Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bewitching Book Tours ~ Spotlight on DiSemblance by Shanae Branham





DiSemblance
Shanae Branham

Genre:  Techno-thriller (Subgenres: Sci-fi, suspense, mystery, paranormal)

ISBN: ISBN-10: 1477527761
ISBN-13: 978-1477527764

Number of pages:  272 pages
Word Count:  55, 894

Book Description:

Jason Tanner lives between two worlds. Problem is, only one is real.

As a computer prodigy, Jason has spent his life with limited social contact due to his father’s secretive work on a hologram machine that can create digital immortality. When his father is murdered and framed as the Comfort Killer, Jason is targeted as the killer’s new fall guy. Having spent much of his youth living in the virtual world his father created, he must now go on the run if he is going to save himself, his brother, and the beautiful girl next door.


An exciting, action-packed ride to a future happening today, Shanae Branham's modern techno thriller is the perfect exhilarating adrenaline rush for a technosavvy generation. Expertly weaving cutting-edge technology with almost unbearable suspense, she crafts a wild, white-knuckled thriller that pushes the boundaries of science. Full of intensity and extraordinary vision, DiSemblance attacks the senses as it challenges the mind and imagination.

“Branham does a brilliant job creating suspense….She ramps up the tension by keeping readers guessing over the identities of Jason’s foes and about how Jason’s situation ties in with the hunt for the killer.”

“Jason’s love for his father and his motivation to find out what happened to him are particularly refreshing.”

“The characters of Jason and Isaac are … cool enough to rise to the occasion … making readers feel like they are rooting for real young men.”~  Jill Allen, Clarion Review (4 Stars)



Short Excerpt
The lines between reality and virtual reality are about to blur—and the result is murder.
Lloyd Tanner is a former MIT computer physics genius turned private sector visionary: he has created a hologram machine that can create digital immortality. This revolutionary technology is both a blessing and a curse. There are many who would steal the technology, and Lloyd’s family has had to live secluded from the world. But no matter how careful you are, there is no such thing as a well-kept secret, and there are those who will stop at nothing to get their hands on Lloyd’s.
Detective Bruce Durante has been handed the case of the Comfort Killer, a serial killer so named because he abducts terminally ill patients and returns their corpses to their families in refrigerated coffins. Picking up the trail, Durante finds it leading straight to the home of Lloyd Tanner.
When Jason Tanner’s father is murdered and framed as the Comfort Killer, Jason destroys all of the evidence in an attempt to save his father’s name. Trouble is, now Jason is in the crosshairs to become the fall guy. Having spent much of his youth living in the virtual world his father created, he must now go on the run for real if he is going to save himself, his brother, and the beautiful girl next door. But the secrets of his father’s invention run deep and Jason, his brother Isaac, Boston, the Comfort Killer, and Detective Durante hurtle towards one another on a deadly collision course that leaves everyone’s life hanging in the balance.



I am a professional writer with a bachelor's degree in creative writing and a minor in grammar. I have also attended several years of classes and workshops in screenplay writing at the Los Angeles Screenplay writer's Expo.

I love suspense thrillers and am a master at plot and character development. I enjoy stories with happy endings. I promise all my readers that when they put one of my books down or walk away from one of my movies, they will be enthused with excitement and joy. This does not mean there will not be some sad parts, because you have to feel the bitter in order to understand the sweet.

I was born and raised in a small town in Idaho. I am the second out of six children. When I was in my early 20's my mother was killed by a drunk driver. This one incident drastically changed my life. I have always had a passion for reading and writing fiction. Owing to a life long struggle with Dyslexia, early teachers discouraged me from pursuing a career in writing.

As I have spent over twenty years wrestling with my language disabilities-turning them into professional writing skills, God has honed my insatiable passion into an incredible vision.

My Christian upbringing has instilled within me the belief that "...with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:37). This has sustained me through the hard times. Because of my language disability, I have had to learn the structure of the English language like other people learn math - building block upon building block.

I am grateful for this experience because it developed in me a skill and love for diagramming sentences, which unfortunately is becoming a lost art.

I want my life to be a living testament that with God's help anyone can achieve their worthwhile dreams. What God requires is the humility to change, a childlike teach-ability to learn, and the patience and persistence to practice and work until their weaknesses are transformed into strengths.










Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bewitching Book Tours ~ Spotlight on the Shadow Slayers Series by Cassi Carver & E-book giveaway


Paranormal Romance and Beyond is pleased to spotlight the Shadow Slayers series by Cassi Carver. Also, comment below for your chance to win an e-book copy of Dark Flight.


Dark Flight
The Shadow Slayers, Book 3
Cassi Carver

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Date of Publication: May 21,2013

ISBN: 978-1-61921-550-4
ASIN: B00B99RJPK

Number of pages: 263 pages
Word Count: 83,000

Cover Artist: Angela Waters

Amazon   BN   Samhain

Book Description:

In a world of shadows, a pure heart can be the most dangerous weapon of all.

Kara has been training for months to help take down Brakken—the merciless black-wing who is making life hell for the Demiáre. But when Julian discovers a scout has been tracking Kara, he wants her out of the fight—even if it means breaking her heart in the process.

Gavin isn’t much better. He’s already lost so much to Brakken and has no intention of allowing the woman he loves to be the next sacrifice. He and Julian have their hands full trying to fight Brakken’s army and keep Kara safe, especially after her recent visit to the mythical white-wings. Since her return, she’s been acting decidedly…strange.

With a terrible battle looming, Kara doesn’t have time to think about her conflicted feelings for Gavin and Julian—or the fact that she’s developed an unnatural taste for Gavin’s blood. But if she thought it was complicated evading mysterious scouts and fending off vicious black-wings, she’s learning that’s nothing compared to loving two strong-willed men.

Product Warnings:

This book contains angels that aren’t what they seem, a heroine with mad midwifery skills, and a metamorphosis that will change life as we knew it. 

Shadow Rising
The Shadow Slayers, Book 2
Cassi Carver

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Date of Publication:
September 25, 2012-digital
August 6, 2013-print

ISBN-10: 1619213648
ISBN-13: 978-1619213647
ASIN: B00B99RJPK

Number of pages: 272 pages, print
Word Count: 82,000

Cover Artist: Angela Waters

Amazon    BN     Samhain   Sony

Book Description:

Her lover is back from the dead…but now there’s hell to pay.

When Kara Reed learns her bondmate, Julian, is truly dead, and that Gavin has seemingly skipped town, she figures things have hit rock bottom. But soon, a string of bizarre accidents has her doubting those closest to her. And to make matters worse, the demon-king’s brand carved into her best friend Abbey’s stomach is deteriorating by the day.

Then a powerful coven of witches issues Kara an ultimatum. Bring them the blood of a true fallen angel—the only thing that will heal Abbey—or die. Kara would do anything to help her friend. Problem is, the only fallen angel she’s seen lately is the disoriented black-wing who attacked her scouts. One who looks suspiciously like Julian. Getting his blood might be easier if he was more interested in kissing her than killing her.

Caught between a coven of vengeful witches and a murderous dead lover, Kara must deliver the blood, heal the slow poison of Abbey’s brand, and save Julian from being consumed by the Abyss. But to do this, she may need the help of the one man she swore never to trust again…Gavin.

Product Warnings:

This book contains an angry demon returning from the dead, a clan lord hiding a terrible secret, and a hunted heroine cracking open a can of whoop-ass. Watch out for creepy kitties, exploding bad guys, and some very sudsy shower sex.

Slayer's Kiss
The Shadow Slayers, Book 1
Cassi Carver

Genre: Erotic Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Date of Publication: Feb 14, 2012-digital, Feb 5, 2013-print

ISBN-10: 1609288947
ISBN-13: 978-1609288945
ASIN: B0061SNX8G

Number of pages: 272
Word Count: 86,000

Cover Artist: Angela Waters

Amazon   BN   Sony     Samhain


Book Description: 

When the past flies in your face, clip its wings.

Slayer's Kiss , The Shadow Slayers, Book 1

Kara Reed is a supernatural failure. But where her magic falls short, her fists get the job done. The criminal element doesn’t stand a chance once she hits San Diego’s dark streets. 

When two smoking-hot tenants move in next door, she thinks her love life might finally be heating up. Just being near Gavin and Julian is enough to make her want to offer her body on a platter.

Gavin and Julian know it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out. They’re fallen angels sent to watch over the king’s daughter, one of the last females of her kind. Trouble is, she doesn’t seem to think she needs watching—unless they’re watching her shimmy out of her clothes.

No matter how tempting her guardians, Kara’s not about to let anything stop her from tracking down a sadistic killer who carves into his victims and leaves them for dead. Even when she realizes her target may be the very scourge of heaven from which her angels swore to protect her…

Product Warnings:

Contains a kick-ass heroine with a foul mouth, a kind heart and a raging libido, and two fallen angel warriors who wouldn’t have her any other way. Watch out for sex in the clouds, a magical island of hedonism and a love triangle that gives new meaning to the term “hot-wings”. 

Excerpt from Dark Flight
Copyright © 2012 Cassi Carver
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
Kara dropped into a crouch behind the leaves of a giant bird of paradise as her claws silently pushed through the tips of her fingers. Her thigh muscles burned from the continued strain, but they could catch fire for all she cared. He wasn’t going to get her. Not this time.
When the sound of furtive footsteps approached, crunching softly through the thick, tropical undergrowth, Kara grabbed onto a low-lying branch and swung herself up, then quickly scaled the side of the tree. Her heart beat full-throttle, hammering so hard she hoped he couldn’t hear it. But if his hearing was that good, even the shallow breaths she took might give her away.
The buckskin-clad shape came closer. Head to toe, he wore a suit made of animal skin with a leaf pattern hand-drawn on the material. It was a hunting suit. But Kara didn’t feel like being hunted tonight.
She waited until he was directly under the tree where she hid. His chest and back were strapped with weapons that slowed him just enough to put him at a disadvantage. With a silent, decisive breath, Kara leapt.
Claws extended, she pounced on his back from above, flattening him to the ground under her, crushing a mass of fern fronds under his thick chest. She pulled a knife from his back strap and held it to his throat.
Smiling, she leaned down to whisper above his hooded ear, “Give up, big guy?” If it came out a little throaty and seductive, she couldn’t help it. Victory was a major turn-on. But then again, when it came to Gavin Cross, just breathing the same air was enough to get her hot and bothered.
He shifted under her, and his hulking body had no problem moving her with him. With her knees straddling his hips, she lifted up to allow him to roll onto his back.
“Lady Kara…” the man began, “you have need of me?”
Kara dropped the knife and jumped off, falling to one knee and clobbering a sprig of wild orchids in the clumsy maneuver. “Who the hell are you?”
“Patrick. You don’t remember me?” The warrior sat up and searched her eyes for a moment, but then his confusion cleared, as though he’d finally caught on to what was afoot. “Ah, you really don’t remember me, do you? You simply have need of a man. I don’t mind, my lady. I would be honored to service you.”
It still bothered Kara that his offer lit fuses all up and down her body. If she hadn’t grown up as a regular gal, she probably would have taken him up on his offer. Right here. Right now. Already, his substantial interest was growing.
She stood and brushed the debris from her black jeans. “I’m so sorry, Patrick. I really didn’t intend to…jump you. Lord Gavin and I are doing training exercises out here, and I thought you were him. You may want to hunt somewhere else until we’re finished.” When his brows rose, she added, “Finished training.”
Patrick stood, assessing her with a wry smile, then he retrieved his knife and returned it to its sheath. “Lord Gavin, you say? But he was the one who ordered the hunt.”
“He did what?” But just as she said it, something slammed into her from behind, carrying her blindingly fast through the maze of trees and vines until the blurred image of a clearing appeared.
In the next instant, she crashed into the tall grass face first and rolled onto her back—or was flipped, more like it. The hulking form above her blocked out the light of the moon with his massive silver wings. Her back pushed into the soggy soil, the moisture soaking through her shirt, and a root of some sort pressed against her ribs.
She glared up at Gavin, but with only an inch separating them, his hazel eyes were huge, eclipsing everything else in her vision, and his grin seemed to stretch as wide as his wings. “Gotcha.”
“What was that?” she demanded, but it was hard to yell at him with his lips so close to hers.
He brought a hand to her neck and ran his finger slowly across her throat. “If I had a knife, you’d be dead. I win again.”
Kara’s hands found his waist of their own volition. “No you don’t. You cheated. You sent a horny hunter into our training ground. I thought he was you!”
His breath was sweet and spicy, and the corners of his eyes crinkled with soft lines as he smiled. “Cheating is irrelevant when it comes to life and death, princess. Don’t expect integrity from those who want you dead.”
Her hands raked over the bare skin covering his ribs, until she curled her fingers into her palms to keep from touching him again. “Okay, that one doesn’t count.”
Gavin laughed and pulled her to her feet. “It counts. That’s three hundred sixteen for me and seven for you.”
“Shit,” she ground out. “Let’s try again.”
He reached out and adjusted her damp black T-shirt so that it lay smoothly against her chest. “You’re not ready, Kara.”
She batted his hand away. “So I can’t flash like a silver-wing. That doesn’t mean I’m defenseless.” She’d killed his brother, who was incredibly strong for a silver-winged fallen angel—but she didn’t think there would ever be a right moment to throw that in Gavin’s face. Besides, he’d just tell her that his brother hadn’t been an almost invincible black-wing like the beast they were planning to bring down now.
“We’ve done enough for one night. Let me take you home. It must be almost three pm in San Diego, and you said you had to work tonight.”
Now that Kara was officially part of the Mercury Clan—a band of more than three hundred fallen angel hybrids—Gavin had finally confided that Mercury Island was located in the Seychelles chain of islands. Albeit, with all the wards and defenses, there wasn’t a good chance of a fisherman or passing cruise ship catching on to that fact.
Being halfway around the world from San Diego, it was almost twelve hours off from where she called home. Three pm in San Diego meant she’d kept Gavin up all night here on Mercury Island.
“Yeah, I do have to work. And you need to get some rest.”
He wrapped his arms around her, preparing to flash. “Have you thought about my offer?” As he asked, they began to dissolve. He carried her through the inky tar, and a moment later, they were standing on the balcony off her living room overlooking downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.
She let the nausea and the boneless feeling pass before she answered. “I can’t.”
He growled and released her. “No lady of the Mercury Clan needs to work. I have enough resources to keep you comfortable from now until the Armageddon. Did I ever mention that Teras’s daughter working at a bar for minimum wage and paltry tips is just plain absurd?”
“Only about a dozen times. Don’t you ever get tired of this subject, Daddy Warbucks? I know I do.”
“Your father was my king, Kara. How can I hold my head high when I’m not caring for his only daughter?”
Kara reached up—way up, given Gavin’s six-foot-seven-inch frame—and patted his cheek. The dark blond stubble along his jaw was just starting to poke through and it tickled her palm. “You’re so cute when you go all protect-and-provide on me, but I gotta get ready for work now. Bye.” When she wiggled her fingers in farewell and turned to enter the apartment, Gavin slapped her on the rump. She yelped and dashed into the living room.
“Brat!” he called after her, and then he flashed.
And with the sting his hand left on her ass, he was lucky he did.
She growled and swallowed down her body’s reaction to her golden-haired protector. Since her lover, Julian, had called things off three weeks ago, bringing Kara’s sex life to a screeching halt, her starving body couldn’t handle even grappling or sparring with Gavin without her wanting to unstrap his weapons belt to unsheathe his broadsword.
She sat hard on the edge of the sofa and ran a hand over the side of her throbbing backside. What if she did quit her job? What if she took her place on the island as a lady of the clan? What would it be like to trade her boots and jeans for island wear and an ever-present supply of men eager to do her bidding?
As it was, she wondered how long could she pine for Julian, hoping he’d reconsider—and not just for the sake of her broken, humiliated heart, but also for how effective his attention was at helping her control her raging libido.
Truth was, females of Kara’s kind didn’t do well with abstinence once they’d reached her age. Hell, they didn’t even attempt it. And now more than ever Kara could see why.
She began to pull off her boots, but her face was angled toward the balcony window, pointing towards Mercury Island however many thousands of miles away. “Celibacy sucks!” she shouted.
But unfortunately, rolling around with Gavin Cross in a totally different exercise couldn’t happen until they’d accomplished their primary objective—sending that black-wing bastard Brakken to the Abyss before he got hold of Gavin’s only child.

Meet  Cassi Carver

Cassi Carver lives in sunny Southern California with two dogs, four kids, five chickens, and one hubby who gives great massages. She gets to San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter for research (okay, happy hour) as often as possible. She’s never saved the world, but she keeps sexy boots on hand just in case the opportunity arises.

When Cassi isn’t busy plotting or writing, she enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, caring for pets, getting outdoors, and watching sappy movies that deliver reliably happy endings.



Website: cassicarver.com







Monday, May 27, 2013

Bewitching Book Tours ~ Storm Force:Episode 6 by Susannah Sandlin



Storm Force
Omega Force #1
Susannah Sandlin

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Date of Publication:  March 19, 2013, in serial form for Kindle; July 9, 2013, in print, digital, and audio.

ISBN: 978-1477807576
ASIN: B00BI0M8OM

Word Count: approx. 90,000


As leader of the elite counter-terrorism team Omega Force, former army ranger Jack “Kell” Kellison is always focused on getting the job done. So when a Houston high-rise is bombed and the governor killed or missing, Kell’s mission is clear: infiltrate the group suspected of the bombing and neutralize the threat by any means necessary. But once Kell meets beautiful chief suspect Mori Chastaine, he realizes there’s more to this case than meets the eye. And more to Mori than any man—any human man—could imagine.

Mori Chastaine is running out of options. Suspected for a crime she didn’t commit, forced into a marriage she doesn’t want, she sees no escape—until Kell walks through her door. A lifetime hiding her true nature warns her Kell might not be who he seems. But he could be the only one able to help save more innocent humans from becoming pawns in an ancient paranormal power play. If Mori reveals her secret, will Kell join her fight? Or will she become his next target?


Short Excerpt
Kell spotted the bird as soon as its wingtips cleared the edge of the cypress stand at the eastern rim of Bayou Cote Blanche. For a moment, he indulged a hope it might be a hawk in search of fish, or a pelican, or a cormorant, or a fucking giant mutant hummingbird.
Anything but an eagle.
“It’s her.” At the sound of his voice, Gator raised his spotted head and focused sharp, mismatched eyes on the horizon, barking furiously in his Catahoula big-dog voice, usually reserved for alligators and swamp rats.
Kell had been sitting on the porch of his cabin at Cote Blanche since Nik’s phone call from New Orleans two hours ago, waiting to see who’d arrive first—the man or the bird.
            Should’ve known it would be the freakazoid eagle with the deceptively sweet name of Robin. He’d come to think of her as Razorblade Robin. Nik would have to rent a boat in Jeanerette and navigate the serpentine waterways of Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Swamp to get here. Razorblade Robin could just sprout feathers and soar.
            The midday sun glinted off the glossy reddish-brown wings of the golden eagle as it swooped over the smooth, murky water of the bayou and landed with a harsh caw at the end of his dock. Gator rose to his feet and looked up at Kell, asking permission to chase.
“Sorry, buddy. You don’t want to mess with that one. She can take you.” Hell, she could take both of them.
Kell took a final look at the pile of papers he’d been reading—notes about his team’s new assignment. Mostly, he’d been studying the photo on top of the stack. The woman, Emory Chastaine, an environmental activist well known in tree-hugger circles, had been photographed from a distance with a telephoto lens that gave the image a grainy feel, made worse by his generator-powered printer. But he could tell she was tall, athletic-looking in a t-shirt and jeans, shoulder-length blond hair, pretty in an all-American kind of way.
Not his image of a terrorist. Which made her even more dangerous.
            Gator sprang off the porch as the eagle strutted down the dock toward them. He approached the bird in a crouch, his growls echoing off the still water. Damn dog never did listen worth a flip. Kell leaned back in his chair to watch the show. With a screech and a blur of feathers seconds before Gator reached her, the eagle morphed into a petite, waifish brunette.
Make that a naked, waifish brunette with a snark-tastic attitude who arched an eyebrow when Kell’s vicious watchdog turn into a slobbering, tail-wagging fool, jumping up and down so vigorously his black and white spots seemed to blur. You’d think the hound saw birds turn into people every day.
            If Gator went the crotch-sniffing route, Kell might have to die of pure humiliation.
            Not like the naked bird-woman came as any big surprise. He reached for the t-shirt he’d thrown across the other porch chair and tossed it to her as she approached, Gator dancing around her legs. “Put this on.”
            Robin Ashton, five-foot-nothing of shapeshifter and the tracker for Kell’s new Omega Force team, caught the shirt and used it to wipe the sweat off her face. “It’s like a sauna out here. Pretty, though, if you’re into the primordial.”

She turned to study the bayou, a minor niche in the massive Atchafalaya basin, and Kell made it a point to keep his eyes away from her ass. It wasn’t that he wanted to look at it, exactly, but he was a guy, and it was right in front of him.



Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night. A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?) The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.










Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tasty Book Tours ~ Spotlight on Back to You by Natalie-Nicole Bates




On the surface, Lynsey Reznor seems to have it all. She is beautiful, brilliant, and a successful true-crime writer who has been living the past decade in Miami. But what Lynsey lacks is what she needs the most—a family.

After the death of her mother, and yet another failed relationship, Lynsey makes an impulsive decision to return to her hometown of Unity. But Unity will present its own bittersweet memories, most notably, her first love, Nick Lincoln.

Twenty years ago, Nick broke teenager Lynsey’s heart when he decided to marry another. He had his own private reasons—reasons he never explained to Lynsey. Now she is back, along with a chance to reclaim her love. But Lynsey wants answers from him that he may never be able to give out of duty and guilt.




Excerpt
When he heard her, he came to her, took her into his arms, and kissed her. It was a comfort that he wasn’t regretting their lovemaking. She didn’t think she could handle being rejected by him twice in her lifetime.
     “Do you have to leave soon?” she asked.
     “I’m sorry. I don’t want to, but I have to.” He went to the stove and prepared her a cup of coffee. “I think we should start planning our wedding. We could be married at Christmas.”
     She was taken aback. Is this his proposal ?  This was supposed to be so romantic and memorable, not talk about planning a Christmas wedding while he stirred a cup of coffee.
     “Do you even want to get married?” She took the coffee mug he offered. “I mean, it wasn’t that long ago that you told me you weren’t sure you ever wanted to be married again. You said you didn’t see fatherhood in your future, and Nick, I want a baby…more than one. I grew up as an only child and I was so alone. I don’t want my child to have to experience that.”
     “Well, I didn’t use a condom last night. You could be pregnant right now,” was his reply.
     Heaviness descended upon her heart. This was so not how she wanted this morning to be, and certainly not the marriage proposal she had dreamed of. “I’m on the Pill—I won’t get pregnant if that’s all you’re worried about.”
      “I’m sorry, that’s not the only reason we should get married.”
     “Then why?” she asked suspiciously.
     He let out an exaggerated sigh. “Lynsey, I don’t have time to get into this with you right now. What do you want me to say in the five minutes I have before I leave for work?”
     She couldn’t believe his glib attitude.  “How about saying something to me like…‘I love you, Lynsey, and I made a tremendous mistake by not marrying you twenty years ago?’ That would take you less than thirty seconds to say, and you could have easily gotten to your precious job on time.”
     Suddenly his jaw set and his eyes narrowed. “I didn’t make a mistake by not marrying you twenty years ago! I let you go to become a success in life—and you did. I can’t regret that!”
     “So, what I thought all these years was correct. I was nothing to you but a quick and easy way to shed your virginity.” Just saying the words was devastating.
     “That’s not it at all,” he vehemently insisted. “You were always so intelligent. I mean, you were a sixteen-year-old senior in high school! Just how many grades did you skip over, anyway?”
    “Two,” she answered in a low voice.
    “Do you know what would have happened if I hadn’t married Kelly?” He didn’t wait for her reply. “I’ll tell you what. You and I would have been ostracized by everyone in this town! We would have had to be married right away, and we would have had to live with your mother, because I had no money.”
     “My mother loved you. She would have been happy to have us live with her,” she interjected.
     “And we were so naïve, Lynsey. You would have graduated high school with either a big belly, or a baby in your arms…if you had graduated at all.”
     She crossed her arms over her breasts and looked at the floor. She was too afraid that if she looked at him she would break down. “Some of the girls in school were married. A few of them had babies.”
     He lifted her chin and forced her to make eye contact with him. “And you were too smart to be stuck in this town, and just another housewife. You would have become bored and resentful.”
     “I wouldn’t have known the difference,” she countered.
     “I had serious doubts then. I still have doubts now,” he admitted.
     Her dark lashes flew upward. “What is that supposed to mean?”     
    “I believe that you will become bored and restless in Unity and will want to go back to Florida or maybe California. I have a job and a family here, Lynsey. I don’t ever want to give that up. I’m afraid that we’ll have a child, and you’ll take my baby and leave. I can not allow that to happen.”
     She couldn’t believe what he was saying. Nothing was further from the truth. “Do you think I would have sunk so much of my savings into that house just to abandon it? I would never, ever do what you’re saying. But if circumstances changed, I would expect you to support what was best for our family. Couples who are committed make sacrifices for each other!”
     It was becoming clearer and clearer that things were rapidly falling apart between them.
     “Lynsey, didn’t what happened between us last night mean anything to you?” he asked.
     She chuckled unpleasantly. “I suppose that with us living in such close proximity, last night was inevitable. But don’t worry about it happening again, Nick. When you get home this evening, I won’t be here.”     
    “Where are you going to be?”
     She wanted to hurt Nick like she was now hurting. “I’m sure that Caleb wouldn’t mind me bunking down at his house for a week or two.”
    “Over my dead body,” he seethed. “I will drag you away from him kicking and screaming if it comes to it. I’ll handcuff you to my bed if need be. Believe me, Lynsey, I’ll do it!” He flopped down into a kitchen chair and buried his face in his hands.
     “I have to go now, Nick. I’m meeting your sister for breakfast. Listen to me. You need to pull yourself together. In your line of work, bad things happen when you lose your concentration.”
     When he didn’t reply, she let out a sigh of resignation and headed for the door. At the last minute she turned to him. “Thanks for almost making it happen between us.”
     
Buy Link
Back To You collection at Amazon: Features bonus stories Remember The Stars and Antique Charming
Back To You Single Release

Author Info
Natalie-Nicole Bates is a book reviewer and author.
Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian and Edwardian era photography and antique poison bottles. Natalie contributes her uncharacteristic love of hockey to being born in Russia.
She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19th century post-mortem photos.

Author Links
Twitter: BatesNatalie