Finding Me – Blitz

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Salty Key Inn Series, Book 1
Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing
Published: February 2017
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Sheena Sullivan Morelli and her sisters, Darcy and Regan, receive the unexpected news that their Uncle Gavin Sullivan, the black sheep of the family, has left them a hotel on the Gulf coast of Florida. The gift comes with a twist. They must live together for one year at the hotel and prepare the hotel to receive guests within a year. Sheena, eager to escape her role of unappreciated wife and mother, can’t wait for the opportunity to find herself. Dreams of sitting on the beach sipping margaritas are shattered when they see the property in need of renovation. But they begin their work of meeting the challenge. If they succeed, the bulk of Gavin’s estate will be theirs. Facing the unexpected, working together, the three sisters learn a lot about each other and the gift of family love.
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Other Books in the Salty Key Inn Series:
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Finding My Way
Salty Key Inn Series, Book 2
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing
Published: June 2017
Darcy Sullivan and her two sisters continue to work hard at the Salty Key Inn, the small, Florida hotel they unexpectedly inherited. In order to inherit the rest of Uncle Gavin’s sizeable estate, they must meet his challenge to open the neglected hotel by the end of the year. Darcy figures once they meet the challenge, she’ll take off, travel the world, and maybe, just maybe, begin writing the world’s best novel. When she meets Nick Howard, an older man who is a reporter for the local newspaper and takes over his weekly column, her life changes. Under his tutelage, she writes about local residents, learning to see people in a different way—especially after meeting a cousin no one knew about. Her joy at having the part-time job that’s always been her dream is shattered when she learns Nick is dying. For support, she turns to Austin Blakely, whose grandmother is terminally ill, and through their growing relationship, comes to understand what true love is.
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Finding Love
Salty Key Inn Series, Book 3
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing
Published: February 2018

As Regan Sullivan continues to work with her sisters, Sheena and Darcy, to meet their Uncle Gavin’s challenge to make the Salty Key Inn a success, she wonders why she can never find the man of her dreams. Her sisters are happily settled with men they love. Why can’t she do the same? When she’s involved in a motorcycle accident with Brian Harwood, Regan learns to think differently about both her appearance and herself. And as she deals with her injuries and helps Brian recover from the accident she feels guilty about causing, Regan discovers that the love she’s always sought has been there all along.
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Excerpt
 CHAPTER ONE
SHEENA
In early January, Sheena Morelli sat with her two sisters in a conference room of the Boston law office of Lowell, Peabody and Wilson, waiting to meet with Archibald Wilson himself.
“Do either of you have any idea why we’re really here?” said her youngest sister, Regan. “The letter from Mr. Wilson said something about a reading of a will. But that doesn’t make sense to me. I didn’t even know Gavin Sullivan.”
“Me, neither. He’s probably some rich uncle leaving us a lot of money,” teased Darcy, the typical middle sister, who was always kidding around.
Sheena laughed with her. The three Sullivan sisters had no rich relatives that they knew of in their modest family. They were hard workers who relied on only themselves to make it through life. Well, thought Sheena, maybe Regan wasn’t as reliable as she and Darcy. As the baby of the family, Regan had always been a bit spoiled. At twenty-two and eager to escape her old life in Boston, Regan wasn’t about to spend too much time with the family. This time, though, at the formal request of Mr. Wilson, Regan had dutifully left New York City to come to “Bean Town.”
As Sheena waited in the conference room for Mr. Wilson to show up, she studied Regan out of the corner of her eye. With her long, black hair, big, violet-blue eyes, and delicate Sullivan features, she was a knockout—a Liz Taylor look-alike.
Darcy sat on the other side of Sheena in a stiff-backed chair. Studying Darcy’s blue eyes, red hair, and freckled nose, Sheena thought of her as cute…and funny…and maybe a little annoying, though everyone seemed to love Darcy’s sassy attitude. At twenty-six, Darcy claimed she hadn’t found her true calling. Whatever that meant.
Sheena had found her calling in a hurry when she got pregnant as she was starting college, where she’d planned to take nursing courses. Ironic as it was, her wanting to become a nurse and getting caught like that, had changed many things for her. Now, at thirty-six and with a sixteen-year-old son and a fourteen-year-old daughter, she still hadn’t recovered from losing her dream.
She straightened in her chair as a tall, gray-haired man entered the room carrying a file of papers.
“Good morning, ladies. I’m Archibald Wilson, the lawyer representing Gavin Sullivan. I’m pleased you all could attend this reading of his will,” he announced in a bass voice. He looked the three of them over critically. “Which one of you is Sheena Sullivan Morelli?”
She raised her hand. “I’m Sheena. Do you mean the ‘Big G’ Sullivan?”
Wide-eyed, her sisters released loud gasps. The name “Big G Sullivan” had been mentioned in the family on rare occasions, and only when her father and his two other brothers had had too many beers. And then it was never kindly.
Mr. Wilson nodded with satisfaction. “Yes, that’s my client. Sheena, though all three of you are beneficiaries, I will address you on most of the issues, as it pertains to the specific language of the will.”
Sheena sat back in her chair, her mind spinning. This scene seemed so surreal. Their father had broken his relationship with this brother years ago. He’d always said his brother was a loser, someone he could never trust.
“He’s left something for us?” said Darcy. “I was only teasing about such a thing.”
The lawyer studied Darcy a moment, took a seat facing the three of them on the other side of the small conference table, and opened the file he had carried in.
He began to speak: “I, Gavin R. Sullivan, of the State of Florida, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make, publish, and declare this to be my Last Will and Testament…”
Certain words faded in and out of Sheena’s shocked state of mind. Though her sisters might have been too young to remember him, she had a clear image of the big, jovial man who’d captivated her with his smile, his belly laughs, and the way her father grew quiet when they were in the same room together. On one particular visit, the “Big G”, as he was known, gave her a stuffed monkey that she’d kept on her bed for years. It wasn’t until the fur on the monkey was worn off that she’d noticed a seam was tearing. One day, while she was probing the hole, a gold coin fell out.
Sheena showed the coin to her mother, who snatched it away and whispered, “Don’t tell anyone about this. It’s very valuable. Someday you’ll need it. Until then, I’ll keep it safe for you. Your uncle loves you very much.” As her father walked through the doorway, her mother held a finger to her lips.
Until now, Sheena had forgotten all about the coin.
Archibald Wilson’s voice brought her back to the present. “Sheena, you, Darcy, and Regan are now the legal owners of the Salty Key Inn, but you, Sheena, will be in charge of taking over the small hotel in Florida, as your uncle directed in his will. Is that understood by the three of you?”
Sheena and her sisters dutifully bobbed their heads. The bewilderment on her sisters’ faces matched her own feelings. How in the world were the three of them going to run a hotel?
“Remember,” Mr. Wilson warned them, “the hotel may not be sold for a period of one year. And the three of you must live there together for that entire time if you are to have a share in the rest of his sizeable estate, the details of which will remain undisclosed until the end of your year in Florida. You have just two weeks to prepare. In conversations I had with him in setting up the will, I believe Gavin Sullivan intended for this to be a life lesson for each of you.”
“Whoa! Wait a minute! What about the lease on the condo I share with two of my friends? I can’t just walk away from that,” said Darcy.
“And mine?” said Regan.
The lawyer nodded. “Read over the conditions of the will. Any expenses like that will be taken care of by Gavin’s estate. All expenses as you settle in will be handled through me. But, beware, there will be hidden tests for you throughout this entire process. Tests that could make a lot of difference to each of you.”
Sheena exchanged worried glances with her sisters. She wished she’d asked their mother for more information about the uncle she was never to mention. And now it was too late. Their mother had died a little over a year ago.
“Live together in Florida for a whole year? Was Uncle Gavin crazy when he set up this deal?”
exclaimed Darcy. Her indignation was understandable.
Mr. Wilson stood. “I realize you all have a lot to talk about, a lot to think about. And let me know if you need any further clarification of the terms of the will. You are welcome to continue using this conference room, and please feel free to help yourself to any of the refreshments on the side table.” His lips curved with a touch of humor in what had been a mostly expressionless face. “Enjoy the challenge.”
After Mr. Wilson left them, Sheena sank back into her chair. Her mind raced at the thought of suddenly leaving Boston to go live with her sisters in Florida for an entire year. How could she do that? It would be difficult for her on many levels. They were sisters, after all, and like sisters everywhere, being together for too long sometimes caused battles to erupt. More than that, she had a family. And her husband, Tony, wouldn’t like the idea at all. Her children even less.
“What a joke,” said Darcy, shaking her head. “Living with the two of you for an entire year? Running a hotel? No way. And, Sheena, Tony would never allow you to do something like this. You’re what he calls ‘the Mrs’. And what about the kids?”
Sheena glared at Darcy. “Wait a minute! What did you mean by that ‘Mrs.’ remark?”
“Don’t take it the wrong way,” urged Regan. “It’s just that your family depends on you for everything. Especially Tony.”
Deep in thought, Sheena remained quiet. Tony was a good man who prided himself on always doing the right thing. And he expected her to fulfill what he thought was her proper role.
Though their relationship was still new when she got pregnant, Tony had stepped right up and offered to marry her to prevent her mother’s conservative church friends from counting on their fingers how long it took for their first baby to appear. It helped that their son, Michael Morelli, had started his life in the outside world a little late. Still, Sheena had always appreciated Tony’s consideration.
A worried sigh escaped her. She knew Tony wouldn’t support her being away from their family for an entire year. That would be going against his idea of her in the proper role of taking care of their family. And yet, with his business recently doing poorly, it might be an answer to their prayers—though Tony’s fragile ego might prevent her from actually saying so.
“What about you two?” Sheena asked. “You’ll have to quit your jobs. What then?”
Regan shrugged. “I don’t care. My job is boring—answering phone calls, greeting people and all. They’ll just find another receptionist to take my place.”
Darcy shook her head. “Receptionist? You were so much more than that. More like some kind of hostess with all those special meetings you helped them with. When I visited you in New York, I witnessed how it was—you serving them drinks before they went out to some business dinner.”
“What about you, Darcy?” Sheena asked. “You’ve got a very good job working in IT.”
Darcy grimaced. “Actually, I don’t like it very much. Working with numbers and codes all day isn’t that exciting. Mom was always so proud of me and my job that I didn’t dare tell her I wasn’t happy there. But, with her gone, I’ve been thinking of doing something else.” She smiled. “Maybe this whole thing isn’t dumb after all. Maybe this will be the beginning of something new for all of us.”
Sheena returned her smile. Put this way, it sounded wonderful. If, only…
###
 
About the Author

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Judith Keim was born and raised in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Idaho with her husband and long-haired dachshund, Winston, and other members of her family. Growing up, books were always present – being read, ready to go back to the library or about to be discovered. Information from the books was shared in general conversation, giving everyone in her family a wealth of knowledge and a lot of imagination. Perhaps that is why she was drawn to the idea of writing stories early on. Judith particularly loves to write novels about women who face unexpected challenges with strength and find love along the way.
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The Storyteller’s Throne – Virtual Book Tour

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New Adult Sci-Fi
Date Published: May 14, 2018
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A science Fiction novel tangled in the psychology of being human and the vulnerability of an unconventional Love story
Grace was born a storyteller with a beautifully brilliant mind. Trauma twisted her reality into its own tale of darkness. Now, at eighteen, Grace has found herself on the shores of a shadow world created to heal a generation. A world whose purpose is to release our emotions from the bonds of youth.
But she is not alone. It’s a world inhabited by others, those working on their own hearts and one other like herself. An amazing and yet afflicted empath and musician by the name of Kai that Grace feels inexplicably drawn to.
Will she be able to handle the suppressed memories of her youth? Accept the vulnerability necessary to explore her own heart and that of another? Fulfill the true purpose it seems she is destined to serve?
Come along with Grace as she learns to uncover her past, harness her gift, open her heart to love and embrace her future.
About the Author

Jocelyn Bates is a homeschooling mama to three and an arts therapist. She lives in NJ and writes in the elusive quiet that settles in the earliest of hours.













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HIS TO MASTER AND OWN – Blitz

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HIS TO MASTER AND OWN
Bestselling Author BJ Wane
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Series: Miami Masters Book 5
Genre: Erotic Romance, Suspense, BDSM
Publisher: Blushing Books
Publication Date: July 13, 2018
He agreed to her request for guidance, but could she handle what she’d asked him for?
The first time Sean Bates saw Alessa Alexander at a BDSM club without one of her friends attending with her, he didn’t approach her or interfere, deeming it was none of his business. The second time, his protective, dominate instincts forced him to confront her, and then offer his professional counseling for her needs.
Alessa’s desire to turn herself over to a man’s full control kept her from believing she’d ever enjoy a long-term relationship like her friends recently committed to. When she gets up the nerve to ask Sean Bates to tutor her in her unorthodox fantasies, the first scene he devises leaves her aching for more of his strict control, but worried about keeping her feelings uninvolved.
Past heartbreaks kept Sean and Alessa leery of hoping for too much from their agreed upon temporary relationship. Between escalating problems with an ex at work and her insecurities, Alessa runs from Sean before she ends up hurt. But it doesn’t take her long to realize how much she wants him and his strict discipline, enough to risk the height of humiliation to earn his forgiveness.

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Other Books by BJ Wane

Seven men from troubled childhoods bond as teens at a summer camp for juvenile delinquents, a bond that carries through to adulthood and adds a penchant for BDSM. Each of these dominant, over-protective men meet their match in the Miami Masters series, filled with emotional trauma and heart-pounding suspense.
 

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BOOK ONE

 

 

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BOOK TWO

 

 

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BOOK THREE

 

 

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BOOK FOUR

 

About BJ Wane

I live in the Midwest with my husband and our two dogs. I love dogs, enjoy spending time with my daughter, babysitting dogs and kids, reading and working puzzles. We have traveled extensively throughout the states, Canada and just once overseas, but I now much prefer being homebody. I worked for a while writing articles for a local magazine but soon found my interest in writing for myself peaking. My first book was strictly spanking erotica, but I slowly evolved to writing erotic spanking romance with a touch of suspense. My favorite genre to read is suspense.
BJ Wane’s Email: bjwane@cox.net
Official website: http://bjwane.blogspot.com/
Social Media Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Contest runs from July 16 – 22, 2018.

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Corrupt Desires – Chapter Reveal

 

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Also available via Kindle Unlimited

 

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Phee knows that girls like her don’t get the fairytale…

Falling for a man like Bryant Holbrook is just begging for heartbreak. Rich boys don’t look twice at waitresses from the fog, at least not until now. One smart-mouthed taunt and his turquoise eyes are all over her. That cocky, bad boy grin tempting her with the impossible.

It should have stayed a one-night stand.

Now, it’s too late.Phee is pulled into a world of danger and corruption where Bryant must put everything at risk to keep her safe, or risk losing her to keep his father’s dream alive.

 

*This is a standalone full-length novel with an intense, heroic Dom, BDSM, drama, suspense, and a world of corrupt men that make this fairytale darker than most. How far would you go for your happy ending?

“Phee, what the fuck are you doing? I rang the bell twice! Come grab table nine!” Alex made a noise of irritation as he threw his hand in the air and stomped back into the kitchen.
“I got it,” she called out, but her eyes wandered back to the glittering glass towers outside the café. Clear-skied days were the whole reason she’d taken this job. A job that was a train and two buses away from her tiny apartment. A job that was only above minimum wage because of the tips… but it was worth it to be out of the fog. And on days like this, when the reflection of the blue sky blurred in all those shimmering windows, she just wanted to enjoy it for a minute.
Leaning forward on the counter, her eyes traced the shining office building all the way to the top. Birds wheeled past, playful in their loops and dives, unfettered by gravity, and more free than she could ever hope to be.
“PHEE!” Alex’s shout yanked her back to reality. Cringing, she turned around to see his reddened face in the window to the kitchen, but it wasn’t clear if that was from how pissed off he was, or the heat in the back. Rolling his eyes, Alex sighed. “You back with us now, or should I just hire the girl that came in here looking for a job yesterday?”
Shit.
“No, no, I just got distracted. Sorry!” Wiping her hands off on her apron, Phee hurried to grab the plates, giving him her best don’t-be-mad grin. Lifting them high, she tilted her head towards the windows. “Come on, you can’t be angry today, Alex. The sun is out, there’s blue sky, and—”
“And you are about to lose that tip if their food gets any colder. Move it!” Alex waved a spatula at her, and she stuck her tongue out at him, laughing as he turned away, muttering curses beyond the window. The fact that he still bothered to curse about her meant he hadn’t decided to fire her, yet, but the only way to keep her job was to actually do it.
The man and woman at table nine were so wrapped up in conversation they barely noticed as she slid the plates in front of them and offered to refill their drinks. They waved her off, too intent on each other to bother actually answering. So, Phee just smiled at the normal shitty behavior of the downtowners and turned to scan her section.
Fuck. How long had they been sitting there?
There was another table occupied near the windows, and she flinched knowing it had probably been too long by their standards no matter what. And, to make it better, they were all in nice suits. Idiot. She groaned internally, calculating how much her tip had dropped while she’d been staring out the window. She hadn’t even taken their drink orders yet. Slapping her most chipper smile on her face, she smoothed down the apron over her hips and tugged out the order pad as she approached their table.
“Afternoon, gentlemen, what would you like to drink?” Her cheeks ached a bit with the strain of the over-enthusiastic smile, but she held it as the quiet conversation stuttered to a halt in front of her. The older man facing her glanced up and Phee caught the plastic glint of a COF badge attached to his breast pocket.
Cabal of Freedom. He was government. Weird.
The justice building was only a few blocks away, but there were other restaurants, nicer restaurants so much closer. It was rare to see one of them at the Elsinore Café, and curiosity unfurled inside her as she strained to read the print on his badge. With a sigh, the man flipped his menu open, glanced over it, and then slapped it shut impatiently.
“Just bring us water, we need a minute.” He was curt, his voice sharp and commanding as he immediately ignored her and turned his focus back to the man on his left.
“Sure thing! I’ll be right back with your waters.” Tucking the order pad in her apron, Phee was about to walk away when the man sitting closest to her glanced up. His gaze caught hers like an electric shock. Bright turquoise, as if someone had laid the pretty stones on top of a light so that every facet glinted and fragmented to form his irises. With eyes like that he should have been some great sea god, walking out of the clear ocean, surrounded by sparkling sunlight — wearing a lot less clothing — ready to command the world to bow at his feet.
He definitely shouldn’t have such a tired expression on his face, or be wearing the boring charcoal suit he was in. A suit that stretched across his shoulders as he leaned forward on the table, breaking their momentary connection without really seeing her. Turning sharply on her heel, she hurried back behind the counter. Her hands moved on auto-pilot to fill glasses with ice and water, because her mind still preoccupied imagining the guy on her fantasy beach.
Get your head in the game, Phee. Stop daydreaming.
Her grandfather’s voice echoed in her mind and she did her best to listen. After all, men from downtown didn’t look at girls like her. People from the fog flitted on the edges of their existence, watching as they controlled the city of Lakehurst like the engineers of destiny they were. Born into privilege, born into power. Men like the sea god had never spent a day down in the fog, which meant she was being ridiculous. Of all men to want a second glance from, it was definitely not going to happen with the hottie that she’d just spent a glorious minute picturing mostly naked, walking out of the ocean, ready to bring the fierce power of the ocean’s waves—
“Holy shit, I am so fucking tired. When is our shift over?” Regan groaned, interrupting her fantasy as she squatted down to grab a few sets of wrapped silverware from the bin under the counter.
“It’s barely noon, you’ve got a long way to go.” Phee laughed as she picked up the three glasses in front of her and looked up to see the ocean god having an animated discussion with the COF man. She couldn’t help but stare at the strong line of his jaw as he spoke, clenching his teeth between words like he was biting back things he wanted to say. The third man with them wasn’t even paying attention to the conversation. His body was rigid in the seat, back straight, eyes scanning the room casually before returning to the hot guy.
“Maybe Alex will let me leave early, I was up so late last night.” Regan was just sitting on the rubber mat behind the counter, ignoring her tables again. Hiding.
“Maybe you should get up and take care of your tables so I don’t have to help you pay your rent again next month?” She sighed, recognizing her own hypocrisy as Regan scrunched her face up and groaned. “Tips, Regan. Smile, take care of your tables, and get tips. I love you, but you can’t crash on my couch forever if you lose this apartment like you did the last one.”
“It would be easier to get tips if I could just swish my ass around like you do. I swear, being flat as a board on both sides is the worst possible—”
“Shut up,” Phee hissed quietly and Regan rolled her eyes. Best friend or not, Regan could really whine when she wanted to. Sulking against the shelves, her ash-blonde hair was currently tucked in a messy bun as she stretched one long leg out in front of her. A whole three inches taller than Phee, her friend had always reminded her of an aspen tree. Pale, tall, and thin. She used to be jealous of her friend’s effortless grace, but it never mattered the moment Regan opened her mouth. “For the record, I do not swish my ass around.”
“Oh fuck off, Phee. I swear, if I could ask for one thing for my birthday, it would be boobs. And an ass. Okay, two things, boobs and a nice ass that would get me tips without having to run myself into the ground.” Regan looked up at her again. “If I had your ass I’m sure Alex would let me go home early.”
“Regan!”
“You know he has a thing for you. He’s always saying ‘Morning, Phee’, and ‘Oh, Phee, you’re so pretty today’.” Her voice was mocking, and Phee groaned, checking the window to the kitchen to ensure their boss wasn’t listening.
“Alex is nice to both of us, Regan,” she whispered, glancing back to her new table to see that their conversation looked a little less intense, which meant she needed to get over there with the drinks.
“Sure, he’s nice, but Alex only wants to bend one of us over this counter.”
“Seriously, shut up!” Phee kicked her in the leg, and Regan shoved her back, almost making Phee spill the waters. “Regan, what the—”
“It’s true! No matter what you think.” Her best friend cackled as she pushed herself to her feet, winking as she turned to walk back to her half of the café with silverware in hand. Regan may be obnoxious on even her best days, but Phee still envied Regan’s ethereal looks, and Regan was jealous of her because she had her mother’s curves. A waist that looked narrow only because her hips were so big, and a ribcage that made her chest look bigger than it was. A perfect hourglass, Regan always complained. But Phee always felt massive next to the sleek elegance Regan pulled off even if she was in sweatpants and a t-shirt.
That was what best friends were for, though. They saw the best in each other, and always pointed it out, even if it was with playful jealousies and taunts.
Adjusting the glasses in her hands Phee headed back to the table with the trio and forced herself to look straight ahead, past the ocean god, and smile at the government guy. The salt and pepper at his temples revealed his age, but unlike many others of his status he hadn’t dyed it dark to match the rest. Everything about him screamed power, and the confidence that came with wielding it.
As each of them rattled off their orders she felt the plastic smile covering her face, heard herself asking the right questions, but her eyes were drawn to the custom-tailored suit the government man wore. There was a large gold ring on one hand that looked important. Manicured nails. Sharp responses out of an elegant face. As she finished writing the orders down the blond man on his left adjusted his jacket and she caught sight of a handgun holstered under his arm. Her heart hammered in her chest but she forced her smile wider, nodding at them so she could scurry away before her face revealed what she’d seen. She was always terrible at hiding her feelings and the panic was going to show.
Why the fuck did he have a gun?
Phee met up with Regan at the kitchen window as she posted up an order for Alex, and she silently tucked her ticket in just behind. Glancing back at the table, Phee watched the trio talking. Well, it was mostly the COF man and the sea god doing the talking, but it looked tense. Regan had taken a few steps towards her side of the café, already filling up with the lunch rush, but she paused. “Hey, what’s up?”
“Nothing.” Phee turned away from the table, watching Alex as he wandered back and forth getting another order ready.
“Seriously, hey, look at me.” Regan’s voice dropped with concern as she tugged Phee’s arm so she would meet her eyes. “I was just messing around before, you know I’m not mad at you, right? I was kidding about you-know-who.” She tilted her head at Alex in the kitchen. “I’m just tired today. You know when I stay up late I’m a total bitch. Don’t be upset?”
“No, I’m not, I swear. It’s just—” Phee glanced back over her shoulder and looked at the table of men again. The ocean god was leaning back and laughing now, even more gorgeous than before without the serious lines on his face.
“Ohhh, hello… He’s cute.” Regan grinned and she felt the blush in her cheeks, grateful the olive tones in her skin would hide it a little.
“Agreed. He’s hot, but the guy across from him has a fucking gun under his jacket. I think he’s security for the government guy. The older one by the window is wearing a COF badge.” She kept her voice low, trying to act natural as she mentioned it, but Regan’s eyes went wide and she looked over again with her mouth hanging open. Phee pinched her arm. “Stop staring! You’re going to kill my tip if they think I’m over here gossiping about them.”
“You are over here gossiping about them.”
“Not the point.” Phee rolled her eyes.
Regan laughed. “You know, if he’s got security he’s probably high up. We get people in here sometimes with those badges, but none of them have security.”
“I know. Weird, right?” Phee was about to say more, but the loud clang of the bell in her ear made her wince. Both of them turned to see Alex grinning on the other side of the window.
“Wow, girls, are we slow already?” Alex raised his eyebrows, his sarcasm biting. Regan sighed, and his eyes flipped to her. “Problem, Regan? Because this is your order. Table two.”
“No problem, Alex. I’m super excited to carry food, can’t you tell?” Regan smiled brightly before she grabbed the plates Alex pushed through the window. Despite his best efforts, he laughed, but Phee bit her cheek so she didn’t encourage her. They both needed to keep this job.
After Regan wandered away Alex turned back to her.“I’ll have your order up quick, Phee.”
“Thanks, Alex.” She gave him a brief smile before she hurried to bus the two tables that had just finished. They had left a grand total of sixteen dollars in tips, and she groaned. She spent almost nine dollars a day just getting to and from work, but there was no time to sulk. Four other tables had arrived while she’d been preoccupied with ocean gods and government men with guns. Phee managed to take their orders quickly and tack them up in the window. As she was putting plates into the back to be washed, she heard the bell and Alex’s call of, “Table Fourteen.”
Finally.
Approaching the trio with their food, she saw the COF man on a cell phone stand up to walk outside. The ocean god was chatting with the security guy, laughing as he spoke a little too loudly. “She was so boring. I swear, there weren’t two brain cells in her head to rub together.”
“So why did you even go out with her, Bryant?”
“Because it’s what I’m supposed to do, Nate. I can’t show up at an event like that without a date. My uncle would have a fit and you know it.” The last words were said more quietly across the table, and Phee grew irritated as the asshole insulted some random girl. Worse, the jackass seemed to be deliberately ignoring her, even as she balanced the heavy serving tray on her shoulder. “Next time I’ll happily deal with his wrath just to avoid the torture of having someone talk about nail polish for twenty minutes.”
“Maybe next time you should ask out someone you actually find interesting then,” Phee muttered as she leaned down to shove a plate in front of the ocean god. Bryant. He looked up at her in shock, those turquoise eyes still an unreal shade of blue, and then he laughed as she slid the other plates onto the table.
“Is that your suggestion? What a novel idea. And exactly where would you suggest I find someone interesting, miss?” Bryant grinned at her, cocky and amused, and she made herself ignore how handsome the smile made him.
“Well, I happen to think I’m pretty interesting, but I’ve never seen you in here before. So, maybe it has to do with where you choose to spend your time.” Phee tucked the tray under her arm as a blush heated her cheeks. What the hell was happening with her mouth?
Why was she even talking to these customers like this? Especially with one being COF and one carrying a fucking gun?
“It sounds like you think I should ask you out on a date.” Bryant’s surprise showed in the half-laughing way he said it, and the fact that he found the idea funny made Phee bristle further.
“It sounds like you don’t make a habit of challenging yourself by asking out women who might have something interesting to say. But, then you probably couldn’t complain over lunch about it, and then what would you have to discuss?” Phee felt her stomach flip as the brazen words escaped, but inside she imagined herself at the edge of a beach, leaves wound in her hair as she pushed back the ocean god with a forest army. A woodland queen not willing to bend to his sun-drenched charms.
Men like him always thought they could do whatever they wanted, say whatever they wanted, act however they wanted, but he hadn’t come up against her yet.
“Well—” Bryant started to speak, but she cut him off with a polite smile.
“Enjoy your meal, gentlemen.” Phee turned so sharply she felt her hair flare behind her, and she immediately went to take the orders of a new table. One side of her was trembling with nerves as the reality of what she’d said sank in, the idiotic tone she’d used… but the other side was being carried in branch like arms across damp sand as the ocean receded. Victory. Even though it would probably end up in a complaint, and a shitty tip.
Half an hour later, Phee dropped the check off at the ocean god’s table without a second glance at him. Then she headed behind the counter to grab items from the bakery case for a to-go order.
“Ah, excuse me?”
Phee’s head snapped up to see Bryant leaning on the glass case, smiling as he looked her up and down. Damn him for his good looks. She made her voice calmly professional to cover the thrill that ran up her spine as those ridiculous eyes checked her out. “Yes? Can I do something for you?”
“Actually, yes. I’d like six blueberry muffins to go, and your phone number.” His smile grew wider, and she hated that she’d failed to hide the surprise on her face.
“That’s not funny.” Phee scowled, dropping the bag she had been preparing for another customer on the counter. Snapping open another, she started putting muffins in it as she fought the embarrassed heat in her cheeks. The ocean was rising in his favor again.
“I’m not trying to be funny. I really would like your number, and I happen to like the muffins here.”
“Why?” Phee folded the top of the bag over and stared at him across the case.
“Because you make them fresh daily? Or at least, that’s what the menu says. If it’s not true, maybe you can tell me all the dirty secrets of this place over dinner.” Bryant grinned. “For example, does the soup of the day actually change every day?”
Stupid, charming—
The ocean wasn’t just rising, it was knocking down her line of tree soldiers, the sun glinting off sea foam as it eroded the earth from beneath her feet. Phee scoffed, fingers tightening on the paper bag. “Is this your attempt at interesting conversation?”
“You asked me why I liked the muffins,” he replied, not losing the cocky tilt of his grin.
“That isn’t what I meant and you know it. Why are you asking me for my number?”
“Because I’d like to call it,” Bryant answered with a more serious tone, but his smile wasn’t fading. Brazen, he leaned over the register and grabbed a pen before ripping a napkin out of the holder. With a flourish of the pen he pushed the napkin towards her across the top of the bakery case. It had a phone number on it. “Listen, if you won’t give me yours, at least give me a call. I’m serious about dinner.”
“Why?” Phee was too surprised, too unsettled by the shift in her actual reality and her internal fantasy to do more than repeat the same question.
“Because I agree with what you said. You seem interesting, and you’re beautiful, and you did have the balls to suggest we go on a date.” Bryant grabbed another napkin and held it out to her with the pen, his grin widening. “Come on. Can I have your number?”
Her head was spinning, all quick-witted remarks fleeing as a tidal wave of privileged charm built in front of her. Stop it. She slammed her heel down on the earth in her mind, her soldiers roaring their encouragement with the creaking weight of a thousand trees standing against the gale of a hurricane. On the outside she just smiled, grabbed the napkin, and wrote her number down.
“That’s twelve dollars and ninety cents.” Phee handed him the napkin with her cell phone number on it and the bag of muffins at the same time.
“I’m Bryant, by the way,” he said, smiling brighter than the sun outside the windows as he took the bag and the napkin and handed her a fifty.
Avoiding his grin, she stepped over to the register to ring him up. “Thirty-seven and ten in change,” she muttered as the drawer popped open.
“Keep it.”
“That’s too much,” she said, half-way through counting the bills into her hand when he slid in front of the register.
“Think of it as a bribe for your name?” Bryant tilted his head, still grinning like fucking with poor waitresses was his favorite game to play. In her head, the water was clouded with silt and leaves and sticks as the ocean met the earth in a clash, but neither side gave way.
Stalemate. Would it be stupid or smart to play along?
“I promise I can talk about a lot more than café food…” His eyes dropped to her lips for a second, the lower tone of his voice sending a shiver down her back. He was flirting, and he was fucking good at it. A rich, cocky, jackass probably looking to entertain himself for a night with the mouthy waitress that would make a good story for his next lunch meeting. It irritated her for a second, but as she imagined him half-naked again, eyes tracing his broad shoulders beneath the boring suit, Phee didn’t think she’d mind being wined and dined by him — or ending up in his bed for that matter. But that would be all it was.
It’s just fun. You will not fall for his bullshit.
“Phee. My name is Phee.” She met his eyes, and he glanced over his shoulder once before turning back with a look of victory.
“Phee,” he repeated, that low tone turning her name into a sinful promise. “Well, Phee, I’ll call you soon.”
“You do that, Bryant.” She smirked, wrapping her fingers around the biggest tip she’d probably get all day.
“Count on it.” He winked at her, grinning like he’d already won as he headed for the door and stepped out into the sunlight. In her head she was breathing hard, whispering commands in the language of the trees to fortify defenses at the beach because Bryant wasn’t done with her. That was obvious.


Jennifer Bene is a USA Today bestselling author of dangerously sexy and deviously dark romance. BDSM, Suspense, Dark Romance, Thrillers — she writes it all. Always delivering a twisty, spine-tingling journey with the promise of a happily-ever-after.

Get the latest book news (and a FREE book at signup) here: http://tinyurl.com/jbeneauthor

 

 

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Tower of the Arkein – Blitz

Tower of the Arkein tour graphic

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Kan Savasci Cycle, Book 1
Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Date Published: May 2017
Publisher: Plenary Fitness
 
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2017 Royal Dragonfly E-Book Award Winner
 
1st Place Beverley Hills Book Award Finalist: Fantasy
 
2017 Best Book Awards Finalist: Fantasy
Trapped as a slave, facing an impossible decision, Aeden must choose between his friends and his soul…
The clock is ticking as the world descends into darkness.
He’s been called the Scourge of Bodig, the Bane of Verold, but most know him as the Kan Savasci. He’s one of the most feared men alive. Chaos and war have followed him like an angry shadow. The one problem, as the world faces the wrath of forgotten gods, Kan Savasci is nowhere to be found.
The annalist, a man trained in the ancient arts of the arkein, has been tasked to uncover the whereabouts of the Kan Savasci at any cost. In order to find the man, one must unmask the depths of his reclusive history.
 
Other Books in the Kan Savasci Cycle Fantasy Series:
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Tears of a Heart
Kan Savasci Cycle, Book 0
Publisher: Plenary Fitness
Published: September 2014
Winner of John E Weaver Excellent Reads Award
He’s been called the Scourge of Bodig, the Bane of Verold, but most know him as the Kan Savasci. He’s one of the most feared men alive. Chaos and war have followed him like an angry shadow.
The one problem, as the world faces the wrath of forgotten gods, Kan Savasci is nowhere to be found.
The annalist, a man trained in the ancient arts of the arkein, has been tasked to uncover the whereabouts of the Kan Savasci at any cost. In order to find the man, one must unmask the depths of his reclusive history.
The clock is ticking as Verold descends into darkness.
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Excerpt
Chapter 2
“Decorum was created by nobility to boost their sense of worth in the eyes of other nobility.” Herlewin’s Letters of Apology
Late afternoon fell over the city in a coppery haze. Sunlight infused every corner with a golden warmth that only the season of Lenton could provide.
The kiss of the sun felt good on Aeden’s tanned skin. He had grown darker within the hot embrace of the A’sh. His white hair was only more apparent in contrast to his darkened tone. It had grown to a length requiring a tie to keep it tidy. He felt taller and stronger, but he also felt lonelier and angrier.
Aeden glanced about.
Kardal was to his left, walking on the other side of the Jal’s litter. Behind him Aeden could feel the cold, hateful stare of Yazid. It was like a pebble within a boot, grating slowly at his resolve. He did his best to ignore the man. He used a technique Ayleth the Widow had taught him some years before. “When faced with hate,” she once told him, “understand the root of their hatred by understanding their circumstance. Only then will their words fade to nothing but a distant whisper.”
Aeden did as he had been told. He soaked in Sha’ril the way dry cotton soaks in water. He studied the movement of the people. He observed the lines of the city. He thought on the words of the Jal. Last, he remembered the tiny irritants that Yazid had allowed Aeden to glimpse. Each sliver formed a tiny image of a greater whole.
About the Author

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Welcome to Chase Blackwood’s author bio, where he’ll try to write something interesting about his life that captures your attention.
Chase Blackwood’s life has been defined by struggle the way a moth battles an insect zapping light. He’s studied martial arts since childhood in an effort to overcome fear. He’s lived in a half dozen countries in an effort to “find himself,” traveled to over 50 countries in an effort to “find humanity,” lived in nine states just for the hell of it, oh… and the military has had something to do with that too. Chase has enjoyed combating terrorism, working as a federal agent, and also really likes puppies.
His most recent passion, puppies aside, has been working on the Kan Savasci Cycle, a series of fantasy novels that pulls from his life experiences to make the most vivid world imaginable. Stay tuned for a more romantic side…for the ladies, and guys, really for anyone who enjoys the genre.
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