Wake Up Call

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Book Title: Wake-Up Call
Author: Amy Avanzino
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

Goodreads

book blurb

Sarah Winslow wakes up with a terrible hangover…and a kid in her boyfriend’s bed. She makes the horrifying discovery that, due to a head injury, it’s not a hangover. She’s got memory loss. Overnight, five years have disappeared, and she’s no longer the hard-living, fast-track, ad executive party girl she thinks she is. Now, she’s the unemployed, pudgy, married, stay-at-home-mom of three kids under five, including twins.

As she slowly pieces together the mystery of how her dreams and aspirations could have disintegrated so completely in five short years, she finds herself utterly failing to manage this life she can’t imagine choosing. When Sarah meets the man of her dreams, she realizes she’s got to make a choice: Does she follow her bliss and “do-over” her life? Or does the Sarah she’s forgotten hold the answers to how she got here…and how she can stay?

excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

The moment I wake up I know I’m in trouble. I try and caution a peek at my surroundings but I can’t get my eyes to focus. I feel nauseous. I finally manage to make out an image of a massive lump beneath the covers beside me. It rises and falls with alternate motion in rhythm to a rumbling snore, which only intensifies the loud thumping in my head. I soon realize, with a sinking heart, that the man in bed with me is too large and unruly to be my boyfriend.

What have I done?

I become lightheaded with the thought of myself as a cheater. My stomach turns and I think I’m going to be sick. I take in a few short breaths and try and collect my thoughts. What happened to me? How did I get here? Why would I do this when I have a man with defined abs and the sex drive of a man at sea?

I must have had too much to drink last night because my memory is so fuzzy. I can’t seem to remember anything.

It doesn’t matter. Kofi will never forgive me and I couldn’t ask him to. My eyes well up and my chest feels clinched while thinking about all the things I’m going to miss about him. The way he looks at me when I enter a room. His ambition and how he inspires me to work harder and be a better person. He has this sarcastic sense of humor, I often don’t understand, but he accompanies it with a laugh that’s quiet and contagious, like a yawn. I miss him already.

I need to get out of here. I want to get up but my head is too heavy to lift and moving makes my head pound harder. I have a charley horse in my neck and a shooting pain in my eye. This is the worst hangover ever.

I mine for deeper reserves of strength and roll myself off the bed and hit the floor with a thud. Through scrunched up eyelids I look around for my belongings but I can’t seem to find any of my things. Where’s my bag, my shoes, my clothes?

A twinge of guilt trickles down my spine as I borrow a shapeless shirt and sweat pants from the floor. I pause for the poor girl who owns these garments. Not only did I sleep with her big fat man last night, but worse, her personal taste is appalling. She has enigmatic style and is awfully un-savvy. Because her clothes identify her as a husky woman, I best move fast before she returns. I’m quite certain she can kick my skinny ass. Although my Tae Bo keeps me perfectly toned, I fear the heavily practiced jabs, punches and sidekicks have little street use.

I look for the emergency exit and can’t help but take in this distasteful environment. I’m surrounded by a terribly decorated room with cheap imitation Anne Geddes baby photos and mismatched furniture. I’ve seen garage sales with better interior design elements.

I creep to the door and twist my ankle on an oversized Lego. I tumble to my knees and mime a silent scream. Now eye level to the carpet, I’m better able to survey the final course of my escape route. I stay low and slither across the floor, appreciating the breathable fabric and freedom of movement of the clothes on loan.

Once I make it past the threshold of the bedroom, I’m faced with a mine field of toys planted in the hallway, obstructing my passage to the outside world. I trip over a stuffed dinosaur and he screams and then there’s silence…the snoring has ceased. As this could further complicate my departure, I begin my high-speed pursuit towards the front door forgoing all thought of injuries and hangover.

“Sarah?” says a recognizable voice.

I cock my ear at the door. “Kofi?”

“Where you going babe?”

I weave my way back through the house to my boyfriend.

“Where are we?” I breathe a heavy sigh when my eyes meet his.

Kofi has intense smoldering charcoal eyes and behind them there is a light that sparkles whenever he is excited. He’s got impeccable lustrous ebony skin, exotic full kissable lips, and high cheekbones – a fascinating combination resulting from his African American-Cherokee heritage. When standing he is nearly six-feet-tall, with a v-shaped torso and he oozes with unadulterated, uncontrived maleness. But in spite of his appearance, he has this cool confidence that’s devoid of arrogance. In fact he is so smooth that the Isaac Hayes’ theme song for Shaft plays in my mind whenever I watch him from across a room.

My heart is dancing inside my chest, thrilled I haven’t ruined the opportunity to see where this relationship will go. I want to leap into bed with him, pin him down, and smother him with kisses, but I’m still feeling off balance. Instead I rest my shoulder against the door frame for support.

Kofi, moving sluggishly, sits up. I watch him closely and notice I can’t hear the music playing in my head, instead I hear my brain beating against my skull. My eyes still zooming in and out of focus. “Where are your braids?”

Kofi jerks his head up. “What do you mean?” and talks in a loud whisper.

Kofi once described his hair as an expression of originality but it is now something approaching respectability and uniformity. “You look like a Marine and yesterday you looked like K-Fed.”

After a pause, he says, “huh?” sounding perplexed.

“You know K-Fed, a.k.a Kevin Federline, a.k.a Mr. Britney Spears,” and if he didn’t get those references I add, “a.k.a the next Eminem.”

Kofi looks at me with an expression curiously akin to confusion.

“Why did you shave off the cornrows? A buzz makes you look so…” I trail off, unable to think of a single word other than fat. Then old comes to mind. I finally arrive at “different. You look so different,” I say, wincing on his behalf.

Before Kofi can answer, the covers start rustling and out pops a child rubbing his eyes.

“What is that?” I scream and point at the boy. “Why? Why?” is all I am able to say.

“He had a nightmare.” Kofi exaggerates a long drawn out yawn and stretches out his lengthy arms.

“Huh? What?”

“Mama, what’s wrong?” says the boy in the bed in a tiny, weary voice.

“Kid I’m not your mom,” I say, followed by an uncomfortable chuckle. I share a look with Kofi and gesture towards the door. “I’m going home.”

“Very funny Sarah, but I don’t have time for this.” Kofi digs into the corner of his eyes with his fingers. “I have to be at work, I’m in trouble enough as it is.”

The boy turns to Kofi and asks, “Daddy, why’s mama acting weird?”

“Daddy? Daddy! You have a kid? Shit Kofi, you never told me you have a kid.” I study the child closely, there’s no denying the resemblance. He’s but a miniature clone of Kofi, with lighter skin and one third his stature and both are sitting cross-legged, with heads tilted slightly to the left, the same single eye brow raised, and both now pouting petulantly.

I retreat into the hallway and try and slow down my thoughts that are running circles through my mind. Where am I? How did I get here? Why does this kid think I’m his mom? And why is Kofi looking at me as if I’m crazy?

“What’s shit?” the child asks.

“Oh sorry kid, I mean…” I search for a more child-friendly vocabulary and come up with nothing. I just look at the boy blankly as he looks back with wide saucer eyes. The silence stretches too long and my nerves burst with a bang. “Shit,” I repeat -I can’t help myself.

Kofi’s expression goes instantly very angry. “Sarah, what the heck is wrong with you?” he grumbles.

“Me? What the heck is wrong with you? I didn’t know you had a kid. You somehow breezed over that topic in the six months we’ve been together.” The last thing I want to be is some poor, confused kid’s step-mom. “I didn’t sign on for this! Where’s my stuff?” I stalk back and forth like a caged animal searching for an escape route. “I want to get out of here.”

“Okay. Ha-ha, you’re funny. I never told you I have a kid.” Kofi and the child exchange puzzled looks.

“Whatever. Let’s talk about this later. I can’t deal with it now. God, my head is killing me,” I tell him. “I have the worst hangover and I think I’m going to throw up.”

“Hangover?” Kofi draws back sharply. “Babe,” he squints his eyes slightly as he surveys me, “maybe you should get back into bed?”

“With the young boy…that’s illegal,” I say, avoiding eye contact with the child. “Can you just take me home?”

“Sarah,” Kofi says in a slow, clear, soothing way; a tone I imagine a pre-school teacher would use or maybe a psychotherapist. “Are you okay?”

“What do you think? I just found out my boyfriend has a kid. I’m in some dreadful house and God only knows where the Excedrin is. I’m probably wearing your baby’s mama’s clothes.” I breathe in deeply, the smell is repugnant and triggers my gag reflex.

Kofi gets out of the bed and approaches me slowly. He’s wearing boxers and T-shirt advertising Jones BBQ. I scrutinize his appearance for a moment and perceive a change, but my eyes feel like they’re burning behind my head. I squeeze them shut.

“Actually, don’t even bother getting up Kofi. I’ll bus back to my apartment.”

Kofi walks toward me looking troubled. “Oh babe,” he nervously shifts his eyes and says, “Babe, can you…can you…” then he stops, looks at his…son, raises his voice an octave. “Sweetness, why don’t you go use the potty and give us a minute.”

The boy jumps several times across the bed, as though on a trampoline and then darts out of the room.

Kofi turns back to me and his stutter returns. He finally manages to spit out, “Can you tell me what you did yesterday?”

The only thing I know for sure is how brutal this headache is and it seems to be crippling my thoughts.

I attempt to reconstruct the events of last night’s drunken debauchery. I try to concentrate as hard as I can. Desperately searching for the memory, much like trying to remember a dream the morning after. “I…um…oh yeah, I interviewed for that promotion I’ve been talking about for weeks, which went really well by the way. I’m pretty sure I got it.” I stop, think harder. “And then I met up with the girls for happy hour, like every other Friday for the past three years.”

Kofi’s mouth falls open.

I think back on the night, but nothing jumps out as odd: the drinks went down in the usual way. My girlfriends and I covered the typical topics: men, fashion, office gossip and celebrity current events. When the spirits took over us, we took over the dance floor. I remember Jo-Jo dancing to a seven count rather than the conventional eight and Piper’s good judgment was lost somewhere between the funky chicken and the robot. Celia was jiving and using her hand as a microphone, lip-syncing with the house band. It appears in my recall, however, that I was an expert dancer.

I shrug my shoulders. “I must’ve blacked out after that because I don’t remember coming here.”

Kofi stares at me hard. “Babe, are you serious?”

“Yelling isn’t helping Kofi.”

“I’m not yelling,” Kofi says and looks me firmly in the eyes. “I think…we have a problem. Nico told me you fell when riding his skateboard yesterday and you hit your head, maybe you…” his voice trails off.

Instinctually, I put my hand up to my head and I cringe at the touch. “Ow!” I call out. There’s a bump the size of a golf ball. It feels sore and tender and its throbbing like it has its own heart beat.

“Nico? You mean grandpa? He just got a hip replacement…he can’t even Bocce Ball anymore.”

“You haven’t been to a happy hour in, well, forever.” Kofi speaks slowly and maybe even a little sadly. “Last night we watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on DVD and we were in bed by 9:00.”

“Wait a minute…this is a prank.” This must be another one of Kofi’s jokes, although I’m not really sure how it’s funny. “You totally had me going for a second. Bravo.” I applaud his originality, creating his own Harry Potter title, Deathly Hallows, that’s detailed. “Where’d you get the kid? He’s a good little actor…did you rent him? Did you drug me to get me here? That’s a little bit excessive, but man, you really got me. I almost believed you.”

I wait for him to break into laughter and then deliver some punch-line, but instead he holds a poker face for an unbearably long time.

Kofi rubs his forehead as though trying to gather his thoughts. “I’m going to call the doctor Sarah,” he says and before I can respond, the kid has returned from the bathroom. Kofi bends down to meet him. “Stay with her. I’ll be right back.”

Kofi grabs a navy fuzzy robe from the back of the bathroom door, leaving its matching baby blue one behind. He slips into a pair of house shoes from the foot of the bed then hustles out of the room, leaving the child and me behind.

I flash the youngster a nervous semi-smile. He’s an attractive kid. He has large, soft, dark chocolate eyes, shapely nose, perfect lips, charming grin and a skin tone I’d risk skin cancer for. He has wild, brownish hair that’s styled in a three-inch, loose-curl afro. He’s smallish, as a child should be I suppose, but he has the build of a bulldog; broad shouldered and solid frame. He looks like my sister’s kid, but I guess all kids look alike.

I open dialogue hesitantly with, “Hi”. He begins to speak a dialect unfamiliar to me. And wow, does he speak: he goes on and on and I haven’t a clue what he’s talking about. He’s using up all the oxygen in the room, and I feel like I’m suffocating. I begin side stepping my way to the door. I’m hoping he won’t notice if I duck out, but he watches me like a hawk. I try zigzagging and weaving, but he won’t get off my tail. It’s like being chased by a mugger in a dark alley.

Kofi, still on the phone, is pacing back and forth, in and out of the kitchen. He yells into the receiver, “Yes, I understand we don’t have an appointment…No, we don’t want to see another doctor…I don’t care that he’s not on-call, this is an emergency….If you can’t make this happen, put someone on the phone who can.”

When I look down at the kid, he’s still talking. I try to politely excuse myself. “Kid,” I say, “I don’t know what a wocketchip is, and I need to go tinkle…okay?”

“Okay. A wocketchip is…” and he continues talking, unbothered by my lack of interest. Thank God my ears are ringing to drown out some of his noise. He follows me right into the bathroom, stubbornly determined to invade my personal boundaries.

Then Kofi storms into the bathroom- even though, and I can’t stress this enough, I told him I was busy inside. “Blue’s Clues is on,” Kofi says and without another word, the young boy whirls out of the room, not unlike a miniature tornado.

Kofi approaches me slowly. He kisses me gently on the cheek, despite the fact he hasn’t brushed and his scent is musty.

“The doctor wants us to come in right away. He’s worried you may have a concussion or something.”

“Don’t be silly. I don’t need a doctor. What I need is a Bloody Mary. Will you make me one?”

“Um,” Kofi utters, fumbling for the words. He slowly lifts his eyes to meet mine. He looks weird. I squint at him and study him. I notice the deep set lines. His hair is cropped short, peppered gray amongst the jet blackness of the rest of it. His stomach is…round.

I wonder if I’m dreaming. Am I still drunk?

“Maybe you should sit down.”

“What’s going on Kofi?”

“Well, I’m not sure how to start actually.” He takes a deep breath and composes himself. “You know that interview you were talking about?”

I nod firmly.

“That was at least five years ago.” He pauses to let it sink in.

I look up briefly and rub my eyes. What did he just say? There is no way he just said that was five yearsago.

He adds in a no-nonsense tone. “Nico’s our son.”

“What?! You’re trying to tell me that I’m a…a…” I can’t even say it. I notice my knees shaking ever so slightly. Kofi tries to slide his arm through mine but I pull away.

“Yes, you’re a mom and we’re married and this is our home.”

I feel hot on the inside, and itchy, and a little bit queasy. I try and speak but the lump in my throat won’t budge. I need a few moments to take all this in. I take a few steps back and lean against the wall and start looking around the room at the graffiti walls, the laminate flooring, the dirty counter tops and then begin to panic.

“You don’t work in advertising anymore,” Kofi continues, “you work full time at home, you’re a stay-at-home-mom.”

I freeze. Time seems to slow down to a crawl. Is this what the deer-in-headlights, who we hear so much about, experience right before the 18 wheeler smacks it head-on?

“You’re not kidding?” I ask nervously.

Kofi fixes his eyes to mine and shakes his head very slowly. He puts my hand inside of his and says, “It’s going to be okay.”

I can’t believe this is happening. I was finally moving up the ladder. When I began my career in advertising my 5×5 cubicle was blocking the elevator and in four short years I’d moved to three cubes away from the office that had a window. I was so close. I could finally see success. All that shit work I put into advancing my career. The late nights, working weekends, the years of school, was for nothing. This is just my luck.

“So I’m not twenty-eight anymore?”

“You’re thirty-three.”

I react to the news physically, with a flinch. Thirty-three is practically mid-thirties, that’s almost forty, which means…I’m old. Oh God, no!

“Oh, and your grandpa’s dead too; sorry,” Kofi adds, cautiously awaiting my next move. He’s following me closely with his eyes as I shift my weight, so that I can peer into the mirror behind him.

I look at the stranger in the reflection and I don’t know who I see, but she looks as surprised to see me as I am too see her. I spin around a little, slowly, and she does the same. I approach the mirror and with every step the reflection gets bigger and bigger and fatter. My voice is shaking now. “What’s going on? What…what…. happened to me?”

Kofi explains again more slowly and enunciating his words judiciously. “I don’t know exactly, I was at work, but according to Nico you were attempting an ollie off his skateboard and you fell back and hit your head on the curb. You weren’t wearing a helmet, but I thought you were okay…there was no blood and last night you seemed fine….maybe a little shaken up…maybe a little tired, but you’re pretty much always tired, so…” The color from his face begins to fade as the memory cascades over him. “Oh God, now that I think about it, you were acting strange. You put Nico’s Transformer back-pack on and said you were going to school. I thought you were just fooling around…it was really funny.” He puts both hands up to his head. “Jesus, I laughed.” His expression looks about to crumple. “I’m so sorry Sarah, I feel terrible…” his voice trails off.

Truthfully I’m not really listening. I’m still staring at myself in the mirror, while my fingers trace the fine lines that crowd my mouth. “No. No. Why do I look like this?” My eyes have sunken; my roots now freckled with gray and at least an inch thick above the rest of my wild ash-blond mane. How could so much damage happen in five years? I’ve aged at least a decade. “You’re right I should probably sit down. I’m so pale. I look faint.”

“Actually, you look…normal.”

I feel tears build behind my eyes. I start blinking hard, refusing to cry, refusing to believe that this is actually happening.

“I have the arms of a linebacker, my thighs are fuller and my boobs,” I say, grabbing my breasts and lifting them up and down, like I’m doing arm curls with them. “They’d definitely fail the Pencil Test.”

“Pencil Test?”

“The Pencil Test. If you can tuck a pencil under your breasts, they’re saggy. If you can tuck the entire back-to-school supply box under them, you have mine!”

He scratches his head. “I love your shape,” he says, thankfully convincingly.

“Then you must like circles!” My cheeks feel swollen, my legs feel like jelly and I’m feeling myself wobbling on the edge of hysteria. “What’s happened to me? This makes no sense. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe!”

“Relax,” he advises. “We’ll get this all straightened out at the doctor. It will be okay. Everything is going to be okay,” he says almost to himself.

I inhale deeply through my nose, then open my lips and make an om sound as I exhale, trying to find my center.

“Right now you just need to get dressed so we aren’t late for our appointment.”

“Are you out of your mind?” I say, unnerved. “There’s no way I’m leaving this house looking like this. I haven’t even showered.”

Kofi blinks, taken aback. “That’s crazy talk. This is really serious.”

“Well so is hygiene,” I point out.

“Please,” Kofi struggles to keep his voice calm, “let’s just go and you can take a bath when we get home.”

“Ew, I am not leaving this house without a shower.” I put my unpedicured foot down.

“Fine, I need to make a few phone calls anyway.” Kofi throws up his arms. “But hurry.”

When Kofi leaves, I take off my clothes and against my better judgment I take a look. It’s worse than I’d expected. My stomach looks like a walnut shell. I have a muffin top without pants on and even my hair looks fat. I’m dumbfounded. I always valued beauty and grooming. I love working out and being unemployed, I imagine that I have time in spades to do so. What else do I have to do, for Christ sakes?

I stand in the shower and let the water pour down my face, as I try to piece together the mystery of how my dreams and aspirations could have disintegrated so completely. But my eyelids are feeling heavy again. My head’s spinning and banging, like having shoes in the dryer. I can’t think.

“You okay babe?” Kofi watches me through the clear shower door, which is just another design flaw of this house.

“I’m fine.” This is a lie. I’m freaking out.

“You need to speed things up. Our appointment’s at 8:00 and it’s almost 7:00.”

I sputter through the water, annoyed, “I only have an hour to get ready?”

“No, we have to be there in an hour. So you have about fifteen minutes,” he yells over the shower stream.

“Sorry, no can do. I’m in need of a deep conditioning. And I mean deep.” I’m hoping against all hope that that’s all it takes to get me back to some semblance of normalcy. “We’ll just taxi.”

“Actually, we have to drive. We live in the foothills, about twenty miles east of Seattle.” I mentally zoom in on the word “foothills”. What he really means is, we live in a damned suburb.

I lean my head into the water stream that won’t get hotter than warm and look down for my hair products and only see one bottle, Pert Plus 2 in 1, shampoo and conditioner. So this is what it’s come to. I lather and spread the soap. My skin moves with the wash cloth. I have an eight inch scar beneath my belly and below that I’ve gone savage.

By the time Kofi returns, again he enters without knocking or announcing himself. I’m perched on top of the bathroom counter doing extensive damage control: the makeup bag that I managed to dig out from underneath the sink has vomited its contents all over the place. I apply a generous amount of make-up and pull my hair back in a perfectly parted, elegant twist, at the nape of my neck. Although it makes me look like a pudgy ballerina, it’s better than a disheveled housewife.

Kofi grabs a shirt and pants from the top of one of the clothes piles, sniffs them, and then puts them on. He pats his pockets and discovers his phone and wallet. His eyes grow bigger when he notices me. “You’re not even dressed yet?” He begins to pace about the way he does when he’s nervous. “Your friend’s coming over and she’ll be here any minute. You should be ready by now.”

“Who’s coming Piper or Jo-Jo? I know you wouldn’t call Celia. I couldn’t handle her honesty right now anyway.”

“I called Elaine. She’s very concerned about you and is on her way over.”

“Who?”

“Our neighbor.” He slips his feet in his shoes without unlacing them. “You don’t really talk to those other girls much anymore.”

“It’s because we don’t get reception in the burbs, isn’t it?” Something squeezes hard in my chest. “Oh God, you moved me to a place that’s out of network.”

“Babe, I know this is a lot to take in, but maybe we can get more answers from the doctor.”

The doorbell rings.

“Let’s go,” Kofi says, “I know Elaine really wants to see you. She’s really worried about you.”

“Send her away,” I say, trying to summon some composure. “I’m not ready to meet anyone right now.”

“You’re not meeting, you’re great friends.” He rubs his face hopelessly then says, “That’s right, you don’t know that because you don’t remember. Well,” he speaks quickly, “she offered to babysit while we’re at the doctor, so she’s staying. I’ll just ask her to stay with Nico in the kitchen while we sneak out.” Kofi moves across the room at a pace four times that of mine. “Can you please hurry up and get dressed?”

I roll my eyes to mean, whatever, and he leaves with a loud sigh.

The sounds of Kofi and a chirpy, disembodied voice head down the hall toward the kitchen.

Now according to my lingerie drawer, I’ve given up on sexy. All undergarments are functional and supportive, meant to stay concealed and not revealed. My panties are white and made of cotton and –oh God!- they’re tall. Why, why? My brassieres are built with technological and scientific sophistication. They cover my entire chest, with three inch straps and needing a five clasp panel system in the rear. I then origami my breasts to get them in my bra.

Everything in “my” closet is casual, conservative and machine washable. I’m completely underwhelmed by my options and trying to put something acceptable together with what I have is like my own Project Runway challenge. I pick out a shirt that has a pattern that gives me vertigo and hope since it’s been at least five years that poly-cotton blends are just a bad trend like the visible g-string or holey jeans. I reluctantly pull on a pair of high waist jeans. I lace up my shoes and then admire the finished product. I do my signature runway walk to a half length mirror and hit my pose, but instead of looking fierce, I look healthy, plump, and jolly.

Kofi puts his head in around the door. Can’t he knock?

“Ready?” he asks, looking at the woman in the mirror, who vaguely resembles the woman he dated five years ago. “Babe, you know we’re just going to the hospital right?”

“What do you mean?”

“You look…” he stops, then starts again, “glamorous…like you’re getting ready for the theater and not a doctor’s appointment.”

I give a few twirls and wonder what Kofi’s complimenting. I have always appreciated his trustworthiness and candor, but my suspicions are now raised to his sincerity.

Kofi grabs my arm. “Come on. We have to get out of here before Nico catches wind that we’re leaving.” I hear urgency in his voice. “Let’s go quietly. And don’t step there,” he points to a spot on the floor. “That board’s loose.” Kofi moves like a ninja but I walk with a heavy foot on a rubber sole. “Shhh, tiptoe,” but it’s too late.

I hear the frantic pitter patter of running feet before an advancing blur attacks me from down below. The next thing I know the little boy, “Nico” I presume. He has his legs wrapped, then locked, around my midsection. He’s squeezing the breath out of me and I’m unable to withstand the weight of his forty plus pound frame. I begin to crumble, hitting the floor. My foundation is smudged almost instantly and my hair comes undone.

“Help me,” I say with my last breath, “I think he’s trying to kill me.”

Nearly blacking out but revived by his high pitched piercing scream, “Don’t go!” The kid is covered in tears and getting slobber on my hair and neck. Then he plants his face into my shirt and wipes it across the front, leaving a snot streak. I’m appalled that I was just used as a tissue. “Mama, don’t leave!”

I don’t know who this mama person is, but I run for the exit. I reach for the door handle, that much closer to freedom, when I hear something, like an echo. It’s coming from the back of the house, and the sound is suspiciously familiar.

“What’s that noise?” I gasp. “Oh no. Do I also have a baby?”

“No,” Kofi replies, frantically pushing me towards the door.

“Oh, thank God. I just couldn’t handle that right now.” I’ve got one foot out the door. I can almost taste the escape.

“We have two.”

praise

“Funny yet tender…witty and charming…a reminder of the things that really matter in life.” – Jackie Bouchard, USA Today Bestselling Author of What the Dog Ate

“A sparkling debut novel brimming with heart and hilarity.” – Karin Gillespie, National Bestselling Author of Girl Meet Class

“With a marvelously snarky, sarcastic wit and a formidably flawed heroine, Wake-Up Call is frequently laugh-out-loud—and hard to put down.” – Phoebe Fox, Author of The Breakup Doctor Series and Huffington Post Contributor

“I laughed through every page…I never wanted to put it down…hilarious.” – Holly Rust, Co-Founder of Mother’s Guide to Sanity and Contributing Author of It’s Really 10 Months: Special Delivery

One of the best I have read this year… a great read especially if you are feeling the strain of raising small children and you are dreaming about the greener grass in someone else’s yard.” – A Novel Mama

“A sarcastic, snarky, funny look at life and all the things we never knew we really wanted.” – The Books Lover’s Best Friend

“Hilariously funny…endearing and heartfelt.” – Library Thing

“Thought-provoking…relatable…loved.” – Tara Wilson, Co-Author of Martinis & Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe & WTF?!

“A lighthearted read, with lots of love, hilarity, some sexiness and definitely a good time.” – Comfy Reading

“Fresh, funny, and compulsively readable. I loved it!”– Kati Merritt Radziwon, Founder of OneMomADay.com

“I love everything about Avanzino’s writing; it’s witty, true and extremely smart. She is awesome at creating hilarious dialogue and her characterization is also spot on. I love how she has taken a run-of-the-mill suburban street and plucked so many fascinating stories from amongst its residents” –Bookaholic Confessions

“Amy Avanzino has quickly developed a reputation for writing realistic characters and situations that truly touch the heart and inspire.” –BestChickLit.com

meet the author

Amy Avanzino received a Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and a Master’s from the University of Washington. She is a former special education teacher who has spent the last several years writing and doing extensive hands-on research for her Wake-Up Series, the first of which is Wake-Up Call. She’s a contributing writer of Hap Scotch, a play performed at the 2008 Frigid Festival in New York, which won two Audience Choice Awards. Amy currently lives in the stands above the football fields, basketball courts, and baseball diamonds around Folsom, California with her husband and four children.

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Rag Doll ~ Joe Cosentino ~ An Interview with Jana and Bove

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Murder, romance, and scandal on and off the set of Jana Lane’s new murder mystery television show. America’s most famous ex-child star Jana Lane is starring in The Detective’s Wife, a murder mystery television show in 1985. Guest starring on the show is Christa Bianca, a rags-to-riches ingénue who has flooded the entertainment press. Life imitates television as cast members are murdered, and once again it’s up to Jana, along with sexy ex-detective Chris Bove, to save the day before the lights fade to black.

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Interview with Jana Lane and Chris Bove from RAG DOLL, the fifth Jana Lane mystery

Interviewer: Welcome Jana Lane Otley and Christopher Bove from Joe Cosentino’s RAGDOLL, the fifth Jana Lane mystery.

Jana: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Bove: The muffins you gave us didn’t have enough blueberries or cinnamon in them.

Jana: Bove’s parents own a restaurant. He’s a bit food-obsessed.

Interviewer: I see. Since the readers can’t see you, tell us what you both look like.

Bove: Jana is gorgeous, petite, blonde hair, blue eyes, button nose, and a loving heart for everyone.

Jana: I’m blushing. Bove is tall, handsome, very muscular, with dark hair and very sexy eyes. He comes off a bit gruff, but he’s sweet as pie.

Bove: Speaking of pies—

Jana: Let’s move on with the interview.

Interviewer: Bove, you were also a professional football player, and when we first met you in SATIN DOLL, you were a detective in Washington, DC. It seems you are not only unlucky in solving crimes, Bove, but also unlucky with women.

Jana: Ask him about his ex-fiances.

Bove: Did you have to mention them?

Jana: Why not, Bove? Our lives are open books: SATIN DOLL and now RAG DOLL.

Bove: (sighs) Okay, my first fiancé left me at the altar—for my brother. The next one ditched me when she got busy with political life in DC.

Interviewer: Why do these women leave you, Bove?

Bove: The right woman for me is already taken. She’s a married actress.

Jana: That’s sweet, Bove.

Bove: It’s true. Ann-Margaret is incredibly hot.

Jana: Very funny.

Interviewer: But your last breakup was with Karen Evans, one of the suspects in RAGDOLL.

Jana: We should mention Karen is a dominatrix and involved with our director on The Detective’s Wife, Herm Fenton.

Bove: Thanks for mentioning that.

Jana: I’m always here to help you, Bove.

Interviewer: Tell us about RAGDOLL, your latest mystery, Jana, and why Bove is back joining you.

Jana: With the success of Miami Vice and Murder She Wrote, I was excited when my agent, Simon, told me I would be starring in a new television murder mystery series, The Detective’s Wife. It was quite a surprise when I found out Bove had become an actor and was playing my husband on the series.

Interviewer: And rags to riches ingénue Christa Bianca is the guest star for the pilot episode. Jana, you and Christa became fast friends, and wouldn’t you know, there was an attempt on Christa’s life. Before we knew it, murder ensued.

Jana: Christa’s past as a poor, small town girl who the other kids called, “Ragdoll,” touched my heart. I was incredibly concerned about Christa and those dear to her when it became clear there was a murderer on our set.

Bove: I can’t believe anyone works with this woman? She attracts murder like cookies to kids. Speaking of cookies—

Interviewer: Who are the suspects besides Karen, who covets Christa’s role, and Herm?

Jana: Christa’s agent, and her uncle who was also guest-starring on the episode.

Bove: And trying to hold on to Christa’s coattails when his career was in decline.

Jana: I’m impressed, Bove. An actor for a few weeks and you’ve already got claws.

Interviewer: Who else is suspect?

Jana: Andrew, Christa’s controlling manager/husband. And two couples playing bit roles who have a conflict with Christa and Andrew.

Bove: Don’t forget your son’s nanny and her boyfriend, our mysterious prop master with a secret.

Interviewer: Everyone seems to have a secret in RAG DOLL.

Bove: But Jana Lane exposes them like leftovers in the back of the refrigerator. Once again The Littlest Detective and School Spy used her knowledge from her movie roles as a kid and figured it all out in a nail-biting climax.

Jana: This one was quite difficult. The clues somehow didn’t add up, until the final reel.

Interviewer: Detective Rivera should give you a medal for solving all of these cases, Jana.

Bove: Or at least a little girl sheriff’s badge like Jana got in Sugar and Spice.

Jana: Funny, Bove.

Interviewer: For anyone who hasn’t been fortunate enough to read the other Jana Lane mysteries, tell us about America’s most famous ex-child star.

Jana: In PAPER DOLL at thirty-eight I live with my family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. My flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in my future. I venture back to Hollywood, which helps me uncover a web of secrets about everyone I love. I also embark on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of my old producer, Rocco Cavoto. In PORCELAIN DOLL, I make a comeback film and uncover who is being murdered on the set and why. My heart is set aflutter by my incredibly gorgeous co-star, America’s heartthrob Jason Apollo.

Bove: I’ll take the next one. In SATIN DOLL, Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a flirtation with me, the detective. Jana rubs elbows with senators on both sides of the aisle, a lobbyist, and a Washington reporter.

Jana: In CHINA DOLL, I head to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by my gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off.

Bove: I should have been in that one.

Jana: Sorry, Bove. Speak to Joe Cosentino.

Interviewer: In addition to making a terrific comeback and solving numerous murder mysteries, you seem to have a lot of flirtations with men, Jana.

Jana: Brian is the only man for me, but you can’t blame a girl for looking.

Interviewer: In addition to your loyal husband, Brian, your agent Simon has been by your side in each book.

Jana: Simon is amazingly resilient, old world Hollywood, incredibly funny, and totally loyal.

Interviewer: Now Simon is Bove’s agent too. How old is Simon Huckby?

Bove: Somewhere between senior citizen and rigor mortis.

Interviewer: How have the reviews been for the series so far?

Bove: Amazing. How else could they be with this woman as the focus?

Interviewer: Is Christa Bianca, the ingénue, based on any young successful actress past or present? How about Christa’s Uncle Nick, the aging character actor?

Jana: Christa is a beautiful, talented young woman who escapes her impoverished small town life and embarks on a successful film and television career. I’m sure there are many young actresses like her, past and present. In our youth-oriented society, there are also many aging character actors put out to pasture before their time. The interesting thing about Nicholas Hartford is how his niece looked up to him when she was a child, and now he looks up to her—hoping to ride on her coattails back to the top. I think we’ve seen that happen in a number of show business families.

Bove: Good thing we’re both still youthful and sexy.

Jana: No arguments there.

Interviewer: Jana, you are interviewed by a very funny, aging, gossipy female television interviewer in RAG DOLL. Is Harriet Hologram representative of Barbara Walters?

Jana: I believe there are many television reporters and interviewers who wield their power over celebrities. I see it as a love/hate relationship, where both interviewer and star need each other to promote their work and their careers. It’s a shame the process needs to be so hurtful. I believe that is stoked by many viewers’ interest in celebrities’ health crises, divorces, bad reviews, and other misfortunes.

Interviewer: And Jana opens the Jana Lane AIDS Foundation in this novel. Was that patterned after Elizabeth Taylor’s AIDS Foundation?

Bove: Though Jana Lane is quite different from Elizabeth Taylor, like the great actress and humanitarian of yore, Jana is one of the very few celebrities to pick up the banner and raise money for treatment and a cure while our government representatives ignore the crisis that affected millions of Americans.

Interviewer: And you both go through personal crises in the novel and support one another.

Bove: Always.

Jana: After all we’ve gone through together, we can be totally honest with one another. Ours is a great friendship.

Interviewer: In this novel you are again confronted by a character who uses his religious beliefs to attack the rights of others. Do you think Christians will be offended by your reaction to Andrew Bianca’s verbal attacks on your gay co-stars, Jana?

Jana: I sure hope not. I’m a Christian who prays and goes to church on Sundays.

Bove: Jana is a true Christian to me since she tries to love her neighbor as herself, not judge others, and help the downtrodden and outcasts. Jana would agree with me that freedom of religion means the freedom to worship as you choose, not try to take away the civil rights or self-worth of others.

Jana: Well said, Bove. If acting goes by the wayside for you, like professional football and being a detective and getting engaged, maybe you should become a minister.

Bove: Good one.

Interviewer: I find it fascinating how Jana uses the skills she learned as a child star to solve the crime. How do you remember all of your old movies, Jana?

Jana: Simon never lets me forget.

Interviewer: Is it fun living in 1985 in RAG DOLL?

Jana: I love the hairstyles, clothing, makeup, music, movies, television shows, and dances. You should see Bove in his parachute pants, colored T-shirt, and white jacket.

Bove: Thanks. It’s an interesting time socially and politically as well.

Interviewer: Everyone in RAGDOLL seems to have a secret.

Bove: And Jana Lane exposes each one by the book’s end.

Jana: Yes, each Jana Lane mystery is it’s own story. Readers get a complete mystery with each novel, as you said, full of revealed secrets.

Interviewer: You play fair in your mysteries, meaning the clues are there, and so are the plot twists and turns, and white knuckle shocking ending.

Jana: I don’t like mysteries where characters are introduced and the writer arbitrarily picks the murderer at the end. The readers feel cheated. At the end of a mystery, the readers should say, “Of course! How did I not see that?” I agree about the ending. It still makes my heart race when I read it—and I’m still surprised.

Interviewer: And everything you do and say comes out of the head of ex-actor/current college professor Joe Cosentino.

Jana: Joe Cosentino is definitely the man behind the woman.

Interviewer: Does Joe Cosentino have another mystery series besides the Jana Lane mysteries?

Jana: Yes, the Nicky and Noah comedy mysteries published by Lethe Press. Each novel is loaded with wacky humor and romance in a fast-paced whodunit. Since Joe is a college theatre professor/department head, and theatre departments are havens of mystery, secrets, romance, and high humor; the series takes place at an Edwardian style New England college. In DRAMA QUEEN (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary novel of 2015) theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains. With the inept local detectives, it is up to Directing professor, Nicky Abbondanza to use his theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the murders, while he directs a murder mystery onstage. Complicating matters is Nicky’s intense crush on Assistant Professor of Acting, handsome Noah Oliver, the prime suspect in the murder. In DRAMA MUSCLE Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. In DRAMA CRUISE Nicky and Noah go on a cruise to Alaska, and discover why college theatre professors are going overboard like lifeboats while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship.

He also has his MM romance novellas published by Dreamspinner Press. They are AN INFATUATION (Divine Magazine Readers’ Choice Award 2nd Place for Best MM Romance), A SHOOTING STAR, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, and THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND. Finally there is the MM series COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK, COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD, and COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT taking place on the Jersey Shore and published by NineStar Press.

Interviewer: As a college professor/department head, how does Joe have the time to write?

Jana & Bove: We help him.

Interviewer: Who is the ideal reader of the Jana Lane mysteries?

Jana: A lover of mystery, romance, and Hollywood. Someone who craves being swept away by a story and becoming part of the novel. My reader loves clues, suspects, and plotlines that zigzag with numerous surprises leading to a shocking yet totally justified conclusion. Finally, my reader relishes in beautiful, lush locations and captivating characters as she/he enters the portal of my book.

Interviewer: How can your readers contact you?

Jana: Via Joe Cosentino. He tells us everything.

Bove: He loves hearing from readers. Contact him via his web site at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Interviewer: Thank you both for stopping by.

Jana: It was a delight.

Bove: Let’s head to the restaurant next door.

 

Praise for CHINA DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery:

China Doll

“Joe Cosentino never disappoints…his novels are superb. I find myself addicted to each story that he writes, and once he writes a new book the characters end up being added to my all-time favorite lists. There’s plenty of action, intrigue, and murder to go around. A talented writer whose words constantly draw me in every time. I look forward to the next masterfully woven story in this series. Jana Lane is definitely a new female sleuth that should be on everyone’s reading list. I highly recommend China Doll to readers worldwide.” Urban Book Reviews

 

SatinDollcoverPraise for SATIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery:

 

“A book that will captivate any reader! A page turner that won’t let you go! This is one author you can always depend on to publish a good read!!” Stormy Nights Reviewing

 

“Joe Cosentino is a brilliant mastermind when creating the perfect mystery series. In each novel in this intriguing series of his, Jana Lane Mysteries, readers are blown away by his writing. The instant readers jump into Joe Cosentino’s fictional world, the danger feels real, the suspense is killing, and the plot moves so fast. Action, lights, camera!”  “A fast-paced murder mystery that readers will easily fall in love with…and one they can’t live without. Overall, I highly recommend this new title in the Jana Lane Mysteries and look forward to the next best adventure from Joe Cosentino.” Urban Book Reviews

 

PorcelaincoverPraise for PORCELAIN DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery:

 

Porcelain Doll is Joe Cosentino at his finest. We are drawn back to the fashions and attitudes of the 1980’s in a character-driven story full of intrigue and passion.” Kirsty Vizard, Divine Magazine

 

“Beautifully written and intensely detailed, Porcelain Doll is one not to be missed. Flirtatiously decadent with a strong moral undertone, set in a decade of extraordinary social change this is a story of its period that is as poignant today as it was then. Joe Cosentino controlled the emotions that the book encouraged with a deft but delicate touch. Suspenseful and mysterious, Porcelain Doll is a masterful creation, one that was impossible not to be affected by.” Carol Fenton, BooksLaidBare Reviews

 

“Murder, mystery, and suspense are high inside of this brilliant masterpiece by Joe Cosentino.” “Every page fills the readers with intrigue.” “Edge of your seat mystery that lures readers instantly.” “Once you read it, you can’t put it down.” Urban Book Reviews

 

Porcelain Doll hooks from the start with characters behaving badly, all of whom have life-changing secrets.” “The story includes a nice arc, well-developed characters, and a few unexpected surprises.” InD’tale Magazine

 

paper-doll

Praises for PAPER DOLL, the first Jana Lane mystery:

 

Paper Doll is a superbly crafted mystery with an eclectic cast of characters that will engage you and elicit some very emotional responses as you are completely caught up in the events that unfold in these pages. Everyone has secrets and the people in Paper Doll have them in spades!” Fresh Fiction

 

“If you like novels that are filled with new and old Hollywood, and a range of sub-plots, you are going to love this!” Saguaro Moon Reviews

 

“I liked that there was enough evidence for each of the suspects to keep me guessing until the very end.” Molly Lolly Reviews

 

“Joe Cosentino knows how to keep his readers’ interest with every page.” Urban Book Reviews

 

“Mr. Cosentino has produced a masterpiece of mystery” “The story gripped me from the start and there were enough twists and turns, with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure, to keep hold of me until the end of the book.” “Great book, can’t wait for book 2.” Readers’ Favorite

 

Print ISBN 978-1-5092-

Digital ISBN 978-1-5092- 29

Released: November 16, 2016

Pages: 260

Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor

 

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine’s awards for best mystery novel, best humorous novel, and best contemporary novel of 2015. He is the author of the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, and the upcoming Drama Cruise and Drama Luau (Lethe Press); the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, and the upcoming Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out (NineStar Press); and the romance novellas: In My Heart anthology (An Infatuation & A Shooting Star), A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). As an actor, he has appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently head of the department/professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

 

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

 

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Kobo: http://bit.ly/1LMViNALone Pine Lake’s resident playboy, fire captain Christian Nelson, is loving his single-guy lifestyle until the quiet, mysterious Jane Clark comes for a tour of the firehouse with her three small children. Chris is immediately drawn to the beautiful woman—even though he’s been burned by commitment in the past.Having lived through a devastating house fire years ago, Jane’s hesitant when her brother’s best friend, Christian, offers to help quell her family’s residual fears. But despite her brother’s warnings about his friend’s playboy status and dangerous occupation, Jane’s heart has other plans.Each book in the Lone Pine Lake series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.

 

Mistress Christmas
by Lorelei James

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Christmas Magic:
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by Muriel Garcia

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CA: http://amzn.to/2gPsrxsMistletoe & WhiskeyEve is suffering from the dreaded writer’s block. She feels like a change in scenery is much needed to get her creativity back so she packs up and leaves on the first flight available: Dublin, Ireland.
Enters Connor, the hot B&B owner, who seems to have set his eyes on Eve.
Will he be the source of inspiration she needs for her romance novel or will he become so much more?A Holly Kinky ChristmasBlake doesn’t like Christmas. He could do without going back to London to celebrate it with his aunt and uncle but with his uncle dying, he wants to make the most of the time he has left with him.
On the train journey from Brighton to London, he meets Holly, a beautiful young woman who will make his train journey memorable.

All I Want For Christmas Is Santa

Joe has had feelings for his best friend, Daryl, for well over ten years. There are two issues to that, Daryl is straight and Joe doesn’t want to ruin their friendship so he never spoke up.
Joe is doing some last minute shopping with his sister, Mary, and they happen to see that Daryl is the guy behind the Santa suit at the Mall.
Mary dares Joe to go sit on Santa’s lap and flirt with him. Joe being unable to decline a dare, he obliges.
Will it ruin Daryl and Joe’s friendship or will it be the beginning of a new chapter in their lives?

 

Found You by Dahlia Donovan

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ARe: http://bit.ly/2gBXNLAKent Casado has lost everything that defined him: his construction business, his husband, his home, and his fortune. He went from one of the first gay men to marry in Colorado, to the first to be divorced. Crushed and alone, his only recourse is to move into a hurricane-damaged cottage in Key West, but his troubles seem to follow him to the beach paradise.Dusk “Doctor Dusky” Keller has never allowed himself to be defined by anyone or anything. Growing up in the Keys with his hippie parents, he ran an animal hospital until a hurricane destroyed it. He never expects to fall straight into lust with an uptight stranger who he sees on his daily beach walks.

Satisfied with a prolonged one-night stand, neither expects to plummet from casual to complicated.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32080107-found-you

 

The vampires have taken her and she is a blood doll.

Celia doesn’t have a lot going for her. Her abusive stepfather blackmails her by day and terrifies her by night. She doesn’t have a boyfriend, a social life, or anything to look forward to.

Then she’s captured.

Bound.

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She is taken far from home and deposited in the mansion of the Vampire Lord Samuel as blood doll. The mansion offers no hope for escape, yet once Celia begins to accept her fate, she wonders if what escape is what she truly longs for.

Blood Dolls is 99 cents in the U.S. today!
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Home Tears by Tijan

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Dani’s survived a lot of sh*t storms.

Her mother died. Her two sisters loathed her. One aunt hated her. The other was strangely distant, but the worst storm—being dumped by her childhood best friend/high school boyfriend/first love for her younger sister.

There went the one person who was hers and with that, the main reason she stuck around. So, she left for ten years. But now she’s back, and nothing’s the same.

With help from Jonah Bannon, a reformed—kind of—bad boy she remembers from high school, Dani uncovers family secrets that have spanned generations. And along with those, she’s about to face the biggest sh*t storm of her life.

Only this time, she may not survive.

 

Touched by the Sandman

Touched by the Sandman frame

 

These cold winter nights make me want to just sleep. But then I dream. I hope you all enjoy my naughty dream as much as I did!

 

Touched by the SandmanTitle – Touched by the Sandman

Author – Beverly Ovalle

Genre – Erotic Paranormal

 

Publisher – Boroughs Publishing Group

 

Book Blurb/Synopsis –

A lonely woman’s torrid sexual dreams and fantasy partner await her as a dominant reality in another dimension.

 

The sandman visits those that need him, assisting them to sleep. Until one night he meets a woman that he cannot help but return to time after time.

 

She is lonely. He comes to her as she drifts off to sleep, the man of her dreams. Awake or asleep, which is her reality?

 

He knows she is the one meant for him. He will find a way to make both of their dreams come true.

 

Amazon Kindle Link – http://www.amazon.com/Touched-Sandman-Beverly-Ovalle-ebook/dp/B00J5NRIIK/

Amazon UK Link – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Touched-Sandman-Beverly-Ovalle-ebook/dp/B00J5NRIIK/

Barnes & Noble Nook Link – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/touched-by-the-sandman-beverly-ovalle/1118958221?ean=2940045782098

Smashwords Link – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/421350

Boroughs Publishing Group – http://boroughspublishinggroup.com/books/touched-sandman

AllRomance Link – https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-touchedbythesandman-1459218-149.html

Goodreads Link – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21463347-touched-by-the-sandman

 

Book Trailer:  http://youtu.be/CCjRWmIfiHk

 

Excerpt – 

The darkness blurred and shimmered, bringing to life a man of moonlight and darkness: Aryne.

 

Before him Aryne could see her, lying in bed, tears of loneliness staining her pillow. She made his heart ache. He softly stepped to her side. His hand touched her face and gently pushed back her hair. He leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead, turning her dreams from sadness to joy. Her body arched toward his touch as the skim of his hand, the heat of his skin traced the edges of her curves. He stepped back…and then within the shimmer of dreams disappeared.

 

Night after night her loneliness cried to him. Unable to resist, he came to her. Subtly he inserted himself into her dreams, into her arms. Aryne knew it was wrong. As a guide, his job was to bring sweet, peaceful dreams. But no one affected him like she had. He was unable to resist comforting her, drawing her into his arms, covering her body with his…but only in her dreams. There Aryne stole the passion from her lips, igniting an ache in his body that would not go away.

 

Touching her shattered him. He knew instinctively that her touch would be his downfall. Her touch could keep him here in this splinter of his world, isolated as all of the Outcasts were. Generations had gone by; those exiled had died long ago, their children mixing amongst the races of the universe.

 

He had tried to stay away, fearing this. He was adrift, swept away, drowning in her passion, breaths away from losing himself. Giving in, acknowledging the power she unknowingly had over him would condemn him, keep him here if she was unable to travel to his world. Very few could navigate between worlds. And this world would drain his power rather than enhance it. Even the short time he spent there took its toll on him, the drain only in abeyance when he was in her arms. Try as he might, he could not resist her siren call. Only by controlling her and the passion between them could he make sure that he would not become lost. Lost in her. Trapped forever in her world.

 

He had done his best, gentling her to his hand, to his control. She knew the unspoken rules, knew the consequences. He played them out in her dreams, a dark symphony of passion and restraint. Perhaps unforgivable for a guide, but he could not resist. And just her body was no longer enough. Eventually he would capture her heart and soul.

 

A man of shadows, it would be during the midnight hours of her slumber.

 

Book Trailer:  http://youtu.be/CCjRWmIfiHk

 

AUTHOR BIO:

Beverly Ovalle lives in Wisconsin with her husband Edmond of 25 years and two Chinese Water Dragons. Her son Nicholas visits when he is on leave from the Marines.  Her daughter Susannah visits from time to time to make sure us ‘old’ folks are alive and kicking.

 

Beverly has traveled around the world thanks to five years in the US Navy and has worked for the government in one capacity or another for the past 30 years. Beverly and her brothers have travelled most of the continental United States as children due to the station wagon from Hell.  Still active with veterans, she is adjutant for her local AMVETS.

 

Beverly has been reading romances since her Aunt introduced her to the gothic romance in the fourth grade and is still reading every chance she gets.

 

HERE ARE MY STALKER LINKS:

 

Website – http://ovalleba.wix.com/beverly-ovalle#

Blog – https://beverlyovalleromance.blogspot.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BeverlyOvalleAuthor

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ovalleba

Tsu – https://www.tsu.co/BeverlyO

Amazon Author Page – http://www.amazon.com/Beverly-Ovalle/e/B00BOGT8MU/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/SSLYblog

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/+BeverlyOvalle0211/

Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/ovalleba/

Tumblr – http://ovalleba.tumblr.com/

Blog – http://SSLYblog.wordpress.com

Yahoo – http://about.me/beverly.ovalle

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6982787.Beverly_Ovalle

LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/BeverlyOvalle

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SslySmileSomebodyLovesYou

 

Winning It All

Winning It All by Victoria Denault is on sale for just $1.99! Limited time only!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2gjWZID
Google Play: http://bit.ly/29oJJ2r
Nook: http://bit.ly/29oK3OA
iBooks: http://apple.co/29v4lIi
Kobo: http://bit.ly/29mQ4zz

“Winning It All is my first read by Victoria Denault, and I can’t wait to read more of the series. I highly recommend reading if you like sexy hockey players who will fight for what they want and feisty, yet sweet heroines, and oh yeah…some hot romance too!” — Once Upon an Alpha

“Victoria Denault delivered a fantastic story that kept me glued to the pages.Between the sizzling chemistry and creative dialogue, I loved Shayne and Sebastian’s relationship. I can honestly say that the Hometown Players Series is one of my favorite sports romance / hockey romance series. I can’t wait to see what player is going to score a goal next.” — Smut Book Junkie

Blurb:

All’s fair in love and hockey. . .

As his team’s enforcer on the ice, Sebastian Deveau is America’s favorite fighting Frenchman. But he’s just as likely to get into trouble off the ice–especially when it comes to women.

Shayne Beckford is so over hockey. It ruined her parents’ marriage. It spoiled her brother’s dreams. And let’s not even talk about her college boyfriend . . . So when Sebastian Deveau walks into her brother’s gym, she has no idea who he is. All she knows is that he’s one gorgeous man with the sexiest accent she’s ever heard. And since she never has to see him again, she lets him give her the best orgasm of her life right on top of the gym’s dryer.

But Sebastian isn’t going to let this one-night stand get away so easily. He fights for what he wants, even if it takes fighting a little dirty . . .

More in the Hometown Players series:
One More Shot
Making a Play
The Final Move

Kiss and Ride ~ Teodora Kostova

Kiss & Ride

Synopsis

What happens when you meet the right guy at the wrong time?

When Vincent Alesi’s estranged father dies, he gets on the first plane from New York city to Rome to be at the memorial service. Even if he has to max out his credit card. Even if he hates the man for leaving him. Even if it’s a day before Christmas.

Everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and Vin ends up trusting a complete stranger with all his secrets, even the ones he didn’t know he had.

Luca Romano’s job as a flight attendant takes him all over the world. But a jet-setting lifestyle is not what he wants. His dream of opening his own restaurant is being placed on hold over circumstances beyond his control.

Timing is everything…

When Vin bursts into Luca’s life, both men fall fast and hard. But their lives, their dreams, even the cities they live in couldn’t be more different.

Their few days together in Rome are romantic, emotionally intense, and leave them both wanting more.

Can a fleeting love affair change their lives forever?

Kiss & Ride Teodora Kostova

Buy Links

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N054R33/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N054R33/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01N054R33/

Excerpt

He passed Vin the shopping bags he was carrying and grabbed the tree, taking it inside his building. The ancient elevator seemed to be big enough to fit only the tree, so Luca had the idea to stuff it inside, press the button for the third floor, then race up the stairs to meet it on his floor. Vin was laughing too hard to be able to climb the stairs fast enough to catch the elevator, especially carrying all the shopping bags. When he made it to the second floor he heard Luca’s colorful curses and the mechanical whirl of the elevator moving again.

“There was nobody downstairs a moment ago!” Luca cried in outrage when Vin finally joined him on the third floor.

“I saw an old lady carrying a Pomeranian walk in when I started up the stairs,” Vin said, panting, dropping the bags on the floor unceremoniously. “And by the way, I could have stayed downstairs and sent the elevator up after you made it to the third floor.” Luca stared at Vin with wide eyes – obviously that thought hadn’t even occurred to him. “Just saying.”

“Why is there a Christmas tree in the elevator?” A faint female voice carried up the several flights of stairs, followed by a dog barking.

Kiss & Ride Teodora Kostova 3D

“Sorry, Signora Mortelli,” Luca shouted, leaning over the banister. “The tree is mine. Long story. Could you please send it to the third floor and I’ll unload it as fast as I can?”

“Luca Romano, is that you?”

“Yes, Signora Mortelli.” He lowered his voice and looked at Vin over his shoulder. “Why isn’t she pressing the fucking button?”

“I don’t know, man. This whole thing is too ridiculous to try and make any sense of it.”

Luca stared at Vin as if he couldn’t quite grasp what Vin’s problem was.

“When did you come back, caro?” Signora Mortelli’s voice carried up the three flights of stairs.

“Yesterday.” Luca huffed in exasperation, taking his keys out of his pocket and tossing them to Vin. “This can take a while.” Vin grinned at him as he caught the keys.

“Are you spending Christmas alone again this year?” The old lady yelled.

“Signora Mortelli, please just press the button and send the tree back up, please,” Luca called down the stairs, resting his head against the wooden banister.

Vin unlocked the door, transferred the shopping bags to the floor inside the apartment, and leaned against the door frame, curious to see how this would unfold. A sound came from downstairs, then some banging, the dog barking, and finally the elevator started moving again.

“Thank fuck,” Luca muttered, straightening to meet the elevator.

When it arrived at the third floor, Luca cursed under his breath before schooling his features into a polite smile and pulling the door open.

“Signora Morelli. How did you fit in here?”

Book Trailer

About the author

Author Teodora KostovaHi, my name is Teodora and I live in London with my husband and my son. I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, but it became my full time job a few years ago when I decided that everything else I’ve tried bores me to death and I have to do what I’ve always wanted to do, but never had the guts to fully embrace. I’ve been a journalist, an editor, a personal assistant and an interior designer among other things, but as soon as the novelty of the new, exciting job wears off, I always go back to writing. Being twitchy, impatient, loud and hasty are not qualities that help a writer, because I have to sit alone, preferably still, and write for most of the day, but I absolutely love it. It’s the only time that I’m truly at peace and the only thing I can do for more than ten minutes at a time – my son has a bigger attention span than me.

When I’m procrastinating, I like to go to the gym, cook Italian meals (and eat them), read, listen to rock music, watch indie movies and True Blood re-runs. Or, in the worst case scenario, get beaten at every Nintendo Wii game by a very inventive kid.

Don’t be shy and get in touch – I love connecting with my readers.

Blog: www.teodorakostova.blogspot.com
Twitter: @Teodora_Kostova
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teodorakostovaauthor
E-mail: t.t.kostova@gmail.com
Instagram: teodorika1

Review ~ Must Love Lions ~ Release Blitz

BLURB

 

Alexis Parrish is very single. Sassy and smart, she’s great at her job as a journalist, but it’s never given her the time to find the right man–specifically, a human. So when she gets assigned to interview Max, a lion shifter, about the new dating app he’s created, she can’t believe her intense attraction to him. After all, humans and shifters don’t date.

Max is used to causing trouble. He broke tradition by creating the dating app, Shifter, which humans and shifters alike can use to answer the call of the wild.

 

When Max challenges Alexis to give him a chance, she can’t say no. A human like her has no business with this handsome alpha lion, but she can’t resist his magnetism. Their chemistry is primal, their connection positively animalistic. After all, once you go shifter, you never go back.

But when a rogue shifter group against interspecies dating targets Alexis, Max will stop at nothing to protect her. It’s more than his pride on the line; it’s his mate.

Warning: If sassy, sexy, and carnal reads aren’t your thing, this book isn’t for you. It contains lots of dirty sex, violence, and witty banter.



 

BUY NOW

Free on Kindle Unlimited

 
ABOUT ALMA BLACK
Alma Black loves to write, and write and write. She is especially fond of sexy, paranormal stories where the hero has a penchant for growling and the sassy heroine doesn’t put up with any bark. These stories are fast reads and are funny, sexy, and very naughty.

Alma lives in Los Angeles, and wishes with all her heart that there was paranormal dating app that had eligible mates in Southern California. Until then she uses regular dating sites to bring you these stories, inspired by her actual dating life.

FOLLOW ALMA BLACK
 Beverly's Review

Okay, now I love lions! This was an entertaining and humorous book into the world of shifter dating. Sign me up! I want my own lion! There is always trouble with interspecies dating, but love will conquer all. I’m not going to repeat the blurb or give you any spoilers. I loved Max and Alexis and she made him work for it, lol.

I loved this book, you won’t regret reading Must Love Lions! So what are you waiting for?