Friday, November 29, 2019

Virtual Book Blast: Audition by Skye Warren

Good morning!  Please welcome author Skye Warren to Full Moon Dreaming. She's here to tell us about her new release, Audition. Skye will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour via Rafflecopter. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on her tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!



Audition
by Skye Warren

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GENRE: Contemporary Romance

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BLURB:

Blood and sweat. Bethany Lewis danced her way out of poverty. She’s a world class athlete… with a debt to pay.

Joshua North always gets what he wants. And the mercenary wants Bethany in his bed. He wants her beautiful little body bent to his will.

She doesn’t surrender to his kiss.
He doesn’t back down from a challenge.
It’s going to be a sensual fight… to the death.

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EXCERPT:



Blinding lights. Aching lungs. Thunderous applause. The final show concludes the same way we rehearsed for months, the same way we performed for weeks. My muscles know the movements better than they understand rest. The prospect of after, of what comes next, makes my breath catch. Even as the primas take their bows, relief echoes around the stage. Vacations are planned. Relief for strained muscles. Everyone needs a break, even professional athletes. I’m the only one onstage dreading it.

We bow and curtesy with practiced grace. The curtain descends to the floor. Almost to the second we break formation—a flock of crows startled from the woods. The more exuberant among us, the young ones, the new ones, the ones using steroids, prance and jete toward the dressing rooms. Most of us limp our way out. One hundred percent of NFL players are injured every season. Professional dancing is the same. We hurl our bodies through the air, forcing massive impact through tired joints night after night. I catch my friend Marlena in my arms. Her face is white with pain.

“Ice,” she says. “Or better yet—tequila.”

I push my shoulder under hers as we exit the stage. “Don’t sell yourself short. You can have both.”

A delicate snort. “Not likely. We have to smile and flirt with the old men with big, fat wallets. And for what? I won’t be here next season. You won’t be, either.”

The reminder clangs inside me like a copper bell. I won’t be coming to the New York City Ballet after the break. We fall into our creaky chairs in the dressing room. “Are you going to miss it?”

“Miss it? Of course I’ll miss it.” Marlena turned twenty-eight last month. It’s comfortably retirement age for a dancer. “When the little children do their terrible pirouettes, when they sneeze and throw up and cry all over my leotard, I’ll think fondly of the beautiful art I left behind. Then I’ll be able to walk home. That won’t happen if I try to dance another season.”

“You’ll make a wonderful teacher. You know you were mine.” She didn’t teach me to dance. It was my first love, before I learned to flip and contort myself. Before I ever leapt from a trapeze bar.

Marlena taught me the ropes of the ballet company when I joined two years ago. Most of them thought I wouldn’t last a week. Some of them didn’t want me to. It’s a rigid world, the hierarchy stacked with graduates of Juilliard or the John Cranko school.

I don’t have a pedigree.

All I have is a body that does what it must, no matter how much it hurts.

Which means changing out of my sweaty leotard into a fresh one. We’re contractually obligated to attend the ball. Like Marlena said, we should smile and flirt with the high society people who attend. Both the male and female dancers have to do it. It’s what convinces the sponsors to write checks that will fund the next season. By the time they’re rehearsing The Nutcracker I’ll be in New Orleans, the place I swore I’d never return.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of dangerous romance. Her books have sold over one million copies. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, sweet dogs, and evil cat.

http://www.skyewarren.com/books/audition/

Buy Link:






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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #80 (19.3)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Looks like Liza is up to her old tricks. Ben and Ryan are more determined than ever to get out of her financial grasp, no matter what, although they have no idea how to do that. See what's happening with them in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #80 (19.3)

Once the rest of the band arrived, they all went to breakfast at a nearby restaurant, Marge’s treat. The atmosphere was somewhat subdued, not surprising considering everything that was going on. But once they all ate, they began to relax a little. Ryan appreciated that everyone was so considerate of both Ben and Abby. That was just one of the things he loved about them. Afterward, they returned to the motel and Marge checked out. She dropped Ben and Ryan at the park on her way out of town, so they could retrieve Cameron’s sedan.

“Don’t worry, we’ll figure out something,” she said when she hugged them good-bye. Ryan hoped she was right.

A light rain was falling by the time they got to the motel, so hanging out at the pool wasn’t really an option. Ryan decided to work on the book. He sat on the edge of the bed, Ben curled up beside him, and wrote for a while. He thought everything was going pretty well so far. His goal was to let the personalities of the various band members shine through his words. They already had a fan base, but hopefully the book would get more people interested in them and their music.

After a couple of hours, he shut down his laptop and he and Ben made love, then took a nap. When they woke, they took a shower and dressed, then met the others for dinner at a local burger joint. They discussed the schedule, as well as the week off that was coming up.

“I figured we’d hang out at Cameron’s until we hit the road again,” Aiden said. “But now I’m not so sure I want to. Guess it depends on if he’s there or not.” Nobody had to ask who he meant. “On the one hand, I hope he isn’t, but on the other, I am dying to knock his stupid ass out.”

Ryan could easily understand how Aiden felt. He felt the same way, even though he wasn’t usually given to violence.

“We’ll work it out when we get there,” Ben said. “No sense in worrying about it now. Besides, you know how he is. Comes and goes, no rhyme or reason. It’s just as likely he won’t be there. Either way, we’re parting ways with him, once I sort out our financing.”

“Good riddance,” Abby said. Ryan thought he saw dark circles under her eyes. Maybe she wasn’t sleeping very well. Not surprising, under the circumstances.

“Something’ll work out,” Deacon said, his usual optimistic self. “We just have to believe in ourselves.” Ryan appreciated his outlook. He just hoped the other man was right.

The next day was sunny and warm. They drove the short distance to Lafayette and quickly found their motel and checked in. They weren’t due onstage until nine, so they split up for the afternoon. Deacon and Keanu opted to stay at the hotel in order to check out the pool, but they weren’t fooling anyone when they made a beeline to their room. Aiden and Abby decided to walk around the area and get some exercise, so Ben and Ryan took the sedan and drove around Lafayette. Ryan offered to drive, so Ben scooted up against him in the front seat and played navigator.

They stopped for lunch at an Indian restaurant. The food was delicious and the proprietor very friendly. They were feeling pretty good by the time they returned to their hotel.

“Whoa, when they say spicy, they really mean it.” Ben laughed as he used his key card to let them into their room. “I’m glad I didn’t order it any hotter than I did. That might—”

Ryan had been trailing Ben, listening to him, when he heard Ben’s words stop abruptly. He looked at Ben in surprise. Ben was staring at something in the room. Oh no, it couldn’t be, could it?

But when Ryan moved past Ben, intending to shield him from harm, all he saw at first was a large flower arrangement sitting on their dresser. Then he spotted the card attached to it.

All my love, L.

What the fuck? Really?

to be continued

Now go see what's up with the other Briefers!



Thursday, November 21, 2019

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 10 by Tite Kubo


Bleach, Vol 10     

Author: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: December 6, 2005
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/208 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Ichigo is confused when he learns that the person who is going to help them get into the Seireitei is a fireworks expert. What use is that? Turns out she plans to use her expertise to launch them through the sphere that surrounds their target. But they all have to be able to create a reishukaku a spirit core which means training for everyone. And Ganju is to help them. When the others stop to eat, Ichigo persists in continuing with his training and Ganju remains, to Ichigos annoyance. Ganju confronts Ichigo and demands to know why he is working so hard to save a soul reaper.

The Thirteen Court Guard Squad captains and their lieutenants have been instructed to assemble in full insignia. The captains question Gin as to how and why he let a ryoku past him, although Gin seems unconcerned by their anger. When the Head Captain asks for an explanation, Gin has none to give. An intruder alarm interrupts the discussion, as everyone rushes out to see whats happening.

After a short rest, the team is ready to be catapulted into the Seireitei! K√Ľkaku warns them that they must keep their focus and not let their energy level grow too strong. Yuruichi cautions them to stay together inside the Seireitei and avoid confrontations with anyone of captain level. (Famous last words!)

Their entrance does not go unnoticed.

Despite their best efforts, the group becomes separated into smaller groups. Ichigo and Ganju come up against Ikkaku and Kamichiki. Ganju decides to run, and is chased by Kamichiki, while Ichigo faces Ikkaku in battle. How will Ichigo fare against such an opponent?

This volume of Bleach sees our heroes training for entry into the Seireitei in order to rescue Rukia from her death sentence. As usual, Ichigo never stops to think what the consequences might be. He sees what he thinks has to be done and he decides to do it. He has a very strong sense of loyalty and commitment, especially when it comes to Rukia. But then again, we have to remember he’s a fifteen-year old teenager. At that age, they think they’re invincible. Although I will admit that Ichigo has a better sense of life and death than most young people since he can see dead people.

Watching Ichigo and Ganju go at it is hilarious! Ichigo makes friends easily but he can also rub people the wrong way until they get to know him. One thing I’ve learned with this series is don’t necessarily trust your first instincts when meeting a character, things are not always what they seem. And that works both ways. The person you thought was so nice and good may turn out to be a major league villain!

I love the battle between Ichigo and Ikkaku. And I love what Ichigo tells him when Ikkaku wonders why he didn’t run, like his friend, which he considered a smart move. Ichigo replies: “If your power is greater than mine, then it would be pointless to run ‘cause you’d catch me for sure. But if your power is less than mine, then I just have to beat you.”

This is the beginning of a lengthy arc involving the rescue of Rukia, but it’s a very interesting one in that we become familiar with the captains and lieutenants of the Thirteen Court Squads. We’ll be seeing a lot of them, trust me. And when we get to the one I’m crushing on, I’ll let you know lol

Another great volume of Bleach, looking forward to the next one.





Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #79 (19.2)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Ryan and Deacon found Ben and brought him back safely, but an early morning phone call from Cassie means more problems for the band, as well as for Ben and Ryan. Is there a way out of this mess? See what's going on in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!


In Pieces #79 (19.2)


Ryan felt better after pouring his heart out to Cassie, feeling some of the stress of the situation ease a little. He trusted Cassie implicitly, knew he could rely on her to keep his confidence.

“Ben’s lucky to have you, Ryan,” Cassie said when he had finished speaking. “You two deserve to be happy, how dare this bitch try to keep you apart, especially after what she’s done to poor Ben? I can certainly understand Ben getting away from her. It’s not right that she pulled him right back in like that.”

“I don’t know what will happen if she pulls her backing,” Ryan said. “At the same time, I’m sure Ben doesn’t want anything from her either. So I’m not sure where that leaves the band, you know?”

“I’m sure we can figure something out, Ryan. I think right now you need to focus on taking care of Ben and keeping him away from her.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Ryan agreed. He heard a knock at the bathroom door.

“Ryan, you there?” Ben’s voice sounded slightly panicked.

“Yeah, be right out,” Ryan called out, quickly rising from the floor where he’d slumped while talking to Cassie. “Look, Cassie, I have to go, Ben’s up. I’ll call you back later when I know something.”

“Promise?”

“I promise.” Ryan clicked off and opened the door. Ben’s expression changed from worried to relieved in a moment.

“Sorry, I didn’t want to disturb you,” Ryan apologized, holding his phone up. “I was talking to Cassie. She called.”

They headed back to the bed, sitting on the edge, side by side. “Is she okay?” Ben asked. “Nothing’s wrong, I hope?”

Ryan took a deep breath, hating what he was about to say, as he explained about the threatening call Cassie had received from Liza. “I’m sorry. I don’t meant to upset you, but I had to tell you, I swore to you I’d never lie.”

“Yeah, I know, I’m glad you told me.” Ben shuddered. Ryan quickly put an arm about him, and they huddled together.

“I’m going to be free of her,” Ben said. Ryan was glad he sounded less lost and more in charge of himself than he had the night before. “I don’t care what she says. She’s no good for either one of us. Just have to figure out how to get the band out from under her thumb financially, now that I know it’s been her, not Cameron.” 

“Absolutely,” Ryan agreed, although he didn’t have the first clue as to how they were going to do that. He was also reminded that the next time he saw the man, he had a few choice words for Cameron Pope. “Do you have any ideas?”

Ben sighed softly. “Not really. I think the first step is to talk to Marge, see if she has time before she has to go so we can go over things with her, see what she thinks.”

“That sounds like a very good idea,” Ryan said. He pressed a soft kiss against Ben’s forehead.
At that moment, they heard a ding, but it wasn’t from Ryan’s phone. They glanced apprehensively toward Ben’s phone on the nightstand. “Do you want me to look?” Ryan offered.

“No, I have it.” Ben reached for his phone and checked the text message that had just come in. Ryan watched him anxiously until he saw Ben visibly relax. “Speak of the devil, it’s Marge. She wants to know about breakfast. Brunch now.” He quickly typed in a reply and hit send. “I told her we’d love to. We’re to meet up in her room in half an hour. I’ll contact the others, then we can get dressed.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Ryan said. As Ben texted the rest of the bank, Ryan watched him anxiously, but he seemed to be doing okay. Once he received replies from Aiden and Deacon, they got dressed and headed up to Marge’s room so they could have a few minutes alone with her.

“We’ll have to go get Cameron’s car,” Ryan reminded Ben. “We left it in the park last night.”

“If we didn’t need it, I’d be tempted to leave it there,” Ben Said. “But I won’t. Yeah, after breakfast we can go after it. We can Uber over or something and drive it back.”

Marge didn’t seem surprised to see them when they knocked on her door without the others. She ushered them in and invited them to have a seat on the extra bed. The reason became obvious when she began to speak.

“I didn’t want to say anything in a text, but I got an odd call last night—” she began. Ben and Ryan groaned in unison.

“I’m sorry, Marge. It was my mother, wasn’t it?”

Ryan took Ben’s hand in his and squeezed it reassuringly.

“She said she was,” Marge replied. “Told me the band is breaking up and my services were no longer needed.”

“What the hell?” Ryan spluttered.

“Don’t worry, I didn’t believe a word she said. I told her where to go and what she could do with herself once she got there.”

“I’m glad you knew better,” Ben said.  “But there’s more to it than that. Apparently, she’s been bankrolling us, not Cameron. We have to figure out how we’re going to make it without her money.”

Marge frowned at his words, falling silent for a minute. “You know something,” she said. “The group has a little break coming up. You head back to Mandeville tomorrow. Then you have one date in Lafayette, two nights in Baton Rouge, and then you’re back at Cameron’s place. Then nothing for a week. That might be a good time to re-organize. What do you think?”

“Sounds like a great idea,” Ben said.

“Okay then. Contact me when you’re ready and we’ll get together?” Moving toward them, she hugged both men. “Now, how about some breakfast?”

Ryan’s heart felt lighter. Maybe things weren’t so dire after all.

to be continued

Now go see what's up with the other Briefers!





Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Virtual Book Blast: Magical Beasts series by Geoffrey Saign

Good morning! Please welcome author Geoffrey Saign to Full Moon Dreaming. He is here to talk about his Magical Beasts series. Geoffrey will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour via Rafflecopter. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on his tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!



Magical Beasts series
Guardian, The Choice (Book 1)
Guardian, The Quest (Book 2)
by Geoffrey Saign

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GENRE: YA Fantasy

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BLURB:

A demon haunts Samantha Green's dreams.
And she fears it's coming for her...

When wildlife prodigy Sam and her crush—quirky handsome Jake—are attacked by a dragon assassin, Sam discovers her secret past. A past connected to a supernatural giant cat and a glowing faerie.

Sam is quickly pulled into a high stakes battle for the world. Everyone, including a creepy ancient villain, wants her supernatural staff, which she doesn’t know how to use. Sophisticated ninja dragons, a kong-sized gorilla, and mysterious beasts offer help—but are they friends or enemies? Sam has a big heart, but will her love for all creatures tear her life apart?

To survive the hardest choice she's ever made, Sam will have to unlock the hidden power inside her.

Ready or not, Sam is about to find out if she has what it takes to be a guardian…

Guardian: The Choice is the new exciting start of a magic-filled fantasy four book series starring a powerful heroine, a tough brawny hero, and a slew of not-so-friendly magical beasts.

*****



Sam and Jake must capture a magical golden dragon—or Jake dies. Can Sam can save the man she loves? And will she have to die to do it?

But everyone wants the golden dragon, including the powerful Evil One, who has been hiding for centuries and has sworn to destroy all of life. No one can be trusted. Death Matches and ancient secrets test the guardians as never before.

Sam fears that whatever she does, she won’t be able to save Jake…nor stop the Evil One.
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IAN BOTY awards = Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards.

CHOICE won the Young Adult category.

Guardian: The Choice was selected as Finalist in “Fantasy,” and “Young Adult” category winner!

And Guardian: The Choice was selected as the “Outstanding Young Adult” category winner! 



EXCERPT:




“What are we running from, Biggie?” yells Jake.

“Uncle Biggie not sure!” The big guy keeps running.

I step on one of the papery skins and slide, and then stumble over a leg bone lying on the ground. I hurtle forward off balance, crashing into the lower section of a giant rib cage.

“Ugh!” My shoulder hurts, but I squeeze between two ribs, run through the chest cavity, and slip out between ribs on the other side. I spot Jake to my left and veer after him.

A rumble fills my ears and I pump my legs faster. I weave around some skeletons and jump over bones scattered on the ground. I risk a glance back. A mass of indistinct shapes is flowing like water through the boneyard, quickly catching up to us.

Something is chasing us. A herd of large somethings.

Up ahead Ridge waves urgently to us. He’s standing beneath a thick, giant skull missing its lower jaw. Cerac must already be inside.

Uncle Biggie races past Ridge with the crocle-lion, ducking beneath the teeth of the upper jaw bone. Jake follows. Ridge must have decided to make a stand there. I’m disappointed and surprised that Biggie and Jake left me behind.

A deep roar splits the air. I check over my shoulder. I was wrong. I’m not being hunted. But something is hunting everything else.

The stampede sounds like a small earthquake and the ground trembles beneath my feet. A writhing mass of monster-sized snakes, lizards, and mammals—some with golden eyes—are jumping, leaping, and crawling in a crazed pattern behind me.

I estimate the distance to Ridge, and how quickly the mass of bodies is moving toward me.

I’m not going to make it.


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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Geoffrey Saign’s love of wildlife led him to write the award-winning fantasy series, Magical Beasts. He often experiences the magic of nature and wildlife while hiking and swimming. He has a degree in biology and has assisted in field research on hummingbirds and humpback whales.
Geoff loves to sail big boats, hike, and cook—and he infuses all of his writing with his passion for nature. As a swimmer he considers himself fortunate to live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota. See what he’s up to at https://geoffreysaign.net/magical-beasts

Website; https://geoffreysaign.net/magical-beasts
Twitter; https://twitter.com/geoffreysaign
FB; https://www.facebook.com/geoffrey.saign
Goodreads; https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47197032-guardian-the-choice?from_search=true
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/755980.Geoffrey_Saign

The book is on sale for $0.99 during the tour:

AMAZON Guardian, The Choice Buy Link; https://www.amazon.com/Guardian-Choice-Magical-Beasts-Bookebook/dp/B07V651Z6B 

Amazon Guardian, The Quest—TBA



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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #78 (19.1)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Ryan and Deacon found Ben and all's well. Now everyone is getting some much-needed rest. But what comes next? See what's going on in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!


In Pieces #78 (19.1)


The ride back to the motel was a quiet one. Mercifully, Deacon asked no questions, just hugged Ben before letting them both into the van. Ryan and Ben shared the passenger seat, Ben in Ryan’s lap, which was probably highly illegal. Luckily, they met with little traffic at that night of night, and the one police car they saw passed them by without a second glance.

When they returned, they found everyone still awake, waiting intheir room. “Guys, I’m so sorry,” Ben began, but Abby quickly shushed him, pulling him in for a hug.

“Don’t be, we’re just glad you’re okay.” She kissed his cheek, then gave Ryan a warm smile of encouragement.

Thank you, Ryan mouthed.

“We should probably all get some sleep,” Deacon said, stifling a yawn. “Tomorrow’s an off day, so no reason to get up early. We’ll catch you all tomorrow sometime.”

“Yeah, sleep sounds good,” Keanu agreed. For once, his words held no innuendo, sexual or otherwise.

“What about Cameron?” Ryan asked, concerned.

Aiden and Abby exchanged glances. “If he has the nerve to come back, I’m going to show him how eunuchs are made,” Abby said, no trace of humor in her voice.

“I think I’d pay to see that,” Keanu said and everyone laughed.

“Why don’t you guys crash with us?” Deacon suggested. “We have two beds, not a problem. Deal with that sleazeball later.”

“Yeah, okay,” Aiden said. “Thanks, man.”

Deacon, Keanu, Abby, and Aiden all said their good-nights, with renewed promises of texting one another the next day, leaving Ryan and Ben alone in their room. Ryan could tell Ben was exhausted, both physically and emotionally. Sleep was the best remedy he could think of that. That, and a whole lot of Ryan’s TLC.

It occurred to him, perhaps belatedly, that Liza could show up again, since she knew which room was theirs. But he suspected she wouldn’t. At least he hoped not. He thought about complaining to someone at the motel about them letting her into their room but decided it didn’t matter since they were probably leaving soon anyway.

“Let’s get ready for bed,” he suggested.

“Good idea,” Ben agreed, but he made no move to rise from the edge of the bed where he sat. Ryan, standing beside him, leaned down and hugged him tightly before helping him up. Removing the priest’s garb, he hung it up in the closet, then knelt at Ben’s feet to take off the black boots and socks he was wearing, leaving him naked. He watched Ben remove his contact lenses and set them into their case.

“Be right back,” he said, heading toward the bathroom. Ben’s things took up half the space by the sink. Ryan found his make-up remover, then dampened a wash cloth with warm water and took them with him. He gently wiped at the smeared mascara, than used the remover for everything else. Once that was taken care of, he removed his own clothes and set them up.

“You want anything before we go to sleep?” he asked Ben. He would get dressed again, if necessary, and get Ben anything he wanted. Belatedly, he realized they’d left the sedan behind. That could wait until tomorrow.

“Only you,” Ben said.

Ryan could do that. “You’ve got me,” he promised him. “Now and forever.”

He turned down the blankets, then loosened the too-tight sheets where they were tucked in at the foot of the bed. He hated the way those felt, too constricting. Then they climbed into bed. Ryan laid his head on Ben’s chest, listening to the comforting beat of Ben’s heart. He felt Ben’s fingers in his hair, stroking and caressing. No words were exchanged between them, but none were necessary. They were together and that was all that mattered. At some point, Ryan fell asleep.

Ryan wasn’t sure how much time had passed when he heard his phone ring. Opening one eye, he saw their motel room fairly flooded with daylight, so it couldn’t be too early. He stole a quick glance at Ben, to see if the sound had disturbed his sleep. He never moved, his mouth slightly open, softly snoring.

Ryan rolled out of the bed, grabbed his phone from the nightstand and carried it into the bathroom, closing the door. Glancing at the Caller ID, he recognized the number immediately.

“Hey Cassie,” he said, pitching his voice deliberately low so as not to bother Ben.

“Hey yourself, stranger.”

Cassie’s familiar voice sounded so good, especially right now, that Ryan had to fight hard not to break into tears. He wasn’t going to give her any reason to worry about him. At her next words, he realized it was too late for that.

“Sweetie, what’s going on there? Is everything all right?”

“Um… why do you ask?” Ryan hedged, trying to think. What would make her thing something was wrong?

“I got this strange call in the middle of the night. Some crazy woman who said she was Ben’s lover and that you needed to stay away from him or she would make life difficult for both of us.”

What the fuck?

“Damn,” Ryan said softly.

“I waited to call you, so I wouldn’t wake you. Who is she and what is she talking about? Ryan, I’m scared for both of you.”

“She’s his mother,” Ryan said with a soft sigh. “Liza.”

His words were met with silence, then a startled, “Holy shit.”

Holy shit indeed.

“You know I’m here for you, Ryan, right? And for Ben too.”

Ryan knew that, and the knowledge warmed his heart.  “Oh God, Cassie.” He tried not to sob. Too late, the tears had already begun.

“You don’t have to tell me anything, just know I want to help,” Cassie said. “I love you, Ryan Fremont.”

“I love you too, Cassie,” he said. Then he began to pour out his tale.

to be continued

Now go see what's up with the other Briefers!






Monday, November 11, 2019

Book Review: Blue Exorcist, Vol 22 by Kazue Kato


Blue Exorcist, Vol 22      

Author: Kazue Kato
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: September 3, 2019
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/218 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Things are not looking good for humanity as demons are on the loose and visible! People are encouraged to stay home. In case of trouble, they should contact their local police, or the knights of the True Cross. Shiemi finally awakens, and Kamiki fills her in on what is happening. When she asks about Rin, Kamiki thinks Sir Pheles has him in custody. But their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of members of the Grigori, who have come to take Shiemi with them! What is going on here?

Mephisto tells Rin he must handle the current situation so Rin has to journey to the past alone, with the aid of a key he gives him, a master key known as the kamikakushi key. He gives Rin a special patrol uniform and sends him on his way, telling him that if he wants to move forward, he has to accept reality for what it is and accept his past. Meanwhile, Yukio is taken to a meeting with Lucifer where he is introduced to Lucifer’s younger brother, Egyn, King of Water, and Amaimon questions Mephisto about things he should have noticed before.

Rin travels to the past and meets up with Mephisto, who looks just the same as in the future, and sees the young man who will one day be Father Fujimoto. And he sees his mother, Yuri, as well. He follows their story as they move from living on the streets to being accepted into the Cram School, and their journey to becoming exorcists. Rin learns about Section 13 and the cloning program to find a suitable vessel for Lucifer, but there’s still a lot to learn about their pasts.

Things are not looking good for humanity. Can the Knights and the Grigori handle this influx of demons? Will Lucifer take control of Assiah too? I suspect Mephisto has something up his proverbial sleeve, and he is putting wheels into motion through his machinations. Although I sometimes wonder whose side he is on, I do believe he has Assiah’s interests at heart, even if he is a demon. He’s the perfect example of appearances can be deceiving!

Rin’s trip through time is not only very interesting but rather enlightening, as well. Before he became a priest, Shiro was not particularly nice, and a far cry from what he later became. We know he’s going to change into the more kindly but still outspoken and somewhat rough priest, but watching the transformation is fascinating. We also know the journey ends for Yuri after she gives birth to Yukio and Rin, but it’s nice to see what she was like before that, before her involvement with Satan, and what led to it. My biggest questions after reading this volume are: why the heck does Yuri remind me so much of Shiemi? And where did they take Shiemi, and why? She almost confessed to Kamiki about who she likes, until interrupted by the Grigori. Is it Rin? Is it Yukio? Or is it a player we’re unaware of yet? I like seeing the friendship between Shiemi and Kamiki deep and solidify. They both need friends, especially Kamiki.

We didn’t see much of Yukio this time, and I’m still stumped as to what’s going on with him and his motives for being where he is. Is he coming to grips with the fact that he’s also part demon or does he have another agenda? I find it hard to believe he never suspected, since he and Rin are twins and have the same parents, that he had demonic power of some sort.  Guess we’ll have have to wait and see.

Another solid volume of Blue Exorcist, can’t wait to read more!


Saturday, November 9, 2019

Book Review: Can't Escape Love by Alyssa Cole


Can’t Escape Love (Reluctant Royals novella)     

Author: Alyssa Cole
Publisher: Avon
American release date: March 19, 2019
Format/Genre/Length: Kindle/Contemporary Romance/192 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Regina Hobbs—Reggie to her family and friends—refuses to think of herself as disabled. She can do just about anything from her wheelchair that other people can, and some things a lot better. She runs her own nerd culture website, GirlsWithGlasses.com, after working for years as an analyst for her parents’ real estate investment fund, which she hated. Now she’s in her full glory, doing what she wants to do. So why is it hard to find someone to share her life with? She’s so stressed currently that she isn’t sleeping well at all. She needs help in the worst possible way. Remembering the voice from a podcast she’d once listened to on a regular basis, a man whose very fine voice had helped her sleep back then, she reaches out to him in desperation. The podcast is no more, and she isn’t at all sure he’ll acquiesce to her request—assuming he doesn’t dismiss it as utterly creepy. But Reggie doesn’t know what else to do.

When he responds and wants to actually talk on the phone because he has questions about what she wants, she has to wonder what she is getting herself into.

Gustave Nguyen—Gus to those who know him—is autistic and he loves puzzles, which is why he used to have his own podcast about them. But that’s over now, has been for a few years. Now he’s working on designing escape rooms. The email he’d received from 26InchRims—the only person who’d listened to his podcasts and even interacted with him—was surprising, to say the least. But he’d be lying if he said he hadn’t thought about her a lot, especially after his last breakup. Dating isn’t exactly his forte, and he hasn’t had a relationship that lasted. And now the only person who’d ever listened to him had almost literally shown up on his doorstep.

His current project is an escape room that is turning out to be the most anticipated feature of the upcoming Anime Con, one that’s based on the popular anime Reject Squad Ultra. Gus had jumped at the opportunity without having seen a single episode of the show. And now that he’s started watching it, he doesn’t get it. What’s so romantic about this? How’s he going to make the escape room fun and believable for the fans if he can’t see what they do?

And what’s he going to do about the unusual request from 26InchRims—what’s her real name? Oh yeah, Reggie. When he tells her he has questions and wants to talk on the phone, is he being honest, or does he just want to hear her voice? Supposing she agrees to his request, where do they go from there?

I have to say I’ve enjoyed every single one of the books in the Reluctant Royals series, and this novella is no exception.  Although it’s short, it packs a lot of story and heart into its pages. I like that the main characters are people you don’t normally find in romance novels. Reggie is in a wheelchair and Gus is autistic. Too many romances feature perfect people with perfect bodies who find each other and fall in love. It’s nice to see something different, more like real life.

Both Reggie and Gus are inspirational, and people I would like to hang out with. I loved watching them fall in love, once they got past themselves in order to do it.

I think the series is done now, although this novella actually comes before the last book, A Prince on Paper. I’ll miss these characters. Guess I’ll just have to re-read the series some day!  If you enjoy romance and finding someone who is perfect for you, if you like people who are different and march to the beat of their own drummer, and yet have the same problems and family issues we all do, then give this novella a try. Read the whole series!  You’ll be glad you did!





Friday, November 8, 2019

Virtual Book Tour: Totally Devoted by E.M. Bannock

Good morning!  Please welcome E.M. Bannock to Full Moon Dreaming. She is here to tell us about her new release, Totally Devoted.  E.M. will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter during the tour. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on her tour, go here. Don't forget to look for the Rafflecopter at the end of this post!



Totally Devoted
by E.M. Bannock

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GENRE:   Modern Adult Romance w/Erotic elements

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BLURB:

Marie Trousdale, a modern urban California professional, is ready for a change when she realizes that she has been mourning her late husband and son for the past 10 years and her life has become stagnant. She hires Will Townsend, a rural Oregon contractor, to build a house for her on inherited property. The two mix like oil and water but the romance spark gets ignited. But will lifestyles, and values become an obstacle that cannot be overcome? Will misunderstandings and danger put out the flame of love or feed it? This steamy romance is a story of love, life, values, and family with a western flavor. 

Totally Devoted is the first novel by author E.M. Bannock and was a 2019 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award Finalist in both the Contemporary Romance 56K Words and up category and Best First Book. Audio Book is now available.

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EXCERPT:



From the description she was given by the hotel desk clerk, she figured she wouldn’t have much trouble finding the guy—grungy black cowboy hat, well-worn cowboy boots, scruffy beard, jean jacket, and Levi’s, sitting at the corner table. She was right. He wasn’t hard to spot. It was Monday night, and there were only a handful of people in the place. There he was, sitting at his regular corner table, with his back to the wall, his chair up on two legs, and his feet propped up and crossed on the chair next to him. There was a glass of beer and a half-empty pitcher in front of him. She wondered how many pitchers he had drained before this one. The desk clerk said he had a lot of funny habits. The clerk said the guy always sat with his back to the wall, so no one could get the jump on him. He probably watched too many John Wayne movies.






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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

E.M. Bannock grew up in the Detroit suburbs in the 50’s and 60’s. Her father was a great story teller and E.M. says she inherited his imagination.

After graduation, E.M. moved to Los Angeles, California where she met her husband. They have lived in California, Oregon, Alaska, Florida, and Wyoming, where she now lives with her small family which includes a spoiled dog and cat, two horses, also spoiled, and a brood of chickens that live like queens in the chicken-coupe-de-ville.
She has made her living as an office manager, computer programmer/analysts, project manager, clothing store clerk, substitute teacher, and buffalo meat packer. Throughout it all, she never lost her love for writing.
A small inheritance from her father gave her the funds needed to begin her career as a published author. She has published two books. Her first book, Totally Devoted, which is now available in audio, was a 2019 National Excellence in Romance Fiction finalist in two categories; Contemporary Romance 65K Words and Up, and Best First Book. Her second book Zoey’s Place was published in 2019. 

E.M. Bannock is a Goodreads Author, a BookHub Author, a member of the Romance Writers of America, and a Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer.

Facebook: E.M. Bannock – Author
Twitter: @EMBannock
Instagram: e_m_bannock
Amazon buy link:


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The Questions

You’re marooned on a small island with one person and one item of your choice—who is that person and what item do you have?
That person would have to be my husband. He’s a man for all seasons. We’ve been married for over 40 years and he’s always gone above and beyond what most husbands do. He takes our relationship and family seriously and has always been a good provider and protector. He’s worked outside in frigid Alaska as well as in the sweltering heat of Florida to provide for our family. We’ve always lived in a nice house and had great cars to drive.
He’s very smart in the survival area. He can and does hunt, kill, and butcher animals for our food. He knows about growing food, too. He knows how to build a shelter, make a fire, and do all the things I’d be too freaked out to do.
He’s good with a gun and/or a knife. Which is why I think the item I’d have would be a knife. Not a pocket knife, but a big, honkin’ Rambo type blade. It could be used for protection and hunting. I thought about a firearm, but they’re only good for as much ammunition as you have. After that, you’re done for. A knife is forever. And of course, my husband would be in charge of the knife.
And finally, and this is important, he loves me and puts up with my craziness.

What is your idea of how to spend romantic time with your significant other?
We are very low key and our needs are simple. But I would love to be able to pull my husband away from his daily stresses and help him relax if even just for one full day. The day would include full body massages for both of us. Then maybe a ride through the mountains by our home with a picnic lunch to experience the loveliness around us and make us realize that we live in a beautiful place with nature’s wonder all around. It makes you feel small and insignificant and puts your problems in perspective. It helps us focus on the things we have, like our love and our family. On the way home we would stop at one of our favorite restaurants in town and enjoy a delicious dinner, including a decadent dessert which we would be too full to eat just then and have to take home for later. The day would end with an intimate soak in the hot tub that gets us sizzling in more ways than one. We continue the event in our bedroom. After making love and satisfying each other, we would share the dessert we brought home. We’d end by watching a movie that we both enjoy (that part might be hard). I fall asleep before the movie is over like I always do.

When you start a new story, do you begin with a character, or a plot?
I don’t really have hard and fast rules for my writing. Totally Devoted began with a plot. Zoey’s Place started with a half plot and the lead female character. My work-in-progress, Only Dreams, started with the lead male character. I’ve got an idea for my fourth book and that started with a time period and several characters. I kind of have a rough plot for that one but I know I’ll need more detail and a few more characters.
It’s easy to develop the lead characters because they usually have characteristics that you admire yourself. Villains are harder for me to create. I don’t really like letting those types of personalities in my head. The villain’s part in Totally Devoted was very hard for me to write. His personality type gives me the creeps and I can’t stand to be in the same room with that kind of person. I had to become him while writing. I didn’t like it.
Even if I do have a character right away, the plot follows shortly after. I like working from a timeline and outline. Since I usually know how I want my stories to end, I never know what will happen to them in between and/or who they will meet along the way. Sometimes I have to create other characters as obstacles or solutions to happiness, sometimes it’s events. Each book is different. In Totally Devoted the plot is driven by life events that both help and hinder Marie in her relationship with Wil.

If they were to make the story of your life into a movie, who should play you?
Well, funny you should ask. I’ve had a lot of time to think about this one. So long, in fact, that the actresses I once wanted to play me in my life story, which for some reason, always had drama, hence the movie, have gotten almost as old as I am. So, instead of Madeleine Stowe, who I fell in love with in Last of the Mohicans, or Famke Janssen, who played Jean Grey in the X-Men movies, I think I’d have to go with Mila Kunis. She’s got the beautiful dark hair and eyes I once had. She’s short, dark, and a natural beauty, like I was. Now I see my mother every time I look in the mirror. Not that she wasn’t a beautiful woman but when I see her looking back at me, I feel like I did something wrong and she just busted me. It’s just weird, know what I mean?

Do you have an historical crush and if so, who is it?
I hope you didn’t mean real people. I’ve never seen a picture of an important historical figure that does anything for me. I’ve admired many but never felt anything remotely romantic about them. But, oh, my! Do I ever have a historical fantasy lover! My favorite books are the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Her main lead character is James Alexander Malcolm McKenzie Fraser, better known as Jamie. I, and about a million other women, are in love with this perfect man. He is a handsome eighteenth century Highlander with flaming red hair, stands over six feet tall, and wears a kilt. He pledges the protection of his body for his wife. He defends her honor when she is gang raped by hunting down and killing all the men involved.
Being an eighteenth century man, Jamie was raised with old fashioned ideas about wives obeying their husbands and getting beaten when they don’t. But he, being a compassionate man, was convinced that the wife deserves equal status with the husband.
I’ve read all eight books in the series and Jamie proves his worthiness in every one of them. He’s an attentive lover and always, always, always knows the right thing to say to make me weak and want him even more. Things like telling his wife, Claire, that if his last words are not ‘I love you’ it’s because he didn’t have enough time. Who couldn’t love a man like that? I am so infatuated with him that my husband calls him my second husband.

Is there a story that you’d like to tell but you think the world isn’t ready to receive it?
Yes, and because the world isn’t ready to receive it, I’ll leave it at that.

And with that I’d like to thank everyone for stopping by and reading my interview. I also want to thank Full Moon Dreaming for host this tour stop for by audio book, Totally Devoted. I hope you enjoy it.


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