New Release + Release Blitz + Excerpt + 4.5-Star Review: Love, Sincerely, Yours by Meghan Quinn and Sara Ney

 

Dear Mister…**strike out** no, too formal.

Hey there sweet cheeks *strike out* no, too forward.

 

To whom it may concern,

Full disclosure; before we move forward with this email, I would like it to be known that I have consumed an adequate amount of alcoholic beverages to intoxicate myself tonight. Three margaritas, two shots, and one beer—because it was free.

I think it’s important to be open and honest with your co-workers, don’t you?

So here I am, being honest. Drunk but honest. Or just drunk with lust? You decide.

I like you so much it’s clouding my judgment and making me do things I never would sober. Like write this letter.

I have a hopeless, foolish, schoolgirl crush on you when you are the last person on earth I should be falling for. Did you know people around the office call you a sadist? An egomaniac. An insensitive, arrogant prick. Your bark is worse then your bite, and you don’t scare me. The fact is, I’d love that bite of yours to nip at my bare skin while we’re both wearing nothing but sheets.

For once I want you to look at me as more than one of your employees.

And as long as we’re being honest, that navy blue suit you wear? With the crisp white shirt? It really makes me want to loosen your tie and show you who’s boss.

Love,

Sincerely,

Yours.

 

 

AVAILABLE NOW

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** KU NOT AVAILABLE WITH THIS RELEASES **

 


Like a goddamn ray of sunshine, light streaming behind her from the window, a halo shining above her pretty head.

Her lying, beautiful head.

Dark hair, wavy and glossy, down around her shoulders, the rich color picking up red from the sun.

She’s holding a glass—it’s poised at her lips and she’s about to take a sip—when our eyes meet. She lowers it, her mouth parts, and her smile spreads.

Until I scowl. Then, her face morphs from happy to concerned in a second. Damn right she should be concerned.

I nod.

She nods.

My eyes trail down the front of her and I note her dress—it’s baby blue, wrapped and tied at the waist, and shows off her curves while highlighting her legs in those sexy-as-shit heels.

Stop thinking about her curves and legs. You’re not here to admire her.

The pile of gifts in the corner pisses me off, bringing me back into the present, back to my rage, and has me lifting my arm; crooking my finger.

Peyton’s brows go up at the same time her head cocks and she pokes a finger into her own chest. “Me?”

“Yeah. You.” I know she can’t hear me, but I say it anyway—and if she’s any good at reading lips, she’ll haul her ass over here right quick.

Her cup is passed. Skirt gets smoothed out. Chin tilts high.

She heads over.

Good girl.

“Follow me,” I order her when we’re on the outskirts of the room. When we’re clear across the office common area, I pivot to face her.

She’s shorter, even in heels, so I have to dip my head to glare at her. “Want to tell me exactly what the fuck is going on in there?”

 

Tracey’s Review

A self-made man, Rome Blackburn definitely needs to lighten up. I mean, all work and no play, well, we know how that ends up, and Rome is in definite need of an attitude adjustment. Enter Rome’s employee Peyton, and her hidden unrequited lust. With the help of lots of alcohol and a tech-savvy friend, her secret’s out, except…not exactly.

Oh, my goodness, this book. I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from LOVE, SINCERELY YOURS, but I absolutely loved it! From start to finish, authors Meghan Quinn and Sara Ney had me laughing out loud as I followed the goings-on of Rome and Peyton and their unconventional office romance. The back and forth between them, the slow steamy build-up, made for one of the most enjoyable rom-coms I’ve come across lately.

I think that one of things that really worked for me was the way that Rome, a guy that you really just wanted to punch in the throat at the beginning of the story, changes and evolves. Peyton is full of sass and isn’t afraid to use it, along with her business smarts, to help Rome see what he’s missing, both in the office and out.

LOVE, SINCERELY, YOURS will have you snickering, smiling, doing all of the laughing, and should most certainly be on your TBR. As an addendum, I will say that I listened to the audiobook, and narrators Ava Erickson and Alexander Cendese nailed these characters, making the story that much more fun. Grab this 4-5 star gem now, and thank me later.

 

 

 

Sara Ney is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the How to Date a Douchebag series, and is best known for her sexy, laugh-out-loud New Adult romances. Among her favorite vices, she includes: iced latte’s, historical architecture and well-placed sarcasm. She lives colorfully, collects vintage books, art, loves flea markets, and fancies herself British.

She lives with her husband, children, and her ridiculously large dog.

 

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Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.

Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.

Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!

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New Release + Release Blitz + Excerpt: Unzipped by Lauren Blakely

 

100% of proceeds from the first 5 days of UNZIPPED sales go to California Fire Relief Charities!

What do you get when you mix a hot nerd, a quirky heroine, and a hilarious meet-cute (featuring a boombox) that goes terribly awry? UNZIPPED!

Don’t miss this brand new standalone romantic comedy from #1 NYT bestseller Lauren Blakely! Brilliantly funny and spectacularly swoony, UNZIPPED—with its nod to the great silver screen romantic comedies—is available everywhere for your pleasure! Get your copy of UNZIPPED today!

 

✮✮✮UNZIPPED is here! Grab your copy today! ✮✮✮

Wanted: hot nerd seeks dating coach.

Picture this – I’m ready to win back the love of my life, and I’m going big this time. We’re talking boom box, sing her name in the rain, let the whole damn neighborhood know I’m good and ready this time around. After all, if you’re going to grand gesture the ever-loving hell out of a second chance, you need to pull out all the stops.

There’s only one little problem.

My college girlfriend isn’t the one who shows up when I play my “I’ll do anything to win you back” tune. The woman who flings open the second-floor window tells me my ex doesn’t live here anymore. But she’ll help me win her back. Anything for romance, anything for a guy so willing to go big for love. And that’s what I want at first. Until I get to know my new “romance coach” and discover she’s funny, clever, and keeps me on my toes. Now I don’t want to win anyone else’s heart. I want the woman who’s been helping me all along. Trouble is – she thinks I’m in love with someone else, and when we take off on a road trip, everything I think I know about women is about to be unzipped and turned inside out.

***

He’s the last person I ever expected to pop into my life, but he might be exactly what I need to save the thing that matters most to me. All I have to do is not fall for him.

Unzipped is a standalone romance!

 

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EXCERPT:

As I peruse the scenes, the opening notes of a song filter from the front of my townhome. What the hell? Did I leave the streaming app open on my phone? I step away from the counter and head to the front door, looking for my phone, even though I swear I had it with me in the kitchen.

The song grows louder, and it’s not coming from my cell at all. It’s coming from outside. I peer through the peephole.

I jerk back.

Rub my eyes.

What the hell?

Am I really seeing what I’m seeing? I don’t think I had that much wine. I had one sip.

Fine, fine. One large sip. One very large, very hearty sip. All right, it was a gulp.

But I can’t possibly be hallucinating, can I?

I peek again, and holy smokes.

There’s a guy on my front lawn going full Lloyd Dobler.

The hair on the back of my neck stands on end, and my paranoid brain leaps three thousand steps ahead. Did he escape from Alcatraz? Is he going to bang down my door? Attack me?

I pivot and grab the baseball bat I keep handy. As the youngest sister of two older brothers, I’ve learned a few valuable lessons: boys are trouble, pizza is good cold, and always keep a baseball bat near the door and/or bed.

With my bat in hand, I scurry to the kitchen to grab my phone, then fly upstairs to the bedroom, taking the steps two by two.

I race into the bedroom, set the bat at my feet, and keep my phone clutched in my hand, ready to call 911 if need be. I pull back the white curtain a smidge.

And I nearly die laughing.

The song has stopped, and the Dobler wannabe is now kneeling on the ground, furiously hitting buttons on the boom box.

I peer around the curtain’s edge, and it’s like watching a sideshow act auditioning for my circus.

He hoists the boom box up above him again. A new tune plays. I cock my head, listening, and I cringe when I recognize the tune.

For real? Is he truly playing “Unzipped”? I could never stand that song when it was popular eight years ago. The music sounds like a can opener mating with a trombone. I wish he were playing Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes,” like Dobler did in the film.

But as I study the bizarre suburban male mating ritual, I decide to award him points for sheer balls. He also deserves bonus points because he chose to go without the super cheesy trench coat that Dobler wore. It worked for Cusack, but on anyone else that attire screams serial killer.

This guy seems harmless.

And admittedly, from my vantage point two stories above, he’s kind of handsome with the glasses, the thick, floppy hair, and the jeans that fit nicely. Strong jaw too.

Fine, fine. He’s more than kind of handsome. He’s 100 percent good-looking, in that hot nerd kind of way.

Tracey’s Review

Let me begin by saying that I adore any and everything written by Lauren Blakely. But, oh, my gosh, I am in TOTAL LOVE with UNZIPPED. This story stole my heart, from the first chapter to the last, and it has to be one of my favorite LB stories EVER.

Who would think that one mistake would lead to the adventure of a lifetime, and true love with lots of fun along the way? Lauren continues to amaze me with her ability to create stories and characters that charm the ever-loving heck out of me, and make me laugh, swoon, and sizzle, often at the same time. Kyler and Finley may seem like an unlikely couple, but Lauren’s magical touch makes it easy to believe that they were meant to be all along. The fact that these two bring out both the sane and zany, the serious and the fun-loving in each other, cemented them as another favorite couple, and made their story one I’ll happily revisit again and again. Five happy stars for UNZIPPED – I literally could not get enough of this story, and recommend it as a must-read to fans of rom-com, 80’s movies, road trips, and soulmates.

 

 

✦ The audiobook is narrated by Joe Arden and Andi Arndt! ✦
✦Audible ➜https://amzn.to/2UL5EHI

 

 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS TODAY!

 

 

 

 

 


Lauren is donating 100% of the first five days of sales for UNZIPPED from all retailers to California Fire Relief Charities, so one-click and you’ll get a sexy, witty rom-com and help a good cause!


 

About Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family, including her smoking hot and funny husband and her two brilliant and kind children. She has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs — she might have four dogs, or maybe five. If she’s lucky, she’ll soon have six dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 100 times, and she’s sold more than 2.5 million books. In December she’ll release UNZIPPED, in January BIRTHDAY SUIT, and in March BEST LAID PLANS. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

 

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New Release + Excerpt + 4.5-Star Review: Across the Horizon by Aly Martinez

 

 

 

“Sometimes love happens when you least expect it.” That was what my husband’s mistress told me the day I found out about their affair.

I didn’t believe it until five minutes later when mouth-watering celebrity chef Tanner Reese walked up, tossed his arm around my shoulders, and told my cheating husband to take a hike.

Tanner and I couldn’t have been more different. He spent his weekends at clubs, rubbing elbows with fellow A-listers. I spent mine in yoga pants with cheese boards and a glass of wine—or six.

Our relationship shouldn’t have worked, but it did. That is until Tanner proved to me that even though love happens when you least expect it…

So does heartbreak.

AVAILABLE NOW
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EXCERPT:

I shifted the phone to my other ear and asked her, “Did you just get in bed?”

“If, by bed, you mean carrying a glass of wine out back to swing in the hammock, maybe.”

I bit my bottom lip, my head falling back against the headrest. For most men, this would have been an innocuous statement. But for a hammock connoisseur like myself, this was the normal guy equivalent of her saying that she liked to give blowjobs during halftime.

“You have a hammock out back?”

There was a delay in her response, which was followed by a subtle kiss of her lips on what I assumed was a wine glass. “Don’t knock it until you try it. It’s one of the most underrated luxuries in outdoor furniture.”

“Oh, I’m not knocking anything. Rope or quilted?”

“Mayan, actually.”

“Oh, sweet heavenly baby Jesus, she’s beautiful and knows her hammocks. I’ve never been so turned on in my life.”

She giggled, pausing for another sip. “You know, if you leaked this hammock fetish to the press, you could probably increase demand by five million percent and singlehandedly lower the country’s unemployment rate.”

Okay, so at some point during the day, she’d figured out who I was.

But! Even with this knowledge, she was trying to avoid a date with me and was not elbow-deep in planning our televised wedding. This was a definite plus in my book.

“Yeah, but then, when I talked to beautiful women like yourself, I’d have no idea if the hammock was your idea or a ploy to impress me.”

“Jeez, that’s sad, Tanner,” she said, her sweet Southern accent like a wave rolling over my name.

I’d meant it as a joke, but it was the absolute truth when it came to dating. Early on in my career, I’d done a rapid-fire interview about my personal life. One of the questions had been: What would your ideal woman order on the first date? Truth be told, the only thing I hoped my ideal woman would order was something she wanted. I didn’t factor into that. But I’d been on my last question in my last interview of the last day of a month-long press tour. My face had hurt from fake smiling, I’d been in desperate need of a shower, a smoke, and sleep, and my mind had been mush, so I’d prattled off the first thing that had come to mind: shrimp and grits.

That one little answer somehow made it onto my Wiki page, and after that, every woman I’d taken out ordered shrimp and grits. One of them even had a shellfish allergy and nearly ended up in the hospital. And this insanity was not limited to women outside of the spotlight.

I’d once gone on a date with America’s princess of pop, Levee Williams. We’d hit it off at a charity event. For one of the most famous women in the world, she was a surprisingly nice girl, gorgeous, and funny as all get out. But the first time I took her out? One guess what she ordered.

I was at the end of my rope with dating and lost my freaking mind before storming out like an asshole. That night, as I was reporting shrimp and fucking grits as an error to Wiki, I noticed that her page listed it as her favorite food. I’d never had the balls to contact her again, and I once hid behind a palm tree on Rodeo Drive when I heard the clamoring of paparazzi calling her name. But that’s neither here nor there.

In short, while finding a woman was all too easy, dating was hard.

But that wasn’t about to stop me from trying with Rita.

 

Tracey’s Review

I’m going to be honest, I generally associate an Aly Martinez book with angst and heartache, but, let me tell you, ACROSS THE HORIZON is a whole different animal. A contemporary romance filled with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and seriously sexy scenes, this book quickly became one of my favorites of 2018.

I’m a picky reader, and an unabashed DNFer, should the situation arise. I’ll give a book my best effort, but, if it’s not doing it for me, well, my TBR is long, and there are deadlines to meet. This book, though, this absolutely delicious book, had me from the first scene. I mean, I couldn’t put it down. The chemistry and just absolute rightness between Tanner and Rita is instantaneous and non-stop. If there are two people that shouldn’t be together, but unquestionably must be, this is the couple. They just work. They get each other, and reading their story put me in a great mood that didn’t let up.

I love angsty reads as much as the next person, and, yes, there are are some somber moments for Tanner and Rita, but I am over the moon to be wrapping up my reading year with a book like ACROSS THE HORIZON. It’s a definite must-read if you’ve read the books in the Darkest Sunrise duet (I have not, but am totally jonesing for more Porter and Charlotte, now that I’ve met them in ACROSS THE HORIZON), or if you’re just looking for a feel-good read that will have you making a fool of yourself for laughing out loud in public. Do yourself a favor and add this one to your reading list, because this 4.5 ‘Can’t Stop Smiling Stars’ treat is not to be missed.

 

 

Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her four young children.

Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.

She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.

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New Release + Release Blitz + Prologue: Tragic by Devney Perry

 

 

Kaine Reynolds wants nothing more than solitude. After an unthinkable tragedy destroys his family, he’s cut off all ties to his former life so he can battle his grief the only way he knows how.W

Alone.

So when Piper Campbell knocks on his door, rambling on about being his new neighbor, he slams the door in her face.

But Kaine’s gruff demeanor doesn’t scare her. She’s set on living in Montana and starting over after a terrible divorce. And she wouldn’t mind having a fling to chase away the pain of her husband’s betrayal. Her handsome, albeit rude, neighbor is the perfect candidate.

Yet what neither of them suspect is that their no-strings affair will result in the surprise of Piper’s lifetime—and Kaine’s worst fear.

 

AVAILABLE NOW

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READ THE PROLOGUE FOR TRAGIC HERE

 

 

 

Devney is the USA Today bestselling author of the Jamison Valley series. She lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories. Devney loves hearing from readers! Connect with her on social media.

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New Release + Blog Tour + Excerpt + 5 Star Review: Five Years Gone by Marie Force

Today we are celebrating the release of FIVE YEARS GONE, a romantic standalone title by New York Times Bestselling author Marie Force. Check out some teasers and an excerpt for the book below.

 

FIVE YEARS GONE by Marie Force

Available Now

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The most brazen terrorist attack in history. A country bent on revenge. A love affair cut short. A heart that never truly heals.

I knew on the day of the attack that our lives were changed forever. What I didn’t know then was that I’d never see John again after he deployed. One day he was living with me, sleeping next to me, making plans with me. The next day he was gone.

That was five years ago. The world has moved on from that awful day, but I’m stuck in my own personal hell, waiting for a man who may be dead for all I know. At my sister’s wedding, I meet Eric, the brother of the groom, and my heart comes alive once again.

The world is riveted by the capture of the terrorist mastermind, brought down by U.S. Special Forces in a daring raid. Now I am trapped between hoping I’ll hear from John and fearing what’ll become of my new life with Eric if I do.

From a New York Times bestselling author, Five Years Gone, a standalone contemporary, is an epic story of love, honor, duty, unbearable choices and impossible dilemmas.

PURCHASE IT NOW!

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PURCHASE IN PRINT: Marie’s Store | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Chapters Indigo

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PURCHASE IN AUDIO: Amazon | Audible US | Audible UK | Audible AU

 

Read this excerpt from Five Years Gone.

 

Prologue

Ava

We met in a bar, of all places, a dingy hole-in-the-wall favored by military members from the nearby Navy base in San Diego. I went with a friend from school who was interested in one of the military guys. Before that night, I’d never been there, and I’ve never been back. John was celebrating the promotion of one of his buddies. He crashed into me as I left the ladies’ room and kept me from falling by grabbing my arms to steady me.

Just like in the movies, our eyes met, and my spine tingled with the kind of instantaneous awareness I’d only read about but never experienced personally.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, gorgeous and fierce in his fatigues.

I noticed gold on his collar, a hint of late-day scruff on his jaw and the name WEST in bold black letters on his chest. Intense electric-blue eyes made it impossible for me to look away, even when I was safely back on my feet.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

Realizing I’d been staring at him, I blinked and reluctantly broke the connection. “I… Yes, I’m fine. Thank you for the save.”

And then he smiled, and the tingling began anew.

“I’m John.”

I shook his outstretched hand. “Ava.”

Keeping his hold on my hand, he tipped his head. “You come here often?”

“Never,” I said, laughing. “I’m a first-timer.”

“What do you think so far?”

“I wasn’t impressed until about thirty seconds ago.”

As if he had all the time in the world to give me, he leaned against the wall. “Is that right? What happened thirty seconds ago?”

I thought about taking back my hand but didn’t. “I was saved from certain disaster by a man in uniform.”

“The guy in the uniform is the reason you needed saving in the first place, because he wasn’t watching where he was going. Least he can do is buy you a drink.”

“I wouldn’t say no to that.” I was proud of my witty responses and got the feeling he could more than hold his own in the wittiness department. Across the crowded room, I noticed my friend talking to the guy she’d come to see, and her brows lifted in interest when she saw me with John. He guided me to the bar, placing a proprietary hand on my lower back, and told one of the guys to give me his stool.

“Yes, sir.” The younger man bowed gallantly to me as he took his beer and moved along.

“Do people always do what you say?”

“If they know what’s good for them.” His teasing grin kept the comment from being overly cocky. “What can I get you?”

Deciding to live dangerously for once, I asked for a cosmopolitan.

“Go big or go home,” he said with admiration.

“That’s my motto.” I was so full of shit. I wondered if he could tell I was all talk or what he’d think of me if he knew I usually err much closer to the side of caution than the wild side. I wondered if he could tell I was just barely old enough to drink. I’d turned twenty-one only six months earlier.

When my cosmo and his Budweiser had been delivered, he offered a toast. “To new friends.”

I touched my glass to his bottle. “To new friends.”

“So, where’re you from, Ava?”

“New York.”

“I thought I heard New Yawk in your voice.”

I batted my eyelashes at him. “So four years at the University of California San Diego didn’t scrub the New York out of me?”

Laughing, he said, “Hardly. I know some guys from New York. One of them is from Staten Island, which is about as New York as it gets. I know New York when I hear it.”

“I’m from Purchase, upstate from the city. What about you?”

“I’m from all over. My old man is a retired general. You name it, I’ve lived there.”

“Where’s home?”

“Right here.” He turned that intense gaze on me, and I went stupid in the head. I couldn’t see anything but him. We might as well have been alone in the crowded bar for all I knew. Unlike my friend, who loved men in uniform, I was never turned on by the uniform. Until then. Until John. “You want to get out of here?”

I swallowed hard. It wasn’t like me to leave a bar with a man I’d just met. “And go where?”

“Somewhere we can talk.”

“What do you want to talk about?”

He leaned in so his lips were close to my ear. “Everything. I want to know every single thing there is to know about you.”

 

That’s how we started. We were intense from the first second we met until the last time I saw him five years ago today. I can’t believe it’s been five years since I looked into those incredible blue eyes or woke to him on the pillow next to me or heard his voice in my ear, whispering words that’re permanently carved into my heart as he made love to me.

The worst part is I have no idea where he is. I don’t know if he’s alive or dead, being held captive or if he’s living his life somewhere else with someone else. I don’t know, and the not knowing is the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with.

I love him as much today as I ever did. No amount of time could ever change that simple fact of my life. We had two beautiful, magnificent years together, caught up in our own little bubble. He never met my family. I never met his. We didn’t make couple friends. We didn’t talk about the future. We didn’t need to. Our future was decided that first night, and it would take care of itself in due time. I honestly and naïvely believed that.

Now, with hindsight, I realize the bubble was strategic on his part. He gave me everything he had to give, including no promise of tomorrow.

Five years ago today, we watched the horror unfold on live television. A US-based cruise ship blown up by suicide bombers. Four thousand lives extinguished in a heartbeat. Our world permanently changed once again, our country declaring yet another war on terrorists. After 9/11 we thought we’d seen everything. We were wrong.

“I have to go,” he said, grabbing the duffel that stood ready in the front hall closet. He called it his “go bag.” I’d thought nothing of it.

“Where’re you going?”

“I don’t know.”

“When will you be back?”

“I don’t know that either.” He held my face in his hands and gazed at me, seemingly trying to memorize my every feature. “I love you. I’ll always love you.” Then he kissed me as passionately as he ever had and was gone, out the door in a flash of camouflage.

I never saw him again.

I’m not his wife or even his fiancée, so no one notified me of his whereabouts. And three months after he left, when I found a way onto the base in a desperate quest for information, no one there could tell me anything either. I tried to locate his parents and other people he mentioned, but it was like they didn’t exist. I could find no record of a retired general named West in the Marine Corps, Army or Air Force.

Furthermore, an exhaustive search for information on the John West I had known led nowhere. No high school, no college, no military service, no nothing.

Sometimes I wonder if I dreamed the two years we spent together, doing mundane things like grocery shopping, cooking, watching TV and sleeping together after long days at work. But then I’d remember the blissful passion, the scorching pleasure, the desire that ruled us from the beginning, and I’d know I didn’t dream him. I didn’t dream us. We were real, and he was everything to me.

Sitting on the floor in our apartment, surrounded by boxes, I take a few minutes before the movers arrive to memorize every detail of the place where we lived together. I’ve packed his things along with mine, and I’m moving home to New York. Today was my deadline. I gave it five years, and I simply can’t do it anymore. I can’t sit in our home among our things, waiting for something that’s never going to happen.

It’s over. It’s time for me to move on. It’s probably long past time, if I’m being honest with myself. And though I know it’s the right move at the right time, that doesn’t mean my heart isn’t shattering all over again as I dismantle the place where we were us.

My sister is getting married next month. I promised her I’d be home in time to hold her hand through the festivities. Other than occasional trips home for holidays and other occasions, I’ve been gone more than ten years. I bear no resemblance whatsoever to the girl who left home at eighteen seeking independence from her overbearing family at a faraway college out West.

I accomplished all my goals, finishing college, landing a decent job and falling in love with the man of my dreams. I found out what happens when dreams come true and how painful it is when they blow up in your face.

It’s time now to set new goals, to start over, to begin a life that doesn’t have John at the center of it the way it did here. It’ll be nice to be back with people who love me and care about me, even if they tend toward smothering at times. That’s looking rather good to me after years of loneliness and grief.

The intercom sounds to let me know the movers are here. I pick myself up off the floor and steel my heart for the day ahead. I can do this. I’ve been through worse, and I’ll survive this the same way I’ve survived everything else. Despite my resolve, my eyes fill with tears as I press the button that opens the door downstairs to the movers.

It doesn’t take them long to pack my belongings into their truck. I keep with me the things that can’t be replaced—precious photos, gifts he gave me, the clothing he left behind. After taking a final look around the apartment, I pack those boxes into my car, turn my apartment keys into the leasing office and head east, feeling as if I’m leaving behind everything that ever mattered to me.

It’s like I’m losing him all over again. I cry all the way through the desert of Southern California and well into Arizona. I relive every minute I can remember, every conversation, every special moment. I think about what it was like to make love with him and wonder how I’ll ever to do that with anyone but him. Maybe I won’t. Maybe that part of my life ended with him, and even though I’m only twenty-eight now, I’m okay with that possibility. Once you’ve experienced perfection, it’s hard to imagine settling for anything less.

The tears finally dry up somewhere in northern Arizona, but the ache inside… I take that with me all the way to New York, where I will try my very best to pick up the pieces of my shattered life and put them back together into some new version of myself.

After all, what choice do I have?

 

5 star

Tracey’s Review

 

I’m going to be honest, even though I love and adore Marie Force, after reading the synopsis for FIVE YEARS GONE, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read it, that I could read it. I mean, I knew going in that it was going to evoke all kinds of memories and feelings, you know, the ones that we all have after any kind of attack on our own sense of national security. Helpless and violated, and completely bereft. But, then, I thought, it’s Marie, so how could I not read it, so in I went.

This book. Oh, my gosh, this book. As an avid reader and a blogger, I have the opportunity to read a lot of books. A lot of them are really good, a few less than memorable, but there are those that you pick up, and you stay up reading late into the night because you just can’t put them down, and that stay with you long after the last page. FIVE YEARS GONE falls firmly into the last category, and I could not have loved it more.

I was completely enthralled with this story of a second chance at love. This is not the second time around trope that I’m used to reading, but, rather a story about people that have been devastated by loss opening their hearts to love again, even when everything in them says otherwise.

I cannot even imagine having gone through the waiting, the wondering, the despair, that Ava has. That she is able to let herself fall again is a testament to the fact that Eric is such a solid guy. I absolutely loved him, and, let me tell you, he’s a total keeper. He stuck around when other men would have run, and his love for Ava is just palpable. I could not have been happier with the way that Marie brought this story full circle, and, while I was crying along with Ava, it just felt absolutely right.

There’s a wonderful cast of supporting characters, and they really make the story that much more enjoyable. There is no question that the second book in this series (yes, there’s more!) is already one of my top anticipated books of 2019, because I think it’s going to be just as fabulous as FIVE YEARS GONE, and I cannot wait. If I could recommend one recent read, FIVE YEARS GONE is it, because it was just that good. If it’s not on your TBR, it should be, because you will love it.

 

ADD FIVE YEARS GONE TO GOODREADS

 

—————————-

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, including the indie-published Gansett Island Series and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series. In 2019, her new historical Gilded series from Kensington Books will debut with Duchess By Deception.

All together, her books have sold 6.5 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list many times. She is also a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller, a Speigel bestseller in Germany, a frequent speaker and publishing workshop presenter as well as a publisher through her Jack’s House Publishing romance imprint. She is a two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award for romance fiction.

Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

Join Marie’s mailing list for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @marieforce and on Instagram. Join one of Marie’s many reader groups. Contact Marie at marie@marieforce.com.

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter | Goodreads

Join Marie’s Reader Groups

InkSlinger Blogger Final

New Release + Blog Tour + Excerpt + 5-Star Review: Tattered by Devney Perry

 

 

Thea Landry has always known her place in modern-day society. It’s somewhere just above the trash can her mother dumped her in as a newborn but below the class where much comes easy. With her tattered shoes and bargain-bin clothes, her life has never been full of glamour.

So when a rich and charismatic man takes interest, she doesn’t fool herself into thinking their encounter is anything more than a one-night stand. Months later, she’s kicking herself for not getting his phone number. Or his last name. She’s given up hope of seeing him ever again.

Until one day, years later, Logan Kendrick waltzes into her life once more and turns everything she’s built upside down. This time around, she won’t make the same mistake. She’s going to fight to keep him in her life—not for herself.

But for their daughter.

 

 

 

AVAILABLE NOW

Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo

 

 

 

 

He stared at me for a long moment. “You’re sure she’s mine?”

“She’s yours.”

“Then that’s good enough.”

“I—really?” I blinked. He didn’t want to verify paternity? He just . . . trusted me?

He nodded. “Really.”

“I swear, I tried to find you, Logan. On my life, I swear it. But the hotel wouldn’t give me your name no matter how much I begged. And you paid cash for your drinks and never mentioned your last name. I tried, but I just . . . didn’t know where to start.”

“It’s not your fault. I believe you.”

The sincerity in his voice made my throat burn. Goddamn it. I was going to cry.

I’d worked so hard not to cry today. I’d fought to keep my emotions in check and my head from spinning out of control. But this was going to make me break.

I wanted so badly for Logan to believe that I hadn’t kept Charlie from him intentionally. The fact that a man like him would trust someone like me without proof meant more than he’d ever know.

“Thank you,” I choked out past the lump in my throat.

“So, um, is Charlie inside with your husband? Or boyfriend?”

The urge to cry disappeared and I barked out a laugh. “Smooth.”

He chuckled. “It’s been a long day for me. Give me a break, will you? This morning I was in New York, then I came to Montana for a business meeting and discovered a daughter. I’m off my game.”

 

5 star

 

Tracey’s Review

 

Thea and Logan are a couple that were never meant to be, but Fate had other ideas. After one memorable night years ago, their next meeting is one that neither was expecting, and that neither one of them will forget. Because that one night, years ago? It changed everything, and Thea and Logan will never be the same.

Hooked. From the first page. TATTERED, like the rest of Devney Perry’s books, drew me in, and I was lost. The first in a new series, TATTERED has all of the signature emotion, the angst and passion, that has made Devney a favorite with me, and with so many people. She writes relationships, develops characters, in a way that make it impossible to forget them, and makes their stories ones that become a part of my heart.

Thea and Logan are like flash paper; the chemistry between them is palpable, combustible, and it’s not going away. But their story is more than just a Cinderella story, more than the secret baby trope. Because, beyond the incredible physical pull, there is a real liking between them, and a desire to be something other than just their passion. And Charlie, Charlie is amazing, and I absolutely love the way that she sees the world, and the beauty that she brings to everyone that knows her.

TATTERED is a book that should be savored, and one that will stay with me for a very long time. I love the world of Lark Cove, Montana, and enjoyed every moment that I spent there, getting to know this lovely place and the people that live there. TATTERED is a 5-star read for me, and one of my top books for the year. I’m looking so forward to TIMID, the next book in the series, and can’t wait to get to know Willa better. I really can’t recommend this book any more highly, and fans of romance need this book, this series, on their TBR. It will not disappoint.

 

 

 

 

Devney is the USA Today bestselling author of the Jamison Valley series. She lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories. Devney loves hearing from readers! Connect with her on social media.

 

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Newsletter

New Release + Release Blitz + Excerpt: Tattered by Devney Perry

 

 

Thea Landry has always known her place in modern-day society. It’s somewhere just above the trash can her mother dumped her in as a newborn but below the class where much comes easy. With her tattered shoes and bargain-bin clothes, her life has never been full of glamour.

So when a rich and charismatic man takes interest, she doesn’t fool herself into thinking their encounter is anything more than a one-night stand. Months later, she’s kicking herself for not getting his phone number. Or his last name. She’s given up hope of seeing him ever again.

Until one day, years later, Logan Kendrick waltzes into her life once more and turns everything she’s built upside down. This time around, she won’t make the same mistake. She’s going to fight to keep him in her life—not for herself.

But for their daughter.

 

 

AVAILABLE NOW

Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo

 

 

 

Thea and I had agreed on just one night. One incredible night. The next morning, we’d walked away from each other with no strings attached. She’d gone back to her life. I’d gone back to my hectic work and social schedule, just glad that I’d had the chance to meet her.

What I hadn’t expected was for Thea to pop into my thoughts so often after that night. I’d think of her smile whenever I was at a hotel bar. I’d think of her laugh when I was at a boring fundraiser. I’d think of her whenever I saw a woman with long, sleek dark hair.

After months of her on my mind, I’d finally given in. I’d gone back to the bar to see her one more time.

Except she’d been gone.

With my child.

I’d waited too long.

 

 

 

 

Devney is the USA Today bestselling author of the Jamison Valley series. She lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories. Devney loves hearing from readers! Connect with her on social media.

 

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Newsletter

Release Blitz + 2018 Favorite and 5+ Star Review: Speakeasy by Sarina Bowen – True North Series – Book 5

Speakeasy

By Sarina Bowen

True North Series – Book 5

Release Date – May 29, 2018

***

Amazon:  http://geni.us/AmazonSpk 

iBooks: http://geni.us/iBooksSpk 

Kobo: http://geni.us/KoboSpk 

 Goodreads: http://geni.us/GRSpk 

***

Summary:

Sometimes you fall for Mr. Right. And sometimes for Mr. Right Now…

May

Did you hear the one about the girl who walks into a bar and catches her live-in lover kissing someone else? No? You’re the only one in town who missed it.

Luckily Alec is there to wrap me up in strong arms and carry me out the door before things get too ugly. And that’s not all Alec is good at. Our unexpected chemistry makes him the perfect rebound guy.

Alec

I should know better than to hook up with my rival’s little sister, but the fiery look in May’s eyes really turns my crank. She needs cheering up, and I’m just the guy for the job.

It’s not like I’ll fall in love. Not even after a string of scorching hot trysts, and the realization that we’re good at the same things: wild nights and familial disappointment. I don’t do love, never have, never will. So this is the perfect arrangement, for both of us.

Nobody would approve, but nobody has to know…

Amazon:  http://geni.us/AmazonSpk 

iBooks: http://geni.us/iBooksSpk 

Kobo: http://geni.us/KoboSpk 

 Goodreads: http://geni.us/GRSpk 

___________________________________________

Michel’s Review

As an avid fan of Sarina Bowen and the True North series, I was thrilled when she announced the upcoming release of Speakeasy, the fifth book in the series. When I saw the book was May Shipley’s book, I was a bit intrigued because I love the entire Shipley clan. What I envisioned or anticipated was not what came to play. Sarina Bowen completely surprised the readers with a different path for May. Even though it was completely unexpected path, it was perfect. What I enjoyed most was getting to know May as an individual rather than her designated family role. It amazed me how strong May was emotionally, morally, and independently. Although she had many flaws and weaknesses , she embraced them to make them a part of her strength.

And then there is Alec. SWOON! I was surprised by this man who has been in the background of every True North book. The overall impressions were nothing like the man behind the bar. When Alec steps out of the background, the spotlight forgets every other character except the one Alec sees.

Sarina Bowen outdid herself! I loved Speakeasy and I think it may be my favorite book in the series.

 

_____________________________________

 

 Author Bio:

Sarina BowenSarina Bowen writes steamy, angsty Contemporary Romance and New Adult fiction from the wilds of Vermont.

The Year We Fell Down, Book #1 in The Ivy Years series, began breaking hearts in March 2014. Book #2, The Year We Hid Away, is brand new.

For Harlequin-E, Sarina writes the Gravity series. Coming in From the Cold features an angsty downhill ski racer and one of the most unique plot conflicts in contemporary romance today.

Sarina enjoys skiing, coffee products and a nice glass of wine. She lives with her family, eight chickens and more ski gear and hockey equipment than seems necessary.

She would be honored to connect with you at http://www.sarinabowen.com.

Sign up for Sarina’s Mailing List

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter~ Goodreads ~Amazon Author Page

 

Release Blitz…2018 Favorite and 6+ Star Review: Tethered Souls by Beth Flynn – A Nine Minutes Spin Off Novel

Tethered Souls

A Nine Minutes Spin Off Novel

Mimi and Christain’s Story

By Beth Flynn

***

Now Available:

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2It8Nso
UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2K7juhA
CA Amazon: https://amzn.to/2I9Y2Ij

***

My family has secrets. I’m always the good girl, doing what’s necessary to keep my loved ones safe. I’ve kept the darkest secrets from everyone I know. As painful as it is to hold them all inside where they live and gnaw away at me, that’s where they must stay.

I haven’t seen my closest childhood friend, Christian Bear, since I was a teenager—he hasn’t changed a bit. He’s still temperamental and plays by his own rules with the law following two steps behind him.

Christian remembers me. But he doesn’t know the first thing about me anymore. I should’ve shared my feelings with him the day before I moved away with my family, promising him I’d stay in touch. It broke my heart when he didn’t keep his end of the bargain. As a consequence, we haven’t spoken in years. Even though Christian and I have always had undeniable chemistry, I won’t let him shatter my heart a second time.

Christian has shown up in my life again with secrets of his own, and demanding answers. That doesn’t mean I’m willing to give them. He’ll know my secrets when I’m ready.

Our secrets, the risks we’re taking, and the danger he imposes make it impossible to know what our future holds.

Either our tethered souls will bind back together, or our secrets will separate us forever.

Tethered Souls is the second spin-off novel from The Nine Minutes Trilogy. It can be read as a standalone, but would most likely be more enjoyable if read after Nine Minutes, Out of Time, and A Gift of Time. It contains major spoilers from the trilogy, and although not necessary, the reader might benefit by understanding the background stories of the main characters that are described in the series. There are many twists and turns in all my books that can best be connected if read consecutively.

RECOMMENDED FOR READERS 18 AND OLDER DUE TO STRONG LANGUAGE, SEXUAL SITUATIONS, AND VIOLENCE.

Michel’s Review

Spoiler Free

Tethered Souls by Beth Flynn can be read as a stand alone novel but I highly recommend reading the Nine Minutes Trilogy and Iron Tiara first. These books are an unforgettable reading experience and  further validate Tethered Souls. This makes Tethered Souls a richer reading experience.

Beth Flynn is one of those author’s who has the natural gift of storytelling. Her ability to combine very specific details from the past and present from multiple character POV’s without distracting the reader from the actual story taking place is a true gift. Her ability to create different stories or plot driving events within the novel compels the readers to take notice of all the characters within the series and become connected to their lives just as much as they are to the main characters. In essence, Beth Flynn brings them to life and breathes fire into their personalities and souls.

The Nine Minutes Trilogy took the Romance World by storm. Readers became invested in the lives of Grizz, Jenny, Tommy, Anthony Bear, Christy Bear, and all their dedicated friends who impacted their lives. Just like the real world, their lives influenced the future of their children’s lives. These children were innocent by products of their parents sins and redemptions. Their childhood was impacted by the horrific mistakes and illegal activities their parents were involved in. Like most people these parents wanted their own children lives to be better than their childhoods were. They wanted to protect their children from the world and the enemies they made along the way. They wanted their children to have a chance at becoming the people they never had the opportunity to become. They love their children and would give them anything within their possibilities and that is what became a problem. Thinking they were protecting them from their past and enemies only drove them to making their own life altering mistakes. Maybe they should of let destiny take it’s course. Maybe they should of tried harder to hide their past. Now Mimi and Christian are having to dig themselves out of their parents pile of crap and make their own.

Mimi and Christian are back on destiny’s path but the road hasn’t been paved. They have to forge forward, cut away all the thorns and debris blocking their way, and make the right choices when it is possible. It is their destiny… their world to conquer… their mistakes to make… their lives to build… their love to  nurture… their family to create… and finally their children to love and protect. It’s the cycle of life… it’s Mimi and Christain’s turn to make their mark on the world.

Yeah… Mimi and Christian lived up to their destiny. Yeah… Beth Flynn once again floored me with her gift of storytelling. She held me captive by choice and I savored every reading moment. I want to thank Beth for sharing her gift, for sharing her heart with the world.

 

 

______________________________

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Book 1

Nine Minutes

Buy: Amazon / B & N / ITunes / Kobo

51nfMRRnNXL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Book 2

Out Of Time

Buy: Amazon  /B & N / ITunes / Kobo

A gift of time cover

 

A Gift Of Time

Buy: Amazon / B & N / ITunes / Kobo

The Iron Tiara

By Beth Flynn

Buy: Amazon / B & N / IBooks / Kobo

Amazon UK / Amazon CA / Amazon AU

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2It8Nso
UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2K7juhA
CA Amazon: https://amzn.to/2I9Y2Ij

____________________________________

beth flynn

beth flynn bioBeth Flynn is a fiction writer who lives and works in Sapphire, North Carolina, deep within the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Beth and her husband, Jim, have spent the last 17 years in Sapphire, where they own a construction company. They have been married 31 years and have two daughters and two dogs. In her spare time, Beth enjoys writing, reading, gardening, church and motorcycles, especially taking rides on the back of her husband’s Harley. She is a five-year breast cancer survivor.

STALK HER: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

5 Star Review and Excerpt: Such Dark Things by Courtney Evan Tate ( aka Courtney Cole)… A Psychological Thriller

 

From New York Times bestseller Courtney Cole, writing as Courtney Evan Tate, comes the psychological thriller that will keep readers up turning pages long into the night, SUCH DARK THINGS! “Written in breathless style, this page-turner relies on quick thrills, surprise twists…[for] readers seeking a fast entertaining tale…”(Publishers Weekly). Grab your copy of SUCH DARK THINGS today!

 

A HORRIFIC RECURRING NIGHTMARE IS THREATENING TO STEAL HER SANITY…

Dr. Corinne Cabot is living the American dream. She’s a successful ER physician in Chicago who’s married to a handsome husband. Together they live in a charming house in the suburbs. But appearances can be deceiving—and what no one can see is Corinne’s dark past. Troubling gaps in her memory mean she recalls little about a haunting event in her life years ago that changed everything.

She remembers only being in the house the night two people were found murdered. Her father was there, too. Now her father is in prison; she hasn’t been in contact in years. Repressing that terrifying memory has caused Corinne moments of paranoia and panic. Sometimes she thinks she sees things that aren’t there, hears words that haven’t been spoken. Or have they? She fears she may be losing her mind, unable to determine what’s real and what’s not.

So when she senses her husband’s growing distance, she thinks she’s imagining things. She writes her suspicions off to fatigue, overwork, anything to explain what she can’t accept—that her life really isn’t what it seems.

 

Grab your copy of SUCH DARK THINGS here!

Amazon | B&N | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo

 

 

 

“Fans of domestic thrillers with an unreliable narrator will gobble this one up…Recommended for all thriller/suspense collections.”
–Booklist

Add it to your Goodreads Now!

 

 

 

Excerpt

Prologue-

My skin is sticky with blood.

My waistband is wet with it, and I can taste it on my lips. It’s splattered on my face, and it tastes like metal that has been rotting in the sun and rain for a hundred years. The night makes me shiver, the cool breeze rustling my hair, and for a split second, I’m back there in that house, standing in that blood. My bare toes feel the warmth of the liquid turn cool as the minutes tick past.

Goose bumps raise on my neck, and a knot that I can’t swallow is lodged in my throat. My feet are frozen frozen frozen on the ground, and I can’t move.

Their eyes are open and lifeless, although they stare at me.

They see me.

Yet they see nothing.

I can’t breathe.

My lips are ice, just like theirs.

My heart is pounding and racing and stuttering, and I can’t breathe I can’t breathe I can’t breathe.

“Corinne. You’re safe here. Corinne.

And just like that, I’m not there.

I’m here.

“There was blood all over me.” My words are stilted and fragile, like glass.

I stare at my hand, and even though it’s clean now, I see it as it was seventeen years ago, covered in the blood of two souls…souls that were living and that aren’t anymore. It’s hard to wrap my mind around. First they were breathing, and then they weren’t. It happened in a split second. I inhale shakily.

“Think about that moment,” the doctor instructs. “Who can you see?”

I think on that. “Melanie is next to me on the floor. Her head is bleeding into a pool. There is so much blood that it looks black.” I close my eyes, because it had been the first time I’d seen blood like that, and it terrified me. “Joe is on the bed. His blood is splattered all over the wall. Both of them have their eyes open.”

Staring at me.

The emotions welling up in me are like a wave, swelling, swelling, swelling…until I can’t handle it anymore. The horror and the guilt and the pain are just too much.

“I can’t do this,” I blurt out. “I’m done for the day.”

Dr. Phillips looks at me, and he’s calm and detached.

“Corinne, why are you here?”

I pause. What a stupid question. “You know why I’m here.”

I hate it when they treat me with such condescension.

“Humor me,” he tells me. “Why are you here?”

I grit my teeth and look away.

He waits.

“You’re saying that I tried to hurt myself. But I wouldn’t do that.”

I look at him now, and he’s so fucking emotionless. I look down at my left wrist, at the bandage covering up the stiches.

“I wouldn’t,” I insist again. “I’m a fucking physician. I wouldn’t have cut my wrist horizontally. If I really wanted to hurt myself, I would’ve known to cut vertically along the vein.”

I finger the gauze. Beneath it, the cut throbs, evidence of something I don’t remember doing.

“I’m not crazy,” I add. And I don’t know if I’m trying to convince Dr. Phillips, or myself.

“You’re not crazy.” He nods. “But you’ve experienced a mental break. You’re here because you need to deal with the causal underlying issue so that it won’t happen again. Right?”

He’s a fucking asshole.

I stare at the wall. At the whiteness, at the sterility.

“You need some plants in here,” I tell him, avoiding the question. “Greenery puts patients at ease. All this blankness…it’s maddening.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” he says wryly. “Corinne…”

I interrupt. “Dr. Cabot,” I tell him. “I’ve earned it.”

“Dr. Cabot,” he corrects himself. “You’re right. You’ve earned it. You worked a long time to finish medical school and your residency. You’re a top ER physician. You have a life envied by everyone around you. You’ve got to take care of yourself, so you can protect this life you’ve built.”

I close my eyes. Behind my eyelids, it’s dark and safe. It’s black and warm.

“Protect it from what?” I whisper.

“You tell me,” he answers. “You’ve got something inside of you that is triggered now, something that creates panic and a fight-or-flight response. We know what your father did so long ago. What we don’t know is why…or what damage it has caused in you, damage that seems to be affecting you now.”

“I don’t know either,” I say helplessly, my eyes opening to the white walls again. “I can’t remember. I never could. You know that.”

“I know.” Dr. Phillips nods again, and he tries to be so fucking comforting. “You have a history of dissociative behavior. You blocked out what your father did so long ago, and it stands to reason that your brain has developed that as a defense mechanism. It’s doing it again now. If we don’t get to the bottom of why your memories are being triggered now, after all of these years…you’ll never have peace. Do we agree on that?”

Reluctantly, I nod.

“So we have to start at the beginning. You have to stay here and focus.”

Anger flares in me, red and hot, and I stare him down. He doesn’t blink and neither do I.

“Focus?” I ask him, and my words are sharp and I wish they would cut him. “You think it’s as simple as sitting down and focusing? How dare you sit there and tell me what to do, when you have no idea what it’s like?”

I stand up to leave, but the psychiatrist’s next sentence holds me in my place, freezing me.

“Corinne, you promised Jude you’d try.”

Jude.

My beautiful, understanding Jude.

I swallow hard. I did promise. And I have to follow through, even though the pain it causes me is immeasurable. I owe it to him. I’ll do it for him. Not for this psychiatrist, but for Jude.

My body folds back into the seat, and I finger the medical bracelet circling my right wrist. Corinne Elizabeth Cabot, Female. It’s me, condensed into one stark sentence, yet I’m a stranger to myself right now. That’s why I’m here. I don’t know myself or my thoughts. My memories are foreign, blocked, nightmarish, out of control.

“Fine.” There’s nothing else I can say.

Dr. Phillips is quietly triumphant. “Let’s begin again. Take a deep breath and close your eyes.”

I do, drawing the cool air in a rush over my teeth, expanding my lungs and holding it, before I let it slowly exhale. I do it again, then again.

“Think back to that night, Dr. Cabot. Stand in that room. Tell me where your father is.”

I envision it, I see it in my mind like it was yesterday. My father in his bloody steel-toed boots. “He’s on the porch, waiting for the police to come.”

“He left you alone in the house with two dead bodies?”

“Yes.”

“He didn’t try to run?”

“No.”

“Okay. What did you do then?” my doctor asks me calmly, unfazed by the ugliness of my story.

“I was stunned. I think I was in shock. My hand was bleeding.”

Dr. Phillips looks at my hand, because I’m stroking the scar now, an unconscious nervous tic that I often do when I’m anxious. “What happened to your hand?”

“I don’t remember.”

“Is there a lot that you don’t remember from that night?”

“Yes. You know that.”

“Yes, I do,” he acknowledges. “So you’re standing in the middle of a bloody crime scene because your father left you alone. What did you do then, Corinne?”

“I looked out the window,” I tell him. “I was frozen. I couldn’t move. My feet felt like concrete and I was afraid if I moved, my heart would explode. So I took deep breaths. I watched the trick-or-treaters walking by. I looked at the blood on my shoe. I looked at the jack-o’-lanterns that were lit on porches, and the ghosts hanging in the trees. There was a full moon. There was light on my shoulders.”

“Anything else?”

“I stared at the street sign on the corner. All Hallows Lane.”

“That’s ironic,” the doctor points out needlessly.

“Yes.”

“How long did you stand there?” His question is quiet.

“Until they came and took me away.”

_____________________________________________

5Star+

It’s been quite awhile since I have had the pleasure of not only reading an intense psychological thriller but also a novel written by Courtney Cole. Courtney Cole is writing under the pseudo name of Courtney Evan Tate to explore the darker nature of her imaginations. No matter what name she is writing under she delivers an outstanding reading experience.

On the surface it looks like Dr. Corrine Cabot has an enchanted life.  She is a successful and overworked ER Physician but highly respected in her field.  She has the perfect husband, who not only respects her career but loves her deeply. Together they have built the perfect life and perfect dream home.  All of that is just a camouflage covering up the real truth of Corrine’s dark past.

Corrine has blocked the violent, dark past from her memories but now they are starting to surface. As the memories start to surface, ghosts start appearing.  Her perfectly structured life begins to fall to pieces.  Her wonderful husband is beginning to show his true colors. As her life begins to unravel and the bloody truths begin to surface, Corinne is breaking into pieces.  She has to face the truth of her dark past before it’s too late.

Such Dark Things held me captive. I read this book in one sitting. Courtney did a wonderful job slowly building a hair raising thriller that would make a fantastic movie. I hope she continues to write this genre of fiction. She has a true talent.

I highly recommend reading Such Dark Things by Courtney Evan Tate!

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About Courtney Evan Tate:

Courtney Evan Tate is the nom de plume for New York Times bestselling author, Courtney Cole. Courtney Evan Tate is her darker side… the side that explores shadowy places.

Courtney lives in Florida with her husband and kids. She has a passion for raising drug addiction awareness, the Marine Corp (her middle son is a Marine) and being introspective on the human condition.

To learn more about her, you can visit www.courtneycolewrites.com.

 

 

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