Archives for February 2013

Blog Tour – Spotlight: The Elementals by Troy Jackson with a guest post and interview

The Elementals
written by Troy Jackson         
published by VIrtual Bookworm

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Virtual BookwormGoodreads


About the book – from Goodreads: Upon unifying the seven warring states under one banner, the First Emperor of China began solidifying power for what he envisioned as a thousand-year reign. 

Using those he conquered, the Emperor began a series of arduous projects, including the first Great Wall, the Linqu Canal, and a national system of highways. Ignoring the physical and emotional toll exacted upon the people, his insatiable desire to further his own power has led to a growing, and secretive insurgency.

One such organization is the Dragon’s Spite who wishes to usurp control of the throne by nearly any means. But first they must marshal their forces strewn throughout the kingdom. More importantly they seek out three extraordinary girls who hold vast supernatural powers that can tip the balance in their favor. But do these unknowing heroines realize the talents that they possess? Will the Dragon’s Spite reach them before the agents of the Emperor?



Every Free Chance Book Reviews is pleased to welcome Troy Jackson, author of The Elementals, to the blog today. He has prepared the following guest post and answered some questions for all of you.

When history gets lost in… well, history!


Throughout each of our lives, we have heard and read the same, dry bits of history from textbooks and other means.  If one positive can be found in this, they will typically result in a restful nap that will leave you energized to go and do something else.  Why does history have to be so…boring?  Much like politicians, we could debate this for weeks on end and never sway one single person to your side.  Is history important?  Certainly.  The human race has a tendency to learn the hard way in many aspects of life, and where better to look than in our own history?  As poet and philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Touch a hot stove, and you hopefully have learned not to repeat the action again, and you can pass it along to others so that they do not duplicate your mistake.  But some will not heed your words and find out the hard way, and thus the vicious cycle repeats itself once more.


So why must we learn history in such…a…dull…manner…?  Perhaps if we could spice it up a little and make it not only informative, but also entertaining?  It is a question I have asked myself countless times throughout the years.  It is why I have always gravitated towards novels that fall into the historical fiction and historical fantasy sub-genres.  My novel, The Elementals, can easily fall into those categories.  I take a period in history that is known by very few and breathe new life into it.  Actual events that occurred over 2,200 years ago in ancient China can leave a rather bland taste in one’s mouth.  However, by adding my own supernatural twist, I not only entice readers, but also dare them to read on.  When vampires, werewolves, dragons, and magic and fictitious worlds are all the rage nowadays, an author has to separate his or herself from the rest of the pack.  Why can we not bring the same excitement to a subject that most try and avoid like garlic to a vampire?


Q & A

How did you become interested in Chinese history? Going way back, I’ve always been fascinated by history. I can point to a few classes I took when I was working on my undergraduate degree that were about China, and I found their history complicated and amazing.  I’ve always enjoyed action (yes, like cheesy Kung Fu movies), fantasy, sci-fi (I did grow up with Star Wars and Star Trek after all), and adventure. So I decided to mesh the two things together – Chinese history with an action/fantasy angle. Picking through Chinese history I came across a few tales during the reign of the First Emperor and found him to be a dynamic figure. The trick was, that there wasn’t a whole lot written down about the time period (this is a good 2200 years in the past). Come to find out, he was one of the main reasons for this. I won’t say why, as it is written into the book. Let’s just say that it allowed me a certain kind of freedom in writing it. I could take actual events that happened back then and twist it with my own story.

How much research about the first Emperor of China did you have to do? I did at least 100-150 hours of research on the time period, but focused mainly on the First Emperor.

Where did the concept of the “Dragon’s Spite” come from? Was it modeled after something in Chinese history? Not to bore you with too many details, but throughout Chinese lore you hear of dragons (much like the one masterfully created on the front cover). The tiger was also used, and became a symbol and one of many nicknames for the First Emperor (“The Tiger of Qin”). In my series, the Dragon’s Spite battles the Tiger of Qin and his agents by whatever means necessary.  Wait until you see the cover I have planned for book two!

You’ve always been interested in history, but have you always wanted to be a writer? I actually have been interested ever since I was very young; perhaps 7 or 8 years old, when I drew/wrote a book series called “Sammy Strikeout.”  That poor kid could have easily been me as I played baseball, but struck out all the time.  Unfortunately that, along with a number of other things I wrote when I was young, never survived (or maybe that’s lucky for me). I have always had grandiose ideas for novels, but never acted on them.  That is…until now. I have a lot to bring forth to any that are willing to listen.

Is a sequel to The Elementals in the works? This is actually going to be a trilogy! I don’t get as much time to write as I’d like, but such is life! I hope to have the second installment ready by late 2013. And after that I hope to finish the trilogy by 2014 or 2015.

Are any of your characters inspired from people in your everyday life? I wouldn’t say the characters in my book are reflections of real life people. More like characters in the many books and movies I have witnessed over the years. I’m certainly a sucker for kung fu movies (think Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jackie Chan) and wuxia (such as movies like ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ and ‘Hero’). My trilogy plucks ideas from all over the spectrum.

What was your publishing process like and how will you go about marketing? The publishing part has been easy for the most part. I did a lot of research prior to picking Virtual Bookworm and really liked what I saw and read good things about them. Once I finally contacted them, it’s been quite a smooth process. As for marketing I have been lining things up for the past 4+ months, such as setting up a Twitter account (@TroyJackson12), a Facebook author page, my own website that will encompass not only my first release but hopefully ALL future releases (www.tempestworks.com), a blog on my website that I post on about every two weeks, and many other websites.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Just write whenever you get the chance. You’ll know when you’re “done.” Re-write and edit several times until you get sick of it. Hand it off to a few friends who are willing to spend a good bit of time bleeding on it and tell them to be brutally honest. It especially helps when you have someone read through it who is not familiar with the topic or genre at all, as I did. As you are doing all of this, begin your research on whether traditional or self-publishing is best for your work. Whichever route you take, prep yourself for a LOT of marketing, because the book doesn’t always sell itself. If you’re a brand new author you must keep in mind that no one outside of friends and family know who you are. So get out there!

Anything you would like to add?  I would like to thank everyone who has been a part of this process. It is a long, arduous journey, but in the end it is well worth it!

About the author: Born in 1974 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Troy Jackson moved to the great state of Georgia with his family at the age of three where he as lived ever since. Currently he resides outside the city of Atlanta with his loving wife and daughter. His passion for history, fantasy, and science fiction began at an early age with a little nudge from his older brother. Attending Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia he received a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a Master’s Degree in Teaching. In his spare time he enjoys being with his family, watching and partaking in sports. Although new to the profession, he intends on writing about subjects that have always fascinated him, including fantasy, adventure, science fiction and history.

Find Mr. Jackson here: web, blogTwitter, Goodreads

Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

GIVEAWAY!! Blog Tour – Spotlight: Wings of Tavea (Solus #2) by Devri Walls with an excerpt

Wings of Tavea (Solus #2)
written by Devri Walls        
published by Stonehouse Ink

find it here: Barnes & Noble, AmazonGoodreads


About the book: Kiora is rapidly learning that evil and lies come in shades of black and white and swirling greys, but nothing could have prepared her for the shock of leaving Meros.

Kiora and her protector Emane step through the pass into a world they never knew existed but were always meant to save, only to find it far worse than they could have ever imagined. Good has been forced into hiding for its own survival, while the rest of the land bows to the Shadow, a force that pushes any remaining thoughts of Dralazar from Kiora’s mind. This land is full of new creatures, each more dangerous than the last. Her visions have taken on a deadly twist, and magic, or what comes of it, was never so real. And then there is Alcander: a Tavean, their guide, and an entirely different kind of trouble.


Please enjoy this excerpt from Wings of Tavea.


         Emane dropped onto the bed, breathing hard. Kiora was slammed with wall upon

wall of anger rolling off him.

         She sat down gently next to him, taking his hand in hers. “It’s all right,” Kiora whispered, running her thumb over the back of Emane’s hand.

         “No, it’s not all right!” Emane yelled, jerking his hand out of her grasp. “This place is . . . I don’t know. They are not telling us something. And he—” Emane flung his arm at the door Alcander had exited from, “is the most arrogant, pompous, self centered—” Emane stood, pacing around the room, neatly avoiding Drustan who was still standing in the middle of the floor. “He treats me like a piece of garbage that needs to be disposed of. Witow.” He spat. “I hate that word. I have hated it from the moment I heard it. The way they say it, they might as well say worthless.”

         “The word actually stems from the word ‘without,’” Drustan corrected calmly.

         “Drustan,” Emane roared, whirling on him. “You are no better than he is half the

time.”

         Drustan opened his mouth but shut it again after Kiora shook her head at him. Clearing his throat, he said, “Perhaps I should go and let you two talk.”

         “Thank you,” Emane yelled at the morphing Drustan. A small bird flew out the

door. “Why, Kiora?” Emane asked. “Why am I the Protector? There is not a single person that understands it.”

         “Emane, stop,” Kiora said gently. “It doesn’t matter what they think.”

         “Easy for you to say, you are the Solus. Alcander was falling all over you when he figured out who you were.”

         Kiora clasped her fingers in her lap. “And you would rather he bowed to you?”

         “No. Just a little respect would be nice.” Emane ground his teeth, looking away from her. “You wouldn’t understand.”

         “You don’t think so?”

         Emane set his jaw, staring forward.

         “You forget I am the girl that had visions of people dying. I was treated as worthless by the people that mattered most to me.”

         Emane’s face softened, his eyes closing. “Kiora, I’m sorry. I didn’t—”

         “No, its ok,” she said. “You are used to people respecting you because of who you are. Nobody got to know you before they bowed. It is hard for you to have to prove yourself, I understand.”

         His waves of anger lessened in intensity. Going to her, Emane pulled her up and into his chest. “I am sorry, I shouldn’t have gotten so angry.”

         “You have a right to be angry. He does treat you horribly.” Kiora leaned her head against him. “I am sure Alcander will come around though. He will see who you are. Everybody else has.”

         Emane placed one finger gently under Kiora’s chin. Leaning down he kissed her lightly on the lips. She trembled. His kisses were better than magic. He kissed her harder this time, pulling her into him, and her magic roared in response. Ever since the change she could not feel pleasure, at least not the kind she felt while kissing him, and keep her magic under control at the same time. Wrapping her hands around the back of his head she kissed him back, fiercely pushing at the rising magic. But when his lips began moving down her neck, her focus was torn between her magic and the softness of his lips brushing against her skin.

         “Emane, stop, I can’t hold it,” Kiora gasped.

         He moaned in frustration and kissed her neck one more time. It was one time too many. The bubble of magic rising within her exploded out of control. It picked Emane up

and sent him flying across the room. He slammed into the wall. The wall shook under the impact. Emane fell to the ground, limp.

         “Emane!” Kiora ran over to him, sliding across the floor. “Emane!” she cried, lifting his head into her lap. “I’m sorry. I am so sorry!” Running her fingers through his hair she whimpered, “Please wake up, please.” Tears began rolling down her cheeks. He was breathing, but unconscious. Kiora yelled out the open door. “Drustan! Help!” Leaning down over Emane she kissed him on the forehead. “Please wake up, Emane, please.”

         A shadow blocked the door like a dark cloud. “What happened?” a voice demanded.

         Kiora looked up, startled. “Alcander.”

         Alcander evaluated the situation, his eyes sliding over Emane. “What happened?” he repeated.

         “It was me,” Kiora said, wiping at her face. “It was an accident. Please, can you help him?”

         “I can’t. I will get someone who can.” Alcander quickly walked out. Within a few minutes Lomay hobbled into the room.

         “What happened?”

         “It was an accident,” Kiora said. “I hit him with magic. I didn’t mean to.”

         Lomay’s eyebrows rose. “Interesting accident.” Crouching slowly beside her,

Lomay felt Emane’s neck for his pulse. “He is just unconscious.” Lomay looked up at Kiora. “I could bring him out of it, but he might be enjoying the rest.”

         “Please, wake him up. I have to make sure he’s all right.”

         “Would you like to tell me what happened?”

         She glanced at Alcander, who had followed Lomay back. He was looking at her with an odd expression on his face.

         “No, not right now.”

         “I see. Perhaps later then.” Kiora could have sworn she saw a smile play at the edge of Lomay’s mouth. “Very well, if you are sure.” Lomay touched Emane’s forehead.

Blinking, Emane looked up. “Welcome back,” Lomay said, before winking at Kiora. Groaning, Lomay pushed himself to his feet. “See you at dinner,” he said cheerfully as he hobbled out of the room. Alcander turned, silently following Lomay out the door.

         Emane moaned and rubbed his head. “What happened?”

         “I’m sorry.” Kiora said, gently pushing his hair back off his forehead. “I lost control of my magic. When you kiss me . . . I lose control.”

         “Why am I so cursed?” Emane moaned.

         “I know, I’m sorry. You can’t even kiss me!”

         “No, it’s not that. Well, partially that,” he amended. “But why was I cursed to be

such an unbelievable kisser?”

         “Emane!”

         He sat up rubbing his head. “No, really. If I wasn’t so blasted good at it, maybe this wouldn’t happen.” Emane smirked.

         “I cannot believe you are making jokes about this,” Kiora said, dropping back onto her heels. “I could have killed you.”

         “It was worth it.” He dropped against the wall with a satisfied look on his face.

         She rolled her eyes, pushed herself to her feet, and offered Emane her hand. “Come on, you are going to lay down before dinner.”

         “Will you lay with me?” he asked, stumbling forward as she pulled him up.

         “No,” Kiora said, putting her hands on her hips. “You obviously didn’t learn your lesson the last time, and you are dumb enough to try it again.”

         “I told you, it was worth it.” Emane grinned as he lay back on his bed.

         “You really did hit your head hard.”

         “Not hard enough to forget that kiss,” he said, placing his arms behind his head

and crossing one ankle over the other.

         “You are ridiculous.” Kiora sighed, her cheeks flushing.

         “I know,” he mumbled. Closing his eyes, Emane drifted to sleep, murmuring

something about it not being fair.



About the author: Devri Walls lives in Kuna, Idaho, with her husband and two kids. She has worked as a music teacher and, currently, a preschool teacher. She majored in theater and her love of a story still drives her today. Thankfully, she has finally found an outlet for all the voices in her head. Her first novel, Wings of Arian, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and Apple. The second book in the Solus trilogy, Wings of Tavea, was released November 2012.

Find Ms. Walls here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads






And now for the GIVEAWAY!! Fill out the Rafflecopter forms below for your chance to win some great prizes!



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Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

Valentine’s Day Chick Lit Promotion!

Love is in the air . . . and it can be on your Kindle, too!



Do you want to fall in love with a good book this Valentine’s Day weekend? How about 9? Then don’t miss this special promotion. For four days only (February 14th – February 17th), 9 popular Chick Lit authors will be lowering the prices on their favorite rom-coms to 99 centson Amazon.com! At that price (A bottle of wine costs more!), why not sample them all? Some delicious literary treats await you, and unlike chocolates these goodies are calorie-free!

And guys: If your sweetie is a book-lover, you’ll make her Valentine’s Day by gifting her with one (or more) of our fun, romantic stories! 


Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey – Daytime talk show producer Jamie Ross is beyond fed up with her toxic bad boy turned metrosexual boyfriend. Spurred on by her gang of quirky friends, she goes on a hilarious, at-times disastrous, and totally life-changing hunt to track down the ”one who got away.” But are some loves best left behind? See my review here.




In Need of Therapy by Tracie BanisterHandling the problems of hysterical hypochondriacs, lovelorn neurotics, and compulsive man whores is all in a day’s work for super-shrink Pilar Alvarez. But can she deal with her crazy Cuban family, a trio of unsuitable suitors, and a threat to her practice without ending up on the couch herself?  See my review here.




Rita Hayworth’s Shoes by Francine LaSalaJilted bride Amy’s down on everything until she convinces herself to purchase a cute, ridiculously expensive pair of second-hand shoes. Once she does, life starts looking up, and she falls into an unexpected new romance with the last man she’d ever expect to love. But can a pair of shoes really be magic? And is her new prince really just a frog? 



Breaking the Rules by Cat LavoieWhen Roxy Rule shares a passionate kiss with her lifelong best friend, she must come to terms with her feelings for him while dealing with two sisters in full crisis mode, a boss who makes her want to stab herself with a letter opener and a fiancé who can’t wait to walk down the aisle. Can she keep it together–or will she break under the pressure? See my review here.






The Green Ticket by Samantha March College junior Alex Abrams scores her dream job at the ripe age of twenty, but her good fortune quickly turns disastrous when she realizes her job is filled with lies, betrayal, and cover-ups. Keeping up with classes, her girlfriends and a budding romance, Alex feels the pressure – but will she overcome the challenges? See my review here.




Unmasking Maya by Libby MercerDisgraced New York fashionista, Maya Kirkwood, is fashioning herself a new life as an artist in San Francisco when she’s hired to do an installation of her work by dorky, yet dashing dotcom executive, Derek. The sparks soon start to fly… But is this a good thing? See my review here.





A State of Jane by Meredith Schorr Jane Frank is newly single after nine years and looking for a second chance at love. But when she dives head first into the NYC dating scene and finds it infested with flakes who are interested today and gone tomorrow, it may be time for Jane to turn the tables! See my review here.






True Love Way by Nancy Scrofano When her high school sweetheart, Josh, suddenly returns after twelve years in Paris, Marlo Spencer travels to her hometown to try to rekindle their relationship. But when dreams of a blissful reunion are shattered as old secrets and betrayals are revealed, can she forgive and forget, or will true love find a different path to her heart? 






Picture Perfect by Lucie Simone Lauren Tate’s perfectly planned life quickly unravels at the seams when a smear campaign threatens her career as a top TV executive, but she learns just how cutthroat showbiz can truly be when the hottest scandal in Tinsel Town turns deadly and the Hollywood hunk who’s stolen her heart goes missing. 







Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

GIVEAWAY!! Blog Tour: My Journey as a Combat Medic by Patrick Thibeault

My Journey as a Combat Medic
written by Patrick Thibeault         
published by Osprey Publishing

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads


Why did I pick this book: I participated in the blog tour hosted by Premier Virtual Author Book Tours(I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)


Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. I found it interesting, I learned a lot, and I have a new respect for combat medics…for medics, in general.

One word of advice, read the introduction by the author. Don’t skip over it. This portion explains that the book is not told in chronological order but by experience. This information really helps the reader. I skipped over the introduction and then I was confused. Then, I read the introduction and the whole thing made sense! So, read the intro.

The stories put me in the action and the experience with Patrick. These were real stories, real events, real feelings. I liked the advice that Mr. Thibeault gives at the end of the book for those thinking about becoming a medic in the armed forces. I also learned a lot about post-traumatic stress disorder. 

All-in-all, this was a good, worthwhile read.

Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book if you like nonfiction/memoirs, true war stories, or if you want to be a medic in the armed forces.


Will I read it again: I will not read this book again.


About the book – from Goodreads: 
My Journey as a Combat Medic is a no-holds-barred look at the modern medic in the US Army, allowing us a glimpse at the training as a soldier and as a specialist, as well as deployment and front line duties and the impact of service on civilian life, including an honest look at PTSD, from the author’s own personal experience. Rather than a technical manual, My Journey as a Combat Medic is a detailed first hand account, concluding with a letter to new medics, providing a career’s worth of advice and knowledge as they begin their journeys.

Patrick Thibeault has served in the US Army in various capacities since the 1990s, originally training as a Airborne soldier before specialising as a combat medic. My Journey as a Combat Medic covers his original training and deployment before providing a look at the roles he’s since played in the US Army’s forces, including his recent deployment to Afghanistan. It is a no-holds bar look at the modern medic in the US Army, allowing us a glimpse at the training as a soldier and as a specialist, as well as deployment and front line duties and the impact of service on civilian life, including an honest look at PTSD, from the author’s own personal experience.

Every Free Chance Book Reviews is pleased to welcome Patrick Thibeault, author of My Journey as a Combat Medic, to the blog today. He has prepared the following guest post for all of you.

The inspiration for My Journey as a Combat Medic was to fill a void, to get closure, and to share my experiences with the rest of the world.


I wanted to fill a void because only a handful of books about combat medics have been written. Even less of them by the combat medics who actually served on the front lines with the combat troops and not in some hospital somewhere.  I have seen in the movies and books about these elite combat units and the important jobs they do, and the job of the combat medic is no less important. In many ways, the job of the combat medic is the same both in peacetime and in combat. We support our infantry soldiers that actually go out and do the fighting. Injuries and illnesses occur both under fire and during training. People prefer to read about the times under fire, but I include some about the training in My Journey as a Combat Medic, because, in my experience, our training in many ways is much harder than when we go into combat. I felt a void because my job as a combat medic is often overlooked, even by our leaders.  Most people remember me not by my name, but called me Doc or medic.  In formations, before a mission, they would ask where the Doc is, and I would respond and the platoon leader would point me out to everyone that I was the medic and to remember my face. I wanted to fill that void for other medics who have gone before me in all the other wars our nations have fought in, not just here in the USA, but around the world. Ultimately, our job as medics is to fight death and preserve life, regardless of creed, flag and where you come from. I wanted to share this important story and to fill this void.


I wrote for closure on a deep personal level. I deal with PTSD. Deal with it is not really the best choice of words because I have good days and I have bad days. I thought that by writing a book about my combat medic days, it would help me to come to terms with my experiences. The term combat medic is often misused because a medic actually has to be in combat to call him or herself a combat medic. I have met some young high school kids who tell me that they want to be a combat medic.  I think to myself, be careful about what you wish for because of the consequences of war such as dealing with PTSD. I say nothing but wish them the best of luck. The combat is what caused me to have PTSD. That is life though. I wouldn’t wish PTSD on anyone and I remember when I was still a teenager in combat. I went to war a kid and I came home a man and deal with the consequences of war.  I wrote My Journey as a Combat Medic for other veterans and anyone else who deals with PTSD, or who wants to understand it from a combat medic’s point of view.  I can’t say that my experiences are any more unique than the thousands of other combat medics who have served, but for me, putting pen to paper and hand to keyboard was very therapeutic. I cried at some parts when I wrote this book because I was reliving the events as I wrote them down. I also laughed at some of the good times. It was an important part of my closure. I chose the word closure and not the word healed, because I don’t think anyone with PTSD is really ever healed. We are scarred from the inside at the very least, and from time to time, just like a physical wound, these scars hurt us.


I wanted to share my experiences. I wanted to tell the world how it is like to jump out of an airplane wearing 90 pounds of combat equipment, or to go on patrol in the jungles in South and Central America. I wanted to share my thoughts, actions, failures, and achievements both in peace time and in combat. I felt I was obligated for the sake of history to share my story. Ultimately, I would love to see My Journey as a Combat Medicmake it to the big screen so everyone could watch the story. I want people to read about the adventures of treating prisoners of wars and  getting shot at and walking around land mine infested Afghanistan, not knowing if the next step is literally going to be the last step I ever take, but knowing that I must carry on because the folks that I support need me. I wanted to share my take on the future of Afghanistan and about the good people and their hopes and dreams. 

About the author: Patrick Thibeault was raised as an Army brat. He lived in Germany, Fort Devens, Massachusetts, Fayetteville, North Carolina and his father was stationed in Seoul, South Korea, where he attended Seoul American High School and graduated in 1989. 

Upon graduation from high school, Patrick enlisted in the Army becoming a paratrooper medic. The first unit that he was assigned to was the elite 3rd Battalion / 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). Patrick deployed to Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm back in 1990. During his tenure with the 160th, Patrick had the opportunity to grow both as a soldier and as a medic. He attended SERE school (Survival training), went to Army enlisted flight medic school at Fort Rucker, and attended Primary Leadership training at Fort Stewart, Georgia among other types of military training. He deployed both stateside and overseas with the 160th and even spent some time on the USS. Theodore Roosevelt. 
He then joined the Kentucky Army National Guard. He continued to grow in the medical field and nursing field and started nursing school at Eastern Kentucky University. Patrick’s first job as a nurse was as a registered nurse in Indianapolis,Indiana. Patrick transferred to the Indiana Army National Guard where in 2000, his entire brigade travelled to Fort Polk, Louisiana to participate in the combat simulations at the Joint Readiness Training Center or JRTC.
He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in nursing in May 2003 from Marian University in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2004, he deployed with his unit, the 76th Infantry Brigade in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Patrick worked briefly as a liaison for Task Force Phoenix at Bagram Airbase before going back out into the deserts of Afghanistan to serve as a medic.
Patrick started on his master’s degree to become a Family Nurse Practitioner upon returning from combat in 2005. He graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in December, 2008. Patrick then transferred to the 138th Field Artillery Brigade, part of the Kentucky Army National Guard, where he remained till he retired in January, 2011. Patrick currently works part time in a medical intensive care unit part time as a registered nurse and works full time in a urgent and primary care clinic as a Family Nurse Practitioner.
His awards and decorations include the Combat Medical Badge, 2nd award from both Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom. The Meritorious Service Medical from Afghanistan, the Air Medal from Desert Storm. Patrick also has earned the Expert Field Medical Badge, parachute wings, and the enlisted crewmember aviation wings.


Find Mr. Thibeault here: web, blogGoodreads

And now for the GIVEAWAY!! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win an eBook copy of My Journey as a Combat Medic in PDF format.
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Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

GIVEAWAY!! Blog Tour – Spotlight: Three Sisters and Showstoppers by Helen Smith

Three Sisters and Showstoppers
written by Helen Smith

find Showstoppers here: AmazonGoodreads

find Three Sisters here: AmazonGoodreads

About the books: Three Sisters and Showstoppers are two novella-length stories in the Emily Castles mystery series. The first full-length novel, Invitation to Die, will be published by Thomas & Mercer in October 2013.

The Emily Castles mystery series is set in present-day London. It features twenty-six-year-old Londoner, Emily Castles and her neighbor, eccentric philosophy professor Dr. Muriel Crowther. In Three Sisters, Emily goes to a party in a big house at the end of her street. She’s sure she witnesses a murder, but no one will believe her. She teams up with Dr. Muriel to investigate.

In Showstoppers, Emily helps out at a local stage school run by her neighbor, Victoria. Soon she’s mixed up in a blackmail plot and two deaths. Emily and Dr. Muriel team up to prevent further a massacre live on stage during the end of term show.


Praise for the Emily Castles Mystery Series


Fast-paced, funny, and mysterious… Helen Smith is a master story-teller.
~Socrates Book Reviews

It grips you from the very beginning.
~Babs Books Bistro

Bright, colorful and full of surprises.
~Amazon Vine Reviewer

Fast-paced and unusual, I highly recommend this one.
~Eva’s Sanctuary


Praise for Helen Smith


Smith is gin-and-tonic funny.
~The Booklist


About the author: Helen Smith is a novelist and playwright who lives in London. She’s the author of bestselling cult novels Alison WonderlandBeing Light, and The Miracle Inspector as well as the Emily Castles Mystery Series.

Find Ms. Smith here: AmazonFacebookTwitterBlogGoodreads Shelfari, LibraryThing




Tour Schedule


And now for the Giveaway! 10 winners will each receive a Kindle ebook copy of Showstoppers & Three Sisters!
(Ends February 28, 2013)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

          Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!


Blog Tour – Spotlight: The K Street Affair by Mari Passananti with a guest post and an excerpt

The K Street Affair
written by Mari Passananti         
published by Rutland Square Press

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads


About the book – from Goodreads: What if a massive corporation, one with political ties on both sides of the Atlantic, decided to start a war?

Hours after a crippling attack rocks Washington, D.C., Lena Mancuso, a talented young associate at one of the country’s best law firms, finds federal agents at her door, bearing unbelievable news.

Lena’s clients may have financed the murder of hundreds of civilians. 

The FBI wants Lena’s insider access to spy on her firm’s high-profile roster of international clients, whose ranks include a disgraced K Street lobbyist, a flamboyant Russian oil baron and the future Saudi king – unlikely bedfellows linked by common interests in a massive multinational corporation with lofty but sinister goals: control of the world oil markets and a takeover of the United States government.

Helping the FBI means Lena will endanger herself and everyone she loves, but refusing them feels unthinkable. Armed with a mix of smarts, intuition and grit she never knew she possessed, Lena will risk everything in a race to stop a catastrophic chain of events.

Every Free Chance Book Reviews is pleased to welcome Mari Passananti, author of The K Street Affair, to the blog today. She is touring the blogosphere with and has prepared the following guest post for all of you.
The K Street Affair is a political suspense novel, and an adventure story—a big change from my debut novel, a self discovery story called The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken. The two novels have one key component in common: they both feature a smart young woman protagonist forced to find her backbone through a series of unwanted events.


I actually wrote a draft of the novel that would become The K Street Affairbefore I started work on The Hazards.  I loved the idea of a suspense caper with a clever but conflicted woman at its heart. Why should male protagonists score all the juiciest espionage roles?


The most interesting rejection that manuscript garnered said something along the lines of “You can write, but the world isn’t ready for a female Jason Bourne. Try something less far fetched.”


I shelved the manuscript, but once The Hazards was published, I couldn’t resist dusting off The K Street Affair. I’m a bit of a political junkie (maybe because I spent my early adulthood inside the Beltway), and I’m intrigued by the nexus of money and politics.

In writing The K Street Affair, I set out to answer two questions: What if a politically wired multinational corporation set out to start a war to advance its own economic interests? And if one relatively ordinary citizen stumbled upon their plans, should she risk everything—including her life and the lives of her family members—to try to stop the sinister chain of events?


Re-working the novel was a fascinating exercise. Schemes involving secret offshore money laundering and terror finance (whether witting or unwitting) by politicians and their corporate friends somehow seemed less impossible by late 2011 than they had four years prior. 


At this point in our nation’s history, large corporations hold unprecedented sway over laws and lawmakers. Which is problematic, because multinational corporations don’t necessarily act in our country’s best interests. When they don’t, they hire lobbyists, like my fictitious K Street insider William Acheson, to persuade and/or strong arm our elected officials into deciding important questions to their corporate masters’ liking. I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re on the cusp of a meaningful national discussion regarding the outsized influence we’ve come to tolerate from lobbyists and the corporations they represent.

I hope readers enjoy the plot twists in The K Street Affair, and find themselves rooting for Lena as she races to stop a catastrophic series of events. Ultimately, the messages and themes in any novel won’t resonate if the book fails to entertain the reader. First and foremost, that’s what I set out to accomplish whenever I sit down to write.






Find Ms. Passananti here: web, Twitter, Goodreads







Please enjoy the following excerpt from The K Street Affair.

Every soul employed in the fancy glass office building at 1050 Connecticut Avenue swarms the exits well before the alarm system finishes blaring its robotic instructions. We march slowly and deliberately down a stairwell plunged into blackness, illuminated only by emergency bulbs at each landing. I’m grateful nobody has panicked, but I can’t help silently urging my colleagues to pick up the pace. The alarm shrieks deep inside my head, even with my hands pressed over my ears.

How many minutes since the floor rocked under our feet? Can aftershocks take down buildings? Crush the people in them?

I try to estimate our progress, but lose count of the steps before we reach the pavement. I pause and blink at the shock of sunlight before realizing that every person who stops for a moment to regroup slows the evacuation. A detail cop yells at us to move north along Connecticut Avenue. Good. Shorter buildings up there.

On the sidewalk the news barrels over us: Not an earthquake. A bomb. A massive one. The kind that can change everything.

The phones crash as I’m breathlessly relating my escape from Rutledge & Smerth to Damien. My husband listens without comment for several minutes.

I pause to look at the screen. No signal. I wonder how long I’ve been talking to dead air. Sirens wail, both in the distance and down the block. Conversation ceases while hundreds of my shell-shocked co-workers study their unresponsive phones. There’s a bizarre but absolute absence of hysteria.

A vaguely familiar man touches my arm. “Lena, are you okay?”

I nod absently and turn away from this guy I now recognize as a paralegal from my floor. I can’t muster any conversation. I just want to go home. Hide under the covers. Erase the past thirty minutes from memory.

Firemen in full hazmat gear herd us further from the smoking crater that used to be the K to L Street block of Connecticut Avenue. They string up yellow police tape several yards back from the crumbling pavement, and plead with the most aggressive gawkers to back off so rescue teams can do their jobs. News vans start to arrive and soon outnumber ambulances. An officer with a bullhorn yells at the crowd to disperse. I pick my way through the crowd of faces, some familiar, many not. I finally reach M Street and turn north on 19th.

The walk takes twice as long as it should, because pedestrians, most underdressed for the January cold, clog the streets. My naked ears and fingers ache, but I feel guilty for wishing I had my coat. I should feel thankful to be alive and unscathed. By the time I arrive at our doorstep on T Street, it takes me three tries to maneuver the key into the lock with my numb hands.

I crank the heat, glad for the first time ever that Damien insisted we keep our landline. I knock a pile of magazines and catalogs out of the way so I can see its caller I.D. box, which has recorded more traffic this afternoon than during the entirety of the last two years. I try Damien at work. His steady voice on the outgoing message explains he has left for the day. He recites his temporarily useless mobile number and email address.

I talk to my mother, insist I’m shell shocked but physically fine. I urge her to refrain from taking any of the prescription sedatives one of her book club ladies recommended. We hang up. I scroll back through the missed calls. My friend Hannah is the only member of our inner circle who hasn’t checked in. Her office is a block from mine, a few hundred yards further removed from the crater on Connecticut. I saw, through the swirling ash and smoke, that her building withstood the jolt. Maybe Hannah will think to walk over here. We’re much closer than her place across the river. I try to check Facebook, but our Internet isn’t working. The router’s insolent red light blinks under the desk.

On TV, NBC’s anchorman reports, “At 12:13 p.m. in the nation’s capital, at least six explosive devices detonated on different Metrorail trains. The explosions appear to have been simultaneous. The Secret Service, along with agents from both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, are trying to determine who or what triggered the blasts.”

Blasts, plural.

Six of them? I grab the arm of the couch for support. Tell myself the blasts can’t all have been as bad as the one under my building.

The screen shows a map of DC’s Metro system. In addition to the bomb right outside my building, there are explosion icons at Capitol South Station, between Chevy Chase and Bethesda Stations, at Foggy Bottom, downtown at Metro Center, and across the river, at Pentagon City Station.

The anchorman says, “Initial estimates put the death toll over 700, and rising.” I feel the world tilt under my feet. 700? “Many area roads have collapsed from the force of the underground explosions. We have no solid figures on the number of wounded, but police estimate that over a thousand people await treatment at area hospitals. Search and rescue teams from around the country have started to arrive in the DC area to aid overwhelmed first responders. Time is of the essence. If anyone is alive under the rubble, they will be unlikely to survive overnight. Record lows are forecast throughout the region. Elsewhere around the nation, police are on high alert. The FAA has ordered all U.S. airports closed at this hour.”

Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

GIVEAWAY!! Book Blast: Red Madrassa by Terah Edun


Red Madrassa 
written by Terah Edun

find it here: Amazon, Goodreads

About the book: A magical accident threw them together. But when Fate holds all the cards, it can be impossible to tell the difference between pure chance and Destiny…

The Madrassa, a magical school for mage practitioners, is the stuff of legend. With selective entrance exams and quotas for only the most advanced of mage children, it’s almost impossible to attend.

When Allorna, a guardian trainee for the royal family, ends up on the doorstep of the citadel on the eve of the final day of a recruitment ceremony, she decides it must be fate.

She was sure she knew the path her life would take before she enrolled. But sometimes life has a way of throwing in magical curveballs and strange friends, just to see if you’ll trip up.

Oh, and one of those friends is a mage accused of murder, another is a slightly psychotic dragon, the third a healer facing an existential crisis, and the last is a female storm-caller with more hidden secrets than a thief lord.

Do they all belong at the new school they call home?

About the author: Terah Edun is a young adult fantasy writer, born and raised in the Atlanta metropolitan area, who transplanted to the Northeast region for college, and now lives in South Sudan. She writes the stories that she always loved to read as a young girl.

She prefers tales of adventure, magic, fellowship and courtship – in other words high fantasy. But she’s not adverse to the occasional contemporary fantasy coming her way. Sometimes you’ll see cloaks, daggers, independent and strong girls, independent and strong guys, sweet and soft spoken girls, sweet and soft spoken guys, markets, cute guys, sparkly magic and irritatingly know-it-all boys. The book she’s currently working on is Sworn to Raise,  the first in the Courtlight series.

Outside of writing, she’s a international development professional with a penchant for Starbucks.

Find Ms. Edun here: 
Website, Goodreads, Facebook


Tour Schedule



And now for the Book Blast Giveaway!! Enter for your chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash!!

(Ends February 28, 2013)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

           Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

GIVEAWAY!! Blog Tour: Dark Promise by Julia Crane & Talia Jager

Dark Promise
written by Julia Crane & Talia Jager         
published by Valknut Press, LLC

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads


Why did I pick this book: I participated in the blog tour hosted by AToMR Tours(I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)


Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. It was a fairly quick read that was fun and kept me interested even if it was a bit predictable. But that didn’t bother me. I enjoyed this read and I will read the next book in this series.

Rylie is your typical teenager in high school who is about to turn 16 years old. She loves her parents and her friends, especially her boyfriend, Adam. It was nice to see a teen actually like her parents and respect them in a YA novel. Rylie and her boyfriend have a chaste relationship…which is also a nice change of pace for a YA novel. They care about one another and have a great friendship on top of their romantic relationship. 

On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Rylie finds out she that not only is she not the biological child of the parents who raised her but she is a faery…a powerful faery that is wanted by the Dark Faeries for her power. The story became rather exciting when Rylie is kidnapped the day after her sixteenth birthday. I would have thought her faery mother would have done more to try and save her but I guess she just wasn’t that powerful. As she is being held captive by the Dark Faeries, she worries about her parents and her friends at home. She wants to go home and be with them. However, she seems to go along with everything rather easily and without much concern. Maybe she thinks she can get out of the whole situation and the debt that is owed to the Dark Faeries. I think Rylie is also very interested in learning more about being a faery and that world.

The chemistry between Rylie and Kallan, Varwick’s son, was palpable. You could sense their attraction for one another despite both of their efforts to deny that attraction. They also acted like your typical teens – it is clear that they like each other but they don’t want to admit it to others or themselves. I want to see how their relationship, if their really is one, plays out.

Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book to any YA fantasy/paranormal fan.


Will I read it again: I will not read this book again but I will read the next book in the series. I want to see what happens next. 


About the book: 
Rylie has it all – great friends, dream boy, loving family. But on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, her perfect little world shatters. A stranger claiming to be her real mother appears with a secret: Rylie is a faery whose powers will be unleashed on her birthday. Captured and forced into a new life, Rylie struggles to keep everything she loves and discovers a terrifying truth: some promises cannot be broken.

About the author: Julia crane is the author of the Coexist: Keegan’s Chronicles. She has a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination. Although she’s spent most of her life on the US east coast, she currently lives in Dubai with her husband and three children.

Find Ms. Crane here: blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Find Ms. Jager here: blog, Facebook, TwitterGoodreads

And now for the GIVEAWAY!! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win some great prizes from AToMR Tours!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

GIVEAWAY!! Blog Tour: Dark Promise by Julia Crane & Talia Jager

Dark Promise
written by Julia Crane & Talia Jager         
published by Valknut Press, LLC

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads


Why did I pick this book: I participated in the blog tour hosted by AToMR Tours(I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)


Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. It was a fairly quick read that was fun and kept me interested even if it was a bit predictable. But that didn’t bother me. I enjoyed this read and I will read the next book in this series.

Rylie is your typical teenager in high school who is about to turn 16 years old. She loves her parents and her friends, especially her boyfriend, Adam. It was nice to see a teen actually like her parents and respect them in a YA novel. Rylie and her boyfriend have a chaste relationship…which is also a nice change of pace for a YA novel. They care about one another and have a great friendship on top of their romantic relationship. 

On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Rylie finds out she that not only is she not the biological child of the parents who raised her but she is a faery…a powerful faery that is wanted by the Dark Faeries for her power. The story became rather exciting when Rylie is kidnapped the day after her sixteenth birthday. I would have thought her faery mother would have done more to try and save her but I guess she just wasn’t that powerful. As she is being held captive by the Dark Faeries, she worries about her parents and her friends at home. She wants to go home and be with them. However, she seems to go along with everything rather easily and without much concern. Maybe she thinks she can get out of the whole situation and the debt that is owed to the Dark Faeries. I think Rylie is also very interested in learning more about being a faery and that world.

The chemistry between Rylie and Kallan, Varwick’s son, was palpable. You could sense their attraction for one another despite both of their efforts to deny that attraction. They also acted like your typical teens – it is clear that they like each other but they don’t want to admit it to others or themselves. I want to see how their relationship, if their really is one, plays out.

Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book to any YA fantasy/paranormal fan.


Will I read it again: I will not read this book again but I will read the next book in the series. I want to see what happens next. 


About the book: 
Rylie has it all – great friends, dream boy, loving family. But on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, her perfect little world shatters. A stranger claiming to be her real mother appears with a secret: Rylie is a faery whose powers will be unleashed on her birthday. Captured and forced into a new life, Rylie struggles to keep everything she loves and discovers a terrifying truth: some promises cannot be broken.

About the author: Julia crane is the author of the Coexist: Keegan’s Chronicles. She has a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination. Although she’s spent most of her life on the US east coast, she currently lives in Dubai with her husband and three children.

Find Ms. Crane here: blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Find Ms. Jager here: blog, Facebook, TwitterGoodreads

And now for the GIVEAWAY!! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win some great prizes from AToMR Tours!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!

GIVEAWAY!! Blog Tour – Spotlight: A Song for Julia by Charles Sheehan-Miles with an excerpt

A Song for Julia
written by Charles Sheehan-Miles          
published by Cincinnatus Press 

find it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads

About the book: Everyone should have something to rebel against.

Crank Wilson left his South Boston home at sixteen to start a punk band and burn out his rage at the world. Six years later, he’s still at odds with his father, a Boston cop, and doesn’t ever speak to his mother. The only relationship that really matters is with his younger brother, but watching out for Sean can be a full-time job.

The one thing Crank wants in life is to be left the hell alone to write his music and drive his band to success.

Julia Thompson left a secret behind in Beijing that exploded into scandal in Washington, DC, threatening her father’s career and dominating her family’s life. Now, in her senior year at Harvard, she’s haunted by a voice from her past and refuses to ever lose control of her emotions again, especially when it comes to a guy.

When Julia and Crank meet at an anti-war protest in Washington in the fall of 2002, the connection between them is so powerful it threatens to tear everything apart.


Please enjoy this excerpt from A Song for Julia.

Not what I expected (Julia)


It was funny, I thought, as we paid the bill and left the restaurant. Crank was … different. Easy to be around, and he made me laugh. But I was never going to see him after tonight, and that made me kind of sad. For a brief second, I thought of seeing him when we got back to Boston, but seriously? Bad idea. My life didn’t have room for someone like Crank. And from what he’d said, his didn’t have room either. This was all a little off-key, out of place, almost as if it was someone else out to dinner with him, and I was playing a role. I almost never go out with guys. And I never let my emotions get ahead of my brain.


But tonight, as we tried to wave down a cab to head toward Georgetown, I was feeling a little out of control. The way his shirt gathered around his arms, the easy strength in them, the easy grin … I was attracted to him in a way I hadn’t been with anyone in a long time.


I’ve never liked feeling out of control. Not like that. I’d gone there once, head over heels in love, and it did so much damage to my life I didn’t think I’d ever recover. No way I’d ever go there again. Whatever else happened, I was in control of my life. No one else. Certainly not some formless emotion and lust that can take away who you even are. I was fourteen when it happened, almost eight years ago, and the consequences and damage were beyond anything I could have conceived. What I learned was this: letting myself be at the mercy of hormones and brain chemicals and emotions can be deadly.


A cab pulled up, and we got in. I thought of tossing away caution and telling him I wanted to go home with him. One night wouldn’t be so dangerous. One night could be okay. One night could be free and fun and not go anywhere.


The cab driver took a hard right turn, accelerating to get through the light before it changed, and in the process I was pushed across the back seat toward Crank. He put his arm around me, an automatic reaction I’m sure, but I stayed there.


“You all right?” he asked.


“Fine!” I said. “Where are we going, anyway?”


“No idea. Aren’t there a bunch of clubs in Georgetown?”


“I think so. I didn’t get out much when I lived in the area.”


He raised his eyebrows. “Why not? Don’t take offense, but you seem like you were probably one of the popular girls.”


“You couldn’t be more wrong. What makes you think that?” I asked, giving him a challenging stare.


“First impressions, I guess. You still look very professional in that outfit, kind of preppy. Sexy as hell.”


I’m not a blushy sort of girl, but that made me blush. “It’s not exactly club attire, is it? But I don’t want to take the time to go back and change.”


“No worries, Julia. It’s just us, anyway.”


I swallowed and then leaned against him. What had gotten into me?


Lust. That was the only explanation. I could feel the hard muscle of his shoulders and thighs pressing against me, and my body was responding to that—no matter what my mind said.


The cab came to a halt, and the driver muttered something. I leaned forward. Nothing but red taillights ahead of us for blocks.


“What’s going on?” Crank asked.


“Construction,” the driver said. “Bad. You want me to let you out here?” He looked anxious to dump us out of the cab as soon as possible, to avoid being stuck in the westbound traffic.


I took a breath. My chest was tight, my whole body tense. I rubbed my hands on my skirt, closed my eyes and thought, Screw it. I can do this. It’s just one night, anyway.


“Do you want to…” he asked, just as I started to say, “Let’s …”


We both stopped, and he laughed.


“You go first,” he said.


I bit my lip, and I could feel my cheeks heating up again. “I was going to say …” and my voice trailed off.


“You were going to say?”


He grinned. It was a crooked grin, the left side of his mouth slightly higher than the right, and it made me want to melt into my seat and pull him right after me.


I took a breath and closed my eyes. “I was going to say, where are you staying?”


I kept my eyes closed another fifteen seconds or more. And, let me tell you, fifteen seconds is a long, long time. Finally I opened them, and he was looking at me with an expression I couldn’t interpret. For someone who was always joking, always making snide remarks, he looked serious. Too serious. More serious than I was comfortable with. I didn’t need serious in my life.


I saw his Adam’s apple bob as he swallowed, then he said, “I’m at some dump in Arlington. Sharing a room with Mark.”


“Oh,” I said, my voice unnaturally tense.


“What about you?” he asked. He spoke very slowly, carefully.


“Um … my parents have a condo in Bethesda. I was planning on heading back there tonight.”


“I don’t want to say goodbye,” he said.


I couldn’t get control of my breathing. I felt lightheaded. Out of control. “Come back to my place.”


He titled his head, leaned close and whispered, “Are you sure?”


I found myself chewing on my lower lip again. “Yes.”


I dropped my eyes and leaned forward, putting my hand on the back of the taxi driver’s seat. “Can you take us to Bethesda instead? Wisconsin Avenue and Montgomery.”


Suddenly it was quiet in the cab. Tense, awkward. I couldn’t believe I’d done this. I did not do one-night stands. But here I was, half-hyperventilating, with this guy I’d only known for eight hours sitting beside me in the cab. And I guess if it was just for now that was fine, but what if he wanted to see me again? What if he wanted to date? What if?


I didn’t think I could handle that.


This was so stupid. Things were so much easier with Willard, before I broke up with him. I was always in control. There was no passion there, true. There wasn’t anything there. But it was comfortable. Easy. I wasn’t afraid.


Crank, though: he made me afraid.


The cab cleared the traffic and turned up at Massachusetts Avenue, and we were speeding out of downtown DC.


“You’re awfully quiet now,” Crank said.


I looked at him, and his eyes were boring into mine, intense, probing.


“Having second thoughts?” he asked. “It’s okay.”


I leaned a little closer. “No. Just … it’s just tonight. We don’t see each other again. We don’t call each other in Boston. We don’t … anything. Okay? We enjoy each other’s company tonight, and then we’re done.”


He stared at me, surprised. And … his face looked disappointed. He swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing once in his throat. “I don’t know why, but that’s … not what I expected.”


“Don’t get expectations. Not with me.”


He shook his head. “Usually I’m the one who says things like that.”


The cab came to a halt, and he paid it, and we were out on the street. A cool wind blew through the streets of downtown Bethesda, and traffic rolled by us. I took his hand and walked to the entrance of the high rise, swiped my access card to unlock the front door, and we walked into the lobby.


The night concierge was sitting at the counter, watching a small television. She looked up briefly, gave us a casual wave and went back to her show. Good. If it had been the day concierge, my appearance with Crank would have been reported back to my parents by morning.


We waited in silence for the elevator. The bell when it arrived on the ground floor was loud.


“Nice place,” he said. “Fancy.”


“My parents bought it a few years back when we were living in the area.” I didn’t want to talk about the year I’d lived with my parents here. I didn’t want to think about it. If there’d been any other place I could have taken him, I would have. I didn’t like having this crazy, free moment mixed with my past.


We stepped into the elevator. It rose, quickly, to the top floor. He followed me down the hall, and we stopped at the door while I fumbled for keys. I was shaking with anxiety, nervousness. The weight of this place made me want to scream. But not enough to push him away.


I unlocked the door and opened it, then started to step in. My heart was thumping in my chest, and my throat was tight. Not just because of him. Because of this place. I had no good memories here. Even with the lights still out, looking inside this condo, which I’d stepped foot in only a few times since the day I graduated high school, shook me to the core and made my skin crawl.


I shuddered and then turned back toward him when he didn’t come inside. He gave me a speculative, questioning look. As if he were curious about me, about who I was.


But that wasn’t any of his business.


“What?” I asked.


“You don’t want to see me again,” he said.


I did. But I shook my head no.


“You don’t sleep with guys unless you’re serious with them,” he said.


“I don’t have room for serious in my life.”


He stepped close and brushed my lips with his, then spoke in a low tone. “I want you to be serious about me,” he said. “I can get a girl to sleep with me any time. But there’s something different about you.”


I stared into his eyes. He meant what he was saying. We’d only known each other for a few hours, but I felt a connection too, even if it was only lust. I wanted him. Right now. I felt my breath speed up as I started to speak, “I …”


“Julia,” he interrupted. “I’d love to get to know you better,” he said. “But I’m not going to sleep with you. Good night.”


Then, unbelievably, he leaned forward and kissed me again. Slow. Our tongues just made contact. Wet and warm. Hungry. I wanted to whimper, pull him inside, but he turned and slowly walked back down the hall until he was out of sight.


I just stood there and watched him go, and part of me, a huge part of me, wanted to run after him. But I still remembered.


I remembered what it was like to have a hot, sexy, charismatic guy want me. I remembered what it was like to lose control, to feel that rush of emotion. To be overwhelmed.


I remembered what it was like to have my heart torn out, to have my dreams smashed, to be bleeding and lost in the back streets of Beijing. To have scandal nearly tear my family apart.


No matter how much I might have wanted this guy: I couldn’t go back there. Not now. Not ever. If it wasn’t going to happen for just tonight, it wasn’t going to happen at all.


So, I walked in the condo and closed and locked the door. I didn’t turn on the lights. I didn’t want to see the inside of this place. Instead, I made my way to the couch and lay down, alone.


I didn’t cry. Not here. Never again.

About the author: Charles Sheehan-Miles has been a soldier, computer programmer, short-order cook and non-profit executive. He is the author of several books, including the indie bestsellers Just Remember to Breathe and Republic: A Novel of America’s Future

Find Mr. Sheehan-Miles here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads




And now for the GIVEAWAY!! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win an eBook copy of A Song for Julia.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading wherever you are and whenever you get a free chance!!!