THIS CHRISTMAS by Katlyn Duncan

November 19, 2014 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News


In this light hearted and festive sequel to THIS SUMMER, Hadley and Will rekindle their relationship against the sparkling winter backdrop of upstate New York. This is a must read for fans of HOPELESS by Colleen Hoover.

Want to get to know Katlyn better? Check out herDear Reader post on Barclay Publicity’s Book Scoop Blog!


Rafflecopter for Tour Wide Giveaway:

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Prize: Grand Prize $25 Gift Card Amazon or B&N (winner’s choice) and a Runner Up Prize copy of Katlyn’s Life After series bundle.


About This Christmas:

This year, if Hadley wrote her dream Christmas list, it would go something like this:

1. Spend every waking – and sleeping – moment with her incredibly gorgeous boyfriend, Will.

2. Figure out what’s been bugging him lately. Yes, going away to college has been tough…but it’s time they reconnected.

3. Enjoy a sparkling Christmas in New York City, gazing at the Rockefeller tree, going ice skating, and drinking steaming mugs of cocoa in Central Park.

So, driving off to spend Christmas in a rustic cabin in the woods wasn’t exactly the plan. But when it comes to her irresistible, and at times, impossible boyfriend, nothing’s ever that simple. And as fantasies of an icy Times Square are replaced by a clumsily decorated tree, making snowmen and the warmth of a log fire, Hadley feels herself falling in love all over again.

Except does Will have something to tell her that could change Hadley’s happily-ever-after Christmas dreams into a not-so-winter wonderland after all?

Don’t miss this festive sequel novella to This Summer.

Amazon | Amazon UK | iBooks | iBooks UK | Kobo


Also in the This Summer series: THIS SUMMER by Katlyn Duncan!


Read An Excerpt:

This Christmas by Katlyn Duncan



The Shower

All my life I was the background character in what seemed like the bigger picture. Throughout our school years, Lily usually stole the show but that was okay with me. I put my head down and studied my butt off to make sure I could leave Spring Falls as soon as possible.

But here, in this cabin with the boy-next-door, I feel center stage. No one is around for miles, it’s just us. A tingling sensation takes residence in my stomach as I peel off my t-shirt and walk backwards towards the shower.

Will’s brushing stops for a second as his eyes travel over me from the mirror. He rinses his mouth and tosses his toothbrush onto the counter. A secret thrill bursts inside of me as I reach past the curtain for the faucet.

Our eyes lock as he finishes up, barely taking the time to wipe his face of toothpaste before sprinting over to me. He scoops me up in his arms, pressing his bare chest to his still-clothed one. He kisses me deeply. Our freshly minted breaths mingle, eliciting a pleasurable chill down my spine.

He places me down on my feet but doesn’t let go. The only time our lips stop touching is the fraction of a second when he pulls his shirt over his head. I rake my hands through his hair that he allowed to grow out over the semester. It’s wild and free just like I am.

I toy with the hem of his boxers and before I know it they’re gone. He cups my breast with his warm hand and I sink into him, moving my hands over his strong shoulders and along his waist. I never get tired of touching him.

I’m still in my jeans and he pops the top button, and pulls so the zipper slides down. He pushes the jeans down and they fall to the ground at our feet. I step out of them and break our kissing for a second to make sure I don’t trip.

Will chuckles, a rumbling against my hand on his chest.

I roll my eyes and bring his lips to me again.

He pulls the curtain aside and steps into the shower, tugging me along with him. The warm spray of water soaks us within seconds. My skin ignites with pleasure at Will’s heated touch over every part of my body. We’re under the spray, touching, kissing, exploring every inch of each other’s bodies as if it’s the first time.

Will kisses my neck and I drop my head back, giving him access to what we both want. Heat pools between my legs and I wrap my hand around him. His breath hitches but he continues to kiss me.

The pressure from the shower lessens for a second before the water turns lukewarm and then, all of a sudden, freezing cold.

“Oh my God!”



About Katlyn Duncan:

Katlyn Duncan was born and raised in a small town in western Massachusetts. Her overactive imagination involved invisible friends, wanting to be a Disney Princess and making up her own stories. Her bibliophile mom always encouraged her love of reading and that stayed with her since. Even though she works full time in the medical field Katlyn has always made time for books, whether she is reading or writing them.

Katlyn now lives in southern Connecticut with her husband and adorable Wheaten Terrier and she is thrilled to finally share her stories with the world.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

WILD by Sophie Jordan

November 18, 2014 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News


WILD by Sophie Jordan

On-sale 11/18/2014 | ISBN: 9780062279910


A good girl goes bad in the third and final book in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s sexy New Adult romance series—where three Ivy League suite-mates testing their boundaries as they seek higher knowledge of just how far they can go.


Months after her boyfriend dumped her, Georgia can still hear the insults he hurled at her. Boring. Predictable. Tame. Tired of feeling bad, she’s ready to change her image, and go a little wild. What better way to prove her ex wrong than a hot night of adventure at the secret campus kink club?


In the shadowy den of the club, she unexpectedly runs into Logan Mulvaney, her friend’s little brother. A player extraordinaire too hot for his own good, he may be younger, but the guy is light years ahead when it comes to the opposite sex. Now he’s telling her to go home-”good girls” don’t belong here!

 Georgia is tired of having others define her. She’s going to teach Logan a lesson he won’t forget-one white hot, mind-wrecking kiss . . . that leads to another . . . and another . . . and. . . . Realizing she’s way in over her head, Georgia runs.


Only Logan won’t let her go. Everywhere she goes he’s there, making her want every inch of him. Making her forget who she is. Who he is. And just how wrong they are for each other.

Sophie Jordan is an international and New York Times bestselling author whose books include historical romances and the Firelight series. When she’s not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with true-crime and reality-television shows. She lives in Houston.

LETTING GO by Molly McAdams

November 18, 2014 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News


LETTING GO by Molly McAdams

On-sale 11/4/2014 | ISBN: 9780062358400


When Grey and Ben fell in love at thirteen, they believed they’d be together forever. They never dreamed that three days before their wedding, twenty-year-old Ben would suddenly die from an unknown heart condition, destroying his would-be-bride’s world. Grey would have spent the next two years simply going through the motions if it hadn’t been for their best friend, Jagger. He’s the only one who understands her pain … the only one who knows what it’s like to force yourself to keep moving when your dreams are shattered.


While everyone else worries over Grey’s fragility, Jagger is the only one who sees her strength, and vows to always be there for her-even if it’s only as her best friend. As much as he wants Grey, he knows her heart will always be with Ben. But when Grey finds out that Jagger has loved her since before he even knew what love was, it might prove to be too much for her to handle.


Grey soon realizes their chemistry is undeniable, and they learn that admitting their feelings for each other means they’ve got to face the past. Is being together what Ben would have wanted . . . or a betrayal of his memory that will eventually destroy them both?


Molly McAdams grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband and furry four-legged daughters. Her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling and long walks on the beach … which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes.

Shifter Wars by AE Jones

November 17, 2014 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News



Why did the demon cross the road? Apparently to escape from Kyle McKinley. Which is more than fine with her.

The last thing she wants is to be dragged into another supernatural crisis, but the Fates have something more interesting in store for her. Since the tricky wenches love to mess with people, Kyle isn’t really surprised. And once she learns Trina, the young shifter girl whose memory she erased, is being stalked again, Kyle will do whatever it takes to protect her.

Normally a secretive group, the shifters reluctantly agree to allow Kyle and her vampire and demon teammates to investigate. Are the poachers who kidnapped Trina back for revenge?  But when other shifters are also targeted, Kyle becomes convinced there is more to the attacks than vengeance. And when the violence escalates and Griffin, the enigmatic leader of the shifters, ends up in the crosshairs, the team braces for a bloodbath.

Scrambling to identify the mysterious group bent on destroying the shifters, and why, Kyle is also haunted by dreams and painful flashes from the prophesied Key of Knowledge which has taken up residence in her brain. In typical Kyle fashion, she decides to ignore it, but the more she ignores it, the more it digs its claws into her consciousness. If she can’t learn to embrace the Key and ask for help from those closest to her, she could lose her sanity before she’s able to prevent a shifter civil war.

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iTunes Buy Link:


Author Interview:

please tell us a little bit about your current projects?

First of all, I want to thank you for having me here today. It’s an honor to guest on RomanceJunkies. Currently, I am in the midst of releasing my Mind Sweeper Series about a woman who has the ability to erase memories. Which comes in handy since she works on a team of supernaturals who hide what they are from humans. The series has a bit of everything – humor, angst, mystery and romance. The first book, Mind Sweeper, came out September 15th. The Fledgling followed on October 13th and Shifter Wars which is book three in the series comes out today!

When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?

I started writing years and years ago. Stories have always been in my blood. My father is a great story-teller and I decided I wanted to write my stories down in the form of books. About 5 years ago, I sat down and told myself that I was going to write AND publish my books. That was a new concept for me and I started seriously pursuing publication. It was around that time that I also decided that paranormal stories were my specialty. I love the sense of ‘other’ and the larger than life powers that come with a paranormal story.

Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day? 

Okay, questions like this and I become a ‘deer in the headlights’. I freeze and my brains goes blank. I have gotten so much good advice over the years that I don’t know where to begin. Some of the best advice I got was from Donna MacMeans, an historical author, who taught a class on what she calls rooting interests. She said that great characters are ones that we root for. As authors we need to provide our readers with a character that we want to become friends with and pull for even when they’re flawed.

What has been your biggest adventure to date?

This may sound like a pat answer, but in all honesty, the decision to write and then publish this series. I have become a publisher and am running my own business. It was a big leap, but well worth it.

If your fairy godmother waved her wand and whisked you away to the location of your choice, which place would you choose, and why?

I would go to Australia and New Zealand. Amazing places that are oh so far away from where I live. Once I arrive at a place I thoroughly enjoy myself, it is the actual traveling from point A to B that can drive me crazy. Since my fairy godmother is going to whisk me somewhere, I have to take advantage of that and go as far as that whisk can carry me!

When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type who will try anything once, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true foods and recipes? 

I was a vegetarian for many years, so even though I didn’t eat meat, I was willing to try all different kinds of foods. Most of my meals are still vegetarian, but I now eat chicken on occasion to get some extra protein in my diet. I love all kinds of ethnic recipes and am willing to experiment.

What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without?

I would say my smart phone. The funny thing is that it isn’t so much about making phone calls as it is about being connected to my social media. It helps me with letting the world know about AE Jones and her books. And I love being able to jump on line, buy things, pay bills, etc on my phone. So handy! I recently got a new phone that my friends and family make fun of because the screen is so big. But I love it, and chalk their reactions up to phone jealousy, so I don’t pay any attention to them!

What is your favorite comfort food?

Mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese. I am all about the carbs when I need comfort.

What is your favorite season? What do you love about it?

My favorite season is fall. I love the warm days and cool nights. I love the leaves turning colors and falling to crunch under my feet. And I love the smells of fall. Too bad it is followed up by winter!

What project are you working on next? 

I have to finish up my Mind Sweeper series. Books 4 & 5 will be coming out the beginning of next year. But I also have a spin off series planned to tell the stories of some of the supporting characters.

Any place we can find you in person or on the net this month or next? 

Today is my release day for Shifter Wars, so I have been guest blogging on some other sites to spread the word. I did an interview on November 10th for Bibliophilic Book Blog, on November 12th I posted a blog about shifter politics for Love Romance Passion. On November 13th I had a fun blog I posted about heroines finding their inner alpha on Heroes and Heartbreakers and on November 15th I did another interview for Get Lost in a Story.

Coming up, you can find me blogging about how to create a shifter hero on The Reading Café (November 23rd) and I have a post on writing that I will share on Savvy Authors (December 1st).  All of these links are, or will be, posted on my website so come visit if you get a chance!



Author Bio:

AE Jones

Growing up a TV junkie, award winning author AE Jones oftentimes rewrote endings of episodes in her head when she didn’t like the outcome. She immersed herself in sci-fi and soap operas. But when Buffy hit the little screen she knew her true love was paranormal. Now she spends her nights weaving stories about all variation of supernatural—their angst and their humor. After all life is about both…whether you sport fangs or not.

AE lives in Ohio with her eclectic family and friends who in no way resembles any characters in her books. Honest. Now her two cats are another story altogether.


Twitter:  @aejonesauthor


Author J.M. Powers

November 17, 2014 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News


A maiden, unable to recall who she is, must battle evil to regain the memory of her past and the hope of a future.

Awaking in the forest, a young maiden recalls naught—including her name. Equally conflicting is her desire to both slap and kiss Sir Galeron, the knight who claims to have protected her while she was unconscious. Much to her chagrin, he dubs her “Ruby of the Forest” due to her red hair, and insists she find refuge at his home of Ramstone. Prickling at his demanding ways, but with no other option, she accepts his offer. And although his kiss flames her attraction even more, Galeron dashes it with a confession. The brute is trothed to another.

Ruby’s journey is filled with laughter and weeping, daydreams and discovered abilities. But never does she feel complete. Her heart longs for a future that her past may destroy. Evil lurks, treading on each tidbit of memory she recovers. Will Ruby ever recall her past? And after an attack in the village that sparks a horrific nightmare, does she even want to?

Buy Link

Author Interview:

please tell us a little bit about your current projects?

My newest release, Jewel of Ramstone, is available for pre-order now. The release date is November 14, 2014. (Print book August 2015)

I’m currently working on several books. A contemporary romance about a paralyzed woman rebuilding her life, a historical/medieval romance—book two of the Ramstone series, a fantasy romance about a human in love with an alien, and a co-authored woman’s fiction about the hijinks between twin sisters while they attempt to save a bed and breakfast. I also write story ideas while cooking dinner. A true multi-tasker.

When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?

I’d say the moment I realized my younger siblings wanted me to make up stories and plays. We had a blast—though Mom wasn’t thrilled about the sheet we nailed to the basement rafters for curtains.

Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day?

In order to make a long story short, I’ll condense. In third grade I wrote a story about a medieval princess with a magic key. My teacher gave me a zero. Her words: “A child your age could not write this. Shame on you.” My father marched to the school the next day, slammed a binder full of my stories and told her to read them. In front of him. (Don’t mess with my Dad.) She apologized, awarded an A, and much to my chagrin, read it in front of the class.

Her words of advice: “Do not ever, ever, stop writing.”

What are some of your favorite pastimes? Do you have any hobbies or collections?

One of my favourite pastimes is sewing. I made all my clothes in high-school. I was very active in Drama Club. (Man, the more I talk about school, the more I realize what a nerd I was.)

My hobbies today consist of collecting fairies, backyard vegetable gardening and watching Dr. Who. (Whoa. I’m still a nerd!)

What has been your biggest adventure to date?

If your fairy godmother waved her wand and whisked you away to the location of your choice, which place would you choose, and why?

I’d have to pick the most magical place in the world. There’s this cabin by the Coosawattee River in Georgia where my sister and I escape, write, drink hot cocoa, and act like we are five.

When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type who will try anything once, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true foods and recipes?

When it comes to food, I’m very adventurous. I’ve even had grilled rattlesnake. I love trying new recipes.

What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without?

My coffeemaker. Don’t talk to me in the morning until I have my cup of heaven.

What is this romance writer’s idea of the “ideal romantic evening”?

Alone time. Alone. No phone. No kids. Put Fleetwood Mac on, light a few candles, dim the lights, and ….yeah.

How do you describe yourself? How would your family and friends describe you?

I would describe myself as true. As cliché’ as this sounds, what you see is what you get. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I fight for the underdog, even when I should probably keep my mouth shut.

It’s hard to say how others would describe me, but they’re free to go at it in the comment section.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Grits with lots of butter and sugar.

What is your favorite season? What do you love about it?

My nickname was Summer for years. I bet you can guess my favorite season. Living in Upstate New York, winters are long and snow in spring in not unheard of. Then the arrival of summer sparks a happy dance. I love watching the lilacs bud then bloom. I adore the smell of new growth, the taste of cotton candy at a summer gathering, and the sound of kids splashing in the pool. Most of all I savour the warmth on my skin.

Any place we can find you in person or on the net this month or next? One can always find me at the following links:



Amazon Author Page



Author Bio:

J.M. Powers harbors an alter ego of a normal woman named Jeannie. (Her editor is still on the fence about the whole “normal” thing.) Jeannie’s proficient at research, gluten-free cooking, and embarrassing her teenagers by wearing skinny jeans to the grocery store. J.M., the author-ego, plunges so deep into her writing she forgets life outside her creations still goes on. More often than not, J.M. answers with a glassy stare when her family asks what’s for dinner. Despite the craziness between reality and the world of writing, life falls together without broken bones or hearts.



Twitter: @jmpowersauthor



King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court byKim Iverson Headlee

November 17, 2014 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News

King Arthur - Tour Banner


TITLE – King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court
AUTHOR – Kim Iverson Headlee
GENRE – Science Fiction/Fantasy Time-Travel Romance
– 1 November 2014 (ebook, illustrated)
– February 2015 (audiobook, performed by Caprisha Page)
– November 2015 (hardcover, featuring more than 100 illustrations)
LENTH (Pages/# Words) – (350 pages/70K words)
PUBLISHER – Lucky Bat Books
COVER ARTIST – Jennifer Doneske
ILLUSTRATORS – Jennifer “The Royal Portraitist” Doneske and Tom “The Creature King” Doneske

King Arthur - Book Cover



Morgan le Fay, 6th-century Queen of Gore and the only major character not killed off by Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, vows revenge upon the Yankee Hank Morgan. She casts a spell to take her to 1879 Connecticut so she may waylay Sir Boss before he can travel back in time to destroy her world. But the spell misses by 300 miles and 200 years, landing her in the Washington, D.C., of 2079, replete with flying limousines, hovering office buildings, virtual-reality television, and sundry other technological marvels.

Whatever is a time-displaced queen of magic and minions to do? Why, rebuild her kingdom, of course—two kingdoms, in fact: as Campaign Boss for the reelection of American President Malory Beckham Hinton, and as owner of the London Knights world-champion baseball franchise.

Written as though by the old master himself, King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by Mark Twain as channeled by Kim Iverson Headlee offers laughs, love, and a candid look at American society, popular culture, politics, baseball…and the human heart.







Chapter XI: The Queen in Search of a Baseball Club


CLARICE HELPED ME pack my clothing and accessories for the relocation to London: just what I would need for the first brace of weeks, which amounted to eight large traveling cases, one of which was devoted to my hair accoutrements and cosmetics. Not long after arriving in this century, Clarice had introduced me to these wonderful products, which allowed me to create the same visual effect as I had done for decades with the aid of magic; now you sit privy to the secret of how I could cast ever so many enchantments for President Malory and remain looking as glorious as ever.


While I was yet sorting through my garments deciding which to bring and which to leave, my thoughts turned toward a leaving of another sort. I must have appeared sorrowful, for of a sudden Clarice asked if aught ailed me.


“I shall miss you, Clarice, when I get to London.” Since that answer represented only half the truth, I hurried on with: “And yet I know that you shall perform your duties in continuing to oversee my office here in Washington to the utmost of your considerable abilities.”


That made her smile, and she thanked me for the compliment, but her look turned shrewd. “I imagine you’ll miss President Hinton, too.”


“Of course I shall. She has become as a sister to me.”


I resumed examination of the dress I had been holding, a sexy little black thing that I would have loved to have worn only for Accolon…


“Please tell me about him,” said Clarice.


“I beg your pardon?”


The shrewd look was back. Mayhap it had never left. “Sir Accolon. Queen Morgan, you have not—um, partnered with any man of this century more often than once to my certain knowledge, since I manage your schedule. I suspect that you have not yet found anyone you like, let alone love, as well as he. No one of this era could make you go all moony-eyed while looking at a dress; therefore, you must be thinking about Accolon. So, please tell me about him.”


Ha. I knew I had chosen her as my trusted adviser for good reason, and I rewarded her accordingly. As the memories swirled about in my mind, making me yearn even more acutely for Accolon’s company, I said:


“He was a knight with very few peers during his lifetime, excepting only Sir Launcelot and Sir Gawaine. And my brother—those three were the only knights who ever bested him in single combat. So naturally, he was big—in all parts and portions—and muscular, and very strong, yet as a lover he was no brute, but as tender as any virgin maid could ever wish for. His intellect was nearly as keen as mine, as was his eagerness to assist me in righting the wrongs inflicted upon me by my brother. He had hair as glossy black as a raven’s wing, which he kept short-cropped in the old Roman style; he once said it was more comfortable under the helmet than having masses of hair stuffed up under and making the head sweat overmuch. It had a fine curl to it that I found most endearing. His eyes were an unforgettable shade of blue, and he had a strong chin that he kept clean-shaven…Lord God in heaven! Who on earth is that?”


While I had been discoursing on Accolon’s virtues, Clarice had activated her screen, which was now displaying the image of a man who could have been my dead lover’s twin.


Clarice grinned. “You said the other day that you wanted to find another general manager for the Knights. This man is Alexander Leroy ‘Sandy’ Carter, former WBF second baseman and 2073 Tournament MVP for the Connecticut Yankees. Since his retirement as a player, he has served in various capacities for several teams, including as a GM. He is a renowned expert in all matters baseball.”


In any era, when something—or someone—sounds too good to be true, it—or he—usually is. I asked, “If he is so valuable, then why does he not stay with one team?”


A look of chagrin crossed her countenance. “Sandy Carter is what we call a ‘loose cannon.’ He can be temperamental and wild, and he gets into fights with players and coaches and…sometimes even with his bosses. And not just verbal fights, either. Usually his points are quite valid, but his means of expressing them don’t earn him any friends.”


In a word, then, passionate. Passionate men I understood and could work with. It had been thus with Accolon at the start of our association, and look at all I had been able to accomplish with him. Everything I had ever desired, except King Arthur’s throne.


Wit I well that lying and gullibility were two facets of human nature that had not changed in the last fifteen centuries and shall not change in the next fifteen, either. I had learned this while trying to evaluate potential new Knights for the team. Everyone speaks glowingly of his accomplishments and accolades; no one ever mentions his flaws or mistakes or regrets unless a wise employer chooses to ask specific questions of this ilk. Yet Clarice had offered the bad along with the good of this man. Still, I would be forced as a point of honor to relinquish my coveted title of The Wise if I accepted her words at face value; upon turning the thought-receptors toward me, I soon verified everything she had told me about this volatile man.


I asked, “Is Sandy Carter available now?”


Clarice’s grin returned. “For the right price, Queen Morgan, anyone is.”


It took only one call, and Sandy Carter expressed exceeding pleasure and eagerness to accompany me to London as general manager of the Knights. The fact that I had worn the sexy black number during the call saved the team quite a sum with regard to Carter’s agreed-upon salary.


Neither as queen nor as ball club owner do I ever make idle promises.

King Arthur - Author Photo


Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, and assorted wildlife. People & creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins — the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-20th century — seem to be sticking around for a while yet.
Kim is a Seattle native (when she used to live in the Metro DC area, she loved telling people she was from “the other Washington”) and a direct descendent of 20th-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the 7th-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.
For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels under her new imprint, Pendragon Cove Press. She also writes romantic historical fiction under the pseudonym “Kimberly Iverson.”

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In Pursuit of Miriam by Helen A. Grant

November 16, 2014 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News


Dragged by her aunt for a season in Bath, the Honourable Miss Miriam Knightly promises to make herself agreeable to any unmarried man she meets. All in the hope that one of them will overlook her lameness and offer marriage.

Vincent, the Earl of Chantry, needs a wife in order to inherit the funds he needs to prolong his merry London lifestyle. What better candidate for a marriage of convenience than an unfortunate lady with little prospects of gaining a husband? Miss Knightly. He happily foresees planting her at his country estate while he returns to London.

However, Miriam, a lady of independent character and means, secretly refuses to fall at the feet of the gentlemen who do propose—including the handsome Earl of Chantry. His proposal couched in cold business terms, distresses her. For already, his very touch makes her pulse race. Can she accept his proposal and live in hope that one day he will come to care for her?


When Miriam returned to the entrance of the opera house cloakroom, she looked around to see if there was anyone who could assist her to return to her seat, but she did not recognize anyone.
Never mind, she thought. I will take it slowly and get back on my own. Thus resolved, Miriam started to walk and was progressing well until she reached the stairs. She rested for a short time at the bottom of the stairs before starting her ascent. She felt a little nervous because people all around her were hurrying to get back to their seats before the start of the second act. She managed the first step without problem, but just as she stepped onto the second, someone inadvertently brushed against her, causing her to lose her balance and begin to fall backward.
To her surprise her fall was halted before she hit the floor by two large hands that encircled her waist and steadied her back into a standing position. She turned her head to see who had rescued her and found herself looking up into the handsome face of Vincent Mount-Parker, who still held her in his arms. She could feel her face reddening with embarrassment at the same time her heart pounded in her ears. She could feel the heat of his hands through her gown and her body felt scorched where he touched her.
“Th-thank you,” she stuttered. “I appear to have lost my balance.” For goodness’ sake, talk about stating the obvious. He would think her a simpleton.
The earl did not release her. “I am glad I was here to catch you. If you take my arm, I will see that you get back to your seat without further mishap.”
“Oh, please do not trouble yourself,” Miriam implored. “I make very slow progress and I fear you would miss the start of Act Two.”
He shrugged. “’Tis no trouble. I do not think I will suffer too greatly if I miss the start of the next act.” Vincent frowned. Did she not consider the insult to him, as a gentleman, should she refuse his assistance? He purposely steered her upward.
Miriam was about to protest further but took one look at his face, which was set in a stubborn manner, and placed her hand on his arm.
“I am sure you cannot mean that!” exclaimed Miriam. “The opera is enthralling and the characters interesting. The sisters are played so well and the singing is beautiful.”
“In general, I do enjoy the opera. However, I think the first act of this opera may have more appeal to ladies than gentlemen.” A faint smile lifted the corners of his mouth.
Miriam found herself entranced by his mouth. What would it feel like, she wondered, to run her fingers over those well-defined lips? Would they be soft? Firm? Cool or warm to the touch?
Miriam caught herself with difficulty. What in heaven’s name was wrong with her? She brought her mind back to their conversation. Smiling up at him, she agreed that he might well be right, and they both laughed.
“Do you visit the opera house frequently?” asked Vincent. For some reason he found he really wanted to find out a little more about the mysterious Miriam Knightly.
“There is a beautiful opera house in Buxton, close to where I live, that I attend, but this opera has not played there as yet. Have you seen Venus and Adonis? I think it’s my favourite!” Miriam was finding Vincent very easy to talk to.
“I have seen more than one production of that opera. I enjoy it all the more for its being in English,” was Vincent’s honest observation.
In what seemed to be very little time they reached the top of the stairs. By now Miriam found she was having to lean quite heavily on the earl, but this did not seem to bother him in the slightest. In fact, he had shown great consideration; he had not rushed her and had allowed her to set the speed of their ascent. Miriam realized that the second act had indeed already started.
“Please do go ahead,” she begged him again. “You have already missed the beginning of Act Two.”
“It is you I feel will suffer for having missed it more than I, so please think no more of it,” Vincent assured her, knowing this to be the truth. “Do you want me to take you into your box or will you manage from here?” He had quite enjoyed her company and would have been happy to prolong the encounter.
“I can manage well and thank you again for your assistance.” She removed her hand from his arm and gave a small curtsy. He bowed in return before they moved apart.
Miriam slipped back into the box and resumed her seat beside her aunt. But she found she could not settle in to watch the opera. Instead, she kept remembering how it had felt to have strong arms catch her when she had fallen…
Helen A. Grant lives in the county of South Yorkshire, England.
Having been introduced to Jane Austen novels while in high school she developed a life-long passion for historical novels.
With two grown children who have now left home and a lots of storyline ideas Helen has now found the time to pursue her dream of writing historical novels. When she is not writing, Helen works part time as a community nurse with people with learning disabilities.
In Pursuit of Miriam is her first historical novel.
For updates on novels yet to come, visit Helen’s website at
Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
Readers can contact Helen via e-mail at


November 16, 2014 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News


“Rich Zahradnik is a superb craftsman…Rich in intrigue.”

–Jeff Clark-Meads, author of The Plowman and Tungol


“I didn’t realize how much I missed seedy gritty corrupt crime-ridden New York City of the 1970s till I read Zahradnik’s debut thriller. Last Words captures the palms-out politicians, the bully cops, the not-so-hapless homeless, the back-stabbing reporters of a city on the brink. The pace speeds up; the whispers and clues and leads all come together for a big empty-the-revolver and fling-the vodka bottle finale. Well worth the trip back in time.”

–Richard Zacks, author of Island of Vice and Pirate Hunter




By Rich Zahradnik




 In March of 1975, as New York City hurtles toward bankruptcy and the Bronx burns, newsman Coleridge Taylor roams police precincts and ERs. In LAST WORDS by Rich Zahradnik (Camel Press, $12.49 paperback; $4.95 Kindle), Taylor searches for the story that will deliver him from obits, his place of exile at the Messenger-Telegram. Ever since he was demoted from the police beat for inventing sources, the 34-year-old has been a lost soul. A break comes at Bellevue, where Taylor views the body of a homeless teen picked up in the Meatpacking District. Taylor smells a rat: the dead boy looks too clean and he’s wearing a distinctive Army field jacket. A little digging reveals that the jacket belonged to a hobo named Mark Voichek and that the teen was a spoiled society kid up to no good, the son of a city official. Taylor’s efforts to learn Voichek’s secret put him on the hit list of three goons who are willing to kill any number of street people to cover tracks that just might lead to City Hall. Taylor has only one ally in the newsroom, young and lovely reporter Laura Wheeler. Time is not on his side. If he doesn’t wrap this story up soon, he’ll be back on the obits page—as a headline, not a byline, in Rich Zahradnik’s LAST WORDS.

Buy the book –

 Read An Excerpt:

Excerpt from


By Rich Zahradnik


The orderly rolled the gurney onto an elevator. Taylor stepped on, too. The orderly read his press pass. It expired in three months, and if Taylor couldn’t get back on the police beat by then, he’d lose it and all the access it gave him. Doors all over the city would slam shut. The thought chilled him.


“Coleridge Samuel Taylor.”


“Just Taylor.” He hated the literary ornamentation of his name.


“Name’s Jackson.”


The autopsy room looked like any operating theater with its silver-domed lights, trolleys of medical instruments and glass- fronted metal cabinets. The acrid smell of disinfectant was even stronger here.


A second orderly came in and helped Jackson shift the wrapped body onto a table, both of them grunting.


“Jesus, this body is frozen stiff,” Jackson said.


The second orderly shrugged and left, as if moving bodies was his only job.


“You said he died of exposure, right?” Taylor leaned in.


“Yeah, but he feels like ….” The orderly frowned. “The last time a body came in frozen solid like this was when a jumper went into the Hudson back in January.” He pulled the sheets open near the neck. The corpse was still dressed and the orderly fingered the material of the outer clothing. “The coat and sweater are cold but not frozen.” He slid his hand inside the sweater. “The undershirt feels like it’s iced right to him. The skin is frozen.”


“That doesn’t make sense.” Taylor looked from the orderly to the body on the slab. “It’s like he froze from the inside out. Or his outer clothes were put on after he froze.” He made a note of this. “Be interesting to hear what the pathologist makes of it.”


“Not much if he thinks he’s cutting a homeless boy. How are you going to do a story on a dead nobody?” The orderly sighed and turned away.


I’ll find out what makes him a somebody. Getting frozen in your underwear and dressed by another person might do the trick.


“You gotta be a big somebody to get your death notice in the papers here.”


This victim’s story already bothered him. The boy was going to disappear. Taylor was watching it happen. No last words for the family. No notice taken anywhere by anyone. It had happened before, with Billy. This was going on now in Taylor’s city. There was no excuse for it.


“When did the body come in?”


“Night watch. Three, four in the morning.”


“You’re just now rolling him in?”


“No room at the inn. Kept the body outside in the ambulance.”


“What if they got another call?”


“Couldn’t. No one to replace the driver’s going off shift. Poor bastards had to take a cab back to their house. These budget cuts are just crazy. So we kept him cold out there. The guys just came back to get their wagon.”


“Where’d they pick him up?”


“The Meatpacking District.” Jackson looked at the body again. “I’ll tell you one thing. I doubt they’ll be cutting today. It’s going to take a whole shift to defrost him. Very strange. Or plain bad luck.”


Only the facts interested Taylor. They’d explain how this boy froze from the inside out, the cause and effect. Nothing unlucky. Nothing strange.


Jackson pulled off the sheet. The dead boy wore an army field jacket similar to Taylor’s. Threads hung at the edges of the rectangle above the left breast pocket where a name patch should have been.


“Whatever the name tag said, it wasn’t this kid’s,” Taylor said. “He’s too young for the military.” Could be the father’s, Taylor thought. Or maybe the boy bought it at the Army-Navy. Taylor would check all that out. The jacket had seen a lot of wear and tear. Some of that might be from life on the street.


“Now that I think of it,” Jackson said, “it looks like the one I got when I fought in Europe. You don’t see these as much. Thing never was warm enough.”


Jackson was right. The boy’s jacket featured lapels instead of a circular collar and the fabric looked thinner. The kid wore dungarees, patched the length of both legs, more patches than jean material really. The “V” of a blue sweater, probably wool, showed under the jacket.


Jackson nodded at Taylor’s jacket. “You a vet?”




“Just like the look?”


“No.” The implication stung, as if his was a fashion statement. His brother, trained to fight somewhere cold in Europe, was ordered to Vietnam. Billy didn’t need the heavy jacket, or didn’t want to pack it, or had wanted to leave something behind with his older brother. Taylor wasn’t sure which. He gave it to Taylor and never came back. Maybe because of the question, the teenager became his brother Billy for a moment. Another kid forever lost to his family. The boy was the same height, though slighter and younger. What was younger when you were dead?


The orderly was saying something, forcing Billy’s face to fade, replaced by that of the dead boy. This face was smooth, without lines, and the nose straight. His lips were full, almost pouting, and his gray eyes looked directly into the bright overhead lights, unblinded and blind. His hair was thick, long and clean, which was odd. If this kid was homeless, it should have been matted and dirty.


“Look at this.” Jackson pointed to the jacket’s right sleeve.


More than twenty national flags were sewn down the outside of the right arm of the field jacket, from the shoulder to the cuff. France, Italy, USA, East Germany, Canada, the USSR, West Germany, Red China, and countries some Taylor couldn’t identify.


Taylor walked around the table. “Same on this side. No unit or rank. Those were cut away a long time ago. Just more flags. It’s like the UN.”


Thousands of army field jackets hung in the closets of New York vets, the families of the dead and even ex-hippies, but none would look like this one. Taylor knew people would remember it. This was starting to look like a story he could follow.


Jackson left the room. Taylor checked the boy’s left hand, leaned in to get closer and used his Bic pen to lift the fingers. They were smooth, almost feminine, with telltale signs of civilized living—clean, well-trimmed fingernails. Not a speck of dirt under any of them. The fingers on the right hand were the same. This kid wasn’t homeless, or hadn’t been for long. The field jacket would lead to someone who knew him, who could tell his story. He listed the countries of the flags he could ID and descriptions of those he couldn’t.


“I thought we were rid of you, Taylor.” Dr. R. Martin Quirk, the assistant coroner, stood inside the door. Taylor looked from Quirk’s long face to the stubby fingers that seemed imperfect instruments for prodding inside bodies, even dead ones.


“This kid wasn’t homeless,” Taylor said.


“What do you know? Don’t turn this John Doe into another of your page one specials. I’ve got six homicides in the cooler, bodies piling up in the emergency room—high priority, cops shooting civilians—and five accidentals, old people who froze to death in their apartments. I’ve got to cut them all anyway. They won’t let me put ‘unpaid Con Ed bill’ as cause on the death certificate.”


“Will you at least check the ‘missing’ list?”


Quirk always claimed to be overworked, but he was just plain lazy.


“That’s a cop’s job.”


“They won’t.”


“I’m not their master, thank Christ. Why don’t you do it? You’re the reporter.”


Taylor decided not to disabuse him of that notion. From his jacket’s right pocket, he pulled out and opened the collapsible Polaroid he carried for capturing a scene when a click was faster than taking notes. A snap-flash and Taylor held the instant photo, a black square until it developed. In two minutes, chemicals and metals would resolve into a color picture of the dead boy’s face. He needed it to track down who the kid was.


“I’ll call you to get cause of death.” He put the developing picture in his coat pocket next to his wallet and went straight through the double doors without glancing back.


Why didn’t the boy show the wear and tear of rough living? He might have been a recent arrival on the street, a runaway who didn’t bargain on the freezing weather and died almost as soon as he ran. A sad story. Newspaper readers loved sad stories, even if they said they didn’t.

Excerpted from the book LAST WORDS by Rich Zahradnik.  Copyright © 2014 by Rich Zahradnik.  Reprinted with permission of Camel Press.  All rights reserved.



RICH ZAHRADNIK is the author of the Coleridge Taylor Mystery series published by Camel Press. He was a journalist for 30-plus years, working as a reporter and editor in all major news media, including online, newspaper, broadcast, magazine and wire services. He held editorial positions at CNN, Bloomberg News, Fox Business Network, AOL and The Hollywood Reporter, often writing news stories and analysis about the journalism business, broadcasting, film production, publishing and the online industry.

In January 2012, he was one of 20 writers selected for the inaugural class of the Crime Fiction Academy, a first-of-its-kind program run by New York’s Center for Fiction. He has been a media entrepreneur throughout his career. He was the founding executive producer of, a leading financial news website and a Webby winner; managing editor of, and a partner in the soccer-news website company Goal Networks. Zahradnik received his B.A. in journalism and political science from George Washington University.

Memoir Revolution by Jerry Waxler

November 14, 2014 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News

Memoir Revolution Cover

Memoir Revolutionis Jerry Waxler’s beautifully written story as he integrates it with his deep and abiding knowledge and passion for story. In the 1960s, Jerry Waxler, along with millions of his peers, attempted to find truth by rebelling against everything. After a lifetime of learning about himself and the world, he now finds himself in the middle of another social revolution. In the twenty-first century, increasing numbers of us are searching for truth by finding our stories. In Memoir Revolution, Waxler shows how memoirs link us to the ancient, pervasive system of thought called The Story. By translating our lives into this form, we reveal the meaning and purpose that eludes us when we view ourselves through the lens of memory. And when we share these stories, we create mutual understanding, as well. By exploring the cultural roots of this literary trend, based on an extensive list of memoirs and other book, Waxler makes the Memoir Revolution seem like an inevitable answer to questions about our psychological, social and spiritual well-being.


Paperback: 190Pages

Genre: Fiction Publisher: Neuralcoach Press; 1 edition (April 9, 2013) ISBN-10: 0977189538 Twitter hashtag: #MRevolutionWaxler
Memoir Revolution is available as an e-book and paperback at Amazon.

Author Interview:

What is the most unusual job you ever had?

I grew up as a nerd, and intended to go through life relying on brainpower. But during the sixties, I developed an idealistic notion that people who work with their hands are more authentic. When I was around thirty, I had the opportunity to test my theory. I thought working as an assistant manager in a foundry would turn me into a real man. In that dark, dingy manufacturing plant, soot and black sand covered everything, including the sweaty, shirtless men pouring molten metal into black sand molds. Even though I spent much of my workday in the office, and never took my shirt off, by the end of my two-year stint at the foundry, I was feeling pretty buff –as active and hard working as I had been in my lifetime. And I had discovered that hard physical work in a dirty, smelly environment is not my thing.

 In addition to writing, what other modes of artistic expression do you love?

In college I loved to dance, but I was very shy. So I would stay alone in my apartment, turn on the stereo and practice dance steps. When I went to parties, always alone, I tried dancing with girls, but they backed away because I was so intense.

What is the most unusual trip you’ve ever taken?

Here’s one that’s perfect for Romance Junkies. After four years in college, in 1969, I was going to take a quick trip to California, before returning to summer school to finish my degree. A few days after arriving in Berkeley, California, I was invited to a party, where I danced with a tall athletic, blond who was training to become a dancer. We fell madly in love with each other. So I guess all that dancing was preparation to snag a great girl. That two week trip lasted two years, a long story I’m working on in my memoir.

What was the most unusual food you ever ate?

On a trip to India in the 70s, I attended a religious event, where they served free lunch to 100,000 visitors. The westerners were served a modified menu suitable to our wimpy taste buds, but a young woman I met invited me to eat with the locals. I sat on the ground surrounded by thousands of Indians, eating chapattis and Dal cooked on open-pit fires.

The girl who took me into the local lunch line had moved to India from South Africa. As had happened in the vast majority of my romantic endeavors, my clumsy nerdy ways made it impossible to connect. This mess I always made of romance was one of the reasons I spent my life trying to find myself.

Why do you think everyone should write a memoir, or at least try?

Many people think “I haven’t done anything special, so why would anyone want to read about me?” But memoir writing is not about being special. Memoir writing is a creative exercise in which you try to find the compelling dramatic tension contained within your actual circumstances. By writing a memoir, you search for interesting stories about growing up, relating to your family, entering adulthood, traveling or coping with illness or sorrow.

This search for narrative vigor and excellence has the side effect of giving you a clearer sense of who you are and where you’re going. Living with a coherent, integrated sense of self is healthier and more interesting than living with the story that has evolved by chance.

Why do you think memoirs have become so popular?

I think there are many reasons for our growing interest in the stories of individuals, as told in their own voice. Here are a few of the ones I discuss in greater detail in Memoir Revolution:

We are living longer. As we grow older, we have enough life behind us to make a story and enough life in front of us to enjoy that story. Another feature of living longer is that we have more time to see that people change over time. For example, we look more closely at our parents and wonder where they came from. Dinner table stories barely scratch the surface. The best way to understand the whole story is in a memoir.

The Internet Age has changed our relationship to strangers. Before the Internet, we walked past people at the mall or supermarket and didn’t know anything more about them than we could see from their clothes or hair. Social media allows us to share glimpses among strangers through their photos, Facebook status or tweets. The next step to satisfying our curiosity about them and our desire to be known by them can be fulfilled by reading and writing memoirs.

Self-publishing makes memoirs easier to publish and buy. Even if we cannot find a traditional publisher, we can publish the story ourselves, a fabulous creative thrill if not necessarily a money making one.

What advice would you give someone who has not yet been exposed to memoirs about how to get started reading them?

First of all, move beyond celebrity memoirs. I know there are a few profound ones such as Open by Andre Agassi and All that is Bitter and Sweet by Ashley Judd. But to learn the real depth of memoirs, focus on ones by ordinary people.

To find such memoirs, tap into the growing online communities of memoir junkies like me, who believe in the power of memoirs to make better sense of ordinary life. Read my blog, where I’ve written about the impact more than 200 memoirs have had on my life. Read Shirley Showalter’s or Kathy Pooler’s, or Linda Joy Myers, or any blogger who is trying to spread the word that memoirs heal and lift our collective understanding.

My book Memoir Revolution will help you sort through the types of memoirs, and the various goals authors are trying to achieve. At first, seeing the world through another person’s mind might feel strange. But once you get the hang of it, you will be entertained, informed, and inspired by the wide variety of experiences and the courage people show in overcoming their obstacles.
jerry waxler head shot

About the Author: Jerry Waxler teaches memoir writing at Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, PA, online, and around the country. His Memory Writers Network blog offers hundreds of essays, reviews, and interviews about reading and writing memoirs. He is on the board of the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference and National Association of Memoir Writers and holds a BA in Physics and an MS in Counseling Psychology.





———-Blog Tour Dates Monday, November 3 @ The Muffin Stop by for an interview and book giveaway!


Tuesday, November 4 @ Create Write Now

Jerry Waxler stops at Mari McCarthy’s Create Write Now to tell us a little bit about Switching From Journal Writing to Memoir Writing and tells more about his own story – Memoir Revolution.


Wednesday, November 5 @ Choices

Join author and blogger Madeline Sharples as she reviews Jerry Waxler’s book Memoir Revolution. Find out what a memoir author thinks of this intriguing book that is part guide and part memoir! Jerry will also delight reader with a guest post Comparing the Benefits of Journal Writing and Memoir Writing.


Friday, November 7 @ All Things Audry

Join Jerry Waxler and Audry Fryer and find out why Jerry called his latest book Memoir Revolution and register for the giveaway to win your own copy of this fascinating book!


Monday, November 10 @ Lauren Scharhag

Join Jerry Waxler as he writes a guest post about the “Types of Memoirs” for Lauren Scharhag’s blog today! Find out more about Jerry, memoirs, and his book Memoir Revolution!


Tuesday, November 11 @ Vera’s Version

Join Jerry Waxler as a guest blogger as he chats about “Twenty years in choir and the power of habits” at Vera’s Version and find out more about Memoir Revolution and what Jerry has to say about writing your own memoir!


Wednesday, November 12 @ Sherrey Meyer

Read Jerry Waxler’s entertaining and insightful guest post as he visits with fellow author Sherrey Meyer. Sherrey asks the loaded question: “Your bio says you studied counseling psychology. How does that relate to memoir writing?” There will also be one copy of Jerry’s book Memoir Revolution available for giveaway as part of this blog stop. Pop over today and don’t miss a moment!


Thursday, November 13 @ Katherine Hajer

Tune in today as Katherine Hajer reviews Memoir Revolution by Jerry Waxler. See what she thinks about this interesting book!


Friday, November 14 @ Romance Junkies

Join Jerry Waxler as he stops at Romance Junkies for an insightful interview about himself and his unique book Memoir Revolution.


Monday, November 17 @ CMash Reads

Jerry Waxler visits CMash Reads and shares his thoughts on turning his lawn into a story while also providing some insight into his popular book Memoir Revolution.


Wednesday, November 19 @ Bring On Lemons

Join Crystal Otto as she shares her review of Jerry Waxler’s Memoir Revolution and offers readers an opportunity to win their own copy!


Friday, November 21 @ Lisa Haselton

Join Lisa Haselton as she interviews the knowledgeable and interesting Jerry Waxler about his memoir writing book Memoir Revolution. Jerry has graciously provided an ebook copy for one lucky giveaway winner. This is a blog stop you won’t want to miss!



TAG by Shari J. Ryan

November 13, 2014 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News

What if your family had a big secret . . . a life changing secret. My dad, the bigwig CIA agent, was always on the run, whether he was being chased or doing the chasing. I missed him. Then my mom passed away, and my sister was murdered. I turned my solitude to strength because the alternative was too bleak.

But my luck seemed to turn: I met Tango. And while I want him more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my twenty-two years, danger lurks around every corner and I simply can’t take the chance of it finding me. But his tattoos, his smell, his darkness, and his body— that marine has taken over my every thought. But, what if he too isn’t what I think? A ticking time bomb isn’t going to leave me much time to waver. Even the bravest person can be in need of a miracle.

Before she was gone, my mom warned me to know everyone and trust no one. But what was I supposed to do when I found out I am the one not to be trusted? Turns out, I was always the bait in this conspiracy.

In author Shari J. Ryan’s New Adult novel, TAG, the canyons hold secrets, the waterfalls provide safety, and romance has a pesky way of showing up when you are sweaty and dirty and least expect it.

I’ve been seated among the dozens of other passengers for the past two hours, watching the gate times change a number of times before I see the plane actually arrive. Just as I’m powering my phone down, preparing to board, an awful stench burns my nose from a few inches away. A middle-aged man with greasy black hair and a thick lip-covering mustache who smells exactly like the inside of a port-a-potty has found a reason to sit directly beside me in a row of empty seats. When my eyes unfortunately meet his, he takes the opportunity to speak to me. “Heading to Boston?” he asks. I raise my eyebrows and force a tightlipped smile. I simply follow that with a nod and give him a no shit look. “I heard winter’s coming early this year,” he continues.
“Cool,” I mumble with a sigh. I pull a magazine out of my bag and open it in front of my face, hoping to block my vision of the man’s blackened-stained grin. But it’s only seconds before I’m taken back when his finger sweeps down the bare skin of my collarbone.
“What does that mean?” he asks, pointing to my tattoo.
With a smooth motion, I lay my magazine down onto my lap and place my hand over his, giving him the false notion that I’m a gentle person. I take the opportunity to offer him a slight smile before I twist his forefinger backwards as far as it will go before the expectant snap. “I’m sorry,” I say sweetly. “Did I tell you it was okay to touch me?” I pull down a little harder, and he smiles in response to the pain. But as I hold my hand there, I see the smile begin to fade.
“It’s a free country, chicky,” he sputters as his tongue knocks around between his bare gums.
“Why would you think it’s okay to touch me?” I ask again, keeping my voice calm, yet stern. He licks his lips and looks me up and down, responding with only a look. “Do you go around touching girls half your age because you feel it’s okay?”
He clears his throat and looks around to see who’s watching or listening, but I don’t move my eyes from his. “Why not?” he says, shrugging his bony shoulders. “Besides, you’re definitely asking for it.”
He thinks I’m asking for it? I’m wearing a fucking scoop neck, black long sleeve shirt, jeans, and combat boots. “The only reason it’s okay, is because no one has ever probably told you no. But it occurs to me that after I snap your finger off your hand, you won’t be able to touch people inappropriately anymore, will you?”
He hoots with laughter, dragging in attention he probably shouldn’t want. “You think you could break my finger, little chicklette?”
I pull his finger a little further, and his smile grows. “Ow, stop. You’re hurting me,” he puckers his lips and winks at me.
“Oh, look, it’s your right hand. You a righty?” I turn his hand over and see deep callouses bubbling on his palm. “Yes, you are. So, if I rip this thing off, you wouldn’t miss it, right?” I turn his hand back over and glare into his beady eyes. He’s questioning my words. He’s unsure of my capabilities. And that’s fine. “Sound okay to you? Or are you going to leave and stop touching people?” His smile fades and his eyes widen. I release his hand and offer him a smart-ass smile. “Oh, and the tattoo means death. It’s a Maori Warrior symbol. They used to eat their enemies once they slaughtered them. Cool, huh?”
I see his Adam’s apple struggle to move. He lifts his bag from the ground and nearly trips over his own feet, darting away.
I reopen my magazine to the page I was reading and refocus my attention on an article as I hear a soft chuckle coming from the other side of me. I turn to see who was enjoying the free entertainment and I’m faced with a man who looks to be either a wrestler or in the military—black shaven hair, stiff jaw and bulging muscles on every inch of his arms. His eyes are currently focused on a book, and I suppose he could have been laughing at that, rather than me. But as I question it, his large shamrock green eyes lift and look right at me. A slight grin tugs on the corner of his lips, and he winks so quickly I’m questioning whether it was me who might have blinked. Before I can react, he stands up and walks away.
I swallow hard and refocus my attention on the magazine once more. Stupid attractive man causing a moment of feebleness. I didn’t react, though. He winked at me. I think. And I didn’t make a snide comment or scowl. Weakness.
I let out a few short breaths, regaining my composure. He’s gone. It’s fine.



Shari J. Ryan hails from Central Massachusetts where she lives with her hubby and two lively little boys. Writing has become Shari’s great escape from the real world over the past few years. After a bout of postpartum depression with her first child, Shari was determined to occupy her brain enough to eliminate some of the blue moments in life. When she found writing to help as a newfound therapy, she started her first book. Her books brought her out of postpartum depression and helped her overcome it when her second son was born. Shari likes to think writing saves her mind. She even used one of the characters in the book (the main character’s protagonist mother), to veer away from the type of person she refuses to become. Shari has two happy little boys and the Schasm series to show for her unorthodox therapeutic method.

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