Thursday, September 30, 2021

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Grave Watch (Soul Reader #3) by Annie Anderson

Title: Grave Watch
Series: Soul Reader #3
Author: Annie Anderson
Publication Date: September 28th 2021
Print Length: 190 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Meeting long-lost siblings should be awesome, right?

Well, when you happen to be on the wrong side of the law and have every intention of staying there, having a cop for a sister isn’t exactly ideal. And teaming up with said sister? Well, that is just the cherry on top of the craptastic pie that has been my life.

But when our brother decides to attack us head on, banding together is the least of our problems.

Because in our family? Being the hunter also means being the hunted.

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I felt the swish of wings a moment before my father spoke, his appearance making both Bastian and Emrys jump nearly out of their skins.

“You called?” Azrael asked from the doorway.

I tossed an irritated glare over my shoulder. “Yeah, I did. Lots. Good of you to show up.”

Bastian found my hand and squeezed my fingers, likely trying to get me to shut up. But he didn't realize just how many times I had pleaded for Azrael for help in my head. Hundreds maybe thousands of times over the last two days and he’d stayed gone. When our brother showed up, when that stupid note was in the grass, when Darby was breaking her living room apart. I had begged and pleaded with him to come and help us—help her—and still he'd stayed away.

“Sorry,” he said, tilting his dark head to the side as he assessed Bastian. “I was working.”

He and I both knew could do his job from anywhere. In fact, he had done this job from a squat prison underneath thousands of pounds of rock and rubble and water where he’d stayed for nearly twenty years. And now when we needed him that's when he decided he needed to be on site to collect souls?

I call bullsh*t.
Annie Anderson is a military wife and United States Air Force veteran. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she is a southern girl at heart, but has lived all over the US and abroad. As soon as the military stops moving her family around, she'll settle on a state, but for now she enjoys being a nomad with her husband, two daughters, an old man of a dog, and a young pup that makes life... interesting.

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: A New Enemy (Enemies #1) by Cara Dee

Title: A New Enemy
Series: Enemies #1
Author: Cara Dee
Publication Date: September 30th 2021
Print Length: 110 pages
Genre: LGBTQ+ Contemporary Romance

He put me on edge before he even cruised into town with his cowboy hat, devil-may-care grin, and Southern drawl. Partly because I couldn’t help viewing him as a threat. He was my best friend’s brother—and maybe more importantly, the uncle of Teddy, a special kid who’d been the light of my life for years.

Teddy couldn’t be more excited about his uncle visiting. Me…not so much. No matter how intensely the chemistry sizzled between us when we met, no matter how much my chest seized up at the sight of him, no matter how easily he drew me in.

He could return to his closet in Georgia for all I cared, preferably before I lost my ever-loving mind and had to wage war against the man who somehow got under my skin.

This story takes place in Cara Dee’s Camassia Cove Universe, a fictional town where all books stand on their own, unless otherwise stated, and the reader can jump in wherever they want.

Goodreads * Amazon

As I reached the front door, I peered through the round window and spotted Teddy with his uncle next to my four-wheeler. Teddy was sitting in the driveway, right next to the wooden fence I shared with Bob, and he was picking flowers from the strip of greenery the fence stood on.

Blake was squatting down beside him, with his back to me, and he had on an actual cowboy hat. Christ. So that was a thing. Jeans, white tee, black cowboy hat. He’d brought Georgia with him.

I opened the door carefully, just a few inches. Sue me, I was curious.

“You ready to go in?” Blake asked. “I’m sure your mama needs us to tell her to sit down and rest.”

Oh, his accent was way more pronounced than Sophia’s. His voice was something else entirely too. Low and rich, and with that Southern drawl.

“My sister kicks a lot,” Teddy said and picked another flower. He sounded tired. “Dylan and I kiss her belly and say ‘Be nice to Momma.’”

I smiled faintly and stepped out on the front step.

“Does your sister listen?” Blake asked.

Teddy laughed and shook his head. “Nooo. She kicks when she wants.”

Blake let out a chuckle. “Typical sisters.” He reached out and gave Teddy’s shoulder a squeeze. “Let’s head inside, champ. You were gonna introduce me to your little friend too.”


That had to be Lily or one of the dogs, because I didn’t think 6’5” and 210 pounds was considered little.

“Uncle Blake, you hold these for Momma?” Teddy extended the flowers he’d picked.

Blake stood up and held out a hand. “Of course. You need any help gettin’ up?”

No, he didn’t.

“No,” Teddy grunted.

I revealed myself fully, preferring to let Georgia boy think I’d listened in without qualms rather than eavesdropping like some sneak.

Blake must’ve seen me in his periphery. He did a slight double take before facing me. The man was ten times more gorgeous in real life. Rugged as hell, soulful brown eyes, a couple days’ worth of scruff.

He furrowed his brow a little and touched the brim of his hat, and he dipped it a tiny bit, like they did in old movies. “Hello.”
I’m often awkwardly silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex.

There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly.

Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve.

I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.

Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.

I'm a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, cooking, baking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and family, too. But mostly, I just love to write.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Mafia Princess (Crowned Criminals #1) by Kennedy Slope

Title: Mafia Princess
Series: Crowned Criminals #1
Author: Kennedy Slope
Publication Date: September 27th 2021
Print Length: 242 pages
Genre: Dark Romance

Once upon a time, Sasha Petrov had been a mafia princess. Safe and protected in the high-tower of her father’s mansion. She had known her place, and she’d been happy for it. That had been before her family decided to marry her off to their enemy.

Sasha Petrov knew it was her duty to marry, but she never expected her father to give her away to their enemy, the Blanchi family. She’d accepted that it was her fate to end the bloodshed that took her brother’s life, but at eighteen she’d rather be heading off to college than heading down the aisle.

Dominic “Dom” Blanchi saw an opportunity to save his brother’s life. He’d already lost so much, and he couldn’t imagine burying another beloved member of his family. He was certain that his marriage to Sasha Petrov would save his last remaining brother from the grave. Getting a pliant young wife in the deal wouldn’t be the worst thing, at least, that’s what he told himself. But when his family’s warehouses get hit and Blanchi men continue dying, Dominic wonders if his new wife is to blame. Now, both must make a choice between love and family loyalty.

And Sasha will have to decide if she’d rather be a Mafia Princess or a queen.

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Dom placed his arm across the back of my shoulders doing what he could to make it appear that we were a happy couple of newlyweds. I didn’t understand why though. If anything, his family would know that he had married me to stop the bloodshed that had taken place over the past few years between the Petrov’s and the Blanchi’s.

I stiffened as I felt him place his lips on my neck. My hair had been pulled into a fishtail braid over one side of my neck giving Dom easy access to the other side of my throat.

“What are you doing?” I hissed. My body was so tense that I swore a strong breeze would snap me in half.

“Relax,” Dom muttered across my skin. His lips tickled the outside of my ear, and I inhaled slightly. His touch was making me squirm uncomfortably in my seat. I hated how much a simple touch from him could cause me to melt.

“We are in public,” I hissed as one of his hands wrapped around my neck.

“I know.” Those were the last words he said before his lips were on mine.

Dom hadn’t really kissed me since the wedding day. When we had sex, he never kissed my mouth. I hadn’t really thought too much about it until he started to consume my mouth.

My arms automatically wrapped themselves around his neck, and my body immediately slackened as his tongue slipped inside of my mouth. I tried to stop the sound that came from inside of me, but I couldn’t. Dom had taken complete control over me with just a single kiss, and I couldn’t stop myself from giving in.

After what felt like an eternity, Dom finally pulled away from me, replacing his lips with his finger as he fixed the lipstick that had obviously been smeared across my mouth.

“There,” Dom said.

I blinked several times as I started to come to my senses. Before I could tell Dom off for kissing me so thoroughly in front of a room full of people, the processional music started drawing everyone’s attention away from the display Dom had just put on and towards the back door where the bridesmaids were coming down the aisle.

I thank God for the reprieve. I wasn’t sure what Dom was up to, but I didn’t like being the center of attention.

Thankfully, no one seemed to care about Dom and I as they watched the beautiful Francesca begin to make her way down the aisle. As she walked, her lovely dress trailing behind her, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the radiant smile on her face.

I glanced quickly at the groom who was standing at the top of the aisle. He had tears in his eyes as he watched his fiancé walk down the aisle.

It was clear to everyone that the two of them loved one another, and I felt myself tearing up as I considered how their marriage would differ from my own. I couldn’t even remember my wedding. I had been so emotionally distraught that I had blocked most of it out.

My lips trembled as I thought about the happiness that Francesca and her fiancé would have. I was happy for them, even though I didn’t know either of them. But I was also sad for myself.

I had spent my entire life dreaming of the type of love I was witnessing, but instead, I was married to a man who saw me as nothing more than a pawn in a war that had begun long before us.

My life hadn’t turned out the way I had always thought it would, and while I wanted to make the best of it, I wasn’t sure how I could. Because while I had thought that by giving up my life I would be saving many more, my mother had blown that up.
Kennedy Slope has always had a wandering mind. She's written a million romances in her head, but "The Duke's Contract," is the first one she's decided to share with the world. In her past lives, she has been a teacher, a waitress, and for a brief moment, she sold copiers. Currently, she resides in Virginia with her husband where she enjoys drinking too much coffee and binge-watching HGTV.

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Friends to the End by C.L. Colyer

Title: Friends to the End
Author: C.L. Colyer
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: September 27th 2021
Print Length: 192 pages
Genre: Middle Grade Supernatural Adventure
Zach doesn’t believe in ghosts…but he should.

Twelve-year-old Zach is convinced he’ll never be happy without his best friend Jeremy by his side. But both of their lives changed with a bang five months ago, and as far as Zach’s concerned, it’s his fault Jeremy will never see his twelfth birthday.

When Zach moves with his family to a Chicago suburb, he quickly becomes friends with a group of thrill-seeking kids trying to find a disappearing haunted house. But Zach’s not worried. He doesn’t believe in ghosts, so he follows them into a wild, dangerous encounter that becomes a battle to decide what’s real and what’s not.

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We scrambled to our feet and ran to the front door, stopping with the toes of our gym shoes just outside the worn threshold. If the house vanished at that very moment, would we vanish, too, or did we have to be inside to disappear forever?

A long table rested next to the wall in the foyer. Several black-and-white photos in tarnished silver frames sat on top of it. The women in the pictures wore large floppy hats and long dresses. The men wore white shirts and jackets like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. The children had on sweaters and knee-high socks. No one was smiling. “I thought you wanted to go inside,” I said. “Now’s your chance.”

Josh shook his head. “Not so important anymore.”

“Yeah, I can see just fine from here,” Dom said.

But Morgan was inside.

A stomp of my foot on the aging wood confirmed we were standing on an extremely solid porch. We were peering through a very real doorway. If this was the vanishing house, shouldn’t it be translucent like Ghost Girl or hazy like the car?

“Maybe we’re overreacting,” I said. Just because the welcome sign happened to have the same name on it as the guy in the graveyard, and just because the date on it was a couple of centuries old, that didn’t mean we should assume the worst. Right?

Only, the evidence in front of us said otherwise. The house was lit with candles and oil lamps. There were no televisions or radios or phones visible. The more I noticed, the more it looked wrong. The fancy armchairs and matching sofa, the family portrait above the stone fireplace, even the shoes left near the door were unlike anything I’d seen before.

Dom mumbled something inaudible and then screamed Morgan’s name.

The air in the house was cool. It pushed against the warmth of summer, fighting to keep it outside. With it came a whispered, “Don’t.”
Professional network technician by day, novelist by night, Cherie lives a quiet life in the Chicago suburbs with her charming husband. She has four amazing sons who she loves dearly. Cherie magically weaves together stories with a paranormal twist. She’s the author of the Embrace series (Embrace, Hold Tight, and Entwined), Challenging Destiny, Damned When I Didn’t, and Friends to the End. She waltzes into the adult novel world with this enchanting holiday romance, Merry Little Wishing Spritz.

She happily visits schools, libraries, and book clubs, and is a member of SCBWI (Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators).

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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Book Tour and Giveaway - Hard Conversations: Book 1: Breadcrumbs to the Past by BJ Communicates

Welcome to my stop on the book tour for Hard Conversations: Book 1: Breadcrumbs to the Past by BJ Communicates. This book tour was organized by Write Now Literary. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a helpful guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card. Enjoy!
Title: Hard Conversations: Book 1: Breadcrumbs to the Past
Author: BJ Communicates
Publisher: BookBaby
Publication Date: June 22nd 2021
Print Length: 88 pages
Genre: Urban Fiction
Sometimes it’s the conversations not had that do the most damage to the people in our lives. Hard Conversations is a collection of short stories detailing the lives of five urban people who are standing at the intersection of their past and their potential. Sensing that something is still off in the lives that they have built, each has to make the crucial decision whether to address their secrets long buried, or to continue living in the uncomfortable matrix they created. Only they can decide what their future will bring.

Our gifting often becomes our prison. I wrote this book to pull back the mask on our experience in the hopes that it compels us to confront our learned ability to white wash our pain with our talent and giftings. We are often taught that the greatest value that we bring to the world is solely present in what we do, what we earn, or how well we play. In reality our greatest value is in the stories that we can articulate to those we influence once we have reached the other side of trauma. Trauma that tried to silence our voice, trauma that caused a part of us to die in the fight, and trauma that threatened us to stay silent after our experience with it because we should just be grateful that we made it to the other side.
BJ Communicates, aka Dr. Brad Johnson, LSSBB, CSM, is a Kingdom writer, a communication practitioner, and an influential Bible teacher. Given the assignments of assisting urban believers in articulating their stories, finding resolution, and gaining the language of the Kingdom, BJ continually creates and releases inspirational media content that highlights their stories and experiences. “The Holy Spirit is constantly giving me things to write; sometimes it’s a book, sometimes it’s an article for a Christian publication, sometimes it’s something for my blog site or social media, and sometimes it’s a song for me or another recording artist, I’m just the pen in His hand,” says BJ. In addition to faith-based media creator, he is the owner of Communic8 Life Consulting, a communication consulting firm that specializes in assisting couples, families, and business teams in improving their interpersonal communication skills; and is the co-pastor of the urban cafe church Transformed City in Richmond, VA.

How to make your characters believable…
by BJ Communicates

The most believable characters are the ones that are based on personalities that we have encountered before. Most writers have lived long enough to have encountered various types of people from all walks of life. The best advice would be to create character concepts that are multidimensional and multifaceted. Most individuals don’t always act, talk, or express emotions in the same way, so our characters should reflect the diversity of the human experience. I hate when I read stories about characters that seem to be based on a stereotypes with no variation or depth to who they are; it shows that the author either hasn’t spent time with people who are similar to the characters that they are writing about or didn’t spend enough time researching and studying people to authentically articulate their stories because of laziness or their own personal biases. Do your research, people watch in public places, have conversations with people from diverse backgrounds, and read well written autobiographies to help you develop well rounded characters that represent real life. Our characters should step off the page and into the living rooms of our readers to the point that they begin to visualize and feel like they are meeting a real person.
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Book Blitz and Giveaway: All Men Love Leah by Ksenija Nikolova

Title: All Men Love Leah
Author: Ksenija Nikolova
Publisher: Kingsley Publishers
Publication Date: September 24th 2021
Print Length: 250 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance

A gripping, powerful emotional page turner with a heartbreaking twist.

‘A story that runs deep; filled with emotional truth.’ – Ferial Mohamed

All Enzo wants is a reason to believe it’s all worthwhile. Stuck in a world that doesn’t fulfil him, he meanders through his days feeling empty, lost, and left out of the real world that is moving by without him. He is cynical but gifted, and when he meets the beautiful and enigmatic Leah she turns his universe upside down.

Leah and Enzo are exact opposites, but she is drawn to his darkness just as he is drawn to her light. She is a woman who lives by her own expression and challenges his dismal character down to its most frightening corners, awakening in him something he didn’t know he had the capacity to experience.

But everything is not what it seems. There is a secret that threatens the happiness that Leah represents in Enzo’s life. She is the one who embraces his flaws and uncovers his bravery by teaching him to love, and for the first time in his life he feels like a real man, but in the end, will Enzo survive Leah’s heartbreaking truth?

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The sound carries me, leading me somewhere, and I feel happy. My body moves with it. There is a smile on my face that can’t be wiped off. I don’t stop and I don’t want to stop. I feel joyful and I dance to the music like I never thought I could, in all my life. At the moment it is clear to me that I should have tried to do all the things I thought I couldn’t do, because I know how to dance very well. It’s only a pity that I never dared to try it before.
Ksenija Nikolova is a fiction author from Macedonia.

She is the author of six books.

All Men Love Leah” is her first book published in English language.

She writes about life, love, relationships, family, pain and fears. Her books bring joy, tears and finally - relief.

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Monday, September 27, 2021

Excerpt Tour and Giveaway: Stargazer by David Scott

Welcome to my stop on the excerpt tour for Stargazer by David Scott. This tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an exclusive excerpt from the book. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for more exclusive excerpts. Enjoy!
Title: Stargazer
Author: David Scott
Publisher: Tellwell Talent
Publication Date: January 27th 2020
Print Length: 385 pages
Genre: Autobiography
For thousands of years, stars have held our attention and imagination. They influence our life—we wish upon them, sing songs about them, navigate by them, write about them, follow them, and even give their name to the actors we love. My memories have revealed a lifetime of navigating by the stars, and moving beyond the fear and anxiety that self-doubt so insidiously cloaks us in. Yes, as Jiminy Cricket sang for us in Walt Disney's Pinocchio, "when you wish upon a star . . . fate steps in and sees you through."

Memories and influences have a profound effect on our lives. I look back on my childhood years—the 1940s to mid-'50s—and I can recall the people who were inspirational to me. Mostly it was my family, but there was also Jiminy Cricket. You no doubt recollect the song "When You Wish Upon a Star," with its lyrics that lift the spirit and let you believe anything is possible. I didn't doubt Jiminy for a minute.

The early years of my life were a time of innocence, security, adventure, and family love. How quickly my situation changed—one decision by my parents, made with my best interests foremost in their thoughts, shattered the world I had known. Through the fear, torment, isolation, and loss of my own identity, my memories and influences would come to have an overwhelming power on the choices I was to make.

My transition from teenager to adult seemed to happen overnight, but my unflappable outward appearance belied the struggles of a boy coming to terms with his guilt, and an irresistible need for his parents to be proud of him. My future was being shaped from the past, but it took me a long time to realise it. I chose the road less travelled, steeped in the wonder of the cinema and accompanied by my beloved animal companions, and it has been intriguing, daunting, rewarding, and, at times, solitary, but I always felt it was the path I was meant to take.

Like so many people, I let the emotions attached to memories hold me captive, and I missed opportunities to choose with more clarity. A near-death experience helped me to live a simpler life. Participating in a creative writing course inspired me to engage in script writing, stage work, and novel writing. This is my third book, an autobiography that has revealed more of me than I ever intended to share, and fate has led you to it.

My popularity in the boarding house zoomed whenever my parents visited. Mum always stocked my locker to the gunwales with fruit and home-baked cakes and biscuits. At those times, “mates” came out of the woodwork to help me devour the feast, my best-friend status as transient as the last morsel of food.

Boarding school suited gregarious personalities, but for a family-protected country boy like me it was overwhelming, so I stayed as inconspicuous as possible, hanging out with a couple of like-minded friends. I had led a cloistered life with my family until going to boarding school, fishing, bait-collecting and watching plenty of movies. Being the youngest child of my family, I was used to my parents or siblings looking out for me. Consequently, I was ill-prepared for standing on my own feet and went along with what anyone proposed without thinking twice.

That was 1957, which I survived reasonably unscathed.

The next year placed me in a neutral zone, out of new-boy classification but not empowered with the dubious honour of providing initiations—that was the domain of third- and fourth-year students.

During the summer break I had experienced strange happenings with my body. Erections came at all times of the day and night and, not having a clue about the birds and bees, I was embarrassed by it. I was totally ignorant of sex; subjects like that were not mentioned at home—it would have been too embarrassing for everyone. Movies of the time didn’t broach the subject either—kisses were closed-mouth pecks, overly suggestive dialogue was banned, and waves crashing onto a beach represented intercourse, something that washed over my head. Whenever my puberty issue arose, I stayed in my room with the door closed until it subsided, or if that wasn’t possible I wore a long shirt outside my shorts and sat as much as possible. I awoke some nights thinking I was starting to wee and would grab myself to stop, little realising what was happening. It was most disconcerting.

At college, Aunty Vi taught biology (her nickname remains, whereas time has eroded remembrance of her real name), and her lessons were so clinical they held no personal relevance for me. If my mates sniggered I did too, even if I wasn’t always sure why. She was a kindly lady with a sense of fun, ending classes with, “Okay, boys. Down tools and out!” I was not a complete fool, so I’d worked the double meaning out by my erections, but my knowledge bogged down at the physical discomfort without understanding why. I even wondered if something may be wrong with me.
David Scott is a playwright, director and novelist – among other things. His career included forty years as a film exhibitor; establishing a horse stud; managing a motel; working in the hospitality industry, and a few other experiences along the way.
David’s latest book, Stargazer, is an autobiography highlighting the value of family, ingenuity, bravado, old-fashioned common sense, colourful characters and unfailing good humour. From rural towns in Victoria and New South Wales, to the mountain life in Queensland, the constant has been faithful canine companions, perseverance and a joy for living.

David Scott will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

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Book Blitz and Giveaway - Atlas Memorial: Love, Lust & Saving Lives by Krista Harper

Title: Atlas Memorial: Love, Lust & Saving Lives
Author: Krista Harper
Publisher: Southside Mountain Press
Publication Date: September 29th 2020
Genre: Romantic Comedy

Recent college graduate Stella Reynolds has sworn off men in order to focus on passing her nurse residency, but when she gets caught up in a steamy love triangle between a gorgeous new physician and the playful paramedic next door, her ability to concentrate takes a backseat to love and lust.

Will she miss out on a chance at romance and risk losing her nursing career before it even begins? Or will she pick the best suitor while also mastering her nursing skills in a high stress unit?

It’s just another day of love, lust and saving lives at Atlas Memorial.

Here’s what you can expect from Atlas Memorial:
♥ Quirky & Hilarious Female Lead
♥ Sexy New Physician vs Swoony Paramedic Love Interest
♥ Fast-Paced Urban Hospital Setting
♥ Medical Romance
♥ Laugh-Out-Loud Romantic Comedy

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I stood inside the automatic doors; hands clenched. This is it. Taking a deep breath, I took a step forward, dodging a group of men in surgical scrubs, and taking a sharp left towards what I thought was the elevator bank. A few steps in and I quickly realized I had gone the wrong way. Instead of elevators, a coffee cart with a line of customers wrapped around the corridor stood in its place. I must have gotten turned around and needed to go right, not left. I spun around to change course only to plow directly into someone holding a fresh cup of scolding hot coffee.

“Oh my god.” I stumbled backwards, my heel catching on the toe of my other shoe.

“Hot. That’s hot.” The guy swiped at his chest, coffee running down the front of his shirt and tie.

I looked up into the face of one of the most gorgeous men I had ever seen. “Oh my god, you are hot.”

“What?” He pulled at his clothes.

“I mean, er, yes. Your coffee. It’s super hot. I’m so sorry.” Heat spread across my cheeks for the second time this morning. I reached over the counter for a stack of napkins, trying to remove all evidence of our meeting from his shirt. “Did I burn you?”

“No it’s… I’m fine. I’m good.” He tossed the empty cup into the trash and took the remaining napkins from me.

“That was completely my fault. I’m gonna be late and I got totally turned around and I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going and…”

“It’s okay.” He smiled. “Apology accepted.”

His voice was deep and sensual, forcing my thighs to squeeze together at his words. For a split second I took the risk of looking him in the eye, but quickly decided my knees weren’t strong enough to handle it. His complexion was a creamy sand and his black pearl eyes were warm but mysterious. Longish onyx hair, a direct contrast to the professional business attire, fell slightly into his face as he looked down at me. My insides melted into warm pools when he reached for my hand, shaking it firmly in his grip.

“Ryan,” he said, licking his lips.

“Stella.” I breathed, barely audible. Whoa. Electricity passed between us as my heart fell into my stomach. Who was this guy?

“Well it was nice meeting you Stella, but I’m running late myself.” He dropped my hand. The warm burn remained like a phantom ghost in my palm. “Have a good day.”

“You too,” I said.

He disappeared through the crowd of visitors pushing in through the Emergency Department and I inhaled a deep breath, allowing my heart to slow down to a normal rate. Several stunned moments passed as it took me to realize that what I had experienced just then was in fact not an out of body experience. That guy, that… Ryan really existed. I caught my reflection in the window and saw my face and chest were still burning a deep red. Plus I was pretty sure my loins were hanging out completely exposed. Not a good look for a positive first impression. I took another deep breath and got myself turned in the right direction, realizing I was supposed to go right instead of left to find the elevators. I was never going to make it on time but at least I wouldn’t be lying when I claimed that I had gotten turned upside down, and not just by the building.
Krista Harper is a contemporary romance and romantic comedy writer.

The first in her family to attend college, she received a practical degree in nursing before pursuing her MFA at the age of 40.

A Chicago native, Krista currently resides in the Colorado mountains with her husband, two kids and four rescues, where she enjoys being nature adjacent.

Website * Goodreads * Facebook * Instagram
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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Bly by Kelsey Ketch

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Bly by Kelsey Ketch. This blog tour was organized by Lola's Blog Tours. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a ghostly guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy/eCopy of the book and a lavender wand. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Bly book cover
Title: Bly
Author: Kelsey Ketch
Publication Date: September 22nd 2021
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Supernatural Mystery
I left the United States to find inner peace. Instead, I find myself confronting a malicious ghost.

Astyr Salt is a spiritual and emotional empath who moved to England with the intent to forget about a traumatic, supernatural event that occurred during her freshman year of college. However, when she takes a spiritual cleansing assignment in a haunted country home in Essex, she is isolated with all her own pent-up emotions.

These emotions energize the ghosts inhabiting the country home, helping them draw their own tragedies to the surface. Searching for the truth, Astyr is forced to relive the past. And the deeper she dives into the country home’s horrific history, the more the intertwined memories place her in the path of an evil and demented predator.

A blend of contemporary fantasy, horror, and mystery, Bly is inspired by Henry James’s classic novella, The Turn of the Screw.

I stand under an elaborate tray ceiling, painted in patterns of faded indigo, gold ochre, and linen. The heels of my flats click against the white marble floor tile as I wander farther inside. The echo of which radiates throughout the house and back. Before me, in a wide hallway that could fit six average-sized cars, are five staircases. Two Grecian columns flank each of the four grand staircases. Two leading to the upper levels, with one extending toward the east wing and the other extending to the west wing. Another grand staircase leads to an empty wall panel. Yet another leads straight into the ceiling. And the fifth and final staircase doesn’t even fit the rest of the décor. It’s a metallic, spiral staircase placed right in the center of the hall, leading beyond the hanging, crystal chandelier.

A familiar anxiety begins to gnaw at my gut. Once again, I’m alone. In an unfamiliar house. I slowly spin around, looking at every door and stairwell. Someone is missing. Someone who has been around me so long, it’s as if they have become a part of my life.


I pause to look at the five staircases. One of these has to lead to Nolyn. But which one?

As before, I sense a presence watching me, hovering over my shoulder. The energy is unreadable. Like a brick wall is between us, even though the presence is so close. However, there is a second presence. A soft tingling that brushes my upper arm and side of my leg, as if someone just walked by. I follow the new energy, letting it guide me to the spiral staircase in the middle of the hall.

My fingers slide over the cold, metal railing. Echoes of my steps radiate throughout the house and back as I climb higher. The staircase is narrow and tightly curled around itself, like those you find at the top of a lighthouse. Yet, it carefully winds around the crystal chandelier and the chain that suspends it in midair. I approach an opening in the ceiling, where a weak, flickering light shines through inky shadows. I ascend into the darkness, finding a small beeswax candle sitting in an old-fashioned tin holder upon a side table. I pick it up and move slowly down the hall. Unlike the hall before, there is no odd staircases. Only wooden door after wooden door after wooden door. All lined up on the walls, floors, and ceiling.

I hear a male voice muffled in the distance, which lightens my heart. Had I actually found Nolyn? I carefully make my way around the doors on the floor, sticking to the white plaster that covers all surfaces of the hallway. It reminds me of the servants’ halls one sees when touring a historical estate. Only, this one appears to be endless. The male voice grows in volume as does a young woman’s voice. One I do not recognize. Why would Nolyn be talking with a young woman? As I near the source, I realize the man’s voice is not Nolyn’s at all. In fact, it sounds eerily similar to Mr. Hellings’s instead. I step up to the door I hear the murmurs drifting through, place my hand on the doorknob, and open the door only a crack.
Kelsey Ketch is a young-adult/new-adult author, who works as a Wildlife Biologist and Data Analyst. During her free time, she can often be found working on her latest work in progress. She also enjoys history, mythology, traveling, and reading.

- Have you ever encountered anything supernatural? If so, what happened?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been very sensitive to spiritual energy. I can often sense spirits, memories, or any energy imprint. Even when it’s connected to the smallest of objects. Sometimes I hear them, and occasionally, even see them. One of my more notable experiences occurred while staying in Ouray, Colorado. It was the summer semester of my sophomore year, and I was traveling across the state as an intern for my university’s herbarium. During these travels, my mum and I decided to spend the weekend in Ouray to take in Cascade Falls Park.

Walking along Main Street after an evening meal, I got a familiar sensation. Not the classic tingling of goosebumps nor the raising of hairs others often describe. In my case, it’s more like a heavy blanket has been draped over my aura or a lingering touch to certain parts of my skin. I instinctively turned my attention to the third-floor windows of a historic brick hotel, where I feel the presence’s gaze. All the white curtains are drawn. Yet, in one of the windows, I spied an outline of a woman gazing out at the street. Her figure was transparent enough to see the curtains behind her, but opaque enough to note her skin was pale and her hair was as black as night, tied in a bun on top of her head. And her old fashion blouse was as white as the curtains behind her.

As with other ghosts I have encountered, I know she’s there, yet at the same time, something in the back of my mind always doubts my senses. So, to be sure, I asked my mum if she sees anyone standing in any of the third-floor windows. After a moment, she confirms she does not.

The woman didn’t disappear as we continued down the street, nor did the woman take notice that I was continuously watching her from the street. It was the longest a spirit had appeared to me since I was a small child. On top of that, questions plagued my thoughts. Why was I seeing this spirit? What was the building’s history? Was there a known haunting in the hotel, or have I stumbled on something no one knows about? As we walked back to our hotel (which was three blocks from the historic hotel on Main Street), my mum finally convinced me to ask the receptionist.

Self-conscious about the matter, I start the conversation with a simple question: does the historic hotel up the street have a haunted history? The receptionist first verified which hotel I was speaking about, smiled, and then went on to tell us of a woman who was murdered there. A woman whose spirit was said to still be seen wandering the halls by many of the guests who witnessed her.

It was at that moment I figured I had seen the same woman the receptionist described in her story. Only I hadn’t seen her in the halls of the building, but in the window of one of the rooms. I didn’t ask anymore questions, but when walking the town, I continued to look up at the third-floor windows. I didn’t physically see the spirit during the rest of my weekend trip, but I knew she was still in the building, somewhere. I felt her energy every time I walked past.
One Winner: A signed copy of Bly by Kelsey Ketch and a lavender wand. (US only)
Ten Winners: eBook of Bly by Kelsey Ketch sent through Bookfunnel (Worldwide)

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prizes. Lola's Blog Tours assumes all responsibility for this giveaway.)

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