Friday, February 21, 2014

Book Sale! Haunting Lia by Shannon Eckrich ONLY .99!!

On sale for a limited time!! Only .99!!

Death is her destiny. But she has other things in mind.

Lia Starr’s life isn’t a fairytale. It’s a reality overflowing with scary monsters, death, and betrayal—a past she left behind when she entered her new foster home. Now, with a loving family, a sister she’s always craved, and relief from the gruesome corpses that tormented her as a child, she’s finally content. Until a freak accident changes everything.

The monsters are back, and their mission is simple: drag Lia straight to their murky hell. When Aiden, an apparition, appears to Lia, she has hope once again. Because Aiden can cross the veil between the spirit world and the earthly dimension, physically fighting off the monsters and sending them back. With Aiden’s determination to keep her safe and his absorbing blue eyes, Lia can’t help falling in love with him. But who is he, and what does he really want? As Lia and Aiden’s relationship deepens, so does the mystery surrounding him.

Once Lia finds out Aiden has traded his soul to save her, she enters the darker dimension, a dimension where nightmares are reality, ready to kick some serious butt. But surrounded by twenty-eight mutilated monsters and a deranged cult leader intent on bringing his dark world to the surface, isn’t what Lia expects. And even worse, she must face her traumatic past in order to destroy them. If she fails, not only will she lose the guy she loves and face certain death, but she will also risk the one thing she can’t afford to lose: her eternal soul.

Get yours today!

Born and raised in Delaware, Shannon Eckrich lives with her husband, two children, and chocolate lab, Chewy, along with her newest addition, Taylor, a spunky little kitty who loves to terrorize her while she's writing.Shannon's second love is the paranormal. Ghosts, angels, vampires, aliens, immortals, it doesn't matter, she's obsessed with it all, which is why she's compelled to write stories in the paranormal genre.

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Cover reveal ~ Geared to the present by Dana Bennett

Title: Gear to the Present
Author: Dana Bennett
Release Date: February 27, 2014
Cover Designer: Yocla Designs

Geared to the Present is the story of Jones Whitman who, after making unsavory lifestyle choices in Boston society, learns his father, James, has arranged for him to school under the tutelage of Master Wong Fei-hung in Foshan, China. Jones Whitman submits to the teaching, evolving into a strong and ethical young man. Fei-hung, master of Hung Gar gives each student a new name upon graduation. Jones’s new name is 時光旅行者, Time Traveler. Jones spends the next seven years working diligently on a design for a time machine. The Atomotron. When the first human trial is to take place, he inadvertently trips the lever and jumps forward 120 years to Snohomish, Washington, 2012. That’s where the real adventure begins.

Jones blushed upon realizing the short length of Darcy’s skirt. He had never seen a woman dressed in that manner. He brought his attention back to her freckled face and brown eyes, at once feeling rather mesmerized and confused. Ever the gentleman, he struggled not to stare at her bare legs.
“You’re not hard on the eyes at all. If you clean up your act—”
“I beg your pardon? What does that mean?”
“Take off those goggles, you look kinda weird with ‘em on.”
“This seems incredibly contentious for a first time meeting,” Jones said, removing his goggles.
 “That’s the kind of girl I am. What’s your name?” She took a tentative step forward and found the green in his hazel eyes captivating.
“Jones Whitman. And yours?”
“I’m Darcy Champagne.” She squinted in the sunlight and dropped her arms to the sides. “Are you from England?”
“No I am not. Please, may I have a few moments to explain the situation in which I find myself?”
“Sure, but this better be good, ‘cause I’m running outta steam for this get together.”
“Yes, as I have as well with the Atomotron.” Jones pointed to the machine. “Well, how shall I begin?” He laid his goggles and dustcoat on the picnic table and took a deep breath contemplating a way to move events forward. “What do you know of time travel?”
“H.G.? I’ve read a few books. I’m in a steampunk sort of mood these days. I even have a corset to wear for this year’s Steamcon.”
“What?” Jones asked. “So, wait, where am I? And what date would it be today?”
“Okaaaay. Now that’s a really odd question.”
Darcy began to back up, crossing her arms in front of her once again.
“It will not seem strange in a few moments, I assure you.”
“You’re in Snohomish, Washington and it’s Sunday, June 2012, and I don’t off hand remember the exact date.”
“This is incredible. I am stunned.” Jones glanced at the toggles on the time machine. “I left Boston, Massachusetts on Monday, 7 September 1891, at precisely 9:30 am.”
“Yeah, right,” she said with a nervous grin. “I’m starting to think you need some help.”
She pulled out her cell phone and looked at it.
“I know how this must sound but please bear with me. I am Jones Whitman, nephew of Walt Whitman—”
“Oh right. Sure you’re the nephew of Walt Whitman and I’m the niece of… of Joan of Arc.”
“You are making light of me, I can tell. So how can I prove to you that I am who I say I am?”
“Wikipedia. If you’re somebody famous, that invented a time machine—well that’s ridiculous because if you had, we’d all be using one right now! Who are you?” Darcy’s eyes widened, the angst apparent in her voice. “I think I’ll call Taylor and have him take you to a shelter.”
Jones wiped his forehead on his sleeve and sat down on the picnic table.
“There must be a way I can explain. I assure you these circumstances came to be by accident. I tripped—”
“Okay. Let’s say you’re telling the truth, then why can’t you just travel back to where you came from?”
“Because I have bent two gears that are crucial to generating the low vibration used to expand my atomic gravitational field to allow for a lateral time and space displacement.”
“What the…? What did you just say?”
Jones sighed.
“May I intrude upon you for a glass of water?”
“That is not what you just said.”
Darcy flopped down next to Jones.
“Yes, I know. However, my immediate need is to quench my thirst.” Jones glanced in the direction of the house. “Would this be your domicile?”
“Yeah. Came by it from the death of my father.”
“And your mother?”
“She’s in a facility. She never got over my Dad’s death. And what business is it of yours anyway?” Darcy looked Jones up and down.
“I realize it is none of my business. I am a curious kind of fellow.” Jones waited.
 Darcy stared at Jones for a moment. “Come on. I’ll take you inside.”
“You can feel completely assured that I mean you no harm,” he said as he rose from the table.
“Not necessary, I’m highly intuitive. I wouldn’t be asking you in if I had even one red flag.” She traipsed over the yard toward the house and bounced up the steps with Jones in tow.

Dana Bennett lived in north central Florida for the first chapter of his life. After high school, he spent the next chapter working with problem teens and their families in Pensacola, Florida and then spent time on the Colorado River Indian Reservation, in Parker, Arizona helping the Native American population. He graduated from Nova Southeastern with a degree in psychology later in life. He has had many eclectic professional experiences in the work arena, always returning to the creativity he finds in building and construction as well as crafting new stories.
He has three wonderful daughters and two adorable grandsons. He is married to his best friend and partner in life, love, and business. They have a strong supportive community of friends and neighbors who encourage them daily to keep writing.
He enjoys each day with Blakely as they work on their never finished project, life. Writing is his bliss and both he and Blakely are chasing the dream of writing full time.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Flashes of Me by Cynthia Sax

Henley, the head of cyber security at Blaine Technologies, is a man no one crosses. He watches employees constantly using his network of cameras and enforces his rules by any means possible. Rumors of his violent past, his scarred hands and huge size have resulted in him being feared by everyone… almost everyone.
Katalina, the new intern, worries about the revelation of her most painful secret much more than she fears her sexy boss’s wrath. She sees the loneliness in his dark eyes, feels the gentleness in his marred fingers, tastes the need in his kisses, and she knows he watches her. His silly rules about not stripping for the cameras and no sex at the office are destined to be broken.
Kat likes to be watched. Henley can’t look away. Will this beauty be able to tame her beastly boss?

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No one in this coffee shop knows who I am. I stand in the line, waiting to place my order. They don’t know about my past. They don’t know my last name. I tap my lavender heels against the floor, drumming an up-tempo tune into the tan-colored tile. They won’t remind me why I shouldn’t be happy.

I need to be happy. I need to laugh, to have fun, to focus on this fresh start. If I don’t, I’ll cry, and I promised my father I wouldn’t cry. I plaster a silly smile across my face and I tap my heels harder against the floor. These two actions lighten my mood, allowing me to cope with my emotions.

The bleary-eyed woman swaying in front of me yawns, adding vocals to my beat. For LA locals, it’s six in the morning. For a recently displaced New York native such as myself, it feels like nine o’clock. I’m eager to start my new job and my new life on the West Coast.

I’m two hours early. The internship orientation session at Blaine Technologies is scheduled for eight o’clock sharp, not one minute before and not one minute after. Although caffeine is the last thing I need, standing in line at this coffee shop gives me something to do and someone to watch.

I slide my gaze to the fascinating someone waiting at the front counter. The biggest man I’ve ever seen in my entire life looms over the cash register, his feet braced apart as though he’s preparing for battle. His ebony hair is cropped close to his head, hiding nothing, and he’s dressed completely in black like a villain from a 1970s spy movie.

I survey my behemoth’s broad shoulders. It’s all him under his jacket, not a hint of padding disturbing the cut. His suit is bespoke, custom made especially for his big body, and I suspect the designer was English. My mystery man is wearing Barker Blacks, his leather shoes as large as the rest of him. Even his matching dress shirt is well made, the collar and cuffs stiff and crisp.

He glances over his right shoulder, meets my gaze, and I inhale sharply. His eyes are as dark as his ensemble, his nose flattened and his chin square. Everything about him screams power, strength, vitality, and the woman in me responds, my nipples tightening, my breasts pressing against the blazer of my favorite lavender suit.

My behemoth returns his gaze to the frazzled barista and I exhale, my head spinning. It has been years since I’ve allowed myself to notice a man, to think about what I want, what I need. My fingers tremble as I smooth my flared skirt. I want this stranger desperately, more than I’ve ever wanted anyone in my life.

This is a problem, as I have no idea how to snag his attention. My last date took place when I was seventeen, and I suspect flashing my breasts at a pep rally won’t land me this sophisticated man. I chew on the inside of my cheek, having no other clever ideas.

I ponder my next steps, and my stranger moves away from the front counter, clasping a cup of coffee with his thick fingers. He ordered plain black coffee, no cream, no sugar, no whipped cream, and hell no to the chocolate sprinkles. My father likes his coffee the same way.

My mystery man stops at the lid and stir stick island and a stout man wearing mismatched jacket and pants rushes to the counter, barking his order at the disheveled barista. The rest of us shuffle forward in line. The tall skinny brunette behind me pleads into her sparkly pink phone, begging her boyfriend to give her one more chance. She’ll be the girl he needs, she promises. She’ll lose those last five pounds.

I don’t know where she’ll lose those five pounds. She’s already as thin as a yard of fine silk ribbon. I look down at my more ample bosom, my breasts wrapped snugly in the blazer.

No, please.” The brunette sobs. “Derek! Derek!” She glances at her phone’s small screen and her face crumples. My heart aches for her. She doesn’t know how to hide her sorrow, not like I do. I can help her with this.

I touch the girl’s bare arm, diverting her attention away from her phone. “Who did your pedicure?” I feign an interest in her perfect pink toes. Although her beige sandals are adorably strappy, my goal is to distract her from her grief. “I have to know,” I insist.

The brunette wipes away her tears with the back of her hand. “I—I—I—”

I glance around us fervently as though I’m afraid someone will overhear us. The behemoth is watching me, his dark eyes glinting with intelligence. Some people think big men are dumb. Some people also think blond women are stupid and no one should wear pink at a funeral. I learned long ago to ignore some people.

Look at what happened to me on the flight here.” I slip my right foot out of my lavender pumps and wiggle my big toe. A huge chip of coral polish has flaked off, revealing raw nail. “I rushed for a flight, banged into a baggage cart, and that was it. My pedicure was ruined.”

The brunette’s red-rimmed eyes widen. “That’s terrible.”

It’s a disaster.” I ignore the behemoth’s shaking shoulders. He doesn’t understand. My mystery man has the strength to deal with loss directly. He doesn’t need to pretend, to use trivial distractions as a means to cope. He would never travel across an entire country seeking to escape his sadness.

I’m in a strange city,” I explain. “I have so many cute sandals and I can’t wear them.” I shove my foot back into my shoe, hiding the offending toe.

As we exchange information and bad salon stories, the behemoth leaves. I watch his broad shoulders disappear into the LA sunshine and feel as though I’ve lost a piece of my soul, a part of my future.

Cynthia Sax lives in a world where demons aren’t all bad, angels aren’t all good, and magic happens every single day. Although her heroes may not always say, “I love you”, they will do anything for the women they love. They live passionately. They fight fiercely. They love the same women forever.

Cynthia has loved the same wonderful man forever. Her supportive hubby offers himself up to the joys and pains of research, while they travel the world together, meeting fascinating people and finding inspiration in exotic places such as Istanbul, Bali, and Chicago.

Author Website:
Twitter: @CynthiaSax

Cover Reveal: Uncovering you by Scarlett Edwards

Title - Uncovering You
Author: Scarlett Edwards
Genre - Dark Romance
Release Date - March 27th, 2014
Cover Reveal - February 18th, 2014
Series - first book in series.  Second will be out April 20th, 2014.

When I wake up in a dark, unfamiliar room, I have no idea what's waiting for me in the shadows. My imagination conjures up demons of the worst kind.

Reality is much worse:

A collar with no leash. A prison with no walls. And a life stripped of meaning.

I am presented with a vile contract and asked to sign. It outlines the terms of my servitude. The only information I have about my captor are the two small letters inked at the bottom:


Armed with only my memories, I must do everything I can to avoid becoming ensnared in his twisted mind games. But in the end, it all comes down to one choice:

Resist and die.

Or submit, and sign my life away

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Oh God. It’s him. There’s no mistaking that rich, masculine treble.
What’s he doing down here?
“M-Mr. Stonehart,” I stutter, turning. I curse my inability to hide my surprise. He totally caught me off-guard. I have to look up to meet his eyes. Then up some more.
The face that I find is so striking it should belong to a Greek god.
He’s younger than I expected. Late thirties, maybe early forties.
That means he started his company when he was younger than me!
Dark scruff lines his angular cheeks. His jet-black hair is styled in long, natural waves. My fingers itch to run through it.
Totally inappropriate.
He has a prominent nose that might be too big on a less imposing man, but on him, it’s perfect.
In short, he’s a package of the purest masculinity I’ve ever seen.
And then there are his eyes. Oh my God. His eyes. They pierce into me like honing missiles. They are the deepest black I have ever seen. They would be frightening if they weren’t so beautiful. When the light reflects a certain way, you catch a glimpse of the purple underneath.
They are like midnight sapphires. His eyes reveal a cunning intellect. Those eyes do not miss a thing.
Add all that to his towering height, his wide shoulders, his confident-yet-at-ease posture… and Stonehart cuts an intimidating figure.
My gaze darts to his left hand before I can stop it. No ring. He’s unmarried.
He looks down at me, expectantly. His eyes narrow ever so slightly, and I feel like I’m being dissected, measured up, and tucked away in some small corner of his brain. I imagine this is what a gemstone feels like under the magnifying class of the most critical appraiser.
Stonehart clears his throat. I come to with a start, realizing I haven’t said anything in ages. I open my mouth, but the capacity for speech seems like a foreign concept to my brain. “I—”
Somebody bumps into me from behind. I stagger forward. I’m not used to these shoes, so my heel steps the wrong way. My ankle twists under me, and I start to fall.
I don’t fall far. The hand still on my elbow tightens, and Stonehart pulls me into him.
I plaster myself onto the solid steel wall the man has for a body. I catch a scent of his cologne. It’s a deep, musky smell with a hint of charred spruce that is all male. It scrambles my thoughts even more.
“Sorry!” a rushed voice calls out. From the corner of my eye, I see the postman giving a hurried, apologetic wave.
Although the sequence lasts less than a second, it feels like an eternity. Pressed up against him like that, I don’t want to move. I know that I couldn’t have made a worse first impression.
Stonehart eases me off him with a firm yet gentle grip. Our eyes meet. I flush the most vibrant red. His fingers graze my forehead as he brushes a lock of hair out of my face.
Any tenderness I may have imagined vanishes when Stonehart takes out his cell. He long dials a key and growls an order. “Steven. See the delivery boy leaving right now? Have his building pass revoked.”
I gape. Stonehart keeps speaking. “Wait. I thought of one better. Bar his company from accessing the building.” There’s a pause. “For how long? Indefinitely. FedEx can talk to me when they have an improved employee selection program in place.”
The phone call gives me just enough time to compose myself. My heart’s still beating out of my chest. But nobody has to know that.
I speak without thinking. “You’re going to restrict the entire company from serving this building because of that?”
Stonehart humors me with an answer. “A company’s employees are its most important asset. Their behavior reflects the organization as a whole. If FedEx decided that clown is good enough for them, it tells me they’re sloppy. I do not do business with sloppy organizations.”
“What about the other tenants in the building?” I ask. “Won’t that piss them off?”
When I hear myself and realize how improper my question is, my cheeks flame red again.
Stonehart’s eyes darken, as if he cannot believe I asked that question. I open my mouth to apologize for my imprudence, hating the way my professional skills have evaporated into thin air. I’m cut off by a short, barked laugh.
“Miss Ryder.” He sounds amused. “I believe that is the most direct and honest question anybody has dared ask me in weeks.” He takes my elbow again and leads me to the elevators. I have to take two quick steps to match one of his long strides.
“Yes,” he continues. “They will be ‘pissed off.’ But the perk of owning a building—” he hits the elevator call button, “—is that you get to make executive decisions.” He gives me an unreadable glance as the doors open. “That is, at the risk of being questioned by inexperienced interns.”
If that isn’t a loaded remark, I don’t know what is. I flush scarlet red for the third time since I’ve met him. I’ve never had a man throw me so off balance.
The elevator is packed, for which I’m infinitely thankful. The trip up will give me some time to properlycompose myself.
Gratitude turns to panic when the crowd files out, meek as mice, when Stonehart steps in. None of the people waiting in the lobby follow us.
The doors close. I’m alone in here with him. My heart’s beating as fast as a hummingbird’s wings.
He catches me staring. “Impressed?” he asks.
“They know you,” I manage.
His dark eyes flash with amusement. “Astute.”

Chapter One

October 2013. Date unknown.
(Present day)

A faint hiss, like the sound of an angry cat, jars me from my sleep.
I open my eyes to pure blackness. I blink, trying to get my bearings. A vague memory forms in the back of my mind, too far away to reach.
Why can’t I see anything?
My breath hitches. Panic rips through my body as the horrifying answer comes to me:
I’m blind!
I scramble onto hands and knees and desperately claw at the dark, searching for something, anything, for my senses to latch onto.
A dim overhead light comes on.
Relief swells inside.
I plop back on my butt and close my eyes, taking deep breaths to dispel the rush of adrenaline released by my body. When my heart’s not beating quite so fast, I open my eyes again.
The light’s gotten brighter. I look up at the source. It’s far above me, like a dull, miniature sun. It spreads a little sphere around me, maybe ten feet in diameter. Past that, everything is swallowed by darkness.
An irksome memory keeps gnawing at me. But my head is too heavy to remember. I feel… strange. Kind of like I’m hung over, but without the telltale pounding between my ears.
Cautiously, I try to stand. My limbs are slow to react. They feel heavy, too, like they’ve been dipped in wet clay. I steady myself. Only when I’m satisfied that my knees won’t give out, do I strain my ears for that hissing sound again.
It’s coming from somewhere behind me. I turn back—and nearly smash my head on a gleaming white pillar.
What the hell?
The sound is forgotten as I reach out and brush tentative fingers against the pillar’s surface. It’s cool to the touch. Smooth, too. I put my other hand on it. If I had to guess, I’d say it was made of marble. But what is a lone, white marble pillar doing in the middle of this room?
The memory is like a gong going off inside my head. But trying to reach it is like grasping at a smooth, slippery stone at the bottom of an aquarium. Just when I think I have it, it slips through my fingers and falls even farther out of reach.
I walk a slow, measured circle around the pillar. If I tried wrapping my arms around it, I doubt if I could even span half the circumference. Something far in the back of my mind tells me I should be alarmed. I look behind me and frown. By what? A dark room?
No, you idiot. By the reason you’re here!
My eyes widen. The reason I’m here? I don’t… I don’t remember.
I wince and bring one hand to my temple. Why am I having so much trouble remembering?
I gasp as a second gruesome thought hits me. Did I lose my memory? Do I have… amnesia?
I sink down with my back to the pillar. Desperation starts to take over. I hold my head between my knees and close my eyes to focus.
My name is Lilly Ryder. I was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on May 17th, 1990.
My eyes pop open. Joyous tears form in the corners. I do remember! I take a deep breath and try to keep going.
I was raised by my mom. I do not know my dad…
Suddenly, all my childhood memories come streaming back. Moving around as a kid. Never staying in one place longer than six months. All the cities I’ve lived in. All the apartments my mom and I called home. Even the revolving door of her boyfriends. There was Dave, and Matthew. Tom, and Steve. There was…
I shake my head to stop myself. I don’t doubt my memory anymore. But that still does not explain why I have absolutely no recollection of this place, or how I got here.
I push myself back up. The spotlight above me has gotten progressively brighter. The little enclosure of light doesn’t feel quite so tight anymore. I trail my eyes up the length of the pillar. I can’t see where it ends because of the light. But I can tell it’s tall, at least twenty, maybe twenty-five feet…
There’s also something about its surface that calls out to me. My hands itch to run over the smooth stone. A giggle bubbles up as I picture myself stroking it. The column is quite phallic.
I waver at the unfamiliar thought and have to catch my balance against the beam.
Focus, Lilly! I chide myself.
I have no idea where that thought came from. I have never been overtly sexual.
Nothing feels right. The fog that’s heavy on my mind is starting to lift, but not yet enough for me to understand—or remember—where the hell I am. This place is unfamiliar. I know that much. But right now, I feel almost like a surgery patient whose anesthetic kinked out: fully awake mentally, but completely impaired physically.
I go back to my memories. I can remember high school. I remember college. That’s where I spent the last three years of my life, isn’t it? Yes. Yes, it is.
“Hello?” I call out. My voice echoes into the surrounding gloom. “Is anybody there?”
I wait for an answer. All I get is the hollow repetition of my own voice.
anybody there, there, there…
I spent the last three years in college… but that’s not where I think I am right now. No. I shake my head. I knowthat’s not where I am. My memories are fuzzier the closer I bring them to today. Time feels… skewed. Freshman year’s easy to remember. So is sophomore, and most of junior… but things get weird toward the end.
I… finished junior year, didn’t I? Yes. Yes, I did. And then…
And then I took an internship in distant California for the summer, I remember with another gasp.
Suddenly, my mind is crystal clear. That pressing memory hurtles into view. It’s from yesterday. The last thing I recall, I was alone in a booth at an upscale restaurant. The waiter brought me a glass of wine. I took a few sips, contemplating my future….
Oh, God! Fear wraps a stranglehold around my neck.
The restaurantThe wine.
I’ve been drugged!
I can’t breathe. A suppressing tightness constricts my throat. I feel dizzy, and terrified, and most of all… ashamed.
Holy shit, Lilly, way to look out for yourself! My semi-mad inner dialogue pans with a generous dollop of sarcasm.
I’ve always known about the dangers of sick men preying on unsuspecting girls. I just never thought I’d fall victim to it.
I’ve been on my own since I turned eighteen, after the final falling out with my mother. I’ve always been proud of how well I managed. Even the shabby holes I’ve lived in while saving up college tuition were an improvement over living with her and all her low-life boyfriends. At least there, I had autonomy.
I’ve dealt with landlords selling crack on the side and the junkies they attract. Always, I’ve been known as independent, and strong—maybe offputtingly so. But, those were the character traits I had to develop to have any chance of getting ahead.
And all that lead to what? To this? To letting my guard down for one night and ending up… here?
Wherever “here” is, I think to myself.
The shock of the revelation has subsided a bit. I push off from the pillar. I can figure this out. I take a deep breath and look at my hands and feet. I am not bound. I pick at my clothes. They are the same ones I wore last night.
Do you know what might be lurking in the darkness?
I shove the meddlesome voice down. I don’t need more worries. Not now.
Carefully, I place one foot in front of the other and edge to the outer reaches of the light. The strange hissing noise has gone away. I don’t know when that happened. Maybe it was in my head the entire time.
I strain my eyes, trying to pierce the surrounding darkness. It’s impossible. I reach out with one hand and find nothing but air. This far from the pillar, I can barely see my outstretched hand.
“Hello?” I try again. “Who’s there?”
There’s no answer.
What kind of madman would do something like this? I wonder. What is hidden in the shadows?
Without warning, my imagination starts to run wild. Torture devices? Bondage equipment? Something… worse?
Snap out of it! I tell myself firmly.
I refuse to give in to despair, even if my entire self-preservation mechanism is on high alert. Despair is what whoever brought me here wants me to feel.
I will not succumb to that.
I look down at the floor. It is made of some expensive stone. I kneel down and brush my hand over the large, square tiles. They feel solid. Sturdy. They don’t belong in a dingy basement or a dirty warehouse.
Somehow, that thought strengthens me. Things aren’t quite as bad as they could be.
I stand up and peer into the black. I glance back at the safety of my pillar. If I venture past the light, I can always find my way back.
Go slow, I warn myself. Who knows what might be waiting for me out there?
I’ve seen the horror movies. Just because I don’t get the dungeon vibes here does not mean I’m not in one.
Haltingly, my foot reaches past the edge.
A thousand bright lights flood the room. I gasp and shy back, shielding my eyes on instinct.
After a few seconds, I lower my arm, blinking through the sharp pain that shoots through my head. I can almost groan. Light sensitivity, too?
Then I see the room.
Holy shit.
It’s huge. Massive. It must be at least five thousand square feet of pristine, flat space. I’m smack dab in the middle of it all.
The lights come from embedded ceiling lamps high overhead. Three of the walls, far away from me, are decorated with black and white abstract paintings created in bold brush strokes. The fourth wall is shielded by a heavy red curtain. The entire floor is made of rich, creamy white tiles reminiscent of steamed milk.
The ceiling is so high above me I almost feel like I’m in a cathedral. It’s made of exquisite dark oak beams.
But this is no church.
I do a slow turn. Something about this is all wrong.
So wrong.
Why am I here? What is behind the curtain? Other than the massive pillar and the paintings, there is nothing in the room.
If I’m being kept prisoner, why am I unbound? Why waste so much space on me?
I cup my hands around my mouth and yell.
“HEY! Anybody? Where am I?”
As before, I’m greeted with silence.
I take one more careful look around. If I got in, there must be a way out.
My eyes dart to the curtain.
Behind there.
I start toward it, my bare feet making determined slaps against the cold floor. I’ve not even gone ten paces toward it when I feel a small tug on my ankle.
I stop and look down. I discover a thread, so thin it’s almost translucent, tied loosely around my foot. The other end is attached to the base of the pillar.
I bend down and finger it.
What on earth is this?
The thread looks like it should snap with the smallest amount of force. I wrap my hands around it and tug.
It doesn’t give.
I frown, and apply a little more effort.
This time, it breaks in a clean cut.
I shake my head as I straighten.
I half-expected something to happen when I did that. Alarms to blare, the lights to go off, something.
That’s when I notice a small white envelope leaning against the pillar. It’s right where the thread connects. In fact, it blends so well with the marble that I’m sure I would have missed it were it not for the string.
Exploration forgotten for now, I pick up the envelope. Maybe it will give some clue about what the fuck is going on.
It’s made of heavy paper. A wax stamp seals it, imprinted with a two-faced drama mask that I would find unnerving no matter where I saw it.
The only time I saw a wax-sealed envelope was when my ex got tapped by the Spade and Grave at Yale. I can understand the need for antiquity in New Haven. It makes no sense here.
My finger slips under the flap. I carefully ease it open. A foreboding sense of doom swirls around me as I pull the folded letter out.
I stare at it for a long minute. This is all so surreal. It feels like being caught in a bad dream. Once, I play myself right into my captor’s hands.
My natural inclination to resist, to fight back, tells me to tear the paper up without another glance. But that would be madness. The only clue I have to my whereabouts might be contained inside.
My thirst for information gets the better of me. I sit on the floor, cross my legs, and slowly unfold the paper.
It’s handwritten in swift, flowing blue ink. The rows of words make perfect strides across the page. Precision is the first word that comes to mind to describe the owner of the handwriting.
I set the sheet on the floor in front of me, lean forward and begin to read:

Two items require your immediate attention.
 1.   You may spuriously assume you are being held here against your will. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You are a guest. As a guest, you retain full ability to leave my home at any time. The door behind the drapes shall remain open for the duration of your stay. There are no physical barriers to speak of—though I would advise you to read to the end of this letter before making decisions based on a flawed understanding of your situation.
 2.   You may have already noted the new adornment around your neck. If so, well done! I applaud—

Adornment? I stop reading. What adornment?
I bring my hands to my neck. I feel the unfamiliar shape against my skin. Why hadn’t I noticed it before?
I scamper closer to the marble pillar to try to make out my reflection. I can’t see much, but I can make out the “adornment”. There’s a black collar around my throat. I touch it with one hand.
It’s smooth and flat. It’s made of some kind of matted plastic, like the edges of a computer screen. It’s not tight or uncomfortable.
It frightens me. If it warranted a place in the letter, there must be something to it. I need to get it off.
My fingers dart around the edges, seeking the clasp that opens it.
I don’t find one.
The collar is smooth inside and out. It feels like a single piece of plastic. I trail one finger around the rim on the inside, and, finding no discrepancies, do the same on the outside. Again, I feel nothing.
There’s no crack, no edge, nothing to indicate how it was put around my neck.
I jam all my fingers between my skin and the plastic and pull with all my might. The collar flexes ever-so-slightly but doesn’t give.
Dammit! I cry out and try again.
I pull with all the strength God gave me. It’s not enough. I try again, and again, and again.
I realize I’m panting at this point. The exertion has me almost hyperventilating.
I drop my hands. It’s just a stupid, harmless little piece of plastic. Why do I want it off so much?
Because the idea of having anything foreign touch your skin is repulsive.
The voice is right, as always. But what can I do? The collar is bound to be part of the mind game in which I’m an unwitting participant. Reacting the way I just did is probably exactly what my captor wants. He—and I am certain it’s a “he” now, from the wording of the letter—wants me to feel terrified.
I will not give him the pleasure. I return to the letter and continue to read:
…applaud your perspicacity! You should know, however, that it is not an ordinary collar. Contained inside is a small positioning chip and two electrodes. They become activated the moment you stray outside your designated safe zone.
The string around your foot offers a conservative estimation of the distance you may roam past the marble column. Stay close, and you will remain untroubled. I am told that the electric shock the collar provides, while not lethal, can be quite unpleasant.

Holy fuck!
My spine goes absolutely straight and I forget to breathe. Now the collar has meaning. It feels like a live serpent wrapped around my neck.
My eyes are wide as I look down to my foot. The piece of string is still there, but it’s not connected to the one linked to the pillar.
I’d ripped it like a moron.
How far do I dare go? I’ll have to retie the string—unless I find a way to get the collar off my neck, first.
Another thought occurs to me:
Maybe this is a bluff? Does the collar really have an electrode in it? It’s so thin. Where would it draw power from?
I stand up. Assuming the collar is rigged, and the pillar is the center point… but that’s just what he wants me to believe, isn’t it? The letter claims there’s a door behind the drapes. It could be my path to freedom. I would have to be an idiot to stay here without testing the boundary myself.
I can’t trust anything the letter says. But, I can’t give in to despair, either. My only choice is to contest everything that’s thrown at me. If this is supposed to be a battle of the wills, the guy chose the wrong girl to mess with.
I pick up the remainder of the string and hold it in my fist. I square my shoulders to the long, drawn curtain. I hold my head high. My free hand itches to tug at the collar, but I keep it still. If my captor is watching me—which I’m sure he is, because I’m positive there are cameras hidden all around me—I will not give him the satisfaction of seeing me hesitate.
I take a deep breath and start toward the curtained wall. My strides are strong and purposeful. I will not waver. I will not turn back. Fear of a little shock will not keep me from testing the true limits of this prison.
The string goes taut, and I stop.
So far, so good.
It’s the next few steps that will determine everything.
I glance at the floor to mark my position. So, he expects to keep me in an invisible cage, does he? A cage of my own imagination?
Yeah, tough luck.
I drop the string and take one solid step forward.
Nothing happens.
I risk one more.
Nothing happens.
The corner of my lip twitches up in a hint of a smile. I called his bluff. But, I’m not home free yet. The veiled wall is another thirty-odd paces away from me.
I take two more steps forward, and, when nothing happens, start to walk more briskly.
My stroll is cut short by a sharp little zap beneath my left ear.
I tense and wait for more.
Well, color me surprised.
It looks like the collar does have bite, after all. When a second jolt doesn’t come, I can’t stop my smile from becoming a satisfied smirk. I knew the collar couldn’t possible have enough juice to hurt me. Where would the battery go?
Extremely pleased with myself, I venture onward, toward the curtain and its promise of freedom.
The violent torrent of electricity blindsides me. One second I’m on my feet, the next I’m writhing on the floor.
The current pours into me. I thrash about like a grounded fish. Fierce convulsions rock my body. And all I know is pain, pain, pain.
I can feel the source of it, snug around my neck. I’m helpless to fight the onslaught. My head flails about on the ground, throwing hair into my face. A high-pitched squeal sounds in my ears and I desperately hope that pathetic sound is not me.
My eyes roll up and all goes black.


I’m Scarlett Edwards. I wrote my first book as a college sophomore. After six months of edits, it made its debut as Yours to Savor.
That was at the start of 2013. I’ve written more books since then. You can find them all here.
It’s funny how quickly life changes. I used to think I’d need a degree to get a “Real Job.” Then I wrote a few books, they got somewhat popular, and now I’m living the life as a full-time romance author.
Thanks to all my readers for making my dreams come true!
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Giveaway Details
1 Kindle Paperwhite
3 - $50 Visa GC’s
5 - $20 Amazon or Nook GC’s
20 - Signed paperbacks of Uncovering You
25 - Digital copies of all of Scarlett's books (Change of Heart, Change of Heart Part 2, Never Let Go, Yours to Savor, Uncovering You)
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