Destiny’s Series Book Tour & Giveaway 5/16 – 5/30


Destiny’s Plan
Destiny’s Series Book 1
By Victoria Saccenti
Genre: Historical Romance
One empty bus seat. Two aching hearts. A future written by Fate…
When Raquelita Muro’s overbearing mother rips her and her little sister
away from their beloved Papa, one tiny, rebellious corner of
Raquelita’s heart is grateful that the bus is crowded, and the only
seat left is out of Mama’s sight. Next to a handsome young man.
Matthew Buchanan’s beautiful traveling companion is more than
something
pretty to look at before he ships out for Viet Nam. Deep in her sad,
whisky-colored eyes he glimpses a new dream to replace the ones he’s
leaving behind. It breaks his heart to leave Raquelita in her
tyrannical mother’s hands, but she gifts him with a token of love
and a tender promise to exchange letters in secret.
But their first, shy “hello” has reached the ears of Fate. Fate is in
the mood to see how far it can push two lonely hearts—to the brink
of temptation, desperation, and despair—before they break. Perhaps
beyond any hope of healing…

Destiny’s Choice
Destiny’s Series Book 2
No one
evades Fate.
Especially when the escape route is cracked and full of holes.
As a naïve young woman, Marité Muro nearly drowned in a maelstrom
of
confusing emotions stirred by two very different men. One whose
tortured soul tugged at her heart, another whose scorching touch made
her innocent body want…more.
Four years in a Spanish prep school gave her time to gain perspective,
and
now she’s come home to Florida knowing what she wants. The one man
she’s never been able to forget, and she’s ready to prove their
age difference is no obstacle.
Viet Nam left scars on Brian MacKay, some visible, some invisible—and
infinitely more dangerous. His war buddy’s little sister has
ripened into a tempting, irresistible woman, but she is forbidden
fruit. Yet she challenges his resolve until, in a moment of weakness,
his demons slip free.

Marité isn’t sure why the man who held her closer than skin is suddenly

holding her at arm’s length, but she isn’t afraid to fight for
what she wants. Even when someone returns from the past who could
destroy everything. Her home. Her family. And Brian’s love.


Destiny’s Way
Destiny’s Series Book 3
Destiny can show the way home…
if it can
navigate the shadows of Fate.
Brian MacKay’s love for Marité Muro burns with the heat of an eternal
flame. But when he catches her cousin, Michael, forcing an unwanted
kiss upon her, Brian’s jealousy comes dangerously close to flaring
out of control.
In a moment of despair, he packs his bags and boards a plane for Round
Rock, convinced Marité will be better off with anyone else. Someone
younger. Someone who isn’t dragging around a crippling load of
baggage—and PTSD-fueled demons.

Anger tears at Marité’s heart as she flees to her Abuela’s home. Anger

at Brian for abandoning her so easily. At Michael for trying to
reignite their past infatuation. Mostly, anger at herself for
realizing too late that it’s past time to grow up, take
responsibility for her own part in the debacle, and fight for the
only man she’ll ever love.

But Fate has a few more tricks to play before Brian and Marité find the
strength to reconcile. Some that haunt Brian’s war-torn mind.
Another threatening from Michael’s dangerous ambitions. And one
tiny, fragile miracle growing under Marité’s heart, with the power
to heal their past and seal their future. If it lives long enough to
draw its first breath…

Get the Full Box Set HERE!

 


A native of Cuba, Victoria grew up in the nucleus of the prestigious
Alonso family, founders of the National Cuban Ballet. The artistic
environment fostered her writing spirit and an insatiable curiosity
to explore the world and meet different cultures. She writes romance
and generational sagas with complex emotional content, as the human
condition in all its forms is her favorite theme. She is the author
of Destiny’s Plan, Destiny’s Choice, and Destiny’s Way, and a
contributor to The Ultimate Guide to Dorothy Dunnett’s THE GAME OF
KINGS, by Laura Caine Ramsey. Central Florida is home, but if she
could convince her husband, she would pack her computer and move to
Scotland, a land she adores.
 

Destiny’s Plan — Scene

Matthew glanced out the window and smiled. Night had fallen upon them. He’d lost track
of time and forgotten his troubled thoughts thanks to the young woman sitting next to
him. Her mirth and exuberance were infectious. She used her hands to speak, creating
curious shapes in the air, which he visualized with total enchantment. While the minutes
and hours passed imperceptibly, they had covered all sorts of topics, from the weather on
the road to his assignment at Fort Benning’s Airborne School. Even the odd color of the
lady’s wig two rows ahead didn’t escape their happy commentary. Raquelita was a
delicious combination of naïveté and awareness and was delightfully engaged in every
word he said. This genuine attention was much needed sustenance for his soul.
“Let’s forget about everyone on the bus,” he said. “Tell me more about you. Where were
you born?”
“San Antonio. My parents are from Spain, born on the outskirts of Jerez de la Frontera.”
“The land of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza,” he said. “A legendary country full of
history and romance. I’ve seen pictures and read a ton of books. I hope to visit one day.”
“Gracious, you’ve heard of El Ingenioso?”
“You bet. Don Quixote was a reading elective in school. Darned difficult, but I
managed.” Matthew paused for a moment. “Jerez isn’t close to La Mancha, is it?”
“Not at all. Jerez is near the coast in the province of Andalucía, south and west of La
Mancha,” she explained, adopting a cute tutorial attitude. “The region is known for its
music, historical monuments, its prized sherry wine, and majestic horses.”
“Mysterious Andalucía. The Moors fought so hard to hold it.” His eyebrows gathered as
he spoke. “Lorca was from Granada. His poetry was musical and raw in one breath, like
The Sleepwalking Ballad, or La Guitarra. It’s a pity he died so young.”
“Yes, a tragic casualty of the Spanish Civil War.” Speaking to Matthew was like sifting
through a treasure chest full of surprises, one more enticing than the last. She had the
oddest desire to touch him, ensure he was real. “So you know La Guitarra?”
“Oh no. I’m not going to embarrass myself by reciting Spanish.” A faint flush rose on his
face. “It’s bad enough I mix up my locations.”
“My father and I used to recite it together.” In her softest voice, she spoke:

Empieza el llanto de la guitarra.
Se rompen las copas de la madrugada.
Empieza el llanto de la guitarra.
Es inútil callarla
Es imposible callarla.

Words flowed out of her lips, her fingertips flitted like butterflies, and notes filled
Matthew’s ears, full, vibrant, and warm. “You have it, el duende comes to you,” he said.
“Me? No.”

“Yes. You. I know Lorca’s poems, but I’ve never heard them in Spanish. The genie
glimmers on your face and moves through your hands. The music comes to you. He
comes to you.”
“How do you know so much? Very few people outside Spain know about the genie,
much less feel or hear it.”
“The teacher who helped me survive Don Quixote knew my appreciation of Lorca’s
works and lent me several books. One had a lecture Lorca gave in Buenos Aires. It was
outstanding. The images Lorca presented inspired the reader’s imagination. He spoke of
dark sounds. According to him, el duende is the hidden spirit of a doleful Spain. Please,
please say more.”
Raquelita smiled and continued:

Useless to silence it
Impossible to silence it.
“That was lovely,” he whispered. “You are enchanting.”
“Oh.” She blushed.
“Lita.” The stern sound sliced the air. Isabel and her deep scowl stood next to their seats.
Her gaze shifted suspiciously from her daughter to Matthew. “Is everything all right,
Lita?”
“Y-yes, everything’s fine. Mamá…this is Matthew. We’ve been talking for a while. I’ve
told him a little about us and our family.”
“Lita. Do not pester people with your little stories and inane fancies. Travelers like
privacy. Uh…nice to meet you…Matthew, is it? I hope Lita doesn’t annoy you too
much.” Isabel arched an eyebrow at Raquelita, and before Matthew could speak, she
pivoted and headed to her seat.
Matthew watched the angry woman go. Why would a mother humiliate her daughter in
public? If her purpose was to smother her daughter’s spirit, she’d managed to do so. He’d
spent the past few hundred miles relishing Lita’s joie de vivre; he didn’t wish to sit
through the next hundred without it. He blurted the first thing that came to his mind.
“Lita, you can say anything you want. I love your voice.”
“You do?”
“Yes, and I love our conversations. Heck, I can’t remember the last time I discussed
music, geography, and poetry in a single exchange.”
“If I bore you, will you tell me?” Her expression was serene, but her earlier mirth had
disappeared.
“Impossible. You could never bore me,” he murmured, hoping his sweet girl would
return. “How far are you traveling? Where’s your last stop?” Matthew continued, but
seconds after he asked, he knew the subject was trouble.
“We…we are going to Ocala.”
“Ocala?”
“Yes.”
“Are you meeting your father there?” Her grimace deepened, and he wanted to kick
himself. “Raquelita, if you don’t wish to talk…”

“Please, don’t think… I really like talking to you… He’s not coming. My parents are
divorced. We’re moving to another state.” She choked out the three statements, and
turned to the aisle.
He murmured reassurances to no avail. She still looked away. He placed two fingers
under her trembling chin, and she did not resist when he turned her face toward his. Her
cheeks were damp, her irises sparkled like gems, and her lashes were heavy with
moisture. She looked at him with undiluted trust and an emotion he couldn’t identify.
This guileless young woman with her soulful eyes, shimmering brown locks, and golden
skin had captured him. The pull was inescapable. Matthew slipped his hand under hers. “I
would give half my soul to take your pain away.” He lifted the delicate fingertips for a
feathery kiss.
Raquelita stared in fascination. The strong hands she’d admired earlier had grasped her
hand as if she were a fragile porcelain doll. She felt safe. She felt protected. She felt
secure. Other than for rare moments with her father, Lita lived in a cold, affectionless
wasteland, under the strict rule and discipline of a rigid mother. With a simple brush of
his lips, Matthew had infused her soul with life-giving warmth. She knew then, to the
marrow in her bones, she was bound to him. She would never feel this close to anyone in
life again.
“Talk to me, Lita. I’m on your side.”
Their gazes locked.
“I believe you, Matthew.”

Hovering above, the ancient women watched.

 

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I Should Have Been a Rockstar Book Tour & Giveaway 5/12 – 6/12


I Should Have Been a Rock Star
by John Kaniecki
Genre: SciFi Fantasy

“What happens when Don ‘Hypo’ Colandri mysteriously disappears from
Edward’s University on his way to a Statics exam? Why his three
roommates lie outright claiming he was kidnapped by a Satanic cult,
all to get money and score with chicks. Don, however, has been
mysteriously transported into outer space where he becomes a pawn of
one Nellie Watt against the Time Lords in a cosmic game being run by
God. Unfortunately for Myron, Slick and Psycho, (Don’s three former
roommates) they have dived into a realm where fools tread. Hilda
Thethia, a practicing Satanist, learns of the ruse and quickly begins
to blackmail the trio. Sadly Myron, Slick and Psycho realize that the
followers of Satan are more wide spread than they could have ever
imagined and none are too happy at having the name of their Dark Lord
besmirched. Meanwhile poor Don is learning the ropes of outer space
in a very hard way. Every mystery he solves only brings more
questions. Will Nellie Watt succeed in her contest against the Time
Lords and go to the Twinkling of Twilights to press the Reset Button?
Will Myron, Slick and Psycho manage to escape from the miserable maze
they created? And most important of all, Why didn’t YOU become a
rock star?

 

 


John Kaniecki was born in Brooklyn, New York. Though having no memories of

life there, John is proud to be called a Native New Yorker. John was
raised in Pequanock Township, New Jersey. At age twenty John was
baptized and became a member of the Church of Christ. Presently John
resides in Montclair, NJ and lives with his wife of over twelve years
Sylvia. The happy couple attend the Church of Christ at Chancellor
Avenue in Newark, NJ. John is very active in outreach and teaching as
part of the leadership of the congregation.

 
Prologue
Meet Don Colandri
This is the story of Don Colandri: a fictional character in a fictional universe.
Everything else presented upon these sacred pages is potent gospel truth.
We now join our protagonist in the midst of one of his most distasteful
pastimes.
He is not studying. Oh no, studying is far from the excruciating, intense ordeal
happening. Rather, the young college student is cramming. Observe the
multiple
beads of sweat gathering on Don’s head, in particular on the glossy area of his
premature receding hairline, where the light shines and shimmers. It is a
physical
feature that makes Don Colandri look older than he actually is, not old in a
positive sense, like he could enter into a liquor store and not be asked to
present
an ID, but rather in a merciless pathetic way.
If Don Colandri could be mistaken for a tennis star, it would without a doubt
be John McEnroe. Of course, Don couldn’t play tennis like the aforementioned
world champion. But you wouldn’t know that if you sat and listened to Mr.
Colandri. In fact, with frantic persuasion Don would lay down pertinent
statements to make his case. As is his habit, his truths are laced with lies. “I
can
serve the ball over one hundred miles an hour,” he says. “My two-hand
backhand is better than most people’s forehand,” he claims. “I would have
played in the Olympics, but I pulled a hamstring,” he laments. In fact, such
falsifications are canted with “hyper” enthusiasm. This leads directly to Don
Colandri’s nickname. He is known by friend and foe alike as Hypo. By the way,
his two-hand backhand is better than most people’s forehands, as everybody
who
has never played tennis is part of that which constitutes “most people.”
Words fail me to describe Don Colandri with only one primary adjective.
Some men, for example, are known as handsome. They have perfectly straight
teeth, creating a glistening white smile, with luscious blue eyes that capture all
the wonders of creation and with hair in immaculate style as if painstakingly put
in order strand by strand, all summed up in one label as handsome.
Hypo, however, is not handsome. Rather, he is far from it. In perfect honesty,
and truthful I must be, the young man is quite repugnant. His mouth boasts
crooked teeth, stained yellow from smoking tobacco cigarettes. He has beady
eyes reminiscent of a rat, always shifting left and right as if navigating some
grand maze in an endless quest for a massive hunk of provolone cheese. The
character’s receding hair has been previously mentioned. In addition, these
disloyal tresses were curly and frequently greasy. Yet I am reluctant to simply
describe Don Colandri as repugnant. For it would miss inner values, some of
which contain virtue. It is not that Don Colandri is remotely righteous. Rather,
true to life, he is gray. Not ambiguous in that shade, for as the story proceeds,specific personality traits shall clearly come forth. Don Colandri, simply put, is
Don Colandri. So let’s just call him Hypo, shall we?
Now, Don Colandri is a sophomore attending Edward’s University. As attested
by his statics book, Don is an engineering student. At this exact instant, he is
trying to deduce the effect of moments on cantilever beams. One day, Hypo
dreams of being a successful engineer. He has no pretense that he is working
at
this for the betterment of mankind. Rather, his mind is focused on green. Not
the
green of nature either, but rather the green of money. But before he can count
his
riches, he must attain them. This means paying some dues and attaining his
college degree. So the pressing matter at hand is the complicated sketch of a
cantilever beam with an abundance of arrows and measurements. Why, if Don
didn’t know better, he might think the picture was some insidious drawing
designed just to cause havoc and confusion. Just for fun, Don turns his
textbook
all different angles. He looks at the drawing sideways. He looks at the drawing
upside down. It could be that some lost pirate hid a treasure map inside the
textbook in the open disguise of a force diagram. But after a noble effort, Don
decides that this isn’t the case. He lets out a sigh of desperation similar to a
tremor before an earthquake.
Now, Don is not alone in his obscenely messy apartment room. Clothes of
every variety are tossed all about. So badly sloppy is the abode that if a thief
broke in and ransacked the room, nobody would notice. Sadly, I do not
exaggerate. From these clothes emits an awful stench. The dreaded stale smell
of
sweat serves as the base odor. This is masked over by cigarette smoke and
marijuana smoke. Yes, Hypo and company do indulge from time to time in
smoking some weed. It is one of their favorite pastimes, in fact. But I want to
point out the most embarrassing aspect of the clothes strewn around the
apartment. This is, of course, the dirty underwear. Some of these white
garments
are soiled both brown and yellow. Ah yes, dear reader, it is a tragedy of
epidemic
proportions. But Don and his roommates don’t live like this perpetually. They
are only slobs by convenience. They are quick to tidy up if some festive event
is
to occur, especially if there is any possibility of them getting laid.
Who are Don’s roommates, you ask, the other individuals who share the
domain known as room eight? Well come on down, Peter Bellos. You’re the
first
contestant to be introduced to the fine reader. While not the hero of the story,
Peter Bellos does play a major part in this tale. In fact, whether Don Colandri is
a hero or not is up to conjecture. Truly he is a victim of circumstance. But not
Peter Bellos. No, he, along with Hypo’s two other friends, proves to beopportunistic. Take a good look at Petie. His darker-colored skin must be
noticed
first in light of this racist society in which we live. Observe his piercing brown
eyes, two wonders that Don Juan himself would envy accompanied by the
plump
belly hanging over his belt that he laughs away as “love handles.” Most
prominent of all is his long black hair, hair that is greased back with globs of
gel.
This style has earned Mister Peter Bellos his nickname: Slick. For you see, as
you may have noticed, every one of the occupants of room eight has a
nickname.
At this present moment, Peter Bellos is lying down on the couch amongst the
dirty laundry, his head buried in a textbook of some sorts. Slick, too, desires to
be rich. It is a common malady of people in this story, always wanting
something
that they don’t have. But that seems most logical, does it not, dear reader?
Why
would you want what you already have? That would be redundant.
Unfortunately, the whole of mankind is swept away with coveting this
illusionary thing called money. After all, it is either green pieces of paper or
digits upon a computer. But there shall be time enough for me, the author, to
subtly introduce my subversive feelings. So I will lay off and say that Slick, too,
was a greedy bastard and, like Don Colandri, an engineering student.
Now, Myron Thompson, the next roommate of room eight, is a man of
contradictions. He has a deep-seated hatred of his parents for naming him
Myron. Any time that Myron hears his name called out, he cringes in
humiliation. Of course, his peers don’t say “Myron” in some normal fashion.
Rather it is more like “Myyyyyyyyyyyyyyron,” kind of in a singing way to
express a notion of mockery. Myron is a bit of an athlete. As he found out early,
he has to be tough to live up to the name he wears. Now, Myron Thompson
really isn’t motivated to become an engineer to get rich. Rather, his existence is
void of life and purpose. This is evidenced by the black celebrations of room
eight. A black celebration is an event during which the attendees get
intoxicated
without any real reason to do so. It’s one thing to get plastered because it’s
New
Year’s Eve. There is some formal reason or a semblance of an excuse. It’s
another thing to do so simply because it’s Thursday. Myron Thompson is a bit
taller than his roommates and had curly, sandy blond hair. His nickname is
“M.T.” Those are, indeed, the initials of his first and last name. However, “M.T.”
sounds very much like “empty.” So whenever Myron’s nickname is spoken,
people point to his skull where his brain should be if it wasn’t “empty.”
Occupants of room eight laugh at things that really aren’t that funny. It is just
the
way that they are.
Now I must diverge and ask the philosophical question: Do we save the bestfor last? Well, at rock and roll shows, you have opening acts and then out
comes
the best act. They call these “headliners.” This brings me to the title of this
story:
“I Should Have Been a Rock Star!” In American culture, or even British culture,
it is probably something that every intelligent human being has said at one time
or another, when you wake up from the drudgery of the job staring into the
dismal black abyss that is your reality, gasping for air as if you were submerged
in the sea of life being pushed down by some invisible hand directing your
worth. But there is a very crucial thing we shouldn’t overlook, and that is to
never lip-sync. It is an unforgivable sin, the blasphemy of the Rock and Roll
Spirit. Transgress just once, and the ghost of Elvis Presley will haunt you
forever, singing “Love Me Tender” day and night without repose.
Lastly, I have the great pleasure to introduce Saul Griffin, and yes, like Jesus
Christ, Saul Griffin is a Jew. What exactly a Jew is these days, I really can’t
define, so I’ll digress. I’ll save my preaching for Sunday morning at Chancellor
Avenue. Right now, I’m trying to tell a story. You could call it an allegory if you
like. But I’d rather look at it as a bunch of stuff that just happened to happen.
Just a whole lot of whoopla that excites you, and then before you know it, the
book is over, with your tongue hanging out panting for more, more, more. That
is Saul Griffin’s personality to the hilt. He is always looking for that bigger
score, trying to outdo not only everyone else but himself as well, and yes, Saul
Griffin has a nickname. They call him Psycho. As far as a physical description,
Saul Griffin would call himself tall, dark, and handsome. Unfortunately, reality
begs to differ with those adjectives. Psycho is short, pale, and ugly. He has
reddish hair with freckles out of control.
Well we had to mention Woody Guthrie somewhere, so we’ll just throw his
name in here at the end of the chapter. He is perhaps the one man in the music
business who is mightier than a rock star. We could have thrown Lead Belly’s
name in there too, but America in 2016 is still a systematically racist society,
from the Sunday morning cartoons, up to the man who pulls the strings of the
chief of the Federal Reserve. But Don Colandri doesn’t care to contemplate any
of these matters. In fact, he has blotted out even his three chums from his
shortterm
memory. In turn, he can calculate the moment of a cantilever beam. The fly
on the wall observes Don Colandri’s forehead and sees one particular bead of
sweat. The light of the lamp has caught the drop of perspiration at just the right
angle, making it glisten as a diamond in the rough, and that is exactly what
Woody Guthrie is. How pretty, thinks the fly.

 

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for exclusive content and a giveaway!

 

 

 


Medieval Madness Book Tour & Giveaway 5/12 – 6/12

 

Medieval Madness
Mr. Willifred’s Great Adventures Book 1
by Jessica Sara Campbell
Genre: YA Fantasy, Time Travel

Traveling through time is not for everyone, and it’s definitely not Susan and

Freddy’s idea of a fun ride. Their adventurous granddaughter Sylvia,
though, would be happy just to do something new for a change already,
anything!

Travel back in time to medieval London with the Willifred family on a
heart-warming adventure of history, excitement, humor, and love. Meet
the real heroes of the medieval era, some who you may not have heard
about, and some you might know well! Watch history come to life in
this action-packed saga.
As Sylvia discovers, medieval London may not be as glamorous as it
appears in the movies, and there may even be someone up to no good
behind the scenes. No one ever said old age is easy, and no one ever
said being a teen is easy. Join Freddy, Susan, and Sylvia on a
jam-packed ride of a lifetime, for they might find more than they are
expecting in their typical weekday routine this time…

Jessica Sara Campbell was born in Florida and raised in New Hampshire and

Idaho. She loves Disney, teaching, reading, writing, and animals. She
has been married to the love of her life for seven years. Jessica has
been writing since birth, even if it was only scribbles. Jessica has
played both the violin and the piano and speaks French. Jessica has
written articles for several Newspapers in Idaho, but her favorite
writing took place in high school and college where true literary
nerds can let their creativity flow. She loves fishing, horseback
riding, and hiking just as much as swimming at the beach. This is
Jessica’s first book, and it is a dream come true.

 

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for exclusive content and a giveaway!

 

 


Peace Out Book Tour & Giveaway 5/11 – 6/11


Peace Out
A Peace Series Novella
by Sandra Hurst
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Brent Harrington is gone and Cyn Redman really couldn’t give a rat’s

ass. While the whole town celebrates or mourns the end of the
Harrington dynasty, Cyn’s life is falling apart. Her mother has
recently been diagnosed with cancer, throwing Cyn’s heart, as well
as her future plans into turmoil.

 

The last thing Cyn is looking for is Jericho, the quiet, soft-spoken
ranch hand from the McBride place. Between the clinic closing, her
mom’s health, and Cyn’s long-delayed college plans, there are
already too many uncertainties. Could Jericho be the anchor she needs
so desperately as her world falls apart? Or is he just another excuse
not to let go of Peace and move on.



A mythmaker at heart,
Sandra Hurst has been writing poetry, fantasy and
science fiction since her school days in England. Hurst moved to
Canada in 1980 and was deeply influenced by the wild lands and the
indigenous cultures that surrounded her. Y’keta, her first
full-length novel, is set in a mythical land, untouched by science or
technology, a
n ancient world
where legends walk and the Sky Road offers a way to the stars.

A member of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society, the
Canadian
Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, and The Mythopoeic Society,
Hurst works to build fantasy worlds that allow her readers to join
her in exploring the depths of human interaction in a mythical game
of ‘what if.’

Her first novel, Y’keta, is long-listed for the prestigious
Aurora
Award, for best Canadian fantasy novel (Young Adult) and the
American-based RONE award for break out fantasy novel.
She now lives in Calgary, Alberta with her
husband and son, both of whom
she loves dearly, and has put up for sale on e-bay when their
behaviour demanded it.
“A large hazelnut latte, please.” Jericho said, “And for me…” The girl behind the counter winked at him
saucily, her blue eyes more than a little interested. “A fresh Chai for you, coming up.”
“Erm.” On a fair complexion, Cyn guessed, she would have seen a bright-red blush, but on Jericho it was
more like the ghost of a blush. It flashed under his dark skin and an embarrassed smile flickered through
his eyes and was gone.
Jericho coughed, paid for the drinks, apologized for making a mess, and gestured for Cyn to lead as they
headed back toward her waiting laptop.
Cyn took a long sip of her gloriously hot latte and licked the milk froth from her top lip, blushing a little
when Jericho’s eyes fixated on her mouth. She hadn’t meant to do that. Well, maybe she had. My
emotions are getting out of control, she warned herself, terrified that letting her guard down with Jericho
would let the “too much” boil over.
NOT PG 13. –
Sliding his hand into the hair at the back of her neck, he angled her head down toward his, eyes fascinated
by her lips. “Miss Cynthia, may I…”
Cyn had had enough of waiting for her southern gentleman, leaning in she closed the gap between their
lips. Closing her eyes and letting go of all the reasons she shouldn’t be doing this, she gave herself to this
moment, and to Jericho. His lips were firm and soft, the hand against her cheek felt callused, but not
rough. He gently explored the contours of her face, shooting fireworks through her heart and, as he pulled
her closer, warming her body until it melted against his. Her hands wandered, almost instinctively, over
the muscled outlines of his chest, delighting in the contrast between the soft denim shirt and the hot, hard
man who wore it. Jericho growled softly, nipping at her lips in appreciation. She sighed, opening further
to him, asking, although she didn’t quite know what for.
He knew. His hand grasped her head tighter and his agile tongue slipped between her lips to stroke the
roof of her mouth. One large hand cupped her breast, the soft weight no more than a palmful for the big
cowboy. She gasped when his thumb brushed lightly over her nipple, making it pebble tightly beneath the
soft chiffon.
The giggles of a couple of teenagers shattered their privacy. Jericho and Cyn looked at each other withembarrassment, recognizing the same young couple that they had chased out of the stairwell earlier.
“Cynthia, I…” Cyn put a shushing finger over his lips. “Shush, Jericho,” she said quietly, nodding at the
pair of teenagers peering through the windows of the stairwell door. “I think we’ve given them quite
enough to talk about for now.”

Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!


GONE Book Tour & Giveaway 5/21 – 6/21


Gone
by S.H. Love
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Rory Richards is self-absorbed and suicidal.

Over the last year, he has lost his job, has attempted suicide multiple

times, and has gotten his relationship to the point where it is
heading for divorce. Fed up with everything, Rory has accepted his fate.

When he wakes up from a failed suicide attempt, he learns that his wife,

Maggie, has disappeared without a trace. Her car is found abandoned
on the highway, miles away from home. Her purse and her cell phone
are discovered in the trunk. There is no sign of Maggie.

All Rory can remember about the previous night is that the two had the

fight of a lifetime. The dispute causes him to storm out of the house
and steal prescription pills from his neighbors in an attempt to
overdose.

After that, everything is a blur.
Maggie’s sudden disappearance becomes a mystery.
Was she kidnapped? Did she disappear on purpose?

To avoid coming across as insensitive, Rory plays the part of loving

husband and attempts to find his wife. He gives an emotional plea on
television, reaches out to the Missing Persons Network, and even
hires a private investigator to gather information.

All of these actions are to show police that he is actively searching.

Deep down, though, he just doesn’t care anymore. But, does Rory’s
lack of affection mean that he is responsible for Maggie’s

disappearance? Or will he serve as the unlikely hero who finds her?

What happened the night she disappeared?
 
 

S. H. Love writes mysteries and thrillers. S. H. Love is the psuedonym

of a critically acclaimed author.

 

The taste of charcoal briquettes lined the inside of my mouth. It was chalky, almost sweet, but not in a good
way. The charcoal’s texture was thick, pebbly tasting, and difficult to swallow. The sensation remained in my
mouth and almost made me puke.
I had just woken up after what seemed like days. Months, really, the time just flew by. Just like that, it was
gone. My brain was resting after a lifetime of activity, dreams creeping in, only to disappear again.
Body collapsed, exhaustion forcing me to nearly drift into another blackout, I inhaled quickly in order to stay
conscious. Inhaling made my throat sore, the roughness scratching like sandpaper.
In and out, my mind went black, only to resolve to faint lights with warped images. Nothing really resonated
inside, the time lapse unknown in my current state.
What day is it?
Where am I?
My eyes opened wide. Dried and strained, they focused on the ceiling. The drop ceiling tiles multiplied in
front of me, expanding outward, adding four times the amount. Growing larger and then shrinking in a fast
instant, the tiles kept going in and out of focus until they became clear. The mineral fibers absorbed all the
ambient noise that surrounded me. Not that it mattered in my case. I was as laid up as one could get.
After a rush of constant blinking, my vision came into focus. The ceiling was again normal. Water stains
shaped like countries struck out against the plain white tiles. Italy was to my left. Thailand was to the right.
The United States’ forty-eight, it was as if the South had actually won the Civil War and had relocated to
Africa. Stretched across one of the corners in the room was a thin spider web. Part of it was unattached and
blowing from the air conditioner vent. The cold air pushing out of the vent kissed my face, tickling my cheeks
and making them numb.
Looking around my environment, my body depressed in a slow, dragged out sigh.
My tongue worked around my lips, licking the spots where my skin and lips met. The heavy, smoky flavor
was all I needed to know to describe what happened the night before. My face began to crease from the burnt
charcoal taste within. Caving in, it was a crushed aluminum can bending inward. It was as if someone punched
me super hard, my face staying locked in its current position.
The medical staff used the charcoal to absorb the toxins from the pills I had swallowed. All one hundred
thirteen of them. In a single sitting, swallowing the enteric-coated pills until my vision faded. One by one by
one, I had attempted to take my own life. It was a smorgasbord of poison with various colored pills. Some I
had recognized. Others I had not.
There was a bottle for sleeping disorders. There were various prescriptions for pain. One container was filled
with Ativan. Another, filled with God knows what. I had no idea.
It was the perfect cure for anxiety, pain, and seizures, for one low price.
Who would have thought that that many pills could be found inside your neighbors’ medicine cabinets? Then
again, who would have thought that amount of pills could be pumped out of a human body? Gastric lavage
and activated charcoal, these were two procedures that I didn’t recommend.
If you ever need an emergency antidote to combat the dangers of prescription drugs, consider the two-step
process of gutting and then grilling your face. The stomach pump was to remove the pills. The charcoal was
used as a poisoning antidote, to interrupt the circulation of drugs from the liver to the bile, back into the small
intestine, and ending back into the liver. The process was called enterohepatic circulation.
Coming to, I was greeted by a small, empty hospital room. A single bed surrounded by varying degrees of
medical equipment. There was a heart monitor near my bed. An overbed table pushed off to the side. A
cabinet filled with supplies. All the ingredients were present to revive the damaged soul of a person.
The television hanging from above was turned off, an old tube unit sitting on a shelf that was bolted to the
wall. The screen was dirty; it was covered in dust particles from not being turned on.
The thick curtains were closed. Peeking in underneath and on the sides of the curtains’ fabric was a parking lot
streetlight. The light from the tall post cast dark shadows into the room; the shadows creeped me out. They
were monsters ready to attack, ready and willing to conquer under their master’s order. Whoever their master
was, I wasn’t sure.
Swallowing was difficult. There was a tightening in my throat each time I’d attempted. Harder and harder to
bring the saliva up my esophagus, I could feel it start in the pit of my stomach.
This was not my first attempt at suicide. No matter how hard I had tried, I could never fully succeed. Three
fucking times was definitely not the charm.
My first attempt at offing myself happened about a year ago. My wife and I had begun to feel the effects of
money shortfalls.
I had lost my job when the economy crashed and had never really gotten back on track. Sure, there were a fewpart-time positions here and there. And one full-time job that was so out of my field I had to quit. But there
was nothing that had brought in near the same salary, near the same satisfaction, of what I had been living
with for years before.
My wife, Maggie, had said that she understood. That working in a job that did not complement your skillset
was difficult. Deep down, I knew my not being employed (or as Maggie had put it, sitting around) had still
bothered her. She would often throw in sentences such as, “But every little bit helps,” and, “Maybe just stick it
out for a while,” ending in, “Well, it’s your decision and I will support you nonetheless.”
She was just going through the motions at that point. This marked the beginning of the end for us. We were
heading for a divorce.
The truth was jobs were not that available in our hometown of Rock Island, Illinois. A stagnant population of
just under forty thousand, with only a handful of big employers that could provide a decent living. The cost of
living was low, but you would have to be in a position that paid well enough. Most of the residents in the area
worked at John Deere and the Rock Island Arsenal. Neither of which seemed to ever be hiring. It was almost
as if you had to know or be related to someone in order to get your foot in the door. Of course, generations
upon generations handed these jobs down like relay runners passing the batons behind them. With so much
history between the two organizations, getting a job at either of these places was equivalent to being born into
the royal family.
Me, I used to be the operations manager of a manufacturing company. Relative to the size of Deere and
Arsenal, our company was small, a blip on their financial scope, a mere footnote in the conversation. But it
was big for me, and it was what worked. That was, until I was let go.
We specialized in packaging, various types of packaging and shipping methods. One of our contracts was with
John Deere, so you could say that I was a bastard stepson of the prestigious royal family. I was more of a
second cousin that hardly came around, one that never saw the photo ops or royal invites.
I oversaw the plant workers at different locations around the area, who spent most of the days boxing items
and getting them ready for shipment to wherever it was they were headed. Much of my time was dedicated to
streamlining the process in order to cut costs. It took me several months to scheme up the process, paying
particular attention to its destinations and what trucks needed to be loaded and at what times. Logistics wasn’t
difficult; rather, you had to be on your game to know the shortest routes possible. You could say I was so good
at my job that I cut my own salary out of the company. Shipped it out in a nicely packed container. Really,
there wasn’t a need for me anymore. A win/lose situation.
My job, my life, my marriage, they were all packaged and ready to be shipped out. And to be honest, I didn’t
care anymore. To be frank, getting divorced was the only true thing I had looked forward to.
Lying on the bed, my head facing the ceiling, I moved my eyes left to right, and screamed, “NO!” Clenching
my teeth until my jaws hurt, bringing my voice down to a hush, I whisper-screamed, “FUCK YOU!” I had
convinced myself that I had wanted to die this time. Deep down to the depths of my soul, I wished that I was
dead.
All the while, the chair shadow creature was lurking in silence, staring in my direction.
The angled door monster sat mocking me. A malicious grin on its face, it could turn on me at any moment.
My body tightened until I turned bright red. Holding my breath in a weak attempt to suffocate, hopes of
passing out to prevent my brain from picking back up again, my mind started racing. Through the half-closed
blinds leading into an illuminated part of the hospital, two detectives were talking to a doctor. They were in
mid-discussion ever since I had come to. The doctor was, on occasion, looking into my room while he
continued to speak.
Struggling on the bed, kicking my legs under the sheets, the jerking of my body like a possessed demon, I was
vying for their attention. Whipping my head side to side, the air from the vent reminding me that I was alive
and well, I screamed inside, my mouth wide open, stretching until my cheeks became sore.
The officers looked serious, their bodies stiff and alert. Staring with intent into the doctor’s eyes, one of the
policemen leaned in closer. A concerned look on his face, the detective nodded in agreement to whatever it
was the doctor was discussing.
The window made it difficult to make out what they were saying. The light, reflecting off from the other side,
made the men appear translucent. Squinting with a brave optimism that I could read their lips, I saw the
policeman with the crew cut on the right side crane his neck toward me and then slowly return to the doctor.
Leaning in closer to the door, my head pulling forward, a sharp pain ran up my spine and into the nape of my
neck. My body tightened into a crunch, my abs flexing for the first time in years. The balls of my feet were
blistering for some reason, as if I had been on them for days. The soreness caused me to straighten, and before
I could readjust my body, the door opened.
Flipping the light switch, the doctor, wearing multi-colored scrubs and a white smock, entered with the

officers in tow. The shadow demons, they disappeared into tangible objects. One became the sink faucet.
Another transformed into the tissue paper box. In an instant, the monsters assumed their positions in the real
world. Their master, so it seemed, signaled them to be calm. It only took a second for my eyes to adjust to the
bright light. My brain was still disordered. My recollection, it was groggy to say the least. The three men came
into focus as they approached me.
“Mr. Richards,” the doctor said, his eyes scanning the paperwork on his clipboard, never making eye contact.
Nodding his head, his lips curled downward. Skimming the chart before speaking again, he mouthed some
words to himself. He then looked up, rejoining the conversation, and said, “I’m Doctor Wynn.”
Dr. Wynn was a skinny Asian man, his hospital garb baggy off his legs. He was a middle-aged gentleman,

mostly wrinkle-free with not much grey. He had a full head of hair. Crow’s feet branched out from his half-
opened eyes when he spoke. I could tell that he laughed a lot. Other than that tiny flaw, he was well put

together.
I pegged him for having a trophy wife, brunette and much younger, and driving a convertible Mercedes-Benz.
Aside from announcing that he was a doctor, his pickup line could have been, “If you go out with me, it would
be a Wynn/Win.” And then a sparkling smile filled with whites. Who wouldn’t fall for this? Hell, I was
beginning to fall in love with him. But that could just be the medication.
Reading through my charts more in-depth, his lips moving slightly, he scanned the file and then re-addressed
me.
Tilting his head, he smiled, flashing his medical school teeth. “And how’re you feeling today?” His cadence
was quick and with crisp enunciation. He displayed a charming politeness to his audience when he spoke.
Before I could answer, the doctor said, “You’re very lucky, Mr. Richards.”
Was I? Tracing the words with his index finger, he said, “You swallowed a lot of pills.” He was lecturing me
like a third grade teacher would do to one of her students—“Do you know what happens when you don’t finish
your assignment?” I was waiting for him to put me in the corner, but I guess this was close enough.
The officers stood stoic, hearing the diagnosis from the medical expert. Each was attentive for the most part,
often looking down at the floor or around the room to inspect the potential sleeping monsters.
Casual demeanor, reading the shorthand notes scribbled on the paper, Dr. Wynn gave an inappropriate smile.
He said, “Over one hundred.”
One hundred thirteen to be exact.
He looked me in the eyes and said, “How do you feel?” The doctor was full of questions. For someone who
was a supposed expert, he was definitely curious. “Does your throat hurt?” he said.
The large thirty-six gastrostomy tube that was jammed into my esophagus was, to be very thankful, lubricated.
Just because I had tried to kill myself did not warrant a dry throat fuck. Leaning in toward me, he said, “You
were administered two hundred milliliters of warm tap water on a repeated basis in order to be fully drained.”
His crow’s feet, they branched out as he emphasized certain syllables. He said this as if this was an everyday
occurrence, as if he saw attempted suicides all the time.
A cop, the one with shaggier hair of the two, glanced at the doctor’s clipboard, squinting at the small lettering.
The other, staring through me, stood statue still with his eyebrows lowered. He was thinking, or waiting his
turn to speak, one of the two, or both. Dropping the clipboard down toward his waist, cupping it in his hand,
Dr. Wynn said, “I recommend getting some rest. Your body blah! blah! blah! gone through some blah! blah!
blah! and you’ll need some time to recover. And then we’ll have—”
The toll on my body caused me to almost crash out. My attention drifted with quick ambition with every other
word the doctor said. I could hear the voices in the room, consulting each other, but the dialogue was
incomprehensible. It was as if I was sitting next to Charlie Brown in school. At this stage, I wasn’t even sure it
was happening.
Then, my head fell backward, my mind going blank.
Before I went under, the room spun out of focus. The countries on the ceiling tiles began to swirl, spinning
around in a clockwise motion until they transformed into something else. Slowly, the shadow creatures came
out of hiding, taking their positions as the hand sanitizer and drawer handle. My eyes wandered, attempting to
escape their reach.
The voice of Dr. Wynn dissolving, I fell into a deep sleep.

 

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