Title: In Other Words
Author: Jennifer Woodhull
Publication date: April 30th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
We became close friends in college. When Sinclair returns home to Dallas after two years in New York, I introduce her to my best friend Cole. The good-looking playboy ballplayer is the perfect kind of guy for the woman I’m sure would never be interested in me…even if seeing them together breaks my heart.
He was the nerdy PhD candidate. I was the cheerleader. We made unlikely friends. Moving back home after two years away, he looks hotter than ever. When I start dating his ballplayer best friend, things get complicated. He doesn’t see me as girlfriend material…but I can’t get him, or my feelings for him, out of my head.
There are not enough words. I don’t mean that in a dramatic way as if there are not enough words to express something with which I’m momentarily frustrated. I mean there are often times when the optimum word for something simply does not exist.
Fernweh is a German word that describes a feeling of homesickness for a place you’ve never visited before. The Swedish word, lagom, describes taking not too much nor too little, but just the right amount of something. To wear or use something for the very first time is expressed in Spanish by the word estrenar.
I love words more than anything. I love hearing someone intelligent use the absolutely perfect, most fitting word at exactly the right moment. I love anagrams, crossword puzzles, and riddles. I love how they make me think about language and how people use it. Perhaps most of all though, I love awful puns—even dad-level terrible ones. I only know one person who loves language as much as I do, and he also happens to be the very person I can hardly wait to see.
The Portuguese have a word for the sensation of nostalgia and longing for someone who is far away. Saudade. That’s what I’ve been experiencing since I moved to New York. I have saudade for Dexter Flynn, but that’s about to come to an end.
I walk into The Tipsy Alchemist, an upscale hipster place Dexter chose to start our reunion evening. I visually scour the space, and am disappointed when I don’t see him. I walk the length of the bar and just as I’m about to turn and head back toward the front, a man leans in close behind me and says, “Excuse me, miss, but might I buy your first libation of the evening?”
I turn, ready to tell the guy to get lost so I can call the person I want most in the world to see. When I turn around, though, I’m met with a pair of sweet, soulful brown eyes hiding behind tortoiseshell frames. My heart darts around my chest. I throw my arms around him so hard, I nearly send us both tumbling to the floor.
“Dex!” I squeal, squeezing his neck. His arms wrap around me, and they’re far stronger than I remember.
“It’s about time you came back,” he whispers into the side of my neck as he squeezes me tightly. “I’ve missed you, Clair.”
I feel an instant wash of relief, being here in his arms. The feel of his cheek against mine and the smell of his aftershave trigger an eruption of happy memories. My brain floods with late night talks and board game marathons. My circuits overload with shared stories and supporting each other through tough times—with gushing over books and documentaries at the independent theatre. He has been such a huge part of my life for so long, and now, with him, I finally feel like I’m really home.
When we finally break from our embrace, we both realize we’re standing in the highest traffic area of the bar, and the place is so packed we might be physically in danger from rowdy patrons clamoring for beer.
“Come on,” he says, grabbing my hand. “I reserved us a booth.”
He leads me through the trendy, dark-paneled space to the back where tiny, high-walled booths, are situated. This area of the bar is quieter than the rest, and the high walls of our booth offer some much-appreciated privacy.
The booth to our immediate right houses what I can only assume is a bachelorette party judging by the volume and frequency of the word woo, coming from their direction.
When the server arrives, I order a cocktail, and Dex orders a beer. “Miss, can I ask, the group of ladies in the booth next to us…is one of them a bachelorette, by chance?” He smirks in my direction.
“Actually, yeah. Are they being too rowdy?”
“Not at all. I was just curious,” he replies. I snicker and he winks in response.
“It’s a cool story, actually,” the server pauses to tell us more detail. “She just got out of the military. She met her fiancé while they were stationed together. He was injured, and she’s a nurse.” She puts her hand to her chest. “They fell in love while he recovered in her hospital.”
Dex and I look at each other, and each make the universal face that any red-blooded human with feelings makes when seeing a baby, or a puppy, or hearing a sweet love story. “Aww,” we say in unison, laughing.
“Would you please take them a bottle of Dom Perignon and put it on my tab? Anonymous, though, please…with thanks for her service, and her fiancé’s,” Dex adds.
“Wow, that’s really nice of you! Absolutely, I’ll take care of it,” the server replies.
When she walks out of Dexter’s line of sight, she catches my eye and mouths the words, “Lucky you,” with a wink. It makes me smile unreasonably wide.
Lucky me that such a kind, thoughtful, generous man is in my life and cares so much for me. Lucky me that he’s my friend. Unlucky me that he’s not more than just a friend.
“That was very generous of you,” I tell him.
“I had the good luck to meet an inventor whose work I really admire once at a party. Knowing I was new to success, he told me, “I always say, if you’ve got it, spread it around. Nobody likes a successful, stingy asshole.” I’ve always tried to remember that,” he says with a shrug. We toast to successful good guys.
“You look amazing, Sinclair.” Dex is grinning at me, his brown eyes sparkling.
I reach across the table and take both his hands in mine, giving them a squeeze. “You look amazing too. By the way,” I say, stifling a giggle. “I didn’t know I’d need tickets.”
“Tickets? For…what, exactly?” He cocks an eyebrow up in question.
“The gun show,” I reply, pointing to what I can see is a pronounced bicep on each arm.
His cheeks flush with crimson as he looks down and away. The expression belongs to the shy, gangly guy I met in school, not the hunky, successful entrepreneur sitting across from me.
“So, have you been hitting the gym, or did you invent some magical neurotransmitter that passively enhances muscle tissue?” I tease. “Because if you have, please sign me up as a test subject. Pilates is torture, but I like to eat far too much to ever give it up without some sort of alternative.”
He chuckles. “I like to think of the fitness thing as my transformation to Dexter two-dot-oh. I have to say, I don’t hate that my efforts are producing noticeable results. I told you about my business partner Cole, right?” He asks sheepishly.
“Your friend Cole, yes,” I reply, rolling my eyes.
I think he still has a little trouble wrapping the high school part of his brain around being friends with a jock.
“Yeah. Anyway, since he pitches for the Frontiersmen he knows all the best personal trainers. He convinced me to start working out with one he recommended. I go to the gym almost every day now. Turns out I’m not as unathletic as I thought I was.” He grins wide, pride evident on his face.
“You certainly seem like you’re feeling pretty good,” I reply. I stand up enough to reach across and squeeze his bicep. “Yep, feeling pretty darn good to me.”
He smiles, then he shakes his head and chuckles. “I really do feel good…and even better now.” Something flashes briefly in his chocolate-brown eyes, then he smirks. “I’m just so happy you’re back, Clair.”
Clair. No one but him calls me that. The way he says it is familiar and makes me feel special that he has a nickname just for me. It’s the same way I call him Dex. Those terms of endearment are just for us, like they’re special words all our own.
By the time we finish the drinks the server brings over my stomach is growling, so we head down the street to a Mexican place that has always been one of my favorites.
As we walk the four or five blocks to the restaurant, a group of girls walking the opposite direction toward us are all checking Dex out as they pass. I turn to look over my shoulder and see them all looking back, whispering and giggling. When I look over at him, he seems oblivious.
And this is why he has trouble finding the right girl. He has no clue when a woman is into him.
I bump his shoulder with mine.
“They were checking you out,” I say with a smirk.
“That group of girls that walked by. They were cute, too.”
He rolls his eyes.
“So, not seeing anyone?” I ask.
“Not at the moment.” He lets out a sigh. “Maybe I’m too picky.”
“Maybe you are,” I agree.
And that’s the other reason he can’t find the right girl. He has never fully explained the criteria with me, but he seems never to have found a girl that checks all the boxes on the list of Dex requirements for the perfect girl.
Someone as genuine and kind, as smart and as funny as Dex deserves someone wonderful, though—someone who can see him for everything he is. I have tried to resign myself to the fact that I’m not that girl in his eyes. I only hope that one day he finds her, and she deserves him.
That brings me to another word that should exist, but doesn’t. There should be a word for enjoying something you have, but still wishing it was much, much more.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jennifer Woodhull is based in the Southern United States, spending time in her second home of England, and traveling as often as she can. Her love of travel permeates her work, and her characters often find themselves exploring new and foreign surroundings.
A keen observer of human behavior, Jennifer often draws inspiration from something as simple as a fleeting connection, or the glimpse of a unique trait or characteristic. Her favorite place to write is on airplanes.
“The drone of the engine, the scores of people, all traveling to something or from something, and being disconnected from digital distractions are a combination that provide the perfect place to write,” she says. “If you see a woman in seat 9F who is balancing her Macbook on her lap because it’s time to close your tray table, please have patience. I’m just trying to finish one more sentence.”
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Title: Lead The Way
Author: Brittany Carter
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: April 22nd 2019
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Fresh off the high of college graduation, Melody James is back in her Podunk town. She needs a job, but first, she’ll spend a lazy summer with no agenda at all.
But life’s got other plans for Melody, ones she’d sooner ignore. When the next-door neighbor passes away, his son returns home to take care of his affairs. Thane Cohen hasn’t been home in ten years. The last time he was, someone accused him of murdering Melody’s parents. Now, after major efforts to recover his self-worth and start a construction company, Thane wonders if enough time has passed for him to clear his once good name.
At the time of the murders, Melody was the only person who didn’t believe Thane was responsible. But how could she even suggest otherwise when just about everyone in town was convinced of Thane’s guilt? Her brothers would never allow it. With nothing to lose before, Thane packed up and left, leaving the town and Melody behind. Now that he’s back, rekindling an old flame in Melody and proving his innocence are critical.
When several car windshields get broken and fires start unexpectedly, the world inside their little town is tossed upside down. With Melody’s brother against her, and Thane fighting every attempt she makes at breaking down his walls, Melody’s push for answers leads her to a frightening conclusion. Thane may actually know more about her parents’ death than she was lead to believe. Can she trust him, or has everyone else been right about him all along? Only time will tell if she can let love lead the way.
*Author previously wrote under the name, Alla Kar
One side of his mouth curled for a nanosecond. “You need to leave. Your brothers are gonna catch you.”
She placed the carrots in her hand on the table behind him. “You’re not scared of my brothers.”
“I’m not. But they’ll tan your hide if you get caught over here.”
She shrugged. “I’m not scared of my brothers either.”
His gaze dropped to her lips, and her heart began to patter. Thoughts drifted from her head, taking away her ability to speak. She leaned forward; one palm rested against his wide chest. Suddenly, he shifted, grabbed her waist, and placed her on the table behind them. With one hand on either side of her hips, he leaned forward. He smelled woodsy, like rain, earth, and man. It intoxicated her brain, filling her body with raging feelings. Feelings she’d never had before. Not once had Lucas ever made her feel so alive without touching her.
Her mouth watered as he neared, his lips only a hairbreadth away from her own, the minty smell of his mouth had her head gone. His unruly hair was messy from the rain, and she reached up with her other hand to run her fingers through it.
He caught her wrist; his thumb ran three slow circles around her pulse. Kiss me … please. She had no idea why her body betrayed her so easily. The tip of his tongue ran across his bottom lip. Melody couldn’t look away from it, even when he took his other thumb and ran it across her bottom lip. The tension weighed heavily down on her chest, begging for a release.
Just one kiss would cure her, right?
A deep grunt left his throat, and she just knew he’d kiss her. She knew he would lean down and put her out of her misery. Only one more inch and …
“Go home,” he whispered against her mouth.
Her heart sank with embarrassment. Rejection clogged her throat. She wanted to crawl into the dirt and die. Turning her head, she looked down at the shed floor. She was stupid for going over.
Melody jumped down from the table, stopping at the door. “I know you didn’t do it,” she whispered. Thane leaned over the table again, palms flat against the wood, his eyes fixated on her. “You don’t know anything, Melody.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brittany Booker Carter previously writing as Alla Kar. I’m a Christian, lover or romance, a wife and mother to a wild-child!
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by Melanie Weiss
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Genres: Adult, Young Adult, Coming of Age
AVAILABLE NOW! (#Free with #KindleUnlimited)
High school freshman Roman Santi has everything — good looks, great friends, a mansion with an infinity swimming pool — except the one thing he really wants. A relationship with his father.
When Roman’s life gets turned upside down, (thanks, Mom!?), he is forced to leave his pampered Hollywood lifestyle and move into his grandparents’ Midwestern home. Sleeping on a lumpy pullout sofa and starting at a new high school is the worst, but Roman’s life starts to look up when his pink-haired friend, Zuzu, and his crush, a classmate named Claire, introduce him to performance poetry through the high school’s Spoken Word Club. While his mom is flying back and forth to L.A., trying to return them to the life they had, Roman becomes part of a diverse group of characters who challenge his rather privileged view of the world. Through Spoken Word, Roman recognizes the hole in his own life he needs to fill and discovers his voice. Spoken Word leads Roman on a journey of new friendships, first love, and finding the dad he never knew.
“Spoken” is an uplifting, funny, and heartfelt coming-of-age story that captures how the honesty of performance poetry binds together students from all different walks of life and forever changes Roman’s life.
ABOUT MELANIE WEISS
Melanie Weiss is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and worked as a journalist for newspapers and magazines for 20 years. She began writing her novel, Spoken, shortly after her younger child left for college in 2015 and she became an “empty nester.” She currently manages a scholarship foundation at her local high school that provides scholarship support to more than 60 graduating high school seniors each year. Spoken is her first novel but it won’t be her last.To learn more about this author visit the following links:
To learn more about this author visit the following links:
Dawn Michelle Hardy
Publicist | Literary Agent | Book Consultant
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Title: ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY
Author: JOANNE VANNICOLA
Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, MENTAL HEALTH, CANADIAN NON-FICTION, LGBTQIA
Length: 232 PAGES
Publisher: DUNDURN PRESS
Received From: NETGALLEY
Release Date: JUNE 25, 2019
Price: $19.99 USD
Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Joanne Vannicola grew up in a violent home with a physically abusive father and a mother who had no sexual boundaries.
After Joanne is pressured to leave home at fourteen, encouraged by her mother to seek out an acting career, she finds herself in a strange city, struggling to cope with her memories and fears. She makes the decision to cut her mother out of her life, and over the next several years goes on to create a body of work as a successful television and film actor. Then, after fifteen years of estrangement, Joanne learns that her mother is dying. Compelled to reconnect, she visits with her, unearthing a trove of devastating secrets.
Joanne relates her journey from child performer to Emmy Award–winning actor, from hiding in the closet to embracing her own sexuality, from conflicted daughter and sibling to independent woman. All We Knew But Couldn’t Say is a testament to survival, love, and Joanne’s fundamental belief that it is possible to love the broken, and to love fully, even with a broken heart.
*** WARNING – TRIGGER WARNING***
This book contains scenes of child sexual abuse and physical abuse of children. If any of these topics cause emotional triggers for you, I strongly suggest you do not read this book.
There are many memoirs that contain disturbing subject matter and ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY is no exception. However, the difference between other memoirs and that of Canadian Joanne Vannicola is that Joanne somehow managed to live through her horrific childhood and yet still emerge into adulthood full of compassion for others. Rather than allow her abusers to keep her ‘small,’ she has gone on to have a phenomenal career. To my way of thinking, Joanne being happy and successful is the best revenge. Her strength and determination are a big “F” you to her abusers. She didn’t let them win.
Not only that, but she has also become an advocate for LGBTQ youth. According to Joanne, “[Her] role meant [Joanne] could impact their lives, provide a little hope for others even though [she] still hadn’t learned to hold on to it [herself]…and it provided a deeper purpose…”
Joanne says in the book:
“I could not erase my own pain, but if I could help other kids, it meant healing was possible.”
This memoir is powerful. It is horrific in parts, especially when readers learn how Joanne was treated as a child, but it also includes some wonderful and touching moments and shows the power of friendship.
I do not want to give away too much with my review because I am hoping that everyone who reads this review runs out to buy/pre-order a copy of ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY.
YES, this book will make you shake in anger at the people who were supposed to love Joanne the most, but who turned out to be the perpetrators of her abuse, BUT I BELIEVE THIS IS A BOOK THAT NEEDS TO BE READ.
There are children suffering at this very moment, and people who see these things happening are often afraid to call Children’s Aid in case they are wrong. BUT … What if a child dies or suffers irreparable harm because you did not make that simple phone call? How would you feel? Could you ever forgive yourself?
PLEASE MAKE THE CALL. If it is determined that there was no abuse, then you can rest easy knowing you did the right thing. A bit of embarrassment is nothing when a child’s life and/or his/her mental health is on the line.
This book is not only about abuse. It is also about growing up and trying to come to terms with your sexuality. Joanne came of age not too long ago, but it was long ago enough that being gay, bisexual, trans, or queer was not acceptable to society at large. In fact, the phrase “non-binary” did not even exist. People kept their sexual orientations quiet and this fact made Joanne question what exactly was “wrong” with her. This memoir follows her journey from questioning her sexuality to accepting it and to become an advocate and role model for other LGBTQ youth.
Joanne’s life has been full of pain and agony, but it has also been a life filled with many triumphs, including her winning the her battle with anorexia.
I could go on and on about how amazing Joanne Vannicola is (all based on her book as I have not met her yet.) Instead, I will encourage everyone reading this review to pre-order her book immediately. Don’t wait to do it. Order it immediately. You will not be disappointed. ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY is a 5+ Star Book and you will continue to think about Joanne and her life long after the final page has been read. It is impossible not to. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Joanne Vannicola is an Emmy award-winning Canadian actor and writer, who has been working in film, television, and theatre since she was eight years old. She has also been nominated for a Genie, a Gemini, and an ACTRA award.
Joanne is a long-time advocate for the LGBTQ community and has an essay in the anthology Cuarenta y Nueve, a book by 49 artists for the 49 victims of the Orlando Pulse club massacre. She is the Chair of the first LGBTQ+ committee for the actors union, ACTRA, and sits on the sexual assault ad-hoc committee at ACTRA for women in film and television.
Joanne’s forthcoming memoir, All We Knew but Couldn’t Say (Dundurn Press) will be available 1 June 2019.
She is a recipient of the Ontario Arts Council Grant in 2016—Writer’s Works in Progress for her memoir. Joanne was selected for the Diaspora Dialogues Program in 2013 and worked with author David Layton for six months. Her short screenplay His Name Was Steven, was selected for the Queer Ideas Screenplay competition.
Joanne founded the non-profit organization, Youth Out Loud, between 2004-2009, to raise awareness about child abuse and sexual violence.
Equity issues have always been at the forefront of Joanne’s work both in her artistic world and in her personal/political life and she is very passionate about youth, women, and LGBTQ equity and rights.
To learn more about Joanne Vannicola visit the following links:
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Mischief and Mayhem
(Whiskey Sisters #2)
Published by: Entangled Publishing
Publication date: July 9th 2018
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance
Welcome to Mayhem, Minnesota, home of the Knitty Kitty, The Little Slice of Heaven Pie Shop, and O’Halloran’s Pub—owned by the four young women known as The Whiskey Sisters.
In the wake of her divorce, Jameson O’Halloran has gone man-vegan. And this is one diet she’s determined to stick with. Even when her long-lost ex-brother-in-law shows up looking like two scoops of double dutch dipped in chocolate… She’s not giving in. Been there and still wearing the messy T-shirt.
It’s been a decade since Scott Clarke left his family and his hometown, never to return. But when tragedy strikes, he finds himself dragged back to the land of gossip, judgment, and the one woman he absolutely, positively, without a doubt can never have. His brother’s ex is off-limits. He just needs to keep repeating that to himself until it sinks in.
Each book in the Whiskey Sisters series is STANDALONE:
*Blame it on the Best
*Mischief and Mayhem
The shelf is a little too high for my short self, and I’m only able to brush the dishes with my fingertips.
“Oh, here, let me help you with that…”
Before I can object, he’s standing behind me, reaching over me to get the dishes. For a brief second, his front is pressed against my back. His broad, muscled, perfectly sculpted front. I feel a wave of unwelcome warmth beginning under my collar and creeping up my neck.
“Thanks…” I murmur awkwardly, keeping my back to him for a moment longer in an attempt to quash my blush.
“Okay. I’m just going to grab a shower before my brother gets here, if you don’t mind.”
“Nope. Not at all,” I say quickly. “You go right ahead.”
Once he disappears around the corner, I silently smack my palm to my forehead.
What was that, Jameson? Why the blush? He’s just your ex-husband’s brother, that’s all. This is insane. I’ve got to stop this childish behavior. No. More. Men. Remember? No thinking about men. No looking at men. No fantasizing about men.
Especially not that man!
I’m still shaking my head and silently berating myself when I hear him behind me.
“Hey, Jameson, do you happen to know if my dad keeps an extra toothbrush around? I dropped mine in the toilet and…”
I don’t hear the end of his sentence because, when I turn to face him, I suddenly can’t hear anything. I’m too entranced by the sight of him wearing nothing but a towel around his waist.
Oh, crap, oh crap, oh crap… I am in so much trouble here. No men. No men. No men… I repeat the mantra over and over again in my head, but clearly the rest of my body isn’t getting the memo.
L.E. Rico didn’t set out to be an author. In fact, she’s made a name for herself as a classical music radio host—doing her best to make the music and the composers relevant by putting them into a modern context. It was just a few years ago that she discovered a passion for writing that blossomed into an entire novel. And then another. And another. And, while she still spends plenty of time on the radio, telling the stories of the great composers, she spends even more time composing her own great stories.
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But when fire suddenly obeys her every command and her dreams predict the future, she becomes hungry for more of this strange power.
Author: C.L. Denault
Series: The Prodigy Chronicles #2
Publication date: March 22nd 2019
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
In 2012, one cycle of an ancient calendar system came to a close. Humanity predicted its downfall, but it wasn’t the end of their evolutionary climb. It was the beginning.
Willow Kent is discovering that life as a second-phase prodigy comes at a price. Trapped in the London Core, her choices are limited, made difficult by her forbidden romance with Reece and the presence of a new commanding officer who establishes harsh rules. With unpredictable skills and a growing distrust in her birth parents, she is struggling to play the Core’s game. But when opportunity arises in the form of a mysterious shapeshifter, Willow realizes there’s more to her own evolution than meets the eye. She soon learns that keeping secrets is a key move, and the more dangerous they are, the greater her need to evolve into the powerful prodigy nature intended her to become.
But those closest to her have their own secrets, and her status has made her an easy target for betrayal. Who will she turn to, when nothing is as it seems?
The blow shouldn’t have stunned me. I’d grown up in a tavern, defending myself, and had spent plenty of time training with Kane and Tem. I knew how to take a hit.
This was more than a hit. Kristoffe’s swing was fast and brutal, with a force behind it that rivaled my own—enough to knock me off my feet and send me flying down the hall.
Sensations took over. There was the feel of backward motion. Loss of control as my body hit the floor. More motion from sliding, and the hot sting of my flesh scraping tile. Ceiling lights blurred into white lines. Pain throbbed in my cheek.
But it was the tightness in my throat that hurt most. The tiger clawed like mad as we slid. Her screams pierced the fog in my brain, parting it, carving out a path. If I didn’t stop her, she would use it to climb up and take control.
Let me in!
I managed to shake my head.
You need me!
“No,” I whimpered, bumping into the limp body of an elevator guard. One of his arms stopped me, and I sat up quickly, recoiling. He was spread-eagled, face down among his comrades, his fingers wrapped around a retinal scanner. I cringed. Was he dead? Had the tiger killed them all? Then my eyes fell on the laser resting at his hip.
I couldn’t. I’d never fired one before.
He’ll kill us!
Not sure who she meant, I jerked my head around. The man with the sabre was still gone. But Kristoffe and his patrol were marching in my direction, dragging Toby with them. He struggled violently until one of them drove a fist into his stomach. A savage tug tore through my belly. Gasping, I leaned over, fumbling for the guard’s laser.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Kristoffe signaled for his men to stop, but continued walking toward me. He didn’t waver, not even when I grasped the laser in both hands and aimed it at him.
“That’s far enough,” I said.
He kept coming.
“I’ll shoot.” My finger instinctively hugged the trigger. “I mean it.”
Spreading his arms, Kristoffe made a target out of his broad chest. His smile was icy. “Go ahead, then. Shoot.”
Was he bluffing? I couldn’t tell. He might have a defensive shield. On the other hand, he might go down with one shot. There was no way to know. But somehow, he’d survived the tiger. This laser was my only hope.
Do it, the tiger spat.
My pulse spiked. “I will shoot.”
He kept coming.
“Stop,” I cried, my hands shaking.
But he didn’t stop, and the closer he came, the harder I choked on the tiger’s fury. Her strength was more than I could handle. He was only a few feet away when her hissing cry forced me to pull the trigger. A matching cry left my lips. The laser clicked, shuddered—
C.L. Denault is a speculative fiction writer who loves dreaming up tales of adventure and intrigue. A former systems analyst, she gave up her nerdy code-writing skills to care for her family (including a son with special needs), and currently lives among the vast stretches of cornfields in Illinois.
Writing and working out are her biggest passions, along with drinking coffee and watching sci-fi. When she’s not hanging out with her husband and kids, she can usually be found at a library or tucked away in the shadowy corner of a hip coffeehouse. She’s also been glimpsed sneaking into her garage, late at night, to work on her time machine.
She enjoys connecting with people—especially those from other planets, nearby dimensions, and the future. To find her, just visit her website or social media pages. Or use a Stargate. Whichever is easiest.
Kingdom of Salt & Sirens Boxed Set
Publication date: March 5th 2019
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult
The Little Mermaid but not as you remember it…
Beneath the turbulent seas, beyond the smokey depths, lies a Kingdom that exists in your wildest imagination. A world where mermaids swim, sirens sing and shipwrecks hide mysterious creatures.
Make waves with our 11 magical retellings of the timeless classic, The Little Mermaid.
Dive into a world filled with adventure, love and magic!
One click now for your happily ever after.Authors include:J.A Armitage
Balanced Scales by Laura Greenwood:
“What happens at the end of your version of the story?”
I shrugged. “Much the same as in your version, I guess. She falls in love with the Prince, he with her, they get married and live happily ever after.”
Erickson’s face fell. “That’s not the same as our version,” he responded. “Ours is a lot more sinister. She loses her chance to marry the Prince. When her sisters find out, they barter for a dagger. The mermaid could return to the sea if she stabbed the Prince through the heart with it.”
I shuddered. “That’s horrible. Did she do it?” If she had, then maybe it would explain why humans seemed to be so against the mer.
“No. She turned into sea foam and disappeared into the air. Some versions say she’s taken pity on by some sylphs and became one of them.”
“Sylphs?” I’d never heard of them and had no idea what he meant. They certainly weren’t part of the stories I’d been told as a child.
“I don’t know how to explain them. They’re made of air and hang around in the atmosphere.”
“And what do they do to her?”
“I’m not sure. In our version of the story, mermaids don’t have souls. When they die they turn to sea foam and just cease to exist.”
I laughed lightly as we turned down another street. “I can assure you, that’s not what it’s like.”
“I guessed. You can’t have a soul stolen if you didn’t have one to begin with.”
“Which do you think is the true version of the story?” My words came out barely above a whisper. Part of me didn’t want to ask at all. Especially if it would mean he said he thought his version was the right one. If that was true, then how had my people gotten souls to begin with…
“Neither. I think it’s nothing more than a story. Each side will tell it the way that puts their own people in the best light. Just like with every other legend like that.”
“I suppose…” Though I didn’t like to think of the mermaid I’d heard so much about as nothing more than fiction. She’d been an inspiration to so many young mer who wanted adventure. Not so much on land, but out in the open sea.
“You never know, maybe one day they’ll be telling our story like they do hers,” he said jovially.
From The Little Monster by Jennifer Ellision:
“Wait!” The little human lurched forward, a single hand outstretched, the other anchored firmly to the ship’s railing. It swallowed as the little monster raised a brow to her. The hand fell lamely back to her side.
“I… don’t even know your name.”
“What are you called?”
“I don’t understand.” What was she called? She was a predator, a hunter, a Mordgris, a…
“I am a monster,” she said simply.
“You’re all monsters,” the human breathed. “But you’re not quite like the rest. How am I to call you and you alone?”
A thrill spiked through the little monster. Why hadn’t she thought of this before? She deserved her own name. She was the best of her kind. There was nothing in the sea that could best her except, perhaps, the sea itself. And that made choosing a name simple.
“You may call me Mara,” she said.
“Mara,” the human repeated slowly. “Mara… for the sea?”
Another thrill surged within her as she nodded, knowing the word belonged only to her. The little human had understood the meaning instantly. In a way that prey was not meant to understand its hunter.
“I am Amista,” she said, lifting her full lower scales to cross the bottoms of her fins and bob on deck. “And it has been a pleasure to meet you, Mara.”
Mara dove back into the cool embrace of the sea, feeling Amista’s eyes on her back as she swam away.
The little monster had become Mara.
The little human had become Amista.
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