Releasing Now: Beautiful Dangerous by Penny Dee

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It seemed like a good idea at the time. Get over my break-up by having a one-night stand with a rock ‘n’ roll hottie and move on with my life. Going on tour as official photographer to the world’s number one band was not part of the plan.

Have you ever dreamed of being plucked out of the crowd by one of the hottest rock stars in the world?

I didn’t even know who Ozstryker were when my reckless sister Beth dragged me along to their concert. I went solely to keep her out of trouble, not for me to get tangled up with the famous guitarist renowned for his magnificent shirtless torso and talented fast hands.

I had no intention of becoming a groupie, let alone anything else. But when Jax Ozstryker invited me on a date, I decided it was time for a little fun. Not that the night ended how I had planned – or how he planned, for that matter – I got a job and he didn’t get laid.

Now I’m on tour with the biggest band in the world with my crazy, unpredictable sister for company and a beautiful dangerous attraction for my new boss. I never dreamed life could be so crazy. Or complicated.

But this is life on the road – where nothing makes sense and everything is possible.

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I have written stories for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first book when I was five years old. It was called, The Goodies, and it was a short story about driving to the shops to get some milk. Needless to say, it was a very short book and hardly the page turner. It was also illustrated in orange felt tip pen because it was the only felt tip pen left in the pencil case that wasn’t dried up and useless.

My first attempt at writing romance was in high school when my athletic ambitions were replaced with Sunday sessions in my bestfriends bedroom, smoking cigarettes and writing smut about the hot guy at school. They were dreadfully crude stories. Lots of awkward fumblings in the dark or a series of awful first kisses. They were also very straight forward. Very straight to the point. Because I didn’t have a clue about what I was talking about. And I used terrible words such as “shaft”, “her moist warmth” and “velvet cavern”…yeah, they were awesome.

In following years I wisely gave up the cigarettes, became Mum to the “best kid in the world” and married a vastly understanding and supportive soul who tolerated the complete absence of my inner domestic goddess. Through a lot of trial and error, I think I may have started to write stories other people would want to read … without an orange felt tip pen in sight…

You can find Penny here:





It’s a Cover Reveal: Instigation By Tessa Teevan


Instigation, Book 1 in The Clandestine Affairs Trilogy

Tessa Teevan

Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Romantic Suspense—Full Length Novel

Release Day: April 20, 215




Breaking up is hard to do.

Three years after her life changed forever, Gabriella Latham finally has it all. Killer job [if working for her boyfriend counts]. Killer closet [even if she doesn’t technically own any of it]. Killer boyfriend [who refuses to let her leave him, even when she tries]. Unfortunately for her, the last part isn’t hyperbole. She just doesn’t know it yet.

Adrian Morningstar was a dream come true. No one had ever loved her more, and for the first time, in longer than she could remember, she was no longer alone. He was the Prince Charming to her Cinderella, until suddenly he became the Beast from whom she could not escape.

Until him.

When Rafe Matthews is hired to oversee the guest home construction of one of the most powerful businessmen in the country, he finally has his in. Nothing will get in the way of what he sets out to do.

Until her.

Watching from the shadows, he’s drawn to the beautiful, isolated woman of the house. His curiosity is piqued and he has to have her. She may be taken by the boss, but that’s not enough to stop him. Or her.

It leads to a game of cat and mouse. But who is the true predator? And who is the prey?

Nothing is quite as it seems.

Passions ignite. Tempers flare. Secrets kill.





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“You know too much as it is. It’s too late. God, I’m so fucking sorry for this. Sometimes I wish I’d never laid eyes on you that day. That I’d just kept going. And yet, no matter what happens, I’ll cherish the memories we had for the rest of my life. I couldn’t live without them, as selfish as that sounds. But then again, I think you’ve found I’m a selfish man.”

Buy The Book

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About the Author

Tessa Teevan_Author Photo

I’m a twenty something book junkie who is also obsessed with sports. Bengals, Buckeyes, Reds are my teams! I work for the government during the day, hang out with Air National Guard on the weekends, and have been married to my own book boyfriend for over seven years. We currently live right outside of Dayton, OH with our two cats.

If I’m not writing or looking through tons of photos of hot men, all in the name of research, then you can probably find me curled up with my Kindle, ignoring the rest of the world. I love my sports almost as much as I love my books. My other obsessions include red wine, hot men, country music, and all things Grace Potter.


Connect with the Author

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Releasing Now: Single Volume 2 by Lyra Parish


Single: Volume Two

Lyra Parish

Erotic Romance Serial

March 9, 2015




Sometimes love can be cruel. Not that Roxane has fallen in love but the one man she found interesting has crossed from her personal life into her professional one which makes life complicated.

Parker Williams doesn’t take no for an answer, not that Roxane would deny him anyway.
He has his own set of rules that must be followed while hers are being crossed through like a to-do list.

When a person falls in love, it’s supposed to be easy but it’s much more complex than either realized it could be.
Roxane’s control is slipping along with every opinion she had about love. This time, it feels different. This time, it finally feels right.

Slowly she realizes how much is at stake, but she is only concerned about losing one thing—her heart.



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“Are you fucking kidding me, Rox?” Stacey screamed into the phone. There was music blaring in the background, and I heard the clicking of a camera lens and loud flashes. I could only imagine how many umbrellas were set up for the shoot. She was at her next spread for Cover Girl, but decided to stop the presses just for me.

“I wish I were,” I said, remembering his lips on my thighs and the taste of him in my mouth. “He’s intoxicating.” My words seemed to drift away into the open space of the car as I accelerated onto the 610 Loop.

“Oh my god,” she said. “The airiness in your tone, the pauses between your sentences—you fucking liiiiiiiiike him, don’t you?”

I couldn’t admit that, not right now. It was too soon, way too soon. Actually, only hours after the incident, as I now termed it. I couldn’t even tell Stacey what exactly had happened, just that something had happened. Her imagination was dirty, so I’m sure she could figure it out with just a few hints. Honestly, if I even said a peep about it, or about how Parker Williams made me feel, she would be declaring her victory. I might as well just hand her the crown.

The incident had shifted everything I once thought I believed, and everything I had tried to avoid. I couldn’t deny that when I closed my eyes, his face was the one I saw. Those piercing blue eyes were burned into my retinas. I knew the smile permanently attached to my lips existed for one reason. Or if one wanted to get technical, it was the messy brown hair, blue eyes, and that sexy voice that almost made my knees go weak.

Oh my god.

Was I having a revelation?

Yes, I was having a revelation. Maybe I wasn’t in control of how I felt anymore? But that couldn’t be. Not after being with someone only once. The chase was over, wasn’t it? Fuuuuucccckkkkkk me! The heart was trying to control me, but I couldn’t let it. Even the heart had weaknesses. Love was the equivalent of stabbing a dagger into a heart and twisting. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but it felt like it to me.

“No. Of course not,” I said after a long pause. I was lost in my thoughts, and Stacey, being the way she was, noticed.

“I wish I could see your face right now, because I know you’re lying. I know you are trying to feed me lies, Roxane VanBuren, and I’m not having it. I want every single dirty little detail of what happened, and not just, ‘we moved to second base,’ got it?”

A man’s voice yelled in the background about how models should get off their damn phones and actually work today.

“I’ve got to go. Darrell is being such a douche. I swear his glitter panties are in a knot right now … but this isn’t over.”

More yells followed, and she said her goodbyes after cursing loudly that it was an emergency and people needed to shut the hell up.

My heart raced at the thought of what was happening to me. I had to deny this at all costs. I couldn’t be in like. I had never fallen for someone so soon. No way. And if I started admitting it, even to myself, it would be trouble.

I knew it sounded so silly to be in like, but it was the first step to love. All I could think of was that stupid childhood chant that we all sang to agitate people who were in like. Roxy and Parker sitting in a tree … next thing there would k-i-s-s-i-n-g, love, then a baby in a baby carriage. Hell no. No. There were no babies in my future.

Beautiful couple in love


Single, Volume One


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After failing miserably at love, Roxane VanBuren swears off men but not before her determined best friend shows her all the advantages of being single. After a wild weekend full of sex, old-flames, and secrets, Roxane is desperate to forget it ever happened. But she learns it isn’t that easy.

Since becoming the President of VanBuren Investments, she knows how important it is for her professional and personal life to remain separate from one another. If the two were to mix, the rumors could possibly ruin her reputation, which is bad for her and bad for business. To avoid that, Roxane allows rules to define and guide her every move. Unfortunately for her, Parker Williams is determined to break them all, one at a time.


About the Author


Lyra Parish loves to write, travel, and sing obnoxiously loud at the top of her lungs in the shower. Sweet love stories (along with the dirty ones) make her gush. She is a firm believer that a person can never have too many cats, cups of coffee, or read too many happily ever afters. When she isn’t busy writing, she can be found sipping various beverages from her non-alcoholic drink buffet, pimp slapping excel spreadsheets, or riding her bike. Lyra currently resides in Texas with her glass blowing, guitar playing hubby and black cat.


Connect with Lyra

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Review Post: Wilde Heart by Suzanne Halliday

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Wilde Heart (Wilde Women Book 2)

USA Today Bestselling Author Suzanne Halliday

Have you met Rhiann and Liam?


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Wilde Heart (Wilde Women Book 2) $2.99





Wilde Forever (Wilde Women Book 1) Sale $1.99






Is there a statute of limitation on heartbreak? Rhiann Baron-Wilde hopes so. Surely eight years is long enough…right?

After chasing her dream of living in New York and working in the fashion industry, Rhi suddenly isn’t so sure that’s what she really wants to do anymore.
After all, the hush-hush stories she’s been writing—stuff about white knights and forever after—are calling to her.

Then, Liam Ashforth turns up eight long years after walking away from their secret love affair. And not just any old reappearance—not him! No, he’s come
back as her boss in a move that shakes up Rhiann’s whole world.

Liam makes it clear—he wants her back. But can she believe him? Should she trust him again? After all, they hadn’t exactly parted as friends. Then again,
maybe this is her very own happily ever after?

But secrets and lies have a way of coming back to haunt in sometimes surprising ways and an unexpected twist that threatens more than their feelings puts
these two to the ultimate test.

Wilde Heart is the second book in the Wilde Women series about three sisters who weren’t exactly looking for love by Bestselling romantica author, Suzanne



My Review

****4.5 Wilde Stars****

Wilde Heart was another fantastic book by Suzanne Halliday. Her writing and storytelling just continues to hit it out of the park, and I fall more and more in love with her books the more I read them.

I loved getting another chance to step back into the family dynamic of the Baron-Wilde family in this book, because let me tell you: that is one fantastic family with some seriously wonderful personality. This book is the second in the series and tells the story of Rhiann and Liam, who have a bit of a past. And when I say they have a bit of a past, I mean they have a crap ton of past, which made this book so enjoyable to delve into.

Wilde Heart showcased everything that I’ve come to love and expect from Suzanne Halliday. The writing was seamless and flowed right off the page, the story itself was fantastically paced and kept me hooked in from start to finish, and the fabulously distinctive characters she created pulled me into it all once again.

Suffice to say, I loved me some Rhiann and Liam in Wilde Heart.

What I absolutely loved about Wilde Heart:

  • You hit the ground running. The moment you start Wilde Heart you hit the ground running and you don’t stop until you reach the very end. The events of this book keep the story so well paced, and it just heightens everything that you’re reading and experiencing with Rhiann and Liam. I thought it was spectacular how Suzanne Halliday threw you straight into the thick of it because it just worked for their story and made so much sense. And all the twists and turns and ups and downs they faced in this book will keep you insanely hooked and dying to know what’s going to happen next.
  • Sassy as all get out Rhiann. I love me a strong sassy female something fierce, and Rhiann fit that ticket. She says what she wants and what she so passionately feels, and I adored that about her. She was so fierce and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind to Liam or anyone else for that matter, which made her character so fun to get to know. Rhiann is a such a strong female character who just felt so real to me as I read and got to know her over the course of this story, and the more time I spent with her, the more I realized just how fantastic of a character she was.
  • The intensity of Liam. Woah buddy is Liam Ashforth a smidge on the intense side, but that’s one of the best things about him. That intensity just oozes from him throughout this book, and you can just feel it emanating from him as you experience his character. That intensity causes him to do some pretty interesting things, but that also gives you a glimpse into the real Liam hiding behind all that intensity. And let me tell you, the real Liam is something else, something that you will simply not be able to get enough of as you read this book.
  • The fierce connection they share. Rhiann and Liam have such a powerful and strong connection between them that really exemplifies how intense, how fierce, and just how passionate they can be together. You feel that in your bones the instant you start this book. You will feel that in the push and pull from their heightened emotions and feelings, in all of the things they say and do, and even in those moments where they seem like they want to bite each other’s heads off. All of that connection continues to build and build throughout the book in such a spectacular way that will have you believing in everything that Liam and Rhiann are sharing. It really will make you believe in what they could be, and I guarantee that you will feel how connected they are in more ways that one.
  • All the vulnerability. Now while Liam and Rhiann are two of the strongest characters around, Suzanne Halliday does a phenomenal job of showing their vulnerabilities. She shows that they can both take a hit and keep going strong, but she also creates opportunities for authentic vulnerability to shine through. Those instances of vulnerability illuminated so much about both Liam and Rhiann, and it was those moments where I just was pulled in more to them both. Those were the moments where you see their intentions, their motives, their ultimate desires, and those are them moments that kind of just left me amazed by that vulnerability they have and share.
  • Second chances are the best. Second chance romances are quite possibly my favorite type of story to read, and Wilde Heart just reiterated once again why that is so true. Rhiann and Liam’s second chance at it all illuminates the fight both of them have to give what they share a chance, and it shows just how real they are through the flaws and questions and doubts that linger between them. Suzanne Halliday develops their story and relationship in such a magnificent way, and she made it so I wanted to fight right along with them for that second chance that they both so truly deserved.
  • More, more, more. What I think I love most about this series, and all of Suzanne Halliday’s other amazing books is that they give you more of the characters you’ve come to meet and love, while giving you the chance to fall head over heels for a new couple while simultaneously setting you up for more. I can’t say enough how much I love this about her books. Reading this series, and Suzanne Halliday’s other books feel like coming home while also getting the outstanding chance to experience something new. It all just works and I love all the more she gives me in her books!

Wilde Heart was just another wonderful book by Suzanne Halliday that I highly enjoyed reading. Her writing, character and story development, and just the overall feeling to her books just continue to suck me in each time I read them. She creates books that I can get lost in, and I couldn’t love that more.

This book tells the story of Rhiann and Liam as they try to attempt another go at the fiery passion and connection they share. Their story is definitely full of just enough drama and crazy to keep you on your toes, so much emotion and feeling to have you experiencing it all, and the right amount of everything else to have you in full on adoration of these characters and what they go through.

Liam and Rhiann’s fantastic story in Wilde Heart is all about the amazingly fierce and wonderful things that can happen when you throw caution to the wind and decide to give in to all the pull you’re feeling. That pull, that desire, and that need for love and connection just shines through this book, and it will have you enjoying every single terrific word this story gives you.



USA Today Bestselling Author Suzanne Halliday writes what she knows and what she loves – sexy adult contemporary romance with strong men and spirited
women. Her love for creating short stories for friends and family has developed into a passion for writing romantic fiction with a sensual edge. She finds
the world of digital, self-publishing to be the perfect platform for sharing her stories and also for what she enjoys most of all – reading. When she’s not
on a deadline you’ll find her loading up on books to devour.

Currently a wanderer, she and her family divide their time between the east and west coast, somehow always managing to get the seasons mixed up. When not
digging out from snow or trying to stay cool in the desert, you can find her in the kitchen, 80’s hair band music playing in the background, kids running
in and out, laptop on with way too many screens open, something awesome in the oven, and a mug of hot tea clutched in one hand.

Author Links:

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Where I Belong & All I Want by J. Daniels

After having LOVED and I mean LOVED J. Daniels Sweet Addiction Series, I should have known that I was going to effing love her Alabama Summer Series. After reading the first two books in this fantastic series, I have come to realize 3 things:

1. Ben Kelly is an effing heart melter and Luke Evans is one heck of a wonderful heartbreaker. And don’t even get me started on how much I loved their special lady friends Mia and Tessa. Those two girls are sassy and spunky and two of the best female characters around.

2. I need to go to Alabama for the summer like yesterday if it means I get to meet charming and hot as the Fourth of July men like I met in these books. Seriously. Ben, Luke, and Reed have sold me on the entire state of Alabama.

3. I have got to stop leaving phenomenal books like these ones unread on my Kindle. I cannot believe I waited so long to read this series. I should be arrested for waiting so long, and if I have a choice in who gets to arrest me, my vote surely goes for Officers Benjamin Kelly and Luke Evans.

What can I say? I loved everything about these books and this series, and I am practically panting for the next book that releases in just about a week and a half.  Both of these books had more southern charm than you can shake a stick at, immensely enthralling characters who will charm your pants off, and storylines that just didn’t quit.

Wrap that up with the fantastic writing of J. Daniels and you have the making of a surefire 5 star read. These books had laugh out loud humor that will have you dying, all the emotions and feelings that will connect you right into these books, and enough firework level chemistry between these characters to rival the biggest Fourth of July firework show.

They just have everything that makes a book spectacular, and I guarantee there is no way you can resist the spellbinding charm of these books. And let’s face it:

There is no way you could ever possibly resist Ben and Luke. Or Mia and Tessa. And don’t forget Nolan and Reed because they’re kind of the best too.

Just know now that once you begin these books you will not be able to put them down because they are just every amazing little thing wrapped up into one outstanding package. 

~Where I Belong~

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“Do you feel that? That’s what you do to me. Every fucking time I’m near you.”

“I don’t say anything else. I just let her feel it. You own this part of me. Take it. The magnitude behind that admission doesn’t faze me. I don’t care how crazy it seems to be obsessed with someone after one night together. I’ve never felt like this.”


52351-where2bi2bbelong2bebook2bcoverWhen Mia Corelli returns to Alabama for a summer of fun with her childhood best friend, Tessa, there’s only one thing keeping her on edge. One person that she’d do anything to avoid.

Benjamin Kelly. World’s biggest dickhead.

Mia hates him with a fury and has no desire to ever see him again. When she decides to start her summer off with a bang and finally give away her v-card, she unknowingly hands it over to the one guy that excelled at making her life miserable, learning a valuable lesson in the process.

Always get the name of the guy you’re going home with.

Ben can’t get the girl he spent one night with out of his head. When she leaves him the next morning, he thinks he’ll never see her again. Until he sees her lounging by the pool with his sister.

Mia is determined to hate Ben, even though she can’t forget him.

Ben is determined to prove he’s not the same guy he used to be.

What happens when the one person you wish never existed becomes the one person you can’t imagine being without?

Read my 5 star review of Where I Belong


~All I Want~

“You can hate someone until you’re blue in the face, but htat doesn’t take away the desire that brews in your gut at the mere sight of him or her.”

“It’s crazy how you can love a person and hate them at the same time. It shouldn’t be possible, but I think the more you love someone, the easier they are to hate.”

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22514133Luke Evans is a heartbreaker.
I didn’t want to give mine to him. Not when he kept me out.
He gave me enough, just enough to make me fall in love with him. I say this to convince myself. But I know the truth.
I would’ve fallen in love with him at a distance.
Handing my heart over to Luke was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I was naive when I wished for more, when I hoped he wanted the same things I did.
I try to hate him. I try to forget him.
But it’s not that easy.
Love is a ruthless bitch, and I’m her latest victim.

Tessa Kelly is a man-eater.
When she sets her sights on you, she doesn’t just consume your heart, she goes for your soul.
What we had was perfect, real, and all I would ever want.
But she destroyed it.
She destroyed us.
I try to hate her. I try to forget her.
But it’s not that easy.
Love is for people who have hope, and I have none.

Read my 5 star review of All I Want

All I Want

Discover more about the amazing J. Daniels at the following links below! I’ve loved all her books and HIGHLY recommend them all to you!

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It’s a Cover Reveal: Until July by Aurora Rose Reynolds

Until July (Book One) Until Her

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Meet Wes & July in Until July!

Until July is book one in the spin-off series Until Her!

Add to your TBR at:

RELEASE DATE: April 13th

until july cover



Wes Silver wasn’t looking for love, but when July Mayson literally knocks him on his ass during their first encounter, his world is turned upside down by the quirky blonde, and every moment with her makes him more determined to protect her. 

July Mayson doesn’t understand the pull she feels toward the bad boy biker Wes Silver, but she knows being with him is like nothing she’s ever felt before. Now all she has to do is tell her overprotective father, Asher Mayson, that she’s found her boom. until july teaser


“What the fuck is wrong with you.” The guy that was at the head of the group asks stepping in front of my bike.

I shake my head as words are lodged in my throat.

He pulls me off my bike and the men who are with him begin yelling obscenities as well.

“Sorry.” I croak out and I don’t even know if he hears me his hand goes to the collar of my leather jacket and he shakes me hard and my hand accidently presses down on the button for the Taser to ignite it. The loud crack fills the air and his eyes go wide then he falls to the ground and I fall on my ass and crab walk backwards then look up when I hit something only to meet the eyes of another man who looks pissed.

“Get up.” He growls picking me up my feet flail under me as I’m lifted off the ground with my hands restrained behind my back.

“Hold him still.” The guy who I had Tazered growls in front of me as I try to get away from the anger I feel coming off him. His hands go to my head and he rips my helmet off causing my hair to float down around me.

Complete silence descends I swear no one even takes a breath.

“Um.” I bite my lip 

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Until November (Book One) Until Series


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Until Nico (Book Four) Until Series


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aurora bio

Aurora Rose Reynolds is a navy brat who’s husband served in the United States Navy. She has lived all over the country but now resides in New York City with her Husband and pet fish. She’s married to an alpha male that loves her as much as the men in her books love their women. He gives her over the top inspiration everyday. In her free time she reads, writes and enjoys going to the movies with her husband and cookie. She also enjoys taking mini weekend vacations to nowhere, or spends time at home with friends and family. Last but not least she appreciates everyday and admires it’s beauty.






Excerpt Reveal: Strictly Temporary by Ella Fox

streictly temporary 2 excerpt reveal


Opening the door, I find Dante and Sabrina on the other side. Swinging it wide, I smile broadly as I gesture for them to come it.

“Exton’s been out all day at a production meeting, but—“

“We need to sit down and talk.”

I’m shocked by the serious expression on Dante’s face, but instead of questioning him, I follow as he leads me into Exton’s living room. Dropping down on to a chair, I wait for him to fill me in. As Sabrina takes a seat on the arm of the chair and sets a reassuring hand on my shoulder, my stomach sinks. Something is wrong.

Raking a hand through his hair, Dante lets out a frustrated sigh. “There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to give it to you straight. Exton’s been arrested for assault. He’s in jail.”

Jumping from my seat I cry out in shock. “What the hell are we doing sitting? We need to go get him out!”

“There’s nothing that we can do until tomorrow,” He answers. “His bail hearing will happen in the morning. I need you to pack so that we can be there.”

Looking over at Sabrina, I try to comprehend what’s going on. “I don’t understand—what? Why would we need to fly?”

“That would be because he’s being held at the Small Towne police department.”

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Add to your TBR HERE:

RELEASE DATE: March 16th



The conclusion to Arden & Exton’s story.

Just a Small Towne girl…

Raised on fairytales and dreams of true love, Arden Winger left for college with a smile on her face and a happy, hopeful heart. Fast-forward seven years and that small town is behind her, but not the baggage she’s been carrying since she left.

 Just a city boy…

It’s not that Exton Alexander had anything against relationships—he just never had the desire to try. Not necessarily jaded, Exton considered himself a realist. Little did he know, the one woman that would change everything was about to rock his world. This Alpha male knows the second he lays eyes on her that Arden is special– now he just has to work past her defenses.

 Buy The Book

Strictly Temporary (Volume One)

ONLY $0.99

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ella fox bio

Ella Fox writes like a woman possessed whenever she gets the chance! She is the author of The Hart Family Series, The Renegade Saints Series and The Catch Series

When she’s not writing, Ella indulges the gypsy in her blood and travels the country. Ella loves reading, movies, music, buying make-up, reading Tmz, Twitter and pedicures… not necessarily in that order. She has a wild sense of humor and loves to laugh. Her favorite thing in the world is hanging out with her family and watching comedy movies.

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Review Post: Empty Promises by Elle Brooks

Empty Promises (Promises, #3)

by Elle Brooks

Title: Empty Promises (Promises Series Book #3)

Author: Elle Brooks

Genre: NA | YA Contemporary Romance

Release Date: February 27th 2015

Buy Links:


Emily ~

What would you do if you knew when you were going to die?

Would you will death to come and claim you quickly?

Or would you pray for more time?

It wasn’t until I knew that I was about to die, that I decided to really live.

And it wasn’t until I gave up on love, that I finally found it.

Just not in any of the places that I’d been searching.

Sometimes you don’t get the fairytale happily ever after,

but if you’re lucky,

you get so much more.

You get a perfect beginning that you can keep hold of until the end.

My Review*****5 Heartfelt Stars****

I will shamefully admit that Empty Promises was the first thing I ever read by Elle Brooks, though after reading this utterly phenomenal novella, I can assuredly tell you that it will most certainly not be the last of what I read from this fantastic author.

I loved this novella. I was enraptured by the beautiful and heartbreaking and just breathtaking story between the pages of it the instant I began reading it. The characters, the story, the meaning behind it all in this novella just blew me away, and I was fully captivated by the heartfelt beauty that just exuded from this story.

Empty Promises is a prequel novella to Elle Brooks Promises Series, and it tells the story of Emily. Emily is really something else, and I’m not sure if I’ve ever really had the chance to experience a character like hers, but that’s what I loved about her. That’s what made this novella so unforgettable and just downright amazing because it gave me the wonderful chance to experience something I’d never experienced before.

And while I’ll be completely honest that this story and Emily and Lucas had my heart breaking at times and made big old baby tears fall down my face, in the end it was sincerely beautiful with an immense amount of meaning and feeling that just reiterated how spectacular this story was.

What I absolutely loves about Empty Promises:

  • The power of Emily. I don’t know if I have the right amount of words to capture the wondrous being that is Emily. She is very raw and real at times because of what she’s going through, and her honesty and vulnerability weaves its way through this story in such a remarkable way. Emily just makes you want to love her the instant you meet her. She’s just got a heart of gold and is bound and determined to make her last few months on this Earth all that they can be. Honestly, I have mad respect for Emily’s character because of what she faces with her head held high, and how she pushes through, and gives it her all even when most would just give into it. Emily is fierce in her own magnificent way, she is just a force to be reckoned with, and I guarantee by the end of her story you will just be in awe of her. I know I was.
  • Lucas Wade stole my heart. Lucas, Lucas, Lucas. That boy stole my heart. Period. I could honestly go on and on about how much I loved his character for days, and it still would not be enough to capture how much I was just enamored by him. He is the definition of swoon-worthy. And not just because I imagine him as being someone who’s really enticing to look at, though he definitely has that going for him. No, I loved Lucas because of the heart of that boy. His heart spoke volumes and it made my heart fall head over heels for him. The feeling, the meaning, and just the amount of everything that came from that boy’s heart had me melting, and of course, swooning. Lucas Wade officially stole a piece of my heart in this novella because of his heart and all that he does for Emily, and that boy is just golden in my eyes.
  • All the heart pulling moments. There are more moments in Empty Promises that will pull at your heart than you can shake a stick at. They will squeeze your heart because you know how hard and painful the events of this novella are for these characters to experience. Elle Brooks creates these characters in such ways that you fully feel what they’re feeling and experiencing, and that just amplifies everything. Every heartbreaking moment, every moment that makes you want to cry, every emotion they have and experience, and just every moment that pulls at your heart for what Emily, Blair, Emily’s family, and Lucas are going through. It pulls at your heart, but those moments are what make you feel this story. It’s what makes this story and its characters the memorable and superb thing that it is.
  • Plenty of balancing fun. Now I don’t want you thinking that this book was all about the sad moments, because it wasn’t. There were so many instances and moments where I laughed my butt off at what was happening. Right when everything was so tough, or I felt like my heart was hurting like crazy, Elle Brooks created a moment to break the tension. A moment where I as the reader could not hold in the hysterical laughter at some of the brilliantly funny and very realistic awkward things that were happening. And the best part was that those funny moments, those moments of authentic laughter and light, just perfectly balanced with everything else going on in the story. It made it all whole, and just brought everything together in such a wonderful way.
  • Blair and Emily’s friendship. Emily and Blair’s friendship made this novella for me. Their friendship together was well layered and thoughtfully crafted over the entire story, and it just felt real. Elle Brooks completely captures what it means to have a best friend with the way you talk and feel and do things in ways that only best friends do, and what a friendship like that really entails. You could just tell how important they both were to one another. Reading their friendship just made me happy because it allowed me the chance to experience through Emily what true, honest to God friendship can do for you and make you feel.
  • A plethora of engaging characters. One of my favorite aspects of this novella was meeting all the exuberant and dynamic characters of this series, and I’m practically chomping at the bit to get more of them in the next two books. Blair, Ethan, Brie, Casey, and just everyone else who I met in this story drew me into it all more. They are all seriously engaging, and they just all felt so real to read. Elle Brooks creates a group of characters you want to spend time with, and that really is just fantastic to have when you’re reading this story.
  • The beautiful meaning and power of this novella. I could probably go on and on about the beautiful and breathtakingly heartfelt meaning behind this story. There is such a power to the words you will experience with Emily and everyone around her, and I think it’s literally impossible for these words and the emotional meaning behind them to not strike you somewhere. This story and Emily make you feel and think and wonder and just experience it all. Getting the chance to read and experience that is honestly one of the best feelings in the world, and Empty Promises gives that to you again and again.

Empty Promises tells the story of Emily. Of how she realizes what it means to truly live when she’s about to die. Of how she realizes the power of a person and love, and what it can bring. Of how endings truly can bring about some of the most beautiful and heart melting beginnings that a girl could ask for.

I loved this novella. I cannot say those four words enough. It made me feel. I laughed, I cried like a baby, my heart hurt and my heart soared at times, and in the end I fell in love. In love with these exceptional characters, in love with this meaningful, emotional, and genuine story, and in love with what I got to feel and experience on every single page.

This story gave me everything I didn’t even know I needed, and it is a spectacular beginning to the Promises Series which I plan on finishing just as soon as I finish this review. Elle Brooks’ fantastic writing and storytelling will bring this story, Emily, and every other little extraordinary aspect of Empty Promises to life. It will give you everything and more, and in the end you’ll be beyond thrilled that you had the chance to experience the power and magnificence of Empty Promises.



“Where’s Dad?” I ask as I watch Mom pull a packet of coffee from the back of the cupboard.

“He’s gone for a run, sweetie,” she says matter-of- factly before throwing me a smile. Mom’s got a great game face. If I’d not overheard her conversation, I’d have no clue she was just upset.

“Okay, I have an idea, and I want you to just trust me, so grab your things and come with me. We’re going out.”

Mom looks a little bewildered by my cryptic request before she shrugs and grins. “Fine, lead the way, Emily.”

We climb into her car and I scroll through my phone until I find the address of the nearest bridal store. I locate one three miles away and begin inputting it into the GPS. Mom looks at the address, and I can see the gears in her head turning as she tries to work out the address and wonders what would have me dragging her out the house for. She’s a good sport and doesn’t seem too put out that I’m refusing to tell her what it is we’re doing as we make the short journey.
A few minutes roll by before we pull up outside Dana’s Bridal Boutique, and the GPS signals that we’ve reached our destination on the left. Mom looks at me questioningly and I give her a rueful smile. There’s only a bakery, coffee shop and the bridal store on this small stretch of road.

“I overheard you and Dad talking this morning.” She still looks confused so I point to the Bridal Boutique. She covers her mouth with her hand as she leans back into her seat, her eyes crinkling as realization dawns. “You were talking about the fact that you should go first, and that you’ll never see me in my wedding dress, or be there with me at the delivery of your first grandchild. Well, there’s little I can do about an immaculate conception,” I shrug, “but this,” I point to the store again. “This I can do.”

I watch as a million different emotions wage war behind her sapphire eyes before she admits defeat, closes them tightly and slumps forward resting her elbows on her knees and her head in her hands. I watch quietly as she holds a finger up to me, signaling she needs a minute. When she finally opens them again, they’re glassy but she seems to have recovered her composure enough to step outside the car. I don’t know what to make of the situation, and honestly, I’m regretting my decision as I climb out and round the car. Maybe this was a stupid idea and is too much for her. Hell, maybe it’s too much for me. I’m about to apologize and tell her so when she finally speaks.

“You really are something kind of wonderful, Emily,” she says before ambushing me in a fiercely tight hug. I sigh and feel a little of the tension drain from my shoulders, like someone’s just turned on an invisible faucet to ease some of the pressure.

“I’m sorry you heard that conversation. I was just having a weak moment. We don’t have to do this,” she whispers into my hair and squeezes before pushing me back to see my face.

“I’m glad I did hear, and I want to do this. Is that weird?” I answer, and it’s the truth. I am glad I overheard their conversation. I hate that she feels like she needs to be strong one hundred percent of the time for me. It’s not healthy.

“It’s not weird at all, Emily.”

“Good. Okay, enough of this.” I square my shoulders. “Let’s get in there and go play dress up.”



I’m a little neurotic; I function on a tiny amount of sleep and a huge amount of caffeine. I love green skittles and have an irrational fear of stormy weather. When I’m not writing about super hot college guys, you can generally find me googling them…All in the name of research of course. I can be persuaded to do just about anything with the promise of a good book or a bottle of bubbles. Oh, and I also love to write.


Elle is the author of the Promises Series including:

Book #1 is “Promises Hurt” released in August 2014.

Book #2 is “Forgotten Promises” released November 2014.

Stalk Elle…

Releasing Now: Slow Burn by K. Bromberg

slow burn - blog tour

Meet Becks & Haddie in SLOW BURN – the newest stand alone in the

Driven Series by K. Bromberg!

slow burn - live


Amazon US:

Amazon UK:




slow burn teaser 2


He bites his bottom lip and grimaces. “Fuck!” He growls out to the trees above him and then rolls his shoulders to dissipate some of the stress I see settling there. “Semantics aren’t an excuse. An omission is the same as lying Haddie, but you’re missing the point entirely. It’s not whether it was a lie or not. It’s so damn far from that. It’s you using the sex we’ve had to numb yourself when it should do the exact opposite. It should light your body on fire and burrow so deep under your skin that all you think about is the next time you can have me…because fuck if that’s not what you’ve done to me. So I call your bluff. I’ll keep calling it every fucking day until you admit you want me, that being with me does that to you too…but you won’t will you?” I just remain still, face impassive, body raging with emotion beneath the surface. “You’d rather stand there and tell me you prefer the numb, the void, the nothing, than admit you need me.”

His eyes have their own language as we stare at each other, the power of his words bringing tears to my eyes and knocking the words from my lips. “I was just doing what I thought was best, protecting everyone from more hurt, more everything.” And I hate the numb, I scream silently. I hate it so fucking much that every time we touch you make me feel so alive I realize how dead I’ve felt inside over the past year.

I don’t know why I don’t tell him the rest. Like if I do then I’m just sealing my fate by Murphy’s fucking Law so I keep quiet.

“Really? That’s all you’ve got for me? Next time make sure your eyes and your lips match up City because you’re just adding insult to injury right now. Your refusal to answer is infuriating. Need me Haddie. Use me as your goddamn emotional punching bag or your real one for that matter but fucking need me. I’m not some schmuck who’s going to bolt at the first rough patch and the fact that you still don’t see that is a crock.” He blows out a loud breath, jaw clenched, anger palpable. “I’m so fucking pissed but I’m also so fucking mesmerized by you right now and I don’t know what the hell to do or say. All I know is that protecting someone from the truth is just another way of shutting them out.”

slow burn teaser 7


slow burn cover


Reeling from the sudden loss of her sister, Haddie Montgomery has sworn off relationships. All she wanted from Beckett Daniels was a sexy distraction to help her escape her pain for just a little while….There weren’t supposed to be any strings attached—so why can’t she shake the memory of that unforgettable night from her thoughts? Or the taste of his kiss from her lips?

No matter how hard Haddie tries to forget about him, Becks relentlessly tries to prove that she should start living for today. But she is determined to avoid romantic commitment, and she can always use her ex-boyfriend’s reappearance to help snuff out the slow burn within her that Becks has sparked….

Or will fate force her to realize that this kind of connection doesn’t come along very often and a chance at love is worth the risk?

Slow Burn Playlist

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kristy bromberg

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author K. Bromberg is that reserved woman sitting in the corner who has you all fooled about the wild child inside of her—the one she lets out every time her fingertips touch the computer keyboard.

K. lives in Southern California with her husband and three children. When she needs a break from the daily chaos of her life, you can most likely find her on the treadmill or with Kindle in hand, devouring the pages of a good, saucy book.

On a whim, K. Bromberg decided to try her hand at this writing thing. Her debut novels, Driven, Fueled, and Crashed of The Driven Trilogy were well received and went on to become multi-platform bestsellers as well as landing on the New York Times and USA Today lists. Her other works include a short story, UnRaveled, and a companion piece to The Driven Trilogy titled Raced. She is currently working on three stand alone Driven novels, Slow Burn, Sweet Ache, and Hard Beat. She also plans to release a novel addressing the 10 year gap at the ending of Crashed in late fall 2015

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Amazon



Review Post: The Summer Remains by Seth King

Title: The Summer Remains
Author: Seth King
Release Date: Feb 14, 2015
Find on Goodreads

Twenty-four-year-old Summer Johnson knows two things. The first is that due to a quickly worsening medical condition, she faces a risky surgery in three months’ time that may very well end in her death. The second is that she would like to fall in love before then.

As spring sinks into her namesake season on the Florida coastline, Summer plays the odds and downloads a new dating app – and after one intriguing message from a beautiful surfer named Cooper Nichols, it becomes clear that the story of what may be her last few months under the sun is about to be completely revised. All she has to do now is write something worth reading.

Tender, honest, devastating and triumphant, The Summer Remains explores a very human battle being waged in a very digital age: the search for a love that will outlast this temporary borrowing of bones. In an era when many feel compelled to share and re-share anything about everything, prepare to feel a love so special, you will want to hug it close and make it yours forever.


My Review

*****5 AMAZING Stars*****

I want to start this review by saying that The Summer Remains was probably one of the most beautiful and heartfelt books I’ve ever had the chance to read. I’m really still trying to just process all of the amazing things this outstanding book had, and I’m going to be honest that I’m not sure if this review will do it the justice that it deserves.

Because this book and its author deserve a helluva lot of justice for what was created in this phenomenal book. I really can’t say that enough.

The Summer Remains captivated me the moment I started reading it with its level of sheer beauty and emotion and just powerfulness. I was consumed by it fully and I just basked in what this book gave me.

This book tells the story of Summer, and let me just say that she is a spirit unto herself. She is really just exceptional. She’s one of the most dynamic characters, and she also happens to be dying. Not in the sense that we’re all dying, but in the sense that she’s got one summer left before she faces a very risky surgery that will either save her or kill her.

With one last summer guaranteed, Summer decides that she wants to fall in love. She just needs to. One dating app later, enter the ever charming Cooper. I’m still kind of under the spell that is Cooper. What ensues between these two is nothing short of very authentic and very beautiful and very heart wrenching at times. While Summer and Cooper explore what it is they’re sharing, you’re just going to be falling more and more in love with them both.

You’re going to fall more under the electric spell that is them, and the further you get into this book the more enraptured you’ll become by it all.

One of the best things about this book was the voice that this author created for Summer. I feel like I got to know her character extremely well. The way this author wrote this book and created her voice makes her unbelievably real. I not only got into her head, but I felt the things she did. I experienced the things she did. Her mind, her voice, and just her being were so easy to connect with, and there was just something downright breathtaking about her character.

I am honestly just in awe of everything that was Summer. She is vibrant and charismatic and just so very real. She’s a true gem, with the best kind of quirks, and I loved her for everything she was. There is such an effervescent power to her that leaps off of the page in bounds, and I don’t think it’s possible to not become charmed and mesmerized by her.

Cooper was another character who I was just enamored with. There was just something about him that instantly drew me to him. There was almost a magic about him. This book not only allows you the chance to get into Summer’s head, but also into Cooper’s. I felt like jumping into his head was like getting a whole new side to him. The thoughts that that man had are just immense and glorious and just more. Don’t get me wrong, I was completely taken by his character the moment I first met him in the book, but when the author allows you the chance to step into his head, it was just something else entirely.

I was also just kind of taken by the authenticity that burst from this book. The characters, their flaws, their personalities. The events of the book and what all happened just felt so real. I know that this book was inspired in part by events from the author’s own life and I feel like that transpired to the page magnificently. You could just tell in the way he captured and created and told this story that it came straight from a very real and powerful place, and that translated phenomenally into this book. It brought it to life.

The Summer Remains is definitely an emotional book. I’m not going to lie and tell you I didn’t cry. I cried like a baby at times reading this, and honestly that’s how I knew I was reading something truly fantastic. Crying while reading is kind of a tell for me that I’m reading something powerful, because if it makes me feel something so strongly that I have such an immense reaction, then I know this is something extraordinary. The Summer Remains was extraordinary.

It made me feel and live everything through these characters lives, and it gave me some of the highest highs and some pretty low lows, but through it all I relished in what it allowed me to feel. What it allowed me to take in and experience. I’ve never gone through what these characters have, but the way this author wrote this book, I feel like I understood more of what it would be like to go through what these characters do. I haven’t walked in their shoes, but I feel like I was given the amazing opportunity to see what that might actually be like. And let me tell you: that experience just blew me away.

Another pretty fantastic aspect of this book was how this author explored the digital age and social media. He explored what it’s like to be a twenty something in this lifetime where social media surrounds us and often even consumes us. He captured what it’s like to scroll through your newsfeed and see story upon story of other peoples “happy endings” and milestones.

I myself am a twenty something experiencing this, and I can’t say enough how much he nailed this entire aspect. The way this author and these characters describe and think about social media and the times we live in will make you think and make you realize so much about your own personal world. Getting to have that kind of a connection to the story is really just astounding to experience.

I have to say that I think my Kindle was glowing when I finished this book. I highlighted much of it while reading in hopes that it would just help keep those amazing words with me, because those words were powerful and the meaning behind them was something even more utterly phenomenal. They spoke volumes and whether it was pages long or just a few words in length, the incredible and brilliant meaningful phrases and quotes and words from this book will stay with me.

Especially because of what they made me feel, and think, and hope for, and wonder about.

When you read this book you’re breathing in the power that is Summer and Cooper, and their words, and their feelings and all that they share and do, and I don’t think it’s possible to be the same person after reading a book such as this one.

You don’t read something this extraordinary without having it change you. Without having it make you think. Without having it make you feel everything under the brightest and most beautiful sun. This book is more. It just is so much more, and I could go on and on for pages and pages about what it made me feel and think and experience, and it still wouldn’t even come close to capturing the magnificence of this book.

I loved The Summer Remains. It was just everything. It was emotional and moving and meaningful to the highest level. It was beautiful and breathtaking and as I read it and became more enraptured by it I realized something. This book is about living. And as I sit here finishing this review with tears running down my face, I realize that’s the biggest thing I’m going to take away from this amazing book.

Living. Having the courage to do it, and having enough hope to see a summer, even in the coldest of winters.


Chapter 1

On a sunny Tuesday morning towards the end of March, a white-haired man walked into a cold room and told me I might die soon.

I fidgeted on the hospital bed as Dr. Steinberg entered, the late-spring sunlight mocking me as smiled onto the industrial tile floors. I’d known Steinberg since I was four. He’d handled almost all of my throat problems, and I trusted him. He was like a second father to me, and I knew he would always tell me the truth.

That’s why the look on his face scared the living shit out of me.

I listened for the next ten minutes as he gave me the gist of the story. It was all so surreal that my mind could only catch certain phrases before the sentence would run away from me again:

Your esophagus has ruptured again, for good this time…

Your stomach is leaking more and more…

Toxicity levels are through the roof…

Your body just isn’t getting the nutrients it needs from your feeding tube any longer…

And finally, terminal.

“Terminal?” I heard myself squeak, my throat filling up with that weird, shivery feeling you get when you know your life has just changed. Steinberg suddenly became very interested in a fraying string on the sleeve of his jacket.

“T-terminal,” he stuttered. “Summer, the thing is…I’m afraid this is a…well, nobody has ever…”

He finally cleared his throat and met my gaze, tears pooling in the corners of his cerulean eyes. “Sweetheart, I am so sorry to tell you this, but this mountain may be unclimbable for you.”

My mother let out a small, sharp sob in the corner and then clapped her hands over her mouth.

“Okay, unclimbable,” I swallowed, staring down at the floor as I tried to grasp just what that word now meant to me and my family and this weird little life I had created for myself.  “Okay. Unclimbable. Okay.”

But Steinberg wasn’t done yet.

“Hold on. I said it may be unclimbable, not that it definitely will be. I want to prepare you, and I don’t want to give you any false hope, but there may be something we can do, Summer. It’s a small chance, but still, it’s a chance. A Hail Mary, if you will.”

I reached up to rub my temples. “Okay, well, survival sounds good. Better than death, I suppose. What is this Hail Mary?”

Steinberg crossed his arms, studied me for a moment, and then took out a chart and launched into a spiel about something called the Porter-Collins Procedure, an extremely major surgery that would perhaps be saving my life in three months’ time.

“Nobody has ever survived this particular operation,” he concluded a few minutes later, skipping all the medical jargon to keep from boring you to death, pardon my pun. “Nobody. It’s been attempted three times, but none of those were ultimately successful. One person survived for three months in intensive care, but she was fifty-one, and in frail health in general. We think you’re a much more viable candidate, but then again, there is no way to be sure. We can do it in two, maybe three months, after I assemble the specialists and create a game plan – considering your health doesn’t take another nosedive before then, that is. If we’re going to try this, we need you in tip-top shape – or as close to that as we can get you, anyway.”

“Okay,” I said again, sitting a little taller. “And what are the chances that this Hail Mary will even work, and that I won’t just die a few days later, anyway?”

He peered down at me from over his glasses. “I’m afraid to say that it would be stretching things to even tell you eighty/twenty.”

I steeled myself and took a breath. “Okay, well, that’s better than a hundred to zero. Let’s go out with a bang, then, Steinberg. Let’s do this.”

He threw up a fist, triumphant, but I could see the fear in his eyes. “It’s settled, then. Hail Mary it is.”

My mom rushed over to sit beside me and kind of hang onto my shoulder as some counselor woman came in who helped families handle these types of situations – “transitions,” she called them, and just hearing that word threatened to pull me under. Dr. Steinberg watched, an apology on his face, as she said things like “preparations” and “options” and “arrangements.” I tried to be polite and pay attention, but truthfully I didn’t give a damn about what she was saying. It was go time, and things were looking grim. I already knew that. The wet, metallic panic erupting in my stomach was due to an entirely different subject.

“And finally,” the counselor, Angie, said in a hushed, clipped, polite voice that spoke of years of having impossible conversations with worried families huddled in chilly waiting rooms, “I work very closely with Last Great Hope, a wonderful organization that specializes in situations like this, and if there is anything you want before the surgery, Summer – a trip to Tahiti, a cabin in the mountains, whatever – we can do it. Or if-”

“Thanks, but no thanks,” I said, making her stop short.

“Wh – excuse me?”

“Save the Disney trips for the twelve-year-olds,” I told her. “Spend all that money on a cancer kid or something; I know the truth about those fairy tales now. Make someone else happy – I’ve got everything I need. Or almost everything.” I paused as everyone leaned in. “I do have one request, actually. First of all, all of you are forgetting something vital.”

“Oh no, did we forget your milk?” my mom asked as she reached for her purse. “I thought I put some-”

“No, Shelly, we did not forget the baby milk I pump into my stomach tube every day to keep myself alive because my throat doesn’t work, but that does have something to do with it.”

As she pouted in my general direction I realized what a complete bitch I was being, and then I realized just as quickly that I probably wouldn’t be able to stop myself anyway.

“What is it, then?” my mom asked, stung, and I took a breath and then pushed it back out.

“Frankly, I need all of you to chill the fuck out.”

My mom dropped her purse onto her lap. Dr. Steinberg looked at me like I’d just tried to jump out of the third story window. Angie held her pen in midair and stared at me, the sun turning her brownish eyes ocher.

“Excuse me, young lady?” my mother asked. “We need to what?”

“Chill the eff out,” I said, editing my language the second time around. “Sorry, but all this emotion and drama and doom and gloom crap is already making me freak out. You’re all forgetting I’ve had a broken throat and a tube in my abdomen since I was in diapers, and that I can handle this. I’ve dealt with health scares before, and I will do it again, no matter how much scarier this Scare is than all the other Scares. Like, I know you’re trying to help and stuff, and I love you, but having meltdowns in front of me is not going to help me deal with all this, so please, I beg you, everyone take a deep breath, close your eyes, and get your panties out of a bunch.”

“We’re sorry,” my mom said after an impossibly long and awkward moment. “It’s just that we need to prepare you for…for what will happen, and-”

“Prepare me to die?” I asked. “Guess what, Shelly, I’m going to die one day, be it in three months or sixty years, and wasting all my time crying over it isn’t going to help. Here’s what I want, my one last wish – or my maybe-not-last wish, or whatever the hell this is.” A tear appeared in my mom’s eye, and I softened my voice as I reached up to wipe her cheek. “Okay. Before the surgery, I want to have a normal summer by the beach,” I began as I cleared her eye and shook the water from my finger. “I want to go to the sea and go to work and read my books and go about my business like usual without everyone breathing down my neck and treating me like A Broken Person, because if I am treated like A Broken Person for one more month of my life I will break some faces, no offense. Shelly, if you so much as make one special meal – I mean, not that I can eat or anything, because I can’t – anyway, I’m burning down the house. There will literally be a pile of smoldering ashes where your kitchen used to be, I promise.” Shelly pouted again, but I trudged through. “I’m serious, no special treatment. No Christmases in July, no excessive hugging, not even a midnight run to Target for some trinkets from the dollar section. And most of all…”

I looked around and, seeing sympathy in everyone’s eyes and knowing this request would be completely futile, said – “No sympathy. Please. The sympathy is what breaks me and makes me feel broken. If this is gonna be my last chance to live and have fun and be normal, then I’m going to need to feel as normal as possible, and that means absolutely no pity, because that separates me from everyone else and makes me Different with a capital D. And if I don’t stay in a good headspace I’m gonna spend the next three months in a fetal position in my closet having an endless anxiety attack about the surgery, so please work with me here and keep the pity locked up.”

A sigh and a smile. Shelly put her hand on mine. “I would never pity you, Summer. You’re the strongest person I know, and you always have been. You know that. We all know that. That’s not what this is about.”

I tried to smile back. “Thanks, Shelly.”

“Anytime. And can you please call me Mom, like a normal twenty-four-year-old?”

“Not a chance, Shelly.”

“Okay, fine. So, then…a Jax Beach summer? Is that really all you want?”

I paused as her words hung in the overly sanitized air. It wasn’t all, and I knew it. As I sat there I thought of the one thing I didn’t have, the one thing I’d never had, the one thing that screamed at me from the silence and jumped out at me from the shadows – and now that this upcoming summer had perhaps just become Summer’s Last Stand, my desire was suddenly more urgent than ever. I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop the longing from rising to my face, and as I felt the blood burn my cheeks I caught Steinberg’s eyes again, which just embarrassed me even more.

“Well, I mean, since you’re asking, there is one thing…”

“Anything!” Shelly and Dr. Steinberg said at exactly the same time, and I stared out of the window as my eyes got all weird and watery.

“Okay, well, I know something so sentimental is going to sound crazy coming from someone so…well, you know how I am…”

“Honest?” Steinberg offered, trying to be polite.

“Opinionated?” Shelly said.

“Brash?” Angie asked, even though she’d just met me ten minutes ago and it was literally beyond embarrassing that she already held that opinion of me.

“Headstrong and stubborn and annoying,” I finally said, shoving it out of the way, and they all nodded. “Anyway, here goes. Since you’re asking, the thing is…well, I’d like to fall in love.”

I looked down at the ground again as everyone in the room broke my most important rule already: I could feel their pity descending on me, smothering me just like it had my entire life, snuffing out any chance I had at being treated like a normal, living, breathing human, who deserved to love and be loved just like anyone else, as they say in the Hallmark cards.

“Oh, honey…” Steinberg sighed.

“It just wouldn’t be fair to someone…” my mother chimed in, just as Angie the counselor lady threw in her two cents, too.

“Sweetie, you have to understand, your situation is very serious. People get irrational during times like these, and if you get involved with someone and the worst happened, well-”

I crossed my fingers behind my back and shook my head. I’d known they’d react like this – why had I even tried in the first place? Some things, I knew, were just better left unshared.

“Yeah,” I said. “Okay, yeah, you guys are right. I’ll try to…put that off, I guess. For now. God knows I have tons of time to think about it – it’s not like I’m dying or anything.”

Everyone forced quick, fake laughs and then got back to business. Unbeknownst to them, however, my mind was quickly leaving the room, flying past the barren oak branches outside the window and soaring above the clouds to someplace only I knew. My desires could not be contained by the circumstances in this room, or by sickness, or even by reality in general, really. I wanted love more than anything – this was true, as much as it humiliated me to admit it. I’d wanted love ever since I was a cookie-cutter little girl being brainwashed by cookie-cutter Disney movies about cookie-cutter princes and princesses falling into cookie-cutter love and then prancing off to their cookie-cutter castles to live out their cookie-cutter lives. And strangely enough, this desire had only deepened after the fairy tale fantasies faded away and melted into a more grown up, real-world entity known as relationship FOMO, when my condition had rendered me an observer from the social media sidelines as everyone my age paired up and got engaged and married and pregnant and then shouted about it from the Facebook treetops as loud as their keyboards would let them while I sat there single as a nun with the flu. But I didn’t want that cookie cutter love from the Disney movies and my social media feeds. I didn’t want some run of the mill summer romance that would fizzle out as soon as the sunrays slanted in the fall and the Facebook Official status went to shit.

Because I, Summer Johnson, Purveyor of Pragmatism, Lover of Logic, Ultimate Believer in the Rational, and Person Who Was Maybe Going To Die Soon, wanted to drown in someone.


Seth King is a twenty-five-year-old author and artist.

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