Lies, deceit and destruction seem to be the only thing plaguing the lives of these few people. Anna May does her best in life to get by without getting hit in the face by reality but that’s being made difficult by her best friend, Lauren and Sean, Lauren’s fiancé. Lauren is what you call a flaky, flighty, needy human being with only one mission in her life. Get whatever she wants and she doesn’t care who she hurts in the meantime including her fiancé Sean. Sean loves her more than anything in the world and she could care less. Anna May and Lauren work at The Purple Elephant night club dancing on bar tops in short shorts and tall boots and there is where she met Vincent the new bar back. The second they laid eyes on each other she was hooked on him and left Sean out to dry. Anna May did her best to comfort him but as much as she tried she couldn’t talk him off the ledge and eventually he lost it. Stalking is the best term for the way he was but not only was he stalking Lauren but was coming after Anna May as well. Anna May did her best to protect her friend but is having trouble protecting herself. The only axe in the middle of all this horror is everyone’s real feelings, mostly Anna May’s feelings for Sean. She was in love with him and she couldn’t deny it. So the real question is, is lying really worth the pain? The pain of the truth?
My name is Amanda Risucci and I’m a simple human most of the time. I was born in West Palm Beach FL and I’ve been here my whole life. I’ve been writing since I could talk and that is my only real passion in the world, the thing I love most in life and nothing can take the place of words on a page for me. I like to read, paint and watch YouTube videos when I’m not writing but there never seems to be enough hours in the day for everything. I still live in West Palm Beach and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m very aware of that moment when the truth must come out. Truth is always a good thing to stick to, but not all truths are good. Not all truths make things shinny and new wiping out all of the depravity. The bad will always be there but honesty is what makes people think about their actions and how they can be fixed. Some cases are different though. The truth hurts but the wrong most of the time disappears after the truth is revealed, however sometimes as much as we try to deny it the hurt still remains. The art of keeping secrets is very difficult when the secret you’re keeping is from the person you love. I happen to be in that position right now with my best friend and her fiancé. I’m the one in the middle, the secret keeper and I hate my job and right now was my moment to quit this part of my job. But there is always that one. That one secret you have to keep because it happens to be one of your own. So here I am sitting on Sean’s couch getting ready to tell him of Lauren’s betrayal and my own. To be honest I’m not sure how well this is going to go, for both of us. The art of secret keeping should be a dying art if you ask me. The only thing left to do now is do what I do best, give a hug, a really big hug.
I reached out and embraced him knowing internally that he would hate me for what I was about to tell him. I held him in my arms tightly taking in the wonderfully enticing smell of his cologne, as I always did. I couldn’t hold back the truth any longer and now was the time to let it out, even if he despised me for it.
"She cheated on me didn't she?" He asked, lowly in my ear. My eyes went wide in surprise and I went over what he just said to make sure it actually happened. I pulled away from him, but still lightly had my hands on his shoulders. I looked down at him sitting on the couch looking into his captivating but lonesome eyes. I have been in love with Sean Alexander since we met in high school. I hated to tell him that my best friend, his fiancé, was cheating on him. But I had to.
"How did you-, yeah she did." I said, guilt behind my voice.
"How could Lauren do this to me?" He asked staring up at me with his wounded hazel eyes. I loved his eyes and I hated to see them in pain, hated to see him in pain.
"I'm sorry. I wanted to tell you before but I couldn't, she's my best friend and I couldn't betray her." I confessed.
"Then why are you telling me now?" He asked. I looked away from his face and down at my hands. Linked together tightly I could feel the uneasiness sinking into my stomach making it impossible to open up my mouth.
"Anna May?" He breathed my name and a chill went up my spine. I raised my head slowly, our eyes meeting. I took a deep breath. Readying myself.
"I'm telling you now because I don't want to lie to you anymore. Yes I knew about it and I know that makes me a horrible person for not telling you, but when we were on the phone last week and you asked me what was wrong with her? Why she would leave you like that? You needed to know. It wasn't fair to you." I continued to confess, feeling anxious I got off the couch to stand in front of him. Trying to make my point. "She pissed me off this week! She's been doing nothing but using me; my car, my house so she could be with her new “man friend”! She knew it was the only way she could see him! She didn't even think about me or you!" I ranted louder feeling my skin getting hot and sweat starting to bead on the back of my neck.
"I wasn't going to hide it anymore. I can’t take it." I looked down at the old brown carpet as my voice grew louder with disdain for my friend’s actions.
"Wow." He said simply. I looked back up at him seeing his wonderful face being bathed in the purple black- light illuminating from the flat screen T.V mounted on the wall. His thin “Guy Fawkes mask” looking go-tee shining with the light. I began to imagine running my fingers along his facial hair, taking in every feeling underneath my fingertips, wondering what it must feel like. Afraid of getting lost in my imaginations it was time to come back to reality.
"You're not mad that I hid it?" I asked, picking my jaw up from the floor.
"No, of course not. Trust me you're not the one I'm mad at right now." He said.
"Sean." I breathed.
"I should probably be more surprised than I am though, Right?" He asked, and I had nothing to say.
"Think about it. She hasn't talked to me in days and I know it wasn't because she was mad at me. Damn, I had a feeling it was going down like this. I gave her everything!" He continued to rant loudly. I sat back down next to him. "I gave her my heart, I gave her a ring, and I gave her this house!! And this is what I get? I loved her and she throws it in my face!! Tell me. What did I do wrong?" He asked loudly. Being put on the spot my face got hot and my words were sitting my throat. I spat the first thing I could think of out of my mouth.
"You didn't do anything wrong." I said knowing that it sounded so lame, but I continued.
"You didn't do anything. SHE did everything wrong. She was in love with you and all of a sudden she's not. Why? Because once new man strolled into town she had something else to ogle at work." I said knowing I didn't mean it. It was just my jealousy talking.
"This is a nightmare." He breathed the words solemnly as he laid back against the couch rubbing his face with his hands. I admired his hands for a second,- large, strong, with the little green veins popping out. I wanted to hold them. Make him feel better.
"I'm sorry." I said looking away from him. We sat in silence for a while.
We spent the next two hours talking about it and I told him everything. Everything I knew, everything she said to me, and everything that happened between Lauren and her man friend. It didn't feel good to do. Lauren has been my best friend since the beginning of high school. She has always been there for me. In turn, I was there for her, no matter what happened. After a while of knowing her, I felt I had to take care of her because she had a horrible, horrible home situation. So I took care of her. When she came to me with the ring on her finger screaming at my door with joy, I just wanted to be happy for her. I didn't want to tell her she was crazy for wanting to get married at 18. If that was what she wanted then I was going let her have it. I only wanted her to happy. I had no idea it would end like this. In dirt and shambles. As her best friend, I stood by her side, even though she knew I didn't like this thing she had going with Vincent and as her best friend I don't think I'm supposed to fall for her fiancé. I was in love with him since we met in Spanish class freshman year and she can never know. That will be the one thing that I keep from her.
We sat together on the couch, me getting as close to the other end as I could. Not to make him uncomfortable being too close. We didn't say a word again for a while. I watched him run his hands through his perfect head of thick dark brown hair thinking about how it matched mine. I thought about my fingers in his hair and how it would feel. If he would run his through mine. My body erupted in goose bumps for a quick second, and as quick as it came, it left as he got up from the couch and walked towards the kitchen. His thin, well-built body, walking away from me. I wanted to reach out and touch him. Wanted to pull the green and black buttoned shirt from his body. How I loved him.
"You want a drink. I'm going have a drink." He called out from the kitchen.
"What kinda drink?" I asked from the couch.
"I think you know." He answered loudly.
"One for me too, please." I said. Then I remembered that I don't drink. I got up and walked towards the light coming from the kitchen. He was there pouring two glasses of straight vodka. I cringed, but didn't want to seem like a wuss so I picked up the glass. He already knew I didn't drink, so I wasn’t sure what I was trying to prove. He chugged his straight down, no phasing. I stared into my glass then took a sip. It burned my insides as it flowed down throat, I put the glass down on the blue plastic counter top. I didn't need to prove anything anyway. I stared up at his beautiful, hurt face and fought the urge to hug him again.
"Are you going to be alright if I leave?" I asked hoping he would ask me to stay.
"I'm gonna be alright for now." He said, stabbing my hope right in the chest.
"Okay. I'm going home. Call me if you need me?" I asked my hope poking its head out again.
Sometimes you’re just going along in life, doing your thing, then a person walks in and changes everything. That’s what happened to me when I met Sophie Neil. That moment when our eyes met, I just knew there was something special about her. At first glance, I was all in. Now I just have to convince her to give love another shot.
Sometimes things happen in life that take you off course, that you never expected, that leave you wounded. That was my situation the day Tyler James walked into my life. The moment our eyes met, I was drawn to him in a way I had never been before. At first glance, he captured my attention and never let it go. Now I just have to convince myself to give love another chance.
Author note: Intended for readers over 18 due to content and language. Also, this is an insta-love/at first sight story because the author believes sometimes that happens in real life too.
One day, many months ago, Jennifer Domenico went to sleep and a beautiful love story played out in her dreams.
When she awoke, she felt compelled to write it down. So she did. The result was her first novel, Turn Towards the Sun and a writing career was born.
Ms. Domenico lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her very Italian husband, a dog that adores her, two cats that tolerate her, and a wicked sweet tooth.
Blurb:This collection of sweet and inspirational novellas has an uplifting love story for everyone. These stories bring a touch of grace to romance, and a touch of romance to your heart.
Our twelve authors have collaborated to bring together this collection. Each story relates to dyslexia in some way, and the full proceeds from all the stories benefit Gracepoint – A School for Dyslexia. This box set is our collective gift of love and support to you and the children Gracepoint serves.
Can a town save a marriage? Will a high school reunion offer a second chance at love? Can a man with a secret and a woman afraid of being hurt learn to trust? Can a girl running from her past escape her heart? Will a woman trapped in the past discover the true importance of family? Can unexpected love become the best present ever?
You’ll find hours of enjoyment as well as a satisfying ending to each story. No cliffhangers and no partial novels are offered here, just an escape into worlds of love, families, and grace.
Jinny Walter had always been the girl that never fit in. Not at home. Not at school. Not until the night she meets Elijah Prinz and Joel Levine and everything changes.
For eight years, friendship masked a longing no one knew how to unveil. Can Joel and Eli keep from losing the woman they loved? Can Jinny finally tell them the truth? Or will their secrets rip the very ground out from beneath them and force them to face the possibility of losing each other forever?
Airicka Phoenix lives in a world where unicorns, fairies and mermaids run amok through her home on a daily basis. When she's not chasing after pixies and rounding up imps, also known as her four children, she can be found conjuring imaginary friends to play with. Airicka is the prolific author of over eighteen novels for those who crave strong, female leads, sexy alpha heroes and out of control desires. She's a multi genre author who writes young adult, new adult and adult contemporary and paranormal romance.For more about Airicka and the realm she rules with an iron fist--and tons of chocolate--visit her at: www.AirickaPhoenix.com
They tell me I killed my boyfriend Phillip in cold blood. I stabbed him twenty one times. I’m only seventeen years old, and I am serving life in Spindle Ridge Asylum for the Criminally Insane.
I don’t remember killing him, so it’s really hard to believe I’m capable of murder. In fact I don’t remember anything before I came to Spindle Ridge, not even my boyfriend.
I can only grasp onto my realistic dreams while the madness of the asylum threatens to pull me under. I dream I’m a beautiful princess and there is an evil faerie named Maleficent who is bent on my destruction. The dreams are the closest thing I have to memories of my life, except they aren’t real.
I’m crazy. I’m not a princess.
They’re the mad illusions of an irrational teenage girl, right?
They’ve assigned me a new doctor, and she says I can trust her, and that she’ll help me see the truth of who I really am.
When she arrived she brought a new patient, Sawyer, who is everything Spindle Ridge isn’t: exciting, mysterious and beautiful. He promises he’s here to rescue me. Trusting either of them frightens me.
Could it be possible that my dreams are more than just the imaginings of a delusional girl? Could they be truth?
Title: Awaken (Slumber Duology, Book Two)
Author: Christy Sloat
Genre: YA Fantasy/ Fairytale Retelling
“Happily ever after is hers for the taking.”
Once upon a time I found myself locked away in Spindle Ridge Asylum, punished for a murder I didn’t commit. It was all part of Maleficent’s evil plan. I didn’t remember who I was then … now I do. My name is Aurora, and I am the rightful queen of this realm. Armed with my memories, I’m ready to take charge of my kingdom once more. Happily ever after evades me, yet I long to claim it with my true love, Sawyer, beside me. That fairy tale ending seems impossible with him locked in the thralls of a sleeping curse. As much as I’d love to sit by his bedside and eagerly await a cure, I must first travel into the terrifying Dark Woods to stop Raven from stripping me of all that is rightfully mine. I am not only a queen, but a warrior who will fight for her kingdom. Some may die. Blood will be shed. But when this ending comes, I will settle for nothing less than a blissful ever after.
Christy Sloat resides in New Jersey with her husband, two daughters and her Chihuahua, Sophie. Christy has embraced the love of reading and writing since her youth and was inspired by her grandmother's loving support. She loves adventurous journeys with her friends and can be known to get lost inside a bookstore. She is the Best Selling author of ten novels including, The Visitors Series, The Past Lives Series and Slumber.
Excerpt: (From Slumber, Book One of Slumber Duology)
I woke in the middle of the night hearing screams fill the air. This was not uncommon at all, but tonight I wasn’t expecting it. Normally when Adele’s meds are changed, she wakes screaming that she can’t sleep. Adele’s room is across from mine. She is roughly in her twenties and I never learned how she ended up here. I try not to talk to the other patients. I don’t know why it is, but I don’t fit in with these people. To them I’m the murderer and they tend to think less of me. That’s fine. I am what they say I am. That’s why I’m here, right?
They told me I stabbed my boyfriend, Phillip, but I don’t remember doing it. I actually don’t remember Phillip at all. No recollection of having been in a relationship either. I must have killed him or else I wouldn’t be in Spindle Ridge.Dr. Altman says that I have to believe that I did it or we will never get anywhere. I’ll admit it’s hard to believe that these hands could stab a person twenty times. No matter how I imagined it, it is always hard to believe. I sat up listening hard for the screams. When they came again I noticed they were not female, they were male. The screams were deeper and reached a longer distance than Adele’s cries ever could. I wondered if the whole building could hear him.I pulled my covers up over my neck and covered my face. I just wanted to sleep and fall back into the dream I was having. It was beautiful, and if I had my way, I would stay there forever. Wait! I sat up fast. Closing my eyes, I tried to remember the dream to the last second. It wasn’t the same dream as the one’s prior. This dream was different! This dream was me and a boy.I never dreamt of anyone but my parents and the evil woman. The dream’s soft lullaby came back to me as I remembered where I was. The smell of fresh grass came across my senses.The sky so blue as I lay on a blanket. I rolled over and saw the face of a boy. He was everything that Spindle Ridge wasn’t; he was beautiful. He had long, shaggy, but not unruly, hair that touched his collar. When he smiled at me, he looked like a boy in love. In love with me.“Get up you lazy sack!” I opened my eyes and was pulled back into the now. I was forced to leave the dream behind as I was being pulled out of bed by two nurses.
Ella Winston is a talented chef with a problem--the slightest touch can reveal anyone’s darkest secrets.
Hired to cook for the artist, Ren Plancharde, she struggles to keep her ability under wraps.
After accidently uncovering Ren’s underground activities, the eccentric painter offers Ella a glimpse into his world of pleasure and pain. Intrigued, he decides to make Ella a part of his sinister Corde Noire Society, but his chef isn’t quite ready to commit.
Absolute submission isn’t all Ren wants from the stubborn woman. He has big plans for her gift, too. The only question is … will Ella be willing to give in to his desires when the time comes?
The darkness within can hide a lifetime of secrets.
From New Orleans, Alexandrea Weis was raised in the motion picture industry and began writing stories at the age of eight. In college she studied nursing and went on to teach at a local university. After several years in the medical field, she decided to pick up the pen once again and began her first novel, To My Senses. Since that time she has published many novels. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning books, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable.
Alexandrea Weis is also a certified/permitted wildlife rehabber with the La. Wildlife and Fisheries. When she is not writing, she rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She is married; they live in New Orleans.
Through the haze of her apple martinis, Ella spotted someone across the wide dining room. He was different from the other patrons there to celebrate the restaurant’s two-year anniversary. With an arrogant walk, he strutted across the stone floor. Lean, muscular, and blessed with one of those bodies women would always notice, he had dark blond hair and disquieting dark green eyes. He was the kind of guy who knew he was good-looking and let everyone else know it, too. She wasn’t usually attracted to that type, but this man—his confidence intrigued her.
“You’re Ella, Ella Winston,” he said in a voice like dark chocolate fondue: deep, and wickedly sexy.
“Yeah.” She almost dropped her drink. “I’m the sous chef.”
“I know. Marcus told me.”
As his smile sank to the depths of her belly, he extended his hand, but Ella ignored it.
Don’t touch him. You know what happens when you touch them.
“So, how do you know Marcus?” Ella quickly asked, hoping to make up for her rudeness.
He laughed, looking her over. Above the din in the room, she could sense something different about his laugh. Unlike the insincere chortle of others, this man’s laugh got to her.
She was having an unusual physical reaction, something that never happened to her. When most men laughed, Ella usually ran away.
“Marcus and I share the same friends.”
“What friends are those?” she asked, craving another martini.
“The wealthy kind, who like to support the arts.” He raised a green bottle of sparkling water in his hand. “I’m a painter. Marcus and I know a lot of people who like to pretend they’re patrons and keep us gainfully employed.”
“Painter?” Ella shrugged, finding it hard to believe Marcus knew any painters. “What do you paint?”
“Portraits of women. Usually with very little clothing.”
Oh yeah, I need another drink. “Is that lucrative?”
“For me it is.”
Her eyes wandered around the dining room, desperate to find a rescue. Ella needed to get away from this man before she said or did something really stupid.
“Do you like art?” he pressed.
“Some art. I think it would depend on the passion I see in a painting.”
“The passion in a painting?” That laugh again. Her toes tingled. Not good. “You sound like a painter, Ms. Winston.”
The martini glass in her hand suddenly weighed a ton. “Isn’t painting a passion for an artist, like cooking is a passion for a chef? Having a passion is a healthy thing. It reminds us that we have a soul.”
He nodded, seemingly approving of her drunken ramblings. “That’s very profound and also very true. I think you have a lot of talents yet to be discovered, Ella. May I call you Ella?”
“Ah, sure. Ella is fine.” Her mouth went dry. “What makes you think I have any talents outside of cooking?”
“I have a sense for these things.”
She tensed. Can he tell? The same thought always haunted her when she met new people. Ella fought so hard to keep her secret under control. Time to make a run for it.
“Don’t let Marcus know I have other talents. He’ll probably fire me.”
She was about to depart when he stopped her. He leaned in, and she could just make out the small cleft in his pointy chin. “I promise, if you ever need a job, I’ll hire you.”
His mouth was so close she could have kissed his perfect, thin lips. Frightened by the notion, Ella backed away. “I’ll hold you to that.”
“I hope you do, Ella.”
She should have done a million different things: asked his name, gotten his phone number, or stayed to flirt with him some more. Instead, Ella walked away. She figured it was one of those moments in life she would live to regret. Fortunately, Ella found the bar and drowned her disappointment in another apple martini.
Ella reasoned that was the way of it. You meet people and move on, and one day, if you’re lucky, you meet the interesting ones again.