Monday, December 1, 2014

Power Packed LitFic Blitz


Literary Fiction Anthology
Date Published: October 25, 2014

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Available Directly as a $9.99 eBook — This special edition box set containing 3 separate literary gems is available as an eBook only, and it marks a tremendous collaboration between 3 critically-acclaimed and award-winning authors with Evolved Publishing.

Carry Me Away by Robb Grindstaff
Carrie Destin, a biracial military brat, learns the injuries she sustained in a car accident will prove fatal before she reaches adulthood. Facing an abbreviated life with a brash attitude and a biting, sometimes morbid sense of humor, Carrie races to experience life before it ends, but spirals out of control, leading to a physical and emotional collapse.

Desert Rice by Angela Scott
When Sam meets “Jesus”—who smells an awful lot like a horse—in the park, life takes a different turn. He saved her once, and may be willing to save Sam and her brother again, if only they admit what took place that fateful day in West Virginia. But Sam doesn’t remember, and Jacob isn’t talking.

White Chalk by Pavarti K. Tyler
When Troy Christiansen walks into Chelle’s life, she’s desperate to believe his arrival will be her salvation. So much so, she forgets to save herself. Follow Chelle’s twisted tale of modern adolescence, as she travels down the rabbit hole into a reality none of us wants to admit actually exists.




ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Pavarti K Tyler: Award-winning author of multi-cultural and transgressive literature, Pavarti K. Tyler can be found with Doc Martens strapped on over fishnets, but a girlish giggle as easily and likely as a throaty guffaw.

Angela Scott: Award Winning Young Adult Author signed with Evolved Publishing. Writes about zombies in the Wild West, and sometimes other stuff too. (Writing what the little voices tell her to).

Robb Grindstaff: Fiction writer and editor, author of the contemporary literary novels Hannah's Voice, Carry Me Away, and the short story trilogy, Sonoran Dreams.


Contact Links




Buy Links



Giveaway

One $10.00 Amazon gift card



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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Waiting For Perfect by Kelli Kretzschmar - Giveaway


 


Waiting For Perfect

by Kelli Kretzschmar

Young Adult Contemporary
Date Published: October 1, 2014

In the wake of an attempted date rape, high school senior Kendra Voss receives hope from two unlikely heroes, who happen to be cousins.

After Nicol├ís Veneto rescues the popular Kendra Voss at a party, his long-time feelings for her reignite. But the socially awkward Nick can’t ever seem to find the right words to tell her so, and instead, seems to push her away with his persistence in trying to have her press charges against her attacker.

Nick's playboy cousin Sebastian Veneto, however, is a master with the opposite sex and is used to getting what he wants. After unwittingly helping Kendra at her most vulnerable, he discovers that his feelings for her go beyond his usual lust.
Kendra is caught between the two, the elusive artist and his dangerous cousin, both of whom are pulling her through the difficult aftermath of her near-rape in his own unique way. In the meantime, she tries to avoid the boy who attacked her, deal with rumors at school, and move on with her life.
Waiting for Perfect is a story about facing the unexpected events that force us to grow up and is told through the alternating, memorable voices of Kendra, Nick, and Sebastian.


 EXCERPT

I take the pen from him and say, “Yeah, Sebastian. I do want to make a wish.” I scoot up to the wall and find a blank space that seems to have been left just for me.
I sense Sebastian come up behind me. I can feel the heat of his body at my back. He lowers his head so that his lips are right at my ear. Goosebumps rise all over my body with the thrill of his closeness.
“You deserve all your wishes to be granted, my dear Kendra,” he whispers. “Wish big.”
He can’t see the smile that erupts from me with his words. His nearness consumes me. If I turned to look at him, our lips would be touching. The thought of it, the need for his lips on my own, almost possesses me. I want to feel him, taste him.  But he would probably freak if I kissed him. There’s no way he’d want me. I am just plain Kendra, nothing but panic attacks and drama over here. I take a deep breath, trying to exhale any desire to be close to him, trying to save myself from any more pain.
I tighten my grip on the Sharpie, put the point to the wall, and start writing. Sebastian backs away, maybe wanting to give me some privacy, but maybe because he came to his senses about how close he was to me and backed off before I got the wrong idea.
When I’m finished scribbling, I put the cap back on the marker and back up a few steps to look at my wish amongst the others.
Sebastian steps closer so he can see what I wrote. We both stare at the wall while he reads my wish aloud.
I wish for something perfect.”
I can feel my cheeks redden. “I don’t know. Pretty stupid, huh?” My eyes drop to the ground, and I use the toe of my sandal to kick a pebble down the hill.
He closes the gap between us, and when he’s standing right in front of me, he puts his palm on my cheek and guides my face up so he can see my eyes. “It’s not stupid. It’s honest,” he says softly. “What is your ‘something perfect’?”
I shake my head. “I don’t know. I’ll know it when I see it, I guess.”

Staring into those beautiful brown eyes of his, perfect looks pretty damn close to Sebastian Veneto. 




Kelli Kretzschmar

Kelli Kretzschmar graduated with a BA in Psychology from California State University of Long Beach. She works full time as a marketing manager and writes for enjoyment. She currently lives in Southern California with her husband, three children, a wild Labrador named Tyson, and a corn snake named Abigail. When she's not at the office or spending time with her family, she enjoys writing, reading contemporary fiction, learning new things, running, and her most recent passion, practicing Krav Maga.

Website: www.kellikretzschmar.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KelliKretzschmarAuthor
Email: kellikretzschmar@gmail.com

Friday, November 28, 2014

Seasons of Change Box Set Books 1-4 by Mia Hoddell + Character Interview :)


Seasons of Change Box Set
Books 1-4 + Exclusive Bonus Stories
by Mia Hoddell

Genre: YA Romance
Release date: November 27th 2014

Blurb:
You can now get all four Amazon best-selling novellas in the Seasons of Change series, plus two exclusive short stories, in one box set.

These feel-good contemporary romances follow the seasons as characters change for the better, find themselves, and overcome fears.


All of the novellas are standalone reads, but can be enjoyed as a series because characters overlap. This box set includes:

Summer Demons:
Jenna Shaw jumped on a plane and flew to Portugal to try and forget her past. However, forced to deal with her memories due to an ill-timed joke, Jenna’s holiday is derailed by the charismatic Ethan Brooks. She sees him as an annoyance; he sees her as a challenge. And when all of his usual tricks only serve to push her away, Ethan has to work harder than ever if he wants to win over and help his mysterious girl.

Winter Angel: When Amy’s suggestion of a beach holiday is overruled in favour of skiing she couldn’t have predicted it might make her break the one, and only, rule she has: not to commit to a serious relationship again. The minute she sees Luke, she knows something’s wrong, and her desire to fix people means she wants to be the one to help him. However, she didn’t go on holiday to fall for someone, and whether or not she can move past her insecurities will depend on whether Luke can face his biggest fear.

Autumn Ghosts: Only one person knows what truly lies in Ellie Jeffords’ heart, and that’s herself. Hating the course she is studying, Ellie is failing and when a friend’s cousin, Justin, offers to tutor her, she jumps at the chance. However, as the pressure of exams starts to break Ellie, Justin wants her to confide in him. The only problem is that he can’t persuade her to talk without revealing his own dark secret, and forcing Ellie to choose between her parents’ dreams and her own will cost her something she loves.

Spring Knight: Kayleigh Barrow is most comfortable on stage where she can pretend she’s someone else, but when auditions for the latest production are opened up to the entire university, the lines between fantasy and reality start to blur. Thrown together with renowned player, Aiden Hanson, she can’t longer hide her feelings for him. However, he’s never had a serious relationship and Kayleigh refuses to be another conquest. When her acting starts to become real and she can no longer hide behind her character, Kayleigh must decide whether Aiden’s worth the risk, or if he will end up breaking her heart.

Plus 2 exclusive short stories:
Summer Revenge:
Jenna promised she’d get Ethan back for his prank, and it’s time to cash in. Read about what happened after the couple left Portugal.
Season of Love: There’s beach fun, flirting, and mischief as all of the Seasons of Change couples take part in a beach competition.



Let's Mee Ellie and Justin 




Mia: Hi everyone, today I have with me Ellie and Justin from my third novella Autumn Ghosts. They’ve kindly allowed me to interview them for you.

Ellie: Hi everyone, this is exciting!
Justin: Hello.

Mia: So, my first question is for you, Ellie. It takes a while for you to open up in your book, but have you changed since then or do you still find it hard to let people in?

Ellie: If there’s a choice I will always help someone else over discussing my problems. I don’t like people to see me as weak, and even though I’m working on that, I’m still quite private. I don’t like causing trouble for people at my expense. 

Justin: The simple answer’s yes. It takes forever to get her to tell me something so it’s good I can read people so well.

Mia: It’s definitely an interesting skill, Justin, even if it’s got you into trouble on numerous occasions! How did you develop it?

Justin: Years of sitting and watching people I guess. I like to focus on the detail, and I don’t know … it just happens. [his cheeks are flushed in embarrassment and Ellie takes his hand]

Mia: What did you think of his skill when you first met, Ellie? It wasn’t the smoothest meeting in the world.

Ellie: [Laughs] You can say that again! When he started, I was shocked. Something like that takes you back, and when you’re already down it’s hard to hear. However, it was strange as the more he went on, the more I wanted to hear. It was disarming, and I think a part of me liked that he was putting my problems out there so I didn’t have to reveal them. 

Justin: I’m still working on my bluntness, but I think Ellie copes better than most because she’s just as blunt with me. [Ellie glares at him]

Mia: I think you might be on dangerous grounds there, Justin.

Justin: Probably, but I’m heading off to Indonesia tomorrow so I’ll be safe.

Mia: Wow! Really? What number is this on your round-the-world trip?

Justin: Sixteenth, and this leg of the journey is the one I’ve been most looking forward to. Asia has always held a strong appeal.

Ellie: It’s the one I’ve been dreading the most. Europe was easy and he never seemed that far away, especially in France, but Asia is a whole different league! I’ll miss him.

Justin: Aww … it’s only a month and a half, Elles. I’ll be back before you know it. Why didn’t you say anything earlier?

Ellie: I don’t want to stop you going. You’d change your plans if I said anything, and I didn’t want that.
Justin: See what I mean? She’s stubborn. [Ellie slaps him playfully]

Mia: Well, I think I’ve had enough of your time in that case. I don’t want Ellie to be mad at me for keeping you here for so long! Thanks for stopping by guys, and enjoy Asia, Justin!

Justin: Thanks, I’ll make sure to bring you back a present.

Ellie: Bye! I’m going to go and cry so he feels guilty about leaving me.

Justin: No you won’t. Don’t listen to her everyone, she lies [they both burst out laughing].

Mia: Thanks guys, have fun.







Buy it now, save 20% and get more content than if purchased separately.









Spring Knight Excerpt
Black. It was the only colour she could see as she stood on top of the platform. Her vision had tunnelled with the waves of vertigo that hit her body, allowing only the dark colour into her eye line. With the strength of a gale force wind, it pounded on her chest, causing her to stumble back as its icy hold sent a shiver along her spine. The break from seeing the ground wasn’t enough, though. She couldn’t go far enough to feel safe. If she moved more than one step in any direction she would fall.
She felt dizzy ... lightheaded.
It was the worst possible time to find out she was scared of heights, but maybe it was the thought of jumping rather than the actual distance. Not only did she feel faint, but also sick. Kayleigh didn’t even know how those two actions could combine, but she let out a nervous giggle and hoped another type of blackness would capture her mind before she made a complete fool of herself. It probably made her sound insane, but she couldn’t stop the sound.
No longer could she find the answer to why she was on a platform, willing herself to fall. It had seemed logical and easy on the climb up, but now she suddenly felt as if she was standing on top of a building, rather than a few metres in the air. Her heart was pounding in her chest; the rhythm frantic as she urged herself to peer over the edge once more. Palms slick with sweat, her fingers slipping over each other, she twitched nervously as she strained her neck to catch a glimpse of the floor.
“I can do this. Just lean back and it will all be over,” she muttered to herself, only adding to the crazy image she had going on.
People were shuffling anxiously on the ground, unsettled by her actions. “Block them out, Kayleigh. You can do this,” she chanted ritually under her breath before she inhaled sharply. Slowly counting, she exhaled with a deep sigh when she reached twenty. Her whole body relaxed with the action and Kayleigh closed her eyes, trying to find a sense of peace and stillness. Unfortunately, all it did was make her knees weaker. Reopening her eyes, Kayleigh kept her head up and her chin parallel with the floor. If she didn’t look down, what she was about to do couldn’t scare her … at least that’s what she told herself.
Block it out. Everything. Focus on your breathing. It’ll be over in seconds.
Taking one last deep breath, her gaze hardened and she picked a spot across the room to focus on. She shuffled to the edge, her bare toes skimming the lip of the platform.
She was just about to turn around when something interrupted her focus. A door slammed hard, and into the room walked the last person she expected to see. His cool, blue eyes found hers instantly, holding multiple questions as to why she was doing what she was. Yet Kayleigh didn’t stop to think any further. The last thing she needed was to appear weak in front of him, and she’d only just calmed herself down.
Turning, Kayleigh edged back so that only her toes were balanced on the edge, her heels hanging off. She felt like a diver, but with worse balance since her legs had started to shake.
She couldn’t hold the position long.
“Ready!” she shouted, loud enough to silence the room. Normally she hated being the centre of attention, and wanted to shrink into the darkest corner possible. However, today she would kill anyone who wasn’t focused on her. Today she needed all eyes to be on her or everything was going to end badly.
She heard counting below. “Three ... Two ... One ...” As they reached the final number Kayleigh pushed all thoughts from her mind and leaned back, her arms crossed over her chest tightly.

Displacing her weight, her body fell.


About the Author

Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading, loves anything paranormal and has an overactive imagination that keeps her up until the early hours of the morning.

With three poems published before the age of sixteen, Mia moved on to short stories but finding she had too much to tell with too little space, Mia progressed to novels. She started her first series (The Wanderer Trilogy) at the age of fourteen and since then hasn’t stopped writing. Seasons of Change is her third series and with an ever growing list of ideas, Mia is trying to keep up with the speed at which her imagination generates them.


Connect with Mia:

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Google+ | Amazon Author Page

or subscribe to Mia's Newsletter for information on:
 ARCs, giveaways and new releases

**Giveaway**
3x copies of Summer Demons and Winter Angel (ebooks)



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguirre - Release Day - Review

The Shape of My Heart  (2B Trilogy #3)


Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney's social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she's made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain he's been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it's time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney's the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that's ever been broken, there's another that can make it complete


Excerpt: 
Read more of Chapter one on Ann Aguirre's Blog

CHAPTER ONE
If my life was a romantic comedy, I wouldn’t be the star.
I’d be the witty, wise-cracking friend, telling the Reese Witherspoon character to follow her heart, and I’d be played by America Ferrera, Hollywood’s idea of an ugly duckling. But not conforming to societal beauty standards didn’t cause me any angst; I wasn’t harboring a secret desire to take off my glasses and flip my hair, so my secret love interest would realize I was beautiful all along. In my view, my looks supplied simplicity. Anyone who got with me wanted the real me, no question. Romance ranked dead last on my to-do list at the moment, however.
“You’re too picky,” Max said.
He was curled up on my bedroom floor, skimming emails on his tablet. With her boyfriend’s help, our soon-to-be-ex-roommate Nadia was currently carting the last of her early belongings downstairs, and the other half of my room was conspicuously empty. I scowled and threw a common cold plushie at his head. He batted it away with impressive reflexes, still scrolling. Since he’d posted flyers around campus, along with his email, Max was handling first contact on the apartment.
“Swap with me. You and Angus can share the master bedroom and then you can put whoever you want next door.”
As expected, he passed with an as-if gesture. “We’ll keep looking. How about this one? ‘Hey, my name is Kara. I’m a physical education major, I work part-time at Kelvin’s, and I’m a sophomore. I saw your flyer, and I’d love to meet you guys. My apartment fell through when the landlord sold the place out from under us and now I’m scrambling.’ She seems fine. All the words are even spelled correctly.”
I pretended to mull it over. “Basic language skills are important to me. Put her on the call-back list.”
“You make it sound like we’re casting a movie.”
“This is way more critical,” I reminded him. “This person will be living in my room, potentially watching me sleep.”
“I wish you’d let me help,” Nadia said, coming in to grab the last of her boxes.
Ty, her tall, ginger boyfriend, plucked a carton from her arms. His kid was running around the living room, bothering Angus, who didn’t seem to mind. I waved at both of them but didn’t get up. Truthfully, I was more than a little verklempt over her leaving, even if she was only going downstairs. In the six months since I’d moved in, we’d become good friends. When I moved in, I took over Lauren’s half of the room; she had been Nadia’s best friend from high school, so it wouldn’t have been surprising if Nadia had resented me. Instead she did her best to make me feel at home. And it wasn’t like she hadn’t given us notice. I just didn’t act on it because I secretly hoped their cohabitation wouldn’t pan out, like maybe she’d realize what a huge step it was to take on someone else’s kid.
“It’s fine,” I said. “I’m the one who procrastinated.”
Max nodded. “If I hadn’t made flyers, Kaufman here would still be waiting for the perfect roommate to drop out of the sky.”
“It could work. A skydiving roomie would be pretty sweet.”
Ty grinned. “I’d be worried about the rent.”
“The man makes a good point.” Max waved as they left, taking the rest of her worldly belongings. “Here’s another possible. ‘Saw your ad. About me: Carmen, drama major, junior. I have no annoying habits and an aversion to being homeless. Email me back!’”
“How am I supposed to choose—”
“She attached a picture.” Max handed me the tablet. “I’m inclined to say yes.”
When I saw it, I knew why. Carmen had long silky black hair, golden skin, big brown eyes, and an amazing body. While I’d definitely bang her, I didn’t want her living in my room. The possibility for problems boggled the mind.
Shaking my head, I passed the Ipad back. “No way.”
“Why not? She’s perfect!”
“She sent a wet T-shirt contest photo, dude. To random strangers. Does that speak highly of her common sense?”
He sighed. “Not really.”
“I don’t want to come home to someone shooting amateur porn in my room.”
“Are you sure? I’m positive that would look great on a resume.”
“You’re such a weirdo.”
“Guilty.” Max glanced toward the doorway, where Angus had propping himself like a fashion model.



Ann Aguirre

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. She likes books, emo music, and action movies. She writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens.


Amazon | B&N | BAM | Indiebound | Vroman’s | Book Depository Powell’s   Also on iBooks!





 Jen's Review Myrating: 5 of 5 stars

I recieved this book from Netgalley for a review - I'll post my review closer to the release date :)

I really loved this story! I thought Courtney would be a bitch after she moved in - Nadia didn't seem well connected with her, and all that - but Courtney was really different than I thought she'd be.

Max was pretty predictable though - I really like him - he had a screwed up past but worked hard to make something of himself. He's an all around good guy - and the friendship he and Courtney have is one that will last forever, even without being together.

Courtney learns that life isn't always as easy as it seems - even though she's never had to work for anything, she knows how strong Max is for everything he's overcome - but when she finally finds herself having to sacrifice her pride, or getting her life in order in a not so easy way, she looks at all Max has accomplished and wants nothing more than to make him proud.

Really cute story - I am sad to see the end of this Trigology - I loved all 3 stories :)

K.C. Stewart - Scorch Cover Reveal!




Scorch by K.C. Stewart
Urban Fantasy
Date Published: January 5, 2015

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Hailey Holloway has a serious knack with running from her problems. At the first sign of trouble she can be found lacing up her Nikes and hitting the road. Dacea has been patient with her, but a man can only handle so much. He told her before that he would not chase after her again and is he nothing, if not a man of his word. Katherine is more than happy to pick at the wound that festers between them. If she picks enough, she just might make one or both of them bleed.

War is on the horizon. Together, they need to convince the leaders of Blue and Silver to join their crusade against the Council, but can they put their differences aside and stop fighting long enough to help those in the line of fire?



EXCERPT

“Hope. That is your answer?”
He tilted his head slightly at her tone. “It is.”
 “Why should I hope for something that is doomed?” she asked plainly. “What would going back solve? We’d be happy for what? Five minutes before some new drama puts us at odds. I’m tired of fighting all the time. Loving Dak is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s like loving a frickin’ mountain. He’s stubborn and unyielding to the point that I just want to beat my fists against him but that would do nothing but make me bleed. I can’t take being built up again just to have him tell me how I’m supposed to live, feel or love.”
She gave a short humorless laugh and shook her head. “Hope is one of the worst promises I could give myself. Because if I allow myself to hope for him to come around, and it doesn’t happen…I will be broken. Dak is hard headed, inflexible and has arrogance coming out his ass. He is my Mate, and God help me, but I love him for all his faults, even if he can’t love me for mine.” While Silas listened he reached over and brushed his thumbs over each of her cheeks clearing away the tears. She batted his hands away and with a clear voice she continued, “If I walk away now, I can keep what little is left of me together. I can hold on to the cracked pieces that haven’t completely shattered and go on living. It might not be the best life, but it will be under my own terms.”

He should have been happy at her declaration. Silas could have his sister without Dacea’s interference. They could leave tonight and travel, go wherever she wanted for as long as she wanted. They could connect. But he could either have the Hailey that was full of pop culture trivia and was always good for a smile with her infectious laugh. Or he could have the reserved.

Hailey who watches the clouds pass by from the window of her room, never granting more than a brief comment to the mundane. He could have one or the other, but she couldn’t be both.
Silas may not have spent much time with her yet, but he knew who his sister was.
“Hailey,” he put his hands on her shoulders and tilted his head to the side trying to catch her gaze. “There is always reason to hope.”
 




About the Author

K.C. Stewart lives in central Pennsylvania with her three cats. She is currently attending college online for Library Science while working full time as a photographer. In her spare time, which isn't easy to find, she reads an obnoxious amount and writes in between everything else. K.C. has a very real addiction to gummy bears and talking to her cats when no one is around.


Contact Links



Giveaway

2 ebook sets of Spark and Singe

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Winter Wolf by R.J. Blain Release Blitz

Winter Wolf by R.J. Blain
Urban Fantasy / Thriller / Supernatural Suspense
Date Published: November 24, 2014

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The Hunted Wizard

When Nicole dabbled in the occult, she lost it all: Her voice, her family, and her name. Now on the run from the Inquisition, she must prove to herself—and the world—that not all wizards are too dangerous to let live.

The savage murder of a bookstore employee throws Nicole into the middle of Inquisition business, like it or not. Driven by her inability to save the young man’s life, she decides to hunt the killer on her own. Using forbidden magic to investigate the past, she learns that the murderer is in fact a disease that could kill the entire werewolf race.

Forced to choose between saving lives and preserving her own, Nicole embraces the magic that sent her into exile. Without werewolves, the power of the Inquisition would dwindle, and she could live without being hunted.

Nicole’s only hope for success lies in the hands of the werewolves she hates and the Inquisition she fears, but finding someone to trust is only the beginning of her problems. There are those who want to ensure that the werewolves go extinct and that the Inquisition falls.

But, if she fails to find a cure, her family—including her twin sister—will perish…



EXCERPT


Almost everyone in the store had a phone. Dormant devices, from reading lights to mobile chargers, littered the tables. One woman, browsing books nearby, had four battery-powered devices in her purse. One was a phone, and like mine, it hungered. Its need was strong; its battery waned to the point of failure.

If I wanted, I could charge it for her.

No one would notice if I did. Maybe the woman would wonder how her phone hadn’t died before she got home. It only had a few minutes left. It’d take me all of ten seconds to fix it for her. If I did, I wouldn’t be so aware of it. But to do so, I’d have to touch her—or her phone. Some things I could manipulate without having a direct conduit, but cell phone batteries were tricky, greedy things.

I cringed a little, setting the thriller book down. I picked up the next nearest title. I flipped it over, not reading the text on the back. Did I dare? Out of the corner of my eye, I watched the woman browsing through the books. All it would take was a few seconds. I could charge it without her noticing.

That was one thing I was actually good at.

I put the novel I held down and wandered to the same table, careful not to look at her. Book by book, I investigated the titles, circling to where she stood.

“You’re Nicole Thomas, aren’t you? The actress. You’re her.” My quarry appraised me with a pleased expression.

People normally recognized the mainliners, people with beautiful faces and voices to match, people who didn’t avoid crowds.

In short, people other than me.

I met her gaze, abandoning my perusal of novels. “I am,” I replied, wincing a little at the sandpaper-rough quality of my voice. At least I hadn’t been reduced to a whisper—yet. My fatal flaw was my rough, grating voice. Chronic laryngitis did that to a person. It ruined careers, as it had mine, though I hadn’t quite given up on being an actress. I’d already lost the ability to sing.

I wasn’t going to let a stupid disease take everything away from me.

The woman smiled, not seeming to mind talking to someone who sounded more like a zombie than a human. “You’re taller than I expected. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

She thrust out her hand.

We shook.

I left her phone alone.

“They keep putting me next to giants,” I quipped. It was true. When I did manage to get on the silver screen, I worked alongside actors easily a foot-and-a-half taller than me. “It’s a pleasure to meet you too.” I matched her smile. She didn’t tell me her name, and I didn’t ask for it.

It took all of my will not to fiddle with her phone. All it would take was a murmured word and a thought, and it’d be done. It would have been easy to charge the battery when our hands had been clasped together, but I hadn’t dared.

If, sometime later, she noticed her phone had magically been charged—literally—she might remember me. She knew my name.

And in true cowardice, I couldn’t bring myself to help her. If she connected the strange behavior of her phone with me, she might tell someone. If she did, I’d be as good as dead—or worse. I had dabbled in the occult, and the occult had dabbled back, and there were those who didn’t like when that happened.

The last thing I needed was them finding me.






About the Author
RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

When she isn't playing pretend, she likes to think she's a cartographer and a sumi-e painter. In reality, she herds cats and a husband. She is currently on a quest for a new warrior fish.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied.



Favorite Books & Series

In no particular order:

Anne McCaffrey's Pern
Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar & Gryphon Series
Jim Butcher's Codex Alera & The Dresden Files
Brandon Sanderson's Elantris
Patricia Briggs' Alpha and Omega, Dragon Bones, & The Mercy Thompson series
Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time


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