Financial Preparations To Make Before Starting A Family

Posted by on in Family |

If you are considering starting a family of your own, there are some financial considerations that you will need to make. While you don’t have to be wealthy to have a baby, it is important that you are at least financially secure enough. Remember that having a baby can come with many surprises, including surprise costs.

Here are some financial preparations to make before starting a family:

Consider Surrogate Mother Costs

There is more than one way to start a family, and many people are turning to surrogate mothers to help them begin their journeys. If this is you, you may want to consider surrogate mother costs in Pennsylvania, California, or wherever else you live. Going through the surrogate process isn’t necessarily cheap, but it is far more affordable than most people think. You will need to do some saving, take out a loan, or create a payment plan to help you on your way – but it will all be worth it once you have your own family.

For more information about surrogate mothers in Pennsylvania, visit https://surrogacypennsylvania.com.

Think About Buying The Essentials Early

If you are going to be on a budget, you may want to start stocking up on the essentials early. This doesn’t necessarily mean diapers and wipes, but some of the bigger purchases as well. Consider getting the car seat, crib, stroller, and monitors early. Of course, you can always ask for them as a baby shower gift as well, but you cannot expect someone to buy these big ticket items.

However, you can expect to get clothing, diapers, wipes, food, and some smaller essentials for at least your first pregnancy. Don’t be afraid of secondhand gear in some cases, but know that some things shouldn’t be secondhand, including car seats.

Have A Steady Source Of Income

One thing you want to do is ensure that you will have income once your baby comes – you don’t want to have the baby and then start looking for jobs. It is best to have an income you can trust now. This will help you to prepare for the baby’s arrival and then take care of a baby once he or she comes. For many people, this will mean having a traditional job, but it doesn’t have to. If you are a gig worker, you freelance, or you just have a unique source of income, it is fine. You just need to ensure that it is steady and will continue if you need to take a few weeks off to be with the baby.

Can You Afford Child Care?

One thing to think about is whether or not you can afford child care. This means figuring out how much it would cost for you to take your baby to a daycare center or to a friend’s house. It may also mean asking your family to see if someone can watch the baby. Can nana watch the baby on Tuesdays? Is your sister a stay-at-home mom and she can watch him on Thursdays? Do you have a rainy day fund so that you can hire a babysitter if you want to have a date night?

While this may not seem important when you aren’t even pregnant, but it is certainly something to consider as soon as you know you want to have a family.

What About A College Fund?

There are some things that would be nice to do, but aren’t essential right away. Of course, you want your child to go to college, but that may be thinking too far ahead. If you don’t have the money to start a college fund right now, it is okay. Instead you want to think about some of the items mentioned above. If you can start a college fund, more power to you. Even better, put some money into an account so that you can get your child involved in sports, after school activities, or travel the world.

Don’t fear – having a baby is expensive, but it is rarely cost-prohibitive. You may need to change your budgets and make concessions, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a family at all. Be smart with your money and you should be fine.


Medical Expenses Coverage For The Surrogate Mother

Posted by on in Uncategorized |


Surrogacy has been a major topic of discussion in the recent past, especially in Minnesota. Even with the increase in the number of parents that are willing to explore this option to get their own children, there are still people that think surrogacy should not be allowed.

For many, surrogacy is not only a way to help parent bring their own child to the world, but it is also an opportunity to get money. As employment continues to be a problem, many women, especially those between the ages of 25-35 are looking to surrogacy for income, but the question is, how to become a surrogate in Mn?


Medical Expenses Coverage for the Surrogate Mother


This is one of the major concerns of the many women out there looking to be surrogate mothers. Sometimes it is unclear on who should pay the bills during the pregnancy and many women are afraid of getting into the surrogacy business due to the uncertainty. There is fear that the surrogate will be left broke or with a ton of bills to settle once the baby is born and therefore beat the purpose of getting into the surrogacy business in the first place.

However, this is not the case. The medical expenses are covered by the insurance policy of the surrogate; they are covered by the intended parents. Before the contract is signed between the parents and the surrogate, there has to be an agreement on the medical expenses to be incurred by the surrogate. Many agencies require the intended parents to pay a fee immediately they start working with the agency to get a surrogate.

This fee is what is used to cater for the initial medical exams and check-ups that the potential surrogates are required to get. Once the match-making is complete, the parents are given time to raise the money for medical expenses that will be incurred in the course of the pregnancy.

The funds are then monitored by the agency so that the surrogate will be in communication with the agency on the medical bills incurred and even the allowances the surrogate is entitled to. However, these funds are only for the expenses that are directly related to the health of the surrogate and the baby. Most of the basic health care requirements and needs will be included in the fund. However, any additional needs may not be catered for. Some of the examples of additional needs include the following;

  •  Chiropractic care.
  •  Massage therapy.

However, before and even after the contract has been signed, the surrogate can ask about the services that are considered basic and those that are not. This way the surrogate is able to know the services that will be catered for by the fund and those that will not.

A surrogate mother is not liable for the basic medical expenses that may be incurred in the course of her pregnancy. The intended parents in most cases give the estimated funds required for the entire gestational period of the baby. The agency then is in charge of disbursing the funds to the surrogate upon communication on the medical bills and expenses incurred.

However, this does not mean that the surrogate mother will never pay for medical expenses and other bills. This may occur since some service providers may require payment at the time of service delivery. However, in such a case, the surrogate mother can be compensated for the incurred costs and expenses.



The Pregnancy Period Of A Surrogate Mother

Posted by on in Uncategorized |

Surrogacy is a trend that is becoming more and more popular by the day. Surrogate mothers are the option when gay couples would like to have kids. A surrogate can also be required when the woman in a regular couple cannot conceive or does not want to conceive. Even though surrogacy has been fully embraced in some counties and cultures, some do not recognize it and some even consider it unacceptable.

When you want to have a baby via a surrogate mother, it is important to go through the terms of the contract carefully first. This way, you are able to avoid conflicts that may occur after the baby is born. You may also want to consider the health of the surrogate mother, their environment among other factors depending on your preference. Application for surrogate mother is a process too that you need to consider.

The pregnancy period of a surrogate mother is pretty much similar to the pregnancy period of a normal woman. This is because the baby will get affected by whatever the surrogate mother does when it is still in the womb. Some of the most important things to look out for during the pregnancy period of a surrogate mother include the following:


The basic principles still apply where the surrogate mother has to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, Whole grain foods and dairy products that are low on fats are also recommended. Some of the things to avoid during the pregnancy period of a surrogate mother include seafood that is high in the levels of mercury.

Tuna, swordfish and even sharks are some of the sea fish that a pregnant surrogate mother should stay away from. Undercooked sea food like sushi and other proteins like eggs and meat should also be avoided. Large quantities of liver, processed meats and unpasteurized dairy products should also be avoided.


It is important that the surrogate confirm with the doctor before she begins using any medicine during her pregnancy period. This is because some medicines may interfere with the development of the baby. Hot saunas and tubs and even X-rays are just but some of the things that a pregnant surrogate mother should avoid.


During the pregnancy period, it is also important that she undergoes a detoxification program. Some of the things that the surrogate mother should detoxify from her body include caffeine and other herbal medications. The caffeine can either be in coffee, tea and even chocolate. It is important that the caffeine levels are kept down.

Bleaches, coloring and hair dyes should also be avoided because they have been linked to cancer in the children that are born to the women that use these products during pregnancy. Any kind of beer and alcohol, tobacco and other substances should also be avoided because they contain harmful chemicals that may negatively affect the baby.

It is also very important to include regular exercises in her daily routine. Swimming, jogging and even running are some of the recommended exercises for pregnant surrogate mothers. However, it is important that the women do not go to extremes, like running up to 3 miles or engaging in exercises that require them to lay on their back for a long time.



The Importance of Betas

Posted by on in Books, News |

The Importance of Betas


I’ve been asked before if I thought it really is important to have beta readers for novels.  My answer to this will always be a huge ‘Hell, Yes!’  Sorry for the language there, but I feel that strongly about the need to have betas read my novels before I ever even consider hitting that publish button.  I feel just as strongly, and completely blessed, about the group of betas who read my novels before they go live.  They truly are some of the best betas a girl could ever have.  I can’t be objective about my characters or stories…I’ve tried, but I just can’t.  I don’t know of anyone who can be honestly objective about their work; a person is just too close to what he/she created to be able to look at it in the constructive way in which it needs to be critiqued.  I will be forever grateful to the amazing betas who spend their time reading and providing honest, constructive feedback to help me make the best novel I’m capable of writing.  Today, a few of the betas who read my novels are featured with a Q&A on how they got started being a beta and how they feel what they do is important to authors and readers.   I hope you join me in my appreciation for all they, and all the other betas out there, do :).

Please welcome, Chantelle Cunningham, Honey Warren, Karla Crescioni, Diane Maxwell, and Shannon Ropp!


1.  To be a beta reader you must have a love for reading.  When did your reading addiction first begin?

I have always read, but the addiction started when my daughter started school. I became friends with a teacher and one of her friends said if you guys liked Twilight, you’ll love Black Dagger Brotherhood. And I was OBSESSED. 

2.  What book is your absolute childhood favorite?

I got The Classic Volland Edition Mother Goose book from my great uncle when I was 3 years old.  I loved it, memorized it, and can still tell you most of them from  just the first couple words. It really drives my daughter crazy. It is still in my collection, broken binding, well loved and all. 

3.  How did you get involved in being a beta reader?

I got involved through Goodreads. I have always been a stickler on details, so when asked I was like sure, I’ll give it a try, and loved it.  

4.  I can’t express nearly enough how much I appreciate all of the beta’s who read my novels and give honest feedback before they go live.  In my opinion, having betas for novels is absolutely essential for authors.  What’s your opinion about the need/importance of betas?

I think Betas are absolutely essential.   Nothing drives me crazier than reading a book riddled with plot mishaps, editing issues, whatever. Those are simple fixes that a good set of betas can help with.

5.  What is one piece of advice you would give an author?

Find yourself a good set of Betas that will enhance your writing. We are not there to write it, that is your own, but let us help you. Constructive criticism may hurt your feelings, but can make your story stronger. When looking for a Beta don’t shy away from opinionated ones, they will tell you the most straight forward answers. Sure it’s nice to have someone always says, “It’s great, I love it, you’re the best author ever,”  but really any one can say that. Betas are there to help, not just stroke an authors ego, which sadly happens all to often. 


1.  To be a beta reader you must have a love for reading.  When did your reading addiction first begin?

I have loved reading since I was little. Pretty much as soon as I learned to read it started=) My parents always had TONS of books, my mom is an avid reader also, and I would love just holding them and smelling them! I love books for more than just reading=)

2.  What book is your absolute childhood favorite?

The book that really changed reading for me was “Flowers in the Attic” by VC Andrews. I was forever changed after reading that. 

3.  How did you get involved in being a beta reader?

I totally flipped out when I read Saving Raine, I mean flipped! My friend (and also a beta reader) suggested the book to me, which in a round about way got me in touch with KAS for an ARC of the last book of the series and that sparked the whole beta reader thing for Ash to Steele and Feel.  Thank god because it is such a cool thing to be part of!!!

4.  I can’t express nearly enough how much I appreciate all of the beta’s who read my novels and give honest feedback before they go live.  In my opinion, having betas for novels is absolutely essential for authors.  What’s your opinion about the need/importance of betas?

DEFINITELY important! I think an outside person can see things that an author might not see.  A detail that may not be consistent, something that may just not “Feel Right” and even grammar errors! I just think it helps make the book all it can possibly be! 

5.  What is one piece of advice you would give an author?

Be original! I love a new story. I love being wow’d. It is hard to do!


1.  To be a beta reader you must have a love for reading.  When did your reading addiction first begin?

As an adult, The Twilight Series was actually the first set of books I read for leisure and really liked, but it wasn’t until 2012 when I read On Dublin Street (by Samantha Young) and discovered the new adult genre that my love for reading began. I had finally found a genre that I thoroughly enjoyed. 🙂
2.  What book is your absolute childhood favorite?

I remember reading a lot of Baby-Sitter: Little Sister books as a child. 
3.  How did you get involved in being a beta reader?

I actually became a beta reader through Karen-Anne Stewart. I had won a copy of Saving Rain (Rain Trilogy #1) in a raffle, read it and reviewed it and I guess Karen-Anne really liked the review because she contacted be about reading and reviewing the second book in the series and becoming one of her betas. 😉
4.  I can’t express nearly enough how much I appreciate all of the beta’s who read my novels and give honest feedback before they go live.  In my opinion, having betas for novels is absolutely essential for authors.  What’s your opinion about the need/importance of betas?

I truly believe it is important for an author to have beta readers. Especially for a self-publishing author. They give feedback on an authors finished manuscript before it is published.

5.  What is one piece of advice you would give an author?

One piece of advice I would give an author is to write what’s in your heart and mind, not someone else’s. 


1.  To be a beta reader you must have a love for reading.  When did your reading addiction first begin?

I think I owe my reading addiction to my brother, he dared me to read a huge book and to take notes and answer questionns while I was reading it.  And that really got me into it. 

2.  What book is your absolute childhood favorite?

Little Black Sambo.  I loved that book.  I know we read it 3 or  more times a day. 

3.  How did you get involved in being a beta reader?

One of my close friends asked me to proof her first book. 

4.  I can’t express nearly enough how much I appreciate all of the beta’s who read my novels and give honest feedback before they go live.  In my opinion, having betas for novels is absolutely essential for authors.  What’s your opinion about the need/importance of betas?

I think they are important, not only to give feedback but to offer support to the writer. 

5.  What is one piece of advice you would give an author?

Write what you LOVE….


1.  To be a beta reader you must have a love for reading.  When did your reading addiction first begin?

I became a fan of reading much later in life, 30 to be clear! I know, how can someone hate to read then all I a sudden become a fan? Good authors! Although I am more of a teen book reader I love adventure and some romance.

2.  What book is your absolute childhood favorite?

To be honest I really don’t have one.

3.  How did you get involved in being a beta reader?

I know an author personally, and she asked me to check out her books, and give my honest feedback!

4.  I can’t express nearly enough how much I appreciate all of the beta’s who read my novels and give honest feedback before they go live.  In my opinion, having betas for novels is absolutely essential for authors.  What’s your opinion about the need/importance of betas?

Beta’a give real feedback. They let you know during the process what they like best, what they think might need to change. They also find mistakes that might have been missed by editing. My advice to beta’s would be, be honest. Use discretion in how you give your feedback, you were asked to read for a reason, and don’t be offended if the changes you suggest aren’t done. You didn’t write the book, you just took it out for a test drive before giving an approval for public eyes!

5.  What is one piece of advice you would give an author?

You need some serious thick skin! Because not everyone is going to enjoy why you have put onto paper. Have fun doing what you’re doing, not everyone has the talent for writing!

My new novel, Feel, is dedicated to the BEST betas a girl could have!  My sincere gratitude and love to Diane Maxwell, Chantelle Cunningham, Honey Warren, Karen Galloway, Pam Riddle, Tara Ansari, Heather Lindall, Shannon Ropp, Karla Crescioni, Sherry Long, Valeria Gardin, Vernon Gardin, Bret Stewart, and Tichelle Williams.  Your feedback, encouragement, and time are most appreciated and loved!

Readers, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing in my love for all betas – everywhere!




Tour Dates

Posted by on in Dates |

Ash to Steele blog tour with Love Between the Sheets Promotions

9-22-14 Got More Books:  http://gotmorebooksblog.blogspot.com – Review

9-22-14 Kitty Kats Crazy About Books: http://katfenton.blogspot.co.nz/ – Promo Post

9-22-14 White Zin Bookends:  www.whitezinbookends.com – Review

9-22 -14  Hooked On Books Forever:  http://hookedonbooksforever.blogspot.com/ – Promo Post/Review

9-22-14  Cruising Susan Book Reviews:  http://cruisingsusanreviews.com – Review

9-22-14  Here is What I Read:  http://mywriterblog./whatiread – Promo Post

9-22-14  Deea Reads:  http://looking-for-books-with-deea.blogspot.ro – Promo Post

9-22-14 Trulee V’s Spot Book Blog:  http://www.truleevsspotbookblog.com – Promo Post

9-23-14 Reading is My Superpower:  http://readingsuperpower.blogspot.com/ – Promo Post

9-23-14 Sassy Southern Book Blog:  www.sassysouthernbookblog.com – Promo Post/Review

9-23-14 Jen’s All About Books:  http://jensallaboutbooks.blogspot.com/ – Promo Post

9-23-14  Author Sandra Love:  http://authorsandralove.blogspot.com/ – Promo Post

9-24-14 Bibliophile Mystery:  http://bibliophilemystery.blogspot.ro/ – Promo Post

9-24-14 LeAnn’s Book Reviews:  http://shirleyfrancesbooksandmore.com/ – Review

9-25-14 The Romance Vault:  www.theromancevault.com – Review

9-25-14 Sassy Book Lovers:  http://sassybooklovers.blogspot.com/ – Promo Post

9-25-14 Who Picked This?:  http://whopickedthis.wordpress.com/ – Promo Post

9-25-14 Read it Woman:  http://readitwoman.wordpress.com/ – Promo Post

9-25-14  Those Crazy Book Chicks:  https://www.facebook.com/Thosecrazybookchicks – Promo Post and Review

9-26-14 Twin Opinions:  http://twinopinionsreview.blogspot.com/ – Review

9-26-14 Born to Read:  http://borntoread-bookblog.blogspot.com/ – Review

9-26-14 Crazy Four Books: http://crazyfourbooks.blogspot.com – Review

9-29-14  Love Between the Sheets:   www.readlovelust.com – Review

9-30-14 Deal Sharing Aunt:  http://www.dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com – Promo Post

9-30-14 Reading Addict:  http://readingadd.blogspot.ro/ – Promo Post

10-1-14 Promiscuous Book Blog:  http://promiscuousbookblog.blogspot.com – Promo Post/Review

10-1-14 Hooked On Books Forever:  http://hookedonbooksforever.blogspot.co.uk/ – Promo Post/Review

10-1-14 Harrisburg SEO company: https://jsainteractive.com/ – Review

10-1-14  Paola’s Bookshelf:  http://paolasbookshelf.blogspot.com/ – Promo Post

10-2-14 Just One More Page:  http://justonemorepage5.wordpress.com/ – Promo Post/Review

10-3-14 Renee Entress’ Blog:  http://reneeentress.blogspot.com – Review

10-3-14  Escape Reality with Books:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Escape-Reality-with-Books/477125702422760 – Review

10-3-14  Crawling Over the Pages:  http://couchpotatoism.blogspot.com/ – Review

10-3-14  A Thousand Lives:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Thousand-Lives-Book-Blog/1439562502951758 – Review

Monday, July 7

Book Featured at Examiner

Tuesday, July 8

Book Review at Deal Sharing Aunt

Book Featured at Margay Leah Justice’s Blog

Wednesday, July 9

Interview at Blogcritics

Thursday, July 10

Book Featured at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

Friday, July 11

Book Featured at Cherry Mischievous

Monday, July 14

Interview at The Writer’s Life

Tuesday, July 15

Guest Blogging at The Book Faery Reviews

Thursday, July 17

Book Featured at Bound 2 Escape

Book Featured at Maureen’s Musings

Monday, July 21

Interview at I’m Shelf-ish

Tuesday, July 22

Book Review at Our Families Adventure

Wednesday, July 23

Guest Bogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Thursday, July 24

Book Review at Escape by Fiction

Tuesday, July 29

Book Featured at Literary Chanteuse

Thursday, July 31

Book Featured at Pink Fluffy Hearts

Monday, August 4

Book Review vat Cheryl’s Book Nook

Tuesday, August 5

Guest Blogging at The Writer’s Life

Wednesday, August 6

Interview at As the Page Turns

Thursday, August 7

Interview at Mia Downing’s Blog

Monday, August 11

Interview at Beyond the Books

Tuesday, August 12

Guest Blogging at Passionate Encounters

Wednesday, August 13

Book Review at Sara’s Organized Chaos

Thursday, August 14

Book Featured at Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews

Monday, August 18

Book Featured at The Wormhole

Tuesday, August 19

Book Review at The Phantom Paragrapher

Wednesday, August 20

Interview at A Blue Million Books

Interview at The Wormhole

Thursday, August 21

Book Review at The Wormhole

Monday, August 25

First Chapter Reveal at Review From Here

Tuesday, August 26

Interview at Straight From the Author’s Mouth

Thursday, August 28

Interview at Between the Covers

Friday, August 29

Book Review at Crystal’s Many Reviews

Monday, September 2

Book Review at Bottles and Books Reviews

Tuesday, September 3

Book Featured at Victoria’s Pages of Romance

Wednesday, September 4

Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book

Monday, September 8

Interview at Virginia Beach Publishing Examiner

Tuesday, September 9

Character Interview at The Literary Nook

Wednesday, September 10

Book Review at Musings From an Addicted Reader

Thursday, September 11

Interview at PUYB Virtual Book Club

Monday, September 15

Interview at As the Pages Turn

Tuesday, September 16

Book Featured at Fallen Over Book Reviews

Book Review at My Life, Loves and Passions

Wednesday, September 17

Interview at Allvoices

Monday, September 22

Interview at Literarily Speaking

Tuesday, September 23

Book Review & Guest Blogging at Brooke Blogs

Wednesday, September 24

Book Review at Written Love

Thursday, September 25

Book Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Reviews

Friday, September 26

Book Tour Highlights at PUYB Virtual Book Club

June 16 Guest blog

The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom


June 17 Spotlight

Fang-tastic Books


June 18 Guest post

Sapphyria’s Steamy Book Review:


June 19 Guest blog

Viviana, Enchantress Of Books


June 20 Guest blog

Roxanne’s Realm


June 23 Spotlight

Lisa’s World of Books


June 24 Character Interview

Eclipse Reviews


June 25 Interview

Anya Breton Author’s Blog


June 26 Interview

More Romance Please


June 27 Top Ten List

Darkest Cravings


June 30 Spotlight

My Book Filled Life


July 1 Interview

Author Karen Swart


July 2 Interview

Pembroke Sinclair.


July 3 Spotlight

Paranormal Romance Fans for Life


July 7 Review and Recipe

Mama’s Kitchen Mondays

Cabin Goddess


July 8 Spotlight and review

Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess


July 9 Spotlight

Share My Destiny


July 10 Interview and review

Ebook Escapes


July 14 Spotlight

Booklover Sue


June 9th
-Literary Nook  >> Review
-Not Everyone’s Mama >> Review
-Why I Can’t Stop Reading  >> Review
-Girl meets Books  >> Guest Post
-Craves the Angst  >> Excerpt

June 10th
-Butterfly-o-Meter Books  >> Interview
-(un)Conventional Bookviews >> Review
-The Hopeless Romantics Book Blog >> Review
-Summer’s Book Blog >> Review
-Amazeballs Book Addicts >> Review

June 11th
-OldVictorianQuill >> Review
-books are love >> Review
-My Daily Romance >> Guest Post
-Future Slayer Girl’s Butt-Kicking Reviews  >> Review
-Girls With Books  >> Review

June 12th
-A is for Alpha B is for Books >> Review
-Ramblings From This Chick >> Guest Post
-Simplistic Reviews >> Excerpt
-Cheekypee reads and reviews >> Review

June 13th
-The Book Enthusiast >> Review
-Two Ends of the Pen >> Interview
-The Sassy Bookista  >>  Review
-Book Boyfriend Hangover >>  Review + Playlist

I’m  very excited to be a part of Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours with Ash to Steele.  Be sure to check out the links below!

VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR – April 7 – May 6th

April 7 –  Reading Addiction Blog Tours – Kick Off

April 8 – Clutter Your Kindle – Guest Post

April 9 – Wild Wordy Women – Excerpt

April 10 – The Butterfly Reads- Review

April 11 – Word to Dreams – Excerpt

April 12 – Mythical Books – Guest Post

April 13 – Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock – Review

April 14 – Little Whimsy Books – Review

April 15 – Behind Closed Doors – Excerpt

April 16 – Nicci’s Book Blog – Review

April 17 – 2Bookaholics – Review

April 18 – Pure Jonel – Review

April 20 – The Sassy Bookista – Review

April 21 – Books & Chocolate – Review

April 22 – Lustful Literature – Review

April 23 – Sarah Says Read Romance – Review

April 24 – Jen’s Corner Spot – Excerpt

April 25 – Best Between the Lines – Interview

April 28 – 556 Book Chicks – Review

April 29 – Indie Authors You Want to Read – Excerpt

April 30 – Bookmarks, Spoilers, and Happily Ever Afters – Excerpt

May 1 – Ramblings of a Book Lunatic – Review

May 2 – D’eBook Sharing Reviews – Guest Post

May 3 – Books are Love – Review

May 4 – Genuine Jenn – Review

May 4 – Lov Romance Books – Review

May 5 – The Pen Muse – Interview

May 5 – Queen of the Night Reviews – Guest Post

May 6-RABT Reviews – Wrap Up

March 3, 2014
Closed the Cover – Kick-Off Post & Giveaway
Tome Tender – Book Promo

March 4, 2014
My Nook, Books & More – Book Playlist
Tower of Babel – Guest Post

March 6, 2014
Smut and Bonbons – Book Promo
Wi Love Books – Book Promo

March 7, 2014
What is That Book About – Guest Post & Excerpt

March 9, 2014
Closed the Cover – Guest Post & Book Review

March 11, 2014
M’s Bookshelf – Book Review
Plain Talk Book Marketing – Guest Post & Character Interview

March 12, 2014
B00k–>W0rms – Book Review

March 14, 2014
KT Book Reviews – Book Review
Punya’s Reviews – Book Review
Booklover Sue – Book Promo

March 17, 2014
Relaxed Reads – Book Review
Book2Buzz – Book Review
From Bows to Books – Book Review, Guest Post

February 17th
-Mythical Books  >> Interview
-Escape Into A Book >> Trilogy review (Book 1, 2 & 3)
-Nocturnal Predators Reviews >> Excerpt

February 18th
-Not Everyone’s Mama >> Trilogy review (Book 1, 2 & 3)
-A is for Alpha B is for Books >> Trilogy review (Book 1, 2 & 3)
-OldVictorianQuill >> Review of Book 1 (Saving Rain)
-Wanted Readers  >> Excerpt
-Plain Talk BM  >> Review of Book 1 (Saving Rain) & Book 2 (Healing Rain)
-Chapter Break >> Interview

February 19th
-Room With Books >> Guest Post
-trips down imagination road >> Trilogy review (Book 1, 2 & 3)
-purpinkrosesbookcorner >> Trilogy review (Book 1, 2 & 3)

February 20th
-Sassy Book Lovers >> Excerpt
-Livingbetweenbooks >> Review of Book 3 (After the Rain)
-Booker Like a Hooker >> Review of Book 1 (Saving Rain)
-I know that book >> Guest Post

February 21st
-StarAngels’ Reviews  >> Trilogy review (Book 1, 2 & 3)
-Gigi’s Book Blog >> Trilogy review (Book 1, 2 & 3)
-Turner’s Antics >> Review of Book 2 (Healing Rain)
-The Cover Contessa  >> Guest Post
-Scandalous Book Blog >> Trilogy review (Book 1, 2 & 3)

I’m excited to have The Rain Trilogy on a tour with Bewitching Book Tours!  Take a peek at the schedule below:

December 16 Spotlight

Night Owl Reviews


December 16 Spotlight

Reviewing in Chaos


December 17 Spotlight

Notebook of Books


December 18 Interview

Pembroke Sinclair.


December 19 Spotlight

Soaring Eagle Publicity


December 20 Guest Blog

Fang-tastic Books


December 23 Interview

Roxanne’s Realm


December 26 Spotlight and review

Shut Up & Read


December 27 Spotlight

Ebook Escapes


December 30 Interview

The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom


December 31 Guest blog

Paranormal Romance Fans for Life


January 2 Interview and review

My Favorite Things


January 3 Spotlight

Share My Destiny


January 6 Spotlight

Lisa’s World of Books


January 7 Spotlight and review



January 8 Spotlight

Cover Reveals


January 9 review

Storm Goddess Book Reviews


Janaury 10 Guest blog and review

Nyxx’s Nook


January 13 spotlight

Booklover Sue


Upcoming tour for The Rain Trilogy:  Xpresso Book Tours (Feb. 17-21)

Thank you Irresistiblereadstours!

Monday, November 18:

Library Mosaic – Guest Post


Tuesday, November 19:

Library Mosaic – Review

A Reading Nurse – Review


Wednesday, November 20:

Kristen Hope Mazzola – Book Excerpt


Thursday, November 21:

Literary Chanteuse – Promotional Post


Friday, November 22:

Mrs. B’s Books – Review

Wild Wordy Women – Book Excerpt

Addicted2Books – Promotional Post


Blog Tour Dates and Blog Reviews

Blog Tour Schedule

 Closed the cover tour (Thank you, Ashley!)

Thursday, November 7th:

Closed the Cover – Kick-Off Post and Giveaway
Book 2 Buzz – Book Review, Soundtrack and Giveaway

 Friday, November 8th:

Tome Tender – Saving Rain Review, Guest Post and Giveaway

Booklover Sue – Saving Rain Spotlight

Stark Raven Mad Radio Podcast – Radio Interview

 Saturday, November 9th:

Sizzling Reads-Saving Rain spotlight

Sunday, November 10th:

 Reading in Twilight – Guest Post

Monday, November 11th:

 Close the Cover: Saving Rain excerpt


Tuesday, November 12th:

 2 Bookaholics – Saving Rain Review, Sneak Peak of Healing Rain, and Giveaway

Plain Talk Bad Manners – Guest Post
Relaxed Reads – Saving Rain Review and Giveaway


Wednesday, November 13th:

 Wi Love Books – Saving Rain Review, Author Q&A and Giveaway

Book Fanatics – Saving Rain Review, Sneak Peak of Healing Rain, and Giveaway

K & T Book Reviews – Saving Rain Review and Saving Rain Excerpt


Thursday, November 14th:

Such a Novel Idea – Saving Rain Excerpt and Author Q&A

My Nook, Books & More – Saving Rain Excerpt

 Friday, November 15th: 

For the Love of Books – Saving Rain Review and Giveaway

Irresistible Reads Book Tours


After the Rain: The Final Novel in The Rain Trilogy

Monday, November 18th – Friday, November, 22nd:  Details coming soon!

Previous Blog Tours

Healing Rain: The Second Novel in The Rain Trilogy

Saturday 8-31-13: Review at Christine’s Blog, shereadsalot.com (thanks, Christine):  http://www.shereadsalot.com/

Sunday, 9-1-13 Excerpt at Tamara’s Blog, shelfaddiction.com (thanks, Tamara):  http://www.shelfaddiction.com/1/post/2013/09/insider-sneak-peek-healing-rain-bykaren-anne-stewart-giveaway.html#.UiM6y9Jawzq

Monday, 9-2-13 Review and Excerpt at Jovon’s website (thanks, Jovon), Book2Buzz: http://www.book2buzz.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 9-5-13 Promo of Saving Rain, Rose and Beps Blog (thanks, Rose and Beps):http://rosebeps.blogspot.it/

Thursday, 9-5-13 Review of Healing Rain by Vania Nunes (thanks, Vania): http://aborboletaquele.blogspot.com.br/

Saturday, 9-7-13 Video interview with Jovon Tucker (Book2Buzz) and me about The Rain Trilogy (thanks, Jovon): http://book2buzz.blogspot.com/2013/09/author-interview-on-youtube-giveaway.html

Monday, 9-9-13 Q&A at Sheri’s Blog, shutupandreadgroup.blogspot.com:  Check out the Q&A (thanks, Sheri) http://shutupandreadgroup.blogspot.com/2013/09/q-with-karen-anne-stewart.html

Thank you, Irresistible Blog Tours, for presenting Healing Rain

Monday, 9-16-13 (Irresistible Blog Tours) Healing Rain Review on Griffin’s Honey Blog (thank you, Heather): http://www.griffinshoney.com/book-review-healing-rain-karen-anne-stewart/

Tuesday, 9-17-13 Excerpt of Healing Rain on Sharon’s website; sharonbuchbinder.com (thank you, Sharon): http://www.sharonbuchbinder.com/

Tuesday, 9-17-13 (Irresistible Blog Tours) Healing Rain review by Jovon Tucker (Book2Buzz) with the Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Read Healing Rain (thanks, Jovon): http://www.book2buzz.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 9-18-13, (Irresistible Blog Tours) Promo Post of Healing Rain on Literary Chanteuse (thank you Magaret):  http://www.literarychanteuse.blogspot.ca/2013/09/healing-rain.html

Wednesday, 9-18-13, (Irresistible Blog Tours) Healing Rain excerpt on Bound by Books (thank you): http://www.boundbybooksbookreview.com/

Thursday, 9-19-13, (Irresistible Blog Tours) Healing Rain review on Library Mosaic (thank you, Carla): http://librarymosaic.blogspot.com/

Friday, 9-20-13, (Irresistible Blog Tours) Promo post of Healing Rain on Gigi’s Book Blog (thanks, Gigi): http://gigisbookblog.com/

Friday, 9-20-13, (Irresistible Blog Tours) Healing Rain excerpt on The Book Obsessed Momma (thank you, Tanya): http://thebookobsessedmomma.blogspot.com/

 Friday, 9-20-13, (Irresistible Blog Tours) Healing Rain excerpt on Mrs. B’s Books (thank you, Emily): http://mrsbbooks.blogspot.com/2013/09/blog-tour-giveaway-healing-rain-by.html?showComment=1379685832963#c3622305410344333235

Thank you, Irresistible Reads Tour, for a great tour featuring Healing Rain: The Second Novel in The Rain Trilogy; I had a blast visiting the great sites!

Sunday, 9-29-13, Q&A on Goodreads.  Come chat with me: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/113779-ask-karen-anne-stewart

Friday 12-6-13 thru 12-8-13 Q&A with the New Adult Book Club on Goodreads


Favorite Reading Place

Posted by on in favorites |


This is for all you readers out there who love to curl up with a good book, a great drink, and forget the ‘real’ world for a while!  Each month, one of you will win a $15 Amazon gift card just because I think readers rock.  All you have to do is send me a pic of YOUR favorite reading place labeled #favreadingplace to stewartkarenanne@gmail.com.  I will post some of the pictures monthly on this page, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  I will also post the winning pic on my newsletter, Scripted Happenings.  If you haven’t subscribed to Scripted Happenings yet, you’re gonna wanna because that’s where I’m announcing each month’s winner (you can subscribe right from this page – on your left).  So, if you don’t want your pictures shared…I wouldn’t send them to me ;). Also you can write to me why you think surrogacy services are an important thing for many couples. best answer gets a surprise! +

Here’s my #favreadingplace.  Can’t wait to see your pics.  Happy reading!

Your favorite reading places!

Thank you, Maryline, for sharing your #favreadingplace!  I could so get lost with a good book there :).

Reading in the car is a great way to pass the time!  Great reading spot, Ashley 🙂

Love your reading spot, Karla!  Thanks for sharing!

Another wonderful reading place!  Thank you, Janina…I love the sparkle 🙂


Perfect Escape-Family Portraits Series 4 by Gillian Felix

Posted by on in Books |

Perfect Escape (Family Portrait Series #4)

by Gillian Felix

I am very honored and excited to have the amazing woman and author alike, Gillian Felix, on my site today with her new novel, Perfect Escape – #4 in the Family Portrait Series.   Enjoy an excerpt and take a look at my 5* review for Perfect Escape.  Before sure to enter the wonderful giveaway at the end of this post!

Seventeen-year-old Zax Banovic was tall, gorgeous and smelled like citrus with a hint of musk. His sandy blond hair, mesmerizing blue eyes, and kissable lips complemented his athletic body perfectly. Leighann DaCosta, like many other girls at Westwood Academy, got an eyeful when he ran out of the boys’ locker room in his underwear chasing some girl down the halls of Westwood Academy. Leighann blushed when she saw his ripped abs, tight ass and generous package filling out his heather gray CK briefs. Since then, he frequented her dreams a million times, but instead of chasing after another girl, he ran to her, pinned her up against the lockers and ravaged her.

In reality, Zax represented the other half of Westwood Academy’s super couple…

Kristin (The Bod) Newman was the lust object of every boy at Westwood Academy. She was the school’s tennis champ and well on her way to going pro. Girls hated her, not because of her killer legs or the way she rocked her tennis outfits, but because she was dating Zax Banovic. They were the Brad Pit and Jennifer Aniston (pre-Angelina) of Westwood Academy. Together they were known as ZaxTin. Together, Zax and Kristin were sickeningly perfect. They walked the halls of Westwood Academy cooing at each other, totally wrapped up in their own universe.

Zax was the first boy who had taken Leighann out on a date. She was so giddy with excitement that she didn’t realize that he’d only ask her out to make Kristin jealous. Their second date (pre-Kristin) was cleverly orchestrated by Zax’s bratty sister, Adriana, who used Leighann’s crush on him as a bargaining chip.

Leighann opened her locker and glanced at the locker next to hers. The locker, which now stood vacant, once belonged to Adriana Banovic. Despite her prickly personality, Leighann missed her, and the school wasn’t the same since she’d gotten expelled, or ‘transferred’ as they were calling it. Adriana was interesting to watch, she had a way of twisting things to make it work in her favor no matter how wrong it was. Leighann admired her confidence and fearlessness as much as she admired her style risks. Adriana wore what she wanted, when she wanted, and however she wanted. Her style was copied by several imitators that had popped up since her expulsion ‘transfer’. The students of Westwood Academy seemed to have a weird love-hate obsession with her. Even though they missed her, no one ever dared come out and admit it.

When the bell to Math class rang, Leighann’s stomach churned. She hated math and failed every test that she’d been given. She desperately needed help, but was too ashamed to ask. When Mr. Wells, the Math teacher, returned her test results, once again he asked to see her after class. Leighann was used to their talks, and while Mr. Wells did his best to help her with extra lessons, it took too much of his time. This time he presented her with a possible solution; the Give Back Program. He explained that the graduating seniors of Westwood Academy who excelled in a particular subject would volunteer to tutor juniors who were struggling in their area of expertise. The program had a 100 percent success rate, and he believed that the success was because students learned better from their peers.

“The list of juniors waiting to get in the program is very long, and we have more juniors waiting to get in than seniors willing to tutor.”

“What are my chances of getting in?” Leighann asked hopefully.

“You’re in,” Mr. Wells replied happily. He had already enrolled her, knowing that she wouldn’t object. He suspected that she wanted to do well.

Leighann was thrilled. She thanked him profusely and received instructions to meet her tutor at the east campus library after school.


Leighann waited outside of the library, where the other juniors were gathered. One by one they paired off with their respective tutors and disappeared. She prayed that her tutor would be patient and wouldn’t make fun of her because she was a slow learner. Leighann often wondered if she had a learning disability. All her life she’d had to fit her academic schedule around her music career, and this was her first foray into institutionalized education.

At the age of ten, Leighann won her first Grammy, and since then, she’d had a career that most fifteen-year-old girls would kill for. But she wasn’t happy and longed for a life outside of stardom. With the support of her sister/confidante, she resigned from the music business at the height of her career and faced scathing backlash from the press, the record label, disappointed fans and especially her mother/manager.

Leighann’s quest for a normal life began when she moved to California to live with her sister, L’Wren. She enrolled in Westwood Academy of Higher Learning, the Rolls Royce of high schools in California and possibly the country. Her father was an alumni, and recently she’d found out that her mother was as well­—even though her mother never graduated. Leighann was determined to graduate and possibly go on to college like L’Wren. The thought of that excited her, but she doubted herself. What if she couldn’t cut it? What if all she could do was sing and play instruments? Could she go back to the industry that she’d shut the door on? The thought of that sent shivers down her spine.

Almost twenty minutes had passed, and all the tutors and tutees were paired up. Leighann began to wonder if she had been stood up by her tutor. What if her tutor had found out that they were assigned to her and opted for someone else? Leighann’s heart sank. She wanted to prove to her mother that she was good at something other than singing and performing. Her mother had beaten it into her brain that she would never amount to anything other than a singer, and Leighann began to wonder if she was right. Maybe she should drop out of school and beg the record label for another chance. Her songs were still on the charts, and maybe it wasn’t too late. Leighann left the library disappointed.

“LD!” she heard a familiar voice call out, and footsteps running behind her. She froze; only one person on the planet called her LD.

Oh God, please don’t let it be … she prayed, then turned around.

“Sorry I’m late. Basketball practice went a little long,” Zax apologized.

His eyes … those eyes … mesmerizing, seducing, enticing … pulled her in.


Perfect Escape Review

* * * * *

I’m going to start with the ending of Perfect Escape (no spoilers) with my review because that’s the part that left me so emotional and needing book 5! I was heartbroken, but Gillian Felix left some hope in there – depending on which characters you’re rooting for. The way Ms. Felix weaves such a vast amount of characters together, intertwining their differences in age, personality, loyalty (or lack there of), and desires leaves me in awe – it is a difficult task that she has done to weave the story lines together so beautifully.
The Family Portrait series has the feel of a soap opera full of obstacles each character must face and try to overcome. Leighann is one of my favorite characters, and my heart ached for her throughout Perfect Escape. Savi…I have a lot of words for Savi that wouldn’t be polite to write, so, let’s just say I would love to smack the crap out of her. But, Ms. Felix has a way of bringing out the soft spots in even the most ruthless characters, and I was left feeling sorry for Savi (just a tiny fraction of sympathy) by the end. Being a mom, it was hard for me to read how heartless Savi is with Leighann, and I was thrilled when Leighann’s dad stepped into her life and provided some much needed balance.
Kevin. He leaves me conflicted. Ms. Felix wrote Kevin’s character seamlessly, showing every raw part of who he is. I love Kevin, but not all of him. The way his character is created makes Ms. Felix’s talent shine. She doesn’t pull any punches or try to make the perfect gentleman with him. Instead, she shows his contradictions and how he can be romantic and gentle with L’Wren, but harsh and calculating with the ones who threaten those he loves.
I would love to see these characters come alive on television because I am already so invested in each one. Great job, Gillian Felix!

Take a look at the Family Portrait Series below:


Changes (Book 1)


Ready, Set, Drama

Adriana Banovic’s 15th birthday sucked! She got fired after eight years of playing Shayanne Montgomery on the #1 soap in the country, found out that her family was on the verge of bankruptcy and worst of all, forced to return to Westwood Academy. Her only saving grace was a chance glance at dreamy mystery boy Haze Lyndon. Armed with only his picture and a determination to find him—even if it means turning Los Angeles over on its ass.


In this new adult novel you’ll meet Robin Banovic, Adriana’s father; financially challenged, dealing with the death of a family member and his brother’s disappearance. You’ll meet Savannah DaCosta aka Savi, mother/manager; Savi enjoys the life her rock star daughter Leighann has provided. When Leighann makes a choice to end her career, Savi sees it as a personal attack.


You’ll meet college boy Haze Lyndon; New to Los Angeles, Haze soon realizes how quickly money changes hands in the City of Angels. Will he return to questionable ways to survive or go back to the safety of his family in Wisconsin?


Banovic Siblings (Book 2)


Blackmail is a gift that keeps on giving.

College boy Kevin Banovic’s casual affair with Savi DaCosta suited him perfectly. Things change when he finds out that Savi is his mom’s high school bestie. When Kevin tries to end their affair, Savi blackmails him. After Kevin rescues Savi’s stepdaughter, L’Wren, from her abusive boyfriend, he can’t stop thinking about her. He must find a way to handle Savi, protect L’Wren, and keep his sanity.


Bad girl Adriana Banovic is pleased with herself for getting her nemesis expelled from Westwood Academy. As feelings between her and her latest victim Haze Lyndon escalate, an unexpected rival discovers her secret and threatens to expose her. With emotions on the line, will her new rival beat her at her own game or end up another casualty of Adriana’s wrath?

Zax Banovic has it all.  Tall and handome, he’s an academic genius, with a killer smile and a heart of gold.  When his best friend gets into trouble, he feels responsible and covers for him.  But his best friend is not as honorable and has other plans for Zax.

Bastard’s Brew (Book 3)

Everything we touch we destroy.

When L’Wren’s ex-boyfriend Jeff suddenly disappears, she turns to Kevin to help her find him. With one phone call, Kevin makes sure that Jeff stays hidden and that L’Wren’s heart is broken, leaving the door open for Kevin to pursue her. But Kevin is not as free as L’Wren thinks; she is in the dark about his affair with her stepmother, Savi. Savi constantly reminds Kevin of his devious ways and uses their secret to keep him as her toyfriend.


“You don’t deserve to be loved, and you don’t deserve to be happy. You and I are the same … we’re broken inside. Everything we touch, we destroy. We don’t get happily ever after … we don’t get to ride off into the sunset. You know who gets that? L’Wren … she gets it, she gets the guy, and she deserves a decent guy.”- Savi


Kevin desires to be the man that L’Wren deserves, but before he can assume the role of white knight, he brews one last plan to get rid of Savi for good. Will L’Wren, the innocent victim in their twisted game, become a casualty?


Kevin may have sold his body to the devil in stilettos, but he’d be damned if he let her have his heart.

Perfect Escape (Book 4)

One person’s  Perfect Escape is another’s perfect hell.

In this coming-of-age story, teen singing sensation Leighann DaCosta tries to find out who she is without her music career. A career that has been part of her life since before the age of ten. When Leighann’s estranged father enters her life, she is caught up in a tug-of-war between both parents. Does she trust the man who abandoned her as a baby, or a mother who is losing her mind?


When heartthrob Zax Banovic is assigned to tutor Leighann, he provides her with the perfect escape from the madness in her life. Enter Kristin Newman, Zax’s super-hot, sickeningly perfect, tennis-pro girlfriend, who dampens any chance Leighann has with him.


After the unthinkable happens, Leighann’s world is shattered, causing her to shut everyone out. Unable to cope, Leighann accepts help from her frenemy, but will the help she accept come with a hefty price?

Excerpt Links

Changes (Book 1) – http://familyportrait.plaintalkbm.com/excerpt-changes/


Banovic Siblings (Book 2) -http://familyportrait.plaintalkbm.com/excerpt-banovic-siblings/


Bastard’s Brew (Book 3) -http://familyportrait.plaintalkbm.com/excerpt-bastards-brew/


Perfect Escape (Book 4) – http://familyportrait.plaintalkbm.com/excerpt-perfect-escape/


Purchase Links

Book links for Amazon:





Banovic Siblings



Bastard’s Brew



Perfect Escape




Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/gillian-felix?store=allproducts&keyword=gillian+felix


Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Gillianfx

Want to give the series a try? Changes the first novel in the series isFREE on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EADYMCA.


iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/changes-family-portrait-v.1/id815348621?mt=11


Author Bio

Gillian Felix was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad. She grew up watching night time soap operas by Aaron Spelling with her mother. That’s where her obsession with rich, powerful and devious characters were born. After repeatedly seeing Mr. Spelling’s name on the screen night after night, Gillian knew she wanted to be an Aaron Spelling, before she knew that Aaron Spelling was actually a person.


Gillian pursued drama in high school although it was not taught as a “serious subject”. When asked what career she wanted to pursue after graduation, she told her guidance counselor that she wanted to be an actress, and was told that acting is not a “real job”.


When Gillian moved to the US in 1998, she landed an internship with Spotlight On Theater in New York City, where she learned stage managing, casting and the technical aspect of running a production. Later she branched out into film, and fell in love with the behind the scenes action of film and theatre production. She traded acting and her “real job” for a career in film and theater production. Gillian continued writing novels and scripts but kept them to herself.


When not writing, Gillian can be found volunteering at the New Mexico Children’s Grief Center or hiking the many mountains that surround New Mexico. Gillian can easily get lost in a parking lot and considers herself directionally challenged. She is always grateful for the people she hikes with, because without them she’d be left roaming the mountains like a lost mountain goat.

Author Links


Media page: http://familyportrait.plaintalkbm.com/


Author Website: http://www.plaintalkbm.com


Newsletter: https://tinyletter.com/GillianFx


Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/gillianfx


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7210783.Gillian Felix


What people are saying about the series

“I see a huge following for this new series! I know I’m going to watch for more!” Di Bylo – Amazon Top Reviewer


“Gillian Felix is truly wonderful in the way she writes and captivates her readers. She has a true gift and I guess anyone who reads her books will be waiting for the next book as eagerly as I am.” Namrata Ganti – Red Pillows


“There are love, lies, secrets, and desires that rival any soap opera out there.” Karen-Anne Stewart, Author

“This series is like the Sopranos meets Nashville.  It was gritty and realistic whilst entertaining and dark.” Rachel P


One to Save by Tia Louise COVER REVEAL

Posted by on in Books, News |

Cover Reveal for
One to Save
Tia Louise

I am very excited to be a part of the cover reveal for One to Save by the lovely and talented author, Tia Louise!  I am in love with all her covers, and this one is no exception!  Take a look at all her written works and fall in love, too :).


ONE TO SAVE (One to Hold, #6)

(Derek & Melissa)

By Tia Louise

Coming March 26, 2015! #SaveDerek

Cover Design by Steven Novak

Photography by Lauren Perry, Perrywinkle Photography



Some threats come at you as friendly fire. Some threats take away everything. Family won’t let you go down without a fight. The Secret isn’t as secure as Derek’s team originally thought it was, and a person on the inside of Alexander-Knight is set on exposing him, breaking him, and taking away all he holds dear. Refusing to let anyone suffer for his crimes, Derek takes matters into his own hands. He’s exposed, he’s defenseless, but his friends are determined to save him. A STAND-ALONE, ONE TO HOLD NOVEL. Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

Pre-Order ONE TO SAVE Today!

Amazon | iTunes | Google Play | Kobo | Are | Nook: *coming March 26!


Exclusive Excerpt

One to Save

©Tia Louise

*unedited draft, subject to change*

Chapter 1: Secrets Melissa In the cool darkness of the semi-crowded bar, I study the glass in front of me and consider my journey, how many steps I’ve taken in the last two years, how far I’ve come. Memories of my old life fade like smoke in a glass. The shame that held me so tightly now dances at the edges of my mind like the whisper of a bad dream, a flicker of shadows that no longer make sense in my world. Young women in shiny slip dresses twist and laugh on the dance floor, but instead of resentment, my lips curl into a smile. My old self—cynical, bitter, defeated—is a memory I have to work hard to recall. These days I could dance all night with them, but I’d rather spend my energy engaged in other activities. The slim glass holds a pale amber liquid, and I can’t resist taking a sip. An involuntary wince pinches my eyes as I put it down. Seven and seven. Refreshing citrus dragged down by the heavy undertone of whiskey. So gross. Sliding my palms over my thighs, I realize my outfit isn’t much different from those of the girls on the dance floor. The deep red silk is fitted at my waist, and drapes loosely over my torso. My long dark hair is swept over one shoulder revealing a thin spaghetti strap. I lightly touch the delicate gold chain around my neck leading to the floating heart pendant that sits between my collarbones, and light glances off the thick gold cuff on my wrist. Unlike that night, I’m alone. My best friend Elaine is miles away with her new husband, most likely indulging in that blissful honeymoon period of early marriage. Make that, most certainly indulging. I know those two well. No, I came by myself to the bar in Princeton after finishing my business with a client in town. My infant son is in Wilmington, spending the weekend with his grandmother. Studying my hands, I admire the deep blue sapphire ring on my finger, but I have no wedding band. At thirty-two, I’m an unmarried mother of a beautiful little boy, and I wouldn’t change a thing… Yet. The tiny silver scar at my hairline reminds me of what a bad marriage looks like, and with my successful marketing business and the gorgeous cottage at the beach I own, I’m satisfied with my life. Calm, not desperate. I’ll take my next steps deliberately, with confidence. All these thoughts preoccupy my mind when I blink up and catch him watching me from across the square-shaped bar. Blue eyes, strikingly blue because of the way they stand out beneath his dark brow, coupled with collar-length thick dark hair. He’s massive, at least six-two, and elegantly dressed with a thick stainless watch on his wrist. I can spot his type a mile away—rich, powerful, accustomed to getting what he wants. I can’t deny the hum his gaze sets off under my skin. I know what he wants. Catching my lip in my teeth to stop my grin, I also know what I want, and it’s no coincidence I happened to look up at that exact moment to meet his stare. Still, I’ll make him work for it. He starts to move, his eyes never leaving mine. I don’t look away either. Thick cords of muscle ripple beneath the thin black sweater he wears as he glides past the oblivious patrons talking and laughing. Some are more animated than others, waving their arms and putting their drinks in peril. Yellow lights hidden in the recesses above the bar illuminate rows of liquor bottles in all colors and shapes. Glasses hanging upside down above also catch the flickering light. It’s a raucous atmosphere, but this man and I are in our own secret place of longing and desire.As he rounds the final corner, and I see him in full, my breath quickens. My eyes drift from his broad shoulders to his narrow waist, grey slacks and black shoes, then back up just as he reaches me. A close beard shadows his face, and the muscles low in my pelvis tighten at the thought of how it feels brushing the soft skin of my inner thighs… #SaveDerek #March26

Books by Tia LouiseONE TO HOLD SERIES

One to Hold (Derek & Melissa), 2013

Amazon | B&N

One to Keep (Patrick & Elaine), 2014

Amazon | B&N

One to Protect (Derek & Melissa), 2014

Amazon | B&N

One to Love (Kenny & Slayde), 2014

Amazon | B&N

One to Leave (Stuart & Mariska), Dec. 29, 2014

Amazon | B&N

One to Save (Derek & Melissa), coming March 26, 2015!

One to Chase (Amy & Marcus), coming May 2015!


SIGNED COPIES: http://smarturl.it/SignedPBs


About the Author

TL_Logo_MED Tia Louise is the Amazon and International Bestselling author of the ONE TO HOLD series. From “Readers’ Choice” nominations, to picking up USA Today “Happily Ever After” nods, to winning a 2014 “Lady Boner Award” (LOL!), nothing makes her happier than communicating with fans and weaving new tales into the Alexander-Knight world of stories. A former journalist, Louise lives in the center of the USA with her lovely family and one grumpy cat. There, she dreams up stories she hopes are engaging, hot, and sexy, and that cause readers rethink common public locations…

Connect with Tia

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram: @AuthorTLouise | Tsu.com

Sign up for Tia’s Book News: http://eepurl.com/Lcmv1 Get Exclusive Sale and New Release text alerts straight to your device: Text “TiaLouise” to 77948* *Max 6 messages per month; HELP for help; STOP to cancel; Text and Data rates may apply. Privacy policy available, allnightreads@gmail.com.   love 2


Character Interview with Kevin from Family Portraits Series

Posted by on in Books, News |

Character Interview with Kevin (Family Portrait Series)
by author Gillian Felix

I am super excited to have my girl, Gillian Felix, back on my site today with a character interview with Kevin, from her Family Portrait Series.  I’m loving this soap opera coming to life in novels  by the talented Ms. Felix.  If you haven’t yet met Gillian or read the Family Portrait Series, be sure to check out her bio and books below the interview!

1.  Welcome back, Kevin.  You have been quite the busy fella lately.  To say you’ve had ups and downs in your life would be an understatement.  One of the biggest…let’s say – issues- has seemed to be put out of your way.  How are you dealing with how you handled Savi?

I sleep better at night that’s for sure. It is a sad situation but her daughters needed protection from her. She made Leighann crazy and that’s not cool. I couldn’t have her hurting L’Wren anymore. Those girls are beautiful wonderful girls and they need to be given the space to blossom.

2.  Let’s strip away the exterior from you for a bit and take a look at who you really are.  You are one complex man, but I feel the truest part of you is good.  Would you agree?

 I don’t think I’m complex. I just balance two lives very well. Everything I do is for the people I love. Good or bad it’s all relative, what one person may deem as bad, another might think it’s perfectly fine, with the exception of rape, murder or abuse.

3.  You are fiercely protective of the ones you love, going to extreme measures to ensure their well-being and yours.  How far would you go to protect your loved ones?

I would go as far as any man would to protect his family and people he loves.

4.  It seems like a path you chose to take long ago keeps the domino effect of questionable choices active in your life.  You have hinted at taking a different path now, remedying past mistakes.  What are your plans to make that happen?

I have indeed made mistakes that I wish to God I could take back. My past has definitely come back and bitten me on the balls… HARD. The messes of my past haven’t been completely cleaned up yet. It’s a process and it will take time. I’m working on it as fast as I can. Karen, I’m in deeper than you know. All I can say is that things will get much worse for be before they get better. Good thing I found out about http://surrogateparenting.com/become-surrogate-california-stay-safe/ so I’ve got a second chance

5.  The highlight in your life is L’Wren, and things between you and her are going well.  Can you give us a little insight into your future plans with the girl you can’t get out of your head and heart?

*Big smile* L’Wren definitely has my heart. I want her permanently in my future if she’ll have me. As you know I’ve worked hard to ensure that she ends up on my side. I plan to prove my love for her everyday if I have to.

6.  Which Kevin can we expect to see in the next chapter of your life – the changing man or the quintessential bad boy?

Am I the quintessential Bad Boy? *Laughs* I don’t know about that. I just want to be the best man that I can be given my circumstances.

 More about the messes in my life in book 5 coming  in the summer and book 6 in the fall. Thanks for having me Karen, it’s always great to chat with you.

Thank you, Kevin!  You’re always welcome to stop by.

Author Bio

Gillian Felix was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad. She grew up watching night time soap operas by Aaron Spelling with her mother. That’s where her obsession with rich, powerful and devious characters were born. After repeatedly seeing Mr. Spelling’s name on the screen night after night, Gillian knew she wanted to be an Aaron Spelling, before she knew that Aaron Spelling was actually a person. Gillian pursued drama in high school although it was not taught as a “serious subject”. When asked what career she wanted to pursue after graduation, she told her guidance counselor that she wanted to be an actress, and was told that acting is not a “real job”.   When Gillian moved to the US in 1998, she landed an internship with Spotlight On Theater in New York City, where she learned stage managing, casting and the technical aspect of running a production. Later she branched out into film, and fell in love with the behind the scenes action of film and theatre production. She traded acting and her “real job” for a career in film and theater production. Gillian continued writing novels and scripts but kept them to herself. When not writing, Gillian can be found volunteering at the New Mexico Children’s Grief Center or hiking the many mountains that surround New Mexico she’s also a supporter of surrogacy and surrogate services in california. Gillian can easily get lost in a parking lot and considers herself directionally challenged. She is always grateful for the people she hikes with, because without them she’d be left roaming the mountains like a lost mountain goat.

Author Links Media page: http://familyportrait.plaintalkbm.com/

Author Website: http://www.plaintalkbm.com

Newsletter: https://tinyletter.com/GillianFx

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/gillianfx

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7210783.Gillian Felix


Ash to Steel Chapter One

Posted by on in Books, News |

Ash to Steele
Chapter One
Insatiable Bastard


***Disclaimer: Intended for readers 18+ due to strong language, mature scenes, and some violence. By continuing to read, you are acknowledging that you are 18 or older.***

Chapter One

Insatiable Bastard


Three months later.

     Fast, pulsating, endorphin inducing music blares, even through the closed door, as I round the corner.  The line of people is longer than I imagined; it wraps completely around the opposite side of the building.  I hesitate.  Nerves, excitement, and a twinge of desperation seep through my body.  Shivering, I blame it on the crisp November night air instead of the fact that this is my first night out to a bar since leaving Pickens…leaving Justin.

“The line’s over there.  Go or get out of the way.”  The voice of a stunning blonde with perfectly straight hair and flashy manicured nails snaps me back to the moment.

“Sorry,” I mumble.

Giving a smug smirk, the look in her eyes tells me she couldn’t care less if I’m sorry or not; she just wants to get her coveted spot in line before the bar reaches its capacity and the unlucky ones are sent home after hours of fruitless waiting.

“Go ahead,” I offer, stepping out of the way, wondering if I will be mobbed by an angry crowd when I walk straight to the front of the line.  The girl gives me a haughty glance filled with distaste as she walks by me, being sure to rudely brush against my arm on the way.

Taking a deep breath, I steady my nerves and make my way to the large bouncer whose eyes roam over me, filled with anything but distaste.  Self-consciously, I tug on my dress, well, Jess’ dress, and berate myself for letting her talk me into wearing the sapphire blue one-shouldered mini contraption.  The clingy material that I bravely thought I could pull off after Jess’ pushy encouragement now squeezes me too tightly and I pull at the hem, thankful for the sweater I threw on in a moment of self-insecurity.

The bouncer glances at the crowd then back at me, “Are you trying to get your fine ass kicked into a bloody mess?”

His British accent is sophisticated, matching his sleek clothing, but there’s an air of danger, and something I can’t place, lurking in his dark eyes.  His black hair is cut short on the sides, but longer on top, and slicked back into a cultivated style that suits his large, muscular frame.  I feel like a kindergartener standing in front of the principal after cutting in the lunch room line, except I can smell the threat of blood in the air with this crowd instead of the threat of silly names being thrown by five-year-olds.  Shifting nervously from one foot to the other, I wish I didn’t have on these ridiculous knee high four-inch heeled boots that Jess threatened to maim me if I didn’t wear.

The man stares at me with humor as my words tumble out, “I’m Emma, Jess’ friend.  She told me to just come straight to you, but I can go to the back of the line if I need to.  I mean, I don’t want to be unfair or -”

“You’re Emma?  Jess told me to let you in.”  He gives me a quick wink, mercifully saving me from my rambling.  “You better get inside before you hear all the ugly words that are getting ready to be thrown my way.”

I give him an apologetic smile, and he lets out a hearty laugh.  “Jess told me you aren’t from around here.  Go on inside, sweetheart; the bar is in the back.”

“Thank you.”

My words seem to elicit another laugh from him as he steps to the side and nods his head for me to enter before grabbing my arm as I start to pass.  “If anyone gives you a hard time just mention my name and they’ll leave you alone.  I’m Gavin, and nobody wants to fuck with me.”  Amusement lights his dark brown eyes as he winks at me again,  “At least not in a fight.”

From the looks of him, and the power in his grip while he’s effortlessly holding me in place, I imagine he’s right.  “Thanks, Gavin.  I’ll remember that.”

Gavin pushes open the heavy metal door and I step inside, immediately regretting my decision as the door slams closed.  Flashing strobe lights blind me.  The noise is deafening as my eyes finally adjust to the dim lighting mixed with colorful flashes streaking vivaciously through the large room.  It’s impossible to walk through the bar without touching someone with every step.  Parts of people’s bodies touch various parts of mine, making me feel uneasy, as I try to maneuver through the rowdy crowd.  I’m about to give up and leave when I see Jess standing at the end of a hallway yelling at someone inside a room I can’t see.  Quickly, I push through the crowd, giving up saying ‘excuse me’ after about the tenth time; it doesn’t do a bit of good anyway.  I can’t help but laugh when I’m almost to Jess and hear her severely scolding the unseen person.

“You know where the mop is.  I suggest you grab it and clean up your mess before I kick your ass.”  Jess points inside, “And don’t forget to take out your trash!”

She smiles at a response I can’t hear and shakes her head, her long blonde hair bouncing as she walks, the jet black tips at the bottom of her natural blonde locks starkly standing out against her snug white short-sleeve shirt.  Jess looks great in anything; she’s model-type beautiful from the second she wakes up until the time she goes to bed.  It’s annoyingly unfair, but I love her.  She may look like a princess, but she’s as fierce as a cornered tiger, and just as lethal if she doesn’t like you; luckily, she loves me, too.

“Insatiable bastard,” Jess’ lips curve into a knowing smile with her words, and I slip my arm through hers, thankful to be close to someone I know.

“What’s going on?” I ask, confused and curious by my recent best friend’s reaction to whatever just happened.

“Oh, just Breck slummin’ in the supply room.  He knows better than to bang his whores in my place.”

Her strong words are in discordance with her soft voice, and I glance over my shoulder to see a pretty brunette walk out of the room, smoothing her dress before flashing her sated smile and leaning in close to a tall, broad shouldered man who steps out next to her. She whispers something in his ear, and he takes a casual step backwards.  My eyes seem to disconnect from my mind as they slowly drink in long legs covered in a dark material that I don’t recognize but can tell is expensive and looks amazing on the fine masculine specimen sporting them.  Where the hell did that thought come from? 

    I vaguely feel my feet moving forward as I continue to glance over my shoulder at a lean waist in a thin gray dress shirt that shows just enough to prove he has toned muscles beneath.  My breath hitches when the man turns around.  Dusty brown hair is tussled into sexy, disheveled perfection.  Strong, masculine features frame his tan face; a firm jaw is speckled with dark stubble that makes him look recklessly handsome instead of in need of a shave.   Something about his presence is imposing, demanding my attention.   His eyes scan the room before he slowly blinks, then lands his gaze on mine.  The need to turn away hits me, but I can’t.  I’m frozen.  Paralyzed.  My pulse quickens and I can’t breathe when he walks towards us.  Jess pulls on my arm when my body stops.  I want to follow, but my entire body is rioting against my brain at the moment.  Move!

Finally, my treacherous dexterity finds reason and I turn away, but not before witnessing the most captivating steel blue eyes bore straight through me.  This strange tingling sensation takes over, sending an electric current sizzling through my body, causing me to feel shockingly energized.

“C’mon, Emma, there’s going to be another fight if I don’t get to the bar and provide these heathens with their liquid tolerance, and I don’t feel like patching Jason up after another brawl tonight.”

Shaking my head to clear the buzzing that is turning my brain into mush, I blindly follow Jess until we reach the bar.  The seat is welcoming as I sink into it, trying not to think of what just happened.

Jess puts a glass of water in front of me before giving me a quizzical look, “You alright?”

Distractedly, I take a sip.  “Yeah,” I respond, not exactly sure I’m telling her the truth.  Before I have the chance to question my integrity any further, I feel him behind me.  I’m fully aware that I don’t know how I know it’s him; I just do, then he touches my arm.

“That’s Jess’ dress, but you are definitely not her.”

His voice is better than I imagined, powerful, sure, smooth, and so flippin’ sexy, as it does terrifyingly enticing things to me.  Despite my best intention not to, I blush.

Plopping down next to me, he orders a beer before glancing my way, giving the dress another look, “It doesn’t suit you.”

I spin towards him.  Bad choice.  His mouth is flush to my face, and I’m struck motionless again as I watch how the smooth skin of his neck moves when he swallows.  His lips curve when I try to rip my gaze away from them.  His scent, that’s what does me in; it’s an intoxicating mixture of a clean summer breeze, a hauntingly elusive spice, and pure masculinity.   The thought of burying my nose between the soft spot of his neck and his chiseled chest and inhaling until I can place that decadent aroma alarms me.  I’ve never reacted to any man like this; I’m not liking it at all!  Well, maybe just a little.  His earlier words reclaim my sanity and I scowl, “You were not in my thoughts when I put it on, so your comment, which was rather rude, by the way, means nothing to me.”

The way he tilts his head back slightly when he laughs affects me more than I want.  “That’s only because you hadn’t met me yet.” His voice is cocky, pissing me off.

Rolling my eyes, I give him my best disinterested glance.  The eyes staring back at me are the most amazing I’ve ever seen, so bright, but distant, guarded. Their exact color alludes me.  They search me, so I search back.  My gaze penetrates his, matching his intensity, and I see a flash of admiration before his gaze turns harsh.  Inhaling sharply at the sudden anger in them, my gaze falls.

“I have no desire to meet you,” I snap, fairly sure I’m not lying.  Cringing at how my voice is a little shaky from the strength behind what I saw, I’m pissed off even more.

No response is given, providing me with a shot of relief as I take a long, slow breath. Assuming he took the hint and left, I hope that he did and didn’t at the same time, but I refuse to look.

Jess steps in front of me, a worried expression on her face as she glances at me, then next to me, and I get a sinking feeling, realizing he’s still there.

“I think I hurt your friend’s feelings, Jess,” he scoffs.

A heavy, strong warmth seeps into my lower back.  His touch mesmerizes and infuriates me.  Spinning in my chair, I break the connection.  The anger is gone when I force myself to look at him again, and he smiles, his eyes crinkling at the sides with the genuine action.

“I wasn’t suggesting that you don’t look good in her dress.  You do.  Amazing, actually.”  The steel blue darkens, turning carnal.

I feel breathless, slightly lightheaded, imagining what he’s thinking.

“You just look lost.  Fake.  Like you’re pretending.”

Apparently his thoughts are nowhere close to mine.  I want to yell at him, but his words weren’t accusatory, just matter of fact.  He’s right, and that causes me to really want him to go away now.

“Leave her alone, Breck.”  Jess shoots him a scathing glare, making me want to hug her.

Ignoring Jess, he flashes a titillating smile, not attempting to hide his intentions.  “What’s your name?”

I’m seriously tempted to give him the finger, but my southern upbringing wins.  “Emma.”

His anger returns, appearing stronger than before, spilling into his words after he takes a long swig of his beer before glaring at me, “The preacher’s daughter?”

Stiffly nodding, I’m at a loss of saying or doing anything else.

Just as quickly as it came, the anger vanishes and he leans close to me.  His breath is soft, mesmerizing, as it warms my lips, “You don’t like me?”

I shake my head in confirmation.

“That’s a wise decision.”

His lips are so close to mine, if I hiccupped, our mouths would collide.  I swallow hard when his fingers find a strand of my hair and he slowly wraps the chestnut lock around them.  “But, you want me.” It wasn’t a question.

“Leave her the hell alone, Breck!”  Jess yells, the warning evident in her voice.

It’s obvious something’s happening that I don’t understand, more going on than just what’s being said, but I don’t seem to have privileged knowledge.

Sliding my hair through his fingers, his eyes never leave mine.  I see the soft rise and fall of his chest as his breath continues to warm my lips, “I will be inside of you, Emma, doing all sorts of forbidden things that you have never even heard of, and you will be the one begging me to….you just don’t know it yet.”

The shock of his words slam into me.  I open my mouth to shoot back an angry rebuttal, to quench his arrogant attitude, but no words come out. Slapping his hand away, my hair falls back against my shoulder.

A soft chuckle tumbles from his mouth as he leans closer, brushing his lips against my ear, sending shivers spiraling through me.  His touch burns as his fingers skim down my arm, then, the warmth is gone, leaving me cold, rattled.

My cheeks flame, and I stare, trembling, with my mouth gaped open, before I have sense enough to snap it shut. As I try to come up with something to say to get him to leave, he slowly steps backwards, giving me one last look of undiluted anger before walking away.

My breathing is erratic as I again try to process what just happened, but, within seconds, his attention is focused on a beautiful redhead who stops him, giggling when she leans in too close and her breasts rub against his arm. Disgust joins my conflicting emotions.  His arrogance and sheer inappropriateness makes me furious, but it’s the small stab of jealousy that makes me want to smack myself.

“Just ignore him.  He can be such an asshole,” Jess encourages, her eyes searching me cautiously.

Relief that he’s gone comforts and refreshes me with the knowledge that I am still sane, despite my momentary lapse.  The unwelcome new sensations overtaking my body aren’t so quick to reassure me.

Jess takes my water, giving me a disapproving look.  “Now, that’s enough of that bland shit.  You need something stronger.”

Handing me one of her mystery drinks, I take a small sip first, having learned my lesson about her creations the day I met her, which was a mere two days after I moved to Boston.  I’m her taste tester.  She believes that my virgin palette, as she calls it, provides better judgment; she seems to pay no attention that my palette is no longer a virgin.  All of her ‘experiments’ are delicious, but this fruity concoction is one of the best I’ve tasted.  I still sip slowly, knowing she’s heavier on the alcohol than the flavor.

As I take my next sip, Jess nudges me and nods at the man I’m leaning heavily towards disliking at the moment, “He’s really not so bad, once you get to know him.”

“You just called him a butt.”

Smirking at my watered down version of her terminology, she laughs, “No.  I said that hecan be an asshole.  Don’t let him fool you, he’s the one acting.”  She nudges me again, giving a sympathetic smile.

“Like I said before, I have no desire to get to know him.  Besides, looks like too many have already known him.”  I loathe myself for stealing another glance his way, my jaw dropping slightly when the redhead slides her hand down his chest, to his waist, before graciously stepping in front of him as her hand goes even lower.  I want to look away, but the fiery expression in Breck’s eyes seizes me, holding me prisoner, and now I know that I dislike him.

The heat of his penetrating gaze flames my cheeks as he looks over the wanton woman’s shoulder, staring straight at me while he grabs her hand, slowly moving it away from coveted territory.

“If you want to go with me, then there will be no exchanging of numbers, no second trysts, and no looking each other up,” he tells her nonchalantly.

I watch in complete astonishment as he flashes her a cocky, panty-dropping smile while his eyes remain locked on mine.

“If you want a great night, one that I promise you will remember for a long, long time, then those are the rules.  Take ‘em or leave ‘em.” His voice is cold, detached, but, somehow, the room is suddenly too warm.

“Your place or mine?” the debased redhead replies quickly.

“Huh uh, neutral setting, and you follow me.”  His words sicken me, but it’s his eyes that burn me like the second circle of hell.

“I’m ready when you are.” With a flick of her hair over her perfectly tanned shoulder, his new conquest is overly eager.

“And there goes another one,” Jason, Jess’ boyfriend and co-owner of the Dark Hole, states, shaking his head in a mixture of awe, amusement, and jealousy.  “How does he get them to do that?”

Jess leans her elbows on the counter, a reminiscent smile on her lips, “It’s all about the confidence, and Breck’s drenched in it.”

My attention quickly reverts to Jess.

Giving a wink, she places her finger over her lips, nodding her head towards Jason.

Before I have a chance to pull her aside for interrogation, a finger taps my shoulder.

“Do you want to dance?” A brown-haired, green-eyed hunk who appears to be fresh out of college flashes a flirtatious smile, causing me to blush again.

“Go!” Jess pushes, flashing a wide grin and raising her eyebrow appreciatively at the hot stranger next to me.

Too many emotions are rioting inside of me, making me unsure of doing anything other than being a permanent fixture on my current seat at the bar for the remainder of the night.

Holding up her indigo tipped finger, she hoists herself on the bar top and slides across.  “Give me a sec with my girl here,” she coos to the man still holding his hand out for me to take.

“Um, sure, okay,” he responds, recoiling his hand while his eyes roam over the rarely exposed peek of flesh at the top of my chest before quickly relocating to the tight jean covered backside of Jess, proving that men are so infuriatingly predictable.

“Honey,” Jess grabs my shoulders, giving me her best exasperated glare when she plunks down in front of me, “you have turned down a number of chances to hook up since I’ve met you.  This guy is a tasty morsel of decadence!  If you turn him down, I’m going to hurt you.”

“I don’t want to hook up with anyone, Jess,” I pout.

“Fine, don’t hook up then; just dance.  Have fun.  Forget about Justin for one night.  I swear, for someone you didn’t love, you sure pine over the boy like you did.”  Her hazel eyes lock on mine, not giving me any room to opt out.

“I don’t pine over him, Jess!” I reply a little too defensively, “I just feel bad.”  I do.  It’s crazy and I know it, but I still feel like I’m cheating if I go out on a date.

“If you dance with this one, I’ll stop calling you a nun,” she proposes in her sing-song voice, flashing a wide smile and cocking her eyebrow.

“You swear?”

Dashing her finger quickly back and forth across her chest, she holds it up and kisses it, “On my honor.”

“Deal,” I laugh, relieved to leave that nickname behind.

She grabs my hands and does a little happy jump, causing every man within visual distance to be ecstatic from the exuberant dance making her breasts bounce provocatively in their snug covering. “Fantastic!  Now, get out there and shake that cute ass until you can’t dance anymore.”

The grin on the expectant man matches Jess’, and I inwardly groan. Giving a polite smile, I take his hand, “I’m Emma.”


“He’s hot and he’s French!” Jess squeals, wiggling her brows as she shoves me towards him.

Anton wraps his hand around my waist, sliding it to my lower back and pulling me towards him, already staking claim.

Jess licks her lips, giving a salacious wink.

Behave, I mouth to her as I’m led to the middle of the dance floor.

“Hell no!  You know what they say about well-behaved women!” she calls after me, sliding back over the counter.

Yeah, apparently they call us nuns.

“What part of the south are you from, Emma?” Anton asks, slipping his hand a little lower as he pulls me flush to his body.

Taking a step back, I give a shy smile, “South Carolina.”

“Sexy accent for a sexy lady,” he smiles coyly, his fingertips now dangerously close to being intimately familiar.

Reaching back, I raise his hand a couple of inches, “Thank you.”  Guilt seeps in at my lukewarm reply but I shrug it away, too tired of dealing with pushy men tonight.

“I’ve been watching and waiting for you to direct that sweet smile my way since you walked in.”

Repressing the desire to roll my eyes at the false assumption that it’s a prerequisite for men to use cheesy pickup lines at bars, my gaze shifts towards the door, wishing I could just go home.  I find Breck staring at me while the redhead wraps her jacket around her shoulders.  My pulse quickens.  Something in his eyes unnerves me, filling me with dread and sending a pulsating jolt of excitement that sears me straight to the bone.

“You should come to my place when the bar closes.”

I vaguely hear Anton making his not so smooth move, but my attention is still diverted to the enigma standing on the threshold.  Carnal thoughts wage with futile attempts to break the vexing connection enslaving my failing senses.  Heat simmers through my veins to places low in my belly and my lips part in resentful shock from the intensity of emotions raging inside of me.  His gaze is full of hate, punishing even, and chills spill down my spine.  Need to know why he affects me this way conquers all my internal alarms blaring for me to just stay away.

The redhead follows his gaze and the warning in her eyes is clear.  Disregarding the seething look, I pull away from Anton.  Breck’s lips curve slightly as his eyes gleam dominantly, daring, showing his intentions to play.  Standing my ground, I refuse to break the silent challenge.  I don’t understand the rules, or the game, but there’s no way in hell I’m going to lose.  The music stops; people push their way through the crowd towards the bar, but neither of us moves.  Anton is calling me.  I ignore him.  Flashes of light ignite the room in angry hues as the band begins the next song.  Breck’s date pulls on his arm, and it’s me who smiles this time.

Several accosting seconds tick by before he gives me a slight nod, admitting his defeat, but it’s the toxic mix of admiration and animosity in his eyes that strips me of air, making my knees weak.  With one last look, he’s gone, but I know whatever this is that he’s started is far from over.  Slowly, the tension gripping me begins to ease.  Dread and desire hit me like a sledgehammer.  I don’t want to play his game.  Good or bad, I don’t want to feel anything for him…not him.  Shaking my head, I blame Jess’ drink.  Feeling discombobulated and foreign in my own skin, I breathe a rushed apology to Anton and walk shakily to the bar.

“That was quick.  What happened to Pierre?” Jess asks, her voice strained for having to yell over the band.

“His name is Anton,” I correct her.

“Who cares?  He’s cute and French; that’s all you need to know.”

A little envy breaks through the fog, clouding my brain, and my lips curve into a wistful smile, wishing I could be more like Jess.  She’s fearless; I’m not.  Just once, it would be nice to do something without over-rationalizing it, to do something out of the ordinary from my predictable life.  Jess lives in the moment, never worrying about what people think.  I worry way too much about what people think.  Unwelcome thoughts of Breck and how I’m sure he could obliterate all semblance of any predictability in my life flash through my mind.  I push them away.  “I could use another drink.”

“Well, well, looks like Frenchy might be doing you some good,” she teases while mixing a margarita.

“What’s up with you and Breck?” I ask, hating myself for it.

Jess places the margarita down, taking a few seconds to look at me before answering, “Why do you want to know?”

“Morbid curiosity.”

“He’s the ultimate one-night stand, Casanova to every woman and an absolute god to every man.” Jess grabs my margarita and takes a long sip, studying me the whole time.  “If you want to get Justin out of your head, and make sure Breck never comes near you again, sleep with him.”

“Sure. Let me just give a complete stranger my virginity so he’ll leave me alone,” I laugh.

“Why not?”

“You’re serious!” I stare at Jess incredulously.

“It’s the perfect solution to your Justin problem.  You will forget all about him once you’ve been with Breck.”

“I don’t have a ‘Justin problem’.”

“Fine, whatever,” she rolls her eyes. “It looks like Breck has taken an interest in you and he won’t stop until he gets you in bed, so save yourself the time and trouble and let him give you best night of your life.”

Taking a large gulp of my margarita, I decide to go ahead and put an end to her devil’s advocate, “If I sleep with him then it will be something amazing.”

“I’m not seeing the problem, hon.”

“The problem is that it will be unforgettable to me, but I will be completely forgettable to him.  I don’t want my first time to be that way.”

She sighs, nodding her head in understanding, “You’re right; no one’s first time should be like that.”

“No one’s anytime should be like that.”

“Besides, if Breck is your first, you’ll be ruined.  No other man will ever live up to your expectations after that,” Jess states, her lips curving into a knowing smile.

“He can’t be that good,” I proclaim, frustrated by how every woman seems to fall at his feet.

Jess nods her head at a nice looking twenty-something man who just stepped up to the bar.  She begins to grab the liquor of choice as she continues, “You know the expression, ‘it’ll knock your socks off’?”  Jess pours the mixed concoction into a glass, grabbing a lime wedge and squeezing it in as she winks at the man who is taking his time paying her. “Well, after one time with Breck, the next time he just walks by you, your panties will shimmy down your legs on their own accord.”

I spit out the sip of margarita I just took so I don’t choke at Jess’ brazen words said in front of a man who looks like he wants to crawl over the bar and shimmy Jess out of hers right now.  “Jess!” I hiss.

Giving the needy, gorgeous man one last wink, she flashes me her mischievous smile, “It’s the truth, girl.”

Watching as Jess turns down yet another request for her number with her uncanny skill of leaving the poor man feeling like he is still walking away after the best night of his life instead of being publicly rejected, I ask, “How come you two are still friends if you have personal experience?  From what you told me, he has a woman once, then never looks back.”

Jess grabs four bottles of beer, dangling them in the air just out of reach from two questionably aged patrons, “IDs boys, and they better be real or Jason over there is going to personally throw you out the door on your asses.”

One of them hesitates before reaching for his wallet, and Jess zones in, “Nope, no need.  Out now, or I call Jason in two seconds.”

It takes half that time for them to head towards the door.

Turning her attention back to me, she gives a slight shrug, “We have history before ourhistory, so I guess I’m the lucky one, or the unlucky one.  Depends on which way you look at it.”

Another group hovers at the bar and Jess mixes their drinks while I finish mine.  Feeling slightly buzzed, I decide it’s time to go home and get a few hours of sleep before I have to be at my first job.  I catch Jess’ attention and wave.  She gives me her puppy dog eyes look which normally suckers me to do what she wants, but I’m immune tonight.  “I’m tired,” I call over the noisy crowd.

“You have no idea how to party.  I’m a complete failure of a friend for not rubbing my live it up lifestyle off on you yet!”

“I won’t hold it against you,” I tease, steadying myself when I stand up too quickly.

“Damn lightweight,” she laughs, “I’ve got to work on that, too.”

“Another night,” I yell to her before pushing my way towards the door.  The cold night air slams into me, and I wrap my sweater tighter around my shoulders.

“Going home already?” Gavin asks.

Before I have time to answer, a fight breaks out in line.

“Break it up!” Gavin yells, stepping in between the two men and grabbing them both by the collars of their shirt, giving a vicious shake.  “You two shake hands now and play nice, or I’ll kick both your asses before sending you home.”

The noisy crowd becomes silent while all eyes are fixated on the two antagonists being helplessly manhandled at Gavin’s will.  The man in Gavin’s left fist swallows his pride first, giving a small nod, and his opponent follows his lead.

Easing his grip, Gavin releases the men.  “Shake!” he demands.

The men immediately comply.

Turning his attention back to me, Gavin grins, “Let me call you a cab.”

“I’m alright,” I assure him, “I only live a couple of blocks down.”

“Damn, woman, you really aren’t from here are you?” he scolds, pulling his cell phone out and making arrangements for a cab to be sent to the bar.  “Stay put, it’ll be here in a few.”

I’m a little leery of arguing with him after what I just witnessed, so I thank him instead and silently wait for the cab to take me home so I can shed this dress, fall into bed, and forget this night ever happened.

I hope you fall in love with Breck and Emma.

Ash to Steele on Amazon

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