logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Rockstar
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-02-13 05:08
BAKING WITH A ROCKSTAR BY: JASMIN MILLER

 

Baking with a Rockstar was just as sweet as it sounds! Honestly maybe even sweeter than I would typically expect from a rockstar related romance novel, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise. It was also a nice balance of sweet and heat that shouldn't be too much to keep anyone out of this kitchen.

 

 

 

 

My absolute favorite things:

 

 

 

 

1) The characters. Which ones, you ask. ALL. OF. THEM. Omg seriously, can this PLEASE be only the beginning of series set around this awesome group of characters? Most notably the entire Mitchell family. Shoot, you can even throw in a Grandma Hannah novella and I'll be there for that. The whole family is just so darn likeable, and better yet each member is incredibly intriguing, I would love to get a book devoted to each one of them! I want to explore what's going on between Mo and Gabe, I want to tour Dahlia's school for the arts, I need to find more out about Rose, hell I want to hang out with Hannah and her whole granny squad! And while all this is going on we can see more from the fast faves, Hudson and Charlie (and Mira too, of course!).

 

 

 

 

2) THE TWIST. Guys, I can't say what it is and that kills me in a way because it is soooooo good. It isn't all that often that I'm genuinely 100% surprised by a plot twist, but this one got me. It got me good. And it was EVERYTHING. It was honestly refreshing to have something that isn't exactly your run of the mill go-to romance tropes. I dig that in a big way.

 

 

 

So all in all lots of flavor in this charming little read. If you're looking for something fun and swoon-worthy with downright loveable characters and a surprise or two along the way then this is the story for you.

 

 

I won an ARC of this book from the author and this is my honest review.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2019-02-06 12:40
Blog Tour: DREAM KEEPER by Amber R. Duell with Giveaway
 
DREAM KEEPER BLOG TOUR ASSETS
About the Book
Title: DREAM KEEPER
Author: Amber R. Duell
Pub. Date: January 29, 2019
Publisher: The Parliament House
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 288
 
Find it
 
The Sandman is seventeen-year-old Nora’s closest friend and best-kept secret. He has to be, if she doesn’t want a one-way ticket back to the psychiatrist. It took her too long to learn not to mention the hooded figure in her dreams to her mother, who still watches Nora as if she’ll crack. So when Nora’s friends start mysteriously dying gruesome deaths in their sleep, she isn’t altogether surprised when the police direct their suspicion at her. The Sandman is the only one she can turn to for answers. But the truth might be more than she bargained for…
 
For the last five years, the Sandman has spent every night protecting Nora. When he hid the secret to the Nightmare Lord’s escape inside her dreams, he never expected to fall in love with her. Neither did he think his nemesis would find her so quickly, but there’s no mistaking his cruel handiwork. The Nightmare Lord is tired of playing by the rules and will do anything to release his deadly nightmares into the world, even if that means tormenting Nora until she breaks.
 
When the Nightmare Lord kidnaps Nora’s sister, Nora must enter enemy territory to save her. The Sandman is determined to help, but if Nora isn’t careful, she could lose even more than her family to the darkness.
 
Excerpt
 
2
NORA
 
Shadows danced in the soft warmth of the white mini-lights strung around my bedroom. I hopped around my bed, fumbling with the buckle on my sandals, and tossed my purse in the corner. Something hard—probably my phone—thwacked against the light blue wall.
 
“Whoops,” I muttered, then growled at the metal hook locking my footwear in place.
 
There were places to go, people to see. Or, rather, one person, and it was already hours past our usual meeting time. I jerked at the stiff strap. “Get off.”
 
Finally, it popped, and I kicked it triumphantly into the corner with my bag. The other came off without any trouble, and my stomach fluttered in anticipation. I tugged off my jean shorts and stepped into a pair of plaid pajama bottoms, leaving on the ribbed tank top I wore out tonight. Who cared that a glob of nacho cheese stained the front? The Sandman certainly wouldn’t.
 
Climbing beneath the cool sheets, I dragged in a long breath and released it slowly. A small grin played on my lips as I stared at the lights hanging overhead. Then I shut my eyes and waited. Waited for sleep to claim me. To deliver me. But my body was too tense, and my mind still flipped through the day’s events—as ridiculously boring as they were. When the highlight of your day was painting your nails a new color, what was there to mull over?
 
After a handful of long minutes, I opened my eyes again and bit my lip. I could ask. It had been… Actually, I couldn’t remember the last time I asked him for anything. Even this. But I had to be up early for work tomorrow and we’d already missed out on hours together. A grin crept across my face.
 
“Sandman,” I whispered, and closed my eyes again in preparation. “Help me sleep.”
 
It came swiftly then, sweeping me gently from my world to another as easily as the breeze carries a feather. I curled my toes, feeling the powder-like sand of the Sandman’s beach beneath my bare feet, and opened my eyes. The endless blanket of bright stars, the luminescent waves, the Sandman… This place, this dream, was like coming home.
 
“Sorry I’m late,” I called with a smile in my voice. The light aroma of lilacs filled my lungs and I sighed, content. “Natalie and Emery dragged me to a party to celebrate our final first day of summer vacation.” By this time next year, we would all be high school graduates and legal adults—neither of which I was ready to think about. I stretched my arms over my head and fought a yawn. “Sandman?” There was no reply. I dropped my arms and spun, searching for a glimpse of the familiar black-clad figure. This was our spot—the place directly below the brightest star. My brows lowered in confusion. So why wasn’t he here? He was always here. “Where are you?”
 
The only sound was the soft hush of waves lapping the shore. I turned again, squinting down the beach, but there was no hooded figure in sight. My heart skipped a beat. The dream seemed to yawn open, the emptiness pressing in on me from all sides. He had to be here somewhere. A pit formed in my stomach, and I staggered back, unsteady. He had to.
 
The beach was an addiction I didn’t know how to cure myself of—didn’t want to cure myself of. For every time I had to pretend this place didn’t exist, the Sandman was there to absolve me of the lies. There to make me feel like I was good and sane and normal. It didn’t matter that he was also the reason I didn’t feel any of those things were true when I was awake. The Sandman was my anchor, holding me firm when life tried to wash me out to sea. Without him… I swallowed hard. Without him, I would be a ship without sails.
 
“Sandman!” I jogged down the water’s edge, my pulse drumming in my ears. “I’m here.”
 
But he wasn’t.
 
THREE THIRTY-TWO.
 
The clock on my nightstand glowed green, the colon blinking in a slow, torturous rhythm. I tapped my fingers on my stomach. The Sandman had never been a no-show before. And if he wasn’t there, maybe that meant they were right, and he wasn’t real.
 
No.
 
I refused to believe that. My mother meant well, but I couldn’t face a lifetime of pill-pushing psychiatrists. One white-haired doctor tossing around words like personality disorder and delusional was enough. By the time the final doctor deemed the Sandman a simple outlet for me to process my parents’ divorce, the damage was done.
 
Don’t worry about it, he said. It will pass, he said.
 
That was five years ago.
 
The divorce was a distant memory. My father moved across the country and my mother remarried, but the Sandman became a permanent fixture. One I’d learned to never, ever talk about.
 
What’s going on? I pushed the thought toward the Sandman even though I knew he couldn’t hear me. There was only one call that reached from this side of the Dream World to his, only one cry capable of bringing him here, but it never stopped me from trying.
 
I flung the sheets back with a huff and grabbed an oversized Lund Valley Community College sweater from the end of my bed. Natalie hoped we would go there together next year but… I wrinkled my nose and glanced at the dresser drawer where my sketchbook was carefully tucked between scarves. If I went to college at all, it would be for art, but that was a big if. No one in my family knew I drew, and if my mother was going to let me major in something “impractical,” she would want to at least see my work. Unfortunately, each page featured a majestic beach and a man hidden beneath a hood. Both things I was supposed to have forgotten long ago.
 
Tugging the sweater over my head, I made my way through the dark hallway toward the stairs. My mother and step-father were both working the night shift at the hospital and my sister could sleep through anything, yet I found myself tip-toeing down the hall.
 
I paused outside Katie’s door and listened to the steady, heavy breathing on the other side. Part of me wanted to wake my sister up to talk about what happened, but the other part of me—the part that remembered the piercing fluorescent lights of a therapist’s office—knew better. Katie had teased me about the Sandman when we were younger, but she never treated me differently. However, now we were older. Barging into her room to complain that my imaginary friend hadn’t shown up that night might alienate the last blood relative I could rely on.
 
Although Katie annoyed me like no one else, I loved her more than I was irritated with her. I needed my big sister on my side—even if it meant hiding a huge part of my life. So, I stepped away from her door and crept silently downstairs to the kitchen.
 
Maybe because I was about to steal someone’s box of frozen Thin Mints.
 
Sorry, not sorry.
 
Mist curled out of the open freezer, and I reached behind the chicken before a shrill, heart-wrenching scream tore through the house, squeezing the air from my lungs. It was made of nails and teeth and death. Of danger and fear. My eardrums rattled. Each nerve stood at attention, electricity buzzing over my body.
 
“Katie?” I yelled, frantically abandoning my pursuit of the cookies.
 
Confusion laced the edges of my shaky voice, but I was already racing across the kitchen. Instinct twisted my gut, telling me to turn and run, to save myself, but I couldn’t. Not if my sister was in trouble. Not if someone had broken in when no one was home to help. Not if Katie was hurt and scared. I propelled myself up the stairs to the second floor, my skin itching me to go faster, faster, faster. Katie’s door was still shut at the front of the hallway. My breath shuddered, and I reached for the handle, pausing with apprehension. The metal was cold in my palm.
 
“Katie?” Her name came out as a crackling whisper and I forced myself to inhale. Then exhale. Inhale again. My hand shook as I twisted the knob.
 
I eased the door inward. Without a barrier between us, the sound cut through me like a knife. I slapped a palm against the wall, hitting the light switch, and flinched at the sudden brightness. At what it might reveal.
 
Katie lay flat on her back, her eyes shut tight, with the sheets snarled in a ball at the end of the bed. Sweat poured down her face, plastering her pink hair to her skin. The wild scream continued, unrelenting, her jaw stretched wide, her neck muscles protruding. But everything else was in its rightful place. Nothing was broken. The lock on the window hugged its latch.
 
I stepped into the room and spun, bumping into the dresser. My pulse thrashed; it mimicked Katie’s scream in pendulum beats. Loud then muffled then loud again. “Katie?” My voice felt tight. I knelt on the mattress and shook my sister’s broad shoulders. “Wake up.”
 
The scream cracked. Katie sucked in air as if she were drowning and began again, just as terrified. I used the back of my wrist to wipe the moisture from my forehead. My nails dug into her shoulders, and I shook her rigid body with every ounce of strength I had. The more I yelled her name, the more desperate, more savage, my voice became. Black spots danced in my vision. Nightmares were one thing, but this was something else. Something beyond that. I shook the dizzying fear away and darted into the bathroom across the hall.
 
I returned with a Dixie cup of cold water and leapt onto the bed. The water hit Katie’s face with a splash. “Come on,” I shouted to no avail.
 
I fumbled for Katie’s cell phone on the nightstand. If our mother didn’t know what to do, she could send someone who did. My thumb hovered over the direct number to my mother’s unit when a quick, metallic burst of air whooshed in from the hallway. A shiver ravaged my spine, and Katie’s pitch reached new heights. I slipped from the bed, my hip smashing into the floor. The phone fell from my hand, seemingly in slow motion. I lunged for the door, and slammed it shut, leaning my back against the wood.
 
I couldn’t think.
 
Couldn’t... I couldn’t...
 
The walls seemed to shrink, boxing me in. Trapping me.
 
Above the screech, a deep chuckle rumbled in the hall. My heart rose to my throat, and I dove for the phone where it had landed on the rug. I managed to dial nine before Katie’s scream cut off. Palpable silence penetrated the room. My rapid breathing mixed with my sister’s, and I edged up onto shaking knees. Katie rolled onto her side with a twitch.
 
“Katie?” My voice came out as a squeak.
 
She snuggled into the pillow, and her breathing returned to normal. Okay. She was okay. I turned my attention to the space at the bottom of the door. There was probably no one out there anyway. My sister’s screams threw me off after a confusing night, that’s all. I was merely tired and scared and was likely imagining the whole thing.
 
But before I called anyone, I had to be sure.
 
With the phone clutched in my hand, I crawled across the room to where the bright yellow handle of Katie’s tennis racket leaned against the wall. I gripped the hard foam and held it to my shoulder. I didn’t want to leave Katie alone but what choice did I have? I couldn’t call for help if no one was out there. My mother would have a field day.
 
Clenching my jaw shut to keep my teeth from chattering, I dialed two one’s before opening the door. If anyone was on the other side, it would only take a single touch to call for help.
 
I eased out, holding the racket in front of me, and flicked on the hallway light. The stillness slammed into me like a brick wall. “Okay, okay, okay,” I chanted under my breath. This was stupid. And yet… at five-foot-three and a hundred and ten pounds, an intruder wouldn’t necessarily need to be armed to overpower me.
 
My nerves exploded with a burst of adrenaline, and I leapt from room to room until each light bulb on the second floor glowed. I checked every closet, under every bed. The racket shook in my hand. There was nothing. No one. An irrational spike of anger zipped through me at the possibility of my brain’s betrayal.
 
My body moved on its own accord, taking me downstairs one tentative step at a time. One million potential fates I might encounter, if there was someone lying in wait, coursed through my thoughts. The joints in my fingers locked around the phone with my thumb still over the green call button. My tongue was sandpaper against the roof of my mouth, and I crept through the living room.
 
The freezer was still open, rattling in an attempt to keep the internal temperature down. I chomped down on my lip and inched my way forward to shut it. The rarely-used alarm system beside the back door taunted me—if only I remembered the code.
 
It seemed like it took ages to finish searching the house. I looked everywhere from the coat closet to beneath the bathroom sink, but it had only been eleven minutes since I had woken up. No time at all, really. I gripped the back of a dining room chair to stay on my feet.
 
There was no intruder. Katie had a nightmare, and my mind deceived me.
 
Again.
 
Always.
 
Only this time, it wasn’t part of my subconscious. I wasn’t asleep. Katie had screamed.
 
There was a blast of air. Someone had laughed.
 
I swallowed the fear rising in my chest.
 
No one believed they were crazy. I wasn’t sure what it meant if I thought I was unhinged but constantly persuaded myself to believe I wasn’t. Was I? Wasn’t I? Not even the doctors could agree on an answer. My sanity was a double-edged sword, and I was fighting to maintain balance on the tip.
 
I dashed back to Katie and climbed in bed beside her, nestling close. I tucked the wrinkled sheet around us both and tried to ignore the nausea curdling in my stomach. Katie was older than me, bolder and more confident, but in that moment, she felt as fragile as blown glass. I wrapped an arm around her waist and squeezed my eyes shut. My ears strained to hear the slightest sound that could signal danger, but no one else was in the house.
 
No one had laughed.
 
The Sandman wasn’t real.
 
I balled the back of Katie’s T-shirt in my fist. He was real enough to me, and I needed him. Please, Sandman, I called in a silent plea for the second time tonight—the one only he could hear. Help me sleep.
 
 
About Amber
 
Amber R. Duell was born and raised in a small town in Central New York. While it will always be home, she’s constantly moving with her husband and two sons as a military wife. Before becoming published, she had a wide range of occupations including banking, bartending (though she’s never tried alcohol), and phlebotomy (though she faints with needles). She also volunteered as a re-enactor at the local Revolutionary War fort and worked near shelter cats which led to her previous crazy cat lady status.
 
She does her best writing in the middle of the night, surviving the daylight hours with massive amounts of caffeine. Her favorite stories are dark with a touch of romance and a villain you either love to hate or hate to love.
 
When not reading or writing, she enjoys snowboarding, embroidering, snuggling with her cat, and staying up way too late to research genealogy. She loves to travel and has visited more countries than states. Kissing the Blarney Stone and hand-feeding monkeys in the mountains of France will be hard to beat, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to find the next real-life adventure.
 
 
Giveaway Details
1 winner will win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, INTERNATIONAL.
 
 
Tour Schedule:
Week One:
 
2/4/2019- Graced with BooksReview
2/4/2019- A Dream Within A DreamExcerpt

2/5/2019- Popthebutterfly ReadsReview
2/5/2019- BookHoundsExcerpt

2/6/2019- Singer of StoriesReview
2/6/2019- Kelly P's BlogExcerpt

2/7/2019- Oh Hey BooksSpotlight
2/7/2019- Two Chicks on BooksExcerpt

2/8/2019- Reese's ReviewsReview
2/8/2019- The Reading LifeSpotlight
Like Reblog Comment
review 2019-02-06 11:37
Book Blitz: LOOKING FOR DEI by David A. Willson with Giveaway
 
LOOKING FOR DEI Digital Assets
About the Book
Title: LOOKING FOR DEI
Author: David A. Willson
Pub. Date: March 22, 2018
Publisher: Seeker Press
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 346
 
Find it
 
Read For Free With Kindle Unlimited!
 
Fifteen-year-old Nara Dall has never liked secrets. Yet it seems that her life has been filled with them, from the ugly scar on her back to the strange powers she possesses. Her mysterious father refuses to say anything about her origins, and soon, she and her best friend must attend the announcement ceremony, in which youths are tested for a magical gift.
 
A gifted youth has not been announced in the poor village of Dimmitt for decades. When Nara uncovers the reason, she uses her own powers to make things right. The decision sets her on a path of danger, discovery, and a search for the divine. In the process, she learns the truth about herself and uncovers the biggest secret of all: the power of broken people.
 
 
Chapter 4
 
Nara lay on her cot pretending to sleep, her thoughts lingering on Bylo's secrecy. Anger welled up at what seemed like a betrayal—not just of her, but of the entire village. The ceppit needed power, and she would fill it tonight.
 
Bylo didn't fall asleep quickly, but once he had, she made her move. The rain pit-pattered on the roof, giving her ample noise cover to steal away. Her exit out the front door was soft but still disturbed a white owl in the nearby tree. Ruffling its feathers, the bird turned its head to face her disapprovingly.
 
Darkness reigned, and none of the village folk were out, but she moved with caution to avoid waking any dogs that might announce her skulking. The walk to the church took longer than it should have, or maybe it just seemed that way.  What she intended could not be undone, and the risk weighed heavily upon her.  This was a bold move and she knew it, but felt compelled to continue.  It might be the first act of her life that would make a difference. A real difference.  A way to help.
 
Was that the only reason, or was there more?  Did she want to imbue the ceppit to help other people, or was this also a way to feel some power of her own?  A way to defy her destiny as the girl who must remain quiet, who could not be noticed. The girl who kept secrets.
 
Being announced in front of the whole village would end those secrets.  Nara would be a gifted, and people would take notice of her.  She would be seen as valuable.  Important. Yes, she wanted that, too.
 
Upon arrival at the church, she found a window near the back door. She slid it open, pulled herself up over the sill, and landed inside on her bum. Holding her breath, she listened and waited, hoping Father Taylor was slumbering in his room down the hallway.
 
After a few moments of silence, she rose to her feet, tiptoed to Taylor's study, and tested the door handle. Unlocked. After turning the knob, the door fell open a few inches, but the agonizing creak that came was enough to wake the dead. Fear of discovery paralyzed her, and she heard the priest grumble something in irritation from his room, bed squeaking as he shifted in his slumber. A moment later, the silence resumed. Proceeding into the room, she squeezed through the open doorway and moved quietly to the sacristy behind his desk. Just a fancy footlocker, the chest sat on the floor beneath Taylor's threadbare, stained ceremonial robes that hung on a wall peg above. It bore a padlock.
 
Curse it! What now?
 
Kneeling down, Nara inspected the lock in the near darkness, but her only allies were a few stray moonbeams sneaking in through his study window.
 
Old, rusty, and rarely used, the lock failed to disengage after a hearty tug. Then, as she did when imbuing ink, she closed her eyes and reached down into her energy, grabbing hold. Swirling patterns danced about her vision as she wrapped the power around herself and descended. The internal workings of the device became clear to her—the tumbler, the cylinder. All it would take was a little push. . . click!
 
Opened. With a thought!
 
Victory swelled inside her, and she wished to share it with someone—to tell Bylo or Mykel. As quickly as it came, the pride abandoned her. There was nobody she could tell.
 
 
About David
 
David A. Willson has worked as a restauranteur, peace officer, and now, author. Taught by his mother to read at a young age, he spent his childhood exploring magic, spaceships, and other dimensions. In his writing, he strives to bring those worlds to his readers.
 
Much of his material is inspired by the "Great Land" of Alaska, which he has called home for over 30 years. He lives there with his wife, five children, and 2 dogs. He is passionate about technology, faith, and fiction--not necessarily in that order.
 
Looking for Dei is Willson's debut novel, set in a land where many more adventures will take place. Stay up to date with his ongoing efforts through the Looking for Dei Facebook page or visiting the website at davidawillson.com.
 
 
Giveaway Details
 
One lucky winner will receive a one hoodie and one mug from the Looking for Dei Facebook shop. US Only.
 
 

Tour Schedule:
 
Week One:
1/28/2019- Mythical BooksExcerpt
1/29/2019- BookHounds YAInterview

1/30/2019- The Reading Corner for AllReview
1/31/2019- Two Chicks on BooksInterview
2/1/2019- Smada's Book SmackSpotlight
 
Week Two:
2/4/2019- Daily WaffleSpotlight
2/5/2019- Miss ElizabethReview
2/6/2019- Kelly P's BlogExcerpt
2/7/2019- Character Madness and MusingsInterview
2/8/2019- Writer of WrongsReview
 
Week Three:
2/11/2019- Lisa Loves LiteratureSpotlight
2/12/2019-Adventures Thru WonderlandReview
2/13/2019- A Bookish DreamReview
2/14/2019- Viviana MacKadeInterview
2/15/2019- A Dream Within A DreamExcerpt
 
Week Four:
2/18/2019- Finding Magic In BooksReview
2/19/2019- HauntedbybooksReview
2/20/2019- Christine's Book CornerSpotlight
2/21/2019- Stormy Vixen's Book ReviewsExcerpt
2/22/2019- Oh Hey! Books.- Interview
Like Reblog Comment
review 2019-02-05 07:13
Release Day Blitz: IMANI UNRAVELED by Leigh Statham with Giveaway

I am so excited that IMANI UNRAVELED by Leigh Statham is available now and that I get to share the news!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Leigh Statham, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a 2 finished copies of IMANI UNRAVELED, courtesy of Owl Hollow Press and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About the Book:
Title: IMANI UNRAVELED (Daughter 4254, Book 2) 
Author: Leigh Statham
Pub. Date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Owl Hollow Press
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 260
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NTBD
 
When her head is artificially filled with more information than she knows what to do with, Daughter4254 finds she can’t trust her own thoughts, much less the words of anyone else.
 
Rumors come creeping in the night, and she finds herself faced with a choice she thought she’d left far behind when she’d walked out the doors of the compound.

About Book 1
 
Title: DAUGHTER 4254 (Daughter 4254, Book 1)
Author: Leigh Statham
Pub. Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Owl Hollow Press
Pages: 286
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Find it: Goodreads, AmazonB&N, iBooksTBD
 
Daughter4254 used to think life in a community where art, music and names are outlawed would suffocate her creative spirit. Now that she’s rotting in a prison cell, she’s not sure her dying mother made the right choice when she entrusted her with the secrets of rebellion. Prison has given her plenty of time to relive every mistake and lose all hope.

Then she meets Thomas, a fellow inmate, who tells her stories of the mythical mountain colonies where people have names and the arts thrive. Together they plot an escape, knowing if they fail, they will die. Or worse, their consciousness will be taken by the MindWipe, leaving their bodies free for the government to use. When nothing goes as planned, Daughter4254 must choose between using her mother’s secret to better the world she hates, or following Thomas to the quiet life of freedom she has always craved.
 
Excerpt:
 
CHAPTER 1
The wind scratches my cheeks with icy fingers. I round the corner of the building and look up, checking the rooftop for an autoeye. It still feels strange to be in a place where I’m not watched every second of every day. I keep thinking there has to be a guard somewhere or that a random person passing a window might notice me wandering alone in the side yard and call for an investigation. I don’t think I’ll ever lose those habits of apprehension from my life before prison and Secondary School.
 
I turn away from the quiet building and search the tree line ahead of me. Did I really see Thomas? I take a few more steps and stop at the dead, gray fruit tree outside my bedroom window. The glass is slightly mirrored, but not enough that I can’t see inside. If he was here, he saw me.
 
I peer again across the clearing to the trees and rocks ahead. Where did he go?
 
My first instinct is to run, hoping to be faster than anyone who might be watching, but my failed history of running away keeps my steps slow and regular. Besides, the blanket of snow on the ground, untouched by anything larger than a rodent or bird, makes my footprints stand out like a big red arrow.
 
My head thumps with sudden pain as an image of a huge red arrow fills my vision, overtaking my tracks in the snow. Neon is the word my mind supplies. Before I can shake my head to clear it, the sign disappears and the pain eases off as well.
 
I take a deep breath. Hamen, who still feels like Professor789 to me, did a great job messing with my head. This is the third time since awaking in the Institute that I’ve had a strange flash of a memory that isn’t mine. Each is accompanied by a word unfamiliar to me: arpeggio and sunflower and now neon.
 
Snow shifts on a nearby tree branch and cascades with soft plops onto the ground below. I tell myself to keep up the lie I started with the main door attendant.
 
I need some fresh air. I’m going for a walk to clear my head.
 
I felt certain they wouldn’t let me just walk out of the Institute, but they did. The woman had been friendly and all smiles—another thing I wasn’t used to. She gave me a thermal parka and some boots and warned me not to go too far from the Institute, that there were sometimes beasts lurking in the trees. A pang of guilt tugged at my gut as I thanked her.
 
I was not simply going for a walk. I was running for my life, and possibly for Thomas’s life. For our life together.
 
I wrap my arms around myself in the puffy coat and rub my shoulders while I walk slowly across the clearing. My bare hands soon grow too cold for that, and I stuff them deep in the parka’s pockets. The trees stand tall and brown against the white snow like an overgrown fence or a row of frozen soldiers. As I draw close to their rough brown bark and suck in the cold, clean air, I search for any sign of Thomas. Still nothing. I scan the ground at the edge of the trees where I thought I saw him from my room. Nothing, not even a footprint. My heart sinks.
 
If Thomas is dead, do I have any reason not to take Hamen’s offer to stay and help him fight the Leaders subversively? At least I could help other people like me who are stuck in the system. But I still don’t trust Hamen. He slipped too easily between the Leaders and the resistance and has lied to me about almost everything.
 
I take a few more steps into the dark shadows of the forest. The sunlight lingers behind me in the clearing. It is now or never. Walk forward or turn back. Run or stay.
 
I shove my hands into my pockets and step deeper into the woods, my feet scarring the fresh snow. I need to keep looking for something better than what I am leaving behind.
 
My first steps are slow. There is no sign that I’m being watched from the forest or the bright white building behind me. I make a silent promise to myself as my eyes well up with tears.
 
I will not cry. I will not panic. I will walk away, go into the woods, disappear. There are people in the mountains, and I will find them. I will make a life for myself. I will do this, or I will die trying.
 
I quicken my pace. My throat tightens further. Breathing through these thoughts and emotions is hard, and the crisp winter air makes it painful. My heart pounds twice as fast as my feet crunching through the snow. The trees fall in behind me, blocking the building from sight. Hope dangles on the edge of my thoughts, close to falling into a chasm of cynicism. There may not be any sign of Thomas, I may be lost to delusions, but I am walking. Choosing my own path and my own future, even for a moment.
 
Then I see it. Next to a large rock in the center of a beam of light cutting through the shadows of the forest—a fresh footprint.
 
I can’t help myself—I sprint forward. I don’t dare call out his name. It could be a trail from a guard or a Leader or forestry worker. Still, I look desperately from tree to tree and back to the trail of footsteps in front of me.
 
The steps come from deep in the woods and double back on themselves. I push through naked bushes and crisp evergreens dusted white with snow. My thick coat catches on the branches, making synthetic scratching sounds that set my nerves even more on edge. I want to take it off but my freezing face tells me that wouldn’t be wise. The temperature is well below freezing.
 
The tracks keep going and I keep following while unwanted thoughts dance through my mind. What if I saw someone but only thought it was Thomas? What if I didn’t see anything, and these footprints are an illusion and I’m going mad? After Hamen described the procedure I underwent to store centuries’ worth of data in my mind, I have no doubt that I could be delusional now, the part of brain that knows reality from daydreams permanently damaged.
 
An index of mental illnesses flash before my eyes, like the pages of a text book flipping in front of me while I read at top speed.
 
Bipolar II disorder
 
Body dysmorphic disorder
 
Borderline intellectual functioning
 
Borderline personality disorder
 
Brief psychotic disorder
 
Bulimia nervosa
 
I groan and shake my head, closing my eyes against a headache that pierces where the previous pain hit with the image of the red neon arrow. The pain dissipates again, as quickly as before, and I stand straight, not remembering hunching over. I must think about Thomas.
 
Thomas.
 
I take a step forward and a heavy weight hits my shoulders and back with such force I fall forward, hands only coming up in time to prevent my face from taking the brunt of the fall. I try to scream, but my face is shoved into the snow. The cold burns my cheeks as my nose is bent and scraped against a rock. Movement on my back precedes snarling hot breath in my ear.
 
I’m crushed deeper into the snow by the weight of a clawing mass. A flash of gratitude for the thick parka fills me as I hear it rip in several places, synthetic skin saving my own. I flail and fight to get out from under whatever has me pinned, but it’s so heavy, I’m losing the battle. Finally, I swing back hard with an elbow and make my first solid contact. Whatever it is wobbles, off balance. I grab the chance to flip onto my back and start punching.
Re
What I thought was a forest creature is a person, a man. But something is wrong with his eyes. They’re too dark, too intense. Even in the dim forest light I can tell they are more animal than human. I shove and kick as hard as I can, trying to get him off of me. He slaps my cheek and pulls my hair. I punch and kick, screaming for help. The man grabs both of my arms, forcing them against the ground above my head, and shoves his face next to mine. I push my jaw against his, screaming in his ear, trying to keep his mouth away from my neck.
 
He snarls and roots at my shoulder. His breath is foul, like rotten flesh and sour milk. My arms are wedged up against his shoulders leaving only my head to defend myself from his mouth. I shove the top of my head against his cheek, trying to force it away. It is no use. Disgusting grunts and pants leave moist vapor on my skin until he rears back and crashes his forehead into mine. The blow knocks me senseless but in that same moment his weight is knocked off me.
 
When the stars and black dots leave my vision, I can see my attacker on the ground. Another man has him in a choke hold from behind, squeezing the air out of him until, all too quickly, he falls limp. I scoot backward until I bump against a large rock, then struggle to get to my feet so I can run, but I’m too slow.
 
The second man drops the first man and is on top of me, his hand over my mouth. My eyes sting with tears and I can’t breathe from the shock. His face, covered in a mask like the one my father wore to work in the forest on the coldest winter days, hovers near mine as he secures me with strong arms, wedging me in a sitting position against the boulder and the snowy ground. Then one knee is on my legs while he straightens up to peer back down the trail over the rock that conceals us. His thick green coat is the confirmation I need to know he isn’t a guard from Hamen’s. They would be wearing a white coat like me. I don’t know whether to be relieved or terrified.
 
Adrenaline still pumping through me, I strain to free my arms. It isn’t too late to run. I can survive and find the mountain people.
 
But instead of attacking, he bends down and looks into my eyes before letting his hand slip off my mouth and his grip on my shoulder loosens.
 
Soft hazel eyes meet my panicked gaze, and I freeze. Even with the rest of his face covered, I know those eyes.
 
“Thomas!” The name comes out in a burst of white fog from my mouth.
 
He eases off of me and I pull up his mask to reveal his scruffy face, the same one I saw watching me through bars all those days and nights in prison. I want to hold him close like my mother used to hold me—he’s so close anyway. But I hesitate. Thomas isn’t like my mother. What would it feel like to hold him? It feels strange to consider it.
 
“Hush, lassie,” he says. “They’re bound to be right behind us.”
 
At the sound of his voice, I can’t hold back anymore. I throw my arms around him. All the moments of being without him and wishing I’d jumped with him melt between us as he returns my embrace and his breath warms my neck.
 
“What are you doing here?” I check my voice and whisper, “How did you find me? How are you alive? I can’t…” I’m not sure what else to say, where to start.
 
“I’m a tough nut, you know?” He smiles and rubs my raw cheek with his wool glove. Mixed with my tears, the sweet gesture stings my skin, but I don’t care.
 
“I can’t believe you’re alive.” I pull him to me again and bury my face in his shoulder, my head pounding from the fight with the wild man.
 
His strong arms wrap around me, and I hear his voice echo in his chest. “Honestly, sweets, I can’t believe you’re not a walking veggie head. I want to hear all about your adventures as soon as we’re out of these bloody woods. Come on.”
 
Feeling his legs shift, I sit back and he helps me to my feet while scanning the trail behind us again.
 
“We’re leaving a proper mess for them to follow so we’ve got to scurry.” He takes my hand and starts back over his footprints leading farther into the woods. “How did you get out here, anyway? I didn’t expect you to waltz into my arms like a cranking birthday gift.”
 
“I told them I was going for a walk. I know the leader—he was trying to recruit me. He said I could do whatever I wanted, but I overheard him saying that if I didn’t comply they’d roast me. Complete Mind Wipe.” I am rambling now. Must focus. “How did you find me? And who was that man? What was wrong with him?”
 
As if on cue, there’s motion behind us. Down the trail, the beast man moans and sits up. Thomas pushes me behind him, ready to knock the man out again if he approaches, but a twang cuts through the air, and the man falls back to the snow, convulsing. Shock rifle fire.
 
“Come on, no time to chatter.” Thomas pulls my arm, and we run through the brush and trees, ignoring the footprints Thomas made on his way to get me.
 
I can’t help looking back. One man in a white suit is kneeling to examine my attacker. Two others have spotted us and are charging forward, long black shock rifles wagging back and forth in front of their chests.
 
I know what those guns feel like. I know what happens when they catch you. Shudders trip down my spine and I push myself to keep up with Thomas, determined not to lose him this time as we slalom tree trunks and trip through the snow.
 
Another twang rings through the air, and a branch a few feet to my left shatters.
 
“They are catching up,” I say between breaths, feeling fear rise in my throat.
 
“No matter, we’re here.” He looks back at me and slows slightly. “You gonna trust me this time?”
 
“What?”
 
We emerge from the trees, and Thomas catches my arm so I don’t fall down a steep, snowy embankment to a river two hundred yards below. The drop isn’t as far as at the prison, but the water below is agitated and swift, frothing and white. I can see where Thomas has carefully picked his way up the hill farther upstream where large rocks jut out of the snowy hillside. Directly before us lies a slippery, snow-covered slide of unknown hazards. Behind, the soldiers’ shouts sound on the other side of the tree line.
 
I look at Thomas and without hesitation, I jump.
 
About Leigh:
Leigh Statham was raised in the wilds of rural Idaho but found her heart in New York City. She worked at many interesting jobs before settling in as a mother and writer.
 
She now resides in North Carolina with her husband, four children, eight chickens, a fluffy dog, and two suspected serial killer cats.
 
Leigh is currently working on an MFA, has written countless short stories, and is the author of lots of mediocre poetry. She is also the winner of the 2016 Southeast Review Narrative Nonfiction Prize for her short story “The Ditch Bank and the Fenceline.”
<!-- [if !supportLineBreakNewLine]-->
<!--[endif]-->
 
Giveaway Details
2 winners will receive a finished copy of IMANI UNRAVELED, US only.
 
Like Reblog Comment
review 2019-01-29 07:54
Release Week Blitz: DREAM KEEPER by Amber R. Duell with Giveaway


I am so excited that DREAM KEEPER by Amber R. Duell is available now and that I get to share the news!
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Amber R. Duell, be sure to check out all the details below.
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International, courtesy of The Parliament House and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
About the Book:
Title: DREAM KEEPER
Author: Amber R. Duell
Pub. Date: January 29, 2019
Publisher: The Parliament House
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 288
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, B&N, Kobo
 
The Sandman is seventeen-year-old Nora’s closest friend and best-kept secret. He has to be, if she doesn’t want a one-way ticket back to the psychiatrist. It took her too long to learn not to mention the hooded figure in her dreams to her mother, who still watches Nora as if she’ll crack. So when Nora’s friends start mysteriously dying gruesome deaths in their sleep, she isn’t altogether surprised when the police direct their suspicion at her. The Sandman is the only one she can turn to for answers. But the truth might be more than she bargained for…

For the last five years, the Sandman has spent every night protecting Nora. When he hid the secret to the Nightmare Lord’s escape inside her dreams, he never expected to fall in love with her. Neither did he think his nemesis would find her so quickly, but there’s no mistaking his cruel handiwork. The Nightmare Lord is tired of playing by the rules and will do anything to release his deadly nightmares into the world, even if that means tormenting Nora until she breaks.

When the Nightmare Lord kidnaps Nora’s sister, Nora must enter enemy territory to save her. The Sandman is determined to help, but if Nora isn’t careful, she could lose even more than her family to the darkness.



Click on ---->  Book Trailer

Excerpt:
2
NORA
Shadows danced in the soft warmth of the white mini-lights strung around my bedroom. I hopped around my bed, fumbling with the buckle on my sandals, and tossed my purse in the corner. Something hard—probably my phone—thwacked against the light blue wall.
“Whoops,” I muttered, then growled at the metal hook locking my footwear in place. There were places to go, people to see. Or, rather, one person, and it was already hours past our usual meeting time. I jerked at the stiff strap. “Get off.”
Finally, it popped, and I kicked it triumphantly into the corner with my bag. The other came off without any trouble, and my stomach fluttered in anticipation. I tugged off my jean shorts and stepped into a pair of plaid pajama bottoms, leaving on the ribbed tank top I wore out tonight. Who cared that a glob of nacho cheese stained the front? The Sandman certainly wouldn’t.
Climbing beneath the cool sheets, I dragged in a long breath and released it slowly. A small grin played on my lips as I stared at the lights hanging overhead. Then I shut my eyes and waited. Waited for sleep to claim me. To deliver me. But my body was too tense, and my mind still flipped through the day’s events—as ridiculously boring as they were. When the highlight of your day was painting your nails a new color, what was there to mull over?
After a handful of long minutes, I opened my eyes again and bit my lip. I could ask. It had been… Actually, I couldn’t remember the last time I asked him for anything. Even this. But I had to be up early for work tomorrow and we’d already missed out on hours together. A grin crept across my face.
“Sandman,” I whispered, and closed my eyes again in preparation. “Help me sleep.”
It came swiftly then, sweeping me gently from my world to another as easily as the breeze carries a feather. I curled my toes, feeling the powder-like sand of the Sandman’s beach beneath my bare feet, and opened my eyes. The endless blanket of bright stars, the luminescent waves, the Sandman… This place, this dream, was like coming home.
“Sorry I’m late,” I called with a smile in my voice. The light aroma of lilacs filled my lungs and I sighed, content. “Natalie and Emery dragged me to a party to celebrate our final first day of summer vacation.” By this time next year, we would all be high school graduates and legal adults—neither of which I was ready to think about. I stretched my arms over my head and fought a yawn. “Sandman?” There was no reply. I dropped my arms and spun, searching for a glimpse of the familiar black-clad figure. This was our spot—the place directly below the brightest star. My brows lowered in confusion. So why wasn’t he here? He was always here. “Where are you?”
The only sound was the soft hush of waves lapping the shore. I turned again, squinting down the beach, but there was no hooded figure in sight. My heart skipped a beat. The dream seemed to yawn open, the emptiness pressing in on me from all sides. He had to be here somewhere. A pit formed in my stomach, and I staggered back, unsteady. He had to.
The beach was an addiction I didn’t know how to cure myself of—didn’t want to cure myself of. For every time I had to pretend this place didn’t exist, the Sandman was there to absolve me of the lies. There to make me feel like I was good and sane and normal. It didn’t matter that he was also the reason I didn’t feel any of those things were true when I was awake. The Sandman was my anchor, holding me firm when life tried to wash me out to sea. Without him… I swallowed hard. Without him, I would be a ship without sails.
“Sandman!” I jogged down the water’s edge, my pulse drumming in my ears. “I’m here.”
But he wasn’t.
    
THREE THIRTY-TWO.
The clock on my nightstand glowed green, the colon blinking in a slow, torturous rhythm. I tapped my fingers on my stomach. The Sandman had never been a no-show before. And if he wasn’t there, maybe that meant they were right, and he wasn’t real.
No.
I refused to believe that. My mother meant well, but I couldn’t face a lifetime of pill-pushing psychiatrists. One white-haired doctor tossing around words like personality disorder and delusional was enough. By the time the final doctor deemed the Sandman a simple outlet for me to process my parents’ divorce, the damage was done.
Don’t worry about it, he said. It will pass, he said.
That was five years ago.
The divorce was a distant memory. My father moved across the country and my mother remarried, but the Sandman became a permanent fixture. One I’d learned to never, ever talk about.
What’s going on? I pushed the thought toward the Sandman even though I knew he couldn’t hear me. There was only one call that reached from this side of the Dream World to his, only one cry capable of bringing him here, but it never stopped me from trying.
I flung the sheets back with a huff and grabbed an oversized Lund Valley Community College sweater from the end of my bed. Natalie hoped we would go there together next year but… I wrinkled my nose and glanced at the dresser drawer where my sketchbook was carefully tucked between scarves. If I went to college at all, it would be for art, but that was a big if. No one in my family knew I drew, and if my mother was going to let me major in something “impractical,” she would want to at least see my work. Unfortunately, each page featured a majestic beach and a man hidden beneath a hood. Both things I was supposed to have forgotten long ago.
Tugging the sweater over my head, I made my way through the dark hallway toward the stairs. My mother and step-father were both working the night shift at the hospital and my sister could sleep through anything, yet I found myself tip-toeing down the hall.
I paused outside Katie’s door and listened to the steady, heavy breathing on the other side. Part of me wanted to wake my sister up to talk about what happened, but the other part of me—the part that remembered the piercing fluorescent lights of a therapist’s office—knew better. Katie had teased me about the Sandman when we were younger, but she never treated me differently. However, now we were older. Barging into her room to complain that my imaginary friend hadn’t shown up that night might alienate the last blood relative I could rely on.
Although Katie annoyed me like no one else, I loved her more than I was irritated with her. I needed my big sister on my side—even if it meant hiding a huge part of my life. So, I stepped away from her door and crept silently downstairs to the kitchen.
Maybe because I was about to steal someone’s box of frozen Thin Mints.
Sorry, not sorry.
Mist curled out of the open freezer, and I reached behind the chicken before a shrill, heart-wrenching scream tore through the house, squeezing the air from my lungs. It was made of nails and teeth and death. Of danger and fear. My eardrums rattled. Each nerve stood at attention, electricity buzzing over my body.
“Katie?” I yelled, frantically abandoning my pursuit of the cookies.
Confusion laced the edges of my shaky voice, but I was already racing across the kitchen. Instinct twisted my gut, telling me to turn and run, to save myself, but I couldn’t. Not if my sister was in trouble. Not if someone had broken in when no one was home to help. Not if Katie was hurt and scared. I propelled myself up the stairs to the second floor, my skin itching me to go faster, faster, faster. Katie’s door was still shut at the front of the hallway. My breath shuddered, and I reached for the handle, pausing with apprehension. The metal was cold in my palm.
“Katie?” Her name came out as a crackling whisper and I forced myself to inhale. Then exhale. Inhale again. My hand shook as I twisted the knob.
I eased the door inward. Without a barrier between us, the sound cut through me like a knife. I slapped a palm against the wall, hitting the light switch, and flinched at the sudden brightness. At what it might reveal.
Katie lay flat on her back, her eyes shut tight, with the sheets snarled in a ball at the end of the bed. Sweat poured down her face, plastering her pink hair to her skin. The wild scream continued, unrelenting, her jaw stretched wide, her neck muscles protruding. But everything else was in its rightful place. Nothing was broken. The lock on the window hugged its latch.
I stepped into the room and spun, bumping into the dresser. My pulse thrashed; it mimicked Katie’s scream in pendulum beats. Loud then muffled then loud again. “Katie?” My voice felt tight. I knelt on the mattress and shook my sister’s broad shoulders. “Wake up.”
The scream cracked. Katie sucked in air as if she were drowning and began again, just as terrified. I used the back of my wrist to wipe the moisture from my forehead. My nails dug into her shoulders, and I shook her rigid body with every ounce of strength I had. The more I yelled her name, the more desperate, more savage, my voice became. Black spots danced in my vision. Nightmares were one thing, but this was something else. Something beyond that. I shook the dizzying fear away and darted into the bathroom across the hall.
I returned with a Dixie cup of cold water and leapt onto the bed. The water hit Katie’s face with a splash. “Come on,” I shouted to no avail.
I fumbled for Katie’s cell phone on the nightstand. If our mother didn’t know what to do, she could send someone who did. My thumb hovered over the direct number to my mother’s unit when a quick, metallic burst of air whooshed in from the hallway. A shiver ravaged my spine, and Katie’s pitch reached new heights. I slipped from the bed, my hip smashing into the floor. The phone fell from my hand, seemingly in slow motion. I lunged for the door, and slammed it shut, leaning my back against the wood.
I couldn’t think.
Couldn’t... I couldn’t...
The walls seemed to shrink, boxing me in. Trapping me.
Above the screech, a deep chuckle rumbled in the hall. My heart rose to my throat, and I dove for the phone where it had landed on the rug. I managed to dial nine before Katie’s scream cut off. Palpable silence penetrated the room. My rapid breathing mixed with my sister’s, and I edged up onto shaking knees. Katie rolled onto her side with a twitch.
“Katie?” My voice came out as a squeak.
She snuggled into the pillow, and her breathing returned to normal. Okay. She was okay. I turned my attention to the space at the bottom of the door. There was probably no one out there anyway. My sister’s screams threw me off after a confusing night, that’s all. I was merely tired and scared and was likely imagining the whole thing.
But before I called anyone, I had to be sure.
With the phone clutched in my hand, I crawled across the room to where the bright yellow handle of Katie’s tennis racket leaned against the wall. I gripped the hard foam and held it to my shoulder. I didn’t want to leave Katie alone but what choice did I have? I couldn’t call for help if no one was out there. My mother would have a field day.
Clenching my jaw shut to keep my teeth from chattering, I dialed two one’s before opening the door. If anyone was on the other side, it would only take a single touch to call for help.
I eased out, holding the racket in front of me, and flicked on the hallway light. The stillness slammed into me like a brick wall. “Okay, okay, okay,” I chanted under my breath. This was stupid. And yet… at five-foot-three and a hundred and ten pounds, an intruder wouldn’t necessarily need to be armed to overpower me.
My nerves exploded with a burst of adrenaline, and I leapt from room to room until each light bulb on the second floor glowed. I checked every closet, under every bed. The racket shook in my hand. There was nothing. No one. An irrational spike of anger zipped through me at the possibility of my brain’s betrayal.
My body moved on its own accord, taking me downstairs one tentative step at a time. One million potential fates I might encounter, if there was someone lying in wait, coursed through my thoughts. The joints in my fingers locked around the phone with my thumb still over the green call button. My tongue was sandpaper against the roof of my mouth, and I crept through the living room.
The freezer was still open, rattling in an attempt to keep the internal temperature down. I chomped down on my lip and inched my way forward to shut it. The rarely-used alarm system beside the back door taunted me—if only I remembered the code.
It seemed like it took ages to finish searching the house. I looked everywhere from the coat closet to beneath the bathroom sink, but it had only been eleven minutes since I had woken up. No time at all, really. I gripped the back of a dining room chair to stay on my feet.
There was no intruder. Katie had a nightmare, and my mind deceived me.
Again.
Always.
Only this time, it wasn’t part of my subconscious. I wasn’t asleep. Katie had screamed. There was a blast of air. Someone had laughed.
I swallowed the fear rising in my chest.
No one believed they were crazy. I wasn’t sure what it meant if I thought I was unhinged but constantly persuaded myself to believe I wasn’t. Was I? Wasn’t I? Not even the doctors could agree on an answer. My sanity was a double-edged sword, and I was fighting to maintain balance on the tip.
I dashed back to Katie and climbed in bed beside her, nestling close. I tucked the wrinkled sheet around us both and tried to ignore the nausea curdling in my stomach. Katie was older than me, bolder and more confident, but in that moment, she felt as fragile as blown glass. I wrapped an arm around her waist and squeezed my eyes shut. My ears strained to hear the slightest sound that could signal danger, but no one else was in the house.
No one had laughed.
The Sandman wasn’t real.
I balled the back of Katie’s T-shirt in my fist. He was real enough to me, and I needed him. Please, Sandman, I called in a silent plea for the second time tonight—the one only he could hear. Help me sleep.
About Amber:
Amber R. Duell was born and raised in a small town in Central New York. While it will always be home, she’s constantly moving with her husband and two sons as a military wife. Before becoming published, she had a wide range of occupations including banking, bartending (though she’s never tried alcohol), and phlebotomy (though she faints with needles). She also volunteered as a re-enactor at the local Revolutionary War fort and worked near shelter cats which led to her previous crazy cat lady status.
 
She does her best writing in the middle of the night, surviving the daylight hours with massive amounts of caffeine. Her favorite stories are dark with a touch of romance and a villain you either love to hate or hate to love.
 
 When not reading or writing, she enjoys snowboarding, embroidering, snuggling with her cat, and staying up way too late to research genealogy. She loves to travel and has visited more countries than states. Kissing the Blarney Stone and hand-feeding monkeys in the mountains of France will be hard to beat, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to find the next real-life adventure.
 
Giveaway Details:
 
1 winner will win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, INTERNATIONAL.
 
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?