Thursday, December 31, 2015

Elice Weld shielded her eyes and watched the ground fog rising in the distance. The Gift by Christine Young

The Gift
Christine Young
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1


This story is straight from the heart. Told in a passive voice and as a first person account through Elice and Micha's eyes. Their thoughts tug your heartstings. Their memory of their past life, the war and of course the present. They never fell out of love but exhuming those feelings hurt. They also had to face the consequences of their actions when an unexpected visitor arrived in their plantation home. Elice and Micha found out that in war, there is something worst than death and it is cowardice.


A man and a woman on opposite sides of the Civil War get a second chance at love after one final battle returns soldiers to their war-torn homes to rebuild their lives.


"Get in the house, now!"


Elice Weld shielded her eyes and watched the ground fog rising in the distance. She didn't know what was coming her way, but she could guess. The rumors that a Union cavalry unit was in the vicinity had spread like a wildfire on a Kansas prairie.

Rain had fallen all morning. Now the clouds had separated, and the sun heated the earth, causing the evaporation of the water-soaked ground. The cavalry rode through the mist like dark, avenging wraiths bent on the destruction of all mankind. She could see seven men silhouetted on the horizon.

"Izzy, go." Elice didn't want to frighten her daughter but the urgency of the moment could not be denied.

"But mama?"

"Go to the cellar. Now."

"It's dark."

Izzy's voice echoed in Elice's head, filling her with a wild panic she didn't know how to stop. Every time soldiers approached she was terrified. The last four years had been the longest years of her life. "Do as I say, quickly." Elice hugged her daughter, turning her at the same moment and with a gentle shove sent her through the open door of her house.


Elice knew the panic in her voice would mobilize her young daughter. She despised the fear and the terror. She loathed the war. She looked up. The fog was dissipating, and she could see the dark blue of the Union coats. She didn't have anything left for the soldiers to take. Good God, they'd taken everything already--everything save her daughter and her hope for the future.

She inhaled a quick breath then stood on the steps, hands folded together in front of her, watching the dark wraiths inch closer. She knew from experience she couldn't fight these men. She would do as they said and when they left, she would put the pieces of her life back together.

Until the next time…

"Mama," Elice jumped when her daughter tugged on her skirt before looking at her with sorrow-filled eyes. "Are the soldiers going to take my doll?"

"No," Elice ruffled her little girl's hair. "Go back inside. Go to the cellar and don't come out until I tell you it's safe."

"What about you?"

"I'll be fine." But Elice knew she might be lying to her child. She wasn't always fine when the soldiers invaded their home. "Now go and don't make me say it again. Stay there until I come for you."

Izzy nodded before she turned and walked through the parlor to the stairs leading to the cellar.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Lyonesse McKenna, was dreaming or was she? Sweet Talkin' Sugar by Christine Young

Title: Sweet Talkin' Sugar
Author: Christine Young
ISBN: 978-1-62420-243-8

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4

Barnes & Noble, All Romance ebooks

Lyonesse McKenna, was dreaming or was she? From the instant Lyn saw Deacon McClain across a black jack table in a crowed Las Vegas casino the unmistakable attraction sent Lyn’s senses flying into overdrive. Her family of shapeshiters believed in soul mates. She’d always been sceptical yet she couldn’t help but question the way her heart sped when he looked at her.

When Deacon appeared in Las Vegas he knew his first job was to save Lyn from a Sea Demon, but the next order of business was to convince her he would someday mean more to her than she’d ever expected. But her stubborn nature and unbendable spirit consumed Deacon...and he had to chase away all the demons real and imagined in order to win her heart.


In observation mode, he walked through the casino, hands in his pockets, listening and watching, his heart racing. Before the blackjack table at the end of the row, he paused to reflect and decide on a course of action. The air inside was sultry, hot and smoke-filled. He swept one hand through his damp hair, fresh from a summer rain. He forced his mind from the heat and the rancid smell of cigarettes, and with single-minded focus, stared at the table and the cards lying innocuously on the green felt.
The picture of cool calmness, she sat on a bar stool, a drink in hand and cards in the other, her legs crossed provocatively. Her daringly cut emerald V-neck dress didn't leave much to the imagination, but he forced his gaze to the man beyond who stared at her as if he owned her. Every hair on the back of his neck stood on end and a chill slivered down his spine, nerves on edge, muscles tensed. His brows furrowed when the man turned his attention, for one brief moment, his way.
The dealer gave her another card and she tipped one corner up to look at it then let it go. Her body language spoke volumes to him and he wondered if the dealer noticed too. The poker face she so obviously tried for was something she'd never possess.
Deacon McClain paused before settling on a bar stool across the table from her. He waited for the last hand to finish before placing his chips in front of him and nodding to the dealer he was ready to play. His fingers closed around his glass of whiskey as his heart thundered in his chest. She glanced his way, inquisitively cocking her head to one side before slanting him a sexy-as-hell-grin.
The grin sent a message that nearly catapulted him from his seat. Inhaling a deep breath to calm his splintering nerves, he turned his attention back to the cards he'd just been dealt. Not good, not good at all, he motioned for another, then sat back and gazed at Lyonesse. Lyn McKenna, the woman he'd been sent to find and bring home. He'd never believed this gig to be an easy one, but now he felt sure this might be his most difficult assignment of all. Her easy grin sent his heart into a tailspin and her long shapely legs were hard to ignore. What would happen if she gave him her full attention?
He'd lose all sense of perspective and balance.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Kaizen! That’s what Caitlin, JJ, Paul, and Tommy need--to change for the better. Tell Tale Tuesday ~ Ten Yen True by Amanda Armstrong.

Title: Ten Yen True
Author: Amanda Armstrong and Christina St. Clair
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1

Kaizen! That’s what Caitlin, JJ, Paul, and Tommy need--to change for the better. When they each mysteriously receive one of four ten yen coins, none of them know or understand why or where their journey is about to take them.

Ten Yen True intertwines the lives of four people, all of whom have need of one another to bring about healing and wholeness and are being mysteriously helped by a Japanese monk. It is a story of hope, love, forgiveness and miracles, exploring the spiritual and psychological underpinnings of the main characters, demonstrating the interconnectedness of human beings.

For many years the Monk sat beside the Ajiike pond in the early morning, as he did today, breathing in the peaceful settings of the Pure Land gardens. He inhaled deeply the fragrance of jasmine and lotus. The cool morning air refreshed him, soon the sun would rise in the sky and the day would become increasingly hot and humid.
Sometimes his meditation took an hour, maybe more, but always he sat here away from the others. Ordinarily he felt at peace with nature and with the world. Today, however, was different. Something churned inside him, causing his usual calm to be replaced by sorrow, making him feel restless and helpless.
He was angry at the awful atrocities of nature so recently bestowed upon his people. The tsunami, that powerful wave from a sea gone wild, was not so unusual here in Japan. This one had snatched away thousands of people, young and old, innocent babies and little creatures alike, leaving whole villages crushed. It seemed incomprehensible to him. The wave had severely damaged the nuclear power plants, but the damage from leaking radiation could not even be seen. No wonder he found himself questioning the unknown and unpredictable forces of the world.
In spite of his balanced spiritual state of mind, there was something more he did not understand about this latest tragedy. His wisdom and experience had taught him long ago the gods have a purpose and it must be accepted. However awful, it must never be challenged. This unrest in him refused to go away today though. He felt as if he were being confronted with an obligation to discover the reasons why the gods had become so angry.
Was this a test, a task? Desperately, the Monk tried to calm himself, struggling with the angry thoughts swirling around in his brain threatening to cut his conscious mind into shreds. What did the gods want of him?
A sudden breeze blew across the pond, startling the Monk. He smoothed his grey robes around his legs, wishing he could help even a few of the people in more tangible ways than merely through prayer and funeral rites. His eyelids closed. He resumed his steady breathing, trying to focus his mind within the chamber of his heart, trying to still the darts of anger. The sun's warmth upon his face belied a bone chilling cold creeping up his spine. Shivering, fearful, he looked skywards at rolling black clouds.
Hearing the swishing of robes, he turned to see a small dark boy standing behind him. He looked deep into those young black eyes and breathed in sharply, giving a slight nod to the child, indicating permission to communicate.
The boy knelt before the Monk, his head bowed, hands together in respectful prayer.
The Monk put out a gentle hand and placed it on the shaven head of the youngster. He closed his eyes, concentrating on giving spiritual energy and wisdom to this young one, but he felt power emanating from the child into his soul as well.
A roar of thunder came from the darkened skies and seemed to vibrate through his mind and his body. Lightning flashed striking the pond, igniting his awareness. At once, the Monk understood. He knew what he must do. He held out his hand to the boy, who wordlessly reached into the obi around his waist and handed the monk a silk pouch. The Monk knew without looking what was inside. Coins. Lucky ten yen pieces for those who received them. The recipients, though, would not understand or appreciate the gift they were going to receive.
The monk lowered his head, watching the boy slowly backing away, bowing until he disappeared behind sheets of rain splashing into the pond.
The Monk ignored the droplets streaming down his face and soaking through his robes. He carefully untied the drawstring of the pouch, emptying its contents into his hand: one, two, three, four coins. The Monk sighed. There would be four people he must select. He looked towards heaven and nodded to the gods. He slowly rose to his feet and waded through the pond's lapping waters on his way to Phoenix Hall. His feet hardly caused a ripple in the puddles, but his robes, like wicks, sopped up moisture, making him aware of his weighty responsibility. Amida, he knew, sitting calmly on his dais, his golden face shining expectantly awaited him.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Super-mom Tallie O'Shea took on eight adopted children and built a legacy of compassionate justice with her policeman husband Mystery Monday ~ Challenging the Legacy by Genie Gabriel

Genie Gabriel

Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1

Super-mom Tallie O'Shea took on eight adopted children and built a legacy of compassionate justice with her policeman husband. When he is gunned down, she doesn't think it's an accident. Then a former lover shows up and the lies from her past start unraveling. As dangers explode around her, can Tallie set things right before everything she loves is destroyed?


The pressure of Pierce's fingers on hers surprised Tallie. She knew speculation about the two of them had been raging through town since Pierce showed up the night Halo exploded. Fitting, it seemed, since his arrival and the news he was Marly's biological father had rocked the foundation of her world.

Events continued to unfold at a rapid pace, including the whirlwind courtship and marriage of her oldest son, Collin, and local café owner, Beth Boulanger. Tallie already loved Beth like a daughter, though she had questioned Collin about the haste of their wedding.

However, Beth glowed with innocent love as she walked down the aisle toward Collin. And Tallie had never seen her oldest son as happy as when he took Beth's hand and tucked it under his arm, then turned to face his brother, Patrick, who was performing the ceremony.

"Dearly beloved..."

What a difference the packed church was to the intimate setting when Tallie had married Bernie. Just the minister, his wife, and Bernie's uncle, along with Collin and Patrick, who were still wary little boys not believing they might actually have a loving home of their own.

Collin is so handsome. Just like Bernie was.

Tallie dabbed at her tears with a tissue. Bernie had worn a navy blue suit and starched white shirt. Tallie wore the new dress he insisted on buying for her and carried a bouquet of flowers--real ones--from the florist fifty miles away. The two boys were self-consciously silent in their borrowed suits and slicked-down hair.

 "This will be a real marriage." Bernie had told her when he proposed a union so the boys would have both an adoptive father and mother. "You decide when you're ready to be physically intimate. But I'll always be faithful to you."

Tallie touched the wedding ring still circling the third finger of her left hand. A ring that had belonged to Bernie's grandmother.

When they married, Bernie spoke his vows clearly and looked directly at her. In all their years of marriage, Tallie knew without a doubt Bernie had indeed been true to her. He never gave her reason to think anything else.

You would be so proud of your children, Bernie.

As she dabbed at her tears again, Pierce took Tallie's hand and smiled at her. What would her life have been if she had married Pierce? She would have missed out on all her children, as well as the courage that came with being part of Bernie's legacy. She might have become as bitter as Portia Stratford.

She had loved Pierce with a deep physical passion--in a different way than she loved Bernie. She and Bernie were partners, with a love that grew from shared respect and purpose. No matter the past and whatever the future might hold, Tallie was grateful she had her marriage with Bernie and the blessings of all her children.

Only time would tell if her relationship with Pierce would become more than being parents to Marly. Today, Tallie simply cherished this beautiful time of her oldest son marrying the woman he now gazed at with total devotion and love.