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Book Blitz ~ Daisy by Gemma Weir: Excerpt + Giveaway!


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Daisy by Gemma Weir

(Archer’s Creek #2)

Publication date: April 15th 2018

Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Daisy.

They say eyes are the windows to the soul. I thought that was bullshit until I saw hers. Huge doe eyes that should have sparkled with happiness and laughter were dead and lifeless. That was the moment that changed everything. Two random meetings, nine emails, four days and a broken Angel that changed my entire world.

Angel.

Such a silly name for a beautiful boy. Daisy is the saviour I crave and the safety I haven’t felt in years. My world is spinning out of control but he’s the salvation that can keep me alive — if I’ll let him. Two random meetings, nine emails, four days and a broken boy that brought me back to life.

Goodreads | Amazon |Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

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~Excerpt~

I don’t know where I’m running too. It doesn’t matter. Anywhere is better than at home, with that monster. I hurry around a corner just off Main Street and run straight into someone.

I bounce off a hard chest and land on my butt on the sidewalk. Disoriented, I sit on the floor with my hair falling over my eyes and hiding my face. Gentle fingers part my hair, tucking the strands behind my ears. I lift my eyes and my breath catches. It’s him.

“Hello, Angel,” Daisy says.

~~~

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~Author Bio~

Gemma Weir is a half crazed stay at home mom to three kids, one man child and a hell hound. She has lived in the midlands, in the UK her whole life and has wanted to write a book since she was a child. Gemma has a ridiculously dirty mind and loves her book boyfriends to be big, tattooed alpha males. She’s a reader first and foremost and she loves her romance to come with a happy ending and lots of sexy sex.

Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

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~Giveaway~

Blitz-wide giveaway (US/UK only)

Paperback copy of Daisy
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Blitz ~ Watching You by Leslie A. Kelly: Excerpt + Giveaway!


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Watching You by Leslie A. Kelly

(Hollywood Heat #1)

Published by: Forever Yours

Publication date: March 13th 2018

Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

In the first book of a thrilling new romantic suspense trilogy, USA Today bestselling author Leslie A. Kelly shows just how hot – and how dangerous – Hollywood can be.

In the shadows, someone is always watching

Aspiring screenwriter Jessica Jensen grew up on movies starring heartthrob Reece Winchester, the eldest brother of a Hollywood dynasty. She never thought she’d meet the man in person, though. Actor, director, millionaire, and gorgeous mystery man-he’s every woman’s fantasy.

Reece wants Jessica the moment he sees her, and he’s a man who always gets what he wants. At first he was only after a night in her bed, but as he comes to know the smart, confident woman beneath the stunning exterior, he realizes once will never be enough.

Unfortunately, Jessica’s real-life Cinderella story is about to take a deadly turn…

Reece’s world is filled with fierce ambition and dark family secrets the Winchesters desperately want to hide. But he and his brothers aren’t the only ones who know those secrets. Someone else is out there, waiting to strike. Waiting-and always watching.

When danger finally steps out of the shadows, Reece will have to face his past. And Jessica will have to decide just how far she can trust the man she loves with her heart…and her life.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

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~Excerpt~

Copyright Leslie A. Kelly

Please do not reproduce without permission from the author.

Jess was so lost in thought about Reece the superstar she forgot the man was in the room, and that she’d imagined he was staring at her. Which was perhaps why she nearly dropped her glass when she felt a tall, solid form move behind her and heard a man say, “Interesting.”

Smooth voice. Deep, silky. A voice she recognized. She’d heard it on the big screen and the small one, since she had copies of every movie he’d starred in—seven from his childhood years, eight from his adult ones. Was he really talking to her?

“Yes, it is,” she murmured, all calm and collected, like she was not shaking in her consignment store shoes.

“Possibly one of the artist’s earlier efforts.”

Hmm. How had he known? “Yes,” Miss Conversational Genius repeated.

“I’m not interrupting, am I?”

The hint of confidence in the tone told her he knew the answer. Had any woman ever told him to go away because he was bothering her? Huh. Doubtful. “Not at all.”

“Good. What is it called?”

“What we’re doing? I think it’s a conversation.” Jess didn’t know where the snarky response came from, or where she’d gotten the nerve to be all quippy with the guy, but there you go. That was her, always a mouth-off away from catastrophe.

“I meant the sculpture,” he said. No laugh. No humor. Crap.

Realizing they were actually going to have a conversation, and knowing it might require face-to-face interaction, she wondered if she was ready for it. Hesitating, she licked her lips and replied, “It’s called Naked Man.”

“Subtle.”

Knowing it was rude not to face him, she took a deep breath and glanced over her shoulder. Lord have mercy.

Deep breaths might be calming in normal situations—like when one was confronted by a repo man repossessing a car. Been there, done that. But they didn’t work at all when looking into the clear amber eyes of a man every woman on the planet fantasized about. His looks made you silently gawk while you tried to figure out why the arrangement of cheek and jaw, mouth and eyes, was so arresting and unforgettable. She interacted with scruffy, shaggy-haired surf-bum types in the bar where she worked, so she’d almost forgotten how appealing a conservative haircut and a smoothly shaven face could be. Not to mention the sexiness of a perfectly tailored power suit, the charcoal color interrupted only by a splash of red in the necktie.

She finally cleared her throat and pushed a few words out. “It is from very early in the artist’s career. How did you know?”

“She draped the sex organs, as if she wasn’t quite ready to go there.”

Jess nodded, wondering if she was truly talking about men’s packages with the sexiest freaking man alive. Was this really happening, or was she hallucinating? Had that stupid bartender slipped GHB in her drink? Damn, if she woke up tomorrow with no memory of what happened, and then found videos of herself on YouTube, she would rip him a new one.

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~Author Bio~

Leslie A. Kelly is a New York Times bestselling author who has written more than fifty books in various genres. She currently writes contemporary romances under the name Leslie Kelly, and dark thrillers as Leslie A. Kelly.

She is the author of the futuristic Veronica Sloan thriller series, and of the dark romantic suspense Black CATs series.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

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~Giveaway~

Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)

$100 Amazon gift card
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Blitz ~ Jewel of the Gods by Mary Bernsen: Excerpt + Giveaway!


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Jewel of the Gods by Mary Bernsen

(Beyond the Gods #2)

Published by: CTP Pulse

Publication date: December 19th 2017

Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Mythology, Romance

Sold at the age of seventeen to the king of the realm, Ursula has spent the last four years serving as his submissive concubine. She has grown to love him with a fierce loyalty, but when he orders her to kill a spirited young girl, she simply cannot obey.Her master does not take defiance lightly, so Ursula must find the girl she spared and return her to the king—or lose her own head. Her search leads to the girl’s former employer, a handsome man who introduces Ursula to a world of experiences and freedoms she has never known. Though thrilling and intoxicating, she knows this new lifestyle is only temporary.She must finish her quest and return to her master…before this new, softer kind of love has her questioning everything.

Jewel of the Gods is the second novel in the fiery and passionate Beyond the Gods series by Mary Bernsen.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barns & Noble | Kobo

Sequel to:

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~Excerpt~

Hercules clenched his jaw and balled up his fists. “Do you even hear yourself?” He raised his voice into a mocking tone. “’Poseidon doesn’t allow this. Poseidon prefers that.’ Dear Zeus, Ursula. Have you ever taken a moment to think about what you need? How much longer do you think you will be able to survive under such stifling conditions?”

Suddenly, I was overcome with a sense of shame at myself. I had never taken a step back and thought about what it must seem like to others. There was no way to defend it, either. It was as it seemed. I was my master’s pet. He cared for me, ensured I had my necessities. All he required in return was obedience.

Still, I couldn’t deny Chiron’s earlier claim, either. I had become a stranger to myself in the time I had served Poseidon. There was a time not so long ago when I had harbored fight in my heart. I had to release that independence to save my life, and one way or another Poseidon’s shelter had consumed me until I loved him for it. I hated Hercules for making me question what I had grown so comfortable with. I didn’t want any further complications at the moment.

“It does not matter.” I lifted a chin. “I’m a servant. I have no say in it.”

“You do as long as you are here.” He nodded toward the food in the center of the table. “Eat, or I will starve as well.”

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~Author Bio~

Mary Bernsen is a southwest Florida native currently living in North Port with her two beautiful children and a third, much larger child that she affectionately calls husband. She is the Amazon Best Selling Author of Healing The Bayou, The Ganga Shift, and Beyond the Gods series.

She also writes young adult romances under her pseudonym, M.E. Rhines.

WebsiteGoodreadsFacebook | Twitter

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~Giveaway~

Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)

Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box (Intl winner would get eBook prizes)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Blitz ~ Marrying an Alien Pop Star by Kendra L. Saunders: Excerpt, Soundtrack + Giveaway!


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Marrying an Alien Pop Star by Kendra L. Saunders

(Alien Pop Star #3)

Published by: Crimson Tree Publishing

Publication date: November 20th 2017

Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance, Science Fiction

Daisy and her alien fiancé Griffin are planning a big wedding, but not just any big wedding – the biggest wedding the universe has ever seen. Daisy has been settling into life on Griffin’s home world of Kalesstria, running her own intergalactic music shop and planning for the big day. But things hit a road bump when there’s a problem with Griffin’s father – and it’s a little more complicated than the usual disapproving dad drama. Looks like “save the date” is going to have to take a backseat to saving the universe…

Marrying an Alien Pop Star is the perfect laugh-out-loud romantic finale to the beloved Alien Pop Star series.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

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~Excerpt~

Somehow, every time I return to Earth, the awful smells that make up New York City seem even more welcome to my nose. A woman can only be without the olfactory cocktail of garbage, cheap coffee, morning cigarettes, and desperate hangovers for so long.

Finally, finally, here Griffin, Dev and I are, setting foot in the East Village with nothing but our clothes, one bag, and a bunch of semi-counterfeited money. Okay, not semi-counterfeited. Completely counterfeited. Griffin and Dev can create stacks of fake Earth currencies with almost no effort, which is disconcerting if I think about it for too long. I try not think about it at all, actually.

Griffin tips himself over a filthy looking garbage can and throws up for all he’s worth. I wander away a little and stare at taxis rolling by, willing my own stomach to calm down.

I’ve ‘traveled’ through space several times with Griffin, but it really doesn’t make it any easier, evidenced by my stomach’s gleeful attempt to empty everything inside it as soon as we land at our destination. Usually, I can bully my stomach into calming down before anything actually manages to come up, but the same can’t be said for Griffin. Somehow, he’s a million times worse at traveling through space than I am, despite his people’s advanced capabilities.

And see, I love him, and aspire to comfort him when he’s feeling sad or sick, but I know better than to get too close at a time like this. Besides, that’s exactly what Griffin’s best friend Dev is for.

Aforementioned best friend makes a beeline for Griffin, sidling up to him and patting him on the back. “It’s alright,” he says, in the special soothing voice he uses for Griffin in times of stomach disaster. “Just breathe through your nose, Griff. Pretend you’re on a horizon. Everything is still. Nothing moves. You’re weightless and blissful.”

Griffin raises his head and grumbles something about not feeling very blissful, and then lurches forward to vomit again.

Where Griffin is dark haired and pale and pointy, Dev’s handsomely golden in every respect. His skin always looks freshly sun-kissed, and his big gray eyes seem rested even when he hasn’t slept. He’s a calming force on everyone he comes into contact with, even his manic best friend. “Find your calm, Griff. You’re alright. You’re weightless and–”

“I’m not alright!” Griffin replies, flailing his hands around while still leaned fully over the bin.

Dev pats Griffin on the back. “I’m proud of you, Griff. You programmed our trip this time, and you didn’t kill any of us.”

His praise is justified, because this is actually kind of a big deal. Griffin is infamously terrible at travel, and has sent himself to a few dangerous places by accident over the years. Of course, reminding him of this fact never goes over well, and today is no exception. He raises his head again to pin Dev with a nasty look.

“I happen to be…” he starts to say, and then takes a long pause, “somewhat better at traveling than I used to be, thank you very much.” With that, he pukes again, and Dev bites his lower lip to keep from smiling.

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“Alien Pop Star Soundtrack”

Music plays a huge role in the Alien Pop Star universe, so of course I listened to a lot of music while writing the series! Below is a listing of some of my favorite songs, and a link to listen to them on Spotify:

Muse: Panic Station

Hologram: The Horrors

David Bowie: Loving the Alien

Katy Perry: ET

Chrome Canyon: Beginnings

Kesha: Past Lives

Vitalic: Poison Lips

Goldfrapp: Pilots

The Horrors: In and Out of Sight

Hundos: Seems Like Years

ELO: Strange Magic

Daughter: Touch

Rowland S. Howard: (I Know a Girl Called) Jonny

White Lies: E.S.T.

The Moody Blues: I Know You’re Out There Somewhere

The Tornadoes: Telstar

Listen to it here: https://open.spotify.com/user/1225720772/playlist/0Q5MfiDPuWO9O7C3Z1UHcC

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~Author Bio~

Kendra L. Saunders is a time-and-space traveling fashionista author who writes books about magical, dark-haired men, interviews famous people, and suggests way too many bands to you via whatever social media platform she can get her hands on. She writes with good humor because humor is the best weapon for a girl who can’t learn karate (or ballroom dancing). She’s the author of the Alien Pop Star series, The Unlove Spell, magic realism novel Inanimate Objects, the dark comedy Death and Mr. Right, and the poetry collection Geminis and Past Lives.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube

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~Giveaway~

Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)

Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box (Intl winner would get eBook prizes)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Blitz ~ Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien: Excerpt + Giveaway!


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Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien

Published by: Acorn Publishing

Publication date: September 26th 2017

Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, Young Adult

“A riveting page-turner… Jessica Therrien broke my heart into a million pieces — and then put it back together again. This book will haunt and uplift readers long after they turn the last page.” -KAT ROSS, best-selling author of The Midnight Sea

CARRY ME HOME is a fictional novel inspired by the true story of a teenage girl’s involvement in several Mexican gangs in San Jose and Los Angeles. The members of her crew call her, Guera, Spanish for “white girl” and it doesn’t take long for her to get lost in their world of guns and drugs.

* * *

Lucy and Ruth are country girls from a broken home. When they move to the city with their mother, leaving behind their family ranch and dead-beat father, Lucy unravels.

They run to their grandparents’ place, a trailer park mobile home in the barrio of San Jose. Lucy’s barrio friends have changed since her last visit. They’ve joined a gang called VC. They teach her to fight, to shank, to beat a person unconscious and play with guns. When things get too heavy, and lives are at stake, the three girls head for LA seeking a better life.

But trouble always follows Lucy. She befriends the wrong people, members of another gang, and every bad choice she makes drags the family into her dangerous world.

Told from three points of view, the story follows Lucy down the rabbit hole, along with her mother and sister as they sacrifice dreams and happiness, friendships and futures. Love is waiting for all of them in LA, but pursuing a life without Lucy could mean losing her forever.

Ultimately it’s their bond with each other that holds them together, in a true test of love, loss and survival.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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~Excerpt~

“You ready for this, Guera?” he asks.

It’s a test, Guera. Only thing I can say is you’re allowed to fight back. Take ‘em out with everything you got.

I’d heard of people being jumped into a gang before, maybe it was Rosa who told me about it. As the girls start to descend from their spots around the room, slowly closing in like encircling wolves, I know what’s about to happen.

The realization takes hold in my chest, a quick plunge of the heart into an icy lake of fear. I back away slowly out of instinct, ready to run, but there’s nowhere to go. The sound of their skittering feet is the first thing I hear before they come at me. Me against all of them. Me against Rose Tattoo and Cigarette Twins. Me against the jealous novias. Ten sets of eyes glinting with the thrill of a fight. I flinch and turn my back to avoid the fists, but they’re all around me. One of them catches me by the shoulders, holding me in place as the other girls hit the back of my skull. My head flies forward, chin to chest.

At first I don’t know whether to swing or cover. I reach up to protect myself, but there are too many points of contact. The rush of adrenaline is intense. It blocks the pain, but there is a fiery need in me to get away. I try and kick or punch, feeling one or two connect, but the girls are everywhere. An elbow slams against my temple. My head splits and my ears ring. I go down.

Every infinite minute of being the enemy feels like it’ll never end.

Someone’s shoe stomps my thigh. Others strike my ribs. I heave and gag until I can’t breathe. But that kind of terror turns me into a resilient kind of crazy. The kind of rabid-mad that is born of desperation. I scrape and flail until I’m on my feet, pulling hair and swinging my fists, making contact with whatever I can. I don’t realize I’m screaming until Toño calls them to a stop.

It ceases the moment the girls hear his voice, and I’m left there shaking and crazed, my breath dragging in and out of my lungs in a feverish effort to return to its normal rhythm. I pant and cry, as softly as I can, but it’s hard to deny my body the relief of all-out sobbing. My head hurts. My brain smashes against my skull with the pulse of too much pressure. I taste blood in my mouth, though no one has touched my face. Now that it’s over, the pain of it all rushes to the surface and makes me want to vomit. I feel like I could die.

Why am I here? Why am I doing this?

“She’s in,” Toño says, and the cheers of the group shock my senses and make me tense up.

They all rush me, and at first I’m terrified it’s about to start again, but instead they hug me and pat me on the shoulder all at once. Each hand on my back or squeeze around the shoulders rocks me with pain, but they’re so happy. Their laughter and cheering is contagious, it flows into me, filling me with a strange sense of pride and belonging. I can’t help my smile when I see their encouraging faces. I even start to laugh.

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~Author Bio~

Jessica Therrien is the author of the young adult series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. Her trilogy has been translated and sold through major publishers around the world, such as Editions AdA (Canada), EditionsMilan (France), and SharpPoint Press (China).

Aside from her Children of the Gods series, Jessica is the author of a kid’s picture book called, The Loneliest Whale. Her award-winning stories can also be found in a published anthology of flash fiction.

Jessica currently lives in Irvine with her husband and two young sons. She is working on an a YA suspense thriller series and a middle grade fantasy series.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

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~Giveaway~

Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)

  • 5 prize bundles of 10 books each (ebooks and at least 1 paperback per bundle)
  • Signed Hardcover of CARRY ME HOME by Jessica Therrien
  • Signed Hardcover of OPPRESSION (Children of the Gods #1) by Jessica Therrien

Enter here ~ a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Blitz ~ Beyond the Mist by Casi McLean: Excerpt + Giveaway!


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Beyond the Mist by Casi McLean

(Lake Lanier Mysteries, #2)

Published by: The Wild Rose Press

Publication date: September 15th 2017

Genres: Adult, Romance, Time-Travel

Piper Taylor concedes she’ll never fall in love, until a treacherous storm spirals her into the arms of the handsome Nick Cramer. Unrelenting remorse over a past relationship haunts Nick, but he can’t deny the mysterious connection and hot desire Piper evokes.

The allure of a secret portal hidden beneath Atlanta’s Lake Lanier tempts him into seizing the opportunity to change his mistakes. But his time slip triggers consequences beyond his wildest dreams.

Can Piper avoid the international espionage and terrorism of 2001 New York, find Nick, and bring him home before he alters the fabric of time, or will the lovers drift forever Beyond The Mist?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Are you a book reviewer?
You can request a review copy here!

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~Excerpt~

A soft mist hovered over the moonlit lake, beckoning, luring him forward with the seductive enticement of a mermaid’s song. Rhythmic clatter of a distant train moaned in harmony with a symphony of cricket chirps and croaking frogs. Spellbound, Nick Cramer took a long breath and waded deeper into the murky cove. Dank air, laden with a scent of soggy earth and pine, crawled across his bare arms. The hairs on the back of his neck bristled, shooting a prickle down his spine that slithered into an icy pool coiled in the pit of his stomach. He clenched his fingers into a tight fist, determined to fight through the emotion consuming him. Fear sliced through his belly like icy shards until he finally heaved, forcing rancid bile to choke into his throat.

I have to do this––he inched forward––only a few more steps and––

A sudden surge swirled around him, yanking him into a whirling vortex, where a violent blue streak dragged him deeper, deeper beneath the lake into the shadowy depths. Heart pounding, he battled against the force, twisting, thrusting toward the surface with all of his strength but, despite his muscular build, he spun like a feather in wind into oblivion. When the mist dissolved, Nick Cramer had vanished.

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~Author Bio~

Award winning author, Casi McLean, pens novels to stir the soul with romance, suspense, and a sprinkle of magic. Her writing crosses genres from ethereal, captivating shorts with eerie twist endings to believable time slips, mystical plots, and sensual romantic suspense, like Beneath The Lake, WINNER: 2016 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for BEST Romantic Suspense. WATCH THE TRAILER https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwOqm8DUUfA

Casi’s powerful memoir, Wingless Butterfly: Healing The Broken Child Within, shares an inspirational message of courage, tenacity, and hope, and displays her unique ability to excel in nonfiction and self-help as well as fiction. Known for enchanting stories with magical description, McLean entices readers in nonfiction as well with fascinating hooks to hold them captive in storylines they can’t put down.

Her romance entwines strong, believable heroines with delicious hot heroes to tempt the deepest desires then fans the flames, sweeping readers into their innermost romantic fantasies. Ms. McLean weaves exceptional romantic mystery with suspenseful settings and lovable characters you’ll devour. You’ll see, hear, and feel the magical eeriness of one fateful night. You’ll swear her time travel could happen, be mystified by her other worldly images, and feel heat of romantic suspense, but most of all you’ll want more.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

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~Giveaway~

Blitz-wide giveaway (US/CAN)

Signed copies of both books in the Lake Lanier Mysteries series.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Posted by on September 24, 2017 in Book Blitz

 

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Book Blitz ~ The Dark Mermaid by Christina L. Barr


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The Dark Mermaid by Christina L. Barr

Publication date: September 5th 2017

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

“True love is not a myth. It’s mystic. It’s a force in the universe that draws two people together, resulting in incredible power, for either good or complete chaos.”

On the day Luna proves that she is powerful enough to be her father’s heir, she is banished for saving the life of an enchanting human boy. Her father, the king, gives her two options: kill Ian and regain her honor by the time she comes of age, or be destroyed.

Luna finds shelter in forbidden waters and comes under the protection of her father’s greatest enemy, the Sea Witch. As her ward, Luna becomes a fearsome warrior, but struggles with the fear of turning her powerful magic dark.

With only days remaining before her seventeenth birthday, Luna finds Ian sailing the seas in search of answers. Luna is determined to escape her father’s wrath, and the Sea Witch’s plot of revenge, but dark forces won’t allow her to live a human life without making an impossible sacrifice.

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Want to receive a free song inspired by the book that Christina sang herself?
Fill out this form here before Sept 9th!

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~Excerpt~

True Love

When I returned to the lair, the Sea Witch was much too distracted gutting her catch of shark to care much about my adventures. She had no idea that I had found Ian and kissed him. I wanted to keep it that way. For all she knew, I spent my day with Napa, and I most certainly didn’t fight my sister to the almost death. I made sure to heal my wounds before she saw me.

I hid the pendent, dagger, and lock of hair in a satchel and hoped the Sea Witch wouldn’t be able to sense the magic. I also had to hope that she wouldn’t sense any special magic in me. It was odd that I wasn’t fatigued from my battle. Instead, I felt energized. My magic was leaking out of my body. I tried to keep my movements limited and to remain completely calm.

Unfortunately, somewhere between the chewing of our dinner, the Sea Witch cocked her brow at me in suspicion. “Did Napa bring you a new gift?”

“Why do you ask?”

“I sense new magic.”

I panicked on the inside, but I would not allow that panic to the surface of my thoughts. Of course, she would have been able to sense the pendent. I reached into my satchel and handed it to her without any fuss, and I hoped she didn’t ask any questions about the other item of interest. “Napa didn’t know any better.”

“Interesting.” It only took a moment for the Sea Witch to analyze what it could do. I don’t know why I was so surprised when she disappeared. “This would be more useful on the surface world.” She tossed it back to me and became visible once more. “Quite interesting.”

“Very.” I grinned hard and continued feasting, but I had the sense that she knew I was hiding many details from her. It’s not that I didn’t trust her. I just wanted to make sure she would take the news well, so I didn’t have to worry about her killing everyone outside of our immediate sphere.

It wasn’t easy. I wanted to tell her about Ian’s infatuation with me. It was flattering after my father threw me away. I wanted to tell my mother how his smile enchanted me, and now, I was under his spell. I tried to get him out of my head, so the Sea Witch wouldn’t find out, but while I brushed my hair and stared into the broken mirror Napa gave me, I began to imagine that I was staring at myself from his point of view, and I knew I was truly as beautiful as he made me feel. The thought of never seeing him again was crushing my heart and suffocating my insides. There had to be a way to see him again beyond tricks, smokes, and mirrors.

“Luna, what’s wrong?”

I saw Ian’s face too clearly in my mind. She must have known that I was thinking about him, but that wasn’t so strange. I could still hide the truth for a little while. “Why would something be wrong?”

She floated in front of me with a furrowed and curious brow. “Because you never sing.”

I hadn’t even noticed. I was singing the same song I sang to Ian when I first said goodbye. If he had his hooks in me that deeply, was there truly any escaping him? “You’ll think I’m being a fool.”

The Sea Witch surprised me and held me by my shoulders from behind. “Out of the two of us, I’m the one that made a blood oath with your father. You could be foolish for a thousand lifetimes and not end up as foolish as I once was.”

Perhaps I was being unfair to her. If she were trying to be a real mother, she deserved a chance. As my elder, she might have sound advice to put my mind at ease. “Napa told me that humans believe in true love. I know it sounds childish, but I think I’m experiencing it. I’ve found true love.”

I was so embarrassed that I kept my eyes focused on the teeth of the comb in my hands. I was responsible for ruining Ian’s childhood, and I delayed his life afterward. I didn’t deserve to feel such a consuming joy, especially if Ian were the root cause.

“I’ve heard of true love.” The Sea Witch nicked my chin up with her finger to force her eyes into mine. “The humans teach it like a fairytale, but true love is not a myth; it’s mystic. It’s a force in the universe that draws two people together, resulting in incredible power, for either good or chaos.”

“Chaos?” I laughed. Frankly, it was difficult to believe that there was an actual explanation to how I felt. Napa referred to love as “irrational logic”. I wasn’t sure if having a legitimate reason was worse or better. “How can what I feel ever lead to destruction?”

“I’m not saying that it will, but true love is a dangerous magic.” The Sea Witch got uncomfortably close to my face. I tried to back away, but she swam around to observe me fully. Nothing about me had changed physically, but I’m sure she wasn’t seeing with her natural eye. “I can sense it on you. Your magic is stronger.”

I thought of how quickly I defeated my sister, but then, I quickly pushed that out of my mind. “How is that possible? Is it just because I have feelings for Ian?”

“No. That would be ridiculous, but it is possible that you’re drawn to each other for a reason.” She, once again, became agonizingly uncomfortable. I didn’t back away or cower from her glaring and curious eyes. I tried to be firm while I blanketed my mind with thoughts of training battles, meditation, and the past few lonely years of my life. I would not think of Ian, and I certainly wouldn’t think of the kisses we shared!

Except, I completely did.

I don’t know if my sudden memory of Ian’s kiss was vivid enough to burrow into her brain, but she certainly seemed more suspicious after I indulged in it. “You must have seen him again!” I covered my face. I would have hidden in my clam, but she was already inside of it with me. She grew impatient and pulled my hands away from my flustered face. “I did. Napa found Ian, and I went to see him. He gave me the dagger I had been searching for, and we spoke.”

“That’s not the only thing you did.”

I straightened out my body and tried to look a little taller and mature than I had been acting a moment ago. “We did share a kiss, yes.”

Instead of lecturing me, she twirled around the cavern, shrieking in delight. I hadn’t seen her genuinely happy or excited over anything, so I was a little terrified. “Did he have magic?”

“He didn’t seem to have knowledge of having magic.” “Perhaps he’s an amplifier,” she suggested with much intrigue. “What do you mean?”

“They are extremely rare, but an amplifier can increase your magic, even without being able to use it.” She swam to me and clasped onto both my hands and smiled. “If you were to mate, you could create new magic for your offspring and leave your own power intact. If that’s true, you should definitely mate him.”

“Uh…” My mouth opened in shock. The desire to feel and be more of an adult was ripped away from me. “I’m not ready for this conversation.”

“Why? Do you love him?” “It’s preposterous that I love him!”

“But you do!” She chuckled. “I see it in your eyes. I feel it through your magic. He’s made you more powerful. If Fate is pulling you to love this man, don’t push back. There’s no sense in fighting what will be.”

Was it truly possible that Ian made me feel stronger? Was he the reason why I could use my magic to fight my sister so effortlessly? Even if it were true, what did it matter? I only wanted to control my magic so it wouldn’t accidentally go dark. I had no desire to be the greatest sorcerous in the world.

It was silly to think that I could take human form and live with Ian. I hardly knew him. But, for some reason, the thought of leaving to discover the world with him began to fill my chest and gut with a ticklish light that turned into a glorious rumbling. I clutched onto my chest as I felt it vibrating. My entire body was radiating heat. I tried to convince myself that I was merely embarrassed, but my hands were tingling.

“The thought of escaping with that human is causing your magic to burst from you,” the Sea Witch said. “You can’t deny what you want or may very well need.”

~~~

~Author Bio~

As the daughter of sci-fi enthusiasts and a pastor, Christina L. Barr has been taught to believe that anything is possible. She’s been a serious composer as far back as twelve-years-old, and has had the opportunity to sing her songs around the world.

In 2007, she graduated from Holly High School number nine in her class and attended College for Creative Studies. She started a pop culture website called The Gorgeous Geeks with her two older sisters, and was even featured on Times Magazine.

Her addiction to writing emerged when she was eighteen and started her first novel. To date, she has nine novels published, fourteen completed, and her goal is to finish thirty books by her thirtieth birthday.

She is currently a Creative Director and spends her days making graphics and videos.

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~Giveaway~

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~ A signed copy of The Dark Mermaid, a starfish necklace and earring set, a signed poster, bookmark, and pin ~

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