Curvy Girl Romance

July 20, 2014 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News



First In A Series Plus Size Romance Erotic Novella

Author Paige Madison July 15th, 2014 will publish her first e-book version of the Hot Curvy Girl Erotica publishing the novella is innovating a genre where she has coined the new romance term, “real-life, self-help adventure erotica.” Part of the; “Get Your Motor Running,” series this first title is called, “Kick-Start.”

For the first time ever, a romance novella has been created that allows actual readers to in reality visit in real time in real life, numerous multiple locations, throughout Los Angeles and Southern California as noted in the book. These places such as the Glendon Bar and Restaurant in the Westwood area of Los Angeles and the Santa Monica Pier are where characters in Madison’s book go to eat, shop, flirt, and play.
“We wanted readers who may live in or will be visiting Southern California and especially Los Angeles, the opportunity to go to actual existing locales where they could order off the menu the same food dishes, deserts, cocktails, enjoy shopping for clothes, make-up, perfume at discount, and even visit the exact by name fun places where our characters in this book series go,” explained Madison. “This further allows readers to use a method such as “Google Streetview” to observe, or “visit” the actual places and locations where our book characters spend their time, no matter where in the world readers live”

Included in the plot our romantic heroine Amanda while looking for romance, love, and hot sexy adventures in “all the wrong places” learns to become more of a femme fatale under the tutelage of her best friend and “Mexican-American fairy-Godmother” Rosa. All the while as they dine, shop, and have fun, throughout Southern California between sexual exploits and misadventures almost too hot to handle, much less detail here.

Additionally, our heroine learns with Rosa’s help (as do readers) useful and beneficial self-help tools listed throughout the novella such as, YouTube videos, books, and other information to help readers learn methods such as: how to prevent pregnancy using the super safe birth control system known as the Billings Rhythm Method, ways to pleasure their lovers using techniques taught by real life sex expert Lou Paget, as described in her book and so much more.

The plot revolves around our single and unattached female curvy sized heroine Amanda, who works for a motor-cycle dealership in West Los Angeles, California along with her best friend fellow employee Rosa. Rosa her “partner in crime” takes Amanda on this journey and special trek as super girly-girl and femme fatale Rosa encourages, teaches, leads and protects her friend Amanda as they move through their lives and experience some of the fun places in Southern California. Throughout Rosa dispenses wisdom and experience to teach her how to become the hot, sexy, curvy girl that she always dreamed of being. While the “new” Amanda (who hadn’t had a date in over a year) starts getting attention from men she never expected or thought possible after her make-over.
For readers who like the fact they can have their erotic romance, experience some of the unique venues of Southern California, and perhaps learn a few womanly “tricks of the female trade” so to speak will find this book a refreshing change of pace.

This e-book is available at the introductory price of just 99¢ from all the usual places including: Amazon (Kindle), Barnes and Noble (Nook), Apple Book store, just to name a few. It is also available in audio book form direct from the authors website: or the other audio distribution places.


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


Flowering is the story of Jack and Lily. They’re college kids with their own issues, who manage to find each other. What starts as physical attraction and sexual awakening becomes so much more. Jack is troubled, with a past that makes it hard for him to see the future. Lily comes from a perfect world where she’s expected to play the role she was given. When they’re together, though, Jack becomes someone even he cares for, and Lily becomes whole.

This series is about growing up, about “flowering” into the person you become. It’s also about love and how it starts with one chance encounter and turns into a lifetime. Jack and Lily don’t have it easy, but they have each other. They’re not billionaires or rock stars or undercover agents; they’re just college kids looking to be a little less alone in the world.

Now complete in one volume. Includes the short stories, “Her Brother’s Best Friend” and “Morning Glory;” the novels, Forget Me Not, Lily of the Valley, Blue Rose, and Orange Blossom; and the novellas, Star of Bethlehem and Ambrosia.


Sarah’s Website / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Goodreads

Sarah Daltry writes about the regular people who populate our lives. She’s written works in various genres – romance, erotica, fantasy, horror. Genre isn’t as important as telling a story about people and how their lives unfold. Sarah tends to focus on YA/NA characters but she’s been known to shake it up. Most of her stories are about relationships – romantic, familial, friendly – because love and empathy are the foundation of life. It doesn’t matter if the story is set in contemporary NY, hissarahtorical Britain, or a fantasy world in the future – human beings are most interesting in the ways they interact with others. This is the principle behind all of Sarah’s stories.

Sarah has spent most of her life in school, from her BA and MA in English and writing to teaching both at the high school and college level. She also loves studying art history and really anything because learning is fun.

When Sarah isn’t writing, she tends to waste a lot of time checking Facebook for pictures of cats, shooting virtual zombies, and simply staring out the window.


Follow the entire Flowering Tour HERE
This tour is brought to you by Worldwind Virtual Book

The Luckiest by Wendy Owen

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



Once upon a time Mackenzie Phillips thought she’d found her happily ever after. She had married her high school sweetheart and had started her perfect family. But one tragic night Mac’s perfect life was ripped away from her, leaving her beautiful fairy tale existence in ruins.

When everything worth living for is suddenly taken from you, how do you keep going? People told her how lucky she was just to be alive after that night, but she didn’t agree.

Years passed with Mac living in a fog, until another unfortunate turn of events placed her world on its head once again. Now, still carrying the tender wounds of her past, this widow has to face the realities of life again.

Broken and truly alone, she must find work. In walks her new employer, Dean Johnson, a guy who is just broken enough himself, that she thinks he might actually be able to understand her. But Mac soon discovers that that bond with Dean may instead force her to face demons she isn’t yet ready to deal with.

**Contains mature material including language and sex.

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I glance in, but the box is dark inside all of the tissue paper. My hands retrieve the first item. “Buckeyes!” I exclaim.

“I can see why she’s your best friend.” Dean leans on one elbow, watching me explore the contents one by one.

I reach in, continuing to pull out items—a black hair scarf with cherries, a pair of earrings from one of my favorite local jewelry designers in Cincinnati, Abbi Glines’s newest steamy romance. My cheeks go hot as Dean sees the cover, lifting his eyebrows.

“Well, I think that’s it,” I say, lifting the box, the sound of something shifting inside catching my attention. “Oh, there’s something else.”
I reach in, and as I do, I can feel Dean’s eyes locked on me. I feel something long and cool slip into my hand. Locking my fingers around it, I let the box fall away. Instantly, I see Dean straighten up, a half-cocked grin on his face.

Much to my horror, I look down to see a pink rubber penis-shaped device in my hand. I freeze, but my cheeks are on fire. All I can think about is the different ways I am going to torture Monica before I kill her.

“I can explain,” I begin. I’ll tell him she’s crazy—like actually certifiable.

He’s still grinning at me as he gives me a slight nod. He closes the gap between us even more.

“You know, I can help with that,” he offers, and I can’t help but wonder if he’s serious, or perhaps maybe I’m wishing.

“You think I’m that easy?” I hit the ball squarely back to him. I consider licking my lips, but worry that may be over the top. I’m looking directly at him, and damn, he’s incredible.

“A guy can hope.” He pauses, playfully lifting an eyebrow. “Can’t he?”
I grin. In fact, I can’t do anything but grin. He moves closer, and I glance down, realizing I’m still holding the device. My breath hitches, but he still moves closer. He’s facing me, never moving those gorgeous blue eyes away from me. He slides his arm around my waist, and as he presses himself against me, I’m sure I can feel an erection. This surprises me, and my hand releases the dildo, which falls to the floor with a thud.

“What’s wrong? Can’t contain your excitement around me?” he whispers, his breath warm on my neck, just below my ear.
My mouth is watering, my heartbeat quickens, and my head is now spinning. I pull back, the distance giving me a slight bit of clarity. The idea of this kind of pleasure is tempting. The bulge in his jeans tells me he is interested.

In an attempt to casually conceal the pink rubber shaft, I use the toe of my platform sandals to kick it under a nearby chair. Dean cocks a brow, his face shifts, and he laughs softly.

“What?” I shrug innocently.

“Did you just kick a dick under a chair?” He’s still laughing.

“Watch it, or I might make a habit of it.”

“Ouch,” he hisses, then winces, grabbing himself as if he were imagining the attack.

My eyes dart past his shoulder, where Storm is coming up the stairs. She has on her headphones, staring at the face of her phone. I nod my head at Dean, indicating we’re no longer alone. I shift, moving to walk past him. He grabs my hip, pulling me into his grasp.

“We’ll continue this later,” he promises. He takes my hand and leads me past Storm and out of the bus without a word. I wonder if she can tell what had been transpiring from the look on my face.

As we move around the side of the bus, I feel his hand shift to the small of my back. It’s like he knows all the places to touch me to drive me absolutely insane.

About The Author:

Connect with Wendy Owens:


Wendy Owens is a writer, born in the small college town, Oxford Ohio. After attending Miami University, Wendy went onto a career in the visual arts. After several years of creating and selling her own artwork she gave her first love, writing, a try. It’s become a passion ever since. Wendy now happily spends her days writing the stories her characters guide her to tell, admitting even she doesn’t always know where that might lead. Her first series, The Guardians, is a YA fantasy series about angel and human hybrids.

Since then she has branched into NA Contemporary Romance and released titles to include Stubborn Love, Only In Dreams, and Do Anything. Her next romance, The Luckiest is scheduled to be released in July 2014.

When she’s not writing, this dog lover can be found spending time with her tech geek husband, their three amazing kids, and two pups. She loves to cook and is a film fanatic.

For more info on Wendy’s young adult fiction visit
If you want to follow her on social media you can visit:


VAMPIRE TROUBLE by Sara Humphreys

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


Buy your copy today!

“Sara Humphreys has taken the vampire mythology and truly made it her own.” —Romancing the Dark Side

A fledgling vampire ignites a war…
Maya remembers the last moments of her life as a human with haunting clarity, and every man she meets pays the price…until Shane. Finding herself in the middle of a bloody fight between vampires and werewolves, Maya has no choice but to let the devastatingly sexy vampire guard get close to her.

And that’s not all that heats up…
Shane Quesada, a four-century-old vampire sentry, is known for his cold, unemotional precision, but once Maya begins to invade his dreams, his world is changed forever. His job to protect her is swiftly replaced by the all-consuming need to claim her as his own.

Praise for Tall, Dark, and Vampire:
“Shines with fascinating new characters… from the very talented Humphreys!” —RT Book Reviews, 4½ Stars, Top Pick of the Month

“Laughter, action and a steamy love story.” —Long and Short Reviews

“Riveting, outstandingly written… A must read for all vampire lovers.” —Bitten by Love Reviews

“Engaging… Humphreys skillfully blends intrigue and romance.” —Publishers Weekly

Author Interview:

please tell us a little bit about your current projects? Sure! VAMPIRE TROUBLE is the second book in my Dead in the City series and it just came out on July 1st! A coven of vampire chicks live in NYC and operate a nightclub in Greenwich Village called The Coven. VAMPIRE TROUBLE is Shane and Maya’s story.

Here’s a little blurb about it…

A fledgling vampire ignites a war…

Maya remembers the last moments of her life as a human with haunting clarity, and every man she meets pays the price…until Shane. Finding herself in the middle of a bloody fight between vampires and werewolves, Maya has no choice but to let the devastatingly sexy vampire guard get close to her.

And that’s not all that heats up…

Shane Quesada, a four-century-old vampire sentry, is known for his cold, unemotional precision, but once Maya begins to invade his dreams, his world is changed forever. His job to protect her is swiftly replaced by the all-consuming need to claim her as his own.

Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day? The best advice I ever heard was from Nora Roberts. “Put your butt in the chair and write because you can’t edit a blank page.”
Describe the “perfect” hero. What about the “perfect” hero for you? The perfect hero is far from perfect and has flaws that only our heroine can truly help him overcome. I like a hero who is masculine but thoughtful. For example, he will fight to protect the woman he loves and hold a door open for her but also loves to see her exert her independence.

 What are some of your favorite pastimes? Do you have any hobbies or collections? I love going to the movies or indulging in a movie marathon at home. I rarely get to do it which is why it’s so fun. Give me popcorn and some sci-fi to bid on and I’m a happy camper.
What has been your biggest adventure to date? Being married and having a family is my favorite adventure! I’ve been married for almost 20 years to my college sweetheart and we have four teenage boys. I live in a state of organized chaos.

If your fairy godmother waved her wand and whisked you away to the location of your choice, which place would you choose, and why?
A beach on the island of Kuai. It’s paradise. Pure and simple.

What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without? It’s a toss up between plumbing and electricity.
What is your favorite comfort food? My mom’s tuna casserole. It’s warm, filling, savory, and reminds me of my childhood.

What project are you working on next?  I’m currently writing BRAVE THE HEAT which is the first book in my upcoming contemporary romance series, The McGuire Brothers. All 5 brothers are men in uniform….le sigh.

Any place we can find you in person or on the net this month or next?
I’ll be at the RWA Literacy Signing in San Antonio this month! If you’re there, be sure to come by and see me.

“Sara Humphreys has taken the vampire mythology and truly made it her own.” —Romancing the Dark Side

A fledgling vampire ignites a war…

Maya remembers the last moments of her life as a human with haunting clarity, and every man she meets pays the price…until Shane. Finding herself in the middle of a bloody fight between vampires and werewolves, Maya has no choice but to let the devastatingly sexy vampire guard get close to her.

And that’s not all that heats up…

Shane Quesada, a four-century-old vampire sentry, is known for his cold, unemotional precision, but once Maya begins to invade his dreams, his world is changed forever. His job to protect her is swiftly replaced by the all-consuming need to claim her as his own.

Praise for Tall, Dark, and Vampire:

“Shines with fascinating new characters… from the very talented Humphreys!” —RT Book Reviews, 4½ Stars, Top Pick of the Month

“Laughter, action and a steamy love story.” —Long and Short Reviews

“Riveting, outstandingly written… A must read for all vampire lovers.” —Bitten by Love Reviews

“Engaging… Humphreys skillfully blends intrigue and romance.” —Publishers Weekly

- See more at:

LETTING GO by Molly McAdams

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

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LETTING GO by Molly McAdams
On-sale 11/4/2014
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?

Author Ella Grey

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


He was a good-looking guy, no doubt about it. A Sylph, which meant he was more element held together by will than a flesh and blood human. Light blue hair was brushed away from an angular face and piercing eyes that matched his hair. Elementals weren’t tied to any particular shape but the one he’d chosen had an interesting effect on something a lot lower than my heart. He’d managed to charm his way right into my bed and became my partner for my current plan.

It had bad idea written all over it.

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Author Bio:
Ella Grey likes to tell stories which feature very human characters, even if those characters sprout fur or can conjure fire with a click of their fingers. Ella has been writing for over a decade and is published with four houses.
She currently lives in the UK with her son, partner, and cat. She rarely sleeps and can often be found with a cup of coffee in one hand and her other hand on the keyboard.

Author Interview:

 How do you fit writing into your schedule? What does your workspace look like? My schedule is pretty simple, whenever I have spare time I can usually be found in front of my computer. My spare time is when my son is asleep and my partner is at work. Plus if I don’t need to do something else, like wash dishes or go for a bath.

Do you do a lot of research for your stories? What is the most interesting thing you have learned? I did a little bit of research for A Touch of Death, the series is closely tied to Norse mythology and Fiona casts a spell using Gaelic, Dun do chlab. Anois, Shut your mouth, Now. That was pretty interesting.

Are you a plotter or do you write as it comes? Do your characters start with names or do they have to have personalities before they can be named? In some cases I am a plotter, I have to have a clear idea in my head where the story is going. I don’t write it down, so I work with a loose frame. Characters start with names and their personalities usually shape the story.

What do you want readers to take away after reading one of your stories? What do you want them to feel? It depends on the genre. If they read one of my romances, I want them to fall in love with the characters, to find something that makes them invested in the relationship. For my hero to become their next book boyfriend. Urban Fantasy, which is how I class A Touch of Death, I want them to root for Fiona, the journey she’s on isn’t easy, she could use the support.

 What genre would you love to write but haven’t yet? Is there one you would shy away from? Epic Science Fiction, I’ve got a great idea but it’s on such a large scale and unlike anything I’ve written before maybe I’ll get to write it at some point. A genre I’ll probably never do, Horror. It just isn’t something I’m interested in.

Have you taken any classes to hone your skills? What classes/workshops would you recommend the most? I haven’t really taken any lessons. I read Stephen King’s On Writing, which I recommend to anyone who’s starting out. The book has pride of place on my bookshelf.

Do you have any hobbies that you do in your spare time? Is there something you would love to learn but haven’t had the chance yet? I like baking and last year I took up sewing but I’m not very good with a sewing machine, so I sew by hand. I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the violin.

What kinds of advice would you give a new writer? Is there anything that you have learned that you can pass on to someone just starting out? To be a writer you need to write and read. That’s the only way you get better.

How did you meet your husband? What is the most romantic thing you have done for each other? Mark and I both worked at a bar, him in the kitchen and me behind the bar. There was a lot of flirty banter over the counter or when he went to get his coffee. We probably aren’t the most romantic people in the world, but it’s usually in the little things. He has a rough day, I buy him his favorite dessert. I have a rough day, he lets me have the quiet by taking our son out.

What kinds of books will we find on your bookshelf? I have a very small bookcase. You would think it meant I didn’t have many books but that isn’t the case. Some are on a shelf in a cupboard and I’ve read all of them. The ones on my bookcase are mostly ones I haven’t read yet. There are mostly young adult in different genres, Morganville Vampires, Etiquette and Espionage and Divergent for instance.

Do you prefer to jump up and embrace the day or have a lazy breakfast in bed? I have a four year old, so my lazy days in bed are few and far between. Mostly I drag myself out of bed with the grace of a zombie in search of brains or in my case coffee.

 What is your favorite TV shows? How about ones that you would stay away from? I don’t like reality shows or soaps. My favorite series at the moment is Almost Human, NCIS and Warehouse 13.

What is your favorite dessert? Do you make it yourself or order it out? Triple Chocolate Brownies and thanks to my Auntie I have the recipe and can make it myself.

What is your favorite childhood memory? Fishing with my dad. My dad used to take us separately, since there was three of us it made it easier for him to show us what to do. I wasn’t very good at it, my line always used to get caught up in the trees.


S.J. Harper’s CAPTURED Book Blast

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

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GRAND PRIZE: $50.00 Amazon Gift Certificate



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The Fallen Siren Series, Prequel #0.5



GENRE: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance


Join FBI Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong.

She’s a Siren. He’s a Werewolf.

Their mission is redemption.


Emma Monroe is a Fallen Siren, cursed by the gods and banished to Earth for her failure to prevent the kidnapping of Persephone. She’s had many names and many lives, but only one mission: redemption. Now she works for the FBI and is on temporary assignment in Charleston. Solving this next missing persons case could be the key to ending her ancient curse—unless the temptation that’s her new partner gets in the way.


Zack Armstrong is a Werewolf. Tall, dark, and dangerous, he currently works for one of the bureau’s elite Child Abduction Rapid Deployment teams. In many respects the man is every bit as mysterious as his secret and perilous past. But there are two things he’s certain about, that he’s going to get his man and his woman.


When Zack finds himself suddenly shy a partner and a third child goes missing in Charleston, Emma goes from consultant to CARD team member in the space of a few hours. The abductions of the first two boys ended in murder, an outcome that neither Zack nor Emma can abide. As they race against time to track down the kidnapper and rescue the latest victim, they find themselves fighting something just as treacherous—a growing attraction that can’t be ignored or denied.




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The Fallen Siren Series, Book 1


Meet FBI Agents Emma Monroe and Zack Armstrong.

She’s cursed. He’s damned.

Together, they make one hell of a team.


Emma Monroe is a Siren, cursed by the gods and bound to earth to atone for an ancient failure. She’s had many names and many lives, but only one mission: redemption. Now that she works missing persons cases for the FBI, it could be just a rescue away. Unless her new partner leads her astray.


Special Agent Zack Armstrong just transferred into the San Diego Field Office. He’s a werewolf, doing his best to beat back the demons from his dark and dangerous past. As a former Black Ops sniper, he’s taken enough lives. Now he’s doing penance by saving them.


Emma and Zack’s very first case draws them deep into the realm of the paranormal, and forces them to use their own supernatural abilities. But that leaves each of them vulnerable, and there are lines partners should not cross. As secrets are revealed and more women go missing, one thing becomes clear: as they race to save the victims, Emma and Zack risk losing themselves.




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S. J. Harper is the pen name for the writing team of Samantha Sommersby and Jeanne C. Stein, two friends who met at Comic- Con in San Diego and quickly bonded over a mutual love of good wine, edgy urban fantasy, and everything Joss Whedon.


Samantha Sommersby left what she used to call her “real- life” day job in the psychiatric !eld to pursue writing full- time in 2007. She is the author of more than ten novels and novellas including the critically acclaimed Forbidden series. She currently lives with her husband and terrier pup, Olive, in a century- old Southern California Craftsman. Sam happily spends her days immersed in a world where vampires, werewolves, and demons are real, myths, and legends are revered, magic is possible, and love still conquers all.


Jeanne Stein is the national bestselling author of The Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles. She also has numerous short story credits, including most recently the novella Blood Debt from the New York Times bestselling anthology Hexed. Her series has been picked up in three foreign countries and her short stories published in collections here in the U.S. and the U.K. She lives in Denver, Colorado, where she !nds gardening a challenge more daunting than navigating the world of mythical creatures.




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S.J. Harper’s CAPTURED Book Blast   6/23 – 7/27 

6/23       Coffee Talk Writers


6/24       Musings In Fiction Alley


6/24       Addicted 2 Heroines


6/25       Binding Addiction


6/25       Night Owl Reviews


6/26       For Whom The Books Toll


6/26       Book Liaison


6/28       Under the Covers


6/28       fundinmental


6/29       Mythical Books


6/30       My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews


7/01       Eclipse Reviews


7/02       Fang Freakin Tastic


7/04       Tome Tender


7/05       In The Pages of a Good Book


7/06       I Smell Sheep


7/07       Book Monster Review


7/09       Karen Swart


7/11       Romancing the Dark Side


7/13       Dirty Girl Romance


7/13       Angels With Attitude Book Reviews


7/14       Talk Supe


7/14       Paranormal Romance Fans for Life




7/21       Vampires, Werewolves, & Fairies, Oh My


7/23       Darkest Cravings


7/25       The Reading Cafe




7/25       Inner Goddess


7/26       Book Lovin’ Mamas


7/27       You Gotta Read


7/27       Dalene’s Book Reviews

Author Jan Burke

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










From the New York Times bestselling suspense author Jan Burke comes a brand-new e-short story with the added bonus of three short stories from the Eighteen anthology.

Apprehended is a mini-anthology containing a brand new short story from Jan Burke: “The Unacknowledged,” which features the fan-favorite investigative reporter Irene Kelly, back in her journalism school days. Also included are three short stories from the previously published Eighteen: “Why Tonight,” “A Fine Set of Teeth,” and “A Man of My Stature.”

Praise for Eighteen:
“Astonishing…wry…these stories are sure to delight.” —New York Times bestselling author Jeffrey Deaver

“A delightful collection of page-turners. At turns chilling, funny, poignant—and always insightful. With these stories, Jan Burke’s at the top of her game.” —New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman






I made sure we were alone. That was actually the hardest part. After realizing that no restaurant in the city would be free of people who might know Donna, I ended up inviting her over for dinner on a night when I knew Lydia had an evening class. Until two months earlier, Lydia and I had shared the place with another roommate, but she had married over the summer. We had been putting off finding another renter, but tonight I was glad for the lack of a potential eavesdropper, enjoying the emptiness and quiet that usually had me thinking that I was going to have to move back home again.


Donna and I made small talk until after I cleared the dishes. She seemed a little down. All the same, she was an easy person to talk to. I was fighting some very cynical thinking about that as I pulled out some photocopies I had made.


I had thought of going all Perry Mason on her ass, cross-examining her until she wept and admitted her crimes. I couldn’t do it. The truth is, I liked her.


“I had a special assignment given to me this week,” I said. “Do you know who Jack Corrigan is?”


She shook her head. My tone must have hardened, or my look, or—somehow I tipped her off that the nature of our little dinner party was about to change.


“Well, I suppose that doesn’t matter. I have a feeling that you do know who Cassie Chadwick was.”


She, who blushed so easily, turned pale. She looked at me with such desperation that, for a full minute, I wasn’t sure if she was going to cry, run away, or punch me. But she just nodded yes and looked down at her hands.


“If she hadn’t harmed so many people,” I said, “I could almost admire her cunning, not to mention her nerve. After running a number of other scams, she marries a naive doctor from Cleveland, just happens to convince him that they should visit New York at the same time a man from home is there—a man who is a high-society gossip in Cleveland. She asks that man to give her a carriage ride, and has him wait for her outside the home of Andrew Carnegie, a wealthy, confirmed bachelor. She goes into the house, comes out thirty minutes later, and—this part really interested me—trips as she’s getting into the carriage. Drops a promissory note for two million dollars—a note that appears to be signed by Andrew Carnegie, whom she blushingly claims is her father.”


She stayed silent.


“Too bad promissory notes aren’t what they used to be. Planning to borrow millions based on phony documents, and cause a bank or two to fail?”




“I didn’t think so.” I let the silence stretch for a time, then said, “Who told you about Cassie Chadwick?”


“Aunt Lou, my great aunt. She grew up hearing stories about her. Aunt Lou claimed to ‘admire her brass’ as she put it. Aunt Lou doesn’t think women ever get a fair shake in this world.”


“Is Donna Vynes your real name?”


“My married name, yes.” She was tracing patterns on the tablecloth with one of her perfect fingers, still not making eye contact.


“So you’re really a war widow?”


The finger stopped moving. She looked up at me. “Oh yes. And my mother is dead. John, my husband, sent home all of his pay—a little over a hundred and fifty dollars a month at first. It was up to about four hundred when he was killed. Just about everything he saved for us got spent on my mother’s medical needs. But John also bought some life insurance through the service. So I had ten thousand from that.”


“That’s where the seven thousand comes from?”


“Yes.” She sighed. “There was this neighbor of Aunt Lou’s in Cleveland. Her daughter was about my age. Despite all my other faults, I’m not like Eldon, so I won’t name her, if you don’t mind. Anyway, at the end of last semester, she dropped out of school here. Looking back on it now, I think she was just really homesick.


“But what she told me was . . . well, once we got to know each other, she said the reason she left was because Eldon Naff slept with her and then told the world about it. She said she had been working as an assistant for Mr. Langworthy, or rather to someone on his staff. She said it was Mr. Langworthy who fired her, mostly based on Eldon’s gossip. I don’t know if that’s true, but I learned a lot about Mr. Langworthy from her. Including the fact that in early September, he was going on a Mediterranean cruise.


“And I couldn’t help thinking about Mr. Carnegie and Mrs. Chadwick. Especially because I never knew my dad. My mother always said my father died while she was pregnant with me, but I think she was lying. Aunt Lou all but confirmed that my parents weren’t married. So I am illegitimate, just not the child of a rich man.”


After a long silence, she said, “God, I don’t know how you did it, but I’m glad you figured it out. It’s a relief.”



 Link continuing the excerpt to XOXOAfterDark:





TRIED by Jan Burke



With a brand-new short story featuring Tyler Hawthorne from The Messenger, plus three stories from Eighteen, this is the third of six e-short story collections from New York Times bestselling suspense author Jan Burke.





At this hour, although two other attendants roamed another part of the cemetery, Tyler and Shade were alone in this section of the hilly grounds. Suddenly Shade stiffened. His ears pitched forward and his hackles rose. He gave a low, soft growl.


Tyler came to a halt. Shade protected him, but the dog seldom growled at living beings.


In the next moment, the air was filled with what he at first took to be bats, then saw were small birds, of a type Tyler had never seen so far inland. “Mother Carey’s chickens,” he said, using the sailors’ name for them. Storm petrels. “What are they doing here?”


The birds fluttered above him, then a half dozen dropped to the ground before Shade in a small cluster. The scent of the sea rose strongly all about him, as if someone had transported him to the deck of a ship.


Shade stared hard at them as they cheeped frantically, then the dog relaxed into a sitting position.


The other petrels flew away. No sooner had they gone than the six before him were transformed into the ghostly figures of men.


They were forlorn creatures, gray-faced and looking exactly as what they must be, drowned men. Their uniforms proclaimed two as officers, the other four as sailors, all but one of the British navy.


Shade’s demeanor told him that these ghosts—unlike some others—would be no threat to him.


“May I be of help to you?” Tyler asked.


“Captain Hawthorne?” the senior officer asked.


“I believe the rank belongs more rightly to you,” Tyler said. “I was a captain in the British army many years ago, but I sold out after Waterloo.”


“Yes, sir,” the captain said, “I understand. If I may introduce myself to you, I am Captain Redding, formerly of the Royal Navy. Lost at sea in about your—your original time, sir.”


They exchanged bows.


“You are a Messenger?” Captain Redding asked.




“We are all men who drowned at sea. Many of those in the flock you called ‘Mother Carey’s chickens’ are indeed just that. We come from many nations, taken by that sea witch Mother Carey, yet death has made us all birds of a feather. Little birds tell other little birds news of those such as yourself, and speak of Shade as well.”


The dog gave a slight wag of his tail in acknowledgment.


The captain went on. “The midshipman we bring to you is an American. Hails from here in Buffalo. We approach you on his behalf.” He turned to the man. “Step forward, Midshipman Bailey, and tell the captain your story, for we’ve not much time left.”


“Aye, sir.” The midshipman gave Tyler a small bow. “Thank you, sir. If you would be so kind to visit my sister, who lies dying not far from here. In the asylum, sir. The good one. We’ve all of us in her family done her a grave injustice.” He looked down at his feet. “Many injustices.”


“When were you lost at sea?” Tyler asked gently.


“Eight years ago, sir, in ’63. In the War Between the States. Would have done more for my country if Zeb Nador hadn’t pushed me overboard in a storm.”


“Do you ask me to seek justice for you?”


“Not necessary for me, Nador’s in the county jail here and will face trial for murdering someone else. He’ll hang as well for that one as for what he did to me.”


Tyler was about to try to say something to comfort him, unsure what that might be, when one of the other men whispered, “Hurry!”


Midshipman Bailey nodded, then said, “Will you go to her, sir? Her name is Susannah. She needs you tonight. And if you’d tell her Andrew sent you to her, and that she was always the best of his sisters, and that he sees things clearer now, and hopes to one day rest at her side—”


“Hurry!” the captain ordered.


“Well, sir, I’d take it as a great kindness.”


“I would be honored to do so, Midshipman Bailey.”


“Thank you!” he said, and had no sooner whispered these words than all six men again transformed into small birds and rose from the ground. They circled in the air above him, where they were joined again by the larger flock. He had thought they would begin their long journey back to the sea, but they surprised him by surrounding him and the dog.


Quite clearly, he heard hundreds of voices whisper to him at once, “Storm’s coming!”


And they were gone.


Shade immediately headed toward the nearest gate at a brisk trot. He glanced back at Tyler in impatience. Tyler hurried to catch up.


“There is more than one asylum, you know. The closest is still under construction, which leaves Providence Lunatic Asylum and the Erie County Almshouse—”


It wasn’t hard to read the next look he received.


“I apologize. Yes, Sister Rosaline Brown’s would be the ‘good one.’ And of course you will know the way and of course you will be admitted, although large black dogs, as a rule . . .”


Shade wagged his tail.


Providence Lunatic Asylum was operated by the Sisters of Charity, who had previously established a hospital in Buffalo. They had arrived in the city just in time to deal with the early cholera epidemics and were considered heroes by many. In 1860, horrified by conditions in the Erie County Almshouse and Insane Asylum, Sister Rosaline Brown started the asylum, which attempted a more humane treatment of the insane.


The dog paused at the small building closest to the cemetery’s main gate. Tyler understood what he was meant to do. Hailing the man who was keeping watch, Tyler said, “A severe storm is coming. Please call the other men in.”


“Storm?” the man said, bewildered.


“Yes, it’s calm now, but I just saw a flock of storm petrels. Sea birds. The only reason they’d be this far inland is if a hurricane had blown them here.”


He bid the man a quick good night and wondered if he would heed the warning.


In the next moment the wind came up, and trees began to rustle and sway. Shade leaped into the gig Tyler had left tied at the gate. Tyler glanced over his shoulder and saw the watchman gather a large lantern, and soon heard him calling out to the others.


Link continuing the excerpt to XOXO After Dark:






CONVICTED by Jan Burke



From New York Times bestselling suspense author Jan Burke comes the fourth of six e-short story collections. Convicted is a mini-anthology containing a brand-new short story, “The Anchorwoman” featuring a young Irene Kelly, plus three stories from the highly acclaimed Eighteen print anthology: “Revised Endings, “Devotion,” and “The Muse.” Jeffery Deaver, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Kill Room, praised Eighteen as “Astonishing…wry…these stories are sure to delight.” And New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman says, “A delightful collection of page-turners. At turns chilling, funny, poignant—and always insightful. With these stories, Jan Burke’s at the top of her game.”





“So at ten o’clock on Wednesday, five clowns—probably males—jumped out of a moving van parked in the alley behind your house and started singing ‘Oklahoma!’—do I have it right so far?”




“Did they seem to be looking up at you, singing it to you?”


She hesitated, then said, “I’m not sure. They glanced in my direction every now and then, but they didn’t stand still and serenade me. They moved around, danced, and did high kicks and cartwheels.”


“Then what happened?”






“They climbed back into the van and drove off.”


“Were they all in the cab, or were some riding in the back?”


“Two in the back.”


Illegal and dangerous.


“Did you see anything in the van itself? Furniture?”


“I didn’t get a good look at the back. The angle was wrong.”


I looked at my notes. What hadn’t I asked?


“What about the van itself—Bekins? Allied? North American?—what moving company?”


She was shaking her head before I finished. “Not a moving company. It was a rented van. Las Piernas Rentals.”


“Well—that’s a lucky break.”




“Local rental company with three locations, all within town. If it had been one of the nationals, the truck could have come from anywhere. License-plate number?”


“No, again, I couldn’t see it from that angle.”


“How big was the van?”


“Big. I don’t know.”


I tried to come up with vehicles to compare it with, which didn’t work with her, but when I got her to say how much of the Mickelsons’ house the van had blocked, I had a reasonable idea. Another idea struck me.


“Did you see a number on it? Most rental companies paint numbers on their trucks, to keep track of which ones they’re renting, I suppose.”


“I looked for one, but it had a big piece of paper taped over it—like butcher paper, maybe?”


I hesitated, telling myself that I needed to separate latenineteenth- century fiction from the present problem. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.


“Cokie, are there any banks or businesses on the other side of the alley?”


“There’s a row of homes, that’s all.”


“Anybody doing any kind of business out of a house that you know of?”




“I mean any kind of business. Any pot growers? Drug dealers?”


“No! We did have a problem when Auggie and Andrea Sands lived at the end of the cul-de-sac, but their mom kicked them out. That was about three years ago.”


“She kicked them out for selling drugs?” Lydia asked.


We had known the Sands twins in high school. Always in trouble.


“Kicked Auggie out for selling drugs, and Andrea for banging her boyfriend in the living room. Their mom came home early with a friend from work. Guess that was the last straw.”


“How did their mom find out that Auggie was dealing?”


“One of the neighbors told her.”




“No. I didn’t want to mess with those people.”


“Do Andrea and Auggie know you weren’t the one?”


She frowned. “They should. They have no reason to think I would tell on them.”


I exchanged a glance with Lydia and moved on.


“Anyone in the neighborhood angry with you?”


“You think singing clowns is a sign of aggression?”


“A possibility, anyway.”


She smiled. “I’m so glad you see it that way. My parents think it was something fun, as if I have a secret admirer. But it doesn’t feel that way to me. It seemed to me that someone wanted . . . well, to ridicule me.”


I bent my head over my notes and hoped my hair hid my blush. I certainly felt ashamed of my meaner thoughts about her.


“It seems crazy to think that,” she went on, “but . . . it didn’t make me happy, it made me feel as if I had been targeted, and someone went to a lot of trouble to do it. I’m a little scared by that. But I can’t think of anyone who would feel that mad at me. I get along with my neighbors. I’m one of the last young people still living on our street, and I try to help my older neighbors. I visit them. I run errands for them.”


A passage in “The Red-Headed League” came to mind:


“As a rule,” said Holmes, “the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious

it proves to be. It is your commonplace, featureless crimes which are

really puzzling, just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to



Easy for him to say. But was there some commonplace crime hiding beneath all that clown makeup?


“Cokie, what would you normally be doing on a Wednesday morning at about that time?”


“Normally, I’d be playing canasta with the widows.”


“I hate to admit it, but I don’t understand.”


“You know, the card game.”


“Yes, I even know how to play it. Who are the widows?”


“Oh. Three of my neighbors. One day Mrs. Redmond—she’s across the street and one house down—mentioned to me how much she loved the canasta parties that used to be held on the

street. I talked to a couple of people about it, and long story short, we started playing canasta at her house on Wednesday mornings.”


“Who are the other players?”


“Just two, Mrs. Harding and Mrs. Lumfort.”


“Who knows that you do this?”


“Everyone on our street.”


“So because of the clowns, you arrived late?”


“No, we didn’t have a game that day. Mrs. Harding was . . . out of town. Mrs. Lumfort had a doctor’s appointment. Mrs. Redmond’s beautician had asked her to move her hair appointment to that morning, so because it was just going to be the two of us, she asked me if I’d mind just canceling. I told her it wasn’t a problem.”


“You hesitated about Mrs. Harding. What was going on with her?”


“Nothing. She went to a lawyer’s appointment with one of her granddaughters. Kayla just moved in with her.”


That name was vaguely familiar. Why did I know it?


“Kayla Harding?” Lydia asked. “My brother Gio used to date her.”


Gio was five years older than Lydia, and the list of girls he dated in high school was only slightly shorter than the list of female students in his graduating class. The fact that he hadn’t been burned in effigy years ago spoke to his abundant charm. Lydia claimed he genuinely cared about all of them, which seemed unlikely.


“Kayla ended up in prison, didn’t she?” Lydia went on. “Stole a car.”


“Yes,” Cokie said, “but she’s been out for a couple of weeks now.”


“Friend of yours?” I asked.


“No. I know her sister better than I know her.”


“Mindy,” Lydia said. “She’s our age.”


“Yes. I’m not close friends with Mindy, either. I just see her when she visits her grandmother.”


“Kind of a Goody-Two-Shoes, isn’t she?” I said.


“That can happen when you’re trying to show the world you aren’t like your troublemaking sister, right?” Lydia said.


Cokie and I shrugged.


“Think of your sister, Barbara,” Lydia said to me.


“I’d rather not,” I said.


“Mindy is Kayla’s half sister,” the ever-informative Cokie said. “Their father is on his third marriage. Widowed once, divorced once, and the third seems to be the charm. So Mindy

just claims that she’s ‘only’ a half sister when she gets annoyed at Kayla.”


“Told you she was a bitch,” I said.


“Not exactly,” Lydia said.


“Yeah, well . . .” I glanced at my watch. “We’ve got a couple of hours to try to find the Las Piernas Rentals location that rented out the van.”


I used the Yellow Pages in the phone book to get the three addresses and phone numbers of the rental places, then opened the Thomas Guide, a book of detailed maps of Los Angeles County that only a fool would try to live without. A lost fool.


Cokie readily agreed to come along with me, but Lydia, thinking of the discomfort associated with being the third person in a Karmann Ghia, opted out.


Link continuing the excerpt to XOXO After Dark:

Life in a Rut, Love Not Included by J.D. Hollyfield

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

Life in a Rut, Love Not Included by J.D. Hollyfield

Contemporary Romance

Having it all isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When Sarah Sullivan’s perfect life blows up in front of her, she finds herself crawling back to the one place she never saw herself returning: Home.

At thirty-one, Sarah had it all. Perfect job, perfect boyfriend, perfect life. When all that is taken away from her, she is left heartbroken and angry and desperate enough to let her life swallow her whole…for a while.

Fending off love and the pursuit of happiness completely, Sarah vows to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. She creates a list of goals for herself—starting with a much needed shower—and constructs a plan to dig herself out of her rut. What she doesn’t plan for is meeting the arrogant new employee her parents have hired to work on an addition to their home. Enter Jack Calloway, the handsome, charming, lickable foreman with an insatiable effect on Sarah’s girly parts.

Jack accepts the job, but gets more than he bargained for. Unable to ignore his racing hormones—and calm his temper—over the obnoxious woman who clouds his judgment, Jack pulls her in and steals her heart until she finally surrenders. But is he up for the challenge of picking up the pieces of Sarah’s broken heart? Can he carry her out of her rut?

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About J.D. Hollyfield

Creative designer, mother, wife, writer, part time supehero…

J.D Hollyfield currently resides in the Midwest with her husband, son and three doxies. As a Creative Designer by day, she enjoys spending her spare time with her nose in a good book. This obsession inspired her to test out her own creative ability. With her love for romance books and a head full of book boyfriends, this encouraged her to bring her own story to life and create her first novel.

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Author Julia Crane

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

Freak of Nature

Book 1 – IFICS series

Donate Body to Science. Check.
When seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn checked the box, she never suspected she’d have her life–and her body–stolen from her. She awakens one day in a secret laboratory to discover that her body is now half-robot and is forced to hide her own secret: that she still has human emotions and a human mind. If the scientists who made her find out, they’ll erase what remains of who she was.

Kaitlyn finds an unlikely ally in Lucas, a handsome, brilliant scientist who can’t get over the guilt he feels knowing she was once a vibrant, beautiful young woman. He never expected a science project to affect him the way she does. As he tries to help her rediscover her past, he finds himself falling for the brave girl struggling to find her place and acceptance between the human and computer worlds.

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About Julia Crane

Julia crane is the author of the Keegan’s Chronicles, IFICS. She has a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination.

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