The House on Devil’s Bar. Jessie McAlan.         A Book Review & Giveaway. 

GENRE:   US Amateur Sleuth

EXCERPT

When she got several yards from the Bar, she turned off the light. She stood in the woods, listening and watching for an indication she’d been seen. But the wind and water sounds were not underscored by a shout, so she scooted down the remainder of the path. The sandbar stretched out in a tan smear against the darker river and hill, and she slipped her feet onto the sand.
She stood up, dusting off the seat of her jeans, and eased her way over to the old cottage. She kept close to the embankment, wanting the obscurity of the black hill to mask her presence. She didn’t fancy Frank knowing she was spying.
The night was practically silent. No barges or private boats plied the river; the water touched the shore in leisurely, rhythmical waves, as though it breathed in sleep. Its soft sighs were the only sounds she heard.
Until the murmur of voices and the thud of metal hitting against wood reached her.

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AUTHOR Bio 



A family trip to the Big Spring area in the Missouri Ozarks introduced Jessie to the wonders of nature.  Her summer stints as a camp counselor and canoeing instructor cemented her enthusiasm.  This love of the natural world and the river flows through her Linn House mysteries.

In 2001 Jessie graduated from Webster University with a BA degree and departmental honors in English.
She lives in the St Louis, MO area and spends as much time as she can camping and watching the barges on the river.

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Devils Bar begun well, with a woman who had vanished, and with her car still in its spot in the carpark. The setting of the lodge belonging to Rona, an events planner, was painted before my eyes. These chapters did put me in the mind of an old Agatha Christie mystery, and I settled down further into my seat to read more. 
We are then introduced to Rona’s ex husband, who helps her out with a flat tyre. You may think this isn’t strange, but he has no business being on that road, in her part of the country, as she hadn’t heard from him since their divorce. Their relationship is one of the best things about this book. They are obviously comfortable together. We then hear from him again, and at this point Devil’s Bar has become a bizarre, paranoid, Hitchcock type thriller. I felt the story now had started to get to the whodunit part faster than the pace the author had set. 

Rona sets out to solve the mysterious goings on around her property before it affects her business, and ignores police advice to leave them to it. Isn’t this how any adventure usually starts?

I admire any person who can write a solid mystery, which Devil’s Bar proves to be. On even ground Devil’s Bar has an intriguing premise, a great setting, character, and red herrings. It doesn’t have gratuitous violence,  or foul language. 

While ultimately I felt underwhelmed by the book, there is plenty of good qualities to recommend this book to any person who likes that genre. 

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Book Review. Closer than Yesterday.  S. W. Frontz. 



Closer Than Yesterday

Land’s End Series

Book Three

S.W. Frontz

Genre:  mystery, romantic suspense

Date of Publication: April 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1544728582

ASIN: B071RHTWSL

Number of pages: 206

Word Count: 62,212

Cover Artist:  S.W. Frontz

Book Description:

Samantha Patrick’s cousin Sarah has lived with an abusive husband for thirty years. After a brutal attack, she finally finds the courage to leave. Sarah goes to Land’s End looking for safety and comfort with her family on this small, idyllic island but the horror is not over yet. Someone is stalking Sarah. Is it the abusive husband or someone else? Will Land’s End be the place where Sarah finds new life, or it will be where it ends?

Amazon     BN

Excerpt:      

Prologue

Johnson City, TN April 25, 2016

Leslie Jennings
carefully folded the last of her husband’s shirts and zipped up the
suitcase.  She picked it up, struggling as she did.  Leslie was only 5’2, and
very slim.  The suitcase was almost as big as she.  Leslie managed to get it to the floor, where she raised the handle and rolled it to the top of the stairs.  Now she had to get it downstairs without making too much noise.  Carter would accuse her of trying to destroy his Louis Vuitton luggage.   After ten minutes of pulling the luggage down one stair at a time, Leslie finally rolled it to the front door.  She ran quickly back upstairs and grabbed his garment bag.  She had already packed this and she hurried back downstairs.  

She was waiting by the luggage when Carter came downstairs, his briefcase hanging from his shoulder.  He was dressed in a sharp gray
suit, white dress shirt, and patterned gray tie.  Leslie studied him while he glanced through his phone.  Carter was of average height, with graying brown hair and eyes. He had sharp features and rarely smiled. 
His only pleasure was making a sale. He owned a real estate company and it was very successful.  They had been married for thirty years and
they had no children.

Carter didn’t like kids, so they didn’t have any. He glanced up from his phone and gave Leslie the once-over.  She was wearing
her scrubs, ready to go to work at the hospital after she dropped Carter off at the airport.  She worked the seven p.m. to seven a.m. shift when he was gone on business trips.  He thought if she worked at night, she
wouldn’t be out doing anything else. She didn’t know why it mattered if she was seeing anyone or not. 

He was not the affectionate type and most of the time he acted like he hated Leslie. It wasn’t an issue anyway, Leslie didn’t go anywhere outside of work and her grandmother’s house. The only people she talked to were her co-workers and her grandmother Jody.  Carter didn’t allow
her to socialize with anyone other than someone he approved, and he didn’t approve of anyone. “Looks like you’re ready to go.  Is this all my stuff?” 

Carter waved his hand over the luggage. Leslie nodded. 
“Yes, that’s it.  I packed everything you had on the list.” Carter picked up his garment bag and gestured for Leslie to get his suitcase.  She
picked it up and carried it to the car waiting right outside the door in their
driveway that curved around the front of the house.  She couldn’t roll it; Carter would get upset.  She managed to get it in the trunk of his Mercedes. He got in the driver’s side and Leslie in the passenger side. 
Silently they drove out of the subdivision.

Carter finally spoke when they had gotten to the highway. “Tell me your schedule,” he commanded. “After I drop you off, I’m going home to get my car.  I’ll put yours in the garage.  Then, I’m going to Jody’s to fix her supper, then I’m off to work.  I work the night
shift.  I get off at seven a.m.  I’ll go back to Jody’s and fix her breakfast,
then home for a few hours of sleep.  Then I’ll get up and complete the to-do list that you made.”

Carter nodded in satisfaction.  “Very good.  I approve.” Leslie stared out the window.  How she would love to hit him right in his arrogant face. 

Well, that was all going to change tonight.  When she
finally made it to work tonight, she was going to leave her cell there.  Carter had a tracking app on it.  She had already spoken to her supervisor and he had promised that he would help Leslie in any way that he could.  

Leslie was going to get on a Greyhound bus tonight and start her journey away from Carter.  She had been saving money for months, a
little at a time and squirreling it away at Jody’s.  She would go get the money and see Jody one more time. After that, she was going to leave her car at the bus terminal and take the bus to Memphis, rest, get on another bus to New Orleans, and slowly make her way around the southeast coast to a little island town in North
Carolina called Land’s End.

Leslie had heard Jody talk about the little town for years. 
Leslie’s first cousin, Samantha, lived there with her husband, Andy, who
was also the sheriff of the town.  Samantha had never contacted Jody, but through the internet, Leslie had been able to track them down for Jody. Even though she knew where they were, Jody wouldn’t
contact her.  She was waiting for Samantha to come to her. She knew what Samantha had been through, and Jody didn’t want to bring back sad memories to Samantha until she was ready.  Leslie thought it was a good a place as any to start over.  Maybe she and Samantha could become friends. Carter didn’t know about Samantha.  Jody had quite a bit of money and owned a large historical home.

Carter thought that Leslie was going to inherit all of it. 
He didn’t mind if Leslie took care of Jody, in fact, he insisted that
she go there before and after work.  If he knew that there was someone else to split the inheritance with, he would be very angry with Leslie, even though it wasn’t her fault. Leslie was tired of being the recipient of his anger.  When they first married, she wasn’t aware of his violent temper or that he was a control freak.  She thought that the reason he watched her every move and told her what to wear, who to be friends
with, etc., was because he cared about her. 

Her parents had died when Leslie was ten. Her grandmother had taken her in and raised her. Leslie loved Jody, but she had missed her
parents, especially her father terribly. That was one of the things that had
attracted her to Carter.  He was several years older than she was.  He owned his own business, home and he was very settled and mature for a man in his early thirties.  

The first time she did something he didn’t approve of they had been married for a year. He had backhanded her and bruised her cheek so badly that she had to wear pancake makeup for over a week.  It took her
while to figure out what set him off, but over the years she had managed to get into his routine and kept herself from getting hurt.

They were getting close to the airport and Carter started droning out instructions to her.  She could recite what he was
telling her in her sleep; but she answered him in the way he liked for her to respond. No sense in getting him upset. It was so close for time for her to leave; she could deal with him for a few more minutes. He pulled up in front of the doors in the unloading zone.  Leslie got out and waited for him to open the trunk.  She handed him his garment bag, then pulled his suitcase out.  He took the handle from her. “I’ve got it from here. Get my car home and put away.  I will see you in a week.” 


Without any further words, he went inside the terminal and Leslie got in to drive his car home. He had always told her that he would kill her if she left.  When she had celebrated her 55th birthday in January, Leslie had known that this year was the year she had to leave.  Living like this was killing her, and she deserved a chance for happiness sometime in her life.

About the Author:

S.W. Frontz is the author of the Land’s End Series, which includes: When the Morning Comes, Don’t Look Back, and Closer Than Yesterday.  S.W. is a native of Charlotte, NC but was raised in East Tennessee, where she still resides with her husband, Rusty, of 21 years, and their furbaby, Mandy.

S.W. has been an avid reader since a child.  Her favorite genres are mystery, suspense, and Southern humor.  Favorite authors include John Sanford, Erica Spindler, Karen Robards, Lee Childs, James Lee Burke, and Fannie Flagg.   

S.W plans on continuing the Land’s End Series, at least for a few more books.  Book four is in the first draft stage.

S.W. is a nominee for the 2017 Top Female Author and a member of the Southeastern Writer’s Association.

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Sarah has run away from her abusive husband. He’s looking for her. 

She has now settled on a small island, with family. Everyone is friendly, and she has men queuing to date her. 

One of the men, Eddie, is a serial killer, and she might be his next victim. 

Eddie takes his coupled victims, and is now dotting them around the island, mixing and matching them. This leaves the police, understandably, in investigating, and locating the pattern of the killings. 

The characters don’t have much depth to them. There are baddies, and goodies, so we never really find out what motivates them. 

The story didn’t come together for me and it isn’t fast paced.

But it is a good run around.

I will be looking up other books in the series.

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Book Tour. Shattered. Lee Winter. 


Shattered

The Superheroine Collection

Book One

Lee Winter

Genre: Lesbian, Fantasy

Publisher: Ylva Publishing

Publication date: 07/06/17

ISBN: 978-3-95533-564-9

Book Description:

Shattergirl, Earth’s first lesbian guardian—a brilliant but aloof alien superheroine who can hurl and destroy large objects—is refusing to save people and has gone off the grid. Lena Martin, the street-smart tracker with a silver tongue and a disdain for the rogue guardians she chases, has only days to bring her home. As the pair clash heatedly, masks begin to crack and brutal secrets are exposed that could shatter them both.

Ylva Publishing

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About the Author:

“Everyone deserves a hero. For all the girls, big and small, who don’t neatly fit into society’s boxes—Shattergirl is yours.” – Lee Winter

Lee Winter has worked as a newspaper journalist in almost every state in Australia for the past 28 years. In that time she has covered everything from courts, police, news, television, features, been a humour columnist and sub-editor, and of late, a newspaper glossy magazine’s deputy editor. She has won national awards for her writing and adroit headlines. When her newspaper was sold and laid off most of the staff in November 2016, she made the decision to test the waters as a full-time writer.

Prior to that she has written two books for Ylva, the Goldie-winning, Lambda finalist The Red Files, a newspaper-based mystery; and the Australian underworld crime noir Requiem For Immortals, also a Lambda finalist (finalist in Lesbian Mystery category winners will be announced in New York in June 2017). When the idea of a superheroes collection came up, Lee jumped at the chance to write a novella (Shattered) about a disaffected superheroine on the run and the woman sent to track her down. This blew out to an almost-novel at just under 70,000 words!

Connect with the author:

http://www.leewinterauthor.com/

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Bewitching Book Tours. Mouth Watering. L. P. Maxa. 

Mouth Watering

St Leasing

Book One

LP Maxa

Genre: Romance
Boroughs Publishing

EXCERPT:



His truck pulled in behind her SUV in the driveway and he was out of his vehicle opening her car door before she’d even turned off her engine. Eager, wasn’t he? He held his arm out, and she smiled as she hooked her hand around his large bicep. “How chivalrous Coach Hardy.”
“I try.”
When they reached the front porch she turned toward him with what she hoped was her sultriest grin, kind of innocent with a hint of fire. “Thanks for everything today, Dominic. The directions. The drinks. The companionship. I’m so glad that you were the first person I met here.” He hadn’t seemed to like the word friend when she’d used it back at the bar, and she’d bet the word companionship was setting his teeth on edge right about now.
“Seems like I was at the right place at the right time. It was a pleasure meeting you Corey Cooper.” He leaned in with his whole body, but went for her cheek instead of her lips. 
“Mmmm, you smell amazing.” She all but purred. She was playing the game, but in truth he really did smell fantastic. “What kind of cologne are you wearing?” 
He moved away a fraction of an inch and kissed her other cheek softly. “I’m not wearing any cologne. But I’m glad you think I smell good considering I didn’t have time to shower after practice.”
She laughed, “Really? You smell mouthwatering, like all my favorite scents rolled into one. I noticed it earlier today. I smelled you before you even said a word to me.” And she had, it was like he had filled the air before she’d known he was behind her. 
His body was close to hers, but still not touching. Corey knew what his game was, leaving it up to her, letting her make the first move. Did he think he was clever? A visionary? And hardly the first guy to use that tactic. But okay Dominic Hardy, you win this one. When he went to pull away again, she grabbed his shirt in her hands and fused their mouths together. She felt herself immediately melt into him. The kiss was the most perfect first kiss she’d ever had.
His lips were soft but demanding and when he fisted his hands in her hair, tugging lightly, she gave in. She opened for him and let his tongue invade her mouth. God this was amazing. A perfect kiss mixed with his yummy scent, she could hardly stand it. Yeah, life at St. Leasing was well on its way to wonderful.

About the Author:
L.P. Maxa lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, daughter, 3 rescue dogs, 1 cat – the fish died – and one bunny who doesn’t seem to like them. She loves reading romance novels as much as she love writing them. She says, inspiration can come from anywhere: a song lyric, a quote, a weekend with friends. The tiniest things can spark amazing stories. She loves to hear from readers.

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Um, well. I wasn’t quite expecting what I have just read. 

I found the title of this book enticing, although that, and the history of Dom’s parents, fell by the wayside with the introductions. 

Corey is starting as a counsellor at St. Leasing, and soon falls for Dom, the sports coach. I did think his attitude towards women repellent. Although, along with Corey, he did win me over. Confusing too his going on about Corey being ‘the one’ Very intense, and creepy, but it turns out Dom, and the school, have a secret. Which does explain why Corey and Dom have an easy going, and playful, relationship, from the off. I loved the camaraderie as well between the two, and Dom’s colleagues, and best friends.

Mouthwatering is far from being your typical romance. It is appealing, and I couldn’t put it down. 
 

CREEPZ. BOOK BLAST. RUTH BAINBRIDGE.

EXCERPT



The summer started like a hellion on crack.
No one was expecting it … no one was prepared. The mild spring weather had lulled the denizens of the Big Apple into thinking it would always be that way. But before they knew it, the fantasy was swallowed by a rapacious heat that burrowed its way into the concrete and wouldn’t let go. And now? Now there was heat. Overbearing, suffocating heat that came up from the bowels of hell and melted the hardest of hearts, reducing them to sweat and then steam. 
For two weeks, the people suffered under the sun’s merciless rule, and the weather forecasters oral fandango only promised more of the same. A burst of a turbulent red sky at sunset turned that threat into a reality as New Yorkers braced for another brutal repeat of today. 
The day dwindled into twilight as the light was snuffed out by a phantom’s hand. A strong ocean breeze pushed the mugginess aside long enough to breathe. The beleaguered New Yorkers were grateful to have survived and sought solace in the blackness of the oasis offered. Apartment dwellers oozed into the streets in droves- all to enjoy the cooler evening temperature crowned by a silver moon tinged by the color of blood. 
Da da dum dum da da doo doo hey …
In the horde of people, the strange little man humming a tune went unnoticed. The crowd at 34th Street was enjoying itself too much to care about one more drifter … one more oddball that New York seemed to attract. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ruth Bainbridge was born in the idyllic, sleepy town of Ithaca, NY, and has been a lover of mysteries for her entire life. Ever since a child, she’s consumed detective stories at regular intervals, becoming enamored with all the superstars of crime. She loved matching wits with Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Thomas Pitt, Lord Peter Wimsey, Richard Jury and Edward X Delaney. In fact, she was so inspired by their brilliance that she began trying to emulate her writing idol’s achievements by composing her own short stories. However, life interfered with her plans of becoming the next hopeful to try a life of crime–on paper at least. But the empty nest syndrome happened and gave her the impetus to return to her first love–murder. 
Her works include: THE CURT SAVAGE MYSTERIES (a four-part series that should be read in order); DEADSPEAK, a detective Twin Peaks; and ONLY ONE WILL FALL, the first in THE NICK CROSS MYSTERIES. CREEPZ is her eighth published work. The most intense read of the season, it’s a complex adrenaline rush that’s filled with suspense. 

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Website

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Book Tour. Government 2.0. Joseph Gorski. 


Government
2.0

Joseph
Gorski

Genre: economics, government

Publisher: BookVenture Publishing
LLC

Date of Publication: February
2017

ISBN-13-1-946735-05-8

Number of pages: 82

Word Count:  22581

Book Description:

Government 2.0 explains in
non-technical language how the banking system works, the media, the medical
establishment and the government work against the common person. It explains
how this model is falling apart.

The changing attitudes of people
toward those in power, and the new technology which is helping to empower
people is discussed and explained. There is real hope that power of the people
will overtake the power of the elites.

It is important that the people
understand this and embrace this change and don’t let themselves believe the
fear mongering of the elites.

BookVenture


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Short
Excerpt:

US government power was possibly
at an all-time high in the decade or so following the 9/11/01 attacks. Recently
some cracks in the armor are forming. Some on the left and right side of the
political spectrum are beginning to join forces and question this consolidation
of power and abuse of power in Washington, D.C.


About
the Author:

Joseph Gorski, the author of
Government 2.0, has followed a less than typical path over his last 35 years of
life in the USA. It started with a deep spiritual journey in 1982 which
continues to this day. It leads to rejecting the established religions and
political parties of the world without rejecting their core teachings of love,
tolerance, and respect of our fellow human. This took him away from a normal
career path, living in a city at times and in the country at times. Joseph came
to believe that there is a central power in the universe that some people call
God, source energy, or by many other names.

Joseph graduated with a business
administration BA degree from Rutgers-Newark College of Arts and Science in
1983.

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Sharks in the Runway. Paul W. J. Harding. Book Tour. 


 

Paul W.J. Harding (Capt. Ret) Author of ‘Sharks in the Runway’

 

I was born in the UK where I lived until aged twelve. In 1960 my father accepted a three-year posting to the Bahamas with a local airline. My love affair with this amazing archipelago began immediately on arrival. The price paid for this new-found love, being sent to an English boarding school as a youngster that turned out to be an educational nightmare. The upside came with the travel experience involving flying as an ‘unaccompanied child’. I met a fellow student who shared grandparents living in Sussex, where both of us spent half-term holidays not long enough to warrant flights home. He invited me to Africa when our school days ended. The experience of living in the wilds of Kenya & Tanzania instilled an awe for nature and the challenge of capturing it all on film. I left England after college, beginning my first employment as a scuba-diving instructor in the Bahamas – becoming fully qualified to teach ‘Open-Water’ diving instruction in some of Nassau’s leading resorts. This part of my first career offered experiences such as acting as an underwater stunt double under Director/Cameraman Lamar Boren. 

My father pulled an unexpected departure from our lives leaving my mother and I stranded in a foreign country penniless, and without any permanent legal status. I never saw or heard from him again. Politics of the Bahamas were in the middle of change; Independence was just ahead in 1973. I was undeterred being left ‘head of the household’ having exciting ideas for creating my own career, even after my ‘work permit’ renewal had been refused with a change of government wielding a new immigration purge.  I met a fellow Australian caught in a similar situation. I declared ‘if I was going to be poor then let it be in a pair of shorts!’ We made it our quest to ‘live off the ocean’ and not leave the Bahamas as so many expats were doing. The adventures came fast and furious with our new way of life, involving commercial spearfishing and diving for tropical fish to be sold in exotic stores through Europe and New York. Dizzying stories erupted, including hand combat with very large sharks, diving in a three-mile-deep ocean with whales, and exploring the deep ocean canyons around Nassau.

 After the Australian left for home several years later I regained legal status, forming my own small-group day-charter diving business called ‘The Out-Island Safari’ – under my new company Diving Safaris Ltd. The ride lasted seventeen years; winning the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Awards for excellence in the country’s primary industry, where near fifty thousand visitors enjoyed our experience, both above and below the water. One of my clients, a television producer out of Texas, invited me to film underwater material and snow-ski footage in exotic locations all over the world. We shot nearly fifteen shows, most of which were aired on the new Discovery Channel in the United States. I photographed the first shark film, which spawned the still existing Shark Week production still airing today. I was privileged to meet famous people such as Norway’s’ Olympic Champion, Stein Eriksen and follow in the footsteps of Cousteau on other underwater episodes.

 One day I spied a seaplane flying overhead and knew immediately my first career choice could now come to fruition after no encouragement from my father years earlier. I ordered a factory-new seaplane, having no clue how to fly! I hastened over to a Florida flight school whilst my new plane was being constructed. I soloed in just nine hours and passed my Private Pilots License with 40 hours experience, collecting my seaplane after passing required water-flying ratings. Commercial qualification followed soon after. Upon arrival in Nassau, I had built a small base of operation and successfully opened the Bahamas first commercial seaplane charter service – a career that lasted twenty-three years and accumulated over 14,000 hours of flight experience. Such a lengthy career sparked lots of adventures! I had been invited to become a freelance writer for aviation magazines, which ignited the interest in writing my autobiography. I was privileged to meet a wide array of colourful characters including Johnny Depp, who inspired me to ‘put all those amazing stories on paper’. I flew the actor for almost three three years becoming friends, while invited aboard his yacht for dinner several times. It has taken me almost 5 years to complete the often-perilous chronicles of the last 50 years. I continue to fly privately with aerial photography and writing a travel blog as a sideline.

About the Author

About the author: After being raised and educated in the United Kingdom, Paul Harding relocated to the Bahamas where he became a certified scuba instructor and opened his own business. After a lifelong interest in flying, he earned his commercial pilot’s license and started Safari Seaplanes in 1990, the first charter seaplane business in the country, which he ran for over twenty years. Now retired, Harding currently resides in Nassau, Bahamas and still flies privately.

He has previously written for Water Flying Magazine and this is his first book

Blog – http://paulhardingadventuretravel.blogspot.co.uk/

Extract

This extract is from a days flying with friend and insurance adjuster, surveying destruction from a recent hurricane that had severely damaged our Out-Islands. The flights had been a success where several communities would now receive funds for badly needed repairs. We were flying home when disaster strikes!

 

“On this day I was about half way through my aviation career, but the reaction time was impressively instantaneous; so dramatic there would be no hiding it from my client. We are taught repeatedly at flight schools about emergencies, instructed to follow tried and true solutions to produce the very best outcome documented from past incidents. This one was not in the book. We were only ten feet off the water, heading at 80 mph straight toward a frightening scene of inhospitable jagged rock-face with torn shrubbery on a craggy apex. Added to our plight, towering above was an electric cable running the length of the cay, held aloft taught as a tightrope by two electrical poles. Were we going to be able to clear it?!  Split second reaction had me hit the opposite rudder pedal so hard that I broke the metal toe piece clean in half. Nothing happened. We were headed toward certain disaster at this altitude with no directional control and mere seconds to play with as the rock-face loomed.

 If I pulled the power now, momentum would crash us into the base of the rocky shoreline resulting in certain death. I must keep the seaplane flying “flat” enough toward the rock face allowing it to gain some valuable airspeed. Did we have enough time? When things are going horribly wrong the scene appears to take on an appearance of slow motion. Panic is no option; it becomes think, think, think. Those remaining precious seconds lasting forever, mercifully giving time to react. I could see David’s body language shift awkwardly, bracing his hand on the interior windshield support that ran from the roof of the cockpit through the instrument panel – something and anything solid to hold on to. We hurtle towards the land with threatening wires above. I heard a slightly shaken Scottish brogue ‘Oh Shit!’ from my passenger as we came within the last few yards. I heaved on the yoke and pumped the flap handle in that familiar movement memorised from flying in tight places. The little seaplane obediently leapt skyward, like its name the factory had declared on its tail, ‘Super Rocket’! The electrical wire disappeared inches underneath and a very audible gulp of air from both occupants through their headsets. ‘Damn that was a close one!’ David nearly shouted in excitement.”


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AVA

The meek shall inherit the earth, they say.

Bullshit. Look at me now. What do I have? Nothing.

I thought I wouldn’t get past a second heartbreak. I was wrong. I never should’ve closed myself off in tears when Lucas told me he loved me. I should’ve had faith he wouldn’t betray me.

Regaining his love will mean throwing away my pride, my armor and laying myself completely bare. I have to trust that he won’t crush me at my most vulnerable.

The attempt will leave me bleeding. It might just kill me. But I definitely won’t survive knowing that I didn’t fight for what I wanted: my future.

A future with the only man I ever loved…a man more important than the very air I breathe…

LUCAS

You gotta put yourself out there to get what you want.

My ass.

I bared my heart to Ava. I begged for her trust, her love.

Instead she shattered my soul.

She’s circling me, her pretty eyes vulnerable. She won’t fool me this time. I’ll never give her another shot. I’ll break her before she breaks me…


Note: The last book in Lucas and Ava’s epic love story! No cliffhanger.

Nobody can be you. You’re the only woman who’s made me yearn.”
The quiet intensity of his gaze and voice ripples over me. It soothes the wounds of my soul, and I close my eyes to savor the warm, sweet moment.
“When I saw you for the first time at that restaurant, it was like seeing my fate. My future.”
I grin. “You liked my body. I remember you checking me out.” An understatement; he’d stripped me bare with his eyes.
“Nice bodies and pretty faces are dime a dozen. You were different.” He takes a bite of his lunch and lets the silence stretch for a moment.
“Then why did you act like you didn’t want me back? You never wanted to stay the night or take me to meet your family or friends. If they’d seen me before the accident, maybe things would’ve turned out differently.”
He hesitates.
“You don’t want to talk about it,” I say finally.
His fingers twitch. “It’s not that. I’m trying to figure out how to say it so I can avoid looking like an idiot…” He sighs. “Okay, it was my fault. Even as I wanted you, I was fighting it. I felt like I didn’t deserve that kind of love.”
Then I know. “Your mother.”
“What do you mean?”
I shake my head. “Don’t do that. We promised to be honest with each other, and you’re not. It’s not fair.”
“You’re right, it’s not. I’m sorry. No, I don’t want to talk about her.”
“Okay.” He isn’t willing to open up yet, so I’m not going to push it. After all, we can’t continue to have mutual respect and honesty if we refuse to let the other person be. I’m afraid to push too hard and ruin what we have. “Then can you tell me about the deal between you and your father? What the tabloids said… It’s true, isn’t it?”
He nods, his shoulders relaxing a bit. “Basically. What they didn’t publish is that the whole thing came about because Dad was furious we missed his Wedding Number Six.”
“To some woman who isn’t even half his age.” I saw that part too on the Internet.
“I’d be surprised if she finished high school. She’s so young she could’ve been our sister.”
“He must love her, though.”
Lucas snorts a laugh. “He can’t stand his wives. His ego was hurt that we didn’t show. Blake, Ryder and Elizabeth opted to attend their cousin’s wedding—it was his first marriage, after all—and Elliot and I chose not to go because after a while, you don’t want to be part of your parents’ circus. But Dad wanted to make a point, and he knew he could use the portraits to get to us. There were some complications with Grandpa’s will, and the paintings went to my father, who thinks we’re all bunch of worthless losers, and that our grandfather was too soft on us.”
“That’s awful. He’s your father.”
“A reluctant father. I’m sure he regrets he didn’t ask his wives to get abortions.”
I gasp.
“We were just bargaining chips in the divorces, although it didn’t work out the way he wanted with me and Elliot.”
“Why not?”
“Because our mother didn’t try to win custody. She preferred a fatter alimony.”
My image of Lucas as a child, growing up in abundance with everything a person could want, crumbles. Everything online portrayed an enviable life, and I accepted it all without question. “So what’s so special about the portraits?” I ask. “Everyone seemed to be focused on how much they’re worth, but that’s not it, is it?”
“Their monetary value isn’t even a consideration for us.” He jabs the air with his fork. “I’m not denying they’re each worth millions of bucks, but let’s face it. We don’t need the money. If we get them, none of us will ever sell them. The value—to us—is entirely sentimental. Our grandfather painted them when we turned eighteen, and they show the potential and greatness he saw in us.”
“They must be amazing. I wish I could see the one of you.”
Lucas shifts his weight, then reaches for his beer. “It’s pretty romanticized. Grandpa only saw the best in everyone.”
“I don’t see the best in everyone, but I think you’re incredible.” I finish the last of my fries. My mind is made up. “Let’s get married.”
He stares at me as though I’ve asked him to climb Everest in the nude. “Ava…we can’t.”
“What? Why not?”
“I didn’t go after you to get the painting.”
“I know, and that’s fine. I just think that now—”
“I won’t marry you. Now yet.”
Well, this is unexpected. I cast about for the right argument. “But that means your father’s going to win.”
He shrugs.
“Don’t you want to win?”
“Yes.”
I narrow my eyes. “You aren’t marrying anyone else, Lucas Reed!”
“Absolutely not. I told you already, you’re the only one for me. But I’m not marrying you either, not until the six months is up, because I’m not giving you any cause to doubt my love for you again.”
Now it becomes clear. “Lucas… I won’t.”
But he isn’t listening. “My brothers and sister will just have to get over it. I’ll find a way to make it up to them.”
“But you were going to marry Faye…”
“I didn’t love her, Ava. It’s not the same thing.”
“You’re right, it’s not. This way, you get both the painting and the woman you really do love. So what’s the problem?”
“If anything happens between us because of the damned deal…” He inhales roughly. “I can’t go through…everything…again.”

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nadia Lee writes sexy, emotional contemporary romance. Born with a love for excellent food, travel and adventure, she has lived in four different countries, kissed stingrays, been bitten by a shark, ridden an elephant and petted tigers.

Currently, she shares a condo overlooking a small river and sakura trees in Japan with her husband and son. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading books by her favorite authors or planning another trip.

Stay in touch with her via her website, http://www.nadialee.net, or her blog www.nadialee.net/blog/

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