Awesome Cover Reveal: Long Lost Family by Lore Ree and #Giveaway

Cover Reveal

Long Lost Family - Ebook CoverBook Title: Long Lost Family
Author: Lore Ree
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: Summer 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

Lisa Hughston’s life is perfect. With a doting husband, two handsome little boys, and a job she loves as a nurse, she’s done the one thing she always vowed to do: rise above everyone who told her she would amount to nothing more than a high school dropout and drug addict. Just like her mother.

There’s only one problem in her seemingly flawless life … she doesn’t know anything about her husband’s past.

Christopher knows the truth about who he is and where he came from wouldn’t just hurt his wife. It would destroy her. He’s done—and vows to continue doing—everything in his power to keep that side of him buried forever. But when Lisa unknowingly befriends his estranged family, she sends their once perfect life into a tailspin.

Will they survive the fallout when she discovers who he really is and the secrets he’s been hiding?

excerpt

Long Lost Family (An Unedited Excerpt)
The shuffling near the front door caught her attention, but Lisa didn’t turn around. Tensing, she clung to the couch in an almost futile attempt to gather strength for the fight she knew was coming.

“So you’re really not letting me see the boys today?”

“You lied,” she whispered, her voice thick and hoarse from tears. “Is Christopher even your real name?”

Behind her, her husband cleared his throat but didn’t answer. Nothing would dig him out of the hole he’d created, and frankly he was tired of all the fighting.

“It’s funny.” Lisa shook her head, forcing out a humorless laugh. “After all this time and after everything I’ve tried … I still ended up just like my mother. I watched her—year after year, guy after guy losing herself. Changing herself for these losers that weren’t worth her spit. I swore I’d never be like that.” She snapped her head around to face him. Guarded eyes stared back at her. A hard set jaw unflinching and unwelcoming. She’s caved to that look dozens of times over the years, but today, she refused to back down. “Then you came along. You are the one who wanted a wife, and a family, and a home. You’re the one who asked me you marry you. Everything you’ve ever wanted I’ve given you. Everything I do, every breath I take revolves around you and the boys. All you’ve ever had to do was tell me the truth. That’s all. I’ve done everything for you and you couldn’t do this one thing for me.”

“Would you have said yes?” Christopher’s deep voice cut through the moment. “If I’d told you—if you had known What I’d done. Where I’d come from, and who I was. Would we have had all of this?” He gestured around the room. A broken picture frame still lied on the ground. “Would you have married me then? Would you have had my children knowing the blood that would run through their veins? Would you have fought to make a life with me? Tell me now that my past wouldn’t have made a difference, and I’ll get on my hands and knees and beg for your forgiveness.”

“No,” Lisa admitted after a long, reflective stretch of silence.

“Then stop demanding an apology we both know you don’t deserve.”

“An apology I don’t deserve?” she repeated in shock. The words echoed in her ears, rattling her brain and shattering every shred of desire she had left to deal with this version of her husband—this stranger that had infiltrated their lives. Six months ago, he would have moved heaven and earth to make up for something asinine like forgetting the milk on his way home from work. Now, after being faced with their very existence being a lie, she wasn’t worthy of getting a simple ‘I’m sorry.’

“I would say I don’t even know who you are anymore, but the truth is I never did, did I?”

Meet the Author

Lory Profile Pic

Lore Ree is a daydreaming contemporary fiction writer.

When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading sweet romances and binge watching Crime shows.

Born in New York, raised in Florida, and matured in Massachusetts, she considers herself an East Coast baby. At the moment, she resides in Florida with her family.

Her debut novel, RICOCHET, was released in July 2014.

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

The Cat Cafe Pre-Order Blitz #Giveaway

the cat cafe preorder blitz
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The Cat Cafe - front coverBook Title: The Cat Café
Author: Caroline Bell Foster
Genre: Romance/Interracial
Release Date: April 2, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

Trinity Peters has three great loves in her life; books, cake, and mostly cats – her CAT CAFÉ in Nottingham allows her to indulge in all three. Amiable, attractive and ambitious, she knows what she wants in life and sets about making it happen. Everything is going nicely for her until a handsome city slicker, with the suits to match, enters her café by mistake one evening. Nothing would ever be the same for her again.

Blake Lawrence is the well heeled city boy who loves to play big city games. He wouldn’t normally venture too far from the bright lights of London, but business interests direct him to the East Midlands. He meets, and is captivated by, the sexy, mad cat woman Trinity Peters.

excerpt

As much as Blake liked seeing his friend Becca, being at her house, her stomach swollen with baby number two, whilst baby number one was still in nappies was not his idea of dinner party bliss. He’d escaped as soon as he could, not missing the look of mischief on his dear friend’s face.

He and Becca went way back, she was the only female friend he hadn’t slept with. They’d been at boarding school together in France, or was it Italy? He couldn’t remember, but they’d been friends. He was Godfather to baby number one, Dominick and he did all his Godfatherly duties like be there at the Christening, buying bonds in the little boys name and generally asking how he was once a month. Yes he was a good Godfather.

Too early to go home, well to the flat he used whilst in Nottingham, Blake decided to walk around. It was barely nine o’clock, all the shoppers had gone as Nottingham still operated by the antiquated five o’clock shop closure system that was a pain for busy people like his PA when he needed him to get him something. He always grumbled about the early closing times.

People were heading out to restaurants, no doubt filling up before dancing off the excess of calories he thought, as he walked through Hockley. He could see his building in the distance and knew he only needed to walk for another fifteen minutes and he’d be there.

A group of women dressed in a haze of fluorescent pink and white surged out of a pub and surrounded him like a swarm of angry bees.

“Oi, here’s a nice one,” one of them said.

Smiling tightly Blake tried to extricate himself, but two looped their arms through his stopping him.

“She’s getting married next week,” one with spiky black hair explained. “See?” She pointed to a blonde wearing a pink tutu and white sash and a gleaming plastic crown.

“Congratulations.” Blake murmured, trying to hustle the women along up the narrow lane.

“Would you like to come for a drink? Her last hurrah and all that?” another one asked hopefully, batting her overly long false eyelashes at him.

“No thanks.”

“Aww please,” spiky black-haired woman pouted up at him. “You’re a nice looking bloke, tall and handsome. What colour are your eyes?” she moved in closer to look into his eyes. “Blue or green?”

Blake gritted his teeth. What was it with these northerners and harassment? Sexual harassment worked both ways.

Peeling himself away as firmly as he could he quickly walked around them and into the nearest shop. Then stopped.

He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

There were cats everywhere. He blinked just to see if the curry he’d had for dinner wasn’t playing with his brain cells.

Yes, there were cats of all different sizes all different colours on the other side of the glass wall.

He turned to go, but a girl with a red rose in her hair caught and held his attention.

She’d changed. It was criminal to hide what she’d been hiding in that boxy suit she’d worn earlier at the bank.

Now, as she was bent over a cat, he could see her cute derrière and slender legs in a pair of blue faded jeans. The fabric was worn and faded where it cupped her bottom.

The door opened behind him.

“Go on in please mate, before that hen party change their minds and find me.” A man, not much younger than Blake said taking off his shoes.

“Take your shoes off or Trinity will eat you alive,” the man advised. “You don’t bring outside dirt near the cats.”

“What is this place?” Blake asked, puzzled.

The man grinned.

“The Cat Café, I come here every chance I get,” the man explained. “My girlfriend is allergic to cats but I like to come here and chill out and watch some football if I can wrangle the remote off Trinity.”

“Cat café?”

“Yes mate,” the man stuck his hand out. “I’m Travis,”

“Blake.”

They shook hands.

“Take your shoes off and stick ’em in there,” Travis advised, pointing to a row of wooden lockers with keys, watching as Blake followed his instruction with obvious reluctance. “Use this.”

After placing his shoes in the locker he palmed the key the young man gave him, then following his example Blake put on a pair of disposable socks. Travis then pumped hand sanitiser on his hands and indicated for Blake to follow his example

“Are you ready?” Travis asked, practically bursting with excitement.

“What for exactly?”

Travis grinned, wriggling his pale eyebrow. “To fall in love of course.” He pushed open the glass door.

Blake looked at the girl with the red rose in her hair and perfect golden brown skin, he exhaled and went in.

Meet the Author

Author Image - Caroline Bell Foster

Caroline Bell Foster was born in Derby, England and with her family went on a six week holiday to Jamaica. She stayed for 18 years!

Ever the adventurer, Caroline bought her first pair of high heels in Toronto and traded her pink sunglasses for a bus ride in the Rift Valley at 18. She wrote her first short story on that bus and had it published the following year in a local newspaper.

With themes of substance, Caroline’s latest novels’ defy convention and celebrate modern day Britain.

Other Novels’ – Ladies’ Jamaican, Caribbean Whisper’s, Saffron’s Choice, Call Me Royal and Call Me Lucky (The Call Centre Series)

The Call Centre Series is written as a tribute to all those who work the night shift in a call centre, as she has done. The first novel, Call Me Royal, became an Amazon best seller.

The author now lives in Nottingham, England with her husband and two children. Social Media

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M9B Two for Thursday Book Blitz #Giveaway #T4T

M9B Two for Thursday Book Blitz: The Looking Glass by Jessica Arnold and Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather L. Reid with Giveaway #T4T

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Hello and welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!
Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!
You just might find your next read!
This week, #T4T presents to you:
The Looking Glass by Jessica Arnold
and
Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather L. Reid
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

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Find the diary, break the curse, step through The Looking Glass!

Fifteen-year-old Alice Montgomery wakes up in the lobby of the B&B where she has been vacationing with her family to a startling discovery: no one can see or hear her. The cheap desk lights have been replaced with gas lamps and the linoleum floor with hardwood and rich Oriental carpeting. Someone has replaced the artwork with eerie paintings of Elizabeth Blackwell, the insane actress and rumored witch who killed herself at the hotel in the 1880s. Alice watches from behind the looking glass where she is haunted by Elizabeth Blackwell. Trapped in the 19th-century version of the hotel, Alice must figure out a way to break Elizabeth’s curse—with the help of Elizabeth’s old diary and Tony, the son of a ghost hunter who is investigating the haunted B&B—before she becomes the inn’s next victim.

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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

“If you’re looking for a good ghost story that’s meant for suspense and not horror, or if you’re just a lover of some really good paranormal magic, this is just the book for you.” – Jasmyn – Bitten By Romance

” I think one of the creepiest things about The Looking Glass was the way it made me feel so claustrophobic. It was similar to the way I felt when I read Stephen King’s Under the Dome–trapped and a bit panicked.” – Kelly –Goodreads Reviewer

“It was so different and so beautifully written and detailed that I really could not put this story down and I felt as though I was there with Alice throughout the story. I have read LOTS of paranormal, YA genre books, but this is truly unique!”– Melissa – Simplistic Reviews

About the Author

Jessica+Arnold

Jessica Arnold writes YA, codes ebooks, and is currently a graduate student in publishing at Emerson College in Boston. She spends most of her time in class or work or slogging through the homework swamp. If she has a spare moment, she’s always up for a round of Boggle. Given the opportunity, Jessica will pontificate at length on the virtues of the serial comma, when and where to use an en dash, and why the semicolon is the best punctuation mark pretty much ever.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Pretty Dark Nothing

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It’s been twenty three days since Quinn has slept for more than minutes at a time. Demons have invaded her dreams, stalking her, and whispering of her death. The lack of sleep and crippling fear are ruining her life. Energy drinks and caffeine pills don’t make a dent. When Quinn dozes off in the school hallway, Aaron, an amnesiac with a psychic ability, accidentally enters her nightmare. The demons are determined to keep them apart, and Aaron from discovering the secret locked away in his memory. Together, they could banish the darkness back to the underworld for good. That is, unless the demons kill them first.

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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

“This is a surprisingly very psychologically draining book and reminded me of the first season American Horror Story and Stephen King’s Carrie.” – Syahira –Requiem for More Books
“With a fast paced plot and more twists and turns that you can count this is one book you won’t want to miss.” – Katie – Curse of the Bibliophile
“If you are into paranormal books that are a little darker, if you are into love stories and knights in shining armour, if you are into books that leave you breathless craving more than go and read this book. Like seriously, read it now!”– Marie – Goodreads Reviewer

About the Author

Heather

Heather L. Reid has always had a sense of wanderlust and a belief in the paranormal. She eats mayonnaise on her fries, loves video games, and getting lost in a good story. This native Texan now lives with her Scottish hubby in South Ayrshire, Scotland, where she spends her weekends wandering the moors in search of the ghost of William Wallace and exploring haunted castles.

                                                      Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Complete the Rafflecopter for a chance to win!
Giveaway Information: – Winner will be drawn April 9, 2015

• Two (2) winners will receive a digital copy of The Looking Glass by Jessica Arnold and Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather L. Reid (INT)

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

Preview Blitz: Finding Fisher by Dakota Madison #Giveaway

Finding Fisher Review Blitz

Review Blitz

Finding Fisher CoverBook Title: Finding Fisher
Author: Dakota Madison
Genre: New Adult Romance
Release Date: March 2, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

Franklin Smith was the perfect fiancé. He was at the top of our class at Stanford and had been recently accepted to Harvard Law. But Spring Break our senior year of college changed everything. He went back home to New Jersey and never returned. At his funeral I discovered a guy I never knew. His secret past. And a twin brother, Fisher, I didn’t know existed.

Author’s Note: This book is dedicated to cover model, Joshua Scott Nicholson (August 30, 1990 – December 12, 2014). A portion of the profits from the sale of this book will be donated in Josh’s memory to Joining Hearts, Inc., a 501 (c)(3), all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to providing housing support to people living with HIV and AIDS in Atlanta. Cover Photographer Eric McKinney of 6:12 Photography will also donate a portion of his profits to Joining Hearts in Josh’s memory.

excerpt

When I phoned information they gave me an address for Sherry Smith in Old Town. Heading down a long, windy semi-paved dirt road I’m just thankful I have a rental and not the luxury car my parents purchased for me for my twenty-first birthday.

I feel like I’ve been slapped in the face when I see a run-down double-wide at the end of the driveway. The house, if you can call it that, has definitely seen better days. And those days weren’t in this century. The place is surrounded by old trucks in various states of disrepair along with piles of engine parts everywhere.

After I park the little Hyundai I hop out and stretch my long legs. I normally don’t do well in compacts, even with the seat back as far as it will go. This car is no exception.

As I look around for signs of life all I see are a few mangy-looking stray cats milling about, no doubt searching for rats or other varmints who will serve as their next meals.

Then I hear the faint sound of tapping. Followed by an “Oh, No!”

I guess it’s not just me and the cats here. I head toward the area from where the exclamation emanated.

An old truck that looks like it hasn’t been driven since the 1950s is behind another truck maybe from the 1970s.

There’s a man with the entire top half of his body underneath the hood of the older truck, obviously trying to fix it. All that’s visible as I approach is his bottom half, in tight-fitting Denim and black work boots.

I clear my throat, hoping to get his attention, but I get a rather annoyed “Just a minute” instead.

After sixty-two seconds pass I clear my throat again. “It’s been over a minute. Sixty-three seconds to be exact.”

He laughs. One that sounds familiar. Too familiar. His laugh sounds just like Franklin’s. A shiver runs through my entire body in response.

When he extricates himself from the hood of the car and turns toward me my knees buckle and I nearly faint.

The man grabs me just before I hit the dirt. Once he has me upright I notice that the brand new white silk shirt I’m wearing is now covered in grease.

“This can’t be happening,” I utter as I try to remember if grease can be removed from silk.

I quickly remove my stash of sanitizer wipes from my pocketbook and get to work trying to remove some of the grease from my shirt.

“I don’t think that’s going to work,” the man says.

He looks just like Franklin, but a disgustingly filthy version of my fiancé. Every inch of the guy is covered in grease and dirt. It’s like my worst nightmare come to life.

One of the few things I hate more than being disorganized is being dirty. I will do almost anything to avoid becoming soiled in any way.

The guy’s eyes search mine as if he’s trying to figure out what I’m doing standing in front of his old truck in the middle of nowhere New Jersey.

“Here,” I say as I hand him two of my sanitizer wipes to clean his grimy hands.

“That’s not going to work either.”

I hand him one additional wipe. “Better?”

He shakes his head. “Not really. I have special grease remover in the house. My hands are never completely clean, but I’m used to it. I’ve been a mechanic all my life.”

“Your voice,” I mutter. “You sound just like him. You look like him too. It’s unbelievable.”

“Like who?”

“Franklin.”

“I should. He’s—um—was—my twin brother.”

I feel my stomach start to knot. “He told me he was an only child.”

The guy lets out a cynical laugh. “I’m not surprised. When he left Old Town he left all of us behind. A hot shot lawyer and fancy politician doesn’t need a twin brother whose a mechanic hanging around his neck. Better not to have a brother at all, I suppose.”

“He really is gone?” My voice cracks again. It’s starting to get annoying.

“He was gone a long time ago. When he left for Stanford he didn’t look back. But he is dead, if that’s what you mean.”

His face looks pained. Grubby and wounded.

As it finally starts to sink in that Franklin, my Franklin, really is gone. I can feel my entire body start to shake. And before I know what’s hit me I’m crying.

Me, Chloe Woodford, the girl who never shows any emotion, is blubbering like a child. “I just—don’t—understand—it,” I say between snivels.

“What?” Franklin’s brother whispers.

“Any of it.”

“Can you tell me what you’re doing here?”

I hold up my left hand, hoping he’ll take note of the 1.2 carat diamond engagement ring that Franklin bought me.

“Nice rock. So you’re rich. I figured that out before you flashed the bling. But it still doesn’t explain what you’re doing here.”

“Franklin is—um—was my fiancé.” I try to speak with as much dignity as I can muster, but the words still feel like they’re getting caught in my throat.

When he slams the hood of the truck closed I nearly jump out of my skin. I’m raw and on edge and the loud noise sends me reeling.

“I should have known.” He waves a hand up and down my body. “You fit every requirement he could ever want in a trophy wife. A tall, beautiful blonde. Model thin, but still has a nice rack. Your family obviously has money. And you go to Stanford, right? So you’re not dumb. You’re the perfect package. You would have made the ideal politician’s wife.”

“You’re not a very nice person,” is nearly all I can manage to say. “I lost my fiancé.”

“And I lost my twin brother. So what’s your point? There’s no law that says I have to be nice.”

I’m not sure what to do. I don’t like Franklin’s brother. I really don’t want to be around him and his filth, but I’m not sure I have any other options. I need answers and at least he’s giving me some, even if I don’t like the message or the messenger.

My mother is a shark is sheep’s clothing. And she always told me you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. That might be a cliché, but I’ve always found it to be true. I decide to up the charm a few notches to see if I can entice Franklin’s brother to tell me more.

“So you’re a mechanic?” I bat my big blue eyes at him. “Do you work at a garage?”

“This is it.” He motions around the yard, which looks more like a junkyard. “I’m a mobile mechanic.”

“I’ve never heard of that.”

He removes a business card from the front pocket of his jeans and hands it to me. I try to take it in such a way that I don’t have to touch the grease stained fingerprints all over the outer edge.

“Are you afraid of getting dirty?”

“Why would you ask that?”

“You seem to have an aversion to it.”

“I don’t like it. I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of it.”

I examine the card: Fisher Smith, Mobile Mechanic and then a phone number.

“I’m Chloe Woodford, by the way, in case you’re interested.”

He just nods. And doesn’t really give me a clue whether he’s interested in knowing anything about me or not. But I soldier on because there are a lot of things I still want to know about Franklin. And in order for me to get the information I want I need to try to warm Mr. Iceman up a little bit.

“So do you drive around and fix people’s cars?”

He laughs. “That’s a small part of my business. The local sheriff is a buddy of mine. He refers anyone who breaks down on the side of the road. I work with local farmers, who need help with old trucks or even tractors or farm equipment. I also work on dirt bikes, race bikes, ATVs. If it has an engine I can fix it.”

Holding up the card I ask, “How’d you get the name Fisher?”

“My dad loved to fish. It was one of his favorite pastimes.”

“He doesn’t fish anymore?”

He shakes his head. “He died when Franklin and I were twelve. I guess he never told you that either.”

“Nope. How did he die? He must have been pretty young.” As soon as I ask the question I immediately regret it. Especially when I see the look on Fisher’s face.

“Shotgun suicide.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to pry. It’s just…”

“Franklin didn’t tell you much, did he?”

I let out a single, cold laugh. “He told me a lot. I’m just realizing that most of it wasn’t true. Your dad didn’t work on Wall Street either, did he?”

Now Fisher is the one who laughs. “Is that what he told you? Dad was a mechanic. Taught me everything I know.”

“What about your mom?” I ask.

“Mom started working at the local deli after my dad died. She’s been there ten years now. She works the breakfast and lunch shifts mostly. They’re known for their Taylor ham sandwiches. Best in the county. She’ll be back soon. Then I’ll be on the road. I’ve got to help Randy Barnes get his Jeep ready for race season.”

I had no idea that people raced Jeeps, but I keep that to myself. He seems to take it for granted that it’s common knowledge.

“Maybe I’d better go before she gets back.”

“Why?” For the first time since I arrived he actually sounds like he wants to talk to me.

“I phoned Franklin’s cellphone when he didn’t make it back to Stanford. Your mom answered and didn’t seem very happy to hear from me.”

“She’s been going through a lot the last few years. And losing her golden boy didn’t help. We have no idea what’s going to happen with Jackson. She’ll most likely get full custody. Not that she didn’t have him a lot anyway, but now it will be 24-7 thing.”

My stomach knots as I ask the next question. “Who’s Jackson?”

The smallest of smiles appears on his face. “My brother was full of secrets, wasn’t he? Come on.”

Meet the Author

DAKOTA MADISON is a USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR. She has been writing since she learned to read and fell in love with books. When she’s not at her computer creating spicy new romances, Dakota is traveling to exotic locales or spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds. DAKOTA also writes romance under the pen names: Savannah Young, Sierra Avalon and Ren Monterrey.

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

Spring Into Cash $250 #Giveaway

 

Easter Money 2015

 

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Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

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

Blog Tour: Between Now & Never, by Laura Johnston #Giveaway

 

Between Now & NeverBlog Tour Schedule

Between now and neverBetween Now and Never by Laura Johnston

Buh boom, buh boom.

My heart thrusts with a force that takes me by surprise. Telling me something I don’t understand. A splitting pain, a longing to slip back under. They tell me I was in a hit-and-run, but I can’t remember what happened that night. All I know is that I woke up with pictures in my pocket, a card from one of those photo booths in the mall. And I’m in the pictures. Cody Rush. Me and…

Julianna.

Her brother was there that night, and my dad, the FBI agent, was the one who put her mom behind bars. What’s the connection? And why won’t Julianna talk to me now? Somehow, she holds the key to it all, and getting close–real close—to her for the answers I need will be no hardship at all…

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Praise for Between Now & Never
“A romance that will keep teens turning pages.” ~ Janette Rallison

“This was a lot different than I was expecting and I was honestly surprised with how much I enjoyed it. The cover led me to believe this would be a cute, love story but it was a suspenseful and gripping read.” ~ Review from Goodreads

“Best book I read all year! On the edge of your seat suspense, heartwarming romance, and characters to cheer for—Between Now and Never is one you won’t want to miss.” ~Kelly Nelson, author of The Keeper’s Saga

“I had the privilege to read BETWEEN NOW AND NEVER when it was in manuscript form. I loved loved loved it from page one! Laura Johnson is such a talented author — really looking forward to reading more of her work!” ~Kay Lynn Mangum, author of The Secret Journal of Brett Colton

 

EXCERPT

I couldn’t decide which on to post, so I posted all, this book looks really good.

Excerpt 1—Photo Booth

JULIANNA

We listen to the monotone voice reel off instructions. Four pictures. A light will flash before each picture is taken. Etcetera. How I ended up in this position I’m not sure. We both sit, staring at our reflections on the dark plastic and, no doubt, both stuck on the same thought that crosses everyone’s mind when they’re on this seat.

“Quick,” I say, “what should we do?”

A flash of light. Picture one down. Both of our mouths were hanging open, blank stares straight ahead.

We burst into laughter and can’t stop. A second flash. Picture number two: both of us laughing.

Our gazes meet and we pull ourselves together, his eyes never veering from mine. He leans toward me, coming halfway before pausing, his eyes seeking permission. I regard him with equal parts terror and anticipation, the intimacy of the situation whispering a thrill. He closes the distance between us and glides his nose through my hair. My heart rattles around as though this is the first boy I’ve ever been close to.

“Now smile,” he whispers into my ear. Even if I should be creeped out, forget it. My cheeks burn despite myself and I feel the corners of my lips tugging upward. A flash of light signals the third picture and I am totally seduced.

 

 

Excerpt 2—A Dimple-Loaded Smile…and a Challenge.

JULIANNA

“Listen”—I cut him off before his flirtatious ways turn me into a puddle of mush at his feet—“for the record, that whole photo booth . . . incident . . . didn’t mean anything, okay?”

He sits up, leaning forward to pull a wallet from his back pocket. He fishes something out and slaps it down on the coffee table.

“Oh, yeah?” he challenges. “What about that?”

I glance down at the pictures—the photo-booth pictures. His index finger taps the third picture, the one of him practically kissing my neck. The nerve! I feel a wave of heat rising up my neck and into my cheeks. Wait, he keeps this in his wallet?

“Pulling out that dimple-loaded smile of yours and doing . . .” I fish for a term to describe what he’s doing in that picture. Smelling my hair? Kissing my ear? It’s too intimate, too personal to articulate. “. . . doing . . . that. . . might win over every other girl who comes your way, but it doesn’t work for me.”

“Oh, yeah?” he asks again and leans in dangerously close, his tone doubtful. His gaze drops from my eyes to my lips. “What does do it for you, Julianna?”

The sound of my name on his lips sinks right to my core, rich and tempting. Like chocolate. Isn’t the admiration of three fourths of the Highland High School female student body enough for him? Why is he toying with me?

“You would like to know, wouldn’t you?” I ask, loading as much spite into that challenge as possible. One side of his lips kicks up, like he’s thoroughly enjoying this.

 

Excerpt 3—Dinner Conversation Gone Wrong

CODY

“So, Julianna . . .” I say at the dinner table forty-five minutes later, “the girl who tutors me—”

“She’s purty,” Lizzy says with a mouth full of mashed potatoes. “Can I have some chocolate milk, Mom?”

“You’ve got a tutor?” Dad asks, his forehead gathering up over a confused stare. “Since when do you need a tutor?”

“He needs help in art, honey,” Mom cuts in with a light whack on his arm. “There’s no shame in that. Rachel, take out your earbuds.”

Rachel doesn’t hear. It’s almost six o’clock and Julianna still hasn’t woken up. She’s been asleep upstairs for over an hour and a half. I’ve checked on her several times, wondering if I should wake her. Each time I chicken out.

“Ryan, say something,” Mom whispers, her eyes shifting between Dad and Rachel.

“Rachel. Earbuds. Out,” Dad orders.

Rachel’s eyes snap up to meet his gaze and she yanks the earbuds out.

“Anyway,” I say, “she’s sleeping in my bed.”

Now all eyes are on me.

There’s a real possibility Julianna might walk down any minute, so I figured it was best to get this out in the open. It was either this or wake her up and sneak her out. Now, with everyone staring at me and Lizzy’s mashed-potato-covered mouth hanging open, I wonder if that wasn’t the better option.

Dad drops his silverware and directs a firm hand toward me to emphasize whatever point he’s about to make. “Son, I know we’ve discussed the importance of using protection, but I figured it went without saying that bringing a girl into our home—into your bedroom!—is out of the question.”

“Ryan!” Mom snaps. “Lizzy, cover your ears. Cody, save it for marriage.”

This is the first dinner conversation Rachel has been interested in for months. She snorts back a laugh.

“It’s not like that,” I say, hardly able to hold back a laugh myself as I realize I should have phrased this better.

Dad’s lips form a stern line. “This is not a laughing matter, Cody.”

“She fell asleep in the living room, okay? While I was working on my art project.”

“Your art put someone to sleep?” Rachel says. “What a surprise.”

“Rachel, cut it out,” Dad barks.

Mom simply looks grateful to have Rachel participating at the dinner table.

“How did she end up in your bed?” Mom asks.

Lizzy’s wide eyes ping-pong from Mom to me.

“I carried her.”

“And she didn’t wake up?” Rachel asks.

“She was pretty out of it,” I say. “I think she isn’t feeling good. Had a fever.”

Mom looks at the clock. “Won’t her parents be worried?”

“They—” I say and pause. “Aren’t home.”

A muscle in Dad’s jaw flinches. He picks up his fork and knife and starts cutting into his meat again. An awkward silence with no end in sight falls over the table.

“Can I have my chocolate milk now?” Lizzy asks. I’m not sure how I figured this conversation would go, but this certainly wasn’t it.

 

Excerpt 4—Medicine on the Nightstand

JULIANNA

A soft rap at the door sends me running for the window.

“Hey,” his voice greets me.

I whirl around, feigning composure. Cody leans up against the door frame and casually slings his hands in the pockets of his basketball shorts, like finding me in his bedroom is completely normal.

I fell asleep in his living room during our tutoring session and he carried me in here. He had to have.

“Sleep well?” he asks.

“It’s, like,”—I gesture to the clock—“nine o’clock. And I’m in your bedroom.”

“Yeah, I thought you’d be more comfortable in here. And your head was on fire. I put some medicine on the nightstand. Here—”

He crosses the room to the nightstand, his shadow against the far wall stretching as he draws closer. Now I notice the glass of water and little bottles of medicine clustered around it.

“Headache reliever and fever reducer,” he reads from the first bottle and then picks up another. “I wasn’t sure which one you’d want, if any.”

I watch him fish through the medicine that he set out for me while I was sleeping. This is so unlike Vic or Dad, so unlike Lucas or any other guy I’ve met, and I suddenly have a very hard time swallowing.

He reaches up toward my face, his intent gaze nearly undoing me. My heart flings a stream of flutters against my rib cage and I hold my breath. His thumb brushes my cheek, that weak spot of mine that turns me to mush. And this is Cody Rush.

“Here,” he says, his eyes shifting to follow the motion of his thumb. “You have something under your eye.”

Mascara. Makeup everywhere. Ratty hair. I recall the reflection I saw in his mirror a moment ago. “I’ve got to get home.”

He takes a step back. “I’ll take you. Let me change my shirt real quick. I made Lizzy laugh when her mouth was full of chocolate milk and I learned my lesson.”

I glimpse the specks of brown covering his shirt before he whips it off in one swift motion right in front of me.

I spin away, looking anywhere else. “Ah . . .”—I motion toward the door—“I’ll just, you know—”

“Come again?” he says, pretending not to hear me. I’m well acquainted with that playful tone in his voice by now and I turn to meet his eye, instantly knowing it was a mistake. The dim lighting of the lamp casts shadows in all the right places along his defined chest and abs. His mischievous smile sneaks out to tease me right before he pulls on a new shirt.

“Come on,” he says with a wink as he heads to the hallway. “Let’s go.”

 

 

Excerpt 5—Three Momentous Words

JULIANNA

I stare at my reflection, trying to steady my uneven breathing.

Giving up, I dash from the bathroom. Decision made. I’m not turning back now.

I pass the drinking fountain, searching the hallways. I fling aside all thoughts of Cody’s dad and my mom, all fears of Vic and my dad warning me against Cody. I turn down a maze of corridors, searching left and right. And then I see him. Alone. Pacing.

“Cody,” I say.

He turns at the sound of my voice but looks away again.

“Cody, look at me.”

Nothing. He rests one hand on his hip, the other hand digging into his hair. Frustration oozes from his rigid stance.

I start toward him, not about to back down. “What’s wrong?”

At last he turns. “You,” he says, his voice reverberating through the empty hall, bringing me to a stop.

“You and me; this is all wrong. It always has been.”

The words cut deep. Sting. “You don’t mean that,” I say, the hitch in my voice betraying me.

“You’re right,” he says. “What I’m trying to say is I love you.”

His words hit me, melting every last barrier around my heart. He loves me. Three momentous words out in the open.

He runs his fingers through his hair again, messing it up. Suddenly, he looks more rugged than put together. Seductive. It reminds me of when he first came to school, a total mess sitting in that wheelchair. I loved that boy, too. As senseless as it is, I’ve always loved him.

Cody shifts his weight from one leg to the other and gives me a look. “What do you want, Jules?”

Somehow I know this question is monumental, my answer pivotal.

I stare at him and falter. No one has asked me this in weeks, months. I think about all the things I’ve had my heart set on, worked to keep together, strived to accomplish. But looking at Cody now, it’s hard to think of anything else.

What do I want? How do you place your heart out in the open like this?

I want you.

The words tangle up, wedged like a knot in the back of my throat.

Cody brushes a curly lock of hair away from my face, his gaze following the motion. “’Cause all I want right now is to kiss you, and I’m sick of trying to think up more reasons why I shouldn’t.”

My breath catches in the back of my throat, my heart hammering with the need to reach out and give him what he wants—what I want.

Cody draws back, his hand falling to his side. Like he’s about to walk away again.

“Then stop trying,” I say.

 

Laura Rewind to You AuthorAuthor Laura Johnston

Laura Johnston lives in Utah with her husband and two children. Growing up with five siblings, a few horses, peach trees, beehives and gardens, she developed an active imagination and always loved a good story. She fell in love with the young adult genre both through her experience in high school as well as her job later as a high school teacher. Laura enjoys running, playing tennis, sewing, traveling, writing, and above all, spending time with her husband and kids.

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