Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Release Tour - Running Hot

RUNNING HOT
Hell Ryders MC #2
by J.L. Sheppard
Genre: MC Romance


Thomas “Cuss” Layne has never wanted for anything, except the beautiful girl he saved so long ago. But she’s a rich girl, and he’s a biker. For years, he hasn’t had a glimpse of her. Still, he's never been able to get her out of his mind. When her life’s in danger, he rides to her rescue once again. This time, he’s determined to do what he should’ve done long ago—make her his, in every possible way.

Tiffany Hamilton has never gotten over the bad boy with the sapphire eyes and midnight hair, the boy who once saved her. She wants him—a touch, a taste—but he’s never wanted anything to do with her. It’s past time to move on. When the sexy biker barges back into her life, saving her yet again and making demands, he makes it impossible to say no to his raw magnetism. She’ll finally have everything she’s dreamed of…but will it be enough?


Excerpt #1

Movie wasn’t halfway done, and his girl had already passed out. Head on his shoulder, legs on the couch to her other side.

Smiling, he took a breath. Her head on his shoulder slipped lower. He wrapped an arm around her, turning toward her slightly until her head lay on his chest. Either he’d gotten good at doing that or she was a heavy sleeper. Probably the latter, not once when he carried her to bed had she woken.

She let out a small sigh and burrowed into him.

He loved that. She did it a lot, and every time she did it, it made him feel like he had the world in the palm of his hands. Maybe not his hands, but he definitely had the world sleeping against his chest.

His gaze slid from her face to her hair. He threaded his fingers through it. So soft. So thick. He spared a glance at the television and realized he missed an important plot point. Now, he was lost. Nothing new. He never paid much attention to the movie once she dozed off. He just sat there and watched her sleep. Often, he ran his hand through her hair like he was then. Every once in a while, he looked to the screen. And when he did, he remembered the movie would be over soon, and then, he’d have to force himself to stop staring at her, carry her to bed, and head home.

Worse part of the night, heading home.

He hated it, hated leaving her.

And still, it had to be done.

Excerpt 2: 

Her eyes narrowed, but she kept her cool, speaking low and calmly. “Go to hell, Cuss. I don’t need saving especially from you.”

The muscle in his jaw jumped. Breathing heavily, each of his breaths hit her face. “Want me to count all the times you needed me?”

Would he? Even the thought sprung tears to her eyes. Truth, she didn’t know if he would. As good a man she knew him to be, he also shut her out of his life.

She wouldn’t stand there and find out. She turned on her heel.

He snaked his arm around her waist, tugged her to him until her back pressed against his chest. Then he lifted her off the ground.

The warmth of his body consumed her. Her body, betraying her, molded against his. She forgot why she was angry, why she had every right to be.

She had to focus, had to remember. “You want to let Blaze, Rake, and everyone who walks by know if it hadn’t been for you, I could’ve been raped, twice? Or no, three times, if you count my stalker.” Her voice trembled.

His whole body tensed. If she hadn’t felt his heart pounding against her, she would’ve thought it’d stopped beating he was so still.

“Fine. Be a dick. I needed you then…”

His arm around her waist tightened, leaving her without breath. Simultaneously, he covered her mouth with the other, muffling her words. “Shut it, Tiff. Fuckin’ shut it before I lose my shit,” he whispered against her ear, voice low and laced in rage.

The flood of tears she held back slid down her cheeks and onto his hand.




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When the perfect life Alyssa Holden planned turns out to be a life of lies, she runs to her brother, the only person she can trust. She has no idea she’s running straight into a world of badass bikers who live and ride by their own rules. One tatted rebel in particular calls to her wilder side, and while everything in her draws her toward him, every experience she’s had with men warns her away.

Jace Warren is doing what he’s done his whole life—trying to survive, making the best with what he’d been given. The only life that makes sense after the military is Hell Ryder’s Motorcycle Club, but the sweet innocence of his army buddy's sister promises a different life, one a man like him can only dream of. Problem is, being his MC brother’s sister puts her off limits. Hard as it is, he keeps his distance. Then she kisses him, and all bets are off.



J.L. Sheppard was born and raised in South Florida where she still lives with her husband and son.

As a child, her greatest aspiration was to become a writer. She read often, kept a journal and wrote countless poems. She attended Florida International University and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelors in Communications. During her senior year, she interned at NBC Miami, WTVJ. Following the internship, she was hired and worked in the News Department for three years.
It wasn’t until 2011 that she set her heart and mind into writing her first completed novel, Demon King’s Desire, which was published in January of 2013.

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Release Tour - It Happened at the Park

IT HAPPENED AT THE PARK
by Ryan Jo Summers
Genre: Romantic Comedy Novella

Practical city planner, Cassidy Grant, just inherited her sister's beloved dogs. Except she's a career girl more into heels and matching accessories. She's not a dog mom. Worse, she is required to take the furry darlings to the dog park.

Jilted at the alter, Ethan Sheppard finally got a dog. And he loves their bonding trips to the dog park. He's also the secret cartoonist whose drawings poke fun at the city leadership and might hurt the mayor's chances at reelection.

After Cassidy and Ethan meet, she asks for his help to manage the pups, and along the way, he learns she will be fired if she can't identify the cartoonist to her boss. But telling her will cost his job.


Jake pulled eagerly at his leash, his long tail whipping in the air as they neared the park entrance. Swinging the gate open just enough to allow them through, Ethan unhooked the leash, releasing Jake. With a bark, he was gone, racing to join his canine pals.

Looping the leash through his belt, Ethan stuffed his hands in the pockets of his jeans and studied the attendees. He offered a friendly wave to some of the doggie moms and dads that he knew. A few of the dogs came up, wagging around, begging a pat, before racing off again.

“Jake’s looking good.”

Ethan spun around at the feminine purr behind him, feeling himself go tense. “Yep, he loves these morning runs,” he replied to the brunette standing almost eye to eye with him. He’d figured out pretty quick Gwen was hot into him weeks ago. The fact that she came to this park, when there were others closer to her, was a good indicator. She never brought a dog, so he surmised she just came to prowl around, sniffing for available males. And it seemed he was pretty high up on her list of desirable ones. So far, he’d been unsuccessful in convincing her he didn’t return the favor. He wasn’t into needy lionesses on the hunt. She had a way to make him feel like a chunk of raw meat.
She inched closer, enough for him to breathe in her almost overpowering perfume. Some floral stuff mixed with more flowers. Sort of like walking into a funeral parlor full of sympathy bouquets. Her ample bosom brushed his sleeve and he inched further back.

“And what about you, Ethan? What do you love in the morning?”

He could imagine what she wanted to hear, and he wasn’t about to encourage her. He rocked back another step. “Coffee,” he replied instead. “Bacon and eggs. Pancakes.”

Her hopeful smile slowly faded. Whatever she might have said back was lost when he heard a cry of frustration and a gleeful bark. Whirling, he looked for the source of the sounds.

“Remi! Stop that!”

He recognized the little brown and white ticked dog racing freely now that his leash was dropped. Or pulled from the hand of the woman in bright red heels. Heels? At a dog park? Her black business suit and red hat looked equally out of place. And didn’t she know you were supposed to take their leashes off inside the fence? Apparently not, because the other little dog was still attached to her leash as well, wrapped around the woman’s wrist. Now that her partner was free, the little blond and white dog spun in circles, mad to join him. In her hand the hapless women clutched a cell phone, wedged up near her ear.

Rocking back on his heels, he took in the show, smothering a smile. Remi, full of freedom, darted just far enough to stay out of reach but close enough to keep the woman in pursuit. The woman, a pretty, petite blond with a serious up do topped by a rolled brim chenille hat, stumbled along in her heels and all but dragging the scruffy Chi/terrier along. She alternated between hissing at Remi through clenched teeth and then pushing the phone back to her ear to talk rapidly to someone.

Seeing she wasn’t making much ground, Ethan settled himself on a bench to watch, arms spread out comfortably. Gwen faded away like a ghostly specter. He remembered Remi, a Parsons Russell terrier and Australian Shepherd mixture, as being a handful on the best of days. The smaller one, a terrier/ Chihuahua and question mark, always struck him as a cute, well behaved pooch. Except, he’d never seen the pair here with the blond. He’d definitely remember her.

“Remi!” She whispered fiercely to the little dog, who was having a delightful time, barking over his shoulder at her. She pressed the phone back up. “No, Adam, I agree we have to stay on schedule with this project. Any delay now could be disastrous. Tessa, come on! Yes, I have a meeting tomorrow with Mr. King and I should have some solid answers then.” She lowered the phone, eyes cutting into the dog. “Remi!” She slapped the phone back to her ear. “What? No, everything’s just fine, why do you ask? Where am I? Oh, out enjoying one of the offerings of our fine community. It’s such a pleasant morning, I thought why not, right?” She offered a strained chuckle.

It was all Ethan could do to hold back his laughter. Clearly, she was trying to hold a meeting of some sort. Didn’t she know a park, full of barking dogs and yelling people was the last place for that?

Finally, she hung up the call, tripping over Tessa’s leash. Checking on Jake, Ethan climbed to his feet. He’d have to save these dogs from this woman or this woman from herself, he wasn’t sure which.



Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina writer who pens romances with a twist. They may contain any number of elements: Christian, humor, mystery, paranormal, sweet, shape-shifting, or time travel. Her dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry so writing must be in the family genes.

She makes her home in a century-old mountain cottage, with a menagerie of adopted pets. In her spare time, she likes to gather with family and friends, paint ceramics or canvas, potter in the yard, bird-watching, or read, play chess, Mahjongg or work word-find puzzles. She might take her dog and head deep into the forests and rivers near her home to plot the next big scene or story. Like her dad's aunt, she writes poetry as a means to cope with life's pains.

She collects lighthouses, shells, driftwood, and anything to remind her of the shore.

Release Day Blitz - Forgetting You, Forgetting Me

FORGETTING YOU, FORGETTING ME

by Monica James


Series: Memories From Yesterday Book 1Genre: Contemporary RomanceRelease Date: June 26th 2017German Rights sold to: Heyne, Random House

Summary:
My name is Lucy Tucker, and my life…it was perfect.
I worked the dream job. I had the most incredible family and friends. My home, Whispering Willows, a ranch in Montana, was everything I could ever wish for. My adoring fiancé, Samuel Stone, loved me unconditionally.
I had everything a girl could ever want.
But one fateful event shattered my perfect life. It’s unimaginable how simple, ordinary words can change a person’s life forever. For me those words were, “There’s been an accident.”
I thought Sam was my forever, but that forever came to a close the day Saxon Stone, Sam’s identical twin brother, came back. Saxon returned to Montana to help save Sam, however, the moment he entered my life, he turned my world upside down. But through chaos I somehow found clarity—clarity of who I was meant to be.
As time progressed, as seasons changed, and as a fire began to burn, I soon realized that Saxon was there for another reason…he was there to help save me.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Monica James spent her youth devouring the works of Anne Rice, William Shakespeare, and Emily Dickinson.
When she is not writing, Monica is busy running her own business, but she always finds a balance between the two. She enjoys writing honest, heartfelt, and turbulent stories, hoping to leave an imprint on her readers. She draws her inspiration from life.
She is a bestselling author in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, and the U.K.
Monica James resides in Melbourne, Australia, with her wonderful family, and menagerie of animals. She is slightly obsessed with cats, chucks, and lip gloss, and secretly wishes she was a ninja on the weekends.



Author Links
Instagram: @authormonicajames
Website: http://monicajamesbooks.blogspot.com.au/



Excerpt
“Let’s pretend tomorrow doesn’t exist.” Pressing his forehead to mine, he earnestly says, “Whatever happens now, it’ll just be memories from yesterday.” I can feel the tremble rumble throughout his entire body, and his uncertainty leaves me abandoning any lingering doubts. For this stolen moment in time, I just want to…feel.
Gently pushing on his bare, solid chest, he allows me to climb onto his lap as he nestles into the rocky terrain. Without a second thought, I wrap my legs around his waist and hold on tight, with no intention of ever letting go. His chest is rising and falling so quickly, I’m certain I can hear his heart hammering wildly within his body. The cadence matches mine as I seal my mouth around his. The touch of his full lips pressed to mine is complete perfection. But when he angles my mouth at the perfect slope and skillfully tangles my tongue with his, I know that this is nirvana.
The kiss at first is slow, like a roller coaster beginning its incline. But as we reach the pinnacle, it’s an exhilarating head rush of fast, breathtaking passion. When he senses me coyly opening up, lowering my guard and losing myself in the moment, he growls into my mouth. He dominates me with a fierce desire and in this moment, I am his.
I can’t keep up with the frantic pace, and finally, I surrender all I am. I allow him total control, melting when he sucks my bottom lip with a long, wet pull. I madly fuse our lips together, unable to get enough of this heady feeling, needing him to consume me, devour me, make me whole.





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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Release Tour - Working With It

WORKING WITH IT
The Persimmon Series, Book 3
by Cass Alexander
Genre: New Adult, Romantic Comedy


Morgan Pottinger is counting the days until graduation. Her plans are to leave small town Kentucky and never look back. As she starts her senior year at Persimmon College, she finds herself the object of Nate Stevenson’s affections. Despite her spaz-like tendencies, Nate makes it clear he wants her. Morgan cannot resist the sexy, intelligent guy that keeps her on her toes and ties her up in knots.

There’s just one problem. Morgan needs to break up with her hometown boyfriend before pursuing anything with Nate. A series of catastrophes back home continuously interfere with her attempts to end the relationship. At this rate, she’ll be married to the loser by March and Nate will be just another casualty in the disaster that is her life. Lucky for Morgan, Nate’s much smarter than she is.


I look at my watch. It’s almost midnight. I check my phone for the hundredth time, wondering why Morgan hasn’t texted me.

I assume she’s trying to finish up her essay, but I had hoped she’d at least acknowledge my two texts.

We didn’t have much contact this week, with her being in Planters Grove. It brought about a dimness to my days, not seeing her. I didn’t like it.

She did reach out and let me know that Alex was going to lose his arm. I feel bad for the guy. Not bad enough to let go of Morgan, but I’m not made of stone.

I get the feeling she’s trying to avoid me. I assume, with the removal of his appendage, she was unable to have a frank talk with him about their relationship. And I get it. I won’t push her on it. But I need to figure out how to help her through this process.

I take another sip of beer, only half listening to the conversation taking place in my room. We just finished up some games of Euchre. Now that my mind’s not focusing on cards, it’s obsessing about the little brown-eyed vixen living across the street.

I thought about knocking on her window, but realized she might need space to process. I’ll give her until tomorrow before I seek her out, assuming she still doesn’t return my text.

I pull out my phone to text her once more, to say goodnight, when I hear the familiar lilt of her voice coming from the hallway. It causes the neurons along my brain-gut axis to start going nuts. Will there ever be a time when she doesn’t give me such a primitive reaction?

Morgan appears in the doorway and flashes a big, goofy grin. You don’t have to be a genius to see that she’s been drinking. It’s cute.

“Hey, y’all!” she says to the group. Her usual subtle Southern drawl is especially twangy tonight. I think drinking brings out the Kentuckian in her.

“Hey, Morgan,” Penny responds. Nugget, one of our pledges, waves.

“Everybody out,” I command as I get out of my chair and put my beer on the coffee table.

“What? Why?” Nugget protests.

I glare at him. I’m not angry, I simply want to communicate through intimidation that his little ass needs to vacate my room immediately.

He looks over at Morgan, then back at me and shakes his head. Then he makes a huge mistake.

“Bros before hoes, Stevenson.”

I step towards him, ready to grab him by the shirt and toss him out the damn window. No one will refer to Morgan as a ho in my presence, even as a joke. I hesitate when I hear her snicker.

“Ah, Nugget,” she says, “God wasted a perfectly good asshole when he put teeth in your mouth.”

A fierce swell of laughter overtakes the room, from everyone but Nugget. I can’t help it. That might be the most superior affront I’ve ever heard. In fact, it may have just saved his little ass from a long drop to the ground.



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Cass Alexander is the pen name of a Southern born and bred public school teacher. Her brother, who insists she address him as, The Prince of Darkness, gave her the nom de plume after warning her that her book’s content may scar her sons for life.

She’s a connoisseur of fine humor, hilarious insults, and all things chocolate, preferably dark (like her humor). Oh, and wine. Let’s not forget the wine. Cass also enjoys running. It’s become crucial to her survival, due to her consumption of wine and chocolate.

Cass’s mission in life is to spread the love and the laughter, goodness knows it’s needed. It’s why she wrote The Persimmon Series.

She and her family now reside in the Midwest, where hardly anyone other than Cass says the words, y’all and holler.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Release Tour - Darien's Desire

DARIEN'S DESIRE
Two Hearts ~ One Love series, book 2
by Daryl Devoré
Genre: Contemporary Romance *heat level hot*


It's complicated is not only her relationship status, but the definition of Erika Bailey's life. She loves managing her drag queen club in Bangkok, Thailand, but her rock star boyfriend resides in North Carolina. And to top it off, her father threatens she must stay away from Darien or lose the Pink Flamingo. Does she protect her club or her love?

Darien Scott, Grammy award winning international superstar, wants nothing more than to wake up in the arms of Erika, the woman he loves, but contractual obligations force him to exotic video shoots and an isolated movie set with one of Hollywood's sexiest stars.

With the feeding frenzy of social media trending every aspect of Darien's life—real or not—it's hard for Erika to know the truth. Will she be able to see through the lies and trust Darien? Or will evidence from damaging Internet rumors condemn their relationship?


Erika rubbed her palms on her thighs. "Darien went out with his friends and they got a little drunk. Then some girls came over and started chatting."

"Bitches." Sandee pursed his lips.

"Oh, I haven't got to the bitch yet."

"What?" Sandee pressed his hand on his chest.

"Her name's Savannah and she's an ex."

His eyes widen. "Oh. No. He didn't. I will bitch slap that boy the next time I see him." He chuckled. "I think I just channeled Ra-chell."

"She kissed him. Twice. Then suggested they leave for somewhere more private."

He placed his hands over his ears. "La la la. I'm not listening."

Erika laughed and pulled his hands down. "He didn't go with her. He went home."

Sandee scratched his head. "So why are you so sad?"

"He almost did. What if he had?" Her voice broke on the last word.

"Look on the bright side. He didn't cheat on you." Sandee held out his hands palm up. "Think of it this way. He went to the donut store. He had a choice between a chocolate covered donut or a bagel." He lifted his left hand. "Donut." Then his right hand. "Bagel. The donut has sprinkles. Sprinkles will get a man every time. I outta know, I'm awesome with sprinkles." He fanned himself.

"Trust me Sandee, there is no one as fab-U-lous as you."

"I know. But back to Darien. Darien wants the donut. He lusts after the donut. His groin is on fire for the sprinkles."

Erika waved her hand in front of her face. "I'm getting the picture."

"But did he eat the donut?" Sandee shook his head. "No. He tossed the donut on her ass." He flipped his left hand with a pompous sneer.

"Which leaves me being the bagel." She raised an eyebrow.






Erika Bailey, owner/manager of a drag queen club in Bangkok, Thailand has happily settled into all aspects of her new life, except for her lack of a love life. When a new diva auditions, Erika is bewildered over her instant attraction to the blond God, Apollo. 

Darien Scott is on vacation after a world tour and mistakenly figures the safest place to be is at The Black Dragon with the head of a Triad. When the club is hit, Darien is the only person to get out alive. Now he's running from the police and a Triad. Mistake number 1.

Disguised as a drag queen, he's hired by Erika, but falls hard for his new boss, then struggles with not coming clean with her. Mistake number 2.

Can he fix his mistakes and find a life filled with love or is he headed straight for mistake number 3?



Daryl Devore (@darydevore) lives in an in old farmhouse in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, a large salt water aquarium full of fish, a black cat named Licorice and some house ghosts. Her daughter is grown and has flown the nest. Daryl loves to take long walks up her quiet country road, or snow shoe across the back acres and in the summer, kayak along the St. Lawrence River. She has touched a moon rock, a mammoth and a meteorite. She's been deep in the ocean in a submarine, flown high over Niagara Falls in a helicopter and used the ladies room in a royal palace. Life's an adventure and Daryl's having fun living it.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Chapter Reveal - Peaceful Slumber

PEACEFUL SLUMBER
part of the Mystic Passions boxset
by Nikki Lynn Barrett
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense

Scott
I was somewhat normal once.
Until I died.
It was only for a few minutes, but ever since then, I can see ghosts.
The first time I see her is in the cemetery, wearing a blood stained wedding dress. 
No one else knows she exists.
I have no idea how to help her or why I chose to, but she's here now.
The one person who makes me feel alive for the first time in ages is a spirit trapped in her own version of hell with no recollection of her life or death.

Zelda
It sounds like the start of a horror novel or something.
I'm the amnesiac ghost bride who wakes up with no memory of my life or death. 
Only one person can see me.
With no clues as to who I am or how I wound up in this predicament, Scott is my only chance of helping to unlock my memories. 
It's not easy. He's sarcastic and jaded.
But he's the only link I have to the living world.



Prologue

I remember nothing.

A cold blanket of fog surrounds me as I sit up from the hard surface I must have been sleeping on, wearing a wedding gown, once white, now stained in red. My mind races a mile a minute, scrambling to retrieve a memory of what happened, like a dog scampering for his ball, but I come up empty.

Who the hell am I?

Where am I?

What happened to me?

Why is no one here?

Another thing that catches my attention right away is the fact that I look like death, but I feel nothing. Based on the condition of the wedding dress, whatever happened must have been brutal.

Nothing at all. No aches. No pains.

Okay, fine. Maybe the blood isn't mine, but that means it's someone else's, and I have no idea who, what, when....

I'm repeating myself.

Rather easy to do when I am trying to piece together the missing fragments that make up my life.

I stand with ease and interpret my surroundings. It's dark and foggy. Cold winds snap in my face. Shivers slam my body relentlessly. Maybe that's shock, though. How can I feel a chill when there's pretty much no other feeling?

Not that I expect an answer, but I call out, “Someone help me!” My voice brings no recognition. Not even a spark of who I am.

Panic settles over me.

My mind is blank. Empty.

How do I not have any memories? Did I fall? Crash? Hit my head? There's no pain, but that doesn't mean anything. Maybe shock has taken away the ability to feel pain. But I'm cold. So that's something.

Next step, check my body for wounds. My hands travel up and down my torso, searching for any tender spots or any blood seeping from an open injury. There's nothing. Absolutely nothing. This isn't promising. It doesn't calm my chaotic mind.

Before I go into a full blown panic meltdown, I stop and listen. There are voices. People talking. 
This is my chance!

“Hey! Can anyone hear me?” I scream into the foggy abyss.

No one responds, at least, not to me. The talking continues. Someone is sobbing hysterically, and it's most definitely not me.

I can't see them, and I don't think they can see me. Still, I scream and cry, running frantically until I can find someone.

I shouldn't be able to move this easily. I shouldn't feel nothing. Not with blood on my dress. One would think I rolled around in a pool of it. This isn't a few drops, I look like I bathed in it.

There's a crowd of people huddled together, surrounding something. And they're crying. Bowed heads, gut wrenching sobs.

I'm in a graveyard.

In front of the crowd of people is a coffin.

Is that me in there? Am I dead? Is that why I'm here?

I run … well, I don't even know if I'm running, because hell, I don't know if I'm alive, to the crowd. I'm like an animal ready to pounce at the first sight of a person.

“Somebody! Please tell me you can see me!” I scream, waving my hands.

No one turns my way. No one flinches. It's as if I'm invisible, which I think is becoming more and more likely. Because I'm dead. I have to be. It's the only explanation I can come up with, not that it's an option I'm happy to think about. I don't know who I am. How did I get here? Why does it seem like my memories are wiped clean?

How did I die?

Chapter 1

Scott

Why do people say rest in peace to the dead? They don't rest in peace. How do I know? Because I can fucking see ghosts. The ghosts who seek me out aren't at peace. It takes time and a willing human to help them find that peace. I'm not willing, but they don't leave me alone. I've never been a big people person, and I'm sure as hell not a 'ghost' person, but does that stop them? Nope. Not in the least.

It hasn't always been this way. Only in the past three years have I been able to see the dead.


I blame it on the fact that I died once. For ten minutes, until doctors managed to resuscitate my sorry ass.

Today is the day we're burying my uncle Floyd. It's cloudy, and a slight drizzle is spraying us with a light mist.

There are ghosts everywhere.

I've learned to ignore them, for the most part. They find me no matter where I go. I can't even take a shit without a ghost appearing, frantic for help because they eventually know I can see them. That stupid split second where I let my weakness show, and they descend upon me like a vulture chasing its prey.

Not only have I come back from the dead, but the dead want me. Sure, fine. Why not? No one else does. Not for me, anyway. My parents ignore me until they see fit to have their son at all of their important events. Other than that, I'm an outcast. Pretty much used to it. They throw money at me and tell me to have a good day.

I thought when I died and had my life flash before my eyes, it would change. It did for a little while. Then they went back to normal. Work, work, work. At least, for Dad, that was the case. Mom did her little parties and women's charities and pretended like she gave a shit about all of it.

She goes to the bar and screws the bartender. Dad pretends not to notice.

Want to know how they gain sympathy?

By using me.

“My son Scott has a hard time of it. I think he's gone a little crazy.” I heard my mother tell someone this a few months ago. I'll never confront her on it. What the hell is the point?

Living with this shit is crappy, but it is what it is. One day soon, I'll blow out of town and make a new life. Maybe I'll even be famous and my parents will come begging for my forgiveness.

Doubtful.

Aunt Sara steps forward and places a rose on Uncle Floyd's casket. She's sobbing hard. Together for thirty-nine years, his sudden death is devastating on all of us. Floyd was the only one who gave a rat's ass about me. We always did stuff together. He gave me my first cigar, and we got drunk together once when I was seventeen.

It dawns on me then. Why don't I see his spirit?

I finally look around, knowing all too well these other spirits are gonna have a field day with this. I'm not about to make myself look crazy in front of family and friends. Not today, of all days.

Shudders ripple through my body. Damn, some of these deaths were gruesome. Not only can I see the ghosts, but I see them in their death form.

Blood. Torn skin. I won't go on. The visuals churn acid in my stomach. Gotta give credit to doctors. I couldn't do it. I'm not even good with scary movies. They make me want to hurl.

Trying to stay casual, I scan the cemetery for any signs of my uncle. There are none. Disappointment settles in the core of my soul. I have this 'gift' of being able to see spirits, but the one I would actually love to see, I don't get to.

There's a young woman in a blood stained wedding dress, and she's waving her hands frantically. Why this one grabs my attention over all the others is beyond me, but she does. I can't tear my eyes away from her.

She notices that I see her, and relief floods her eyes.

Before she can get to me, a hand lands on my shoulder. “You all right, son?” Dad's concern is almost genuinely touching. Too bad I call bullshit. It's all for show.

“You know the answer to that,” I snap as I jerk my shoulder away. Too much crap within the last few years has left me jaded. It can't even be denied.

Dad gives me a cold look, like he can't even believe I got upset at him. Instead of arguing, he pivots and storms off. What does he expect? Seriously!

Whatever. Let them go off. I came in my own car, and I don't have to answer to anyone.

The woman spirit is still there, frozen in the same place. I only have eyes for her. Her mouth opens in shock as I strut toward her. “Y-You can see me?”

Ah, a first timer. She has no idea where she is or what's happened. Confusion taunts her pretty green eyes.

“Wish I couldn't, but yes.”

She frowns. “Does that mean I'm dead? No one else can see me.”

“Fraid so.” No point in beating around the bush.

“That funeral over there isn't mine, is it?” she whispers.

“No. It's for my uncle.” Back at the grave site, most of my family has already left. The empty spot and the coffin ready to be lowered in the ground breaks me a little more inside. At least Uncle Floyd lived a damn good life. I loved his stories. If my aunt knew half the shit he did even while married, she'd have a stroke.

The more I think about it, the more it seems the ghosts who come to me have unfinished business. That show Ghost Whisperer comes to mind, except it's been recent for me to be able to see them.

“Why can you see me?”

Ha! I've only been asking that question since the first ghost. “You tell me.”
She narrows her eyes. “You're not very nice.”

I'm not nice? That's my uncle buried over there, and I'm talking to a ghost. Wanna try that again?” Frustration pumps through my body.

“At least you aren't dead! I don't even know who I am!” she shoots back.

Touche. Despite my irritation, Ghost Bride makes a valid point.

“You put things into perspective for me there,” I admit, scratching at the back of my neck. The rain doesn't hold off. Too much more of this and I'll have to leave. What's stopping me from doing so already? Why does this one ghost gravitate toward me above all others today? “You don't remember anything about who you are and how you died?”

She shakes her head. “I woke up in a foggy abyss. I don't feel pain, even though it looks like I died in a horrible way. I wonder where my husband or husband-to-be is.”

My gaze flits to her left hand. No ring. Hmm. Interesting. “You don't even have an engagement ring on your hand.”

She gasps and raises her hand. “You're right. So maybe I ran from him.”

“A paranormal version of runaway bride? Hmm.” The words tumble from my lips before I can even think about how callous I'm being.

“Ugh. You're not one to hold back, are you?” Ghost Bride mutters in disgust.

“I'm talking to a ghost. Do you expect me to be a perfect gentleman?” I retort.

“I guess not,” she relents.

“You're going to follow me if I leave, aren't you?” Most of them do. Why bother asking?

“I- I don't know. Can I even do that?”

Newbie ghost problems. “Wouldn't be the first. I can't speak from a ghost perspective, but they never leave me alone.”

“Have you always been able to see us?”

There we go. The loaded question. Man, spirits are damn talkative. “Nope. Just a couple years.”

Wait for it....

Holy hell. She's silent. Ghost Bride doesn't ask me why it's only been recent.

I'm impressed.

My next words surprise me. Damn, I'm a sucker. “I don't want to get drenched, but I'm not about to leave you here alone and confused. You can go home with me, and we'll figure out who you are and how to get you to wherever it is you need to go.”

Her eyes light up. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” And then she tries to hug me. Ghost Bride's hands go right through me. I'm used to it, but she isn't.

She gasps, stepping back. “Okay, that's weird.”

“Right, so...let's go.” I gesture to the parking lot, which is fairly empty now.

“Umm...” Ghost Bride hesitates. “How exactly do I do this?”

Another sigh escapes me. Newbie ghost problems, and it's like I have the answers. Why do I do this to myself?



Interested in reading this book when the entire boxset releases in July?


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No matter where she goes, USA Today Bestselling author Nikki Lynn Barrett hears voices in her head. Instead of calling her crazy and locking her up, her family realizes it's just a product of being an author and allows her to write the stories so that the voices shut up.

But they don't. And probably never will. There's no need to lock her up, Nikki knows she'll never escape the voices, not until each and every last story is written. And for every story she writes, about ten or more ideas pop up.

When she isn't slaving away at her computer writing books that will probably make you cry and keep you in suspense, Nikki plots to take over the world one book at a time. What? It's a sickness. One she can't escape!

Books aren't her only addiction, though. Nikki can be found making up parodies to drive her son crazy, and bantering back and forth with her husband, who somehow manages to steal her away from the fictional world she lives in all the time.

Nikki lives in Arizona with her husband and son, where she can be found using every creativity outlet she can find through music, photography, handcrafted things, and random interests that she may pick up from time to time.

If you want to learn more about the author who makes people cry for a living, check out her website.