Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Hello, My Love by Evy Journey

Author: Evy Journey
Publisher: Sojourner Books
Pages: 317
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

In this modern-day tale inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, bright, beautiful law student Elise Halverson looks forward to a promising career. Falling in love is low in her priorities.
Well-known playboy Greg Thorpe is engaged to be married when he meets Elise. He finds her so unlike the women he used to date and he’s deeply intrigued. Distrusting the image she has of him, Elise avoids him.
But Elise’s parents invite Greg to their frequent dinner parties. There, Greg and Elise butt heads. She’s surprised to find that, behind his rich playboy persona, he’s intelligent and engaging.
The night before his wedding, they give in to their mutual attraction. Although Elise expects nothing more from that night, Greg is in for trouble. His jilted fiancée strikes back, intent on revenge.
Two years later Greg and Elise get a second chance but they find that the way to their happy-ever-after is not so easy.
At the core of this women’s fiction is a literary and realistic romance spiced with a twist of mystery. Hello My Love is Book 1 in the series Between Two Worlds, a family saga about three strong women.


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Book Excerpt:
“Going to your parents’ dinner tonight?” Elise could not help smiling at the text message.
She texted back: “Yes. See you.”
Greg had been sending her text messages for some time. Often, they were greetings, in the morning, at night, on school holidays; or good luck wishes on exams, debates, and mock trials. Sometimes, he asked her opinion or a question about a legal matter or some fact of interest to either of them. She answered most of those messages although he told her she did not need to, if they were the usual greetings.
Before they met, Elise had known Greg—from numerous news reports—as the young, progressive owner of a growing internet-based business, and one of the country’s twenty-five most eligible bachelors. The consensus in the media, especially among women reporters: tall, dark, and handsome. But Greg also had a reputation as a playboy, whose many romances were fodder for gossip columns. While Elise hesitated judging looks and personality, sight unseen, she was certain of one thing. She distrusted the likes of men such as Greg.
But that was a year ago.
Since he began consulting with her father, Dr. Halverson, an economics professor, Greg had been to many dinners at her parents' home. There, Elise got to know him better.
Now, when curious acquaintances learned she knew Greg, they invariably asked, and Elise hardly ever varied her answer: “Yes, to news reports. Greg Thorpe is tall—taller than my father who’s more than six feet. Dark—tanned from jogging, bushy hair the color of French Roast woven with golden strands. And beautiful—clean-cut, cleft chin, smiling greyish blue eyes, and, yeah, lean. But, I think, muscular. I’m not sure. I haven’t seen him without his clothes on.”
It always amused her that her incantation never failed to elicit sighs from young women.
Elise was about to slip her iPhone into her shirt pocket when it rang. Greg—she expected that. He often answered her text messages within minutes of her sending them, usually by texting. Once in a while, he called instead.
“Hello, Elise. How’s the light of my life this afternoon?” Greg said, in his teasing voice.
“Greg, hi. That’s quick. Aren’t you busy?”
“Not for you. And I’m glad you picked up. I was afraid you’d turn off your phone again.”
“I can't turn it on in class, when I'm studying, or when I’m at work, and that’s almost my whole day.”
“Are you staying over at your parents after dinner?”
“I don’t plan such things. Depends. How late it is when dinner ends, whether I have some easy way to get back to my apartment, how guilty I feel about not having seen my parents for a while, etc., etc.”
“I see. It’s Friday so I thought you‘re staying the night with them. Can I give you a ride home?”
Elise protested. “But I live across the bay. That's sixty more miles of driving for you, both ways.”
“Less than an hour in my fast powerful car.”
She smiled. Only when she opened up to him a few months after they first met did she realize that Greg had a wry, often self-mocking, sense of humor.
She teased him back. “But don't you need your beauty sleep? Aren't you getting married in two days? I’m surprised you’re even coming to my parents’ dinner party. I always thought weddings were exhausting. Don’t you need to rest up for yours?”
“Think of this as my last fling.”
“Isn't that when your buddies get you all soused and cavorting with some pretty young things? You definitely need stamina for that.”
He groaned. “I’m afraid you have this unflattering image of me. But, believe it or not, that prospect doesn’t excite me. I feel too old for all that.”
“Thirty-two’s not old. To me, old is decrepit. You’re not quite there yet.”
“I'm glad you think so. Twenty-year olds think thirty is old”
“I turned twenty-three a few weeks ago,” she said, her smile replaced with pursed lips.
“That still makes you a young thing in my book. What if I cavort with you?”
Elise scowled. She couldn’t think of a quick retort, which she knew Greg had come to expect from her. It was not that what he said irritated her. And she didn’t actually dislike it. But she felt a vague sense of unease in her chest.
“I'm kidding. I know you're not the cavorting type. But we’re buddies, right? Well, more like sparring partners, maybe. Don’t buddies kid around?”
That’s it, Elise thought. I’m not the pretty, young cavorting type. At least, I didn’t think he thought so. It didn’t annoy her, but it did bother her in some way. She did not answer.
He added in a softer voice, “Am I wrong?”
She picked up an edge to his voice and she hesitated through the ensuing silence; for her, an uneasy silence relieved only by his audible breathing. He was going to wait until she said something.
“I guess we are…friends, or whatever you wanna call it. That makes everything all right, then; kidding included. So, yes, you can take me home tonight. What’s sixty miles between buddies? No guilt, on my part, that you're going out of your way. I gotta run.” She hung up and did not wait for his reply.

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Diana Sims, author of 'Forever King: Surviving the Loss of My Unborn Child'

As a self-publishing author, Diana Sims has felt compelled to share her journey regarding the loss of her son, and the miracle that took place after his passing. She simply wants to let other women, who have lost children, know that there is still light at the end of the tunnel.

Aimed primarily at all mothers ranging from teenagers to the older women, Forever King: Surviving the Loss of My Unborn Child particularly addresses those who have lost a child, no matter the circumstance.

Diana is committed to humanitarian services whether in her field or position. She worked for many years helping customers keep their homes from foreclosure during the economic fall in 2008. Currently, she is assisting physicians and patients as a Patient Liaison. Diana is a California native and resides in Southern California with her loving husband Cory Sims, and three handsome Kings in training: Isaiah, Solomon, and Anthony Sims.



About the Book:

Sims life has been one of a survivor… a survivor of grief and distraught after having lost a child. Today, she is using the journey, to help other women, who have had similar experience of losing a child, whether through early pregnancy, miscarriage or stillbirth, to have hope.

Watch the book trailer at YouTube.


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Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

I chose to self-publish my book. I wanted to have full creative control over every factor going into this very special book. Forever King is the first book released on my own company called Forever King Publishing.

If self-published, did you hire someone to format the ebook version for you or did you do it yourself?  Can you tell us what that was like?

I hired a wonderful editor/proof reading company to format and edit my book. It is available on paperback as well as e-book.

If self-published, how did you determine the price?

I wanted to make sure that the price of the book was fair but at the same time competitive to cover all the cost involved. I factored in the total number of pages in the book, the rich content in the book, as well as making sure this book can be affordable so people can and would want to purchase it. I also checked with reliable sources for input for pricing.

Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book?  Why?

Yes, I chose the month of March and the day because it is my Mother’s birthday and I wanted to honor the woman who gave birth to me with releasing it on her birthday.

How did you choose your cover?

I wrestled very hard on the cover. I wanted it to be meaningful and captivate the audience’s attention. I wanted to share his beautiful face with the world. I wanted his memory to forever being present each time someone picks up the book to read it.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

Yes, I wrote the book completely and then made revisions. Once that was completed. I forwarded the manuscript to the editor to review and proof read along with formatting it to be professional.

Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book? 

Yes, I came up with a special bookmark for Forever King as well as a t-shirt I am working on to be released soon.

Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book?  If so, what’s the link?

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?
I believe this is a great tool to market a book, creating buzz is vital to any product being sold. This is also a great promotion that will create “Word of Mouth.” The best time of promotion!

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

The three most important things to do before your book is released are: Having the book professionally edited, spend money on a professional book cover, and have book reviews prior to release.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

Have several book signings, give-a-ways to bring traffic to your social media pages and website, ask customers who attended a book signing to review book once they complete it.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out? 

Set up Social media pages for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Created an Author website to refer customers and potential buyers to, completed a couple of Facebook Ad’s to bring customers to my social media pages.

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

My long term goal for my book is to get them into hospital gift shop, women prisons, and become a keynote speaker to spread the message of hope from my book.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

I would like them to believe that there is hope, and if they know anyone whom lost a child prior to giving birth, to purchase a book for them and be there for them by just listening and giving hugs. I pray that the peace of God overshadows all the hurt, trauma from this experience, and that a new joy will come in time. Thank you for participating in taking a glimpse into my heart.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Night in Jerusalem by Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy

Author: Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy
Publisher: PKZ Inc.
Pages: 246
Genre: Historical Romance

A bewitching love story that is also an extraordinary portrait of Jerusalem, its faith, spirituality, identity, and kaleidoscope of clashing beliefs, Night in Jerusalem is a novel of mystery, beauty, historical insight, and sexual passion.
David Bennett is invited to Jerusalem in 1967 by his cousin who, to the alarm of his aristocratic British family, has embraced Judaism. He introduces David to his mentor, Reb Eli, a revered sage in the orthodox community. Despite his resistance to religious teaching, David becomes enthralled by the rabbi’s wisdom and compassionate presence. When David discloses a sexual problem, Reb Eli unwittingly sets off a chain of events that transforms his life and the life of the mysterious prostitute, Tamar, who, in a reprise of an ancient biblical story, leads both men to an astonishing realization. As passions rise, the Six Day War erupts, reshaping the lives of everyone caught up in it.


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Book Excerpt:
David lay awake thinking about Anat. He was intimidated by her sexuality, but also fascinated by her free spirit and daunting intelligence. He had never met anyone like her. He wondered if Jonathan and the others knew she preferred women lovers, and why she had confided in him. He became anxious, thinking perhaps she sensed he had sexual issues and was someone she could easily manipulate. 
Earlier, out on the roof, he had asked her why she preferred women. She had answered simply, “For the same reasons you do,” then adding, “I find women more interesting intellectually, as well as sexually.” 
Her directness was equal parts frightening and exciting. He wanted to know her better. Perhaps, with her, he could get over his sexual problem. The truth was, he desired her as much as he found her intimidating.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Your Crossroads. Your Choice. by EJ Apicello

Author: EJ Apicello
Publisher: Page Publishing
Pages: 110
Genre: Self-Help

Welcome to my diary, my journey, as I tripped and crawled through the darkest time in my life- when I witnessed  people that I held incredibly close to me shatter my very existence with their words and actions. The things within this book spine are extremely raw and exceptionally real. You and I are going to get very close, the details in this book, although oddly general, are incredibly specific. Yes, I realize what I just said and as you read my words you will see what I mean. As you silently gasp and mentally bitch slap me, please be kind because my story is just that - my story. It is not any more or less special than yours. In fact the only difference between our stories are the choices we made at each of the crossroads in our lives. For most of my life the choices I made were not based on my happiness but on everyone else’s. This book describes what I have experienced in my journey to finding my happiness and hopefully never letting it go. Sadly, it took me thirty six years to find the strength I need to detoxify my life and self-view and find someone who is worthy of my awesomeness. Thirty six years to shatter the negative foundation I had built shatter the ultimate representative I created to hide behind and begin the process of building a new foundation. Only this foundation will be built on strength, confidence and above all, happiness. So take a minute or thirty and sit with my story for a while. You never know what you might find out.


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Book Excerpt:
I challenge anyone to argue with the following oh so utterly simplistic, almost ridiculously too easy to be real, truth. Here it is, people, be ready for your mind to be blown! Every choice has an opposite choice. And these choices come at a crossroads. A crossroads you are in control of. So go ahead, try and come up with a reason to argue that what I speak isn’t the absolute truth. I’ll wait. Come back when you realize you can’t think of a single one. Please don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I enjoy being right; I just know it’s hard to argue with such an insanely logical and straightforward truth. You see my readers, my new friends, it will hurt less if you accept this to be so. Everything in our world has two opposing choices, and these choices sit at our own personal crossroads, forcing us to embrace either the right or the wrong, the easy or the hard, the light or the dark. Throughout this book, you will see how I am working through this arduous journey with you by my side, priding myself on being a woman of logic and facts, but let’s be clear: I also believe in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and unicorns!
What can I say, it gives me intense pleasure to know that while you read this book you are going to be kept on the edge of your seat! There will be sexy steamy bits, utterly hopeless bits, raw emotional bits, hilariously funny bits, and pathetic whiny bits. But I promise, if you stick with me, at the end of it all, there will be mostly strong, empowered, utterly-confident bits. But who knows, right? This is honestly an introduction to my journey of self-discovery not directed simply at you but at me as well. Welcome aboard my crazy train, I hope you enjoy the ride!
Please recognize that as you stumble through my jumbled musings and scattered thoughts that where I sit typing this, even on the last of the last of the last rewrites, I am starting at the same place in my journey as you are right at this very moment. The beginning, and I’m not sure what will happen at the end. This thought makes me both nervous and excited. Is my life going to stay the same, or will it take a completely different path, one that is still unbeknownst even to me? What a novel idea (wink, wink) that you will be right there to experience my holy shit moments as I experience them.
“Talking” to you like this is going to force me to have thoughts, feelings, and emotions that I haven’t allowed myself to experience before. This will be like breaking through the fourth wall just like they did during the movie Deadpool, which, by the way, is the best movie I have ever seen. It was like the movie was talking to my soul! I digress, though, and I must get back to focusing on the introduction, for this is my welcome to you, as if you were right here with me urging me on, especially when I feel like I can’t go any further.
I will admit this: I am being slightly selfish, I’m using you for some personal gain. Why would I admit this upfront? Well, because I think it’s important to be honest with myself and you, my new confidants, so that we have a clear understanding of what is to come. Be honest with yourselves too, you picked up this book for a reason. There is something you are hoping to gain from reading through my journey, sharing my experiences, and being able to reflect on them as if they were your own. Which is exactly what I would like you to do by the way. Put yourself into my shoes through my words. I purposely kept this book very generic, partially because I am trying to fly under the radar until I am so famous it doesn’t matter anymore, and partially because I want you to use this book as a sounding board for your own emotions, thoughts, and feelings. And please remember that is a good thing; it is one of the two biggest reasons that I wrote all of this nonsense down and worked so hard to get it into your hands, your consciousness, your world.
I am going to introduce you to the many faces that I wear, or should I say wore, throughout most of my life. You will also be here to discover the parts of the new me that I am in the process of piecing together. With that being said, it is imperative this early in our bud-ding relationship, that I share with you the vast clarity I have found while writing this novel and you see the clarity of your choice while reading it. It took me up until the moment the first letter was placed on the page, over thirty-six years, to realize that in spite of the very logical, black-and-white way of processing things that I so absolutely rely on, it is time I accepted that I too am layered in shades of gray, just like everyone else.

Boardwalk Summer by Kimberly Fisk

Author: Kimberly Fisk
Publisher: Berkley/Penguin
Pages: 352
Genre: Contemporary Romance

In the town of Tranquility Bay, summer is the season of second chances...

Single mother Hope Thompson has built a happy life for herself and her twins in beautiful Tranquility Bay, Washington. She doesn’t dwell on her painful past—especially not on the man who broke her heart all those years ago. But when Hope’s beloved son needs help, she takes a desperate chance and reaches out to her children’s father.

Nick Fortune lives life in the spotlight as a champion race car driver. He’s shocked to hear from Hope and even more surprised to learn that he’s a father. He immediately heads to the Pacific Northwest to confront the past—and the woman he once loved.

There, on the quiet lakeshore, Nick and Hope must work together to save their son—even if it means facing their complicated past—for a second chance as a family.


"It was late. I only meant to take a peek but ended up reading BOARDWALK SUMMER in one delicious gulp, and I'm still thinking about the characters. A terrific read. Page turning and deeply emotional. You'll fall in love with these characters who have so much at stake. Highly recommended."
Susan Elizabeth Phillips


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Book Excerpt:
The phone felt heavy in Hope Thompson’s hand. She traced the buttons, unconsciously pausing at the numbers that would soon connect her to a voice she hadn’t heard in nearly sixteen years.
She thought about shutting herself away in a closet. Maybe then, if she was hidden with only darkness surrounding her, this call wouldn’t be so hard to make. But Hope knew darkness did not shut out memories—if anything, it enhanced them, becoming a large ebony canvas that allowed them to play over and over in her mind until sleep was impossible.
She reached for her cup of tea on the end table next to the sofa and took a sip. It was cold. She was halfway off the couch to reheat it before she stopped. Stalling. That was what she was doing. She sat back down, grabbed the phone, and dialed quickly before she lost her nerve.
Hope’s grip tightened. Sixteen years. It had been sixteen years since she’d heard her mother’s voice, but it felt as if it were yesterday. “Hello, Mo—Claire.”
There was a long pause and then, “Charlotte, is that you?”
A pain settled in Hope’s chest. Why had she believed her mother would recognize her? “No. It’s me. Hope.”
A faint crinkling drifted across the phone line, and Hope knew it was her mother shifting positions on the sofa’s plastic protector. “Hope?”
“I know, Claire. It’s been a long time.”
After so many years, there should have been a thousand things they had to say to each other. A million tiny details that had filled their lives and the lives of the two grandchildren her mother had never wanted to meet. Instead, Hope didn’t know where to begin—what to say. Should she start with: Your grandchildren’s names are Joshua and Susan, and they are bright and beautiful and make me so proud every day. Or: They will be sixteen in a few months, and they can’t wait to get their drivers’ licenses. Joshua loves football, music, and cars. He has his first steady girlfriend, and I don’t know if that makes me happy or scared. And Susan. She’s everything I wish I could be. She’s confident and smart and funny. She was elected class president, and captain of her soccer team for the second year in a row.
But Hope knew what she should tell her mom was the complete truth: My whole life is about to fall apart for the second time and this time I need you. We need you. Please don’t send us away again.
She was thirty-two years old and still she hesitated, not wanting to face the rejection she knew she’d hear in her mother’s voice. So instead, she heard herself asking, “How have you been?”
“Been good. Been real good except for my garden. With this terrible heat spell we’ve been going through, I should have mulched, that’s what I should’ve done. Sue Ellen down at the Piggly Wiggly told me she was going to mulch but I thought for sure I wouldn’t need to. I got an air conditioner last week. You got one?”
An air conditioner. After all these years, her mother wanted to know if she owned an air conditioner. “No, I don’t.”
“Well, don’t suppose you’d have much use for one up there in the Pacific Northwest. Not with all that rain. Never could understand why anyone would choose to live in a place that rained nine months out of the year.”
“I didn’t choose.”
Claire ignored Hope’s comment, as she had with anything she found unpleasant. “Well now.”
Why had she even bothered to hope that her mother had changed? That small crack in her heart—the old hurt that would never completely heal—wedged open a fraction more. “Aren’t you going to ask about your grandchildren?”
There was a long pause. “My show just got over, Hope. I need to go. If I don’t leave right after the third hymn, I’ll be late to the committee meeting. I made my special pineapple rum cake, though I didn’t add the rum because Pastor Gilbert may stop by. I don’t believe he’d take kindly to us ladies consuming outside of the sacramental wine.”
“Their names are Joshua and Susan.”
“I have to go, Hope.”
“Wait.” Hope closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Please, Mama, I need your help.”
A soft whoosh of air filled the earpiece. “My help?” Another pause. “Well, Hope Marie, you’re a big girl now. I don’t see how I can be of any help. I thought you were doing just fine up there in Washington.”
“We’re not fine.” Hope could feel her entire life crumbling away like a dry sand castle. “My son has leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. The doctors told us our best hope for a match is with a family member.”
Silence filled the phone lines. “Leukemia? I always knew something like this would happen. Didn’t I tell you?”
You keep that baby, Hope Marie, and something bad will happen. You just wait and see. Should have named you Hopeless because that’s what you are—hopeless.
Hope wasn’t seventeen anymore; this time she wasn’t going to let her mother refuse to help.
“What about your other one?” her mother asked. “His sister? Being twins and all, wouldn’t she do?”
Hope swallowed, praying the bitter taste in the back of her throat would go away. “Susan and I aren’t a match.” Did her mother really think Hope wouldn’t have explored every other option before contacting her?
“Well, I just don’t see how I can be of any help. I’m not much for doctors. I couldn’t even go and see Pastor Gilbert’s wife before she passed away, God rest her soul. All those smells and sick people. Really, Hope, you know how they affect me. Besides, don’t they have radiation or something for this? When Hester Pritchett’s second cousin down in Alabama got the cancer, they did something that fixed her right up. I do believe Hester said she lost all her hair but really, Hope, she didn’t go asking her relatives for help. No, I don’t see how I can be of any help.”
Hope gripped the phone so tight she was surprised it didn’t shatter. She kept her voice deadly calm, knowing it was the only way to deal with Claire Montgomery. “Joshua has had chemotherapy, Mother. It didn’t work.”
“Maybe you aren’t taking that boy to the right doctors.”
“My son’s name is Joshua and I have taken him to the very best doctors.”
“There’s no need for that tone with me. All I was saying, maybe you should take him to one of those specialists.”
“We’ve seen the specialists. And they agree that what my son needs is a bone marrow transplant.”
Her mother could ignore Hope all she wanted. She could continue to pretend to her church friends that her only child hadn’t gotten pregnant at seventeen but instead had graduated early and received a full scholarship to some college far, far away. She could go on living that lie, but if she thought for one moment Hope would let her refuse to help her grandson, she was mistaken.
“I still don’t know why you’re calling me when you should be calling that man.”
“What man, Mom?”
An impatient grunt came across the line. “Their father, that’s who. Call him.”
Their father.
For just a moment Hope’s heart ached. “I need all of Joshua’s relatives to be tested. The initial test to see if you are a match is simple. All you have to do is go to your doctor and explain what you need done. I can call him, or I can have Joshua’s doctor call and explain if that would be easier.”
“This is not a problem that concerns Dr. Brown.”
Hope sighed tiredly. “I thought you might feel that way. Joshua’s doctor gave me the name and number of a colleague in St. Paul. Call him, please, and set up an appointment as soon as you can. I will arrange for a taxi to take you.” Hope gave her mother the doctor’s name and telephone number.
“How much will this cost?”
“Don’t worry about the money. If your insurance doesn’t cover it or even if you don’t want to submit the claim, I’ll pay for it. It won’t cost you a cent to see if you can save your grandson.”
Hope had no idea where she’d come up with the money, but she’d find it somehow.
“You know I live on a fixed income. My question isn’t a bit out of line.”
“I know, Mama. I know.”
A heartbeat of silence filled the air. And then another. Enough time to say I’ve missed you or I love you.
When it became apparent her mother wasn’t going to say anything else, Hope said, “Call the doctor—”
The other end of the phone disconnected before Hope could finish.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Author: Amanda Stewart
Publisher: Carina Press
Pages: 111
Genre: Erotic Romance

The members of Seduction Squad are beautiful, skillful and deadly. Trained in the twin arts of seduction and assassination, their mission is to discover the darkest secrets of the world's most powerful men.

Sex, secrets and slaughter

On Christie Mason's eighteenth birthday, crime boss Theo Ward took her virginity and walked out of her life without a backward glance. She's quietly nursed a broken heart for ten years, but now, all signs point to Theo having masterminded her father's downfall. For that, "Uncle Theo" will pay.

In exchange for induction into the Seduction Squad, Christie will gain access to Theo's lavish floating sex party and take out a powerful Colombian politician—one of the Squad's untouchable targets.

What she'll do to Theo is her reward.

Christie hadn't bargained on her body betraying her, or on Theo still being all she ever wanted. And while Theo can't get enough of Christie, he's suspicious—and on borrowed time: Christie's not the only party guest out for revenge.




Book Excerpt:

“Theo Ward is out to get me.” My father had said that just before his arrest.

“Theo did this.” His last words as they took him down to the cells. He killed himself later that day.

Now I was out to get Theo Ward. I had nothing to lose. After the scandal of my father’s disgrace, my business had taken a nose dive into oblivion. My social life had died along with it. Invitations had dried up, friends had stopped calling, acquaintances…well, I didn’t seem to have any. I had gone from socialite to outcast in a single, tarnished bound.

I learned about the Seduction Squad from my father. We had never been close, but we had made those prison visits count. For the first time, we had really talked to each other. And we had touched on the subject of Theo. The man whose life was so closely entwined with ours. I hadn’t gotten the whole story, but my father had finally mentioned his name.

“Bastard is bulletproof. Even the Seduction Squad can’t get close.” My father’s voice had been bitter.

“Seduction Squad?” 

He had clammed up then and it had taken some time to pry the details from him. He said it wasn’t the sort of thing a man discussed with his daughter. Eventually, he told me. Over the years, my holier-than-thou father had used the services of a unique organization to find out his enemies’ secrets. That organization was known as the Seduction Squad.

Even though I was shocked to discover this hypocritical side of my father, I was fascinated. To someone brought up protected from anything remotely erotic, it sounded so glamorous. The Seduction Squad were the modern-day equivalent of Mata Hari, the infamous spy who used her body to entice powerful men to part with secrets. The Squad was based on the sixteenth-century team known as the Escuadrón Volante, or Flying Squadron. Working on the orders of the French Queen, Catherine de’ Medici, they were a hand-picked team of beautiful courtesans who had ensnared the most influential men in the land.

The Seduction Squad was a private company. Governments, businesses, even wealthy individuals such as my father, paid its manager, a woman known as the Signora, millions for the services of its members.

Moderation had never appealed to me. If I was going to get my revenge on Theo, it was going to be absolute. I was going to make him pay for that night ten years ago and for the pain I had endured ever since. He was going to regret ruining my father out of petty spite and causing his death. And it turned out the Signora had a very lucrative contract lined up…one that could only be fulfilled if she could get an operative on board The Dark Side.

I knew now, of course, that being part of the squad wasn’t glamorous. My induction had been grueling and gritty. I had learned my new trade from an experienced sex worker and a trained assassin. There had been times when I thought I wouldn’t make the grade. Times when I hoped I wouldn’t.

After a particularly hard day, Jake, the squad’s Head of Security, had taken me to one side.

“You look like the princess who has escaped from a fairytale, but no matter what I throw at you—kickboxing, pistol shooting, assault course—you come out on top. What is it with you? Do you need the money?” The squad paid well and the Signora looked after her girls.

“No. I have an old score to settle.” I had smiled. “But when I’ve done that, the money is going to help.”

At the end of my training, Jake had handed me a graduation present. It was a T-shirt with a picture of a cute kitten holding a blood-stained machete between its paws. The words Killer Pussy were embroidered underneath. “Only Seduction Squad members can understand what those words really mean.” He had unzipped his jacket to show me he was wearing the same design. “And me, because I live with one.” Although they were totally professional when they were together, I had discovered from some of the other girls that Jake and the Signora were an item.

I had brought the T-shirt with me on this cruise, even though I figured I wouldn’t get a chance to wear it. It was a reminder of what I had been through to get here.

There was still plenty of time before I needed to dress in the clothes that would take me back in time. I sank lower in the water, sliding my hand between my legs. Closing my eyes, I pictured Theo’s face. His looks had a devilish edge, like a fallen angel or a hell-raising rock star. With pale skin and thick black hair that always managed to look tousled…as if he—or maybe someone else—had been dragging impatient fingers through it. His features were carved from granite with a determined, stubbled chin and cheekbones so chiseled they should be illegal. But it was his eyes. The memory of those onyx depths, so dark it was impossible to distinguish between the pupil and iris. If the eyes were the window to the soul, the bleak, beautiful intensity of Theo’s gaze held its own warning.

About the Author

Amanda Stewart writes erotic romance for Carina Press. “Just erotic. Nothing kinky. It's the difference between using a feather and using a chicken.” (Terry Pratchett)
She lives in England and loves to read and travel, trying to combine to two as often as she can. Amanda is married to a lovely man, is mum to two grown up children, and has recently discovered the joy of being a grandmother. 

Amanda Stewart also writes paranormal romance and romantic suspense as Jane Godman.




Amanda Stewart is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card & ePub Copy of SEDUCTION SQUAD: TAINTED!

Terms & Conditions:
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  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive both $25 Amazon Gift Card & ePub copy of SEDUCTION SQUAD: TAINTED
  • This giveaway ends midnight July 7.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on July 8.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

PUYB Chats with Evy Journey, author of Hello, Agnieszka

Evy Journey has always been fascinated with words and seduced by beautiful prose. She loves Jane Austen and invokes her spirit every time she spins tales of love, loss, and finding one's way—stories she interweaves with mystery or intrigue and sets in various locales. SPR (Self Publishing Review) awarded Evy the 2015 Independent Woman Author bronze for her writing.
She's lived and traveled in many places, from Asia to Europe. Often she's ended up in Paris, though—her favorite place in the world. She's an observer-wanderer. A flâneuse, as the French would say.
The mind is what fascinates her most. Armed with a Ph.D., she researched and spearheaded the development of mental health programs. And wrote like an academic. Not a good thing if you want to sound like a normal person. So, in 2012, she began to write fiction (mostly happy fiction) as an antidote.



About the Book:

Elise thought she knew her mother. Agnieszka Halverson is a caring woman, a great cook, and an exceptional piano player; but living in a secure, predictable world, she’s also a little dull. Her world is devastated when her oldest son attempts suicide, and Elise finds her mother has a past—both sweet
and bitter—that she must now reveal to explain the suicide attempt. A past rich with a passion for music and shattered dreams, betrayal of a sweet but tragic first love, second chances and renewed hopes.

Born to immigrant parents weighed down by their roots, Agnieszka takes solace in learning to play the piano, taught by a sympathetic aunt who was a concert pianist in Poland before World War II. But when her aunt betrays her and her parents cast her aside for violating their traditional values, can Agnieszka’s music sustain her? Can she, at eighteen, build a life on her own?

When she finally bares her soul to her children, Agnieszka hopes they can accept that she has a past that’s as complex as theirs; that she’s just as human, just as vulnerable as they are. But do her revelations alienate her husband and can they push Elise farther away from her?


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

I’ve never lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but my husband has. I chose that setting for Hello Agnieszka because my internet research showed that many Polish immigrants settled there. I spent hours listening to my husband’s account of his life in Pittsburgh as a student in the seventies, the time when Agnieszka lived there. But I read about the place, its demographics, and looked it up on google earth to get a sense of what it’s like. I also did research on traditional practices (including religion) and values of the Polish.

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

Hello Agnieszka is Book 2 of a series. I did try for Book 1, but I wasn’t quite sure what genre to fit it into, so I sent it to romance publishers, but a couple said they didn’t publish stories with cheating in it. Obviously, I was ignorant about genres. I just eventually got tired of trying because it’s so easy to go the self-publishing route. After that, it seems natural to go self-pub all the way.

If self-published, did you hire someone to format the ebook version for you or did you do it yourself?  Can you tell us what that was like?

I formatted the book using Book Design Templates I bought from Joel Friedlander‘s outfit. It was easy from that point on.

Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book?  Why?

No. I admit I wasn’t thinking of book promotion and marketing at that time, which might have been a naïve newbie mistake. Maybe, that’s an area in which a publisher might have been a great help.

How did you choose your cover?

A cover designer did my book covers after we “talked” about the books in the series. She presented me with choices and I made my selections. I didn’t like her choices for Hello Agnieszka, though, so I went on photo and graphic art sites and chose one. I think I lucked out because the image of the young woman at the old piano fit the book to a T.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

I revise as I write a draft. Then I keep on revising after the draft is finished. I send the book to beta readers, then I revise some more. At some point, I get reasonably satisfied with the book, so I send it to an editor.

Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book? 

No. Do they actually help?

Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book?  If so, what’s the link?

I don’t have a trailer for Book 2. I made one for Book 1. I’m currently talking to my nephew to see if he’ll do me a trailer for the series. He’s finishing film school at San Francisco State.

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

I’m all for it. I write to offer escapist fare to those who want a short break from messy living. I think it’s a time-honored practice in sales of new products. With such stiff competition these days, most authors have to find ways to make their books visible and accessible.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out? 

I had a blog, an FB page and twitter before the book was published. That’s all, I’m afraid. I’m still learning.

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

I tried some advertising and promotion for all three books the last couple of years, after consulting with book marketing experts. I don’t think they led to any appreciable sales, except in one case. I have no plan this year. I felt I needed a break. Promotion can cost a lot of money and time. Maybe, this book tour will inspire me to renew my efforts.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

Women are more likely than men to find themselves in Agnieszka, especially if they’re mothers to grown-up children. A lot of us take our mothers for granted. We never stop to think that these caring women who put the needs of their families above their own also had lives, in their youth, as rich, as complex as ours. Hello Agnieszka may also appeal to those who love music and have experienced its potential for healing.