Sunday, February 19, 2017

Swoon Sunday

Today's Swoon Sunday post is courtesy of Forced Autonomy. You can find this and all my books on Kindle Unlimited.


As we got closer, I saw they were flowers blooming at night, yellow, the color of saffron. I knelt down beside them, putting my nose to the open bud, its smell tickling my nose.  “They’re beautiful.” “I thought you’d like them. It’s rare we find the good things amongst all the chaos.” “And when we do?” He had taken a reclining position on his elbows, staring up at the crescent moon. After a while, he cleared his throat, “When we do, we should take care of them.”
I looked back at him, more entranced with the way the moonlight made his hair seem like it was flawless. Maybe he just felt obligated to take care of me because he was the one who found me. I wondered if maybe this was how he treated everyone.  “I appreciate you taking care of me. I’m sure you help everyone get back on their feet after you find them.” “Is that what you think I’m doing? You think this is some lobotomy rehab?” I shrugged, “I just don’t want to confuse my feelings for you with gratitude. You saved me.” “Come here, lay with me, look at the moon.” He dodged my question, but I laid with him anyway, covered my bad eye, and looked at the light. “Does it hurt?” He covered my fingers with his own. “Just when I stare at a light.” “It’s not because I found you,” his hand moved from my eye to the side of my jaw. “It’s not?” “No. There’s something about you. I think I’d do just about anything to make you smile.” “And mine is not just hero worship.” He laughed humorlessly, “Well, that’s good since I’m no hero.” “All those people you saved like me? I should start calling you Thor.” “Maybe it’s not saving people. Maybe it’s paying penance.” “Penance for what?”


You can find your copy HERE

Thursday, February 16, 2017

His Haunted Heart Cover Reveal

It's a Throwback with a New Cover. I am so excited for everyone to see the new cover for His Haunted Heart. I absolutely love it.



Blurb:

Six years ago, deep in the swamps of Louisiana, Delilah’s face was marred forever at the hands of her sisters by the point of her mother’s kitchen knife. Despite her protest, her parents insist she make haste in finding a husband. But finding a husband isn’t an easy feat with a scar running the length of your face.
Porter Jeansonne keeps to himself. He lives in his mansion, set apart from the town he’s grown to detest. One night, walking through the town, seeking to collect a debt, he hears a man selling off his daughter in the most deplorable part of the darkened streets. He chooses to take pity on her and set her free from her despicable family. Until he sees her face. He then knows that maybe she is the mend for his haunted heart.




Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Teaser Wednesday?

The teaser for this week is brought to you by the letter A for Alpha in my WIP Alpha Unseen


Cover Reveal Coming Soon!!!

"His hands made a path to my waist and dragged me forward. “There’s always this many people. The only place I’m alone is at home and in my office. Even then the phone is ringing and meetings. Never mind, I doubt you want to hear that crap.” His hands kneaded the dip above my hips as he spoke and when the motion stopped, I felt cold.
Shaking my head, I replied, “No, that’s fine. We should—we should at least try to be friends through this, right?” His hold on me loosened and he took one step back, bringing us face to face. We hadn’t looked at each other most of the night. There were people to greet and smile at.
But mostly, there was a crowd to convince.
Forcing myself to look up and meet his brown, almond-shaped eyes, I gasped at the sight of him. I’d done such a good job of holding in those tiny gasps in the past but this one burst through without permission.
“What?” His chest rumbled with the words.
“Nothing.” I took a moment to collect my voice and the tremors in the core of me.  “So, friends? We can at least not hate each other through this.” I cringed at the words. I didn’t want to be friends with him, but there was no other choice. Kolani’s clan didn’t allow females to be educated and it certainly didn’t allow them to be anything other than baby producers.
That’s why my clan broke free from his—if the females aren’t happy, no one is happy.
He pushed one strand of hair behind my ear. “I don’t promise friends—but I don’t think I could hate you either.”"


I'm hoping to release this one in late March! Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

New Cover for Swoon Sunday

My Swoon Sunday post is an exciting announcement. I am excited to show you the New Cover for The Bayou Bear Chronicles. I am putting all 4 of the books into one book. I will have these books at The Booking in Biloxi Signing on March 25, 2017. In the mean time you can find your Kindle copy  HERE.




Thursday, February 9, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Forced Autonomy



This is how I’m gonna die. Not by machine or a shot to the head. I wouldn’t be lucky enough to just get thrown into the furnace. No, this effing hangnail—well, used to be hangnail, would be the end of me. A throbbing, pustule filled toe cavity would evolve into a full blown infection and then sepsis. Yes, death by sepsis. Now that sounds like my luck. Fever and a bum toe, so damned classy. I would’ve dug into myself, pulled out a lung and happily traded it for a dollar store first aid kit and some toe nail clippers at that point—I really would’ve. I’d picked the object of my malcontent from my toe with a sliver of metal I’d found on the ground in the factory. I didn’t often find metal in my factory, so I scooped it up at once, hoping the cameras didn’t detect my movement. That night by the light of a flashlight I’d stolen from one of the maintenance drones, I fashioned a rudimentary pair of tweezers out of the sharp, ragged metal. They didn’t work very well. Jerking and pulling, it took me nearly a damned hour to release the painful, jagged hangnail from its solitary confinement on the side of my toe. And I used the same tool to break through the bubble which had taken residence in its place. Hissing through my teeth at the sea sick green globule emerging from my toe, I wished for hydrogen peroxide—or that new skin stuff that burned like glowing brimstone itself. It released its prisoner of infection and throbbed in protest. I washed it the best I could with grime water courtesy of the hyper-recycled water bottle I’d once found behind the building. I used it to steal water from the bathroom in the factory.  I’d never stolen in my life before the collapse.  I’d once perfected the good girl routine, at least superficially. I dressed the part, cutesy vintage dresses that showed just the peep of a knee and nothing more. I kept my hair at that length, below shoulder—so that I could be accused of neither having short hair nor long. I certainly didn’t want to anger anyone with the length of my hair. My shoes were not flats which registered goody two shoes, but they weren’t too high, because that registered whore. I made straight A’s, I smiled when prompted and I never—ever moved an inch out of my little square. That’s what was expected of me. And I didn’t let anyone down.  But that time of my life and my family were long gone.  I tore a strip of cloth from my blanket and tied the wound up in a makeshift bandage. It would have to do until the next day. Then I’d have to take it off, letting the open, gaping hole exposed to the elements, the filth of the streets and the dirt of my work. It would get infected for sure. A wound that before could be cured with a hefty co-pay and five minutes of the good doctor’s time. But all the doctors, nurses and anyone else who had the knowledge or knowhow they needed had been swept away to other countries.  Robots didn’t need medical care. I lay on my back, my worn and tattered blanket making a sad pillow behind my neck and let my back spasm, trying to relax against the unrelenting, cold concrete floor. I fondled atop the window sill for my comb. Another thing I’d found or stole. I couldn’t remember which. There was a fine line between the two and no one left to define it for me. I combed through the tangles and tried to manifest a song in my head. The first one that came to my head was “Time of the Season” by the Zombies. My mom loved hippie music. She always dressed like a flower child for Halloween. I sang out the melodic, cool lyrics and giggled a little as I sway danced while lying down. The soldiers had just made rounds seventeen days ago and wouldn’t be back for a while—so there was no one to catch me singing or even giggling. I finished de-knotting my hair and pulled a greasy chunk to my nose. I already knew what it was going to smell like. It’s not like the strands had grown a garden of lavender while I worked that day. But I sniffed anyway, the scent reminiscent of dirt and body odor. It was a habit I’d failed to break, even after everything came crashing down. I used to revel in the smell of my hair, a weird and slightly obsessive compulsion. But there was no satisfaction to be held in the smell of my hair in that dump. I gagged on a daily basis from the plethora of blasphemous smells around me. I was a gagger anyway. I’d gag if someone described something gruesome in detail. I gagged if something gross came on TV. Like when my dad would watch one of those shows were people’s eyeballs were infested with parasitic worms or about kid who had flesh eating bacteria from eating cat feces in their turtle shaped sand pit. Pain and general ickyness never sat well with me. I passed out cold the first time I tried to use a tampon. I knocked my head on the tub beside me and came out with a defeated attitude and a goose egg which had to be iced. 


Yet I still had failed to use a tampon like a big girl. The tampons had gone into the trash. They’d managed to soak up what was left of my pride. A few days after I’d been working in my first factory—we made wooden shipping crates—I got a splinter in my finger. I worked with it for the rest of the day but by the time I got home it stung and whelped in anger. So that night, under the light of the moon flowing through my barred window, I quickly got over my fear of surgery and blood, completely by necessity. Many girly squeals and winces later, I was practically a suture expert. But the smells of those around me and the environment I was forced to work in—I just couldn’t take it. One woman, who somehow routinely stood beside me in the factory line, smelled particularly ripe and while the camera was turned and the turds in uniforms weren’t looking, I sprayed in her general direction with a stray can of WD-40. I burrowed a smile down into my white shirt—WD-40 never smelled so good.  Still wrapped in my cocoon of reminiscence, I heard footsteps coming down the hall just as I’d finished the last words to the song. The other tenants were so quiet, I could hear a pin drop. I flipped the comb in my hand, wielding the sharpened end, instead of the hygienic end and darted behind my shell of a refrigerator. The footsteps continued, the sounds indicating the carrier of feet grew closer and closer. A rattle on the door sent my heart into frantic palpitations followed by a complete seizure of beats. This was no toy soldier. They came in packs and never that late. The steps outside that night were heavier. Somehow they felt more determined though to most they would be nearly noiseless.  I sidestepped back into place behind the fridge as the owner of the footsteps entered. A male voice, scratchy and raspy claimed he was with the government. I may have been sheltered as a child but I’d never acquired a taste for bullshit. And he reeked of it. Then he confessed, though I could tell by the pieced together, almost quilted clothes he wore, that he was no government agent. His hair was the color of beach sand and pulled back in a ponytail, fastened with what looked like suede twine, the kind people used to make those salvation bracelets at summer Christian camp. He squinted as he explained that his job was to search for people like me. His light brown irises looked directly into mine, signaling a teller of the truth. He resembled a lost boy, maybe stranded on an island.  He said he was there to take me away. Anything has to be better than this.


I sent him to the next apartment, determined to make a break for it. I would need a carrier for the tracking device burrowed in my skin if I had any chance to get away. Over the years I’d contemplated every way I could to turn the damned thing off. I’d tried to drown it, burn it and even purposefully gotten my arm caught in one of the machines—all to no avail. I allowed myself one deep breath before I carved into my own arm, around and underneath the triangle metal tracker they’d embedded in my arm so long ago. It tracked me everywhere, but not everyone had one. Sooner than later, Lawson, that was his name, chauffeured in Mildred, and I began to give her a little taste of my luck. Desperate and wondering if that chance was my only chance at freedom, the decision was made to throw poor, unassuming Mildred under the proverbial bus. I didn’t know this guy. I didn’t really know where he was from or what he would do to me. But even death would provide me prayed for relief from my subpar existence. Some scavenged duct tape did the trick, and now my fate was temporarily connected to Mildred’s leg.


You can grab your Copy of Forced Autonomy HERE

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sunday Sale Alert


Right now Sparrow For Free is on sale for FREE! The sale ends on 2/6/2016 so make sure you grab your copy Now.

Sparrows for Free


Ezra is ruled by the ghosts of his past—and needled by the guilt they create. Not only does he have to manage his own guilt—his friends are forced to bear the weight as well. He lives in limbo, never dreaming of anything that lies beyond the grave....
He wishes for something beyond himself.
He hopes for her.

Hide and seek is Aysa’s game. She begs for small spaces and empty places. But, she secretly desires so much more. She's caught between wanting to hide and needing to break free.
When they find each other, a hope for something new is sprung.
She can't hide from him.
And he comes alive when he's with her.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Throwback Thursday

Today's Throwback Thursday is Sparrow For Free. You can grab your copy HERE. If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited you can find all of my books there.


Sparrows For Free

Contemporary Romance

Chapter 1

Aysa

I like hiding. I need to hide sometimes. I’m not talking about the childhood game where the ‘it’ person counts and finds their playmate who’s hidden in a ridiculous spot. I’m talking about shutting myself into a tight space and forgetting that the rest of the world absolutely loathes breathing the same air as me. When I was a teenager, my hiding spot used to be my room. It was private, and I could lock the world away. But now as an adult, I own the apartment that I live in, but still it feels too open, too exposed. I need someplace ever smaller to appease the itch of hiding.  I’m like a cow who finds comfort in one of those squeezing machines, even knowing that on the other side is a hot branding iron.
I’m not sure if it’s hiding, or the sensation of being squeezed.
Maybe it’s the feeling of being held that I like so much.
Because if something isn’t holding me together, I just may fall to pieces.
 My favorite spot is the right-hand side of my entertainment center. I know, it’s not made for that purpose, but it fits my purpose perfectly. I bought it for that specific reason. I’m sure most savvy furniture shoppers look for aspects like wood color, size and try to match their other furnishings’ style. I look for cabinet space. The one I have has two enormous cabinets on each side and I made sure that the left one had enough space to hold all of my DVDs and video games, leaving the other side empty as my own personal confessional booth.
When I admit it to myself, it sounds a bit desperate.
Okay, it sounds a lot desperate.
It sounds flat out pathetic.
I tell no one about my little hiding habit. Scratch that. I tell no one that my hiding habit has somehow continued into my adult life. The people I know wouldn’t care, or would use it as an excuse to alienate me further. I’m not sure it’s even possible for them to alienate me any more than they already do—they seem to be offended by the very breath in my lungs. My mother would have me committed—again. She committed me to a mental facility when I was seventeen for severe depression and then my father got me out the next day. I wasn’t depressed. I just liked to be alone where I didn’t have to hear her incessant whining about my father and how he didn’t make enough money to support her needs. And she had no room to complain about him. My dad only worked when he had to in order to insure he always had time to help me with homework or be my confidante. My poor father, always torn between the material demands of my mother and the fraternal needs of me. I try to stay out of it, simply to make his life easier.
After Irene, they didn’t really trust me with anyone else.
 I lock the doors and turn my phone off. I’ve had to feign lost signal or dead battery more time than I can count when someone calls during my cabinet time.
Not someone, only two people, my mom or my dad.
I have to hide. It’s the only way I can cope.
Today is one of those days.
I just need to forget the world.
Just like it always forgets me.
I would love to say my current spasm stems from something ultra-dramatic like someone called me a bitch or ruined my already flat career. How easy would it be to blame my fears on something so blatant? It wasn’t anything so straightforward. I kind of wish it was something so blatant, that way I’d at least feel semi-justified. Usually, like today, it was the general populations’ passive aggressive behavior aimed at me—or so I perceived it that way. I just happen to be one of these people who gets their feelings hurt all the time. I don’t plan to get hurt or to be so sensitive. It’s just who I am.
People tell me to grow a thicker skin, but I must be missing that DNA link or something because I can’t just brush off the words of others. Anyway, isn’t that the great thing about humans, we are all different?
I just want to feel safe again.
I don’t know that I’ve ever felt safe.
 I crawl into the cabinet, shove myself all the way to the back, and squeeze my feet in so that my knees are having an intimate meeting with my boobs. I curl my toes in and reach to shut the door—because inside that cabinet, the world goes away. There’s nothing and no one who can ignore me or pretend I don’t count in the cabinet. I can’t see the disapproving glares or the wordless shared glances of people who shouldn’t mean a thing to me, but who find a way to stab me daily.
I hate that moment the most.
The moment you find out you don’t even register as a blip on someone else’s radar.
Especially if you’ve ever considered that person important in your life.
And if my brain took the time to work it out thoroughly—if it took the time to explain to my heart that it wasn’t the people around me at all, it was me—I may have a shot. But my heart rules my world, no matter how many times I allow it to shatter—no matter how many patches it has to sew on, it finds a way to keep beating on.
 I wrap my arms around my knees and blow warm breaths of confessions to them. I confess that I saw the way Leila rolled her eyes at my carb filled lunch as she crunched on her strips of bacon. I tell them how the boss constantly ignores my emails and requests for a change in job responsibilities. I piano my fingers across the bridge of my nose as I recall Adam ignoring my contribution to the idea pool for our new advertisement project. I excuse them with my own shortcomings, of course. Leila is in better shape than me, maybe she was inadvertently trying to give me a clue. The boss is a very busy man. He does read some of my emails. Adam is the leader of our team. It probably wasn’t a good idea anyway.
See what I mean?
I excuse everyone but can’t seem to cut myself a break.
 It burns when I see things like the infamous eye-rolling, and I manage to seek them out. I wish I was one of those people who skirted through life not seeing the soundless sneers and jeers of others. I wish I didn’t see the way people shove themselves into the four corners of the elevator when I enter as if I have some communicable disease or social infection. I wish it would all go away.
I have always been this way. I would spend hours upon hours organizing an event for one of the umpteenth clubs I participated in during high school and then be the only name left off of the flyer. I was left off of lists and announcements every single time. I was told I couldn’t go to certain field trips or school activities because they were full—only to find out they were full because spots were being held for the really important people. I’d never be one of the important people. I’d be the one found dead, weeks later, not because anyone missed me—but because I’d offended them one last time with the smell.
I seem to offend everyone.
Or did everyone offend me?
I can’t remember.
I know where I am on the totem pole of life. I’m not the eagle on the top or even the fox in the middle that makes children happy. Hell, I’m not even the distorted demon face on the bottom that scares people and makes them wonder why they were there in the first place. No, I am the base of the totem pole, the plain, insignificant foundation that holds the weight of the rest. And life never hesitates to throw it in my face.
The other reason I love this cabinet is no glass on the doors. I can get in and really pretend I’m the queen of the tiny castle. Self-depreciating, weird, queen—I digress. Everyone in here loves me and would never slight me—which is not healthy or honest at all since I’m the only one in here and the first to knock myself down before anyone else gets the chance. 
I clunk my head on the side of my abode, knowing that the next day I have to face the cruel world again. I try to make it easier on myself through sarcasm and my perfectly honed distraction techniques. But they only take me so far.
Maybe it’s not the world. Maybe it’s just me. I feel awkward in every conversation. I’m the girl who sends an email or an instant message and lets her stomach plummet to the floor if the other person doesn’t answer immediately. I wait for the noise, letting me know I’ve been recognized as alive. I truly have a sense of being some low class moron in the presence of every other person in the world.
Pathetic—that’s the word I’m looking for.
I wish I could blame it on horrible parents or some kind of adolescent abuse scenario. I mean, I could. But I won’t.
 After hours of crying in my safe place, I emerge. I’m hungry. I go into the kitchen and make a quick bowl of oatmeal. I think of picking up the phone and calling a friend to complain to or to build me up, but the off and on friends I have always treat me like the special kid. Instead of feeling better about myself after I get off the phone, I always feel like I need to put a check in their box.
Annoyed them enough for the month: check.
Thoroughly convinced them that I’m mentally unstable: check.
Blocked my phone number: check.
I get out of my cabinet after it prescribes me lots of comebacks and quips that I would never use to those people who slight me. No ten Hail Mary’s for me, just a bunch of ‘F’ you’s.
Not that I am ever going to tell anyone F you.
They might not like me anymore.
Wait, hold up, they already hate me.
Ugh.
I eat, perched on the arm of my cream colored couch. Whatever had possessed me to get a cream colored couch, fails to come to mind. It’s not white like a cheesy music video couch but yet not brown like the insignificant, cookie cutter person I am. I’m afraid to sit on it, always preoccupied there’s something on my butt. I spend the entirety of my menstrual cycle sitting on my old leather recliner, passed down to me from my grandfather, afraid of a girly incident.
I suppose it all boils down to trust issues. I’ve always been on the painted end of the one way only side of the friendship sign. I give and give while being as nice as I can be, bordering on kissing their ass until I realize every conversation, every phone call, every get together is initiated by me. I’m never invited to anything or mentioned in conversations. I’m invisible. I’m vapor. Sometimes, I like to pretend I’m strong. I tell myself I’m not going to write, message, call them, or anything. The next time we communicate will be when they want to talk to me. Of course, this begins a spiral. They never begin any communications with me or even notice my absence. Then I end up caving, letting the desperation of loneliness take over my psyche. So, I message them. Then they act annoyed, lather, rinse and repeat.
I could just fade away.
After washing my bowl and spoon, I turn my phone back on. I don’t even check to see if there are any missed calls or text messages—there are none, trust me. I’ve already spoken to my parents that day and my sister never calls. After changing out of my work clothes and into pajamas, I burrow into my layer upon layers of bedding. I’m one of those cold people. Even during a Louisiana summer, I freeze at night. Opening a new book on my iPad Kindle app, I read a few pages and then come upon the main character’s name—Blake.
“He likes you. I heard him talking to Abe when I passed their table.”
“Jill, you’re my best friend, and I love you. But you’re full of shit if you think a guy like Blake likes me. Anyway we’re in the seventh grade, what does he likes me mean anyway?”
“You know he wants to go out with you.”
“Out with me where?”
Jill threw her hands up in embarrassment of my lack of knowledge about such things. “It just means you’ll be his girlfriend.”
I chanced a glance over at the popular people table and saw Blake. But he was tossing pepperoni pieces at someone across the room.
“He’s throwing chunks of mystery meat. He’s not even looking at me.”
“You’ll see,” she smirked. I darted my gaze back down to my book while she attempted to give herself whiplash looking from me to Blake and back again.
I click my finger on the top left of the app and chose ‘library’ from the menu that pops up. I have no desire to read about Blake and how he found the love of his life. It turned out that middle school Blake wasn’t talking about me that faithful day in the cafeteria. He was talking about Alyssa, the only other red head in the seventh grade class whose name happened to be eerily similar to mine. Jill hadn’t heard him talking about me. She’d simply heard him saying something about a pretty red head and jumped to conclusions. Conclusions that led me to write him a note asking if he liked me and my being laughed at for the rest of the school year. Thankfully, over that summer, Blake had been accepted to an elite Catholic prep school, and I never saw him again.
Giving up on my books, I slide down lower into the covers and wonder at what point I became this person—this girl who spends her evenings hiding from people. I’m twenty one years old but still contain the same apprehension for people and my inability to judge the truth of their emotions as I did at the tender age of thirteen.
“You are so screwed up, Aysa Branton.”