Book Excerpt from The Duchess Quest

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I’m hosting an excerpt today from fantasy / romance “The Duchess Quest”. Enjoy reading!

Book Excerpt

“We believe we’ve learned the identity of your parents,” said Aunt Priya gently.

Dainy had not been expecting this. She’d been preparing herself for any manner of issues, from marriage, to being asked to leave the inn, now that she was of age. But not this. She had been told long ago that she was abandoned as a babe, left on the doorstep of the inn. She had never wondered about it further. Why would her aunts bring it up now? And what did it matter, now that she was grown?

Her stomach knotted. Should she try to look for these parents? Did she even wish to meet them, after they had apparently deserted her? “Where are they, then?” she inquired, in spite of herself.

“Dead,” Pascale answered bluntly.

Dainy stared at him, shocked. All of her spinning emotions crashed to a screeching halt, piling upon one another, until she could no longer stand it. She wiped a tear from her eye. “Then why tell me at all?” she wanted to angrily shout, but the words only came out in a hoarse whisper. She swatted away another tear.

“Dainy.” Uncle Pascale frowned. “Do you recall what happened to the royal family of Jordinia?”

Dainy thought for a moment. She knew the northern nation had once been a great empire, until it was overthrown by the people’s New Republic, when she was very small. “Weren’t they all killed?”

“Almost all,” said Pascale carefully.

Dainy was growing frustrated. “But what does this have to do with my parents?”

“Your parents,” Paxi whispered, and Dainy was taken aback to see tears glittering in her eyes, “we believe, were the Emperor and Empress of Jordinia.”

Dainy’s breath caught. She could scarcely comprehend this. Her parents, an emperor and empress?

Then who did that make her?

About The Duchess Quest

TheDuchessQuestBookCoverTitle: The Duchess Quest

Author: C.K. Brooke

Genre: Fantasy / Romance

Love is destined to find her…

Dainy doesn’t know that she is the lost Duchess of Jordinia, believed to have been assassinated fifteen years ago. Nor does she know that her uncle has implemented an illegal contest to seek her, offering her marriage hand as the reward!

Though at odds, three clashing rivals – including a noble giant, a forest dweller and a thieving rake – voyage together by woodland, prairie and sea to recover the lost royal, notwithstanding the assassins and spies at their tail. Soon, young Dainy is swept into a comically complex romantic quadrangle as each suitor competes to capture her heart.

Charmingly romantic and bursting with political intrigue, startling twists and vivid characters, readers of romance and fantasy alike will adore this original yet timeless tale of swashbuckling adventure and unlikely love.

 

Author Bio

CKBrookeAuthorPhotoC. K. Brooke is a fantasy/romance writer. She is the author of The Duchess Quest (Jordinia: Book 1), now available in paperback and e-book. Her next two novels, The Duchess Inheritance (Jordinia: Book 2) and The Red Pearl, are coming soon to 48fourteen Publishing. She lives in Washington, Michigan with her husband and son. Visit her at www.CKBrooke.com.

 

Links

Official site: www.ckbrooke.com
Publisher: http://48fourteen.com/author/ck-brooke
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/ckbrooke
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ck.brooke
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorckbrooke
Wordpress: http://authorckbrooke.wordpress.com/

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Book Excerpt from Wolf’s Salvation

wolfssalvationBook Excerpt

After spending the last few days listening to Ryden and Carlee’s moans and groans from the guest room, JT was ready for both of them to leave and give back his peaceful home. Just the thought of what they were doing had him out the door and running in his wolf form just to get away. Acute wolf hearing made it next to impossible to be within two hundred yards of the house without hearing the sound effects of sex reverberating through the woods.

Keeping a constant hard-on made it even worse, thanks to the two rabbits going at it in his house. He went to bed with a boner, got up with one, and couldn’t even seem to find relief in the shower with the soap and his hand. In spite of Lou’s constant gripes, her sarcastic remarks and general bitchiness, she was attractive and he had wanted to pin her against the wall and fuck her until she couldn’t walk or talk with that sassy, smart mouth. Keeping her around for even those few hours kept him on edge. Killing something was preferable to feeling the way he had during that short time with her.

About The Book

10612761_781355425237094_6097908782689640949_nTitle: Wolf’s Salvation

Author: Cam Cassidy and Ruelle Channing

Genre: Paranormal Military Romance

JT Howard’s heart had hardened over the years as he struggled with the demons of his past.  Once he became the Alpha of Wolfpack Delta, he gave it up for a life of quiet solitude.  JT’s solitude is shattered as he finds his pack embroiled in a war.  When he dives into active duty, he will do whatever it takes to protect what is his.

Lou Piacella life has been filled with struggles, each one overcome, but leaving behind a scar that she’s hid behind a smart mouth and cocky attitude.  A tech at MedVision Genetics lab, she finds herself an unwilling ally to the Wolfpack Delta.  Finally released, she thought her life could return to normal.  How could she have been so wrong?

Thrown together by circumstances beyond their control, JT and Lou will be forced to face the demons of their pasts as they struggle to stay one step ahead of MedVision.  Can two people broken over time come together and find salvation one another?

Author Bio

Cam Cassidy’s Bio

10441348_294429777402005_5996309427886810181_nCam Cassidy grew up in a small Ohio farming community.  The lack of neighbors and companionship of mostly cows, dogs and horses left plenty of time for her passion of reading to flourish.  It wasn’t long before her imagination ran away and she was creating her own stories.

As an adult, Cam is married and the mother of three who loved keeping her on her toes.  The ever present cup of coffee in her hand and notebook in her purse has become a trademark.  While she works full time in the medical field, her spare time is filled reading and writing.  Watching her daughter ride horses, the boys dirt bikes, four wheelers, running around from one sports field to the next, she never missed jotting down that all important plot twist.

Her love romantic suspense and paranormal creatures, werewolves in particular, are showcased in her recent works.  Stay on the look out vampires, some alpha military men and cowboys that are all screaming in her head to get their stories done.

Somewhere between running kids and catching up on laundry, her hard work paid off with her first publication of Wolf’s Heart, co-authored with Ruelle Channing, by Fated Desires Publishing. The second book in the series, Wolf’s Salvation November 2014.

Her solo career begins with A Wolf Awakens, published by Decadent Publishing  coming in 2015

Cam Cassidy’s Links

http://camcassidy.blogspot.com/

http://www.pinterest.com/camcassidy/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7315412.Cam_Cassidy

http://www.amazon.com/Cam-Cassidy/e/B00JU3DNP2

https://twitter.com/AuthCamCassidy

https://www.authorgraph.com/authors/AuthCamCassidy

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cam-Cassidy-Author/668042913235013

https://www.facebook.com/WolfpackDeltaSeries

http://instagram.com/authorcamcassidy

Ruelle Channing’s Bio

Ruelle Channing is a writer of Paranormal Romance. She grew up in a small North Carolina community with books as her best friend. Often as a child, she was scolded for propping up her book to read while she did her chores, even while her mother encouraged the interest. Her father was illiterate, but never let that keep him from learning. Most of the librarians at both her school and local library knew her by name as she was a frequent visitor there. After graduation from high school, Ruelle worked in a sewing factory. She married at age 21 and had the first of three daughters two years later. Her girls have also inherited the love of reading. As stay at home mom for 17 years, Ruelle still wondered what she wanted to be when she “grew up”. Having lived in books all her life, as an adult it has been her dream to create a world in which she would be proud to have others become entrance in. Her recent works include the Wolfpack Delta Series, which was written with friend and co-author, Cam Cassidy, and she has several other works in progress.

Ruelle Channing’s Links

https://www.facebook.com/author.ruelle.channing

https://www.facebook.com/ruellechanning

https://www.facebook.com/WolfpackDeltaSeries

Book Excerpt from Sunbolt

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I’m happy to host a snippet from YA fantasy novella “Sunbolt” today. The snippet is great, so I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as well!

Book Excerpt

“Look what’s here,” the leader says, calling the other soldiers’ attention to me. My steps falter as they veer towards me, quickly closing the distance between us. “What do you think she is? A mutt or a half-breed?”

A half-breed they might not bother because those who are half-human and half-something-else often have some strength or ability that could cause more trouble than these men are looking for. Unfortunately for me, the secret I guard is fully human. I glance sideways at the fish seller in the stall beside me, wondering if I can count on her. She is young, no more than a handful of years past my own fifteen, her eyes wide with panic. No help there. I swallow hard, trying to ease the fear thrumming through my veins.

I begin to back away, offering a hesitant smile to the soldiers. A smile? What am I doing? I should run—

But it’s already too late. Two of the soldiers have moved ahead of the others, circling past me. I’m surrounded.

“Mutt,” says one of the soldiers, taking in my features. I feel myself flush slightly. My parents may have been from different lands, but a good number of islanders have other blood in them, even if it dates back a few generations. How else did the noble women come by their sleek hair? Their problem isn’t with my bloodline. It’s with the fact that I visibly don’t belong, and I’m an easy target.

“Half-breed,” two others posit, their boots sounding unnaturally loud in the quiet.

“Definitely a mutt,” a soldier behind me says. He’s come to a stop a couple paces away, no doubt waiting for his leader to make the first move.

“Well, girl, what are you?” the leader asks.

I refuse to answer in the words they’ve afforded me. “Human,” I say. “Sir.”

About Sunbolt

sunbolt_coverFNL_toshareTitle: Sunbolt

Author: Intisar Khanani

Genre: YA Fantasy

The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.

When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain—and execute—a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.

Author Bio

Khanani_Runaway Pen PhotoIntisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. Intisar is hard at work on two new projects. The first is a companion trilogy to her debut novel Thorn, following the heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife. The second project, The Sunbolt Chronicles, is a novella series following the efforts of a young mage as she strives to bring down her nemesis, a corrupt and dangerous Arch Mage who means to bring the Eleven Kingdoms under his control.

Find the author online

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17317370-sunbolt

Intisar’s Website: http://thornthenovel.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/booksbyintisar

Purchase your copy

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sunbolt-The-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00DE2RXEM/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sunbolt-intisar-khanani/1115656459

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Sunbolt/book-6RT3k6M3HEqIDYPN-Nv7Yw/page1.html

Book Excerpt Sewing a Friendship

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I’m hosting an excerpt today from chapter book ‘Sewing a Friendship’ written by Natalie Tinti, who is a multi-award winning author at age thirteen. Wow! I’m so glad to host an excerpt from her debut book.

Book Excerpt

Chapter 3                       

PINK SLEEPOVER

    “SSSleeepooover…How fun!” the wind murmured as it flew around the Blossom’s house.

The girls were still jumping on Sokron’s bed.

“Yeah, we can practice solving math problems all night long!” Meeka exclaimed in a fast pace.

“You won’t mind me dancing, will ya?” Jonsy asked.

“I would love to stay for a sleepover, but you know my dad has a hundred of rules,” Nina sighed. She stopped jumping and sat down on the bed.

Sokron sat down next to Nina and smiled, “It will be okay.”

“Well, it’s four o’clock; let’s get ready for the sleepover!” Jonsy said as she jumped off the bed with Meeka.

Then Meeka said, “Let’s go to the park first and study blue caterpillars for my science sandwich.”

“And I could teach the blue caterpillars to do professional-pointy-toed belly dancing,” Jonsy giggled.

“I’ll get them to wear fluffy cherry-pink tutus!” Sokron said with excitement.

“Plus, I can play pop-goes-the-the-weasel with my guitar,…trumpet, … violin, … banjo, … and drums. If I had them,” Nina said as she daydreamed about her instruments.

“Let’s do it,” they all shouted. They happily ran out of Sokron’s room and down the street. They found themselves at an enormous park covered with blooming flowers. Just then, something caught their eyes. It was KIKI SHAVER.

About Sewing a Friendship

SewingaFriendship-www.natalietinti.comTitle: Sewing a Friendship

Author: Natalie Tinti

Genre: Children’s Chapter Books

The four best friends, who are seven years old girls, are super excited about the start of summer! Their adventure begins with getting out of school and talking about a pink sleepover. But things do not run smoothly when nine years old Kiki, the rival girl, gets in the way by uninviting the girls to a fashion show.

Review by James A. Cox, Midwest Book Reviews:

“Sewing a Friendship” is an unusual, inspiring artistic conception/creation about empowering girls to overcome obstacles and use creativity to grow together.  Created by 10-year-old author/illustrator Natalie Tinti, “Sewing a Friendship” is a truly unique and life enhancing book.  Although the target audience might well be 7-10 years old girls, the positive messages about inclusion and imagination will also appeal to others from teens to adults.

Author Bio

At age thirteen Natalie Tinti is a multi-award winning author, illustrator, of 12 children’s books and an inspirational public speaker who promotes varied uplifting messages for her peers as well as their parents.  Despite this early success as an artist Natalie was recommended to repeat Kindergarten as her teacher thought she didn’t have adequate language function and memory recall.  However, this apparent set back would later serve as a valuable growth experience in her social awareness and desire to help her classmates. Natalie’s books gave her a platform for speaking at various venues where she promoted the empowerment of children to include: the value of social skills for overall happiness and as a tool in dealing with bullies, appreciating one’s unique talents and personality to bolster self-confidence, and challenging children of all ages to build friendships by having the courage to include others.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sewing_a_Friendship 

Links

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sewing-A-Friendship-By-Natalie-Tinti/249815781239

http://www.amazon.com/Sewing-Friendship-Natalie-Tinti/dp/0984262504

natalietinti.com

Release Day There Goes The Groom

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We’re celebrating the release day for contemporary romance comedy “There Goes The Groom” by Jana Richards. The author is giving away an Amazon Gift Certificate to one lucky winner! Scroll down to find out how to participate.

About There Goes The Groom

theregoe_epubEight years ago Tony left Olivia at the altar. He was sure she didn’t really want to marry him. Now he’s back, and they’re forced to work together.

Coming home isn’t easy for Tony, because his father wanted him to work at a trade instead of going off to college. Their relationship is still unsteady. Even before Tony’s return, Olivia began questioning the depth of her love for her fiancé, a man she chose because he was safe and reliable. Yet the last thing she wants is a loveless, faithless marriage like the one her parents suffered through.

When Tony, who never stopped loving her, insists her fiancé is the wrong man for her, Olivia sets out to prove him wrong. But the sexual chemistry between them is still strong, and so are her feelings for him. Even so, how can she break her engagement, hurt her fiancé as she was once hurt? And how can she trust Tony not to abandon her as he did before?

If anyone does the jilting this time, she will.

Author Bio

Jana Richards pictureJana Richards has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to full-length paranormal suspense and romantic comedy.  She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side.  She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.

When not writing up a storm, working at her day job as an Office Administrator, or dealing with ever present mountains of laundry, Jana can be found on the local golf course pursuing her newest hobby.

Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren, and a highly spoiled Pug/Terrier cross named Lou. You can reach her through her website at http://www.janarichards.net

Website http://www.janarichards.net
Blog http://janarichards.blogspot.com
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/JanaRichardsAuthor
Amazon Author Page  http://www.amazon.com/author/janarichards

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JanaRichards_

Read an Excerpt

When he arrived at McLaren’s a short time later, he saw a group of people, mostly men, crowded around one of the pool tables, clapping and cheering to the beat of hard driving rock music. As he got closer he saw the object of their attention. Olivia was on top of the pool table, doing an incredibly sexy, somewhat drunken dance. Her snug jeans and close fitting tank top showed off her lovely curves, and her hair, usually pinned into submission, hung loose and free around her shoulders. Even her bare feet were sexy, the toenails painted a flirty red.

Tony’s breath caught in his throat. She’d never looked more beautiful.

Dani stood nearby, arguing with a couple of the bar’s bouncers.

“Look Lady, if your friend doesn’t come down on her own, we’re going to have to go up there and get her. She’s ruining the table.”

Dani held up a pair of high heels. “How could she be ruining the table?  She’s in her bare feet.”

“She’s creating a disturbance. She’s got to come down.”

Tony spoke up. “I’ll get her down. Just give me a few minutes.”

“You’ve got five minutes before we toss her.”

“How are you going to get her down?” Dani asked when the bouncers moved away.

“I don’t know. I’ll think of something.”

Tony elbowed his way to the side of the pool table. Olivia was in her own little world, moving to the rock beat, her hair flying around her face. She looked totally different from the buttoned down executive she usually showed to the world. She reminded him of the girl he used to know, the girl he’d fallen in love with.

“Hey Liv, what are you doing up there?”

At first she didn’t hear him and he had to shout at her again. Then she lifted her face and looked towards him, smiling.

“Hey Tony, I’m having a party,” she said. “It’s my birthday. You remembered my birthday, didn’t you?”

“Sure I did.” Every June twenty-eighth for the last eight years he’d think of her and wonder what she was doing.

“At least you said ‘Happy Birthday’ to me.” She spun in a little circle, her hips gyrating. Tony swallowed nervously. She was an incredibly sexy woman. A look around him at the faces of the other men watching her told him they thought the same. He had to get Liv out of there before one of them decided to take her up on what she unwittingly offered.

“Time to go home, Liv,” he said, holding out his hand to her. “I’ll help you down.”

“Don’t wanna go home,” Liv giggled. “Too many mice.”

“Then we’ll go to Dani’s house.”

Liv danced around the light fixture to the other side of the pool table. “Too many floors.”

“Dani and I will take you to my place then,” he said, grasping at ways to entice her. “We’ll have cake.”

She stopped dancing and walked towards him. “With birthday candles and balloons?”

“Sure.” Where the hell was he going to get birthday candles and balloons at this time of night?

“Okay, let’s go!”

Without warning she jumped off the pool table and into his arms. Tony staggered under her weight, barely keeping his balance. Liv flung her arms around his neck.

“Let’s go eat birthday cake!”

Giveaway

Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! All you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter form to participate.

Participate in the giveaway

Book Excerpt from ‘The Exemeus’

exemeusbannerI’m covering for a tour stop in The Exemeus Tour with a last-minute excerpt. Enjoy, and my review is coming on the 23rd!

Book Excerpt

The other group at our table must have been the Allergy Club, because apparently all they talked about was their excessive seasonal allergies. I ignored Virginia’s pointed stares and tried to listen intently to one boy’s story of the time his throat became so swollen he couldn’t swallow.

Three minutes into the at-first-riveting, but ultimately boring tale, a hand rested on my shoulder. Virginia snorted her disgust. I turned around and looked up, almost choking on my pizza. David. It seemed like a lifetime ago that I had actually found him appealing. Looking at him now, I couldn’t imagine why.

“Hello, Hyalee. Virginia,” he said, not taking his eyes off me for a second. Virginia grunted, but didn’t respond.

“May I sit here?” he asked.

“We have a strict no-loser policy at our table,” Virginia said vehemently. David glanced at one of the Allergy Club boys, blowing snot bubbles through his nose. Virginia followed his gaze and grunted. “And, as you can see, we have exceeded our quota,” she added defiantly.

“I wouldn’t have a problem with you it,” I said to him, “but this seat is already taken.”

 

David was not to be deterred. “Well, then, I’ll just sit here until she returns,” he said, and did just that. Virginia laughed with contemptuous amusement. My temperature suddenly increased. A hand appeared on David’s shoulder. David and I both stared up into the extremely unfriendly eyes of Singleton Johnson.

 

Singleton smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes. With a steely voice I could never have imagined had I not been sitting there, he said, “I believe the ladies said this seat was taken. So thank you,” Singleton said, sounding one hundred percent unthankful, “for wanting to keep it warm for me, but I can do that myself.” I’d never realized how short David was until that moment when he got up from his seat. He was the same height as Virginia, in fact, and his five-foot-five-inch stature was certainly no match for Singleton’s six-foot-two.

“Oh,” he mumbled. Singleton moved his bag and stepped into David’s space next to me. All I could focus on was him. Only Virginia noticed David leave; she waved enthusiastically at him as he went. He didn’t bother to return the gesture.

The Exemeus

front__cover_imageTitle: The Exemeus

Authors: Folami and Abeni Morris

Genre: YA Fantasy Romance

Hyalee Smith is dead, she just doesn’t know it yet.

Her short life was devoted to love and to hate. Love of the man who stole her heart, hate for the man who stole the world. Murdered by the government she swore to destroy, fate has given her another chance to make it right. But to save the planet, she needs the help of the most powerful mystic the world has ever seen—unfortunately he hasn’t been born yet.

In a world where fear is the only currency, Dephon has committed the ultimate crime: inspiring hope.

His only goal is to make it safely through ninth grade, but on a post-apocalyptic Earth run by the Treptonian government, it isn’t that simple. Heir to a legendary power, Dephon Johnson is the only threat to the government’s rule. And on Trepton, all threats must be eliminated. When hundreds of assassins are dispatched to neutralize him, Dephon is forced to fight back. His only chance of survival is to enlist the aid of the greatest warrior the world has ever known. The only problem is, she’s been dead for 13 years.

Author Bio

Folami and Abeni Morris are a sister-sister writing team. Together they wrote (and rewrote) The Exemeus series, somehow managing to accomplish it without murdering one another. Despite their tendency to finish each others thoughts and stick up for each other constantly, no, they’re not twins and thus deserve their own individual bio.

Folami Morris

Folami grew up in the tiny city of San Mateo Ca, where nothing ever happens and no one ever leaves. She went to Xavier University for undergraduate, getting her B.A in physics and her B.S in Biology. After graduation she returned to California, to live in an even smaller city, where even less happens, Antioch Ca. During this time she escaped the monotony by hanging out with her imaginary friends Hyalee and Dephon, and by writing the Exemeus.

She finally escaped to Queens NY and now realizes that quiet and tiny aren’t so bad.

Abeni Morris

As luck (and logic) would have it, Abeni grew up in the same tiny little town as her sister, then she too escaped to the tinier town of Antioch. She has yet to leave. She received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood development from Cal State East Bay. She is the mom of two amazing kids, who swear that they deserve a percentage of the book proceeds and a ton of the credit. At least she raised dreamers.

 

Purchase your copy in paperback or Kindle format.

 

Watch the Trailer 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tM_hlmZ6Wo4

Book Excerpt ‘Just Remember to Breathe’

I’m proud to host an excerpt from “Just Remember to Breathe”, a new adult romance novel by author Charles Sheehan-Miles today. I very much enjoyed reading this excerpt, and I hope you do as well!

Book Excerpt

Nothing Significant at all (Alex)
I was late when I got to the Arts and Sciences building, and ran up the six flights of step to the third floor, knowing the elevator would take forever. I checked my phone … it was three o’clock. I needed to get there right now.
I counted down the room numbers, finally reaching a dark hall. The light was out at the end of the hall, casting the area in not quite darkness. There it was, room 301. Next to the door, a student sat, his head resting on his fist, face turned away from me. He was reading a book.
I took a breath. His hair reminded me of Dylan’s, but shorter, of course. That, and his arms were… well, very muscular, and he was tanned. This guy looked like someone out of a catalog. Not that I went fainting over guys with big biceps, but seriously, a girl can look, right?
As I approached though, I felt my heart begin to thump in my chest. Because the closer I got, the more he looked like Dylan. But what would he be doing here? Dylan, who had broken my heart, then disappeared as if he’d never existed, his email deleted, Facebook page closed, Skype account gone. Dylan, who had erased himself from my life, all because of a stupid conversation that shouldn’t have happened.
I slowed down. It couldn’t be. It just… couldn’t be.
He took a breath and shifted position slightly, and I gasped. Because sitting in front of me was the boy who broke my heart. Quietly, I said, “Oh, my God.”
He jumped to his feet. Or rather tried to. He got about halfway up, and a look of excruciating pain swept across his face and he fell down, hard. I almost cried out, as he tried to force his way back up. I started forward to help, and he said his first words to me in six months: “Don’t touch me.”
Typical. I had to stuff down the hurt that threatened to burst to the surface.
He looked… different. Indefinably different. We hadn’t seen each other face to face in almost two years, not since the summer before my senior year in high school. He’d filled out, of course. In all the right places. His arms, which I vividly remembered being held in, had doubled in size. The sleeves of his tee shirt looked like they were going to burst. I guess the Army does that for you. His eyes were still the same piercing blue. For a second I met them, then looked away. I didn’t want to get trapped in those eyes. And damn it, he still smelled the same. A hint of smoke and fresh ground coffee. Sometimes when I walked into a coffee shop in New York, I’d get an overwhelming sensation of him being there, just from the smell. Sometimes memory sucks.
“Dylan,” I said. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m waiting for an appointment.”
“Here?” I asked. That was crazy.
He shrugged. “Work study assignment.”
No.
No way.
“Wait a minute… are you saying you’re in school here?”
He nodded.
“What happened to the Army?” I asked.
He shrugged, looked away, then gestured toward the cane.
“So of all the schools you could have chosen, you came here? To the same place as me?”
Anger swept over his face. “I didn’t come here for you, Alex. I came here because it was the best school I could get in to. I came here for me.”
“What, did you think you could just show up and sweep me back into your arms after ignoring me for the last six months? After erasing me from your life?”
He narrowed his eyes, looked at me directly. In a cold voice, he said, “Actually, I was hoping I just wouldn’t run into you.”
I stifled a sob. I was not going to let him get to me. I spat back, “Well, looks like we both had some bad luck. Because I’m here for my work-study assignment, too.”
His eyes widened. “You’re going to be working for Forrester?”
“Is he the so-called author in residence?”
He nodded.
“Oh, God,” I said. “I’m going to be sick.”
“Thanks. It’s great to see you too, Alex.”
I almost shouted at him, but a jovial voice down the hall called to us. “Hello! You two must be my new research assistants!”
A ridiculous looking man, trying way too hard to look like an author with a capital A, walked toward us. He wore a tweed jacket, with leather patches on the elbows, and corduroy pants. He couldn’t have been much older than thirty-five, but he wore reading glasses perched halfway up his nose.
“Well, hello,” he said. “I’m Max Forrester.”
“Alex Thompson,” I said. I glanced at Dylan. He was glaring at me.
“Dylan Paris,” he said.
“Come in, Alex and Dylan. My apologies for being late. Sometimes I get lost in the throes of creation and forget the time.”
Forrester’s back was already to me as he unlocked his door. I rolled my eyes. Lost in the throes of creation, indeed. You could smell the whiskey on his breath from fifteen feet away. Smelled like he’d gotten lost in the nearest watering hole.
Dylan waved me ahead of him. He was leaning heavily on the cane. What happened to him? I walked in behind Forrester, and Dylan followed me, limping.
“Sit down, you two, sit down. Can I get you some tea? Water? Or something with a little more, um… life?”
“No thanks,” Dylan said, grimacing as he eased himself into his seat. Once seated, he leaned his cane against the wall. His expression was unreadable.
“I’ll take some water,” I said, just to contradict him.
Forrester filled up a small glass with water at a tiny sink in the back of the office and brought it to me. My eyes narrowed a little when I got a look at the glass. It was filthy. Eww. And there was something oily floating on top of the water.
I pretended to take a sip, then set it on the edge of the desk.
“Well, let’s get down to business,” Forrester said. “Do you two know each other?”
“No,” I said, forcefully, just as Dylan said, “Yes.”
Forrester liked that. A smile lit up on his face, then said, “I bet there’s a story there.”
“You’d be wrong,” I replied. I glanced at Dylan, and said, “Nothing significant at all.”
Dylan blinked, and he darted his eyes away from me.
Good. Part of me wanted to hurt him just as badly as he had hurt me.
Unfortunately, Forrester picked up on it. He said, very slowly, “I trust there won’t be a problem.”
“No, no problem,” I said.
“No, sir,” Dylan responded, his voice cool.
“Well then,” Forrester said. “That’s good. So, let me tell you what you’ll be doing. I’m here for a year, and I’m working on a novel. Historical fiction, centered around the draft riots here in New York during the civil war. Are you familiar with them?”
I shook my head, but Dylan said, “Yes. Sad story… some of it turned to lynch mobs.”
Forrester nodded, enthusiastically. “That’s right. Miss Thomas… the story is this. In July 1863, there was a series of riots here in the city. It was mostly poor and working class Irish, protesting because the rich could buy exemption from the draft. The protests turned ugly, then violent. A lot of people were killed.”
“They burned down the orphanage,” Dylan said. What a brown-noser.
“That’s right, Dylan! The colored orphanage burned to the ground. A dozen or more black men were lynched during the riots.”
“So…” I said. “What exactly will we be doing to help?”
“Well, you see, Columbia has a mass of historical material about the riots. Much of it primary sources. As I work on my outline and the actual manuscript, your job will be to help me with the details. The historical context, the source material, all of the information I’ll need to get the story just right.”
“That’s… incredible,” Dylan said. “No offense, Doctor Forrester, but this is way better than I expected as a work study assignment.”
Oh, God. This was going to be one long year.

Just Remember to Breathe

Title: Just Remember to Breathe
Author: Charles Sheehan-Miles
Genre: New Adult Romance
Publisher: Cincinnatus Press
Publication Date: November 12th 2012

Alex Thompson’s life is following the script. A pre-law student at Columbia University, she’s focused on her grades, her life and her future. The last thing she needs is to reconnect with the boy who broke her heart.

Dylan Paris comes home from Afghanistan severely injured and knows that the one thing he cannot do is drag Alex into the mess he’s made of his life.

When Dylan and Alex are assigned to the same work study program and are forced to work side by side, they have to make new ground rules to keep from killing each other.

Only problem is, they keep breaking the rules.

The first rule is to never, ever talk about how they fell in love.

Author Bio

I’m a forty-ish writer of several novels including Republic, Insurgent, Prayer at Rumayla and Just Remember to Breathe. I’ve got a few short stories and two non-fiction books out there as well.

My background: I spent some time traveling the Middle East on my own in the late nineteen eighties, then went back courtesy of the United States Army as a tank crewman during the 1991 Gulf War. After that I spent most of the next two decades pursuing dual careers: nonprofit activist and information technology professional. Eventually the two combined: from 2003 until 2009 I was completely in the nonprofit sector, served as executive director of two nonprofits and director of IT of a third.

Unfortunately, when the 2008 economic crash hit, it took my career with it. For several years I had to retool, and managed restaurants in the Atlanta area. Recently I found my way back into my chosen career: I work in veterans outreach and public affairs for a law firm which represents disabled veterans. In my free time I write books, this blog, play with the kids, and generally try to make it through life doing as much good as possible.

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