Saturday, August 31, 2013

FREE Dora Machado's entire Stonewiser award-winning fantasy trilogy

Dear Romantic Fantasy Fans,
For the first time ever and for a limited time, Dora Machado's entire Stonewiser award-winning fantasy trilogy, published by Mermaid Press, is available FREE on Kindle.
WHEN?  From Saturday August 31 to Monday September 2
To get your free download NOW from the Kindle store, click on each title below. It’s as simple as that!
stonewiser-theheartofthestone-156x240Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone
Winner of the 2009 Benjamin Franklin Award for best Debut Novel
Finalist for 2009 Foreword Book of the Year Award for SFF
Between truth and deception, between justice and abuse, a stonewiser stands alone with the stones. Or so begins the stonewiser's oath. But what happens when a rebellious stonewiser discovers that lies have tainted the stone tales?
In a world devastated by the rot's widespread destruction, only the tales preserved in the stones can uphold the truth and defend the Goodlands. In this world, stone truth is valued above anyone's word, and stonewisers are the only ones capable of retrieving the tales from the stones, the only link between past and present, order and chaos.
Sariah is the most gifted stonewiser of her generation, but her talent does not atone for her shortcomings. A survivor of the Guild's brutal training, she is curious, willful and disobedient. Yet not even Sariah is prepared for what she finds when she steals into the Guild's Sacred Vaults: A mayhem of lies and intrigues that shatters her world.
Hunted, persecuted, and betrayed, Sariah must make an unlikely alliance with Kael, a cynical rebel leader pledged to a mysterious quest of his own. The fate of their dying world depends on their courage to overcome centuries of hatred and distrust. But not even the grueling journey has prepared them for what they are about to discover. Because nothing is really as it seems, and the truth is more intricate and devastating than they ever suspected.... 

9780979968242 (2)Stonewiser: The Call of the Stone
Winner of the 2010 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Gold Medal for SF/F
Finalist for the 2010 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for SF/F
Sariah's reward for revealing the stone truth: a death sentence.
The executioners have arrived and Sariah, the most powerful and controversial stonewiser of her generation, has been judged and condemned to death. For the last few months, Sariah has been hiding in the Rotten Domain, trying to find the elusive tale capable of uniting a divided people teetering on the brink of a catastrophic war. As she is dragged to the nets, where an eel rave has been stirred to maximize her execution's gruesome spectacle, Sariah knows she cannot escape her sentence. She is guilty of the crimes for which she's been condemned and no one, not even Kael, the Domain's foremost rebel leader, can save her from the executioners' righteous justice.
But Kael is more than just a formidable warrior; he is also a cunning strategist and Sariah's steadfast lover. Risking all he has, he bargains with the greedy executioners, bribing them into delaying Sariah's execution, buying her precious time and a last chance to realize the mysterious legacy that the stones have imposed on her. The agreement is hardly a reprieve. It encourages a mob to hunt Sariah for ransom, banishing her from the Rotten Domain and imposing heavy fines on anyone who tries to help her. Worse, it requires her to wear an irremovable, mysterious bracelet. If she doesn't return to the executioners with the tale in hand when the allotted time expires, Kael and his kin will be ruined and the bracelet will kill her.
Hunted by the executioners, the Guild and the Shield, Sariah and Kael embark on a desperate search. Their journey will take them to the depths of the Rotten Domain, where Sariah must wise a guiding beam out of the wild tale stored in a stone-carved game. The beam will lead them through the warring Goodlands—where the rot is on the move—to the land beyond the Bastions, where a zealous people guard an ancient stone that could hold the key to their search. Along the way, Sariah and Kael must overcome deadly traps, torture, heartbreak, agonizing defeat and devastating losses in a desperate attempt to avoid war and answer the mysterious call of the stone. 

9780979968259Stonewiser: The Lament of the Stone
Winner of the 2012 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Silver Medal for SF/F
Finalist for the 2012 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for SF/F
"Do you know why the stones grieve?" the woman said to Kael. "Not for a soul, I'll tell you that much. The stones don't grieve for the passing of a lowly woman or the madness of a smitten man. They don't mourn death, or lost love, or broken dreams, or loneliness or despair. Yet you will make them wail. For you, the stones will weep."
In their most perilous adventure yet, Sariah, the rogue stonewiser who stunned the world by discovering lies in the stones and defying the all-powerful Guild, and Kael, the rebel leader who against all odds loves her, must find a stolen child, the only one capable of setting rule upon chaos, preserving the future of stonewising, and defeating the rot ravaging the land. The stakes couldn't be higher. The coveted child they seek is said to be an abomination. He is also their son.
It's a daunting challenge. Their child is in the hands of a deceitful enemy who has fled to a mysterious ruler, a rival deity with unfathomable powers pledged to destroy the goddess and eradicate stonewising from the world. Worse yet, the land is engulfed in strife, the rot is spreading faster than ever, and Kael is haunted by a malevolent curse compelling him to kill the woman he loves.
In a dangerous journey fraught with shocking twists, Sariah and Kael must do more than defeat their foes, unravel the mystifying forces vying to control their lives, and discover the mysteries of ages past. They must challenge the stones, defy the goddess and confront their cursed fates. Because only by embracing their destinies do they stand a chance to save their child and their world.

For those of you audio book lovers, the first book in the series, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone is now available from Audible. Be sure to check it out!

href="">Dora Tapestry 1 June 2013 (480x640)About Dora Machado
Dora Machado is the award winning author of the Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, from Twilight Times Books, available July 2013. She is one of the few Latinas exploring her heritage and her world through the epic fantasy genre today. She holds a master's degree in business administration and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University. She was born in Michigan and grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a bilingual fascination for writing, a love for history, and a taste for Merengue.
After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She enjoys long walks, traveling, and connecting with the amazing readers who share in her mind's adventures. She lives in Florida with her indulging husband and three very opinionated cats. Visit her at

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Stelletwal Blog Tour

 We make choices nearly every minute of every day. Coffee or tea? Do I follow the speed limit? Should I take that phone call or respond to that text? If I procrastinate long enough, will the pressing issue (that I’d rather not deal with) simply go away? I have always found the phrase, “even choosing not to make a decision is, in fact, a decision” rather annoying. Although, I admit, I wrote an essay about the topic when I was in the eighth grade. Choices range from the simplistic: for example, I could wear those shoes but my feet may hurt by the end of the day; to the extreme, I could wear those shoes, but what will happen if I must flee the zombie apocalypse? I could twist my ankle and die! And for the sake of argument, the non-decision decision might be something like “I just won’t wear shoes.” Luckily, unless you’re an avid gamer, you are not running from many zombies on any given day; you can rest assured that your fashion sense can go uncompromised for the sake of a life or death practicality.

But what if your decisions affected not only you and those you love, but your entire community? How do you handle failure on a grand scale? Living life is an ever revolving sequence of trial and error. There are consequences. I believe there are times when honorable causes have catastrophic outcomes and mistakes can inspire a glorious, positive turn of events. This leads me to a dichotomy that has always fascinated me: every hero and every villain has something noble influencing their motives. I take that one step further, and suggest that that duality is present in each and every human being. Think about it as a reader or from an entertainment perspective, how boring would a character be if they wholly fell into a neatly wrapped package labeled “good” or “bad”?

A few years ago I faced a choice: to write or not to write? I did not know what I would lose or gain and it didn’t matter. The muses kept calling, echoing, like one of those songs you can’t stop humming fragments of. They appeared as magical Faeries, elegant Elves, daring Pixens and vengeful Demons, each of them beautiful and richly multifaceted. Their stories are Human, torn and familiar, burdened with the trials and joys of life in a medieval, sword-and-sorcery world. I am grateful I changed my mind and decided to transcribe their tales. Stelletwal is more than a series of novels. It is a place where epic fantasy comments on humanity and the stories do not always conclude with happy endings.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On Distant Shores

Review by Blanche Mancuso

All who read On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin will be swept away with the romance of Lt. Taylor and her friend Hutch (a pharmacist) as they follow the leading of God’s spirit in their own life and those of like people in World War II, who sacrifice so much for us, and showing service in the military as people are servicing the almighty God. As they give up all their dreams and common life to service their Commander and Chief –the Almighty God.

Lt. Taylor, Hutch, the doctors and nurses come to life as they give their account of the war and the sacrifices of both the people service in the military and the civilian lives they touch. Following the lives of the doctors, nurses, enlisted men and those at home who continue to make God in charge in all ways. I loved the purity of the characters and their love for one another in war time. They overcame each obstacle as it comes their way and it makes them better people in the process. It shows that that we all have the same challenges in each and every day in this life God has given us. We all need one another. There is only on He who commands all and all have talents and as we push one another as He sees fit in our life. Our whole life becomes a romance of Jesus sacrifice and our obedience to his will. The same as Lt. Taylor and Hutch laid aside their own desires and it brought it everyone together in a great story of love, sacrifice and knowing the God is in charge.

“Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


From well known author Cynthia Woolf, comes a new instalment of the Matchmaker & Co series. 

You haven't read the previous books yet? Don't worry! this amazing book, can also be read as a stand alone, in fact it's the perfect place for you to start! What are you waiting for?


by Cynthia Woolf

Quick Facts                                        


Released Date: July 5th, 2013                                 

Genre: Western Historical Romance                                            

Formats: All ebook formats and paperback 


After a disastrous marriage, Matchmaker Maggie vowed never to marry again.  She will never give another man the power of life and death over her body and soul. Unfortunately, that doesn't keep her lonely heart from fantasizing about her newest client, Caleb Black. She made the mistake of starting a flirtatious correspondence with the clever devil, believing they would never meet. But when his new bride abandons her mid-way to Colorado to elope with another man, Maggie is forced to face the devastatingly handsome Caleb and explain.  Now she'll have to stay long enough to make things right and find him a new wife.  But Maggie better hang on to her vow with both hands, because Caleb has other plans for the fiery matchmaker...and a very seductive kiss.







“What do you mean, you quit?  Mr. Sinclair, you just can’t quit.”  Margaret “Maggie” Selby put her pen down on the desk.  She would not raise her voice.  She would not lose control.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Selby, but I got no choice.  There’s an opening at the sanitarium in Albany and my Mary, she needs to go right now.  The doctors there might be able to help her.  We leave on the morning train.”

Maggie took a deep breath and nodded.  She understood.  She really did, but it didn’t change the fact that she was now in a difficult situation.  “Of course, you must go.  I know how poor Mary’s health is and any help that can be obtained for her, must be.”

“I wish I could give you some notice, but we just received the letter in yesterday’s post.”

“It’s fine, Mr. Sinclair.  I’ll manage.”

He handed her an envelope.  “Here are the train tickets.”

“Yes, well, I’ve wanted to see the frontier I’ve been sending my these girls to.  I’m simply going to see it sooner than I anticipated.”

“I’m truly sorry, Mrs. Selby.”

Maggie got up, came around the desk and held her hand out to him.  “You just take care of Mary.  That’s your job now.”

He shook her hand, nodded.  Mr. Sinclair put on his hat and wiped his brow with his kerchief before venturing back out into the already hot and sunny morning.

She went to her desk, grabbed Caleb Black’s file, put the closed sign on the door and then went upstairs to her apartment to pack.  Her bride, Jenny Talbot would be by in an hour or so to pick up her tickets.  Maggie would tell her then that she’d be accompanying her, not Mr. Sinclair.  It was just as well.  Jenny was nervous as a kitten and Maggie worried about the union, but both Mr. Black and Jenny had been adamant that it take place.  If truth be told, Maggie herself was a better match for Mr. Black than Jenny.  But she was here to find matches for others, not for herself.

Jenny’s reasoning she understood.  Jenny was the oldest of the seven Talbot children.  At twenty-two years old, felt she was a burden on her parents even though she worked and helped out with the bills.  She hated her job and wanted to get married.  Her chances were growing slim.  Most men of marriageable age were either already married, old or widowers with hellions for children.

Jenny was a tall, slim girl with pale blue eyes and dark blond hair.  Her lips were full, her nose long and straight.  Just a plain young woman from a struggling family who wanted a better life.  One that the wild frontier might be able to offer.

Mr. Black’s reasoning was less clear.  He was successful and wanted children.  Maggie had presented him with several other possible candidates, some more attractive, some younger, some older, all of whom he’d rejected.  The reasons he gave were weak.  Brown hair.  Too short.  Too fat.  Too thin.  Too young.  Too old.  There seemed to be a reason for rejecting every one she sent him.

Finally, he’d settled on Jenny with the proviso that Maggie herself accompanied the girl.  She’d agreed, but stated only that Jenny would be accompanied.  With her full intention having been to send Mr. Sinclair in her place.  Maggie’s time was much more well spent here in New York.  Finding clients, assigning candidates that is where her mind, body and commitment lay.  Yes, running her business is where she belonged more than on a trip to the wild West.  She didn’t feel bad about her decision.  Really she didn’t, she told herself over and over.  But she was lying.  If she were honest, deep down she was afraid to meet Mr. Black.  Afraid her image of him would be wrong, but even more afraid it would be right and he really was the man he depicted in his letters.

She shouldn’t have allowed it, the private correspondence, but it had been innocent enough.  In the beginning.  A simple flirtation with someone she’d never meet.  But now, the thought of actually meeting him terrified and thrilled her at the same time. Now she had to go.  Maggie released a rather breathless sigh.  She blinked repeatedly against the harsh sunlight.  So Mr. Black was getting what he’d asked for after all.  Much to her dismay.

Check the rest of the stops to find more teasers, guest posts, top ten lists, reviews and a lot more!


Cynthia Woolf was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in the mountains west of Golden. She spent her early years running wild around the mountain side with her friends.

Their closest neighbor was one quarter of a mile away, so her little brother was her playmate and her best friend. That fierce friendship lasted until his death in 2006.

Cynthia was and is an avid reader. Her mother was a librarian and brought new books home each week. This is where young Cynthia first got the storytelling bug. She wrote her first story at the age of ten. A romance about a little boy she liked at the time.

She worked her way through college and went to work full time straight after graduation and there was little time to write. Then in 1990 she and two friends started a round robin writing a story about pirates. She found that she missed the writing and kept on with other stories. In 1992 she joined Colorado Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America. Unfortunately, the loss of her job demanded she not renew her memberships and her writing stagnated for many years.

In 2001, she saw an ad in the paper for a writers conference being put on by CRW and decided she'd attend. One of her favorite authors, Catherine Coulter, was the keynote speaker. Cynthia was lucky enough to have a seat at Ms. Coulter's table at the luncheon and after talking with her, decided she needed to get back to her writing. She rejoined both CRW and RWA that day and hasn't looked back.

Cynthia credits her wonderfully supportive husband Jim and the great friends she's made at CRW for saving her sanity and allowing her to explore her creativity.

Find more about her at:


Check these amazing giveaways:

Giveaway 1

  • Prize: A $50 Amazon GC

  • International

  • There will be one winner.

  • The winner will be notified via email and has 48hs to respond, otherwise a new winner will be drawn.

  • a Rafflecopter giveaway


    • Prize: A Paperback copy of FIERY BRIDE by CYNTHIA WOOLF.

    • U.S ONLY

    • There will be one winner.

    • The winner will be notified via email and has 48hs to respond, otherwise a new winner will be drawn.

    • a Rafflecopter giveaway

      GET IT HERE:





      What do I think of matchmaking?

      In our hurry up world it’s getting harder and harder to meed someone special. There are still all the usual places – bars, church, grocery stores and through friends and family – but it’s still hard to meet someone you want to settle down with.

      Even with all those obstacles I’m not sure matchmaking is the answer. Today it’s usually done within a religion or a particular culture. I know a woman who wanted to marry in the worst way and have children. She felt her options were not good or quick. She went to a matchmaker and arranged to marry a Muslim man, though I don’t know the details of why she chose this particular man. They married and now eight years and three children later, they are divorced.

      Now I don’t know all the reasons for their divorce any more than I did for their marriage. Each case is different but it seems to me that using a matchmaker is a risky proposition.

      And becoming a mail order bride is even riskier. My friend at least still had her support network, so that when her marriage did breakup she had friends and family to go to. Mailorder brides have none of that. Nowadays there are the Russian brides that are in the news. They contract to come to America to marry and are instead put into sexual slavery. There are also the horror stories on the other end of the spectrum where the bride comes here and murders the husband. Which ones are true and which are urban legend, I don’t know. Probably some of each are true.

      Do you believe in love at first sight?

      I would have to say no. I don’t believe in love at first sight but I do believe in lust at first sight and I believe that lust can turn to love. However, I believe that love, real love, is something that builds over time. It has to be nurtured and allowed to blossom. Then real love is born.

      Sunday, August 25, 2013

      The Fairest of Them All

      Rapunzel lived in a castle with her mother, a witch. Rapunzel fell in love with a prince. When he would come to visit her, he would tell Rapunzel to “Let down her hair” and than he would climb it to the top of the castle tower. Things went well until the prince told Rapunzel that he was marrying someone else. Rapunzel waited for her prince to return. He did later after the queen died and asked Rapunzel to marry him. They lived in the kingdom where Rapunzel helped to raise the king’s daughter from his prior marriage. Her name is Snow White.

      If you are anyone, than you can remember growing up reading fairy tale stories or even watching them. Well in this book, Carolyn Turgeon combines two well known women…Rapunzel and Snow White into one story.

      I like that the author stayed somewhat traditional to the original stories. What I mean by this is that there was that I was not surprised by how the book ended or that there were a bunch of new characters that I had to familiarize myself with. This book was a fairly quick read. It was funny as I liked Rapunzel better than Snow White. She seemed more real to me. Not that I had anything against Snow White. Snow White just was “too perfect”. Again though I still had a good time reading this book. Anyone who enjoys a good fairy tale should check this book out.

      Saturday, August 24, 2013

      Love Gone Mad

      Dr. Adrian Douglas and nurse Megan Haggarty are in a relationship with each other. It is a complicated one. Of course what relationship is not without there own set of problems. Only their relationship involves Megan's psycho ex-husband and someone more dangerous who is playing with Adrian and Megan.

      This book sounded really good and this is why I wanted to read it. Unfortunately, this book did nothing for me. I found myself more just going through the motions of reading and not really comprehending any of it. The characters were unflattering and thus in turn I was not that excited about the story or their lives and what happened to them. I kept reading this book hoping it would pick up and I would get more excited about the characters but I never did. Sadly this book is one that I will easily forget about. Even the stalker did nothing for me. In this type of book I would expect the main characters including the bad guy or gal (hey ladies can be just as mean and scary) to make a strong presence.

      Friday, August 23, 2013

      The Alchemist Agenda

      Charlie Rocklin owns Gold Diggers Exploration, Inc. Charlie’s company recovers…gold. What you thought I was going to say silver? Charlie has some of the best equipment to recover lost treasures on shipwrecks. He is hoping to be the first nautical archeologist to restore the past. Charlie gets more than he bargained for when he and his crew uncover a 17th century shipwreck. The ship turns out to be an undocumented Nazi submarine.

      This book sounded like one that I would really like and is up my alley. Unfortunately, the book did not hit me in all the right spots and make me love it. I started reading it and then put it down to read another book. I was not drawn back to the book. However I did decide after a long while to pick it up again and give this book another try. Luckily I did give this book another chance. I had put it down right before the good part and the story picked up speed. Things got more interesting as the story progressed. It made for fast reading and before I knew it I was done with the book.

      Wednesday, August 21, 2013

      Born of Illusion

      Anna and her mother put on shows. Anna’s mother is a medium. Well truth be told, she is just a really good actor. She has no real magical powers. It is Anna that has the real talent. Anna has always stayed in her mother’s shadows. That is until Anna meets Cole. She is than introduced to a secret society. Oh and did I mention that Anna is the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini.

      This book is another one that I picked up say it sounded good and hoping it would turn out that way. Well I can tell you that this book passed the test. I have a good time reading it. I like that this story took place back in the 1920’s. It added more mystery.

      Mrs. Brown is a great story teller. She really brought to life the characters. It was like I was with Anna every step of the way. I could see the theater that she and her mother put on their shows at and smell the burnt toast from the toaster that Anna’s neighbor had burnt from his invention. Anna’s magical abilities while not flashy and in your face were real and this is another reason of why I liked her. Plus as the story progressed, she grew stronger and independent of her mother. If you like magic than you should check this book out.

      Tuesday, August 20, 2013

      Notes from Your Friend: Tooth Fairy

      Thanks you for asking me to contribute to your blog. It has been very exciting to publish my book: Notes from, Your Friend, THE TOOTH FAIRY.

      Though a physician, who has lived his life consistent with scientific principles, I have always been a great fan of Sprites, Elementals and Nature’s Devas. This may have arisen from my love of the great outdoors. Perhaps this was the seed planted that resulted in the Notes my daughters received with each lost tooth.

      That was a long time ago. Things were not always rosy in my life at that time and that always makes it worse for the children. The Tooth Fairy was a marvelous means by which to convey positive reinforcement to my two wonderful girls, something that never came easily for me in face-to-face contacts. Over time the personality for the Fairies, Samantha’s and Shawn’s, developed. The Fairy could be serious or funny. She might suggest alterations in behavior. But, most importantly your Tooth Fairy only has your best personal interests at heart. The children learn their Fairy can be trusted. This makes what they say very important.

      Obviously, the needs of any child will be specific to that child. The personalities of all the Fairies my book might generate will be very different. It is my hope that it will serve to help form an on going friendship between the child and The Fairy. That is why Samantha and Shawn’s notes were ALWAYS signed “Your Friend, THE TOOTH FAIRY.

      I will confess as I re-read the notes left for my Children, to this day, I still get misty when I read: just as I will always be

      Your Friend,


      Monday, August 19, 2013

      Mr. Monk Helps Himself

      Who didn’t love Monk, the series? I sure did and now is a change for us all to enjoy Monk on paper (or digital) with the same cast of characters and new mysteries.

      Told by ever-faithful Natalie who has returned from a sabbatical to become Monk’s full partner (as soon as she gets her license). The way to the license is full of twists and turns, however as Mr. Monk of the 100 phobias has come up against one of his worst phobias: clowns. Natalie is tasked with convincing him and Detective Stottlemeyer that they can work around the Clown (ummmmm “C” word??). Does she succeed?

      This book is one of a series written by the man who wrote Monk originally. The snarkiness is there, the characters never left and the answer to the crimes is, of course brilliant. You will want to read this one and, of you haven’t, all the others.



      If you are looking for a sexy book to read with a comedic flair than you need to check out Wallbanger!

      Caroline has moved into her new apartment. She gets more than she paid for with her next door neighbor. It seems that her neighbor likes to engage in the sexy tango in the bedroom. Caroline can hear it all with the paper thin walls. Caroline finally gets fed up with all the wall banging. She marches over to her neighbor’s door. The man who opens the door is a god. Oh and by the way, he is wearing only a bed sheet and he is still “stiff”. Also, Caroline is wearing just a pink nightie. Oh Boy.

      So when I saw the title for this book, it was easy to tell instantly what type of book this was. There would be no surprises as to how the story goes…Girl meets Guy. Guy likes Girl. Girl and Guy have instant attraction and have sex. Well I can tell you that while there was chemistry between Caroline and Simon, they did not have sex. Well not right away. I liked this. There was an actual story line. One that I enjoyed reading.

      It was a long time before Caroline and Simon actually hooked up but that was ok. I had a lot of fun just reading the banter between Caroline and Simon. All the sexual innuendos kept a smile on my face. Plus the names that Caroline gave Simon’s “harem women.” There is “Spanks” “Purina” and “Giggles”. I don’t really have to explain why the women got the nicknames.

      If you are looking for a sexy book to read with a comedic flair than you need to check out Wallbanger!

      Sunday, August 18, 2013

      Alex: The Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy

      Alex Prevost is beautiful. The type of beauty that all the guys notice. Thus at first Alex showed no concern when she noticed a man following her. That is until it was too late. Alex was walking home when she is suddenly grabbed from behind and thrown into the back of a van.

      She awakes to find herself in an abandoned warehouse. Her captor orders Alex to strip and puts her in a cage. He leaves Alex suspended six feet in the air. He tells Alex that he wants to watch her die. She will die a slow death. That is unless the rats get her first.

      Police Commandant Camille Verhoeven has been sent by his boss to help out with the kidnapping of Alex. Camille is good at his job. It is just that after the kidnapping of his wife who was eight months pregnant, Camille has no interest in dealing with cases unless the death is final for the victim. However Camille will do everything in his power to try and find Alex alive.

      This book is the second one in the Verhoeven trilogy. I have not read the first book but this one can be read as a stand alone novel. I give it up to the author for writing a really, good story. Two for the translator for translating the story well. It did not read choppy or that it was written in another language.

      Also, I like that time was spent equally on the investigation and the kidnapping. With alternating chapters for Camille and Alex. Sometimes I read a murder or suspense mystery and you will not believe how many times the focus is spent on the investigation and not the crime. It is like the author does not want to spend too much time on the crime for fear of giving away too many details about the suspect and the reader figuring it out too early in the story. To tell you the true, most readers who are a fan of this genre will have figured it out anyways or occasionally will have not figured it out but will keep reading until the end if the story is good. This book had great characters and a nice storyline.

      Thursday, August 15, 2013

      Trust in Me + Giveaway

      It’s Wait for You as you’ve never seen it. Trust in Me lets you in on Cam’s side of the #1 New York Times Bestselling story.
      Cameron Hamilton is used to getting what he wants, especially when it comes to women. But when Avery Morgansten comes crashing into his life – literally – he finally meets the one person who can resist his soulful baby blues. But Cam’s not ready to give up. He can’t get the feisty and intriguing girl out of his head.
      Avery has secrets, secrets that keep her from admitting the feelings Cam knows she has for him. Will persistence (and some delicious homemade cookies) help him break down her barriers and gain her trust? Or will he be shut out of Avery's life, losing his first real shot at the kind of love that lasts forever?
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      Wednesday, August 14, 2013

      The Howling Heart Book Blast and Giveaway

      Paige Donovan is an ambitious college graduate who aspires to reach the top of the corporate ladder. She’s climbing fast when given the promotion of a lifetime at a prestigious fashion magazine in New York City. Her bright future comes to an unexpected halt after news of her father’s death. She inherits his old cabin in the Colorado Rockies and just when she thinks her luck couldn’t get any worse, she has a car accident in the mountains and awakens in the small, remote community of Black River. Soon she’s engulfed in the mystical world of Varulv—wolves descended from 12th century Scandinavia and blessed by Norse gods with the ability to appear human. Paige is desperate to return home, but never expects to fall for her rescuer, Riley Gray, a charming young werewolf from England who offers her an alternate future with his pack. Now she must choose between the career she’s always wanted and the love she’s always dreamed.

      Purchase your copy:


      About the Author:

      April Bostic is a New Jersey-based romance author who enjoys unleashing her creativity and letting her imagination run wild. Her love of romance books inspired her to become not just a reader, but also a writer. In December 2008, she self-published her first novel, a contemporary romance with a supernatural twist entitled A Rose to the Fallen. Her first short story, Right Here, Right Now, released in January 2012 is an erotic romance with a dash of S&M. The following year, she released two more short stories: a romantic urban fantasy inspired by the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche entitled Eros, My Love, and a sexy romantic comedy entitled Love Addiction. After five years, she released her second novel The Howling Heart, a paranormal romance that delves into the mystical world of werewolves and Norse gods. Visit her website a Rafflecopter giveaway

      Tuesday, August 13, 2013

      From My Heart to Your Virtual Book Tour

      From My Heart to YoursABOUT FROM MY HEART TO YOURS

      With an emotionally secure and sheltered upbringing, Sofia, was in for an unexpected ride when she married Earl. Their stable and unnerving union would take deeper turns as they experienced(?) health issues, betrayal and shattered hearts. With each new circumstance Sofia faced, she shed a layer of naiveté, deepening her perspective of life. Beautiful life lessons learned from preschool children healed her wounds and dissipated her scars. They taught her about the human condition at it’s purest. But then the biggest tragedy happened in Sofia’s life, leading her to seek deeper answers. At the end of the book (her story?), she learns that the art of life is how we deal with it’s struggles. Through a powerful and inspiring journey into the soul, she regains the light and love within. Purchase at: barnes and nobleamazon  

      Michelle ZarrinABOUT MICHELLE ZARRIN

      Michelle Zarrin is an author, blogger and entrepreneur, running two businesses. Having meditated over 2000 hours in the past four years, her expertise is the internal world through the tool of the breath. Inspiration, creativity, tranquility, intuition and compassion all reside within our internal world. Her blogs consist of her writings on life and spirituality. She lives in Orange County, California. You can visit her at

      From My Heart to Yours Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

      Monday, August 5 - Book featured at Literary Winner
      Tuesday, August 6 - Book featured at Margay Leah Justice
      Wednesday, August 7 - Interviewed at Blogher
      Thursday, August 8 - Guest blogging at The Self Taught Cook
      Friday, August 9 - Guest blogging at Straight From the Authors Mouth
      Tuesday, August 13 - 1st chapter reveal at Cheryl's Book Nook
      Wednesday, August 14 - Guest blogging at Redroom
      Friday, August 16 - Interviewed at Review From Here
      Tuesday, August 20 - Book featured at Plug Your Book
      Wednesday, August 21 - Interviewed at I'm Shelf-ish
      Friday, August 23 - Guest blogging at The Writer's Life
      Wednesday, August 28 - Interviewed at Book Marketing Buzz
      Thursday, August 29 - Guest blogging at Allvoices
      Friday, August 30 - 1st chapter reveal at Examiner
      Pump Up Your Book
      EXCERPT: Two mornings later, Sofia was still on the couch, un-showered. But she knew that she would finally have to face Earl. She decided to wait to peel herself off the couch until the evening, when she knew Earl would be home from work. As she was leaving her parents’ house, she was filled with terror and deep sadness. She had not had an appetite for the past few days, but she still felt like throwing up. It was not food she wanted to expel from her body; it was the gravity of such a moment. It was grander than her. She was about to confront her husband and then change the fate of her marriage. She had reached a fork in her destiny and it was not the road she had anticipated walking on when she eagerly and happily said her vows on her wedding day. As she drove to her house, she thought about the pledge two people make to each other as they stand before a group of loved ones. They pledge to stand by each other through sickness and health, through better or worse, ‘til death do they part. Sofia reasoned to herself that she had stayed with her husband through his sickness. She had not left him as he was battling addiction. She had stayed with him while it got worse, and the love had weakened to a thin thread. She had stayed with him even though at times, she did not recognize the person he had become. But the vows do not say anything about staying together through betrayal. And this was not betrayal such as adultery. If it had been adultery, the situation would be a matter between the two of them. She would have questioned what happened that would have led her husband to find romance and love outside of her. But Earl’s betrayal was different. It involved not just her, but three other people. And it was not just random people he had betrayed. It was the three people in this world who meant the absolute most to his wife. It was the family that had nurtured her with unwavering strength all her life, and had supported him with unwavering care. She parked the car outside instead of going into the garage. She felt frozen. She wanted to crawl under the seat, roll into a tiny ball and cry her eyes out. Her heart began beating so hard she was afraid it was going to give her a panic attack to the point of paralysis. Taking deep breaths while gripping her steering wheel with both hands, she tried to calm her breathing. As soon as she felt her pulse calm just a little, she grabbed the keys out of the ignition, opened the car door and headed for her house before she felt too overwhelmed to move again. She opened the front door and gasped in astonishment when she saw Earl standing there, as if he was waiting for her. She did not know what to say. They stood there, staring at each other. Something told her he knew why she had disappeared and what was about to take place. Yet she could not do it. She could not bring herself to talk about what had happened. She was afraid he would lie to her, which would crush her even more. So instead of saying anything, she lowered her head, and marched up the stairs to begin collecting her belongings. Sofia was in the closet for over fifteen minutes, packing her suitcases, before Earl walked in. He just stood there. Neither of them knew what to say. She had prepared herself for a fight, for yelling and tears and accusations; not for silence. Finally, Sofia wondered, Does he have anything to say? Should I ask him if he has anything to say? Should I ask him why? What if my family is going to want answers when they see me? But she could not bring herself to speak a word. The quietude surrounding them in the walk-in closet of their bedroom marked the reality of the turn of the events in their marriage. It was too grave for words; too heavy for discussion. She never thought this was the way it would end. It was shocking. And she could not bring herself to verbally tell the man she had loved so deeply and so dearly that she was filing for divorce. That one simple word had so much pain and loss behind it, she could not bring it to her lips. It was wavering through her heart and her spirit, which was enough. As she continued packing, she saw Earl sit on the edge of their bed, head hung low. She wondered if it was in shame. She wondered if he knew she was leaving for good; that this was a divorce and not time apart. She wondered if he knew that his life was changing as much as hers. He was so quiet, she wondered if he even cared. Did he not want to talk to her? Did he want all of this to happen? What if this was all part of another grander scheme to get her to leave his life altogether? The wordlessness between them was turning eerie. At first, she was numb to it because she did not have the strength or energy to tell her husband how disgusting she thought he was and how much pain he had inflicted on her family. She did not have the courage to say the word “divorce”, afraid she would become hysterical. But why was he not uttering a word? Did he not want to salvage any part of their relationship? Had he been waiting for this day to come? Did he not love her one bit anymore? Did he despise her? Was he happy to see her packing her bags? Instead of packing with a vengeance, she moved slower, as if buying time might open Earl’s mouth. Finally, Sofia’s three suitcases were packed. Earl was still sitting on the bed, staring at the ground, without speaking a word. She hauled the suitcases one by one down the stairs and placed them in her car. She thought that she was probably involved in the quietest divorce in history. Was it even possible for the collapse of two lives to occur without a word? She knew the actions were enough to speak volumes, but she was dumbfounded by the smoothness of her leaving Earl and the life they had shared in their home. But she decided she was not going to leave things lingering. Having put the final suitcase into her car, she marched back into her house and up the stairs. Earl had not moved from his position on the bed. “Earl,” she began, voice quivering. She took a deep breath to steady herself as he looked up and into her eyes. “I think you know why I’ve packed. I want to inform you that this is not a separation. I am filing for divorce.” She was sobbing uncontrollably, standing in the doorway of their bedroom. Pain from her heart gushed all over her body. She felt a part of her was dying as she stood there uttering those words to the man she had shared so much with. Her knees were giving out on her, but she forced herself to stand tall before him. Through her own watery eyes, she could see tears rolling down Earl’s cheeks as well. He remained quiet, but his tears came down faster than hers.

      Let Me Go

      Archie Sheridan has an upcoming birthday. What better way to celebrate than with friends and family. Only Archie has to work. He acts as recon to find out if Susan’s boyfriend and undercover agent, Leo is alive. Archie attends Jack Reynold’s masquerade party on All Hallow’s Eve. This night will be sure to bring out all of the crazies. The biggest crazy of them all…Gretchen. She is back.

      Let Me Go is the latest Gretchen and Archie novel. Gretchen is still on the loose after escaping the mental hospital in the prior novel, Kill You Twice. However in good fashion, she does make an appearance in this book. Only most of her presence is felt from the past. Which I admit from the beginning I did not make this connection. I was thinking it was current events that had Archie and Gretchen together again.

      I knew these two’s relationship was on a different level. One that was twisted and sick in many ways. However I did not realize how much so it was in the bedroom until this book. Even though it was sick in a fascinating way I was glad to have Gretchen back in any fashion in this book. So much so that I do believe she will be back even if the ending of this book may try to say otherwise.

      As far as the rest of the book went it was fine. It was great to see all of the regulars again. Susan is getting tougher with each book. She is my second favorite female. There was not a lot of gore in this book. It was more on the psychological side.

      Winds of Salem

      Freya, Ingrid, and their mother saved their town and were reunited with their father and Freya’s twin brother. However before the family can rejoice in a happy family reunion they must rescue Freya. Freya was transported back in time. A time when witch trials were a big thing. If Ingrid and her family can not find a way to save Freya, she will not survive to the present time again.
      Winds of Salem is the latest book in the Witches of East End series. I have enjoyed reading these books and the Beauchamp family. I like Freya and Ingrid both equally for different reasons. Ingrid because she is like me…quiet, level headed, and has a big heart.
      Whereas Freya is wild and at times I can be a wild child as well. I liked that this story was more focused on Freya this time. However I did feel like the story was more developed during Freya’s moments than the rest of the book. I found Ingrid to be dull and even with the appearance of Freya’s twin brother, Freddie, he could not peak my interest either. The story was steady until the last half and than it did pick up some. The ending was good. Overall not my favorite of the books in this series but still a good read. I can not wait to see the television series based on these books. A good choice to base a series on.

      Thursday, August 8, 2013

      The Controlled Blog Tour Continues

      About the Book:

      Sarah Ruiz thought she had it all – until someone entered her life who was hell-bent on destroying her.

      Sarah Ruiz is a business owner, a fitness trainer and a mom. Married to the ever-so-charming and wealthy Alex Ruiz, Sarah appears to have the perfect life. But behind closed doors, he revealed a side of himself that destroyed her love for him. With five beautiful children and unable to leave her situation, Sarah knows she must make changes.

      Sarah’s journey to freedom take a turn when a man, Gabe Benoit, promises to help her. Thus starts a whirlwind of romance, intrigue, seduction, blackmail and manipulation. No matter which way Sarah turns, she is backed into a corner before she can even realize it. When she finally has promise of a better future, she must use every ounce of her strength to work her way through the web of lies and find truth on her journey to independence.

      Purchase The Controlled at AMAZON.

      Title: The Controlled

      Author: Becky Komant

      Publisher: BK Press

      Pages: 292

      Language: English

      ISBN-10: 099181150X

      ISBN-13: 978-0991811502

      Sarah Ruiz thought she had it all – until someone entered her life who was hell-bent on destroying her.

      Sarah Ruiz is a business owner, a fitness trainer and a mom. Married to the ever-so-charming and wealthy Alex Ruiz, Sarah appears to have the perfect life. But behind closed doors, he revealed a side of himself that destroyed her love for him. With five beautiful children and unable to leave her situation, Sarah knows she must make changes.

      Sarah’s journey to freedom take a turn when a man, Gabe Benoit, promises to help her. Thus starts a whirlwind of romance, intrigue, seduction, blackmail and manipulation. No matter which way Sarah turns, she is backed into a corner before she can even realize it. When she finally has promise of a better future, she must use every ounce of her strength to work her way through the web of lies and find truth on her journey to independence.

      First Chapter:


      Sarah bit her lip to keep from moaning. As the elevator rose, the motion of Alex’s hand got faster and faster. As soon as the doors had closed, Sarah felt his hand slide underneath her skirt. The bellhop’s back was to them, and he didn’t notice as Alex cupped her from behind and let the tips of his fingers stroke her.

      As soon as she saw The James Hotel, Sarah was overwhelmed with excitement of not only a fabulous New York holiday but also a lifetime of taking trips like this with her dashing husband. People treated him like royalty. Whether it was his striking Cuban good looks or the aura that surrounded him, he commanded attention, without having to say a word. Now, as he worked magic between her legs, she knew he had command over her, too.

      When the elevator came to a halt at the top floor where The Presidential Suite awaited them, he removed his hand as quickly as he had inserted it, leaving her wet and ready to do anything and everything he wanted.

      The bellhop left the luggage cart outside the door and tipped his cap to Alex, who handed him a folded bill. The door had a numbered lock, and Alex quickly punched in the code. Sarah was dying to have a peek inside.
      “Wow!” she said softly as she looked around. In the center of the room, a large leather sofa faced a lit fireplace. A white shag throw rug sprawled on the floor in front of it. Large, red floor pillows beckoned her to come and stretch out in front of the flame.

      A door to the left was slightly open, and Sarah guessed that was the way to the bedroom. To the right was a bar and kitchenette. She lay down in front of the fireplace on one of the pillows while Alex brought in the bags. He peeked briefly into the bedroom and then came and stood over her.

      Oh no you don’t. Come with me this way,” he said. He reached down, grabbed her hand and brought her to her feet.

      “Can’t we lay in front of the fire?” Sarah asked. Despite her attraction to the plush carpet and warm blaze, she allowed him to lead her into the bedroom.

      Sitting on top of the thick satin comforter was a woman in a see-through purple and black negligee. The lace didn’t quite cover the tops of her thighs, and her long, dark hair fell behind her on a pillow. Her legs were quite long. She had them extended and crossed at the ankle. She sat with her back against the headboard and casually sipped a glass of champagne.

      A tray perched next to the bed held two more champagne glasses, a large bowl of raspberries, a dish of fresh whipped cream, and the most luscious chocolate mousse Sarah had ever seen.

      Sarah glanced at it all, then looked back at the woman in their bed. Her bed. Shit! Sarah could see her pussy. What the hell is this? she wondered.

      “Hello, Victoria,” Alex said.

      Victoria smiled and raised her champagne glass in a toast. “Hi, Alex. Hi, Sarah,” she said.

      “Who is this?” Sarah looked at Alex. Her confusion turned into a scowl on her beautiful face.

      “This is your surprise,” Alex said with a Cheshire Cat grin.

      “I’m not sure I understand.”

      Alex turned to Sarah. He grabbed the front of her blouse and ripped it open. He put one hand behind her head and pulled her face to his. He kissed her hard.

      Sarah, her desire for him already hot from the elevator ride, kissed him back. Then she pulled away.

      “Wait. What is this?” she asked again.

      “This,” Alex said eagerly as he removed his pants, “is going to be amazing.”

      His cock was sticking straight up already. He reached again for Sarah. “Baby, make love to me with Victoria here. Let her help us have a great time.”

      He kissed Sarah’s neck and shoulders. She tried to process this. He wanted them all to make love?

      “I thought we already had a great time together,” Sarah said.

      Alex lifted his face to her and looked her in the eye. He cradled her face between his hands and kissed the tip of her nose.

      “Of course we do, baby, but this is an experience that will take our fucking to the next level. I promise, you’ll love it. We’ll be gentle with you, won’t we, Vic?”

      Sarah let her eyes wander to the bed, where Victoria still sipped her champagne. What were they going to do? She wondered if anyone she knew had done this kind of thing before. Is this how rich people live?

      Sarah looked back at Alex. “Is this what you want?”

      Alex laughed softly. “Oh, baby, you have no idea. Do this with me. You’re so sexy.”

      Sarah’s head was a little fuzzy from the wine she had enjoyed on the plane. She said, “I’ll be right back,” and went back into the living room of the suite. She walked over to the bar and grabbed a bottle of Jack from the shelf. She twisted off the plastic cap and took a long swig. It burned her throat as she swallowed. She caught her reflection in a mirror above the bar.

      “You can do this,” she said to herself. “He is your husband. This is what he wants, so it must be OK.” She wasn’t convinced that it was OK, but her pep talk and the booze gave her the strength to see what awaited her in the bedroom.

      Alex was lying naked on the bed next to Victoria. They were close, but not touching one another. Sarah still wore her ripped-open blouse and skirt.

      “Strip for me, baby,” Alex said.

      Sarah slowly removed her blouse and freed her breasts from the constraint of her bra. She slid her skirt and panties down together. She had no self-consciousness about her body—but she could feel Alex’s eyes burning with passion as he looked at her fresh Brazilian wax.

      “You’re beautiful,” he said. “Come here.”

      She crawled onto the bed from the foot and slowly made her way toward him, avoiding Victoria’s legs. Victoria got up from the bed and picked up the bowl of raspberries.

      “You’re going to let me have my way with you, right?” Alex said. It wasn’t really a question.

      Sarah nodded. She had a lump in her throat and was quite sure she couldn’t speak.

      Alex flipped her over so she was on her back, lying sideways across the bed. Her head was near where Victoria stood.

      Victoria picked up one of the raspberries and dipped it in the whipped cream. She placed it lightly on one of Sarah’s nipples and gently traced the dark circle, leaving a trail of white. The raspberry was cold, and Sarah sucked in her breath. The feeling was amazingly sensual. Victoria dipped the raspberry again and repeated the process on the other breast. She looked Sarah in the eye and licked the raspberry before putting it into her own mouth.

      Then she took another raspberry between her fingers and, with the touch of a feather, traced Sarah’s lips. She pushed the berry into Sarah’s mouth and let her finger slip briefly inside, too. Almost involuntarily, Sarah sucked on the woman’s finger.

      Am I really doing this? she wondered.

      Alex held his cock and began to stroke himself. Victoria leaned over and began to lick the whipped cream from Sarah’s nipples. Sarah lay there, not sure what to do next.

      As if reading her mind, Alex said, “Put your hands on Victoria’s back.”

      Sarah raised her arms and placed them onto Victoria’s back, and ever so softly moved her hands across the material.

      They stayed like that for a minute, with Victoria licking and sucking Sarah’s nipples—until Alex said, “My turn, ladies,” and climbed onto the bed. Victoria stood up and poured herself more champagne.

      Alex placed his hands on Sarah’s hips and lifted her on top of his cock, which was harder and longer than Sarah ever remembered it being. Sarah straddled him and slowly slid down.

      “Stay right there, baby,” he said to Sarah. Victoria was waiting patiently, having removed her lingerie. He reached up and took Victoria’s hand, inviting her to join them. Without hesitation she placed her legs on either side of Alex’s head and lowered herself onto his hungry tongue.

      Sarah and Victoria were now eye to eye, facing each other atop Sarah’s husband.

      This is fucked up, Sarah thought.

      She arched a suspicious eyebrow at Victoria, who simply smiled back at her. It wasn’t a challenge—she actually looked like a kind woman. That thought made Sarah give her head a shake, and she closed her eyes. She began to rotate her hips in large, leisurely circles on top of Alex, pressing herself hard onto him as she moved. Gyrating like this always brought her to orgasm, and there was no way she was going to go through this night and not allow herself that pleasure.

      At some point they shifted positions and Sarah once again found herself supine. Alex was on top of her, driving his hard cock into her with the force of a jackhammer. Victoria went back to playing with Sarah’s breasts, taking breaks to pour champagne into Sarah’s mouth from time to time. Sarah appreciated the fact that Victoria did not try to climb on top of her face the way she had done to Alex. Sarah had no desire to go there.

      Victoria delicately placed two raspberries into Sarah’s mouth and whispered, “Don’t eat them.”

      She then covered Sarah’s mouth with her own. Using her tongue, she tried to take the raspberries back. They began a wet, slurpy game and, as the champagne and Jack Daniel’s kicked in, Sarah soon found herself in a tantalizing blur of sex and lips and breasts and bodies.

      They continued for what seemed like hours. Sarah fought to keep her eyes open as exhaustion overtook her. She vaguely recalled Victoria getting out of the bed and retrieving clothes from a small duffel bag. The last thing Sarah remembered before drifting off to sleep was seeing Victoria pick up a wad of cash from the dresser as she exited the room.

      The next morning, Sarah’s head ached with the throb of a hangover—the kind of hangover in which you wonder if the memories flashing through your mind are really of yourself or from a movie you once saw.

      Alex was still asleep. She lay there for a full twenty minutes after waking, not wanting to move so he didn’t stir. She slowly got out of bed and tiptoed to the bathroom. She felt sticky and dirty. The showerhead was strong, and as she lathered the soap over her body her head began to clear and questions flooded her mind.

      How many times had Alex and Victoria been together?

      Was she a... prostitute?

      Most frightening to her was, Is this what married couples do?

      She didn’t like the sadness that permeated her insides or the idea that her love wasn’t enough for him. He said it himself: “Let her help us have a great time.”

      She brushed her teeth and studied herself in the mirror. Did she look different now that she was experienced in threesome sex? She didn’t think so. If anything, she looked too young and innocent to know so much about what happens behind the closed doors of The Presidential Suite in New York.

      She could hear Alex talking to someone and prayed to God that Victoria wasn’t back. She strained her ears and mercifully heard the hotel room door close and the voices stop. She left the bathroom.

      “So did you have fun?” Alex asked her. He offered her a cup of coffee from the food cart brought up by room service.

      “Um, did you have fun?” she asked right back.

      “Oh, yes. I love you so much. Thank you for being open. I hope it was good for you,” Alex said. He untied his robe and she could see his manhood sticking up again, ready for another round. She felt awful. Yet she wanted to make him happy.

      “Alex, why did you marry me?” Sarah asked.

      “Why would you ask that?” he said. He took her coffee from her and guided her to the bed. He laid her backward tenderly, one hand behind her head as the other slid up into her robe and came to rest in the space between her breasts.

      “I love you,” he said, as his mouth engulfed her own. He kissed her long and hard, languidly moving his tongue around her mouth as his hand massaged her chest.

      She kissed him back, feeling her own desire for him grow. She allowed him to remove her robe, and his own, and they spent a long morning making love over every inch of the king-sized bed.

      Sarah traced her finger along Alex’s chest, resting and thinking about Victoria.

      “Have you ever done that before?” she asked.

      “Done what? Made love? Of course,” he joked.

      “No. I meant, with two other women.”

      “Once,” he said. “It was a long time ago.”

      “Did you enjoy it then?” Sarah asked, although she figured she knew the answer.

      “Actually it was the worst night of my life,” Alex confessed.


      “It was the night my mother died,” he said. Sarah was quiet. The air was heavy, and she felt his body stiffen.

      “Would you tell me what happened?” she finally asked.

      “One night, I was out at a club and picked up a couple of women. I was eighteen, had a lot of money, we had been drinking, and I actually recall very little of what went on in the back of my car.” Alex began.

      “Was this in Cuba?” Sarah asked.

      “Yes. I arrived home feeling like a champion. But when I walked in the kitchen, my mother was in a heap on the floor. I rushed to her side. ‘Mama, what happened? What is it?’ I asked. She leaned into me and sobbed. She was out of control. I just held her. I didn’t know what else to do. Then I heard my father’s voice.

      “‘It’s Tomas,’ he said.

      “‘What do you mean? Papa, what happened?’ I asked him.

      “Papa stood and motioned for me to follow. I stood up, but Mama grabbed my leg and dug her nails into my skin.

      “She screamed at me, ‘Please do not let them hurt Tomas. Please.’

      “‘Why would they hurt Tomas?’ I asked her, but she didn’t answer.

      “‘Alejandro! Vamos!’ Papa yelled. He was so angry.”

      Sarah glanced at his face. She could tell that the memory of his father’s anger still stung. His eyes were focused out the window, perhaps picturing the scene he carried in his head.

      “I looked back at Mama, who was face down on the kitchen floor. I wanted to stay with her, but knew I had to go with my father.

      “We got into the car drove into the night. Papa didn’t say a word. My stomach shriveled when I recognized where we were going. There was a car waiting. It was night, but I knew the two men who were standing on the cliff. There was a third figure kneeling between them. He had a black cloth sack over his head, and as we approached I recognized the shirt the man was wearing. It was my brother Tomas.”

      Alex paused again and Sarah held her breath, not wanting to move for fear he would stop telling the story. Alex coughed lightly then continued.

      “I looked at Papa. I am sure my eyes glowed with fear. Papa shook his finger at me, ‘Not a word,’ he said.

      “‘But, Papa,’ I whispered.

      “Papa turned to me and grabbed the front of my shirt. He shook me hard. ‘Tomas stole one million American dollars from the cartel. They caught him trying to escape. You and I are here to witness what must take place. We cannot fight it or else all of us will be brought to the same end. Do you hear me? You, me, your sisters, your other brothers, Mama. All of us. He has shamed us all and we must comply. Not. A. Word.’

      “I saw something I had never seen before in my father. Terror. I hated him in that moment. I hated what was coming. I hated the powerlessness to save my brother’s life. My father worked for the cartel. There was nothing we could do. The rest was a blur to me.

      “I saw the men fling Tomas from the top of the cliff.

      “I saw the Cuban night pass by as I stared out the window on the drive home.

      “But then, the worst of all, I saw my mother’s lifeless body, hanging from the rafter in the kitchen when we got home.”

      Alex stopped speaking. Sarah sat up and looked at him.

      “I’m sorry,” she said. She knew those two words couldn’t possibly be enough.

      Alex pursed his lips and shook off his emotions. “I left Cuba, determined to start a new life here. One that wasn’t controlled by anyone.”

      Sarah wiped her eyes with the edge of the sheet. She noticed Alex’s eyes were dry. The clouded look passed and he reached for her again. “I never told anyone that story,” he said.

      “Thank you for telling me,” she said softly, stroking his cheek. She didn’t like the threesome and the way she felt inside as she thought about it, but she had a surge of compassion for this man she married. She sensed that he had been through much more than he told her, and she hoped it would work itself out in time.

      The raw sexual pull between Sarah and Alex was unlike anything she’d ever experienced. The animalistic hunger that seeped from him made her desire and fear him at the same time. He was insatiable in bed—always wanting more. She’d never known any man who could get so hard so quickly, and every night she fell asleep spent.

      Feelings of shame from the encounter with Victoria lingered. Just when she thought they were gone, she’d recall something that happened that night with a pang in her heart. And if the memories didn’t come back on their own, Alex was sure to relive it for her.

      “Oh, baby, remember how great it felt to have me pound your pussy while Victoria licked your hot breasts?” he would ask gruffly while they were in bed. It jarred her from any pleasure she might have been feeling and instantly draped a shroud over her heart.

      The third time he brought it up, she happened to be looking at his face as he said it. His eyes were closed, and his mouth twisted into a grimace. Sarah realized he was saying that for his own benefit—to draw himself back to that moment in that room—and the thought turned her stomach. Who was he thinking about when he came inside of me?

      She tried to be the perfect wife. She wanted him to see that she could fix the wounds his brother’s betrayal had seared onto his heart. A natural first step, she thought, was to begin a family of their own. She loved children and knew that once he had his own little ones who needed him he’d feel complete.

      Three months into her pregnancy with Enrico (or Eric, as they called him), her hopes for a utopian life hit a brick wall. Sarah went up to Fort Lauderdale to shop for baby clothes. She hadn’t told Alex where she was going, hoping to surprise him with the cutest little football jersey ever made. Alex, however, didn’t find it cute.

      When she got home, she found him in the kitchen, pacing. He fumed that she had gone out for the day without telling him where she was going.

      He raised his voice, yelled some things at her in Spanish, and before she could process the magnitude of his anger, she felt the crack of the back of his hand across her soft cheek. She sank down to her knees on the tile of their perfect kitchen. She raised her eyes to him, one hand holding her cheek and the other protectively on her stomach. The look on his face frightened her so much, she thought she would vomit.

      Then she did vomit.

      She remained on her hands and knees. He didn’t move, except to inch backward from the puddle. She stared at her fingers as he spat the words for the first time: “You have nothing without me. ”

      She continued to stare at her hands, not wanting to give him the satisfaction of seeing her cry. “Why would you do that to me?” she wondered aloud.

      “This is my house. If you don’t like it, you know where the door is.” He turned on his heel and left for the evening.

      He didn’t bring up Fort Lauderdale again, but that incident was the beginning of a new pattern. Each time Sarah caught a glimpse of the life she dreamed of, cruel words and an occasional backhand buried her dream deeper and deeper into the Miami sand.

      Following one such instance, she mentioned leaving him. His laughter was laced with hatred.

      “Really? And just where would you go?” He shook his head, laughed again, and went out to one of his clubs. She felt like a child who threatened to run away.

      The birth of Enrico brought them together for a time. Alex took great pride in his new son, and Sarah and Enrico were inseparable. His smile filled her with such happiness that before long she was pregnant again. The rest of the kids came closely together—four pregnancies, five children. Her final pregnancy delivered twins, a boy and a girl.

      Sarah’s life became all about juggling children and managing Alex’s moods. She came to recognize when Alex’s demeanor was darkening and would be on alert against sending him over the edge. Even so, Alex’s harsh words and rough nature pervaded even the parts of their relationship that were supposed to be the most gentle and intimate.

      One morning, shortly after the twins turned two, Alex told her to pack a bag.

      “Why?” Sarah asked.

      “We’ve got tickets to see Holyfield fight Bates tomorrow night in Dallas. We’re taking a private jet with some business associates of mine. I need you to look real nice. Go get a dress.”

      She grabbed her purse and car keys and headed for The Chanel Store. She made a couple of selections and took them to the fitting room.

      The first dress was an exquisite one-shoulder gown that fell above her knees. The silk hugged her curves perfectly. Lead-colored sequins twinkled like stars across her body.

      Any woman would have been damn proud to carry her figure, but Sarah placed a hand on her stomach and sighed. It wasn’t as tight as it used to be. Head tilted, she stared at her arms, her legs. She turned to see how she looked from behind. She leaned in close and studied the face of the woman whose eyes looked back at her.

      “Dammit!” she said finally to the woman in the mirror. One word came to mind. Tired. Her body, her eyes, even her hair, looked tired.

      Later in life, Sarah would recall that moment with startling clarity. The moment she knew that if things were ever going to be different, something needed to change. Alex was a good provider—actually, he was a great provider—for his family. When he was calm, they had seemingly normal, fun family times. Yet the volatility of his personality and the disgust she felt each time he brought up the threesome stayed with her. Tenderness had melted away from their lovemaking and she felt dirty after each time. His crude sexual remarks weighed on her soul like sandbags and were starting to noticeably wear on her physical appearance.

      “No more,” Sarah said to herself. She knew then that she was not going to be one of those moms who used her kids as an excuse for why her body and life weren’t how they should be. That wasn’t fair to the kids or to herself. She knew what she needed to do, and she was determined that nothing would stand in her way.

      That weekend, Divine Providence gave her plan an opening. One of the guys traveling with them was a fitness trainer.

      “Can you train me?” she asked him outright, after they had chatted for a while.

      “Excuse me?” he said with surprise. “You want to start training?”

      “No, I am going to start training. I need a coach. Would you train me?”

      “All right,” he said cautiously. “When do you want to begin?”

      “As soon as we get home,” she said. “I’m not waiting any longer.

      The decision to put less energy into trying to make Alex happy, and more toward training and to her children, ignited her spirit. She knew she would get her body in incredible shape and use her nutrition knowledge to begin her own business, one that would eventually support herself and the kids.
      Her muscles remembered well the form they had before her pregnancies, and it wasn’t long before she was in extraordinary condition.

      She trained with the guy from the fight for a few months, then left him for someone who was a better fit with her own philosophies toward fitness. She believed strongly in getting fit using a combination of natural ingredients, clean eating habits, and hard work. With encouragement from friends at the gym, she began competing in fitness modeling competitions. Certifications in personal training and sports nutrition allowed her to formally start training clients herself, and she developed a small, but impressive private client base that included a few professional athletes.

      Alex was enthusiastic about her training and showed her off to his friends and business connections. Alex saw her achievements as his success. Behind closed doors, he took every opportunity to remind her that without him she wouldn’t be able to afford the trainer, the trips to competitions, or the gym that he had built at their home so that she could see clients. He also continued to take every opportunity to make her feel like nothing more than a sex object—at his beck and call whenever he got hard, which was constantly.

      The more clients she gained, the more she knew she could not risk her industry reputation by having Alex throw her out. She was caged.

      The Controlled Tour Page:

      About the Author

      Becky Komant was born and raised in beautiful Kelowna, British Columbia. Spending most of her childhood years outdoors and playing sports, Becky’s passion for fitness was ignited. Working at a gym at the age of 16, she then went on to an advertising position at a local newspaper following high school. Soon after, Becky started her family and wanted to be more involved with her children. It was then that Becky followed her passion and founded a successful private training studio. Realizing that being a trainer was much more than just helping people physically, this lead her in the direction of becoming a certified life coach. Because of her fitness and life coaching career, Becky always envisioned writing a book. Overtime and thought, it evolved into her first novel, The Controlled. With more writing on the horizon, she hopes to inspire others on many levels. Becky continues to reside in Kelowna with her family.

      Learn more about Becky at