Bookworm Express: Working Vacation – Annabelle Love

Hi! Welcome back to Bookworm Express on ScribblerAlliance. After the nail-biting suspense novels I’ve been reading lately, I decided to read something sweet and fluffy for a change this week.

Thanks to platforms like instafreebie, tons of free books are available for our reading pleasure. On such one haul, I received a free copy of Working Vacation by Annabelle Love. And that, my dear bookworms, is what I have chosen to review for you today.

Working Vacation

Have you ever been so stressed out that your brain seems to short-circuit every time an employee makes a mistake? Have you been so on the edge that you sent a grown man crying for the fear of your wrath? That’s what life is for graphic mogul and workaholic Bernadette. With work being the only love of her life, she spends more hours in her office than at home. That’s when her best friend, Emily, decides to recruit the help of an agency specializing on relaxing luxurious vacations for the rich.

Enter Tyson Andrews, one of the most successful marketers in the very same agency. He’s handsome, charming, quite affluent, and the man Bernadette has had a crush on since their school days.

Soon this chance meeting turns into a whirlwind romance where you’ll find our central characters learn to attain that work to personal life balance, i.e. a working vacation. Of course it’s entirely a different question of whether, when all is said and done, it’ll remain just a business trip or morph into a personal one.

Time for my review. First off the positives: if you’ve followed my reading habits in the previous Bookworm Express posts, you’d know that I love a strong female character. Bernadette fits the criteria perfectly. The way she handles herself when faced with Tyson’s ex made me like her even more. Another positive is the friendship between Emily and Bernadette. That’s the kind of friendship we should be looking for, people. Your best friend should be ready to punch you in the face when you’re being foolish and then pull you back up to help you stand up for what’s best for you. The third positive is the sweetness of the romance in this book. What can I say? I love a second chance romance.

However, this book did have its negatives. One of the major issues I had with this book was the plot line, or lack thereof. I would have loved more of their back story to make it more of a love story than a lust story. With a novella, I expected a more of a complete story than a short story. Another thing I hate to point out was the steamy scenes, more specifically the first steamy scene. It felt like there should be more of an understanding between our heroes before they decide to engage in horizontal tango.

All that being said, I did get what I asked for with this one. The book gave me a fluffy and steamy vacation from suspense of the last few I’ve read which is exactly why I picked it. So in Anne’s scale, this story gets 3.5 stars out of 5 because I’d really have loved a little deeper plot development.

If you are looking for a sweet reprieve from reality, this book is for you. It’s a short, stand-alone friends-to-lovers novella with zero cheating and a guaranteed HEA, not to mention a delightfully sexy read. So if that is your poison, dear reader, give it a go.

That’s all for this week. We hope to bring you new book reviews on Bookworm Express every Saturday from here on out. So if there’s any book you want us to review, let us know in your comments.

Until next time.

Love,

A

 

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Bookworm Express: The Dark Future Prequel – KC Klein

Hi! Welcome back to Bookworm Express on ScribblerAlliance.

As someone who isn’t too keen on dystopian novels, I have neither read nor watched The Hunger Games Series. I’ve never really felt the pull to read something where humanity is lost … until I stumbled upon this week’s featured series.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to the series that made me break out of my mould. Today’s Bookworm Express features the two books in KC Klein’s The Dark Future Series, To Buy A Wife (Book#1) and To Keep A Wife (Book#2). I know it’s a little different for me to review two books at once but book two is a continuation of book one so I decided to review them together.

 

To Buy A Wife

 

In Book#1, To Buy A Wife, we find a new world order has risen after the apocalypse. In this world, women are a rarity. But that doesn’t mean that they’re treated like royalties. No, instead, they’re treated like commodities—openly auctioned off to the rich men who can afford to purchase a wife. That’s where we meet Hudson Land, a young landowner who needs a wife to be able to keep the Elder order from usurping his properties.

By the time Hudson reaches the auction, all the potential wives have been sold and the crowd has moved on to executions from the auctions. Enter Lake—a young, stunningly beautiful rebel girl marked for execution. When Hudson sees her on the chopping block, he loses his mind and ends up giving up all his life’s savings to purchase her.

What follows is a story of mistrust and cautious seduction as Hudson tries to break through the wall Lake has built around her heart. However, as time goes by, Hudson might realize that he had lost something more valuable than his mind that day at the execution … his heart.

 

To Keep A Wife

 

Moving on to Book#2, To Keep A Wife. After the events of Book#1, Hudson and Lake find themselves blissfully happy with a new addition to their family and another on the way. However, soon their actions in Book#1 catch up to them in the form of a new nemesis, and they find themselves torn away from each other.

While Lake is kidnapped and locked away in the enemy’s lair, she holds on to the hope that Hudson will keep his promise and come find her no matter what. This hope is what helps her endure the unbearable tortures her enemies subject her to.

Hudson, on the other hand, after returning from the brink of death, has lost the memories of the past few months. He doesn’t know why he wears a woman’s name tattooed on his chest, but he loathes himself for it. All he wants to do is find the woman who must have cast a spell on him to make him gamble his whole fortune on her.

This book tells the story of lost love—a love so intense that you’d rather die than think your love has forsaken you.

Time for my review. First off the positives: the best thing about this series prequel is, although the prequel is broken down to two books, the first one is absolutely free on any retailer at the time of writing of this review. And the second book is attainable for free by signing up for the author’s newsletter which again is a great deal. For readers like myself, who don’t have access to Amazon, free books are Godsend! So I truly appreciate it. Another thing is that these books can be read as stand-alones as well because we do get a HEA for our beloved Hudson-Lake couple in Book#2. That’s all about the books, but what about the stories? The stories, dear readers, left me spellbound. I was obsessed with these books and may have pulled two consecutive all-nighters to finish the books off in TWO days. Yes, they have more than a few tearjerker moments, but they only make the HEA sweeter. From the citrusy scenes to the violence, everything has been written with an artistic touch that makes you hold your breath and simply read on.

As for negatives, I suppose I could say that a warning about the abusive themes would be good, but I won’t, because these books are amazing! And no matter what, the abusive themes didn’t diminish the charm of the story one bit. All in all, in Anne’s scale, these books get, 5 out of 5 stars because … I LOVED them!

So, with abusive themes trigger warning in place, if you think you can handle this steamy sci-fi romance, give it a go. I think you’ll find it to be worth the shot.

That’s all for this week. We hope to bring you new book reviews on Bookworm Express every Saturday from here on out. So if there’s any book you want us to review, let us know in your comments.

Until next time.

Love,

A

 

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Bookworm Express: The Mad Monk’s Treasure – Kris Bock

Hi! Welcome to Bookworm Express on ScribblerAlliance. For today’s post, I wanted to introduce a genre of books which I wasn’t too keen on at first—Romantic Suspense.

Have you ever imagined what would have happened if Indiana Jones was a female professor instead of a male? Could she be the typical girl next door and still kick ass? Well, look no further because today’s Bookworm Express features the first installment of Kris Bock’s Southwest Treasure Hunters series, The Mad Monk’s Treasure.

The Mad Monk's Treaure

Our main lead, Erin Hale, is a History professor. At first she gives off the shy, typical girl-next-door vibe. But as the story unravels, you’d find that there’s a lot more to her than meets the eyes. She has lived a somewhat sheltered life so far but when her research yields the clue to finding a lost treasure hidden by a Spanish priest, she plans to break free of the stereotypical mould and goes treasure hunting with none other than her best friend, Camie and her cat, Tiger.

However, after an unfortunate event, she is rescued by a ruggedly handsome, helicopter pilot, Drew Morgan. Drew is everything she has always shied away from—self-aware, confident, breath-takingly handsome and of course, sort of a playboy. With her past relationships making her doubt herself and her current “pseudo-boyfriend” Michelle treating her like she’s too weak to handle herself, it’s a real challenge for Erin to decide who to trust with her secret.

Once you embark on this adventure, you’ll find action, mystery, humor, thrill and of course, a dash of romance.

Time for my review. First off the positives: this story kept me on edge the whole time I was reading it. Not for a single moment did I want to put the book down. It kept me guessing right till the very end. As a supporter of female empowerment, I always love a strong female character; and this book has TWO amazingly portrayed female leads who instead of clashing against each other, complimented each other. I loved how it conveyed the message that courage isn’t absence of fear, rather the ability and willingness to face it head on. I would also like to point out that the amount of research the author must have done is insane and as someone who dabbles in writing, I salute Ms. Bock for her diligence.

There’s just a few negatives I can count against this novel. Firstly, on the free copy I got from Instafreebie, there were a fairly few typos but it could be because of the book formatting and so I’m not deducting any points for it. However, I wanted a little bit more of the aftermath of the treasure hunt. I wanted to know more about how our heroes were rewarded and how the bad guys were punished. All in all, in Anne’s scale this book gets 4.5 stars out of 5.

In a nutshell, if you’re a fan of suspense with a romantic heart, this book is for you. Although it’s a part of a series, the novel is a stand-alone story and can be enjoyed in itself. The best part about this book was the fact that it was FREE because for readers without access to amazon, freebies are godsend. So … grab yourself a copy and get reading. I think you won’t regret it.

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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Bookworm Express: Ramsay – Mia Sheridan

Hi! I know, I know. I’ve been MIA for a long time. I’m sorry. I needed to take some time off from everything. But you can call off the search parties because ScribblerAlliance is back in business! I thought we’d better kick off the weekend with a Bookworm Express post.

In the time I’ve been away, I’ve read a lot … and I mean a lot. So I needed to think which book to review for you guys first, and I finally settled on something very close to the reason for my hiatus.

As someone who doesn’t have faith in astrology, I have always been skeptical of people who justify whatever’s happening in their life as a sign from the stars. But as many curious minds know, skepticism can lead you to read something you never thought you would. And so, I took a tumble down the rabbit hole to find whether being born under a star sign affects your personality traits or not.

And just like that, I found myself reading Ramsay, a novel from Mia Sheridan’s A Sign of Love series dedicated to the star sign of Aries.

Ramsay

I admit I was intrigued by the brilliant wordplay with the book title (Ram = Aries) even before I started reading. As I ventured into the world of Aries, I was introduced to Brogan Ramsay, a sweet, innocent, extremely sensitive teenager who works as a gardener’s assistant at the house of the girl he has learned to love from afar, Lydia De Havilland. However, his young mind is left scarred forever by the cruel trick Lydia plays on him, breaking his heart.

Cut to several years later, we meet Lydia De Havilland—an heiress without any real inheritance thanks to her promiscuous older brother. It’s been years since the night Lydia gave her virginity to the only boy she has ever truly loved—Brogan Ramsay, but she still holds his memories in her heart with nothing but fondness. That is until one morning when her brother walks into their office to announce that he has lost their father’s company in a poker game … to none other than Brogan Ramsay.

Determined to make Brogan see the error in his ways, Lydia goes in search of the boy she had once loved. However, instead, she comes face to face with a beautiful, handsome stranger who can give the Devil a run for his money with his wickedness. As she ventures deeper into the trap Brogan has laid for the De Havillands, Lydia quickly finds out that this man has returned to her life with nothing but vengeance in his mind.

What follows is a story of lost love, retaliation, the thin veil that exists between love and hatred, and above all, forgiveness.

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

I searched his face for the kind, sensitive boy he’d once been, but saw nothing of him in the hard lines of this man’s face. I didn’t know him anymore. This man was a callous stranger.

“There’s nothing I can do, is there?” I asked. I licked my lips, pulling the bottom one between my teeth.

Brogan studied me, his gaze skittering to my mouth and back to my eyes. Tapping on his desk again, he appeared to be weighing something, some decision. “How much do you want ownership of De Havilland Enterprises back, Lydia?”

My throat went dry. “I . . . I’ll do anything, Brogan. Anything.” My face flooded with hot shame. But it was true. In that moment, I would go to any lengths to fix this mess. For my father, for his dream, I’d do anything. It was his legacy, the only part of him I could still care for in this physical world.

Brogan chuckled, a sound filled with disdain. He rubbed the edge of the leather inset on his desk with his index finger, my eyes following the movement for a moment. He’d always been such a sensual person, always touching something, his hands lingering, caressing, seemingly entranced by textures . . . He had covered his accent, but not that. I grasped onto it—finally recognizing something in this man that had also been in the boy. “Anything? Would you beg for it? Would you get down on your knees and beg?”

I froze, my heart seeming to stop before it picked up an erratic beat, my gaze meeting his. “Is that what you want me to do? Is that what this comes down to? A payback of some sort?”

“Actually, Lydia, some interest has accrued since I was asked to beg. If we’re considering a payback, your begging would have to be on a much larger scale. Grand even.”

“What does that even mean?”

Brogan looked off to the side, seeming to be considering something. Moments ticked by before he finally looked back to me, his light blue eyes a soft and startlingly beautiful contrast to the harsh expression he wore. “Here’s my offer: Come work at my home as I used to work at yours. Do as I ask you to do and every day, you will beg me for your company back. If you do it well enough, I’ll consider your request.”

I gaped. “Are you out of your mind?” I hissed.

He shrugged nonchalantly, his face impassive now. “It’s been said.”

“Said? Said by whom? Because I’d be inclined to agree. It’s a disgusting offer. You’re a pig.”

“That’s been said as well.” Brogan chuckled, leaning back in his chair again, flashing me an arrogant smirk. I blinked. I’d never seen Brogan smile that way before. I remembered a different smile—sweet and slightly shy. That smile used to make my heart flutter.

 

Now tell me that doesn’t make your heart flutter!

Time for my review. First off the positives: this story took me through an emotional roller coaster, and I admit it made me cry at times … sometimes for Brogan and sometimes for Lydia. Mia Sheridan writes in her unique style which makes you feel every emotion her characters are feeling and you can’t help but fall in love with the way she portrays them. This story shows how difference of perspective can show a story in different lights. I developed a love-hate relationship with Brogan myself because while I hated his RAM-headedness, his raw wounds made me want to wrap him in my arms. And that, I imagine is the true mark of a great writing.

The only negative I will count against this novel is, I wanted more of their HEA. After all the struggles this couple went through, I wanted them to have a big happily ever after, but then again, that’s the insatiable reader in me. All in all, in Anne’s scale this book gets 6 stars out of 5. Yes, 6 because just 5 doesn’t seem to be enough.

To round it out, did I find this book entertaining? Definitely. I recognized a lot of traits in Brogan that reminded me of the Aries in my life. Have I turned into a believer of Astrology? Not really. But I definitely give Ms. Sheridan kudos for portraying the personality traits usually associated with Aries perfectly.

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: Poetry Station

Hi there! Welcome back to Anne Express. Today is my best friend and partner in crime, Shae’s birthday. To let her know how much her friendship means to me, I decided to pen a new poem for her. So … enjoy and join me in wishing her a happy birthday!


Heart of My Heart.jpg

In Heart of My Heart

 

There I stand, all in my lonesome

Drenched in desolation,

Like an outcast in the sea of faces

A heart weeps, crying out,

Forlorn and forsaken.

And then it happens.

Out of the depths of my despair,

A hand reaches out to grasp mine.

It lifts me up, holds me close.

A heart whispers to mine,

I’m here now, you’re not alone.

Two hearts, two worlds apart

Come together, bound by the forces

Of friendship and love.

Through the affection for the written word,

My heart recognizes its counterpart.

So my dear friend, believe me when I say,

You’re one of the most precious persons

In my world, in the heart of my heart.

Bookworm Express: What Eye See – Matt A Byron

What happens when someone dies? They go to heaven, right? However, in between heaven and the land of the living, there’s another world—the spirit world. What if someone living was aware of the spirit world and vice versa? Should they be afraid?

Today’s Bookworm Express features a unique story about the darkness that lingers between the living world and that of the spirits.

This week, Scribbler Alliance brings you Matt A Byron’s story What Eye See.

What Eye See

It is the story of one Emery Hallindale. For her, seeing the non-living isn’t new. She’s been able to see them for as long as she can remember. They’ve always just been there, never bothering her or sensing her; just like gray shadows. Until one day, a brush with death seems to fine-tune her sense of the dead. Suddenly the dead are not so gray anymore; no, they’re solid and colorful, and are very aware of Emery.

With the change in her perspective comes a darkness that threatens to consume her. Question is—will she be able to fight for her life before the darkness engulfs her?

Here’s a little excerpt from the story to give you a hint of what’s to come:

 

As they walked, Emery saw a woman standing by a tree. The woman’s skin was gray, the clothes seemed tattered, and her eyes were empty. She wasn’t looking for anything in particular, and people walking past her were oblivious to her presence because she was dead.

A spirit left behind perhaps mulling about as if she were part of the living world. The spirit seemed oblivious of her or anyone else for that matter, and she just stood there looking around with no particular point of interest in mind.

Melissa noticed Emery was focused on something as they both stopped. She didn’t see what her sister saw.

“I wonder why you see them, and I don’t. And what’s the point if you can’t communicate with them or help them. It seems creepy.”

Emery looked away from the lost spirit and turned to her sister.

“I don’t know. I have had this for as long as I can remember. Why do I see certain spirits and not others? I never saw mom or dad. I don’t get what this is.”

“Maybe it’s like a radio to where you need to angle the antenna a certain way to get better reception.”

They laughed.

“Like I only see part of it, and the audio is not in tune. I don’t know. There definitely seems like there should be more to it.”

 

Now it’s time for my review. First off the positives: albeit it’s a short story, it manages to get the message the author is trying to get through to you. So it’s very well-written. Another one is that I don’t usually go for horror stories or movies for that matter. Why? Because I always feel like it’s make-believe. But with this book, I am pleased to report that I had my fair share of hair-raising goosebumps-on-skin moments. So thank you, Mr. Byron, for a story so good. Another thing I’d like to point out is the storyline. It’s different than many books I’ve read and unique in ways that makes it hard for you to put it down and sleep. I might have stayed up all night to finish the book in one go. And I have no regrets.

The only negative I will count against it is the length of the story. It left me wanting more for Emery’s future. But I guess that’s what happens when you read a great story … it leaves you yearning for more. Am I right? All in all, in Anne’s scale this book gets 4.5 stars out of 5. I thoroughly recommend you read this book, bookworms, because this is definitely worth the read.

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-19

A/N: Ready for more?

Chp19


Chapter-19: Change


EPOV


A few keystrokes and the light turns green. “I changed it; happy?” I mutter as I get into my home. With the sparse furnishing, it’s what I need, and what Esme despises. She calls it my rabbit hole, but it’s the only place where I can be myself.

“Happy?” Esme snarls in my ear. “Do you take your security lightly now too? Have you become that reckless? You’re lucky I was there to save the day today.”

Resisting an eyeroll, I plop my ass down on the futon and let out a sigh of relief. “I know, Es. That was a foolish stunt we pulled.”

She snorts as if to say ‘Ya’ think’ and then says, “She’s not safe for you.”

I feel a smile tug at the corners of my lips as I reply, “Safety is overrated. She’s exactly right for me.” Before she can launch into another whine-fest, I quickly change the subject. “So have you heard the recording in James’ phone?”

“I did.”

“And?” I press.

“The voice is a positive match for Philip Dywer.”

I slap a hand to my thigh. “I knew it! My hunch was correct!”

“Yeah, yeah, stop clapping yourself on the back. Do you even realize that how many powerful people are out there to get to you? You really want add to that?”

I nod. “He asked the Volturi to get rid of me. Do you think they framed me for the Simmons murder?”

Esme’s quiet for a moment. Then she asks, “If they did, what do you plan to do about it?”

“I’ll get even,” I say simply. “Before they can get rid of me, I’ll get rid of them.”


EsmePoV


I play the voice recording of Virtuoso again and wait for him to respond. When there’s no answer to my silent question, I decide to voice it. “So what do you think of your student?”

A soft chuckle sounds before his voice comes through the speaker. “He’s got balls, that one.”

“Balls?” I repeat. “He’s way over his head, and all you’ve got to say is that he’s got balls? Mr. Biers, might I remind you that if Edward finds out about his father’s shared past with Philip Dwyer he might go rogue?”

“You mean the fact that his father, Phil, and I were friends?” he asks mildly. “You’ve spent the last few years in close contact with him, Detective, tell me do you think he’ll go rogue?”

“Shut the fuck up!” I burst out before I can control myself.

He laughs. “Still hate being reminded of your past, huh?”

“Never call me that,” I snap at him. “YOU brought him up, Biers, so you tell me.”

“Honestly? I think the boy’s crazy with a capital K,” he says. “I mean he wants to quit this job and live in a deserted island. That’s just … crazy!”

I huff, my heart aching for the boy I’ve watched grow up into a man. “Mr. Biers, he’s not the crazy one,” I say angrily. “All his life, he’s been left by those he loved. His mom, his grandmother and then you, his mentor. So you really shouldn’t fault him for wanting to get away from the hurt.”

“What’s this, Platt?” He sounds amused. “Are you going soft? Have you forgotten what his father did?”

“Edward Masen Sr., born 1963, was convicted of murder of his best friend, Charlie Swan, I know. But I don’t hold it against Virtuoso. He shouldn’t be punished for what his father did.”

In a sardonic tone, Riley Biers says, “Edward’s mom told him his dad died in a car crash. How do you think he’ll react when he finds out the truth?”

“He’ll deal with it,” I say tightly. “He’s a strong man, not the pitiful boy anymore.”

“Good,” he says before the call disconnects.


EPOV


I manage to fall asleep … almost. But a sudden beep makes me aware of my surroundings again.

I see that like most days I’m lying on my couch with the Animal Planet tuned on TV. Beep

“Where’s that sound coming from?” I wonder as I sit up. That’s when I see it. The briefcase I carry to work, lying inconspicuously on the table. There’s a cell phone in there. Is that where the beeping is coming from?

Just as I open the briefcase, the sound comes again and this time I see the faint blue light of the cell phone light up the screen. It’s Anthony’s phone. I’m pretty sure no one has the number. Esme got this for appearances sake. Then who…?

My question is answered as I slide to unlock the phone. 3 messages. I scroll through them and feel a smile tug at the corners of my mouth. Silly girl.

Message 1:

Hey Tony. This is your number, right? I got this from your employee file. Just checking in to make sure you’re okay.

Message 2:

Tony, you fucking coward! How could you run away like that? Were you that scared? You could’ve told me instead of leaving me, idiot!

Message 3:

Are you okay? You were so scared, weren’t you? I understand, Tony. Just call me. Let me know you’re okay.

As I’m reading the messages for the second time, a fourth message pings.

Message 4:

I’m sorry for throwing you into that crazy-fest. God … I feel like dying.

I feel my brows pull together at the last sentence. She feels like dying? Why? What could’ve happened while I was gone?


A/N: Another piece of puzzle for you guys.

Share your thoughts with me and leave a review.

Thanks for reading.

Love,

A

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Bookworm Express: Learning to Live – Brenda Kennedy

Falling in love should be easy. Effortless. But what happens when you meet the right one in your fifties? Is it that easy to trust someone with your heart and the one you hold most dear to your heart when you’ve been abused for thirty years?

Today’s Bookworm Express features a love story between two people who meet in the dusk of their lives, rather than at the dawn.

This week, Scribbler Alliance brings you the first novel from Brenda Kennedy’s Learning Trilogy, Learning to Live.

Learning to Live

The story opens with the serenity and the aroma of freshly baked goods of a bakery where Nichole, a self-reliant woman in her fifties is trying to raise her grandson as her own. But looks can be deceiving. No matter how put together Nichole’s life looks on the outside, there’s a history of hurt and domestic abuse behind her every smile.

Then there’s Luke Tanner, retired army veteran and a man of his principles. For Luke life is simple—working on his own farmhouse, playing with his dog and avoiding a psychotic ex-girlfriend. That is until he feels an invisible pull to the owner of the bakery he frequents. What he doesn’t tell anyone is that he has skeletons in his closet too including PTSD from years of service to the country.

When Luke asks Nichole out, it should be effortless because when two single people are attracted to each other, they should date, right? Alas! It’s not so simple. Luke has to work his way to her heart. As for Nichole, she has to learn to trust Luke; but after being abused by her now deceased ex-husband and her adult son, trust doesn’t come so easily.

Here’s a little excerpt from the novel to give you a taste of this love story:

 

Just before I take her home for the night, I secure another date for the next weekend. “Is this something you’d like to do again next weekend?”

“Luke, I’d love to, but you should know now that childcare could be an issue for me.”

“I’d be willing to do something with Connor as long as you’re there.”

I think I see her blush, which makes her all the more beautiful. “You’d be willing to go to Chuck E. Cheese and see a matinee on a Saturday afternoon with little Connor and me?”

The way she says that, I’m not sure what my answer should be, but I say, “Yes? How bad can it be?”

She laughs a throaty laugh. “Should I plan on you picking us up around 1:00 pm on Saturday, or should we meet you there?”

“No, I’ll be there to pick you up.”

I walk her up to her apartment and wait for her to unlock the door. She doesn’t invite me in, and I wouldn’t expect her to. I also don’t try to kiss her, although I want to.

“Thank you, Luke. I had a great time, and I can’t wait to learn more about you.”

“I had a good time, too, and this will be interesting.”

“Yes, it will.”

“Maybe I’ll run into you this week at the park.” I’m hoping she’ll tell me a day and a time when she’ll be there.

“Maybe you will.” That’s not the answer I was hoping for. “Thank you and be careful driving home.”

“You’re welcome and I will.” Walking away I say over my shoulder, “Maybe I’ll be in for coffee this week.”

“I hope so. Good night, Luke Tanner.”

“Good night, Nichole Anderson.”

 

Ah! Love … feels like they’re courting instead of dating, doesn’t it?

Time for my review. First off the positives: this is a feel-good romance story with mentions of darkness but with small points of light scattered around to dispel the darkness. So kudos to Ms. Kennedy on that. And another thing I’d like to point is the flow of the story. Although it feels like a slower read than most, it also feels right for this couple to fall in love slowly rather than diving headfast into a relationship or a bed, or both. I loved how this book divulged information about their pasts like unwrapping layers of paper until the true gift—their souls and love for each other—is laid bare. It’s as if you fall in love with their love as they fall in love with each other. One more positive was how well the storyline was preserved. It was never blindsided by the love story, rather it evolved around it.

The only negative I will count against it is the horrible cliffy we’re left with at the end of it. But it’s a TRILOGY, guys. So we get to read TWO more books, nothing bad about that, right? All in all, in Anne’s scale this book gets 4.5 stars out of 5.

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-18

A/N: Enjoy!

Chp18


Chapter-18: Tunnels


BPOV


I’m brought out of my haze of thoughts by the placement of a steaming mug of coffee in front of me.

“I didn’t know how you take your coffee. So I put both cream and sugar in it,” Agent Whitlock says as he takes a seat across from me.

“That’s fine. Thank you,” I say gratefully, wrapping my palms around the mug, letting the heat seep into my body.

“So,” he starts. “You went to interview Royce King?”

I nod, suddenly feeling like I’m in an interrogation room like the TV shows despite being in the middle of a buzzing police station. “I did, but he behaved unprofessionally. I witnessed him physically abusing one of his female employees. Hell, I was nearly beaten myself,” I add with a shudder.

Agent Whitlock frowns. “Were the men following you present during this encounter?”

“Yes, I think they were guarding Royce King’s place,” I reply. “I think they were the same men who tried to kidnap me just days ago.”

“They tried to kidnap you? Did you file a report about it?”

I shake my head. “I didn’t know who they were, but there must be a note or something in the police files stating that they got a 911 call and saved me before the men could hurt me.”

“Is there any witness to prove that the same men tried to kidnap you?”

“Anthony, my junior reporter was with me when they took me. He even got beaten trying to save me,” I tell him, my heart suddenly crumbling at the thought of poor Tony.

Agent Whitlock furrows his brows. “If he was injured, there must be a medical record of it?”

“No, he gets spooked easily,” I say. “So I took care of him myself.”

“Is he the one who hit my car and then ran?”

I cringe at how reckless that makes Tony sound. “I think he got scared after he learned that you’re FBI,” I try to explain. “He has a tendency to run away when he’s afraid. But he’s not a coward … he’s just immature.”

His lips turn upwards and without another word on the topic, he opens up the laptop sitting on the desk between us and types up something. Then he turns the laptop to show me the screen, and I see my article about Rose staring back at me.

“Ms. Barone, did you write this article?” he asks.

Squaring my shoulders, I say, “Yes, and that’s why I went to see Royce King. I want to write a follow-up report on it.”

“Is the woman you mentioned in his article Ms. Rosalie Hale?”

Smiling, I tell him, “I can’t give you that information, Agent. That’s confidential.”

He chuckles. “What if I tell you that Mr. King has just sued Ms. Hale?”

“That prick!” I can’t help but bite out. “What is he suing her for?”

“Defamation,” he answers calmly. “You and your editor is also being sued for harassment. As for the accusations you made about him hurting his employee, my men found no evidence of it when they got to his house. He was alone in his study.”

The words make the hairs on the back of my neck stand, and suddenly, I feel like I’m making a huge mistake by talking to the cops without my father there to defend me. Quickly, I grab my purse and stand up. “Thanks for the coffee, Agent, but I’ve got to go.”

“Ms. Barone …”

I plaster a trademark smile on my face and say, “I’m a reporter for the Inside Out News. Call me at my office anytime you need. It was good to meet you, Agent Whitlock.” With that, I practically run out of there, without allowing him to utter another word.


Getting out of there, I dial my dad’s number. Two rings and then it goes to voicemail. Disconnecting the call, I try again with the same results. Then, I decide to call my mom who thankfully, picks up.

“Bella?”

“Mom! Where’s dad?” I ask. “He’s not taking my calls.”

“He went to the police with Rosalie,” mom answers. “She’s supposed to give her statement today.”

“Oh crap!” I slap a hand to my forehead.

“Is everything okay?” Mom asks, sounding worried. “Honey, talk to me. Are you alright?”

“Yes, Mom. Everything is fine. Don’t worry. I’ll talk to you when I get home.” I hang up before she can question me further.

For a moment, all I can do is breathe, letting the oxygen get to my brain. If Royce has sued Rosalie, her statement won’t be a victim’s but rather a defendant’s now, I realize. Suddenly, it feels like I’m in a tunnel with darkness pressing on me from all around. Like any tunnel, however, I see a point of light … one way to protect the truth.

It takes me barely twenty minutes before I am clutching a paper with a phone number scribbled on it. I take a deep breath and send a quick prayer to God that I’m doing the right thing before dialing. The call connects after just one ring.

“Hello?” a voice answers, familiar and gravelly.

“Mr. Cullen,” I greet. “This is Isabella Barone.”

He sounds delighted when he speaks next. “Ms. Barone! What a pleasant surprise. To what do I owe this honor? A lowly news-thief like myself?”

I feel my cheeks flush at the not-so gentle reminder of our previous encounter. I decide to be honest and lay it all out to him. “Listen, Mr. Cullen, I know what I said earlier, but this is bigger than I can handle.” Before he can gloat, I add, “I don’t have that big of an influence to handle it, that is.”

“So now you want my help?” his smugness is palpable.

“Sadly, yes,” I reply. “But I have my conditions.”

“Let’s hear them then.”

“First,” I state, counting with my fingers. “You’ll have to relay the truth. I will give you Rosalie Hale’s statement and even an interview with her if you want, but you’ll need to convey the news as it is.”

“Why the change of heart, may I ask?”

I sigh. “Royce King has pressed charges against Rosalie Hale, as well as on me.”

“I see,” he says mildly. “Your article said Ms. Hale was blackmailed, how exactly?”

“Royce has videos of her … videos that would ruin her and her family.”

“Have you procured any of these videos?”

I can’t help but roll my eyes heavenward. “You think I’d be asking for your help if I had? That bastard Royce has them, I’m sure. If I was trained to be an investigative journalist like you, I would’ve worked it out by myself, but I … can’t,” frustration runs through me as I confess my inability.

There’s a pause in the line before Carlisle Cullen speaks again. “Alright, Ms. Barone, I’ll help you,” he says. “But from now on, you’ll have to do exactly as I say. Do we have a deal?”

Straightening my back, I whisper, “Yes.”

God help me! I hope I didn’t just make it worse.


A/N: So… thoughts?

Share them with me and leave a review.

Thanks for reading.

See you next time.

Love,

Ann

 

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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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