Frozen in Flames

Title: Frozen in Flames
Author: Brandy L. Rivers
Genre: Adult PNR
Publication Date: January 7th, 2019
Blurb:
Words can freeze or burn, as well as mend.
Ready to give up on love, Lonny stuck around to ensure Lana’s safety at the request of an old friend. But every day is a painful reminder she doesn’t want to love a Fae.
The words of her father left Lana doubting herself.  Finally free of his opinion, she realizes she wants Lonny in her life. But someone will stop at nothing to claim her for his own agenda.
A series of attacks turns the tables. Now it’s her turn to chase Lonny while uncovering secrets buried in her past. As they grow closer, she learns who she is and how wrong she was, but the threat hasn’t ended.
 
Buy Links:
Nights Embrace: https://amzn.to/2GXHEP4
Storm Mistress: https://amzn.to/2sdKMfo
Accepting Fate: https://amzn.to/2CRX3vX
Changing Destiny: https://amzn.to/2CT0ItA
Coming Together: https://amzn.to/2LSJSOo
Twisted Bonds: https://amzn.to/2SAocsJ
Darkness Binds: https://amzn.to/2CT3W08
Frozen in Flames: https://amzn.to/2RxGNIV
Brandy L Rivers is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She is kept busy writing the Others of Seattle, Others of Edenton, Combustible, and the Pine Barrens Pack series.
An avid reader, Brandy has always loved writing. She became serious about it as a stay-at-home-mother. With every story her world of characters expands, pulling her new directions.
Living in rainy Western Washington with her husband and three kids, Brandy is already working on future stories in each of the series, and several other projects.
Author Links:
Reader group Rivers’ Shenanigans –  https://www.facebook.com/groups/riversshenanigans
Buy Links:
Nights Embrace: https://amzn.to/2GXHEP4
Storm Mistress: https://amzn.to/2sdKMfo
Accepting Fate: https://amzn.to/2CRX3vX
Changing Destiny: https://amzn.to/2CT0ItA
Coming Together: https://amzn.to/2LSJSOo
Darkness Binds: https://amzn.to/2CT3W08
Frozen in Flames: https://amzn.to/2RxGNIV
 

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The Choice

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: The Choice (The Faction, book 2)

Author: Addison Albright

Publisher: JMS Books, LLC

Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs

Genre/s: M/M, Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance, Vampires

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length: 28 692 words

Release Date: January 5, 2019

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links

JMS Books

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Tagline

Will Albert’s indecision put the entire vampire establishment in danger? Or is redemption only a flamethrower away?

Blurb

As a freshly turned vampire, Neil had frozen in panic when he’d found himself face-to-face with his ex-boyfriend, Cameron. Neil thought that misstep and its associated danger was all in the past, but Cameron’s current boyfriend, Dennis, is like a dog with a bone, and a keen imagination. When the two men’s curiosity progresses to the point the vampires consider their secrecy to be endangered, choices must be made.

Now that faction leader Albert has a blood-mate, he finds himself second-guessing his decisions. Neil would be crushed knowing his mistake led to human deaths, but Albert shouldn’t factor that into the difficult choices he must make. Will Albert’s indecision put the entire vampire establishment in danger? Or is redemption only a flamethrower away?

Excerpt

Neil closed his eyes and bit back a whimper. He’d been so happy these past months loving Albert, a man—vampire—that in many ways he barely knew, yet somehow he could see and truly understand the man’s fundamental essence. Albert’s core…what made him tick.

Although Neil wasn’t party to many of the details of faction business, he had made friends among the vampires, and he and Albert frequently socialized with other vamps of all “ages” and levels within the faction. Among their fellow moviegoers tonight had been one of the faction’s team leaders on one end of the scale, and a delivery driver on the other. Albert treated them all with the same respect and caring as he would likely give to fellow faction leaders or council members. If there was something within Albert’s power that would make life more enjoyable for his people without risking their safety, he did it.

Albert might have black blood flowing through his veins, but he didn’t have a black heart…he had a heart of gold. Neil knew that with every fiber of his being. But he also knew that Albert had to untangle ethical dilemmas that would make most people quake in dismay. At least, the good ones would flinch away from those concerns. Those with hearts steeped in foul malevolence would relish the decisions Albert faced.

Two men’s lives hung in the balance on one side of the scale versus a calculated risk to the lives of all vampires worldwide. Albert’s hand at Neil’s back steadied him as he wobbled. Neil reopened his eyes and stared into Albert’s.

It was as if Albert could read his mind. The look in the man’s eyes screamed that he understood Neil’s pain and would shoulder it if only he could.

Neil’s sorrow centered on knowing that two human lives were on the line because of his own screw-up. The downside to perfect recall was that he would never be able to forget his failure that day when he’d first been trusted out on his own as a fairly new vampire, delivering packages for the faction’s delivery service. He still had the occasional nightmare, reliving it…

The click of a door opening, and a light bark accompanied by the sound of footsteps, alerted Neil to a dog on the landing above him, heading down to be walked. This would be a little trickier than the incident this morning, since they’d be crossing paths in a narrow passageway, but he had his head in the right space now. He could deal with this.

He straightened confidently and slapped on a friendly smile. The dog came into view first, and Neil stutter-stepped, then froze when the man walking the Boston terrier—Hobbs was the dog’s name—came into view.

Hobbs whimpered but at least he didn’t try to dash in the opposite direction. Not that trying to bury himself in Cameron Ferguson’s shoes was much better. What the hell was his ex doing in this building? Cam ground to a halt and stared with his mouth hanging open.

Which was Neil’s own damned fault for freezing and looking guilty, because the changes to his appearance had surprised even himself for the first few days, any time he’d caught sight of his reflection in a mirror. It would not have jumped out at Cam if Neil had managed to keep his cool.

“Oh, my God. Phillip? I heard you died.”

Cam moved as if to embrace him, and Neil finally—fucking finally—broke out of his trance for damage control.

So yeah, it had been Neil’s mistake. If he’d kept his cool, given a disinterested nod or “how’s it goin’?” then Cam wouldn’t have taken a second look in his direction.

“Okay,” Neil whispered, since Albert seemed to be waiting for some sign that he had his emotions under control.

Albert tipped up Neil’s chin for a brief, gentle kiss that spoke more of his love for Neil than words could have done. Albert’s finger traced Neil’s jawline, while his eyes begged for understanding. Then he opened the door, and they stepped into the apartment.

The room, like the hall and stairs leading to it, was unlike most of the vampire-owned apartment buildings. At least, it was unlike the ones Neil had visited. This building was a loft conversion that had once been something else—a small warehouse or office building perhaps. The point that stood out to Neil was the highly polished concrete floor. The better to easily clean up DNA should the need arise?

Cameron and Dennis sat peacefully on steel stools in the otherwise-unfurnished vestibule. Doorways to the living areas were closed. If Neil were to guess, he’d say those doors contained heavy-duty soundproofing—a buffer between the apartment’s entryway and the outside walls and windows.

Cameron looked much the same as Neil remembered him. His dirty blond hair was subtly highlighted and cut short. Dennis had thick, straight, light brown hair, longer than Cameron’s, especially on top. Both pairs of brown eyes stared obliviously.

Four others stood waiting. Two men and two women. Vampires, obviously, although Neil wouldn’t have guessed that by their appearances, only by the fact they were there.

Albert quickly made the introductions. April and Lester had been on the street following them and communicating with Albert. Vinny and Bridget lived here.

“They’re prepped?” Albert asked.

Vinny nodded.

Albert glanced at Neil. “We have a tendency to inadvertently, and quite literally, scare the piss out of people, so it makes sense to have them ‘go’ while still under the influence.”

Neil winced. That did seem like a wise move, though, whether it was so the two could walk away inconspicuously or to minimize potential DNA on the scene.

Read THE RECRUIT #1 first to fully understand and appreciate #2.

Blurb

Albert Manlii has walked this earth for more than two thousand years, but survival on his own was never easy. Now he leads a faction of highly organized vampires who carefully guard the secret of their existence. Unlike the old days, potential recruits are carefully selected and presented with an offer.

Phillip Brewer has weeks to live—if he lets his disease run its course. He doesn’t want to die, but given a choice, will his desire to live outweigh his concerns about the vampires’ ethics?

When the new recruit’s missteps are cause for concern, can Albert control the fallout, or will Phillip’s life once again be torn apart?

Buy Links

JMS Books

Amazon US

Amazon UK

About the Author

Addison Albright is a writer living in the middle of the USA. Her stories are gay romance in contemporary, fantasy, and paranormal genres. She generally adds a subtle touch of humor, a smidgen of drama/angst, and a healthy dose of slice-of-life to her stories. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, french fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.

Author Links

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Facebook Author Page

Facebook Profile

Twitter

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Pinterest

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Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of two $10 Amazon gift cards AND a choice of ebook from Addison’s backlist.

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Just to Keep You

 

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Just To Keep You
by Lindsey Joy Lanser
 
AMAZON
 
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Chicago Fight Club; Book 1
 
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Following the unexpected death of her parents, Jacqueline Flaherty’s life hasn’t been easy. When fate drops a gorgeous yet dangerous man in her path, she doesn’t question the whirlwind romance that follows.
 
But Aleksander Volkov isn’t merely a wealthy businessman. And he has darker reasons for seeking Jac out.
 
Their relationship is intense yet brief, leaving her confused and hurt when he disappears. Then one dangerous night changes everything. Jac becomes the target of the Russian mafia, and only one man stands between her and the death they’ve planned for her: Alek. 
 
Alek has spent his life trying to escape the binds of the Bratva. Just when things are finally on the track to legitimacy, he gets sucked back into the underworld he’s fought to escape. Because of a woman he knows he can’t have, yet can’t seem to forget. Now he’ll do anything just to keep her safe. Even if it means sacrificing his own future …
 
 
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Tess – Women Betrayed Series

TESS

THE WOMEN BETRAYED SERIES

Book 2

BLURB

Branded a traitor, Nathan Montgomery is disowned by his family and his country. In a lawless town like Deadwood, a man can hide from his former life and make a comfortable living, no questions asked.
Tess Smith is hiding a dangerous secret from her past. She finds solace in her skills as a circus acrobat, but once her kindly mentor dies, she is left to the mercy of his evil nephew.
Can Tess and Nathan find happiness together, or will dark deeds tear them apart?

BUY LINKS

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

Amazon CA

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MARGARET TANNER –

DRAMA FILLED HISTORICAL AND WESTERN ROMANCE

Margaret Tanner is an award winning multi-published Australian author. She once spent a couple of hours in an old goal cell so she could feel the chilling cold and fear of her heroine.
She loves delving into the pages of history as she carries out research for her historical and western romance novels. No book is too old or tattered for her to trawl through, no museum too dusty and no website too hard to navigate. Many of her novels have been inspired by true events, with one being written around the hardships and triumphs of her pioneering ancestors in frontier Australia.
Her favorite historical period is the 1st World War, and she has visited the battlefields of Gallipoli, France and Belgium, a truly poignant experience.

With the encouragement of friend and Award Winning, Western Romance author, Susan Horsnell, she has fallen in love with writing Western Historical Romance. Frontier Australia and frontier America, have many similarities, isolated communities, a large single male population and a lack of eligible women.
She has always loved Westerns, soaking up all the Western TV shows and movies when she was young. Bonanza was her all-time favourite show. Little Joe Cartwright was her hero. Western Author, Zane Grey was her favourite author at that time.
Margaret has a short story published in the Western Romance Anthology, Rawhide ‘N Roses which was a 2015 Rone Finalist.

Margaret was also invited to participate in the American Mail Order Bride Series, 50 brides from 50 states, from 45 different authors. Her story is Edwina, Bride of Connecticut which is Book No 5 in the series.
Margaret has written 6 Western Historical Romance novellas.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website

Website

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

AWARDS

On 1st June,2015, Falsely Accused was announced as the winner of the historical novel section of Easy Chair Book shop literary competition.

Haunted Hearts came 5th in the romance section of Easy Chair Book shop competition 2015.

Margaret won the 2007 Author of the Year at AussieAuthors.com. She also won it for a 2nd time in 2010.

Frontier Wife, won the 2010 Reader’s Favorite Historical Romance Award.

Wild Oats
As an unpublished manuscript, Fiery Possession was short-listed in English Publisher,ChocLit Find An Aussie Star competition, in December 2012.

A Rose In No-Man’s Land (published by Amazon Encore),won an un-published manuscript award through RWA (Romance Writers of Australia), several years ago and also won the Best Historical Romance of 2015 at Authors On The Air Global Radio Network Book Reviewers.

White Out Conditions

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Whiteout Conditions – Black Ops Heroes #10

Author: Dara Nelson (writing as Kendel Duncan)

Publisher: Dare Press

Cover Artist: Dara Nelson / Dan Skinner

Genre/s: Contemporary gay romance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 58 060 words/ 361 pages

It is a standalone story but is part of a series.

Release Date: December 30, 2018

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Tagline

Sometimes all it takes is a glance

Blurb

Sometimes all it takes is a glance

One brief moment in time, seemingly insignificant but ultimately life changing

That glimpse through the storm, that shadow, that silhouette, of something you can’t help but feel is something… more, something bigger than just you.

For Deputy US Marshal Vaughn Kepler – a man beaten down by both time and his own demons – it’s a smirk in the mirror, eyes that dance and a mouth that both infuriates and turns him the f*&k on. A mouth belonging to one Caysun Rourke.

The problem? Caysun is supposed to be his witness, the person who will lead Vaughn to his missing brother.

He’s not supposed to be the man that Vaughn desperately wants warming his bed.

But he is.

What the hell is Vaughn supposed to do with that?

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

For Sylas Thorne, that one glance was in the rearview mirror of his car.

When he caught sight of the sexiest man he’d ever seen.

A man who gave ‘objects in the mirror are larger than they appear’ an entirely new meaning.

But Sylas didn’t do… people.

His severe anxiety had kept him hidden away from the world for as long as he could remember.

He was the man, the voice, behind the computer screen. Anonymous.

Just the way he liked it.

Or he did, anyways.

How could he ever hope to gain the love of anyone, let alone the handsome man staring at him with the gorgeous light green eyes?

Yet with just a glance, this man made Sylas want to be a man worthy of one Grainger Peele.

He wanted to face his fears and say ‘eff you’ to them.

But it wasn’t like he could snap his fingers and make his crippling anxiety disappear. If he could, he would’ve done that years ago.

Now the only question that remained was: Could a man like Grainger ever love such mess like him?

When conditions are fierce, when you can barely see your hand in front of your face – is that one glimpse, that fleeting glance, enough to carry you through the storm to the end?

This is the 10th installment in the world of the Black Ops Heroes – strong yet vulnerable men who are stubborn and loyal, caring and fierce, and who, when they love, they love with their whole damn hearts.

While this book is a standalone, it is recommended that you read the other books in the series to meet and fall in love with all of the men in this amazing world.

Excerpt

Sylas’s fingers shook as he brought his hands up to grip the top of his steering wheel. He was trying to stop himself from restarting his car, backing out of the parking space and going home.

Home was safe.

Home was dark.

Home was… lonely.

That’s why he was here, right?

He’d been seeing Cece for eight months now. At first, she’d come to his place, then they started doing Skype sessions as she tried to convince him to venture to her office for their chats, as she called them.

Today was the first time in almost a year that he’d actually left the house.

Panic had his forehead sweating, his pulse pounding. His head started to shake side to side, “Nope. Can’t do it,” he mumbled.

He shifted in his seat to turn the key in the ignition when something in his rearview mirror caught his eye. Something big, like fucking huge. He had no clue what the face looked like that was attached to the body walking towards his car but, at the moment he really didn’t care.

“Damn,” he mumbled as he watched that deep blue pinstripe suit sauntering closer. The suit jacket was unbuttoned, giving Sylas teasing glimpses of the firm torso barely hidden beneath the white button-up shirt. The thighs bulged with every step the man took. Those thick legs were spread slightly and as Sylas’ eyes dropped a bit, he could see why.

“Holy fuck,” he whispered as he saw the outline of a thick, long cock bouncing from side to side on the man’s left thigh, like the arm of a metronome. No wonder the guy had to spread his legs. And he was commando. Damn. If his cock was that big it probably meant he had some big, ripe juicy balls that he was forced to make room for too.

Suddenly being out in public didn’t seem so bad.

The man stopped next to Sylas’ car, with that bulge perfectly framed in Sylas’ mirror.

As Sylas touched the button to lower his window, his brain to mouth filter disappeared. “I know it says objects in mirror are larger than they appear but damn, dude,” he said.

The man chuckled, a deep, sexy sound that flowed over Sylas like liquid chocolate. “You here to see Dr. Peele?”

“I think so?” he mumbled, his nerves re-appearing despite the hunk of man standing next to him.

The man pulled a phone out of his pocket and brought it to his ear, “Hey, Brenda. Are there any patients in the waiting room? No? Good. Tell Cece her next appointment will be up shortly.”

The man returned his phone to his pocket.

“The only thing standing between you and her is that door and a receptionist,” the man said.

Sylas stared at the office door.

Could he do this?

“I promise things will feel better, Quattro.”

Sylas frowned, “Quattro?”

“Don’t know your name so I went with the car you’re in.”

Sylas smirked as he glanced into his rearview mirror again to see the sleek, black, powerful car parked behind him that blue suit had emerged from. “Well, to be honest, there are three things standing in my way.”

“Three?”

“Yep. That door, a receptionist,” he said as he pointed his finger over his steering wheel, “And your ginormous package, Mustang.”

The guy snorted a laugh that Sylas found completely adorable…and hot as fuck. Mustang took a step back so Sylas could open his door – which he did, surprising even himself.

He stood to his feet turned around and dragged his eyes slowly up blue suit guy’s body until, yep, that was a gasp, because staring back at him with a grin on his face, with perfect white teeth, and dark, sexy stubble covering his chin and perfect jaw, high cheekbones with lickable dimples, strong eyebrows and light green eyes that were full of mischief and… understanding – was easily the most beautiful man that Sylas Thorne had ever seen.

About the Author

I did not choose to write… writing chose me

I was born and raised in the Bay Area of Northern California but have made my home in the Pacific Northwest for the last two decades. My husband & I live on a small farm surrounded by chickens, goats, rabbits, a turkey, 5 dogs and a cat, in the shadow of stunning Mt Rainier.

With my grown children and grandchildren nearby, my life is always busy, happy and full of laughter.

I am an active Blogger, having created Love Unchained Book Reviews out of my love for all things reading – mostly MM books.

Owner of Dare Press – Offering quality, affordable services for indie authors, including:

Editing, Publishing, Book Cover Design

NY Literary Magazine Best Story Award 2017 Nominee

When I’m not on the phone with my best friend (which is at least once every day) – I am an avid, addicted reader. It is my passion, my escape, my joy
And I am most definitely a writer. The characters in my head are constantly demanding that their story be told.
But above all that – I am a human being. My passion for people is unparalleled, my firm belief in Love is Love unwavering, my hope that all can be accepted, undying. I do not write because I want to, I do it because I have to. I write because these voices, these beautiful men, have chosen me to tell their stories – and how damn lucky am I for that?

As an author, I write under both my name and my pen name (Kendel Duncan), with total transparency and honesty.

Dara Nelson is the author of:

Author of the wildly popular ‘Healing Hearts’ series (Love in the Aftermath, Love After Chaos, Love Worth Fighting For – and more to come soon)

“5 stars 5 stars Amazing!!”

“Highly recommended”

“This is not your average romance story. It is so much more. A book that touched my heart.”

“OMG!!! This was probably one of the best books I’ve ever read.”

“This is the first time I’ve read anything from Dara Nelson, but it won’t be the last. I need more of her writing!”

Under the pen name Kendel Duncan:

Author of the popular & critically acclaimed ‘Black Ops Heroes’ series and the new top-selling ‘Doyle Global Securities’ series

“I can’t recommend Kendel Duncan or Black Ops Heroes ENOUGH!!!! OMG, everyone who likes strong vulnerable men will love these stories!!!”

“I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK AND THIS AMAZING SERIES!!!!!”

“I love how you keep the story going and keep all the characters interesting. Can’t wait for the next book!”

“The emotions are so raw and just I don’t have the right words to express how amazing the books are. You have to read them to understand. I can’t wait for the next installment!!”

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter: @daranel

Instagram @daranel1

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of five copies of any ebook from Dara’s backlist.

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Immortal Angel

A broken cyborg. A dying elf. Can they save each other before it’s too late?
As the first cyborg ever created, the Ardak’s experiments left Simban broken and without hope. Barely able to
control his body or his speech, he sets off into the wilderness to avoid the first post-invasion winter solstice
celebration. But when he finds a dying elf, he realizes that he might have found a kindred spirit, and her time
is running out.
Irielle fled to the mountains to avoid the Ardaks. Plagued by flashbacks of when she was captured as their
prisoner and a horrible pain in her chest that’s growing worse, the only thing she has left to do is die alone in
the icy snow. But when a certain cyborg finds her, she suddenly has reason to hope. Until the Ardaks make an
unexpected appearance.
Can these two broken beings heal each other? Join Simban and Irielle in a race against time and the Ardaks to
find out.

Buy Simban Today

Amazon
US
I Amazon UK I iBooks I Nook I Kobo
About Immortal Angel

Immortal Angel is always writing. Her specialty? Science fiction / fantasy romances that drop readers into a
new world and leave them hanging on until the very end.
Growing up on sci-fi, fantasy, and romance; she can’t help but weave these elements into her stories. Which,
luckily for her readers, results in a whole lot of hot human men, supernatural males, and some very sexy
aliens.
Immortal Angel loves to hear from her readers, and of course, she wants to hear from you! Feel free to
contact her by any of the methods below:

Facebook I Facebook Book Crew I Instagram I Website

Dream Walker

Title: Dream Walker
Author: Bridgette O’Hare
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Cover Designer: DARK UNICORN DESIGNS
Editor: Jennifer Green of Plot2Published Editing
Publisher: CLOVERHOUSE PUBLISHING
Publication Date: January 25th, 2018
 
Blurb:
To realize who you are, you must forget who they taught you to be
.
Darkness flows through Halle Michaels. Darkness suppressed by the expectations of being the ideal daughter, the perfect friend, and the stereotypical girl next door.
Now, her family’s past has caught up to her. When Halle discovers she was meant to follow in her father’s footsteps—footsteps she’s certain led to his untimely death—she must forget every lie she’s been taught about who she is.
Hunted by Hell’s elite and armed only with what she can decipher from her father’s cryptic journal, she turns to Aedan Jeremiah for answers, unsure she can trust him.
Halle wants the truth, but the longer truth is twisted in shadows, the harder it is to recognize in the light.
Can Halle move beyond the deceit, or will she be consumed by the darkness that stole her father from her?

Buy Links:
Bridgette O’Hare is a writerly life form surviving on high doses of chocolate, excessive episodes of Supernatural, and copious amounts of snark.
She spends her time in search of sleep, witty co-conspirators, the planet Gallifrey, and ways to unleash treachery upon her characters in interesting ways . . . or you may find her instigating shenanigans on Facebook.
She’s the proud Mum of two highly entertaining humans and she resides on the coast of North Carolina.
Bridgette is recommended by 4 out of 5 people that recommend things. Number 5 was unavailable for comment.
Author Links:
Smart Masses Newsletter http://bit.ly/smartmass
Buy Links:

Silent Night: https://amzn.to/2QSx7Z2

Dream Walker: https://amzn.to/2S7LohL

Matt had never been one to let a chance to provoke Jenna slip by. “I know what I’m getting you for Christmas,” he chided.
“Does it involve a trip to some tropical island and drinks with those tiny umbrellas in them?” Jenna quipped back.
“What makes you think I’d take you somewhere like that?” he retorted.
A sly smirk slinked up one corner of Jenna’s mouth. “What makes you think I was going to take you with me on my little island excursion? It’s my present.”
Matt shook his head. “A watch, Jenna. I’m getting you a watch. Not that you’d use it.”
He checked his mirrors and backed out of the driveway.
“Alright, children. Let’s play nice,” Halle interrupted before the back and forth really took off.
“That was nice,” Jenna mumbled.
“Yeah, about as nice as when you two ditched me at Levi’s Halloween party. Left me with a house full of masked marauders, and I don’t mean the interesting comic book kind.” Matt glared at Jenna in the rear-view mirror.
“Why are you looking at me like that? Halle bailed on you, too!”
“Hey now!” Halle piped in.
“She was hurt. She gets a pass. You could have found me, or called, or texted, or something.” His words came across with a little something Halle couldn’t help but be concerned about. For the past year, she had watched as Matt and Jenna bantered back and forth, always teetering on the edge of something more than friendship but never slipping over. Halle found herself glancing between the two, wondering if Jenna’s secret was why she had always kept Matt at arm’s length.
Jenna went silent for a moment. The countenance of her face saying more than words could. “I’m sorry, Matt. You’re right. I should have let you know. Forgive me?”
Matt’s eyes darted between the road and the rear view mirror several times before he blew out a heavy breath and his stare rested on the mirror for a long moment. “I forgave you the moment it happened. You know that,” he replied.
“Of course you did,” Jenna chimed. “You can’t stay mad at me. I won’t let you.” She stuck her tongue out at him.
Halle laughed at the exchange. “You two are something else.”
“Don’t know what you’re laughing at,” Matt remarked as he turned the Jeep into the school parking lot. “You’re friends with both of us. What does that say about you?”
“That I’m crazier than I thought,” Halle muttered. “But hey, at least y’all are entertaining.”
She adjusted her sunglasses and reached for her bag in the floorboard. “I’ll see you guys at lunch. I need to bolt. Have to try to get to Senior Mozingo’s class before homeroom to ask about some work I missed.”
“You sure you’re not just trying to avoid him?” Jenna asked as she nodded her head at the guy standing on the sidewalk straight ahead of the Jeep.
“Crap,” Halle mumbled.
“Want me to run him over?” Matt smiled. “I can say the gear slipped.”
Halle rolled her eyes, though her sunglasses hid the gesture. “No. I don’t want you to run him over. Geesh. But . . . you could run interference for me.”
“And you don’t think hitting him with a car would do that?” Matt grinned.
“Nevermind. I don’t want to deal with the police interrogation afterward. I’ll just do the best I can.” Halle made a face at Matt, slipped out of the Jeep, and eased toward the back of the car parked beside them.

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