Excerpt from the NA Romantic Fantasy, Sachael Dreams

 

Available NOW on AMAZON

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Excerpt

Once back on the sand with my belongings, I turned to face the sea. The moon was closer to the earth than usual tonight—its size dominating the horizon.

I wrapped the shell in one of my clean art cloths and placed it in my bag before undressing. The wet denim fabric of my jeans clung to my legs, and I struggled to remove it. I groaned at my lack of foresight. Why hadn’t I rolled the ankles up before paddling in the water? As I undressed, baring my skin to the night, anticipation about entering the water charged through me. It was a good thing there wasn’t anyone around. They’d think I was performing a strip tease. I grinned at the ludicrous idea as I dropped my paint-splattered t-shirt on the sand.

It was time.

Turning to face the water again, I stood up straight.

My father’s voice filled my head. “Promise me, Estelle, promise me you’ll always do this.”

I nodded to his words, recognizing the seriousness of his tone, so clear, even after all these years. I hugged myself, ignoring the overpowering sensation to cry—I missed him so much, even more so on these nights. Screwing my eyes shut, I forced the tears away. I took several deep breaths and concentrated on calming myself. The sound of the waves sang to me, melodic tones drifting forward on each gentle roll. The fresh, salty smell of the ocean surrounded me. I breathed deeply before strolling toward the water’s edge. My feet seemed to move of their own accord, as if my body was impatient to transport me forward. But I didn’t rush. I wanted to take my time tonight.

When my toes met the swell of a receding wave, I smiled, relaxing at the familiar contact. A beckoning path was lit before me on the water, the brightness of the moon reflected clearly on the surface. The ocean was calm this evening. Many times, when I needed to complete the ritual, it was anything but. On those nights, I stayed in the shallows, completing the submergence ritual in an angry few feet of water. I never dared to venture far into the waves when the sea was violent and forceful. I had an affinity with the ocean, but I wasn’t foolish.

My father had told me never to fear the ocean; it was something magical, and it would never, ever, harm me.

I believed him . . . until the night it took his life.

I missed holding his hand as I walked into the sea, often questioning why I still kept doing this when he wasn’t here. The night he’d drowned was the last time we completed the ritual together. But whatever else happened in my life, I’d always kept my promise to him. Every time I followed his crazy ritual, I somehow felt calmer and closer to him. Had he known what would happen to him that evening? I refused to believe he wanted to end his own life; he’d had too much to live for. He loved my mother and me so much.

Pausing in the water as it rippled at my waist, I rested my hands, palm down, on the surface, speaking the mantra my father taught me:

“I claim the truth of my existence under the full lunar phase, and submerge within these jeweled waters to keep me safe from harm.”

Bending my knees, I sank under the water, ensuring my head was submerged, and paused for a few seconds before straightening back up. Not bothering to wipe the hair from my face, I repeated the phrase.

“I claim the truth of my existence under the full lunar phase, and submerge within these jeweled waters to keep me safe from harm.”

Once again, I dipped below the surface of the water.

I kept my eyes open as I completed the submergences. I never shut out the underwater world that greeted me. It was as if the ocean was a long-lost friend, welcoming me back with open arms every month. The waves were my family, protecting me, caressing my body with their underwater currents.

Repeating the whole routine seven times, I spoke my words to the moon before offering myself to the ocean. After the final submergence, I steadied myself before lifting my arms into the air.

It was done. My promise to my father was complete for this month. I would be back to repeat it at the next full moon.

As I always did on these nights, I executed a perfect dive into the waiting water. The gentle, swirling currents attempted to control me in their evening dance, but it didn’t affect me at all. I was too strong for them to sway me in any one direction. The ritual had renewed my strength and agility in the water. I loved this sensation. It was one of freedom, of complete relaxation, and a primitive force I’d never understood.

I swam further from the beach, not needing to surface as I traveled. Twisting to change directions, I headed deeper, wanting my feet to touch the sandy bottom of the seabed. I swam fast, and the sand was beneath me within seconds. I curled my legs under me, tumbling until I was upright in the water, poised to stop my fast descent. My feet stomped on the ocean floor, and a haze of cloudy sand rose upward, mimicking a dust storm in the desert. I’d performed the equivalent of an emergency stop. Trying to suppress a giggle, my father’s face appeared in my head. He’d never have approved of my risqué behavior.

Bubbles of air ballooned from my mouth as I pushed off from the seabed, gliding upward to the moonlight filtering through the surface.

For the second time this evening, I was distracted by the sight of something glistening. This time, though, it was in the waters below. I stopped my peaceful journey, suspended in the water as I stared at where I had come from. The sparkling, tiny ball of light moved rapidly in a circle. I frowned, unable to comprehend how something could travel so quickly, and how any form of light could move so precisely. I watched, transfixed with the light’s journey as it moved closer.

My heart raced when I became aware that the glow wasn’t in fact a light. It was the reflection of the moon on a necklace; a necklace that someone was wearing. As the person began to swim toward me at an impossible speed, I momentarily froze with shock. Panic crashed through me. I wasn’t safe—I was alone, swimming in the sea in the middle of the night. Tearing my gaze away from the glinting necklace, I propelled myself toward the surface. I needed to get to land. Determined to outswim whoever this person was, I swam the fastest I ever had. Yet, it wasn’t fast enough. Sneaking a look behind me, I could see the head of the person following. They were getting closer—too close.

With a racing heart and aching limbs, I pushed myself to go faster, but it was pointless.

A hand grabbed my ankle.

I screamed.

About Melody Winter

Melody Winter Author Photo

Growing up, Melody Winter showed a natural ability in art, a head for maths, and a tendency to write far too long English essays. Difficult to place in the world when she graduated, she pursued a career in teaching, but eventually ended up working in Finance. Melody is convinced the methodical time she spends working with numbers fuels her desire to drift into dream worlds and write about the illusory characters in her head.

Melody Winter lives in North Yorkshire, England, with her husband and two sons. When not dealing with football, rugby, and a whole plethora of ‘boy’ activities, she will be found scribbling notes for her stories, or preparing for another trip to the beach. With an obsession for anything mythical, Melody revels in reading and writing about such creatures. In fact, if she wasn’t such a terrible swimmer, she’d say she was a mermaid.

Sachael Dreams is her debut novel, and the first in her New Adult Romantic Fantasy series—the ‘Mine Series’.

You can view more of Melody Winter on her website, Twitter or Facebook.

NEW RELEASE: Sachael Dreams by Melody Winter

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY to one of my favorite writer friends, Melody Winter. This is her debut novel and I’m absolutely excited to read it! Get your copy on AMAZON.

sachael-dreams-front-coverTwenty-two-year-old Estelle Bailey has had enough of busy city-life and her hot-tempered ex. She escapes to the seclusion and peace of her family’s clifftop home in Ravenscar, where the soothing solitude whispers to her soul as strongly as the sea itself does. But her newfound contentment is interrupted when a mysterious man—a Sachael, master of seduction—joins her midnight swim unexpectedly.

Estelle struggles against his charm and the overpowering attraction she feels for him. He offers her a life she never could have imagined, a life beneath the waves . . . but at what cost? Before she can decide, she’s captured, ensnared by the Sect, a secret enemy of the Sachaels, becoming a pawn in a war she knew nothing about.

Now, she’s left with a new choice—escape the clutches of the Sect and flee into the ocean, or side with her alluring, intimidating captor and destroy the Sachaels forever. Can she turn her back on the man she might love, or will the secret of her heritage change everything?

Set against a picturesque backdrop, Sachael Dreams is the first in a new series, exploring themes of romance, love, and identity, and the struggle that happens when all three collide.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melody Winter Author Photo

Growing up, Melody Winter showed a natural ability in art, a head for maths, and a tendency to write far too long English essays. Difficult to place in the world when she graduated, she pursued a career in teaching, but eventually ended up working in Finance. Melody is convinced the methodical time she spends working with numbers fuels her desire to drift into dream worlds and write about the illusory characters in her head.

Melody Winter lives in North Yorkshire, England, with her husband and two sons. When not dealing with football, rugby, and a whole plethora of ‘boy’ activities, she will be found scribbling notes for her stories, or preparing for another trip to the beach. With an obsession for anything mythical, Melody revels in reading and writing about such creatures. In fact, if she wasn’t such a terrible swimmer, she’d say she was a mermaid.

Sachael Dreams is her debut novel, and the first in her New Adult Romantic Fantasy series—the ‘Mine Series’.

You can view more of Melody Winter on her website, Twitter or Facebook.

New Release: Death By Social Suicide by Karen Anne

New Adult Romance from Karen Anne

Available on:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

DSScover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb:

The night Brittany Wakefield kissed her best friend, Jaime, she lost everything. Who knew one amazing moment could send him running— spinning a web of deceit and avoidance for two years. Stepping onto campus, she’s ready to win him back, even if it involves pledging a sorority she has no interest in.

Erik Draxton fell hard for Brit the moment she walked into the art room. With vibrant purple hair, music in her veins and a rebellious flair, she’s all he’s ever wanted.

While Jaime shrouds himself in secrets, Brit finds herself longing even more to be a part of his world. Unable to watch the girl of his dreams get tossed to the side, Erik decides to take matters into his own hands. But when Erik crosses a line, Brit feels backed into a corner, and discovering Jaime’s secret leaves her devastated.

With a shattered heart from Jaime, and the risk of losing Erik on the horizon, she knows one thing: navigating the social circles can be a suicide mission.

Excerpt:

Our model was beautiful, and if anyone was wondering if she was a natural red head, she soon put their curiosity to rest when she disrobed, revealing creamy skin, and a neat rug that matched the curtains. I glanced around the room, and watched the other guys who tried hard not to smile as she took her position in the middle of the floor, back arched, nipples to the ceiling. We usually had male models, or strictly older women. This was a rare treat for them.

I glanced at Erik, who didn’t seem phased by the goddess of seduction that twisted before him. He sketched her form, his head down, mouth in a stiff straight line. Usually, he did this thing where he stuck the tip of his tongue out of the corner of his mouth. That was the Erik I was accustomed to. This guy was an impostor. I put my head down and started sketching Aphrodite.

When the professor signaled for the model to take a break and everyone broke apart, I followed Erik into the hallway and watched him disappear into the men’s room. All right, Ill wait. When the door opened a minute later, I jumped in front of Erik—but it wasn’t Erik. It was my professor, who grabbed at his chest in alarm.

“Sorry, Professor Martin, I uh… thought you were someone else.”

“Not funny, Miss Wakefield,” he grumbled and continued down the hallway. I flattened against the wall and waited. The door opened again, and this time Erik walked out.

“You can’t ignore me forever, we still have like ten more weeks of the semester. That’s twenty classes. You’re really gonna ignore me for twenty classes? And besides, we’re both art majors, chances are we’ll have another class together in the future.” I folded my arms and stepped in front of him so he couldn’t walk past. That’s right, five-foot-five Brit was highly intimidating to six foot Erik.

The corner of his mouth lifted up into a slow smile. “Missed me that much huh?”

“What? No, I—”

“You couldn’t even handle one hour of me ignoring you. I thought you were tougher than that. Looks like playing hard to get is paying off.”

I worried he was serious, but then he cracked a real smile and laughed.

“You need to lighten up, Monster High. I’m over you.”

Huh. Over me. I’m not sure why, but his words stung. Maybe because no one had ever been into me before.

Erik kept talking, “In fact, I decided to join a religious order. Perhaps Hare Krishna. Think I’d look good in orange?”

I laughed and stepped to the side so we could walk back to class together.

“So we’re cool?” I asked, just to be sure.

“I’m cool. You’re cool now, I can’t say how cool you’ll look in those letters.” He flicked at my pledge pin.

“Yeah, but I think I can make them cool.”

“No, you’re not that cool.”

“You’re right, I’m not.” I sighed in relief, happy that we were talking again.

“What about her? Could she talk you out of a religious order” I gestured to our live playboy centerfold.

“Her?” he said, twisting his face. “Not my type.”

“So you’re not into perfect?” I eyed him with suspicion.

“Nah.” He pulled gently on the end of my hair. “I’m into purple.”

I felt my face burn pink in response. Professor Martin clapped his hands, calling for our attention. Everyone obediently returned to their easels, and the model took a new position, her arms draped over her head, her hair falling delicately over one of her perfect size C breasts. I stole a peek at Erik to see his expression at this striking pose, but he wasn’t looking at her. His eyes were fixed on me.

JAIMETEASER JaimeBritTeaser BritErikTeaser

About The Author

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KAREN ANNE is a New Adult Contemporary Romance author who lives in New York. She loves cats, coffee and deeply misses 90’s grunge.

Karen is also known as Kat Daemon, Paranormal Romance writer and lover of all things dark and twisty.

You can find out more about her at www.katdaemon.com

The Embers of Light Blog Tour Guest Posts

The Embers of Light Blog tour is happening now and I wanted to share the three guest posts I wrote for the tour.

Check out:

Villains Have Feelings Too

Writing Fact Into Your Fantasy

The Perfectly Imperfect Romance

ALSO ~ I have a newsletter now. So make sure to sign up HERE

One Year Later ~ I’m Still Here.

I’ve been quiet lately. I know, I’m sorry. I skipped writing the 2014 year in review post, and I didn’t write the “One Year As A Published Author” post. The truth is I’ve been SUPER busy. Book writing busy. So I hope that’s enough to earn your forgiveness for being quiet on the blog.

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January 28th marked the one year anniversary of the release of my debut novel, The Darkness of Light. It was also the release day for my sequel The Embers of Light. It’s been an incredible year, and if you look back through my blog posts from last year you’ll see that it’s been filled with highs and lows (but mostly highs). 🙂

Right now I’m hard at work on the third book in The Dia Chronicles, The Ruins of Light. I’m about 30,000 words into it and the entire novel is plotted from beginning to end. SO unlike me, but I love knowing where this story is going.

My absence from the blog is mainly due to the fact that I’ve got a second book series, The Highborn Chronicles that takes up every second of my free time. It’s a heavy workload, especially since my shifter readers love quick releases. It’s certainly a pace I’m not used to but one I’m growing to love. That’s why it’s so great being an indie author. I can work at whatever pace I set. And right now, it’s fast.

This month the third book in The Highborn Chronicles, The Lycan Lady, is set to release, and assuming the idea monsters in my head don’t start harassing me, I should be able to commit more time to Ruins, and give more attention to the blog.

In the meantime The Embers of Light blog tour is underway. A reader turned friend “TK” has written a lovely blog about my books, and she will have a very in-depth interview with me posted on Thursday. Be sure to check her out and enter the giveaway here: Why Bother Reading Independent Authors

For the blog tour for Embers I’ve also written some guest posts. Check out my take on The Perfectly Imperfect Romance, as well as enter to win signed copies of Embers and an Amazon Gift Card.

Now, if we’re all forgiven, I must  get back to writing. These books won’t write themselves, you know? 🙂

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Release Day for Kristen Strassel’s Too Many Reasons

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TOO MANY REASONS (A Spotlight Series Novel) by Kristen Strassel is here! Check out the excerpt and giveaway below! Kristen Strassel keeps her rock ‘n roll edge in this sexy contemporary NA. I’ve read this one and I love it.

TMR

 

Title: TOO MANY REASONS (A Spotlight Series Novella)

Author: Kristen Strassel

Age: NA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: February 9, 2015

Goodreads Page

Amazon

Blurb:

Abby Gauthier is close to getting everything she’s worked so hard for. The band she manages, Sinister Riot, has been offered a major record contract. But it comes with a catch: the band must add Eli Jamison, winner of the talent show The Spotlight, to the lineup.

 

“You’ve been my favorite part of this city.”


Devon Sinclair is the singer of Sinister Riot, and he’s Abby’s best friend. She’s in love with him, but fears she’ll lose him if she makes the first move. Devon knows adding Eli to the band is a mistake, and he’s right. Eli’s interested in more than just making an album. He wants to take control of the band, and he wants to get to know Abby better. A lot better. When tensions between Devon and Eli threaten to destroy Sinister Riot, Abby must act on her true feelings or lose everything she’s ever wanted.

 

“I may not have been your first, but I’m going to make damn sure I’m your last.”

 

EXCERPT
“What the hell are you doing here? You scared the shit out of me.” He had a key, so it wasn’t like he didn’t have a permanent invite. But tonight? Come on.

“I wanted to make sure you got home safe.” He laid on the futon, one leg thrown over the back cushion. It didn’t appear that he was actually doing anything, but waiting for me. The cat was curled up on his stomach. Thank God Mallory still hadn’t come back. Or maybe not. She would have sent his ass packing.

“You could have just texted.” I took off my jacket and tossed it at him. Ziggy took offense, disappearing into some dark corner. I refused to sit next to him, instead I sank into the bean bag chair to unlace my boots. After dancing for a good part of the night, my feet were begging me to take them off. I hadn’t noticed until now.

“You didn’t answer me earlier.” He watched my fingers free my legs from the ties. Once I was only in my socks, I curled my legs under my body, but sitting practically on the floor made me feel too small and Devon too big. He was acting like an irrational asshole and I didn’t want to give him any more power. I practically jumped to my feet.

“Because I was out. With someone. And I didn’t want to be rude like some people and spend the whole night on the phone texting someone else.” Like Devon did with Lexi when he went out with me. I filled a glass with water and drank it all in one long sip. “Did I need to be concerned? Was I out with a serial killer?”

Devon scoffed. “No.”

“So what you really wanted to do was make sure I didn’t bring him upstairs with me.” I crossed my arms and started pacing in front of him. I wanted to ask him about all the things Eli had told me he’d said, but it just seemed petty. “What would you have done if I had?”

“You can do whatever you want, Abby.” He sat up, raking his fingers through his hair. “Where’d you go?”

“Magdalena’s.”

“Shrimp and grits? Hurricanes?”

I nodded. “Then I took him to—“

“The Apple Barrel.” Devon finished my sentence as he sat up. “All the things we like to do.”

“All the things I like to do, with any good company.” I stopped, arms still crossed. “Would you even be here if I’d gone out with anyone else?” I wondered if Devon had known about my date before he’d texted me tonight.

“I don’t know.” Our eyes locked in fury and frustration. “He didn’t even kiss you.”

“That’s not true.” My whole body shook.

Devon’s lips turned upward, a half-smile. “Your lip gloss is still perfect.”

“Maybe I put more on.”

“To come upstairs?” He shook his head. “No, you didn’t.”

“Why do you even care? Do you want to kiss me?” I couldn’t believe I actually said it. Out loud. A couple of drinks and one date and I was feeling really cocky.

In slow motion, Devon pushed himself up off the futon so he stood just inches from me. I didn’t move, or even uncross my arms. He rested his hands on my elbows, and looked down at me in a way he never had before. Like he was seeing me for the first time. My heart slammed against my ribcage for the second time that night, and I was glad my arms were there to keep everything in place. He ran his teeth against his lip ring, drawing my eyes to the motion. He closed his eyes and leaned forward.

I’d pictured this moment a thousand times, so some of it seemed very familiar to me: the chunk of hair that fell in his eyes as he lowered his face to mine, the way his bottom lip moved against his teeth when he felt unsure of himself.

No. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

I turned my head and his lips brushed against my cheek. “Don’t.” I could barely speak.

“Abby.” His fingers moved against the back of my arm and I shivered. His words were so soft, if we weren’t so close I might not have heard them. “You asked me what I wanted.”

Frozen in place, I stared at my shoes next to the bean bag. “I don’t want you to do this because you’re pissed off that I went out with Eli,” I whispered. Eight years I waited for him to finally make that move, and I think I had the right to lay some ground rules. If I was going to kiss him, it wasn’t going to be cheap and full of regret. “That’s not how I want this to be.”

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Kristen

Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house.

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