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The Letter

 

Blurb

When her grandmother dies, Gabby discovers an old letter concealed in a secret compartment in the roll-top desk made four generations earlier. The secrets it reveals belong to an even earlier generation—the first members of Gabby’s family to cross the ocean from Britain to Australia, over 150 years ago.


In 1855 Sarah and Mary are alone on The Colchester, after their parents are both killed by the deadly disease on-board. The family left their home in Wales in an attempt to find a

better life in the colonies but with both parents dead the sisters are devastated, with no idea what to do next.
Sarah also becomes ill and, worried about passing her illness to Mary, encourages her to spend the days away from the stuffy cabin, in the fresh air on deck. Befriended by a gentleman, Mary finds herself swept up in a hopeless cycle of shame and lies, with no way out. When the girls arrive in Melbourne they have little hope of finding suitable work and make a drastic decision which could lead either to fortune or disaster.

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Excerpt

Mary’s heart was beating so fast she thought she might have a heart attack and it was only knowing that Billy was there, that it was up to her to keep him safe, that kept her outwardly calm. “Please, mister, just take our savings and go. There’s a bunch of troopers coming along behind us.”
Another shot rang out and this time it was one of theirs; the man who hadn’t approached the cab, but was holding back, keeping watch, slumped over on his horse and the sidekick turned his horse around. One more shot and his hat flew off his head. “Let’s go!” he said.
The leader tipped his hat to Mary. “Sorry, love, we have to go now. Maybe next time.”
They disappeared as suddenly as they’d appeared and Baz pulled up beside the carriage. “All right, Mrs?”
“Yes, what about Luke and Harry?”
“Luke copped it in the arm, but he can sit up all right in the wagon, not on a horse. That whitefella though, I don’t know, he looks bad, Mrs.”
“Harry?” Sarah climbed out and ran back to the wagon, with Mary behind her.
His head was bleeding and he was barely conscious. “Can we put him on the mattress?” Sarah said, as she used her handkerchief in an attempt to stop the bleeding.
With Mary and Sarah’s help, Baz managed to drag Harry behind the seats to the mattress and lay him down there. The bleeding had almost stopped but Sarah was very worried; she couldn’t tell what the extent of the injury was. Mary was helping Luke, bandaging his arm with her scarf and he said he’d be all right, sitting in the seat beside Baz, who would drive Harry’s cart. The horses were tied to the back.
“Would you mind if I sit here with Harry, Mary?” Sarah asked. “Perhaps Luke could go with you?”
Mary nodded. She could see what it meant to her sister and she had no doubt at all now that Harry was more than a friend. Luke was happy to ride with Mary and Billy and was well enough to sing some songs to the little boy and put him to sleep. He had persuaded Mary to take Harry to Elsie and Biddy, who he said were the best hope he had of survival.

Author Bio

After spending most of her younger adult life as a full-time mother of five, Christine rediscovered a love for learning when her youngest son started school in 1990. By the time her son graduated from high school, Christine had earned a Diploma in Art and Design, a Diploma of Arts in Professional Writing and Editing and a Bachelor of Arts in History and Philosophy of Religion, with Honours in History.

During her Honours year she came across the tragic case of Camellia McCluskey, when researching infanticide and child murder for her thesis. She found the case especially compelling because of the quantity and quality of research material available and also because the crime actually occurred in the regional city where she herself lives.

She wrote a non-fiction version of the story, ‘Not Guilty’, but she became frustrated at the missing elements of Camellia’s personal history. She decided to create a story, based on her knowledge of the period and research, in an effort to reveal her humanity. By the time the reader learns how the murders unfold, they have an appreciative insight into Camellia the person, without having had the opportunity to have met her. As a fiction writer Christine enjoyed writing ‘Her Flesh and Blood’ more than ‘Not Guilty’, but the non-fiction version has proven more popular with readers.

She has several books on Amazon and has also had short stories published on radio and in journals. ‘The Letter’ was inspired by her love of history in general and also family history.

 

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Tethered

Title: Tethered
Author: Carlyle Labuschagne
Genre: Supernatural Suspense
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb:
A girl tethered to a serial killer by heart leads FBI to the undiscovered bodies of The Devil’s breath victims.
Tethered follows two sisters, Willow and Raine Viviers alongside two rogue FBI brothers on what seems like an impossible task to solving a dead end case. With no leads, and a corrupt government cover up, their time is running out to stop the spread of a Serial Killer Cult before another victim is claimed.
But they have a secret weapon…
Willow is a young adult who has just undergone a heart transplant who’s trauma has changed her, she’s gained a strange supernatural gift – she can see into the heart of the Devil’s Breath Killer. She not only feels the serial killer’s urges, knows his thoughts, but somehow gets visions through the eyes of his victims too.
These visions are chaotic, menacing and evil, and Willow can hardly make sense of her own reality without going insane. How will she decipher and hone in her special abilities in time to save a missing agent and stop another Devil’s Breath Killing.
 
Carlyle is a USA Today bestselling author from South Africa, who has won an award for her SF fantasy series the Broken Trilogy. This series broke ground not only in her country but in many where the genre of SF is concerned. Mixing African tales into worlds most of her readers describe as highly imaginative and unique. Her Dystopian Romance book, Dead of Night is a multi-award nominated tale set in a world where love is outlawed, described by readers as breathing new life into the genre.
Her goal as an author is to touch people’s lives, and help others love their differences and one another by delivering strong messages of faith, love and hope within each world she writes about. She loves creating villains you have a hate, love relationship with and always explores imperfection as a strength in her heroes and supporting characters.
“I love to swim, fight for the trees, and am a food lover who is driven by my passion for life. I dream that one day my stories will change the lives of countless teenagers and have them obsess over the world literacy can offer them instead of worrying about fitting in. Never sacrifice who you are, it’s in the dark times that the light comes to life.”
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Chapter 8
Willow was told that at some time during the night, she had sleepwalked her way out of her room and down a series of corridors, managing to slip into the service elevator undetected and find her way into the vast basement area a floor below the morgue. She’d traveled so far down underground that she’d been discovered in the maintenance section; the area where medical waste was stored until pickup.
Back in her room and safely in her hospital bed, Willow fought the tendrils of sleep as she sat surrounded by her sketches. Her hands and fingers moved of their own accord. Lines, curves, and soft edges blurred together to form an outline of the face that haunted her. She grabbed another piece of paper and started another sketch; her soul bleeding out onto the paper in shades of gray and black, soft and hard edges, smudged, defined curves and lines forming a heart surrounded by flowers captured inside a birdcage made of rib bones.
Nurse Benson entered with a tray of hot soup. “Willow? I thought you should eat before you sleep,” she said in her ever calming voice.
Willow half smiled back at her and pulled the blankets over the sketches as if ashamed of the secret she didn’t quite understand.
“I’m okay, thank you, Bertha.”
Willow and Nurse Benson had become good companions in the last three weeks. Bertha was an older lady, who had no children of her own. Her husband had passed almost four years ago. Taking care of Willow was her latest purpose in life. Even after her shift ended Bertha came to spend time with Willow every lunchtime, bringing homemade cookies and sometimes bread with her. Willow hadn’t the heart to tell her that her baking was awful. And Bertha’s friendship was a welcome reprieve from the boredom of the endless days in hospital.
“Why are you really here, Bertha? Willow asked as the nurse stood with an expression of someone keeping a secret they were looking to relieve themselves of.
“I’m that obvious, huh?”
She placed the soup on the eating tray and wheeled it over to Willow.
Willow smiled, and adjusted her position on the bed as the delicious smelling soup got wheeled her way.
“I feel awful that I didn’t notice you were gone last night,” Bertha said, unpacking a spoon wrapped in a napkin from her purse.
“It’s not your fault,” Willow took a deep smell of the soup and her stomach growled.
“My child, in your condition you could have died! I feel terrible. Your immune system…”
Willow interrupted her. “Bertha, if heart failure couldn’t take me out, what makes you think anything else could?” She grinned sheepishly as she dipped into her soup.
Bertha gave a tight smile.
“I’m not sure what happened,” Willow said between spoonfuls. The soup was as almost as delicious as it had smelled.
Bertha sat down on the edge of her bed. “It’s not the first time you’ve left your room like that,” she began.
Willow’s eyes narrowed on Nurse Benson, the spoon suspended midair. “You never said anything before. I don’t have a record of sleepwalking…?”
Nurse Benson took a napkin from her Mary Poppins like bag and tucked it in the collar of Willow’s gown.
“You need to slow your words, child. You know that accent of yours can be hard to understand.” She sat back with her hands in her lap.
She looked at Willow, “Don’t worry yourself about the sleepwalking, it will blow over. A heart transplant is a serious trauma to the body and mind child.”
She tipped her head to the side. “Stranger things have happened to heart recipients before.”
Willow arched her eyebrow in question.
“How about I bring you some articles about it?” Bertha offered.
“Ja, Sure.”
She took another spoonful of soup. Her big green eyes searching out the nurse’s. It wasn’t the best soup she’d tasted, but it was made with love, and that in itself made each spoonful feel like it was calming from the inside. Nurse Benson took her chart from the foot of the bed, noticing the shift-nurse had given her a mild sedative. She looked up and smiled at Willow.
They fell quiet as the sounds of the slow beeping machines coming from other rooms filled the space. Nurse Benson shifted uncomfortably on the bed, not sure if she should tell Willow that she was concerned about her symptoms after all. Instead, she decided to give the girl the rest she needed. The sooner she got out of the hospital the better for everyone involved in Willow’s transplant. As sad as it was to see her go, it was a case of moving on and forgetting.
Standing from the bed, she sighed and said, “You should get some rest,”
Adjusting the strap of her purse. “You need your sleep.”
She returned to clasping her hands before her, reminding Willow of a sweet old church lady, which she knew she wasn’t. She’d seen bertha throw enough tantrums, often swearing at the staff.
Willow watched after Bertha as she made for the door.
“I don’t want to sleep. What if it happens again?” she asked Bertha.
Dropping her eyes as she felt the shame of sounding like a frightened child; the last thing she wanted when her recovery was about finally becoming an abled adult.
Bertha stopped at the threshold and smiled warmly.
“Do you need me to stay?” she asked, almost as if she’d been expecting it.
“I won’t let you wander off again, child.”
Willow felt pathetic, she shrugged and answered shyly, “Ja, you can’t guard me all the time…”
“Oh. Yes. I. Sure. Can.” Bertha chucked her purse across the room where it landed perfectly on the sofa-chair.
Willow gave a soft chuckle, almost choking on the soup.
Nurse Benson walked over to Willow, hitting her on her back, “Easy child, breathe.”
Willow gasped, taking in a breath before the laughter erupted again. Nurse Benson removed the soup from her tray.
“Okay, I think your meds have taken effect.”
“This is me, happy, funny me.”
Bertha wiped her bangs from her face and smiled down at Willow. “If I’d ever had a daughter, I’d have liked her to be just like you.”
Willow closed her eyes for a moment, feeling a swell in her throat.
“We’d make an odd combo, you and me.”
“Why’s that?” Bertha stared at her through her lashes.
Willow fell back into her pillows. “Well, I don’t really eat baked goods, and you seem to bake, like, a lot. And well I just keep eating them because…” she blushed at her confession.
The medication had taken hold and her thoughts were suddenly outspoken and as if coming from someone else.
Nurse Benson stifled a laugh. “I wondered when you would actually say something.”
“You sabotaged my cookies intentionally then?” Willow’s tongue was starting to drag.
She blinked, trying to push away the fog creeping over her.
“Stay with me please?” she pleaded, her eyes finally drooping.
Bertha took her hand.
“I will. You don’t have to be scared.”
“Okay.” Willow’s eyes shut as the drowsiness took over.
“Oh, and please check in on Tyler in room…” she said, lids still closed.
“I know. You do not have to worry about him. I’ll let him know you’ll visit him soon.”
Willow tried to put up one last fight against the sleep, having this overwhelming feeling, as if she might never wake up the same again. First she had to say one more thing to Bertha, just in case she didn’t make it back to reality.
“Bertha,” was all she got out.
What she had wanted to tell her was, how scared she had been about what she’d seen and felt in that basement. But she’d slipped into sleep too soon with the ominous feeling pursuing her. Singed behind her lids was the non-distinct face that stood out in the shadows of that basement. A face that only she had seen – with it the overly encroaching feeling, like one she’d never experienced before. The haunting face was somehow part of her now.

An Extra Alpha

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: An Extra Alpha: An Mpreg Romance, Pine Wood Falls Book 2

Author: Sarah Havan

Publisher: Self-Published

Genre/s: e.g. Contemporary M/M Romance, Mpreg romance

Trope/s: e.g. threesome

Themes: e.g. self-acceptance, trust

Heat Rating: 4-5 flames

Length: 72 000 words/ 365 pages

The story is part of a series but can be read as a stand alone

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Tagline

They didn’t realize they could both get him pregnant.

Blurb

Thomas escaped his ex and has settled in at Pine Wood Falls. He found himself a nice job, has a cute little house, and his twins are now five months old. The last thing he wants or expects is to go into heat again so soon. He tries to fight the urge but can’t hold off any longer.

Campbell catches the scent of his fated omega. He finally found the one and can’t wait to start a family. So he goes to one of Pine Wood Falls get togethers to do what nature wants of him, what he wants–to mate with his fated one, but the situation gets turned on its head when there’s another alpha there that wants his omega.

All Griffin wants is a good time. He doesn’t believe he’s fated for anyone, that’s all in the past. He just wants his needs met, but another alpha stands in his way. Luckily, they all come to an agreement. The three of them together.

They don’t think they can both get the young omega pregnant. Thomas doesn’t think he’s fated for either of them, but when he ends up pregnant with quads, they all have some things to work out.

 

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Excerpt

Chapter One

Campbell

My time for a family had finally come. For days, the scent of my fated omega lingered in my nose. A smell so sweet and intoxicating. He was on the verge of going into heat, and now there he was, right across from me in the very place I first picked up his scent — The Pine Wood Falls Welcome Center.

“Can I help you with something, sir?” he asked. I took in a sharp breath as he looked up at me with his amazing green eyes. He swiped a strand of his light-blond hair out of his face and stood up, shuffling some papers on his desk. I had about a good foot on the omega in height. He was small and precious, and even though he didn’t know it yet, my future.

“I’m supposed to meet with Mr. Jones.”

“Okay, I’ll let him know you’re here.” His eyes then darted around the office. “Mr. Jones usually meets with everyone out in the dayroom.”

“All right. I’m Campbell. Campbell Vallejo,” I said, holding my hand out for a shake.

“Thomas,” he said, shaking my hand. He gasped when our palms met. Neither of us pulled our hands away.

“Nice to meet you, Thomas.” I gave him a smile, and his cheeks flushed bright pink.

He nodded and glanced down.

“Campbell, good to see you.” Mr. Jones walked into the small office and clapped me on the back. Thomas let go of my hand and dropped his arms to his sides.

“Hello, Mr. Jones.” Mr. Jones was a tall, attractive man with dark brown skin and a happy smile. His omega passed away years ago, so he now focused all of his attention on Pine Wood Falls. The very community his family started.

“I see you’ve met Thomas.”

“Sure have.”

“He’s our newest hire. Pine Wood Falls is growing, and we needed someone to help things run smoothly. He’s going to be a great administrative assistant.”

“Just start?” I asked.

“No, it’s been a couple months. I’m just not very good at my job, I guess.” Thomas’ face fell, and he fiddled with a file folder he picked up and held in front of his pants.

“I should reword that. You are a great administrative assistant.” Mr. Jones smiled and put his hands on his hips.

“Thanks,” Thomas whispered.

“Thomas,” Mr. Jones said.

He glanced up.

“You are. Now, Campbell, let’s go out to the dayroom and have our strategy meeting.” Mr. Jones led me out from the office, through the foyer, and to a table in the corner of the dayroom. He waved at a chair for me to sit in.

“I don’t think I’ve seen Thomas around before. Is he new to the community?” I glanced over my shoulder, hoping he’d be standing there. One omega knitted in the corner with a couple of baby carriers at their feet, and an alpha/omega couple sat on the back couch, but no Thomas.

“Newish. He showed up here about five months ago on the verge of having his babies, and we took him in. He’s been a little wary of others, so he doesn’t venture out much. Up until about a month ago, he worked from home.”

“And his alpha?” I asked because if he already had children perhaps somehow my senses were off. Maybe I was just smelling the part of him that was about to go into heat and not the part that would be mine.

“Gone, and we’re glad of that, bad news, but I shouldn’t talk too much about the poor boy. I’m sure he wouldn’t appreciate it.”

“Of course.”

Mr. Jones and I got down to work. He wanted to use my skills as a creative director at an advertising firm to help reach alphas and omegas who are new to Pine Wood Falls or hadn’t found their way there yet.

“I can make up some nice informational booklets for those who just arrive.” As with any new project, my mind whirled with tons of ideas.

“And for those who have just found out.”

“Of course, I can do that.”

“Some come to our meet and greets, but it would be nice to give them something they can take home and read, and some don’t want to talk to others yet.” Mr. Jones said.

“I could imagine if you just found out you had the alpha or omega wolf gene, it would be a lot to process.”

“Yes, it is a lot, but we’ve been lucky to have you here since you were born.”

“And I love it here and would never leave.” I did go away to college, but returned to live, working in the city not too far away. My dream was to find my fated omega and live the life I only hoped for. I lost family when I was younger and raised by a widowed omega.

“Now how much is your going rate?” Mr. Jones clasped his hands together on the table in front of him and gave me a smile.

“I’m not going to charge you. It’ll be my way of giving back.” That was how Pine Wood Falls kept going after so many years. We all did our part.

“That’s so kind. Now, what do you know about websites?”

“You want to take us public?” We were proud of who we were but knew the reality, how the general population would more than likely react negatively to a group of people with wolf genes and how a large portion of them, the ones with the omega gene, were intersex who can carry and give birth to children. Slowly, men (not all omegas identified as men, but many did) having children was becoming socially recognized, but most the omegas didn’t like the attention that it brought. We mainly wanted to keep our way of life quiet.

“No, but I wish there was some way for people who look online for information to have a way to reach us or to learn more, but without having a site saying what we are. And that sounds pretty impossible.”

“Would a site with an email and phone number do?” I asked.

“But how would they know they found the right thing?” Mr. Jones waved to a young couple that had walked in. One of them being a very pregnant omega.

“Keywords. People search by keywords, so if someone searched up male and pregnant, your site would come up, but it wouldn’t have to say any of that on the site itself.”

Mr. Jones smiled. “That sounds perfect.”

“I’ll get right on it.”

“Thank you so much, Campbell.”

“No problem. You and Pine Wood Falls have done so much for me. It’s about time I gave back.”

“You donate plenty.”

“It’s about more than money. Anybody who has it can donate it.”

“You’ve contributed so much to the community. You just don’t realize it.”

“Thanks, and I’ll get started on this all as soon as I get home.” As I left, I took in a deep breath, the scent of Thomas lingering in my nose, making me so hard.

 

 

 

About the Author

Sarah Havan grew up in the Midwest and still actually lives there. She has an appreciation for having all four seasons. She writes all kinds of romance, but most recently has focused on gay romance in her writing.

She is also the author of Falling Into Trust, One Night Alone, and the Pine Wood Falls series.

 

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Pain and Promise

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Pain and Promise

Author: Lazlo Thorn

Publisher: MLR Press

Cover Artist: Melody Pond

Genre/s: Gay Romance / Erotica / Historical

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 73 000 words/230 pages

It is a standalone book

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Blurb

June, 1981: The small town of Frentana on the Adriatic coast of Italy was the last place Bobby would have suspected that his titanic struggle with being gay would come to a head. But then he hadn’t reckoned on the town’s evil secret weapon – Dario, a Michaelangelo man with a missionary zeal for sex with men and the tightest trousers that Bobby had ever set eyes on. But then Bobby wasn’t the first Englishman in that bright land where the olive trees grew, to be dazzled and beguiled by a local boy. For there was another love story that had yet to be told. A hidden affair separated from Bobby and Dario by almost forty years. An inspiring tale of a great war time romance between two very special young men and one with which Bobby would become strangely linked.

 

Excerpt

August, 1969

Florence, Italy

As the short, strong stranger drew level with Bobby, this young man, still engaged in deep conversation with his friends, nonchalantly reached down and pulled at the front of his trousers, as if scratching an itch in his groin. For a split-second, time seemed to freeze, and Bobby became lost in a moment of furtive fascination as this Florentine beauty continued touching and prodding himself between his legs. Then, in complete disregard for the very public place in which they stood, he suggestively adjusted the contents of his trousers, in much the same way a shopper in a supermarket might casually rummage in a heavy bag of vegetables.

The encounter lasted only a few seconds, and then the young blood and his equally attractive gang of friends were gone, leaving Bobby strangely crushed at the thought that this beautiful creature hadn’t even noticed he was there. The clock on the tower above his head struck eight, and time started up again. When Bobby glanced back at his family, his father was pointing enthusiastically toward the corner of the square where, having finally spotted their destination, they went on to spend a very enjoyable evening at the restaurant, and he thought no more about it.

Bobby found coming home to England after such a great holiday in Italy quite depressing, particularly when he realised that school would resume the following week. So once again, he turned his attention to more mundane matters like his unfinished holiday homework, and all too quickly, the glittering streets of Italy seemed just a distant memory.

Until that day when he made his bitter discovery.

It was early evening, not long after returning home. Alone in his bedroom, he gazed out of the window at their back garden. The red summer roses were dying back, and the rain was drizzling down. Why the memory came to him then, he wasn’t sure. Perhaps he heard the clock in the hallway downstairs chime eight. But come it did and, for whatever reason, he suddenly remembered the attractive young men in the street outside the restaurant in Florence. In particular, the one with the very tight trousers and the bulging fly. The one who couldn’t have been less like a girl. And then the penny dropped. He had been admiring a man, and, he suddenly realised, it hadn’t been the first time. These days, he was often looking at men that way and in particular at the contents of their trousers. Furthermore, when he thought about it, he always had. The picture by his bed, the rugby players in the park and the rough cowboys on television, and, yes, he was marvelling at men because he liked the look of them and the way they made him feel when he captured them in his sights. He wanted them. He had gazed at those men in the street back in Italy the way other boys at school or indeed his brother Charlie talked about looking at girls. So, there in the bedroom that evening at the end of the summer, staring into the back garden through the window, Bobby finally made the connection. A moment forever fixed in time. There was a name for this. He was a homosexual.

 

About the Author

Lazlo Thorn published his first novel (The Signal Box) in 2018. In his work he explores themes about life, death, love and sexuality, set against the social mores and prevailing attitudes to gay sex at different times and in different places. Pain and Promise is his second novel and takes the reader to a small town on the Adriatic coast of Italy where two love stories, separated by almost forty years, become linked in an unexpected way. The author has lived and worked in various countries and travelled widely in Europe and beyond. Today, he lives in England with his husband, in a quiet seaside town on the south coast.

 

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