Saturday, April 27, 2013

'Hot Pursuit' by Cat Pazionata


Maxine, a part-time model risks her career be more true to herself. She crops her hair and turns eyes at the gym. She is shocked to discover she’s very desirable as a soft butch, and sets out in hot pursuit of a highly desirable Brazilian hotzie. What happens changes her life and her career in very dramatic ways. An 18-page exciting story with great characters and action. 

'Hot Pursuit' is free on Amazon for a limited time. Otherwise it's a bargain for a mere 99 cents!

~~Get it on Amazon~~ 

About the author:

The author of "Hot Pursuit," Cat Pazionata, lives in British Columbia, Canada. She hunts, fishes and built her own log cabin on a small lake where she now lives with her sweetie, their first child, and numerous cats, dogs and 4-legged critters. Her message to other writers is to write and post books on Kindle -- an immediate and very friendly way to become a published author. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

'Her Errant Earl' by Scarlett Scott Blurb Blitz Tour!

Her Errant Earl
by Scarlett Scott

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Victoria, Countess of Pembroke, knew her marriage wasn’t a love match, but she certainly hadn’t expected to be wedded, bedded and abandoned in the countryside. When her husband suddenly returns bent on seduction, she’s suspicious of his motives even though she finds it difficult indeed to resist his knowing hands and hot kisses.

Pembroke can’t afford to allow Victoria to discover the real reason for his reappearance in her life. To get what he wants, he’ll do anything, even if it means bedding the wife he never wanted.

But what begins as a tedious task turns into a raging passion neither of them can deny. As the truth unravels at last, they must choose between forgetting the past and allowing it to consume them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excerpt:
I’ve told you before that I never wanted to hurt you, Victoria.” He put down his spoon. “My battle is with my father, not you, and I will forever regret that you were caught up in the crossfire.”

The acknowledgment seemed genuine. But she didn’t know if it was enough. “Thank you,” she offered simply. “I am gratified you have realized that much, at least.”

You are most welcome.” He studied her intently. “Now, I find I’ve tired of the soup course. Have you?”

Her turtle soup had long gone cold. She nodded, watching warily as he rose from the table and stalked toward her. He stopped when he was at her side, leaning his hip negligently against the table. He reached out, framing her face with his large hands.

We both know I never wanted to be a husband when I married you,” he said at last, his tone grave.

His acknowledgment had an air of deep candor to it, far more than his effortless flirtation and charming grins did. She searched his bright gaze, wondering if she could trust him. Wondering if she should. It occurred to her that what had happened in the past did not hold as much power over her life as what could happen in the future.

And what of now?” she asked. “What do you want now?” It was the question that seemed to matter the most.

His gaze grew shuttered. “I have a duty to do by you.”

She frowned, trying to understand him. His hands were still a warm, tempting touch on her face. “Duty is not a want.”

Sometimes it becomes a want,” he murmured, lowering his mouth to crush hers.
~~Buy links: Ellora's Cave \ Amazon~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Scarlett Scott has loved romance novels ever since she was eleven and swiped her older sister’s books to read by flashlight in her closet. Her mother caught her, but she remained undeterred in her pursuit of happily ever afters. An award-winning author, she writes steamy historical and sexy contemporary romance. She lives in PA with her hero and their adorable dog who thinks he is a person in training.


Twitter: @scarscoromance




Scarlett will be awarding a Kindle copy of her historical romance A Mad Passion and a $10 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Get to know Liz Crowe, author of 'Mutual Release'

 
Please welcome author Liz Crowe to the blog today. She shares with us more about her new release, 'Mutual Release,' as well as some of her upcoming projects and other fun tidbits about herself and one of my favorites, beer.


What was the inspiration for 'Mutual Release'?  
Originally, it was “just” Evan & Julie’s story. They are a couple of secondary character in the best selling Stewart Realty series. However, I quickly realized that it needed to be something more once Hans, my well-known, 6’5” blond haired, blue eyed hot German Muse got hold of it. So I crafted it as a stand alone, which, if you have ever tried to write a stand alone smack in the middle of a series without including too much of the previous characters’ stories is pretty darn difficult.

Given all the hullabaloo about Dom/subs and BDSM clubs, lifestyles and Super Master Alphas Who Are Perfect, I wanted to inject a little realism into it. While Evan does require a certain level of kink to truly satisfy him sexually, ultimately it is the emotional connection he’s missing. And when he finally encounters a woman who has had her own hellish journey to emerge in a position of power over him professionally, it is immediate electricity.

But it is not all love, roses and happiness. The two main characters have been through too much to just have a few playtimes, drop a little wax, smack a little ass and live happily every after. I want to see them earn it. Which they do, by the end.
Which scene is your favorite?
I have several. One of them would be the first meeting between them, which is one of those “mistaken identity” scenes. I would also throw these phrases out at readers to ponder as they read:

“New York City, Thanksgiving”

“Miami Beach, New Year’s Eve”
Which character spoke to you the most during the writing process?
Julie without a doubt. And I am already getting some readers and reviewers who claim they cannot “connect” with her. But I will tell you now that by the time she meets Evan she is NOT finished maturing. She has been through way too much to just “get over it” and let Evan be her “hero.” Part of her requires his help to get to an emotional maturity point where she can trust and love. But the flip side of that is Evan, who very nearly ruins everything with his own moment of non-trust, keeping something from her that is important to him.

Julie Dawson is a tough cookie. But she did not get there by accident. She continues to learn about herself via Evan’s influence, but ultimately he learns from her as well. Their “Dom/sub” relationship is more about “give and take” not just “take” which I think sets this book apart from the crowd in a way. It is less about him teaching her and more about them learning together.
What are some of your upcoming projects?
I have several. The final Stewart Realty series wraps up with a book called Good Faith in November. There is a bit of “Jack Gordon con” planned for Ann Arbor the weekend after its release and I have lots of people already making travel plans for that.

I also will release a new side series, an off shoot of the Stewart Realty series, called the Black Jack Gentlemen. It begins with a trilogy of books introducing the fictional expansion pro soccer league and team based in Detroit. It will include several familiar faces from the original series but focuses entirely on a new set of characters and situations, based in the pro soccer world. It incorporates several challenging storylines including the very current topic of gay pro sports stars. The three books in this series each tackle a different difficult topic, with a core “love story” at their center.
How is being stuck in a man's world, between your job in the brewery and following your ex-pat husband, so helpful in writing erotica?
I was lucky enough to visit and live in so many varying cultures, taking them in on a daily basis, just to get through my day. We lived in Japan, Turkey and England and made a point to see as much of Asia and Europe as we could while there. It was a mind-expanding, eye-opening, and made me a better world citizen (and my 3 children too I hope). I am very glad I got to do all of it. Anyone who fancies themselves an author of any genre truly benefits from living an interesting life. Not everyone has had the same opportunities I did. And while a lot of it was hell on wheels (if you have literally packed up and moved your entire household 10 times in 7 years you know what I mean and I won’t even get into my arrest by the Turkish Gendarme), looking back it did nothing BUT make me more creative.

However, in the beer world I am without a doubt surrounded by men. And I love it, for many reasons. Not only is it inspiring sort of “scenery wise,” it has taught me how to be succinct, make my points and shut the hell for effect (the less you say, they more they listen—try it), and to use the word “fuck” in ways that are very creative and fun in mixed company.
How do you define "Romance for Real Life"? How does it stand out from other romance genres?
It has familiar elements and storylines that start out in ways that traditional romance readers will recognize, but will veer off the rails at some point and go in a new direction—one I like to think more closely mirrors how REAL people act, or how REAL life would interject into the fantasy romance.
What is your favorite kind of beer?
My brewer’s India Pale Lager: Gulo Gulo (I’m a hop head, through and through).

Not my brewery: I will go with either a New Holland Brewing Full Circle Kolsch or Dogfish Head Brewing 90 Minute IPA.
If one was to come to your brewery, which varieties do you recommend?
I don’t recommend anything without asking a few key questions. What sort of beer do you usually drink? What kind of flavor do you prefer (malt, hops, sour, fruit)? Then I can make all sorts of recommendations. Walking up to a beer bar and expecting a bar tender to know what you like when you say “I like ale” is like walking into a 5-star restaurant and saying “I like French food.” Learning to be specific about your exact tastes is very important. I like to teach that and am happy to do beer tastings and beer school sessions (which I do. A lot.)
Who is your favorite soccer team?
Depends.

MLS: I’m an LA Galaxy fan ‘cause I love Landon Donovan.

Euro leagues: Real Madrid (specifically Xabi Alonoso the best GD midfielder on the planet)

English Premiere League: Everton

Bundesleague (German league): Bayern Munich (specifically Mario Gomez)

Turkish League: Galatassaray

I am a huge fan of the US Women’s national team as I have a daughter who will likely play NCAA Division 1 soccer in college. But of course I support the US Men’s national Team (although my heart belongs to the Spanish National Team).
What is something readers may be surprised to learn about you?
I am a preacher’s kid and can recite not only the books of the Bible in order, but many verses by rote. And I sing Soprano in my church choir. Plus I love Opera, especially the heavy Italian ones.
Anything else you wish to add?
I hope you give my books a chance. They are a bit of a middle genre, not so much traditional romance, but with enough of those elements to appeal. Happy Reading!
Thank you so much for your time!

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Microbrewery owner, best-selling author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town. Years of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as an ex-pat trailing spouse, plus making her way in a world of men (i.e. the beer industry), has prepped her for life as erotic romance author. When she isn't sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, she can be found writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications.

Her groundbreaking romance subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” has gained thousands of fans and followers who are interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”) Her beer blog a2beerwench.com is nationally recognized for its insider yet outsider views on the craft beer industry. Her books are set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch and in high-powered real estate offices. Don’t ask her for anything “like” a Budweiser or risk painful injury.

www.lizcrowe.com
www.brewingpasssion.com
www.a2beerwench.com
www.facebook.com/lizcroweauthor
www.twitter.com/beerwencha2
www.facebook.com/groups/romanceforreallife
www.facebook.com/jackgordonrealtor

MUTUAL RELEASE 
 
By

Liz Crowe


Disclaimer: This is an 18+ book with erotic BDSM scenes and explicit language.

As president of her own distribution company, Julie Dawson has all she ever wanted -- money, power, and respect. But her carefully crafted fa├žade conceals a torment of abuse and helplessness. After years remaining emotionally aloof, she is finally independent, but alone. Because she refuses to rely on anyone but herself ever again.

Evan Adams is no stranger to success, or personal demons. The horrific trauma that destroyed his twin sister, and tore his family apart, forced him to craft a new life from the ashes of the old. He's content enough, focusing ahead and not dwelling on his murky past. But something important is missing. He knows what that thing is but refuses to acknowledge it.

When a chance encounter brings these two strong-willed but damaged people together , what seems like a long, erotic journey through hell could lead them to a match made in heaven.

A coming of age novel about trust...on the long road to love.

Read an excerpt
A leather chair appeared from the gloom. Evan looked around, then took the seat, disappointed but intrigued. He could hear Jack’s voice, his laughter low and inviting. What the fuck? Was Gordon getting in on action while he had to watch? Then he heard Jenna’s annoying giggle and realized the club must be making her watch too, only she got to do it with her date. He sighed, leaned back, and prepared himself to be underwhelmed.
“No,” a sexy, rough female voice broke through the clamor in his head. It must have surprised everyone because all the people on the couches glanced up. “I want him. Out here.” Evan looked straight at her and saw the hot-as-shit Domme point her bullwhip right at him. He gulped, actually looked around like a dork, thinking there must be someone behind him. He was no sub.
She crooked her finger, her ruby-red moist lips drawing his gaze and making him feel positively hypnotized. His cock kept up its painful pressure along the inside of his zipper. A drop of sweat formed on his temple but he couldn’t move his arms to brush it away. All he knew… was her.
“Mr. Adams,” the disembodied voice said. “Your presence has been requested by our Mistress. Please. Do not make her wait.” The sheer curtain separating him from the crowd parted as he stood. Shoving his hands in his pockets and no longer aware of anything at all but what he wanted right now, he took the few steps down to the main floor.
“Stop!” She held up a hand. “Do not come any closer until I tell you.” She snapped her fingers. A tall man dressed only in leather pants emerged from somewhere to her left. A woman approached him, smiling and holding out a tray filled with… He stared, then shook his head, backing away, his brain on fire and his body in flight mode. “Where are you going, slave?” The woman cracked her whip. Evan sensed its bite near his cheek.
“I am no one’s slave,” he croaked out, sounding like a whiney kid.
“Perhaps. But I am not just anyone.” Before he could catch a breath, the woman was in his space. He kept his hands at his sides, knowing if he touched her he would be punished. Her full lips were inches from his. She leaned in, placed a tender kiss on his cheek, then stepped back.
“The Mistress has chosen!” the voice boomed and the room heaved a collective sigh. Evan whipped his head around, suddenly terrified and hornier than he had been in his entire existence. He closed his eyes as a loud whooshing sound started echoing around in his head in perfect time with his heartbeat. He held his ground, biting the inside of his cheek raw to keep from falling to his knees and kissing his way up her shiny patent leather shoe. The woman stood, the cape-like cloak draped around her tall, perfect body. He couldn’t move and had no idea what to do now anyway.
She took two long steps and was back in his space, tugging his tie, lifting it free of his collar and letting her lips linger over his, tempting, teasing, and bringing his body to full attention from his scalp to his toes. What in the hell was going on here? He was a sub? But the whooshing sound would not stop; it deafened him and he started to shake. The woman put her hands on his shoulders and kept kissing him just enough to make him insane. Disembodied hands removed his suit coat. Then, with a powerful jerk, She ripped his dress shirt into two scraps of expensive cotton that hung from his wrists.
His nipples hardened, his skin broke out in goose bumps. More bodiless hands unfastened his cuffs and took what remained of his shirt away. The woman kept smiling, trailing her fingertip down his chest. Evan’s lungs hurt he was breathing so hard.
“You are very…” She leaned in and touched her tongue to a nipple, making him gasp. “In need of…” She licked her way across his chest to the other hardened nub of flesh and bit, hard, making him yelp and grunt to distract himself from coming in his trousers. “A lesson in what it means to wield control.”
She unfurled the whip, keeping her lips on his skin, licking and nibbling her way up his neck as he stood, fists clenched and teeth grinding. Then she bit down on his lower lip, bringing tears to his eyes and yet more urgency to fuck. What was happening to him?
“Sit.” She shoved him down. Evan dropped, hoping someone had put a chair there. His ass hit leather and wood. Watching mesmerized as she dug a sharp heel into his still-covered thigh. The pulsing behind his zipper had reached a level he’d never experienced. It was as if he were already coming, in his head, trying to relieve the pressure without actually ejaculating. This was a total goddamn trip. He sighed, looked up at the ceiling.
“Don’t look away from me, slave.” Her rough voice made the whooshing sound return between his ears. She snapped her fingers. Two nearly naked women scuttled to his side, undid his belt, unzipped his pants, and pulled off his shoes while removing his trousers, leaving only his tie and boxers.
“Holy fucking mother of… ah!” he cried out, unable to stop when the woman stood over him, her warm, inviting sex right at his eye level. Other hands rubbed, teased him through his underwear. But he kept his eyes trained up as he sucked in a lungful of her heady scent.
“You think this is all there is, don’t you, boy?” The woman’s voice filled his head. “Your giant cock and what you can do with it.” She stepped away from him, flicking her whip at his inner thighs, breaking up the pleasure with a bite of pain that made him curse and lean forward. The lovely, soft hands that had been on his aching shaft disappeared. “Oh no you don’t. You sit; you take, and you do not come. For any reason. If you do, I will make you very,” she slid the handle of the whip along his reddened inner leg, “very sorry. Are we clear? Dear?”

Buy links: Amazon

The author will be awarding a few prizes to randomly drawn commenters along the tour. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

Grand Prize: Paperwhite Kindle 
 
1st Prize: Signed set of first 6 books (Includes all books in the series *except for* Mutual Release)

2nd Prize: boxed set of first 3 Stewart Realty ebooks (Floor Time, Sweat Equity, Closing Costs)

3rd Prize: Zazzle store Stewart swag pack (including canvas tote bag, mug, t-shirt, keychain)
 

Monday, April 22, 2013

'Drama Queens With Love Scenes' by Kevin Klehr Blurb Blitz

DRAMA QUEENS WITH LOVE SCENES
By
Kevin Klehr


BLURB: 
Close friends Allan and Warwick are dead. They're not crazy about the idea so to help them deal with this dilemma are Samantha, a blond bombshell from the 1950s, and Guy, an insecure angel.
They are soon drawn into the world of theatre - Afterlife style, with all the bitchiness, back-stabbing and ego usually associated with the mortal world.
Allan also has a secret. He has a romantic crush on his friend, Warwick, but shortly after confiding in his new angel pal, his love interest falls for the cock-sure playwright, Pedro.
Not only does Allan have to win the heart of his companion, he also has to grapple with the faded memory of how he actually died. 

EXCERPT:
“Warwick!” I yelled. “Are you there?”

There was no answer. A couple adorned in bohemian black, stopped in their tracks the moment I shouted to my ex-lover.

“Broken heart,” whispered Guy to the interested onlookers.

“I understand,” replied the woman. She looked up to her man. “Poor thing.”

“Go on, Allan, call out again.”

“Warwick! Warwick! I love you.” My voice echoed from the building as I looked to my angel friend. He nodded and caressed my shoulder. The couple nodded as well. “Warwick, are you home? I need to talk to you. Will you come down, please?”

“Keep going, Allan.”

“I really need to talk to you. I have so much more to say to you. I should never have let you walk out of my door the other night. I’ve wanted to talk to you so many times during the last few days, but there’s nowhere private at the theater. Plus I’d probably break down which is not a good look when you’re wearing white grease paint.”

A few onlookers came out from their balconies. I glanced at Guy who was joined by a small audience. Some parents had let their kids stay up well after bedtime, and their freckled little girl was giggling at me. Her mother shushed her so she sat on the ground, sulking.

“Don’t worry about it, Allan. Just go on.”

“Yes, we’re right behind you,” said an elderly lady with bad teeth. “You make him listen.”

“Warwick, I love you and I know you love me. You told me so. You said you’ve been waiting all year for me to make a move, and as you know I’ve been waiting for you to make that move too.”

“You tell him, love!” interrupted the old woman.

My support team began to chant Warwick’s name. I was empowered. I encouraged them to clap their hands in time. They did. There was about ten of them now, and their support gave me a warm glow in that frosty breeze. However, Guy looked worried.


Buy links: Amazon \ Barnes & Noble

AUTHOR INFORMATION:
Kevin lives with his long-term partner in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.
From an early age Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn’t pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties. His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his social circumstances changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, his partner, Warren, snuck the notebook out to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his novel. It wasn’t long before Kevin’s active imagination was let loose again.
His longest running passion is a weekly radio program he produces with Warren for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander station, Koori Radio. Since 2004 they have been discovering music, both new and old, and interviewing local artists and community leaders. Every Friday night, The Rhythm Divine is heard across Sydney and via the world wide web.

Kevin is currently at work on the sequel to Drama Queens with Love Scenes.

LINKS:


Author Page – www.kevinklehr.com



https://www.facebook.com/DramaQueensWithLoveScenes


Kevin will be giving away a $30 Amazon gift card to one randomly chosen commenter. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

'Rubenesque Rapture' by Rose Wynters


From author Rose Wynters comes an erotic new paranormal series featuring the Endurers. The world is on the very brink of Armageddon. Can these immortal warriors fight the demons infiltrating our world while saving their soul mates?

Hell is hot to get their hands on Anna Andrews, determined to use her plus-sized body for breeding purposes. Attacked by demons in her remote cabin in Alaska, she is sure there is no way out until a mysterious Endurer rescues her at the last moment. He’s been sent to get her to safety in Las Vegas, but he never counted on the sexual attraction that flares immediately between them.

Shayne McLoughlin was born in the 1400’s and lived as a Monk until a brutal attack destroyed his entire family, changing his life forever. Now an immortal Endurer that protects humanity from demonic beings, he expects his next assignment to be like any other. Until he meets the rubenesque beauty he has been sent to protect.

On the race to reach the safety of Las Vegas, they discover an explosive attraction that can’t be ignored. He can battle the demons that want her, but can he have victory over the power of her mind? Plagued by her past and an ex-boyfriend that used her in an attempt to satisfy his debt to Hell, Anna finds it hard to believe this gorgeous man is serious about her.

As the very world stands on the cusp of Armageddon, Shayne is determined to have this full-figured beauty at any cost. There isn’t any rule he won't break to claim Anna and keep her. Danger follows their every step as passion ignites at every turn. Is it a battle this Endurer can win?

Read an excerpt:
Two taller, grotesque creatures started towards them, their red eyes gleaming unnaturally in the twilight of the evening.
Shayne was ready for them, an ornately carved dagger in each hand. “You girls looking to play?” he asked, his velvety, deep voice cutting through the night. “I know I am. Look, I'm even wearing my play clothes.” He was dressed completely in black.
The two glanced at each other before charging him as one. Shayne met them in a running leap just seconds before the two screamed in pain. The daggers moved quickly and immediately one of the demons fell, smoke rising from its body.
He glanced over to the last one standing and shook his head in disgust. His knife had carved deeply into the side of his face, leaving the flesh gaping open. Copious amounts of black fluid poured out, and he was missing an ear.
“Damn,” he said as his lip curled up in a sneer. “You guys just get uglier and uglier, don’t you? It looks like your face caught on fire and someone tried to put it out with a fork.”
He could see three more hellions spread out in the parking lot, but they paused at his words. They knew he was an Endurer, with the full backing of Heaven behind him. The evil inside of them naturally recoiled from the purity contained within his daggers and sword. It didn't stop the demon in front of him though.
“What a great idea,” he growled at Shayne. “I'll have fun trying it out on you in Hell.”
Shayne beckoned with his hand as he said mockingly, “You, I’m going to kill just to put you out of your misery.”
All pretense at humanity faded. The white skin darkened to a disgusting shade of dark green, and thick horns erupted from its skull. This was the true form of the minion, and it wasn't pretty.


About the author:

I've always had a love of romance and the paranormal, and enjoy creating stories based on this. I believe love should be exciting, and I have a lot of fun pushing it to the max. 

When not writing, I love to travel and see new places! 

Visit Rose's Website: http://www.rosewynters.com
  

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cover Reveal & Facebook Event 'Branded' by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki


Twenty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best. 

Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.
The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.




Join us Friday from 8-10 EST for a chance to get to know Abi and Missy! We have some fun games planned and you'll get to chat up the authors!




About the authors:

Abi Ketner Is a registered nurse with a passion for novels, the beaches of St. John, and her Philadelphia Phillies. A talented singer, Abi loves to go running and spend lots of time with her family. She currently resides in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband, triplet daughters and two very spoiled dogs.

Melissa Kalicicki received her bachelor’s degree from Millersville University in 2003. She married, had two boys and currently lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Aside from reading and writing, her interests include running and mixed martial arts. She also remains an avid Cleveland sports fan.

Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

Stalker links:
twitter @abiandmiss.com 
website and blog www.abiandmissy.com


As promised, here is Chapter 1 of Branded!

I’m buried six feet under, and no one hears my screams.
The rope chafes as I loop it around my neck. I pull down on it, making sure the knot is secure. It seems sturdy enough.
My legs shake. My heart beats heavy in my throat. Sweat pours down my back.
Death and I glare at each other through my tears.
I take one last look at the crystal chandelier, the foyer outlined with mirrors, and the flawless decorations. No photographs adorn the walls. No happy memories here.
I’m ready to go. On the count of three.
I inhale, preparing myself for the finality of it all. Dropping my hands, a glimmer catches my eye. It’s my ring, the last precious gift my fathergave me. I twist it around to read the inscription. Picturing his face forces me to reconsider my choice. He’d be heartbroken if he could see me now.
A door slams in the hallway, almost causing me to lose my balance. My thoughts already muddled, I stand, waiting with the rope around my neck.Voices I don’t recognize creep through the walls.
Curiosity overshadows my current thoughts. It’s late at night, and this is a secure building in High Society. No one disturbs the peace here—ever.I tug on the noose and pull it back over my head.
Peering through the eyehole in our doorway, I see a large group of armed guards banging on my neighbors’ door. A heated conversation ensues, and my neighbors point toward my family’s home.
It hits me. I’ve been accused and they’re here to arrest me.
My father would want me to run, and in that split second, I decide to listen to his voice within me. Flinging myself forward in fear, I scramble up the marble staircase and into my brother’s old bedroom. The door is partially covered, but it exists. Pushing his dresser aside, my fingers claw at the opening. Breathing hard, I lodge myself against it. Nothing. I step backand kick it with all my strength. The wood splinters open, and my foot gets caught. I wrench it backward, scraping my calf, but adrenaline pushes me forward. The voices at the front door shout my name.
 On hands and knees, I squeeze through the jagged opening. My brother left through this passage, and now it’s my escape too. Cobwebs entangle my face, hands, and hair. At the end, I feel for the knob, twisting it clockwise. It swings open, creaking from disuse.I sprint into the hallway and smash through the large fire escape doors at the end. A burst of cool air strikes me in the face as I jump down the ladder.
Reaching the fifth floor, I knock on a friend’s window. The lights flicker on, and I see the curtains move, but no one answers. I bang on thewindow harder.
“Let me in! Please!” I say, but the lights darken. They know I’ve been accused and refuse to help me. Fear and adrenaline rush through my veins as I keep running, knocking on more windows along the way. No one has mercy. They all know what happens to sinners.
Another flight of stairs passes in a blur when I hear the guards’ heavy footfalls from above. I can’t hide, but I don’t want to go withouttrying.
Help me, Daddy. I need your strength now.
My previous desolation evolves into a will to survive. I have to keep running, but I tremble andgasp for air. I steel my nerves and force my body to keep moving. In a matter of minutes, my legs cramp and my chest burns. I plunge to the ground, scraping my knee and elbow. A moan escapes from my chest.
Gotta keep going.
“Stop!” Theirvoices bounce off the buildings. “Lexi Hamilton, surrender yourself,” they command. They’re gaining on me.
I resist the urge to glance back, running into what I assume is an alley. I’m far from our high-rise in High Society as I plunge into a poorer section of the city wherethe streets all look the same and the darkness prevents me from recognizinganything. I’m lost.
     My first instinct is to leap into a dumpster, but I retain enough sense to stay still. I crouch and peek around it,watching them dash by. The abhorrent smell soon leaves me vomiting until nothing remains in my stomach. Desperation overtakes me, as I know my retchingwas anything but silent. My last few seconds tick away before they find me. Everyone knows about their special means of tracking sinners.
I push myself to my feet and look left, right, and left again. Their batons click against their black, leather belts, and their boots stomp the cement on both sides of me. I shrink into myself. Their heavy steps mock my fear, growing closer and closeruntil I know I’m trapped.
Never did I imagine they’d come for me. Never did I imagine all those nights I heard themdragging someone else away that I’d join them.
“You’re a sinner,” they say. “Time to leave our society.”
I stand defiant. I refuse to bend or break before them even as I shiver with fear.
“There’s no reason to make this difficult. The more you cooperate, the smoother this will be for everyone,” a guard says.
I cringe into the blackness along the wall. I’m innocent, but they won’t believe me or care.
The next instant, my face slams into the pavement as one guard plants a knee in my back and another handcuffs me. A warm liquid trails into my mouth. Blood. Their fingers grip my arms like steel traps as they peel me off the cement. The tops of my shoes scrape along the ground as I’m dragged behind them until they discard me into the back of a black vehicle. The doors slam in unison with one guard stationed on each side of me, my shoulders digging into their arms. The handcuffs dig into my wrists, so I clasp them together hard behind me and press my back into the seat, unwilling to admit how much it hurts. My dignity is all.I have left.
Swallowing hard,I stare ahead to avoid their eyes.
Did they need so many guards to capture me?
 I’m not carrying any weapons, nor do I own any. I don’t even know self-defense. High Society frowns on activities like that.
The driver jerks the vehicle around and I try to keep my bearings, but it’s dark and the scenery changes too fast. Hours pass and the air grows warmer, more humid, the farther we drive. The landscape mutates from city to rolling hills. They don’t bother blindfolding me because they escort all the sinners to the same place—the Hole.Twenty-foot cement walls encase the chaos within. There’s no way out and no way in unless they transport you. They say the Hole is a prison with no rules. We learned about it last year in twelfth grade.
To the outside, I’m filth now. I’ll never be allowed to return to the life I knew. No one ever does.
“All sinners go through a transformation,” one of the guards says to me. His smirk infuriates me. “I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of stories.” I don’t respond. I don’t want to think about the things I’ve been told.
“You won’t last too long, though. Young girls like you get eaten alive.” He pulls a strand of my hair up to his face.
 Get your hands off me, you pig. I want to lash out, but resist. The punishment for disobeying authority is severe, and I’m not positioned to defy him.
     They’re the Guards of the Commander.They’re chosen from a young age and trained in combat. They keep the order of society by using violent methods of intimidation. No one befriends a guard.Relationships with them are forbidden inside the Hole.
Few have seen the commander. His identity stays under lock and key. His own paranoia and desire to stay pure drove him to live this way. He controls our depraved society and believes sinners make the human race unforgivable. His power is a crushing fist, rendering all beneath him helpless. So much so, even family members turn on each other when an accusation surfaces. Just an accusation. No trial, no evidence, nothing but an accusation.
I lose myself in thoughts of my father.
“Never show fear, Lexi,” my father said to me before he was taken. “They’ll use it against you.”His compassionate eyes filled with warning as he commanded me to be strong.That was many years ago, but I remember it clearly. My father. My rock. The one person in my life who provided unconditional love.
The vehicle stops, and I’m jerked back to reality. “Get out,” the guard orders while pulling me to my feet. The doors slide open and the two guards lift me up and out into the night. A windowless cement building looms in front of us, looking barren in the darkness.
The coolness of the air sends a shiver up my spine. This is really happening. I’ve been labeled a sinner. My lip starts to quiver, but I bite it before anyone sees. They shove me in line and I realize I’m not alone. Women and men stand with faces frozen white in fear. A guard grabs my finger, pricks it, and dabs my blood on a tiny microchip.
 I follow the man in front of me into the next room where we’re lined up facing the wall. Glancing right, I see one of the men crying.
“Spread your legs,” one of the guards says.
They remove my outer layers and their hands roam up and down my body.
What do they think I could possibly be hiding?I press my head into the wall, trying to block out what they’re doing to me.
“MOVE!” a guard commands. So I shuffle across the room, trying to cover up.
One.
Two.
Three.
Four.
Five of us sit in the holding room. One by one, they pull people into the next room, forcing the rest of us to wonder what torture we’ll endure. An agonizing amount of time passes. I lean my head back and try to imagine a place far away. The door opens.
“Lexi Hamilton.”
A guard escorts me out of the room, and I don’t have time to look back. As soon as the door closes, they pick me up and place me on a table. It’s cold and my skin sticks to it slightly, like wet fingers on an ice cube. Then, they exit in procession,and I lie on the table with a doctor standing over me. His hands are busy as he speaks.
“Don’t move. This will only take a few minutes. It’s time for you to be branded.”
A wet cloth that smells like rubbing alcohol is used to clean my skin. Then he places a metal collar around my neck.
Click. Click.Click.
The collar locks into place, and I struggle to breathe. The doctor loosens it some as I focus on the painted black words above me.

The Seven Deadly Sins:
Lust ¾ Blue
Gluttony ¾ Orange
Greed ¾ Yellow
Sloth ¾ Light Blue
Wrath ¾ Red
Envy ¾ Green
Pride ¾ Purple

 “Memorize it. Might keep you alive longer if you know who to stay away from.” He opens my mouth, placing a bit inside. “Bite this.”
Within seconds,the collar heats from hot to scorching. The smell of flesh sizzling makes my head spin. I bite down so hard a tooth cracks.
“GRRRRRRRRR,”escapes from deep within my chest. Just when I’m about to pass out, the temperature drops, and the doctor loosens the collar.
He removes it and sits me up. Excruciating pain rips through me and I’m on the verge of a mental and physical breakdown. Focus. Don’t pass out.
Stainless steel counters and boring white walls press in on me. A guard laughs at me from an observation room above and yells, “Blue. It’s a great color for a pretty young thing like yourself.” His eyes dance with suggestion. The others meander around like it’s business as usual.
I finally find my voice and turn to the doctor.
“Are you going to give me clothes?” A burning pain spreads like fire from my neck to my jaw,making me wince.
He points to aset of folded grey scrubs on a chair. I cover myself as much as I can and scurry sideways. Grabbing my new clothes, I pull the shirt over my head and try to avoid the raw meat around my throat. I quickly knot the cord of my pants around my waist and slide my feet into the hospital-issue slippers as the doctor observes. He hands me a bag labeled with my name.
“Nothing is allowed through the door but what we’ve given you,” he says.
I hide my right hand behind me, hoping no one notices. A guard scans my body and opens his hand.
“Give it to me,”he says. “Don’t make me rip off your finger.” He crouches down and I turn to stone. I don’t know what to do, so I beg.
 “My father gave this to me. Please, let me keep it.” I smash my eyes shut and think of the moment my father handed the golden ring to me.
“It was my mother’s ring,” he’d said. “She’s the strongest woman I ever knew.” With tears in his eyes, he reached for my hand. “Lexi,you’re exactly like her. She’d want you to wear this. No matter how this world changes, you can survive.” I turned the gold band over in my palm and read the engraving.
You can overcome anything…short of death.
 “You’re going to take the one thing that matters the most to me?” I say, glaring into the guard’s emotionless eyes.“Isn’t it enough taking my life, dignity, and respect?”
A hard blow falls upon my back. As I fall, my hands shoot out to stop me from smashing into the wall in front of me. The guard bends down and grabs my chin with his meaty fist.
“Look at me,” he commands. I look up and he smiles with arrogance.
“What the hell?”He staggers a step backward. “What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with your eyes?”
“Nothing,” I respond, confused.
“What color are they?”
“Turquoise.” I glower at him.
“Interesting,” he says, regaining his composure. “Now those’ll get you in trouble.”
Reality slaps me across the face. I have my father’s eyes. They can't take them from me. I twist the ring off my finger and drop it in his hand.
“Take the damn ring,” I say. I walk to the door. He swipes a card and the massive door slides open to the outside.
“You have to wear your hair back at all times, so everyone knows what you are.” He hands me a tie, so I pull my frizzy hair away from my face and secure it into a ponytail.My neck burns and itches as my hand traces the scabs that have already begun to form. Squinting ahead into the darkness, I almost run into a guard standing on the sidewalk.
 “Watch where you’re going,” he says, shoving me backward. His stiff figure stands tall and I cringe at the sharpness of his voice.
“Cole, this is your new assignment, Lexi Hamilton. See to it she feels welcome in her new home.” The guard departs with a salute.
“Let’s move,”Cole says.
I take two steps and collapse, my knees giving out. The unforgiving pavement reopens the scrapes from earlier and I struggle to stand.A powerful arm snatches me up, and I see his face for the first time.