Love at Absolute Zero, Christopher Meeks {$0.99}

LOVE AT ABSOLUTE ZERO is a comic romance about Gunnar Gunderson, a 32-year-old star physicist at the University of Wisconsin who’s determined to meet his soul mate within three days using the Scientific Method. As he channels his inner salmon (for speed dating), he accidentally steps on the toes of a visiting Danish schoolteacher–and his life turns upside down.

“A deeply resonant read that manages to be funny without sacrificing its gravity. Highly recommended!” -Heather Figearo, Raging Bibliomania

“Thermodynamics are nothing; it’s that love thing that is so frustratingly hard to figure out. ‘Love at Absolute Zero’ is an excellent read that is very much worth considering, highly recommended!” -Midwest Book Review

What readers are saying:

Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalist

“Highly recommended!” – Midwest Book Review

“The book is a hilarious read! – BookGeeks (UK)

“Laugh-out-loud funny!” -NY Times bestselling author Darcie Chan

The average Amazon reader review is currently 4.2 stars {43 reviews}.

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Domestic Entanglements, Karen Laven {$2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

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Description of Domestic Entanglements:

Limited discount offer of $1.99

Domestic Entanglements will make you smile

Blade Dafner is a hunk of a man, but a married one. Dali Wright is a career woman, looking for a way to pay for Graduate School.

Meanwhile, Blade and his wife are planning to hire a surrogate to carry the child Blade so desperately wants but his wife, Daisy, doesn’t want to ruin her surgically enhanced figure for.

When Blade and Dali meet by chance, its electrifying. Little do they realize in this first encounter how entwined their lives will soon become…all by chance.

A joyfully funny and enjoyable journey ensues between Blade, Dali, and Daisy, Dr. Dirk Dynk (Daisy’s gynecologist), and the ancient butler, Buford.

NOTE: This is an updated and edited version of Karen Laven’s novel The Surrogate Who Cleaned Up.

˃˃˃ Romantic, funny and light-hearted !



“Domestic Entanglements is a deliciously saucy tale, full of sly wordplay and comedic situations. But amid the chuckles is an affecting story of how a self-centered, ambitious young woman, out for some quick money, finds herself drawn into emotional situations that teach her unexpected lessons about family and love. An enjoyable and rewarding read.”

If you enjoy a good laugh (or dozens of them) and a charming story about characters who are unique and unforgettable, you’ll love Domestic Entanglements. The premise has a unique twist, too. If I had to pick one thing that I liked the most, it would have to be the snappy, clever dialogue. Will look for more books by Karen Laven!


Domestic Entanglements currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4 stars from 33 reviews. Read the reviews here.


Domestic Entanglements is available for purchase at:

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


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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love, Sebastian Cole {$0.99}

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Description of Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love:

What if you lost your true soul mate, the one person in life you were meant to be with? Would your love ever truly die? Not if you’re Noah Hartman, who refuses to let go of Robin after she inexplicably abandons their love and disappears from his life seemingly forever, her hidden secret yet to be discovered.

And when you finally accept your fate and do your best to move on with your life, what do you say when the unthinkable happens: your true love Robin reappears as your wedding ceremony to another woman is about to commence, looks deep into your soul with her loving, tear-filled eyes, and tells you the one thing you’ve desperately longed to hear for all of these years?

But the ending to this heart-wrenching love story has yet to be written, as Noah, old and sick in a hospital bed, tells his story of love and loss to Josh, a wise orderly at Mount Sinai Hospital. As his family members arrive to bid him goodbye, Noah discovers a far greater truth about his past, present, and future. Things are definitely not as they appear as the pieces of a shattered love are put back together in the remarkable final chapter of Noah’s life.


“This smashing debut by Sebastian Cole reads like the best of Nicholas Sparks with just enough schmaltz.” — Jon Land, bestselling author

“SAND DOLLAR is a strong pick for general fiction and romance collections, highly recommended.” — Midwest Book Review

“So to the hopeless romantics out there I say, Highly Recommended – have at it, this is a must-read. To the snarling cynics like me who mentally have their arms akimbo and their eyebrow raised, I say pick up Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love and surprise yourself by discovering the romantic in you.” —

“When I was told that this was the next great love story I was cynical, but it is totally true. Noah and Robin’s story is the greatest love story I have ever read.” — A Novel Review

“There are very few books which will touch the very depths of your soul. This is truly one of those books.” — Read Your Writes



Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.6 stars from 81 reviews. Read the reviews here.


Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99

An excerpt from Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love:

Of all the guests congregated inside Touro Synagogue, no one was more delighted than Miriam Hartman, mother of the groom. She was sitting in the front row with tissues in hand, her husband to her right, the bride’s mother — a close friend — to her left. If only Noah had married a nice Jewish girl like Sarah all those years ago, Miriam thought, his life would have turned out perfect, just the way she had planned. Instead, his life was ruined by that shicksa Robin he had insisted on marrying against her wishes. She and Jerry tried to nip it in the bud before it was too late, but Noah was stubborn, some nonsense about butterflies and the way she looked at him. For the life of her, Miriam could not understand why Noah never listened to his mother, because after all, she only wanted what was best for him. And at this point in Noah’s middle-aged life, Miriam concluded, Sarah was best for him. With all the bad decisions he had made throughout his life, proposing to Sarah appeared to be the only redeeming one.

Relishing in subdued victory, there was no need for Miriam to ever take credit for the role she had played in getting the two of them together. For all Noah knew, running into Sarah at the premiere of Sand Dollar happened by chance, or perhaps even divine intervention — if you believe in that sort of thing. However, there was nothing divine about it — not that time anyway — because Miriam had secretly planted her there.

Miriam was wearing a wide-brim chapeau with beige satin sash, tulle, and rose clusters. She had on a brown silk Carolina Herrera gown with sparkling gold beads and lace trim, an exquisite emerald butterfly-shaped broach pinned on the shoulder. A spectacular 22-carat emerald-cut diamond engagement ring eclipsed her finger, and long crystal-shaped emerald earrings dangled beside her slim neck. Sitting beside her, her husband Jerry resembled an eighty-year-old James Brolin, tall and thin, with manicured white hair and a commanding presence. He was wearing a black Brioni tuxedo accessorized by the black cane resting against the side of the pew.

The synagogue was filled to capacity by half the membership of Spring Valley Country Club, all wearing tuxedos and gowns for this black tie affair. It was a who’s who of Rhode Island’s most prominent Jewish community. Up on the bema, two thousand large white rose-heads adorned the white chupah. Standing underneath it, the rabbi gave Jerry a friendly nod, acknowledging the temple’s most generous benefactor. Just to the right, Noah was standing beside his best man, his brother Scott. They were wearing white formal tuxedos with tails on their jackets, white bowties, and white yarmulkes on their heads.

The conductor raised his baton, and the ten-piece orchestra started playing Canon In D. Heads turned as all eyes focused on the first bridesmaid walking slowly up the red-carpeted aisle in a wine-colored gown. After all six bridesmaids took their place on the bema to the left of the chupah, the superlative performance of Pachelbel’s masterpiece was concluded, and there was silence.

As the orchestra began playing Here Comes The Bride, all heads turned back down the aisle toward the entrance with anxious anticipation. Sarah was a beautiful, young woman, no doubt the most beautiful bride this congregation would ever see.

Fifty pounds overweight with a silver cross bouncing around her neck, Robin rushed through the front door into the synagogue in ripped jeans and a Block Island T-shirt. Stopping dead in her tracks, her eyes scanned the room. All five hundred congregants sitting in the pews were staring directly at her. Turning her head slowly to the right, she suddenly was aware of Sarah standing just a few feet away in a long, white wedding gown, a mortified look on her face behind her sheer, white veil. The orchestra’s music came to a grinding halt.

Noah’s smile, which had been filled with anticipation, turned to curiosity as he raised his hand above his eyes to see who had just entered, his jaw dropping at the sight of her. He looked at his brother standing beside him, speechless.

While talking into his palm with a finger to an earpiece, a man in a navy blazer emerged from the shadows to grab the intruder, pulling her away.

“STOP ! Let her go,” Noah demanded from across the synagogue.

While Miriam coldly waved them off, the security guard, with a strong hand on her, eyeballed Jerry. Robin shook off the guard and bolted through the large wooden front door. The guests started buzzing and heads turned as they tried to make sense of it all. Glancing around nervously, the maestro looked at Miriam for guidance, who motioned with her hands for him to continue. He raised his baton, and, to the tune of Here Comes The Bride, Noah ran down the aisle toward the door.

“Don’t worry,” he blurted out to Sarah as he ran past her. “I’ll be right back !”

With a bewildered look on her face, Sarah pulled off her veil and looked across the synagogue at her bridesmaids. The chatter from the surprised guests grew steadily as everybody stood up and headed for the exit. With a rustle of expensive silk, Miriam fainted to the floor.

Noah ran down the flight of red-carpeted granite steps, past the line of white stretch limousines waiting out front. He caught up to Robin walking quickly down the sidewalk.

“Hey… what the hell are you doing here?” he exclaimed, grabbing her arm.

“I’m sorry, Noah,” she said, wiping a tear from her eye, turning to look at him as the guard approached in the background. “I never should have come here. I’m such a fool.” Shaking her head, she glanced at the white stagecoach with two white horses. “Go back to your fairy tale wedding,” she sobbed, running across the street.

Noah continued his pursuit, dodging traffic and catching up with her on the other side. “HEY !” he yelled, walking briskly behind her, grabbing hold of her again. “You still haven’t answered my question. Why are you here?”

She looked at him lovingly. “It’s not your fault… There’s no reason why we couldn’t have stayed married. The medication… the psychiatrist… God, I don’t even know where to start,” she said, covering her mouth and looking off.

“I don’t believe this,” Noah said, shaking his head. “Don’t tell me you’re the one who needs closure, because if you do — ”

“No… no, that’s not it. I made a big mistake… I never should have left you.”

“Let me get this straight. You came all the way down here just to tell me you made some kind of big mistake?” She nodded. “A mistake,” he repeated, throwing his hands up in the air, looking away. “A mistake?” he questioned, looking back at her, seeking confirmation. “Don’t you think I know that already? Huh? I wanted to hate you so bad, but I couldn’t stop loving you long enough to hate you. If there were any way I could have erased your memory from my brain, I would have done it in a heartbeat. But not a chance of that… not with my heart refusing to let go. I would have given my left lung just to hold you in my arms for one more day, just one day. Thirteen years… and not a day gone by that I didn’t pray you’d come back, look into my eyes, and say the words that you just said to me,” he said, turning his head away, looking across the street at Sarah and the rest of the wedding party filterin g out of the building. “NO… No, I can’t do it. Sarah’s a good woman and a good friend. She’d never leave me; she loves me. I’m sorry, Robin,” he said, looking back at her. “You’re too late. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m getting married today,” he said, turning and walking away, forcing himself not to look back.

Anxious to rejoin his bride waiting for him on the other side of the street, he stopped at the corner and waited for a few cars to pass. Stepping from the curb, he heard Robin shout.

“What did you just say?” he asked, his foot landing back on the sidewalk as she ran toward him.

“I remember,” Robin said, catching her breath as she reached him.

“You remember?” he asked incredulously. “What could you possibly remember?” he demanded, staring at her, waiting for the answer.

The beauty from within her soul shined brightly through her loving eyes as she looked deep into Noah’s now melting eyes.

“I remember — I love you,” she said in a soft voice, nervously biting her lip.

There it was… she actually looked him in the eyes and said it. As Noah heard these words coming out of her mouth, tears formed in his eyes. After all these years, Noah finally got the closure he so desperately needed.

Letting out a scream of anger, he turned and walked straight out into the street in front of a taxicab coming to a screeching halt, almost hitting him.

“GODDAMN YOU !” Noah screamed at her, slamming the hood of the taxi with his fist.

“HEY !” yelled the taxi driver out the window.

“How do you do that?” Noah asked her. “How do you just stand there and tell me you love me? Like… like the last thirteen years never existed. Like you somehow traveled back in time to when I last held you in my arms, and… and everything’s still the same, just the way you left it. What do you expect me to do, Robin? What do you — ” The lump in his throat prevented him from saying anything further. He shook his head and looked away, a tear rolling down his cheek as Robin opened the taxi door and jumped in.

Cars were beeping their horns, blocked by Noah standing in front of the taxi in the middle of the road. He looked over at his bride on the other side of the street, and then looked back at the woman he truly loved, crying inside the taxi.


Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99


Connect with Sebastian Cole:




250 Speed Dating Questions – Your Guide to Dating Success, Connor Champion {$3.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

In this book you will find a fantastic list of really good Speed Dating questions, and you will also find out the best time to ask these questions so that the other person does not feel like they are being interviewed.

You will discover questions that will let you discover more about your dates, their hobbies and interests, their makeup, their personality and what makes them tick.

This book will enable you to establish whether you have any common interests and most importantly if there is chemistry between you and to see if the spark is there – or not!

Armed with this book, your speed dating night is bound to be a success.

It is so much more though – the dating tips and advice in this 20ish page ebook will help you in your quest to be with someone very compatible to you, and ultimately help you succeed in your relationships.

What readers are saying:

Speed Dating can be intimidating but a lot of fun as well. With limited time, the way you present and the questions that you ask are vital. Rather than asking some random boring questions I wanted to get prepared and focus on interesting and revealing conversation starters. With this book I feel ready for the next dating adventure!

This is a good guideline for anyone – male or female – to read. Over and over. Many great questions if you’re out there dating to weed out what you want and don’t want. Also gives many “icebreaker” questions, in case the situation is uncomfortable. I highly recommend it.

Fun read. It made me think about how I would answer some of the questions. Some of the questions were unexpected but funny!

The current Average Amazon Review Rating is 4.1 stars {18 reviews}.

Click here to read more about and purchase 250 Speed Dating Questions – Your Guide to Dating Success for $3.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: A Deconstructed Heart, Shaheen Ashraf-Ahmed {$4.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

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Description of A Deconstructed Heart:

Mirza is a middle-aged Indian college professor whose wife has left him. He moves out of his house into a tent in his back garden, where he sets up an outdoor classroom and serves tea to his kind but bewildered neighbors. He is visited by the irritable spirit of his long-dead teacher, Khan Sahib, who is befuddled by the dysfunctions of modern life.

In the north of England, Mirza’s niece, Amal, is finishing up her last year of college before she is expected to join her parents in their new home in India. Asked by her father to talk her uncle back into his senses, she moves into Mirza’s house, and they soon are connected by their shared loneliness. She meets Rehan, Mirza’s student, and is intrigued by the path of certainty he has built over his own loss and loneliness–a certainty that is threatened by his growing feelings for her.

When Rehan disappears, Amal’s suffering forces Mirza to face the world once more. Together, Mirza and Amal must come to a new understanding of what it means to be an immigrant family when the old traditions have unraveled.

A Deconstructed Heart is a novella that explores the breakdown and rebuilding in one immigrant family trying to adapt: how lines in families and cultures are forcibly redrawn, how empty space can be reframed by a tent into a new definition of home… but how, no matter how hard we may try to forget, the past refuses to be contained.



“Beautifully written story about loss, heartache and family.
The story brings together two individuals, uncle and niece, who have their own heartache in life. Uncle Mirza’s wife left him, sending him on a mental roller coaster, which brings in his niece Amal to help bring him back. The story is so well written with deep moments of sorrowful reality, painful existence and love.
R.C. Bennett, Amazon reviewer

The characters are developed with subtle strokes, and the author’s lyrical language enhances the setting. Mirza’s ability to disconnect from reality and yet function within its bounds, holding his architecture class in a tent and conversing with his neighbors as if it were perfectly normal, was the highlight of the story for me. I look forward to reading more of Ashraf-Ahmed’s work.
Ken Doyle, author of Bombay Bhel.

The novel is sedate and thoughtful. It’s well written with touches of dry and wry humour. It’s entertaining and leaves you thinking. It also provides an interesting insight into Indian culture with the importance it gives to family and duty. Very well worth reading.
Stephanie Dagg for

The “deconstructed heart” of the title concerns the disconnection between a husband and wife, but could also be a stand-in or metaphor for the disconnection within a family separated from loved ones in a former homeland, or between old and new cultures. The author has a fine sense of style, with a wry sense of humor, rich images, and skillful use of simile and metaphor. Writing this good is rare.
O.J. Barnack, Amazon reviewer

“I would highly recommend A Deconstructed Heart be put on anyone’s must read list.” Review by


Amazon Reader Reviews:

A Deconstructed Heart currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.9 stars, with 9 reviews! Read the reviews here!

Excerpt from A Deconstructed Heart:

Chapter 1

When Mirza awoke, his wife was picking lint from their bedspread, a small sheep gathering existence between her fingers. “I’m leaving,” she said, looking for the next flea-sized victim to wrest with her long nails. Mirza propped himself up on one elbow and sucked the air between his teeth. His long exhalation did not make a ripple in the fjords of his wife’s gray and black hair. “Thinking…” he said, because he was, and did not quite know how to handle this moment. She snorted. “Well…” he continued, wondering why his arms were not flailing like a man slipping on ice, “…what you want we should do about the cat?”
He waited for the slam, but the quiet click of the bedroom door was like a switchblade closing. He fell back on the pillow and pulled the covers over his nose and mouth, breathing the warm, humid air from his lungs. He closed his eyes tightly for a long time until he saw bright flecks of color behind his eyelids, like shards of green glass. Finally, he rose. “That cat will need feeding,” he said to the pink roses on the wallpaper as he pushed the covers back and dug his toes into the carpet pile seeking his slippers. As he passed his wife’s dresser, he crossed his eyes when he saw the bamboo box where she kept her bangles, and the effort not to see it made his head ache.
He stopped at the bedroom door. There were noises from downstairs, drawers being rummaged in, a stack of plates sliding in the sink, the rattling of the glass panes in the front door as Naida left. He waited for the small cough of the Honda before he stepped out onto the landing and waited again until the roar of the car’s engine faded. The square window above the stairs was usually a delight to him every morning, a postage stamp that framed the houses on the next street over with a winking blue eye of sky, a perfect brushstroke of trees. He stood looking for a long time, feeling like a bell had been rung in his head, the clanging reverberations fading now to a soft hum.
There was no milk in the fridge, so he filled a saucer with water and called the cat with loud kissing sounds. She poked her head around the sofa cushions and was with him in one leap. “Aaah, Moriarty,” said Mirza, rubbing her behind her ears as she lapped dejectedly at the water, “Le coeur a ses raisons, no?”
He picked her up and, trading his slippers for his outdoor shoes, he stepped out of the side door in the kitchen, not caring to change out of his kurta pajamas. It was cold and damp outside, and Moriarty soon bolted from his arms, her tail flicking through the cat flap as she disappeared back into the house. The grass tickled his ankles as he strode to the middle of his lawn, but today he did not feel his usual dread of the lawnmower that waited in the tool shed like a neglected dog.
He settled in the small dip of lawn that rolled away from his house, his arms on his knees, and watched the ants weaving over and under the grass blades. At ten o’ clock that night, Mrs. Minton next door saw a white shirt in the gloom and told her husband that someone’s laundry must have blown off the washing line. She reminded herself to check whether any of his vests was missing in the morning.

Chapter 2

Frank Minton fell over the side of the fence between his home and the Chaudry’s with a small whoop of panic. A former police officer, he underestimated the effect that fifteen years and as many pounds took on his litheness, and when he straightened up his face was a shade of plum. Nobody witnessed his undignified descent, however; the form on the Chaudry’s lawn was still inert. Frank stepped around the dustbins and moved cautiously across the grass until he recognized his neighbor sleeping on the lawn, one arm above his head, another out to the front as if he were directing traffic.
“Mirza, is that you?” he asked, shaking his shoulder. “Are you locked out?”
“Yes, yes,” mumbled Mirza, “I told her myself,” he said, sitting up, his eyes still closed. The side of his face was indented with a thatch of grass blades and his nose immediately began streaming.
“What were you thinking, man?” asked Frank, not unkindly. “Where’s Naida? Your wife, where’s your wife?” he continued when Mirza did not reply. “You’ll freeze out here.” He gave him another hearty shake about the shoulders.
“Yes, yes, yes,” said Mirza, wiping his nose on the back of his sleeve and opening one eye. Frank looked around helplessly and spotted Ella, his wife, in her dressing gown at the window of their house, staring down at them. She shrugged a question at him, and he shrugged back.
“Let’s get you inside.” He started to pull Mirza to his feet, but was surprised at the smaller man’s strength when he resisted. “For God’s sake, are you trying to kill yourself? You need to warm up!”
“Yes, what a good idea, I was very foolish,” said Mirza, locking his arms around his knees with one hand gripping the other’s wrist. “A blanket would be good. Also, I think I am out of milk, but perhaps a cup of tea…?”
Frank made a pouring gesture to his wife, and when she nodded, he strode into Mirza’s house to find a blanket. He returned with the scarlet and indigo duvet from Mirza’s bed (Naida’s taste) and a cellphone. As Mirza pulled the duvet around his shoulders, Frank waited, one large meaty finger hovering above the phone keypad.
“What’s the number, then?” he asked.
“Oh, no, not necessary,” said Mirza.
“Oho, trouble in paradise?” said Frank jovially. “Well she’ll be back here in a flash when she learns that you’ve been a proper Romeo for her. Hurry up, then.”
“There is no need,” said Mirza, his lips forming a tight line, “I’m quite comfortable here in my own garden. Anyway, who let you in?” he asked, looking at Frank for the first time.
“Listen, I’m calling someone. If you don’t give me a number where I can reach your wife, I’ll call the hospital instead. You would not sleep on the lawn all night unless you were drunk—”, here his nostrils flared slightly as he took in the mud and grass aroma of his unwashed neighbor, and continued, “—or locked out or, ahem, not feeling yourself.” He studied the toes of his Clarks and his voice became more gentle. “I would really feel better if you could give me the number of someone who might come over.” They heard a china cup rattling on its saucer by the fence. “Think about it, there’s a good man,” said Frank as he strode away to update his wife.

Mirza exhaled deeply and looked at the house. The darkened windows were not yet touched by the morning sun, gaping eyesockets and yawning maws of glass among the brown brick. He imagined the cat inside, raising her head from under the sofa cushions when she saw him, the dark slits of her pupils narrowing in their pools of iridescent green. He turned to face the other way.
Ella Minton handed her husband a cup of hot, milky tea for their neighbor. “I put in an extra sugar lump,” she said conspiratorially, “he must be in shock. Did she leave him, then?”
“I don’t know,” said Frank, as they stood together on the small bank of well-tended front lawn that connected his house to Mirza’s. He smiled at his wife’s padded housecoat and hausfrau slippers. She had eased into comfortable middle age, but every now and then a cheeky giggle and a sly glance reminded him of his twenty-year-old bride, and he allowed his touch to linger as he took the teacup from her. “He won’t let me call her, and he won’t go back in. Having a ‘moment’, I think.”
“Poor dear. I always thought there was something wrong there.” Through the open gate to their neighbor’s garden they heard the door to the kitchen close.
“Sounds promising,” said Ella, arching her eyebrows, but as Frank darted through his neighbor’s gate, Mirza was already stepping out of the house and heading back to the garden once more.
“Change your mind, did you?” asked Frank when he reached him, nodding towards the house.
“A simple call of nature.” Mirza settled into the grass again and wrapped the duvet about his shoulders like a shawl. He inclined his head slightly.
“Perhaps you would like to call my niece.”

Chapter 3

The first time Mirza met Naida, he was scraping off the remnants of a cow pat from his shoes at the front steps of her home in Lucknow. He was to be introduced to Naida’s elder sister for marriage and Bata shoes that signaled his prospects in life had been bought for the occasion. His father and uncle were offering dung-removing advice when Naida wobbled up on her brother’s bicycle and jumped off deftly as the wheels teetered to a stop.
She pulled her book-bag strap over her head, put her hands on her hips and flashed a gap-toothed smile at Mirza. He edged slightly behind his male relatives, still fervently wiping his shoes on the grass.
“Uncle… Uncle, assalamu alaikum,” she said, dipping her face into her cupped hand, then darting into the house, her light blue scarf the last thing they saw of her before the door closed. While Mirza and his male elders were still examining his shod feet, the door opened again and a slender brown hand placed a bucket of water, a bar of soap and a cleaning rag on the doorstep.
“Put your best foot forward!” a girl’s voice declaimed in schoolgirl English. Naida’s face appeared around the edge of the door. Her long braid flicked in orbit about her as she turned away.
The house was warm and stuffy. Mirza’s father passed him a handkerchief to wipe off the sweat that was trickling down from his forehead to his shirt collar. Mehjabeen sat opposite him, staring at her lap, and Mirza looked at the long bridge of her nose and her eyelashes. The veil over her head was trembling. As he stared down into his teacup, he heard his father recounting his success in his engineering studies. “First position,” said Kamal, whacking his son heavily on the back in congratulation, making the tea spill into the saucer. “Stiff competition, you know, but I told him “Now you are masterclass, you can go anywhere you want.” Naida’s parents watched, rapt, and even Mehjabeen looked up as Kamal Chaudry’s hand floated in the air, inscribing the geographic boundaries that would be broken by his son’s excellence.
Mirza, however, was watching another hand, a slender-fingered one that held out a tray of samosas at the doorway. A small cough came from outside the room and Naida’s sister rose heavily, stepping carefully towards the outstretched snacks. There was a murmur as she took the tray and for just a moment, Mirza caught sight of a dark eye peering naughtily through the crack of the doorjamb. He dabbed his neck and forehead copiously.
“Our daughter has always wanted to see the world—after marriage, of course,” said his future mother-in-law and Mirza smiled uncertainly. She put a samosa on a plate and passed it to Mehjabeen, nudging her to offer the plate to the engineering suitor, who took it without looking. “So serious,” thought the future mother-in-law happily, “such a thoughtful young man.”
“But it’s the wrong girl,” she complained a week later when the proposal arrived. “We can’t marry you off before your older sister!” There was a moment’s silence, then: “What did you do?” she asked sharply, tipping her chin at the younger daughter who was biting into a sweetmeat sent by Mirza’s family.
“Hai, Ammi-Jaan,” she replied, rooting around in the box for another treat to sample, “Its not my fault he got his sisters mixed up.” Mehjabeen sniffed loudly, her eyes still red-rimmed and puffy. She vowed to put her upstart of a sister back in her place by marrying the first physician who asked.


A Deconstructed Heart is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $4.99 or Borrow FREE w/ Prime!

Connect with Shaheen Ashraf-Ahmed:

Author Website:

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Darkride (The Darkride Chronicles), Laura Bradley Rede {$0.99}

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Description of Darkride (The Darkride Chronicles):

Ander McNair used to be the favorite son of a great monster-hunting family – until he was bitten by a werewolf and the hunter became the hunted. Now anything that makes his pulse race, even a kiss from his girlfriend Cicely, is enough to turn him into a monster. When he finally has his chance to earn his cure by killing a vampire prince, Ander finds he has to choose between his own past and the future of the girl he loves. Can a guy who’s not even human learn what it means to be a man?

Luke Marianez used to be an immortal vampire prince – until the witch he loved betrayed him and cursed him with the ability to die. Now he lives in the world of vampire blood bars where the waitresses are the drinks, and dreams about killing the last of the witch’s line so he can live forever. But revenge doesn’t just mean breaking the curse. He wants to break the girl’s heart, too. Can Luke seduce Cicely without falling in love himself?

Cicely Watson doesn’t believe in werewolves or vampires. She’s not even sure she believes in true love. But she’s about to discover what every werewolf knows:

People change.


“Darkride had everything I need in a good fantasy/paranormal book. Action, romance, a heap of steamy and amazing supernatural creatures, and a main character that will affix herself to you. Everything about this book was fierce!” ~ Sizzling Reads

“Darkride is one of those books that you sit down to read, and find yourself physically incapable of stopping until it’s done – and when it is, you still are burning to read more.” ~ Ricochet Reviews

“The story was filled with action, tension, difficult decisions, and touching romance. I was swept away by the story…” ~ Ms. Martin Teaches Media

“Darkride keeps you guessing from the moment you read page one. Author Laura Bradley Rede does a great job of keeping you hooked till the very end. There is a major love triangle… but this is no Twilight romance.” ~ ParaNormal Romance Party

“I really loved this book with its fairy tale qualities mixed in with real life/fantasy. It was done beautifully and it still seemed fresh and new in this ever growing popular genre.” ~ Once Upon a Twilight



Darkride (The Darkride Chronicles) currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.6 stars from 44 reviews. Read the reviews here.

An excerpt from Darkride (The Darkride Chronicles):

Ander seems to feel better, too. He jogs a little ways ahead of me, then doubles back, high-fiving the trees as he comes. “So,” he says, “Your birthday. What are you doing to celebrate?”

I shrug. “You know, helicopter ride, movie premier, champagne toast at sunrise. The usual.”

His eyes are full of sympathy. “Mom working, huh?”

“For the caterers tonight, then she has a wedding to do tomorrow, so I’m sure she’ll be busy. But she might make a cake.”

“Oh,” he sighs, “your mom’s cake! Damn, that’s good.”

“She’s a pro,” I say.

“So,” he says, “What are you going to wish for?”

I’m suddenly glad for the shadowy darkness. It hides my blush. “Same thing I wished for last year.”

“And you haven’t gotten it yet?”

“No,” I say, “Not yet.”

“Well,” he says, “Maybe this is your year.”

Right now all I wish for is to be able to see the expression on his face, but the shadows hide it. Does he know I wished for him? Is there some hidden promise in his words? There can’t be. I mean, if he felt the same, why wouldn’t he just tell me? If he felt the same, why didn’t he kiss me back there, when his arms were already around me? He can’t feel the same. I put a little extra stomp in my boots, trying to crush out any spark of hope before it has the chance to catch. This is how I get hurt.

We walk for a while in silence. What is he thinking, I wonder? His face is unreadable in the half-light. Trying to see him makes my eyes hurt, and trying to understand him makes my brain hurt. Being best friends with Ander is like doing long division in your head all day. It’s like trying to follow a foreign film without the subtitles. How can Zoe say he’s straightforward when I feel like everything he says is in secret code?

The woods have begun to thin. Up ahead, through the trees, I can just see Ander’s house, as dark and elongated as the shadows around us. It’s the only house around, shielded by trees on every side. Ander used to joke that I was the “girl next door,” because my mom’s trailer is the next closest place, and we’re on the other side of the woods. Only the long gravel drive connects Ander’s house to County 13 and the rest of the world. Its gray paint is peeling and the porch sags, but there are yellow marigolds in the window boxes and a welcome mat by the front door.

I wonder who that welcome is meant for. I’ve never been invited in.

Without saying a word about it, we both stop a respectful distance from the yard, like there’s an invisible line I can’t cross. “Well,” Ander says, “I guess I should go in.” He looks up at the sky, then glances at the house. There’s a light on in the kitchen window. His uncle is home.

“Yeah,” I say, “I guess you should.” But neither of us goes anywhere. Ander takes a little swig of Gatorade. I take a deep breath. I almost hate to ask him, because I know he’ll have to say no. His uncle never lets him go out.

But I promised myself I’d ask him. It’s a new year and I’m starting it right.

Now or never, Cicely.

“Do you want to go out tonight?”

Darkride (The Darkride Chronicles) is available for purchase at:

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: An Uncommon Family (Family Portrait, Book One), Christa Polkinhorn {$3.99}

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Description of An Uncommon Family:

A chance meeting between a middle-aged woman, a widower, and a semi-orphaned child in the city of Zurich, Switzerland, brings together three people who grapple with a past of loss and betrayal. Six-year-old Karla, whose mother died in a car crash, has a hard time accepting the loss. Anna, her aunt and guardian, struggles with her former husband’s deception and her shattered confidence in men, and Jonas, artist and teacher, mourns the death of his wife.

While trying to help Karla, a talented but troubled child, Anna and Jonas develop feelings for each other that go beyond friendship. The budding romance, however, hits a snag when Anna discovers a sinister secret in Jonas’s past. While the two adults have come to an impasse, young Karla takes matters into her own hands. Together with a friend, she develops a plan to bring the two uncooperative adults back together. The plan, however, creates havoc and as it begins to unravel, Karla is forced to learn some difficult lessons.

An Uncommon Family is a story about loss, lies, and betrayal but also about the healing power of love and forgiveness. It takes place in Switzerland, New York City, and Guadalajara, Mexico.



Simply beautiful: Christa’s writing is top-notch, and the story will leave the reader wanting more. If you enjoy stories that tug at your emotions and draw you in, AN UNCOMMON FAMILY is for you. You’ll laugh, be angry, cry, and experience joy throughout the reading of this book. It’s a beautiful, high-quality work from an amazingly talented author.

Quite the Charmer: “An Uncommon Family” is a feel-good story that was a pleasure to read. I very much look forward to reading “Love of a Stonemason” so that I can find out what happened to Karla when after she grew up. I know I’m in for a treat!

An Uncommonly Lovely Novel: Set in Switzerland with scenes in New York and Mexico, the book offers a well-drawn visual landscape. The author also vividly describes the paintings of Jonas and the emerging talent of Karla who becomes his pupil. Yet Polkinhorn’s main strength is her ability to mine complex human emotions and interactions. Her characters are flesh-and-blood people who jump off the page, and she makes the reader care deeply about their past and future choices.

Inspiring: “An Uncommon Family” is a thoughtful and insightful story about the pathways of the human heart and mind and the passion that binds relationships. The well-developed international settings add depth and interest to the psychology of the characters. The emotional development of Karla is a fascinating study of a child who must deal with tragedy at an early age and her emotional evolution into the adult she becomes.

A Must Read: This book is written beautifully and the story is so interesting. This is one of the best books I have read on my kindle. I also read the follow up book Love of a Stonemason and it’s just as good. I could hardly put these books down. I’m looking forward to another book by this author. I hope it’s not too long.


An Uncommon Family currently has a customer review rating of 4.5 stars from 25 reviews. Read the reviews here.

An Uncommon Family is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $3.99


An excerpt from An Uncommon Family:

Karla licked the crispy cone, trying to catch the sliding droplets before they hit the ground. The raspberry ice cream was a dark purple, her favorite color. She wrinkled her nose as she caught another whiff of exhaust from the busy street along the Limmat River in the city of Zurich. It was August and hot in Switzerland. The six-year-old girl scanned the scenery in front of her with dreamy eyes.

A longish canoe was sliding by a tourist boat on the river. People with funny-looking sun hats and dark glasses sat on the benches of the boat. Along the river on the other side, the built-together stone houses looked like a row of uneven different-colored teeth, gray, yellow, white, and some with a tint of orange. Behind the houses, on top of the hill, the linden trees at the park shimmered in their pale-green foliage and a curtain of dark-green ivy hid part of the gray granite wall.

Karla took another lick from her ice-cream cone, then turned around and peered through the window of the art shop, where her aunt was picking up two framed pictures. When she looked back at the sidewalk, her breath caught.

“Mama?” she whispered.

She saw the woman only from behind, but the bounce in her step, the long, reddish-blond hair flowing down her back, swaying left and right, the tall, slender figure—it must be her mother. She tossed the rest of the ice cream into the trash can, got up, and ran after the woman.

“Mama!” she called as the woman got ready to cross the street. The light turned from blinking red to solid red, just as the woman reached the other side. Karla rushed after her, barely aware of the honking around her or of the shrill warning bell of the blue-and-white streetcar. She heard someone yell at her but by then she had arrived at the other side. The woman was walking along the river toward the Lake of Zurich.

“Mama, wait!” Karla bumped into someone.

“Watch it, kiddo.” A man stepped aside.

“Mama . . .”

The woman finally turned around and looked back, scanning the people behind her, then walked on. Karla stopped dumbfounded. It was the face of a stranger.

A wave of despair washed over her. Not believing that she could have been so wrong, she started to run again. She didn’t see the slight indentation in the pavement. As she fell, she barely noticed the searing pain in her knees; the disappointment hurt more. She covered her face with her hands and sobbed. Mama would have helped her. Mama would have picked her up, hugged her, and even sang a little tune to her to make her feel better. But her mother was gone.

“Are you hurt, honey?” a dark voice said. Karla felt a hand on her back. “Come on, let me see.”

A pair of strong arms lifted her up. She looked into a face with a gray-white beard and kind, blue eyes below thick tufts of eyebrows. The man was tall and sturdy. He had wildish white hair. He reminded her of Saint Nicholas. But it was summer and Saint Nicholas only appeared in December.

“Are you here alone?” he asked. “Where’s your mother?”

The question brought a new flood of tears. “I thought it was Mama,” Karla managed to say, her chest heaving with sobs.

“Karla, what happened? Why did you run away?” Aunt Anna came rushing toward her, clutching her purse and a large package. “I thought I’d lost you. Jesus, what happened to your knees?” She bent down, put the package on the concrete and examined Karla’s legs. Brushing a strand of wavy brown hair out of her face, she peered at the man with gray-blue eyes, the color of ice. “What’s going on here?”

“I just happened to walk by when she fell,” he explained. “She said something about looking for her mother. Are you her mother?”

Anna shook her head. “No, I’m her aunt. Her mother . . . died half a year ago.”

“I’m so sorry.” The old man gently touched Karla’s cheek. “But she thought she saw her mother.”

Anna sighed. “She still hasn’t accepted the truth.” She turned to Karla. “Tell me what happened, sweetie?”

Karla told her between sobs that a woman had walked by who looked exactly like her mama.

“But you know that’s not possible, don’t you?” Aunt Anna hugged her. Karla leaned her face against Anna’s chest and poured her sorrow into her sweater. It was soft but didn’t smell like her mama’s. Anna waited for her to calm down. “We have to take care of your knees.”

“There’s a pharmacy right over there. I’m sure they have something to clean the wound and some bandages. May I?” Saint Nicholas gave Anna an inquiring look.

Anna nodded and the man lifted Karla up. His thick hair tickled her cheek. Karla wrinkled her nose. He gave off a faint whiff of smoke, which reminded her of Anna’s woodstove. It felt a little comforting.

At the pharmacy, a friendly lady took care of Karla’s knees. She wiped them clean, trying not to hurt Karla, who flinched and gave an occasional sob. “Sorry, hon, but we don’t want it to get infected.”

While the woman bandaged Karla’s legs, Anna unwrapped the package she had been carrying. She handed Karla one of the pictures and held the other one up for her to see. “Don’t they look beautiful?”

Karla nodded with a weak smile. They did look nice. She barely recognized them again behind the glass and surrounded by a fine wooden frame. One of them showed a woman, sitting on a chair and holding a little girl in her arm. The woman had long reddish-brown hair and the girl’s hair was black. They were sitting in front of a house. The stones in the wall had an irregular shape; they looked a little bit like cobblestones. It had taken Karla a while to make them look right. The other picture showed a tree with large purple and cream-colored blossoms. It was the chestnut tree in front of Karla’s old home. She had painted the pictures with her favorite pastel pens.

“They’re gorgeous,” Saint Nicholas said in his deep voice. “Who painted those?”

“Karla did,” Aunt Anna said.

Saint Nicholas stared at her, then at the pictures, then at Karla. “How old is she?”

“Six,” Karla said, brushing the last tears off her face. Anna handed her a Kleenex.

“And she painted those by herself, without help?” The man squinted as he scanned the pictures. The wrinkles on his forehead and around his eyes deepened. He truly did look like Saint Nicholas.

“Yes,” Anna said.

“This child is very talented. Does she get any instruction?”

“I’m actually looking for a teacher for her. She loves to draw and paint. If it was up to her, she’d do it all day long. And it seems to help her with . . . you know, the loss.”

“Amazing.” Saint Nicholas shook his head and continued to scan the pictures. “Well, I happen to be a painter myself. I also teach a few children.” He looked at Karla and Anna with a serious face. “I’d love to have her as a student.”

“I’ll think about it. That would be great,” Anna said.

“Why don’t you check me out?” The man pulled his wallet from his back pocket, opened it, and took out a small gray card. “Here is my address and phone number and on the back a few references.” He handed Anna the card. “Whatever you decide to do though, you don’t want a talent like this go to waste.”

Anna studied the card. “Very interesting, Mr. Bergman.”

“Call me Jonas,” the man said.

“Anna,” Karla’s aunt said as the two shook hands.

“You’re not Saint Nicholas?” Karla asked, surprised.

Aunt Anna and the man laughed. “No, I’m sorry. You think I look like him?” He brushed through his wavy white hair.

Karla nodded. “But you wouldn’t come in summer, would you?” She looked down at her neatly wrapped knees. The talk of drawing and painting had pulled her out of her deep misery. “Are you going to teach me?”

The man smiled at her. “You talk this over with your aunt, all right?” Then he glanced at his watch. “Oops. I guess I missed my appointment.”

“I’m so sorry,” Anna said. “We caused you all this trouble.”

“Don’t worry. No problem at all.” He bent down and put a hand on Karla’s shoulder. “And, Karla, I know how much it hurts. I lost my dear wife a few years ago. We were together for over twenty years. I still miss her. But I can promise you, things will get better with time.”

Karla took a deep breath and nodded. She had heard the words many times before. “Maja lost her mother, too.”

“Maja is a friend of hers, a girl from Croatia,” Anna explained.

At home, in their house in a small town near Zurich, Aunt Anna fixed lunch. She heated up the leftover bean and vegetable soup and made grilled cheese sandwiches with tomatoes. The smell of food awakened Karla’s appetite. She was quiet and thoughtful but no longer desperate.

“He was a nice man,” she said, folding the colorful paper napkins she had made herself with potato stamps. She put them on the blue-and-white place mats on the oak-wood table in the kitchen.

“Would you like to take drawing and painting lessons from him?” Anna poured the soup into bowls and slid the toasted sandwiches onto the plates.

Karla nodded. “Yeah, that’d be cool.” She smiled and traced her finger along the spots on the tabletop, where the sunlight, filtered by the leaves of the magnolia tree in front of the kitchen window, had sketched a pattern of light and shadows.

“Cool, huh?” Anna smiled and gave the girl a hug.


An Uncommon Family is available for purchase at:

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Pretty Girls Don’t Cry, Tony J Winn {$2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

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Description of Pretty Girls Don’t Cry:

Afternoon radio show host Nora Scott has always considered herself an ugly duckling, and the prosthetic foot she wears on her right leg isn’t helping.

When she’s on the air, as a faceless voice, she’s Eugene, Oregon’s favorite personality. Off the air, she’s … not so great, hiding her face and failing to connect with a guy for more than one night.

Now she’s being pursued by two men, a work friend who wants to be more than friends, and the guy she loved when she was fourteen, before the accident.

Nora must figure out what she really wants, as well as how much she can forgive.



“This is a daring and courageous book in many ways.”
J. Clarke 

“A very pleasing and humorous read.”
S. Christensen

“It made me happy, mad, laugh, sad … it was really a great read!”
N. Larimer


Amazon Reader Reviews:

Pretty Girls Don’t Cry currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4 stars, with 34 reviews! Read the reviews here!


Pretty Girls Don’t Cry is available for purchase at:

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Excerpt from Pretty Girls Don’t Cry:

Nora had a face for radio, as the expression goes, so when rumors surfaced that a hot, single man was in the station that day, she didn’t have high hopes. Nora finished the last live segment of her afternoon show with her attention partly on the studio’s interior hall window, hoping to get a glimpse of this Aaron fellow. When he did walk by, she committed a mistake she rarely did. She stuttered through five seconds of nearly-dead air.

The back of his head disappeared, down the hall and around the corner. The next song queued up in Selector was an older one, Polyester Bride by Liz Phair, and Nora hummed along happily, for possibly the thousandth time. Nora felt women were naturally suited to work at a radio station, because they enjoy songs the more they hear them. It’s the men who crave novelty.
As Nora sang along, about bartenders, and alligator cowboy boots bought on sale, she also indulged in a daydream about being a polyester bride, whatever that meant, and walking up the aisle toward Aaron.

From her quick glimpse, she’d seen his strong chin, his just-right nose, and dark, nearly-black hair, cut a little too short, showing a light-skinned tan line at the back of his neck. From his posture and gait, she guessed there was no potbelly under his sport jacket. This was not a man who worked in radio. Nora’s friend Kylie said he was a musician, just moved to town to set up a recording studio, and interested in doing some contract work before business picked up.

The door to the studio opened, startling Nora. She immediately covered her nose with her right hand, rubbing that imaginary itch on her forehead with her index finger, as she often did. It was a face-improvement technique only second to sticking one’s head in the sand.

Murray, the General Manager, stepped into the small studio and adjusted the waistband of his pants, the buttons of his shirt straining to keep his flesh concealed. “And this is Nora,” Murray said to the good-looking visitor. “Her sweet voice in the afternoon makes her a subject of many a fantasy for our male listeners, and some of the ladies too, if you know what I mean.” He smacked the visitor, Aaron, on the back.

Aaron stepped forward, hand extended. “Nora, is it?”

He was as cute as Kylie had said, and the air around him had a charge of electricity, like the beach. Nora switched her forehead-itching, face-shielding hand from right to left and timidly shook Aaron’s hand.

He had light brown eyes, dark, thick eyelashes, and was clean shaven. Girls probably threw themselves at him, and he was staring, with a perplexed look, at Nora.

He’s probably curious about my hair, Nora told herself. Just the hair, that’s all.

If she met someone at the beach or the gym, they’d immediately notice Nora wore a prosthetic on her right leg to replace her missing foot. But, with jeans on, her hair would be the unusual thing people would notice. It was a medium shade of blond, but intensely curly, possibly from some distant African-American ancestor. Her nose, however, was decidedly Caucasian, with a high bridge—a ski-jump, as some would call it—tapering down to a boxy, sturdy-looking tip. It was the kind of nose that entered the room ahead of a person, and Nora hoped Aaron was indeed staring at her kinky hair and not the nose she was trying to veil behind her fingers.

“Nice to meet you,” she said to Aaron in her off-air voice, which was slightly higher in pitch. She worked hard to not sound shrill on air.

“Same,” he said, tipping his head to the side. He made her feel naked, with his gentle-looking brown eyes. He made her forget anyone else was in the room.


Pretty Girls Don’t Cry is available for purchase at:

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Come Back To Me, Melissa Foster {$3.79 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

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Description of Come Back To Me:


Tess Johnson has it all: her handsome photographer husband Beau, a thriving business, and a newly discovered pregnancy. When Beau accepts an overseas photography assignment, Tess decides to wait to reveal her secret–only she’s never given the chance. Beau’s helicopter crashes in the desert.
Tess struggles with the news of Beau’s death and tries to put her life back together. Alone and dealing with a pregnancy that only reminds her of what she has lost, Tess is adrift in a world of failed plans and fallen expectations. When a new client appears offering more than just a new project, Tess must confront the circumstances of her life head on.


Meanwhile, two Iraqi women who are fleeing honor killings find Beau barely alive in the middle of the desert, his body ravaged by the crash. Suha, a doctor, and Samira, a widow and mother of three young children, nurse him back to health in a makeshift tent. Beau bonds with the women and children, and together, with the help of an underground organization, they continue their dangerous escape.

What happens next is a test of loyalties, strength, and love.



FINALIST, Next Generation Indie Book Awards
AMAZON Bestselling Kindle, Literary Fiction,
AMAZON Bestselling Books, Literary
As featured in USA Today’s, Happily Ever After blog, “Come Back to Me is perceptive and penetrating look at the intricacies of love, respect and relationships. Foster’s characters are solid; her writing style engaging and her story moving.” –IndieReader 5 STARS

“Cinematic, emotionally charged story.”
- Joni Rodgers, NYT bestselling author
“Watch out Nicoholas Sparks, here comes Melissa Foster.”
– P. Martin
“…a hauntingly beautiful love story against the backdrop of betrayal in a broken world.”
- Sue Harrison, bestselling author of Mother Earth Father Sky
- Kindle Book Review
“…a fine story woven around people we can relate to and care about…The ending is exhilarating and heartbreaking.”
- Tia Bach, author of Depression Cookies


Review Ratings:

Come Back To Me currently has a review rating of 4 stars from 119 reviews. Read the reviews here.

Come Back To Me is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $3.79 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!


An excerpt from Come Back To Me:

Chapter One


Suha huddled over the hand-drawn map, wishing the shadows from the candle would stop dancing across the page and thankful that the sandstorm had finally ceased. The cadence of helicopter blades grew closer. She blew out the candle and stared into the darkness of the makeshift tent, fingers clenched, eyes wide, certain that her end had come. Samira and her three children lay sleeping on blankets they’d strewn across the sand, oblivious to the sounds of their hunters. The chopper’s rhythmic thumping passed overhead, then faded slowly into the distance.

Suha allowed herself to breathe once again. She unfurled her fingers from the edge of the thin blankets beneath her, her only cushion from the dense sand. One hand covered her racing heart, the other held her balance. Suddenly an explosion broke through the silence. Suha scrambled on her hands and knees toward Samira.

“Have they found us?” Samira pulled her daughter against her side and took quick inventory of her two young sons, both also fast asleep.

“Shh,” Suha commanded. She ran out of the tent and into the black of the desert night, pulling her frayed sweater tight across her plump body. Plumes of smoke rose in the distance. She whispered a fast prayer. Her heart pounded against her ribs as she spun around, looking for insurgents. The distant smell of sulfur assaulted her senses, a smell she’d become far too accustomed to since the beginning of the war. She hurried back into the tent and grabbed a flashlight.

“Suha! No!” Samira said in a harsh whisper.

“Shush. It’s far away.”

“Please!” Samira begged.

“Stay with the children.” In the two months that they’d been on the run, Suha had worn the hat of both mother and father to Samira, and jadda to Samira’s children. She’d never imagined herself as a grandmother, and bore the weight of the responsibility proudly. She would die before letting any harm come to them.

Outside the tent, Suha shivered from cold and fear as adrenaline carried her in the direction of the smoke. A mile away, she estimated. The tension in her shoulders eased. She listened to the darkness—her own panting breath the only break in the silence. A deep, low moan came from her left. Suha froze. She raised the flashlight, illuminating a path on the sand before her and then whipped the light to the sides, behind her. The shelter was nowhere in sight, tucked perfectly behind an enormous dune. She was alone.

Praying that she’d made up the noise in her own mind, she inched toward the west, using her hands to pull herself up a small hill. At the peak, she crouched, catching her breath, straining to hear any sounds; she was met with silence. She waited until the sound of her heart beating behind her ears calmed. Satisfied that they remained undiscovered, she turned back in the direction of the shelter. The light swept over a dark lump in the sand. Suha gasped, jumping backward and expecting a siege of insurgents to appear. She flattened herself to the dune and thought of the children. Better her than them. She pulled her body up, hoping her shaking legs would sustain her as she moved forward. She’d make her father proud, rest his soul. Gathering courage like a cloak, she lifted the light once again. A man lay in the sand, blood pooled around him, his arm cocked at a painful angle. The physician in her took over, propelling her to his side. Male, early thirties. Pulse. B roken arm and leg. Contusions. Alive. Arabic flew from her mouth, “Hello. Can you hear me? Hello.” There was no response.

Suha rushed back to the shelter, her sixty-five-year-old body aching and heavy. As she flew into the tent, Samira’s eyes shot open, “What is it?”

Suha bent over the blankets, rifling through them, casting away the smaller ones and collecting the longest, strongest ones. Her fingers worked furiously, tying them to two walking sticks as she spat orders, “An injured man. You must help me. Do not wake the children.”

“Man?” Samira moved protectively closer to the children.

“Aagh,” Suha swatted at the air. “Don’t be foolish. I’m alive, aren’t I? He’s American, not Iraqi.” She stood, dragging the crude stretcher behind her. “Come! Now!” she ordered.


Come Back To Me is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $3.79 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Katie’s Hellion (Book I, Rhyn Trilogy), Lizzy Ford {$2.99}

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Description of Katie’s Hellion (Book I, Rhyn Trilogy):

Will the love between a gifted young woman and an immortal outcast save the world– or destroy it?

Katie thinks she’s going crazy when a baby angel and death’s personal assistant appear on her doorstep. Both claim she’s destined for something great. If she can survive, that is. She’s drawn into a world filled with immortals like Rhyn, an outcast who claims her as his mate in a show of defiance to his brothers. Katie rescues Rhyn from Hell, and he discovers fast just how special his little human is. With Death counting his days on one hand, Rhyn must learn to love, before his own time is up and Katie becomes the first human casualty in the brewing war between immortals.



“Lizzy, where have you been? You have put a completely fresh spin on the immortal realm and I haven’t enjoyed a book this much since Larissa Ione’s Demonica series.”

“You become obsessed, you have to keep reading just to find out what happens next.”

“This was a different twist on humans, immortals, and the battles between good and evil. Loved the premise.”

Amazon Reader Reviews:

Katie’s Hellion (Book I, Rhyn Trilogy) currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4 stars, with 67 reviews! Read the reviews here!


Katie’s Hellion (Book I, Rhyn Trilogy) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99


Excerpt from Katie’s Hellion (Book I, Rhyn Trilogy):

“Lady, that your kid?” someone asked as Katie stepped toward the door of the metro.

“Oh, hell no,” she said with a smile.

The kid began crying and she waited, ticking off her mental to-do list to see where she’d start. First off, request the morning off to go to court tomorrow. Second, find out when the general manager of the fast food joint where she worked was returning from maternity leave. Third, call her snotty sister and find a way to back out of brunch Saturday. Fourth–

“Ma’am, your kid,” a woman said, taking her arm and pointing with a look of such judgment that Katie reddened despite herself.

“Not mine,” she said.

The kid was crying and began tugging on her coat. He spoke in tear-filled gibberish she didn’t understand, and she moved away to the door. She was one of the first off the train while the kid wailed and several people around her muttered.

“Lady, you can’t just leave him!” the first objector said, grabbing her arm. “You’re like that sick lady who put her kid on a plane to Russia ’cause she don’t want him no more!”

“How could you leave him on the train? What’s wrong with you?”

There were three then five voices with a sixth calling the police and the seventh hugging the sobbing kid.

“He’s not mine!” Katie insisted, unable to break away from the mob. She protested until the cops came and took them both to a police station.

Too surprised to understand what exactly was happening, she obeyed the police officer’s instructions to sit down and shut up and sat in the quiet police station reception area. The kid sitting beside her made smacking sounds as he chewed on a huge wad of gum. She rubbed her face, certain the mistake would be clarified soon and she’d be released with an apology the size of a bottle of painkiller she desperately needed.

“Fill this out,” a dour woman with cocoa skin said, handing her a clipboard. “C’mere, honey.” She took the hand of the little boy.

Katie ignored the glare leveled on her while the woman cooed to the little boy. The woman and boy left while she filled out the paperwork and then set it on a counter of what looked like an abandoned reception area. There was no computer, no office supplies on the other side. A single bell sat on the counter. She rang it. When nothing happened, she rang it again.

She looked around her, flustered. The waiting room consisted of two chairs, an empty magazine rack, and a potted plant in the corner. It resembled a doctor’s waiting room rather than any police station she’d seen.

She rang the bell again.

“Please have a seat, Ms. Young,” an irritated voice announced over the intercom.

She obeyed. Another hour of silence passed, and she started to pace. Her cell phone had no signal, her head throbbed, and the coffee pot was empty. When she felt ready to snap, the same woman returned with the little boy in tow. His dark eyes were glowing, and syrup was on his face.

“Officer David will see you now,” the woman told her.

Katie grabbed her purse and walked quickly down a pristine hall to a placard outside an office that read Officer David. The little boy followed her. She knocked and entered with a smile that faded.

Officer David gave her the same glare.

“Have a seat, Ms. Young,” he said. “You too, Toby.”

“Officer, this has been just a horrible morning,” she started.

“For your son, maybe.”

“He’s not my son.”

The officer stared at her then held up an ID card with the boy’s picture.

Toby Young.

“It must be some other Young,” she insisted. “I don’t have a son.”

“I oughta call child services on a wack job like you,” he muttered.

“Go ahead–call them!” she snapped.

“Parenthood is a responsibility that no one should take likely, even if you’re a teen parent! I don’t care how…”

She listened to his rant, peppered with language no kid Toby’s age should hear. Officer David waved a piece of paper in her face depicting Toby’s ID. Toby was quiet, and she snatched the paper, intent on showing him their addresses were different.

Only they weren’t different. Toby’s address was listed as hers. She set the paper on her lap and stared at it. She’d lived there for two years, since a fight with her sister drove her away from the home her sister shared with her fiancé.

“I don’t understand…” she muttered.

“Your record is full of crap,” Officer David said acidly. “Reckless endangerment? And now child endangerment? You’re going to court. You damn well better have a good lawyer, because…”
She sucked in a breath and turned to the kid.

“Toby, kid, whatever. Tell this nice man the truth,” she said, meeting the twinkling brown eyes.

The kid was adorable, with dark eyes and hair, sun-kissed skin, and a round face. He was well-fed, though clothed like he’d been going to make mud pies and not to school like he should have been. He smiled.

“Toby, is this your mommy?” Officer David said in tones as sweet as they were bitter toward her.

Toby nodded. Katie’s mouth dropped open, and she began to realize something was very, very wrong. This was a dream; she’d fallen asleep on the train and not yet woken up. With any luck, the worst part of her day would be missing her stop.

Toby took her hand. His soft hand was cold. The sensations assured her the surreal situation was really happening.

“Officer David–” she began in earnest.

“Enough!” he roared loudly enough to make them both jump. “I’ve had enough with deadbeat…”

He ranted, signed her papers with a vicious flourish, then shoved them at her and manhandled her out his door. She stood in the hallway, staring at the door slammed in her face, holding a fistful of papers she didn’t know what to do with.

“The car will pick you up.” The tone of the woman with cocoa skin left no imagination to what she thought of the latest deadbeat mom in her office.

Frustrated, Katie looked both directions down the pristine, eerily quiet hallway before following the kid toward the far end, where a bright red exit sign hung over the door. Her unease grew as she went. The placards on each of the other doors were blank, the doors closed with no sign of light around the edges. The hallway smelled medicinal and clean, like the antiseptic-laced air of a hospital mixed with pine cleaner.

She’d never been in a police station, but she didn’t think they’d be this different from the police shows on television! She paused near the end and turned back to see both Officer David and the woman watching her with disapproving looks and crossed arms. She’d not thought twice about their lack of police uniforms but was now struck by it.

This wasn’t a police station. It couldn’t be.

“Mama!” Toby called cheerfully.

She turned and stared at him. He shoved the door open with all his might, revealing the steely skies of winter and the grey cement curb outside. Whatever this place was, she–and probably Toby–were better off somewhere else. She joined Toby outside.

The boy was agitated and shivering, skipping up and down the sidewalk while shaking with cold. She’d been too flustered to pay attention to the trip to the police station and looked around, not recognizing the area. It looked suspiciously like the warehouse district near the Annapolis port, and she smelled the sea on the air. She twisted around. There was no handle on the outside of the door she’d just walked through, no number on the building.

She shivered in her wool coat, folded the paperwork, and called her sister. As usual, the phone rang until her voicemail picked up.

“Hey, Hannah, it’s Katie. I need some help. Can you give me a call?”

Toby’s pattering stopped, and she looked up, startled to see a massive man a few feet away. The sight of him struck her like a frozen water balloon. He was tall and clothed in all black, ominous and large against the slate sky. His trench was long and unfastened, the chilled winter wind whipping back one side to reveal a sword tucked against his leg. He looked like death with his dark hair and cold eyes, his panther-like physique, and gloved hands.

“Toby,” she called instinctively.

The little boy ran to her side. The man in black approached. She took a step back, heart fluttering.

“We made a mistake. Toby, you can come with me.” The stranger failed to make the cryptic words in any way friendly, and the cold glare seared through her.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” she managed.

“You’re early,” Toby said, unafraid. “I want to go with her.”

Katie turned to stare at the little boy, who beamed a smile.

The shadow-man’s hand twitched and inched toward the sword at his hip. She stepped back even more and clenched the purse to her body, distracted as a sleek black car pulled up to the curb. A door opened, and Toby vaulted in without waiting for her. She took one more look at the ominous man in black and the sword at his hip and followed, shaking from more than cold. The man shut the door behind them.

“Goodbye, Gabriel!” Toby called from the interior of the warm car. He waved at the massive shadow lingering on the sidewalk.

“You’ll be fine. I’ll take you home.” The soft, firm words of the female in the driver’s seat were the first kind ones of the day.

Katie instinctively believed her and twisted, staring with Toby at the man in black who watched them drive away.

“My God,” she murmured.

“No,” said Toby. “Death dealer.”

She looked at him, and he nodded as sagely as a five-year-old could.

“Death dealer, ha! Probably just some bum,” the brunette driver said with a forced laugh. “We get lots of them around here.”

“At a police station?” Katie asked skeptically.

“Yeah, sure,” came the less certain answer. “You know, like, you can’t have a cop station in a nice side of town. They kinda have to be in a crappy part of town, where the criminals are. It makes total sense, right? I mean, why would a death dealer be here?”

The grey eyes were beseeching, but Katie couldn’t manage anything verbal let alone a lie to placate the driver. Instead she looked again to Toby, who’d begun to mess with the buttons on his side of the car.

“Shouldn’t you have your seatbelt on?” she asked.

“Okay, Mama,” he said cheerfully, and complied.

I’m going insane.


Katie’s Hellion (Book I, Rhyn Trilogy) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99


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