Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cover reveal : Being alpha


Being Alpha
Aileen Erin
(Alpha Girl #7)
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: February 13th 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
For the first time since Tessa met Dastien, life is quiet. The evil witch, Luciana, is six glorious feet under, St. Ailbe’s is closed due to human trespassers, and people are finally getting used to the fact that supernaturals exist in the world. It seems like the perfect time for a honeymoon.
Tessa and Dastien’s trip to the Caribbean is turning out to be the honeymoon that fantasies are made of—sunset cruises, long walks on the beach, and every romantic cliché you can imagine. She couldn’t be happier. So, when a local man turns up inexplicably dead on the beach, Tessa brushes it off. Not every bad thing that happens in the world is a supernatural mystery to be solved. And when Sebastian—one of the Council of Seven Alphas who rule all the werewolves—appears on the island, she thinks it must be a coincidence. Everyone needs a break now and then. Even council members. Right? Besides, Tessa is beyond determined to not let anything get in the way of her romantic vacation.
But when Dastien goes missing, the honeymoon is most definitely over. Tessa can’t ignore the signs anymore. Something huge is going on. And whoever messed with Tessa’s mate is in for a rude awakening. Because if there’s one thing fighting rogue witches and werewolves has taught her, it’s how to be Alpha.


Author Bio:
Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd–from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book Blitz: Premonition


Premonition
Leigh Walker
(The Division #1)
Publication date: July 19th 2017
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction,Young Adult
When Riley heads off to boarding school for a summer work-study program, she knows it’ll be demanding. What she doesn’t expect? To be thrust into an intense physical training program described as special, exclusive and worst of all–top-secret. She signed up for tuition assistance, not to be held in a secret government facility for boot camp…
Welcome to The Division, the government agency that’s so classified, most United States senators have never heard of it.
The Division wants Riley bad, but she can’t figure out why. Skeptical of what she’s being told, Riley’s determined to uncover the truth. Boot camp is intense, physically and mentally draining. The upside? One of her new teammates is the cutest boy ever. Watching Finn hit the gym wearing a tank top doesn’t suck–although sometimes his brooding attitude does. But when training forces Riley to confront her tragic past, even Finn’s big biceps aren’t enough to make her want to stay…
Beware: The Division isn’t something you just walk away from. You better run.
Riley realizes her capabilities and strengths are greater than she’d ever imagined. But she also learns she wasn’t just chosen for this special program…
She was made for it.
INTERVIEW WITH LEIGH WALKER
Q: Wow, you’re interviewing yourself…how pompous!
Right? It’s to tell people more about the series, lol. Although I should admit that I normally talk to myself a lot, so this isn’t much of a departure.
Q: Tell us about “The Division” – it’s a bunch of teenagers with psychic powers, right? How did you get inspired?
Everyone on the team has psychic powers, yes. I was watching “Stranger Things” on Netflix and I WAS SO PSYCHED they were testing poor Eleven for psychic powers. But I was also like, YEEHAW! Because I LOVE psychic powers, and I can’t remember the last time I saw or read something that included them. I’ve always been obsessed by the concept, and there’s so many variations of powers, so many incarnations it can take… Anyway, after watching that show and having that reaction, I thought, other people must love this stuff, too, I can’t be the only one. So I wanted to give us all more!
Q: Tell us about the main character, Riley Payne.
Riley is a ‘normal’ girl dealing with a lot. Her father and sister died in a car accident and her mother started drinking heavily after it happened. She just wants to get out of her house and go to boarding school, but she gets more than she bargained for when she abruptly gets recruited into a secret agency…
Q: The ‘secret agency’ is The Division, correct?
Yes. It’s a secret cell of teenagers who were genetically engineered with psychic gifts. They work for the American government to combat domestic terrorism.
Riley thinks they’re nuts, of course. Until she unlocks her powers, then she’s blown away by what she can do.
Q: As the series goes on, you get into genetic engineering, fated love, eco-terrorism, loyalty, isolation, human nature, climate change…some pretty heavy themes. But would you describe the series as a difficult read?
I don’t think so, but certainly some parts were hard to write – like about Riley missing her dad and her sister. I still cry when I read those parts. And in the second book, an eco-terrorist is introduced, and some terrible things happen in the book. So yeah, there’s definitely a heaviness to some of what the characters are dealing with. But they’re teenagers, and their youth is sort of a tonic against everything they’re dealing with. They still care about their friends. They still want to hang out, tell stories, joke around. They are still very interested in falling in love. I think my writing style is naturally light and breezy, so it’s sort of a counterpoint to the storyline. If that makes sense, lol.
Q: What’s your favorite part of this series?
Riley and Finn’s relationship. They have so much on their plates, and they’re so young, but they genuinely care for each other in a way that makes me ache.
Q: What do you do when you’re not writing?
I have three large, unruly boys who like to play every sport and eat as much food as possible. When I’m not at my computer, I’m busy carting them around and grocery shopping. But I also love to relax with a great book or television show – I am currently completely obsessed with Riverdale, OMG!!!
Thanks for having me! Happy reading!!!

Author Bio:
Leigh Walker lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. She has a degree in Journalism and a law degree. She's never been to the Naval Shipyard prison in Kittery, ME, but she's driven by it...and boy, is it creepy!

Leigh has lots of books planned for The Division Series. Sign up for her mailing list at www.leighwalkerbooks.com to be notified of the next release in the series! You can also find her on The Division's FB page: https://www.facebook.com/divisionbookseries/

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Cover reveal: Liar's pact


Liar’s Pact
Jacqueline Garlick
Publication date: October 17th 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
What’s a Little Lie Among Friends?
A wild barn party. A disturbing sensation. A foolish prank. A near-fatal crash. Kyla Cooper wakes the next morning to find herself the center of an investigation, accused of triggering her estranged boyfriend’s attempted suicide.
Wrought with heartache and rocked by jealousy, she left the party early, haunted by formidable, telepathic-like visions of stolen kisses, speeding cars, twisting metal and breaking glass. Kyla now fears she may have ignored the warning signs of danger. Could the visions she was experiencing been a preview of what was to come?
Convinced what happened to her boyfriend is no accident, Kyla embarks on a dangerous journey to expose the truth. But the only one who knows what really happened, is her boyfriend Denver. And he’s trapped in a catatonic state unable to speak.
As Denver slips deeper and deeper into catatonia, Kyla rushes to embrace her newly-found powers in order to reach him, as all the while, a dangerous pact is forming, intent on making sure the truth is never unearthed. Navigating the landmine of the mean-girl cliques and runaway gossip that swirl the halls of her high school, Kyla’s fights against blame and time to free Denver from his catatonic prison, and expose the liars in their game.
Will Kyla’s power be enough to bring Denver back, or will the pact of liars get away with near-murder?


Author Bio:
Jacqueline likes gritty stories with beating hearts, dislikes wimpy heroines and whiny sidekicks, and loves a good tale about an irresistible underdog.
Don't you?
Lumière—a steampunk-fantasy, romance adventure—is the award-winning Book One in her young adult Illumination Paradox Series.
Jacqueline is a graduate of Ellen Hopkin’s Nevada Mentoring Program, and has also studied under James Scott Bell, Christopher Vogler and Don Maass, where she was the 2012 recipient of the Don Maass Break Out Novel Intensive Scholarship.
Jacqueline is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes pod casts, guest blogs, Skype interviews and speaking engagements, as well as comments and emails from her readers.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Book Blitz : Thunderstruck


Thunderstruck
Brenda Drake
Published by: Entangled Crave
Publication date: September 11th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Mythology, Romance
Stevie Moon is famous…at least to the subscribers on her comic review vlog. At school, she’s as plain as the gray painted walls in the cafeteria. So when Blake, the hot new guy at school, shows an interest in her, she knows trouble when she sees it. Been there. And never doing it again.
As the son of the god Thor, Blake Foster’s been given an important mission—to recover the Norse god Heimdall’s sacred and powerful horn before someone uses it to herald in the destruction of the entire universe. But while Blake is great in a fight, the battlefield that is a high school’s social scene is another matter.
Blake knows his only choice is to team up with the adorable Stevie, but she’s not willing to give him even the time of day. He’ll need to woo the girl and find the horn if he hopes to win this war. Who better to tackle Stevie’s defenses than the demi-god of thunder?
“Every page brims with captivating Norse mythology and deliciously creative worldbuilding.” Pintip Dunn, New York Times bestselling author.
EXCERPT:
After disposing of the troll, Blake rushed to May’s house and showered. His thoughts kept going to Stevie. After hearing what Jörd said to him, he wanted to see her. The pull to go to her was too strong. He had no choice but to give in to it.
He climbed the tree outside Stevie’s room and sat on the branch. A blue light blinked on and off inside the room. He lightly tapped on the window. Muffled voices from within the room hummed against the glassed pane.
The curtain pushed aside. Amira was close to Stevie’s back when the curtain slid to the side. Stevie said something to Amira that Blake couldn’t hear through the thick glass. Amira turned away and dropped onto the bed. Stevie flipped the locks and opened the window.
“You scared the shit out of us,” Stevie snapped.
Amira crossed her arms. “Yeah, we’re watching scary movies here.”
Blake tried not to laugh, but he couldn’t hold it in. “My apologies. Can I have a moment alone with you, Stevie?”
“With me?” She glanced back.
“No.” Amira heaved a sigh. “With the other Stevie in the room.”
“Where do you want to go?”
He reached his hand out to her. “Out here is fine.”
She narrowed her gaze on him. “I don’t think so.”
“Come on,” he said. “It’s perfectly safe. This branch is thick. Trust me.”
“Stop being a chicken and go already. I have to pee.” Amira shuffled off.
Stevie hesitated before grabbing his hand and letting him guide her out the window and onto the branch. “This is crazy, you know that?”
“If you never throw caution to the wind, you’ll never be rewarded.” He sat on the branch and held her hand as she came down beside him. Her hand was warm and soft in his, and he wanted to hold it forever.
The loose pajama bottoms she wore had cats on them. Her pink tank top rode up a little and exposed a bit of her midriff. Her light-brown hair, the color of the acorns he’d gathered with his grandmother when he was a boy, rose in the wind behind her. Wide, dark eyes met his, her full lips parted in a smile.
“What did you want?” She glanced at the ground. “Wow, this is pretty high.”
“Don’t worry. I won’t let you fall.” He slid his hand across her lower back and held her waist. She shivered. “Are you cold?”
“A little,” she said.
“Hold on.” He let her go, shrugged off his hoodie, and draped it around her shoulders.
“Thank you.”
She held it closed at the zipper. He returned his arm around her, grasping her waist. She shuddered, and he smiled at her response to his touch.
“You didn’t answer me,” she said. “What did you want to talk to me about?”
“Actually, I’m not here to talk,” he said. “Have you ever had an urge to do something, and once it’s in your head, you can’t sleep or think until you do the thing?”
“I guess.” When she looked over at him, they locked eyes and an intensity passed between them like the energy he felt in the handle of his hammer after catching lightning with it. He noticed a faint scar just above her cupid’s bow.
“How did you get the scar?” he asked.
“Scar?” She glanced down at her chest.
“Not there,” he whispered, lifting her chin to look into her eyes. “On your lip.”
She touched it. “Oh this? It’s an embarrassing story. Let’s just say, I learned to watch where I’m walking, especially when poles are around.”
He chuckled. “I can imagine what happened.”
She lowered her head again, her feet kicking back and forth.
He decided to take his chance and cupped her face in his hands, bringing her face to his and kissing her. It was a gentle, wanting kiss. Her lips were soft and warm against his. She tasted like May’s brownies. When Stevie hadn’t responded to his kiss, he was about to release her, but then her lips began moving with his. He cradled her in his arms and they balanced together on the branch.


Author Bio:
Brenda Drake is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. She grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Book Blitz: The Dark Marmaid


The Dark Mermaid
Christina L. Barr
Publication date: September 5th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
“True love is not a myth. It’s mystic. It’s a force in the universe that draws two people together, resulting in incredible power, for either good or complete chaos.”
On the day Luna proves that she is powerful enough to be her father’s heir, she is banished for saving the life of an enchanting human boy. Her father, the king, gives her two options: kill Ian and regain her honor by the time she comes of age, or be destroyed.
Luna finds shelter in forbidden waters and comes under the protection of her father’s greatest enemy, the Sea Witch. As her ward, Luna becomes a fearsome warrior, but struggles with the fear of turning her powerful magic dark.
With only days remaining before her seventeenth birthday, Luna finds Ian sailing the seas in search of answers. Luna is determined to escape her father’s wrath, and the Sea Witch’s plot of revenge, but dark forces won’t allow her to live a human life without making an impossible sacrifice.
Want to receive a free song inspired by the book that Christina sang herself?
Fill out this form here before Sept 9th!
EXCERPT:
True Love
When I returned to the lair, the Sea Witch was much too distracted gutting her catch of shark to care much about my adventures. She had no idea that I had found Ian and kissed him. I wanted to keep it that way. For all she knew, I spent my day with Napa, and I most certainly didn’t fight my sister to the almost death. I made sure to heal my wounds before she saw me.
I hid the pendent, dagger, and lock of hair in a satchel and hoped the Sea Witch wouldn’t be able to sense the magic. I also had to hope that she wouldn’t sense any special magic in me. It was odd that I wasn’t fatigued from my battle. Instead, I felt energized. My magic was leaking out of my body. I tried to keep my movements limited and to remain completely calm.
Unfortunately, somewhere between the chewing of our dinner, the Sea Witch cocked her brow at me in suspicion. “Did Napa bring you a new gift?”
“Why do you ask?”
“I sense new magic.”
I panicked on the inside, but I would not allow that panic to the surface of my thoughts. Of course, she would have been able to sense the pendent. I reached into my satchel and handed it to her without any fuss, and I hoped she didn’t ask any questions about the other item of interest. “Napa didn’t know any better.”
“Interesting.” It only took a moment for the Sea Witch to analyze what it could do. I don’t know why I was so surprised when she disappeared. “This would be more useful on the surface world.” She tossed it back to me and became visible once more. “Quite interesting.”
“Very.” I grinned hard and continued feasting, but I had the sense that she knew I was hiding many details from her. It’s not that I didn’t trust her. I just wanted to make sure she would take the news well, so I didn’t have to worry about her killing everyone outside of our immediate sphere.
It wasn’t easy. I wanted to tell her about Ian’s infatuation with me. It was flattering after my father threw me away. I wanted to tell my mother how his smile enchanted me, and now, I was under his spell. I tried to get him out of my head, so the Sea Witch wouldn’t find out, but while I brushed my hair and stared into the broken mirror Napa gave me, I began to imagine that I was staring at myself from his point of view, and I knew I was truly as beautiful as he made me feel. The thought of never seeing him again was crushing my heart and suffocating my insides. There had to be a way to see him again beyond tricks, smokes, and mirrors.
“Luna, what’s wrong?”
I saw Ian’s face too clearly in my mind. She must have known that I was thinking about him, but that wasn’t so strange. I could still hide the truth for a little while. “Why would something be wrong?”
She floated in front of me with a furrowed and curious brow. “Because you never sing.”
I hadn’t even noticed. I was singing the same song I sang to Ian when I first said goodbye. If he had his hooks in me that deeply, was there truly any escaping him? “You’ll think I’m being a fool.”
The Sea Witch surprised me and held me by my shoulders from behind. “Out of the two of us, I’m the one that made a blood oath with your father. You could be foolish for a thousand lifetimes and not end up as foolish as I once was.”
Perhaps I was being unfair to her. If she were trying to be a real mother, she deserved a chance. As my elder, she might have sound advice to put my mind at ease. “Napa told me that humans believe in true love. I know it sounds childish, but I think I’m experiencing it. I’ve found true love.”
I was so embarrassed that I kept my eyes focused on the teeth of the comb in my hands. I was responsible for ruining Ian’s childhood, and I delayed his life afterward. I didn’t deserve to feel such a consuming joy, especially if Ian were the root cause.
“I’ve heard of true love.” The Sea Witch nicked my chin up with her finger to force her eyes into mine. “The humans teach it like a fairytale, but true love is not a myth; it’s mystic. It’s a force in the universe that draws two people together, resulting in incredible power, for either good or chaos.”
“Chaos?” I laughed. Frankly, it was difficult to believe that there was an actual explanation to how I felt. Napa referred to love as “irrational logic”. I wasn’t sure if having a legitimate reason was worse or better. “How can what I feel ever lead to destruction?”
“I’m not saying that it will, but true love is a dangerous magic.” The Sea Witch got uncomfortably close to my face. I tried to back away, but she swam around to observe me fully. Nothing about me had changed physically, but I’m sure she wasn’t seeing with her natural eye. “I can sense it on you. Your magic is stronger.”
I thought of how quickly I defeated my sister, but then, I quickly pushed that out of my mind. “How is that possible? Is it just because I have feelings for Ian?”
“No. That would be ridiculous, but it is possible that you’re drawn to each other for a reason.” She, once again, became agonizingly uncomfortable. I didn’t back away or cower from her glaring and curious eyes. I tried to be firm while I blanketed my mind with thoughts of training battles, meditation, and the past few lonely years of my life. I would not think of Ian, and I certainly wouldn’t think of the kisses we shared!
Except, I completely did.
I don’t know if my sudden memory of Ian’s kiss was vivid enough to burrow into her brain, but she certainly seemed more suspicious after I indulged in it. “You must have seen him again!” I covered my face. I would have hidden in my clam, but she was already inside of it with me. She grew impatient and pulled my hands away from my flustered face. “I did. Napa found Ian, and I went to see him. He gave me the dagger I had been searching for, and we spoke.”
“That’s not the only thing you did.”
I straightened out my body and tried to look a little taller and mature than I had been acting a moment ago. “We did share a kiss, yes.”
Instead of lecturing me, she twirled around the cavern, shrieking in delight. I hadn’t seen her genuinely happy or excited over anything, so I was a little terrified. “Did he have magic?”
“He didn’t seem to have knowledge of having magic.” “Perhaps he’s an amplifier,” she suggested with much intrigue. “What do you mean?”
“They are extremely rare, but an amplifier can increase your magic, even without being able to use it.” She swam to me and clasped onto both my hands and smiled. “If you were to mate, you could create new magic for your offspring and leave your own power intact. If that’s true, you should definitely mate him.”
“Uh…” My mouth opened in shock. The desire to feel and be more of an adult was ripped away from me. “I’m not ready for this conversation.”
“Why? Do you love him?” “It’s preposterous that I love him!” “But you do!” She chuckled. “I see it in your eyes. I feel it through your magic. He’s made you more powerful. If Fate is pulling you to love this man, don’t push back. There’s no sense in fighting what will be.”
Was it truly possible that Ian made me feel stronger? Was he the reason why I could use my magic to fight my sister so effortlessly? Even if it were true, what did it matter? I only wanted to control my magic so it wouldn’t accidentally go dark. I had no desire to be the greatest sorcerous in the world.
It was silly to think that I could take human form and live with Ian. I hardly knew him. But, for some reason, the thought of leaving to discover the world with him began to fill my chest and gut with a ticklish light that turned into a glorious rumbling. I clutched onto my chest as I felt it vibrating. My entire body was radiating heat. I tried to convince myself that I was merely embarrassed, but my hands were tingling.
“The thought of escaping with that human is causing your magic to burst from you,” the Sea Witch said. “You can’t deny what you want or may very well need.”


Author Bio:
As the daughter of sci-fi enthusiasts and a pastor, Christina L. Barr has been taught to believe that anything is possible. She's been a serious composer as far back as twelve-years-old, and has had the opportunity to sing her songs around the world.
In 2007, she graduated from Holly High School number nine in her class and attended College for Creative Studies. She started a pop culture website called The Gorgeous Geeks with her two older sisters, and was even featured on Times Magazine.
Her addiction to writing emerged when she was eighteen and started her first novel. To date, she has nine novels published, fourteen completed, and her goal is to finish thirty books by her thirtieth birthday.
She is currently a Creative Director and spends her days making graphics and videos.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Blog Tour: Thundermoon








Book Title: Thunder Moon
Author Name: Tonya Coffey
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy/Romance

Blurb:
Micha, King of Ancients, hoped the fighting between the realms would ease since the treat had been eliminated, yet the forest is filled with enemies who are not what they seem. They can be a plant, animal or even disguised as a friend.
While Micha battles Shifters, old enemies and himself, Jessa struggles to regain her life. A friend, in the spirit world, guides her through the adjustments of the truth, allowing her to uncover the Wars true beginning and of a man who will stop at nothing to obtain the True Power.
Micha must tread lightly as the Shadows reorganize the kingdom, demanding a union between Micha and Roselle. His only hope for happiness is for the curse Jessa cast upon herself to be broken by a Sorcerer, a man he did not trust. Will the King get his true Queen or will evil win?










Author Bio:

Tonya grew up in a small town in Kentucky where she lives with her husband and two teen boys. Together, they motivate her to be the best at whatever she faces. If she isn't writing or reading a fantasy novel with lots of action, you will find her sitting in front of a canvas, painting the landscape which is so abundant around her home.

Visit her at:




















Sunday, September 3, 2017

Book Blitz: Rewired


ReWired
S.R. Johannes
Publication date: August 27th 2017
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
YA cyber thriller, ReWIRED, by Shelli Johannes-Wells (writing as S.R. Johannes), which offers a fresh and exciting new take on the genre, and could be described as Ally Carter’s HEIST SOCIETY meets THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO for teens.
Sixteen-year-old Ada Lovelace is never more alive and sure of herself than when she’s hacking into a “secure” network as her alter ego, the Dark Angel. In the real world, Ada is broken, reeling from her best friend Simone’s recent suicide. But online, the reclusive daughter of Senator Lovelace (champion of the new Online Privacy Bill) is a daring white hat hacker and the only female member of the Orwellians, an elite group responsible for a string of high-profile hacks against major corporations, with a mission to protect the little guy. Ada is swiftly proving she’s a force to be reckoned with, when a fellow Orwellian betrays her to the FBI. To protect her father’s career, Ada is sent to ReBoot, a technology rehab facility for teens…the same rehab Simone attended right before killing herself.
It’s bad enough that the ReBoot facility is creepy in an Overlook-Hotel-meets-Winchester-Mansion way, but when Ada realizes Simone’s suicide is just one in an increasingly suspicious string of “accidental” deaths and “suicides” occurring just after kids leave ReBoot, Ada knows she can’t leave without figuring out what really happened to her best friend. The massive cyber conspiracy she uncovers will threaten everything she cares about–her dad’s career, her new relationship with a wry, handsome, reformed hacker who gets under her skin, and most of all–the version of herself Ada likes best–the Dark Angel.
With a deliciously twisty plot, the topical bite of Cory Doctorow’s LITTLE BROTHER, ReWIRED delves into technology addiction, internet privacy, and corporate/government collection of data, as it vividly illuminates the universally human questions about ethics, privacy, and self-definition that both underpin these socio-political issues and dovetail with classic coming-of-age themes. Ultimately, ReWIRED is about the daily choices we all make about who we want to be, how much of ourselves we choose to share with others, and the terrifying risks and exhilarating rewards of being ourselves, online and off.
EXCERPT:
Simone never did anything without a reason.
There’s only way to find out what that was. I need to get on a computer. And I know just where to find one. In Ms. Matthews office.
When Ms. Matthews pops in for room check, I pretend to be deathly ill. Getting this lady to believe me isn’t as hard. My fake gagging sounds cleared the room really fast.
After everyone heads to their first activity, I sneak down to the lunchroom and snag the lunch lady’s security card from her register. After some time observing, I know the center uses a standard swipe system, so hopefully this card will gain me access.
I inch down the back hall and stop a few doors down from Ms. Matthews’ office. As soon as the security camera swings away, I run to the door and swipe the card. When the panel beeps, I push open the door and close it behind me. I lean back and breath. So far, so good. I roll the interior blinds shut so no one can see in and eye the bookshelves.
That modem light told me there was a computer in here somewhere.
I just have to find out where Ms. Matthews hides it.
Trolling around the cramped space, I’m careful not to shift anything out of place. Some paranoid people set traps. A moved garbage can, a misplaced pen, or a wrinkled cushion can all shows signs of an intruder. I’d bet all my typing fingers that Ms. Matthews keeps this office extra dusty, hoping to snag a fingerprint or two.
I nose around her desk, looking for a clue, and tug on the top drawer. It’s locked but easily crackable. Using a letter opener, I jimmy the latch until it opens, careful not to leave a scratch. I sift through a few ancient photos of Ms. Matthews and a boy who I assume is her son Patrick, an old pack of hairy gum, and a letter from the bank about some missed payments. I also come across a book of deposit slips. The carbon copies recorded huge amounts. Wow, this place brings in some serious dough. Seattle has way too many computer addicts. I jot down the bank routing number and the account number in my notebook before replacing the slips.
Sitting in her chair, I twirl, taking in the view from every angle. When I spot the paneled wall, I stand and knock. Sounds hollow. The perfect place to hide a computer.
Or a body.
There’s no door handle, but there is a keypad. The kind that usually has an open button for convenience or in case of forgotten codes. I go back to the desk and slide my hand around the drawer past broken pencils, dust bunnies, and lonely paper clips. In the very back, my finger grazes a small lever. The paneled wall slides back, revealing a hidden room.
Open Sesame!
I pull on the light cord and step into the damp space reeking of mothballs and mold. I squint in the dim light. Filing cabinets and stacks of cardboard boxes labeled with black marker crowd the tiny room. Jim. Sandi. Michelle. No names I recognize.
Unfortunately, there appears to be no order to this lady’s stacking madness. I rummage through some old files until one folder catches my eye: CONSTRUCTION PLANS. There, I discover archives of the mansion’s floor plans, including past building additions and blueprints. The schematics show me the enormity of this old place.
I shove a few in my back pocket. I case they come in handy later.
Something hums a familiar song, grabbing my attention. I spin around and spot an old school desk in the corner. Sitting on top is the prettiest sight I’ve seen since checking out of reality and into CrazyLand.
A computer.
And not just any machine. A state-of-the-art HP PC injected with a speedy processor. Matthews may pretend to live in the 1800s, but she’s more tech-savvy than she lets on. Not to mention, a total hypocrite.
“Hello, beautiful,” I whisper. The stress of the last few days dissipates.
The Dark Angel is back.


Author Bio:
S.R. Johannes is the award-winning author of the Amazon bestselling Nature of Grace thriller series (Untraceable, Uncontrollable, and Unstoppable). She is a winner of the IndieReader Discovery Award in YA, an IPPY a Silver Medalist for YA Fiction, a Finalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Young Adult Fiction, and a Finalist in US Book News Best YA Book.
Since leaving Corporate America, she has followed her passion for writing and conservation by working with The Dolphin Project, the Atlanta Zoo, other animal rescue organizations, and by weaving conservation themes into her books.
Currently, she lives in Atlanta, GA with hEnglish-accented husband and the huge imaginations of their prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world.

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