SALE Blitz: NUDES, A Sexy Hollywood Romance by SARAH ROBINSON is ON SALE for 99c Until August 26th! @Booksby_Sarah @InkSlingerPR

Sarah Robinson’s sexy NUDES is on sale! Be sure to grab your copy by August 26th!

About NUDES:

Praised by #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Lauren Blakely, as “Passionate, emotional and uplifting!”, contemporary romance author Sarah Robinson brings readers a new standalone novel set in the glamorous hills of Hollywood and tackling challenging themes like the intersection of sexuality and female empowerment.

Ben Lawson is making a comeback…
After a few tabloid headlines, they think they know me. They don’t know a damn thing. As CEO of a movie production company, I’ll show them who I really am when we hit it big at the box office. My ex thought her smear tactics would ruin me, but I’m unbreakable. Rising from the debris, I swore I’d never let a woman distract me like that again. But then, my leading actress walked on the set and changed everything.

Seductive, sexy, and unapologetic, Aria Rose could break me. I wanted to help her, protect her…love her. Instead, I destroyed her.

Aria Rose is baring it all….
I knew better. I knew not to trust another Hollywood heartthrob with a reputation like his. He was my boss and became my ruin. I should have stayed far away from him. Ben Lawson promised me the world. He even promised me his heart.

But he destroyed everything–my heart, my career, us.

 

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Exclusive Excerpt:

PROLOGUE

Aria woke with a jolt, looking around the dark bedroom. As her senses slowly began to adjust, she looked for the source of whatever had disturbed her. Her cell phone vibrated against the surface of her nightstand, the screen lit so brightly it cast a square light onto the ceiling above.

Yawning, Aria grabbed for it. She glanced over at the man in bed next to her, her heart filling with warmth at the sight of his sleeping form.

Finally focusing on her phone, she realized she had dozens of missed texts, calls, and emails.

“What the hell?” she whispered to herself, sitting up.

Aria, are you awake? WAKE UP NOW.

Don’t look at the news. We need to talk. 911.

Is that you on E! News? Did you allow that?

OMG, ARIA! WHAT THE HELL?

What did you do?!?! This is career suicide!

Her heart began to race, panic swarming her every cell as she quickly clicked out on a website link her best friend sent her. A photo popped up, and then another, and another, and another, and Aria knew exactly what she was looking at.

Herself.

Nude.

Aria could barely breathe, trembling as she searched social media and entertainment news sites. The photos were everywhere. She was everywhere. Her breasts, her body, her love life on full display for the world to see.

It would have been bad enough if they’d just been images of her posing, but these were pornographic. These were her in her most intimate moments with a man she’d…

A sob stuck in her throat. Did he do this?

She looked at the man still sleeping beside her, fear gripping her heart.

This couldn’t be happening.

CHAPTER ONE

Two Months Earlier

“Wait until you meet our lead.” The heavyset producer’s eyes glinted with excitement as he spoke. He brought a sandwich up to his lips, taking a bite and continuing around a mouthful of food. “She’s only had small roles up until this film, but she’s up-and-coming. No doubt about it. Aria Rose is poised to take the world by storm come Oscar season.”

Ben didn’t reply, too distracted watching the producer trying to wipe a blob of mayonnaise off his tie. Arthur Atwood was a large man with a messy comb-over and an ill-fitting suit, which must have been a deliberate choice since Ben knew Arthur made a handsome salary.

Is he licking his tie?

His new right-hand man was actually licking mayonnaise off his tie. Not a good sign. Ben made a mental note never to ask Arthur to have a meeting over lunch at his desk again.

“Bugger, it’s in there good,” Arthur muttered in his thick English accent, dropping his tie and slapping his hands on his knees. “All right. Enough of that. Ready for a tour of the studio?”

“Very,” Ben replied, balling up the parchment paper his own sandwich had been wrapped in and tossing it into the wastebasket beneath his desk. He stood, rolling his shoulders and stretching his neck from side to side.

They’d spent the morning touring the corporate offices on the lot of Shepherd Film Studios where Ben would be officially starting in two weeks as the company’s new chief executive officer. He had agreed to come in on Friday to tour everything and meet the crew on their final day of filming—but the pressure was already on.

One of the oldest movie production companies in Hollywood, Shepherd Film Studios was well respected, but struggled to adapt to new changes in the industry—the rise of streaming services, quicker distribution on the internet, and other changes that appealed to younger generations.

Maguire Industries had recently purchased the studio and placed Ben in charge to fix that. He had one year to prove to the board at Maguire that he could turn Shepherd Films back into a thriving production company or they’d dismantle the company and sell it off for profit.

He was Shepherd Films last resort, and thank goodness, too. No one else in Hollywood was desperate enough to throw him a lifeline. Being an embarrassing public spectacle for the last two years had been by far one of the biggest setbacks in his professional life to date—and his personal life was to blame.

Fucking divorce.

“Have you seen any of her movies?” Arthur held the door to the office open for him, and together they headed down the hallways of the main offices. “She’s a bombshell—literally one of the most gorgeous women I’ve ever seen.”

“Aria Rose?” Ben replied, racking his brain for a mental image of the actress. “I’ve seen a few. Very pretty. She’s very talented but never been a lead.”

Scarlet’s Letters is her first starring role, and she’s perfect for it. We can watch the dailies from today’s filming, and you’ll see what I mean. We were really lucky to score her for this film.”

Ben had wondered about that, too. Aria wasn’t necessarily A-list, but she was an up-and-coming fan favorite among millennial and younger generations. Her social media attention was nonstop, and there was an almost cult following to her that had made Hollywood execs begin to take notice. Yet, he’d seen the budget this morning. She was being vastly underpaid for this film, and he wasn’t sure why.

They passed the guards at the front desk of the main offices and stepped out into the sun. “How did your team manage to sign her?” Ben asked.

“Sheer luck, I’d gather. She was following the script around—or so I heard. Determined to be part of it, though I can’t say why exactly. The script is great—historical World War II romance with a Hester Prynne theme—and we’re already getting some Oscar buzz from it. Still, it’s a long shot, and it’s nothing like her previous films.”

Ben pulled a pair of sunglasses from his suit pocket and placed them over his eyes. The bright Los Angeles sun was beating down on them as they climbed onto a golf cart to traverse the large lot to the studios. “Sounds like we’re the lucky ones, then.”

“You’ve got that right,” Arthur agreed, taking the driver’s seat since Ben was still mostly unfamiliar with the area.

A few minutes later, their golf cart pulled up outside a large warehouse-type building that read STUDIO E in large black letters across the top. Ben climbed out and followed Arthur to a small door off to the side, a red light lit above the door.

Arthur pointed to the light. “That means they’re filming, so not a peep.” He placed a finger to his mouth, indicating they needed to be quiet.

Ben nodded, and they entered the building only to be immediately shrouded in darkness. It might be his first day at Shepherd Films, but Ben was no stranger to movie sets and felt immediately at ease as they carefully made their way over to where the camera crew was.

Ben’s father, Roger Lawson, was a highly sought after cameraman who’d taken a career most people overlooked and became the best. He’d taught Ben to do the same—excel in everything by putting his whole heart into every project, no matter how small or large. As a young boy, he’d spent many a summer day with his father at work, learning the business of not only filming, but creating movies, in general.

Newly thirty years old, Ben had spent the last decade putting his father’s words into practice, rising through the ranks to become one of the hottest names in film production. He only wished his father was still alive to see his ascent, or at least, he had wished that until his ex-wife smeared his name through the tabloids during their divorce.

Never fall in love with an actress. The one rule his father had told him before he died that Ben had ignored. Lesson learned.

“Am I to be punished for helping a fellow human being?” A strong female voice broke through the silence around them.

Ben stepped around a crowd of onlookers to see the set. Behind him was an entire crew, and not a single dry eye. The emotion on everyone’s face surprised him. Following their attention to the main set, he saw the set was a bedroom. Sitting on the edge of the bed was a tall, broad-shouldered man with his head in his hands, wearing a soldier’s uniform from the 1940’s.

In front of the downtrodden soldier was a statuesque blonde, her hair flowing down her back in one long, chunky braid. Pieces of her golden mane escaped the braid, framing her face and highlighting her soft, pink cheeks. Pale blue-gray eyes brimmed with tears as she folded her hands over her heart.

“I won’t lie, James,” she continued, her voice softer now. “I can’t.”

The soldier suddenly stood, gripping the woman by her upper arms. “You have to lie, Anna. Your life is at stake—my life, our life. You’ll be imprisoned, and everything we’ve dreamt of will be over.”

She steeled herself, her jaw tightening. “If this is real…if our love is real…then we’ll survive this. Without the lies, the tricks, the falsehoods. We can survive this, James.”

Ben felt a swelling in his chest, a lump in his throat. He wasn’t even sure what the storyline was about, and yet, he was captivated by the woman in front of the cameras. Her presence was powerful…she was powerful.

“No, Anna.” He dropped her arms and stepped back, a look of disgust on his face. “We can’t survive this. Not if you choose their lives over mine…over ours.”

The blonde shook her head slowly, her hand now on her stomach as if she might be sick. “You can’t mean that, James. You can’t make me pick between loving you and my purpose in life.”

“It’s them…or it’s me. Now or never, Anna.”

Ben focused on the actress’s face, expecting to see her acquiesce to the steely-delivered ultimatum. Instead, her chin pushed up and she inhaled deeply. Everything about her posture and stance screamed strength, and yet, in the exact same moment, those blue-gray eyes ached with pain. Ben nearly forgot he was watching actors because her portrayal was so genuine…she was so genuine.

“Goodbye, James.” Her voice was gentle, but resolute.

The soldier’s nostrils flared angrily, before he slowly shook his head. “Goodbye, Anna.” With that, he walked out of the door and left her standing alone in the bedroom.

She waited a moment, staring after him. Her hand slowly lifted to her lips, covering her mouth as a loud sob ripped from her throat. In an excruciating display, her body dipped forward slightly before completely crumpling in on itself. She fell against the edge of the bed, sobbing into its sheets, as the lights on set dimmed.

“Cut!” the director yelled. “Holy fuck. That was amazing, Aria!”

The blond actress pushed up off the bed, smiling and wiping the tears from her cheeks. Everyone in the studio erupted into applause, and Ben joined in. She deserved every second of it after that performance.

A surge of excitement ran through Ben’s body—he could do this. With acting like this, there was no way their movie wouldn’t be a success. There was no way he wouldn’t be able to bring this studio success within the year with a film like this.

“Hey, Russell,” Arthur called out to the director and ushered Ben over to him. “Meet our new studio head, Ben Lawson.”

Ben extended a hand to the grungy looking man with long, curly black hair to his shoulders. “Good to meet you, Russell.”

“Please, call me Russ. I’m Russ Rains, director. I’m sure you’ve heard of me.” He donned a cocky smile. Metal and bracelets around his wrists made a clanking sound as they shook hands—a not too unusual fashion choice in this city.

“I have,” Ben admitted, though he didn’t really like this man’s ego already. It was certainly nothing unusual in Hollywood, and Ben had met the type many a time before. Russell Rains was a legitimately well-known director with several big box office hits under his belt, though it had been many years since his last. “Your work is amazing, Russ.”

“Thank you, Benji,” Russ said with an obnoxious chuckle. “Come on. Let me introduce you to our leads.”

“I’ll meet you back at the office,” Arthur told Ben. “Have fun on set!”

Ben followed Russell onto the bedroom set where the actress he’d been so captivated by was hugging the soldier who’d just broken her heart.

“You were amazing, Travis,” she said to him, pulling back from their embrace to smile at him.

Something inside Ben stirred—irritation, anger? He wasn’t sure, but he didn’t like seeing the man’s arms around the beautiful blonde.

“Sweet pea, come meet our new studio head,” Russ called out to Aria, who visibly bristled at his demand. Ben made a mental note to ask about the director’s dynamic with the actors later. “This here is Benji.”

Ben Lawson,” Ben corrected the director, extending his hand to the woman.

“Aria Rose,” she replied, taking his hand with a gentle squeeze. Her fingers were small and warm around his, and there was something sad about letting go. “Pleased to meet you, Mr. Lawson. This is my co-star, Travis Peters.”

The soldier shook his hand next. “Good to meet you, sir.”

“Please, call me Ben,” he instructed them both. “Travis, you were fantastic. And, Aria, I have to admit that your performance just now was incredible. I was unbelievably moved.”

Her pale pink cheeks darkened as she looked down at her hands. “Thank you.”

“I have no doubt this movie will be phenomenal.”

Russ slapped a hand on Ben’s back. “Hell, yeah. That was our last scene, so we’re officially wrapped.” The director stepped away from them and yelled to the entire crew. “It’s a wrap, fuckers!”

Ben didn’t even cringe at the man’s abrasiveness this time.

The crew clapped and cheered, and everyone was hugging and high-fiving each other. A swarm of people came onto the bedroom set to congratulate Aria, pushing Ben backward as he watched her gracefully accept their praise.

In fact, he couldn’t take his eyes off her, and it only had a little to do with how unbelievably attracted he was to her. As he stepped to the side, he watched how she smiled, laughing and embracing her co-workers. It was captivating. Aria commanded a room, not just when she was acting, but as herself. Her eyes danced and shone as she spoke to the crew and other actors, her smile wide and transformative.

He felt drawn to who she was, not just what he saw, and it was intoxicating. Though, what he saw was certainly breathtaking. Gorgeous wasn’t enough to describe this woman, or the way her long neck dipped into thin shoulders and a deep collarbone. Her breasts pushed against the dark red dress she was wearing that highlighted her hourglass silhouette, and her golden braid hung down over her shoulder with a weight and visible softness he’d never seen before.

Someone bumped Ben’s shoulder as they rushed in her direction, bringing Ben back to reality. What the fuck am I doing? He was barely six months out of a long divorce and had sworn off women entirely for now. And an actress? That was not happening. No way would he repeat his previous mistake twice. Not to mention that he was her boss, essentially, and that it would be a major conflict of interest. That was even assuming she was single and interested in him, which…

Why am I even thinking about this? Ben shook the thought from his head, unsure when the last time was that he’d ever felt this foggy-headed over a woman.

Aria’s laughter peeled through the air just then, melodic and joyous. Ben swallowed hard, shoving his hands in his pockets and heading for the door. He had to get out of there. Now.

He wouldn’t let himself fall for another actress, not even one as beautiful as Aria Rose.

About the Author:

Aside from being a Top 10 Barnes & Noble and Amazon Bestseller, Sarah Robinson is a native of the Washington, DC area and has both her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in forensic and clinical psychology. She is newly married to a wonderful man who is just as much of an animal rescue enthusiasts as she is. Together, they own a zoo of rescues including everything from mammals to reptiles to marsupials, as well as volunteering and fostering for multiple animal shelters.

Subscribe to her newsletter at http://www.subscribepage.com/sarahrobinsonnewsletter

Visit the author’s website for more information about Sarah and her books: http://booksbysarahrobinson.net/

 

Connect with Sarah:

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Book Blitz + Giveaway: BURNED by ARIA ADAMS is On sale for 99¢ today only!


Burned
Aria Adams
Publication date: July 10th 2018
Genres: Erotica, Gothic, Romance

His tastes are dark and terrifying.

Freezing and broke, Eve succumbs to the whims of one man, Mr. Ignis. He offers her a warm bed and food, as long as she agrees to do anything he requests.

Thrust into a world of dominance, pain, and edgy fire play.

Will he ever see her as anything more than his submissive plaything, or will he simply tire of her one day and cast her aside?

Publisher’s Note: This dark Victorian romance features sensual scenes, extensive fire play and dangerous situations, but the HEA is guaranteed.

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EXCERPT:

The brush tickled as it danced over her clitty, before moving back until it swirled around the entrance to her bottom. Having never seen that part of her, she wondered whether there was any hair there to remove, but he seemed intent on doing this, so she didn’t ask any questions.

Anyway, a moment later, the blade scraped against her outer labia and she was filled with surprising sensations. She sighed in amazement and made herself be still. She didn’t want him to have any accidents. Not down there.

Gradually, he worked his way back, and she knew she probably made his task more difficult because she felt her slick liquid escaping from her opening. When he was finished, he fetched her flannel and dipped it into the bathwater, and pressed it against her entire nether regions with his big hand. The warmth made her moan quietly.

“Tell me, Eve, have you been touching yourself in the night?” She hesitated for a moment. How did he know? “Yes, sir,” she replied. He removed the flannel and took her clit between his thumb and forefinger, filling her with urgent tingles of light. She moaned once more. “Here? Is this where you have been touching yourself?” he asked. “Yesss… yes, sir,” she replied through the haze of warmth. He was silent for a moment, but then he squeezed her delicate flesh harder, so the pressured sparks were more immediate as her body twitched, but his grasp grew painful, and she gasped in fear as he pressed the razor blade against her unprotected clit. It was throbbing so hard that she was sure it would cut itself on the sharp metal even if she were still.

“In the asylums, if they find women touching themselves, do you know what they do, Eve?” His voice was hypnotic as the fear paralysed her.

“No, sir,” she breathed, too afraid to speak any more loudly. Any slight move and he would cut off her clitty.

“They remove the part of a woman that causes her to feel desire. The part she touches. The part I have a razorblade to, right now. One little cut, and I can rid you of ever being able to find release again. I am told the pain is so immense that most women pass out from screaming.”

Eve held her breath and hoped he wasn’t going to do it. The blade lingered, and she wondered if she should say something, beg for mercy, but he didn’t seem to like it when she did that. Instead, she waited.

She was his from the moment he found her. She trusted him implicitly, now. If he wanted to do this to her, that was his choice to make. He had taken her in from certain death. Her life belonged to him, and so did her pleasure… and that was when she realized that by touching herself, she was stealing her pleasure from him.

“Do you understand, Eve?” he prompted.

“Yes, sir. I’ll never touch myself again without your permission. Please, I’m so sorry, sir.” Her voice was a whisper. Would he decide to teach her a lesson, this time, or let her off with a warning?

 

Author Bio:

Aria is an author of dark erotic romance. Her heroes are not always immediately obvious, and neither are the villains. Her books often have elements of horror, and the characters at the end of a story are forever changed by the events that befell them. But she always makes sure there’s a happy ending, even if the characters have to work for it.

Aria also writes the warm fuzzy romance stuff as Katie Douglas.

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FREEBIE ALERT: MORE THAN FRIENDS by NY Time and USA Today Bestselling Author MONICA MURPHY @MsMonicaMurphy @JenW23

Monica Murphy’s delicious mature YA, MORE THAN FRIENDS is FREE for a limited time! 

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Synopsis:

He’s not perfect, but he’s all I want…

I’m your average girl at your average high school, trying to figure out my place in life. After catching my now ex-boyfriend messing around with my now ex-best friend, I’ve made some big changes. No more band, no more backstabbing friends and no more boring old life. Now I have new friends, a new job and new interests.

But there’s a certain someone who’s interested in me, and I don’t get it. Jordan Tuttle could have anyone he wants. He’s the most popular boy in school. Rich, gorgeous, smart and the star quarterback, he’s perfect. Yet he acts like he wants no one else but…me.

So despite my fears and doubt, I let him get close. Probably too close. I discover that he’s not so perfect after all, but it doesn’t matter. I’m falling for him, even though he runs so hot and cold. I know someday he’s going to break my heart.

And I’m going to let him.
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About the Author:

Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and Harper Collins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance.

She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she’s not writing, she’s reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She’s a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

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FREEBIE ALERT: FALL INTO THE DARKNESS by Bestselling Author STACEY MARIE BROWN @TheNextStepPR @S_MarieBrown

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One Storm, Three Stories

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Stacey Marie Brown is a lover of hot fictional bad boys and sarcastic heroines who kick butt. She also enjoys books, travel, TV shows, hiking, writing, design, and archery. Stacey swears she is part gypsy, being lucky enough to live and travel all over the world.

She grew up in Northern California, where she ran around on her family’s farm, raising animals, riding horses, playing flashlight tag, and turning hay bales into cool forts. She volunteers helping animals and is Eco-friendly. She feels all animals, people, and environment should be treated kindly.

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Release Blitz: QUARRELSOME QUARTZ ( Cozy Corgi Mystery #7 ) by MILDRED ABBOTT  is LIVE and 99c!

 

 

 

Cozy Corgi Mystery, Book 7 is NOW LIVE!

 

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A New Age conference comes to Estes Park, Colorado, bringing a cacophony of tie-dye, crystals, and murder…
 
As summer draws to a close, the Spirit, Health, and Heart Conference arrives, just in time for Winifred’s sisters to open their store next to the Cozy Corgi Bookshop. To Fred’s surprise, Chakras turns out to be a beautiful addition to the delightful mountain town. The shop even has a room so pleasing in its crystal tranquility that Fred’s corgi, Watson, approves—and hardly anything impresses him.
 
But not everyone is charmed by the crystals, tarot readings, and messages of personal enlightenment. When a famous spiritualist is found dead, Chakras and the entire town is plunged into a conflict that touches the lives of those closest to Fred.
 
Although she is hesitant to become involved, it is simply not in the cards for Fred to sit out the investigation. As she and Watson embark on a journey that forces them to take a look into the darker shadows of Estes Park, Fred soon finds herself digging into the secrets of those she loves…

 

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CORGI 1
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Savage Sourdough Cozy Corgi Mysteries #4
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CORGI 5

 

 

 

 

mildred abbott pic
Reading the Cozy Corgi series is pretty much all you need to know about Mildred. In real life, she’s obsessed with everything she writes about: Corgis, Books, Cozy Mountain Towns, and Baked Goods. She’s not obsessed with murder, however. At least not at her own hands (nor paid for… no contract killing here). But since childhood, starting with Nancy Drew, trying to figure out who-dun-it has played a formative role in her personality. Having Fred and Watson stroll into her mind was a touch of kismet.
Connect with Mildred
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Pre-Order Blitz: THE SHADOW MINDS JOURNAL by KIA CARRINGTON-RUSSELL is Now LIVE and Only $.99 Until August 13th, So Grap Your Copy NOW! @kia_crystal @RABTBookTours

 

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Dark Fantasy
Date Published: August 6, 2018
Publisher: Crystal Publishing
 
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New Series from International Award Winning Author, Kia Carrington-Russell:
Limited time Pre-Order Price:  $.99
 
Price increases to list price of $3.99 on August 13th
In this world, there are creatures lurking in the shadows. As a child, I once played with them. As a teenager, I began to fear them and became victim to their attacks. As an adult, I now realize that no matter how much I try to escape the grasp of this world, I was inevitably born into it.
Now reborn as a Guardian in the year of 2986, Vivian Lair must uphold the treaty between Angels and Demons on the human world and city of Shabeah. Contracted to seven demons who she can shift into while taking direct orders from the Underworld Lord, Haymen, it wasn’t exactly her ideal rebirth. Involving herself with the Angel of War, Gabe is even worse.
Still fighting those who try to possess her during her sleep, Vivian must now record and try to hunt the Volv through the Shadow Minds Journal. Now stuck between the hatred and lust of two of the most powerful entities in all worlds, Vivian is involved inevitably in the upcoming conflict.
Blood. Lust. War. She must kill before being killed.
SHADOW MINDS BOOK

EXCERPT:

 
The Shadow Minds Journal- Prologue
The problem with sleeping was it left me vulnerable to the creatures that would prey on me at night. In this place, a very distant and dark reality, I could not fight, scream, or control the environment. All I could do was run. The world and experience were completely controlled by the entity which was imposed on me. All I could do was my best at escaping its clutches and not fall for the numerous ways that they would come to me. Was I terrified? Extremely, because every time was the matter of life and death. Was I strong enough?
                Sometimes I dreamt normally, like any other human. Little did anyone know that before I was turned into a Guardian I already had run-ins with these creatures of the night. Those attacks started when I was a teenager and entirely human. No one knew, not even Haymen, and I would keep that information hidden. The attacks increased when I reached adulthood but I was able to better identify it, prepare myself for the lethargic effect it would play on my body. It increased and it got worse. But I was able to handle it somehow until Haymen turned me and forced the contract upon me. Death would have been my better option. Now being a Guardian, I was the very host that those entities savagely struck and now I had to find a new way to handle it and disperse their interest in me.
Just like now, I was dreaming, rather standard and easy sleeping. But then there was a shift, like my dream had connected into a different channel on an old tv antenna. The dream went slightly distorted, or should I say, it felt like I went distorted. Sometimes instead of a new attack, I would relive memories of the old ones.
I was already running along the dark road which surrounded me with dim houses, the light posts flickered off as I ran past each of them. The man or creature behind me was laughing as he chased me with a slight limp that did nothing to affect his speed. I was no longer the sixteen-year-old girl who had first lived this but tears still welled in my eyes as I panicked. Icould not fight them. I knew I couldn’t. I could not change into my demon forms and I knew that to linger, to try and oppose the entity of whomever it was, would only allow it to get closer to me.
I ran faster; my lungs heaving and shards spreading up from the chill in the air. My breath began to lock from exhaustion as I felt him getting closer and the odd niggle on my back, a brush with coldness that I feared was him catching up and his fingers reaching for me. I could not let him touch me! He would possess and take hold of my body. He would kill me from the inside and I feared not to face death but the uncertainty of what kind of afterlife or darkness it would spiral me into. These creatures were unholy and the touch of demonic spirit that not even I wanted to confront in the light of day.
I noticed an old warehouse which splayed lights on and ran for it. I knew I shouldn’t have. But it seemed like every other option around me had disappeared. He was leading me into there.
The bright lights of the warehouse which catered for a retail store speckled my sight for a second. I panted for only a moment before dashing between the shelving, forklifts, and jumping over crates. I looked behind me but couldn’t see him. My shoulder smashed into the corner of one of the crates throwing me off balance. I caught myself and instinctually clutched for my shoulder heaving. The hair on my arms rose as I circled around in the small shelving I was at. My breath was heavy and I willed it to stop. Please. He will hear me. A tear slid down my face. This was my sixteen-year-old self reliving the moment. Ready to wake and cry to my mother about a force against me that I could not explain. I knew what was to come but I still tried to change the fate of it. It didn’t make it any less terrifying.
I turned to run into the other direction when a splash of cold water hit me. It felt like shards over my already too cold body and I screamed from the pain. The chuckle from the chucky doll ran up my leg and across my shoulder with an open wire. I didn’t have time to react but only to scream. As soon as the wire touched my entire body I convulsed and hit the floor with the current of electricity that my body could never handle…
My body was convulsing as I woke despite the sleep paralysis I woke up with every time I had one of ‘those’ dreams. Tears slid down my eyes as I felt like I was that sixteen-year-old girl once again. I knew what would happen. It was the same as last time. Eventually, the convulsing stopped and I could move. Slowly but surely, I sat up to sit in my King-sized bed, the silky light blanket dropping to the floor with my movement. I wiped away the drool from my mouth and wrapped my arms around my legs. I sat in the dark unable to identify anything in my room. Luke had left hours before and I made certain of that. I never slept with another in the room. It was a vulnerability and a risk I wasn’t willing to take. No one else could know about the night terrors that haunted us.
I sighed heavily trying to balance my breathing. So much has changed since I first had that dream at sixteen. Now twenty-four, I no longer had my mother to cry to. She died when I was seventeen. She didn’t understand, didn’t want to. Saying that it was just a nightmare. But at least I had that companionship and someone to talk to instead of others who would say I was going crazy. In a twisted way I wondered if it was the reason why I was handpicked by Haymen to become a Guardian. Not that he ever said anything from that day and I couldn’t remember how I was turned. I just remember that it was against my will. I never dared ask the others if they had the same experiences in their human life too.
I touched the large silken marble on my bedside table that summoned Doc. I had to report this to the Shadow Mind Journals. The only thing I would keep to secrecy was that I was reliving the nightmare, I had to tell Doc that it was all anew. The Shadow Mind Journals was the recording and deciphering of those who reached out to us in our dreams. It was in hope that we could identify the entity and it could be tracked so then we could hunt them during the day. There were many secrets of the Guardians but no outsiders knew that this was our true purpose. To find those who Haymen considered his greatest threat, or so I presumed.  I couldn’t imagine anyone going to all this trouble to find one species of demon unless threatened by it in some way.
I walked up the hallway from my bedroom and placed my hand on the marble panel of the door. It instantly slid open. The white room was bright in comparison to the darkness of the hall I had just walked through. It was the sector within our home that Doctor Tellith would appear at as soon as we summoned her. She was a witch that worked for Haymen and kept track of our stability and the physical toll that the dreams were taking on us. Not out of concern but as to whether we were close to being compromised. We were simply property in Haymen’s eyes and that thought was extended to those who worked for him. The attacks drained us physically more than any of us would admit and that was because while we were running and fighting for survival the entities were sucking the life out of us, hoping to drain us completely so they could take our bodies upon the next attack. It was still questionable as to whether the soul was sucked out and eaten or if the person remained and screamed beside their laughing possessor. It wasn’t something I was ready to find out.
“Those leaves fall into your hair, Doc?” I asked her as I looked at the colored feathers threaded through her black tangible hair. She arched an eyebrow not raising those wooden brown eyes from her task at hand. The room was surrounded by few white benches and she ushered me to sit back into the white leather chair.
                “Were your poor manners a result of being dropped as an infant?” She asked as she pressed the needle into the vein of my arm. I smiled at her and her own were filled with the same lack of delight. My dark mahogany, almost black blood threaded through the tube, reminding me that I was far from human.
                “I don’t know why we have to do blood tests each time,” I said in agitation. Despite my warrior like attitude, from human life to now, I still did not like needles.
                “I told you last time. I will take a sample out each time to see if there’s any variance and besides, I need more from you than the others. We still haven’t identified the heritage of four of the demons who you’re contracted with,” she said.
                “I didn’t contract them,” I said laying my head back and looking up to the bright light. “They came to me and for whatever reason that might’ve been they just have no appetite to appear in front of me yet.”
                “But unlike the others you seem to be hazy on those who accepted and contracted with?” She said now taking the needle out. It was true. After the initial contract with Haymen, I was faced with demons who encouraged my growth and would aid me in my task as a Guardian. They were demons who had already died in their lifetime and were willing to resurface when I needed their strength. And yet unlike the others, I completely blacked out and awoke in this very house with tattoo markings that stretched out further than most.
                “Oh, come on. It’s kind of like a surprise every time I turn, what’s in the box?!” I joked with her. She shook her head and as usual did not find it funny.
                “You’re lucky so far that in most situations you have the descendant of a demon who can challenge the ones you are hunting. But I fear without this data one day you might be caught off guard and you might be seriously injured.” She labelled the clear bag which held my thick substance of blood and scribbled down in her diary a language which I couldn’t identify. Witch scribblings. The black ink shortly went invisible and I imagined only eligible for her eyes.
                “I don’t fear fighting in the real world, Doc,” I said with much purpose. “It’s the demons when I sleep that will end me.” She looked up from her notepad with a grim expression and that was fact. That’s how more than seventy percent of our kind had died to date. And Tellith had been around for many years opposed to what her naturally youthful skin looked like.
                “It’s necessary so we can find them. These entities are what truly challenge the treaty. On top of that, they are an immediate threat to Haymen and his empire. That is why you are contracted.” I knew not to argue with her or tell her how I truly felt about that statement. It wasn’t disclosed to us why they were such a threat to Haymen, but what I couldn’t voice to people was that contract to him wasn’t signed willingly by myself. All those that worked for Haymen would never speak ill of him. To do so would be death.
                She brushed away my hair and I presented the back of my neck all too used to the process now. “I heard you had a pretty little angel at your hip last night,” she mused as if trying to distract me. How things circulated quickly around here. Then again, the entire house was monitored.
                “And most of the morning,” I added. “Four hours to be exact until I kicked him out because I heard Destiny coming back. To say the least I think she is burning the couch.”
                She smiled with little humor and raised the small metallic chip which had four sharp prongs on it. She pressed my head down and injected it into the back of my neck.
                “Shadow Mind Journal activated,” the room sounded in a woman’s robotic like tone. I closed my eyes not wanting to relive the experience of my dream. But that would be to feign ignorance and weakness. I looked up to the ceiling again where now the room had dimmed and my nightmare was displayed on a projector. Tellith was the first inspector as she watched and studied it, as she always had done. As she did, she monitored the small screen beside her which read information about my body’s reaction during that time. I watched on as I ran through streets, the experience threatening to make me want to coil up again. But to do so would be to show weakness. Especially in front of a witch employed to Haymen.
                And so, we watched on until the last moment of my convulsing and then the image distorted and sharply cut out.
                “This one seemed different. You didn’t look back or try to confront the attacker. You lacked in trying to identify them or the location,” Tellith said scribbling in her book with ink that would soon disappear. “Your brain waves are also overlapping like a few of your previous collections. I will ask you again, Vi, is this a memory, have you dreamt this before?”
                “Not that I know of,” I said and held her gaze. Tellith had her suspicions of that I was certain. She eyed me and ripped the reader out without warning. I rubbed my hand against the back of my neck, trying to remove the itch that remained. She pressed a small cloth there to wipe away the blood that would’ve already begun to clot and heal. “I’m sorry, I figured it was too dark to see him, which is why I was looking for better lighting in the warehouse.” I lied.
                Her face was expressionless as she continued writing. Doc was the first to examine it. I wasn’t sure what happened to the journals afterwards and if there was another program or team on it afterwards. I suspected there was more to the story of the Shadow Mind Journals and our purpose but I learned long ago to not press for answers. There were always consequences. Especially when that demon I had in mind was Haymen.
                “If you recall anything else or would like to enter new data please let me know. Until then, you are dismissed Vi,” she said widening her hand out towards the door.
                “Hey Doc, we haven’t seen Alexa for a while,” I said thinking of the fourth in our team. The fifth was killed weeks ago and a new member would be deployed to us in coming weeks.
                “She is with me for the time being,” Tellith said. “It shouldn’t be too long before she comes back.” Doreen, the prior Guardian that we hadn’t seen for weeks had spent one of her final weeks with Tellith. She didn’t disclose much to us but told us she had a close call. Tellith made her physically stable and healthy but we knew Doreen hadn’t been the same since. One week later she went missing. No body to remain, only the knowledge that she had been possessed and a message painted in her own blood on the walls in a language far older than any of my ancestral demons could read. Only Haymen who immediately ported in seemed to know what it read. He simply told us to clean it off the walls and repaint over it for the next Guardian who came.
                Knowing that our discussion was over I nodded goodbye and left the room. I took a moment to catch my breath on the other side of the door. I rolled my shoulders and cracked my neck. I embraced the demon blood within me, taking a deep breath and feeling comforted by the power that radiated within me and of the knowledge those demons brought me. This was now the real world and day. I could protect myself and kill as I pleased.
 photo The Shadow Minds Journal on tablet with fantasy background_zpsn8sto1im.jpg
 

 

 

 

Meet The Author:

Carrington-Russell_zps5smb5qrr
Kia Carrington-Russell grew up in the Darling Downs Region in Queensland, Australia. Graduating High School, she pursued a career in freelance journalism. In 2014, having always had a passion for writing fiction, she decided to follow her dream of becoming an accomplished author.
During the weekdays Kia works at her Monday to Friday job in Logistics and Transport. She leaves her book worlds to the night and weekends, being well described as a driven young woman.
Now living in Brisbane, Australia, Kia has a can do attitude, a strong will and the touch of kindness that makes it hard not to fall in love with her. Announced ‘The Best New Author of 2015’ by AusRomToday, she has no intentions of stopping. Kia Carrington-Russell is definitely the new author to be looking out for.
Learn more about Kia at http://www.kiacarrington-russell.com/ and follow @kia_crystal on Instagram.
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SHADOW MINDS BOOK
 
 

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Nate Pearson is ridiculously handsome and wears the hell out of a suit and tie, but I’ve seen the parade of beautiful women leaving his apartment across the hall—a different one every time—and I want no part of it. When it comes to romance, I’m looking for something real, something that will last: the happily ever after.

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Laney Wylde
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Not everyone can get justice the traditional way—that’s where Estlyn Collins comes in. A young lawyer in Santa Monica, her “legal” service, After Twelve, works outside the courtroom to tip the scales when the justice system has failed.

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Author Bio:

Boy-mom, doctor’s wife, Christ-follower, mathematician, SoCal-dweller, lover of 30 Rock.

Most recently, writer.

I hope you’ll enjoy my debut, Never Touched, out November 12, and available for preorder!

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Known as the Graveyard of the Pacific, Barkley Sound is notorious for surging swells with the power to pull helpless victims into its merciless abyss…

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Danger once again laps at the shores of Barkley Sound, the Graveyard of the Pacific…

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About Toni Anderson:

New York Times and USA Today international bestselling author, Toni Anderson, writes dark, gritty Romantic Suspense novels that have hit #1 in Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, the Top 10 in Amazon and Kobo stores, and the Top 50 in iBooks. Her novels have won many awards. A former Marine Biologist from Britain, she inexplicably ended up in the geographical center of North America, about as far from the ocean as it is possible to get. She now lives in the Canadian prairies with her Irish husband and two children and spends most of her time complaining about the weather.

Toni has no explanation for her oft-times dark imagination, and only hopes the romance makes up for it. She’s addicted to reading, dogs, tea, and chocolate.

If you want to know when Toni’s next book will be out, visit her website (http://www.toniandersonauthor.com) and sign up for her newsletter. If you want to read other fascinating stories about life in a city that, during winter, is sometimes colder than Mars, friend her on Facebook: (https://www.facebook.com/toniannanderson).

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