Sunday, August 31, 2014

My Reading Pile (30)

 My Reading Pile is a meme hosted by Rachel over at Fiktshun. Every I'll list all the books I've read and reviewed in the past week and four books I plan on reading over the upcoming week. I'll also list the blog tours from the past week and books I've received. I hope you enjoy. (The picture above is from Fiktshun)


Last Week:
Read:
On the Rocks (Last Call #1) by Sawyer Bennett
He left to travel the world for fame and glory, but only after spurning Gabby Ward and crushing her young heart. Now Hunter Markham has come back home to the sand and salty breeze of the North Carolina Outer Banks so he can open up Last Call, a beach bar nestled among the dunes of the Atlantic. 

Gabby Ward is not happy that Hunter has returned. Bitter over his rebuff years before, she’s content to stay far away from him and his dangerously charming ways. 

Gabby’s well-schemed plans to ignore Hunter go up in flames when he presents an offer to her that she simply can’t refuse, throwing them together in a common quest to each reach their goals. Working together day in and day out proves to be problematic for Gabby, who soon realizes that the feelings she had for him are still very much alive. Hunter struggles to reach through to Gabby’s cold heart, all while starting a new career away from his life as a top ranked, professional surfer.

What starts out as a mutual business arrangement soon turns into a passion that neither of them can continue to deny. 

Hard choices lay ahead for both of them when Hunter is offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to return to the pro surfing tour.

Choices that could destroy what they have built or take them further than they ever had dared to hope.
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I wanted to re-read this before I read the third one to refresh my memories.

Make it a Double (Last Call #2) by Sawyer Bennett
Brody Markham has endured a nightmare, spending the last five years in prison and losing everything that was dear to him. Now he’s back home, trying to survive in a world he doesn’t recognize anymore. While his family and friends desperately try to reach through to him, he shelters himself further and further away from their love.

Alyssa Myers has worked her entire life to distance herself from the luxurious and privileged lifestyle in which she was raised. Running her non-profit agency, The Haven, she is content to spend her days helping abused animals find sanctuary, which fulfills her in a way that money just can’t buy.

Maybe it’s that she recognizes in Brody some of the same characteristics she sees in her homeless wards, but Alyssa is powerless to stop her personal quest to make Brody whole again.

While Brody struggles to surface from the darkness, Alyssa tries to protect her heart in case he’s not willing to accept the light that she offers him.
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This was awesome!! Brody and Alyssa are the best :D

Sugar on the Edge (Last Call #3) by Sawyer Bennett
He’s utterly alone…

Tortured and existing in a dark spiral of despair, bestselling British author, Gavin Cooke, has come to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to escape the seedy lifestyle he had been living in London and in a desperate attempt to regain his writing focus. He’s twisted, bitter and angry at the world. He’s a loner… needing not a single thing other than his Scotch and a laptop upon which he can bang out his next erotic, dark thriller.

She’s running in place and getting nowhere…

Savannah Shepherd’s life is falling apart. Her dream of being a wildlife photographer seems a distant memory and she’s barely able to make ends meet. Driving herself forward with no clear goals apparent, she’s about ready to pack up her bags and head home with her tail between her legs.

Two unlikely lovers…

He’s raw, forceful and a dirty talker. She’s a flowers and romance type of girl. Yet within each other, they find a mutual craving that can only be satisfied by giving in to their desires for one another.
Lust turns into something more… something they were not looking for but tentatively accept. Will it be enough to push them past the obstacles of Gavin’s bitter past?

*SUGAR ON THE EDGE can be read as a stand-alone*
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I lot grittier than the other two. Review linked below.

I Want it That Way (2B #1) by Ann Aguirre
Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she's determined to make them come true—for her parents' sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B…. 

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can't risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia's and Ty's paths cross, and soon they can't stay away from each other. 

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can't know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.
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Amazing book about fighting to be together despite fearing getting hurt. Review coming this week.

Reviewed:





Blog Tours:






Received:
Review:


Blog Tour:


Upcoming Week:
Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1) by Katie McGarry
So wrong for each other …and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. 

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible. 

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

“A riveting and emotional ride!”—New York Times bestselling author Simone Elkeles

“McGarry details the sexy highs, the devastating lows and the real work it takes to build true love.” —Jennifer Echols, author ofSuch a Rush

“An edgy romance that pulls you in and never lets go. I was hooked!”Gena Showalter, New York Times bestselling author ofAlice in Zombieland

"Pushing the Limits is an accomplished debut, a perfect choicefor readers who thrive on edgy, riveting storytelling." --Bookpage

"Real aches and real love in Katie McGarry's sensitive, complex, always surprising, really excellent first novel." --School Library Journal
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I've been wanting to re-reads this for awhile.

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry
Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..."


If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....
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Another one I can't wait to re-read.

Ice Massacre by Tiana Warner
A mermaid’s supernatural beauty serves one purpose: to lure a sailor to his death.

The Massacre is supposed to bring peace to Eriana Kwai. Every year, the island sends its warriors to battle these hostile sea demons. Every year, the warriors fail to return. Desperate for survival, the island must decide on a new strategy. Now, the fate of Eriana Kwai lies in the hands of twenty battle-trained girls and their resistance to a mermaid’s allure.

Eighteen-year-old Meela has already lost her brother to the Massacre, and she has lived with a secret that’s haunted her since childhood. For any hope of survival, she must overcome the demons of her past and become a ruthless mermaid killer.

For the first time, Eriana Kwai’s Massacre warriors are female, and Meela must fight for her people’s freedom on the Pacific Ocean’s deadliest battleground.
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I want to catch up on my review copies. This one sounds original and exciting!

This is Falling (Falling #1) by Ginger Scott
First, I had to remember how to breathe. Then, I had to learn how to survive. Two years, three months and sixteen days had passed since I was the Rowe Stanton from before, since tragedy stole my youth and my heart went along with it. 

When I left for college, I put a thousand miles between my future and my past. I’d made a choice—I was going to cross back to the other side, to live with the living. I just didn’t know how. 

And then I met Nate Preeter. 

An All-American baseball player, Nate wasn’t supposed to notice a ghost-of-a-girl like me. But he did. He shouldn’t want to know my name. But he did. And when he learned my secret and saw the scars it left behind, he was supposed to run. But he didn’t. 

My heart was dead, and I was never supposed to belong to anyone. But Nate Preeter had me feeling, and he made me want to be his. He showed me everything I was missing. 

And then he showed me how to fall. 

*This is a standalone in a three-part series that will focus on different characters. Each book can be read on its own.
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Okay, I'm a sucker for romances involving people with dark secrets. :D

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fierce by L.G. Kelso

Tori's MMA career was taking off, until she beat the wrong man. Her training partner, nursing a bruised ego, snapped—shattering her trust and confidence. 

Three years later, Tori’s keeping her fists to herself as she struggles to put herself through college. But when a group of gangbangers hassle her at work, old habits kick in and her fists fly. Max Estrada, a frequent diner customer, steps in and gets them out of hot water, but Tori is still fired... days before tuition is due.

With no other option, she’s forced to take a desk job at her old pounding grounds, where her demons still haunt the cage and the temptation to go glove-to-glove with familiar pro-fighter, Max Estrada, is too much. The sexy Colombian draws her back into the world of MMA and revives her dreams of becoming a professional face-puncher—until Will, her old partner and current Middleweight Champion, struts back into the gym. The secret they share is an unexpected liability to his career, and he's determined to keep her silent. 

With her life on the ropes, Tori will have to face the past for a shot at winning back her future, or carry the weight of a loss even greater than before.

About FIERCE:
"A unique twist on the fighter trope-- FIERCE is a compelling, original read with my favorite kind of heroine (a kick-ass one)." 

- New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Cora Carmack
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First line:
I'll admit it. As I poured the twentieth cup of coffee for the night, I decided the best birthday present would be if some idiot attempted to rob the place.
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Source:
ARC from author
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Rating:
4 punches out of 5
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Fierce is one of the best books I've read all year. It was full of tension, romance, and action. Tori has stayed away from MMA since she tore her ACL. Mostly because her confident was stolen from her and also to keep her parents happy. But necessity causes her to stumble upon the scene again and she is drawn back into the world of fighting.

Tori is fierce and strong. She can take care of herself, and she refuses to trust a guy in the ring. She's also fiercely protective of those she loves and trusts those people implicitly with her life. Her worst fear is freezing up in a match, which would mean letting him win. Tori is just so kick-ass and awesome that you can't help but root for her.

Max is her new training partner and he has problems of his own. But he's cute and charismatic, and best of all, he understands the need to fight, the drive to put your heart and soul into training for a match. I want to know more about Max and Nicole's past, but I was glad to see Tori stand up for Max to protect him. Guys aren't the only ones in a relationship who can be abusive. Also, it would have been helpful for an explanation of 'Lobo,' Max's fighting name. I only discovered it meant wolf because it happened to be one of my vocabulary words in Spanish the week I was reading this book.

Fierce is definitely for you if you love kick-ass heroines, fighting, dedication, and overcoming fears. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

New Releases: September 2

September 2
A novel of love during a time of war by NBC's Afghanistan correspondent.

Set in present-day Afghanistan, this is the story of two teenagers, one Pashtun and one Hazara, who must fight against their culture, their tradition, their families, and the Taliban to stay together. Told in three rotating perspectives—the two teens and another boy in the village who turns them in to the local Taliban—this novel depicts both the violent realities of living in Afghanistan, as well as the beauty of the land and the cultures there. And it shows that love can bloom in even the darkest of places.

This is an absolute must read not just for teens but for anyone who has lived during the time of America's War in Afghanistan.

"[The Secret Sky is] a tale of the indomitable Afghan spirit of hope and love. Among the many novels set in Afghanistan for young people or for adults, The Secret Sky stands alone. Unputdownable. Unforgettable." –Trent Reedy, author of Words in the Dust


A powerful story of a girl who is afraid to touch another person’s skin, until the boy auditioning for Hamlet opposite her Ophelia gives her a reason to overcome her fears.

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good.

Caddie can’t stop thinking that if she keeps from touching another person’s skin, her parents might get back together... which is why she wears full-length gloves to school and covers every inch of her skin.

It seems harmless at first, but Caddie’s obsession soon threatens her ambitions as an actress. She desperately wants to play Ophelia in her school’s production of Hamlet. But that would mean touching Peter, who’s auditioning for the title role—and kissing him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn't sure she's brave enough to let herself fall.

Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson, this debut novel from Rachel M. Wilson is a moving story of a talented girl who's fighting an increasingly severe anxiety disorder, and the friends and family who stand by her.


The Jewel (Lone City #1) by Amy Ewing
The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.


Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J Maas
Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy. 

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?


The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this tough and tender young adult novel that's a lot about love (and a little about cancer).

Winner of the 2012 Australian Text Prize

"When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics." So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can't forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.


Lie For Me (Find Me #0.5) by Romily Bernard
Get to know Wick Tate’s supercute hacker boyfriend, Griff, in this digital original novella from the talented author of Find Me and Remember Me!


Forget You (Cold Creek #4) by Jennifer Snyder
*This novel is now available for pre-order and has been discounted to only .99 on all venues for a limited time!*

(Fourth novel in the Coldcreek Companion Series.Can be read as a standalone.)

Eva Bennett might be known for her candid approach and sharp tongue, but on the inside she’s still a vulnerable twenty-four year old who’s sick of kissing toads and being habitually single.

Full of comical one-liners and wielding a charming smile, Sawyer Keeton is more than meets the eye. After the news of his brother’s tragic death, however, Sawyer is pulled into a place filled with crippling emotions and pain—a place no one can seem to reach him…until the moment Eva steps into his life.

A twist of fate will bring them together and then tear them apart, forcing the two to learn there are people in life whom you cherish and pray will never forget you.

Barnes&Noble  |  Amazon

In the final installment to the trilogy begun with "Awaken, " Maddie returns home to make her final stand against Digital School, and uncovers deeply guarded secrets about her family an new truths about herself.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sugar on Edge Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Sugar on the Edge (Last Call #3)
He’s utterly alone…

Tortured and existing in a dark spiral of despair, bestselling British author, Gavin Cooke, has come to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to escape the seedy lifestyle he had been living in London and in a desperate attempt to regain his writing focus. He’s twisted, bitter and angry at the world. He’s a loner… needing not a single thing other than his Scotch and a laptop upon which he can bang out his next erotic, dark thriller.

She’s running in place and getting nowhere…

Savannah Shepherd’s life is falling apart. Her dream of being a wildlife photographer seems a distant memory and she’s barely able to make ends meet. Driving herself forward with no clear goals apparent, she’s about ready to pack up her bags and head home with her tail between her legs.

Two unlikely lovers…

He’s raw, forceful and a dirty talker. She’s a flowers and romance type of girl. Yet within each other, they find a mutual craving that can only be satisfied by giving in to their desires for one another.
Lust turns into something more… something they were not looking for but tentatively accept. Will it be enough to push them past the obstacles of Gavin’s bitter past?

*SUGAR ON THE EDGE can be read as a stand-alone*


Author Bio:
USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.











Review:
First line:
"And, as you can see here, all the panels of glass slide so you can open the entire back wall to the beach."
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Source:
Review copy from author
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Rating:
4 anti-heroines out of 5
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Sugar on the Edge is a lot edgier and rawer than the previous two books in the Last Call series. And it was suiting. Gavin is a very dark, edgy, raw character and I loved that about him. Also, he's British, so you can't not love him ;) Sawyer did an amazing job shaping his character. You could feel his pain when he was at his lowest and his joy when he was at his peak.

Savannah is the opposite of Gavin. She's sweet, caring, and hard working. The two are a perfect match because they are different. Gavin brings out Savannah wild care-free side and Savannah brings out Gavin's sweet romantic side. Both of them inspire the other to be better, to pull their life together. I really liked that. And until the end, they were still working out their insecurities.

I love this series. Wyatt's story is next and then Casey's. I really thought Casey and Wyatt would end up together, but alas! It shall not be. Anyways, be sure to check out the first two books (On the Rocks and Make it a Double) and also keep an eye out for the next two.

Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Guardian Release Day: Excerpt + Sale + Giveaway

Sometimes, things that go bump in the night are real.

My name is Whitney Lane. I’m sixteen years old and at first, I thought I was crazy.

I kept seeing shadows move along walls, and hearing whispers around corners, but whenever I looked, there was never anything there.

Until one day, there was.

Our world isn’t what we think. There are things around us, good things, bad things, scary things.

Things that we tell ourselves aren’t real, but they are.

They’re very real, and they’re terrifying.

I’ve been swept up now, in a battle of good and evil, confused about love and what is supposed to be love, but isn’t. I don’t know what to think anymore. I can’t trust my emotions and I don’t know what is true.

There’s only one thing I know for sure.

Nothing is what it seems.


Author Bio:
Courtney Cole is a novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could. She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds. She loves chocolate and roller coasters and hates waiting and rude people.

Courtney lives in quiet suburbia, close to Lake Michigan, with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo.






Excerpt:


Sometimes the things that go bump in the night are real. 
Happy birthday to me. 
I close my eyes and burrow into my pillow as I try to sleep, as I try to escape this life.
It’s a life I never thought I’d have, a life I most certainly don’t want. 
I’m still feeling sorry for myself as the blackness of sleep finally overtakes me. 
I don’t know what time it is when I shoot straight upward like a rocket. Something had yanked me from the oblivion of sleep, something loud and shrill scraping my window. 
My room is completely dark and I glanceat my clock in confusion. 
3:00 a.m. 
As my heart pounds hard against my ribcage, I quickly scan every corner of the room. 
In the last few hours, dark shadows had migrated onto my pink walls, but they’re familiar, nothing out of the ordinary, although in the night, they seem twisted and scary. 
I remain motionless as I allow the sleep-induced fog to clear from my brain. 
As I sit, I feel common sense and logic slowly returning. 
Of course nothing had touched my window because my bedroom is on the second floor. 
Nothing can reach it. And there are no trees near enough to brush against it. It was just a dream. 
It was only a dream. 
I chant it silently to myself like a mantra as I consciously slow my breathing down, hoping that my racing pulse will soon follow. It was only a dream. 
But just as I’m calming down, I hear it again. 
A high-pitched shrill shriek, reminiscent of fingernails on a chalkboard, scraping down my window. I gasp and pull my feet up to my chest, which is when I notice the temperature. 
I notice because I can see my breath. 
Timidly, I blow a puff out again, watching the way my breath turns white in the air. 
Holy crap. Oh my God. 
What the hell? 
The sound stops and stillness surrounds me once again, the silence so loud that it echoes in my ear. 
Nothing moves around me, the shadows are perfectly still as they twist across my wall. They look like mangled fingers and arms and legs, but they don’t move. 
My legs are weak and shaking, but I know I have to move. I have to move off my bed because it feels like something is under it. Something terrifying. 
With a leap, I bound across the room, my feet hitting the floor several feet away from the edge of my bed. 
The floor is ice cold, as though it had been covered in a blanket of snow. 
I’m trembling as I race to the far wall and check the thermostat. Because that’s the only explanation. I must’ve bumped it earlier, I must’ve turned the AC way down. 
But the luminous numbers stare at me in contradiction. 
74 degrees. 
It must be broken. It has to be broken. 
My breath is coming in pants now, terrified, anxious pants. 
My fear isn’t logical. I know there’s nothing here. I’m the only one in this room. 
Or am I? 
The air seems to push at me from all around, something dark, something heavy, something real. Something unseen. 
My fingers shake, my legs tremble, and then all of a sudden, they can no longer support my weight. I go down like a pile of bricks, collapsing onto the floor. I lie still because I can’t move, because something seems to sit on my chest, holding me down. 
The shadows start to move, to slither across the walls, to reach and pull and dance. 
I struggle to focus, to see what it is. 
But all I can see are the numbers on the thermostat suddenly moving, rapidly counting down from 74 to 20. 
Twenty degrees? 
The air is frigid as I suck it in, as I try to pull the ice crystals into my mouth so I can breathe. 
All of a sudden, there’s a blackness in front of me. It hovers over me, a shapeless mass, sucking in the cells of the air, the atoms and the molecules. It’s darker than the blackness of my room, blacker than the blackest black. 
Something is here. 
With me. 
“Dad?” I whisper in a white puff. Because what else could it be? 
I reach out a finger to touch it, and then I can’t see anything else, because the darkness of it surrounds me, bleeding into everything else, even my vision. The shriek is back, screaming into my ears, bleeding into my brain. 
Then there’s nothing.


$.99 Sale: