Friday, September 22, 2023
This is my stop during the book blitz for The Final Haunt by Kat Mayor. The Final Haunt is the fourth and final book in the Spirit Chasers series.
The first book in this series, The Spirit Chaser, is available for free here.
This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 18 till 24 September. See the tour schedule here.
By Kat Mayor
Age category: Adult
Release Date: 19 September 2023
Third Eye Redesigned
Casey faces a long, arduous recovery. Her near-death experience has left her with the loss of her human sight. It has also left her with abilities she never had before.
The Spirit Chasers are back, investigating the most haunted locations in America. After all, these ghosts aren’t going to cross themselves over. This season they take on the legendary Hillendahl Mansion and an abandoned psychiatric hospital, as well as homes with an evil and bloody history.
Some places are too evil—Enchanted Hill should be left alone. Lurking in the background is a demonic entity they just can’t escape. If they brave it, they’re going to need every supernatural gift at their disposal to defeat an ancient evil that threatens to destroy them all.
Austin is back and raring to go. He floats back and forth, as if he has ants in his pants. He’ll be along for the investigation but only the crew will know. Thai’s not sure if, or when, we should make his presence known to the viewing audience. It’s not like they can see him anyway and if we catch his voice on the recordings, Josie can edit it out. That’s fine by me. It will be hard to prove and a shitty way for his mom to find out he’s still haunting the living. Finally, Gary gives the go-ahead, and we step through the front door. I wait a moment for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, then take a step forward. Just like in the walkthrough, the ghosts are bouncing back and forth between scenes of their life and scenes of their death. The reenactments fade as I focus on the energy underneath. There’s an ominous presence lurking in the background. It’s pulling the strings of the other ghosts. Then it’s gone. I feel more than see the presence slip away.
Thai splits us up. He and Bob will talk to the family in the basement, find out their story. That’s fine with me. I’ve had enough family annihilation to last a lifetime. I told Thai I want Bob with me when we confront the demon.
I motion for Gary and Austin to follow me. Might as well start with the Brigman family in the kitchen. The father and kids are sitting at the kitchen bar arguing. I remember this from the walkthrough. This is the beginning of the killing loop that ends with the father and kids lying in pools of their own blood and the mother hanging from a rope attached to the main beam of the ceiling.
The mother, dressed in a business suit, slams her coffee cup on the counter, smashing it to bits. I have to meet a client in half an hour. You assholes are going to make me late. She yanks a sharp kitchen blade out of the knife block. Austin clears his throat. She pivots, as the others turn their heads, alerted to our presence. Who the fuck are you and what are you doing here?
I reach out my hand and push the ghostly blade out of my face. It can’t hurt me, but she doesn’t know that. “Sorry to interrupt your killing spree, but I have a few questions.” I take a seat at one of the empty bar stools, and Austin does the same, only he turns his backward, propping his elbows on the chairback.
There’s literal murder in her eyes. She’s so pissed, she’s huffing and puffing.
“Look, just give me a few minutes of your time, then I’ll leave you alone and you can get back to what you were doing.” The father and kids watch me warily. Too bad they don’t realize it’s not me they should be afraid of.
The mom doesn’t let go of the knife, but she does take a seat at the remaining chair at the table. Well, hurry up. She makes a rolling motion with the knife. I have to get to work. I know she doesn’t give a shit about getting to work. After she disposes of her family and herself, she’ll have no need.
“Why are you planning to kill your family?” Again, I mentally add. The kids’ eyes widen. Do they really not remember how often she kills them, or are they shocked that I would come right out and say it? The dad stares down at his hands, avoiding my gaze. His thoughts are crystal clear. If Mommy doesn’t take matters into her own hands, daddy dearest will be happy to get the job done.
She doesn’t release the knife, but she does look me in the eye. I have no idea. Never have. Something whispers in my ear to get stabby. She shrugs. So, I do. Gary’s eyebrows shoot up into his hairline.
She rises to her feet, impaling her daughter in the chest. The girl cries out. Austin’s not squeamish, but he looks away. I don’t blame him. Even when you know it’s coming, it’s hard to watch. I motion for Austin and Gary to follow me outside. Neither one of us turns to look back. All we’ll see is blood splattering over her white blouse as she jabs and jabs and jabs. But I can’t block out the squelching and sucking sounds the blade makes as she plunges it in and extracts it from their bodies. I know Austin feels the same. He winces every time she stabs into their flesh.
“Some places are too evil. Some places should be left alone.”
The Spirit Chaser is available for free here:
About the Author:
I am a native Texan and have lived in the Houston area for most of my life. I am a wife and mom who loves to read. When I'm not kicking an idea around in my head for a story, I read and review books on Goodreads. Occasionally, I sleep. Author of The Spirit Chaser Series and Murder of a Mommyvlogger. Author of the Circles series under the name KM Montemayor.
Release Blitz ~ Mom Wombat Says Make War No More! - Written by Phyllis Schwartz & Illustrated by Siski Kalla
Date Published: Sep 22, 2023
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Mom Wombat says, “Make friends, not war!”
“Try to get along and don't keep score… It doesn't matter who has more toys, just have fun, my girls and boys. Don’t YOU be a bully, not even now and then, not even to a foe or friend.”
Known as Mombat to her kids, she has plenty of ideas on how everyone can learn to get along with others and have fun. Using her wit and insightful wisdom, Mombat aims to make the world a better place by teaching positive communication skills and the importance of friendship.
About the Author
Phyllis Schwartz is a married mother of two, who, after a highly successful career in the TV news business, finally has the time to indulge in and focus on her “civilian” writing. Even as a kid, she kept a diary and wrote little stories and poems, a creative release that continued well into adulthood.
She wrote news by day and poetry by night. And despite battling three different types of cancer over more than three decades, she is still filled with energy, joy, and optimism, and she looks forward to writing much more poetry and children’s books in the future. Her writing often centers on what she observes daily: including her friends, husband, and two children, as well as her garden and her beautiful beach town residence in dreamy Encinitas, all providing continued inspiration for her verse.
Book Blitz ~ Maggie the Cat - Who Came Home for Christmas - Written by Julia Russ & Illustrated by Metzger-Forrest
Date Published: Sept. 14th 2023
Publisher: Jan-Carol Publishing, Inc.
Delightful illustrations bring you inside Grandpa Charlie Green’s mountainside farmhouse. Join Maggie the cat, Pip the goat, Grandpa Charlie Green, Daddy, and of course, little Wilhelmina Olive Blessing, as she tells us this sweet wintertime story. What do they do to get little Maggie home? Join the fun. Read out loud yourself or read along with others! You will love the story of Maggie, the cat who comes home for Christmas.
About the Author
Julia spent many winters in the mountains along with her little dog, Chloe, and her sweet husband, Kent. She continues to live in Atlanta, but her heart is really in those woods.
One of her favorite things ever was hearing her first graders read aloud. She sometimes wrote for the government and companies, and later wrote descriptions of homes. She even spent time as what is called a roustabout!
Today, she presents her first ever storybook! She hopes many children will read the story aloud! She continues to visit her mountainside cabin often. She lives in Atlanta along with Kent and two sweet cats named Rigby and Linus. One of these days, she’s hoping to get a little goat.
Echoes of the Past
Publication date: September 20th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Anna Wilson is faced with the prospect of starting her first job out of university. She worked hard for this coveted position not for the prestige, but because it paid well, would make her parents proud, and most importantly, the location was close to her grandmother, her only remaining family.
Accepting this job was a seal of fate according to Anna’s grandmother, who grappled with the guilt that Anna planned her life around her.
After graduating from university, Anna’s world gets turned upside down when she receives the devastating news her grandmother passed away, leaving behind an unexpected inheritance, a chest full of old postcards, and tickets for a trip her grandmother planned leaving in a few weeks.
Anna battles the difficult decision – to stay with the job she accepted, or embark on a journey that could uncover truths about herself and the untold stories of her grandmother’s past.
“I didn’t have a choice then, but I do now,” I said, with a mixture of nostalgia and sorrow filling my chest as I sat on the bench across from an old bouquet of crinkled, dried flowers. The soft breeze rustled the autumn leaves, leaving a crisp scent lingering in the wind. The sun dipped over the horizon, casting a warm glow against my face as I sat in this place of quietude.
“Mom, Dad,” I whispered, taking a deep breath, “I miss you so much. I need your help now more than ever before.” I knew that coming here today was necessary – I needed their guidance, I was so confused.
I sat there and looked around the well-tended lawn and the sun’s reflection against the pond nearby. I kneeled down to replace the old bouquet with the new, trying to avert my eyes, but they were anchored on rereading the etched inscription for the millionth time:
“Emily & Liam Wilson, Beloved Parents, May they always rest in peace, Forever in our hearts.”
I could almost hear my father’s voice saying, “There’s no ‘cannot’ in our dictionary at home. I crossed it out, it doesn’t exist!”
Is that really true, Dad? Right then, it felt impossible. I already had a plan in place, a prestigious job lined up, and now this. A completely unexpected option. I felt a tear run down my cheek and brushed it away with my sleeve.
Life hasn’t been the same since you dropped me off at Grandma’s. None of us could have predicted what happened next.
“I think I know what I want to do, but I’m so scared.”
Memories came flooding back, each one flipping through my mind like snippets of a film.
“Anna, my dear,” Charlotte said gently, but heavy with melancholy as she opened the screen door from the back side of her house. Anna was hula-hooping and stopped, sensing that something was off by the sound of her grandmother’s tone, and came over to her.
“There’s something I need to tell you.”
“What is it, Grandma? What’s wrong?”
Anna watched as Charlotte fell to her knees, took her hands in her own, tears streaming down her cheeks, and said, “I just got a phone call. There’s been an accident and your parents…I’m so sorry, they’ve passed away.”
Anna froze. Shock washed over her, as she attempted to grasp her grandmother’s words. Her eyes started to feel puffy and swollen with tears. A whirlwind of thoughts and emotions raced through her mind. How could this happen? It was a vacation.
Charlotte pulled her in closely as they wrapped their arms around each other. Both acknowledged that neither of their lives would ever be the same again.
Ashley Packard was born and raised in the suburbs outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She currently resides in Berlin, Germany with her husband Zac and their two cats Emmy and Zelda. They moved to Germany in 2022 as newlyweds after getting married in Iceland. “Echoes of the Past” is her debut novel. She has a passion for traveling, telling stories, and taking photographs. You can find her latest work and updates on www.ashleypackard.com.
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(The Wolves of Langeais, #1)
Publication date: July 25th 2023
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Time-Travel
FROM EXCITING ROMANCE AUTHOR K.E. TURNER
Book one in The Wolves of Langeais series
He’ s all she loathes and everything she needs, but time isn’ t the only barrier she’ ll cross to gain her heart’ s desire.
Archaeologist Erin Richardson loves her job, but the dig in France is something else. A crumbling keep, a dungeon and the search for legendary chevalier Gaharet d’ Louncrais… Her imagination is running overtime. Thank God he’ s long dead and only comes to life in her dreams. Until a mysterious amulet sends her back to the tenth century. Now her fantasy has become her reality.
Gaharet d’ Louncrais needs a wife. Powerful and handsome, he constantly has women vying for his attention. But if they knew his secret, they’ d run for their lives. Forget love. Forget finding his true mate. He’ d forsake it all to save his wolf pack from extinction. But when Erin appears, with her strange clothes and her even stranger tale, she stirs his inner beast. He wants nothing more than to claim her as his own.
Erin knows a player when she sees one. Arrogant and charming, he’ s everything she’ s guarded her heart against. The Dark Ages are no fairy-tale, and she will need to fight to survive, but the most dangerous thing of all is the way Gaharet makes her feel.
She needs to find a way home. Gaharet needs her to stay. And now he’ s found her, he plans on never letting her go.
“Why did you run from me?”
She jerked her wrist, attempting to pull away, but he wouldn’t release her, instead stepping closer. Her heart thumped against her rib cage, threatening to bust out and desert ship. It wouldn’t surprise her if he could feel her pulse pounding away at her wrist. She retreated further, but he followed, backing her into the wall.
“It is a simple question.”
Erin’s breath stalled, the hard stone wall at her back, an equally daunting wall of muscle in front of her. A big, dark chevalier, he loomed over her. Her legs trembled, the consistency of putty rather than flesh and bone.
“Last night, you seemed angry that I had the amulet. And then you came at me so fast… Look, I’m… I’m… I don’t follow the old religions. I’m not a witch.” Her bottom lip trembled despite her efforts to control it. “Let’s clear that up now. I found the amulet. It’s not mine. I don’t know who it belongs to.”
Liar, liar, pants on fire.
It belonged to him. It had to.
“And this?” He tugged at her left wrist, her watch a glaring presence not so easily dismissed.
“Jewelry.” She gave a small shrug of her shoulders. “It’s the new fashion.”
He smiled, but didn’t loosen his grip, nor did he back away. He leaned toward her, his mouth bare inches from hers, dark eyes staring deep into hers, strange shadows flitting behind the irises. She couldn’t look away. Any fear of him had fled, replaced by something far more dangerous. It had her quivering inside her skin, superseding everything. It terrified her beyond imagining she’d not only be unable to resist him, but she wouldn’t want to.
“Never run from me,” he said, his breath warm across her lips and they parted in expectation, traitors to her mind’s will. “I will always catch you.”
In one swift move, he captured her other wrist and pinned her against the wall with his body. Her mind screamed a protest. Her body rejoiced. His knee nudged her legs apart, slipping between them, pressing his muscular thigh against the very center of her. And damn if she didn’t let him.
Where had her moral outrage gone, her hard-earned determination to never put herself in the arms of such a man? They’d deserted her—overpowered by a rapacious libido she never knew she possessed. It threw common sense to the wind and laughed in the face of her resolution to remain unaffected. Her body burned for him and happily broadcast that fact loud and clear. It couldn’t have been more obvious if she’d a neon sign flashing ‘all systems are go’.
With a lick of his lips, he captured her mouth. No soft kiss, no gentle seduction. She’d run. He’d caught her. To the victor went the spoils. He was taking what he wanted.
Dredging up some belated form of courage, she tore her mouth from his, refusing to give him what he demanded—an all-access pass to her mouth, her body. Not so easily dissuaded, he leaned into her neck, the tickle of his beard and his lips whisper soft on the sensitive skin of her throat and inhaled deeply.
Her whole body vibrated in response, rolling out the welcome mat. Shifting her wrists into one large hand, he ran the other down her cheek to her chin. A gentle press of his fingers and she was facing him, eye to eye, breath to breath.
“You desire this as much as I,” he murmured.
She gave a strained shake of her head, denying his words, but when he rubbed his thumb across her bottom lip, she couldn’t keep up the pretense. Her eyelids fluttered closed, her lips parted on a sigh, her body providing him all the permission he needed. He recaptured her mouth in his, slipping his tongue between her lips. With delicious hot thrusts, he demanded she respond in kind.
Erin’s resistance melted faster than summer hail after a storm. Her body softening against his, she responded with a fierce need of her own.
K.E Turner can't remember a time when she wasn't writing stories or reading books—as a teenager in class instead of doing math, in her lunch break at work, or at home when there's housework to be done. With a love of history, mystery, suspense, paranormal, and romance, she likes combining more than one element in her stories.
She writes spicy paranormal romances and romantic suspense, with strong but good hearted heroes, smart, sassy heroines and an often unexpected villain, or two, to shake things up.
A Western Australian based author, she lives with her husband, two dogs, two cats and a plethora of farm animals on their property in the southern region of the state. A hopeless romantic, she enjoys beach sunsets, sitting by the wood fire with a good book, a nice shiraz and good food.
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Thursday, September 21, 2023
Fiction / Romance / Adventure
Date Published: January 2021
Publisher: Storylines Entertainment Ltd
Bostonian Dawn McCarthy’s life is shattered following a profound double tragedy. Michael, her Irish husband, drowns in a fiery boating accident off the southwest coast of Ireland. Their only child, Jason, who has witnessed his father’s death, is diagnosed with traumatic mutism and no longer speaks. Following a series of failed therapies, Dawn believes her son will never talk again.
Rejecting the doctor’s advice, Dawn returns with Jason to the remote Irish fishing village of Kilcastle where her husband had lived and died. There, along the rugged Irish Atlantic coastline, she hopes to find a cure for her son. But it is not an easy return for Dawn. She faces daily reminders of what might have been.
The sudden appearance of a wild dolphin delivers newfound hope. In the days that follow, Dawn witnesses a powerful bond grow between Jason and the dolphin as the boy takes his first small steps toward healing. It is only then that she suspects the enigmatic mammal is much more than she had at first supposed.
Dolphin Song is a tale of terrifying tragedy, magical Irish legends and eternal love. Dawn’s voyage takes readers on an unforgettable journey where those we have loved and lost are not gone forever. Instead, we need only take a leap of faith to find them again.
Praise for Dolphin Song
"It’s a beautiful story and had me tearing up through the final pages. ..."
"I truly enjoyed this uplifting story."
"I was enthralled! The story is so engagin and life affirming."
-Linda W. Scribner
About the Author
Tom Richards, based both in Ireland and in the United States, has been writing novels since 1993. His first novel for young adults, The Lost Scrolls of Newgrange, went to No 3 in the Irish Times bestsellers list. His second YA novel, Hotfoot!, went to No 1. Since 2010, Tom has been writing full time from his home in Eyeries, Beara Peninsula, Ireland. His other novels and screenplays for feature film include Dolphin Song, Always Come Home, Lost Lovers, Sue the Two-Headed Roo, Happiness & Heartbreak, and many others. He has just finished UnBaptized and the Dazzling Helen Fox, which will be published soon. Two of the above novels are already in pre-production for Feature Film: Dolphin Song and Lost Lovers.
Currently, Tom is working with Cinema d’Auteur, a film production company based in the Philippines, and SGK Animation, based in Delhi, India, to bring the world those two films.
He is now working on his first stage play, based on the Irish and Scots legend of the Selkie, which he should deliver by the end of 2023.
A Heart Transplant Survivor Story
Date Published: December 12, 2023
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Darla Calvet is a thirty-nine-year-old working mom whose life turns upside down when she is diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Suddenly, fear threatens her dreams for the future as doctors’ appointments replace her daily routines and she realizes she may not live to see her daughters grow up. After dying twice while waiting for a new heart, Darla begins to understand her own resiliency—her heart may be weak, but her mind refuses to give up.
My Life in Stitches: A Heart Transplant Survivor Story is a candid, witty account of one woman's determination to transform a devastating prognosis into an inspiring fight for survival. Darla’s story offers insight into the complex world of medicine with a dose of humor about her challenges and victories as a heart transplant patient. In this sensitive, thorough, and informative debut, Calvet brings compassion and gentle wisdom to a difficult subject in hopes of demystifying the uncertainties that inevitably accompany long-term, life-threatening medical decisions.
About the Author
A heart transplant survivor, Dr. Darla Calvet won a gold medal for ballroom dance in the 2022 Transplant Games of America. Currently, she serves as the vice president of the board of directors for the Southern California Transplant Games of America team. She is also the CEO of Blue Tiger, Inc., a strategic planning consultancy. A doctor of education, Calvet holds degrees from Claremont Graduate University, San Diego State University, and the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband Pat and their French bulldog Quinn, and she is the proud mom of two adult daughters, Claire and Annie.
Title: The Unperfects
Series: The Perfects: a series of standalone novels
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
New Adult Romance, Angsty, Dramedy, College, Twins, Insta-Love
From the moment he landed in her lap, he knew they were meant to be. That is, until he started to see double, and doubt everything that happened. Find out if it was truly insta-love or just insta-lust in #1 New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken's steamy new adult romance, The Unperfects.I saw her. Liked her instantly. May have slept with her twice only to… well, never mind. It gets confusing after that point.You see, there are two of them. Identical twins.All I wanted was a vacation from the bullshit but what I got was evil twin number one and innocent twin number two.They say things come in threes, so help me God, if there’s another.I’m healing from past trauma but may have created more for my future.Anyone got any sage?A candle?At this point, I’d take Barney.
From the moment he landed in her lap, he knew they were meant to be. That is, until he started to see double, and doubt everything that happened. Find out if it was truly insta-love or just insta-lust in #1 New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken's steamy new adult romance, The Unperfects.
Get The Unperfects Today!
I will always be second to him in her eyes, and the real shit part is that I can’t even be pissed about it because at the end of the day I love them both too much to say anything and way too much to make it weird. I mean, long story short, it already got weird that one time we all kissed and had a near threesome. I’d like to say, oh yeah, we were wasted.
And now I’m on another “ledge” inevitably waiting to jump off bungee style, not how I thought my gap year was going to start, or you know, like, possibly end by way of death. “Okay, I’m going.”
"That’s what she said.” Ambrose jokes.
"How old are you, boomer?” I call back. “Genuinely curious because if you still say that, it means you’re at least looking at renewing the lease on your car and might buy a new dishwasher if things pan out.”
He bursts out laughing. “Why a dishwasher?”
“It’s what old people do!” Everything is double in my vision, the trees, I mean, it is a forest so that could have been a me problem, but the point is, everything looked entirely too far down.
I look back at Diego, the dude that strapped me into the contraption, and force a smile. “Nobody’s died, right?”
The way the color left his face will be forever imprinted on my soul. “Nah, man, totally, safe.”
“Second time I've heard that.” I did another double take. “Cool shirt.”
It literally says: That’s the way things go.
Toward death? Downward.
I take another deep breath, then look back at Diego again. “How old are you again?”
His full white-toothed smile does not give me any sort of comfort, he is too good-looking to know how to put on a harness let alone shove an eighteen-year-old off a ledge. You can never truly trust the pretty ones. Not to mention his shirt, his ripped jeans as if Abercrombie made a comeback, or the fact that I know his shoes are entirely too expensive for this job, which also means that he was doing it for fun.
Not safety. Or actual monetary need.
I stare him down one last time; I stare down every perfect Clark Kent curl on his blond head. “Trust fund?”
He shrugs. “One day.”
I look around him to Ambrose. “For the record, if I die, burn the box under my bed.” I point at Diego. “No!” Okay so I shouted. “You don’t get to laugh or ask!”
He holds up his hands.
“Okay, so for the millionth time I can just… go.”
"Someone should,” Diego mumbles under his breath.
“Diego, I swear I will shove you over this ledge so hard and fast you’ll get pregnant!”
Ambrose bursts out laughing and wraps his arm around her.
What was once, possibly, potentially, mine. “Never seen him so freaked out that he’d threaten children on the first dude he saw, but hey, they’d be cute.”
“They’d be fucking gorgeous, and you know it, Ambrose!” I yell back while Diego grabs the rope and harness one last time.
“Remember…” Diego tightens my balls so hard.
Maybe that’s a no on the pregnancy?
"Focus.” He orders. “Just fall, all you have to do is fall, if you’re freaked, you can cross your arms, but honestly, I would just let that shit fly.”
"No shit shall be flying this day, good sir. No shit, damn it!” I turn. “Okay, I’m finally ready.”
Diego mutters something under his breath.
I'm sure it isn’t wholesome.
“One!” Ambrose yells. “Two!”
Diego grins at me. “Three.”
So I fall, or it is more of a trip in an attempt to step backward, but I’m sure I look like a mother fucking eagle soaring through the sky.
I don’t scream; the air is completely taken from my lungs by the eight-hundred-foot death drop.
I wasn’t expecting so much bouncing.
The first one is the largest, probably saw Heaven, but I am too traumatized to even do anything except gasp for air and try to look cool in front of everyone. The second time isn’t as bad, and I was having some fun, not really freaking out.
But the third?
The third is when I bounce dangerously close to a canoe.
It’s also when my rope snaps, and I land right with my face between someone's thighs with several new bodily injuries and delirious as everyone screams above me.
The best part?
She just stares down at me and smiles. “Hey, you’re alive!”
When I finally get past the absolute panic of near death, I look up. And I’ll never forget the way she smiles down at me, with her reddish-brown hair, blue eyes, wearing nothing but the smallest black triangle bikini top ever, and a small tattoo on her wrist that looks like a whale. “You sure?”
She laughs harder. “Yeah, scared stranger, I’m sure, by the time you hit the third bounce, you were only a few feet above my canoe, kind of saved your life from the alligators.”
"I KNEW IT!” I shout, then move my face. “Uh sorry about you know, trying to have an early lunch.”
She leans down. “Interesting, it kind of felt like a simple appetizer.”
"Are we in love now?” I ask.
She helps me to my feet and sits me down, bracing me with her hands. “I mean if you want to be, I have time on my schedule, was gonna check out a matinee later, heard Jason Statham made a comeback, then again here you are so, if you’re trying to give him a run for his money I’m down.”
Even injured, I lean forward out of adrenaline and cup her chin with my shaky hands. “I think I was the one that was down.”
Her cheeks flush. “I’m Chloe.”
Rachel Van Dyken is the #1 New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of over 100 books ranging from new adult romance to mafia romance to paranormal & fantasy romance. With over four million copies sold, she’s been featured in Forbes, US Weekly, and USA Today. Her books have been translated in more than 15 countries. She was one of the first romance authors to have a Kindle in Motion book through Amazon publishing and continues to strive to be on the cutting edge of the reader experience. She keeps her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, adorable sons, naked cat, and two dogs. For more information about her books and upcoming events, visit www.RachelVanDykenAuthor.com.
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Wednesday, September 20, 2023
New Adult – Literary – Contemporary fiction – Women’s fiction
Publisher: Mapleton Press
This novel about friendship, nostalgia, and finding oneself is funny and tender, moving and poetic, while standing firmly in hope and love. The characters are thinkers, overthinkers really, who are trying to find their way by asking the deep questions of life with wide-eyed wonder and talking through life's uncertainties. They fearlessly confront the choices they've made, examining their desires and their mistakes. The result is a smart, engaging novel depicting a young woman's search for the people and place she will call home.
A RECOMMENDED read by the US Review
The inside of the White Tavern was dark and smelled like stale cigarettes and grease. A server came over, wearing tight black skinny jeans and an old Van Halen concert tee.
Dylan turned sideways in the booth to stretch his legs out. “Tell me about this beer that’s cheaper than gas.”
“Dollar eighty-four,” the server said, which was, in fact, cheaper than gas.
“Do you have any fries to go with those competitive beer prices?”
It had been a long time since I’d had my favorite sandwich. Pimiento cheese. Pickles. Ham. I sunk my teeth into a yummy bite of teenage years and moaned out loud.
Dylan looked up from his double order of fries and raised an eyebrow. “Do you and that sandwich need to be alone?”
I ignored his comment. “Was there anything else in that car? Anything that might indicate a drug deal gone bad?”
“Nope. Just the cooler and the rock.”
Dylan locked eyes with me. “That rock means something, Skye.”
The dining area was empty except for us, and one other table near the back with kitchen staff. Still, Dylan leaned across the table and whispered urgently, “It’s like that scene in Pulp Fiction with the briefcase in the diner.”
I furrowed my brow and gagged on a sesame seed. “With Honey Bunny?”
Dylan leaned back and shrugged. “The guy’s name was Pumpkin. Honey Bunny and…”
“I know. I’ve seen it thirteen times. I’m just wondering why we’re out here in the middle of the desert with you drawing comparisons of your life to a film that came out when you were seven years old.”
“You—you, you mock me, Skye, but there’s a connection.”
“Between a film and that glowing rock?”
“Yes.” He clasped his hands together firmly and laid them on the table.
“There’s no rock in Pulp Fiction.”
“No, it’s not.”
“Yeah, it is. It’s in the briefcase.”
“We never see what’s in the briefcase.”
Dylan squirmed in an exaggerated way and said, “God, use your imagination, Skye. It’s a glowing rock.”
“Okay. Say it is a glowing rock. What does that have to do with us?”
“It’s our time to finally make sense of our lives.”
“That’s what I’ve been doing.”
“No, you haven’t.”
I grabbed the ketchup bottle and whacked the bottom. “How do you know?”
“Because you’re here. Right back where you started. Look, don’t get me wrong, I love sitting out in the desert drinking Miller High Life, listening to the coyotes howl, playing charades in the firelight with your sister, but I’m glad you’re home.”
“You played charades with my sister?”
“Sure. Isn’t that what you were doing back east? Playing charades? Sounds like? Feels like? Rhymes with?”
“You saying those six years were nothing more than a game?”
“We were all playing a game. It’s okay to admit the truth, even if it’s hard.”
His answer was so simple and earnest, I didn’t know whether to kill him or cry. I looked down at my plate with a strange mixture of surrender and hunger. “What do you think I was doing on the East Coast?”
Dylan inhaled and shrugged, “Trying to escape this place and burn Trevor out of your mind with hot yoga and gluten-free buns.” He touched my greasy hand and said, “It’s not a judgment. Look, I don’t know what you were doing out there. You didn’t exactly call. But you’re here now, and so am I, and I believe this is some kind of strange gift.”
“If the rock is so important, why haven’t you moved it?”
“It’s really heavy. I’m going to have to dig it out. That’s where you come in.”
Dylan was always a crazy trailblazer adjusting his tinfoil hat, but he’d leveled up the weird while I was gone.
“I have to go to the bathroom.”
If I stood perfectly still in the stall, I could hear the sound of the end coming. A sharp chapter break pushing forward. Tracks winding into a new future. One I couldn’t see, because I was still stuck in the backseat of my past life. I sat on the toilet and thought about escape. The problem was I’d been escaping my entire life. Running from everything. Destiny. Relationships. Myself. I looked down at my jeans bunched up around my knees. I’d already managed to get stuck in a hole, might as well grab a shovel and dig.
About the Author
Lis Anna-Langston was raised along the winding current of the Mississippi River on a steady diet of dog-eared books. She attended a Creative and Performing Arts School from middle school until graduation and went on to study Literature at Webster University. Her novels have won the Parents’ Choice Gold, Moonbeam Book Award, Independent Press Award, Benjamin Franklin Book Award and NYC Big Book Awards. A three-time Pushcart award nominee and Finalist in the Brighthorse Book Prize, William Faulkner Fiction Contest, George Garrett Fiction Prize and Thomas Wolfe Fiction Award, her work has been published in The Literary Review, Emerson Review, The Merrimack Review, Emrys Journal, The MacGuffin, Sand Hill Review and dozens of other literary journals.
Hailed as “an author with a genuine flair for originality” by Midwest Book Review and “a loveable, engaging, original voice…” by Publishers Weekly, you can find her in the wilds of South Carolina plucking stories out of thin air.