Tuesday, 30 June 2015

A Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander Release Event and Giveaway!


Today we are excited to announce the release of A Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander! This is the second book in the Bakeshop Mystery series and is now available for sale!

Guest Post:

Welcome to Ashland, Oregon the home of the world famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival and home to the fictional family bakeshop Torte and pastry chef Juliet (Jules) Capshaw.

Torte is more than a bakeshop it’s a gathering place for neighbors and friends. Whether you’ve lived in Ashland for your entire life or are just passing through to catch a production of Shakespeare under the stars, at Torte everyone is family. Jules and her staff handcraft delectable cakes and baked goods and offer up a listening ear to everyone who walks through Torte’s front door. That makes it the perfect setting for murder. Sometimes the sweets at Torte are to die for—literally.

While Torte (and murder) may be fictional in A Batter of Life and Death, the town of Ashland is very real and oh so charming. The plaza downtown is a hub for artists, foodies, musicians and travelers from every corner of the globe. Spend an afternoon strolling through Lithia Park with its meandering paths, gorgeous fountains, hiking trails, and ancient trees. Stop for a pint at Oberon’s Tavern or an afternoon sweet at Mix, and then wander up to the bricks to catch a spectacular live show.

One of my favorite things about writing the Bakeshop Mystery series is introducing readers to Ashland and the surrounding areas. I hope that readers will enjoy getting a little glimpse into the world of the theater, Shakespeare, a family bakeshop, and Southern Oregon.

Happy reading and baking!

~Ellie Alexander

About the Book:

A Batter of Life and DeathWelcome to Torte--a small-town family bakeshop where the coffee is hot, the muffins are fresh, and the cakes are definitely to die for…

It's autumn in Ashland, Oregon--'tis the season for a spiced hot apple cider with a serving (or two) of Torte's famous peach cobbler. It's also the perfect time for Jules Capshaw to promote her family's beloved bake shop by competing in The Pastry Channel's reality show, Take the Cake. The prize is $25,000. But as Jules quickly learns, some people would kill for that kind of dough. Literally.

Then, just as Jules dusts off her Bavarian Chocolate Cake recipe and cinches up her apron, the corpse of a fellow contestant is discovered--death by buttercream. What began as a fun, tasteful televised adventure has morphed into something of a true-crime detective show for Jules and everybody else on set. Who could have killed Chef Marco, and why? Can Jules sift out the killer before someone else gets burned?


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Make sure to check out book one, Meet Your Baker!



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About the Author:
Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter to learn more.

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Giveaway:

Signed copy of Meet Your Baker and A Batter of Life and Death, 1 pound coffee, Oregon Chai, Gourmet cupcake liners (US)
Ends July 21st

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This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Darkness Brutal by Rachel A Marks Book Blitz and Giveaway!


Welcome to the promo event for Rachel A. Marks' Amazon Bestseller Darkness Brutal. 
This is the first in her exciting YA fantasy series. 

Series: The Dark Cycle #1
Release date: July 1st 2015
Publisher: Skyscape
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Aidan O’Linn’s childhood ended the night he saw a demon kill his mother and mark his sister, Ava, with Darkness. Since then, every three years the demons have returned to try to claim her. Living in the gritty, forgotten corners of Los Angeles, Aidan has managed to protect his sister, but he knows that even his powers to fight demons and speak dead languages won’t keep her safe for much longer.

In desperation, Aidan seeks out the help of Sid, the enigmatic leader of a group of teens who run LA Paranormal, an Internet reality show that fights demons and ghosts. In their company, Aidan believes he’s finally found a haven for Ava. But when he meets Kara, a broken girl who can spin a hypnotic web of passionate energy, he awakens powers he didn’t know he had―and unleashes a new era of war between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness.

With the fate of humanity in his hands, can Aidan keep the Darkness at bay and accept his brilliant, terrifying destiny?



About the Author
Rachel A. Marks is an award-winning author and professional artist, a cancer survivor, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and keeper of faerie secrets. She was voted: Most Likely to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she'll never have to test the theory.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS





One winner will get $25 Amazon Gift Card, and 2 winners will win any one of Rachel's 8x10 artwork. Click here to view the gallery







Racing Hearts by Laura Lascarso Release Day Celebration and Giveaway!



Racing Hearts
Book 2
Author: Laura Lascarso
Release Date: June 30th, 2015
Publisher: Leap Books




SYNOPSIS:
See you at the finish line…
With the big race weeks away, eighteen-year-old Jesse Copeland struggles to keep his head in the game and his hands off his smoking hot competition. But when Brooke reveals a secret that could destroy Jesse’s family, it sends him into a tailspin of self-doubt.
Jesse must pull himself together if he hopes to have a shot at the prize money, save his home, and win the heart of the girl he loves.
Can these two competitors overcome the sins of their fathers or will a shadowed history destroy their dreams forever?
BOOK LINKS
Goodreads | Amazon for $1.99!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura Lascarso strives to craft stories that are honest and real. Her debut novel COUNTING BACKWARDS, which deals with mental illness, won the 2012 Florida Book Award gold medal for Young Adult Literature. RACING HEARTS is a series of e-novellas that tells the story of two star-crossed lovers thrust into the world of competitive car racing. Laura lives in North Florida with her darling husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. 
WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK  | TUMBLR | PINTEREST

One winner will get a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card
(Open Internatioanlly | Must be 13+ To Enter)

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Monday, 29 June 2015

Neighbors with Benefits by Marissa Clarke Book Blitz and Giveaway!



Neighbors with Benefits by Marissa Clarke Published by: Entangled: Lovestruck Publication date: June 30th 2015 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance


Synopsis:

A satisfying category romance from Entangled’s new Lovestruck imprint…Love thy sexy jerk of a neighbor…CEO Michael Anderson might be something of a “control freak.” Still, he’s not quite sure why his therapist thinks dogsitting will fix anything—especially since he and the canine share a kind of mutual loathing. And to make matters worse, a house sitter moves in next door disrupting his peace—and his dates—with the worst possible music at the worst possible time… every time.Free-spirited artist Mia Argaropolis has settled into the perfect gig—housesitting in NYC’s Upper West Side while working as an art therapist. Too bad she’s stuck living next door to a bossy control freak with a penchant for calling building security when she blasts music to drown out the noises coming through his bedroom wall.Post-apocalyptic dinner rolls that nearly take her kitchen with them, a douchebag ex, and a Shih Tzu with the personality of Godzilla attack Mia in one day, and her unlikely neighbor comes to the rescue. Like it was her fault. And now, somehow, they find themselves engaged? Both agree, this neighborly feud just got taken to a whole new level.

Purchase:

Excerpt:


“This shouldn’t happen…can’t happen.” 
“Shouldn’t and can’t are very far apart, Mia. Which is it?”
“I can’t.” She could actually hear her own heartbeat. “No” wasn’t an answer Michael Anderson was accustomed to, but then, Mia wasn’t his usual fare. There had to be a way to make him understand. “If it were two years ago, we’d be naked on the floor of this car.”
He groaned.
“But I’m smarter now. Jason taught me to never eat french fries.”
His eyes narrowed at the mention of her ex. “What do french fries have to do with having sex with me?”
“Everything. See, you are the french fry. Delicious, salty, easy going down.”
He covered his face and groaned again. “Oh, God. Stop. You’re killing me.”
“But you’re terrible for me. The worst possible thing.”
“No. I’m not.”
“I need more than fast food, Michael. Like I told you last week on Bow Bridge, I need a true friend. Someone who wants me for me. Just like a french fry, you might be what I crave, but you’re not what I need as a regular diet to stay healthy.”

AUTHOR BIO:


Marissa Clarke lives in Texas, where everything is bigger, especially the mosquitoes. 
When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, husband, and a Cairn Terrier named Annabel, who rules the house (and Marissa's heart) with an iron paw.  She loves to connect with readers, so follow/friend her on Facebook and Twitter or shoot her an email from her website "Contact" page.

Author links:

GIVEAWAY


Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • $30 gift card to Amazon, Apple, or Barnes & Noble (winner's choice)
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Drawn by Chris Ledbetter Book Blitz and Giveaway!


Drawn
Release Date: 06/08/15
Evernight Teen
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

Summary from Goodreads:

Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron longs to win her heart through art.

After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah’s life is with her boyfriend and her family. Following a tense run-in with Farrah’s father, she forbids Cameron to ever speak to her again, but Cameron’s convinced there’s more behind the request.


To impress Farrah with a last-ditch effort, Cameron sketches her portrait. But the sketchbook he uses hides a dark secret. Farrah’s now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her siphons her real-life’s soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has twenty days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book.


If he fails… they both die.




Buy Links:
AmazonEvernight Teen

About the Author

Chris Ledbetter grew up in Durham, NC before moving to Charlottesville, VA in 11th grade. After high school, he attended Hampton University where he promptly "walked-on" to the best drum line in the CIAA. And, without any prior percussion experience. He carried the bass drum for four years, something his back is not very happy about now.

After a change of heart and major, he enrolled in Old Dominion University and earned his degree in Business Administration. He's worked in various managerial and marketing capacities throughout his life. While teaching high school for six years in Culpeper, VA, he taught business management, business law, marketing, and sports marketing, and also coached football.

He has walked the streets of Los Angeles and New York City, waded in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and climbed Diamond Head crater on Hawaii and rang in the New Year in Tokyo, Japan. But he dreams of one day visiting Greece and Italy.

He's a proud member of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and a strong supporter of the Need for Diverse Books. As a self-described, young reluctant reader, he writes young adult stories specifically to reach other reluctant readers. As a participant in the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program, he was blessed to be mentored by Suzanne Morgan Williams, 2012 SCBWI member of the year.

He now lives in Wilmington, NC with his family, including three cats.

Author Links:
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GIVEAWAY:
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Book Blitz: Red Stone By Gabriele Goldstone Presented by Rebelight Publishing - Excerpt and Giveaway!

Red-Stone-Blast-Cover

Red Stone by Gabriele Goldstone
Publisher: Rebelight Publishing
Middle grade/Historical

Hello everyone and welcome to the book blitz for
Red Stone By Gabriele Goldstone
presented by Rebelight Publishing!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!


Red-Stone-Cover

Katya knows all about Stalin’s big plans; she learned of them in school. But those plans mean little to her until the secret police arrest Papa and seize their family farm. With Mama and her younger siblings, Katya is shoved into a crowded train headed for a forced labour camp in Siberia. Torn from everything she has ever known, Katya faces cold and hunger, and the ever-present threat of lost hope. As she clings to a single red stone from the fields of her homeland, she questions life. Where is Papa? Will she ever see him again? And what will become of Katya’s family?

Inspired by a true story, Red Stone explores the trauma and heart¬break suffered by many families in the Soviet Union during the 1930s when Stalin seized individual property and villainized property owners as kulaks.
add to goodreads

Available for Purchase:
amazon B&N kobo TBD indigo

Excerpt:

Chapter 8

Some Birthday 

It’s March 7, 1930 and today is my birthday. I’m eleven years old. There’ll be no celebration, though. Sofie and Marthe are sick with fever and cough, and Mama says it’s better not to bring any visitors along after school.
So it’ll be just another day.
When I approach the school a crowd of students are gathered around a shiny black government automobile. That’s strange. I’m even more surprised when Uncle Leo climbs out of it. 
He’s wearing a long brown overcoat with a red belt and an OGPU badge 
on the sleeve. So that’s his job with the government—he belongs to the secret police.  Is he here on official business? Or will he embarrass me with a birthday gift in front of all my classmates?
He doesn’t look my way. Instead, he marches straight through the crowd and over to Comrade Muenster. The two stand by the door talking. As we line-up outside, Uncle Leo watches each of us. He pulls out a notebook and writes things down. What is he writing? I don’t trust him!
“Katya?” Uncle Leo asks, when it’s my turn to enter. He looks down at his notebook and scribbles something with a pencil.
“Hello, Uncle Leo.” I offer cautiously. 
“My name is Comrade Bonkowski, you little twit.” 
I look away, my face burning and my heart thumping. 
Uncle Leo turns to the teacher. “You must teach these children to respect their leaders.” 
“Yes, Comrade.” Comrade Muenster looks anxious.
I slink to my classroom. At my desk, I keep my head down, even when Uncle Leo is introduced and begins his speech. 
“I have here a list of the property owners of Federofka and the surrounding area. 
The executive committee of the local Soviet has instructed me to remind you that on January 30th of this year, the decree to liquefy all kulaks was made official. I have brought a poster that will be displayed in this classroom to help you understand.”
He unrolls the poster and passes it to Comrade Muenster, who puts it up beside Stalin’s portrait. The poster shows a giant tractor running over animals and farmers. “Destroy the kulaks as a class” is sprawled across it in big letters.
I sink further down into my desk, feeling like a tractor has already run me over. Uncle Leo’s not finished. “All private landowners are bloodsuckers.” I glance up and see Uncle Leo staring right at me. “There’s no such thing as a good kulak. All are exploiters. All are class enemies. We will find the extra food that you kulaks hoard. We will round up the livestock for our collectives. We will take your servants and make them into proud workers, not impoverished slaves.”
He nods to Comrade Muenster, who motions us to rise. We stand at attention and sing The Internationale. Stanza three begins with the words, “You’ve sucked enough of our blood, you vampires,” and Uncle Leo’s grim face breaks into an ugly smile. 
I feel the power of that smile for the rest of the day. It smirks at me when I’m reading or solving arithmetic problems. It makes it impossible to swallow the piece of cherry cake that Mama put in my lunch.


about-the-author
Gabepic2
GABRIELE GOLDSTONE, the oldest daughter of Euro­pean immigrants, always looked for stories about her parents’ past. She majored in 20th century German literature at university but was disappointed that she could not find the stories she sought. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, her mother’s anecdotes and history began to click together. In 2004, Gabriele traveled to Ukraine and searched through former KGB files to find more missing pieces—and Katya’s red stone. Gabriele lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba and has three adult children along with a silver-grey cat and a golden-haired dog.
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway

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Sunday, 28 June 2015

A Game for Assassins by James Quinn Blog Tour and Giveaway!


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Title: A Game for Assassins
Series: The Redaction Chronicles, Book 1
Author: James Quinn
Length: novel (528 pages)
Genre: mystery, thriller, spy thriller, espionage


A Game for Assassins

Synopsis

The assassination of a Caribbean dictator….The “hit” on a traitor in Beirut……The brutal murder of a young CIA officer behind the Iron Curtain…..So begins the game……It is 1964, the height of the Cold War, and British Intelligence is riding high with its top double agent network: Constellation.But in the secret war fought across Europe the enemy is never far away and soon the agents of Constellation are targeted by an unknown team of assassins. In desperation British Intelligence sends in their best agent to protect the network and hunt down the killers.Jack “Gorilla” Grant isn’t your typical Cold War secret agent. Short, tough, uncompromising, rough edged. He doesn’t fit in with the elitist spies and debonair intelligence agents. He prefers working at the rough end of British covert operations.But “Gorilla” is one of the best “Redactors” in the business. He’s an expert at close quarter shooting: quick to the draw and deadly accurate when it comes to the elimination of traitors and extremists on behalf of the British Secret Service (SIS). He is soon drawn into a game of cross and double cross where nothing is as it seems and even the most perfect spy can die in a wilderness of mirrors.

“A Game for Assassins” is an action packed edge of your seat thrill ride played out across the global stage of the Cold War.

Buy Links

Free with Kindle Unlimited
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VQORC0K/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VQORC0K/
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00VQORC0K/
Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B00VQORC0K/


Excerpt:

A short scene from the new spy thriller – A Game For Assassins – that introduces the anti-hero/spy Jack “Gorilla” Grant.  
*
Gioradze snorted. “Fuck you. Torture me all you want.  You think this is the first time I’ve been tied to a chair and tortured.”
“Probably not,” said Gorilla.  “But this isn’t the first time I’ve tied someone to a chair and interrogated them either, so on that score we are equal.”  He was thinking of his time spent with the forger in Belgium.  But the one thing that Gorilla was positive of was that, unlike the forger, this killer would not be walking away safely and with a suitcase full of cash.
In his role as faux KGB interrogator Gorilla had decided to use that oldest and most dangerous of tactics first; honesty.  Honesty to the subject, honesty about his potential fate, honesty leaves the subject with no place to hide and no manoeuvring room.  It spells it out for him in stark detail.  You are here. I am here. These are the facts.
“I won’t tell you a thing you Russian pig,” said Gioradze, as the anger started to rise in him.
Gorilla frowned.  “Oh, I believe that you believe that.  But there is one thing that I can tell you from experience and that is everyone talks, everyone has a breaking point.  You just have to find the correct leverage.  For some its pain, some people can’t handle pain.  However, in your case I think that you are such a tough man that you could withstand it, of that I have no doubt.”
The Georgian was breathing heavily now, gulping in a huge lungful of air, mentally bracing himself for what was about to come.
“Some people fear the danger that their loved ones might be targeted, but again not applicable in your case,” Gorilla continued.
Gioradze snorted with derision as if the thought of using another human being as leverage over him would have succeeded.
Gorilla knelt down so they were face to face.  “What I think is that in your case it’s simple. It’s Biology.  It’s your own body.  You are wounded, tired, under stress, so you’re already weak, maybe even compliant, although you would never admit that.  No, the one thing that is going to let you down here is your own body.”
Gioradze looked down at his mangled legs.  For the first time the stunning realisation that he was in pain, in a foreign country, isolated and about to be interrogated by a Russian operative, hit him.
“And you really don’t remember me?” asked Gorilla, looking the man in the eye.
Gioradze shook his head violently. “I fucking told you – No!”

Gorilla brought his face closer so that they almost touched, nose to nose, and then whispered through gritted teeth.  “Well, I’m the “hitter” from Marseilles. I’m back to haunt you, and you don’t look pleased to see me at all you miserable son-of-a-bitch!”

About the author
James Quinn spent 15 years in the secret world of covert operations, undercover investigations and international security before turning his hand to writing.He is trained in hand to hand combat and in the use of a variety of weaponry including small edged weapons, Japanese Swords and Hunting Bows. He is also a crack pistol shot for CQB (Close Quarter Battle) and many of his experiences he has incorporated into his works of fiction.He lives in the United Kingdom and travels extensively around the globe.
Website: http://jamesquinn.webs.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/James-Quinn/1558765681046413
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Ape101Quinn

Giveaway

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Hot Beach Romance: Sand, Sunshine and Sizzle Book Blitz and Giveaway!



Hot Beach Romance: Sand, Sunshine and Sizzle Boxed Set Publication date: June 28th 2015 Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Synopsis:

***Ready for a summer escape? Get 15 contemporary romance stories by best-selling and award-winning authors for 99¢! Each novel and novella has a beach setting, an irresistible love story with HEA, and high sizzle factor. Slather on the sunscreen, grab a cool drink, and get ready to get hot!***

Ecstasy By the Sea by Chris Almeida & Cecilia Aubrey
A honeymoon to remember.


Burn Me by Eirinn Brennan
She was sure of the future until she experienced what else it had to offer.


Finding Joy by EmKay Connor
You can run from your secrets, but you can’t hide.


Kissing Drake by Jenna Dales
A tall, dark and seriously hot hero and the woman who makes him forget about being so serious.


Madrona Sunset by Jami Davenport
Damaged souls craving comfort for a moment or a lifetime.


The Good Enough Husband by Sylvie Fox
What would you do if you met your soul mate, but you were already married?


The Posse by Tawdra Kandle
One woman, three men, and a beach romance as unpredictable as the riptide.


How to Say Goodbye by Amber Lin
She’s here for the summer. He lives on the streets. They’ll both learn how to say goodbye.


Last Call By Alannah Lynne
One unforgettably hot night could lead to forever…or…death…


Sunny and 75 by Scarlett Metal
Can paradise heal their broken hearts or will their pasts come back to haunt them?

Midnight Shadows by Lisa Marie Rice
She sees shadows that aren’t there.

Two Are Better Than One by Suzanne Rock
Two Irish exchange students convince the straight-laced Hannah that two men are better than one.


The Billionaire’s Assassin by Margaret Taylor
Adrian Hoyle couldn’t know that meeting a hot Hollywood actor would be hazardous to her health.


Sun Kissed by Nancy Warren
It’s hard not to mix business and pleasure when your business is surfing.


Miami Dreams by Layla Wilcox
Starting over in the Magic City means believing in second chances when none seem possible.


Purchase:

Excerpt from How to Say Goodbye by Amber Lin


He smiled with the barest hint of irony. “Guess you have better things to do than build a sand castle.”
She hated how his words echoed her thoughts, how they put him down. Didn’t he know how much she would give to be like him? Relaxed. Confident. God, she didn’t want to be afraid anymore.
“I’ve got time.”
He pointed behind the castle. “There’s an enchanted forest right there.”
She knelt down. “Here?”
“No, over. A few inches to the left. Don’t you see it?”
He was…teasing her. It took her a second to understand just because it had never happened before. Not that she could remember.
She looked down to hide her smile. “I think I’ve got it now.”
He grinned. “Then get building, Cornell.”
Her first attempt was more like a molehill with a pointed top. By her second she’d learned to pack the sand more tightly, earning a brief nod from him. After that she worked steadily, forming the little conical pine trees in varying sizes. A vision sketched in her mind, of lush trees and woodland creatures, of fancy and imagination.
Kneeling in her oh-so-practical shoes was impossible, so she took them off. Her skirt hiked up her thighs as she scooted around the forest. Sand squeezed between the mesh of her stockings.
She hoped it would never come out.
When he finished carving arched windows, he stood back and dusted the sand from his palms. She trailed a finger down the last tree—this was how he’d feel, gritty and soft—before standing up to join him.
He was tall. His height shouldn’t have been a surprise; she was often the shortest one in the room. But she’d been equal to him on the ground, both of them dirty and eager in the sand. Now he was the tall, handsome stranger, and she the shy girl who hardly spoke.
She’d aced fluid mechanics, for God’s sake, so why should this matter? It didn’t, it didn’t. But her heart double-timed when she asked, “What do you think of the forest?”
With mock solemnity he studied the trees. They lined up neatly in rows like a Christmas tree farm she’d passed once in rural New York.
“It’s pretty,” he said, repeating her words. Then he smiled, almost shy. “Very pretty. Do you want to grab some dinner?”
Her breath caught. Had he just asked her out? It had sounded like that. Exactly like that. Her heart beat a rapid pace.
Daylight traced tiny lines radiating from his eyes, from the corners of his mouth. A smattering of blond hair covered the tanned skin of his chest, highlighting lean muscles beneath. Even the tips of his eyelashes were bleached, every part of him touched by the sun. A golden boy, a rippling-surface stereotype, while hidden depths lurked beneath. What would it take to dive under? In that moment she wanted to find out. Right then she wanted to drown.
But she’d had a lifetime of treading water, of survival. Only one answer made sense.
“I’m sorry.” Her voice sounded hoarse with disuse, as if she hadn’t spoken in years instead of seconds. “I’m not going to be here long. In Florida.”
She kicked herself. He hadn’t asked her to marry him, for God’s sake. He’d only wanted a date, and she should be able to do that. If she were more normal, she could have.
Fleeting emotions flickered across his face. Disappointment first, followed by others she couldn’t understand. But resignation—that one she recognized like an old friend.
“All right. Take care then.” His voice rang with finality. They would part now. She wouldn’t see him again, because she didn’t know how to be close to another human being. No textbook had ever taught her. No monthly phone call had told her how to feel.
Her face heated.
“You too,” she murmured. “I’ll see you around.”
But even that presumed too much. A slight shake of his head said no, she wouldn’t. His lips curved in a cold shadow of his former smile.
“Bye, Cornell.” He crossed the beach, heading for the water.
He walked right past the frothy edge and dived underneath, leaving only ripples in his wake. His head came up once for air, and again, and again, growing smaller, farther away.
She waited for hours. Or seconds, really. She stood with sand caked to her hands and her knees, feeling abraded and raw. Every other time in her life, she’d pretended not to want this. Friends and laughter. Easy camaraderie. Touch. Standing on the cooling sand, her stomach grumbling with hunger, she could no longer pretend.
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Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
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Images from the Meadow of Dreams kit by Irene Alexeeva