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Spotlight featuring Chimera by Stephie Walls! #FREE @StephieWalls

Title: chimera
Author: Stephie Walls
Genre: Adult, Dark Romance
Published: May 11, 2016


CHIMERA © Stephie Walls 2016
Chapter One
When Sylvie died, it left a hole in my being that seemed prodigious. I adorn my face with the plastic appearance people anticipate from me, but internally, I weep. Continuing through the monotonous motion of my daily life, I increasingly find myself lost in what my friends—well, those who remain—refer to as a fictional world: novels, authors, artists, musicians, and the illusion of relationships on social media. The more time I spend on Facebook, the more entrenched I become in the fiction that exists on the screen. I believe these “friends” are truly concerned for me; they’re what relationships are in reality. Sadly, these seem to be the only things keeping me hanging on, but the thread threatens to break daily, frayed from top to bottom. The tightly woven fabric that was once my life has deteriorated beyond recognition.
That’s the crux of my juxtaposition. My life had value, it had meaning. It was everything I had ever imagined it could be. But without Sylvie, black clouds roll through my mind, hindering my ability to think, eliminating productivity, and stifling my creativity. My art is as dead as I am. But online…online I can be anything I want to be, whatever version of myself I decide to show to the world. I don’t have to be the pathetic artist who lost his muse. I don’t have to be the sweet, sensitive man Sylvie loved. I don’t know whom I want to reinvent myself as, but the idea of being whatever still exists in my soul doesn’t appeal to me. My craft has become recreating my persona, anything to escape the pain, the desolation, and the solitude. Surely there’s art in recreating an identity.
Most days, I find it difficult to even get out of bed. The colder it gets outside, the shorter the days are, the deeper I sink—sometimes only escaping the protection of my covers to take a piss or get something to eat or drink. Although frequently, I let those things go in favor of marinating in my misery. My laptop calls to me from my nightstand when the loneliness becomes too much to bear, the darkness too black to see through.
That recognizable blue-and-white screen brings me comfort, the newsfeed seemingly a link to real conversation, touching base with the people I’ve known for years—but it always introduces the possibility of newcomers. The “friend recommendation” is the online equivalent to a friend introducing you to someone new; at least it is in my mind. I always check out the recommendations. They’re often other painters or singers that might have known Sylvie—or people I barely recognize from high school or college. But every once in a while, some totally random person surfaces with no tie to my past.
Those are the connections I find most interesting, most appealing.
They also seem to be the safest, having no knowledge of the person I once was, or how all that remains of me is a fragmented shell. I have made several “friends” this way, people I would say I’m close to—even though we’ve never met and likely never will. Herein lies my fictional world, the one my real friends don’t understand and believe to be emotionally damaging to me. I’m not processing my grief…blah, blah, blah. If I hear that shit one more time, I may scream.
As soon as I log in, the familiar recommendations bombard me as if the universe is playing some cruel joke. There she is, my Sylvie…only her name is Sera Martin. She’s a perfect duplicate with the same striking green eyes, long chestnut-colored hair, high cheekbones, and luscious, pouty lips.
I realize I haven’t inhaled or exhaled.
I gasp and hold my breath until my lungs burn. I haven’t seen her in years. The day she died, I came home and stripped our house of any reminder—every picture, every video, every stitch of clothing, anything she loved. It all had to leave. I couldn’t bear the weight of what the world took from me. I imagined if I discarded everything, she wouldn’t haunt me, and maybe, somehow, I would manage to learn to live again if reminders of her didn’t surround me.
Yet, her loss possesses me daily.
This girl. This Sera. Could this be Mother Nature returning my Sylvie to me in a strange twist of fate? The notion there’s a doppelganger roaming the world has always been a thought I believe in. It’s possible after years of suffering, dying inside, barely hanging on, that my savior has come. Without hesitation, I click “add friend.”
Sera responds to my request with a private message.
Sera: Wow! Are you really Bastian Thames?
Me: Yes. Have we met before?
Sera: Once, but I doubt you’d remember. It was at a gallery down on the West End where your work was being featured a couple years ago. Is this the real Bastian? Not some lurker claiming to be the famous artist?
Me: Far cry from famous, but yes, one and the same. Are you certain we met that night? I remember the opening and can assure you I would have remembered you.
Sera: Yes, you were with your wife. She’s quite lovely. I’m not sure which was more beautiful, her or the nudes you had in the collection. That showing was the talk of the art community for months around here.
Me: That was the last opening I did. Seems like a lifetime ago.
Sera: Are you not painting anymore? I hate to admit that I lost track of your work when I went off to college but for years, I was a huge fan.
Me: Life happened. I haven’t painted in some time.
Sera: I can’t imagine you quit painting. Surely you just quit putting them out for the public.
Me: No. I haven’t so much as held a brush in five years.
Sera: That’s a shame. Hey look, Bastian, I have to run out but I accepted your request. I hope maybe we can talk some later. Maybe you’ll let me pick your brain about a project I’m working on?
Me: Certainly. I hope to hear from you soon.
Sera: Bye
Me: Later
My mind races with possibilities. I immediately go to her profile to see what information I can garner on her before our next conversation—assuming one comes. Jesus, she’s twenty-five, went to the Rhode Island School of Design, graduated with her Masters in Fine Arts, and holy hell, she’s a sculptor. If these pictures are of her work, then she has phenomenal talent. Scouring her profile provides only surface-level information. There’s almost nothing personal. The pictures all seem to be with other artists or at galleries or in a studio. Moving to her wall, I find tons of posts by other local artists, memes about artwork, jokes…the proverbial Facebook bullshit.
I almost quit scrolling when I see a post that grabs my attention. There’s a picture of two beautiful women, scantily clad, one bent over, the other yielding a paddle, and the words, “Someone’s been a bad girl.” Jesus Christ. There are one hundred forty-seven comments and two hundred fifty-three likes on the thread posted by a Maria Martin.
I click on Maria’s name first, assuming it will be a sister or cousin, not expecting it to be her mother. Holy shit, whose mother posts this kind of profanity on their daughter’s Facebook wall? Making my way back to the thread, I find myself enthralled by the dialogue.
It’s cheeky and playful but talk about insight. This one picture, one conversation, tells me scads about who she is personally, not about her work, but seemingly what she enjoys—intimately. Reading her responses to the comments ignites a fire in an area of my anatomy I thought had died with Sylvie. As my cock starts to twitch, that old, familiar heat seeps through my crotch.
I stop myself, realizing I’m staring at dialogue—about a woman who could be my dead wife’s twin—between people I don’t know. It’s morbid, really. Backing out of the comments and Sera’s profile, then I set the computer aside. I don’t close the laptop for fear of missing a message from her. Lying back, I stare at the all-too-familiar ceiling. I know every blemish on the drywall with aching familiarity. There have been hours of loneliness and isolation. The depth of pain is so fathomless, I often wonder how I made it to the next day without feeling the cold steel in my hand, without pulling the trigger.

I’ve lived all over the country but have made Greenville, South Carolina my home for the last 20 of my 37 years. I have a serious addiction to anything Coach and would live on Starbucks if I could get away with it. If you follow me on Facebook you’ll also find that I’m slightly enamored with Charlie Hunnam. I’m an avid reader (literary whore to be more precise) averaging around 300 novels a year. I have a penchant for great love stories, sensual poetry and am a romantic at heart.

I currently work full-time in the Greenville area and fill my “extra” time with writing contemporary romance novels with a hint of erotica. I couldn’t do it without the support of my family and friends who push me to keep going when I don’t have the confidence or patience.

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Excerpt, First Chapter, Reviews

Review of Vampire Creed by Rain Grey

 

Vampire CreedTitle: Vampire Creed

Author: Rain Grey

Series: Standalone

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Self Published

Release Date: May 21 2016

Edition/Formats: eBook

Blurb/Synopsis:

Blaine will do anything for the sake of Wendy, even if it’s against her wishes. She had quickly become a ray of light in his dark world and he had no plans of losing her. So when Red tells him that the deaths in town maybe related to her, Blaine accepts the case even after swearing never to work for the council again. He soon realizes there is more going on than the council had imagined and Wendy’s life was truly in danger. His fear of losing his new found love slowly becomes a reality as Blaine realizes his enemy is more powerful than he can handle.

Wendy is finally settling into her new life as a vampire. She enjoys spending her days exploring her new world with Blaine and attending school. Their peaceful life together is short lived. Blaine suddenly gets called upon by the Vampiric Council to capture a vampire leading a group that is causing a large amount of human deaths in the area. Wendy soon finds herself drawn into the chase upon discovering it has something to do with Theo, the vampire that assaulted her and turned her into a Half-Blood. For Blaine’s sake, she decides to push past her fear of her attack in order to find clues that may help him solve the mystery. The thing she is most frighten of is forever no longer meaning forever.

review

Wow!  I really liked this book.  It was fast paced, had just the right amount of smexy times and the cast of characters are amazing.  I don’t like vampire books in general but this one just grabbed me from the beginning and never let go.

This book is more than a romance.  It has monsters, Greek mythology, humans, blood (lots of it), deception and a vampire world that even a non-paranormal fan can get into.  I really enjoyed the world that Ms. Grey built.  Plus, her characters were 2 dimensional.  From Blaine (swoon) to Wendy, Archer, Wolfe (oh my), Charlotte, Red and Dmitri (I claim him…sorry peeps).

Another thing that I truly liked was the action.  Sure, there is blood and violence but it wasn’t overly done.  It was necessary to show the good from the evil.  Plus, in the final climatic scenes…the twists made me gasp because I never saw them coming.  Great job Ms. Grey!  Jason and Red…oh my!

If you have never liked vampire stories because you know that vamps don’t sparkle (like me), pick this one up.  Ms. Grey left enough at the end that there could be a sequel.  For me, I would follow these characters anywhere, anytime.

5harlies

recommend-harlies- new

**** Disclosure of Material:  I received this book for Review from RBTL Book Promotions and the Author/Publisher.  I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”. *****

 

 

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Excerpt 2

Blaine Rice

Red stood at the window of his office, looking out onto the courtyard located in the front of the headquarters, his golden council robe hung off his shoulders, that red aura that always hurt my eyes surrounding his entire body. While I sat in the chair opposite of his desk, he stayed there for at least five minutes. I didn’t know for certain since I didn’t dare look down to check my watch to enrage him even further. After another fruitless night, I just wanted to go back home to

Wendy.

“While capturing these… these things is a great job, are you any closer to finding the one who has created them?” Even though his voice was quiet, the power of it seemed to fill the large room.

“Yes and no. I’ve learned more about the whole case in the last couple of nights, but not much about the leader, especially since he hasn’t shown up in my visions since early yesterday night.” I stuck with the truth for the simple fact I knew

Red already knew the answer.

I had given him a full report yesterday and about an hour ago over the phone. It was after the phone call today he told me to come in. Now that I was here, I realized it was probably so he could rant at me for not having the job done already, but there was more going on than we had first assumed.

“Barnaby, I needed this ended yesterday. While the body count has dropped significantly, the problem won’t be solved until the one responsible is captured.”

He turned to faced me, finally. His red rimmed, brown eyes drilling into my body as if he wanted me dead for not having completed the task already.

“All due respect, sir,” I began, trying to keep any hint of my annoyance with him out of my tone, “You gave me seventy-two hours to complete the mission. I still have another twenty hours left until the deadline.”

Red glanced away from me and began to pace the space behind his desk. As usual, his hands were clasped behind his back as he walked. “And can you deliver me my guy within that amount of time?”

I definitely hoped so. The only thing keeping me going on this mission was the fact that it was somehow related to Wendy. I still had yet to place the exact connection, but I knew Red hadn’t been just simply using her to get me to take the job. As long as I could find the creature that got away from tonight, I was positive she would lead me to the right person.

“Follow down to the lab. There is something I wish to show you.”

 

Sample from Chapter One

There was nothing quite like walking along the salt withered boardwalk of Oceanside Wharf. The unsteady sea roared to my left. The waves were nothing but a dark blur on the horizon that eventually licked the corners of the sandy beach. The lack of seagulls, the cloudy sky, and the stillness in the air told me one thing; there was a storm coming. Usually, these walks by myself were the only way that I could relax after a long day, but tonight was different. Despite the buzzing, yellow streetlamps that hovered over my head, everything about the atmosphere just seemed so much darker than normal.

Everything was ordinary that night, but it seemed too ordinary. Something about the way that my feet padded against the wood seemed to sound too familiar. Something about the way the salty air smelled seemed too perfect as if it were manufactured in a perfume bottle. I ached to see the stars through the cloud cover, but something told me that those wouldn’t look right either. The cold air whipped my long hair around my face, causing me to wrap my arms even tighter around my torso. This made me feel a tiny bit more secure, but I couldn’t deny the way my heart pounded in my chest.

I walked this route every day after my night classes; it was my daily routine. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something didn’t seem right. My skin broke out in a layer goosebumps that I couldn’t get rid of, no matter how hard I rubbed my arms. The hair on the back of my neck stood up on end. My eyes were peeled for some type of disturbance in the normality of my walk, but I couldn’t find anything. I found myself peeking over my shoulder every so often, but I found nothing but an empty, dimly lit street and a growing distance from the brightly lit university.

These walks had grown more and more intimidating since I first met him. He came to the roller skating rink one night while I was working at the concession stand. We were pretty slow considering that the rink was rented out for a few child’s birthday parties. Every so often, a kid would ask for some candy, but I mostly spent the night leaning against the counter, blankly staring into the rink. That was when I first saw him, standing on the other side of the rink. He was wearing sunglasses inside, which I thought was extremely weird considering that the sun went down at least an hour before he arrived. He didn’t skate and he didn’t talk to anyone. I assumed he was there to watch the kids, but his sunglasses made it hard to gauge what exactly he was staring at. He was so still as if he were able to lock his muscles in position. It made me uncomfortable, but then again, a lot of things made me uncomfortable.

It didn’t become an issue until two women approached me at the stand.

“Excuse me?” The smaller one pulled me away from my thoughts.

“Hello ladies,” I put on my best customer service smile.

They both smiled politely before the plump one spoke, “We have a problem.”

 

Author InformationRain Grey

 

Rain Grey is a psychologist by profession. However, she has been writing books since she was fifteen years old. She loves anything supernatural and her favourite genres are vampire Romance and ghost fiction. Her home in England is close to the town of Stratford Upon Avon, where William Shakespeare was born.

 

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First Chapter, Release Day

Happy Release Day to Sherri Hayes’ What Might Have Been (the Daniel Brothers #4) @Sherri_Hayes

Release Date: June 23, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Summary

Trent Daniels only has one regret in life. Nearly fifteen years ago, he let his high school crush, Abby Hoffman, go off to college in New York City without telling her how he felt. Ever since, he’s wondered what would have happened if he’d been bold enough to tell her his feelings.Abigail Hoffman left Ohio behind long ago and with it the family that had taken her in and embraced her as one of their own. She’s missed the Daniels family, but she couldn’t bring herself to face them again—not after what happened. Now her job has brought her back to the place she’s done her best to avoid and right smack into Trent Daniels.

 

 
 
 

 

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Daniels Brothers Series
Behind Closed Doors (Daniels Brothers #1)
Red Zone (Daniels Brothers #2)
Crossing The Line (Daniels Brothers #3)
What Might Have Been (Daniels Brothers #4) – New Release