Sales Blitz: Treasured Secrets by Kendall Talbot #Giveaway

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Tresured Secrets Book CoverBook Title: Treasured Secrets
Author: Kendall Talbot
Genre: Action/Adventure Romance
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

From Romantic Book of the Year winner Kendall Talbot comes an adrenaline-fuelled new series introducing sassy sexy characters, exotic locations, and action-packed adventure.

Some secrets should remain hidden forever…

The last place Rosalina expected the clue to a 700-year-old mystery to lead her was back into the arms of Archer, the man who broke her heart. When neither can solve the puzzle without the other, they set off on a new adventure. They’re forced to ignore the sparks that still fly unhindered between them as their search for the golden riches weaves from Tuscany’s underbelly to Archer’s luxurious yacht in the Greek Islands.

Archer desperately wants to salvage his shattered relationship with Rosalina but fighting for her love soon takes a back seat to fighting for their lives. Ruthless competition is hot on their heels and will do anything to get his hands on the treasure. With evil close on their trail, and Archer wrestling with the remnants of a childhood tragedy, Rosalina begins to wonder if some secrets were never meant to be revealed.

excerpt

The man’s fingers were iron bands around Rosalina’s wrist as he dragged her down the dark passage. The more she struggled, the tighter his fingers squeezed. She gagged at his foul odour, but it didn’t stop her sucking in deep breaths between each terrified scream.

‘If you stop screaming, I’ll leave your clothes on.’ His calmness was terrifying and in that instant, she had no doubt he’d done this before.

She shut up. The fear of being naked in front of him set her heart to explode. ‘Where’re you taking me?’

He stopped and pulled her up close. ‘You’ll be safe as long as you and your boyfriend cooperate.’

‘He’s not my boyfriend.’ She instantly regretted the admission. Damn. Why did I say that?

When the man turned again, she knew resistance was useless. He tugged her along behind him. She studied the walls, looking for something, anything to memorise, but every wall, every passage, whether they went left or right looked the same. It’d be impossible for Archer and Alessandro to find her. She knew they’d both come. Both of them, working together? That would be interesting. Between Archer’s impatience and Alessandro’s fastidiousness, they might kill each other before they even got to her.

Around yet another corner they stopped, and her captor wrestled keys from his pocket. With a grating metal on metal sound, the door opened and he dragged her through it. The door was like something from a medieval movie, at least four inches thick and held together with parallel black iron rods.

‘No one will hear you down here.’ He shoved her into the room and stepped back towards the door. Rosalina didn’t hesitate. She dived at the man, jumping onto his back and curling her arm around his neck. His hands clawed at her arm but she squeezed even tighter. He made a gagging noise, and as Rosalina clamped tighter still she caught wafts of his hideous odour. She blocked them, focusing only on fighting her way out. He grabbed her hair and she screamed as he yanked it. The pain was like thousands of needles stabbing her scalp. With the clump of hair, he dragged her head over his shoulder. Rosalina stopped screaming and bit into the first thing her teeth could sink into — the meaty muscle in his shoulder. It was his turn to scream and he let go of her hair.

His fists were flailing now and he spun her around. Her hip hit the open door, but still she clung on. She managed to dodge his first punch, with it glancing off her forehead, but before she could react to avoid it, his next punch hit her right in the eye.

Pain exploded in her brain. Her body went limp and she hit the floor like a sack of potatoes.

Meet the Author

Kendall Talbot is an award winning author, thrill seeker and a hopeless romantic. She has travelled extensively, some 36 countries, and counting and she’s addicted to experiences that make her scream… white water rafting, scuba diving with sharks and hang gliding are just a few. Her stories reflect her sense of adventure and her long running love affair with her very own hero.

Kendall collects junky jewellery and expensive perfume, her favourite night out is with great friends and a fabulous bottle of wine or two, and she rarely watches TV. She lives in Brisbane with her hubby, her two grown boys and her little dog, Josie McLuvin.

Her debut novel Lost in Kakadu (Escape Publishing, 2013) has received a clutch of award nominations and most notably won the exclusive Romantic Book of the Year.
Drop into Kendall’s website sometime: www.kendalltalbot.com.au,

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“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Blog Tour: Suspected by Rori Shay #Giveaway

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This is my stop during the book blitz for Suspected (#2) by Rori Shay. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 20 April till 3 May, you can view the complete blitz schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.

So far this series contains 2 books: Elected (The Elected series #1) and Suspected (The Elected series #2). The Elected series is about the environment and environmental change and what can happen after climate change. It’s about a girl pretending to be a boy for the good of her country. Fans of Mulan will love this series.

SuspectedSuspected (The Elected series #2)

By Rori Shay

Genre: Dystopia

Age category: Young Adult

Blurb:

East Country upheld the laws. Mid destroyed them.

In the year 2185 Earth is rebuilding after a global eco-crisis. Countries maintain complete isolation so there is no warfare over scarce resources. One Elected family is chosen to lead each country for 100 years to ensure stability. Women aren’t allowed to take office and must reproduce at all costs. Technology use of any kind is banned to preserve what’s left of the environment.

And yet, I’m my country’s Elected. I’ve just sanctioned technology use to ready us for war. I’m about to cross the border to spy on our neighbor. And…I’m a girl. Shhhhhh…..

You can find Suspected on Goodreads

You can buy Suspected here:

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First book in the series:

ElectedElected (The Elected series #1)

By Rori Shay

Genre: Dystopia

Age category: Young Adult

Release Date: April 8, 2014

Blurb:

It’s the year 2185, and in two weeks, Aloy will turn eighteen and take her father’s place as president of the country. But to do so, she must masquerade as a boy to avoid violating the Eco-Accords, four treaties designed to bring the world back from the brink of environmental extinction. Aloy hopes to govern like her father, but she is inheriting a different country. The long concealed Technology Faction is stepping out of the shadows, and as turmoil grows within her country, cryptic threats also arrive from beyond their borders.

As she struggles to lead, Aloy maintains her cover by marrying a woman, meanwhile battling feelings for the boy who knows her secret—the boy who is somehow connected to her country’s recent upheaval. When assassination attempts add to the turmoil, Aloy doesn’t know whom to trust. She understood leadership required sacrifice. She just didn’t realize the sacrifice might be her life.

You can find Elected on Goodreads

You can buy Elected here:

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Barnes & Noble

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Rori ShayAbout the Author:
Rori Shay is a strategic management consultant living in the Seattle area with her family, black lab, and cat. In the writing world, Rori is primarily know for her science fiction trilogy, The Elected Series. She enjoys running, reading, snow-shoeing, pumpkin-picking, and right now…writing the third ELECTED novel! Rori is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

You can find and contact Rori here:

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There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Suspected. This giveaway is US and Canada only. These are the prizes you can win:

– a kindle ereader and a signed copy of Elected by Rori Shay

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Cover Reveal: Crave by Jennifer Dawson #Giveaway

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Book Title: Crave (Undone, #1)
Author: Jennifer Dawson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

I vow. I crave. I give in.
I used to be a nice, normal girl. I had dreams. Good, happy dreams of white picket fences, 2.5 kids, and a fairytale love that lasts forever. Nobody warned me the prince dies three weeks before the wedding.

Like any addict, I swear this time is the last….
Now, I go through my days, a shadow of my former self. I pretend I’m okay, and the people in my life pretend to believe me. But, sometimes, when I can no longer stand the craving my dead fiancée left behind, I roam an underground sex club looking for my next hit. It’s dirty and wrong, but I can’t stop, and my only line of defense between them and me, is the rules I’ve designed to keep me safe. With free, no-strings attached sex; men always abide by my rules. Until I meet him.

And, like any addict, I’m wrong.
I don’t question the instincts that tell me to run. One look at him, standing there, power radiating off him in waves, tells me all I need to know. He will make me forget. And that’s not an option.

excerpt

Eleven P.M.

Two months. Five days. Twenty-one hours.

It’s my new record although I have no sense of accomplishment. No, I’m resigned as I walk down the dark, deserted alley. The heels of my knee-high, black patent boots click against the cracked concrete in echo of my defeat. The distant sounds of the bass thuds in my ears in time to the heavy beat of my heart.

My own personal staccato of failure.

I’m not sure why it’s always a surprise. Maybe because, at first, my conviction is so strong. By now my pattern is long and established—I vow, I crave, I give in.

Rinse. Repeat.

But, like any good addict, I always swear this time is the last.

Of course, I try. My therapist has given me “management tools” to get me through the hard times, and like a good patient, I follow her instructions to a tee—I meditate, do yoga, and write all my crappy feelings in the journal she insists I keep.

Only, it’s backfired and become part of the ritual. When the cycle starts, it’s a matter of time before I end up here.

I’m sure when John brought me to this underground club the first time, he’d never envisioned I’d be back on my own, wandering through the crowds, looking for my next fix. The club reminds me of him, and I wish I could go somewhere else so I wouldn’t be confronted with my betrayal, but I don’t have a choice. There aren’t ads for places like this. Or maybe there are and I don’t know where to look.

Swift and sudden, anger clogs my throat, and for a split second I hate him for changing me so irrevocably, and leaving me so permanently. Fast on the heels of anger, the guilt wells, so powerful it brings a sting of tears to my eyes. In the pockets of my black trench coat, my nails dig crescents into my palms.

I push away the emotions. Exhaling harshly, my breath fogs the air as I spot a hint of the red door that signals both my refuge and my hell. I hear the muffled hum of music that will crescendo once I’m inside to pump through me like a heartbeat.

My pace quickens along with my pulse.

As much as I hate giving in, I can’t deny my relief. Once I step through that door, I don’t have to pretend. I don’t have to be normal.

The tension, riding me all day, distracting me in meetings, making me wander off in the middle of conversations, ebbs. A twisted excitement slicks my thighs as the bare skin under my skirt tingles.

I haven’t bothered with panties. It makes things easier, quicker. Less about getting off and more about taking care of business.

I have on my usual club fare: short, black pleated skirt that leaves a stretch of thigh before my stockings start. A sheer, white silk blouse that’s unbuttoned low enough to show the lace of my red demi-bra. My lips are slicked with crimson and my dark chestnut hair is a tumble of shiny waves down my back.

My outfit is carefully orchestrated. I leave as little to chance as possible.

No leather or latex. I’m not into bondage. Chains and rope do nothing but leave me cold. Once upon a time I loved to be restrained by fingers wrapped tight around my wrists, digging into my skin, but now I can’t handle even a hint of being bound.

I reveal plenty of smooth ivory skin, my clue to guys into body modification or knife play to stay away. I like fear, but not that kind. I want my bruises and scars hidden away, not worn like a badge of honor for the world to see.

My wrists and neck are free of jewelry so the Masters don’t confuse me with a slave girl. I tried that scene once, thinking all their hard play and intense scenes would focus my restless energy and make me forget, but there is no longer anything submissive about me.

I don’t want to obey. I want to fight.

Meet the Author

Jennifer Dawson grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and graduated from DePaul University with a degree in psychology. She met her husband at the public library while they were studying. To this day she still maintains she was NOT checking him out. Now, over twenty years later, they’re married and living in a suburb right outside of Chicago with two awesome kids and a crazy dog.

Despite going through a light FM, poem writing phase in high school, Jennifer never grew up wanting to be a writer (she had more practical aspirations of being an international super spy). Then one day, suffering from boredom and disgruntled with a book she’d been reading, she decided to put pen to paper. The rest, as they say, is history.

These days Jennifer can be found sitting behind her computer, writing her next novel, chasing after her kids, keeping an ever watchful eye on her ever growing to-do list, and NOT checking out her husband.
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“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Release Day blitz: The Tour by Shelby Rebecca #Giveaway

The Tour Release Day

Release Day Blitz

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Book Title: The Tour (A Phoenix Rising Novel)
Author: Shelby Rebecca
Genre: New Adult Rock Star Romance
Release Date: April 20, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

Mia, the saint

Kolton, the sinner

The Tour is the conclusion to The Stage: a Phoenix Rising Novel

After the finale of The Stage, Mia comes to terms with where she’s placed in the competition. But that same night, Kolton and Mia will have to deal with bigger issues—their fear of fire and loss. Not everyone will survive, and the challenges that their relationship cause won’t end when the show is over.

Kolton has a secret about the choices made in a moment of survival. Is he willing to expose his secrets and vulnerabilities to earn Mia’s trust? Even though they can’t stay hidden forever when a celebrity’s life is fodder for the masses, he knows it could tear them apart.

In the midst of chaos and loss, Mia has to balance her love for Kolton with career. Will she sign with him, letting him be her boss with control over her future? Or will she go out on her own with a subpar record contract that makes her equal to Kolton in her own right?

With so many questions, going on tour could either make the answers clear or pull the weaknesses of their relationship to the surface. Will the wounds heal or will they tear until nothing can repair them?

When love burns so bright, is it sustainable?

excerpt

Rules

My breath comes out in puffs, and I watch it because it’s the only diverting thing I can do while I pout outside. I’m shivering but I’m not going in the house, not yet. My plan is to remain stubborn until I can’t take it any longer then I’m going to sleep on the floor in Riley and Deloris’ room. He won’t go in there because of Deloris. At least he has some boundaries.

The door opens behind me and he sticks his head out. “What if I take one of those off the agenda tonight?” he asks, his voice slow.

“What?”

“Talking, spanking, f******. I’ll take one off the agenda,” he clarifies, coming to stand, in all his glory, forearm pressed against the doorjamb, “if you’ll come inside.” He blinks again for a long time, sways a little, and then stares right into me like he’d done the first time he’d ever laid eyes on me.

“I’m not doing any of that s***,” I tell him, breaking the trance by staring out toward the trees. I’m shaking so hard from the chilled air that my voice sounds like a vibration.

“Fine, you win. Just come inside. My only demand is that you sleep in my bed, where you belong.”

“No.”

“This is my final offer. I’m willing to bend on all the other stuff, even though it would do you some good to get a good spanking. You’d probably like it, which would lead to…you know, the other two in a different order than I’d previously offered.” For whatever reason, he actually makes me smile. It’s a cold-face smile—my lips are numb and my hands are getting stiff.

“Just the sleeping. No talking. No—other stuff.” He nods, smiling, and puts his hand out for me. As I walk toward him, I put my arm out to meet him half way. His hand is as warm as a Christmas evening by the fire. Once I’m inside, he puts his arm around me, his hand sliding down to rest at the small of my back, and walks me down the hall and into his room. Slowly, he pulls down the covers and helps me in like a gentleman helping a lady into a carriage—except he’s in sweats and I’m in mix-matched jammies.

I watch him walk around to his side, and my stomach does a little butterfly flip when he slides in next to me. I cross my legs at the ankle. Off limits.

At first he’s looking up at the ceiling, but then he tilts his head to the side. “You can’t do this, Mia.”

“What can’t I do?”

“What I’m trying to say is you can be mad at me, and I can be really fucking mad at you,” I try not to giggle when he slurs the word ‘f******,’ “but you can’t shut me out like that,” he whispers and rolls over so he’s facing me. “I’m not even gonna say that you can’t go to bed angry. I’m just going to ask that you sleep with me every night, even if you’re mad. Can you agree to that?”

“I felt weird coming in here after you yelled at me.” He nods, and looks down acknowledging that he hurt me. He looks up, and tunes into me, looking through me, and runs his finger along my jawline.

“Your place is with me. What’s mine is yours. End of story.” He hums a little, the drugs making him melodious.

I want to protest for the sake of protesting, my immaturity peeking out its little baby head. Instead, I swallow and nod. “Okay.” Take that, immaturity.

“Hmmm. That wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be,” his mouth bends into the side smirk he gives only me. I move on to my side and wrap my leg over his.

“So I get my way after all,” he laughs as he smacks me hard on the ass, grabbing it and pulling me on top of him.

“No, you didn’t,” I laugh.

“Even in the order I wanted it. Talking, spanking, fu—” he says, before I take his mouth with mine and pull my shirt over my head. As I look down at him, his face is all soft angles. “You dazzle me,” he says.

“Dazzle, who says that anymore?” I laugh and he stills me with his hands on my hips.

“Well, I’m on all kinds of drugs right now,” he says. “Can’t be responsible for what I say or do.”

“You have to be kidding.”

“Take off your pants. I’ll show you some dazzle,” he adds, and I giggle as his finger runs a soft line up my thigh. He knows that I need this just as much as he does. I sit up straight and unstrap my bra. When he sees my breasts, he swallows hard and his jaw tenses.

I push my pajama pants over the curve of my hips, slowly pulling them down. I’m hesitating because I know this is wrong, he’s wounded, and he probably shouldn’t exert himself. “Take them off,” he demands.

I nod and look him in the eye as I push my pants over my hips, move backward so I’m sitting between his legs, and let him take them off one leg at a time. I can see how ready he is, as I climb over him. My heart is aching as he fists his hand in my hair, running his other hand up my outer thigh, and kisses my lips, flicking my tongue once like I am life and he’s ready to live. I rub my panties against his length as it’s pressing into his stomach. The friction is both exciting and breaking my heart. We almost died. What if I’d lost him?

He fingers my nipple, hardening it before he takes it in his mouth. It’s like a direct line to my core as his tongue moves back and forth before he sucks and squeezes me. I feel my heart constricting, pumping the blood through my veins. I feel like I’m glowing.

I know this is what he needs after the fire, after his fear that we were hurt at the mall. But it’s because he’s never known real love. He lost his mother before he could form a real memory about her. In this moment, I’m grateful that our physical closeness eases his anxiety. But, it makes me move my mouth away from his to catch my breath. When I do, I think too much. I see the wound over his heart and remind myself that he’s a human man—not a rock god. “This could hurt you.”

His fingers travel between us and he moves my panties to the side. I bite my lip as his fingers slide into my soft, wet folds. “Does this hurt?” he murmurs, as my mouth opens and my hips start to move in time with his hand.

“No.” I shake my head, and I can feel my chin start to tremble.

Meet the Author

Shelby grew up between two mountains and a lake in Wasilla, Alaska. She used to run around in the tall grass, catch frogs, rescue dragonflies, ride horses, and ice-skate during recess. She still likes adventures and has even gone skydiving. Today she lives in Northern California with her husband, John, and their daughter, Elise, their two dogs, and a fish named Jade.

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“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Kindle Unlimited Book Blitz and #giveaway

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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Review Blitz: The Nines by Dakota Madison & Sierra Avalon #Giveaway

The Nines Review Blitz

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Book Title: The Nines
Author: Dakota Madison & Sierra Avalon
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: April 12, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book BlurbUSA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR Dakota Madison and Sierra Avalon team up to bring readers a new breed of antiheroes…THE NINES.

Vengeance is mine not the Lord’s. It’s what I breathe for. It’s what I’m still living for. I live for the moment when I will literally have his eye for mine. It’s been two years. Two long and difficult years, but my plan is nearly complete. When I’m not in a hospital having doctors try to repair my ravaged body I spend my time on the computer, doing hacking jobs for large corporations and governments who don’t want to get their hands dirty or be associated with a job if things go sideways. But they don’t have any reason to worry. I’m meticulous, so I’ll never get caught. Just one thing stands in my way: The mysterious young woman without a past who desperately wants to be part of my future. I just need to figure out why…

THE NINES is an ongoing romantic suspense series. Each book can be read as a STAND ALONE NOVEL or as PART OF THE SERIES.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: THE NINES is meant for mature readers. The novel contains graphic violence and sexual situations. If an avenger comic book and a romance novel got married and had a child it would be THE NINES.

excerpt

Vengeance is mine not the Lord’s. It’s what I breathe for. It’s what I’m still living for. I live for the moment when I will literally have his eye for mine. It’s been two years. Two long and difficult years, but my plan is nearly complete. When I’m not in a hospital having doctors try to repair my ravaged body I spend my time on the computer, doing hacking jobs for large corporations and governments who don’t want to get their hands dirty, or be associated with a job if things go sideways. But they don’t have any reason to worry. I’m meticulous, so I’ll never get caught.

I have the one thing that most people don’t.

Time.

After I was burned it was difficult for people to look at me and when they did, it was with pity or disgust, often both.

Even my own mother.

I don’t want anyone’s pity. And I have enough disgust towards myself to last five lifetimes.

So I left everything I’ve ever known and started over on my own.

Now I spend my days and nights in the small home I inherited from my aunt when she died. I would never have chosen to live next door to a large state university. It’s often loud and there are young people everywhere. It’s a constant reminder of everything I lost. I don’t feel young anymore. I feel like an old man trapped in a twenty-year-old body. If wisdom is the gift of tragedy I’d rather be ignorant.

I rarely leave home. It’s amazing what you can have delivered to your door these days. When I do need to go outside, it’s always at night and I always wear a mask. Not like the ones kids wear on Halloween. It’s more like the one that the Phantom of the Opera wore, but my mask is black and was specially designed to cover the burn scars on the left side of my face.

My latest job is for an Eastern European mob family. Modern day computer espionage has given a whole new meaning to the term “mob hit.” There’s no blood, no violence, just five million dollars vanished from several off-shore accounts in the blink of an eye. And I get fifteen percent. Not bad for a few weeks’ work.

Is it wrong to steal from criminals? I call it karmic justice. I don’t take jobs that could hurt innocent people. I only wrong people who have wronged others.

I have the luxury of a hefty bank account and very few needs. I don’t need to work another day my entire life and I wouldn’t want for a thing. But I need to keep my mind occupied. So I take hacking jobs that interest me and I take university classes online.

Having online discussions with my virtual classmates gives me the illusion of having friends and a social life. I realize it’s a poor substitute, but it’s the best I can do given my situation.

I try not to dwell on the past. The person I was, Mr. Popularity, the Class President, the Homecoming King, died the day my body burned like a barbeque on the Fourth of July.

My life now is in the shadows. Living with the fringe dwellers on the edge of humanity. I often feel like a man whose body has died, but his mind hasn’t caught up to that fact yet.

When my computer roars I know I have an incoming message. It’s from one of my contacts in China. I get a lot of work from the Chinese. I don’t speak Chinese and don’t have the patience to learn, so I use an intermediary to broker the deals. He gets fifteen percent of every deal he mediates.

I hear the familiar buzz of SKYPE and when I click on the icon Xiang Yuan appears on the screen. He’s young, probably just a few years older than me, but much better dressed. He always wears five hundred dollar suits and I’ve never seen him wear the same one twice.

“I can get you eight hundred thousand,” he says.

I don’t reply right away. I like to play things cool.

He continues. “With your skills this job won’t take more than one week. Who else will pay close to a million for one week’s work?”

“The Russians immediately come to mind,” I reply.

“And they’ll slit your throat if you don’t deliver on time. We have much more patience than that.”

I give a hearty laugh. “You guys are saints. You’d never slit a hacker’s throat. Maybe I should tell that to Jenks. Oh, wait. I can’t. You killed him.”

“Jenks got sloppy. That’s one concern I never have with you. You’re too meticulous.”

I shake my head. “You’re just saying that because you need me to take the job.”

“You’re the best person for the job,” he corrects.

“I’m the only guy you’ve got left.”

“Nine hundred thousand. But that is the final offer. Do we have a deal?”

I nod. “We have a deal.”

“Good. Let me know when the job is completed.”

“Don’t I always?”

Xiang Yuan doesn’t bother with a reply. He simply disappears from the screen.

I don’t need the money, but it’s an easy job that will probably only take a few days’ work. They’re offering close to a million for it. It’s not something I can refuse.

I rise and take a stretch away from my laptop. Sometimes it starts to feel like an appendage and that’s when I know I need a little time away from it. I step into the kitchen and make a fresh pot of coffee. While it’s brewing I glance out my kitchen window. My aunt liked to garden and the backyard is like a small sanctuary. I like to look at the plants and flowers, but I can’t be bothered with the maintenance. I have a gardener who comes by once a week to trim and weed and do whatever else needs to be done to keep it looking nice. I’ve never actually met the man, but I leave a check in an envelope for him under a mat on the back porch.

From my kitchen window I also have a slightly obstructed view of the small street I live on. The fact that it’s Macedonia Boulevard and my name is Alexander is a coincidence that is not lost on me.

The house is one block removed from one of the major thoroughfares the students frequent, so it’s not as noisy as it could be for being so close to campus. I’m still just a few blocks away from some of the dorms and much of the off-campus housing.

I’m surprised to see a beautiful girl, carrying a backpack, stop right next to my house. I have no idea who she is, or why she’s stopped there, but she looks lost.

Her long, dark hair moves slightly in the breeze and when it finally blows away from her face I can see her magnificent brown eyes and perfect pink lips. If my wishes came true and I was finally dead I know I’d be looking at the face of an angel.

I shouldn’t be standing in front of my window in the daylight staring at her. If she turned at just the right angle she could see me, and that wouldn’t be pretty. It would probably traumatize her. I need to move away from the window, but I can’t. I’m completely mesmerized by her.

When she looks at the street sign then looks up and down the block again there’s little doubt in my mind that she’s lost. I want to tell her that she’s just a block from campus. She hasn’t wandered too far afield. But I can’t leave the house, especially not in the daylight. I know as soon as she took one good look at me she’d probably run away screaming before I even had a chance to utter a word.

As she heaves a large sigh my gaze is immediately drawn to her chest. She’s wearing a pale pink sundress that fits like a glove and accentuates all of the lovely curves of her petite body. For a few moments I think about what it would be like to have my hands on her body. To touch her in the most intimate of ways. To run my fingers along her perfect, unblemished skin.

Then I chide myself for even giving in to those thoughts. There’s no use in imagining what I can never have again. Access to a woman’s body is something I lost forever. No woman would ever consider being with someone as damaged and disfigured as I am.

I considered my life over the day that half of my flesh was burned off of my body. The doctors working on me didn’t think I would live. They called it a miracle that I didn’t die. I call it a life sentence with no chance of parole.

I realized pretty quickly that my life had irrevocably changed. What I didn’t really understand until much later was the impact my injuries would have on the other people in my life.

It wasn’t until my high school girlfriend, Sara, was finally allowed to visit me that reality punched me in the face and knocked my teeth out. Sara and I had been together for over a year when it happened. She would have been burned just like me if she didn’t have a doctor’s appointment that morning and arrived late to school.

Her allergy shots kept her from dying in the blaze, or even worse, surviving it like I did.

She told me that she loved me nearly every day we were together. She was supposed to be my soul mate. We were supposed to spend our lives together.

But when she saw me in the hospital for the first time after the school bombing it was like she didn’t know me. When she looked at me all the love vanished from her beautiful brown eyes. It was like she was looking at a complete stranger.

That was the moment I knew my life as I had known it was over. Sara never came back to visit me and I never saw her again.

I spent my senior year of high school being homeschooled because I was in and out of the hospital so much. I’m smart and was always a good student so I finished all of my work early and started taking college classes in January of what was supposed to be my senior year of high school.

I traded in my high school prom and senior graduation parties for a life of worldwide hacking jobs and built my reputation as one of the best in the field of cyber espionage.

For a brief moment I panic because the girl standing outside my house turns to face me and for a second it’s almost like she can see inside of my house and she’s watching me.

But I know it’s not possible. If she really had caught a glimpse of me she would have already backed away in horror, wouldn’t she?

The girl just looks puzzled. Her head is cocked like she’s trying to figure something out. Then I see her walk towards the front of my house.

I hurry out of the kitchen and into the living room. I move the curtains on the front windows the slightest bit so that I can just make out what she’s doing. She’s standing right outside on the front walk way, staring at my front entrance.

What in the world could she possibly want with me?

Then it occurs to me. Maybe it’s not me she wants at all. Maybe she’s one of my aunt’s former students.

She looks down at a small piece of paper in her hands and then looks back up at the house. It’s almost as if she’s trying to decide whether or not she should walk up to the front door and knock.

I’m not sure what I’ll do if she does decide to knock on the door. It’s broad daylight. I only have deliveries come at night, when it’s difficult to see me, and I always leave the lights off, obscuring their view of me even further.

I hold my breath waiting to see what the girl will do. Just when I think she might make her way up to the door she takes off down the road instead.

I breathe a small sigh of relief that I don’t have to deal with her at the door. But in a small way I also feel a twinge of disappointment.

The Nines Teaser Final Banner

Meet the Author

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR Dakota Madison and Sierra Avalon team up to bring readers a new breed of antiheroes…THE NINES.

Vengeance is mine not the Lord’s. It’s what I breathe for. It’s what I’m still living for. I live for the moment when I will literally have his eye for mine. It’s been two years. Two long and difficult years, but my plan is nearly complete. When I’m not in a hospital having doctors try to repair my ravaged body I spend my time on the computer, doing hacking jobs for large corporations and governments who don’t want to get their hands dirty or be associated with a job if things go sideways. But they don’t have any reason to worry. I’m meticulous, so I’ll never get caught. Just one thing stands in my way: The mysterious young woman without a past who desperately wants to be part of my future. I just need to figure out why…

THE NINES is an ongoing romantic suspense series. Each book can be read as a STAND ALONE NOVEL or as PART OF THE SERIES.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: THE NINES is meant for mature readers. The novel contains graphic violence and sexual situations. If an avenger comic book and a romance novel got married and had a child it would be THE NINES.

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“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl