RELEASE BLITZ: THE VAULT featuring SUNDOWN by Tia Louise

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The VAULT Anthology, featuring Sundown, an all new sexy novella from USA Today bestselling author Tia Louise is LIVE!

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What happens when you lock 22 authors in a vault and don’t let them come out until they’ve finished their books?

You get one sinfully sexy collection.

Sweet.

Devilish.

Dangerous.

Romantic.

Raw.

Funny.

Dark.

Powerful.

Unforgettable.

See what awaits you inside The Vault.

Read THE VAULT Today!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2zdtIHQ

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2ym4iej

iBooks – http://apple.co/2y7hyj9

Nook – http://bit.ly/2hclJU7

Kobo – http://tinyurl.com/yae4svvp

Sundown

Strangers on a train; names on a list.

Payback arrives at sundown.

It’s a simple job.

In and out, instant karma.

Then he appears to derail everything.

He’s the boy I haven’t seen in five years.

He’s the boy who wanted to be my hero, who I thought died fighting the demons.

Only he didn’t die.

He survived, and now he’s a man.

Worse, he’s a cop.

He’s gorgeous and strong, and the best sex I’ve ever had.

He’s my dream come true…

Only this train has left the station, and there’s no turning back.

ADD “Sundown” on Goodreads NOW: https://goo.gl/916ErT

ADD The Vault on Goodreads: https://goo.gl/PZdtaw

About Tia

“Queen of Hot Romance”; Award-winning, International Bestselling author of the ONE TO HOLD series.

Her debut adult romance ONE TO HOLD was a 2014 “Lady Boner” award-winner, #1 in Military Romance, and a Top 20 Contemporary Romance novel for several months. ONE TO KEEP, #2 in the series of stand-alone novels, followed the same course, with the remaining performing equally well.

From being a “Readers’ Choice” nominee two years running, to picking up USA Today “Happily Ever After” nods, nothing makes her happier than communicating with fans and weaving new tales into the Alexander-Knight world of stories.

A former journalist, Louise lives in the center of the U.S.A. with her lovely family and one grumpy cat. There, she dreams up stories she hopes are engaging, hot, and sexy, and that cause readers rethink common public locations…

It’s possible she has a slight truffle addiction.

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Connect with Tia Louise

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTiaLouise/

Twitter: @AuthorTLouise

Stay up to date with Tia Louise by signing up for her newsletter:

http://smarturl.it/TLMnews

https://authortialouise.com/dirtyplayers/

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COVER REVEAL, EXCERPT, AND GIVEAWAY: Reservations by Kindle Alexander

Title: Reservations

Author: Kindle Alexander

Genre: M/M Romance

Release: Coming Soon

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36384293-reservations

Wildly successful entrepreneur, Thane Walker is stubbornly set in his ways. Adamantly resistant to the shackles of commitment, he’s seen enough unhappy endings to learn the best way to play is by keeping his men on the payroll.

Levi Silva’s dream of graduating from one of the country’s top medical schools is in his grasp, until news from home changes everything. Now, he’s raising his two teenage brothers and trying to keep everyone’s head above water, emotionally and financially.

When Levi’s new job puts him in Thane’s path, their chemistry explodes, but their fear of being involved in relationships keeps them apart. Unfortunately, despite the intense desire drawing them together, neither man can move forward until they get past their own…Reservations.

His mouth watered thinking about that vinegar coleslaw, and his stomach growled a little louder. Damn, he was starving. He should go out there and fix himself a plate, but he wouldn’t. That would only open a line of personal communication, and this restaurant had too much of that going on. Everyone but the customers were friends.

Instead of doing that, Thane buckled down and opened an email from Arik Layne. The email was to both him and Chef Ferico. The subject line read, “Whole Foods and HSN, Bitches!!!!” That instantly had Thane smiling. Arik had become a force in his life. The guy didn’t seem to understand the value of hesitancy. Arik was a mover and shaker. Their joint venture of infused olive oils had taken off like lightning. Arik had secured sales on thousands of bottles before manufacturing had started. Now that they had production underway, they were blowing and going like wildfire. All Arik had to do was pick up the phone, and he secured another sale.

Thane scanned the message, reading how Whole Foods planned to add them in a test market now, with mass distribution the beginning of October. That was all great news. Arik had also secured a spot on HSN in November, about two weeks before Thanksgiving. Somehow he’d managed to squeeze them into an already set schedule on foods for the holidays. They’d also be given time on the sales floor. The anticipated sales were around twenty-five thousand bottles.

Wow. Okay.

The last lines on the email made Thane squelch the urge to laugh out loud, not wanting to undermine the stern tone he’d taken with his staff, but, man, Arik was hilarious. He listed ten reasons why he’d be a better choice than Thane to go on the HSN broadcast with Chef Ferico. Every single bullet point ended with “because I really want to sample all the foods made that day.”

Literally, a man after his own heart.

Out of nothing more than the need to make Arik squirm, he decided to tease him. Thane quickly typed how glad he was for Arik’s effort, along with a note that they should at least flip a coin for the TV slot. He chose tails. Grinning, he pushed send as his cell phone began to vibrate in his pocket. With a glance at the screen, he saw Julian’s name and swiped to accept the call.

“Hey,” he said, putting the call on speaker before fishing his Bluetooth out of the computer bag and hooking it around his ear.  

“Hey, yourself. You still coming here?”

“I am. It’ll be a few weeks though. Everything okay?”

“Of course, you know I run a tight ship, but I might have to break protocol.”

Thane began shaking his head no as if Julian could see him.

“I can almost hear you shaking your head no.”

“That’s because that’s what I’m doing. Absolutely no rule breakage, Julian. You do it one time and that opens the door…”

“Hang tight, Papi Chulo. Don’t get all bent. I’m telling you before I do it. That should count.”

The happy place he’d found after reading Arik’s hilarious message was on the fast track to crashing and burning as Thane sat back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest.

“Why?” he asked, instead of giving Julian the same dressing-down he’d just given this management team on the failures of flouting established protocol.

“Remember that kid I told you about months ago. My PT assistant, the one who got me into free counseling?”

Thane had to really think which was kind of funny. Julian’s care had been grossly expensive. He’d have thought he’d remember someone who’d saved him so much money in free counseling. He shrugged, lifting his brows, giving himself a break. He could vaguely recall the key components. “Maybe…”

“He needs a job.”

“We don’t hire our staff like that, Julian. Remember your training. Your guys…”

“Boss, slow your roll. He’s a med student taking care of his family, and he’s hot as hell. His body alone’ll make the customers very happy. Happy customers equal more money.”

“Is he in your previous line of work?” Thane asked, completely confused and trying to catch up.

“No. I want him for waitstaff at the club. I saw him last night, and he’s losing his job. He’s coming to the club tonight to take a look around. I’ll send his info off for a background check, but I’ll probably put him on the floor as early as tomorrow,” Julian stated matter-of-factly.

That was another huge issue he was having with Julian. The guy was a beast at work. He kept sticking his nose in every other manager’s responsibilities, causing all sorts of ill will. Julian was a man on a mission. He governed that club with an iron fist, all to try and repay Thane for the expensive care. “Have you talked with Dave about whether he needs more waitstaff?”

“Dave-the-douchebag quit today. You didn’t hear?” Julian said casually.

“What?” Thane pushed his fingers through his hair. Why was he just now hearing about this?

“Don’t worry. I got this. I’ll fill in until you figure out what to do. I, of course, think you just need to let me handle all personnel…”

“Stop, Julian. First, no one’s hired without passing a background check. I’m not watching anyone go through what you did again. And second, you better stop pissing off all my people. Until I talk to Dave and see if I can get him back, you can handle the waitstaff scheduling, but you aren’t…”

“Equipped to handle personnel issues,” Julian said, finishing his sentence. “Are you getting laid regularly? Because I’m pretty sure you’re not. You need to come on over here and bend me over this desk—”

“We have rules. I’m not having sex on that property, and I better not catch you having sex on that property!” Thane shot out, cutting Julian off.

“You’re a very difficult man, Thane Walker,” Julian replied, not missing a beat. “I’d say hard, but I have no way of truly knowing that.”

Best Selling Author Kindle Alexander is an innovative writer, and a genre-crosser who writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and erotica in both the male/male and male/female genres. It’s always a surprise to see what’s coming next!

I live in the suburbs of Dallas where it’s true, the only thing bigger than an over active imagination, may be women’s hair!

Usually, I try for funny. Humor is a major part of my life – I love to laugh, and it seems to be the thing I do in most situations – regardless of the situation, but jokes are a tricky deal… I don’t want to offend anyone and jokes tend to offend. So instead I’m going to tell you about Kindle.

I tragically lost my sixteen year old daughter to a drunk driver. She had just been at home, it was early in the night and I heard the accident happen. I’ll never forget that moment. The sirens were immediate and something inside me just knew. I left my house, drove straight to the accident on nothing more than instinct. I got to be there when my little girl died – weirdly, I consider that a true gift from above. She didn’t have to be alone.

That time in my life was terrible. It’s everything you think it would be times about a billion. I love that kid. I loved being her mother and I loved watching her grow into this incredibly beautiful person, both inside and out. She was such a gift to me. To have it all ripped away so suddenly broke me.

Her name was Kindle. Honest to goodness – it was her name and she died a few weeks before Amazon released their brand new Kindle ereader. She had no idea it was coming out and she would have finally gotten her name on something! Try finding a ruler with the name Kindle on it.. It never happened.

Through the course of that crippling event I was lucky enough to begin to write with a dear friend in the fan fiction world of Facebook. She got me through those dark days with her unwavering support and friendship. There wasn’t a time she wasn’t there for me. Sometimes together and sometimes by myself, we built a world where Kindle lives and stands for peace, love and harmony. It’s its own kind of support group. I know without question I wouldn’t be here today without her.

Find out more by visiting http://www.kindlealexander.com or email me at kindle@kindlealexander.com



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RELEASE LAUNCH: RUTHLESS KING by Meghan March

Get ready for the darker and dirtier side of New Orleans with a brand new alpha romance from USA Today bestselling author Meghan March.

New Orleans belongs to me.
You don’t know my name, but I control everything you see—and all the things you don’t.
My reach knows no bounds, and my demands are always met.
I didn’t need to loan money to a failing family distillery, but it amuses me to have them in my debt.
To have her in my debt.
She doesn’t know she caught my attention.
She should’ve been more careful.
I’m going to own her. Consume her. Maybe even keep her.
It’s time to collect what I’m owed.
Keira Kilgore, you’re now the property of Lachlan Mount.

*Ruthless King is book one of the Mount Trilogy*

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Meghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She’s also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she’s ever had. She loves hearing from her readers at meghanmarchbooks@gmail.com.

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE | TWITTER | PINTEREST

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RELEASE LAUNCH AND EXCERPT: SLEEPER by Lexi Blake

When Neil’s past catches up to him, Kelsey must choose between her new family and an old love…

With tensions rising between the Council and demonkind, Kelsey finds herself investigating a series of murders that threaten the fragile truce between them. If she can’t stop these killings soon, they could ignite a fire sure to burn the supernatural world down.

Unfortunately for her, Kelsey’s problems don’t stop with a pile of dead halflings. Her connection with Marcus is frayed at best, and Gray hasn’t been heard from in months. Her only semblance of peace comes from a new man in her life. When Gray storms back into the picture, her love life goes from incredibly complicated to apocalyptic.

Just as Kelsey begins to unravel the mystery, the forces of Heaven decide to take an interest in her actions. Outclassed with these powers in play, Kelsey knows that one misstep could leave the human and supernatural worlds in ashes.

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Excerpt

“Your Highness, please back away. In fact, it would be best if you left the room altogether.” Felix put himself between me and Roberts. “Kelsey, I need you to push her down. Push her back down for a few moments. Marcus will be back soon and he’s going to take care of you. Being around those angels unsettled you. I don’t know if you noticed, but at the end of the meeting, your ward fell off. You didn’t have it on when Oliver shook your hand. He’s unbalanced and now you are, too. It’s like a contagion for someone like you. Oliver’s illness has called up your inner wolf and she’s angry.”

“Perhaps if I touch her,” Henri began. “I’m an academic. I don’t have the same connection she has with Marcus, but I might be able to help.”

“I’m not unbalanced.” It didn’t matter that my hands were shaking and they had been ever since I’d left the angels behind. “I’m going to talk to the wolf whether you like it or not. He’s been handling silver. It’s the only reason his hands wouldn’t have healed. Even then, a couple of hours would have done it. Unless the freaking silver he held came straight from Heaven. What about it, Roberts? How did you spend last night?”

The wolf was shaking his head. “I don’t know.”

That wasn’t an answer I was willing to accept. I was about to explain that to everyone when Chad stepped up and got in my face.

“I’m taking him out of here now,” Chad explained. “You’ll let me or we’re going to have trouble.”

I was ready for trouble. I was fairly sure I grinned, the idea of fighting a vamp lifting my spirits high. For the first time in what felt like hours, I went still. “You’re not going anywhere.”

Chad turned, his shoulders squaring, and I felt the world begin to bend around me. Chad belongs to one of the rarest classes of vampire—the magicians. As far as I knew, he was the only one walking the night at this time. He could form illusions so real you could taste food, feel imaginary rain on your skin, utterly believe whatever he wanted you to believe. I’d come up against him before. I might be one of the only people in the world who could see through him.

“It won’t work,” I said calmly as reality seemed to go dark and I heard the hissing of snakes all around me. “Do you not remember what happened the last time you pulled this shit on me? It took three tranqs to take me down. I don’t think you have those on you today.”

“I won’t need them.” Chad lifted his hand and the world shifted.

“Holy shit,” Casey said, climbing up on his desk. “What the fuck is happening?”

Snakes were happening. They were crawling from the woodwork, twitching and hissing my way. The fibers of the carpet beneath my feet lengthened and formed more snakes until they were a menacing mass, threatening everyone in the room.

Well, except for Chad, who had lifted his husband into his arms and prepared to take him away.

I let my wolf loose a bit. She knew this was all an illusion. That primitive part of my brain that Chad was accessing, the lizard brain that merely wanted to survive, was taken over by the wolf inside me. The alpha wolf didn’t want mere survival. She wanted to dominate, and that meant seeing past fear, trusting her instincts over what her eyes perceived.

The minute I opened the door, I felt her surge through me.

“I’m not letting you go. I can’t. I’m conducting a murder investigation, and I believe your boy here just became my prime suspect.” My hands twitched, eager for a fight, and I realized how long it had been since Marcus and I had thrown down.

Too long. Remember that whole thing about needing sex or violence to feed my inner wolf? Well, she was hungry and there was a whole lot of violence in Chad’s eyes.

I welcomed it. I could feel the need rise like a wave threatening to engulf me. This was why I had a trainer in the first place.

I gritted my teeth because Chad turned on his power. I could feel those fucking snakes climbing my legs and sinking their fangs into me. I refused to pay any attention to them despite the fact that I ached to rip the fuckers off me and toss them aside. To do that would have given the magician more power. If I bought into it, if I took my eyes off the only thing in the room that was real, I would end up like Casey, who was screaming like a girl.

“Let me pass, Hunter,” Chad said.

I stood my ground like the good Gandalf I was. Except I kind of wanted to shove my nonexistent staff right up old Chad’s ass, and then we would see if he sent snakes my way again.

The anger rose, rapid and quick, a flash fire coursing through me. I didn’t even realize when I had reached for the fireplace poker. All I knew was it was suddenly in my hands and I was going to use it. I could see myself shoving that piece of wrought iron right through his heart. It wouldn’t kill him. I would need wood for that, but then again, I didn’t want the fight over so quickly.

I raised the poker, ready to start.

“Stop it, both of you.” Donovan stepped in between us, but I didn’t care at that moment. I hadn’t felt this way in forever, not since Marcus had taken me in. I hadn’t been so out of control that I didn’t care who I hurt as long as I got to hurt someone. I would fuck up Donovan, too. All that mattered was seeing blood, feeling bones crush.

“You see, I told you she’s far gone and I can’t fix her anymore. I’ve called Gray and he has an idea of what to do,” Marcus was saying.

I wasn’t listening.

I started to bring the poker down Donovan’s way, but I was stopped in mid swing. A hand held my wrist, an arm going around my middle and hauling me back against muscled flesh.

“Stop it,” Trent growled in my ear. “You stand down right this second.”

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

FACEBOOK / TWITTER / WEBSITE / AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

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COVER REVEAL AND GIVEAWAY: The Hail You Say by Lani Lynn Vale

 

Title: The Hail You Say

Series: Hail Raisers #5

Author: Lani Lynn Vale

Genre: MC Romance

Release:  January 11, 2018

Model: Stu Reardon

Photographer: Furiousfotog

Cover Designer: Lani Lynn Vale

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36375419-the-hail-you-say


Get out!He yelled those words at the love of his life twelve years ago, and to this day, Reed Hail regrets them. He’s always been the type of person to speak before he thinks, and apologies have never come easy.It’s been over a decade since she was his, and he stubbornly thinks that he can keep on living without her.He couldn’t be more wrong.

The last thing he needs is her vagina anywhere near his exam table. But nobody ever asks him what he wants.

Maybe he should’ve gone into the auto-recovery business after all.

I hate you.

Krisney Shaw would take those words back in a heartbeat if she could. In fact, she would take back everything.

Never meeting him would be the perfect place to start. The memory of Reed Hail haunts her—morning, noon, and night.  Then, to add insult to injury, she has to see him being happy while she’s breaking a little more inside every single day.

Reed Hail is her worst nightmare because she’s constantly reminded of exactly what she’s missing—the other half of her soul.

Just when she thinks things can’t get worse, she’s sees his sexy, bearded face over the top of her paper gown, and she’s lost all over again.

Don’t ever let me go.

Both Reed and Krisney are determined to avoid each other.  They do a great job of it, too…not.

One ill-timed gynecological exam changes everything. One single second in time shows Reed what he’s missing—literally and figuratively—and suddenly he’s back at square one.

The only problem with being back at square one? He won’t be able to leave her a second time.

Especially since the first time around he didn’t have a child with her to consider.

 
I’m a married mother of three. My kids are all under 5, so I can assure you that they are a handful. I’ve been with my paramedic husband now for ten years, and we’ve produced three offspring that are nothing like us. I live in the greatest state in the world, Texas.








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RELEASE BLITZ AND EXCERPT: Dubious by Charmaine Pauls

Title: Dubious (The Loan Shark Duet, #1)

Author: Charmaine Pauls

Genre: Dark Romance

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Synopsis

Repulsiveness personified, that’s me. I own a mirror, and I’m not afraid to look in it. What you see on the surface is a reflection of what runs under my skin. I’m a loan shark. Breaking people is in my blood. The Haynes’s were supposed to be a straightforward job. Go in and pull the trigger twice. One bullet for Charlie, one for his sister. But when I saw Valentina, I wanted her. Only, in our world, those who owe us don’t get second chances. No way in hell will my mother let her live. So I devised a plan to keep her.

It’s depraved.
It’s immoral.
It’s dubious.

It’s perfect.
Just like her.

(DUBIOUS is the first full-length novel in a two-part duet and ends on a cliffhanger. The second book, CONSENT, will be available on 14 November 2017. This is a dark romance with a criminal anti-hero and forced seduction. Reader discretion is advised.)

Purchase your copy today!

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Excerpt

The table goes quiet, but not because of my outburst. The men’s heads are turned toward the landing on the upper floor. When I follow their gazes, I can’t miss the man who stands under the light, his hands gripping the rail. He wears a dark suit, like the Portuguese, but he’s anything but a generalization. He’s nothing short of a monster.

His body is muscular. Too big. There’s not enough space in the room for him. He drowns everything in power and dominance. He’s not young, but he isn’t old, either. Rather than defining his age, his years give him the distinguished edge of men with experience. Thick, black hair falls messily over his forehead, the wisps brushing his ears. His features are rogue, wild, and uncompromising. The lines running from his nose to his mouth are deeply etched. They’re the kind of lines men with hard, rough lives wear. A ghastly network of scars runs from his left eyebrow to his cheek. Under the disfigured patchwork, his complexion is tanned. The ruggedness of his skin gives the impression of being marred by bullets. A short-trimmed beard and moustache cover some of his imperfections, but the damage is too vast to hide. It’s a face you don’t want to see in the dark and definitely not in your dreams. It’s a face that stares straight at me.

Heat of the scary kind crawls over my skin. When I look into his eyes, it’s as if a bucket of ice is emptied down my shirt. An unwelcome shiver contracts my skin, and my fear turns from hot to cold. His irises are blue like the far-off glaziers I’ve only seen in pictures. Everything about him seems foreign. Out of place. Dangerous. He’s the kind of bad that’s even out of Napoli’s league.

Pre order your copy today!

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About The Author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Charmaine Pauls was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She obtained a degree in Communication at the University of Potchestroom, and followed a diverse career path in journalism, public relations, advertising, communications, photography, graphic design, and brand marketing. Her writing has always been an integral part of her professions.

After relocating to Chile with her French husband, she fulfilled her passion to write creatively full-time. Charmaine has published ten novels since 2011, as well as several short stories and articles. Two of her short stories were selected for publication in an African anthology from across the continent by the International Society of Literary Fellows in conjunction with the International Research Council on African Literature and Culture.

When she is not writing, she likes to travel, read, and rescue cats. Charmaine currently lives in Montpellier with her husband and children. Their household is a linguistic mélange of Afrikaans, English, French and Spanish.

 

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BLOG TOUR PROMO AND EXCERPT: Sick Fux by Tillie Cole

 

When Ellis Earnshaw and Heathan James met as children, they couldn’t have been more different. Ellis was loud and beautiful – all blond hair, bright laughs and smiles. Heathan was dark and brooding, and obsessed with watching things die.

The pair forged an unlikely friendship, unique and strange. Until they were ripped apart by the sick cruelty of others, separated for years, both locked in a perpetual hell.

Eleven years later, Heathan is back for his girl. Back from a place from which he thought there was no return. Back to seek revenge on those who wronged them.

Time has made Heathan’s soul darker, polluted with hatred and the thirst for blood.

Time has made Ellis a shell of her former self, a little girl lost in the vastness of her pain.

As Heathan pulls Ellis out of her mental prison, reviving the essence of who she once was, down the rabbit hole they will go.

With malice in their hearts and vengeance in their veins, they will seek out the ones who hurt and destroyed them.

One at a time.

Each one more deadly than the last.

Tick Tock.

Dark Contemporary Romance. Contains explicit sexual situations, violence, disturbingly sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language and very mature topics. Recommended for ages 18 and over.


Excerpt

Rabbit turned off the country road we were on and pulled onto a dirt path. Bushy tree branches curled above us to create a tunnel. I leaned my head back and caught the last rays of sun slicing through the leaves. When I lifted my head I saw a building up ahead. A house made from wood stood before us.

Rabbit pulled the car to a halt. There were no sounds coming from this house. No screams or crying. Everything was just . . . silent.

Rabbit’s hands slid from the wheel, and without looking at me, he said, “This is where we’ll be staying for the next several days.”

I leaned forward and looked out of the window. “Your home?”

He shook his head. “The first stop on our adventure.” I looked at him and found his silver eyes were already on me. “We have many stops to go.”

My heart fluttered in nervous excitement. “And this is number one . . .” I whispered, more to myself than Rabbit.

Rabbit opened his door. I was still staring at the woods surrounding this place when my car door opened too. Rabbit stood, rabbit-headed cane in hand, waiting for me to leave the car. I swallowed back the nerves that were creeping up my throat and stepped out. The ground crunched beneath my shoes.

“This way.” Rabbit held his arm out toward the house. I fell into step beside him. I glanced all around us, searching for any sign of people. As if reading my mind, Rabbit said, “There is just you and I here for now. We will meet more people when our journey truly begins.”

“It has not begun?”

Rabbit led us to a wooden door and paused. Gripping the head of his cane tighter, he faced me and said, “Soon, darlin’. Before we go, we must prepare.” He opened the door. “But first . . . tea.”

My breath caught in my throat. Beyond the threshold lay the most perfect tea-party spread one ever did see. “Rabbit!” I gasped. My hands flew to my mouth. I took a step forward into the house and onward into the magical room just beyond. As I passed Rabbit I looked up to see him watching me. I moved swiftly to the long table in the center of the wooden-paneled room, and my eyes widened as I beheld the spread. A white tablecloth lay over the table. Tall seats were positioned around it—eight to be exact—and at each seat was set a plate, a teacup and a saucer. I ran my hand over the cloth and smiled at the silver-domed dishes in the center of the table. I looked behind me to find Rabbit, but he was nowhere in sight. Turning back to the table, I lifted the first silver dome to peek at what was underneath. My mouth watered when I saw strawberry tarts. Smiling in excitement, I skipped to the next. Victoria sponge. Desperate to see them all, I removed each cover—cucumber sandwiches, Bakewell tarts, Battenberg cake, carrot cake . . . so much cake! All of England’s finest delicacies.

My favorites.

A floorboard creaked behind me, and I turned to see Rabbit walking back into the room. I opened my mouth to ask him where everything came from, but then I spotted what he held in his hands.

“Tea?” I asked as Rabbit placed the silver tray, which held a teapot, a jug of milk and a bowl of sugar, on the table. I walked closer and closed my eyes as I inhaled deeply. “Earl Grey,” I whispered, smelling my absolute favorite tea in the entire world.

“Only ever Earl Grey for my little Dolly,” Rabbit confirmed and pulled out a chair for me. I sat down, and Rabbit tucked me in. He took the seat a few places down and gestured to the food. “Help yourself. After all, this tea party is in your honor.”

A giddy laugh escaped my throat as I reached forward and carefully selected a variety of cakes and sandwiches. When I had filled my plate, I took the teapot and poured myself a cup. Rabbit watched me with a peculiar look on his face. His lip was hooked at the corner, and his eyes were . . . soft. His eyes were never soft, always hard and focused, but as he looked at me now, they were almost gentle.

I swallowed, unsure what this strange feeling in my stomach was. I pressed my free hand to my stomach as a comfort against the strange tingling sensations inside. “Tea?” I offered, my voice barely above a whisper.

Rabbit nodded; not a word escaped his mouth. His gaze became more intense as I moved beside him and poured the steaming liquid into his cup. As my arm neared him, I felt him stiffen in his seat. Only a sliver of air prevented our limbs touching. His breathing grew labored as he watched me pour.

But we didn’t touch.

Clearing my throat, I placed the teapot back on the tray and moved to take my seat once again. Just as I took a step, an image floated into my head. Of me and Rabbit. Lips touching. My entire body tensed.

I heard Rabbit’s ragged breathing behind me. Goosebumps broke out along my body, chasing one another up my arms and up to the back of my neck. Shaking my head clear of the image, I sat back down.

I raised my eyes and found Rabbit watching me intensely. I lifted my teacup toward my lips. Rabbit did the same, but just as the lip of the teacup almost reached his mouth, I shouted, “Rabbit!” He froze. “Your little finger!” I scolded. I lowered my cup and shook my head. “You cannot drink tea without raising your little finger, silly!”

Rabbit exhaled, then bowed his head. “You’re right, darlin’. How could I forget?”

Tillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.

After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.

Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.

Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.

When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.

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