Saturday, 31 December 2016

Review: Protecting Hope By Caitlyn O'Leary #KindleWorld @CaitlynOLearyNA


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Navy SEAL Griffin Porter has been flirting with the lovely Miranda Slade for the past two months as they have commuted on the same Amtrak train. Miranda is smart, funny, caring and, unbeknownst to him, one of the bravest people he’ll ever meet. Today is the day for him to finally seal the deal, and make sure they start actually dating.
Wolf Steel gets on the train with his wife Caroline, along with many other passengers, as the train glides past the beaches of the Pacific Ocean. A thunderous crash leaves their rail car hanging over a cliff.
The situation just got screwed up beyond belief, and even though Wolf is on board, Griff is going to need extra help to get out of this one. With the cliff edge faltering, and rough terrain between the road and train, it’s going to take more than just normal emergency responders to rescue those aboard. Will Wolf’s SEAL team and the Midnight Delta team, make it in time?


Buy Links

Review

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
*** I voluntarily reviewed this book, I gained no monetary incentives nor was I specifically requested to review the book, these are my honest ramblings and I hope you enjoy reading them - kat***
This is the first 'Kindle World' book I have read, but I have loved Caitlyn's books since first finding her "Found" series.
In this novella we have SEALs - oh my! I like nothing more than a military man.
Navy SEAL Griffin Porter boards the train with his latest mission - a mission of getting a date with the lovely Miranda Slade. For 2 months he's been getting to know her and he plans on taking the next step by asking her out.
Griffin's friend Wolf Steel and his wife Caroline also climb aboard at another station, so Griffin introduces the pair to Miranda, chatting while they travel, the men decide to get refreshments - and then all hell breaks loose...A thunderous crash leaves their rail car hanging over a cliff!
Griff and Wolf are going to need their teams to help as their car is teetering over a cliff and the EMT's and Firetrucks will not get to it in time...
This was action packed. The tension during the aftermath of the train wreck had me reading as fast as I could. Being a mum and grandmother, Hopes rescue was the most nail biting for me.

Author Bio

Caitlyn O'Leary is an avid reader, and considers herself a fan first and an author second. She reads a wide variety of genres, but finds herself going back to happily-ever-afters. Getting a chance to write, after years in corporate America is a dream come true. She hopes that her stories provide the kind of entertainment and escape that she has found from some of her favorite authors.
Her Series Include:
THE FOUND:
It's a bit Paranormal, a bit Sci-Fi and 100% Action/Adventure. The characters have special abilities, that make them targets.
MIDNIGHT DELTA
This is focused on a group of Navy Seals. What makes them special is their bond to one another, and the women they come to love.
FATE HARBOR
This is the series that started her career, it is a Menage Series that takes place in Fate Harbor Washington. It focuses on a tight knit community who live and love and care for one another.

Social Links

Friday, 30 December 2016

Review: Audible version of The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater @mstiefvater

Being a bit of a cover snob I thought the publishers could have done more with this book afterall  the author is a gifted artist, the Audible book has the cover which is on my review below but if I bought a copy I would look for one that had a better cover.

Blurb

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

Review

I have read this via the audible book, and I think I probably would have enjoyed it better as a book, I intend to buy it ( a signed version as I LOVE Maggies books) and re-read it myself.
The book is full of the harsh realities of being raised in a poor household and when Puck Connolly realised that the only way she can keep her home is to risk her life in the Scorpio Races.
Both Puck and Sean are two characters that have endured enough in their lives, Sean is such a noble but quietly reserved soul, his devotion to the strange water horses and the other horses in the stable yard were easily understood, being a horse lover/ owner I really did understand the devastation and the joy of loving horses.
Now what I found hard, it seemed to go on forever, I listened to this book while I was driving and just before I went to bed, I do this with my audio books, but this book was hard, I would start to fall asleep at times and when driving I would loose interest.
Now don't get me wrong, the writing is beautiful, the descriptive vision of the scene are beautiful but story builds slowly, it captured some interest in my mind and thus I continued to listen, but I had a hard time keeping myself into it, hence the length it took to finish.
If you enjoy a fantasy that is also quite equally a book that shows the reality of growing up in poverty then give this book a go. But the reality of having a race where bloodthirsty creatures of myth are used as a form of entertainment seemed a bit odd to me... if these horses are so wild, dangerous... how would they continue to allow their capture and training?
I think if this had been normal horses, and 2 poverty stricken youngsters training their horses to win and thus get out of poverty, it would have made more sense to me. I did not need the supernatural nature of the horses, people are easily killed on normal horses ( I have seen this personally) so I should know.
Now that answer surprises me in hindsight, me the PNR addict, but its true, the parts of this book I preferred were the honest normal struggles of Puck and Sean to get out of their situations.
But Maggie still is a favourite author for me to read - I intend reading Blue Lily Lily Blue next.
View all my reviews
Author Bio
Author. Artist. Maniac. I write things: the bestselling SHIVER trilogy, the Raven Cycle, THE SCORPIO RACES, More about the storyline and The Books of Faerie. Find out more at www.maggiestiefvater.com

Thursday, 29 December 2016

A Very Werey Christmas Review @hottreepubs

Shifters, mistletoe and a whole lot of alpha heat are just waiting to be discovered this festive season.  

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Buy Links

Blurb


WINTER'S MOON by R.M. Gilmore
Randy can guarantee the winter's moon will bring two things to her pack: fun and trouble. This year, she's not sure she'd ready either.

PULL OF THE MOON by Becca Lee
Cadence, alpha to the Denton Pack, isn’t looking for a mate, nor is she looking for trouble, but both arrive in the form of Dane. This Christmas, Cadence will discover just how far she’s willing to protect what’s hers.

NOT EVEN A MOUSE by Dahlia Donovan
This Christmas, feather-tailed glider shifter, Kat Strudwick, and the polar bear shifter, Declan Garett, discover true love where they'd believed only the hell of unrequited love existed.

SNOW'S CHRISTMAS WISH by Ashlea Rhodes
A chance encounter with a lone Vampire in a small town could lead to the fate Snow, a were on the run, had given up on. With magic in the air, can a Christmas wish come true for Snow and Ink?

THE WITCH AND THE WOLF by C.C. Wood
Candela wanted a distraction from her meddling family and found it in Blake. But will one night be enough for either of them?

CURE FOR CHRISTMAS by Aimie Jennison
Santa can't perform miracles, but Blake has a risky offer that could answer all of Caitlin's prayers. How far would you go when all hope is gone?

Review: 

I have Rated each individual story below, but overall its a good selection of christmas Stories with a paranormal twist 
*** I voluntarily reviewed this book, I gained no monetary incentives nor was I specifically requested to review the book, these are my honest ramblings and I hope you enjoy reading them - kat***
#3Stars for WINTER'S MOON by R.M. Gilmore
Randy can guarantee the winter's moon will bring two things to her pack: fun and trouble. This year, she's not sure she'd ready either.
Review:
This was a good start to the book, but I am not hung up about a characters body shape, and I felt that the emphasis on the female characters 'chunky thighs' and ' soft stomach' distracted from the story, the Female character was named Randy, she is big and tough and in her forties, with the male Gage being a young ripped hunk. I enjoyed the power play going on in the pack, how the underlying bad element was trying to overtake Randy on her quest to bring the pack out of the bad influence it had been under with her dead husband.
#4Stars for PULL OF THE MOON by Becca Lee
Cadence, alpha to the Denton Pack, isn’t looking for a mate, nor is she looking for trouble, but both arrive in the form of Dane. This Christmas, Cadence will discover just how far she’s willing to protect what’s hers.
Review: this was a good and exciting Christmas romance - there is nothing like a sassy alpha woman who can kick baddies to the curb with her strong alpha mate. I hope I see these characters again.
#4stars for NOT EVEN A MOUSE by Dahlia Donovan
This Christmas, feather-tailed glider shifter, Kat Strudwick, and the polar bear shifter, Declan Garett, discover true love where they'd believed only the hell of unrequited love existed.
Review: well this was an unusual combination, but it was fun and cheerful and made me chuckle at the things Kat got up to as she grew up with Declan
#4.5stars for CURE FOR CHRISTMAS by Aimie Jennison
Santa can't perform miracles, but Blake has a risky offer that could answer all of Caitlin's prayers. How far would you go when all hope is gone?
Review: This story reminded me of the Christmas movies I love to watch on the TV, those stories that have a Christmas miracle.
Soulmates that accidentally meet while shopping for gifts, only to find that fate may take one away before then get to enjoy each others love.
I could have read a full novel about this couple and I was a bit sad when it ended.
#3.5Stars for SNOW'S CHRISTMAS WISH by Ashlea Rhodes
A chance encounter with a lone Vampire in a small town could lead to the fate Snow, a were on the run, had given up on. With magic in the air, can a Christmas wish come true for Snow and Ink?
Review:
This is the first book I have read of new author Ashley Rhodes and I enjoyed the story, and look forward to seeing what other stories she will being to her readers. But a vampire that can stand sunlight especially Australian heat was a bit off the track for me. Snow was a were who was both strong and yet vulnerable at the same time and I enjoyed their Christmas romance.
#3stars for THE WITCH AND THE WOLF by C.C. Wood
Candela wanted a distraction from her meddling family and found it in Blake. But will one night be enough for either of them?
Review: the story started out great, and I enjoyed the story but although I know that the author is constrained to a word count I would have preferred more character development and less sex.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Review: The Pretty Delicious Cafe by Danielle Hawkins @HarperNZ

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Blurb

Food, family and fresh beginnings. For fans of 800 WordsOffspring, Josephine Moon and Monica McInerney.
On the outskirts of a small New Zealand seaside town, Lia and her friend Anna work serious hours running their restored cafe. The busy season is just around the corner, and there are other things to occupy them. Anna is about to marry Lia's twin brother, and Lia's ex-boyfriend seems not to understand it's over.
When a gorgeous stranger taps on Lia's window near midnight and turns out not to be a serial killer, she feels it's a promising sign. But the past won't let them be, and Lia must decide whether events rule her life or she does.
The Pretty Delicious Cafe will remind you of those special, good things we love about living. And the food is great.
A warm, witty novel, brimming with the trademark romance, friendship, and eccentricity that Danielle Hawkins's fans adore.
Book Links: Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Publishers Website ~ Mighty Ape ~ Kobo

Review

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
***I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader's Copy of this book for my honest review & I thank the publishers Harper Collins NZ***
I always enjoy reading books about places I have been to or want to go, they are like mini-holidays.
This book is a based in a quintessential rural New Zealand seaside township,
Our main character is Lia and her sidekick/best friend Anna run their cafe in a quaint old house surrounded by beautiful scenery that NZ is famous for.
With the Summer season ramping up, their hours get longer and with Anna about to marry Lia's twin brother, there is plenty to get stressed about.
Plus Lia has the issue of her ex not understanding that she is not interested in getting back together. But there could be a new romance in the horizon for Lia...
I had a laugh out loud moment when the scene that introduces Lia to the new mechanic in town, and after the shock, she likes what she sees standing there in the dark.
Lia and her twin have always had their "Twin Thing" but Lia has always had an odd sixth sense and it seems to be on overdrive after the handsome fella arrives in town. But he brings his own past with him, and it may be too much for him to risk starting something new with Lia.
Will Lia's intuition help or hinder her, when it comes to her love life, and does she have time for a relationship anyway? What with the shop and of course, the hilarious wedding issues that come up to stress the girls even more. You will be glued to the pages to see what will happen next in this sleepy town. Will there be another wedding in the distant future, or will their pasts get in the way?
The book is an easy read, a fabulous choice for a relaxing weekend or holiday read, it has it all, suspense, humour, Love, Jealousy and it also covers subjects such as depression, which I felt was well written and very believable within the storyline.
There is a bonus for those Bakers out there, with a few recipes that are mentioned in the book. I think I may have a go at them some weekend (IF I can put my latest book down for long enough).

Author Bio

Danielle Hawkins grew up on a sheep and beef farm near Otorohanga in New Zealand, and later studied veterinary science. After graduating as a vet she met a very nice dairy farmer who became her husband and switched to sheep farming. Danielle spends two days per week working as a large animal vet and the other five as housekeeper, cook and general dogsbody. She has two small children - and when she is very lucky they nap simultaneously and she can write things...
Follow her on Facebook

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Review: A Missing Heart by Shari J. Ryan, @sharijryan

A Missing Heart#Topread #EmotionallyAddictive #ShariJRyan

Blurb


I’ve made mistakes. Some of those mistakes have ruined lives, including my own. Because of this, my past is something I have kept to myself, so when I found a woman who also wanted her past to remain hidden, it felt like the universe was pushing us together.It turns out the universe had nothing to do with that. If a person’s past doesn’t exist, the present may not unravel the way it should. I found out the hard way, when I learned that my wife is not who I thought she was…living with a past I should know about. Her continuous self-destructive behaviors let me know she clearly has a plan—possibly one I never should have been a part of. I keep trying to save her, but she’s making it hard. Now, both of our pasts have simultaneously rolled into the spotlight—colliding head-on, and causing the present to come crashing down on top of us. I learned that since our pasts are part of who we are, they will always be the foundation of our present and our future. The question I have is, will either of us walk away in one piece?

Buy Links:

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

Review

This story can be read as a stand-alone, but if you have read Shari's book A Heart of Time then you will remember AJ and Tori and the other sub characters.
This book will bring all the emotions to the forefront as you read, it truly is a second chance romance, and you will need tissues at the ready. Be prepared for tons of tears, I felt every page of this book, and it gets a Top 2016 read from me.

The emotion and the events that happen in the book are not overdone, and the situations that are mentioned have been well written so that they highlight how subjects like teenage pregnancy, depression, and abuse can shape a person.

I don't want to give too much away but just to say, if you want a heartfelt series to read, then both book 1 and this book will not disappoint - yes you will cry buckets but at the end of the journey is a beautiful 'Happy Ever After' Well done Shari J. Ryan

***I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader's Copy of this book for my honest review & I thank the author for granting me the opportunity to read her work***

Author Bio

International Bestselling Author, Shari J. Ryan, hails from Central Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and two lively little boys. Shari has always had an active imagination and enjoys losing herself in the fictional worlds she creates. When Shari isn’t writing or designing book covers, she can usually be found cleaning toys up off the floor. To learn more, visit her at: http://sharijryan.com, facebook.com/authorsharijryan, or twitter.com/sharijryan check out her serial story Dark Dove which I just found too

Monday, 26 December 2016

Review: Coyote's Kiss (Supernatural #8) by Christa Faust

Coyote's Kiss (Supernatural, #8)
Look what I found in my library calling to me from the 'Recommended Shelf'... so I picked it up!
A Supernatural novel that reveals a previously unseen adventure for the Winchester brothers, from the hit TV series!  - My perfect escape...
A truck full of illegal Mexican immigrants slaughtered with supernatural force is found by the side of a road. Trying to find answers, Sam and Dean are plunged into the dangerous world that exists along the Mexican border. They encounter a tattooed, pistol-packing bandita on a motorcycle who seems be everywhere they go before they get there. Xochi Cazadora draws them into a whole new world of monsters...  
  • Mass Market Paperback, 348 pages
  • Published July 12th 2011 by Titan Books (first published January 1st 2011)

Book links:

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK -  Google Books


Review

Coyote's Kiss (Supernatural, #8)

Coyote's Kiss by Christa Faust My rating: 4 of 5 stars I am a Supernatural Fan, and when I walked into my library and saw this sitting on the recommended shelf I picked it up, I may have lots of books to read but sometimes you have to deviate when the feeling takes you. So they always say that a book is better than a film, and that is because your imagination can always create a picture just for you, and the book was a good plot/story and the characters read like the characters I know and love on tv. So it was a perfect fit. I loved Xochi and she was the perfect addition to the adventure that Sam and Dean go on. I liked how the author took the situations that have happened on the TV series and used that in the storyline.

If you are a fan of a good story and the series then you will enjoy this book


Author Bio

christafaust_8179-loChrista Faust is the author of several novels, including Choke HoldMoney Shot and HoodtownMoney Shot was nominated for an Edgar award, Anthony award and Barry award, and won a Spinetingler award in the ‘Rising Star’ category. She worked in the Times Square peep booths, as a professional dominatrix, and in the adult film industry both behind and in front of the cameras for over a decade, starring in dozens of racy fetish-oriented videos. She also wrote and directed a four-part bondage adventure serial called Dita in Distress, featuring world famous Burlesque queen Dita Von Teese. Faust is a Film Noir fanatic and an avid reader of classic hardboiled pulp novels, and an MMA fight fan. She lives and writes in Los Angeles.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Shifters * Mistletoe * Hot Alphas
R.M. Gilmore - Becca Lee - Ashlea Rhodes
C.C. Wood - Aimie Jennison - Dahlia Donovan
 HALF-PRICE SALE! 
Amazon http://amzn.to/2hsgWR1
More links here
https://books2read.com/avwc
 Add to Goodreads
Shifters, mistletoe, and a whole lot of alpha heat are just waiting to be discovered.

Join the pack and explore six new paranormal worlds as the weres determine exactly what they need to fall in love or lust over the holidays.
 
A Hot Tree Publishing Anthology

Winter's Moon by R.M. Gilmore
Randy can guarantee the winter's moon will bring two things to her pack: fun and trouble. This year, she's not sure she's ready for either.

Pull of the Moon by Becca Lee
Cadence, alpha to the Denton Pack, isn’t looking for a mate, nor is she looking for trouble, but both arrive in the form of Dane. This Christmas, Cadence will discover just how far she's willing to go to protect what's hers.

Not Even a Mouse by Dahlia Donovan
This Christmas, feather-tailed glider shifter, Kat Strudwick, and the polar bear shifter, Declan Garett, discover true love where they'd believed only the hell of unrequited love existed.

Snow's Christmas Wish by Ashlea Rhodes
A chance encounter with a lone Vampire in a small town could lead to the fate Snow, a were on the run, had given up on. With magic in the air, can a Christmas wish come true for Snow and Ink?

The Witch and the Wolf by C.C. Wood
Candela wanted a distraction from her meddling family and found it in Blake. But will one night be enough for either of them?

Cure for Christmas by Aimie Jennison
Santa can't perform miracles, but Blake has a risky offer that could answer all of Caitlin's prayers. How far would you go when all hope is gone?
click here to read my review 
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1835938427

 HALF-PRICE SALE!
Amazon http://amzn.to/2hsgWR1
More links here 
https://books2read.com/avwc
 

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Deaths Echo - The Complex By Rachel M Raithby @Rach1986UK #ReleaseDay #SciFi #Fantasy #Romance

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Release Date: 10th December
Pre-Order Date: 10th November
Genre: Science/Fantasy Romance
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Blurb

After a brutal war between Humans and Metas, an uneasy truce is declared in the Seldova solar system. After the treaty signing, the Complex is created on the lone planet, Lorn—a blended community of Humans and Metas, all sent to test the waters of a more peaceful existence between the two races. Living in a domed society can only mean one thing for the Humans and Metas. Chaos.
Reviled banshee Aqulla Dayshon sees death, feels the last moments of a victim’s life and senses the echoes they leave behind. They call for vengeance, and she is helpless to deny their cries, to deny her very nature.

Intra Jaylon Rowe is the law within the Complex. When a series of murders hit the community, he enlists Aqulla’s help. But solving the murders won’t be easy.
Boundaries will be pushed, and rules broken. And as lines are crossed and passion ignites, a banshee’s call will scream.

Death is here, and it wants them all.

Links

BUY LINKS Amazon US ~ Amazon UK 
Series Website :  http://thecomplex.info/

Review

Death's Echo (The Complex)Death's Echo by Rachel M. Raithby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*** I Beta Read this book, before the final edit.***

Rachel M Raithby has ventured into a slightly different genre with Death's Echo, with its Sci-fi off world vibe, but it was an easy read, we get to experience the struggles that Aqulla Dayshon, a Banshee who has to fight her very nature to survive in The Complex, with Death's Echo surrounding her she finds each day a torment, will this drive her to madness? Will she give in to the insistent echos of the victims demanding that she give them their justice?

I really liked Aqulla, she was a strong character who had to deal with a never ending pressure of being surrounded by other Meta's and Human's who had killed, trying to survive as best she could, in the end she has to let someone in, she never suspected she would fall for him, but he was someone to lean on, her heart demanded it, but giving into her heart may just have put them both in danger.

I don't want to spoil this book so I am not going to give much more.

It has romance and a HEA that Rachel always promises to give us, its got suspense and action, I guess the only downside was it was a Novella, and soon I had finished it and I didn't want to, I wanted to stay in this world, Rachel had written.

I look forward to reading the final version, as I didn't actually get to read the Epilogue, but I was promised there was a HEA! and I will update my review then.

View all my reviews

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Author Bio

Rachel M. Raithby started her writing career in 2013 and hasn't looked back. She draws her inspiration from the many places she has lived and traveled, as well as from her love of the paranormal and thriller movies. She can often be found hiding out with a good book or writing more fast-paced and thrilling stories where love always conquers all.  She now lives in rural England with her young family.
Her books include, the adult Paranormal Romance novels 'The Deadwood Hunter Series' and the Young Adult series The New Dawn Novels, including the YA Best-seller 'Winter Wolf.'
Connect with Rachel here:

Other Books

The Beast Within (A Woodland Creek Novella)

Passion ignites and pasts collide, when the beast comes out to play"

The Deadwood Hunter Series

Drawn into a world she thought impossible, Lexia’s innocent night of partying leaves her dazed, confused and asking questions she’s not sure she wishes to know the answers to.
The Deadwood Hunter series wrapped into one box. Plus the exclusive novelette Betrayal, told from Alice's POV. Grab all three books together, no cliffhangers, save money, and read the exclusive bonus story to find out what life was like for Alice in the Hunter Compound, in the middle of a war.
Book 1 - LEXIABook 2 - WHISPERS OF DARKNESS
Book 3 - HOLOCAUSTBook 3.5 - BETRAYAL
EBook Only BOX SET LINKS
Goodreads http://bit.ly/GrdsDWHBoxsetUniversal Amazon Link getBook.at/AmznDWHBoxSetAmazon US http://amzn.to/1QoX0GtAmazon UK http://amzn.to/1UCaqEJAmazon Universal Link  getBook.at/AmznDWHBoxSet
for the individual ebooks & paperbacks click here http://amzn.to/2dueCVK
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Friday, 9 December 2016

A Veil of Vines by Tillie Cole - Excerpt Reveal @tillie_cole





BOOK LINKS





















BLURB


To most people, princes, princesses, counts and dukes are found only in the pages of the most famous of fairytales. Crowns, priceless jewels and gilded thrones belong only in childhood dreams.
But for some, these frivolous fancies are truth.
For some, they are real life.
On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, people have always treated me as someone special. All because of my ancestral name and legacy. All because of a connection I share to our home country’s most important family of all.
I am Caresa Acardi, the Duchessa di Parma. A blue blood of Italy. I was born to marry well. And now the marriage date is set.
I am to marry into House Savona. The family that would have been the royals had Italy not abolished the monarchy in 1946. But to the aristocrats of my home, the abolition means nothing at all.
The Savonas still hold power where it counts most.
In our tight-knit world of money, status and masked balls, they are everything and more.
And I am soon to become one of them.
I am soon to become Prince Zeno Savona’s wife…
… or at least I was, until I met Achille.
And everything changed.



EXCERPT



Caresa

I closed my eyes as the music pounded through my body. The air was sticky from the mass of bodies on the dance floor. My body swayed to the beat, my feet ached from the five-inch Louboutin heels I was wearing, and my skin was flushed from the copious amounts of 1990 Dom Pรฉrignon I had consumed.
“Caresa!” My name split through the harsh sound of drums and synthesized piano notes. I rolled my eyes open and looked across our cornered-off section of the club at my best friend.
Marietta was sitting on an oversized plush couch, waving a new bottle of champagne in my direction. Laughing, I followed my throbbing feet to where she sat and slumped down beside her. In seconds, a champagne flute was in my hand and the bubbly was flowing once more.
Marietta sat forward, swishing her long blond hair over her shoulder. She raised her glass as though she was going to make a toast. But instead, her bottom lip jutted out into a pathetic pout.
I tipped my head to one side, silently asking her what was wrong.
“I was going to make a toast to the Duchessa di Parma, my very best friend,” she shouted over a new but similar-to-the-last song. “To my best friend leaving me here in dull old New York to go marry a real-life godforsaken prince in Italy.” Marietta sighed and her shoulders slumped. “But I don’t want to. Because that would mean this night is almost over, and tomorrow I lose my partner-in-crime.” A sudden sadness bloomed in my chest at her words. Then, when her eyes filled with tears, those words became a punch in the gut.
Placing my glass on the table before us, I moved forward and put my hand on her arm. “Marietta, don’t get upset.”
She put down her own drink and grabbed my hand. “I just don’t want to lose you.”
My stomach rolled. “I know,” I said. Then I didn’t say anything else, but I could see Marietta register my unspoken words. I don’t want to go either.
Keeping my hand in hers, I slumped back against the couch and let my eyes drift over the busy dance floor below. I watched the throng of Upper East Siders losing themselves in the music. A pang of fear swept through me.
This really would be my last night in New York. In the morning, I would fly to Italy, where I would live from that day on.
Marietta shuffled closer to me and cast me a watery smile. “How are you doing?” she asked as she squeezed my hand.
“I’m okay. Just nervous, I guess.”
Marietta nodded her head. “And your papa?”
I sighed. “Ecstatic. Overjoyed that his precious daughter will be marrying the prince he chose for me as a child.” I felt a pang of guilt for speaking about him so negatively. “That was uncalled for,” I said. “You know as well as I do, Baroness von Todesco” —Marietta scowled playfully at my use of her title— “that we don’t really get a choice in whom we marry.” I leaned forward and picked up my champagne. I took a long swig, enjoying the feel of the bubbles traveling down my throat. I handed Marietta her glass and raised mine in the air. “To arranged marriages and duty over love!”
Marietta laughed and clinked her glass with mine. “But seriously,” Marietta said, “are you okay? Truly okay?”
I shrugged. “I honestly don’t know how to answer that, Etta. Am I okay with the arranged marriage? I suppose so. Am I okay with moving to Italy permanently? Not really. I love Italy—it’s my home, I was born there—but it’s not New York. Everyone I know is here in America.” Marietta’s eyes softened with sympathy. “And am I okay with marrying Zeno Savona? The infamous Playboy Prince of Toscana?” I took a deep breath. “I have no idea. I guess that will become apparent in the next three months.”
“In your ‘courting period,’” Marietta said using air quotes, and snorted with laughter. “What a joke. What twenty-three-year-old woman and twenty-six-year-old man need a courting period?”
I laughed at her sassy tone, but then soberly replied, “Ones who don’t know each other at all? Ones who have to see if they can stand each other’s company before sealing their marital fates forever?”
Marietta shuffled closer. “You know as well as I do that you could hate this so-called prince, detest everything he is—and he you—and I’d still be your maid of honor at your wedding on New Year’s Eve.” She sputtered a laugh. “The very fact that the date has been set says it all. This marriage is happening.” Marietta held up her glass, got to her feet and, with arms spread wide, shouted, “Welcome to the life of the European blue bloods of the Upper East Side! Drowning in Prada and Gucci, dripping in diamonds, but having no free will to call our own!”
I laughed, pulling her back down. She broke into hysterics as her ass hit the couch, spilling champagne all over the expensive upholstery. But our laughter waned as the house lights came on one by one. The last of the dance music drifted into silence, and the rich patrons of Manhattan’s most exclusive nightclub began making their way to their limos and town cars. It was three o’clock in the morning, and I had six hours left in the city I loved beyond measure.

AUTHOR BIO



Tillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.

After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.

Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.

Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.

When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.












Rachel M Raithby

Rachel M Raithby
Author of the Deadwood Hunter Series

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