Archive for the ‘amreading’ Category
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So, if you haven’t already purchased one of our yummy mysteries, or beautiful romances, or riveting sci-fi reads, or compelling paranormals, or engaging YAs, or uplifting women’s fiction, do it now. Do it this month. Do it right here, while the price is right!
Our BOOK OF THE WEEK at Lachesis Publishing is The Accidental Witch by Jessica Penot (paranormal with romantic elements). It’s funny, scary, clever, and features a heroine that you will just love to bits.
WHERE YOU CAN GET IT:
What it’s about:
Phaedra Michaels is a small town psychologist who is beginning to lose hope. Two of her patients at the local hospital in Dismal, Alabama have just killed themselves, she’s still reeling from her divorce and what turned out to be a disastrous marriage, and her father has died, leaving her without any notion of who her real mother is.
Just as Phaedra decides to commit herself to a serious drinking problem and an eating disorder, or two, a mysterious spell book arrives in the mail. Feeling desperate, Phaedra uses it to cast spells to save her fading patients. Suddenly, good things start happening. Phaedra’s patients begin to get better and she even starts dating the sexy doctor from the hospital.
Phaedra is so happy she doesn’t notice the small things that start to go wrong in Dismal, or the dark creatures slithering out of the shadows near her house. When Phaedra finally realizes her spells have attracted every card-carrying demon from hell, she has no choice but to accept help from a slightly nerdy, 500 year-old warlock with a penchant for wearing super hero T-shirts and a knack for getting under Phaedra’s skin. Now, if only she could get the hang of this witch thing, she might be able to save her town.
I carefully pulled the twine and the brown paper fell off. Beneath the paper was a large, leather bound book. It looked like an old journal or recipe book. It was tied together with a red ribbon and the ribbon held numerous pieces of paper. I ran my hands over the smooth leather and read the title of the book. It simply said Spells.
I laughed and pulled the red ribbon that held the book together. The book fell open. Inside, it was like a recipe book a mother would pass on to a daughter. There were old typed pages with handwritten notes in the margins. There were pages added with handwritten spells on them and drawings.
“What the hell?” I said as I leafed through the old book. There were potions and summoning spells and candle spells. In-between pages, there were pressed flowers and herbs and some of the pages were stained with old candle wax.
I set the book down and went into the kitchen and opened the fridge. At least the kitchen was done. It looked like any other modern kitchen. It had granite counter tops and marble floors. I’d spared no expense making it look like something that belonged in an old southern mansion. I wanted the house to be perfect and I had Johnny Boy’s money to help me achieve that dream. The lights flickered when I entered. I would have to talk to Lawson about that in the morning. I took a beer out of the fridge and opened it. I had a sip and grabbed a roll of cookie dough. Armed with the cookie dough and beer, I returned to the book. It had fallen off the counter, to the floor, and was opened to a page. I laughed again. The page it had opened to was love spells. That was just what I needed.
I sat down and ate and drank and leafed through the book. I stopped at a page with an interesting picture on it. The spell was an awakening spell. It awakened you to the supernatural world. I hesitated and looked at the script around it.
Something fell upstairs and the lights went out. I fumbled around and found the nearest flashlight and switched it on just as the lights flickered back on.
“Lawson, you asshole,” I said as I turned the flashlight off. “The wiring is done in the parlor, my ass.”
A sudden wave of fatigue washed over me and I picked up my mess and carted my sorry butt upstairs. I climbed into bed with my flashlight. I still had the book of spells. It had been so long since someone had given me something that I had forgotten what it felt like. I knew the book was more than weird. It bordered on creepy. A normal woman would probably burn the damn thing, but I wasn’t a normal woman. I was a lonely divorcée living in a house known to be haunted, but I loved it the way most people love their pets. I was the daughter of a man who had made it clear that he loathed me, with a step-mother who’d bought me toilet paper for Christmas. The creepy book was wonderful to me. It meant that someone out there, even if they were a freak, cared about me, and freak love was better than no love at all.
“Shapeshifters: Weretigers, Werevultures, Werewolves. Why write about them? Maybe, I was ONE in another place . . . another time.” ~ the late A.B. Wallace
Our BOOK OF THE WEEK is the paranormal/shapeshifter mystery VINTAGE BLOOD AND THE SACRED SCEPTERS by A.B. Wallace.
Proceeds from sales of VINTAGE BLOOD have been donated to the American Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF) since A.B. Wallace’s passing from breast cancer, and will continue to be donated for the duration of this book’s publication.
“The American Breast Cancer Foundation’s (ABCF) mission is to provide financial assistance for breast cancer screenings and diagnostic tests for uninsured and underserved individuals, regardless of age or gender.” ~ ABCF
A.B. Wallace’s paranormal mystery VINTAGE BLOOD AND THE SACRED SCEPTERS was released in 2004 by LBF books (now Lachesis Publishing). The book is available in both e-book formats and print format.
A.B. WALLACE was born in Italy but grew up in the United States. She studied Sociology at St. Peter’s College, Jersey City, NJ, and worked as a Case Worker for the Hudson County Division of Welfare in Jersey City. She then held several administrative positions with the Federal Government in Washington DC. She made her home in Virginia with her beloved husband before she passed away from breast cancer.
“AB Wallace is perhaps one of the most gripping modern-day storytellers. If you are not reading Wallace you are missing out.” ~ Diana Bennett ~ Midwest Book Review,
Brit Chambers, a gutsy Werecreature Consultant, has taken on the job of discovering the means by which to destroy the Sacred Scepters before a werecreature assassin finds them and uses them to rid the world of magic. But she has another problem to rid herself of as well–she has become Lord Daison’s personal blood bank thanks to her best friend, a weretiger.
For a Short Time is about a young woman who goes through many changes in her life, including realizing whom she truly loves.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Keri has no idea who she really is anymore.
Raised in the Midwest, where catching frogs and shoveling manure is common practice, then spending several adult years traveling the country and hob-nobbing with celebrities and the elite, Keri returns to her roots. She now lives in her sister`s basement, wondering just who she really is anymore.
After a peculiar meeting with the Quinn cousins, Keith and Jeremy, Keri is determined to capture Keith`s attention. An actor, a tall, compelling man, elusive, even abrasive at times, Keith is particularly intriguing to a woman like Keri who is accustomed to capturing the heart of any man she`s ever wanted. Yet it was Jeremy, the humble cabinet-maker and owner of a misshapen dog named Scalawag, who leaped into a bon-fire to rescue a scrap of an old coat that had sentimental value for her.
Following two episodes with the facial disorder, Bell`s Palsy, and after Jeremy has moved out of state, possibly to run from his heartbreak over her, Keri finally realizes not only who she really is─but who she needs to become.
But is it too late?
The Lachesis Publishing Book of the Week is LOVE AND HOPE.
Love and Hope features three beautiful novellas about about hope, healing, and the power of love.
By USA Today bestselling authors Kayla Perrin and C. J. Carmichael with author Brenda Gayle.
Proceeds from sales of this anthology will be donated to Ovarian Cancer Canada.
WHERE YOU CAN GET IT:
BARNES AND NOBLE: http://goo.gl/lON9wS Kindle AU http://tiny.cc/sveiey Kindle CA http://tiny.cc/fveiey Kindle UK http://tiny.cc/lweiey iBooks http://goo.gl/rjrusJ Print Amazon http://tiny.cc/tueiey ARE http://goo.gl/pz6D5v
LACHESIS PUBLISHING INC. http://goo.gl/tQgTlz
Twice and Forever by Brenda Gayle
Jill Bennett had her life planned out, and then everything changed. Soon after her husband’s sudden death from a heart attack two years ago, Jill’s daughter Rachel was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the very young age of 21. Widowed and scared, Jill threw herself into caring for her daughter 24/7. Now that Rachel is in remission, Jill is finding it hard to let go and give her some breathing room at home and at her new job working for a local vet named Grant Palmer. Grant has a knack for getting under Jill’s skin, especially where Rachel’s future is concerned. The last thing Jill has in mind is getting on with her own life. So why can’t she stop thinking about the handsome Dr. Palmer?
Devoted to Her Cowboy by C. J. CarmichaeL When rodeo champion Blake Timber returns home as the star attraction of the Sheep River Rodeo Days he doesn’t expect to find his nerdy high school friend Shelby Turner so beautiful and so not nerdy. He also doesn’t expect to find his grandmother, frail and wearing a headscarf. When Grams reveals she has ovarian cancer, Blake is shocked. He’s thankful that Shelby, who works in his grandmother’s flower shop, has been there for her. But he wants to take over the reins and get his beloved Grams the best care money can buy. In spite of his best efforts, his well-intentioned plans are met with stubborn resistance from both women. Adding to his frustrations is his ex-girlfriend Kelli-Jo Calhoun, who is the Sheep River Days organizer. Unhappily married and with a son, she seems hell bent on roping him into something that could put everything he cares about at risk—especially his growing feelings for Shelby.
Her Angel by Kayla Perrin Tasia Montgomery never thought she’d get “that” phone call from her mom. Stage four ovarian cancer. Tasia puts her job as a chef in a busy restaurant in Atlanta on hold, to go home to Miami to be there for her mother. When her mom passes away, Tasia is left with a huge burden of guilt, sadness, and loss. Now, she is tasked with the duty of packing everything up and selling the family home. She knows her mom didn’t want her to sell but what choice does she have? Her brother Andrew, who is living in Seattle with his wife and their baby, is as distant as can be. Just like their father, who up and left them when they were kids. But when Tasia meets Malcolm Robertson, the contractor her mom hired to renovate the house before she died, Tasia is drawn to him. Her mom treated him like a son and shared things with him that she never revealed to Tasia. Malcolm becomes a good friend to Tasia, but does she want something more with the handsome contractor? As Tasia, sorts through her mother’s belongings she makes a discovery about her mom that shocks her to her core, but will it make her see the truth of her own life or make her head back to Atlanta for good?
What it’s About:
Inspector Eli Miller’s unspoken feelings for his partner, Bex, color his whole life. When his past comes calling, will it be the push he needs to seek a future with her?
Inspector Rebecca ‘Bex’ Mulcahy has lived long enough to know that love is a street con at best, and a dangerous distraction at worst. Any feelings she has for her partner Eli definitely fall into the latter category. Will her dedication to her job keep her from finding a possible future with Eli?
Their latest case is protecting Violet Burrell, a young woman with scars on her soul stretching back to birth, who inadvertently witnesses a shockingly brutal murder at the hands of a sadist. Violet is determined to testify in court. Her strength and courage impress Eli and Bex, who will protect her at all costs.
But it is Violet’s beauty and spirit that entrances Junior Inspector Atticus Randall. Atticus is also assigned to protect Violet, and while he knows he should ignore his growing feelings for her, he just can’t stop himself from falling for the brave beauty.
Life in the Las Vegas branch of Witness Protection has never been more tangled. When the emotional landmines start a chain reaction, everyone in the blast radius is going to need a little shelter.
AR escorted Vi out to the table on the balcony to enjoy their sundaes. He liked to take his lunch out here on occasion, just when he needed to get away from his desk for a bit but didn’t want to leave the building. His dedication was paying off, since Marco had started entrusting him with more and more responsibilities, as evidenced by the woman sitting next to him now with her eyes closed in bliss. “You really never had a hot fudge sundae before?”
She shook her head, and her expression hardened. “No. Not with my mother and certainly not with the nuns.”
He pondered her ascetic life and the choices she’d made from it. It was all there in her file, but he felt like an intruder or a stalker, knowing that much about a virtual stranger to him. He’d much rather know her as a person, beyond the story of sadness and neglect. “Violet’s a pretty name.” An inane statement, but he knew he was out of his depth attempting to tackle a subject so daunting as the life of Violet Burrell.
She shrugged and flipped the end of a pigtail over her shoulder. “It is what it is. Your parents really named you Atticus? They not like you or something?”
He snorted a laugh and put the spoon back into his ice cream. “They like to read.”
“To Kill a Mockingbird, I know.” She smiled shyly. “It’s a good name. Strong, valiant.”
The heat of the summer air had nothing on him. He saw her grin, and he felt his ears burn from a blush. “So what’s the verdict?” He gestured towards her rapidly diminishing sundae.
“I think I want to eat this for the rest of my life,” she said as she dipped her spoon into the plastic cup to fish out a peanut covered in hot fudge.
“That good, huh?” He watched her close her eyes and sigh as she licked the spoon, and he had to loosen his tie. The way she was enjoying her ice cream reminded him that his wasn’t going to stay frozen forever. He dipped his spoon into the plastic cup and then brought it to his mouth.
“Damn near better than sex.”
At her words, he found himself gulping down a large mouthful of ice cream, much more than he meant to, swallowing it quickly. “Oh hell! Ice cream headache!” The sharp spike of pain that it brought was quick and excruciating, but it served its purpose driving all thoughts of pursuing that line of questioning from his mind. As the throbbing ache receded, he noticed her hand on the back of his neck, trying to help by rubbing and massaging from the base of his skull to his shoulders. So much for virtuous thoughts. Nodding to show her that he was okay now, he reached in front of her and snagged her mysterious old green book from beside her purse as she returned to her ice cream Nirvana.
“Hey, that’s not yours,” she said around a mouthful, gesturing with her spoon. But, she made no move to retrieve it from him, so he felt comfortable perusing while she continued to savor her snack.
He opened the book at the place she’d marked, reading about a gameskeeper comforting the lady of the house, in a chicken coop, that led to so much more than mere physical release in graphic and frankly gripping detail. That was definitely not what he’d expected, and the fact that she’d been reading this book all this time did things to his already heated blood that made his mouth run dry and his ears start to ring.
“So . . . ?”
Her voice, smokier than before, startled him out of the words on the page. Her purple eyes were darker than he remembered, and he found himself lost for a moment before he caught himself. “It’s ah . . . definitely colorful.” He pushed the closed book back over to sit next to her purse, her bookmark still in place.
Vi smiled self-consciously. “It’s the language. It paints this picture like a smudged old photograph, beautiful and still kind of dirty.”
And that about described the thoughts he was having at that moment. “I could definitely see that.”
Alexis D. Craig has been a writer from early childhood, discovering her calling when she wrote the Thanksgiving play for her kindergarten class in Tucson, Arizona. After moving to Indianapolis with her family in 1988, she wrote a column for her high school newspaper and two novel-length stories before graduating at age sixteen from Park Tudor School. After attending Sarah Lawrence College outside New York City, she returned home to Indiana to be closer to her family.
Alexis works for a local sheriff’s department in the communications division. She spends her free time reading and writing romance novels and investigating haunted houses.
She lives with her husband and two very excitable beagles.
If you are anything like me then a visit to Chapters, the only “bricks and mortar” store available in my area, is always a welcome adventure. (Yes, books get me that excited…especially new books). I love thumbing through their stacks while sipping my full-fat, full-sugar, vanilla-bean latte. (Don’t judge me!). As I peruse through the books I want to gobble up, the cost doesn’t cross my mind until I hit the checkout line. That’s when I thank the Visa Gods.
But, I’m going to ask you to put your imagination hats on and take a little trip with me into my favourite books store . . .
Imagine this scenario: I was in a Chapters/Indigo last week, sipping on my mocha-cha-cha-frappa-macha-latte and balancing a basket full of colourful items I couldn’t wait to get home: a cute tote bag with the words “Just Read” on the front and a neon-pink water bottle (one day I plan on going to the gym on a regular basis) along with a really cool travel journal made from recycled maps (one day I plan to travel the world) and a couple of plushy throw pillows (one day I’m going to re-decorate my bedroom). Chapters sells a ton of gift and decorative items and they are all carefully and artfully displayed in the area closest to the entrance and on your way to the cash registers. How can I resist? But – here’s the twist in our story. As I was walking to the checkout line, my eyes landed on a splashy display for a new release by one of my favourite authors. Hmm… the book was $9.99. I couldn’t believe the price! I mean, it was outrageous. I remember when a mass-market paperback cost only 5.99. I was livid. I grabbed a copy, and balancing my chi-chi latte, and my basket of home decor items in one hand, and the paperback book in the other, I marched up to the customer service desk. I tapped my foot as I waited in line, fuming as I got closer to the front. When I got to the desk, I barely gave the service clerk a chance to smile and say hello, before I launched into my tirade: ” I am outraged!” I exploded. “I have bought many, many books here,” I continue, as I haul my basket of throw pillows, journal and water bottle and tote bag onto the service desk. I slap the paperback down on the desk in front of the wide-eyed clerk. And after taking a big slurp of my moo-moo latte, I say to her: “This book is far too expensive! I am shocked at the price. This is the first title of a new series for this author. I demand that I get it for free. I don’t want to waste my hard-earned money if I am not going to like this new series.” The clerk gaped at me. She was speechless . . .
C’mon – people! Would you do this in a clothing store? Nope. Would you try this in a shoe store? Nuh-uh. Have you ever thought about pulling this in a bookstore? Of course not! Because readers never think to go into a store and bargain for the books they want to purchase and stores would NEVER entertain the idea. So WHY WHY WHY do some readers believe it’s not only okay, it’s THEIR RIGHT to ask authors to either reduce their EBOOK prices or give them the book for FREE?!?!
Since ebooks burst onto the market in the late 1990s-early-2000s, determining the price for an eBook has been at the forefront of an ongoing debate for authors, publishers, and readers. For me the answer to this debate seems quite simple, authors should be paid for their work. If an author or publisher chooses to put a book on sale or make it available for free – that’s great. If they don’t then that’s okay too. Just like any other product you buy – books cost money to make, and the publishing business is just that – a business.
However, when I spoke to a few indie authors I was surprised to learn that there are some readers out there who believe ebooks should be deeply discounted or free.
As a print and ebook reader myself I DID have an expectation of paying less for an e-book, until I did some research and figured out the truth of the matter. The before-me thought: If there is no production or PPB (print, paper, and binding) cost, then shouldn’t that automatically result in a significantly lower price? The after-me realized: NOPE!
On average, ebooks are priced anywhere from $0 – $9.99 and in some cases higher ( Ahem . . .KMM Fever series *cough*…) depending on whether you have a traditional publisher or have decided to self-publish. On average, indie books are already priced lower than print between $0 -6.99.
And although the PPB costs are eliminated, there are still various costs associated with publishing an ebook, such as cover design, layout & formatting, editing (professional), marketing and other miscellaneous costs (legal, distribution, author assistant etc) all which will be shouldered by the author (or publisher). Also with fierce competition in the market, indie authors spend an incredible amount of time and effort marketing their work so that it reaches their readers, which includes offering free content and free ebooks.
What is a fair price?
That answer depends on a number of factors, in this case, the cost to produce, distribute, market and what the author deems is fair to her/his work. But keeping the above expenses in mind, the average ebook seems to be competitively priced ($0 – $6.99).
I am sure the debate about pricing will always exist in some form, and all the authors I spoke with agreed that while there are some who ask for free content, (and some readers can be very nasty about it – there are many blog posts and facebook posts out there by frustrated authors who have received emails from disgruntled readers about the cost of their books). But most authors have supportive fans who understand that this is their livelihood, their bread, and butter. After all, like the rest of us, writers do need to get paid and deserve to make a profit. Especially when you consider the time it takes an author to write and publish a book.
And in case you’re wondering about my little “scenario” at the beginning of this post, I did actually ask for a discount once. The employee chuckled, and then told me in a polite but strong tone that their store policy prohibits haggling on prices. Either pay for the book or leave it. I paid. Thank you, Visa Gods!
Not sure how to price your eBook…..
Whether you’re publishing your first novel or your 10th, sometimes it can be hard to know how to price your work or use the price as a tool to achieve your goals. Consider some tips below.
The first place to start is by researching the market for your genre. For example, if you’re writing mystery you’ll want to look at other titles that are similar to yours and compare the prices. But if you’re writing a cookbook, depending on the type, aside from other cookbooks you may want to take other health or diet books that relate to your topic.
This research will help you to find a pricing range. EBook titles cost anywhere from $0-$9.99 and can sometimes climb higher depending on author, genre, and time of release. Generally for most novels $0.99 – $5.99 where you’ll find a sweet spot between $2.99-$3.99. So be sure to do your homework. You want to price competitively, not too high or too low.
Other questions to consider is the demand for your genre. Is your genre part of a trend like colouring books or vampire novels? Is there a wide market or is this a narrowly targeted market? Or you may have already built up a following. With built in demand and fans, you may be able to price higher.“You Get What You Pay For”
That saying still resonates today for a reason. Price can signify to consumers the quality or exclusivity of a product or it can be used as part of an overall marketing strategy. Readers choose to purchase based on the perceived value of a product. For an author, the value of their work is not just the story they tell but it can also mean the length of the work, how many words? Pages? Bonus material? Was it professionally edited? Graphics? All these things add value to the work that you’re selling and should be reflected in the price of your work. Unless it’s on a promo from a subscription list like BookBub, I know when I buy something for $0.99 it may have typos, plot holes or be formatted terribly.
One thing about Kobo I like is that aside from the page and word count it will tell you on average how long it will take to read the book. For me, that is one contributing factor to the value of a book. The longer the book, the longer I’ll be in the world enjoying myself.
For example, I discovered author Eve Langlais and her Lions Pride series on Kobo priced at $4.99 for 167 pages 49K words. For me, this is a quick fun 3-hour read. As this author has developed lengthier titles, the price of her work has increased. Her newest title “The Assassin Next Door” is 71K words and priced at $5.99. An exciting 5-hour read for me that is already loaded on Kobo and waiting for me to gobble up.Costs
This seems like an obvious consideration, however you’d be surprised how many authors will gloss over this because they love what they do. Passion for your work is important but does not negate the cost that you’ve incurred in order to bring that work to the public. This will mean a little simple accounting.
When considering pricing your e-book you want to ensure the price you set will allow you to cover the costs (at least some). This will vary depending on what services you chose to use i.e. professionally editing, cover design and formatting, marketing. Estimating how many books you think you can sell will help you determine a price that will cover the incurred costs. Remember: Sales-Costs = RevenuePrice as a Strategy
Setting a pricing objective or strategy can help determine your price and contribute to your overall goals. Depending on where you are in your career, a first-time author or an established author with a huge backlist, setting an objective will help determine your price.
If you’re a new author you may be looking at building a readership by having readers try your work. Instead of giving your work away for free you may want to consider a lower price to gain traffic and readers through impulse buys. Or maybe you are an established author trying to sell your backlist before a new title comes out, perhaps a sale or promotional pricing for a certain time period would encourage new readers to try your work and allow the current reader to try older work while waiting for the new release. Thinking about starting a new series and hoping to “hook” reader, giving the first book for free or at a discounted rate is always a good enticement.
Using subscriptions lists such as BookBub and Freebooksy can help bolster your readership and potentially gain readers. It was BookBub that first introduced me to author Mimi Jean Pamfiloff and her King Series. I purchased the King trilogy box set, which was advertised on BookBub and priced at $.99. I fell in love with both the series and author. I am now working my way through her backlist.The VALUE of your work:
What does your work mean to you? As an Author, you work hard and a little bit of your soul is embedded into each book. More importantly, you still need to earn an income. Don’t under value, the time, effort, and creativity it takes to produce a book. Undervaluing your work may sell an extra copy but does not guarantee a sale and it might make you feel discouraged.
Ultimately, you, the author, need to be comfortable with the price you are setting for your eBook.
Ludvica Boota is currently in the publishing program at Ryerson University and is an intern at Lachesis Publishing Inc. Prior to her studies, she worked in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Her most adventurous experience was working for the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital in Dublin Ireland, where she was employed as a project officer but was never asked to deliver a baby. Ludvica holds an MBA from the University of Victoria and a B.Com from Carleton University.
When she’s not daydreaming about her next travel adventure, and perhaps her own HEA, she is usually immersed in a romance novel.
CLICK HERE TO BUY (all ebook formats available)
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Pretty Wiccan Rebecca Colby borrowed money from her father to start a bakery, and now he’s calling the loan due. When she learns he fell off the gambling wagon and owes big money to some scary people, she has to start making a profit—and fast—before the loan shark takes a bite out of her.
Hot Cowboy Dru Tanner is looking for his missing sister who left Texas to explore their New England Wiccan roots. She’s the only family he has left, and he’s desperate to find her. Dru has to hide the fact that he’s not a Wiccan long enough to infiltrate a coven in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It’s the only lead he has.
Dru needs a job and a place to stay while he searches for his sister. Rebecca needs cheap help so she can work some baking magic. Dru makes Rebecca an offer she can’t refuse—if only lust doesn’t drive them crazy first.
READ AN EXCERPT:
The bell above the door tinkled, signaling a customer. Jumping to her feet, Rebecca mumbled into the phone, “I’ll have to call you back, Dad.” She hung up and took a deep breath to compose herself.
Plastering a smile on her face, she turned toward the counter and caught her first glimpse of the most incredible man she’d ever seen. He was tall, at least six feet. His jeans hugged lean hips in such a way as to leave little to the imagination, yet he moved in them casually, looking totally comfortable.
When he reached the counter a gorgeous smile softened his rugged features. Blue eyes and sandy brown hair peaked out from under the well-worn cowboy hat. Am I looking at a real live cowboy here in New England?
He tipped the brim of his hat. “Mornin’ ma’am. Or I should say good afternoon. I guess it’s past noontime, after all.”
If he was rambling a little bit, she was grateful for it. She didn’t think she could speak right away.
“I was wonderin’ . . . that help-wanted sign in the window . . . ?”
Shoot. Should she tell the guy she might not be in business very long? Her Wiccan values had her believing that honesty was the best policy, but she could at least let him finish his sentence.
“Yes?” she prompted.
“Well, this is gonna sound pretty stupid if I’m wrong . . .”
His hesitation only lasted a moment. Then he gazed into her eyes with his piercing blue ones. “Are you by any chance a witch? Because if so, maybe we can help each other. I’m willin’ to trade my services for your help findin’ my sister.”
That sure wasn’t what she expected him to say. She almost tipped her head toward the ceiling to thank the Goddess.
“I—uh . . .Yes. I’m Wiccan. Do you want a locator spell?”
“Sure. If that’ll help me find her.” He reached into his shirt pocket and produced a picture of a young woman. She resembled him, but she looked much younger. Long blonde hair tumbled down from a similar cowboy hat, and she wore a checkered shirt, but the major similarities were her blue eyes and easy smile.
Rebecca hadn’t done a locator spell in a long time. And she’d never done one to find a human being, but the trade was a perfect idea. Witches aren’t supposed to make money by performing spells for other people, but a trade to save some money doesn’t count. Does it? She’d ask Hanna, later. For now, she was intrigued by the idea and the cowboy was waiting for an answer.
“Can you bake?”
He laughed. “I can learn.”
“No need. There are plenty of other ways you can help. I’ll have you fill out an application, and later I’ll check your references. By the way, our coven is meeting tonight. Would you be interested in attending?”
His brows shot up. After a brief hesitation he asked, “Do you think that’ll help me find my sister?”
“It might. You could also check out Myranda’s Occult Shop. She’s got loads of expertise and you can find any ingredients you need for a spell there.”
“A spell . . . Uh, sure, I’ll talk to Myranda.”
“Good! I hope to see you tonight,” she said. “I’ll get you that application now, and if your references are good you can start tomorrow.”
“Great. Can I get that application with a side of cherry pie?”
“Sure thing.” She smiled, already feeling a bit lighter.
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It’s the second book in a compelling new series called the Auriano Curse. A hero and heroine you will absolutely love for their courage and passion. Patricia’s first book in this series MOON DARK has recently won the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence as well as the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence – Southern Magic.
What It’s About:
Solange Delacroix is a woman of dark secrets. She steals for Le Chacal, the King of Thieves, and is the mistress of the powerful and cruel Marquis de Vernoux. Orphaned as a child, along with her younger brother Gide, her life revolves around protecting him and surviving among cut-throat killers and power-hungry schemers in post-revolutionary Paris. But everything changes when she steals a moonstone pendant from the handsome Duke of Auriano.
Antonio D’Este, Duke of Auriano harbors his own secrets. Cursed by the evil sorceress Nulkana, he’s condemned to live half his life as Shadow. When a highwayman ambushes him and steals the magical moonstone that curbs the devastating effects of his family’s curse, he is determined to find the thief and take back what is his. Attending a salon in Paris run by the ravishing Madame de Volonté, Solange’s alias, he realizes she is the “boy” thief who stole from him. His need for revenge becomes entwined with desire for this beautiful woman.
Antonio and Solange come together in a dangerous dance of secrets, thievery, and passion. Hounded by the evil Nulkana, threatened by the ruthless King of Thieves, menaced by the cruel Marquis de Vernoux, their safety hangs in a precarious balance. Antonio seeks a piece of the magical Sphere of Astarte that will end his curse. Solange seeks freedom for herself and her brother. But when their quests turn deadly, will their love help them survive?
Find out more about Patricia Barletta and her books on her website: www.patriciabarletta.com.
Connect with Patricia Barletta on facebook: Patricia Barletta on facebook
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Prudence Hartley has the usual single mom problems: getting her kids to school on time; juggling a gazillion errands while trying to get a full day’s work done; oh, and don’t forget about dinner.
But Pru’s problems become a tad more complicated and a lot more dangerous when she finds a dead man in her house. Or a dead spy to be exact. Suddenly, a federal agent named David Merrick shows up and whisks her and her kids into protective custody. Pru has so many questions spinning through her brain she doesn’t know where to begin. How is she going to keep her kids safe? What was the dead spy looking for in her house? Why are the spies after her? Oh, and there’s one more question . . . just a pesky, minor thing. Why does Merrick have to be so damn sexy and protective?
Maybe he was just doing his job, but Sergeant Merrick was my hero. He coordinated the paramedics, police, ambulance attendants, and an intrepid reporter who came running when three ambulances, an EMT truck from the fire department and half a dozen police cruisers congregated at the hotel. More importantly, at least to me, he calmed Hope and Boone, assuring them that their mother was fine, even if she was sitting with her head between her knees, holding a bloody towel. He got them clear of the chaos and made sure they got safely to their father’s with a police escort.
“I’ll have a uniformed officer stay with them overnight.” he assured.
Once they were away, Merrick signalled the next set of ambulance attendants to help me onto a stretcher.
“We meet again.”
I focussed on the speaker. It took me a moment, but I connected the dots. He checked on us the night before.
“Bob,” he said, in case I forgot.
I nodded. “I remember.”
“It looks like you were wrong,” he said as he helped me onto the stretcher. “Bullet wounds are catching.”
Flashing his badge, Merrick managed to get to us shortly after we arrived at the hospital. He made sure Zeke and I were kept together and stayed with us, even after repeatedly being told by the attending nurses to leave. Then, when we were alone, Merrick asked the big question. “What happened?”
I knew what he was really asking.
“Why didn’t I hide in the bathroom with Hope and Boone? You think I didn’t lock the door properly, but I put the security bar on and everything. I called you as soon as I could. What took you so long?”
I took a dive off the edge of rationality into the deep end of guilt and second-guessing. I burst into tears. I hate it when that happens.
“Give her a break, Sarge,” said Zeke, raising himself up on his good elbow. “She saved my life.”
Merrick, who had taken my outburst calmly, raised an eyebrow.
“Well,” Zeke temporised, “she intended to save my life. She couldn’t know that I had moved out of the line of fire.” He tried to sit up. “I know, I never should have been in his line of fire in the first place . . . probably should stick to the backroom stuff . . .”
In the midst of my sobbing and Zeke’s self-flagellation, Merrick told us to calm down.
Big mistake. That might have worked on Zeke. Don’t know. Wasn’t paying attention. For me, it was like waving a red cape in front of a bull. All my fear and guilt transformed into anger directed at him. I grabbed him by the shirt-front and pulled myself up with the strength that comes with hysteria.
“I’m not a cop. I’m a mother,” I shouted, hopping bare footed onto the cold floor. “I didn’t hide with my children because I figured that whoever it was, they were looking for me. If they found me, they wouldn’t go looking for my kids too. I didn’t know if you’d get there in time to stop Hope and Boone from becoming hostages and I wasn’t going to risk it. I wasn’t going to risk Zeke dying either and I would have done the same for you.”
I spoke in a rush, losing volume and air as I went, losing momentum as I realized the attention I was drawing. Not one of my shining moments.
I started to collapse. I tried to steady myself using my handhold on Merrick’s shirt. He grabbed my shoulders to brace me. He didn’t lose his cool for an instant.
“Call a nurse,” he told Zeke. “She’s bleeding.”
I gave a choke of laughter. There were at least two nurses, an orderly, and three men in uniform ranged behind Merrick.
My vision got blurry. I blinked to clear it, refocused, and noticed that Merrick was wearing red and green plaid pyjamas. I let go of his top and smoothed out the soft material.
“Flannel,” I said, and passed out.
ABOUT ALISON BRUCE:
Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. In addition to writing, she is the Publication Manager of Crime Writers of Canada and part-time tech guru to the technology-impaired.
Alison writes mysteries, romantic suspense and historical romance. Her protagonists are marked by their strength of character, the ability to adapt (sooner or later) to new situations and to learn from adversity–traits she hopes to pass on to her children, Kate and Sam.
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