Cover Reveal: Resist by K.M. Golland

Title: Resist
Series: Wild Nights #3
Author: K.M. Golland
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Hang Le
Release Date: January 22, 2019

Blurb

Can you resist what you shouldn’t have?
When
wealthy businesswoman, Helena Smerdon, purchases Australia’s most popular male
strip revue, the tight-knit group of men are set for an unexpected shake-up.
Helena is
not a woman to be messed with: powerful, strong-willed, and confident. She
plans to assert her authority and make Wild Nights Revue the very best it can
be, regardless of who she aggravates along the way.
Lucas
Malone is the newest member of the group. He’s fresh, ambitious, and keen to
make his mark. But he wants to do more than impress his new boss; he wants to
undress for her, both on and off stage.
Intense
chemistry and forbidden attraction make it difficult for Helena and Lucas to
resist one another. But they must; she’s his boss, and he’s not much older than
her son. And if that isn’t enough to keep them apart, her disgruntled
ex-husband sure as hell will.
This book
is an interconnecting standalone novel in the Wild Nights series. It’s for
mature audiences (18+) and contains explicit language and sexual content.

Pre-order Links

$2.99 for a limited time!

Also Available
99c for a limited time!!
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
$1.99 for a limited time!
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Author Bio
“I’m an author. I am married. I am a mother of two adorable
little people. I’m a bookworm, craftworm, movieworm, and sportsworm. I’m also a
self confessed shoe-aholic, tea-aholic, car-aholic, and bridge-aholic.”
Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, K.M. Golland is a
best selling hybrid author, and a ranty, married mother of two with a very
healthy high heel obsession.
Author Links

Cover Reveal: Broadway Beans by Karen Cimms

Title: Broadway Beans
Author: Karen Cimms
Publisher: Lone Sparrow Press
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Garrett Cimms
Photo: Wander Aguiar
Model: Andrew Biernat
Release Date: January 29, 2019

Blurb

Aiden Winchester: Call it self-preservation, but I need to get
out of Hollywood. My heart’s just been shredded by my longtime girlfriend.
Worse yet, we have to pretend we’re still America’s sweethearts until after our
next picture is released. With the next six months looking more like American Horror Story than a Lifetime
channel love story, I’m heading east to make my stage debut.
Broadway,
here I come.
Franky Marchesi: I love my close-knit Italian family. I’d
probably love them a lot more if they weren’t in my face all the time. So when
my best friend begs me to move into her Upper West Side brownstone—rent free—to
take care of her new pup whenever she travels, I’d be crazy to say no. But
while my living expenses are covered, I still need to make some money if I’m
ever going to save enough for college. So with a little luck and no experience,
I land a job as a barista at Broadway Beans, a coffee shop in the theater
district. But on my first day, I almost kill the hottest guy I’ve ever seen.
With a latte. Who knew making over-priced coffee could be so difficult?
It’s a hell
of a great way to meet someone though.


A
modern-day “Moonstruck,” BROADWAY BEANS is a friends-to-lovers romantic comedy.

Author Bio
Karen Cimms
is a contemporary romance writer, editor, and music lover. She was born and
raised in New Jersey and still thinks of the Garden State as home. She began
her career at an early age rewriting the endings to her favorite books. It was
a mostly unsuccessful endeavor, but she likes to think she invented fanfiction.
Karen is
married to her favorite lead guitar player. Her children enjoy tormenting her
with countless pranks because they love her, or so they say. She currently
lives in Northeast Pennsylvania, although her heart is usually in Maine.

Author Links

Cover Reveal: Black Light: Possession by L.K. Shaw

Title: Black Light: Possession
Series: Black Light #11
Author: L.K. Shaw
Publisher: Black Collar Press
Genre: Contemporary BDSM
Cover Design: Eris Adderly
Release Date: January 16, 2019
Blurb
After relocating to Washington, D.C. to avoid an overzealous secret
admirer, Dr. Madeline Parrish wants to learn all that the city has to offer.
When a friend invites her to explore the dark pleasures at the exclusive BDSM
club, Black Light, Madeline meets two enigmatic Doms, with whom she spends one
explosive night.
Soon the “love letters” from her admirer start arriving, but now their
tone is clearly threatening. When it’s discovered the letters are eerily
similar to those written by the serial killer, “Casanova”, FBI Agents Joseph
Crocker and Nathaniel Morgan are brought in to investigate. 
Much to their surprise, Madeline is the sexy submissive they shared an
unforgettable night with.
Crocker and Morgan tempt and seduce Madeline into becoming theirs. “Casanova”,
however, has other plans for her. 
Can the men catch the killer before he makes Madeline his next victim?

Also Available
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
All free in Kindle Unlimited
Author Bio

LK Shaw is
a physical therapist assistant by day and author/social media addict by night.
She resides in South Carolina with her high maintenance beagle mix dog, Miss P,
who should probably just have her own Instagram account. An avid reader since
childhood, she became hooked on historical romance novels in high school. She
now reads, and loves, all romance sub-genres, with erotic romance and romantic
suspense being her favorite. LK enjoys traveling and chocolate. Her books
feature hot alpha heroes and the strong women they love.
LK loves to
interact with readers. You can follow her on any of her social media. Don’t
forget to sign up for her monthly newsletter! http://eepurl.com/ds5MOb
Make sure
to follow LK for more new releases coming soon!

Author Links 

Release Blitz: Home by S.E. Rose

Title: Home
Series: Portentous Destiny #5
Author: S.E. Rose
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: January 7, 2019

Blurb

He’s focused on his career and ready to take on his future. She’s doing
what she loves a million miles away from her past. And then their worlds
collide.
Nick Stevenson had it all until one drunk driver changed his whole life.
But now, he’s ready to put his past aside and focus on the present, until he
meets a woman that will change everything.
Melissa Burke has spent most of her life living in the shadows of a
sister who disappeared as a child. She moved halfway around the world to start
over in a career she loves. Then, a mysterious and sexy man shows up and alters
the course of her future.
Their lives are about to take a path neither ever saw coming. Their pasts
are about to intersect in a way they never imagined. Will their love survive
the darkness they thought was forever banished, or will that darkness follow
them home and destroy everything they hold dear?

Purchase Links
99c for a limited time!!
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Trailer
Also Available
#2 Secrets is FREE for a limited time!
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
All free in Kindle Unlimited

Author Bio
S.E. Rose
lives in the DMV.  And if you know what that means, then you know where
she lives.  She currently resides with her husband, two children, and
always at least two cats and usually other random creatures her children decide
they need.  While she works at a desk during the day, her evenings and
weekends are devoted to writing and editing her romance novels.  She loves
all things wine, coffee, tea, and dark chocolate; that’s right, dark chocolate.
In her spare time, she enjoys photography, traveling, going to concerts, and
reading.
Author Links

FREE ~ Love Me Like This by Lola StVil

 

 

Title: Love Me Like This
Author: Lola StVil
Genre: Single Dad/Small Town Romance
Release Date: November 20, 2018

 

Blurb

We just added
something to your “To do list”, you’re welcome.



He’s an Alpha’s Alpha. And he will do
whatever it takes to keep his family safe.
My son is my world. I am raising him to be on
high alert about his surroundings at all times. I’m a former SEAL; it’s in my
blood. I maintain suspicion about change. Yet the new girl in town, Ryan Shaw,
caught me off guard.
Ryan is witty, with soft curves and a big
heart. The moment our eyes meet, she wakes something in me I thought had
died—hope. And when she volunteers to tutor my son, I marvel at how much my
little guy loves her. It turns out he’s not the only one whose taken by her. In
fact, the more I get to know her, the more I want her; not just in bed, but in
our lives. I never thought a guy with a past like mine, would ever find love.
But now that I have, there’s no way I’m gonna let anyone take it from me.
Enemies from my past are out to destroy
everything I’ve built, but they have no idea how far I will go to protect the
ones I love…
This steamy romance is a roller coaster ride that
will make you laugh, make you hot, and even make you shed a few tears. It’s a
full-length standalone novel. You do not have to read the book that came before
this one. NO cheating, NO cliffhangers, and a guaranteed Happily-ever-after!
This book has adult content for ages 18 and over.
Purchase Links
FREE on all platforms!!
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
B&N / KOBO / APPLE BOOKS
GOOGLE PLAY
Excerpt
I stand by
the hood of her car. She’s so close to me I can smell her—an intoxicating mix
of sweet vanilla, strawberries, and a musky smell that makes me want to reach
out, bend her over, and fuck her right here in the street. Fuck, I can almost
taste her.
I can’t
help but wonder if I’m having the same effect on her. The way she’s frowning up
at me like she’s ready to get the mace back out tells me I’m not.
“Well?” she
demands. “Are you going to fix it or not?”
“Look, I’m
good, but I’m not a miracle worker,” I say.
Her frown
deepens, but now it’s focused on the car instead of me.
“It’s that
bad?” she asks.
“I wouldn’t
know. I can’t see through the hood,” I smirk.
“I … Oh.
Yes. Of course,” she stutters.
She runs a
hand through her hair, and I feel my insides knot even tighter. What I wouldn’t
give for that to be my hand in her hair instead of hers. And it wouldn’t stay
there long. I would move it down, trailing my fingers over her neck and …
Fuck, get a
grip, man. I clear my throat.
 “Hi,” she says.
I look up
to see who she’s talking to and I’m surprised to see Max standing beside us,
grinning up at Ryan.
Dammit. I
told him to stay inside. I feel a surge of anger. Not at him; he’s seven and
curious. The anger is at myself. I was so caught up in Ryan I didn’t realize he
had joined us. I allowed myself to lose my concentration and the consequences
of that could be…I don’t even want to think about what they could be.
“I told you
to stay inside,” I snap.
Max’s grin
slips a little, and I hate myself for taking my anger out on him. My tone
softens.
“Why don’t
you go back inside? I won’t be long here.”
“I want to
talk to your friend,” Max says.
I swear he
puts a weird emphasis on friend like
he somehow knows I want to be much more than friends with Ryan. Before I can
say anything, Ryan smiles and extends her hand to Max.
“I’m Ryan,”
she announces.
Max shakes
her hand formally.
“Max,” he
replies. “I really like your name.”
He handled
that better than I did. Maybe I should be getting lessons from him.
“Do you go
to St Theresa’s?” Ryan asks him.
I feel my
heart skip a beat. How does she know that? Is she a part of the Company? Is
this the day I’ve been dreading?
Max is
nodding his head before I can stop him.
“Yes. I’m
in Mrs. Berry’s class,” he announces.
It seems
that all the training in the world goes out the window for both of us just
because a pretty girl smiles at us.
“I start
working there on Monday,” she tells Max.
I feel
relief flood me. She didn’t know Max went there. She doesn’t know who I am or
who he is. She was just assuming because of his age.
“You’re a
teacher?” I ask.
“Teacher’s
assistant. I’ll be helping some of the younger kids with their English,” she
tells me.
“Well damn,
teachers have changed since I was at school,” I blurt out.
Ryan and
Max both look at me, stunned at my words. They continue their conversation as I
go back to the car.
If my
teacher had looked like Ryan, I don’t think I would have gotten much of
anything done. Pretty much like now. The more I try to focus on the engine, the
less I seem to be able to focus on anything but Ryan’s collarbone, and how she
would writhe beneath me as I ran my tongue over it, moving down lower until she
was screaming for more.
I realize
my gaze has definitely left her face and I jerk my eyes back up to meet hers,
expecting a lecture. Instead, she gives me an amused smile.
“Seen
something interesting?” she asks.
“He will
have. Every time he gets under the hood of a car he finds something to distract
him,” Max replies, digging me out of the hole I’m in.
“What he
said,” I add with what I hope is a charming smile because we both know we’re
not really talking about the car engine when I go on. “There’s definitely
something here that I’d like to get my hands on.”
Author Bio
Lola StVil
is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes Fantasy in
addition to Contemporary romance. She has written over a dozen books and loves
taking her readers on an emotional roller coaster ride. She is currently living
in California and enjoys staying in touch with her readers.

 

Author Links

Release Blitz: Ransom by Laramie Briscoe

Title: Ransom
Series: Laurel Springs Emergency Response Team #1
Author: Laramie Briscoe
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 5, 2019

Blurb

Laurel Springs, AL
is about to be hotter than a mid-August thunderstorm.
When the Moonshine
Task Force is absorbed into a new entity, Laurel Springs Emergency Response
Team (LSERT), fresh faces come to town, new love is born, old love is found
again, and there’s a plethora of drama and romance happening all over the
tri-county area. 
When emotions are
high, passions ignite.
Come with me back to
Laurel Springs, it’s gonna be a wild ride! 

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Also Available
Connected Series
#1 Renegade is FREE for a limited time!!
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Author Bio

Laramie Briscoe is the best-selling author of the Heaven Hill Series & the Rockin’ Country Series.

Since self-publishing her first book in May of 2013, Laramie Briscoe has published over 10 books. She’s appeared on the Top 100 Bestselling E-books Lists on iBooks, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. She’s been called “a very young Maya Banks” (Amazon reviewer) and her books have been accused of being “sexy, family-oriented, romances with heart”.

When she’s not writing alpha males who seriously love their women, she loves spending time with friends, reading, and marathoning shows on her DVR. Married to her high school sweetheart, Laramie lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband (the Travel Coordinator) and a sometimes crazy cat named Beau.

Author Links

Cover Reveal: Protagonized by Shannon Myers

Title: Protagonized
Author: Shannon Myers
Genre: Literary Fiction/Romantic Comedy
Cover Design: The Final Wrap
Photo: Wander Aguiar
Models: Colton Benson
Release Date: January 24, 2019

Blurb

Describe Jake Hopkins in two words? 
Boozing womanizer. 
So, maybe he solved cases with a precision not seen since Agatha
Christie’s Hercule Poirot. It didn’t matter. The guy was a grade A prick. 
And killing him was the best decision I ever made—until it wasn’t.
It was supposed to be a good move for me—a way of showing that I wasn’t
one to back down.
I never imagined it would cause such a visceral reaction…among my
readers. 
I didn’t get it. He was barely tolerable most of the time and his death
opened the door for a new detective—maybe one who had her act together.
I never would’ve guessed that he’d show up on my doorstep, begging for
a second chance, or that he’d look even better than I ever imagined. Characters
die and everyone moves on—that’s the way it works. Sometimes it’s even necessary
for the story to progress.
When the hate mail gives way to something more sinister, Jake insists
that he’s just the man to handle the case. He vows to keep me safe in exchange
for his life. 
The problem isn’t resurrecting him. 
No, my problem is much worse.
How do I stop myself from falling in love with a fictional character?

Pre-order Links
99c for a limited time!
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Excerpt
“Okay, now when we get there, act normal. Order whatever you
usually get. Sit where you normally do. That kind of thing. Don’t get too
focused on looking for a suspect. That’s my job.” Jake hit his turn signal and
switched lanes. I was riding shotgun in the shiny black Raptor I’d written for
him and, any moment now, I was going to wake up back in bed, having dreamt this
entire thing. I rubbed my damp palms against my jeans and focused on my
breathing.
After getting dressed in record time, Jake had wanted to
know my schedule for a typical day. When I mentioned that I wrote at a local
coffee shop a couple of times a week, his eyes lit up. I was relieved that I’d
left out the fact that I worked at a salon in the afternoons and evenings
because there was not a chance in hell of me letting him tag along there.
We pulled into the parking lot and Jake turned to me. He
studied me for a second, giving a slight head shake at my you’ve got to
be kitten me right meow
, t-shirt. “This is the place?” He looked through
the windshield at the Cold Brews Co. sign and then back at me.
“It looks like a bar.”
“No, their specialty is cold brew coffees—look, is this a
good idea?”
Translation: Is this safe?
He nodded. “I’m not going to let anything happen to
you.” 
The thought that someone, besides Bootsy and Aaris, wanted
to keep me safe did weird things to my heart, even if it was coming from Jake.
I fought the urge to pump my fist in the air while laughing like a lunatic.
“After all, you’re my meal ticket. If you get dead, I can’t
get back home,” he finished with a pouty smirk.
Oh good, the limbic rage was back. I’d been worried it was
gone forever once the handcuffs were off.
“Why do you do that with your mouth?” I snapped, as I
unbuckled and climbed down to the pavement.
“Do what? He pursed his lips again.
“That! You’re doing it again.”
At his blank expression, I forced my own lips into a duck
pose as he held the coffee shop door open for me. “Like this.”
“Why are you doing that to your face? Stop. People are
staring.” He hissed, glancing around.
“You look like that all the time.”
“Good Morning, Hayden,” my favorite barista, Damien, called
over the espresso machine as the door jingled above our heads, announcing our
arrival. “The usual?”
I immediately softened my expression, trying to channel the
joy and tranquility that tried to flee when Jake entered a room. “Yeah, that’ll
be perfect. Thanks, Damien. How’d Paul do on his test?”
He poured steamed milk into a paper cup for a to-go order
with a dramatic eye roll. “Nailed it. Like he does everything else. I just have
to talk him off the ledge every time though. How’d I end up the motivator in
this relationship? I swear.”
“Because you’re a positive person and deserving of all the
good things life has to offer,” I reminded him as I selected a bottled water
from the refrigerated case
“I just come here a couple of times a week, but know
everyone’s life story,” Jake quietly taunted at my back, his body inches from
mine. A shudder worked its way down to my toes as the scent of campfire and
pine flooded my nostrils. 
Were there notes of citrus layered in there? No, I was
definitely detecting hints of clean laundry that had been dried on a
clothesline mixed with something.
Gah, what was it?
I wanted to lean back and rest my head against his chest
while looking up at him adoringly. Just like I’d witnessed the younger couples
that frequented this place do on more than one occasion. But this time, it’d be
me experiencing something other than abject disappointment.
Me and my very own tree.
And I’d climb that redwood every day.
Just doing my part to save the earth, kids.
I was struck with the image of massive hands on my hips,
pinning me in place. I’d just bet that his fingers would curl in possessively,
marking me as his to anyone who dared to look. The cold air blasted around
bottles of juice and water, yet inside, I was sweltering.
His proximity was messing with my brain waves. I
straightened with a shaky exhale and carried my water over to the register,
doing my best to ignore my flushed cheeks and the giant I came in with.
Damien added a heart to the foam and handed me my caffè
mocha before noticing Jake. “Hey, you brought a friend,” he exclaimed in his
typical sing-song.
I shook my head. “We just came in at the same time. I don’t
know this man.”
I wasn’t just imagining all the ways I’d like him to
defile me in front of the poor beverage case, either, in case you were
wondering.
“Are you sure you don’t want to get to know him?” He
stage-whispered, raising his eyebrows up and down suggestively as he snagged me
a cinnamon roll from the case.
“Oh, no. I’ve got quite enough excitement in my life.”
Damien gave Jake another once over. “If you say so. I
personally think when excitement comes packaged like that, you thank the
universe and don’t ask questions. But, that’s just me. How’s Bootsy doing? Is
she still loving her holistic food?”
“Yes. It has made such a difference with her…” 
Shit, what was it supposed to do? 
“Poops?” I offered hesitantly just as Damien suggested, “Her
coat?”
He frowned. “It shouldn’t have changed her bowel habits. My
girls didn’t seem to be any different. Maybe check with the company—”
I waved my hand. “Oh, no I meant that she was much more
‘regular,’ if you know what I mean. Poor thing, uh, couldn’t get the job done
before. This food has really taken in her interconnectedness with her, um,
environment. She’s living her best holistic life now.”
I made the mistake of looking over at Jake. He stood at the
counter with wide eyes and a what the fuck are you talking about expression
on his face.
• Confession: I never actually bought the cat food that
Damien recommended. I went to the pet store with every intention of purchasing
the all-natural, chock full of vitamins and omegas, and completely
grain-free
 canned cat food until I saw the price. At six bucks a tin,
I decided that I would just let Bootsy continue her unwholesome lifestyle.
Unfortunately, Damien asked about it the very next time I was in, and instead
of coming clean, I told a little white lie. He’d just made it seem like letting
your fur baby eat anything else was bad pet parenting. And, it wasn’t like he
would ever know. He wasn’t going to show up to my apartment, demanding to see
the contents of Bootsy’s litter box.
Damien nodded. “Well, let me know if you need anything else
for her. Oh, have you noticed how much more connected she is spiritually to you
now? I swear, I recommend it to everyone.”
I avoided Jake’s penetrating stare as I paid before patting
the front pocket of my backpack. “Definitely. So… Zen. Well, I better get to
it.”
“Same. I’ll come by and check on you in a bit.”
I stuck the bottle of water in the side pocket of my bag,
juggling the cinnamon roll and mocha as I made my way to the wooden table near
the back. It was the only table with an outlet that was out of direct
sunlight. 
Next to it was an old wooden hutch that held cream and
sugar. I found that it was the best seat in the house for eavesdropping, which
was a win-win for an author in need of a story. 
I loved everything about coming here. From the exposed brick
walls and ceiling beams to the vintage signs and old produce case turned
bookshelf, it was the perfect place to let my creativity flow.
Jake solved his first case here. Incidentally, he also fell
off a balcony at this very table. It held a special place in my heart.
“I’m going to sit on the other side of the room,” Jake said
in a low voice. Instinctively, I turned to where his voice came from just in
time to see him add sugar to his coffee. 
“No, don’t turn around. You and I aren’t having a
conversation.”
He was going to add precisely two and a half raw sugars,
keeping the other half in his pocket for his next caffeine fix. When I heard
the distinct sound of paper being folded, a victorious smirk spread across my
face. God, I loved being right.
“Why are you smiling?” He kept his back to me, so it
appeared as if he was having a conversation with the various creamers.
“I’m not.” My grin widened.
He sighed, “You are. I can see your reflection in the carafe.
What about this investigation is funny to you? See, someone shoots up my door,
I’m not laughing. Then again, I’m not trying to have a spiritual intervention
with my cat.”
My smile faded, and I turned all of my attention into
retrieving my laptop from the backpack at my feet. “You’re just so—” What was
he? “Predictable. Everything you do is exactly the way I wrote it. Sometimes,
I’m even convinced that I know what you’re going to do next before you do.”
I saw him reach for a stirrer in the reflection of my laptop
screen. Judging by how vigorously he was using it, I’d gotten under his skin.
“You’re probably right,” he finally conceded. “You are,
after all, operating on an entirely different plane than the rest of the world.
I’ll be across the room; try to act normal.”
I bit the inside of my cheek. “And how am I supposed to do
that when you’re watching me from across the room?”
“Just write the book, Hayden. Don’t worry about who’s coming
or going. Let me handle that. Tap your finger twice against the table if you
understand.”
I did, feeling like a secret agent in a summer blockbuster.
With villains at every turn, there was only one woman
capable of saving the world. All she needed was her trusty laptop and some
caffeine—
“Hayden, I just needed you to tap twice. You can stop now.”
He snagged a newspaper off an empty table and tucked it under his arm before
moving toward a table near the front. From there, he’d be able to see everyone
coming and going.
I took a bite of my cinnamon roll and cracked my knuckles
before pulling up my manuscript. 
Alright, Laura. Let’s solve a mystery…
Laura stood, shoulder to shoulder, with some of the city’s
most upstanding citizens. It was unfathomable to think that any one of them
could’ve been responsible for the body lying in the street, but her instincts
told her that was exactly the case.
My mind went blank, and I began distractedly counting each
pulse of the cursor. I was simply rehashing what I’d already covered. In all
honesty, I had no idea what to do with Laura. Jake had pointed out her implied
elderliness more than once and now I couldn’t help but picture her as some
blue-haired granny with a cane.
How was she supposed to solve a murder?
Plus, by mentioning her husband early on, I’d destroyed any
chance of adding a love interest for friction. It was shit.
I tried again.
Laura stepped away from the crowd and searched for… a way
out of this story. She’d gotten roped into playing the main character after the
author killed off the other one. Laura didn’t want to be next.
Laura was fucking everything up.
Jake caught my eye and frowned from over the newspaper.
Obviously, he was enjoying the drivel I was spewing out about as much as I was.
I took a long drink of coffee, but the caffeine only
confirmed what I already knew. I needed a new main character. Someone who was
younger. Female. Maybe she’d been exposed to law enforcement by a former
boyfriend or family member. Just enough that she’d know her way around a crime
scene—oh my god.
My legs caught the edge of the table as I quickly stood up,
rattling the plate containing my half eaten cinnamon roll. I just needed to act
discreet. 
Jake had the paper up again, reading, so I couldn’t signal
for Plan A, which was for him to meet me in the bathroom. I was going to have
to go with Plan B. I walked over behind his table and looked out the large
glass garage door that they opened during the summer months.
Realizing I still hadn’t grabbed his attention, I stretched
my arms overhead and yawned loudly.
“Hayden, what the hell are you doing?” He asked, without
lowering the paper.
“I have a question,” I said, much louder than anticipated. I
tried again, this time lowering my voice. “I have a question. About the book.”
When he remained quiet, I continued. “I think you’re right
about Laura—oh man, what a beautiful day it is! Sorry, I thought that person
was coming over here. We gotta stay discreet, right? So, I’m starting to think
that maybe she’s not the right character. I was wondering if maybe—”
Jake dropped the newspaper and pushed his chair back away
from the table, the legs scraping loudly against the concrete floor.
Good. We were going to discuss this like real people and not
spies. Although I really felt like I was starting to get the hang of it.
“Our cover’s completely blown. I’ll be out in the truck.” I
followed his gaze over to the counter where Damien was waving slyly at me.
I returned it and turned back in time to see Jake disappear
through the front door.
Shit.
“Decided you were in the mood for some excitement, after
all?” Damien carried a damp cloth in his hand, but he wasn’t here to wipe down
the table. He was here for the dirt.
“Um, well, I tried. Got shot down. Better luck next time, I
guess.” I kept sneaking furtive glances toward the parking lot, hoping to catch
a glimpse of my surly detective.
Well, not mine, mine.
“He’s kind of a pretty boy, isn’t he?” Damien asked.
I nodded. “Yep. It wouldn’t have worked out. Bootsy’s the
most high maintenance thing in my life. I don’t have room for another. Would
you mind boxing up my cinnamon roll and getting me a to-go cup? I’m just not
feeling my muse this morning.” 
“Sure thing.”
It was supposed to be part of the cover, but I realized that
there was no scenario where Jake suddenly developed feelings for me. He’d said
just as much before we came in. 
Damien brought me my food items as I packed up the laptop,
consoling me with promises of what he’d do to Jake’s drink if he ever bothered
showing up again. By the time I made it outside, the air had turned cooler and
clouds darkened the sky. I walked around to the back parking lot.
“I think they saw us come in together,” Jake said, by way of
greeting, as I struggled to climb up into the truck with full hands
“Oh, hey. Hello. I’m doing great, thanks for asking,
Jake.” 
He leaned across the seat and took both the coffee and the
cinnamon roll from my hands before helping me up. “Hi, Hayden. This will come
as a bit of a shock to you, but you stick out like a sore thumb.”
I snapped the seat belt into the buckle. “I do not! I was
inconspicuous.”
He put the truck in reverse just as the first drops of rain
began to fall on the windshield. “You were about as inconspicuous as a beer
vendor at an AA meeting. And what the fuck was that cat food conversation?”
“You told me to be myself!” I bit out.
“Yeah,” he agreed before merging into traffic. “That was a
mistake.”
“You coming back to life was a mistake,” I muttered to the
passenger side window.
He prodded. “C’mon, Hayden. Surely you know that this
operation failed miserably?”
Why couldn’t he have been hideous? At least then the
exterior would’ve matched the interior.
“Any good stalker worth their salt is gonna stake out the
parking lot. So, probably. Maybe. Alright, fine. Yes. There’s a very good
chance that if someone was watching, they probably saw us together. It’s mostly
my fault.”
“Mostly?” Jake asked, with a quirked brow.
“Yeah, I wasn’t thinking this morning and I put on my oil
spray.”
He stopped at a red light and turned toward me. “You put on
oil spray.” His speech was slow and measured like I’d suddenly stopped speaking
English. “What does that mean exactly?”
“Oh, I’m an empath, so if I don’t use my spray every
morning, I am drained by lunch. You know, it gets way too people-y out there.”
Instead of agreeing, Jake signaled and pulled into a gas
station. “Hayden, I didn’t understand two words of what you just said. What the
fuck is an empath and how does oil spray factor into this investigation?”
Seriously? What planet was he living on that he didn’t
know about oils and empaths?
“My spray repels negative energy, so it’s a protective
measure. It blocks any energy attacks and keeps me running on a full tank. It’s
vital when I’m in writing mode.”
His eyebrows lifted. “So, let me get this straight; the
spray kept the stalker away?”
“Not exactly,” I admitted with a sigh. “I have my crystals
too. I swear, I didn’t even think about it being a problem. It’s just a habit
to keep them in my purse. I mean, it’s not like I typically go out in search of
negativity.”
He shook his head. “So, the crystals and sprays keep you
safe from the bad people?”
Finally.
“Yes,” I nodded happily. “And, with the work that you do,
you could really benefit from it. I’d start small. Maybe keep some black
tourmaline in your truck and house. Oh, amethyst would be a good one for you;
they work as both a protector and a stress reliever. It’d definitely make
things more bearable for you at work. Hematite’s another—”
“Sweetheart, there’s not enough oils and crystals in the
world to make some people bearable. Do you catch what I’m saying?”
I opened my mouth to respond, but only managed a growl. The
back of my eyelids burned and I knew that if I tried to talk, it’d just come
out as a sob. That, in turn, would just freak Jake out completely.
I hated that about myself. Other people got mad and spoke
their minds. Me? I cried and babbled incoherently. 
Aaris once informed me that I got ‘wet angry.’ According to
her, the majority of my emotions, including anger, were expressed through
tears. Aaris? She was in a separate category known as ‘dry angry.’ She
expressed her anger like anger—it both amazed and scared the hell out of me.
We drove in silence for about ten minutes before he asked,
“What are you thinking?”
I turned away from watching the raindrops race each other
across the window to answer. “I was just thinking that thirty stories wasn’t
high enough.”
Author Bio
Shannon is a born and raised Texan. She grew up inventing
clever stories, usually to get herself out of trouble. Her mother was not
amused. In junior high, she began writing fractured fairy tales from the
villain’s point of view and that was the moment she knew that she was going to
use her powers for evil instead of good.
In 2003, she moved to Denver and met the love of her life.
After some relentless stalking and a few well-timed sarcastic remarks, the man
eventually gave in to her charms and wifed her so hard. They welcomed a son in
2007 that they named after their favorite Marvel superhero, Spiderman. 
Sick of seeing beautiful mountains through their window
every day, the three escaped back to the desolate landscape of the west Texas
desert in 2009. She welcomed her second son not long after and soon realized
that being surrounded by three men was nothing at all like she’d imagined in
her fantasies.
After an unplanned surgery in 2014 and a long pity party,
she decided to pen a novel about the worst thing that could happen to a person
in order to cheer herself up. She’s twisted like that. Thus, From This Day
Forward was born and the rest, as they say, is history.
Not only does Shannon enjoy stalking people, she also has a
fondness for being stalked. Visit her at www.shannonshaemyers.com to
keep up with her latest schemes and shenanigans.
Author Links