Wednesday, May 28, 2014

OFFICIAL COVER REVEAL AND GIVEAWAY:

The Eye of Tanub by M.E. Cunningham

SERIES: The Into Terratir Saga, Book One. 
PUBLISHER: Clean Teen Publishing
GENRE: Young Adult Adventure Fantasy
Release Day: June 13, 2014



Everyone thinks she's crazy. And maybe she is. But Lauren Marriott knows her journey into Terratir happened. It was real, and she's writing all down in frightening detail.

She has no patience for her brother Zach and his passion for stupid computer games until she finds a mysterious pendant in his room, pulsating with magical power. Lauren wants it, not realizing it's a portal between this world and one of monsters, sorcerers, and dangerous quests.

Never in her wildest dreams could she have imagined what she'd find in the terrifying world of The Warlord—death at every turn, but also a love stronger than time itself.

In order to escape Terratir, Lauren, Zach, and their newfound friends, must complete the impossible quest for the Eye of TanĂºb, a relic of immense power, which The Warlord has already stolen for himself.

Like M.E. Cunningham on Facebook: 

WIN A DIGITAL ARC OF THE EYE OF TANUB:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


READ AN EXCERPT: 

We leaped at the same time, reaching simultaneously, but Zach was a hair closer, and the chain of the medallion rolled, like magic, over his finger. My nails dug into his T-shirt, because I hadn't lost yet, and I tried to pull him back.

And that was when it happened. That was when this story really began, and our lives changed.

Forever.

In the split second between me grabbing Zach's shirt and his clenching the medallion in his fist, a light flashed. And I mean blindingly bright. Like lightning. And it filled the room, filled us. I felt the charge, as though I'd stuck my finger into a socket and defibrillated myself. The pain—unbearable for at least five seconds—coursed through me. Then tornado-like winds whipped past my face, blowing my waist-long, gorgeous blonde hair all around us.

And then we were falling.

Fast.

I could barely open my eyes, and Zach’s cheeks were billowing out like a blowfish's. I would have laughed if I could have. And then the ground appeared. And I mean... it just appeared. Out of nowhere. I kid you not.

It rushed up toward us, my screams following us through the air. And just when I knew it was all over, I threw my arms in front of my face, hoping to protect one part of my body, so I'd at least be identifiable, and hopefully have an open-casket funeral.



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Monday, May 26, 2014

Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

 FLAME by Alicia Michaels 
(Book #5 in The Bionics Series.) 
Release Date: June 27, 2014
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing





War has come to the United States. It’s been brewing for years as the government and Military Police wage war on the outcasts known as the Bionics. It’s spilling out into the streets as the militant Rejects continue to wage war against the ‘inferior’ humans, the M.P.s are raiding neighborhoods and putting Bionics to death, and I am fighting alongside the Resistance to save our kind from extinction. To top it all off, the president has now declared martial law, and the rights of American citizens are being stripped away one by one.

Together, with the vigilante known as The Patriot, and my Resistance family, I am prepared to fight the impossible fight, to stand up for what’s right. From a single spark, our little rebellion has grown into a revolution, a roaring fire that will envelop the nation. At the same time, things in my personal life are finally turning around. I’m in love with a beautiful girl who loves me back, and we might have a shot at a real future … unless the enemy manages to snatch away from me everything that I hold dear.

WIN THE BIONICS BOX SET (DIGITAL VERSION) and A SWAG PACK. (Bookmarks & Bracelet) 


The Bionics Series by Alicia Michaels


The year is 4010.

Nuclear war and the wasteful nature of humans have all but destroyed the United States. A new government regime rules the day with strict laws, rationed food, and careful control. When those injured in the nuclear blasts that rocked many of the nations largest cities are offered another chance by the Restoration Project, how could they refuse?

Little do they know that the robotic additions to their body will paint targets on their backs once the government decides that they are dangerous. At the forefront of the resistance is a girl with a bionic eye, Blythe Sol, who wants nothing more than to be a normal girl. Blythe has yet to realize that normal will never exist again for her, or anyone else.


The Revolution has begun...




The Bionics (Book 1) 

FREE

(New Adult or YA Mature) 




Most nineteen year-old girls are thinking about college, stretching the wings of newfound adulthood, and boys. Well, I’ll probably never go to college and all my dreams of the future are gone. I’ve been an adult for much longer than I should have been and my girlhood was stolen the minute the North Koreans dropped their nukes over the United States. As for boys … well, that’s pretty much out of the question now, too. My love life is too messy to even talk about.

I have nothing.

Except, maybe, my cause, my mission, The Resistance. It is the hope I have to cling to, I am counting on it to pave the way to my future. As things heat up and the terrorist sect known as The Rejects make themselves known opponents of society in this war, the choice to be on the side of good is harder than ever. My friends are broken; Olivia is a shell of her former self and Jenica is barely hanging on. Dax and Gage … well, we’re not talking about my love life, remember? 

The Rejects, the government, President Drummond; they are pressing in on us from all sides and the weight is tremendous. Still, when given the choice to crumble or stand, I’d rather stand. Times are dark, but we are here, a rebellion, a whisper in the dark, a spark that lights the flames of change.



Titanium (Book 2) 
(New Adult or YA Mature) 



Secrets (Book 3) 

(New Adult or YA Mature) 


SPARK (Book 4) 
(New Adult or YA Mature)


About Alicia Michaels:

Ever since she first read books like Chronicles of Narnia or Goosebumps, Alicia has been a lover of mind-bending fiction. Wherever imagination takes her, she is more than happy to call that place her home. The mother of two and wife to an Army sergeant loves chocolate, coffee, and of course good books. When not writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, shopping for shoes and fabulous jewelry, or spending time with her loving family.




Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Crimson Tree Publishing New Release~

THE POWER TO SEE by Jennifer Anne Davis

AVAILABLE NOW!

Save $2 when you buy your copy today! Price: $4.99 / Early Bird Sale: $2.99
  


THE POWER TO SEE BY JENNIFER ANNE DAVIS

Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Content Rating: Mature Content (Rated YAm with 5's in all categories.) 


At first glance, twenty-two-year-old Brianna’s life seems perfect. But she harbors a deadly secret—her father is the leader of a ruthless drug cartel. Brianna struggles to find her place in a world her father meticulously controls, and believes she is nothing but a pawn in her father’s deadly games. 

After graduating from college with an enormous debt, Dominic finds himself lured by money and power into a job that appears too good to be true. He doesn’t realize he works for a drug cartel until he’s in too deep. Trying to keep his family safe, he takes a deal offered by Brianna’s father and agrees to marry Brianna while continuing to work for the cartel. 

Brianna and Dominic must rely on one another as their lives become further entwined in the lethal drug world. When Dominic discovers a deadly secret, he begins to question everything and turns to Brianna for support. However, Brianna’s heart belongs to another man—an undercover DEA agent. 

The DEA closes in on the drug cartel, forcing Brianna and Dominic to choose sides, igniting a battle between family loyalty, love, and survival. Brianna soon realizes that she may be the only person capable of bringing down her father’s empire—if she can find a way to outsmart the master manipulator, without losing herself, and her heart, in the process.



READ AN EXCERPT:

There was a soft knock on her door. Matt popped his head in, making her flush. As much as she fought against it, Brianna had to admit, Matt was hot. She hadn’t seen him since their dinner the other night. There was something different about him from other men she’d known. She liked that Matt was intelligent and highly sought after in the law field. Even though he was confident, he wasn’t cocky, and there was something gentle about him. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but she liked that he seemed interested in getting to know her. It was a refreshing change. Of course, it was also nice that Matt was untouched by her father.

“Do you have any plans for the weekend?” he asked, giving her a half smile.

“Nothing too exciting. I have a lot to do before we meet with the judge on Monday.”

“Well, you can’t work all weekend, so I have a proposition for you.” Matt walked in and sat on the edge of Brianna’s desk, pulling two tickets from his shirt pocket. “I’m taking you to a baseball game Saturday night.”

Did he just ask her out? Was Matt interested in her? This wasn’t good. Why couldn’t Matt be married or unattractive? Why did she have to meet him now? “I don’t know,” she managed to say.

“You owe me a dinner,” Matt reminded her, the dimple in his cheek showing.

“I can’t.” She really wanted to, but her father would never approve.

Matt raised his eyebrows. “I’m not asking you out on a date, so don’t get all defensive. I’m simply asking you to a baseball game, and it’s work related if that makes you feel any better.” He leaned in close, smiling like they shared a secret.

Why did he have to keep looking at her like that? “Work related how?” she asked. Perhaps there was a way to get her father’s approval.

“The firm has a box. So, technically it’s a work function.”

“Is anyone else going?”

“No,” he whispered.

Brianna wanted to be alone with Matt, but she wasn’t sure she could control herself around him. Salazar’s plan was very direct and specific, and Matt was definitely not a part of the plan. She couldn’t afford to lose focus now. But the way Matt sat on the desk, his smile, those eyes—she was drawn to him. She closed her eyes, smelling his musky scent. Not once in Brianna’s life had Salazar ever asked her what she wanted. Everything was planned and she was expected to go along with it. Against her better judgment, she agreed to go to the game.

“I’ll pick you up at six.” Matt smiled. He slid from her desk and strolled to the door.

“No, I’ll meet you there.”

After glancing back at her, Matt responded, “Suit yourself,” and left.

Brianna was grinning so big, her cheeks hurt. A baseball game sounded like fun. She just needed to make sure her father knew it was a work function so he wouldn’t jump to the wrong conclusion. A little voice in the back of her mind screamed at the stupidity of getting involved with Matt, but Brianna chose to ignore the voice of reason.

BOOKS BY JENNIFER ANNE DAVIS:



THE KEY IS FREE

About Jennifer Anne Davis



Jennifer graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in English and a teaching credential. Afterwards, she finally married her best friend and high school sweetheart. Jennifer is currently a full-time writer and mother of three young children. Her days are spent living in imaginary worlds and fueling her own kids’ creativity.

Visit Jennifer online at www.JenniferAnneDavis.com.



More from Crimson Tree Publishing:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Re-launch Silent Warrior Trilogy by Anna del C. Dye

The Silent Warrior Trilogy Edition 2 by Anna del C. Dye, has been released!

The brilliant epic tale of the elf race that lives in Andoria is now better than ever.

The Elf and the Princess

A most thrilling and captivating tale for readers of all ages Menarm was a great and prosperous kingdom, known throughout the lands for its friendly, hard-working people and fair trade. But a bitter struggle of succession between twin brothers left the kingdom devastated, the people divided. Some stayed with Fenil, who had conquered the crown, others followed Renil to the wild lands of the north, founding a new kingdom. Now Adren, the last princess of the vanquished realm of Menarm, finds herself alone in a world where women live in the shadows of men. Not only must she battle her enemies, but also a truth that could obliterate her last hope for happiness and bring dishonor to all those whom she hold dear. On her quest, she finds unlikely allies in a powerful prince and a defiant mercenary, only to be devastated by an ancient and wily elf. Will Adren survive this final assault? 


What other have to say:

Enchanting The Elf and the Princess by Anna del C. Dye is book one in the The Silent Warrior Trilogy. The plot is a touch of medieval, suspense, and romance. The Elf and the Princess is skillfully written. The plot is interesting and grabs the reader's attention. Dye has created a medieval world that will mystify and beguile the reader. The battle scenes come to life on the pages. The characters will enchant the reader. Fans of fantasy will not want to miss out on The Elf and the Princess. Debra Gaynor ReviewYourBook.com Fascinating read!!!! I recommend this book for any literature/creative writing class, most especially in the middle/high schools. Our YouTube children need fine examples of visually rich language that are more impressionable than short sound/visual bites. More, please!!! ~G. Chin  

Trouble in the Elf City

In the serene and beautiful city of the elfs, life has changed but little since Menarm was destroyed and the war ended. Three springs have passed and Adren, the last princess of Menarm, has settled into her new life. Her champion, the Silent Warrior, has not been seen since the battle at Wilapond. Suddenly the peaceful life in her new kingdom is challenged by enemies the elfs are unable to fight. Disaster seems imminent for their whole race. Will she have to witness the destruction of this kingdom and once again find herself alone in the world? Or can the Silent Warrior come to her rescue and save them all? Once again Anna’s inspiration from the myths and legends of Europe and from writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien has woven a new and completely original tale full of suspense, adventure, and medieval-style warfare in Trouble in the Elf City book two of The Silent Warrior Trilogy. Join in the continuing saga of Adren and the elfkind, in book two of The Silent Warrior Trilogy. 

What others say about Trouble in the Elf City: 

FANTASTIC STORY. Just like the first book in the trilogy, my attention was glued to the pages of this book. Not thinking it possible, Anna del C. Dye did an even better job with this one. Picking up right where she left off with the first one, I found myself falling more and more in love with the characters. This is a great book for people of all ages to read and enjoy. Not only is it a great story that you will want to read again and again, but it is also a teaching tool. It teaches the importance of protecting one's people, staying true to yourself, respecting people regardless of who they are, and helping people when they are in need. These are morals that should be ingrained in all children and adults. Anna del C. Dye, whether meaning to or not, has set up an exciting story that weaves these teachings into her characters through and through. 
~Ashley Merrill/ Front Street Reviews 

Elfs in a Conquered Realm 

On their visit to the vanquished Kingdom of Menarm the elfs face many uncertainties. However, they are strong in numbers and sure of their purpose. Zyrthal, the young elf strategist, is given the task of finding the kingdom’s hidden treasures; but instead the elfs find ruthless mercenaries who capture the train and will stop at nothing to obtain the treasures for themselves. Once again the Silent Warrior is sent to the rescue. Yet he has been battling demons of his own and finds himself in great doubts of his performance as the champion of the last Princess of Menarm. The shadows in his heart double with the disappearance of the two half-elf princes from the dead kingdom. Will he succeed in rescuing the young boys and thwarting the mercenaries, or has the Silent Warrior fallen from Adren’s grace forever? Elfs in a Conquered Realm is the outstanding finale to The Silent Warrior Trilogy. Anna has answered all the open questions in the continuing saga of this beautiful race. A masterpiece of storytelling, The Silent Warrior Trilogy will take you on a journey you will not soon forget. 

What others say about Elfs in a Conquered Realm: 

A Book for all Ages!! Anna del C. Dye's writing is fluid and flawless and it should come as no surprise that one will find this story as fulfilling as the first two in the trilogy. Her talent for writing fantasy will leave her name forever entrenched in our memories as we hope to read more of her stories long into the future. I would recommend this trilogy to young and old alike. Anna del C. Dye's immense talent allows her fans to be of any age and able to completely understand her magnificent stories. In a world so full of bad influences from the TV and the media, parents especially will view this book as a breath of fresh air and gladly encourage their children to read it in the hopes of instilling in them some positive values and life lessons. 
~Ashley Merrill for Front Street Reviews

Now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Links: Amazon: http://goo.gl/LnM6A5 Barnes and Noble: http://goo.gl/OEcu0l

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Cover Reveal: Warrior Everlasting by Wendy Knight



Fighting alongside the boy you shouldn't love is hard enough. Doing it while riding a unicorn who would gleefully fly to her death with you on her back is worse. What make it insane?
Doing it in hell.
Scout and her unicorn, Ashra, risked everything just to make it into Aptavaras. Their plan is to free Scout's family and the stolen souls, and seek vengeance on the man who took everything Ashra had once lived for. What they hadn't counted on was Trey and his unicorn, Torz, following them.
It might be the only thing that will save them.
Because Aptavaras, the soul stealers are many and the chances of survival are slim. Even if they can get past the demons, trick the demon master, rescue the souls and escape with their lives, there's only one person who can open the gate, and he's on the outside defending the world. But Scout, Trey, Ashra and Torz have one thing the soul stealers don't--
A reason to live.

Buy Now on Amazon 


Get Book One Here

Excerp:
"You’re mad.”


She sighed. “I’m too tired for this right now, Trey. If you want Kylin, then—”


He glared at her. “You lose faith in me that quickly, Scout? I’ve been in love with you since I was eight years old. See these?” He held up his arm with the leather bands tied around his wrist. “Nine of them. One for each year I’ve loved you. I loved you when you hated me. I loved you when you were dancing for some other guy. I loved you when I watched you throw yourself off your unicorn eight billion feet above the ground.” Scout opened her mouth, but no sound came out. Instead, tears trickled down her cheek. Finally, she knew what those leather bands meant. And her heart swelled.


“Just because I talk to Kylin doesn’t mean I’m going back to her. What have I ever done to make you doubt me, Scout? And if you say the hospital—” His glare was more fierce than she’d ever seen it. Clearly, he’d heard enough about the hospital.


Scout smiled, scrubbing at her tears. “Nothing, Trey. You’ve done nothing to make me doubt you. I’m sorry. I’m just tired and insecure.”


His hand shot out, circling her waist, and he pulled her into him, so close she could feel his heart pounding inside his chest, and he kissed her like he would literally die if he didn’t. There was pain and fury and hope and love in that kiss. Scout rose on her toes and slid her arms around his neck, kissing him back, hoping he could feel that she felt the same way.

 

 Wendy Knight was born and raised in Utah by a wonderful family who spoiled her rotten because she was the baby. Now she spends her time driving her husband crazy with her many eccentricities (no water after five, terror when faced with a live phone call, etcetera, etcetera). She also enjoys chasing her three adorable kids, playing tennis, watching football, reading, and hiking. Camping is also big: her family is slowly working toward a goal of seeing all the National Parks in the U.S.

You can usually find her with at least one Pepsi nearby, wearing ridiculously high heel for whatever the occasion may be. And if everything works out just right, she will also be writing.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Awakening by Christy Dorrity

"AWAKENING is a wonder and a delight. Christy Dorrity is a talent to watch."
~David Farland, New York Times bestselling author of Nightingale
. . . because some Celtic stories won’t be contained in myth.

A little magic has always run in sixteen-year-old McKayla McCleery's family—at least that’s what she’s been told. McKayla’s eccentric Aunt Avril travels the world as a clairvoyant for the FBI, and her mother can make amazing delicacies out of the most basic of ingredients. But McKayla doesn't think for a second that the magic is real—it’s just good storytelling. Besides, McKayla doesn’t need magic. She recently moved to beautiful Star Valley, Wyoming, and already she has an amazing best friend, a solo in her upcoming ballet recital, and the gorgeous guy in her physics class keeps looking her way.

When an unexpected fascination with Irish dance leads McKayla to seek instruction from the mute, crippled, janitor at her high school, she learns that her family is not the only one with unexplained abilities.

After Aunt Avril comes to Star Valley in pursuit of a supernatural killer, people begin disappearing, and the lives of those McKayla holds most dear are threatened. When the janitor reveals that an ancient curse, known as a geis, has awakened powers that defy explanation, McKayla is forced to come to terms with what is real and what is fantasy.

A thrilling first novel, Awakening is a gripping contemporary fantasy, based in Celtic mythology that is rife with magic, romance, and mystery. 
Image of Christy Dorrity
Christy Dorrity lives in the mountains with her husband, five children, and a cocker spaniel. She grew up on a trout ranch in Star Valley, Wyoming and is the author of The Geis series for young adults and The Book Blogger's Cookbooks. Christy is a World Champion Irish dancer and when she's not reading or writing, she's probably trying out a new recipe in the kitchen.
www.christydorrity.com
christydorrity@yahoo.com
facebook.com/authorchristydorrity
www.tinyurl.com/christydorritynewsletter







Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Flesh and Bone by Lee Strauss

Genre: Contemporary Romance

21237248She can't remember. He can't forget.

Eva Baumann is invisible. Sebastian Weiss is famous. In a perfect world Eva would be fearless and Sebastian would be guiltless.
It's not a perfect world.

Singer songwriter Eva Baumann has a celebrity crush on Sebastian Weiss. He’s perfect to love because there was no way they could ever be a thing. She’s a nobody. He’s a heart throb. Hiding an infatuation is easy for her because, since her accident, hiding is what she did best.

Sebastian Weiss’s band climbed the charts, seemingly overnight, and he’s finally living the dream. All he has to do is write enough songs to produce a second album. The bad news is he hasn’t written a new song in over a year.

Sebastian stumbles into the Blue Note Pub in time to hear Eva Baumann perform a hauntingly beautiful song. Could this girl be the answer to defeating his writer’s block?

Eva and Sebastian begin a complicated writing relationship that leads to more. But Sebastian has a secret that will devastate them both.


Buy Now on Amazon


Excerp:

Gabriele had dared her to do this. “Just walk in, sign your name, and play a song for heaven's sake.” It was easy for her to say. Eva Baumann's sister didn't understand what it was like to be afraid. What it was like to be invisible. Gabriele oozed confidence, tall and lithe like a runway model, lighting up every room she entered. She was pretty, talented, smart.

And not handicapped.

Eva eyed the graffiti-marred entrance of the Blue Note Pub and watched as other musicians and-patrons strolled into the darkened room. Music pumping from the sound system escaped into the narrow corridor of four-story stone buildings every time the heavy wooden door opened and closed. Eva carefully set down her guitar case and rested her hand over her chest, willing her heartbeat to slow. The muscle pulsed erratically, and her stomach wanted to dry heave.

Eva gripped her cane with white knuckles. She'd learned to master the uneven sidewalks with careful steps, but the cobblestones were still a nemesis, especially in colder months like March. The rubber knob on the tip of her cane had to center on a stone, otherwise she could lose her balance and fall. It was necessary to wait for a break in traffic or to continue to the corner for a walk light before daring to cross the street.

She took a deep breath. She could do this. This was just an irrational fear—not real. Nothing bad would happen to her in that room. It was filled with people who loved music as much as she did. It was loud and crowded and dark, and no one would expect her to talk. When they called her name, she'd focus on the small stage, blocking out everyone in the room out until she safely stepped up. Then she'd just close her eyes and pretend she was at the street church playing to the people who came for the soup they provided.

She could do this.

A cold wind blew hair across Eva's face and she snapped to attention just as the little green man flashed on to indicate it was safe to walk. She lumbered across with a guitar in her left hand and her cane in her right. The weight of her instrument pulled her shoulders forward, her back arching slightly under her winter jacket. She caught her reflection in a store window and frowned. She looked like a crazy, old lady, not a nineteen-year-old girl.

Eva tucked her cane under her left armpit and reached for the door. It swung open sharply, a patron had exited at the same moment, and she was shoved against the wall, nearly losing her balance.

“Excuse me,” the guy said. He held the door open, waiting for her to go in. She wanted to turn around and head straight home, but the guy's eyes stayed on her, waiting. The cold air whooshed inside.

It would be impolite not to pass through. “Thank you,” she said softly. She leaned on her cane and entered. She'd been to the Blue Note before. Gabriele and her British boyfriend Lennon Smith had dragged her out one night, so she knew what to expect. There was a bar to the right and table seating to the left. A poster on the wall read: “If you want to chat with your pals while the band is playing, take your conversation outside.” The air smelled of beer and cigarette smoke clinging to damp wool jackets. At the back of the midsized room was a small stage lit by two lights hanging from the ceiling.

Her stomach churned, and once again she questioned herself. Why had she come? What did she have to prove? Why did she care so much what Gabriele thought? She stared back at the door.

“Hello, ma Cherie. Would you like to sign your name?”

The gruff yet friendly voice stopped Eva before she could leave. She knew the manager, Herr Maurice Leduc, by reputation, but had never spoken to him before. “I don't know,” she answered.

“Well—” His eyes darted to the guitar in her hand. “I just thought since you lugged that thing in with you.” He pushed the sign-up sheet closer.
Eva didn't have the heart to deny the man. She took the pen and scribbled her name.

“Wonderful,” Herr Leduc said with a sincere grin that filled a round face. “I look forward to hearing you play...” he glanced down at his sheet, “Eva Baumann.”

The room consisted of a lot of wood. Tables, chairs, benches and floors—all darkly stained, old wood. Even the ceiling had rough, open wood beams. Eva claimed a nearby empty chair and breathed in and out, long and slow. She was here. She'd done it. Wait until she told Gabriele. Wouldn't she be surprised?
A server arrived, and Eva ordered a cola. The other people who shared the long table gave her sideways glances at her childish drink and cheered each other as they lifted their beer glasses.

Herr Leduc walked on stage and welcomed everyone. He called the first act, a girl with long, golden hair, he introduced as Katja Stoltz.

Eva listened intently impressed with the girl's talent and the way she took over the stage like she owned it. That was what Eva needed to do. Own it.

The girl finished her song, and after much-deserved applause, she joined her friends at a table across the room. A guy in his early twenties with a peacock tattoo along one arm stood to give Katja Stoltz a hug. He had messy, dark brown hair and bristles on his face, like he hadn’t shaven in a few days. He laughed and high-fived her before sitting and draping the peacock around a thin girl with spiky hair.

A shiver ran up Eva's back. She recognized that guy. Last summer, when she was playing guitar for the homeless, many of them had raised their hands to God in praise. The outside metal blinds had been raised, they always were when the church was open, and a group of guys had stopped to watch from across the street. They began to laugh and then threw their arms in the air, mocking the people worshiping inside.

That was the first time Eva had seen that peacock tattoo, and she'd never forget the laughing face of the handsome boy who went with it.

Her short-lived confidence shriveled at the thought of being the guy's next target. Oh, why did she come? She'd leave right now if she thought she could do it without making a scene. The room had filled, and there was no way she could slip out unnoticed with her guitar and her cane.

She sipped her cola and kept her eyes focused on each act as it was called. Every time Herr Leduc stepped to the mic to call a name, Eva’s heart filled with nervous dread and emptied with a flush of relief when she didn't hear hers.

“ Sebastian Weiss,” Herr Leduc said.

The guy with the peacock tattoo hooted, shifted out from behind his table and grabbed his guitar.

So that was his name.

He hopped onto the stage and strapped on a guitar with an over-confidence Eva envied. She wanted him to be terrible so that she could add self-delusion to his other obvious traits of conceit and insensitivity, but unfortunately he wasn't. His voice was smooth and strong, and he had great range.

She also happened to notice the flex in his biceps that poked out of the short sleeves of his dark T-shirt and how his jeans fit nicely on slender hips.

He finished his song and fisted the air like he just won a boxing match. The audience went crazy. Eva couldn't help but join in the applause. Something about Sebastian was electric. His aura and competence, his popularity—she couldn't peel her eyes off him. His arm returned to its position around the girl beside him who hadn't smiled once. Such a contrast to Sebastian who couldn't stop smiling. He seemed quite taken by the pixie girl and kissed her excitedly on the cheek.

“Eva Baumann.”

What? Eva had been so busy watching the table of cool people, she hadn't been paying attention.

Herr Leduc's accented German bellowed again. “Eva Baumann.”

Eva's heart stopped. Then raced. Her hands broke out into a sweat, and she blinked back the tears welling up behind her eyes, which were opened far too wide. Her head prickled hotly, and she swallowed hard. She could sense the attention of the room, necks craning, everyone searching, waiting for the next act to stand.

Herr Leduc stared at her, and all she could do was shake her head. He gave her a gracious nod and called the next name.

A girl with short, dark hair bounced out of her seat, and within seconds Eva was forgotten. She took advantage of the swirl of commotion that occurred between acts, grabbing her guitar and cane, and limped to the entrance.

It was a terrible mistake to come, she thought as she hobbled down the crusty street. She kept her head bowed low against the cold, and gripped her guitar case and her cane. If she'd had a third hand, she'd swipe at the bitter tear that slid down her cheek.


Image of Lee Strauss
Hey!
I'm author LEE STRAUSS.
I write mixed genre ROMANCE, most recently, The Minstrel Series.
I also write fun, lower Young Adult (teen) fiction to do with whimsical things like time-travel, fairies and merfolk (with a nice helping of romance!) as ELLE Strauss.
There's always a TIME for romance!!
I love to connect with my fans. I'm on facebook and twitter: @leestraussbooks.
For information on new releases sign up for my newsletter! www.leestraussbooks.com
Other trivia about me: I'm a married mother of four; I sometimes live in Canada and sometimes Germany; I'm fond of dark chocolate, and soy lattes; I like yoga, cycling and hiking in good weather.
contact: leestraussbooks@gmail.com