Love on the Line Book Tour & Giveaway

Love
on the Line
Women
at Work Book 1
by
Kirsten Fullmer
Genre:
Women’s Fiction, Romance
 
Andy
may not have pipeline know-how, per se, but she’s got brains and
every right to prove that she can do the job. Her estranged grandpa,
Buck, believes she has what it takes to be his engineering assistant,
and she’s not about to let him down.

 

 

Rooster
isn’t a bad guy. He respects women; he was raised by one of the
best. But that new girl is too small and… feminine. She’s a
distraction, plain and simple, and she doesn’t belong on a
pipeline. This job is his chance to impress Buck Brennan, a pipelinelegend, and no girly greenhorn is going to ruin it for him.

 

 

Will
Andy prove herself to her grandfather and forge a relationship with
the old man, or will continuous disagreements and unexpected sexual
tension between Andy and Rooster derail their hard work?

 

**Only
.99 cents!!**
 
 

 
Kirsten
grew up in the Western US and graduated from high school in
1984. She married soon there after and quickly built a family.
With three young children and number four on the way, she returned to
college in 1992. Her career as a draftsman included many settings
ranging from a steel fabrication shops to prestigious engineering
firms. Balancing family life with the workplace forced her to
become the queen of multitasking. In 2001, bored with the cubical
life, she moved on to teach drafting in technical college, then to
opening her own consulting firm teaching 3D engineering software. Due
to health problems, Kirsten retired in 2012 to travel with her
husband for his job. She now works writing romance novels and enjoys
spoiling her three grandchildren. Since 2017 Kirsten has lived and
worked full time in a 40′ travel trailer with her husband and her
little dog Bingo.
 
Andrea couldn’t ignore her boots. Not only were they stiff and chafing her ankles,
they were clean. Practically spotless. Then again, she reasoned, the men weren’t
staring at her feet.
Hunching her shoulders, she clutched at the ends of her shirtsleeves, gripping
them over her fingers like a cocoon. It was too warm for her heavy coat, but down
right chilly without it. Much like this whole idea had been, she scoffed to herself: too
good to pass up, and too outrageous to accept. But here she was.
“You take them papers on over to the man behind the desk,” Grandpa Buck
instructed, pointing toward the office manager.
She peered up at the tall thin man who’d brought her to the mountains of West
Virginia, and her mother’s words rang in her mind for the umpteenth time. “He’s no
good Andrea, you can’t depend on him.” But then her mother had many opinions, and
the woman made sure everyone within earshot knew exactly what she thought.
Buck nudged her with his elbow and pointed again at the desk.
With a silent nod, Andy put her thoughts aside, collected the stack of papers from
the table, and headed across the room. Careful to avoid eye contact, she shouldered
past the men gathered around the heater, wishing she had the confidence to join
them and soak up some warmth.
At the front of the office trailer, she turned the employment forms on end and
bumped the bottom of the stack on the counter to even them up. The thump of the
papers sounded like a gunshot in the hushed room and she stifled the reflex to flinch.
The man behind the counter didn’t turn from his computer, so Andy placed the
paperwork on the dusty worktop and waited, trying not to fidget.
Moments stretched out, long and quiet but for the humming buzz of the heater.
Someone cleared his throat. The stares of the men bored into her back, making the
silence surpass the discomfort of the cold. She scoffed at her situation, struggling to
conquer the near hysteria rising in the pit of her stomach. For the first time in her life
she had everyone’s attention, and she flat out wished she were invisible. Buck had
warned her that there wouldn’t be many women on the pipeline, but in her mind, not
many meant she’d be one of a few, not the only one.
“Don’t mind em starin’,” Buck had advised in his typical brusque manner. “They’ll
get used to ya soon enough.” The bigger question was, would she get used to them?
“For heaven sakes,” she huffed under her breath. Considering her oversized
clothes and heavy insulated coveralls, she probably looked more like the Pillsbury
doughboy than a woman anyway. She tossed a self-conscious glance downward.
Admittedly, she’d had to extend the straps of her coveralls all the way out in order to
stretch across her more than ample chest, but it wasn’t like she was wearing a bikini.
The heater clicked and whirred, and the smell of burnt coffee wafted across the
room. Boots shuffled on the dirty floor behind her. Unable to stand still, Andy turned
to glance at the clock on the wall. The men behind her jumped, feet scuffing, all eyes
averted to the ceiling or their hands, anywhere but on her.
Pretending not to notice, she turned back toward the counter. Her aunt June once
said “Large bosomed women will rule the world!” but Andy couldn’t see how that
could happen when most folks just stared at the straining buttons on the front of hershirt and–
“You got this paperwork finished?” the office manager asked, pulling the stack of
papers toward him.
Jumping in her skin, she glanced up to make eye contact with the man. “I… yes.”
She’d have to pay better attention. She knew when she was nervous her thoughts
tended to jump around like a lunatic monkey. She had to keep a handle on that.
The man behind the counter regarded her momentarily over his reading glasses,
reminding Andy of her father. The thought was followed directly by a sharp pang of
homesickness. But the man leafed through the sheaf of papers, oblivious of her
pained expression, so she sucked in a deep breath, resolved to stay on task.
With a sniff he affixed a paperclip to the stack, then turned to toss them on the
growing pile of forms on his desk. He puffed out a sigh and met her eye with one
brow raised in speculation. “I take it you’ll need PPE?”
Andy’s thoughts spun through the million bits of pipeline information she’d
managed to extract from Buck over the last twenty-four hours. Several snickers
bounced through the group behind her as she floundered.
Squaring her shoulders, she pushed forward. “More than likely…”
“Come on,” the office manager replied, motioning for her to follow.
At the end of the narrow counter stood a haphazard stack of cardboard boxes
filled with hard hats and safety vests. He pointed at the gear. “Take one of each and
sign the form on the clipboard.”
“Personal Protective Equipment,” She mumbled, irritated that the acronym had
slipped her mind. “Thanks.”
The office manager returned to his computer and Andy bent to select a white hard
hat with its accompanying bag of parts, and a cellophane wrapped pair of dark tinted
safety glasses. One glance at the box containing bright yellow vests and she sighed.
Not that she minded the color, safety yellow made her look tan, it was the lack of
gear anywhere near her size that gave her pause. Outdoor work clothes for small
busty women were in short supply, evidently. Even the cursed steel-toed boots had
been hard to find in her size.
Balancing her new hardhat on the counter, she placed her safety glasses inside
the hat and bent with a grunt to kneel in the cramped space by the boxes. Cussing
the layers of clothing hampering her movement, she searched in vain for a vest that
was any size other than a man’s extra large. Finally she gave up and snatched up a
vest, scribbled her signature on the pad, then collected her hat and glasses and
turned back toward the crowded room. It was impossible not to notice that the other
men’s vests were dingy from multiple washes, as well as smudged with mud smears
and splatters. Hers practically glowed in the dark by comparison. I’ll stand out like
scarecrow, she thought in disgust. One thing was certain though; the vest would fit
around her chest without any problem.
About the time she shrugged into the huge vest, trying it on for size and finding
that it hung well past her hips, the door of the office opened, pushing in a blast of
frigid air that sucked Andy’s breath away. She jumped at the shock, knocking her
safety glasses to the floor. With a shudder she bent to pick them up.
“Rooster!” the workers cheered, hands raised in greeting.
A man leaned into the wind to close the door, then nodded a hello to the group.
Andy peered around the base of the counter at the new arrival, her fingers frozen in
mid air as they reached for her forgotten glasses.

At first, the man referred to as Rooster looked much like the others in the group,
but when he turned from the door Andy was shocked to find him younger and far
more attractive than the typical middle-aged, paunchy, laborer. He wore a heavy-duty
work coat over a flannel shirt, and his tinted safety glasses were perched on the brim
of his ball cap.
Like most men in the room, the skin around his eyes was two shades lighter than
the rest of his face, resembling a reversed raccoon. Unlike the others, his dark beard
was neatly trimmed. He carried a hard hat covered in stickers tucked under one arm.
“How’s your mom-an-‘em?” a giant, red-faced worker standing near the door
bellowed as he thumped the younger man on the shoulder.
“Tiny,” Rooster grinned, extending his hand. “They’re well, thanks, and your
family?”
The big man beamed as he pumped Rooster’s hand up and down. “Ornery as
ever, I’d expect.”
Rooster nodded and turned away to scan the crowd, taking in the crew with nods
of recognition. Andy couldn’t help but note that his gaze lurched to a halt on her
Grandpa Buck.
She stood, partially hidden by the end of the counter and shrugged out of the vest.
She wasn’t necessarily great at reading people, but she noticed something change in
the younger man’s expression when he spotted Buck. What was it, wariness maybe?
At least the arrival of Rooster seemed to have shifted the men’s attention away
from her.
With purposeful strides, Rooster headed across the crowded room, calling out
greetings along the way. A relaxed mood filtered through the group as he passed,
and the men now talked amongst themselves, raising the noise level in the small
trailer to a dull roar.
Rooster met Buck with a handshake. Andy couldn’t hear what was said, but it
didn’t appear to be much more than an introduction, then Buck turned to the crew.
“Men,” he hollered over the din, “Let’s head on into training.”
Laughter and joking subsided as the group shifted their hats and cold weather
gear, feet shuffling, to plod toward the little room at the back of the trailer. Andy
collected her hat and glasses and brought up the rear, thinking perhaps she could
slip into a seat in the back without drawing much attention. Unfortunately, those seats
had been filled first and the only remaining chair was in the front of the room.
As she stood in the doorway watching the men settle onto the folding chairs, she
contemplated the best route to the few empty seats at the far end of the front row.
Through the mutters and scuffles of the chairs on the floor, Andy became aware that
the stares of the men fell on her once again. In every eye was a question, a taunt, or
a glimmer that left her feeling… inadequate. Most of their eyes eventually landed
directly on her chest, as if they expected the extended straps of her coveralls to give
out at any moment.
This was not what she’d envisioned at all. She’d come here to work, and work she
would. But a niggling sensation in her stomach reminded her otherwise. This job was
far more than a way to earn money. It was the chance to escape. Her gaze lit on
Buck and held there. The opportunity to spend time with her grandfather had been
part of it too. The man was a mystery to her.
Granted, she didn’t have any idea what building a pipeline would be like, but
standing out in a crowd had never been comfortable for her. She figured she would

just be another worker, not a spectacle.
The silence in the room grew uncomfortable prompting Andy to once again
contemplate how to get past the men to the chair in the corner. Squaring her
shoulders, she swallowed hard and gathered all the courage she could muster.
Momentarily she contemplated turning to run, but her father’s earnest goodbye
advice came to mind. “You’ll do fine, Honey, just keep your chin up.”
Resolute, she stepped forward, but when she reached the front row her heart fell
further. As the men settled into their seats, most had crossed one muddy boot over
the other knee, making it impossible for her to pass. How had four years of college
and reading hundreds of books about people in life threatening situations, left her
unprepared her for this? Was it so hard to get to a chair? None of the women in her
novels had struggled with such trivial problems.
The worker she recognized as Tiny sat at the end of the row. His bearded chin
lifted and he peered up at her in question, as if he had no clue what on earth she
could possibly want from him. Then his face flushed even redder than before as he
realized she needed him to move. He jolted to his feet, causing the hard hat in his lap
to clatter on the floor and roll in a circle.
“Sorry ma’am,” he muttered as he maneuvered to let her pass.
The men in the room snorted and chuckled.
One at a time, the workers stood to let her move past. Making a quick choice, she
decided to face the men chest to chest, as she passed. She couldn’t imagine trying to
pass each one with her hinny toward them, but she immediately doubted her
decision. Some of the guys stared her hard in the eye as she shuffled by, others
nodded solemnly then looked away. In the close quarters, her chest barely cleared
theirs, and she leaned back in an effort to avoid contact. One worker jeered at her
openly, disrespect obvious on his scruffy face as he glanced from her face to her
chest and back. Mumbles rumbled through the room, and as she turned to sit, Andy’s
gaze snagged on Rooster scowling at her from the third row.
Once again her mother’s voice rang in the back of her mind. “Stay home where

you belong. You’ll love grad school, just be patient. No need to go running off half-
cocked.”

Setting her jaw, she turned to the front. Half-cocked indeed, she thought. What
have I done? Besides break my mother’s heart, that is. Back home, at least I knew
where I stood. Well, most of the time anyway…
A fifty-ish woman entered and bustled to the front of the class. “Good morning,” she
called out, brushing her greying bangs out of her eyes. Although she wore jeans and
a t-shirt like the other men, hers were too tight, outlining every ample curve, panty
line, and bulge. Her attire was also far too clean to have seen much action outdoors.
Her clothing somehow resembled a costume, an effort to dress up like a pipeliner
rather than actually be one.
Like she had room to talk, Andy admonished herself.
The woman readjusted her paperwork, all the while her eyes scanning the group of
men. When her gaze lit on Andy she froze in shock, causing the men to snicker. The
woman recovered, did one more double take in Andy’s direction, then perched
reading glasses on the end of her nose and cleared her throat. “Let’s begin…I’m
Molly, the safety coordinator. ”
Glancing from man to man, Andy remembered what Buck had told her that
morning. “All the workers are required to take a safety class at the start of a job.”

The gruff old man hadn’t offered an opinion about Molly one way or the other, but
Andy got the distinct impression that the men in the room had little respect for the
safety lady or the information she shared. It was obvious to her that the men didn’t
care for Molly. The way one man adjusted his hat lower over his eyes, and another
picked at dirt on his jeans, told her they were neither interested nor engaged.
Saddened, Andy wondered if it was because Molly was a woman, or if they felt
demeaned by being required to attend the training over and over. Or both.
As Molly droned on and on about procedure, Andy struggled to pay attention. She
expected the information Molly shared to help her prepare for the work ahead, but
even with her limited knowledge of the job, the safety topics covered seemed
ridiculously basic: drug-testing policy, no weapons on the job site, no fighting. In an
attempt to stay awake, Andy turned to glance over her shoulder at Buck. He sat in
the back row, slumped down in his chair, arms crossed over his chest, with his safety
glasses on and his hat brim pulled low. The old man was catching a nap, she
realized. They had certainly got up far too early that morning. After yesterday’s tearful
airport goodbyes, and hours of travel, she was exhausted as well as stuck in the
wrong time zone. And even though her bed had been comfortable enough, she’d
been so nervous she hadn’t slept.
She always had trouble sleeping when she started something new, like the first day
of grad school. Then again she more than likely hadn’t slept then because she
dreaded it rather than–
Molly thumped her binder closed, signaling the end of class, and Andy’s head
whipped up to attention. The older woman passed a stack of palm size papers to
Tiny. He took one and passed the stack along. When they came to Andy she took
one, then handed the rest to the man behind her. Curious, she turned the paper over
and realized it was a safety sticker for attending the class. Unsure what to do with it,
she stood to survey the noisy crowd, dreading the journey back to the door. The
man behind her peeled the back off his sticker and pressed it onto his grimy hard hat.

“So that’s where the stickers come from…” she muttered holding up her yet-to- be-
assembled hat, wondering if there was a specific location for the sticker.

Molly pressed her way past the crowd of men to Andy’s side, her eyes bright with
excitement. “Oh my!” she said loudly as she pursued Andy from head to foot. “Don’t
you look cute!”
Andy stiffened. She didn’t need any help appearing different in front of the men.
She cocked her head to one side, her sharp gaze taking in every aspect of the safety
woman, but it was difficult to assess much past Molly’s floral perfume. The fumes
were overpowering to the point of making Andy’s eyes water.
“I didn’t know they made Carhart coveralls so small,” Molly gushed, “Where ever
did you find those?”
“At the store.” Andy replied, taking a step back to disengage the woman. “Well,
they’re absolutely adorable…”
Adorable? Insulated coveralls? With an irritated shrug, Andy tried to sidestep
around Molly and follow the other workers, but the older woman grabbed her arm.
“I’m glad to see you here,” Molly continued, her expression serious. “Us girls need
to stick together.”
Buck had offered Andy only one bit of advice that morning, and it had been short
and simple. “Don’t let nobody push you around out there.” Molly may be the only
other woman on the job so far, but Andy had no intention of being cowed on day one,

so she offered a grimace of a smile and tugged her arm from the older woman’s
grasp. She may need to gain allies, but something told her that this woman wasn’t
the place to start.
Back in the front office, Andy spotted Buck near the heater, surrounded by men.
She wandered to the edge of the group, picking up scraps of the conversation. From
the corner of her eye she spotted Buck’s hardhat on the table alongside his stack of
site plans and clipboard filled with paperwork. She could see small safety stickers
randomly stuck on his hat, so she stuffed her safety glasses into her overall pocket,
then tucked her hard hat shell under one arm and cautiously peeled the sticker off it’s
backing.
Careful not to wrinkle the thing, she retrieved her hat, turning it this way and that
as she looked for a good spot. As she assessed the hat, the plastic bag containing
the inner workings fell on the floor.
Embarrassed, she attached the sticker on what she hoped was the front, then
tipped the hat over to look inside. Having never held a hardhat, she had no way to
know it would be just a blank plastic bowl. She bent to collect the bag of parts
consisting of a crisscross assembly with a nob on one side. Obviously the items in
the bag fit on the inside of the shell to keep the thing on her head.
The workers paid her no attention as they stood talking and joking amongst
themselves, so Andy sidled closer to the table and lifted her grandfather’s hat for a
peek inside. Sure enough, the crisscross part fit into slots on the inside of the shell.
She’d never been much good at working puzzles under pressure. Left to her own
devices she could figure things out, but she hated looking like a fool. And
unfortunately, this job was prime territory to look clueless. Which she definitely was.
The last time she’d felt this insecure was back in her Human physiology class and the
professor had–
The door slammed, bringing her back to reality with a jolt. Quickly she replaced
Buck’s hat on the table and side stepped, attempting to appear nonchalant as she
inserted the assembly into her hat. How difficult could it be to put together a hard hat
after all? As luck would have it, more difficult than she thought. The tabs didn’t line up
with the slots.
“You have it backwards.”
Andy glanced up to find Rooster at her shoulder, and did a double take in surprise.
He was even more handsome and imposing up close. She’d always been small for
her age, even full grown she was only five foot two. Next to Rooster’s six foot three,
she felt at a disadvantage. She hated feeling this way and it was sadly becoming the
norm.
His sky blue eyes assessed her in a penetrating manner.
She turned the hat in her hands. Sure enough, the slots matched up, but with
Rooster glaring over her shoulder, her hands trembled. The tabs on the headpiece
should have slid into the notches, but for whatever reason they didn’t fit.
She glanced up at Rooster in question and he nodded, confirming that she had it
right, so she tried again. Using both thumbs she pressed harder on the plastic.
Nothing happened. She gritted her teeth and braced the hardhat against her
stomach. Still no luck, damn it all!
“Give it here,” Rooster huffed as he snatched the hat away. With little effort he
snapped the plastic lining into the hat and pushed it back at Andy. He didn’t say
anything as he walked away, but his opinion of her was clear. Pure disgust.

Andy watched his retreating back as he made his way through the crowd to the door.
For the hundredth time that morning she wondered what on earth she’d been thinking
to come here.
“You ready?” Buck asked at her elbow, bringing her back to the present. Then
without waiting for a reply, he turned away.
One of the workers tossed a curious glance her way and she offered a limp grin.
The man turned away to mutter something about her to his coworker. Two more men
turned to stare at her over their shoulder. That familiar sick feeling she’d first
experienced on the plane crept back into her stomach. Her shoulders slumped.
“Get your coat, I’ll meet you at the truck.” Buck tossed over his shoulder.
That’s how the old man operated, she supposed. He’d issue a command then walk
away. Maybe her mother was right about him. With a resigned glance toward the
door, she collected her coat from the back of a chair, and hurried to follow her
grandfather.
The men trudged out of the office, leaving the door wide open to bang in the wind
against the side of the trailer. Frigid air poured in, motivating Andy to shrug into the
heavy coat. Zipping the bulky thing, however, was no easy task as she juggled her
hardhat and vest and wove through the crowd of men.
On the wooden steps of the trailer she squinted across the yard into the sunrise.
With the freezing wind pulling at her hair and burning her cheeks, she plopped the
hard hat on her head and hunched down into the collar of her coat. The glare of sun
off the snow-covered ground was blinding, so with icy fingers she pulled the safety
glasses from her pocket and fumbled with the plastic wrapper.
When they’d arrived at the yard at just after five that morning, it had still been
dark, but she’d been aware of a few men loading trucks. Now, with her tinted safety
glasses on, she paused in shock at the hubbub spread before her.
The yard consisted of a huge, four-acres wide dirt patch, with trailers spread along
one side and pieces and parts of long three-foot diameter pipe organized in several
rows at the other end. Two inches of fresh snow had fallen the night before, but was
now churned into a muddy path of tire tracks made by a multitude of large trucks and
assorted vehicles, most still parked, back-end first, against the fence line.
Andy moved to one side of the steps and tugged her gloves from her coat pocket.
Continuing to gawk, she pulled them on.
A strange configuration of semi truck trailers near the office caught her attention.
One trailer was pulled in endwise with the hinged back doors open and a deck built
across them for access. Inside the trailer she could see what looked like a well lit and
heated office, but one entire inside wall of the trailer also contained three roll up
doors, with more trailers pulled up to the openings endwise, like a giant letter E. The
configuration was a brilliant way to bring in a warehouse full of supplies, she
supposed in fascination.
A large tank of some kind was situated at the other side of the yard, with trucks
lined up near it. In shock, she realized the men pumped gas from the tank. Weren’t
there regulations against pumping gas outside of a gas station? Men she recognized
from the class hustled in all directions, loading supplies into pickups, and onto flat
bed trucks. Some of the gear she didn’t recognize, but amid the materials she saw
ladders, chains, ropes, hoses, shovels, and cases of bottled water. Two men jostled
what appeared to be a heavy roll of black plastic onto one truck. Workers stood in
groups of two or three, smoking, laughing and talking as they hunched into their

coats in the wind.
She noticed several of the men turn to stare at her, and the ripple effect spread
across the yard, all eyes on her, as their conversation died. One man smirked and
elbowed another and a worker whistled a sexy call.
A lump formed in Andy’s throat, and her cheeks burned with heat, even through the
cold. The men ranged in age and body type, all wearing jeans and heavy coats, ball
caps or hard hats, tinted safety glasses, and most had a beard or goatee. And every
last one of them stared at her.


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the tour HEREfor exclusive content and a giveaway!




 
 
 

Exile of the Seas Book Tour & Giveaway

Exile
of the Seas
Chronicles
of Dasnaria #2
by
Jeffe Kennedy
Genre:
Dark Fantasy

Pub
Date: 9/4/18


Around
the shifting borders of the Twelve Kingdoms, trade and conflict,
danger and adventure put every traveler on guard . . . but some have
everything to lose.

ESCAPED

Once
she was known as Jenna, Imperial Princess of Dasnaria, schooled in
graceful dance and comely submission. Until the man her parents
married her off to almost killed her with his brutality.
Now,
all she knows is that the ship she’s boarded is bound away from her
vicious homeland. The warrior woman aboard says Jenna’s skill in
dancing might translate into a more lethal ability. Danu’s fighter
priestesses will take her in, disguise her as one of their own—and
allow her to keep her silence.
But
it’s only a matter of time until Jenna’s monster of a husband
hunts her down. Her best chance to stay hidden is to hire out as
bodyguard to a caravan traveling to a far-off land, home to beasts
and people so unfamiliar they seem like part of a fairy tale. But her
supposed prowess in combat is a fraud. And sooner or later, Jenna’s
flight will end in battle—or betrayal . . .

 

 

Prisoner
of the Crown
Chronicles
of Dasnaria #1 
 
She
was raised to be beautiful, nothing more. And then the rules changed
. . .
In
icy Dasnaria, rival realm to the Twelve Kingdoms, a woman’s role is
to give pleasure, produce heirs, and question nothing. But a plot to
overthrow the emperor depends on the fate of his eldest daughter. And
the treachery at its heart will change more than one carefully
limited life . . .
The
Gilded Cage
Princess
Jenna has been raised in supreme luxury—and ignorance. Within the
sweet-scented, golden confines of the palace seraglio, she’s never
seen the sun, or a man, or even learned her numbers. But she’s been
schooled enough in the paths to a woman’s power. When her betrothal
is announced, she’s ready to begin the machinations that her mother
promises will take Jenna from ornament to queen.
But
the man named as Jenna’s husband is no innocent to be cozened or
prince to charm. He’s a monster in human form, and the horrors of
life under his thumb are clear within moments of her wedding vows. If
Jenna is to live, she must somehow break free—and for one born to a
soft prison, the way to cold, hard freedom will be a dangerous path
indeed…

Add

to Goodreads

 
 
Jeffe
Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans
decades. She lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine Coon cats, a border
collie, plentiful free-range lizards and a Doctor of Oriental
Medicine. Jeffe can be found online at JeffeKennedy.com, or every
Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog.

 

Chapter 1
I crept up to the Valeria’s deck in the predawn dark to watch the sun rise. Though I felt safer, and
smarter, keeping to the confines of my cabin, this one excursion had become a sort of habit. I clung to
the small rituals, the basic routine I’d been able to establish. Otherwise, I was as unmoored and
unanchored as the Valeria on her long ocean journey, sailing over unfathomable depths to unimaginable
lands.
Perhaps this was the nature of exile: that all the thrust was in the escape, the moving away. After that,
what did you have? If I am any example—and I’m the only example I had—then the answer was not
much at all.
I did have my habits, though.
The Valeria was powerful in a way I wasn’t and would likely never be. Ideally suited to her environment,
an extension of the waves and master of them, she possessed a singular direction and purpose. The very
things I lacked. Thus, I’d become oddly grateful and attached to the ship, inanimate though she was. As
long as I was aboard the Valeria, she provided purpose and direction for me. I clung to her the way an
infant burrowed into her mother’s breast, murmuring fervent prayers of thankfulness that she hadn’t
shrugged me off to drown in the cold, uncaring sea.
Mostly I kept to my cabin. The servant boys and girls brought my meals and fresh water, took away my
waste, and otherwise left me alone. It had been easy to adjust to being waited on, as I had been my
whole life, and I would’ve been at a loss to put together more than the most basic meal for myself. I
wouldn’t let them come in otherwise, which was a new freedom and power I enjoyed flexing. No
servants in the walls here, listening to my every movement. And I felt better with the door barred, even
though it was only one thin, wooden thing against the world. A world of a sailing ship on a vast,
unknowable ocean.
I slept a lot. Which was good because my body began to heal more. And I danced, to relieve the
boredom and to encourage flexibility, so I’d heal strong. Dancing felt familiar, too. Something I could do
alone in the dim cabin, one of the few things left that remind me of who I’d been.
No matter how much I slept, though, I always awoke early. Well before they brought my breakfast at the
seventh bell. In the darkness of my cabin, I marked time by the watch’s bells, practicing the simple count
from the longest toll at midnight to the dawn call. I woke. Listened for the six bells. Then unbarred my
door, made sure the passage remained empty, and slipped out.
A sort of daily exercise in escape.
Moving silently down the passageway of closed doors, I allowed myself to exult in that ability, one I’d
never expected to be what saved my life. All those years I practiced the traditional dances, particularly
the ducerse, which required utmost skill to keep the many bells from making sound until the preciselytimed moment. I’d thought I was preparing to dazzle my husband and make my emperor proud. Not
teaching myself stealth.
But stealth had turned out to be far more useful. It let me keep to the shadows, unnoticed. In my
brother Harlan’s too-big clothes, my hair shorn into a short fluff, I looked nothing like Her Imperial
Highness Princess Jenna of Dasnaria. If anyone on this foreign ship had ever heard of that doomed girl.
Nevertheless, I wrapped myself in the thick wool cloak, pulling the cowl deep around my face. It made
me feel safer, for no good reason, and I needed it for the chill. After a lifetime in the cloistered warmth
of the seraglio, it seemed I’d never be warm again.
On deck, the sky shone with incipient day. I hadn’t understood this before, that the sky lightens in color
before the sun appears. The paintings never show it that way. They depict night or day, sometimes
sunrise or sunset, but never those moments before or after. But predawn is different than night, and in
its soft in-between-ness, I could see well enough.
Keeping to the edges like a cat might, I skirted the main paths the sailors traveled as they did their jobs.
It meant I picked my way through the ropes, barrels, and other supplies lashed to the deck, but I viewed
that as another way to improve my dexterity, especially in the clunky boots I couldn’t seem to get used
to. In my cabin, I went barefoot, which felt natural and right, but going on deck, I put on shoes like I
wore the cloak. The more covering, the better.
It had been nearly a week, but I harbored no illusions about my ignorance of the world outside. I had no
idea how long I would have to run, or how far I’d have to travel to escape my pursuers. I’d been
unforgivably stupid about this in the past, so it seemed the only wise choice would be to assume that no
amount of time or distance would be enough.
At least that gave me a guideline. Never and nowhere might be places without finite boundaries, but I
could understand them.
The goats mewed at me from their pen next to the chickens as I passed, making the sounds so oddly like
the newborn kittens in the seraglio of the Imperial Palace, where I grew up. I stopped to scratch the
little horns on their heads, their fur soft and scraggly against my fingers. We’d become friends on this
journey. Goats and the Valeria—they kept me alive and kept my secrets.
 

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



 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Palmer’s Candies: Candy For Halloween Giveaway

Candy For Halloween Giveaway Ends 10/15

Welcome to the Palmer’s Candy For Halloween Giveaway!

1 winner a package of chocolate from Palmer’s Candies.

This giveaway is part of our Fall Gift Guide – Stop by to see all the giveaways and great products.

This contest is hosted by the Social Media Gurus Network!

Host that put together this giveaway is Michigan Saving and More

My co-hosts for this giveaway are Deliciously Savvy, SaraLee’s Deals Steals & Giveaways, Missy’s Views and Savings Clues, Home Jobs By Mom, Love, Christin,

 

Below is a list of all the bloggers involved in the gift guide giveaways.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This giveaway’s Sponsor is:

Palmer’s Candies

WEBSITE ~ FACEBOOK ~ YOU TUBE ~ INSTAGRAM ~ AMAZON

Palmer Candy Company is the oldest company of its size to be family-owned and operated for five generations. Being a family company means more to them than just having a last name. They want to leave behind a legacy of producing quality products for our consumers, providing a safe and fulfilling work environment for their employees and affecting positive change in their community.

Favorite Palmer Candy

Above is just some of what I received

Available on Amazon

See the review HERE.

1 winner receives a special Halloween Package from Palmer’s Candies.

~~~~~~

Palmer’s Candies are definitely a part of Halloween at our house.  I particularly love seeing the chocolate coin shaped novelties that come though in my kids treat bags.

THE GIVEAWAY

This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. You are not eligible if you have won a prize from this sponsor in the last 12 months. This Giveaway is valid in the United States Only and Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 10/9/18. The winner will have 48 hours to email their information back to las93063 at gmail dot com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contests are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Laura Smith at las930 (at)gmail (dot) com. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.

Also we all “love it if you like us” on Facebook! If you like our blogs on social media it helps us bring you only the best giveaways and more of them! Don’t forget to stop by for your daily bonus entries.

Enter below and Good Luck!


Galactic Mandate Book Tour & Giveaway

Galactic
Mandate: A Radical Cause
by
M.R. Richardson
Genre:
SciFi, Space Opera
 
The
galaxy is in turmoil. The two main powers, the Acolyte Empire and the
Clone Defense Force, vie for supremacy. 

 

 

 

Caught
in between are the weaker Galactic Planetary League and independent
planets, pawns to be used and discarded in the greater game. The
peace of the galaxy rests on a powder keg…and the fuse is about to
be lit.

 

 

As
the son of the Acolyte Emperor God-Reign, Devante lives a life of
power and luxury that few can fathom.

 

 

Since
childhood, he has devoted his life to one thing: freeing the clone
slaves of the CDF and banning the practice of cloning throughout the
galaxy. But he is about to uncover a secret that goes to the heart of
the empire he loves and serves, one that will set him on a course of
vengeance and destruction that will shake the galaxy to its
core.

 

 

Against
this backdrop of war, treachery, and intrigue, Galactic Mandate tells
an epic saga of god-emperors and assassins, spies and queens,
princesses and slaves.

 

 

The
lives of all will be irrevocably changed as Devante embraces his
destiny—for when empires collide, no one is safe, and there is no
place in the galaxy to hide.

 

 
 

M.R.
Richardson is a new African-American science fiction author. He hopes
to spread a new type of story. Something raw, and original that
everyone over 18 can enjoy.

M.R.
Richardson is the author of Galactic Mandate: A Radical Cause, and
the founder of Room 10 Publishing.


Prologue
A clear, simulated sky covered the dome, its fake sun feeling just as warm as any real one.
Insects buzzed around, birds chirped, and the tropical bio-dome was full of life. Devante, a timid
boy, sat near his father, Reign, waiting for the hover car to arrive. It wasn’t long before an
immense tank-like vehicle pulled up, loaded with all the hunting gear they required.
“Take this shotgun,” Reign ordered. Looking down, he saw Devante’s eyes raised with concern.
“It will get the job done quickly. Trust me. You don’t want this to linger on.”
Devante stopped inspecting the gun and jumped aboard the hovering SUV. Then they were off
on their journey to complete the hunt.
About forty-five minutes passed while they tracked broken branches, searching for their prey.
Frustrated at not finding anything, the driver called out, “We can always call it a day. There’ll be
plenty of hunting to do tomorrow.”
“Hell no,” yelled Reign. “I paid good money for this. We get this done or we stay out here.”
Devante felt his sense of relief fade away at his father’s words. Suddenly, a bush shook, and the
driver fired at it. Laser fire scorched the air as he took two quick shots.
The entire party set out on foot, rushing after their quarry. Devante quickly outpaced his father,
following close behind the driver, who was an expert tracker. Soon, they heard a human voice
up ahead shouting, “Ahh!” This was followed by a thud. Suddenly, a rock struck the driver’s
face, and he smacked against the ground with another thud.
Devante looked down, his eyes focused on the sight before him. His mouth curled down in a
frown, and his eyes watered. The emotions flooding through him made his skin crawl with
horror. An exact copy of himself stared back, equally shocked.
The firm hands of his father came to rest on his shoulders. “Take the shot, son.”

Followthe tour HERE

for exclusive content and a giveaway!

 

 

 

Soap Making Fun for Fall Giveaway

Welcome to the Soap Making Fun For Fall Giveaway!

3 winners pick 2 lbs of soap base

$14.27 RV each

This giveaway is part of our Fall Gift Guide – Stop by to see all the giveaways and great products.

This contest is hosted by the Social Media Gurus Network!

Host that put together this giveaway is Michigan Saving and More

My co-hosts for this giveaway are Deliciously Savvy, SaraLee’s Deals Steals & Giveaways, Missy’s Views and Savings Clues, Home Jobs By Mom, Love, Christin,

 

Below is a list of all the bloggers involved in the gift guide giveaways.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This giveaway’s Sponsor is:

Saponify

This raw form base makes it easy to create amazing soaps, from simple shaped bars to complex multi-layer creations – just go with wherever you imagination takes you. Simply follow the instructions on the packaging – Cut the brick into 1-inch cubes, place into a microwave safe container, and heat until the base is fully liquid. Add your favorite skin-safe color and fragrance if you’d like, pour into a silicone or plastic mold, and spray with rubbing alcohol to remove any bubbles that may form. That’s really all there is to it and the results are amazing – it’s a safe bet you’ll never buy store brand soap again!

Soap Base

Available on Amazon, HERE and HERE

See the review HERE.

~~~~~~

I’ve always wanted to try soap making myself.  I learned how to  make jar candles a few years ago and still find myself making them from time to time. I’d really love to make some soap though.

THE GIVEAWAY

This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. You are not eligible if you have won a prize from this sponsor in the last 12 months. This Giveaway is valid in the United States Only and Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 10/20/18. The winner will have 48 hours to email their information back to las93063 at gmail dot com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contests are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Laura Smith at las930 (at)gmail (dot) com. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.

Also we all “love it if you like us” on Facebook! If you like our blogs on social media it helps us bring you only the best giveaways and more of them! Don’t forget to stop by for your daily bonus entries.

Enter below and Good Luck!