HOWLoween Blog Hop: Paranormal Couples ~ #HopswithHeart

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Welcome to the HOWLoween Blog Hop Giveaway, hosted by Hops with Heart ~

Featuring a $50 giftcard grand prize, and an additional giveaway at every stop!

For this giveaway, I’m talking about some the couples of paranormal romance–in particular, the couples I love to love! Then I’m giving away a new release from Entangled Publishing’s Covet line (paranormal romance FTW!). So be sure to check out my post, tell me who your favorite paranormal couple is (it’s on the Rafflecopter!), enter to win my giveaway, enter to win the Grand Prize Giveaway, and HOP!

Paranormal Couples

I love urban fantasy and paranormal romance–they’re by far my favorite books, and I always have a hard time narrowing down my favorite couples! So instead of ranking them, I’m simply going to share them:

 

Kate and Curran

A bad-ass, sword-wielding, magic user and her shapeshifting lion lover in a magic-ravaged Atlanta? Yes, please!

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Jessie and Lukas

He’s hot as sin–literally, as he’s the embodiment of one of the Seven Deadlies–and she’s a snarky teenager. Fun!

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Deuce and Fade

She’s a Hunter from an underground society; he’s an outcast from aboveground–together, they fight to save all of humankind. *happy sigh*

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Cami and Reese

A hot cowboy vampire and an undercover Dallas detective. Mmmm. . . . :)

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Blog Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Grand Prize Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Grand Prize Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/3ad276f821/

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HOP to the participating blogs: 

http://www.hopswithheart.blogspot.com/2014/10/howloween-hop.html

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Hop Hosted by: http://www.hopswithheart.blogspot.com/

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Spotlight On: Midway, by Melanie Karsak + Giveaway ~ #zombies

 

 

***Midway is a tie-in novella that complements The Harvesting, Book I in The Harvesting Series.***

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, for the beginning of the end.

Carnie. Ride jockey. Roustabout. White trash. Tilt girl. Gypsy.

Cricket has been called a lot of things, but she never thought survivor of the zombie apocalypse would be one of them. One day she’s barking on the midway, and the next day, the world is eating itself alive. Cricket, along with Vella, a tarot reader, and Puck, Cricket’s mangy mutt, find themselves running for their lives, but where can you hide when mankind has fallen? Cricket will need help if she hopes to survive.

Luckily for her, we were never really alone, and apparently, magical forces want to keep this tilt girl alive.

Enter to Win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Author Bio:

Melanie Karsak is the author of the Amazon best-selling steampunk series The Airship Racing Chronicles (Chasing the Star Garden and Chasing the Green Fairy) and the award-winning horror/dark fantasy Harvesting Series. She grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania and earned a Master’s degree in English from Gannon University. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and zombie whisperer, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

Connect with me online:

For free short stories, VIP sneak peeks, giveaways, release information, and more, join my newsletter: http://eepurl.com/OSPDH Blog: http://melaniekarsak.blogspot.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMelanieKarsak Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/melaniekarsak/

Midway

Chapter 1

 

“Tilt-a-whirl, tilt-a-whirl, tilt-a-whirl! Come on ride my tilt-a-whirl! I’ll whirl you round the world,” I barked to the mostly empty aisles at the Allegheny Fairgrounds.

I looked up and down the aisles. The place was like a ghost town. While bags of pink and blue cotton candy hung in the food joints, cherry red candy apples glistened in the sunlight, and over-grown stuffed purple monkeys hung at the game booths, ripe for winning, no one was around to stuff themselves with carnie delights. The smell of kettle corn still perfumed the air, but for a carnival that was usually packed with excited townies, I swore I wouldn’t be surprised if a tumbleweed blew down the row.

After a bit, two young boys came up to my line. They were the only kids around. The older looked to be about twelve. The younger, a good two inches under my height bar, had pulled himself up to full height and tried not to meet my eyes.

“Tickets,” I said to them.

Confidently, the older boy handed me his ticket and passed through. The younger boy hesitated. Guessing he’d be all right, I let him through. The older boy slapped him a high five when they thought they were out of earshot.

I turned the key and started the ride. The boys smiled at me. I waved to them.

“Hey Cricket,” Harv, the balloon-pop agent across the aisle, called to me. “Where is everyone? Allegheny Fairgrounds is usually packed. I’m gonna go hungry.”

I leaned over the gate and twirled my blonde braid, checking out the split ends. “I heard someone say it’s the flu keepin’ people home. You know they closed LAX? I hear it’s gettin’ real serious. You get a flu shot?”

“Naa. Damned thing always gives me the flu. You know, Bud’s got it. He’s been laid up in his RV all day.”

“Anyone been by to see him?”

Harv shrugged. “He’s grouchy when he feels good. I don’t imagine he’d be a barrel of laughs when he’s sick.”

“No man is. Even the common cold has you all actin’ like a bunch of babies.”

“This coming from a blonde,” Harv replied with a laugh.

“You better watch yourself. I’ll come pop your balloons.”

“Baby, a grenade couldn’t pop those balloons,” he said with a laugh.

I turned back to the boys. They were all smiles; round and round they spun. Since no one else was around, I let it run until they signaled they’d had enough.

Around nine o’clock that night, the owner, Mr. Marx, came by. I had not seen a soul on the fairway since the boys left. “Sorry, Cricket. We’re going to teardown to get ready for the jump to Cincinnati. We’re just burning juice and not making a dime. This place is dead; not a soul here.”

“All right then,” I replied, and Mr. Marx wandered off. I realized he hadn’t said a word about when he would pay us for Allegheny Fairgrounds, dead or not.

Moments after he left, the first of the evening fireworks shot across the sky. The dark sky was illuminated with gold and pink. I waited for a moment, expecting to hear the excited oohs and ahhs that usually followed what was a pretty measly fireworks display, but there was nothing, just the pop and crackle of the fireworks, followed by silence. Eerie.

I whistled for Puck, my mangy mixed breed and the only male I swore I would ever truly love. After a few minutes, the hound-shepherd mix with honey-colored eyes appeared looking dirty and happy. I found him about a year ago. Well, actually, he’d found me. We were getting ready to leave Crawford County Fairgrounds when he showed up at the tilt begging for scraps. I made the mistake of feeding him a leftover funnel cake, and after that, I couldn’t shake him. He was a mischievous little devil, and Vella, the tarot reader, gave me the idea for his name: Puck. She said it was the name of a rascally faerie creature. It fit him. From that moment on, Puck and I were always together. More than once, a growl and flash of teeth from Puck had gotten me out of a jam. I loved that mangy mutt.

“Up to no good, were ya?” I asked, scratching him on the head. He licked my hand and wagged his tail. I closed up my till and headed to the bunk house to look for some extra muscle to help with the teardown. As I passed through the midway I saw most of the other joints and booths were already closed. Mama Rosie was just closing up the snake show when I came by.

“Marx closed down everyone up here already?” I asked her.

“They’re all sick, Sug,” she replied as she dropped one of her small snakes into her bra. I shivered. Everyone loved Mama Rosie, but no one understood her relationship with her babies. She always had one hanging out of her bra, hanging around her neck, or stuffed in her clothes. Mama was a big woman who liked to wear baggy, loud-colored gowns. I hated sitting next to her at dinner. You never knew when one of the babies might suddenly slither out of her hibiscus-print dress.

I set my box down and helped her push the trailer door closed. “How about you, Mama? You feelin’ all right?”

“I think I ate something bad at lunch, but I’ll be fine. You headed back to the bunks?”

“I guess. I was hopin’ Beau and the boys would come give me a hand.”

“Sug, Beau would give you a hand, arm, leg, or toe if you asked. Why don’t you give that boy a chance?”

“Oh, Mama Rosie, I don’t feel nothin’ like that for him.”

“But you run off with townies often enough.”

“Well, we all have needs.”

Mama Rosie laughed loud. “You got that right. I thought maybe you were hoping someone would marry you out of the life.”

“And give up all this?”

Mama Rosie hooted again, her boisterous laughter filling the empty aisles.

While the smell of Chinese food, funnel cakes, and fried sausage still filled the air, there was no one around. Power was still on, so the midway sparkled in a rainbow of light, but the place was like a ghost town. I had never seen it like that, and since I’d practically grown up in the carnival, that was saying something. Several game booth agents had even left their plush hanging—now that was odd.

As Mama and I passed by Iago’s Traveling Torture show, Mr. Iago came out. I winced. After three years of traveling with Great Explorations carnival, I had yet to warm up to Mr. Iago. His show was creepy. I’d once had a look inside. The place was hung with all kinds of pictures of people being tortured, and he had old torture devices like the rack, an iron maiden, a wheel of fortune, and other small harmful contraptions. Mr. Iago was as creepy as his show. On the outside he looked normal enough, just a funny-looking little bald man with too-big-ears and a pointed nose, but it was what I felt coming from inside him that set me on edge. I never looked him in the eye.

“Mama Rosie, Cricket,” he called politely.

“You headed back too, Mr. Iago?” Mama called cheerfully.

“Yes, ma’am, I am,” he replied softly.

“You make any scratch today?” Mama asked him.

“Well, I don’t like to discuss finances,” he told her in his quiet manner.

“He don’t like to discuss finances,” Mama said mockingly to me. “All right, Mr. Iago. You just go on with yourself then.”

“No offense, Mama Rosie,” he replied quietly.

“Of course not,” she said and rolled her eyes at me.

When we got back to the bunk houses there were half a dozen people sitting outside at a picnic table listening to the radio. I spotted Mr. and Mrs. Chapman. They owned three of the grab joints; Mrs. Chapman waved to us. She was a biblical woman whose savory corndog breading had won top prize at a competition last year. If you didn’t mind hearing her recite verse all day, she was fine to be around. Red and Neil, two ride jockeys, were there as well. Red ran Big Eli; Neil ran the swings. The resident lot lizard, Cici, was snuggled up to Red. I was surprised to see Vella there as well. Vella, the tarot reader, was a Romanian immigrant who called herself the only authentic Roma, which she said meant gypsy, in America. Even though she was just a little older than me, Vella scared me. She’d never done anything to me and was really nice, but she scared me all the same. The others said she was dead-on accurate with her readings and often had bad news to give. I didn’t want to be around anything like that.

“What’s the news?” Mama Rosie asked.

“Lord, help us! This flu is something else. They have quarantined almost every city on the west coast: LA, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco. . .you name it. They got the national guard on the highways keeping people out,” Mrs. Chapman said.

She was quiet then. We listened: “And inside Portland Central Hospital, military personnel have opened fire on seemingly-rabid patients,” a female reporter was saying. “Reports from the scene indicate that a riot broke out at the hospital when patients, suffering from side-effects of what now seems to be a pandemic flu, began attacking other hospital patients and employees. CDC officials have confirmed that increased violence appears to be associated with the afflicted and continue to advise everyone to avoid direct physical contact with those with the illness. Martial law has been instituted in all major west coast cities and cities across the south. Cities across the northeast and central US have issued a curfew. There have been reports of runs on banks, grocery stores, and fueling stations.”

“What are they sayin’ on TV?” I asked.

Red shook his head. “We can’t get a signal in. No one’s dishes are working.”

“President was on the radio. Told everyone to be calm,” Cici said.

“Easy for him to say. They probably got him stashed in a bunker somewhere,” Mr. Chapman replied.

“Highways are gonna be backed up. And nobody’s gonna be interested in a fair, not at Allegheny and not in Cincinnati. But I bet if we don’t jump, Marx is gonna stiff us,” I told the others.

They nodded.

“Well, if y’all will give me a hand, I’ll pay back the favor,” I told Red and Neil.

“No problem, Cricket. You see Beau around?”

I shook my head. “I just came lookin’ for him.”

“He’s sick,” Vella said. She rarely spoke, so when she did, we all turned to her. “Leave him be,” she added, her voice still thick with her Romanian accent.

Vella had been shuffling her cards the whole time we’d been listening to the radio. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who noticed.

“What do the cards say about this flu, Vella? Should we hit the road? Stay put?” Mama Rosie asked.

“Devil’s work,” Mrs. Chapman whispered under her breath.

“They say the same thing over and over again: the Tower.” She laid out a card for us to see.

When Mr. Iago leaned in to look, I moved away. My skin crawled having him so close. I took a step toward the other end of the table and put my hand on Mrs. Chapman’s shoulder. She patted my fingers. On the card Vella had laid out was the image of a tower on fire, two naked people falling from it to the ground.

“What does it mean?” Mama Rosie asked.

“The end of a way of life. Chaos will pave the way in a new world for those who can survive the destruction.”

“That’s cheerful,” Red said.

Vella picked the card back up. She looked up at me. “Can you let me know when you’re going to head out? I’d like to caravan.”

I smiled and nodded. I wasn’t really interested in her gloom and doom, but I sure didn’t want to be on the road alone in a time like this.

Red, Neil, and I headed back to the rides and started the breakdown process. It wasn’t easy with just the three of us, but Neil was good with the lift, and I had the breakdown down-pat. We had the tilt loaded onto the flatbed in no time.

“I’ve never seen a girl as good with a wrench as you are, Cricket,” Red told me as we headed over to the swings.

“Don’t hurt none that my daddy put one in my hand about a minute after I was born,” I replied with a laugh.

“I met your daddy back in the 80s. We worked Maverick Carnival together for about a year.”

“For real? I didn’t know that.”

“Boy, your daddy, there wasn’t a mark he couldn’t clean out or a townie whose eye he couldn’t catch. I think your daddy was born for the carnie life.”

“He loved it. That’s the truth,” I replied. I loved talking about my daddy. Since he’d died three years ago, I felt so lonely for him. Anytime someone had a story to share about him I was all ears.

Daddy had just finally saved and borrowed enough to buy a used tilt-a-whirl when he started looking a little red in the cheeks from time to time. My daddy had always been a ride jockey, but now he would be a ride owner, and a “tilt man,” a title that made him proud. He liked the idea of tweaking the ride, playing with the gears and brakes. It was a dream for him. Not a month after getting the ride, however, I found him lying dead of a heart attack. He’d been working on one of the cars. Doctor said a life full of eating nothing but carnival food will do that to you. I’d thought about leaving the carnival, but after my daddy had worked so hard, I couldn’t. I became a tilt girl. The ride was like his living memorial. Every time a child smiled or laughed on that ride, I knew my daddy was smiling in heaven.

“I never did meet your mama,” Red told me then turned to Neil. “You ever meet her?”

Neil shook his head. “Someone said you look like her, Crick.”

“Yeah, I suppose so. I probably wouldn’t know her anymore. Last time I talked to her she said she’d dyed her hair red,” I replied. My mom and dad had split when I was young. She had married and started a new life. We rarely talked. She was like a stranger to me. I didn’t think on her much.

We worked on the swings. They were an easy break down, and we were done and packed in less than two hours. The Big Eli, as we called the Ferris Wheel, was another story altogether, and it was already after one in the morning.

“Let’s get it first thing tomorrow,” Red said. “I’m feeling my bones.”

Relieved, I nodded. I didn’t want the boys to know, but every muscle in my body was aching, and Puck had started whining for his dinner an hour before. I wasn’t going to argue. “Just knock in the mornin’,” I called to Red. “I’m over by the creek at the edge of the west parking lot. Wasn’t room left in the back when I got here,” I added.

“Well, that will teach you not to play around in town next jump,” Red replied with a laugh, and we went our separate ways, Neil and Red chatting as they went the other direction.

Back in the parking lot, I crawled into the cab of my truck, my home away from home. When I was a game agent, I used to drive a small RV, but I needed a semi to haul the tilt so I gave up my RV, managed to get a CDL license, and now lived in the cab of my truck. It wasn’t too bad, and if it started to feel real tight, I would stay in the bunk house.

I dug around until I found a can of food for Puck. I placed a small bowl on the ground and sat beside him, petting him while he ate, looking at the view. My spot by the creek wasn’t bad. I could hear the sound of the rushing water. Besides, the parking lot was dead. There wouldn’t be any noise.

After Puck had gobbled down his meal, he jumped in the cab, and we snuggled together on the small cot behind the seat. I pulled the curtain closed, and we called it a night.

Book Hooks: Taming the Country Star by Margo Bond Collins ~ #MFRWhooks

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Taming the Country Star by Margo Bond Collins

Country star Cole Grayson is in town, and Kylie Andrews is less than thrilled. As if months of changing the radio station and tearing down his posters weren’t bad enough, now she has to deal with a town of fans swarming toward the man who deceived her the year before. But when Kylie’s eyes meet Cole’s again, she can’t deny the electric chemistry that drew her to him the first time around.

Cole Grayson is on a mission. Ever since Kylie left him, he hasn’t been able to forget her sweet country smile. After writing a song just for her, he sets off for her hometown to prove he’s not the player she thinks he is. But as much as Cole can’t forget her, Kylie wonders if she can forgive him…

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Excerpt

“Bastard,” she whispered to herself, and ripped the poster off the wall.

At least, she tried to. It was thicker than she had expected, attached more firmly, and it resisted her pull.

Chewing on her lip, she took another look around, dropped her bag to the ground, and reached up to grasp the edge with both fists, jerking at it in opposite directions. A tiny tear opened up along the side, and she yanked harder. Finally, the poster ripped—right across Cole Grayson’s lying eyes.

She tugged at the image some more, glancing around surreptitiously every few moments and dropping ragged pieces of paper on the ground at her feet, until there was nothing left on the wall but a few fluttering strips.

Gathering the mutilated shreds together, she opened her bag and shoved them inside until they overflowed, bright ribbons of color in the morning light.

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HOP!

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Book Trailer

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Buy Links

Kindle US: http://www.amazon.com/Taming-Country-Star-Hometown-Entangled-ebook/dp/B00KK4DORC/

Nook US: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/taming-the-country-star-margo-bond-collins/1119610297?ean=9781622661664

Kindle Worldwide: http://bookShow.me/B00KK4DORC

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About the Author

Margo Bond Collins is the author of contemporary romance, urban fantasy, and paranormal mysteries. She has published a number of novels, including Taming the Country Star, Legally Undead, Waking Up Dead, and Fairy, Texas. She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. Although writing fiction is her first love, she also teaches college-level English courses online. She enjoys reading romance and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about heroes, monsters, cowboys, and villains, and the strong women who love them (and sometimes fight them). She currently writes for Entangled’s Red-Hot Bliss line.

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Connect with Margo

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/margobondcollins
Email: MargoBondCollins@gmail.com
Website: http://www.MargoBondCollins.net
Blog: http://www.MargoBondCollins.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin @MargoBondCollin
Google+: https://plus.google.com/116484555448104519902
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mbondcollins/

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Spotlight On: FULL CONTACT by Sidney Halston

Title: Full Contact

Author: Sidney Halston
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
SeriesWorth the Fight #2
Expected Publication: October 28th, 2014 by Loveswept

Sidney Halston returns to steamy Tarpon Springs, Florida, where a hell-raising bad boy prepares to get down and dirty for the woman he loves.

How could she have been so stupid? When Jessica Cross decides to give her violently jealous boyfriend—the otherwise influential and charming Dennis Stavros—a second chance, she very nearly becomes a statistic. After weeks of healing from a broken rib and collapsed lung, and with Dennis behind bars, Jessica finally feels ready to come out of hiding. But will she ever be able to take a chance on love again with someone new?

Mixed martial arts fighter Slade Martin knows he has a bad reputation. Hell, he’s probably earned it. So it won’t be easy to convince beautiful, vulnerable Jessica that she can trust him—that from the moment she walked into his life, she’s been the only one he’s wanted. Powerful and confident, Slade knows he can honor his vow to protect Jessica body and soul. Winning her heart will be another matter . . . but a woman like Jessica is worth the fight.

Pre-Order
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Excerpt

       “I’ve wanted to kiss you for months. I kiss you and you taste like Goddamn strawberries! I fuckin’ love strawberries. I want to eat you, do you understand? Your mouth…I want it.”
       “I’ve been waiting hours for that mouth of yours. You look so good, and I’m pretty sure you’re wearing something underneath that dress that’s going to drive me crazy later, so, don’t fuck around with me. I want your mouth.” He demanded. His smile was gone, replaced by heated eyes.
       “I’m going to kiss you now, Jessica. Really kiss you. Do you understand?” She didn’t answer. She didn’t have to. The fact that her tongue involuntarily shot out to moisten her bottom lip was response enough. “Give me your mouth, baby.”
       How was he supposed to get on with his life when he was so completely in love with someone who didn’t feel the same way?  How did one fall out of love? Because, that’s exactly what he needed to do in order to move on with his life.

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About Sidney

USA Today Bestselling author, Sidney Halston lives her life with one simple rule: “Just Do It” Nike.
And that’s exactly what she did. After working hard as an attorney, Sidney picked up a pen for the first time at thirty years old to begin her dream of writing. Having never written anything other than very exciting legal briefs, she found an outlet for her imaginative romantic side and wrote the successful New Adult series, Seeing Red and Seeing Black. That first pen stroke sealed the deal and she fell in love with writing. Currently on sale is the bestselling contemporary romance, Against the Cage and soon to be released Full Contact, the second of the Worth the Fight series.
Sidney lives in South Florida with her husband and children. She loves her family above all else, and reading follows a close second. When she’s not writing you can find her reading and reading and reading…  She’s a reader first and foremost.When she’s not writing or reading her life is complete and utter chaos trying to balance family life with work, and writing (and reading). But she wouldn’t have it any other way., she found an outlet for her imaginative romantic side and wrote Seeing Red, among four other novels currently in the works, including the sequel to Seeing Red. That first pen stroke sealed the deal and she fell in love with writing.


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Giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spotlight On: DORIANNA by CATHERINE STINE

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DORIANNA
Catherine Stine
Contemporary/Paranormal Teen Romance
Released October 24, 2014
Internet followers, beauty, power. It all sounded good. Until
it transformed into a terrifying reality Dorianna couldn’t stop.
 
When her father is jailed, her mother ships Dorianna to her
aunt’s house. Dorianna yearns to build a new identity, but the popular Lacey
bullies her—mostly for getting attention from her ex, Ander.
Ander takes Dorianna to Coney Island where Wilson, a
videographer, creates a stunning compilation of her. She dreams of being an
online sensation, tired of being plain and lonely, and vows she’d give anything
to go viral. Wilson claims he’s the Prince of Darkness and offers her the
beauty and fame she’s dreamed of—warning her that a pledge has its downsides.  Dorianna
has no idea of how dire those consequences might be.
Buy links:  Evernight Teen    Amazon       
Excerpt:
On the way to my new school, I catch a glimpse of my face
in a shop mirror. Even though I hate mirrors, I force myself to look. No one
needs to remind me I’m plain.
Leaning forward, I examine my pale skin with its tracery
of blue underneath. It looks like granny spider veins. And I never smile all
the way. That would expose my wonky teeth—one front tooth slightly over the
other. 
My hair’s limp, but it’s auburn with peachy highlights.
I’ve got that going for me, at least. Lifting up a lock, I admire its warm glow
in the September sun. And there’s still a hint of eagerness in my eyes––they
haven’t knocked that out of me. It’s hope, whispering, “Maybe this place will
be different. Maybe they won’t walk past me as if I’m floating dust.”
I’ve been here in Brooklyn for four days, shuffled away
from family chaos to my Aunt Carol’s house. She’s nice so far, but I don’t
really know her. It’s too bad we could never afford to fly east for family
reunions. I do know she’s a fundraiser for a public radio station, and owns one
floor in a brownstone. And that she eats vegetarian, and neatly folds the
nubbly throws on her earth-tone Pottery Barn couch.
And she’s the sister of my screw-up father.
I’m not sorry I left Wabash. School there was a train
wreck. It got so lonely, watching the reigning couples kissing their way down
the halls. I wanted someone’s arms around me, too, or at least another good
friend after Jen. But it wasn’t meant to be, after gossip spread that my father
was sent to jail for committing moral turpitude. My mom took to her bed, and I
took over. We were struck with loss and horror and shock all at once. Mom
needed me last spring. I tried to help in any way I could, until she insisted
that I needed a total break from the family. Or was it Mom who needed the
break?
I’m going to suck it up. I am. If she needs
the break, she can have it. Maybe I need one, too. I’m determined to pump
myself up to face a different army of kids.
Ambling down Montague Street, past the cute boutiques, I
soak in the balmy September sun and survey my new stomping grounds. These
Brooklyn streets are as delicious as strawberry shortcake. The narrow shops are
a wonder of necklaces, handmade with glass bits and bottle tops, and leafy
bracelets fashioned from green computer chips.
The caffeine-laced scents wafting from the cyber café draw
me in. As I walk by, I sneak looks at the lean, fox-quick boys with scruffy
hair, low-slung belts, and tees that read Neon Pandas and Oubliettes
of Onyx
. Bands I’ve never heard of, since out in Hoosier Land they mostly
play country music.
I smile, picturing myself talking to a slinky boy who
makes me my very own playlist—he’d call it Songs for a Brooklyn Beauty. A
girl can dream, right?
Turning down Court Street, a woman breezes past me in a
black jumpsuit. Another dramatic beauty in thigh-high boots floats by, with two
dachshunds tugging against their pink leashes. As I glance back at her, I
imagine her working as a Broadway actress, dancing across a stage in those
fancy boots.
Just then, one of her dogs works free of her grasp, and
streaks into the street. “Hey!” I call. “Hey, pup!” I dash after it, grab the
pink leather strap, and coax it back toward the curb as a bakery van careens
around the corner, the driver pounding on his horn.
The booted lady runs over to me. “Thanks so much!” she
says, breathless.
“Happy to help. Couldn’t let your sweet dog be hit.” Our
eyes meet as I hand her the leash, and her smile touches me. I watch for
another moment as she walks demurely on.
Everything here vibrates with possibility, if I block out
my dread of school. It’s my chance to figure out who I want to be, which I
couldn’t quite do back home. I can’t wait to let my old, stale-kernel life rot
on the vine, and start over.
Reading the sign on a red colonial stone building, I sway
with sudden trepidation: School. Ivy sprints up its scholarly walls, and its
walkway is marked with marble planters. Each one bursts with purple
chrysanthemums, as if this is the cheeriest high school ever. I’m here, no
turning back. Look, you’re smart, I tell myself, you tested in and
even got a scholarship here. Maybe private school kids are easier on new
students. Unlikely, but I’ll give it my best.
Author Bio:

15.00

Catherine
Stine’s YA novels span the range from science fiction to dark fantasy to modern
horror. Her futuristic thriller, Fireseed One was a finalist in YA and SF in
the USA News International Book Awards and an Indie Reader Approved notable.
Its companion novel, Ruby’s Fire was a finalist in the Next Generation Indie
Awards. She also writes new adult fiction as Kitsy Clare, and her Art of Love
series (Model Position and Private Internship) is about Sienna’s artistic
perils in NYC. Her YA paranormal, Dorianna is her new YA horror from Evernight
Teen. Catherine’s love of dark fantasy came from her father reading Edgar Allen
Poe to her when she was a child. She was also addicted to science fiction as a
teen. The freakier the better! She teaches workshops in writing speculative
fiction and is a member of RWA, SFWA and SCBWI.

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Giveaway
Ebook of
DORIANNA
Signed paperback
of DORIANNA
V-neck
Dorianna Playing with Fire T-shirt(L fitted)
~up to
25-page manuscript evaluation from Catherine
On any YA or
NA novel in progress ~
$25 Amazon
Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Waking Up Dead by Margo Bond Collins, only $.99 for Halloween!

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When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to heaven, or maybe hell. Instead, when she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex, she went to Alabama. Now she’s witnessed another murder, and she’s not about to let this one go. She’s determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up dead in Alabama?

Excerpt

When I died, I expected to go to heaven.

Okay. Maybe hell. It’s not like I was perfect or anything. But I was sort of hoping for heaven.

Instead, I went to Alabama.

Yeah. I know. It’s weird.

I died in Dallas, my hometown. I was killed, actually. Murdered. I’ll spare you the gruesome details. I don’t like to remember them myself. Some jerk with a knife–and probably a Bad-Mommy complex. Believe me, if I knew where he was, I’d go haunt his ass.

At any rate, by the time death came, I was ready for it–ready to stop hurting, ready to let go. I didn’t even fight it.

And then I woke up dead in Alabama. Talk about pissed off.

You know, even reincarnation would have been fine with me–I could have started over, clean slate and all that. Human, cow, bug. Whatever. But no. I ended up haunting someplace I’d never even been.

That’s not the way it’s supposed to work, right? Ghosts are supposed to be the tortured spirits of those who cannot let go of their earthly existence. If they could be convinced to follow the light, they’d leave behind said earthly existence and quit scaring the bejesus out of the poor folks who run across them. That’s what all those “ghost hunter” shows on television tell us.

Let me tell you something. The living don’t know jack about the dead.

Not this dead chick, anyway.

 

_____________________________________________

Check out more Halloween reads from Solstice Publishing!

 

Cover Reveal: It’s Just Love, Not A Time Bomb by Dawn Martens

Author: Dawn Martens
Genre: Romance/Comedy
Release Date: December 1st 2014
 
 

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Synopsis:

This book is a Romantic Comedy, but still should not be read by those under 18.

When Jordan moves in with his friend’s cousin, he thinks things will be easy. Yeah, screw that. The woman is a pain in his ass from the start, giving him whiplash with her hot and cold act. Still, Jordan can’t help wanting Alix—even if he does spend half the time trying to decide if he wants to kiss her senseless or choke her.

For Alix, men are worthless jerks. She’s made a vow to steer clear of relationships, but the moment Jordan pushes his way into her life, her vow is shot all to hell. Every attempt at avoiding the cocky bastard ends in tangled sheets and Alix wanting to kill the man. But she wants him, more than she cares to admit.

Will this jaded couple give into their feelings? After all, it’s Just Love, Not a Time bomb.

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About The Author:

Dawn Martens is a young, spunky Canadian Author, who is known for her best-selling “Renegade Sons MC” series that she co-authored with Author Emily Minton. Being a wife to Colin, and a mother to three beautiful little girls (Sarah (2007), Grace (2010), and Ava (2014)) hasn’t stopped this Canadian Firecracker from pursuing her dreams of becoming a writer! Dawn’s number one passion in life is the written word, and she’s extremely thankful that she has to ability to share the ramblings from the characters inside of her head with the rest of the world! She also may or may not have the hugest girl crush on Author Kristen Ashley, who is her personal idol and helped inspire Dawn in the beginning of her Indie career.

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