Audiobook Review: BILLIONAIRE’S OBSESSION Simon, From NY Times, USA Today & Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, J.S. Scott @AuthorJSScott @InkslingerPR




Down on her luck, nursing student and full-time waitress Kara Foster gets a massive blow to her already desperate financial situation that will surely find her living on the streets. Needing nothing less than a miracle to save her, Kara gets rescue from an unknown, unlikely and overwhelming source. Billionaire Simon Hudson makes her an offer that is impossible to refuse, but terrifying to accept from a man that she’s never met. Will the handsome, alpha billionaire really be a solution to her problems, or will he end up being a major complication and a danger to her emotional sanity?
Reclusive billionaire Simon Hudson would rather be behind a computer creating computer games than rubbing elbows with the elite and he knows exactly what he wants…until he meets Kara Foster. Something about Kara touches Simon in ways he’s never experienced and definitely doesn’t like. For over a year, Simon watches over Kara, but stubbornly refuses to admit his desire to possess her, not even to himself. But when she ends up in a situation that could very well be her destruction, Simon steps up to help her, not realizing that in saving Kara, he might very well be salvaging his own soul.
Download your free copy HERE ⇩⇩⇩
Universal Link 



This is a real pleasure to listen to as this Audio, as this is the first book of J.S. Scott’s that I had ever read. When it came out it was in four separate books, so when you start listening all the four titles are mentioned. Simon is more content to behind his computer than worrying about his status as an man made Billionaire. At first you think what man would watch to a young woman for a year to make sure she gets homes safely. This is a wonderful book as you watch how both parties grow as people as they realise they are unconditionally loved.
This is not a run of the mill alpha billionaire as it seems all men have to be. Simon first saw Kara at his mother’s restaurant where she waitressed at night while she is training to be a nurse. He doesn’t understand his obsession until he gets to know Kara properly.
This is a beautiful story that his narrated by Elizabeth Powers and it’s more a read than some dual narration books. The book is written as dual POV, never the less it is still on one my favourite book lists. I know I will  be listening to it again.





J.S. “Jan” Scott is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of steamy romance. She’s an avid reader of all types of books and literature. Writing what she loves to read, J.S. Scott writes both contemporary steamy romance stories and paranormal romance.
They almost always feature an Alpha Male and have a happily ever after because she just can’t seem to write them any other way!
She lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her husband and two very spoiled German Shepherds.



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Sci-fi, Fantasy, Thriller
Publisher: Starborn Publishing
Published: October 2017
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What would you give up for immortality?
More seductive than sex. More addictive than any drug. More precious than gold. And one man is willing to sacrifice it all to get it!
Beyond the arctic wall of ice lies a new and unknown world. The CEO of the world’s most powerful corporation – Theodore von Buren – plans to sacrifice the known world and everything in it to gain immortality in paradise.
The world is filled with lies and liars and America’s most controversial alternative media journalist Dan Sheraton wants to find out why.
Strange things have been seen out in the deserts of New Mexico, and when an even stranger phone call leads him on a dangerous adventure to a mysterious destination, Sheraton discovers earth shattering epiphanies.
When an insidious plot hatched by a shadowy global corporation threatens the survival of mankind the most unlikely hero emerges.  But is the savior man, machine, god or devil?
Other Books By Stephen Perkins
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Twilight’s Last Glory
Publisher: Star Born Publishing LLC
Published: August 2018
It is more than just a game. A global spectacle of triumph and anguish. A grand pageant of violence and drama. In the future, America’s game has become the world’s favorite pastime, and she is not just the WFFL’s latest superstar…but the future of humanity!
In a world secretly ruled by an organized crime pyramid with strange and mystical powers known as the Octagonal, and while a legend who harbors a dark secret strives for one last short at glory in the twilight of his career, crime lord Gigi Salerno is the sinister hand casting the ultimate fate of victory or defeat.
And, he will utilize any means necessary to ensure the Octagonal remains in control of the world’s most popular game!
But when a brilliant team doctor envisions future WFFL rosters filled out with AI, Salerno’s masters secretly decide he’s expendable.
Now threatened by the intrepid ambitions of a young sports columnist determined to expose the Octagonal, and faced with the covert maneuvering of a once trustworthy lieutenant and the conflicted loyalties of an unscrupulous general manager, Salerno is confronted with a dilemma: he may have to befriend one of his enemies to vanquish his double crossing masters.
Will he survive long enough to capture what he secretly desires most – the reluctant affections of a beautiful woman?
About the Author

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In just his first year as an independent author, Massachusetts native Stephen Perkins thrilling, entertaining, thought provoking and epic science fiction/fantasy thrillers have gained a loyal and rabid audience.  While enjoying the books be sure to visit the author’s blog, for an original perspective on the news of the day surely not to be discovered anywhere else. Or, stop by for a visit on Twitter @
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Monster Mash Countdown Blitz: Day 6, THE IMMUNDUS by CHRISTINA ENQUIST @cenquist



I grew up in Salinas, California, the same hometown of John Steinbeck, one of America’s greatest writers. I loved to read (and still do) and frequented the John Steinbeck Library as a child. I discovered at an early age that I also enjoyed writing. In sixth grade, my teacher, Mr. Graham gave the class an assignment to write a story for a contest. The contest required that we create our book binding as well, which we did with cardboard, glue, and wallpaper. My book was called “Mully Mully” about a creature who lived in an underwater lake city. I was sad when I didn’t win, but I cherished my book so I kept it all these years. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to put other stories, roaming around in my mind, down on paper again, or actually, in my case, into a computer.
I took a non-traditional route to writing, considering I have a doctorate in Educational Leadership. Aside from writing, I work full-time as a Training & Development Coordinator at Kaweah Delta, a  teaching hospital, and some semesters I also teach at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California, where I currently live. When I’m not at my full-time and part-time job, I enjoy writing, reading, watching TV, and spending time with my husband and pets (cat-Smokey, dog-Princess).

The Immundus is my debut novel.



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Would you sacrifice your humanity to save mankind?


IT’S THE YEAR 2828, and Domus is the last remaining country. Divided into twelve walled cities known as genuses, Domus spans what’s known as the purist lands—lands unaffected by the genetic modifications that killed all other species of mammals. But outside the walls of each genus the Immundus threaten the welfare of those within. From a young age, all citizens of Domus are trained for combat against these intruders.


At sixteen, Nia Luna knows little of the Immundus, except for the citywide alarms that ring any time an Immundus nears the genus walls. What she does know is that her own species is dying—their numbers dwindling as a mysterious disease called allagine kills many before their eleventh birthday. The same disease that ravaged her family when it took her sister.
When Nia is recruited into Genesis, a research company pioneering the path to a cure, she knows that her dream to find a cure for allagine is finally within her grasp. But within weeks of starting at Genesis, Nia witnesses something she shouldn’t have—something that changes everything. As she sets down a dangerous path that uncovers national secrets, Nia will have to decide not only what kind of person she wants to be but also how far she’s willing to go to save humanity.


The moment I get in my car, I direct Jules to Eric’s house, then thrust my head down between my legs and scream. I release every sound that was beating to come out—every terror, every devastation, and every shock.
He nearly made me kill someone. He nearly shot me. And then he killed that child anyway.
I step out of the car onto the sidewalk in front of Eric’s house. The world teeters and my head feels lopsided. Breath is hard to find. After what seemed like hours, I made it to the door, where Eric’s affable mother answers. She looks at me with concern, holding my shoulder as she leads me to a seat. The home smells of orange marmalade. She offers me orange juice, which I can’t resist.
“I just squeezed it, so it’s fresh.”
“Fresh-squeezed orange juice? Count me in,” Eric chimes, galloping down the stairs.
“Sorry I’m late. I ended up waiting for Jules to pick me up.”
“I’m just glad you’re here. Is everything all right?” Eric says, folding my hands into his. His wry smile affirms his appreciation of my presence, but his eyes paint over like Mrs. Marcello’s. In my periphery I see the beam of Mrs. Marcello’s smile. Eric may be her stepchild but I can tell she loves him and wants him to be happy.
“There’s something I want to talk to you about.” My eyes glide over to Mrs. Marcello’s presence. “Can we talk somewhere, please?”
“I know just the place.” He helps me up. I must look as bad as I feel.
“Mom, we’ll be in the atrium.”
“Okay, dear.”
Releasing one of my hands, he guides me to his home’s atrium. “Your atrium is so beautiful,” I say. All houses have atriums at the center, with hallways that lead out to various areas of the house. The entrances to the atriums have transparent shields that enable the home to maintain the optimum environment for the plants and vegetation to grow. The home knows to retract the shields upon our approach. The halls leading to the atrium remind me of spokes on a bicycle. Some houses have more hallways than others, depending on the size of the family—Eric’s house has five.
I admire the arrangement of flowers and plants around the outer edge and the Roman fountain in the center of the atrium. There are four benches, with green cushions that melt into the landscape, positioned north, south, east, and west, along the rim of the garden. We sit on the northern seat, farthest away from the hallway entrance that leads to the front room and closer to the hall that leads to the backyard. “Our atrium is just dirt right now.”
“That happens when you don’t plant anything.” He chuckles. His
chuckles always come from his stomach, deep and melodic.
“True.” The water is soothing as it cascades from the fountain lulling me into contentment. I can sit here for hours listening to the symphony of drops drowning out my thoughts.
“So what is it that you want to talk to me about?”



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Monster Mash Countdown Blitz: Day 5, STEVIE-GIRL AND THE PHANTOM STUDENT by ANN SWANN!@ann_swann


Ann Swann was born in the small West Texas town of Lamesa. She grew up much like Stevie-girl in The Phantoms series, though she never got up the nerve to enter the haunted house. 
Ann has done everything from answering 911 Emergency calls to teaching elementary school. She lives in Texas with her husband, Dude, a rescue cat named Oscar, and a part-time box turtle named Piggy. 
When she’s not writing, Ann is reading. Her to-be-read list has grown so large it has taken on a life of its own. She calls it Herman.

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Stevie asks Jase to help her find out why the ghost of a girl keeps appearing in her mirror. They think it has something to do with the new student at their school, a boy who has Tourette syndrome. Both the boy and the phantom seem to need some kind of help. All is revealed when the new kid falls prey to the school bullies. 
Will Stevie and Jase be too late, or will a tragic moment in their school’s history be repeated on Halloween night?




Maybe all the talk about science fiction and parallel universes is what caused me to have such vivid, unsettling dreams that night.  It was as if a person was visiting me from another planet or something.  The person, I couldn’t tell if it was male or female, looked like a kid, but it was hard to tell the way it was standing in front of me swishing back and forth like a whisk broom in the hand of a mad man.  And the entire dream was in black and white.  The swishy person was all in shades of black with long, strange white hair.  I couldn’t tell if the black clothing was a long dress or a longish black coat.  The figure was standing beneath the cool curve of a high, brick archway.
            It was eerie to say the least.  But I didn’t tell anyone about it.  I didn’t know how. It was so weird, so unlike anything I’d ever dreamed before.  I sort of hoped it would just melt away like cotton candy on my tongue.
            Of course the entire time I was getting ready for school, wisps of the dream came floating back to me.  Brushing my teeth in front of the bathroom mirror, the white toothpaste foam reminded me of the person’s frothy white hair.   Even the back and forth motion of the brush across my teeth recalled the way the figure moved.  What could it be? 
            I stared into the mirror for so long, thinking and remembering; that Ibegan to wonder just who it was that was staring back at me.  My brown eyes looked deeper than they should have, and the small bathroom behind my shoulders seemed much too large, the few morning shadows darker than they were a moment before.
            I slowly lowered my toothbrush and examined my own familiar face.  Why did it feel like I was looking at someone else?  All the planes and angles were the same, the tanned skin wasn’t changed, and the streaky brown hair was just as it always was this early in the morning.  I rinsed my toothbrush and placed it in the holder without taking my eyes from the mirror.  Then I picked up my hairbrush.
            It was beginning to really freak me out, this feeling that the person in the mirror was someone else standing in another bathroom that was almost, but not quite, the exact opposite of mine.  I closed my eyes and began to pull the brush through my hair.
            When I opened my eyes, I almost screamed.  The reflection in the mirror was looking away from me.  It was looking toward the door.
            My flesh tried to crawl off my bones.
            The face in the mirror, the one that should have been mine but somehow wasn’t, slowly turned back toward me.  Then it began to change.  First, the hair fluffed and brightened, then the eyes grew lighter as the skin began to pale . . . and that’s when the figure began to shake and shudder and twitch back and forth like the end of an old movie reel left flapping when the lights come back on. 
            I still had the hairbrush half-buried in my thick hair.  Suddenly, I yanked it through and dashed from the room like a track star approaching the finish line. 


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Monster Mash Countdown Blitz: Day 4,WHERE THE RIVER BENDS by ELSA WINCKLER!@elsawinckler



I have been reading love stories for as long as I can remember and when I ‘met’ the classic authors like Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Henry James The Brontë sisters, etc. during my Honours studies, I was hooked for life.
I married my college boyfriend and soul mate and after 43 years, 3 interesting and wonderful children and 3 beautiful grandchildren, he still makes me weak in the knees. We are fortunate to live in the picturesque little seaside village of Betty’s Bay, South Africa with the ocean a block away and a beautiful mountain right behind us. And although life so far has not always been an easy ride, it has always been an exiting and interesting one!
I like the heroines in my stories to be beautiful, feisty, independent and headstrong.  And the heroes must be strong but possess a generous amount of sensitivity. They are of course, also gorgeous!  My stories typically incorporate the family background of the characters to better understand where they come from and who they are when we meet them in the story.


“Kalinda Evans works for the Anglo-Boer war foundation in Canada. She’s sent to South Africa to make sure everyone who lost their lives in the war will be remembered. On her drive to the guest farm in Kimberley, South Africa, Kalinda picks up a female hitchhiker and is startled when just moments later, the woman vanishes. Kalinda would be convinced she was dreaming…except there’s still a white lace handkerchief on the passenger seat.
Extreme sports enthusiast and computer game designer Zack Carter is always after the next big challenge. He’s far too busy for romance and adheres to a three-date rule, until he meets his parents’ latest guest. When she relays the story of her mysterious experience, Zack’s family shares the local ghost story. Kalinda and Zack work together to solve the puzzle of the ghost and how it all ties in with the war and the work Kalinda is doing.
As their attraction grows, Zack realizes he no longer feels the need to prove anything to himself. He only needs to prove to Kalinda that he’s more than a good time.”



Cussing, he kicked a stone that was lying on the pathway. Probably all the talk about the damn ghost that was also affecting him.
He knocked on the door. And waited. Knocked again. “Kalinda!” he called out. “Are you—”
The door flew open and his brain stopped working. In one second flat, all his blood pooled way below his middle and he went rock hard.
She simply took his breath away. Her long hair hadn’t been combed, she wasn’t wearing any make-up and her cheeks were wet with tears.
“What the hell? Kalinda?” Concerned he put out his hands towards her but she smiled, eyes sparkling.
He swallowed. She was wearing red shorts and a satiny strappy top thing that just didn’t quite reach the top of the shorts. She clapped her hands and jumped up and down. He couldn’t breathe. Why wasn’t there any oxygen in the room? It was clear she wasn’t wearing anything else underneath the sexy get-up.
“Zach, I’m fine. You won’t believe what I’ve discovered; come and have a look.” She grabbed his arm and started pulling him inside. “Come, you have to see this.” He resisted and she turned around. “What is your problem?” she asked, impatiently.
Swallowing, he shook his head. “You’re my problem,” he got out. “Please get dressed.”
Stunned, she stared at him for a few minutes before comprehension dawned. She blushed a fiery red before she quickly turned around and sped towards the bedroom. The last thing he saw was a long, sexy leg disappearing around the corner.
He groaned out loud and leaned against the wall. Gulping in some much-needed air, he closed the door behind him. One of the boxes he’d brought back yesterday was standing on the coffee table; the floor was covered in papers. He sat down, but Kalinda’s bedroom door flew open and he hastily got up again.
“Please sit. I’m sorry about … I wasn’t thinking.”
“Neither was I,” he said succinctly.
She inhaled sharply “Zach, please.” She sat down opposite him. She’d changed into a top and pants. And she’d put on a bra. Her hair had been brushed, but she still wasn’t wearing any make-up. And he couldn’t stop staring at her naked mouth.
“What I discovered…”
He caught the last few words of her sentence. “Um … what?”
But she was already pointing at a notebook she had in her hand. He made another effort to try and listen to what she was saying.
“The wind last night.”
“Wind? I don’t remember hearing the wind last night?”
“Yes, there was a wind. Trust me, I know. I had to get up and close the window. And then I heard the one inside was also open and when I switched on the light, I saw half the contents of the boxes on the floor. And then I discovered this on top of one of the boxes. Look!” Excitedly, she handed him what was obviously a very old notebook.
“What is it?” he asked while opening it. For a second, ice-cold air moved down his body.
“It’s hers. Susan Mayers’s. I’m sure of it.” She sniffled and wiped her cheeks. “I’ve cried so much.” She started talking quickly, as if she was afraid her words wouldn’t be able to catch up with her thoughts.
“She writes about her Boer lover. How they met. I don’t know how well you know your history but during the Battle of Paardeberg, on 21 February, Lord Roberts sent a message to General Cronjé, offering to escort the women and children of the Boers to safety through the British lines and also to send them doctors and medical help.”
She moved to sit beside him and took the notebook from him. “Look here,” she said and opened the notebook. “When Roberts made his offer, some of the medical staff prepared to go across to the Boers; nobody thought it would be a problem. Remember, at that point, they’d been fighting since the seventeenth? Many of the Boers were wounded. Horses and cattle had been shot; the smell must have been unbearable. Cronjé left the medical wagons behind at Bossiespan, so at this point the Boers had no medical help. But Cronjé refused Roberts’s offer to escort the women and children to safety and only agreed to accept his offer of medical help, on the condition that the doctors and nurses stay with the Boers until they moved away. Roberts refused and withdrew his offer. This exchange of letters took place over the course of a whole day. The next day Cronjé asked for a hospital to be erected on the west side; Roberts refused, probably because that would have meant the British wouldn’t be able to attack the Boers from the west.”
Zach couldn’t take his eyes off Kalinda. Her hands, her eyes, her whole body was telling the story.
“What I didn’t know and what I certainly haven’t read in any history book was that, according to this diary, in any case, a medical doctor and two nurses actually went across to the Boers before Roberts’s final decision not to help them. The doctor and nurses were taken to the wounded Boers. I’m positive one of the nurses was Susan Mayers and I think this notebook is her diary.”
“How can you be sure? Did you come across her name somewhere?”
“No, but listen to what she writes about one of the Boer soldiers who took them to the wounded.”
“Two of the Boers met us halfway to escort us to the wounded. They both wore hats and at first I couldn’t see their faces properly. But when we came to the river, one of them took my hand to help me down the muddy bank. I looked up into a pair of clear blue eyes, the colour of the sky on a bright day. And I knew immediately that he was the one I’ve been waiting for all my life. Even though he was fighting on the other side. Just for a moment his grip tightened on my hand and I could see some reflection of what I was feeling in his face. To think that I would meet him in this place, during this war, under these circumstances was not something that I could ever have imagined. I do not know if I will ever see him again, but I will always remember his face, his gentle touch.”
Kalinda pointed to the following page. “Here she describes how they had to struggle over the dead animals, the terrible stench, the way groups of children sat around crying and the desperate situation the wounded were in when they found them. They were lying on bales of hay on the mud, their wounds only covered by tobacco leaves. You can image what the wounds looked like.”
“I still don’t see how you can deduce that this is Suzie’s diary?” Zach said as his eyes slid over the yellowed pages.
Kalinda quickly paged through the notebook. “It’s somewhere here. She describes the relentless attack on the Boers over the next seven days, the gastric fever they contracted because of the contaminated water, their eventual surrender and she writes in detail about the wounded soldiers she tended to. And in between she mentions him, her Boer lover. Apparently they saw one another again two days later, at which point they declared their love to one another.
Zach snorted, skeptical.
“I know, I know,” Kalinda said. “She doesn’t write in detail what happened between them but listen to this—


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Book One of The BreakThrough
Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Date Published: July 29, 2018
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The time of the uniborg was foretold on a distant planet.
So, what does it have to do Max Dedge, loose wheel and occasional detective?
This is just the start of the galactic event known as The BreakThrough, an event that could erase human existence, an event that could spell doom for planet Earth and possibly for history itself. It’s also an event that Max Dedge is blissfully unaware of at the moment.
And that’s a good thing. Because Max Dedge is about to find himself shot at on an alien world, fried by magic in Mexico, investigating corporate underhandedness in New Jersey, following leads on a vanished Rabbi in France, and being chased by certain death from one world to another and in between. At his side, the wizard Jracilla who has trained all her life for this day, thief and nemesis Arturo Delgado who is forever up to no good, and Sylvester… a very special phone.
Max Dedge in The Time of The Uniborg combines a unique fantasy experience with a mystery that binds two worlds and beyond, setting the stage for the epic adventure of The BreakThrough. The BreakThrough is set against a dynamically changing universe filled with characters who will helm their own titles.
Max Dedge in The Time of The Uniborg is just the first step into a universe of magic and time travel, rogues and wizards, space jalopies and portals to other worlds, taking you to the precipice of what you thought science fiction and fantasy could be and then throwing you over the side.


Later, Max lay in the dark, in the most comfortable bed in the shittiest little motel that still had two rooms in Las Cruces. The motel sat on a lot with an abandoned Carl’s Jr. and a burned-out gas station, but none of that had mattered. Max had been falling asleep at the wheel and knew he’d never make it as far as El Paso. After a large dinner of chili verde, beans, rice, and enough chips and salsa to choke a mariachi band, Max had wanted nothing more than to stop and sleep. Thanks to Sylvester, he did.
Max rested peacefully, digesting his huge dinner, waking only when the alarm on his Velocity 3200 rang loudly. He turned it off, wishing for a snooze button (but he had disabled that feature after hitting it about a hundred too many times). He looked around the darkened room and asked, “What the hell time is it?”
Sylvester replied, “My apologies, sir. The time is 4:17am.”
Max thought for a moment. “I didn’t set the alarm for 4:17am, Sylvester.”
“No, sir,” Sylvester replied. “You did, however, ask me to notify you should I find any connection between Chambéry and your current case.”
Max knew that Sylvester would have been working on that problem around the clock. With Sylvester’s processing speed, that was like putting an army of college interns onto a case of beer. Telling Sylvester to let him know when he found something, without specifying when that was appropriate, was Max’s fault.
Max sank back into the soft, sinking mattress and sighed. “Okay, Sylvester. What did you find?”
“There is some historical evidence, sir, that the Tretonians may be distantly related to the people of Chambéry,” Sylvester told him.
And Max’s eyes opened in the dark. He’d been hoping for a connection to the bombs in San Francisco, to the gun in Leodinym, to the clock in Pentress, but…“Sylvester? What the hell are you talking about?”
Sylvester replied with an understanding, “The story is rather complicated, sir. If you would prefer, I can tell you in the morning.”
Max wouldn’t hear of it. “You’re not going to tell me you found Tretonians in France and not explain it,” he growled.
Sylvester hesitated. “That isn’t exactly what I was reporting, sir.”
Max practically jumped from the bed. “Just tell me the story!”

Meet The Author:

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Author and occasional philosopher and monologist, Ken La Salle’s passion is intense humor, meaningful drama, and finding answers to the questions that define our lives. Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue collar roots, which have given his writing a progressive and environmentalist view. You can find a growing number of his books and performances available online. Find out more about Ken on his website at
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PROMO Blitz + Giveaway: SEAJOURNEY by ALEX PAUL @arken_freeth @RABTBookTours

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Arken Freeth and the Adventure of the Neanderthals, Book 1
Middle-Grade Fantasy Adventure
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A young warrior stands at the precipice of war…
To succeed he must find his courage and survive a treacherous journey across the sea.
Arken Freeth has always wanted to prove himself worthy of his king’s appointment by becoming an officer in the Lantish Sea Service. Now the only thing standing in his way is his apprenticeship SeaJourney. But a peaceful training mission soon turns into a deadly struggle for survival as Arken’s fleet must come to the aid of a princess fleeing capture by Tookan pirates.
SeaJourney kicks off an epic and fantastical adventure that is a great read for all ages.
Other Books in the Arken Freeth and the Adventure of the Neanderthals series:
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Arken Freeth and the Adventure of the Neanderthals, Book 2
Publisher: AIS, Limited
As war looms like an evil shadow over the world…
Arken Freeth must save his crewmates’ lives as they traverse a deadly jungle filled with massive wolves and sabertooth cats.
In the age before the Great Flood, 13,000 years ago, a new alliance between the nations of Lanth and Tolaria is threatened by pyramid-building Amarrats out to conquer and enslave the world.
Fourteen-year-old Arken Freeth is swept up in the conflict when his Lantish Military Academy training ship is attacked by pirates and runs ashore. He and six classmates are the only survivors of the shipwreck, and they struggle to live in a jungle filled with saber-tooth cats, dire wolves, mammoths, and mastodons.
Arken has salvaged a necklace from the wreck–a necklace that bestows the gift of prophecy. If Arken can get it to the King of Lanth, he will turn the tide of war.
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The Toth Hunter
Arken Freeth And The Adventure Of The Neanderthals, Book 3
Publisher: AIS, Limited
Arken learns more about the secrets of his heritage and discovers the strengths it offers will help him to earn a place of leadership among his grandmother’s people.
Arken Freeth and Asher, the future king of Tolaria, find themselves trapped in the Nanders’ Water Cave as they await the recovery of Arken’s love, Talya.
While living among the Nanders, Arken earns the respect of the tribe as he hunts the deadly jalag and massive toth with the tribe. But Arken, Asher, and Talya soon anger the wife and son of the tribe’s leader, Jen. If Arken does not accept Jen’s challenge to the death, all their lives will be in jeopardy.
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Tookan Attack
Arken Freeth and the Adventure of the Neanderthals, Book 4
Publisher: AIS, Limited
A battle is looming between the Tookans and Arken Freeth’s band of Lantish, Tolarian, and Nander warriors. Who will survive?
The Pirate King Yolanta’s fleet has fled to Situn, a barbarian settlement on the northern coast of the Circle Sea. Once provisioned, Yolanta plans a return to the River Zash and a final battle that will secure the Necklace of Tol for the Amarrat King. Yet before Yolanta can return to crush the Nanders, he will face betrayal and death at the hands of the hostile residents of Situn, the treacherous walled city of the North.
A troubling vision has warned Arken Freeth that Yolanta and his men will soon storm the Nanders’ Water Cave. In order to save the Nander tribe and protect the Necklace of Tol, Arken, Talya, and Asher must forge weapons and train the Nanders in the art of modern warfare, an impossible task when the Nanders follow The Way and are so resistant to change.
Mar discovers that Arken is the Jalet-hoi, the one foretold to be the savior of the Nanders. But in order to fulfill this powerful prophecy, Arken must survive a duel with Jen, the tribal chief’s son, to save his friend Ord’s life. No one, not even his friends, believes Arken will win this fight with such a powerful warrior. Even if he does live, will their battle training be enough for them to build a Nander army skilled enough to survive the Tookan Attack?
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Arken Freeth and the Adventure of the Neanderthals Boxed Set
(The Boxed Set, Books 1-4)
Publisher: AIS, Limited
Part Neanderthal, but raised as a human, Arken Freeth finds that he doesn’t fit in either world as he struggles to survive.
Arken Freeth has always wanted to prove himself worthy of his king’s appointment by becoming an officer in the Lantish Sea Service. Now the only thing standing in his way is his apprenticeship SeaJourney. But a peaceful training mission soon turns into a deadly struggle for survival as Arken’s fleet must come to the aid of a princess fleeing capture by Tookan pirates.
Arken Freeth’s Lantish Royal Military Academy training ship is attacked by pirates and runs ashore. He and six classmates are the only survivors of the shipwreck and they struggle to live in a jungle filled with saber-tooth cats, dire wolves, mammoths, and mastodons. Arken has salvaged a necklace from the shipwreck—a necklace that bestows the gift of prophecy. If Arken can escape the Tookan pirates intent on stealing the necklace for themselves and deliver it safely to the king of Lanth, he will turn the tide of war.
Arken and some of his friends are rescued by the Nanders, only to find that many of the Nanders want to put them to death for fear they will escape and send slavers back to the Water Cave. Join Arken as he comes to grips with his heritage and struggles to keep himself and his friends alive while learning to live and hunt in the wild like a Nander.
The bloodthirsty Tookans return for the necklace, but a surprise awaits them when they step on shore, for Arken and his friends have armed and trained the Nanders. Though outnumbered, the Nanders are powerful warriors in their own forest. The outcome for the Tookans is anything but certain as Arken fights alongside the Nanders to defend their home.






Chapter 1: The Rock Test
Mother, I weep for you each night. Our enemy’s campfires
seem to number more than the stars in the sky. Their soldiers
drum and chant all night and torment our sleep. I fear the worst
for my people, for I cannot read the Necklace of Tol to see the
Time to Come.
—Diary of Princess Sharmane of Tolaria
Thirty boys surrounded Arken in a circle, waiting for him to
lift the rock and prove he was strong enough to graduate.
“No more delays, Arken,” Lar ordered. “Sunset will leave you
too old to test!” Lar’s olive skin and dark beard turned his
sunken eyes into two caves in a rock cliff. He was a lean, tall,
and wifeless instructor who lived alone in the academy officer’s
Arken could never tell if Lar liked him, since Lar was
sometimes friendly to him, yet now made fun and appeared to
enjoy his classmates’ laughter.
The circle of boys, all taller than him, carried sparring
swords and wore bronze armor over their white, knee-length
tunics. Bronze helmets shielded faces from the blazing sun.
“Class, form a seated square around the post and stone,”
Lar ordered. The moving armor rang with the music of bronze
and they joked as they sat. It was easy for Arken’s classmates
to laugh; they had all passed the test. As the youngest, he was
the last to reach his fourteenth birthday and take the test
before SeaJourney, a one-moonth-long apprenticeship, now
only days away.
If Arken lifted the rock, he would graduate and join his class
at sea. Failing the rock test today left only one way of going on
SeaJourney. He would have to defeat Gart, the class salcon, in
a sparring match.
“He’s taken so long I’ve grown a beard,” Gart joked in a loud
voice. Everyone laughed at Gart’s jokes, even if they weren’t
funny, because he was a year older than the rest of the class,
bigger than all of them, and their salcon, their squad leader.
Gart had passed the rock test the previous year, then failed his
final exams.
Given an additional year to study and the leadership
position as class salcon, the academy expected him to succeed.
A wave of depression swept over Arken. If he failed to lift the
rock, he had no chance of beating Gart in a sparring match. He
was a head taller and stronger.
“Arken, lift the stone!” Lar’s tone turned angry. “Why are
you stalling?”
“Yes, sir.” Arken scanned the second-story classrooms a
hundred legs across the courtyard. Girls in the Queen’s
Trackers often visited the academy for training and, being
scouts, they had good eyes. He didn’t want them to see him
But no girls watched from the openings in the gray stone
walls. Even the tower guards weren’t looking, probably due to
midmeal and the mid-day heat leaving them sleepy.
Arken turned towards Tok, the name given the rock five
hundred years earlier when the test began. He’d never lifted a
stone this big in practice. Father would be so disappointed if he
failed; he’d worked so hard with him practicing swords to help
keep up with his classmates. He stepped next to the rock.
“Don’t forget the warrior’s creed,” Lar reminded him.
“Sir! Fear none in battle, nor death at sea, nor those who
wish to torment thee, with Kal in mind and sword held high,
fight until you win or die.”
“Good! Now win your fight with that rock,” Lar ordered.
Arken squatted and picked up red, courtyard clay, then
rubbed it in his palms to improve his grip. Waves of heat from
the mid-day sun shimmered off Tok. Years ago they had run
laps from their classroom across the courtyard to the rock and
back while singing war songs. He and his young classmates
would slap the hot stone for good luck and shout “Tok” on the
A lingering touch of the stone could leave the palms warm
from the heat. Today he had to be careful and lift the rock’s
cooler, shaded side because touching the warm side would
make him drop the stone.
Arken was the only commoner in his class. All the other
boys were sons of noble families. The king had granted a
request by Arken’s father, a commoner, to send Arken to the
academy. It was a reward for his father’s heroism in battle.
Arken had endured bad treatment and bullying at the hands
of the noblemen’s sons since the age of six because he wanted
to prove himself to his father and he yearned for a chance to
explore the world in the Sea Service.
Now all those years of abuse would only be worth it if he
lifted Tok and graduated.
A swordtooth’s scream split the air. The class turned as one
towards the sound coming from beyond the fort’s north wall.
The high-pitched tone dropped to a long, low rumble that made
Arken’s neck hairs stand up.
“Remain calm,” Lar ordered. “The swordtooth is far away. I
promise, if it draws close enough for the guards to kill, we’ll go
up on the wall and watch.”
The boys all talked at once about the swordtooth and
seemed to forget about Arken. He wiped sweat from his face
that had run down despite the gastag leather strap holding
back his long blonde hair. He felt grateful for the swordtooth
because it bought time to get his nerves under control.
The swordtooth cat was old and couldn’t hunt toth and ton,
so it had moved in close to the city walls to attack King’s
Harsemen when they patrolled outside the fort. Two dead
horses and riders made it essential that the swordtooth die. So
the guards had tethered a goat next to the south wall before
dawn to draw the cat within range.
The swordtooth screamed again, sending chills down
Arken’s spine. The cats grew to twenty feet long. Though
terrifying, they inspired him. They were proof of the vast,
dangerous world beyond the city walls awaiting his exploration.
“Begin, Arken,” Lar said.
“Fourteen … I’m old enough,” Arken whispered to himself.
He rubbed the loose clay from his hands and rose to extend a
hand from the top of the post to his chest, measuring the
height he’d have to lift Tok to his belly button. A slight
depression in the top center of the post would hold the rock,
but to lift and gently place it so as not to roll off was the
“He’ll never lift it,” Gart whispered loud enough for all to
hear. “He’s too small.”
“Silence, Gart!” Lar entered the square and strode towards
Gart. “You’re a salcon! Friendly teasing is fine, but a class
leader should never undermine his men.” Lar jabbed his heavy
walking stick into the back of Gart’s calf where the armor didn’t
protect his legs, making the boy wince. A grimace crossed his
face. Crying out during punishment lengthened the beating so
Gart made no sound.
“Yes, sir! Sorry, sir!” Gart pulled his feet in tight under the
skirt of his white tunic to avoid another poke of Lar’s stick. His
lower lip quivered slightly despite his stony face and Arken
knew he’d been hurt by Lar’s blow and comment.
“Arken, lift that stone now!”
“Yes, sir.” Arken said, but the swordtooth screamed,
drowning out his reply.
“It’s getting closer!” Lar exclaimed. “Arken. Hurry and lift,
we want to see that swordtooth killed!”
“Yes, sir.” Arken felt grateful the big cat had diverted
attention for now he felt ready.
He squatted, put his chest on the stone, and reached
around with his arms so he could lock his fingers. He’d always
thought his barrel chest was an advantage; it gave him more
wind when he ran. But now his chest prevented his fingers
from touching. Arken turned his head to the left, brushing his
right cheek against the stone. The hot rock stung his flesh as
his straining fingers locked together. For once his too big hands
were an advantage and not an embarrassment.
He held his cheek off the hot rock as he pushed with his
legs. But the rock didn’t budge. It felt alive and its weight
fought him. He struggled to breathe, his chest restricted by the
rock’s pressure.
He tipped back on his heels and the rock popped off the
ground. A thrill ran through him. I’m going to do it! But when
he strained to rise, nothing happened. Impossible! So heavy!
He thought of quitting, but his fingers slipped and to his
surprise he fought to tighten his grip instead of letting go.
I can’t disappoint Father. Dear God Kal, grant me a birthday
wish, Arken prayed. Help me lift this rock.
He screamed and it startled some of the boys. He didn’t
care; the scream gave him strength and the rock edged higher.
His inner elbows burned from the strain of the weight. They felt
as if red-hot fire pokers were being thrust into them. His legs
I am strong enough! He simply had to endure the pain.
“Almost there!” Lar had stooped over to see the post’s top.
Arken lurched forward with his right foot but the rock
thudded against the top of the post. He advanced his left leg,
then leaned back, trying to raise the rock the last little bit to
clear the post.
Pain shot across his low back. He recalled Lar’s stories
about boys injuring their spine by tipping backwards too far.
“One finger width higher!” Lar yelled.
The pain straightened his spine against his will.
“No, you’re going lower, lift it higher!” Lar waved his hands
as if he could somehow help Arken lift.
Arken strained his calf muscles, trying to lift his heels off
the ground and raise the rock that way. He rose to his tiptoes.
“You’re clear, push it forward, Arken!” Lar stepped closer.
A final push, he could feel it! He strained to go forward, but
suddenly, his calves gave way as if they belonged to someone
else, no longer willing to do his bidding. He felt his heels strike
the ground as the rock pushed them down.
“Too low.” Lar bent down. “Can’t you get it higher? You were
“I’ll try,” Arken grunted. He strained to raise himself back on
his toes, but nothing happened. He tried to pull with his arms,
but the rock lodged against his chest and wouldn’t budge.
Suddenly everything started to go dark. He focused his eyes on
some palm trees across the courtyard outside the fort’s main
The green palms swayed in the light breeze as they receded
down a long black tunnel. He blinked, but opened his eyes to
only a pinhole of light.
“Clear!” His intended yell came out a whisper. He felt the
stone slip from his grasp. A hand snatched him back by his
arm and the world left him.
“Are you alright?” Lar’s voice echoed as if he were in a cave.
“I think so.” Arken opened his eyes. A seagull hovered in the
blue sky high above Lar’s hollow-cheeked face and Arken
realized he was lying flat on his back.
“You’re sure?” Lar leaned in closer and blocked the gull’s
“Yes.” Arken rose to his elbows. “What am I doing on the
“You blacked out lifting the rock.” Lar said.
“I didn’t pass the test?” The memory came flooding back.
“You will next year.” Lar offered his hand. “You’re strong
enough, just not tall enough.”
“I know.” He felt proud he’d at least been strong enough to
lift it.
“Do you want to try your luck sparring with Gart today?”
“Yes, sir, I do.” Arken surprised himself with his answer as
he rose to his feet. He didn’t care if he lost, or even if he got
hurt sparring Gart. He wanted so badly to go on SeaJourney
this week. Life at sea called him.
“Good, I admire your spirit, Arken, though you’ll probably
lose.” Lar chuckled and shook his head.
“Maybe,” Arken rubbed his hands to knock off the clay, then
tried to brush the red clay from the back of his white tunic, but
with little success. Arlet, their Nander kitchen slave, would
scold him tonight for the dirty uniform.
The swordtooth screamed again, this time so loud it echoed
around the courtyard.
“It’s close to the wall!” Lar turned his gaze to the
guardhouse where soldiers were running for the chariot
mounted, giant crossbow. “Arken will fight you, Gart, after we
watch the guards kill the swordtooth. Lead your class to the
top of the wall.”
“Yes, sir, I accept Arken’s challenge. Cadets to me!” Gart
jogged for the wall.
The cadets saluted and were gone, like armored quails
busting out of grass in fear. Tanned legs carried lean bodies up
the stairs to the wall top in seconds.
Arken jogged two steps to Lar’s one despite Lar running with
his ceremonial robe gathered in his hands to prevent tripping
on it. Arken was grateful for some time to regain his strength
before sparring with Gart. It was his last chance to go to sea
this year. He had been so excited about beginning his officer’s
apprenticeship as a saldet, a junior officer. Only Gart stood in
his way.


 photo SeaJourney Author Alex Paul_zpsz00ofdao.jpg

Alex Paul is the award-winning author of Arken Freeth and the Adventure of the Neanderthals books series, and co-author of They’re Mine and I’m Keeping Them.
Alex Paul lives with his wife Laura Ross-Paul (co-author of They’re Mine and I’m Keeping Them), and two faithful dogs, in Portland Oregon in the winter, and the Oregon Coast in the summer.
He trained as an Industrial Engineer at Oregon State University, working in a variety of fields before settling into a career as a real estate developer.
Alex Paul has been a life long outdoors enthusiast, having a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw on for his epic fantasy Arken Freeth series.
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Cozy Mystery
Date Published: September 2018
Publisher: BQB Publishing
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From a small secluded village in Connecticut to the English Countryside, readers are taken on a roller coaster of events and quirky characters as amateur sleuth Emily Ryder tries to solve a murder that everyone thinks was an accident.
For tour guide Emily Ryder, the turning point came on that fateful early morning when her beloved mentor met an untimely death. It’s labeled as an accident and Trooper Dave Roberts is more interested in Emily than in any suspicions around Chris Cooper’s death. For Emily, if Chris hadn’t been the Village Planner and the only man standing in the way of the development of an apartment and entertainment complex in their quaint village of Lydfield, Connecticut, she might have believed it was an accident, but too many pieces didn’t fit.
As Emily heads across the pond for a scheduled tour of Lydfield’s sister village, Lydfield-in-the-Moor . . . she discovers that the murderer may be closer than she thought.
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Picking up speed, she passed the rows of Victorian houses with their pilastered front porches and attached shutters in homage to last century’s Colonial Revival. She’d grown up here, always lived here except for college and her transatlantic jaunts. But at this moment, her village might as well be a scattering of old photos.
Before she knew it, the rain was beating down harder, her wiper blades barely able to keep up. Among the nagging questions flitting through her mind was how could Miranda Shaw have suddenly gotten wind of her leaking roof? Or   did somebody just put her up to it, to get Chris rushing pell- mell in the rain so he would . . .
Emily eased her foot off the pedal, barely able to see through the downpour. She switched the wipers on high and kept her eyes on the road, intent on avoiding an accident.
Minutes later, she pulled into Miranda Shaw’s place at a slow but steady crawl. As she reached the circular drive, straining her eyes through the thwacking blades, she peered up two stories above the stone archway.
There she caught sight of the familiar gangly figure climbing higher toward the peak of an eight-sided turret. At a point where the grayish-blue slate, copper flashing, and a mullioned window merged, the figure suddenly became a shuddering blur.
Emily honked her horn, blasting as loud as she could. But it was too late. The figure flopped over and slid down the turret, glanced off the aluminum ladder and toppled like a broken doll.
About the Author

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Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He is also a features writer for Gannett Media. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, and Murder Run.  Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. Moon Games is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.
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PROMO Blitz: BUCKLE UP, The First in A New Gay Romance Series from KAREN BOTHA is Now Available in KindleUnlimited!@karenbothanovel @RABTBookTours


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Commitment Series, Book 1
Steamy M/M Romance
Date Published: September 3, 2018
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Buckle Up
Passion, lust and desire are the fuel that drives us. So, buckle up for the ride of your life.
Elliott Judd is a superstar race car driver and hotter than hell. Men and women fall at his feet and he enjoys the easy pickings. No one has tamed this wild stallion, but is he ready to settle down for the right person?
Kyle Beaumont, a straight mechanic with a body to die for joins the racing team of his dreams, and with his mind fixed on the job, he doesn’t realise that he is Elliott’s next trophy of choice.
As the racing season and the fight to be the world number one starts, so too does Elliott’s game of seduction.
Will Elliott crash and burn, or will Kyle succumb to this gorgeous man’s onslaught?
Buckle Up is the first book in a gay romance series by Karen Botha and a story of unlikely love. The series is free on Kindle Unlimited.
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Download your copy of Buckle Up now.
About the Author

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Karen Botha  was born in Lincolnshire England where her father was in the royal air force. As a young girl she always had a passion for reading and writing. Working most of her adult life in digital marketing didn’t leave her much time to pursue her passion for stories. at the age of 36 She retrained for a reflexologist and started working for herself. This helped her free up more than enough time to enjoy a  re-found  passion  for writing.
Her first novel was inspired by true life experiences and tales from clients. But don’t believe everything you read.
She enjoys traveling rugby and motor sport, this gives her inspiration and ideas for her books.
The first in the new lgbt series is a mm romance novel about a race car driver and his mechanic.
She currently lives in London with her Husband and rescue dog called Shadow.
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Contemporary Fiction, Family Saga
Publisher: Koehler Books
Published: September 15, 2018
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After growing up heartbroken with an endless series of struggles, Maria Michaels creates a picture-perfect family of her own. But life changes too quickly, and she loses her grip on herself and her two troubled sons. In spite of her desire to give them a better life, they spiral downward on the paths they choose. They must fight through sadness, mistakes and tragedy to find redemption and the love that only a mother can give. Told from a dual perspective of mother and son, we follow the family’s battles with divorce, drugs and depression. You will laugh and cry, and probably want to call your mom to tell her you love her.
Praise for The Crossroads of Logan Michaels:
“Sometimes hilarious, sometimes painful, but always gritty and real, The Crossroads of Logan Michaels examines a bright young man’s downward spiral into addiction; the forces that drive him to drinking and drugs, and ultimately the forces that may guide him back out. Thumbs-up for this debut!” – James Frey, best-selling author of A Million Little Pieces, My Friend Leonard, and Bright Shiny Morning


Being in a new town, and leaving all of my old friends, scared me. I knew I was good at baseball and basketball, but I worried whether I would still be good in North Andover.
Summer was ending, but I couldn’t complain. We’d had fun times camping in Maine, while my little brother, Jared, and I got into mischief. My friends from Andover called me and said we should still hang out, even though we would be in different towns.
The summer came to an end and I was ready for third grade at my new school. Monday arrived and I looked out the window at the playground and saw all the kids. Living across the street from the school wasn’t all that bad. I grabbed my bag and kissed my mother and high-fived my dad before walking over to the school yard. There was a steep hill I slowly ran down, and then I ran across a field of kids kicking a soccer ball. I aimlessly walked around, checking out the playground, kicking my feet, and watching the kids play before the bell rang. Our house was so close that I could see my mom staring through the window at me.
The bell rang as I watched kids line up. We “pledged allegiance” outside and then walked to class. Being the new kid sucks, I thought, as I sat down next beside a boy named Grant.
“What’s your name, kid?”
“Logan,” I said.
“Got a last name?”
“Michaels. My name is Logan Michaels.”
“You play any sports?”
“Yeah, baseball and basketball,” I replied.
“You any good?”
I laughed and said, “Let’s play at recess and find out.”
Recess arrived; we grabbed the basketball immediately and ran over to the hoops. After a couple of shots, the fifth-graders came over and tried to kick us off the court. Grant and I were not giving up that easily, though, and we said, “Let’s play for it.”
They laughed as they confidently threw the ball to me.
I caught it and shot. SWISH!! The game started out with two people watching, and by the end of recess, Grant and I had the whole recess crowd around us cheering. “ICE! ICE! ICE!” the older kids yelled. My last shot was in the air as everyone was watching: game point and SWISH!
We won by one point, and that day established my new nickname, Ice, because I had taken about twenty shots and had missed only two. The older kids said that we could play with them anytime, and I became popular on my first day. I ran home right after school, ready to tell my mom everything.
I walked in the house and saw Jared playing in the kitchen while my mom prepared dinner. The fall air was warm and crisp, with a sourdough bread smell lingering. I threw my bag down and told my mother about my day. She smiled and looked content as she continued to cook dinner. My mother would always smile when she saw me and Jared. We would hang out until dinnertime, and wait for Dad to come home. We would play video games, run around the house, and play in the yard; we always had so much energy.
My dad would come home, kick off his work boots, kiss my mom, and roughhouse with us. We typically tackled him as soon as he came through the door. Jared and I would lose to Dad, of course; he seemed like the strongest guy in the world.
After dinner, we would rush outside to play basketball with our small hoop in the yard until it got dark. My mom would yell out the window about how we needed to do our homework, and we would come inside once the sun set.
Realizing that I might have a career in basketball, I had Dad sign me up for the North Andover booster club team. We walked into tryouts; he was definitely the youngest father in there, being only twenty-eight years old. Most dads were in their late thirties.
As tryouts began, he introduced himself to the fathers. Everyone made the team, but I guess the tryouts were to see how they could split up the kids to make fair teams.
After waiting a week for the results, I finally received a call from Mr. Stone, the coach of the Hawks. He welcomed me onto the team, told me the practice schedule, and said, “See you there, Logan.” I hopped off the phone and ran into my parents’ room to tell them the good news. I jumped on the bed and then noticed something strange: my mother was crying and my father was rubbing her back with a worried look on his face.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. My mom hugged me. My brother walked in quietly, looking unsettled as he hugged my mom and dad.
“It’s my mom, Nana,” she said. “She’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is very sick.”
“What’s Alzheimer’s?” I asked.
“It makes you forget who you are, Logan.” I was confused, but just hugged my mother back as she wiped her tears.
We had been a tight-knit family before moving. My mom and dad grew up on the same street and met when they were children.
My grandparents on both sides were always coming over to visit us, and we would go to their houses. We even went to church with them on Sundays. Jared and I called my mother’s parents “Nana” and “Papa;” we called my father’s parents “Granpy” and “Grammy.” I was closest to Nana.
Sitting in my room that night, I didn’t know whether I should be excited for basketball season, or sad for my Nana. It made me understand that pleasure and pain always went hand in hand.
One minute you’re up, and the next, you’re down, I thought as I shut my eyes.
We all visited my Nana that weekend, and I just couldn’t look at her the same way I had before. She was no different, but when I saw her, all I could think about was the Alzheimer’s and about whether she would one day forget me. It made me sad to see her like this, and to then look over at Papa and see him in the rocking chair shaking his knees; it was nice to see that he was smiling. He would always talk so loudly; I guess he had trouble hearing, but was never afraid to say what was on his mind.
Several cousins and their parents were visiting Nana and Papa. There were so many kids of similar ages on my mom’s side of the family. My mother had two brothers and a sister, and between them they had six kids, all roughly my age. We would spend the holidays together and go camping on the Cape and have a blast playing sports.
I was the closest with my cousin Tim. We would sleep over at each other’s house all of the time, and would often get in trouble together. We would talk about being confused when we found out that Nana was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but agreed that we couldn’t tell any difference in her behavior.
It was always a bit scary visiting my father’s side of the family. Some days, we would go over there after visiting Nana’s and Papa’s house. Dad’s parents’ house was old and scary, but must have had a million rooms. It had an old bar with tools and old rusty cars, which was kind of creepy. There was a large pit underneath the garage and I always wondered what the heck was down there, but was too afraid to go see.
My dad had three sisters and a brother, and they had seven kids between them. I was closest to Ryan, but he wasn’t really into sports like my cousin Tim and me. Ryan was more occupied with playing in the garage with tools, making traps, and playing in the woods. The one thing that really got my blood pumping was the rope swing the two of us had made.
It was attached to a tree above the garage, directly over a pit.
We would swing over the pit, twenty feet in the air; it was such a rush. My brother Jared always wanted to try, but I would never let him. I tended to be kind of hard on him because he wanted to be right next to me all of the time.
About the Author
James M. Roberts wanted to prove that you don’t need to be a college scholar or a perfect writer to put your heart on paper even when it is hurting the most. James’s experiences have inspired him to tell his story in order to reach young readers suffering from insecurity, sadness, and addiction. Not only did James drop out of high school, but he also stumbled into deep depression early in his adolescent life. Although he had been an all-star athlete, he was far from happy. He ended up making regrettable choices in order to feel a sense of belonging and worth, especially following his parents’ separation. Through it all, James knew that one day he was going to share his “misery” with the world. He struggled through life’s lessons and finally put himself through college to earn a business degree and currently has a successful career in sales. James finished his first rough draft at twenty-five while in college. Five years later he erased all 200,000 words and started from scratch. He currently resides in Woburn, Massachusetts, where he continues to thrive and develop his writing.
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