SOULMATED Cover Reveal & Exclusive First Chapter!

Today Shaila Patel and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for SOULMATED, which releases January 24, 2017! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive a eGalley!!
 
A quick note from the author:
 
When people find out that I’ve written a book, invariably the first question is, “Where did you get the idea for the story?” If I had a quick and easy answer like, “I checked http://www.BookIdeas.com,” my phone calls with the family would be so much shorter! Anyway, the truth is a bit more complicated—much like my family’s recipe for the perfect cup of chai.
 
After years of writing literary short stories, I thought I’d try my hand at a paranormal romance. Perfectly normal leap of logic, right? (I have Twilight to thank for that!) For whatever reason, I’d been thinking of how emotionally perceptive my mom was and that if there were such a thing as an EQ test (where the E stands for emotional intelligence), my mom would score through the roof. She just always had this uncanny ability to read my feelings. I’d never seen a story about empaths—people who could read emotions like psychics could read thoughts—but the idea grabbed on and wouldn’t let go. And that, my friends, was the beginning. Soulmated is finally ready to be released, and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I had fun writing it!

On to the reveal! 

Title: SOULMATED (Joining of Souls #1)
Author: Shaila Patel
Pub. Date: January 24, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Pages: 300
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD
Two souls. One Fate.
Eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan, an Irish royal empath, has been searching for his elusive soulmate. The rare union will cement his family’s standing in empath politics and afford the couple legendary powers, while also making them targets of those seeking to oust them.
Laxshmi Kapadia, an Indian-American high school student from a traditional family, faces her mother’s ultimatum: Graduate early and go to medical school, or commit to an arranged marriage.
When Liam moves next door to Laxshmi, he’s immediately and inexplicably drawn to her. In Liam, Laxshmi envisions a future with the freedom to follow her heart.
Liam’s father isn’t convinced Laxshmi is “The One” and Laxshmi’s mother won’t even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. Will Liam and Laxshmi defy expectations and embrace a shared destiny? Or is the risk of choosing one’s own fate too great a price for the soulmated?
Excerpt


CHAPTER 1 – LIAMThey’re calling this a test?

Not even a ping grazed my mind as the five Elders tried to slip past my mental blocks and into my emotions. A sheen of sweat over William’s lip proved he wasn’t faring as well. Of all the cousins now come of age, William and I were the last to be sitting before the Elders. I’d have felt guilty for his not doing so well had he ever shown an interest in leading the family. But, we all knew he’d rather have his head in a library. Now his heart was with his wife Colleen. He at least seemed to have a choice about his fate.

I sighed. Not so for me.

“Are we boring you, Prince Liam?”

I snapped my eyes up to Elder Adebayo. He wore his trademark bow tie with a traditional fila atop his head. In the fraction of a second it took me to untangle the meaning from his heavy Nigerian accent, I’d blanked my expression and sat upright. The Elders sat along one side of an antique conference table, facing William and myself. The manor staff had rearranged the study to hold both the testing and signing-over ceremonies. Gone were the leather club chairs and stained glass lamps normally dotting the large space, giving it the air of a posh library. Now it seemed more an election-night headquarters, like the sort you saw on the telly, with bright lights and a gathering of family strewn about, waiting for the results. A photographer hung out in one corner, camera in hand. Not far from him stood a team of solicitors guarding rolling briefcases that were no doubt stuffed with legal documents for the victor to sign.

My throat-clearing echoed in the now silent room, and my cheeks warmed. “No, sir, not at all. Although, uh … I’d like to know when it is you’ll begin with me.” I pasted on an oh-so-innocent smirk and watched William shake his head and smother a grin. I shrugged at him, hoping to lighten the mood.

Four of the Elders cocked an eyebrow—all except for Elder Claire Brennan, our lone Irish representative. She leaned ever so slightly forward from where she sat at the center of the group.

So much for having a bit of craic.

The familiar knocking on my brain—like the distant sound of drums—told me someone had got past my first line of defenses with their probe. The rest of my mental blocks held up though. The corner of Brennan’s lip stretched upward. Toying with me, was she? I leaned back with a matching smile and loosened my tie. Mum and I were the only ones in the family who’d mastered the skill of probing and manipulation. A handy skill that, especially when the burden of the entire clan’s financial success might well be resting on my shoulders.

As if sensing the end of the ritual, Mum whispered to the house staff and pointed toward the main doors, directing them to begin preparations, most likely. She turned and nearly ran into a Mediterranean-looking man with a grotesque mole on his left cheek. He wasn’t a relation or a solicitor, so I assumed he was a council minister. Their stances were stiff, and despite being too far for me to hear, I sensed Mum’s replies seemed short and clipped. He moved around her, and on his way out, his eyes met mine. He lifted his lips in a smirk.

Arse.

My attention darted to Mum. She was smoothing out the front of her dress, and her shoulders heaved a time or two before she turned back to face the room. I mentally sent her my curiosity, but she ignored me with a smile. She did at least send me her love before she weaved herself into the crowd.

Within a few minutes, Elder Brennan squared her shoulders and opened the portfolio in front of her. The rest of the Elders relaxed back in their seats and passed her folded slips of paper.

Jaysus Christ. Thank you. This bleedin’ muck-up was about done.

After tallying the results, she stood with the help of a finely carved cane. Rumors about her age had always been entertaining—the last one I’d heard was that Claire Brennan was well over 140 years old. Apparently, documents as to her history had disappeared. Her regal manner and piercing blue eyes—the sort that’d make a gutless gobshite piss his pants—set her apart from the rest of the Elders. She now set those sights on me.

“Prince Liam, please stand. It is our unanimous decision that the Royal Empath House of O’Connor will now be led by you, Prince Liam Joseph O’Connor-Whelan, on this day, the
sixth of June, in the year 2015.” Flashes from the camera punctuated every other word, and spots began to form in front of my eyes. “You have proven your worth to lead your clan by exhibiting the strength of your empath skills to the satisfaction of the presiding group and by extension, the Council of Ministers.”

Brennan rattled on about allegiances and legal mandates, all of which bore down on me like the weight of history, dry and inescapable, yet … a bit liberating. Now we could stop our search and stay in Ireland—better of two evils and all that. I could make that happen now.

An explosion of clapping hands, and thumps on my back from a relieved-looking William, forced me to plaster a smile on my face.

Mum hurried over with open arms. “Darling! We’re so happy for you.” Da and my older brother Ciarán, a non-empath, followed, both decked out in a suit and tie. After her hug and kiss and Da’s pat on my back, they congratulated William on his effort and made room for the Elders to come around with their well-wishing. Ciarán smirked and punched my shoulder. The strobe-light effect of the flashes had me squinting.

Elder Santiago from Spain shook my hand. He sported a thick mustache and proudly wore his Catalonian flag pin on his lapel. He’d been wooing our clan for support in Catalonia’s bid for secession from Spain. Ciarán had thought it a good cause to be getting behind—especially if we beat another royal clan from doing so first. We had several holdings in Barcelona, after all. Now that it was my call to be making, a hasty decision didn’t seem wise. Santiago always had the look about him of a tapas dish drowning in olive oil.

He sidled closer. “Your strength is most impressive. And at the age of eighteen too. It is not hard to believe you will be the next soulmated empath, in truth. Some have doubts though, eh?”

He wants to discuss this now?

Da pointed to his own temple, stabbing at an unruly black curl. “No need for doubts. If I’ve seen it, it’s as good as true.”

I resisted rolling my eyes. Admitting I had my own doubts about Da’s visions wouldn’t be wise. “Time will tell, yeah?” No point kissing Elder arse.

The other Elders came one by one, congratulating me and posing for photos. Brennan was last. The crowd dispersed enough to give us a bubble of privacy. She tipped her head back and studied my face.

Without being able to read her blocked emotions, her body language was all I had to go on. A smile like before tugged at her lips.

I leaned in. “So were you toying with me earlier?” My bold question would either be living up to the liberties given to the heads of the four remaining Irish royal houses, or it’d be taken as the yipping of a whelp learning to growl. I hoped for the former and straightened up just in case.

“The test need only be as strong as the weakest candidate.” She curved her gloved hand around the crook of my elbow and turned me to face the patio. “Come now. Walk me outside.”

Leading an Elder outside for a private conversation wasn’t as nerve-racking as I’d thought. With her hand resting on my arm, she exuded an unexpected grandmotherly warmth. The stone patio ran the length of the building on this side of our manor home. It overlooked the meadows of our property—now mine—and with the cloudless days we’d had of late, the scent of heated earth surrounded us. I inhaled deeply. Definitely better here than returning to the States.

The few who lingered outside turned and meandered back to the study once they spotted us. Elder Brennan patted my arm, then released it, flattening her palms upon the balustrade, her ever-present white gloves in sharp contrast to the weathered stone.

Her gaze floated over the view. “It seems you are to have a very interesting future ahead of you.”

“Possibly.”

Her features relaxed with another one of her enigmatic smiles. “When will you be returning to America?”

“I’m thinking to stay here,” I said.

A disapproving frown appeared, and she tapped a sole finger on the stone.

How the hell was this any of her bloody business? I forced my expression to remain neutral and unclenched the hands I’d not realized I’d fisted. If only Da had kept his mouth shut over the years.

“Choices are a funny thing, Prince Liam. We often treat them as black and white, but rarely are they.”

I pocketed my hands. What was I meant to say? Yes, Zen Master Brennan.

A breeze picked up and coaxed a few strands of her silver hair across her cheek. She tilted her face into the wind and closed her eyes. “You should return to your search.” She turned and pinned me with a stare.

“What? Why? Are you trying to boot me from Ireland? Away from the estate? Is something happening you’re hiding from me?”

She held up her hand. “The demesne will be in capable hands. Go now. Enjoy your celebration. Congratulations and happy eighteenth birthday.” With a nod, she summoned two of her gendarmes, who came to her side and escorted her down the patio.

Mum must have been watching because she rushed outside. “What did she want?” Her concerned gaze scanned my face as if to get a read on my emotions, but as usual, I had them blocked.

I rolled my shoulders and took a breath. “She wants us to go back to the States.”

Her mouth opened and closed.

I knew that look. “Just say it, Mum.”

“Your father had another vision during the night.”

I snorted. “Where now? Alaska?”

“Liam, you used to believe—”

“Do you think we’ll be seeing some actual igloos? We could even go to the North Pole and watch the ice cap melt—”

“What harm could one more year—?”

“Have you tried whale blubber, Mum? I hear it’s a right treat.”

An elderly couple came out onto the patio. With a huff, Mum crossed her arms and broadcast her emotions as clearly as any mother’s scowl would convey. Waves of her irritation registered in my mind like seaweed washing in and wrapping around my toes. I moved a few steps away and leaned over the balustrade, resting my forearms on the sunbaked stone. A good fifty yards out, a hare popped up to scan its surroundings and then chased a second one into the shrubbery.

After a few moments, Mum joined me. “We know this isn’t easy, Liam, but we’re doing it for you. We’ve sacrificed so much. Please understand.”

I ground my back teeth and straightened. So much for making it happen my way. “Fine. One more year.”

I stormed back into the study so the signing could begin, passing by several girls in long glittering dresses, tittering behind their fingers. No doubt my pain-in-the-arse brother had arranged for them to be here.

If the Elders knew about our search, so did the rest of the empath community. Speculation would be flowing like whiskey tonight, but it didn’t change the fact we’d not be finding our target in Ireland.

Want to read more? Shaila has chapter 2 on her website

 

As an unabashed lover of all things happily-ever- after, Shaila’s younger self would finish reading Cinderella and fling her copy across the room because it didn’t mention what happened next. Now she writes from her home in the Carolinas and dreams up all sorts of stories with epilogues. A member of the Romance Writers of America, she’s a pharmacist by training, a medical office manager by day, and a writer by night.
She enjoys traveling, craft beer, and teas, and loves reading books—especially in cozy window seats. You might find her sneaking in a few paragraphs at a red
light or connecting with other readers online at: http://www.shailapatelauthor.com
 
Find Shaila:

 

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive an eGalley of
SOULMATED. International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover & Chapter 1 Reveal + Giveaway of CLANLESS by Jennifer Jenkins

 

Today Jennifer Jenkins and Month9Books are revealing the cover and first chapter for CLANLESS, book 2 in the NAMELESS Series which releases October 4, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive a paperback of NAMELESS or an eGalley of CLANLESS!!
 
Here’s a message from the author.
 
Clanless is Gryphon’s story in the way Nameless was Zo’s. It encompasses the struggle of self discovery and taking the hard road to find happiness. At its heart though, this book is a love story, with two people determined to fight overwhelming odds, even death, to be together.
Clanless provides readers a view of the world outside Ram’s Gate, exploring both the Raven and Kodiak Clans in more depth.

I LOVE THIS COVER. I love the way Gryphon is depicted and the symbolism of of the white background in contrast to the black of the Nameless cover. I personally think the series only gets better with
every book, and I hope readers agree.
On to the reveal! 

 

Title: CLANLESS (Nameless #2)
Author: Jennifer
Jenkins
Pub. Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback
& eBook
Striker Gryphon has lost his position of honor among the Ram, and is now a hunted man. A traitor.  Zo, the object of his affection, was murdered by members of his former clan. To honor her memory, he journeys to the highly secretive Raven “Nest” to warn strangers of their impending demise—though it could cost him more than just his pride.
He doesn’t know that Zo is very much alive and in another part of the region assisting Nameless refugees over a mountain swarming with wild men known as “Clanless.”
As each struggle to make sense of what their lives have become, they fight and claw to reach the Allied Camp, their last hope in bringing peace to the region.
But the road back to one another is treacherous and uncertain. And freedom will come with a price.
Excerpt


Gryphon never thought he’d die at the hands of the Ram. Of course, he never thought he’d become a traitor to his clan, either.He awaited a likely public execution, sitting in a patch of mud outside the walls of Ram’s Gate, his clan’s stronghold, as rain filtered through the trees overhead. Bristled ropes rubbed raw his bound ankles. Iron manacles secured his wrists behind his back. Gryphon clutched the hidden key to his restraints inside a bloody fist and glared at a man he never thought he’d call an enemy.

Zander, Gryphon’s captain, stood at attention as the rain rolled off his brown hair and banked along the harsh angles of his cheekbones and jaw. He held a seven-foot spear like a walking stick, the blunt end buried in the mud at his feet. His short sword was sheathed at his hip, his round shield slung across his back. The perfect Ram warrior, and one of the best swordsmen Gryphon had ever known.

The fifteen members of his mess sat like stones in a field, unmoving but hard and very present. Most of Gryphon’s former mess, including his best friend, Ajax, kept their backs to him, as if his treason were contagious. Some slept under thick wool blankets that repelled the rain while others stewed with the restlessness that plagued so many warriors.

No one bothered to light a fire. Whether they were too impatient to find something dry enough to burn or felt they deserved the cold, Gryphon didn’t know. Ram were experts at self-discipline—not to be confused with self-control.

Inside Ram’s Gate, Gryphon grew up training every day until his body ached. On days he struggled to do everything his leaders asked of him, he would sentence himself to mountain sprints until he literally passed out from exhaustion. Like every other Ram boy, he willingly walked into scheduled yearly beatings that were meant to train his body to block pain, making him nearly invincible on the battlefield.

A little rain was nothing.

Sitting cross-legged in the mud with his hands chained behind his back, Gryphon let the rain muffle the sound of his struggle to insert the small key into the unseen lock of his manacles. Each metallic scrap wound his nerves that much tighter. His wrists burned from bending at an awkward angle and his shoulders strained as he struggled to keep his face a mask of indifference.

Zander watched him, barely blinking. Gryphon needed to distract him—to break his intent focus.

“Why do you think they haven’t let down the rope ladder?” Gryphon asked, speaking as though his impending execution meant little to him.

Zander’s lip raised in a snarl. “Barnabas has the Raven invasion to prepare for, the gate to repair. He will deal with you in his own time.”

Gryphon adjusted his grip on the key to approach the lock from a different angle.

“It seems Barnabas is content to let you sit out in the cold for the night. Do you think you’ll lose your command over this?” Gryphon raised his chin and smiled.

Zander drew a knife so fast Gryphon fumbled with the key.

“Barnabas ordered you brought back alive, but I don’t think he’d mind if I took out your tongue.”

Gryphon had been trained to use the emotions of his enemies against them. People made mistakes when they weren’t stable. Plus the conversation muffled the sound of the key scraping futilely against the metal lock behind his back.

A few of the heads in the wet camp turned to watch the exchange.

Zander leaned back, battling with his composure. “I might lose my command, but I’ll return to my bunk with our brothers of the mess and rest well after seeing your body hang from a noose.” He shook his head. “I knew you had a strange fascination with that slave—that Wolf. I just didn’t realize your treason extended to all the Nameless inside the Gate.”

Just yesterday, Gryphon had inadvertently helped hundreds of Nameless slaves flee the massive walls of Ram’s Gate. To slow the Ram pursuit, he disabled the only exit—a gate so large it required forty Nameless to open it. Even though only a fraction of the Nameless slaves escaped, it would be days before the chain connecting the gate to the counterweight could be repaired.

The key finally slipped into the lock. Gryphon let his head fall back, just a fraction, and closed his eyes in relief. Zander’s hate-filled gaze greeted him as he opened his eyes, but that didn’t stop him from turning the key. The lock clicked open, the sound lost in the rain.

With one hand free, Gryphon still kept both hands behind his back, though he relaxed his shoulders some to alleviate the ache from being bound. The metal key in Gryphon’s hand was warm. The grooves pressed uncomfortably into his palm, but Gryphon didn’t loosen his hold, refusing to let go of the hope Ajax had given him.

Not only was the key his only chance of escaping the certain death that awaited him inside the giant walls of his clan, but it also represented a dim hope that Zo was still alive. That Ajax—Gryphon’s best friend—hadn’t followed through with Zander’s order to find and kill her and the others after Gryphon’s capture.

The vivid scenes of the morning replayed in Gryphon’s mind again and again. Everyone asleep under the tree, except Zo and Gryphon. Ram circling the perimeter of the giant fir like bloodhounds sniffing out prey. Zo taking his hand, pretending to be brave even though her eyes—they were always so easy to read—proved it a lie. Her warm lips. The feel of her body pressed against his . . .

A shudder that had nothing to do with the cold ran up Gryphon’s back. He’d been captured not far from the tree, trying to lead the Ram away from the people he cared for most.

If only he could ask Ajax if they were alive, though the chances were as likely as staying dry in this storm. Ajax had a family to protect, and the penalty for deceiving his captain was as deadly as deceiving Chief Barnabas himself. Dangerous.

Lightning struck not far away, brightening half of Zander’s face in the fast-approaching darkness.

“Come back to me,” Zo had said, just before she’d leaned into him, touching her soft lips to his.

Gryphon slid the key into the second lock.

He chewed on the inside of his lip until he tasted blood. He fought the urge to spit in Zander’s face, to unlock the chains binding his wrist and strangle him with his bare hands. He was sure he could finish the job before he took a spear to the gut. It felt like the only way to quench the hungry blackness that consumed his insides.

Gryphon hung his head, remembering the promise he made to Zo before they separated. Whether Zo was alive or not, he needed to survive to warn the Raven Clan of an impending attack. Countless lives would be spared if the Raven had time to flee the Nest before the Ram arrived. Getting himself killed wouldn’t serve them, even if it meant an escape from the overwhelming ache in his chest.

Thunder rolled again. Zander stared. Gryphon prayed for a miracle . . . and hoped he deserved one.

He turned the key.

The lock clicked open.

But his manacles clattered to the ground before he could catch them.

***

“We’re not waking him.” Zo’s head throbbed as she held Joshua’s wrist to check his pulse for the tenth time in as many minutes.

The boy lay unconscious, but his heart beat a steady rhythm. Zo needed to feel that pulse; it was her tether to sanity. The sound of Ram fists connecting with Gryphon’s body . . . the muffled grunts betraying his pain . . . they still echoed in her mind when she didn’t check her thoughts. From her hiding place, she hadn’t seen Gryphon’s capture, but she had heard. She’d wanted to run out and fight alongside him. Even though she had Joshua and Tess to think of, her inaction tasted like betrayal.

Rain fell all around them, but they’d managed to stay mostly dry beneath the skirt of a giant fir tree.

“This is insane,” said Eva. She had the long nose of her Ram ancestors, set off by a thin mouth. “Do you have any idea what will happen to us if the Ram come back here?” Eva lay flat on her stomach—all leather and long legs—as she scanned the ground outside their fir tree haven.

Even with a full moon, it was impossible to see far beyond the confines of their shelter. “They have Gryphon. They’ll know you and Joshua are close.” Eva ran her hand over her cropped hair, oblivious to the action. “If I were tracking us, I would have found us hours ago.”

Eva was a Ram, just like the soldiers she feared. She’d fled the Gate with Zo for the sake of her unborn child. A baby who would have been killed at birth because it belonged, not to her betrothed, but to a man in the Ram’s slave class known as the Nameless.

Zo gazed up at the tree trunk, hoping to inhale a bit of patience along with the strong scent of pine. “We wait until Joshua’s ready, Eva. Not a moment sooner.”

“But the Nameless will be miles away by now.”

Zo conceded the point. At that moment, hundreds of escaped slaves traveled to get as far from Ram’s Gate as possible to protect their newfound freedom. They didn’t know how to find the Allied Camp. Zo had told Stone, Eva’s lover and the leader of the Nameless rebellion, it was south of Ram’s Gate, but that was the extent of their knowledge, and it wouldn’t be enough to find the slot canyon that led to the Allies.

The Nameless needed her. So did her little sister Tess, Joshua, and even Eva. None of them would survive without Zo’s ability to lead them to the Allies. But it didn’t change the fact that all Zo wanted to do at the moment was sprint up the mountain to Ram’s Gate—the place from which they’d just escaped—and demand the release of the young man she’d come to care for. The man who’d saved her life and the life of her sister, even though doing so had caused him to lose everything.

Gryphon.

Zo’s little sister, Tess, sat like a watchdog beside Joshua’s head, playing with the boy’s red hair. In the low light, she looked even smaller than her eight years.

“Zo’s smart. She knows what to do,” said Tess. She was blond with dirt smeared across her nose and cheeks. She glared at Eva with her giant blue-green eyes, almost daring her to contradict her big sister.

Zo hugged her knees to her chest, fighting a sudden surge of nausea, hoping Tess was right to trust her so completely.

“Someone’s coming,” Eva hissed. She pushed up onto her knees, wielding two deadly looking knives. At the same time, Zo yanked Tess to the ground and threw herself over her and Joshua’s body. It was a futile effort to save them, but fear took over all rational thought.

Soft footfalls crept outside their shelter, each step marking the final moments of their lives. Zo glanced around for some kind of weapon or stick to help defend the two people—two children—for whom she was responsible. All she found in the darkness was a bed of dry pine needles and her medical satchel—nothing to defend them against fighters from the deadliest clan in the region.

The footsteps came closer, muted by the soggy earth. Eva moved from her knees to the balls of her feet, a compressed spring ready to fly into an attack. She adjusted her grip on her knives.

Hope fled. Zo couldn’t catch her breath. Tess. Joshua. Eva. The Nameless. Dying today under this tree meant the deaths of so many others as well. Gryphon’s sacrifice had been in vain.

Large boots stopped mere feet from Zo’s hiding place. Boots she’d recognize anywhere.

“Don’t,” she cried, trying to stop Eva before she attacked.

But her warning was too late.

Eva sprang, blades in hand, aimed at the intruder’s chest.

 

 

With her degree in History and Secondary Education, Jennifer had every intention of
teaching teens to love George Washington and appreciate the finer points of ancient battle stratagem. (Seriously, she’s obsessed with ancient warfare.) However, life had different plans in store when the writing began. As a proud member of Writers Cubed, and a co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, she feels blessed to be able to fulfill both her ambition to work with teens as well as write Young Adult fiction.
Jennifer has three children who are experts at naming her characters, one loving, supportive husband, a dog with little-man syndrome, and three chickens (of whom she is secretly afraid).
Visit her online at jajenkins.com
 
Connect with the Author: 
 
1 winner will receive a paperback of NAMELESS, US Only.

 3 winners will receive an eGalley of CLANLESS, International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One More Time Chapter Reveal with S Van Horne

Title: One More Time
Author: S. Van Horne
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Expected Release Date: July 12, 2016
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s Reviews & PR

Blurb:
Len-
I have been in love with Dante since the day he knocked on our door to walk with my brother to their first day of their freshman year of high school. Right after they graduated high school I overheard them talking of joining the Navy Seals. I also heard something that crushed me. I decided it was time to get over Dante, time to move on and stop being the stupid, awkward, innocent, annoying friend’s sister. Nine years later, I am being stalked. I had to go to my brother for help. I didn’t know that included Dante in the mix. Once I saw him I knew I still loved him. Maybe now he will see me as the woman I always wanted him to see, even if I still am a virgin.
Dante-
I have had a great life. Amazing family, brothers, kick ass best friend and more women I knew what to do with… well that isn’t true. When Neil and I decided to become Navy Seals I figured I could finally meet someone to take my mind off the one person I knew I could never have, my best friends little sister. Nine years later we get word she is being stalked. I am in a rage to protect the only woman who means more to me then my family. It is time to claim her and show the world that they messed with the wrong woman, damn the consequences.
Can these two finally come together and become what they were destined to be? Or will family, feelings and a stalker be too much to face and destroy what their destiny should be?

S. Van Horne was born and raised in the small town of Belton, Missouri, which is a part of the Kansas City metropolitan area. She is from a very large family and is the oldest of six. Growing up she did not have the easiest life. She learned quickly that family means everything, even if it is the type that you get to pick for yourself. She met the love of her life at the early age of 20 and was married just after nine months of meeting him. Shortly after marriage, her husband rejoined the U.S. Navy and they moved from Kansas City and started their journey together. Currently they have two amazing children, a boy and a girl, and are still enjoying the Navy life. They are looking forward to retiring shortly to the great state of Washington to be closer to their God daughters/nieces and their parents.
She spends her days being a Navy wife, homeschool mother, reading books, writing her latest novel, watching her beloved Kansas City Chiefs or Kansas City Royals play, watching movies, hanging out with family and friends and having girls days at least once a month.

Scared doesn’t even begin to describe what I’m feeling right now. Looking at my shaking hands, at the note left in my box at work, I’m not sure what to think. I‘m trying to figure out who would send it. I have never lead a guy on. How could I when I’m still stuck on the one guy who thinks of me as his best friend’s annoying little sister. Hearing those words spoken from him broke my heart, but what shattered it was when I’d heard them talk about becoming Navy Seals. Not only was I losing the one guy I had loved since I was twelve. I was losing my brother as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I support my troops, but I was so scared that they were going to die in combat. I’m not dumb, being a Navy Seal is a big thing. I knew that meant dangerous missions without knowing if they were okay. I did all I could in supporting them. I sent care packages, wrote letters, and helped with charity events to raise funds. I visited my brother when he was stateside, a difficult task with me being in school, then in college, and then during my residency to become a doctor. Now that I’m an ER doctor at Center Point Medical Center, I’m even busier.
It helps that my family moved back to Kansas City when I went to college. Even Momma Gio and Papa followed along with the boys in tow. They said they were ready for a change and wanted to join their second family. Now, Neil is done with the Navy and has opened his own security business. Dante joined him in the business.
I haven’t seen Dante since his return. I haven’t seen him in nine years. I have no clue what I’m going to say to him. I don’t want it to be weird, but I know it will be. Ever since the day they left, I had to re-evaluate my feelings constantly.
The chaste kiss he had placed on my lips had not only scared me, but had given me hope. It would have with any sixteen year old girl who had just had her first kiss. But then letters from my brother about the crazy crap they were pulling well and the woman that Dante was screwing, well that changed everything.
“Neil will be with you shortly, Len,” Sara, my brother’s receptionist, tells me as she walks back to her desk.
“Thank you, Sara.” I go and take a seat then look back at her and add, “We really need to set up that girls’ night we keep talking about. I miss hanging with you guys.”
“You’re the one who’s always busy at work. Call Ashley and tell her your schedule. Then we’ll see about getting you in the club and finally getting you a man. We both need a man. We really need to get laid!” she says and then rolls her eyes at the outburst that comes from Neil who is in the next room.
“What the hell are you talking about? I don’t ever want to hear about my sister getting laid,” Neil growls out as he joins us.
I don’t miss the look of heat he shoots Sara. I start giggling because I know Neil wants and she wants him; however they are both so oblivious of each other’s wants. I stand up with the letter in hand and walk over to him.
“Aw, there, there, care bear, that doesn’t concern you. I’ll do what I want, when I want. I’m twenty-five years old, not twelve. If I want to sleep with a man I will,” I say, giving Sara a mischievous wink.
She knows I’m a virgin, he doesn’t and I don’t plan on telling him. I just love teasing him.
“I don’t want to hear that. I’ll tell Pops if you don’t stop. I swear to God I’m going to be in jail for murder.”
“If you don’t want to hear about things like that then I suggest you shouldn’t ease drop.” I end up laughing at the look of disgusted on his face as he leads me to the conference room.
“It isn’t ease dropping if what was spoken wasn’t practically being yelled out.” He growls out at me.
“So let’s drop this conversation and you tell me what is so important that you couldn’t wait until I was finished with work,” he says as he sits.
A feeling of terror hits me as I remember why I’m here. Handing him the note, I take a seat as well. Neil and I are very close. He isn’t going to take this threat well. I’m scared of what he’s going to do or say.
Looking at him, watching him read the note, I see the change come over his face immediately. He looks up at me and I am struck with what I see. His blue eyes that have a hint of green in them are now full on green with the fury tightening his jaw and his nostrils flare as he takes in a harsh breath. He picks up the phone off the conference room table and barks three words into the receiver, “Conference room. Now!”
I stare down at the receiver in confusion before I hang it up in the cradle. Lucky isn’t one to let his temper get the best of him. There’s only been a handful of times I’ve seen this side of him. The only thing that can get him this worked up is when his family or one of the guys is being harmed or when we have a sensitive case we are working on. A sense of dread washes over me as I start to get up.
As I turn towards the door, the overhead light gleams off the photos lining my bookcase. My eyes immediately go to the one picture I can’t seem to avoid.
Lens beautiful smile makes me catch my breath. She is the one woman that I can’t get out of my head.  I’m looking forward to seeing her again at the party this weekend.
Over the years, I got letters and care packages from her. I wrote her back and sent her things I bought from places all over the world. She never sent a picture and when she came to visit Lucky, I would make myself scarce because I knew that if I were to see her, I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from making her mine. I didn’t want her to be waiting back home not knowing if I was ever coming back. So when they would skype, I would go into the other room. I also couldn’t chance Lucky knowing that I had fallen for his kid sister.
It had hit me when she was sixteen. She was already such and amazing woman and she hadn’t even finished growing yet.
I knew I would run into Len since I made the choice to move to Kansas City with Lucky and start Seal Security. I wasn’t giving up the opportunity to work with my brothers and the guys from our troop even if that meant I couldn’t avoid her.
We aren’t your average private investigators’. We specialize in security systems, bodyguard work, missing persons, and stalking. We work a lot with the Kansas City Police Department.
We also have our own motorcycle club that we started. Not one of those one percent MC’s which are considered an outlaw MC because they don’t follow the laws. We’re just a bunch of guys who love to ride bikes, but also, we help with charity drives, special victims, and help around the community. Well, we haven’t officially started, but that is what we are planning. Right now, we just ride together.
I head out of my office and down the hall to the conference room. I hear Sara talking on the phone to one of her girlfriends. It has to be Ashely because out of all the girls those two are the closest.
“Yes, we need to have a girls’ night asap. We need to find some men. I need to get laid and we need to get Len laid too. She needs to give up that v-card already.”
That stops me in my tracks. Holy Shit, she’s still a virgin. That’s going to make this weekend even harder when I see her. You would think it would make me want her less, only, it just makes me want to claim her all the harder.
Shaking my head, I walk into the conference room. The first thing I notice is the back of a small woman being comforted by Lucky.
He looks up at me and then leans down to whisper into her ear. The man is seriously hung up on Sara, so I know gesture isn’t sexual since he’s hung up on Sara. Shifting slightly, he looks at me again.
“We have a problem.”
He nods to a piece of paper on the table. As I’m picking it up, I shoot him a odd, sidelong glance.
“Squirt, go to the bathroom and wash up, okay? I’m going to fill Dante in on the situation. Come back when you’re better. Don’t worry about anything. We’ll never let anything happen to you.”
My head jerks up and I’m caught in a pair of amazing blue eyes. The same eyes that have haunted me every day since I was eighteen. She’s even more beautiful than the last time I saw her and my body takes notice. I’m harder than I have been in ages.
Her hair is a brighter blonde then I remember and lies over her shoulders. She’s in a light dress that hugs her curves just right. Her dress has a V neck that shows off her full breasts. Her legs are tan and long, and I want them wrapped around my waist as I pound into her. She’s wearing these fuck me shoes that I can almost feel pressing into my back. I can just assume that the rest of her body that I can’t see because of her sitting down is going to be just as hot. My gaze travels back up her body to her eyes where I can see the fear that is running deep in her soul.
“Hey Dante, long time no see. I wish it was under better circumstances,” Len says as she smiles at me sadly, then she looks back at Neil. “I’ll be back in a second.”
She stands up and walks towards the door. Damn, she has an ass that won’t stop. Seeing the sway of her body has the air knocking out of my lungs. There is no way I’m going to be able to stay away from her now. Lucky is going to kill me.
I look over at Lucky. He seems pissed and I pull myself together.
“What’s up, Lucky?”
“Look at the note. As I said, we have a problem.”
I look down at the note and what I see has me seeing red.
LEN,
IF YOU THINK YOU CAN FLIRT WITH ANY MAN THAT WALKS IN HERE, AFTER YOU HAVE GIVEN ME YOUR HEART? YOU BETTER THINK AGAIN. STOP FLIRTING WITH DR. SMITH, OR I’LL KILL HIM AND PUNISH YOU.
YOURS ALWAYS.
Oh, problem is not a big enough word to describe what I’m reading. What’s in my hand … calls the beast in me to come to the surface. All I see is blood, and it isn’t mine. Shit’s going to hit the fan, heads are going to roll, and someone is going to die a very slow and painful death. Nobody threatens my woman and lives.
Lucky must have seen the thirst for blood in my eyes, because he goes from rage, to shock, to something I’m unable to distinguish. I know what he’s seeing. I’ve been trying to hide it from him and the world for years. Now, it’s time to let them all know that little Len belongs to me. Damn the consequences, because no one can protect her better than the man who is willing to die or kill to keep her safe.