In the Land of Milk and Honey
Nell E.S. Douglas
Publication date: January 17th 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
When Gabrielle “Bree” Valentine awoke in a hospital bed with a newborn baby, she centered herself and rebuilt. Bree didn’t think about her mental breakdown, lost memories, or the features of a stranger emerging daily in the face of the son she is raising alone. Five years later, on a weekend in the Hamptons, a chance encounter with a man unlike any other jars her—bone deep. Daniel Hawthorne Baird II, wealthy, dangerous, British aristocrat, gravitates to Bree like caviar on crostini. In his relentless obsession with Bree, their lives entwine despite Bree’s resistance. With the unconditional support of friends she calls ‘family’, Bree confronts the most difficult questions of her life. Unearthing the painful mysteries behind who fathered her child, who the real Daniel Baird is, and the irrepressible desire driving her towards a man destined to be the end of them both.
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“Daniel!” she called out, waving her hand in the air, flagging someone down. Within seconds, there stood Mr. V-neck himself—Danny—flanked by two other dark-haired men. He was dressed more casually than the other men, who wore full suits and ties. He looked like he hadn’t gotten much sleep, and I noticed for the first time his hair color was a rich, beer bottle brown.
I smiled warmly in greeting, but his face was stony and he turned away. I guess Danny and I weren’t friends when others were around.
“Join me, gentlemen,” blonde bob implored. She was English too and clearly knew how to play her role here. I realized then she was the other half of the V-neck Crew from the lobby—Danny’s other half. As she waved her hand, I also noticed the giant sparkling canary yellow diamond on her hand.
Danny’s nod was a directive; the two men filled the chairs between us as he sat at the end, the blonde at his side. As the men took to discussing financials, I picked up they were all English. I was not impressed when they placed special orders to the kitchen, apparently too good to plate their own food or eat what the rest of us did.
“Bree!” I heard and turned at the sound of charging footsteps. I spun just in time to see little Amy barrel into my chair, giggling. Everyone had turned towards the disruption, eyeing her disapprovingly. Well, except Danny, whose eyes were closed and his brows were knitted together as if he’d just been poked with a needle. She wedged herself between the snobby suit guy, bumping his elbow, and fired away.
“Did you know my mom wears a wig sometimes?” she announced, panting heavily from her run. I laughed inappropriately loud before covering my mouth. She took that as encouragement.
“And sometimes, at night, I hear her in her bedroom shaving her legs all by herself. Buzzz, buzzz, buzzz, allll night. That’s what it sounds like. Yep,” she mimed while nodding, smiling brightly. I was wide-eyed as I surveyed the table. The blonde was aghast, as was the suit directly opposite her, but the guy to my side was laughing and Danny observed her as though she were a curiosity.
“Little one, I don’t know if I’d share that with anyone else today, okay?” I suggested amusedly as a pulled a stray hair from her face.
“She won’t care,” Amy shrugged.
“Let’s keep it our little secret, anyway,” I whispered. “Cool,” she whispered back, liking the idea of a secret.
“What’s your name, little girl?” the suit next to me asked. “Amy.”
“Amy, I’d like you to give your mother my card. Tell her it’s in case she needs any help shaving tonight,” he said smugly, flicking out his hand. She snatched the card. I hoped he was kidding when I saw the wedding band on his finger.
“Okay! You two can come play with me now if you want!” she exclaimed to myself and Suit One, bouncing on her heels. I wondered if her mother had fed her bars of chocolate to placate her. Or possibly uppers.
Her eyes bounced back and forth from the suited man and me expectantly, he raised an eyebrow that said ‘how preposterous’, and I took a cue; even his eyebrow seemed to have a snooty English accent.
“Amy, I think the nice man has business to do, but maybe I’ll come and play later.”
“I’ll be on the hill.” She pointed beyond the pool down to the sloping grassy hills beyond and then she bolted for it. I snickered, observing her stumble once, her legs not fast enough for her body.
I checked my watch, wondering where August could be. As I did, the overcast sky parted for just a brief moment, a few beams of sunlight rebelliously breaking through the gray and lavender clouds, the rays falling like tiny radiant spotlights and in the corner of my eye, I caught a glimmer of cognac—just like a spark—and an errant thought raced through my mind, too quickly to catch.
I felt suddenly tense, like I needed some air; air somewhere else. I rose from the stuffy table and smoothed out my shirt, and by the time I looked up, Danny had risen from his chair; the other men abruptly followed suit. I was puzzled by the gesture but I snapped out of my daze, my inner tension returning, when the blonde grabbed his forearm and gave him a look like he’d just stood for the maid.
I turned, heading for the hill where Amy played and stood watching from the edge of the patio, trying to clear my head. Several children were chasing each other and I smiled, thinking of my son, but somehow I still felt…troubled.
Nell E. S. Douglas has possessed a deep, abiding love for written words since childhood. The transition from reader, to writer, was a natural one. Her first stories, penned on the lined pages of class notebooks, were inspired by her mother’s poetry and epic tales of travel, and a professorial inquisitiveness inherited from her father. Following college in Florida, Nell exited the world of pure imagination, and entered the one of business, successfully establishing a career in sales, and developing a cup-a-day habit (of coffee). Today, Nell writes everything from story ideas to essays during the spaces in-between domestic goddessing, and contributing as a managing partner to a thriving small business. Nell resides in Florida, with her husband and their children, passing on the traditions of her mother, and sinking her feet in the sand whenever possible.
Her favorite books are Pride and Prejudice, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Her favorite movies are Gladiator, anything by Scorcese, The Time Traveller’s Wife, and Bridesmaids.
Twisted Lies 4
(Dirty Secrets, #4)
Publication date: September 19th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
From USA Today bestselling author Sedona Venez comes an edge-of-your-seat captivating, heart-wrenching, romantic suspense.
I knew he was evil, lust, and darkness personified.
He should have terrified me, but he didn’t because I was just as messed up in the head as he was.
I was a spider trapped in his web.
I didn’t have it all figured out.
What I did know was Core was no Prince Charming, and I, for damn sure, wasn’t a princess.
There would be no fairy-tale ending for us.
It would be hard work, and more importantly, it would be real.
Life couldn’t be all about tiaras and knights riding in to save the day.
This was my give. This was his take.
And there was no going back.
Till death do us part…
Sedona Venez is a romance author with a dirty mind. She lives in New York City with her hot ex-military hubby–hooah–and their fur baby. She loves writing sizzling, sexy intricate stories about strong but broken characters who push limits, overcome their fears, and risk it all for love.
You can chat with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SedonaVenez), Twitter (@SedonaVenez), and her kick-ass romance website, (www.sedonavenez.com).
If you’re interested in getting your hands on an advanced release copy of her upcoming books, sneak peek teasers, you can join her newsletter list (http://eepurl.com/2ixqj) and get those details delivered right to your inbox.
She’s Not Here
Publication date: October 2nd 2018
Genres: Adult, ThrillerWillow watched her father diminish in front of her as Alzheimer’s pulled him further away each day. When a fire creates the perfect disaster, Willow’s desperation to find a cure to the disease causes her to change Samantha Ellison’s life forever.Treated as an experiment, Willow injects Samantha with a serum that mimics Alzheimer’s and deteriorates her brain.With Sam’s mental capacity declining at an alarming rate, it won’t be long until people start looking for answers. With Willow’s husband as the doctor, it’s only a matter of time before he uncovers the truth.The only question is whether he discovers Willow’s secrets in time to save the innocent life at stake.
Mandi Lynn started writing her first novel at thirteen, and at the young age of seventeen, Essence, hit the press. Since publishing her debut novel, Lynn has taught writing workshops, appeared on television, newspapers, and most importantly, graduated high school. While attending college, Lynn works part time at a salon as a stylist and continues to write future novels. Lynn can be found online creating YouTube videos about books, publishing, and all things reading.
See You Soon, Afton
(The Afton Morrison Series #2)
Publication date: August 7th 2018
Genres: Adult, Thriller
Somebody is watching. Somebody isalways watching.
A teenage girl in Wakefield has been abducted, and tracking her down not only tests Afton’s moral limits, but threatens her freedom and her life.
Suspected of murder by local police, and under the watch of a menacing figure in the shadows, Afton’s search and rescue effort unravels dark secrets from her own past. Familial secrets her mother took to the grave, more than a decade ago.
See You Soon, Afton is the second of four parts in a new serial thriller by author Brent Jones. Packed with grit and action,The Afton Morrison Series delves into a world of moral ambiguity, delivering audiences an unlikely heroine in the form of a disturbed vigilante murderess.
Sleep was elusive, if not impossible, in an apartment upended and torn to shreds. My refuge no longer, but a foreign wasteland of fucking chaos. Rest had to wait, in favor of order and cleanliness. Sweeping up what remained of broken dishes. Returning books to shelves. Disposing of sopping electronics, ruined in the tub. Straightening furniture tossed askew. Returning area rugs, bedding, and garments, to their rightful homes. Dusting, mopping, scrubbing, until my hands were sore, my back ached, and my fingers turned red and raw. Whispering countless cries of apology to Twinkie, who, no doubt, had felt violated by the upset to his extended environment, beyond the four glass walls he called home.
And then, just as the night was shattered by the first traces of dawn, I crawled into bed, praying to a God I didn’t believe in for meaningful slumber. And yet I tossed and turned, my mind addled with an inescapable truth, that I was at the mercy of a man I couldn’t pick from a lineup, with a name I couldn’t verify. And that, having been foiled in my attempt to locate him, I’d been responsible for another night Kim would spend away from home. She was sick, I imagined. Hungry, cold, and uncomfortable. Filthy, bruised, and terrified that each moment might be her last. And that was the least of her tribulations, knowing the proclivities of her captor. All-out brutalization was probable by this point, leaving her bleeding and violated. Dead, even.
I took a certain undeniable pleasure in death and gore, but not when it came to Kim. She didn’t deserve it. I craved violence, so long as I could detach myself from the recipient. When it happened to them, or they, or someone else. People who, when alive, had caused others to suffer, or whom, at the very least, I hadn’t come to hold in a high regard. I considered that internal conflict with disdain, that degree of hypocrisy, while staring up at the ceiling.
The key to my survival, I had always known, was to choose targets with care, and to take every available precaution to avoid detection. To be meticulous. If I were to approach a murder without cold calculation, I’d be as vulnerable as those we see on the evening news, prone to the errors associated with erratic human behavior, most often motivated by passion or opportunity.
The problem with crimes of passion and opportunity is that they’re predictable and boring. Yes, boring. A trait that, until his menacing phone call, I’d never associated with myself. And behaving in a fashion both predictable and boring results in mistakes being made. Perhaps that’s just what Ray wanted. Not to harm me in a direct sense, but much like Animus, to bait me into recklessness. To overwhelm my better judgment with temptation and impulsiveness.
Close to ninety years ago, there’d been a convict by the name of Kürten, who was about to be beheaded by guillotine. Legend has it, right before meeting his demise, he’d asked an important question. He wondered if, even for a second, he might be able to hear the sound of blood spurting from his own neck once his head was removed. He claimed that it would be the pleasure to end all pleasures.
It was a sentiment I could appreciate at that moment. Self-preservation was a powerful force, but nowhere near as commanding as the thirst for blood and violence. Two impulses, forever in competition, at least for those of us with the desire to kill. And, feeling helpless in my futile pursuit of both Kim and Ray, that competition had me hurtling downward toward despair and madness. I was sweating through the sheets, twitching for no obvious reason, tweaking like a junkie desperate for her next fix. I was alternating between fevers and chills, scratching at my scalp until it burned, ripping the sheets off the bed, wishing that it had been me who’d twisted those shards of glass into Kenneth’s throat.
I was, after all, a self-proclaimed vigilante murderess, even if without deeds to match her intent. I suppose, if I were to be sentenced to death one day for the heinous slaughter of Kenneth Pritchard, I’d be wishing for the very same thing as Kürten in my last moments. The pleasure of being able to see it all come to an end.
It was with that image—me, with my head secured in a guillotine, taking my last breath—that my mind faded to restless sleep …
From bad checks to bathroom graffiti, Brent Jones has always been drawn to writing. He won a national creative writing competition at the age of fourteen, although he can’t recall what the story was about. Seventeen years later, he gave up his career to pursue creative writing full-time.
Jones writes from his home in Fort Erie, Canada. He’s happily married, a bearded cyclist, a mediocre guitarist, and the proud owner of two dogs with a God complex.