Tuesday, August 21, 2018

GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY from Nicola Rendell author of Shimmy Bang Sparkle


Guest Post: What Stealing A Diamond and Stealing a Heart Have In Common with the Heroine from Shimmy Bang Sparkle by Nicola Rendell 

Hi! My name is Stella Peretti. I am the head of the only all-female jewel heist crew west of the Mississippi. We call ourselves the Shimmy Shimmy Bangs. I got started in this life of crime when I was a girl. I saw something that I knew was unfair and I had to do what was necessary to make it right. I’ve heard that the old hardened cons who learn about us say we are “Robin Hooding” our way around the Southwest. I’m really proud of that! 

Nick gets involved in my plan to steal the North Star diamond because of an accidental text that I mistakenly send to him. I know, I know. Dummy! But because my girls are not able to execute the heist with me, Nick offers his expertise. I’m reluctant at first. But he wins me over. He’s competent, persistent… and sexy. God, so sexy!

What have I learned from my experience with Nick? Surprisingly, stealing someone's heart is a lot like stealing a diamond. Here are five skills that you need for both: 

If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It. 

I don’t go into a heist or a relationship with my guns blazing. Instead, I give a little bat of my lashes, show a little leg, play up my most feminine qualities. Being a good flirt is a huge advantage in my line of work… and in nabbing Nick Norton, too! 
It’s a Confidence Game.

Having confidence in yourself is key to getting what you want, either in a heist or winning a man’s heart. 

Play Dirty.

There’s a time for playing by the rules and being a good girl, but it’s no holds barred in love and theft!  

Be Careful… But Not Too Careful.

When it comes to heists, I’m a planner. But when it comes down to it, it takes guts to steal a diamond. And it takes guts to fall in love as well. Sometimes you just have to open your heart and see what happens.
All Or Nothing.  
I’ve known a lot of thieves who are doing twenty-to-life for a Zales one karat diamond.. And sure, I’ve stolen my share of engagement rings but only if it’s easy pickings. If you’re going to risk your liberty and your heart, it damn well better be worth it. The North Star is worth it. And so is Nick. 


Shimmy Bang Sparkle Excerpt

“It’s fun to dream.”

Stella tugged on the diamond ring with her thumb and forefinger to take it off, it didn’t cooperate. She furrowed her eyebrows, and laughed nervously, wiggling it and spinning it. “That’ll teach me to get extra-large fries with my lunch.”

The saleswoman laughed, nodding, and patted her slightly pudgy stomach. “Tell me about it, hon.”

For a few tense seconds, I stared at the ring. She twisted it, and tugged it. She rocked it back and forth. She gave it a yank, but still it didn’t budge. I took her hand in mine and gave it a shot too. But didn’t have any luck either. It was totally stuck.

“This isn’t embarrassing or anything,” said Stella softly as she gave it another try, doing the side-to-side rocking again. “I’m sure this is a first.”

“Oh my gosh, no. Fingers often swell in the afternoons. Lemme go get you some lotion. Be right back,” the saleswoman said, and headed for the back of the store.

Stella sighed hard and grabbed her purse from the floor, hooking it over her shoulder. “Thank you,” she called after the woman as she jingled away. “I really apologize. We’ll be out of here in no time.”

The saleswoman tossed her hand in the air. “Totally OK. Hang on.”

As she walked away though, Stella transformed right before my eyes. It was subtle, but I was watching her so close that it was like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon. The sweet-as-pie innocence was replaced with calm and focus. Her posture changed, the way she’d held her lips changed, even her stance changed. She shifted her hair over her shoulder and turned away from me, preventing me from seeing what she was looking for in her bag. I rolled my weight back onto my heels to get a different angle—not enough for her to notice, but enough to see what was going on. With the help of an oval tabletop mirror to my right, I saw exactly what she was up to. From the side pocket of her purse, she produced a little tube of something.

Hand lotion.

She didn’t call out to the saleswoman, but instead lowered her head slightly, allowing her hair to slip off her shoulder. I realized she was not only keeping her hands hidden from me, but also—thanks to her hair—away from the prying eyes of the black-domed security cameras in each corner of the shop. Suddenly, each detail seemed practiced. Strategic.

Damn near . . . professional.

She flipped open the top of the tube and squirted some onto her finger.

And then she did it. If I hadn’t been watching it, I wouldn’t have believed it. Houdini would’ve wept. Copperfield would’ve proposed. Blaine would have asked her to do a Vegas show with him. Once her finger was greased up, she used the thumb of her left hand to slide the diamond off her finger. It fell noiselessly into her bag. She dropped the tube of lotion on top, and the ring disappeared into the depths of her purse. Then, from the interior side pocket of the purse, she produced . . .

The same setting. The same cut. The same size.

The identical engagement ring.

I was floored. But somehow, I managed to play it cool. She didn’t know I’d seen her, and I wasn’t going to blow her cover. Only a creep interrupts a magician in the middle of an act.

The saleswoman tottered back toward us. The fake was on Stella’s finger, and the real ring was nowhere to be seen. “Here you go, hon,” said the woman, holding out a bottle of lotion with the lid already undone. “Smells real good too.” She squirted a glop of the pink liquid on Stella’s finger, making the whole place smell like laundry detergent.

Stella worked some lotion around her ring finger, and slipped off the fake, with a big sigh. “Phew! That was a close one.”

The saleswoman just giggled. “No worries. Happens more than you’d think,” she said, and took the keys from her skirt. Using a jewelry cloth, she cleaned the lotion off the ring until it sparkled again, set it on its spinning velvet platform, and locked up the case.

And there I thought I’d found my bliss already.

“Thanks so much for all your help,” Stella said, and zipped up her purse.

I felt like I was dreaming. Never, in my whole life, had I seen anything so smooth. She seemed sweet, she looked so sexy, and to top it all off, she was utterly badass. I needed to get my hands on her. Now.

***

About the Book

Title: Shimmy Bang Sparkle
Author: Nicola Rendell
Release Date: August 21, 2018
Publisher: Montlake Romance



Summary

All Nick Norton wants is to stay on the straight and narrow…and never get caught stealing again. Then he lays eyes on her: Stella Peretti—100 percent sexy and absolutely irresistible. Especially when he sees her smooth moves lifting a two-karat diamond. Nick realizes he’s found the sparkling woman of his dreams—one so perfect for him it’s almost criminal.

The Shimmy Shimmy Bangs are master jewel thieves who are planning the heist of the century. And Shimmy leader, Stella, isn’t about to let anyone—even if he is a hunky, tatted-up studmuffin—get in her way. But when two of her girls are put out of commission, Stella realizes that Nick isn’t just a red-hot distraction. He might be the answer to her pilfering prayers.

Now, Nick and Stella are putting everything on the line for one last job. But when two thieves have this much chemistry, it’s only a matter of time before somebody’s heart gets stolen.








Author Biography

Bestselling author Nicola Rendell loves writing naughty romantic comedies. After receiving a handful of degrees from a handful of places, she now works as a professor in New England. Nicola’s work has been featured in the Huffington Post and the USA Today blog Happy Ever After. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. Her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady, but she’s totally okay with that. For more information and updates, visit www.NicolaRendell.com.

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REVIEW of Blood Cure by K.A. Linde

   

The stunning conclusion to the Blood Type series finds the world in chaos and turmoil with one final battle left to determine who will survive—humans or vampires. She had the world on her shoulders. Now she has nothing. Reyna Carpenter was twenty-one when she became a live-in blood escort for the ruthless and darkly handsome vampire Beckham Anderson. She thought this was just a small price to pay for feeding her brothers back home. But nothing went as planned. Not even her tumultuous relationship with Beckham. And now she wonders if anything will ever be the same again. As she finds herself in the midst of a losing rebellion, she and her trusted friends must flee from a city conquered by the vampire elite. With their plans blown to pieces and everything they knew and loved gone, their future hangs in the balance. Despite all she has lost, Reyna must rise from the ashes, reclaim the life that was stolen—and complete her mission, once and for all. 

My Thoughts…

What a conclusion to a series…who will win?  Humans or Vampires?    

The Blood Type Series must be read in order.     The books feed entirely off each other. Blood Cure starts up exactly where the 2nd book left off and finishes off the series.    My feelings are mixed on this ending.     I felt like the buildup was HUGE, there was so much more to tell, so much more for Reyna to do yet now that I have finished I feel like there is still more to tell.     I almost feel let down at this ending.      I devoured the first three books and could not read them fast enough.   I raved about them to my fellow vampire lovers and this one is good too it just isn’t as good as the first two.   

I am so hooked on the love between Reyna and Beckham.    He is a vampire that falls for his blood mate, who ends up being his soul mate.    Did I agree with the way he always treats Reyna? No way but he seemed to always do what was best for her whether she saw it that way or not.     There was never a time that I doubt that they belonged together.    Their love would get them through whatever the world was throwing at them and make them stronger.  

K.A. Linde is now one of my must-read authors and I cannot wait to read more of her books.

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A startling new vision of paranormal romance: When a human ventures into the world of vampires—a decadent milieu of blood-bonds and betrayal—she discovers that not all is what it seems. For Reyna Carpenter, giving up her body isn’t a choice. It’s survival. In a civilization laid waste by poverty and desperation, Reyna accepts a high-paying position with the wealthy and hungry vampire elite. Her new job is as the live-in blood escort for the intimidating, demanding, and devilishly handsome Beckham Anderson. He’s everything she expected from a vampire, except for one thing—he won’t feed off her. Reyna soon discovers that behind Beckham’s brooding, wicked fa├žade lies a unique and complex man. And that, in a dark and divided world, she is more valuable than she ever would have believed. For with each passing night, Reyna can’t shake the sensation that it’s Beckham who’s afraid of her. Note: Reyna and Beckham’s story continues in Blood Match. ADD TO GOODREADS  

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As the provocative, sensual Blood Type series continues, the rare bond between Reyna and Beckham is threatened by betrayal, greed, and twisted secrets. A desperate human. A powerful vampire. A world divided. Reyna Carpenter was promised paradise. She was delivered into hell. Giving up her body for money was supposed to be the hardest part of becoming a blood escort. She never expected to lose her heart to her dark, enigmatic boss, Beckham Anderson. After being taken by a depraved captor who plans to rule the world, Reyna will do anything to return to Beckham. She just has to find the will to survive this game. From the pawn, rises a queen. Note: Reyna and Beckham’s story begins in Blood Type and continues in Blood Cure. Amazon US Amazon UKiBooksB&NKoboGoogle Play            
   
Kyla



K.A. Linde is the USA Today bestselling author of more than fifteen novels including the Avoiding series and the Record series. She has a Masters degree in political science from the University of Georgia, was the head campaign worker for the 2012 presidential campaign at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and served as the head coach of the Duke University dance team. She loves reading fantasy novels, geeking out over Star Wars, binge-watching Supernatural, and dancing in her spare time. She currently lives in Lubbock, Texas, with her husband and two super adorable puppies.

Monday, August 20, 2018

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY of Bayside Heat by Melissa Foster


Bayside Heat (Bayside Summers Book 3) by [Foster, Melissa]
NEW RELEASE........
Fall in love at Bayside, where sandy beaches, good friends, and true love come together in the sweet small towns of Cape Cod.

BAYSIDE SUMMERS is a series of standalone steamy romance novels featuring alpha male heroes and sexy, empowered women. They're fun, flirty, flawed, deeply emotional, always passionate, and easy to relate to.

In BAYSIDE HEAT...
Drake Savage has always done the right thing, especially where beautiful and fiercely determined Serena Mallery is concerned-even when it means keeping his feelings for her to himself. Serena has always wanted more than what their small town of Wellfleet, Massachusetts has to offer, and Drake's roots are so deeply entrenched in the Cape, it's all he can do to watch her pack up her life and move away.

Serena has always had big dreams. As a teenager she dreamed of becoming an interior designer and marrying smart, musically inclined, sexy-as-sin Drake Savage. Now she's finally landed a killer job with a top interior design firm, but though she has spent the last four years working side by side with Drake, he's never made a move. Four years is long enough for her to accept reality, and her new job in Boston is the perfect way to move on. 

A weak moment leads to sizzling, sensual kisses, opening a door through which they've both been aching to walk. But Serena's determined not to give up her shot at the career she's always dreamed of, and Drake has loved her for too many years to stand in her way. With true love at their fingertips and a world of unstoppable passion igniting between them, can the two star-crossed lovers find their way to their happily ever after? 

My Thoughts...

I love this book.   I am not new to Melissa Foster and have read all the books in this series so.   With each book I find myself lost in the amazing friendships, the wonderful relationship, and the beautiful settings.     The friendships are so strong and so real that I never doubt that the gals and guys will all grow old together without ever losing sight of each other.    The relationships are dreamlike with the trust, the faith, and the love their share with each other.    

Bayside Heat is the story of Drake and Serena.   They have been friends forever, best friends during the last 4 years that they have worked together, and the attraction between them started from the first day they met.     In any setting they coupled up, not romantically, but sitting together, being on the same team, just being a pair.  The more they are together the more the rest of the group see the attraction, feel the heat, and recognize that they have to be together.    There are a few comments but mostly they let Serena and Blake figure it out on their own.     I love that there was support, a small push, but mostly it was up to the actual couple to figure out how to get together.     

In true Melissa Foster style, Drake goes above and beyond winning Serena over.   He is the most understanding, loving, accepting, and trusting man yet he is an alpha male with a strong opinion that he isn’t afraid to share.   In other words, he is the perfect book boyfriend.   Serena is self-assured, knows what her goals are and is not afraid to go after them.     When she opens her heart to Drake she gives 100% of herself and never considers looking anywhere else.     

Bayside Heat is a friend to lovers romance.    I could not put it down.   Pick up your own copy and beet these wonderful Bayside friends.  



**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

All BAYSIDE SUMMERS books can be read as standalone novels or as part of the series:
Bayside Desires Book 1
Bayside Passions Book 2 
Bayside Heat Book 3 
Bayside Escape
(releasing 6th Feb, 2019)

Available to buy from ...

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Bayside Heat

" With her wonderful characters and resonating emotions, Melissa Foster is a must-read author!" -NYT Bestseller Julie Kenner 

"Melissa Foster is synonymous with sexy, swoony, heartfelt romance!" - NYT Bestseller Lauren Blakely

“You can always rely on Melissa Foster to deliver a story that’s fresh, emotional and entertaining.  Make sure you have all night, because once you start you won’t want to stop reading. Every book’s a winner!” – New York Times Bestseller Brenda Novak

Also Available 
Bayside Desires (Bayside Summers #1)
As the co-owner of Bayside Resorts, Rick Savage has a fabulous job working with his best friends and brother, and a thriving business in Washington, DC, which he’ll be returning to at the end of the summer. Spending time with his family is great, but being back on Cape Cod has unearthed painful memories. When sweet, smart, and overly cautious Desiree Cleary moves in next door, Rick is drawn to the sexy preschool teacher, and she just might prove to be the perfect distraction.

Running an art gallery was not in preschool teacher Desiree Cleary’s plans, but after being tricked into coming to her impetuous, unreliable mother’s aid, she’s stuck spending the summer with the badass half sister she barely knows and a misbehaving dog. If that’s not frustrating enough, she can’t escape the sparks igniting with her strikingly handsome and pushy neighbor, Rick, who makes all her warning bells go off.

Passion ignites as Desiree and Rick spend long summer nights sharing heartfelt confessions and steamy kisses. For the first time in years Rick is enjoying life again instead of hiding behind mounds of work miles away from his family. Desiree has touched him in a way that makes him want to slow down. Only slowing down means dealing with his demons, and he isn’t sure who he’ll be when he comes out the other side. 


**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

Available to buy from ...


Bayside Passions (Bayside Summers #2)
Bayside Passions (Bayside Summers Book 2) by [Foster, Melissa]
When Emery Andrews's best friend, Desiree, moves away, falls in love, and opens a an inn all in one summer, she feels her absence like a missing limb. Until she visits over the holidays and meets sinfully hot Dean Masters, who's as easy on the eyes as he is to talk to. After returning home, what starts as a flurry of late-night flirtations quickly turns into a deep connection and unexpected friendship. Now, months later, Desiree offers Emery a job teaching yoga at the inn. Adventurous Emery jumps at the chance and heads for Wellfleet, Massachusetts, to reunite with her BFF and her new close friend, Dean.

After months of sharing their lives, and their secrets, over video chats and phone calls, Dean's ready to move things to the next level. The fact that Emery seems oblivious to the sparks between them and has recently put her foot down about dating friends just means he'll have to bide his time.


When Emery finds a naked man in her kitchen the first morning she's there, Dean doesn't hesitate to move her into his guest room. Maybe now Emery will see what's right before her eyes--although that guy she's got a date with might be a problem.

Available to buy from ...


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About the author

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance and women's fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Readers adore Melissa's fun, flirty, and sinfully sexy, award-winning big-family romance collection, LOVE IN BLOOM featuring the Snow Sisters, Bradens, Remingtons, Ryders, Seaside Summer, Harborside Nights, Wild Boys and Bad Boys After Dark, and the Montgomerys. Melissa's emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented-- perfect beach reads for contemporary romance lovers who enjoy reading about loyal, wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines with complex and relatable issues.

Melissa also writes sweet and clean romance under the pen name Addison Cole.

Melissa has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Her interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on Facebook or her personal website.

Never miss a brand new release, special promotions or inside gossip again by simply signing up to receive your newsletter from Melissa.

Find Melissa on the following sites....

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I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.

NOW FOR THE AUTHOR'S GIVEAWAY
Seaside Whispers: Matt Lacroux (Love in Bloom: Seaside Summers Book 8) by [Foster, Melissa]
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Saturday, August 18, 2018

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW of Promise My Love by Melissa Foster

Promise My Love (Love in Bloom: The Bradens)
Wedding Novella: Rex & Jade

Narrated by: B. J. Harrison
Series: The Bradens, Book 6.1, Love in Bloom, Book 22
Length: 2 hrs and 30 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 11-09-17
Language: English
Publisher: Melissa Foster

Sweet and sexy wedding romance, PROMISE MY LOVE, the follow-up novella to DESTINED FOR LOVE (The Bradens). Catch up with all of your favorite Bradens and enjoy Rex Braden and Jade Johnson’s wedding.

My Thoughts…

I was taking a short car ride and couldn’t decide what to listen to.     Promise My Love is a quick listen with it only being 2 hours and 30 minutes long.   It was the perfect length to listen to on my ride.    I love hearing BJ Harrison bring to life some of my favorite Love in Bloom characters.      I was reminded of how wonderful they all are and how much I love that Melissa Foster is continuing this series while keeping the ol’ favorites still in the story.


Short, sweet, and still so sexy. That is exactly how I would describe Promise My Love. The Bradens are known for being so sexy and tough but what I really love about them is the sweet and sensuous sides of these hunky men. Although this is a novella, I read it in one night, there is a story here. The story of Rex and Jade’s wedding. There is love, trust, and of course a twist. 

My favorite Bradens (TREAT!) make appearances and you get a small peek into what is happening in their lives. With all the babies being born Melissa Foster could be writing this series forever! I am not sure that the Braden bloodline will ever stop. 


Usually I would say that each of the Love in Bloom books can be read as a stand-alone book, but this time I believe you need to have read some of the Braden part of this series to truly appreciate this story. I highly recommend starting with the first one and reading them in order, believe me, you won’t be able to put them down. 

Purchase your own copy at…






Friday, August 17, 2018

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY of Siren's Curse by Katee Robert

SIREN'S CURSE, a dark and haunting standalone novel in the multi-author series, The Sea King's Daughters is LIVE!


In SIREN’S CURSE by NYT Bestselling Author, Katee Robert, a cursed mermaid has lost her powers and her ability to shapeshift and the only creature that can help her reclaim herself is one who may mean her the most harm…

Add SIREN’S CURSE to your TBR pile on Goodreads then keep reading to get a sneak peek excerpt and your chance enter the giveaway to win one of TEN (10) eBook copies of SIREN’S CURSE!



Title: Siren’s Curse
Author: Katee Robert
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: August 13, 2018
Publisher: Indie
Series: The Sea King’s Daughters
Page Count: 76 pages
Format: Digital
ASIN: B07DJK2HQR

Synopsis:

Lorelei Fischer is cursed. A mermaid who can’t shapeshift, can’t create portals, and is no longer fully who she was meant to be. Too ashamed to admit how badly she failed to her sisters, she takes refuge in a small town in northern California and opens a used bookstore. With no way to regain what she’s lost, she resigns herself to a life half-lived.

After nearly drowning under the dark of the new moon, there’s no escaping the truth. She’s being hunted, and this enemy will stop at nothing to take her.

Lorelei must find a way to reclaim her birthright and her abilities before it's too late. Because the sea holds more monsters than she could have dreamed—and one of them wants her dead.
Look for other stories in this exciting Urban Fantasy series from Philippa Ballantine, Stacia D. Kelly, Lauren Harris, and Asa Maria Bradley.

My Thoughts…

I am a Katee Robert fan but have not read any of The Sea King’s Daughter series.     I thought a stand-alone novella would be a great way to see if the series is for me.      Now that I have finished the book I am going to go back and read the first 2 books in this series because I love the idea of a kraken, a mermaid, and who knows what other paranormal creatures living in the world.   

This was said to be a stand alone, which it is.   There is a beginning and a definite ending to this short story but I do feel like I was missing out on a lot of the story by not knowing the background.    There was little to no history on who Lorelei Fischer was and how she got to where she was in her life.     I did like how strong she was.    Even while be taunted and hunted by an unknown she knew she would have to fight and was not scared to stand her ground.      She was smart in her actions and went into the world with open eyes, knowing that there was something out there looking for her.    

Siren’s Curse is a quick and easy read.   I read it in less than an hour and it peaked my interest in the rest of this series.




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Siren’s Curse Excerpt
Copyright © 2018 Katee Robert

I start for home, the wind and water turning my hair into blond snakes that whip around my head. Less than a quarter mile to my house and it might as well be on the moon. I pull my jacket tighter around my body and pick up my pace. Each harsh breath makes my chest ache, reminding me about the way this morning started.
I shouldn’t be alive.
There’s no other way to say it. When I closed my eyes, parted my lips, and inhaled… I made my choice. That I hadn’t died. That I woke up on the beach… Someone put me there, though I can’t begin to guess their purpose.
Lorelei.
I jump and spin in a circle, searching for the source of the voice. There’s no one in sight. There isn’t even a single pair of headlights on the road. Just the trees whipping back and forth in front of me and the beach at my back. I turn slowly to face the beach—the water—and squint into the driving rain. No part of me is dry at this point, so I might as well investigate.
Lorelei.
There it is again, barely more than a whisper on the wind. Calling me back to the water.
I take a step before what’s left of my self-preservation kicks in. “No.” I don’t mean to say the word aloud, but it settles something inside me. I am not some weak-willed creature to be drawn in by curiosity. Whatever has the power to reach me here on dry land is something I want no part of. “Get the fuck out of my head.” That’s where I must be hearing him. There’s no way he’s actually speaking to me on the wind.
Whoever he is.
I have something you want.
I freeze. The faintest tugging in my stomach dials it up a notch. It never really goes away, even when I’m sequestered in the bookstore and surrounded by earth instead of sea. That tug tells me the exact direction my necklace—my powers—lay. I never get more than a hint of water that’s such a dark blue, it might as well be black, or an intense pressure that conveys exactly how far from the surface my necklace is kept. Too deep for humans and their machines.
Too deep for me.
I start for the beach before I can think better of it. For over two years, I’ve been missing a vital piece of myself, walking around as only half of a whole. I might not be completely helpless in my current state, but I’m easy pickings for any supernatural creature who decides to gun for me. Last night more than proved that the sea will take me, one way or another
 It might as well be on my terms.
Lightning flashes, bright enough that spots dance over my vision for the several seconds of silence before thunder rattles my bones. The storm isn’t directly overhead yet, but it will be soon. I’m a damn fool if I’m still out by that point.
I yank off my boots and socks and toss them onto the beach just out of reach of the waves coming faster and faster. One step, maybe two, and I’ll be submerged up to my ankles. My finding power will spiral out of me, instinctively seeking the one item I want more than anything in this goddamn world.
Not my sisters.
Not even the portal home.
No, what I want more than anything is to be whole again.
I should just turn around and go home. Whoever this voice belongs to, they mean nothing good for me. There’s a proper way to reach out, and it’s not by drawing a finless one of the merfolk into the ocean and nearly drowning her human body. Stepping into the ocean will boost what little magic I have left, and it will create a clear channel for him to speak to me.
I take that first step, and then the second. My power streaks out into the deep and then rebounds, slamming me with a vision of my necklace. It’s different than it’s been in the past. Barely any pressure to speak of. Blue-gray water that stretches for miles and miles and miles around without encountering land. A vaguely fishy taste on my tongue.
Tentacles.
And then his voice is in my head, curling through me in a way that’s just shy of being invasive. Hello, pretty.
Telepathy isn’t one of my skills, but apparently his is so strong that it allows me to fire off a reply. Tell me what you want and get out of my head.
His chuckle is pure predator. More like I have something you want.
Surely not. The Deep Dwellers, sworn enemy to my people, wouldn’t be so foolish as to lose a coup like my necklace. In the endless history of wars between our kind, I can’t think of a single instance when they’ve managed to steal the very essence of what one of the merfolk is—to sever one of us from our power. It’s priceless. They wouldn’t have traded it—would have, in fact, guarded it with their lives. So why does this monster in my head have access to it?
I cross my arms over my chest and tell myself that the shiver racking my body is from the cold. I’m listening.
Come to me.
That surprises a laugh out of me. Pass.
You’d turn down a chance to regain yourself?
I’d turn down a chance to walk into a trap like an idiot. I shake my head. This is a waste of time. I turn for the shore when power slams into me, sending me to my knees. The water rushes in—or maybe I rush out—and the next thing I know, I’m up to my chest.
Don’t be a fool.
This deep, I finally have a sense of him. He must have held himself back up to this point, because he’s positively ancient. Older than anything I’ve ever felt—even my father—and so powerful that pain lances through my head. It would be so easy to give him what he wants, to stop fighting, to…
“Get the fuck out of my head!” I sprint for dry land. This deep, it’s more of a fast wade, but I curse and spit and fight the pull of the magic current trying to yank me off my feet. “No, no, no, no, get your stupid magic off me!
He releases me all at once and I fly the last few feet and land in a heap just past the now-normal waves. I sit up and scrub sand from my face. Even without the water connection, his dark amusement slithers through me. Another time, pretty. His presence recedes faster than any tide, leaving the storm just a normal storm.
It’s official—I’m in even worse trouble than I could have imagined.


About Katee Robert

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her 2015 title, The Marriage Contract, was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it 'a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension."  When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. 

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