Thursday, July 27, 2017

Review: Killer Party by: Lynn Cahoon

Title: Killer Party
Author: Lynn Cahoon
Publisher: Kensington
Series: Tourist Trap Mystery #9
Pages: 188
Format: e-book ARC
Source: GEBT & NetGalley


For a gang of old college buddies, the quaint resort town of South Cove, California, is the perfect spot for a no-holds-barred bachelor party. But for Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books and More—this stag party is going to be murder . . .

After a few months of living with her boyfriend Greg, Jill is still getting used to sharing such close quarters, but she’s got no hesitation about joining him for a weekend at South Cove’s most luxurious resort. While Greg and his college pals celebrate their buddy’s upcoming wedding, Jill intends to pamper herself in style. But when the groom is found floating facedown in the pool, Jill must find the killer fast, or she might not have a boyfriend to come home to any more . . .

My Thoughts:

This book follows Greg and Jill as they are visiting The Castle for a weekend with Greg's college buddies as Levi is getting ready to get married to Jessica a beautiful Russian.  Jill tries to make the best of it as she doesn't know these people too well.  When something goes wrong and Levi winds up dead in the pool everyone is shocked and even worse Greg is removed from the case as being too close to the situation but Greg does the unthinkable and asks Jill to investigate the murder.  The other college buddies and their wives are unable to leave town until the murder is solved.

As Jill digs into the case she learns about things that happened years ago, and learns the latest shop owner a Russian Doll store the little girl initially seems to recognize Jessica but the owner is adament their is no connection.  But Jill also discovers the Doll Shop Owner visited Jessica after the death of Levi which makes Jill wonder if they are related.  Adding to the bizarre is who sponsored the owner's trip to the USA.  This book had so much going for it!

Of course Jill is also dealing with her best friend Amy and her Aunt planning their weddings and Jill can't understand why they have to over plan the weddings.  Even going so far as offering her aunt the money to elope in Las Vegas.

Will Jill figure out who killed Levi?  And whether it's connected to the doll shop owner?  How any of this pertains to Jessica the almost bride?

I love this series so much I have been following it since the first book and Ms. Cahoon is like a fine wine and gets better in every book.  This one followed more Greg and his friends and the things they have been up to and doing.  I really enjoyed watching as Jill tried to figure out what is going on with the murder of Greg's good friend Levi and his relationship with everyone.

Of course the side story was the various weddings that Jill is involved with between Amy and her Aunt Jackie it's a wonder if Jill is gonna drown in all the wedding details, which take a severe turn at the end.  Can't wait to see what is next in South Cove!

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Review: Summer on Firefly Lake by: Jen Gilroy

Title: Summer on Firefly Lake
Author: Jen Gilroy
Publisher: Forever
Series: Firefly Lake #2
Pages: 368
Format: e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley


 A Firefly Lake Novel

Sometimes love is better the second time around . . . 

Mia Gibbs spent her marriage putting her husband's needs before her own. And now, after a painful divorce, she's building a new life for herself and her two daughters back home at Firefly Lake. The last thing she needs is a man to complicate things. But former bad boy turned friend Nick McGuire-and the one kiss they've shared-has turned everything upside down . . .

Attorney Nick McGuire wasn't meant to be a family man. His career has always been his focus and after taking time out to help his mother, he's ready to get back to the city . . . until Mia and her daughters arrive at Firefly Lake. Mia is beautiful and intriguing, and it doesn't take long to realize being "just friends" will never be enough. As the summer nights turn colder, Nick will have to choose between the life he's always wanted . . . and the woman he can't live without.

My Thoughts:

In this book we follow Mia Gibbs whose recently divorced and is helping Gabrielle McGuire clean out her house getting ready to move atleast that's what Nick and his sisters want when Mia first begins but she learns quickly that Gabrielle isn't about to give up her house.  The last thing Mia counted on was Mia falling for Nick.  She had one date with Nick when she was a teen, but the date got cut short when Mia walked out on him.  Nick never knew why, but he finds out why in this book.

Nick McGuire thought he had it all figured out.  Being a lawyer not getting attached to any women after his failed marriage to Isobel.  What he didn't count on was Mia and the sparks that fire between each other.  Nick has convinced himself he's not worth alot when it comes to Mia or anyone else?

Also in this book is Kylie a foster kid who has had such a hard time floating from foster care to foster care unless of course she ran away.  She ends up at Camp Rainbow but it's not having a great affect on Kylie until she meets Mia and Nick.  Kylie connects with Nick on a level deeper than just a stranger.  He does what he can to help Kylie but can't help the bond he feels for her and the bond Kylie has for Mia and Mia's kids.

This book was fun reading it brough you in and wouldn't let you go no matter how hard you tried.  You felt like you were right along with everyone else in Firefly Lake.  Seeing Charlie's new baby, watching the characters you met in the first book continue in this book.  Definitely a great book up there with Sherryl Woods, and many others.  I can't wait for the next one to come out this one definitely had me hooked.  I'll be looking for other books by this author!


Author: Jen Gilroy
Series: Firefly Lake, #2
On Sale: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $7.99 USD
eBook: $6.99 USD
Audio: $21.98 USD

Sometimes love is better the second time around . . .

Mia Gibbs spent her marriage putting her husband's needs before her own. And now, after a painful divorce, she's building a new life for herself and her two daughters back home at Firefly Lake. The last thing she needs is a man to complicate things. But former bad boy turned friend Nick McGuire—and the one kiss they've shared-has turned everything upside down . . .

Attorney Nick McGuire wasn't meant to be a family man. His career has always been his focus and after taking time out to help his mother, he's ready to get back to the city . . . until Mia and her daughters arrive at Firefly Lake. Mia is beautiful and intriguing, and it doesn't take long to realize being "just friends" will never be enough. As the summer nights turn colder, Nick will have to choose between the life he's always wanted . . . and the woman he can't live without.


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Jen Gilroy grew up under the big sky of western Canada. After many years in England, she now lives in a small town in eastern Ontario where her Irish ancestors settled in the nineteenth century. She's worked in higher education and international marketing but, after spending too much time in airports and away from her family, traded the 9-5 to write contemporary romance to bring readers' hearts home.

A small-town girl at heart, Jen likes ice cream, diners, vintage style and all things country. Her husband, Tech Guy, is her real-life romance hero, and her daughter, English Rose, teaches her to cherish the blessings in the everyday.





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“Did you enjoy the play?” Nick leaned over to speak into her ear.
She jumped and then blinked as the overhead lights went on. “It was nice.”
“Nice?” He raised one dark eyebrow and grinned. “It was a murder mystery where the villain killed his so-called friends with poisoned martini olives. Nice isn’t the first word that comes to my mind.”
“I meant it had a good plot. I didn’t guess who did it until the end.” Probably because she hadn’t paid attention.
“I knew it was the town clerk all along.”
“The town clerk? I thought it was the caterer.”
“When he isn’t on the boards, the actor who played the caterer is the town clerk over in Kincaid.” Nick chuckled. “He’s always cast as the villain in local theater productions. Cat says it’s because he has evil eyes. He grew up in Firefly Lake, and every Halloween when we were kids, he dressed as a monster and scared her half to death.”
“I’m a city girl, remember?” Easy banter, keep it light and pretend everything was like it had always been between them. “I’m still not used to the kind of community here and how everyone seems to be connected to everyone else.”
“There’s a lot that goes along with that community.” Nick got to his feet and shepherded Mia through the crowd to the exit. His big frame sheltered her and made her feel safe and protected. “People know your business and think they have a right to talk about you because their grandmother’s second cousin was related to your great-aunt by marriage three times removed. They post pictures of you on Facebook.”
Mia’s face heated. A copy of that Facebook picture had appeared on Gabrielle’s kitchen table. She should have gotten rid of it but instead, Mia had taken it upstairs and tucked it into the bottom of her suitcase. Then ignored Gabrielle’s pointed looks.
“Do you want to get ice cream? Simard’s Creamery has a stand across the street from where we had dinner.”
The intimate bistro with tables for two, where the muted candlelight had softened the planes of Nick’s face, and they’d bumped knees under the small table to send jolts of awareness through her.
“You like your tiger tail ice cream, don’t you?” Although Nick’s voice held a teasing note, something hot and elemental sparked in his eyes. Then his expression changed again, and he was the Nick who’d helped her with her mom’s foundation on all those late-night phone calls last winter. The friend she called when she wanted to talk about anything and everything.
Mia stopped in the middle of the rutted track in the field where they’d left the car. The long grass tickled her bare legs below her sundress, and she shivered in the cool night air. They’d go for ice cream and then Nick would take her home. They’d drive the familiar highway back to Firefly Lake and talk about the play and how well Charlie and Lexie were doing. Safe, easy topics.
He’d drop her off at Harbor House, and she’d go upstairs and get into Georgia’s single bed beneath the tattered travel posters. Alone. Like all those other nights she’d spent alone, denying what she wanted and making excuses.
“I changed my mind. I don’t want ice cream.” Her voice shook.
“Mia, I—” He made a choked sound.
“I thought about what you said.” If she didn’t go for this, she’d always regret it and wonder about what might have been. And maybe a fling with Nick was exactly what she needed to put the last ghosts of her marriage behind her. “You’re right. We’re both single and neither of us wants something the other one can’t give.”
“Are you sure?”
She tried to laugh. “We’d have to be discreet.”
“Of course.” The raw desire on his face was replaced by a glimpse of what might have been vulnerability.
“I like you, and I know you won’t hurt me.” Because she’d locked the part of her that could be hurt deep inside. “We both have needs.” She kicked the grass with her sandals and rubbed her bottom lip.
“I like you, too. What Jay did was wrong, and I want to make sure you understand I’d never do anything like that.” A pulse fluttered in Nick’s throat. “We might not have a relationship, but I wouldn’t sleep with anybody else if I slept with you.”
Mia looked at the night sky, where stars twinkled above the forested hills. When she was little, she’d wished on stars and believed in a happy-ever-after. But she was an adult, and life had made her wiser and destroyed her childish belief in magic and wishes. “Where do we go from here?”
“I’ll take you back to Mom’s if you want me to.” Nick’s arm brushed the curve of her shoulder through her light sweater, and the tremble inside her kicked up. “If you’re not ready.”
She was ready all right and had been even before he kissed her the first time. “I want this.” She lifted her face to his as a cloud scudded across the moon. “I want you.”

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Review: Leave The Night On by: Laura Trentham

Title: Leave The Night On
Author: Laura Trentham
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Series: Cottonbloom #4
Pages: 350
Format: e-book ARC
Source: NetGalley


Love, betrayal, and sweet revenge--life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .

Sutton Mize is known for lavishing attention on the customers who flock to her boutique on the wealthy side of her Mississippi town. So when she finds a lace thong in her fiance's classic cherry-red Camaro, she knows just who she sold it to: her own best friend. In an instant, Sutton's whole world goes up in flames. . .

Wyatt Abbott has harbored a crush on Sutton since he was a young kid from the other side of the tracks. He witnessed Sutton's shocking discovery in the Camaro at his family-owned garage--and it made him angry. What kind of man could take lovely, gorgeous Sutton for granted? But then Sutton comes up with an idea: Why not give her betrothed a taste of his own medicine and pretend that she's got a lover of her own? Wyatt is more than happy to play the hot-and-heavy boyfriend. But what begins as a fictional affair soon develops into something more real, and more passionate, than either Sutton or Wyatt could have imagined. Could it be that true love has been waiting under the hood all along? 

My Thoughts:

Sutton Mize is bringing her fiance's car to Abbott Brother's Garage what she didn't count on is the things she would learn about his Camaro and who has been in it.  When she finds her best friend's lace thong under the seat.  She decides to hatch a plan on a whim she turns the tables on her fiance by announcing she's been stepping out with Wyatt Abbott.  The boy from the wrong side of the tracks.

Wyatt is willing to go along with what Sutton wants, he just didn't anticipate falling in love with her.  As the days pass by he falls more and more in love with her and isn't sure their worlds will work together.  Sutton is using to being the good girl and being with Wyatt makes her feel wild and free.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and watching the relationship develop.  It was great watching Sutton blossom into a woman who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it.  We also learn more about the Abbott brothers and the issues they have as they work through family issues.  Wyatt turns out to be more charismatic than his brother Ford.  Who is suppose to be wining and dinning to get the garage into restoration where they want it to be it seems that Sutton and Wyatt and more fitted for getting them business.  Can't wait to see what is next in this series!


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Love, betrayal, and sweet revenge—life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .

Sutton Mize is known for lavishing attention on the customers who flock to her boutique on the wealthy side of her Mississippi town. So when she finds a lace thong in her fiancĂ©’s classic cherry-red Camaro, she knows just who she sold it to: her own best friend. In an instant, Sutton’s whole world goes up in flames. . .

Wyatt Abbott has harbored a crush on Sutton since he was a young kid from the other side of the tracks. He witnessed Sutton’s shocking discovery in the Camaro at his family-owned garage—and it made him angry. What kind of man could take lovely, gorgeous Sutton for granted? But then Sutton comes up with an idea: Why not give her betrothed a taste of his own medicine and pretend that she’s got a lover of her own? Wyatt is more than happy to play the hot-and-heavy boyfriend. But what begins as a fictional affair soon develops into something more real, and more passionate, than either Sutton or Wyatt could have imagined. Could it be that true love has been waiting under the hood all along?

Author Bio:

An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.

She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. Then He Kissed Me, a Cottonbloom novel, was named as one of Amazon’s best romances of 2016. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she's shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as big as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.

Social Links:
Twitter- @LauraTrentham

Buy Links:

Q&A with Laura Trentham

1. What inspired the novel plot?

Plots are strange things for me…I can rarely pinpoint anything in particular that triggers an idea. They usually pop into my head when I doing something else entirely like making dinner of driving the kids around.

2. What's your favorite scene? Why?

I love the scene where Sutton gets drunk and finally propositions Wyatt for real. I hope it’s funny and sexy and the reader can feel her mortification when she thinks he turns her down.

3. Who’s your favorite character? Why?

Wyatt. He’s sexy and tough, but also incredibly sweet. He loves his family and would do anything for them. My heroes are complex and most definitely not a-holes.

4. Any other books in the pipeline?

Two more Cottonbloom books! WHEN THE STARS COME OUT (1/30/2018) features Wyatt’s twin brother Jackson. SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE (8/2018) is Mack Abbott’s book. Also, sometime in the fall of 2018, I’ll have a military themed romance/women’s fiction book releasing! I’m super excited about it too.

5. What led you to write in this genre over others?

Actually, my first books were historical romances, and I’ll be re-releasing two and adding a new book in my historical Spies and Lovers series this fall (Sept/Nov 2017). But, while the historical books were on submission with publishers, my agent suggested I try a contemporary. It sold to St. Martin’s Press only a couple of months after my historicals sold. I’ve set all my contemporaries in the American south because that’s where I was born and have lived most of my life. I understand the way southerners talk and think.

6. Do you have a favorite book and author?

I’m going to have to throw it back to Mary Stewart as my favorite author. I quite often reread her books. But as far as which book I’ve reread the most, it would have to be Julie Garwood’s The Bride.

7. Why and how did you decide you wanted to write for a living?

I’ve always been an avid reader, but I didn’t even consider writing until five years ago. My daughter started preschool, and going back to work doing what I went to school for (chemical engineering) wasn’t feasible. I sat down one morning and started writing. At first, I didn’t even tell my husband what I was doing. I won’t lie, it took a lot of work and rewrites to get those first manuscripts good enough. But, eventually, I signed with an agent and sold them both.

8. What's your favorite way to relax?

Reading! (I know that’s a shocker:) I also enjoy the mindlessness of games on my phone.

9. What's your favorite food?

Fried rice! I just learned to make it at home. My rice cooker is my second favorite appliance (behind my coffee maker!)
10. Sounds like Sutton's fiancĂ©’s a  Why did you decide to use that as an aspect of your story?
Andrew is a secondary character in the first Cottonbloom trilogy about the Fournette siblings. He’s kind of a slime ball in those books too.
11.  Tell us something about Wyatt that we don't learn from the book.

He likes to wear women’s underwear. Just kidding!! Actually, I’m drawing a blank, he’s an open, honest kind of man.

12.  This book is set in Mississippi.  Does this location contribute to the story in some way?

It’s actually set half in Mississippi and half in Louisiana. I wanted a southern location. But, I also envisioned a twist on the wrong side of the tracks story. In Cottonbloom, the more affluent live on the Mississippi side and the blue-collar working class live on the Louisiana side. I wanted that push-pull and rivalry between the two. It informs the relationships between my couples.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review: Detecting The Duchess by: Kate Parker

Title: Detecting The Duchess
Author: Kate Parker
Publisher: JDP Press
Series: A Victorian Bookshop Mystery #5
Pages: 312
Format: e-book ARC
Source: GEBT


The only thing standing between Georgia and her fairy-tale wedding is a murder. Or two.

When a young woman pleads for help from Georgia Fenchurch in locating a missing Crown investigator, Georgia resists. Her wedding is only a week away. Before she can say no, she’s knocked to the ground by an assailant attempting to kill the young woman.

Georgia now feels she must help. She soon finds herself up to her wedding veil in stolen treasure and coded letters. With the Duke of Blackford’s help, Georgia follows a trail of missing men and dead bodies. Every victim had one thing in common – a desire to possess a fortune in gold.

In between the society balls and social calls of late Victorian London, Georgia works on her last case before the big day. Will she stop a ruthless killer in time? Or will Georgia find getting to the altar on time is going to be murder?

My Thoughts:

This book follows Georgia Fenchurch as she works in her bookshop and when a young woman approaches her for help before Georgia has a chance to yes or no the young woman and Georgia is attacked by a mysterious assailant.  Both of them not knowing their attacker.

Georgia is determined to find the missing Crown investigator.  Will she find him on time?  Will the wedding go off or will the murder get in the way?

I love this book set in Victorian England and the adventure it puts Georgia on.  Will murder afoot anything is possible.  Ms. Parker did a great job with this story and can't wait to see what is next!
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Guest Post: Emerald Barnes author of The Hunted

Thank you, Paula, for having me on your blog today to talk about my new release, The Hunted.

The Hunted is the second book in my Knight’s Academy series. It’s a paranormal novel about vampires and werewolves. Think Twilight but better. I’m joking, of course. It’s not a whole lot like Twilight.

In all seriousness, Twilight was one of the inspirations for it, along with Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series. But, it was inspired mostly from a dream I had.

In this dream, I had been kidnapped and locked away in a tower. I was being held captive along with some other people, and then, I was rescued. In the dream, as the guy was saving me, I knew that I was hiding from vampires, and he was a vampire himself—but a good guy. He didn’t believe in what the others were doing. Sounds familiar? My rescuer became Milo in the books.

It’s funny. I never thought that I would write a book about vampires and werewolves. I never thought people would even like it, but I’m glad I wrote the books. They were so much fun to write! The characters have been the most fun, I think. Let me introduce you to them.

We have Myka, the artist who never feels quite at home anywhere. She’s looking for a place to belong, but she can’t find it anywhere until she meets Brent and finds her way to the pack. She’s strong, at least I think to think so. She’s mostly strong-willed and stubborn, though.

Then, we have Milo. He and Myka are kindred spirits. Milo tows that line of human vs monster. He never really knows where he stands. Some days, he feels more human. Others, he’s convinced he’s a monster and can’t be saved. I love how raw and real he is.

I think Olivia is my favorite of the bunch. (Don’t tell Brent.) She is sassy and bright. Liv loves others fiercely, and she isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Her personality shines, and it’s easy to see why everyone loves her.

Brent—he’s Mr. Beefy Arms, according to Liv anyway. He’s a bit older, more experienced in the ways of the pack, but he’s undeniably drawn in by Myka. He’s loyal, almost to a fault, but when he falls, he falls hard. He’s valuable to the pack, as well. That’s why he was tasked with protecting Myka in the first place. Though, some, like Milo, would argue that was a mistake.

Luka. *sigh* I love me some Luka. He may not be as hot as the other guys in my book, but he’s adorable! He’s so cute. He’s like a little kitten! Well, maybe not a kitten. But if I were to date a vampire, I think I’d choose Luka. He may have been forced into his situation at Knight’s Academy, but it was only to protect the people he loved. He would literally do anything for them, to save them, to keep them safe. He’s almost perfect. Minus the whole vampire thing anyway. Though, that might seal the deal for someone.

There are some more awesome characters in my books. Including Preston. Just kidding. He’s the big bad baddie everyone hates. But in all honesty, he was totally fun to write. Sometimes, it feels good to make people hate someone so much!

I hope you’ll pick up a copy of The Hunted (or The Marked if you haven’t started the series yet) and let me know what you think! I love connecting with readers and having fun discussions about the series and these characters!

Thanks for joining me on the tour! Stay tuned for more stops this week!

The Hunted: Knight’s Academy Book 2

About The Hunted:
Myka Williams has been forced out of Knight's Academy and is on the run, constantly moving to keep the vampires off her trail until Preston's venom is no longer coursing through her veins. But she isn’t alone. 

Brent Jacobson is her protector, training her and teaching her how to be the werewolf she’s destined to be. He's annoying, stubborn—and hot. But there’s something he isn't telling her.

Myka has to come face-to-face with the truth of who she really is. Will she find safety, or will she always be hunted?

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About Emerald Barnes:

Emerald Barnes resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie, a youth leader, a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number One in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor. She’s addicted to tv and binge-watching shows, and she has a thing for superheroes.

Connect with Emerald:

Author Contact:

Emerald is available for personal appearances and interviews.

Excerpt One:
Preston had been hot on their trail for two months now. The werewolves hoped the venom would be out of her system soon. Apparently, Preston had been filling her full of it since she’d first been assigned to him. It bothered her that she hadn’t known what he was doing, and even now, the memories weren’t accessible. The only memory she had left of one of his bites was when he’d kidnapped her and tried to make werewolf/vampire babies with her. For all she knew, they still planned on capturing her and using her for exactly that, and that’s why she had to go on the run with Brent. There was something he wasn’t telling her, though. She had gathered that much, but Brent wouldn’t let on to the real reason he had run away with her. It had something to do with her birthmark, though he never opened up about it.
The worst part about being on the run was not knowing when—if ever—she’d be able to see the people she cared about most. She had to leave everyone behind: Jilly, Barry, and Olivia. Milo. What was worse, she had to leave a stupid letter about running away because she was adopted. She couldn’t care less about that. Barry and Jilly were her parents.
And then there was Milo. He knew the truth, but it didn’t matter. Myka knew they couldn’t be together. He was a hybrid; she was a werewolf. It wouldn’t work no matter how much she wanted it to. She exhaled slowly and closed her eyes.
Brent’s phone rang, distracting her from her pity-party. She stood from the bed and wondered if she should pick it up or not. Brent would be angry if she did. She walked to it, knowing that she should let it go to voicemail, but when she saw who was calling, there was no way she could ignore it.
“Hello,” she said, her voice shaking and her heartbeat pounding in her ears.
“Myka?” Milo whispered her name, and tears stung her eyes. “How are you?”
“I’m fine.” Ugh, that was lame, she thought. She was far from fine.
He hesitated before asking, “Where’s Brent?”
“In the shower. You want me to get him?”
“No. I’ll call back.”
She nodded, fully aware that he wouldn’t be able to see her, but she couldn’t speak. All the emotions she’d been holding back wanted to burst out right then, and she wanted to say so much. I miss you was on the tip of her tongue, but she couldn’t say the words. It made everything seem too final.
“Myks, you still there?” he asked.
“Yeah.” She wiped away a tear rolling down her cheek. She refused to cry. “How’s Liv?”
“She’s good. Fighting mad that you left.” Milo laughed, and she had forgotten how much she’d missed hearing it. She could almost see the rare smile of his, the one he had around her and no one else.
“Will you tell her that I’m sorry?” Myka asked.
“I will.”
“Who did you call?!” Brent’s angry voice made her jump. She turned around to see Brent, soaking wet and in nothing but a towel.
“No one. Milo called. I just answered.”
Myka put her hand on her hip, frustrated at the way Brent was acting. He held out his hand, and she placed the phone in it.
“What do you want, bloodsucker?” Brent asked, annoyance heavy in his tone.
Myka stared at Brent, her frustration faded as she watched his chest move up and down with each breath he took and how the water dripped off his body. The man was ripped. He was probably around six-foot-three and around 220 pounds of pure muscle. His abs were well defined, extremely well defined. She turned her head away as a hot blush burned her cheeks.
Brent swore, and Myka turned back to face him, curiosity and fear coursing through her. His body was the last thing on her mind at that moment. His eyes narrowed as he watched her, and she hoped that anger wasn’t directed at her.
“Thanks for calling,” Brent said before hanging up the phone and tossing it on the bed.
“Why did you answer?” he asked, his anger rising.
“I wanted to talk to him.”
Myka wasn’t backing down from Brent. She didn’t regret her decision. Well, not much, at least.
“I told you that life is over. Stay away from him.”
Brent stormed back into the bathroom, and Myka jumped as he slammed the door. Hot tears rolled down her cheeks, and she buried her face in her hands. Something was going on at the academy, and Brent hadn’t told her what. Was Olivia okay?
When Brent came back out, he had put on his jeans and t-shirt, but his hair was still a wild mess. He looked sexy, but she pushed that thought aside, focusing on her anger at him.
 “You should never answer my phone again. What if that hadn’t been Milo? What if it had been Preston instead?” Brent ran his hands through his wet hair, making it stand on end.
Myka was about to go off on him about how he wouldn’t let her talk to Milo and that’s all she wanted, but he interrupted her.
“Stop thinking about how much you miss that bloodsucker and get over him. He’s not good for you, Myka. I don’t know why you can’t see that!” He paused and paced the tiny space between her bed and the bathroom. “I’m just trying to protect you.” His last words were barely a whisper.
“I know. Thank you,” she whispered, matching his tone. She knew everything he had risked for her, but she didn’t like being told who she could and couldn’t talk to.
“Just be careful, kid. We can’t lose you to them.” Brent walked to Myka and leaned close to her face. Her breath caught when he wiped away the tears on her cheeks. “You’re too important.”

Excerpt Two:
She searched for the spare key that they always kept under the mat. Not the safest place, but Jilly was certain no one would find it there. Myka shook her head at the thought but was thankful that Jilly hadn’t changed her mind about it. She unlocked the door and pushed it open as quietly as she could. She shut the door just as quiet and let her eyes adjust to the darkness.
She took in a deep breath. The air smelled of fresh linen; Jilly’s choice of fragrance. She liked the idea that a home could smell like fresh laundry. Myka basked in the scent, and tears formed in the corners of her eyes. She didn’t realize how much she’d missed that smell.
A fast puff of breath rushed from her lungs when someone pushed her against the door. The knob pushed into her back, taking her breath from her and burning the muscles as she was pushed harder against it.
“It’s me! It’s me!” she cried when she found her voice.
A light came on, and she saw Barry, hair disheveled, staring back at her with a confused expression on his face. She doubled over, catching her breath when he let her go. Jilly was by her side, rubbing her back, and telling her that it would be all right.
“Myka, sweetie. I thought I’d never see you again,” Jilly said through sobs.
“I didn’t think I’d ever see y’all again either,” Myka answered, straightening herself.
Myka’s back ached, but she didn’t mind. Relief flooded through her, knowing that they were still okay. She threw her arms around Jilly and cried onto her shoulder.
“I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry,” she blubbered.
“You have nothing to apologize for,” Jilly said. “You’re home now.”
Myka didn’t want to ruin the moment by telling them that she couldn’t stay. Brent would come looking for her as soon as he woke up, and he would follow her trail back here. She needed to be back before he woke.
 “I’ll make some coffee. Looks like we’re all gonna need it,” Barry said.
Myka ran her hand through her hair when Jilly let her go. She didn’t stop to think about what she looked like. She didn’t want them worrying about her, and if she was haggard in appearance, Jilly would question her. She hadn’t thought far enough ahead to know what to say to them. She just wanted to check on them.
Myka looked around the small kitchen and dining room they stood in. It had just been a few months since she left for Knight’s Academy, but it felt like it had been years. She took a seat on one of the chairs at the table. She felt weary. From her run, from her life with Brent. She was tired, and she wanted to make this place home again.
“When was the last time you ate?” Jilly asked, ever the concerned mom.
“I had supper,” Myka answered, thinking about the sad excuse for dinner Brent had made up. Snack cakes and potato chips.
“You look skinny. Have you been able to eat?” Jilly continued to fuss over her.
Myka nodded. She needed time to think because she knew the next question would be where she had been.
Barry stood at the coffee pot, watching it spit and sputter out the last drops of coffee. Steam rose in the air, and the entire kitchen filled with the scent of the hot coffee.
Barry poured each of them a mug and set them on the table. Myka blew on the hot liquid, as she held the mug in her hands, letting the warmth flow through her. Barry took a seat, and she could feel them watching her. She couldn’t meet their eyes. Not when so much was left unspoken.
“So are we just gonna ignore the elephant in the room?” Barry asked.
Jilly answered first. “He’s right, Myka. Where have you been? Why haven’t you called?”
“I just haven’t had the time,” she answered, still staring at the hot coffee in her hands.
“You haven’t had the time to tell your parents where you’ve been? That you were alive?” Barry said, his voice raising.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I never meant to hurt you.”
“But you did,” he said, ripping her heart in two.
Tears slid down her cheeks again, and she wiped them away.
“I know saying I’m sorry isn’t enough.” She braved a look at them, and it only hurt her more. “But, please believe me when I tell you that I didn’t mean for this to happen.”
“What does that even mean?” Jilly asked. Concern choked her voice. “What aren’t you telling us?”
Myka shook her head. She didn’t need to bring this up. She couldn’t. To keep from having to speak, she took a drink of her coffee. The hot liquid burned her tongue, but she swallowed it down anyway.
She braved another look at her parents. It was now or never. She could tell them the truth. Tell them everything that was going on in her life. She wanted to, so she took in a deep breath, about to speak the words, but then shut her mouth. They would throw her into the psychiatric ward at the hospital. They wouldn’t believe in werewolves and vampires. They especially wouldn’t believe that she was a werewolf.
“There’s nothing to tell,” Myka said. “I ran away to find my real parents.”
“And how’s that going?” Barry asked.
Myka looked at him. He crossed his arms over his chest and stared her down. She looked away. That look made her want to divulge every little detail from the very beginning.
“Not as well as expected.”
“Mmm-hmm. I see,” he said.
He didn’t believe her.
“I need to go,” she said, standing. “This was a mistake.”
“Wait,” Jilly said. “You can’t go.”
“I have to.”
Myka walked around the table, toward the door, but Barry stood in front of it, blocking her escape.
“You’re lying, Myka. I always know when you’re lying,” he said.
“You know nothing about me,” she said. “You never had anything to do with me.”
Grief welled up in his eyes, and she felt horrible.
“I know more than you think.”
She sat down in the nearest chair, absorbing his words. “What are you talking about?”
This conversation was taking a toll on her. She just wanted to make sure that they were still alive. That was all.
“Myka, I have to tell you something,” Barry said.
Barry’s eyes narrowed like he was remembering something that happened a long time ago. Jilly placed a hand on her shoulder. Myka fidgeted in her seat as anxiety rose up inside of her. She stared at Barry, waiting for him to speak.
“I’m your dad,” he blurted out.
“I know. You adopted me.”
“No. I mean that I’m your real dad. Your mother passed away right after she had you.”
Myka stood and faced Jilly. Jilly’s lips were pursed, and her eyes watered. He was telling the truth. She fell into the chair again.
“Why didn’t you tell me this before?” Myka’s voice rose an octave.
“We didn’t think it would help. Jilly adopted you, and that’s what you overheard.”
“But I’m your daughter? By blood? You should have told me.”
“I know. I just—there was too much at stake,” he stammered.
“Jilly, what is he talking about?”
Myka turned to Jilly. She needed answers. Now.
 “Because of what your mom was, and because of what we think you are now,” Jilly said.
They knew. They knew she was a werewolf.