Friday, 23 June 2017

Survive By The Team (Team Fear) By Cindy Skaggs

Survive By The Team Series: Team Fear #3 by Cindy Skaggs

  Title: Survive By The Team Series: Team Fear #3
By: Cindy Skaggs
Publication Date: June 23, 2017
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Cover Designer: Mayhem Cover Creations
#survivebytheteamreveal
The wild ride continues in this highly addictive series. Mandi Gault never met a man brave enough to openly date a mortician, so when a good-looking man with twelve-pack abs invites her to dinner, she's not asking any questions. Too bad he's trying to kill her. Danny Gault died in a conspiracy threatening Team Fear--his defunct military team--so when Gault's sister winds up in the hospital, former teammate Dean Stills is forced to leave the safety of the team's compound. He recognizes her attacker as a member of a rogue military unit with orders to eliminate Team Fear. Now they're on the run while they unravel why Team Echo wants her dead. As the danger escalates, they share a wild night of down and dirty fun that would put a blush on a corpse, but Stills made it clear it was one and done. Now he must decide if he's brave enough to forget about vengeance and live. Military trained, medically enhanced, designed to kill. The surviving members of Team Fear are out of the military and in a world of secrets, lies, and cover-ups in this fast-paced romantic suspense series by Cindy Skaggs.
Pre-Order Your Copy Today!
Team Fear #1
Team Fear #2
Her socks snagged on the raw floorboards as she followed. “Are you sure you don’t feel fear?”
“Absolutely.”
“Then why are you backing away from me?”
Hell if he knew. He’d been dying to touch her. Taste her. Dead center of the attic, he stopped and she walked straight into him. Her body was flush against his. Her curves turned his mind to mush. Doing the right thing no longer mattered.
He cupped her neck. So fragile.
He rubbed a knuckle along her jawline. So soft.
“This is a mistake,” he warned. The flutter of her pulse beat against his hands.
“If we’re going to make a mistake,” she said, lifting onto her tiptoes, “better make it a good one.”
“Hell yeah.” That was a philosophy he could get behind. It was too late to keep things platonic, but she needed to understand what she was getting into. Bracing a hand on either side of her face, he forced her to look at him. “I set the pace. I lead.”
She swallowed. “Is there any other way?”
“Not with me.”
Cindy Skaggs grew up on stories of mob bosses, horse thieves, cold-blooded killers, and the last honest man. Those mostly true stories gave her a lifelong love of storytelling and heroes. Her search for story took her around the world with the Air Force before returning to Colorado. Now she’s turning her lifelong love of storytelling into a career she loves. She has an MA in Creative Writing, three jobs, two kids, and more pets than she can possibly handle. She also plays the flute, makes crazy-good sculptures out of tortilla dough, and can wrangle the neurotic dog without getting mauled. Find her as Cindy Skaggs, Writer on Facebook, @CLSkaggs on Twitter, or www.CSkaggs.com to sign up for her newsletter.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

AJ Adams interview with Samantha MacLeod, author of Death And Beauty

Death and Beauty
by Samantha MacLeod
98 pages

Samantha MacLeod began publishing in September 2016. Since then, she has produced one novel, two novellas, and one short story.

AJ & Storm: What tags best describe your genre?
Samantha: Erotic fantasy romance inspired by Norse mythology.

AJ & Storm: What did you love most about your most recent story? 
Samantha: My first novel, The Trickster's Lover, takes place mostly in the real, modern world (Hyde Park, Chicago, to be exact). One of the things I loved about writing Death and Beauty was the opportunity to create an entirely fantastical world, although it was a bit of a challenge to make sure the world stayed consistent!

I also got the chance to re-connect with some characters at different points in their timelines. Loki, the Norse god and romantic interest in The Trickster's Lover, shows up in Death and Beauty. It was really interesting to visit him again, at a much earlier time in his life.

And I fell in love with my characters! Hel, the half-living and half-dead queen of the realm of inglorious dead, was an absolute blast to write. She's such an intriguing combination of bad ass and vulnerable; she might be my new favorite.

AJ & Storm: What do you hope to achieve in terms of your writing career?
Samantha: Fame and fortune, right? ;)

Honestly, I know it's crazy, but I'd love to reach the point where my writing career is self-sustaining. Ideally, I'd like to be able to drop a few of the part-time jobs I'm doing right now.

Of course, you're crazy if you get into writing for the money! I've always wanted to be a writer, and it's so rewarding to put effort into a story and then share it with the world. Emails and reviews from readers who enjoyed my work are what truly motivates me.


AJ & Storm: What's the most challenging thing about writing? How do you cope?
Samantha: I'm sure every writer has moments when they wonder if they're wasting their time, or if anyone is actually going to like what they're creating, or even if literature has the power to convey truths about human existence.

For me, it's often liberating to remind myself that writing is a choice. I can choose to pick it up and keep working, or I can choose to walk away. Once I give myself that level of control, it's usually easier to put my shoulder to the wheel.

It's also really helpful to take breaks. I tend to push myself pretty hard, and I have a serious perfectionist streak (in my writing that is - my house is a freaking mess). When I start to question the value of literature, it's usually time to have a glass of wine and take a day or two off.

AJ & Storm: Tell us your best marketing tip!
Samantha: Marketing is such a challenge!

The only marketing advice I've found particularly helpful (and I've read a LOT of marketing advice) is that personal relationships matter. So I try to be accessible on all the social media, and I stay in touch with my readers. I try to post to my blog at least twice a week, and I send out at least one newsletter a month, usually with a giveaway or contest for my readers.

But I'll be honest - if there's a secret to marketing out there, I haven't discovered it yet…

AJ & Storm: Give us a tip about finding, managing and connecting with reviewers!
Samantha: Great question!

My reviewers all come from different places. I have a reviewer who liked a Tweet of mine about a year ago, and I have a reviewer who won a free paperback in one of my contests. Several of my Death and Beauty reviewers came from a form I posted to Facebook, and I met one of reviewers at toddler story time at the local library!

So I'm always open to meeting new reviewers, and I'll offer an ARC to anyone who expresses an interest! :)


Buy Links


Stalker Links

Monday, 19 June 2017

London Moon (The Kloe & Gavin Adventures Book 2) by Sondra Hicks


London Moon (The Kloe & Gavin Adventures Book 2)
by Sondra Hicks
On Amazon
128 Pages
99 cents on Preorder!

Blurb
When they got to the hotel Kloe grabbed a phone book and began looking up blood banks. She was feeling in the need of a drink. It was important to set this up for their trip here. She found one locally and called. She got their hours and the exact location. She grabbed her purse and told Gavin she would be back. She walked the short distance and walked inside. She was welcomed by the receptionist.
“May I help you?” The receptionist asked.
“Yes I am here to see the director,” Kloe told her.
“Do you have an appointment?” She asked.
“No but its rather urgent matter,” Kloe told her.
“What’s your name?” She asked.
“Kloe Rice.” Kloe told her.
The receptionist went back to the phone and called the director. She told him Kloe Rice was here to see him.
“I’m sorry Mrs. Rice but he is rather busy. Could I make you an appointment?” She asked.
Kloe looked her straight in the eyes and told her,
“You will allow me back into the director’s office. Ignore any sounds coming from his office or any calls for security. Am I understood?” Kloe told her.
“Mrs. Rice the director will see you. It’s the second door on the right.” The receptionist said. Before sitting down looking dazed.
Kloe hurried to the office. She hated doing that but this was important. She didn’t want to make waves. A little mind trick would work. She opened the Directors' door and entered. Shutting it behind her.
“Excuse me who are you?” The Director shouted.
“I am Mrs. Rice. I am here to offer a deal.” Kloe told him.
“A deal? What are you? The devil?” The Director said going for his phone.

Links

Author Bio
Sondra Hicks grew up reading many vampire stories like most children. She wrote her first vampire fantasy novel which she turned into a trilogy. She began The Kloe & Gavin Adventures Series as a tribute to the fans of that trilogy who wanted more still. She has built a growing reader base with the paranormal thriller series and is known to enjoy talking with readers. She is always hard at work writing the next novel as she loves creating the world’s for her readers. She currently resides in Olympia, Washington and has a German Shepard and two cats. When she finds time she is found reading a good book. Visit her website at www.sondrahicks.com

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Unbroken by Riley Edwards

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       ✿ ҉ ✿ NEW RELEASE ✿ ҉ ✿
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•´¯`·.·✿ Unbroken Part 2 ✿ ·.·´¯`·•
A second chance at love story - Episode 6
by Riley Edwards

Reid has made it clear that he is all in. Proving yet again, he will go to great lengths to secure not only my happiness but my safety as well.

Once Reid saves me from a deranged lunatic, I vow to change my life. I promise to stop living my life in the shadow of grief and allow joy and love to mend the pieces of my broken heart back together.

This is our story. How one man can bring you out of the darkness and into the light. Turn your bland colorless world into vivid technicolor.

Our journey wasn’t easy. It was full of twists and turns. Tragedy after tragedy tried to break us. Only, this time I proved with Reid by my side I was stronger than ever.

I have come full circle, I am UNBROKEN.
Excerpt:
“Life is short. It can be taken from you in seconds. I am done living in fear. I am done being a bystander in my own life. I am just plain old done. I am telling you that to tell you this… I am ready for you Logan Reid. I cannot promise I won’t screw up. I cannot promise I won’t try and run. But, I am counting on you not to let me go. I will hold on as tight as I can if you promise when my grip slips you’ll be strong enough to hold on for both of us.”
This is the conclusion of Reid and Ava.
Warning: mild violence, graphic sexual content, language that can only be described as foul. And a bunch of Alpha type men.

Amazon US:http://amzn.to/2rKnMXf




Hey everyone. *waves* For those of you who are new to me my name is Riley Edwards. My debut novel Nightstalker released in July. It's a Military Thriller romance. With a badass female lead! Of course, there is plenty of smoking hot sexiness sprinkled throughout a storyline that will keep you guessing! What is a romance novel without a sexy alpha male that challenges his woman both in and out of the sack?

Anyway… back to me. :) I tried to come up with some interesting stuff about myself you would like to know. You know some witty funny stuff that would make me sound fab-u-lous but alas I am boring as hell. Just an FYI, nothing will depress you faster than that realization.

A close friend recently described me as, and I quote, “You are annoying, brash, sexy, loud, boobed, beautiful, needy, supportive, wonderful, interesting, aggressive, and fun. All to varying degrees throughout each and every day.”

That about sums me up.
Follow Riley Edwards
Sign up for the Riley's Rebels Newsletter
for special announcements and EXCLUSIVE bonus content.



. ✿ ҉ ✿ Welcome to The Collective ✿ ҉ ✿
The Collective Series -Season one reading order
Unbroken, Riley Edwards 4.4.17
All Other Amazon: books2read.com/u/3LrZ6M
Iron Claw MC, Erin Trejo 4.18.17
Learning to Breathe, Ellie Masters 5.2.17
Amazon:https://goo.gl/2eLVAq
Shadow & Flame, Elias Raven 5.16.17
Quills and Daggers, Chris Genovese 5.30.17
Unbroken, Riley Edwards 6.13.17
  "This crossover series is a huge win for all the authors involved. Don’t miss any of the releases. Each book will pull you in, leave you wanting more while you teeter on the edge of your seat with suspense.
 AmazonReviewer
˃˃˃ Don't forget to sign up for The Collective Newsletter for BONUS Scenes. www.TheCollectiveNovels.com



Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Blissful Disaster by Amy L. Gale



⭐¸..✩*¨).99¢ SALE(¨*✩.¸⭐
JUNE 11TH - 17TH

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♪♫♪♫ Blurb♪♫♪♫



One night stands.
Career-driven Ali Whitman, never dreamed of having one, until she finds herself waking up next to a handsome tattooed man she knows nothing about. After celebrating her promotion to field reporter at Entertainment Rocks! magazine, she breaks her number one rule - to focus on work without the distraction of the opposite sex.


Rules.

Tyler Young lives by his own set. As bassist for Devil’s Garden, he exudes sexual energy and lives for the moment; no strings attached, no regrets, and no looking back.
When the two are brought face to face during an interview it goes sour, sparking a string of disasters. As their feelings for each other grow, they find themselves living by a new set of rules, but demons from the past haunt their new found love. Is it possible to crawl from the ashes of the aftermath or will it all go down in flames?

  
BUY LINKS

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♪♫♪♫ABOUT THE AUTHOR♪♫♪♫

amy.jpgRomance author by night, pharmacist by day, Amy Gale loves rock music and the feel of sand between her toes. She attended Wilkes University where she graduated with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. In addition to writing, she enjoys baking, scary movies, rock concerts, and reading books at the beach. She lives in the lush forest of Northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, six cats, and golden retriever.

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Friday, 9 June 2017

The Zeta Cartel Series by AJ Adams


The Zeta Cartel Series
By AJ Adams

Enter into the violent world of the Zeta cartel, where death and romance go hand in hand. AJ Adams novels are all self-standing and although characters wander in and out of various stories, you need not read them all - although it would be awesome if you did!

Zeta Cartel Novel #1 The Bonus
By A J Adams
Price US$3.99

Excerpt
     You know, ever since He set me free I’ve slept in jammies, unable to stand the sight of those little burn marks that dot my thighs, my breasts and my stomach. Now I lay in the hulk’s arms and examined them with new eyes. This was my body. Mine. Those weren’t reminders of what I was, or even what I had been; they were symbols of survival.
     As the implications of this flooded over me, it was as if the world shimmered and reformed around me. I felt like I’d been forged in fire and born again. Like a phoenix. Or maybe I was an entirely new thing altogether.
I stretched luxuriously, feeling good all over. Then I saw the hulk looking at me, his slate coloured eyes inches from mine. I couldn’t see what he was thinking. He was staring straight at me, as if he was looking to see inside me.
      For a moment my feeling of freedom faltered, my new-found confidence threatened to vanish like ice in the sun, but then he smiled. It was a big happy beaming cheeky grin that lit up his eyes and made the little wrinkles around them dance. It was like seeing a statue come to life. Cold stone was replaced with warm humanity. Warm, sweet, friendly humanity. Like toast with butter and honey.

Blurb
Chloe is a seasoned drug courier who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Facing a lingering and painful death at the hands of the Zetas, Mexico’s most brutal cartel, she persuades their enforcer to claim her. Has Chloe made a huge mistake, or will her choice prove her salvation - and his?    


Zeta Cartel Novel #2 Songbird
By A J Adams
Price US$3.99

Excerpt
“You’re the big boss.” She looked up at me and smiled. She was dressed in a cheap cotton shirt and jeans that should be on the burn pile, but that smile was pure gold. This girl had guts.
“I told José he was a fool to try and cheat you,” she said. “I wasn’t part of it, and I don’t work for you. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
She’d heard about our policy protecting bystanders. Of course it doesn’t apply to anyone whose eyewitness testimony can put me in a courtroom. Well, try to put me in a courtroom. In Mexico nobody would dare accuse me, and I’ve enough resources in England to guarantee a police investigation would come to nothing, but it’s not my style to take chances. Solitaire would be going into the ground along with Escamilla.
“Mr Vazquez,” Solitaire gave me her best smile. “I don’t expect something for nothing.” She dropped her voice. “You’d like me,” she whispered. “I’ve heard about you. We’re the same.”
“Are we?”
“Yes, I can make you very happy.” She brushed my hand over her cheek and then kissed my palm. “I’m a very good girl,” she said quietly. “Unless you prefer a naughty one?”
She sucked my thumb, and I was instantly rock hard. 

Blurb
When cartel boss Arturo Vazquez discovers his girlfriend Gina is a DEA rat and his deputy Escamilla is staging a take-over, Arturo fixes his problems by killing everyone - except for Solitaire, Escamilla’s unwilling mistress. Solitaire is intelligent, tough, and shares Arturo’s interest in BDSM. Arturo falls head over heels but someone is leaking information - and the evidence point at Solitaire.


Zeta Cartel Novel #3 Dirty Dealings
By AJ Adams
US$3.99

Excerpt
I could’ve fucking strangled her. She knew it too because she stepped away quickly. “Touch me and I’ll have you!” she snarled.
Bruja mala leche! What the fuck do you think you’re playing at! You can’t push me around!”
“Sure I can.” Her eyes were slate grey, the same colour as the sky, and just as cold. “I need help, and you’re going to give it.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“I’ve got a situation. I need someone who isn’t afraid of murder and mayhem.”
I should have charmed her, offered to help and maybe it would have settled it, but I was too mad to even consider it. “Help you? Over my dead fucking body!”
She shrugged. “We can do it that way, too.” She took out her phone. “I’ll call you soon, hopefully within the hour. If you still refuse, I call Smith.” The eyes were hard. “I’d rather not shop you, because I hate that bastard, but I will if you make me.”
I gave her my number. I mean, I wanted to kill her, but in London they notice things like bodies in the street. Especially if you’re careless enough to do it in broad daylight next to a cop shop.

Quique is having a bad time.  Back in Mexico his marriage has fallen apart and his wife has made him a laughing stock by cheating on him. Now he’s in London and finding himself out of his depth with a complex commercial deal. To make things worse, Natalia Truelove, a chef and pub manager, is blackmailing him. Quique is ready to commit murder and he’s pretty sure who his first victim will be.


Want to buy them all in one shot? 






Stalk AJ Adams

Only the Pretty Ones by Karen Mueller Bryson



Title: Only The Pretty Ones 
Author: Karen M. Bryson 
Genre: Romantic Crime Fiction 
Release Date: June 9, 2017 



She was the pretty one. She was the one who was taken.
Maxie Ford’s sister, Ella, has vanished.
When the police refuse to investigate, Maxie decides to take the law into her own hands.
With the help of a drug dealer, “Mickey Finn” Donovan, Maxie dives into the seedy underworld of the city in search of Ella.
What she discovers is a trafficking ring that abducts college girls for wealthy and high-powered men, and a legal system that is so corrupt no one is willing to stop them.



One
It’s the first time I’ve been out of my apartment in nearly a month and a drunk frat boy is engaged in a rambling conversation with my breasts.
I’m twenty-six. I’m getting too old for this shit.
I wonder if he’s even noticed that my knockers haven’t responded to any of his questions. The guy reeks of booze and cigarettes. All I want to do is escape, but he has me trapped between the end of the old wooden bar and the wall.
When he finally makes an effort to glance up at my face I feel like he’s focused on my chin. “What did you say your name was?”
“I didn’t.”  
He wobbles like a newbie surfer trying to ride his first wave. When he attempts to perch on one of the bar stools, he ends up falling on his ass.   
My sister, Ella, talked me into accompanying her tonight. Normally I wouldn’t be caught dead at a sports bar frequented by the overprivileged college crowd. But Ella pleaded, and I didn’t want her to go alone.
I’m a poster child for the bad things that can happen to women when they’re left alone with drunk college guys. That’s why I prefer to limit my face-to-face social interactions to my sister, my best friend, and the mail carrier.
“I know you said you didn’t want to drink, but I brought you one anyway.” She hands me a glass filled with cheap beer.
How do I know it’s cheap? It’s the color of piss and smells worse than a portable potty on a hot summer day.
I place the glass on the edge of the bar. “Thanks anyway.”
“You could at least try to fit in.”
The problem with her request is that I’ve never fit in anywhere.
My sister is a freshman at my alma mater: Big State University. I graduated five years ago. My parents wanted me to attend one of those prestigious private universities that line the northern East Coast. I had the grades to get in, but lacked the social savvy to succeed in the Ivy League. I chose to attend a less prestigious institution where the only criteria for admission is a pulse. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. The school isn’t second rate, but it’s also not the Harvard of the Florida Gulf Coast as some of the administration would like prospective students to believe. I thought I’d blend in better at someplace like Big State University. I was wrong. I was just as much of a misfit there as anywhere else.   
The bar is packed with Big State University students. It may be a different decade than when I was a student, but the social stratification is still the same.
And I’m still a misfit.   
“Fitting in is overrated.” I glance down at the drunk frat boy who took the tumble. He’s fallen asleep on the filthy, beer-soaked floor in front of me. At least I think he’s asleep. I kick him in the ribs just to be sure he’s still alive. He moans in response. “This is not my idea of fun.”
Ella ignores my disparaging remarks. She glances around the bar. “I don’t see Sean anywhere.”
Sean Harrison is the guy who invited Ella to meet him at the bar tonight. He’s the guy she’s been talking about nonstop for over a week. The way she’s built him up I expect nothing less than a Prince Charming who is going to sweep her off her feet.
Of course romantic gestures like that only happen to girls in fairytales. They don’t happen to girls who hang out in grungy sports bars frequented by Big State students. We’re lucky if the guys we go home with remember our names the next morning.    
Ella bites her perfectly-pink bottom lip as her bright blue eyes scan the bar. “He said he’d find us.”
“Find you. He said he’d find you.”
My younger sister has always been the pretty one. Long blonde hair. Sparking sapphire eyes. Perfect features. Being pretty is the reason she’s holding a beer in her hand when she’s only eighteen. When she wants something, men rarely tell her no.
“Why are you always so down on yourself?”
Because when people can’t think of anything else to say about me, their go-to line is at least she’s smart. As if that’s a compliment. That’s what people say to parents when they have a kid who is awkward and unattractive.
“I’m a realist.”
“No, you’re a cynic.”
“Enough about me. I thought we were talking about your Prince Charming.”
“I think I see him.”
She grabs my elbow and pulls me through the crowd as she heads towards Sean.
I place my hand over my mouth to avoid gasping when I lay eyes on him. No one would accuse me of being a great catch, but this guy isn’t even in my league. He’s got a round toddler face on a squishy dad bod making it difficult to tell if he’s old or young. His hairline is receding, which doesn’t help his attractiveness quotient. He might be able to make a case for being a solid four on the attractiveness scale, if his clothes didn’t look like they were from his father’s closet.      
“Ella.” He gives my sister a peck on the cheek. “I’m so glad to see you.”
Her pale cheeks redden in response. “I’m glad we found you in this crowd. This is my sister, Maxie.”
“Nice to meet you,” I say as convincingly as possible. As I look the dweeb up and down I wonder what kind of spell he’s put my sister under.
He points to my empty hands. “You don’t have a beer.”
“I don’t like to drink and stride.” My attempt at humor fails miserably. Sean stares at me blankly. “It’s a play on words. Drink and drive. Drink and stride.”
Is there any greater torture than having to explain a joke?
He laughs politely. “I get it now.”
“Sean and I met at a coffee shop near campus,” Ella explains. “He loaned me a pen.”
“I always carry extras, just in case.”
“Sean’s a Sigma Psi.” Ella gives me a sly smile.
The pieces of the puzzle are slowing coming together. My sister has always had a fascination with the rich and powerful. Maybe because our parents always struggled financially.  
Only the best of the best is chosen for Sigma Psi. For generations the fraternity has been the college home to the offspring of the wealthy and elite of the country.   
Sigma Psi guys generally mate with girls in their own social class. Usually that means Delta Sigma sorority sisters. But the guys have been known to slum around with girls outside of their tax bracket when they want to get laid and don’t want to bother learning the girls’ names.
That doesn’t appear to be Sean’s motive though. He seems to be genuinely enamored with my sister. As if there’s a straight guy on the planet who has ever laid eyes on Ella who hasn’t fallen madly in love with her.   
What’s strange is that Ella seems to be just as taken with Sean.
Just when I think things couldn’t get any more awkward a liquored-up blonde staggers up to us. “Don’t listen to a thing that comes out of this guy’s mouth.” She gestures in Sean’s general direction. “He’s a sheep in wolf’s clothing.”
“Don’t you mean a wolf in sheep’s clothing?” I correct.
She tries to put a finger to her nose, but completely misses her beak. “I must be drunk,” she declares then laughs uncontrollably.
“Maybe you’d better lie down, Tiffany.” Sean’s tone is clipped.
She shakes her head. “I don’t want to miss all the fun.”
“You look a little green,” Ella says.
Tiffany smacks her tongue against the roof of her mouth. “I’m not feeling very good.”  
She’s not looking too hot either. All the color has drained from her face. When her eyes go wide, I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that she might hurl. Instead she lets out a loud burp that smells like stale beer.
“Oops.” She laughs again.
Just as I’m about to let out a small sigh of relief she turns and pukes all over me.
It’s not a little bile barf either. It was an epic, head-spinning Linda Blair Exorcist spew. The entire contents of her stomach cover every inch of my dark clothing. I’ve even got chunks of half-digested hamburger in my auburn hair.
She wipes her mouth with the back of her hand and stares at me blankly. “What happened? Did I get sick?”
“All over me.” I do my best to control the anger burning inside.
“Bummer.”
Before I have a chance to say anything else she stumbles away.
“The least she could have done was take her puke with her.” Even though I’m trying to make light of the awful situation, Ella and Sean stare at me in horror like I’ve been doused in gasoline and set on fire.
“I’ll be fine,” I assure them.
“Maybe you’d better go to the bathroom and get cleaned up,” Ella suggests.
Even though he seems harmless I don’t want to leave her alone with Sean. My job here is to be the overprotective big sister. “Would you come with me?”
She glances over at Sean then she looks at me. Then she bites her bottom lip. She seems conflicted.
“It’ll only be a minute,” I tell her.
As soon as she takes a step toward me Sean places a hand on her wrist. “Where are you going? You just got here.”
“I was going to help my sister in the bathroom. I’ll be right back.”
“She’s a big girl,” he says. “I’m sure she’ll be okay by herself.”
Her brow furrows. “Will you be okay?”
“Ella’s in good hands,” Sean gives me a crooked smile. “I promise.”
“Stay right here, okay?” The place is packed and I’m not sure I’d be able to find them if they wander someplace else.
“We will,” Ella promises.
I notice that Sean takes her hand in his. The guy may be a dweeb, but he works fast.
As much as I don’t want to leave Ella alone with him the vomit is starting to dry and crust onto my clothing.
I carefully snake through the crowd as I make my way to the back of the bar where the restrooms are located. There’s a line to get into the ladies’ room. When I glance at the entrance to the men’s room it looks deserted by comparison. I opt not to wait. It’s not like I’m planning to use the toilet. The men have sinks just like the women do.
A sharp dressed guy is standing in front of a urinal doing his thing. He gives me a dirty look as I walk by.
“Are you lost, little girl?” There’s a hint of indignation in his voice.
“I’m not a little girl, and I’m not lost.” Admittedly I am short, but I haven’t been a girl in over a decade.
The grimy sinks look like they’re rarely cleaned. At least the water is clear when I turn on the faucet. I grab what’s left of the paper towels out of the dispenser on the wall and go to work on the vomit down the front of my black shirt.
Just as I start to clean the puke from my dark jeans Mr. Obnoxious from the urinal marches right up to me, invading my personal space. He gets so close I catch a whiff of his spicy cologne.
I don’t like anyone getting so close to me, especially guys I don’t know.  
He glares down at me with dark angry eyes. I’m only five foot four. The guy looks like he’s nearly a foot taller than me. And he must outweigh me by a hundred pounds.
“What are you doing in the men’s room?”
I glare right back at him. “What does it look like I’m doing?”
The realization that we’re the only two people in the bathroom hits me hard. The guy obviously has some anger management issues. Maybe some girl he was hoping to score with rejected him. I just hope he doesn’t plan on taking his anger out on me.
“I’m looking for some action.” His eyes scan the length of my body. “You look like a fun ride.”
My chest tightens and my heart begins to thump wildly. I was a victim once and I swore I’d never be a victim again.
In one swift motion I remove a .22 Magnum from my handbag and point it right at the guy’s face. “I’m not interested in any action, asshole. Now get the fuck out of the bathroom before I blow your head off.”
His eyes go wide and he stares at me, dumbfounded for several long moments. “You wouldn’t really shoot me, would you?”
“I’d tell the police it was self-defense. That you tried to rape me. Just think how much money I’d save the tax payers. No trial. No he-said-she-said because you’d already be dead.”
He slowly raises his hands in a defensive gesture. “Okay, I get it. You’re one of those angry girls out to emasculate every guy on the planet.”  
“Do you really think that’s a smart thing to say to someone who has a gun pointed at you?”
A moment of clarity seems to overtake him. “I’m sorry, okay. Will you just let me go?”
I nod.
He slowly backs away from me. When he realizes I’m not going to shoot him if he keeps his promise he darts out of the bathroom.
I put my handgun back in my bag. Then I scrub the rest of the caked vomit from the jeans. I do my best to wipe the half-digested chunks of burger out of my hair without throwing up.
For several moments I glance at myself in the hazy mirror. Maybe Mr. Obnoxious was right. Maybe I am an angry girl. And maybe I have been for a really long time.   
The smell of sweat and stale beer overpowers me as I step out of the men’s room. Every inch of the place is now packed with drunk college students. It’s so loud I can barely think straight. And it’s sweltering hot. My first instinct is to bolt from the bar into the relatively cooler night air. Well, as cool as you can get in a subtropical climate anyway. I can’t leave without my sister though. I made a promise that I intend to keep.
I’m never going to let what happened to me happen to her.
 




Karen M. Bryson is known for writing new adult, love in midlife, contemporary romance and romantic crime fiction with a little spice and lots of heart. She is a winner of the prestigious RONE Award for Excellence in the Indie and Small Publishing Industry.
Karen is also an award-winning/optioned screenwriter.
When she's not at her computer creating spicy stories Karen likes to spend time with her husband and their bloodhounds. Karen has previously written under the pen names REN MONTERREY, SAVANNAH YOUNG, SIERRA AVALON and USA TODAY Bestselling author DAKOTA MADISON.