Monday, December 30, 2013


Suddenly named the acting president of her uncle’s record label, former pop princess Sabrina Walker is finally ready to grow up. While her professional life moves forward, she still clings to the last fragment of her past life in the form of an uncertain relationship with her manager, Beau.

When Sabrina hires handsome, young assistant, Wade Lawson, he awakens in her the hidden confidence she’s always desired. What starts as a casual affair quickly intensifies to something much more.

Sabrina must decide—return to the familiar life of an insecure one-hit-wonder, or embrace Wade and the woman his passion has helped reveal.

Natural Harmony is a stand-alone contemporary romance novel for readers 18+ and is the first in the Confession Records collection.

Sabrina’s eyes flew open and she quickly found the clock with her sleepy stare. She shot up in bed, holding the luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets up to cover her bare breasts. Her hand yanked through the tangles of her deep brunette waves as she realized she’d overslept. “Shit,” she breathed before bracing herself for the chill her naked body would feel as she left the comfort of the California King.

               Near the bedroom door she found her clothes, where she had slipped them off the night before to form a fabric puddle on the floor. Her eyes flicked back to the bed when she heard him grumble. She clasped her hot pink bra and zipped up the black pencil skirt she had shimmied into. An exasperated sigh rolled out of her and she sent out a tiny prayer that no one in the office would notice her wearing the same clothes two days in a row. A walk of shame was one thing, but strolling back in to work in a rumpled version of yesterday’s pristine outfit was a low she never thought she would sink to.

               “What’s wrong?” he moaned from inside the mess of blankets and sheets she’d just left. Sabrina took in the sight of him as he sat up and met her gaze. The tanned skin of his defined chest was enough to make her quiver, but the grin he let settle on his lips when he saw her in nothing but her bra and skirt would’ve been the death of her had she not been so rattled by the clock.

               “I’m gonna be late,” she replied. She found her V-neck sweater and smoothed it out as best she could. Looking in the mirror above his dresser, she wiped at the flecks of day-old mascara under her eyes and tried to perk up her cheeks with a few pinches. Through the mirror she could see him sitting in bed behind her. He ran a hand over his short-cropped salt-and-pepper hair and his grin turned into an arrogant smirk.

               “I think the office can survive the morning without the one-hit wonder. Now get that beautiful ass back in my bed,” he said. Sabrina stopped and caught her own eyes in the mirror for a moment. How had he become so good at backhanding her with ancient history all while thrilling her with sideways compliments?

               “I have a meeting with Charles. It’s important.” Her gut fluttered as she pulled her shirt over her head. It was half hangover and half unresolved guilt for not bending to him. He stood up, stretching his arms above his head, and she cursed herself for watching the muscles in his stomach twitch before letting her eyes linger south. He moved to her smoothly and wrapped his arms around her from behind, looking at her through the mirror while pushing his morning erection against the fabric of her skirt. He smelled like sex and cologne and Sabrina hated how badly those two things made her want him.

               “Why don’t you just come work for me?” he asked, placing a kiss on the curve of her neck. That would go over well, she thought sardonically.

               “I like my job, Beau. It’s not like I’m a secretary or something. I’m head of A and R …” Her voice disintegrated into midair as his kisses trickled down her neck and he began pawing at her sweater, coaxing her to take it off again. Her head swam as Beau’s strong hands slid under her shirt and smoothed over the skin of her abdomen and up to her breasts. A moan was waiting at the back of her throat. All she had to do was let go and submit to him.

               Sabrina took a deep breath and stepped toward the dresser, pulling away from Beau. She spun, still barely in his grasp, and looked into his liquid copper eyes. He grinned and stopped his advances.

               “I know you’re not a secretary, kid. You’re impressive and that’s why you should be working with me. You know enough about the business to easily transition into management,” he said, slowly drawing her near with his fingertips on her hips. Sabrina let her feet close the space between them. She looked up at him through her dark lashes and felt, as she often did under the weight of his stare, like a teenager. His proposal came as a shock to her. It had been years since he sounded that supportive of her. She couldn’t remember the last time he paid her a compliment that didn’t have to do with her body or how she used it.

               “You mean that?” she asked, letting her hands settle on the ridges of his hard stomach. She loved the way her skin contrasted his. He had a naturally dark complexion—she was pretty sure he once said his mother’s parents were Greek—but spending a decent amount of vacation time in Maui was what kept him perfectly bronzed all year long.

               His mouth lifted on one corner and his brows knit neatly together. Her eyes scanned his face for some sort of clue. She’d known him since she was seventeen years old but she still couldn’t read him. Maybe his offer was just a joke. Her stomach pitched and she looked at the clock again. Now she was really going to be late.

               “Of course I mean it, kid. Go to your meeting and tell Uncle Charlie you’re moving on.” His voice was so smooth and confident. Her heart was pounding in her chest at the idea of working closely with Beau. Was this his version of commitment? Before her mind got any more wrapped up in the details his lips were pressed against hers roughly, melting away all of her thoughts. His tongue brushed against hers and she felt the butterflies in her stomach that had never gone away since the day she met him. Beau disconnected from the heart-stopping kiss easily and made his way to the adjoining bathroom.

               Sabrina stood with her eyes shut for a moment, replaying his words in her head, willing herself to take him seriously and, more importantly, to accept his proposition. The sound of the shower woke her from her trance and she took one last look in the mirror. Good enough, she thought. She popped her head in the bathroom and grinned at the sight of his naked body behind the clear glass that had started to fog.

               “Should I call you later?” she asked.

               “Uh, yeah. If you want. I have a bunch of work to catch up on so…”

               A wince flashed across her face at what she’d been expecting all along. The chill. She swallowed hard and told herself not to care, but it was too difficult. He always found a way to stifle whatever feeling he helped to bloom. It was the story of her life, in fact. Once upon a time, he’d been the one to help her flourish but it seemed like he’d spent the last ten years finding little ways to crush her.

               “Okay,” she said, trying to hide the shaking in her voice. “I’ll see ya when I see ya.” She tried like hell to sound easygoing but she just ended up feeling like an idiot. Like the kid she knew he thought she was. Still.

               “Yeah, see ya, Sabra,” he shouted over the water.

               A shudder rolled through her and she wanted to blame it on the hangover.

               “That’s not my name,” she muttered as she walked out of the bathroom.

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Author Bio:

Inspired by music, film, art and the wealth of stories she has heard through her career as a professional hair stylist, Kate Roth has been dreaming up love stories since junior high.
Kate’s first two novels, new adult romance The Low Notes and new adult paranormal romance Reckless Radiance were released by Rebel Ink Press in May of 2012 and September of 2013. Natural Harmony is her third novel and her first venture into independent publishing. She is hard at work on the next two novels in the Confession Records collection, as well as her first erotic romance, Last Resort. She is a small business owner and lives in Indiana with her husband, Adam and their dog, Sampson.
You can find more about Kate and her work on her website and stay up to date with all her news by following her on Facebook

Friday, December 27, 2013

INSATIABLE READS "Secret Santa" Christmas Giveaway!

INSATIABLE READS "Secret Santa" Christmas Giveaway!

December 26-28

Insatiable Reads wants to be YOUR "Secret Santa!" Follow the Rafflecopter link at the bottom of this post, join an author mailing list - and you could get an instant surprise! Or be entered to win an author giveaway! What's behind each door? That's the "secret" - click it and find out! 

Check out the Insatiable Reads page for a list of all the participating authors and their blog stops - win even more prizes, get free reads, and find great deals on books during our $0.99 sale! 

Speaking of $0.99... my Top 100 Amazon bestseller, DEAR ROCKSTAR, is on sale for just $0.99 right now! 




The best things in life are crazy...

Sara is obsessed with rock star Tyler Vincent, and as she works to complete her senior year, she's determined to find a way to meet him--although her best friend, Aimee, keeps telling her to find a different escape from her desperately violent home life.

Complications arise when Dale, the mysterious new transfer student, sets his sights on Sara, and she falls for this rock-star-in-the-making in spite of her better judgment. When Sara wins a contest, she is faced with a choice--travel to Tyler Vincent's home town to meet him, or stay and support Dale in a Battle-of-the-Bands hosted by MTV.

Their triangulated relationship is pushed to its breaking point, but there is another, deeper secret that Dale's been keeping that just may break things wide open...

Turn up your collar, feather your hair, and splash on some Polo, because we're going back to the '80's when MTV played music videos, there was no such thing as American Idol, and becoming a star meant doing nothing short of crazy for that one, big break.


Note: Previously published as Star Struck - but has been considerably rewritten and contains a great deal of new material for your reading enjoyment - I think it's a far better story now, but if you happened to read the original, you can be the judge!


Read the Full Stand-Alone Novel Sequel to Dear Rockstar: LUCKY GIRL


"Too bad we don't have a place to be alone."

"There's always the back seat." I was only half kidding, my eyes skipping to the roomy bench seat just a few feet away. Dale followed my gaze, looking tempted, almost as tempted as I was, even if we were parked right in front of the apartment building at one in the morning. The light in our apartment was off, which was a good sign. The stepbeast had probably been drinking all night--typical for a Saturday. Likely he was passed out in the chair. My mother usually just covered him up and left him there until morning. 

"Come on." I leaned into him and he slipped his arms around me, our breath so warm on the cool September night it was already fogging the windows. "Let's do it."

He lowered his head to my shoulder, gathering me up even closer, breathing me in again like he did. I loved when he did that. 

"No." His voice muffled in the denim of his jacket--I was still wearing it. Then he lifted his head, pressing his forehead to mine. "No backseats for my Cinderella."

"Then one of us has to get a castle before I... die." I took a deep, shaky breath, feeling the heat of his body, the way his hands moved lower on my back, up under the jacket, seeking bare skin. I couldn't stand it anymore. I kept asking myself how I could possibly feel this way, after just a week, but it was a ridiculous question, because I'd fallen in love with Tyler Vincent in an instant. Or... I thought I had. 

He chuckled, eyes flashing almost silver in the moonlight. "You won't die."

I lifted my face to his and whispered, "The least you could do is kiss me?"

"Do you want me to?" He traced a finger over my lips, sending a hot rush of blood through me. 

"Can't you tell?"

His smile rose up to his eyes slowly, darkening them. "I like to hear you say it."

"Yes." So close. His finger still pressed to my lips. His gaze there too. "Yes, I want you to kiss me."
"Mmm." His finger was wet with my saliva now and he rubbed it against my mouth. "Say it again."

"I want you to kiss me." I groaned. 

"Say please," he whispered, his gaze never leaving my mouth.

"Please." My hands moved lightly over his neck and shoulders, broad and strong under my fingers. 

"Pretty please," he insisted, a smile playing on his lips.

"Pretty... pretty... pretty please." I leaned nearer with every word, my mouth so close to his either of us could have bridged the gap in an instant. 

I heard him swallow. "That was a very pretty please."

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Thursday, December 26, 2013


They say you can never go home again. Brenna James is about to finish her final year of college when a visit home could change everything. Fate was pushing her towards her childhood best friend, Tucker, leaving Brenna no other option than to remember memories from a time once forgotten.

Can Tucker slip himself into her heart?

Will he be able to show her his feelings?

The biggest question is, can Tucker help Brenna remember love?

The book has sexual situations and language intended for ages 18 & up.

They say you can never go home again. Brenna James is about to finish her final year of college when a visit home could change everything. Fate was pushing her towards her childhood best friend, Tucker, leaving Brenna no other option than to remember memories from a time once forgotten. 

Can Tucker slip himself into her heart? 

Will he be able to show her his feelings? 

The biggest question is, can Tucker help Brenna remember love?

The book has sexual situations and language intended for ages 18 & up.

Purchase Links:


Cover Designed by Melissa Gill @ MGBookCovers

About Riley Rhea:
Riley Rhea is your typical country girl, born and raised in the Bluegrass. In the last 30 something years, she has successfully brought into this world 3 children, which may or not be claimed by her, depending on their behavior.
Riley enjoys reading, spending time on the farm and quiet afternoons when those who call her mom leave the house. Riley also loves country music and drools over Luke Bryan. Riley’s biggest fears are crickets and banks.
Not just an avid reader, Riley is an active blogger and reviews many books during the span of a week when she isn’t writing about her loveable and sexy country boys.
She’s always had a background in writing, her mother being an author, and one day, out of the blue, 2 characters popped into her head and wouldn’t shut up. After some advice from a good friend, Remember Love was born.
Thank you all for taking time to get to know Riley a little better. You can always find her on Facebook if y’all want to chat a little more.

Riley Rhea’s Stalker Links:

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Andrea Thompson is smart, assertive and beautiful. She’s also desperately lonely. Raised in Europe by her grandmother, she struggles knowing neither of her parents wanted her, and she has no idea why.

When Andrea receives an urgent call from her older sister Carrie, she agrees to fly to the United States to help. Carrie’s newborn daughter Rachel needs a bone marrow transplant. 

What Andrea doesn’t know is that her return to the United States will launch a chain of events that will uncover secrets hidden for decades. Secrets which will rock the Thompson family and ignite a political firestorm.

Secrets that some will kill to protect.

Goodreads Link:

Author Bio:
Charles Sheehan-Miles has been a soldier, computer programmer, short-order cook and non-profit executive, and is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books, including the indie bestsellers Just Remember to Breathe and Republic: A Novel of America's Future. 

Find out more at

You're also invited to join the Remember to Breathe Facebook group at

Author Links:



Release Party Link:
JOIN Charles for the release day party on December 20th! Prizes, games and more, only at:
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Saturday, December 21, 2013


Title: VIP
Author: M. Robinson
Genre: Erotica
Publication Date: December 4, 2013

The beginning- A point in time or space where something starts.
32 year old Sebastian Vanwell, was a very successful yacht broker, who always loved the design and architecture of a luxurious yacht. His only addiction was being on the water. He loved it, he thrived on it, and he needed it in his life. After a very stable, loving child hood with a few bumps, Sebastian married the love of his life. The one person that he knew would always be there. Julia was his rock, and he loved her more than life itself. Sebastian kept his addiction to the water under control, wanting to keep his time with his wife and son his number one obsession, that was until he saw her. This new addiction haunted him, the one compulsion that he couldn’t control no matter how hard he tried.
Ysabelle Telle hit him hard, knocking the wind from his lungs. Coming from worlds apart, beautiful, dark complexion Ysabelle Telle didn’t have the rich, protected background that Sebastian Vanwell had. Ysabelle lived a life of hell, in poverty, growing up with a drug addict mother that never cared, and horrific living conditions. Ysabelle lived for one person and one person only; herself. She was pure perfection, her beauty along with a flawless body had men lined up, driveling over her insuring her success as a VIP.
There are too many words that describe the effects when two diverse worlds like theirs collide. They both have too much to lose to get caught in the forceful pull, which could destroy them both.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and drug use. Intended for mature audiences.

M. Robinson loves to read. She favors anything that has angst, romance, triangles, cheating, love, and of course sex! She has been reading since the Babysitters Club and R.L. Stein.
She was born in New Jersey but was raised in Tampa Fl. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D in psychology, with two years left.
She is married to an amazing man who she loves to pieces. They have two German Shepherd mixes and a Tabby cat.
Her debut novel VIP will be released in December 2013. Add it to your TBR list!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Without Doubt Cover Reveal

Without Doubt Synopsis


Ava Sterling is tough and the most straight laced girl you will ever meet. Her family and her past have managed to alter her future permanently and she has no desire to allow anyone else into her life or her heart for fear of rejection or further altering.  Ava is alone in the world with the exception of the grandest responsibility she did not create on her own but on her own she will carry for the rest of her life.


Declan James is a MMA fighter, party all night kind of guy. Responsibility is nowhere to be found in his life or so he allows everyone around him to believe. Coming from wealth and a carefree lifestyle, Declan gets what he wants, always. And what he wants is Ava. In his pursuit of getting what he wants, Ava in his bed, his plan changes quickly without his consent. Against his plans of being the next hot bachelor to cross the tabloids as he makes his way to being the Ultimate Light Heavyweight Champion, Declan falls in love. He falls in love without hesitation and without doubt.


Neither Declan nor Ava are aware that fate has inconveniently intertwined their lives forever. Will they be able to survive the aftermath of the truth?

Goodreads Link:

CJ has lived all over the state of California, Central, South, North and finally landing back somewhere in the middle. She married the boy she fell for when she was only eleven years old and together they have two beautiful heathens. CJ obviously loves to read and write. She can watch the Giant’s play baseball but hates football. She bakes when she’s sad, runs when she’s mad and dances when she’s happy (even if she cant find a rhythm to save her life) If you’re looking for her and can’t seem to find her, look on the staircase, it’s her favorite spot to read.


Author Profile Links:



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For more fun & giveaways, come join our Facebook Release Party & Blog Tour Event ~ Friday, December 20th – CLICK HERE

Happy Release Day to Bria Starr on her debut novel “Your Exception". Make sure to enter the GIVEAWAY below!

Author: Bria Starr
Book Title: Your Exception
Genre: New Adult/Romance
Blog Tour Manager: Brandee’s Book Endings

Logan Kalford was Wren Summers’ dream come true.
All I’d ever wanted was to fall in love and be loved in return.
Logan stole my heart when I least expected it. He was sexy, adventurous, and the way he played guitar left me weak in the knees. He made me happy. He made me think I’d found the one.
And he made me believe in happy endings.
I knew he was my forever. I thought he knew it too.
I was wrong.
He destroyed everything I thought we had and shattered my dreams of us. He left me heartbroken. He made me doubt myself.
And he didn’t even seem to care…
Now I must let go. But how can I when he still consumes me?
How do you walk away from what you know was real?

Your Exception by Bria Starr
Review by Jennifer Ballam

Has anyone ever watched or read the book, He's Just Not That Into You? Well this is where the lead female gets her turning point moment with her view to her relationships. The one who is 'into you' will make you the exception and do what he may not otherwise have done....

This is her eureka moment after a disastrous relationship of 3 years and a relationship of 3 months with the one Wren had thought felt right. Only problem being those men just will not let her move on. Her ex of three years keeps blowing up her phone with messages and texts while Logan, the guy of 3 months, keeps popping up wherever she is and asking her round.

The only reason that I dropped a star for this story was that I really, really did not like Logan, I thought he was a self-centred ass!! Zach on the other hand I was routing for and was gutted when the author went the traditional route of a HEA with Logan, from how he had read in the story, or at least until the chapter written from his POV, I just didn't see that happening. Even after this I was crossing my fingers that Wren would see the light and choose Zach instead. Oh well!!

All in all a good read and worth giving it a go, you may well like Logan, I just didn't!

Please note I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:

Bria Starr grew up in a small town in Minnesota and continues to live there with her husband and beautiful baby girl. She’s a stay at home mom who is very close with her family, loves junk food, and is always cold. Her favorite things include reading books, writing, listening to music, and watching too many movies.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013


BLURB FOR DEATH OF THE MAD HATTER: If the king loses his head, then the Queen with a Bleeding Heart would rule the Red Court until Time ceased to move forward. When a second carried on for infinity, every creature in Wonderland would tip their Hat to the misfit girl with a Boy’s name (or was it a boy with a Girl’s name?) who’d end the Reign of Terror. However, it all hinged on the One-Eyed Hare being able to convince an uninspirable Heir that the impossible was indeed possible—like stopping time—and that Love was worth a Beheading.
Heads would Roll…Hearts would Break…In the end, would it matter who Reigned?  

 Mini excerpts: 
“Madness looks good on you.” Pg 67
“You belong in a straightjacket instead of a pretty dress.” Pg 244
“I’m logically impaired.” 293
“If you jotted down all of my ill-thought out comments, you could write a book entitled, Guide to Getting Punched in the Throat for Boneheads.” Pg 273
“Little mad, good. Lots mad, blissfully dangerous.” Pg 293
“One moment Alice Mae and I were sworn enemies—like a superhero to a villain.” Pg. 129
“Her lips should have a warning label posted: Highly addictive.” Pg 123
“Wonderland was a magical world where the most far-fetched dreams come true. Alas, it is also where intoxicating nightmares run rampant.” Pg 24
“What a silly notion—dying for love. Ugh! (Cue eye-roll)” Pg 5
“Out of all my ill-fitting hats, one has never given me a headache like you do.” Pg 120

We asked Sarah a few questions we thought you might like to know the answers to!!

IHB: What is the most important thing about being a writer? 
Sarah: Never to take a review too seriously.

IHB: Where do you get your inspiration from? 
Sarah: Oh heavens, everything. I’m a slave to my imagination and it gets bored rather easily. 

IHB: How do you cope if you get a bad review?
Sarah: I have a happy folder. A few minutes rummaging around in there usually brings my spirits back up. Otherwise, there’s always chocolate.

IHB: How do you choose your characters' names? 
Sarah: This is going to sound nuts, but they choose me. Like I said, my imagination is a little overzealous. If a character doesn’t feel real to me then I’ll dump him and look for my next book boyfriend….someone relatable.

IHB: Occupational hazards about being a writer?
Sarah: High blood pressure from all the coffee

IHB: What book or film character would you say you were most like? 
Sarah: Hunger Games. The fashion in that movie is EPIC!

What makes you laugh? 
Sarah: Pictures of cats

IHB: Which book has been the hardest to write? 
Sarah: Honestly, this one. I write in first person, and before now, always as a girl. I didn’t know if I could write from a guy’s perspective…and didn’t know if I could “sound” like a dude. i.e. “What are you going to wear?”
Girl’s response: I have 673453408927353634 things in my closet but only 8 things that I can pull off today….I wonder if I can still eat that Reese’s peanut butter cup and pull off these tights. Oh, hell. I’ll just wear jeans and some fabulous shoes.
Guy’s response: clothes

IHB: Any hints as to what lies ahead for your characters? 
Sarah: Ummmm, someone dies?
IHB: Favourite character? 
Sarah: Mr. Ruth – the white rabbit who hates his Godgiven name: Rutherford
IHB: Least favourite? 
Sarah: The Joker. Creepycreepycreepy

IHB: Which character would you like to meet in real life? 
Sarah: The Mad Hatter. He’s my current book boyfriend, don’t tell the others!

IHB: What word can’t I spell? 
Sarah: Available. Oh hell, I think I got it right. Usually I have to Google that forsaken word and I use it all the time!

IHB: Your favourite authors? 
Sarah: Anita Blake

IHB:Favourite book right now? 
Sarah: Sookie Stackhouse Series

IHB: What genres of books do you read? 
Sarah: Fantasy romance

IHB: Childhood book? 
Sarah: Berenstain Bears

IHB: Did you ever dream you would become an author? 
Sarah: Nope.  

IHB: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 
Sarah: Hopefully behind a computer

Random questions -

Favourite colour?
Favourite food? pizza
Best childhood memory? Anyone with my brother and I 
Best ever purchase? Can be something big or small. Bubble bath
Best memory as an adult? The day my husband took me as his wife
Is there a person, alive or dead, you dream about meeting if you could? Abe Lincoln

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EXCERPTS FROM Death of the Mad Hatter
Accidental Beheading
The Queen of Hearts kissed the King one last time before the Joker ripped his head from her hands and tossed it alongside the rest of his body. The queen’s personal guards picked up the pieces and clumsily carried the dead king out of sight. 
No one spoke. Only the sound of a ticking clock interrupted the stunned silence of the night. Standing next to the pool of blood, the queen let a love-letter the king had written slip through her fingers. 
Appearing out of thin air, a Cheshire kitten, affectionately named Chez, who was distinguished by his white and blue stripes, playfully pawed at the letter. Extending his claws, he shredded it while the queen did nothing. When the Joker bent over and reached for the remaining pieces of the letter, the kitten bit him, drawing blood. Chez’s hair stood on end as he guarded the letter. 
“If you want to play dirty, may I suggest a play date, Chez?” the Joker asked, inspecting the bite mark. His voice was as innocent as a child, but the look in his beady eyes was that of a psychopath’s. “I have all sorts of modified toys collecting dust in the dungeon.”
“Don’t antagonize the Joker, Chez. He is a bit of a schizoid,” Hearts said, picking up the kitten. She stared at the pieces of the love-letter for so long that her eye twitched. “Burn it so that no one finds out that the king loved a seamstress.”
The Joker picked up the pieces and fisted them. The recipient of the letter showed through his fingers: Dearest Genevine— He held his hand up to his mouth and blew. Pieces of the letter flew into the air and burst into flames. They flickered and fell to the floor in a pile of ash. 
“I’m required to scold you for leaving your sharp toys scattered all over, Joker. It’s a pity the king had to pay for your untidiness,” Hearts said, glancing at the guillotine that was drenched in the king’s blood. 
“Then I shall only take out my biggest toys when you order me to do so… again,” the Joker said and winked. “Since this is a hush-hush operation, I assume you don’t want me to kill the seamstress? Oh! Or perhaps she could have a misfortunate accident as well?”

“No, that would be far too coincidental,” the queen said, as a matter-of-factly. “Keep her alive. Isn’t it fitting that she must live, knowing her lover is dead? Oh, and see to it that she never leaves Wonderland. Everything considered, she is still the most talented seamstress in the court, and I’ll need someone sew me a black dress to wear at King Edward’s funeral.”

Bleeding Hearts:
The Jack prophesied: If the king loses his head, then the Queen with a Bleeding Heart would rule the Red Court until Time ceased to move forward. When a second carried on for infinity, every creature in Wonderland would tip their Hat to the misfit girl with a Boy’s name (or was it a boy with a Girl’s name?) who’d end the Reign of Terror. However, it all hinged on the One-Eyed Hare being able to convince an uninspirable Heir that the impossible was indeed possible—like stopping time—and that Love was worth a Beheading.
Heads would Roll…
Hearts would Break…
In the end, would it matter who Reigned?  
 “Reign of Terror—everyone acts like it’s a bad thing,” the Queen of Hearts said, reading the script that Jack, the prophesier, had scribbled on an ingredients page of a violet book entitled, Sweets for the Rabbit Hole Voyager. The Mad Hatter’s crest, M.H. and a top hat, was printed on the top of every odd number page inside the book. 
Hearts tore the last stanza from the Bleeding Hearts Prophecy, crumpled it into a ball, and smashed it between the pages of The Lazy Killer’s Poisons, another of the Mad Hatter’s works. 
What a silly notion—dying for love. Ugh! (Cue eye-roll)

“Words escape me in the presence of your beauty.”
She pretended to be mad. She even put her hands on her hips and scowled, which made her more attractive. There was no denying Alice Mae’s magnificence. She could compete with models in natural beauty, but it wouldn’t be a competition when considering her quirky personality. She wasn’t definable. She was complicated. She had so many different levels, uncharted territory, to her. She was a mystery, and I wanted to spend all eternity trying to solve her, if I wasn’t fighting with her. 
Obviously I couldn’t say that. No one ever wants something (or someone) if it’s too easy to take. So I added, “You’re even more attractive when you pout.”
“I’m not pouting,” she insisted, even though her bottom lip stuck out enough for me to struggle to keep my thoughts straight.
“Then tell me what word you’d use to describe what you’re doing to me,” I said, stepping closer to the only girl in the world who could pull off wearing a combination wrestler’s and football player’s uniform and be so damn provocative.
“I’m just being playful.” The look in her eyes was anything but innocent. 
“Playful?” I closed the distance between us. “I think you need to check out a thesaurus from the library because playful isn’t the word I’d use.”
I pressed my finger against her shoulder pads. I traced my finger down until it fell off the pads. The spandex wrestling uniform accentuated the perfect formed lines of her stomach. I let my finger drift lower until I traced her hip that protruded slightly.
“What word would you use?”
“Inviting.” I lifted her chin. I bent forward so my nose traced her cheek. “You are being rather inviting.” With my other hand, I tugged on the thin spandex that covered her stomach. “And I want to accept your invitation.”
“Ryley, I’m not the kind of a girl who just sends out all sorts of invitations without...”
“You’re not the kind of girl who falls in love?” 
She pulled away. “It would be tragic if I fell in love.”

I let my hands fall by my side. “Would it be tragic to fall in love, period—or just with me?” 

She's Not My Type
There were the types of girls who dressed for guys, the type who still played dress-up, the type who lived in sweatpants, and then there was an entirely different breed who wore mismatched socks with pride. This chick fell into the last category. Why anyone could possibly think bright orange and blue would go together, unless they were a Boise State fan, was beyond my thought process. Her shoes were quite possibly handcrafted a hundred years ago, and her tattered skirt looked as though she found it in a dusty box tucked away in an attic. However, the zebra patterned gloves actually appeared to be from this decade. 
“Well, it’s rather fortunate that you didn’t dribble. Mr. Ruth would have a fit if he became familiar with the underside of your pet-soaked shoe,” the girl said, petting the stuffed animal’s head. Her accent was none that I’d heard before—and I’d lived in a lot of different places. She sounded like a British gal impersonating a southern bell. “It’d be quite regrettable if anything happened to him on the first day of school. He must have fallen out of his hidey-hole.” 
“You named your stuffed rabbit, Mr. Ruth?” 
She covered the bunny’s ears. “Rutherford is his real name, but he hates it and makes all the other rumperbabbits call him by his nickname.”
“Bunnies, rabbits, hares—rumperbabbits. Same thing,” she said with a wink. She had the most volatile light-blue eyes that were so electrifying I couldn’t look away. 
Time out—just for reference, I didn’t believe in juvenile notions, like love at first sight. In my book, time didn’t cease to move forward when two people fell in love. As a matter-of-fact, I’d have to be drunk (not on love) for such an irrational thought to enter my mind.

But, there was something magical about her. A mischievous charm. I wouldn’t have said that I necessarily liked it, but it was intriguing. She was intriguing… and new. For a town whose newspaper’s biggest story was the harvest report, having a new girl in school would most likely be headlined on The Gossiper’s front page.

State of Extreme Panic
“Out of all my ill-fitting hats, one has never given me a headache like you do.” 
“I’ve only begun to give you a headache,” she whispered and turned around and walked down the steps. 
She got to the landing before I was close enough to grab her wrist, stopping her escape. She wiggled, freeing her hand. When I refused to back off, she moved her leg like she was going to knee me in the groin, so I completely closed the gap between us, pressing my hips against hers. She had no movement to strike. 
“I’m done with this charade!” I yelled even though we were millimeters away from each other. “Everything you say doesn’t make a lick of sense. Why did you come here? Surely it wasn’t just to annoy me.”
“Just because you don’t understand my way of thinking, it doesn’t mean that I don’t make sense!” she yelled. “You’re such a—”
“A what?” I interrupted. “An Otherworlder?”
She stepped closer, even though I hadn’t thought it possible, making it clear that I hadn’t intimidated her. Even though I was taller than her, she stood on her tip toes, making us closer to the same height. 
“Actually, I was going to say that you are such a boy! What’s an Otherworlder, Ryley? I’m not sure that word even has a definition, or did you make it up? Now, who sounds crazy?” she said, spreading her arms wide.
I’d forgotten about everyone else in existence. Everyone was staring. Judging from the context spoken, I did sound more insane than she. 
“What is Wonderland, Alice Mae?” 
“Do you not remember anything?” She seemed genuinely frustrated. 
“I’m not in the habit of remembering places I have never been, you stupid girl!”
“Don’t call me that!” She socked me in the gut. Normally, I would have thought it cute that she tried to attack me since she was so feeble, but today it only aggravated me.
“I was alerted that your father’s car had moved,” Alice Mae said. “Was he able to answer any of your questions?” 
The hall got so quiet, not a single person coughed. I wanted to rip the damn rabbit’s head off, but it was in my backpack that I’d dropped when I noticed the hat carnage in my locker. 
“My dad is not around,” I said. 
“Interesting phrasing,” Alice Mae said, analyzing my comment. She tapped her finger on her chin like she was deep in thought. “You didn’t say he was dead, nor did you confirm it. Perchance you and your mom made up a series of lies about him?”
I had to shut her up before she told everyone the truth! I wanted to strangle her. I hated how she could completely destroy me with a few simple words. She knew my deepest secret, and now she was telling the whole school about my whacked-out dad!
“—where does he live Ryley? I can’t seem to remember its name. It was some kind—”
I slapped my free hand over her mouth. She bit down. I pulled my hand away. Teeth marks were embedded in my skin. Smirking at me, she licked her lips. 
“You instigated this war!” she said. She spoke more loudly. She was right. Her voice did carry. “Your father isn’t dead. He’s insa—”
In a stated of extreme panic, I did the only logical thing I could think of to shut her up. 
I kissed her. 

Super-villain Feline: 
Faded pink tights should never be worn—period. However, it was easier to overlook that fashion no-no because she wore an oversized tie-died t-shirt. At least she made it a little more stylish by tying the shirt’s back into a knot with a ponytail holder. A navy blue duffle bag hung from her shoulder.
“Chez wouldn’t get out of the oven, and my aunts were trying to bake sweets,” She held her finger along the wall, tracing the brick line as we walked down the hall to the freshman hall. 
“Who’s Chez?” I asked, walking alongside her.
“A spy. He doubles as an annoying, super-villain feline. It would seem that making sure I received a tardy slip on week two was on that cat’s top priority list.”
There were far too many oddities about her comment. “Why was there a cat in your oven?”
“He was curious.”
“Is this cat real or is he a figment of your imagination?”
That earned me a slap across the face. 

BIO: I specialize in dark, paranormal romance – think “happy ever after” but with a twisted, dark chocolate center. Real-life romance isn't only filled with hugs, kisses, unicorns, and rainbows. True-love can be more thoroughly described in times of darkness and tribulation. It’s in those harsh moments where you see what a person is truly capable of – both the good and bad. Sometimes prince-charming isn't always on time, and the glass slipper is a little snug. However, it doesn't mean Charming is not Mr. Right, and who says every shoe is the perfect fit?
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