Saturday, April 18, 2015

Black Four by Kandi Steiner

Title: Black Number Four
Author: Kandi Steiner
Release Date: April 4, 2015
Find on Goodreads
Known as one of the youngest and most ambitious poker players in the country, Skyler Thorne has a reputation to uphold in Vegas this year. Her sole focus for spring semester is to perfect her game and get tournament ready – and have some fun with her sorority sisters, of course. Meeting a care-free pledge with incredible arms adds a whole new element of fun to her semester, but when a shocking discovery about his past surfaces, Skyler finds herself stuck in a game she wasn’t prepared to play.

Kip Jackson is on a mission from his father. His plan was to get in, have a little fun, and then get out – on to bigger and better things. A feisty girl with bright blue eyes wasn’t on his list of things to do, but she quickly moves her way up to the very top. When he realizes completing his dad’s mission means crushing her in the process, he must decide if his dreams are worth the risk – or if he even has the same dreams, at all.

Two secrets. Two hearts. Two hands being played in one twisted game of deceit.

When the cards are on the table, will anyone be left standing?

The perfect poker face can only hide them for so long.

We get to my apartment around noon and I throw together a couple of turkey sandwiches for us. By the time we finish eating, we’re both exhausted – both from paddleboarding and from not sleeping last night.
“Why don’t we take a shower and watch a movie?” I suggest as Skyler yawns.
“I don’t have any clothes here besides the ones I have on now and they’re all sandy.”
“You can borrow a pair of boxers and a shirt of mine.”
Skyler chews her lip, unsure. “I don’t know, I’m pretty tired.”
“So am I,” I say, standing and pulling her up with me. “So maybe we watch a movie and maybe we take a nap. Don’t leave yet. I barely see you during the week and I know there’s not many weekends where you don’t have sorority stuff going on.”
“I actually have a sisterhood event tonight.”
“See?” I pull her wrist and lead her toward my bedroom, which really is just my bed separated by hanging curtains on a rack. I rummage through my clothes until I find a clean shirt and pair of boxers, tossing them to her and pointing to the bathroom. “Towels are above the toilet in the cabinet, shampoo and shit’s in there.”
She still seems unsure, so I pull her into me and move the fallen strands of hair from her face. “Come on. Just for a few hours. You’ll feel better once you shower and I know you’re tired. You’re not going to get any sleep if you go home to your sorority house.”
At that she sighs and nods. “You’re probably right about that.”
I smile and nudge her toward the bathroom again.
“Fine,” she says. “But just for a little while. And no trying to ambush me in the shower, either.”
I hold up my hands in surrender. “I promise. You can shower in peace.”
“Mmm hmm,” she says, suspicious, but she walks to the bathroom and closes the door behind her.
I smile and start straightening my bed, turning on the TV to find something for us to watch. I’m flipping through the channels when I hear the shower turn on and the smile leaves my face. Suddenly, I’m completely aware of Skyler’s naked body in the other room.
Shaking my head, I focus on finding something to watch, willing my own body to behave. After a few minutes, I realize I’ve flipped through the channels three times now without stopping or even recognizing what I was seeing on the screen. I bite my lip hard, cross my arms, and pace.
Don’t do it. Don’t make this more complicated than it is. She trusts you, she’s opening up to you – that’s what you need from her. Poker. Poker. Poker.
That’s all.
I pace more. Back and forth. Back and forth. Before I know what I’m doing, my knuckles are knocking softly on the bathroom door. I have no idea what I’m going to say or what the fuck I’m doing, but I can’t stop my hands. The door opens slightly on the third knock, as if it wasn’t completely closed, and through the slit, I see Skyler.
She’s standing there shocked, her mouth open slightly as the water continues to drip down her body, running in rivers down over her breasts and meeting between her thighs. I swallow hard, unsure of my decision. I have nothing to ask, no reason to be staring at her through this door – but Skyler doesn’t cover herself, she doesn’t scream, she doesn’t tell me to get out.
I open the door a little further, still wondering what the hell I’m doing. I consider asking if she needs anything else, if she found a towel, something – but we both know I didn’t come in here to give her a towel.
“I suck at keeping promises,” I admit, just above a whisper, and I wish I could tell her I’m not just talking about the promise to not interrupt her shower.
“And I suck at pretending like I don’t want you.”
Hannah Trigwell & Nick Howard
Chapter 1: Ante Up
Scene: “Latching onto the transfer already?”
Hell Yeah
Midnight Red
Chapter 1: Ante Up
Scene:  “What do you say we make this party a little more interesting?”
Blank Space
Tyler Ward
Chapter 2: Lady Luck
Scene: “Passion can be a dangerous thing.”
Take U There
Jack U ft. Kiesza
Chapter 3: Ace
Scene: Ralph’s is packed when we arrive, which isn’t out of the ordinary for a Friday night.
Slow to Learn
Manchester Orchestra
Chapter 4: Deuces
Scene: I’ve been too damn distracted by how sexy she is when she’s schooling these tools.
Fifth Harmony
Chapter 5: Hot Table
Scene: There’s also the fact that I like being around him. I like it way more than I care to admit and that’s not good.
Jayme Dee
Chapter 5: Hot Table
Scene: He smiles and licks his lips, his eyes smoldering, which causes practically the entire chapter room to swoon.
Calvin Harris
Chapter 6: Nicely Played
Scene: But then I remember that I will hurt her, whether I want to or not. It will happen. It’s inevitable.
Becky G
Chapter 7: Two Can Play That Game
Scene: “How is it that you infuriate me yet turn me on at the same time?”
What Makes You Beautiful
Boyce Avenue
Chapter 8: Power Moves
Scene: “Hold me so I won’t float away?”
Colbie Caillat
Chapter 9: Poker Face
Scene: “We’re just trying to help,” Ashlei says.
Life of the Party
Shawn Mendes
Chapter 10: Weakness
Scene: “I don’t care about what people think, Skyler. I know you do, but I don’t.
Break Free
Ariana Grande
Chapter 11: Angle Shooter
Scene: There isn’t another option in this game, no matter how badly I wish there was.
Lay Me Down (acoustic)
Sam Smith
Chapter 12: Blank
Scene: How was I supposed to know the kind of drug I was getting into?
Bumper Cars
Alex & Sierra
Chapter 13: Bluffing
Scene: I hate this. I hate this so, so much.
Here We Go Again
Mat Kearney
Chapter 14: Tilt
Scene: “You’re coming home with me tonight.”
Chapter 15: No Limit
Scene: I have no idea what I’m doing.
Same Sea
Chapter 16: Black Number Four
Scene: “I never thought studying could be so sexy,”
Miley Cyrus
Chapter 16: Black Number Four
Scene: “You’re killing me, Sky,”
She Looks So Perfect
5 Seconds of Summer
Chapter 16: Black Number Four
Give Me Something
Alex & Siera
Chapter 16: Black Number Four
Scene: “Yeah, good luck with that game.
Cash Cash
Chapter 17: Bad Beat
Scene: And the rest of the world can just deal with it.
Jessie J
Chapter 17: Bad Beat
Scene: “And what would make it perfect-perfect
Blame It On Me
Chapter 17: Bad Beat
Scene: I can’t lose him.
Tenerife Sea
Ed Sheeran
Chapter 18: Rush
Scene: When we’re alone, that same electricity buzzes to life. The air feels tight, hot, charged.
All About You
Hilary Duff
Chapter 19: Game Changer
Scene: It’s crazy that a simple text can make my stomach flip like this, but it’s exactly what I needed.
Breathe Again
Sarah Bareilles
Chapter 19: Game Changer
Scene: I want him to fix it. To fix me.
It’s Not Over
Secondhand Serenade
Chapter 20: Downswing
Scene: “You don’t want to kiss me.” “Yes I do.”
Growing Up
Alex G
Chapter 21: Tell
Scene: As if I’m a glutton for punishment, I pull his oversized black t-shirt from my bag and slip it over my head, taking everything else off.
Glee Cast
Chapter 22: Freezeout
Scene: For a moment she just stares at me, and I just stare at her. We don’t wave or nod or even really acknowledge that we’re both looking. We just look.
The Sun is Rising
Britt Nicole
Chapter 23: Game Over
Scene: And somewhere in those ocean blue eyes of his, I find what I’ve been searching for.
Stay With Me
Chapter 23: Game Over
Scene: Love doesn’t care about the games we play.
Real Love
Clean Bandit & Jess Glynne
Chapter 24: Break Even
Scene: “I’m done leaving my life to chance. Black number four can suck it.”
Don’t Go Home Without Me
Epilogue: Heart
Scene: “I could get used to kisses like this.”
Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa with her husband. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer.

Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).

When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Alice in Wonderland High by Rachel Shane

Check out the promo event for Rachel Shane's YA Contemporary Retelling.

23111784Release date: April 18th 2015
Publisher: Merit Press

Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Alice suppresses her need for rebellion after a petition to start a farmer’s market receives more snickers than signatures. That is until Whitney Lapin, a girl who speaks in cryptic riddles and spends her free time turning abandoned warehouses into beautiful gardens, leads her on a rabbit trail into the underground–aka secret society–of Wonderland High. Curiouser and curiouser.

Even though Whitney’s group of teenage environmental vigilantes operates on the wrong side of the law, Alice has never felt more free to be herself. Soon she stomps on her good girl image by completing a series of environmental pranks to impress them: flooding the school and disguising a pig as a baby in order to smuggle it out of a testing facility. But the group refuses to help with the farmer’s market or reveal their hidden agenda. She wants to trust them, and she especially wants to trust (or maybe kiss) Chester Katz, a boy with a killer smile, a penchant for disappearing, and a secret that will really turn Alice‘s world backwards. When one group member tries to frame Alice for all the pranks, she must figure out their secret before she ends up in front of a jury that’s screaming, “Off with her head!”


The plan had seemed utterly attractive while lying in bed. Foolproof, even. Take the keys. Go inside. Find the information to link someone to the crime. Sole the case. What I hadn't factored into everything was guts, which happened to be something I lacked.

I paced in front of Town Hall, my heart pounding as if it was ready to escape my chest and ditch me completely. I paused in front of the rows of white rosebushes lining the entrance and took a deep breath.

You're not breaking and entering, I liked to myself. You have a key.

I counted to three and yanked the keys out of my pocket, but my hands were too clammy. The keys leapt out of my fingers and hit the ground with a metallic clink. 

I should go home and forget about Kingston's stupid-as-hell plan. I tried to move, but my feet wouldn't budge, weighed down by cemented desire. As scared as I was, I wanted to do this. I fumbled for my phone. 3:10 blinked back at me on the LED screen. If I had Chess's phone number, I would call him. Accomplices equaled encouragement.

But it wouldn't have mattered; Chess had refuted Kingston's idea. So had Whitney. If I called her, she'd try to talk me out of this. I knew what a bad idea it was. I'd broken up with my sense of reason when I first followed Whitney through the woods. Might as well descend even farther down the path of wrong and stupid. I let out a crazy laugh that echoed in the silent darkness.

Morality bites.

Before I could stop myself, I flipped through my cell phone until I found Kingston's number. It was absurd that Whitney had made me add my least favorite person's number when I still didn't have my own boyfriend's. Tonight, though, it came in handy.

"What?" he said when he picked up. He didn't sound tired, more like…prepared.

"Hey, it's Alice. I have a weird question."

"Wow. Didn't strike me as the booty-call type."

My nerves erupted out of my mouth in a laugh that sounded almost flirty. I covered it up with a cough. He was calling me crazy, and this was the first time he made sense. "I'm outside Town Hall."


"Yeah." The word came out all choked.

"Be right there."

"As soon as I hung up, the gravity of what I'd done hit my stomach like a cartoon anvil. I'd just committed to committing a felony. With my enemy.

Rachel Shane studied Creative Writing at Syracuse University and now works in digital publishing at in New York City. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, young daughter, and a basement full of books. ALICE IN WONDERLAND HIGH is her first novel. |


Friday, April 10, 2015

The Gifted and the Damned by Dana Michelle Burnett - Blog Tour

The Gifted and The Damned
(The Vampire Wars Series, Book #1)
by Dana Michelle Burnett


Seduction was her gift...He was her weakness...In the small town of Corydon Indiana, witches, seers, and shape shifters live hidden from the everyday world in plain sight. They live under the constant memory of the trials of Salem and live by a code of secrecy. 

Ruby Malone, the only siren ever born to her family of witches, held the hearts of many men in the palm of her hand, making her the talk of the supernatural community, but there was only one man that she wanted. Making seer Archer Wallace hers was the only thing Ruby cared about until a war between the gifted and the vampires turned her world upside down.
Suddenly, the world that Ruby knows is gone. Archer is off fighting in the war and Poe Corvus, a rebellious shape shifter with a past, tempts her to be the siren she was born to be.

Available for purchase at 


Ruby looked up at me, her green eyes glittering in the near darkness. My gaze fell on her red trembling lips.

Before I could stop myself, I was kissing her, forcing my tongue between her teeth. At first, she fought me, but then I felt her mold herself to me and press herself against my groin.

There was no waiting. I pulled at her clothes, almost tearing them off her. Her creamy flesh beckoned me, smelling of earth and sin. I tore away my own clothes so that I could hold her warm body against my naked skin.

She reached up and took my face in her hands, “Look at me.”

I looked down into her green eyes, feeling my very soul pull towards her. “What?”

Ruby brushed her hand over my cheek, “I do love you. I love you so much that it scares me sometimes.”

I was kissing her then, trailing my lips along her jawline and down to her neck. I could hear her unsteady and ragged breaths as I licked at her collarbone, but my own breath was coming just as fast.

I eased her down onto the floor and stretched out beside her. My lips found her breast, she cried out as they closed around her nipple. I brought my hand up to knead the other breast, pinching that nipple between my first finger and thumb. Ruby arched her back and twisted her fingers in my hair as my tongue circled her nipple before taking it between my teeth in a gentle nibble.

I pulled her closer, sliding my hand under her so that I could clutch her buttock. I ran one finger along her cleft, teasing her nether opening.

She drew in a sharp breath and bucked her hips upwards as if trying to get closer to me. I ached with my need to impale her, to fill her completely.

I groaned, low and animalistic. I shifted so that I could move further down, leaning over her and brushing her hair off her neck and shoulders.

“Can I really trust you?” I asked as I teased her skin with a feather touch.

“Yes,” she gasped. “Yes.”

I brought my lips back down to her lips and then trailed along her throat, between her breasts, and stopped just below her stomach. I positioned myself between her legs, eased her thighs apart, and then lowered my mouth to her wet slit.

Ruby gasped as I buried myself there, lapping at her inner folds. She bucked and cried out as I held her down and worked her over. She was still twitching when I moved back up her body, kissing her hot flesh, as I took her.

She clutched at my shoulders, pulling me closer. I felt her come apart again and again until I could not hold back anymore. I swore as a shudder overtook me.
We remained on the floor, Ruby’s head against my chest. My fingers tracing the ridges of her spine as I listened to our hearts beat in time.

About The Author

Dana Michelle Burnett spent most of her life writing short stories and sharing them with family and friends. Over the years, her work was published in numerous commercial and literary magazines including Just Labs, Mindprints: A Literary Journal, Foliate Oak, and many more. Her short story John Lennon and the Chicken Holocaust was include in The Best of Foliate Oak 2006.  

Dana Michelle's Spiritus Series introduced the idea of a ghostly romance and became a Kindle bestselling series. Her Gypsy Fairy Tale Series combined the magic of the Tuatha De Danann and the Irish Travellers and the first book in the series, Once, was included in the Faery Realms Multi-Author Box Set. With this new series, Dana Michelle dives into the trials and tribulations surrounded the paranormal gifted during a war with vampires.

She's an avid reader of anything dark and romantic. Dana Michelle lives in Southern Indiana with her dancing diva daughter and an assortment of pets.
Dana Michelle loves connecting with her readers. 

You can find Dana at 



Presented By

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Southern Fried Wiccan by S.P. Sipal

Southern Fried Wiccan
by S.P. Sipal 
Release Date: March 2015

Summary from Goodreads:

Cilla Swaney is thrilled to return stateside, where she can hang up her military-brat boots for good. Finally, she’ll be free to explore her own interests—magick and Wicca. But when she arrives at her grandma’s farm, Cilla discovers that life in the South isn’t quite what she expected. At least while country hopping, she never had to drink G-ma’s crazy fermented concoctions, attend church youth group, make co-op deliveries...or share her locker with a snake-loving, fire-lighting, grimoire-stealing Goth girl…

…Who later invites her to a coven that Cilla’s not sure she has the guts to attend. But then Emilio, the dark-haired hottie from her charter school, shows up and awakens her inner goddess. Finally, Cilla starts believing in her ability to conjure magick. Until…

…All Hades breaks loose. A prank goes wrong during their high school production of Macbeth, and although it seems Emilio is to blame, Cilla and Goth pay the price. Will Cilla be able to keep the boy, her coven, and the trust of her family? Or will this Southern Wiccan get battered and fried?

Long Excerpt for Southern Fried Wiccan by S.P. Sipal.
From the First Scene, Chapter One

My troubles all started the day my grandma discovered my grimoire in her armoire. I’d flung it in when she’d called up the stairs for me to “hightail it out to the barn” and feed the lambs.
Like I’m supposed to know what “hightail it” means. Me, Cilla Swaney, world-traveling military brat. Though I spoke four languages, I hadn’t yet mastered my native Southern.
Until three weeks and five days ago, I’d only visited I’m-So-Bored-I-Think-I’ll-Die-ville, North Carolina, on the few―and thank God brief―furloughs Dad got between posts. Now I was stuck here. Forever. Or at least until Mom closed on our new house in Chapel Hill, which seemed to be taking forever.
I’d finally cornered the littlest of Grandma’s late-born lambs, Lemon Balm, between the wood fence and the red barn wall, when up at the house the back screen door squeaked, and G-ma’s voice rang out loud and strident, “Priscilla Lou Swaney. You have some explaining to do!”
I jerked, and warm milk bathed the back of my hand as LB hungrily nuzzled the emptying bottle I still held to his mouth. All three names. Oh mein Gott, was I in for it.
My stomach did an odd jittery thing as I peeked around the side of the barn. G-ma’s brown and green tie-dye skirt swirled about her mucked-up barn boots as she crunched down the gravel path leading from the ancient white farmhouse. Her wire headset plugged into the cordless phone that was clipped in its permanent position at her waist flapped irritably with her movements.
That’s another thing. Why couldn’t I have a grandma like the other American kids I knew? You know, a normal one—a gray-haired old lady who would put on a red hat and go out to gossip with her retired friends. Or better yet, one who would buy me all the things my parents wouldn’t and let me veg out all day eating junk food. No, mine had to be some sort of leftover hippie who ran her own organic farm and forced me to drink all these vile fermented beverages she brewed up in her kitchen. Really.
“Let me call you back about the raw cheese, Hector. I’ve got to deal with a little problem first.”
Stopping right in front of me—the “little problem”—and not a bit out of breath, G-ma clicked off her phone and thrust the dog-eared pages of Teen Magick into my face. The book almost, but unfortunately not fully, covered the narrow-eyed look in her green eyes. Eyes the same color as mine; the only thing we had in common.
She shook the grimoire in my face. “What is this nonsense?”
Panic gagged me. My fingers itched to snatch my new spell book from her, but that would have been a dead giveaway.
She thumbed through the first few pages. “‘A Witch’s First Grimoire.’ ‘Pox your Pimples.’ ‘Divine Tomorrow’s Test.’ ‘Ritual for Samhain.’ What are you doing with this trash?”
I’d been so thrilled when I’d found the tiny Spirit Rising bookstore while shopping with Mom near UNC. This book had called to me from the window display. If only I’d bought it after Mom had closed on the house and we were no longer staying at G-ma’s.
“Uh.” I wracked my brain as I bent over the lamb, his soft head tickling where he rubbed against my bare legs below my cut-offs. “That…that’s a book I’m reading for research.”
“Research for what?” She waved at a buzzing fly, and I caught a whiff of the milk kefir she’d been fermenting earlier. “School doesn’t start for another week. And watch out! Lemon Balm is about to knock over the milk pail.”
I patted LB on his butt, sending him galloping off to the dry summer pasture while giving myself time to whip up a better explanation. “Well, see, before we left Dad in Izmir, he told me that one of his new airmen claimed to be a Wiccan and asked me to look into it, see if he had any reason to be concerned.”
It wasn’t a lie exactly. I mean, Dad had voiced concern over this eighteen-year-old private I’d been hanging with. Of course, Dad had been freaking about my “seeing” a guy three years older. He’d have really freaked if he’d known his airman was teaching me more about casting enchanted circles than giving heated glances. As if an older guy would notice a geek like me anyway.

About the Author

Born and raised in North Carolina, Susan Sipal had to travel halfway across the world and return home to embrace her father and grandfather's penchant for telling a tall tale. After having lived with her husband in his homeland of Turkey for many years, she suddenly saw the world with new eyes and had to write about it.

Perhaps it was the emptiness of the Library of Celsus at Ephesus that cried out to be refilled, or the myths surrounding the ancient Temple of Artemis, but she's been writing stories filled with myth and mystery ever since. She can't wait to share Southern Fried Wiccan with readers in March 2015.

Author Links:

Book Tour Organized by:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Release Day Blitz - The Gifted and the Damned by Dana Michelle Burnett

The Gifted and The Damned 
(The Vampire Wars Series, Book #1)
by Dana Michelle Burnett

Seduction was her gift...He was her weakness...
In the small town of Corydon Indiana, witches, seers, and shape shifters live hidden from the everyday world in plain sight. They live under the constant memory of the trials of Salem and live by a code of secrecy. 

Ruby Malone, the only siren ever born to her family of witches, held the hearts of many men in the palm of her hand, making her the talk of the supernatural community, but there was only one man that she wanted. Making seer Archer Wallace hers was the only thing Ruby cared about until a war between the gifted and the vampires turned her world upside down.

Suddenly, the world that Ruby knows is gone. Archer is off fighting in the war and Poe Corvus, a rebellious shape shifter with a past, tempts her to be the siren she was born to be.

Available for purchase at 


All throughout the morning, I did what I could for the wounded using all of our meager first aid supplies and then finally just tearing the bed sheets into long strips and using those for bandages. I asked every person that was cognitive enough for news.

“Where are the vampires? Are they going to take the city?”

Dim eyes looked up at me, “It’s not good. We're losing.”

“Losing?” I tried to let the implications of that word sink in. We were losing... The vampires were going to win...

I looked at all the wounded and dying, seeing what the vampires were capable of and felt sick. “What am I supposed to do?”

“What can any of us do? Just wait them out.”

Wait them out? We’re losing the war... And tonight the vampires will come and they will smell all of this blood...

I wiped the sweat from my brow and shook my head, “You all can’t stay here. It’s just... There’s so much blood...”

“I understand,” the leader said. “Let us rest for an hour or so, and those of us that can walk will start leaving.”

“And the rest?”

He looked around at the people sleeping or unable to sleep because they were writhing in agony, “I've put a call out. Cars will be coming shortly to get the ones that can’t leave on their own.”

The morning dragged on into the afternoon, the groans of the wounded and the whimpers of the dying created a constant hum that filled the air and pushed everything else out. I carried glasses of water back and forth, stepping over those lying in the floor as I moved from room to room.

I didn't even know were Melina was anymore and I didn't care. All I did was wrap clumsy bandages and dish out what food we had. The sun sank lower and lower as the number of people dwindled, but they move so slowly! I wished they would hurry so I could clean the blood soaked floor before sunset.

As I moved from the living room to the hall with another armful of blood soaked rags, one of the grimy creatures squirming on the floor reached out and grabbed at the hem of my jeans. I felt myself cringe, I wanted to pull away from his dirty hand, but when I looked down, I saw a familiar pair black eyes looking up at me.

I dropped down beside him. His shoulder and neck were bleeding. “My God Poe, what happened?”

“I wasn't... I wasn't quick enough.” He mumbled feverishly, “I just wasn't...”

I brushed his hair out of his eyes, “What were you doing fighting anyway? I thought you were a scout.”

“Things changed.”

He fainted into a twitching sort of sleep. I got up, went into the kitchen for a pan of water, and clean towels. I returned and knelt down beside him, cleaning his wounds and applying pressure to stop the bleeding.

Slowly he opened his eyes and focused on my face as I hovered over him. He looked up at me with vacant eyes, “It’s bad, isn't it?”

“No,” I said with a shrug. “I've seen several worse off.”

“Liar,” he said with a weak smile. “You always were such a bad liar.”

I looked down at him and suddenly felt like crying. I looked away and added another towel to the soppy mess on his shoulder.

Poe lifted his uninjured arm so that his hand could brush my cheek.

“How can you still be so beautiful in the middle of all this mess?” Poe mumbled, “Archer Wallace is a fool...”

I looked around nervously, hoping wherever Melina was that she wasn't close enough to hear him.

“Don’t talk,” I whispered. “Please don’t talk.”

“I have to,” he said with a grimace. “There won’t be any second chances... I love you Ruby Malone... I don’t know why and I wish to hell I didn't...”

I couldn't speak. His hand gripped my hair and pulled me down to him. He strained to lift his head enough for our lips to meet.

It was a soft kiss, but suddenly I felt as though I was falling. My breath caught and my heart pounded in my chest as if trying to break free from my ribs.

I willed my body not to respond. This was Poe...And it was Archer that I loved...Archer...

Poe released my hair as he fell back, slipping into unconsciousness. I looked in his handsome face, looking so much younger than his years, smeared with his own blood.

I’m sick of this war...

I sat with him for the next two hours, holding towels over his injuries until two men lifted him to take him to a waiting car.

I watched as his head fell back and flopped from side to side, as they moved him.
“Will he be okay?” I asked as I followed them to the door.

“Don’t know,” one of the men said. “Doesn't look good.”

I reached up and touched my lips as they took him out to the waiting car.

About The Author

Dana Michelle Burnett spent most of her life writing short stories and sharing them with family and friends. Over the years, her work was published in numerous commercial and literary magazines including Just Labs, Mindprints: A Literary Journal, Foliate Oak, and many more. Her short story John Lennon and the Chicken Holocaust was include in The Best of Foliate Oak 2006.  

Dana Michelle's Spiritus Series introduced the idea of a ghostly romance and became a Kindle bestselling series. Her Gypsy Fairy Tale Series combined the magic of the Tuatha De Danann and the Irish Travellers and the first book in the series,Once, was included in the Faery Realms Multi-Author Box Set. With this new series, Dana Michelle dives into the trials and tribulations surrounded the paranormal gifted during a war with vampires.

She's an avid reader of anything dark and romantic. Dana Michelle lives in Southern Indiana with her dancing diva daughter and an assortment of pets.
Dana Michelle loves connecting with her readers. 

You can find Dana at 


Presented By

Book Blitz - The Extraction List by Renee N. Meland

 photo The-Extraction-List-Blitz-Banner.png

 photo The-Extraction-List.jpg
Title:  The Extraction List
Series:  The Extraction List Series, Book 1
Author:   Renee N. Meland
Published:  May 9th, 2014
Publisher:  Quandary Hill Publishing
Genre:  Sci-Fi Dystopian
Content Warning:  Minor violence and adult language
Recommended Age:  13+

When fifteen-year-old Riley Crane finds out her best friend Olivia is being abused at home, she knows just who to turn to: her mother Claire, writer and spokesperson for President Gray’s Parental Morality Law. Under this law, Task Force Officers remove children from their homes if their parents do not meet certain guidelines, taking them to government-run boarding schools. Once they arrive, supervisors rehabilitate them, turning them into productive members of society. Or at least that was how it was supposed to work…
Now, after a government official threatens to make Riley the law’s latest victim, Riley and Claire must rely on Cain Foley, a gifted killer with a tongue as sharp as the knives he carries, to get them out of America alive. Though he slices through men’s necks as if they are warm butter, Riley can’t seem to keep her cheeks from flushing every time he speaks. But when they stumble upon a deserted boarding school, Riley sees that escaping the country is only part of their problem. Together, Riley and Cain figure out that a killer can save a life, and a mother can damn a nation.

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About the Author:
Renee N. Meland lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two dogs. She is currently working on the third book in The Extraction List Series (the second is available now). Her favorite obsessions are Rome, learning new recipes, and exploring the world around her. She is an avid reader of speculative fiction, and believes that telling stories is the best job in the world.

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Excerpt from The Extraction List by Renee N. Meland:
Blackness covered the bar from top to bottom: black walls, black furniture. The only color came from the faces of the sweaty, shiny patrons who looked like they had seen better days. They didn’t seem to mind being surrounded by darkness. Most of them just stared at their beer mugs anyway, so I guessed the d├ęcor didn’t make much difference. The paint on the walls dangled off in flakes like fingernail polish, and I fought off the urge to go pick at it.
I kept my eyes straight ahead as we made our way toward the bartender. His head had a big gap in the middle where hair should be, and the hair that remained on the sides overlapped the top of his ears. His shirt had once been white, but streaks of yellow lined the armpits and stretched downward, much like his skin: overused and under-cared-for.
Bo set his bag on an empty barstool and waited for the bartender to turn around. His back was to us, but I could see that he was drying a glass over and over again. Mom waved at him. “Excuse me, where can we find a man named Cain?”
I was facing away from the bar’s customers, but I could swear I felt them staring at us after Mom spoke, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. The bartender set his glass down hard. He turned his greasy face toward us. And laughed.
“Haha, lady…you’re in waaay over your head. If Cain wants to find you, he’ll find you. Lookin’ like he already did.” His eyes moved toward the barstool where the bag of money had been. The stool sat empty.
“Oh my God! Where’d it go? Bo!” Mom’s head swirled around. Bo glared at the bartender.
“Don’t look at me, man, I didn’t take it. SHE did.” He pointed toward a doorway at the back of the bar. The beautiful, dark haired woman from the picture stood there, letting the bag dangle gracefully from her long fingers. She smiled.
“Misplace something?” She let the bag fall from her grasp, and Bo jetted over to grab it. When he was bending over to get it, Jordyn shoved it away with her foot and made him chase it a couple times before she gave in. The bartender found himself laughing at us once again. “Follow me.”
The doorway Jordyn had been standing in front of lead to a staircase. We formed a line behind her and followed her down into the darkness. Though there were no lights, Jordyn hit every step. I tried hard not to stumble but managed to snag my toe more than once.
Jordyn lectured us: “Did you see how easy that was? The three of you are going to have to be more careful if you’re gonna make this trip. I can give you clothes, shoes, and a route, but I can’t give you plain old common sense. Even Cain can’t give that to you.”
I almost tumbled headfirst down the stairs, but Jordyn caught me and stood me back up.
“I’ve never seen anything like it…just coming into a bar with a bag of money dressed like THIS?” She picked at Bo’s suit with two fingers, like he was infested with some contagious disease. Her eyes then turned to Mom. Jordyn looked her up and down, from her stilettos to the bobby pins that held her hair back. “Were you TRYING to stick out like a skinny kid at fat camp? If I hadn’t been there, those guys woulda stolen your money and had you thinkin’ they did you a favor. Then we’d all be screwed.”
When we reached the bottom of the stairs, I glanced backward. The staircase stood almost vertical, and it reminded me of an old fairy tale where a bear cub disobeyed the rules and wandered deeper and deeper into a cave. I remembered it didn’t turn out too well for the bear.
The room only had one light, and it hovered above a gray metal desk at the far end of the room. Though the desk was free of any office supplies that would help someone put it to some use, I saw a man sitting at it with his back toward us. He slouched in his chair.
Five cots lined the room, and each had only one thin blanket. The blankets barely covered the tops of the cots, and the fabric was stained brown with age. A black backpack sat at the edge of each of our beds. The cement floor clinked with each footstep, and I doubted we would be able to stay warm that night. The heat outside couldn’t seem to find its way in, and there was a chill in the basement that went straight to my bones.
Or maybe it was him.
“Cain, they’re here.”
The man turned in his chair.
I recognized him from the photo Bo showed us, but the photo had not done him any justice. His eyes were the blue of blue M&Ms. I didn’t think they made people with eyes that blue. The way he moved his hands was like they floated through the air, in one endless, graceful motion. His hair was the brown like the brown of Mom’s favorite dresser, the one where all the pictures of Aidan rested. I stifled a smile.
I noticed a long tattoo on his forearm, stretching the length of it in a deep brown, nearly matching his hair. I never wanted a tattoo myself, but I was always curious about what people loved enough to paint on their bodies with ink and needles. His tattoo was a long rectangle, stopping a couple inches below the top of his wrist to stretch out into two sections that wrapped around to the other side of his forearm. The long rectangle started again after the two offshoots jetted off, and the whole shape was covered in complicated patterns. I stared at it for a long time, squinting so that I could make out every detail. After he moved his arm slightly, I could see the other side of the tattoo. I realized the shape was a cross.
“Money?” Cain didn’t move from his slouching position. His fingers rested intertwined in front of his chest. Jordyn snatched the bag away from Bo and set it on the desk. It landed with a thud. Finally, Cain shot out of his chair and ripped the bag open while keeping his eyes on Bo. “Not nearly enough for your lot.” Cain pushed the bag over the side of the desk and let the money spill onto the floor in a storm of green snowflakes.
Bo’s voice quivered. “What do you mean? This is your asking price. So this is what I brought.”
Bo’s voice wasn’t supposed to quiver.
Cain smiled widely, in that way that people do when they think the person they’re speaking to is a complete idiot. “Look, we’ve got one government rat, that would be you, and a woman who’s the face of all this mess. With more risk comes more reward.” He smiled and gestured around the room. “That is supposed to be the American dream you people work for after all, right?” He stepped in a wad of green money and gently rubbed it into the floor with his foot. After he was done, he sat back at his desk, looking rather pleased with himself.
Mom stepped toward him. “Please, we swear we’ll get you your money. It’s not my daughter’s fault. We’re all she’s got!” Mom tried to stand strong and still, but I could see her hands were shaking.
I marched past her.
When I reached Cain’s desk, I hopped right on top of it and sat down. He may have been good-looking (really…really good-looking), but I wasn’t thrilled about the way he was talking to us. “You’re kind of a jerk, aren’t you? My mom’s been through enough tonight. If you aren’t gonna help us, just say so.”
He looked at me square in the eyes.
I stared right back.
He grinned. “I’d have to agree. Not much fear in you, huh, Riley?”
I shook my head. Right then another piece of information about him crept out of my memory, another clue that would help me rediscover him. Crossing my legs in a sitting yoga pose, I asked, “Did you really kill a man in a room with nothing but an orange, a glass of water, and a toothpick?”
Cain’s eyes met mine. He laughed. His laugh sounded like a children’s choir singing, short little notes one right after the other.
He leaned toward me like he was going to tell me a secret. I could smell fresh mint as his breath brushed my face. “Ah, you must have seen that TV report about me.” Of course. I had seen a documentary on him a few months earlier. And if I remembered correctly, the reporter didn’t exactly praise him with flying colors. “Mostly garbage, some truth.” He paused, running his hand gently across his desk. “I like you, so I’ll tell you…it was a grapefruit…and three men.” He winked. Looking around my shoulder, he declared, “Alright, I’ll do it.”
Mom thanked Cain for his understanding, but as the words fell from her lips, she gestured for me to back away from him and stand beside her. I could see Jordyn roll her eyes from across the room. She must not have gotten the message about leaving my mom alone. “Why don’t you want to help us? What did we do to you?”
“It’s nothing personal, just worried about how we are going to get THESE two across the border,” she pointed to Bo and Mom, “without getting ourselves killed in the process.” After looking them over once more, she sighed. “I have my work cut out for me. I hope nobody here has an aversion to dressing down.”
Cain smiled. “That’s why you’re the best, Jordyn. Get them dressed and ready…we’re leaving at first light. I need them ready to run out the door the minute I say so. Oh and you…” He pointed at Bo, then at the money on the floor. “Pick that up.”
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