Anne Express: Poetry Station

Hi there! Welcome back to Anne Express. On the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, I decided to pen a new poem for you. This was written using a pinterest prompt. So … enjoy!

Loneliness

Prompt: Write about the sound, color and smell of loneliness

 

Title: Loneliness

 

A whisper.

The murmur of a butterfly’s’ wings.

The drip-drop of water running from a tap.

The beating of a single heart.

I wake up with a start.

Could this be? Is it real?

Bursts of colors … red, blue and green, make me feel.

The smell of freesia and lavender makes me

Hope against hope…

With a trembling hand I reach out,

But just like a bubble, it burst.

Leaving me with an unquenchable thirst.

The colors disappear, the smells fade.

Until all remains is the sound of a heartbeat.

A lonely heart.

My heart

 

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Anne Express Banner: Yours truly

Anne Express: Virtuoso~ Chapter-17

A/N: Sorry for the delay. I had a surgery and life was pretty demanding. But now that I’m recouping, I have lots of time in my hands to write. So updates will be quicker. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Chp17


Chapter-17: Dead Leaves


BPOV


I have no recollection whatsoever of running out of that decrepit place. All I remember is clutching Tony’s hand in a death grip as he led me out of there. I focus on taking as much air as I can in my lungs, needing to keep the panic attack at bay. By the time I’ve got my breathing under control, Tony has me ducking behind a bush as he watches the men surrounding the house look around in apparent confusion.

“Ar-are they looking for us?” I manage to ask in a hoarse voice.

Tony nods in silence from next to me.

Just then, something catches my eyes. With a whoosh, James’s white Ferrari scoots past the men before turning around and rushing in the opposite direction. The stench of burnt rubber fills the air as the car races with its tires squealing.

“Fuuuuck!” From somewhere out of my vision, I hear James cry out in fury. “Whoever the fuck is doing this is going to wish he was dead. I’mma kill that son of a bitch!”

One of his men asks, “Who are you talking about, Boss?”

James curses again. “It must be that fuckwit Virtuoso. He’s yanking my chain. He’s known for his notorious sense of humor.”

Amidst the scene unraveling before our eyes, my mind races. This diversion is our chance, I realize. “Tony?” I call.

He manages an unintelligible mumble under his breath then asks, “Yes, Ms Bella?”

“Get ready,” I instruct him. “The men are busy now. This is our chance to get out of here.”

“How?”

“I’ll count to three. On three, we’ll both run out of here and make a dash for our car. You’ll take the wheel and I’ll be there to support you.”

When there’s no response from him, I turn my head to face him. He gulps and then asks in a whispered voice, “Can we exchange roles? Maybe you should take the wheel and I should be the backup …”

I spear him with a glare and ask back, “Do you think I’d have asked you to do that if I had a driving license?”

He blinks. “You don’t …?”

“Failed three times,” I answer bitterly. Taking in a deep breath, I ask, “Ready?”

He lets out a sigh and answers, “Ready.”

And then, we’re running like bats out of hell, making a beeline for the car. I just about wrench open the car door and throw myself in the passenger seat. Turning my head, I see that Tony has managed to get there too. “Hurry!” I yell.

He shifts gears and we’re off. A collection of screams tell us that we’ve been noticed. “They’ve seen us,” Tony says, sounding panicked.

“Just drive and get us out of here,” I instruct as he accelerates.

In the mad dash to get away from the mob of men carrying various weapons coming after us, Tony swerves and crashes into an oncoming car. “Shit!” he curses as smoke rises out of the bonnet.

“Let’s  get out,” I say, throwing open my door. “We can ask these people for help.”

Without arguing, he follows my suit just as a tall man with straw-colored hair gets out of the car we’ve crashed into. The man adjusts a badge on his hip and marches up to us. He gives us a once-over before asking, “Do you have any idea that you just damaged a federal vehicle?”

“You’re a cop?” I ask back, feeling relieved.

He shakes his head. “FBI.”

“Even better.”

Just then, the crowd chasing after us reaches the spot and both Tony and I duck behind the FBI agent. With their weapons flashing in the sunlight, they try to get to us as the agent steps forward and raises a hand to stop them. “May I ask why you gentlemen are running around with firearms in broad daylight?”

“Who’s asking” one of the men bark out.

“FBI special agent Jasper Whitlock.”

The hands holding weapons lower at the sound of his designation and one by one the men disperse. Agent Whitlock stares after them for a few moments before turning around to face me. “May I ask who you are and why they were following you?”

I fish out my id and hand it over to him. “I’m Isabella Barone. I work for Inside Out News. Those men are angry about an article I wrote …”

“Right,” he nods as he hands me back my id. “You’re the one who wrote the article about Jacob Black.”

I’m shocked to find out that even the FBI has read my article. “You’ve read it?”

He grins. “Ma’am, we’re humans. Everybody loves a little gossip.”

I straighten my back and shoot back, “It’s not gossip if it’s true.”

“Point well made,” he says.

“Anyway, you need to hurry,” I tell him. “There’s a girl in there … Royce King was physically abusing her. I witnessed it. We both did, right, Tony?” As I look to my side, I realize that the spot where Tony was is empty. What the fuck? Did the guy just ditch me?

“Who’s Tony?” Agent Whitlock asks.

“My junior journalist …” I answer, smiling in embarrassment. “I think he ran off after seeing the men.”

“In that case,” he pulls open his car door and holds it for me. “I’ll be happy to escort you to the station.”

“But the girl …”

He motions to his men walking up to the house. “My men are on it, Ma’am. You need to come with me and lodge a complaint with the police.”

I nod. “Let’s go then.”


EPOV


Making my escape from Bella is easy thanks to her one-track mind being focused on the men charging us. I duck into a public restroom and change my clothes before contacting Esme. “Where’s James now?”

“Chasing after his car like a fool,” she answers. “How long should I stall him?”

“Enough stalling,” I tell her. “Take him to the place he took Bella to.”

“But …”

“NOW, Es!” I yell as I take off in that direction.

As I run, my muscles stretch like a well-oiled machine, and feeling the wind blow against my face is as exhilarating as it always is. “He’s there,” Esme’s voice says in my ear.

“So am I,” I answer as I pull on my mask.

For a second, I watch as Esme makes the Ferrari stall and James gets out of the car he took from his men. He approaches cautiously and starts throwing threats to the air. “Get out now, you bastard. Whoever you are, you’re gonna wish you never touched my car,” he shouts.

I sneak up to him from behind. He presses a remote and the convertible roof of the car retracts, revealing that it’s empty inside.

“What the fuck?” His frown is clear in his voice. “Is this a joke?”

That’s the moment I chose to jump at him from behind, pushing his head to the car’s windshield. He screams and flails his hands. “Who are you?” he yells.

I pull out a cable tie from my pocket and tie his hands to the steering wheel with his face looking away from me.

I take a seat in the back seat of his car and let out a satisfied sigh as I look at my handiwork.

“Who the fuck are you?” he shouts again.

“Take a guess,” I answer, egging him on.

“You’re that Virtuoso dude, aren’t you?” he asks after thinking for a moment.

“Bingo! See you’re not as dumb as you look.”

“Uncle Aro told me that you might come after me,” he says. “So it’s true then. You’re always around that newsgirl.”

I feel anger take hold of me as he addresses Bella so callously. “That newsgirl has a name,” I bite out.

He laughs. “Why are you so interested in her? She’s not even hot.”

She’s fucking beautiful, I want to say, but hold my tongue because he’s blind to that kind of beauty. Instead, I land a kick on his butt that’s facing me and say, “Don’t be an asshole just because you are a jerk. And for your information, I am not interested in her. I used her as a bait.”

“A bait?”

“Yes,” I answer. “To lure you out here.”

“If you needed to meet me so badly, you could’ve come to my office.”

“Well, if I did, I wouldn’t be able to do this …” I say as I push his head down and check his jacket pockets. I find two cell phones in there – one with a cracked screen which he obviously uses regularly. The other phone is shinier and newer and I figure that he doesn’t use it regularly … possibly to just contact his special clients.

I drop the first phone and hold the second up to him. “What’s the password for this?”

He has the balls to laugh. “You think I’ll just hand you the password on a platter?”

“Fair point.” shoving the phone in my pocket, I pull my own phone out and switch on the camera. “Say cheese, motherfucker,” I say before rapidly clicking a series of his pictures, all with his tied hands visible.

“What the fuck are you doing?” he demands, blinking at being momentarily blinded by the flash.

I stroke my chin and reply thoughtfully, “Well, I’m wondering what would happen when I hack into your security company’s website and post these images there. Maybe I’ll even add a caption giving myself the photo credit. What do you think?”

“Fucking asshole!” he curses out. “Why are you doing this?”

I hold up his phone to his face. “Give me the password.”

“James1,” he answers begrudgingly.

I nod and put in the password the screen lights up to reveal his ugly mug with an arm around a girl. “Fuckwit,” I can’t help but spit out and then start to search through his contact list. I feel my eyebrows pull together in confusion. “Why’s there only one contact in your list? The Owner.”

“T-that’s mm-my girlfriend,” he stutters, all bravado gone all of a sudden.

This must be what he’s afraid I’ll find, I realize. I start looking for media files in the phone. No images. Weird. That’s when I stumble upon it … a voice recording.

Hitting play, I hold the phone to my ear.

A voice I recognize as James’ says, “We’ve found the reporter who wrote that trash story about Mr. Black.”

An unknown voice retorts, “What have you done about it so far? I need results, James!”

“Yes, Sir,” James says. “We’ve figured out that she’s connected to Virtuoso, the mercenary, somehow. It’s like that son of a bitch is protecting her.”

“Get rid of him then,” the voice commands. “Or do I need to call your uncle Aro to tell him how you’ve been slacking?”

The recording stops and I hold the phone up to James’ face. “Who are you talking to here? Who’s The Owner?”

James cries out in  pain as I pull his hair from behind. “Come on, man! You know I can’t tell you. What happened to the business code? We’re both on the same line of work here.”

I yank on his head just a little more and snap at him, “I’m nothing like you! And if you won’t tell me who he is, how about I call him then? Shall I call him and say that his little bitch spilled the beans on him to me?”

At the mention of him, James starts shaking like a dead leaf. “Please, don’t do this,” he pleads. “I’m telling you the truth. I don’t know the man. I’ve only talked to him over phone.”

Narrowing my eyes, I ask, “How did you come across him?”

“A few months back, Uncle Aro told me that this man bought our security company in the stock market. He holds the major shares of Volturi Guards. That’s all I know.”

“And you have no idea who you work for?” I ask incredulously.

He shakes his head. “I’ve only spoken to him twice. He usually communicates with my uncle. Please let me go.”

Judging by the way his knees are shaking, I decide to accept his answers and get out of his car. “Well, James, I’m sure your men will find you here,” I tell him as I drop his phones in the back seat of the car. “Pray you never cross my path again.”


A/N: Share your thoughts with me and leave a review.

Thanks for reading.

See you Friday.

Take care.

Ann

Imagination Express#3: The Doctor

Hi, guys! Welcome back to Imagination Express!

Imagination Express is where we let our imaginations run wild! And it will give YOU, my dear readers, a chance to write a story of your own. Wanna know how it works? Well, first, I give you a 6-word story by yours truly written using a word prompt. You get to enjoy it, and then, you are welcome to share your own interpretation of that 6-word story in the form of a drabble story of no more than 100 words. Sounds fun, right?

So here’s the new 6-word story for you written using the prompt – The Doctor.

doctor

Discarded stethoscope. Time of death, midnight.

 

Now let your imaginations run wild and write a story for ME in the comments! Remember the word limit is 100 words. Please include your word count and twitter handle (if you have it) in your comments so I can give a twitter shout out to those who write for me. 😉

Happy imagining!

Love,

A

Bookworm Express: Seduce Me At Sunrise – Lisa Kleypas

Love.

One little word.

One word that can encompass the whole world.

Have you ever been so in love that that very love scared you? That you were afraid of hurting the object of your affection because you loved them too much?

Today’s Bookworm Express features a story of one such love.

This week, Scribbler Alliance brings you the second novel from Lisa Kleypas’ The Hathaways series, Seduce Me At Sunrise.

Seduce Me At Sunrise

The love story unfolds between the prim and proper daughter of a respectable scholar, Miss Winnifred Hathaway and the gypsy boy her father rescued from a fighting ring, Kev Merripen. Physically, they couldn’t be more different. While Merripen is strong and well-built with a brute force about him, Win is delicate like a china doll. On emotional level, however, both of them are good at hiding their true feelings, putting on a mask for appearances sake.

What starts as a friendship born of their wish to protect the other, turns into love when Win has to leave England for France to undergo therapy. Merripen is left confused and angry when Win leaves him and takes his heart with her. In the following years, he tries his best to forget her, keeping himself occupied with various projects. When Win returns, stronger and more beautiful than ever, he’s determined to fight his love for her, afraid of his own strength to hurt her. However, all of Merripen’s will evaporates when another suitor appears to fight him for Win’s affections.

As Win battles herself to decide between spending all her life loving and pining away for the man she loves and making the sensible choice, Merripen fights his own demons that threaten to overwhelm him.

Here’s a little excerpt from the novel to tickle your fancy:

 

She approached Merripen cautiously. It was obvious he was aroused. Painfully so. She wanted to touch him again. Most of all she wanted him to put his arms around her and tell her how overjoyed he was to have her back.

But he spoke before she reached him. And his tone was not encouraging. “If you touch me,” he said in a guttural voice, “I’m going to drag you back to that bed. And I won’t be responsible for what happens next.”

Win stopped, plaiting her fingers.

Eventually Merripen recovered his breath. And he gave her a glance that should have immolated her on the spot.

“Next time,” he said flatly, “some advance warning of your arrival might be a good idea.”

“I did send advance notice.” Win was amazed that she could even speak. “It must have been lost.” She paused. “That was a f-far warmer welcome than I expected, considering the way you’ve ignored me for the past two years.”

“I haven’t ignored you.”

Win took quick refuge in sarcasm. “You wrote to me once in two years.”

Merripen turned and rested his back against the wall. “You didn’t need letters from me.”

“I needed any small sign of affection! And you gave me none.” She stared at him incredulously as he remained silent. “For heaven’s sake, Kev, aren’t you even going to say that you’re glad I’m well again?”

“I’m glad you’re well again.”

“Then why are you behaving this way?”

“Because nothing else has changed.”

“You’ve changed,” she shot back. “I don’t know you anymore.”

“That’s as it should be.”

 

Love hurts, doesn’t it? But sometimes, the pain is what we need to know that it’s real.

Time for my review. First off, I wanted to kick Merripen where it would hurt the most for being so stubborn, but then I also wanted to wrap my arms around him because on the inside, he was a boy afraid to hurt the only one he has ever loved. Lisa Kleypas writes a love story that makes you yearn for that kind of love, to be able to love someone so much that you’ll fight yourself to choose what’s best for that person. The writing is so beautifully articulate and sensual, it keeps making you turn the page until you hit the end mark and then wish there was a few more pages to go. In Anne’s scale this book gets 4.8 stars out of 5 stars. I’m deducting a little bit of it because I wanted Merripen to apologize to Win for hurting her through his rejections, but the way he loves her makes up for it … almost.

Thank you for visiting. If there’s any book you’d like us to review, let us know in your comments. A new section named Imagination Express has started where YOU, my readers, will have the opportunity to write for ME. So stay tuned for Imagination Express tomorrow.

Love,

A

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Bookworm Express Banner: Yours truly

Anne Express: Poetry Station

Ahoy! Welcome to Anne Express. It’s been a while since my inner poet (or something akin to that) has made an appearance. Today, however, the slumbering dragon awakened and decided to pen a new poem for you. So … I hope you enjoy!

Plaything

Title: Plaything

Time is a mysterious thing.

It goes on without making so much as a ding.

You might think it’ll slow down for you,

But that shows you don’t have a clue.

Time will move, time will grow

Not stopping even if you offer it a bow.

So boy, don’t treat it as a plaything

You don’t know what time might bring.

Be wise, be smart, make every moment count

Know that power of time is paramount.

 


 

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Anne Express Banner: My humble self. 😉

Bookworm Express: Mai Tai’d Up – Alice Clayton

Hello, hello! Pour yourselves a cocktail or mocktail (if you’re into non-alcoholic beverages) and grab yourself a seat aboard the Bookworm Express on Scribbler Alliance! Today, I’ve got a treat for those of you who like myself, started their journey into original fiction from the realm of fanfiction. I decided to go back to my fanfiction roots and pick a book for you that is written by one of our own fanfiction writer – turned author, Alice Clayton aka feathersmmmm!

Mai Tai'd Up.jpg

Today I have picked the fourth book of Alice Clayton’s Cocktail series, Mai Tai’d Up, for you. It’s a book that’ll have you laughing and smiling all the way to self-discovery.

The book opens like many others do … with an impending wedding. However, on the day of the long-awaited high profile wedding, former Miss Golden State, Chloe Patterson, decides to not attend the wedding … which just happens to be her own. Instead of being a typical runaway bride, she doesn’t mope in self-pity … much. No, she decides to explore her options and try to make a life for herself by herself. She finds her calling in working with a pitbull rescue charity, Our Gang, and so begins her journey to self-discovery.

Dr. Lucas Campbell is a veterinarian in a small town of Monterey which happens to be the town our Miss Golden State moves to. Lucas is sweet, funny, kind and undeniably handsome. His charm attracts Chloe right from the moment their eyes meet through a mirror. But the catch? Lucas’ ex-fianceé used to be a pagent girl just like Chloe. Double catch? She left him at the altar, pretty much just like Chloe left her fiancé, Charles. When sparks fly and heat gets rising, will the facts bring them close or pull them apart?

Here’s a little sneak peek from the book to tickle your fancy:

 

“Dad’s told me all about it, but seeing it is a very different thing. What you guys have done up here already is impressive.”

“Not just us. You’ll be here too,” I said innocently.

“I will?”

“Sure, your dad volunteered your services evenings and weekends, free of charge. He didn’t tell you?”

“He seems to have neglected to mention that.” He leaned against one of the stalls. “But it sounds good to me.”

“Nights and weekends? Free of charge? Fantastic!” I clapped my hands. He pushed himself off the stall and moved a bit closer.

“Might as well. My nights and weekends aren’t too exciting these days.”

“Oh, I can’t believe that. A good-looking guy like you?”

“Good looking, huh?”

“Well, you kind of set me up for that one, didn’t you?” I laughed, noticing how close he’d gotten. “Besides, all the good-looking guys are going around with white stripes on their black shirts these days—it’s all the rage. I’m sure you won’t have any trouble picking up the ladies.”

“White stripes?” he asked, puzzled.

I stepped to his side and ran my hand across his back, then showed it to him.

“You could’ve warned me!” he exclaimed, spinning around quickly as if to see the back of his own shirt.

“What part of ‘I’m painting the stalls in the barn’ did you not get?” I laughed, and it felt good, easy. “Don’t worry, it’s milk paint. It’ll come right out in the wash.”

“Good. I should get those bags out of my truck and let you get back to your afternoon. Or night, I suppose now. Dusk. Whatever.”

“Yes, let me get back to my dusk, please,” I teased, and we headed back toward the truck. We walked in silence, and within a few seconds I felt the need to fill it. “My nights and weekends are pretty thin on excitement too, you know.”

Overshare. Overshare. Overshare.

 

Now tell me that doesn’t put a smile on your lips! So if you’re still wondering which book to read next, my dear readers, stop wondering and get reading. Time for my review. As a general rule, a lot of fanfictions have heroines who are the perfect damsel in distress. Even though I haven’t read any of her fanfictions, I’m pleased to say that Ms. Clayton broke that stereotype and wrote us a strong, opinionated, yet sweet female lead. The humor in the book makes it flow well and before you know, you’ll find yourself engrossed in it. In Anne’s scale this book gets 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. I’m deducting half a star because I felt like something was missing which would’ve been perfected with a little epilogue. But hey, that’s the mark of a great book, right? That it leaves you wanting more?

Thank you for visiting. If there’s any book you’d like us to review, let us know in your comments.

Love,

A

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Imagination Express#2: Angry Waiter

Hi, guys! Welcome back to Imagination Express!

Imagination Express is where we let our imaginations run wild! And it will give YOU, my dear readers, a chance to write a story of your own. Wanna know how it works? Well, first, I give you a 6-word story by yours truly written using a word prompt. You get to enjoy it, and then, you are welcome to share your own interpretation of that 6-word story in the form of a drabble story of no more than 100 words. Sounds fun, right?

So here’s the new 6-word story for you written using the prompt – Angry Waiter.

Angry Waiter

Angry waiter. Foamy cappuccino. Wiping mouth.

Now let your imaginations run wild and write a story for ME in the comments! Remember the word limit is 100 words. Please include your word count and twitter handle (if you have it) in your comments so I can give a twitter shout out to those who write for me. 😉

Happy imagining!

Love,

A

 

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Bookworm Express: My First: Jason & Katie – Melanie Shawn

Hi there! Welcome to another week in Bookworm Express on Scribbler Alliance! As always, I picked a new book for me to review and for you to read about. Have you ever read a book full of clichés and yet couldn’t help but enjoy it because of the way it’s written? For me, this week’s book is exactly that.

Today I have picked the first book of Melanie Shawn’s Crossroads series, My First: Jason & Katie, for you. It’s a book about friendship, heartaches, love and … weddings.

My First

The occasion is the wedding of our heroine, Katie’s ex-boyfriend’s little sister to her best friend’s brother. Being the maid of honor, Katie Lawson cannot avoid going back to the town she escaped the night of her boyfriend’s funeral. So, despite having panic attacks, successful lawyer Katie reaches her hometown of Harper’s Crossing. That’s when she meets Jason Sloan … again.

Popular for his charms, Harper’s Crossing’s renowned Romeo Jason Sloan cannot believe it when he learns of his long lost best friend’s anticipated return in town. The moment he meets her after a decade, he feels the breath leave his body at the mere sight of her. And just like that, he falls more in love with her than he already was.

Whatever Katie expects upon her returning home is anything but a myriad of unknown feelings rushing over her when she lays her eyes on her dead boyfriend’s best friend, Jason. In the span of a weekend, she has to figure out what these feelings mean before she leaves town once again.

Having loved Katie since the first day of kindergarten, Jason has made up his mind to make up for lost time and make her realize that what they have is real. Question is, whether Katie will give him the chance or will she fly the coop in fear like she did ten years ago.

If you’re still wondering whether to read the book or not, here’s a little sneak peek:

 

“I need your shirt,” she continued insistently.

OK, so, maybe best to just follow along with her line of logic.

“OK, Katie. Where is the shirt you want me to get for you?”

“Duh! In my suitcase!” she replied, and in her impaired mental state, she was clearly having doubts about his.

He walked over to her suitcase, being very careful not to feast his eyes on her uncovered breasts, as much as he would have loved to indulge in just that under any other circumstance.

As he bent down to unzip her case, he said, “sweetie, how am I going to know which shirt it is you want to sleep in?”

“YOUR shirt!” she continued to insist, “I sleep in it every night…”

He shook his head. She still wasn’t making any sense.

He unzipped her case and flipped it open, getting ready to dig through her clothing so that he could just find a comfortable shirt for her to sleep in. He smiled to himself. Even if it was her shirt, and not ‘his’ – hopefully she’d be satisfied enough with it to settle down and go to sleep.

He was reaching his hand towards her bundle of clothing when he froze, hand in the air. His eyes had alighted on something that his brain was having trouble processing. Was that…? Could it be…?

It was his Def Leppard shirt. The one from sixth grade, the one he had felt so superior in because, while all the sheep he went to school with were wearing boy band t-shirts, he was sporting a vintage rock tee. The one he had taken off and given to Katie that day in the cafeteria.

My God.

Could this be the shirt she wanted? HIS shirt?

The one she said she slept in every night?

He gathered it up in his hand and extended it towards her, never turning back to look.

“Is this the shirt you want?” he asked quietly, his voice hoarse.

“Yes!” she exclaimed, “YOUR shirt!”

He heard the rustling of her slipping the shirt over her head and getting it situated, and then a few seconds later he heard light snoring coming from her direction.

He turned and watched her for a moment then, all cuddled up in his shirt, sleeping like a baby.

He smiled.

Like a very drunk, and soon to be very hung-over, baby.

But that was fine. She was comfortable for the time being. And what had allowed her to settle down? It was his shirt. That was the only thing that had eased her restlessness.

He smiled wider.

She slept in it every night.

Oh, yes. Any lingering doubts he may have had about whether or not his feelings were reciprocated had been erased in one fell swoop.

This thing with Katie Lawson? It was ON!

 

Makes you itch to read more, doesn’t it? So stop wondering which book to read next, bookworms, and grab a copy of this gem. Time for my review! I know the concept of friends to lovers is an old one and has been written many times. But Melanie Shawn manages to write it in a witty and effortless manner that makes you want to fall in love … to give love a second chance. In Anne’s scale this book gets 4 stars out of 5 stars. I’m deducting one star because while the writer has given us an extensive back story to these lovers, I would’ve loved a little more of their future life before the HEA. But as a hopeless romantic, I relished this book and I know you will too.

Thank you for visiting. If there’s any book you’d like us to review, let us know in your comments.

Love,

A

 

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Anne Express: Virtuoso ~ Chapter-16

A/N: Sorry for vanishing for the last few days, guys. It’s been crazy in RL and this chapter was hard to write. But now I hope that I’ve got things a little under control. So here’s a new chapter for you.

WARNING!: This chapter contains descriptions of physical abuse. So approach with caution!

Chp16


Chapter-16: Tears


BPOV


Sitting in Anthony’s car, I feel restless in the enclosed space. While he drives, I focus on trying to keep my breathing under control. It doesn’t work. So I start humming a tune from one of mom’s night time shows to keep my mind occupied.

Tony clears his throat before asking, “Everything alright, Ms. Bella?”

I nod. “Just drive.”

“Umm … we are at the intersection. I need you to tell me which way to go.”

“Oh!” I blush. “Sorry. I’m just nervous, I guess. Take left here please.”

He’s quiet for a moment before asking, “May I ask where we’re going? Why are you so anxious?”

I wonder for a second on whether to tell him and spook him already or to hold off till we’re there. I decide to be truthful to him at last. “We’re going to meet a man named Royce King.”

His brows knit together in confusion. “Is he a celebrity? I’ve never heard of him.”

“No, he’s a talent agent,” I answer and then add, “And he double times as a pimp for Jacob Black.”

His eyes widen. “Is he the one who forced Rosalie Hale to …” he scowls, not finishing his thought.

I nod. “That’s the one.”

He looks forward and tightens his hold on the steering wheel. “Alright. Let’s go then.”

Both our confidences fall short as we approach King’s home. We’re almost ten feet away from the driveway when our eyes catch hint of black-clothed men … dozens of them, standing guard outside the house.

“Oh shit!” I swear. “Who are they?”

“Well, I don’t think they’re here to welcome us,” Tony replies. “Ms. Bella?”

“Yes?”

“There’s still time. I can turn the car around and we can go back.”

“Is there an option B?” I ask.

“We can drive through the area, pretend that we’re just people passing by?” His answer comes out sounding more like a question.

I look ahead at the men staring at our car and take a deep breath. “Let’s drive through.”

“Okay.”

Tony barely manages to move the car an inch when I grab his hand. “Stop! We can’t go without the interview. We need it.”

He stops the car, and immediately my fear gets the best of me. “You know what, Tony? Maybe we can get an appointment and come back later.”

“Okay.”

He starts to move the car when I stop him again, holding a hand up this time. “No! We can’t flee. We’re legitimate journalists. We should be doing our jobs.”

“So, shall we go?” he asks quizzically.

I nod and then shake my head. “Maybe after those men are gone.”

Just as he starts moving the car again, a white Ferrari comes barrelling at us, squeaking its tires to come to a stop right in front of us and effectively blocking out way. A car door opens and out comes the guy from the night I was almost kidnapped. He comes forward, his eyes zeroing on me, a sneer playing on his lips.

He comes to open my car door and bows. “If it isn’t the great journalist, Isabella Barone.” His eyes fall on Tony and narrow for a moment before he grins. “No hurt feelings over that night, huh, big guy?”

I swear that for an instance it looks like Tony might actually punch the guy in face but then he looks away and steps out of the car to come and stand beside me.

“I’m guessing you’re here to meet Mr. King?” the asshole from the other night asks.

“What are you doing here?” I can’t help but ask.

He laughs. “Ah! Always the journalist. Well, Mr. King happens to be a dear friend of our boss. So Boss sent us to offer Mr. King some company.”

I almost ask who his boss is, but decide to keep my questions for King instead.


The asshole and two of his wingmen escorts us inside the house and into a messy living room. There, standing before a case filled with trophies and such, is a man. He looks to be about forty and has jet black hair. Royce King faces away from us with a beautiful blonde woman standing next to him, her eyes downcast.

“Mr. King, hello!” the asshole greets him.

Royce turns around and smiles through his thin mustache. “James! My dear friend, it’s always good to see you. How’s Aro doing? Did he send you to see if his men are taking good care of me?”

“Yes, Sir,” James answers.

“Well tell him thanks,” Royce says. “Not a single reporter has bothered me so far …” That’s the moment his eyes find us. Narrowing his eyes at us, he asks harshly, “Who are they?”

James steps to the side and holds a hand out to point to me. “This is Isabella Barone, Mr. King.” When Royce King doesn’t show any signs of recognition, he adds, “The reporter who wrote that piece about Rosalie Hale and Mr. Black. We’re pretty sure she also knows where Rosalie is hiding.”

Royce’s blue eyes get a glint of interest then. “Does she now?” he asks, a slow smile spreading on his lips. He takes a few steps toward me, his eyes scanning me from head to toe. “I must admit I’m disappointed,” he says at last. “I expected it to be a man who had the balls to point a finger at Jake Black. It’s a shame you’re a girl.”

I raise an eyebrow in a silent challenge and decide to test the waters. Standing my ground, I hold a hand out for him to shake. “Hello, Mr. King. I’m Isabella Barone from Inside Out News. I was hoping to ask you a few questions …”

Instead of shaking my hand he walks forward, invading my personal space. “No phone call or email or an appointment and you just decided to come by and chat? That’s not very professional of you, Ms. Barone.”

I feel my cheeks heat up in embarrassment and something very much like anger. “I’m sorry, but I thought that if I called, you wouldn’t take my calls.”

His lips curls in a mocking smile. “You think?” he asks me, his eyes peering into my face. “Well, I guess you’re not totally useless.” He lifts a hand and grabs my chin in a rough grip, making me feel like gagging. “You’ve got the looks, Isabella. Want me to scout you? I can take you to places you’ve never been to.”

Not on your life, you pervert! I want to scream, but instead take a deep breath and move my head to free myself of him. “That’s very kind of you, but I’m really happy with my career at the moment.” I take a few steps back from him and try to keep my calm as I start asking the questions. “Mr. King, do you know someone by the name of Rosalie Hale? She claims she was a part of your entertainment company.”

He looks up at someone behind me-possibly James and grins. “This girl is looking prettier by the minute, man,” he says in a lecherous voice.

I almost crumble at the filth in his voice, but I feel a hand on the small of my back, silently reminding me that I’m not alone. Tony!

Emboldened by his presence, I ask King again, “Do you know that Ms. hale has lodged a formal complaint against you? It includes bribery, prostitution and physical abuse. I would like to hear your side of the story.”

Royce’s face hardens at my words. “You know, Isabella, you might be pretty, but the things coming out of your mouth are not the least bit appealing. You shouldn’t waste your time on this “story”. No news media will publish it.”

“That’s not true,” I protest. “Our Inside Out News …”

“Inside Out, huh?” he asks, interrupting me. “Shall I sue that tabloid of yours for defamation? I bet your bosses will be on their knees, begging to blow me then.”

“That’s …”

“Rosalie Hale,” he says loudly. “Where is that whore?”

The degrading term makes my ears burn and I speak through clenched teeth. “Your language is becoming increasingly  uncivil, Mr. King.”

He doesn’t seem to register my words. Instead, he keeps talking almost as if he’s talking to himself. “So the bitch thinks I abused her, huh?” Without waiting for a response, he whirls around and walks up to the awaiting blonde woman. He looks at her and then slaps her hard.

“No!” I cry out as the woman screams in pain.

Royce doesn’t stop there though. No, he strikes her again and again until she’s lying at his feet, bent over in pain. He lands a kick on her and looks at me with a gleeful expression on his face. “Is this the physical abuse you talked about, Isabella?”

“Please stop!” I beg of him. Suddenly, I’m pulled back and then Tony is there, holding me in his arms and pushing my head to his chest to hide the horrific scene from my line of sight. “Ms. Bella, please let’s go,” he urges me.

I feel tears stream down my face, but I cannot look away from the scene unfolding before me. Tony hugs me tight and whispers in my ear. “Ms. Bella, please, we should go. Please.”

Royce King hears him and shouts, “Don’t you dare leave, you little bitch! I’ve still got things to say to you and that slut you’re hiding.” He grabs a handful of the woman’s hair and hauls her up before throwing her on the floor again. “Look at this bitch. Bitches like this come to me, begging me to make them stars. So I do them a favor and help them be famous.”

He lifts his foot to kick the woman again and she cries out in fear. The sight makes me feel nauseous and I feel like I can’t get enough air in my lungs. I close my eyes and push my face to Tony’s chest, wishing for this to go away.


EPOV


Holding Bella to my chest, I wish like hell that I could simply take her away from this hellhole. I realized that I’d need help to get away from here. So raising my hand where Esme had insisted on placing a microphone on my wristwatch, I whisper, “We need help. Now.”

“You got it, Kid,” I hear her voice in my ear through the headphone disguised as a hearing aid. We don’t have to wait long before James gets a call on his phone.

“What the fuck are you saying?” he barks into the phone. “How can my new car be haunted? Who the fuck is driving it?” His words make me realize that Esme must have hacked into the GPS system of his car and taken control of it. Good one, Es. I mentally high five her as I watch James take all his men and rush out of the house.

From behind us, the woman cries out again as Royce King continues to beat her. I feel Bella’s knees buckle at the sound and I keep my arms around her as we both fall down to the ground. I have to get her out of here.

I feel a hand grab my shoulder and pull me away from Bella. Royce King shoves me away from her as he kneels before her, a malicious glint of insanity in his eyes. “You’re a reporter, aren’t you?” he asks thoughtfully. “You bitches write what you see and experience first hand. So shall I give you a demo of physical abuse so you can write about it?” He laughs as she closes her eyes, tears trickling out of them.

Hatred and white hot anger at his very existence burns through me and I look around to find a way to get him away from her. I find a golf club laying close by on an indoor golf set. I slinker toward it, unnoticed by the asshole towering over Bella and pick it up. I stand up, take aim and swing the club. The satisfying sound of the club finding its mark on his shoulder followed by his howl of pain sends a rush of relief through me.

Throwing the club away, I rush to Bella and pull her to her feet and away from Royce King. “Bella,” I call her name. She lets out a loud sob and hugs me tight. “Shh,” I say to her. “Come with me. I’ll get you out of here.”

Holding her in my arms, I walk out of the house, leaving Royce King hunched over in pain.


A/N: So … thoughts?

Share them with me and leave a review.

Thanks for reading.

 

Love,

Ann

 

Image Source: Tumblr

Bookworm Express: Sacrificed to the Dragon – Jessie Donovan

Hola! Welcome back to a new week in Bookworm Express on Scribbler Alliance! This week’s book had me wondering whether to review it for you or not, but in the end, I thought why not? So here goes …

Sacrificedtothedragon

Today’s featured book is titled, Sacrificed to the Dragon, the first book in Jessie Donovan’s Stonefire Dragons series. In a book majorly categorized as Fantasy, Jessie Donovan gives us a peek into another society outside ours … the dragon society.

First we meet Melanie Hall—intelligent, brave, stubborn as a mule– and above all, a human. With her only brother fatally ill, Melanie has no option but to look for the ultimate cure – dragon’s blood. However, every magic has its price. And dragon’s blood only comes with sacrifice … of a human female. In order to obtain one vial of dragon blood, Melanie has to barter herself to bed a dragon-shifter and bear his child in the next six months.

Enter Tristan MacLeod, dragon-shifter, teacher of young dragons and hater of humans. Tristan has hated humans since his mother lost her life in hands of dragon hunters. To him, all humans are the same—vicious and cruel. In order to perform his duty to his clan and its dwindling population, Tristan has to agree to accept the new human sacrifice as his.

While Melanie fights to prove to the dragon-shifters that not all humans are bad, Tristan struggles against his baser dragon which identifies Melanie as its mate. With their undeniable attraction for each other, Melanie’s being pregnant with Tristan’s dragon offspring seems inevitable. But what happens after she gives birth? Will Tristan recognize her goodness and decide to keep her with him? Or will his hatred for humans drive her away?

Here’s an excerpt from the book to entice you:

 

As soon as the smell of roasted meat had hit her nose, Mel’s stomach had started churning right before the nausea hit her. Apparently, her early morning sickness had decided to rear its ugly head in front of Tristan of all people.

To avoid embarrassing herself by getting sick all over him, she rushed away from Tristan and the children to a spot near the wall of rock. She dry-heaved for about thirty seconds before her breakfast finally came up, burning her throat. At some point, a warm hand caressed her back, and the reassuring, warm touch made her feel a little better.

When she had nothing left to vomit, she stood up and a blue reusable water bottle was thrust in front of her face. Tristan said, “Here. Take it.”

Wanting to get rid of the awful taste in her mouth, she took it without a word, rinsed out her mouth, and spit out the water. After a few sips of water, she started to feel somewhat normal again.

And to think, she had months of this to look forward to. At least she had Samira and Liam to help her through the worst of it.

After one more deep breath, she looked up to thank Tristan for the water, but her words died in her throat at the fierce look in his eyes. The look kicked her temper into gear, and before she could stop herself, she said, “What have I done now to deserve that look? Is my vomit, caused by your baby by the way, offending your sensitive dragon nose?”

He growled. “No. You’re ill and my dragon doesn’t like it.”

She’d been civil in front of the children, but she decided to let loose in a quiet, steely voice. “Oh, that’s right. Only your dragon cares about me because I’m breeding. You are perfectly all right to ditch me at the first scent of pregnancy.” She waved toward the students. “Go eat your lunch, Tristan. My time is up, so I’ll leave you alone for today.”

She moved to leave when Tristan’s hands clamped around her upper arms. “I will see you home.”

She gave a pointed look at the grip on her arm and back to his face. “Why? I can walk, and you made it clear that I’m on my own. I fulfilled my end of the sacrifice contract by conceiving and I don’t need your protection. If something happens, Samira or Liam will help me.”

As soon as she mentioned Liam’s name, Tristan’s pupils flashed to slits and back again. “You shouldn’t be asking another male to look after you.”

Aware of the children, Melanie kept her anger to a restrained whisper. “You gave up any claim as to what I do or who I ask for help the instant you snuck out and left me alone in that bed.”

 

Men will be men, even if they’re half-dragon, eh? Now, my verdict: first off, the novel has an interesting and engaging storyline. The flow of events is good and doesn’t bore the readers. However, I did feel a bit uneasy when the dragon took charge of Tristan while having sex with Melanie. Aside from the slight brush with bestiality, this book is a pleasant read with lots of sexual tension. In Anne’s scale this book gets 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. Do read it if you can because reading about how flying feels to a dragon … now THAT’s fantasy!

Thank you for visiting. If there’s any book you’d like us to review, let us know in your comments.

Love,

A

 

Image Source: jessiedonovan.com