The Risk Taker by Tara L. Ames

The Risk Taker
by Tara L. Ames


Blurb:
In The Risk Taker, Top Gun Navy Aviator Michael Merrick thrives living on the edge but when he refuses to abort a mission, he is forced on leave and heads home. Missing the action, he needs a distraction and what could be better than a green-eyed blonde with a quick tongue and a hot bod made for rockin’.


Commercial Artist Samantha James still mourns the loss of her fiancé, a reckless daredevil, and avoids getting involved with another risk taker at all costs until Mr. Aviator’s steely bod rocks her southern parts and threatens her secure world….


Available Now!
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2vWxuV7
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-risk-taker-3
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-risk-taker/id1262445417
B & N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-risk-taker-tara-l-ames/1126826785
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Tara_L_Ames_The_Risk_Taker?id=Mb0tDwAAQBAJ


SNIPPETS:


#1
Tall, lean and smooth, he had a body of a runner. His navy swim trunks clung deliciously tight to his narrow waist, and his legs, long and muscular, cut through the surf with ease. If the beach had been filled with women, they would’ve swarmed him like a school of hungry sharks.



#2
Broad shoulders straight, the guy carried a T-shirt and towel in his hand and moved with purpose as if he had to be somewhere. It was a shame she couldn’t see what was behind those tinted aviators. A flurry of grays, blues and greens flashed before her as she tried to imagine his eye color. He suddenly tossed his belongings onto the beach and dove in the white-crested waves.
“No. No. No,” she wanted to scream. “Come back.”


#3
Her glare almost blinded him. Hell. Maybe he should just forget it and walk away and leave her alone. But she sure wasn’t making it easy for him, not when she wore a pair of hot Daisy Duke shorts and a tight-fitting tee that stretched across two perfect perky breasts.




#4
He tightened his grip, pressing his chest even more against her, sending a rush of sensations between her upper thighs. “You aren’t hurt anywhere, are you?”
“I don’t think so.” What was the matter with her? She was winding up faster than a revved up stock car. When she went home later, she’d have to break out the vibrator and hum herself to sleep.



Author Bio:
Tara L. Ames is a Michigan native with a penchant for creating highly sensual empowered stories about brave, hot men and strong-willed sexy women. You can find her Alpha Aviators Series on Amazon, coming this summer. She also wrote under the name Khloe Adams along with two other authors. Now living in Florida, she is actively writing another series in between taking care of her family, reading and enjoying the sun. Qigong/Tai Chi/Sudoku are her three biggest addictions besides chocolate.


Social Media:
https://www.taralames.com
https://www.facebook.com/taralamesauthor
https://www.twitter.com/taralamesauthor
https://www.instagram.com/taralamesauthor


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~ Cover Reveal ~
Any Way You Spin it
By Monique McDonell


Blurb:
Sometimes you must accept that love doesn’t always show up at your convenience.
Minnie has made mistakes and lots of them. Fresh out of rehab and back in her home town her plan is simple; she needs to make amends to all the people she hurt, especially her children, and get her life back on track. She has no room in her life for men – it was because of men she got in this mess in the first place.
The minute former athlete and current bar owner, Mitch sees Minnie he knows she’s something special. Now all he needs to do is convince her and the whole town that their being together will not undo everything she’s working so hard to achieve.
With all the obstacles to her success can Mitch prove he’s not just one more thing in the way.
If you like long bike rides, picnics by the lake and truffle fries then Any Way You Spin It is for you.


Available on Amazon
http://amzn.to/2sL7q0K

Snippet #1
Mitch knew it was just a coincidence he’d run into Min. She was one of a handful of people he’d run into today. Moose had jogged past him at the park and invited him to dinner tomorrow night. He’d stopped to get gas and Dave the local policeman was at the other pump and when he’d gone into the diner half the town had been there. And he may have heard Mins name mentioned in whispers more than once. Patty had been holding court with her gaggle of minions. Running into the beautiful woman seated beside him improving the look of his truck exponentially was not destiny, even if it felt like it.
All she’d bought was a small block of cheese. Clearly, she was planning to do something with it.
“What’s the cheese for?’
“Meatballs and spaghetti.” His stomach, the betraying bastard groaned. “I gather you like meatballs.”
“I do. They’re a classic.”
“I’m going to have extra. I’ll drop some over.”
“You don’t need to do that.” His stomach rolled again.
“To say thanks for the bike, and the lift home.” Large raindrops were pelting the windshield now. “I’m pretty happy not to be walking in this.”
He looked over at her. She was looking at him with those baby blues so he couldn’t resist. “Okay, but how about you eat it with me? It’s kind of sad for us each to be eating alone.”
“Okay. I’ll just come down the hall when I’m done.” The town wasn’t big so he pulled the truck up outside the building minutes later. He stopped under the portico so she could exit without getting wet.
He watched her go, her perfect pear-shaped butt heading in the door and up the stairs. He knew he shouldn’t be looking at that butt or wanting that woman but knowing didn’t stop it from being so.




Snippet #2
Did you get lost again, you live down the hall.”
“No, I brought you some fries.”
“You brought me fries?”
“Truffle fries actually. Sarah said you kind of moaned when she mentioned my truffle fries earlier.”
“She said I moaned about you?’
“About my fries. So, I brought them and myself to your door.”
“Well come on in then, although I don’t recall moaning.” She absolutely did, but he didn’t need to know that.
“Maybe you smiled. I’d rather make you moan than smile, but I’ll take either.”
“And I’ll take the fries.” She held out her hand so he could pass them over.
She lifted one from the bag and took a bite of the crunchy salty goodness and then she really did moan. “Okay mission accomplished, you made me moan, you can leave happy now.”




Author Bio:
I am an Australian author who writes contemporary women’s fiction including chick lit and romance.
I have written all my life especially as a child when I loved to write short stories and poetry. At University I studied Creative Writing as part of my Communication degree. Afterwards I was busy working in public relations I didn’t write for pleasure for quite a few years although I wrote many media releases, brochures and newsletters. (And I still do in my day-job!)


When I began to write again I noticed a trend – writing dark unhappy stories made me unhappy. So I made a decision to write a novel with a happy ending and I have been writing happy stories ever since.
I am the author of five stand alone novels including Mr. Right and Other Mongrels and Hearts Afire and the Upper Crust Series. Many of my novels focus on an Australian characters meeting and visiting US characters.
I have been a member of the writing group The Writer’s Dozen for ten years. Our anthology Better Than Chocolate raised over $10,000 for the charity Room to Read and helped build a library in South East Asia. I am also a member of the Romance Writers of Australia. In 2015 had a piece on writing chicklit featured in the successful Australian non-fiction book Copyfight.
I live on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with my husband and daughter.
To learn more about my writing, my caffeine obsession and my upcoming books please visit www.moniquemcdonell.com.au.




Social Media:
Amazon author page – http://www.amazon.com/Monique-McDonell/e/B0086R9S2U
Website – http://moniquemcdonell.weebly.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MoniqueMcDonellAuthor
Twitter – https://twitter.com/MoniqueMcDonell
Blog – http://moniquemcdonell.weebly.com/blog.html
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6154665.Monique_McDonell

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Love’s Hope by Ja’Nese Dixon

loves-hope-188x300Can she find hope when all else fails?

Sandra James has life all figured out, or so she thinks. But her successful business, commitment-averse boyfriend, and her sister’s shotgun wedding threaten her health and sanity. She will run to Love Never Fails Retreat in hopes of relinquishing her childhood dreams and embracing her reality even if it breaks her heart.

This is Book 2 in an inspirational romance novella set in a small Texas ranch that you can read as a stand-alone or as part of the series.

AMAZON
APPLE IBOOKS
BARNES & NOBLE
GOOGLE PLAY
KOBO

Ready for Love Romance Series

Book 1: Caramel Surprise

Book 2: Love’s Hope

Book 3: Hidden Desire

LOVE’S HOPE is an inspirational romantic novella that originally appeared in Love Never Fails: An Anthology.

ABOUT AUTHOR

janese-dixon-300x300

Ja’Nese Dixon pens tales of romance in various subgenres, including romantic suspense and sweet romance. But her favorites are the ones that manage to keep readers sitting on the edge of their seats lying to themselves about reading “just one more chapter”.

She is an avid reader and coffee drinker living in Houston, Texas with her husband, three children, and diva dog. Visit her at http://www.janesedixon.com.


Author Blitz ~ Rose Shababy

The Blue Effect Banner-BLITZ- 851 x 315

clip_image002The Blue Effect

Renegade Heroes

Book One

Rose Shababy

Book Description:

Blue Brennan is jaded and bitter despite her pinup girl looks and quick wit. Night after night, she scours the Seattle club scene looking for someone or something to fill the emptiness inside.

When she meets the mysterious Kasey, her world stops… literally. He claims she has the ability to control time and stuns her even further when he reveals his own gifts.

Blue is inexplicably drawn to Kasey and reluctantly enters his world filled with a new breed of humanity. They’re misfits like her, blessed or cursed with powerful abilities, struggling to hide their differences from the rest of society.

Then the group discovers a nameless, faceless sociopath with nightmarish powers; and he’s coming for Blue. She’s left reeling when they discover her gifts are the key to defeating his terrible evil and saving them all.

Now she must race against the clock to harness her own powers and save her new friends. Can she be more than a renegade? Can she be a hero too?

Excerpt:

Clearly the time had come for the two of us to have it out. “I may have thought you were hot when we first met, and you got to listen to the nasty thoughts in my head, but every time we meet I find it harder to like you. In fact, every time you open your mouth, you get uglier and uglier. I don’t know if Val was right, and you really are jealous, but let me make this crystal clear for you. There is no part of me that wants you.”

His eyes narrowed for a moment, and then, before I could do anything, his hands shot out and grabbed my shoulders again. He yanked me close to him and I the heat from his chest burned through my t-shirt. His face was so close to mine I could feel his hot breath blazing against my cheek when he spoke. “You’re a little liar,” he hissed. “There is a part of you that likes this,” he shook me a little and I flushed with rage… and something else. “And goddamn me, there’s a part of me that likes it too.” He hovered with his face still close to mine and for a moment I thought he was going to kiss me. My head fell back slightly and my lips parted involuntarily as I anticipated his invasion.

Then he released me, almost flinging me away from him. I pressed my back against the wall as I watched him and tried to catch my breath as my traitorous heart beat so hard I thought it might burst out of my chest.

“Let me make this crystal clear for you,” he mimicked. “Kasey is like a brother to me and if you hurt him, you’ll wish you never met me.”

“I already do,” I whispered with sincerity.

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clip_image006About the Author:

Rose Shababy and her family reside in eastern Washington State. Rose grew up in the Northwest but swears she’s going to move to warmer climates someday. She’s claimed this for over 20 years, however, and has yet to move more than 75 miles away from her mother.

Rose has a deep love of all things Star Trek and yearns to travel the heavens, as well as an intense desire to be bitten by a radioactive spider.

Unfortunately she sucks at science and math so she hasn’t been able bring her dreams to life, instead living vicariously through books, comics, television and film. She hopes to someday make a million dollars so she can afford to buy her way to the international space station, but she’d settle for being able to fly around the world and leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Rose also loves to cook and worked for years in a gourmet Italian grocery and deli where she learned to hone her skills. She prepares culinary masterpieces for her family, but fervently wishes the dishes would wash themselves. Especially now that her dishwashers/children are nearly grown and only one still lives at home.

Rose likes to use her free time wisely. For instance, she likes to daydream, will often read for hours until she falls asleep on the couch with an electric blanket and a warm tabby cat curled up on her hip, as well as spending cozy weekend days watching Syfy movies like Sharknado and Mega Piranha with her husband.

If Rose were a cartoon animal, she’d prefer to be a wise old owl or a sleek and sexy jaguar, but in reality she’d probably be a myopic mole with coke-bottle glasses.

http://roseshababy.com/

http://roseshababy.com/category/roses-brain/

https://www.facebook.com/rose.shababy

https://twitter.com/RoseShababy

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6063741-rose-shababy


Guest Author ~ V.A. Dold

Cade Banner 851 x 315

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Available at Amazon

Book Description:

Anna James is single again, finally. In her opinion, men are self-centered and will never love her for who she is, a beautiful, plus sized woman. All except the fantasy man that she’s been meeting in her dreams for five years.

She just never expected her fantasy to be a real live alpha shifter…

Cade Le Beau isn’t what he seems. He’s a billionaire wolf. A Shifter. He laments his missed chance six months ago to meet his fantasy woman in the flesh. Just as his second chance presents itself, his fantasy woman, his mate, is threatened by the local mob boss and her ex-husband. Now, he has forty eight hours to deal with this threat once and for all or chance losing her again.

Is it Anna who’s in danger, or the humans who unwittingly threaten her?

The heat is on the moment they lay eyes on each other. Neither, age, children, horrid ex-husbands, nor mob bosses will stop this love affair.

NOTE: Complete novel. No cliffhanger. Dual POV. Rated 18+ for language and strong sexual content. This is an adult paranormal romance with erotic content. The series centers on wolf shifters but also includes vampires, voodoo priestess, a Marine, and magic. These are stand alone books that create a series. They do not need to be read in order.

Prologue- The Plan

“Emma, we need to take matters into our own hands or they’ll never find their mates.” Isaac Le Beau set his snifter down before he crushed the glass in frustration. “We have seven virile, grown sons, who after two hundred years haven’t found their mates. If we don’t step in and give a hand to the wolf-goddess Luperca, our sons may spend their lives alone, without children to raise and without their other half to love. Dang it, I want some grandchildren, while I’m still young enough to enjoy them.”

He slowly raised his head and gazed at the love of his life, Emma. She was a unique blend of Romanian gypsy heritage and a very powerful voodoo priestess. Even after two centuries her exotic sparkling dark eyes and compact killer soft curves left him breathless. Some would classify her as a big, beautiful woman. He called her ‘sex on a stick‘. He swore she controlled every beat of his heart.

The warmth and agreement in those mesmerizing eyes silently prompted him to continue.

“Would you do your high-priestess voodoo thing and ask the spirits to identify their mates? With some influence we could bring them together, so they can recognize them on their own. I don’t want to force a meeting. Simply provide the opportunity. How about it, will you give it a try?” Isaac asked.

He knew Emma wouldn’t deny him. “Of course, I’ll perform the ritual, but I can’t give you any guarantees. All I can do is try. If we are truly blessed, Luperca will appear to me and give this endeavor her approval. I want our sons happy and I’d love to have a dozen grandchildren running around the house, too.”

Isaac opened his arms wide, inviting Emma to slide onto his lap. He buried his face into her hair breathing in her unique scent. The familiar fragrance calmed him like nothing else. He was confident everything would change for his sons very soon. He could hardly wait for each of them to meet their one true mate. No wolf should go fourteen hundred years alone.

Two weeks later, they enjoyed the cool breeze that came off the river, flowing through the open windows. A secret little smile lit up Emma’s entire face and her fingers tapped a tune on her cut crystal wine glass. He knew that expression well.

“Out with it, Emma,” Isaac said with a grin of his own. “What is it you’re dying to tell me?” He waited patiently for her to tell him her grand news.

Emma actually bounced in her seat. “I received answers from the goddess.” She clapped her hands excitedly. “Cade’s mate is in New Orleans right now. Her name is Anna James. The goddess said she has had many unhappy years, but is now open to finding her one true love. Isn’t that fantastic? Two days from now she is destined to be in Jackson Square and then stop to eat lunch at Crescent City Brewhouse. She’ll be in the bar around eleven-thirty. As for the rest of the boys, the goddess said we must have patience. She’ll grant me visions in my dreams or come to me for each of them when the time is right.”

A surge of excited energy rushed through him as a hundred butterflies took up residence in his stomach. This must be what it felt like to win the lottery he thought. “We’ll have to move fast. We need to think of a way to get Cade there at the right time.”

“Maybe we can come up with a way to use Jackson square? Cade sits there so often it might be an option?” Emma offered.

“Maybe.”

He rubbed his chin, forehead crinkled in deep thought. “First we need to get him out of his home office and into the French Quarter. The bank called yesterday about a restaurant up for sale. I’ll have them schedule a meeting with Cade to review our investments and recommend this new opportunity.” He tapped his chin as the plan took shape, mumbling as he worked it out. He stood and paced across the room, prowled like the animal he was. He couldn’t think properly sitting down.

As he strode back and forth, he noted she had settled into an easy chair to watch him.

“That’ll get him to the city,” he thought aloud as he continued to tap his finger on his chin. “You’re right about his constant people watching, I’m sure he’ll take a walk and perhaps sit a while. A possibility.” Isaac cupped his jaw in his hand and rubbed the coarse stubble.

A satisfied smile tugged at his lips. “I’ve got it! I’ll ask him to meet me for lunch at Crescent City at eleven-thirty. Richie tends the bar, he’ll know the mating signs. When Cade arrives, goddess willing, he will sense his mate. I’ll have Richie tell him I won’t be able to make it. If I’m not there for lunch he will be free to spend time with her.”

Smile broadening, he folded his arms across his chest and nodded. They had a solid plan. In less than a week he could have his first daughter-in-law. Isaac settled into his leather captain’s chair. “I’ll arrange everything with Richie.” He felt two hundred years younger, like the bold robust young man who had swept his mate off her feet. By the wistful expression Emma wore, he must look it, too.

As he sipped his rich, sweet cognac, he imagined a baby in Emma’s lap, sleeping peacefully while a toddler played with blocks on the floor. His sigh brought her attention to him with a raised brow. She would laugh if she knew what he was dreaming.

A smile continued to pull at his lips. He couldn’t help it. He was very pleased with his little romance ambush, positive it would be successful. Cade was in for a wonderful surprise in two days’ time.

“Now that we have the plan, what do you think she will be like? Did the goddess give you any hints?”

She laughed. “No, you silly man, the goddess doesn’t have time for things like that.”

“You know he has always favored curvy women. I sure hope she isn’t skinny, he might not even look at her if she is.” A little shiver ran through him. “Remember the gal he dated who looked a lot like you? She was a plus sized beauty. Cade never said anything, but Marcus drove him crazy with that ‘Oedipus’ nickname.” He laughed as he recalled the antics of the boys.

“You’re right, he does like a woman with meat on her bones. All the boys do.”

clip_image004About the Author:

V.A.Dold is the bestselling author of the Le Beau Brothers series, New Orleans wolf shifter novels. A graduate of Saint Cloud University, she majored in marketing. Prior to becoming a full time writer, she was a publicist to the authors, owning Innovative Online Book Tours and ARC Author & Reader Con’s (ARC NOLA) (ARC Phoenix). Still is. The companies mesh so well together, much like PB&J.

Her idea of absolute heaven is a day in the French Quarter filled with nothing but her computer, her coffee mug and the Brothers, of course.

A Minnesota native with her heart lost to Louisiana, she has a penchant for titillating tales featuring sexy men and strong women. When she’s not writing, she’s probably taking in a movie, reading or traveling.

Her earliest reading memories are from grade school. She had a major fixation with horses, and the Black Stallion was a favorite. Then junior high came along and teenage hormones kicked in. It became all about the Harlequin Romances. She has been hooked on romances ever since.

www.vadold.com

www.facebook.com/pages/VA-Dold/1404660546458551

@VADOLD


Guest Author ~ Dalia Florea


Title: Mirrored
Release Date: 2/17/14
Author: Dalia Florea
Genre: Mystery, Suspense Romance

Blurb:

The body of a teenage girl murdered in the Lincoln Houses is just the beginning…..

Investigative reporter, Nicole Watkins is assigned to the story, but when she comes face to face with homicide detective Andre Moore, she finds herself guarding more than just her sources.

Shaken by the murder of a teenage girl, Detective Andre Moore must put his own emotions aside or risk not only his life, but that of the attractive reporter, but is he strong enough to ignore his growing attraction?

Love is the last thing either is looking for but when the case brings them together, the complications of the murders only seem to intensify the attraction.

Buy Links: (Can be found here)
http://www.daliafloreabooks.com/#!books/cnec

Authors Bio:

Dalia Florea enjoys writing fiction. She believes that growing up in New York, obtaining a degree in psychology and having a nursing background have all helped her to mold and get into the hearts and minds of her characters. She loves to read all genres, but favors suspense romance like the Marie Force Fatal Affair series. In addition to reading and writing she enjoys solving Sudoku and cryptogram quotes, attending jazz concerts and visiting wineries in and around her northern Virginia home. Dalia has parlayed her love of suspense romance novels into her first published work, Mirrored, and has two more novels in the works.

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/SCoq2T
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DaliaFlorea
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jazzydalia/
Blog: http://daliaflorea.blogspot.com/
Author Blog:  www.daliafloreabooks.com


Book Blitz ~ Jennifer Malone Wright

Keeper vs Reaper Banner 540 x 200Graveyard Guardians book one ebooklg

Book Description:

When her father died, Lucy Mae Estmond inherited the family business. She has known all of her life that she would be in line to watch over the souls of the recently passed, keeping them safe from the Reapers.

The soul eating Reapers have been a plague upon the Earth, stealing souls and leaving the Keepers as the only thing that stands between Heaven and Hell. The factions despise each other and have warred for generations.

Then Lucy discovers an ancient legend predicting the arrival of the Chosen One, destined to bring forth an end to the Reapers. The surprises continue when she realizes she is that person. For Lucy, being the Chosen One doesn’t change much. Fighting Reapers is just another day in the life of a Keeper.

When she meets Jack Walker, they both realize they have an insane, mutual attraction. Too bad that he’s been sent to prevent the prophecy from coming true.

His only mission: to kill the Chosen One.

PreOrder at Apple and BN

Excerpt:Teaser 1

Inch by painstaking inch, the casket sank lower into the freshly churned earth.

The scent of lilacs floated on the breeze, along with the heavy stench of perfume and cologne, reminding Lucy of the fragrance aisle in a department store.

Lucy stood beside the grave, dressed in a modest royal blue sundress. She had chosen it specifically because her father always said the color looked the best against her hair, which was a mix of reddish brown that shone burgundy in the sunlight.

Tilting her head up, Lucy looked through the canopy of the aging oak trees that were scattered throughout the cemetery. The breeze shifted the branches, causing a few of the leaves to pull free and flutter off into the wind. There were almost no clouds in sky, allowing the sun to shine down over the funeral.

Her brothers and sisters surrounded the open grave opposite of her. All six of them also wore something fitting for a funeral, but nothing depressing enough to send their father into a rage in his afterlife.

Smiling, Lucy remembered the argument she and her father had during his last moments. “Lucy!” he had shouted at her. “Don’t you dare let them bury me in a suit. I am not going to spend eternity in a stuffy ass business suit. Make sure I’m wearing my khaki shorts and a Hawaiian shirt because I’m going on the vacation of a lifetime.”

That was toward the end, when the cancer was so bad that her dad spent most of his time in bed, moaning about how he should be up and about doing something. They both knew that the end was near, but Lucy had cried only in private. Her father wanted her to be happy he was moving on to the next life, but she couldn’t understand in what way, shape or form, his dying was a good thing.

So she shed her tears alone in her room until there were no more left to cry.

The fog of the memory lifted from Lucy’s mind and she looked across the grave at her brothers and sisters. The entire brood of Estmond siblings were born with the same color hair as Lucy had been blessed with. Each of them, as well as Lucy and Ethan, held a white rose in one hand. Later, before the grave was sealed, they would each take a turn throwing one down onto the casket, as a symbol of their wish for their father’s peaceful journey into the afterlife.

Just behind her brothers and sisters stood the mourners who came to pay their last respects. Most of them were town’s people whom they had grown up with, except for one group who stood close together, most of them around her father’s age. These were the Keepers whom her family had been closest to over the years. She could see Gloria and Edward White, the Keepers from one of the Napa Valley graveyards standing solemnly beside Ellen and Stanly Evans, who worked in the hospital in Santa Rosa. There were several other Keepers surrounding them who she recognized and made a note to speak to them later.

Beyond them, further out into the trees, the spirits began to show themselves. They appeared in the form of their human bodies, a bit transparent, but solid for the most part. It was harder to see in the daylight, but their misty blue auras swirled around them, helping form the solidity of their bodies.

The spirits were fascinated by funerals. When Lucy was little she used to think that they wanted to say goodbye to someone, but really it was because there wasn’t much else to do in a graveyard except talk to each other and attend burials.

Pastor Brown spoke solemnly, saying kind words and telling her father’s life story. Inwardly, Lucy cursed her father for choosing Pastor Brown, a man who had not known her father and she was sure didn’t give a flying fuck about him either. Her father hadn’t set foot in church since he was a child. Not because he didn’t believe in God, he just didn’t believe in organized religion.

Sensing her tension, Ethan squeezed her hand reassuringly. Turning to her left she looked up and met her best friend’s eyes through the tint of his sunglasses. Even through the dark lenses she could see the sorrow in his eyes. He had loved her father too, just as much as any one of the Estmond clan. In response, she squeezed his hand back and then turned back to stare at the grave again.

“And now, Lucy Mae, Gregory’s youngest child, will say a few words about her father.” The preacher cleared his throat, signaling to Lucy that it was time.

Lucy had no tears staining her face. She had cried all those tears long before the day of the funeral. Again, Ethan gave her hand a gentle squeeze and then released her so that she could reach down and withdraw the folded piece of yellow legal paper out of her miniscule handbag.

As Lucy unfolded the paper she felt like it was taking an eternity.

This day is never going to end.

Finally, the paper was open in front of her and she began.

“I know that this speech is going to sound like the speeches given for so many others who have passed on. But, when someone we love dies, we all feel pretty much the same way … so here it goes. My father, Gregory Estmond, was the best person I’ve ever known. Today, we stand here, not to mourn him, but to celebrate him. He didn’t want any one of us to be sad that he was gone. Because … he isn’t gone. He will always be with us. For those of us who spent each day with him, his teachings and his love will always be with us. He taught us love, he taught us respect, he taught us of our family heritage, and he taught us how to live.

“For those who are acquaintances of my father, you may have met him only once and you are here because he impacted you in some way.”

A few nods came from the crowd.

Lucy continued. “He had that effect on people because he had a genuine love and respect for human life. Which is not something all of us can say we have. He treated everyone the same, with kindness.

“Because my father had cancer, he knew that this day was coming and he had time to prepare for it. We had many discussions and the one thing he consistently told me was to embrace life. He didn’t say this because he was dying, it was his mantra. This man lived every day of his life like it may be his last. He didn’t wait until he was dying to find the beauty in this world or the people in it. He was always this way.

“Remember my father, not with sadness, but with the memories he left behind. Remember him with love, with laughter and knowing that he is exactly where he wants to be.”

Lucy stepped back, reaching out for Ethan to grasp her hand once again. She eyed her siblings, none of them were crying either. Daniel, the second oldest son, reached into his gray trench coat and pulled out a silver flask. Lucy sighed and watched as her brother didn’t even try to hide it and took a long pull of the whiskey she knew was inside.

Sadly, as inappropriate as her brother was being, she couldn’t help but wish she could take a giant swig off that flask too.

It’s almost over.

“Would anyone else like to say a few words?” Pastor Brown offered.

Sherriff Davis stepped forward, he had his Stetson clutched in one hand and hitched up his gun belt with the other. As always he was wearing his uniform. The Sheriff and her father had been pretty close … well, as close as a Keeper can get to someone without that someone thinking that they are out of their mind.

“I’d like to, if that’s all right.” The Sheriff looked down into the grave before his eyes swept across the crowd of mourners. Finally his eyes met Lucy’s and she flashed him a smile meant to encourage him to proceed.

“Greg was my friend … and an old grump like me doesn’t have many friends. Greg knew a lot of people in this town, but I feel damn sorry for anyone who lives here and never had the chance to meet him. No one, aside from my own wife, Darcy, could make me laugh like Greg could. He was loyal and respectful, even if he was a bull shitter. Good grief that man liked to tell stories. Also, any man who can raise a brood of children by himself and manage to keep them all out of jail is a good man in my book.”

Lucy could have sworn that she heard Principal Robertson blow air between his lips like he was blowing a raspberry. A few people looked his way and then back at Sheriff Davis.

“That is all I got.” Sheriff Davis stepped back into the crowd.

Evelynn Andrews, the librarian at the Summer Hollow library, raised her hand slightly. She was about seventy years old, but didn’t look a day over fifty five. Lucy hoped she would age that well as the years progressed.

Evelynn pushed her glasses up her nose and closed her eyes for a moment before she began to speak. “I don’t think I can say much more about how wonderful Gregory was, but I wanted to make sure to pay my respects by voicing them. I’ve known the Estmond family all the way back to when Kathleen was still alive, as far back as when she and Greg were high school sweethearts. No one, could have been a better father to these children. Sure, they have caused a fair amount of ruckus over the years, but he did it all on his own and they are educated, mostly well behaved.”

She paused to glance at Daniel who had decided that moment would be appropriate for another pull from his flask. “And above all, Greg gave these children a sense of loyalty. Anyone who knows these kids knows that if you mess with one, you get the whole bunch of them.”

A few people giggled, even Lucy, knowing how true that statement really was.

“This may not seem like a good thing in retrospect, but a family who stays together so closely is a rare thing these days. It is to be cherished. Greg gave them this sense of family and that is something to be proud of.” As she finished, she closed her eyes again looked Pastor Brown.

“Would anyone else like to speak?” Pastor Brown addressed the crowd of mourners.

Unexpectedly, Ethan released Lucy’s hand and raised it up a little bit. “I need to say something.”

Pastor Brown nodded and held his hand out beside him. Ethan moved over to the other side of Lucy beside the pastor. “There are very few people here who don’t know who I am.” Ethan began. “Gregory Estmond took me under his wing a long time ago, when Lucy and I were both very little. My parents, who have moved away now…”

He paused and took a breath, pondering if he should let out the deep dark family secrets. Well, secrets that the whole town knew anyway. That was how small towns worked.

“They were, drug addicts and alcoholics who barely took care of me. Greg came by the house one day to see my parents for some reason and what he found was a little boy locked in his room with no food or water and his parents passed out in their bedroom surrounded by drugs and trash. The story is a long one, a long sad story. But it ended with Greg and the rest of the Estmonds making sure I always had a place to go, that I always had food. Greg even went so far as to pay me for making good grades, just to give me incentive to do well in school.”

Lucy grimaced as he told the story, hating Ethan’s parents for what they did to him. Ethan had conveniently left out the part about how her father had beat the ever living snot out of Ethan’s dad that day he found him locked up in his room half starved. It was hard to believe Ethan’s parents came from a Keeper line, but sadly, not all Keepers were immune to addiction. Keepers were human, just like everyone else.

Ethan scanned the crowd through his glasses. “No one, except for maybe the Estmond kids, owes more, or loves that man, more than I do. He saved me and I will never forget that. I hope that none of you ever forget that either.”

Ethan lowered his head and hurried back to Lucy. She immediately took his hand again, knowing how hard it must have been for him to say all that in front of everyone. He never spoke about his parents. They moved away when he was fourteen and left him alone in the house. After that he came to live with the Estmonds for good. She and Ethan were friends long before the incident at Ethan’s house, but after he came to live with them, they were inseparable.

Pastor Brown closed up the ceremony with a prayer and then the bagpipes started on Amazing Grace. Lucy stepped forward with Ethan’s hand firmly in her grasp and looked down into the dark, deep hole where her father’s body would spend eternity. Luckily, she knew better than most that his soul would not remain in that body.

She held the white rose firmly over the grave. “I wish you peaceful passage.” She released the rose and it drifted down into the depths of the hole. “I love you, Daddy.”

Ethan mimicked her actions, familiar with the meaning of the ceremony from the many deaths of Keepers past. Her siblings had moved into a line directly behind her and Ethan, tossing their roses in as well.

The other mourners milled about, giving Lucy and the family some time before they headed over to her house for the wake. She caught sight of Gloria and Ellen chatting beside the giant wreath of flowers with her father’s picture inside. She wandered over to say hello. “Gloria, Ellen, it’s been so long since I’ve seen you.”

Gloria smiled, as did Ellen. “Yes dear,” Gloria greeted her. “It has been some time. I’m sorry we couldn’t make it sooner.”

“Or under better circumstances.” Ellen added.

Lucy nodded. “Well, I’m just glad that you could make it here now. I’m sure my father would be happy that you are here now.”

Gloria and Ellen nodded, they made a bit more small talk and then Ethan appeared beside her. “I think we had better get over to the house now.” He whispered just loudly enough for the older ladies to hear.

“Oh,” Lucy checked her watch deliberately. “You are absolutely right. I’m sorry ladies, I need to get some things ready over at the house.”

Gloria smiled again, a loving gentle smile of someone she had known her entire life. “You go on dear, we will see you over there.”

With a quick ‘see you later,’ Lucy backed away and then turned to join hands with Ethan again. “Thanks for saving me. I didn’t really want to talk to them, but I had to make sure to say hello to them.”

“You doing all right?” Ethan asked, rubbing the back of her hand with his thumb.

Lucy nodded. “I’m fine.” She turned her head to try and see his eyes through the dark tint of his glasses. “How bout you. Are you all right?”

He twisted his lip up a little and she knew he was giving slight eye roll. “I’ll survive. I just miss him and all this,” he gestured to the crowd, “actually makes it harder.”

She nodded again. “I know what you mean. I feel the same way.” Her gaze strayed from the grave and focused on her house. Their home sat on the edge of the cemetery, separated from the dead by a white picket fence and about thirty yards of grass. The yellow farmhouse had been in their family for several generations, and now it was hers, as was the family business.

“Let’s head over.”

She nodded. Of course they had to get to the house. But, it wouldn’t be for relaxing. There was food to get out and serve. People would come up to her and tell her how sorry they were for her loss, or how much her father meant to them, or some awesome memory they had of him. It was going to be a very long afternoon.

Almost over, she told herself again. Almost over.

KVR GiveawayGiveaway:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/93a34536/

Details for the Keeper vs. Reaper pre-order giveaway

-Entries will be accepted until September 1st.

– Winner will be chosen on Sept 5th.

-To qualify for the B&B stay you must live in the United States.

-You must be 21 years of age to enter and winner must be able to verify their age.

– Date of B&B stay is February 2015. The actual date will set by Jack and Lucy who will discuss it with the winner to see which days would be best for them.

– The custom wine and chocolate will be waiting for the lucky winner at the B&B

– The only items covered in this win are the cost of ONE night stay in the bed & breakfast, the wine and the chocolate, which will be waiting for the winner at the B&B when they arrive. Winner is responsible for getting to the location, spending money, meals, ect.

-Winner is responsible for any damages or incurred costs during their stay at the B&B.

How to Enter

To make this super easy, we are just going to do a rafflecopter, so click the link to enter. Again, I am going to state that you must be 21 years of age to enter and winner must be able to verify their age.

There are several ways to enter, however one is to pre order or purchase (after release on Aug 12th) Keeper vs. Reaper. Unfortunately, there is no pre-order for Amazon, but the iTunes / iBooks app and the Nook app are free to download. These apps can be used on devices like tablets, phones, and computers.

About the Author:

Jennifer Malone Wright is best known for her short story series, The Vampire Hunter’s Daughter. Other works include the follow up to The Vampire Hunter’s Daughter series called The Arcadia Falls Chronicles and her vampire novel called The Birth of Jaiden. Jennifer also co-authors a series called Once Upon A Zombie Apocalypse.

She resides in the beautiful mountains of northern Idaho with her husband and five children where she practices preparing for the zombie apocalypse. Just kidding!

But seriously, between the craziness of taking care of her children, Jennifer has little time left for herself. The time she does have left, usually leading far into the night, is spent working on her beloved fiction or chatting with her equally crazy friends.

Jennifer also loves coffee, has a passionate affair with red bull, wishes the sushi were better where she lives and dances while she cleans.

Website: www.jenniferwrightauthor.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thevampirehuntersdaughter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjennifermalonewright

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jennichad217

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4824985.Jennifer_Malone_Wright