Wednesday, 31 August 2016

** Book Blitz & Giveaway ** CONSUMED - Elizabeth Miceli

Elizabeth Miceli
(Barren, #2)
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: August 31st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
Stacey Lorenzo has finished treatment, but is still devastated by her past as she enters college. With drugs and alcohol so readily available, so much freedom, and barely any supervision, Stacey falls back into old habits. Soon it’s a daily dose of partying, self-medicating, and having sex with lots of different guys. As her relationship with Eli destructs, she falls for Jesse, who just so happens to be a drug dealer. Every time she starts to fall back into the memories of her past, Jesse makes it easy to snort away the pain.
But she snorts too much one night; it forces her to question the man she loves and acknowledge her mental and emotional instability. In the second installment of The Barren Series, Stacey must overcome her addiction and make peace with her past if she is ever to be truly happy again.
“Your nose is bleeding.”
I brought my hand to my nose and nodded.
Ugh. I snorted coke last night.
My whole body contorted and I ran to Derek’s bathroom as quickly as I could. I made it just in time. Blood and acid trickled from my nostrils, vomit spewed violently from my mouth, and tears poured from my ducts.
Eli caught up with me, closed the door, and pulled my hair back into a neat bun. His soft hands rubbed my back gently until finally, after what seemed like years, my body stopped betraying me and calmed. The stress Eli felt was written all over his face; he couldn’t imagine the idea of me being hurt, sick, under his watch. He handed me some tissues for my nose and held me to his chest on the tile floor. He didn’t say a word but I knew that he was worried; he felt betrayed by my choices. I hated that I had let him down again. I cried so hard I threw up again.

Author Bio:
Elizabeth hails from the smallest state with the biggest heart. She started off at The University of Akron and then transferred to the University of Rhode Island. She is a majoring in Human Development and Family Studies and minoring in Psychology. Although she loves writing- she also has a passion for helping others which is why she is studying to become a sex therapist/couples counselor. Elizabeth loves spending time with her family and friends, singing, eating everything Italian, and baking cookies. She is “in love with love” which is probably why the driving force in almost everything she writes is romance. When she’s not getting lost in her characters she can be found waiting for her prince charming in her North Kingstown, Rhode Island home.


Monday, 29 August 2016

** Book Blitz & Giveaway ** FLESH AND BLOOD - Cynthia Rayne

Flesh and Blood
Cynthia Rayne
(Dixie Mafia Series, #1)
Publication date: August 29th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Sometimes it takes a bad guy to catch a killer…
Belle Nunn is a desperate woman. Someone’s following her, watching her—to make even matters worse, she was fired six months ago and hasn’t been able to get a job since. Belle’s down to her last ten bucks has no idea how she’ll make the rent when she’s abducted by Dixon Wolf’s henchman. Belle’s estranged father, Emmett, borrowed money from the Dixie Mafia for his latest get rich quick scheme and—big surprise—Emmett skipped town, leaving her holding the proverbial bag.
Dix is a loan shark and launders dirty Dixie Mafia money. Since his wife died, he’s devoted all his time and energy to the organization—and being bad pays damn good. Belle hasn’t seen Emmett in years and she’d like to keep it that way.
The mob boss is taken with her and offers Belle a job, her empty wallet won’t allow her to refuse—mob mistress. When Belle’s life is in danger, Dix steps into the unlikely role of hero.
Can Dix save her? And can they have a real relationship, one that isn’t based on sex and commerce?
Book Trailer:


Author Bio:
Cynthia Rayne is a USA Today bestselling author and co author of the Amazon bestselling Four Horsemen MC series. Cynthia Rayne's first erotic book was written when she was thirteen. Of course, the most risqué scene involved kissing, but it was the talk of her middle school! In her spare time, she enjoys dating, shopping, reading way too many romance novels, and drinking a truly obscene amount of coffee.


** Cover Reveal ** The Marked One - CHEVOQUE

The Marked One
(The Marked Series, #1)
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: September 13th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
All Aaliyah had ever wanted was to be invisible…
To not be stared at. To not have to display her lifelong pain everywhere she goes. But society is too blind to see that beauty lies beneath the skin.
Aaliyah only reveals her special mark—a facial birthmark—to the closest people in her life. But when Aaliyah’s friend paints her in a portrait titled The Marked One?, her birthmark is exposed to the world. Now no amount of makeup can keep Aaliyah’s secret.
Tristan Gerardo appears to be a successful CEO, but he is hiding many secrets…
What many don’t realize is that his successful public persona is a mask for his own pain—both of losing a sibling, and his failed marriage.
Tristan buys a portrait called The Marked One?, and is shocked when the subject of the portrait arrives for an interview at his company. He pursues Aaliyah, and while she is cautious at first, she feels an ease around Tristan that she’s never experienced before.
Little by little, Tristan’s secrets are exposed…
While Tristan struggles to keep Aaliyah from finding out how his sister died, she discovers he is still married. He assures her she has his full loyalty and the divorce is just a matter of time, and she desperately wants to believe him. But his estranged wife re-enters his life, and Tristan must figure out how to convince Aaliyah that she means the world to him.
How can Tristan make Aaliyah realize that he loves her for herself, and not because of her notoriety as The Marked One?
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00006]

**Designed by Deranged Doctor Design**

Author Bio:
Chevoque was born as Rochelle de Beer on 15 May 1992 in Klerksdorp, South Africa, and as an only child, the world seemed like a lonely place, until she set her mind free and got lost in the worlds she created for herself. Her writing began at a young age and with numerous stories still waiting to be released from her mind, only time now seems to hold her back. She also has a degree in BSc. Environmental and Biological Sciences, because she's a tree hugging animal lover, who hopes to never use her degree to cause cruelty.


Sunday, 28 August 2016


Penelope Marshall
(Mr. Black, #1)
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: September 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
Elijah Black, a hardcore Navy SEAL, eats, sleeps, and lives for his missions—and little else…
The self-proclaimed playboy has no time for relationships, unless it’s between the sheets. So he’s more than happy to leave for his newest mission, a quick extraction of a terrorist believed to be responsible for a series of bombings in Europe. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and the terrorists take Elijah prisoner.
Nasima was only supposed to care for his body, not his heart…
As the nurse charged with keeping the prisoner alive, Nasima is alone with Elijah every day. Sparks fly between them, but Elijah makes it clear he cares little for Nasima’s traditions and only wants her for her body. Still, she grows to care for the broken soldier, and it isn’t long before she begins to dream of abandoning her strict upbringing for Elijah’s tempting embrace.
A passionate encounter leads to more than just feelings…
After Elijah’s failed escape and another beating, Nasima is found comforting him and suffers the consequences. Just as Elijah realizes he will do whatever is necessary to save her, but before they can get to safety, Nasima reveals a secret that may be Elijah’s undoing.
Will Nasima’s secret keep her from breaking through Elijah’s tough exterior in time for another escape, or will he decide to make the journey alone?
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00006]

**Designed by Deranged Doctor Design**

Author Bio:
Penelope Marshall was born in the Philippines, and raised in Southern California.
She picked up writing in early 2016 and instantly fell in love with the craft. Her writing runs the romance gamut from sweet romantic comedies, to tough alpha male military suspense thrillers, with a little young adult, and paranormal thrown into the mix.
A good plot twist is what drives Penelope’s writing, striving for that jaw dropping moment at the end of each book.


Saturday, 27 August 2016

** Cover Reveal ** A Harmless Little Game - Meli Raine

A Harmless Little Game
Meli Raine
(Harmless, #1)
Publication date: October 18th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
Four years ago I lost my virginity on live, streaming television.
Too bad I wasn’t awake for it.
The video went viral. Of course it would. A Senator’s daughter on camera? Wouldn’t you click “share”? Besides, that’s what three of the four guys in the video did.
They shared me.
But that fourth guy? The nondescript one in the background in the upper left corner of the screen, just sitting on the couch? The only one who did nothing?

Not one single thing.
That was my boyfriend, Drew.
And that was the last time I saw him.
Until today, when my father—now on a path to the White House—hired him as head of security for my new team as I return home after four years of “recovering” in an undisclosed location that involved white lab coats, needles, pills and damage control.
You see, the other three guys never went to jail. Never had charges pressed.
Never faced consequences.
Until today.
Game on.
* * *
A Harmless Little Game is the first in this political thriller/romantic suspense trilogy by USA Today bestselling author Meli Raine.

A Harmless Little Ruse
Meli Raine
(Harmless, #2)
Publication date: October 25th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
She has no idea what she’s doing. Loose cannons never hit their targets.
And they take out plenty of collateral damage.
Four years ago Lindsay experienced the unspeakable right before me, and I couldn’t stop them.
But that’s all changed now.
When her father, Senator Bosworth, contacted me to ask — demand — that I protect her, it was a second chance. A shot at redemption.
An opportunity to right an unspeakable wrong.
Controlling Lindsay as she seeks her revenge on the monsters who hurt her won’t be hard.
Containing my own out-of-control feelings for Lindsay and keeping up this ruse of cold-blooded distance will be.
Even harder than admitting to her what really happened that night four years ago.
It turns out I don’t have to, though.
Someone else did it for me.
And I’ll make sure they regret it.
* * *
A Harmless Little Ruse is the second book in this political thriller/romantic suspense trilogy by USA Today bestselling author Meli Raine, and is entirely from Drew’s perspective.

A Harmless Little Game
Meli Raine
(Harmless, #3)
Publication date: November 1st 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
Turns out there was a second video from that awful night four years ago. Mine wasn’t the only tape.
Too bad mine wasn’t the worst.
Drew can’t protect me no matter how hard he tries, but the roles are flipped now. I have to help him, but I’m not wired that way. Not anymore. That one night changed me more than anyone knows.
More than anyone could predict.
Three men think they’re above the law. They’re right.
But I’m willing to go beneath the law to make sure they never harm anyone else. Their threats don’t scare me.
When you have nothing left to lose because someone took it all away, you create the most dangerous creature imaginable.
Game over.
* * *
A Harmless Little Plan is the final book in the political thriller/romantic suspense trilogy by USA Today bestselling author Meli Raine.


Author Bio:
Meli Raine writes romantic suspense with hot bikers, intense undercover DEA agents, bad boys turned good, and Special Ops heroes — and the women who love them.
Meli rode her first motorcycle when she was five years old, but she played in the ocean long before that. She lives in New England with her family.


Friday, 26 August 2016

** Cover Reveal ** the illusion of estasy #2 in the Thizz Series by NICOLE LOUFAS

Illusion of Ecstasy
Nicole Loufas
(2nd Dose in the Thizz Series)
Publication date: October 21st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
When Dani discovered the cash hidden in her attic, she had no idea the problems it would bring. With the help of the Marino’s, Dani is able to launder her father’s dirty money, but their help comes with a price. Her relationship with Matt.
Not wanting to hurt Dani’s future or freedom, Matt removes himself from the equation until it’s safe to return. When it’s time to go home, Matt can’t leave his family. Will being with his dying sister cost him the love of his life?
Nick is determined to make good on all the bad he’s caused. Helping Dani launder her father’ money. Making sure Matt is taken care of. Finally, accepting his role as a Marino. Fate doesn’t make it easy for him. Especially, when he returns from Europe to find Dani is falling apart on her own. With Matt out of the picture, Nick contemplates a future with the only girl he’s ever loved.
In the conclusion to Thizz, A Love Story, follow Dani, Matt, and Nick on a soul-searching journey into adulthood. The Illusion of Ecstasy explores the emotional tribulations they encounter without the help of thizz. How to deal with real emotion becomes the biggest obstacle of all on their road to maturity.

Author Bio:
Nicole was born and raised in California. She claims to be a San Francisco native, however she’s lived in both Northern and Southern California. She credits her creativity to the fact that she attended 12 schools between kindergarten and her senior year in high school. Her nomadic childhood allowed her to reinvent herself often. Some might say she was a liar. While others see the stories she told as a coping mechanism. Twelve schools, in six cities, in twelve years – give her a break. Today she channels her storytelling ability into writing novels. Long story short – kids that lie become writers.


Thursday, 25 August 2016

** Blog Tour & Review ** DEEPER DESCENT - Allyn Lesley

Deeper: Descent
Allyn Lesley
(The Deeper Chronicles #2)
Publication date: April 5th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
He’s been a pawn in a game all along…
The King of New York is back. And now, he’s got a Queen on his arm. Just when Noah Adams and Avi Linton are finally settling in to their “happily ever after,” another evil is preparing to make a move. This time, the game just got a little more dangerous and nobody will come out unharmed. Determined to protect her at all costs, Noah puts his life on the line for the only woman who ever mattered to him. But that might not be enough.
When the past begins to threaten their future, Avi and Noah must fight for their present. But can they battle against their enemy without descending deeper into danger?


This book follows on from book one.

Avi has come back to Noah and all feels well. Of course it doesn’t take long before everything begins to heat up again. This follow on book is action packed from start to finish.

This was very easy to read, even though it’s very emotional, sad and violent at times.

It was good to see Avi and Noah grow stronger as a couple.

The old group was with Sophie, Stacy, Cass and the boys were back.

The death of Harry lay heavy on Noah’s heart. I love the action, but at times I was on rollercoaster of emotions. I will say to enjoy the book to the fullest you must read book one. Now I have to wait for book three.

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

Author Bio:
allyn lesley writes real stories about real people.
As a teen, allyn lost herself in the pages of some of Romance’s heavyweights, trusting that a happy ever after was just around the corner. In allyn’s own writing journey, as in life, she’s learned that people don’t always experience recovery and restoration after a fall. Her stories speak to the gritty side of life where the right choice isn't always easily identified and happiness not quickly gained.


Wednesday, 24 August 2016


Meeting The Unpredictable
Riann C. Miller
Publication date: September 29th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
What happens when opposites attract?
Tyler has spent the last six years constructing his perfectly boring life, which is exactly the way he wants it. He spends his days hiding behind the protective walls he has so carefully built and has no intentions of changing . . . until he meets the unpredictable.
Lennie Jacobs is an intoxicating mess. She never stays anywhere long enough to form a solid relationship with anyone, including her family, because she has taught her fragile heart that love isn’t an option.
What started as a way to pass the time soon blossoms into something neither expected.
He was never meant to be permanent.
She can’t promise forever.
But, when life and love are on the line, everything changes.
Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
Pre-order today for only 99¢!
Meeting The Unpredictable_Full Wrap

Author Bio:
Hi, I'm Riann. I've been obsessed with reading romance novels for close to five years. I love getting to know new people in the book community and I've met several people along the way that I consider true friends.
I'm happily married with two children. When I'm not reading or writing, I'm usually spending time with my family, friends or watching baseball.



Dream Junkies
Anne-Marie Yerks
Publication date: August 8th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Actresses in a Chicago comedy troupe, Daphne Corbett and Kristin Brewer share a stage as Jean and Jeanette, a pair of dim-witted legal secretaries upstaging the show’s headliners. When their performance attracts an ambitious entertainment agent from Manhattan, the girls move to New York with hopes of stardom and success. But the search for apartments and showbiz jobs takes them in different directions.
The shared journey leads them to understand that dreams are worth only as much as the struggle to achieve them and that the hardest part to play is yourself.
The Last Night
The Saturday before she left for New York, Daphne Corbett wrote her ex-boyfriend’s address on a Post-it note and boarded the Pink Line train to West Pilsen. From the CTA station, she walked down 18th Street to find the house where Alec was living with his new band, Saturn Box.
It was a sunny morning in late July and most of the shops hadn’t yet opened. At a corner liquor store, a group of men and a big dog were gathered around a cement stoop. A taxi cab pulled up and the driver tried to wave her over, but she shook her head and kept on going.
“Hey Miss,” one of the men called, blowing smoke from one side of his mouth, “can I ask you a question?”
Daphne ignored him and held her purse a little closer. This was the kind of neighborhood Alec liked because the big houses could be rented for cheap. Everyone could have a bedroom with plenty of the house left over for practice space and a common living area. Alex wasn’t onto mind the shabby people on the streets or the long trek downtown. He’d told her that he wasn’t home much anyway because his band was taking off.
She referred to the Post-it to locate the side street and turned. The house was halfway down the block, easy to find because of the spray-painted Saturn symbol on the side. Alec’s green Volvo station wagon was parked at the curb, loaded up with speakers and amps. Daphne remembered all the work they’d gone through finding the equipment at consignment shops and thrift stores. They’d had fun doing that.
A girl answered the door, a very thin girl with dishwater blonde hair and pierced eyebrows, wearing a greyish t-shirt. It had to be Lorene, the back-up singer. Alec had mentioned something about her the last time they’d talked.
“Is Alec here?” The girl assessed Daphne’s flowered skirt and white sandals with watery blue eyes.
“I think so.” Lorene stood aside and motioned toward the staircase. In one of the upstairs rooms, Daphne found Alec and his guitar in an upstairs room, stretched out on a ratty orange couch, writing in the composition book spread in his lap. It was the same composition book he’d used for song lyrics ever since she’d met him. His handwriting was so small it would take him a month to fill a page, so small that he probably could use that one notebook the rest of his life. Alec’s soul was in that book, she knew. It was in there even more than in his music.
“What brings you out here?” He sat up to make space on the couch, and she sat down. The curtains hanging in the window behind them were a pair that Daphne had brought when they used to live together in Wicker Park. In those days, they had struggled to survive on their tiny paychecks and a good yard sale find was gold.
She took a breath. “I’m moving to New York. On Monday.” Alec lit a cigarette and took a drag, eyes focused across the room at some equipment arranged in a semi-circle: a sheet music stand, a sax, and a keyboard. He smoothed his bangs. “What for?” Daphne told him about the agent who’d come to the comedy club and the audition for the sitcom. She gave all the details, the things that had happened over the past six months, more than what was necessary because she knew he would listen, that he still cared in a way that other people didn’t.
“So, you think this agent is for real?”
This was what everyone wanted to know. Her mother had asked the same question. Are you sure this is the real thing, Daphne? I mean, it’s a big deal to pack up your whole life and move away . . .
“Pavia is definitely for real.” “Did you sign a contract?” “Sort of,” she told him. “Just for representation. Kristin has a role on the show, but I don’t.
Not yet. I’m going to do some modeling until they call me in.” “What’s this sitcom called?” Alec took another puff and then crushed the cigarette into the ashtray. “Streethearts. It’s about Chicago even though it’s filmed in New York. The idea is that the people who work in the little shops on the street get to know each other and fall in love and have affairs and misunderstandings. Typical kind of thing.” She didn’t tell him how much she had wanted to be on the show and how disappointed she was with the second-string position. But he probably knew.
“What about your sculpture? I thought you were going to set up a workshop someday.”
When she first began college, she had pictured herself alone in an art studio, digging her hands in the clay and wood-firing her work in an open field. But even after five years of classes and a senior show, she’d yet to sell a single piece. The fact there were galleries everywhere— even little ones that would take a chance on someone new—was another reason she was going to New York. She couldn’t take all the sculptures with her—there wasn’t enough space—but she had a nice set of slides that her new step-father and her mother had financed as a graduation gift.
“I’m not giving up on the idea, but I don’t know where it can go. The art world is so artificial. The money goes to the wrong place.” She was fighting the tired trend, the urban refuge type thing done a million times over that everyone couldn’t seem to get enough of: Virgin Mary statuettes glued onto banged up car doors, iron fencing worked into sex positions, bottles filled with plastic fruit floating in tea.
“You think acting isn’t artificial?” he asked. “Just take a look at the posters downtown, Daph. It’s the most artificial world there is. It will suck everything pure out of you and spit it back out in plastic.”
“Rock and roll is artificial, too,” she pointed out. “Those guitars you smash onstage are from the Salvation Army.”
“Come on, get real. You don’t even have a job in New York. Sorry to tell you this, but dreams aren’t edible. And they don’t pay bills. At least you have a job here, something a lot of people would like to do. And it makes people laugh. Why give it up for nothing?”
She didn’t tell that she had already given it up. She and Kristin had quit Side Stitches the week before. Downstairs, a dog began to bark. Then another dog. Then another.
“Lorene has three mutts,” Alec said. He stood up and tucked the cigarette pack into the pocket of his flannel shirt. “She feeds them on the top of the kitchen table. Supposedly it’s demoralizing for them to eat from bowls on the floor. If I don’t get down there, she’ll give them my leftover meatloaf.”
They walked downstairs and stopped at the doorway. The sun was dancing over the tops of the cars in the streets. The flowers in the beds were pale and tired, burning into August.
“Send me a postcard,” he said. “From Manhattan?” she asked. “I don’t know. From anywhere. Surprise me. I’ll send you one too.” When they said goodbye at the front door, she caught a look in his eye, one that had never been directed at her before. Envy. But that was normal, she thought, walking north to the bus stop. Most people would be a little envious of someone whose career is about to take off. She tossed the Post-it note into the trash at the Metra stop. As the train pulled away, she could somehow still see the note through the grate—a bright little square of neon orange that seemed to be saying Stop.
At home on Sunday, Daphne listed the things left to do. Most of the furniture would stay where it was. The new tenant, an incoming grad student at DePaul, had bought the couch, chairs, and dining set for a few hundred bucks. Her mattress would go to the curb. The floors needed a good sweep and the baseboards should be washed. The refrigerator was frightening. And she should find the smoke detector and hang it up in the hallway again. She’d removed it months ago because it kept going off when she dried her hair.
Everything was packed into boxes except for her sculptures. In the morning, she would cover them with plastic and use the blankets in the rental van as cushioning. For now they lined the wall in front of a window, their angled shadows stretched across the wood floor. This would be their final hours in the light for quite a while, Daphne thought, running a hand over her favorite—a piece she called “Panda.” It was her simplest work— a tall smooth cylinder with a fist print in the middle—and most recent (she had brought it home the week before). The only exhibition it’d get would be in the living room unless she could find a way to include it in the things she took to New York. She wondered if Kristin would be a picky roommate, or if she would be too busy to care.
The mail had brought a birthday card from her mother with a check tucked inside.
Sorry I can’t be with you! The honeymoon is wonderful! Be careful. Love, Mom.
The envelope was postmarked and stamped from Jamaica with her mother’s new name in the upper left-hand corner: Elizabeth Peepers. She’d just married a man named Al Peepers on a cruise ship.
Daphne folded the check into her wallet. After tonight, when she unloaded the kilns for the last time, she would be unemployed. Money would be tight for a while, she knew. Apartments in New York were beyond expensive. The first time she’d skimmed the classifieds in The Village Voice she thought it would be impossible to pay such prices. Pavia was the one who suggested that she and Kristin share for a while. That way all expenses were cut in half. Daphne was all for the idea, but she sensed that Kristin wasn’t completely sold. Then again, she hadn’t said “no” to it either.
Daphne called Kristen to make sure everything was set. “I’m not even close to ready,” Kristin said. “Are you?” “I’m packed, but I’ve got to get rid of some dirt and grime if I want my rent deposit back.”
Daphne considered the filth on the baseboards as Kristin went on.
“How much room will we have? I don’t think I can fit all my stuff into a car. Should we rent a van or something?”
“I thought you were getting us a van.” “I thought you were getting it.”
It was typical Kristin to forget something important like this, to assume that it would all fall into place without any effort on her part. Probably everything in her life had gone that way, Daphne thought. She had been spoiled by good looks, the perfect complexion, and long blonde waves—angelic features that contrasted with her on-the-brink sexuality. Everywhere she went people looked at her. Her boyfriends were the gullible, earnest types who fell into an obsessive love that drove them to seek her out twenty-four seven. Sometimes they appeared backstage after the show, eyes overloaded with longing and a kind of resignation beneath the yearning. They all knew that Kristin Brewer would cast them out with time, that they were mice in the claws of a cat who would play until the plaything became boring, then hunt for a new one. Maybe they didn’t, but they should have.
Daphne found a number for U-Haul.
Yes, Kristin could drive men crazy. She was much better at collecting suitors than she was at being an actress. Daphne was the one who had carried their show technically. Her minor at DePaul had been theatre arts and she considered herself professionally trained.
When she had auditioned for Side Stitches, a comedy troupe that performed in a popular downtown club, she’d beat out dozens of other girls for a spot. Kristin, who had come out of nowhere, was given the other role. Together, they created a blonde and brunette duo called Jane and Janette, the silly secretaries whose incompetence with calendar software was the chagrin of their stuffy executive bosses. It was one of the troupe’s most successful ongoing skits and it got their faces featured on color posters and TV ads even if it didn’t make much money. This was how Pavia found them.
In the beginning, Pavia seemed like a sweet lady who demanded respect in the same way a schoolteacher might. She was tiny, only a little over five feet, with tight spiral curls that made her look like a Raggedy Anne. Daphne would have described her as “cute” on first impression, but then she began to take note of the points and angles in the woman’s face, the way she clenched her teeth when she was even slightly impatient, the way her dark eyes would whip and judge and assign anything in sight to a proper caste.
But she could be warm and friendly, too.
“I think you girls have more talent than you realize,” she’d said to Daphne and Kristin that first night. And it was only a few days later that she’d given them both representation contracts and sent them to an audition for a network television pilot called Streethearts. The leading female role, a florist named Erica, was up for grabs.
“Now, both of you have a shot at this,” Pavia had said, leading them into the studio the day of the audition, her heels clicking on the tile. “The producers haven’t decided on a blonde or a brunette,” she paused and turned to them, her hand on the doorknob, “but they definitely want an emerging actress from Chicago. Make the most of that Midwestern drawl, the long O’s and A’s . . . don’t be ashamed of who you are.”
Daphne was a native of the Chicago area but had trained her accent away during drama school at DePaul. Kristin, who was from some small town in Wisconsin and had never taken acting lessons, had retained a farm girl nasal twang. When Daphne sat under the lights with the script and began reading the lines labeled ERICA, she was overly aware of the long O and A sounds and her accent sounded artificial. The casting people watched politely. They asked her a few questions and then told her she could leave. Pavia called later with the news that Kristin had won the role. “But it’s not all bad,” she’d said to Daphne. “The producers actually liked you. They don’t think you’re right for Erica, but they might have a role if the show takes off the way they hope it will. Just come with us to New York. We’ll find something for you.”
Daphne had wanted to kick herself. How could she have flubbed the audition? Why had Pavia screwed her up by mentioning accents right before she went in? Or was it Kristin’s big boobs? That’s what they cared about, of course. And being blonde.
“Think about it,” Pavia said. “You won’t be able to do the comedy show with Kristin gone anyway.”
“They could find a replacement, ” Daphne said flatly. “It wouldn’t be the same.” Pavia was right. There was a certain magic that made people laugh and it didn’t grow on trees. Besides, what if a replacement actress upstaged her or tried to take over? “OK,” she said. “I’ll go.” Then began the flurry of to-do lists, packing, job-quitting, and the good-bye party for Side Stitches. The plan was that Pavia would drive them to Manhattan and they could stay in her neighbor’s sublet for exactly one week until they found their own place. Kristin signed up for the Actor’s Guild, and Daphne was ordered to put together a modeling portfolio. She didn’t have any pictures, though, so Pavia hired a photographer. Daphne had spent an afternoon and evening with him doing things like meditating on a park bench, standing on a train track, and leaning against a graffiti-splattered wall. A set of shots arrived in the mail the next week. Daphne thought they looked good, but Pavia said only that they were “passable.”
In the kitchen, Daphne took on her last task in Chicago, cleaning the refrigerator. For this chore she played her Les Miserables soundtrack and sang along, imagining the glory of Broadway lights. Soon she’d be in New York living alongside some of the most famous, rich, and talented people in the world. The future stretched out a long and lavish pathway brimming with unnamed experience.
If only there wasn’t this nagging feeling, this sense that all wasn’t as she wanted it to be.
She glimpsed at her reflection in the window as she rinsed a mound of moldy chicken salad from a bowl. Maybe she wasn’t a glittery blonde, but she was tall and slender with shiny chestnut hair and a pretty face. She had a brilliant smile, a college degree, and a great sense of humor. And she was dedicated to her dream in a way Kristin could never even begin to understand. Dragging the trash out to the alley, she took a mental snapshot of the back porch of the apartment where she lived, the noble oak that shaded the porch, the busy road out front. Back inside, she lowered herself onto the couch that was no longer hers and closed her eyes. She assured herself that, with time, the nagging feeling would go away.
Her cat Mario snuggled into the crook of her knee, and that was how they both fell asleep their last night in Chicago.

Author Bio:
Anne-Marie Yerks is a fiction writer, essayist and journalist from the Metropolitan Detroit area. Her essays have appeared in the online editions of "Good Housekeeping," "marie claire," "Country Living" and "Redbook." She has work forthcoming in "Modern Memoir" (Fiction Attic Press) and in "Recipes With A Story" (Blue Lobster Books). Her novel, Dream Junkies, will be published in 2016 by New Rivers Press. Find her on Twitter @amy1620.



We are so excited to have Author Donna Hatch with us once again to feature her newest book! For those who haven't yet met Donna, let's get to know her:

Donna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband). A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

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And now, let's check out her fantastic new book!


Gently bred young ladies don’t run away from home to find employment, but when forced to choose between marrying a brutish oaf or becoming another man’s mistress, Susanna makes an unconventional decision. Following her passion for music, she flees to London with dreams of securing a position as a harpist. Becoming entangled with a handsome violinist who calls himself Kit, but who seems too aristocratic for a working-class musician, may be more problematic than sleeping in the streets.

Kit's attention is captured by Susanna’s breath-taking talent, admirable grace, and winsome smiles…until a lawman exposes the new harpist as a runaway bride and a thief. With peril lurking in the shadows, Susanna’s imminent danger not only forces Kit to choose between his better judgment and his heart, but he must also embrace the life to which he swore he would never return.


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