Friday, February 17, 2017

New Release & Review... Sheila Kell's His Chance

Limited Time 99c Sale
Title: His Chance
Series: HIS Series #4 - Stand-alone
Author: Sheila Kell
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Photographer: Eric Battershell
One night in Vegas will change everything

Devon Hamilton, the HIS eyes and ears, hasn’t taken off his headset since joining his brothers. But, when Rylee Hawkins may be in trouble, the radio waves fall silent as he steps away from the command center and into the field. He soon discovers she is on a dangerous quest to find two girls who disappeared on her final FBI op.

Making a bargain, Devon agrees to help Rylee to get what he wants—her. He’ll do anything necessary to keep her safe while using all the tactics he knows to win her over. When danger comes knocking and the threat against Rylee becomes real, Devon gears up for a fight, and like their one hot night in Vegas, all bets are off.

HIS CHANCE is the fourth book in the HIS romantic suspense series. If you like thrilling, edge of your seat reading with sizzling sex scenes, then you’ll love each installment of Sheila Kell’s best-selling series.

99c Sale!
Also available on KindleUnlimited

Amazon
US  http://amzn.to/2gu1Ydu
UK  http://bit.ly/HisChance-UK
AU  http://bit.ly/HisChance-AU

Barb's 5* Review

*received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Holy snakes on a plane... gah. I don't know where to start. Like, seriously, my mind is blown. I think I may have died once while reading this book. I loved every single word of it. My heart literally raced a few times. Exciting stuff, man. I love this series. Sheila is great at giving you a story that is full of craziness, adventure, moments of terror and.. love. Let's face it. She takes words and makes a mini movie in your head as you read.

With that being said... again, I loved it.

Devon, oh my man Devon is the nerd with the plans, the maps and the lightening fast fingers that can get him into any security system he wants to extract information. Trick is, he is not a field agent. He is the computer guy. But, things change for him, and fast.

When a friend of Kate's, a woman Devon knows - but not too well - gets into trouble he jumps to go with Kate to help. Thing is, Rylee wants nothing to do with him. He was a mistake that she wants to forget about, and move on from.

Rylee doesn't know that Hamilton men, never give up. So, Devon puts himself into her personal space. he takes over her cabin and makes it so she has to all but trip over him while they work on getting her out of trouble. Lord knows she is just like the others, neck deep in a world of corruption she may never be able to swim to the top. Though, she is determined and with Devon at her side, she has a fighting chance.

When things go upside down and Rylee is taken from him, Devon has to do all he can to get her back. They may not be at 100% yet, but he will not fail her. His past will not repeat itself. One way or the other Rylee will be saved. Its more than a battle of wills now. Its down to the wire and I feel sorry for anyone that gets in the way.

Nothing will stop a pissed off and determined Hamilton. Nothing.

Blog Tour... D.M. Earl's Awakening



Title: Awakening (The Journals Trilogy, #3)
Author: D.M. Earl
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 26, 2017


goodreads



Synopsis

I’m safe.


And so is my family. All because of the sacrifice Stone made to save us. I don’t know what has happened to Stone or Walker, but I believe in my heart that Stone will do everything he can to make sure Walker never comes near us again. I know he’s out there, and I cannot allow myself to think otherwise. He will come back to me, to us.


So until that happens, and knowing that, I need to work to make my family and myself whole again. Life can bring unexpected joys and sorrows, and it’s up to me to begin the healing process for us all. I need to be strong, and that’s what I plan to do.


I’m no longer a victim because Stone showed me that I was so much more. Life is worth living.


My name is Quinn, and as I awaken from my dark past, and violent present, I will start to truly live.


The future has never been so bright.

Purchase your copy today!


More in the series!
25010608   Vengeance front
Amazon                                                                     Amazon


DM
About The Author:


D.M. Earl lives in Northwest Indiana. She is an avid reader and will devour a book usually in a day. She reads anything from romance, contemporary, erotica and dark reads.


She also loves to ride her Harley next to her hubby. Also D.M. likes being outdoors either working in in the mud on her flower beds or garden or just hanging with her 9 four-legged fur "kids."


Connelly's Horde is her first published work released July 3rd, 2014. This is a Novella in her series Wheels & Hogs. Cadence Reflection Book 2 released on November 2014. Gabriel's Treasure Book 3 released on July 2015. Holidays with the Horde Book 4 released in April 2016. D.M. has already thought out Books 5 thru 8 so lots more coming from the Horde.


D.M. then started a second series, The Journals Trilogy is a dark read filled with suspense and drama. Anguish #One released on May 11, 2015. Vengeance #Two releases on December 20, 2015. The final Book #Three will release also sometime in early Winter of 2017.


D.M. also has some stand-alone book ideas also in the works. So stay tuned……


Please check out her Author pages at:


Release Blitz... Claire Thompson's Claimed by Two Monsters



Claimed by Two Masters
By Claire Thompson

One submissive. Two Masters. Three hearts. 
Shea O’Connor has a secret. Beneath the façade of a proper, vanilla young lady lurks a dirty girl who dreams of whips, chains and a Master to claim her. When she finally gets up the courage to explore her darkest fantasies at a local BDSM club, her world explodes with possibilities, including submission to not one but two sexy Masters. 


Steve Hartman and Zach Wilder are more than just best friends; they are sensual sadists, sharing a dungeon where they train women in the art and passion of erotic submission. As they initiate Shea into the world of BDSM, peeling away layer after layer of shyness, modesty and resistance, Shea is not the only person experiencing soul-level transformation. Steve and Zach’s cardinal rule of keeping their hearts out of their training is sorely tested. 

   
Each new experience draws Shea deeper into a world of intense D/s that leaves her breathless and longing for more. The trouble is, relationships can get complicated, especially between three. The last thing either guy expected was to fall in love—with the same girl. 

   
Excerpt: 

He grasped her nipples between his thumbs and forefingers, rolling them until they were as hard as marbles. In spite of herself, Shea moaned softly at the pleasurable sensation and the thrill of her situation.
Then he twisted them suddenly, and a burst of pain hurtled through her nerve endings, making her cry out. Instinctively she took a step back, but Steve was behind her, blocking her movement. “Stay in position,” he murmured in her ear, his voice deep and commanding.
Zach continued to twist her nipples, the pain nearly unbearable. Shea began to pant in her effort not to cry. Then Steve reached around her body and pressed his palm against her mons. He cupped the smooth skin, his fingers hooking between her legs and sliding into the slippery wet cleft.
Shea began to tremble, fear, pain and desire warring in the battlefield of her mind. The pain at Zach’s hands and pleasure at Steve’s tossed her like a Ping-Pong ball between them. This was both far better and far more terrible than her most intense masturbatory fantasy. Most importantly—it was real. These men were real, and not just figments of her dirty mind.
Then—all at once—as if they had planned it, both men stepped back, their hands falling away from her breasts and sex. Shea, who hadn’t realized she’d closed her eyes, opened them in surprise. Her mouth, too, was hanging agape.
“Very nice,” Zach said, something unreadable in his expression. “You’re very responsive. That’s an excellent trait in a submissive.”
Steve appeared in front of her. He was fixing her with another of those intense gazes that made her look away, but not before she saw him lift his fingers, the fingers that had been buried in her pussy just a moment before, to his nose. Closing his eyes, he inhaled deeply, a strange smile moving over his lips.
The blood pulsated into her face as she whipped her head away.
“I agree with your assessment, Zach,” she heard Steve say, though she couldn’t bring herself to look at him. “She’s very responsive, but she’s also uncomfortable with her body and her own reactions. Those are issues we would definitely need to work on if we decide to train this sub girl.”
She couldn’t deny the truth of his words. But it was the last phrase that really caught her attention: if we decide to train this sub girl. Until then she had thought it was all up to her. She had believed the interview, if that was what the hell this was, was being conducted so she could gain an understanding of what was being offered. Now she understood this was also a test. They might decide that she was not proper sub material, not worthy of training.
The realization both stunned and galvanized her. If this was an audition, well then, she was going to get the part. 
“Now it’s time to assess your masochistic tendencies and tolerance levels,” Steve said.
Shea lifted her head. She saw that Zach had taken a seat on the couch.
“I already got a little sense of this during the brief spanking at the club,” Steve said. “I’d like to take this opportunity to do a proper workup. Let’s use the St. Andrew’s cross. We’ll start with a nice, sensual flogging.” He held out his hand. 
Shea lowered her arms and placed her hand in his. His hand was cool and firm. Hers, by contrast, was sweaty with nerves. As they walked to the cross, she hoped she wouldn’t make a fool of herself.
Shea stepped up to the cross. It was made of dark, polished wood with leather straps set at strategic intervals. “Lift your arms to the cuffs at the top of the X and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart,” Steve instructed. 
Shea did as she was told, extending her arms fully along the smooth wood. A jolt of excitement coursed through her body as he closed the leather and Velcro cuffs around each wrist. Though bondage had not figured largely in her fantasies, she couldn’t deny the sweet, dark thrill of being held captive in this way, bound and at the mercy of another.
She swiveled her head to follow Steve as he walked away from her and toward a long rack filled with various whips, floggers, paddles and canes. He selected a very large flogger with dozens of long, thick leather tresses. 
“This one is suede,” he said as he ran the tresses through his fingers in a seductive way. “It doesn’t sting as much some of the others. I think you’ll like it.”
He stepped beside her, and she turned to look at him, trying to focus on his face instead of the huge flogger in his hands. 
“For this exercise, I want you to close your eyes and relax. I want you to focus on the sensations of the leather against your skin. I know your safeword is zirconium. I don’t expect you to use it, but I want you to know that I’m aware of it. This is really just an exercise. As I did with the spanking the other night, I’m going to start lightly and then slowly increase the intensity of my stroke. All I want you to do is accept the lash. Embrace whatever you’re feeling. Don’t try to censor yourself or stay quiet or tough your way through something that doesn’t feel right.”
He touched her shoulder. “You’re doing really well so far.” 
“Thank you, Sir Stephen,” she whispered, her heart hurtling against her ribcage.
He stepped behind her. Using both his hands, he massaged her shoulders, kneading away some of the bunched tension in her muscles. Then he leaned closer, his mouth near her ear. “Close your eyes. I’m going to whip you now, Shea.”
She made an involuntary sound, something between a moan and a squeak. She closed her eyes.
The tresses landed lightly against her ass. They were soft, the stroke just a caress—it felt good. The second stroke landed a little harder, a slap of silky leather against her skin. He did this several times in a row and Shea relaxed, un-curling her fingers and taking deep breaths to slow her rapidly beating heart.
The flogging began to intensify, the leather striking with a distinctive whacking sound that was at once arousing and unnerving. She was being whipped! It was like those online videos on the training site, except those weren’t real, were they? This was real. Authentic. Maybe the most authentic thing she had ever done in her life. 
He began to flog her up and down her back, stroking between her shoulder blades, thwacking her lower back, whipping in a stinging caress along her sides. Then came a thundering crash of leather against both ass cheeks.
Shea emitted a startled cry, her body tensing for another blow. It came quickly, a dozen stinging leather snakes striking her skin and leaving lines of fire in their wake. Sweat broke out on her upper lip and beneath her arms. Her heart was beating in triple time, her breathing ragged and uneven.
She felt a presence in front of her. Opening her eyes, she saw Zach standing there, his expression kind. He stroked her cheek, pushing the hair out of her face and tucking it behind her ears. “Slow your breathing,” he counseled. “I want you to embrace the pain instead of fighting it. Take it inside of you. Make it a part of you.”
Steve struck again, a stinging fury of tresses over the backs of her thighs. What the hell did that mean to embrace the pain, to make it a part of you? A human’s natural instinct was to avoid pain. And yet, on some level, on the level that bypassed her intellect and training, Shea intrinsically understood what Zach meant.
She managed to whisper breathlessly, “Yes, Master Zach.”
The flogger moved up and down her back, the focus primarily on her ass. Each stroke was hard now, stinging against increasingly tender flesh. It hurt. Oh, oh, oh, it hurt. She wanted to be good and strong and brave, but it was too much. It was just too much. 
“I can’t,” she cried suddenly. “It’s too much.” 
“It’s just enough,” Steve said from behind her. “Five more, Shea. Take five more for me. I know you can do it.”
Just five more.
Yes. She could do it.
The flogger exploded against her ass in a shower of pain. One.
She began to dance involuntarily, twisting her body in a vain effort to avoid the lash. Two.
Her safeword formed on her lips, but she pressed them together. She would not give up. Three.
“Ah!” she cried out as the flogger struck between her shoulder blades. Four.
The last stroke curled around her side, the tips cruelly striking her right breast. Five.
She was trembling from head to foot, tears rolling down her cheeks, her chest heaving. But something else was happening too—a kind of wild, crazy, careening joy was lifting her nearly off her feet. 
This was it. This was what had been missing all her life. This moment, the stinging, perfect stroke of the leather, the cuffs embracing her wrists, keeping her centered, the heady scent of her own arousal mingled with bay rum, lime and male musk. 
She was connected—she was alive—she was no longer alone.

 Editor’s Note: Claimed by Two Masters is a M/F/M ménage. Book Three of BDSM Connections is a full-length, stand-alone story. The series may be read in any order.


Purchase links:
Romance unbound: http://bit.ly/2iI2hR3

More about Claire

Claire has been writing for nearly two decades, and has published over 70 novels. She writes BDSM romance and non-con abduction tales, spanning both m/f and m/m genres. She has received numerous awards for her bestselling work, including the 2010 NLA-Int’l Pauline Réage Award for best BDSM fiction. Her darker works press the envelope of what is erotic and what can be a sometimes dangerous slide into the world of sadomasochism. Ultimately her work deals with the human condition, and our constant search for love and intensity of experience.

Connect with Claire:

Giveaway on goodreads for a paperback of Claimed by Two Masters.
Closes today so pop over for your chance to win!


Also available in the series:
SECRETS 
By Claire Thompson 18+
BDSM Connections book 1
Romance Unbound - http://bit.ly/2aTSxBw
Smashwords - http://bit.ly/2aTpld2


Secrets protectbut they also destroy. 

Allie Swift has a secret—one that has kept her from finding a Dom willing to take her where she longs to go, far beyond the slap-and-tickle approach of BDSM-lite, into the deep reaches of true sadomasochism. 

When she meets Liam on a BDSM personals site, she senses he’s different from the Doms she has been with before. His darkly compelling nature speaks directly to her submissive heart.


Liam Byrne had it all—a great career, a hot body, and a submissive fiancée.  That is, until a year ago when a head-on collision with a drunk driver shattered not only his leg, but also his life. Now Liam harbors an ominous secret, one that’s tearing him apart and causing him to hold the world, including Allie Swift, at arm’s length.


As the intensity of their D/s exploration increases, Liam and Allie must confront their fears. Together they must decide if the bond they share is strong enough to survive bringing their secrets to light.


Secrets is the first novel in Claire Thompson’s new edgy BDSM romance series: BDSM Connections. Prepare for a powerful, emotional experience. 18+


Surrender to Me
By Claire Thompson 18+
BDSM Connections book 2
Romance Unbound buy link: http://bit.ly/2f06f6C
Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2eLGXIU
Smashwords buy link: http://bit.ly/2eTmdMP
 iTunes buy link: http://apple.co/2eXgGVE

Let the erotic pain lift you into its arms. Surrender to it. Surrender to me.

Rylee Miller, independent, strong and in control, seeks intensity of experience in all things. She craves hardcore sadomasochism and believes erotic suffering is just another challenge to be overcome. 
Taggart Fitzgerald, aka Leather Master, is a world-class whip and leather-gear craftsman. A highly skilled and sexy Dom, he’s also a brooding, intense and self-contained man. He takes what he wants from women, keeping his heart firmly out of the equation.

When they meet on a video shoot for BDSMConnections, their intense, visceral connection stuns them both. The Leather Master is intrigued by Rylee’s staunch assertion she’s not a submissive. Is she lying to him—or just to herself?  Or maybe she has never learned to truly surrender. 

With Taggart’s dominant, sadistic side and Rylee’s sensual, masochist mindset, they should be the perfect pair. But accepting her true nature may not be easy when the Dom she’s falling for is a man so damaged by a past filled with pain that he’s unable to trust in love. Or maybe it’s that he has never learned to surrender to his heart.

Editor’s Note: Surrender to Me, Book Two of BDSM Connections, is a full-length, stand-alone story. The series may be read in any order.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Excerpt Reveal... Barb Shuler's Somewhere I Belong



Somewhere I Belong
Barb Shuler
Shattered Lives Series; Book 2
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Publish Date: February 28, 2017

Cover:
Design by: MadHat Books
Models: Victoria Morin & Chad Demchik


Blurb:
I was a woman on a mission. I wanted to be.... Somewhere I belonged.

My life as a small town gal kept me cautious, but I wanted to go travel the world, be free and not stuck in a bubble. I traveled through the states and kept moving until I got to Vegas. Flashing lights, casinos and the man in Armani who made traffic stop with his sparkling smile… A smile I quickly learned belonged to the devil.

Not anyone else’s devil – he was my devil.

Then, my world came to a crashing halt one night – the night my life went from dangerous to ready to flatline.

On the ride of my life, I went back to the past I’d abandoned years before. Back to the past that has never been the past. It could have been the present but I was too stubborn to see it.

I'm running back to the arms of safety.

To the arms I should have never left.




Excerpt:

PROLOGUE

For as long as I can remember, I was taught to be kind and respectful to everyone. Yes, those are two entirely different things. Well, in my world they were. I was taught to say thank you, you’re welcome, and to address everyone older than me as ma’am or sir. There was no one in the small town I grew up in that didn’t have that same value. Good ole’ country folks were like that. They worked hard for their money, they respected themselves and the land. But when I decided to move away, I lost that. It was ripped away from me and I was tossed around like a rag doll in a cyclone. Each place I visited was different, but it was the flashing lights of Vegas that caught me. It was a beacon I could not look away from. I was a fly on the sticky paper. That sticky paper was controlled by the eldest son of none other than former Senator Grant Wainwright. Yep, you heard that right. Jacob Wainwright became a man I couldn’t escape, or so I thought.
When Grant decided Capitol Hill was no longer his cup of tea, he came back to Vegas where his family had a ‘vacation home’. Seems he hit it big in ‘underground activities’ that led him into the money pot of Vegas. Yep, that means casino’s. Lots of them. But, here is where it gets interesting. In some circles, the Wainwrights are like royalty. They have prestige, honor, and of course, class. But their son… oh, now, that boy is just trouble. He wears Armani by day, and leather by night. Frigging idiot thinks he is a big shot biker. The only thing that Harley riding douche canoe is good for is pushing drugs - the drugs his daddy pretends aren’t being siphoned through his casinos - and working through the whores in the back room. Some of those skanks have more mileage on them than an international jet has in a year of flight. I’d had to watch them paw at Jacob, doing anything they could to get a little of the white stuff he’d slip into their hands when no one was looking. God only knows what they did to get what was in his pants… let's just say, there's not much there to work with.
As it tends to do, though, all good things must come to an end.  Karma catches you by the balls and says, “cough”. There was a raid on the casino and Jacob was lucky enough to not be there. I take that back, I had the unlucky fortune that he wasn’t there. When he heard, the news of the raid, he flipped out. All of his whores, his stash of cocaine, even some of his regular customers… gone. The cops cleaned house and left the mess for him to clean up. That was when his daddy stepped in and told him to fix it, get his money back however he had to, and shut the door in his face. I paid for this simply because I was there. The moment I spoke, telling him he could get out now, be productive other ways - legal ways - the hit came. Hard and fast. He, of course apologized and cried over it. The douche thought that was good enough. Not even close.
There was no way I could just up and leave. I’d seen too many things, knew too many things. He’d kill me if I tried. Hell, he’d probably kill me if he even thought I was thinking about leaving. Maybe. Maybe not. Though, I was willing to try now. I had to get out before I did wind up one of the dead bodies under a bridge somewhere. I couldn’t do that to my family. As I started to work on a way to get out, I found out there was someone else working to build a case against him. I didn’t know who the ‘other’ was, but I made sure to leave things laying around. In plain sight, even a snake can be overlooked. Then the unthinkable happened. They found the ‘spy’, and I was between a rock and a hard place. That was, until I was caught. My rock shifted and I was done.
The hits and screams faded away as they had before… but I had changed. I’d had enough and I fought back. I had been too scared the last time. Shocked, really. I’d never had a man hit me before. The first time he raised his hand to me was in front of some crackpot bikers, the kind that give real bikers a bad name. He got praise then for ‘handling his bitch’, as if that was a good reason to hit someone. Apparently, he thought that method would work.  Just like last time, he ‘handled’ me, alright, but I broke his nose. I tried for more, but I was in ‘cause as much damage as possible and run like hell’ mode. His goons were not there to help him, and I think my retaliation caught him by surprise. He didn’t expect a real fight. His anger made him sloppy, but he got in a lucky shot and I got a knife to the side. The stab wound I could deal with, as long as I could fight my way out. My oldest brother Charlie had always joked I was scrappy. Scrappy had nothing to do with it. I was in for a fight of my life and I knew it. It was time to get the hell out of dodge before I became like the body... bodies on the floor. I ran as fast as I could to the only place I knew I’d be safe. Home.



CHAPTER ONE
No Easy Way Out

Anna

    We all have choices to make in life. Do we take the road less traveled, or do we follow along the motorcade leading you to the lands of adventure, fun and a little danger? Do you take it all with a grain of salt, or a squeeze of lime? Can you outrun the devil in the red dress? In my case, the devil wears Armani during the day and leather at night. He’s no superhero, though. Hell, no. He’s a complete and utter jack hole who has more money than brains. Yep, that train left the station with no one aboard a long time ago. Though, on second thought, I’m not much better. I fell for the sweet smile and the stacks of green he had. I was a simple, naïve girl. I was living careless. Now, I’m running for my life from a man that has claimed me as his.
    He may have been there when I thought I needed a man. He may have loved me even, but he isn’t the one that stole my heart. No, that was taken years ago by a man that has most likely forgotten all about little ole’ me. Here I sit, my heart racing - pounding out a rhythm to rival any drum beat - as I scan the bus station lobby. I needed this bus to hurry up and board already. The longer I sat out here in the open, the more I started to panic. The pain in my side was getting worse. God, if it started to bleed again I was going to be screwed. I’d dropped everything but the cell phone in my pocket when Jacob attacked me in the back parking lot of the casino. I left it all. I didn't need it, everything would remind me of him…. and I just wanted to forget this life. My Aunt Trisha was wrong. You had to have more than attraction and money. You needed someone that respected you. Someone that would protect you, not someone that would do this to you.
    I pulled the ball cap on my head down tighter and tucked my chin into my collared shirt as I said a small prayer. The first of many. The last six hours had been a roller coaster of  adrenaline, chaos and overwhelming emotions. I’d seen too much. I had been stabbed, beaten and now was on the run. On the run from a mad man. Nowhere to run, but home.
    “Anna, you’re so stupid,” I berated myself. For once, I deserved it. Every ounce of fear and pain that radiated through me confirmed that. I was stupid. I knew better than to try and get evidence against Jacob. See, Jacob Wainwright was the son of a wealthy casino owner and a former governor. He thought he was God’s gift to women. He treated them like queens until he got what he wanted from them, then he’d change them out like day old bread. All of that changed when I came in. He said he only wanted me, and I let him have me. That need turned to obsession. Greed. He was demanding. Jealous, and for all the things holy he was a fucking psycho. How I hadn’t seen that before, I don’t know. Maybe I had been wearing blinders or chose not to see it. I'm not sure, but in the end he truly thought he owned me.
    I had been in Jacob’s office searching for a very important file. One that would guarantee me some time to get away from here, away from him. I would blackmail my way out of this God forsaken place. But Jacob came back earlier than I expected. I was left with no choice but to hide behind the lush curtains that pooled on the floor against the wall of windows. I could wait them out. That was when it all started to go downhill like a train with no brakes. You knew there was no way to escape being stuck in its tracks.
    When the office door flew open I bit down on my bottom lip and tried to keep my breathing calm and low. Last thing I wanted was to be caught. Loud voices turned into men arguing, which turned into voices being raised even louder. That's when the the hitting started. My gut clenched in sympathy to whoever was being pounded on. The sound of flesh on flesh was starting to wig me out. Someone grunted and a cry of pain rolled through the room. I felt their pain, I knew those feelings all too well. Jacob’s angry voice rang out as I clenched my eyes shut with each  of the hits the person took.
    “You… you fucking pig!” Jacob screamed, “You dare to betray me?”
    “If I disappear, more will come for you. You’re going down, Wainwright. Daddy can’t save you this time,” the man's voice was ragged from pain.
I couldn’t help it, I had to peek. I pushed the curtains apart at a seam slowly, trying to keep my shaking hands from giving me away and peeked through. It was then I saw him. Joshua. He was calling Joshua a pig. Oh God, Joshua must have been the undercover man they were looking for. I’d overheard them talking earlier about a spy but I had no clue…my salvation had been so close. I could have given him everything he needed to take Jacob down. That was why I was looking for that folder, or anything to get me out of here. I just wanted to go home.
    It all happened so fast. Joshua was screaming at Jacob. The gun was pulled out and by the time the shot registered Joshua was on the ground, blood pooling under him. I must have made a noise because all eyes turned to me. I clapped the curtains together, only to have them ripped apart and me snatched roughly from the spot where I stood. My body slammed into the floor as I was thrown at Jacob’s feet. My tears were running in streams down my cheeks as sheer panic ran through me. I looked over to the lifeless body beside me.
    “Well now, this is unfortunate,” Jacob sneered. He gripped my hair and snatched me back up to my feet. I shrieked as the pain his grip caused ate through me. His lips brushed mine as he spoke to the men behind us. “Get out!”
“But, boss,” one of them stuttered, only to have Jacob raise his arm, gun in hand and put a bullet between his eyes. It was in that moment that I knew he had completely lost it. The other two left the room after that display, so it was just me, him and two dead bodies on the floor.  
“Ja-Jacob.. Please…”
“I love it when you beg, love,” he said pressing his lips to mine.
I fought to get away, but that only seemed to make him madder. He jerked me behind him as he went back into the office’s back room. His “I need space” bedroom. I wasn’t stupid. This was where he brought his whores. Then again, I was only a whore to satisfy his needs most days. I was nothing more to him. As my body slammed into the bed I cursed and tried to get away. I kicked and managed to get him off of me. He didn’t know I could fight. I was small, but I’d be damned if I was letting him do this to me anymore.
“Get off me, asshole!” I kicked out, my bare foot meeting his chest. He stumbled and I flipped off the bed. A roundhouse to the temple had him out. I ran for the door. I checked to make sure the hall was clear. I shut the door and grabbed the bag I had under his desk, slipped on my ballet flats, and took off out the door. My mind was racing. I needed to take the back stairs. No one ever used those except the cleaning people. This place was like a maze, though. I had to get to the bottom floor, but not run out into the lobby. I needed to avoid security, too.
I’d made it out of the building, running full out to my car. Just when I thought I was free, I was hit from behind. My body slammed into the car and he was on me. I head butted Jacob and his roar of pain made me grin. It was then that I felt the burning in my side. I cried out but pushed myself harder. Elbowing him as hard as I could in the solar plexus I shifted and kicked back, making him stumble. He doubled over in pain and I cracked him on the head with my bag. My shit went flying and I let it. I took off running. I ran through the crazy packed streets of Las Vegas until I was doubled over outside of some restaurant. There was a man with his back to me. He had a ball cap hanging on the back of his chair. I slipped it free and took off running again.
I hate to say this -  my dad would be so disappointed in me -  but there were a few pockets missing wallets and a pharmacy that was short a few packs of bandages by the time I got to the cold, dumpy little bus station. I’d managed to get the bleeding to stop and a bandage on the cut along my ribs. The fucking thing hurt, but I couldn’t tell just how bad it was. One thing at a time. I had to get on a bus and get out of here. I needed to get home - back to the place I should have never left. My safe place.
When I heard the bus being called for loading I stood up, walked slowly to get in line and made it to the bus. Step one was complete. As I curled into a seat midway into the bus I sighed and pulled out my phone. Two bars. That was all that I had left. I sent Charlie a message. “Coming Home :)” and turned my phone off. In less than twenty-six hours I would be safe again. There would be fourteen-hundred miles between me and that asshole.

“GET BACK HERE, ANNA!” No matter how far I ran, I couldn’t escape him. His meaty hand grabbed my arm and I was tugged back to where he stood. Scowling, Kicking, screaming, it was all fruitless. I couldn’t escape. He tackled me and held me down. My back scraping - burning - from being pressed hard against the floor. His lips met mine just as he decided to take what he had always wanted. No matter the fight I had in me, it wasn’t enough. I wished for death. His words echoed over, and over in my head. “You are mine! I will have what is mine!” As the panic took over I started to fight harder.

There was a sharp tug and the pain in my side made my eyes fly open as a scream ripped from me. Blinking, I stared back at the man that had been driving the bus. “Ma’am, are you okay? You need some help?”
Oh God. I scrubbed my hands over my face. It was then I felt the wetness. I had been dreaming. My utter horror turned to fear and embarrassment. There were so many sets of eyes on me now. My face burned with a blush as I pulled myself up in the seat and stood.  “I’m... no. I’m fine,” I said.
He nodded as he spoke, “All right, then. We are at your stop. There is no station per se, but you should be able to find a phone inside to call for your ride.” I tugged at my shirt and walked with him to the front of the bus.
“I have a phone. I’ll be fine. Thank you, sir,” I said as I walked off the bus and closed my eyes. I was home and free of Jacob. I could start over again, pretend the last few years had never happened and move on with my life. Hopefully I could do this here. I had left once before because small town life didn’t seem as interesting as I had thought it should. Though, after seeing all of what I have seen… this is where I need to be. The place I should have never left. Lesson Learned.
My feet carried me down the sidewalk on Main street but there was no destination in my mind. I was just wandering. I had to clear my mind and find a reason to have all of a sudden come home. When your father is the old Sheriff - as in he used to be the Sheriff here but retired - and you have a brother who is like a damn drug sniffing dog, you need an air tight alibi. Both of them could spot a lie a mile away. I was screwed. I can’t lie for shit.
Sighing, I turned the corner and ran into a brick wall. Not the kind that doesn’t give, one that I had hoped to never see again.




~Meet Barb Shuler~

I’m a Carolina Girl by right and a Texan by birth. Best of both worlds. I have the brass sass to keep up with my Texas sized temper. Living and working in both states I’ve learned a lot about hard work, adapting to your surroundings and making the best of the path that you have been led down. My grandma Dollie once told me I would know what I was meant to do when it happened. She was right, as always.
As with most book lovers, I am an avid reader. Reading has always been a hobby - a passion, really and a way to get lost in other people’s lives, their drama and other worlds. It’s a private movie in your imagination that you get to cast and navigate through, at your own pace. Reading helps to expand the perimeters of one's mind. That is what got me into writing. Writing has been something that I have done since I was a kid. If I had paper, I was writing. Nine out of ten times it made no sense but what are words if they are not to be used to your advantage? Words are a part of us all. Why not use them, right?
During the day I work as a ‘desk jockey’ and help the residents of my county navigate themselves around our little, but not too little country town. By night I am either blogging with my best friends, doing PA work for some of my favorite authors or fighting with the voices in my head. They can be stubborn at times. It’s a blessing and I am cherishing every moment. Tomorrow is never guaranteed so I want to make sure I live the day as fully as possible. For what is my creation, can become someone else's treasure.


~ Connect with Barb here ~

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