Fright Night Blog Hop And Giveaway. #Spooky #Halloween #Giveaway

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Welcome to my stop on the Fright Night Blog Hop hosted by Herding Cats and Burning Soup. The hop runs from October 24th-31st. During that time you’ll have lots of chances to win awesome prizes from each blog participating in the hop. The prize that I’m giving away is based on the paranormal series that I’m working on.

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Fantasy Diary Series
Book 1: Christmas Fantasy

One bite was all it took.

It’s that time of year again. Alyssa Blakely is busy writing in her fantasy diary, filling it with all her forbidden, sexual fantasies. The star: her very sexy boss, Devin Jordan. Too bad for her, he’s never given her a second glance.

Or so she thought…

After a steamy kiss under the mistletoe and a night of wild sex, Alyssa has the bite to prove just how wrong she was.

Devin Jordan has found his mate. The only problem: she’s human. He’s not. Can he prove to her that his inner beast can be both naughty and nice? Or will her fear of the unknown and a threat neither of them saw coming keep him from claiming her?

~Christmas Fantasy Excerpt~
#TeamDevin

Devin took a deep, calming breath. Alyssa was off limits. Even if she were single and interested in him, he still couldn’t have her. It was too risky. She made him feel things he wasn’t used to. He didn’t know if he could handle touching her without hurting her.

Hurting Alyssa was something he would never do. He would just have to endure her presence. He would take pleasure in the shy smiles she cast his way every now and again. He would enjoy the laughs they shared while working late some evenings. He would maintain the professional relationship they had, even though he yearned for a taste of her.

Devin turned and placed his back against the window. He stared at the door that separated him from the woman he desired. A piece of metal and space was all that separated his body from hers. It would only take a couple of strides for him to reach the door.

One pull on the door knob and he could send it flying across the room. Then he would be face to face with the one woman in this world that made him wish he wasn’t a beast with a conscience. If he had no conscience, he would take her, now, against his desk, against her desk, against the wall, on every damn hard surface in this building.

He would make sure she enjoyed it. He would make sure he pleased her so thoroughly that she wouldn’t even think of leaving him, even when she found out that he was not the man he pretended to be. Devin sighed, but that would never happen. Because though he was a beast, he did indeed have a conscience

That conscience kept her safe from him… for now.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Fantasy-Diary-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B00KXE6SF4/

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Book 2: Dark Fantasies, coming 12/31/14.

One kiss was all it took.

Between work, family and her ex-boyfriend, Ashley Blakely is completely stressed out. She doesn’t have time to write in her fantasy diary or compete in the annual ‘fantasy wish’ competition her and her sisters have going. The only thing she wants for Christmas is normalcy.

But all hope of a normal Christmas… or life… fly out the window the moment she’s kissed by Kelan Grant. Now she’s swept up in a whirlwind of romance, seduction and danger. She wants no part of this new life. Yet once she finds out that her sisters and her best friend are in jeopardy, she will do whatever it takes to keep them safe. Even allow herself to be kidnapped and handcuffed by a devil in disguise.

Dr. Kelan Grant always keeps his word. The moment he lays eyes on Ashley, he vows she will be his for eternity. He doesn’t care that his brother is mated to her sister and wants to keep their real heritage a secret from the Blakely family. Kelan will do whatever it takes to claim his bride.

Kidnapping her is the easy part. Winning her heart is going to take some strategic planning. But between the dark angels stalking him and Ashley’s constant need to break every item in his home, Kelan is having a hard time romancing the woman who he feels already belongs to him.

Will he get the eternity with Ashley he’s envisioned? Or will his enemies snatch her from his grasp and awaken the monster he tries to hide?

Preorder today: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OGPJ2KO

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Spooky enough for ya?
Okay so it’s not spooky. But there are some dark moments that will leave you saying, “I did not see that coming.”

giveaway time

Be sure to follow the link at the end of this post and visit all of the blogs participating in the hop. There’s lots of prizes to be won.

My prize: I’m giving away a cute ‘I Never Bite And Tell’ Tee-shirt. (Available in small, Medium, Large, 1x and 2x.)

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How to win? It’s simple… enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway. You can enter once every day to increase your chance of winning. 🙂

Winners will be announced November 3rd. (Click on the rafflecopter link.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Click on the icon below to view each blog participating in the blog hop. Each blog is hosting their own giveaway! Good luck and happy hopping. #GottaLoveGiveaways

Thursday Teaser: #TruthOrDare with the cast of Christmas Confusion

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~Thursday teaser with the cast of Christmas Confusion.~

Greg explained the rules to the truth or dare newbies.
“First of all,” Greg said in his serious voice.

He looked so ridiculously serious that Krista and Bailey burst out laughing. The three of them were already slightly tipsy from the shot they took earlier.

“If you girls are not gonna take this seriously, then I’m not gonna play with you,” Greg pouted.

“Okay, we’re ready,” Krista said, and all Bailey did was giggle. She wasn’t a heavy drinker and that one shot had her buzzed.

“Okay,” Greg continued. “The rules are simple. You can either choose truth or dare, but you can’t choose one or the other three times in a row. For instance, Bailey…”

“Hey,” Bailey said. “Why are you picking on me? What have I done now?”

“Nothing yet. But I got a feeling you are going to try to choose truth every time it’s your turn.”

“I got that same feeling,” Krista said before blowing a strand of her black curly hair out of her face.

“I’m not going to choose truth every time,” Bailey told them, even though that had been her initial plan.

Both Krista and Greg looked at her like they didn’t believe her.

“I’m going to keep my eyes on you Bailey.” Greg said. “My spidey senses are tingling and when they do that during truth or dare it means someone is going to cheat.”

“He said tingling,” Krista giggled.

“Whatever.” Bailey rolled her eyes. “Okay, so we can’t choose one or the other more than two times.”

“That’s right, Bailey. Now, if you choose truth, and refuse to answer the question, you have to take a shot.”

Bailey groaned. Were all of these rules created for her?

“And,” Greg continued, “If you do tell a truth but we feel it’s a lie, you have to take a shot.”

“Did you guys make up these rules with me in mind?” Bailey asked.

“I didn’t,” Krista responded. “These are Greg’s rules and I like them. Okay, so who goes first?”

“I’ll go first,” Greg volunteered. Bailey was glad he was going first. She was sure they were going to make her go first.

“So, truth or dare?” Krista asked Greg.

“Truth,” Greg responded.

Krista turned to her. “Do you want to ask him a question or should I?” Bailey had no idea why she was nervous, it was just a game.

“You ask,” she told Krista.

Krista stared at Greg seated across the table from them “So Greg, how long have you been into men?”

Bailey gasped, “Krista!”

“What?” Krista exclaimed as if nothing was wrong. Bailey knew she was blushing enough for the two of them.

“Calm down, Bailey,” Greg said. “That is the perfect way to start off truth or dare. Now the answer is… drum roll, please.”

Krista began beating her hands against the table.

~Christmas Confusion will be released 11-3-14. It’s available for preorder on amazon.~

Buy links:
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NHZ4ES4
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/B00NHZ4ES4
Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00NHZ4ES4

Meet the characters: http://mgarryallen.wordpress.com/christmas-confusion-meet-the-characters/

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~Book Blurb~

~Bailey Cooper has fallen in love – sadly the man she’s in love with already has a man. Sounds complicated doesn’t it? ~

Bailey Cooper is very much attracted to her neighbor Max Davis. Unfortunately for Bailey, Greg – Max’s lover is slowly becoming one of Bailey’s best friends. Bailey’s emotions are torn. She adores Greg’s friendship while at the same time she craves Max’s touch.

What is a girl to do when she ‘thinks’ the man she’s in love with is in love with someone else?

Max Davis and his baby brother Greg Davis are co-owners of the apartment building they live in. Max has fallen for his tenant, Bailey, but she avoids and ignores all of his advances. It doesn’t take long for him to become suspicious of the friendship blooming between Greg and Bailey. He believes Bailey has a crush on his brother but Max wants his shy little neighbor all to himself. Now he has to think of ways to keep Bailey and Greg apart, which is ridiculous because Greg isn’t even in to women. Time to break that news to his neighbor and hope it causes her attention to swing his way.

Will a holiday weekend full of chaos, confusion and a little bit of charm finally get Bailey and Max on the right track? Or will a few innocent caresses lead to more Christmas confusion?

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Lovers Unchained #WickedWednesday #Erotic #Paranormal

Dark Witch COVER-new


***Lovers Unchained (A dark and erotic paranormal romance.) ***


Twenty years ago Jude was cursed by the Dark Witch never to have sex again until he meets his soul-mate. Since then he has searched for his mate, hoping to rid himself of the curse and the pent up sexual energy that’s driving him insane. Instead, he is captured and held prisoner by a Vampiress, Lana.

Lana is intrigued by Jude’s ability to resist making love to her. After all of her seduction attempts fail, she begins to wonder if it’s her, or if Jude is like this with all women. To test her theory, Lana places one of her female prisoners, Carissa, and Jude together. To her dismay, sparks ignite between the two captives.

Now that Jude has found his mate he must get her to safety before Lana destroys them, but even if they survive Lana’s jealous rage, will his mate be able to handle the lust Jude has stored up over the years?

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~Excerpt~

His body glistened with sweat. Carissa stood mesmerized by one particular drop of moisture making its way from his neck, down his chest, before dropping into his navel. Carissa swallowed.
“Hurry,” the man on the bed whispered.
Carissa’s gaze flew to his blindfolded face. He bit his lip as if he was in pain.
“I’m so sorry she’s doing this,” Carissa whispered back to him, but he didn’t respond. She poured a handful of the oil into her hand, and then put the bottle of oil back on the night stand. Her fingers tingled while rubbing the oil onto the handsome stranger’s chest.
His swift intake of breath stopped her.
“Is it too cold?” She asked. He didn’t respond.
“Hurry up,” Lana screamed from across the room.
Carissa resumed applying the oil to Jude’s skin. As she rubbed it across his nipple, she couldn’t help but acknowledge the flutters of desire beginning in her body. His body called to her and she wanted to answer. Never had she felt such an attraction to another being. What was so special about this man making her want to sink her nails into him. It was her low energy level causing her to desire him. Her body needed fueling and recognized him as an energy source. Every reaction was caused by an action and her body was simply reacting to energy she received from him. Leave it to her to rationalize everything. Carissa kept her eyes on his face while massaging the oil lower, over his tattooed stomach. His body was rock solid, like she imagined. She closed her eyes and used both hands to massage the oil into his chiseled abs.
“Lower,” he whispered, his voice strained.
She eagerly obeyed, captivated by the way he trembled beneath her fingers. Carissa rubbed her hands lower, past his stomach to his large erection.
“Grip him,” Lana told her.
Her eyes popped open. She glanced to the other woman unsure of how to proceed. Lana sat on the chaise beside Bruce panting while watching Carissa massage Jude. Bruce’s gaze was apologetic. Grip him? She wanted to and would delight in doing so, but what if he didn’t want her to touch him there?
“Grip him, now!” Lana yelled to her.
Carissa did as she was told. Closing her eyes she grasped Jude’s cock tightly. He thrust hard into her hand. One hand couldn’t contain him, she needed to use both. Carissa held him tighter. He pumped into her fists over and over again. Behind her, she heard Lana moaning. In front of her, Jude’s fists clenched at his sides.
“So long,” he whispered, while fucking her hand. Energy flowed from his body, up her arm and to her chest. She felt like her heart was struck by lightning. A drop of moisture appeared at the tip of Jude’s cock. Carissa licked her lips wishing she could lick it off.
“So damn long,” he whispered, his voice filled with pain. Carissa wished she could erase his pain. For some reason, she wanted to take away any pain or anger this stranger felt. She wanted him to be…happy. Carissa gripped him as best she could with one hand. Leaning over, she used her other hand to stroke his cheek, to offer him comfort. His hips jerked and he groaned loudly. He licked his lips and her nipples hardened. Both of their breathing was ragged.
“It’s you,” he whispered, turning his head in her direction, the blindfold keeping him from seeing her face. Carissa cradled his face in her hand. She felt something for him, but she had no idea what it was she felt, or why she felt it, but there was definitely a connection between the two of them.

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Buy links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lovers-Unchained-Curse-Dark-Witch-ebook/dp/B00EKJP4IK/

Amazon U.K: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lovers-Unchained-Curse-Dark-Witch-ebook/dp/B00EKJP4IK/

Meet the characters: https://sirenallen.com/meet-the-characters-lovers-unchained/

#GirlTalk with the ‘Angels of the Apocalypse’. #FantasyDiary #Paranormal

GirlTalkSaturday

Girl Talk is back and today’s topic is: What Do Your Characters Fear?

Today we have the Angels of the Apocalypse, from the Fantasy Diary Series, here to share what they fear as a collective.

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~Angels of the Apocalypse~

1: We fear the day when the Brothers of Calamity are reunited.
2: We fear the day when the Brothers realize their real strength and use it to open the Gate of Hades.
3: We fear them bringing forth The Deceiver, the ultimate evil.
4: We fear the chaos that will erupt in all of the Realms once the Brothers begin their rampage.
5: We fear our leader, Avalos. Because now that the first of our fears have taken place. We have been ordered to kill the Brothers and those close to him. If we do not achieve this goal, our leader will be disappointed. His disappointment will lead to our deaths.

Ultimately, we fear what’s to come. Because the Brothers have reunited and they are growing stronger.

Our leader is pissed. We must not fail.

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*There you have it. Even Angels of the Apocalypse have fears. Lets hope the Brothers don’t bring forth the Deceiver as prophesied. That would definitely be a bad thing.*

~Fantasy Diary Series~

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Bk 1: Christmas Fantasy: One bite was all it took.
Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Fantasy-Diary-Book-ebook/dp/B00KXE6SF4/
(FREE w/Kindle Unlimited)

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Bk 2: Dark Fantasies: One kiss was all it took.
Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OGPJ2KO

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Regret by Danielle Doolittle – #YoungAdult #UrbanFantasy

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It’s October, which means it’s time for all of the supernatural creatures to come out and play! All month long I’ll be featuring paranormal romance writers on my blog. Today I have author Danielle Doolittle and her latest release, Regret: Book 1 in The Guardians Series .

regretbydanielledoolittle
***NEW*** Young Adult Urban Fantasy series

Love a good love story with a bit of a paranormal twist?

When Penelope met Kane she thought he was nothing more than a jerk (a very good looking jerk). But first impressions aren’t ways accurate and when she discovers their pasts are linked she leans on him as she learns about her heritage and navigates the world of the Guardians.

Excerpt:

“This is the first place we actually spent time together.” His eyes were still on a mysterious spot beyond the horizon. “I was so nervous that day. I didn’t know what to say to you. I didn’t know what to think when you just showed up, back in my life, and all I could think about was pulling you into my arms and kissing you.”
He turned to look at me then, one brow raised at what was probably a comical look of shock on my face. “Didn’t think it would have been well received, as you were about as prickly as a porcupine.”
I smacked his arm as his lips twitched with humor. “That’s because you were about as approachable as a bear.”
He sobered at my statement, his eyes looking deep into mine. He slowly framed my face in his large warm hands and I felt myself melt. “I can’t apologize enough for the way I treated you then. This…” He ran a thumb over my lips. “This is how we should have spent our first day here.”
Then he kissed me, and our energies swirled and mixed around us in a riot of excitement and love. I anchored my hands on his hips and let myself fall into his kiss. Slowly the world around us fell away, and it was just me and Kane and a kiss I could feel to the depths of my soul. His fingers tightened in my hair as he pulled me closer, like he wanted to meld us together.
I pulled abruptly from the kiss. There were things I needed to say to him before I lost my nerve. Pulling back enough to looking into his dark eyes I let my wall down, exposing everything to him, laying it all at his feet. His eyes widened in wonder, and when he opened his mouth to speak I placed a finger over his lips, afraid if he spoke I wouldn’t get my words past the knot in my throat.
“Kane.” I traced the line of his upper lip. “I—”
A sudden scream rent the air and instantly Kane was on alert, his energy changing from one of contentment to one of shuddering awareness of danger. Faster than I could see, he spun and I found myself pressed against his back. His muscles were so tense I could feel them vibrating with his need to take action, if only he could locate the danger.

**GET YOUR COPY OF REGRET TODAY**

Buy Links:
Amazon: http://ow.ly/CLqZs

Barnes & Noble: http://ow.ly/CLras

Sweet Cravings Store: http://ow.ly/CLrtc

NEW RELEASE: His Marriage Demand by Fiona Murphy

I’ve already one-clicked this and I can’t wait to read it. Available now, His Marriage Demand.

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It will be only .99 cents until 10/16 then it will go up to $2.99.


His Marriage Demand Blurb:

For two years Ria has longed to touch the fire in Drake Hawthorne’s eyes but she doesn’t dare. The hotel where she has worked has a strict hands off patrons policy and if it’s found out she’s even lingered too long in his room she’ll lose the job she’s worked so hard for. Maybe if she were more reckless and willing to step out on a ledge she would but she isn’t and she can’t. Because it isn’t just Ria’s welfare at stake but her little brother’s and she’s not able to put his happiness on the line for her own.

So she’ll keep hiding behind the meaningless wedding ring and fake husband that she knows is the only thing that has kept Drake from pushing her for more. She’s seen too many rich and powerful men like Drake Hawthorne to know they didn’t care about the havoc they left behind only the moment where they got what they wanted. Ria needs more than a moment, she wants and needs forever.

When Drake finds out there isn’t a husband he demands marriage and Ria opens her mouth to say yes until he warns her about the ending. Marriage shouldn’t come with a time limit and Ria refuses to give in. Just when it looks like forever is promised will a threat from her past cost her the future within reach with Drake?


Excerpt:

“Employees aren’t allowed to fraternize with guests. If management
finds out, they’re gone, no ifs ands or buts. Please move, Mr.
Hawthorne, I need to get back down to the front desk.”

He doesn’t move, only shakes his head. “Two years, two years of lies
from you. Where was he last time? Los Angeles, updating the systems at an oil company you said. Before he was in Atlanta, a conference. Last year he was in England.” He’s moving now, stalking me across the room.

“Employees aren’t allowed to fraternize with guests.” I repeat
haltingly, “I’m sorry, but I need this job. What you want, you can get anywhere.” I accuse.

“Do you think I haven’t tried? Believe me, I’ve tried. Two years of
cold showers and sleepless nights. Every time I left here I promised
myself I’d take the first woman who looked my way. Only none of them,
none of them looked at me like you do. As if I was everything they
wanted but couldn’t have, with hunger making your soft brown eyes go
almost black. None of them smelled like you, none of them had the soft curves that trembled when I came near. None of them made me want them the way I want you. Kissing them, I wondered what you tasted like. Holding them against me, I knew they didn’t fit me as well as you would. Two years, of apologies as my dick wouldn’t get hard because they weren’t you.”

His words hurt, the idea of him with other women. I tried not to think of him away from the hotel. It didn’t mean I succeeded, in bed when I was alone, I thought of him. I wondered who he was with, what they looked like. Then I heard what he was really saying. I’m shaking my head, no. This can’t happen, no matter how badly I want him. He’s blunt, he’s demanding and he doesn’t care about the rules because rules didn’t pertain to men like Drake Hawthorne. He’d take what he wanted and when he had his fill, he’d move on. Then I’d be left jobless and broken-hearted. If it were just me, then maybe I would take the chance. It’s not an option though, I have Justin to think of and I can’t, I just can’t.

I’m still shaking my head when his hands come down on my hips and he
pulls me to him. I barely have time to take in the feel of him against me when his lips come down on mine. His beautiful full and thick lips are as soft as I always knew they would be. One taste, I promise myself and open my lips to him. The velvet slide of his tongue is a welcome invasion and I’m as hungry to learn the taste of him as he is of me. In seconds, hunger becomes devouring and we both go up in flames. My arms are up around his neck and he pulls me tighter, as if he can’t get enough. I feel like my whole body has been lit on fire and only he can soothe the burn. Deeper, more, I need more. I’m fighting for air when he finally pulls away, his eyes have gone sapphire dark.

His voice is deep and husky, “Marry me.” It’s a command, he’s not asking.

Shock hits me, he can’t have said what I thought he said. He nods, as
if I’ve spoken. “Marry me. For two years, I’ve wanted no one and
nothing as badly as I’ve wanted you. Every time I looked at the gold
band on your finger, I wanted to yank it off and beat the hell out of
the man who’d gotten to you before me. I hated this unknown man as
much as I hated myself for burning and wanting another man’s wife.
Crazy thoughts of wanting to know everything about him then the next
moment knowing I didn’t dare. I wouldn’t stop myself from destroying
him simply for having you when I couldn’t.

Marriage isn’t something I ever thought I would do again. I’ve grown
to the idea of my ring on your finger. My ring telling all other men
you’re mine and they can’t touch you. I don’t want one night with you, I want your days and everything else I can get.

There will have to be a prenup, I won’t be stingy. When it ends, I’ll
make sure you’ll be provided for.”

He had me, I can’t believe I was about to open my mouth to say yes.
How the fuck could I say yes to a command like that? Still, I was
going to. Hearing him confess to the long nights of desperate need, I
understood all too well had me melting. Until he mentioned the prenup
and it being over. It wasn’t the prenup, men as rich as Drake
Hawthorne aren’t stupid enough to marry without a prenup, especially
after how badly his last marriage ended. It was understandable he’d
want one considered airtight the second time around. I would have
willingly signed on the dotted line to have him. Knowing he was
already seeing the end before we even began is what has me pulling
away and he lets me go. His smile is satisfied, he thinks he’s going
to get his way. Men like him always get their way. A tiny kick of
pleasure at denying someone as powerful as him gives me the backbone I need. I straighten and look him in the eye, “Thank you for the offer, Mr. Hawthorne, I’m going to decline. If you need anything further, please ring the desk.”

He’s surprised, giving me the time I need to escape his room. Drake
catches up to me at the elevator. His hand on my wrist is almost
punishing, I flinch. He lets go when he sees it. “What the hell did
you just say to me?”

I don’t dare look at him, keeping my eyes on the progress of the
elevator. “I said, no. If you need anything further, please ring the
desk.”

He yanks me around to face him. “Explain that, no, after you kissed me like you wanted to fuck me for days.”

I cannot wait to read this!

~Buy Links:~

Amazon U.S: http://www.amazon.com/His-Marriage-Demand-Fiona-Murphy-ebook/dp/B00O0BNHOQ/

Amazon U.K: http://www.amazon.co.uk/His-Marriage-Demand-Fiona-Murphy-ebook/dp/B00O0BNHOQ/

~Author Links:~
Blog: http://fionamurphyeroticromance.blogspot.com/2014/09/his-marriage-demand-excerpt.html

Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Fiona-Murphy/e/B00JQXOH38/

~Don’t miss the Facebook release day event:
~ https://www.facebook.com/events/367266483430178/

Girl Talk with Zainab from Let’s Move on by Deborah Nam Krane

GirlTalkSaturday


Girl Talk Saturday is back for the month of October and the topic is: What Do Your Characters Fear?

This Saturday, Zainab from Let’s Move on by Deborah Nam Krane, will share five things she fears with us.

Zainab Oginabe-Kensit’s Top Five Fears.

1. Watching her friends get into another mess.
2. Hellie Graham growing up without both of her parents.
3. Giving Richard Hendrickson another chance to break her heart.
4. That she’s stuck in her current career.
5. That someone is going to be punished for something they didn’t do…even if they did something else.

Let’s Move On (Book Four of The New Pioneers) by Deborah Nam-Krane

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Zainab has spent years keeping Emily from going over the edge, giving Miranda a shoulder to cry on and nursing Jessie back to health. They’ll be the first to agree that she deserves whatever makes her happy, especially after the drama Richard put her through. But did she have to choose the guy who threw everyone’s lives into the shredder?

Richard knows he screwed up and he’d do anything to get Zainab back, but first he needs to make sure his company—and his loyal employees—don’t go under. (Who knew kicking your primary investor to the curb would have consequences?) Good thing his family has such deep pockets; too bad he doesn’t want to take a cent from them. Why should Zainab take him back if he can’t get out of his own way?

Maybe Zainab can eat her cake and have it too—that is, until she’s given an ultimatum. The choice isn’t Lover A or B; it’s protecting her friends or letting them fend for themselves. With that hanging over her head, what’s it going to take to make sure she and everyone else can finally move on?

Excerpt

Zainab was laughing a few hours later as she stretched out in bed. “You continue to be full of surprises.”
Robert rested his head on the pillow and took some deep breaths. “Come on, that wasn’t really a surprise, was it?”
“I don’t usually get that dressed up just to go to bed.” She flipped over and smiled. “Or is that sort of a Catch-22? Would we not have ended up in bed if I hadn’t been so dressed up?”
Robert sighed. “I think you’re just trying to get me to admit that I had this planned.”
“I know you’re intrusive, I don’t think you’re manipulative.”
“What about your friends?”
“No, they’re not manipulative either, although at least one of them is intrusive at any given point—”
“I meant, what do they think of me?”
“You know exactly what they think of you, and I’d say it shouldn’t be something that should concern you.”
“It doesn’t, except that I don’t like the idea of you leaving and then going to a house full of people who can’t stop telling you how wrong I am for you.”
“First of all,” she said, playing with his chin, “you’re getting really sloppy. Jessie isn’t living with me—”
“But she’s around enough—and no, I have not been driving by your house.”
“Second of all, they have no idea.”
“Really?” Robert said, smiling as he looked her over. “Because Emily is pretty sharp. Annoying, but sharp. Miranda could maybe use a little more time at school—”
“Miranda isn’t stupid.”
“She just has lousy taste.”
“Don’t we all?”
“If you think that, then why are you here?”
“Why shouldn’t I be, Robert?”
He smiled. “Because of Jessie. Because of everyone else. Because of Richard. Because to the untrained eye it might look like I broke you up on purpose—”
“I know that’s not what happened.”
“So am I forgiven?”
“It’s not an issue.”
“Why don’t you care?”
“What do you want? You want me to be really mad so you can have an excuse to feel bad? Do you think you should feel bad?”
“Let’s just say I don’t usually conduct my investigations that way.”
Zainab raised her eyebrow. “I know you were here with Jessie.”
“And that doesn’t bother you?”
“How bothered would you like me to be?”
“I don’t want you to be bothered, but I want you to care.”
“Why? Do you care about Richard?”
“No, but I do think he can’t be nearly as smart as he thinks he is to let you go.”
“He didn’t let me do anything—I left on my own. I was with him by choice.”
He kissed her. “And now you’re with me. By choice.”
“Now you’re getting the hang of it.”
“So why did you choose me?”
“Because I like you, Robert. But why do we need to look at it so closely?”
He rolled on top of her. “True, when there are so many better things we could do with our time.”

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