Blog Tours

Spotlight: A Shot of Bourbon by AC Land

I am so incredibly excited to be hosting Author AC Land on my blog today. I've shouted from the rooftops about this book for almost a year now, and am going to continue to do so until I've convinced everyone to read it. Seriously. I'm not just saying this because I'm the content editor. I'm saying this because there is something incredibly amazing about A Shot of Bourbon that will blow you away once these characters enter your life. ASOB is filled with heart, lots of kissing, and an incredible story at hand that will leave you feeling seventeen all over again.

Oh. And my mom read it. And she won't even read MY books.

So yeah...do yourself a favor and read this baby. It's everything and then some when it comes to YA romance.

Amazon: 

 http://www.amazon.com/Shot-Bourbon-C-Land-ebook/dp/B01BZNM4RM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459346192&sr=8-1&keywords=a+shot+of+bourbon

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29151307-a-shot-of-bourbon?from_search=true&search_version=service

In the little highway town of Bourbon, Missouri, deadly secrets lurk behind Southern charm. 

Seventeen year old Charli Valentine didn’t expect to spend the last few weeks of summer break nursing a broken heart, icing a black eye, and watching her ex kiss another girl. Since being a good girl has gotten her nothing but heartache, Charli decides to give rebellion a try. She pigs out, drinks, and hangs with Luke Parker, the son of the infamous Bourbon Butcher. 

But there’s more to Luke than meets the eye. His tough exterior and terrible dialect hide a good person despite his bad boy reputation. No matter how hard he tries to fight it, Luke is drawn to Charli’s innocence and finds her clumsiness too charming to resist. Though they’re from opposite sides of the tracks, neither can resist the magnetism drawing them together. 

When Charli discovers a box in her mother’s closet, she pieces together the truth about Bourbon’s past and uncovers a deadly secret about her family. And once Luke learns of it, he vows to protect Charli no matter the cost. 

About the Author

Author Bio:

Author of the Bourbon series, A. C. Land has been a lover of stories since she first read about Peter Pan giving Wendy an acorn and teaching her to fly. She always dreamed of telling big stories about small towns.

Residing on a cattle farm in Missouri, A. C. loves playing with her rambunctious Jack Russell, Riley, making decorative cakes, taking pictures, drinking pumpkin spice coffee, and hanging out with her nephews.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorACLand

Instagram: www.instagram.com/authorACLand

Twitter: @AuthorACLand

Giveaway link for an iPad Mini!!!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1000e4f1151/

 

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Favorite YA Books by Wendi Nunnery

I'm so excited to be hosting YA author Wendi Nunnery on the blog today. (And even more excited to have her share her top ten favorite YA books.) Follow along and see if maybe you might have some in common! Also, be sure to take a look at her new release, THE BEST KEPT SECRET as well.

Thanks for having me on the blog today, Heather! This was such a fun post to put together.

10) Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Ziegesar - I almost hate to admit it because the whole television franchise has been associated with little more than shiny, material things, but the books are really solid. Cecily von Ziegesar uses wealth and prestige as a setting where real people deal with some seriously ugly issues. Shes got a great handle on the voices of her characters, so the books never feel one-dimensional. I practically flew through them.

9) Its Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini - Having struggled with OCD and anxiety-induced depression, this book got me from the get-go. It approaches the subject of mental illness with the perfect balance of humor and compassion, and its one of the few contemporary YA novels that, dare I say, ends well. Sometimes we like a happy ending, right?

8) The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - C.S. Lewis is arguably one of the greatest authors and theologians of his time, or any time really. And the beauty of Narnia is that it takes us to a place where we can actually understand Gods love because we can see it in Lewischaracters. Not only is the writing gorgeous, but the stories are filled with messy human beings (and animals) who show us how to do the right thing even when its the hard thing.

7) Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - This book is heartbreaking. And thats what makes it so damn good. Just read it.

6) This is Sarah by Ally Malinenko - My fellow BookFish girl Ally Malinenko penned a page-turner with the story of a Colin Leventhal, a boy on the search to find out what really happened to his missing girlfriend the night he saw her last. Its a fairly quick read, but its got depth.

5) Absolutely Normal Chaos by Sharon Creech - This one is a little more on the middle-grade side, but its a classic. Absolutely Normal Chaos is the summer diary of Mary Lou Finney, who comes from an insanely large, insanely loud family, and when her cousin from West Virginia shows up unannounced, she realizes there are quite a few secrets in her family, too. Written in first person (obviously), this hilarious book covers first kisses, broken hearts, and the wild adventure of summertime and being thirteen.

4) Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech - Another one from Creech and possibly even better than Absolutely Normal Chaos. After her mother leaves, Salamanca Tree Hiddle, a country girl with Native American roots, moves to a new city with her father. This story is a beautiful, tearjerking narrative of family and friendship, and Mary Lou Finney even makes an appearance. I might still have the copy I borrowedfrom my sixth grade English class (sorry Mrs. Wright!).

3) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - Because DUH.

2) Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls - This one will get you in the feels EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Forget that its on your schools summer reading list; read it because its GOOD.

1) Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - If I have to explain why, youll never understand.

Blurb:

In high school, everyone has secrets. Even well-brought-up Emma Fraser.

Emma’s sophomore year started out all wrong. First, her best friend Andy confessed to losing his virginity leaving Emma all alone in the V-Club. Then the rest of her friends got weird and suddenly Emma finds herself feeling like the people she knows best have become total strangers. And total strangers are becoming friends.

When Deegan Burke, a rich, gorgeous senior, asks Emma to be his date for the prom, Emma thinks her luck has begun to change. But rather than being able to bask in this newfound glory, her whole world starts to unravel. And when secrets that once seemed so innocent start to take a very dangerous turn, Emma discovers that true friends are friends no matter what…and some secrets aren’t worth keeping.

 

Author Bio:

Wendi Nunnery is the author of The Mayfield Family Story. She is also a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and The Simply Beloved, a lifestyle website for women of faith. She is a proud alumna of Georgia Southern University and, at any given time, you can find her with a cup of coffee and a book. She lives, loves, and mothers in Atlanta, Georgia. The Best Kept Secret is her first novel.

Find her online:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wendinunneryauthor

Twitter: @ladynunnery

Instagram: @ladynunnery

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ladynunnery

Blog: www.wendinunnery.com

Buy links:

Amazon US:

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Kept-Secret-Wendi-Nunnery-ebook/dp/B00WJFFTJ6/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1430330389&sr=8-9&keywords=The++Best+Kept+Secret

Amazon UK:  

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Best-Kept-Secret-Wendi-Nunnery-ebook/dp/B00WJFFTJ6/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1430330458&sr=8-11&keywords=The+Best+Kept+Secret

Top Ten Villains by Kat Hawthorne

You GUYS! I am so excited to host Kat Hawthorne on my blog today. I've recently gotten to know her through my internship with Book Fish Books, and she is such a sweet person. I'm equally as excited that today is her release day for her creep-tastic middle grade, horror novel, THE BOATMAN. From the cover to the content, to the amazing illustrations inside, this book is a surefire win for any one who loves MG, or who has a kiddo that adores it. (especially the creepy kind) 

Spotlight: Fallen Angel by Alisa Anderson and Cameron Skye

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Fallen Angel by Alisa Anderson & Cameron Skye

Blurb:  When Jess packed up her belongings and fled her small hometown in Kansas, she never looked back. Free from her family’s dark past she was finally able to pursue her lifelong dream as a professional dancer. She never expected to find herself at his door...or at his club.

Nikolas was unlike any other man she had ever met. Sexy…Alluring…Predatory. Dangerous. The kind of man with more secrets than even she had. Every instinct warned Jess against knowing him further, but she always did like playing with fire…

Nikolas Roman took one look at Jess and knew she was trouble from the very start. But something about the defiant twist of her mouth and the wide, haunted eyes of a damaged soul touched him in places he had long ago thought dead. He knew he needed to stay far away from her for his own sanity, but like a moth to a flame he was helpless to resist…

Working at Takers gentleman's club was the last place Jess thought she would find herself, but she quickly learned how the game was played. See what you want, take what you can get…but at what cost?

Authors’ Bio:

Alisa Anderson

well...alisa did stuff and is still doing stuff. only now she has two boys crazy enuff to want her as their mommy. hey, at least she tried to warn them, so her job is done. she doesn’t like to capitalize, partially because she likes how lower case letters look visually, but mostly out of laziness. please don't judge. it could be you. and she would say, hey. you're alright, buddy. you're ok in my book. now c'mere for a hug. the hug might be pushing it. air kiss? you are strangers, after all, with only a mutual love of poor grammar.

​she lives for a world full of controllable anatomically correct, android men programmed to meet her specific feminine needs (wink, wink, nudge, nudge with a big waggle of the eyebrows). who look like the rock. and ian somerhalder. and idris elba. and that's it she promises. variety. gotta have variety, right?

​but alas...apparently that exists only in johanna lindsey's genius mind. so until then, she enjoys her incredibly warped sense of humor. she reads tons of erotica and romantic, drippy goo that makes her heart go pitter patter. then she thought, hey. what, she said to herself. (softly, of course, so no one finds out she is indeed, 2 nuts short of a fruitcake) maybe you should write this stuff too. maybe someone will like it and maybe buy it. so she said, huh, you think? then she said, well...yeah, i wouldn't have suggested it...(inserts sarcastic tone) and then she was like lose the attitude, ok? then she was all, would you just shut up and write, already? sheesh! and she did. :)

Cameron Skye

When Cameron is not in the lab working toward a Ph.D., in Neuropsychopharmacology, which in laymen's terms is basically finding the effects drugs have on mood and behavior, she is writing stories, crating vivid, intense characters you will never forget.

She believes while life can take you down every path but the right one, eventually everyone will find their happily ever after.

Does your mother know what you’re reading?

Alisa’s Website: www.houseofalisa.com

Cameron’s Website: http://cameronskyebooks.wix.com/cameronskye

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlisaAndersonBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bitchesbewritin

Blog: http://alisaanderson.wordpress.com/

 

Part Two and Three coming soon…




Blitz: Hiring the Player by Allie K. Adams

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Hiring the Player by Allie K. Adams

When life gets you down... 

Kayla Riggs is three weeks from graduation and has yet to have one college experience worthy of a memory, let alone a story to tell people later. Her BFFs make a deal with the player next door—show Kayla how to have a little fun before she settles into a life of mediocrity. 
  
Hire a player to pick you up... 

Jake Swanson only has a few weeks left as a cadet for the Bainbridge Island Fire Department before he can take his practical exams and be hired on permanently. The last thing he needs is a group of crazy women insisting he grant his cute-yet-boring neighbor three insane wishes—one for each week left of school. The only kicker is that she can’t know about the wishes or the deal is off.
  
When they offer him a deal he can’t refuse, he agrees to show Kayla how to have a little fun, and in turn has a lot more fun with her than he expected, or wanted. Now he must choose between keeping his word, or losing his heart. 

Smashwords  Amazon
  
BIO: Allie K. Adams is the bestselling author of several award-winning stories. An active member of the search and rescue, as well as previously served as a reserve deputy, Allie has firsthand experience in most of the dangers she writes about. Known for her highly erotic, deeply intense suspense romances, she can be found most days in front of her computer, saving the world one sizzling story at a time. She grew up in Seattle and now currently lives in southwest Montana with her husband, two kids, and two fluff ball dogs. 
  
She loves to hear from readers and encourages them to reach out to her through her website at www.alliekadams.com.

If it doesn't sizzle, it isn't hot enough. 

Website: http://alliekadams.com
Twitter: alliekadams
Facebook: Facebook profile
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/allie-adams/b/735/482
Blog: http://alliekadams.com/blog


This one looks AMAZING. Definitely time to one click!!

Blog Tour: Welcome to Paradise by Jennifer Macaire

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I'm super excited to host Jennifer Macaire on my blog this morning. Her book, Welcome to Paradise, is an amazing coming of age story that I've personally read, and highly recommend!

WELCOME TO PARADISE
JENNIFER MACAIRE

Blurb:  Growing up on an island paradise isn’t as easy as one might think. Sugar is infatuated with the boy next door, worried she won't make the cheerleading squad, and even more worried that she will. She is paranoid that because of the horrendous scar on her face, no one really expects her to succeed at anything. Her sister is smart, her mother is a legendary model, and her father is a famous artist. Her family’s success sets a high bar for her to live up to.

Everything changes for Sugar when a plastic surgeon removes her scar. The surgery makes her beautiful, but she makes the shocking discovery that being beautiful can be awful. When she finally discovers who she is, and what she wants from life, it nearly destroys her tightly knit family. She must confront abuse, an elopement, loss, and a secret her father has kept from her all her life. Sugar is struggling to pull everything together and find her own version of 'Happily Ever After'.

Author Bio: Jennifer Macaire lives in France with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul highschool in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories. http://www.jennifermacaire.com/

Buy now on Amazon 

Stalk Jennifer here: 

Email: jennifermacaire@gmail.com

Twitter: @jennifermacaire

Website/blog: www.jennifermacaire.com

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?ie=UTF8&field-author=Jennifer+Macaire&search-alias=books&text=Jennifer+Macaire&sort=relevancerank

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/271874.Jennifer_Macaire

TRR/Manic: http://www.manicreaders.com/JenniferMacaire/

Welcome to Paradise:http://www.evernightteen.com/welcome-to-paradise-by-jennifer-macaire/

Spotlight: Earthbound by Elaine Calloway

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BLURB:

Some say history repeats itself, but for Terran, an Earth Elemental, history has returned and slapped him in the face. Along the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon, the Acobi Fallen Angels have decided to go underground–literally. They are resurrecting an old legend, shanghaiing innocent people into slavery. Underage girls are trapped and kept in holding cells, ready to be sold into the sex trade. Terran must stop the Acobi and keep the public away from the Shanghai tunnels, all while keeping his supernatural powers hidden.

Kelly Habersham, overachieving real estate developer, has finally convinced her father and brothers to give her the Portland condo project, which would require extensive construction near the tunnels. Determined to impress her father and make a name for herself in the family business, she is not about to let a Save-the-Earth guy get in her way.

Terran and Kelly must work together and come to a truce–or they may be the next shanghai victims.

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Elaine Calloway grew up in New Orleans with a love of cemeteries, gothic architecture, and all things paranormal. She is currently writing The Elemental Clan Series, a good vs. evil set of tales involving Elementals and Fallen Angels. For more information and

to connect with Elaine online, visit her website at 

http://www.elainecalloway.com

.

Follow Her!

Twitter: 

http://twitter.com/writerscanvas

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/authorelainecalloway

My Pinterest page

http://pinterest.com/elainecalloway/

Goodreads: 

http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/13256243-elaine-calloway

Chapter Reveal: Lean On Me by Candy Crum

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Title: Lean On Me

Author: Candy Crum          

Genre: YA Romance

Expected Release Date: March 16, 2014

Reveal Host: Lady Amber's Tours

Book Description:

Sixteen year old Bri comes from a wealthy family, allowing her an expensive pass into the popular crowd, though it never much mattered to her. She's on the basketball team and track and is the top in both. 

Bri has everything a girl could want, but she longs for a traditional family that loves one another deeply and would do anything for one another instead of the one she was gifted - cold and very distant. Growing up this way has left Bri alone and forced to raise herself.

Bri's parents pressure her to be the best at everything instead of just being the best that she can be. As a result of trying for the perfect life for her parents, hoping that it will one day impress them, Bri finds herself in an abusive relationship for title rather than love with the high school football star and pressured into doing what a lot of teenagers are pressured into doing. 

When Bri becomes pregnant, her entire world is turned upside down and she has no idea who she can trust anymore. Bri struggles to find a place in this world for herself and for her baby - the baby that she is desperate to have and watch grow. Along the way, Bri is given an opportunity to completely change her life and the life of her child - but it may hinder the life of someone incredibly important to her ... binding him to a future he was never meant to have, just for her. Bri is forced to grow and grow stronger as she fights for her baby and learns how to be a good mother.

Facebook Release Party:

https://www.facebook.com/events/281081868715512/

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20705920-lean-on-me

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Author Bio:

Candy Crum lives in Indiana and is the Author of “The Eternal Series” and other short

stories. She published her first novel, The Eternal Gift, in May of 2011 and has been publishing ever since. Candy is an avid lover of the paranormal genre, stemming from years of reading the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice when she was a teenager. Later, she developed a deep love of the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead and the House of Night Series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, furthering her love of the genre and pushing her to really push to finish and publish her novel. 

Since then, Candy has released three other books in The Eternal Series and will release another later in 2014. Now, Candy is trying her hand at more contemporary pieces of work, like that of Lean on Me and other books she will release in 2014. 

Some of Candy’s interests include the usual reading and writing, music (of most types), movies (action and comedy or any combination of the two), cartoons (she loves to say that her children watch cartoons because she does), and drawing. She loves talking with her fans and loves reading the reviews that her fans are kind enough to leave for her. Always feel free to find Candy on Facebook and send her a message!

Links: 

Goodreads: 

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4907614.Candy_Crum

Twitter: 

https://twitter.com/TheEternalGift

Amazon: 

http://www.amazon.com/Candy-Crum/e/B006RZYQCU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/candycrumauthor

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Lean on Me by Candy Crum

Chapter 4

Bri struggled to breathe as the wind hissed from her lungs with the awkward landing. Her vision was blurry and her head throbbed. She wanted to scream, but was silenced with something being strapped across her mouth – duct tape. Her attacker grabbed her by the hair and dragged her backward, behind the store. She screamed from behind the tape and kicked her legs, struggling to get free.

Tears streamed down her face as she immediately worried for the condition of her baby. She’d landed hard on her belly. She had no idea what it would take to end a pregnancy by blunt force. The attacker used her hair to pull her up to her feet before slamming her hard into a wall. As soon as her vision cleared, fear coursed through her, adrenaline threatening to make her pass out.

Before, she’d worried that her attacker may hurt her baby (even by accident, not knowing she was with child) in the process of robbing her. Now, she knew the object of this attack was

solely

for the purpose of harming her baby. She stared into Mike’s cold, hard eyes. She heard the chuckles of four of his friends surrounding him.

“Your mom called,” Mike said, gently running his fingertips down the side of her face. “She said that she was sorry her daughter was so confused. She begged me to take you back. Even told me where you’d be so I could come and talk to you. That was nice of her, wasn’t it?”

Bri sobbed as she tried to push him away, knowing that even if she managed to fight him off, there were four more to subdue her.

“I know we had our little chat just today, but I got to thinking about it and it’s been quite a long time since you and I fooled around. You know what that means? Docs around here won’t do an abortion without parental consent because of the increased risks.”

Bri felt disgusted that he stated that so casually. He was a stupid boy. He didn’t know a lot about anything that wasn’t sports related. She imagined that he’d learned it from other experiences like this, either his own or his friends.

“But you won’t talk to your parents, will you, Bri?” he asked, pushing himself closer. She was terrified, too terrified to move. She wished that she could get to her phone. She wished that she could call for Matt’s help. “I didn’t think so.”

She realized then that she’d been too scared to answer, too scared to lie her way out of it – even from behind tape. Bri was about to answer by way of nodding when the first blow to her face came. She was hit hard, several smaller bones in her face crushing under the blow. She landed hard on the ground, blackness seeping in as she felt the first painful kick to her abdomen.

Please, God,

was the last thing to enter her mind as she lost consciousness.

“Her pulse is weak,” she heard a man say from above her. She looked up to see an attractive young man hovering above her. “My name is Gerome and I’m the EMT that responded to the call. You were attacked, ma’am. We are about halfway to the hospital. Do you have any allergies?”

Bri shook her head, but remembered that she had one. “Ery… Ery…” As hard as she tried the name wouldn’t come.

“Erythromycin?” he asked.

She nodded. “That’s it.” Her eyes bolted open as she tried to sit up, but she was strapped down. “My baby!”

“Your baby? Are you pregnant, ma’am?”

“Yes! Almost four months. They were kicking me in the stomach! Is the baby still alive? Can you tell?” She was frantic as tears started rolling down her face. She could feel the scrapes on her face as the salty tears stung them on the way down her cheeks.

“Jo!” he called to the front of the ambulance. “Is the fetal Doppler working yet?”

It was a woman that called back. “Oh, God. She’s pregnant? They took it out. It was smashed after the rookie dropped it and stepped on it. They’re supposed to be replacing it tomorrow.”

“What’s a fetal Doppler?” Bri asked.

“It’s a wand that I could place against your lower abdomen and listen for the heartbeat. Unfortunately, we don’t have one.”

“That’s the only way that you can check on her?”

“I’m sorry. That’s the only way that I can tell in here. A stethoscope can’t really pick anything up through the uterine wall. Not in here for sure, though in a quiet room it’s probably possible. You’re having a little girl?” he asked, a sad smile breaking through as he worried for both of them.

“It’s just a hunch,” she said. Her entire body was shaking from shock and fear. Her eyes were growing heavy again, but she wanted to stay awake. She needed to know everything that was going on. “Do you think she will be okay?”

Gerome sighed and placed his hand over hers. “Bad things happen to good people every day. I know. I see a lot of it around here. But one thing I know for sure is that as bad as some of those things are, I have seen some of the most miraculous recoveries. People that never should have lived that were able to go home to their families and live their lives. People think that babies are fragile, and they are, but not nearly as fragile as we assume. That baby wasn’t outside exposed to the attack. She was cradled inside your body. You’re alive. So it’s okay to hold out hope that she is too. But…”

“But it’s best to know that I’m young and this is still really early in the pregnancy,” she said, interrupting him.

He nodded. “That’s right. Listen, you’re not looking too good yourself. Worrying and stressing puts you both in danger. Your vitals are slow, so you need to relax and let me worry about both of you. We will be at the hospital in about five minutes. Focus on staying alive. If you go, so does she. She’s too young to survive outside the womb.”

His words hit her hard. She forced a nod and relaxed. Her ribs ached with every breath, but she forced herself to steady her breathing and try to will the pain away. When she was twelve, she’d fallen during a gymnastics practice and broke her ankle. She’d begged her mother for a week to take her to the hospital, but she wouldn’t, saying that Bri had only twisted her ankle and to stop worrying over nothing. It was finally her father that took her, learning that she’d broken it quite badly and would require surgery.

For that incredibly painful week before seeking treatment, Bri had to learn how to will the pain away. She practiced breathing techniques and focused on something in whatever room she was in as she imagined “pushing” the pain away from herself. She later learned that was a legitimate meditation technique and even taught to some pregnant women to use during labor.

Bri now called on her past experience to help her through the excruciating pain. Being unable to take deep breaths made her work difficult, but she was able to relax as she closed her eyes and focused on what it would be like to be a mother. She imagined herself holding her baby for the first time and being surrounded by the people that she loved. Soon, her mind completely overtook her as she disappeared into unconsciousness once again with only dreams of her baby to sooth her.

Bri’s eyes slowly fluttered open, well –

one

of Bri’s eyes fluttered open. The other was completely swollen shut. As she realized she now only had use of one of her eyes, she began to panic. She tried to move, but her hands were bound, as were her feet. She tried to scream for help, but her throat was too sore to make such a loud noise.

The sound of frantic beeping entered her ears just before she heard multiple footsteps stampeding into the room. She began to come around as she realized that she was in a hospital. A doctor came into view, a face that was familiar to her. He was her childhood doctor. Another familiar face stepped into view; she was Matt’s mother’s OB/GYN, Maree Metcalf. She’d met her once when she accompanied them to a well-mother prenatal appointment.

“Briana,” Doctor Conway, her pediatrician spoke. “Try to calm down. You’re safe and in the hospital. You were brutally attacked. You can speak, but try to keep quiet. It appears that you were choked. There was some damage done to the trachea, but nothing permanent or needing surgery. It should heal on its own as long as you’re gentle with it.”

She nodded. “Bri.” Another familiar voice. She looked off to the right to see her parents sitting there, holding her hand.

They weren’t there a moment ago,

she thought.

They must have come in with the doctors.

“How are you feeling?” her father asked.

Bri began to speak a couple of times, only managing a cough as she tried to clear her throat. “Like I was just beaten half to death by Michael Rhodes and his minions.”

Her mother sighed, her eyes closing as she rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Briana Grace. He would never do such a thing. It was he that called us and called 911! Why would he do that if he was the one that hurt you? You owe him an apology.”

Bri laughed again, painfully, just as she had before. That was the final straw. She realized then that her parents didn’t love her. If they did, they did a terrible job showing it. They only loved the idea of having the perfect offspring, the daughter that excelled at everything, and she refused to be that anymore. She was a woman now, a woman that had just been attacked for the purpose of killing her unborn child.

She turned to Doctor Metcalf, now understanding why she’d been there with her. “How am I?” she asked, hoping the doctor would get her meaning.

“You will be just fine. You have a few broken bones in your face, a broken finger, two broken ribs, swollen but otherwise healthy ankle, damage to your trachea, and lots of bumps, bruises, and cuts. But you’ll be just fine.” She smiled softly, reaching out and placing her hand on Bri’s leg. “And the baby is just fine as well. We were fully prepared not to find a heartbeat. Most of the attack was directed at your abdomen. But we did. Your baby is just fine, for now. We will need to keep you for a few days to monitor you both.”

“Wait a minute,” Bri’s father said. “Baby?”

For a moment, Bri thought she saw something that momentarily looked like a very faint, almost too-terrified-to-come-out-of-hiding smile cross her father’s face, but that was over and gone as soon as her mother opened her mouth. She briefly wondered, before her mother started in, how he could have been so disgusted with a co-worker’s daughter being with child, but be momentarily happy with his own. Or had she only imagined the smile?

“You’re

pregnant? That’s

why you’ve been acting so strangely?” She stood and began pacing back and forth from the head of the bed to the foot and back again. “This is terrible. How could you do such a stupid thing? Is it Mike’s? He just didn’t seem like that kind of boy!”

Bri focused her rage, trying not to have an outburst, knowing that it will hurt her far more than it would her parents. “This

stupid thing

was because I had an abusive boyfriend that I was petrified of. No one believed me when I said that I was scared of him. Not even you! Everyone said that I was being foolish. That he was a great guy. That I was reading things wrong. Then one night he pressured me into having sex with him. Mom, the way he grabbed me, I knew that if I didn’t, he’d hurt me. One time – that’s all I’ve done it, and I didn’t even want to then. This is

not

my fault. I was trying to find a way out of the relationship, away from him to prevent being pressured into anything or being physically injured.”

“Well it seems to me that you moved a little slow. This is just awful. What will everyone say? Oh dear, is that why you quit the team? This is awful. Just awful.”

Her mother was a mess, just pacing and rambling.

“Mom, it’s going to be fine. Why should we care what anyone else thinks? I’m finishing school. I’m excited to show this baby exactly what you can do – no matter how hard the circumstances are – and still succeed. I’m going to go to college. I’m still going to do everything that I wanted to before, minus trying for a sports scholarship. That was more your dream than mine. I just love the game.”

Tears ran down her mother’s cheeks as their eyes locked. “Briana, you can’t have this baby. Please, you’re too young. You’ll regret it the rest of your life.”

Bri shook her head and smiled. “No, Mom. If I give up this baby – by any means – I’ll regret

that

for the rest of my life. Even if I hated and had no desire to take part in the circumstances that led up to this baby, he or she is still all of the best parts of me. How can I abandon that? Don’t make me do this. I’ll never forgive you and I’ll never forgive myself. I’ll always wonder what could have been and it will destroy me.”

“I just don’t think you understand just how hard your life is about to become if you keep that baby,” her mother said, voice quivering a little as she spoke. Something about the way Ellen chose her words sent chills down Bri’s spine. She wasn’t exactly sure what to make of them.

Shaking it off, Bri smiled again. “Yes I do, and that’s okay. I don’t care if the world hates me. It’s not their life. It’s mine. Everything will be just fine.”

Her mother squeezed her hand once. “You should rest. You’ve been through a lot today. We are going to go get some coffee and think about everything.”

Bri nodded, the motion immediately regrettable. Her throat was beginning to feel a little better, though she was incredibly thirsty. Talking so much had both helped and hurt. “Can I get these off now?” Bri asked, referring to her restraints.

“Yes. Sorry about that,” Doctor Conway said. “You pulled out three IVs and punched two of the nurses. We had no choice. Sedation wasn’t a great option because of the baby’s slowed heart rate and you were already unconscious anyway.”

“I am –

so

– sorry,” Bri said. She felt terrible for having hurt the people that had only tried to help her.

“It’s quite normal in victims of violent crimes.” Doctor Conway released her of the restraints. “I’d like for you to get some more rest. I’m going to give you a pain medication that will help prevent breakthrough pain as well as allow you to sleep. Until the baby’s heart rate comes back up, we will have to be pickier than normal with your pain meds.”

Bri nodded. She didn’t like the idea of being loaded up on drugs, especially while pregnant, but she didn’t want to feel the pain of all of her broken bones and she trusted the doctors to care for both of them. The words of the paramedic came back to her. That fighting and straining could hurt her and hurt the baby. Rest seemed best for now. “Thank you, Doctor.”

Hours passed before Bri woke again. Her sleep was dreamless, and for that she was grateful. Her ribs screamed at her when she tried to sit. She needed to go to the bathroom, but knew it was impossible to go alone. Within moments, the nurse was in her room, responding to her call. By the time the nurse helped her out, Matt was sitting in a bedside chair, smiling at her.

“Aren’t you just so cute in your ball gown,” he said, giving her a wink. He stood and came to her unoccupied side to help the nurse get her back into bed. Bri slowly sat on the edge of the bed, taking a moment to adjust to the pain. Matt placed his hands on her shoulders to stabilize and support her. “I’ve got her from here,” he said softly to the nurse.

“Okay,” the nurse responded, smiling. “If you need anything else, call me. I’m going to change your trash while I’m in here.” She walked across the room and began the task of switching bags.

“You don’t have help me, ya know,” Bri told Matt, still sitting upright. “I really hoped you wouldn’t find out. I didn’t want you to see me like this.”

Matt moved his hands from her shoulders to gently hold her face. He tilted her head upward and he looked into the eye that was open. “I don’t care how bruised, how broken, or how immobile you are now or will ever be in the future. You’re beautiful. Don’t let that asshole tear you down from the pedestal you belong on.” He placed a soft kiss on her forehead.

Out of her periphery, Bri saw the nurse stop at his words, placing a hand over her chest as a smile crossed her face. She was clearly moved by his words, as was Bri. No one had ever spoken to her like that, though he was always sweet and gentle with her.

“Well, that was awfully sweet for a barbarian like yourself,” Bri joked.

Matt shrugged. “I have my moments. Actually I wanted to get you in a headlock and screw up your hair – though I don’t think it’s possible to get it more amazing than it is right now.

But

– I figured there’d be some

rule

against abusing the patients.” He winked and helped her lie down before taking the seat next to her bed that he’d previously been occupying. Bri raised the head of her bed so she could sit at a wide angle, allowing her to sit and speak comfortably, but not so tightly as to squeeze her broken ribs.

“Can I get anything else for you?” the nurse asked, still smiling.

“Some ice chips maybe?” Bri said. “My throat is still a little sore.”

The nurse nodded. “Not a problem.”

Matt stood as the nurse made her way out the door. “I’ll go grab them from her so she doesn’t have to come back in.”

“Thank you,” Bri said. “I hate asking them for anything. I know they’ve got other patients who need more than I do.”

Matt laughed. “Wow. Woman, do you realize you’re more than likely one of the more serious patients on the floor? Most of these people probably have shortness of breath or respiratory infections of some kind.”

Bri shrugged, immediately regretting the action. “Still, I feel bad.” Matt shook his head at his friend and smiled before turning to leave the room. “Oh! Sorry, but could you see how my parents are doing? They were out there getting coffee somewhere.”

“Sure, no problem.”

Bri slowly reached for the call light/TV remote control and turned on the flat screen hanging from her wall. She began flipping through channels until she found something that made her happy. It was a rerun of The Vampire Diaries. She nestled in as comfortably as she could before placing the remote at her side and watching.

Twenty minutes or so passed before Matt came back. “Did you have to wait for the ice to freeze?” Bri asked, forcing a pained half-smile. Her face felt more swollen all the time, though she imagined if it actually was, the nurses would have noticed. She imagined it was just her pain tolerance lowering, possibly the pain medication wearing off.

Matt didn’t smile as he walked over to the bed, handing her a small Styrofoam cup with a plastic spoon. He looked behind him to the large closet in the room with double doors meant for patients to store their personal items. He opened it and his eyes momentarily closed before he reached inside.

“What? What’s wrong?” Bri asked. She watched as he pulled an envelope from the closet. He brought it over and sat it next to her on the bed. “What’s wrong? It’s just an envelope.”

He sighed. “It’s not just an envelope. It’s

your

envelope.”

“Why was it in the closet?”

Matt lightly shook his head as he tore it open, studying the contents. Bri’s heart began to speed up as she saw a flash of color of what was inside. Money.

“That’s for ordering food while I’m stuck in here. They work all the time and know hospital food sucks,” she said, trying to stop the tears from escaping her eyes. Even saying it, she didn’t believe it. “Where’s my phone?” she asked, wanting to call her parents.

Matt sighed again as he pulled her phone from his pocket. “The nurses had it in a bag of your belongings that you came in with. It survived the attack, thanks to the case. But you’re wasting your time, Bri. I tried to make a call from it. It’s been disconnected.”

Her jaw dropped open as a harsh breath escaped her. “What? What’s going on?”

Matt quickly put the money back in the envelope, having counted one hundred dollars, and sat it on the bedside table. He took a seat at Bri’s side and gently held her injured hand. “When I asked the nurses where I could possibly find your parents, the charge nurse stepped forward. I knew right then when they turned to her to answer my questions that it wasn’t good. She said that she overheard them discussing what to do. That your mom was insistent that she wouldn’t raise another baby and that you needed to learn your lesson. She told me your parents slipped the money into the cabinet and told the charge nurse to inform me if I came in. They knew I would.”

Bri shook her head, ignoring the physical pain for her emotional pain and confusion. “What are you saying, Matt?”

His eyes momentarily closed again as he searched for the words. “They gave you that money to give you a start on your own. They’ve kicked you out of the house, Bri. They shut off your phone, too. I called my sister and she drove by and saw a couple of boxes sat out on the curb. She recognized a few of your things piled on top. I’m so sorry. I’m honestly shocked. I knew they were cold, but this…”

That’s

what she meant by saying that I had no idea how hard that my life was about to become if I decided to have this baby. Oh my God, Matt. What am I going to do?” she asked, staring off at nothing in particular. She began rubbing her sore abdomen, not caring about the pain, just wanting to feel close to her baby. She was in shock. She thought her parents would hate her, punish her, ban her from anything remotely pleasurable, but she

never

imagined this.

“You’re going to focus on getting better. When you get out, you can come stay a few days with me, longer if you need.”

“Matt – I can’t stay with you. If your mother finds out that I’m pregnant she will think it’s yours. She’ll kill you.”

He shrugged. “Maybe not. My mom loves you. She loves me, too. The real kind, not that fake crap your parents tried to push off to their friends to look like great parents.”

Bri was silent for a few minutes as so many thoughts flooded her mind that she found herself not thinking about anything at all. Her pain was back tenfold and she knew it was partly because she’d lost concentration on it with the news and partly because she’d been sitting a long while and now her body was tense with stress. Not to mention the meds had more than likely worn off.

“I need to sleep. I can’t handle this right now. My body is starting to hurt again and my head feels like it’s going to explode.”

Matt reached for the call light and pushed it. “She’s in a lot of pain. Is it time for her to have meds yet?” he asked when they answered.

“Of course, we will be right in,” she answered.

“I’ll leave so you can get some rest,” Matt said, gently stroking the back of her hand.

“No – please. I hate to ask, but I just can’t bear being alone right now.”

He gave a soft smile and nodded, pulling the padded chair next to her bed closer. Matt sat down next to her and held her hand. He leaned over to kiss the sensitive back, just along her knuckles. “I’m not going anywhere, babe.”

Forgetting Fallenwood by Leslie D. Soule

I am so pleased to welcome Leslie D. Soule on my blog today. Let's have a look and see what her novel,  Forgetting Fallenwood, is all about shall we?

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Blurb:

What happens when Ash accidentally makes her way through another portal, this time into the Other Realm, and forgets she ever went to Fallenwood? More importantly, how much of one's identity is made up of memories? Fallenwood 2 is the continuing journey of heroine Ash Kensington. Struggling with a deep sense of grief, sorrow, and overall confusion, Ash tries to work her way through to a deeper, underlying meaning. This search leads her back to Fallenwood, where the mystery unravels itself as she realizes that a very sinister force may be underlying 

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About the author:

Leslie D. Soule is a fantasy writer from Sacramento, California. She has a B.A. in English and is currently working on her first-ever quadrilogy, The Fallenwood Chronicles. 

Buy Links:

Amazon: 

http://www.amazon.com/Forgetting-Fallenwood-Leslie-D-Soule/dp/1612356842/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391576115&sr=8-1&keywords=Forgetting+Fallenwood

Barnes & Noble: 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forgetting-fallenwood-leslie-d-soule/1116964600?ean=9781612356846

Melange Books: 

http://melange-books.com/authors/lesliedsoule/index.html