Sunday, February 25, 2018

Excerpt & Giveaway: The History of Hilary Hambrushina by Marnie Lamb


The History of Hilary Hambrushina
Marnie Lamb
Publication date: May 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Hilary has one goal for her first year in junior high: to become popular. But her plans are turned upside down when her best friend leaves for the summer and a quirky girl named Kallie moves in next door. Kallie paints constellations on her ceiling, sleeps in a hammock, and enacts fantastical plays in front of cute boys on the beach. Yet despite Kallie’s lack of interest in being -cool, – Hilary and Kallie find themselves becoming friends. That summer friendship, however, is put to the test when school begins, reigniting Hilary’s obsession with climbing the social ladder. As Hilary discovers the dark side to popularity, she must decide who she wants to be before she loses everything.
EXCERPT:
I put on a sweatband and sneakers and brought down a water bottle. My plan was to pedal non-stop for an hour. I figured I could do it, since I was used to riding my own bike, and how different could this bike be? I should lose at least one pound that way, I told myself. So if I use the bike every day, in fifteen days I’ll have lost the weight I want to lose.
I stepped over boxes and piles of books to reach the bike, which sat in a dark corner. This corner had a musty smell, like an old church that hadn’t been dusted since Queen Victoria was my age. A fake raccoon-fur hat someone had given my dad as a joke hung on the wall nearby.
The bike seat was too high for me, but I couldn’t move it because it was screwed in place. Gripping the handlebars for support, I tried to heave my leg over the seat several times without success. I was becoming angry and sweaty, so I started breathing deeply, like I was having a baby, to calm myself down. “Hoo hoo hoo.”
“Hilary!” shouted my mom. “Why are you making monkey noises?”
I froze. I knew that if I said, “It’s nothing,” she’d come down, and I didn’t want her to think I needed help getting on a stationary bicycle. So I called, “I’m just playing a game.”
I managed to lift myself on to the bike. I had to stretch to reach the pedals, but I finally did and started pumping. It was O.K. at first, but soon, my muscles felt like some psycho was using them as rubber bands. And some people actually do this for fun! What’s wrong with them, I thought. I reached for the water bottle and tried to squirt some water in my mouth. Nothing but air came out. I’d forgotten to fill the bottle! I threw it away and continued to pump furiously. Objects on the wall began rattling, and I was making so many strange noises my mother must have thought a whole pack of monkeys was performing a conga line in the basement. I began to have visions of monkeys in spangly pink bikinis
kicking up their heels (did monkeys have heels, I wondered) on stage at the Princess of Wales Theatre.
Suddenly my sweatband fell over my eyes. I didn’t stop to fix it, though. You’re going to pump for the full hour, not for fifty-nine minutes, I ordered myself. Instead, I tried nodding vigorously to get the sweatband to fall under my chin. It fell over my nose and I couldn’t breathe. Then something dark and furry leapt on my head, covering my eyes and tickling my face like a bunch of feathers. I screamed, batting at the thing with one hand and pumping frantically, as if I could escape that way. I soon realized it was only my dad’s hat, but I still couldn’t get it off. Finally I stumbled off the bike and yanked the hat’s tail away from my eyes.
I had no energy left to remove the hat, so I left it on and trudged upstairs. I passed my mom, who took one look at me and started to snicker. Ignoring her, I went into the kitchen to check the clock. I’d been on the bike five minutes.
So that was the end of my experiment with exercising.


Author Bio:
A Journey Prize nominee, Marnie Lamb earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Windsor. Her short stories have appeared in various Canadian literary journals. Her first novel, a YA book named The History of Hilary Hambrushina, is forthcoming from Iguana Books. When she is not writing fiction or running her freelance editing business, she can be found cooking recipes with eggplant or scouting out colourful fashions at the One of a Kind Show.


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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Excerpt & Giveaway: Perfect by Felice Stevens


Perfect
Felice Stevens
(Soulmates #4)
Publication date: February 23rd 2018
Genres: Adult, LGBTQ+, Romance
Despite multiple degrees and business success, in his heart Jeremy Strauss feels he’s never measured up. While he hasn’t lacked for men or women to share his bed, Jeremy has yet to find someone who sees beyond his muscles and perfect smile. Taking it slow with a lover isn’t how he operates, but something about the shy accountant he rescues in a snowstorm makes him want this time to be different. So what if Blake drops little comments here and there about Jeremy’s pretty face? Their relationship is perfect.
Or is it?
Lonely most of his life, Blake Myers is as careful with his heart as he is with a balance sheet. The last thing he expects is for a man like Jeremy to fall for him, and he can’t help but wait for the bubble to burst on their relationship. When the stress of a professional crisis turns personal, Blake sees the perfect relationship he and Jeremy have built start to crumble. Caught in an ever-tightening web of lies, rather than wait for Jeremy to leave him, Blake breaks it off and vanishes.
Perfection is an illusion.
Jeremy doesn’t know which way to turn and for the first time in his life, he’s lost and uncertain. Believing he’s no longer the man Jeremy needs, Blake sinks deeper into despair. Both men struggle with secrets, lies, and hurtful memories until they are forced to look inside their hearts and learn the truth—that love is perfectly imperfect.
EXCERPT:
At around six thirty, his desk phone buzzed. “Yeah?”
“Blake here to see you?”
His pulse sped up. “Be right there.” Jeremy ran a hand through his hair and walked out of his office to the front desk. In his suit and tie and dark wool overcoat, Blake looked sexy and sophisticated. Jeremy felt like an underdressed slob in his sweats and T-shirt. His heart pounded, and his palms turned sweaty. What the hell was happening to him?
“Hey. I’m here.”
When their eyes met, Blake’s face lit up, and he smiled. “Hi. This place is great. I can’t believe you started it from scratch.”
“Yep. I did.” Seeing the curious glances of both Benny and Gino, Jeremy took Blake’s hand in his. “Guys. This is my boyfriend, Blake. Blake.” He squeezed Blake’s hand. “The dark-haired guy is Gino, and the redhead is Benny. They’re my right-hand men.”
“Nice to meet you both.”
Gino gaped at him. “Boyfriend? You never said you were even dating anyone.”
“I didn’t realize I owed you an explanation.” Jeremy chuckled and shook his head. “Blake and I are going back to my office, so unless it’s my brother or the mayor, no interruptions. Got it?”
They nodded, staring at him with wide, shocked eyes, but he ignored them and pulled Blake along, anxious to be alone with him.
He pushed Blake into his office and slammed the door shut behind him, locking it. “Finally. I’ve been waiting all day to do this.”
He covered Blake’s mouth with his and kissed him deep and hard, his tongue pressing at the seam of Blake’s lips. For a moment, Blake stiffened, but when Jeremy slipped his tongue inside, Blake grabbed on to his shoulder and began to kiss him back with equal fervor.
“Mmmm. That’s better.” His hands sure and steady, Jeremy first pushed off Blake’s coat and suit jacket, then loosened his tie. “Wanna know what sexy fantasies I’ve been having all day since you said you were coming over?”
Blake stared at him, wild-eyed and panting. “Yeah. Tell me.”
“You, bent over my sofa, naked. Me fucking you, while outside people are walking by. Maybe they hear us, maybe they don’t.”
He watched Blake’s eyes glaze over with lust. Jeremy was more than willing to make Blake’s fantasy a reality. Getting him off in semi-public was hot as hell, and the desire Jeremy stemmed all day burst free. He wanted Blake. Now.
“Take off everything.”
Breathing heavily, Blake licked his lips. “But what if someone needs you? They’ll knock on the door and—”
“And I won’t answer because I’ll be too busy being inside you. Come on. Get naked.”


Author Bio:
If you join my newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/y85e69ab you'll get exclusive content, sneak peeks at new books and contests. I feature favorite authors, recipes and free short stories!
I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, My characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love, but getting there is oh so fun and oh so sexy.
I live in New York City with my husband and two children. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass (or two of red wine). I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there are bound to be a few bumps along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Excerpt & Giveaway: Love and War: Volume One by Charisse Spiers


Love and War: Volume One
Charisse Spiers
(Shadows in the Dark, #2)
Publication date: February 22nd 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Note from the author: This is a Dark Romance. If you do not like dark themes this book may not be for you. Suitable for audiences 18+ due to content.
The f*cking lights. They are all I can remember. Everywhere I turn I see them. They haunt my dreams, and now my reality. She liked the lights. I do remember that. It was part of her life, and in turn a part of mine, until the day I forgot it all.
They say your childhood paves the way to adulthood, and maybe it does. I know mine was lit up in flames. I walked the roads of Hell until I figured out that the only way to survive was to exist under a cloak of darkness—to deal with the devil himself. It was the only way to escape the pain, the torment. But the nightmares are still very real. They’ll never leave me alone. The shadows of solitude follow me wherever I go.
Weapons—they can be anything I need them to be. Unlike people in my life, they are predictable, dependable. Without any effort they can cause so much destruction, but also so much peace. Through the internal chaos, the anger that won’t cease, and the constant noise, everything is silenced with the pull of the trigger.
Ink—I’ve loved it since I can remember. It defines me. It’s my release. When I feel like I’m about to blow I turn to the needle. It is the one high I need. I brand people. It’s what I do. Kross Brannon is the best there is when it comes to tattoos. The success of my company proves it.
But I never teach. Those that work for me learn from someone else. I’m a solo artist. Always have been and always will be…but then I looked up and saw her, standing in my shop, beautiful, tattooed, and her soul screaming for me to reach out. She was a force of nature I couldn’t turn away.
That’s the moment everything started falling into place…
EXCERPT:
Delta . . .
I group my tips together and fold them in half. I’ll count them later. Right now I just want to take these shoes off my feet. Dancing in stilettos sucks. They were not intended to be worn for extreme activities. Then again, maybe they were. I prefer chucks, high tops . . . Hell, anything flat. These are more Lux’s style.
I’m sweating; burning up, even though I know Chuck keeps it cold in here. Keeps the nipples out, he said, and nipples make the customers happy. I roll my eyes at the memory of that conversation from my first night. I thought he was ‘the shit’ back then. My way out of a shitty, unwanted existence. A way to live on my own. And it was . . . Until I wanted better for myself.
My thighs and calves are burning. I’m ready to go home and shower, to crawl into bed with a movie in the background as I fall asleep, but unfortunately that won’t happen anytime soon for me. I still have another set later.
I walk into my dressing room and shut the door. “Lock it.”
I nearly jump out of my skin at the sound of his voice, my hand immediately snaking over my breasts to cover them. Reflexively I lock it without questioning him. His tone is a little . . . harsher than usual, and his irritation is nothing new to those that work for him.
I look at him sitting in my chair, hunched over, legs spread wide with his elbows to his thighs, holding a lighter between them—my lighter, in fact. In a hypnotic rhythm he strikes it, causing the flame to emerge before letting it go. He’s looking at it and not at me, as if he’s trying to cool some sort of fury inside of him. My heart begins to race. I can feel my pulse beating along every passage in my body. My nerves spark like two wires being touched together with opposite charges. My oxygen tries to recede back into my lungs. I force the words out. “Kross . . . What are you doing here?”
He looks up at me, a cold, stone-like demeanor present, emotion absent. The words come out as controlled as he is. “Come here.”
His eyes look different—determined, angry maybe. My feet automatically move toward him. I should stay where I am, but instead, I quickly tread across the floor to where he sits. The second I get to him he stands and grabs my neck so fast I can barely blink between movements. He forces me to sit on top of my vanity, head against the mirror as he comes between my legs. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
I grab his wrist as a reflex. “Kross, I’m working.”
He looks down my almost-naked body, his judgment cutting into me like a serrated edged knife. If I didn’t already feel like trash I would with just that look. “I can see that. What happened to the damn bar, Delta?”
He’s seething. Fear sets in. Little to nothing scares me. I’ve worked for him for a while now. I’ve seen him on a daily basis and in many different moods. I’ve never heard this tone before. It’s bordering on psychotic. And his eyes. What’s wrong with his eyes? His grip tightens, but still not enough to hurt me in ways I can’t take or cut off my air. Because even though he’s holding me in a way that most would deem abusive, no bone in my body feels like he would physically hurt me. The only thing my mind can process is the fact that he’s close, and that he’s touching me in a way I’ve wanted him to since I laid eyes on him. He’s looking at me like I’m his, like he’s angry with me. I stare into his eyes, unable to look away even though I can’t read them. “Answer me.”


Author Bio:
I found books when I was going through a hard time in life. They became my means of escape when things got bad. I realized quickly how much I loved to take a backseat to someone else's life and watch the journey unfold. That began my journey with books in November of 2012. I constantly had a book open on my Kindle app. Never in a million years would I have imagined myself as a writer, because I never thought I was creative enough. I'm living proof that things will fall into place when they're meant to be. People will make their way into our lives when we don't expect it, setting the path for what we are meant to do. Never give up on people. Never stop taking a chance on others. Someone took a chance on trusting me with her work when she didn't know me from a stranger on the street and gave me the opportunity of a lifetime as our relationship progressed, which led me to editing and writing as well. This is my dream I never knew I had. As soon as I sat down and gave writing a shot, it was like the floodgates opened. Now, I am lost in a world of fiction in my head, new characters constantly screaming for their stories to be told. Continue to dream and to go for them. No one ever found happiness by sitting on the sidelines. Sometimes we have to take risks and put ourselves out there. Thank you for all of your support, and may there be many books to come. XOXO- C

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