Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pretender to the Throne (Call of Duty #3) by Maisey Yates

"Description"
A duty to the past…

After fifteen years in self-imposed exile, the haunted rebel prince Xander Drakos must walk back through the palace gates and assume the role he once abandoned.

Only one woman can restore his good name—the woman he left behind. But when Xander finds Layna Xenakos, he’s horrified to see the effects of the turmoil he left behind written in the scars across her body.

But her scars have given her strength, and Layna refuses to bow to his royal command. Now Xander must use his practiced charm to convince her to become his bride, securing his legitimate place on the throne.

"Review"
It was a quick and fun read. I think it was a sad a tragic story. It shows how one single incident can change the entire course of one's life. How one person can determine one's fate. It is a scary thing. The story is dark and deary, very emotional. It made me cry.
Xander left his country and never planned to return. After all it was not his place to rule. But then love for his siblings and concern for their future made him to return. He was horrified to see the effects of his departure. especially the way his ex-fiance Layna's life was ruined because of his selfishness made him guilty. He decided to right the wrong and redeem himself.
Layna had accepted her new life. she knew that nothing could ever be the same. Then Xander appears like a ghost from her past and once again she was thrown under the limelight. People weren't so kind to the scarred princess. She decided to make it work for the country's sake.
This time Xander meant to stay with her and together they planned to work for their country.
I must admit that this book wasn't what I had expected. Harlequin's books are rarely that emotional. Still I liked reading it. But I won't recommend it to people looking for light reading. In case you want serious and emotional stuff then this one is for you.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Lucy Sexton is stunned when a dishevelled woman appears at the door one day…a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Lucy's own beautiful mother. It turns out the two women are identical twins, separated at birth, and raised in dramatically different circumstances. Lucy's mother quickly resolves to give her less fortunate sister the kind of life she has never known. And the transformation in Aunt Helen is indeed remarkable. But when Helen begins to imitate her sister in every way, even Lucy isn't sure at times which twin is which. Can Helen really be trusted, or does her sweet face mask a chilling agenda?



"Review"
It is unlike any book I have ever read. Its a Gothic mystery. Usually I am not a fan of Gothic stories but this one was an exception. The book is well written, with a fairly good plot which will keep you guessing until the end.
The story begins when Lucy opened the door to her aunt who looked so much like her mother that at first she didn't realise who the woman was. The two sisters are twins and clearly hadn't seen each other before. The story revolves around them. One has lived a life of luxury and the other has lived in poverty. But then her aunt arrives at their house and is readily accepted by them. The story intrigued me right from the beginning.
It has some twists and turns that make it interesting. It was worth a read. There is not much that can be said without giving spoilers, which I don't want to do because the book's beauty is in suspense. All I can say is that if you liked historical books then you will definitely like this one. as long as you don't have anything against Gothic novels.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Secret of Isobel Key by Jen McConnel

"Description"
Lou is in the middle of a quarter-life crisis. Fresh out of college, she’s unemployed and unsure of herself. But when she gets the chance to escape to Scotland with her best friend, it could be the answer to her quest for self-discovery. The trip is not at all what she expected, especially when her tour guide turns out to be the dreamy historian Brian, and together they embark on a hunt for information about Isobel Key, a woman accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century.

They set out to learn the truth of the condemned witch, but Lou isn’t prepared for the knowledge that awaits her. She must face her own demons if she has any hope of righting the wrongs of the past.

Flashing between seventeenth century Scotland and a contemporary romance, THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY is a mystery that will please readers of all ages.


"My Favourite Quotes From the Book"
"I mean, people were killed for things they believed, or didn't believe, things that other people were afraid of, and isn't it the same as now, people are killed for being different?"
---The Secret of Isobel Key, Jen McConnel

"Lass, you should be knowin' that we Scots don't hold with coincidence; more often than not, coincidence is the mark of greater forces at work in your life."
---The Secret of Isobel Key, Jen McConnel

"This book belongs to one Isoble Key."
---The Secret of Isobel Key, Jen McConnel

"... Look at Christians! Even my mother believe in miracles! And Muslims believe in angels. How is this any different? I may call it magic, and you may call it a prayer or miracles or angels, but we are all saying the same thing."
---The Secret of Isobel Key, Jen McConnel

"I know you don't believe what I believe, Tammy. But that shouldn't mean that what you believe is automatically right, and what I believe is wrong. There's a room for a lot of different idea in this world."
---The Secret of Isobel Key, Jen McConnel

"But secrets do not stay buried forever."
---The Secret of Isobel Key, Jen McConnel

"Review"
A delightful read. I really enjoyed reading this book. It is in truth a book which can be enjoyed by people of all ages. A refreshing read, in time, when more and more books had started to sound like just the same.
The story of Isobel goes side by side with Lou's story. It tells us about a woman wrongly accused of being a witch and burned. And how a quest to clear her name leads Lou to find herself & her family.
Isobel was betrayed by the man she fell in love with and after that she chooses to live in isolation. As more time passed people forget about her past and some even forget her true identity. To them she is just a weird woman who helps them whenever they need her. Children are scared of her and there are rumours of her being a witch. One thing leads to another and one day she is burned alive for the murders she did not commit.
Lou is a modern day girl who has graduated from college early but still can't decide what she wants to do with her life. When her adoptive parents give her permission to take vacation with her best friend her life changes for the better. In Scotland adventure of her life awaits.
This book has everything. Its a perfect mixture of romance, mystery and history. All the characters are well written and there are enough twists and turns to keep a reader entertained.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Flirtilicious February Blog Hop


My Not So Super Sweet Life (Unedited)
Cat sticks her head back through the door and calls out, “Love you!” then closes it firmly behind her. “Do I at least get a tiny hint about tonight?”
I take her jacket from her and hold it out, helping her slip her arms through the holes. Grasping her shoulders, I spin her around and let her see my bike waiting in the drive. “Clue number one.”
Cat squeals and does a bounce-like dance. “Are you serious?” She shoots me a quick questioning look, and when I nod, her face becomes a mask of confusion and eagerness. “Did you clear it with Dad first?”
“You think I’m stupid, woman?” I wrap my arms around her slender waist, imagining how it’ll feel having her arms wrapped around mine. And thighs straddling my hips. I glance at the photographers snapping away near the fence, and immediately begin thinking about puppies. “Of course I cleared it with him. As if I could get away with not clearing it between your bodyguards and Star Magazine staked outside your door.”
“Touché,” she says before doing another bounce step. “I’m gonna ride a motorcycle. That’s so badass!”
I chuckle and link our fingers, tugging her forward. “Come on, little badass. Let’s give the paparazzi something worth capturing.”
Her answering smile is so dazzling it nearly steals my breath. Knowing I put it there makes me feel like a freaking king. “Are you trying to get me in trouble, Mr. Cappelli?”
“Always, Miss Crawford,” I reply. “Always.” 
With a knowing nod at the bodyguards as we approach my bike, I remove my second helmet from the seat and help her put it on, smoothing back her hair and strapping it. I step back and look at her. Standing beside my bike in curve-hugging denim and leather, the black helmet in place, she does look like a badass. My badass. And she’s never looked hotter.
“Damn I wish I could kiss you right now.” Both the helmet andthe prying eyes of the paparazzi keep that from happening, but when I catch her licking her lips in response, I groan and shove on my own helmet. “The quicker we get where we’re going, the better.”
Her eyes light up from behind the visor as I flip it down. I hop on my bike and take her hand, tugging her close. “Swing your leg around and scoot up close.”
Cat does as I say, intuitively grabbing onto my hips, and pulling herself closer. She’s not close enough. She’ll never be close enough, but I take her hands and lace them around my stomach, then grasp her knees and tug them firmly beside mine. She slides an extra inch. The scent of leather and rose mingle in my nose as the heat of her body seeps past the denim. I could get used to this.
I look back to see her face. Her flirty grin says she’s enjoying this as much as I am. “During a turn, you’re gonna lean slightly. When we turn right, look over my right shoulder, and keep your body in line with mine. When we turn left, look left. Got it?”
She lowers her gaze to where my lips are behind the visor and shifts closer. “Look and lean. Got it.” Her voice is a mixture of excitement, fear, and desire. This was an excellent idea.
“One more thing?” I say, waiting for her eyes to flutter back to mine. “Hold on tight and enjoy the ride.”
Cat laughs, and pressed up against me like she is, I feel the vibrations throughout my body. I yank the clutch, press the starter, and feel her jerk behind me as the engine rumbles to life.
“Best Valentine’s Day ever!” she screams in my ear.
And it’s only just begun.    

Fine Art of Pretending

SATURDAY, AUGUST 21st

6 WEEKS until Homecoming 
BRANDON •
ALY’S HOUSE, 7:30 p.m.
I ring the doorbell and step back to gaze up at Aly’s window. She’s tied back her yellow curtains, and I can see her running around inside, probably trying to find a purse or matching shoes in her disaster of a room. I kick the red brick and ponder the night ahead.
As I see it, the night can end in one of two ways: our comfortable friendship will return after a night of fun and goofing around, or being with Aly on a date—even a pretend one—will make kissing her again all too tempting.
I close my eyes and beg the universe for the first outcome.
From the other side of the door I hear the click clack of shoes hitting the ceramic tile. I straighten in preparation to greet Aly, but when the door opens, I feel my smile freeze on my face.I take in her white lace halter-top and the short denim skirt showing off her tan legs and swallow.
I hadn’t been sure which outfit I wanted her to choose, and now...well,I’m still not sure which would’ve been better for our friendship, but I’mdamn sure enjoying the view.
“You look amazing.”
A blush creeps up her neck. She bites her lip and fidgets with the neckline of her top. “Um, thanks.”
I clear my throat and remember why I’m here. Playful and fun. I hold out my elbow and say, “Your chariot awaits,m’lady.”
She grins and hesitantly slips her hand into the crook of my arm. The feel of her soft skin instantly has me imagining other soft things: her hair, her cheeks, her lips. I screwmy eyes shut, replace the thought with baseball stats, and glance down. “I see you’ve banished the heels for the night.”
Aly nods vehemently. “They are the devil. From now on, it’s either ballet flats or sneakers on these bad boys.” She stops to wiggle ablack, flat-footed shoe.
Ibreathe a sigh of relief at her playful tone. This is good. We stop at the passenger door and as Ihelp her into the cab, my fingers graze her bare lower back. Her blue eyes meet mine and then dart away. I cough and close her door, muttering a string of curses as I round the bumper and slam the door on my side.
Aly smiles nervously. “So, where you taking me?”
By the grace of God, I choke down the response I’d like to give, back to my room, and force a nice, lighthearted, friendly smile asI back out of her long driveway. “All will be revealed in time.”
“The thrill of suspense, huh?” She leans back, obviously getting more comfortable with the situation. “I am intrigued, Mr. Taylor.”
“Good,”I say as I wave at the security guard in front of her neighborhood. “You should be.”

About the Author
Rachel Harris grew up in New Orleans, watching soap operas with her grandmother and staying up
late sneak reading her mom's favorite romance novels. Now a Cajun cowgirl living in Houston,
she still stays up too late reading her favorite romances, only now, she can do so openly. She firmly
believes life's problems can be solved with a hot, powdered-sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of
king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain
situations.
She homeschools her two beautiful girls and loves watching reality television with her amazing
husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult Fun, Flirty Escapes, and LOVES talking with
readers!

 

Connect with the Author!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts

"Description"
The Medea Complex tells the story of a misunderstood woman suffering from insanity in an era when mental illnesses' were all too often misdiagnosed and mistreated. A deep and riveting psychological thriller set within an historical context, packed full of twists and turns, The Medea Complex explores the nature of the human psyche: what possesses us, drives us, and how love, passion, and hope for the future can drive us to insanity.

"My Favourite Quotes/Lines From the Book"
"I can understand you questioning the love you have for your wife, but you are wrong to hate her, Mr. Stanbury. She is ill."
---Rachel Florence Roberts, The Medea Complex

"A man is rummaging amongst the flowers, shouting something incoherent about trying to find himself. He's not the only one."
---Rachel Florence Roberts, The Medea Complex

"Women. Most of them are bordering on the limits of insanity at the best of times."
---Rachel Florence Roberts, The Medea Complex

"I put down my pen. She has confirmed my suspicions. I now know exactly what caused her insanity. Books. Women and their books."
---Rachel Florence Roberts, The Medea Complex

"Ultimately, what do fancy homes and pricey possessions give to the person that owns them?"
---Rachel Florence Roberts, The Medea Complex

"Sometimes, simple human warmth can do wonders for a lost person."
---Rachel Florence Roberts, The Medea Complex

"Why did women decide to enter the workplace? A question that will no doubt confound me until the day I die. Curing the insane is easier than answering that question."
---Rachel Florence Roberts, The Medea Complex

"Of course, you are speechless. Sometimes I dazzle myself with my brilliance..."
---Rachel Florence Roberts, The Medea Complex

"Review"
Wow! this was some book ;) So I must confess that it was only my second psychological thriller and I was somewhat apprehensive about reading it. Because I have absolutely hated and loved the first one (It was Gone Girl by the way) and unfortunately or may be fortunately I have same mixed feelings for this one too"love and hate of my life." I can understand that!!
Its a story about a woman who in her own words, "protected my child the only way I knew how" and then was declared insane. The grieving husband got my sympathy right from the beginning but there was an air of mystery which surrounds them. Of course there was more to the story.  Tragic ending makes it all the more easier to empathise with the characters, which are all well developed and interesting in their own way. a doctor who is trying to do his best in curing his patients. Using all the knowledge available to him, a father who is trying to cope with the fact that his only daughter is insane and might never get better. a husband who on one hand loves his wife and on the other hates the murder of his son. A loyal maid who is willing to do anything for her mistress. A nurse who sometimes seems insane herself...

It is a perfect mix of insanity, conspiracy and love. This story will leave you mystified as to the way human mind works in certain circumstances. In short I think it was overall a good story, well written and a-must-read but only if you liked psychological thrillers, be warned they are never what you expect them to be...

P.S. I want to thank the author for the free copy in exchange of an honest review. My review is in no way biased.
P.S.S. The winners of the Medea Complex Giveaway are Myra W., Hadia S., Chandi W., Amna K. and Quimataz Q.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Desert Son by Glenn Maynard


Carter Spence is a 26 year-old accountant out of Boston who has an out-of-body experience following a car accident that kills his parents. He views the chaos from above the scene of the accident, then passes through the tunnel and reunites with relatives who have long been dead. A woman he does not recognize approaches him and says, “Welcome, son.” Her message to him is that he needs to be aware of his true identity and should follow signs that will lead him there. She mentions mountains, but Carter is jolted back into his physical body before she can finish.

After burying his parents, Carter heads west and meets a free-spirit named Brenda, whom he is drawn to on many levels. She becomes his travelling companion and leads him to Boulder, Colorado, and to an old white house of an old man named Martin. Diaries, hypnosis, and past-life regression reveal a bizarre connection between these three. Carter discovers that the truth to his identity can only be found by pursuing the answer to whether he is the reincarnation of his biological father in what is shaping up to be a love affair rekindled beyond the grave.
"Review"
This is a life or rather after-near-death life story of Carter. The story begins with an out of body experience he had following a tragic accident. Both his parents die in that accident and he miraculously survives. But everything changes for him. He can't stand to be in his house and now that he has a destiny to fulfil he must follow his heart. It seems right to him to leave and go west. So he does that. Then we see different experiences he has along the way. How he feels, what he thinks. His life might be never be the same once he finds out the truth about himself. It scares him and also encourages him to seek the truth about himself. Then he meets Brenda and a whole new chapter of his life begins.
The first few chapters are somewhat boring as the story develops slowly and there is much repetition about Carter's feelings and thoughts. Although some might enjoy minute details about his accident and the way he comes back to life. 
Once he is on his journey to seek the truth and fulfil his destiny, whatever that might be,  story becomes more and more interesting. There is a sense of mystery which will keep you on edge. Finally ending in a most epic way. In the beginning I never thought It'd end like that. But I am happy that I read it. It was refreshingly different from books I mostly read. It was entertaining and a fun read. Not quite a 5-star but definitely a 4-star book.
P.S. I want to thank the author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed reading this not-quite-ordinary book.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Excerpt and Giveaway

Released Today --Indulging in Irelyn (Indulging #1) by Dawna Raver






NFL quarterback, Zolt Hamil was America’s heartthrob until a career ending injury changed his life. Years later, he’s picked up the pieces and carved out a new path for himself. But the mental and physical scars of that day have left him moody and reclusive, and his only relief is indulging in pleasure and pain with his many one night stands. Though many of women have tried, Zolt refuses to care about any of them. Only one woman has his heart; a hallucination of a young, sable-eyed, blonde beauty whom he conjured that painful day on the football field.
On the first day at his new job at a law firm in Scottsdale, Arizona, Zolt comes face to face with his hallucination, Irelyn Wilkes. Their fateful connection, and explosive passion for each other pulls them together, and this time, Zolt refuses to let her slip from his life.
But Irelyn has her own demons to fight, and her controlling boyfriend is one of them. He doesn't take kindly to other people playing with his toys, and he’ll stop at nothing to keep her by his side. 
Can Irelyn and Zolt defy the odds and find a way to be together? Or, will the events set in motion years ago keep them apart forever?
New Adult. Recommended for eighteen and above due to adult content, language, and sexual situations.


Buy it HERE 





Chapter One: Shadow-Self
Zolt
I ran my hand along her naked arm as I moved toward the bindings that had her securely
fastened to my wrought iron, four-poster bed. She’d been tethered there for over thirty minutes, and
now that the sex was over, I imagined her arms and legs were probably beginning to ache as the
adrenaline left her body.
Miss No-Name Brunette rubbed her arms and legs after I released her. I didn’t need or want
to know her name. I’d never see her again so what was the point.
She watched me gather my clothes, and her eyes roaming appreciatively over my body.
“So, John, when can I see you again? You’re amazing.” She licked her plump lips as her eyes
traveled over my naked body, stopping when she noticed the nasty scars on my left shin. Small gray
eyes darted to mine, and I saw the pity setting in. Pity was a deal breaker for me.
“We can’t,” I said and threw her clothes on the bed.
“Why?” Her bottom lip jutted out in disappointment. “Didn’t you enjoy yourself? You
seemed to be having a great time.”
“It was fine, uh—”
“Nancy. My name is Nancy.”
I shrugged. “Right. Nancy. I don’t do repeat performances. Ever.”
“But—”
“Don’t take it personally. It’s just the way things are.”
Her eyes narrowed, and she scowled at me. Then, she climbed off the bed and pulled on her
clothes. “I don’t understand. Are you married or something?”
“Nope. Not married or anything else that concerns you. I’m just not interested. Tonight was
great. Really. I enjoyed the shit out of myself. Fucking you was exactly what I needed. Thanks.”
“How am I supposed to get home? I left my car at the club,” she whined.
“There’s a cab waiting to take you anywhere you want. I’ve already paid the fare.” I shrugged
again. This was the bothersome part of operating this way. They always wanted to see me again, and
my answer was always no.
“I should have known when you wouldn’t kiss me there was something wrong with you. I
bet your name isn’t even John. Do you even live here?” Whatever-her-name yanked on her shoes,
and then stood with her arms crossed over her chest.
“No, I don’t live here. And, darlin’, my name is whatever you want it to be.”
“Asshole.”
“Come on, now. We both had fun.” I flashed her my megawatt smile. “I’m pretty sure you
came at least three times. It’s all good, and now, it’s all over.”
I walked to her side and gently took her arm, guiding her to the door.
“But I let you restrain me!” She stamped her foot as I opened the front door.
“You did and wasn’t it fun? Maybe you can find a man that will be as adventurous. Now, off
you go, Sally. Bye, bye.”
“Nancy!” she shouted as I closed the door on her. I could still hear grumbling as she walked
away.
“Ugh.” Leaning against the door, I let out a long sigh. It would be a while before I could go
back to that club. Too bad it ended the same every time. But I understood why. Women saw me as a
catch. I knew I was attractive. It wasn’t conceit, either. It was a fact of life that all men of the Hamil
family were hot.
My first year in the NFL, I was on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the Sexiest Man in
Football. That cover, and the other endorsements I had, made me a nice amount of cash, so I was
totally good with being an object of desire. Since they didn’t really know me, they didn’t know that I
was nowhere as attractive on the inside.
I went back to the bedroom, washed and put the toys away, locking the drawer. Then, I
stripped the bed, piling the sheets on the floor for the maid service to take care of.
I left, not knowing when I'd come back. Could be the following day. Could be two weeks
from now. But tonight, I’d been out of fucking control—chomping at the bit to blow off some
steam. In fact, I still hummed with energy.
Fuck!
My shadow-self pressed in on me for days. When I got like this, only one thing helped:
acting out. So, I’d gone to the club in search of the first remotely available Nancy, Sally, or whoever,
that didn’t revolt me. Nancy had been an easy mark. I hadn’t been there ten minutes before I’d
bought her a drink, and we were out the door, heading to the apartment I kept specifically for this
purpose. I was always happy when I found a woman willing to dabble in a little bondage. I wasn’t
heavily into the BDSM scene, but knew how to wield pain for the ultimate pleasure.
If I stopped and thought about it, I’d be forced to acknowledged just how screwed up my
life had become. So I didn't. I didn't think about all the nameless women I had fucked in the last six
years, and how I hadn't been in a relationship since the injury. These exchanges served a purpose.
Beyond that? Well, there was nothing beyond that.
But that didn’t mean I had become so jaded I’d forgotten how to get a woman off. I enjoyed
women. Loved the soft curves of their body, and loved making them come. There was nothing
hotter than watching a woman writhe and squirm as I fucked her closer to orgasm. The sound of her
screaming what she thought was my name was music to my ears, but that was as far as it went.
The reality was, I was a mess, and I didn't want that advertised.
Actually, I was far worse than just a mess; I was fucking broken.
Sometimes, I wondered if I was even capable of having a normal relationship. Truth was, I
waited for someone that didn't exist. A woman my pain-wracked brain conjured that day on the
football field. To make matters worse, she wasn’t even of age. She was a young woman, maybe
fifteen or sixteen, with the most beautiful sable-brown eyes and blonde hair I’d ever seen. Her face
was sweet, kind, and compassion filled. I realized how creepy this sounds. I wasn't a sick fuck who
preyed on young girls, and I had no idea why my mind created her. But all I knew was, if I ever
discovered she was real, I’d do anything to have her.
I rubbed my aching leg, and then climbed into my Viper. God, I loved this car. She was all
power and beauty, and driving her made me happy. I revved the engine and closed my eyes, loving
the purr, and sometimes roar of her V10.
Once on route 101, I opened her up, pushing her past the century mark on the speedometer.
It was crazy to be weaving in and out of traffic on the main freeway. I was asking to be pulled over,
but again, I didn't care. In fact, I pressed her harder and watched as the needle climbed to 110. The
concentration it took to control this machine exhilarated me. Still wound up and looking to banish
my shadow-self the only way I knew how, I pushed her just a little more. Why fucking for over an
hour didn’t do the trick, I had no idea. But if I didn’t burn this energy off before I got home, sleep
would be out of reach. It wouldn’t do to start a new job at one of the country’s most prestigious law
firms red-eyed and tired. Once home, I intended to take a long, hot shower, and then smoke a few
bowls. Hopefully, I’d emerge tired enough to sleep. For a while, maybe I’d find peace until the
nightmare returned that plunged me into my own personal hell.
A hell that I was used to. A hell that only she brought me out of.
The morning announced itself in its usual fashion. I jolted awake screaming, and drenched in
sweat—the images as clear as the day they happened.
“Fuck!” I yelled to the empty room.
Pushing myself back against the headboard, I rubbed my leg, trying to make the pain go
away. The image of her lovely face and those amazing sable-brown eyes chased the nightmare away,
but my body still buzzed with the memories.
I looked over at the bong and lighter on my bedside table and sighed. Just once, I wished I
didn’t have to numb myself to start the day.
Before giving in, I ran my hand over my damp collar-length hair, removing the waves
sticking to my moist neck. I used to keep it short for this very reason, but I liked the way it looked
longer.
As I always did, I picked up the bong and lit the bowl with the lighter. The glow of the
burning weed, and the sound of the bong gurgling as I took a hit immediately calmed me. I inhaled
deep and held the smoke in my burning lungs.
My long exhale sent a plume of smoke into the dawn-lit room. It floated for a second before
dissipating, leaving behind the tangy smell of burning weed.
With my eyes closed, I slowed my heart rate and rapid breathing. The high kicked in, and I
already felt the calm take over. I hated being so weak, and hated that what happened almost six years
ago continued to affect and define my days. I used to be the epitome of discipline. Not anymore.
If I could let go of the self-blame, then maybe the dreams would abate. But night after night,
I replayed the game and its never changing end.
At twenty-two, I had been one of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL, playing for the
Arizona Cardinals. The year prior, we’d made it to the NFC Championships, losing by a field goal.
The next year, we were back in the same position, with the golden ticket to the Super Bowl
within our reach. The only thing standing in our way was the Philadelphia Eagles. I snarled as I
thought about that team. I always snarled at the thought of them.
Two minutes remained on the clock, and we were on the ten-yard line on third down. I
dropped into the pocket, searching the field for an open receiver. I danced this way and that as if my
movements might slow the clock. With no receiver available, I sucked in a breath and decided to go
for it. What I should have done was thrown it out of bounds and stopped the clock. That would
have been the smart move—the safe move. We had one more chance. I had to make it happen. The
year had to end in a run for the Super Bowl.
Running like a man on fire with the ball cradled against me as if I carried a newborn baby, I
headed for the end zone. But I wasn't a running back, that wasn't what I had been trained for.
Stupidly, I ran with my head down instead of up. As a result, I didn’t see the three-hundred pound
linebacker heading my way. I was the man with the ball, and I had left the protection of my
offensive line, which made me fair game.
The next thing I knew, I was laid out on the ground in extreme pain. When I looked down at
my left leg, I was surprised—and not—to see it angled in an unnatural position. I knew then that I
was well and truly fucked.
I tried to scream, but my voice failed me. Pain and the smell of the turf below me was all
there was.
The hit was dirty, straight up. Later, I found out a bounty of $5,000 had been issued for any
player that took out one of my knees. I hoped he got a bonus because he’d gone above and beyond
his mandate. Not only did I miss a season, my football career was over. Instead of taking out my
knee, his helmet, and the power behind it, hit my shin and shattered my tibia and fibula.
I remembered lying on the ground as the trainers and medical staff attended me. Chaos had
broken out around me. Players fought, and coaches and referees argued.
I needed to find peace from the commotion; needed to concentrate on something other than
the excruciating pain coming from my leg. I turned my head and found a pair of big, sable-brown
eyes, surrounded by golden-blonde hair, staring at me. She was beyond beautiful, and her eyes were
mesmerizing. I had conjured an angel.
In my hallucination, we shared an instant connection. When all around I saw pity and
remorse, in her eyes, I found solace and compassion—a kindred soul to my loss. The need to help,
and her inability not to, showed in the tears falling down her face, and the trembling of her full red
lips. My heart still clenched whenever I thought about it.
As conjurings go, I had created a whopper. When I thought back on it, I knew there was no
way she could be real. The average person wouldn’t have been allowed to get so close to an injured
player on the field. Hell, my girlfriend, who’d been sitting in the stands, wasn’t allowed on the field.
It still baffled the shit out of me that my mind had created such a vivid image.
I could still see her brushing tears from her eyes in my hallucination, and I remember her
taking a small step forward. I wanted her to come closer, to touch me. That was where the
hallucination ended, stopped by a new streak of pain that had traveled through my leg, sending me
into momentary blackness. When I opened my eyes, my blonde-haired beauty with soul-filled eyes
had disappeared. All I had left was the image of her that pulled me from my terror every morning. I
figured she’d probably be around twenty or twenty-one by now if she were real. I’d admit, that even
today, I looked for those eyes in every blonde I encountered.
Pathetic. Yeah. Too fucking pathetic.
I sighed and took two more hits off the bong. Maybe one too many, but at least now I felt
more balanced, controlled, and ready to start the day.
What the world saw now was a man who graduated from Harvard Law School, summa cum
laude, and worked for almost three years at a top law firm in Boston. Some of the country's top law
firms had courted me, and I had my pick of firms. But I decided to come back to Arizona, the place
where my life changed forever.
Gingerly, I climbed out of the bed and headed for the pool. I didn’t bother putting on swim
trunks; swimming naked was awesome. After a few stretches, I dove into the pool and swam laps for
an hour. Swimming kept me in shape, though not the shape of an NFL football player. Those days
were gone.
Finishing my laps, I headed for the shower, feeling excited, like something huge would
happen today. The last time I had this feeling, something huge happened all right. I looked at my leg
and scowled as sudsy water washed over my angry scars.
I dried off and walked into my closet, surveying the suits I had to choose from. I was
somewhat of a clotheshorse—always had been. Today, I picked a black Hugo Boss suit, white shirt,
and black, silk tie. In the mirror before me, I watched a professional, seemingly together man tie his
tie. It was a lie of course, but one I was used to.
Once dressed, I went to the kitchen and packed up a brownie in a plastic bag to take with
me. I'd gotten good at baking brownies. But these weren't just any chocolaty treats. These had a
kick. Cliché I know, but hey, whatever got me through the day. Whether I’d partake in it depended
on how the day went. Obviously, smoking at work wasn’t a good idea. But every now and then, the
pain became unbearable. If a handful of ibuprofen didn’t do the trick, the brownie would. I refused
to take pain meds. Those things did a number on my brain.
I put the brownies away, and all the paraphernalia of my coping mechanism, and locked
them in a cabinet in the pantry. I didn't need Hannah, my housekeeper, finding them. She probably
wouldn't care, but I did.
Thinking of Hannah made me laugh. I'd only met her twice, but we had developed an odd,
sometimes hilarious, texting relationship. I really liked her. Her cooking was amazing, and she kept
my home perfect.
Her work was about to increase, and I was thrilled. My brother was bringing my dog, Ben,
home to me. He had been with Brody in Colorado for the last two months while I got settled. I
couldn't wait to see both of them. Thinking about it made me giddy. I knew Ben would love it here.
There was plenty of room for him to run. Bernese Mountain dogs needed lots of exercise. I almost
didn’t get him because of that. Now, I couldn’t imagine my life without him. He got my ass outside
and stopped me from being such a hermit. If I thought about the fact that my best friend was a dog,
I would get bummed. But then again, fuck it! I loved my dog, and I had missed him terribly.
I doled out my handful of vitamins and four ibuprofen into my hand, and then popped them
into my mouth. From the fridge, I pulled out a bottle of OJ, taking large swigs from the bottle.
Let the day begin, I thought as I walked down the hall to the door. The sound of my designer
shoes on the travertine floors reminded me of the sound of cleats on concrete. It made me smile,
but the memory was bittersweet, and I pushed it aside. Behind bittersweet was pure malice, an
emotion I couldn't allow myself. Not today.
Grabbing the keys to my Viper, I headed out the door.
Watch out Arizona, Zolt Hamil was back.


Dawna Raver didn't always want to be a writer, but the voices in her head keep sending her stories, ranging from new adult, romantic fantasy and contemporary romance.
When she's not spending time in her fantasy world, Dawna loves football, reading, and pretending she's a top chef in the kitchen. Oh, and fawning over her dogs and husband, sometimes in that order.







 HOSTED BY

An Interview with Rachel Florence Roberts + Giveaway



Genre: Psychological Thriller / Historical Fiction
Author: Rachel Florence Roberts
Format: Paperback, eBook, 366 pages
ISBN: 149365117X
Publication Date: Edition 1, November 13st 2013. Edition 2, 23rd November 2013.
Notes of merit: 5/5 star, Readers Favourite. 

'I did it because I love my child. Wouldn't any mother care to do the same? I didn't feel guilty when the blood ran over my hands, yet neither did I feel vindicated. I just felt I had protected my child in the only way I knew how.' 

*** Based On A True Story ***


Anne wakes up in a strange bed, having been kidnapped from her home. Slowly, she realises she is in a lunatic asylum. 1885. Anne Stanbury - Committed to a lunatic asylum, having been deemed insane and therefore unfit to stand trial for the crime of which she is indicted. But is all as it seems?
Edgar Stanbury - the grieving husband and father who is torn between helping his confined wife recover her sanity, and seeking revenge on the woman who ruined his life.
Dr George Savage - the well respected psychiatrist, and chief medical officer of Bethlem Royal Hospital. Ultimately, he holds Anne's future wholly in his hands.
The Medea Complex tells the story of a misunderstood woman suffering from insanity in an era when mental illnesses' were all too often misdiagnosed and mistreated. A deep and riveting psychological thriller set within an historical context, packed full of twists and turns, The Medea Complex explores the nature of the human psyche: what possesses us, drives us, and how love, passion, and hope for the future can drive us to insanity.


An Interview With Rachel Florence Roberts

1.You were inspired by some of your own experiences to write "The Medea Complex". Do  you see some of yourself in the main character you created?
   I absolutely do. Both in her craziness, and also in her strength and utter devotion to her child.



2. Lunatic Asylums were filled with sane women back in the day. Do you think you'd be in one, and for what reason?
  
Yes! What a great question. I think I would be in one for being so stubborn - and very independent. Women were very much the 'angels of the house', and I most certainly am not. I would be put into an insane asylum as soon as I told my husband to make his own dinner!


3. Do you still believe that women are controlled today by being labelled by media as "Crazy" or "Unstable"? How can we fight this?
   
I do. Take for example the Miriram Carey incident - the woman who rammed the White House gates recently. She was quite clearly suffering from postnatal depressions uglier and bigger sister - postnatal psychosis. I think the true madness doesn't lie in what she did, but the way she was simply shot without any questions, and lets not forget - she had a BABY in the back of the car. This really upset me, as I could so easily see her as me, or anyone else who has had a child and suffered. It alters your brain chemistry, and that is a fact. The problem is nobody truly understands why, and as it is something that only affects women, it is another thing for men to use and call us 'crazy'. Its another version of, "Are you on your period?" Infuriating. I think the only way to fight this is awareness. keeping your eye on your friends, sister - anyone who has recently had a baby. help them, watch them. Don't dismiss her feelings as being 'sad', or 'neurotic', or blame the sleepless nights. Really, I think more than anything, the men of the world need to be made aware of this. My postnatal depression was dismissed as natural - but mine went beyond that. feeling as if you cannot cope, is not natural.


4. What are some of your favourite books that feature unfair Asylum imprisonment? 
    Oh! I loved The Woman In White, by Wilkie Collins. 


5. Are you writing another book? 
    Yes. I am writing the sequel to The Medea complex, which should be released late summer 2014.



6. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
   Newly 30 (!) born in Liverpool. I'm a nurse by profession, though now I'm a stay at home mum. I love shopping, travelling, spending time with family and friends, watching funny videos on youtube, good food, good wine, and a comfy bed. I'm scared of cows, hate ants, and think a tiger would be the best pet EVER.



7. What inspired you to write The Medea Complex?
   The inspiration behind the novel was my own encounter with postnatal depression following the birth of my (now two year old) son. Unfortunately, compounding this was the fact that I was living in a foreign country without any sort of support network (no family, no friends, etc),so I decided to do some research into the subject myself. I was astounded to find that PND is something that goes back through the ages, and somewhere along the way I fell into the Victorian Era. Subsequent research resonated with me personally: such as women being the property of their husbands, no rights to their children etc...and I thought to myself: "Just how far would a woman, any woman, go to protect their child?" Like that, The Medea Complex was born in its infancy. During the writing process, the story changed drastically and veered off the original course I had set inside my head: with each nugget of information I gleaned, every report from the 19th century I read, it somehow expanded and shaped the course of the novel. A lot can be gleaned by the title: but I warn you, don't judge a book by its cover, nor its title. Remember, The Medea Complex is a psychological thriller...and I like to play with my reader's minds!




8. Are you an avid reader? Who are some of your favourite authors and what are some of your favourite books?
   I read every single day, and I never go to bed without a book in my hand. I can't sleep without reading first! I think I've been reading my whole life. My absolute favourite books of all time (so far) have to be: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Post-Birthday World and We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (took me three times to get 'into' it but I'm so glad I did!), and The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory. I could add more! Recently, I have enjoyed Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and The Silent Wife by A S A Harrison...though i wouldn't consider them to be my 'favourites', they really are very good reads. More than anything, I love to read books that are original in some way. If I read ONE more novel about a stereotypical cop and serial killer, I'm going to scream.


9. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? What are your hobbies?
   I wish I could say I had a hobby, but I really don't! (Does reading count as one?) I would love to take up horse riding one day, I have that whole image of trotting along a sandy beach in my head....*sigh*. In the summer, I like swimming in the sea and doing a bit of snorkeling.



10. Rapid Fire!!
1) Black or white?
Black. White shows up sticky finger marks too easily!2)    Day or night?
Night. I love long, peaceful summer evenings.3)    Beach or mountain?
4) Mountain.
5) Tea or coffee?
Tea. I hate coffee.
6) Team Edward or Team Jacob?
Erm...what?
7) Sweet or sour?
Sweet.
8) Novels or novellas?
Novels, I always feel bereft when a novella finishes so quickly!
9) E-books or physical copies?
Physical copies. I love to hold a book...but that said, since I received a Kindle for a present, I've barely bought any paperbacks at all. It's just so much more convenient to download a book. I guess both have their perks.
10) Success or happiness?
Happiness. Though one normally leads to the other...don't you think? (Love a bit of controversy!)
11) Sunrise or sunset?
Sunset. When the sun rises I like to be buried underneath my duvet.
12) Favourite author?
Philippa Gregory.
13) Favourite book?
Catch-22.

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