Friday, September 4, 2015

Promo/Review Stop on the Virtual Book Tour for WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT by Tessa Dare with #excerpt + #giveaway

Welcome to my Promo/Review stop on the Virtual Book Tour for WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT, book 3 in the Castles Ever After series by Tessa Dare. Already a huge fan of Tessa Dare’s incomparable ability to conjure characters that we can’t help but fall in love with, I think she outdid herself with Logan and Maddie. This might be her best ever…yes, I’ve said that before, so imagine my surprise when she topped the last one. Stick around for a taste of this wonderful book, as well as a tour wide giveaway!

***purchased a copy for my own personal reading and am sharing my honest and unscripted review with you.

Blurb for WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT:

On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shy, pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter…and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh.  The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters…and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.

My Review:

Since the blurb summarizes what happens in this must read historical romance already, I will skip doing a brief recap. I call WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT by Tessa Dare a must read because if you love romance, a wonderful, teary-eyed HEA ending, and all the fun, excitement, and teasing sexual tension that a good historical romance can give you then you’ve got it in this amazing story.

Tessa Dare introduces us to Maddie Gracechurch, an adorable epitome of a wallflower who was so indisposed to attend her first season that she invented an imaginary suitor. Imagine her surprise when he appeared at her door a decade later—every single gorgeous kilted inch of him. Logan is the hero who snatches your heart with charm, swagger, and a crushing childhood making you want to wrap your arms around him and hold him tight into the night, even while you wish to smack him upside the head during the day.

Maddie and Logan’s fellow characters are as equally endearing, as lively, and worthy of falling in love with as they are. Grant makes you wish you could heal his heartbreak even as he can’t remember it, and Aunt Thea, with her traveling apothecary and own tragic love story, is such a sweet, lovable creature that she even melts Logan’s closed off heart just a bit.

I highly, HIGHLY, recommend reading WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT by Tessa Dare, not because it’s written by one of the best historical romance writers of our time, but because this story is unique, exciting, and most certainly romantic. It will tickle your funny bone from the beginning with Maddie’s delightful letters, and continue to keep you chuckling through her fumbling misadventures with Logan. WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT is funny, endearing, and so wonderfully written that it will keep you smiling, even through tears, and leave you wishing it didn’t have to end but when it does, it’s with one of the sweetest happily-ever-afters—ever!

Excerpt from WHEN A SCOT TIES THE KNOT:

Prologue

September 21, 1808

Dear Captain Logan MacKenzie,

There is but one consolation in writing this absurd letter. And that is that you, my dear delusion, do not exist to read it.
But I run ahead of myself. Introductions first.
I am Madeline Eloise Gracechurch. The greatest ninny to ever draw breath in England. This will come as a shock, I fear, but you fell deeply in love with me when we did not cross paths in Brighton. And now we are engaged.

Maddie could not remember the first time she’d held a drawing pencil. She only knew she could not recall a time she’d been without one.
In fact, she usually carried two or three. She kept them tucked in her apron pockets and speared in her upswept dark hair, and sometimes—when she needed all her limbs for climbing a tree or vaulting a fence rail—clenched in her teeth.
And she wore them down to nubs. She sketched songbirds when she was supposed to be minding her lessons, and she sketched church mice when she was meant to be at prayer. When she had time to ramble out of doors, anything in Nature was fair game—from the shoots of clover between her toes to any cloud that meandered overhead.
She loved to draw anything. Well, almost anything.
She hated drawing attention to herself.
And thus, at sixteen years old, she found herself staring down her first London season with approximately as much joy as one might anticipate a dose of purgative.
After many years as a widower, Papa had taken a new wife. One a mere eight years older than Maddie herself. Anne was cheerful, elegant, lively. Every- thing her new stepdaughter was not.
Oh, to be Cinderella in all her soot-smeared, rag-clad misery. Maddie would have been thrilled to have a wicked stepmother lock her in the tower while everyone else went to the ball. Instead, she was stuck with a very different sort of stepmother— one eager to dress her in silks, send her to dances, and thrust her into the arms of an unsuspecting prince.
Figuratively, of course.
At best, Maddie was expected to fetch a third son with aspirations to the Church, or perhaps an insolvent baronet.
At worst . . .
Maddie didn’t do well in crowds. More to the point, she didn’t do anything in crowds. In any large gathering—be it a market, a theater, a ballroom— she had a tendency to freeze, almost literally. An arctic sense of terror took hold of her, and the crush of bodies rendered her solid and stupid as a block of ice.
The mere thought of a London season made her shudder.
And yet, she had no choice.
While Papa and Anne (she could not bring herself to address a twenty-four-year-old as Mama) enjoyed their honeymoon, Maddie was sent to a ladies’ rooming house in Brighton. The sea air and society were meant to coax her out of her shell before her season commenced.
It didn’t quite work that way.
Instead, Maddie spent most of those weeks with shells. Collecting them on the beach, sketching them in her notebook, and trying not to think about parties or balls or gentlemen.
On the morning she returned, Anne greeted her with a pointed question. “There now. Are you all ready to meet your special someone?”
That was when Maddie panicked. And lied. On the spur of the moment, she concocted an outrageous falsehood that would, for better and worse, determine the rest of her life.
“I’ve met him already.”
The look of astonishment on her stepmother’s face was immensely satisfying. But within seconds, Maddie realized how stupid she’d been. She ought to have known that her little statement wouldn’t put paid to the matter. Of course it only launched a hundred other questions.
When is he coming here?
Oh, er . . . He can’t. He wanted to, but he had to leave the country at once.
Whatever for?
Because he’s in the army. An officer.
What of his family? We at least should meet them.
But you can’t. He’s from too far away. All the way in Scotland. And also, they’re dead.
At least tell us his name.
MacKenzie. His name is Logan MacKenzie.

Logan MacKenzie. Suddenly her not-real suitor had a name. By the end of the afternoon, he had hair (brown), eyes (blue), a voice (deep, with a Highland burr), a rank (captain), and a personality (firm, but intelligent and kind).
And that evening, at her family’s urging, Maddie sat down to write him a letter.

. . . Right this moment, they think I am writing a letter to my secret kilted betrothed, and I am filling a page with nonsense instead, just praying no one looks over my shoulder. Worst of all, I shall have no choice but to post the thing when I’m done. It will end up in some military dead letter office. I hope. Or it will be read and passed around whole regiments for ridicule, which I would richly deserve.
Stupid, stupid, stupid. Now the clock is ticking, and when it strikes doom I will have to confess. I will firstly be compelled to explain that I lied about attracting a handsome Scottish officer while staying in Brighton. Then, when I do, I shall have no further excuse to avoid the actual rejection of countless English gentlemen come spring.
My dear imaginary Captain MacKenzie, you are not real and never will be. I, however, am a true and eternal fool.
Here, have a drawing of a snail.

October 5, 1808

Dear not-really-a-Captain MacKenzie,

On second thought, perhaps I won’t have to explain it this year. I might be able to stretch this for a whole season. I must admit, it’s rather convenient. And my family looks at me in a whole new light. I am now a woman who inspired at least one headlong tumble into everlasting love, and really—isn’t one enough?
Because, you see, you are mad for me. Utterly consumed with passion after just a few chance meetings and walks along the shore. You made me a great many promises. I was reluctant to accept them, knowing how our nascent love would be tested by distance and war. But you assured me that your heart is true, and I . . .
And I have read too many novels, I think.

November 10, 1808

Dear Captain MacWhimsy,

Is there anything more mortifying than bearing witness to one’s own father’s love affair? Ugh. We all knew he needed to remarry and produce an heir. To take a young, fertile wife made the most sense. I just didn’t expect him to enjoy it so much, or with so few nods to dignity. Curse this endless war and its effect of hampering proper months-long honeymoons. They disappear together every afternoon, and then I and the servants must all pretend to not know what they are doing. I shudder.
I know I should be happy to see them both happy, and I am. Rather. But until this heir-making project takes root, I think I shall be writing you fewer letters and taking a great many walks.

 
About the Author:
Tessa Dare is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of more than a dozen historical romances. A librarian by training and a book-lover at heart, Tessa lives in Southern California with her husband, their two children, and a big brown dog.

    

TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY




   

Friday, August 28, 2015

Unwrapping a Review of THE MEDIUM PATH by Elizabeth Davies

Other than blog tours, I haven’t been accepting too many review requests lately because my schedule doesn’t allow enough reading time but then, every once in a while, an author comes along with a story idea that intrigues so that I just can’t say no. Elizabeth Davies did just that when she asked me to read and review THE MEDIUM PATH. I’m so glad I did. This one was different, intriguing, and kept me entertained to the very end.

***eCopy provided by author in exchange for an honest and unscripted review

Blurb for THE MEDIUM PATH:

Ruby died nearly one hundred years ago. She saw spirits of the dead when she was alive, and now she is dead she has become a guide who helps ghosts pass on. When ghosts start being taken by darkness instead of the light, Ruby is forced to seek help from a handsome and unwilling medium, who awakens emotions she never knew she had.

~*~          ~*~           ~*~            ~*~            ~*~

Ruby is a ghost, well, not just a ghost…actually, she’s a spirit guide, but she is indeed dead. She died nearly one hundred years ago after being mistreated and abused as a mental patient in an institution for the insane. She wasn’t insane. She simply could see and talk to ghosts. She was a medium. After dying, she didn’t go into the light as most spirits do but instead, became a member of a group of spirits who remain in the world to assist and guide the newly dead to understand that they are both dead and need to give their life force to someone still living before going into the light. She can’t help but wonder what happens next just as we, the living, do. She has no idea, and a day doesn’t pass that she doesn’t wish she can go too.

Until one day when she meets Michael, now she wishes for more than just going into the light. She wishes to live again so she might know love...with Michael. She quickly learns that Michael is not only a medium as she was when she was alive, but he sees more in her than just a spirit…he sees the woman she was and still is.

When she suddenly discovers something strange happening when spirits are supposed to go into the light but instead are enveloped in darkness, she goes to her medium friend, Jennifer, and her fellow spirit guides. Michael is pulled into the circle because he too, can see spirits—Ruby, in particular. Only when she finally discovers the truth of what’s happening, she finds herself trapped by an evil she never expected.

THE MEDIUM PATH by Elizabeth Davies is a most unusual romance story. The characters are alive and resilient, even though most of them are dead. Ruby is endearing and at times, heartbreaking because she yearns for so much of life that she missed when actually alive. She envies her friend, Jennifer, her happy life and pregnancy. She yearns to be loved by Michael as a woman and not just a friendly spirit. When an opportunity arises which may allow her to live as a living, breathing woman, she seriously considers taking it, even as others think it is wrong. It begs the reader to consider just what anyone would do for real love.

THE MEDIUM PATH by Elizabeth Davies is not your average ghost story, it’s a young woman’s journey to finding her place in eternity, and a chance at love. Unusual, touching, mysterious, and at times a bit scary, THE MEDIUM PATH is an intriguing read that will capture your imagination and your heart. I highly recommend reading this one if you’re a fan of the movie, GHOST, and the television show, GHOST WHISPERER. Yes, this one will touch you like those did.

Happy Reading Everyone!

THE MEDIUM PATH by Elizabeth Davies, Romance Beckons, available now in print and ebook formats at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.
***click on links above or cover below for purchasing information, remember even pennies per sale using my links help keep this blog alive. Thank You.

   

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Pre-Order Blitz for MISCHIEF UNDER THE MISTLETOE by a fab multitude of authors for only 99¢

Release Date November 17, 2015
Pre-order Links - only 99¢

Kobo | iBooks | B & N


Click to here to join in on the Thunderclap


 Kristin Miller 
When lingerie-store owner Cora Brennan plans a getaway at a quaint mountain retreat, she never expects to reunite with the playboy 
she spent a memorable night with in college. 
Can they finally admit their true feelings for each other before love 
is lost to them again?


Claudy Conn
Charlie knows when she first sees Wade Devon that he is trouble. Wade likes to win. It is what he does and he wants her...no strings attached. She has to ask herself, should she, or shouldn't she.

Amazon:http://amzn.to/1K5lQpQ
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1SU7jan
Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1P8AZuU
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Claudyconn
Website: www.claudyconn.com

Melanie James
With two men vying for her affection, Abbie's heart is torn between the two. One has always been there for her, no matter what. The other left when she needed him the most.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Isw5UW  
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1JOf104
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/TnKn5 
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AutMelanieJames  
Website: www.authormelaniejames.com

Mindy Klasky
Lexi thinks she's recovered from the fire that burned her years ago. 
But when she falls for PTSD-ridden army veteran Finn, 
she learns how deep some scars can be.

Holly S. Roberts
Van, one of the best players in rugby and the hottest player between 
the sheets is looking for a holiday miracle. 
His brother won the girl and Van's heart is broken. 
Could the gift of a lifetime be his for the taking or 
will this bad boy ruck it up again?

Stephanie Rowe 
Can the Christmas magic of a coastal Maine island heal two broken souls 
when a winter storm strands them together?


Diane Rinella 
One Christmas, Darla was given a mystical gift, along with an ominous message. Years later, meeting Chris puts her head in a spin. 
Could it be that gift from long ago holds the key to their happiness?



Kate Angell

A Vermont Christmas Eve blizzard forces Allie to close 

Hartley's General Store. Her best friend, Rhys arrives by snowmobile, 
not wanting her to endure the snowstorm alone. 
A playful kiss under the mistletoe warms more than their hearts.



 Kimberly Kincaid
Sophie Drayton has seen enough of the wild life to know that Emilio Barrett 
is bad news. But the sexy stripper has secrets of his own. 
Will Sophie's past come back to haunt her, or will Emilio prove that 
a bad boy can be also be a good man?

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1ToLqLr 
Facebook profile: www.facebook.com/kimberly.kincaid1 
Twitter: @ kimberlykincaid 
Newsletter http://eepurl.com/bmTXTH 
Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/kimkincaidbooks/


J.D. Tyler
After a case gone horribly wrong, FBI Agent Mark McClendon retreats to his late grandfather's isolated cabin, determined to escape his pain. He's completely unprepared to find himself falling for his pretty new neighbor—but when the past comes gunning for him, Mark's newfound love may mean the difference between a second tragedy and a holiday miracle.


Robin Covington 
War tore Gabe and Ellie apart and three years later, he's almost given up any hope that she'll come back to him. When she returns just before the holidays, he wants nothing more for the damaged, stubborn woman he loves to stay forever but she's ready to run as soon as the gifts are opened. 
Chased by her nightmares, Gabe's only hope of keeping Ellie is 
to convince her that he'll be there when she opens her eyes.


Facebook Profile: http://on.fb.me/YSW9n3
Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/1fCyWuQ
Instagram: https://instagram.com/robincovington/
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/wEqer
Pinterest: http://bit.ly/1c1Tm5u
Twitter: @RobinCovington
Website: http://bit.ly/1lewhMg

 Suzanne Ferrell
When teacher Holly Murphy walks into Westen's only bar to help her friend celebrate a divorce, she doesn't expect hot carpenter Nick Fisher to save her from an embarrassing situation. His heated kisses awaken something deep inside her, but when someone sets his sights on Holly, will Nick be the one to protect her close to the mistletoe?


 Kathy Ivan 
At her hospital's annual Bachelor Auction, event organizer, Dr. Alanna Reeves, is blindsided when the tables are turned and Blake Donovan offers a huge donation—for her! Can a trip to Florida for the holidays help them discover their true feelings or drive them apart forever? 

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1P8B8ON

Selena Laurence
Marcus Ambrose, the newest face in political media, is one hot ticket. But when he meets his brother's down-to-earth secretary Renee, his own heart takes a knock. Can Marcus's famous full-court press convince the woman of his dreams to take a shot at love?

Newsletter:http://bit.ly/1mtE0pJ 
Twitter:@selenalaurence 

Jennie Marts 
Addison Cavanaugh had one rule: Do not date hockey players. 
So kissing the newest trade to her dad's team should have been off-limits—
even if he is hot enough to melt the ice. Is the new player worth the shot or is she is risking her heart in a game she can't possibly win?

Teri Riggs 
Six months after True's last boss viciously attacked her, she's ready to take her therapist's advice and go back into the work force. 
She wants her life to be normal again and working for another man 
will be a giant step towards that goal.
Nick has been betrayed by a pretty face for the last time and has sworn off relationships. Or so he thought until the day his new assistant, 

True Kelly, walked into his office.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1PiYEsA
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1Jaq9W5
Newsletter: http://teri-riggs.com/newsletter/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TeriLRiggs
Website: http://teri-riggs.com/

Jennifer Theriot
Noel Calabrese hates Christmas as much as she hates her life. 
While in the Napa Valley on a business trip, she meets Leon Hallas. 
Could this sexy, silver fox be her ticket to happiness?

MJ Fredrick
Come back to Bluestone, Minnesota for Christmas, where single mom Willow Branson has moved from Texas to make a home with her daughter. But moving from a Texas winter to a Minnesota one is more challenging than she expected, and handsome handyman Chase Granzer is more than happy to help her adapt...and keep her warm.


Deb Julienne
Rafe Donnelly hates everything to do with the holidays. Ali Sanders is a single mother, juggling two jobs and missing most of her son's childhood. 
Who knew a little boy's Santa wish could change so many lives?

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1DwXLLs
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1P8BogU
Twitter: https://twitter.com/debjulienne
Website: http://debjulienne.com 



Monday, August 24, 2015

Cover Reveal for TWENTY-ONE (21) by Clarissa Wild with #excerpt + #giveaway


TWENTY-ONE (21)
by Clarissa Wild

Dark Romance (18+) coming October 7th, 2015


21 years
On her 21st birthday, she’s taken. Collected by a rich family as an unpaid debt. Her body sold. Her mind his.
21 weeks
For 21 weeks, she carried a burden no girl should ever have to carry. Now she loses her freedom to a man born to destroy her.
21 days
His name: Angel DeLuca. His mission: to break her in 21 days before she sees through his lies. But she won’t give up without a fight.
21 minutes
It takes only 21 minutes for their lives to be forever entwined.
21 seconds
21 seconds to spill. Time is running out.

Secrets ruin them … but not all truths are worth the price.

This is a STANDALONE Dark Romance novel. WARNING: contains explicit situations, dubious consent, graphic violence, drug abuse, and other disturbing content. 


Exclusive preorder on: iBooks




Excerpt:
(Copyright 2015 Clarissa Wild. Unedited. Subject to change.)

Day 1

Sky

A never-ending darkness shrouds me, the surrounding void like space, swallowing me whole. Eyes open or eyes shut, it doesn’t make a difference to the vast emptiness around me. It seeps into my bones like poison, clouding my mind from the memories that I had.
Where am I?
My body feels cold, and my limbs solid, like they’re not mine. I notice myself breathing, however. The only thing I hear is the steady, rhythmic beating of my heart. The only sound in this dark hole. Thud, thud … thud.
For a moment I doubt my own existence.
Who am I, even?
A drop of water falling onto a surface pulls me back into reality. I’m here, but how?
My fingers tighten and relax in an attempt to regain control. My muscles feel stiff, but slowly the sensation is returning to the tips of my fingers, giving me a small bit of hope that I might find out what happened to me.
With slow movements, I let my hand slide only a few inches, but it’s enough to determine that I’m lying on a concrete floor. My head begins to hurt and every passing second the pain increases. I move my fingers to my head and touch the back of my scalp. The searing pain stops me and tells me I’m wounded.
When I touch my face I gasp. There is a bag over my head with a hole near my mouth and nose through which I can breathe. For a second, I contemplate removing it, but then I realize they might be watching me.
A buzz moves through my body, bringing life back to my limbs. And even though I’m regaining my sense of touch, my vision is still impaired. However, my eyes feel fine as I touch them, so it must be the lack of light.
I push my elbows underneath me and lean up. A sudden queasiness overtakes me, causing me to buckle and heave. I puke on the floor beside me, which surprises me, because I hardly ever puke.
I tally up the sensations that I’m feeling. Nausea, loss of motor skills, buzzing nerves, botched memory … it all leads to one conclusion: I was drugged.
Stabilizing myself on the floor, I focus on regaining control over my body before moving again. This place is unfamiliar to me, and I dig into my mind to find clues as to how I ended up here. The pain that’s slowly creeping to the surface of my skin distracts me, but I still manage to catch a glimpse of a memory in the back of my mind.
Men with black masks and fire weapons dragging me out of a room. A cloth with a sharp odor pushed against my mouth. Drowsiness engulfing me. A big SUV, also black, doors sliding to the side. A blow to the back of my head. All lights went out.
My skin pricks with anxiety, and I shiver to shake off the fear. It doesn’t help, because I know deep down that there is more to come.
There is one question in my mind that can’t help but repeat itself. Why me?
This is the single question every victim of abduction asks.
Except, I already know the answer.
It was only a matter of time before they came for me.
My papa once told me that goodness always comes at a price. Now more than ever, do I realize the truth in his words. However, I don’t regret making the decision for even a second.
Now, I’m here in a darkness so deep it consumes me whole.
And still the light of rebellion sparks inside my heart, fueling a fire I haven’t felt before. An uncontrollable need to defy whoever is keeping me here.
But I will wait. Lying in the cold, harsh, emptiness of this space, I will await my captor’s arrival and take whatever he’s going to give me. Punishment. Pain. I’ll endure it all.
Because that’s what a good person does when they’ve made their choice.
They bear the burden of their choice, because it’s the only thing they can do.

***

I don’t know how many hours pass before a noise wakes me. I can’t remember when and how I fell asleep, but I must’ve been very tired from the ordeal. A metallic door is slid open, a crack of light splitting through the opening. The burlap bag over my head makes it difficult to see, but when I narrow my eyes and focus I can still determine where I am.
Only now do I see how small my cell really is.
The vast emptiness I thought would overwhelm me, turns out to be not much more than a bedroom-sized cell. A quick look at the walls reveals iron rings of all shapes and sizes, used to hook a chain around and snare whoever needs to be contained and subdued.
In other words; me.
Squinting, I watch as a man steps inside, and I focus solely on his presence. Even though the door is open, and freedom is luring me on the other side, I stay put and watch. No matter how much I’d try, I’d never be able to flee. Not like this, with my muscles weak and my body aching. There are probably a bunch of guards waiting outside, wondering whether I’m going to try anything.
So I won’t. I’ll sit right here on this cold, hard concrete, observing my captor as he walks into the room with a certain aloofness. His feet are bold, his body brawny, his face hiding behind a Guy Fawkes mask. If I weren’t so scared, I would’ve pondered why he chose that specific mask to conceal his identity, but now is not that time.
His footsteps sound more like sand scraping off a harsh surface as he circles around me like a snake ready to attack its prey. The door is left open like a silent seducer, a tool to entice me to run. I look up at my captor, giving him a deadly stare, and even though I can’t see him, I know he can feel the determination in me.
I won’t let myself be tempted to flee like a wounded deer.
Not when I know that this is merely a distraction, like a lollypop being dangled in front of a child while the adult knows full well he’s never going to give it to the child, and the child knows he can never reach far enough to grasp it.
I refuse to be that child.
My captor walks some more, and then returns to the door to close it.
His experiment failed.
I control my emotions.
He doesn’t know who he’s up against.
In the darkness I hear him come closer, the only sound being his steady breath and soft steps. He’s still testing me. Seeing if I’ll give in to the fear. Alone with him, the predator, in a cage filled with blackness. But I’m not afraid of the dark.
My soul has already been tainted and defiled. Nothing he does can hurt me. I already went past the breaking point once … and I survived.
“Up.”
The sound of his voice suddenly breaking through the fa├žade makes me take in a breath. It’s familiar and yet so unknown, the way he speaks to me with full authority, resoluteness resounding in every spoken letter, even if there are few.
I crawl up from the ground, slowly, steadily, maintaining my posture. My aching back and pounding head won’t stop me from attempting to keep my dignity as I stand up straight and stare ahead.
My captor’s steps are everywhere, resounding in the darkness like echoes that disappear into the night. He’s confusing me, and I try not to concentrate on the sound, but on my own heartbeat instead.
Suddenly, he’s right in front of me, and the air is sucked out of my lungs. I struggle not to let my breath come out in short gasps, but I won’t let his tactics work on me.
His breathing sounds like that of a bull, short and loud, as if he’s readying for charge.
But he doesn’t move. He just stands there, gazing at me.
“Do you know where you are?” he asks with a low, gruff voice that brings goose bumps to my body.
I compose myself before I answer. “No.”
“Good.”
I can hear a faint smile behind that word, but the second my eyebrows move, he puts his hands on my chest and shoves me. I fall down backwards on the hard floor, bruising my groin.
After a while, he says. “Do you know why you’re here?”
I don’t answer. I refuse to. Why would I? He is only here to intimidate and hurt me. There’s no benefit for me in answering his questions. As a matter of fact, I think he owes me some answers instead.
“Why am I here?” I ask.
He’s silent for a few seconds, and then a smug laugh is dulled by the mask.
“Bold. I like that.”
“Who are you?” I ask, putting emphasis on every word as if they’re the last that’ll come from my mouth.
He muffles another laugh. “Who am I? I am the man who will break you.”
I shake my head, still lying on the floor as if I’m taunting him. Maybe I am. I want him to speak, and for that to happen, I have to be the one asking the questions, not the other way around.
“Where am I?”
“Where you belong,” he growls, and then he takes a step forward, grabs my arm, and pulls me up from the floor.
“Why—”
Smack. His hand hits my cheek, silencing me.
“You do not talk unless spoken to.”
My head is still to the right, as I refuse to look at him. I will not bow to his violence. If he hits me, my body will remain rigid, unmoving. Not an inch of pain will exude from me.
“You may be wondering why you’re here, but you’re forgetting the most important question. What have you done to be here?”
My lip quivers, so I force it to stop. I can’t show weakness. Not now, not ever.
He grabs my chin. “You don’t seem to remember, so let me refresh your memory,” he says. “You stole something. It’s time to give it back. You have twenty-one days to come up with an answer.” He pulls me closer with a pinch. “Lie and I’ll know. Do you understand?”
I nod while blankly staring at his mask. If I’m to obey to survive, I’ll do just that, but no one can take away my pride.
He let’s go of my chin and pushes me away. “It’s time for you to pay back what you owe.”
Fear ripples through my veins. “Pay what back?” I say, taking a step forward.
He shoves me so hard my back hits the wall and the air is ripped from my chest. I sink to my knees against it.
“Don’t think I will go easy on you. Just because I know about you, doesn’t mean I won’t rip you apart if you don’t tell me the truth.”
“What truth?” I gasp. “What do you know about me?”
He turns around, but waits, standing still in the darkness with only the sound of ragged breaths filling the room.
“You tell me,” he says, his voice softer than before, almost as if he himself doesn’t know the reason.
Frowning, I look up at him, and for some reason the way he cracks his knuckles feels so familiar.
But then the feeling immediately disappears as he starts walking toward the door.
“Wait, you haven’t told me why I’m here yet. How am I supposed to know what to tell you?”
I can hear him knock on the door. Then there’s a pause. “Oh … you’ll now soon enough.”
The forewarning brings chills to my skin.
The door opens with a squeak and in comes the blinding light again. It’s so bright, my captor’s clothes almost look pale as snow. But then I realize that’s only because I haven’t seen light in such a long time … and I won’t be seeing it any time soon.
The last words he speaks remain with me for the rest of the day, echoing in my mind over and over again. “Welcome to your own personal hell.”




About the Author:

Clarissa Wild is a New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author, best known for the dark Romance novel Mr. X. Her novels include the Fierce Series, the Delirious Series, and Stalker. She is also a writer of erotic romance such as the Blissful Series, The Billionaire's Bet series, and the Enflamed Series. She is an avid reader and writer of sexy stories about hot men and feisty women. Her other loves include her furry cat friend and learning about different cultures. In her free time she enjoys watching all sorts of movies, reading tons of books and cooking her favorite meals.

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