There’s magic and mystery around every corner, if you know where to
This collection of eleven short stories from fantasy and science fiction
author Terri Bruce explores the hidden corners of our world. Blending
fantasy, horror, magical realism, and folklore, these tales will delight,
mystify, and unsettle. Unicorns roam the New Hampshire countryside disguised
as a biker gang. Portals to other worlds hide on commuter train platforms.
And be careful of what really lurks at the bottom of those quaint wishing
wells that dot the countryside. Strip away the veneer of everyday life and
dare to see what lies just below the surface.
Excerpt – from The Lady and the Unicorn
The air in the diner grew thick with worry. Tam’s pulse fluttered. She and the other staff drifted to the window one by one to stand shoulder-to-shoulder to gaze out at the men in the parking lot—diners, burgers, and Fryolators all forgotten.
“What’s wrong?” Tam asked, her voice hardly more than a whisper, first to the waitress on her right and then to the dishwasher to her left. Neither woman answered. “Are they Hell’s Angels or something?” she asked a little more forcefully, though she scoffed at the idea that some outlaw biker gang was roaming the scenic byways of New Hampshire. The men were rough looking, to be sure—beefy and unkempt, the wiry bristles of their bushy beards disappearing into their jackets—but that didn’t make them dangerous. She knew better than to buy into stereotypes. Most bikers were never any trouble, even if they did come pouring out of places with a certain rough, backwoods flavor, like Webster, Loudon, Henniker, and Northwood. They were mostly quiet men who just wanted to be left alone. They drank their coffee quickly and silently and paid their bill with no fuss. The rest were usually weekend warriors—reclaiming freedom and lost youth in the all too short breaks between their nine-to-five days. Heck, Tam’s uncle rode a motorcycle, a bandana tied to his head and aviator shades covering his eyes, like he was Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider, and he was an accountant.
Still, a nameless fear prickled at the back of her neck.
“Worse,” Marge ‘The Barge’, who’d marched out from the kitchen, answered in a flat voice, never taking her eyes from the bikers.
What could be worse than Hell’s Angels? Tam wondered.
There was a silence, just long enough to be noticed, and then Marge said, “Unicorns.”
About the Author
TERRI BRUCE is the author of the paranormal / contemporary fantasy
Afterlife series, and her short stories have appeared in a variety of
anthologies and magazines. She produces hard-to-classify fantasy and science
fiction stories that explore the supernatural side of everyday things from
beautiful Downeast Maine where she lives with her husband and various
From internationally bestselling romance author Alexa Aston comes a stunning new Contemporary Romance series. Book One in the exciting Hollywood Name Game series has arrived. Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!
Being late to an interview lands her the biggest job opportunity of her life.
He may be rich and successful—but he’s just this side of miserable.
Can a wannabe be The One for the biggest star in Hollywood?
Cassie Carroll came to Hollywood with big dreams that never materialized. Acting isn’t even on the back burner anymore—it’s completely off the stove. Working for a third-rate agent, Cassie hopes to land a new job that will give her credibility, as well as help pay the rent. Late to her interview, she swerves to avoid hitting a dog—and totals the car of Hollywood’s leading action superstar. Surprisingly, she walks away from their encounter with a job—as the sexiest man alive’s personal assistant.
Rhett Corrigan is bored with the movies he makes and the drop-dead gorgeous model he’s dating. He’s afraid that Hollywood has typecast him—and that he’ll never be able to break out of his action mold and try new acting challenges. When Cassie Carroll literally slams into his life, she brings a breath of fresh air and common sense to his world. She pushes him to be a better actor and a better man.
Can these friends become lovers—and can their love survive—in a tabloid-happy town that thrives on rumors and backstabbing?
Hollywood Heartbreaker is the first book in the Hollywood Name Game series. Each book in the series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.
#HollywoodNameGame #AlexaAston #romance #bookbuzz
Other Books in the Hollywood Name Game Romance Series:
Hollywood Name Game. Book 2
Release Date: August 27, 2020
She’s Hollywood royalty whose trail vanished a dozen years ago.
He doesn’t do relationships and thinks commitment is afour-letter word.
They Google each other . . . and sparks fly . . .
SydneyRevere, the daughter of a famous movie couple, left Hollywood behind over adecade ago. Christened The Wild Child bythe media, she reinvents herself as a serious student who becomes an attorneyand marries a safe, predictable man. When her husband cheats on her and the lawloses its glitter, Sydney returns to Hollywood. Her father hires her tostoryboard his upcoming movie, No Regrets–andthen stuns Sydney when he offers her the job as his assistant director.
DashDeLauria is a rising actor who hasn’t trusted a woman since his mother left.He’s now the guardian of his mentally-challenged brother. Dash is looking togrow professionally and after he wins the lead in No Regrets, he findshe’s lost his heart and soul to Sydney. With both their careers on the upswing,life is sweet.
ButSydney’s ex-husband isn’t finished with her yet. Discovering who she reallyis–and that she’s wealthy–he tracks her to California, ready to start over withher again.
Cassie squeezed her eyes closed as she plowed into the vehicle. An awful crunching noise sounded, metal grinding against metal. No airbag exploded because the car didn’t have one. She bounced off the steering wheel as her heart slammed against her ribs. The guy that had stepped out couldn’t have survived the impact. What did they call it—vehicular manslaughter? She would go to prison for the rest of her life. This would be the final nail to hammer into the Cassie Coffin. She’d taken a life and would give up her own in payment. Forcing her eyes open, her jaw dropped in amazement.
The guy was alive.
Granted, he was draped across the trunk of some foreign-looking convertible but she hadn’t crushed the life out of him. Somehow, he’d managed to spin around, quick reflexes saving his life. He came upright and limped a few steps. Great. She must have nicked him. He leaned against the car—what was left of it—and held a hand to his forehead as he turned to stare at her.
Her adrenaline spiked. She’d totaled his very expensive car. Cassie had the feeling the stranger was about to tear her apart. She would meet him in the middle and grovel. Maybe turn on some tears for good measure. Hadn’t Jolene told her that men hated themselves when they made women cry?
Cassie unhooked her seat belt and tried to get out of the car. The door wouldn’t budge. Great. She’d have to go back to climbing in through the passenger’s side as she had last month when the Civic went through a temperamental stage. Or maybe not. She glanced around and saw the crumpled hood, steam rising, and watched as the sedan shuddered, giving up the ghost.
The smell of gasoline began to permeate the air, clouding her judgment. She looked down at her outfit and knew today’s interview wasn’t happening with the way she looked. She’d seen homeless people appear more pulled together. Confused, she wondered what she had wanted to do.
Cassie saw the stupid dog again that she’d swerved to miss. A yapping poodle. The mutt’s owner teetered over on stilettos taller than the Eiffel Tower and scooped the dog up, hugging him to her tightly as she glared at Cassie. Cassie estimated the dog’s outfit cost more than her last month’s rent. The woman didn’t bother to ask if she needed help. Hollywood. It was a different world from Texas.
She reached for her purse and slung it over her shoulder. Nothing else of value to save. Cassie prayed the passenger door would open. If it didn’t, she could always climb into the back seat and get out that way.
Suddenly, he was hollering. The guy she’d sort of hit. It must’ve been his car she’d smashed. If she hadn’t been sure before, she was now. Men and their cars—no one came between them.
Cassie giggled at her flash of wisdom. That was one car that wouldn’t be cruising around Beverly Hills anytime soon. Jeez, what would this do to her insurance? She already had two speeding tickets in the last eighteen months. Her insurance agent would drop her now. She’d be at the mercy of those goons that only advertised on late night TV. They charged an arm and a leg to cover high-risk drivers. She was now a charter member of that club.
She looked up as the guy inched closer, hobbling along, yelling, his arms waving. Breathing the fumes had her disoriented. She couldn’t understand what he was saying. She started to apologize but then remembered her mom told her never to apologize after a wreck because that could be construed as admitting guilt. She was at fault. Big time.
The guy made it to her and tried to yank the door open. It wouldn’t move. Before Cassie could speak, he reached through her open window and hauled her out.
“Hey, wait a minute. What are you doing?”
He mumbled something but all Cassie could do was stare at him. He had the most amazing gray eyes, dark and stormy and full of anger.
Recognition seared through her. “Oh, God. You’re Rhett Corrigan.”
About the Author
Award-winning and internationally bestselling author Alexa Aston lives with her husband in a Dallas suburb, where she eats her fair share of dark chocolate and plots out stories while she walks every morning. She’s a binge fiend (The Crown and Ozark are favorites) who enjoys travel, sports, and time with her family.
Her historical romances bring to life loveable rogues and dashing knights, while her contemporary romances are light and flirty and sometimes contain a bit of suspense.
In 2027 the deity known as NTG – short for New Testament God – retires after more than two thousand years of minding the store for his employer, Milky Way Galaxy, Inc. The new god, a planetary turnaround specialist, must decide whether Earth’s dominant species should or should not be included in his plan to bring the planet back into full compliance with Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.’s planetary operation standards.
Earth’s new God introduces himself to humanity by unexpectedly appearing on the Ram Forrester Hour talk show. Ram, an atheist, and co-host Brendali Santamaria, a devout Catholic, are stunned. God’s interview, beamed worldwide, shocks and infuriates viewers. They learn that a sixty-day conference will take place in Los Angeles to determine whether humans are capable of helping him implement his planetary turnaround plan. All mankind must do to earn a coveted spot in this God’s good graces is eliminate religious violence forever, without his heavenly help. Failure means extinction.
God designates Ram and Bren as the conference’s only authorized media reporters. This assignment, fraught with peril, ignites their romance. Not only must the harried couple attend the conference meetings by day and do their show at night, they must also outwit a fanatical religious group bent on killing them. When rising conflicts within the conference intensify, it’s up to Ram and Bren to do whatever it takes to protect their budding romance and mankind’s very survival.
From Chapter 1 – Stranger in a Strange Land :
Thirteen hours late, my cross-galaxy voyage to the All-Souls Transit Center ends in a puff of soft lunar dirt on Mare Tranquillitatis. I expect to meet the legendary God of planet Earth in his office but as I deplane he’s shuffling down the concourse toward his departure gate. He’s easy to spot – inside this small, sparse four gate terminal we are the only life forms in sight.
With his stooped posture and unkempt shoulder length gray hair, God reminds me of the mythical Atlas. His tremors underscore the physical and emotional toll he has had to bear. Did his mental state also degrade? He spent two millennia managing a planet populated by quarrelsome headstrong terrestrials. Over that much time any deity posted to such a world would succumb to the effects of prolonged stress.
I quicken my pace, catch up to him and extend a hand. “Good day, Lord.”
“This is how you address your superiors?” The decibel level of his gruff voice implies impaired hearing. “Where are your manners? A bow is in order.”
Though I have not yet fully adapted to the musculature of this adult male body I inhabit, my flawless execution of a deep obeisance brings a quick smile to my face.
God gives me a brusque signal to rise. “You’re my replacement, are you?”
“Correct, Lord. I am humbled and honored to take your place.” I bow again, less fully.
“Call me NTG if you wish. I prefer answering to that nickname.”
So the rumor is true. That he calls himself the New Testament God instead of his given name means he has indeed gone native. This explains a lot.
We sink into a ‘maximum comfort’ couch – or so the attached tag boasts – stuffed full of condensed nimbostratus cloud threads imported from Earth. An ugly green tarp spread over the cushions prevents our clothes from getting soaked by residual moisture.
God adjusts his overcoat and leans toward me. “I trust you had an enjoyable flight?”
“I would like to say yes, but what a hellacious trip.” That’s an understatement. “We flew through several cosmic storms, circumvented an unmapped black hole and limped here on back-up power after the anti-matter fuel engine failed. I will never fly by chartered spaceship again.”
“Now that you’ve arrived, what makes you think you can take on a tough job like this?”
“This is my fourth assignment, though the first for Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.” I place my carry-on bag on the tan moonrock table and open a side pocket. “I have a résumé, if you want to peruse it. In each previous posting, the planets I shepherded returned to optimal status. Whilst this assignment is more complex, I assure you my record shall remain unsullied.”
“Humph.” He spits into the thin puddle created by the leaky couch and waves off my résumé. “I thought those spineless MWGI decision-makers would send a rank amateur. After only three postings, you expect to fix this mess? You’re still wet around the ears, sonny. Have you even hung your precious university degrees on a wall yet?” He points at the nearby picture window. “On Earth they say you learn more through failure than success.”
“Elder, I did not travel here to fail. MWGI reached out because of my extensive training as a planetary turnaround specialist. They are confident I am the best available deity for this job.”
“And you agree with that assessment, do you?” He fidgets, as though trying to stand and walk away, but can’t get off the couch.
“I would not otherwise have taken the job, Lord. Once I did, I undertook considerable research. The travel delays afforded me extra preparation time. I have learned everything a new deity should know about Earth and its inhabitants. I am ready to take the reins.”
“Your extensive reading helped you form opinions regarding the humans, did it?”
I disregard the sarcasm implicit in the question. If I ever reach his wizened old age, young deities will receive better treatment from me than this. His attitude is understandable, though. Forced retirement is a difficult pill for anyone to swallow, supreme beings included.
“Lord, these sentient beings do have many laudable qualities. However, whilst I prefer not to focus on the negative, on the whole humans strike me as a rather unpredictable species.”
NTG spits again and rummages through the pockets of his black overcoat, pants and vest. “Where’s the damn thing? Did I forget it? Ah, here. Since you’re not dead, you’ll need this to get into heaven.”
He hands me a Holyday Inn card key with “NTG” stenciled on the back side. I stare at the card whilst mulling over my research, which characterized heaven as an imaginary afterlife sanctuary. With a shrug, I deposit the card in the pocket of my blue denim shirt.
“Many humans call it heaven, but I consider it home.” God’s melancholic smile comes and goes in seconds. “Souls get over the false advertising once they adjust to their newly deceased status. Follow the overhead signs to the tram that’ll take you to the complex. My office is by the main gate so I can greet arrivals on St. Peter’s days off. Ask for Angie, my chief of staff. She’s a real angel in every sense of the word.”
About the Author
Jeff Pollak grew up in Riverdale – not the one in the Archie comics and movies, the one in the Bronx. After graduating college in Buffalo’s often frozen tundra, he moved to Los Angeles to thaw out and learn to play golf without losing the ball in snow drifts. While there, a law school accepted him into their night program. Now retired from life as a civil trial litigator, Jeff lives in the Crescenta Valley where the closest Jeff comes to winter is his sporadic attendance at hockey games.
FIRST SECOND COMING, Jeff’s debut novel, was inspired by 9/11. Like everyone else, Jeff was transfixed by the unfolding tragedy. Unlike everyone else, Jeff had clients in the World Trade Center, his law firm had given annual seminars at Windows of the World, at the top of the building, and he’d become familiar with some of the staff. While watching the WTC collapse, the thought “earth needs a new God who’s a planetary turnaround specialist,” came to mind. Over the ensuing decade, this odd idea germinated in the deeper recessions of Jeff’s overactive brain until this story hatched in 2015. Jeff’s been writing it ever since.
Part of the Summer’s End Box Set – 14 Author Box Set
Date Published: August 4, 2020
THAT ONE SUMMER
He’s the one who got away. She’s the one who couldn’t commit.
Twenty years ago, Lia Langston left Last Chance Beach, leaving behind friends, a really good job offer, and the young man she’d fallen in love with that summer. The breakup hurt them both—but she was expected back home in Chicago where a job was waiting. From there, she meandered through life—marriage, a child, divorce, career—yet, there was one constant. She never missed the annual week at Last Chance Beach with her college girlfriends.
Same week, same beach house, same beach town. The routine was safe and predictable. By the time beach week rolled around every year, she was more than ready.
Except for this year.
When Zach Allen—the young man she left behind—steps back into her life, she must face the twenty-year-old consequences of her leaving. Will Last Chance Beach allow her a second chance at love?
LAST CHANCE BEACH is the island paradise where Dreams go to live again, and Wishes may come true. It’s Summer’s End on the island, and the cottages, condos, hotels, and bungalows are filled to capacity.
There’s plenty of time left to find summer fun and summer love, new romances and second chances, hot alpha males and heartwarming heroes, love at first sight and romantic delight, enemies to lovers and opposites attract.
Throw a log on the beach bonfire tonight and celebrate LAST CHANCE BEACH: Summer’s End, a special romance collection of 14 all-new short stories from bestselling and award-winning authors. These summer stories—created especially for this collection—will thrill the hopeful romantic in you. Some are sweet: some are sizzling! Some are humorous; some are serious. All the stories will make you sigh!
LAST CHANCE BEACH: Summer’s End will make you want to book a vacation to the island of legend and love, the place where soul mates find each other and love at first sight happens all the time!
Joan Reeves, NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author
When they met, it was hate at first sight. Now they’re stuck in the same overbooked beach cottage and horrified to discover they have the hots for each other!
Liz Flaherty, USA Today Bestselling Author
Their lives are planned out…until they’re not! Are they in love or just stuck in a habit?
Nancy Fraser, Top 100 Bestselling Author
At a high school reunion; old flames meet again. Can they re-ignite what they once had and take a last chance on love?
Caroline Clemmons, Top 100 Bestselling Author
She faces a hard decision; he encourages her to choose with her heart. Will the solution drive them apart or into one another’s arms?
Maddie James, Top 100 Bestselling Author
It’s the typical annual week on the beach with the girls—until her summer fling from twenty years back shows up. He’s the one who got away. She’s the one who couldn’t commit.
Jan Scarbrough, National Bestselling Author
The kids are grown; her husband has an important career, and she wonders if she still loves him, and if he loves her. Can she turn back the clock to save her marriage?
Kathleen Lawless, National Bestselling Author
Of all the beaches on the coast, who shows up on her beach? Him! A former competitive surfer runs into her former love, and revisits all the reasons things didn’t work out for them before.
Bonnie Edwards, National Bestselling Author
She wants divorce—he doesn’t. What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas!
Marcia King-Gamble, National Bestselling Author
She’s hiding from the paparazzi after a scandal. He’s the guy next door, an amateur photographer. Will he accept tabloid money for pictures of her? Or will he choose love over jumpstarting his career?
Kathryn Hills, Award Winning Author
Kat must convince her Gran to move to the mainland, but Gran—and hunky neighbor Ben—want Kat to takeover the B&B and antique shop. What will it take for Kat to stay? Some of Gran’s special island magic?
Connie Vines, Award Winning Author
She returns to Last Chance Beach to begin a new life. He’s a single dad on vacation with his pre-teen daughter. He’s worried his daughter may become too attached to her, but maybe he’s the one whose heart is at risk.
Laura Hunsaker, Award Winning Author
Can dreams of the future erase her nightmares of the past? She’s looking for a fresh start, but he’s rented the same beach cottage. One bed, two people? Whatever will they do?
He’s handsome and in town for only 2 weeks. She wants someone interested in a fling. He wants someone interested in a ring.
She won the big lottery, but doesn’t want anyone to know. He’s a fixer-upper specialist, but things aren’t always what they seem.
About the Author
Maddie James writes to silence the people in her head—if only they wouldn’t all talk at once!
Whether writing traditional contemporary romance or building paranormal worlds, Maddie pens stories that frequently cross a variety of romantic sub-genres.
Affaire de Coeur says, “James shows a special talent for traditional romance,” and RT Book Reviews claims, “James deftly combines romance and suspense, so hop on for an exhilarating ride.” The author of over fifty titles of fiction—from short stories to novels—Maddie is an award-winning and Top 100 National Bestselling Author. Learn more at http://www.maddiejames.net.
This is a story about a middle-aged woman who recently got divorced and thought she was open to companionship. She was very apprehensive about opening her heart again after being hurt badly by her ex-husband. To her surprise, she met someone on Match.com that seemed like the man of her dreams. They had so much in common and really enjoyed each other’s company. He managed to convince her to be open to the possibility of falling in love again.
She ended up giving this man her heart only to find out that he wasn’t the man of her dreams at all. He wasn’t like her ex-husband but he had just as many issues. She found it difficult to be the woman that he needed her to be while not compromising her integrity and moral standards.
This story is told totally from her point of view. She is finally able to tell the love of her life everything that she wanted to say throughout their relationship. She is able to express her perspective on all the events that were occurring in their lives without feeling like she is being ungrateful for the good times but imagining the bad times.
She will take you through five years of her relationship. Will she figure out that she deserves so much better than how she was being treated? Or, will she talk herself into saving this relationship and giving her one true love another chance?
We met on Match.com about a month after a short friendship with someone I met on ChristianMingle.com. Although, that situation didn’t end well, I thought I would give online dating one more try and boy was I glad I did. I met you. I was on Match.com one day and I noticed that you looked at my profile. I decided to say hi to you through the Match.com app. I was pretty shy about reaching out to guys that I didn’t know, but what did I have to lose? The only thing that could happen was that you didn’t say hi back. To my surprise you sent me a reply and it wasn’t just hi. We began to talk and things got interesting pretty quickly.
Initially, I didn’t know how things would end up because you were very blunt and to the point and I really wasn’t used to that. I would ask you how your day was and you would respond, “It sucked.” I thought to myself, this guy has a bleak outlook on life, but then one day when we were chatting online about your job, you made me laugh. I said to myself, maybe he’s not so bad after all. You actually had a sense of humor.
We talked frequently via the Match.com app for about 3 weeks. We talked about how many children we had and their ages. Between the two of us, we had 4 boys. You also told me that you had a daughter, that you raised, but she wasn’t biologically yours. I really found that honorable. You told me that your children lived with you, but it wasn’t because their mother passed away. This also impressed me. It definitely wasn’t as common for the man to have full custody of his children. You asked me about my ex-husband and if he was involved in my children’s life. At the time he wasn’t and you were very upset by that. You just couldn’t understand why he wasn’t an active participant in the children’s life. I had some of the same thoughts, so this was a sensitive subject for me.
One day we were chatting on the Match.com app and you told me that you had many more stories to tell me about work and the horrors of online dating, but they would be easier to tell me over the phone. I figured that was your way of hinting that you wanted my phone number, so I finally gave it to you. I remember the first time you texted me, I responded and then asked who I was talking to. You responded, “It’s Thomas. Didn’t your mama teach you not to talk to strangers.” That made me laugh. I liked that you made me laugh. We progressed from texting to talking on the phone, but it took about a week. During our first call, you explained why you took so long to call me. You told me that you had been sick and you didn’t want me to hear your voice like that. Our very first conversation lasted for over 2 hours.
You told me so many stories about the horrific experiences you had with online dating. They were so funny but disturbing at the same time. It was a good thing I met you before hearing those type of stories because your stories made me question the process of online dating. I asked you why you opted for online dating. You were a very handsome and intelligent guy. You had a successful career as an Engineer at a great company. You could probably get any girl you wanted. You told me it was because you didn’t hang out at the typical places that would allow you to meet someone and there was definitely nobody at your job who you be interested in dating.
About the Author
Latesha Kellam is an author who takes her life experiences and puts them into words that will inspire others. She wrote her first story at the age of 14, about the events surrounding the unexpected death of her father. During the current phase of her life, she has the desire to not only write inspiring books but to help people, especially woman, recognize when they are in dysfunctional relationships. She lives by the old adage, experience is the best teacher, therefore she takes events from her own life to inspire her writing.