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A Cold Dark Promise Release Day Blitz

A COLD DARK PROMISE by Toni Anderson is available today! Read a sneak peek below and pick up your copy now!

 

About A COLD DARK PROMISE

A COLD DARK PROMISE takes place during the week leading up to the wedding of former assassin Alex Parker to FBI Agent Mallory Rooney, who meet and fall in love in the novel, A COLD DARK PLACE.

In the midst of wedding preparations, a shadowy figure from Alex Parker’s past reappears and threatens the joy he’s found with Mallory Rooney.

Four years ago, Jane Sanders’s rich and powerful ex-husband kidnapped their young daughter and Jane hasn’t seen her since. Now she finally has a lead on her location and she knows just the man to help her get her daughter back. Trouble is, he’s an assassin. And he terrifies her.

Despite his upcoming nuptials, Alex agrees to help, but it doesn’t take long for the routine operation to turn complicated—and deadly. Can the former CIA operative make it home in time to marry the woman he loves, or will his dark past destroy all hope for their future?

Get your hands on A COLD DARK PROMISE now:

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Google Play


 

Get a Sneak Peek

Their breathing quieted. Heartbeats slowed and melded.

The dying sun cast long shadows through their bedroom window.

“You have to help her,” Mallory said quietly.

His arm curled over her hip, and he pulled her closer.

“I can take another week off work,” she said.

“No way are you getting involved in this.”

She looked over her shoulder and smiled. “You can’t stop me.”

He kissed her fingers and smiled sadly. “I know I can’t stop you, but if you insist on coming with me, then I won’t go.”

His silver gaze wasn’t angry or demanding. It was calm. Implacable. Mallory blew out a big breath of frustration. It was the first time Alex had refused to let her be involved in something. She knew he hid things from her occasionally. But the two of them had made a promise to one another the day investigators had uncovered her sister’s body.

No more lies.

Ever.

And that was why he was telling her this now, she realized.

Her fingers gripped his, hugging him to her. “I don’t want something bad to happen to you.”

“I can take care of myself.”

She swallowed. “I know you can, but I don’t want you to have to take care of yourself. I want to look after you. I want to be the one watching your back.”

He ran a finger down her spine and followed it with his lips.

She closed her eyes. “You know what I mean.”

“I do. I feel it every time you go to work without me.”

But he let her go anyway, because she needed the space to do her job, and he respected that. He respected her.

She rolled onto her back. She didn’t want Alex to go on this job without her, but she knew she wasn’t the only one who needed space to work, even when that work wasn’t clearly defined. She touched his face.

“I can’t go.” Alex insisted, but there was no conviction behind his words. “We have a wedding to prepare for and a dog to look after.”

Rex was in the living room on the couch. He’d fetch a ball from dawn until dusk, but he was generally a couch potato which suited them both perfectly right now. Mallory intended to get a puppy or two after the wedding. She’d convince Alex by reminding him dogs were good security.

“All you have to do for the wedding is turn up— and write those place name cards. The wedding planner,” who Alex had nicknamed the General for good reason, “is doing virtually everything else including arranging transportation for all the guests who are flying in. I can make any last-minute adjustments and double-check on the flowers and still go to work every day next week. Hiring that woman is the best idea you’ve ever had.”

He laid his ear against her belly. “Not the best idea, but pretty inspired.”

She sank her hands into his hair. “When will you be back?”

“I imagine Wednesday at the latest.” He placed one large palm on her stomach and held her gaze. “I won’t take any unnecessary risks, and I won’t do anything stupid. If the child is there I will either figure out a way for the legat to get involved.” The legat was the FBI’s official presence in a foreign country. “Or I’ll sneak them away when no one is looking and bring her, and Jane, back to the States.” Alex kissed her stomach again. She knew he was impatient to meet the newest member of their family. “I’m not sure the daughter— Taylor— will remember her mother after four years.”

Mallory’s heart clenched, and her hand went to where their baby was kicking her low ribs. Alex linked their fingers. She already felt overprotective. The idea of someone stealing her baby… She swallowed hard. This was important. Jane Sanders had always seemed a little aloof, and no wonder. Her child had been stolen and the fact it was by the father made it no less heartbreaking for the mother.

Mallory touched Alex’s lips. “Don’t be late for the wedding. Promise?”

Silver eyes met hers. “I promise.”

 

Did you know the first book in the Cold Justice series is available for free? Get your hands on A COLD DARK PLACE!

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Google Play

About Toni Anderson

New York Times and USA Today international bestselling author, Toni Anderson, writes dark, gritty Romantic Suspense novels that have hit #1 in Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, the Top 10 in Amazon and Kobo stores, and the Top 50 in iBooks. Her novels have won many awards. A former Marine Biologist from Britain, she inexplicably ended up in the geographical center of North America, about as far from the ocean as it is possible to get. She now lives in the Canadian prairies with her Irish husband and two children and spends most of her time complaining about the weather.

Toni has no explanation for her oft-times dark imagination, and only hopes the romance makes up for it. She’s addicted to reading, dogs, tea, and chocolate.

If you want to know when Toni’s next book will be out, visit her website (http://www.toniandersonauthor.com) and sign up for her newsletter. If you want to read other fascinating stories about life in a city that, during winter, is sometimes colder than Mars, friend her on Facebook: (https://www.facebook.com/toniannanderson).

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Instagram | Pinterest

 

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Who Needs Air Release Blitz

Title: Who Needs Air
Author: Cassie Graham
Release Date: April 28, 2017
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They fell in love at thirteen.
He wrote a book about it at twenty.
She watched him walk away at twenty-three.
And he made the New York Times Best Sellers list at twenty-four.

Campbell ‘Cam’ Potter stood idly by as August Wyatt took over the world one word at a time. Chapter by chapter, people fell in love with the story he created – the events she lived. And now the book was being made into a movie, it was only a matter of time before August was back in their small hometown in Georgia.

The problem was, when August left five years ago, Cam made a promise to herself. The ending in his book would be the conclusion to their story. There was no sequel, no second chance, no possibility of ever seeing him again. He obliterated her heart and she was determined to never let it happen again.

That is, until Cam gets a late night text from the heartbreaker himself.
New chapters are written, fresh storylines are explored and Cam and August find a familiarity in one another.

Sometimes THE END doesn’t mean it’s over.

 

Bringing my body into his with a tug, he squeezes my shoulders. Only, this hug feels different. It doesn’t feel like all the other ones we’ve shared since he came back into town. I’m baffled at first, my arms locked around his torso. He doesn’t let me free and I think he may need this. I think he might need me. He sighs, his face falling into the crook of my neck and I finally understand why it’s so different. I don’t know why it took me so long, but my heart soars and my grip tightens. I force my eyelids closed and I breathe him in, using every ounce of my ability to give him back what he’s offering me so willingly.

He doesn’t have to say the words, but I hear them loud and clear. He’s been looking for someone to care about him in this town. Not someone to fawn over him or tell him what he wants. I’ve shown him that even without the book, he’s still important and this gesture – his foreign and surprising hug – is his way of telling me he appreciates it.

He clutches the back of my neck, his signature grasp, and breathes me in as I cling to his sweater, willing my eyes to stay closed. If I look at him or our reflection in the mirror above the headboard, I’m going to lose it.

Sighing contently, he pulls back and I do the same, opening my eyes.

“Night,” he offers with a smile, bringing his lips to my forehead for a split second before turning around and sufficiently closing me out, unzipping his bag.

I blink a few times, speechless as I watch him pull his sweater up and over his head, tossing it on the bed. His muscles strain and the dimples just above his pant line are so pronounced, my fingers ache to touch them. I turn away, reminding myself that we’re just friends. Friends only, Cam. Hands off. No touching his back dimples. It’s inappropriate and…oh, God, he’s unbuckling his pants.

Walking out of the door with embarrassed haste, I close it behind me.

My skin, tingling and hot, I trace my forehead with my fingertips. The prickle of his kiss still evident. Eager to erase the aftereffect of his touch, I scrub my head like a moron, accidentally creating a deep red spot. It doesn’t help. My skin scorches for long minutes.

After changing into pajamas, I climb into bed and wrap myself in the comforter. I need to sleep and forget the last three hours happened.

Just as I’m about to shut my eyes, my phone goes off with a text message.

August: Tonight was exactly what I needed.

Another one comes in.

August: You’re still so important to me. Please don’t ever forget that.

I chew on my lip and study the words until they become indecipherable. Turning on my side, I plug my phone into the charger and close my eyes.

I’m in so much trouble.

Cassie Graham is a sassy redhead who lives in Arizona with her handsome husband and beautiful daughter. If she isn’t shoulder-deep in writing a book, you can find her watching Supernatural or reading a delicious romance by one of her many talented friends. She likes front porch sitting in her pink rocking chair, drinking Moscato, chocolate, reading books with her daughter and constantly dating her husband.
  

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Revelry by Kandi Steiner Release Blitz

Title: Revelry
Author: Kandi Steiner
Release Date: April 20, 2017
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From the bestselling author of Weightless and A Love Letter to Whiskey

Wren Ballard is trying to find herself.

She never expected to be divorced at twenty-seven, but now that the court date has passed, it’s official. The paperwork is final. Her feelings on it aren’t.

Spending the summer in a small mountain town outside Seattle is exactly what she needs. The peaceful scenery is a given, the cat with the croaky meow is a surprise, but the real kicker? A broody neighbor with nice arms, a strange reputation, and absolutely no interest in her.

Anderson Black is perfectly fine being lost.

He doesn’t care about the town’s new resident — he’s too busy fighting his own demons. But when he’s brought face to face with Wren, he can see her still-fresh wounds from a mile away. What he doesn’t see coming is his need to know who put them there — or his desperation to mend them.

Sometimes getting lost is the way to find yourself. Sometimes healing only adds a new scar. And sometimes the last place you expected to be is exactly where you find home.

 

I had just grabbed my oversized hat and slipped my sunglasses on when I spotted Anderson walking up the drive with a large trash bag slung over his shoulder. He wore a simple, black V-neck and distressed jeans, an outfit way too dark and hot for the heat. A light sheen of sweat gathered on his neck as he made his way toward my cabin, his eyes hidden behind all-black sunglasses.

“Change your mind?” I asked, not even fighting the grin on my face as I walked outside and leaned against the banister.

Anderson squinted up at me, his boots heavy as they hit each stair. “About?”

“Tubing?” I asked. That was why he was here, right?

“Oh.” He shook his head as he hit the top stair, shrugging the bag off his shoulders to hold it by the neck in one fist. “No, I have somewhere to be…” His voice trailed off, and even through the tinted shades of his glasses I felt his eyes on my chest. I’d strapped on my favorite boho print bathing suit and paired it with a dainty gold chain that wrapped around my neck once before dipping between my chest and crossing over my ribs.

He sniffed, holding the bag out toward me. “I just came to drop these off. My clothes. Well, the ones that could probably use a little TLC.”

My eyes lit up and I reached for the bag, but Anderson snatched it back, brows shooting up into his forehead.

“No frills, Wren.”

I threw my hands up in surrender. “I promise.”

He smirked, just slightly, and handed the bag over, tucking his hands in his front pockets.

“Are you sure you don’t want to come?” I asked, peering into the bag at my project before setting it just inside the cabin and locking the door behind me.

“I can’t,” he said, lips pressed together. He was tense, the muscles on his forearms tight as he glanced around at pretty much everything but me.

I opened my mouth to ask why but was cut off by the sound of a truck flying into my drive, tires sliding against the gravel.

Tucker was in the driver’s seat with Davie in the passenger. Sarah and Yvette sat in the back, laughing with their hands up as the truck skidded to a stop. They were both sprawled out on a pile of tubes, wearing bathing suit tops and tiny shorts.

All of their faces froze when they saw Anderson.

“Hey, you ready, Wren?” Tucker asked warily, his eyes moving from where Anderson stood in front of me, to me, and back again.

“Yeah, one sec!” I called back.

I turned to Anderson, but his eyes were hard on Tucker, jaw ticking under his skin. When he faced me once more, an anchor fell from my throat into the pit of my stomach, immobilizing me completely. Because even though I ‘d tried to convince myself I was wrong, I recognized the look in his eyes.

Possession.

And when his nose flared and he took one big step toward me, our chests brushing, his hand reaching out to rest almost imperceptibly on my hip, the anchor in my stomach exploded into flames, burning a desire so fierce I inhaled a toxic breath and didn’t let it go.

“Be careful, okay?” His eyes locked on mine just before he leaned in and swiftly kissed my cheek.

He turned on his heel and jogged down the stairs and past the truck. Sarah called his name, but he didn’t acknowledge her, just kept his gaze forward until he’d disappeared from view.

And then everyone looked at me.

Kandi Steiner is a bestselling author and whiskey connoisseur living in Tampa, FL. Best known for writing “emotional rollercoaster” stories, she loves bringing flawed characters to life and writing about real, raw romance — in all its forms. No two Kandi Steiner books are the same, and if you’re a lover of angsty, emotional, and inspirational reads, she’s your gal.

An alumna of the University of Central Florida, Kandi graduated with a double major in Creative Writing and Advertising/PR with a minor in Women’s Studies. She started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic, and likes to highlight all the challenges of love as well as the triumphs.

When Kandi isn’t writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys live music, traveling, anything heavy in carbs, beach days, movie marathons, craft beer and sweet wine — not necessarily in that order.

 

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Other Breakable Things Release Week Blitz

Hello readers! Welcome to the Release Week Blitz for

Other Breakable Things
by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood

presented by Entangled Teen!

Congratulations Kelley York and Rowan Altwood!!

According to Japanese legend, folding a thousand paper cranes will grant you healing.

Evelyn Abel will fold two thousand if it will bring Luc back to her.

Luc Argent has always been intimately acquainted with death. After a car crash got him a second chance at life—via someone else’s transplanted heart—he tried to embrace it. He truly did. But he always knew death could be right around the corner again.

And now it is.

Sick of hospitals and tired of transplants, Luc is ready to let his failing heart give out, ready to give up. A road trip to Oregon—where death with dignity is legal—is his answer. But along for the ride is his best friend, Evelyn.

And she’s not giving up so easily.

A thousand miles, a handful of roadside attractions, and one life-altering kiss later, Evelyn’s fallen, and Luc’s heart is full. But is it enough to save him? Evelyn’s betting her heart, her life, that it can be.

Right down to the thousandth paper crane.

Other Breakable Things
by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood
Publication Date: April 4 ,2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | Entangled Publishing

Nembutal isn’t a name I recognize. One of Luc’s medications? Something he wanted to try that he couldn’t get here? He didn’t tell me anything about it. I Google the name and get an array of results: Nembutal (pentobarbital), sedative and anticonvulsant. Used to treat tension, anxiety, nervousness, and epilepsy. Pentobarbital may induce death in high dosages and is used for euthanasia in both humans and animals.

My legs nearly give out.

The night Luc went to the hospital, I saw webpages open on his phone on euthanasia in Oregon. It hadn’t seemed right, and I hadn’t been able to wrap my head around it at the time, and so I’d shrugged it off and never even broached the subject with Luc. He could have been looking it up for any number of reasons. Curiosity brought about by temporary desperation.

This, though? This is a step further. This makes me feel cold all over.

The bathroom door swings open and Luc steps out. I hadn’t even heard the shower turn off. He’s dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, towel around his shoulders, and he

pauses when he sees me. “Evelyn?”

I could ignore it. I’m overreacting. I have to be…right? Yet I find myself turning to stare at him, holding up the business card and trying to keep my voice level. “What’s this?”

There’s a hitch in Luc’s step as he crosses the room to take it from me, and he won’t meet my eyes. “Just something someone gave me the other day. I don’t know.”

Any hope I had that this was some dumb misunderstanding is quickly fading. “Don’t lie to me.”

“It’s nothing,” Luc insists, pushing a hand back through his wet hair and turning away. “Just…don’t. I don’t want to—it’s not…”

“It’s not what? Not what I think it is?” My voice cracks near the end, and Luc goes still, as though he knows this entire conversation is about to hit the roof. I snatch my phone back up and read to him aloud: “Pentobarbital is contained in a group of drugs called barbiturates.”

“Evelyn…”

“Used to treat insomnia and seizures—”

“Evelyn.”

“—and for human euthanasia. Death in a bottle.” I lower the screen and stare at him, fighting back the overwhelming flood of tears threatening to reduce me to a complete mess. “Is that not what I think it is?”

Slowly, Luc turns to me, his expression one of guilt and grief and frustration. “I’m dying. You know that.”

I twist my fingers around my phone so tightly it hurts.“We’re all dying, Luc.”

“Some of us faster than others.”

Kelley York and Rowan Altwood are a wife and wife writing team living in central California with their daughter and way too many cats. Kelley is the author of Hushed, Made of Stars, and Modern Monsters, and Other Breakable Things is Rowan’s debut.

Website | Kelley York Twitter | Rowan Altwood Twitter | Author | Kelley York Goodreads | Rowan Altwood Goodreads

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Peace of Infinity Release Blitz: Excerpt & More

Title: Peace of Infinity
Author: Maegan Abel
Release Date: Sept 19, 2016
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Soul Mates.
Two words that bring out a wide range of meanings, depending on who you’re asking.
According to Evangelie Walker, the women in her family are cursed. She’s watched this curse run rampant her entire life and she’s not about to fall into the trap. To protect herself, Evie keeps everyone at arm’s length, aside from her sister, Cara.
Things are a little different for Gavin Jericho. He’s spent his life waiting for Evie, just like he always does. He knows, without a doubt, she’ll appear at some point and the hollow ache he always feels during the wait will give way to the completeness she brings.
There are theories about soul mates ranging anywhere from completely romanticized Fiction to scientific belief of one soul separated into two bodies. But is it a blessing or a curse to be tied so undeniably to another soul?
Can you find peace in your Infinity?
I wanted to scream. I wanted to beg him to look at me, really look at me, and tell me how to let him in the way he wanted. I just wasn’t enough, even though I tried. And that killed.
“I’m the kind of bitch who is usually proud of that title. I’m the kind of bitch who wears that title like fucking armor.” My voice wobbled and it pissed me off. His expression didn’t change and that just hurt more. How could he bring me to the brink of breaking and not even care? “I’m the kind of bitch who is just barely not bitch enough to pretend that it doesn’t bother me that you see me as a bitch.”
He pushed up, coming to stand right in front of me again, and I did everything in my power not to run away from him and the damage he could cause. This was only the beginning of what Infinity could do and I knew that, but I wasn’t sure I could stop it now. His hand lifted, almost like he was going to touch me, but at the last second, he raked his fingers through his own hair instead. “You’re trying to protect yourself from the wrong things, Evie. You’re guarding yourself on the wrong side and I’m afraid—no, I’m actually fucking terrified that by the time you open your eyes and see that, it’s going to be too late.”
Maybe it was already too late.
“It’s easier to give up everything now than to see how good it can really be and lose it,” I whispered, keeping my eyes on his with a great deal of effort.
He shook his head. “That’s just it. You won’t lose it. This thing between us, that’s the way it works. We all live, we all die, we all start over. The best part of that is knowing that when we start over, we have someone there the next time. And the next.” He sighed and this time he cupped my cheeks with his warm hands. I hadn’t taken the time to really enjoy the way his big hands felt when they touched me. Any part of me. I needed to. “This is the beauty of Infinity. This. Us. Knowing we will always find one another again.”
I had no words. None.
He bent his forehead to mine and closed his eyes. My body shuddered as his sigh washed over me, then he tilted his head up and pressed his lips to my forehead.
“I meant what I said earlier,” he whispered against my skin, the position keeping me from being able to see his face. “I have always loved you. And I always will.” It hit me all at once then. His words felt like goodbye, and it terrified me. My hands came up of their own accord, grabbing his back near his shoulders as if I could hold him to me…as if I could keep us together by sheer force of will.
But I couldn’t find my voice. My fear choked me and kept me from saying the words that would make him stay.
Maegan despises writing about herself in the third person. She also hates touting her accomplishments like she thinks she’s really done anything special…
Now that we got that out of the way, I’ll tell you what you need to know. I was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I went back to school in my late twenties and studied Stage Production Technology. I now work full-time in the alterations shop of a major department store and part-time backstage in the various theatres around the area.
I’ve been an avid reader from a very young age and the top goal on my list of things to accomplish in my life was to write and publish a book. During the summer of 2013, while working backstage on The Lion King, I read eleven books in four weeks. I read my first New Adult book and was introduced to a genre I felt I could totally relate to. The idea for Perfectly Broken and the character of Lili was born backstage during that time.
   

 

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Just Friends by Monica Murphy Release Day Blitz

Just Friends by Monica Murphy

Release Date: September 13th, 2016
Genre: New Adult Romance

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Synopsis:

It’s the end of summer. Just before I start senior year with my two best friends in the whole world. Dustin and Emily are everything to me. We’ve been inseparable since middle school, and when we’re together, nothing can go wrong.

But things aren’t always what they seem. Em’s turned into a drunken mess who parties too much. Dustin and I have hooked up a few times―and now he’s ready to take our relationship to the next level. Yet I’m not sure I want things to change. I’m scared if I take it any further with Dustin, our friendship will be ruined forever. Then there’s Ryan. The new guy. He’s hot. He flirts way too much. And Em has totally set her sights on him.

So when my best friend betrays me in the worst possible way, guess who’s there to help me pick up the pieces of my broken heart? Ryan. But he’s so confusing. Annoying. Sweet. Sexy. I want to trust him, yet he makes it so hard. What I really want is for everything to go back to the way it was before.

Before I found out that best friends make the worst kind of enemies.

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Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2bHAn2k
iBooks: http://apple.co/2aeSduM
B&N: http://bit.ly/2bIDYNr
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2bNGXUX
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2bIEISO
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2bhsEbM
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2byYFg7

About the Author:

Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and Harper Collins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance.

She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she’s not writing, she’s reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She’s a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

Connect with Monica:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MonicaMurphyauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MsMonicaMurphy
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2c9ViiI
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2bRP5bR
Website: http://monicamurphyauthor.com
Newsletter: http://bit.ly/IW5U0y

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Chasing Castles by Jiffy Kate Release Day Blitz

Title: Chasing Castles

Series: Finding Focus #1
Release Date: Aug 30, 2016
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Long before Dani Reed and Micah Landry, there was the story of Deacon and Camille.
Camille Benoit loved to express herself on canvas and was a dreamer at heart. The small farm she was born and raised on bordered the Landry Plantation, providing her with prime real estate for daydreaming. Even though she spent a lot of time with her head in the clouds, one thing she was always certain about were her feelings for Deacon. He might’ve been two years older and one of her brother’s best friends, but none of that mattered to Cami. 
Deacon Landry, older brother to Micah, was the local football star. The town might’ve put him on a pedestal, but he always had his feet firmly planted in the rich Louisiana soil. With all of his skills on and off the field, a good head on his shoulders, and a heart of gold, he was quite the catch, and everyone knew it, especially his long-time best friend, Cami.

I know we’ve done things slowly, but I’ve loved you since I knew what it meant to love someone. “

He is all her heart has ever known. Her past, present and future.  But will the future live up to her dreams?
Join Jiffy Kate in this second book of the Finding Focus series as they take you back to where it all started. 
Sitting in front of a half-painted easel in the middle of my little studio with the window shades drawn for the perfect lighting, I stop painting and lay my brush to the side. As I wipe my hands on my smock, I listen closely as a siren from an emergency vehicle draws near.
 
Any sort of action is noticed in a town the size of French Settlement. If Ms. Becky burns a cake, the whole town knows about it. And the day Mr. Johnson’s truck got stuck in the pond, practically every person was there to witness the fire department getting it unstuck.
 
Yes, the fire department, because, generally, they don’t have a lot to keep them busy.
 
So, sirens this close to town, especially on a Saturday morning, are a rare thing.
 
I watch out the window and listen for a minute or two as the sirens seem to get closer. Unable to curb my curiosity, I walk from the back of the studio, through the gallery, and out onto the sidewalk.
 
No one is around. My SUV is the only vehicle on the street. So, it doesn’t surprise me when the sirens get further away. There must be something going on out on the highway.
 
My heart skips a beat because I hate thinking about anyone being in a wreck or anything like that. As I walk back into the gallery, I say a quick prayer for whoever it is. Normally, that’s enough to help me relax. I always pray when I drive by a wreck or see an ambulance fly by.
 
But, as I sit back down at my easel and pick my paint brush back up, my heart still feels like it’s in my throat.
 
As I wait for another minute, still hearing sirens off in the distance, I decide to calm my nerves with a call to Annie. Carter is staying out there with her and Sam this morning because my daddy and Kay went into Baton Rouge to buy a new sofa.
 
“Hey, honey.” Annie’s voice sounds calm and chipper, so I try to make my stomach take a cue from her.
 
“Hey, Annie.”
 
“How’s it going this morning? Everything alright?”
 
“I was calling to ask you the same,” I say, laughing at my paranoia. Since Carter came into my life, I have a tendency to be a bit over-protective. I now understand why my daddy was always keeping a tight rein on me when I was little. It would kill me when he wouldn’t let me do everything the boys did. But now I get it. I don’t know how I’d feel if Carter had been a girl. Being the mom of a boy is bad enough. It might be worse on some levels because boys can be such little dare devils.
 
“Everything is right as rain out here,” she says, with a clang of a pot in the background. “Me and Carter are whippin’ up some banana nut muffins.”
 
“Sounds delicious.”
 
“We’ll be sure to save you some.”
 
“Don’t let Deke eat them all.”
 
“You’re in luck. He went into the restaurant to finish up some paperwork.”
 
“I thought he was takin’ the day off.”
 
“Well, he said if you were gonna be busy all day at the gallery, he might as well get ahead on some ordering.”
 
“Okay,” I say, the nervous ball back in my stomach. “Did Micah go in with him?”
 
“No, Micah’s in Baton Rouge this mornin’. He must’ve stayed at the apartment last night.”
 
“Okay.”
 
“I think these muffins are ready to go in the oven. What do you think, Carter?” I can hear Carter telling her they’re ready. He loves being in the kitchen with Annie. I think he takes after his Uncle Micah in that sense. “Will we see ya for lunch?”
 
“Yeah, I should be done by then.”
 
After I hang up with Annie, I still can’t get the worry to go away. I think about taking a drive out to the highway just to check things out myself, but that would be silly. I’m not sure what’s going on, but whatever it is, I doubt they need an extra rubber-necker.
 
So instead, I sit back down on my stool and hit send on Deacon’s number, smiling as his handsome face comes up on the screen of my phone.
 
“It’s Deacon Landry. Sorry I missed your call. Please leave a message.”
 
I pull the phone away from my ear and frown at the screen, hitting end and immediately hitting the button to call again.
 
Voicemail.
 
Maybe he left his phone in his truck?
 
He does that sometimes.
 
Taking a deep breath as I try to stay calm, I begin to pace around the room as I call the restaurant. Normally, if Deacon’s doing paperwork, he won’t answer the phone, but if he’s at his desk and sees it’s me, he will.
 
After five rings, the long message for Pockets comes over the phone.
 
“Thank you for calling Pockets, Home of the Gator Pocket. Our hours are Monday through Thursday, eleven to eleven. Friday and Saturday, two to two. We’re located on Highway 16. You can’t miss us. Hope to see you soon!”
 
I don’t know why I listen to the entire message. It’s not like Deacon can answer once the voicemail picks up.
 
Staring at the phone, I hit redial for the restaurant, letting it ring until the message starts over.
 
Hang up.
Redial.
 
After three more tries, I call Deacon’s phone again.
 
Still no answer.
 
I can’t ignore the feeling in the pit of my stomach. There’s no way I can paint like this, so I might as well drive out to the restaurant and see for myself. I’m sure everything is fine, and I’ll have wasted fifteen minutes of my day, but I can’t relax until I know he’s okay.
 
As I pick up my purse and keys, my phone rings in my hand. I let out a relieved sigh until I see that it’s not Deacon who’s calling.
 
“Hello?”
 
“Cami.” Sam’s voice comes over the phone, and he sounds worried, which makes my heart beat even faster, and my knees feel weak. I don’t even need him to tell me something’s wrong. I know it. I can feel it deep in my bones.
In case you didn’t notice, there are two of us. We’re both from the south, one just a little further than the other.Jiff was born and raised in Louisiana. She’s now living in Texas with her two teenagers and a bulldog named Georgia Rose. She loves purple and 80’s movies and geeking out at Comic Cons.Jenny Kate was born and raised in Oklahoma. She’s the mom of a twelve-year-old and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Wrigley and Oliver. She also loves Kris Bryant, the Chicago Cubs and coffee.Some people think we’ve been friends forever, but in reality, we’ve only known each other for five years. Four of those years, we’ve spent spinning tales and writing words. Our first published book, Finding Focus, was released in November 2015.If you like a romance set in the south, then you’ll love our southern fried fiction with heart and soul.
 
   

 

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