18 February 2013

Life in Suitcases by Melissa Kendall

After a tragedy changes the course of Elise Morgan’s life leaving her without a family and in foster care, she meets Anthony Scott. It doesn’t take long for them to become fast friends and they do everything together. When Elise manages to get a scholarship to college and Anthony doesn’t. They find themselves separated. As the years pass, they lose touch. Feeling restless with her life, Elise sets about trying to find what is missing in her life. After breaking up with her boyfriend she takes a trip home hoping to find a sense of peace. One hug reveals that what Elise thought she was missing wasn’t a place or a thing it was a person. Can she find true love with the one man she thought she might never see again?

At thirteen, I was too old for most people to consider adopting. No matter how hard Mary looked, she couldn’t find me a foster home. I went from having everything to having nothing. My parents weren’t well off. They were just your average middle-income family with a mortgage. Once the house was sold and all the debts were paid, I wasn’t left with much. There was just enough money to buy a second-hand car when I was old enough and two suitcases full of personal possessions, including a few photo albums. That was all my thirteen years of life added up to: two suitcases.
My first few weeks at Abbott’s were probably the worst of my life. I spent my days  just going through the motions at school. At night, I would cry in bed until sleep finally claimed me. After about three weeks of feeling as if I was drowning in a never-ending pit of despair, I met Anthony. I felt the bed dip behind me one night as I was lying on my side and sobbing particularly hard. I was so upset I didn’t immediately register that it meant someone was lying with me. Then I felt an arm wrap around me and heard a soothing voice in my ear telling me everything was going to be okay.
When I woke up the following morning, I rolled over to see just who had climbed into bed with me. A skinny boy with short brown hair grinned at me.
“Anthony Scott.” He held his hand out.
“Elise Morgan,” I replied. “Thanks for last night.”
“Ain’t nothing.”
We talked for a little while longer, getting to know one another. Anthony was the same age as me, but had been at Abbott’s since he was six. His parents were drug addicts, which caused his removal from their care. After telling him how sorry I was that had happened, I explained my story. It was still so hard to talk about, but I got through it and only cried a little bit.
After that day, Anthony and I were inseparable. We were the best of friends. We did everything together. When I tried ballet, he did too, no matter how much teasing he got from the other boys. When he took up guitar, so did I, even though I sucked at it. Barely a day went by that we didn’t see or speak to each other at least a hundred times. I doubt I would have survived my teenage years if it weren’t for my best friend.
Though the days were fairly easy to survive, the nights were always tough. Curled up in bed alone, the reality would hit the hardest. Memories of families lost and dreams of what could have been plagued each of our thoughts. We spent many a night in each other’s beds providing comfort. Those were always the nights I slept best.
For five years, it was Anthony and me against the world.
All that changed senior year. Anthony and I had both been working toward Cornell. We were in all the same AP classes and had the same GPA. We both applied for scholarships, knowing that was the only way we’d ever get to go to college. When I got a scholarship and he didn’t, reality came crashing down around us. I told him I wasn’t going without him, that it had been our dream. Anthony, always the strong one, told me I needed to go follow my dreams, that I deserved to go to Cornell, and he wasn’t going to let me waste my one chance to get the hell out of San Francisco.
After graduation, we agreed to have one last hoorah over the summer before heading off on our separate paths. We had the best time. We found a little apartment in the city. It was really only big enough for one person, but since it would just be Anthony’s apartment come fall, I didn’t mind it being a bit cramped.
We did everything we ever wanted to do together that summer. We visited museums and art galleries, rode the cable cars, and spent hours upon hours running around Fisherman’s Wharf. We even went to the beach and the zoo.
All the while, our separation loomed. It was constantly present in our thoughts, as if we knew it was going to be our last summer together. We were heading in two different directions come September and might never see one another again.
On a sunny day in the middle of August, I packed my two suitcases and a duffle bag into the back of the beat-up truck I purchased with the money left from Mom and Dad’s estate.
There, in front of Anthony’s apartment building, I said good-bye to my best friend and the closest thing I had to family. Hugging him tightly, I resisted as best I could the tears threatening to fall.
We said I love you and promised to stay in touch and visit when we could. With a kiss on the cheek and yet another hug, he told me to go spread my wings and become the beautiful butterfly he had always known me to be.
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About The Author:
Melissa is a 37 year-old stay at home mum and part-time Software Support Consultant. She lives in Perth Western Australia the most isolated capital city in the world. 
She’s always loved to read and write and spent most of her teens scribbling poetry and short stories on any scrap of paper she could get her hands on. Over the years as daily life pressures got in the way she lost the passion for it. After her son was born, she discovered online books and her interest in writing was rekindled. It has been a large part of her life ever since.
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Melissa is Giving away a digital copy of Life in Siutcases. To enter to win just fill out the Raffllecopter below.

13 February 2013

Given by Ashlynn Monroe

Genre: Erotic Romance
In a world without choices, one woman will find herself caught in the middle of six men and the emotions they develop for her.
Krista Damiani is one of the last women on Earth, and her patriotic duty is to make babies. On her twenty-first birthday, the government holds a lottery drawing to determine the men who will control her destiny. Her “six”, the men who win the right to call her their own, know they have to impregnate her quickly or risk losing her to a new “six”. 
As society fills with additional violence and unrest, her men keep her sheltered in a fortress of maximum security. When a mysterious man arrives and offers her the chance for freedom, will she be willing to leave the life she knows behind or will she remain “given”?
Content Warning: contains voyeurism, multiple partners, ménage and anal sex
Excerpt: "She's here." Jared's words came out in a whoosh of anticipation. They watched the black SUV with tinted windows as it pulled up to the front of the building. They stood in front of the grand capital tense, quiet—waiting. A uniformed solider opened the front passenger side door and stood, surveying the crowd. He opened the back door. Max sucked in a deep breath and the sound broke the spell the other five men seemed to be under. The crowd suddenly began shouting and the rabble of voices grew chaotic. The six men turned to watch a tall, grubby-looking man sprinting across the green grass of the capital lawn, running toward the SUV and their woman. A police officer tackled the man and the two rolled onto the ground. More officers swarmed the desperate man. "I just want to touch her!" the wild-eyed man wailed as they cuffed him.
* * * *
Krista stepped out, and the screaming men frightened her. She saw a police officer tackle a man only a few yards away. She started to get back into the SUV, but one of the soldiers grabbed her arm gently. "It's time, miss." "I'm afraid." "We'll protect you. It'll be all right. It's always like this on Giving Day. Don't worry. We will see you safely until you are under the guard of your private security." This was everything she'd feared, only worse. She hadn't expected the protesters. Someone shouted the word "whore"; she knew the man's hateful word meant her. How any of them could think she'd asked for this was beyond her imagination. Six young, well-dressed men stood in front of the steps of the large, white, domed building. They were looking at her with…possessiveness. The moment she saw them she knew that these men were her six, or more accurately, she was theirs. Everything had been sort of slow motion, but then as the crowd grew more agitated, the soldiers quickly ushered her up the sidewalk. The governor didn't come out for the official ceremonial signing of The Giving right, too many threats to his life and ugly behavior had changed this day. As men who couldn't qualify grew angrier with the government, The Giving ceremony became less pomp and more circumstance; and the circumstance was, until they had the woman away from the crowd, they were all in danger. A secretary rushed out and handed the men the last of the paperwork to sign. There wasn't a single introduction as the security, soldiers, and six young men surrounded Krista and rushed her around the corner and into a waiting limousine. They all hurried to get inside as the soldiers held back the men running toward them. Even inside the car, Krista could hear the angry shouting. The trunk slammed shut. Krista saw the driver slide into the front seat and the engine roared to life.
They left her alone. She sat down on the bed and air whooshed from her lungs. She shook a little due to nervous anticipation. Oh God, who should I pick? Choosing felt so very wrong to her. She may belong to these men for a long time, and the idea of alienating any of them, or getting off on a bad start, twisted her stomach in knots of nervous anxiety. She stood up and unpacked her few belongings. The closet looked so empty after she'd put her scant possessions into it. She began walking down the stairs and she heard their voices. Krista paused to listen, feeling a bit evil for eavesdropping. "It's only right that she pick." "We've all waited so long, shouldn't we draw straws or something?" "For God's sake, she's a human being, not a new toy. Let the girl have her pick. We'll all have a chance." "What if we all share her tonight? Then it's fair to all of us." "It wouldn't be fair to Krista. If she was your new bride, would you want to pass her around to five other guys?" "There's no more marriage, so the question isn't valid. The world isn't nice and romantic. The fact is, she'll have to sleep with all of us."
About the Author:
Ashlynn Monroe is a busy wife and mom. She enjoys writing about anything and everything paranormal or fantasy related. She spends most of her time daydreaming up her next tale of romance.
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