Friday, July 10, 2015

Review: Twixt by Diane J. Reed





SYNOPSIS

Everyone in Ophir Creek, Idaho knows the wild legend of Corvine O'Dannan, a mysterious Irish woman with "fairy powers" who came to town during the gold rush to find her fortune, only to be betrayed by her lover and meet a tragic end.



Fast forward to the twenty-first century, and her descendent Rose doesn t have time for such nonsense! After a crash-and-burn marriage, she's returned to her hometown to renovate her father's gold-panning business and to "start over." But everything changes on her 30th birthday when her friend talks her into doing a love spell. Unbeknownst to them, they conjure the spirit of the very same man who once tormented Rose's ancestor. Why? Because Rose "was" Corvine O'Dannan in a past life--and her really bad habit of attracting Mr. Wrong "still" haunts her, and now jeopardizes her very life.

What Rose doesn't realize is that along with this dark curse comes an "extraordinary blessing"--in the form of a soul guardian named Chance Murphy who's been protecting her for centuries. But this time around, the evil spirit that plagues Rose has "stolen" Chance's body. So the only way that Chance can reach her is late at night in her dreams, when he appears as a magical raven who escorts her to an enchanted island off the coast of Ireland. There, Chance becomes a man again, and he shows Rose how to heal her past through the fairies' special brand of "magic." But will Rose finally be able to forge a new future and make the man of her dreams become real? Only if she can once again believe...




**4 STARS**

*I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review*

description 

 Twixt was a very luxurious read. Ms. Reed's writing style is exquisite. There are some books that you just can't put down and devour quickly, but Twixt wasn't one of them. It was an indulgent read. I took my time and savored each chapter. I found myself thinking about it when I wasn't reading it. It was my first truly indulgent read. And the prose! Such pretty, pretty prose. I remember reading in bed late one night (my neighbors were being loud and obnoxious and therefore, I couldn't sleep) and coming across this line and immediately jumping out of my bed and grabbing my sticker tabs.

    Between stolen kisses, he told Corvine that her liquid green eyes transfixed him, and her pale skin was a blank page upon which he could write new legends. 

 Oh and this one: 

  And with each kiss, his eyes flashed like stars, studying her face as though it were a map of a new land.

description 

 I really liked Rose's character. She was strong and self-sufficient, but also a little bit insecure and tormented over her daughter's accident. She blames herself for what happened to Crystal, but I really loved how determined she was to do everything in her power to help her rehabilitate.

  description 
 
And then there's Chase. Le sigh. *commences swooning* He's so sweet and loyal. He would do absolutely anything for Rose. 

  In that moment, he knew as sure as his own heartbeat why he had always guarded the O'Dannan woman so fiercely. It was the eldest song on the earth, the same one his soul had been singing throughout the ages. And every note called out to her.

description 

 All in all, I really enjoyed Twixt. It's so rich in detail and is not one to rush. Take your time and indulge in the magic and wonder of everlasting love!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Bestselling author Diane J. Reed has a Ph.D. in English & has always had a passion for books—whether popular, forgotten, or literary—as long as they touch her soul & make her want to tuck them under her pillow at night to remember in her dreams. She writes novels that are infused with enchantment, where characters dare to break through boundaries and believe in true love. She also has a soft spot for artisans & outlaws of the heart, those who burn brightly to live each day as a gift—because it is! She loves to hear from readers, so feel free to visit her at www.banditsranch.com or message her here to share the whispers of your spirit. 


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Blitz: Voices by R.E. Rowe


Voices by R.E. Rowe 
(The Reincarnation Series, #1) 
Publication date: February 27, 2015
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

Goodreads: 

Purchase:




SYNOPSIS

In a small town in Arkansas, two lives that seemingly have nothing in common will converge and change each other forever.  A brilliant but tormented street artist and an ex-track star whose career was cut short by a heart condition.

Aimee DeLuca had a promising athletic career before her heart gave out during a high school track and field contest. Aimee struggles to find her way after spending time with a deceased grandmother during a near death experience. Reizo Rush is a street artist whose torment fuels his desire to add color to the gray walls of the city. But Reizo’s tagging and the two voices only he hears land him in perpetual trouble with both his teachers and the law.

During a chance encounter, the two quickly find out they have much more in common than love. When they stumble upon a century-old storm cellar hidden underground on Aimee’s uncle’s ranch, they unearth a cellar full of artifacts and a hundred-year-old Will. Once the news of the discovery leaks out, a drug-dealing teen and a mysterious soul named General are determined to bury the truth along with anyone who gets in their way.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


When Rick isn't dreaming, you'll find him trying to discover why, figuring out how, uncovering ancient mysteries, writing a crazy fun middle-grade or young adult novel, inventing something seriously cool, or learning something new. He enjoys participating in science camps, writing conferences and talking to groups about creative topics such as the process of inventing, building worlds for science fiction and fantasy stories, and the importance of dreaming big.


Rick is a lifelong inventor and a named inventor on over one hundred patents. He has degrees in Avionics Systems Technology, Computer Science and an MBA from Florida Institute of Technology. His experience includes a wide range of engineering, technology development and management roles ranging from aerospace systems to gaming systems. He is a proud member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Delta Mu Delta Honor Society, and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.



Author links:



GIVEAWAY

Tour & Review: Gabe by Maryann Jordan

MAGABEeBookMAGABE
Alvarez Security Agency Former Special Forces brothers-in-arms now working together to provide an elite security service in the southern city of Richland. Gabe Malloy, dedicated to his brothers, spent his weekends with cheap booze and easy women. When some of his friends finally settled down, he wondered if he would ever find the woman of his dreams. He just never expected to encounter her in an alley. Jennifer Lambert worked as a social worker for the city and would often take food to the elderly residents in her building. One night, in an alley behind a restaurant, she was startled by a tall, handsome man wanting to assist. Giving him the cold shoulder, she left…but dreams of him followed her long into the night. Gabe knew the independent Jennifer was a woman worthy of knowing, but convincing the beauty that she needed him was the challenge. Raising her young brother plus the responsibilities of the elder center, had kept her from looking for love…but she took a chance on Gabe. Now that he found her, can he keep her safe when someone threatens her and those she loves? Calling upon his brothers, Alvarez Security races to save her before it is too late. ****Due to scenes of an explicit sexual nature and language that some consider crude, please be warned - for 18+ only! If you do not like alphas with heart who fall instantly in love with strong female characters while dealing with real life issues...again be warned!!***** Gabe now live 3
Best seller in Military Romance and Mystery/Suspense categories!! 
Amazon.au: http://goo.gl/FNnhCW 
Amazon.ca: http://goo.gl/Tt0Pb6 
Full length novel, romantic suspense, military, hot sex and sweet romance! Alvarez Security Agency Former Special Forces brothers-in-arms now working together to provide an elite security service in the southern city of Richland.
Gabe-now-live-3
Early Reviews: *****Maryann Jordan you have written another immaculate story, that will render your readers speechless. Gabe story is about love, loss, trust, survival, friendship, brotherhood and community. The main characters as well as the secondary characters will become family and will take residence in your heart. *****Things one of those books that will not only knock your socks off, but also pretty much draw out most emotions you can name off the top of your head. Yeas there are some super hot sex scenes but there are moments that will bring you to tears. You will feel fear for the characters and see how true love for someone can bring a grown man to his knees. *****This new series is in my opinion Maryann's best work! I fell in love with the characters and the story. There are many twists and turns and ups and downs. Gabe is a solid Alpha male working for Alvarez Security with his brothers in arms. Jennifer is a sweet little tiny woman who only puts others in front of herself. And Ross God Bless his little heart!! This story is an amazing journey of love and protection. About fighting for what you want. Highly recommended.
Gabe-6
Other Books by Maryann Jordan The Fairfield Series: Emmas' Home, Laurie's Time, and Carol's Image Carol's Image http://goo.gl/ZouoY4 Laurie's Time http://goo.gl/PNSepu Emma's Home http://goo.gl/jYdHcY boxed set Amazon: http://goo.gl/6EUvVk The Love's Series: Love's Taming, Love's Tempting, Love's Trusting Love's Trusting: http://goo.gl/Rs1qT2 Love's Tempting: http://goo.gl/ngDoo9 Love's Taming: http://goo.gl/9Az033 Author's contacts: http://www.facebook.com/authormaryannjordan maryannjordanauthor.com


**3.5 STARS**

Gabe was a decent, easy read. It would make an excellent lazy weekend read. Gabe is your typical, delicious alpha male and Jennifer was a very likable, strong-minded heroine. I really liked how she always stood up for herself and didn't take crap from anyone. The steamy scenes were hotttttt, like holy crap hot. 

description 

 A minor peeve I had with the writing...almost every paragraph about Jennifer had a sentence describing her as "beautiful" or she had a heart of gold. Okay, we get it. She is amazing and it hurts to look at her for too long. LOL 

 All in all, Gabe is a great choice for some lazy weekend reading. :)

Friday, April 24, 2015

New Release: Almost Alive (The Beautiful Dead #3) by Daryl Banner

ALMOST ALIVE BANNER
Title: Almost Alive (The Beautiful Dead, #3)
Author: Daryl Banner
Release Date: April 24, 2015
Genre: Post Apocalyptic Zombie
goodreads  
Blurb
Twelve years have passed since the devastation. The world is changed. What once was a planet struggling to survive is now a planet bursting to life. The humans are thriving. Gardens are growing. Trees are reaching up to the sky and the Undeadly clutch on the planet is slowly letting go. But what does that mean for Winter and her friends? In the wake of spring, the last of the desperate Undead gather, fighting to maintain their place in a world that no longer wants them. Mother Nature slowly but certainly works to purge the planet of the Dead, just when Winter thought she had finally embraced this Second Life. Her new friends are back and old nemeses return for the final chapter in Winter's Undead journey.  
***
“It’s just how I remember it,” he remarks. “Except I’m … considerably less hungry.”
“Side effect,” I jest.
“Being alive is so inconvenient.”
“So very.”
***


***5 STARS***

This book y'all.....THIS BOOK.
  description

It's always the books I love the most that I have the hardest time reviewing. And I would be lying if I said that I wasn't dreading this book just a little bit. But hold on, hear me out...it's quite simple really. I don't want to say goodbye. I've finished the book and I'm still not ready to say goodbye to these characters and this world.

  description 

 I'm not sure I can coherently review this book without spoilers so I'm going to post my list of thoughts, per the notes that I took. 

 1- This is Ann in my mind. 


description 
If loving The Hobbit and referencing it every chance I get is wrong, I don't wanna be right. 

 3- There is no one else I can picture as Lynx but this guy. description 

 4- Put pink hair and spider/scorpion legs on this bitch, and you've got Shee. 

No but for real...this story didn't end like I was expecting at all. I'm not saying it ended badly, but it went in a completely different direction than I thought it would. And then there were the feels. ALL OF THE FEELS. I went through 2 bottles of wine while reading this book. After about 30%, I didn't even bother using a glass.

  description

I have to admit that I didn't cry as much with this book as I did with Dead of Winter. Of course, the wine may have had something to do with that. However, my chest was so tight and my heart was racing during the last chapter because I just knew my heart was about to be ripped out of my chest and there was nothing I could do to stop it. As much as I wanted to stop, I just couldn't. I had to see the story through to the end, even if I didn't want to say goodbye. LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT EPILOGUE. I don't think I've ever read a more bittersweet epilogue. It read like the beginning of a new series which got my stupid hopes up even though the rational side of my heart knew this was the end of this amazing series. 

 I don't want to say goodbye. Don't make me say goodbye, Daryl.    description

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Pre Order Almost Alive today!
 
  The Beautiful Dead (The Beautiful Dead, #1) On Sale Now for 99¢! 
Amazon US | Amazon UK
TheBeautifulDead1_TheBeautifulDead_HQ-Cover
She’s dead. In fact, the whole world’s dead. Every single person, apparently. Unburied and reimagined into a beautiful living-dead woman called Winter, she is doomed to spend the rest of eternity in a quaint, peaceful city with no hunger, no sickness and no bills to pay. Her Second Life is perfect in every way possible. So why is she so bent on destroying it all? After angering the mayor, befriending rebel headless teenagers and igniting romance with a dark and brooding neighbor, she finds herself wrestling madly with a First Life she cannot remember and this Second Life she cannot accept. Not to mention the maniacal army of rotting corpses who want her dead. Again. But none of that matters in comparison to an even worse problem. There’s a guest in her house. A rude, good-looking man on the run ... a man with a heartbeat.  

  Dead of Winter (Beautiful Dead, #2) On Sale Now for 99¢!
TheBeautifulDead2_DeadOfWinter_HQ-Cover 
No one said being an Undead is easy. Winter’s Second Life became a lot more complicated when the Living moved into her hometown of Trenton. Undead neighbors fight with their Breathing ones. Food is sparse. And, worst of all, the season is taking a change for the colder. A desperate plea for help to a neighboring city turns deadly and soon Winter finds herself facing an old friend from her past whose plot to annihilate all life on the planet may have everything to do with her. And what about the man-with-the-heartbeat in her house? Is there even room for love in such a ruined, unforgiving world? New friends are made. Others are lost forever. In the dead of winter, no one is safe.    
About the Author
4264615 
  Daryl Banner is a writer and composer who graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Theatre and Psychology. After writing several plays and a musical in college, he started composing for short films and websites, one of which is the Vamplets "Baby Vampyre Dolls" website: (www.vamplets.com) Interesting tidbits: Daryl is also an obsessive piano player, video game enthusiast, and occasional actor. He's been remixing video game music for over fifteen years, and is a passionate Final Fantasy fan. You can feed your ears with many of his remixes (as well as his original music) on his YouTube page "www.youtube.com/DarylBanner". Also, he personally answers all emails he receives, so if you have some strange desire to write him, he may enjoy it. He currently resides in Texas.  
Connect with Daryl
 
Giveaway!
  love p

Thursday, April 23, 2015

New Release: Since Drew by J. Nathan



Since Drew by J. Nathan 
Publication date: April 23, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Goodreads: 

Purchase:



SYNOPSIS

All Andi Parker has ever wanted, all she’s ever dreamed of, is a spot on the Olympic track team. But when a near-fatal accident leaves her hospitalized with serious injuries and shattered dreams, she’s not only uncertain what her future holds but also completely alone.

Drew Slater is a wanted man. Professional football teams want him for his arm. Women want him for his good looks and magnetic personality. But the well-crafted disguise he wears, the one that helps him score on and off the field, hides secrets. Conceals lies. Threatens the happiness of everyone around him.

One chance encounter brings Andi and Drew together, changing their worlds in ways they never thought possible. Unfortunately, what they thought they knew about themselves—and each other—might just be the biggest lie of all.




EXCERPT

He approached the chair beside my bed and dropped down into it, keeping his eyes trained on mine.
“Hi?”
A devious smirk tipped his lips as he placed the bag on the floor and lowered my tray table in the space between us. He reached inside the crinkly bag, letting his hand linger. I’d give him props. He definitely knew how to pique my curiosity. His hand slid out grasping a shot glass. His eyes stayed on mine as he placed it on the empty tray table in front of him. Then he reached back in and pulled out a second glass.
“Thirsty?”
A slow sexy smile skated across his lips as he slid the glass across the table in front of me. But he wasn’t done. He reached back in the bag and pulled out a full bottle of vodka.
“Seriously?” I laughed.
He nodded. “You scared?”
“Scared I’m gonna drink you under the table.”
He threw back his head and let loose a shoulder shaking laugh. So carefree. So comfortable. So unbelievably breathtaking.
But once it continued much longer than necessary, I crossed my arms over the UNC printed on my powder-blue T-shirt. “Are we playing a game or just trying to get sloppy drunk?”
His laughter subsided as he dug into his pocket and pulled out a quarter, holding it up so the fluorescent lights in my room reflected off it.
“So, we’re wagering?”
He nodded. “And with the pain meds getting the liquor to your head quicker, you being drunk off your ass is just an added bonus.”
I swallowed down. Hard.
“Now if I win…” He twisted his lips like he really needed to consider the stakes. “I get to give you a sponge bath.”
He said it so matter-of-factly, it threw me for a loop. Then again, it seemed like a win-win for me.
“If you win,” he continued. “You give me a sponge bath.”
“Who said I’d want to give you a sponge bath?” I totally did.
“Seriously? Have you seen me?”
I almost choked on the arrogance floating around the room. But in all honesty, I liked it. Too much. A guy who knew who he was and what he wanted turned me on. It’s what I was drawn to. What I normally sought out. I nodded toward the vodka. “Where’d you get it?”
“My buddy Avery smuggled it in.”
“All in an effort to get me drunk?”
His smile spread wide. “All in an effort to get you drunk and give you a sponge bath.”
“Ever think of just asking?”





ABOUT THE AUTHOR



I'm a total romance junkie! Add an alpha male who's unlikable in the beginning...even better. Happy endings are a must. Don’t leave me with an unexpected cliffhanger or someone dying in the end. I’ll be depressed for days. Love triangles and negative people are the bane of my existence. My family, friends, sangria, and watermelon margaritas are the light…

I love hearing from readers, so feel free to get in touch with me at:
https://www.facebook.com/jnathanauthor
http://www.jnathan.net










Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Blitz: One Night by A. J. Pine

OneNight_banner
A.J. Pine One Night 4/21/2015
One Night cover
Blurb: 
When she lost it all, Jess decided to cope by living a lie. But you can’t keep on pretending forever… Twenty-one-year-old Jess used to have everything—a loyal best friend, a boyfriend she loved, and a future that was right on track. But in a single night, her whole world changed. Now, Jess lives for the impersonal connection of drunken hook-ups and to-go coffee cups in the morning. All she needs is one night to pretend everything is fine…until she meets Adam. Thanks to a sports injury, gorgeous, charming basketball star Adam Carson is stuck in physical therapy at the hospital where Jess interns—giving her the perfect opportunity to see his sweet, considerate nature and making her realize that maybe she does want something more. But while Adam might be the best thing that’s happened to Jess in a long time, letting him past her carefully constructed walls means letting him know what happened...and why he'd never want her for more than one night.   

Buy:

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OneNight_graphic Excerpt: 
  “Well, Ms. Elliott, I believe I’m ready to sleep with you.” My gaze searches the length of his body. Where his jeans once hugged his hips just right—and yes, I noticed—he now wears his green basketball shorts. “Do you always travel prepared to spend the night out?” “No . . .” He rounds the bed slowly and sits on the side opposite me. “I’m not that kind of guy. I’m more the superstitious type.” My heart hammers at his nearness. He may be across the bed, but he’s here, in my room, asking nothing of me other than a bed to sleep in. “Enlighten me,” I say. “I wear the shorts, under my jeans, the night before a game,” he starts. “And if it’s an away game, the night before travel too.” “Because winning has nothing to do with skill and strategy, only whether or not you’re wearing the shorts?” He chucks a pillow at me. Then I reach over to my nightstand where the product of my kitchen visit lies, tossing it across the bed to him. He picks it up and eyes the package of frozen peas. “For your knee,” I say, and there’s a small silence as he positions the bag over the visible swelling. “Thank you.” He says nothing more to give away what we both know, that Jake’s cheap shot did more than draw blood. Adam absorbed the shock of the blow with his whole body. I turn off my lamp and slide down until my head rests on my pillow. He slides down too, so he’s on his back, the bag of peas molded over his knee, his head turned to face me. “You’re miles away,” I say. But that’s not true. He’s closer than I’ve let anyone get since sophomore year. He reaches his arm across the space between us, his hand finding mine where it lies on my pillow. He doesn’t grab it but instead snakes his pinky around mine. I stifle a sharp breath, shocked not so much at the gesture itself but at the jolt of the touch of his skin. “I’m right here,” he says. “Just being a gentleman. Friends or not, I don’t have much control over what can happen…” His eyes dip to his shorts, and I giggle. “… if I get too close to a gorgeous girl in bed.” Heat floods my neck, my cheeks, and I cross my fingers the room is dark enough that he doesn’t notice. The thought of Adam’s body pressed against mine—of him being aroused by me—threatens my last shred of resolve. Because I want him in so many ways, this gentleman who keeps his distance. But I want even more not to lose him as my friend. “You need to stop saying stuff like that.” “Like what?” I chuck the pillow back at him. “I’m just asking for some clarification,” he says. “I mean, I say a lot of things.” I purse my lips and glare. “Fine. Okay. I won’t call you gorgeous anymore. I don’t need to. You already know I think it.” How does he do that? Unabashedly say things threatening to unravel me. With the few others who have shared this bed with me, all I ever wanted was to get to the sleeping part so I could close my eyes and forget, fool myself into a night free from dreams pretending the arms around me belonged to Bryan. When the dreams stayed hidden, sleep was the one thing that could transport me back to where I used to be. But tonight I fight the fatigue. I don’t want the evening to end, don’t want to pretend I’m with anyone else. Still, my eyes grow heavy, blink, blink, blinking me off to sleep. With each flutter of my lids, I watch my pinky, still laced with his. Our hands are the last thing I see before I lose the battle and sleep takes me. In the early morning, I don’t have to search for a warm body that finds more comfort in the art of spooning a pillow. Because Adam is still here, his finger still tangled with mine. But we failed at maintaining the bed-border relationship. His arm no longer has to reach to find me. It’s bent at the elbow, pulled tight to his chest and along with it, my hand. And his head, tilted slightly in my direction, rests dreamily on my pillow. I watch him, this beautiful boy with an equally beautiful, forgiving, nonjudgmental heart. And for a minute, I imagine giving my heart to him and his accepting it without question. I imagine a future with him in it, but only for a moment, before I let his soft exhales lull me back to sleep. Reality can wait a few more hours.

AJ Pine
About A.J. Pine: 
 AJ Pine writes stories to break readers’ hearts, but don’t worry—she’ll mend them with a happily ever after. As an English teacher and a librarian, AJ has always surrounded herself with books. All her favorites have one big commonality–romance. Naturally, her books have the same. When she’s not writing, she’s of course reading. Then there’s online shopping (everything from groceries to shoes) and, of course, a tiny bit of TV where she nourishes her undying love of vampires, from Eric Northman to the Salvatore brothers. And in the midst of all of this, you’ll also find her hanging with her family in the Chicago burbs.
Find P.A. Online:
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Cover Reveal: Darkness Brutal by Rachel A. Marks



Darkness Brutal by Rachel A. Marks 
(The Dark Cycle #1) 
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: July 1, 2015
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adul
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Goodreads:

Pre-order:


SYNOPSIS

Aidan O’Linn’s childhood ended the night he saw a demon kill his mother and mark his sister, Ava, with Darkness. Since then, every three years the demons have returned to try to claim her. Living in the gritty, forgotten corners of Los Angeles, Aidan has managed to protect his sister, but he knows that even his powers to fight demons and speak dead languages won’t keep her safe for much longer.

In desperation, Aidan seeks out the help of Sid, the enigmatic leader of a rag-tag group of teens who run LA Paranormal, an Internet reality show that fights demons and ghosts. With them, Aidan believes he’s finally found a haven for Ava. But then he meets Kara, a broken girl who can spin a hypnotic web of passionate energy, and she awakens powers inside of him he didn’t know he had―and unleashes a new era of war between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness.

With the fate of humanity in his hands, can Aidan keep the Darkness held back and accept his terrifying destiny, or will he and his sister fall to the same fate as their mother?



SAMPLE CHAPTER


I let the pulse of the music coat me and mute my surroundings. A mass of people crowd the dance floor of the club, and I sit on an abandoned couch in the corner. The lights beat at the air in blues and greens, and bodies twist and merge to the thunder. I lean back, close my eyes, and try to get lost in it, the smells and sounds of people and their collective high.
Something moves next to me. I look over to find a girl sprawled on the seat beside me, trying to catch her breath. She’s not dressed in the usual club gear, more like a girl who got lost on her way to a beach party: Hurley T-shirt, jean skirt, and red Converse. Her cheeks are flushed pink; her throat and forehead glitter with sweat. She glances at me like she didn’t know I was there. She licks her upper lip, her eyes not leaving mine. Then she says something I can’t hear.
I point to my ear and shake my head.
She smiles and laughs, lighting up the space around her. She rests her hand on my arm, like we’re friends and I just told her the most hilarious joke, and then she gets up and disappears into the mass of bodies again.
My arm tingles, my body reacting to the moment of contact in a sudden and disconcerting way. I think I’ve had my fill of watching people indulge their baser instincts. I need to get out of here.
The beat of the music speeds up, vibrating faster as I move through the crowd. I try not to touch anyone, which is nearly impossible. All the emotions and appetites are overwhelming, as if the rising rhythm of the music makes their yearnings rise, too. Lust buzzes in the air. A hunger stirs in me, a gaping hole, needing to be filled. With touch.
The touch of female fingers. A hand on my arm, taking my wrist, pulling me into the fray, into the pressing bodies. And I don’t try to escape. I let her take me.
Because I’m tired.
Because I’m a dumbass.
A girl moves in front of me—not the Hurley girl, not the one I was hoping for. She presses closer, so close I can almost taste the salty perspiration on her skin. She has thin, birdlike shoulders, a swan neck, a heart-shaped face, and black hair, long and tangled, turning blue and green with the light. Her hands slide up my chest. She wraps her arms around my neck and tilts her head to look up at me.
Her lips are full and painted dark purple. There’s a dimple in her left cheek that gets deeper with her growing smile. And her eyes . . .
Fog fills my head for a second, interrupting my thoughts.
“Hi,” she mouths, calling attention to her lips again.
And then she’s rising up on her toes, pulling me down to her, twisting her fingers in my hair, her lips smashing against mine.
My body buzzes from her touch, and my hands react, drawing her into me. I drink her in. She tastes like the air around me, hunger and urgency, and—
Green apple Jolly Ranchers?
I grip her sides, her ribs so delicate beneath my fingers. The sweet tang of her teases me, the hunger becoming a monster deep inside. I have to press her closer, tighter, try to feed it, as I feel the fire of her need link with mine.
She pulls back a little and looks at me with wide eyes, like she’s shocked. That’s when I see the mark, a glowing, blue-inked line of what looks like Chinese symbols, trailing down the nape of her neck to her shoulder blade. Symbols that I’m suddenly sure mean: touch this girl at your own risk.
It’s the only thing I see for a second: Beware. Beware.
Until her energy reaches for me, wispy tendrils of blue light wrapping their way around my wrists and snaking up my chest.
I jerk away, into the guy behind me, stepping on his girlfriend’s toes. I get shoved— thankfully farther from the hypnotic girl—through a space in the crowd, saying a hundred excuse-me’s even though I know no one can hear them. I find my way out of the press of bodies to the edge of the room again where it’s safe.
It’s time to leave. I should’ve left an hour ago.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel A. Marks is a cancer survivor, a writer and artist, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and keeper of faerie secrets. Her four kids and amazing hubby put up with her nerdiness with tremendous grace, even when she makes them watch Buffy or Smallville re-runs for days on end. She was voted: Most Likely To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she'll never have to test the theory. Darkness Brutal is her first novel.

Author links: