Monday, October 27, 2014

'Game of Kings (A Modern Reimagining of Pride & Prejudice)' by Anthea Carson


Something is rotten in the world of chess.

Darla Martin is perfectly content to live in Denver, work at a library, and play chess every night.

That’s before she meets Mikhail, a mysterious and proud Russian grandmaster.

And Maxwell, who is charming and handsome and speaks of dark things.

And Fred, who warns her not to look into his eyes.

Before she knows it, Darla’s comfortable world is turned upside down.

Read the beginning chapters!

Chapter 1

Darla Martin was a rare thing: a chess-playing female.

As a child of four, she had lain on the living room carpet, watching her brothers play chess. Daniel usually won, mostly because he was the eldest, but Oliver didn’t do badly. Chip played the loser. Afterwards, the three of them would congratulate and heckle one another, laughing and slapping backs and making bets.

Darla would watch them over her coloring book. She recognized one of the pieces as a horse, and originally thought her brothers were playing out the Disney films her mother put on for her. By the time she was six, she had begun to comprehend the game: horses were knights and moved in L-shapes (L came between K and M in the alphabet; she could sing up to it if she forgot), and the king was a lazy fellow who let everyone from his foot soldiers to his wife do all the work.

One day, when Daniel and Oliver had played and then Oliver had beaten Chip, Darla plopped herself down in front of the chessboard and began setting up pieces.

“What are you doing?” Daniel asked in amazement.

“It’s my turn,” Darla said. “Chip lost, so I get to play him.”

Oliver laughed contemptuously. He had turned fourteen the previous week, and was confident in his own superiority, especially over little sisters. “Shut it, Darla. You don’t even know how the pieces move.”

“I do too!”

“No, you don’t. You’re a stupid girl.”

“Don’t pick on her,” Daniel warned. “If she wants to play, let her. It doesn’t hurt to pretend.”

“I don’t want to play against her,” Chip protested. “It won’t be real chess.”

“Then we’ll get out Candyland,” Daniel said, “or Snakes and Ladders. She can manage those.”

“I want to play chess,” Darla insisted. “See? I’ve made it ready.”

“Set it up,” Oliver corrected, sneering. “And no, you haven’t. You’ve got the king and queen backwards.”

This was easily remedied. Chip again refused to play his baby sister, so Daniel sat down. He put aside both his bishops as a handicap and played black, but still won in ten minutes.

“You see?” Oliver said. “Girls are useless.”

“But she did know how the pieces move,” Daniel pointed out. “Good job, Darla.”

Darla beamed at him, taking the compliment rather than the condescension.

Daniel was somewhat less nice about it the second time Darla decided to play, and plain-out sarcastic the third time. But she kept insisting until, finally, her brothers became used to the fact that one of them would have to thrash her at chess every time they played.

Darla didn’t care about her brothers’ scorn; she only cared about the game. And although she didn’t win against her brothers until she was in her twenties, she kept her confidence up by beating her father about a quarter of the time. When she found out that he was throwing their games, she insisted he give her a handicap instead, and she won that way.

By that time, Darla had beaten all the other kids on the block and at school. Soon after, her father started taking her to the chess club at the public library, and she beat people there, too. In high school, she joined the chess club and played against everyone from freshmen to seniors. Some of the boys were better than she was, some were worse, but she never met a girl she couldn’t beat in a dozen moves.

Nowadays, Darla played at the Denver Chess Club’s weekly tournaments, and had been for several months—ever since she had moved to live with her aunt and cousin in Colorado. The chess club was a fun environment with plenty of banter (both kind and cruel, but none of it worse than the things her brothers had said; they had prepared her well), and she liked most of the people she met there.

But that’s not why she went. She went for the chess.

Chapter 2

Much as she loved her cousin and aunt, it had long puzzled Darla that they viewed sightseeing and tourism as more attractive pastimes than chess. After all, she reasoned, one could visit geysers and mountains any time, but four-day tournaments in Cheyenne were rare.

“That’s very nice, Darla,” Aunt Lily said, “but we’re going to Yellowstone. We’ll only miss the first day of the tournament; they’ll be plenty of time to watch you trounce everyone.”

“I’m not that good,” Darla said, blushing with pleasure despite herself. “I’m only rated sixteen hundred.”

“Which means you can beat absolutely everyone who doesn’t constantly play chess,” Marcia put in. “Don’t be so modest, Darla; you know how proud we are of you.”

“And we’ll show it,” Aunt Lily promised. “After Yellowstone.”

Darla rolled her eyes, not truly annoyed, and booked two motel rooms.

The tournament was taking place in August, when the sun was hot and the land arid. Golden fields of wheat and barley endlessly decorated the plains, the only things to look at as far as the eye could see, except for the curiously pinkish Interstate-25 that connected Denver to Cheyenne.

Darla drove the first leg, partly because she wouldn’t have to drive the extra seven hours between Cheyenne and Yellowstone, but mostly because the driver got to choose the radio station.

It was well before lunch when they arrived in Cheyenne and Darla waved her aunt and cousin off. Nothing was scheduled until later, so Darla spent a pleasant day alternatively wandering Cheyenne and catching up on her reading before returning to her motel to register for the blitz tournament that evening.

The chess tournament was taking place in the Thistlewood Suites Inn. It was an ordinary motel, with clean rooms, robin’s egg blue bedspreads, and a love of pine-scented cleaning products. Best of all was its ballroom.

The ballroom was by design an elegant room, all polished wooden floors, gleaming chandeliers, and curtains in the motel’s signature blue. For the tournament, banquet tables had been stretched lengthwise, four of them, each neatly covered in a white tablecloth. Other than an abandoned water bottle or two, the tables were empty. There were no chess sets, no clocks. Players were expected to bring their own, although there were always plenty who came empty-handed and had to beg and borrow.

Darla had not had to beg or borrow for years; she had received a chess set from Daniel for her twenty-first birthday, two weeks after the first time she had beaten him.

“You deserve it,” he had told her.

“And here’s a bag to keep it in,” Oliver had said, not to be outdone. He handed her a soft padded case, colored the most vibrant scarlet.

“After all,” Chip had added, giving her a clock to complete the collection, “you’ll have to practice hard if you want to beat any of us again.”

Darla joined the short line just inside the ballroom’s entrance. She was not surprised to find that she was the only woman present, and one of the only females (the other being a pigtailed little girl who was giving her father firm directions). Possibly one or two more would arrive by the tournament’s official beginning tomorrow morning, but likely as not the only other women to arrive, if any, would be mothers or wives who understood about as much about chess as Darla had at the age of six.

Darla hiked her red bag over her shoulder and stared absentmindedly at the bald pate of the man in front of her.

“Apparently he’s come from California, although he’s Russian originally, of course. Name’s something unpronounceable.”

“Damned Russians coming to take our winnings,” said the man next to him, a wide specimen whose sides drooped over his jeans.

“He’s a grandmaster. What else did you expect he came for?”

“Damned grandmasters.”

“There’ll be the blind simul, though. That’ll be worth watching—or even entering. Wonder how many people he’ll take on at once?”

“Probably all of us,” the drooping man said sadly. Then, with a certain amount of pride, he added, “Mad as damned hatters, the lot of them.”

Darla paid her fee and wandered off to the board, to check her number and pairing. She spent some time gazing at the board in what probably looked like confusion, but was really her way of settling her board number, opponent’s name, and color in her mind. She had never understood the people who could glance at the board once and instantly remember everything. How could they do it? Oh, it was easy enough to remember the people you knew, but strangers (and not only the Russian ones) often had long and difficult names without enough vowels.

It sometimes made her wonder if she was smart enough for chess tournaments. She happened to know her pairing for this game: Walt Scarlet, the president of the Denver Chess Club. He, she remembered clearly, didn’t have to stare at the board like an idiot. He could look at something once and commit it to memory. He didn’t need to recalculate variations over and over to figure out the best move; he could get it at once.

That’s why he’ll win, she thought, irritated, although she hadn’t played him yet. Photographic memory. He’s not a creative genius; he’s a computer.

A thought that had, admittedly, made it far more satisfying the few times she had beaten him.

Although Walt might not have been one of them, Darla had played a multitude of creative geniuses over the years. One that always particularly came to mind was Sean Hugg, a child prodigy who came to the board in an oversized cowboy hat and great big glasses he didn’t need. That in itself was pretty creative. More creative still was his chess playing. Whenever she watched in wonder and horror as he pulled off a win in a dead lost position, she said to herself, Oh well: I never was there ever a cat so clever as magical Mr. Mistoffelees, which made her feel better, even though it didn’t help her win.

She had tried to tell Sean’s mother one time how great a chess player he was. Sean’s mother had said, “Well, at least he’s not skateboarding.”

“I guess you can’t appreciate it,” Darla had acknowledged thoughtfully, and without her usual tact. “It’s like music you can’t hear.”

The mother had nodded and accepted this without either protest or comprehension.

A chess player would have understood. Playing chess was playing music nobody but other chess players—good chess players—could hear. It wasn’t enough to know how the pieces moved; you had to be able to dance to the symphony.

Darla hummed as she plunked down across from Walt. He too had brought his own chessboard, and had set it up while she had been waiting in line. He also had a clock set, a score sheet out, and a pen in his hand.

Walt wore his usual cocktail of amused curiosity and slight contempt. He raised his eyebrows as Darla sat, and shook her hand, but offered no further greeting. Chess players usually didn’t, especially to known opponents. Occasionally, they might say “Good luck” to each other (in the mutual understanding that neither meant it), or double-checked name spelling, but that was all.

It had been a long time since Walt and Darla had spoken over a chessboard. For them, there was only the silent acknowledgement that Walt would almost certainly win.

Darla was white. Walt hit the clock. Darla cupped her hands over her eyes to shut the world out.

The orchestra struck a chord.

Chapter 3

Grandmaster Mikhail Rabinovich Preobrazhensky arrived at the Cheyenne chess tournament the next morning to flurries of admiration, jealousy, curiosity, and attempts to find out how one should pronounce his surname, and if it was acceptable to avoid saying it altogether. It was a great relief to everyone to discover that he answered to his patronymic, which was generally more manageable for the English-speaking tongue.

Darla, no less curious than the rest, had the opportunity to observe him at length as he stood with the man who had accompanied him.

Her first observation was that Mikhail Rabinovich looked intensely Russian, especially next to his all-American golden-haired friend. He had a straight, narrow nose, pale complexion, brown eyes under intense brows, and dark brown hair neatly combed. Her second observation was that these features were altogether flawlessly placed and gave him exactly the penetrating look that chess players ought to have, even though few of them did. Following this were several other linked observations, such as the fact that his semi-casual grey suit fit him beautifully, that he had an excellent physique, and that he was almost certainly too rich and intelligent for her—which was just as well because, in the words of the unknown man in line, he was almost certainly mad as a hatter.

About the author:

Anthea Carson is the co-author of the bestselling chess book, "Tactics Time," co-author of "How to Play Chess Like an Animal," a children's chess book based on chess openings with animal names, as well as a children's tactics puzzle book, and several novels and novellas including "The Dark Lake," a psychological suspense as complex and twisted as any chess game. She is a tournament chess player, a chess coach, and the Game 60 Female US Chess champion of 2004. Anthea obtained her bachelor's degree in Philosophy from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, with an emphasis in literature and mathematics. Her fiction writings include a trilogy, several novellas and short stories, some of which, unsurprisingly, are about female chess players in the male dominated world of tournament chess. She currently resides in Colorado Springs with her husband and two children.

'An Angel for Alex' by Inga Lykke


Alex Burnham is a successful businessman in London's cutthroat business district, yet he feels restless and unfulfilled. Help arrives from an unexpected source when an angel falls into his lap. Literally.

Sofia has pissed off her brother, archangel Gabriel, one time too many, and is grounded. On earth. With a stranger. Who has a hangover.

It is not an ideal beginning, but Sofia and Alex make the most of it, soon giving in to an attraction so strong and a passion to hot, it sets their world on fire.

Divine, or at least angelic intervention threw them together, but demonic forces are already working to tear them apart. Between a fiendish father, an angry Archangel, a sword-wielding Seraphim and the geographical disadvantage of living on different planes of existence, they have many obstacles to overcome before Alex can claim his Angel.

Warning: This book contains a virgin that doesn't stay virginal for very long and an IT expert with a fondness for pink bottoms. Mild BDSM scenes to keep things spicy. You're welcome.

Read an excerpt:

First time in bed together:
She slipped out of the bed and came to him, unconcerned by her nakedness. He drank in the sight of her, her petite shape as much a contrast to his tall, muscular build as their skin tones.
You said you wanted me naked. He waited until she nodded. Then you can remove my clothes.
She bit her lips and looked him over, as if wondering where to start. He was mesmerised by the sight of her teeth tugging on her lower lip. He wanted to sooth the abused flesh with his tongue but he forced himself to stand still as she reached out, grabbing the hem of his t-shirt, tugging it up across his chest. He lifted his arms but did nothing else to aid her. She strained to reach high enough to pull it free of his arms and the movement caused her breasts to bounce right below his face. He couldnt resist swiping across one nipple with his tongue and watched it harden to a point as the air cooled the wet skin. She jumped when she felt his mouth on her but didnt stop struggling with the t-shirt.
Finally, she managed to free his arms from the fabric and he lowered his hands and waited for her to continue. She looked hungrily at his now naked torso but quickly went back to the task at hand. His pants were loose but his dick pressed hard against the zipper, so when she tried to pull it down, it wouldnt cooperate. In the end she had to ease a hand into his pants, pushing his dick back with the back of it so the zipper had room to move.
Her hand against his flesh almost killed him but he closed his eyes and counted slowly to ten. He refused to come in his pants like a teenager.
While his attention was distracted, Sofia took the opportunity to cheat. Grabbing the waist of his pants and his boxers together she pulled both pieces of clothing down at the same time. The fabric rasped across his painfully erect dick and his moan was not entirely from pleasure. When he looked down though, the momentary discomfort was forgotten. Sofia had forgotten his shoes and now she knelt before him, her head level with his dick, unable to decide how to proceed.
She looked up at him, biting her lower lip and the fantasy from the shower hit him with renewed force. He was only human. He knew she was innocent but he simply couldnt resist. Grabbing the root of his dick, he aimed it toward her face.
Sofia, have you ever eaten a lollipop?
She nodded, a confused expression on her face.
I want you to suck my dick as if it was a lollipop.

About the author:

I always find it difficult to write these things, the characters that live in my head are much easier to describe. So instead I'll just list some random facts about me, and let you draw your own conclusions.

Here we go.

I once accidentally joined a gay choir. A friend of mine knew I was looking for a choir to join so he told me he had heard of one that was looking for sopranos. I showed up for audition, and was met by a room full of gorgeous men. It soon became clear that this was not the jackpot I had hoped... The choir turned out to be a GLBT choir, and I had so much fun with them that it took me six months to "come out" and admit that I wasn't actually gay.

I was once a bouncer for a concert venue during a music festival. Since the bounciest things about me are my breasts, they became known as the Bouncy Boobs of Wrath.

I lived 7 years in Ireland, and I still don't like whisky. I know, I know! The shame, it keeps me up at night.

I was such a daddy's girl grown up, that I got my hunting license in high school. I never actually used it though. Blame Disney, I just couldn't shoot Bambi! I do like to go fishing, though, and I gut the catch myself.

I am currently single, after my last boyfriend decided to go back to his ex after we shared a passionate night together. This would be sad and tragic if THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME THIS HAD HAPPENED! But no, it has happened before. Take it from me, girls, never ask a man what he is thinking when you are basking in afterglow, cause he might just tell you. And it might go along the lines of "I am thinking of calling my ex to see what she is up to."

Yes, really.

In the end, the ex didn't want him back, and neither did I.

If this is my superpower, to turn men back to their exes, I hereby promise to use the power only for good!

I hope that gives you a little glimpse into the complex person that is me.

I will start an author blog soon for those who want to know more. In the meantime, take care and be good. And if you can't be good, be careful.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

'Chasing Rain: Episode One' by Ariel Adams


Rayne, a vampire-human hybrid, decides her eighteenth birthday is the perfect time to demand more independence from her coven and the wolf shifters hired to protect her. But no one can protect her heart from the pack's alpha, Blaze.

When a moment of passion has near lethal consequences, it only proves that water and fire don't mix.

In episode one, Rayne realizes her affection for the man that has been her bodyguard since birth is more than just a young girl's crush. Can Blaze follow his heart, or will his moral code prevent him from pursuing what he knows is meant to be?

Anyone who loves the wolves in Twilight or True Blood will enjoy this serialized novel.

Blaze and Rayne had been running for hours when her body stiffened in pain. She grabbed her stomach and sank to her knees. 
He slid to a stop, leaving deep gouges in the dirt with his claws, then shifted immediately. He didn’t wait for Rayne to toss him his shorts or turn around. He didn’t even warn her to close her eyes. She’d never seen anyone shift before. One instant he was a beautiful grey wolf. The next, a man. A gorgeous, ripped and very naked man. She caught a brief glimpse of his most private parts then slammed her eyes shut. 
Blaze gently pried his shorts from her fist. 
She cracked one eye, but he’d already turned his back, so she opened the other. This view was almost as impressive as the other. He jerked his shorts on then spun around as he zipped them. 
If Blaze was embarrassed about Rayne seeing him naked, he didn’t show it. He placed his hand on her forehead. "What's going on? You feel a little warmer than usual. Your heart rate is a little elevated. Do you have a fever?” 
Ever since Blaze started his EMT training, he was even more of a worrywart than usual. 
“My heart rate is elevated because I was running.” Rayne pushed his hand off her forehead. “And I’ve never had a fever before so how would I know?”

The concerned look on his face tweaked her conscience for snapping at him. “I’m sorry. I've been feeling a little irritable lately." 
She bit her lower lip and dropped her gaze to the ground as she thought about her violent mood swings. Irritable didn't begin to cover it. "I don't know what's wrong with me. I cry at things I used to just laugh at. I get extremely angry without much provocation. I'm always screaming at Kane to 'bite me'." Her face flushed with shame. She was the one doing all the biting. "But right now, the main thing that's bugging me are these damn stomach cramps.” 
She was in Blaze's arms and flying through the jungle on the way back to the compound before she even realized he’d picked her up. Her cheek pressed against his naked chest. She didn’t mean to read his mind, but the sudden skin to skin contact caught her off guard. 
His thoughts raced even faster than his heart. He was afraid.  
"Blaze, stop. I’m fine. Really.” 
Got to get her back to the compound so Weston can figure out what’s wrong. 
"No, Blaze! I don't want to be poked and prodded all night. Those titanium needles really hurt!" There were very few things that could pierce her deceptively tough hybrid skin. Titanium happened to be one of them. 
But Blaze didn’t listen to a word she said. He didn’t even acknowledge her objections in his mind. His thoughts jumped from one medical emergency to the next…appendicitis, parasitic infection, cancer.
They barely made it through the gate when Dad ran up to Blaze and snatched Rayne out of his arms. She was on the examination table in Weston’s medical hut before she could blink. 
Weston was already gowned and gloved with his instruments laid out in the sterile operating room. Baylee shooed everyone outside while Elise stripped Rayne and swiped her stomach with an orange liquid. 
Everything was happening too fast. “What’re you doing?” 
“Blaze thinks you might have appendicitis.” 
“He also thinks I have parasites and cancer.” 
“There’s no way to know what’s going on until Weston examines you.” 
Rayne grabbed Elise’s arm. “Don’t let him cut me open.”

Weston used his titanium needles to draw enough blood to feed an entire coven of vampires for a week. He also examined every part of Rayne. Elise stayed with her and held her hand. It helped, but Rayne couldn’t keep tears of humiliation from running into her ears as she stared at the waterfall poster tacked to the ceiling. At least she didn’t need any surgeries. 
Weston nodded at Elise. 
She let go of Rayne’s hand then nodded back. 
Rayne wished they’d just speak out loud. She hated that she couldn’t read their thoughts without touching them. Her gaze darted between Elise and Weston. “What’s wrong with me?” 
Elise’s eyes brimmed with tears, but her smile was one of pure joy, not sympathy. Weston’s face also bore a grin that lit up his entire countenance. 
“Why are you two so happy?” 
Elise leaned over and kissed Rayne’s forehead, sharing her thoughts. You aren't sick. You’re fertile.” 
Rayne walked from the infirmary to the house in a daze. Female vampires were sterile. Rayne had been conceived when Mom was still human. She didn’t agree to let Weston turn her until after they found Cooper and learned that Rayne was also immortal. Mom didn’t want to watch her baby grow old and die while she remained forever young. Rayne learned all this before anyone realized she could read and, more importantly, understand their thoughts. 
As soon as they figured it out, the vamps and shifters learned to keep at least one layer of cloth between themselves and Rayne if they didn’t want her to know what they were thinking. 
Blaze’s voice was the first to reach Rayne’s ears. “I’m not leaving until someone tells me what’s wrong with Rayne.” 
She froze in her tracks and grabbed Elise’s hand. “Don’t tell Blaze.” 
Elise cocked her head to the side and frowned. “Why on earth not?” 
“It’s embarrassing.” 
“Oh, sweetheart.” Elise cupped Rayne’s face with her palms. “This is exciting, miraculous news.” 
“Dad doesn’t think so.” He sounded angry as he ordered Blaze to leave. 
“She’s got stomach cramps!” Blaze shouted at Dad. Not a wise thing to do. “If you know what’s wrong, why won’t you tell me?” 
“Because it’s none of your business.” 
“She has cramps, Blaze.” Mom used her peacekeeper voice. “Think about it. Remember Mrs. Sander’s health class?” 
The house fell completely silent. 
Rayne counted her heartbeats. One. Two. Three. Four. 
“Are you shitting me?” Blaze laughed. “Why didn’t you just say so?” 
Rayne’s face burned. So did her eyes. She blinked furiously. Blaze was laughing at her.

FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers!

Author bio:

Ariel Adams is a best-selling young adult author under a different pen name. She has had an overactive imagination since she was a child and is finally able to fully express all the crazy through her fun and sometimes broken characters. Please contact her with questions or feedback at Visit Ariel at

Books by Ariel Adams

Naked Edge, Season 1 Episode 1
Naked Edge, Season 1 Episode 2
Naked Edge, Season 1 Episode 3
Naked Edge, Season 1 Episode 4

Chasing Rain, Episode 1
Chasing Rain, Episode 2
Chasing Rain, Episode 3

Friday, October 24, 2014

'Key to Love' by Judy Ann Davis

Key to Love
by Judy Ann Davis



When architect Elise Springer’s father is injured, she immediately leaves San Francisco to care for him. The last person she expects to encounter in her Pennsylvania hometown is her childhood friend Lucas Fisher. Lucas is investigating his brother’s death, and Elise can’t resist lending a hand.

Lucas longs for the close family ties he never had. He’s back in Scranton to set up a classic car restoration business and build a future. The torch he carries for Elise burns brighter than ever, but before he can declare his love, he must obtain the legal rights to adopt his nephew—and prove his brother’s death was no accident.

As they unearth clues pointing to find a murderer and a missing stash of money, Elise faces a dilemma. Is her career on the West Coast the key to her happiness, or is it an animal-cracker-eating four-year-old and his handsome uncle instead?

Read an excerpt:
Never in her entire harried life did Elise Springer think she’d ever be sitting at the kitchen table with a four-year-old, sorting animal crackers into Zip lock bags as if they were gathering essential supplies for a hike up Montage Mountain. Four boxes of Barnum’s Animal Crackers were spilled out into a heap before them. Juice boxes stood on the counter, waiting to be packed with a bag of toys and the crackers.

“Tell me again, Todd, why can’t we take all the animals in one box of crackers to the cottage?” she asked and watched in fascination as he patiently and carefully separated the kangaroos, elephants, and polar bears and put them into individual piles.

“Because only certain ones can come,” he said, “and some of them don’t get along. The monkeys and sheep don’t like the mean lions and tigers, you know.”

“But we’re not taking the monkeys, sheep, lions or tigers.”

The little boy looked at her with exasperated gray Fisher eyes. “But we can’t leave them here all mixed up if they’re not friends, Eee-lise.”

“Todd, if we don’t get started soon there won’t be enough daylight to play outside. How about we leave a note for Lucas and Cindy and tell them to finish sorting these?”

Beside them, Bess whined. Elise looked down at the bored canine and commiserated with her. She secretly popped a mean tiger into her mouth and then slipped a couple of lions and tigers into the dog’s awaiting mouth.

There is nothing more rewarding than destroying your enemies with a couple of chews and a swallow. If only life could be so easy.

Buy links

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Judy Ann Davis began her career in writing as a copy and continuity writer for radio and television in Scranton, PA. Throughout her career, she has written for both industry and education.

Over a dozen of her short stories have appeared in anthologies, and literary and small magazines, and have received numerous awards. Nineteen of them are now collected in UP ON THE ROOF AND OTHER STORIES.

Her first novel, RED FOX WOMAN, published in 2010, is a western, mystery, and romance and was a finalist in the International Book Awards and USA Book News Best Book Awards. Its stand-alone sequel, UNDER STARRY SKIES, was released earlier this year.

When Judy Ann is not behind her computer, you can find her looking for anything humorous to make her laugh or swinging a golf club where the chuckles are few. She is a member of Pennwriters, Inc. and Romance Writers of America. She lives in Central Pennsylvania.

Visit her on the web at these locations:




Twitter: @JudyAnnDavis4


Judy Ann will be awarding a $25 Amazon Email Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 23, 2014

'Five Years: The Meeting' by Leonard Belmont


Do you remember when you knew you were falling in love?

Do you recall the thoughts, feeling and emotions you experienced when falling in love?

We have all read or hear love stories at one point or another, but this love is story is very different.

In this five part star-crossed love story, author Leonard Belmont takes us on an emotional journey with his automatic writings of the life of a young couple from the moment they laid eyes on each other.

About the author:
Leonard Belmont is a Montreal-based writer who enjoys the little things that life has to offer. He first began writing as a way to explore both himself and the world around him. This exploration led to a spiritual journey of discovery.

A parapsychologic writer, Leonard Belmont seeks truth through automatic writing, a process where he lets his inner-most thoughts and ideas flow onto the paper without conscious critique. This autopilot exploration unearths the unconscious secrets our spiritual self keeps from our conscious, critical self.

With his background in psychology and sociology, Leonard has a unique perspective on both himself and his fellow man. In his writings he ponders the feelings and emotions that people experience each day. From love and passion to guilt and melancholy, he seeks to understand the relationship people have with each other and with Mother Nature herself. When Leonard isn't writing, he enjoys nature and the sensory joys of the world. He has traveled throughout Asia and Europe to experience the natural and spiritual gifts different cultures offer. He loves photography and often takes pictures of nature's seasons and the monuments created by mankind.

You can read more about Leonard at his website: and discover for yourself the importance of spiritual self reflection and parapsychology through his works.

Find him on Twitter: @Leonard_Belmont

'Splitting Karma' by Lashanta Charles

Women's Fiction
Date Published: October 21, 2014

Taylor Williams didn't grow up with the loving parents, white picket fence, and a dog. She’s struggled to get where she is and knows that with all she's endured, life can only get better. At 28 years old, she hails as one of the country's top divorce lawyers and is ready to slow down and start a family with her husband. The only problem is he shuts her out and has treated her like everything but a wife since the night he came across her and his boss in a compromising situation. In spite of her innocence, she's determined to make it up to him.

Isaac Warren is bad business; the kind of bad business that requires focus and determination in order to stay alive. It’s also the kind that caused him to shut himself off from serious relationships after the brutal murder of his fiancĂ© three years ago. Now his cold exterior keeps him at bay from everyone except those he considers family and right now that list doesn't have room for anything more than the occasional tryst and nothing more, especially not with the highly acclaimed lawyer he's accidentally stumbled upon.

*This novel is only recommended for readers 17 and older*

Read an excerpt:

My eyes flew open as I quickly sat up in the bed. What was that noise, a door slamming? I scanned the dark bedroom and waited for another sound. The voice I heard shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did.
“Where the hell is my dinner?” Aaron’s voice boomed through the house.
I scrambled from the bed, falling to the floor, my feet tangled in a mess of sheets and blankets. Ignoring the pain in my wrist and hip from my ungraceful fall, I slipped my robe on and practically ran down the flight of stairs.
“Taylor, get your ass down here! A good wife wouldn’t let her husband go hungry!”
I spotted him standing in front of the open refrigerator, his back to me. Without a word I made my way to the oven where his food was already fixed and waiting. I could feel his eyes on me, tracking my every movement as I slipped in front of him and grabbed a beer from the fridge. I refused to meet his eyes. Instead I stole a glance at the time on the microwave. It was a quarter past three. Working late again, huh? “I made you shrimp carbonara. I hope you like it,” I said as I placed the beer and food on the island in the center of the kitchen. Finally meeting his eyes, I pulled the stool out for him. He said nothing, simply stared at me. My heart pounded in my chest. Why wasn’t he responding? “I kept it warm for you,” I said as I closed the refrigerator and took his hand. Without protest, he let me guide him to his seat. I tried to give him a quick peck on his lips, but he turned his head away. A smirk played at the corner of his lip. My lips settled for his cheek and I stepped back. “How was your day?” I asked.
“I want to take a shower when I’m done eating,” he replied.
And just like that, I was dismissed. I took my time going upstairs, hoping he’d call me back. I could at least get a hug, right? I knew that would never happen, but that didn’t stop me from lingering on the stairs. The only sound that came from his direction was the fork as it scraped the plate and the occasional soft thud from him placing his beer bottle on the counter after he sipped. By the time he made it to our bedroom I had a fresh pair of boxers and pajama bottoms laid out for him and the shower was the perfect temperature. He undressed as he made his way past me in silence. I quickly scooped up the trail of clothes he left in his wake. While he showered I tossed his towel into the dryer, so that it’d be warm for him when he used it.
“Dinner was actually very good. I’m impressed,” he said when he finally emerged from the bathroom.
“Thank you. I’m glad you liked it.” I tried not to be, but I was mesmerized by his body. At 32 years old, he looked just as good as he did when we first met and he was only 25. His smooth, brown skin pulled tight against muscles that teased me with their presence. Not big and bulky, but just right for his 6’ 4” frame. His wavy hair was always kept cut low, cropped close to his head. Beautiful brown eyes stared back at me from behind dark lashes. If he’d smile - which I knew he wouldn’t - I’d see perfect teeth lined up behind those thick lips. He glanced at the boxers on the bed then smiled smugly as I gave them to him. I snapped my mouth shut, realizing he knew I was admiring him.
“Take that off,” he commanded.
I glanced down at the nightie I wore under my robe then back at him. My confusion allowed him a moment of amusement. With that same smug smile locked in place, he removed the towel that hung loosely from his waist.
“Your turn,” he challenged.
My heartbeat picked up its pace again as I hesitantly removed my clothes. He closed the gap between us and let his fingertips skim across my chest. I fought the urge to touch him, while silently begging him to touch me more. I hoped against all odds that this wasn’t as far as he would go. He hadn’t made love to me in months. He still blamed me for his embarrassment. He blamed me for his boss’s actions. My only crime was accompanying my husband to his firm’s annual charity banquet in the evening gown that he picked out for me. I looked beautiful in it. It gave me curves where I knew I had little to none. It gave me a confidence boost that I knew I didn’t even need. Well, at least not at that time. Right now a confidence boost would be greatly appreciated. When Aaron’s boss, Bryan, told me he wanted me to help him with some of the evening’s presentations, I was flattered and honored. I agreed to retrieve the notes for a speech he had forgotten in his office, but when I got there he cornered me and tried to kiss me. I’d never been in a situation like that, so I had no idea what to do. When I pushed him away and slapped him, he came back even stronger. My body froze in fear as his hands gripped every part of me that he could touch. When he tried to force his tongue into my mouth I bit him. He laughed and went for my neck. Over his shoulder I saw Aaron and the two other partners from the firm standing in the doorway. One of the other partners, Kaleb, asked what was going on. I tried to tell them he attacked me, but he assured them it was just an innocent hug. He said I’d had a little too much wine – I only had one glass and I didn’t even get to finish it - and he’d caught me when I tripped. A hug was my way of thanking him. Aaron hadn’t said a thing. He only stared at me, rage carefully concealed within his gaze. Of course he hadn’t said anything. He was up for a promotion to become a partner at the firm; his lifelong dream. He’d given Bryan and the others a tight smile before reaching for my hand and telling them he had to take his drunken wife home. That was six months ago…six long and lonely months.
“I can’t even make love to you anymore,” Aaron whispered as he slipped an arm around my waist, pulling me closer him, my body flush against his. The erection that should have been pressing against me was nowhere to be found. For Christ’s sake, we’re both naked!
“Aaron, please? You can.” My pleas fell on deaf ears. He let me go and slipped his boxers on.
“Wake me up at seven,” he said as he climbs into our bed.
“You know I didn’t betray you, Aaron.”
“Taylor, I’m going to sleep. I have a long day ahead of me.”
“Aaron, please? Just talk to me. I didn’t do anything wrong. You can’t keep shutting me out like this,” I pleaded. I was innocent. I was there for him. I was put into that situation because of him. I’m his wife. He was supposed to protect me. It didn’t matter if his career was on the line. His marriage should have been his priority. I should have been his main concern. Instead he blamed me. He told me I was lying; Bryan would never do anything like that. Instead of protecting me when I needed him, he turned his back on me and made me out to be the culprit. I didn’t think I would survive that. I still don’t think I will. “Aaron?” Silence was my companion.
The promotion decision wasn’t supposed to be made until two months later, but the partners announced Aaron as the recipient that following Monday. I pushed my feelings aside and became the supportive spouse; celebrations and lavish outings with my husband and the man who attacked me. Posing for pictures, being nice, and accepting keep quiet gifts like the perfect little wife. Aaron had shunned me since then. I made it my mission to get him to forgive me, but it still hadn’t happened. Six months is a long time to bear the burden of an act you didn’t commit. I put my nightie back on and climbed into bed. Although I longed for it, sleep abandoned me.

About the Author:

LaShanta Charles was born and raised in the small town of Orangeburg, SC. She has always been an avid reader of all genres, but Urban / African American Fiction has always been her true love and is what inspired her to pursue a writing career. In high school, she began letting her classmates read the short stories that she would write and based off of their feedback, her passion for writing pushed her to become a published author. She published her debut novel, Lovely Lies, in 2013 and released the sequel, Lovely Lies 2, in February 2014. Currently she is preparing to release her third novel, Splitting Karma, along with other projects. In recognition of her work, LaShanta was named National Black Book Festival's 2013 Best New Author and was nominated for 2013 Breakout Author of the Year through the African American Literary Awards Show. Lovely Lies was also awarded Most Underrated Book of 2013 for the Literary Scream Awards.

She lives in Killeen, TX, with her husband and two children. She is pursuing a degree in English at Drury University and also serving in the US Army. Her hobbies include spending time with family, traveling, eating, and of course, writing. Her motto is “strive to excel, not to equal.”

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