Tuesday, April 29, 2014

PROMO: Deadlier Than the Rest by @ShirleenDavies - #giveaway

Deadlier Than the Rest - Week Blitz
By Shirleen Davies
Historical Western Romance
Date Published: March 3, 2014

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“A passionate, heartwarming story of the iconic MacLarens of Fire Mountain. This captivating historical western romance grabs your attention from the start with an engrossing story encompassing two romances set against the rugged backdrop of the burgeoning western frontier.”

Connor MacLaren’s search has already stolen eight years of his life. Now he close to finding what he seeks—Meggie, his missing sister. His quest leads him to the growing city of Salt Lake and an encounter with the most captivating woman he has ever met.

Grace is the third wife of a Mormon farmer, forced into a life far different from what she’d have chosen. Her independent spirit longs for choices governed only by her own heart and mind. To achieve her dreams, she must hide behind secrets and half-truths, even as her heart pulls her towards the ruggedly handsome Connor.

Known as cool and uncompromising, Connor MacLaren lives by a few, firm rules that have served him well and kept him alive. However, danger stalks Connor, even to the front range of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains, threatening those he cares about and impacting his ability to find his sister.

Can Connor protect himself from those who seek his death? Will his eight year search lead him to his sister while unlocking the secrets he knows are held tight within Grace, the woman who has captured his heart?

Read this heartening story of duty, honor, passion, and love in book five of the MacLarens of Fire Mountain series.


Connor followed her up the narrow steps to her place, carrying her small bag, and set it down on the floor inside.
“You going to be okay here tonight?”
She slipped off her coat and hung it on a nearby hook. Grace wanted to be alone but didn’t want him to leave. Her heart told her to walk up to him, lace her arms around his neck, and ask him to stay. She shouldn’t. She was still married and it would be wrong, even if her marriage was a mockery. She planned to obtain a divorce, which was simple to do in Utah. The laws were lenient and divorce common with people coming from other states to take advantage of the quick dissolution procedures. She simply hadn’t had time to do it with work and planning how she was going to free Meggie.
Grace walked to a window and stared at the dark sky, deciding what to do. She needed to tell him about Moser but the words wouldn’t form. Say something tonight, or let him leave—she was conflicted. She continued to look out when she sensed him walk up behind her, felt his strong arms wrap around her waist, and draw her flush against his chest.
He pulled loose strands of hair away from her neck, bending to place kisses up to the tender spot behind her ear. “Ask me to stay,” he whispered before tugging a sensitive earlobe with his lips. She sagged against him, letting her head fall back against his chest and giving him access to the soft column of her neck.

Shirleen Davies

 photo shirleenProfile1_zps1c6a38a4.jpgI have been writing most of my life, but only recently began the transition into fiction. Historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and short stories are what keep me reading, so that is the focus of my writing.

I was born in California, grew up between a growing beach town and a small town at the base of the San Bernardino mountains. My mother originally planned to name me Katherine, but she read an article in the paper about a woman named Shirleen shortly before my birth, so instead of having a cool nickname, like Kate, I am simply Shirleen. My mainstays growing up were all the Nancy Drew mystery books; I loved them. Eventually I moved on to mysteries, suspense stories, crime novels, and romance. Pride and Prejudice will always be one of my favorites.

Besides California, life changes have allowed me to live in Oregon, Colorado, and Arizona. Everywhere I have lived has been inspirational in one way or another, giving me the opportunity to meet remarkable people with their own stories to tell. I've sailed, skied, owned horses plus lots of other animals, and ridden various off-road vehicles. I enjoy dancing, fishing, hunting, being the back-seater on my husband's Harley, traveling and, of course, reading and writing.

Prior to transitioning to writing fiction, I worked for Fortune 500 and many smaller, start-up companies. Fortunately, I regained my sanity long enough to start my own consulting firm, which I still maintain today.

My husband and I spend most of our time at our main home in the mountains of Arizona and our second home in Southern California. Between us we have five boys with growing careers and families of their own. So, from my perspective, my life is a success and always an adventure. I wouldn't change a thing; well, except finding more time to write.

I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to email me at

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Release: Chronicles by @JohannaCharette - #giveaway

Chronicles: The Library of Illumination - Release Blitz
By C.A. Pack
Young Adult Fantasy
Date Published: April 29, 2014

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Within the walls of a centuries-old building lies the magical Library of Illumination, a place where books literally come to life. 17-year-old Johanna Charette is the youngest curator ever chosen to oversee the day-to-day operation of the library and she knows, in case of trouble, having an assistant can be invaluable, so she hires 16-year-old Jackson Roth to give her a hand. Jackson gets off to a rocky start, but manages to prove his mettle. Besides, he’s kind of cute and a lot of fun.

Johanna is charming and brilliant—and a natural born leader. She keeps the library operating on an even keel. Jackson is clever and intrepid. He relies on his wits to keep them out of danger when trouble arises. Unfortunately, his derring-do is one of the reasons why they sometimes find themselves in awkward situations. So it shouldn’t be any surprise when his wanton curiosity sparks a journey to a distant realm, where they end up with front row seats in a battle against an ancient foe.


“What’s this? Jackson asked, picking up a book that sat by itself on a bottom shelf. A thick layer of dust obscured the cover. “Did you leave this book down here?”

“What book?”

He opened the book to a random page to see what it was about. Dracula suddenly loomed over him, blood dripping from his mouth. “Uhhh ...!” Jackson’s scream did not get past his throat.

Dracula moved in for the kill. The teen managed to slam the book shut just as the vampire’s teeth made contact with his skin.

“What are you doing?” Johanna poked her head around the corner of the shelf and spotted the blood on Jackson’s neck. She looked down and recognized the volume of Dracula by Bram Stoker and winced. “We must have missed that one. Are you all right?”

Jackson swiped at his neck.

“Come with me.” Johanna led him to the circulation desk. She took out a first-aid kit and cleaned away the blood with an antiseptic wipe.

“Am I ...?”

“It’s just a surface wound.” She wrapped the bloody wipe in a tissue and threw it in the wastebasket. “You’re going to live ... but not forever.”

Jackson sighed with relief. “You know, when my mother used to patch me up, she would kiss it to make it better.” He raised his eyebrows and grinned at her.

“If you got hurt working for Larry at Once A-Pawn A Time, would you ask him to kiss it to make it better?”

“You really know how to hurt me.”

Johanna laughed. She leaned in and lightly kissed Jackson’s neck.

He could feel the hairs along his nape tingle.

“All better?” she asked.

About the Author : Carol Pack

C. A. PACK, author of Code Name: Evangeline, Evangeline’s Ghost, and the Library of Illumination novelettes, is an award-winning journalist and former television news anchor/writer from Long Island, New York.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Blitz: Sacrifices by @christi_kat #excerpt

Sacrifices - PROMO Blitz
(A Jeff Woods Mystery); Sequel to Attachment Strings
By Chris T. Kat

M/M  Mystery/Suspense
Date Published: 4/28/2014

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When he was outed on the local news, Jeff Woods gave up his dream job as a detective to become an on-air radio personality. The sacrifice was worth it to keep Alex and Sean in his life, but Alex lost his job, too. Jeff can tell Alex worries he’s pressuring Jeff too much, first with Sean and now the lack of money, but he has no idea what that will lead Alex to do. Desperate times bring out the stupidity in some people, and when Jeff discovers Alex is in over his head in a situation he can’t handle, he needs all his self-control to stay calm.

Life is not easy with the Church of Virtue still spouting venom wherever they go, homophobes at the police department, a gangster who wants Alex in the worst possible way, and a bed that barely holds one grown man, much less two (and a child), but Jeff is there to stay for good, and he’ll do what it takes to make Alex believe him.


After wishing Sean a good day at school, which he answered with a sullen look, I made my way over to Alex. He got up from his chair and threw himself into my open arms.

I held him tight, felt him tremble slightly. He whispered, “I don’t want him to make a fuss when the school bus arrives. I can’t handle this shit anymore.”

He was almost sobbing the last sentence. Sean had given him hell since school had started. We both understood Sean’s refusal, but St. Christopherus School was the only one available for him.

Sean never wanted to get on his school bus, which he showed everyone in no uncertain terms. He screamed and cried and thrashed around in his wheelchair so violently that he’d managed to flip the wheelchair onto its side on several occasions.

His new bus driver, an elderly woman named Patricia Cornell, was an incredibly patient person. Somehow she always convinced Sean she’d take care of him and got him on the bus. By the time the bus left, Alex was either crying or close to tears. I’d witnessed all of this several times in the past weeks and generally sat with Alex afterward while he tried to compose himself.

Today he’d be on his own.

Tightening my grip, I whispered back, “He’ll get over it eventually. His therapist said as much.”

Alex snorted. “Yeah, Burnes also said he’d get over his nightmares eventually. Do you see that happening? Because I damn well don’t.”

His trembles increased and fast puffs of breath tickled my throat. Not a good sign. Helplessly, I murmured his name.

Sean whistled sharply, obviously not happy about being excluded from the conversation. Alex jumped in my arms and tried to push away from me. I held on, keeping him crushed to my chest.

“Jeff, I need—”

“No, you don’t,” I cut him off. “Sean will survive not being the center of your attention for a moment. Relax.”

“Relax?” Alex snapped, again struggling to get free from me.

Lifting him off his feet, I carried him over to his chair, plonked down on it, and settled him on my lap, all the while ignoring his protests. “Hush now, I’m in charge here.”

“No, you’re not.”

“But yes, of course I am. Who else could be in charge here other than me?”

Sean laughed from the other side of the table. I winked at him. Alex finally stopped struggling and leaned against me instead.

“How about me?” he asked.

“You?” I countered, doing my best to sound sufficiently horrified.

Alex bumped a fist against my chest, smiling a bit. “Yes.”

“Well, for one, I like to be in charge and you don’t.”

“That’s not true!”

“Don’t interrupt me,” I said. The corners of my mouth curved upward, even though I tried to keep a straight face. “I’m having a really good daydream right now.”

“Really? What’s it about?”

“Oh, just that you’re acknowledging my awesomeness and—”

“All right, all right, you’re awesome and in charge and I was short of having a meltdown. Yet again.” He sighed.

“Hah! I knew someday you’d say it!”

“Yeah, yeah, don’t let it go to your head. We don’t want you to be distracted while you’re on your way to work,” Alex muttered.

And that was the real problem, or at least part of it. Alex feared something could happen to me—on my way to work, at work, on my way back, anywhere.

I couldn’t blame him. Resting my cheek on top of his head, I pulled him closer to me. Alex shuddered, then trailed a finger over my shirt, tracing the large scar hidden under it.

Chris T. Kat
 photo Chris_T_Kat_icon_zps4e1f5872.jpgChris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks, or does cross stitch.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Blog Tour: From the Depths by @jamesharoldson - #Review #Giveaway

Date Published: January 17, 2014

When Cameron Bishop III encounters something inhuman and horrible while working as a pool boy, he is suddenly tasked with saving the world from an evil older than the Earth itself. Working against him is the Order, a cult of unimaginable power and wealth led by an enigmatic madman. With his friends and family starting to believe that Cam may be going crazy, can he stop the plans of an ancient evil and its worshipers before they resurrect a living, breathing god bent on the destruction of life as we know it?

My Review

An unexpected, dare I say Treat? It seems weird to call it that being that it is a Horror novel, but I was truly pleasantly surprised by the way James Haroldson drew me in.

I particularly liked the flow and progression the story followed. Everything seemed to unfold naturally and nothing seemed forced. Along those lines, I didn't feel like I got lost. Everything was fast paced enough to keep me flipping pages without feeling lost. 

In my short time on this ball of rock and water hurtling through the infinite blackness of space, I've worked as a pizza delivery guy, a manny, an ESL teacher, a headhunter, a pool man, a sushi delivery guy, a journalist, and a second mortgage intern, among other things. Currently, I shill video games to over privileged children in Burbank, CA, so that I can pay my bills and still have a place to go home to and work on my writing.

I read a lot, but my greatest influences would have to be HP Lovecraft and Stephen King, both of whom I've been reading since I was but a wee lad who only understood half of what he was looking at. Despite my gruff exterior, I'm desperate for people to like my books, so my books.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Blog Tour: Only in a Dream

Date Published: December 30, 2013

Sam is a forty something stock broker who is tired of his job.  For years he has dreamed of sailing off to the tropics and has been preparing his sailboat for just such an escape.  His dream includes a woman, but he has been divorced for years and has no girlfriend or prospects.  So he puts an ad in an online boating magazine for a female sailing partner and agrees to meet the first woman to respond.  She is a former model and beyond his wildest dreams.  But she is gay.  Not only that, she has four gay women friends who also want to go sailing with him.  Reluctantly, he agrees to meet with him and soon finds that he likes them very much.  One straight man in a small sailboat in tropical waters with six gay women who are all former models?  This was definitely not his dream.  After a considerable amount of convincing, he eventually agrees to take them on his journey.  Before they leave they meet an eleven year old girl who is sailing with her alcoholic parents to the same destination, and the two boats set sail together for the South Seas.  So begins an action filled adventure with unexpected dangers, surprises and a deadly mystery that unfolds when they reach American Samoa.


My Review
An overall solid novel, with maybe a bit too much going on in some parts. It all seemed just a bit far-fetched and maybe more of a guy novel. 

There are many characters and I found them to range from extremely likable to ones I could take or leave. 

It took a bit to get into this one, but once it got going, the pacing was spot on and the action/mystery really elevated the story. 

Mr. Smith retired early and went sailing in the Pacific by himself.   He lived on the sailboat for nearly ten years while sailing along the West Coast from Seattle to central Mexico.   During that time he wrote a number of novels while in anchorages or marinas.  The books remained untouched for years on disc.  Last year his wife discovered them and after reading one insisted that he publish it.  After considerable editing, he published Baker’s Dozen through his daughter’s publishing company, Red Frog Publishing.  Since then, he has published three others, including Only in a Dream.
He has two daughters who live in Los Angeles.  His wife of five years is the primary editor of his books.  She has a son who lives in Las Vegas.  They live in the Phoenix area in the winter and spend summers at their cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona or on the road in their motor home.    They have two small dogs.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Release: Hearing Love

Hearing Love - Release Blitz
By Katie Lee
Contemporary Romance
Date Published: April 16, 2014

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Ella James, the beautiful, feisty Director of Operations at Coopers’ Treats finds herself immediately at odds with Alexander Shepard, CEO of SBS, Inc. Alex’s company is looking to merge with the financially shaky Coopers’ Treats, but from the moment they met, Alex had this way of getting under Ella’s skin. Alex’s plans for the merger would require Ella to uproot herself from her safe, quiet existence in the bucolic suburban enclave of Brookside and move to the bright lights of Manhattan. For Ella, who lost her hearing at a young age, change wasn’t something she embraced or welcomed freely. She was also reluctant to leave Chase Kramer, her on-again, off-again boyfriend, even though they were currently in the “off-again” phase.

But a merger with the more financially stable SBS, Inc. would mean ensuring Coopers’ Treats continued existence, so Ella packs up and heads for the Big Apple, hoping that giving Chase the chance to really miss her might clarify his feelings for her. When Ella gets to Manhattan, she is charmed by both the big city and Alex. Despite her feelings for Chase, she finds herself hopelessly drawn to Alex and the chemistry between them is sizzling. They embark on a passionate, fun, whirlwind affair. Ella is surprised by her intense feelings for Alex, even though she is still haunted by dreams of chasing after an elusive man, dreams that she started having when Chase first broke off their relationship.

 As the merger deadline approaches, Ella finds herself caught between her feelings for two very different men. As she works to see that the merger is completed successfully, her muddled feelings for both men threaten to jeopardize everything she holds dear. Will she finally be able to hear love and make the right choice?


Long Excerpt

“But this would be more of a. . .date.”

Her eyes widened, and she swallowed before she whispered, “A date?”

He nodded, rising and moving closer to the conference table. “You’ve heard of them I assume?”

She blew out a breath. “Of course I have.”

He grinned. “Great. I didn’t want to have to explain what they were.”

“Alex.” His grin grew wider. He loved it when she said his name in that irritated tone. It was refreshing considering very few people did that with him.

“So are you busy?”


“Great! I can pick-"

“No, I meant I don’t date.”

“In general or me in particular?”

She looked at him, her expression dumbfounded. “Is that really relevant?”

“Oh, yeah,” he answered, taking a few steps closer. In response, she pushed her chair back, sliding a bit away from him.


“Well, for starters,” he said easily, taking a seat on the edge of his worktable. “If you don’t date in general, I’d want to know why, ‘cause I might still have a shot. If it’s just me in particular. . .” He shrugged. “I’d still want to know why.”

“I just don’t date, okay?”

“’Cause of the Kramer guy?”

The way her body stiffened gave him his answer, despite her curt, “No.”

“Are you two in a relationship?”

If it were possible, she stiffened up even more. “No.”

“So you’re pining after him?”

“No,” she said forcefully.

“Yet you don’t date.”

She huffed out a breath in exasperation. “Okay, fine. Maybe I just don’t want to date you.”

His ego emitted a little squeal of protest but Alex knew that Ella was reacting to him putting her on the spot. He knew, or at least he didn’t have any reason to think otherwise, that Ella liked him. Whether she liked him beyond their professional relationship he didn’t know, but that was why he was asking her on a date now. “Why?”

“Why?” she repeated, frustrated. Alex had to admit he was enjoying her reaction to this far more than he should. “Why do you need to know why?”

“Curiosity,” he said with a nonchalant shrug. He was really enjoying the way her expression was verging between incredulity and annoyance. “I think I’m a relatively dateable person. So what is it about me that you find so unappealing?”

“I. . .don’t. . .” She stopped, shaking her head.

“I mean, come on, I really want to know. Is it because I’m tall?”

“Alex. . .”

“Too successful? Not good looking enough? ” He snapped his fingers. “You don’t like the way I dress.”

A small laugh burst from her, as if it had escaped despite her best efforts to keep it in check. “This is ridiculous.”

“Actually I’m very serious.” He leaned forward, looking straight into her eyes. She swallowed and looked away for a beat before meeting his eyes again. “I’m a reasonably attractive, normal man with a good job. For a lot of women, that’s more than enough to secure a first date.”

“You’re my boss.”

“Ella, I already told you. Technically, I’m not your boss.”

“Technically, maybe you’re not, but for all intents and purposes, you are and dating you would be way too complicated.”

“But fun,” he teased.


He grinned. “We’re talking a date here, Ella. Not a lifelong commitment or anything. How complicated could that be?” He indicated the remnants of another take-out dinner spread on the far end of the conference table. "It’s not like we haven’t had dinner together before.”

“That’s different,” she protested.

“How? It’s food and conversation. Getting to know each other.”

“With strings attached.”

He held up both hands, miming a gesture of surrender. “No strings.”

“I don’t think,” she began to protest but Alex could see that she was wavering. All he needed to do was nudge her a little.

“Come on, Ella,” he said with his most disarming smile. A reluctant smile tugged at her lips and he knew he had her. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

About the Author:

 photo DenverBar_zps81c40bb7.jpgKatie Lee has had a lifelong love affair with books. She fell in love with her first book in the second grade and hasn’t looked back since. She first took up writing as a hobby, wanting to craft her own magical adventures, and through the love and encouragement of family and friends, decided to get serious about writing and share her stories with the world.

She currently resides in Maryland in the United States. She works for the government during the day, and her spare time is devoted to writing. She gains inspiration from all sorts of things, but mostly from the fun and adventurous trips she takes when she can.

Her debut novel, "What Endures" was published in August of 2013 and is available on Amazon.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Chosen

The Chosen - PROMO Blitz
By Annette Gisby
M/M Fantasy Romance
Date Published: 6/15/2013

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The neighbouring kingdoms of Oscia and Arcathia have been at a tentative peace for three years after centuries of warfare. Prince Severin of Arcathia has been brought up to put duty before all else and as the only son of the King and Queen, it is his duty to marry and produce an heir. His parents want him to marry an Oscian princess to cement that tentative peace. Unfortunately Severin isn't interested in princesses. Now, if he had his pick of princes that would be another matter.

Havyn has been a slave all his life. When his aptitude for wizardry is discovered, he finds himself purchased and freed by Prince Severin and apprenticed to the royal wizard, Ildar. His duty is to stay chaste to keep his powers strong, but his feelings for Severin sorely test his resolve.

With kingdoms at war, the throne hanging in the balance, magic in the air, and outside forces trying to keep them apart, can the two men find happiness together, or is duty more important than love?


“No? You turn down the best offer of marriage you’ll ever have and you say you have nothing to be sorry for?”
“I don’t want to get married!” protested Severin. “I already told you that.”

“You’re twenty-one years old, and the only heir to the Arcathian throne! What happens when I’m gone and you’re left a bachelor? There’ll be bloodshed if you don’t sire a son and soon. Do you want to bring us back to the brink of civil war? That’s what it will come down to. Leave us,” Faran commanded the falconer. The man bowed and hastily made his retreat, the birds squawked when he did so.

“Chayal told me what happened at your initiation,” said Faran in a much gentler tone. “That you were not pleased by any of the eligible women. There is no shame in it for them or for you, Severin. The prince’s first chosen is an honour and one not lightly bestowed. But why didn’t you go through with it?”

Severin blushed, and mentally made a note never to speak to Chayal again. The man was supposed to be his friend. Then he realised that being the head of the Raven Brotherhood, Chayal’s first loyalties were to his king. They were his father’s bodyguards, not his.

“Have you lain with anyone at all? Perhaps you preferred to keep it private between the two of you?”

“No, Father. No one.” Heat crept into his cheeks as he spoke.

“But don’t you see? This is even better. Anyone offering for you will have to offer a much higher dowry since you’re a virgin, which is unusual for Arcathian males. You could have your pick of princesses,” said Faran, trying to coax him.

Why couldn’t his father understand? Severin didn’t want his pick of princesses. The idea of lying with a woman didn’t interest him. He didn’t dislike women, in fact, Kelandra was one of his best friends, but the thought of being intimate like that with any of them wasn’t something he had ever wanted.

About the Author
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Annette Gisby grew up in a small town in Northern Ireland, moving to London when she was seventeen. Being a very small town there were no bookshops and a small library. When she'd devoured every book she could get her hands on in the library, she started writing her own stories so she would always have something to read later.

When not writing she enjoys reading, cinema, theatre, walks along deserted beaches or wandering around ruined castles (great places for inspiration!) New Zealand is her favourite place and she hopes to travel back there one day. She's a fan of Japanese Manga and Anime and one day hopes to learn Japanese.

She currently lives in Hampshire with her husband, a collection of porcelain dolls and stuffed penguins and enough books to fill a small library. It's diminishing gradually since the discovery of ebooks but still has a long way to go.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

PROMO: Throbbing Hearts

Throbbing Hearts 1 - PROMO Blitz
By Sabrina Lacey
Sizzling New Adult Romance
Date Published: March 19, 2014

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Brendan Clark doesn't know I exist. But tonight, I'm going to change that. For the first time in four painfully long years, he's single. I've been waiting for this, my heart racing every time I see him. I finally have a chance and I'm going to take it. Tonight I will touch those kissable lips... and he'll see it, too - that we're meant for each other. If only I can stop shaking...



Totally over stupidity-saturated college parties like this one. Wishing I was back in bed. Still heavy, heavy, heavy in my Goth phase. If you don’t like it you can fuck right off.


I ask Corrine, “Why did I come to this stupid thing again?” as she snakes her way through too many faces I pretend not to know. These people are all friends (ish) with her, but with me? Not so much.

“You came because I made you! You can’t stay stuck behind a computer every night, Annie! How are you ever going to get laid?” She throws a look my way that says I should know these things.

“You mean fall in love. How am I ever going to fall in love,” I correct her. Even with the dyed black hair, black lipstick, black wardrobe – I’m a hopeless romantic.

She snorts disapproval and stands up on the toes of her already high-heels so she can peek over the mass of stupid. “I see booze! Come on!”

“I can’t wait.”

My hand gets encased in hers and I am dragged by force. Corinne is the sitting-on-the-back-of-a-motorcycle kind of beautiful. No tiaras for this one. She’ll wear pink, but it’s gotta be hot pink. Her hair isn’t just dyed blonde, it’s platinum. Her jewelry is a little too heavily applied, as is her red lipstick. Makeup around her green eyes is the only thing she keeps low-key. She’s a little bit on the trashy side and I really like that about her. You wouldn’t catch me dead around a pastel-wearing girlie-girl. Corinne’s not afraid to swear, get dirty, and be maybe a lot slutty. Vicariously, I live through her wild side. She’s fine with that, because everyone needs a cheerleader and I’m her biggest. I just cheer from behind a sarcastic grin and dry witticisms, that’s all.

When we get to the multitude of inebriation materials, she turns to me. “Falling in love is an antiquated notion. We don’t need men. They need us. We center them. And from them, we get sex. Hot sex, if we’re lucky. And if we’re not lucky, we move on.”

I watch her grab the gin bottle, and I almost scream, “No! No gin. I can’t even think of gin without vomiting up the last three years of my life.”

She drops it back to the table. “Oh yeah. That was a fun night. If fun equals a nightmare. How ‘bout this?” She holds up a bottle that says Chopin. I lean in closer and see that it’s some highfalutin vodka. “This good?”

I shrug. “Let’s give it a shot.”

“Shots! Yes!!”

“Uh oh.” My tone is as dry as a scone left out for five days and then two more. “We’re doing shots. Great.”

Corinne pours while talking. “Look, you. You’re making Marilyn Manson jealous with that outfit. Your social skills are bested by mutes. We need to loosen you up if we’re going to get you any action – like EVER.”

My tongue plays with the roof of my mouth as I suck on her game plan. “Why do you even hang out with me?”

“Because I love you, Squid. And you make me feel good when I’m around you. You get me, and you don’t judge. Do you know how rare that is?” She calls me squid because of the black hair dye I’m addicted to. I’m naturally strawberry blonde and even though the lowest percentage of the population is born strawberry blonde – I could give a fuck. It’s too puppies, kittens and roses for me.

“That’s very sweet. I may throw up.” We tap our cups together with no celebratory clink bouncing back, thanks to the plastic. Very low end, this party. I vow that when I’m all grown up and have got my own place, I will have enough glassware to throw a party without red plastic cups sullying the classy festivities. I drink the vodka and wince. “Blech… add some cranberry or something?”

With her hand, Corinne shakes her platinum hair and musses it up all sexy style like she’s readying herself for battle against the weaker sex, and I don’t mean women. “Hello. Shots aren’t supposed to taste good. Drink up.”

“Eesh.” I drink it back and cough once. Just once because her laser-beam eyeballs stop me from making a scene. “Sorry.”

 “You’re not a lost cause!” She chuckles. “You’ve still got these.” She points to my eyes, which – I have to admit – are probably my best feature. They’re bright cotton candy blue. I am fond of them. Why do you think I smudge so much eyeliner around them? “And these!” She reaches out and grabs my boobs, which are cleverly hidden behind a baggy shirt and jacket, not to mention several silver stone-pendant necklaces. Each stone has a different healing property: protection, communication and love. I fancy myself a bit of a witch. Or spiritual. Or whatever.

“Anybody besides you touches my boobs and I’ll punch them in the face. And you can let them go now, too.” She laughs and obeys. I’m not into girls. Neither is Corinne. But I don’t really mind her grabbing them. Someone’s got to.

“Hey!” she barks at a girl pushing through to the booze-table. The girl eyeballs her and a silent war is won by neither. Corinne looks back to me. “Does that include Brendan Clark? Would you punch him in the face if he did this?” She grabs them again and giggles.

My heart jumps out and kisses her for saying his name. But then it goes dead all over again and I swat her hands away. “Brendan’s got a girlfriend, remember?”

Corinne leans in and whispers, “Not anymore. Word is, he dumped her right before they were supposed to go away and celebrate their graduation with a good boinking.” She eyes me. “Interesting news, isn’t it?”

See this is the problem with friends. They see things you don’t want them to see. Which means you can’t live in happy denial. I’ve not told anyone how I feel about Brendan Clark, not even her. But somehow she spotted me staring at him with my mouth open one too many times. Ever since, it’s been like dragging Lindsey Lohan to rehab to get her to drop it.

But still my heart pirouettes throughout my insides at the news.

Brendan’s single?

I blink at Corinne, stunned and speechless. Though, Brendan has all of my heart, he has no idea who I am. He is beyond out of my league. I’ve only said “hey” to him once and it was a disaster. I said it because he said it first. But then it turned out he was talking to his buddy Mark who was walking up behind me. Needless to say, I slinked back into the shadows where it’s nice and quiet… and dark enough for me to cry.

I shrug and look away so she can’t see me lying. “I don’t know how many times I have to tell you this, Marilyn, but I really don’t care what Brendan does.” She calls me Squid. I call her Marilyn after Marilyn Monroe, thanks to her hair and sexy goddess style. I may have gotten the short end of the nickname stick.

Her eyes narrow and she leans in to see if she can decipher my code. “Really?”

Avoiding her, I mutter without care, “Yeah. I’m not interested.”

“Not at all?”

“Not in the slightest.”

“He’s walking up behind you.”

“Let’s do another shot.”

Corinne laughs hard and turns to shove that girl out of the way. Successful, she starts singing “Shots shots shots shots” by the band LMFAO, and pours way too generously.

I don’t dare look around, but I don’t need to. Before I even lay eyes on Brendan, I hear his voice, low and deeper than most other guys and already my knees feel like noodles. His voice boasts his advanced levels of testosterone, and the place that aches for him between my legs moistens instantly. He’s here. He’s walking up behind me. Now is my chance to talk to him! To let him know I exist. I eavesdrop and hear him talking about Mendocino, something about a…

“Here you go.” Corinne slides a half-full cup back in my hand and I lose the last part of what was being said.

I take it from her, head down, focusing hard on the red plastic. I know that when I turn around, I will be face to face with the man I plan to have babies with. First I should probably tell him my name.

“Thanks.” I drink it before she even has a chance to toast or join me.

She stares at my speed, reads correctly into it, and whoops loudly, “Now it’s a party! Here, have another!”

I don’t argue, holding my cup out. I turn my head, say nothing, and stare at the man I have every intention of marrying. He’s exchanging words with jerkoff Mark and that asshole Tommy, but all I can see is Brendan’s mouth moving like the world just slowed down to make me the happiest girl in it. His lips are so full and pouty, and his teeth are straight from the braces he still had on during the beginning of his sophomore year, the I first time I saw him, three years ago. I was a freshman, and apparently invisible.

About the Author:
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Sabrina Lacey is like many women in modern times - she's been a lot of things to a lot of people. A wife, ex-wife, daughter, teacher, stand-up comedienne, wackadoo, loyal friend, fed-up bartender, fashion photographer, lazy bones, bitch, and sweetheart (though less often than bitch). She lives in way too dry Los Angeles where she wishes there was more thunderstorms. Who doesn't love a good thunderstorm...

Pour a nice glass of wine, and enjoy the ride. ;) Cheers!

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