much.”

“I know. Open, Savvy,” he said.

Oh, God, my belly dropped and my sex clenched. I swallowed, licking my lips again.

“No,” he said with a firm voice. “I didn’t ask you to lick your lips. Although that is fuckin’ delectable as hell.” His tone lowered further. “I asked you to open your mouth.”

My eyes widened. Holy. Fuck. That was hot. Demanding and a little scary because him using that voice I’d pretty much do anything he asked.

I opened, and he slid the dessert into my mouth, and since there was so much, it hit the roof, sides, and back of my throat. He didn’t remove the spoon right away and watched as I struggled not to pull away.

When I was just about to say screw it, he said, “My cock will fill your mouth a hell of a lot more than this.”

I nearly choked. And I would’ve if he didn’t slowly remove the spoon, my lips dragging over the cool, smooth surface of the spoon to make certain I took the entire dessert.

His elbow rested on the table, spoon in his hand, eyes on mine as I swallowed little by little until it was gone. The entire time I thought about his cock.

meet the author

Nashoda Rose is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who lives in Toronto with her assortment of pets. She writes contemporary romance with a splash of darkness, or maybe it’s a tidal wave.

When she isn’t writing, she can be found sitting in a field reading with her dogs at her side while her horses graze nearby. She loves interacting with her readers and chatting about her addiction—books.

social media

websiteblognewsletter signuptwitterFacebookpinterestinstagramGoogleGoodreads

amazon usamazon UKB&NsmashwordskoboiBooks

Audible

giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

500x500 BEP Square

0

Cover Reveal: Cut Wide Open by Abby McCarthy

 
Cover Design by Hang Le
Publication Date: March 20, 2017

Blurb

One day you held my hand. One day you loved me.
Then you were gone.
At sixteen, I lost the only love I’d ever known. Thrown back into the foster system, pregnant and alone, I prayed that you’d come for me and save me from life’s cruelties. Only the next time I saw you, it was too late.
Doing what I needed to do to provide for my son, we were finally brought face to face. It should have been the best day of my life, but it was far from it. It was the worst.
That day a monster took me and held me captive.

I begged for my life. I prayed for my son. I dreamt of you, the memories keeping me alive.

You finally came for me. You were my heart. My Salvation.

But sometimes the heart is too damaged, too broken, to be saved.

And sometimes monsters have a way of coming back to haunt me.
*This is a dark story. It is intended for mature audiences. If you need a trigger warning then this book isn’t for you. I have other books of mine that I’d recommend like Current or Tainted by Crazy, but not this one.
Add to your TBR: http://bit.ly/2lsE5QU

About Abby McCarthy

Abby McCarthy is reader and a lover of words. She is a blogger turned author and released her first novel in May 2014. She is a mother of three, a wife and a dog person. She has always written, sometimes poetry, sometimes just to vent about failed relationships, however in parenthood she has found her voice to help keep her sanity. Words have flowed from her, to review and with the support of amazing friends in the Indie community she has decided to pursue her dream of writing! She loves to write and read romance, because isn’t that something we all yearn for? Whether it be flowers and hand holding or just the right tug on your hair. Isn’t that what life is about? The human connection?

Follow Abby McCarthy

0

Blog Tour: Ripple Effect, Episode One by Keri Lake

Ripley

They call me RIP.
I’m a killer. A murderer. A psychopath.
In the eyes of the righteous, I’m a monster, born of sin and depravity.
I want to protect her, but I’m not a good man.
I want to love her, but I no longer feel.
She gets under my skin, though, and has awakened something inside of me.
Something I’d kill for.
I’m not her savior—not even close. In fact, I’m worse than the hell she’s already suffered.
I’m her vengeance. Tit for tat, as they say.
And if she’s not careful, I’ll be her ruin.

Dylan

For months, I’ve watched him.
I’ve fantasized him as my savior, my lover. My ticket out of the hell I’ve lived in for the last six years.
I never dreamed he’d be my nightmare.
Had I known what he really is, I’d have never gotten in the car that night, but life is full of cause and effect.
And sometimes the choice on offer isn’t a choice at all.
It’s the result of something already in motion, and we’re merely left to survive the ripple effect.

*This is an erotic suspense/erotic romance not recommended for readers under the age of 18 due to graphic violence and sex.

 My Review

“Ripple effect: noun 1. a spreading effect or series of consequences caused by a single action or event.”

“I’m a man of simple pleasures: The hunt. The capture. And the kill.”

Wow! Wow! Wow! Episode One of Ripple Effect starts off with one heck of bang and just hits the ground running. This story is told in a novella/serial series style, and is told from dual points of view. This story is dark. It is intense. It is shocking and filled with surprises. So much happens in just a few chapters. You will be riveted and intrigued. You will be on the edge waiting to see what will happen next. Before you know it, you will have reached the end and will be dying to get your hands on the next episode.

I think this new series is off to an exciting start and I can’t wait to see what will happen to our characters next.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review*

Shells are made to be cracked.
I stare down at the tiny white egg, wedged between the ashtray filled with cigarette butts and the empty bottle of Jack Daniels on the balcony.  Hardly broken in two halves, the busted center reveals an underdeveloped bird inside, nearly devoured by the bugs that crawl in and out of the shell.  I can just make out one bulbous eyeball, surprisingly intact, staring back at me.  Mourning Dove, I’d bet.  They seem to flock to this shithole every year, for whatever reason.
The nest teeters on the edge of the eave somewhere above me, as if the mother intentionally chose this most dangerous spot to lay her egg then up and abandoned it.  Left to the careful watch of carnivores.
Poor little bird.
A tickle hits my arm and I slap a hand to my skin, before scratching at the spot just below a black monarch butterfly tattoo, digging my nails into the place where I’m certain I felt something crawling over me.  I hate when my long wisps of hair skim across the surface like a translucent web dancing over my skin.  Insects give me the willies.  Well, except for butterflies, I don’t mind them so much.  My therapist put a name on it once, said I had ento-something-phobia—a fear of bugs.  It’s not really the bugs themselves I fear, though.  It’s the idea that something could breach the barriers of my skin, and infest, just like the shell that housed that bird.  Sometimes I have dreams about them, crawling over me, nesting inside of me.  
The very thought casts a shiver down my spine, and I’m grateful for the pane of glass that separates me from the macabre outside my window.  
Wind rattles the glass in its frame, the tendrils of late winter snaking their way beneath the thin afghan wrapped around my shoulders.  It’s been mild, unseasonably warm enough for bugs and early blooms, but that Chicago wind carries the vestiges of a brutal winter.
The fog of my pills is lifting, making me more aware of the cold, but I’m holding off for something stronger.  I’ll need it tonight.
From below, the mumbled shouts of Lady Ortiz, as I call her, push their way through the rotted wood planks that separate our balcony from hers.  She and Mr. Ortiz are fighting again, their voices escalating into the crash of broken glass.   The Yorkie, three floors below, barks an incessant plea to take a piss outside, and I wonder if his owner, Mrs. Silvia, has finally kicked the bucket.  The lady’s pushing ninety, and the pungent reek of ammonia that fills her apartment seeps through the heating ducts of this place sometimes.
Oddly enough, in spite of the noise, the smells, and the crawling bugs, this is my moment of peace. Escape.  Freedom.  
I must be the only teenage girl on the planet who longs for quiet moments without the gossip, the socializing, and all the damn noise.  In a generation of selfies and the desperate need for validation, sometimes I like to slip onto the other side of the mirror and simply watch.
Fringed by the glow of my bedroom light, I study the broken shell, eyeing an ant that marches away with a chunk of something far too big for its size, and I’m reminded that the world takes what it wants even after death.
That’s how I got here, this shithole apartment smack in the middle of Chicago.  Just like insects, after my father’s death, the bank took our house, the creditors took our cars, and shame stole our pride as we bounced from shelter to shelter, my mom and me.  I was nine years old when he died, and as innocent and vulnerable as a baby bird trapped inside a fragile shell.
Because he committed suicide, my dad’s insurance policy was considered null, and we were left without a pot to piss in.  For a while, though, we got by.  My mom landed a job dancing, and as a veteran’s widow, qualified for something like Section Eight housing.  I was left home alone most nights, but it worked.  We survived. Things were okay for a while.
I can’t even remember the moment life changed for us.  
Feels like it happened in the span of a year, but I know it only took one fleeting second in time, when she didn’t have to worry about me, when the weight bearing down on her lifted and she felt high as the clouds.
An odd dichotomy, heroin—the way it rolls off the tongue as two completely opposite things—a selfless and courageous woman, and a selfish agent of destruction.  
My mom gave up one for the other and that began our descent into some of the darkest days of my life.
My stomach twists, and I curl into myself, bringing my knees tighter to my body.  
Almost time.
Two silhouettes hit my periphery, and I turn toward the mouth of the alley, where they move abruptly, limbs flailing, as if they’re in the thick of a fight.  I focus on them for a moment, spotting the sag of his slacks just below his un-tucked shirt, and realize they’re not fighting at all. They’re fucking.  A prostitute and her John pressed against the dirty bricks of the building, beside the overflowing dumpster. Her dark skin is hard to make out, but his crisp white shirt stands out like a beacon of debauchery.
This alley is a constant stream of slum life stories.
Staring at them drudges a memory of sitting tucked beside a line of garbage cans in the back alley of a bar, watching a rat pick at a maggot-infested chicken leg lying in a toxic pool of wastewater, while the sounds of my mother’s animalistic grunts and moans drifted from the other side.  Nothing but meat and the stench of rot taunting my gag reflex.  Through a small gap between the wall and garbage, I could just make out a man’s naked ass slamming into her, his dirty fingers curled around her bony thigh.  Even then, no more than eleven years old, I knew what she’d become before the word was brutally carved into her skin. Whore.  Junkie.  A prostitute, always searching for the next high.
The two in the alley stop moving.  Only that they’ve begun to pull their clothes back on tells me one of them must’ve climaxed.  There is no big finale, or magical moment of ecstasy in the underbelly.  It’s all quick and quiet fucks, while breathing in the fog and reek of stale sex and damp garbage.  He tugs his slacks over his hips and holds up an object, which I’m guessing is a thin wad of cash.  She reaches for it and the guy strikes her with the back of his hand, the echoing smack that kicks her head to the side is the first sound I’ve heard between them.  
He’s probably her pimp.  If she fights him, she’ll have to drag her ass across the city looking for an unclaimed street corner, and pray some crazy lunatic doesn’t pick her up and turn her into a human skin rug with her head mounted on his wall.
At seventeen, I know more about organizational hierarchy and job security than the average middle-aged CEO, and just like the corporate world, success depends on how many people get fucked.  
Wolves and sheep.
For those of us in the flock, survival comes down to how well we manipulate, because a predator’s eyes are naturally drawn to the most innocent.  So when my mom’s John started giving me that carnal look, I began carrying a pocketknife, and at thirteen, I once held it to the junkie’s throat, threatening to slice out his voice box if he ever touched me again.
Sometimes the sheep can be cunning, though.
My mom once tried to make me pickpocket—a lesson that landed us in the back of a cop car.  Took ten minutes with the cop before we were released with a warning, and it was then I learned a valuable lesson in life:  even at a woman’s weakest, sex could be her most powerful weapon.
I glance back at Charlie, my stark white Dogo Argentino, stolen from one of my mother’s back alley conquests.  If not for her, I wouldn’t be sitting here, letting the blood-sucking insects feed off of me, after my mother spiraled straight to her grave.  
Charlie gives me purpose.  If there is a God, I truly believe he put her in my life to keep me from doing stupid shit.  That, or to give me a weakness, because Lord knows I’d probably go psycho bitch crazy and end up in a padded cell if anything ever happened to my beloved dog.
Because of her, my heart is a tenderer piece of meat for the insects to tear apart.
At the opposite side of the room is another bed that belongs to my eight-year-old foster sister, Layla.  Well, for now anyway.  She won’t be here long.  This place is a revolving door for foster girls, most only staying a couple months max.  I don’t know where they go, and honestly, I don’t care.  There’s no point getting to know them.  In the time I’ve lived with the Westpricks, at least two-dozen girls have been in and out of here.  In some ways, I resent them, getting out and moving on to something else.  Maybe somewhere better.
I’m the only one who ever stays.  The constant in this hellhole.
Since I was nine years old, I’ve been bounced around from house to house, wishing and hoping for things that just don’t happen to kids where I come from.  For six of those years I’ve been lost.  The forgotten.  The unwanted.  I’ve been hurt in ways that have forever changed my landscape and numbed me to future pain.  
But now I have Charlie, who’s a reminder that good things can come from bad situations, and that even a beast can penetrate the hardest of hearts.  
Charlie makes me think of my mother more than I care to.  Perhaps because it was my mother who stole her for me, unwittingly gifting me my own personal guardian angel.  
I miss her sometimes, though.
The memories of her are like bent photographs that I pull from my back pocket from time to time, wishing I could set them out on a shelf someday.  But life’s too short, particularly in this part of the city, to dwell on what will never be again.
My mom wasted away before I even hit middle school. Police told me it was an overdose, but I think she got a hold of a tainted batch of heroin.  
And I’ve been caught up in the system ever since.
A few places worked out okay.  They let me keep my dog, which was cool, but people tend to give up on kids who don’t love as easily as others.  I acted out.  Punched my first foster mother in the face and broke her nose.  Didn’t even have a good reason, really, except that she was the first person I had to deal with after my mom died.
Lucky for me, my caseworker managed to track down my mom’s sister, Chanel, and her long-time boyfriend, Randy.  I’d never met her before, never even knew my mom had a sister. Aside from the fact that Chanel treats Layla and me like her favorite Barbie dolls, the two of them can’t stand us most of the time.
Doesn’t matter, though.
Two more months and I’ll be out on my own.  
I close my eyes so tight they ache.  Two more months.  That’s when I graduate and can get the hell out of this shithole, and away from the shady foster system that threw me into the hands of Randy Westprick, as I like to call him, and my flighty aunt.  In a few weeks I turn eighteen and no one will own me anymore.  No one.
I could run away now, ditch school and hit the streets, but that would put me on the same path as my mother and I’d rather die in this hellish place than repeat her mistakes.
The neon sign across the alley blinks a mesmerizing repetition of lost hopes that reflects off the patches of water along the pavement.
A shadow slips along my periphery, and I lift my gaze as a dark figure stalks down the alley toward the old fashioned-looking diner that sits across the narrow cross section on the corner.  A place that reminds me of the Boulevard of Broken Dreams painting I once saw at the mall.
It’s him.
Head to toe in black, the stranger’s tall frame remains concealed in the leather coat he always wears.  I flip open the dull brass pocket watch, the only remnant left of my real dad, and check the time.  Ten o’clock, as usual.  Churning in my stomach has me hugging my mid-section.  
Almost time.
Every Friday I watch the stranger enter the diner, choosing the corner booth beside the window, where he orders a burger and drink.  It’s only Friday he orders a burger.  Some nights he’ll come in, grab carry-out, and leave. But not on Fridays.  On those nights, he stays and sits alone, never seems to make small talk with the waitress—the same lady who waits on him every time he ventures in.  Their interactions are brief and as cold as I’d imagine from a man like him.  In spite of that, the sight of him makes me dream things.  I don’t know who he is, but I fantasize that he’s a deft killer by the way he carries himself with such lethal grace.  If he is, then this is the side his victims never get to see—his vulnerability, choosing the same place, the same seat, the same time every Friday night.  It’s a sadness that speaks to me, because without fail, I find myself settling in by my window at the very same time.  
Occasionally, he goes at different times, on different days, some weeks not at all, which might seem erratic to some, but I’ve watched him long enough to know there’s a pattern.  One that I’ve picked up on, because that one week he’s not there, is repeated precisely four weeks later.  Perhaps it’s mindless on his part, maybe his visits correspond to events in his life that I’m not privy to, but I’m a creature of patterns, and I’ve memorized his.
From as high as my window, I can see he’s big.  A man, not a boy, at least ten years my senior.  His bulky frame fills the creases of the leather coat he wears, and he reminds me of something straight out of a comic book—not the hero, but the menacing antihero, the bad guy no one expects to be good.
No, in my fantasy, he’s bigger.  Meaner.  Stronger.  A man who kills on instinct.
Beneath the cover of my blanket, I sneak my hand down inside my shirt, closing my eyes the moment my fingertip makes contact with my hardened nipple.  I imagine his lips closing over it, the scratch of his day-old scruff against my skin and his strong hands holding me in place, the gruff in his voice as he says my name like a fervent prayer.  I imagine he smells good, not like stale beer and the putrid mix of body odor and bacon grease, but something deliciously masculine.
I shouldn’t want for a grown man this way, but I do, and I don’t even know him.  
For months, I’ve held this invisible rendezvous with him, staring down from my perch, imagining him stealing me from this cage.  Turning me into whatever he is.  Killer?  Criminal?  I don’t even care, so long as it’s tougher, more wicked than Randy Westprick.
I fault him for my lack of interest in the boys at school.  Not that I’m allowed to date them anyway, but I’m certainly not touching myself to any of the guys my age.
Sometimes he stares out the window and I swear his gaze scans up to my balcony. However, if he sees me, he never makes it known.  Perhaps to a man like that, I’m nothing but a young girl, hardly a threat for noticing him.
With my bottom lip caught between my teeth, I succumb to the visuals toying with my mind and the soft moan that escapes me has me stealing a furtive glance back at Layla to make sure she’s still asleep.
He takes his usual seat, filling the booth with his bulky frame.  Some nights I picture sliding into his lap, his body crushing me against that table, as I straddle his thighs.  I imagine his massive arms enveloping me.  His tongue across my skin and in my mouth.  Sweat dripping down my back, along my spine where the palm of his hand holds me in place.  How he’d feel without the pills denying me the sensation of his cock filling me.  The edge of the table beating into my back with every punishing drive of his hips, and the tight clench of his jaw in that reckless moment when he finishes inside of me.
My lips part at the vivid imagery, and my belly tightens while I circle my nipple with the pad of my finger.
If anyone were after him, he’d be hard to miss in those bright lights, the way he stands out like a splotch of black paint on a stark white canvas. He hasn’t looked this way once tonight, which allows me to study him intently, admiring his virile features.
He’s beautiful.  A sad, but beautiful man.
The click of the doorknob sends a knot straight to my throat and my stomach sinks like bricks in a murky river. The sound alerts my dog, who I can hear rustling in her bed, and a low growl rumbles in her chest.  
I slip my hand out of my shirt, straightening myself beneath the afghan.  
A beam of new light invades the soft glow of the Christmas lights I’ve strung around the room for Layla, and as my nightmare enters, Charlie’s growl dies to a whimper.
The thud of his boots across the floor sound like the hooves of the devil coming to claim my soul.  A scuffling tells me he’s stumbled, but not even that prompts me to turn around.  
Drunk again.
The moment I caught him hunkered down in front of the television with a six-pack, I knew he’d come for me.  I don’t want to look at him.  I hate him.  The smell of him makes me sick, like a walking deep fryer.  
If not for Charlie, I’d climb over the railing of the balcony, spread my arms, and fly.  The police would find a broken shell of me.  They’d study me, the same way I studied the baby bird, while the world dissects pieces of my story to suit their curiosities, leaving nothing but a picked over carcass.
All because my mother abandoned her nest.
They’ll never know it was he who gave the final push, and it won’t even matter.  Once he injects the drugs, I’ll fall into dissociative bliss, tucked away in the same fog that kept my mother oblivious of the world around her, on rose-colored clouds, and a never-ending dream.  
The darkness behind my eyelids is my only refuge from the hell around me, and I’ll willingly climb inside, burrowing myself in that place where no one can touch me.  While my body’s propped on the cold metal of the washing machine, I’ll be miles away, fallen deep into the rabbit hole.  No one can find me there.  Not Randy, nor the men who see the photographs of me that he takes in the dingy laundry room of this apartment complex.  
Although he never violates me himself, for whatever reason, he likes objects.  The more common they are, the more he gets off.  He once had me masturbate the end of a vibrating toothbrush and used it for months after—smiling at me every time he brushed his teeth.  
I’ve been defiled in every sense short of rape, stripped and purged of innocence, feeding his disgusting obsession with me.  
I often wonder what Chanel’s like when she’s not hopped up on pain pills.  If she’d be jealous and accuse me of fucking her man, or if she’d take pleasure in watching him do it.  I once tried to tell her about him taking me down there and snapping pictures of me.  She offered me one of her pills and asked if I liked the boots her friend had handed down to me.  
I can’t blame her too much, though.  Randy likes to use her as his personal punching bag, and most days, she’s sporting a bruise somewhere.  Even if it’s not always visible.  He’s hit me a few times, but unlike Chanel, I hit him back, even at the risk of more pain, because I believe once you show weakness, it’s easier to fall prey to it.
A tug at my elbow and I glance to the side, swatting at his arm.  “Don’t touch me.”
Sometimes Randy offers gifts—small tokens that come with his usual pep talk about how it’s not abuse because he never actually penetrates me and the photos don’t show my face.  That’s a lie.  I once swiped his phone when he passed out on the couch and deleted a good few dozen pictures of me—his little mementos.  I couldn’t stand to look at my own face—droopy eyes singed with the apathy toward whatever he forced me to do. I’d hoped to see shame in those photos, but it seemed buried too far beneath the effects of the drugs.
He’s threatened to circulate them throughout the school if I say a word about any of this.  Send them to all my classmates on Facebook, as if they’d come from me.  Like he’d ever let me have my own account.  As far as the world is concerned, I don’t exist.
“C’mon,” is all he says, before walking out of the bedroom.
I give one more glance toward the man in the diner, as he stares off, waiting for his food.  Maybe one day he’ll look up and see me.  
Maybe he’d want to kill Randy Westprick, if he knew that somewhere close by, a girl was forced to do bad things.  Very bad things.
For now, the drugs will put up a barrier, separating my mind from the horrors of my reality, much like the pane of glass that separates me from the insect-ravaged bird outside my window.
Maybe it won’t hurt as much this time, knowing that I do this to keep Randy from slaughtering my dog or taking away the pills that have become as necessary as the air I breathe.  A vicious cycle of escaping to survive and surviving to escape.
Because sex is power.
And even the hardest shells are made to be cracked.
A Kindle Fire
$50 Amazon Gift Card
Keri Lake Swag Pack
To enter click HERE
Keri Lake is a married mother of two living in Michigan. By day, she tries to make use of the degrees she’s earned in science. By night, she writes dark contemporary, paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Though novels tend to be her focus, she also writes short stories and flash fiction on the many occasions distraction sucks her into the Land of Shiny Things.

For news, updates and sneak peeks at the sexy cover model candidates for her annual Cover Model Contest, subscribe to her newsletter: http://eepurl.com/HJPHH
0

Release Blitz: Cole by Tijan

He was the leader of the mafia. I was about to fall in love with him, and his name…Cole Mauricio.

Cole by Tijan is NOW LIVE!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2leLlzL

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2lpfblG

Audible: http://amzn.to/2kZTpJ6

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2lYr2uU

iBooks: http://apple.co/2mxd67F

Nook: http://bit.ly/2msavwx

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2msd9SX

cole

Full Blurb

I shouldn’t have remembered him.

He was just a guy who walked through a restaurant. I didn’t know his name. We never made eye contact. There was no connection between us at all.

But I could feel him.

The tingle down my spine. The command in his presence. The snap of tension in the air around him. That was the first time I saw him, and I was captivated.

The second time was different.

He was in the mysterious back elevator of my apartment building. Our eyes met for a fleeting second before the doors closed, and I was staggered. My breath was robbed. My senses on high alert. My body hummed.

That was just the beginning.

He was the leader of the mafia. I was about to fall in love with him, and his name…

Cole Mauricio
cole-teaser-1

Author Information

tijan

I didn’t begin writing until after undergraduate college. There’d been storylines and characters in my head all my life, but it came to a boiling point one day and I HAD to get them out of me. So the computer was booted up and I FINALLY felt it click. Writing is what I needed to do. After that, I had to teach myself how to write. I can’t blame my teachers for not teaching me all those years in school. It was my fault. I was one of the students that was wishing I was anywhere but at school! So after that day, it took me lots of work until I was able to put together something that resembled a novel. I’m hoping I got it right since someone must be reading this profile! And I hope you keep enjoying my future stories.
Stalk Her: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads