Excerpt Reveal: Amber to Ashes

 

amber to ashes excerpt

 

Excerpt

“What are you, Casey?” Ryder asks over his shoulder as he scrubs his hands with antibacterial soap.

“Your little cancer warrior,” she answers with a small smile.

“That’s right.” He dries his hands and turns, a proud grin cracking his mouth. “The bravest one ever.”

I grab Casey’s hand and hold it tight, knowing nothing I’ve ever seen, heard, or felt compares to what she’s facing. This child’s living with a fear I can’t comprehend. One that’d slay all of my fears put together.

“Ready?” Ryder asks, his tone soft and caring, everything it should be.

Casey nods, clenching my hand. My heart swells, anxiety building thick in my throat as Ryder slips on a pair of medical gloves and cleans the area around her port with Betadine swabs.

Casey looks at me, the cool blue of her eyes misting over. “Are you scared of needles?”

“No,” I say, running my free hand along the back of her neck. “Are you?”

“I used to be.” She sighs, a single tear slipping down her face. “But not so much anymore.”

It takes everything in me not to drag her little body off the table and run out of the apartment with her. I wipe the tear from her cheek, my need to hide her away, sheltering her from the sinister storm she’s in the middle of, growing with each unsteady breath.

“A little cold,” Ryder warns before spraying the anesthetic on her skin.

“Hurry, Ry,” Casey pleads, her voice weak yet panicked. “It doesn’t last that long.”

“I have to make sure you’re numb, Case.” Ryder ducks his head and stares into her eyes, trying to keep her focused on the silly faces he’s making.

His tactic works.

Casey’s tiny giggles bounce around the kitchen, their musical notes blocking out the sound of Ryder popping the cap off a weird-looking needle. With a small, clear tube like a tail—and plastic wings stretched out on either side—it reminds me of a dragonfly. Ryder presses his gloved finger against Casey’s port a few times, his attention honed in on her face as he says, “Knock, knock.”

“Who’s there?” Casey smiles at me, completely unaware that Ryder’s pricked her skin with the needle.

“Aardvark.” Ryder pushes the medicine through the syringe, his attention cutting between Casey’s face and the needle.

“Aardvark who?” she manages, a thin sheen of sweat dotting her upper lip.

“Aardvark a hundred miles for one of your pretty smiles.” Ryder pulls the needle from her chest, and before she can blink, he rests his lips against her forehead, kissing away her remaining fear.

Close to immobile, my heart tugs, the magnitude of what this man means to this little girl—what they mean to each other—scraping tears up my dry throat. I swallow the sound before it can leave me, warmth pinching my stomach into a beautiful knot as I observe them.

“It’s over?” Casey asks, uncertainty flashing in her eyes.

“Yeah, kiddo. It’s over,” Ryder answers, his voice heavy with relief as he applies a small piece of gauze over her port. “You’re all set, warrior. Go get cleaned up, and we’ll get ready to leave.”

With Ryder’s aid, Casey slides off the table and heads for the bathroom, the bounce in her step less tangible as she slips around the corner. Quiet reigns, the events from the last few minutes whispering across my mind as Ryder looks at me with exhausted eyes. Stress lines cut across his forehead, wariness drowning his beautiful features. Overcome, I watch him swipe a tired hand over his face and turn, resting his palms against the counter. As though having no control over my body—a magnet pulling in my gut—I stand and move toward him, each tentative step I take carried out with shallow, quick breaths. I come up behind him, lift a shaky hand and tap his shoulder, my pulse lurching as he turns and meets my gaze. Our connection strikes, a bolt of emotions paralyzing us as we stare at each other.

I touch my fingers to his stubbled cheek, my conscience crying out that my actions are wrong, so very wrong, but my heart mutes the warning as I move my palm to the back of his neck.

His muscles go taut, restraint lighting the fiery blue of his eyes. “Amber, don’t.” The words come out not as a rough warning but a soft plea. “Don’t do this.”

“I have to,” I whisper, trembling. “You’re . . . amazing, Ryder. What you did for her, everything you do for her . . . I just . . .” I drop my eyes to his chest, my heart galloping as I register his hands gripping my waist. Their heat sears through me, a thrill jumping from cell to cell. “You’re tender, cocky, gentle, and an asshole all at the same time. You’re kind, giving, nurturing. You’re . . . everything.”

My lips find his, testing, teasing, barely touching. Our breathing comes faster, harder as I pull him down, our foreheads pressed together as we stare into each other’s eyes. “Please . . . I just . . . Just once more. That’s all I need.”

I think . . . hope.

With hunger demolishing all traces of restraint from his gaze, Ryder buries his hands in my wavy curls and looks at me a beat before capturing my lips in a slow, passionate kiss. I sigh into his mouth, my senses drowning in his familiar flavor as I fall in step with his calculated strokes. On a deep groan, he draws me closer, his tongue dipping in and out, out and in. Still, nothing about his touch is rough, yet everything in it screams that he needs me in this moment.

In this wicked space and time of his life.

Every lick and nip is a soft caress, like he’s trying to burn the sensation of my lips into his memory. My pulse hammers in staccato mode as I melt the full weight of my body into his. With my blood swimming through my veins, and sinking further into everything that is Ryder, I feel the emptiness of his soul slice through me. A dull ache pinches my heart, spreading its misery through my muscles as he cups my cheeks and deepens the kiss with a gentleness I never knew he possessed. My breath catches, wiped from my lungs as he glides his lips along my jaw, down the base of my throat. The cadence of his exotic growl slips through my ears, dizzying my head in the sweetest way.

“Christ, I fucking want you so bad,” Ryder whispers hoarsely. He drags his lips back to mine, his kiss urgent, greedy. However, he brings it down a notch, his movements revisiting slow, sensual, worshipping this moment for everything it is. Worshipping me for all I am. “So badly, peach. More than I’ve ever wanted anything or anyone. You drive me crazy. Your smell, skin, eyes.” He sucks my lip between his teeth, a groan punching from his chest as he runs his fingertips along my bare arms.

Goose bumps pop, deliciously pricking my skin as I tighten my grip in his hair.

“Your little giggles, pouts, personality. Every single fucked-up scar you own in and out. All of it. All of you.” He licks into my mouth, his tongue exploring mine with precision as his hands find my nape, their hold possessive. “Fuck. It should’ve been me. Not him. Me.”

And just like that, our moral compasses spring due north, Brock the center of its attention—our attention. We slowly break the kiss, our breathing choppy from the loss.

 

amber to ashes pre-order

 

Are you Team Ryder or Team Brock? 

Find out in Amber to Ashes Releasing on June 9th!

Pre-order NOW AVAILABLE

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1RQ3L59

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1KJMG8J

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Nook: http://bit.ly/1APcTCS

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1FCcq2k

amber to ashes

Blurb

From the New York Times bestselling author of Collide and Pulse comes a gritty new novel about a shattered young woman who unexpectedly falls for two best friends.

They were a storm I never saw coming, an unforeseen heartbreak on the edge of a dangerous cliff.

Amber Moretti’s life changes in the span of minutes. An orphaned outsider, she is desperate to start fresh the moment she walks onto campus. In the time it takes to cross the university’s dining hall, she meets two men who bring color, air, and light to her darkened world.

They became my addiction, each a needle to my next hit, my high.

Brock Cunningham’s appeal is dizzying, a potent force Amber can’t deny. A green-eyed smooth talker, he instantly attracts Amber. It doesn’t take long for him to consume her every thought, her every breath.

Ryder Ashcroft, a blue-eyed, tattooed, and pierced bad boy, turns Amber off immediately—that is, until he kisses her, stealing a piece of her heart, her soul.

They were as opposite as fire and ice, yet I ached for them equally.

Never knowing she could be broken down in so many unexpectedly beautiful yet petrifying ways, Amber finds herself falling for both men.

Immoral? Maybe. I say undeniable. Uncontained.

But one devastating event changes everything, shattering each of their lives…and Amber isn’t sure she can recover from it.

 

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About the Author:

gail mchugh bio

A self-proclaimed chocoholic, married mother of three, and a lover of writing for as far back as she can remember, Gail McHugh is the author of two New York Times bestselling novels. The COLLIDE series (which includes COLLIDE and PULSE), was acquired by Atria Books on September 17th, 2013.

“The first of two sexy contemporary romances about a woman torn between her seemingly perfect boyfriend and a dark, mysterious stranger who will stop at nothing to have her.” – Publishers Weekly on COLLIDE, a Top 10 Romance pick!

You can follow Gail on the below social media sites:

Stalk Her: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Goodreads.

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Blog Tour: The Duke’s Bedeviled Bride

 

Today, we are featuring The Duke’s Bedeviled Bride, book two in the erotic historic Royal Pains series by Nina Mason. The series, set in Scotland and England during the Restoration period, is available in e-book or paperback.
Buy it now at Amazon.com

 

Here’s the blurb:

The tawdry tale of the Duke and Duchess of Dunwoody continues…
Maggie Armstrong, the long-lost illegitimate daughter of the heir
presumptive to the throne, is bedeviled by her husband’s limited
definition of fidelity. After observing him in a ménage à trois at the
court of King Charles II, she is determined to bring him around to her
way of thinking—by any means necessary.

Robert doesn’t mind being punished for his transgressions. Rather,
he enjoys being whipped, especially by his beloved bride. Unfortunately,
her heart might not belong to him alone. His younger brother, who he’d
sent abroad to clear the way for himself, is coming home sooner than
expected, and Maggie’s feelings for Hugh may not be as dead as her
husband had hoped.

Both duke and duchess soon learn, to their peril, Hugh Armstrong is
not the honorable man they’d been led to believe. Insanely jealous of
his brother’s situation, Hugh will stop at nothing to strip Robert of
all he holds dear—including his life.

But the real danger for Robert and Maggie is not the villainous
Marquess, but the growing friction betwixt Catholics and Protestants in
Restoration Era Great Britain.

Can their love survive the trials that await them?

Here’s the trailer:

Here’s the link to the Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Review

Well, that escalated quickly and without notice. The ending was a little surprising and abrupt if i do say so myself and in all honesty while i hate cliffhangers, what reader doesn’t, I was ok with this. It finished off like the first book, in the middle of a situation that you wished you would sort of know the end but aren’t exactly dying to read the next one to find out. Which I am not really revving to find out how this ending pans out but i did enjoy this book.
 
The beginning of the book starts immediately where the first book ended and continues with Maggie attempting to punish her husband by using her alter ego Mistress Margaret. I suppose that it’s all fine and dandy however i found it a bit abusive and not necessarily petty but more like “Come on Margaret! You can do and be better than that!” She was in distress and i get that. She was retaliating in what she thought was the most punishing way but it just came off as sort of….annoying. I will say though that her husband took everything in stride and show a never ending amount of love for her which is better than i would be able to manage. I realize they are in a different time but frankly i just didn’t expect her to break trust with him that way in their sexual relationship. In some ways i was disappointed with the way she was throwing a tantrum but i am pretty sure I would have been in the same mode. An eye for an eye and all.
 
After listening to Maggie think about her marriage and her scattered feelings I sort of did NOT sympathize with the Duke. Yes, I know it is all too easy to sympathize with the female especially being one but she had me thinking that she had made a mistake in marrying the Duke as well. Little do we know that is so far from the truth. Then re-enters Hugh…you know the briefly mentioned sibling to the Duke in the previous novel and the scathingly, sarcastically mentioned brother in this novel.
 
Wow! I will say that Nina Mason did a wonderful job of surprising the utmost hell out of me. Talk about creating a villain that i sincerely am disgusted by and hateful towards. We learn SO MUCH about both the Duke and his…awful..brother. At the point in the book where pain in the ass Maggie starts suffering injustices and indignities I almost put the book down. I seriously didn’t want to finish. She is a woman, your brother’s woman and in a delicate way, MUST you treat her that way? I felt filthy and angry for poor Maggie but more so with Hugh’s beautiful little French wife Juliette for playing along as well. Let’s just say I was not entertained nor thrilled with the way thing explosively occurred. I mean it was just thing after another and you know what?! At some point I stopped reading and looked at my boyfriend like “I myself, would murder your brother, his wife, and you when you got home for leaving me with him!” But Rosebud suffered through with a dignity and strength i didn’t think she had.
 
Ultimately Hugh was handled deftly but not without issue. I was wary of The Duke of York, Maggie’s father, because I just didn’t know which way he would go. Nina Mason wrote him so neutrally and without casting a tiny bit of a light on his character before fully including him into the story. He was a wild card! Things could have gone either way with him but i was nicely surprised by the balance he gave the story. As for the rescue mission that i thought would be carried out by Maggie’s Husband…..FAT CHANCE! Mistress Margaret rose up, with the help of the almost negligible Mrs. McQueen, and not only SAVED HER HUSBAND BUT! saved herself as well! Well, Touche there Maggie Touche! I didn’t expect that out of you at all. It made for a very feminist roar and i wanted to stand up and applaud this character for rising above in a way i would never be able to.
Overall, this was a nice and steady paced novel that had its shares of ups and downs but ended up working out, sort of. I say sort of because again, there is a bit of a cliffhanger and you’re kind of left frowning and wondering what the hell happened or where the rest of the book is. I for one was scowling so hard at my kindle i almost drilled a hole in it. I get that there must be some anticipation for the next installment but Sheesh! While i may not be anxiously anticipating the next installment myself i am curious enough to want to find out what really happens. It seems that these two are destined for excitement and surprise no matter what the situation. There was just SO MUCH happening in this book but it fit and worked together well. I can’t really say whether I enjoyed one book over the other but i will say that I felt this one was easier to read. It didn’t really feel too try in any one place or like i was being let down which was an improvement. I would certainly recommend this to anyone who HAS read the first book but i think unless someone specifically asked me for a historical romance i would forget to mention the first book and end up mentioning this one.

 

 

 

Here’s a little about the author:

Nina Mason, author
 Nina Mason is a hopeful romantic with strong affinities for history,
mythology, and the metaphysical. She strives to write the same kind of
books she loves to read: those that entertain, edify, educate, and
enlighten.

She is the author of The Queen of Swords, a darkly erotic Scottish paranormal
romance/urban fantasy; The Tin Man, a political thriller; Devil in
Duke’s Clothing, an erotic historical set in 1680 Scotland; The Duke’s
Bedeviled Bride, the follow-up to Devil in Duke’s Clothing; Starry
Knight, the first book in a new PNR/UF series; and Dark and Stormy
Knight, book two in The Knights of Avalon series.Born and raised in Orange County, California, Ms. Mason
currently lives in Woodstock, Georgia.

Here where you can find Nina on social media:

 

Haven’t read book one yet?

 

 

Blog Tour: Devil’s Wingman

 

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THE DEVIL’S WINGMAN by J.M. Davis

Release Date: April 29th, 2015

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Length: 236 pages

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What the fans are saying!

5✦ “…totally gave me a book hangover.” ~ Karyn

5✦ “Very original and a must read.” ~ John

5✦ “A must read!! Sexy men, dangerous situations, good and evil and above all else love!” ~ Maria

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DW_BookBlurb

After the death of her father and her own serious issues, Kara Maven decides to move back to her hometown to complete her senior year at Belman University. She settles into life on campus when her world is shaken by a handsome bad boy with a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Dominic Benenati is a half-demon Damamah, or whisperer, whose role on earth is to ensure Hell’s population thrives by pushing humans to act upon their sinful thoughts.

To complicate matters, enter Cayden Adams who is an angel determined to save Kara from Dominic’s influence. But does Kara really want to be saved?

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Acting on a whim, I brought my hands up and pressed my palms against his cheeks. They burned like a fever. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get used to that.

His black eyes latched onto mine. I waited as he struggled with something internally, pain and confliction clearly written across his face. Eventually, his expression shifted, the hard planes of his features softened into a sweet smile. As our faces drew closer, my breathing became ragged …with anticipation. When he wet his lips, it was nearly my undoing. My chest heaved with expectation, trembling each time his breath crept across my skin. I looked into his eyes; the crimson specks were recessing, like a fading tide within a murky sea of black ink. They were hypnotizing.

“If I am under a trance, don’t ever rouse me,” I murmured.

His eyes glimmered just before he pressed his warm lips to mine. Our mouths moved together in perfect unison, as if they were moulded to fit one another. The kiss deepened, and together we were swept away by our unravelling emotions, pawing at one another as though each other’s breath was the only oxygen we had.

When we finally parted for air, we both stood staring at the other, panting. Dominic took my hands, his touch warming me like a soothing balm. He cast his eyes down to our intertwined fingers, his long lashes fanning out over his high cheekbones, and he said, “My fraying willpower makes it hard to walk away from you.”

“Then don’t,” I whispered.

 

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I work full-time as a zoo curator, so when I’m not running a zoo, I’m trying to tame the one I live in! I have two kids, and a husband who sometimes acts their age. I can usually be found jamming to Elvis Presley tunes, or diligently chipping away at my never-ending ‘to be read’ pile. I tend to gravitate toward anything paranormal. I love creatures who fly and characters who sprout fur or fangs. Sprinkle some romance and magic into the mix, and I’m a happy girl!

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