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Thursday, August 13, 2015

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Lost Heartbeats
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Synopsis
My name is Alexander, and I'm no fucking hero.
Not when I couldn't even save the little heartbeats I was supposed to protect with my life.
When a fist closes around my heart after a death brings me to my knees, I finally go after the woman I'd been craving for months. Not just because her beautiful face is the only thing that slips through the pain when I close my eyes, but because she has secretly carved a place for herself in my heart - leaving me with no choice.
But if I do this, if I make myself believe that I deserve her, will the choices I make ruin everything between us? Will she accept the fact that she doesn't get to leave me twice?
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Excerpt
As soon as we made contact, she straightened, and I felt goose bumps erupt on her skin, that electric buzz playing with my own nerves.

Her hands started stroking my chest, her eyes meeting mine, and I captured one of her wrists with my hand, holding her palm flat against me.

“Alexander,” she whispered, her eyes still on mine.

“Hi, Maya,” I whispered back.

Feeling truly lost in her gaze, I found myself leaning down and breathing her in.

I felt a shiver go through her body and smiled against her neck.

“Do you know what I missed the most?” I murmured, leaving a hot trail of kisses along her jawbone.

My blurry mind registered the slow shake of her hand. I pulled her flush against my body again, my hand moving up to rest between her shoulder blades.

Hell. It was pure hell to try to hold back and not rip her clothes off of her and fuck her against the counter for all the world to see.

“I missed your skin,” I said, my hand slowly making its way down from her shoulder blades again.

She remained silent. Fine by me. I didn’t need her words. She couldn’t hide the tremble of her body even if she wanted to.

“I missed your scent,” I groaned against her ear, gently biting her ear lobe.

She tilted her head, opening up to my mouth. At that moment, I knew she would let me do anything I could possibly want to do to her. The place, the time didn’t matter. She was simply mine, and in a deep corner of her soul I was sure she knew it too.

Without touching her skin, I moved my mouth from her neck to her mouth. Just an inch of air keeping us from each other.

“Open your eyes, sweetheart,” I whispered, waiting for her to do just that.

Looking back at me was a scared woman, scared to wish, to hope. I would give her anything she would ever need. I would give her myself. My heart.

From that day forward, I would never leave her alone.

Never give her up.

She licked her lips and swayed a little, eager to get my lips on hers. I kept my palm firmly connected with her skin and never stopped caressing her back. Her goose bumps never disappeared.

“I even missed your fucking breath, Maya,” I growled, the hold I had on my urges finally snapping as I took her mouth in a searing kiss, rocking her body backward with the force, taking everything I could take from her.





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About the author
I'm an avid reader. Therefore, a big dreamer. I love nothing more than to escape real life to find those very few magical moments in a book. I love how it has the power of stealing your worries away, putting a smile on your face, and of course sometimes making you crush on fictional characters. If I can manage to do even one of those things for a reader, I will be a happy writer.
I can't even begin to describe how exciting it is to give life to new characters and fall for them. It's a different kind of addiction.
I'm still searching for my own happy ending. Until that happens, I'll live vicariously through my own characters.
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Cover Reveal: The Marine in Unit A by Kris Cook

Title: The Marine in Unit A
Series: A Mockingbird Place Novella
Author: Kris Cook
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: September 15, 2015
The man who has been more of a dad to me than my biological father is dead.

He rescued me from the streets six years ago—a runaway teenage boy, escaping a family who thought I was an abomination.

Now what do I do? I have no one.

My life might look great from the outside. I’m in college. I have my own apartment. I have lots of friends.

But I’m dying on the inside.

I feel so alone. Lost. Hopeless.

I’m not the kind of person to wallow in self-pity. I need a distraction.

The guy moving into Unit A may be just what I need to take my mind off of losing my dad.

The Marine in Unit A Mockingbird Place
© 2015 Kris Cook



Having been awake all night, I step out of the shower. The rally doesn’t start until noon, but I need something, anything that can distract me from thinking about what happened with Adam. Giving him space is what Martha and Sarah think I should do, so I decide to let a single day pass. But if I don’t hear from him by tomorrow, I will make the first move to fix things between us. And besides, Adam still needs help setting up his apartment before his mother arrives, and I want to be that help.

I finish getting ready, and take one last look at my hair before leaving my apartment. I park my car in the student parking lot.

The university I attend has a large green space in the middle of campus. Mature trees line the sidewalks that are sparsely filled with students going to and from their classes and dormitories. In the fall the grounds will be teeming with students.

I look at the time on my cell. 8:21am. I have over three and a half hours to kill before the rally. Where to go? The library? No. I didn’t need to go over my speech any more, since I’ve spent several early morning hours already working on it. I am ready. So I decide to get a bite of breakfast in the cafeteria.



When I walk inside, I see Adam at a table filling out some paperwork. I freeze in place. I am in a quandary whether to approach him or not, whether to follow Martha and Sarah’s advice or not, whether to tamp down my desire to sit down next to him to say how sorry I am—or not.

Adam looks at me. Did he feel me staring at him? Before I can step back to the entrance to leave, he waves me over. I feel my shoulders relax as relief rolls through me. At least he is willing to talk to me again. I take cautious steps in his direction. Gone are his jeans and T-shirt and facial hair. He is clean-shaven, wearing black slacks and a white dress shirt and blue tie. Casual or dress up, with whiskers or without, Adam is the epitome of masculine beauty.

“Have a seat, Oliver.”

I do, waiting for him to lay into me again about seeing his prosthetic legs. “Would you mind if I put your name down as a reference on this application? They’re asking for a student or professor’s name. You’re the only one I know.” He looks at me with those damn gorgeous doe eyes. “I have the option to leave it blank if you don’t want me to.”

“Please. Use my name. I’ll be happy to be your reference.” Your friend. Your boyfriend. Whatever. 

“Thanks, buddy.” He smiles and then goes back to filling out the paperwork.

I have the strongest urge to bring up what happened last night to try to clear the air. But hearing Martha and Sarah’s words of advice replay in my head, I keep my mouth shut. If he isn’t ready to talk about it, then I certainly am not going to mention it. I will give him whatever space and time he needs. At least he isn’t asking me to leave.

“Done.” He stands. “Wish me luck.”

“Sure. For what?”

“That I can get a job in the cafeteria. Are you in a hurry?”

“I don’t have to be anywhere until noon.”

“Good. Let me turn this in and maybe I could trouble you with that tour around campus you offered me.”

I am so glad he’s asking for my help. “I’ll be happy to show you some shortcuts.”

“You’re a lifesaver. My sense of direction is shot. I wish you could have seen the look on my face when I walked into the women’s locker room by mistake earlier. Why the door was unlocked I have no clue, but I could feel my cheeks burning when the girls started giggling and running for cover. I turned and walked out as fast I could, buddy.”

“You really do need my help. It took me a whole semester to figure out how to get around this place. But I’m surprised that you walked into the women’s locker room. Isn’t a good sense of direction necessary on the battlefield?” Oh shit. Why did I bring that up? 

“It’s easy on the battlefield. You just have to know where the bullets are coming from.” He smiles, which makes me feel better. “I’m starving, how about you?”

“Famished.”

“Breakfast is on me.” He hands me a twenty-dollar bill. “The lady in charge asked me to fill this out today but won’t be able to interview me until next week. Let me turn this application in and you order us some breakfast. Then we’ll go on the tour. I’ll be right back.”

He walks away. His limp is gone. No one in the cafeteria has a clue that he is missing a leg but me. And it certainly doesn’t bother me, not one bit. I don’t know how he lost his leg, but obviously he hasn’t quite accepted it yet. He mentioned a friend was supposed to help him initially, but the guy never showed. Did Adam have any help packing and loading before driving to Mockingbird Place? He didn’t seem overly tired that night, but he is a strong guy. A former-Marine. I guess he’s not limping because he got some rest after unloading his things into Malcolm’s old place. No, Adam’s place. Unit A is Adam’s.

I go and order two sausage egg cheese biscuits and orange juices for us. When I get back to our table, he is already there.

Adam looks up at me. “Breakfast is served?”

I place the tray on the table. “Yes, sir.” I can’t resist and salute Adam, instantly worrying I might be overstepping again. Thus far he’s been very closed mouth about his military service. But he returns the salute with a devilish grin, easing my concerns.

We eat our breakfast, talking about everything except the main issue on my mind.

“I bet you’re glad our complex has a pool,” he says. “It’s going to be very hot according the weatherman for the next several days.”

“You like to swim?”

He shrugs. “I used to.”

I brace myself, thinking we might be getting close to opening Pandora’s box about what happened.

But as usual, Adam changes the subject. “Oliver, how about you show me the buildings where my classes are going to be first?” 

“Sure thing.”



He hands me his schedule, and I realize the lid on the infamous box is not only shut tight, it is also locked with no sign of the key in sight. What is it going to take for Adam to explain his sudden and over-the-top reaction to me learning he lost his leg? And will I ever learn if he is gay or straight?

As we leave the cafeteria, he asks, “Do you know the guy who lives in Unit D? Long black hair. Blue eyes. Good looking. He invited me to a party tonight at his and his roommate’s place.”



“That’s Trace. I’m going, too. In fact the whole complex should be there. It’ll give you another change to get to know everyone.”

“The ones who helped us move my things were very nice, though the MMA fighter is a bit intense.”

“Tony’s that way, but I believe he’s really a good guy underneath all that darkness.”

“I wasn’t sure I would go, but now that I know you’re going I will.”

We had so much drama last night, and today he’s acting like it never happened. Now, he says he only is going to the party if I’m going. Damn. He confuses me so much. I sense now is not the time to confront him with what I’m feeling. But if not now, when? “I’m glad you’re going, too.”

We walk around campus, and I point out the iconic spots.

“That’s Dallas Hall, the oldest building on campus.”

“It’s quite grand. I like the dome.”

When we got to the building that had the last class on his list, he turns to me.

“Thanks, buddy.”


Buddy. There’s that word again. But better to be called that than nothing. I did say I would settle for friendship, but can I really? The more time I spend with him the more my feelings get mixed up.


“No trouble, Adam. I enjoyed hanging out.”

“Me, too. I would have been completely lost on my first day of classes if it hadn’t been for you and your fantastic tour.” He sighs. “I better get back to looking for a job.”

“Do you plan on working the entire time you’re in school?”

“Yeah. With the financial aid I’m getting I don’t have to work, but I want to. It will give me extra spending money and will keep me busy.”

I have a feeling that he likes keeping busy so he doesn’t have to face bigger issues inside him. “You don’t seem like you would be happy working in food service to me. Have you thought about doing something else?”

“Like what?”

“I know the guy who heads the campus police department, Chief Torres. He told me the other day he has two openings. I bet he’d love to hire you, especially with your military background.”

“Right.” Adam shakes his head. “A one-legged Marine would make such a great police officer.”

I am nervous to push him, but have to try. At least he’s mentioning his service—and missing leg. It’s a start. “Adam, I saw you unload that truck and move all those boxes and furniture into your place. You’re strong and capable. You would definitely be an asset to Torres’s department.”

“You really think so?” My cell rings. “I know so.”

I answer the call. “Oliver, where are you?” Candy’s voice sounds frantic.

“I’m at the engineering building.”

“That’s clear across campus. You’re supposed to speak in two minutes.”

“Oh crap. The time got away from me. I’ll run. Stall if you have to.”

“Hurry.” 

“Sorry, Adam, but I have to go. I’ve got a speech to give.”



“I’d like to hear it.”

“Then follow me.”



Though starting in straight erotic romance, Kris's total focus now is on gay romance. When asked why recently, his answer was "My muse finally came out of the closet. Isn't it about time? I’ve been out since I was twenty-five." A voracious reader, Kris loves many genres of fiction, but this writer's favorite books are romances that are edgy, sexy, with rich characters and unique challenges. Kris' influences include Anne Rice, JR Ward, Lexi Blake and Shayla Black. Last year, Kris married the love of his life Stephen.





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Book Title: Nobody's Angel (A Willow Park Romance) 
Author: Sarah Hegger 
Genre: Contemporary 
Release Date: March 31, 2015 
osted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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Book Blurb

In this evocative new series from author Sarah Hegger, a woman returns home after a long absence--and wonders if two wrongs really can make a right. . .

Nine years ago Lucy Flint ran away to Seattle, taking her friend's boyfriend and leaving her high school sweetheart without a word of explanation. Now she's back in Willow Park, Illinois, to help care for her ailing father--and it's no surprise that her ex, Dr. Richard Hunter, is still angry.

Still, she's a different Lucy now. Sober, wiser, ready to make amends to the long--make that very long--list of those she mistreated during her wild younger days. Falling for Richard all over again would mean wreaking havoc in both their lives and possibly squandering her opportunity for redemption. But here, in the place where everything went wrong, is the one person who always felt right, and a second-chance that could be the best mistake she ever made. . .

excerpt

Silence hung heavily over the phone lines. “Lucy? Lucy, are you all right?” “Um, I am.” Lucy peered into the gathering gloom nervously.

Her heart sank. Nothing outside the car had changed. The dark thing spread across the snow was definitely human shaped. The object near the human thing, wheels spinning senselessly, was the bicycle it had been riding. Riding, until someone had opened their door on it. And that someone was her. “I’ve gotta go.”

“What was that noise?”


“I doored a cyclist.”

“You what?” There was nothing dulcet or dreamy about Mads and her smoky vocal chords now.

“It seems I doored a cyclist. I’m going to have to go now.”


“Is the cyclist okay?”


“It’s moving.” Lucy stepped from the car, shut her door, and took a ginger step forward.

A soft noise rode the steady sibilance of the wind. “And I think that’s it groaning.” She held the phone out nervously at the bipedal stain in the snow. “Can you hear it?”

“I can’t hear anything but this howling noise. That’s not it, is it?”

“Nope.” Lucy was reasonably sure on this point. “That’s the wind.”

“Fuck, Illinois.”


“I know, right?” Lucy took a half shuffle closer. “I think it’s a him.”

“How do you know it’s a him? Can you see its face?”

“Nope.” Lucy blinked away a sloppy snowflake. “But it’s either a man or a very large woman, with a butt that looks like a man.” And she certainly noticed the taut, muscular lines of his thighs and ass. She tilted her head to the side to get a better look. Those were male and not too bad, current situation aside. The Thinsulate pants could not be doing much good against the cold, because they left very little to the imagination. The figure on the ground moved again and rolled carefully onto his back. Yup, that was very definitely a he and not a she.

“Uh-huh, it’s a him,” she clarified for Mads without taking her eyes off the cyclist. “Excuse me? Are you all right?”

The cyclist cursed softly.

Lucy inched a little closer, ready to launch a heroic retreat into her childhood home if the injured party got pissed at her, the front steps of which loomed tantalizingly close. Coward. Lucy tried to master her yellow streak. “Should I call nine-one-one?”

“Does he look like he needs an ambulance?” Mads asked.

“I’ll ask him.” Lucy raised her voice. “Are you hurt? Should I call nine-one-one?”


The man on the ground moaned and struggled into a sitting position.

Her victim didn’t look all that injured or dangerous, yet.

He stretched out his legs with a hiss.

“I think he’s getting up,” Lucy whispered into the phone.

“Then he can’t be too badly hurt, right?” Mads sounded hopeful. “Any blood? Exposed bones? That sort of thing?”


“I don’t see any blood.” Lucy leaned forward and peered. Now that the cyclist was moving she didn’t want to risk getting any closer. “No bones either. I think that means he might be all right.”

“I can hear you,” he spoke.

“He can hear me,” Lucy reported to Mads. “Oh.” She stopped talking and stared.

“That’s good.” Mads kept it positive.

“I think he’s going to be okay,” Lucy whispered.

The cyclist ignored her and started unbuckling his helmet.

“It’s a good thing he wore a helmet,” Lucy reported into her phone.


“Why?” Mads whispered back.

“Because it’s sort of . . . busted up.”


“And his head?”


“Seems fine.” Lucy stood on her toes for a better look. “Are you sure you’re all right?” Her voice shook slightly as she risked speaking to the cyclist.

“No thanks to you.” The man examined his helmet. He shook his head angrily.

“I didn’t see you.” Lucy kept her tone conciliatory. “You came out of nowhere.”

“Then perhaps you should stop talking on the phone and concentrate on what you’re doing.”


Lucy froze. She knew that voice. “Ah shit.”


The cyclist whipped off his goggles and tucked them into his helmet in short, angry movements.

“This is going to get ugly.” She hadn’t realized she’d spoken out loud until Mads replied.

“Well,” Mads huffed, outraged on her behalf. “Okay, I know you hit the guy with your door. But for the love of God, what kind of dork rides a bike in a snowstorm?”


The wind dropped just then and Mad’s voice squawked out of Lucy’s phone loud and clear. The cyclist jerked his head up and Lucy swore again. All the way west in Seattle, Mads had no idea. Lucy ignored the steady stream of rationalizations coming through the phone as her stomach sped south, into her boots.

“Bye,” she whispered and hung up.

The man in the snow had gone dead still. His gaze locked on her like a heat-seeking missile. And Lucy knew he knew that she knew and he knew that she knew he knew. Or something. Her mind went blank. There must be something to say in situations like this, but she had nothing. She stared at him and he stared right back.

“What the hell are you doing here?” All things considered it was a very reasonable question. His tone and the glare he bent her way shot to hell any vague hope she might have held that Richard had learned to forgive and forget.

“Hello, Richard.” Her voice hit the loaded air in a strangled squeak.

His voice was deeper than she remembered, but she would have known it anywhere. Nine years was not long enough to forget any of the small details she could now make out.

Snow powdered one side of his face and stuck to his eyelashes. His face was leaner and the bones stronger and more decisive, but he was still Richard. Handsome in that Cary Grant, clean-cut, one-of-the-good-guys way. It had played havoc with her teenage heart and hormones. Her grown-up hormones were not dead to the appeal either. His eyes were the same pure, unadulterated cobalt. He blinked to clear snow from the dark veil of his lashes.

Lucy watched him with the helpless certainty that the light at the end of the tunnel was an oncoming train.

His head dropped forward almost onto his chest. He’d propped his elbows onto his knees.

She should say something to ease the tension, but she was clueless. She tucked her chin deeper into her scarf and waited.

“Tell me it’s not you,” he said, eventually.

She huddled deeper into her coat and tried a friendly smile. “I didn’t see you when I opened my door.”

“Ah, Christ.” A big man, he was surprisingly graceful as he rose to his feet, brushing snow off his butt and legs.

She should have recognized those. An hysterical bubble of laughter caught in her throat.

“This cannot be happening to me,” he rumbled without looking at her.

She really wanted to ask which part, but was equally sure she didn’t want to hear his answer. “Sorry,” she said, shrugging again. “I didn’t—”

“See me, yeah, I get it.” His beautiful blue eyes were colder than the snow seeping through her cheap boots. “What are you doing here, Lucy?”

It was like something out of Wuthering Heights. The wind howled, the snow drove against her face, and the large, lurking former love of her life glowered at her in a very BrontĂ«-esque manner. Kate Bush started wailing her lament to Heathcliff in a dark corner of Lucy’s mind.

“I came for my mom.” She dropped her eyes first. “My dad is sick.”

Richard made a strangled sound in the back of his throat. “So, you rushed home to take care of Mom and Dad?” He didn’t wait for her reply, but bent to grab his bike and hauled it upright. He leaned over to examine it. Then gave up with a snarl of exasperation. “Perfect, fucking perfect.”

“My mom needs me.” It sounded lame. Richard shot her a look of clear skepticism. Okay, he thought so too. She was tempted to set him right and opened her mouth to do that. She shut it again. There was no easy explanation to this one.

He gave her one last scowl before he turned and stomped away. His feet drove small divots into the snow as he went, dragging his bike behind him. He didn’t look back, but strode toward the house next door. He tossed the helmet to one side. It hit the boards of the front porch with a broken splat. Lucy winced. The door slammed behind him with a resounding bang that made her jump. This was so not good.
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Meet the Author

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Born British and raised in South Africa, Sarah Hegger suffers from an incurable case of wanderlust. Her match? A hot Canadian engineer, whose marriage proposal she accepted six short weeks after they first met. Together they’ve made homes in seven different cities across three different continents (and back again once or twice). If only it made her multilingual, but the best she can manage is idiosyncratic English, fluent Afrikaans, conversant Russian, pigeon Portuguese, even worse Zulu and enough French to get herself into trouble.

Mimicking her globe trotting adventures, Sarah’s career path began as a gainfully employed actress, drifted into public relations, settled a moment in advertising, and eventually took root in the fertile soil of her first love, writing. She also moonlights as a wife and mother.
She currently lives in Salt Lake City with her teenage daughters, two Golden Retrievers and aforementioned husband. Part footloose buccaneer, part quixotic observer of life, Sarah’s restless heart is most content when reading or writing books.


Sarah is the recipient of the 2015 EPIC Award for Historical Romance.

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