Archive | September 2017

 RELEASE BLITZ ~ THE CHOICES I’VE MADE                                        by J.L. BERG

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The Choices I’ve Made by J.L. Berg is LIVE EARLY!

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The Choices I’ve Made by J.L. Berg

Release Date: October 1st

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

Death is easy.

Surviving it? That’s the hard part.

Dr. Jake Jameson knows this all too well. Losing his mother at the age of eighteen, he walks away from his small hometown and the painful memories it holds, vowing to never return again.

Twelve years later, he finds himself driving back down the coast of North Carolina. When his father leaves him a small medical practice, he has no choice but to heed the call until he can find someone else to take it off his hands.

But coming back home means facing everything he left behind, including the one woman who might make it impossible to leave again.

Molly McIntyre has spent her entire life in one town. Taking over her parents’ small inn, she’s settled into a quiet, happy life. But all of that comes to an abrupt halt when Jake shows up at her door in need of a place to stay.

Molly loathes everything about this man, but she can’t find it in her heart to refuse his request.

After over a decade, these former lovers quickly discover what once burned brightly between them has only grown in their time apart. Soon they must decide if the choices they’ve made have led them back to each other for a second chance or one final goodbye.

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✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯

Reviewed by Emma-Louise on behalf of KFF

‘Death is easy. Surviving it is the hard part.’

The cover and quote for The Choices I’ve Made are so eerily right for the feel and theme of this story. The hip deep water on the front cover reminds me of the regrets Jake daily wades through. Even from the opening sentence of the prologue, the feel of this tale was clouded by the darker colours of the spectrum. No light or colour was allowed into their lives, only delusion and lies.

Molly and Jake had been childhood sweethearts with the belief that their love would last forever. Children at fourteen don’t know that reality often kicks you in the teeth when you least expect it, because four years later, eighteen year old Jake was driving out of Ocracoke and away from Molly, leaving her broken.

Twelve years on, Jake has to return to his childhood home to sort out his recently deceased father’s affairs. Having grown up on a small island, the inevitable meeting of Molly and Jake is as awkward as you would think. A tragedy separated them twelve years ago and another tragic series of events brings them back into the fray. Their love for each other never waned, they denied, they ignored and they tried to bury it underneath the trauma and heartbreak they had caused one another. Jake didn’t want to stay on Ocracoke and Molly had never even considered leaving; two people so different and so in love, hanging on to the fairytale they had first imagined. Two love struck teenagers never see the reality and harshness of life until they grow up or they’re thrust into a situation that makes them see it.

Second chance romances are my go to reads when I need to disappear from the real world for a while. I’m addicted to the toing and froing and the raw emotion. Second chance romances don’t have that instalove theme to them, the characters have pasts together and emotions and misgivings, events and feelings that carry the story forward without the author having to work in the angst and or the emotion. The Choices I’ve Made did not disappoint. Only a handful of books have EVER had me worrying there wouldn’t be a happily ever after and this book fit into that column.  

“I tried to forget you. But I never could. I tried to forget this place and all it represented, but the memories never faded. You never faded.”

‘It reminded me of the scared boy I’d once held in my arms as he wept for his mother.  It tugged at the few remaining heartstrings I had for this man.’

Jake spends a large portion of the story battling to crawl out of the shadow that was his father. His father was a broken man living two lives in a small town where the residents all had him on a high pedestal. Anybody with this much self-burdened grief who puts themselves under a microscope that close, can never look good.

The Choices I’ve Made was gripping and emotional from front to back. Personal and familial development was created for both Molly and Jake, a way to rebuild their crumbled foundations and move on from who they were to who they want/should be.

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About the Author:

I’m a California native, who lives in the South – Virginia to be exact. I still prefer sushi to fried chicken, avocados to okra, and I absolutely loathe humidity. I do love watching the seasons change though. My husband and I have been here for over a decade, and I still get giddy like a school girl every time it snows. It’s magical!

I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and we’ve been blessed with two beautiful daughters and two rescue pups I like to call my “coworkers”. I’m obsessed with chocolate, minions, anything Harry Potter and I love to watch re-runs of Friends and Gilmore Girls!

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            RELEASE BLITZ ~ FINDING PEACE                                       by Ellie Masters is LIVE!

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Kindle Friends Forever are so excited to present Ellie Master’s all-new contemporary romance, FINDING PEACE!

Release Date: 30th September, 2019

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Finding Peace (English Edition) de [Masters, Ellie]

 

SYNOPSIS

Abby Knight’s promising start as a family physician is cut short by an abusive relationship. She leaves a painful past behind and trades the hustle and bustle of city living for the more sedate pace of country life.

She’s excited to join her Uncle’s family practice in Peace, Montana, and looks forward to many years working by his side.

As for relationships? Abby’s not interested. The only thing she cares about is establishing her medical practice and maybe finding a little bit of peace along the way.

However, a freak blizzard in May, quirky llamas, and a determined Montana rancher have other plans in mind.

 

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FINDING PEACE is LIVE and ONLY 99 pennies this week!

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✩ ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩

Reviewed by Tracey Lou on behalf of KFF

Finding Peace is a novella which introduces you to the town of Peace Montana and its residents.

Abby Knight is travelling to Peace Montana to relocate and to help her uncle with his medical practice. It couldn’t have come at a better time as she is leaving behind her life and abusive ex, Jacob. Her journey wasn’t as straightforward as she would have liked and we can thank the divine intervention of the moose on the loose for that and snow.

Grappling with the wheel in a bid to miss hitting the moose her car skids and she lands herself and it in a ditch and surrounds herself with a pack of wolves who look at her  as if they have found their next meal.Could things get any worse for abby ? No! It can only get better with the appearance of her knight in shining armour or should I say, snow gear!

Drake is tall, dark and handsome and a local rancher, out and about searching for the pack of wolves that he knows are on the prowl. He not only finds them, but he finds a damsel in distress too! And that my friends is where this sweet story begins! The chemistry between these two characters is evident throughout the book, but will they act upon it or go their separate ways? Will Drake sweep her off her feet, and will Abby find the peace that she is looking for?

This novella is short and sweet with a bit of sexy time thrown in which compliments the story well. It was well written and the story flowed continuously. Congratulations to Ellie Masters. I look forward to reading more about Abby and Drake and the residents of Peace Montana.

SHORT EXCERPT

“It’s beautiful here.” Abby fought against the urge to spin in a circle, arms stretched wide, taking in the scene.

Drake’s hard gaze locked on her face. “Beyond gorgeous.”

Her cheeks heated. He’d hadn’t been talking about the farm.

“Come.” He turned toward the barn.

She followed him in companionable silence broken only by the crunching of snow beneath their feet. At the barn door, he unlatched the massive doors, then put his back into sliding them on their rails until a narrow opening appeared. As she passed beside him, the heat of his breath seared her skin and made her shiver. Her breath fled as she pried her gaze from his eyes to take in the dimly lit interior of the barn.

Musk. A deep animal smell. The pungent aroma of dirt, hay, and what had to be llamas assaulted her nostrils. A low hum vibrated the air. Abby cast her gaze left and right until she realized the sound was coming from a pen to her left.

“What is that?” she asked.

Drake chuckled. “Llamas humming.”

“They hum?”

“Yes, and you should hear the males orgle.”

Had he made up that word?

“I hate to ask what an orgle is,” she said.

“Llamas hum when they’re happy. The males have a unique alarm call when they perceive danger, but when they breed, they orgle.”

“Orgle?”

“Yes, but it’s not breeding season, just the humming for right now.” His eyes crinkled at the corners. “I bet you’re dying to hear a llama orgle now aren’t you?”

He stepped close, towering over her, causing a tingle to spark in her chest and an ache to build lower down. Her entire body was painfully aware of his overwhelming presence. The timbre of his voice was both smooth and hypnotic, drugging even, because she found herself tipping back her head, her mind slipping, and her eyes closing as he leaned down.

His breath disturbed the air above her cheek, and she held still, paralyzed by what might happen next.

AUTHOR BIO

Ellie MastersELLIE MASTERS is the bestselling author of Heart’s Insanity: an Angel Fire Rock Romance. She writes multiple genres, creating the stories she loves to read. These are dark erotic tales. Or maybe sweet contemporary stories. How about a romantic thriller to whet your appetite? Ellie writes it all. Want to read passionate poems and sensual secrets? She does that too. Dip into the eclectic mind of Ellie Masters, spend time exploring the sensual realm where she breathes life into her characters and brings them from her mind to the page and into the heart of her readers every day.

When not writing, Ellie can be found outside, where her passion for all things outdoor reigns supreme: off­ roading, ATV-ing, scuba diving, hiking, and breathing fresh air, are just a few of her favorite pursuits.

She has lived all over the United States, east, west, north, south and central, but grew up under the Hawaiian sun. Now, Ellie is proud to call herself a Southern transplant, learning to say y’all and ‘bless her heart’ with the best of them. She lives with her beloved husband, two children who refuse to flee the nest, and four fur-­babies; three cats who rule the household, and a dog who wants nothing other than for the cats to be his friends. The cats have a different opinion regarding this matter.

Ellie’s favorite way to spend an evening is curled up on a couch, laptop in place, watching a fire, drinking a good wine, and bringing forth all the characters from her mind to the page and hopefully into the hearts of her readers.

Special Offers

Signed paperback available via a Rafflecopter giveaway. Ends midnight September 30th.

Signed paperbacks available via a Goodreads giveaway. Ends October 8th.

Ellie would love to hear from you! Contact or follow her on…

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             RELEASE BLITZ ~ FINDING KYLIE                                             by Krystyna Allyn

We are so excited to present Krystyna Allyn’s debut novel, FINDING KYLIE, book one in the Hybrid Series!

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Reviewed by Klaire Sutherland on behalf of KFF

I love this cover! I think the tone and the colour suits this story immensely, it’s difficult not to take a second look with those frightened eyes staring back at you. It’s a cover I want on my paperback shelf. Initially I wasn’t a fan of the title, but on reflection, it’s perfect. Essentially, Finding Kylie is what the book is all about.

I’m aware of the immense amount of work that this debut author has poured into this book. It’s not typically a genre I read, however it didn’t spoil my enjoyment. Finding Kylie is a cliff hanger, so be warned if that’s not a thing you like, this is the first of three books that I am aware of. It’s a juicy cliff hanger, I liked it but then again, I always think if you can pull it off, you’ve hooked yourself a reader. Krystyna had no problem and nailed it.

The story was fast paced for the most part, the author pulls the reader along with ease, throwing in a few twists and turns that are easy enough to understand but – pay attention. If you skip, you’ll miss something relevant for sure. Very much plot driven as opposed to character driven, I liked Krystyna Allyn’s characters. She introduces a few, all with their part to play in the unfolding plot. The reader does get some answers, so the cliffhanger doesn’t leave you with a hundred and one questions and a bunch of frustration. The third person POV probably suited this book better than first person and the author wrote in a very clear and precise manner. Often, the simplistic sentences in places, were far better than a convoluted, roundabout way to say something. That’s not to say that Krystyna Allyn’s writing is simple – it’s not.

I wanted to see a little more character development, and perhaps a little more description. For a debut author though, she absolutely captured her story and brought it to life. The paranormal element is written in such a way it almost seems to blend into the background, where the reader forgets that Finding Kylie is exactly that. There are several developing storylines throughout book one and I really hope the author can bring them to light and do them justice in their own right. The character relationships, for the most part are there, the connections identifiable. And I need to add – there’s a little bit of hotness in there too. If you think you’re going to get a run of the mill PNR read – think again.

If you follow my reviews, you’ll know it’s very rare a debut author gets the five-star treatment from me. It’s in no way a slight against reading a great book, which is exactly what Finding Kylie is. But…Krystyna Allyn has a lot more to give and I saw that whilst reading the finished book. She has more in her tank, far more. Finding Kylie didn’t wow me, yet it left me feeling that there was a potential that in the future the author possibly could. And that to me is exciting.

If this is your genre (or even if it’s not) then pick this book up and give this debut author a chance. I’m telling you – you won’t regret it.

Read Today!

AMAZON: U.S | U.K | CANADA | AUSTRALIA

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 About Krystyna Allyn

 Krystyna lives in somewhere USA with her amazingly awesome husband. Though she works full time, blogs and reads like a maniac, she still manages to find the time to write all her crazy stories.

 Her hobbies include baking, skydiving, karaoke and general mischief. The list of her favorite authors is endless, so rather than singling out anyone particular, she’ll just mention her number one go-to cookie is oatmeal raisin.

 

Krystyn would love to hear from you. Why not connect with her! 

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             RELEASE BLITZ ~ BATTLE SCARS                                 by JANE HARVEY-BERRICK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.From the dusty plains of Afghanistan to the sleek corridors of the New York Times, journalist MJ Buckman seeks the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. What she doesn’t expect to find is a man who’s her complete opposite … and fits her perfectly.

Marine Sergeant Jackson Connor knows that relationships don’t work for men in the military. He’s living proof of that. But when a steely-eyed temptress in a flak jacket, who carries her moral cause in front of her, crosses his path, he’s furious, curious, and all kinds of in-lust.

 

* * *
A grown-up love story about two people who aren’t looking for love, but realize how precious it is when they find it. They don’t play games and there are no stupid misunderstandings, just life standing in their way.

Can they compromise? And what does that look like in a modern relationship between two driven people?

Assignment Vs deployment.

They’re always traveling in different directions. What relationship can survive that?

 

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Reviewed by Anna Green on behalf of KFF

I have read the previous books by this author and always loved her style of writing. One can tell that this book was well researched; there is cohesion in every paragraph up to the final chapter, a seamless tale of romance and conflict.

Maggie Buckman is a 31 year old journalist of the New York Times, independent, strong willed and very much married to her career. Jackson Connor is a 30 year old marine and is stationed in Camp Leatherneck in Helmand. Their first meeting was not in the best of circumstances. Maggie was in the village interviewing one of the locals when everything went haywire and almost ended up in disaster but Jackson and his men saved her. He was not impressed with her stint, she hated his guts and sparks fly metaphorically and literally.

This is a very well written romance that portrays not only Maggie and Jack’s story but also the world that we live in today. The graphic description of war, the emotional and physical toll caused by violence, the cultural clashes happening in the world right now are all in this book, it makes it relevant. It is written in a way that is not too technical nor over simplified to insult the reader’s intellect. The deep love that Maggie and Jack have for each other amidst the backdrop of despair and death shows a vibrant imagery, it’s like watching a movie in my mind. There are some nail-biting scenarios in this fast paced romance. This book is the perfect sum of true love, understanding and grabbing that moment because life is too short. And as an added bonus there is a surprise appearance at the end of the story by some well loved characters from her previous books. I really enjoyed reading Maggie and Jack’s story and highly recommend it!

 

 

 

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Jane is a writer of contemporary romance fiction, known for thoughtful stories, often touching on difficult subjects: disability (DANGEROUS TO KNOW & LOVE, SLAVE TO THE RHYTHM); mental illness (THE EDUCATION OF CAROLINE, SEMPER FI); life after prison (LIFERS); dyslexia (THE TRAVELING MAN, THE TRAVELING WOMAN).
She is also a campaigner for former military personnel to receive the support they need on leaving the services. She wrote the well-received play LATER, AFTER with former veteran Mike Speirs. YouTube
Author Links

 

 

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RELEASE BLITZ ~ THE BROTHER by K. Larsen

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Author: K. Larsen

 Title: The Brother

Genre: Dark Romantic Suspense

Release Date: 2nd October, 2017

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SYNOPSIS

Nora Robertson is struggling to find her place in society after being held captive for half a year. Her sense of normal is skewed at best, in love and life but, she is trying to recover with the help of her support system. She pines for a home and a love she can no longer have. A love she knows was wrong but still clings to and desires secretly.

Liam Lockwood stumbled across a photo in a magazine of his ​long forgotten brother causing buried secrets, heartache and obsession​ ​to bubble to the surface.​ ​When Liam sees something he wants, he takes it. He always has and this time will be no different despite his father’s warning. Payback for a dark and broken childhood now has a name, Nora Robertson.

When Liam and Nora’s paths collide everyone in their wake will be left stumbling when the truth reveals itself.

Attraction is not random.

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Go Dark with Nora; The Brother is LIVE!

BUY LINKS ~ ONLY ~2.99 for 24 hours!

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✮ ✮ ✮ ✮

Reviewed by Anna Green on behalf of KFF

This book continues Nora Robertson’s harrowing tale from The Tutor. I was made aware that this can be read as a standalone but before you continue with this story, I strongly suggest that you read The Tutor first. In that way you get to understand more of how her character develops throughout this book.

Written in dual points of view alternating from past (on Nora’s perspective) to present, we see a woman who is coping and trying to put behind her ordeal from the hands of her kidnapper. She has a strong support group amongst her friends: Eve and Lotte (sisters who were also kidnapped by Holden), Aubrey and her mum Angela, her psychiatrist Dr. Richardson, Detective Salve and Agent Brown. These are the people she bonded with and became her family. The way I understand Nora without reading the other book, The Tutor, she is a strong woman who is still dealing with the nightmares and the dark memories that came with it. From being a shy and nerdy bookworm she became a woman who developed a fetish. “I remain silent – feeling like a pinball bouncing around in a careless crowd we call the population. And like a tornado, I seem to touch down in various places and leave a wake of destruction behind. I begin to cry. Everything is wrong. I think maybe I am two separate people now. Before and after Nora. I live a double life.”   

Liam Lockwood is a successful businessman who works for his abusive father. He also happens to be Holden’s brother although that has been kept a secret by his family. He stalks Nora and they became friends. Falling in love with her wasn’t in his plan but he did. “I want to wipe my brother from her memory. If I stick around, I’m bound to lose my mind over her. I stutter like a broken clutch as she touches me. She’s a spider beneath my skin, an itch that needs to be scratched.” He is the yin to her yang, they are perfectly matched as both have fetishes that the other can feed on. How can two damaged people overcome this darkness that was caused by one man? Will Holden shadow their lives forever?

Although the author provides snippets of memories from Nora’s time with Holden there are questions that I need answers that aren’t in this book. In my opinion, if one read this book and wasn’t aware of The Tutor, it can be read as a standalone, it can stand up on its own albeit a tiny bit wobbly.  A gripping dark romantic thriller you’ll enjoy reading whilst curled up in your chair on a lazy Sunday afternoon. 

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EXCERPT

Six Months Ago 
I saw the headline first. The Tutor Captive Speaks Out For First Time Exclusive! 
I admit I was curious. I’d heard the news reports. Seen the reporters trying to get the meek redhead to talk to them last year. I was waiting in line at the grocery store- a task normally done by my assistant- when I picked up the rag and flipped it open to the article. Immediately nostalgia sucker punched me. One of the featured pictures showed the redhead, a young girl and…my brother. I slammed the magazine shut and slapped it on the conveyor belt with my groceries. Fucking Holden
When I slip into my car, I yank the magazine out and read the article. Held captive. Cuts. Love. Emotional abuse. Scars. Moving on. Single. Raise awareness about abuse and PTSD. Blah blah. 
“Dammit,” I mutter.  Although I don’t recall an awful lot from my childhood I do remember my mother and her specific brand of abuse and my brother’s. I pull my cell phone from my back pocket and dial my father. 
“Liam,” he answers. 
“Sir.” 
“Burn through the money already?” His voice is tight. 
I groan. “No. Have you seen the latest edition of,” I flip the magazine over, “People Weekly?” 
“Why would I have son? You in it?” His voice grates my nerves. He has two tones of voice, condescending and stern. 
“No, but your other son is,” I say. I run a hand through my hair. It’s just long enough to consider scheduling a hair cut. My father would prefer it cropped close to the scalp, but I’ve always kept it longer. 
“Excuse me?” He barks into my ear. 
“Holden Douglas Lockwood, remember him? He’s featured in the magazine.” I wait for his retort. His slew of curses but only silence greets me. “Dad?” 
“I’m here. Come to the house now.” 
“Yes, Sir,” I say. 
I end the call and toss the magazine on the passenger seat. I start the car while pulling up Carol’s contact to send her a quick text that I won’t need her tonight. She texts me back immediately to let me know she left dinner in the fridge for me. 
The drive to my father’s house isn’t long but it gives me too much time to focus on my the short movie clips that play in my mind from my former life. Mountain life. Memories of Holden screaming and my father shouting. Holden coming into our room with blood dripping down his torso as I cowered in the corner. Holden covering my mouth in the middle of the night and drawing thin slices along my scalp. What Ma did to him, he did to me, but less so. And hidden. When I told Dad what was happening he snapped. Without warning, he threw me in his truck and drove us away. He told me to never speak of our cabin. To never speak of Holden or baby Laura or Ma again. Nightmares kept me up most nights until Dad started to beat them out of me of with his belt. 
We started fresh four hours south of that damned mountain. He created an empire for us. Sent me to the best schools and now I run the business he started. We have wanted for nothing. I have no idea how Holden or Ma or Laura faired. Except now- I do. I know they are all dead from that damned article. 
I pull into Dad’s gated driveway and leave the car running at the front door. His valet takes my keys as I pass by him. I don’t bother knocking on my way inside. Dad sits behind his oak desk. He hand carved it. Sanded it for days. Stained it and had his security detail move the enormous hunk of wood into his office. Two fingers of whiskey reside in a glass to his left. 
“Sit,” he says. I do. He does not offer me a drink. 
“Show me this article.” I lean forward and toss the magazine on his desk. He flips to the article and reads silently. When he finishes, he grunts and slaps the magazine closed. 
“We don’t have anything to worry about. They got his last name wrong.” 
“But Dad, what about the cabin? There could be things there that lead back to us. Pictures or, I don’t know?” 
“There’s nothing Liam. Holden’s dead. Laura’s dead and your mother is dead. Good riddance. It sounds like Holden took up her ‘art’. He was destined to get caught.” 
“That’s all you have to say? Laura and Holden were your children too.” 
“I let them go a long time ago and you should have too.” 
“Don’t you care at all?” 
“No. Your Mother was bat shit crazy. Love made me do stupid things for that woman. Move that damned mountain to commune with nature. Live off grid to aid her art. I gave her enough years. I have nothing left for her-not even curiosity.” 
“But Holden, Laura?” I say. “I couldn’t care for an infant on my own and Holden was too far gone by then. I could however, save you. Are you not grateful for that?” Save me. The words sound sincere rolling off his tongue but saving me from Ma and my siblings didn’t spare me his abuse. I cannot say this however. 
“Of course I am. I just…” 
“Don’t over think it Liam and don’t tell anyone about this article. Understood?” 
“Yes Sir,” I answer. 
“Good,” he says while lifting his glass to his mouth. I watch the amber liquid slosh back and forth and yearn for a glass of my own. The first time I’ve heard of, or seen my brother since we left was in a magazine for being a psychopath and my father wants to simply sweep it under the rug with no explanation. It baffles me and irritates me simultaneously. I say nothing to my father because is not the kind of man you push.

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AUTHOR BIO

K. Larsen

You talk. I listen. You move. I watch. You don’t know I exist, but I learn from watching you. I absorb the minute details you emit. I use them. I write. I take the smallest sliver from you, about you and I piece it into a character. It takes so many little slivers to create a whole, complete being. I watch people. I hear words, individual words from many different conversations floating around. I stockpile them away. I rearrange them into to something else. Nothing goes to waste. There is a little of each one of you in each person I create. You are all of them and they are all of you. Good combined with bad. Kind mixed in with evil. All the little slivers compound on each other creating something bigger. That is how my writing works.

Why I may or may not be interesting…

I am an avid reader, coffee drinker, and chocolate eater who loves writing.

If you love suspense and romance and a good read you’ve come to the right spot! I may mess with your head a bit in the process. Enjoy!

I have a weird addiction to goat cheese and chocolate martinis, not together though.
I adore my dog.
He is the most awesome snuggledoo in the history of dogs.
Seriously.
I hate dirty dishes.
I like sarcasm and funny people.
I should probably be running right now… because of the goat cheese….and stuff.

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GIVEAWAY

K. Larsen is giving away a signed paperback, an amazon gift card and a swag pack ➜ HERE

                                      BLOG TOUR                                         DARK CONTROL by ANNABEL JOSEPH

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Dark Control an all-new sexy standalone by Annabel Joseph is available NOW!

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Dark Control by Annabel Joseph

Release Date: September 25th, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Not all fantasies are safe, sane, and consensual. Welcome to the world of The Gallery…

Juliet meets Fort St. Clair on a miserable, drunken night, and wakes up the next morning cuffed to his guest room bed. Of course, Fort would never take advantage of her. No, the pleasure and pain he wants to inflict on her body must be negotiated in advance, because once Juliet sets foot in his private, exclusive dungeon, she belongs to him.

BDSM at The Gallery is supposed to be a straightforward arrangement, an affair by the rules, but Juliet and Fort’s growing connection brings unexpected emotions they can’t control. She’s the free spirit who transforms his rigid world, and he’s the Dominant she can finally trust—or can she?

I crossed to join him on the sofa, leaving some space between us for the questions and uneasiness to fit. He put his cup on the table behind him, then reached across the space to touch the top of my knee. His fingers trailed over the place he’d grabbed me last night, lightly, nothing sexual now. He wanted to discuss things. A future for us, maybe.

Next, he tilted my neck, inspecting the place where he’d bit me, his touch lingering like he might still soothe the pain. “No marks,” he said. “At least nothing obvious. You feel okay?”

“Yes, I feel fine.” I felt more than fine. God, I felt a million things. “How do you feel?” I asked, turning the question back on him.

“Conflicted,” he said, coming right out with it. “Here’s the thing about last night. What I did to you up against the wall in that work room…that was me on my best behavior. That was me being a gentleman.”

“Was it?” I took a sip of my tea now that it was cooler. “It felt pretty nice.”

“I can be worse. I usually am when it comes to sex.”

“Hmm.” I took another sip of tea to process, rolling the vanilla and cinnamon flavors on my tongue. “You mean you can be even rougher?”

“Rougher, colder, more intense. I’m a Dominant, but it’s more accurate to call me a sexual sadist. I like to hurt women and force them to do things for my pleasure. It’s how I prefer to get off.”

“I understand about BDSM.”

He shook his head. “You understand mainstream BDSM, the safe, sane, consensual stuff they do at Underworld. You’re into the romance of it, the slap and tickle to get off. To me, that’s going through the motions. It’s not real. Well, not real enough.”

I met his gaze, wondering what he meant by that. Not real enough?

“It’s hard to explain,” he went on, an edge of frustration in his voice. “Especially to a BDSM baby like you.”

“A BDSM baby?” I protested. “Maybe I’m a mess, but I’m not a baby. I’ve been submissive for years. I’ve done a lot of scenes, experimented with a lot of things.”

“I’m not trying to insult you. I’m trying to explain. You’ve been with a few Doms, you’ve participated in the lifestyle, but at the end of the day, you’re looking for pleasure, a good time.” He grimaced. “I’m into something different.”

“You don’t like having a good time? How does that work?” I blinked in confusion. “Why do you do whatever the hell you do if it’s not fun?”

“It’s fun to me. Dark fun, though.” He shifted, pushing back his hair. “I do BDSM for the rush and release. I like to push boundaries, and hang out with other people who like to push boundaries. Places like Underworld only scratch the surface of power exchange. I belong to a private club where people…go a little further.”

“So…” I put my tea on the low table in front of us. “This is why you’re not good for me? Your sadism is the reason you believe we won’t work out?”

“It’s hard for me to work out with anyone, Juliet. Except, you know, the women who come to the private club. I can be as rough as I want, as cruel as I want, and they want more.”

I looked away from him, biting my lip, considering how to reply. “Do you think…” I turned back to him. “Do you think I didn’t want more last night? Do you think I responded badly to your force?”

He held my gaze. “I think you responded wonderfully. That’s why I’m sitting here on your couch, drinking tea with you, which I literally fucking hate.” He picked up his cup as if to illustrate his point, pounded the rest of his tea, and swallowed with a disgusted face. “I hate tea, Jewels. More than anything in the world.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I’m not sorry. I only meant to say hi to you last night, but it went further than that, and now we have to decide…”

“Decide if we’re going to go further still?” I looked at him from under my lashes. “How often do you go to your private club to do dark, sadistic, non-fun things?”

“Often enough,” he said tightly. “And I don’t always play with the same women. It’s not a relationship thing, where we all pair up into couples.”

“It’s a sex club thing.”

He shrugged. “It’s scratching a mutual itch with no emotional expectations. So it’s not for everyone, especially emotional types. When the wrong people get caught up in that kind of lifestyle, the results aren’t pretty. That’s why I’ve been trying to stay away from you, even though I find you painfully attractive.”

“Painfully attractive.” I sniffed and sipped my tea. “Can’t hurt me, can’t live without me.”

“It’s not a joke, Juliet.”

“I know.” If it were a joke, I wouldn’t feel such lust and confusion, such horrible curiosity. “You could show me the kind of dark stuff you like to do,” I suggested. “You could invite me to this club to see what goes on, and I could tell you how I felt about it.”

“Spectators aren’t allowed. Only vetted people are allowed at the club, so there aren’t any misunderstandings.”

“Oh.” At this point, I understood what he was trying to say. Even after last night’s scorching-hot hookup, he thought we might be terminally non-compatible.

He reached for my hand and held it hard. His deep hazel eyes hit me full force, his lips pressed in a line. “I’m trying to protect you,” he said. “Since I can’t…” Those eyes raked over me, leaving me feeling stripped. “Since I can’t enter into any kind of…”

“Relationship,” I provided.

“Any kind of relationship with you, especially the sweet, emotional relationship you probably want…”

I let out a long breath. “That’s fucked up. You don’t know me well enough to know what kind of relationship I want. Honest talk: I wanted sex from you from that first sober morning I met you, and I got it.” I stood with my cup and saucer, carrying my tepid tea over to the sink. It had too much sugar. It was too sweet, like me. “I don’t have any judgment about your…your thing. Your sexual sadism, your private club, your playboy ways.”

“Playboy ways,” he repeated in an amused mutter.

“At the same time, I think you’re kind of an asshole. If you don’t want a relationship with me, don’t ask me to dinner at the Ivy. Don’t invite my boss to be part of your ad campaign, and then drop by his art show to fuck me against a wall after weeks without contact.”

“I tried to call you after the Ivy. You blocked my number, Sparkles.”

I glared at him from the kitchen. “Sparkles?

“To go with Jewels. To go with your eyes when you get really emo and intense.”

I picked up a dishtowel and started aggressively wiping invisible spots on the counter. “I had to block your number, Fort. No offense to you personally. I’m just at the point where I have to be more careful about the men I let into my life.”

“As you should be.” He stood to bring me his cup, his expression turned serious. “I try to be careful too. I try to maintain boundaries when I think someone might be easily hurt.”

My eyes widened. “Me? You think I’m some fragile flower? I’m just super sensitive to bullshit right now.”

He didn’t reply, only watched me with his lofty, level gaze. A sadist? Definitely. He could hurt me in so many ways, and those were only the ways I knew about.

“Come here, Sparkles,” he said from across the counter.

“My name’s not Sparkles.”

“Come here, Juliet.”

I wanted to say no. I wanted to make some more hot tea and dash his most-hated mixture in his face.

No, I wanted to go to him. His expression was kind, if resigned. His arms opened for me. I walked around the counter and let him embrace me. He pressed his cheek against my forehead and stroked my back.

“You’d hate it,” he said. “You’d hate what I’m into.”

“I didn’t hate it last night.”

“I was careful with you last night.” He tilted my head back and brushed fingers across my temples and through my hair. “We have this rule at the club: never fuck with the vulnerable. We’re not allowed to hook up with women who are emotionally or physically complicated, women we might damage. We can’t even bring them into the space. It’s like an honor system.”

I tugged my chin from his fingers and looked away.

“I figured out why I like you,” he went on. “I figured out why I want you so much. It’s because you’re all on the surface. Your emotions are right there, plain as day, all the time. You don’t give a fuck about saying what you feel and being who you are. You have this open expression, this way of looking at me and at other people. And you dress however you want.”

“What’s wrong with the way I dress?”

His eyes glanced over the blue fur headband I wore. “I love the way you dress. I love the way that headband matches your eyes, but not your clothes.”

“These are my Sunday hangout clothes,” I said, pouting. “They’re not supposed to look hot and put together like your freaking designer suits.”

He held me against his chest, running his big hands up and down my back. “Just shut up for a minute, because I don’t know what to do with you. I don’t know what to do about what happened last night…”

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★ ★ ★ ★

Reviewed by Emma-Louise on behalf of KFF

Dominant Fort St. Clair rescues Juliet. All romantic and white knight like, only he is no romantic and he most certainly isn’t a white knight. Fort is a long time member at The Gallery. The Gallery is a high end, limited membership, super-secret BDSM club. Fort doesn’t do flowers and poetry, he prefers pain and tears. After rescuing Juliet, he becomes obsessed with figuring out if she’s just another “posturing, pretty club maven” or a real sub.

Dark Control was an exhilarating read full of darkness and pain. As the reader, I found myself uncomfortable and even cringing at some points. I didn’t really believe I had limits until I read this book. Fort’s kink is harsher than a lot of Dominants I’ve read. He truly enjoys and gets off on causing his subs pain. In the beginning, Juliet was newly awoken to her desires. She knew she enjoyed them but it caused her a lot of confusion. Fort’s personality helped lead her down the path she wanted to go down and gave her the ability to discover who she really was.

There’s always angst in a book like this but in this book the angst was turned way passed factor 10. There was a certain scene that gave me a giant case of foreboding. You know from the start it’s going to end badly and sure enough it does. Fort breaks the only important rules there are at The Gallery and there are consequences.

‘Leave your submissive in better shape than you found them. Don’t take more than they can give. Never, ever mess with the vulnerable.’

‘We hurt women, but we don’t damage women. There’s a difference.’

Fort is a complex character. He’s a confident, sure alpha of a man, no wonder he makes a stunning Dom. All he wanted was to move from one sub to the next, never getting involved with all those messy things, like emotions. Juliet changes this for him and like most stubborn pig headed males, he fights it tooth and nail. He won’t admit how he feels, perish the thought. The sad thing is that for me it made him less likable. He went back and forth so much, to the point, even I was confused at times.

The highlight in Dark Control had to be Goodluck Boundless (yes this is a person). Goodluck is the artist that Juliet manages and to say he’s eccentric is putting it mildly. In such a heavy and dark book, Goodluck is the light shining from above. This book wouldn’t have been the same without him. Dark Control flowed from one page to the next. The author took the time to make the book feel real, and to me that really helped to pull me into the scenes. Especially the scenes in The Gallery, the description of the clock made me a little sad that it didn’t actually work. Devin has a book next, Deep Control. Devin is even more of sadist than Fort, so we’re certainly in for one heck of a ride.

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About Annabel:

Annabel Joseph is a NYT and USA Today Bestselling BDSM romance author. She writes mainly contemporary romance, although she’s been known to dabble in the medieval and Regency eras. She is known for writing emotionally intense BDSM storylines, and strives to create characters that seem real—even flawed—so readers are better able to relate to them. Annabel also writes non-BDSM romance under the pen name Molly Joseph.

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EXCERPT REVEAL ~ SICK FUX by Tillie Cole

 

 

When Ellis Earnshaw and Heathan James met as children, they couldn’t have been more different. Ellis was loud and beautiful – all blond hair, bright laughs and smiles. Heathan was dark and brooding, and obsessed with watching things die.
The pair forged an unlikely friendship, unique and strange. Until they were ripped apart by the sick cruelty of others, separated for years, both locked in a perpetual hell.
Eleven years later, Heathan is back for his girl. Back from a place from which he thought there was no return. Back to seek revenge on those who wronged them.
Time has made Heathan’s soul darker, polluted with hatred and the thirst for blood.
Time has made Ellis a shell of her former self, a little girl lost in the vastness of her pain.
As Heathan pulls Ellis out of her mental prison, reviving the essence of who she once was, down the rabbit hole they will go.
With malice in their hearts and vengeance in their veins, they will seek out the ones who hurt and destroyed them.
One at a time.
Each one more deadly than the last.
Tick Tock.

Dark Contemporary Romance. Contains explicit sexual situations, violence, disturbingly sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language and very mature topics. Recommended for ages 18 and over.

 

 

 

Please note : this is excerpt is unedited and subject to change.

 

I placed the foot of my cane on the floor and looked to the left. The sound of light breathing came from around the corner. I made to move, but my heart slammed into a fast beat, stopping my feet in their tracks. My nostrils flared as I closed my eyes and tried to suck in deep breaths. I never did this, never had this kind of reaction to anything. Not in eleven years. Not when I was trapped in darkness. Not even when the guards came to “meet the young kid.” Not when we got out—bloodily, savagely, darkly. Especially not when my knife plunged into the guards’ hearts and I watched the life fade from their eyes, the pure fascination of losing one’s life essence occupying my mind.
But this was Dolly. The only person I’d ever given a shit about.
A slick tar pumped through my black heart as I thought of her. She was the blood that gave me life.
I had no idea what state I would find her in. Whether or not her fragile mind had been destroyed. Whether or not her glass heart had been shattered. No hope of salvation.
I had no idea if my only reason for living could be saved. I shook with venomous anger when I let my mind imagine the hell those sadistic cunts would have put her through in my absence. But Chapel’s words rang in my ears . . . Unleash the anger only on those who deserve it. Let it build within your heart like a well swelling with water . . . then unleash hell on those who took your freedom.
Opening my eyes, I breathed through my rage and silently rounded the corner . . . I stopped. There she was, sitting in a chair. I sucked in a breath and heard it rattle in my ears. Her hair. Her hair was pulled back into a long braid, the woven strands falling to her lower back. And she was dressed in black. Long, baggy sleeves covered her arms.
Motherfucking black. Dolly didn’t belong in black. Only color. Blue and white and gold and motherfucking pink.
I edged around the perimeter of the room until I faced her. My heart tore down the center and I had to hold back a loud snarl when I saw her curled up on the seat, a thick blanket over her thin legs and waist as she stared lifelessly out of the window. The window that overlooked the once-manicured lawns, now nothing but high-reaching weeds and too-bushy trees. I looked across at what she was watching, in the direction of what held her so captivated.
My heart was severed completely, the two parts of its flesh repelling the other, trying to escape the rage and pain and fucking consuming darkness.
She was staring at the spot where we used to play as kids. Where she had found me all those years ago, ripping the colorful butterfly apart in my hands. I moved into her line of sight, but her blue eyes didn’t lift to meet mine, just stared through me as though I wasn’t even there. I crouched down and studied her face. Porcelain skin. Full lips. Fucking perfection.
But there was no life left in her.
I had never felt fear before, but I imagined the sinking hole I felt dropping in my stomach was something like it. A sinking feeling that Dolly had gone to a place from which there was no escape, a prisoner in her own mind.
Fragility consumed.
“Dolly darlin,’” I rasped, my voice fucking breaking.
Twenty-one. She was twenty-one and more beautiful than I could ever have imagined.
Perfection.
My living doll.
A strand of hair lay over her face. My fingers clenched and unclenched as I tried to force myself to touch her. But I couldn’t. I hadn’t touched or been touched in years. I didn’t know how to anymore. Allergic to human affection. Repulsed by the degrading feeling of touch.
I . . . I . . . I couldn’t.
As I opened my mouth to speak to Dolly again, a loud gasp sailed through the air behind her. I straightened, gripping my cane, to see a familiar old face appear. I watched, the sinking hole quickly replaced by dark satisfaction as the blood drained from her face. “Good Lord,” she whispered as I smoothed down my black cravat and vest.
I glared at the bitch. Leaning casually on my cane, I said, “More like Lucifer, I would think.” I nodded in her direction “To you, anyhow.”
Mrs. Jenkins swallowed and tried to back out of the room. “Ah-ah,” I tutted and shook my head. She immediately stilled, eyes fixed on mine.
“He . . . Heathan James . . . it’s . . . it’s not possible . . .” she stammered and ran her eyes over me. Every inch of me.
“Rabbit.” The bitch flinched at my correction. “I am Rabbit. The motherfucking White Rabbit. So never fucking utter that peasant name to me again.”
Her skin paled, and her eyes fell to Dolly sitting on the chair. Dolly still hadn’t moved. I shifted my grip on the box I had brought inside, about to hold it out to Mrs. Jenkins when she asked, “How are you here?”
I threw the box across the room. It landed right at her feet. “Dress her.”
“Wh-what?” Mrs. Jenkins asked.
I pointed to the box at her feet. “Dress her. It wasn’t a request.” Mrs. Jenkins shook as she picked up the box and moved to where Dolly sat. Dolly didn’t look at her either. Mrs. Jenkins opened the lid of the box and gasped again.
Her old, wrinkled eyes snapped up to mine. “No—”
Before she had even finished the sentence, I had reached into my pocket and pulled out my knife. I ran the flat side of the blade down my cheek. Slowly. Controlled. Watching her terrified gaze track my every move. “You’d best do as I ask, Mrs. Jenkins. My patience and tolerance for you appear to be at an all-time low.”

 

 

Tillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.

After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.

Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.

Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.

When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.

 

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