Book Tours: Book Spotlight The Agben School

The Agben School 2Title: The Agben School
Author: Jo Sparkes
Publisher: Oscar Press
Pages: 384
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Paperback

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Agben had stood for a thousand years. A mysterious school housing more than students, it was the seat of the powerful Women of Agben, and the center for harnessing the potency of herbs. Few knew all that transpired within the walls.

And now Marra stood at its gate.
Friends and support stripped from her, the fragile life she’d built for herself now lay in tatters. And the source of this evil hunted her like a deer culled from the herd.

The gateway before her was her only hope.

For as the city itself crumbled, all depended not on a prince trying to save his people, nor the valiant men who’d brought them this far.

Everything depended on finding a magic powder in the vaults of Agben itself.

Everything depended on her.

Book Excerpt

– PROLOGUE –

Mik was all of ten years old, and had responsibility.

That’s what his mother had told him this morning, when it was time to open the shop. His grandfather was ill, and needed care from time to time.

“Just keep it closed for the morning,” Father had suggested.

“Not with four ships in port,” Mother had snapped back.

So it was his job to mind the shop.

He’d done everything before, of course. Poured out the herbs, wrapped them in paper. Kept them close to himself until the customer paid in coin. “A poor little Mid Isle shop taking credit would go broke in a month,” his mother smilingly explained to any who asked.

Yes, he’d seen it all and he knew what to do.

Until the pretty girl walked in. Maybe 16 years old, he guessed. Maybe more. Her clothes weren’t as nice as many before her, but nicer than some. She had that desert air about her, down to the sandal shoes, but her hair was long in the Missean fashion, not the short cut of the Flats.

She didn’t seem Agben. But she didn’t seem not Agben, either.

It was a dark red hair, braided down her back. When she turned in the sunlight from the door the red flashed at him. Little wisps escaped and curled around her face, making her seem too soft.

Women of Agben were never soft.

Mik realized that responsibility did indeed have weight, just as his father said. He was feeling that weight on his shoulders this very second.

The girl looked over the shelves carefully, and he didn’t interrupt her.

And then she turned to him, and smiled. The smile alone was almost enough to prove she wasn’t Agben. Almost.

“Illsmith,” she said. “Do you have any?”

Mik nodded. “In the back, Miss. How much do you want?”

“Just a handful, please.” Her eyes were blue, he saw, but not the faded blue of his mother and baby sister. Hers were a deep blue, like the sea’s depths as evening fell.

He hurried to fetch her Illsmith.

“And Musk Oil?” she called after him.

Ahh hah! The pretty girl must be of Agben, Mik realized. Illsmith was a desert plant, and Musk Oil from the Great Continent. Those two went together, he knew, to rub on sore muscles and strained shoulders. He knew because one of the Agben women had told his mother so when his father had hurt himself pulling in the big swoopfish.

Mik grabbed a tiny glass bottle of oil – all of ten copper, he told himself – and then the crock of Illsmith. Returning to the girl, he set both on the counter, and produced a paper for the Illsmith. “Twelve copper,” he told her as plucked out a good handful of the herb and wrapped it proper.

Some people frowned when the price was mentioned, but this girl merely pulled coins from a pocket and counted it out.

Mik stooped low, to open the box his mother had told him he shouldn’t know about, and snatch the pretty bauble inside.

He carefully wrapped it in a soft cloth, the kind used for fragile glass on long trips. And then presented it to the girl.

 “What is this?” she asked, starting to lift a wrapped corner.

Mik stopped her as old man Tanner strode into the shop. “Take it,” the boy whispered.

“Mik, my boy,” Tanner grinned, looking around for his mother. The old man always wanted advice on a new ache. “Your mother not here this morning?”

The girl hesitated, still staring at him. He snatched up the coin she’d placed on the counter, and tugged the step ladder over to just beneath the Stomach Cure jar.

“That’s right,” Tanner told him. “Just a swig, my boy. Just a swig.”

Mik felt the pretty girl’s eyes on him. Surely she knew no one else was supposed to see that thing. Surely she knew to stick it in her pocket and pretend it didn’t exist.

The girl gave him a last frown, but said no more. By the time he’d wrangled the tonic down from the shelf, she’d gone.

 

Book Tours: Book Spotlight Psyche-Soul-Ology

Psyche-Soul-OlogyTitle: Psyche-Soul-Ology
Author: David Roberts
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 202
Genre: Psychology
Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

Psyche-Soul-ology: An Inspirational Approach to Appreciating and Understanding Troubled Kids is a companion text to At the Mercy of Externals: Righting Wrongs and Protecting Kids, 2nd Edition. Dr. Roberts presents a spiritually based application of his theories and the Roberts FLAGS Model detailed in his first book. His use of the term Psyche-Soul-ology focuses on the importance of addressing both the minds and souls of troubled kids. Of utmost importance is the need to look beyond the obvious external behaviors and problems of every kid, making an effort to see who they truly are relative to their unique potential for redirecting their lives. By looking into each kid it is possible to discover their uniqueness and encourage them to understand who they are intended to be, rather than who they are becoming. Dr. Roberts stresses the importance of complicating factors serving as obstacles to the progress of low income, disadvantaged kids. He focuses heavily on professional ethics and the need for both extreme compassion and full competence when working with troubled kids and their families. Both of these books are vital for parents and professionals if we are to fight against social injustices associated with poverty and other complicating factors.

Author Bio

Dr. Roberts, a proud father and grandfather, is also a licensed clinical psychologist, author, and college instructor, trained in California and living now in his home state of Alabama. His education, training experiences and worldview make him unique, and he is recognized as an expert with troubled kids and families.

Giveaway

David is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins July 21 and ends on August 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, August 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

 
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3 Partners in Shopping

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All Inclusive Retort

Book Tours: Book Spotlight Dakota Gold

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dakotabookTitle: Dakota Gold
Author: Karen Wilson
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 80
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

Karen Wilson watched as a little tyke came running from the group of golden retriever puppies as fast as his little legs would carry him. Wearing a red ribbon, he was the most adorable bundle of golden softness she had ever seen. As soon as he reached her and she picked him up, he settled in her arms and immediately captured her heart. There was no question that she was his mama and he was her baby dolly. In a poignant retelling of the unconditional love between a dog and his owner, Wilson details how Rusty, at five weeks old, warmed her heart and eased doubts and pain as he quickly acclimated to his new life in her home. He turned out to be a gentle-natured puppy known to elevate the spirits of all who met him. Wilson recalls Rusty’s comical adventures as he grew by leaps and bounds; made friends with her collie, Chester; had fun with a rope swing, a bucket, and leaf piles; caught snowballs in his mouth; and discovered that a cow can be a guardian angel. Dakota Gold shares the true story of a tail-wagging, mischievous dog as he is adopted by his new family, embraces the fun in life, and learns from his best friend that love is the key to happiness.

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Author Bio

Karen Wilson is a retired nurse and published poet. She is a member of the American Legion Post, its color guard unit, and its management team, as well as the Patriot Guard Riders of New York. When she is not spending time with her sons and grandchildren, Karen enjoys painting, writing poetry, and reading in her home in New York.

Book Tours: Book Spotlight Vlad Dracula

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Vlad Dracula the Dragon PrinceTitle: Vlad Dracula
Author: Michael Augustyn
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 286
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

Most of the vast audience attracted to the subject of Dracula know him only in his fictional, one-dimensional form: vampire! Yet the truth behind the historical character–voevode, warlord–of 15th C. Romania is at least as equally fascinating as any contrived account of his supernatural persona.

Vlad Dracula faithfully follows his life story as hostage, fugitive, prince, and prisoner. His principality of Wallachia was caught between two voracious predators: the kingdom of Hungary and the Ottoman empire. They tried to break Dracula with overwhelming force and terror. But Dracula turned their own tactics against them, and against criminals and factions in his own land, earning the name Tepes-The Impaler-in the process.

He was a strange mix of husband, father, soldier, statesman, and berserker. He annihilated 50,000 people–one-tenth of his own population. Cursed by his native Orthodox Christian Church, he indeed evolved into a legend. But even today he is Romania’s Robin Hood.

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Book Tours: Book Spotlight The Treasure of Kefer Shimon

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The Treasure of Kefer ShimonTitle:
 The Treasure of Kefer Shimon
Author: Clifford Stevens
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 344
Genre: Men’s Adventure
Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

The Treasure of Kefer Shimon is the story of a young American priest given a secret assignment by the Vatican to track down the source of three ancient scrolls that have come into the possession of the Holy Sea. If the scrolls are genuine, they will cause a revolution in Biblical studies. Along the way he makes many startling and shocking discoveries deliberately kept hidden for centuries.

Filled with historical fact masterfully woven with fiction, it takes David Lavarans on a journey into the secret dealings of the Vatican, into the ancient archives of a medieval Pope, into a Middle Eastern monastery, and into the Arabian Desert. Here, he makes a shocking discovery that has been kept hidden since the time of Christ. If revealed, the ramifications will rock biblical scholars and historians.

David is neither heroic nor a pursuer of power. He is simply a young parish priest completely unaware of why he, among thousands of more prominent priests, is singled out for this mission by someone more powerful than the Pope himself.

Ancient scrolls, the high ranks of the Vatican, a young American priest, the Middle East, and secrets that will shake the world of Christianity and the interpretation of the New Testament all play a role in this intriguing biblical adventure which spans 2,000 years.

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Author Bio

Father Clifford Stevens is a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha and the founder of Tintern Monastery. He graduated from Boys Town. He entered the Air Force as a Chaplain and served on bases in California, Alaska, New Mexico and Japan. He left the Air Force to become the Executive Editor of The Priest magazine and was later editor/publisher of Schema XIII, a journal for the Priest in the Modern World. He was at one time the associate director of Liturgy in Santa Fe, a liturgical institute in New Mexico.

His writings on religious and theological subjects have appeared in Chicago Studies, America, U.S. Catholic, Pastoral Life, The Priest, Our Sunday Visitor, Liturgical Arts, the Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Cistercian Studies, the American Benedictine Review, Angelicum and the Review for Religious.

He is the author of twelve published books, including the historical novel, Flame out of Dorset published by Doubleday & Co., A Life of Christ, The Blessed Virgin, Father Flanagan: Builder of Boys, the One-Year Book of Saints, Portraits of Faith, Astro-Theology: for the Cosmic Adventure, The Noblest Love, On Christian Marriage and Intimacy with God, and Aloysius, a collection of essays about St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

Book Tours: Book Spotlight The Devil Made Me Do It

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The Devil Made Me Do It 7Title: The Devil Made Me Do It
Author: Colette Harrell
Publisher: Urban Books/Kensington
Pages: 288
Genre: Inspirational fiction
Format: Paperback

Purchase at AMAZON

The voluptuous Esther Wiley has always known that she is special. She’s a tiara-wearing, wand-carrying kind of Cinderella princess in disguise. The problem that her very own Fairy Godmother, the Prophetess Mother Reed, struggles with is getting her to live like it.

Briggs Stokes is the reluctant heir to his father’s worldwide, multimillion-dollar televangelist ministry, yet he yearns to be his own man. His past mistakes have caused him a private life of hurt and loneliness.

Esther and Briggs meet and develop a deep soul connection, until tragedy strikes and the two are thrust apart. Their separation leads each down a different path scattered with emotional minefields. While each step they take brings them closer to who they were always meant to be, the devil is on assignment. He sends in reinforcements to usher in confusion and create chaos, and soon no one is safe. The members of Love Zion church reel from the rumors, innuendo, and downright sabotage that is going on around them.

When others devise evil schemes to seek the destruction of Esther and Briggs through jealousy, greed, and murder, only divine intervention can save them. As an all-out battle for dominion breaks out in the heavens, will Esther and Briggs become a casualty of war?

Book Excerpt:

Prologue

1975

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep (Genesis 1:2).

Two ominous figures sat in quiet contemplation, the larger one’s head was gargantuan in nature, and foul droplets of acidic mucus fell from his protruding fangs.

The smaller one stood sixteen feet tall and his rapier tail was wrapped protectively around his middle. He sat as still as cold hard stone. His sinister eyes were yellow rimmed and telegraphed evil cunning. He was known as The Leader.

Their silhouettes cast eerie shadows against the backdrop of the smoke-filled flames that spewed from the lake of fire.

“Ummm, this is my favorite place. Listen to the melodic sound of souls screaming in agony—it is music to my ears.  If you concentrate, you can hear the desperate pleas for release. Yessss . . .It allows me to know that all is right in our world,” The High Master said.

The Leader shuddered as the menacing timbre of The High Master’s voice snaked fear around his chest. For him, it was equal to the singe of demon skin from a thousand innocent prayers; he loathed it. His tail subconsciously tightened as he awaited his newest orders.

The High Master continued, “These human souls are pathetic with their self-serving natures. They frighten at the sound of our bumps in the dark, but create havoc in their own lives. What idiots they are and not fit for company until they have totally crossed to our side. And even then they tire me soooo . . .”

The Leader didn’t stir; his thoughts were of survival. He refused to speak. He knew a wrong word could cause such suffering and pain. The High Master’s punishments are prompt and fierce. One seeks death, but yet, death will not come.

The High Master continued his tirade, his grimace displaying double rows of slime-covered fangs. His was a chilling profile. “Your charges are young. Both are being raised in good homes, and, as a result, they are overconfident creatures. Leader, do not underestimate their youth; innocence is a powerful weapon. In their kingdom, the weak become strong. But we must prey on that weakness and use it to our advantage. You must destroy them before they complete their purpose. I am giving you this head start; you must not fail.”

After speaking, he stood his full twenty feet in height, his shoulders reared back as his frame vibrated with his frustrated bellowing. “In the beginning, we owned their world. After the fall, we adjusted; the land we were given was dark and empty, but we were content with our lot. Then He whose name is not spoken, created man, and we were once again demoted. All we seek is our rightful power, our rightful place. Make haste, bold one, and steal, kill, and destroy all that stands in your way.”

The Leader bowed his head in submission.

“And, Leader—this was a most productive conversation. You are learning.”

The Leader’s tail unwrapped from his torso as he swiftly rose and slithered toward his point of ascent into the Earth realm. He was determined not to fail.

 

Book Tours: Book Spotlight Signs of a Serial Killer

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Signs of a Serial KillerTitle: Signs of a Serial Killer
Author: Crystal Clary
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Pages: 198
Genre: True Crime
Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

My friend Sue and I had spent so much time together we felt like sisters. We had made so many plans for our future, as young girls do. We would graduate from school, get married, have a career, children and we would be lifelong friends sharing those moments together. Part of that dream had already come true. Sue was a year older than myself. I went to her graduation and was so proud of her. She had just got an apartment with her boyfriend. I was halfway through my senior year. We went Christmas shopping at the mall. But by January 16, 1980, my friend Sue went missing. When I graduated Sue wasn’t there. Then I got my first apartment, still no Sue. I would hear nothing about what happened to Sue for 15 years. Now I will try to fill in the blanks that I have learned over the years. And the surprising shocker after 33 years. Because of the sensitive nature of this book I will be using the pen name Crystal Clary. Since most of the information that I’m sharing with you was unknown to me at the time I decided to write this book in Omniscient: so you as the reader will be able to see all and know all.

 
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Crystal is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

 
Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins July 1 and ends on July 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Thursday, July 17 .
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!
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Book Tours: Book Spotlight In Bed With The Competition

Book Title: InIBwtO_300 Bed with the Competition

Author: J.K. Coi

Release Date: June 30, 2014

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author Website: http://www.jkcoi.com/index.html

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/jkcoi

Author Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/JK-Coi/145636204540

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1426838.J_K_Coi

Newsletter: http://www.jkcoi.com/contact.html#newsletter

Author Bio:

J.K. Coi is a multi-published, award winning author of contemporary and paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She makes her home in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and son and a feisty black cat who is the uncontested head of the household. While she spends her days immersed in the litigious world of insurance law, she is very happy to spend her nights writing dark and sexy characters who leap off the page and into readers’ hearts.

Book Synopsis:

This rivalry is too hot for the tropics…

Elizabeth Carlson and Ben Harrison used to be friends, coworkers… and almost lovers. But that was before Ben proposed mixing business with pleasure. Elizabeth refuses to lose her heart to a hotshot tycoon with a cutthroat, take-no-prisoners attitude. Not with the prospect of starting her own company at stake.

Driven to succeed in all areas of his life, Ben couldn’t resist the temptation to make Liz his. But then she walked away, igniting a bitter rivalry. Competing for the same contract at a Caribbean conference ignites sparks too hot to ignore, and Ben’s determined to finish what they started, even if it’ll only last a few steamy, tropical nights.

Elizabeth’s resolve begins to crumble under Ben’s blatant seduction. Can she walk away from a hot island fling with the sexiest man she’s ever known with her heart intact, or will losing herself in Ben destroy everything she’s fought to achieve?

Tagline: This rivalry is too hot for the tropics…

Amazon Buy Link: http://amzn.to/1r2xPwv

Barnes & Noble Buy Link: http://bit.ly/1nNz8id

Giveaway

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Schedule:

June 30

Book reviewed at The Star Angels

Interviewed at I’m Shelf-ish

July 1

Guest blogging at Kate M. George

Book Featured at Joyfully Reviewed

July 2

Interviewed at Romance for Every World

Reviewed and interviewed at Steamy Guys After Dark

Reviewed at She Hearts Books

July 3

Book featured Simply Ali

Interviewed at Literal Exposure

July 4

Book featured at Queen of the Night Reviews

July 7

Book reviewed at Bookaholics

July 8

Book featured at Escape by Fiction

Guest blogging at Becky on Books…and Quilts

July 9

Book featured at Romantic Reads and Such

Book featured at Book Nook Nuts

July 10

Book reviewed at Ramblings of a Book Lunatic

Book featured at I Heart Reading

July 11

Book featured at Read Me

Interviewed at Review From Here

Excerpt:

Excerpt from In Bed with the Competition

by J.K. Coi

Copyright © 2014 by J.K. Coi. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.

Chapter One

Ben Harrison had seen his fair share of women in bikinis, but this one seemed different. For one, she wasn’t model thin with toothpicks for limbs, but had killer curves and legs that went for miles. His mouth went dry as he took it all in. A wide straw hat. The thin ribbon ties of her top coming together in the middle of her back. The ends trailing down a few inches, drawing the eye to the curve of her waist and then lower, to bright red bottoms.

He felt guilty for staring and averted his gaze, but Nolan’s low whistle of appreciation reflected Ben’s sentiments exactly.

He turned to his friend with a raised brow. “What are you looking at?”

Nolan leaned up on one elbow and tilted his sunglasses down the bridge of his nose. “The same thing as you, I’m thinking.”

“Well, you can just lie back down and forget about it. We might be here a couple of days early, but there’s still a lot to do to get ready for the convention.” Ben enjoyed the occasional break, which is why he and his business partner Steve Nolan had come to Antigua two days before this convention was scheduled to begin. But no matter where he went, he never left the work entirely behind, because he still hadn’t achieved his goals.

“Not for me,” Nolan protested with a grin. “And not for you, either. We got this nailed, Harrison. Everyone will be lining up to hand over their money. And you have to admit, if you look at any more reports, you’re going to go blind. Trust me, nobody likes a squinting playboy without a tan, no matter how innovative he is.”

Ben frowned. A year ago he’d been a nobody, fighting tooth and nail to make his mark along with all the rest, but after appearing at a few gala events with heiress and model-turned-CEO Meredith Stone, someone had decided to run a story on him, and suddenly he was considered a playboy. “It’s bad enough I get that shit from the media. I don’t need to hear it from you, too.”

“What? You don’t appreciate the attention?” Nolan smirked.

It was disconcerting and inconvenient, but Nolan was of the opinion that a little media attention of any kind was a good thing. It had the potential to translate into the kind of corporate interest they desperately needed, and that made it worth putting up with for a while. Both of them had sunk everything they had into their cutting-edge software development company, but it just wasn’t enough. They needed more capital, and they needed it now.

That’s what had brought them to Antigua. The Artificial Intelligence world was a small one, all the industry players would be at this convention, and they would all be looking for the next big Internet money-maker—that’s where Optimus Inc. came in.

Nolan grinned. “If you ask me, the fact that the media hounds have locked onto someone else’s scent for a while is fucking fantastic.”

“Yeah, I’m sure you’re ecstatic,” Ben answered with a shake of his head.

The reporters might suddenly consider Ben Harrison’s life fodder for their pages, but they practically wet themselves over any chance to photograph brilliant mathematician and bad boy Steve Nolan, whose family had been the stuff of society legend until it all fell apart in a public scandal a few years ago…and who was now having too damn much fun at Ben’s expense.

Ben’s attention shifted back to the woman on the pool deck. She faced away from them, having arranged herself on an available deck chair in front of the sparkling pool. She was applying lotion to her legs and thighs. Her motions were slow and smooth, the sun bouncing off her perfect, slick skin. It didn’t take much for him to start imagining those legs wrapped around him…

Maybe he had been staring at reports too long. After all, he’d left New York early to scratch his itch for adventure…and a reckless island fling could be exactly the thing he needed.

Nolan moved to get out of his chair. “Well, since you’re not going over there, I think I’ll introduce myself—”

“No way.” Ben shoved him back. He stood and grabbed his shirt, flinging it over his shoulder. “You’ve got your wish. I’ll clock out for the rest of the day, but that means you have to check in with Clarissa in New York.”

Nolan groaned good-naturedly. “Where are you going?”

“Don’t worry about me.” He glanced over his shoulder. “With any luck, I’ll soon be sufficiently distracted for the rest of the night.”

Ben walked away, but having escaped Nolan, he quickly changed his mind, deciding he was going back to his room after all. He didn’t want to intrude on the woman’s privacy. There was going to be a preponderance of a certain type of person at the resort this week: execs and programmers specializing in programming initiatives, and the marketing bottom feeders who were just looking to capitalize on someone else’s innovation. The facilities had been completely booked by the convention, so while he couldn’t picture many software engineers who looked like her, it stood to reason she was another early arrival taking advantage of an opportunity for some time to relax before the hordes descended, and he didn’t want to encroach on that.

As he passed her chair, though, he couldn’t help but slow. A large beach bag rested on the ground beside her, a colorful towel spilling out of it. He wondered if she planned to take a dip in the pool later. That was something he didn’t think he’d want to miss out on.

Right now, she lounged back in the reclined deck chair. Her drop dead gorgeous body was presented to the sun like an offering, and the front of her was equally as stunning as the rest. The round globes of her breasts teased him from behind smallish triangles of bright red Lycra. Her skin was smooth and creamy, gleaming with the layer of sunscreen she’d just applied, but pale, as if she took vacation about as often as he did. Then again, after a few days in that tiny bikini, she’d be golden in no time.

She’d taken out a book, presumably from the depths of the large bag, but it lay closed in her lap. He raised his brows. That was some dense, technical subject matter. His first instinct had been correct; she was obviously here for the convention. That put a different spin on his interest, and he stopped walking altogether, trying to decide if he recognized her. He thought he might, but oversize dark glasses covered her eyes.

She wore a thick gold band on her thumb that looked better suited to a man, but no rings on any of her other fingers, including the third finger of her left hand. Not that such an absence meant as much these days as it used to. The band gave him pause, though. He used to know someone who wore a thumb ring like that.

Looking closer, he tried to see past the floppy straw hat. It covered her face and hair, with a red ribbon that matched her bikini. Thick curls escaped from beneath it and fell to her shoulders. He used to know someone with tight curls like that, too.

“Um, excuse me. You’re in my sun.”

He was startled by her relaxed, husky voice, as if she’d just been through a long night of steamy sex, and he was the man who’d awakened her with kisses to do it all over again. That voice was familiar, too.

Very familiar.

He cleared his throat and inclined his head with his most approachable smile. “My apologies. You caught me daydreaming.”

“Oh, is that what you were doing? Not staring at my…uh…hat?” Her lips were coated with some kind of clear gloss that made them look wet and full. A cocked eyebrow rose above the rim of her sunglasses. The way she did that, the tilt of her head as she looked up at him…

He laughed, but his gut tightened. “Ah, maybe you’re right, and that’s what got me daydreaming. You have a very lovely…hat after all.”

The hair was different. Her body was different…or maybe he’d just never seen so much of it before. If only he could look into her eyes to know for sure.

He readjusted the shirt he’d thrown over his shoulder and stepped closer. “Would you and your hat care to meet me in the bar tonight for a drink?”

That eyebrow went up again at his boldness, and her hand clenched on the book in her lap like a shield.

“I don’t mean to intrude on your holiday,” he added quickly. “But if you’re here alone and you’d like some company…”

She pressed her lips together, and he felt the weight of her assessing gaze travelling down the length of him, even though he couldn’t see past the barrier of her dark sunglasses.

After a long moment, she reached up and slid the glasses down the bridge of her nose, revealing deep green eyes. Green like the tropical water surrounding the island.

Her gaze was the same as a physical touch to his skin. Hot and unexpectedly jarring. Those eyes.

Yes. He knew those eyes.

He knew her.

In the time it took for him to verify his suspicion about her identity, her smile turned brittle, and her expression hardened. “It’s only been a little over a year, Harrison. Don’t tell me I was thatforgettable.”

Chapter Two

Beth.”

She winced. He was the only person who’d ever gotten away with calling her that. Her brother had tried once, and she’d nearly decked him, but for some reason she’d never objected when Ben had done it.

He sounded so surprised. Yes, she’d changed in the year since seeing him last. She’d let her hair grow out and lost some weight—okay, a lot of weight—but it wasn’t like she was a different person.

Anger flared…or was the heat building inside her something else entirely? She couldn’t take her eyes of those pecs, unless it was to stare at his abs.

Put your damn shirt on, she wanted to scream. That was the only way she’d be able to concentrate. Of course, he hadn’t changed at all. He was still too distracting for his own good.

You’re concentrating just fine, Liz. Yeah, but she didn’t want to concentrate on him. She didn’t want to concentrate on the wide expanse of his shoulders, the bulk of his chest, and the grin still curling his damned lips. Or the way his blue eyes glimmered like sunshine bouncing off the water in the pool. She hated that his voice started a fluttery thing way down in the pit of her stomach, and that she couldn’t help but notice how his black and red swimming trunks hung low on his waist, showing off more muscle than a man had a right to have.

She definitely did not want to admit that her heart had leapt into her throat when he’d stopped in front of her.

“What are you doing here, Harrison? Aren’t you much too busy going to dinner parties with society heiresses for a boring industry convention these days?”

He only crossed his arms over that massive chest—which did unexpectedly exciting and traitorous things to her insides.

She had the sudden urge to stand up from the deck chair to give herself some height, but since she was only five-foot-five in her short-heeled beach sandals, he would still be looking way down at her.

“I didn’t recognize you for a minute there,” he said, gaze dipping down again. “It’s nice to see you.” His voice lowered.

Go figure, he actually sounded sincere.

If he took off his sunglasses, what would she see? Welcome or nuisance? Indifference or regret? Had he thought about her at all? Did he think about what had happened between them, or was it all a wash? Forgotten in the excitement of his new venture…and dates with famous women?

“I wish I could say the same.” She readjusted her sunglasses so he couldn’t read anything from her eyes. He’d always said that all he had to do was look into her eyes to know what she was thinking.

Well, he could try to figure her out all he wanted, but the last year had been filled with changes, and she’d learned a lot, including how to perfect her poker face.

She purposely picked up her book, thinking he’d take the hint and go away.

Just as she realized the book was upside down and hastened to flip it over, he came closer, blocking out the sun with his to-die-for physique.

The sudden shade didn’t cool her body down. As he closed the distance between them, she only got hotter.

She held her breath as he dragged another lounger across the pool deck until it was right beside hers.

He repeated his invitation. “Have a drink with me.”

Her mouth dropped open. “Why the hell would I do that?”

“Because we should talk.”

“I’ve been in the same place with the same phone number. If you wanted to talk, you knew very well how to reach me every day of the last fourteen months.” She winced at the hint of bitterness in her voice. She couldn’t really blame him for not keeping in touch. He’d moved across the country and started his own company, and since she’d gone into business for herself as well, she knew what a huge, time-consuming undertaking it must have been. Not to mention that they hadn’t exactly gone their separate ways on the best of terms.

“Are you saying you’re busy then? What else do you have to do tonight?”

As if she couldn’t possibly have anything better to do on an island paradise than spend the evening with him?

Dropping the book to her lap, she crossed her arms in front of her, but wasn’t deluded that she was any better protected from his piercing looks and disarmingly familiar smile.

“Not that it’s any of your business, but I came here for work, not to waste my time tramping down memory lane with the likes of you.”

“Are you pitching something?” His expression narrowed. With competitive calculation or simply interest?

Wouldn’t you like to know? In college he’d been the only person to get better grades than her. The only person to get more attention from their professors. He’d gotten a scholarship she had applied for. A job she’d wanted. When he left for New York, she’d thought she was done competing with him, but she’d done her research and had no delusions. Their two companies were producing a very similar product, and being forced to compete with Ben again had been bound to happen sooner or later, despite the geographic distance that was now between them.

Yes, Liz knew exactly the kind of competition she was up against at this convention and in this industry on the whole. The same competition she’d always been up against.

Ben Harrison.

I’m not discussing my business with you,” she said stubbornly.

“That’s fine,” he said too easily. “We don’t have to talk business.”

“There’s nothing else we could possibly discuss with each other.”

“Beth, we were friends for three years, and it’s been over a year since I saw you. Is it so difficult to believe that I just want to know how you’ve been?”

She looked away and pretended to be captivated by the beauty of the pristine pool.

Yes, they’d been friends, and the good-natured competitiveness between them had always been grounded in respect and an admiration for one another’s intelligence and abilities.

Ben had been a good friend…a great friend…her best friend…right up until the moment he’d suggested they go into business together, and then, just to make matters even worse…he’d kissed her.

No matter how hard she’d tried to get them back to their friendship place, it hadn’t been the same after that. And when he left for New York a month later—alone—it had almost been a relief, because she knew she’d never be able to banish the other feelings he’d forced her to acknowledge, the ones that stripped her raw and left her vulnerable.

How could he do that? How could he just ruin everything? Shock and denial had left her shaken, angry, and scared for a long time, but she’d refused to admit she might be angry with herself, too. Because part of her had seen it coming, part of her had wanted it so badly…but she never would have risked it.

She dared a glance back at him. The sight of all that sculpted male flesh and those strong, capable hands sent shivers racing through her even now. Her mouth went dry, and her nipples tightened.

“Eight o’clock in the bar?” he said expectantly. He appeared calm, relaxed, and criminally good looking.

She shouldn’t. Corporate secrets were stolen every day in her industry. She needed to protect herself, especially from him. She remembered well how competitive Ben could be, and they no longer had friendship between them to protect her from his ruthless business practices.

“All right. I’ll have a drink with you.”

His smile was radiant as he stood, his big body casting a shadow again. “Good. I’ll see you tonight at the bar then?”

She nodded slowly, transfixed by the sight of those flexing arms and rippling abs as he pulled his T-shirt over his head and tugged it down, covering everything—and yet not covering enough, because the shirt molded to him like a second skin.

Good God. Are you seriously thinking what I think you’re thinking? He’s going to eat you up and spit you out.

Watching him walk away, she clenched her jaw and imagined exactly how the “eating up” part might play out.

Book Tours: Book Spotlight The Fair Dinkum Economy

The-Fair-Dinkim-EconomyTitle: The Fair Dinkum Economy
Author: Robert Gibson
Publisher: Trafford
Pages: 170
Genre: Business/Economics
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Book Tours: Book Spotlight The Hunt

Copy of The Hunt NEWVivian thinks she can control every aspect of a deadly game with her usual manipulations… but what if she can’t? Seven vampires and seven werewolves pay to hunt a supernatural criminal across the cold, vast grounds of an Alaskan resort. The one to catch her, and live through the encounter, will increase their power by feasting on hers.

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• Vampire Vacation, Book 1
• The Hunt, Book 2
• Big Game, Book 3
• Death Times Two, Book 3.5 A Grim Reality and V V Inn novella co-authored with Boone Brux
• Death’s Servant, First prequel novella
• Ceara’a Tales, Second prequel novella (due out in August 2014)
Blood Legacy, Book 4 (due out late 2014)

Author Bio

Copy of C.J AAD 2012C.J. Ellisson is the USA Today Bestselling author of the New York Times Bestselling book, Vanilla on Top, the bestselling V V Inn series, and several erotica shorts. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband, two children, three dogs, and a fluffy black cat who makes her sneeze. Unlike most full-time authors, she’s also battling severe chronic illness. C.J. works daily to put her Lupus into remission and continues to fight numerous bacterial infections while her immune system slowly attacks her body. She turned to writing when she could no longer work outside the home and claims the escape of penning contemporary fantasy, erotica, and erotic romance has helped save her sanity.

To learn more about C.J. and her other books, please stop by the author’s website (http://www.cjellisson.com) or visit her on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/c.j.ellissonfanpage.

Links

Amazon US: http://bit.ly/TheHuntUSA

Amazon Canada: http://bit.ly/TheHuntCanada
Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/TheHuntUK
B&N: http://bit.ly/TheHuntBnN
Apple: http://bit.ly/AppleTH
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