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SALE BLITZ ~ SEX UNLIMITED BY KATHRYN PEREZ ~ APRIL 2 – 4 ~ ONLY $.99

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Sex Unlimited by Kathryn Perez will be on sale from April 2nd – 4th 2015

.99 cents or Free with Kindle Unlimited

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Synopsis 3

SexUnlimited.com led me to forty one year old Brisban Calloway.

All I wanted from him was one night of no strings attached SEX.

What I got was more than I ever bargained for.

**This is the complete serial. Volumes 1, 2 and 3 of The Unlimited Series.***

Book Trailer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0Tu8dVbL9Y
Author Links
Facebook : facebook.com/KathrynVancePerez
Website : www.AuthorKathrynPerez.com
Twitter : @KathrynP_Author
Instagram : @Kathryn_Author

NEW RELEASE & BOOK REVIEW ~ TARA OAKES ~ BOSS, A NOVELLA, BOOK TWO IN THE CHIANTI KISSES SERIES (PENNY STEPHANIE)

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Synopsis 3
******This book is intended for mature audiences, over 18 years of age
This book is a sequel, Book 2 in the Chianti Kisses series.

Everybody expects something of Dom, they have his entire life. His family expects HIM to lead, provide, and support them. His company and employees expect him to keep their business successful, intact. His wife, V, expects him to be the beST man he can be.

And then there are the expectations of his father and his “associates.”

Dom’s father, although long past, had left unfulfilled expectations of his own. Everything he built, bled for, killed for… died for, was left in Dom’s hands.

Dom tried to change things, set things straight, atone for the sins of his father and father-in-law. But, it hasn’t been easy. Many others benefitted from his business dealings, and aren’t willing to loose them so easily.

Emilio Rizzo has vowed to keep things the way they were. He’s waged a war to take full control from Dom, with no concern for the toll it will take on everyone involved. Innocents will be harmed, lives will will be taken, and hard-earned progress will be lost unless Dom steps in and fights the way he was born to.

Someone will be disappointed. Will it be his family, his employees, his father, or his beloved V, when he becomes…

BOSS.
If you’d like to purchase Boss, feel free to grab your copy here:

Amazon US

Teaser
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Book Trailer
BOSS TRAILER
OTHER BOOKS BY TARA OAKES

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Author Bio
LEARN MORE ABOUT TARA

Tara is a thirty something newbie author from Long Island, New York. She’s a voracious reader, a passionate writer and obsessive junk T.V. aficionado. When she’s not doing one of those three things she is attempting to garden, hanging with her hubby or partaking in some retail therapy. She enjoys connecting with her readers and is having a blast entering into this new world of publishing.

Author Links
FIND TARA ONLINE

COVER REVEAL FOR UPCOMING NEW RELEASE BY TARA OAKES ~ BOSS, Book 2 in the Chianti Kisses Series (Penny Stephanie)

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Synopsis 3
******This book is intended for mature audiences, over 18 years of age
This book is a sequel, Book 2 in the Chianti Kisses series.Everybody expects something of Dom, they have his entire life. His family expects HIM to lead, provide, and support them. His company and employees expect him to keep their business successful, intact. His wife, V, expects him to be the beST man he can be.And then there are the expectations of his father and his “associates.”Dom’s father, although long past, had left unfulfilled expectations of his own. Everything he built, bled for, killed for… died for, was left in Dom’s hands.Dom tried to change things, set things straight, atone for the sins of his father and father-in-law. But, it hasn’t been easy. Many others benefitted from his business dealings, and aren’t willing to loose them so easily.

Emilio Rizzo has vowed to keep things the way they were. He’s waged a war to take full control from Dom, with no concern for the toll it will take on everyone involved. Innocents will be harmed, lives will will be taken, and hard-earned progress will be lost unless Dom steps in and fights the way he was born to.

Someone will be disappointed. Will it be his family, his employees, his father, or his beloved V, when he becomes…

BOSS.
If you’re looking forward to Boss, releasing on MARCH 31ST, make sure you pre-order a copy:Amazon US

 Book Trailer
BOSS TRAILER
OTHER BOOKS BY TARA OAKES

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Author Bio
LEARN MORE ABOUT TARA

Tara is a thirty something newbie author from Long Island, New York. She’s a voracious reader, a passionate writer and obsessive junk T.V. aficionado. When she’s not doing one of those three things she is attempting to garden, hanging with her hubby or partaking in some retail therapy. She enjoys connecting with her readers and is having a blast entering into this new world of publishing.

Author Links
FIND TARA ONLINE

NEW RELEASE RICOCHET BY JESSICA WILDE ~ PENNY STEPHANIE

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Title: Ricochet
Author: Jessica Wilde
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: February 23, 2015
Release Day Blitz: February 25, 2015

 

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Synopsis 3

Fear.

It’s the last thing I remembered.

I was afraid.

Afraid to fight, afraid to run… afraid to breathe.

Then, everything had gone dark. As if life was finally hearing my pleas, my cries to end the torment. To end the fear.

But even in the dark, I still felt it.

I always felt it.

My life had been a ricochet of one event leading to the next. Bouncing back and forth from good to bad. Happiness to despair. Hope to fear.

My name is Arianna West. I’m stronger now. Steady. Alive.

I can find a way to survive on my own. I can see what is coming for me. I can channel my fear into strength.

Except… I didn’t see Jack.

And Jack changed everything.

For readers 18+ due to language, violence, and sexual content.

Ricochet Teaser 4

Excerpt

I laughed. A laugh so deep that the muscles in my abdomen flexed. How long had it been since I had felt that? Too long. I hadn’t really laughed in a long time and something so simple had brought it out of me.

Jack had brought it out of me.

“God, I missed that laugh,” Jack whispered.

I went silent, so suddenly that my breath couldn’t keep up and it came rushing out with the emotion that had been built up inside of me.

Tears immediately sprang to my eyes and the heaviness in my chest was back.

My life had changed so much. Everything had changed.

“Jack…”

“Ari, please don’t cry.”

He had turned his body towards me and was holding my face in his hands. The tears running down my cheeks didn’t make it far. He wiped each one away.

He saw the moment my control slipped and I just couldn’t seem to stop the tears. That’s when he pulled me into his arms. Arms that had always made everything better. Strong fingers combed through my hair, down my temple, across my jaw, then retraced their way back up and into my hair once more. He was giving me whatever comfort he could while I sobbed on his chest.

I should have been embarrassed about the quick change in my mood. I should have felt ridiculous. Childish. With Jack, though, I never had to worry about being anyone but myself no matter who I was now.

“So much is gone,” I said in a broken and weak voice. “So much is missing from me.”

“No, Ari. You’re still in there, babe, just a little harder to reach.”

I shook my head. In denial? I wasn’t sure. He was only half right.

“I’ve bent too far for too long. I’m broken,” I whispered. So much regret came pouring out of me and I couldn’t control it.

I had been slowly breaking for three years and my determination to move on was waning much faster than I could ever keep up with.

Jack buried his fingers in my hair and I felt the press of his lips on the top of my head. When he spoke, the tone of his voice sounded defeated. Resigned. “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.”

I sniffed as the rumble in his chest vibrated against my cheek. His shirt was wet from my tears and I knew I looked like a mess, but I looked up at him anyway.

“What is that from?” I asked.

“What? You don’t think I could come up with something so profound by myself?” he teased.

“I know damn well you could, Jack.”

He looked at me for a moment, his eyes searching mine and his fingers sweeping a lock of hair back behind my ear. If I didn’t know any better, I would think he was reading my mind, seeing all my secrets, all my broken places. “It’s Ernest Hemingway. He said that.”

“Do you believe it?”

“I do. So much so that I tattooed it on my shoulder the first chance I got,” he mumbled with a short chuckle.

I glanced down at his shoulder. It was too dark to see much of anything, but the moonlight streaming in the window showed enough when he lifted his shirt sleeve. The words were there, permanently inked into his skin just above a complex shape that I couldn’t quite make out.

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Author Bio

I live in Morgan Utah with my husband, daughter, and dog, Kolo. I write as often as my active daughter will let me and my husband has the patience of a saint. I find inspiration from dreams, people I meet, and life experiences. When I write, I usually end up drinking one too many cans of Peace Tea, eating three too many Fruit by the Foot fruit snacks, and accidently kicking my pup and best buddy, Kolo, too many times since he loves to sleep under my desk at my feet.
I started writing as a teen, but my fear of the unknown won out every time and I threw everything out. After becoming a mother and deciding to stay at home to raise my beautiful little girl, I tried again when I couldn’t stop thinking of ideas. I loved every minute, every hour of sleep lost, and every character that came to life in my mind.
It’s strange, but my favorite moments are when I have writer’s block because I can turn to my husband and find inspiration through him by just doing what we do best together. Talking, laughing, and just being in love. He doesn’t like to read, but he never stops encouraging me to keep going.
Writing has become an important part of my life and every book has a special place in my heart.

Jessica Wilde

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NEW RELEASE ~ GIVEAWAY ~ LOYALTY AND LIES ~ BY L.A. COTTON

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LOYALTY AND LIES BANNER★★ BLOG TOUR ★★

LL BOOK

#BlogTour #NA #Contemporary Romance #LACotton #BookEnthu

Loyalty and Lies (Chastity Falls #1) by L A Cotton Blog Tour (@authorLACotton)

Genre: NA Contemporary Romance

Release Date: January 30th, 2015

LL TEASER 2 Buy Links

#BuyNow

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1Ay3lp8

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1CcmYY4

Giveaway 1

#Giveaway:

2 x eBooks

1 x $5 amazon gc

1 x signed paperback and exclusive swag (open international)

Enter here ➜ ➜   http://bit.ly/1C8Swx5

 LL TEASER 3

Add the book to Goodreads ➜ http://bit.ly/1B3KYud

#BookTrailer ➜   http://youtu.be/N5T_CDTJgXQ

LL TEASER 4

Synopsis 3

#Synopsis:

Eighteen-year-old Savanah Parry just moved three thousand miles across state to escape. The memories…the whispers…the pain.

Chastity Falls Academy is supposed to be her fresh start; her salvation. And when Ana meets mysterious Jackson, she begins to think it is. She hasn’t smiled in almost sixteen months; not since the night her life changed forever, and despite her guilt…her loyalty, Ana can’t deny that Jackson is breathing life back into her. With Jackson by her side, Ana wants to believe she can heal and move on. But she isn’t the only one living a lie, and the small private Academy has secrets of its own. All is not what it seems, and Ana is about to find herself in a tangled web of lies; fighting for survival, again.

Loyalties will be tested, lies will be told. Welcome to Chastity Falls.

 LL TEASER 5

Author Bio

#MeettheAuthor

LL BANNER

Author of NA Contemporary Romance, L. A. Cotton loves writing about those first looks, first kisses, and happily ever afters.

A wearer-of-many-hats, L.A juggles being a full-time mum to two little people with two part-time jobs and college. In her spare time (and when she’s not camped out in front of the laptop) you’ll most likely find her immersed in a book, escaping the chaos that is life.

Loyalty and Lies, is book one in her NA college series: Chastity Falls.

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LL TEASER 6 Excerpt

#Excerpt

Gardner’s class was nothing compared to the torture of sitting so close to Jackson in Shakespeare. After his warning to stay away from him, I thought he might pick an alternative seat, but that didn’t happen. Instead, he brushed straight passed me, dropped into his usual chair and acted as if nothing had happened. I had to fight back the urge to ask him why he had told me to stay away from me. I mean, it wasn’t like we hung out. There had been coffee at the shifty sea front hut…once, and then the embarrassing sprained-ankle-in-the-storm incident.

“Today, class, I want us to look at the character Iago…” Professor Shacks’ voice echoed around the small room. “Iago is the voice whispering in Othello’s ear, playing to Othello’s own paranoia and insecurities around his relationship with Desdemona. Of course, Othello trusts Iago implicitly, why wouldn’t he trust his long serving friend and lieutenant? A fact that Iago uses to his own advantage…”

Jackson shuffled next to me, and then quickly dropped a white note onto my desk. What now? I sighed, feeling frustrated at his mixed signals.

How’s the ankle?

Okay thanks

I balled up the note and tossed it onto his desk, watching him through the corner of my eye. A slight smirk played on his lips, and it was obvious he was aware I was pissed at him. He started scribbling a reply, which landed in front of me seconds later.

I’ve heard coffee (or a banana shake) can work wonders for a sprained ankle… healing properties or something.

I scowled at his slightly scruffy handwriting wondering what game he was trying to play with me.

Thanks. I’ll make sure I have a banana shake before bed

Feeling pleased with myself, I held out the note for him and he plucked it out of my hand, silently laughing when his eyes scanned the words.

How about a shake before bed… with me?

My eyes blinked. And blinked again, feeling the heat of embarrassment wash over my face. Was he flirting with me? I felt thirteen all over again. Mikey Crand used to send me love notes in Biology and me and my friend Lacey would giggle over them. Feeling brave, I handed him my reply.

Are you inviting me for a shake? Or to bed?

Jackson’s eyes widened and he shuffled slightly in his seat. Take that mister confusing, I thought, pleased with myself.

Are you saying yes?

I inwardly groaned. Jackson: one, Ana: zero. I couldn’t keep this up without drifting into territory that terrified me. Jackson was the first guy—the only guy—that made me smile… made my stomach flutter… made me feel anything since Danny. It wasn’t the plan, not what I ran to CFA to find, but somehow I had found it. Found something—someone—that made me feel again. Was that enough to try and get to the bottom of whatever was going on with Jackson? Of why he had warned me to stay away?

To the shake… maybe

Meet me round back five minutes after class

I was heading for a one-way trip into purgatory, because as I discreetly watched Jackson out the corner of my eye I knew. Knew there would be no way I could walk away. Right or wrong, sensible or stupid, he had awoken a part of me that I thought I would never find again…and I couldn’t just give that up. Not for all the warnings in the world.

~

Ninety-minutes later, I was sitting in Black’s suffering some kind of post-Jackson whiplash.

“I’m surprised you asked me for coffee again.” I slurped up the thick banana shake.

Jackson watched me, his eyes were more the color of the bluey-green ocean today, than their usual shade. “Actually, I invited you for a shake.” He quipped back.

I tried broaching the subject during the ride to Black’s, but he just shrugged me off, talking about the weather. The freaking weather. I was done with his evasion techniques. “After you warned me to stay away from you the other night?”

He placed his mug back on its plate and sighed. I watched, captivated, as he ran his hand through his messy dark hair, the longer strands falling back into place, a five ‘o’clock shadow cloaking his jaw. “About that… I may have been a little hasty.”

“Hasty?”

“See the thing is…” His eyes held mine, smoldering at me, pleading with me. “I’m not sure I can stay away from you.”

My lips moved to say something but nothing came out. Jackson watched me intently and I gulped. It felt like he was willing me to agree, to accept that there was a reason we should stay away from each other, but to ignore it. And I got the feeling it was a no questions asked kind of arrangement.

“It’d be better for you… for us, if you stay away from me, Ana. But I don’t want you to. I’m too selfish to walk away.”

“But-”

Jackson cut me off. “No questions. That’s the deal. We spend time together, get to know each other, but you can’t ask any of the questions I know you have swimming round in that pretty little head of yours.”

“Okay, but-”

His hand found mine across the booth, and his fingers grazed my knuckles. “No questions. That’s just the way it has to be for now.”

I nodded. Unsure what I was agreeing to.

“You won’t regret it Ana Parry, I promise.”

LL FULL JACKET

CHARACTER BLOG TOUR and GIVEAWAY ~ SPOTLIGHT on ADAM ~ MILF – Wrong Kind of Love by Erin Noelle (Penny Lisa)

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MILF FOR WEB

Title: MILF: Wrong Kind of Love
Author: Erin Noelle
Genre: Erotic Romance

Photographer: FuriousFotog
Model: Michael Federico
Cover Design: Hang Le

Synopsis 3

A story of forbidden love with a side of revenge…

When my husband of nearly twenty years abruptly left me for another woman, I thought my life was over,

But I was wrong.

Wrong for thinking I was weak,

Wrong for assuming I couldn’t go on,

Wrong for believing I’d never love again.

No matter what anyone else thinks,
Wrong never felt so right.

***Only intended for readers 18+ due to explicit sexual situations and foul language***

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MILF - Meet Adam

Adam Sullivan

Mia’s son

Grayson’s best friend

Blue eyes & sandy-colored, long, curly hair that he wears in an unruly fro of sorts

Studying to be an architect

Excerpt

Grayson’s POV

An hour and a half later, Adam is shirtless and straddling a chair, presenting his bare back to Jimbo, a huge, tatted-and-pierced bald man I wouldn’t ever want to stumble across in a dark alley…or a well-lit one, for that matter. Apparently, Adam had done more than ‘think about’ getting some ink for a while, as he brought along an intricate drawing of an asymmetric geometric tattoo that I have to admit is pretty bad ass, and seeing how he’s studying to be an architect, it fits him perfectly.

As Jimbo traces the design onto some paper and then applies the stencil of it onto the skin between Adam’s shoulder blades, I scan the room, simply taking in the overall atmosphere of the place. I’m surprised to see how many people are here, people of all different ages, ethnicities, and walks of life getting either tattoos or piercings, everyone seemingly happy about the physical pain they’re about to endure.

Even though body art has become such a part of pop culture, I’ve never really considered getting any work done. Not because I’m afraid of the pain, though having a needle inserted into my body over and over again isn’t a big selling point, but because the thought of forever kind of scares me. Nothing is meant to last forever.

“All right, man, I need you to stay relaxed,” the Mr. Clean lookalike instructs. “There are a lot of straight lines in this, so if you move, the line won’t be straight. You got me?”

“I got you,” Adam replies with a curt nod before looking forward again. “Let’s do this.”

The tattoo machine fires up, and the dull buzzing that’s almost been like white noise around the shop is now much louder…meaner-sounding, like a giant, pissed-off bee about to sting you continuously. Then, as he brings the gun to his back and begins to trace the pattern, Adam’s skin immediately begins to turn bright red, partly due to agitation, and the other part from the blood droplets bubbling along the wake of the needle. Yeah, I’m never getting a tattoo.

Much to his credit, Adam takes it like a champ. All three damn hours of it. I had to get up a few times and walk around, because my back was starting to hurt and it wasn’t even me in the chair. Once he’s finished, Jimbo goes over the aftercare instructions with him as he puts his shirt back on over the saran-wrapped area, but when Adam tries to pay, he’s laughed at.

“Stella would hang me by my balls if I charged you for work in her studio, boy,” he remarks with a hearty laugh. “I’m just happy you like it.”

Adam tries to argue, but when Jimbo stands to his full height, which is probably around six-foot-eight, my friend wisely closes his mouth. He does, however, drop the four one-hundred-dollar bills he pulled out of his wallet in the artist’s tip jar.

“I took up a lot of time in your chair on a busy Friday night. If you won’t charge me, please let me tip you.”

Jimbo grumbles something I can’t make out, but he doesn’t retrieve the money and throw it at Adam, so I assume that means he accepts it. Instead, he turns to me and points his colorful finger in my direction. “Next time is your turn, pretty boy.”

“I appreciate the art, man, but I don’t think it’s for me,” I say respectfully. “There’s nothing I want permanently marked on my body.”

He crosses his arms across his chest and nods his shiny head like he’s got me all figured out. “When you find your nothing, you’ll know, and you’ll be back.”

We say one last goodbye to some of the other employees Adam has met through Aunt Stella, and then escape into the muggy summer night. Thankfully, there’s a dive bar located right next door, so we stroll across the parking lot for a cold beer before heading home. I momentarily forget about Adam not having turned twenty-one yet, but like most underage UGA students, he shows the bartender a fake ID when we’re asked.

As expected, Adam can’t stop talking about how it felt getting the tat and how he already wants to start designing another one. I can tell the adrenaline is still pumping vivaciously through his veins as he chatters ninety miles an hour and his face is glowing with enthusiasm. I sit and listen, like any good friend should, nursing my beer and discretely watching a group of girls from across the bar who’ve been eyeing us up since the moment we walked in.

When he finally stops for a breath and a drink, I nudge his shoulder. “There’s a group of hotties at your four o’clock that’ve been checking you out. Since you’re feeling so courageous tonight, I definitely think you should get at least one of their numbers.”

Truthfully, even though a couple of them look like prime one-night-stand material, I’ve got too much shit going on in my head to deal with a chick right now, and for some reason, I feel wrong taking a girl back to Mia’s place, especially just to fuck her and dismiss her. But, I definitely think Adam needs to get laid, and if it’s not tonight, he can at least start working toward that. Somehow throughout this whole divorce, he thinks he has to take on the role of a grownup, I guess to fill the void his dad left, and as someone who cares about him, it’s my job to remind him what being a college student should be about. It’s just not what I want to be about anymore.

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Author Bio

erin noelle

Erin Noelle is a Texas native, where she lives with her husband and two young daughters. While earning her degree in History at the University of Houston, she rediscovered her love for reading that was first instilled by her grandmother when she was a young child. A lover of happily-ever-afters, both historical and current, Erin is an avid reader of all romance novels. In 2013, she published the Book Boyfriend Series, which included books Metamorphosis, Ambrosia, Euphoria, and Timeless, and recently published When the Sun Goes Down, a contemporary romance novel. Her books have been a part of the USA Today Bestselling list and the Amazon and Barnes & Noble overall Top 100

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To follow the rest of the tour and meet Grayson, Mia and Stella Click Here

NEW RELEASE and GIVEAWAY ~ Strange Magic (The Magic Series #1) by Michelle Mankin

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Come celebrate Mardi Gras with us by visiting each blog to see what Mardi Gras means to them. Participating blogs will be posting their own teasers or images they choose of Mardi Gras. Take some time, visit, read the prologue excerpt, enter the giveaway and check it all out!

Also, join the celebration of the release of the second and final book in the Strange Magic Series by Michelle Mankin!

SM-part2

Synopsis 3

Billy Blade is a hardworking, hard living, razor sharp musical force. Mysterious behind his dark shades, the rough around the edges Texan mesmerizes with his haunting harmonica and tantalizes with his dangerous looks and smooth country charm. His latest album is topping the charts. He’s the newly crowned King of the Bacchus Krewe. He’s definitely living the rock star dream.

Exotic Creole beauty Thyme Bellerose couldn’t be more content. She has it all. An adoring grandmother. A handsome Tulane medical student beau. A satisfying job in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter. Her life is as rich as the ice cream she creates. She’s got everything under control.

But control is an illusion. Dreams can turn into nightmares. And now during Mardi Gras, otherworldly powers stand ready to shape their destinies in ways they could never imagine.

Shadow and light. Magic and mystery. Reality and myth. All come together in a place where rules bend and lines blur. Even those between life and death.

Please note: This is Part Two, the finale of STRANGE MAGIC. Available exclusively on Amazon. http://tiny.cc/xyjbsx

It does NOT stand alone. Part One must be read first.
Recommended for mature readers. 17 and older.

What Mardi Gras means to me

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 Trees that line the streets are draped with beads thrown by party goers celebrating Mardi Gras

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Extravagant edible decorations

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The ultimate party on the planet

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Strange Magic (Part 1) Only $0.99  . Strange Magic (Part 2) 

Strange Magic Teaser 3

Teaser

Strange Magic Teaser 2

Excerpt

 

PROLOGUE

Billy

“Dammit, de’pouille.

I quickly grabbed a pillow and covered my lap while Arla Gautreaux rolled his eyes to the ceiling as if searching for the patience he required within the recessed lighting of the tour bus.

Access to my dick denied to her, the brunette kneeling on the floor between my spread legs rocked back on her spiked heels. She wasn’t wearing anything else. Neither was the other brunette on the bed next to me, but she wasn’t as bold as her companion and pulled the rumpled silk sheet in front of her too big to be real breasts. The entire scene too familiar to be shocking to him anymore, my manager continued to voice his displeasure peppering the air with Cajun curses strong enough to make my eyes water.

“Next time maybe try knocking,” I mouthed lamely. It wasn’t much of a defense. He had it right when he called me a hot mess. I was a pedal to the floor, picking up major momentum, barreling headlong down a predictable path to its natural dead end disaster.

“I’ll start asking your permission to enter,” Arla tapped his watch and jerked his chin over his shoulder to emphasize his point, “when you start taking your commitments seriously, no? You forget you have a show tonight, Billy?”

I shook my head. Of course, I hadn’t. “Excuse me, darlin’.” I tossed the pillow aside and moved Brunette One out of the way so I could yank up the Rock 47 jeans from around my ankles. She and her eager friend might have told me their names at sound check before they offered me their services as a two for one deal, but I’d be damned if I could remember either one. In fact, I was already regretting taking them up on it.

“I gotta go. Playtime’s over,” I announced gruffly despising the weakness that made me screw up everything in my life.

Untamable strands of dark blond slid forward effectively shielding my eyes from my manager’s condemnation as I carefully tucked my dick back inside, buttoned my fly and re-buckled my Nocona belt.

“If you wanna keep your fans and tour sponsors you need to stop pulling stunts like this, podna.” Arla dished out the well-deserved verbal lashing ignoring the brunettes as they sifted through drifts of empty liquor bottles and six months of accumulated tour clutter for their discarded clothing.

“You’re right, Arla. I screwed up. I know.” I swiveled at the waist snagging my favorite wadded up black Fender t-shirt from where it lay on the bed behind me. Bunching the soft cotton between my fingers, I punched my head through the frayed collar. Before I could get my arms into the sleeves, one of the white gold bands from the silver chain I wore around my neck got caught on a loose thread. Guilt burned inside my gut as I paused to untangle it.

“I hope so, Blade.” Arla slammed me with a censuring gaze the moment I looked up, his dark scowl eradicating the trio of laugh lines that usually framed his muddy brown eyes. “I surely do hope so, but lately it doan seem like anything I say gets through to you.” Arla’s lazy way of drawing out his words and stressing the last syllable came from time spent deep down in the Louisiana swamp and was even more noticeable than my south Texas twang.

Arla’s disappointment stung. I didn’t really care what most people thought about me, but he was a loyal friend, one of the few who had stuck by me when everyone else had written me off as a lost cause. For nearly a year I had taken a sabbatical from everything, holing up in the old tool shed behind my parents’ house, drowning my sorrow in alcohol. The only breaks in the monotony were the regular visits from the one man who had refused to give up on me. If not for his stubborn persistence, I’d probably still be languishing within the ramshackle confines of my self-imposed exile.

Walkie talkie sputter crackling in his hand, Arla made a rolling gesture with the other. I knew the drill. Best get moving. Arla wasn’t some label lackey that I could brush off or push around. We’d been together too many years for that, since the very beginning of my career when I had been seventeen and winning the Professional Bull Riding world championship had been my goal. Singing had just been more of an afterthought, something I did to impress the chicks. Pathetic now that I thought about it, how my pickup technique hadn’t changed in all this time.

Anyway, Arla had convinced me to hang up the spurs, placed a guitar in my hands and insisted I learn to play. He had showed me the basics of songwriting, and not long after I got the knack of it he had negotiated my first record deal. The latest one with Black Cat Records was his doing as well.

“Blade, take us backstage with you,” Brunette One whined blocking my exit, a pile of clothes in her arms, but still as naked as the day she’d been born. Brunette Two in her bra and jeans hovered beside her friend chewing disinterestedly on a raggedy red thumbnail.

“No can do, darlin’.” I stepped around her snagging sunglasses from the shelf and lifting my black Stetson off its stand. I raked back the thick layers of my hair to get them out of my eyes before shoving the hat down on my head. “We leave for Houston directly after the show tonight.” I slid on the dark aviator shades I always wore on stage, dismissing her, but more importantly shielding my glacier blue eyes from Arla’s scrutiny.

He barked an order to event security on his handheld before addressing my companions. “Ladies, you’ve got two minutes to get dressed and get off the bus. I’m sending someone back here in case you need some encouragement.” He turned and made his way down the center aisle past the sleeping bunks to the front lounge without pausing to look over his shoulder to see if I followed. He didn’t need to. I might be on the slow road to ruin but I didn’t have a death wish.

My three man security detail and my personal assistant, Lorraine, fell into place around us as soon as we stepped onto the pavement. As a unit we set off across the gated lot where all the buses were parked. The steady roar of the outdoor crowd grew louder as we approached the scaffolding of the stage but I knew it would be even crazier once I stepped out in front of them.

A warm wind with just a hint of brine from the bay rolled a discarded Outside Lands festival cup across my path. I stepped over it just beginning to run through the set list in my mind when Arla spoke again.

“Just got the call from the Bacchus Krewe Captain.” Hearing the edge of excitement in his voice I knew it had to be good news. “They chose you,podna.”

“Seriously?” That was cool but it wasn’t something that came totally out of left field. Arla had buddies who were on the committee. Each year the thousand or so members of the Bacchus Krewe chose a top tier celebrity to be their king and fashioned their theme around him. Because of Arla’s connections I knew that my name was on their short list, but then so were a lot of other notables.

“Yeah, Blade. When’s it goan sink in that thick skull of yours how big of a deal you done become? Country entertainer of the year. Grammy for song of the year and best rock album. Cover of Rolling Stone. Top of the list for rock and country sales for over half the year. Why wouldn’t Bacchus want you?”

I shrugged. I didn’t put a lot of stock in awards and shit. It was nice to receive those honors, don’t get me wrong. It was just that I tried not to focus on stuff that was outside my control. It was hard enough to manage the things that I could. But I knew this one was a big deal to my native New Orleans boss.

“Don’t make any plans in February. It’s not just the parade you’ll be officiating. You’ll also be performing at their masked Rendezvous Supper Dance in the Morial Convention Center. Your ceremonial duties aren’t quite as complicated as those in the older more traditional Mardi Gras Krewes, but we’ll still have a ton of stuff to go over as the event gets closer.” He shot me a serious look and held out his hand. “Here.” I took the coin he offered me. “That’s just a prototype. When you’re in the parade you’ll wave your scepter and the other riders on your float will toss those wherever you point.”

I studied the silver dollar sized doubloon.

I knew the ones from Bacchus were some of the most collected and valuable of all the carnival throws. They sold for thousands of dollars after Mardi Gras on auction sites. Mine was black and had a silver imprint of me in my cowboy hat and sunglasses on the front. That same side also had the year twenty fifteen and the parade number. The flip side was engraved with an image of my harmonica, the date again and the theme ‘Celebrating Mouth Harp Charmers’.

A blast of icy wind that came out of nowhere suddenly lifted the hair underneath my hat and raised chill bumps on my arms.

I glanced around to see how everyone else was reacting but oddly no one else in my entourage seemed to have been affected. “Arla,” I began. “Did you feel that…”I trailed off as the ground started to roll like a boat on a choppy lake beneath my feet. I swayed and my vision tunneled. I heard three long protracted harmonica notes. A beautiful woman’s face materialized within a smoky haze that I knew had nothing to do with the famous San Francisco fog.

Though I’d never seen her before she seemed strangely familiar. Haunted violet eyes locked with mine as if it were a two way exchange, as if she could really see me. Not just the man I was now, but also the man I had been, the one who used to give a damn, the one who had been buried under the rubble of his demolished heart.

“Help me,” the violet eyed beauty intoned faintly with an accent I couldn’t place. “Please.”

“Hey, Billy.” Arla put his hand on my arm. I jumped. “You ok?”

The spell was broken.

“Where the hell is he?” The voice on the other end of Arla’s walkie talkie exploded with high volume disembodied displeasure.

The sounds and sensations of the here and now effectively swept away the lingering traces of whatever the hell had just happened. Just one more freaky occurrence I’d have to chalk up to alcohol and my overactive imagination.

No more mixing tequila and whiskey, I vowed.

“Relax. We’ve got him. We’re coming down the corridor now. He’ll be there in five,” Arla responded calmly, his wrinkle free western shirt and pressed Wrangler jeans outward reflections of his inner chillaxed attitude. Though he had an intricate tattoo spanning the entire length of his spine that told me there was a little unexpected rebel beneath the polish. I could always count on him to keep his head despite the chaos that I or anyone else threw at him. Irate record execs, clingy groupies, condescending rehab administrators who didn’t appreciate me checking in wearing only boxers and boots; no one kicked my boss from the bayou out of his steady groove.

“You’re thirty minutes late this time.” Arla shook his head, the ends of his dark brown hair brushing his collar. “You’re lucky Blackberry Smoke extended their set to cover for you.” He gave me another censuring glance that might’ve had me quaking in my boots a couple of years ago, but not anymore. Not these days. Not the soon to be crowned Bacchus monarch, the prince of the rock and country airways Billy Blade. The no longer down and out, scraping out a meager living playing nothing but cash songs at BYOB honkytonks out in the boondocks. These days I was the comeback sensation everyone was talking about, a headliner selling out maximum capacity stadium sized venues. A mega huge superstar.

Fucking fickle fame.

It was all due to the success of my latest album Never Too Dead to Dance. The title sucked wind, in more ways than one I could assure you, but I was proud of the songs I’d written for it after crawling away from the wreckage of my life post rehab. I’d channeled all the bad stuff, all the broken dreams, the heartache and the anger into my music. The only time I really felt like my old self anymore was when I was up on stage playing those tunes. If I wanted to continue having the privilege of doing so I would do well to pay attention to the boss. People were counting on me. Loads of them. The crew. And my fans. It was time I stopped being such a self-hating, self-absorbed bastard.

Arla took off to negotiate the next big deal on my behalf while I jogged up the steps to the stage. Rodney, my guitar tech, handed me my custom black and silver Gibson hollow body. I threw the strap over my shoulder and clipped it into place, not missing a step as I strode out onto the brightly lit stage, an earsplitting boom from the Golden Gate Park capacity crowd nearly blowing the hat off my head. I still hadn’t gotten used to it, even though it had been like this at nearly every stop for over a year now. As low as I’d been, I’d never take it for granted.

I tipped my hat to the audience out on the grassy lawn to show them my respect and the sea of fifty thousand Outside Lands festival fans cheered even louder. Cell phone cameras flashed from the bikini clad chicks on their boyfriend’s shoulders upfront and the tented VIP booths on the far sidelines where the rich cats paid thirty-six hundred dollars a ticket.

It was wall to wall people in every direction, a massive swarm of living breathing humanity.

Well, not all of them were living and breathing. There were others out there, too. Ones only I seemed to be able to see. Ones I refused to dwell on. They were nowhere in sight at the moment, but I knew from experience that they wouldn’t remain hidden for long…not if I blew into my harmonica.

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Book Trailer

couple

 

 

Author Bio

Michelle Mankin is the Amazon bestselling author of the Black Cat Records series of novels.

Romance with subtext.

Reimagining classic stories with sexy rock stars and thought provoking issues.

For many years she worked in the insurance industry as an underwriter. Somehow, the boredom didn’t kill her but the hours and hours of looking at facts and figures provided ample time for her mind to wander.

Love Evolution, Love Revolution, and Love Resolution are a Brutal Strength centered trilogy, combining the plot underpinnings of Shakespeare with the drama, excitement, and indisputable sexiness of the rock ‘n roll industry.

Things take a bit of an edgier, once upon a time turn with the Tempest series.  These pierced, tatted, and troubled Seattle rockers are young and on the cusp of making it big, but with serious obstacles to overcome that may prevent them from ever getting there.

Rock stars, myths, and legends collide with paranormal romance in a totally mesmerizing way in the Magic series.

When Michelle is not prowling the streets of her Texas town listening to her rock music much too loud, she is putting her daydreams down on paper or traveling the world with her family and friends, sometimes for real, and sometimes just for pretend as she takes the children to school and back.

Strange Magic Teaser 9

Also Available

Brutal Strength series:

Love Evolution . Love Revolution . Love Resolution . Love Rock’ollection

 

Tempest series:

Irresistible RefrainEnticing Interlude . Captivating Bridge . Relentless Rhythm 

Unforgettable: Tempest #5. A Tempest/ Brutal Strength mashup. Coming soon

 

The MAGIC Series:

DREAM MAGIC: October 2015

TWISTED MAGIC: coming soon

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Author Links

FACEBOOK . TWITTER . TSU . WEBSITE . NEWSLETTER

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