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Friday, March 31, 2017

AGE SIX RACER by Joe Vercillo Spotlight Tour Giveaway!




AGE SIX RACER
Joe Vercillo

Genre: Adventure/Coming of Age

Publisher: Wild Thorn Publishing

Date of Publication: 03/25/2017

ISBN: 9781520784137
ASIN: B06XFMNQNG

Number of pages: 150
Word Count: 36 000



Now, I'm not sure if it's like this for every guy out there, but it seems like the main underlying reason for everything I do is because of a girl. It was 'the girl' who made me run away from my hometown. And it was 'the girl' who almost got me killed. But it was also because of 'the girl' that I ended up in New York City with my three best friends on a mad adventure.

My name is Princeton, and I'm a white-footed mouse.









AGE SIX RACER
CHAPTER ONE
The End
I had a little scare this morning. There I was, lying facedown on the garage floor of 18 Westwinds Boulevard in Princeton, New Jersey. I was only a few feet away from my home, actually—a little woodpile in the front corner.
I felt the bristle of the broom gently pushing then rolling me into the plastic dustpan. Next thing I knew, I was in a shallow grave in the cedar mulch under the damn maple tree out front.
After a heartbreak, I always like to fantasize about having an untimely death and going out in a blaze of glory with the girl who broke my heart bawling her eyes out and wondering how she’s ever gonna live without me. But as great as this death fantasy is, I’ve never really wanted to die.
Now, don't think that this is some sort of Romeo and Juliet story or anything like that because it's not. Even if it were, you should never feel bad when a mouse dies. Our life spans are only about a year in the wild, but to give you some perspective, one day for a mouse feels pretty much like a human year. So most of us live good long lives even if they seem short to people.
So yeah, my name is Princeton, and I'm a mouse—a white-footed mouse, to tell you the truth. We're often confused with our rival cousin, the deer mouse. Our coloring is similar to that of a deer—reddish brown on top with white bellies. The only difference between deer mice and us is our white feet.
By the way, Princeton is just my nickname. I don't wanna tell you my real name because it's kind of embarrassing. The nickname Princeton actually started as a razz. My friends acted as if I had suddenly turned into a douche when I moved to the town that was home to the prestigious Princeton University. Sure, it's full of professors and some of the world’s brightest young minds, but the attitudes here are exactly the same as in any other town I've ever been to. An outsider with an inferiority complex about Princeton should see how most of the humans dress here. It's all sweatpants and hoodies, I swear to God.
Anyway, the nickname Princeton just stuck, and to tell you the truth, it’s grown on me. Nicknames can make or break you. I once knew a guy who was nicknamed The Dove. Some friends and I had shown up at a grain-silo party, and there was this field mouse named Miles sitting way up in the rafters, eating all by himself. My friend Tyler said, “Hey, check it out—the lonesome dove.” Everyone laughed, and from that day on, Miles was known as The Dove. Imagine getting stuck with that nickname for life. Doves are the worst. Trust me.
And Princeton isn't the first nickname I’ve ever had. I've been called other things too. This one time, I had to hide out in a hamster cage for a night to evade a barn cat, and my friend Charlotte started calling me Hamster Boy. Another time, she started calling me Junior after I had a close call with a vacuum cleaner. Why Junior? Well, when she was a kid, she had this pet potato bug named Junior that got sucked up by a vacuum cleaner. She has a sick sense of humor like that.
Anyway, I moved to Princeton a couple weeks ago from Port Elgin, Ontario. To be completely honest, the move was a result of two things, which I'll tell you about in a minute.
Back in Port Elgin, I lived in this little woodpile in the backyard of a big old two-story century home. It was a great setup. The humans who lived there were the Sanagans. I actually got to know them pretty well—not personally, obviously, but you know what I mean. I found a hole in the foundation underneath their deck that led into the wall right behind the kitchen stove. I could sneakster my way in and out of there pretty easily.
There was never a shortage of food in that house, with old half-eaten boxes of cereal lined up along the back wall of the pantry. And it was all of the good stuff too—Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Corn Pops, you name it. The Sanagans were cereal fiends.
The family was also addicted to watching movies, which was how I became such a movie buff. I used to do marathons with them, watching from under the couch.
My taste in music was also shaped in that house. The one son, J.P., would blast his tunage while taking showers. I'd always make a point of being in the bathroom wall near the return air vent in the mornings so I could rock out and jump around to songs like “Blue Orchid” by the White Stripes, “Sober” by Blink-182, or “Breed” by Nirvana. J.P. would be dancing and singing along too, so those days were a lot of fun.
I swear, that place would have been like the damn Elysian Fields if it weren't for a few of its nonhuman inhabitants: Indy—a silver tabby cat, Rascal—a big fat calico cat, and Frankie—a little wiener dog. The fat cat wasn't much to worry about. She would just lie around all day stretched out on the floor like Jabba the Hutt. And she had this permanent sore on her back that kind of looked like a slice of pepperoni. It was strange. I was never sure if I wanted to puke or lick it. Frankie wasn't usually a threat, either. That guy was anything but stealth. I could hear him coming from a hundred miles away with his heavy footsteps and jangly metal collar, not to mention his incessant yelping, whimpering, and whining. Nope, it was only Indy who put the fear of God into me.
Indy was an infamous mouser—a mass murderer—who haunted the dreams of small rodents all across the land. There were rumors in the neighborhood that she had over three thousand kills dating back to the early 2000s. Mice, chipmunks, and rabbits were her favorite targets. During the warmer months, a killing a day was the norm. It wasn't uncommon to come across chipmunks or mice who had been chopped clean in half and left on the front porch or back step like some sort of sick taunt or medieval warning—a message to us all to watch our asses. Other times, you'd just see the entrails or dry blood spots of some other poor departed soul.
The point is, Indy was a professional assassin, and our crossing of paths was the push I needed to get out of town.
So there I was, out on a movie date with this girl named Jules. She was this beautiful field mouse I had gone out with a couple times. She was more of a rebound, to tell you the truth. I was really only seeing her to try to get my mind off of a recent heartbreak. I was very attracted to her, but we didn't have much in common. Deep down, we both probably knew it would never work out.
Anyway, we’d just finished watching the movie—the Sanagans had put on the fourth Harry Potter—and were on our way back through the pantry and into the kitchen. I told her to wait the usual ten seconds to make sure the coast was clear before heading to the exit behind the stove. But Jules—being the naive little field mouse she was—decided to just stroll on out there like a moron. Well, guess who came flying around the corner, barking his head off just as she was walking out? Yup, you guessed it—Frankie, the wiener dog.
I took off like a shot, running straight under the kitchen table and around the corner of the island. My diversion worked as Frankie was right on my ass. That meant that Jules was in the clear and had a safe path to the stove.
There were small cubbies where I could wait out danger in most parts of the Sanagans’ house. But unfortunately, I was chased into the only area that didn't have a hiding place—the dreaded dining room.
“THERE’S A MOUSE!” a human voice yelled out from somewhere behind me. Frankie was still hot on my heels at that point.
Damn. It was one thing for the pets to know you were in their house, but when a human found out that they had a mouse problem, it was pretty much game over. All of your routes and hiding places became compromised—holes got filled by foam insulation; poison-bait stations popped up on every corner of the foundation; snap traps, electric zapper traps, and glue boards got set up at your favorite hangouts. It was a real pain in the ass. If you were lucky enough to make it out alive after being spotted, you'd cut your losses and move on to the next house.
All I could do at that point was beeline it for the junk-cluttered section in the back corner of the room. When I made it there, I squirmed my way in deep and hunkered down to catch my breath.
With all of the barking and yelling, it was hard to concentrate, but this would be the best time to escape—during the pandemonium. I shimmied past a bookshelf and then crawled under the liquor cabinet and stopped for a minute at the back corner. I had to try to figure out where exactly my pursuers were positioned.
Frankie was still barking like a bastard back near the junk pile where I was hiding. I didn't have eyes on him, but he was over there for sure. Mrs. Sanagan was in the same area. I could see her feet and hear her trying to calm Frankie down. She must have been the one who spotted me on my run over here. I could hear Mr. Sanagan yelling from either the kitchen or the family room. He wasn't a very mobile fellow, so I assumed he would be supervising the mouse hunt from afar.
From what I could tell, I only needed to elude the three of them.
If I stayed under the liquor cabinet it’d be game over, Frankie would be moving in to sniff me out at any second. So I did what I had to—I made a run for it.
Did you ever have that feeling as a kid, when the shortcut to get home required you to go through a really dark section of a scary forest or alley, and you'd run through it as fast as you possibly could hoping to God that nothing would snatch you up? Well, that’s pretty much what it feels like to be a mouse making a mad dash.
After scurrying through the dining room doorway into the kitchen, I rounded the corner of the island and saw the stove. My heart leapt for joy—home stretch! But just as I cleared the island, I looked over to my left, and what I saw made my stomach drop. It was Indy, the mass-murdering killer cat. She was sitting there on her haunches, no more than a foot away, staring at me with her squinted green eyes. I instinctively jumped sideways and skidded away from her.
“THERE IT IS! GET IT, INDY!” shouted Mr. Sanagan.
But as God is my witness—and I'll never know the real reason why—Indy let me run right by her. She didn't move an inch. She just sat there with a carefree smirk on her face, like she was only there to watch the show. I'll never forget that act of mercy she displayed for me that day. Ever.

Just a few weeks ago, though, I heard some sobs coming from outside of my woodpile in the garage in New Jersey. It was J.P. He had just gotten word that Indy had passed away in her sleep back home in Port Elgin. I know I should have been rejoicing with the rest of the woodland creatures that she’d haunted and terrorized all of those years, but I ended up saying a little prayer for her that night. Just out of respect for letting me go that day, ya know?






Professional ice-hockey goaltender and Canadian singer-songwriter, Joe Vercillo, stumbled upon the love of his life, journeyed down to Princeton, New Jersey, and found a dead mouse in a garage.

The rest is history.







https://www.facebook.com/joevercilloauthor/

https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Vercillo/e/B06XGP2K74/





 






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Cover Reveal for Rock F*ck Club by Michelle Mankin.@givemebooksblog and @MichelleMankin




Title: Rock F*ck Club
Author: Michelle Mankin
Genre: New Adult/Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Michelle Preast 
Model: Zack Salaun 
Photographer: Wander Aguiar 
Release Date: April 24, 2017



Blurb

10 cities in two weeks. 10 famous rock stars. On my knees. Against the wall. On my tits. I don't care. As long as I get the evidence to prove it. Why? Because I caught my former prick of a boyfriend from Heavy Metal Enthusiasts doing a groupie doggie style backstage on the night we were supposed to be celebrating our 1 year anniversary.

He told me I was too uptight. Too vanilla. Too boring. So I got drunk with my bestie, Marsha West, the aspiring videographer. I ranted. I raved. I came up with a crazy idea. What I didn't know was that my best friend recorded me. Marsha put the video up on YouTube. It went viral with 10 million hits. Now I've got fans and sponsors offering me big bucks.

Rock stars are volunteering to be my f*ck buddy.
Hollywood is calling.
I get to choose which rock stars I want.
The stakes are high.
This sh*t just got real.
What could go wrong?


Read the first two chapters on Goodreads
and add to your TBR







Author Bio


Michelle Mankin is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Records series of novels.

Rock Stars. Romance. Redemption.

Love Evolution, Love Revolution, and Love Resolution are a BRUTAL STRENGTH centered trilogy, combining the plot underpinnings of Shakespeare with the drama, excitement, and indisputable sexiness of the rock 'n roll industry.

Things take a bit of an edgier, once upon a time turn with the TEMPEST series. These pierced, tatted, and troubled Seattle rockers are young and on the cusp of making it big, but with serious obstacles to overcome that may prevent them from ever getting there.

Rock stars, myths, and legends collide with paranormal romance in a totally mesmerizing way in the MAGIC series.

Catch the perfect wave with irresistible surfers in the ROCK STARS, SURF AND SECOND CHANCES series.

Romance and self-discovery, the FINDING ME series is a Tempest spin off with a more experienced but familiar cast of characters.

When Michelle is not prowling the streets of her Texas town listening to her rock or NOLA funk music much too loud, she is putting her daydreams down on paper or traveling the world with her family and friends, sometimes for real, and sometimes just for pretend.

BRUTAL STRENGTH series:
Love Evolution
Love Revolution
Love Resolution
Love Rock’ollection: The Brutal Strength Rock Star Trilogy, books 1-3

TEMPEST series (also available in audio):
Irresistible Refrain
Enticing Interlude
Captivating Bridge
Relentless Rhythm
Tempest Raging: The Tempest Rock Star series, books 1-4
Tempting Tempo
Scandalous Beat

The MAGIC series (also available in audio):
Strange Magic
Dream Magic
Twisted Magic

ROCK STARS, SURF AND SECOND CHANCES series (also available in audio):
Outside
Riptide
Oceanside

FINDING ME series (also available in audio):
Find Me
Remember Me
Keep Me
Faith and Freedom



 Author Links

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Something Old Release Blitz! Giveaway!




Title: Something Old
Series: Lone Star Match #1
Author: Megan Ryder
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 30, 2017



Blurb

Three Bridesmaids. Three lost loves. One matchmaking bride. With just a week before the wedding, can a bride-to-be reunite her bridesmaids with the ones who got away? 

Delaney Winters never expected to see Ethan Van Owen again. He was part of a life she had left far behind… But now, with her best friend’s wedding coming up, it seems like her past has caught up to her. Forced to spend time with her former flame, Delaney’s feelings for him resurface, rekindling the white-hot passion that had always drawn them together.

For five years, Ethan has wondered what went wrong with their relationship. After Delaney broke up with him, Ethan moved to Texas Wine Country to start a new life. But now, he is being pressured to take up the mantle of his family investment business and return to Houston to confront his past.

Can Delaney and Ethan bury their past to rekindle the love and passion they once shared?






Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU





Excerpt

She raised up on tiptoes, lips inches from his. "I can't wait any longer. I want my prize."

He groaned and wrapped a hand around her waist, hauling her up against him. She pressed her lips against his, and she ran her tongue along the seam of his until he opened and let her inside. Drugged with power, feeling more in control than ever before, she pressed her advantage, plastering herself against his long frame, feeling the evidence of his arousal against her throbbing core. Her panties dampened and she moaned against his mouth, her control slipping away rapidly, along with all her inhibitions and reservations about the evening, Ethan, and herself.

He slid his hands down to lightly skim her ass then cup both globes and pull her closer. In a sudden move, he shifted positions, never breaking their lips, and pinned her against the wall. She gasped and broke the kiss, the world tilting dangerously around her. She rested her head against the cool brick, and he trailed kisses down her exposed throat. He pushed aside the shoulder of the tank top and placed a kiss at the top of her shoulder. His hand stroked down her arm and under her shirt to tease her breasts through the lace of her bra.

She moaned at the sensations coursing through her, burning up from the inside, feelings and emotions buffeting her from all angles, like the waves in the ocean. She throbbed deep inside and she pressed her legs together to find some relief. He chuckled against her shoulder and wedged a thigh between hers, forcing them apart. She wrapped her leg around his, hiking it as high as she could. He dropped a hand to her thigh and pulled her up and closer to him, until only a few layers of fabric were between his cock and her slit, begging for him. She arched closer to him, pleading for his touch, for relief, for anything. His hand slipped under her thigh and higher, close to her aching core. His other hand kneaded her breast, his thumb rubbing against her nipple through the lace, the rough lace creating deeper friction and heat than she had ever expected. It was all she could to hold on. He was her anchor in a roiling sea of emotions and she needed relief.

He pressed against her, his cock rubbing her through the lightweight material of their shorts. Then he hit a spot and she exploded with a soft cry.




Author Bio

Ever since Megan Ryder discovered Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught while sneaking around the “forbidden” romance section of the library one day after school, she has been voraciously devouring romance novels of all types. Now a romance author in her own right, Megan pens sexy contemporary novels all about family and hot lovin’ with the boy next door.



Author Links

Beauty and The Beast Blog Tour Giveaway! #beautyofthebeasttou

Beauty of the Beast
by Rachel L. Demeter
Fairy Tale Retellings, #1
Release Date: March 15, 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Fairy Tale Retellings, Gothic Romance #beautyofthebeasttour
🥀 Buy 🥀
🥀 Book Blurb 🥀
Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist. A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago. A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more… Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice. Beauty of the Beast is the first standalone installment in a series of classic fairy tales reimagined with a dark and realistic twist. Disclaimer: This is an edgy retelling of the classic fairy tale. Due to strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

🎬 Book Trailer 🎬

🥀 Teasers 🥀

🥀 Playlist 🥀

🥀 Excerpt 🥀

~ The East Tower ~

Arms sprang out from the darkness. They spun her full circle and slammed her body against the king’s portrait. Isabelle gasped, more in shock than from pain, as she stared into Adam’s deformed face. The lantern flickered behind his massive form, casting his cloaked body in silhouette. But she saw enough to know he was far from pleased. Rage and frustration radiated from his body like a palpable force.

“I warned you to stay out of here,” he said, his voice dangerously cold and deep. Those rugged vocals vibrated against her body and seeped into her marrow. “What part of forbidden didn’t you comprehend?” His voice lashed out from the darkness like a hurtled knife, and the word “forbidden” seemed to whisper another meaning altogether. Isabelle tried to answer but failed to find her voice. Indeed, her vocal cords had turned to solid ice, as numb and cold as the blood rushing through her veins. She couldn’t breathe; she felt like she was suffocating.

“My mother gave me that musical box on my fourth birthday,” he said, the sensual lull of his voice causing the fine hairs on her nape to stand erect. “And now your recklessness has destroyed it. Have you nothing to say?”

“I—I’m sorry.” He offered no reply; only the ragged sound of his breathing and the hammering blizzard broke the silence. “Please—I didn’t mean any harm.”

She struggled under the weight of Adam’s colossal body and battled to free herself. He merely gave a low chuckle and pressed her firmly against the portrait. He looked otherworldly at that moment, like an angel of death seeking vengeance. Both beautiful and monstrous, his cool, sapphire eyes overflowed with warring emotions. In spite of his harsh and ruthless exterior, she detected a quaver in his voice and saw that his large, cloaked shoulders trembled. The darkness in his soul cast a shadow that embraced her; as she peered up at him, she knew he was drowning in the turbulent waters of a past time.

“What a disappointment,” he went on, his voice growing deeper still, mocking her words from so many days ago, “You’re like any other woman.”

“I—I’m sorry. Please, Adam. I—” Her gaze shot past his body and over the wreckage of a past life. She thought of her private chamber again—of the stale perfumes and outdated garments.

Her flight or fight instinct seized hold of her. She attempted to scramble free, but he merely grabbed her shoulder and whirled her back against the portrait. Gloves wrapped his hands; his long, silk-clad fingers grasped her shoulder and kept her firmly in place.

He stood intimately close.

Far too close.

As close as Raphael had been that night.

“Going somewhere, ma belle? After you’ve worked so hard to find my East Tower?”

Hands like two steel bands held her wrists in place. Hot breaths, which faintly smelled of wine, seared her cheeks and assaulted her senses. Her breasts flattened against the pressure of his strong chest, and she felt that same chest swell and deflate in perfect sync with her own. One large hand slipped down her elbow and glided across her extended arm. The lush material of his gloves drew a shudder from her heaving chest. His breathing grew more ragged, shallower, and the erratic beat of his heart banged against her own.

Anger and desire warred on his face, twisting his features into a mess of both monster and man. “Find anything of interest, aside from my musical box? Come, come. You went through such great trouble to get here,” he asked, his voice now threaded with both anger and something else.

Yes, Isabelle recognized that something else. It was the same note that had entered Raphael’s voice that night…

She attempted to duck under his arm, but he moved swiftly, capturing her in the crook of his elbow. Reeling her toward him, he emitted a low, haunting chuckle that swelled the eastern tower to its rafters. She was back where she’d started—pinned against the portrait, Adam’s body serving as a flesh-and-blood blockade.

Hunger radiated from him, enfolding her in a current of sizzling power. His silk-clad hand grazed the curve of her breast as it moved down her body in a painfully slow caress. Even more alarming was her reaction to him. Her treacherous body responded with a crush of hot and cold pulsating waves. Then he whispered a taunt in her ear, and his liquid baritone slid down her backbone like honey; it swirled inside her, finding its home in her most intimate area.

He leaned closer still. His face’s uneven skin brushed against her neck, the black waves of his hair tickled her chin... His thick arousal expanded against her, reminding her of what he was capable of—and of her sheer vulnerability.

His lips teased the base of her throat. Cursing her traitorous body, Isabelle gasped at the gentle scraping of his teeth. His tongue and lips tormented her throbbing pulse—just barely, stirring her skin in a mere ghost of a touch.

🥀 Excerpt 🥀

~ Adam and Isabelle’s ballroom dance ~

Isabelle entered the ballroom at precisely eight o’clock. Moonlight, bone white and lustrous, threaded through the grand windows like prying fingers. The illumination set the medallion flooring aglow. Columns lined the oval-shaped room and graced a domed ceiling. A handsome grandfather clock towered in the corner, ticking off the seconds with a pulsating drone. Candelabras reached around the edge of the circular room and lurked like quiet sentries. Their wavering candles mated with the moonbeams and threw golden patches across the intricate marble floor.

Incredible silence surrounded Isabelle, pressed into her very being, as she slipped into the heart of the ballroom. She could almost hear the gay whispers of ladies and the delicate swishing of their lace fans. She smelled the sweet scents of their exotic perfumes and could hear the distant, ghostly echo of a pianoforte. And she knew that, despite the castle’s neglected state, it had once been a place of unrivaled beauty and glamour.

Much like Adam himself.

Isabelle spun around full circle, her mind transporting to a past era that brimmed with elegance and luxury. She felt the darkly romantic pull of the castle and its numberless mysteries... felt herself falling in love with its shadows and secrets. Dust motes danced in the shafts of moonbeams and wavering candles. Faintly she hummed beneath her breath, testing the acoustics in the spacious room. Her voice carried, swirling around her in an echoing cyclone.

 

Then she came to a standstill as a soft touch grazed her bare shoulder. Large, silk-clad hands rotated her body with a startling gentleness. A breath escaped her lips as she drank in Adam’s proud, towering form. Her mind slipped back to the previous day and night—to their sensual kiss in the stables.

A navy, double-breasted coat hugged the muscular curves of his body, offset by shimmering golden buttons. They looked like small glowing suns floating against a sky of rustic blue.

He resembled a flesh-and-blood prince. Proud. Formidable. In full command of everything and everyone in the room. Even a hint arrogant. Her heart hammered, threatening to burst. Suddenly she felt like she’d been thrust into a world of magic and romantic hushed secrets. The scars look out of place on his smirking features, she mused with a pang of sadness. And dressed in a cascade of cornflower damask and lace, the sparkling tiara half-buried in her curls, she felt like a princess.

Then it began.

Adam took a deft step backward, sank into a shallow bow, and outstretched his gloved hand. Isabelle grasped her flowing skirts and dipped into a curtsy, her heart madly pitter-pattering. Feeling like a young girl during her first ball, she accepted the invitation and abandoned her silk-encased palm in his own. Strength surged through his fingers, sending chords of awareness thrumming through her body.

Am I dreaming? If so, then let me sleep forever.

A muscled arm snaked around her torso and tugged her intimately close. Everything seemed to fade away while the heat of their bodies mingled as one. Her heart banged against her ribs as she sought the depths of his eyes. At this range, flicks of gold contrasted against his sky-blue irises. Much of the sadness seemed to have vanished, leaving an almost boyish delight in its wake. The right side of his face was devastatingly handsome, his hair so black it drank the twinkling candles.

Keeping her body pressed to his own, he swung her into the scandalous waltz dance. Her small fingers curled around his bicep as he lifted the other hand in midair. He swept her across the smooth marble floor, twirling her body, his large hand securely on the center of her back, his footwork extravagant and exact. Cords of muscle bunched and slid beneath her fingers, and light from the candelabras flashed over the mismatched sides of his face.

Isabelle felt clumsy—as if she had sprouted two left feet. She’d spent her youth traveling the countryside and coastline with Papa—not blushing behind a lace fan or dancing in lavish ballrooms. Adam, however, danced with a haunting grace; his movements executed with a fine, cultured polish. He clearly hadn’t been raised in the back of a wagon, she mused. Prince-like and regal, he’d danced this dance many times before; maybe it had been in another place and another life, but his confident, masterful steps gave the truth away.

Isabelle struggled to keep up with his graceful strides, though she knew she was making a fool of herself. She stumbled as Adam swept her into an unexpected twirl again; he reeled her back to his side, so they stood intimately close, then chuckled in her ear with the audacity of a pirate. The decadent sound rippled through her veins and mingled with the wine. His lips pressed against the shell of her ear, and the whisper of his warm breaths sent chills thrumming down her backbone.

I am falling for him—falling fast and hard.

Indeed. She’d been falling for him for some time.

“You’re a dreadful dancer,” he murmured against her ear. Paired with the husky baritone of his voice, the insult sounded rather like an endearment.

 

Regardless, she returned the blight with a swift and playful vengeance. “Perhaps my partner is to blame.” She cocked her head back and captured his bright gaze. He offered no retort aside from the arch in his thick brow.

Her face reached the height of his shoulder and not a centimeter more. She curled her head against the security of his chest and inhaled his essence with a reverent breath. A tangle of emotions welled in her gut, blurring everything but the moment... everything but the exquisite feel of Adam holding her. As he swept her across the smooth marble floor, the world whirled by in a beautiful, dreamlike mosaic.

She felt like she’d fallen into one of her fairy tales.

“Oh, Adam... I never want this moment to end,” she heard herself whisper against his coat.

“It doesn’t have to.”

Adam shifted back and forth in a tantalizing rocking motion, slow dancing to a melody only he could hear. As she melted into his embrace, the candelabras crackled and seductively flashed, accompanying each of their steps. Then he bowed his chin and hummed a beautiful tune against her forehead. It sounded achingly sweet, like a tender lullaby from the depths of a dream world. The force of his vocals resonated deep inside her, massaging Isabelle’s body with delicious caresses. Her heart resembled a drum—and she trembled in time with its beat. That immaculate baritone stoked her imagination, igniting an inferno deep within her soul.

Closing her eyes, she rubbed her cheek against his coat’s rugged material and sparkling buttons, abandoning herself to his rhythmic sways and husky baritone. Drawing her into its sultry, comforting depths, his voice surrounded her like liquid velvet. With increasing pressure, his palm swept up the length of her back, down and up, tickling her spine with each soothing movement. Heated breaths wafted against her hairline, stirring the curls about her shoulders. His every gesture felt numbingly gentle, executed with a startling grace. Isabelle had to remind herself to breathe, lest she faints from the pleasure of it all.

Emotion claimed the best of her. Isabelle exhaled a shaky breath as tears singed the corners of her eyes.

They danced like that for close to an hour, moving in perfect unison to the calming melody of Adam’s voice, the slick medallion floor sliding beneath their feet like some magical carpet. The marble ground reflected their waltzing images with the ease of a looking glass.

Everything felt dreamlike. Peaceful. Beautiful.



🥀 Meet the Author 🥀

Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and her high school sweetheart of fourteen years. She enjoys writing poignant romances that challenge the reader's emotions and explore the redeeming power of love. Imagining dynamic worlds and characters has been Rachel's passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mother would record them for her. She holds a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether crafting the protagonist or antagonist, she ensures every character is given a soul. Rachel endeavors to defy conventions by blending elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness. Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words.
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