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Daryl Hajek is Visiting!

Blood Blossom

“Blood Blossom” by Daryl Hajek

Published on… 9 July 2014
Published as… Family Drama

Daryl Hajek’s Excerpt

She sat in the driver’s seat of her shiny, candy-apple red, 2014 Mazda Miata convertible with the top down.

The car had been parked on the southbound shoulder of Colfax Avenue, north of Ventura Boulevard near the feet of the hills of Studio City. The Los Angeles River dribbled by a few yards to her right. Directly across the street from where she sat were several charming, two-level, storybook-style houses with large, ornate windows and a chimney on each rooftop. The Miata’s engine purred idly and all four orange-yellow hazard lights blinked.

The sun warmed the top of her head and highlighted her golden strands of blond hair, which had been cropped below her earlobes. Sporadic cars passed by her along the quiet, narrow, two-lane street. A crow cawed as it flew overhead.

She looked through a pair of binoculars at a large, white two-story house perched on the side of the hill above, south of Ventura Boulevard. The house looked north with a 180° panoramic view of the San Fernando Valley. She surmised it must have an expansive view. Her intense, steely blue eyes focused their dire attention on only the white house. She pointedly disregarded the rolling, sloping, grassy terrain around it. Instead, she noticed the trees, the brush and shrubs, and the well-maintained grounds laid out with colorful flower gardens around the perimeter of the estate.

She drove up the hill to a higher elevation where could see the entire property below. More flowers graced the back of the house near a swimming pool and around a gazebo beyond the pool. Two marble statues of a Greco-Roman man and woman in differing poses flanked either side of the veranda, and a few small porcelain knick-knacks were strewn in between. A large outdoor water fountain stood in the middle of the semi-circular drive at the front of the house, and some terracotta pottery with five-foot-tall topiaries sat on either side of the front door.

“So, that’s her story,” she said to herself. Her lips formed a frightful sneer. She adjusted her position in the driver’s seat to make herself more comfortable. “Ain’t that nice? Well, we’ll see about that, won’t we?”

A light breeze wafted by and tousled several strands of her hair. A small brown bird chirped from a nearby tree, then flew away.

She wondered about the wretched wench who’d lived in that beautiful home on the side of the hill all those years.

Twenty-two years of my sorry-assed life, she thought. Just ticks me off. Really makes my blood boil. Tears welled in her eyes. Now, don’t start feeling sorry for yourself again, damn it! She continued to stare at the house. Just watch. Everything’ll change. From now on, it’s my story.

She sat for a few more moments, her eyes locked at the view of the house as she ardently scrutinized it. She abruptly hurled the binoculars into the passenger’s seat with a huff. They bounced off the seat, bumped against the closed door of the glove compartment, then fell to the charcoal-gray carpeted floor with a soft thump.

She put the convertible in gear, slammed her foot on the pedal, and tore away from the curb.

About the Book

After having been separated for twenty-two years, Vivian wants to reestablish ties with her younger sister, Christine. Instead, she is met with hostility and resistance. Christine wants one thing and one thing only–revenge. Fueled by rage and having a sadistic sense of humor, Christine will stop at nothing to go after their mysterious mother, Rose. No one better stand in Christine’s way–or else!

They all become embroiled in a battle of wits to stay one step ahead of the other. Lives are further complicated in a whirlpool of diverse events as they occur at breakneck speed. Overwhelming crises develop, strengths and weaknesses are tested, truths overcome lies, and shocking secrets are revealed that could push some to the brink of insanity.

Buy the Book at Amazon

About the Author

Daryl Hajek Author Photo
Daryl Hajek lives in Los Angeles, California. “Blood Blossom” is his first novel. He is currently at work on his next novel.

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Chris Pearce is Visiting!

A Weaver’s Web

“A Weaver’s Web” by Chris Pearce

Published on… 6 December 2013
Published as… Historical Fiction/Family Saga

Chris Pearce’s Excerpt

‘You can’t go anywhere, Ma’am,’ Alice said. ‘It must be after midnight.’
Sarah looked at her, face shining in the light of the fire still burning strongly. ‘Yes I can, and I am. Help me with this, will you,’ she said, desperately trying to do her dress up at the back.
Realising Sarah had made up her mind, Alice helped her. ‘You’ll need a coat.’
But Sarah had run from the room. When she opened the front door, she saw Henry and the watchman in the moonlight hurrying down the driveway. She set off after them, slipping on the dew-covered ground. They got further ahead and she couldn’t keep up. But she knew where they were going, so she slowed down. Normally the dark scared her. That night, she didn’t think of it. And it was cold, but she didn’t feel it. One thing was on her mind – to get to the factory and watch it burn. She now wanted it to burn and she wanted to see it. She just hoped Albert was safe and wouldn’t get caught.
When she got there, flames were leaping into the air, above the roof, lighting the night sky. Quite a crowd had gathered, nearby residents no doubt, some of them employees by the way they were talking. A few were cheering, but most appeared upset as they would lose their jobs and be unable to get potatoes or porridge onto their tables. She couldn’t see Henry or the watchman, or Albert. What she did see nearly made her faint. A man was hollering from a second floor window.
‘Help! Me and the orphans will burn to our deaths.’
There were people on the ground with ladders, attempting to get to the stricken man. Another group ran from the nearby canal with water buckets they had brought from home. They slung the water at the fire and returned to the canal for more.
Sarah felt someone tap her on the shoulder. She spun around and saw it was Albert. Instinctively she hugged him.
‘Are you burnt or injured?’ she said, pushing him back to get a better look at him.
‘I’m fine. It was the machine breakers who lit the fire.’
‘Have they run?’
‘No, they’re over there, with the ladders. No one knows they started it. The watchmen think they’re local people come to assist.’
‘I hope they get that poor man out, and the orphans. I didn’t know Henry had them. He’s always told me he’d never use them.’
Albert put his arm round her shoulders. ‘I knew nothing of them either. When we got here, we saw lamplight through the windows, but thought a master had forgotten to snuff the lights out before he left.’
‘This is dreadful.’ She wanted to assist, but saw the men with ladders were doing all they could.
‘At least we know how he’s become so rich – cheap labour.’
It was then that Sarah thought she could see another figure at a window, on the first floor. ‘Look!’ She pointed further along the building.
Albert saw a silhouette against a background of flames.
‘That’s where his office is, I know,’ she said. She looked harder. ‘It’s Henry. Don’t let him die,’ she shouted, but the noise from the fire was so great only a few folk standing nearby heard her.
‘Oh no. I know what he’s doing in there. Benjamin told me months ago about the safe full of money.’ He suddenly brightened. ‘But the safe won’t burn. He’ll be able to get the money later.’
Sarah shut her eyes. ‘Don’t let him die,’ she screeched over and over.
‘Mum, stay here.’
‘Where are you going?’
‘I’ll be back.’
Albert ran through the crowd to the open gate and sprinted across the yard. Those trying to rescue the master and his orphans saw him and called out to him to stop. He paid no attention. At the side of the building, he found an unlocked door, probably the one his father had used minutes earlier. He went inside and felt his way through the darkness, keeping one hand on the wall as he searched for the stairs. The fire, and the light from it, hadn’t reached this area. He kicked his foot against a solid protrusion and bent down and touched a step, then a second one, and a third one. He scrambled up them and got to the first floor. Here it was much lighter, and hotter. He looked down the corridor. Flames leapt about at the other end. He saw an open door part way along and tried to get to it, but searing heat knocked him back. He took out his handkerchief, covered his face and ran headlong for the door and darted inside.
The room was full of smoke. A man lay on the floor. It didn’t look like his father – too heavy. He bent down and struggled to turn him over. Then he recognised the face he hadn’t seen in five years. It was much rounder than he remembered. In fact, his father was altogether larger. But it was definitely him.
‘Dad, wake up. Dad!’
Henry gave a faint groan.
‘It’s me – Albert.’
Henry’s eyes shot open and he tried to raise himself. ‘Albert?’
‘Yes, your son, remember?’
‘What are you doing here? I thought you were in London.’
‘London? Did Benjamin tell you …?’
‘No, I …’
‘Never mind. I’ve come to rescue you.’ The smoke was thick and Albert got down low. They were both coughing.
‘The money,’ Henry said, attempting to get up.
‘Stay down. You can get it later. The safe will still be here.’
‘No, most of it’s hidden in the desk drawer.’ He pointed to his wooden desk on the other side of the office, but it was on fire, huge flames dancing around on top of it. He went to crawl towards it and Albert pulled him back.
‘You can’t go over there.’
‘I need the money for tomorrow. I’m buying a fine house in the country.’ Henry tried to fight his son off in his desperation.
‘You won’t live that long if you keep this up.’
Henry persisted, surprising Albert with his strength, and wriggled closer to the desk.
‘We have to get out of here before we both die.’
Albert tugged at his father’s legs. Somehow Henry broke free and got up and staggered towards the desk. But the heat was too great and the smoke too thick and he fell back down. Albert shielded his own face with his handkerchief and reached out for him.
‘Grab my hand.’
Henry didn’t.
‘Grab it!’ Albert yelled.
They were three feet apart and he couldn’t get any closer. Finally he threw the handkerchief aside and lunged forward and clutched Henry’s legs and heaved him back.
‘Ahh, let go,’ he cried. ‘You’re twisting my ankle.’
Again his father got free. To subdue him, Albert sat on his chest and held his shoulders to the floor.
‘Get off me and let me get my …’
‘Listen! You go that way and you’ll surely die.’ He tilted his head in the direction of the desk. ‘Let me take you this way,’ he said, tossing his head towards the door, ‘and we’ll get out.’
But the moment Albert eased his grip slightly, Henry squirmed about with what little energy he had left and got a few inches nearer the desk.
‘You’re squashing me,’ he gasped.
They were now almost encircled by flames.
‘Dad, this is your last chance.’

About the Book

Handloom weaver Henry Wakefield, his wife Sarah and their five children live in abject poverty in the Manchester area of the UK in the early 19th century at the time of the Industrial Revolution. Henry hates the new factories and won’t let his family work in them. He clashes with Sarah, a factory agent, a local priest and reformers, and son Albert runs away. The family are evicted and move to Manchester but are even worse off, living in a cellar in a terrace and have another little mouth to feed.

Henry’s love of money overrides his hatred of factories and he starts one of his own, but it is beset with problems. The Wakefields eventually become quite wealthy, but Henry holds the purse strings and this has a devastating effect on the family. Albert is caught stealing and is transported to New South Wales. Her baby’s death, Albert’s unknown fate and society parties become too much for Sarah, who hears voices and is taken to the lunatic asylum. Son Benjamin faces eviction from the family home for having a baby with an orphan girl too soon after their marriage.

Family members, including Sarah who has got out of the asylum and Albert who has returned to England unbeknown to Henry, have had enough and seek revenge.

Buy the Book at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon AU, Google Play, Kobo or iTunes

About the Author

Chris Pearce Author Photo
Chris Pearce was born in Surrey, UK in 1952, and grew up in Melbourne, Australia. He has qualifications in economics, management/marketing and writing/editing. He worked as a public servant (federal and state) for 25 years and in the real world for 12.5 years.

His inspiration for writing A Weaver’s Web was a postgraduate creative writing course he topped from 30 students in the mid 1990s. After unsuccessfully targeting many literary agents, including one who compared his manuscript to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, he decided to publish it as an ebook.

He also has a non-fiction book (print only), Through the Eyes of Thomas Pamphlett: Convict and Castaway, which he plans to publish as an ebook later in 2014. He is writing a book on the history of daylight saving time around the world and has some notes towards a novel set 80 years into the future.

His other hobbies include family history and tenpin bowling.

Chris and his wife live in Brisbane, Australia.

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Eme Strife is Visiting!

The Basilisk’s Creed Omnibus

“The Basilisk’s Creed Omnibus” by Eme Strife

Published on… 19 September 2014
Published as… New Adult Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy

About the Book

Immerse yourself in the first omnibus of Eme Strife’s addictive, sexy, enchanting, and surreal New Adult series. Each page will leave you even more enthralled than the last, on the edge of your seat, and vigorously chomping at the bit for more.
Note: This is NOT like anything you’ve ever read before. Proceed knowing you have been told.

* * *

Moving to San Francisco was a decision twenty-three year old Elisheva Tilton thought would change her hard life in Little Rock, Arkansas, for the better. Yet, Eli still finds herself living in shambles and being constantly stressed out just to make ends meet in the Big Bad Bay.

And the stress only piles on when the most unusual of things begin to happen around her—including the mysterious disappearance of the Atlantic Ocean—and even more so when she strangely meets the unlikely individual who would irrevocably change her life forever; a gorgeous, unbelievably sexy, and sophisticated high-ranking soul reaper.

Rated 17+
This series contains graphic sexual content, violence, and strong language. Because of its explicit nature, it is intended for mature audiences only. Reader discretion is advised.

An Excerpt from The Basilisk’s Creed Omnibus

I was too stunned to speak…to move…to do anything but stare at him like a frickin’ idiot.

In a few quick strides, he was now in front of me and towered over me with intimidation fuming from his body. “I asked you a question,” he barked.

I just kept staring in awe.

Which apparently only infuriated him. He narrowed his eyes and glared at me in the most unapologetic way. He looked unbelievably menacing. It made me extremely uncomfortable, and yet, I still couldn’t look away.

We just kept staring into each other’s eyes…something I found bizarre and weird, because I normally couldn’t maintain eye contact to save my life, especially with eyes as vibrant and intense as his. They were a mix of teal and cornflower blue…really intense, really commanding, and really, really sexy.

I had seen pretty eyes before, but these were just…stunning. Beyond stunning, even. They were pure power.

Shit, did I mention they were sexy?

Oh my God, was I getting turned on? This stranger was yelling and glaring at me like I had killed his family dog and I was getting hot and bothered by him! What the hell was wrong with me?

I broke eye contact in embarrassment and for fear that I would drench my panties if I kept looking at him.

Holy cow, he’s hot. Spicy hot.

There was dead silence for a moment, and while I wondered why he was keeping silent all of a sudden, I couldn’t bring myself to look at him again just yet. Suddenly, his deep voice reverberated in the room.

“You find me attractive?” he quietly asked.

That stunned me. In shocked reflex I quickly looked up to meet his eyes again and found that his previously hard glare had softened somewhat and become more neutral. I looked at him in confusion and embarrassment. I wasn’t sure I had heard him right.

Had I said what I thought of him out loud? I didn’t remember saying anything.

He spoke again. “You’re right. You didn’t actually say anything. But you did think it.”

I couldn’t help but stare at him with what was probably the most quizzical expression I’d ever had plastered across my face.

Um…come again?

Oh, my God. He could read my mind? How was that possible? Was he a soothsayer? One of those palm-readers, maybe?

“H-How…how do you know what I’m thinking?” I stuttered like the confused idiot I was at the moment.

He replied in a matter-of-fact tone. “I can read your energy. You’re pretty transparent.”

I raised my eyebrow on reflex.

Transparent? What the hell is that supposed to mean? I am so not transparent. Hell, last time I checked, I was pretty darn opaque.

He spoke again. “I meant transparent in terms of your expressions and body language, not your physical appearance—”

I cut him off and rolled my eyes. “I know what you meant. And would you stop reading my mind? It’s rude.”

“It’s not like I’m trying to pry. You’re practically screaming the words,” he countered.

I crossed my arms over my chest in defiance. “I haven’t said a single word. You are prying. Cover your ears or something, then.”

He chuckled at that. He had such an attractive chuckle…

Ugh, not that again! Get it the fuck together, Eli. He can tell you’re as hot as a horn dog for him, you know.

Okay, I needed to get out of there before I made a complete ass out of myself in front of this mind-reading man.

Who, by the way, was yelling at you just a minute ago, I reminded myself.

Just as I was about to take a step to walk past him, he stopped me in one effortless motion, cornering me against the pulpit with his arm.

I was trapped between the marble podium and his big body.

About the Author

Eme is an unconventional New Adult Paranormal and Contemporary Romance writer (and a bit of a cynic) who might be going through a quarter-life crisis even though she is in denial of it. Lucky for her, she has several sarcastic, upbeat, and severely vulgar imaginary friends to give her some semblance of normalcy.

She loves writing about said imaginary friends – although she does so mostly because they never seem to shut the hell up.

She’s also addicted to Family Guy, American Dad, and Pandora (the online radio app, not the evil box), drinks an ungodly amount of Red Bull at any given time, wants to marry Seth MacFarlane at some point, and occasionally eats bacon and popcorn together (^_^).

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L. A. Rose is Visiting!

Adrian Lessons

“Adrian Lessons” by L. A. Rose

Published on… 24 August 2014
Published as… Romance

About the Book

If there’s one thing Cleo Reynolds knows, it’s that she’s not into Adrian King.

The son of a model with the looks to prove it, the experienced author of her school newspaper’s sex advice column, the cocky playboy with a hint of darkness. That Adrian King.

Nope. Nuh-uh. No way.

The problem is, he’s very into her.

After accidentally flashing him, and slightly-less-accidentally-but-still-totally-unintentionally making out with him in front of the whole class, she expects to be called crazy. Instead, he asks her out.

Cleo’s determined not to end up as another notch on his bedpost. Except she hasn’t done…you know…it in a while. (Read: ever.) And as a girl who pays her tuition by writing all the sex scenes in her roommate’s bestselling romance series, the lack of inspiration has served up a fat slice of writer’s block.

Until her roommate proposes that Cleo and Adrian act out all the steamy scenes in her book.

It’s just research. No feelings involved.

Nope. Nuh-uh.

No way.

Buy the Book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Kobo

An Excerpt from Adrian Lessons

“Christ,” Adrian finally mutters after a good half minute of staring at my body. He runs his hand through his hair.

I’m not saying my grand plan is to make him so worked up he’ll have to satisfy me. And then I can move on with my life.

I’m not saying that’s my plan, but if it were, I’d be an evil genius.

“You too,” I smirk, trailing my fingers down my bare waist. “That shirt looks expensive. Wouldn’t want to mess it up.”

Not taking his eyes from me, he pulls his shirt off, back over front in that casual way boys have. I gasp. Doves zoom overhead, sprinkling golden confetti. A chorus of angels sing. Okay, not all that actually happens, but it’s the first time I’ve seen him shirtless.

And that chest deserves some fanfare.

His torso is tan, lithe and strong, the hard contours of a six-pack-verging-on-eight-pack begging to be licked. Every ounce of him is sculpted, refined. Just looking at him floods my abdomen with tension. There’s a swirling tattoo on the left side of his ribs, but I’m too busy thinking about how I want to mount his torso on my mantelpiece like a serial killer to dwell on it.

My roommate looks between us, her eyes narrowed. “You two seem to be getting along much better today.”

If by ‘getting along’ she means ‘staring at each other with enough sexual tension to hoist the Titanic from the bottom of the sea’ then yes.

“Remember, guys,” she says. “Last time was more about the romance between the characters. Their first kiss. This is purely sexual.”

At the words ‘purely sexual’, a shiver grips my spine. I think Adrian might be similarly affected, because he hardens all over. And I mean all over.

“Come on, then,” I muster up the courage to say, fingering the lacy edge of my panties. “Inspire me.”

About the Author

L.A Rose, a nature lover, romance addict, cat fan (of course).

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