Him

Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

4.5 stars!


^^^me this entire book

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a good M/M romance and boy did this book deliver!

Is this book perfect? No. Do I give a shit? Not at all.

Him is the story of Jamie and Wes. The two have been summer camp best friends ever since they were 13. They were inseparable, always playing hockey together and playing pranks. The last summer they have at camp changes everything, and Wes completely cuts off Jamie leaving Jamie hurt and wondering what he had done.

Fast forward four years later and both are on their college hockey teams and competing in the same tournament. For Wes seeing Jamie stirs up old feelings he had for his best friend. Spur of the moment he accepts a job coaching at his old summer camp for 6 weeks, alongside Jamie. The two mend their bridges, but as time goes by Wes knows his feelings for his old friend haven’t gone away. But Jamie is straight….or is he?

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This was the ultimate guilty pleasure read. I love GFY romances and unrequited love stories so this fit my tastes perfectly. I loved both of these guys. Cocky, arrogant and yet vulnerable Wes. California golden boy Jamie. Both were suited perfectly to each other and made the best couple.

An emotional rollercoaster I didn’t want to get off of, I read this straight through in a day. Although I ignored a friends advice to not read this in public and ended up blushing and having to put the kindle away until I got home because there are some steamy scenes in this book y’all. So prepare yourselves!

Recommended for fans of the Try series by Ella Frank, M/M romance readers, and Elle Kennedy fans. Also I’ve never read anything by Sarina Bowen until this book and I will have to remedy that VERY soon.

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Out of Time

Out of Time (Nine Minutes #2) by Beth Flynn

2 stars

Update. After much reflection I am lowering to a 2. The bad did not outweigh the good in this one, even though I really wanted it to.

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Where do I begin? Nine Minutes was one of my favorite books from last year. It left me so conflicted but so happy as a reader that I got something different from the usual romance story. Grizz was one of those characters you don’t see a lot, where he’s a bad man but wonderful to his woman. And for me, as long as he’s not a dick I am good with that.

And I’d also like to note what’s funny about my reading experience of Nine Minutes, I never saw Grizz as a romantic interest, but that’s because of the prologue in that book. So after seeing lots of discussions of people being Team Grizz here on Goodreads and over on Facebook, it opened up my mind to new possibilities. I had always been Team Grunt because I didn’t think there was another Team. That’s what happens when you don’t open your mind to other possibilities kiddos!

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Out of Time was just an okay read for me. Positives of the book included an amazing backstory on Grizz and how he became the man he was. Just an absolutely heart wrenching story, things happened to him that would have broken any person but he survived and prevailed. I also loved the backstory on Grunt and his involvement in Ginny’s life as well. It helped the readers see his motivations we couldn’t see in Nine Minutes.

This is where I list what didn’t work for me and what made this book a 2 stars. I didn’t care for the time jumps at all, they were a bit too confusing for me. Luckily the author would give some context at the beginning of the chapters or I would have been completely lost. And not to try and compare this to the first book, but I devoured that one in a matter of hours. It took meDAYS to finish this one and I was pushing myself hard. It just didn’t suck me in like Nine Minutes did.

Last, I felt the last 25-30% of the book was way over the top. The twists didn’t hold any wow factor for me, in fact they did the complete opposite. I felt like they came out of nowhere and didn’t relate to the story as a whole, and to me they were unnecessary.

I think Beth Flynn is an absolutely amazing writer and author, and while I just liked this book I would happily read anything else by her in the future. This particular book just didn’t click as much with my personal reading tastes as the first one did.

BUT REMEMBER! I seem to be in the minority with just liking it and not loving it, so I encourage you to read it yourself and make up your own mind. Everyone has different reading tastes and so many people loved this, I think you as a reader should give it a shot.

ARC kindly provided by TRSOR in exchange for a review

Out of Time Book Tour

out of time it's live (1)

OUT OF TIME is the HIGHLY ANTICIPATED sequel to NINE MINUTES where Grizz, Kit & Grunt’s gritty tale continues!  You aren’t going to want to miss this!

NOW AVAILABLE

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1CQRoCD

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1TRNLAx

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/1JFlBBw

out of time

 

Blurb

RECOMMENDED FOR READERS 18 AND OLDER DUE TO

STRONG LANGUAGE, SEXUAL SITUATIONS AND VIOLENCE

Out of Time is book two in a series. It is not a standalone novel. I highly recommend that you read my first novel, Nine Minutes, to be able to understand the background stories of the main characters. There are many twists and turns in both stories that can best be connected if read consecutively.

Although I do answer all of the outstanding questions from Nine Minutes, there is more to this story, and some readers may consider it a cliffhanger. If you do not like cliffhangers, you may want to wait until the third novel is released in 2016.

They thought with his execution it would all be over.

They were wrong.

The leader of one of South Florida’s most notorious and brutal motorcycle gangs has been put to death by lethal injection. Days later, his family and friends should have been picking up the pieces, moving on. Instead, they’ve been catapulted into a world so twisted and dangerous even the most ruthless among them would be stunned to discover the tangled web of deception, not only on the dangerous streets of South Florida but all the way to the top.

In this gripping follow-up novel to Nine Minutes, Out of Time takes readers from the sun-drenched flatlands of 1950s Central Florida to the vivid tropical heat of Fort Lauderdale to the halls of Florida’s Death Row as we finally learn the gritty backstory of Jason “Grizz” Talbot and the secret he spent his life trying to conceal.

Not even Grizz’s inner circle knows his full story—the tragedy that enveloped his early life, the surprise discovery that made him the government’s most wanted and most feared, and the depths of his love for Ginny, the tenderhearted innocent he’d once abducted and later made his wife.

Once Grizz’s obsession and now the mother of his child, Ginny has spent years grieving the man she’d first resisted and then came to love. Now remarried to Tommy, a former member of the gang, the pair have spent more than a decade trying desperately to live a normal existence far from the violent, crime-ridden world they’d once carved out on the edge of the Florida Everglades. For Tommy, especially, the stakes are high. Desperately in love with Ginny for years, he’s finally living his dream: married to the woman he never thought he could have. But even with the façade of normalcy—thriving careers, two beautiful children, and a genuinely happy and loving marriage—they can’t seem to put the past behind them. Every time they turn around, another secret is revealed, unraveling the very bonds that hold them together.

And with Grizz finally put to death, now Ginny has learned secrets so dark, so evil she’s not even sure she can go on.

Will these secrets tear their love to pieces? And how far will Grizz go to protect what he still considers his, even from beyond the grave?

 

EXCERPT

 

1979

“Yes! There is something I want for my birthday. Something I really want! I’ve been thinking about our prom date last year.”

“You want another romantic night at Martin’s beach house?” He grinned, relieved. A night making love with Kit at the beach house. Ohhhhh yeahhhh.

“No. Not the beach house.” She was bouncing in her seat now. “I want you to take me out! Dancing. I want to go to a club and go dancing.”

His smile faded and he looked a little deflated. He wasn’t going to tell her his name. He wasn’t going to go to church with her. How could he tell her no to the third thing she’d asked for?

“Shit, baby. You have to know I’m not a dancer. I barely got by with the slow dancing in Martin’s gazebo.”

“I want to go dancing, Grizz. Please! The only time I ever get to dance is when I convince Axel to dance with me in number four. And you know that’s barely ever. He won’t do it if there are a lot of people at the motel. He doesn’t want to risk being seen.”

Grizz had to smile at this. He’d walked in more than once on Axel and Kit dancing to one of those groups that Kit loved. If you asked him, those guys’ voices sounded like someone had their balls in a vice. A high-pitched squeal is all he ever heard and he never stayed around long enough to listen to an entire song.

“Why do you dance to a song about a bald-headed woman?” He’d asked her once.

Axel and Kit had stopped and peered at him strangely. “What do you mean by bald headed woman?” Kit had asked as Grizz turned the stereo down.

“These guys, who sound like women, are singing about a bald-headed woman,” Grizz replied.

She’d started laughing. “The Bee Gees are saying ‘more than a woman,’ Grizz. Not bald-headed woman! The song is called More Than a Woman and I happen to love it.”

“Whatever it’s called, it still sucks. I’m outta here.”

Grizz appreciated that Axel danced with his wife. And yes, he knew Axel’s other secret, too. He honestly didn’t care. He didn’t care what any guy decided to do with his dick as long as it was never near his wife. But he also knew he had to keep Axel’s secret. As leader, he had final say as to who could be in the gang. Still, he knew not everyone would be tolerant of Axel’s lifestyle. It was just easier to let it stay a secret. And besides, he was certain nobody suspected a thing.

“I don’t dance, Kit.” Grizz said now, shaking his head.

“But I want to go dancing for my birthday.” She folded her arms and gave him an accusing look. “You asked!”

He shook his head slightly and looked at her. “Can’t I just buy you another car?”

 

Haven’t read this series yet, check out Nine Minutes for

ONLY $2.99!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1U14Nwj

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1BCH3cV

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1KXRtHk

 

 

About the Author:

Beth Flynn is a fiction writer who lives and works in Sapphire, North Carolina, deep within the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Beth and her husband, Jim, have spent the last 17 years in Sapphire, where they own a construction company. They have been married 31 years and have two daughters and two dogs. In her spare time, Beth enjoys writing, reading, gardening, church and motorcycles, especially taking rides on the back of her husband’s Harley. She is a five-year breast cancer survivor.

 

STALK HER:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

GIVEAWAY

 

Share Link:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MDk5NjRmMDM5ZDM4YTBjYWM0YzAyYzM0NGI2ODRhOjcxNg==/?

Fangirl

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

6 stars! No, 10 stars!

“I don’t trust anybody. Not anybody. And the more that I care about someone, the more sure I am they’re going to get tired of me and take off.”

You know when you find a book that just clicks with every part of you? That one special book that feels like coming home? That’s what Fangirl is to me. A second home between a bunch of pages. I first read this book when it came out and I adored it. But as time went by I found myself sneaking short little rereads of my favorite scenes; reading them between books and reading them when I was supposed to be reading something else. I even have three copies. Three. An ebook, the original hardcover, and now the B&N Special Edition. Honestly, with this full reread, Fangirl is up there among my all time favorite books. And it’s up there with Harry Potter.

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^^^Fan art on the inside cover of the special edition. I love it!

For some reason, Cather and her character really resonate with me. She’s extremely relatable to me. No I’m not a twin. No I don’t write/read fanfiction (except for that phase when I was 13 with the Buffy fanfiction but let’s not go there). I don’t have an absentee mother. And I don’t live in the midwest. But much of what Cather feels throughout this book is what I have felt many times before. That lost feeling when you start college with no friends. Navigating a new world like swimming for the first time without floaties.

“In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can’t Google.)”

I’m getting ahead of myself. If you are not familiar with the plot this book is about college freshman Cather who starts at her school basically being ditched by her twin sister Wren who is going through some kind of identity crisis. Left with no friends, Cath writes Simon Snow fanfiction. Which is kind of like this world’s Harry Potter. With Harry and Malfoy (Simon and Baz) as gay lovers (in Cath’s stories anyway). Cath’s roommate is incredibly intimidating and always brings around her guy friend Levi, the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.

“Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision.”

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I love practically everything about this book. The humor and the wit in the dialogue are just spot on.

“I feel sorry for you, and I’m going to be your friend.”
“I don’t want to be your friend,” Cath said as sternly as she could. “I like that we’re not friends.”
“Me, too. I’m sorry you ruined it by being so pathetic.”

“Are you on drugs?”
“No.”
“Maybe you should be.…”

But there’s also a great balance of seriousness in the book as well. Cather’s struggles with writing things other than fanfiction. Her father and his mental breakdowns. Rainbow Rowell did an absolutely perfect job blending the humor and the real together.

Now to the big one. Levi.
Whenever I think of Levi, I think of this:
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Friends, I NEVER thought after all of my alpha male romance reads that I would fall head over heels for the NICE guy. Seriously, Levi is one of the best book boyfriends out there in the verse. He’s unique; he loves all people, smiles all the time, lanky, positive attitude and more. I just wish Rowell would stop referencing his receding hairline. It does not make for a great mental picture lol.

“I really like you. Like, really like you. And I want that kiss to have been the start of something. Not the end.”

I love that there is no over the top drama or mind melting angst in this book. Just a wonderful, captivating story with characters so real you wish they really were real just so you could meet them. Rainbow Rowell is just absolutely astounding as a writer. I love her writing style and her voice. It honestly is what makes this book so so special.

“Just… isn’t giving up allowed sometimes? Isn’t it okay to say, ‘This really hurts, so I’m going to stop trying’?”
“It sets a dangerous precedent.”
“For avoiding pain?”
“For avoiding life.”

Hopefully I haven’t overhyped this book for anyone out there. I can only hope that my review convinced you to read this, and that you connect with it just as much as I did.

The Fill-In Boyfriend

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

3.75 super cute stars!!

“Chin up. There are other fish in the sea. It’s a big ocean. Sometimes we need to catch and release a few before we find the keeper.”

First off I mostly read this book because of Chelsea’s review so if you are on the fence about reading this, her review will convince ya.

On prom night Gia is dumped by her boyfriend. In the parking lot beforehand. Faced with telling her friends that he isn’t there, when they already don’t believe Bradley exists having never seen nor met him before. Gia finds a guy in the parking lot and begs him to pretend to be Bradley. He agrees and helps her out, before not telling her his name and disappearing.

But now Gia can’t get Fill-in-Bradley out of her head, and her one connection to him is not thrilled to help out. On top of this, Gia seems to be going through a self realization, and she might not like the person she’s become.

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“We rarely find a depth by looking inside of ourselves for it. Depth is found in what we can learn from the people and things around us. Everyone, everything, has a story, Gia. When you learn those stories, you learn experiences that fill you up, that expand your understanding. You add layers to your soul.”

Kasie West is like Sarah Dessen and Simone Elkeles mashed together, but better. There’s just something about her young adult books that are so much fun and the perfect escape. West adds a level of depth that is missing from most contemporary teen novels. Yes this book was a romance, but it was more. It was a journey of self-discovery. It was a girl discovering that because her parents never held her accountable for her actions, she became a shallow selfish person. It also portrayed what a majority of high school friends are, someone you are friends with out of circumstantial necessity.

Fill-in-Bradley was such a great guy, you really felt for him and his situation with his horrid ex and terrible friends. The friendship and relationship built between FIB and Gia was cute and adorable with a little bit of angst thrown in. The only thing I really didn’t like about this book was the resolution, it felt unresolved.

Highly recommend if you like YA sweet reads. Sweet isn’t normally my thing, so I’m glad I took a chance.

“Hayden?”
“Yes,Gia?”
“Nothing I just wanted to say your name.”

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Out of Time Release Blitz

out of time it's live (1)

 

OUT OF TIME is the HIGHLY ANTICIPATED sequel to NINE MINUTES where Grizz, Kit & Grunt’s gritty tale continues!  You aren’t going to want to miss this!

out of time

NOW AVAILABLE

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1CQRoCD

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1TRNLAx

 

Blurb

RECOMMENDED FOR READERS 18 AND OLDER DUE TO

STRONG LANGUAGE, SEXUAL SITUATIONS AND VIOLENCE

Out of Time is book two in a series. It is not a standalone novel. I highly recommend that you read my first novel, Nine Minutes, to be able to understand the background stories of the main characters. There are many twists and turns in both stories that can best be connected if read consecutively.

Although I do answer all of the outstanding questions from Nine Minutes, there is more to this story, and some readers may consider it a cliffhanger. If you do not like cliffhangers, you may want to wait until the third novel is released in 2016.

They thought with his execution it would all be over.

They were wrong.

The leader of one of South Florida’s most notorious and brutal motorcycle gangs has been put to death by lethal injection. Days later, his family and friends should have been picking up the pieces, moving on. Instead, they’ve been catapulted into a world so twisted and dangerous even the most ruthless among them would be stunned to discover the tangled web of deception, not only on the dangerous streets of South Florida but all the way to the top.

In this gripping follow-up novel to Nine Minutes, Out of Time takes readers from the sun-drenched flatlands of 1950s Central Florida to the vivid tropical heat of Fort Lauderdale to the halls of Florida’s Death Row as we finally learn the gritty backstory of Jason “Grizz” Talbot and the secret he spent his life trying to conceal.

Not even Grizz’s inner circle knows his full story—the tragedy that enveloped his early life, the surprise discovery that made him the government’s most wanted and most feared, and the depths of his love for Ginny, the tenderhearted innocent he’d once abducted and later made his wife.

Once Grizz’s obsession and now the mother of his child, Ginny has spent years grieving the man she’d first resisted and then came to love. Now remarried to Tommy, a former member of the gang, the pair have spent more than a decade trying desperately to live a normal existence far from the violent, crime-ridden world they’d once carved out on the edge of the Florida Everglades. For Tommy, especially, the stakes are high. Desperately in love with Ginny for years, he’s finally living his dream: married to the woman he never thought he could have. But even with the façade of normalcy—thriving careers, two beautiful children, and a genuinely happy and loving marriage—they can’t seem to put the past behind them. Every time they turn around, another secret is revealed, unraveling the very bonds that hold them together.

And with Grizz finally put to death, now Ginny has learned secrets so dark, so evil she’s not even sure she can go on.

Will these secrets tear their love to pieces? And how far will Grizz go to protect what he still considers his, even from beyond the grave?

Young couple makes love to the wall

Young couple makes love to the wall

 

Haven’t read this series yet, check out Nine Minutes for

ONLY $1.99!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1Gerd3c

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1BCH3cV

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1KXRtHk

beth flynn bio

 

About the Author:

Beth Flynn is a fiction writer who lives and works in Sapphire, North Carolina, deep within the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Beth and her husband, Jim, have spent the last 17 years in Sapphire, where they own a construction company. They have been married 31 years and have two daughters and two dogs. In her spare time, Beth enjoys writing, reading, gardening, church and motorcycles, especially taking rides on the back of her husband’s Harley. She is a five-year breast cancer survivor.

 

STALK HER:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

THANK YOU!

Searching for Beautiful

Searching for Beautiful (Searching For…#3) by Jennifer Probst

4 stars!

“Beautiful. I’m searching for something beautiful out there.”

For those of you who have read the Marriage to a Billionaire series, it’s pretty much one of the ultimate guilty pleasure series. The first 3 books were pure escapism and the 4th brought a little more to the table. In the 4th book we are introduced to Wolfe, a troubled and tormented young teen who defies authority and pushes people away. By the end of the 4th book, he has found parents in Sawyer and Julietta and moves to New York to pursue his career.

Throughout the Searching For… series, we hear about the friendship of Wolfe and Gen through other characters. In the first two books through side plot we discover Gen has met and is dating a doctor, her boss and is slowly pushing Wolfe away the more serious she becomes with her new man.

We begin Searching for Beautiful on the day of Gen’s wedding. A little voice in the back of her mind tells her to run, and she does. Gen climbs out a window and lands on her best friend Wolfe who had arrived late to the wedding. Together they run away from the wedding and Wolfe brings her to a summer cabin.

From here the line between best friends and attraction become blurry, but Wolfe’s past and Gen’s ex-fiance may come between the two.

“Sometimes the hardest, bravest thing in the world is to let someone love you.”

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“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”

This was probably my favorite book by Jennifer Probst so far. Her series is a great escape series, one that in real like would be kind of ridiculous but is fun to read. Wolfe is her best character, he’s complex, kind, closed off and loyal. I’m so glad that the author included flash backs to what he went through as a child so we understood his hardships from his point of view.

“If you love someone, you need to be honest. Brave. Tell them straight out and blow up the fucking rules. Because I’m starting to believe there shouldn’t be any rules when you love someone.”

I loved the development of Gen and Wolfe, two people who started out as friends, who trust each other, who love and respect each other for who they are. The two of them being together was so obvious to everyone but them you just kind of want to slap them in the face with reality.

Reading about Gen and her fiance scared the living shit out of me. He’s the man who is verbally abusive but twists it around in such a way that no one would believe you. This type of person isterrifying to me. My criticism of his character and his role would be that the author built up so much to his horrid ways and it never had a climax, he just sort of faded away.

This was also a huge book, almost 500 pages!!!! It honestly felt like 2 different books in one. Slice it halfway through and you have a first book and its sequel.

My one major, major criticism. There were parts of this book that reminded me of Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young. Obviously the books have differences, I’m not saying it’s all the same. BUT, there was a scene near the end that was so eerily similar to BJL that I almost wanted to compare the dialogue line by line.

So despite the above, I really did enjoy this book. Wolfe’s book was done well and I love that man. I recommend reading the Marriage to a Millionaire series and the first two books in this series first to understand the dynamics between all of the characters, but technically you can read as a standalone (but I do not recommend doing that).

“I’ll always love you as a friend. But it’s more now. I love you as a man. My lover. As my partner.”

First Grave on the Right

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1) by Darynda Jones

3 stars!

“Never knock on death’s door. Ring the doorbell then run. He totally hates that.
– T-shirt”

This is where I use this review to rant a bit. 3 stars is NOT A BAD RATING!! I enjoyed reading this so even if you mean well, please do not say sorry or better luck next time . Remember a 3 star rating according to Goodreads means I liked it . 4 stars is for REALLY liked and 5 is for LOVED.

Back to the real part of the review.

Charley Davidson can see dead people. Technically she’s a grim reaper and helps souls cross when they die on earth. Charley spends her time as a private investigator and also helps the police on the side. Her Uncle is a cop and knows about her abilities, so he often uses her to help solve difficult cases. When three lawyers turn up as ghosts, Charley discovers they were all killed at the same time in order to keep an innocent man in prison. On top of all of this, a sexy ghost thing named Reyes shows up in Charley’s sleep and does some crazy hot things to her.

“That took balls.”
“Please,” I said with a snort, “that took ovaries. Of which I have two.”

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The best part of this book was the snark. I loved the author’s snark and Charley’s snark. When covering a topic as morbid as death it’s important to include the right balance of humor in order to make it not depressing. I especially found some of the stalker ghosts to be funny like the little blond girl.

I found it interesting that for such a central character the reader never spent a lot of face time with Reyes. He was talked about so much it would have been nice to actually here from him rather than about him. I think that may change in the next installments (at least I hope so).

“If I couldn’t be a good example, I’d just have to be a horrible warning.”

So why not a 4 or 5? Honestly, when I put this book down, I wasn’t eager to pick it back up. The mystery plot was all over the place and the plot lines seriously had some ADD going on. It became a little confusing the constant switch of what case Charley was working on. For lack of a better word, it didn’t feel like it was balanced very well.

So to reiterate, I enjoyed this book but didn’t love it. I’ve heard the series gets better as it goes on so I look forward to continuing it.

Out of Time Excerpt Reveal

out of time banner beth

 

Prologue

1950s, Central Florida

The slap was hard and almost knocked him to his knees. They wobbled for a split second, but he managed to regain his stance and glared hard at his father.

“Your mother said you missed the bus and had to hitchhike home.”

He tasted blood in his mouth where the slap had caused him to bite the inside of his cheek. He knew his next comment would bring another blow. He braced himself.

“Ida is not my mother.”

Another hard one, this time to the side of his head, which caused a ringing in his ear. This was nothing. He’d endured worse. He didn’t know why it bothered his father so much when he said this. Ida herself was the first to remind him that she wasn’t his mother.

“Don’t fuck with me, boy. Where were you?”

“It’s the last day of school. Some of us had to stay after to help the teachers clean out their classrooms.” This was a lie. He’d gotten in a fight that day. He’d snapped when a snooty rich kid made fun of him.

The kid was new and had only been enrolled for the last two weeks before school let out for the summer. He was too new to have been warned. The new kid had asked him in the boy’s room if he picked his clothes out of the garbage can that morning. He’d left the idiot dazed and bloody on the bathroom floor, then calmly washed his hands and went back to his classroom. He’d looked at the big clock over the blackboard. Less than fifteen minutes until summer started. Hopefully, his dad wouldn’t work him to death and he’d be able to keep an eye out for her. For Ruthie.

He’d been on the loaded school bus, ready to pull away, when the driver reached over and opened the door. The substitute principal stood at the front of the bus and quietly perused the group of kids. When he saw who he was looking for, he pointed and indicated with his finger. Follow.

Damn. He’d almost made it out of there.

They never discussed the alleged crime as they made their way back into the school and to the principal’s office. He simply bent over the desk and endured the paddling. It wasn’t so bad and didn’t even compare to the beatings he’d received from his father. Beatings that had left permanent scars on his back and other parts of his body. He may have been young, but he knew this fucker, a temporary replacement for the school’s regular principal who was out recovering from surgery, was enjoying this way too much. Would probably lock his office door and jerk off after sending him to find his own way home. Fucking pervert. The world was foul.

So, he’d hitchhiked and ended up walking the last seven miles to get home and now stood there, facing the wrath of his father. His stepmother stood off to the side leaning back against the kitchen counter, her arms crossed and a smug look on her face. A hot, stale breeze floated in from the window above the kitchen sink.

His stepmother. Ida. He’d hated her for as long as he could remember. He had no memory of his real mother. He was told she’d died in this house giving birth to him. It wasn’t really a house so much as a shack in the middle of nowhere. A two-bedroom hovel situated on several acres surrounded by orange groves as far as the eye could see. His father was a skilled carpenter by trade, but for reasons that made no sense to his son, he preferred this destitute existence. He could have made a decent living, could’ve lived in a home not so far from the modern world—as modern as you could get in the fifties. He chose instead to live in a dilapidated old house that had been passed down for generations. He never once used his carpentry skills to make it into a real home. He’d slap some tar on the roof if it leaked or replace a busted pipe, but other than some hodgepodge repairs, he never lifted a finger. It was crumbling around them.

Maybe it was because his father considered himself the king of his castle and he could hold reign over his unworthy subjects. Maybe the brutality he unleashed here made him feel an iota of power that he didn’t feel in the real world. Maybe knowing that he could provide a nice and safe environment, but purposely chose not to, was part of the psychotic seed that had been implanted in his personality. He wasn’t just a bad man. He was worse than that. He prided himself too much on withholding any good he could do for his family.

That made him pure evil in his son’s eyes.

Before she’d married, Ida had worked as a maid for a wealthy family in West Palm Beach. His father had met up with a couple of other laborers to make the long drive down to a mansion situated on the beach to spend a few days doing carpentry work and repairs. He returned with his three comrades and a glowing Ida, who had finally, finally snagged herself a man. She had become tired of being someone’s maid, and when a hardworking, widowed family man came along and showed a hint of interest, she jumped. Unfortunately for her, she jumped too quickly and without hesitation. She hadn’t realized then that she was jumping from the frying pan right into a fire that was even worse. Overnight, she went from being a lonely, overworked maid to a lonely, overworked, and abused housewife.

No, he had no good memories of Ida. Maybe she’d started out trying to do her best. To make their shack a home, to be a mother to her new husband’s young son. But if she had started out that way, he had no recollection of it. Maybe she wasn’t always the horrible person he knew. Maybe his father made her that way. It didn’t matter. He hated her no matter what. He hated her because he knew what she was doing to her own daughter. His half-sister, Ruthie.

Ruthie was a sweet and trusting child who’d captured his heart since the day she was born. She was a happy little girl who was always smiling in spite of the mistreatment her mother inflicted. He spent every second that he wasn’t at school or working caring for his little sister. He adored her and did everything he could to protect her from his parents, especially Ida. He made sure she ate when she was sent to bed without supper. He made sure she was bathed. He couldn’t do it every day, but he did it as often as he could manage. He erased evidence of her bathroom accidents, making sure to wash out her clothes in the creek and let them dry before returning them to her dresser. He wiped away her tears and kissed her boo-boos.

Unfortunately, there were too many even for him to kiss away.

Every night she’d say, “Brother, tell me a story. Tell me a happy story where things don’t hurt and everybody is nice.”

He would pull her close in the bed they’d shared ever since she was a baby and, ignoring the stench of their unwashed bodies, he would make up happy stories to tell her. Anything to make her forget, just for a little while. They would watch the stars from their bedroom window and sometimes he‘d even use them in his stories.

“See the brightest star, Ruthie?” he’d tell her as they gazed out their window. “That’s you. You’re the brightest, most beautiful star in the sky.”

“Where are you, Brother? Are you there, too?” she asked him once.

“I’ll always be the one that’s closest to you.”

He didn’t know if the stories he made up were happy ones. He didn’t know what happiness was himself, so how could he tell a four-year old? But he tried.

Once in a while, after he was certain his father and Ida were asleep, he’d go to the back screen door and let Razor in to sleep with them, too. Razor was a big black Rottweiler that had wandered up to their house one day and never left. His father refused to let the dog stay and insisted he didn’t need another mouth to feed, that he’d shoot the dog if it didn’t leave on its own. The dog was smart. Sensing the father’s animosity, it would come around only at night and wait for the handout left for him on the far side of the barn. His father finally relented; he decided maybe the dog wasn’t so bad after all when his barking woke them up one night to warn them that a wild animal was trying to get into the chicken coop. The hen’s squawking never reached their sleeping ears, but the stray dog’s barking and pawing at their back door did. His father let Razor stay, but he had to be kept outside.

Now, the beating done for the day, his father stared at him for a few seconds. Finally, he said, “Get your fucking chores started. Don’t come back in until they’re all finished. You don’t get done before supper and you don’t eat.”

The boy didn’t need to glance at his stepmother to know she would purposely serve a very early supper that day. He headed out the back screen door and let it slam behind him.

“C’mon, Razor,” he said as he headed for the ramshackle barn.

It was dark outside when he finally finished his chores. He found some food he’d stashed in the barn and silently ate, sharing half with his dog. After washing up in the rain barrel, he headed into the house and crawled into bed with Ruthie, pulling her close. She moaned.

“Brother is here, Ruthie. Do you want a story?” He was exhausted, but couldn’t fall asleep thinking he would let her down without a story.

“My stomach hurts,” she whispered.

“Do you need me to take you to the bathroom?” he whispered back.

“No. It’s not that kind of hurt.”

“What kind of hurt is it? Are you hungry?

“Mommy stepped on it.”

He stiffened, then squeezed his eyes shut. He was glad she didn’t want a happy story tonight because the only one he could think of was one where he strangled Ida with his bare hands.

 

The next day, he was walking back from the groves carrying the three squirrels he’d killed with his slingshot. Ida could make a decent stew out of these. He’d watched Ruthie that morning at the table as she slowly ate her breakfast. She seemed okay, and he’d left to hunt before she finished. He shouldered the squirrels and imagined the look on Ruthie’s face when she saw what he’d caught.

That’s when he heard it. A shotgun blast coming from the direction of the house.

He’d heard the shotgun before, when his father caught rare sight of a deer or other animal that was either a predator or something that would end up on their dinner table. But his gut told him this was different.

He broke into a full run, then came upon a scene that brought him up short. He tensed as his mind started to grasp what had happened.

There, right beside the clothesline. His father holding the shotgun. Ida cradling a bleeding arm. Razor on his side and lying in a puddle of blood.

And Ruthie, on the ground and flat on her back, her arms at her sides. Ruthie.

He broke into another run.

“Your fucking dog was attacking your sister, and when Ida tried to stop him, he went after her, too,” his father said coldly, a finger still resting on the trigger. “I had to kill him.”

Razor attacked Ruthie and then Ida for trying to stop him? Impossible. Razor would never hurt Ruthie.

Ida held her arm up for him to see. She didn’t have to. He had already seen it and there was no doubt it was a bite from Razor. More like a mauling. Like he’d grabbed on and was wrestling with her.

He dropped his dead squirrels and knelt at Ruthie’s side. And then he knew for certain the concocted story wasn’t true. His sister was lying on her back, her eyes closed. Soft blonde curls framed her face. She looked more peaceful and beautiful than he had ever seen her. A tiny smile curved her sweet, innocent mouth.

Of course she was smiling. She had just escaped from hell.

He knew she was dead. He also saw nothing on her body that indicated Razor had attacked her.

They were lying. But he’d already known that.

He couldn’t stop himself. The words were out of his mouth before he could think.

“Doesn’t look like Razor attacked Ruthie. No bites or anything. Just Ida’s bruises.”

The blow was hard, but not unexpected.

“Get the shovel,” his father ordered. “Pick a place way out past the house and bury your sister. Don’t care what you do with your dog. You can drag its lousy ass out to the groves if you want and give the vultures some supper.” Scooping up the three squirrels that had been dropped, he grabbed his wife by the uninjured arm. “You ain’t hurt so bad you can’t make supper.”

As he headed back to the house with Ida and the dead squirrels, he yelled over his shoulder, “And when you’re done you get your sorry ass back here and put out the rat poison like you were supposed to do yesterday.”

He stared after them as they made their way back to the house and tried to imagine a world without Ruthie.

A world without light.

 

Two weeks later, he was sitting in the passenger seat of a strange man’s car. The man had introduced himself when he picked up the young hitchhiker, and he didn’t seem bothered by the fact that the boy just stared at him and refused to say anything. The boy now turned to gaze out the car window as he reflected on what he’d done.

He’d buried his sister like his father had told him to, taken his shirt off and covered her body with it before retrieving a shovel and heading way out on their property where he dug one large grave.

Leaving the shovel at the gravesite, he’d headed back to the house. He went into the barn and retrieved the rat poison, shoved it down into his pants.

He’d gone into the house, noticed that Ida had cleaned up and was working on their squirrel stew. He could tell by her movements she was in a lot of pain. Razor had done a decent job of tearing up her arm. She probably needed to go to the hospital, but his father would never take her, nor would he allow her the use of their one vehicle. It wasn’t at the house anyway. He must’ve gone somewhere.

It was obvious what had happened. Ida had been giving Ruthie another beating and Razor had stopped her. Unfortunately, Razor hadn’t stopped her in time.

The boy had no way of knowing that Ruthie had been slowly dying of internal injuries sustained from her mother’s brutal beatings, culminating in the final stomp to her tiny stomach the day before. He was certain Ida had always inflicted her brutality on Ruthie inside the house, where Razor wasn’t allowed. That day must’ve been different. She was probably dragging a crying Ruthie out to the yard to help her with some chore and started whaling on her when the little girl wouldn’t, or most likely couldn’t, do as she was told. There was no doubt Razor had been trying to defend Ruthie by grabbing Ida by the right arm. Ida was right-handed.

Leaning back from her spot at the stove, Ida looked out the back window and spied the little girl’s body in the yard. She gave her stepson a level look. “You’re not finished. What are you doing in here?”

Her voice was steady and without emotion. She could’ve been asking him if he’d fed the chickens or painted the fence. It revolted him to think that this was how she thought of her daughter’s burial: a chore. She was more of a monster than his own father. She had given birth to Ruthie. She had shared the same body with her only child for nine months. He didn’t know anything about mothering, but even he could see how there could be, should be, a special bond between a mother and her child.

Without looking at her he answered. “Hole’s dug. Came back in for something to wrap her in. Was gonna take my bed sheet.”

They’d always shared a bed and it had only ever known one sheet. He would use it to wrap Ruthie’s tiny body.

He didn’t know what caused Ida to say the next thing. She countered with an offer that surprised him but also provided him with an opportunity.

“I have something you can use. Got it as a going away gift from where I used to work.”

She took the big spoon she had been stirring with, tapped the side of the pot and laid it down. Cradling her sore arm against her chest, she headed back toward the bedroom she shared with her husband. He knew her arm was hurting, knew it would take a few minutes to dig out whatever it was that she was going to get. He could hear her clumsily rustling around for something.

He seized the chance to retrieve the poison from his pants and dump the entire contents of the container in the stew. He hastily stirred it, grateful that it seemed to quickly dissolve, and returned the spoon back to its place. He was standing by the back door when she returned with a blue piece of fabric draped over her good arm. He realized that it was a bathrobe of some type. It was thin and he didn’t need to be educated to know that it was high-quality and expensive. Going away gift my ass, he frowned. She stole this. She held it out to him while avoiding his penetrating green eyes. They’d always unnerved her, at least that’s what he’d heard her tell his father, and for a split second she seemed to hesitate, to waver.

She must have regained her bravado and, without waiting for him to take the robe, snapped, “Wrap her in this.” She tossed it at him and headed back over to the stove to stir her stew.

At the freshly dug grave, he gently cloaked Ruthie’s little body in his own shirt. “Brother is always with you, Ruthie,” he said quietly. He then wrapped Razor in Ida’s expensive bathrobe and snorted to himself as it occurred to him that even his dog was too good for Ida’s supposed going away gift. He gently laid his little sister in the very deep hole and placed Razor next to her.

“You were a good boy, Razor. You did the right thing trying to protect her. Now you can always protect her.”

He knew he wasn’t going to mark her grave for anyone to know where she was. Only him. He knew nobody would be looking anyway. It wasn’t like she was going to be missed. Like him, she hadn’t been born in a hospital. He doubted she even had a birth certificate. He wasn’t sure if he had one himself, though he guessed there was one somewhere, since he’d been enrolled in school. Do you need a birth certificate to go to school, he wondered? He didn’t know.

He stood over his sister’s grave and stared at the freshly compacted earth. It was missing something. He wandered off and soon came back with an oversized rock. The stone was heavy, massive really, and he had exerted an enormous amount of energy to carry it to her gravesite. He dropped it with a thud. He had chosen it because of its size and unique shape. He would remember it.

Falling to his knees, he began to weep. He never remembered crying even once in his life. Not even as a child, enduring horrific abuse that was tantamount to torture. He couldn’t comment on why his father hated him. He couldn’t figure why his stepmother hated Ruthie. He didn’t want to think about them, anyway. After he was finished, he’d never think of them again.

A low wail that didn’t sound human began to build, a cry that came straight from the pit of his empty stomach and found its way up his chest, through his throat and out his mouth, taking his soul and any semblance of light with it. The light that had been Ruthie.

He wasn’t sure how long he’d knelt sobbing at Ruthie and Razor’s grave. His eyes stung and he had a combination of dry and wet snot all over his bare arms as he tried to swipe away the grief. His sore back eventually brought him out of his mourning, the pulse of the sun reminding him of the lashes his father had inflicted a few nights earlier. He was physically and mentally exhausted, but his job wasn’t finished yet.

He was worn out, but somehow he gathered the strength he needed and headed out further to an even more remote location.

He had one more grave to dig.

He would bury them together, not for the same reason that he buried Ruthie and Razor together: to offer protection and comfort to one another. No, he dug one mass grave because they deserved to be dumped like garbage.

And that was exactly what he was going to do.

 

“Kid? Kid, you need anything or have to use the bathroom?”

He’d fallen asleep and jumped when he was touched. It took him a split second to remember where he was. A car, now parked. The man who’d picked him up was looking at him, waiting.

The man nodded out the window. “I’m getting gas. You need to use the john or something?”

“Where are we?”

“Fort Lauderdale. Getting some gas and heading to Miami.”

He nodded his head, starting to sit up. He was sore. The last few days had taken a toll on him physically and he was feeling it.

“Yeah, I gotta go.”

He went around the side of the little gas station and let himself into the restroom. It smelled like crap but was surprisingly clean. His mind wandered as he relieved himself, memories rolling over him.

He’d returned to the house that night to find his father and Ida sitting at the dinner table eating stew. He reached up on the shelf and took down an old jelly jar, using the kitchen tap to fill it up. Leaning back against the counter, he drank his water as he watched them eat their dinner. Nobody bothered to offer him any. That was okay. He would’ve refused it anyway.

“Tastes like shit! How the fuck can you mess up squirrel stew?” When Ida didn’t answer, his father backhanded her across the face.

Taking his glass of water, he’d gone to his bedroom and shut the door behind him. He laid down on the bed that he’d shared with Ruthie, hugged the only pillow close to his chest, and fell immediately into a dead sleep.

He was awakened that night to the sound of violent vomiting and retching. The next couple of days were a blur as he tried to pretend to help his extremely sick parents. Keeping buckets by their bedside, bringing them liquids to drink. Liquids he had continued lacing with more poison from the barn.

He remembered the instant his father realized what was happening. He was trying to get out of his bed, insisting that his young son take him and his wife to the hospital. The boy wasn’t old enough to have a license, but he knew how to drive. He’d let his son drive their beat-up old station wagon to haul things around the property.

“You’re gonna drive us to the hospital, boy,” he said, voice laced with pain.

“No, I’m not.” He just looked at them, a small smile on his lips. “I’m going to watch you both die a slow and painful death. I’m kind of glad you never bought us a TV. This will definitely be much more entertaining.”

Bloodshot and pain-filled brown eyes met hard green ones as realization dawned. His father glanced around his bedroom and noticed his shotgun was not in the corner. It was gone. Even if it had been there, he wouldn’t have had the strength to get up and get it.

His father fell back onto the bed and turned to look at his wife. She was curled up with her arms wrapped around her knees, which were pulled up to her chest. She had heard the conversation and opened her eyes long enough to say to her husband, “We both deserve this.”

His father rolled onto his back and looked at his son, who stood at the foot of the bed, arms crossed, green eyes cold and staring.

“Shoulda known you were the devil’s seed.” Without waiting for the boy to comment, he added, “I loved your momma and thought I did the right thing by marrying her when she was pregnant by another man. Shoulda known you were evil when you killed your own mother, you no good piece of shit.”

Finally, an answer. Although it didn’t matter now. The man who’d raised him wasn’t his father. The man who’d raised him resented him for taking his mother’s life in childbirth. Another man’s bastard had killed the woman he loved and he was going to make that child pay. Had been making that child pay ever since.

In a way, he could kind of understand that. He almost allowed a stab of conscience in, telling him he should take them to the hospital. Maybe it wasn’t too late.

But then he remembered Ruthie. There was no excuse for what had happened to Ruthie. No excuse at all.

He stared coldly at the man he’d thought was his father. “I’m just sorry I didn’t do this before you let her kill Ruthie.”

Then he went to the kitchen and made himself something to eat.

After they were dead, he loaded them both in the back of the family car and drove them out to the second grave. He dumped their bodies with as much care as he’d show a pile of old chicken bones and flung the dirt back in. He hurled the shovel in the back of the station wagon and drove back to the house.

He wanted to draw as little attention to the shack as possible. He would not burn it down, but he would give careful thought as to what it should look like if a family just up and left, taking only things they could load in their one car. He went to work, packing up what few pictures they had, their personal papers and clothes. He sneered when he saw a picture of his father as a boy. He looked like a miserable piece of shit even back then. He tossed it in with the other things. He never came across a single picture of himself or his mother.

He carelessly threw everything he could into the old car, barely leaving room for himself to fit into the driver’s seat. He went into his bedroom and retrieved the brown bag that held the few things he’d set aside to take with him. It contained some clothes, along with thirty dollars and twenty-six cents that he’d scavenged from his father’s wallet and Ida’s money cup, which he’d found hidden behind some dishes in the kitchen. He reached into his pocket, retrieving something he hadn’t known existed until he’d started cleaning out their personal items. It was a picture of Ruthie and Razor. It had obviously been taken at their house, but he didn’t know when or by whom. He never found existence of a camera when he was going through their belongings. He had no way of knowing where the picture came from and he didn’t have time to ponder it.

He looked at it again. Ruthie was sitting down in the grass and looking up and smiling. She was leaning against Razor, who had himself wrapped around her like a cocoon. Her knees were pulled up to her chest and she had her arms wrapped tightly around them. Her blonde curls were shorter then. The two of them looked happy. Like they had been romping in the tall grass and had taken a break to pose. He knew neither Ida nor his father had taken the picture. If that had been the case, he was certain his baby sister wouldn’t have been smiling. He carefully returned it to his back pocket and continued his cleanup.

Hours later he stood in the middle of the little house, surveying it. He wasn’t certain, but he was pretty confident he’d loaded up the important stuff. It was the fourth of the month. The electric and water bills wouldn’t need to get paid again until the thirtieth. School was out, so he wouldn’t be missed until September. And even then, he was doubtful anybody would care. His father wasn’t regularly employed, so he wouldn’t be missed, either. They had no phone to worry about.

Yes, it looked like the family that lived here decided to move with their most personal possessions. The small amount of mail they got could stack up for months in their little slot at the post office. Nobody would notice. And by the time they did, it wouldn’t matter. He’d be long gone.

He headed out to the chicken coop to set them free when he noticed laundry on the clothesline. He would grab those clothes and toss them in the car before leaving. After retrieving his brown bag and canteen, he carefully drove the family’s car to the nearest, deepest canal he knew. It was off the beaten path and he didn’t have to pass any houses or civilization to get there. It would be a long, hot walk to hitch a ride somewhere, but he only had a brown bag to carry and his canteen, which he’d filled with water.

Now, in the gas station restroom, he splashed cold water on his face and dried off. He reached into his back pocket before leaving the restroom and took out the picture of Ruthie and Razor. He would never hold her again. He would never hear her voice asking for a story. He would never wrap his arms around Razor’s neck and nuzzle his short fur. He swiped away the tears that had started forming in his eyes and returned the picture to his back pocket.

He’d taken a vow that day at Ruthie’s grave. No more crying. Ever.

He was starting to get hungry and decided to go back to the car to get some money. He would see what the gas station had in the way of food. Hopefully, they had some candy bars and soda pop. He’d tasted soda only once and was looking forward to the sugary drink.

He made his way around the side of the gas station and stopped dead in his tracks. The car he had been riding in was gone. He blinked to see if his eyes were playing tricks on him. They weren’t. That son-of-a-bitch drove off with his brown bag that contained his few items of clothing and all of his money. He had left his canteen on the front seat. Even that was gone.

The world was rotten and so was everybody in it.

 

out of time coming soon

OUT OF TIME is the HIGHLY ANTICIPATED sequel to NINE MINUTES where Grizz, Kit and Grunt’s gritty tale continues on July 23rd!

Add this gritty MC romance to your TBR HERE: http://bit.ly/1fxKd80
out of time

Blurb

RECOMMENDED FOR READERS 18 AND OLDER DUE TO

STRONG LANGUAGE, SEXUAL SITUATIONS AND VIOLENCE

Out of Time is book two in a series. It is not a standalone novel. I highly recommend that you read my first novel, Nine Minutes, to be able to understand the background stories of the main characters. There are many twists and turns in both stories that can best be connected if read consecutively.

Although I do answer all of the outstanding questions from Nine Minutes, there is more to this story, and some readers may consider it a cliffhanger. If you do not like cliffhangers, you may want to wait until the third novel is released in 2016.

They thought with his execution it would all be over.

They were wrong.

The leader of one of South Florida’s most notorious and brutal motorcycle gangs has been put to death by lethal injection. Days later, his family and friends should have been picking up the pieces, moving on. Instead, they’ve been catapulted into a world so twisted and dangerous even the most ruthless among them would be stunned to discover the tangled web of deception, not only on the dangerous streets of South Florida but all the way to the top.

In this gripping follow-up novel to Nine Minutes, Out of Time takes readers from the sun-drenched flatlands of 1950s Central Florida to the vivid tropical heat of Fort Lauderdale to the halls of Florida’s Death Row as we finally learn the gritty backstory of Jason “Grizz” Talbot and the secret he spent his life trying to conceal.

Not even Grizz’s inner circle knows his full story—the tragedy that enveloped his early life, the surprise discovery that made him the government’s most wanted and most feared, and the depths of his love for Ginny, the tenderhearted innocent he’d once abducted and later made his wife.

Once Grizz’s obsession and now the mother of his child, Ginny has spent years grieving the man she’d first resisted and then came to love. Now remarried to Tommy, a former member of the gang, the pair have spent more than a decade trying desperately to live a normal existence far from the violent, crime-ridden world they’d once carved out on the edge of the Florida Everglades. For Tommy, especially, the stakes are high. Desperately in love with Ginny for years, he’s finally living his dream: married to the woman he never thought he could have. But even with the façade of normalcy—thriving careers, two beautiful children, and a genuinely happy and loving marriage—they can’t seem to put the past behind them. Every time they turn around, another secret is revealed, unraveling the very bonds that hold them together.

And with Grizz finally put to death, now Ginny has learned secrets so dark, so evil she’s not even sure she can go on.

Will these secrets tear their love to pieces? And how far will Grizz go to protect what he still considers his, even from beyond the grave?

 

out of time teaser 1

Haven’t read this series yet, check out Nine Minutes for

ONLY $1.99!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1Gerd3c

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beth flynn bio

About the Author:

Beth Flynn is a fiction writer who lives and works in Sapphire, North Carolina, deep within the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Beth and her husband, Jim, have spent the last 17 years in Sapphire, where they own a construction company. They have been married 31 years and have two daughters and two dogs. In her spare time, Beth enjoys writing, reading, gardening, church and motorcycles, especially taking rides on the back of her husband’s Harley. She is a five-year breast cancer survivor.

STALK HER:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Maybe in Another Life

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

4 stars!

“There is a larger plan out there. Everything happens for a reason. Isn’t that what they say?”

Rating this book was tough for me. I devoured it entirely in one sitting and I absolutely love the way this author writes, but that ending man. There’s a few things I cannot get past.

Last year I read this author’s marvelous book After I Do and fell in love with it. It was a top book of 2014 for me I (so if you haven’t read it, please go do so right this minute). So when a friend told me that this book was up on Netgalley I HAD to grab it. And I’m so glad I did.

After traveling constantly the past decade or so, Hannah Martin has finally returned to her home town of Los Angeles after a disastrous attempt at living in New York. She moves in with her best friend Gabby, who takes her out to celebrate at a bar where she meets her ex-boyfriend Ethan. When Hannah goes to leave for the night she has an offer from Gabby and Ethan for a ride home. Here the story splits into two versions: one in which she leaves with Gabby, the other in which she leaves with Ethan. Both choices have the power to shape her life differently, bringing into question our fate.

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“As long as you’re happy and you’re doing something good with your life, it really doesn’t matter whether you went out and found the perfect thing or you chose what you knew you could make work for you.”

One thing I find extremely special about Taylor Jenkins Reid is she makes the reader think. What if? And while that question has been present in both books I’ve read by her, it is the central theme of this book. This isn’t your typical romance novel for more than the obvious reasons, but because it makes the reader think about more than one outcome for the characters in the book. And the author made it difficult to interpret what the “right” decision was. (Brave Ms. Reid, bravo).

As I mentioned before I could not put this book down. I was enthralled from page one and kept reading until the final one. I will say I have a giant craving for cinnamon buns now and will promptly buy one as soon as I can. And I’m not the biggest fan of that type of pastry.

The idea of the parallel universes made by our choices is fascinating. I’m going to digress here, but there was a television show on the Disney channel I watched as a kid called So Weird, and in an episode one of the character went through the same dilemma, although her alternate self was evil or something dramatic. There are so many possibilities to work with when one includes the parallel universe. But what was most interesting to me as a reader, was to see what remained the same. The things in life that are a constant like unconditional love, determination, finding one’s own place or calling in life. Life may be about choices, but it’s also about the things and people in life you can depend on.

I will say the end of this book left me with an overwhelming feeling of sadness. I’m not saying there isn’t an HEA, but with the parallel universes come the choices never made or the missed opportunities. I really enjoyed this book. It’s not a typical romance but it’s a story that you’ll be thinking about days and weeks after you’ve read it.

“If there are an infinite number of universes, I don’t know how I got so lucky to end up in this one. Maybe there are other lives out there, but I can’t imagine being as happy in any of them as I am right now, today. I have to think that while I may exist in other universes, none is as good as this.”

ARC provided by Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

An Ice Cold Grave

An Ice Cold Grave (Harper Connelly #3) by Charlaine Harris

4 stars!

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This was the best book in the series so far! Harper Connelly was struck by lightning when she was fifteen. Since then she has been able to locate dead bodies and determine their cause of death. Harper and her step-brother Tolliver travel the US using her ability to make a living. Harper and Tolliver are brought to North Carolina on their most recent job in an effort to locate missing teenage boys. Not only does Harper locate their bodies, but it turns out there is a serial killer in this small town and he’s not happy that Harper has ruined his fun.

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An Ice Cold Grave was the best book in the series by far. I felt the mystery was way more interesting in this book and the way it unraveled had a nice flow, compared to the first two novels where it was very all of the sudden. The murders were much more gruesome than previous novels, which was a bit surprising.

But my favorite part was watching Harper and Tolliver FINALLY reveal their attraction to each other. It’s not gross to me because they’re not related, and they know each other better than anyone else. It made sense. Plus it was a bonus knowing Tolliver had been way more aware of it than Harper had. He was just waiting for her to realize it, too.

So if you like paranormal mystery with some romance thrown in, this is the series for you. I’m going to hold off on reading the next book as I don’t want this series to end!!!

Grave Surprise

Grave Surprise (Harper Connelly #2) by Charlaine Harris

3.5 stars!

“I love the South, don’t get me wrong; but it does lag behind the times in social developments.”

The second book in a series of four, you must read Grave Sightbefore reading this book. Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver travel the US, using Harper’s ability to find dead bodies and to know how they died as a means of employment. This came about when Harper was struck by lightning when she was a teenager. Harper and Tolliver are called to Memphis for a grave reading in an old cemetery. While there Harper discovers the body of an eleven year old girl that she had searched for before.

Now the mystery begins as it was obvious someone put the body there for her to find, and instead of a random stranger having taken the girl, it’s someone close to home. Tied up in the case, Harper and Tolliver are stuck in Memphis and are further entwined in the case when another body shows up in the same grave, someone they know.

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I’m going to say this in the nicest way possible, while I like these books and they’re a wonderful urban fantasy guilty pleasure, I think that Charlaine Harris isn’t a very good writer. I’m sorry! But the way she writes almost excludes feelings, skipping around settings in a sentence where I have to go back and reread them because I missed it it was so quick. In fact, a ghost showed up and I had no clue he was a ghost until she explicitly said so four pages later! I guess what I’m trying to say is she isn’t always very clear with her writing.

“Nothing could stop tragedy from visiting your home. The angel of death would not pass over, leaving you unscathed, no matter how large your house was.”

Now here’s a small spoiler I’m not tagging: I went into this series knowing that a romantic relationship developed between Harper and her stepbrother Tolliver. And while it doesn’t bother me I could see how people would be a little creeped out by it, especially since they refer to each other as brother and sister in the books. But since I knew going in I felt it was fairly obvious what was developing since the beginning, and I’m not really creeped out by it because they aren’t blood related. It was interesting to see Harper’s revelation of her feelings in this book and I really want to see how she’ll handle it in the next book.

As for the mystery, it was slow and came together all too quickly at the end. As all of Ms. Harris’s books do. At this point I’m not reading for the mystery, I’m reading for the character development and the use of Harper’s abilities and how they affect her life. That’s the part I enjoy about these books.

So remember everyone, 3 stars means I liked it! Don’t pity the 3 star rating, I still very much enjoyed! I’ll continue the series as I am intrigued by these characters.

Grave Sight

Grave Sight (Harper Connelly #1) by Charlaine Harris

3.5 stars!

Ok, I’m going to be nice and round this up to 4 stars. My reasoning? I LOATHED, HATED Dead Until Dark by this author. I used to be Tru Blood obsessed (the television series) and the book series was a huge let down.

So when my manager/boss who doesn’t read PNR or urban fantasy very often told me that this was a guilty pleasure series, I HAD to read it. Plus this sounded like an adult version of the Meg Cabot (Jenny Carroll) series 1-800-WHERE-R-U, a series I grew up on and loved.

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When Harper Connelly was a teenager she was hit by lightning in a freak accident that should have left her dead. Instead, she is left with the ability to locate dead bodies and can see what happened to them when they die. Harper along with her stepbrother Tolliver, travel the country making a living locating bodies and determining how they died. Most people think she’s a quack or spawn of the devil but they keep coming to her for answers.

In a small town in Arkansas, Harper is asked to find the body of a teen girl suspected to have been abducted or killed after her boyfriend supposedly committed suicide. Through a series of events Harper and Tolliver become entwined in the investigation of the two deaths despite desperately wanting to leave town. As time goes by and things become more twisted Harper cannot help but become curious, and soon she is working on the case herself.

I really enjoyed reading this. It surprised me because I hadn’t liked this author’s previous work, but this series is strong on its own and honestly much better than the Sookie Stackhouse series. I would love to see this book made into a series or film. So for those of you who like murder mysteries with a little bit of a paranormal aspect, this book is for you. Just ignore that godawful cover.

Would You Rather [Book Tag]

Hello!

I was tagged by Feeding My Addiction to answer a few questions. Click on the link to see her answers!

The Questions

Would you rather only read trilogies or only read standalones?

Oh dear, I am going to go with trilogies/series because I always HAVE to know what happens to the characters. My one amendment would be that I’d like to wait to read them when all of the books are released, otherwise I forget everything. I love standalones too, but series are like tv shows to me and I love additional character development.

Would you rather only read male or female authors?

Personally, female authors. Nothing wrong with male authors but sometimes when they try to write a female character it’s a little bit offensive. I’m sure it goes both ways on that. Plus I read more romance and young adult and those are female heavy author zones.

Would you rather shop at Barnes and Noble or Amazon?

Honestly it depends on the best deal. I’m going to say Barnes and Noble because I can touch and feel the books like a total weirdo. And they sell those Funko Pop figurines that I love. I usually do huge orders from amazon, but shop more frequently at B&N

But I’d also like to take this moment to do a little shout out to all my local indie bookstores I frequent. Try to support indie book stores!!!

The Iliad Bookshop in North Hollywood, CA

Once Upon A Time bookstore in Montrose, CA

Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, CA

Book Castle/Movie World in Burbank, CA

Would you rather books were made into TV shows or movies?

If it’s a series I’d prefer a tv show, standalone book a movie please!

Would you rather read only 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?

I would die if I could only do 5 pages a day. That’s like 3 street signs. So of course 5 books a week.

Would you rather be a professional author or reviewer?

Reviewer, I’m honestly terrible at writing (even my reviews) so I don’t want to imagine the horror of a book I wrote. Plus I have no good ideas.

Would you rather be a librarian or a bookseller?

I AM A LIBRARIAN! MUAHAHA! No seriously a librarian. I’m terrible at business so I love the book peddling side of it to the public. Plus I’m not forcing them to pay for the book I recommend.

Would you rather read only your favorite genre, or ever other genre but your favorite?

Oh, god I don’t have a favorite genre. I mix it up so much. Can I cheat and pass this question? PASS.

Would you rather only read e-books or physical books?

Physical books. I love my Kindle, but in the zombie apocalypse we won’t have electricity so I need something that will be readable forever 😉

I’m tagging Lana at Dirty Girl Romance and Kara at Book Babes Unite next!