Friday, September 22, 2017

Review Blitz & Giveaway: Fool Me Once (First Wives #1) by Catherine Bybee



Title: Fool Me Once
Series: First Wives #1
Author: Catherine Bybee
Release Date: September 19th, 2017

Synopsis:
Cynical divorce attorney Lori Cumberland lives by one motto: Love is grand, but divorce is a hundred grand. With one failed marriage under her own personal belt, Lori had fallen hard and early—and it isn’t something she plans on repeating. She’s content focusing on the temporary marriages of her rich and famous clients. When she joins some of her recent divorcées on a celebratory cruise, her only vow is fun, sun, and new friends. But Lori finds herself tempted by a jury of one. 
For Reed Barlow, falling into the world of private investigation was easy. He knows the law and knows how to avoid breaking it—all while doing his job. His rule to live by? No emotion, no involvement . . . until Lori. His charming smile and cocky attitude distracts Lori and lowers her guard, which is exactly what Reed desires. 
But what appears as a one-time-only flirtation may be a plot orchestrated by Reed. As he’s taking his investigation to a dangerous level, it’s Lori who could end up in jeopardy. Reed has only one shot for Lori to grant him a second chance. But if he comes clean with her, he blows his cover. And that just might cost him the opportunity for an alliance of family . . . and of love. 
Purchase Links:
Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | BAM | Book Depository
About the Author:
New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Weekday Brides Series and the Not Quite Series. Bybee lives with her two teenage sons in Southern California.


My Review:
By now, you all know that I love Catherine Bybee and for me, every single book of hers is simply a masterpiece. Well, that's more than true for Fool Me Once. It is intriguing, fun, suspenseful, romantic and of course hot. With every single page, I was more and more captivated by the characters and their story. I loved the secrets that were revealed one by one and the connection with the Weekday Brides series was just awesome. It was great seeing the other side of the coin, the marriages that stayed purely business.

But Lori, is not one of the Alliance brides. She is the layer that makes sure the Alliance clients are not taken advantage of, the one who helps them get on their feet after their divorces. Because of her career and her personal experience, she is quite jaded and for her love and marriage are too high of a risk that quite often end up with a high price tag. But you know what they say about best laid plans and all that :D Everything for her changes when she meets Reed. She does try to resist but in the end everything is futile to his charm and persistence.

The relationship between Lori and Reed is passionate and hot, but unfortunately not everything is what it looks like. And there are secrets that can destroy everything they build together. But with danger lurking around the corner and meddling friends who think that second chance are worth giving every now and then, Lori and Reed find their second chance at love, a second chance of a relationship that could heal the wounds from the past.

I won't reveal anything else but keep in mind that the book is a must read. There suspense, love, secrets, chemistry and everything else that will make you crave more :) So don't waste any time and pick yourself a copy :) As for me, I can't wait for the next book in the series. I can't decide which character's story I want the most. It might be Shannon because she is the one who is the most closed off I think. In any case, I will be happy :D


Giveaway!!! 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Oracle by Andi Copeland Chapter reveal

**FIRST LOOK**

CHAPTER ONE REVEAL

*and signed paperback giveaway*

Get ready for Andi Copeland to take you on an amazing journey into a new world where good and evil clash in an epic battle - 

Oracle- Guardians of Truth book 1

Coming - September 28, 2017 

Rhennan Ward is no one special. Or so she thought. When her grandmother gives her a Tree of Life pendant for her eighteenth birthday, she finds out how very different she really is. 

Rhennan is next in line to be Oracle, the one chosen by the Creator to guard the secret of Heaven – The Tree of Life. Rhen's grandmother, the current Oracle, fails to pass along the knowledge of Rhen’s destiny, and when strange things start happening, Rhen believes she is going crazy. Coming into her powers before her time, Rhen sees things she shouldn’t. Her parents are keeping secrets from her, and that only adds to the stress she feels about her sanity.

Maddox Bell is the new guy at school. When the tall, good-looking bad-boy shows up in his leather jacket and moto boots, all it takes is one look into his sapphire eyes, and he makes Rhen forget about her ex-boyfriend - the one who broke her heart. He also makes her forget to study, and with only three months left in the school year, Rhen is torn between keeping her perfect grade point average and spending time with the man who has his own secrets. As Maddox and Rhen become closer, things get stranger, threatening to rip them apart.

When Rhen makes one desperately wrong decision, her life and that of her family, is irrevocably changed forever.  “If this was Hell, the Christians on Earth were going to be pissed.”

Talon Silver is the Guardian who has been watching over Rhen her entire life. He is also the one who rescues her from the hands of a demon. He is supposed to be one of the good guys, having Angel blood. Why, then, is Rhen hesitant to trust him?

Angels and demons. Good versus evil. Things aren’t always black and white, and Rhen has to figure out who she can trust.


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"I read the ARC of Oracle. OMG I never, ever, ever would buy a book like this. But I already preordered this one. This book is freaking AMAZING!!! "  - Early reviewer


Chapter One


Have you ever had a possum walk across your grave? You know that feeling that starts at your nape and snakes its way down your spine while the hair on your arms stands on end? Your whole body shivers while you look around for the boogeyman, but you can’t see anything. I was sitting in first period when it happened to me.

Again.

It didn’t take long to figure out the cause. Our classroom door opened, and in walked the most beautiful man I had ever seen. And when I say man, I mean this guy had to be a substitute teacher or someone’s older brother, because there was no way he was young enough to be a student. Long black hair brushed his shoulders which were encased in a well-worn leather jacket. Faded jeans led to a pair of black moto boots. His most striking feature, from the quick perusal I had given him, was his eyes. They were a deep sapphire. I know this because I sat close to the front of the room.

And he was staring straight at me.

That might not have been so odd if I were Brittany or Kinsley, the prettiest girls in our class. But I wasn’t. I was plain Rhennan Ward. For whatever reason, none of the other kids were paying any attention to him. I turned my head toward my best friend. Surely Jenna would be staring at him too. She wasn’t. What the heck was going on? Was I the only one who could see how gorgeous this man was? When I turned back around, Mr. Blue Eyes was headed toward me. I lowered my chin to my chest and averted my gaze until he stopped and took the only vacant seat in the classroom, which happened to be right next to mine. Great.

“Class, I would like for you to welcome Maddox Bell. He comes to us from…” Mrs. Bain looked back down at the piece of paper she was holding and frowned. “Anyway, say hello to Maddox.”

Maddox. Of course he would have a cool name. Not Bill or Ted, but I had no doubt this guy had plenty of excellent adventures. His name matched his swagger, and I still didn’t believe he wasn’t older than the rest of us. Half the class muttered hello while the other half continued to ignore the new guy the way they usually did.

Maddox Bell wasn’t just another guy. Something about him was different. My skin was still itching from the way he had looked right at me. Maybe he was an undercover cop. It’s not like our school was exempt from kids selling drugs or teens running away. Northfield was your average public high school. But that wouldn’t explain why he had singled me out. I was pretty boring for the most part. No boyfriend. Highest grade point average out of over three hundred seniors. My social life consisted of going for coffee drinks after school with my best friend and hanging out with my little sister. See? Boring.

I wanted so badly to turn and stare at him to make sure I hadn’t been wrong about his looks or his age. Maybe he was so good-looking the others couldn’t look his way, like he was an Angel or something. Now you’re being ridiculous. My thoughts had been off-kilter lately, so thinking Maddox Bell was an Angel wasn’t out of the norm.

“Rhennan, if you would share your book with Mr. Bell until we can find him one, I would appreciate it,” Mrs. Bain announced. Maddox didn’t hesitate to scoot his desk closer to mine, sliding his arm along the back of my chair and leaning toward me. How did he know I was Rhennan? I turned my head to ask him that, but the words died in my throat. Either I was going crazy, or the pupils of his eyes were slitted like a snake’s. He blinked, and they were back to the same deep blue that had pierced me moments before. Yep. Going crazy.

I swallowed hard as I pushed my chemistry book over so it was half on my desk and half on his. After that, I kept my eyes down and off Maddox Bell. More than once his breath ghosted across my neck and cheek as he leaned closer, but I locked down the urge to face him. His scent alone – a mixture of leather and smoke – was doing crazy things to my brain.  None of the other boys in our school smelled this good, not that I went around sniffing them. Then again, none of the other boys looked this good, and they sure didn’t make me see things that weren’t there.

For the last two weeks, ever since my eighteenth birthday, my life had gone from normal to anything but. Before the tenth, or BTT as I liked to call it, I was just a regular girl who made good grades and spent time with her little sister and her best friend. I didn’t dream at night, or if I did, I didn’t remember them. Now, not only was I having vivid dreams – most of which were nightmares – but I was remembering every little detail in Technicolor. During the day, I had started having flashes of someone or something in my peripheral vision, but when I turned to look, there was nothing there. I had the feeling of being followed. Watched.

I had read articles in various magazines about trusting your instincts. How your gut feeling was the universe’s way of cluing you in on what was happening around you. My instincts had been on high alert ever since my birthday. I wish my instincts would chill out, because they had me on edge, and I couldn’t afford that. Not with only three months left until I graduated.

It was a good thing I was a straight-A student, because I had no idea what Mrs. Bain said for the next forty-five minutes. Dizziness danced around me, and it took every ounce of willpower I had not to run from the room. When the bell rang, I grabbed my book and slammed it shut a little harder than necessary; but in my defense, my brain wasn’t functioning properly, and I blamed that on Maddox. Instead of going to my locker, I waited outside the classroom for Jenna, and as soon as she cleared the door, I grabbed her sleeve and pulled her farther down the hall. “Did you see him?” I gushed.

“That Maddox kid? Yeah, why?” she asked nonchalantly, like he wasn’t some kind of god in black leather.

I looked around to make sure nobody was listening, and said, “You’re kidding, right? There’s no way he’s eighteen.”



Enter to win a signed paperback of Oracle
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About Andi Copeland

Andi Copeland is a YA Fantasy author who lives outside Nashville, Tennessee with the love of her life, and her four-legged best friend. She strongly believes that love is love, and there's not enough love in the world.

She began writing in high school and over the years, penned many stories and poems. When her dreams continued to get crazier than the one before, she decided to keep a dream journal. Many of these night-time escapades have led to a line, a chapter, and even a complete story.

Andi is a lover of music, mostly hard rock, and she prefers it live and loud. When she isn’t writing, she can be found reading, riding her Harley, or playing trivia.
When asked what her purpose in life is, she will say it’s to entertain the masses. Even if it's one person at a time.

Author Links




Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Falling For You Book Blitz


Falling For You
Charlotte Blake
(Great Escapes, #1)
Publication date: September 12th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Sometimes love finds you whether you want it to or not …
Grace Clark is a star at her job as an art director at Boston’s biggest advertising firm. But inside she’s still mourning the loss of her sister two years ago. Losing Mia and a failed engagement have been enough to keep her heart on lockdown ever since.
Luke Arnold is tired of relationships that don’t go anywhere. Usually women are all over him, but it’s been years since he’s met someone he could really fall for.
But when he sees Grace from across the room at the Redview Lodge, he can’t keep his eyes off her. They meet in the New Hampshire mountains over Thanksgiving, and they find in one another something that neither of them expected.
18+
NOTE: This STAND-ALONE romance contains very steamy love scenes. All of the books in the Great Escapes series can be read in any order.
EXCERPT:
Mia turned up the radio as her sedan flew across the slick road.
Let’s Go Crazy.
She was excited about the trip home. She had been living in New York, and despite the close proximity to Boston, she hadn’t seen her sister, Grace, for four months. Mia was just finishing school, and between internships and the huge amount of work she had been putting in to earn her MBA, there just wasn’t any time. She was lucky to have a sister like Grace. She understood when Mia was too busy to talk. And with Grace, she never needed to feel pressured to have a perfect relationship. When they did get a chance to see each other, it was as if they had never been apart.
Though lately Mia had been trying to make extra time to connect with her heartbroken sister, at least on the phone. Grace was just getting on her feet again after a long depression. Her fiancé had pulled a fast one on her, and there had been a few months of Mia visiting her often, trying to coax her off the couch and into therapy. Grace had been absent from work long enough that her job was on the line. She had some savings, but not enough to last her more than a few months.
Grace had resisted at first, but Mia had seen this kind of thing before and had known exactly what to do. In the end, she’d found the right doctor and therapist for her sister and then harassed her until she made, and kept, appointments with them. It took some time, but eventually she had started to come back to herself. Mia credited the meds more than anything, though she knew Grace hated having to take them.
She was back to work now, though, busy again, and they still talked a couple times a week to touch base, more if Grace needed someone to cry to. Mia was relieved that she would have a chance to focus on her for a bit, and was glad the mellow holiday at home wouldn’t distract them too much. There were lots of tears in those weekly calls, and though they’d ebbed away a bit, she couldn’t wait to wrap her arms around her sister in a big bear hug.
She and Grace had grown up at their parents’ place in Boston. It had been even longer since she had seen them, and she couldn’t wait to catch up on all the family gossip. Her mom tended to try to keep family secrets just that: secret. But her dad had let slip that her aunt’s daughter had been working, no joke, as a stripper. Everyone in the family was in a tizzy about it, but were too afraid to confront her. Mia would have loved the opportunity to get the details first hand, but really she had been relieved to find out that her aunt and cousin would not be joining them for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Probably too embarrassed, she thought.
She laughed aloud as the music played. She had never been close with her cousin, but Angie had been known to jump around from school to school, project to project, job to job. Whatever the story was, Mia was sure there would be plenty of secondhand lurid details once she pulled into the driveway. She’d get her mom to talk, even if it took all week.
It was getting late, nearly eleven, and she was eager to get there. She had expected to arrive by nine, but no such luck. The traffic out of the city had lasted for hours. But now she was on the move again. The snow had turned to rain, which meant the roads were pretty clear now, and she pushed on the gas a little harder.
The music on the radio changed, and a moment later Winter Wonderland was blasting through her speakers.
“Aw, yuck!” she shouted at the radio, wrenching the volume down.
It wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet, and already with the Christmas music! The last thing she needed was to get that junk spinning through her head all night long.
She picked up her phone to switch to her playlist. She was an expert at her phone, and could make most of the selections, even texting, without even looking at the thing. One day they’d probably just implant the information into people’s brains somehow, but for now she just had to wing it like everyone else.
But it was late, and she was on the freeway. She needed to look at the screen to select some different music. She checked around her for cops and then waited for a straight stretch of road. She held the phone up to the steering wheel so she could glance back and forth between the screen and the road, scrolling down the list, searching for something classic, something she could sing to, to wake her up a little for the last hour of the drive. More Prince, maybe.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw a movement, something white speeding by her passenger side window. A motorcycle? No.
It was a truck, and it was going way too fast. He was going to cut her off. She dropped her phone and blared her horn, then watched in horror as it tipped onto two wheels, about to flip over right in front of her.
How was this happening?
She steered right to get out of the way. The back end of the truck clipped her car at just the right spot. Just the wrong spot.
She was airborne. There was no sound but for her own blood pumping, ringing in her ears.
Time slowed down.
As her car flipped through the air again and again, her thoughts went blank. Adrenaline rushed through her body as the first airbag went off, but when the car smashed upside down onto the pavement, she only registered the pain.
And then it was over.
She was gone.


Author Bio:
I am happy to call the San Francisco Bay Area home, where I lives with my husband, two kids, one dog and three cats. I started writing at an early age, but have only been writing novels for the past five years. I love the idea of love conquering all, and that is what drove me to begin the Great Escapes series, where the reader follows couples meeting up in exotic locations around the world. In this series, each book is a stand-alone, and each can be read in any order.
But readers, be forewarned, there is a healthy amount of steam in these books!
Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy Great Escapes!

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Monday, September 18, 2017

The Grip Remix Tour: Kennedy Ryan

Grip Remix Banner.jpeg
“...one of the most engaging and well-written romance books I have read...It's like nothing you've read before. It touches the issues no one talks about in our community. And it's a MUST-READ."
--LJ Shen, Amazon Bestselling Author

GRIP, Kennedy Ryan’s sexy, emotional Amazon Bestseller,
is available now for only 99¢!

Scroll all the way down for an excerpt and to enter the
$25 Gift Card Giveaway!
GRIP COVER SALE
Resisting an irresistible force wears you down and turns you out. I know. I've been doing it for years.
I may not have a musical gift of my own, but I've got a nose for talent and an eye for the extraordinary. And Marlon James - Grip to his fans - is nothing short of extraordinary.
Years ago, we strung together a few magical nights, but I keep those memories in a locked drawer and I've thrown away the key. All that's left is friendship and work.
He's on the verge of unimaginable fame, all his dreams poised to come true. I manage his career, but I can't seem to manage my heart.
It's wild, reckless, disobedient. And it remembers all the things I want to forget.


Read GRIP today for only 99¢ or FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon US ➜ http://amzn.to/2xhsWJX
Amazon UK ➜ http://amzn.to/2xSsYeu
Amazon CA ➜ http://amzn.to/2vADPJn
Amazon AU ➜ http://amzn.to/2gsH3Em
Add to GoodReads ➜ http://bit.ly/2k1T1rL

FLOW, the FREE prequel, MUST BE READ before GRIP!
Amazon US ➜ http://amzn.to/2fBudEa
WATTPAD ➜ http://w.tt/2kUo8Yk

STILL, the sexy and emotional final installment of The Grip Series,
releases September 24th!
Preorder STILL Today!
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2yesYl9
Amazon CA http://amzn.to/2wmWoRR
Amazon AU ➜ http://amzn.to/2xcBEuD
Add STILL to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2vBiUWN
GRIP SERIES REMIX SALE


Excerpt

“Neither of us has been in a serious relationship in years.” “That doesn’t mean anything.” I stand and slide my feet into the Jimmy Choos. “You haven’t exactly been waiting around, have you?” “Damn right I haven’t been waiting around.” He doesn’t get up, but his firm hold on my wrist stops me from walking away. “I’m not Rhyson.” I look down at him, frowning my confusion. “What do you mean?” “Remember when Kai put Rhyson in the friend zone?” Of course I do. For a long time, my sister-in-law Kai denied the attraction between her and Rhyson. “Yeah, so?” “When Kai wasn’t checking for Rhys, I assumed he had to be sleeping with other girls.” Grip shrugs. “I mean, he and Kai were just friends. But, nope. He said he only wanted Kai and didn’t sleep with anyone else.” “Then you’re right.” I tug at my wrist, but he holds on tight. “You’re definitely not Rhyson.” “It was months, Bristol. She shut him out for months. Not years.” “I’m not shutting you out.” I release a tired breath. “I’m living my life, and you’re living yours.” “Right.” He nods and turns his mouth down at the corners. “So, if you won’t be with me, then I’ll fuck whoever the hell I want. If you have a problem with that, you know what to do about it.” For a moment, our eyes tangle in the dimness. His words sink into my flesh like briars. Every word out of his mouth only proves that I’m right to get out of here. That I’m right not to give in. If I ever gave him a chance and he fucked around on me . . . I’ve seen what that looks like. It looks like a woman as strong as my mother reduced to pathetic, teary drunkenness. “It’s none of my business.” I shift my eyes away from him and to the glittering city skyline just beyond the rooftop. “It’s none of your business until you say it is.” I force myself to look back. “Don’t hold your breath, Grip.” I say my next words with deliberation. “I mean, it’s not like I’m sitting around saving it, either.” He pulls me forward, and I press my hand to the hardness of his chest so I don’t fall into him. My knee supports me, pressed against his on the couch. “Are you poking me?” One strong hand wraps around the back of my thigh, anger marking his expression. “Do you want to know if it bothers me when you fuck other guys?” I just stare at him unblinkingly. He presses my leg, urging me forward until I’m fully on the couch, fully on him, one knee on either side of his legs, facing him. Straddling him. “It makes me want to set the world on fire.” His words come softly, but the truth roars in his eyes. “To think of you with them.”


Join the GRIP Discussion Group:


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Click here to enter the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway


About the Author:

Kennedy Ryan is a Southern girl gone Southern California. A Top 100 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy writes romance about remarkable women who find a way to thrive even in tough times, the love they find, and the men who cherish them. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Georgia families living with Autism, Kennedy has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other outlets as a voice for families living with autism.


Connect with Kennedy:

Order Signed GRIP Series Paperbacks:

Review
Wow, what a book! I didn't expect it to be like this, but I liked it.
First of all, as many have already said, this book is not simply a romance book, about a love story, with its ups and downs... it's more, it's a story about past, present and future, about differences between people, about prejudices.
The main protagonists are Grip and Bristol, two people who share a long history together. They have known each other for a long time, loved each other a long time, but never acted on it (except for a brief moment). The book follows the development of their story, a rollercoaster of a story, but at the same time it delves deep into some very important issues. In fact, given the fact that Grip is a black guy, and Bristol is a white girl, the author reflects on some social issues regarding racism, prejudices, different prospectives and much more.
It was heartbreaking to read some passages, the reality of them, and thinking that what was narrated still happens nowadays. 
These parts of the books were outstanding, and so raw and true. 
The writing style contributed also to make me like this book, because it was really really good, sometimes there were phrases that were pure poetry.

The only thing that left me a little cold was the first part of the book, where Grip and Bristol aren't together yet. There was a little too much drama for my taste, especially from Bristol... I understand that she was really scarred by her past, so she didn't want to believe in a relationship with Grip... But eight years is a long long time, and she run a little too much hot and cold for me.. 

But in any case, this book was really well written, and I absolutely suggest to read it, especially because of the subjects dealt in it.









Friday, September 15, 2017

Cover Reveal & Excerpt: Ideal Image (Snapshot #2) by Freya Barker & KT Dove




Title: Ideal Image
Series: Snapshot #2
Author: Freya Barker & KT Dove
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Cover Designer: Rebel, Edit & Design
Release Date: October 18th, 2017

Synopsis:

In one blinding flash, the very fiber of her existence is shredded. 

For criminal lawyer and single mother, Stacie Gustafson, a dependable career, a well-organized life, and an immaculate image, had always been her armor. Without it she’s left exposed and struggling to create a new existence for her and her daughter. No matter how hard she tries, she is unable to avoid her history.

All it takes is one look at the blue-eyed woman, for Nicolas Flynn to be transported back ten years. Sure, her appearance has changed, but then so has his, since he turned his life around. His devotion to his small-town law firm is tested with the arrival of this bittersweet blast from the past, making for a persistent distraction. One that drags along more trouble than she left behind.



Pre-order Links:
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Excerpt:

“Tomorrow let’s tackle the roof on the small barn. Last week when we had that rain come through, the horses stayed drier under the overhang covering the outside pen than they did inside the barn itself.”
I’m glad we’re onto more palatable dinner subjects now. As my Pops ages, his choice of casual conversation over a meal, more often than not, includes the day’s special on ailments or a detailed report on bodily functions.
Today’s topics of choice had been ingrown toenails and the effects of the latest pinto bean crop on a senior’s digestive system. Yeah, my dad can be a laugh-and-a-half at the dinner table.
“Absolutely,” I say, trying not to sound too relieved at the change in topic. “Do we still have a few of those corrugated roof panels we used on the shelter for the woodpile?”
“Probably just one or two,” Pops answers, before taking another massive bite of his hamburger.
“Maybe we’ll head into Cortez in the morning?”
“We can hit Denny’s for breakfast,” he says, slurping the dregs of his milkshake loudly.
Pops is a man of simple pleasures; a regular constitution and a hearty meal. Throw in a beer occasionally and he’s a happy man. He also likes predictability, which is why I’ve made it a point in recent years, to keep my schedule clear on Friday afternoons. We go out for an early meal—Pops like to eat at five—and catch up on our weeks, before planning out our weekend.
I don’t have much of a life outside of work. Sadly, my father is responsible for the bulk of my socializing. Friday dinners at a restaurant of his choice, and the weekends mostly putzing about our property. There are days when I feel more like sixty than the barely forty years I’m old.
“Now there’s a sight for sore eyes.”
I barely register Pop’s voice as I focus on my chicken fried steak sandwich, until the melodic cadence of a familiar voice pierces my awareness.
“First pick a booth, Mak, and then we’ll order.”
I swivel around in my seat to find Stacie’s daughter staring back at me.
“Hey,” I offer in greeting, my eyes immediately looking for, and finding, Stacie behind her. I can feel my face crack open in a big smile.
“Hi,” is the cheerful reply, along with Stacie’s more subdued; “Hello.”
“You friends of my son?” Pops pushes half out of his seat, the paper napkin he habitually tucks in his collar to catch the inevitable crumbs and stains flutters down to the floor, as he sticks out his greasy hand in greeting.
Instead of bouncing my head off the table a few times, which I’d like to do, I also stand up.
“Stacie, this is my father, Henry Flynn. And, Pops, this Stacie Gustafson and her daughter Makenna. Stacie is a colleague.” I’m not quite sure why I add the last, but the moment I see my father’s eyes narrow on Stacie’s face, a feeling of doom settles in my stomach. My pops is not exactly known for tact or subtlety.
“Why don’t you join us?” I quickly ask, hoping to avoid what I know is sure to come. Stacie opens her mouth with what I know will be an objection, but Mak easily slides in the booth beside Pops.
I feel bad for Stacie, who is left standing a little awkwardly next to the table. I grab her hand and gently pull her to sit down. I try to glare at Pops to warn him off when he leans over the table, his head slightly tilted to the side, but he’s like a dog with a bone.
“What happened to your face?”
And there it is.
I’m still contemplating my father’s imminent demise, while desperately seeking for ways to soften the shocked expression on Stacie’s face at the impact of his words, when her little girl pipes up.
“She got burned in an explosion. Gnarly, right? You should see her arm.”
I watch Stacie’s eyes pop open at her daughter’s callous description, but Pops is immediately distracted.
“The explosion up on the mountain last winter? That was your mom? Damn, I heard that was bad.”
“She almost died,” Mak says, her face somber.
“Yeah, but she didn’t, did she?” Pops counters sagely, and I throw up my hands, there’s no way to stop this train wreck. “Looks pretty alive to me.”
Stacie’s eyes, round as saucers, turn to me. Surprisingly, I see a glimmer of humor in their depths.
“Thank God,” her daughter blurts out dramatically, and the whole situation suddenly becomes comical in the most surreal way.
“Yeah—thank God,” Pops echoes, a smirk on his face as he winks across the table at Stacie, who promptly bursts out laughing, and I can’t hold back a chuckle. “Besides, they can fix that, you know?”
“Oh, I know,” Mak says wisely, tucking her paper napkin in the collar of her shirt, mimicking my dad. A move that makes all of the adults at the table smile. “Mom’s having her face done in two weeks.”

After a little confusion—during which the waitress shows up to take Stacie and Mak’s orders, and Pops takes the opportunity to order another milkshake and order of fries—I manage to glean that having her face done means Stacie apparently has another surgery scheduled.


Books in the Series:




About the Authors:
Freya Barker:
Freya Barker inspires with her stories about 'real’ people, perhaps less than perfect, each struggling to find their own slice of happy. She is the author of the Cedar Tree Series and the Portland, ME, novels.

Freya is the recipient of the RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for best first book, “Slim To None,” and is a finalist for the 2016 Kindle Book Awards for “From Dust”. She currently has two complete series and three anthologies published, and is working on two new series; La Plata County FBI—ROCK POINT, and Northern Lights. She continues to spin story after story with an endless supply of bruised and dented characters, vying for attention!




KT Dove:
KT Dove grew up, and still lives, in the Midwest. At an early age she developed a love of reading, driving the local librarians crazy, and would plan plot lines and stories for her favorite characters. KT received degrees in English, Speech/Drama, and Education. And yet instead of becoming an English teacher as planned, she opted for an unexpected HEA. 


Now married, a mother and still an avid reader, she stumbled upon the Indie author movement and became involved on several levels. Never in her wildest imagination would she have thought she would co-author a book. With the support of her family, she took the plunge, adding writing to an already busy literary existence.  

She wouldn’t have it any other way.



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