Thursday, July 20, 2017

Blog Tour: The Compendium by @chris_a_hart #bookreview #scifi

New Adult / Sci-Fi Romance / Paranormal
Date Published: July 13, 2016
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Irina and her renegade variant friends are scrambling to pick up the trail of their former employer, Ivan, and his globally catastrophic scheme.

Their attention develops a laser focus on an engineered earthquake mere days ahead of them in San Francisco. While they fight to stop the earthquake, Irina pushes the love of her life Jonah as far away as she can, trying to keep his unstable genetic degradation in check.

Irina’s friends think they’ve seen the worst that Innoviro could bring forth by the time they reach a secret facility in the Mojave Desert. As they near the property, the group uncovers a horror none of them had ever imagined.


Another great installment in Christine Hart's New Adult Sci-Fi series.

I was particularly happy that everything was taken up another notch in this novel, Christine Hart wasn't messing around when she wrote this.

At the beginning we are are inundated with information to get us caught up, but being that it was a continuation of a series, I didn't feel the amount of detail used was necessary, a refresher is always nice, but I don't want to feel like I'm entering the world for the first time again.

Overall a great addition to the Sci-Fi series world. I look forward to seeing where she takes the characters next.

Located on BC’s beautiful West Coast, Christine writes speculative fiction for YA & NA readers.  She has an undergraduate degree in writing and literature, a corporate background in communications and design, and an Etsy alter-ego named Sleepless Storyteller. Christine shares her eclectic home and lifestyle with her metal working husband, dancing daughter and rocket enthusiast son.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Blog Tour: Crime and Catnip by @RoccoBlogger #interview #giveaway

Cozy Mystery
Date Published: December 6, 2016 
Publisher: Penguin/Berkley Prime Crime

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While catering a gala for the Cruz Museum, Nora Charles agrees to look into the disappearance of director Violet Crenshaw’s niece, a case previously undertaken by her frisky feline friend Nick’s former owner, a private eye whose whereabouts are also currently unknown.

As Nora and her curious cat Nick pull at the string of clues, they begin to unravel a twisted tale of coded messages, theft, false identities, murder, and international espionage. Nora dares to hope that the labyrinth of leads will not only help them locate the missing young woman, but also solve the disappearance of the detective. That’s if Nora can stay alive long enough to find him...


Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?
Ha ha, I guess it would be “crime does not pay”!

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I always find the plotting challenging. I like to make it complex but not so much so that I lose the reader.

How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

Counting the self published books, nearly a dozen. My favorite will always be the first in the Nick and Nora series, MEOW IF ITS MURDER.

If You had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?
Emma Stone. Not only is she a great actress, but she physically embodies my vision of Nora.

When did you begin writing?
When I was ten! I wrote a fairy tale book called Twelve Tall Tales that a classmate illustrated!

How long did it take to complete your first book?
From outlne to writing ‘the end’ six months. If I didn’t work full time I would probably have taken three.

Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?
Not any one author.   Rather a grouping of mystery writers that included Agatha Christie, Erle Stanley Gardner and Carolyn Keene!

What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Writing “the end” on the last page!

Describe your latest book in 4 words.
A good, fun read.

Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?
Right now I just sent in the edits for Book 2 in the Cat Rescue series, DEATH BY A WHISKER to my editor at Crooked Lane. After that, it depends on whether or not CL wants to continue that series and if my agent is successful lin finding another home for the Nick and Nora series!  If not, I do have another series in the works…..

About the Author

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – and the just released Cat Rescue Mysteries from Crooked Lane!  The first volume, Purr M for Murder is out now! She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at or at

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Blog Tour: Lake of Sins: Escape by @lsodea #interview #giveaway

YA Fantasy, horror
Date Published: December 26 2014

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FREE For a Limited Time

Only the best are chosen to breed.

The rest are loaded onto carts and taken away from the encampment.  Never to be seen again.

Trinity has one week to escape into the forest and discover the fate of her kind.

Dive into the Lake of Sins and discover a world filled with human-animal hybrids where predators are friends and monsters aren't nearly as scary as those who create them.

The YA, dark fantasy series people are calling dark, gritty and too disturbing to put down.


Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?

Actually, there is and many folks do get it.  I’ve had several readers say that after reading my books (especially, book 2), they are reconsidering eating meat.  I’m vegetarian (should be vegan) and have studied the farming of animals for years.  Now, don’t think the books are preachy, because they aren’t.  Many people don’t even pick up on that theme.  I think it depends on where you are in your life.  Some of the folks who’ve said they recognize the slaughter practices and such have already been looking into the meat industry and it’s practices.

The books are fiction first, with a quiet theme of how animals are treated and mistreated in our world.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Time.  I still work my day job and writing takes a lot of time, not to mention marketing.  I’ve given up a lot of things to write and market—like cleaning my house, cooking dinner, reading and watching television – but it’s all worth it.  I love writing and the stories that come out of my head.

How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

I write under two pen names.  L. S. O’Dea has five books and a box set.  Ellis O. Day has six books and a box set.  Ellis writes erotica or steamy (very steamy) romance intended for 18 and up only.

L. S. O’Dea’s books are fine for about 15 and up.  There’s no sex on the pages but the characters are treated like animals in our world so there’s talk of mating and such.

My favorite—that’s hard to decide.  There are things that I love about all of them.  But, if I had to pick, I’d say book 2, Secrets In Blood.  It just all came together very well and took some very interesting twists and turns.

If You had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?

That’s kind of funny that you ask and I’ll explain in a minute.  First, let me say that I’m not a visual person.  I don’t see people, I see dialogue and who the characters are internally. So, picking an actor would be hard for me – especially since I never watch movies any more or even TV and my main character is young, so I’d need a young actor.  Quite frankly, I don’t know any.

My family however has already suggested some.  They suggested Michael Clarke Duncan (the big guy who had special gifts in The Green Mile) for the character of Gaar.  I explained that Michael Clarke Duncan was dead.  Then they picked Brittany Murphy for Trinity.  I had to explain that she was dead too.  My family wasn’t much help in casting unless we’re filming in heaven. 😊

When did you begin writing?

I got angry at some people at work and sat down to write.  I’d wanted to do it for years.  Had gone to college for writing but had never put in the work.  So, somewhere around 2012, I signed up for an online writing course and never looked back.  The book I wrote became Lake Of Sins: Escape and Lake Of Sins: Secrets In Blood.

How long did it take to complete your first book?

About two to three years, but it became books one and two in the Lake of Sins series.  I’m writing faster now.  I’m getting better at editing and that cuts a lot of time down for me because I edit and edit and edit until I’m sick of my story and I can’t find anything to change.

Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?

No, not really. I was a voracious reader when growing up and throughout my early twenties.  I read pretty much any genre and if I found an author I liked, I’d read them until their books became predictable.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

That’s hard.  I love/hate every bloody step.  I love the creating, the rough draft phase.  I just sit down and write whatever comes.  I don’t worry about if it’s good, bad or stupid.  I just write.  Of course, this phase sucks when nothing wants to come.  It’s annoying when I have to take the characters by hand and lead them into their lives.  They can be stubborn and quiet and it really makes me want to slap them, but eventually they spark to life and I’m like, “Oh, there you are.  Nice to finally meet you.”

The second phase for me is the first edit.  This is hard as I reshape, flesh out and cut the rough draft.  This used to be my most hated part, but as I get better at putting the words down right the first time, I’m finding myself surprised by the shape the story is already in.

Once the first round of editing is done, I edit more and more, and more, handing it out to multiple levels of beta readers.  This part can be fun and also trying.  I love getting the feedback as long as they’re telling me what I want to hear.  When they don’t, I get a little snappy and then have to apologize the next day.  They’re always right but I can’t help feeling defensive.

Describe your latest book in 4 words.

Dreams shattered. Passions ignited.

Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?

I’m going to finish the Lake of Sins series but that will take a few years.  I’ll release book five around Christmas this year and then next year, I’ll focus on the spinoff series –Conguise Chronicles.  The spinoff series tells the stories of the genetic modifications that Professor Conguise created and set loose in the forest surrounding the Lake of Sins.  There are some characters you need to meet before the final Lake of Sins books.

Once I’m done with the Lake Of Sins, I’m going to write a thriller (I think) and then there are the prequel to the Lake of Sins (I mean I need to explain how the Great Death wiped out most humans and all animals over about 20 pounds) and some side stories on characters who we meet in the Lake of Sins series and perhaps even the next set of stories about the next generation from the Lake of Sins.

I have so many ideas and stories, I fear I won’t have time to write them all.

About the Author

L. S. O’Dea grew up the youngest of seven in a family that uses teasing and tricks as an indication of love (or at least that’s what she tells herself).  Being five years younger than her closest sibling often made her the unwilling entertainment for her brothers and sisters.

Before she started kindergarten her brothers taught her how to spell her first and middle name—Linda Sue.  She was so proud she ran into the kitchen to tell her mother.  She stood tall and recited the letters of her name:  L-E-M-O-N   H-E-A-D.

Perhaps, she has her siblings to thank for the demons that whisper through her mind and help to create these dark and demented stories.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Blog Tour: The Tainted Love of a Captain by @JaneLark #review #giveaway

Historical Fiction
Date Published: 12th May 2017
Publisher: HarperImpulse

A sensual, heartbreaking, romance

The sounds and scents of the Crimean War are strangling Harry Marlow, shutting him off and silently smothering his soul. But he is a soldier and that is his life, and he can see nothing else besides that. So why should he care when a woman watches him? His life is not one to share with a woman, other than for a few moments in his bed.

When a woman is already drowning so deeply in sin she is without any fear of judgement - what can it matter if she chooses to begin a new affair? It is like escape to choose her own man and Captain Marlow is the perfect candidate for a dalliance. All she has to do is obtain an introduction...


Oh Boy, I'm a sucker for Historical Romance. There is something so fun about being transported back in time and feeling like your living in a different era if an author can execute it well, its an even better escape than reading Contemporary. 

Dive into a historical world with Jane Lark. She has created a novel that really takes the reader back in time. This novel shows how much a writer can understand her genre and make sure every in and out is authentic to the time period. 

Jane began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis. When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write. 
Now Jane has been shortlisted for three reader awards, and become a bestselling author in the UK and the USA.

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Twitter: @JaneLark

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Blog Tour: Taking Chances by @K_OMalley67 #interview #giveaway

Contemporary Romance
Date Published: 20 June, 2017
Publisher: Carolina Blue Publishing

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Katie Fitzgerald learned the hard way about love. She vowed to never get involved with a doctor at work, and when she did, he broke her heart. Older and wiser, Katie is serious about never getting hurt again. Dr. Flynn Reynolds, staff cardiologist at Windsor Falls Memorial, just might be the man to change her mind. Attraction explodes between the two from their very first meeting. But Katie is determined to protect her heart. Will Flynn convince her to take another chance?


Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?

Happy endings do exist, but we must be willing to fight for them. In Taking Chances, Katie Fitzgerald could have continued to guard herself from future heartache. But where would that have left her? 

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

 There are two things really. I never have enough time to write. Like many independent authors, I have a full-time job outside of writing. I also have a family. I struggle with external conflict. A lot!

How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
I have written and released two. The third is half way completed. My first, Coming Home, will always have a huge emotional attachment. I originally wrote it in 2002 while awaiting the adoption of our daughter from Russia.

If You had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?
I would pick Patrick Dempsey to play Flynn Reynolds. I have always had a huge crush on him, and the whole doctor connection doesn’t hurt.

When did you begin writing?

I began writing in 2002 but quickly traded that manuscript for new motherhood. Many years passed before I thought to take it out and dust it off.

How long did it take to complete your first book?
I wrote the first version of Coming Home in three weeks. Of course, that was many years and versions ago. In total, it took 15 years.

Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?
There isn’t any one author who inspired me to become one. I read voraciously and love many authors. I do try to adopt bits and pieces of many authors’ styles into my writing. 

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

My favorite part is never knowing where the story will take me. I sit at my laptop and am constantly amazed by what unfolds. It drives people crazy, which just makes it more appealing. 

Describe your latest book in 4 words.
A good beach read!

Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?

 My novels are part of a series set in the mythical town of Windsor Falls, NC. I foresee maybe seven or eight books total. I’m already dreaming of the next series which will be set at the beach. Think Oak Island, NC.

About the Author

Kimberley O’Malley is a recent transplant to Charlotte, North Carolina from the frozen North. She is learning to say y’all but draws the line at sweet tea. Sarcasm is an art form in her world. When not writing, she is a full-time nurse and part-time soccer Mom, but not necessarily in that order. She shares her life with an amazing husband of more than twenty years, two teenagers, and one very sweet Shetland Sheepdog, Molly.

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Facebook: Author Kimberley O’Malley
Twitter: @K_OMalley67
Instagram: kimberleyomalley67

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Blog Tour: When All Is Not Well by Om Swami #giveaway #excerpt

Date Published: July 14, 2015
 Publisher: Black Lotus

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I've heard so many people tell those who suffer depression to just "cheer up." I wonder if they really believe that it’s that simple. Depression isn't just sadness. It is emptiness, it is misery. It is pain and nothingness at once. When you are truly depressed you lack the ability or will to cheer yourself up. No one just “has depression.” You suffer from it. Even with all our scientific advances, depression remains one of the most mysterious mental illnesses.

 Anti-depressants don’t work for everyone just like meditation and vacations don’t work for many others. Ayurvedic and yogic texts dating as back as 5000 years called depression, vishada, a toxic state of mind. In this profoundly insightful work, Om Swami categorizes depression into three types to help you see how a different approach is needed to cure each type. Beautifully woven with soul-stirring case-studies and yogic wisdom, you will gain a new perspective on depression and sadness.


When there is Darkness in your life, a person rises to show us light. A light of hope out of depression. That person is OM SWAMI. He is not Dark Knight. He is the Monk Who Sold His Porsche. And now with this book he has thrown light on reality of depression. --By Ajinkya Sonwane on 26 April 2016 

This book helps us find the right response in trying times and situations. I wish I had this book when I was struck with depressive episode in my life 23 years back. --By Vipul Agarwal on 3 May 2016

When all is not well ~ when we glance at the title of book, it seems why we need to read this book, for most of us, situations are somewhat under control and even if they are spiralling out of circumference, then we may ask “ What a simple book will do?” or “There are so many self help books out there, why shall I read it?” To be honest, if I haven’t read other books by author, then I must have thought the same, but it must have been a big mistake and would have dearly missed the beautiful teachings and transforming thoughts expressed in book.


Larry, my best friend, called me to say that Anna, his live-in girlfriend, in an attempt to commit suicide, had jumped from a ferry into the Sydney harbor. Sydney harbor, besides being cold and deep, is known to have sharks. Fortunately for Anna, there was a quick-acting and kind co-passenger who risked his own life to save her. She was hospitalized, put on a prescription plan, and then discharged a few days later when things seemed okay. But, as it happens all the time, when it comes to depression, things only seem okay when they are actually not okay at all. Just like the sea is unusually calm before a tsunami, one’s life can be quite normal before damaging depression shows up at the door.
Barely had another week passed and Anna went right into a major traffic intersection while the pedestrian signal was still red. Escaping a major, probably even fatal, accident while the intersection echoed with honks and sounds of cars coming to a screeching halt, she was hospitalized once again. For weeks, this time.

Barely had another week passed and Anna went right into a major traffic intersection while the pedestrian signal was still red. Escaping a major, probably even fatal, accident while the intersection echoed with honks and sounds of cars coming to a screeching halt, she was hospitalized once again. For weeks, this time.

About the Author

Om Swami is a monk who lives in a remote place in the Himalayan foothills. He has a bachelor degree in business and an MBA from Sydney, Australia. Swami served in executive roles in large corporations around the world. He founded and led a profitable software company with offices in San Francisco, New York, Toronto, London, Sydney and India.

Om Swami completely renounced his business interests to pursue a more spiritual life. He is the bestselling author of Kundalini: An Untold Story, A Fistful of Love and If Truth Be Told: A Monk’s Memoir.

His blog is read by millions all over the world.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Blog Tour: Dangerously Yours by @AMGriffinbooks #giveaway #excerpt

Sci-Fi Romance
Date Published: June 6, 2017

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Kane Epps divides his life into two distinct parts—before the alien invasion and after. Before the invasion, he had a pregnant wife and a high-powered job. After the invasion, he’s left with only himself and his hatred for all things alien. He channels his bitterness by captaining a vessel of renegade humans—space pirates who don’t think twice about taking what they need. 
Princess Sa’Mya is on the run. She and a few trusted advisers fled her home planet only to be captured by the sexy, dangerous Captain Epps. He claims to hate aliens but can’t seem to resist touching her or kissing her…everywhere. As Kane introduces Sa’Mya to ever-increasing, unimaginable realms of pleasure, the princess becomes determined to earn his trust. She’s used to getting what she wants. And this time, what she wants is Kane Epps. 

Publisher’s Note: This story was previously published by Ellora’s Case under the title Dangerously Yours and has been revised for re-publish by the Author.

Reader Advisory: This space-opera romance contains some good old-fashioned voyeurism.


Holding tight to his wife’s hand, Kane pulled her along. She stumbled behind him, tripping on rubble, debris and concrete. He cast his eyes toward the large metallic spacecraft sitting low in the sky above New York City, blocking out the sun and moon, bathing everyone in perpetual darkness. He glanced at the watch on his wrist. It was three twenty-one p.m.
Anna’s pace slowed before stopping altogether. Leaning over, she took gulping breaths.
“Come on, baby,” he coaxed gently. “I know you’re tired but we have to keep moving.”
“I’m trying to.” Anna’s chest heaved in and out.
Her dirty-blonde bangs clung to her flushed forehead. The maternity jeans she had thrown on when they were forced to leave their brownstone were now torn and covered in dirt. Her too-small maternity shirt stretched over her pregnant abdomen. And after all this time, his clothes weren’t any better.
His gaze lingered on her fragile form. His heart lurched in his chest. The dark freckles dotting her face leaped out in contrast to her pale skin. She needed food, water and rest. Now. He blew out a heavy sigh. That’s not going to happen anytime soon, he thought, taking in his surroundings.
Through the darkness, he caught a glimpse of his companions. The group of seventeen men, women and children continued forward on their pursuit across the city without even a backward glance to where he and Anna lagged behind, again. The group of survivors should’ve been able to cover more ground than they had. But their pace slowed considerably to account for Anna being eight-and-a-half-months pregnant. Thanks to the in vitro fertilization, she was pregnant with twins.
The delirious thought almost made him laugh out loud. They had spent nearly thirty thousand dollars to get pregnant and a few months later, hostile aliens had invaded Earth.
He tore his gaze away from the group and studied Anna. She propped herself against a broken street sign. She coughed as she breathed in the contaminants of the air.
A high pitched wheezing sound came from her lungs with every labored breath that she took. Sweat dripped from her forehead to her brow. One hand held the side of her head and the other rested on the side of her belly. Although she hadn't said anything, he could tell she was more swollen today than yesterday.
He placed a hand over her extended belly. “How are the babies?”
He didn’t know much but he did know the babies should have been moving under their touch. The lack of movement confirmed Anna couldn’t continue any longer. It was too risky.
“They’re fine,” she said between pants.
Not believing her, he shook his head. “We have to st—”
Anna cradled his chin, bringing his face to look at her. “Kane, I can do this.”
Although determination was written across her features, he didn’t think she could go on for a few more minutes let alone hours. Breaking eye contact, he worked the knapsack off her back. He slung it over his shoulder along with his and scooped her up into his arms, ignoring her protests. Her pregnant weight made his muscles flex tighter around her.
She stroked the side of his cheek. “Kane.”
He looked down into worried hazel eyes. “What?”
“You can't carry me forever.”
“Only for a little while. We need to keep moving, baby.”
She buried her head onto his chest. “I love you.”
“I love you too, always.”
She brought her head up to him again. A slight smile played on her lips. “Even though I’m chunky and fat?”
“You’re pregnant and healthy.” He followed the trail of the survivors. Their backs came in and out of view as the group traversed up and around large slabs of concrete that had once been paved city streets.
She gave his biceps a light pat. “Nice save, counselor,” she teased weakly.
“That’s me, Kane Epps, esquire. I can talk my way out of the hairiest of situations.”
Her playfulness slowly disappeared as she scanned the horizon. “I wish you could’ve negotiated us out of this one.”
Kane’s gaze followed hers, catching sight of the Statue of Liberty in the distant horizon, toppled on its side.
In less than a week of their arrival, the aliens had wreaked havoc on Earth. Crumbled buildings lay in heaps all around them. Alien weapons uprooted city streets. Alien bombs leveled countries. Alien technology disrupted communication, television, phones and radios. U.S. military forces were swatted down as though they were flies.
Now, three months later, humans scavenged for basic necessities.
“We’re going to be fine.” His voice came out tight and hard.
Anna rubbed his chest. “I know.” Her reassurance and faith in him sent waves of tenderness through his heart. “You’ll take care of me.”
Right. He would take care of her.
Two hours later, he began to stumble. When his knee dropped to the ground, he got up and gathered a protesting Anna back into his arms. His jeans no longer offered a buffer between his knees and the concrete, as evidenced by a bloody smear left as he’d stumbled to his feet. Each time he fell he had a harder time getting up and continuing.
His knee hit the ground again, landing on broken concrete. He let his head fall forward as he bit back a gasp of pain. A bead of sweat ran from his short, white-blond hair down the bridge of his nose, where it lingered before finally dripping to the ground. Closing his eyes, he willed the pain away, clasping Anna tight to him. With renewed energy, Anna worked to pry his hands from her arms and legs in an effort to free herself.
When he wouldn’t release her, she pleaded, “Honey. Let me go. I can walk now.”
“No. I can do this.” He fought the urge to look at her, fearing if he did she would see the pain that shone in in his eyes.
“Kane. Look at me,” Anna pleaded softly. Reluctantly, he obeyed. “You need to let me walk.”
“You can't.”
“I have to.” She shook her head in determination. “I can't let you kill yourself. Let me go.”
“Never. I love you.”
Anna let out an irritated sigh. “I love you too, but so help me God, if you break a leg trying to carry me, I will kill you.”
His feisty pixie was back. Kane let her slide from his weary arms to her steady feet. He wanted to stay with the group. Safety in numbers sat better with him. But he also needed to rest and couldn’t risk losing his wife or babies. The pace the group had set was grueling.
It’s not as if the group would miss them or anything. The survivors would probably welcome losing the dead weight. It was Anna he feared wouldn’t take the news too lightly.
Prepared for a fight, he fixed his stare on her. “Baby, I think we need to find a place to hide for the night.”
Her gaze went from him to the retreating group. “But…but what about them?”
“We’re going to go on our own.”
“Oh Kane.” Her lips began to tremble. Tears fell as he squeezed her hand in his. “We can’t get separated from another group. Let me at least try to walk.”
He kissed her dirty, pale cheeks. “No, baby. I won't risk it. You and the babies mean more to me than they do. We can hide in one of the abandoned houses.”
He pulled her in a tight embrace. He would do anything for her. Keeping her safe had become his number-one priority.
She shook her head almost hysterically. “That group we saw a week ago said the aliens are hunting humans and taking them away. I don’t want to get caught. What’ll happen to us? What if the aliens are using humans as sex slaves?” She inhaled sharply. “Or worse… What if they’re going to eat us? What if—”
“Don’t start that. Those people don’t know what’s going on any more than we do. We’ll stay hidden. Don’t worry. I’ll keep you safe.” He ran his hand across her brow, wiping the long bangs away from her red-rimmed eyes.
“What about the others?” she asked, wide-eyed. “Do you think we’ll be able to catch up with them tomorrow?” She grimaced and rubbed her belly again.
“Yeah, we can do that.” He had to make her believe the lie. Whatever the case, they would never see them again.
It took more than an hour but they finally found a house safe enough to enter without the fear it would crumble around them. Although the modest brownstone leaned precariously on its side, it would do for the night.
Kane entered, kicking the debris out of his way, Anna’s limp hand planted firmly in his. The smell of mildew and decay overrode his senses. The dirt that caked the furniture told of its abandonment. Dust wafted through the air, stirring with each step they took. Her dainty hand that covered her nose and mouth did nothing to keep it from settling in her lungs. Anna coughed as he led her through to the living room.
“Here, sit down. I’m going to check the kitchen for food and bottled water.” He let her go, settling her in front of a loveseat, the only piece of furniture in the room that didn’t look as if it would break apart under her pregnant weight. “Don’t go anywhere.” He didn’t want her exploring before he could make sure the structure was safe.
He propped the two knapsacks next to her. His jangled and clanked as he set it down. Hers made a soft rustling noise. As alien bombs had rained from the sky and life as they knew was no more, he had grabbed supplies and tools needed for survival, while she had wasted precious time taking pictures out of frames and photo albums.
Anna’s warm smile was meant only for him as she eased onto the dirty loveseat, pulling the knapsacks closer to her. “You can't get rid of me that easily.”
He couldn’t help but return her smile. This was why he loved her. Even in this, she still had her sense of humor.
He strode purposely through the double swinging kitchen doors and headed straight to the cabinets. He wanted to let out a frustrated scream as he flung open each one. Empty. Every cabinet he opened, empty. He frantically scanned the room, locking on what he sought.
The pantry.
He made it to the door and swung it open. Empty.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
His knees buckled underneath his weight. He grabbed the doorframe with a shaky grip. Anna needed to eat. She was already too weak to go on.
His mind raced as perspiration formed across his brow.
Calm the fuck down.
He needed to stay in control or they were sure to die.
How long since she last ate? Last night? What about water? This morning? Or was it yesterday morning? Shit.
He gripped the doorframe harder. There was something about the rule of three. What was it? Humans can live for three weeks without food, three days without water and three minutes without air. Past three and you’re dead. What about pregnant women?
Whiz, boom! A high-pitched screeching cut through the air outside.
The house shook and rumbled as it was hit. Kane watched in slow motion as the appliances on the countertop jostled and fell over. Seconds slowly ticked by as a glass coffeepot hit the floor, shattering into a million pieces on impact. A large mixer bowl fell to its side and rolled across the countertop. Kane’s heart stopped.
They’re here.
“Kane! What’s happening?” Anna shrieked from the other room.
Snapping back to reality, he jerked upright. “Anna! We have to get out of here now! The house is falling apart.” He bolted into the kitchen, pushing a dinette table out of the way and jumping over the chairs.
“I’m afraid.”
He found Anna curled against the cushions, as if sinking into them would save her from the attack.
Whiz, boom! A loud noise slammed across his brain. His hands flew to his ears and his jaw tensed shut. The house splintered and creaked around them. It could fall at any moment.
A cloud of dust crept ominously through the air, emerging from the back rooms, heading straight to them. Anna’s coughing racked her body as the heavy cloud billowed through the hall to the living room.
“Come on, baby. We have to get moving. Now!” Dust mixed with something acidic burned his throat with each breath he took.
He tried pulling her from the couch. She stayed planted in her seat. Her dazed eyes darted from side to side. She wouldn’t budge.
“We have to hurry before the house collapses!” He tried to get through to her.
After one blink, then two, she finally focused on him, put her feet on the floor and leaned forward. He pulled both of her hands, lifting her off the couch. Anna stumbled to stand.
“Our bags.” Tugging away from his grasp, she reached for them.
“Leave them!”
With a shake of her head, she scrambled to retrieve the bags. Kane snatched them out of her grasp and pulled her behind him. No more wasting time, they needed to get out of this death trap.
He stopped short at the door. His hand froze on the doorknob.
This is exactly what these bastards want.
Ignoring the heavy beating of his heart, the heavy pants from his lungs…he listened. Anna’s breaths were harder and heavier than his. Beside that…silence. He strained his ears to listen for any whizzing sounds, the telltale sign of a spacecraft above.
“Did they leave?” Anna asked in a hope-filled whisper from behind his shoulder.
“I’m not certain.”
He dared not move. They could still be out there, waiting.
“I think they’re gone. I don’t hear anything.” Relief was apparent in her voice as she stepped away from him. He watched her ease onto one of the broken stairs. “My stomach is hurting.” She lay back on her elbows, rubbing her oversized belly.
“Stay put. Try to stay calm. Once I know for sure that they’re gone, I’ll go out and find you some food and water.” He peered through the peephole of the door.
Where are those bastards?
“I don’t want you to leave me here alone. What if they come back?”
“You need water.” He gave her a reassuring half-smile before turning to the peephole. “Plus, you’re not getting rid of me that ea—”
A roar deafened his ears. Wood, metal and plaster erupted through the air. Direct hit.
Pain shot through him as debris rained down. His hands flew up to protect his face. He dropped to the floor, rolling to a fetal position. The house creaked and rocked around him.
He strained to open his eyes. Dust settled in them and burned. He snapped them shut.
No answer. A dull ache thrummed in his ears.
Inhaling a lung full of dust, Kane coughed. “Anna! Come to me.” He threw out his hand, grasping at air. “We have to get out of here!”
He forced his eyes open. A cloud of dust obstructed his vision. The outline of the caved-in roof was the first thing he saw. He willed himself to a standing position and stumbled forward with outstretched arms. If he found the stairs he would find Anna.
“Anna! Anna! Answer me!”
His shoe brushed against something soft. Anna? His heart dropped to his stomach. Where would he find a doctor? What if she needed medical help? He grabbed at it.
An arm.
Dropping to his knees, he frantically pushed the wood planks and shingles from her body, throwing debris in every direction.
Anna, please baby, be okay.
He pushed a piece of drywall off of her. His gaze settled on the broken body lying sprawled at an odd angle.
“Nooooo!” He gathered the remains of his wife’s charred, limp body. “Please God! No!”

About the Author

A. M. Griffin is a wife who rarely cooks, mother of three, dog owner (and sometimes dog owned), a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She’s a hard worker whose two favorite outlets are reading and writing. She enjoys reading everything from mystery novels to historical romances and of course fantasy romance. She is a believer in the unbelievable, open to all possibilities from mermaids in our oceans and seas, angels in the skies and intelligent life forms in distant galaxies.

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