Tag Archive | Book Tour

A Dragon’s Treasure ~ Beverly Ovalle ~ Giveaway

SYNOPSIS

Kai has been hunting for his mate for a very long time. Drawn to a singular place on earth, filled with treasures, he still seeks the greatest treasure of them all. His mate.

Fleeing danger, Connie runs into the arms of destiny, but she has plans already, and a Dragon mate is not on the agenda.

Kai has waited centuries for Connie, and he will claim his mate. Patience may not be a Dragon’s virtue, but he always gets his treasure.

Sparks fly in this humorous erotic tale of mating and mayhem.

BUY LINKS

Amazon – http://amzn.to/2tsW260

All Other Retailers – https://www.books2read.com/u/3neo8R

EXCERPT

She would make a magnificent dragon. Wrapped in all the gold he could give her, her flesh peeking from beneath. She was his.

Kai.”

He looked over at Ellen, lifting a brow in inquiry.

Don’t mess with my cousin.”

He grinned. “I’m not. She’s my mate.” Ellen’s eyes widened while Breccan and Maxwell snickered. His eyes wandered down the hall she’d flounced out. She might have meant to look fierce, but her bouncy blonde hair and petite size negated that. Kai wanted nothing more than to follow her and claim her. Her scent was even stronger in the enclosed space than wafting on the breeze. He’d bet she wore a dragon’s mark somewhere on her luscious body. He couldn’t wait to hunt for it.

Holy cow! Are you sure?” Ellen grinned. “That’s great!”

Breccan chimed in. “By her reaction, I’d say not so great.” He sported a big grin on his face. “Looks like Kai will have a battle on his hands.”

Maxwell’s sly twist of his lips showed he was enjoying the situation too.

Kai glared at them. Damn wolves. They were a pain. He could see the colors in the kitchen change as his dragon attempted to get out. A little barbeque wolf was a tasty snack. The rumble of agreement by his dragon made him smirk. He couldn’t hurt those two, no matter how aggravating they were. Breccan was the only reason Ellen didn’t spend her days wrapped in fear any more. His dragon reluctantly settled down.

 

 

AUTHOR BIO

Beverly Ovalle dabbled with writing on and off for years when her best friend finally dared her to submit a story to a writing contest. Beverly decided she had nothing to lose and since she’d always wanted to be an author sent it in and agonized for months waiting to hear back. Contract in hand she has never looked back.

Beverly has been obsessed with dragons and romance since she was a young girl, collecting dragon books and reading everything she could find on them even down to the care of real life dragons. She’s always been slightly panicked that the world as we know it will end, so has prepped for it, haunting survivalist pages and prepper projects she felt she needed in the event SHTF.

An avid fan of all romance, Beverly’s goal is to share her love of the written word and write the hot and erotic romances that she enjoys. She writes what she loves to read and it was only a matter of time before her obsessions crept into her writing for her to share. She hopes you enjoy her tales as much as she loves writing them.

A Navy Veteran, Beverly has traveled around the world and the United States enabling her to bring her settings to life, meeting and marrying her husband of twenty five years along the way for her own romance. Reading romances since the fourth grade she’s followed as the genre changed and spread into the vast cornucopia of romance offered today.

Author Web & Social Media links:

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

Website: www.beverlyovalle.com

Blog: http://SSLYblog.wordpress.com/

Tumblr: http://ovalleba.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ovalleba

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

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

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

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/-r58z

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One More Night ~ Sarah O’Rourke

One More Night by Sarah O’Rourke – Blog Tour

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Crenshaw Jacobson met the woman of his dreams…and he was determined to spend every night possible with her. But Waverlee Armstrong was leery of commitment, having been abandoned by her family at an early age. She knew that she loved Shaw…but can she learn to trust him and spend just one more night?

Instalove *** Novella *** Standalone

Written as part of Fiona Davenport’s Sex, Vows & Babies Kindle World!

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Shivering against him as she parted her lips to speak, Waverlee moaned as his tongue swept forward, stealing the opportunity to deepen their kiss. And holy moly, the man could kiss. And not just any old kiss either. It was the-steal-your-breath-I-can’t-live-without-his-touch-because-nothing-else-in-the-world-matters kind of kiss a girl spends her life dreaming about. Their tongues danced together for long minutes as everything else faded away. The people. The noise. Everything took a backseat to the fierce passion Shaw created with a simple touch of his mouth to hers.

Forcing herself to find her voice when Shaw lifted his mouth from hers to take a deep breath, Waverlee flashed a furtive glance up at his darkened eyes. “Wow,” she breathed shakily, clutching handfuls of his light blue dress shirt in her fists as the world seemed to spin at warp speed, “I..I…don’t think I’ve ever felt anything like that before,” she whispered, the words catching in her throat as his finger swept against her lower lip.

“Then you best hold on real tight to me, baby, ‘cause I’m just getting started,” he replied, dropping his head to steal another deep, wet kiss from her lips as he curved one big hand around her neck, wrapping her silky hair around his fist and tugging gently.

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Click HERE to buy One More Night by Sarah O’Rourke on Kindle!

One More Night Teaser BOB now live

What is the Sex, Vows, and Babies Kindle World?

From sexy stories with married couples fighting against outside forces to keep their happily ever after in the Sex & Vows series to unexpected pregnancies that lead to happy marriages in the Yeah, Baby series… the Sex, Vows & Babies world is full of over the top alphas, sassy heroines, insta-love, wedding bells, and growing families. Although the wide cast of characters in both series have managed to find the loves of their lives, there’s bound to be plenty more out there who could use Sex, Vows & Babies in their lives. A creation of the fabulous Fiona Davenport, the Sex, Vows & Babies Kindle World is filled with creative stories from amazing authors who pay homage to the original books!
Click HERE to check out all of the books in the Sex, Vows, and Babies Kindle World!
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Sarah O’Rourke is actually TWO besties who live three states apart and write at all hours of the day and night! Born and raised in the Southern United States, they are overly attached to their one-click accounts, can’t make it through the day without copious doses of caffeine, and spend way too much time on the phone with each other.

Between them, they have four children and twenty-four years of marriage. They hate empty chocolate wrappers and writer’s block, love to talk to readers…and oh, by the way, they write about strong, kick-ass women and hot alpha heroes!

Contact Sarah today….she loves to chat!

Buy One More Night today! Click here!

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Trigger ~ LP Dover

Title – Trigger: A Circle of Justice Novel
Author – LP Dover
Genre – Romantic Suspense Standalone
Release Date – February 6, 2017
Cover Designed By – Mae I Design and Photography


A killer . . . that’s what I am.

It’s what I do.

It’s what I live for.

I’m no longer the Preston Hale everyone knew. I left that life and the people in it a long time ago the second I made my first kill. I wasn’t going to give in, but when I heard the screams there was no going back.

It triggered the pain, the need.

I knew what I had to do, and I did it well. But I never expected for Emma Turner – the only link to my past – to come back into my life.

She triggers a different emotion inside me, something I hadn’t ever felt.

It’s not a want to kill . . . but a need to CLAIM.

“From the first page to the last, this book had me holding my breath. Fast-paced, sexy, and addicting, Trigger is bound to be one of my top reads all year.” ~ New York Times Bestselling Author, Emily Goodwin


“Exhilarating and pulse-pounding. Trigger is a non-stop roller coaster ride from beginning to end.” ~ Author of the Light in the Dark Series, Micalea Smeltzer

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author L. P. Dover is a southern belle living in North Carolina with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she began her literary journey she worked in periodontics, enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.


She loves to write, but she also loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes and white water rafting, and has a passion for singing. Her two youngest fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime, usually Christmas carols.

Dover has written countless novels, including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, the Gloves Off series, the Armed & Dangerous series, the Royal Shifters series, and her standalone novel Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense, but if she got to choose a setting in which to live, it would be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.


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It Started with a Kiss

  Title: It Started with a Kiss
By: Melanie Moreland
Publication Date: January 23, 2017
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Cover Designer: Monark Designs
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It started with a kiss.
Then it became so much more.
Love at first sight.
Avery Connor doesn’t believe in it.
But what about love at first kiss?
A favor for a friend. Kiss a stranger and walk away.
But what if that favor, and that stranger, prove to be the turning point of her life?
What if that kiss leads to something more?
Dr. Daniel Stewart is certain it will.
He is determined to make her see him. To feel what he feels.
To have the effects of that kiss last forever.

A story about taking a chance, opening your heart to the moment, and falling in love.

AMAZON UK – https://goo.gl/bDybLH
AMAZON CA – https://goo.gl/kn9e62

New York Times/USA Today bestselling author Melanie Moreland, lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her beloved husband of twenty-seven-plus years and their rescue cat Amber. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them.

While seriously addicted to coffee, and highly challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties, and also enjoys travelling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip.

Melanie delights in a good romance story with some bumps along the way, but is a true believer in happily ever after. When her head isn’t buried in a book, it is bent over a keyboard, furiously typing away as her characters dictate their creative storylines to her, often with a large glass of wine keeping her company.

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This Kitten’s got Curves

Alma Black is back with a steamy, sassy, sizzling new shifter book: Shifter Date – This Kitten’s Got Curves! It is the newest standalone in her paranormal dating app series. Arriving today hot on the heals of Shifter Date – Must Love Lions and Shifter Date – Hungry as a Wolf.

Shifter Date – This Kitten’s Got Curves

Can the mating instinct kindle shifter romance between an alpha male bear shifter in search of a mate and a sassy BBW lion shifter, looking for a fling?

Gareth wants to mate for life, in fact he needs to find his perfect mate soon, or he’ll lose his position as the alpha of his troop of bear shifters.

Sassy and curvy, Rachel doesn’t want anything serious, just a little passion. She wants to use Shifter Date, the paranormal dating app, to find a one night stand. Broken hearted and in a dry spell, she’s hunting for an alpha male to be her ultimate fantasy the best hook up she’s ever had-but nothing more.

Gareth goes wild when he sees Rachel on Shifter Date. Rachel’s sassy lion eyes, her curves for miles, and her loving heart kindles his mating instinct. But can he and Rachel mate for life? Or will her past keep her from her fated mate?

This is a BBW paranormal romance ebook, featuring a fiesty lion and a protective bear. It’s full of super hot shapeshifters, plenty of heart, lots of sexy sex and some laughs too. 🙂 If that don’t sound up your alley, stay away!

Download Shifter Date – This Kitten’s Got Curves from Amazon.com or Amazon: UKAUCADEMX

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. Keep up with her at all the usual places…

Beverly's Review
I have to admit, I’ve gotten addicted to the Shifter Date books! This Kitten’s Got Curves is a well written enjoyable romp. Rachel doesn’t want to want more. Gareth is all in. Rachel is his mate and this bear won’t take no for an answer. By hook or by crook he’ll get Rachel to admit she’s his.
The characters are enjoyable, the plot is fun. Overall This Kitten’s Got Curves is worth the time to read.
Don’t forget to check out the first two books in Shifter Date:
Must Love Lions
Hungry as a Wolf

June Jenson and the Shield of Quell

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Book Title: June Jenson and the Shield of Quell
Author: Emily Harper
Genre: Women’s Action/Adventure
Release Date: April 16, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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June Jenson, an accomplished Oxford professor, has spent her life trying to get out from under the shadow of her infamous grandfather: a renowned archaeologist accused of stealing a relic during an excavation at Sutton-Hoo. When a secret alliance recruits June to guard priceless artifacts she realizes that this is her chance to contribute to the history she loves and rid herself of the cloud of suspicion that her family has lived under for so long. But, when the artifact June is commissioned to guard turns out to be the same relic her grandfather was accused of stealing− a relic he has consistently claimed never existed − her carefully laid plans of family redemption are a bit shot. Now, with the aid of her accused grandfather who suffers from early onset Alzheimer’s, and a chauffeur who’s looking for a scandal to make him famous, June must race to discover the truth of the shield and what really happened at Sutton-Hoo all those years ago.

excerpt

Professor!” I yell in frustration.

“Alright, fine,” he says, nodding his head after making his decision. “There is something I can tell you. Something that could help you get the answer under the illusion you came to it on your own.”

I ignore all the insults in that statement and just eagerly nod.

“My advice would be this: walk beside the clues, not in their shoes.”

I stare at him, blinking rapidly.

“What? That’s it?” I ask when he says no more.

“I should think that all but spells it out, June bug.”

I shake my head, my mind running over the words. Nothing. It means absolutely nothing.

“That is the single worst clue I think I’ve ever heard!”

The Professor sighs dramatically. “You are letting the clues lead you to the trap door, my dear. The clues are a guide, of course, but you need to see them from afar. An optical illusion is revealed the further you step back while looking at the same image.”

This is absolutely ridiculous.

That’s it. It’s over. My illustrious career as a Relic Guard is officially in the bin.

And you know, it’s just so maddening because I am a smart woman. I finished top in my class. I have an eidetic memory. I am one of the youngest Professors to teach at the prestigious Oxford University. I can tie a cherry stem into a knot with just my tongue.

But this one bloody riddle has plagued me for days. On repeat in my head.

How will everything always end?

The simple answer is death, of course. But if you are looking at it from a mythological standpoint, the possibilities are endless…

Or maybe they aren’t thinking of human entities, but the very thing we are swearing to protect: the relics themselves. What will inevitably happen to them?

“Don’t go down the rabbit hole, June bug,” the Professor warns.

I look at him in utter frustration.

Walk beside the clues, not in their shoes…

Think… Think…

This is ridiculous. That is the worst advice in the entire world. I mean, it even rhymes. He’s treating me like a simple child who needs–

Oh, bloody hell.

Well, that’s terribly embarrassing.

“Light bulb?” the Professor says with a wide grin on his face.

What is the answer to June’s riddle?

meet the author

Emily Harper is the bestselling and award winning women’s fiction author of White Lies, Checking Inn, My Sort-of, Kind-of Hero and the June Jenson series. Her debut novel, White Lies, was a finalist in the National Excellence in Romantic Fiction Award. My Sort-of, Kind-of Hero won the 2014 New England Readers’ Choice Award. She has a passion for writing humorous romance stories where the heroine is not your typical damsel in distress.

Originally from England, she currently lives in Canada with her husband, two children, and a very naughty dog.

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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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