Saturday, September 28, 2013

Blog Tour: Begging For Forgiveness by Astrid Cielo

Erotic Paranormal Romance
Date Published: 9/17/2013

When Aspen Clarke saw Skylar Ashmore for the first time, her cougar screamed that this wolf would be hers.  But Aspen can't trust the mating call because she knows all too well that sometimes fate can get it wrong.  After a steamy night with Skylar, Aspen is broken-hearted to find that her worries are founded when she awakens alone and confused.  So, she runs back to Pinewood Creek and her old pride that’d always made her feel welcome, unlike her own parents.  Little does she know that she carries more with her than emotional baggage.  Now faced with motherhood alone she's decided that she doesn't need a mate.

Skylar just wanted to forget his last assignment, so like he had for the past six months after he was forced to execute yet another shifter he stopped at the little restaurant a town over from his apartment to lose himself in good food.  He never expected to lose himself in a female.  He took the beautiful Aspen to bed the moment he caught her scent, his wolf beside itself wanting to claim its mate.  But after it was over he knows he's made a mistake...because he's already mated.  So, he runs and hopes he can beg his mate for forgiveness.

Xavier had never felt a betrayal as deep as when Skylar slid into bed beside him smelling of a female, not even when his old pack had nearly beat him to death.  But soon that feeling of betrayal faded to confusion, then surprise when he realized that whatever female his mate had taken was also his mate.

Now Skylar and Xavier will hunt for their missing mate.  But little do they know, Skylar's last assignment has a loose end that's just waiting for the right moment to strike--and it's set its sights on Aspen.  

Can Aspen accept the man who left her pregnant and doubting mating all over again?  Can Skylar and Xavier convince her to mate with not one, but both of them?  Will Aspen survive to forgive?


"The baby is fine, Aspen."
Aspen breathed a sigh of relief at Dr. Sanchez's words.  She felt even more relieved when the alien picture of her growing baby graced the screen.  Miranda squeezed her hand and Aspen tried to smile, but more was weighing on her than just the welfare of her unborn child.  It was almost as though she was caught in a nightmare and she couldn't wake up.  Had she actually been witness to the mate who'd left her kissing another man?  More confusing still was the instant attraction she felt for that other man.  It was like meeting Skylar for the first time all over again.  Her body, soul, mind and cougar wanted him instantly. 
But how could this be?  Was her connection to Skylar false?  Had she spent the last three months pining away for a man that wasn't even her mate?
"Can I come in?"
Aspen gasped.  Skylar filled the doorway, his presence making her heart beat a little faster. 
Well, there goes the false connection theory.  Aspen looked into familiar green eyes--green eyes that haunted her every dream and fantasy--and nodded.
"We'll talk later, okay," Miranda said before releasing Aspen's hand and walking toward the door.  She stopped in front of Skylar, barely reaching mid-chest on the male and pointed her finger at him.  Aspen wanted to laugh at the way Miranda transformed from friend to alpha female before her eyes. 
"And you, whoever you are, better not hurt Aspen.  She is a member of my pride and I also consider her my best friend.  Consider yourself warned."
Miranda nodded at Aspen before turning and walking out of the room.
"And with that, I'll get all the paperwork filled out so you can be discharged, okay, Aspen."
"Thank you, Dr. Sanchez."
"My pleasure, Aspen.  Oh, and do me a favor and tell Theresa hi."
Aspen laughed.  "Of course."
Then Dr. Sanchez left and the tension in the room reminded Aspen of a dense fog.  She took a calming breath when Skylar took a hesitant step toward her.  She could do this.  Couldn't she?
"I missed you."
"Then why did you leave?" 
Aspen slapped her hand over her mouth.  Skylar's lips curled into a small smile and her cougar went crazy at the sight of their mate's sexy grin. 
"I didn't leave...well, I came back and you were gone."
"You left me without a word.  What was I supposed to think, and before you tell me I should have stayed and waited, I know you left me with the intention of never coming back."
Aspen fisted her hands, her claws digging into her palms.  The pain was a welcome distraction to keep her from tears.  She would not cry in front of this man.  He wouldn't know how much his leaving had hurt her.  Skylar hung his head and sighed, his actions confirming what she'd always known.  He'd never planned to return, but biology had overridden his own desires.  And though it felt as though she were ripping a piece of her heart out, she knew how badly this would end.  Hell, weren't her parents’ proof that sometimes fate got it wrong?
"Skylar, sometimes fate doesn't get this mate thing right-"
Skylar covered the distance between them in the blink of an eye.  His hands framed her face and forced her to look into his beautiful green eyes. 
"I'm not letting you go, Aspen.  You are mine and I don't care if that other male is your baby's father, I am your mate and you belong to me."
His words were like a slap in the face.  Aspen bit her lip and pulled away.
"Go," Aspen said between tears that could and would not be stopped.
"I said that I wasn't leaving."
She swiped her tears and her cougar rose to the surface, the familiar ripple of fur erupting over her arms.
Skylar bent into her face, an obvious challenge for her cougar, his green eyes going wild.
"No," he said between clenched teeth.
"I believe my patient has asked you to leave, sir.  Don't make me call security."
Aspen shifted her attention to the short and curvy female standing in the doorway, her eyes cautious but firm as she regarded Skylar.
"I won't leave my mate," Skylar said.
The female smiled sweetly.
"I believe you don't have a choice, sir.  Now, mate or not, my patient has requested that you leave, so you can leave or I can make you leave."
Skylar closed his eyes, his whole body shaking.  He leaned down and took her mouth, his tongue invading on her gasp.  She wanted to hate that he kissed her, wanted to push him away, but her traitorous body relaxed for the first time in months and basked in his dominance, the way he was rough until he got her acquiescence.  How he gentled his kiss, dueling his tongue with hers.  She hated that she wanted him so badly.  Hated that she'd soaked through her panties with wanting him, and she was so confused because all she could imagine was Xavier joining them.
"You're mine," Skylar said before turning and leaving her alone with the curvy female.
"Are you okay?" 
Aspen nodded and touched her lips with her fingers.  The curvy brunette smiled.
"My name is Destini and I'll be your nurse.  We just changed shifts, so I'll be taking over your discharge."
Aspen nodded.
"You need to follow-up with Dr. Sanchez next week.  I know your previous appointment was next month, but in light of your visit to Pinewood Creek ER Dr. Sanchez thought it would be better if she saw you next wee...Are you even listening?"
Aspen jumped when a hand touched her shoulder, pulling her from varying thoughts of clawing Skylar's pretty face and kissing him senseless.  How dare he even think this baby was anybody's but his!  She looked up into Destini's face and sighed.
"I'm sorry."
Destini sighed and looked at her watch before taking a seat on the stool sitting beside Aspen.
"Okay, spill it.  What's bothering you?"
"Don't give me that crap, girl.  I may be twenty-five, but that doesn't mean that I'm naïve.  Pfft! I’ve been a nurse since I was twenty.  Seen and heard it all...Ok, maybe not all, but a spill."
Aspen bit her lip and stared at the curvy brunette.  She leaned forward and took a deep whiff of the female's scent.
"I'm a platypus."
Destini smiled.
"You were sniffing me to figure out what I was, well I'm a platypus."
Destini laughed.  "Okay, now that you've determined It is okay to talk to me about super secret shifter stuff, tell me."
Aspen's tenseness slowly eased when she realized that if she told this person who didn't know her at all she could relieve a lot of the stress she'd felt for the past three months.
"Skylar's my mate...or at least I think he is..."
"You're not sure?"
"Well, I was the night...the night we-"
Aspen smoothed her hand over her abdomen and the baby resting there.
"Got freaky?"
Aspen knew her eyes were the size of saucers and she couldn't help but laugh when Destini broke down into giggles.
"I guess you could put it that way.  Anyways, He didn't claim me and left me three months ago.  I moved.  I've never told him or anyone, but I watched him for months before I got the courage to go up to him, and then I did and it was like wham!  He was the one.  I couldn't stay and see him after he left me, so I came back to my childhood home."
"So what made you doubt that he was your mate?"
Aspen grimaced.  This was where it truly got freaky.
"Before we came to the hospital, I met Skylar's mate an-"
"Whoa! He's already mated?"
"Yes and I'm pretty sure that his mate is also my mate."
"Phew! No wonder you're freaking out."
Aspen threw her hands in the air.  "I know! So, do you have any advice?"
Destini sighed and patted Aspen on the knee.
"Honey, if I had that kind of advice then I would still be at home instead of here.  I will say that I believe fate can get it wrong sometimes.  I mean, who’s to say that biology is always right?  Now, let's go over your discharge instructions and then you go home and rest, then tomorrow you can figure this whole love triangle out, okay."
Aspen smiled.  "Okay."

Astrid Cielo

Astrid Cielo is a Mississippi girl who enjoys a variety of things. By night, she is a nurse in her local ER, and by day, she is spilling her imagination out on paper.
Astrid began writing when she was a child her stories featuring a variety of characters (including her imaginary friends). When she was in high school she wrote her first completed story and was published twice in poetry anthologies. Gathering her courage, Astrid self-published her first book, Surrender Serenity, Salin's Salvation, Book 1 and enjoyed every minute of it.
Now she balances her time between being a nurse (which she loves) and writing down the scenes that play out in her mind. She also plays World of Warcraft (which all of her friends think is weird)!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Blog Tour: Reconnaissance by Aubrie Dionne

Young Adult Sci-Fi/Dystopian 
Date Published: 4/29/2013

Nova Williams has lost her one shot at Lieutenant hood and at love. Lieutenant Crophaven has promoted her rival, Andromeda, all because her lifemate, Sirius, sacrificed their mission to win back Andromeda’s love. 

While sneaking out to prove Andromeda is a fake, Nova finds an alien ship hovering over their colony. Lieutenant Crophaven assigns her to a reconnaissance mission, giving her a second chance to redeem herself. Sirius must fly her and a research team to the vessel to decide if they are a threat. Thrown together with the lifemate that betrayed her, she battles with her own jealousy while her team battles for their lives. 

Can she forgive Sirius in order to save her team and warn her colony?


Pushing the doubt aside, I watched the ground recede, and the jungle rushed around us. We grazed the tops of the trees and the alien ship came into view like a giant, evil eye staring us down. Under the glass sight panel I squirmed as if I were naked and exposed.

I tightened my grip on my armrests. “If the laser beams turns on us…”

“I’ve got it. Evasive maneuvers.” Sirius grinned like he was playing a video game, but this was all too real. He hadn’t seen what the laser beam had done to the jungle.

As we approached the alien ship, the hull stretched beyond the frame of the entire sight panel, so we could only see parts of it at a time. The sheer size overwhelmed me, making our scout ship seem like a fly.

“Don’t get too close. We don’t want them to think we’re attacking.”

Sirius slowed, and the corsair hovered twenty meters from the hull. “Keeping my distance.”

The impenetrable shield of metal stared back at us, giving nothing away. A queasy feeling sickened my stomach, and I forced it down. “Let’s get Gavin in here.”

Sirius clicked on the intercom. “We’re in hovering mode. You can take off those pesky seatbelts. Gavin, your expertise is needed in the cockpit.”

I squinted, trying to decipher their satellite receptors. Nothing about the alien ship made sense. “Can you focus the telescope on the spires at the bottom?”

Sirius pressed the panel, and a screen came up, showing a lower viewpoint from the bottom of our ship. “Sure thing.”

He focused on the closest spire. “Whoa! Look at that. The metal is seamless.” Sirius pointed to the blinking red light at the tip. “It looks like the light sprouted organically from the spire.”

My stomach twisted in a knot. “Get closer. See if you can find any sight panels or any clues as to what those spires do besides the laser beam.”

“I’ll try.”

The doors parted behind us with a swoosh of air, and Gavin came in, eagerness in his eyes. “Reporting.”

“Good.” I gestured for him to join us at the helm. “Look for markings of any kind.” I glanced back to Sirius. “Broadcast the prerecorded message.”

“Will do.” He pressed a button, and I heard the peaceful greeting the commander had composed in all of the languages of the known world. The words lilted in French, spun in Spanish, and cut jagged chunks in German. I leaned over to Gavin, “What’s it saying?”

He shrugged. “We come in peace?”

My eyes bulged. “You’re not sure?”

He crossed his arms. “I know enough. It’s not like I’ve spoken these dead languages to anyone. How am I supposed to know for certain I got the pronunciation right?”

“It’s good enough.” Sirius patted Gavin’s arm. “Sounds very peaceful to me.”

I shook my head and sighed. Muscles bunching under his uniform, Gavin seemed like he used the workout deck more than Old Earth’s archives. These were the best people Andromeda could come up with? I stifled my growing frustration. This is what happened when you let a species integration assistant make important decisions.

Although she did choose me.

Another giant chunk of crystal floated up into the belly of the ship. That could have enhanced our soil for the next six months. It was painful to sit and watch our resources being stripped away after we’d traveled for generations and sacrificed so many freedoms to find this planet.
Like the freedom to choose your job, your spouse.

Would I have chosen Sirius? Glancing over at the perfect ridge of his nose, and the way his arms and chest curved underneath his uniform, I almost thought I would have, but I’d rather have no one than someone who didn’t love me back. So no, I wouldn’t have chosen him. Never in a million years would I pick Gavin with his arrogant cockiness, or Alcor with his gangly nervousness, either. I wouldn’t have chosen anyone.

“Wait.” Gavin moved forward. “Something’s moving.”

My gaze glued to the sight panel as the metal hull parted before us, revealing the dark interior of a gigantic loading bay with strange stalactites. They hung from the ceiling like sharp teeth.

Sirius leaned forward. “Is this an invitation?”

“I hope so.” Gavin stepped forward. “I want to see what they look like.”

“Hold your place.” I straightened, trying to not let fear strangle me. “Keep broadcasting the message of peace.”

Sirius’ hand tensed on the controls. “Yes, ma’am.”

Bright light shot from the hole in the ship, and I cried out, raising my arm to shield my face, despite my aviator glasses.

Laser beam. “Move the ship! Get out of here!”

“I can’t.” Sirius’s face turned red, his jaw tightening, as he pulled on the controls. “It won’t budge.”

Gavin braced himself against the dashboard.

Alcor screamed from the back of the ship. “We’re all gonna die!”

“We’re not going to die!” I shouted and put my hands over Sirius’, helping him pull. “We’ve got to get out of the beam.”

“It’s impossible. It’s locked down the ship.”

This isn’t happening. It can’t be. It was too much like my dream. Maybe if I hit my head, I’d wake up. “We’d better do something, or we’ll have a very bad case of sunburn.”

Sirius spoke through gritted teeth. “I’m trying.”

My hands grew sweaty over his, but I held on, my heartbeat pulsing in every vein.

Aubrie grew up watching the original Star Wars movies over and over again until she could reenact every scene in her backyard. She also loved The Goonies, Star Trek The Next Generation-favorite character is Data-, and Indiana Jones. But, her all-time favorite movie is The Last Unicorn. She still wonders why the unicorn decided to change back to a unicorn in the end.
Aubrie wrote in her junior high yearbook that she wanted to be "A Concert Flutist" when she grew up. When she made that happen, she decided one career was not enough and embarked as a fantasy, sci fi author. Two careers seems to keep her busy. For now. 
Now for the professional bio:
Aubrie Dionne is an author and flutist in New England. Her books have received the highest ratings from Romance Times Magazine, as well as Night Owl Reviews and Two Lips Reviews. Her writings have appeared in Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, Emerald Tales, Hazard Cat, Moon Drenched Fables, A Fly in Amber, and Aurora Wolf. Her books are published by Astraea Press, Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Publishing, Inkspell Publishing, Lyrical Press, and Gypsy Shadow Publishing. When she's not writing, Aubrie teaches flute and plays in orchestras.

Twitter: @authoraubrie


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Blog Tour: Pro Resumes Made Easy by Andrea Drew

How To/Non Fiction/Career 
Date Published: 9/30/2012

Written by a professional resume writer of 15 years, this book takes you through the step by step process to write your resume and cover letter like the Professionals do it – at a tenth of the cost!  Contains samples and examples to assist you along the way, along with a free resume critique with every book sale. 


Andrea started her professional resume writing career in 1998, forming a professional resume writing service online for all professions.
In April 2011, she successfully transitioned the business over to new management, in order to focus on her specialty niche, IT professionals, Executives and Managers.
Well, in Andrea's words "Executives and Managers are accustomed to collaborating to produce cutting edge results, and so are professional in their dealings enabling a unique and top class result and enabling me to write even better career marketing documents."

This doesn't mean that if you are not an executive or Manager she can't help you.  It simply means that unless you understand this is an investment and will involve some work on your part (providing the information needed) then it's probably best you look elsewhere that's all.  

Twitter: Impressive CV

Monday, September 23, 2013

PROMO: Forbidden Surrender by Priscilla West

Contemporary Romance/Erotica
Date Published: 8/12/2013

“What gives you a thrill Kristen?”
The minute I saw Vincent Sorenson, I knew he was trouble. Billionaire. Bad boy. And dangerously sexy. He was everything I craved, and nothing I needed.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t just avoid him. The higher ups at my company decided they needed his business, and I was on the team to bring him in. Vincent Sorenson didn’t seem as interested in business as he was in me, but I knew that was a door better left unopened. If I got involved with him, it would only unearth the pain I spent years trying to bury.
I thought I had it under control, but I seriously underestimated Vincent’s seductive charm and silver-tongue. I would soon find out how delicious it would feel to let myself fall into this forbidden surrender.

Buy Links 

Priscilla West is the author of the popular erotic romance series The Sandstone Affair and is currently writing the Surrender series. She likes to write stories with sassy heroines and strong but flawed heroes.

She enjoys: cuddles, men in suits, eskimo kisses, life-sized teddy bears, and eggs over medium.

You can find her at 

PROMO: Turn a Blind Eye

Turn a Blind Eye- PROMO Blitz
By Marta Tandori
Date Published: 8/31/2013

Eight years ago, Michigan retirees, Jack and Beverly Donnelly, had helped Libby Newton recover from an unspeakable tragedy. Now the tables are turned and it’s the old couple who need Libby’s help when the most recent consequences of Beverly’s progressing dementia have left the old couple homeless. Libby, now the general manager of Banyan Bay Resorts, one of Orlando’s premier timesharing properties, secretly stashes the old couple in a new luxury unit intended for the resort’s VIP guests until she can find them a new home. 

But the problems start almost immediately as Beverly’s dementia leaves her in a state of constant confusion over her unfamiliar surroundings and when she announces that she’s seen “Thanksgiving pilgrims” unloading boxes behind the resort’s pizzeria, Beverly’s announcement falls on deaf ears – until Rebecca Kendall, an attorney from Seattle, shows up at the resort a short time later, trying to retrace the last steps of her nineteen-year-old Amish daughter, found dead in a south Florida motel six weeks earlier. Libby doesn’t believe the two incidents are connected until Beverly is found dead a short time later, the tragic victim of a double homicide.

With the help of her sister, Mia, who’s in Florida doing an exposé on the elusive treasure salvor, Dain Lyons, they retrace Beverly’s last steps – only to stumble upon a killer who soon has the sisters convinced that poor Beverly had been the sanest one of them all.


“This is it – the Sandcastle Motel,” declared the cabby, stopping abruptly outside a shabby, white-washed cinderblock structure before his eyes involuntarily sought her out again in the rearview mirror.  His stare wasn’t particularly creepy or leering, just curious.  It was the same look he had given her about a mile down the road when he’d almost rear-ended another car stopped at a red light.  Luckily, the cabby had managed to brake in time, but not before her purse and its entire contents had gone flying from the seat beside her onto the floor of the cab.
Sarah Yoder understood his curiosity all too well although her husband, Daniel, sitting in the back seat beside her, seemed oblivious to it.  As far as she was concerned, enduring the curious looks came with the territory but it was the leers, the covert whispers and the giggling she couldn’t stand – and there had been plenty of that from their fellow passengers soon after she and Daniel had boarded the Greyhound yesterday in Columbus.  In Holmes County, they looked just like all the other locals but once out of their familiar surroundings, they stuck out like a pair of sore thumbs.  Truth be told, years ago Sarah would’ve acted just like everyone else but things were different now.  She was different and the Sarah of old simply didn’t exist anymore.  
She glanced at her husband of little less than a month, noting the grooves of fatigue etched in the lines on either side of his mouth.  He looked as tired as she felt.  Usually talkative, Daniel had been aloof, saying very little on the ride down to Florida.  Understandably so, Sarah thought, since there really wasn’t anything to say that hadn’t already been said before they had reluctantly embarked on this journey.
“Sarah.”  Daniel’s hand reached across the back seat and briefly touched hers.  “Are you all right?”
Sarah gave him a small smile, hoping it was convincing.  “Yes, of course.”  With that, she opened the door and got out of the cab.  The intense heat hit her the minute she left the comfort of the air conditioned cab, sucking the breath from her lungs as she blinked against the blinding Florida sunshine.  The black cotton stockings she wore seemed to draw in the heat as they clung to her legs, already damp with sweat.
She looked at the motel with misgiving while Daniel paid their driver and took their only suitcase from the trunk.  “Sandcastle Motel” was definitely a misnomer since there didn’t appear to be any sand or castles as far as the eye could see.  She had caught glimpses of the Atlantic and its inviting sandy beaches as their cab had made its way up North Ocean Drive to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea but this motel was a good quarter-mile inland.  The one-story building curved around a small, deserted pool and structure-wise, looked like many of the others dotting this south Florida resort town, practically deserted this time of year.  The only difference was this one was in serious need of repair, from the peeling paint on the room doors to the malfunctioning vacancy sign.  Even the few scruffy palms that grew along the outer perimeter of the building did little to enhance the motel’s appeal.
Daniel took her hand and they resolutely walked over to the glass door marked “OFFICE”.  Pulling it open, they went inside.  The room was small and cramped but at least it was relatively cool, thanks to a window air conditioner that sputtered none too quietly.  One wall was taken up by a display that featured colorful brochures, pamphlets and discount booklets on Florida attractions while the other side of the room had a small reception desk.  Behind it sat a non-descript man, reading a paper.  He glanced up as they came in.
“Yeah?”  Reaching over, he brought his fist down on top of the window unit and it immediately quieted down.  “You looking for a room?”
When Daniel didn’t answer, Sarah quickly spoke up.  “Not exactly.  The last name is Yoder.  You’re expecting him.”
The man grunted, deliberately fixing his cold gaze first on her and then on her husband.  “Who’re you?”
“I’m his wife,” Sarah answered proudly.  
Apparently satisfied with what he saw and heard, he turned and took a key off the wall before handing it to Daniel.  “Room 8.”
Daniel went to say something.  “I don’t think—”
“—Room 8,” repeated the man before turning back to his paper.  
Sarah took Daniel’s hand and headed for the door.  Once outside in the scorching July heat, the little confidence she had had, seemed to evaporate as she turned to her husband.
“There must be some other way.”  She gestured towards the road.  “Let’s just forget this craziness and leave right now, Daniel.  Please!”
He shook his head slowly.  “You know we can’t.  We must do this for Samuel.”
Sarah swallowed hard, taking a moment to get a hold of her turbulent emotions before nodding briskly.  “You’re right, of course.  Let’s go, then, and get this over with.”  With that, she turned and walked down the path towards Room 8 with Daniel close on her heels.  Finding it, she waited while her husband opened the door.  
The blinds were drawn and the room was dark, cool and smelled musty.  Stepping inside, Sarah felt along the wall until she found the light switch and flicked it on.  The room was immediately flooded with a harsh light that seemed to accentuate the battle scars on the worn pieces of utilitarian furniture.  Not that there was much – just a four-drawer dresser with an old TV on it, a chair off to one side, the requisite dark drapes on the window in a grating seventies pattern that matched the old spread on the bed and complemented the shag carpeting on the floor.  
Sarah’s eyes were immediately drawn to the bed – or rather, the box sitting on top of the bed.  There was nothing unusual or threatening about it.  It had a large picture of one of those individual creamers you got in a restaurant for your coffee and the words “Mendoza Non-Dairy Creamers” under it.  She went over to the bed to get a better look.  Aside from the additional information of “500 packets/Product of Mexico”, there were no other markings on the box.   Spying a folded piece of paper beside it, Sarah picked it up and passed it to Daniel without reading it.
Taking it from her, he read it slowly.
“What does it say?” she finally asked.
“It says to call the number on the paper for further instructions,” he replied, “and not to open, tamper or damage the box in any way.”  He looked around the room.  “There is no phone in here.”
“That’s strange.”  Sarah frowned, going over to the far side of the room and opening the door.  As she had suspected, it contained a small bathroom – but no phone.  “I suppose we’ll have to use the one in the office.” 
“I’ll go,” he told Sarah, giving her a tender smile.  “You stay here and get some rest.”
Sarah nodded, watching silently as he left.  Unlacing her shoes, she shrugged her feet out of them before unpinning her cap and placing it on the small nightstand beside the bed.  She was about to remove her stockings when she thought better of it.  No telling when they were going to be on the move again and the last thing she needed was to have to struggle with trying to get her stockings back on in this humidity.  
Sarah gingerly lay down on the bed, staring at the box which was easily within arm’s reach.  Trying to put it out of her mind, she closed her eyes but the image of the box seemed to burn its way through her closed lids.  A few minutes went by before she finally gave up.  It was no use.  The box was like the proverbial elephant in the room.  Opening her eyes, she stared at it with misgiving.  Getting up off the bed, she tried putting some distance between her and the box but it was as though a will stronger than her own was pulling her towards it.  Unable to resist its allure any longer, she finally picked it up.  It felt solid.  Turning it sideways, she felt the contents shift inside the box.  The back of her head began to thump, a sure sign that she was getting one of her headaches.  It’s from the stress of not knowing, she reasoned silently.  Maybe if I have a quick peek inside, it’ll put my fears to rest.
Making up her mind, Sarah put the box back on the bed; this time with the bottom facing up.  She removed one of the bobby pins from her hair and used it to cut away the tape holding the flaps of the box together.  There was nothing special about the way the box was taped and they could easily buy some packing tape a little later, resealing the bottom before delivering it to its destination and no one would be the wiser.  When she had cut the entire length of the tape, Sarah carefully lifted apart the two outer flaps, followed by the inside flaps, revealing what looked like a piece of white plastic lining the bottom of the box.  The thumping in her head was turning into an insistent ache and her throat felt tight but she soldiered on, intent on revealing the contents of the box.  
Gingerly pulling aside the plastic, Sarah could only gape in horror.  The spaces between the neat rows of creamers were filled with…coffee grinds.  Horrified, she immediately jumped away from the box but the damage was instantaneous.  Coffee was her kryptonite and although she hadn’t touched it, she had had direct exposure to it.  Her heart began to race and her breathing came in short violent spurts, as if she had just competed in an Olympic sprint.  Her head throbbed, ready to explode, as her eyes frantically scanned the room for her purse.  It was on the chair a few feet away but when Sarah tried to get to it, she collapsed as she felt the full onset of anaphylactic shock.  She knew that in a few more minutes, she’d be dead unless she got to her epinephrine injector so she could give herself a shot.  Painstakingly, she crawled towards the chair, fighting the darkness enveloping her, her sight also impaired by the sweat dripping from her forehead into her eyes.  Somehow, Sarah managed to crawl close enough to the chair so she could reach up and grab onto it, only to have it and her purse both topple on top of her; a painful impact she barely felt.  Hyperventilating, she blindly upturned her purse, groping frantically for the one thing that could save her life – but it was nowhere to be found.  With her heart feeling like it would explode, Sarah numbly remembered the near-collision in the cab.  Her purse and its contents had gone flying.  With her last agonizing breath, she realized that her only lifeline was still probably somewhere on the floor on the cab…

*          *          *
Daniel hurried back to the room, anxious to collect Sarah and be on their way.  Their ordeal was far from over and he was eager to put it behind them so he and Sarah could finally get on with their lives together as man and wife.  Opening the door of their room, his eyes immediately took in the overturned chair and the opened box before moving to the scattered contents of Sarah’s purse, stopping abruptly at the sight of her hand closed over it.
“Sarah!”  He rushed into the room and threw himself onto the carpet beside her.  Daniel’s eyes took in her mottled color as he frantically tried to find her pulse before crawling around on the carpet, searching for Sarah’s injector.  When he couldn’t find it, Daniel rushed out of their room with tears streaming down his cheeks.  He pounded on the door of the room next to theirs and when no one answered, he rushed back to the office.
The man at the desk was still reading his paper.  “Is there a problem?” he asked, looking up.
“My wife,” Daniel managed in between sobs.  “She’s collapsed.  Please – you must call an ambulance!”
The man had his full attention now.  “I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
“But you don’t understand,” Daniel insisted.  “She’s collapsed—”  He turned and made for the door, anxious to return to Sarah.
Daniel didn’t see the gun the man withdrew from his desk or hear the single shot until it was too late.  He crumpled to the floor just inside the office door.
The motel clerk picked up the phone and dialed the same number Daniel had dialed only a few minutes earlier.  It was answered on the first ring.  “I think we got ourselves a situation down here.”

Marta Tandori

By the time Marta Tandori reached fifth grade, she was an avid reader and writer with a stack of short stories collecting dust in a box under her bed but it wasn't until she began studying acting in her early twenties at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York that Marta realized acting wasn't really her passion - writing fiction was. What followed was years of writing workshops as well as correspondence courses in writing for children through the Institute of Children's Literature in Connecticut. She credits the award winning author, Troon Harrison, as the instructor who helped her find her literary voice. Marta's first work of juvenile fiction, BEING SAM, NO MATTER WHAT was published in 2005, followed by EVERY WHICH WAY BUT KUKU! in 2006. With her more recent endeavors, Marta has shifted her writing focus to "women's suspense", a genre she fondly describes as having "strong female protagonists with closets full of nasty skeletons and the odd murder or two to complicate their already complicated lives". To learn more about Marta, visit her website at

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Blog Tour: An Incurable Insanity by Simi K. Rao

Contemporary Romance
Date Published: 10/08/2013

 Her heart fluttered when she heard the sound of the key turn in the lock. She quickly adjusted her maroon silk sari with the yellow border, the one that had caught his eye, and waited eagerly for his footsteps.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven... Yes, exactly seven steps before he stopped, hesitated for a few moments, then removed his shoes one by one and arranged them neatly side by side on the shoe rack.
She smiled. He had been mindful of taking his shoes off every day now. 'I am not used to it, but I will if you want me to. It's probably a good thing to do anyway.'
As he settled down, he would pick up the TV remote and, without looking at her, would say in his smooth baritone, 'So how did you spend your day, anything interesting?'
Shaan Ahuja found himself bowing to tradition and agreeing to an arranged marriage to the beautiful Ruhi Sharma. He went through the motions but had no intention of carrying through on his vows. His last foray into matters of the heart with an American girl had left him scarred and unwilling to try again. Thoroughly disillusioned and disgruntled he wasted no time in making his intentions clear to Ruhi on their wedding night. But, he was completely unprepared for what his new wife had in mind.

"In Rao’s debut novel, an arranged Indian marriage sets the stage for an intimate look at the exasperating madness of love.
Shaan Ahuja and Ruhi Sharma’s arranged marriage has an inauspicious start. Shaan spurns his new wife on their wedding night, still pining over the American lover he left back in Los Angeles. However, the begrudging spouses soon make a pact: Ruhi will stay with Shaan in the United States just long enough to avoid embarrassment. The young bride hopes she can use the time to win Shaan’s heart, and although Ruhi’s beauty and attentiveness do change Shaan’s feelings, his immaturity and inability to express himself—and Ruhi’s lingering mistrust—keep them from reconciling. As they attempt to be “friends without benefits,” they start to reveal their true selves, including her needling puckishness and independent spirit and the reasons for his reserved nature and impulsive jealousy. Their eventual reconciliation comes not from forgiveness but from acceptance and understanding. The novel trades in a certain amount of melodrama that, thanks to its light tone, comes across as indulgent but satisfying. ...The novel seems highly aware of its influences, using cultural expectations and delayed gratification in the same spirit, if not with the same deftness, as Jane Austen. Shaan and Ruhi also sometimes mirror the star-crossed lovers from Casablanca (a film that the book directly
An often intoxicating,  will-they-or-won’t-they tale." - KIRKUS 


1: Disillusion
Ruhi Sharma was a blushing bride, practically a newlywed, locked up in this glittering cage for almost a month, twenty-nine days to be exact; an object of envy of all her friends and family.
Twenty-nine days ago, she had signed her name beside his on the marriage certificate. She had gone through all the miscellaneous ceremonies associated with the typical grand Indian wedding—the engagement, the Mehendi, the Sangeet, the Haldi, and the grand finale (her father had spared no expense) until finally her betrothed had staked his claim by placing the Sindoor on her forehead and tying the Mangalsutra around her neck, and she had quietly and blissfully followed him around the sacred fire carefully listening to and reciting the Saath Pheras in her mind.
She was the very beautiful and accomplished daughter of Amrit and Devyani Sharma, the apple of their eye, and they had left no stone unturned in raising her the best way they possibly could.
Friends and family were surprised for not only had Ruhi been provided with a very good education, she held an MBA from a leading institution, but her parents had also made sure that she was adept in all other various skills, which a well-bred traditional Indian girl is desired to be proficient in. Therefore, nobody marveled when marriage proposals came pouring in from all directions.
But the Sharmas were choosy; they wanted only the best for their golden child, and they did get it, or so they surmised.
The idea of giving their daughter’s hand in marriage to the well-accomplished son of the most well-known family in Chandigarh was beyond their wildest imagination. It was wilder because they hadn’t gone in search of it, rather it had come and landed on their lap.
Shaan, the youngest and most eligible of the Ahuja clan, was twenty-seven, a fresh aerospace masters grad from a premier engineering institute located in the Los Angeles county of United States, California, who had already bagged a plum job in a leading aeronautics and space exploration company in sunny LA.

“My son makes interplanetary spacecraft. He’s the man of the future” had become the proud and frequent rant of Mr. Shiv Ahuja, who for some odd reason seemed to be trying to paint his son in the most rosy of tones even though he really didn’t need to, for as soon as Ruhi saw her future husband’s likeness, she lost her heart, and there was no question of a retrieval.

“Huh? Yes please with just a pinch of sugar. Thanks!” He took the cup from her hands, careful not to touch her fingers.

Ruhi closed her eyes; she could now repeat every movement, every word by rote. He was a creature of habit…and she was bored. What was supposed to be the most exciting time in every young woman’s life had turned out to be the worst…Well, not really. He wasn’t mean, rather he was the perfect gentleman, too perfect!

Oh how she wished he would rather be screaming mean and nasty. At least that would bring some excitement into her not so-happening life! She laughed, pausing as she brushed her long black hair, rather hysterically.

The bombshell had dropped on their wedding night. He had walked into the room late as she sat there, a shy bride in all her wedding finery waiting, nervous yet excited at the same time, to meet the man she had hardly spoken to or looked at. What would he say, talk about, or do?
She had heard a lot of stories about what to expect, some factual and some fabricated (her friends had prepared her well), but she wanted her own to be special, unique, and it was…
Sitting down on the bed in front of her, he had taken her hand in his and said very gently, as if to tone down the trauma, “I bet you are one of the most beautiful brides in the world, but I’m sorry I cannot make love to you. There is someone else.”

Not sure if she’d heard right, Ruhi had watched puzzled as he lay down on the mattress and turned his back to her. Is that it? A plain and blunt dismissal of her dreams, her life? Was that all?

Simi K. Rao
Simi K. Rao was born in India and has been living in the United States for several
years. This book is her first foray into writing. The inspiration for the story came
from what she has seen transpire among and within the immigrant community.
Some of the experiences included are her own; some have been garnered from
friends and casual conversations with acquaintances. She also writes poetry, is
an avid photographer, loves to travel, and is a practicing physician. She currently
lives in Denver with her family.

You can connect with the author and read more of her work on her website at
Twitter: @simikrao