Author Archives: cathrinegoldstein

About cathrinegoldstein

Author of romance and YA fiction...

Release Day Book Blitz & Giveaway! Broken Chords by Jessica Bayliss

Today on Nitty Gritty Romance, we’re thrilled to feature the

Release Day Book Blitz for:

Broken Chords

by Jessica Bayliss!

 

BC600

 

Broken Chords
by Jessica Bayliss
Genre: YA Horror (novella)
Release date: October 9th 2017
Leap Books

Summary: 

They rip, they tear, they FEED, and you never come back again.

Here’s how last year’s Gypsy Cob Music Festival should have gone. Lenora “Lenny” Ragno was supposed to rock her duet with her long-time crush, Jeb, during the open-mic competition. Then, swept up in the glow of success, he’d finally kiss her. Instead, Lenny choked on stage and spent the whole year dodging him online. And avoiding playing her fiddle in public. She thought her worst nightmare was behind her, but she was way wrong.

Now, she’s back at Gypsy Cob where avoiding a public performance is about as impossible as hiding from Jeb. She thinks facing him will be the scariest part of the festival, but when one of their friends talks everyone into trying astral projection, Lenny catches the eye of a demonic entity that marks her as its own.

Now, whenever it wants, the demon can pluck Lenny from her reality and transport her to a hellish between-world, haunted by its countless, gruesome victims. If she doesn’t want to become one of them, she must discover the nature of the demon’s hold on her and remove it. But how can she defeat a literal demon when she can’t even get over her personal ones?

Sounds great! A perfect Halloween read!

Add to Goodreads

Buy on Amazon!

 

BC Drago Blurb - Century Gothic

 

Enter the GIVEAWAY for a chance to WIN a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

GIVEAWAY CLICK HERE!

 

Blurb - Ostow - 2.1

 

About the Author

Bayliss-new-3.1-568x1024Jessica Bayliss is a fiction author who loves all things reading and writing. Her genre-bending fiction holds a little something for everyone. A lover of ghost tales and horror since her days scanning VHS rental shelves–admittedly with eyes half-averted from the gory covers–a touch of the mysterious always finds a home in Jessica’s work. Romance with a dash of supernatural. Horror with a bit of humor. You get the gist. Jessica also writes across age groups and is a firm believer in the motto, there is a new reader born every day, whether young or not-so-young. Because one cannot live on writing alone, Jessica also spends a great deal of time with friends and family. She is a lover of all animals especially one very special Havanese and one extremely ornery cockatiel. She also loves to eat, cook, and exercise–in that order–and is a firm believer that coffee makes the world a better place.

Jessica also has stories in several of Leap Books anthologies: Beware the Little White Rabbit and Fright Before Christmas.

 

Where can you find Jessica…?

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

 

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Cover Reveal! Ignited by A.M. Deese

Today on Nitty Gritty Romance,

we’re thrilled to feature the cover reveal for:

Ignited

by A.M. Deese

 

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Wow! It’s GORGEOUS!

Ignited

by A.M. Deese

Genre: YA

Release Date: March 2018

RadiantTeen

Cover Design by: https://www.desireedeortodesigns.com/

 

Summary:

A NOBLE DAUGHTER.

A FORMER SLAVE.

DARK MAGIC AND VOLATILE ALLIANCES COLLIDE IN A WORLD ON THE BRINK OF COLLAPSE.

“Jura imagined it sounded like rain.”

Juggling death is nothing new for seventeen-year-old Jura, daughter of the First of the Thirteen, successive rulers of the Republic of the Sand Sea. However, when a blood chain ensnares her father, she is thrust into the seat of power and forced to rule her elders.

“To Tylak, water had never tasted sweeter.”

Jura must track down her father’s assassin and balance a country on the verge of collapse. To find the Prince of Shadows and uncover the truth, Jura puts her trust in Tylak, a former slave accused of stealing from the Everflame—a man she once condemned to death.

In a world where water is currency and enemies lurk around every corner, Jura will use her wits or risk igniting a world war.  

 

Add to Goodreads!

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About the Author:

A.M. DeeseAlexis Marrero Deese is an avid reader of young adult and fantasy. Her favorite authors include Brandon Sanderson, Jaqueline Carey, and Orson Scott Card. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and a sun tan she misses dearly since her move to northern Georgia. She has a passion for cooking, spends entirely too much time on Pinterest, and is a self-proclaimed dog training expert to her family’s legion of dogs.

 

Where can you find Alexis?

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

 

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Blog Tour! The West Woods by Suzy Vadori

This week on Nitty Gritty Romance,

we’re featuring the blog tour for

The West Woods

by Suzy Vadori !

 

The West Woods tour banner

The West Woods

by Suzy Vadori

Genre: YA
Release Date: September 22nd 2017
Evil Alter Ego Press

 

Summary:

Magic, sacrifice and the quest for freedom.

Courtney Wallis wants nothing more than to escape St. Augustus boarding school. After uncovering a well-kept secret about the school’s founder, Isaac Young, Courtney turns to the school’s magic to convince her dad to let her leave. Things take a turn when she meets Cole, who lives in the nearby town of Evergreen. He gives her hope that things might not be so bad. However, the school’s fountain has other ideas, and binds Courtney to her ambition, no matter the cost.

As Courtney struggles to keep the magic from taking over, she and her friends get drawn into the mystery woven into the school’s fabric. Everything seems to lead back to the forbidden West Woods. Together, she and her friends seek out the spirits of the past to ask for help, and find themselves in much deeper than they’d bargained for.  If they succeed, Courtney could be free of the magic. If they fail, she may never be the same. 

 

Sounds great!

Here’s the link to Add to Goodreads!

 

The West Woods Cover Reveal - Suzy Vadori Aug 8 2017

 

Excerpt from Chapter One…

 

No Retreat
Courtney had one foot out of the car door, with her body still firmly planted
inside. Her throat tightened as the campus loomed before her. A dusting of snow graced the trees and roofs. Though she’d attended St. Augustus for ninth grade and half of the tenth already, it didn’t feel like home.

The school’s buildings were set well back from the road and Courtney stared at them now. The whole scene felt out of place in Massachusetts. She’d always thought the oldest building on campus could be a castle like you’d find in France or England. At one time, its coating of green ivy had fascinated Courtney, like it was being gobbled up by the vines. As the semesters had passed though, the plain red brick of the newer buildings seemed more in tune with the personality of the school she’d come to know.

Courtney sighed as she watched her dad walk away from the parking lot
toward the dorm with her older sister Hanna. Winter break had ended too soon.
“I’ll wash your car every night if you reconsider?” she called out.

As if he hadn’t heard her, her dad pulled the lapel of his suit jacket up over his face against the cold and continued walking toward the dorm. He didn’t turn back. She wracked her brain for something else to offer, but came up with
nothing.

After a long pause, Courtney hoisted her duffel bag from the car seat beside her up onto her shoulder. She pulled her long, bushy red hair out from under its strap. She could just stay in the car. Once her dad got Hanna settled in her room and returned to the parking lot, the two of them could go. Home. Courtney pictured his face turning a deep shade of red if she tried that. It wasn’t going to be that simple. She’d argued her case all last semester, the entire winter break, then the whole car ride up here from Boston today. He hadn’t given an inch.

Finally, she pulled herself off the leather seat of the car and stepped out into the staff parking lot where they weren’t supposed to park. Jim Wallis
regularly ignored No Parking signs. Besides, he wasn’t planning to stay long. Courtney shut the car door with a satisfying slam. …

 

Where to buy?

Amazon US

Amazon CA

B & N

Kobo

***

 

GIVEAWAY!

Enter for a chance to WIN a $15 Amazon Gift Card!

GIVEAWAY! CLICK HERE!

 

the fountain

 

Don’t forget THE FOUNTAIN !

The Fountain on Goodreads

(The West Woods is the prequel)

 

 

 

About the Author:

suzy vadoriSuzy Vadori is an Operations executive by day, Writer by night. The Fountain is her debut novel for Young Adults. Suzy is an involved member of the Calgary Writers’ community, service as Program Manager for Young Adult at When Words Collide (a Calgary festival for readers and Writers) since 2013. Suzy lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband and three kids.

 

Where to find Suzy! 

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

 

 

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Elemental Lies Blog Tour & Giveaway!

This week on Nitty Gritty Romance,

we’re featuring the

Blog Tour & Giveaway

for:

Elemental Lies (Essential Elements #2)

by Elle Middaugh!

 

Elemental Lies tour banner

Elemental Lies (Essential Elements #2)
by Elle Middaugh
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
Release Date: July 24th 2017
Pronoun

Elemental Lies coverSummary:

Valerie Moore is an Elemental, a person who commands one of the classical elements of wind, water, fire, or earth. She’s special, though. She controls two—fire and water—though sometimes it seems like they control her.

After the accidental exposure of Elementals to humanity, Valerie finds herself—and all of her kind—struggling to attain equality. Three different groups fight to secure leadership, and with all of their hidden agendas, she doesn’t know which side to choose. The balance between peaceful cohabitation and all-out war is precarious, at best.

When a chance meeting brings Val and earth Elemental Cade Landston back together, everything changes. She realizes what she knew in the beginning—that he’s the one she wants. Her desire to win him over draws her closer to him, and his vengeful mission to hunt down her murderous grandfather brings them both closer to trouble.

From mysterious doppelgangers to reckless rescue missions, scapegoat bombings, and evolving Elemental powers, Valerie strains to keep up.

All she knows is she must stop her grandfather at all costs. To do so, she has to figure out the truth. But how can she, when almost everyone she knows has been telling lies?

Sounds great!! 

Add to Goodreads

Promo image 1 - I missed you baby girl

Excerpt:

Panic set in at the thought of losing him again, and before I could stop it, ice spread into a crystalized path between us. It wanted to reach out and hold on to him, to keep him there with me, and I could definitely empathize.

I know, it’s depressing, I thought to my element, but we can’t make him stay. Sighing, I pulled the water back in, feeling more connected to it than I ever had before.

“Sorry,” I said, my voice barely a whisper. I should’ve had the icy outbursts under control by then.

Every time Cade and I crossed paths, it was a small miracle, but any relief at finding him alive was eclipsed by the fear of possibly finding him dead the next time. The odds were stacked against us. The game we were playing was much bigger than us, and I was pretty sure neither of us had any idea what we were doing.

He bridged our gap in two steps and took my face in his palms. They were warm and smelled like cypress and evergreens. His green eyes were bright and buzzing with some secret emotion. I hoped it was longing, because then we could match.

The muscles in his jaw and neck were strung tight, like he was fighting something inside.

“No,” he said. “I’m sorry…for everything.”

Then he kissed me.

His fingers tangled in my hair and my body curled into him.

A light ignited in me, one I never knew existed. My soul felt like a sleeping star that had finally awoken and burst into flames. The shine of it radiated through my whole body, a blinding white light that blocked out the world around me.

My lips were so numb and tingly that I barely realized it when he pulled away. My feet were on the ground, but my mind was still floating up in space.

His chest heaved with uneven breaths. “And I’m sorry for that.”

I blinked slowly. I was certain the universe didn’t make apologies for moments of perfection. Besides, there was no apology in the world that could encompass what had just occurred.

He licked his lips and backed away slowly. “Not for kissing you, because god I’ve wanted to do that for so long…but because I can’t let it happen again.”

Where to buy?  

Amazon | Apple iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo

 

And don’t forget book 1 in the series!:

 

Elemental Secrets cover

Elemental Secrets (Essential Elements #1) on Goodreads

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY!

CLICK HERE to enter the Giveaway Contest!

Fabulous prizes up for grabs, including:

*Signed Paperback copy of Elemental Lies*

*3 Kindle Copies of Elemental Lies*

*4 Elemental Charm Necklaces!!!!! 1 each of: Earth, Fire, Water, & Wind*

 

About the Author:

elle middaughElle Middaugh lives in the Allegheny Mountains outside of Clearfield, Pennsylvania, with her wonderful husband and three beautiful children. She spends most of her time raising kids, writing stories, playing video games, reading, and attempting to keep a clean house.
She’s a proud Navy wife, a frazzle-brained mother, a fan of health and fitness, a lover of hot tea and iced tea, and a believer in happily ever afters.

 

 

Where can you reach Elle?

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

 

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Book Blitz! Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats by Carla Rehse

This week on Nitty Gritty Romance,

we’re featuring the Book Blitz for

Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats

by Carla Rehse

 

Pink Lock Picks blitz banner

Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats
by Carla Rehse
Genre: YA
Release Date: July 24th 2017

 

Summary:

Pink Lock Picks High Resolution Front CoverSeventeen-year-old homecoming queen, Gracie Mason, is a budding burglar.

While attempting her inaugural break-in, Gracie blacks out and wakes up far away from the scene. It turns out she accidentally intruded on a male witch’s “circle of power,” and now she’s bonded to him for life.

Gracie quickly learns that dissolving the bond with Asher, admittedly a very handsome and charming witch, is more complicated than she initially thought. To break the bond, Gracie must delve deeper into a society of witches that involves a secret club, a shadowy council, and all sorts of magical mischief. And right when it seems things can’t get any worse, witches start turning up dead.

It’s clear that Gracie is out of her depth as her quest to sever the bond magically turns into a murder investigation. But if Gracie and Asher don’t quickly uncover the killer, they might be next on the list.

Sounds great! 

Add to Goodreads

Buy on Amazon for only $0.99 until 9/9!

 

Be sure to scroll down to enter the giveaway contest!

2 Amazon Gift Cards are up for grabs!

***

Author interview with Carla Rehse : 

Tell us a little about your main character.

CR: Gracie is rather complicated. She’s trying to figure out what she wants in life, like a lot of seventeen-year olds. She also has a strong sense of loyalty and a fuzzy moral compass.

Gracie is the person you’d want in the foxhole with you, as she’d do anything to get everyone out alive.

 

What actors/actresses do you envision for a Hollywood adaption of your book?

CR: Gracie:  Griffin Arnlund

Asher:   Dylan Sprayberry

Willow: India Eisley

Uncle Jonah: Matt Bonner

 

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

CR: I’m very much a plotter. I have a “storyboard” wall in my office with three chalkboards for outlines, plot threads, and characters. It helps me to be visual.

 

How many books have you written? Published?

CR: I’ve written 5 books, but Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats is the first to be published.

 

What are you currently working on?

CR: I’m working on a sequel: Pink Duct Tape and Glittery Broomsticks

 

And a fun question, what crazy thing do you want to do?

CR: I want to touch a penguin. I have no idea why, but they fascinate me.

 

Lastly, where can readers find you?

CR: I’m on twitter at @CRehse. You can also find updates on my website:  carlarehse.com

From 9-3-17 to 9-9-17, Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats will be on sale for $.99!

Buy on Amazon for only $0.99 until 9/9!

Pink Lock Picks High Resolution Front Cover

Excerpt:

~One~

New Hobbies

Daddy told me years ago that to succeed in life I need a strong plan, the right tools, and the gumption to follow through. His words of wisdom helped me get elected homecoming queen, become co-captain of the cheerleading squad, and voted on the student council. Now I plan to use them to help me pull off my first burglary.

My plan is solid. I’ve also never backed down from a challenge, not even last year when Brittany Thomas became overly friendly with the entire football team in a sad attempt to deprive me of my crown. People say I started the rumor about the rash of STD cases spreading through the boys’ locker room faster than a brush fire. I didn’t, of course. Why start gossip when the squad of doctors from the local Health Department did it for me?

I take a deep breath as I enter the Trinity Building. At almost four o’clock on a Friday before a three-day weekend, the place is deader than a PTA meeting. It helps that today is the hottest July first on record for Central Texas and the air conditioning in this building is dismally subpar. The Trinity Corporation may claim to have the most upscale rental space in town, but one look at the gold leopard granite floor paired with peach-painted walls shows that’s a downright fib.

The only guard on duty leans back in his chair and sucks down a Sonic Route 44 Coke like his life depends on it. I wave as I pass the security desk, wearing a megawatt smile and fully confident in the strength of my lavender-scented Lavanila deodorant—vegan, of course. Deputy Dawg gives me his usual perv stare before returning to the comic book balanced on his knee.

Centex Therapy, LPC occupies most of the first floor office space. A small bell tinkles when I open the frosted glass door. What decorum the overall building lacks, the waiting room has in spades. Brown leather chairs sit on a bamboo rug and pastel paintings from local artists brighten the walls. A tall grandfather clock in the corner softly chimes four times. This late on a Friday means the room is empty of other patients. Perfect.

Jane, the receptionist, fans herself with a copy of Country Living. “Cutting it awfully close, Gracie. Go on in.”

Dr. McDozzle gives me a pained smile as I enter the room.

“Good afternoon, Miss Mason. Have a seat.” For a head shrinker, he’s incredibly formal. And a non-Texan, who hates football and sweet tea. I haven’t learned much more about him in the last month, but that’s enough to get him tarred and feathered if word got out.

The leather recliner squeaks when I sit down. “Thanks for seeing me on a Friday, Doc.” I twirl a strand of newly highlighted platinum hair around my finger. It goes wonderful with my bubblegum pink manicure. “Mr. Anderson, Daddy’s new lawyer, is now insisting I have two sessions a month with you. Of course, Mama’s lawyer says once a month is just fine, seeing how I’m such a well-adjusted high school senior and all. Almost a senior, I guess, since school’s not started.”

Dr. McDozzle straightens his glasses. “Yes, well, your parents do seem to have quite the barrage of attorneys involved in their divorce. Have you worked on the homework I gave you during our last session?”

This is such a waste of time. My parents have spent the last five years embroiled in a divorce dirtier than a greased pig-wrestling contest. Both sides of the family have more money than sense, much to the delight of every lawyer in the tri-county area. Not that I want my parents to get back together. Anytime they’re within spitting distance of each other, the tension between them gives me a migraine. Besides, if they hadn’t split up, I never would’ve met Ben.

Ben’s the son of Daddy’s ex-girlfriend. Until four months ago, they all lived together in Daddy’s condo. Ben is a sophomore at the local college and is truly hot, in a geeky, stud muffin, save-the-world, kinda way. Crushing on my almost stepbrother might seem a bit sketchy, but it’s legal—I Googled it twice.

Which means it’s time to start step one in my Get Ben Plan.

I toss my hair over my shoulder before pulling out a pink glitter notebook from my Eiffel Tower-shaped mini-purse.

“You wanted me to write down my feelings about my parents’ shared custody thing. Honestly, I don’t understand why the lawyers are so panty twisted about me spending a week with Mama and the next with Daddy. It means I get double the wardrobe. Hello? What girl would say no to that? It’s way better than Heather’s situation. I told you about her last time, I think. The girl with the hideous frizzed-out curls but drives a cute BMW Z4 roadster? Anyway, her parents are insane.” I continue a steady stream of babble until Dr. McDozzle’s eyes glaze over.

There’s no clocks in the room, but Dr. McDozzle keeps checking his watch. I’m sure the poor man created a nice therapy plan for me, but I’ve completely derailed it. Mama always says a girl has many tools to choose from in her arsenal—perfectly curled hair, well-placed boobs, and endless chatter are my faves. Besides, Daddy’s been paying therapists a fortune for years to show the divorce court how concerned he is about me. Dr. McDozzle’s earning his car payment today.

I snap my notebook shut and sit up straight. “Thanks, Doc. I feel so much better. Maybe I should go to the reflection bench for a spell?”

He nearly trips over himself to hustle me out to the courtyard in the center of the building. The concrete patio surrounded by four walls radiates enough heat to grill a steak, not that I eat meat anymore. Ben’s a founding member of the Texas Animal Army Movement, which preaches a vegan lifestyle and the rescue of abused animals.

Dr. McDozzle wipes at the sweat running down his reddening face. “You have fifteen minutes until the doors are locked for the weekend. We’ll continue our, uh … conversation next time. Jane will email you with an appointment date.”

I sit down on the edge of the bench. My hot pink and black-checked miniskirt is mucho cute, but doesn’t offer my thighs much protection from blistering plastic. “Will do, Doc. Enjoy your holiday.”

He leaves with a quiet sigh. During our first session, I blathered for a solid forty minutes while barely taking a breath. Daddy says I’d make a natural politician. In desperation, Dr. McDozzle hit on the idea of the “reflection bench” out here. He’s not really a bad therapist, but I only chose him ‘cause his practice is in the Trinity Building.

My iPhone beeps a two-minute warning. I head inside. The lights appear off at Centex Therapy. I hotfoot it to the Ladies’ room across the hall. It’s not the most sanitary place to wait until the coast is clear, but I brought santi-wipes.

I scroll through my photo album to pass the time. Ben has an entire folder dedicated to him. When he and his mom first moved in with Daddy, I thought he was an obnoxious douche with his constant sermons about how humans are destroying the environment and enslaving animals.

After a few stormy months, I shut my trap and listened to him. Ben knows what he wants out of his life and is determined to get it. I’ve never met anyone so brave and determined.

So, I gave up meat, and threw out my makeup in favor of vegan-only skincare lines. Now, I can’t live without my fuchsia metallic lip tar from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. I even got Barksie, my cream-colored, toy Yorkiedoodle, on an all-natural diet. I haven’t gone all cray cray and converted Barksie to a vegetarian, but it is my responsibility as a pet parent to ensure he gets the least processed food available.

Fate is a true bitch, though. Just as I realized Ben was The One, Daddy decided his mom wasn’t. Now, Ben and his mom live across the city in a tiny apartment and Daddy is dating Whitney, who really knows how to put the “w” into witch.

Ben’s gone through a lot of turmoil lately. Not only did he move to a new zip code, but also his girlfriend of two years dumped him. Sad for him, but perfect for me. I now have the chance to catch his attention.

My plan? Simple. To get information that really means something to Ben. He’s too soulful to be distracted by short skirts and tight shirts; trust me I’ve tried. No, I need to prove I’m a true partner in his cause—rescuing abused animals.

The mission: break into the office on the fifth floor of this building.

Labpartners, Inc. sounds like an innocent enough company. In truth, their office owns two huge warehouses that supply care products for lab animals. All I need to do is break in, riffle through their files until I find their mailing list. And then I can hand over a list of every animal broker they sell to. Ben will be so stoked. Not only will we know who’s raising the poor bunnies to be tortured, we’ll also know where their labs are.

Footsteps ring in the hall. I duck into the last stall with my heart hammering against my ribs. As expected, the security officer cracks open the door. “Anyone in here?” He waits a few seconds before turning off the light and shutting the door.

Too bad my bestie is on vacation, ‘cause no one’s better at creating a diversion than Abigail. And my usual wheelwoman, Seraphina, is also out of the country. Without my girls, I had no choice but to recon the building last Friday in my cheerleading outfit under the guise of seeking new sponsors for the school’s booster club. The Lanier Day Spa actually agreed. I need to remember to tell Coach Sanders. Mr. Smith, the accountant, offered me his cell phone number so we could discuss my college plans, as long as I don’t call on the weekend when his wife is home.

Five video games later and my phone buzzes a warning. It’s six o’clock, time to get started. Conventional wisdom might say a burglar needs to dress in black and wait until midnight to do the deed, but screw that. If I get caught, all I need is a few tears about getting locked in and a weak cell signal. Besides, who’s gonna believe I’m a thief in Michael Kors wedges and pearls?

Time for step two.

Most of the security cameras I’ve seen are focused around the elevators. I head toward the stairs next to my therapist’s office. None of the doors to the stairs have alarms, or at least the SWAT team has never jumped me for using them before. After climbing three flights, with two more to go, I’m seriously rethinking my choice of footwear. And what the heck is the smell in here? The Trinity Corporation really needs to change janitorial services.

At the fifth floor, I’m forced to take a breather for a few minutes. My heart is pounding and my knees shake. Thanks to my daily kickboxing routine, I know it’s not due to poor fitness. Once I leave this stairwell, I’m committed. Should I really do this? Then I think of Ben in his cute glasses and cargo shorts.

Hells yeah, I’m doing this.

I edge open the door, cringing at the squeak. The hall is dim with security lights mounted on the walls offering the only illumination. Four quick steps and I enter a dark breakroom. The Coke machine chooses this moment to kick in, startling me into swallowing my gum. Too gross.

The room has a well-used appearance to it. I scanned it last week under the pretense of a desperate PMS need for a Snickers. The soda and candy machines are crammed along one wall. Across from them is a small table holding an icky microwave splattered with the Ghost of TV Dinners Past and a coffee pot missing its carafe.

Businesses have come and gone in the building. This wasn’t always a breakroom, since the microwave table blocks a door leading into Labpartners, Inc. When the nice receptionist let me in last week, I spied the other side of this door. A potted palm tree tried to hide it.

I shove the table to the side. My knees are still shaking, but my hands are steady as I retrieve the hot pink lock picking kit I bought online for $12.99. It even came with a brochure, though it warned its customers not to use the product for criminal deeds. After watching a few online videos, I spent a week roaming around Mama’s house, practicing my skills. The front door gave me some fits at first, but I opened the cupboard in the hallway where she hides her erotic novels and European chocolates without a hitch.

Daddy gave me a faux diamond encrusted pocket light for Christmas three years ago. I balance it in my mouth, while I bend down to work on the door lock.

Footsteps sound in the hall. The flashlight tumbles from my mouth, and I freeze rabbit still. Ringing in my ears makes it hard to determine if the footsteps are coming toward me or moving away. Should I replace the table and bluff my way out or quickly open the door? Is it the security officer or some dimwitted, no-life office worker?

Damn it. Make a decision.

Opening the door, it is.

It’s a simple generic lock. I can do this. The footsteps stop and then start again. I balance the flashlight on the microwave table and aim it at the lock before inserting a tension wrench into the keyhole. I turn the wrench, then insert the pick, hoping I can rake the lock pins up. I try the handle. It doesn’t move. Freaking fantastic.

Sweat dots my forehead as I listen for footsteps. Someone’s close by, muttering something in a singsong fashion. Italian, maybe? I use a wider pick on the lock to try again, though a voice in my head loudly tells me to stop. The door still won’t open, and I want to throw the tension wrench across the room.

Why won’t it work? I can tell the pins in the lock are moving. It should freaking work. The Italian singing in the hall gets louder, more like chanting. Stomach acid burns a strip up my throat. I’m failing, and I don’t do failure.

I stare at my kit, unsure of which pick to use, before acquiescing defeat. My concentration is blown due to the idiot outside. Ben’s adulation will have to wait for another day. I edge my way to the door and peek outside. Some guy in a dark hoodie is kneeling and sprinkling something on the floor. If he’s the cleaning crew, no wonder this place is a mess.

His back is to me, giving me the opportunity to sneak across the hall to the stairway. I step outside and my shoe skids across chalky powder. I flail my arms, eyes going wide.

A bright blue flash blinds me and then there’s nothing.

Buy on Amazon for only $0.99 until 9/9!

 

About the Author:

carla rehseAlthough not a native Texan, Carla prides herself on having mastered the correct usage of “y’all” and “bless your heart.”

Carla is owned by a persnickety kitty, who rules the computer keyboard and only allows Carla to write when demands for cat treats are met.

Author Links:

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GIVEAWAY! Enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

2 gift cards up for grabs!

CLICK HERE to ENTER GIVEAWAY!

 

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Blog Tour! The Deadly Sun by H.J. Lawson

This week on Nitty Gritty Romance, we’re featuring the blog tour for

The Deadly Sun

by H.J. Lawson!

The Deadly Sun

 

The Deadly Sun (The Sanction Series #1)

by H.J. Lawson

Genre: YA Dystopian/Scifi

Release date: August 21st 2017

 

Summary:

Skylier is desperate to escape her underground confines and save her mother’s life.

On a school visit, she hears something she’s not supposed to and now she realizes that not only was her whole life a lie, but that she is in grave danger.

She doesn’t know who to trust and her enemies are everywhere. Now she is in a race against time to save not only her life, but her mother’s and those she cares about.

And if she fails, she’ll suffer a fate worse than death…

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Sounds amazing! Want more…? 

Upcoming books in the Sanction Series:

The Rising Tides

(The Sanction Series #2)

Releases August 21st 2017

The Sanction Games

(The Sanction Series #3)

Releases November 21st 2017

 

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Where to buy…?

Book One – The Deadly Sun

Amazon

Book Two – The Rising Tide

Amazon

Book Three – The Sanction Games

Amazon

 

 

CLICK HERE to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

A $20 Amazon Gift Card up for grabs!

 

About H.J. Lawson:

hj lawson author picI was born in Lancaster, England. Growing up in a single parent household with five other siblings was difficult but at the same time character building.

As a young child I found a passion for drawing and writing, which has stayed with me into adulthood. I graduated from the University of Central Lancashire, England with a BA(Hons) in fashion design.

At aged twenty seven, my husband and I packed up our belongings for our lifelong dream to move to California. Our America dream was completed with the birth of our daughter.

A new job opportunity opened up New York, and we decided to relocate to Long Island, NY, where we currently reside.

My books are a mixture of thriller, action, and dystopian. If you’re looking for a good place to start, take a look at War Kids series of thrillers, available now. You can grab copies in either ebook or paperback. To get an email whenever I release a new title, sign up for the VIP newsletter by click this link.

 

Where can you find H.J. Lawson…?

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Blog Tour! Dream Frequency by S.J. Lomas

This week on Nitty Gritty Romance,

we’re hosting the blog tour for:

Dream Frequency

by S.J. Lomas!

DreamFreqCover

 

What a gorgeous cover!

Dream Frequency

by S.J. Lomas

Genre: YA

Release Date: June 2017

 

Summary:

Christine would never have considered herself new recruit material for a secret U.S. agency. Until recently, she’s just been an ordinary girl graduating from high school and wondering if a friendship with Gabriel, a mysterious coworker, would grow into something romantic. When Christine’s fascination with Gabriel leads to her discovery of dreamworlds, she learns that she’s anything but ordinary. In this thrilling conclusion to Dream Girl, Christine and Gabriel must choose their allegiances and face corruption, conspiracy, and the complexities of love in order to save themselves and everyone who matters to them – or die trying.

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Buy Dream Frequency on Amazon!

 

 

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Excerpt!!!!

The dream is freaking me out for three reasons:

  1. It was a nightmare.

  2. I haven’t spontaneously dreamt for almost a year.

  3. It’s the night before my final test.

            I’m sitting in the complete blackness of my training room quarters while the unsettling images cycle through my brain. It had come on slowly. Innocently. I was sitting under a tree, looking over a field of tall red poppies. I’ve never seen so many flowers before. As far as the eye could see, it was a densely packed sea of bobbing stalks waving in the warm breeze.

            The bright yellow sun beamed down in a cloudless blue sky. The colors were rich and brilliant, like a summer day. At first, I’d just leaned back against a tree and soaked in the beauty. It was like my earliest days in the dreamworld, before I learned anyone could monitor and influence my dreams. It was refreshing to settle into a real dream again, created solely by my subconscious. As it should be. The only thing I’d forgotten is sometimes my subconscious turns on me.

            A flicker of movement on my periphery caught my eye. A section of poppies rippled as if something was crawling through them. Judging by the width of the section of toppling stalks, probably a fairly large something. The breeze didn’t feel so warm and inviting anymore. A chill replaced it; the crawling thing was heading directly for me.

 

Dream Girl

 

 

 

Want to know how it all began? Dream Girl…

Dream Girl on Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author:

S.J. Lomas

 

S.J. is a cheerful Michigan girl who writes strange and somewhat dark stories for young adults and those who love to read YA literature.

 

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Win a copy of DREAM FREQUENCY!

GIVEAWAY ! ENTER HERE!

 

 

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