Football Widows, Pat Tucker {$3.79}

Football Widows are people who feel like their relationship dies during the NFL season. Their significant others are so focused on the game, they may as well be single.

What readers are saying:

Good read and the book was like looking into a TV realty show. Some of the characters were likable and some others were crazy!

This is a must read !!
If you are thinking about reading this book then I say do it !!
It makes you wonder who you can tell your deepest secrets to,or should you ?.
Be careful your secrets might come back to haunt you. They might even appear in a book ? Lol

Football Widows was so good that I am getting ready to order another book by the same author.

The average Amazon Reader Review Rating is currently 4.2 stars {18 reviews}.

 Click here to read more about and purchase Football Widows for $3.79

THE FRUGA FIND OF THE DAY: The Day After Yesterday, Kelly Cozy {$1.99}

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Kelly Cozy‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of The Day After Yesterday:

The events of a single night can change a life forever, as musician Daniel Whitman discovers when he loses his family and home.

Overwhelmed by grief, unable to find solace in his music or accept comfort from his friends, he flees up the California coast. Daniel thinks he’s leaving everything behind, but his journey will take him to the places and people that will help him find his way back.

The Day After Yesterday is a story of hope, friendship, and the redemptive power of music.

 

Accolades:

“It’s breathtaking, heartbreaking, and just plain beautiful. I can’t recommend it enough.” – Tia Bach, author of Chasing Memories

“This novel captured both my attention and my heart. The characters are realistic, multi-faceted, and endearing. I shared in both their laughter and their tears, and was saddened to reach the end of their tale. Ms. Cozy’s masterful look into the human condition provides a message of hope and understanding for anyone that has experienced a loss, or knows someone who has. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading any future ones.” -Mary Smith-Fuller, Flurries of Words

“The novel presents you with these people and their situations, their desires and aspirations, their dark secrets and hidden fears, and then. . .life happens to them. Some of it is wonderful, some of it is a struggle; it is simultaneously the ultimate blessing while also being profoundly unfair in ways both vague and specific. Essentially, it will leave you laughing after it has left you sobbing, and one way or the other it will drain your tearducts to the point of dehydration. Emotional sissies need not apply. It is an excellent read, and a wonderful insight into the resiliency of the spirit as well as our capacity for love.” – A. J. Muller (Amazon reader review)

Reviews:

The Day After Yesterday  currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.6 stars from 19 reviews. Read the reviews here.


An excerpt from The Day After Yesterday:

Highway 101 was a dark strand along the California coast, all but invisible in the night and the rain. On this strand like a bright pearl was the Shoreline Diner. Zack Fuller stood by the window. Even when he shaded his eyes against the diner’s light and peered outside, he could see nothing. There were few lights on this stretch of the 101 and the storm shut out moon and stars. Nothing but midnight-in-a-mine-shaft darkness and no sound save for the rain, coming down hard, and the wind’s occasional lonely wail.

Zack placed one palm against the window to feel the chill. He rather liked these coastal winter storms. He much preferred them to the downpours of his native Louisiana; those warm rains smelled like wet plant life and reminded him too much of ‘Nam. By contrast, California storms were soothing, even inspiring at times. Some nights like these made him think he ought to try writing a book, or maybe a short story. He’d thought of an opening line — It was a dark and stormy night — but now had the uneasy feeling it might have been done before.

He turned away from the window. Two hours until closing but only five customers in the place — not surprising. No one was going out in this weather if they could help it. Four of the five he knew by sight and experience. Local teens who left their tables a mess, used foul language when ladies and kids were nearby, and never tipped. They’d long since eaten and paid, and were just killing time while waiting for the storm to die down. Zack ignored them and made his way to counter, where the fifth customer sat. A redhead, she sat with an empty plate in front of her — she’d had the Evening Breakfast Special. She had a book open but Zack had never seen her turn a page; she seemed more interested in the sketchpad she doodled on. The redhead gave Zack a quick up-and-down glance as he approached. Impossible to tell if she was pretty, for her face was half-hidden by her hair.

“Care for a refill?” Zack held up the iced tea pitcher.

“Yes, please. Is it still raining?”

“Cats and dogs.”

She glanced at the windows. Zack took the opportunity to sneak a peek at her doodlings, and was surprised by their quality — no stick figures or meaningless scribbles but detailed sketches of a saguaro cactus, a cat, the Golden Gate bridge. There were words on the sketchpad too, but he had to look away before he could read them, so she wouldn’t see he’d been peeking.

The redhead turned back to her sketchpad, biting her lower lip nervously. Zack could tell she didn’t want to venture out into the storm in search of a hotel, and he didn’t blame her. Pitching his voice low so the local quartet wouldn’t hear, he said, “Stay as long as you like. It’s not safe to be driving in this weather.”

“But you’ll be closed. I don’t want to keep you from home.”
Zack shrugged. “I’ve got insomnia.” A souvenir from ‘Nam. “And I don’t want to go out in this either.”

He thought of offering her a place to sleep. He had one — a tiny antechamber in the back among the canned goods and industrial-size boxes of flour and salt. An army cot with wool blankets, a space heater, and even a privacy curtain he’d sewn. He lay there on insomniac nights or when he and the old lady were going through a bad patch. But as he was about to offer he saw the way she regarded him — warily. Zack wondered how much of that was due to his admittedly scruffy appearance — bald head, tattoos, and long, white, braided beard. And how much of her wariness came from experience, from the telltale bump of her nose that told him it had been broken at least once.

She offered him a small smile. “Thank you. You’re very kind. I’m from Arizona, I’m not used to driving in this kind of rain.”

“Stay as long as you like.”

Zack occupied himself with cleaning the grill, brewing fresh coffee and decaf, and reading a New Orleans-set mystery titled The Jambalaya Alibi. The local quartet had run out of inane chatter. The redhead was writing something in her sketchpad. The storm had long since become white noise ignored by them all, so when the diner’s door opened with a thud, Zack started and looked up.

The man stood just inside the doorway, blinking dazedly as if astounded by the diner’s light and warmth. He was white-faced and soaked through — he might have emerged from the sea, which of course was impossible given the storm-tossed tide. He must have been walking in the rain for hours. Water dripped steadily from his clothes, his hair, the backpack he wore.

Zack walked over to the man, bringing a mug and the coffee pot with him. “God almighty, look at you,” Zack said. “Sit down and warm up.”

The man didn’t move save to look back over his shoulder. He seemed to be searching for someone. “Where did…” he said, but didn’t finish.

“It’s OK. Sit down.” Zack put a hand on the man’s shoulder — sopping wet and stone cold. When the man sat down, Zack poured some coffee. “Drink up.”

“Thank you.” The man hadn’t lost that dazed look. He sat with water pooling around him, hadn’t even taken off his backpack. He reached for the coffee mug, then with no warning slumped and toppled to the side, pitching headlong out of the booth. Zack dropped the coffee pot and caught the man bare inches before he’d have bashed his head a good one on the linoleum.

Zack grappled with the unconscious man’s dead weight while his shoes slid in rainwater and spilled coffee. He yelled over his shoulder at the local kids: “Hey, little help here!” But they were already out the door. Useless little twerps.

“Here.” The redhead helped ease the man to the floor. She checked the man’s pulse, his breathing, felt his forehead with the inside of her wrist. She did it quickly and professionally. Zack recognized that from field hospitals and the VA. “When he spoke, was it clear?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“He didn’t slur his words?”

“No. Is it hypothermia?”

“Probably. I think it’s mild but he should go to a hospital. Where’s the nearest one?”

Miles from here, he told her, and with the weather who knew how long it would take for an ambulance to get here.
She nodded, asked if there was some place they could get him warm.

Zack flipped the diner’s sign to Closed and together they carried the man into Zack’s makeshift bedroom. They worked with the efficiency of the nurse and the soldier and soon had the man’s drenched clothes off; they laid him down on the cot with the wool blankets over him and the space heater on.

Only once did Zack see the woman taken aback — when they took off the man’s shirt and saw the scars, red lines standing out angrily against the pale skin of his inner wrists. Not old scars, either. Zack knew wounds and gauged them to be a month or two old, at most. Nearly four inches long, straight and sure. The work of a determined man. The redhead paused for a moment, then went on with her work.
When they had the man as dry and warm as they could get him, she checked his pulse and breathing again. “He’s getting some color back,” she said as she held the man’s right hand. “That’s good. I’m going to stay with him a while.”

“OK. Let me take care of this.” Zack gathered the wet clothes into a plastic bag, thinking he’d hang them up somewhere to dry. Lastly he picked up the backpack and took it with him to the diner’s main room. He sat down in a booth and after a moment’s consideration, opened the backpack.

He expected to find the belongings a sodden mess but they were in Ziploc bags and had stayed dry. The box of Ziplocs, its cardboard wet, was the topmost item. It seemed a recent purchase; Zack found tucked inside the box a barely legible receipt from a convenience store some 25 miles north of here. Surely the man hadn’t walked 25 miles in the rain? No wonder he’d toppled over.

Zack reproached himself for prying but curiosity was too strong and the bag yielded up its contents. Two sets of clothes, jeans and shirts, not laundry-fresh but not stale either. One bag most curious — it held a woman’s gauzy blue scarf, shimmering cobalt beads embroidered on it, and a green teddy bear, most of its fuzz long since worn away. Zack shivered. He knew mementoes when he saw them. The last bag was a treasure trove. House keys. A wallet. A prescription bottle — Zoloft, half full. Papers: discharge papers from a hospital, referrals to a doctor, a sheet of notepaper from a motel with several names and addresses written on it, a letter sealed and addressed but with no stamp or return address.

Zack opened the wallet. About $40 or so. Standard-issue credit cards. A driver’s license for Daniel J. Whitman of Los Cielos. Zack had the notion Los Cielos was to the south — around San Diego perhaps? Health insurance and library cards. Musician’s Union membership cards. A “Buy 10 cups, get the 11th free” card for a coffee house called Java Man — he had three more to go. Nothing that explained why Whitman was so far from home with little beyond the clothes on his back, sporting wrist scars, near to collapse with cold and exhaustion.

Feeling like a voyeur, Zack turned to the wallet’s photo insert. A Christmas studio picture of Whitman with a pretty blonde woman and a towheaded young boy, the sort of picture sent out with holiday greeting cards. Whitman was a good-looking fellow when he wasn’t impersonating a drowned rat. A picture of the boy in his preschool years, holding the green teddy bear. Zack felt a queasy thump and flipped through the remaining photos hurriedly. A group shot of the blonde woman with what looked like her siblings and parents. The boy having a toy lightsaber duel with a bespectacled man, who turned up in the next picture, a wedding portrait with him and a brunette. Are these people looking for you, Whitman? What happened? Why are you here?

“Pardon me.”

The voice was soft but Zack jumped, and guiltily snapped the wallet closed.

“He’s better now,” said the redhead. “Just sleeping. I’m going to stay up with him if that’s all right.”

“Sure. You want something to eat? BLT maybe?”

“Oh, yes please.”

“I’m making a fresh pot of joe, would you like some?”

She cast a longing look at the pot. “I… I’d better not.” She made a vague gesture toward her midsection, didn’t seem to be aware she was doing it. Zack understood immediately. He was the oldest of six children and knew a breeding woman when he saw one.

Zack made the sandwich and brought it to her, along with a glass of skim milk. She was leaning over Whitman, examining his head by the light of a flashlight. Zack peered closely. “He didn’t get that bump when he fell. His head never touched the floor.”

She nodded. “He’s got a laceration too. That’s why I wanted to keep an eye on him. Pupils are dilating fine, so there doesn’t seem to be a concussion.”

Zack went back to his booth and packed Whitman’s belongings back into their Ziplocs. He picked up the backpack, intending to hang it up somewhere to dry, and as he did noticed several long green strands tangled in the backpack’s straps. Frowning, he looked at them more closely. Sea grass. On the wet clothes was more sea grass, and there was sand on the jeans, shoes, and socks.
Zack shuddered. He’d ventured out to look at the sea during these winter storms and had been amazed how fierce the gentle blue Pacific could turn. More amazed now that Whitman was here and not feeding the fish. He hung the wet things over chair backs to dry, then sat and laid his head down on the table. A long day and a longer night, and it wasn’t yet midnight. Zack didn’t mean to doze off but jerked awake at the sound.

The cry was not loud but the quality of it — the oboe tone of fear and desperation — cut through Zack’s uneasy sleep. He remembered a cry much like it, many years ago: some poor PFC stepped on a mine and wandered off mostly blind into the rice paddies where he bled out over half the night and called for his mother most of that time.
This voice wasn’t crying out for mother. It called for Sarah. And there was a phrase, one the unlucky PFC had used: Help me. Still woozy from his abrupt awakening, Zack went into the back where he found the redhead and the man holding each other. Zack couldn’t make out most of the man’s words. As for the redhead, she seemed unsure of what to say; she seemed uncomfortable in the man’s clutch. “Everything’s all right,” she said.

Whitman was having none of it. “No. Not ever.”
Nothing she said soothed him. But then she sang.
Something strange about her singing. Her voice was untrained, wobbly at times, yet a quality to it that wasn’t so much comfort as compassion. It said that she understood why he’d ended up here even if she didn’t know the exact reason. What she sang: it was slow, and strangely old-fashioned. The sort of music you’d hear from some woman in medieval clothes, playing a lute. Or so it seemed to Zack.

She sang, and held the man’s hand. A different song, one that made Zack think of long-ago Midnight Masses on Christmas eve; for a moment he even thought he caught a whiff of incense. The redhead didn’t look up at Zack — all her attention was on Whitman. He’d quieted down, lay still. Zack couldn’t tell if he was still awake. After a while Zack asked in a whisper if everything was all right, and she nodded, not taking her eyes off Whitman.

Zack went back to his booth. He meant to ask her about the songs. He laid his head down again, tried to remember the words she’d sung. A verse or two he could recall: Do way, dear heart, not so. Let no thought you dismay. Though you now part me from, we shall meet when we may. When he woke the rain had stopped. The dawn showed pearl-gray clouds and here and there a hint of blue. Whitman slept on in the makeshift bedroom. The redhead was gone.

 

The Day After Yesterday is available for purchase at:

 Amazon Kindle for $1.99

 

Connect with Kelly Cozy:

Author Website: http://kellycozy.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kelly_Cozy

Between Boyfriends, Sarka-Jonae Miller {$0.99 After Memorial Day Sale!}

At first glance, twenty-one-year-old Jan Weston has it all: a gorgeous boyfriend, fun friends, and wealthy parents who take care of all those pesky credit card bills.

Then her boyfriend dumps her, her friendships fall apart, and her parents cut her off. Suddenly without money, without a man, and without a plan, it’s time for Jan to grow up.

Determined to get her life back on track, Jan decides it’s time to make it on her own. Can she find her way as a single lady in San Diego? Can she fix her friendships, her job prospects, and her hair? And can she keep her vow that she’ll never date again, even after she meets a guy who just might be perfect for her?

BETWEEN BOYFRIENDS is a sexy, hilarious story of living life, finding love, and growing up… but not necessarily in that order.

What readers are saying:

“This book is the ultimate chick-lit read–a light-hearted romp focused on the travails of Jan, a college student dumped by her boyfriend, an SDSU student. The moment proves an epiphany, as Jan resolves to stop dating and find fulfillment as a single woman.” – East County Magazine

Between Boyfriends “presents a unique twist on the chick lit genre.” – Hollywood & Vine magazine

“Over the course of the book, Jan, who is in her early 20s, begins to grow as a person and even strikes up a true friendship with a man, a first for her.” – Rancho Santa Fe Review

“Between Boyfriends is a delicious slice of chick-lit! Snappy dialogue sets this story apart from the pack as it follows a young woman who, financially cut off by her parents when she fails to attend school, learns that life is more than her Amex card, and reunites with a mother who has endured her own brand of pain.” – Jan Moran, bestselling author

The current Average Amazon Review Rating is 4.2 stars {56 reviews}.

Click here to read more about and purchase Between Boyfriends for $0.99

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: LOVER IN LAW, Jo Kessel {$0.99}

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Jo Kessel‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of LOVER IN LAW:

Harbouring an unmentionable secret is not an obvious route to maternal bliss……….or is it?

Ali Kirk’s had a bad year. An ambitious London lawyer, her courtroom performances have started to slide and her obsession with having a baby is undermining her relationship with boyfriend Adam. Come January 1st she resolves that in the next twelve months her life has to turn around.

Life, however, is about to get worse. Busy juggling fertility tests with a high-profile criminal trial at the Old Bailey, Ali starts burning the midnight oil with powerfully handsome colleague Anthony de Klerk. On a night that she’s slipped on some sexy underwear to boost her flagging self-esteem, Ali and Anthony finally end up in bed together. And then she falls pregnant. Ali turns super sleuth on her own secret paternity suit – who is the father, Adam or Anthony?

En route to childbirth there are romances and rows, dalliances and denials, secrets and suspense. And the ultimate, uncomfortable realisation that only one thing will set Ali free: the truth.

Lover in Law is Jo Kessel’s first novel. Her second novel, Weak at the Knees, will be published this Summer. It’s a story about love, loss, friendship and broken promises which travels from London to the heart of the French Alps.

 

Accolades:

I LOVED this book. It was so good that the last bit kept me awake way past my bedtime – it was impossible to put down! The story was well written and the characters easy to identify with straight away. It was a great story with some interesting little twists and a realistic take on modern day life and all the expectations that go with that. A mixture of detective, love, intrigue and suspense! It’s the sort of book that makes you question your own morals and principals! What would I have done in Ali’s situation – would I have got into it in the first place??

This is not my usual reading fodder but I found myself looking forward to getting back to the story every time I had to put the book down. Interesting to read about life in chambers and very good storyline. I enjoyed this book immensely and find myself thinking back to it often now that I know what happens in the end. What a pickle that Ali got herself into !

The writing is sharp and to the point, the characters are very realistic and her description of life as a barrister very interesting. Jo kept you wondering who the father was right to the very end.

Jo Kessel is a great story teller and has written a real page turner. I was gripped from the start and could not put it down once started. Ali Klerk is a modern day woman and this book covers issues that women could easily relate to. I can’t wait for Jo Kessel to bring out her next book. Brilliant!

A real page turner, couldn’t put it down. Anthony is your fantasy come true.

It’s entertaining, and I like the author’s voice in this book. I always like to read something a little different than most books in this genre, and this was definitely different (in a good way, of course).


Amazon Reader Reviews:

LOVER IN LAW currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.6 stars, with 7 reviews! Read the reviews here!

 

LOVER IN LAW is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99


Excerpt from LOVER IN LAW:

My pink panties are lying somewhere on Anthony’s bedroom floor, strewn with the rest of our clothes. They’d been lying at the back of the cupboard, unworn since that day I tried them on in France. Why I put them on this morning, of all mornings, is probably best understood by my subconscious. They were the last item of clothing to be removed and didn’t go unnoticed. They should have though, because they should never have come off, but it’s as much as I can do to concentrate on the here and now. On Anthony running his hands masterfully over my body, up and down the insides of my legs, tracing a teasing line from my collar-bone to my navel, dwelling lightly on my breasts as I arch to meet his touch, telling me they’re not too big, not too small, but perfect. I writhe underneath as he lies on top of me, softly kissing the sides of my neck, the front and then my mouth, more urgently. I dare a man to have a better body than his. His frame is tall, per fectly proportioned, broad yet lithe, naturally athletic with beautiful muscle definition. He is, quite simply, gorgeous. And the feel of his skin, oh his skin, on my hands and my body. It’s soft and smooth and I can’t get enough of it as my hands stroke up and down his back, from his shoulders to his sculpted buttocks, pulling him tighter and closer, yearning to have him inside. His eyes, big dark brown eyes with flecks of black and green, his thick, yielding, sexy mouth and the deep, rich, coffee-colour of him are intoxicating. In all my life I’ve only ever been with one man. I never knew I could feel so heated, this animal, this necessity, this pleasure and such ecstasy as he finally enters huge and deep and slowly and expertly, exquisitely brings us to climax.
————————-

“Don’t go,” he says, trying to catch my arm as I roll over to get up.
“I’ve got to,” I say.
It doesn’t feel right to stay the night, even if Adam is away. Anthony offered to drive me home, but I opted for a cab, which is on its way. I get dressed, item by item, as he lies there, watching.
“You have got the most beautiful body. You know that, sexy lady?”
He must be talking about somebody else.
“You’re not bad yourself.”
I turn my head. I shouldn’t be here, having this conversation. Accepting and paying compliments this way.
“What is it?” he asks.
He can’t see my face, but the way I’m holding my body, so very, very still, probably gives away how I’m feeling. Tense, confused, excited and yes, the first soupcon of guilt is seeping in. I’ve never done anything like this before, never even been tempted.
“I’m sorry,” he says. “I know you’re attached. I should have left well alone. It’s just there’s something about you,” he peters out.
I don’t want to ruin the beauty of what we’ve just shared and it’s not about attributing blame anyway.
“Don’t apologise,” I say. “It takes two to tango.”
“I know, but I want you to know that I don’t make a habit of this,” he carries on. “Seducing women who are attached isn’t really my style.”
The buzzer rings.
“Right then,” I say, picking my jacket up off the floor. “I guess I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Anthony pulls the sheet round his waist, gets out of bed and follows me to the front door.
There’s an awkward moment. I’m not quite sure what to say. I turn the latch.
“Right then. See ya.”
“See ya,” he replies.
He bends down, kisses me on the mouth, I open the door, kiss my finger, place it to his lips and leave.
—————

 

LOVER IN LAW is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99


Connect with Jo Kessel:

Website: www.jokessel.com

Twitter: @jo_kessel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jo.kessel.75

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Color of Heaven, Julianne MacLean {$0.99}

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Julianne MacLean‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of The Color of Heaven:

A deeply emotional tale about Sophie Duncan, a successful columnist whose world falls apart after her daughter’s unexpected illness and her husband’s shocking affair. When it seems nothing else could possibly go wrong, her car skids off an icy road and plunges into a frozen lake. There, in the cold dark depths of the water, a profound and extraordinary experience unlocks the surprising secrets from Sophie’s past, and teaches her what it means to truly live…and love.

Full of surprising twists and turns and a near-death experience that will leave you breathless, this story is not to be missed.

 

Accolades:

“A gripping, emotional tale you’ll want to read in one sitting.” – New York Times bestselling author, Julia London

“Brilliantly poignant mainstream tale.” – 4 ½ starred review, Romantic Times


Amazon Reader Reviews:

The Color of Heaven currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.3 stars, with 127 reviews! Read the reviews here!

 

The Color of Heaven is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99


Excerpt from The Color of Heaven:

Not long after I crossed the border into New Hampshire, the temperature plummeted. If I had been out walking, I would have felt it on my cheeks. The chill would have entered my throat and lungs, but I was strapped tightly into the cozy confines of my vehicle with the heat blasting out of the dashboard vents, and was therefore shielded from the conditions outside. I will always wonder what brought that deer out onto the road just as the puddles from the melting snow turned to ice. I saw her out of the corner of my eye, galloping onto the pavement, and my whole body went rigid.

Wrenching the steering wheel left to avoid her, I hit the brakes at the same time, which was, of course, the worst thing I could have done.

The car whipped around 180 degrees, so I was now facing the oncoming headlights from the vehicles traveling behind me. My tires skimmed sideways across the pavement toward the shoulder of the road.

I remember everything in excruciating detail, the noise especially, as my car rolled five times down the steep embankment. Glass shattered and smashed. Steel collapsed. The world spun in dizzying circles in front of my eyes, so I shut them and gripped the steering wheel hard, bracing my body against the jarring impact as the roof collapsed over the passenger side and the windows blew out.

Down I went, tumbling and bouncing over the rocks like a stone skipping across water.

Then all at once, it was over.

There was only white noise in my ears, and the thunderous sound of my heartbeat.

I opened my eyes to find myself hanging upside down in my seatbelt, with the side of my head wedged up against the roof.

The engine was still running. Other sounds emerged. Music blasted from the radio – an old favorite song of mine from the 80’s, The Killing Time, which was ironic, but in that heart-stopping moment, I was not that reflective. All I could think of was getting out of there.

Panic hit me. Hard. I felt trapped, frantic to escape, and began to thrash about.

I groped for the red button on the seatbelt buckle, but my hands were shaking so badly, I couldn’t push it.

My breaths came faster and faster.

I cried out, but no one heard.

Then suddenly, out of nowhere, a whip cracked. The vehicle shuddered.

I froze and tried to see past the smashed windshield in front of me. Everything outside the car was pure white, covered in snow.

If only I knew where I was. If only I could see something beyond the broken glass.

But it didn’t matter what I could, or could not, see. I knew what was happening…

My car was sitting on its roof, resting on a frozen lake. The crack of the whip was the sound of the ice breaking.

Creak… Groan…

My SUV shifted and began to slowly tip sideways…


The Color of Heaven is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99


Connect with Julianne MacLean:

Website: http://www.juliannemaclean.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/JulianneMacLean

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JulianneMacLeanRomanceAuthor?ref=pb

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Playing Along, Rory Samantha Green {$2.99}

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Rory Samantha Green‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of Playing Along:

Two Lives. Two Continents. One Song…

Then: George Bryce was an awkward, English schoolboy fantasizing about being in a band.

Now: George is frontman of Thesis, an overnight indie scene sensation. Intense, creative and self-deprecating, his childhood dreams have all been fulfilled – so why does George still feel so lost?

Then: Lexi Jacobs was a confident Californian high school cheerleader, planning her future marriage and a meaningful career.

Now: Lexi is searching for substance in a life full of mishaps. Cautious, bemused and rapidly losing the control she used to rely on, none of her teenage dreams have delivered and she’s left wondering, “What next?”

Follow George and Lexi as they navigate their days thousands of miles apart. Fly with them from London to LA and back again, as George copes with the dynamics of his tight knit band and loose knit family, while Lexi juggles her eccentric new boss, bored best friend and smother mother.

Even though there’s an ocean between them and their worlds couldn’t be further apart, George and Lexi are pulled together through music, and their paths appear determined to cross.

The question is – when?

At the end of this delightfully quirky, irresistible story, you too will be left wondering which of your fantasies are destined to come true…

 

Accolades:

“You’ll fall in love with George and Lexi…All the characters are so clearly defined. ””Green is an amazing writer, can’t wait to read more from her.”

“Love the references to music and the time it takes place. It’s hard to find books that will pull you in like PLAYING ALONG.”

 

Reviews:

Playing Along  currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 5 stars from 6 reviews. Read the reviews here.

 

Playing Along  is available for purchase at:

 

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

 

 

An excerpt from Playing Along :

PLAYING ALONG

by Rory Samantha Green

THEN

GEORGE, 1st November, 1994, Stanford in the Vale, Oxfordshire

“Your brother’s grown up a bit, hasn’t he?”

George holds his breath when he hears these words swoop past his bedroom door. He’s thirteen, but his sister is two years older and her friends are an enigma. They smell like grapefruit and cigarettes and layer mascara on their lashes until they look like pandas. Most of them have boobs. Big ones. He’s fascinated by the divide. George’s sister, Polly, has maybe said one word to him in the last two weeks and that was muttered in disdain when he had mistakenly knocked her make-up brush off the counter and into the toilet. It had floated forlornly in the bowl like a drowned rodent.

“Arsehole!”

But now there’s a chance of redemption. Despite his skinny legs and spotty rounded face, it seems as if one of the awesome grapefruit girls has noticed something in him. Something unique. He reckons it will take a very special woman to appreciate his nuances. His love of Grover from Sesame Street (so underrated – why did Kermit get all the limelight?) and his adoration of the most amazing music the universe has to offer – Bowie, U2, Portishead, Dylan, New Order. The woman who takes his heart must take his record collection as well.

“My brother?” replies Polly in dramatic shock. ”Yeah, you could say he’s grown up – into a first rate troll.”

The grapefruit girls giggle and their laughter snakes under his door and rings painfully in his ears. George bites his bottom lip, scraping his teeth against peeling skin. Another nervous habit.

“And listen to this… he claims one day he’s going to be in a famous band and be on the cover of NME and have groupies. What a joke!”

George, prepared for the inevitable cackle of mockery, grabs his headphones and his CD player and presses play with an urgency. “Fools Gold” by the Stone Roses floods his brain. He turns up the volume as loud as it will go and hurls his notebook across the room where it ricochets off the wall and slides under his bed. The notebook is filled with songs. George has been unpacking heartache from his sensitive soul since the age of ten.

His sister’s harsh words are never as brutal as the words he calls himself.

He knows what he wants, but he’s pretty damn certain that a boy like him is never going to get it.

LEXI, November 1st, 1994, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California

“I’m psyched about the game tomorrow!” Andrew enthusiastically polishes off his second burrito, gazing longingly at Lexi across the table. She smiles at him mischievously knowing that she drives him crazy with her Juicy Fruit breath, her shiny brown hair, and her legs which have conveniently slimmed out and toned up since she started diligently attending an after school kickboxing class.

“I’m excited too,” she replies, playfully nudging his size twelve basketball shoes under the table. “I hope you win, so we can celebrate.”

Lexi and Andrew are the couple at Pali High. Just embarking on their senior year, they have been an item since the eleventh grade. Andrew first kissed Lexi on Zuma beach with the waves lapping at their bare feet two nights after passing his driving test. His parents had given him a convertible Mustang for his sixteenth birthday and when he drove her home, one hand on the wheel, the other holding hers, Lexi had a sweet taste lingering in her mouth and salty wind in her hair.

“So unfair,” her best friend, Meg, had complained the following morning. “It’s not supposed to happen like that. He’s supposed to drool, or run out of gas, or step on your toe or something. Why is your life like an Audrey Hepburn movie and mine like a bad TV sitcom?”

And Lexi certainly didn’t want to be smug, but there was some truth in Meg’s observation. Things just seemed to go her way. Her parents had raised her to believe in herself and face life with a positive outlook. Not that she was syrupy or self-obsessed. She worked hard at her studies and had an excellent Grade Point Average. She volunteered at a local homeless shelter, fingerpainting with vulnerable kids after school. She’d started up a current events debate club in her junior year and persuaded many of her friends to join. They now competed nationally. Oh and of course, she kickboxed and played on the girls’ volleyball team, and thankfully had the sort of hair that didn’t frizz on damp mornings when the fog rolled in off the coast.

Lexi had lost her virginity to Andrew on the floor in his bedroom on a Sunday afternoon while his parents shopped at Target. He had lit a scented candle stolen from his mother’s bathroom, and the smell of orange mimosa flooded the room. “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by UB40 was playing on his CD player.

When it was over (slightly painful, but not nearly as uncomfortable as she had imagined), he leaned on his elbows beside her and whispered in her ear, “I can’t help falling in love with you…” One year later, sitting opposite him watching him wipe guacamole from the side of his lips, Lexi feels in her heart that she loves him too. In fact she is sure, along with almost everyone else at Pali High who either knows them or admires them from afar, that they will most likely end up getting married. Lexi’s mother has saved her own wedding dress for the occasion, wrapped in delicate layers of archival tissue in an ivory box on the top shelf of her cupboard. “It’s just waiting, my beauty,” her mother has promised.

Lexi can picture their home now (a cozy New England style house, a few blocks from her parents, with whitewashed floors and shabby chic couches), two or maybe three kids (she really doesn’t have a preference for boys or girls) and most definitely a dog, a black Labrador called George. She imagines a fulfilling and creative part time job as well, maybe a teacher or an art therapist, something that leaves her with the freedom to be a hands-on mom. So what if she is only seventeen? It’s just a dream, but life has already proven to Lexi that dreams do find a way of coming true.

NOW

GEORGE, 1st November, 2009, Greenwich, England

“George… I love you!” On certain nights this professed love is yelled out a hundred times from men and women alike. Most nights it disappears into the roar of the crowd, but at some gigs a single voice will miraculously separate out and hover above the throng of faceless fans and George hears it and needs it to be true.

George is at the piano finishing the final chords of “Beyond Being,” a poignant ballad based on his teenage existential musings and a lyric which popped into his head one day as he polished off a carton of mint chocolate chip ice cream. The audience sways in time and cell phones punctuate the blackness like rechargeable flames. George hangs his head as the song comes to a quiet end, his voice wavering with a sad clarity.

Thousands of fans cheer and whoop in adoration and George looks up shyly with his trademark grin. ”Thank you very much for coming. We appreciate you might have better things to do with your Saturday nights, like watching X Factor, and the boys and I really enjoyed playing to you tonight…” This, as intended, whips up the crowd into an even louder frenzy as George and his band mates lope off the stage with a schoolboy charm that has captivated fans across the world from Denmark to Chile, and every destination in between.

George has come a long way from the corner of his brown bedroom. His band, Thesis, stormed onto the music scene with an unstoppable force after his best mate and guitarist, Simon Ogden-Smith, persuaded George to start up a Myspace page and stream some of their music. George, Simon, Simon’s cousin Mark, and Mark’s sister’s friend Duncan from Australia, had been playing local pubs in Islington and had been slowly building up a loyal fan base. But the Myspace page catapulted them into a whole new stratosphere, and with a swiftness which at times found George’s throat closing with unprecedented anxiety, they burst onto the alternative music scene and made their mark. Three months after being signed by a record company they were flown to Los Angeles to record their first album,Twelve Thousand Words. George Bryce, still a sweaty lonely teenager at heart, found himself surrounded by attractive, fawning women called Claudia and Agnes and Nell. They willingly offered their breasts to him without any pleading involved and he indulged in a whole new adolescence at twenty-two.

The band’s first big hit was a rocking anthem called “Grapefruit Girls,” an opportunity for George to get his revenge on those elusive females who had inducted him into the hall of shame. George became an unlikely heartthrob, a self-deprecating lad who wore T-shirts with Grover on them and gave interviews about obscure comic books and rare vinyl. His boyish looks, lopsided smile and thick shaggy black hair, once his greatest insecurity, suddenly became irresistible. Even America, notoriously hard to break for an unheard-of alternative band, lapped up the accents and the awkwardness. Critics either loved or hated Thesis and George made a point of reading every review, because no matter how famous they became, he never stopped caring about what people thought of him.

 

Playing Along is available for purchase at:

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs, Elissa Ambrose {$2.99}

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Frugal Find of the Day

Description of Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs:

If a woman tries to preserve a marriage that has been damaged by infidelity, is she heroic or is she delusional? How many times does her husband have to cheat before she calls it quits? How many times does he have to get caught?

Meet Ellen Dunwell, doting wife, loving mother, high school teacher extaordinaire. She’s worried that her husband, the respected Dr. Jeffrey Dunwell, successful dermatologist, wonderful father, great lover, is having another affair. A man of many interests, Jeffrey also dabbles in real estate. But Ellen won’t confront him about what she’s sure is his latest interest, his perky new lab assistant, Keeley Wilder. She doesn’t want to sound like a shrew, but worse, what if she’s right? As if that’s not bad enough, her friends don’t understand her, her neighbor’s son is a Peeping Tom, and her angst-ridden teenage daughter is stashing pot in her room and dating a control freak. When Jeffrey suddenly disappears, Ellen nearly slips over the edge. Instead, she pulls herself together and sets out on a mission to find him—only to get caught up in a web of intrigue and danger, where nothing is as it seems and the stakes are her life.

 

Accolades:

“In Ms. Ambrose’s realistic portrayal of Ellen’s situation, you can understand how a woman would feel following an affair, how difficult it is to regain the trust that has been severed, and how dramatically it impacts an entire family…If you’re looking for a fast, lifelike piece of women’s fiction, look no further. You won’t regret it.”

“on the edge of my seat all the way to the stunning ending”

“The mystery was really a mystery until the very end. I had problems setting the book aside to go about my real life. Plenty of humor sprinkled in with intrigue! Really a delightful read!”


Amazon Reader Reviews:

Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.5 stars, with 20 reviews! Read the reviews here!


Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

 

Excerpt from Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs:

From Chapter 6, “Don’t Let the Bastard Grind You Down”

It all started two years ago when I arrived home from school and found a package on my doorstep. It was from La Femme Mystique, the racy new lingerie store that had opened at the mall. Even though it was addressed to Jeffrey, I assumed it was for me. Why else would he buy lingerie?

I had no reason to be suspicious. Our life had an easy rhythm, and I was content. I thought we both were. We’d hoped for a larger family, but when that didn’t happen, we’d adjusted. We went on, as families did. So even though Jeffrey was working overtime at the clinic and had a sideline in real estate, even though he spent one or two evenings a week with his racquetball friends, aka The Boys, I thought, as any trusting wife would think, that this gift was his way of saying, “I’m sorry I haven’t been there for you. This is to let you know I’m thinking of you.”

Eager to discover what my husband had bought to appease me, I tore open the box right there in the foyer. Lying on a bed of lavender tissue were red lacy panties and a push-up bra. The bra was strapless and patterned with pitchforks, the panties crotchless and sprouting wings at the hips.

Was Jeffrey getting religion or was he getting kinky? Was he saying he found our sex life boring? Maybe I wasn’t woman enough for my husband. “You have to be a whole woman,” my mother used to say. Would my father have stayed if she’d been whole? What did that even mean? I used to look at her and try to discern what part of her was missing.

You’re being silly, I told myself, fingering the lace. Your husband loves you, and this is his way of telling you how much. I grabbed the box and headed to the bedroom to try on the lingerie. If a whole woman was what he wanted, a whole woman was what he’d get.

Two red stripes pinched at my hips and chest. I was petite, but this outfit would hardly fit a Barbie doll. Not that I faulted Jeffrey—what man knew his wife’s dress size? I giggled when I saw myself in the mirror. I looked like a cross between a hooker and a barbershop pole. My giggling evolved into full-blown laughter and I couldn’t stop, even when I doubled over with pain. If Claire had been home, she would have gotten a never-before-seen view of her mother, and then she would have had me committed.

Come on! Was this what men wanted? Did women actually wear these things?

I noticed the envelope and came to my senses. The lingerie was a gift after all, and who was I to knock another person’s fantasy? Didn’t I have fantasies of my own? (They did not, however, involve Lucifer.) I plucked out the card:

My angel, my temptress, tease me, please me, make me yours. Wear this on Saturday. Waiting in anticipation, your Devil-May-Care.

Saturday? This Saturday?

On Saturday, Jeffrey would be at that dermatology convention in Flagstaff.

Oh.

My laughter started up again, only this time it was born of panic. It came out as a constipated chortle, as if I’d read about an incurable disease and recognized the symptoms.

This weekend was the mother-daughter luncheon at the high school. He knew I couldn’t go with him to Flagstaff.

Not that he’d asked.

On the dresser sat several framed photographs, some of Jeffrey and me, some of just Claire, some of the three of us in various stages of family life. Aiming for the wedding photo, I hurled the box across the room and knocked over my bottle of Allure, a present from Jeffrey for my forty-ninth birthday. Drifting through the room, the overly sweet scent of lilac made me want to gag.

A folded piece of paper flew out of the box and soared toward me like a paper airplane. I watched, mesmerized, until it ran out of steam and landed on my thigh. I picked it up. Two addresses were listed: ours, here in Scottsdale, in the left column under Jeffrey Dunwell; the other, Lariat Lane in Tempe, in the right column under Angelica Kravitz.

The only Angelica I knew worked in Jeffrey’s clinic. Angelica Woodward, the overly made-up, pint-size, permed receptionist who’d recently thrown out her husband because, as she’d put it, according to Jeffrey, “He’s a lowlife sack of shit.”

Was Kravitz her maiden name? Maybe she’d discarded her married name along with the sack. Very generous of her, giving back his name. Considering she’d kept everything else.

But if Jeffrey was having an affair, wouldn’t he have it with some brainless twitty half his age? Wasn’t that what middle-aged men did? Seriously, who had an affair with a brainless twitty old enough to be my…sister?

That I felt insulted rather than hurt was probably due to shock. In my stupor, still wearing Jeffrey’s love-garb, I ran to the kitchen. Asia glanced up in expectation, pouting when I didn’t stop to pet her. “What are you looking at?” I snarled. Tail straight in the air, she paraded over to her dish and waited for me to make amends. Figuring a little kitty karma wouldn’t hurt, I gave her a treat before pulling out the phone book.

Angelica wasn’t listed under Kravitz, but when I looked up Woodward, I hit pay dirt. A Trevor Woodward lived at the address listed on the packing slip.

Well, not anymore.

Apparently, the information in the phone book was out-of-date. Obsolete, just like Trevor. Apparently, too, the lingerie store had made a fatal boo-boo. It had sent the underwear to the bill-to address instead of the ship-to.

“Where shall we send ze underwear, Monsieur Dunwell?” I imagined the little French salesgirl asking. She’d be bursting out of her bustier, teetering on four-inch heels.

“The lady is at this address,” Jeffrey would answer, scribbling away.

Lady, my ass.

Jeffrey might have gotten away with it, if not for the screw-up. Even if I’d been in charge of the household accounts, he knew I’d never see the bill. He had a few credit cards apart from me entirely, which he used for his other business.

Clearly, not all his business was business.

I ran back to the bedroom and threw myself onto the bed, but the tears wouldn’t come. Maybe I wouldn’t let them. Maybe I feared I’d never be able to turn them off.

I rolled onto my back and stared at the ceiling. It’s just a fling, I told myself. Didn’t these things usually end? But at what price? Thoroughly chastised and emotionally castrated, the errant husband begs for forgiveness, and the betrayed wife is torn between saving her marriage and ripping out his heart.

That lowlife sack of shit.

An hour later, he called to say he’d be late and don’t hold dinner. I got dressed, tossed the tart’s tawdry togs into the trash, and headed out to Lariat Lane.

And I waited.

And then I saw him. With great flourish, he swerved his BMW into her driveway, jumped out of the car, and headed up the walkway. Coward that I was, I sped away.

 

Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs is available for purchase at:

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The House of Six Doors, Patricia Selbert {$2.99}

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Description of The House of Six Doors:

Winner USA “Best Books 2011″ Awards

Multicultural Fiction

Finalist in General Fiction and Women’s Lit

1st Runner Up Eric Hoffer Award 2011 General Fiction

Serena, at thirteen, leaves her home on the colorful Caribbean island of Curaçao and her beloved grandmother, Oma, when her ambitious, impulsive, and emotionally unstable mother takes her and her sister to the United States in pursuit of the American Dream. They drive from Miami to Hollywood, where their luck runs out and a 1963 Ford Galaxie becomes their first American home. Compelling and exotic, the narrative weaves together the hard realities of 1970s Hollywood and memories of an innocent past. The story is rich and tangy, filled with images from around the world. The timeless wisdom Serena’s grandmother imparted to her becomes the compass by which Serena navigates the unscrupulous world she confronts. Filled with brilliant and visceral characters from multiple countries that come to life and reveal themselves and their cultures, The House of Six Doors gives the reader an intimate look at the complexities of an immigrant’s journey and a young girl’s coming of age in a multicultural Los Angeles. A pageturner, this story is so distinct and intimate that it becomes universal and leaves the reader with profound insights.

 

Accolade:

The US Review of Books

The House Of Six Doors was a landhuis, or plantation house, that my grandfather owned. It was painted a brilliant cobalt blue  with white trim”

This story plays upon your senses, making you feel the terror and pain of Serena and her sister, Hendrika, as they leave the only stability and family they have known. The pair travel to the United States from Curacao with their adventure seeking, emotionally unstable, mother. Mama was like a butterfly, flitting from one flower to another. She was always uprooting her family and moving them somewhere better, but their mother’s obsession with money, which began when she returned from the war in Europe, transforms into an unfulfilled quest for riches, causing untold emotional and physical damage to her children.

The girls’ grandmother, Oma, was one of the few people that had given the children stability and guidance. She loved her daughter, but felt sorrow for the pain her poor life choices caused her grandchildren. Struggling in a new land and culture finally gave way to a semblance of a good life for Serena, although Hendrika wasn’t so fortunate. The family’s earlier struggles left her drug dependant, resulting in deportation to Curacao. Still their wretched unhappiness makes the few triumphs truly exhilarating.

Patricia Selbert is an author with genuine knowledge of immigrating to the United States. The research and compassion are evident. With a compelling plot and characters, the reader is held from the early going, experiencing the colorful Caribbean culture in matching verse.

 

Reviews:

The House of Six Doors currently has a customer review rating of 4.5 stars with 17 reviews! Read the reviews here.

 

The House of Six Doors is available to purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

 

An excerpt from The House of Six Doors:

Curaçao Remembered

Raised in Curaçao speaking four languages, Patricia Selbert has always drawn her inspiration from her native island, with its rich history, vibrant architecture, stunning natural beauty, and diverse, resourceful people.  This excerpt from the novel takes us back to Curaçao in the 1960s.

…It was getting dark. Serena sat in the back seat of her family’s car as she waited for her mother and sister to return from another job interview. Their move to Hollywood, California had not turned out as they’d expected. They were living in their car and struggling to survive. Serena longed to be back home, she closed her eyes and recalled happier times in Curaçao.

… My grandfather, stood in front of me. “Let’s go to the House of Six Doors!” he declared. The landhuis was a one-and-a-half-hour drive from town and down dusty dirt roads, and about half a mile from the ocean. Next to the house was a windmill to lift water from the well. There were no other buildings for miles around, just rolling hills and gray-green brush.

The house got its name because it had six doors, three on the ocean side and three on the bush side. The ocean-side doors opened directly on the center of the house. Here there was a large living room, a dining room, and a kitchen. The three bush-side doors opened onto a gallery that ran the entire length of the house. Oma had said all the plantation houses were built this way to let the trade winds flow through them. When I asked her why six doors and not four or eight, she told me each door had a purpose. The three ocean-side doors were to bring in gratitude, wisdom, and compassion, and the three bush-side doors were to let out greed, ignorance, and anger. I loved staying at the House of Six Doors.

I found myself sitting in the backseat of Opa’s car, cradling on my lap the cake Oma had made six months before for his upcoming birthday. It was a Bolo Pretu, a black fruitcake soaked in rum, Curaçao liqueur, and Marsala wine, and decorated with snow-white icing and tiny silver balls of candy. Bolo Pretu was made only for very special occasions and tasted best six months to a year after it had been made. Opa’s birthday must have been a significant one, although Oma didn’t mention his age.

We traveled to the landhuis in my grandfather’s car. Boxes were tied to the roof of the car with rope; the trunk was so stuffed that several boxes were hanging out halfway. On the way, we stopped three times. We stopped at Shon Pètchi’s house, a modest mud house painted red with two green windows on either side of a green front door. The thatch on the roof was dry and sparse. Shon Pètchi came running when he saw our car arrive. He waved and smiled as if we were Santa Claus. Chickens and goats scattered in all directions. Three dogs tied on long ropes under a tree barked furiously when Oma got out of the car and went to greet Shon Pètchi. She shook his hand and asked how he and his family had been since the last time she had seen him. His wife came out of the house with three of her children. Her oldest daughter stopped feeding the donkey and smiled at us. It was good to see familiar faces. “I’m glad everyone is well. Look how much the children have grown,” Oma complimented him.

“Thank you, Shon Elena, thank you for your kind words. How long will you be staying at Kas di Seis Porta? Are you having any parties?”

“Oh yes, we’ll be here for the summer, and this year Don Diego’s birthday will be a big celebration.” I listened from the car. I was bursting with impatience to see all of Oma and Opa’s friends and my aunts, uncles, and cousins again.

“Would you like a goat for the party? I have some fat ones, really nice ones. They’ll be ready two weeks from Saturday. That’s the day, no?”

“Yes, that’s the day, but I would like to cook iguana. This is a very important year.” Shon Pètchi smiled and nodded; the whites of his eyes and his white teeth glittered in the sun against his black skin.

“Ah, Don Diego is having a special birthday? All right, I will find you the fattest, tastiest iguanas on the island.” Iguanas once had been abundant on Curaçao but now they were difficult to find. “Don’t worry, Shon Elena, I will catch them myself.”

A mango dropped from the tree, just missing his shoulder. Everyone looked up. Hidden among the branches was a ten-year-old boy, one of Shon Pètchi’s sons, trying to make himself invisible. I knew how much fun it was to climb a mango tree. Shon Pètchi frowned at his son and then turned back to my grandmother, apologizing and smiling.

We drove on down the dusty road lined with thorny, small-leaved shrubs. The occasional black-and-yellow barika hel flew from its hiding place, startled by the sound of the car. A turn off the main road led us to the beach and Shon Momo’s house. His one-room house was painted light blue with dark blue doors and windows. The recently thatched roof was golden yellow. Shon Momo sat in his rocking chair under a big tamarind tree.

He was asleep as we drove up, but when Opa turned off the engine he opened his eyes and stared at us as if we were a mirage. His three short wooden boats lay in the yard, fishing nets scattered around them. Fishing lines were hanging in the trees and an old anchor leaned against the house. His dog, tied on a rope, barked and wagged his tail. Oma got out of the car and slowly approached Shon Momo, who recognized her as she got closer, and his face lit up. “Shon Elena, kontá bai?” How are you? Very kindly, he took my grandmother’s hands in both of his and, nodding and smiling, he welcomed her and asked what he could catch for her.

His black skin looked like polished leather from being out on the ocean for so many years. He waved to my grandfather as he moved slowly and gently to Opa’s car, as if he were a boat on a calm sea. He took my grandfather’s hand in his, his big black hand covering Opa’s slight white one, leaving only Opa’s wrist showing. Shon Momo assured my grandfather he would bring him all the fish he could eat. With a smile and a wave, we were on our way again. Lizards scurried in panic as the car bumped along the dusty road.

Shon Tisha’s tiny pink house had a corrugated roof and a car in the driveway. The antenna on the roof proudly announced she owned a television. A chicken-wire fence ran around her yard, confining her dogs, cats, chickens, and goats. Shon Tisha was a very large woman; her hips jutted out eight inches to either side. She could easily rest children or baskets on them. We picked up her daughter, Mirelva, who would clean and serve while we were at the landhuis. Mirelva and I had played together for longer than I could remember. She knew me so well we could communicate without saying a word.

“How long before we get to the House of Six Doors from here?” I asked Oma.

“Well, if we were traveling by horse and buggy, the way your grandfather and I used to go, it would be another hour, but since we are in a car, it will be only fifteen minutes more. Aren’t you lucky?” Oma smiled. We turned onto another road. The House of Six Doors came into view as a speck at the top of the hill in the distance. A panoramic view of the landscape appeared as we ascended. Scrubby divi-divi trees, with their gnarly trunks and their branches all leaning in the same direction, were reminders that the trade winds always blew the same way.

Oma pointed out the window. “Serena, look at those trees. Curaçao doesn’t get enough rain to grow big shade trees so it gets strong winds to shape the trees we have, into giving shade.” It was true; a divi-divi tree had the perfect shape to lie under in the midday sun. As our car climbed to the top of the hill, a herd of wild goats scurried in front of us.

Opa blew the horn and waved his hands outside the window, trying to give the goats some direction, but they were confused and terrified as they dashed back and forth, bleating frantically. Opa stepped on the gas to scare the goats with the engine’s noise, but the car surged forward, barely missing one of them. The cobalt-blue house patiently waited for us against a backdrop of green-blue ocean and light-blue sky.

As soon as we arrived, we opened all the doors and windows to clear out the musty smell of the closed house; it was immediately replaced with the smell of the ocean. I helped Oma take off the colorful sheets that covered the furniture. Mirelva was busy unloading and unpacking.

Opa went to the kitchen and came back with a large bottle of blue Curaçao liqueur and three tiny glasses. “Ban dal un bríndis, Elena,” he said, calling for a toast as he poured. Opa always kept a large supply of Curaçao liqueur at the House of Six Doors. He put his arm around Oma and she raised her glass to meet his. “Un bida largu bon bibá,” he said. To a long life, well lived. Opa and Oma clinked their glasses, then each touched their glasses to mine, which contained only a tiny drop of Blue Curaçao. I pretended to drink: I didn’t like the taste of the liqueur, but I loved the occasions on which it was served. Opa took Oma’s glass from her and set it on the table. He hummed an old waltz as he took Oma in his arms, and they danced across the room. I sat watching them, giddy with joy.

Serena opened her eyes and her joy disintegrated. She realized she was still in the car in Hollywood, alone.

 

The House of Six Doors is available to purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

 

Connect with Patricia Selbert:

Websites: http://thehouseofsixdoors.com/http://patriciaselbert.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/patriciaselbert.author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PASelbert

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: A Bibliophile Christmas (The Bibliophiles), Karen Wojcik Berner {$0.99}

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Description of A Bibliophile Christmas:

HOLIDAY DIGITAL SHORT

From the author of “A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One)” and “Until My Soul Gets It Right (The Bibliophiles: Book Two)” comes a heartwarming holiday tale of friendship and family.

Sarah Anderson and Annie Jacobs have not had the best of years. And now, here come the holidays.

Great.

Sarah’s husband Tom is stuck in Boston after a nor’easter dumps a foot of snow on the day he is scheduled to leave for home.

And Annie is working hard at picking up the pieces of her life after a painful divorce.

But, maybe with a little help from their friends, Christmas won’t be a total wash after all.

This holiday season, take a break from all the hustle and bustle, pour yourself a beverage, and have “A Bibliophile Christmas.”

 

Accolades:

“At turns funny, frustrating (at least for the characters), and touching, A Bibliophile Christmas is a fun read that will be appreciated by fans of Berner’s series or anyone looking to get into the holiday spirit. Chances are you’ll recognize situations you’ve experienced yourself.”-BigAl’s Books&Pals

“A heartwarming tale from one of our favorite authors, Karen Wojcik Berner’s A Bibliophile Christmas is a story of love, family, and friendship that can make a chilly day much more pleasant. Featuring near-disasters around the holidays, Sarah and Annie need to find a way to rescue the holidays from bad luck and disappointment. This is a story any true bibliophile will love!” – Kindle Fire Department


Reviews:

A Bibliophile Christmas currently has a customer review rating of 4 stars from 1 review. Read the reviews here.


A Bibliophile Christmas is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99

 

An excerpt from A Bibliophile Christmas:

“God rest ye merry, gentlemen. Let nothing you dismay…”

Of course, men need not dismay, Sarah Anderson thought. What did they have to do for the holidays anyhow? Show up? Wow, that was taxing.

Her husband slammed the lid of his suitcase. “I’ll be back on Friday. Will you pick me up, or do you want me to take a cab?”

“If you’re back on Friday, you might as well go straight to the lawyer’s office.”

“Christ, Sarah. That’s extreme.”

“Friday’s December twenty-sixth.”

“Christmas is this week?”

“And they pay you the big bucks? You’d better be here on the twenty-third. The boys would be heartbroken if you missed Christmas Eve.” She lowered her voice. “You have to help me with the you-know-whats.” Let Tom think the kids cared if he made it home for Christmas all he wanted, as long as he returned in time to assemble the various cars and bikes slated to magically appear under the tree on Christmas morning. That was the one thing on her “To Do” list with the initial “T” next to it, one measly task among the never-ending items marked with an “S.”

“Four days? How the hell am I going to get the system up and running in only four days?” He picked up his suitcase, laptop backpack, and phone. “I’ve got to call Deanna and Shrevani and move Wednesday’s meeting to early Tuesday.”

She trailed him through the kitchen, family room and down the hall. He stopped briefly at the front door to dial a number on his phone.

She leaned toward him. “Have a good trip?”

He merely nodded, shushing her, as he balanced the phone between his cheek and shoulder. Picking up his luggage, he dashed outside to the waiting limousine.

Silly her, she had thought he might actually give her a kiss. “No need for formal goodbyes,” she muttered, slamming the front door so hard that the pinecones almost flew off the wreath.
Seven days until the big event. By this stage of the game, Sarah had already completed seventy-five percent of her list. Christmas cards depicting Santa’s workshop were signed, addressed, stamped, and mailed, complete with the requisite darling photo of the boys. The tree was decorated, wrapped boxes containing cinder blocks placed strategically around it, a barrier through which two-year-old Alex couldn’t pass. Since he had become mobile, Alex had spent most of the last year climbing. First, it was stairs. Going up was no problem. Watching him come down was the part that nearly gave Sarah a heart attack after seeing him tumble and land with a thud. Blood trickled over his mouth and chin from his nose banging on the last stair. Eventually, the little tyke learned how to scoot safely down each step on his bottom. After stairs, Alex graduated to the backyard fort’s ladder, followed by the rigging leading to the fort’s top tier. Each stage was accompanie d by many “Oh, shit!” moments that required several deep breaths for Mommy and the secret desire to down a bazillion martinis to calm her nerves.

The Christmas presents had been purchased, wrapped, and hidden someplace high and safe from prying eyes. Nicky was getting older and had heard some rumors questioning the validity of a certain round fellow typically clad in red. Other gifts, like those for the extended family, were also hidden in case Alex couldn’t control himself again. Last year, he had flown through all the presents on Christmas Eve like some sort of Tasmanian Devil. What did he know? He couldn’t read, an oversight her sister-in-law Marjorie could not get past. “When Peter was that age, he was already reading Cat in the Hat.”

Really? Her son could barely form a two-word sentence. He would be lucky not to flunk second grade.

The only items left on the “To Do” list were grocery shopping, cleaning, baking, and cooking. Tight, but doable. Maybe she and the boys would bake a batch of cookies together tomorrow

Anyhow, Tom would be home to occupy the kids while she prepared as much of Christmas dinner as possible before they left for the Andersons’. She was heading into the home stretch.

***

Sarah snapped Alex into a fresh, one-piece footie pajama. Yawning, he cuddled into her arms as they read Goodnight Moon. Somewhere between saying goodnight to the stars and air, Sarah kissed his damp head, a whiff of sweet honey combined with baby shampoo filling her nostrils.

“Mommy loves you,” she whispered. Alex smiled and pointed at the book, reminding her she wasn’t finished. After the last page, she tucked him in, turned on his teddy bear music box, and closed his door halfway.

“Hey, wanna watch Frosty?”

“Shush, honey! I just put Alex down.”

“Oops, sorry,” Nicky whispered. “Let’s go downstairs.”

They crept along, soft strains of Brahms’ “Lullaby” echoing down the hall, mindful that any creak of the floor could potentially wake up Alex, whom they still referred to as “the baby,” even though he was firmly into the toddler stage and would be going to preschool next year. Sarah didn’t want to think of that right now.

She had to get through Christmas first.

Copyright © 2012 Karen Wojcik Berner

A Bibliophile Christmas is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99


Connect with Karen Wojcik Berner:

Double Love (Sweet Valley High #1), Francine Pascal {$2.99}

Who will Todd choose—the glamorous Jessica or the gentle Elizabeth?

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