Monday, January 30, 2017

Suspense for the Romantic Heart - Ever the Same Excerpt



Fifteen years ago thirty men, women, and children, were found in a small California field. Now the only seven survivors are dying one by one.

Rachel Alton returned to Whitten’s Grove for one reason, to prevent a massacre. Her attendance at the local wedding of two of her best friends was just for fun. She never expected her reaction to seeing Ben Mitchell again. Without warning, he awakens her dormant heart, giving her hope for the future and she struggles to turn away.

The clock is ticking, and as Rachel alone fights against the inevitable, but when forces from beyond throw Ben into the middle of the fight, will she walk away, or sacrifice herself to prevent a tragedy from happening twice?

Excerpt 
Sensing Ben’s approach, Rachel glanced back, looking for Emily, and found her preoccupied by Aisha and Ryan on the other side of the lake.

 She took another deep cleansing breath, trying to calm the foreign butterflies in her stomach. Being near him had awakened a part of her she thought had disappeared long ago. The problem, her life, plain and simple. Over the years, she had convinced herself ‘wants’ were unreasonable and now she wondered if she wanted more than a cup of Starbucks to look forward to in the wee hours of the morning.

“Mind if I join you?” 

“Be my guest,” Rachel covered her eyes from the sun. “Is that for me?”

Ben handed her a sweating bottle of water before taking a seat next to her. “Yep.” 

“Thanks, I was feeling a little parched. I forgot how beautiful it is here.” His focus was on the lake and she wondered what he was thinking. 

“Yeah, so beautiful, I could fall asleep.”

See what happens when you relax, but I guess relaxing might be a new concept, huh?”

“I relax.”

“Yeah, when?” Rachel challenged with a grin. “When was the last time you were so relaxed you fell asleep in a field?”

“Well, maybe not in a field.” His face lit up with a broad smile “But I go for jogs on the beach and the occasional midnight movie.”

Not relaxing, preoccupation. When was the last time you were able to let go of your day, your worries and your work. Sit back and relax.” His gaze settled on her and she shifted, feeling heat rising to her cheeks. 

“I guess it’s been a while.” 

“Yeah, well, I’m just as guilty,” she smirked with a shrug of her shoulders. “There just seems to be no time, everything else it too important.”

That’s the point, isn’t it?” Ben gently pushed back. “Places like these are here to remind us what is important, right? There are always excuses for not taking time to take care and relax, to spend time with our friends and family, but when it’s all said and done, they are the only ones who are left behind. If we lose them now, we will have nothing in the end.”

Rachel stared at him for a long while, a small smile creeping upon her lips. “Wow, Mitchell, you got all deep and stuff. That was, like, amazing,” Rachel said in her best valley girl accent, making him laugh aloud. 

“Are you laughing at me?” 

She laughed harder and he grabbed her by the waist, pulling her down into the grass. He tickled her and she squealed. She squirmed in delight against him and quickly grabbed his hands, holding them above her chest.

“Still ticklish, I see.” 

His hands intertwined effortlessly with hers. “You always were the only one who could tickle me.”

A small grin formed in the corners of his mouth, his mind obviously preoccupied as he lay against her. “What can I say, I have the magic touch.” 

“Magic touch, eh? I never knew—” Rachel started in a whisper, but became caught up in his body against her. Solid and strong, his arms surrounding her felt like a cocoon of safety and warmth she wanted to lose herself in. Bending her arms slightly, he moved close enough to for her to feel his breath on her face. “I think you need to cool off, cowboy.”

Rachel shifted from beneath him and rose to her feet. She looked back before stripping out of her clothes, revealing her trim body and new blue bikini. There weren’t a lot of positives about her job, but her body was one of them. She looked back and found him staring at her, his mouth slightly gaping. 

“Shut your mouth, Mitch, your girlfriend is watching.”

“What? I—” Before he could finish, she dove into the lake, leaving him behind. 

Rachel broke the water with a grin. She shouldn’t be smiling, but it was nice to have someone look at her with hunger. A woman to be desired. 

She heard a shout and a splash behind her and turned to see the ripples of water. Continuing to swim toward the rock wall of mountain ahead, Rachel felt Ben, hard body beneath her legs. She dove under, out of grasp, passing him underwater. He chased her to the wall until they finally broke the surface, panting for air. 

“She’s not my girlfriend.”

“You dove in and chased me halfway across the lake to tell me Emily is not your girlfriend?” Rachel grabbed one of the outbreaks in the wall of stone and turned, finding he’d summarily cornered her. 

“Yes.”

His gaze locked with hers and she felt herself beginning to melt. God, I can’t do this…not with him… She moved to pass him and he stopped her with his arm. 

“Where you running to, Alton?”

“I’m not running.”

“Yes you are.”

“No, I—” He silenced her with a kiss, powerful and yet tender, taking her breath away. When it broke, she felt dizzy and breathless. 

“Don’t run from me.”

“I wasn’t.”

“Don’t lie to me either.” His eyes were intense and focused solely on hers. His strong heated arm wrapped around her waist, pulling her against him.

“Ben…” His breath played against her lips, sending spasms of need up her spine. She couldn’t resist him. Putty in his arms, she let go of control. His lips came down on hers, juicy soft, and his tongue teased the inside of her mouth. She sighed and pulled his tongue into her mouth, sucking on the tip. His smooth hands scorched lines down her body, the muscles quivering uncontrolled beneath his touch. She climbed up his body, needing to feel his strength against her hot skin.
 

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Suspense for the Romantic Heart - Jaded Promises Excerpt


Eric Stiles has everything to lose and no matter how hard he fights he can feel his life slipping away.

Rebecca Gailen thinks that the love of her life is dead and only the vigor of revenge keeps her fighting to survive.

When a secret reveals more than anyone expected, it changes Eric and Rebecca’s lives forever. The devastating truth puts the couple at odds. Can they overcome their clashing conclusions and learn to trust each other again? Or will they let it rip them apart?

Excerpt
The stairs creaked with each step as he looked into the dimness below. The humid musty area was cold and damp. He swallowed hard. Gray concrete, jagged walls and dust surrounded them and a chill raked up his spine.

"We found it over there." The same officer descended the stairs behind them. The beam of his flashlight landed to the right of where they stood. Eric reached for a flashlight, and his eyes landed on Charlie who scanned the room. An officer offered his and Eric stepped toward the area. His hand brushed against the cold concrete but his mind still refused to accept it.

Not here…not like this…

Eric’s eyes fell on a spatter of blood and his chest flooded with an unrecognized pain.

She was here

Unable to push the image away, all the air left the room as his entire body clenched at the suffocation. He ascended the stairs into the sunlight, fighting for control. He began to unhinge, mindlessly entered one of the side rooms.

They didn't find her which means she's still…

Keep it together Stiles…falling apart isn't going to help anyone

The sewn seam around his emotions threatened to tear, and he couldn't move. The paralyzing agony that spiked from the core of his body was relentless. He fought back in vain. He knew it wouldn't stop until she was in his arms, safe.

"Eric, what’s going on?"

Eric wiped an unexpected wetness from his eyes. He leaned against the wall to face his brother. Pure disbelief stared back at him. 

"I've never seen you like this."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah, you never…"

"Yeah well, things change." Eric moved to exit the room.

He found the front door and pushed through it hearing Charlie just behind him.

"Since when?"

"You still don't get it do you?"

"What are you talking about?"

"Have you really convinced yourself that all of this…what happened, was just some kind of joke?” He stopped to face him. “That Rebecca and I didn’t mean anything we said when we told you that we never wanted to hurt you?" 

"I don't know what the hell you meant to do and to be honest, I don’t really care."

"Charlie…whether or not you choose to believe it, we did try to walk away.” Charlie’s eyes diverted in anger. "Jesus, Charlie she went through hell and all she could think about was how she couldn't hurt you!" 

"So once again this is my fault!"

"No…I am just…" Eric’s chest turned to stone, unwilling to allow him to hide. "As your brother, your friend, I tried to forget about…everything. But that night. That first night in Dallas, everything changed. We did everything we could to ignore it, make disappear but it didn't. It only got stronger…can you try to understand that?"

"You really expect me to…"

"I expect you to believe that I tried! I expect you to realize that this had nothing to do with you. To remember that until that moment, I've never betrayed you."

"So because you’ve always tried to be the good big brother you want me to be okay with this? To just accept what you did and move on?"

"Yes."

'Why?"

"Because you’re my brother and I need you to." Eric’s watering despite his continued battle against it. "Charlie, I'm in love with her."

"I loved her too!"

"Okay Charlie,” Eric clenched his jaw. “Where did you see things heading with her? Let's say we never met, what then?"

"I don't know. I never got the chance thanks to you!"

"That’s the difference!" Eric’s fists balled in frustration. "Six weeks ago, and the two months before that, hell even in Dallas. I knew this was different. I knew she changed everything. Even when she left without a word and I didn’t even know her name, I couldn’t get her out of my head! I look at her and see everything I never knew I wanted. She's woken up this person inside me that I didn’t even know was there! The one who wants a house and a family. The person who needs to see her every morning and hold her every night, because when I don't something is missing and the world doesn't make sense. "

"Eric…"

"The difference is that the moment I met her, she became my whole world," Eric explained as he struggled to keep his furious heart under control. "I know that you loved her. That was one of the reason's I stayed away as long as I did. It might not seem like much but…she needed me and I couldn’t turn my back anymore. Now she's gone and I can't…If we don't…if I can't find her..."

"We're going to find her, Eric.” He saw the first glimpse of understanding in his brothers eyes.


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Friday, January 20, 2017

The Soul Summoner by Elicia Hyder is an Enthralling Read Beginning to End!



Blessed or cursed with a connection to the souls of others, Sloan Jordan can see the best in people…and the worst. With nothing more than a glance at a photograph, she can judge the living from the dead and the good souls from the evil ones. For twenty-seven years, she's kept her ability a secret, but eleven young women have been murdered in the mountains of North Carolina, and Sloan may be the only hope of finding their killer.

She has just agreed to help Detective Nathan McNamara with the case, when a stranger—who is as alluring as he is terrifying—shows up at her doorstep with a dark past and another puzzling mystery: she can't see his soul at all.

Now Sloan is on the hunt for a deadly psychopath with two irresistible men. One of them would die for her, and the other would kill to keep her safe.

What really drew me to this book was the premise. The abilities of the main character are unique and the plot is well thought out to support the characters activities. The romance is hot and unexpected (although I was rooting for the other guy). 

Elicia Hyder’s ability to pull you into the character’s world and make you feel right at home is a talent. The narrative of the Soul Summoner is engaging, witty, funny and romantic. The ensemble cast of characters pop the isolation bubble and helps to support the character’s good nature. 

As I said above the romance is amazing, but I unfortunately was rooting for an alternate team and I probably won’t be reading the rest of the series because my team lost. That is not to in any way diminish from the story or the talent of the author, it is a personal preference. 

One of the other aspects of the book I appreciated is the balance. There is a good mix of romance, danger, suspense, paranormal and fun. All is mixed in an even brew not lending strength to any single genre which I find prefect!

Loved the book, I read on her Amazon Page that the author recently suffered from cancer and is currently in remission. I want to extend my happiness for her and hope all the best for her bright future!



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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Stalking - Help for Victims from Victim Connect Resource Center

 
All of the below information is provided at the following link. Please share, repost and support all victims of violence.
http://www.victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center/help-for-victims

Things you can do

Stalking is unpredictable and dangerous. No two stalking situations are alike. There are no guarantees that what works for one person will work for another, yet you can take steps to increase your safety.
  • If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
  • Trust your instincts. Don't downplay the danger. If you feel you are unsafe, you probably are.
  • Take threats seriously. Danger generally is higher when the stalker talks about suicide or murder, or when a victim tries to leave or end the relationship.
  • Contact a crisis hotline, victim services agency, or a domestic violence or rape crisis program. They can help you devise a safety plan, give you information about local laws, weigh options such as seeking a protection order, and refer you to other services.
  • Develop a safety plan, including things like changing your routine, arranging a place to stay, and having a friend or relative go places with you. Also, decide in advance what to do if the stalker shows up at your home, work, school, or somewhere else. Tell people how they can help you. Click here to learn more about safety plans.
  • Don't communicate with the stalker or respond to attempts to contact you.
  • Keep evidence of the stalking. When the stalker follows you or contacts you, write down the time, date, and place. Keep emails, text messages, phone messages, letters, or notes. Photograph anything of yours the stalker damages and any injuries the stalker causes. Ask witnesses to write down what they saw. Click here to download a stalking incident and behavior log.
  • Contact the police. Every state has stalking laws. The stalker may also have broken other laws by doing things like assaulting you or stealing or destroying your property.
  • Consider getting a court order that tells the stalker to stay away from you.
  • Tell family, friends, roommates, and co-workers about the stalking and seek their support.
  • Tell security staff at your job or school. Ask them to help watch out for your safety.

If someone you know is being stalked

  • Listen.
  • Show support.
  • Don't blame the victim for the crime.
  • Remember that every situation is different, and allow the person being stalked to make choices about how to handle it.
  • Find someone you can talk to about the situation.
  • Take steps to ensure your own safety.

Resources

Tips for Victims
Developed in partnership with the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, this tip sheet presents victims with specific tips and information on responding to stalking.


Stalking Incident and Behavior Log (PDF | Word)
Victims are encouraged to keep a log of all stalking behaviors including e-mails and phone messages. The log, as well as any gifts or letters the stalker sends the victim, can be collected and used as evidence. The evidence will help prove what has been going on if the victim decides to report the stalking to the police or apply for a protective order.


Safety Plan Guidelines 
A safety plan is a combination of suggestions, plans, and responses created to help victims reduce their risk of harm. It is a tool designed in response to the victim's specific situation that evaluates what the victim is currently experiencing, incorporates the pattern of previous behavior, and examines options that will positively impact the victim's safety.

Also See: Stalking Sacks

The Use of Technology to Stalk
Stalkers often use technology to assist them in stalking their victims. This section provides information about how different technologies can be used to stalk, measures victims can take to keep safe, laws and legal considerations, and resources.

Also See: Privacy and Safety on Facebook, from the National Network to End Domestic Violence

Address Confidentiality Programs
Address Confidentiality Programs were created to protect victims of stalking, domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes from offenders who use public records, such as voter or drivers' license registries, to locate them.


Stalking: A Handbook for Victims  by Emily Spence-Diehl
This handbook provides stalking victims with the resources, choice options, safety tips, and stalker information designed to assist victims in regaining control over their lives. Also discussed are the building of criminal and civil cases against the stalker, the use of restraining orders, and victims' rights.


How to Start and Facilitate a Support Group for Victims of Stalking
A guide for victim service providers, volunteers, and other concerned community members on how to initiate and run a stalking support group in their agency or community. The guide includes information about designing a support group for stalking victims, recommendations for group membership, tips for facilitators, a sample curriculum, and much more.


Privacy and Safety Planning With Survivors - Tips When Relocating (NNEDV) This handout provides several important tips for survivors to consider when planning to relocate, in the process of relocating, or in planning for privacy after relocation.
 
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