Day 10 of Book Nerdiness!

A Muslim Arab Prince with a heavy weight of responsibilities on his shoulders and a young Catholic American woman with a dark, haunted past
living inside her heart. Unexpectedly thrust together in a deal of betrayal brokered by her brother, the last thing she imagines when she goes to his wedding in a kingdom far away from her home, is to find out that it’s her own wedding, as well. 
A bright, independent CEO struggling to live this new life, where the traditions and rules are too numerous to keep up with, and an attractive, intelligent prince wanting nothing more than for his bride to find
the black keys. 
Fate steps in to teach the troubled new princess a few lessons about love, life, understanding and acceptance, while destiny forces the Crown Prince into allowing his beautiful wife to break a rule or two. 

Because when it comes to love, rules blur and traditions fade.
 
About Rose B. Mashal

Rose is a loved mother, wife, and a stay at home lawyer. Writing is her passion, and
reading is her obsession. Music is her best friend and sarcasm is her speaking
trend. One of her joys is bringing happiness to others and her biggest wish is
that they stay true to one another. Through her stories, she wants to spread
nothing except understanding, peace and love.

 
 
 

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While exploring darkness in others, be careful not to
expose your own.
 
That’s what Chicago detective Alicia Raymond discovers when she’s assigned to investigate the torture and murder of a middle-aged trucker. 
Better known as Berg, Alicia is forced to confront her
darkness: her obsessive need to track down killers; her increasing craving for violence; and her potentially devastating feelings for her partner.
When she finds herself sympathizing with a sadistic killer exacting revenge for a decades-old crime, she realizes the most dangerous thing of all might just be her own state of mind. As Berg’s carefully constructed life falls apart, she faces a choice: surrender to the evil inside or finally acknowledge the brutal past she would rather bury.

The Enemy Inside is the first in the Edge of Darkness series, which challenges the
concept of justice, asks if vengeance sometimes justifies murder, and explores
whether you can ever heal from a broken past.

 
Excerpt from The Enemy Inside
The eighteen-wheeler’s headlights cut a path through the murky darkness,
illuminating the outbound Chicago highway in a ghostly glow, its rumbling
engine the only sound in an otherwise silent night.
Shifting in his sticky seat, the driver twitched and spat through the open window. It was well after midnight. He had been on the road for almost twenty-four hours straight, hadn’t slept for forty-eight, and was feeling stretched to the very end of his last frayed nerve.
He realized he should have stopped and had a break or a coffee before getting back on the tollway and heading out of the city, but it was too late now. The tollway was close to deserted as he sped west, the sprawl of suburbia thinning and being replaced by swathes of protected forests, expensive houses, and semi-rural property. There was nothing else for him to do but drive all night to northern Wisconsin, where another load and a lucrative
payday awaited him.
The highway was dull, the same as every other road he’d driven on over the last thirty years. He felt like his life was playing on some kind of endless, tortured loop. His was a lonely existence, punctuated by the odd burst of static on his CB radio and the occasional disembodied conversation with other drivers.
He shifted again and looked at the clock stuck to his dash.
2:00 a.m.
He was ahead of schedule, thanks to some homemade stimulants and a lack of rest, and again considered pulling over to get some food or maybe a few hours of sleep in his cab. While sleep sounded like something he should get, his cock throbbed, reminding him of other, more urgent priorities.
He needed a woman. Any woman.
He wasn’t an attractive man. He was heavyset, hairy, and balding with an array of amateur prison tattoos covering his body. Few women were willing to spread their legs for him. The only satisfaction he got was from the occasional truck stop lot lizard or cheap hooker when he loaded or unloaded in a city.
As the joyless decades passed, his need for more violent satisfaction had grown, and he had enjoyed himself immensely with a drug-addicted hooker last month. His erection strained painfully against his jeans as he savored the memory of the encounter: her shrieks of pain, thick, red blood mixed with slippery tears, and the muffled thuds of his fists
striking soft, pliable flesh. The memory excited him so much he thought he might explode right there in the cab. He needed to feel some battered flesh writhing under him again—and soon.
He grunted, then hocked up phlegm from deep in his throat and spat again. His personally manufactured stimulants had several unpleasant side effects, the main ones being an increase in libido, a frustrating lack of sensation, and a disgusting chemical taste in the back of his throat he could never get rid of.
The truck’s lights illuminated unexpected movement far ahead on the tollway shoulder. He forgot his desire for a moment as he shifted forward in his seat to get a better look at the solitary figure walking on the side of the highway.
He shifted down a gear, and the old air brakes hissed in protest as his lights settled on a petite woman with frizzy blond hair, her arm outstretched in the universal hitchhiker’s salute.
A gift from God.
He pulled alongside her.
Weighing perhaps one hundred pounds soaking wet, she opened the cab door and hauled herself and a small purse into the truck.
She must really need a ride. I only get the desperate ones or the ug-os that no one else will pick up.
He was excited to see she was pretty in an almost familiar kind of way, as if he had seen her before in a movie or on television. She had light blue eyes and distinctive tight, blond curls. He absentmindedly wondered if the carpet would match the drapes, and couldn’t wait to find out.
She looked exhausted, as if she’d been walking for a while.
“Thanks,” she said softly, flashing him a forced, nervous smile while she settled in the passenger seat. She quickly pulled across the frayed seatbelt and clicked it into place.
A safety-conscious hitchhiker? That’s a new one. “No problem,” he replied.
She clutched her bag to her chest like a life preserver.
As he eased the rig back out onto the highway, he smiled to himself. This’ll be easy.
Chapter One
“Are you prepared to be happy, Berg?” Detective Inspector Jay O’Loughlin asked his
partner, as he rushed into the dirty, overcrowded Chicago squad room.
Berg, in the middle of massaging her temples, looked up from her desk and brushed her long, wavy dark hair behind one ear. Buried deep in mounds of endless paperwork, the offer of a distraction sounded good. Her chair creaked as she stood to stretch and smoothed the wrinkles out of her suit skirt.
“How happy?” she asked. “Happy like I just found a great pair of Manolos in a half-off bin, or happy like I hit a moving target at two hundred yards?”
Jay flashed her one of his trademark, sexy smiles.
“Berg, I know target practice is your idea of heaven, but I’m talking happy like I’ve just had the best sex of my life and she voluntarily goes home afterward.”
“Wow, Jay. In your world that’s pretty fucking happy.” She walked out of the squad room and he followed. “So, where are we headed?” she asked, turning back and catching Jay’s lingering stare on her lower legs.
“What? Oh, to the morgue.”
“Gee, the morgue. Yay.” She stopped to face him. “I fail to see how that is going to make me happy.”
“You’ll see,” he replied with a glint in his cobalt blue eyes. “Think of it as an early Halloween treat.”
They walked down the corridor in a comfortable silence, pausing to press the call button for the elevator.
Berg, formally known as Detective Alicia Raymond, leaned against the wall and studied Jay. They had been partners for two years in the newest section of the Chicago Police Department’s Bureau of Investigative Services, the Special Crimes Unit.
Jay was one of the best cops in the district, and she enjoyed working with him, his constant need to check her out notwithstanding. He was tall—one of the few men in the station taller than she was—and handsome in that naughty Irish way, with blue eyes, an easy smile, and wavy, dark brown hair that was a shade or two lighter than her own.
His only bad quality was that he’d slept with nearly every woman in a two-mile radius, both in and out of their district. There had been some station talk, early in their partnership, of a marriage fifteen years ago when Jay was a young cadet. But he point-blank refused to acknowledge whether the rumor was even true the one time Berg had mustered up the courage to ask. They never discussed the subject again. Since then, Berg
had lost count of Jay’s conquests.
Still, while everyone knows he’ll fuck anything that moves, it doesn’t stop the women
flocking to him like bees to honey.
Berg shrugged.
The elevator arrived and they stepped back to let a young female officer get out. She pushed between them, pausing only long enough to direct a malevolent glare at Jay before stalking off.
Berg laughed. “If looks could kill, you’d be dead a thousand times over. Don’t you ever get tired of picking up young officers, then discarding them like used tissue and spending the rest of your life avoiding their hatred?” Berg grimaced at her partner as he raised an eyebrow in response to her question. “You needn’t look so smug.”
“Seen her naked. So worth the death glares,” he said with a grin.
Despite her disapproval, Berg couldn’t help but smile as she contemplated his general appeal. Jay was impossible to dislike. Men and women were equally drawn to him for his easygoing character and self-deprecating laugh. A well-connected, third-generation cop, he was dedicated to his job and solved more than his fair share of cases with diligent work and deadly charm.
“You need to become familiar with the phrase don’t crap where you eat,” she said.
He chuckled. “Maybe if you ever had sex, you’d understand. There’s no need to live up to your nickname all the time, Iceberg. You need a good humping.”
Berg gritted her teeth and crossed her arms. “You volunteering?”
Jay stepped back and raised his hands in surrender. “Hell no! I mean, don’t get me wrong, you’re great to look at and all, and I’m damn sure the sex would be great, but I saw what you did to that veteran cop a couple of years back after he dared to pat you on the ass. You barely moved and the guy was on the ground faster than kids in an earthquake drill. What was that, kung fu?”
Berg raised an eyebrow. “Karate.”
Jay took another step back. “Yeah, well, whatever it was, I don’t plan on being on the receiving end of it, nice as the view may be.” He slowly raked his eyes down from her face to her body, lingering on her chest before looking away.
“We’ve been partners for two years—do you think you could keep the staring to a minimum?” She glared at him.
Jay winked. “I’ll work on it.”
They approached the morgue, barged through the two-way doors, and walked into the cold, sterile silence.
Jay crossed the white linoleum room with a few strides and pulled open a metal refrigerator drawer. “Ta-da!” He made an exaggerated flourish, sliding out a body covered with a sheet. “One dead scumbag.” He waved toward the covered body like a manic The Price is Right model.
Berg looked dubious as she wrinkled her nose and lifted the white sheet to view the corpse. “A dead fat guy? You better have something more for me than some dead scumbag, Jay. I got up from my desk for this.”
“What if he was a serial scumbag?”
Berg arched an eyebrow. “How serial?”
“Like the guy responsible for the missing hitchhikers?”
Berg’s heart lurched. They’d been working on the missing hitchhikers for six months. During a routine review of missing persons’ files, Berg had noticed an anomaly—five local women between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one had gone missing over the past two years without a trace. Missing persons were not all that uncommon; most eventually turned up locally or out-of-state, but these women had simply disappeared.
There had been something about the victims that got to her, so Berg dug a little deeper, talking to any available friends and family between working her regular cases. She had discovered that all the women were known hitchhikers. While many had come from broken families, they had no criminal record and no reason to disappear into the ether without a word to anyone.
Curiosity piqued, she had taken some DNA from the missing women’s personal items and family members. Then came a stroke of luck. During a CODIS, or a Combined DNA Index System, comparison between the Missing Persons’ Index and the Unidentified Persons’ Index, she’d gotten a match. Decomposed remains matching the DNA of one victim, Amelia Smith, had been found.
Then the trail went cold—no more witnesses and no new leads. Nothing.
While her hunches had generally panned out, with no hard evidence connecting the victims to each other or yielding a major breakthrough in the case, Berg had hit a wall. It was the most frustrating and mysterious case she had ever worked on. She had come up with squat beyond the one match, and she had to wonder if she’d seen patterns where there were none.
“You wouldn’t tease a girl, would you?” she asked Jay, now interested in the body.
Jay laughed. “I sure would, but not you, Berg. Name’s Danny Taylor, fifty-five, independent trucker based out of the city. The body was discovered three days ago, five miles from his truck on the tollway, near the Poplar Creek Forest Preserve. He had been tortured and dumped.”
Berg rubbed her arms free of the goose bumps that were emerging due to the frigid air drifting out of the open refrigerator drawer. “What does the ME list as cause of death?”
Jay looked through the medical examiner’s report. “Not sure yet, but the ME thinks shock or loss of blood. Hard to ascertain with so many injuries.” He nodded toward the man.
Berg studied the body critically. It was mottled with bruises, stab marks, and deep gaping wounds. Ligature furrows on his hands and wrists, combined with his blue fingers and toes, indicated he’d been tied up for a good length of time prior to death.
“Of course,” Jay said with a grimace, “he may have willed himself to die once his dick was cut off.”
Berg lifted the sheet a little higher and looked down to the ragged, gaping wound where the man’s penis should have been. “Ouch. Removed pre or post mortem?”
“The ME agrees it was done before he died, judging by the surrounding tissue trauma.” Jay said, looking vaguely ill. “Anyway, ME says there’s a lot more undeveloped bruising under those ugly tats, as well other injuries, so cause of death is still to be determined. We’ll know more tomorrow.”
“Okay, all this is kinda interesting in a gross way, but I’m hearing nothing from you about why you think he’s responsible for my girls,” Berg said, impatient.

“Because we found a lovely hair belonging to Melissa Shipper on him.”
 
About Vanessa Skye
 
Vanessa Skye has always had a love of words and spent her school years writing poetry, speeches and fictional essays.
After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Print Journalism and studying Psychology at Charles Sturt University, Vanessa got a job at Rural Press—Australia’s largest publisher of regional and agricultural news and information—where she worked as a journalist in the Central West of NSW for four years.
Thousands of stories later, Vanessa decided to move back to Sydney and try her hand at public relations while studying a Master of Arts in Communication.
Skip forward a few years and Vanessa once again found herself joyfully studying various psychology subjects while managing a Sydney public relations firm. Enthralled with examining the motivations behind people’s actions, Vanessa realized what she really wanted to do in life was combine her love of words with her fascination for human behavior.
So Vanessa quit public relations to begin the significantly more impoverished life of a professional writer.
Inspired by a recurring dream, Vanessa wrote her crime fiction debut, The Enemy Inside, which challenges the concept of justice, asks if the need for vengeance sometimes
justifies murder, and explores whether you can ever heal from childhood abuse. The second book in this Edge of Darkness series,
Broken, soon followed. The third and final book in this series, Bloodlines, was released on January 15, 2015.
Vanessa’s first paranormal romance book, Koven, was released in May 2015. Vanessa is currently working on an erotic thriller, Evidence, and a young adult fantasy, Warrior.
In her spare time, Vanessa wrote a short story, The Piece, which was published in February 2012 by Dark Prints Press as a part of the One That Got Away dark fiction anthology.
Vanessa now works as a full time writer, lives in Sydney’s northern beaches and tries to immerse herself in salt water at least once a day.

 

You can find out more at www.vanessa-skye.com
 

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Day 9 of Christmas cheer!

 

Michelle’s
Christmas traditions

Christmas is a quiet event in our house. Mainly because the only person there is my cat, Loki. The rest of us can be found around the corner at the parents, enjoying
turkey, ham, veggies, and mounds of mash, as well as prezzies, drinks, and
after dinner games. There is one thing that is a given every year, however, and
that is socks. We all get them. From fluffy ones to thermal ones to ones
covered in frogs, every year we have socks. And we all love it.
 
“We all lose, son. Either I’ll be in there tonight, or I’ll end up there as one of them when I’m dead.”
 
When the dead first rose, the world thought
they could just kill them. But they only return to their graves with bellies full of flesh and more dead littering the ground. Out of desperation the zombie lottery was born.

One night a year, the dead rise, and every
adult gets their name entered into the lottery. No matter their ability, health, or status. The winners are herded to cemeteries and only one will come out alive, but all pray for the scientists working around the clock to find the answer before the killing is done.

About Michelle Birbeck
 

Michelle
has been writing and reading her whole life. Her earliest memory of books was
when she was five and decided to try and teach her fish how to read, by putting
her Beatrix Potter books in the fish tank with them. Since then her love of
books has grown, and now she is writing her own, and looking forward to seeing
them on her shelves, though they won’t be going anywhere near the fish tank.
 





 

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Day 8 of amazing giveaways!

Jeanne’s Holiday Tradition

Christmas
in the McDonald home is always a magical time of the year. Starting on
Thanksgiving, we put up the tree and pull out the Christmas movies. The house
is decorated in festive holiday fashion. I love playing Christmas music while
cooking and for some reason I bake more during this time of the year. Come
Christmas Eve, my son is allowed to open one present. It was something my
parents did for me as a child and I’ve passed it on with my family. Then, I
start my cooking for the feast of Christmas. On Christmas morning, the house is
filled with Christmas cheer. Presents are opened. Friend and family come to
dinner, and we all share in the joys of the season. This is absolutely my most
favorite time of the year. Not because of the gifts, but because of the
atmosphere. I love the joy this season brings. There a sense of “A New
Hope” in the air at Christmas.  ((see what I did there…haha! Nerdy
girl Christmas joke!))  All in all, Christmas is magic and as Harry Potter
once said, “I love magic.”

 
 
 
As teenagers, time is infinite and love is made of fairy tales and caramel corn.  For Alexis York and Ryan Fisher, their friendship was the cornerstone of who they were.  In the wake of a family tragedy, that
friendship was torn apart by time and distance.  Unrequited love was never reciprocated, and two lives that were once intertwined, now moved on different
trajectories.
Fifteen years later, these two friends are given a second chance to correct the mistakes of the past.  With one flight, a new home, and a little help from a tiny red compass, Alexis and Ryan are reunited, setting them back on the same course.  Together, they find themselves on a journey of rediscovery, friendship, hope, and love.
Yet, when the harsh realities of life threaten to tear them apart for good, will Alexis and Ryan lose all hope of a happily ever after? Or will the childhood promises of forever lead these two hearts through impossible odds and back into each other’s arms?

“You’re my compass. My one true north.”
 
 
 
About
Jeanne McDonald
 
 
 Jeanne McDonald is an author, a mother, a wife, a student of
knowledge and of life, a coffee addict, a philosophy novice, a pop culture connoisseur, inspired by music, encouraged by words, and a believer in true love.  When
she’s not spending time with her family, she can be found reading, writing, enjoying a great film, chatting with friends or diligently working toward her bachelor’s degree in literature.  A proud Texan, Jeanne currently resides in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with her family.
Author links: 

 
 

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Ho ho ho! Merry Giveaways!

Love making lists? So does Oliver! Win his story written by T.M. Franklin in “How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You”.
Seventeen-year-old Oliver Wendell Holmes (Yes, his parents are
just that peculiar, but his brother’s name is Sherlock, so it could have been
worse) knows that he’s different. He’s quirky, awkward, and he’s okay with
that. Oliver also likes making lists—meticulous procedures for achieving his
goals, step-by-step. Whether it’s “How to Get an A in Chemistry” or “How to Get
Accepted to MIT,” he has a process, and it’s worked for him so far. He doesn’t
even care that the popular kids mock him. Oliver’s got his eye on the prize.
So when he decides it’s time to declare his feelings for Ainsley
Bishop, the girl of his dreams, it’s only natural for him to make a list—a
point-by-point strategy to win her heart. He knows it will take a grand gesture
for her to see all he has to offer, and her approaching birthday provides the
ideal opportunity for Oliver to put his plan into action.
Finding
the perfect gift is a challenge Oliver meets with his usual dogged
determination. He’ll need to watch her carefully for clues to pinpoint exactly
what he should give her. And along the way, he might just learn that what
Ainsley really needs is not quite what he expected.

 

About T.M. Franklin
T.M. Franklin writes stories of adventure, romance, & a
little magic. A former TV news producer, she decided making stuff up was more
fun than reporting the facts. Her first published novel, MORE, was born during
National Novel Writing month, a challenge to write a novel in thirty days. MORE
was well-received, being selected as a finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Review
Best Indie Book Awards, as well as winning the Suspense/Thriller division of
the Blogger Book Fair Reader’s Choice Awards. She’s since written three
additional novels and several best-selling short stories…and there’s always
more on the way.
Connect with T.M. Franklin
Email:
TMFranklinAuthor@gmail.com
 
 

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Day 6, and vampires abound!

Hunted
A horrible disease is ravaging the vampire community in New York City’s underworld. The Vampire Council is on a crusade to obliterate those infected. Harrow Gates is sick, alone, and hunted. A bounty hanging over his head, he is in no position to refuse when Pritchard Tack offers him not only a new beginning, but also a chance to rectify the chaos he created in the vampire world. Now the greatest threat Harrow faces is hope.
 
Jordan is a reluctant new vampire and a woman on a mission.  Her only focus is revenge. In her search for vengeance, a stroke of luck leads her to an underground facility. Once inside the bunker, Jordan meets a man who threatens to pull her
heart away from her sworn mission. There is something behind Harrow’s dark lenses that unsettles the hardened female. Is love strong enough to override her thirst for vengeance?
 
About Lorenz Font

Lorenz Font discovered her love of writing after reading a celebrated novel that inspired one idea after another. She is currently enjoying the buzz from her vampire novels Hunted, Tormented, Ascension and Reckoning, Books
1-4 of The Gates Legacy Series, Feather Light, an erotic romance, Indivisible
Line
, a romance thriller and Pieces of Broken Time, a military romance.
 
Lorenz’s perfect day consists of writing and lounging on her garage couch, aka the office, with a glass of her favorite cabernet while listening to her
ever-growing music collection. She enjoys dabbling in different genres, with an intense focus on angst and the redemption of flawed characters. Her fascination with romantic twists is a mainstay in all her stories.
 
Lorenz lives in California with her husband, children, and two demanding dogs. She divides her time between her full-time job and her busy writing schedule.
 

 

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Day 5 of Christmas giveaways!

Lisa’s Christmas Memory
 

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. When I was
a little girl, I loved sitting in front of the tree and picking through the
ornaments, amazed how the lights sparkled. When I was seven or eight, my twin
sister and I wanted a cabbage patch doll. They were the gift to get, but that
also meant they were impossible to find. My mother scoured every toy shop to
find one, but was unable to. She even had people all over the country searching
for them. When I opened my box and saw the little brown haired doll staring up
at me, I was so excited. I cherished that doll, and when I had my daughter,
Lilian became a part of her collection. She still has her to this day.
 

Follow Travis McCoy on his journey back home through four stories.


The Journey Home, Book One:

The Sharks’ star quarterback, Travis
McCoy has it all, until an injury ends his season early. When he receives an
invitation to attend the big homecoming game from his alma mater, Travis
decides it’s time to face his past. The journey home sends Travis down a path
that he never expects. Will he be able to come to grips when everything around
him is spiraling out of control?
The Journey of Champions, Book Two:Travis McCoy thought the journey home would be the hardest choice he ever had
to make. It isn’t until he finds himself walking out the door and leaving his
family behind that he realizes his journey is only just beginning. Now, with
only a handful of weeks until Christmas, Travis tries to find his way back
home. This time, he plans on staying forever.

The Journey to Forever, Book Three:

Finally back in the warm embrace of his family, Travis McCoy relishes every
moment he gets to spend with his wife and son. After almost losing them due to
his own selfishness, he makes the decision to never let go of his family again.
With his plan set in motion, Travis, Penelope, and Max start a new journey, one
that leads them to forever.

The Journey to a New Life, Book Four

Travis McCoy’s journey has led him down a road of changes where he found the
love of his life and their child. Travis, Penelope, and Max have struggled during
their time apart, found their way back home, and finally tied their lives
together as a family. Now, Penelope and Travis find themselves on a new
journey, one that leads them to the greatest gift of all.

 
 
 
About Lisa Bilbery
 
Obsessive, compulsive, slightly crazed, but enough about her
personality. First and foremost, Lisa Bilbrey is a mom to three and a wife to
one. She loves to write, and spends the majority of everyday writing. It’s who
she is, and what she’s meant to be doing. Words are her life, the air she
breathes, and the nutrients of her soul. Finding a love in the written word,
Lisa Bilbrey started writing as a way to express herself and let her voice be
heard. From the first word she wrote, she’d found her heart and soul.

Always willing to learn, she’s spends much of her time trying
to improve as a storyteller.

 
 

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12 Days of Book Nerdiness Day 4! Giveaways, competitions, fantastic books!

Get your choice of stories from M.B. Feeney. Get a sneak peek here.
An anthology of short
stories by M. B. Feeney
The world is filled
with people destined to help and to serve. Doctors, nurses, police, and
firefighters—each and every day, these special people work to help others in
times of need. Often, this means putting their own lives at risk in order to do
their jobs. They give of themselves to benefit society, and they do it without
any expectation of thanks.
And then there is the
military…
These are the men and
women who don’t head home to their families and safe homes to relax at the end
of a shift. They are on the front lines, far from home and often fighting
someone else’s battles because it is the right thing to do. Military families
struggle to cope with the constant worry and the long periods of separation,
staying strong to support those who serve in everything they do, and often are
left to pick up the pieces when the highest price is paid.
Servicemen and women
are heroes in the purest sense of the word. Even when the world’s gone mad and
their hearts are breaking, one thing remains unchanged.
 
 
Excerpt:
Billy Skinner
19 August 2012
London

20123639

Pte Jonno Cooper

Operation HERRICK

BFPO 7721234567

Hey Shit Face,
Jonno, my man! Got a wicked tan yet? Or
is it one of those ‘White Van Man’ tans: face and below the t-shirt sleeves
only? I’m not ashamed to brag; I am golden brown, and it’s driving the ladies
wild! Wild, I tell you! I think I may be getting pretty lucky this summer.
Don’t you just wish you were me? Well, more than usual.
In some ways, I wish we could switch
places. Being a soldier was all I ever wanted to do, and my own body betrayed
me. We were supposed to do the Army thing together, but my bloody asthma soon
put a stop to that. That doesn’t mean I’m not proud of you, ‘cause I am, more
than I’ve ever been proud of anyone. Well, let’s face it; no-one’s ever given
me reason to be. I guess that’s one of the reasons I wanted to sign up. I
wanted people to be proud of me for once.
Crap! Hels warned me that writing this
letter would be like going to see a shrink. She told me that now you aren’t
around to take the piss, it makes it easier to write the words. I swear, if you
take the piss when you get back, I will rearrange your face for you. It’s not
that I’m ashamed to be writing what I just did, I would just rather you didn’t
use it as ammo against me when we’re out on the lash, mate.
Speaking of being out on the town, a
bunch of us, including Stace, were in Leicester Square for Jim’s birthday. The
lads decided that he needed to go on a ‘pull a pig’ night to see how many
mingers he could cop off with. He managed to pull some right howlers, but then
he met Emily. He sat with her all night ignoring the rest of us. They’ve been
inseparable for the last three weeks. I must admit, I felt like an utter shit
after joining in with the lads. I met her yesterday, and she’s alright. I don’t
know how she puts up with him, but to each their own, I guess.
I assume Stacey told you about Suzi’s
birthday being a total wash out. I felt sorry for her; she’d been planning it
for ages. Why she wanted a garden party is beyond me, but it was her day, I
guess. Shame the heavens opened the night before and carried on for three days
straight. We ended up down the pub. I’ve never seen that girl so drunk in my
life. Stacey had to sit up with her all night in case she threw up in her
sleep. She’s a good ‘un, your missus. I promise she’s doing okay, mate.
We were all worried about her at first
but your letters are really helping her and she’s been spending a lot of time
with Suzi, too. As much as the girl bugs me—no, not ‘cause we shagged that one
time—she’s been a good friend for Stace.
It’s too quiet without you, you
loudmouth toerag. I’m still struggling to get used to not calling you when I
see something funny, or you not being with us on a night out. I’m so used to
having you backing me and my mouth up, that I’m getting myself into a bit of
trouble. You need get your arse home so you can start talking me out of shit
again because I refuse to think before I speak. It’s just not my style.

Hurry back. We need to go drinking.

Love you, mate, Billy.

 

Links:

 
 
Disheartened
about not being able to find “Mr. Right” on the London dating scene, best
friends Jodie Lynch and Louise Hewson create a blog to not only document their disastrous
dates with the numerous “Mr. Wrongs” and “Mr. Okay-for-nows” but also to help
those going through the same experiences and to see where they’re going wrong.
How will they deal with everything the dating scene has to throw at them —
planned or otherwise?
 
 
Excerpt:
 
Conversation Two:
Me: *looks at his
sticker* “Hi, John.”
John: *mumbles* “Hi.”
M: “So, tell me about
yourself . . .”
J: “Um . . . I’m
thirty, I work in the city . . .” *takes nervous sip from his bottle of poncy
beer*
M: “That’s . . . er .
. . nice.” *gulp* “So, you live local?”
J: “Not too far. Me
and mum co-own a house about ten minutes away.” *alarm bells*
M: “Oh . . . that’s
great.”
J: “Er . . . so, what
do you do for a living?”
M: “I’m a legal
secretary.” *tumbleweeds*
At this point I’d
given up the will to live and knocked back almost a whole large glass of wine.
We sat in silence until the bell rang again.
Links:
There’s something
about that one person we date in our teens but never become intimate with. Why
does a sexless relationship render us unable to stop carrying that person, the
what if, with us into our adult life?
For Heidi Johnson,
Shane Hughes is her “one that got away.” Through the years, he has stayed in
the back of her mind while she became an adult, a mother, and her own person.
Meanwhile, Shane has lived a life of regret that he let Heidi go for the wrong
reasons: fear and a misguided sense of not wanting to hurt either of them.
When they reconnect
online, the memories they’ve tried to suppress over the years return,
reigniting the feelings never explored ‘back in the day.’ Will a school reunion
in their home town of London, surrounded by old school friends, help the pair
address the questions the years apart left unanswered? Or will they still be
left with wanting more?
 
 
Excerpt:
 
I scrambled to get my
thoughts straight, wishing I’d thought this meeting through better.
“Sorry.” I apologised
again, bringing a small smile to her face. “I thought I had what I wanted to
say clear in my mind, but the moment you walked in, it all went to shit.”
“Don’t worry about it.
This is your rodeo, take your time.” I glanced at my phone. There was still a
decent amount of time to catch my train.
“Thanks.” I took
another deep breath to steady my nerves. “I know we spoke last night, after. .
.” I trailed off, not sure how to phrase my words.
“We had a rampant fuck
in a dark alley?” Heidi supplied, making me laugh.
“If you want to put it
that way, fine by me.” My face began to ache from my grin, but I didn’t care. I
was finally at ease and knew what I wanted to say and how to say it. “I wanted
you to know that I didn’t turn up just looking to get in your knickers last
night. I know I’ve flirted, some of it got pretty hardcore, but I never
expected anything.”
“Look, Shane. Yeah,
the flirting online got pretty intense, but if I hadn’t wanted it to continue,
you know me well enough to know I’d have put a stop to it. I did go to the
reunion with a purpose. I wanted to remind you exactly what you’d let go. It
makes me sound big-headed and full of myself, but it made me feel good. Like
you, I never even considered for one moment that we’d end up in that alley, but
we did.” She paused to take a sip of her coffee.
I watched her
intently, blown away by her frankness. This woman never ceased to amaze me, or
make me regret my rash decision fifteen years prior.
“As I said last night,
it shouldn’t have happened, but I won’t regret it. It made us both feel
fantastic, and if need be, has given us some closure.”
Did I want closure?
I’d told her last night that I left wanted to know how it would feel to make
love to her and I hadn’t lied. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I must have
thought that us having sex would, as Heidi mentioned, give us a closure on our
unresolved history, but it hadn’t.
“It hasn’t for me.” I
had promised myself to be open and honest with her before we parted ways once
again. She maintained eye contact even though her skin was flushed with a blush
that spread from her throat to her cheeks.
“Me either.”
Links:
Ava Jones has settled
for a life that she’s not sure she wants anymore, but won’t admit it. Her best
friend, Erica Davidson talks her into taking a break on the Isle of Wight. Her
days on the island are spent thinking things through, and arguing with Morgan
whom she hates on principal.
Is it so wrong for her
to want a life that follows the script of a honest to God romance film?
 
Excerpt:
 
We tried for a couple
of years to have children, but it never happened. After many serious
discussions, we decided to give up on the idea altogether. That was when we
bought our first fur baby: a beautiful Collie cross called Rhea. She was our
little girl, and we both doted on her. We assuaged our guilt over our mutual
neglect by caring for Rhea, devoting our attention to another living being
rather than to each other. The puppies, Remus and Romulus, soon joined her, and
our “family” was complete.
For as long as I’d
known him, Marcus had played Sunday League football, which was followed by an
afternoon with his teammates at the very pub I was now approaching. Coupled
with training one evening a week, his evenings out gave me more than enough
time to spend with Erica or at home with the dogs.
“Have you thought any
more about that holiday I mentioned?” Erica asked while we claimed our usual
table. Our customary bottle of red wine was already ready and waiting for us.
“I have . . .” My
words drifted away when I thought back to her idea of a girlie getaway on the
Isle of Wight. Just as its name suggested, the top-class Lakeside Hotel with
attached spa was located right next to a beautiful lake. Bliss.
“And? Why the
hesitation?” Erica pushed like she always did, her blue eyes flashing once more
as she looked into my brown ones.
The idea of a real
getaway caused the blonde hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, but I
tried to rein my excitement in. “I don’t know. It sounds amazing, and Lord
knows I could do with some time away.”
“Do it, then.”
I knew I had enough
holiday time available at work. Screw it.
“Let’s do it.”
Links:
About M.B. Fenney
 
M. B. Feeney is an army brat who finally settled down
in Birmingham, UK with her other half, two kids and a dog. Currently at
university studying for her BA (Hons) in primary teaching, she procrastinates
on her assignments by listening to music of all genres and trying to get ‘just
one more paragraph’ written on whichever WIP is open. She is also a serious
doodler and chocoholic. Writing has been her one true love ever since she could
spell, and publishing is the final culmination of her hard work and ambition.
Her publishing career began with two novellas, and she
currently has multiple projects under way whilst Honour, a compilation of her
own military based shorts, was released in November 2013. Always having
something on the go can often lead to block which eventually gets dissolved by
good music and an even better book. 

Her main reason
for writing is to not only give her readers enjoyment, but also to create a
story and characters that stay with readers long after the book is finished,
and possibly make someone stop and think “what if…”
 
 
 

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Brooke’s Christmas Memory

One year many years ago, my sister and I made handprint
sweatshirts for our parents as a joke. The joke was on us because we got them
in return from our parents the next year with THEIR giant hand prints on them.
I still have and cherish and wear that shirt!

 

Renee Lockhart has her eye on a lofty goal…to fill the open
position of morning radio show host at the station where she works. When her
co-workers sign her up for a local TV version of The Bachelor, Renee goes along
with it in order to raise her profile. Upon seeing her bumbling audition, Ben
McConnell, one of the most eligible bachelors in town, insists that Renee be
placed on the show. But Ben gets much more than he expected in Renee… he gets a
girl who can’t seem to do anything right…and a girl he can’t seem to resist.
About Brooke Williams
 

Brooke Williams is a sleep-deprived stay at home
mom/freelance writer/author who has an unnatural interest in dandelions. She
attributes her humor to her two young girls for keeping her in the lack of
sleep state on a regular basis. She has been married to her husband Sean since
2002. Brooke has a background as a radio announcer and producer and also did a
short stint as a TV traffic reporter. Brooke specializes as a freelance writer
and creates blogs, articles, web content and more for clients all over the
world. She has written a number of novels including: “Someone Always Loved
You,” “Beyond the Bars,” “Wrong Place, Right Time,” “Accept this
Dandelion,”  “Mamarazzi,” “Backwards Christmas” and
“Dandelions on the Road.”
 
 
 

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12 Days of Book Nerdiness with your chance to win!

Get Low with Mary Elizabeth’s upcoming release!
 

 

It’s hard living on the wrong side of the tracks.
Lowen Seely has a criminal record to prove it. Determined not to
follow in his father’s footsteps, he fights instinct and tries honesty. But
hunger becomes painful, and bills are due. Forced to choose between what is
right and wrong, the boy from the hood learns abiding by the rules is nearly
impossible when corruption is in your blood. 
Falling for an outlaw has changed everything.
Poesy Ashby is the definition of ride or die, even when it means
turning her back on freedom. The girl from the suburbs gives conformity the
middle finger. Bonnie and Clyde have nothing on her love story. 
On the run with consequences in the rearview mirror, Lowen and
Poesy accept the truth: they are the bad guys. 

But can they get away with their crimes?
 
Mary Elizabeth is an up and coming author who finds words in
chaos, writing stories about the skeletons hanging in your closets. 
 
Known
as The Realist, Mary was born and raised in Southern California. She is a wife,
mother of four beautiful children, and dog tamer to one enthusiastic Pit Bull
and a prissy Chihuahua. She’s a hairstylist by day but contemporary fiction,
new adult author by night. Mary can often be found finger twirling her hair and
chewing on a stick of licorice while writing and rewriting a sentence over and
over until it’s perfect. She discovered her talent for tale-telling
accidentally, but literature is in her chokehold. And she’s not letting go
until every story is told. 
 
 
 

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