students and teachers. Joan speaks in her community, for professional organizations and at genealogy conferences.
”If you have ever searched for your own history, or a way to bring history to life, this book is a masterpiece.”
”If you have ever searched for your own history, or a way to bring history to life, this book is a masterpiece.”
On Christmas Eve, a horrific car accident leaves Carly Perez without a mom. After a year of surgeries and counseling, Carly’s life is nearly back to normal—except for the monsters—vague, twisted images from the accident that plague her dreams. When her father insists on spending their first Christmas alone in Guatemala with a slew of relatives Carly has never met, she is far from thrilled, but she reluctantly boards the plane anyway.
That’s where she first spots the man with the scarred face. She could swear she has seen him before. But when? Where?
In Reu, the Guatemalan town where her father grew up, Carly meets Miguel, her attractive step-cousin, and thinks maybe vacation won’t be a total waste after all. Though she is drawn to him, Carly’s past holds her back—memories that refuse to be forgotten, and a secret about the accident that remains buried in her subconscious. And everywhere she turns, the man with the scarred face is there, driving that unwelcome secret to the surface.
The author is running this tour alongside her fundraiser for Casa de Sion, an orphanage/charity in Guatemala, which is where the book is set. She is donating $1.00 for every book sold and also $1.00 for every review of Petals posted on Amazon or Goodreads throughout the month of November to Casa de Sion. Her goal is to raise $200. More specific details can be found here:
“Trust me, Carly. You’ll love Guatemala,” he said. He was relentless. “It won’t be so bad, spending Christmas there.” He poured the rest of the nuts into his mouth and chewed.
Personally, I had serious doubts about spending nearly a month in a third world country where half the people lived in mud huts.
“It’s a great place,” Dad continued. “Lush jungles, ancient ruins, coconuts—”
Malaria, sauna-like heat, amoebas—
“All I ask is that you give it a chance, Carly. Give them a chance.”
Them. The so-called family I never knew. For all my seventeen years, they had been nothing more than pictures on the mantle. Dad rarely spoke of them, so why he chose our first Christmas since Mom died to change the status quo was beyond me.
“Why did I have to come?” I asked, my frustration piquing. “I’m old enough to man the house while you’re away. I can take care of myself.”
“We already went over this, Carly. They want to meet you. It’s important to me that they do.”
“If they’re so important, then why haven’t you seen them in two decades?” I didn’t expect an answer. I just wanted to get Dad off my back. But instead, he shrugged his shoulders and gave me an apologetic grin.
“Let’s just say we had our differences,” he said.
The flight attendant returned, this time offering a pillow. She was still smiling. At least the red mark on her teeth was gone.
I took the pillow and arranged it behind my neck. Dad took one as well, tucking it behind his head. I should have been glad to finally have some quiet time to myself, but curiosity got the better of me. I leaned over and whispered.
“Go to sleep,” said Dad.
“What differences?” I asked again.
“Carly, it’s almost one in the morning. Even if you’re not tired, I am. Let me get some sleep. Okay?”
I looked around and realized that most of the other passengers had already dozed off.
“Do you need your pills?” Dad asked.
I shook my head. “If I take them now, I’ll be a zombie by the time we land.”
Although, maybe Guatemala won’t seem so bad if I’m in a drugged-out stupor.
“Night, Carly,” said Dad. Five minutes later, he was snoring.
Across the aisle, Raisin Face had a magazine open on his lap. He licked his thumb before turning each page. I didn’t realize I was staring until he turned abruptly to look at me. Our eyes locked, and in that sliver of a moment, my heart threatened to explode right out of my ribcage. I broke away from his gaze and jerked opened my own magazine, pretending to be absorbed in it.
When my heart returned to its normal rhythm, I set the magazine aside, turned on my music, and leaned back against the pillow. I closed my eyes, but thoughts kept racing through my head. I wanted to look at him again, to study his face and give my brain time to place him.
Is he watching me? I wondered. Does he recognize me too?
After a while, I started to relax. Oblivion was calling, but I desperately clung to consciousness, like a mountain climber gripping a rock by her fingernails while dangling above a precipice. The fall was inevitable, but I strained to hold on. It wasn’t that I had trouble sleeping, but the pills kept the monsters at bay.
Finally, unable to fight it any longer, I surrendered. Falling into sleep, I struggled to recall just where I had seen that man’s face before.
Laurisa White Reyes is the author of the 2016 Spark Award winning novel The Storytellers, as well as The Celestine Chronicles and The Crystal Keeper series. She lives in Southern California where she teaches English at College of the Canyons.
Not even the gods noticed when Chariss was born with the mark of The Protector. Now she and her wizard guardian seek shelter from a mad sorcerer in a household not just full of secrets and false hope, but watched by the god who will unwittingly reveal her role in an impending war.
When an orphan sets aside a lifetime of running and fear to accept the responsibilities of guarding an arrogant deity, can she face the trials in the prophecies she uncovers? Will Nigel Taiman of her latest refuge dare to use his dragon heritage to bind her to his estate or to help her in her duty?
“Choices Meant for Gods is without a doubt the freshest most engaging high fantasy novel to come out in years and breathes new life into a tired genre. The characters leap off the page and the plot is lightning quick and deftly written with many layers that tease the mind and imagination. Choices Meant for Gods is not a mere novel; it is a gorgeous piece of written art. I can hardly wait for the second book!”
Jamieson Wolf, Linear Reflections Author of Hope Falls, Electric Pink, Electric Blue, and Garden City
“In Choices Meant for Gods, Sandy Lender takes her readers of fantasy fiction by the hand and leads them through an exciting world filled with sorcerers, gods, goddesses, dragons, and other mythical creatures. Through the use of interesting characters and clever dialogue (“Try not to think, Nicolas. You look so much more handsome when you’re bewildered.”), she weaves a spell of magic and fantasy. The only problem for the reader may occur at the end of the book when they find themselves wanting more and discover they will have to wait for book two!”
Gary R. Hoffman, Author for Short Story Anthologies including Seven By Seven and Never Safe
There’s no doubt: Chariss is in danger. Her geasa is hampered by the effects of a friend’s marriage. The dashing Nigel Taiman hides something from her, yet demands she stay at his family’s estate where he and her wizard guardian intend to keep her safe. But the sorcerer Lord Drake and Julette The Betrayer know she’s there, and their monstrous army marches that way.
When prophecies stack up to threaten an arrogant deity, Chariss must choose between the dragon that courts her and the ostracized kings of the Southlands for help. Evil stalks her at every turn and madness creeps over the goddess who guides her. Can an orphan-turned-Protector resist the dark side of her heritage? Or will she sacrifice all to keep her god-charge safe?
From the foothills of the Freotho Mountains to the marble halls of Mahriket, factions of deities rise to threaten not just Master Rothahn’s crown, but all of Onweald’s people. The battles fan the gates of the dark spirit world releasing demons of every species to aid the enemy, but Emperor Nigel Taiman brings Malachi’s power to the Arcanan Army’s camp in hopes of tipping the balance in his bride’s favor. Dangerous times call for strange allies from all quarters. To restore the geasa that will save the god she’s sworn to protect, Amanda Chariss must escape the very Betrayer’s grasp and make choices for the good of all. Does she have the will to sacrifice all that she holds dear in the process? Dive into the action-packed conclusion of the Choices trilogy to discover how prophecy works with and against those who would heed it.
Readers will recognize Sandy Lender as the author of the 2007 fantasy novel “Choices Meant for Gods” from ArcheBooks Publishing, but the South Florida resident has been writing since she was knee high to a grasshopper. At the early age of about six, Sandy entertained the folks in her great grandmother’s apartment building in Southern Illinois with ghost stories of squeaky spiders. Sandy won a first-place award with that imagination when she wrote a sequel to Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” during her school days in the St. Louis area before earning a degree in English from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. That led to a career in journalism where she’s worked for a variety of publications the past 23 years.
Today she’s the editorial director of two construction magazines and publisher of an avian publication. ArcheBooks has released the final of the “Choices” trilogy, and a number of her YA novels will get star treatment in 2016 and beyond. Sandy is also a sea turtle conservationist. She has companion parrots and turtles in her home who keep her hopping. It takes one ring on her cell phone to discover she’s remained obsessed with Duran Duran since 1984. She’s beaten cancer twice, but still battles the IRS. To begin 2016 properly, she welcomes readers to share in the conclusion of Chariss’s epic story in “Choices Meant for All.”
The Road to Hell is Paved with Bad Intentions. Get ready for Keys to the Coven, a witty, tightly plotted, (adult) urban-fantasy/romance set in an original universe where karma is power, sex is karma, and it’s not who you know but whose soul you own that matters.*
To become a demon, you must die in complete and utter despair. Three hundred years ago, Max passed that test with flying colors and joined the afterlife resolving never again to have innocent blood on his hands. Now Max has been given the job of breaking a young witch’s family curse. But what she doesn’t know, what Max can’t bring himself to tell her, is that completing his mission almost certainly means her death.
When Felicity Woodsen inherits her mother’s coven, she learns each firstborn Woodsen daughter must become the consort of an evil-arch demon. Felicity’s only hope is to ally with the mysteriously charming Max. But is saving her body from one demon worth risking her soul with another?
Roxashael became a demon when his Roman captors sent his family, one by one to be devoured by lions. The lesson was clear: power is good; lots of power is better. Two-thousand years later, Rocky has power. He’s purchased hundreds of souls, and he’s created the Minsk Homunculus, a magic artifact that, by binding a human witch as his consort, turns him into an arch-demon and places him above the goody-two-shoes laws of karma.
Unfortunately, Rocky made a mistake. He fell in love with Felicity’s mother and in a moment of weakness promised to give up his demon-consort charm. Now Felicity’s mother is dead, the Minsk Homunculus is slated for destruction, and Rocky’s power as an arch-demon is about to end.
No demon can break a promise. If Rocky refuses to give up the Minsk Homunculus, he’ll become the lowest, most abject slave in Hell. But then, why break promises when they’re so easy to corrupt?
**Caution: This book contains violence, strong sexual themes, moderately explicit sex between consenting adults, (unfulfilled) threats against children, and one completely gratuitous reference to unicorns.
Vicky Loebel began her professional life as a systems programmer for NASA and moved through successively more challenging careers before settling in as a writer of tightly-plotted, romantic fiction. She lives on the slopes of Mt. Lemmon, AZ with her sister, three dogs, a rotating assortment of children, and a husband who has the patience of a saint.
Nick Podehl is a professional Voice Actor. He has narrated over 200 audio books, many of which have won various awards.
Emily Beresford is a professional audiobook narrator who is a nerd for books, no matter the genre. In 2013 she was nominated for an Audie Award and received an Earphones Award from AudioFile magazine, for her work on the Multi-Voice title October Mourning. She lives in Michigan with her wonderful husband, and two amazing children.
Tell me again what we’re looking for? Felicity Woodsen jerked a twenty foot telephone cord around a mahogany table, braced a wobbling Tiffany lamp with one elbow, and listened to the unanswered ringing of the old-fashioned telephone receiver tucked under her ear. There are parlors–she thought, peering into the filtered light that spilled in waves across the ponderosa pines crowding her mother’s gray windows–there are parlors in which genteel ladies live out the simple order of their days, knitting doilies, sipping elderbery winde, and perhaps burying a yellow fever victim in the basement now and again. She shoved a seventeenth century French ottoman out of her path, sending a twenty-first century flutter of moths into the air. OK, be nice, she told herself sternly. Mom’s dead. Granted, Rose Woodsen had been a rotten mother, a lunatic con-woman who thought she was a witch, an unfaithful wife who’d driven off her husband and looked the other way while her oldest daughter…
Learning that you are actually a witch can be frightening, but also empowering. What if you learned that your whole family, generations before you, were all witches and sorcerers? It would be very difficult to cope with because that would mean that your life would change forever, possibly even putting your life in danger. Loebel has a peculiar, but highly compelling paranormal story that will leave readers entertained.
Felicity meets Max after having it out about Greg, her lying cheating no good for nothing, now ex-fiance. After arriving at her mother’s house to take care of the estate, she has only two things in her mind. Her mother promised to pay the bills for her younger sister’s Medical School and then, she had to figure out what to do with her mother’s house…her rotten careless no good for nothing…now dead mother. Even if she is dead though, she still holds reserve that somewhere her mother was a good person…then Max climbs through the window and makes his presence known to a furious Felicity and younger sister Hannah.
Max isn’t a normal man…in fact, he really isn’t human at all–he’s a demon. He made a deal with Rose Woodson, Felicity’s mother, that he would protect her since she is the oldest daughter in the Woodson line. Coming into her powers is something that Rose feels would be the most dangerous thing for her with something called the Minsk Homunculus, a magic artifact that, by binding a human witch as a consort, turns a demon into an arch-demon and places them above the goody-two-shoes laws of karma. Wrapped up into a nutshell, they find themselves in some seriously deep danger.
After a binding goes so horribly wrong and Max becomes bonded to Felicity for what appears to be 24-hours, she is forced to come to the rationalization that perhaps her mother wasn’t completely lunatic crazy when she said that she was a witch and head of her own coven.
Loebel does a good job with character development, most of it. There are some characters that seem to be left in the dark a little more than others. As the suspense unravels, so many things are thrown at these characters in rapid succession–making the story fun and enticing! The pace is fast, sometimes if feels that it is a little too fast which can make the story a bit confusing for the reader in this type of genre. The change in having two narrators is certainly very entertaining as well. One narrator can do the job just fine…given that they are fit for the novel, but having two perspectives in this story from Felicity and Max, two narrators do give the narration a great emphasis on both characters. If you are a reader of paranormal, suspense, and fantasy, this might be something that you are looking for!
A copy of this audiobook was provided to Turning Another Page by Audiobookworm Promotions, but this in no way affects our honest opinion of the book or the review that has been written. We provide a four-star rating for Keys to the Coven by Wendy Loebel, narrated by Emily Beresford and Nick Podehl.
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Ranch owner, Trevor Wild, loves nothing more than spending his day in the saddle riding in the Texas sun. He’s passionate about being the latest generation of Wild man to breed quarter horses on Wildhorse Ranch. But in the aftermath of inheriting a bad business deal the Ranch is in serious financial trouble, and this serious cowboy needs to look outside the box to save his family’s pride and joy.
Glamping guru, Sabrina Hearthstone, is the best of the best at what she does, and she could very well be Trevor’s saving grace. The blonde beauty arrives at Wildhorse Ranch ready to get the job done. She’s all business when it comes to bringing a little luxury to the leather and dirt clad Ranch. But soon she’ll realize that to renovate the Ranch for Glamping she may have to renovate it’s cowboy too.
Sabrina is tempting on a whole lot of levels for Trevor—when he gives into both her touch, and the 1,000 thread count bed sheets, he finds that she soothes his soul. However, Sabrina’s world is a difficult thing for the hardened cowboy to accept. Trevor will have to learn to accept Sabrina and her changes to his world, not only to save Wildhorse Ranch, but to save a love he never expected to find.
“Huh?” Sabrina glanced up to take him in again, and dropped the side of the log she was holding. Trevor grimaced and set his end down, also. The way his mouth tended to frown naturally—and only deepen when he was annoyed or working—distinguished him from his more approachable twin brother.
“No…I mean, wow. You really aren’t, are you?” Now that Sabrina had halted operations, Trevor straightened to regard her in turn. The way she looked him over, with eyes as wide and summer-blue as the Texas sky, made him acutely aware of just how closely they stood.
“No. I really am not,” he agreed. He wondered how much Trent let her get away with while he was gone. Sabrina Hearthstone had a face as pretty as an angel’s—pair that with her ridiculously tight, stone-washed designer jeans, and he doubted his brother had been willing to deny her much. She was the living, breathing lyric of a country song standing before him—the worshipped, vaunted city girl—and for the first time, Trevor contemplated how much trouble he might be in having her on his property.
At least they had managed to agree on one important detail so far: he wasn’t his brother Trent. While the Sheriff of Lockhart Bend might be willing to let certain behaviors slide, Trevor expected a rigid adherence to his rules. If she already found him more serious, more commanding, than his twin brother, then it might make his job a hell of a lot easier.
“So, you must be Trevor,” Sabrina deduced. “The owner. Unless you’re triplets I wasn’t aware of,” she appeared to mutter to herself. She extended a slender hand to him, and Trevor removed one of his gloves before taking it in his own. He wondered what his callouses must feel like rubbing against her soft skin. She didn’t draw back immediately, which he also found curious. They held the handshake a few seconds longer than strictly necessary before Sabrina withdrew and flushed a little.
“Sorry I mistook you for your brother,” she apologized. “I guess I didn’t realize you’d be back today.”
“I keep to a schedule,” Trevor stated. “Which is something you’re throwing off already, Miss Hearthstone.” He nodded toward the scraps she had accumulated on the porch. “I’m tossing that wood out in the quarterly clear-out.” She stared at him blankly. “That’s tomorrow. You want to keep any of it for arts and crafts, I expect you to go through it all today.”
“Excuse me, Mr. Wild, but this isn’t for arts and crafts,” Sabrina protested. She gestured toward her woodpile selections. “This is upcycling! I’m going to make good use of this stuff. If we want to attract customers and garner favorable reviews, then we’re going to need to liven up the living spaces with a few rustic decorations.”
Upcycling. Great. Another made-up word. Trevor hooked his thumbs in his belt and didn’t budge an inch, predicting his silence would be enough to settle the matter. Generally speaking, it was. Today, however, his natural powers of intimidation appeared to be diminished after the long drive. Sabrina had her hands on her hips, her dark pink lips pursed in challenge. For the life of him he couldn’t decide if her expression was meant to convey a fight or invite a kiss.
“And it’s going to take me longer than a day to figure out what I can and can’t use here,” she clarified.
“You signed a contract,” he said. “And part of that contract clearly states you agree to adhere to the ranch’s schedule.” And my rules, he was going to add, before Sabrina interrupted him unexpectedly.
“How about time for coffee?” she said. She turned away from him to start up the front steps to the porch, before throwing offhand over her shoulder: “I assume there’s room in the ranch’s schedule for that?”
The offer sounded like a tactical maneuver rather than a true invitation, but he followed her up the steps to the bunkhouse despite his suspicion. He couldn’t help noticing the sequins studded around the back pockets of her jeans. The detail—and only that detail—drew his attention to Sabrina’s pert hindquarters. She sure could fill a pair of impractical pants. The denim might as well have been painted onto those shapely, athletic legs of hers. He doubted she could fully bend over in them but would have been willing to be proved wrong.
“You were at a conference, right? How did it go?” Sabrina smiled perkily as she took the bunkhouse pot off the burner and poured them each a mug of coffee. Trevor hovered in the doorway, studying her change in expression and still wondering if he was being taken for a ride. He would have thought then that she certainly had the cheerful demeanor to be successful in her chosen profession…if he didn’t still have doubts that her chosen profession actually existed.
“It went fine.” The impromptu conference had given him a lot to chew on, and he felt cautiously optimistic about the future of Wildhorse’s breeding program for the first time since he had taken a chance and hired an adventure coordinator. If he was being honest with himself, he didn’t like the fact that he had to call on Trent to help Sabrina move in. Trevor was the ranch owner, and he would have rather seen to the matter himself—but his meeting with the other breeders in the area couldn’t be put on hold.
He accepted the mug of coffee Sabrina handed him and settled back against the porch railing. The blonde leaned against the outside of the bunkhouse, crossing her legs and folding her arms, pursing her kissable lips and blowing steam off her own mug.
“I got in touch with your company originally because the ranch needs another source of income,” he began.
“Obviously.” She flexed a grin to let him know she was on the same page.
“But I’m not giving up the quarter horse breeding program. It’s what we’ve done here for three generations, since my grandad’s day. It’s the heart and soul of this ranch, and it’s what Wildhorse is known for.” Trevor scowled, hoping to stamp his next point home. “So, I don’t want our programs intersecting, Miss Hearthstone. You see to coordinating the campers and keep them out of my hair, and I go about my business as usual, including paying your company’s fee.”
“Fine, Mr. Wild. Just so long as you understand what I most certainly won’t be doing is keeping our campers out of the stables,” Sabrina fired back. “You can’t expect anyone to have even a half-baked glamping experience—nor can you expect them to spread positive word-of-mouth and leave us glowing reviews—if our customers aren’t even allowed to experience the horses. You tell me what barns to stay out of, and I will—but judging by the tour Trent gave me, there’s plenty of stable space for all of us. Besides,” Sabrina continued as she smiled once more, “contrary to what you may think, I’ve been around horses before. I happen to know that most ranch animals enjoy the extra attention and go on to live happy, more fulfilled lives as a result. You wouldn’t deny your horses that, would you?”
Trevor didn’t like that she was pushing for such a huge compromise already, but now seemed like the perfect time to segue into what he really wanted to talk about: rules. He withdrew a folded set of documents from the inner pocket of his jacket and passed them to her.
“Then you stick to the schedule I’ve laid out for you,” he said. He allowed himself a moment to privately relish the look of horror that crossed her face. He had guessed from the start that she was the type of woman to flout the rules, but he intended to put an end to that behavior before it had even begun. He sipped his coffee and watched as Sabrina riffled through the multi-page document.
“This is…why are there checklists?” she asked incredulously. She rattled the pages at him. “Do you actually expect me to fill these out and turn them back in to you?”
Leslie North is the USA Today Bestselling pen name for a critically-acclaimed author of women’s contemporary romance and fiction. The anonymity gives her the perfect opportunity to paint with her full artistic palette, especially in the romance and erotic fantasy genres.
The truth of the matter is she loves her fictional persona, Leslie North, more than her normal, day-to-day persona! Her bestselling books focus on strong characters and particularly women who aren’t afraid to challenge an alpha male. Inspired after years of travel, her stories are set all over the world, from the tough streets of Russia to the beautiful beaches of the middle east.
Leslie fell in love with romance when she first picked up a scrappy, dog-eared romance book from her local library. She began writing soon after and the rest, as they say, was history. She now lives in a cozy cottage on the British coast and enjoys taking long walks with her two Dalmatians, George and Fergie.
She LOVES reader feedback, and if you have any comments, don’t hesitate to contact her!
Clean slice-of-life women’s fiction with a romantic thread and Christian elements.
Every small town has its secrets. Darcy’s have been locked up inside her since that last summer when she left Wimber, Texas, and the boy she loved, for a glitzy life in Los Angeles.
Seven years later, her gran’s passed away. Darcy’s been named as the sole owner of the Tangled in Time antique store. Darcy can’t wait to get back to the place where she’s always felt she belonged. But owning a business isn’t as easy as it seems. And sometimes the past is better left alone.
But Darcy is determined to push forward, despite the obstacles that cross her path. And maybe even have another chance to be with the man who stayed behind.
Angela Castillo loves living in the small town of Bastrop Texas, and draws much of her writing inspiration from life there. She loves to walk in the woods and shop in the local stores. Castillo studied Practical Theology and Music at Christ for the Nations in Dallas, Texas. She was home-schooled all through high school and is the oldest of 7 kids. Castillo’s greatest joys are her little girl and two boys. Castillo has been published in The First Line, Aardvark’s Ark, Heartwarmers, Thema, and several other publications, and also has works available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format. Watch book trailers on my Amazon author page!
“I guess I always figured coming out was something you did for friends and family, and maybe it is, but it’s personal too, you know? The person I was last night is new. I wanna get to know him.”
I had two things on my list when I arrived in Los Angeles. One, track down Henry Bennington, the uncle and guardian of my little brother’s best friend, and tell him to get his ass back to Washington. He needed to do something about his nephew, who was turning into a douchebag. And two, figure out just how non-straight I was. For the past two years, I’d had all these fantasies, and now was the time to explore them, far away from my sleepy little town.
Nowhere on this list did it say, “Get Ty’s uncle into bed and fall for him.” I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with another city either. But between brunch, making new friends, and discovering the man I was meant to be, I lost sight of the future that had once seemed pretty damn vivid. How the hell was I supposed to merge my old life and who I used to be with the new dreams Los Angeles and Henry had awakened in me?
“I have a question, Zach,” Martin said.
“You can’t buy me new pants, man,” I replied.
The two men shared a stunned expression before amusement took over, and I felt bold. Comfortable, most of all. I smirked and shifted in my seat, then dug back into my food.
After the chuckles had died down, Martin faced Henry with a serious look. “I want to keep him. Don’t tell me I can’t.”
Even Henry smiled at that.
“But no, you rascal, that wasn’t what I wanted to ask,” Martin told me. “Although, I’ll certainly try again later. My question is about next week. Will you be doing any sightseeing?”
I hadn’t really thought about that. I was here to explore something else. That said, it would be cool to see some of the stuff I’d watched on TV. The Hollywood sign, Santa Monica Pier, and Venice.
“Maybe some.” I chewed slowly, guessing this was an opportunity to try some of that honesty. My stomach did a somersault, and my hunger faded momentarily. I had to jump, though. I’d regret it if I didn’t. “Ehm, the thing is…” I cleared my throat and reached for a wineglass. Condensation had fogged the surface, and I took a big gulp of it. I wasn’t much of a wine drinker, but it did the trick. “I was wondering…um, what’s West Hollywood like?”
I’d heard it was a neighborhood with a strong gay culture. A gayborhood, if you will.
You learned the weirdest terms online. I still wasn’t sure what the difference was between twinks and twunks.
Henry had grown still, and he put down his lobster roll and wiped his mouth with a napkin. He didn’t look super comfortable.
Martin eyed me up and down, a small smirk playing on his lips. “So perhaps you don’t have a girlfriend at home.”
I shook my head no.
Looked like all I had to do was mention West Hollywood and they knew where I was going with this.
Martin patted my hand. “Hon, is this new to you?”
“Very.” I managed a weak smile, and my heart pounded. “I don’t want to suppress it, though. I’ve had these thoughts for two years. I wanna find out.”
If I didn’t know any better, he looked proud. It didn’t make sense. With their obvious surprise settling, they started eating again. At least Martin did. Henry seemed more interested in his wine.
My guess was it was a sensitive topic for him because of how he’d been treated when he came out.
I didn’t know Martin’s history.
“How old are you?” Martin asked. “Twenty-two, twenty-three?”
I nearly balked. I didn’t look that fucking young, did I? “I’m twenty-seven!”
He waved a hand. “Semantics for me.” Thoughtful and chewing, he looked at his friend. “What do you think, Henry? We can’t in good conscience send him to WeHo clubs.”
“Definitely not.” Henry’s voice was quiet, yet firm. As if the idea was ludicrous. “They’ll eat him alive.”
“Do you go there? To the clubs there, I mean.” I glanced between the two.
Henry’s mouth twisted up.
Martin laughed outright. “Oh no, dear. We’ve aged out of the system.”
I wanted Henry’s take on things. Despite his evident discomfort, I looked at him in question. Teach me. Or hell, kiss me if you won’t tell me where to go. Okay, perhaps that would make him more uncomfortable.
He surrendered with a sigh, and he put down his food once more. “West Hollywood’s clubs might be too much if you’re just testing the waters and want to take things slowly. Their scene is a meat market. Not that I’ve been there in ages. As Martin pointed out, we’re not part of the demographic anymore.”
“We’re too old,” Martin supplied.
Henry shot him a frustrated look. “Thank you for reminding me.”
“You’re very welcome,” he replied, and I couldn’t help but grin. “Henry’s right, Zach. If you want sexy go-go boys and a round of Dude, Where’s My Car when you wake up not knowing where you are, those clubs are perfect.” He made a dismissive gesture with his hand. “Of course, you can find low-key bars as well, and many of my friends have settled down in domesticated gay heaven there, but we can probably find you a nice gay bar on the westside, too.”
West Hollywood wasn’t west enough?
Henry inclined his head. “There’s no need to dive straight into the club scene.” He paused. “You haven’t visited any gay-friendly bars at home?”
I shook my head. “I’m not…hiding, per se. But I haven’t been comfortable yet.”
If I came home with a boyfriend, I didn’t believe I’d face many problems. My nana was open-minded and accepting, and Mattie had friends who were already out. I just…I guessed I was one of those guys who liked to process things on my own first, and this was the option with which I was most at ease. I wouldn’t be on my own, but I would be away from everyone I knew.
“So a chill bar or something,” I said, getting us back on track. “Will you guys go with me?”
“Abso-fucking-lutely, darling.” Martin nodded and licked filling off his finger.
“Thank you.” I was relieved.
“Wait for it,” Henry muttered.
I frowned in confusion, and Martin’s eyes landed on me, his expression gleeful.
“You can’t go to a gay bar like that,” he said.
“You’re talking about shopping, aren’t you?” My shoulders slumped. I didn’t know squat about fashion, and I wasn’t very interested.
“I am, yes, and it’s nonnegotiable.” He was too smug.
I agreed with his terms, though. I wanted to experience as much as possible. Even if it meant shopping.
“Can we go today?” I asked.
Martin laughed softly. “Boy’s eager, Henry.”
Henry merely hummed and took a swig of his wine.
I’m often stoically silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex. There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly. Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve. Additionally, I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.
Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.
I’m a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, and geeking. Advocate for equality and Autism awareness. There’s time for hockey and cupcakes, too. But mostly, I just love to write.
“There are three things I know are certain in my life. Firstly, I am a cursed halfling—part faerie, part human. Another thing I know is I hate faeries. They are deceitful, evil, and conniving.
The third thing I know—and it is a certainty—nothing is guaranteed in this life, including your sanity, your family, and your world as you know it.” – Eliana
Eliana finds herself propelled into a world she longs to stay away from; a world where nothing is what it seems. In a race against minds, she must master her magic and fight an unimaginable darkness, stretching throughout the realm of Grandelione. The same darkness that cursed her mother and, now, her half-brother is laying dormant in her too.
It grows stronger with each passing day.
Left with two options, she must choose to fight and bring peace back to Grandelione or plunge into a world of darkness and murder.
Can she learn to harness her magic and bring peace back to Grandelione and her family?
Or will the darkness within consume her?
Pursued by her brothers from the Faerie realm of Grandelione, Eliana Ariarose flees through the streets of New York City.
Her brothers are sworn enemies, with the youngest, Caelian, having battled to earn his title of Crown Prince from Aemon – a royal who vows bloodshed in order to have his claim to the throne restored.
As Eliana flees, she makes startling discoveries about herself and her real identity, as well as the truth about her upbringing.
Eliana meets many beings from the Faerie world. Some would die to keep her safe, while others would happily steal her immense and unusual powers, right before destroying her heart and soul.
I’m going to die, she thought as claws large enough to crush a car reached for her. Her stomach launched into her throat as the creature picked her up. She screamed, her voice lost amidst the screech of its wingbeats. She groped for the zeitgeber in her pocket but feared that it would slip out of her hands because of her damaged shoulder. They were high in the sky, flying towards a red glow in the mountains. She had never imagined such a creature in her life. It was from hell itself. Panic engulfed her, sending bile into her mouth. Gagging, she tried to hold back the surge of vomit but couldn’t. Hot, acidic fluid gushed in sporadic intervals. The beast swung to the right and low to the ground as she continued to heave. The nauseating ride felt worse than a roller coaster. Her head swung from side to side as the motion of the flying beast slowed. Groggily, she turned her head and looked down as her stomach lunged once more towards her throat. A pair of burning eyes below her caught her attention. A figure, dressed in smoky black clothes and hidden inside a dark cloak watched her being carried like a helpless rabbit in the claws of an eagle. She did the only thing she could. As she opened her mouth and felt her stomach contents rise, she directed it towards the figure with the burning eyes. A tiny act of defiance in the face of approaching death.
Writing has always been a hobby and cathartic experience for me. Turning my passion into a fulfilling career as an Author has been one of my greatest dreams. I write because creating something that didn’t exist before is as close to magic as I’ll ever get. All you need is imagination.
I’ve always been passionate about storytelling and impressed by the influence it has on people and the decisions they make in life. I love engaging with the projects I work on, diving headfirst into the research, investigation, and production of stories I feel are worth writing about. I am a curious and proactive Author, interested in preserving the foundations set by classical literature by adapting them to modern themes and trends.
An unexpected promise . . . an everlasting passion.
An accomplished musician, Dorothea Flammel has refused more proposals than any London debutante; her only true love is her music. Dory’s shimmering talent and beauty have long been adored from afar by Thomas Wheel, an untitled gentleman who can only dream of asking for the hand of a nobleman’s daughter. But when her father, the insolvent Lord Flammel, arranges for Dory to marry a lecherous Earl in order to pay off a debt, she runs to Thomas—and proposes marriage to him.
Eloping to Scotland saves Dory from a disastrous fate, but what is for her a mere marriage of convenience proves more passionate—and more complex—than either imagined as rumors, scandal, and buried emotions come to light. And when a vengeful challenge from a drunken and embittered Lord Flammel puts Thomas’s life on the line, will the fragile trust between husband and wife be enough to save them both?
Crowly cleared his throat. The butler was tall and wide and occupied the entire doorway. “Yes, what is it, Crowly?”
“Sir, I know you said you didn’t wish to be disturbed, but you have a visitor.” Many visitors found the unseemly size of the man intimidating. Crowly was quiet and efficient and that was good enough for a bachelor of Thomas’s standing.
Thomas pulled the watch from his pocket. Nearly midnight, no decent person called so late. “At this late hour? Send whoever it is away. It is too late for callers.”
The butler shuffled his feet but did not leave. “Is there a problem, Crowly?”
“Well, sir, you see, the visitor is a young woman of apparent good breeding. She arrived in a hack and I am reluctant to put her back out on the street.”
Thomas stood. “She is alone?” “It would seem so, sir.”
“Who is it?”
“The lady refused to provide a card and wishes to speak to you rather urgently.”
After pulling his jacket from the back of his chair, he dressed himself. “I suppose you had better let the mystery lady in.”
“Yes. Thank you, sir.” Crowly’s shoulders relaxed.
Within seconds, a woman draped in a black cape with a hood hiding her face entered the study.
Thomas stood behind his desk and waited for her to speak, but she fussed with the edge of her cape and shifted her feet. He suspected that she was contemplating running away. “How may I help you?”
Her head snapped up and her hood fell away. There, standing in his study, was Lady Dorothea Flammel. The amber in her blond hair came to life in the firelight and Thomas had to grip the back of his chair for balance. He did not know what he had been expecting, but in his wildest dreams he never thought to see Dory in his home. Well, maybe in his dreams, but never in reality.
Compared to the burly Crowly she looked lost in the doorway. She was petite and her green eyes ringed red as if she’d been crying.
His initial excitement overshadowed by her distress, his concern mounted. He crossed the room, stopping only when he realized that she backed away from him. “Lady Flammel, what is wrong? Is it Markus?”
Markus Flammel, Dory’s older brother and one of Thomas’s closest friends, lost his wife during childbirth a year before. The child had lived, but losing Emma had sent Markus into a desperate depression.
“No. It’s not Markus. He is in the country as far as I know.” She stared at her feet.
Thomas waited for her to say more, but she pressed her lips together while avoiding his gaze.
“Perhaps you would like to sit,” he suggested.
When she looked up, he thought she might run, but then her expression softened and she nodded.
When he offered her the chair in front of his desk, she skirted away from him to reach the seat. Never had he seen her so out of sorts. He rounded the desk and sat in his office chair.
The silence in the room was palpable. Thomas cleared his throat and the sudden noise made her jump in her seat. Dory had always appeared so calm and in control, his interest piqued. “Lady Flammel?”
“Yes?” Snapping her head up, she revealed her wide eyes and pale skin. He smiled. Most women found his smile engaging, but she looked at him with wide eyes and trembling lips, like he’d bared his teeth for the kill. He leaned forward, resting his arms on the desk. “I can only assume that you have come to me for some reason. You risk quite a lot coming to a bachelor’s home, in the middle of the night, in a hack and all alone. You must permit me my curiosity at such an unorthodox act. I have known you most of your life and this is the first time you have arrived on my doorstep. What can I do for you?”
She sighed. “Perhaps it was a mistake.”
“Was it?” he asked.
She stared at him. He had watched her play the pianoforte dozens of times over the past few years. She was an artist of the highest order. Her emotion when she played was enthralling, but away from her instrument she always appeared so calm and controlled. Here in his study that seemed to have escaped her. She was near tears. He wanted to stand up and go to her but he did not wish to scare her. The last thing he wanted was to allow his height to intimidate her.
“I am in trouble,” she said.
Anger seared through Thomas. “Who was it? I will cut out his innards.” He pounded his fist on the desk.
She flinched then waved her hand in a dismissive motion. “Not that kind of trouble, Mr. Wheel.”
His fury seeped away. Watching her from the shadows for years, her music had drawn him in but those full eyelashes and deep green eyes kept him mesmerized. For a long time, he had yearned to touch the soft skin of her cheek and kiss those delicate ears. It was impossible. She was the daughter of an earl. She would marry a man of her own station, not Mr. Wheel of Middlesex.
“Perhaps you should just tell me why you are here since you have made the trip. I will help you in any way I am able. I assure you that your presence here will remain our secret. My staff is very discreet.”
She frowned. “I suppose as you are a bachelor, they would have to be.” There was a bitter twist in her voice.
He did not comment, though her distaste rang through her statement and the twist of her lips.
She took a deep breath, making her full bosom rise.
Distracted for a moment, he then steeled himself and watched her eyes, which he found almost as intriguing.
She cleared her throat. “I am in need of a husband and I have decided that, if you would not mind, you and I would suit nicely.”
An inconvenient engagement turns a marriage of convenience into so much more in this sparkling new series from award-winning author Sara Portman . . .
Lady Emmaline Shaw’s reputation was irreparably damaged when her fiancé, John Brantwood, disappeared immediately after their engagement four years ago. Since then, she’s grown from a shy, uncertain girl to a woman who knows her own mind. And what she knows is that London society holds nothing for her.
Rumor has it that John ran off to war and died in battle. Now, as the new Duke of Worley, his shocking resurrection throws the ton into a tizzy and makes him one of England’s most sought after bachelors—except that he’s already engaged.
John needs a wife capable of smoothing his beloved sister’s introduction into society. But though Emma happily grants him his freedom, her fiery beauty and resilient spirit hold him captive. In fact, John has no intention of letting her go. Her fate is now in his hands, but will her heart be safe there as well?
Resurrections can be dreadfully disconcerting.
London society had weathered all manner of scandals and while each new transgression never failed to result in heads bent in hushed whispers and even the occasional matronly gasp, few incidents inspired waves of true shock among the ton. It appeared, however, that a duke’s return from the dead was among these few scenarios able to truly discompose the titled elite.
With frustratingly little information becoming available in the four weeks since the miraculous return of the Duke of Worley, rumors abounded regarding his whereabouts for the four years of his absence. Theories existed of such variety and outlandish improbability, it was impossible to determine which, if any, might hold a thread of truth.
Discussion of the duke’s mysterious return dominated all society events, second only, of course, to conjecture on his marital state and physical appearance.
“I have heard he is only half a man,” whispered Lady Grantham at one such event, “and had to be carried into his ancestral home because his legs were severed.”
“That cannot be,” insisted Lady Wolfe. “I have heard he is quite well, but has shamed his family by marrying an American actress and living abroad with her these past four years.”
“You are both incorrect, I’m afraid,” interjected their hostess, the Duchess of Fairhaven. “My son informed me just this morning that Worley has been gravely ill and is still now recovering. He hopes to be well enough before the end of the season to assume his responsibilities. My son attended Eton with him, you’ll remember.”
The other ladies nodded, neither one inclined to contradict the duchess, who outranked them by a significant margin. All three women understood without clarification that Worley’s assumption of his responsibilities referred to the necessity to choose a bride. With four years wasted and his father now deceased, it was imperative he begin a family and provide for the continuation of the line.
This was likely of particular interest to Lady Wolfe, whose daughter, Georgiana, was currently enjoying her second season in London, much to her mother’s dismay and her father’s expense.
It was not of particular interest, however, to Lady Emmaline Shaw. She had the unfortunate luck to step out onto the terrace for a spot of privacy and fresh air mere moments before the gaggle of clucking matrons proceeded to congregate just inside the only set of French doors that would allow her to return to the ballroom. She didn’t want to hear another word of the elusive Duke of Worley, amazingly returned from the dead after four years missing. She cursed the unfortunate timing that placed her in London at the time of his reappearance. She was only in the city for one month out of the year, and only then to appease her aunt. Couldn’t the man have selected any of the other eleven months for his triumphant return, when she would be safely ensconced at her cottage? She rubbed her bare arms against the evening breeze and prayed for the gossiping ladies to move their conversation elsewhere. She considered simply excusing herself and walking through.
“You realize, of course,” Lady Wolfe whispered conspiratorially, “what a tangle this creates for the unfortunate Lady Emmaline Shaw.”
Emma stepped deeper into the shadow and tossed out the idea of charging through their conversation.
“I would hardly call the girl unfortunate,” the duchess said sharply. “Her conduct over the past four years is the reason for her present lack of prospects. She’s been naught but a burden to her aunt and uncle.”
From the terrace, Emma’s brow lifted.
“Not that I’ll harbor any pity for that woman either,” the duchess added. “To my mind, Lady Ridgley has failed in her responsibility by allowing her niece to behave as she has.”
Emma pressed herself against the cold stone wall and fumed at the voices filtering out to her. She would accept their judgment as a predictable consequence of her choices, but she was incensed at their attack on her aunt, who had been a pillar of love and support after the death of her parents. These women had no intimate knowledge of Emma or her beloved aunt. They were certainly not in any position to pass judgment.
“One cannot question her decision to withdraw from society, really, for that first season,” Lady Grantham ventured. “Grief can be so damaging, after all.”
Well, thank you. Emma resolved to extend her kindness to Lady Grantham when next they met.
“It is only during the following three seasons, by my estimation,” Lady Grantham continued, “that her behavior became truly insupportable.”
Emma’s fists clenched. Humph. Insupportable, indeed. It was not as though she’d spent the past three years gadding about society, engaging in flirtations and clandestine rendezvous. She’d simply chosen not to parade herself through an endless stream of social events to shop for a husband.
She’d done that once. And, frankly, the experience left her with little desire to repeat it.
When exiled royalty and espionage combine, expect a romance as bold as the 1920s . . .
Olga Novikov is a princess without a throne. Her fiancé and her family slain in the revolution, she flees Russia and finds herself working as the head of housekeeping at London’s luxurious Grand Russe Hotel. It’s a far cry from the glamour of her former life, but she’s grateful for the job—until a guest forces her to question where her loyalty lies. The charming nobleman challenges her at every turn—and arouses dreams of romance she thought she’d abandoned forever . . .
Douglas “Glass” Childers is living a double life. On the surface, he’s the indolent Viscount Walling, but in truth he’s an intelligence agent searching for a Bolshevik weapons master. The coolly beautiful and headstrong housekeeper is a distraction he doesn’t need—unless she’s the key piece in the puzzle he must solve. Trusting her could be dangerous—but loving her is an undeniable temptation . . .
Publication Date: May 31, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Teen, Nature, Mammal Studies, Literature/Fiction
Best friends Terra and Tiluk live alongside the wild orcas of Washington State. On the other side of the continent, Miles wallows in anger and self-pity fueled by his parents’ divorce. In a moment of harrowing fate, their lives converge when Miles witnesses a captive orca brutally kill his trainer at a marine amusement park.
When Miles contacts Terra and her family of whale biologists to better understand the “killer” whale, the three teens soon realize they are more linked to each other – and the whales – than they every imagined. Driven by a primal urge to connect with the highly-evolved consciousness of the orca, the teens take extraordinary risks to challenge big business and renew lost traditions.
Their journey is set to restore an ancient mystical bond between humans and whales that ultimately reveals The Blackfish Prophecy…a revelation about Terra – and those like her – that’s about to change everything.
The Blackfish Prophecy is a sweeping, emotionally packed book,with a gripping tale and a big heart. Rachel Clark has created a fascinatingworld of smart kids, mystical orcas, and acts of morality that must be carriedout, no matter how difficult. Readers of all ages will learn much about killerwhales, and why they simply do not belong in captivity. This wonderful story isfictional, but the facts are all too real. – David Kirby, authorof Death at SeaWorld
The ancient ways? Terra though, recalling her dream about Granny. What were those? In that instant, Terra knew with sudden certainty that she had to tell Tiluk the whole truth about her dream. And maybe…Joseph, as well. Gwen, rapt with curiosity, spoke almost more to herself than anyone else. “There’s so much more going on here than basic science.” Jason snorted and nudged her, “Ya think?” Then he turned to Bill. “I’m not sure I want to hear what’s next.” Jason, basically, had already fallen in love with this calf, his first, and the one he had discovered. His feelings were strong and fresh, and they made him vulnerable.
As a teenager, your life is supposed to be full of laughter and learning experiences. No one wants to see children grow up too fast and become adults, but what if you have to? The life that Terra and Tiluk live in their little cove with their parents and other researchers, allows them to see things in a different perspective from most children. They see the freedom that the Orca whales share with their families…or pods. They see the happiness between generations of whales. They begin to understand the way of life…and the dangers to the earth and all its creatures by humans. Clark has a sensational story, filled with passion for life, scientific research, and the desire to inform the world about animal endangerment and suffering. We have the power to change the world we live in.
Terra is a teenager living in Blackfish Cove with her parents, best friend, and other researchers dedicated to saving the Orcas from extinction. The research that they do consists of continual observations of the whales out in the wild. Terra decides to get creative and makes a page for the whales of Blackfish Cove on social media with the intent to get research and information out to the public. After the news gets out about an Orca whale killing its trainer at a famous amusement park, a boy named Miles gets in contact with Terra who claims to have seen the killing and has been researching it ever since! Terra and Miles become friends and work together along with her parents and outside sources to put together a case against the amusement park. Their hope for the organization to retire all of their whales to reservations for their own safety and well-being, is the main mission. Can they get enough support to require the amusement parks to retire their whales, so that they aren’t forever being held in concrete pools where they are taken from their families, freedom, and forced to participate in shows for profit?
Clark has done extensive research on this subject in hopes that the human population open their eyes on situations that organizations withhold from the public pertaining to the well-being and safety of their captive animals. While this story is mainly targeted to a young adult and middle grade audience, high school level and up would easily be compelled to read this novel as well. The book is written well, has a fast-pace, fantastic character development, and is original and unbelievably credible. If you are a reader of scientific research, literary fiction, and young adult fiction, you may want to pick this up.
A copy of this book was provided to Turning Another Page by Fawkes Press, but this in no way affects our honest opinion of the book or the review that has been written. We provide a five-star rating for The Blackfish Prophecy by Rachel Clark.
Rachel is a writer and biologist. As a kid she got hooked on all things animal, vegetable, and mineral. To complicate matters, she was hatching up stories before she could hold a crayon. Once she discovered biology it was all over. Ever since her first class in 7th grade when she refused to dissect a frog, a little voice in her head said: You gotta share this amazing stuff about how nature works, and ask if we really need to harm it. The little voice only got fiercer once she went to college and worked with captive dolphins and Beluga whales, then got to see wild killer whales only a few weeks later. From then on it was an all-out quest to convey the wonders of nature, while pointing out the serious problems of our very bad habit of dominating others and the Earth. She’s been a card-carrying science writer for twenty years. The Blackfish Prophecy is Rachel’s first book.
These days when Rachel is not writing, reading, dreaming, or speaking, you can find her sculpting an unruly assortment of moose-pruned orchard trees & berry bushes, gathering veggies & eggs in her micro-farmyard, foraging for mushrooms, and feasting on local food with friends.
She is a lifelong yogini, devoted packmate to her free-spirited Canid, and mama bear who’s sustained by treks deep into the Pacific Northwest with her increasingly feral family. Rachel drives a 100% electric zero-emission car, and her family’s home is powered by renewable energy. Their little house is nestled on an urban lot they tend for kids’ play, territory animalia, sequestering carbon, and a food forest to augment the bounty of local growers.
Her work is fiercely aligned with the science of Life, harmony & justice for all: the enduring dream of Earth.