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

Image Source: Pinterest

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

 

Image Source: Pinterest

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

 

Image Source: Pinterest

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

Imagination Express: The Take Off!

Hi, guys! Surprised by the unscheduled posting? Today, I’m going to start a new segment for you. I’m excited to introduce … 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 first 6-word story for you written using the prompt – Celebrate.

Celebration

 

Hand wrapped around finger. Celebrating life.

 

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.

Happy imagining!

Love,

A

 

Image Source: Pinterest

Bookworm Express: The Governess Affair – Courtney Milan

Hi there! Welcome to another week of Bookworm Express on Scribbler Alliance! This week, I was in a dilemma on which book to review for you. So I decided to go back to one of my absolute favorite romance authors, Courtney Milan.

Like the warmth of a steaming coffee mug held between your palms on a rainy day as you curl up with a good book, Courtney has a way to make you feel the warmth of love through her writing.

The Governess Affair

Today’s featured book is a novella, The Governess Affair. It is said to be the prequel for Courtney Milan’s The Brothers Sinister series. With the author’s lovely depiction of the Victorian era London and the lively characters, Courtney Milan brings us a tale of historical romance.

First we meet Hugo Marshall—previously a prizefighter and currently the right-hand man of the Duke of Clermont. With his past of abuse at the hands of his father, he’s a hardened man; often called merciless even. He has only one weakness—he doesn’t hurt women. Enter Miss Serena Barton. Once a lady, reduced to become a governess thanks to poverty, she has just lost her position. Why? Because of Hugo’s liege, the Duke.

While Serena fights to get justice, Hugo is commanded to be rid of her. However, when Hugo decides to confront her, he finds himself being charmed by her despite his orders. What starts as a battle of wills between the two quickly escalates to a battle of hearts. Soon, Hugo who is a problem-solver finds himself unable to solve the problem of the governess affair.

As is her style of writing, Courtney manages to tell a tale of love so unique and yet as old as the time. This book is sensual without crossing the border to being overly sexualized. It makes you yearn for more, and without meaning to, you’ll find yourself crossing your fingers for this unlikely couple to make it to a happily ever after.

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

 

Miss Serena Barton, she read. It will behoove you to calm yourself. Convincing Frederica’s landlord to toss the two of you out was the work of a moment. Consider it a warning only.

As you have little to do with your days, the inconvenience of moving houses is, I am sure, nothing. A woman of your fortitude will find the task poses little problem. If, however, I am forced to inconvenience myself to the extent of ruining Daughtry’s Bank—where your sister draws her annuity—you can rest assured I will not remain so pleasant.

My offer still stands: fifty pounds and a reference. I can, perhaps, increase the monetary compensation somewhat.

I’d rather not cause you any further disruption, but I will not hesitate, should it prove necessary.

As always, I am

Yours.

There was no signature.

Serena stared at the offending missive, anger growing in her heart. She’d been prepared to have any threat levelled at her. But to threaten Freddy once again? It was like abusing baby squirrels.

She flipped the paper over, and on the blank reverse, scrawled her response.

Cut line, sir. My sister and I have scarcely a hundred pounds to lose between the two of us. Such infinitesimal reserves will hardly be missed.

Not true, but in her experience, wealthy men never understood the value of money. She nodded fiercely at that, and then played the card that she’d been holding in abeyance for this moment.

But you know—and I know—and all of Mayfair knows—that the duchess will not be pleased if she hears my story. I am not frightened of you; how could I be? I have nothing to lose. I am already ruined.

Clermont, on the other hand… Do remind me. Is it twenty thousand pounds at stake if his wife deserts him, or forty? The gossips never get the figures clear.

I address one final thing. You are not mine, and I’ll thank you not to address me in so familiar a fashion.

S. Barton

 

Now tell me that last line doesn’t tickle your fancy. If it does, pick up a copy and get reading already! In Anne’s scale this book gets 5 stars out of 5 stars. Why? Because it deserves it. I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series. Judging by the prequel, the rest is sure to be amazing.

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-15

A/N: Hey guys! I’m excited to tell you that I’ve started working on a new research paper to publish. Sadly, that also means that my writing time will be cut short because of it. So I have to reduce the posting to twice a week from thrice a week. New posting schedule will be Fridays and Tuesdays.

Now, get reading!

Chp15

 


Chapter-15: Calm


BPOV


It’s only after making Tony and I promise that we won’t take any unnecessary risks that dad allows us to leave for work while he decides to take Rosalie to the police to file an official complaint just to ensure her protection.

When we walk through the doors of Inside Out, there’s an uncharacteristic calm around us … as if someone died. My guess is me, judging by the “rampant bull” look Leah is aiming at me. “So now you decide to show up for work,” she says in a way of greeting.

“What?” I feign innocence and lift Tony’s hand to check the time. “We’re barely twenty minutes late. That’s almost on time, boss.”

She heaves a sigh. “So what should I do to congratulate you, Ms. Barone? Shall I give you my desk here to thank you for gracing us with your presence?”

“Nah, I’m good, Boss,” I say, waving her off. “Besides, your desk gets way too much sun. I’ll get wrinkles if I sit here. I’m okay at my desk.”

“You, brat!” she slaps her hands on her desk as she struggles to stand up.

I pretend to be hurt and sniffle to add more effect to it. “Sure, you hate me. Why won’t you? After all, I dared to publish an article without your approval. No matter if it’s our most searched article ever or if we’re the only webloid with the exclusive news, I, a measly reporter dared to think of by myself.”

She groans. “Zip it with the theatrics, Barone.” She picks up a legal looking sheet of paper from her desk and holds it up to my face. “Guess what this is?”

“Your maternity leave announcement?” I ask rather hopefully.

“No!” she barks out. “It’s court summons. Jacob Black is suing Inside Out for defamation.”

I gape at her. “What defamation? I never named him!”

“You didn’t?” she challenges me. “Let’s see what you wrote. Here — A powerful member of the senate, having the initials of J.B. … that’s almost as good as plastering his photograph along with his name!”

I cringe. I shouldn’t be allowed to drink.

“Now,” Leah says taking a deep breath. “There’s only two options open to you. First …”

“Don’t tell me to resign. I can’t resign!” I blurt out. “Telling me to resign from my post is so unfair, Leah. I didn’t write a single word of lie …”

Leah holds a hand up to stop my word vomit. “Second …”

I straighten my back and offer her a salute. “I’ll do whatever you ask me to do.”

“Do it properly,” she says in a clear voice.

For a moment, all I can do is blink, pretty sure that I’ve heard her wrong. “What did you just say?” I finally manage to ask.

“Do it properly,” she repeats. “Whether it’s submitting evidence to back up your story or writing follow ups to the first article, do it right. Find something that we can use against Jacob Black. That’s the only way we can survive this legal battle … by proving that what we reported is the truth.”

With a smile on my face, I salute her. “Yes, ma’am.” When I turn, there’s an identical smile lighting up Tony’s face as he nods to me.

It’s on, Jacob Black.


EPOV


I almost drop the coffee cup I’m holding when a voice says in my ear, “So I guess you’re going to continue with this pretence of being Superman, huh?”

Placing the cup on the counter of the break room, I swear under my breath as I press on the minuscule earpiece attached to my ear. “Jesus, Esme! Are you trying to make me crap my pants?”

She laughs. “I bet that will make Isabella fall head over heels for you, Skid marks.”

I hurramph. “Very funny.”

She seems to sober at my unamused tone and says, “Play all you want, kid, but keep one thing in mind. If you get caught by the police, I’ll ditch you.”

I can’t help but roll my eyes. “Esme, first, I’ve never seen you personally. You’re just a disembodied voice in my head. So how am I going to get you in trouble? Besides, I don’t even know where you live or what you look like. Hell, I don’t even know if your name really is Esme or not!”

She’s quiet for a moment before saying, “I’m sorry, Kid. I promise we’ll meet before you sail off to that island.”

The thought of retiring brings something up to me and pulling out my cell phone, I email the photograph to Esme before speaking again. “Es, I’ve just emailed you a photo. It’s got my dad and the teacher and some other people. I need you to find out whatever you can on the others.”

“Won’t it be easier to ask your teacher about them?”

I sigh. “It would, but he’s still unreachable. I’ve tried his number a million times.”

“Figures,” she answered. “He’s a crazy old bastard. Anyway, I’ve got it, Kid. Don’t you worry.”

“Thanks, Es …”

“Tony! Hey, Tony!” I barely manage to disconnect the call when Bella storms into the break room. “There you are! What are doing here alone?”

I hold up my coffee cup. “Just getting a coffee.”

She nods before asking excitedly, “You have a driving license, right?”

“Yeah …”

“Great!” She grabs my hand and starts to pull me out of the room. “You’re coming with me.”


Esme Platt hangs up on Virtuoso and dials a number on her phone, her eyes focused on the screen before her where the photograph Virtuoso sent is displayed. After three rings, the call connects to an answering machine. There’s no welcoming message with directions though, just a silent beep.

“Hey Mr. Biers,” she says. “Your student has grown up a lot lately. He’s now interested in your friends. What should I do? Should I help him, or should I divert him? Please tell me what to do, Teacher.” She takes a deep breath and decides to share another worry of hers with him. “Also, he’s getting rather attached to this girl. I think she’s starting to mess with his head and his work. If he continues this, we might need to let him go, Teacher. Do you have any other successors? Someone else who can be Virtuoso?” She sighs. “Call me, please. I need your guidance.”

With that she disconnects the call, hoping she hears something from the teacher soon.


A/N: And the mystery returns. *Grins toothily*

Share your thoughts with me and leave a review.

Thanks for reading.

Be sure to check the blog for book reviews on Sundays.

Have a good weekend.

Love,

A

 

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Anne Express: Virtuoso ~ Chapter-14

A/N: So ready for more? Read on!

Chp14


Chapter-14: The Law


EPOV


“I hope you know how foolish that was. You could’ve been made! You’re lucky they didn’t get a look at your face.”

I don’t answer to her; instead, I sit in my black leather couch with my head clutched in my hands. I feel a shudder roll down my body as I imagine what would’ve happened if I hadn’t gotten to her on time.

“Edward!” Esme calls out, sounding irritated. “Are you even listening to me? Say something!”

Unable to take her nagging anymore, I burst out. “What do you want me to say, Esme? That I’m sorry for jeopardizing my identity? That I shouldn’t have gone after her and should have called 911 and be done with it? With her? I’m sorry, Esme, but I’m not sorry.”

“But the Volturi Guards know your mask as Virtuoso’s. Don’t you think they recognized who the masked stranger was who saved Bella Barone?”

I yank at a handful of my hair, the burning of my scalp numbing my senses. “So what if they do? That’s more reason for them to leave her alone.”

“Really? Are you that dumb, Kid? Don’t you know how ruthless they are? They’ll be circling around Isabella now more than ever like a wake of vultures.”

I frown. “So you’re saying I’ve endangered her by saving her?”

“No, you endangered her by exposing your weak spot to your enemies.”

“Weak spot?” I repeat. Is that what she is? My weakness?

Esme chuckles. “Oh my dear boy! You really don’t know, do you?”

“Know what?” I ask dumbly.

“I sure hope she’s coming to that island with you because you’re falling, Ed … fast.”

Falling? For Isabella? Shit! What do I do?

After hanging up with Esme, I contemplate to sift through my feelings. It’s true that before, every person I met was just that … a person … a mere human being … nothing special. And then, I met her.

Isabella Barone is different … unique. As if in a group of tigers, she’s a lioness. She’s beautiful, I know believe me, I’m not blind to it. But it’s more than her beauty that calls to me. It’s just … her. She is what calls out to my heart.

Most people who see her might think she’s brave in a clueless way … like she doesn’t realize what she’s getting herself into. But I’ve seen her. First time was when she followed me to get her bag back and then tonight. Every time, she knew it was scary dangerous, but even then, her steps never faltered to face it head-on. She’s brave like a warrior, I realize. And that’s when I decide that maybe falling for my personal Xena wouldn’t be the end of the world.


BPOV


Should I tell Dad?

He’ll make a huge fuss.

I’m not even harmed … not really.

I know that he’ll want to bring my abductors to the law, but if what I’m guessing is true then they weren sent by Jacob Black to find Rose. That means they have high connections. Should I even drag my dad into all this?

My train of thought is broken when Rosalie rushes into my room and runs to the window. I reach out just in time and yank her back before whispering severely, “Are you out of your mind? Don’t you know Jake Black has his men sniffing around for you? Why are you going to the window?”

Her face pales at the mention of the pig that is Black, and she carefully steps away from the window before mumbling, “It’s just … that man in outside.”

“What man?” I ask.

“The man you brought home.”

Mystified, I walk out of my room and down the stairs to find exactly who she’s referring to. By the time I reach the porch leading to dad’s café, I find dad and Eric crowding over a slumbering figure on the bench outside.

“Do you think he’s alive?” I hear Eric ask my dad with a contemplative expression on his face.

Dad leans down and takes a closer look at their object of investigation, then he nods. “He’s breathing. Maybe he’s just asleep?”

I decide to intervene and take a few tentative steps out of the door and that’s when I see it. A head full of penny colored hair. Tony!

“TONY!” I cry out and rush up to him, pushing through my dad and Eric. “Tony?” I call him again, softer this time.

He stirs a little.

“Anthony?” I call again.

He blinks open his eyes, they widen, and then he jumps up into a sitting position on the bench. “Ms. Bella!”

I reach out to place a hand on his shoulder to stabilize him. “How did you get here?”

“After I ran away, I didn’t know how to help you so I came here.”

“Then why didn’t you come inside?”

He looks sheepish as he answers, “I didn’t know how to face your father. I was supposed to protect you and I didn’t. Instead, I ran away like a coward. I’m so sorry.”

“No, Tony, it’s okay …”

Help you?”

I close my eyes and mutter a curse under my breath. Here goes nothing. “Dad …”

Dad holds a hand up to silence me. “What happened?” he asks Anthony.

Anthony blinks, apparently realizing that I hadn’t shared the events of the night before with my dad. “It’s nothing really … just …”

“What happened to my daughter, Boy?” Dad’s voice shakes a little with anger as he glowers at me and then back at Tony. “Tell me!”

I decide to step in before he makes poor Tony wet himself and say, “Jacob Black sent goons after me to try and find Rose’s location.” When dad’s eyes widen, I hasten to add, “Nothing happened though. I didn’t tell them anything and I was saved by the cops thanks to Tony here who had the presence of mind to call for them.”

For a moment, I think Dad is going to shout at the two of us for being so careless, but then the strangest of things happen. Instead of screaming his head off, he pulls us both … yes, both … into a fierce hug.

“Si-r …” Tony’s words are cut off as dad pulls away from us and then looks sternly at both of us. “I hope you know how lucky you were.”

Hanging our heads, we nod simultaneously.

“Carmen!” he calls for my mom and when mom comes down the stairs, he points to us. “Your daughter has found a sidekick,” he says accusingly.

Mom smiles encouragingly at Tony. “Good for her.”

“No!” he protests. “Now they’re both running into strange people and getting kidnapped.”

Mom’s mouth falls open as she whirls around to look at me questioningly. “You were kidnapped?”

I shake my head vehemently. “Not really.”

Tony clears his throat. “Technically, Ms. Bella …” I step on his toes to shut him up and exclaim loudly, “Have you noticed the time? We need to get going, Tony.”

“Not so fast, young lady,” dad says, holding a hand out to stop me. “What’s the law in Barone House?”

“Never skip a meal.”

He nods, steering me upstairs to the family dining area. “Up you go.”

“Um …” Tony starts, clearing his throat again. “I guess I’ll see you at work then, Ms. Bella.”

This time, dad grabs his arm to stop him. “Where do you think you’re going, young man?”

“Wo-work?” His answer comes out sounding more like a question.

“Breakfast first,” dad decrees, pushing him along with me. I can’t help but laugh at the thunderstruck expression on Tony’s face. Poor guy!


A/N: So … thoughts?

Share them with me and leave a review.

A special thanks to Tarbecca for letting me know that Virtuoso has been voted as one of the Top Favorite Fic Dive Stories for March/April at ADF. It’s a huge honor to be noted for this little story of mine. 🙂

 

See you on Friday.

Love,
A

 

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Anne Express: Virtuoso ~ Chapter-13

A/N: Hi! It’s been so long since I updated. I didn’t want to risk you guys missing out on this chapter due to the notification issue on ffn. So I’m finally going to post. Hope you enjoy it.

Also, this chapter has description of seizure in it. So I’d love to dedicate this one to one of the persons closest to my heart who suffers from this ailment. You know who you are and how much I love you, right? 😉

chp13.jpg


Chapter-13: Unwritten


Carlisle watches in silence as she methodically puts the leftover food in separate tupperwares. She must feel his gaze on her because she lifts her head and smiles embarrassedly at him. “All these leftovers are your brother’s fault, you know? If he hadn’t missed dinner tonight then there wouldn’t be so much left.”

Unbeknownst to him, the words escape him. “You always cook for one more person though.”

Her hands still for a moment, and then she looks away from him. “Let’s pretend you didn’t notice.”

Carlisle reaches out to place a hand over hers and decides to break the unwritten rule Phil has in the house. “What do you think she would be like? If she was alive?” he asks, wanting to tell her the truth. “What profession would she have picked for herself?”

Reneé closes her eyes, and he feels her hand start to tremble underneath his. “She would’ve been twenty six this year,” she tells him in a shaky voice. “She would’ve been free to choose her career.”

“Hypothetically speaking,” Carlisle presses on. “Don’t you think she’d want to become a journalist like you and Charlie?”

Reneé pulls her hand out of his in a sudden motion. “I don’t know, Carlisle,” she says in a strange voice. “I don’t know what my Mary would’ve chosen as her career if she was alive. I don’t know how she’d have looked if she was alive. I don’t know anything. All I know is that she’s in heaven with her father.”

“What if she survived? What if she …”

Carlisle’s words are cut off when she turns around sharply and pierces him with her gaze. “My daughter is not alive. If she was, I would’ve felt it. I would’ve gone to her. I wouldn’t be the monster who abandoned her daughter. I …” she stops to take a shuddering breath as her back straightens. Her hands clench around the handrests of her wheelchair as she struggles to control herself.

The moment her eyes grow cloudy Carlisle knows what’s coming. “Reneé!” he cries out, grabbing a spoon from the kitchen counter and slipping it between her clenched teeth to prevent her from biting her tongue. “I’m sorry, Reneé. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me,” he begs as the woman he cared for as a sister convulses vigorously, her mouth frothing slightly. “Reneé, please … no! RENEÉ!!!”

At the sound of his screams the housekeeper runs in. One look at the scene in the kitchen and she joins Carlisle’s screams, calling for her mistress to be alright.

Phil Dwyer rushes into the kitchen when he hears the sound of his cousin’s cries the moment he gets home. When he gets to them, his eyes fall on his wife and he feels his heart drop. “Ren!” he calls out and runs to scoop her up in his arms. Without sparing a second glance at their company, he carries her to her bedroom and places her in her bed all the while whispering reassuringly in her ears.


Carlisle waits while the doctor looks at Reneé and only when he’s sure that she’s going to be alright, he starts to walk out of the room. Phil, however, grabs his hand to stop him. “May I have a word?” he asks Carlisle.

When he nods, Phil leads him to his study. Once they’re behind closed doors, Phil allows his anger to flow. “What the fuck did you do?” he asks.

Carlisle blinks. “I … I didn’t …”

“Save your breath,” his cousin spits at him. “She has been fine for weeks, Carl. WEEKS. Not a single seizure. And then you decide to show up for dinner and now she’s like this. So let me ask you again, what the fuck did you do?”

“She invited me to dinner,” Carlisle points out.

“Carl!” Phil shouts, getting into his face. “I swear to God, Kid, if I could raise you like my own, I can chop you into little pieces if you hurt my Reneé.”

“Fine,” Carlisle bursts out then. “We talked about Mary.”

“Mary!” Phil takes a few staggering steps away from him, making Carlisle nod.

“Yes, Brother,” he says, his eyes flashing angrily at his cousin. “You were the one who found and buried her body, weren’t you? Do you think if we dug up the grave it’ll be as empty as I expect it to be?”

Phils eyes widen. “I …”

“Don’t waste your breath, Phil,” Carlisle returns his own words to him. “I know you faked her death. I knew you loved your friend’s wife, but to fake her daughter’s death right after she’d lost her husband? What was that for? Just so you could get her?” As he utters the words he’d kept hidden deep in his heart, Carlisle feels something for his cousin brother that he never had before … hatred.

Phil stumbles back to fall into an armchair and then looks up at his brother. “How long have you known?”

“Long enough.”

“How?”

Carlisle barks a mirthless laugh. “I grew up with you, Phil,” he says. “I know exactly how you look when you lie. Your eyes blink rapidly. I was there when you informed Reneé of Mary’s death. I knew that you were lying. Besides, if you had buried her, why didn’t you take me to the burial? To spare my teen heart of the pain of watching my niece’s dead body? I don’t believe that.”

“Then why haven’t you said anything till now?”

“I didn’t have proof … till now.”

Phil’s mouth falls open. “You’ve found her?”

Carlisle shrugs, deciding he didn’t deserve to know that. Instead he says, “You’ve stooped so low in my eyes, Phil. I pity you.” He starts to walk to the door to exit the room, not wanting to breathe the same air as his cousin.

When his hand wraps around the doorknob, Phil asks, “Why do you care anyway? It’s not like she’s your niece by birth or anything.”

Carlisle turns his head to look at him. “Unlike you, Phil,” he tells him. “I cherish the relationships I had with your friends. She called me Uncle since the moment she could speak so no matter what you say, I’m her uncle.”

With that, he leaves, slamming the door shut behind him.


A/N: So … does that answer a few of your questions?

It’s a mystery, guys. I’ve got lot more to weave for you before we untangle it all. So sit tight.

Share your thoughts with me and leave a review.

Thanks for reading.

 

See you on Monday.

Love,

A

 

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