Friday, November 29, 2013

Tour Stop: TRUE BLISS by B.J. Harvey ~ Review/Giveaway

Title: TRUE BLISS (Bliss # 2)
Author: BJ Harvey
Published: November 25th
Organized by: The Book Avenue
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She watched her best friend find her superhero.

Now she wants her turn.

Despite a run of bad dates with Mr. Wrong, Mr. Boring, Mr. Bad Breath, Mr. Grabby Hands, and even Mr. Say I Love You After One Date To Get Into Your Pants, Kate McGuinness is more determined than ever to find the one.

Having tried everything else, she turns to the internet in a last ditch attempt to find her elusive prince.
But Kate doesn’t want an everyday, run of the mill love.

She wants the kind of love that makes your heart skip a beat. The kind of love that makes you dance in the rain and bottle up the sunset. The once in a lifetime kind of love that authors write about, musicians sing about, and lovers dream about.

Could a certain police officer in training, who has come to her rescue in the past, be the one to swoop in and save her heart? 

What if the love Kate desperately seeks has been in front of her the whole time?

She just needs to open her eyes to see it... 

*Disclaimer: This book contains a hot as hell stripper with a penchant for public sex and exhibitionism who may or may not succeed in bringing out the inner firecracker in all of us. Oh, and don't forget the batteries.*


“Girl’s night with Mac?” Nathan asks around a mouthful of his sandwich.

“Yep. Usually she’s at Daniel’s place or they’re at ours. We haven’t had a girls night in a long time.”

“Are handsome gay men with a love of rom coms and chocolate allowed at girls nights?”

“Maybe, depends what the handsome gay man is willing to bring to the table,” I say with a cheeky grin.

“Normally it would be two out of the three important c’s, cronuts and chardonnay, but lucky for you, it promises to be a very lucky night for me. I have a date with a six foot tall, hard as rock body, Puerto Rican man who has expressed an interest in all things Nate. So it looks like I might get a C of my own tonight.”

I clap my hands in glee like a barking seal at Sea World. “Nate, that’s great. That’s definitely a better offer than drinking with me while I gossip with my bestie.”

Nate is a man whore who seeks out fellow man whores. We bonded instantly over a love of hair and cronuts. Cronuts are the genius combination of a donut and a croissant filled with vanilla cream. Seriously, he introduced me to the glorious pastry and my ass has been cursing him ever since. Of course Nate says my ass has never looked so good, so I keep him around as my personal ass motivation coach. Every girl needs one of those.

“Yes well one can only live in hope that the promise of him is just as good as the reality. You’d know all about that, wouldn’t you?”

After reading Temporary Bliss, I was so excited to read about Zander and Kate. True Bliss picks up right where Temporary Bliss leaves off, and yes, Mac and Daniel are back. I loved that BJ Harvey gave us bits of Mac and Daniel. I really like when an author writes about the previous characters in the latest installment. 

Kate, I really liked her. She was strong, sassy and funny. I can see us hanging out together, as long as she brings Zander and he gives me a little dance. Speaking of Zander, Holy Moly! I absolutely loved him. He was so much sweeter than I expected. I really love that the author writes realistic and believable stories. 

I really think that BJ Harvey has outdone herself with this one. It's funny, sweet, emotional and overall a great book. I recommend this series to all my friends. I can't wait for the next book. Read It, Love It, and Tell everyone about it. 

I give this Book 5 Stripper Stars! ~Jen 

Indie Author hailing from the most beautiful country in the world, New Zealand.

Avid reader, television watcher, and facebooker. Having been writing off and on for a long time but started writing fiction in 2012. I love music too, like REALLY love music, if there isn't music playing, something is wrong. And it’s a wide range of music too, I might surprise you. 

I'm a wife to one husband, mother of two gorgeous girls, self-employed doing communications and business consulting as well as studying accounting full time.

Addicted to energy drinks, chocolate, cronuts, Vampire Diaries and pickles with mustard. 





Monday, November 25, 2013

Tour Stop: SLEIGH BELLS IN THE SNOW by Sarah Morgan ~ Review/Giveaway

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan heats up the season with the O'Neil brothers in a brand-new holiday series! 

Once upon a time, Christmas was Kayla Green's favorite time of year. Now all the workaholic wants for Christmas is for it to be over—as fast as possible! So when duty calls her to snowy Vermont to close a deal with a new client, Kayla is grateful for an excuse to avoid the holidays for another year. 

Jackson O'Neil left a thriving business behind to return home and salvage his family's resort—it's in his blood, and he can't let it fail. Now that he's got marketing whiz Kayla Green working with him to put Snow Crystal on the map, success is on the horizon. The fact they strike enough sparks off each other to power all the Christmas lights in Vermont is just an added bonus. 

Kayla might be an expert at her job, but she's out of her depth with Jackson—he makes her crave the happy-ever-after she once dreamed of, and it's terrifying. As the snowflakes continue to swirl, will the woman who doesn't believe in the magic of Christmas finally fall under its spell?



I love holiday romances! Nothing gets me in the Christmasy mood more than reading a beautifully sweet holiday love story set in a picturesque little town during the most wonderful time of the year.

I liked that the heroine in this story wasn't perfect. In fact at first she seemed down right cold. Kayla Green is a serious woman who manages to have no life outside of her job. When an opportunity arises for her to escape New York City at Christmas time she jumps on it. Kayla hates Christmas. This time of year evokes memories from her past that are painful and hard to bear.

Jackson has come back to Snow Crystal, Vermont to help save his family's business. This is not an easy task for him considering his family is fighting him every step of the way. He hires Kayla (a PR specialist) to help him turn things around.

Without giving too much away, just know that if you are looking for a warm and fuzzy, make you smile through your tears kind of book than this is the one for you. I loved it and I give Sleigh Bells In The Snow 4.5 Stars! ~Christy

About the author...
USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes hot, happy contemporary romance and her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She has been nominated three years in succession for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America and has won the award twice, in 2012 and 2013. She also won the RT Reviewers' Choice Award in 2012 and has made numerous appearances in their 'Top Pick' slot. 

As well as writing for Harlequin Presents, her first full length novel, Sleigh Bells in the Snow will be published by HQN in October 2013 and Ripped, her first title for the Cosmo Red Hot Reads from Harlequin programme will be out in November 2013. 

Sarah lives near London, and when she isn't reading or writing she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying. 

Readers can find out more about Sarah and her books from her website She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter (@SarahMorgan_)

Want to win an ecopy of Sleigh Bells In The Snow? Just leave a comment under this post about why you love to read holiday romances and we will chose 2 lucky winners!!

Tour Stop: Remy by Katy Evans ~ Review/Giveaway

Book Title: Remy
Author: Katy Evans
Date of Publication: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books
Blog Tour Hosted by: The SUBClub Books

Underground fighter Remington Tate is a mystery, even to himself. His mind is dark and light, complex and enlightening. At times his actions and moods are carefully measured, and at others, they spin out of control.
Through it all, there's been one constant: wanting, needing, loving, and protecting Brooke Dumas. This is his story; from the first moment he laid eyes on her and knew, without
a doubt, she would be the realest thing he's ever had to fight for.

“Pete, you think I need a sports rehab specialist?” I ask.
“No, Rem.”
“Why not?”
“You’re an asshole, dude. You hardly let the masseuses massage you for more than twenty minutes.”
“I need one now.” Pushing my iPad over to him, I tap the screen and signal to the name below her image. “I need that one.”
Pete lifts an interested eyebrow. “You do. Do you?”
“I need a sports rehab specialist on my payroll. I want her to tend to me every day. In whatever ways they do.”
He smirks. “They don’t do blow jobs, I’ll tell you that.”
“If I wanted a blow job, I could have had three just now. What I want . . .” Once again, my finger taps over her name. “Is this sports rehab specialist.”
Pete’s eyebrows fly up to his hairline, and he leans back and crosses his arms. “What exactly do you want her for?”
I chomp down the rest of my food, then take a long gulp of water so I can speak. “I want her for me.”
“Rem . . .” he says in warning.
“Offer her a salary she can’t decline.”
Pete answers me with a puzzled silence. He seems taken aback and is trying to make sense of me. He’s looking into my eyes, and I can tell he’s observing whether they are black or blue.
I’m not black. So I wait quietly. He sighs, slowly jots down her name, and speaks cautiously. “All right, Remington, but let me say, this has Bad Idea written all over it.”
Shoving my plate aside, I lean back and cross my arms.
My head betrays me half the time. One day, it tells me I am god. The other, it tells me that I not only rule hell, but I invented it. Does Pete think I give one fuck about what his own head thinks about my idea? I don’t listen to my head anymore. I listen only to my gut.
“I want her watching me fight Saturday,” I remind him as I get up and shove my chair back under the table. And I want her watching from the bet seats in the house.”
“Remington . . .”
“Just do it, Pete,” I say as I cross the living room back to the master.
“I already have the tickets ready to go, dude, but it’s hard enough keeping Diane from knowing of your . . . er, issues . . . It’s going to be even harder to keep it from someone like this sports rehab specialist.”
I prop my shoulder at the threshold of my bedroom and think about that. I lower my voice. “Make her sign a contract, so I have guaranteed time with her. And stabilize me the instant I start losing my shit.”
“Remington, just let me get some other girls—”
“No, Pete. No other girls.”
I shut myself in my room and grab my headphones, then just lie there with my iPod in my hand, staring at it.
What will it be like if I make her mine?
I don’t delude myself into thinking that she will accept me, but what if she does? What if she can understand me? The way I am? The two parts of me? No. Not two parts. Every. Single. Fucking. Part. Of me.
My gut tightens as I remember the way her eyes shone when she looked at me. The way they softened after I kissed her and she looked into my eyes, wanting more of me.
I have never seen a look quite like that before. I have been wanted by thousands of women. Nobody has ever looked at me with such open, frightened longing as her.
She was not frightened of me. She was frightened of “it.” This same thing clenching my gut that has me all tangled up. Every cell in my body is buzzing with awareness. Every inch of my skin is awake. My muscles feel primed like they do when I’m ready to fight. Except I’m not ready to fight now. I’m ready to go get my mate.
God help her.

After reading Real and Mine, I couldn't wait to read Remy. You never really got into his head in the first two books. I felt bad for Remy, and hearing this story from his POV made me feel even more for him. Remy was wonderfully written. Not many authors can take their first two books and give you them from a different POV and do it well. Katy Evans did just that. My heart broke all over for Remy, but at the same time I saw how strong he was. You see how deep his feelings for Brooke are.

I loved the added bit of the present. I'm sad to see the end of Remy and Brooke, but I'm hoping to get a little piece of them in the upcoming books in this series. Thank You, Katy for giving us Remy and his story.

I'm giving this book 5 Stars! ~Jen

About the author...
Hey! I’m Katy Evans and I love family, books, life, and love. I’m married with two children and three dogs and spend my time baking, walking, writing, reading, and taking care of my family. Thank you for spending your time with me and picking up my story. I hope you had an amazing time with it, like I did. If you’d like to know more about books in progress, look me up on the Internet, I’d love to hear from you!

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Cover Reveal: GOING THE DISTANCE by Christa Cervone

A murderer’s child…A foster child…A troubled teen…Gabriel ‘The Saint’ Vega has never had an easy life. Being shuffled from one foster home to another after his father murdered his mother, he found himself in and out of trouble with the law. Never giving a damn about himself, let alone anyone else, his life was spiraling out of control; fast. Until one man and one sport changed everything. Frankie Carbone taught Saint how to handle his anger and rejection; by fighting it out in the ring. On his way to stardom, Saint finds himself pushed into the spotlight and into the arms of more women than he can ever imagine; he’s completely content with one night stands and random sex. Then Salem Harris comes walking into his life and changes his game plan. Saint finds himself wanting Salem in all the ways that scare him. She is off limits; taken. But that doesn’t stop Saint from going after what he wants, and he wants her. Frankie showed Saint a new way of life with Boxing, but will Salem give him the one thing he's never known – love? Will Saint find himself fighting for the one thing he thinks he doesn't deserve or will Salem end up breaking his heart? Gabriel ‘The Saint’ Vega has had to fight for every good thing he's gotten in his life. Can he go the distance?

Meet Christa

Christa Author Photo

I was born and raised in Western Massachusetts and I'm a married mother of three who married her high school sweetheart, Frank. I don't really have too many hobbies. I like to watch my kids play sports. I do photography on the side (weddings, families, babies etc). I'm Minion & Adam Levine obsessed. I enjoy listening to all different types of music, Maroon 5 & P!nk being some of my favorites. Achievements -- I was on the Top 20 Erotica as well in being on the Movers and Shakers List on Amazon with "Broken." I'm currently working on her second novel titled "Going the Distance" which will be released Fall 2013 as well as a third novel titled "Saved."  

  Teaser - Prologue 

  “In the case of the Commonwealth vs. Josue Vega. How do you plead?”
“Not guilty,” I hear our father say in his thick Spanish accent.
The cameras begin to flash and I hear reporters talking into their microphones, although I can’t understand what they are saying.
“Order in the court,” the judge speaks loudly as his gavel hits the desk; making my little brother, Jason, jump.
“It’s ok, Jase, we’re safe now,” I say, trying to comfort him. The two of us sit quietly in the second row of the hot, crowded courtroom as we watch our father plead ‘Not guilty’ to the murder of our mother. I’m just as scared as he is but I don’t want him to know that. I’m his older brother and he looks up to me, so I am trying to be brave.
“Your Honor, my client asks to be released on bail. He has two little boys he needs to care for while the trial is ongoing,” says the tall man who is standing next to our father.
I eyeball our father and notice how disheveled he looks. His hair is a mess and his clothes are the same ones he’d been wearing two nights ago. Jase and I were awoken this morning by a loud banging on our door. It was the police and they were looking for our father, but we hadn’t seen him in almost two days.
The last time I’d seen our father was the night he and our mother had gotten into an argument. They were yelling so loudly that they actually woke me from a sound sleep. I could hear our mother screaming, “How could you? He’s just a little boy…” and that was the last time I heard our mother’s voice.
“Your Honor, the Defendant is being charged with murder. I insist he be remanded to the county jail for the duration of his trial,” a voice says loudly from the other side of the courtroom.
The judge looks over at us and I can see the pity in his eyes.
“Mr. Vega, I have to agree with the District Attorney,” the judge’s voice is stern. “You’re standing trial for the murder of your wife. Bail is denied, and you’re to return to the county jail for the remainder of your trial. Bailiff, please remove the Defendant and have him taken into custody.”
I hear chatter erupt from the back of the courtroom. I turn around and see the reporters talking and the cameras flashing again. Spinning back around, I see a man in what looks like a police uniform handcuffing my father, then leading him out of the courtroom. Jase covers his face with his hands and begins to cry, “Why are they taking Papi?”
“It’s okay, Jase,” I whisper. “We have each other. Remember, we’re Blood Brothers.” Jase wipes his tears away with his hand and forces a smile.
“Blood Brothers” was something I’d come up with when we were out playing on the playground. It was one of the few times our father had actually offered to take us somewhere. We’d been cooped up in our small, dingy apartment all winter long, and it was finally a pleasant Spring day. Jase and I were running around playing tag. Our father had told us several times to stop running, but lo and behold, right after his final warning Jase fell and skinned both of his knees. Our father glared at us, just waiting to hear Jase cry. I knew what was coming next, he’d ‘give him something to cry about.’ That had been one of our father’s favorite lines; especially to Jase, who was extremely sensitive and cried over almost everything.
“Come on Jase, don’t cry,” I whispered to him, as I looked anxiously over my shoulder at our father. Jase’s body began to shake as he tried to hold his tears back and the blood from both his knees began to run down his shins. I glanced back at our father, who was now standing up, and I knew I had to act fast.
I reached into my back pocket and pulled out an old pocket knife that I had found lying on the sidewalk one day after school. I’d been keeping it a secret from Jase because I knew he’d want to play with it and would end up hurting himself.
“Hey Jase, look what I found a few days ago,” I said, showing him the knife.
His eyes grew wide, “Woah, where did you get that?” He said in awe.
“I found it a couple of days ago.”
“What are you two doing over there?” Our father said loudly, making Jase jump.
“Nothing Papi. I’m just tying Jase’s shoes,” I answered back.
“Hurry up! I’m ready to leave,” he snapped in response.
Opening up the blade as fast as I could, I took the tip and pressed it down onto the pad of my thumb.
“Gabriel,” Jase gasped. “What are you doing?”
“I wanna show you that you don’t have to cry every time you bleed,” I explained as blood began to pool up on my thumb. “See, I’m bleeding and I’m not crying.”
“It’s like we’re Blood Brothers,” Jase smiled at me as he blinked back his tears.
“Yes. Exactly, Jase, we’re Blood Brothers,” I smiled back at him.
I look over at Jase now and notice that he’s trying his hardest to hold back his tears. The two of us sit quietly as we watch our father being taken away. I finally feel safe. He and our mother are out of our lives forever; they can’t hurt us anymore. I’ve actually dreamed of this day; Jase and me, living with parents who actually love us. I saw it in a movie once; a little girl who didn’t have any parents was living in an orphanage and some rich guy adopted her. They lived happily ever after and I’m hoping that’s what’s going to happen to us.
“Gabriel? Jason?” I hear a kind voice say. “I’m Debbie and this is Dave, we’re going to take you to where you’re going to be staying.”
They’re dressed up in fancy suits and I wonder if they’re going to be our new parents. I can’t help but smile at the thought. They look so nice; they can give us a happy life. I know they can.
“Jase, shhhhh…stop crying,” I nudge him. “Look, I think this is our new Mom and Dad,” I whisper.
The last thing I want is for them to think Jase is a crybaby. He is, but I don’t want them changing their minds about us.
“Come on boys, we’re going to get you situated in your new homes,” Dave says.
I look up at him, confused, “Homes?”
“Yes, you and Jason are being placed in foster homes,” Debbie replies.
“You’re not our new Mom and Dad?” Jase asks sadly, through his tears.
“Oh no, Jason,” Debbie says sincerely as she crouches down in front of Jase. “We work for the Department of Social Services and we’ve been sent to bring you to your new homes.”
Debbie’s words make Jase cry even harder and I feel so sorry for him. In his five years of life, he’s never known a parent’s love. Sometimes at night, when we can’t fall asleep, I tell him about movies I’ve seen on television; how the families are so happy. The mom makes the family dinner, and the dad comes home from work and plays baseball with the kids. Jase always gets excited as I tell him about the movies. I promised him that someday it will be like that for us; that one day Mami’s medicine will eventually make her better. I didn’t mean it to be a lie.
When Mami was sick, she either slept all day or she was throwing up in the bathroom. Every morning, I heard her making a phone call for more medicine. About twenty minutes after she got off the phone, there was a knock at the door. It was usually a man dressed in dark, baggy clothes that brought her medicine. After that, she disappeared into the bathroom. Sometimes she came right out, while other times, she stayed in there for close to an hour.
Most mornings, it was me who got us ready for school. Some days, if we were lucky, there was actually food in the house; but only if Mami had felt well enough to go grocery shopping. Other days, we went to school hungry. Mrs. Gibbons, my teacher, occasionally brought fruit in for us. She slipped it to us in the hallway and always reminded us not to tell anyone.
Mrs. Gibbons was the nicest teacher in the school. She always asked about Jase and me and she made sure we ate lunch every day. Sometimes during class, I’d daydream that Mrs. Gibbons was our mom. But then the dismissal bell would ring, snapping me back into reality. I always hated the end of the day; that meant that school was over and it was time for us to go home.
Jase and I would take our time walking home from school because we never knew what we were walking into when we got there. Was our father going to be there? If he was home, what kind of mood would he be in? Would he and Mami be fighting? More often than not, they’d be fighting. Papi would be yelling at Mami because the house was a mess and dinner was not made; it was always for the same reason. “I work all fuckin’ day, the least you can do is clean this fuckin’ pigsty and make dinner,” he’d yell, raising his hand to her.
Depending on his mood after hitting our mother, sometimes he’d take his anger out on us next. The two of us would huddle in our room, trying to keep quiet, but he’d burst through the door yelling, “And you two! All you two ever do around here is make messes and eat! It’s about time you start helping out.”
Some nights we were lucky and he’d just leave after he yelled at us; while others, he’d physically pick us up, drag us into the living room, and make us start cleaning. “And get me a fuckin’ beer too, you little piece of shit!” He’d yell at me. “I don’t know why your mother even wanted you in the first place. You’re nothing but a waste of space and money.”
I’d encourage Jase to clean as quickly as he could so that we could go back into our room and wait for our father to pass out on the couch. This had become an almost daily occurrence for us.
“Gabriel and Jason, it’s time to go,” a voice says, snapping me out of my memory. “Gabriel, you’ll be coming with me and Jason will be going with Dave.”
“What do you mean I’m going with you and Jase is going with Dave?” My voice begins to tremble. Once I realize what’s happening, I begin to scream at the top of my lungs, “You’re not taking my brother from me. I’m all he has!”
Debbie tries to soothe and calm me down, but this only makes matters worse. I begin kicking and punching her as I yell in Spanish, “No me puedes quitar a mi hermano, puta estúpida!”
Before I know it, I’m taken away kicking and screaming. Dave grabs a hold of my feet while another man has my torso. Jase is crying hysterically and there is nothing I can do. I watch Debbie escort him out of the courtroom and realize that everything that I’ve ever known is gone.

EJ Button

Friday, November 22, 2013

Release Day Event: TESTAMENT by Katie Ashley

Title: Testament
Author: Katie Ashley
Published: Nov. 22, 2013

Five years ago, catastrophic earthquakes, massive floods, and violent storms caused the collapse of the global economy and a massive political upheaval. In a world thrown into chaos after The Great Fall, greedy CEO’s enforce the Golden Rule—whoever has the most gold, rules the land. Any hint of rebellion against the domineering government ends in either death or imprisonment. 

Fiery and beautiful Cadence O’Bryant has trouble keeping silent against the new order, a trait that often lands her in trouble. Having lost her parents to rebellion, her life now is about survival. She despises the new order of life and wishes for time to turn back to when life held order, and love was a possibility, not an impossible dream. Her worst nightmare comes in the form of the Emperor’s decree—all young women are to compete in a competition of beauty, intelligence, and most of all obedience, for his son, Kellan’s, hand in marriage. Cadence fears not only to lose herself to the male dominated society that now prevails, but also that hers and her brother, Griffin’s, secret will be revealed, which would be a death sentence. 

Determined and handsome Micah Greene harbors an even deeper secret than the fact he is in love with his best friend’s sister, Cadence. The secret is one his father died to protect, but it’s also one that unites him to Cadence and their cause. On the eve of their separation, Micah reveals his heart to Cadence. But is it too late? Is it possible he might lose the woman he loves to his nemesis, Kellan Quinn, the Emperor’s son. 

Will Cadence be chosen by Kellan, or will she be able to choose her future? Will Kellan’s sexy good looks and promise of stability tempt Cadence to fall for the future Emperor and hurt her one true friend. Passion is burning, but for whom will it burn the brightest for? 

As revolution brews in the province, love may need to take a back seat. Will Cadence have the option to love either man, or will she have to fight for everything she’s ever loved, including her freedom?

Later that night, I found myself tossing and turning in bed. Sleep became evasive as doubt and anxiety swallowed me whole. I knew there was only one thing that would soothe me. It was late and it was risky, but in the end, I knew I didn’t have much choice.

I pulled on a sweater over my gown and slipped on my shoes. Pausing outside Griff’s door, the rumbling of his snores filled my ears. I quietly padded down the hall and out the back door. The moonlight illuminated the back yard, but I could have found my way blindfolded.

Just at the edge of the woods, I knelt down in front of an apple tree. My hand felt along a gnarled root until I found just the right spot. My fingernails dug into the soft earth. I burrowed further and further into the dirt until half my arm was buried. I stopped digging when my fingers banged against a box. I reached inside the hole and pulled it out. The rusted Band-Aid tin didn’t look like any sort of treasure, but it held the contents of one of the few treasures of my past.

The tin lid popped open, and the beaded chain dropped out into my hand. The silver crucifix gleamed in the moonlight. My fingers feathered over the beads as the words formed on my lips, “Hail Mary, full of grace.”

I didn’t dare utter the words out-loud. They echoed in my mind as loud as if they came from a microphone. Sometimes, if I concentrated hard enough, I could hear my mother’s voice repeating the Hail Mary. The rosary had been given to me on my First Communion. Against all odds, my mother had hidden it when our house had been searched by the government. While the crucifix that hung over our door and the picture of the Last Supper were burned in the front yard, our rosaries had been carefully sewn into our coats and skirts. It was a subtle throwback to my mother’s days as a History Professor. She taught about how when Nicholas II of Russia was overthrown, his wife, the Tsarina Alexandra, had hid imperial jewels by sewing them into their clothes.

I didn’t know where Griff had hidden his. We had buried our parents with theirs—a final gesture of what they had stood for, and in the end, died for. The thought of them sent stinging tears to my eyes.

A twig snapped behind me, and I whirled around. The rosary fell from my hands. “M-Micah, what are you doing here?”

He glanced from the ground back to me. “I thought you might be out here.”

Without taking my eyes from his, I tried to slide the rosary with one of my feet into a pile of leaves. “And just why did you think that?” I asked, trying to keep his mind occupied.

“You don’t have to hide it from me, Cadence,” he murmured.

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“The rosary. You’re a Believer.” There was no accusation in his voice or change in tone.

“Besides, I already knew.”

“You did?”

“I saw your tattoo.”

I gasped. “But how? I’ve always kept it hidden.”

Embarrassment filled Micah’s face. “I saw you swimming one night in the cove...just in your underwear.”

My tattoo burned on my shoulder as heat rose from my neck and filled my cheeks. “Y-you s-saw me?” Micah nodded. “I can’t believe it. How embarrassing!” I cried, burying my head in my hands. But then, white hot anger flashed through me, interrupting my mortification. “Wait a minute. What were you doing spying on me anyway?”

Micah held up his hands. “It was only that one time. It’s not like I stalk you or something. I just saw you coming out here and wondered what you were up to. Then, when I saw you…” His eyes took a serious edge. “I couldn’t look away.”

Words seemed to evaporate from my mind, rendering me speechless. I fumbled with the edge of my sweater—trying to pull it tighter around my sheer nightgown. Finally, I found my voice. “Why didn’t you report us?”

“You think I would do something like that?” he asked, his expression darkening.

I shrugged. “The bounty for a Believer is worth a fortune. If you’d turned us in, you and your mother would have been taken care of for life.”

“I would rather starve to death than gorge myself on the blood money of my friends!” he spat.

His anger pulsed through me, and I shook my head. “I’m sorry. It’s just I didn’t think Griff and I had anyone else who cared about us.”

“You shouldn’t even have to wonder why I wouldn’t turn you in.”

Without taking his eyes from mine, Micah whisked his shirt over his head. His broad chest gleamed in the moonlight. He grabbed my hand in his. “Are you crazy?” I demanded, jerking my hand away.

“I wanted—”

“Yeah, I have a good idea what you wanted, but I’ll be damned if I sleep with you just to keep our secret.”

His reaction was one hundred and eighty degrees different than what I expected. Laughter rolled through him. “Cadence, I wasn’t about to force myself on you.”

“You weren’t?”

“Uh, no, I wasn’t.”

My brows furrowed. “But you admitted you watched me swim and you took off your shirt….” I argued feebly. In my mortification, I wanted to snatch up my rosary and begin praying for the ground to open up and save me from the embarrassment.

“I took off my shirt to show you this.” He took my hand in his and drew me close to him. His distinctive musky scent filled my nose, and it sent an unfamiliar tingle through me. Heat filled my cheeks at how close I was to him. I mean, I had stood close to him before. He had bandaged my hand today, for goodness sake. But this was different—there was an intimacy to this.

A scar burned a small crater into his back. Its raised edges were almost jagged while the top was smooth to the touch.

“I don’t—”

“That’s where my tattoo should be.”


Katie Ashley is the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best-Selling author of The Proposition. She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her two very spoiled dogs and one outnumbered cat. She has a slight obsession with Pinterest, The Golden Girls, Harry Potter, Shakespeare, Supernatural, Designing Women, and Scooby-Doo.

She spent 11 1/2 years educating the Youth of America aka teaching MS and HS English until she left to write full time in December 2012.

She also writes Young Adult fiction under the name Krista Ashe.