MONDAY’S THREE: Under Nine, Under Five, Under One! {4/30/12}

It’s Monday ~ A brand new week is ahead of us. Let’s start it off with three Frugal Finds for our Kindles!


Under Nine
: Because of Winn-Dixie, Kate Dicamillo {$5.24}

The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket and comes out with a dog. A big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor.A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother, one for each year Opal has been alive.Winn-Dixie is better at making friends than anyone Opal has ever known, and together they meet the local librarian, Miss Franny Block, who once fought off a bear with a copy of WAR AND PEACE. They meet Gloria Dump, who is nearly blind but sees with her heart, and Otis, an ex-con who sets the animals in his pet shop loose after hours, then lulls them with his guitar.

Opal spends all that sweet summer collecting stories about her new friends and thinking about her mother. But because of Winn-Dixie or perhaps because she has grown, Opal learns to let go, just a little, and that friendship and forgiveness can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm.

Recalling the fiction of Harper Lee and Carson McCullers, here is a funny, poignant, and utterly genuine first novel from a major new talent.

The average customer review is currently {4.5 stars, 837 reviews}.


Under Five
: Only the Truth, Pat Brown {$3.99 or Borrow FREE with Prime!}

Harkening back to the writing styles and small town settings of earlier American authors – John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, and Carson McCullers – “Only the Truth” is a psychological mystery with as many twists as the country road leading to the humble home of Billy Ray Hutchins, a lonely uneducated man living in the hills of Arkansas. Life changes little for him from day to day until he brings home a young drifter he meets at the railroad tracks, the mysterious Charlene, whose last name he never asks. He becomes her Sweet Billy Ray and his love for Charlene is steady and uncomplicated until the sheriff shows up to take her away in handcuffs. With the only woman he has ever loved behind bars for the coldblooded murder of the old man across the road, a confused and devastated Billy Ray sets out on a quest to find the truth, only the truth, whether it leads him to be able to save his Charlene from a death sentence or it frees him from her spell.

The average customer review is currently 5 stars {35 reviews}.


Under One: Blinding Mirror, Shelley Halima {$0.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

Blinding Mirror is a dark and sexy thriller about a woman Olivia Valente, who leaves behind her abusive and dysfunctional home, poverty and her racial identity to find the riches she’s always dreamed of. Once she attains it she will keep it by any means necessary—even if it means murder. Her insatiable greed leads her back into the lives of her estranged twin daughters just as they are to receive a hefty inheritance. But all their lives will be changed forever as Olivia’s true identity and misdeeds come to light.

The average customer review is currently 4.5 stars {11 Reviews}.

Click on the links or covers above to read reviews or purchase this Monday’s Three Frugal Finds Under Nine from Amazon!

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Awakening, Lisa M. Lilly {$2.99}

Sponsored Post

Lisa M. Lillys Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of The Awakening:

Tara Spencer’s mysterious pregnancy turns her life upside down.  Her plans for medical school are sidetracked, her fiancé severs all ties, assuming she must have slept with someone else, and her parents question her mental health when she insists she’s never had sex.  Only a stranger, Cyril Woods, believes her claim that she’s still a virgin.  The religious order that Cyril belongs to believes Tara’s child may be a new messiah, fulfilling signs in the Book of Revelation.  But when Tara discovers the baby will be a girl, the order sees her as the mother of the anti-Christ who must be destroyed before she triggers the first stage of the Apocalypse.  Tara, uncertain whom to trust and afraid of endangering those she loves, fights for her life as she seeks a safe place to give birth and the answer to whether she and her child are meant to save the world or destroy it.

 

Accolade:

5 stars – A smart provocative read!

THE AWAKENING is a little gem of a thriller with a huge concept that rivals Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. It turns on the concept of whether a virgin birth will herald in a new dawn for humankind or Armageddon. The plotting is ingenious and fast-paced, with edge-of-your seat scenes and unsuspected twists and turns that are the hallmarks of well-done thrillers. But unlike the Dan Brown tale, this religious thriller is skillfully written and has well-drawn characters for whom you genuinely care. If you like a provocative and literate thriller that will give you hours of reading pleasure and make you think, then treat yourself to THE AWAKENING.


Amazon Reader Reviews:

The Awakening currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 5 stars, with 16 reviews! Read the reviews here!

 

The Awakening is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99


An excerpt from The Awakening:

Chapter One

 

Tara folded and unfolded the pink referral slip.  Her fingers made sweat marks on the paper.  “I can’t be pregnant.  I haven’t had sex.”

But her first pregnancy test had been positive, too, and now instead of telling Tara it was a mistake, her family doctor had gotten the same result.

Dr. Lei closed Tara’s chart.  Vivaldi played softly from the Bose Wave system on the credenza behind her.  “You’re still with Jeremy?”

“Yes.”

“Still planning to get married?” Dr. Lei said.

“We haven’t set the date, but eventually.  After college, before med school.”

Tara had over a year of college left, then med school, then an internship.  That’s why she’d insisted on waiting.  So she would never have a conversation like this.  She understood Dr. Lei needed to ask these questions, but it wouldn’t lead to anything useful.

“And you’re not sexually active?”  Dr. Lei asked.

“We haven’t had intercourse.”

“It’s possible to be a virgin and become pregnant,” Dr. Lei said.  “It’s rare, but it can happen if there’s contact and sperm travel to an ovum.”

“We’re careful.  We’re always careful.”

Dr. Lei’s cinnamon scented potpourri highlighted rather than masked the office’s alcohol-peroxide smell, making Tara slightly nauseated and adding to her unease about what might be happening in her body.  But this was better than the University’s medical services unit, where the nurse practitioner talked to Tara while Tara sat wrapped in a paper gown, her bare legs dangling over the exam table’s edge.

“Have you engaged in mutual masturbation?” Dr. Lei asked.

“Yes.”

“Has there been any time when, as a result of any activity, Jeremy’s sperm came anywhere near your vulvar area?”

“No.  Never.”

Long ago, Tara had promised herself she’d never repeat her mother’s life.  Her parents never complained about having five kids, but they hadn’t planned it, either, and Tara felt sure her mother would feel less angry and frustrated, and be happier all around, if she hadn’t gotten pregnant at nineteen.

“Some young women feel it’s not really intercourse if the man penetrates her but doesn’t ejaculate.  Have you and Jeremy ever tried that?”

Tara shook her head.

“Is there anyone else you’ve engaged in any sexual activity with?”

“No one.”

The miniature grandfather clock on the wall ticked.  Tara tried not to let her thoughts race ahead of her.  You don’t know what’s going on yet. Dr. Lei tapped her fingers on her desk.  “None of what you’ve described could lead to pregnancy.  Still, it’s unlikely you’d get two false positives in a row.”

“But both labs could have made mistakes, couldn’t they?”

Already knowing the answer, Tara twisted the referral slip into a pink string.  It was possible, but unlikely, that both labs erred in the same way for the same patient.

Leaning back in her chair, Dr. Lei folded her hands across her diaphragm and stared at the ceiling.  Tara started to speak, then stopped, pressing her hands against the chair arms.  Dr. Lei was a thorough physician, she asked a lot of questions before proposing courses of action.  Just answer her questions, let her think it through. Unlike Tara, Dr. Lei hadn’t spent the last two weeks turning over all these points in her head.

Dr. Lei looked at Tara again.  “I’m sure you’ve considered this, but could something have occurred you’re unaware of?  A night you drank too much and someone, not necessarily Jeremy, forced himself on you?”

“No.  I drink, but I’ve never passed out or had a blackout.”

Dr. Lei pursed her lips.  “I don’t know what to tell you.  Let’s schedule an ultrasound and go from there.”

“What do you think you might see?”

“I don’t know,” Dr. Lei said.  “But whatever we see or don’t see, that will tell us what to do next.”

“Is it –”  Tara’s throat tightened, but she had to talk about what weighed on her most.  She took a breath.  “Could it be a tumor?  I mean, with Megan—”

Dr. Lei reached across her desk to touch Tara’s hand.  “Tara.  Nothing in the medical literature suggests your sister’s brain tumor is hereditary.  You don’t have a predisposition to cancer.”

“But you need to rule it out.”

“I need to rule out all potential causes, even remote ones.  But remember, there are many reasons your cycle may be off, including something as simple as stress.”  Turning to her laptop, Dr. Lei accessed her schedule, something she normally left to her assistant.  “Let’s get you in as soon as possible.  Thursday morning at ten?”

Hands shaking, Tara almost dropped her backpack as she fished out her planner to check the date.  “I’m still hoping it’s all just a mistake.  Two mistakes.”

“It may be,” Dr. Lei said.  “But we need to find out.”

* * *

The red-haired man scanned the student lounge from his corner armchair, deliberately slumping despite the tension coursing through him.  He fingered the photo in his pocket, then took it out and cupped it in his hand to shield it from anyone else’s view.  He’d cut it from a Webster Groves High yearbook, so it was a few years old.

In the photo, Tara Spencer’s blonde hair hung straight past her shoulders.  Her blue-green eyes, wide and almond shaped, were the focal point of her face.  He saw no mark in the photograph, but it could be anywhere on Tara’s body.

Unlike the other students, Tara looked as if she were having fun, as if she and the photographer had just discovered they both loved the same type of music or played the same sport.  The man guessed most other students thought Tara friendly and kind.  A good person.

Appearances could deceive.

Three girls walked in.  He peered at them, looking for a match, reminding himself Tara’s hair color or cut could be different now.  A brunette leaning against a vending machine bragged to her friends about last Friday’s beer bash, and how much she would drink this Friday, and how devastated she felt that this was only Wednesday.  Two boys flipped a mini-Frisbee near the back of the lounge while they complained about a professor who refused to let them use notes in their open-book exams.

The man doubted anyone serious about studying came to this place.  But he’d been told he’d find her here.  And he had to see her in person.

Then he’d decide what to do to her.

* * *

At eight-thirty Wednesday night, Tara pulled into the driveway.  She planned to run in, grab her laptop, and head back to school to finish her ancient history paper.  She could work at home, but she focused better with noise and activity around her, the effect of growing up with four younger siblings.  All morning during Advanced Physics, which she loved, and all afternoon during work, all Tara could think about was what Dr. Lei would see on the ultrasound tomorrow.   Tara pressed her fingers into her abdomen, searching for masses.  Then she thought of Megan, hooked up to IVs for chemo, vomiting for hours in the middle of the night, thinning to a near skeleton, then ballooning months later from the steroids.

Please don’t let it be cancer, Tara thought, then felt guilty for thinking it.  If Megan, who was nine, had to face radiation and chemo without flinching, who was Tara to demand a reprieve?  But if it wasn’t cancer, what could it be?  A benign cyst maybe.  Which still didn’t explain the positive pregnancy tests.

It’s nothing, don’t think about it.  It’s all a mistake.

Tara climbed the outside back stairs to the attic, fumbled for her keys in the dark.

“Hi, Tara.”

Her brother Bailey’s piping voice came before Tara had pushed her door all the way open.

“Hey, squirt.”

Tara dropped her backpack on the floor and hung her parka on the coat rack.  She’d fixed up the attic into a studio apartment with her grandfather’s help, and neither had thought to build a coat closet. “What’s up?”

Bailey sat cross-legged on Tara’s futon, a Batman comic book open on his lap.  One of Dad’s Buddy Holly CDs played in the background.

“Hospital.  Megan’s white count is low.”  Bailey was only eleven but, like the rest of the family, had gained an encyclopedic knowledge of medicine in the last five years.

“Really bad?” Tara said, and thought, what if I’m in the hospital next?  What will that do to Bailey?

“It’s just for an IV.  She might come home tomorrow.  Want to play a game?”

Tara plopped down at her tiny kitchen table and flipped on her laptop to check e-mail before she headed out again.  “I’ve got to finish a paper.  And don’t you have school tomorrow?”

“A quick one?”  He grinned at her, crinkling his nose.

Bailey was blonde, like Tara, with light freckles barely visible across his cheeks, and blue eyes.  Already he had a bunch of little girls calling him, but he was true to SueLyn, the trumpet player he’d had a crush on since kindergarten.   Tara caught herself wondering whether, if she really were pregnant, the baby would look like Bailey, and how she could keep taking care of Bailey and the other kids if she became a mother herself.

But that’s crazy.  I’m not pregnant.

Thoughts about pregnancy kept jumping into Tara’s mind.  She couldn’t understand it.  Her friend Vicki told Tara she worried if she was only a day late because her birth control pills might have failed.  That made sense to Tara, birth control pills did fail.  So did condoms and diaphragms and everything else.  But not abstinence.

“No one’s been home at all,” Bailey said, giving Tara his sad eyes.  “Mom left me a note for when I got back from school, and Kelly’s at rehearsal.”

He was hamming it up, but he really did get lonely when everyone was out.  Sometimes even when everyone was around.  Bailey was healthy and mostly happy, and Megan needed so much.  It was why Bailey came to Tara’s, even if she wasn’t there.

Tara ran her fingers through her hair.  She needed to get up early and wash and dry it, and her doctor’s appointment was at ten, which didn’t leave much time for writing.  Still, she could barely think about anything except the ultrasound anyway.  And she felt superstitious about disappointing Bailey, as if it somehow would be bad luck for Megan.  “What d’you want to play?”

“Stratego?”

“That’s not short, buddy.”

But she closed the laptop.  She’d set her alarm two hours early and finish her paper in the morning.

* * *

The piano played in the living room – The Bread of Life for the third time.  A door slammed somewhere upstairs and Tara’s mother’s yelled, “I don’t care whose turn it is.  You know how the dryer works.”

She’s in a good mood. Tara’s stomach tightened.  She hadn’t done anything wrong, yet it felt like she had.  Sliding the ultrasound photo back into her anatomy text, Tara looked at the clock on the microwave.  She’d told her mother and stepdad at breakfast she needed to talk to them about something important, and it was already almost eleven.  Her shift at Dirty Things Laundry started in an hour, and she still needed to change out of her sweats and T-shirt.  Probably just into jeans and a T-shirt, but she’d like time to get calm again, too, after the way she expected this conversation to go.

Bailey wandered into the kitchen, trailing a Wiffle Ball bat behind him.  He pressed his nose to the sliding glass doors, peered out at the snow and sleet, and sighed.

“Are you just passing through?” Tara said.

He turned around.  “Should I be?”

“Yeah.  Scram.”

Bailey frowned.  “Jeez.  Everyone’s crabby today.  Some Saturday.”

He left as Tara’s mother, Lynette Spencer, walked into the kitchen.

 

The Awakening is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99


Connect with Lisa M. Lilly:

Website: www.lisalilly.com

Twitter:  @lisamlilly

Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Awakening/204173652946369

KINDLE DAILY DEAL: More Than 100 Mystery Titles for $0.99 Each!

Today only, more than 100 classic mysteries from the Prologue Crime collection are just $0.99 each.

Click here to read more about and purchase the mystery titles for $0.99 each* from Amazon

*Prices goes back up tomorrow!

 

Primal Call (Vampire Primes Paranormal Romance), Susan Sizemore {$2.99}

Thena Blaise is determined not to fall in love with a media hounded movie star despite the charming way he courts her. But Thena doesn’t know the half of James Wilde’s secrets – the dangerous half. James Wilde is a Vampire Prime, and he knows Thena must be his. As she is the bondmate he’s waited his entire life to find.

Includes an excerpt of the upcoming Vampire Primes Novel PRIMAL CRAVINGS!

Print Length: About 69 pages

What readers are saying:

“If you like vampires, paranormal romance and fun – read this story.”

“…delightfully delicious with likable characters that left me wanting more. It is definitely a must-read.”

The average Amazon Reader Review is currently 4 stars {10 reviews}.

Click here to read more about and purchase Primal Call for $2.99 from Amazon

{CLOSED: Updated with winners!} THE SATURDAY GIVEAWAY: Two eCopies of A Bitter Veil from Libby Fischer Hellmann!

{The winners have been announced below!}

Happy Saturday!

It’s time for a Frugal eReader Giveaway!

See below for how to win one of two eCopies of A Bitter Veil, sponsored by the author Libby Fischer Hellmann... but first, a little about the novel:

 

 

It all began with a line of Persian poetry . . . Anna and Nouri, both studying in Chicago, fall in love despite their very different backgrounds. Anna, who has never been close to her parents, is more than happy to return with Nouri to his native Iran, to be embraced by his wealthy family. Beginning their married life together in 1978, their world is abruptly turned upside down by the overthrow of the Shah, and the rise of the Islamic Republic.

Under the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Republican Guard, life becomes increasingly restricted and Anna must learn to exist in a transformed world, where none of the familiar Western rules apply. Random arrests and torture become the norm, women are required to wear hijab, and Anna discovers that she is no longer free to leave the country.

As events reach a fevered pitch, Anna realizes that nothing is as she thought, and no one can be trusted…not even her husband.

A Bitter Veil is available for $6.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime at the Kindle Store

Now, for the giveaway:

Simply leave a comment on this post {and specify if you’d like a Kindle or Nook copy!} to be entered to win one of two eCopies of Libby Fischer Hellmann‘s A Bitter Veil!*

Want more opportunities to win? Share this giveaway via the buttons at the top of this post, and leave a separate comment stating that you’ve done so! {Every share/comment counts as an extra entry!}

Entries will be closed after midnight on Sunday ~ and two random winners will be chosen and notified next week!

Good Luck!

*eReaders, please consider leaving a review on Amazon after you have read your gifted eCopy! No matter the level of your honest star rating, it’s a great way to give back to the authors! :)

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

Congratulations to the two winners!

Laurie Gibbs

Digna

Your eCopies will be gifted shortly!

Top Five Under Five Friday! {Women Sleuth Mystery}

Happy Friday! Check out the Top Five Under Five Bestselling Women Sleuth Mystery eBooks from the Kindle Store!


 

 

#1 ~ Snake Skin: A Lucy Guardino FBI Thriller (Lucy Guardino FBI Thrillers, Book #1), CJ Lyons ~ $0.99 {4.5 Stars, 107 Reviews}

#2 ~ Desperate Housedogs, Sparkle Abbey ~ $1.99 {4.5 Stars, 39 Reviews}

#3 Secret Hollows – A Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery (Book 7), Terri Reid ~ $2.99 {5 Stars, 36 Reviews}

#4The Black Stiletto, Raymond Benson ~ $4.99 {4.5 Stars, 30 Reviews}

#5Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes (A Rose Gardner Mystery), Denise Grover Swank ~ $2.99 {4.5 Stars, 72 Reviews}

Click on the above covers or links to read more about and purchase the Top Five Under Five Bestselling eBooks at Amazon!

Draw Something is Now on Kindle Fire! {$1.99}

The highly addictive game {I’m talking from experience}, Draw Something, is now available to download on your Kindle Fire!

You don’t have to be an artist to tap into your creative, doodle-loving side. Art is for everyone, so just Draw Something! The Draw Something app for your Android device and Kindle Fire is a social drawing and guessing game. Tap into your inner-Picasso, or tap into your inner-third grade art class. You only have to draw as well as your friend can guess.

Doodle with Friends

Draw Something is a turn-based drawing game you play with friends. Challenge friends on Facebook or Twitter, or let Draw Something automatically pair you with a new game buddy. Don’t be shy. We’re all artists in our own way here. The turn-based gameplay allows you and your partner to play at your own pace, and squeeze in as many turns as you prefer–and you’ll be trying to squeeze in a lot. In case you forgot, drawing is really fun.

Choose Your Muse

When it’s your turn to draw, choose one of the three word options to depict. Each word represents a different level of difficulty: Easy, Medium, and Hard. The objective is to earn gold coins. A hard word earns three gold coins, medium earns two, and easy earns one. If you’re not a fan of any of the words, use a bomb to blow them up for new word options. Don’t waste your bombs; you don’t get many.

Tools of the Trade

Draw Something offers more than 2,500 words to kick-off your creative journey (ad-free version). But there’s no need to stop there.

Color Packs

You don’t just have a lot of drawing to do, you get to color too. Add color packs to your masterpiece for that extra touch of perfection.

Brushes

Alter your brush size, erase mistakes, or delete and start over if you just aren’t getting it right. Once you’ve created the magnum opus that you envisioned, tap the Done button and wait for your friend to guess the word.

Seamless Syncing

If you already have the free version, switching to the paid version is easy! Your existing account, games, and friends will carry over automatically to this ad-free version.

The average Amazon Review is currently 4.5 stars {68 reviews}.

Click here to read  more about and purchase Draw Something from Amazon for $1.99!

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Awake: A Fairytale (Fairytale Trilogy), Jessica Grey {$2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

Sponsored Post

Jessica Grey‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of Awake: A Fairytale:

Alexandra Martin didn’t believe in fairytales…

Alex has always been more interested in rocks and science than stories about princesses and magic. Now she’s far too busy with her summer internship at the Gem and Mineral Museum to think about children’s stories. Between avoiding her former best friend and high school baseball star, Luke Reed, and trying to hide her unrequited crush on her mentor at the museum, the real world is occupying all of her time.

…Until she walked into one.

It turns out fairytales aren’t all fun and games. A curse has turned her neat and orderly world upside down, and to break it, she bands together with a fellow intern and a recently awakened princess who’s been asleep for almost 900 years. Can this trio of unlikely heroines put an end to an ominous enchantment, discover true love, and keep an ancient and evil magic from being unleashed on modern-day Los Angeles?

 

Accolades:

“Grey paints a vivid picture of magic working in unison with nature. It’s an enchanting adventure of courage, self-discovery and friendship. The story is woven together with humor, mystery and true love.” – Candy Morton, So Little Time (Amazon.com) 

“Author Jessica Grey has created a believable and enthralling fantasy world balanced between our familiar reality and the realm of fairy enchantments.” – Kimberly, Love Letters to the Library (Amazon.com)

“Awake is a phenomenal story. It takes all the familiar elements of Sleeping Beauty and twists them into something that is both recognizable and new at the same time. The dialogue between the three girls sparkled, and the relationship between Alex and Luke was romantic and real.

The magic scenes were my favorite parts of the story. Jessica Grey invented an entire system of magic for her book, and it is brilliant and consistent.” – Nancy Kelley, Austen Aspirations (Amazon.com)

Reviews:

Awake: A Fairytale currently has a customer review rating of 4.5 stars from 18 reviews. Read the reviews here.


Awake: A Fairytale is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

 

An excerpt from Awake: A Fairytale:

Alex was standing in the middle of a little field that was surrounded on all four sides by a dense forest. The sun was clear and bright, infusing the clearing with a warm, clean, white light. Near the edges of the field the light dappled down through the first few rows of trees, turning greener and cooler, the shade creating a blurring effect. Alex could only see the first couple of trees; after that the forest faded into a haze.

The entire field was carpeted with small scrubby plants. They were low to the ground, stretching out like a blanket over the clearing, and covered in thousands of tiny white flowers. As Alex watched even more bloomed. The small flowers were packed so tightly together it was becoming almost impossible to see the plants underneath. She could feel a soft, whispering movement against her bare feet and legs. She looked down to see that she was standing in the midst of the plants, and flowers were unfurling against her skin.

She was wearing a long white woolen dress that tucked in at the waist before belling out and draping against her legs. It was the same dress she has been wearing in the vision of the garden that the stones on the bed had given her. Unlike the rose garden though, the scent that hung in the air wasn’t heavy or drugging. Instead it was a light and sweet. The perfume of the pale, delicate flowers mixed with the pure clean smell of the sun and earth and the crisp forest air. The feel of the leaves and flowers against her skin wasn’t frightening either, as the rose vines had been as they wrapped around her in the school hallway.

She didn’t feel tired or scared, and she was most definitely herself. Those were her feet disappearing under hundreds of small, almost square flowers that were opening over them.

“What kind of flowers are they?” Alex heard herself say, although she wasn’t sure who she was asking.

The petals brushed against her skin even more, almost, she thought, like a dog rubs its head against its owner’s legs. She got the distinct sense the flowers wanted her to know them, to remember them somehow. A swell of whispers, a tinkling laugh on the breeze—

Alyssum. Sweet Alyssum. Don’t you know us?

She blinked slowly. She wasn’t entirely sure if she had actually heard the words. They floated up and away, as hard to catch as the breeze they were carried on.

Alex bent down and trailed her fingers over the flowers nearest her and she had the oddest sense of knowing. Alyssum.

She had asked and they had answered. A feeling of power flooded through her. Alex closed her eyes as her face turned up to the warm sun. She curled her fingers into the plants, thinking of the person she most wanted answers from.

She knew he was there even before she opened her eyes. There hadn’t been any sound, no sense of movement from him walking into the clearing, but she somehow felt it through the flowers. The alyssum against her fingers had somehow changed in texture as they whispered to her, alerting her to his presence.

“Luke,” she said as she stood up and turned around. He was standing several yards away from her. With the sun glinting in his tawny curls, he looked much like he had when she had seen him just the day before. But for some reason he looked more solid, even more broad then he had then. Alex wasn’t entirely sure that was possible. Luke normally dwarfed her, but here among the tiny, delicate flowers he was even taller, very solemn, and almost painfully handsome. He wasn’t wearing his usual jeans and t-shirt, but dark, form-fitting pants and a white shirt under a leather vest. There was some sort of emblem on the vest that Alex couldn’t make out. Her mind flashed back to the conversation she had just been having with Becca about playing knights and dragons with Luke. He had never looked to her more capable of slaying a dragon.

“Lex,” he replied.

Alex couldn’t help herself; she ran the few yards that separated them. The alyssum crushed under her feet as she ran, releasing even more perfume into the air. She stopped abruptly about a foot in front of Luke and looked up into his face.

“Are you dreaming too?” she asked breathlessly. “Are you really here? Or just a figment of my imagination?”

Luke smiled. “It’s your dream,” he answered, “but it might be mine too. It feels real to me.”

He held out his hand and Alex slipped hers into his. The warmth from his hand flowed up her arm and expanded in her chest. Her hand was so much smaller than his, and for a moment, standing there surrounded by the sweet smell of the alyssum and the warmth of the sun, it was as if the world had stopped spinning and had narrowed to just the two of them. She didn’t feel awkward, or irritated, or out of place. She was, for the first time in a very long time, on an equal footing with him.

“Do you know that you are asleep?” she asked. “That you’re enchanted?”

“Yes.” He looked grave. “I know.”

“Luke, I need to tell your mom something so she doesn’t worry about you.”

“Baseball,” Luke murmured as he reached out and wrapped a strand of her hair around his finger. “Have you ever noticed your hair is almost the color of honey?”

“Thank you.” Alex felt herself blushing. “But what do you mean baseball?”

“I had an offer to go check out a college with a scout. I am supposed to leave tomorrow—wait, what day is it?”

“It’s Thursday. But I thought…Never mind.”

Luke smiled at her lopsidedly. “I’m supposed to leave today, then. You can tell her I got a ride to the airport. And you can call the scout and tell him I can’t come. His number is in my backpack.”

“Your backpack; I forgot.” She took a deep breath and asked the question she really wanted to know the answer to. “Luke, why did you kiss her?”

A look of confusion crossed his face, followed quickly by a look of regret. “I’m not sure.”

“You’re not sure?” Alex asked in disbelief. She lifted her free hand and laid it on his chest. “How can you not be sure?” Her fingers played over the emblem on his vest. The pattern was very familiar. She looked down at it and gasped. It was a crest, twined in vines and bearing the image of a rose. The rose was studded with jewels—deeply dark red stones. It pulsed under her fingertips, the vines trailing around it writhing against the vest. And suddenly it wasn’t just a pattern. They were real vines, snaking out from the emblem and wrapping around Luke’s chest.

The alyssum flowers pressed themselves against her legs, murmuring urgently, but she didn’t know what they were saying. Luke looked at her with sad eyes as the vines tightened around him. He reached up and pushed her arm away from where it rested on his chest before her hand could get caught in the vines. She felt the scratch of thorns as the vines grasped vainly at her. He had moved her hand just in time. The vines twined rapidly around his arms, pinning them at his side.

“Luke!” Alex screamed and as she opened herself up to the fear, the sweet, tenuous link her mind had to the alyssum snapped.

The delicate, snowy flowers began to fade as the roses twined their way down Luke and started to move across the ground.

“Wake up, Lex.”

“No!” she shouted in fury. “Don’t tell me to wake up! Tell me how to wake you up!” The vines were reaching for her feet now, overly large roses blooming at a rapid rate, the thick scent beginning to wend its way into the clear air. “How do I wake you up?”

“Alexandra, wake up,” Luke commanded once more before the vines completely covered him.

Alex slid off the couch with a bone-jarring thud and woke up.

 

Awake: A Fairytale is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

 

Connect with Jessica Grey:

KINDLE DAILY DEAL: Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz is Just $0.99 Today Only!

“I Know Your Secret . . .”

Boarding school junior Stacey Brown has nightmares too real to ignore.  Her nightmares come true. This time they’re about Drea, her best friend who’s become the target of one seriously psycho stalker. To  try and protect her, Stacey’s working with what she knows-candles, cards, incantations, and spells…

 

In this Deluxe Spellbook Edition you’ll find:

Spells created by You and other keepers of secrets-poems, spells and meditations contributed by fans of this popular series. Extras also include an interview with the author.

What readers are saying:

5-Stars – Edge of your seat thriller!

The average Amazon Reader Review is currently 4.5 stars {93 reviews}.

Click here to read more about and purchase Blue is for Nightmares for $0.99* from Amazon

*Price goes back up to $7.96 tomorrow!

 

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Revelations of Doom (The Light Warden), Jedidiah Behe {$2.99}

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Jedidiah Behe‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of Revelations of Doom (The Light Warden):

Choices, we all make them, every day moment by moment. What most people do not realize is how a simple choice could very well alter their own life and those of everyone around them greatly. What would you do if you were blessed with the curse of being able to see evil and how they manipulate those around you? Would you choose to run in fear, ignore what you have just seen, or fight against something that no one else can see, and therefore limits their belief?

Lucian was chosen to be such a man, much to his dismay. On a path of vengeance he strikes out to find a murderer, unknowing that the world around him is at the brink of war. He pushes on through pain, treachery, despair and even death, only to receive a Revelation that shows him what could very well become the future of his world, and it terrifies him. He is given the ability to see the creatures of shadow, set to destroy the world of the living and manipulate mankind into an evil existence. He is now faced with choices that would change the world forever. The pathways to his destiny are set, but he must choose to follow the correct path, for free will must always be heeded.

 

Accolade:

5-Stars – What an Amazing Story! {Amazon Reader Review}

I picked up this book and hated putting it down. Every time I had to leave it I would be itching to pick it back up again. As long of a book that this was, I tore through it.

This book has everything: Tragedy, romance, action, suspense and so much more. I loved learning about all of the characters, each and every one of them, amazing. Lucian and Kyrianna were wonderfully created. The villains had me cringing and I found myself loving to hate them.

The plot was great, typical fantasy good versus evil, but intricate enough to make it very interesting.

Behe describes such a beautiful world. I was able to visualize every place that he took me in the story. I loved the cities and fortresses.

The action scenes were probably my favorite part of this book. The way Behe walks you through these battles makes you feel like you are watching it play out right in front of you.

There were some editing errors or maybe format conversion errors throughout the book but I found myself enjoying it so much that I started to barely notice them.

I think this is an amazing first book and I will be gnawing at the bit until the second book in this incredible series comes out.

Behe did an outstanding job with Revelations of Doom and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves an epic fantasy tale.


Reviews:

Revelations of Doom (The Light Warden)currently has a customer review rating of 5 stars from 4 reviews. Read the reviews here.


Revelations of Doom (The Light Warden) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99!

 

An excerpt from Revelations of Doom (The Light Warden):

The assassin slipped from shadow to shadow along a maze of corridors within the vast castle that was built into the side of the Barodine Mountains. Blood trickled off his fingertips, slowed by the tight strip of cloth he had tied around his upper arm just above a wound.

He had found an entrance into the castle. Now he crept along the dark interior walls, nearly invisible. He was truly a master of the shadows. He was in his element. The dark passageways and many intersecting halls were ideal for his trade. Like a dark cloud of death he floated down another hallway, avoiding contact, not wanting to leave any dead bodies that would be found and cause an alert. Sometimes an hour would pass with him moving only several feet. Progress was slow. He was well trained on the basic structures and layouts of castles and palaces. Most were built in a similar manner, and it wasn’t hard to figure out where to find those of importance. This castle however, was amazing in its design of defense. The labyrinth of halls made it difficult to know what direction you were heading. They were all cut the same, with no identifying features that would help in their navigation. But Adrian was not without his wit. He used small dashes of chalk to mark the hallways he had been down. It didn’t take long before he found himself out of the maze of halls and into an area with larger rooms, one of which must have been the dining hall. And then he found what he was looking for.

What could only be the council chamber was a large rectangular shape. The ceiling was at least twenty feet high. Huge stone pillars lined the walls around the room stretching from ceiling to floor. The stone walls had intricate designs carved in them as well as the pillars. It had to be the best sculpting work he had ever seen. A long thick wooden table stretched the length of the room almost twenty yards. The table looked to be carved by the same hands that had done the stone walls. It was simply beautiful. At the back of the room was an elevated platform, seven stone steps led up to a massive marble chair, a throne. The arms were carved to look like legs of a beast, a lion, he discovered, when he looked to the backrest. It was carved into a huge head of a lion. It was quite impressive. One who sat in the seat would have the appearance of sitting in the cradle of the mighty beast. The king’s chambers were generally close to the council room.

There was the slightest noise that came from the hallway outside. Adrian slipped over to the back corner of the room, melding into the shadows. He waited, mentally scolding himself for letting the beauty and craftsmanship of the room capture his attention so. He heard no other sounds coming from the hall but he needed to check and make sure. He moved to the doorway and slid across checking each end of the hall as much as he could see. There was no one, unless they were standing flat against the inside wall where he wouldn’t have been able to see them. The only way to check was to enter the hall. He certainly wasn’t going to simply stick his head out there for a look. No, that was a good way to get one’s head lopped off. He calmed himself and with a vipers speed he leapt out into the hallway landing on his hands and rolling to a crouch against the far wall. The movement was executed perfectly. Not the faintest sound could be heard. After a quick glance confirming there was no one in the hall he slipped back into the room.

 

His stomach lurched. Icy prickles ran all over his skin. He thought he was seeing things at first. A man was sitting on the throne that he had just been admiring and was staring at him with not even the slightest bit of concern. His first instinct was to turn and run but something told him that he would not survive that venture, by the look on the man’s face. He sat in the large chair with a look of complete calm. It was just as he had envisioned it. The man looked to be sitting in the cradle of a mighty lion. And by his casual appearance it was as if he actually thought the lion would protect him. But the assassin did not fall for the appearance. He quickly appraised the man’s skill by his outfit. He wore no armor and carried no weapons except for two ornately jeweled gauntlets that protected him from fingertip to elbow. The backs of his hands were covered with a thick steel slab that stretched from his wrist just past the knuckles. It was secured by a leather strap that wrapped around the hand and jointed at the wrist. At the end of the steel plate above the knuckles rose three short, thick, squared spikes. And three larger squared spikes ran up the middle of each forearm plate. The brightly polished steel was rimmed with fine gold. There were small intricate designs etched into the gauntlets and filled with gold. The assassin marveled at the fine craftsmanship. He had seen lesser ones selling in markets for a small fortune.

The man wore robes that were cut from what must have been an extremely expensive cloth. But the assassin took note in the design of the outfit. It was obvious that this man used his entire body as a weapon. His tunic was sleeveless so as not to impair his arms. His leggings were loose fitting and tucked in, below the knee, to thin leather boots that were wrapped tightly in cloth from ankle to knee. He was as tall as the assassin but his frame looked to be chiseled from stone.

Just the fact that he wore no armor told the assassin that this one was not to be taken lightly. He had heard of men like this before, men that trained their entire lives, making their bodies into lethal weapons. He allowed himself to grin. If this fool thought he was a match for an assassin he was making a grave mistake. Assassins were trained to take a life with deadly proficiency. His body was a lethal weapon as well. He had been trained from a young age in nothing other than the art of killing.

He started walking toward the man in the chair slowly, taking the path around the table to the right so as to set up his left hand for a throw. He had a small throwing knife inside his left handed black leather gauntlet, and with a small unnoticeable twitch of his wrist, he could drop it into his waiting hand and in a blink, launch it at a target with pinpoint accuracy.

“So I suppose that any moment now a dozen men will come running in here and cut me into pieces?” asked Adrian as he moved ever closer.

The man continued to stare, remaining in his casual posture on the seat. He raised his hands out to his sides. The corded muscles in his arms rippled with the gesture.

“No men will come. It is just you and I assassin. But fear not, my name is Solomon and I am the one you have come to kill.”

Adrian slowed a bit. This man can’t be such a fool. He thought that any second, soldiers would come rushing in and cut him down. How else could he be so calm, so confident? “So you are the King?” He kept his eyes on the strange man as he stepped closer. The rest of his senses reaching out in all directions searching for any other threat.

“We have no King,” said Solomon, “but as I said, I am the one you seek.”

Adrian was beginning to tire of this crazy fool. “So what are you? Or should I just call you the dead man.” He stepped closer, a few more steps and he would be within range for his dagger. He would not miss.

“I am a priest.”

 

Adrian was caught off guard by this last bit of information. How could they have no King? He had never heard of such a thing. He decided that this man was only trying to trick him. He was probably sent as a diversion while their true King tried to escape.

“If you think that I won’t kill you because you’re a holy man, you are deadly mistaken.” He was within range, the priest still sat there as if he had an invisible shield protecting him. The assassin wasn’t fooled by his casual pose, he knew the man was poised, ready to attack, this was all meant to throw him off guard. It didn’t matter, even if he reacted quickly enough and managed to move so the dagger wouldn’t hit him in a critical area, that reaction alone would be the only hesitation the assassin needed to move in close enough and finish the man with his blade.

“It is you who are mistaken, assassin.”

As the priest finished those words, Adrian let loose his dagger, the motion was a blur. The dagger ripped through the air aimed at the heart. The priest brought up his gauntlet, as if he had been waiting for the dagger to come, and easily deflected it. It rang off the wall behind the throne.

The assassin was shocked at the seemingly effortless block of his dirk but he didn’t slow his attack, in three quick strides he was at the priest, just after his dagger rang of the gauntlet. His blackened steel blade came out, snapping up and thrusting in at the priest’s chest. The thrust was meant to cause the priest to throw up a block and then he would retract and slap the block away coming in with a second thrust under the arms, slamming his blade into the priest’s heart. But he underestimated this man.

Solomon was surprisingly fast. Before Adrian could pull his hand back the priest brought both his in, slapping the outside of the assassin’s sword hand with one, and the inside of his forearm with the other. Adrian blinked in shock as his blade flew from his grip across the room, but he didn’t hesitate, and thrust in with his other hand like a knife, aiming for the throat.

The priest easily caught his outstretched fingers. It was like he knew what the assassin was going to do before he did it. As he wrenched back Adrian’s fingers with a quick jerk, there was a snapping sound. He screamed out until the priest’s foot came up behind him, slamming into the back of his head. His face smacked into the marble, lion-head backrest with a loud crack.

Solomon was still sitting in the chair as Adrian toppled backward, falling down the steps landing hard in front of the large center table. He clutched his forehead as blood rolled down his face.

The priest stood from his chair and slowly started down the steps as Adrian recovered, trying to keep himself steady as he stood. His arm shook as he held his mangled fingers. He tried to make himself look defeated and hoped it would give him the opportunity that he needed. The priest reached the bottom step and the assassin lunged into the air snapping out a spinning back kick at the priest’s head. It was a desperate move, if landed it would have surely snapped the priests neck, but if it missed he would be left vulnerable. Desperation led to disaster.

The priest easily ducked the kick, coming in close to Adrian as he landed. He was off balance from the attempt at the deft maneuver and there was nothing he could do as the priest came up with a left elbow under his chin, snapping his head back with the blow. Adrian thought he heard his jaw snap. The priest was still in motion, spinning around backwards connecting with a right elbow to his head, whirling him around. As Adrian came back to facing the priest, the man landed a powerful sidekick into his chest, sending him flying through the air, to land on top of the table.

Solomon was shocked to see the assassin immediately roll backwards with the momentum, come up in a crouch and then spring back into a flip, landing at a safe distance away. He gave the assassin a slight bow of his head. “Impressive.”

 

Revelations of Doom (The Light Warden) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99!

 

Connect with Jedidiah Behe:

Twitter: @jjbehe
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