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Sunday, May 31, 2020

SSS: Year Five by Avery Song

SSS by Avery Song

I have been in love with Silver since book one so I was more then ready to dive into this new journey with her. We get a whole new school, new challenges, and new intrigue on top of all of the things we have grown to love this whole time (think their annual "war" games ;). At the same time the characters are all still growing as well as the evil plot still going on behind them trying to stop them from fulfilling the prophecy. So many new twists and turns that I have no clue what will happen next but I will be waiting on the edge of my seat waiting for the next book so I can find out. A fantabulous addition to this incredible series!! I totally love it so I give it 5/5 stars.

Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway for Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse by Kate Young

Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse 

(A Marygene Brown Mystery) 

by Kate Young

About Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse

Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series  
Publisher: Kensington (May 26, 2020) 
 Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages 
 ISBN-10: 1496721470 
ISBN-13: 978-1496721471 
Digital ASIN: B07W4MRDKR 
On Georgia’s picturesque Peach Cove Island, a killer is serving up a two-for-one special . . .
After their mama's passing, Marygene Brown returned to Peach Cove Island to help her sister Jena Lynn run the family diner, renowned for its homemade peach desserts. But Mama is never too far away—her sassy spirit haunts the island, and more specifically Marygene. Lately Mama has been warning her that the dead will seek her out to solve their murders, an idea Marygene is far from peachy keen on.
But that prophecy appears to be coming true when she goes skinny-dipping off the island and swims right into a woman's charred corpse floating in the waves. And when Marygene and her brother Sam come upon a second burned body in a wine cellar at an event they're catering, it appears they have a double homicide on their hands. It soon turns out the victims have more in common than their charred remains, and Marygene will need to double down to find a killer who has no aversion to playing with fire. Good thing Mama has her back . . .
Includes Seven Recipes from Marygene’s Kitchen!
 *I received a free copy of this book which I voluntarily chose to write an honest review for.

First off I must say what a great way to start a book! Marygene is doing her daily swim in the ocean from a secluded beach. Little did she know that she was about to run into a dead body as she did so. Add in her lack of swimming attire and it will make you giggle. As if that was not bad enough but she stumbles across a second body that was killed in the same way. What follows is an excellent mystery full of surprising twists, wonderful characters, and a mystery with all sorts of layers. Makes for a fun read as it all plays out. I really liked it so I give it 4/5 stars.

About Kate Young

Kate Young writes Southern mystery novels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Guppy Chapter. Kate lives in a small town in Georgia with her husband, three kids, and Shih Tzu. When she is not writing her own books, she’s reading or cooking.

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May 25 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW  
May 25 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT  
May 25 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW  
May 26 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE  
May 26 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW  
May 26 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT  
May 27 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW  
May 27 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT  
May 27 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  
May 28 – Diane Reviews Books - REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW  
May 28 – Christy's Cozy Corners - REVIEW  
May 28 – Baroness' Book Trove – REVIEW  
May 28 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT  
May 29 – Cozy Up With Kathy - REVIEW  
May 29 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT  
May 29 – I'm Into Books – SPOTLIGHT  
May 29 – T's Stuff – SPOTLIGHT  
May 30 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW  
May 30 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW  
May 30 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – SPOTLIGHT  
May 30 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT  
May 31 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT  
May 31 – Laura's Interests – SPOTLIGHT  
May 31 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW  
May 31 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT  
June 1 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT  
June 1 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW  
June 1 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW  
June 1 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW   


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Book Blitz & Giveaway for Tenth Stem by Mary Cook

I am so excited that TENTH STEM by Mary Cook is available now and that I get to share the news!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Mary Cook, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon GC courtesy of Rockstar Book Tours & Mary. So if you’d like a chance to win, check out the giveaway info below.

About The Book:
Author: Mary Cook
Pub. Date: February 12, 2020
Publisher: Mary Cook
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 263
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle

No longer is there a waiting list. Not when women can be created in a lab for the express purpose of supplying readily available organs that can be harvested within hours.

An international research corporation does the unthinkable. Taking stem cell research to new levels, they push the boundaries.

An innocent young life hangs in the balance. Because of the simple fact of one child too many, Tansy faces certain death. A baby thrust into her arms, then a kind guard whisks her away from all she has ever known. Lost and alone on the streets, Tansy finally finds sanctuary in an unlikely ally. Together the three work to stay one step ahead of the individuals who seek to cause them harm.

Her only desire is to find hope, love, and acceptance. She is faced with desperation, terror, and death. Now she must turn the tables and work to bring down those who would seek to destroy her new found happiness.

*warning: Graphic violence. LGBTQ.

She looked down at the bundle in her arms, “If I sit here holding number 1, that means that the numbers are coming faster, and pretty soon mine will be up? Is that it, Mark? Is that the everything you wanted to talk to me about?”

Shoulders hunched, his head bowed in shame, he couldn’t meet her eyes. He sat, silent, as he drew circles in the cold hard dirt with his fingers. 

10 heard him sniffle and knew how hard it was for him.

Guilt for the way she had talked to him consumed her, as she put her hand on his arm in comfort. He was too kind. Sympathy rose for the man who had always tried to be more than what was required. She knew what this job could do to one such as him, she had seen it before. The caring souls who became cold and callous, so she decided to do what she could to give him a boost in the right direction.

“Mark, why are you doing this? Why are you here?” She lowered her voice to a whisper as she looked around, “Get out while you can.”

His head jerked up, the startled expression on his face; the tears he had been trying to hide, unsettled her like nothing before. She had never seen Mark like that. He was afraid. She had always known fear, that was what her world was all about. Never would she have considered one of the guards would also know the same fear she lived with every single day.

“Granny, I’m as stuck here as you are. Sure, I get to go home every day, but if I were to miss one shift—”

When he mentioned going home, she couldn’t help thinking back on the question 31 had posed earlier that day. She scooted a little closer, then looked over at the closed door before she asked the question that all of them wanted answered.

She trusted him, and so she leaned in, the question blurted out before she could stop it, “Is this it, Mark? Is there anything else out there? Is this what it’s like… I mean, for everyone?”

About Mary:
Mary Cook is a retired police detective that lives in a small town right outside a ring of fire, just on the other side of…no wait, that’s a different character.

Actually retired, with hours and hours to write the next great novel, oh wait…nope that’s me. Yes, totally retired. Worlds come alive in my head, characters stand over my shoulder, and sometimes they wake me up at night. All of them want to come alive, to have their stories written. No matter how I think the story should go, it goes according to how the character decides it should. An evil character finds redemption. A beloved character is massacred for no good reason. They all write their own stories.

The ideas come to me, the character develops a personality, and the result is a book. I sincerely hope that everyone will love my books, but what I write isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. (Is it Mary? You sure you don’t want me to take care of it?) (Get back in the book, Ann!) I love to write stories that make you think, maybe make you a little uncomfortable. I am actually a pretty boring person. Retired, live in a dungeon (my office), two birds and a dog. Every now and then my husband expects me to come out and interact with the world, and I do (begrudgingly). Writing is my hobby, I used to do other things with my hands, crochet, knit…but then I got old(er), and they just don’t work as good as they used to.

On a more personal note, I do have children. I have three grown children, and lots and lots of grandchildren, with a few great-grandchildren. It’s like they’re in a competition on who can produce the most. If any of you read the back of the book, you’ll know that there’s more. But, outside of that, nothing. Boring. So, I bring life and color into the world through the pages of my books. Every time someone buys a book, or gives a review, I’m delightfully surprised. My eternal gratitude to all of you, for reading what I have written, and allowing me to become a small part of your life.

Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a $10 Amazon GC, International.

Ends May 26, 2020. Midnight EST.

Book Blitz & Giveaway for I Hate to Stand Alone by Casey Winter

I Hate to Stand Alone: A Small Town Enemies to Lovers Romance
Casey Winter
(Little Fall, #1)
Publication date: May 29th 2020
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
The small town I ran away from. The Navy SEAL I’m supposed to hate. If I can get through this summer without falling for the off-limits alpha, I’ll consider myself lucky.
Steamy, intense chemistry … is just one of the things I shouldn’t be feeling for Luke Nelson, soldier turned security agency operative. His brother and I were high school sweethearts, but he broke my heart. Plus, our families hate each other, à la the Hatfields and the McCoys.
I return to Little Fall, Maine, to care for my sick mom. He returns to fulfil his brother’s last wish of reopening their mother’s roller rink. I spent half my childhood at Family Roller … but never with him.
He was the older bad boy. I was the girl next door. Love was never an option. But now we can’t stop making eyes at each other.
As I reunite with old family and friends, I learn that Little Fall has just as many secrets as my heart. And even if I’m supposed to say no, my intrigue for dreamy, handsome, rugged Luke Nelson is off the charts.
It turns out I might have a second chance after all … even if it’s with my ex-boyfriend’s big brother.
This full-length romance has a happily-ever-after and can be read as a full standalone. It is free with Kindle Unlimited.
Subsequent books in the Little Fall series cover different heroes and heroines … though your favorite characters will make appearances.
I take a small sip of wine, letting its flavor burst on my tongue before swallowing. “You know how I hate to stand alone at parties?”
Penny rolls her eyes, a grin of reminiscence lighting up her face. “Do I remember it? Effing hell, Banana, it was one of the running themes throughout our childhoods. You couldn’t stand still, like ever. If you weren’t doing something, you were dying. That’s how it seemed to you. I remember one rare time when you convinced me to come to a party, I found you in the basement with a couple of the so-called dorks – June’s brother, right? – playing Dungeons & Dragons.”
“Oh, yeah,” I giggle, shaking my head at the memory. “I actually forgot about that.”
“I asked you what the heck you were doing, and you just looked me dead in the eye in that can’t-sit-still Hannah way and said, ‘Listen, Penny. I hate to stand alone. It’s as simple as that.’ All I did was go and use the effing toilet, girl. It wasn’t my fault Doug Helmsmore had a bad belly and I had to wait in line for the bathroom, was it?” She giggles. “But that was your little saying, whenever you threw yourself wholeheartedly into a new experience. If I ever called you brave, you’d toss your head and say, ‘It’s not brave, Lennie, I just hate to stand alone.’ But you were wrong, you know. It was brave, is brave, the way you throw yourself into stuff. I could never do it.”
“Thank you,” I say. “It’s really nice of you to say. But the point is, like, lately I’ve found myself standing alone at parties and having it feel sort of natural. Because even if I like my skating buddies, they’re not, I don’t know … they’re not home. Does that sound cheesy or what?”
Penny waves a hand. “Well, that’s great, then. If that’s really how you feel, it’s win-win. You’re happy and I get my bestie back. So what’s the problem?”
I pause, swallowing an awkward lump.
“Luke,” Penny says a moment later. “He’s the spanner in the works, right?”
I nod. “I guess so. To be honest, part of me was wondering if this would happen when I came back here for the long haul, like I sort of expected I might get involved in Little Fall stuff again. But what I definitely didn’t expect was for Luke Nelson to reopen Family Roller. I didn’t expect to find him completely, insanely irresistible. And I definitely didn’t expect to find out that our attraction went beyond just the physical.”
“Is that why you keep checking your phone?” she asks.
“What?” I flinch. “Do I?”
Penny rolls her eyes. “Hon, you’ve checked it at least once a minute.”
“That’s crazy,” I mutter. “I really didn’t even realize. But yeah, he texted me saying he wanted me to give him a day, which is sort of annoying, honestly, since I thought last night—well, I guess I thought it meant something.”
“Go to Family Roller, then,” Penny says firmly. “Go for a skate. If you feel like talking to him, march right up to him and say your piece. If not, just skate. That sounds like a win-win, too.”
“But there’s a lose in there, as well,” I mutter.
“And what’s that?”
“He breaks my heart, just like his little brother did.”

Author Bio:
Hello beautiful readers!
Thank you so, so much for checking out my books. My name is Casey and I just love to write romance with depth and characters you'll be able to connect with. My current series is called Little Fall, named for the town where it's set, but each book is a complete STANDALONE ... that said, don't expect Luke, Morgan, Hannah, or Penny (and many others) to disappear anytime soon! Little Fall is a town you can get invested in, for sure.
I just want to say I'm so grateful to you for checking out my work, and I hope you enjoy reading my romances as much as I enjoyed writing them (hopefully without less stressing LOL).
I've been writing ever since I was a little kid, sitting at my dad's fireplace in cozy New England winters and penning stories in my Barbie notepad. More recently, I've switched the notepad for a laptop, but I've never fallen out of love with the craft. Now, I live in just plain ol' England with a hunky husband and a Jack Russel named Loki.
I'd really appreciate if you could follow my Amazon author page, as I'm going to be around for a LONG time.
Bye for now! Or, should I say, see you in Little Fall ...


Book Blitz & Giveaway for Vicious by Marteeka Karland

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Book Blitz & Giveaway for Malcolm by D.B. West & Lane Hart

D.B. West & Lane Hart
(Dirty Aces MC, #1)
Publication date: May 30th 2020
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
While Malcolm Hyde may look like your very own personal Jesus, he’s anything but a saint. Covered in tattoos and leather, he’s a smoking hot biker and nothing but trouble.
As the president of the Dirty Aces MC, Malcolm is known for being cold and calculating. One bad decision – getting into business with the wrong person – is all it takes to bring down the entire MC. It’s happened before to his predecessor, which is why Malcolm refuses to let it happen again on his watch. He doesn’t trust anyone except for the few men who wear the same ace of spades patch on their back.
And that’s exactly why he doesn’t ever take his eyes off of me – the new girl. I never intended to make an enemy out of Malcolm or the MC when I was sent to steal everything I could from them.
After Malcolm finds out what I’ve been doing, he’s furious and shows no mercy until I spill all of my secrets, ones that could very well end my life. That’s when he makes me a surprising offer – he’s willing to take care of all of my problems, and the only thing he’s asking for in return is for me to completely surrender myself to him.
Spending two weeks in bed with a bad boy biker sounds more like a reward than a punishment.
There’s just one little catch – once he claims my body, there’s no guarantee he won’t steal my heart too.
~ Naomi ~
Swallowing down a bad case of the nerves, I slowly make my way over until I’m standing beside Malcolm’s desk near his feet. A second later, he pounces on me, so fast I didn’t even see him stand up. I just blink, and then he’s towering over me, his immense size making me gasp. He’s always intimidating when he’s just sitting down at the bar, but now he’s just plain scary standing at least a foot taller than me with his linebacker shoulders blocking out the rest of the room. He’s so close I have to tilt my head backward to see his face. Malcolm takes a drag off his cigarette and blows the smoke out of the corner of his lips before reaching around me to put it out in the ashtray, which means the front of his body is pressed even tighter to mine. From the corner of my eye, I then see him reach down and pull something from his pocket or his belt, but I don’t know what it is until the sharp point of what can only be a knife is pressing into the center of my chest.
A yelp of surprise escapes me before I find my voice again. “Wh-what are you doing?” I ask him.
He lowers the point until it meets the top of my dress. Grabbing the material with his free hand, the other slices the blade through the fabric, cutting my dress straight down the middle with enough force that I feel the pressure, but it doesn’t leave a mark on my skin. All the tips I’ve stuffed inside earlier float down to the floor around our feet, causing Malcolm to growl angrily through his gritted teeth.
“Those are-are my tips,” I tell him as I slap my palms over my bare breasts, feeling way too exposed at the moment wearing only a pair of red panties.
“Sure they are,” is his stony reply. “No need to act shy now and cover yourself up. Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that you were rubbing your pussy on my dick like you wanted to ride it?”
“Y-yes,” I answer, remembering the embarrassing moment when he said he would never fuck me.
“So, what’s the matter? You changed your mind?”
“No.” I shake my head to confirm my answer. “No, sir.” Malcolm may be scary at the moment, but I still want him. I’ve wanted him since the second I saw him, even though I know I shouldn’t.
“We’ll see about that.”
Closing the knife on the edge of his desk beside my thigh, he thankfully slips it back into his belt holster. As soon as his hands are free, though, he spins me around and presses his large palm between my shoulder blades, roughly forcing my bare upper body down until the side of my face is flat against a stack of papers on his desk.
“There’s nothing I hate more than liars except for thieves,” he mutters. Crap. He knows! “Do you have any idea how furious I am with you?” Keeping one strong hand on the center of my back, the other comes up over my hip, giving my panties a tug when he starts to peel them down my legs.
I shake my head no as much as I can because I’m incapable of speaking now that he has me naked and bent over the desk like he’s not planning on letting me up anytime soon. I don’t know if he’s going to whip me or kill me or fuck me for stealing from him.
He said a few weeks ago that he would never fuck me; but he put the knife away, so I think I can probably cross kill me off the list. Maybe. Hopefully.
“Wh-what are you going to do to me?” I cave and ask.
Placing his lips against my ear, his teeth nip at the cuff before he whispers, “I’m going to fucking ruin you.”

Author Bio:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lane Hart has more than forty steamy stories currently available on Amazon. Sign up for her newsletter to receive updates on new releases and free promotions by copying and pasting this link into your web browser:
Lane lives in North Carolina with her husband, author D.B. West, their two daughters, a few lazy cats and a pair of rambunctious Pomeranians. She has a Masters in Criminal Justice and spent ten years working as a paralegal for a criminal defense attorney before walking away to become a full-time writer.
In October 2015, the paranormal romance anthology Wicked After Dark, including her standalone, Let Him Reign, hit #13 on the New York Times bestseller list. Since then she's been climbing the Amazon charts with hot new releases. So whether you're looking for MMA superstars, hot cops, arrogant football players, sweet millionaires, or romantic weddings, there's a little bit of something for everyone.
Lane loves to hear from her readers on Facebook, Twitter, on her website, or by email!
USA Today bestselling author D.B. West was born and raised in the southern United States. While studying at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, he met his wife and fellow author, Lane Hart. They now reside together with their two young daughters and their pets, a pair of Pomeranians.
After losing his father to a lingering illness, West began writing 'Awakening' as a way to channel his emotions, and honor the memory of a true friend. In addition to writing, he enjoys video games, motorcycles, and traveling.


Countdown for Love in Lockdown Charity Anthology

𝟭𝟬𝟬% 𝗼𝗳 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗴𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝗨𝗞 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗨𝗦 𝗙𝗼𝗼𝗱𝗯𝗮𝗻𝗸 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀.

A state of isolation, close proximity, or confinement.
Join fourteen bestselling authors as they distract YOU from lockdown with this collection of all-new short and steamy stories.
There’s no escaping... love is catching.
Pre-order this upcoming charity anthology and help raise much needed funds for families struggling on hard times due to the coronavirus.
Amazon Universal:
Apple Books:
Google Play:
Add to TBR:
#comingsoon #preorder #charityanthology #loveinlockdown #contemporaryromance #newadultromance #romanticsuspense #MCromance #closeproximity #lockdown #covid19relief #covid19support #staysafe #mustread  @andieandangelbooks @authorlacotton @jadewestauthor @mvalentineauthor @corareillyauthor @frankielove_romance @khardine_gray_books @ninalevinewriter @authorhopeford @authorkimberlyknight @shawhartbooks @kerdukey @authorhaleyjenner

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway for The Dark Awakening by D.L. Blade

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the THE DARK AWAKENING by D.L. Blade Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

About The Book:
Title: THE DARK AWAKENING (Chosen Coven #1)
Author: D.L. Blade
Pub. Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Fifth Element Publishing
Formats: Paperback, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 252
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle, AudibleB&N
Read For Free With Kindle Unlimited!

Get ready for a new kind of witch—she’s about to save humanity.

Haunting secrets, witches, vampires, werewolves, love, betrayal, & twists you won’t see coming!

Mercy’s life has devolved into a string of bad events. A brutal beating that nearly stole her life, a dangerous stalker lurking in the shadows, and a car accident, where the man who rescued her disappears right before her eyes.

But this man who she thought was a hallucination, tracks her down at a nearby cove, and claims they were once in love from another time. Another century. But Mercy has no memory of this world he shares, and instinctively doesn’t trust him. He also reveals to her a life-changing secret—she’s an ancient witch, vampires are real, and she's destined to destroy them.

There’s also the troubling discovery that her blood is lusted after by the undead, and a sadistic vampire leader sets his eyes on her, and will stop at nothing until he takes Mercy as his own.

Mercy needs to fight. Fight for her life, fight to discover the truth, fight to remember who—or what—she really is before it’s too late.

The Chosen Coven Trilogy - read in order

The Dark Awakening
The Dark Underworld
The Dark Deliverance

Book Trailer:

Chapter 1

They were there in the shadows again. This was the third time this week I had thought someone was watching me. The last few weeks, I’d heard the rustling of leaves and the crackling sound of old fallen branches beneath someone’s feet, or the hairs at the back of my neck would stand straight because I knew someone stood silently behind me.

Last night wasn’t any different. I exited my car after an exhausting day at work and heard what sounded like a low, deep exhale coming from the forest next to Lily’s house. I swiftly turned around, fumbling with the flashlight on my phone, but when the light pierced the darkness, the sound stopped.
Tonight, it was a silhouette behind my aunt Lily’s fence in the backyard. It wasn’t someone walking by with their dog or a neighbor taking out their trash. They were standing there, staring, as I walked to the sink to rinse my dinner bowl. I wasn’t going to tell her again. She’d just tell me what she’d told me last time I brought it up. She’d say I was just seeing things and that it was normal to feel this way after trauma.

“Your turn, Mercy,” Lily said. Her voice pulled my gaze from the window.

“I’m coming,” I said, taking one last glance toward the silhouette.

They were gone.

Maybe I am imagining things.

Lily tucked her short, brown strands behind her left ear and took a sip of her red wine, gripping her glass firmly, while her index finger tapped gently and rhythmically on the side of the slender wine glass.

Waiting patiently for me to finish my turn were Shannon and Cami, my two best girlfriends, and my ex-boyfriend, Riley. A brief glance at the clock told me we had been playing for over three hours. My head fogged over, and my lower back ached from sitting for so long.

I gripped the dice in my hand before sitting back down and looked around the table. I wondered what my friends would think if they only knew what was happening with me. Would they respond like Lily had? Or would they believe me?

I had known Riley since we were little kids, and I’d known Cami and Shannon since cheerleading camp our freshmen year. I could trust them, right?

The truth was, a small part of me still envied what my friends had, that I no longer did. At one point, I had looked forward to dressing up for a night out, being the popular girl at our school, and I held the confidence I needed to walk in with my head held high as we crashed someone’s party. That wasn’t me anymore. I wasn’t frumpy by any means. I was blessed with good genes. I had my mom’s long, dark brown hair, emerald eyes, and a tall, slender figure. But now, I was happy in a T-shirt and ripped jeans because I no longer cared what anyone thought. I was now the shadow lurking behind my friends, and I was okay with that.

Shannon straightened her back once I sat down and pulled her raven-black hair to the side, wrapping it into a braid against her dark, olive skin, and batted her fake lashes at us before stifling a yawn.
I stretched out my legs, took a deep breath, and gave my cards a once-over. I just needed to roll an eight.

Cami’s thick, long locks fell over her face, and she let out an exhausted breath to blow it away. “I can’t keep my eyes open anymore.” She grabbed her water, took a swig, and glanced down at her phone, checking the time.

“I’ll drive your car,” Shannon said, “my energy drink is doing its job keeping me alive right now.”
Riley flashed me a handsome grin as I rolled the dice a few times in my palm.

As I went to toss them, I hesitated. The tingling feeling in my fingertips had returned. It felt like electricity vibrating violently under my fingernails. I had to pull my hands close to my body to conceal it and shut it off. Something had been happening to me, and it all started around the time I felt someone’s eyes on the back of my head.

I glanced around the table one last time, pulled myself together, and gently tossed the two dice, so they didn’t roll off the table. One die landed right in front of me, showing five red dots, and the other landed in front of Riley.

“It’s a three.” Riley beamed.

An eight!

“Dang it!” Shannon tossed the remaining cards onto the table. “Surprise, surprise. Mercy wins again.”

I applauded myself and moved my hips from side to side in a victory dance while I grabbed the last Battle-Star, which would earn me the final, winning point. Once I placed my Battle-Star down on the table, Riley grabbed my knee, and my leg jerked to the side at his touch. I looked up at his boyish face as a small crease formed in his brow. Thankfully, everyone else was so preoccupied with cleaning up their game pieces, no one had noticed. I leaned in toward Riley. “We need to talk.”

“I didn’t mean—”

“I know,” I snapped. “We still need to talk.”

“Sorry.” His voice cracked, and he lowered his head. This absolutely killed me. Riley was the nicest guy I had ever known, and I was crushing his spirit.

What is wrong with me?

Shannon looked over at us. “Sorry for what?”

“Nothing,” I responded before he could say anything.

He stood up from the table and calmly walked out the backdoor. I hesitated, deciding not to follow him.

I’ll give him a minute.

Cami looked around the room at everyone. “What’s with him?”

Lily, too, had been watching the awkward encounter, and she stood. “Do you girls care for anything else to eat?” She placed the lid on the game box and gestured toward the pot of homemade chili she had cooked for us. This was her obvious attempt to distract everyone from what had just happened.

“We’re good, Lily. Thank you,” Cami responded for them both as she handed Shannon her keys.
Shannon gripped the keys tight in her fist and turned to face me while pulling her purse over her shoulder. “Are you joining us tomorrow?”

“Yeah. Just not too early. I want to sleep in.” I sounded whinier than I meant to. Shannon always scheduled our Thursday morning breakfast meetups for eight in the morning since graduation.

“I really need to go, guys. I have to put my mom to bed,” Cami said as she tapped her foot on the tile floor of the entryway. Cami’s mom, Laurie, was an alcoholic. I honestly couldn’t recall if I had ever seen her without a bottle of booze in her hand, and she often drank herself into a senseless stupor.

“Where do you guys want to meet?” I asked.

“Probably Tippy’s Pancake House. It just opened last weekend,” Cami answered.

I looked at her and tilted my head. “Tippy as in Ryan ‘Tippy’ Harrison?”

“Yeah, I guess he figured out what he was going to do with all those royalty checks from that song he wrote a few years back—open a pancake house. His grandma Joanne tracked us down on Main last week and told us we had to go opening week to support him. So, we’re going.”

“Well, good for him. And, yes, that works,” I said.

Shannon glanced over toward the window facing the backyard where Riley waited for me. “Call me if you need me.” Shannon offered me an empty wish of good luck with a strained smile and a shrug, as if to express how uncomfortable she knew the moment would be for Riley and me.

“I’ll fill you in at breakfast. Riley has a job working on Miss Darla’s car, so he won’t be there.”
Cami moved past Shannon to give me a warm hug, but I tensed. I always hid my discomfort when someone touched me. Someday, I hoped I’d get better, but in this moment, I wasn’t ready. After Cami released me, Shannon followed her lead and came in for a hug. I took a deep breath in and counted to five in my head. As I slowly let out my breath, she released me from the suffocating embrace. They walked toward Cami’s car, and I sent them off with a wave.

Closing the door behind them, I secured the bottom lock and strolled into the kitchen to see if Lily needed help cleaning up. I knew she’d tell me not to bother, but I always offered anyway.

“Do you need help with anything?” I asked.

Turning to face me, she said, “I’ve got this covered. Go see Riley. He’s been waiting, hun. You can’t avoid him forever.”

She was right. I was stalling. Riley had more patience with me than I ever could have with anyone. I made him feel uncomfortable because he accidentally made me feel uncomfortable, but still, he was willing to wait for me to lecture him about not touching me.

While giving her a forced smile and a nod, I moved toward the door that led to the backyard.

*I received a free copy of this book which I voluntarily chose to write an honest review for.

What a great start to a new series. Mercy starts having bad things happen in her life more and more as she gets closer to her 18th birthday. It makes for a surprise when she learns she is a witch. This changes life as she knows since this comes with its own set of problems as well as danger. What follows is a fast paced adventure full of twists, turns, and surprises that will keep you turning the page wondering what will happen to her next. Makes for a great paranormal read I must say. I really liked it so I give it 4/5 stars.

About D.L.:

D.L. Blade grew up in southern California, but relocated to Colorado with her family in 2014.

She always loved writing, concentrating on poetry rather than prose when she was younger. That changed however, when she had a dream one night and decided to create a story about it.

In her spare time, D.L. enjoys a wide variety of hobbies, including reading, and attending rock concerts. She also enjoys visiting animal sanctuaries and pet shelters. She hopes one day she will own enough land to start her own dog rescue.

In the future, D.L. hopes that she can continue to write exciting novels that will captivate her readers and bring them into the worlds that she creates using her imagination.

Giveaway Details: International
1 winner will receive a $10 Amazon GC, International.

Tour Schedule:
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