Book blitz – The open road



The Open Road
Bo and Quinn Loftis
Publication date: February 13th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Like all young couples, Jason O’Neal and his wife, Bethany, imagined a long and happy life with their children. But when Jason loses his family to a tragic accident, his storybook life dies with them on a two-lane highway. Unable to cope with the loss, Jason makes a last-ditch effort to find peace with their deaths. He plans to fulfill Bethany’s dream of visiting all fifty states, leaving mementos of his family along the way.

Samantha Showalter knows heartache after being left crying in an empty parking lot at the end of a three-year, abusive relationship. Seven months later, she’s rebuilding her life through sheer force of will, until her ex-fiancé shows up at her doorstep unannounced. But Samantha’s best friend has a plan to help Sam let go of her past once and for all … and finally find herself again.

Fate, with a little help from a meddling best friend, will bring two broken souls together. Both have their own valleys to cross before either can hope for a future of happiness.

Will Jason and Samantha find peace in each other, or will their past pain be too much to overcome?

The answer will be found on the open road.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Just then, Sam heard a loud knock on her front door. She sat still, thinking maybe the knock had actually been on the apartment door next to hers. An emaciated old hippie named Skip lived there, and he received all manner of strange visitors. It was not uncommon for one of them to knock on Samantha’s door by mistake. When Skip wasn’t hiding behind his dark curtains, he spent most of his time sitting in a lawn chair on the stoop smoking nonfiltered cigarettes and petting his elderly cat Mrs. Kush Kush.

The knock came again. No, that was definitely on her own door. Who in the world could that be? She sucked in a breath as she remembered Henry and his bizarre statement about knowing their future. Could he have found out where she lived? Not that it would be hard. Samantha was pretty sure you could find anyone you wanted on the internet. The knock came yet again, a little more insistent this time. Still, she didn’t move. It was Sunday, almost noon. She wasn’t expecting anyone. This had to be some stupid door-to-door salesperson or maybe a religious nut just out of church and all fired up. Or it’s a crazy, psychic nut who’s obsessed with you, she added in her mind, choosing not to voice that out loud and somehow make it come true. Not that she was superstitious but why not play it safe, just this once? She wasn’t going to answer it. They’d go away in a minute.

The knock sounded for a fourth time, even louder this time. “Dammit,” she swore and threw the blanket off her body. She was annoyed enough now that she was able to tamp down any fear she might have been feeling a moment ago. Samantha lumbered up and stomped into the living room so loudly she probably made the pictures rattle in the apartment below her. She paused at the door and looked down at herself, noticing her breasts were about to come tumbling out of the top of the red shirt she’d been wearing the night before, which was stained and wrinkled. Her throat was on fire. Her mouth tasted like she’d eaten a raw dragon liver, and she could only imagine what her hair must look like.

Samantha yanked the shirt up as high as it would go. She briefly thought about quickly freshening up, or at least brushing her teeth, but then she might miss the chance to read the riot act to this jackass pounding on her door. And if it was Henry Hyena, she was going to make it perfectly clear that he was creeping her the hell out and he needed to stop. Sam was going to make this fool pay for dragging her out of bed—well, off the bedroom floor, anyway—on what should be a very relaxing Sunday. The knock came again.

Damn it! It’s my first day off in three weeks. I’m SO not listening to a sales pitch about satellite TV! This asshat is getting a piece of my mind!

Samantha unlocked the door and yanked it open. Everything she’d been planning to say froze in her throat as she stared up into the eyes of the man at the door.

“Nice shirt,” said Derek, grinning like a Cheshire cat. And Samantha vomited all over his shoes.


Author Bio:

Quinn Loftis is a multi-award winning author of more than 20 novels, including the USA Today Bestseller, Fate and Fury. In a previous life, Quinn was a nurse, but God had other plans for her. In 2011, she published her first novel, Prince of Wolves, and the rest, as they say, is history. Quinn is thankful to God and gives Him all the glory for her amazing life and family. She is blessed to be married to her best friend for over 19 years and they have three boys, two dogs, and a cat that wants to take over the world.


Author links:


Bo Loftis is an attorney turned novelist who recently penned his second novel, The Open Road, with his USA Today Bestselling author wife, Quinn Loftis. Bo lives in the Arkansas River Valley, where he deftly toes the line between gamer and jock, splitting his time between gaming (both board and video) and playing basketball, mountain biking, and acting as a color commentator for local high school football games. He has three sons, each of which love to use him as their own person jungle gym, and he wouldn’t trade them for the world.


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Book blitz – The ruins



The Ruins
T.H. Hernandez
(The Union #2)
Publication date: June 16th 2015
Genres: Adventure, Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult

Heartbroken, grief-stricken, and wracked with guilt, seventeen-year-old Evan Taylor returned to the Union, leaving behind the boy she loved.

Now, she and her friends must find a way to do the impossible – warn the citizens of the Union about an impending rebel attack without alerting the government and risking retaliation against her friends in the Ruins.

When every move Evan makes is thwarted, it soon becomes clear she’s being watched. Faced with a daily fight to stay one step ahead of her pursuers, she returns to the Ruins. But life in the Ruins has its own dangers, and soon she’s fighting a different battle – to stay alive long enough to discover the truth.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

EXCERPT:

Grief, guilt, heartbreak, fear, loss, and abandonment all swirl in my head, creating a vortex of pain and confusion keeping me awake.

Three days ago I was planning a future with the boy I love. Cyrus was going to come back to the Union with me. We were going to figure out a way to warn the citizens here or stop the attack. Together. Now his brother is dead and Cyrus stayed behind, unwilling to abandon the rest of his family.

The scents of honeysuckle and fresh-cut grass float on a late summer night breeze. I stare up at the clouds from the chaise lounge on the balcony. A thick marine layer inched its way in from the coast hours ago, blanketing the sky and obscuring the stars I was hoping to see. With the moon hidden and the Union lights off for the night, darkness envelopes me.

Over the soft murmuring of desalinated ocean water burbling through the aqueduct, I hear the door slide open behind me and sit up. My bio-dad, Eddie, walks out and takes the spot beside me.

“Can’t sleep?”

I shift to my right, giving him more room. “No. You?”

He shakes his head, his cinnamon-colored wavy hair sweeping across his shoulders. “My grandmother used to say if you can’t sleep, it means you’re awake in someone else’s dreams.”

That’s a comforting sentiment. Is Cyrus dreaming about me right now? Or is he like me, too afraid of the nightmares to close his eyes?

Eddie presses his lips together and studies me for several long seconds. “Are you ready to tell me where you’ve really been all summer?”

His question catches me off guard. I thought he bought my story, the one I told him when I came back. The one Lisa fed him while I was in the Ruins. Posing as me, she texted my mom and Eddie from my tablet with regular updates on our fake adventures sailing off the southeastern coast. When I first showed up here yesterday afternoon, he didn’t seem to care where I’d been or what I’d been up to, only that I was here at all. I’m definitely not ready to have this conversation with him.

“I don’t know, are you ready to tell me where you were for the first twelve years of my life?”

He shifts his weight on the chaise next to me and sighs. “I don’t know how many times I can apologize.”

“You think another ‘I’m sorry’ is going to fix everything?”

He rubs his palms on his thighs and stands. “You’re welcome to stay here as long as you’d like, but you might want to ratchet the anger down a few notches.” He moves toward the door before turning back. “You’re going to have to forgive me some day.”

I raise my head and turn toward his dark silhouette. “Why? You think sending me a ticket and letting me hang out with your new kids makes up for everything?”

“No,” he says quietly, “because hanging on to all that anger and resentment isn’t healthy.” He walks back into the house, sliding the door closed behind him.

With a heavy sigh, I fall on my back and stare back up into the blackness. Seriously? After being nothing to me for three-quarters of my life, where does he get off being all parental right now?


Author Bio:

T.H. Hernandez is the author of young adult books. The Union, a futuristic dystopian adventure, was a finalist in the 2015 San Diego book awards in the Young Adult Fiction category.

She loves pumpkin spice lattes, Game of Thrones, Comic-Con, Star Wars, Doctor Who marathons, Bad Lip Reading videos, and all things young adult, especially the three young adults who share her home.

When not visiting the imaginary worlds inside her head, T.H. Hernandez lives in usually sunny San Diego, California with her husband and three children, a couple of cats, and a dog who thinks he’s a cat, affectionately referred to as “the puppycat.”

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


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Review of Aavya

BLURB:

What do you do when your one true love is snatched away from you? Do you find a new love? Or do you go on loving? Raj has known aavya since they were kids. It is only now, at the threshold of adulthood that he has woken up to her beauty and grace. He is a dreamer while she is a realist. Together, they make a perfect pair. Both are visionaries who want to change the world in their unique way. But life has other plans for Raj. Aavya is spirited away across oceans by enraged parents, while Raj recuperates in a hospital. A decade later, Raj has been chasing aavya’s ghost across continents. Will their love find a way back to each other? And can love last when there is no promise that the lovers will ever be United? Aavya is the story of love, perseverance and finding hope in the darkest of times. It unfolds in letters spanning decades; written by those who lived it. At its heart is a hopeless romantic who makes his own world when the world rejects him – Raj.

MY REVIEW:

If you are looking for a light read and a person who does not feel bored to read letters and email exchanges, this book is for you.

Raj and Aavya, love each other. They did not realize that until they kissed. Post this they start having feelings for each other. They decide to elope and get married. But destiny as we know had other plans.

Aavya’s parents are clearly not interested in their relationship make her move abroad. Raj on the other hand is recuperating at a hospital. The book brings out feelings of unconditional love to the reader and makes you wonder if one can love unconditionally. Raj loves Aavya unconditionally and never gives up. He still waits for the day to come when he and Aavya can unite.

The book comprises of a series of letters and email exchanges between characters- Raj, Aavya, their friends. The letters and emails are so full of love and thoughts about intimacy and secrecy.

The narration makes you feel as though a box is pulled up from an old pile of stuff at the attic which has letters from parents which give us a whole new meaning f what their relationship was about. The author has penned down thoughts to appreciate family, love and friendship. The story swings back and forth between past and present and keeps you intrigued about the ending.

The initial thought of reading letters made it a slow read but picked up pace somewhere in the middle that I was able to complete it.

BOOK DETAILS:

  • Paperback:230 pages
  • Publisher:Kalamos Literary Services LLP; First edition (10 January 2019)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:9387780171
  • ISBN-13:978-9387780170

MY RATINGS:

Cover: 4/5

Title: 4/5

plot: 4/5

Writing and Presentation: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

RISHABH PURI is an entrepreneur of Indian origin with business in Nigeria, Dubai, and China. Despite his demanding day job, he finds time to indulge in his passion for writing fiction. He is a national bestselling author with three books penned under his name – ‘Inside the Heart of Hope’, ‘Flying Without Wings’ and ‘Seductive Affair’. His readers have loved and enjoyed all his books immensely, and ‘Aavya’ is his fourth book. Diagnosed with life-threatening heart disease at the age of 1, Rishabh’s early life was mostly limited to talking to doctors and visiting hospitals for several major surgeries and regular checkups. Now, armed with the resilience and experience his fierce battles with the disease brought him, Rishabh has taught himself to live life to the fullest against all odds. His writings too are mostly centered on the beauty of hope, love, and life. Rishabh is also an avid traveller and a supercar enthusiast. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria but visits India regularly, returning to his birthplace, Chandigarh, which remains immensely close to his heart.

Review of Was it love

BLURB:

Leila Rajput is a young girl, struggling with life and relationships, dealing with the trauma of a past life-event. Unaware of her true potential, she has almost given up on life, till she meets this dynamic, near-perfect Vikrant Rao via internet. He identifies her potential and offers her a strange arrangement to be her mentor. He teaches her the basics of life, makes her realize her dreams and helps her in achieving them step by step. Under his guidance, she evolves into a confident and independent woman. They eventually fall in love and Vikrant relocates to her city, where he meets her friend Maya. While he solves Maya’s life conflicts and helps her elope with Shahan, he charges a fee none could ever imagine. Is Vikrant a villain or a victim of greed? Did he truly love Leila or was she just a puppet to reach his next victim? Was it Love? is a story of Leila’s journey through emotions, trials, betrayal and the devil called love.

MY REVIEW:

The book starts with childhood friends Leyla and Maya, on their way to attend an annual party of corporate Inc, which is where Leyla’s boyfriend Vikrant Rao works. Leyla and Maya are now 20, completing MBA and joining the same investment banking company. Maya fumes as she is not okay with Leyla’s rash driving. They end up reaching the party on time. They are received by Vikrant and Shahan(Maya’s boyfriend). Vikrant introduces his beautiful girlfriend to all his colleagues.

Leyla meets Vikrant over the internet( he stays in US), a few years back when she was in college. They started commenting on a blog platform and which in turn bloomed into daily ritual of talking to each other over voice chat. Leyla is insecure and is being mentored by Vikrant to be a better human being and refining her thought process. The mental relationship with Vikrant costs Leyla her relationship with family friend, Avi. He dumps her and she is broken. Vikrant molds and motivates her at this point where she fails in love with him.

They come to a point where they cannot be with each other. Vikrant relocates to Delhi. Leyla makes him meet her friend Maya and offer her some piece of advice since she is in a personal turmoil.

She is in love with Shahan and there would be a religion problem if they come to seek parental consent for marriage. Shahan plans to move to US to pursue executive MBA. Vikrant advises gun to leave and makes a plan for Maya to pursue fashion design in the US so that she and Shahan can elope and live happily together.

Shahan and Maya were delighted on hearing the plan however Leyla is skeptical about it. She somehow notices a change in behavior of Vikrant. Shahan leaves to the US and Maya frequently visits Vikrant to discuss their plans. This goes on for a while until things are uninformed to Leyla and Vikrant starts to ignore her.

Leyla becomes disturbed which is noticed by her boss, Aman. He in turn decides to help her out. Leyla confesses the whole story. Aman, discovers a gruesome truth about Vikrant which leaves her shocking. Aman helps her with the situation and also confesses his love to her.

What happens to Maya? Does she reunite with Shahan? What is the truth about Vikrant? Why does he avoid Leyla and what are his intentions? What happens to Leyla, does she reunite with Vikrant ot she accepts Aman is the rest of the story.

The book is a short read. Initial chapters consist of the chat exchanges between Vikrant and Leyla, which was kind of monotonous. They have poetic exchanges which tends to slows down the pace of the story.

The character of Vikrant is very hard to predict. At one moment he seems to be too pleasing when he talks to Leyla, at a later point he looks to be behaving with a reason to accomplish something else. Leyla on the other hand is gentle, insecure and vulnerable.

The narration is good, except for the dialogues part which could have been minimized. The ending could have been better. I would not term this as a suspense read, since I found that element missing. It was overall a light and a quick read.

BOOK DETAILS:

  • Paperback:192 pages
  • Publisher:Srishti Publishers & Distributors; First edition (10 August 2018)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:9789387022300
  • ISBN-13:978-9387022300
  • ASIN:9387022307

MY RATINGS:

Cover: 4.4/5

Title: 4/5

plot: 3.75/5

Writing and Presentation: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Neha Sultania belongs to a culturally rich Punjabi family that originally hails from undivided India, now Pakistan. After her post-graduation in Business Administration, she took up banking as her career choice. A creative bent of mind has made her inclination strongly towards storytelling and poetry. Interest in mysteries and mystical nature of the universe has also made her wander into the deep occult sciences, making her a student of Vedic astrology.

Review of together forever to never

BLURB:

No one can love like you… if I lose you, I will be left with nothing’ So says Sariyanka, a girl from a small town, madly in love with Samar. Having lost true love once before, Samar too believes that Sariyanka is his other half whom Zeus, the Greek God had separated from him.. In a chance conversation with his friend Mayank, Samar discovers some shocking truths. As the story unravels, a series of events follow that forever change the meaning of love for Samar. Is Sariyanka the one Samar calls his ‘other half’? Will Samar get the love that he always longed for? This highly anticipated novel by Satish Goyal is an emotional roller coaster that bravely explores the highs and lows of love. It’s a story of love – unshaken and unquestioned; yet unfulfilled and unrequited. A saga of deceit served on a platter of lies. About the author: Satish Goyal is a finance professional and works at a US multinational company. Since his days at the university, he had dreamed of writing on subjects close to his heart, but had put those dreams on hold to focus on his family and career. He finally plucked up the courage to put pen to paper with his first novel ‘Together Forever To Never”. Satish believes that success cannot be measured in terms of wealth or titles. The true measure of success is happiness that one is able to achieve in life. Satish is now writing his second book, “The Coaster Series”.

MY REVIEW:

Samar and Monali, sweethearts at young age, married happily for ten years. Samar, the protagonist has everything in life-great career, a loving wife and an adorable son. If life is described as a fairytale, their story should definitely be one of the chapters.

While the story goes on happily, a tragedy struck. Monali exits their world and leaves Samar in deep sorrow. Human spirituality, psychiatrist’s advice, he embraced life again. There we have another entry. Sariyanka came into his life. That is when he realizes he has found his better half. They fell in love madly with each other.

One fine day, when he was conversing with his friend Mayank. He comes to know a shocking truth. The truth gets proved by a couple of evidences which raises a doubt of loyalty on Sariyanka. After deep thinking, he confronts her and gets shattered. He moves on after a long struggle. A very engaging tale that makes you enjoy the feeling of love.

I loved the way it was printed the quality of paper used. Being a debut novel, it was written well and sequences placed at the right points. The narration was good and the character portrayal was really good.

Love makes you blindly trust people, that makes you forget everything. But falling in love with the right person makes the difference.

I just loved the way the cover is designed, that makes you want to pick it up and read it right away.

BOOK DETAILS:

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Paper Towns Publishers; 1 edition (15 December 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07LDVQL3J

MY RATINGS:

Cover: 4.5/5

Title: 4/5

plot: 4.5/5

Writing and Presentation: 4.5/5

Overall: 4.5/5

Review of Because I promised

BLURB:

At their college farewell party, Varnika publicly rejects Sushant’s candid proposal in the most disrespectful way imaginable, leaving everyone – including her gang of cousins – dismayed. She feels that her reasons are valid, for doing this to her best friend. What exactly are her reasons for making this upsetting choice? Did her mother’s move to Mumbai during Varnika’s formative years have a bearing on her? Or is it more than that? What is she planning to do at the NGO for eunuchs? Will she succeed in her chosen career? Would she be able to overcome her inhibitions before it is too late? This is Varnika’s journey as she overcomes her personal reservations and professional challenges, all the while contemplating her promise to lock her heart away.

MY REVIEW:

Get yourselves ready before reading the book, since there are lot many characters you need to keep in mind when you start reading. The book’s plot is kind of usual, a proposal being rejected, career prospects, hard work, success and so on. So the book has all sorts of emotion- friendship, romance, family drama, brother- sister sentiments.

The book starts off with an extravagant farewell party organized in the college. Sushant grabs this opportunity to open up his feelings and confess his love to Varnika, the female protagonist who is going be the driving factor of this novel. Sudhant proposes with a bouquet on one knee during the time when folks are almost gloomy and tired after an enthusiastic anthakshari which again was Sushant’s tactic to get Varnika into his proposal plan. That particular proposal episode was well thought out I must say; was indeed good to read through that part. But in vain, Varnika out rightly rejects.

Varnika stays with her extended family and her cousins along with her grandma, fondly called by all as Badi ma. Varnika’s mom Beena is settled in Mumbai, whom she visits as and when she gets time. Varnika planned to settle with her mom post her graduation. Varnika is showered with love and care from cousin brothers, sisters.

So after the graduation she moves to Mumbai and instead of taking up responsibility in her mom’s business, she decides to work in the NGO, started by her grandfather which is run for eunuchs and their well-being. Beena initially has hesitations, but agrees to it finally. Sushant meanwhile pursues MBA in Bangalore. Ulfat bi is one of the care takers at the home, who becomes the guiding light, friend , philosopher to Varnika. She also realizes that Varnika is in love with Sushant but is stopping herself to bring out her honest emotions.

In the amidst of this, Varnika is challenged by a bigshot to raise 50L for the NGO in a fair. So there begins a racy pace in the narration that they decide to accept the challenge. Beena brings in Sushant to assist her. What happens in the end? Does she win the challenge? Does she accept Sushant is the remaining part of the story.

The writing style is simple and engaging. Even though the plot seems to be usual the narration and other factors make it a good script for a Bollywood movie.

There are a lot many characters. Varnika’s cousin brother Swayam and his wife Avani, who are fond of her. Avani who is an equally enthusiastic character wishes to pursue fashion designing instead of settling in, bearing an offspring as per wishes of Badi ma. She even succeeds to pursue the course.

Varnika’s cousin Golu, a little chirpie kid. Tapasya, another cousin whose adolescent but still wishes to be considered an adult and to be involved in discussions.

Though there are many characters, the role of each is carved perfect and not over dramatic.

Overall, it’s a good read.

BOOK DETAILS:

  • Format: Paperback
  • Publisher:GJ Group (2018)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:8193660250
  • ISBN-13:978-8193660256

MY RATINGS:

Cover: 4/5

Title: 4/5

plot: 4.5/5

Writing and Presentation: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

About The Author

Anupriya belongs to that generation of Idiots (the proud ones though), who did their engineering first and then decided on what they actually wanted to do. She completed her MBA in Human Resources and worked in the corporate world for 8 years, before taking a professional break. A mom by day and a reader/writer by night, Anupriya is a die-hard romantic. Yet she believes that love (in any relationship) is a part of life, not, the heart of life. And she aims to bring to the world, stories around this theme.

Book blitz – Captive rebel



Captive Rebel
Erin McDermott
(The Allegiance #1)
Publication date: July 2nd 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

In a world where Greek Gods rule over the Allegiance, Marylyn O’Conner struggles to survive.

Marylyn is a rebel, forced to do the rebellion’s bidding until an unforgiving family debt is paid. A pawn in the war against the Allegiance, she is obligated to become a rebel spy, or her family will suffer.

When word spreads that an Allegiant Prince, Ariston, has escaped rebel captivity vowing to hunt down rebel spies, Marylyn realizes her only hope is to escape Allegiant territory.

While on the run, Ariston captures Marylyn, preventing her from any chance of returning home. Desperate, she knows she needs to escape her alluring captor or risk the safety of her family.

But Marylyn can’t keep herself from falling for the mysterious prince as she finds that he can empathize with her troublesome past – a past no ally has understood before.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Moist hands wrapped around my lower arm. “Excuse me, you’re that rebel girl aren’t you?” I turned to face a boy with sweeping black hair and piercing gray eyes. Unfortunately for him, he struggled to stand and his breath was repulsive.

“Who else would I be?” I bluntly responded while attempting to rip my arm from his hold. He only squeezed it tighter.

“I say you shouldn’t listen to these people who are talking poorly about you. I don’t think you’re a bad person. Not at all,” he gave me a weak smile and stumbled toward me.

I took a step back, weary of this boy. “Well, they’re probably right,” I said, trying to persuade him to back off. He continued approaching me with a sloppy grin plastered across his face. Clearly, my words did not dissuade him.

He held tighter on my arm as his face came increasingly close to mine. Before I knew what was happening, I reacted.

The moment his lips brushed against mine I pushed him away with my free arm. He went staggering to the floor. His one hand still firmly held onto my arm, dragging me down with him.

My body fell against his and my hair cascaded around his face. Before I could react, he slammed his hands against my chest, tossing my unprepared body onto the wooden floor next to him. My shoulder slammed onto the ground and I moaned in pain.

I reached for my shoulder and gripped it tightly. Before I could make another move large hands wrapped around my waist, pulling me up to a standing position. Bulky arms wrapped around me and I was pulled back into a man’s chest.

“Walk away before I hurt you,” Ariston’s warm breath tickled my ear as he spoke with a protective voice.

The boy in front of me was unrelenting, “She’s scum. Why are you protecting her?”

The pub went silent and all eyes were on the three of us. Ariston’s grip around my waist was unusually comforting, and I had a burning desire to ask him not to let go.

His deep voice echoed through the silent pub. “As your prince, and a man tortured by her kind, she is rightfully mine.”

“Rightfully no one’s,” I aggressively whispered only loud enough for him to hear and no one else.

“After spying on my family, you are mine.”


Author Bio:

Erin McDermott was born and raised in New Jersey. She graduated college with a bachelors degree in History. If she’s not in her room writing, you may find somewhere on the Jersey Shore with her family. She has been writing stories since 3rd grade. It was not until after experiencing the fast-paced life New York City had to offer that she decided to finally take the plunge and finish her first book, CAPTIVE REBEL (The Allegiance, Book 1).

During her years in college she expressed a deep interest in Greek Mythology, which she incorporates into The Allegiance Series. She is incredibly grateful to her family for supporting her throughout the trials and tribulations of the independent publishing process.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook


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Review of Love for two lifetimes

BLURB:

Who do you choose: the man who might be your father, or the one who could be the love of your life? Following a trail of clues in love letters her mother wrote but never sent, Isabelle Cavalera steps into a world of English aristocracy, one which years ago forced her mother to choose between her obligation to her musical gift and the obligations the man she loved had to his family, title, and estate. It’s a world of secrets and masquerades, of parental heartache and romantic betrayal. And in the midst of this world, Izzy finds Malcolm Halford, who feels as broken as she does herself.

Thrown together on a journey of discovery that spans two lifetimes and takes the reader from a grand estate in the Cotswolds to a hospital bedside in India and ultimately to the Taj Mahal, Izzy and Malcolm try desperately not to fall in love while the letters written by Izzy’s mother take on a whole new meaning as they bring an entire community together. But some loves are impossible… And some are worth any sacrifice… Uplifting, funny, tragic, and unforgettably romantic, Love for Two Lifetimes is a tale of two generations of love, a lifetime of friendship, a history of sacrifice, and one last, heartbreaking and hopeful choice revealed in prose and love letters. If you’re a fan of Pride and Prejudice, Everything, Everything, John or Jane Green, Inglath Cooper, Elin Hilderbrand, Sophie Kinsella, or any story by Nicholas Sparks, this luminous and twisting novel from the award-winning author of Compulsion and Lake of Destiny will have you thinking, smiling, and crying in the best way late into the night.

MY REVIEW:

This book was not meant to be put down, once you’ve started reading it and I finished it in two days. The author is one such who makes you feel the emotions that are undergone by the characters.

The story starts with Izzy and her classical pianist mom. They were very close to one another that she never felt the need of a father. All along when she grew up, she never knew she had a father, who it was or where he was. All she knew was only her mother and the only other family known is of her best friend Ellis’.

One fine day she is devastated by the death of her mother in a fatal car accident and all of a sudden she feels like she’s never known her mom. The diversity of the thoughts that she gets post the accident has been portrayed so well.

After her mom’s death Izzy feels that the world she had known has completely crashed on her which is when she discovers a box of love letters which were written and not sent by her mom. They were addressed to Ian Halford in England. As she reads through those letters she understands they were emotions of love and life heartfelt by her mom. This give her an urge to set out on a quest to find Ian and to determine if he could be her father, about whom she never knew anything.

She flies to England to meet Ian Halford. She gets to know that he was an aristocrat by birth and a doctor by profession. NO, this is not the typical royal romantic story. She meets Malcom who was Ian’s son. Malcom also had tragedies in life- losing his twin sister at 8 and his mom at 12. It was only him and his father all these years and he knew that his father was obsessed with a pianist. When he first met Izzy, he does not know how to proceed, but later realizes that she needs his help. Malcom initially thought that the pianist and his father destroyed his mom, but when he learns more about Izzy’s mom he realizes that there was something more that he was unaware of.

The three then decide to travel to India and to the magnificent Taj Mahal and discover more information about the pianist and Ian and the relationship between Ian’s parents. That is the point when they realize that true love’s worth. Meanwhile, Izzy and Malcom felt more affectionate towards each other and what should be between siblings. Are they really step siblings or should they continue without giving it a thought is the remaining part of the story. I would say that this is a compelling Young adult that will satisfy YA and romance audience.

The characterization of Lizzy makes it easier for us to connect with her. She is seen portrayed as an independent, strong personality who also has longings like most of us do. Not only Izzy we also get to know her mom through the journey.

The writing style is simple and crisp. The romantic part between Malcom and Izzy is something that seems to slow down the pace, irrespective of which the narration makes you fall for them.

I would deem myself to be lucky to have received the ARC for this wonderful YA book.

BOOK DETAILS:

  • Format:Kindle Edition
  • File Size:3536 KB
  • Print Length:451 pages
  • Publisher:Mayfair Publishing (25 September 2018)
  • Sold by:Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited
  • Language:English
  • ASIN:B07GTW72T4

MY RATINGS:

Cover: 4/5

Title: 4/5

plot: 4.5/5

Writing and Presentation: 4/5

Overall: 4.5/5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Martina Boone is the award winning author of Love for two lifetimes. She is also the founder of adventuresinYApublishing, which is a three-time Writer’s digest websites for writer’s site.

Book blitz – Vacay



#Vacay
Cambria Hebert
Publication date: December 3rd 2018
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

A #Hashtag and BearPaw Resort Crossover Novella

VACATION MODE ON

#Vacay Itinerary:

—Make new friends

—Meet a big dog

—Kiss in the snow

—Don’t get lost

—Ignore the press

—Don’t make national news

—Drink all the cocoa

—Wear all the hoodies

—Eat all the food

—Get lit!

*Please note: This is not a full length novel, but a crossover novella featuring characters from The Hashtag and BearPaw Resort series. It is apporximately 45k. The paperback is approximately 205 pages. 

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

“Family meeting!” I yelled from the bottom of the stairs, then, without pause, hit a few buttons on the phone screen.

“This better be good,” a voice grumbled in my ear after several rings.

“Family meeting,” I declared again.

He started to groan, but I hung up.

Family meetings were not negotiable. Not ever. Especially when I had something good I wanted to say.

Rimmel shuffled out of the kitchen, drowning in my hoodie and a pair of oversized sweats. Her hair looked like a chicken took up residence in the strands, and her nose was all scrunched up, accentuating the tired look in her eyes.

“Roman Anderson!” she chided, sassy as ever. “What in the world do you think you’re doing yelling up the stairs like that at six a.m.?”

Running a hand through my damp hair, I gave her a crooked smile. “Family meeting, baby.”

She snorted. “There can’t possibly be anything that important at this hour. If you wake up the boys with all that yelling…” she warned. In her arms, our daughter stirred. Rim glanced down then back at me accusingly. “Look what you did!”

I rolled my eyes. “London was already awake,” I pointed out, gazing directly at the bottle Rim was holding.

Rimmel looked down at our daughter, her eyes softening. My heart clutched a little, tightness squeezing my chest. London might be our youngest child, but seeing Rim standing in my house, drowning in sweats and holding my daughter, was something that would always affect me.

They were perfect standing there. My girls.

“Your daddy is a crazy man,” Rimmel told London. “Calling silly meetings at the crack of dawn.”

London made a sound and reached up for the black-framed glasses perched on Rim’s face.

“Nothing I do is silly! Don’t be telling my girl disparaging things about me,” I grumped, going forward to gently take her out of Rimmel’s arms. After taking the bottle, I glanced down. “Don’t listen to her, Strawberry. Mommy’s just grouchy without her coffee.”

London smelled like Rimmel, and I cuddled her closer into my chest. She reached for the bottle and pulled it to her mouth, her wide blue eyes staring at me like I was the only thing she saw in the world.

Smiling, I brushed at the soft dark hair covering her head. She was a miniature version of my wife, only with blue eyes.

The only one of our children to actually favor Rim in looks over me.

“Go get some coffee, baby. I got this.”

When Rimmel didn’t move, I glanced up. She was staring at me and London.

Lifting an eyebrow, I said, “What?”

That kissable mouth of hers pulled into a soft smile. “I just like watching you with her.”

“You make good kids, smalls.”

“You aren’t so bad yourself, Mr. Anderson.”

Heavy footfalls on the stairs made Rim lift her head.

“I’m gonna kick you in the ass, Rome,” Braeden grumped, scrubbing a hand over his face as he yawned.

“Rise and shine,” I drawled, then leaned over to kiss Rimmel on the forehead. “Get your coffee,” I instructed softly.

“It better already be made,” B bickered, brushing past.

Rimmel smiled and turned to go into the kitchen, but her feet got caught in the damn too-large sweatpants and she pitched sideways.

I lunged forward, clutching our daughter in one hand and reaching out with the other. Braeden moved a little quicker and scooped her up before she could hit the floor.

“Girl, either eat a steak or get some pants that fit,” he said, placing her on her feet.

“I thought you were half asleep.” She smacked his chest and started toward the kitchen. She fell so much it didn’t even faze her anymore.

I glanced down at London. “You can look like Mommy all you want, but how about taking on my reflexes, huh?”

“I ain’t so tired I can’t catch my sister before she busts her ass.” B scolded Rim as they continued into the kitchen. “We got shit to do today. A hospital visit ain’t on the list.”

“You know what this meeting is about?” The accusation in her voice made me wince, and I hot-footed it into the living room. I’d let him deal with that.


Author Bio:

Cambria Hebert is an award winning, bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair.

Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (the real boss of the house).

Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: The Hashtag Series, Text, Torch, and Tattoo.

Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest


GIVEAWAY!

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Book blitz – A Christmas star

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Romance, Women’s Fiction

Date Published: November 2, 2018

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Two years ago, Noelle North’s then-fiancé left her waiting at the church on Christmas—her wedding day and birthday. She knows she cannot endure another holiday season at home in Boston. At the urging of four women at the assisted-living community where she serves as health director, Noelle decides to rent Seashell Cottage on the Gulf Coast of Florida for the holidays. She meets Silas Bellingham, the cutest seven-year-old boy she’s ever seen, and his great-grandmother, Althea. Noelle discovers Althea’s caretaker has been abusing her and goes into action, ending up with the temporary care of both Althea and Silas. Becoming part of the Bellingham household has an entirely different series of challenges when it comes to Althea’s grandsons, Jake and Brett, who are having problems of their own with hotels to run and their parents missing in a plane crash. But after sparring with her, Silas’ father, Jake, realizes Noelle is just what he and his family need, and when she finds the perfect Christmas star for Silas, they both know he’s right.

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 Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

               On the Gulf Coast of Florida, Noelle North walked along the white, sandy beach that lined the shore like the fur on her slippers back home. The sun’s heat washed over her, hugging her with its warmth on this early December morning. She unzipped her light jacket and lifted her arms to the blue sky, welcoming the day with an embrace. She had a whole six weeks of freedom from work and her dismal life back home.

Her family had wanted her to stay in Boston with them for the holidays, but Noelle knew she couldn’t endure another Christmas of everyone feeling sorry for her. Two years ago, on Christmas Day, her fiancé, Alexander Cabot, had left her waiting at the church on her wedding day, while he’d taken off with another woman, his best friend’s wife. She’d wanted to die of embarrassment. Even now, thinking of that humiliation, a shudder shook her shoulders, and her stomach filled with acid.

               The one thing that had helped her keep going throughout the healing process was the conviction that she’d never fall for a glamour guy again. Besides, at thirty-two and with her grim track record with men, she was pretty sure she was destined to be single for the rest of her life. The thought didn’t bother her as much as it used to. Why should it? She had the freedom to come and go as she pleased, nobody was around to tell her what she could or couldn’t do, and evenings after a hard day of work at the New Life Assisted-Living Community were blissfully quiet.

               Noelle stopped walking and gazed out over the water. Waves rolled toward her in a steady pattern, greeting the shore with a kiss and pulling away like a shy child. Above her, seagulls wheeled in circles, their cries shrill in the stillness of the early morning. She watched as a group of sandpipers darted toward the water’s edge, dipped their beaks into the sand for whatever little morsel they could catch, and continued on their way, leaving tiny footprints behind.

               A flash of black caught her attention. She turned to see a big dog galloping toward her, yellow tennis ball in his mouth. She braced herself to greet him and then chuckled as the dog circled and ran right by her toward a small figure farther down the beach.

               She walked on, watching with interest as the dog ran into the water and came out again carrying the wet ball in his mouth. As she came closer, she saw that the person throwing the ball was a boy whom she guessed was seven or eight.

               The boy smiled at her as she approached.

“Your dog is a very good catcher,” Noelle said. “What’s his name?”

“Duke,” the boy said. The dog, hearing his name, came and sat by him.

“And what’s your name?” Noelle asked, thinking the boy with dark red hair, bright green eyes, and freckles was one of the cutest kids she’d ever seen.

“Silas. Silas Bellingham.” He studied her. “Who are you? And why aren’t you working?”

She grinned. “I’m Noelle North, and I’m not working because I’m on vacation for the next month or so.” She glanced around. “Are you here by the water on your own?”

“Naw. My great-grandmother’s over there. See?” He pointed to a woman sitting in a wheelchair on the porch of a sizeable house overlooking the beach.

               Noelle smiled and lifted a hand in greeting, but the woman didn’t wave back.

               “See you later,” the boy said and ran toward his great-grandmother.

               Noelle watched him go, thinking of all her friends’ children back home. Of the four women who had stuck together through everything since college, she was the only one who was unmarried and without children. She’d always wanted a large family, but that didn’t seem possible now. At her age and with no prospects of a husband in sight, she would be lucky to have even one baby.

               Trying to fight off depression, Noelle resumed walking. It was bad enough to have been dumped at the altar on Christmas, but that day was also her birthday. With a name like Noelle,  she’d always felt the holiday season was something extra special, almost magical, in her life. Until two years ago, that is. Now, Christmas trees, Christmas decorations, and especially Christmas music were nauseating to her.

               She walked on wishing her grandmother was alive. From an early age, she and Gran had had a special relationship. In fact, Gran was the reason why, as a graduate of Boston College’s nursing program, Noelle decided to specialize in caring for the elderly. She now headed the health program at an exclusive, assisted-living community outside of Boston. Over the past several years, some of the more active residents had become dear friends. Without them, she would not be in Florida.

               Noelle smiled at the memory of Edith Greenbaum confronting her with three of her closest elderly friends. “Now you listen here, young lady,” Edith had said with great earnestness, “it’s time for you to go somewhere, kick up your heels, and have a little fun. I was doing some research on the internet, and I’ve come up with the right place for you.”

               Shocked and pleased, Noelle had played along. “And where might that be, boss?”

               Edith and the other three women had tittered happily.

               “I’ve printed it out for you.” Edith handed her a sheet of information on the Seashell Cottage just south of Clearwater Beach in Florida.

               The minute Noelle saw the picture, she knew it was a perfect idea, the perfect place. Sitting on the edge of a broad expanse of white beach, a small, pink cottage beckoned to her.

With its painted clapboards, wide front porch, and two palm trees spreading shade nearby, it was everything she’d imagined in a beach getaway.

               “Thank you, Edith,” she’d said with meaning. “I’ll see if it is at all possible.”

               “You know we’re right, Noelle,” Edith replied kindly. “It’s time for you to move on with your life. If you don’t do it for yourself, at least do it for us. We’re stuck here. But you’re not.”

               Tears stung Noelle’s eyes as she’d embraced each one. It was the perfect time of year for her to do as they suggested.

               Thinking of those dear women, Noelle’s spirits lifted and she began to run.

###

               For the second morning in a row, Noelle awoke and stretched, relieved to be away from home. She’d wanted to come to Florida in time for Thanksgiving, but her mother had put her foot down and insisted that Thanksgiving be spent with all four of her children at home. Noelle loved her parents and her three older brothers and their families. But being with them for Thanksgiving had convinced her it was right to come to Florida for the Christmas holidays. Chaos reigned when the whole family was together. Eight nieces and nephews between the ages of one and fourteen were enough to rattle anyone. Even her mother, Jen, went to bed as soon as she could after everyone else had gone, leaving Noelle to do the last-minute tidying.

               Noelle put on her fuzzy pink robe, padded into the kitchen, and turned on the coffee maker. Through the kitchen window, she saw that the clouds the weatherman had predicted were marring the blue sky and hiding the sun. Still, with ice and snow back home, the day seemed full of promise.

               She took her cup of coffee out to the front porch and gazed out at the water. A sense of peace washed over her. Edith had told her life was full of challenges, forcing people to grow and change. Thinking of the past two years, she realized she’d been stuck in a pattern of self-doubt and hurt. No man, she vowed, was worth it. Edith was right. It was time for a change.

               With a fresh resolve to enjoy each day free from the past, she went inside, changed into shorts and a T-shirt, and headed out to the beach. Though the air was cool, the sun felt warm on her face as she headed down the sand at a brisk pace.

               Along the shore, egrets were dipping their beaks into the shallow water, retrieving small, silvery fish. Noelle loved their long legs and the orange beaks that accented their white feathers. How long has it been, she wondered, since she’d taken the time to stop and study the beauty around her.

               A number of people, children included, were searching the sand at the water’s edge for seashells. Some of the more experienced searchers held net bags that sagged with the weight of their treasures. She understood how hooked some people could be on searching for the best and the most unusual shells they could find. Each shell was truly a gift from the sea.

               As she got closer to the part of the beach where she’d met Silas, she slowed. But neither Silas nor the dog named Duke was in sight. Sorry to have missed them, she walked on.

               When she reached the long, wooden pier that reached out into the water like a finger testing for coldness, she sat down on one of the benches at the end of it. For a while, she watched fishermen patiently waiting for a strike. She especially liked to watch the young boys and girls fishing. The hope on their faces was priceless.

               Yawning softly, Noelle headed back to the cottage. The sea air, sun, and freedom from home were working their magic on her body, relaxing muscles that had been tight too long.

               In the distance, she could see Silas and his dog playing on the sand. Picking up her speed, she headed toward them.

               Duke bounded toward her. His black paws pounded the sand in steady, eager beats. Wagging his tail, he stopped in front of her, tongue hanging out. Laughing, she patted him on the head. “Hello, Duke.”

               She looked up to see Silas running toward her, waving.

               Her heart filled at the sight of him. She’d hoped for a little boy just like him one day.

               “Hi,” said Silas, beaming at her. “You’re early today.”

               “Yes, it was such a beautiful morning I decided not to stay in bed. How are you?”

               He looked down, kicked at the sand, and looked up at her with a sour expression. “Mrs. Wicked is back.”

               “Mrs. Wicked?”

               He nodded. “She’s my Nana’s nurse. I don’t like her. She’s mean. She was on her break. And now she’s back.”

               “I see. Well, nursing can be difficult,” Noelle ventured to say, unsure what the real problem was in the house.

               Silas took hold of her hand. “C’mon! I’ve got to hurry back. I’m supposed to stay right in front of Nana’s house. If I don’t, Mrs. Wicked will be mad.”

               Noelle allowed herself to be hurried along.

               Standing in front of Silas’s great-grandmother’s house, Noelle studied the old woman.

Even from a small distance, she seemed bowed in spirit and fragile as she sat in her wheelchair staring out at them. Others might not recognize these signs, but from her years of experience with the elderly, Noelle was used to seeing this. On a whim, she turned to Silas.

“Let’s go say hello to your grandmother.”

“She doesn’t talk much,” Silas said with a note of sadness in his voice.

Noelle smiled. “That won’t matter. I bet she’s curious about me and might like a visitor.”

As they walked toward the front porch, a figure emerged from the house. Noelle observed the big-boned, broad-chested woman and guessed that this was the person Silas called Mrs. Wicked.

“There she is,” whispered Silas.

Pretending not to have heard, Noelle lifted a hand in greeting. “Hello!”

The woman did not return Noelle’s greeting and, instead, went inside.

Noelle climbed onto the porch, walked up to Silas’s great-grandmother, and held out a hand. “I’m Noelle North, a new friend of Silas’s. I thought I’d come to say hello to you.”

From among the wrinkles and the downcast look on her face, her blue eyes lit and a smile emerged. “I’m Althea. Althea Bellingham.” Noelle could see how beautiful the woman must have been and wondered what kind of injuries kept Althea in a wheelchair when there seemed so much life to her.

“She’s Mrs. Bellingham to you,” said the woman emerging from the house to stand behind Althea. Dressed in dark slacks and a white shirt, she scowled at Silas and turned her disapproval on Noelle.

“And you are?” Noelle asked, curious about Silas’ name for her.

“Betty Wickstrom,” the woman said with a challenging expression.

Noelle held back a chuckle. Mrs. Wicked seemed such an appropriate name. She turned to Althea. “Maybe someday Silas and I can get you out in the sun for a bit. He and Duke play a mean game of catch.”

Althea nodded and then glanced at Betty.

“She’s doing very well right where she is. Right, Althea? And now it’s time for her medicine. So say goodbye to her.”

Althea’s expression changed to one of defeat.

“Silas, time for you to come into the house,” said Betty.

“No! I don’t want to go inside. I want to stay with Noelle. She lets me play with Duke.”

Noelle smiled at both women. “I’m happy to stay with him for a while longer. Will that is okay?”

“No!” said Betty.

As Althea reached up to touch Betty’s arm, her long-sleeved shirt revealed a bruise on her forearm. “Yes.”

“What happened to your arm?” Noelle asked as calmly as she could while suspicion rolled through her in a wave of unease.

Althea glanced at Betty.

“She’s fine, just a little clumsy, that’s all,” said Betty, waving away Noelle’s concern.

“You hit Nana there,” said Silas, moving closer to Noelle. “I saw you.”

“Why, you little … You know that didn’t happen. That’s where I helped her up from another fall.”

Silas clasped Noelle’s hand and shook his head. “Adults aren’t supposed to lie.”

Noelle knelt down in front of Althea’s wheelchair and spoke softly. “Althea, you can trust me. I’m a registered nurse who helps the elderly where I live in New England. Are you being hurt?”

Althea looked at Betty, turned back to Noelle, and nodded. Then she lifted her shirt. Bruises were everywhere.

Noelle scrambled to her feet and faced Betty, her hands fisted. The burning desire to attack the awful woman was almost overwhelming. Through gritted teeth, Noelle said, “I would suggest you pack up your things and leave now, Betty, or I’m calling the authorities.”

“You wouldn’t dare!” snarled Betty.

“I would, I can, and I will,” said Noelle, flexing her fists. The abuse of the elderly wasn’t new, but each time she saw an example, it made her sick to her stomach.

Noelle turned to Silas. “You stay here with your great-grandmother. I’m going inside to make sure Mrs. Wickstrom leaves.”

Mrs. Wickstrom placed her hands on her hips and glared at Noelle. “You can’t make me leave. You didn’t hire me.”

“If you don’t leave, I’m calling the police. I mean it. I’ve handled cases like this before,” Noelle said, well aware this really wasn’t her business. But she wouldn’t, she couldn’t let the abuse continue. The sight of those bruises felt like a punch to her gut.

“Okay then, I’m not leaving until I get paid,” said Betty.

“Write down what you’re owed, and I’ll see that you get the money. That’s the best I can do under the circumstances,” said Noelle. “It’s the nicest offer you’re going to get because if it were left up to me, you wouldn’t get a dime. You’d get a jail sentence.”

“You have no proof that I did anything wrong,” countered Betty.

Noelle’s smile was cold. “Oh, but I do. I have two very credible witnesses and, if necessary, I’ll take photographs to show the authorities. Now, get your things, and I’ll escort you to your car.”

Noelle followed Betty inside and to a bedroom off the kitchen in the back of the house. She watched carefully as Betty hastily threw her things into a small suitcase. When she’d zipped her suitcase closed, she turned to Noelle.

“What are you going to do about it now?”

Noelle drew a deep breath. “I’m taking your keys to the house and escorting you to your car.”

“And then what?” sneered Betty. “Althea isn’t an easy woman to deal with. Too stubborn, too demanding for her own good.”

“We’ll see about that. Come on, let’s go.”

Noelle escorted Betty outside, wrote down the license number, and stood by as Betty threw her suitcase into the back of a small, blue sedan and climbed behind the wheel. After starting the engine, Betty gave her a middle-finger wave and took off with a roar.

Alone, Noelle stood in the driveway, breathing in and out in a calming pattern to slow her heartbeat. What in the hell had she done? She didn’t know Althea Bellingham. And now she was in charge of her until her family could find other help for her.

She went inside the house and out to the seaside porch. Silas was sitting next to the wheelchair, holding his great-grandmother’s hand. Althea was asleep in the chair. At the sweet sight of them, tears sprang to Noelle’s eyes.

“Hello,” she said softly to Silas. “Mrs. Wicked is gone. Come with me. I need your help.”

Silas followed her into the kitchen.

“Who do I need to call? Where are your parents?” Noelle asked.

Silas gave her a look that was so sad, Noelle’s heart clenched. “My dad is in New York. He’ll be back at the end of the week.”

“Do you have a phone number for him?”

Silas smiled and pointed to a printed list by the kitchen phone. “It’s the one on the top. His name is Jake.”

Noelle studied the mounted paper. Jake Bellingham’s phone number was listed at the top. She picked up the phone and dialed the number.

“The Bellingham Hotel New York. How may I help you today?” came a practiced, professional-sounding voice.

Noelle’s heart pounded with dismay. Bellingham Hotel? The family-owned hotels? “May I please speak to Jake Bellingham?”

“I’ll buzz his office for you.”

After a minute, a feminine voice came on the line. “Mr. Bellingham’s office. How may I help you?”

“Please, I need to speak to him. I’m a visiting neighbor calling from his grandmother’s house in Florida.” Noelle’s pulse sprinted at the idea of telling him what she’d done.

“Please hold, and I’ll see if he can take the call,” his secretary said.

A moment later, Noelle heard a deep voice say, “Jake Bellingham.”

Noelle swallowed hard. “Mr. Bellingham, you don’t know me, but I’m a new friend of Silas’s. My name is Noelle North, I’m a registered nurse visiting from Massachusetts, but not licensed in Florida, and I’m calling to tell you that I just escorted your grandmother’s caretaker out of the house for abusing her. I specialize in care for the elderly and recognize abuse when I see it. I did not call the police. I need to know what you want me to do next.”

“Let me get this straight. You don’t know me, my grandmother, or the woman who was taking care of her. Yet you had the balls to throw her out after, what, five or ten minutes in the house?  Is that it?”

“Yes,” said Noelle with a confidence she didn’t feel. “That’s about it. As I said, I am a registered nurse, so I’ve seen too many cases of abuse like this before. She has bruises on her arms and torso that are very telling.”

“Abuse? Really? Put Silas on the phone,” growled his father.

Noelle handed Silas the phone. “Your father wants to speak to you.”

Silas’s eyes grew round. He took the phone and listened, then he spoke in a series of staccato sentences. “Yes! I told you Mrs. Wicked was mean! Yes, I like her! Her name is Noelle and she’s here on vacation. Nana showed Noelle her bruises. That’s why.”

After a pause, Silas said, “Love you too, Daddy,” and handed the phone back to Noelle.

“I had no idea this was happening to my grandmother,” said Jake. “I have you to thank for uncovering the situation. I’ve been mostly away for the last several weeks, and Althea never mentioned any problems with Mrs. Wickstrom. Nor did I notice anything like that. I’m sorry, but I can’t make it home for another few days due to some international legal problems. Can you stay with my grandmother and Silas until I can send someone else to take over for you? In the meantime, who can I call for references on you?”

“You can speak to anyone at the New Life Assisted-Care Community outside of Boston. I handle the health program there. I’m in Florida for a vacation, and as I mentioned earlier, I’m not licensed to practice in Florida, and won’t be able to stay with your family for any length of time, and then only as a caretaker, not a nurse.”

“Until just this weekend, I promise,” said Silas’ father. “And if I can find a better service than the one I used for Mrs. Wickstrom, it could be for only a few hours. Don’t worry, I’ll pay you well.”

Noelle bristled. “You may be used to paying people to do your bidding, but it’s not necessary for me. I’ve done this because I care about others. Not to get your money.”

“Whoa! I didn’t mean … Forget it! I’ll be in touch.”

Noelle hung up the phone, still steaming from the notion that she and her work were for sale when she was just voluntarily helping to resolve a very tough situation.

“You’re going to stay with me now?” Silas asked, giving her a wide smile. “Maybe for a long time.”

“Just until your father can find a replacement,” Noelle said, not wanting to get Silas’s hopes up for something that wasn’t going to happen. She already knew she didn’t like Jake Bellingham.

About the Author

 photo A Christmas Star Author Judith Keim_zpskhgxygvr.jpg

Judith Keim was born and raised in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Idaho with her husband and their two dachshunds, Winston and Wally, 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 all of us in the family a wealth of knowledge and a lot of imagination. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to the idea of writing stories early on. I particularly love to write novels about women who face unexpected challenges and meet them with strength.

A hybrid author who both has a publisher and who self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes heart-warming stories of strong women who face challenges and find love and happiness along the way. Her books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or visited and on the interesting people, she’s met, creating believable characters and realistic settings her many, loyal readers love.

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