Giveaway and Guest Post: Creators by Tiffany Truitt

creators

Creators by Tiffany Truitt

Series: Lost Souls #3

Release date: April 21, 2014

Imprint: Entangled Teen

Website: http://tiffanytruitt.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tiffany-Truitt/205025266243934

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tiffanytruitt

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5252348.Tiffany_Truitt?from_search=true

Entangled Teen Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Entangled-Teen/327149817363761

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EntangledTeen

Book Summary:

Heartbroken but more determined than ever after a tense showdown in the woods, sixteen-year-old Tess once again returns to the safety of her community of Isolationists. Bolstered by new alliances and desperate to protect those she loves, this time she knows she can return stronger and more powerful than ever to take back what is hers.

As she trains in combat and grows more confident, Tess receives beautiful letters penned by her forbidden love, the chosen one James, from his prison in Templeton. He is now serving as a bodyguard to the creators—the team of scientists who created artificial life in the first place. And what he has discovered about the true origin of the illness that halted natural life could change everything. Enemy will become ally and death will bring new hope in this stunning conclusion to Tiffany Truitt’s epic Lost Souls trilogy.

Guest Post:

I want to start off by thanking Paulette’s Papers for hosting me today. I had a great time going through the site, and I simply love how romance friendly the blog is! After my initial visit, I knew exactly what I wanted to share today—-all things romance.

While my YA dystopian series, The Lost Souls, is a science fiction work, the trilogy is filled with some pretty steamy, swoon-worthy scenes. (Or at least as steamy and swoon-worthy as I felt comfortable writing during my first venture into the YA world). I’d like to share some of my favorite bits while also offering an exclusive sneak peek into scenes and lines from the third and final book, CREATORS.

Book 1 – CHOSEN ONES

chosen ones

Meet Cue – In book one of the series, Tess meets James in the unlikeliest of places—the piano room. Fearing that music and art corrupted the souls of humankind, the council destroyed most of it, and when Tess discovers a piano in the council’s training center, she cannot stop herself from giving into temptation. When James, a chosen one, finds her committing a crime, the last thing she expects is this:

That was when I saw him. It was the chosen one from my branding. Not the one who held me down as the iron burned into my skin. This was the one who was beautiful. While I knew it was wrong to admit, even if only to myself, some part of me liked seeing him.

As I looked to the chosen one beside me, I saw past the perfection the creators intended when constructing him. Behind his alluring appearance laid danger. His artfully sculpted cheekbones, curly black hair, and dazzling mismatched eyes didn’t impress me. Those weren’t the things that stirred something inside me the way playing the piano did. It was the flaw. The small scar on his chin. It was glorious.

Sometimes it felt too difficult to look on the chosen ones; they were so far superior to us naturals in every conceivable way. It was as if that scar allowed me to see him, begged me to see him. How silent it was. I was so used to the hustle and bustle of the compound that it startled me. I could almost hear the air weave itself around everything in the room. He was silence itself.

And in that stillness I was more aware of myself than I had ever been. I could feel the way a few stray strands of my red hair were brushing against the branding on the back of my neck. I could sense my pulse beating quickly against my wrist, my body craving to touch the keys again. Or maybe to touch the boy. I could even taste my breath sticking inside my throat. But for one brief moment, I couldn’t feel fear. It was only a second. I saw his hand twitch and suddenly the moment was lost forever.

Book 2 – NATURALS

naturals

The Reunion – Without giving too much away, James and Tess, the star-crossed lovers of the series, end up getting separated by forces seemingly larger than life. But nothing keeps true love down for long. Here’s a bit from the reunion…before things really heat up

James hesitantly reached both hands up to cup my face but stopped before actually making contact. “Is it okay if I touch you?” he asked.

“God, yes,” I breathed.

His hands found my face and a wave of goose bumps covered my limbs. I closed my eyes and allowed the feeling to overtake me. It was euphoric.

“Did they hurt you, Tess?”

“Say it again?” I begged.

“What?”

“My name.”

“Tess,” he murmured.

My eyes snapped open. I threw my arms around him and held onto him as tightly as I possibly could. I began to full-out sob, burying my face in his chest.

“Shh. It will be all right. I promise,” he said soothingly, running a hand up and down my back.

I shook my head and looked up at him. “I…I know it will be…that’s not why I’m crying,” I managed.

James wiped under my nose with his sleeve, waiting patiently for me to continue. He wasn’t dressed much differently than the other men of the camp—brown trousers and a blue and green plaid shirt—but in other ways, he was entirely one of a kind. He had always been so gentle with me.

I swallowed, trying to somehow calm down enough to explain my words. I took a shaky breath. “I’m crying because every time I wanted to see you again, it felt so foolish. I never

thought it could actually happen.”

“I told you I would find you,” he said tenderly.

Book 3 – CREATORS

creators

Steamy Steam – There’s not much I can give away about book three, but I wanted to share this bit. In this scene, Tess and James, for reasons I cannot share, find themselves on opposite sides of the war, but Tess will not accept defeat. She knows that despite the powerful brainwashing enacted upon James, the man she loves still exists somewhere inside.

“Tell me, girl. You look after him. Have you stumbled across anything else the boy may have taken from his father’s room? A second map, perhaps?” he asked, his thumb continuing to graze my cheek.

Something inside of me twisted and broke. I slapped James’s hand away from my face. “What are you doing?” I demanded.

James stepped away from me, his hands held up in surrender. “The touching? I can tell you like it.” He motioned to my reddened cheeks. “I can do it some more. I just need you to help me a little.”

I wanted to throw up. James had been playing me. I hopped off the medical table, trying to ignore the wave of dizziness that overtook me. “Looks like you liked it yourself,” I challenged. His face was flushed.

“I…I was just…” he mumbled, backing away from me.

He had liked it. Some part of him remembered what it was like to touch me. I stood as straight as I could. I didn’t care that he was a chosen one. I didn’t care that he couldn’t remember our time together. I walked right up to him. “What part of it did you like? The way it felt to touch me? Or the fact that you were doing something they told you was so wrong? Or was it both?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.

James’s face paled as he gulped. I reached a hand toward him, stopping just short of placing it against his chest. “I can do it some more. I just need you to help me a little,” I whispered.

“Get away from me,” he said.

“What is this map you’re looking for? Why is it so important? If you tell me, I’ll let you do it again,” I promised, placing my hand against his chest. His heart pounded beneath my palm. I could feel my own heart beating to keep pace with his. “I can tell you want me to,” I whispered.

James wrapped a hand around my wrist but he didn’t pull me away from his chest. “I…I need you to stop doing that.”

I licked my lips. Abrams had been right. Women had all sorts of power. “Is that really what you want me to do? Come on…just a few answers, and we could have so much fun.”

 

Author Bio:

tiffany truit

Tiffany Truitt received her MA in literature from Old Dominion University. Her debut Chosen Ones, first in the Lost Souls trilogy, is a searing look at what it means to be other and how we define humanity, as well as a celebration of the dangerously wonderful feeling of falling in love. www.tiffanytruitt.wordpress.com

Book Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Rising-King-Entangled-Teen-ebook/dp/B00F1RE1C0/

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/creators-tiffany-truitt/1115568931?ean=9781622661534

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12726115-the-rising-king?ac=1

 

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Giveaway: Without You by Julie Prestsater

 

Title: Without You
Author: Julie Prestsater
Genre: NA/adult contemporary romance
Publication: February 14th, 2014

When two people connect, they can make beautiful music together. But what happens when music is the thing that tears them apart?

Evan James had it all. Drop-dead sexy, brilliantly talented musician, a skyrocketing career and his high school sweetheart by his side. When he’s offered a golden opportunity to go on tour, he never imagined she wouldn’t go with him. Without her, he found his dream meant nothing. Three years later, bereft and alone, Evan stops at an open mic night and spots someone sitting in the audience, the beautiful face of a woman he’d never forget…Maddy, his one true love.

Madison Grey had only ever loved one man. When Evan broke her heart she had no choice but to move on with her life, start a career of her own, and she even finds a new love. Still, thoughts of Evan were never put to rest. And on one fateful night, she unexpectedly hears him pour his heart out into a new song. A song about broken hearts, lost love, and second chances. A song about her.

With the help of their scheming friends, Maddy and Evan are thrown into each other’s lives once more. While learning to love and trust again, there is only one thing left on both of their minds… Is life better with or without you?


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About Julie


I’m a mom, a wife, a teacher, a reader, and a writer. I’m also an lunatic when it comes to the NFL and playing Fantasy football, especially if I don’t get my first pick quarterback: Tony Romo. When I’m not at home or work, you can probably catch me on the 15 freeway singing my heart out and dancing away in my car. 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Giveaway: The Fall by Sienna Lane and Amelia Rivers

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Title: The Fall

Authors: Sienna Lane and Amelia Rivers

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Release Date: April 12, 2014

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Synopsis

When you live forever, you think you’ve seen it all.
Faces blur, time stands still, and nothing can surprise you.

Until I meet her.

The timing couldn’t have been worse. Trouble brews.
My brethren are divided, but the sides remain unclear.
And now, on top of everything, I’m falling for a human.

 

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Connect with Sienna

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Giveaway and Excerpt: Melted & Shattered by Emily Eck

Emily Eck invites you to celebrate the release of Melted & Shattered (L&J #2) with an awesome giveaway and a free download of J Speaks (L&J #1.5)
 
Melted & Shattered (L & J #2)
By: Emily Eck
Publication Date: April 21, 2014
Genre: Romance/Trilogy
Cover Designer: Melody Simmons

                                        

                                         Synopsis

Elle was never broken.
She wasn’t shattered.
And she sure as hell never needed to be saved.
That is,until she found out what the aftermath of love was capable of causing.
 

Doing her best to stay afloat amidst the sh!t storm that has become her life, Elle is hanging on by a thread. Between worrying about Fernie’s precarious future, an incident with a Shemar Moore look-alike gone terribly wrong, and an inability to let go of her feelings for J, Elle just can’t seem to get her head straight. Deciding a change of atmosphere is what she needs, Elle heads to Mexico to study abroad for a semester. She has no idea that she is walking into an even worse storm. One that involves a pissed off MC President, a ruthless drug cartel, and a man willing to die to have her light.

 ***This is the 2nd book in the series L&J – cannot be read as a stand-alone***

 

                                      Purchase Links

Melted & Shattered (L&J #2)
 
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Steel & Ice (L&J #1)
 

Excerpt

“I came here, baby, to tell you I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.” He inhaled sharply, but said in an even voice. “And I can’t lose you before the greatest fight I will ever wage.”
Redemption. Could I absolve him? I lay in a hospital bed for two weeks. All of it at his hands. I’d been marred, though the scar on my skin was not the worst damage. It was a reminder of the scar I’d carried inside. Could he erase that scar? Could he heal a wound one could not see?
There was silence, deafening silence. I tried to keep it together. I used every ounce of energy I had to keep the fire at a low flame, but it blazed through me. He would’ve shot my kid, and I couldn’t let that happen. These kids, they’d become my lifeline. My light.
“Without those kids, I’m just as dark as you.” I said emotionlessly, empty. These last few weeks of pretending during the day, only to come home and sob until sleep graced me was maddening. “I’ve got nothing left to give you, J. Nothing.”
I hung my head, losing the fight with the tears that had been threatening to erupt since J arrived. “I can’t be your light, when I have none.”
We lay on the floor, two damaged bodies searching for the light. J pulled my head into his hands, bringing us face to face. I could feel his breath against my lips. “You were a comet that bust into my life out of no where” he whispered. “I begged for you. On my knees in the dirt, I groveled to the sky to bring me light. And there you were, at Eight Oh Eight, staring up at me, even though I knew you couldn’t see through the window. I saw you, though. Elle, I saw you long before you saw me.”
“How could I love a killer?”
“How much pain was worth loving this man?
“Please, baby. Please. I need you. I love you. I can’t go into this without knowing you’ll be here when I return.”
“I’m not sure what to say. I want to tell you I’ll wait. That I’ll be here, waiting like a good girl for you. I want to because I love you. Fuck, I love you.” I turned, finally ready to look him in the eye. “I don’t know where I’ll be. I can’t tell you that. But I can tell you that I love the fuck out of you, and no matter how much I try to stop,” I paused. Fuck this mother fucker. Fuck! God, why was he doing this to me? Angry tears, sad tears, hopeless tears, tears filled with longing fell from my eyes. J caught then with his thumb, but there were too many. They ran over his fingers like a waterfall.

Author Bio

 

Emily is a Midwestern Gal, but could be anywhere as you read this. She gypsy’s the country, as well as south of the border. Adventure feeds her soul, and offers great writing material. She loves kids and working with kids, but can only handle caring for four-legged furry friends. A crazy dog and laid back cat have trained her to be their partner in life. Vices include Swedish Fish, ignoring chores in favor of reading, and caring too much for people in her life. She chose to write this bio in third person as she is an Aries, and found writing in first person ended up with her writing an excessively long life story. Aries like to talk about themselves. It is something Emily is working on being more mindful of.


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Giveaway and Excerpt: Stormswept: The Bold and the Beautiful by Shannon Curtis

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Title – Stormswept: The Bold and the Beautiful

Author – Shannon Curtis

Genre – Contemporary Romance

Release Date – March 25, 2014

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Synopsis

Brand new stories with the characters you love from THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL

She’s jinxed when it comes to relationships.

That’s what Hope believes as she ends yet another engagement. She jumps at the chance to travel to Australia for a fashion shoot – even if that means getting up close and very personal with former flame, Oliver.

For Oliver, a sailing trip in a tropical paradise is the opportunity to convince the woman he’s always loved to give him a second chance.

But when Hope and Oliver are caught in a storm and stranded on a desert island, they are soon battling the elements, and their passion for each other.  

Excerpt

Oh, that was bad. That was—that was torture. As soon as the words fell from her mouth she knew he’d be hurt by them. She didn’t want to hurt Ollie—he was her friend. She’d known he still had a thing for her, but had tried not to encourage it. What woman in her right mind would turn down Oliver Jones? Argh. Could she feel any more awkward than she did in this very moment? She collapsed back on her bed, groaning with frustration. Why couldn’t he just keep things casual? Why did he have to go and ruin it by kissing her proverbial socks off and making her want more? And what did that say about her? She’d left two guys fighting over her back in LA, and now she had rebuffed Oliver, too. She was behaving just like her mother. She squeezed her eyes shut. Anything but that. She’d had to live down her mother’s many indiscretions, had tried to set a new standard, determined to break the mold. She wasn’t a femme fatale. She rolled her eyes. Not even close. She shuddered. The feel of his lips against hers, his arms around her—it was as though she was seventeen again, feeling wild exuberance over a mere kiss. She shook her head. She couldn’t even begin to imagine what it might be like to make love with Oliver Jones. They had kissed many times, but had never made that final commitment. She was still attracted to him. Images of Oliver, half-naked and wet, half-naked and aroused—by her—flooded her brain. Her nipples peaked in her bra, as though craving his touch, and she hugged herself. This attraction to Oliver had to stop. She’d found him appealing from the moment they’d met, but had become supremely aware of him during this trip. This business trip. She had to remind herself of that. They were business associates and friends—although she wasn’t sure if the latter still applied. Fear and dismay flared within her. She hoped they were still friends. Oliver was—well, he was special. He’d been her first love. She remembered those lazy days when they’d hung out over summer, when her biggest problem was deciding which college to attend. She sighed as she rolled over and drew her knees up. They were friends. Friends didn’t go around kissing each other like—well, like he’d kissed her. Sure, she’d enjoyed it—way too much, if she was honest with herself. But as she’d told him, there could never be anything more between them. He’d hurt her, deeply. The pain, the humiliation, the horror—her life had become a circus. She sighed. Okay, so being Brooke Logan’s daughter was a circus all on its own, but Oliver’s mistaken tryst with her mother was her first real experience of being at the center of a media storm. It had been hell. And now he wanted to try and resuscitate that dead horse? She just wanted a contented life with a one-woman man—was that seriously too much to ask for? Oliver had been unfaithful, albeit unknowingly. And she’d had to share Liam with another woman for far too long, and Wyatt? Well, Wyatt definitely had a single-minded focus, but she wasn’t sure if his intense attention was because he wanted to be with her, or because he was trying to prove something to his father and half-brother. She was jinxed when it came to relationships. She’d proven that over and over again. She didn’t trust her heart, or her head, when it came to men. But she didn’t want to lose Oliver. She bit her lip as she glanced at the wall of her cabin. She’d pretty much told him to move on. Oh, gosh. What if he did? She squeezed her eyes shut as an unfamiliar feeling of dread gripped her gut. He was an attractive guy. Smart, with a great sense of humor. Despite their past, she really did want him to be happy. She couldn’t deny, though, that on some level she still wanted his attention, his affection. His desire. But he needed more than she was prepared to give. If he did find happiness with another woman, what then? After tonight, she wasn’t sure what she wanted. He could still arouse her with one kiss, one heated look. But he could still hurt her, too. She hoped, prayed, that tomorrow everything would be back to normal. Oliver would joke around with her, make her laugh, be that strong shoulder to cry on when she needed it. Be the man she wanted, just without the emotional entanglement. She took a deep breath. Tomorrow they’d act like nothing had happened.  

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About the Author

Curtis_Shannon

Shannon Curtis has worked as an office admin manager, customer service rep, logistics supervisor, dangerous goods handler, event planner, ‘switch bitch’ and betting agent.

She loved reading from an early age and decided to combine her passion for action and romance by penning a novel. Her first two books were shortlisted for Favourite Romantic Suspense for 2012 & 2013 by the Australian Romance Readers Association.

She is also the author of Collision Course, one of the first titles published with THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL.

She lives in Sydney with her family and various pets, and dreams of one day having a library like the one inBeauty and the Beast (as long as she doesn’t have to clean it).

 

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Giveaway and Excerpt: Songbird Caged by Lisa Edward

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Tara has made a promise.

A promise to wait six months for Riley to come home from his tour of duty, so they can be together.

But as secrets and lies are uncovered, it leads Tara to question their commitment, and she is finding it difficult to keep that promise.
 
The distance between them is growing, and only one person can fill the void, Tara’s best friend Cole.

As Cole tries to support Tara, he is struggling with demons of his own, that threaten to tear him away from the life he has built for himself. 

After devastating news is received, who will be there to pick up the pieces?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20564495-songbird-caged

  

 

 
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“I’d like to take you out.”
I looked at Cole, slightly amused. “We go out all the time.”
“No, we go to your place, we come here. We go to the gym, for a run on the beach, or we go to Songbirds. We don’t go out.”
We were sitting on Cole’s couch in his apartment, looking at light fittings for Reds on the Internet.
He was wringing his hands. “Would you like to go out with me?” he asked.
I frowned. “What, like on a date?”
“If that’s what you want to call it. I don’t know, I’ve never been on a date. But if going out to dinner and then a club together is a date, then sure, let’s call it a date.”
I looked at him warily. “You do know I’m engaged, right? You haven’t forgotten?”
He shrugged. “In theory. But there’s no harm in letting me take you out. I mean, officially take you out—on a date.”
I had to think about this for a minute. Was it asking for trouble to let him believe we could actually date when I had made a commitment to Riley?
“You know, even if you pay for dinner, I’m not going to sleep with you,” I said with a smile.
“So what’s the point of paying for dinner, then?” he asked cheekily. He took hold of my hands in his. “I wouldn’t expect you to sleep with anyone on a first date. You’re not that kind of girl.”
I exhaled slowly, weighing up how to respond. “Okay, we can go out on three conditions.”
He nodded.
“Firstly, we need to have other people there, so maybe Marcus and Nicole can come with us.”
“Like a double date,” he said, teasingly.
I chuckled, and shook my head. “Secondly, you have to stop calling it a date.”
He grinned at me cheekily.

“Thirdly, you have to wear your Calvin Klein jeans, the ones that fit your butt really well.”

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I awoke with a start.



My arm had gone to sleep from laying on it all night, and my face was squished into someone’s neck. It was Cole’s. I inhaled his warm cedar and musk scent. Even after sleeping on the couch all night, he smelt unbelievable.



Sitting up, I moved my head from side to side, trying to stretch out the kinks.



“Good morning, sleepy head. Did you just sniff me again?”


I looked down at Cole. He was grinning up at me as I rubbed my shoulders and numb arm.

“Good morning,” I replied with a groan, as I stretched my arms over my head. “You know I’m staying here so I don’t have to sleep on a couch. Kind of defeats the purpose, spending the night out here.”

He sat up and started rubbing my arm, trying to get the blood to flow back into it.

“I disagree. I’m sure I’m much more comfortable to lay on than your lumpy couch.” He moved his attention to my shoulders, and I sighed. “Besides, it’s not every day I have someone dribble all down my neck.”

I wiped my hand across my cheek. It was damp. Oh my God, I had dribbled in my sleep. I checked Cole’s neck and quickly wiped it dry.

“You should be used to it,” I said, trying to make light of the embarrassing situation. “You have girls drooling over you everywhere you go.”

He chuckled. “No one who matters.” He took my hand away from his now dry neck and held it. “Until now, that is.”

Songbird, book 1
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 Every relationship changes you, some for the better, others can shatter your confidence and almost destroy you.

For the musically talented, twenty-four year old Tara O’Connell, her relationship with Stephen almost broke her, until Tara found the strength to leave.

Now she is on the road to discovering that it is never too late to pursue your dreams and follow your heart.

As Tara’s self-belief grows, she meets two men she is instantly drawn to who will change her life forever.

Corporal Riley Hammond is a soldier in the Australian Military Special Forces. With his smiling sapphire blue eyes, Tara falls for him instantly. He is thoughtful and caring, and gives her the support and love she needs.

While Cole Michaels is the overconfident singer in a popular local band. His charisma, emerald green eyes, tattoos and piercing, have girls falling at his feet. But while Cole pushes
Tara’s buttons, he also pushes her to reach for the stars.

Both men couldn’t be more polar opposites, but both offer Tara different qualities that she needs to fulfill her destiny.

As Tara continues her journey, she will discover fate can offer you more than one path. Her fate is in her own hands, and the choices she makes, will shape her life forever.

 
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18658118-songbird

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While Lisa Edward has called Melbourne Australia home for her entire life, she has lived and worked in England, and travelled through most parts of Europe and the United States. She loves nothing more than spending time with her husband and beautiful daughter, or curling up into the early hours of the morning with a great novel. By day, Lisa works in the analytical IT field, so relishes the opportunity to foster her creative side through writing. Her deep appreciation for literature was nurtured from a young age, being taught to respect books and get lost in their stories. She enjoys reading honest and realistic novels that are relatable, thought provoking and leave a lasting impression. She can’t write without music playing, using the emotions from different songs to invoke that of her characters. Lisa takes inspiration from her own life experiences, the people around her and those she has met in her travels.

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https://www.facebook.com/HeavenSentPromotions      https://twitter.com/HeavenSentProm0     http://heavensentpromotions.blogspot.com/     HeavenSentPromotions@gmail.com

 

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Giveaway and Excerpt: Journey to Faith by Tina Klinesmith

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Title: Journey to Faith (Journey #3)

Author:   Tina Klinesmith
Genre: Christian Fiction/Romance
Publish Date:   April 15, 2014
Publisher:  Independently Published

Cover by: Allison Brennen

Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.

~ Book Synopsis ~

Michele and David have it all: successful careers, a loving marriage and the perfect daughter. Until the past raises its head, intent this time on wrecking damage to their daughter. When tragedy strikes, they find their faith in God and His plans tested. Can their family remain strong in the face of adversity or will they crumble in ruins? Will love fail them when they need it most or will it restore their faith in what the future holds?

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Exerpt:

Faith twisted the knob on her locker, trying again to get the lock to open. She lifted the latch to no avail, again. Growling at the mechanism, she hit the metal locker with the side of her fist.

“What’s the matter, can’t get it open?” Faith should have known Raif wouldn’t give up tormenting her simply because she’d been suspended for a few days. “I didn’t have that problem with your mom last night.”

The mocking laughter from several of his teammates nearby echoed through the near empty hall. What were they even doing out of class? She’d deliberately waited until long after the bell rang before hurrying to her locker, trying to avoid him. He edged closer to her as she pretended to ignore him. Hopefully, he’d get bored with her lack of reaction and go away.

He placed a hand against her locker, blocking her. “You know,” he began, his voice smooth and almost hypnotizing, “I’ll bet that you’re just as easy as your mom.” He rubbed against her back suggestively while his friends laughed.

Faith glanced toward the end of the hall. She saw a few kids hurrying to their classes, already tardy, but none looked her direction. It was as if they couldn’t see what was happening, or chose not to.

Raif slipped one arm around her waist and pulled her against him. He reminded her of a python surrounding prey. “You know you like me, Faith.”

“What do you want, Raif? I’m not really your type. Aren’t you dating Marissa?”

“You should come home with me, Faith. We could have some fun. You’d enjoy it. I promise.”

Faith wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of an answer but she wasn’t going to be a helpless victim while he bullied her either. Her father taught her enough self-defense growing up to protect herself, although she’d never used it before. He had no idea what happened when she stomped on the instep of his left foot with her boot before elbowing him as hard as she could in the diaphragm.

“Get off me, Raif. You’re a pig.”

Raif’s friends stumbled backward, out of his way, as he fell away from the lockers, trying desperately to catch his breath and regain control of this girl he’d mistakenly assumed was helpless. She’d already given him stitches, Faith doubted he wanted more. He moved quicker than she expected, grasping her wrists and shoving her back against the lockers before pinning her there with all six-foot-three-inches of his basketball physique. She found herself trapped between him and the wall of metal lockers, the handle of hers biting into her aching shoulder. His friends encircled the two of them, blocking them from the sight of anyone walking the hall.

“You can come willingly and we can both have fun, or we can do this the hard way. Either way, I’m going to have some fun with you,” he hissed in her ear before taking a deep inhale at her neck.

“Hey!”

The pressure holding her to the locker disappeared and she heard the sound of flesh connecting. She hadn’t even realized she closed her eyes until she opened them to see Raif, with his nose bleeding and his lip split again, getting up from the floor of the hall. His friends left, fleeing in every direction, leaving Raif to try to regain his dignity at the hands of an unknown assailant.

Raif pressed the heel of his palm against his bleeding lip and stared at the blood on his hand before pointing at the hulking beast standing between him and Faith.

“This isn’t over.” Raif pointed at the stranger. “We’ll finish this later.”

“You ever touch my girlfriend again and I won’t let you off this lightly. Leave her alone, understand?”

Girlfriend? I don’t even know who this is. Faith watched as Raif stormed off toward his class. As much as she wanted to take pleasure in the moment, watching Raif run away in pain, she wasn’t even sure she was safe with her rescuer. She wasn’t sure if she should thank him or try to disappear before he moved toward her. She reached for her backpack and slung it over a shoulder as the stranger turned to face her and reached for her arm.

“Are you all right?” She could barely understand him through his thick Irish accent.

“I’m fine.” She shook off his huge, meaty hand.

“I’m sorry I told them you were my girlfriend, but I was hoping that would give them a bit more of a reason to leave you alone.” He’d lowered his voice but she couldn’t mistake the Irish brogue. “I’m Declan.” He held out his hand to her.

Faith stared at his hand. She could see blood on the back of it, but wasn’t sure whose it was. She shifted her backpack nervously, “Well, Declan, you might want to go wash that hand off,” she pointed out.

Declan rubbed his knuckles on his jeans and folded his arms, causing his big biceps to flex against his t-shirt. “Well, isn’t that a fine thank you?” He cast her a disarming, lopsided grin, his blue eyes crinkling at the corners.

She cocked her head and tried not to return his smile but was finding it difficult. She shouldn’t take her troubles out on him. After all, he’d been the one to run Raif off this time. If he’d planned on hurting her, he certainly could have done it by now.

This guy was enormous. He wasn’t as tall as Raif, although he at least six-foot tall but he was incredibly broad shouldered and well-muscled. He must spend all day in the gym, she thought. If he were to hug her, she wouldn’t even take up half of his body.

Why am I even imagining hugging him?

She met his gaze and was struck by how blue his eyes were. In fact, they matched the turquoise t-shirt he wore. She wondered if he had planned it that way. Faith frowned at the path her thoughts had taken.

“Now, what could make a girl as pretty as you frown like that?”

Faith frowned at Declan, a blush creeping over her neck and cheeks. As good-looking as he might be, she certainly wasn’t about to fall for this Prince Charming act. She didn’t want Raif to have anything else to talk about. “Thank you for helping me out, but I have to go.”

“Did I do something to make you mad?” The ear-shattering sound of the second bell reverberated through the empty halls. He looked the direction Raif had gone. “I’ll walk you to your class?”

“No need. I’m not going,” she answered. She’d never cut class before but she wasn’t about to get caught at her locker again by Raif or any of his friends. If Declan hadn’t been nearby to help out, who knew what might have happened. She didn’t want to chance it.

About the Author

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Tina Klinesmith (1973-present) found she had a love for stories at the ripe age of 2 when her mother found her trying to read a romance novel. Even in childhood, she spent time crafting stories, plays and songs for family and friends.

Raised in the lush Central Valley of California, Tina continues to reside there with her wonderful husband, three children and a menagerie of beasts who believe they are also children.

Tina loves the outdoors and spending time camping, fishing and just hanging out with family and friends. She is an accomplished horsewoman and trainer as well as a fitness instructor and online coach. She loves to hear from her readers!

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