Book Review: Try a New Genre and WIN

TRY A NEW GENRE reminder

On July 2nd, we launched the Take a Walk on the Wild Side – Try a New Genre & Win contest. There are only two weeks to go, so while there is still time to take part, you need to get reading!

We started out with 200 books to giveaway, so first check the FB group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/311838205606591/) to see if there are any copies left, but if not, you can still participate, by finding a new-to-you genre book at the library, borrow one from a friend, or support one of the great authors sponsoring this contest. Read below to see how it all works. If you already know, and are participating, this is just a reminder that there are only 14 days left. And don’t forget, the person who participates the most on the Facebook group wins a $50 gift card. Go on, be a chatterbox! 🙂

How It Works

PERSUADE US . . .

We’re all different and what we like to read is no exception. However, sometimes it’s fun to change things up a bit and try something new. We’re going to help with that, by giving the first 200 lucky readers to ask us an ebook for free. All we ask is that the book they request is in a genre they don’t read, or read a long time ago and drifted out of.

Each participating author will offer ten books for free (we’ll give you a list of what’s available). But if you don’t manage to get in fast enough and there aren’t any books left, don’t worry, you’re still eligible for the Take a Walk on the Wild Side contest. Find a book in a new-to-you genre, whether at the library, from a friend, or if you want to support the wonderful authors involved in this contest by buying one of their books, so much the better!

Read the book—the contest runs for four weeks, so you’ve got time—then write a paragraph on the contest’s Facebook group about what surprised and delighted you about the genre you just read. You can also include a short paragraph on the genre you usually read and why you love it. Help convince other readers to give a new genre a try!

We’re going to encourage people to like the paragraphs that inspired them to read a new genre, and the five entries with the most likes will go to a well-known book blogger (with names redacted) to choose the winner of the $200 gift card.

BE A CHATTERBOX . . .

This is one place where being a chatterbox will get you sent to the top of the class, not to detention. We want people talking about the books they’re reading, swopping recommendations, and generally connecting over new genres, so we’ve got a $50 gift card prize to the person who interacts the most on the Facebook group.

Good luck, everyone, this is going to be a lot of fun!

And here are the amazing authors involved in sponsoring this contest:

Marilyn Brant
Robin Bielman
Kelsey Browning
Zoe Dawson
Michelle Diener
Cynthia Eden
Jennifer Estep
Misty Evans
Maggie Mae Gallagher
Lori Handeland
Mary Hughes
Shona Husk
Rachel Johns
Dale Mayer
Nancy Naigle
Christina Phillips
Edie Ramer
Elle J Rossi
Barbara Samuel
Therese Walsh

We’ll be posting a profile on each author and the books they have made eligible for the giveaway on the Read a New Genre Facebook group. As stated above, the first 200 people to request the books on offer will get them for free, thereafter, participants will have to source their own books, either from the library, a friend, or if they’d like to support one of the authors sponsoring this contest, so much the better! Only one free book request per person, so as many readers as possible can benefit.

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

Author Spotlight: Rich Amooi-Kissing Frogs #Giveaway

rich amooi author spotlight

Author Spotlight

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Book Title: Kissing Frogs
Author: Rich Amooi
Genre: Romance/Romantic Comedy
Release Date:
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

Summer is finally here and Geography teacher Sara Larson has exactly one month to find the perfect date for the wedding of a high school rival. The odds seem stacked against her, but the last thing she wants is to sit at the kids’ table again. Or even worse, the singles’ table. While trudging through an assortment of certified losers, Sara fights her attraction towards Ian, the irresistible guy next door.

Art teacher Ian McBride has a dream of opening his own gallery, but for now he’s focused on sculpting a gift for his grandparents’ 50th anniversary and enjoying a relaxing summer. However, Ian is blind-sided when crazy, beautiful Sara and her giant dog move in next door and rock his world. Too bad she wants nothing to do with him.

How can Sara avoid the attraction that sizzles between them and stick to her rule of not dating neighbors? As far as Ian’s concerned, the prince Sara is looking for is right under her nose. And one kiss just might change everything.

Teaser

Poor bastard.Sara Larson’s new neighbor

Meet the Author

Rich Amooi -Author Photo

Rich Amooi is a former Silicon Valley radio personality and wedding DJ who now writes romantic comedies full-time. He is happily married to a kiss monster and has a hairy golden retriever/lab mix that likes to eat carrots, tuna, and Manchego cheese imported from Spain.

He believes (Rich, not the dog) in public displays of affection, silliness, infinite possibilities, donuts, gratitude, laughter, and happily ever after.

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

To day is the cover reveal for Summer Haikus by SJ Pajonas

To day is the cover reveal for Summer Haikus by SJ Pajonas.This cover reveal is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours.

Summer Haikus
Summer Haikus (Happily Ever Asia)
by SJ Pajonas
Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Multicultural Romance
Age category: New Adult
Release Date: August 6, 2015

Blurb:
“When it comes to fight or flight, I always choose to run like hell.”

Isa planned the perfect summer:
Tokyo and the Summer Olympics — check.
Helping her best friend prepare for the marathon — check.
Forgetting she’s in love with Masa — double check.

But when Isa’s mother is hospitalized, she has to abandon her summer plans to run the family’s Tokyo business. Masa’s offer to help makes it impossible for Isa to ignore him — and the firecracker kiss they shared half a world away. Everyone expects the world of her, but the pressure to please them all is as oppressive as the Tokyo summer heat. The simplest answer to all her problems? Run.

Excerpt:

“You know, your mother wears a kimono every day when she works here.” Poor Reiko, roped into helping me get dressed in one of my mother’s kimonos, sighs as she places small cushions on my back and wraps obi fabric over them, sometimes pulling so hard, I jerk and nearly fall over.

“Really?” I take a deep breath as my body is constricted, first with the heavy silk fabric and then the obijime cords.

She nods as she faces me and evens out the line of obi across my front. “Yes, and this kimono is too old for you. You’re not married and should wear furisode kimono with longer sleeves.”

I frown down at the cream colored kimono and forest green obi. “I don’t have my own kimonos.”

“Nonsense.” Reiko puffs air between her lips and waves. “I’m sure your mother has some for you stored away. All mothers do that.”

I don’t want to remind Reiko that I grew up in the US and my mom lived there for over twenty years. If she did buy kimonos, I doubt they were for me.

“Thank you, Reiko-san,” I say, bowing and changing the subject. “I appreciate your help.”

I press my hands against my stomach, quashing the butterflies dancing around, and take a deep breath. Well, as deep as possible since there’s only so much freedom I have in a kimono like this.

“Remember to take small steps and don’t let the bottom of the kimono flop open.”

I nod my head at her as we leave the office. The front lobby is quiet, but I’m ready to greet guests early. My duty is to stand at the door, bow and talk to each person as he or she enters the banquet room. I touch my hair to make sure it’s still in place, swept to the side with an elegant silver comb, keeping my long bangs away from my face. I stick my head in the banquet room, and both sides of the long space are lined with floor cushions and small tables where we will serve food and sake. The woman we hired to play shamisen is setting up her instrument at the far end.

My phone in my obi buzzes so I pop it out and find a text from Halley. “Off the train and in a cab. Be there soon.”

Good. Everyone is on time!

“Wow,” Masa says, approaching me from the back room. His warm smile makes me start to sweat. “This is the first time I’ve ever seen you in a kimono.”

“It’s a little strange. I haven’t worn one in years.”

“You look…” He falls to a stop only a foot from me before he jams his hands in his pockets.

“How do I look?” I whisper, wanting desperately to hear his opinion. I want to believe the pens were the opening salvo of a Masa assault to woo me, and he’s just warming up to the idea of us taking our friendship to more romantic levels.

Please, God. I want to be wooed!

“Isa!” Halley squeals, walking through the front door of the ryokan and shucking her shoes in exchange for the house slippers. “You look gorgeous! You haven’t worn a kimono since we were kids.”

She comes to hug me and I curse her timing. Masa was just about to say something to me. If he had complimented me, I would have reached for his hand. Now we’re three feet apart and my best friend is between us.

“Masa,” Halley says, leaning over to kiss him on the cheek. His whole face blushes. “Good to see you outside of the 7-11.”

I envy Halley, the sinful feeling blossoming to jealousy quickly. She can do no wrong. Here she is, kissing Masa on the cheek and immediately claiming all the attention in the room as other people turn to look at her. Yet, she doesn’t even try to do this. It’s natural to her.

“Halley,” Masa says, nodding at her. “I didn’t realize you were coming tonight.”

“Isa must have forgotten to mention it.” She smiles and checks her phone.

“It slipped my mind with everything else going on. Halley, I’m in this seat by the door. Do you want to sit next to me or closer to the shamisen player?”

Halley glances from me to Masa, and they stare at each other for a heartbeat.

“I’ll sit on the opposite side of the room across from you. Masa, you should sit next to Isa.” She squeezes my arm, winks at me, and heads inside to sit at her spot. My face bursts into flames.

“You don’t have to sit next to me if you don’t want to,” I choke out, barely able to squeeze the words from my throat. All the easiness of our usual days falls away, and I feel like a helpless lovesick puppy. I blame the kimono. The kimono changed our whole dynamic.

Masa releases his hands from his black trousers and lets the gray, striped, button-down shirt fall over his waist. He steps forward into my personal space, glancing around at the people beginning to gather in the lobby and lounge, and takes my hand in his. The contact is electric, so charged I inhale sharply and hold my breath.

“I was going to say that you look beautiful,” he whispers. He squeezes my fingers in his and gently lets go. I let out my held breath and tremble as his fingers sweep across the skin of my wrist and up my inner arm. He grasps my elbow lightly and leans in to close his eyes and rest his forehead against mine for a brief moment.

I stand absolutely still, unwilling to move and break this spell. Quiet men say things with gestures, and oh, I am listening as hard as I can.

Soft steps on the wood floor startle us, and we jump apart. Masa keeps his eyes on the room and away from me as he sits down in the spot next to mine. I glance at Halley and she raises her eyebrows at me. She saw it. I didn’t just imagine Masa being that close to me.

I falter for a moment, not remembering where I am or what I was doing. Right. I’m a hostess. I smile at the guest approaching the door and motion him inside, welcoming him and everyone behind him into the room. I bow and gesture so much, my back begins to hurt, and I haven’t even gotten to the stressful part yet.

You can find Summer Haikus on Goodreads

You can pre-order Summer Haikus here:
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You can request a copy of Summer Haikus for review on NetGalley

SJ PajonasAbout the Author:
Stephanie (S. J.) is a writer, knitter, amateur astrologer, Capricorn, and Japanophile. She loves foxes, owls, sushi, yoga pants, Evernote, and black tea. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing or spending time outside, unless it’s winter. She hates winter. Someday she’ll own a house in both hemispheres so she can avoid the season entirely. She’s a mom to two great kids and lives with her husband and family outside NYC. They have no pets. Yet. When it comes to her work, expect the unexpected. She doesn’t write anything typical.

You can find and contact SJ Pajonas here:
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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl

Release Day blitz: Mastered by the Boss by Opal Carew #Giveaway

Mastered by the Boss release day

Release Day Blitz

51mCICoIn5L__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Book Title: Mastered by the Boss
Author: Opal Carew
Genre: Erotic Romance
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

I’ve never wanted anyone as much as I’ve wanted Ryan Blair. What I didn’t know is that he wants me, too!

Kali goes to a masquerade party dressed as a sexy sub. She shouldn’t let her friend talk her into it, but behind the anonymity of the mask, Kali’s inhibitions fade away.

Ryan Blair has wanted Kali from the first moment she started working for him six months ago. So when he sees a stunning stranger in a mask and sub costume who could easily pass for Kali, he decides to play out the fantasy of mastering his sexy little secretary. Maybe that will alleviate his constant yearning for her.

When her wealthy, masterful boss takes Kali to the heights of ecstasy, not even knowing it’s her, things start to spin out of control.

When Ryan figures out that she was his Cinderella sub, their days in the office become a roller coaster of passionate, mind-blowing sexual pleasure. But Kali quickly realizes that all there will ever be between them is sex and she needs so much more than that.

Should she walk away now before the pain of losing him becomes too much?

Quote Card - Mastered by the Boss - Available now

excerpt

“Where have you been?” Serena asked as Kali raced along the pavement toward the limo.

The driver opened the door and Kali slid inside, followed by her friend.

“I…” Kali sucked in another breath, panting. “I’m sorry I’m late.” She sucked in more air, trying to catch her breath. “You won’t believe what happened.”

The driver closed the door.

Serena grinned. “Tell me.”

“Mr. Blair and I…he… took me to his room.”

“Yes, and…”

The car started to move.

“And we… you know.”

Serena’s grin broadened. “No, I don’t know. Do tell.”

“He fucked me all right? Is that what you want me to say?”

Serena laughed. “You bet it is.” She squeezed Kali’s arm. “So you finally got to fuck your boss. How great is that? Now tell me details.”

Kali frowned. “I don’t really—”

“Come on. Don’t hold out on me. How did he get you to his room?”

Kali’s cheeks heated. “He danced with me, then he… uh… he said since I was dressed as a sub, did that mean I wanted to be dominated.”

Serena’s eyes widened. “Really? And what did you say?”

“I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want him to recognize my voice. But he said he figured I wanted to be anonymous, so I would be his mystery woman. He wouldn’t touch the mask and I wasn’t to speak. And he told me I had to do whatever he commanded.”

Serena rested her flattened hand on her chest. “Be still my heart.”

Kali laughed, suddenly overcome by giddiness at all that had happened.

“I thought you liked being the dominant one.”

“I do,” Serena said, “but that doesn’t mean the thought of being dominated doesn’t thrill me. Then what did he do?”

“He took me to his room and pushed me down in front of him, ordering me to suck his cock.” Kali felt a thrill as she confessed her experience to her friend. “He stopped me before he came, then turned me around and bent me over the bed, then took me from behind.”

“Oh, yeah!”

“Then after we were done, he stroked me until we were both turned on again, and he sat in a chair and told me to fuck him.”

“Oh, honey, you’re my hero. If I didn’t think it would freak you out, I’d push you down right now, and lick your pussy clean.”

“Serena!”

Serena laughed. “I said I wouldn’t do it. I know it would make you uncomfortable. But f***, honey, you have me so hot. If you won’t do me, I might just have to **** the driver.”

“Are you kidding?” Kali really wasn’t sure. Serena could be pretty wild.

Instead of answering, Serena just smiled.

When the limo arrived at her house and Kali got out, Serena followed her out of the car.

“I thought you were heading home?” Kali asked.

“Oh, I am. I’m just moving into the front seat.”

At her words, the driver opened the passenger door for her, then closed it with a smile.

A tremor rippled through Kali as she realized Serena hadn’t been kidding about the driver.

Meet the Author

As a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of erotic contemporary romance, Opal Carew writes about passion, love, and taking risks. Her heroines follow their hearts and push past the fear that stops them from realizing their dreams… to the excitement and love of happily-ever-after.

Opal loves crystals, dragons, feathers, cats, pink hair, the occult, Manga artwork, Zentangle, and all that glitters. She earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Waterloo, and spent 15 years as a software analyst before turning to her passion as a writer. She grew up in Toronto, and now lives in Ottawa with her husband and three cats. One of her sons just finished a Masters degree at Sussex University in the UK and is now pursuing a second Masters at Carleton University in Ottawa. The other son just finished his undergraduate degree at Carleton University. Yes, mom is proud!

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

Release Day Blitz: The Undercover Playboy by Miranda P. Charles #Giveaway

The Undercover Playboy Release Day

Release Day Blitz

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Book Title: The Undercover Playboy
Author: Miranda P. Charles
Genre: Steamy Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

He cannot let love get in the way of work.

Undercover detective Carter Garrett is required to play the role of a cash-strapped playboy to solve an important case. When Cassie Stephens, his sister’s beautiful friend, starts working in the art gallery owned by a suspect, his growing feelings for her threaten to blow his cover. He mustn’t let Cassie in on the secret. It could ruin his team’s best chance at catching a group of criminals whose leader could very well be Cassie’s new boss. But when Cassie gets embroiled in the case, his heart joins in on the action–a dangerous situation he cannot allow to persist.

Her work places her in his way.

Cassie Stephens is ecstatic to land a high-paying job with perks anyone would envy. To her further delight, her new boss has business dealings with the charming Carter Garrett, her flatmate’s hunky brother. Things between her and Carter heat up with surprising speed. But being aware of Carter’s playboy ways, she orders herself not to dream of a future with him… until her new boss shares a secret about Carter she wasn’t at all expecting. What was more, her incredibly kind boss insists on helping her win Carter however way she can…

excerpt

© Miranda P. Charles

Carter smiled wryly as he watched the other guests cheer and laugh as Rick and Lucas kissed their fiancées. Here was a group of friends and family who enjoyed each other’s company, letting their hair down and revelling in the celebrations.

It had been a long time since he’d been to a real, fun party like this where he’d felt free to relax and be himself—well, up to a certain extent. With his job as an undercover detective, it wasn’t always possible to fully open up just because he wanted to.

Melancholy hit him. He missed times like this. He couldn’t even remember the last time he’d been to a gathering where people knew who he really was. In the last couple of years, most of the parties he’d attended had involved him rubbing shoulders with characters he’d only pretended to be friends with so he could get what he needed in order to catch criminals.

Fortunately, he had the time to attend Lexie’s birthday party tonight. He usually didn’t accept invitations like this when he was in the middle of a case, but he’d become good friends with Rick. The two of them had bonded after he’d saved Rick from a gun-wielding perp. Then their friendship grew from Rick providing information that eventually helped catch a whole gang of criminals.

And then there was Cassie, his sister’s flatmate.

He glanced at the brown-haired, brown-eyed woman who, incredibly, had no idea how beautiful she was. Tonight, she was shining. She had on a new red dress that she’d said Jade had helped her pick. And she had matching high heels on, which made her shapely legs look even sexier.

He knew, though, that she’d prefer to be wearing flats. And from the way she constantly blinked, she’d also be hoping she had on her comfortable black-rimmed eyeglasses rather than her contacts. She was pretty without her glasses, but frankly, he preferred her with them on. They made her look attractively studious. He had a thing for brainy women.

He chuckled mirthlessly. If he could, he’d ask Cassie out. Unfortunately, that was out of the question. All he could allow at this point in time was the light flirtation they exchanged regularly—the kind that wasn’t meant to be taken seriously.

Marilyn turned to him and the other three guys and he pulled himself out of his musing.

“See? I bet that one of you would soon end up like those two,” Marilyn said, gesturing to Lucas and Rick.

“Can I ask one of the bachelors a question?” Katrina, one of the single ladies, called out.

“Sure,” Marilyn answered.

“Carter, I’m so glad that you’re here with us tonight,” Katrina said with a sultry smile. “I’m curious… how old are you, and what do you do for a living?”

“Ooh, Katrina’s taking a special interest in Carter,” Marilyn said in a teasing voice, then handed the mic to Carter.

He took it, hiding a sigh. “I’m thirty, Katrina, and I’m an electrician. Currently, I also do part-time work as a personal trainer for a friend’s fitness company,” he answered, flashing a smile. He hoped it covered up his unease with his answer.

Out of everyone in this party, only his sister and Rick knew that he was an undercover detective. And there were several people in this group that he hated lying to, including Cassie. They’d considered him a friend and welcomed him with open arms. Unfortunately, the cases he worked on called for discretion and secrecy. And lies.

He usually stayed undercover for a lengthy period of time. Twice already, his life and those of others had been jeopardised because he’d bumped into acquaintances who’d recognised him and inadvertently blown his cover. Similar situations had to be avoided as much as possible.

But expecting each and every single person who knew him to immediately pick up that he was undercover and play along with it was near impossible. The best way was to tell people that what he did for a living was his undercover role. Only family and close friends knew the truth.

His “part-time” work changed whenever he worked on a different case. But being an electrician was the constant answer he gave. Fortunately, he really was qualified as one. His parents owned one of the most successful electrical services company in Australia.

“So do you see clients in a gym? And do you work with them one-on-one?” Katrina pressed.

“Yes. And sometimes I see clients at their homes,” he answered. “The personal trainer gig is only temporary until the guy I’m filling in for comes back from an overseas holiday.”

Katrina smiled cutely at him, but didn’t have any more questions to ask.

He breathed a sigh of relief as Marilyn gave the okay for the four of them to return to their tables. He saw Natasha return to her original seat next to Erin, giving him back the place beside Cassie.

He hid a snicker, knowing what his sister was up to. His mum and Natasha had been conspiring for a while now to find him a date. They believed that a steady girlfriend was one more person of influence who could convince him to take extra care while working on his cases. From Natasha’s recent actions, it was obvious that Cassie was her selected candidate.

“Mum would be happy to know that you’re one of four men racing to be the first to fall into a relationship,” Natasha said as he sat back down.

“Sure,” he said sarcastically.

“Watch out for Katrina,” Rick said, leaning across the table. “She’ll be beating a path to your door in no time.”

“Yeah. She can be pretty intense,” Lucas said conspiratorially. “And I think Vicky’s also eyeing you.”

Carter sighed as he turned to Cassie. “Your fault for telling me to go up there.”

“Why is it my fault? You’re the hot one,” Cassie replied, before her eyes widened. “I mean… you know… ’cause you’re the… uh… personal trainer,” she said weakly, blushing furiously.

He smothered his grin. It hadn’t escaped his attention that even though Cassie flirted with him in private, she was shy about it in public. She wasn’t the type to openly go after a man.

It was a shame that Cassie seemed intent on not dating while she focused on her career and studies. Not that it mattered to him, because he couldn’t date her anyway. In fact, he couldn’t date anyone. He was supposed to be a loser playboy so he could catch that heartless bitch who’d shot his best friend Gavin Redford, and had Gavin fighting for his life.

Meet the Author

Miranda P. Charles is the author of more than a dozen steamy and stirring contemporary romance novels.

She prefers to spend her time in front of her laptop, putting into words the love stories that play in her head. Don’t get her started with reading a great book, though, because she has the tendency to not put it down until she gets to the last page.

She does have a life outside of books. Mostly, that consists of bonding with family and friends or going on romantic trips with her awesome husband (who, thankfully, puts up with her hermit-like daily routine). Oh, yeah, there’s also the housework. But she really wishes someone else could do that for her so she could get back to her books!

She lives in one of the suburbs in the beautiful city of Sydney, Australia.

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

Pre-Order Blitz Uncharted by Claudia Burgoa

Uncharted Preorder blitz

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Uncharted EBOOK FOR WEB

Book Title: Uncharted (The Unexpected Series, #3)
Author: Claudia Burgoa
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

Jacob

As a rule, men don’t grow up believing in a happily ever after. We don’t believe in meeting the love of our lives; or the white picket fence, and 2.5 children. Every man thinks that those stupid dreams or fantasies are just nonexistent shit until it happens to them. We should have been forewarned.
I wish I was prepared for someone to appear in my life and change all my priorities. I suddenly wanted that fence and children. The part of meeting the love of my life became very real, but I wasn’t ready for suddenly losing it all, and my life plummeting into this shithole forever.
The heartbreak of losing your soulmate is one of the worst pains you will ever live with. I should campaign and warn the young people. Vaccinate against love because if you lose it, you could lose yourself for the rest of your life. The burden on your back will forever mark you and wither away your soul, darkening your days and the rest of your natural life.

This isn’t false advertisement or a dramatic display of one bitter soul.

Pria

I fought by my mother’s side until her last breath, and tried to help my father until his last memories dissipated. My sister is the last one standing, but her life is a miracle that can end at any given moment. All my life I’ve never been alone, but always felt lonely.

Today, my options on how to live my life are endless, yet my heart and my best friend limit them. Stay in Seattle, close to the one person that will never let me inside his world.

The thug, as mom would’ve called him. A man with a bad boy attitude and a heart bigger than the ocean.

excerpt

“He looks different. Like you—all grown up.” She laughs, rising up from her seat and heading toward the crystal division that separates us from the stream and the thunder, and she stares at the outside. Maybe enjoying the show. She’s a sucker for all natural phenomenon. “I sound like one of my mother’s friends who hasn’t seen me in years. The dreadlocks are missing, but then he looks great with that longish, messy-strands do. Who’s Serenity? Because it sounds as though he’s still in that ‘love ’em and leave ’em’ stage.”

“He is. That’s…” I stop before I say I do the same. The bitter taste of knowing that she walked in on me fucking another woman hasn’t disappeared. “Our neighbor. Usually our downstairs neighbor is his booty call.” She looks over her shoulder with a worried frown. “Only the single ones. Don’t give me that judgmental face.”

“I wasn’t judging. In fact, I’m solving one of the issues I have.” I walk toward the couch and take a seat while watching her. This sounds interesting. It’s puzzling too. How can a booty call solve her issues? “You should do that—an indoor booty call. If you have someone steady and discreet, drink at home—”

“Then I’ll be pathetic and become an alcoholic.” She looks at me skeptically, while walking toward the couch opposite mine. “I’m not, Pria. I abstain from drinking. There are days I have to do it in order to keep my promise to my brother and sister.”

“Which is?”

“Ours, and for no one to learn about.” I send her a warning glare. “Steady sex, I’ll think about it…are you volunteering?”

She cackles, and as her eyes brighten, a delightful emotion runs through my veins. It doesn’t bother me that she’s laughing at my expense.

“Tell me, Jacob, in this scenario of yours, am I also handing you my ass?” She scans around and sets her eyes on mine. “You’re my client. I never cross that line with clients.”

“Clear your roster and dedicate yourself to me,” I suggest, and she laughs harder.

“Am I entertaining you?”

“You’re funny. Afraid not. You’re not my only one. I don’t have many right now, but I have to finish the projects I have.” She takes off her boots and places her well-manicured feet up on the couch under her. “You and the Bradleys are my only long-term projects, but I can’t turn down the short-term ones. We need the money. Yes, the retainer you and your sister gave me helped with paying all the medical bills I had pending from Mom’s illness, and a lot of Dad’s, but we still have a long way to go.”

“How’s Mae?”

“She’s doing well. There’s so much out there now to help her with her immune system and her lung capability.” She bites her cheek. “Mae might out-live me too. The only reason she stays at home is to keep an eye on Dad. He responds better to her.”

“So, sex?” I want to lighten the atmosphere; the intensity is going to choke me. “You have anyone special at the moment?”

“Of course, I have a line of suitors outside my house on a daily basis.” The playful laugh appears. “Because I’m such a catch. Let’s see, I live at my parents’, I’m broke, fat, and I care for my mentally ill father. That screams attractive.”

“I won’t succumb to your trap.” Pria tilts her head and bites her smirk. “You want me to tell you that you’re crazy, because you’re in fact, perfect. Any man would be lucky to have this strong, courageous girl who takes care of her family. And to top it all off, you’re pretty and hot.”

“You wouldn’t be caught dead with someone my size.”

“You’re right. I would never in a million years get caught having sex with you,” I confirm; then confess why I wouldn’t. “I’m a selfish asshole. That means that I’d never let anyone else see you naked, see how your eyes illuminate when you’re in a sex haze, or come close to you while I possess you. In fact, I’ve played a few scenarios in my mind of how to find that Robbie and make him pay for touching my girl. But then I’m reminded that it isn’t like that anymore; that ‘us’ wasn’t real.”

Pria mirrors my stare. Lust and hunger. Matthew is right, Pria still affects me. She affects my mind, my heart—but not my soul. I’m soulless, unless she took it with her, as Matthew has always presumed, and tossed it away. I believed that for a year, which is where the “fucking bitch you’ll pay for leaving me” songs came from. I’m not proud of them.

 

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Meet the Author

claudia b.

Born on the mystical day of October 30th in the not so mystical lands of Mexico City, Claudia grew up with a childhood that resembled a caffeine-injected soap opera. Seventeen years ago she ventured to the lands of her techie husband—a.k.a. the U.S.—with their offspring to start a new adventure.

She now lives in Colorado working as a CFO for a small IT company, managing her household filled with three confused dogs, said nerd husband, two daughters wrought with fandoms and a son who thinks he’s the boss of the house. To survive she works continually to find purpose for the voices flitting through her head, plus she consumes high quantities of chocolate to keep the last threads of sanity intact.

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