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SPECIALIST BLOG TOUR ~ Through Fire (Portland, ME #3) by Freya Barker

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Through Fire
(Portland ME, #3)
Freya Barker



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Violence corroded her…

Obedience defiled her…

Fear kept her chained…

Freedom is hard to embrace when she’s never learned to trust. Yet in the span of a second, she grabs a single opportunity and runs toward it. Straight into the sanctuary of a pub at the end of a wharf.

She doesn’t understand the concept of friendship. She’s never felt the connection of a relationship. She’s as innocent as the driven snow and yet tainted with corruption. Still, she finds herself surrounded by people who accept her, without even knowing the first thing about her. But one of them is determined to dig deeper.

He treasures his friends, yet he’s steered clear of committed relationships. He likes his life comfortably predictable and entirely controlled. Until it isn’t. For months he’s avoided interacting with The Skipper’s newest addition. Perhaps realizing that once he looked deeply into those liquid brown eyes, he wouldn’t be able to turn away.

When his present and her past puts them both on the brink of change, they are forged through fire as one.

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BLP Reviews

Tracy

Madre de Dios !!! (to quote our leading lady, Ruby) Freya Barker has done it again!!

From one of, in my humble opinion, the best series EVER…. Through Fire is a gut wrenching, heart-breaking story but as we’ve come to expect from Freya, it’s also filled with hope, strength, heat and a really strong sense of family…

Ms Barker writes REAL…. Her stories are full of very real issues: at times it’s hard going and upsetting, the tales aren’t pretty and the situations our main characters (the leading ladies in particular in the Portland, ME series) find themselves in are dark, scary, totally incomprehensible, horrendously shocking and unbelievably brutal, but they are also what we read/hear about in the news (sadly on a near regular basis it seems) – they are things that we know are happening in the world around us but that we cannot begin to understand as, in the main, most of us will fortunately never be thrust into these dark and horrendous situations.

Through her writing and storytelling Freya gives us an insight into the misery and devastation that her characters experience – but she also shows us just how strong people can be that they can survive these nightmares and not only come out the other side but do so with determination, strength of character and an overwhelming desire to LIVE.

For me, Ruby’s story is the darkest and hardest to read of the series to date but she is a fantastic character who, with the support of friends and ‘chosen family’ at the The Skipper, manages to overcome her demons and look towards a future that she never considered she’d ever have..

Tim is the leading man in Through Fire – we’ve met him previously in the series and I must admit that after some of his actions and attitude in Cruel Water (book #2) he wasn’t my favourite fella but I’m happy to admit that my feelings towards his character definitely changed whilst reading his and Ruby’s book.

Packed with suspense, intrigue, attraction, heat and passion and featuring the well loved characters that we have already met in the series to date,Through Fire is an exceptional read and another fantastic instalment in thePortland, ME series.
If you’ve already dipped your toe into the writing of Freya Barker this book will be a hit with you. For those who haven’t yet tried any of her books I recommend that you give them a chance – you will not be disappointed.

Rebecca

Well I’m here again Mrs Late as Usual, middle name procrastination.

So late that many reviews have been written for the books in the Portland ME series, some beautifully eloquent and many emotional and descriptive. There is very little I can add, nothing I will say better but here’s the thing, when it’s an author who has given me the hours of pleasure that Freya Barker has, then I kind of have to get the fuck over myself and make an effort (eventually!) whether eloquent or not because reviews help the authors to get better seen on Amazon, and as a reader help sometimes if on the fence whether to one click or not, they are a personal opinion and whether rambling and nonsensical, eloquent with beauty or somewhere in between with a colourful vocabulary (just the odd fuck or two!) worth writing.

Freya Barker has fast become a favourite of mine and her first book Slim to None in the Cedar Tree series is one of my go to books to reread when I have a book hangover or I’m in a funk and nothing new is grabbing my attention, both the other two on that go to list are by Kristen Ashley (Lady Luck and Motorcycle Man). Both authors, for me, write the best Alpha male book boyfriends, strong and sexy with a side of protective and yet a vulnerability that draws you, the warmth and affection between couple, friends and family shines through and the cast of secondary characters is always outstanding. What I also love is that different series have different feels yet the core ingredients are the same, so I know chances are I will like anything new either one writes and the quality is consistent and high.

If you have read any of the Cedar Tree series then you already know that Ms Barker is happy to go where many authors fear to tread, real, disabilities, warts, issues and all the ugly of life, she does it incredibly well and you get the Happy Ever After but it doesn’t feel Disney unattainable, it’s real and in your grasp. Seamless, effortless, flawless writing. I wrote in a review for one of Ms Barker’s books and end up repeating it now every time because it’s just so true;

She dares to go where few authors will risk, writing older characters with health issues, disabilities, the reality and the fantasy seamlessly intertwined and breathtakingly beautiful.

With the Portland Me series Freya Barker has stepped up the ‘Real’, the issues dealt with are horrific, the type many people skirt around, don’t talk about, read about, or watch any media about, the shit in the world that people know happens but avoid because it makes them uncomfortable. The subtle sensitivity of Freya Barker’s writing means the emotional response hits with a visceral impact however never feels too much, too real. She tackles these subjects many will not and wraps them up in a romance that satisfies the sweet and the hot we love while bringing an awareness of horrors that happen. She has given us an absolutely beautiful raw series that celebrates the strength of the human spirit and our ability to overcome.

From Dust

Sydney is lost, after a tragic event which would change and define anyone’s life she is homeless, jobless and adrift with no support system to help.

Gunnar is doing his best to be a single parent, run a business and deal with life’s day to day battles.

Their story is not an easy read, their path is difficult, full of drama and issues, the tragedy in Syd’s past has broken her and forgiveness is not easy but when I finished this story it was with respect for the human spirit, a belief in the power of second chances and I’m not even going to apologise for lowering the tone but a total lady boner for Gunnar. That man is magnificent!

Cruel Water

Cruel Water is not an easy read, has some sensitive triggers and drew an extremely emotional response from me which is not easy, I can name on one hand the books I have shed a tear over in the last five years. There was one point in this story where I had to put it down, refused to press for the next page, lump in my throat and tears threatening, I knew what was waiting for me, knew the horror about to be confirmed and was so invested that I just couldn’t, for characters to be this alive, the story to have grabbed me so completely I am gutted, is special. Whether in book, song or film form the written word when wielded well is powerful, in content, in message, it can be thought provoking, raw, sometimes brutal, but also emotional, beautiful and in the same way that certain songs resonant with us, haunting, played time after time because something, be it the melody, lyrics, the voice, something hits us deep inside and demands a response Cruel Water is such a book. In much the same way that Hello by Adele, Clown by Emeli Sande, Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran, Desperado by the Eagles, Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole feed my soul and when in a funk I return to them on a frequent basis because they have the power to change my mood and perspective, Cruel Water does the same. Ike and Viv’s story is powerful, harsh, uplifting and emotional, it’s raw, unapologetic but subtly and sensitively handled. If only every Viv in this world could find her Ike and if only those who should protect, nurture and love us unconditionally always did.

Through Fire

Ruby is one of the strongest females it’s been my pleasure to read, her story will break your heart, to even contemplate the horror of what happens to her and the age at which her life becomes unravelled is shocking and traumatic. Flawed, real, ugly at times yet compelling and riveting Ruby’s story had me rooting for her HEA, for her to see the strength and beauty of her soul not the broken and battered person circumstances made her. Tim redeemed himself completely with his handling and support for her, after Cruel Water I had him down as a bit of a selfish douche, how wrong was I and I’m happy for that!

I have been very deliberately vague with specifics because all three of these books have such impact I don’t want to give spoilers, you can see the blurb, you can see the reviews and you will make a decision on whether to one click and buy, all I’ve tried to do – no doubt ineloquently and rambling as usual – is express my feelings and emotional response to them. As I’ve said already we all ignore the uncomfortable shit sometimes, things that happen in this fucked up world that we feel if we can’t influence or are not personally affected by, move along, nothing to see here, as you were but that solves nothing and is insulting to those going through these horrors, so Bravo to Ms Barker for taking on these stories, for handling them the way she does and for raising awareness, to say “yes shit happens but how we handle it is important”, for those who inflict it, for those supporting and loving the victims and for those it happens to with the courage to overcome, stand strong and be a victim no longer. Every story is this series is inspirational, shows just how strong the human spirit can be, how, if you are truly lucky and find your “PERSON”, then the sky is the limit for new starts and a life full of love, hope, possibilities and happiness. Isn’t that what we all search and hope for? That’s a life worth living.

 



About The Author

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Author of the popular Cedar Tree series, as well as the critically acclaimed standalone “From Dust,” Freya Barker is driven to make her stories about ‘real’ people; with characters who are perhaps less than perfect, but just as deserving of romance, thrills and chills, and some hot, sizzling sex in their lives.

Recipient of the RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for best first book, “Slim To None,” Freya has hit the ground running. She loves nothing more than to meet and mingle with her readers, whether it be online or in person at one of the signings she attends.

With her kids grown and out in the world, Freya has poured her creative energy into spinning story after story with an endless supply of bruised and dented characters, vying for attention!

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SPECIALIST BLOG TOUR ~ Baby Game by Andie M Long

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THE BABY GAME

BY ANDIE M LONG

SPECIALIST BLOG TOUR BY FRANCESSCA’S PR & DESIGNS

SPECIAL BLOG TOUR EVENT CLICK HERE

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The next installment in the bestselling Alpha Series.

The Baby Game

Ronnie Taylor and husband Harry had agreed they’d wait a few years until starting a family. So when Ronnie discovers she’s pregnant after being a bit too casual with her contraception, she finds herself in a dilemma. Harry is taking his mother on the trip of a lifetime at the same time as their bundle of joy is due. If she tells him, he’ll cancel the trip and she doesn’t want his mother to miss out.

In typical Ronnie style, she ropes in TV Researcher and friend Nina, and pretends she’s filming a reality show about eating junk food. She’s going to blame all her baby weight gain on burgers. Surely she can’t get away with it? Or can she..?

With cravings for dog food, a mission to match-make her midwife and a never-to-be forgotten speech for a Healthy Eating charity event, it’s another hilarious adventure with the loveable, crazy ‘ladygardener’.

 

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An extra special chapter written exclusively for the Baby Game Blog Tour by Andie M. Long.

This scene takes place in New York after the birth of Stella and Gabe’s second child.

When babysitting goes crap.

“Can we ask you a huge favour?” Gabe comes walking into the lounge wearing the appearance of parents of newborns. His face weary and ashen.
“Sure. Ask away,” I reply.
“Do you think you and Harry could look after Zander for a couple of hours this afternoon? It’s just I feel that Athena’s feeling a little left out and we could use some fresh air and peace. We thought we’d take her to Central Park Zoo. While you’re here, you could enjoy extra special baby cuddles.” Gabe leans into the crib and strokes the side of his newborn son’s face.
“Well, how could I resist baby cuddles?” I smile. I glance at Harry who nods his head.
“Yes, we’ll do it.” I tell Gabe. “You go get ice creams at the zoo and spoil my little girl.”
“God that sounds nice, being spoiled.” Stella raises her head up from where it’s been resting on a sofa cushion. She’s been dozing at the side of the crib for the last couple of hours after Zander stayed awake most of the night. He is of course, now sleeping soundly in the daytime.
“I was talking about Athena, not you.” I retort.
“Figures.” Stella rolls her eyes. “Right I’m going to pop in the shower to try and wake myself up and then we’ll get going. Oh, Gabe let’s have lunch out too.”
“Sounds good to me. I’ll get Athena ready,” adds Gabe. “Will you two be alright with Zander for a bit?”
“Well, let’s hope so seeing as you’re leaving him with us all afternoon.” I shoo them out of the room.
“You’ll have to do the nappies, I’ll puke.” Says my husband.
“You’re so pathetic.” I push his arm. “You are so doing a nappy and I’m going to video you doing it.”
“How come it doesn’t bother you?”
“I’m always dealing with cat and dog shit in gardens. You get used to it after a while.” I’ve also had to have a blood test for toxoplasmosis as their faecal matter can affect embryos and cause potential blindness but of course I can’t tell my husband that.
Later, we say goodbye to Gabe, Stella and Athena and return to the lounge. The room is bathed in sunlight, one curtain drawn across to shade Zander. He looks like an angel, with his little chubby cheeks and contented face.
Harry and I spend the next thirty minutes making out on the sofa as Zander continues to sleep. Then Harry utters the words that change everything.
“Piece of piss this baby lark isn’t it? I can’t understand what people moan about.”
I try to place my hands over his mouth but it’s too late, the words have been ejected into the world, where the forces of nature are about to laugh at us from a great height. As Harry knocks my hands away from his mouth asking me what I’m doing, he jolts the end of the crib.
“Waaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh.”
I get up and stand over the crib and stroke Zander’s nose like I’ve seen Stella do. It does nothing. In fact his little face scrunches up and gets red. I reach into the crib and pick him up.
“Shh Zee, it’s Auntie Ronnie. It’s all okay. Shh.” I rock him in my arms.
Zander settles in my arms, so I quit the rocking.
“Don’t stop,” shouts Harry.
My eyes widen, “Why not? What’s wrong?” I panic.
“Nothing. I’m watching your boobs jiggle about, it’s fucking awesome.”
He gets a dirty look for that remark and not an encouraging one.
I attempt to lay Zander back in his crib but he’s having none of it.
“Do you think he’s hungry?” I ask Harry.
“I don’t know. Shall I warm up a bottle to see?”
“Yeah. Go on.”
Zander was indeed hungry and guzzles his bottle down in what seems like nanoseconds. After I wind him he seems quite settled in my arms. I’m not really keen on trying to put him back down in his crib when he’s settled but Harry’s nuzzling my neck. He’s obviously got the horn on and wants a bit of attention himself.
“Harry, pack it in.”
“I’m trying to.”
Suddenly Zander’s face goes puce again.
“What’s happening to him Harry? Something’s wrong.”
That something reveals itself as a massive fart.
“Oh my God, that absolutely reeks,” says Harry making gipping noises. “I’ll tidy this bottle away in the kitchen.”
“No you will not. You’ll put the baby changing mat on the floor and check if Zander’s made a deposit.”
“Ron, I can’t change a nappy. You know what I’m like with smells.”
“What about when we have a kid?” I ask him.
“I’ll employ a nappy changer.”
The trouble is he’s probably not kidding.
“Come on. Common cognitive behavioural therapy approach required. Aversion therapy. The best way to get over it is to do it.”
“I don’t want to know how you’re an expert in CBT.”
I shrug my shoulders. “I was given a course as part of treatment for my apparent stalking. Not aversion therapy, just training in impulse control.”
“And how’s that worked for you?”
“My impulse was to get a crush on the Therapist. He signed me off if I promised not to visit him at home again.”
Harry shakes his head.
“Anyway.” I place a stinking Zander on the mat. “Crack on. I’ll walk you through it.”
I look at little Zander on the mat. He’s so very tiny. I can’t believe we will have one of our own soon.
“Take off his bottoms and then undo the poppers at the bottom of his bodysuit.”
As Harry removes the little leggings I can see that the leg holes of his body suit are a mustard colour. Harry notices and winces.
“Jesus, has he been rolling in piccalilli?” Harry turns to me looking like a man who’s been told to go on a lifesaving mission from which he may never return. “Are there any gloves?”
“No, there are the baby wipes if you get any on your hands. Get on with it, poor little guys miserable.”
Harry carefully undoes the poppers and takes off Zander’s bodysuit after I tell him we must put him a new one on. As he lifts it he smears poo on Zander’s head. “Hang on mate, I’ll get that off with a wipe,” he informs the newborn. “I’ll take your nappy off first.”
There’s not that much poo in the nappy to be honest. Just a yellowy spray of liquid. It’s spread itself around the nappy. As Harry puts the nappy to one side and reaches over for a wipe, Zander’s foot touches his bottom smearing shit on the mat. His hands excitedly pump and before the wipe is in Harry’s hand, Zander also has it on his hand and the side of his mouth.
“Oh Christ.”
Harry leans over Zander and wipes first his face, then his hand. “Hey little guy, it’s not so bad is it? Uncle Harry will clean you up.” Harry grabs Zanders other hand and lifts it to his lips and kisses it. Unfortunately what Harry hadn’t realised is that while he was cleaning him, Zanders other hand had touched his dirty bottom.
“Arrrgggh. Oh my God, I have shit in my mouth. I repeat I have baby shit in my mouth.”
I really do want to help, but I’m videoing and far too busy being in hysterics.
“Harry you can’t abandon the baby, you’re going to have to wait. Just rub a wipe across your face for now and clean Zander up.”
Harry takes a deep breath, grabs a handful of baby wipes and starts again. He wipes Zander’s other hand, his feet and finally his poo covered bottom. Then he lifts up his legs and wipes the mat underneath him.
“I did it. Oh my God, I actually did it.” Harry turns to me. “I survived a nappy change.” He leans over Zander. “Hiya gorgeous guy. How’s it feel to be all clean, hey?”
Zander answers by spraying my husband in urine.

When Gabe and Stella return home and come into the lounge, they both raise an eyebrow at the fact my husband is shirtless while their baby sleeps away in his crib.
“It’s not what you think.” Answers Harry.
“Well you can fill us in on your afternoon in a mo,” says Stella. “I’ve brought you a treat from the cafe at the park. I’ll get some plates.”
“Oh, what is it?” I ask, realising I’m ready for something to eat and drink.
“Toffee and banana mousse. It’s their speciality.” Stella takes the lid off the box.
Harry and myself peer into the box and catch sight of the light yellowy-brown mousse.
“Thanks so much but I think we’ll give it a miss Stella,” says Harry, gulping and trying his very best not to heave.
 


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Purchase Links

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About The Author

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Andie M. Long is author of The Alpha series which includes Amazon Number One Erotic Thriller The Alphabet Game; Co-writer of the Amazon Number One Erotic Romance/Adult fiction bestseller The Bunk Up with DH Sidebottom and The Ball Games series, amongst others.
She lives in Sheffield with her son and long suffering partner.
When not being partner, mother, employee or writer she can usually be found on Facebook or walking her whippet, Bella.
Andie will be signing in Liverpool and Newcastle 2017 and York 2018.

FOLLOW ANDIE:

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(not a street team, just a place to hang and have fun).

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(get a free ebook of Alphabet Wedding and Quickies on sign-up)

EMAIL: contact@andiemlongwriter.com
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SPECIALIST BLOG TOUR ~ The Worst Of Me by Lisa J Hobman

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THE WORST OF ME

BY LISA J HOBMAN

 

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Nick Dacre is the epitome of the classic rock star. Women, booze and luxury are handed to him on a daily basis and life is great.

Until another alcohol fuelled sexual encounter forces him to realise that, in spite of his many achievements, his life and the relationships therein have no real meaning.

Now feeling trapped in a life he is expected to continue leading a terrifying event forces him to re-evaluate his future.

The words of a stunning and feisty, Scottish chambermaid, met whilst on tour in London, return to haunt him.

Are her words the key to the drastic changes he needs to make?

Will he find himself but lose his heart in the process?

 

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

THE WORST OF ME -COPYRIGHT LISA J HOBMAN
NOT TO BE COPIED OR DISTRIBUTED WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION FROM LISA J HOBMAN

“What the fu-?!” Nick Dacre carefully blinked open his eyes, squinting as bright rays of daylight stung like daggers and his pupils fought to adjust. The 747 that was coming in to land very close by was doing nothing to help his thumping head. He slowly turned to one side and noticed a ridiculous number of bottles strewn around the room—varying types of alcoholic beverages had obviously once filled them but all were now evidently empty. Clenching his eyes shut for a moment he felt disgusted and disgusting simultaneously. His stomach roiled as another turn of his head revealed a naked blonde woman.

He had no idea a) who she was and b) how she ended up, in her current state of undress, in his bed…in his hotel room. He made to sit up and it was only then that the room began to do a three-sixty turn around his head.

“Gah!” He raised his hands to his temples as if it would help to stop the spinning but his attempts were futile and the room’s rotation continued in earnest. The rancid taste of stale alcohol in his mouth made him wonder if he had perhaps been licking dustbin lids in his drunken stupor—or frenching with Jabba The Hutt maybe?

The blonde began to stir.

He froze and held his breath.

The silly thing was he had woken up in this exact state on so many occasions he’d lost count. But for some reason this felt…different. The 747 got closer. Scrunching his pained eyes he turned towards the god-awful noise and realised it was the chambermaid with a vacuum cleaner.

“Morning, sleepyhead!” a familiar sing-song voice called from the adjoining sitting room of the large suite, and its owner rounded the corner. “I let the maid in to sort your mess out. Good God, it stinks in here!” Den, the band’s rather camp, post middle-aged manager walked towards Nick. Unlike the singer Den was far too perky as usual, sunglasses atop his head and looking like he had stepped off the set of the advert for a well-known fizzy drink…a delightful shade of orange with his newly applied spray tan.

“What the hell happened last night, Den? I feel like shit,” Nick whispered, scared to speak any louder in case the comatose blonde gained full consciousness beside him.

“Ooh, shame on you for needing to ask.” Den waved an excited hand. “It was a fantastic night. We rocked the O2 arena—but I’m sure you remember that particular little snippet—and then you all got completely rat-arsed at the after show party.” The fifty-year-old regaled him in his broad Yorkshire accent whilst he eyed up the blonde with derision. “Some of us clearly got lucky too.”

Nick rubbed his eyes. “I…I remember the gig of course…and…I remember the start of the party…but…not much else. Not good.” He shook his head as he scrambled around his brain and fought to regain the memories from the previous night.

The vacuum cleaner fell silent and the mystery blonde sat bolt upright with a sharp cry, making Nick almost jump out of his skin and jerk his head in her direction. Her eyes widened as her horrified stare flitted between the two men. Without speaking she glanced down at her body and squealed before grappling the sheets and covering her bare, obviously enhanced breasts.

Den tilted his head to one side and pouted at the bewildered woman. In his most famous condescending tone he said, “Aww, bit late for that, love, really.” Her cheeks coloured cerise and he responded with a dirty, coarse cackled laugh. Turning his attention back to Nick he began to back away toward the door. “Well, I’ll leave you two love-birds to say your goodbyes. Better get your shit together, Dacre. We set off for Germany in just over an hour. Toodles!”  He winked, waggled his fingers and left the suite.

The chambermaid poked her head around the door. “Ahem…Mr…erm…Mr Dacre? Is it okay for me to collect up your empties now? I didn’t want to wake you and your…erm…girlfriend before…but I really need to get on and do the rest of the suites or my boss will be on my case.” The young, make-up free girl stood fiddling with the vacuum cleaner cable. Nick figured she couldn’t have been any older than eighteen and he was a little amused at the fact she was wearing an oversized grey chambermaid’s uniform which hung from her skinny frame like it belonged to someone else. Her straight blonde hair was scraped back in a ponytail. So young and innocent. Nick frowned at the errant thought invading his mind and tried to push away the additional thought that she was much too young to witness the remnants of such debauchery.

In spite of his best efforts to ignore the unfamiliar niggling guilt knotting his stomach, the heat of shame rose in Nick’s cheeks.

He nodded. “Yeah. Yeah, sure. My…girlfriend is just leaving.” He cringed as he turned his attention from the chambermaid to the blonde stranger in his bed.


Trailer

 https://animoto.com/play/Glr2bkEtf6TU8LbVdJZjQQ


 

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About The Author

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I’m a happily married mum with two crazy dogs and a thing for men with tattoos! In May 2012 I relocated from Yorkshire to my favourite place in the world, Scotland. The time since then has been a rollercoaster!

I love writing, singing and I’m very passionate about music. My tastes are quite eclectic.

My debut novel Bridge Over the Atlantic was shortlisted in the 2014 RoNA awards and I have written many more since!

You Can Stalk Lisa Here:

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RELEASE BLITZ ~ Head Start (Cedar Tree series #7) by Freya Barker

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Book: Head Start
Series: Cedar Tree #7
Author: Freya Barker

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Margreet Asselbergs
Hosted By:Francessca’s Romance Reviews

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Synopsis

Kendra Schmitt puts most of her time into the new clinic in Cedar Tree, which is now almost running full time. With her schedule a bit more predictable, she finally considers a personal life and concedes to a disastrous blind date. Always the responsible one in her family, she has avoided any kind of entanglement. In particular with a certain young investigator.

Junior member of the GFI team, Neil James, has seen and experienced more than most at his age. When his team becomes part of a task force investigating a series of murders in the area, his protective instincts kick in. The victims’ profiles closely match that of a certain physical therapist.

Neil has been trying unsuccessfully for over a year to get closer to Kendra. Now that she might be in danger, he’s determined to break through her resistance and goes all out to win her trust.

Especially now that the killer’s focus appears to zero in on Kendra.

 

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Early Feedback

Freya Barker is a master at her craft. She weaves stories that are gripping, intense, deal with serious issues and yet are heartwarming and real. They give you hope and make you feel like you are one of the characters. ~ Kez’s Korner

Another superb book by one of my favourite writers. You certainly get plenty for your money with this one . ~ Goodreads Review

Head Start is one of the best new stories. We get mystery, drama, and love.
Freya Barker is a brilliant, insightful and awesome author. ~ Goodreads Review


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Excerpt

“Why not? It’s half-price, one of those short notice deals.” My sister resorts to the pre-adolescent whine that gets our mom to cave every single time. Unfortunately, Karly hasn’t yet figured out that it does the opposite for me.
“Because those things are like floating sausage fests.”
“You’re such a stick-in-the-mud. Mom said she’d come too.”
Oh my God. Like that is any sort of enticement. I have to swallow hard to shove the contents of my stomach back down where they belong. I automatically turn my back to the waiting room when I hear the tell-tale ding of the door opening. “Not helping your case, Karly. Just sayin’… I’m not into quick, convenient fucks. Especially when most of the guys on those trips are looking to score as much and with as many as they can manage in the shortest possible time frame. Not keen on being the dessert buffet for a bunch of young idiots, hopped up on Viagra. Besides, as I told you a month ago, I’ll be moving house in two weeks, so I can’t come. End of story. You and Mom have fun, but count me out.”
By the time I get my nympho sister off the phone, my eyes have rolled heavenward a few more times. I should have spared one eye-roll to confirm it actually was my next patient coming in. It wasn’t. A familiar face with a toothy grin is leaning on the damn counter, right behind me. Instantly, my German ancestry betrays me with the robust blush I feel burning on my cheeks. Fabulous.
“What can I do for you, Neil?” I say none too kindly. One of his heavy eyebrows lifts all the way up, and the grin slips into a smirk.
“That, is a loaded question,” he teases, “especially given the tantalizing conversation I just overheard.” The heat on my face has now reached my hairline while I curse myself six ways to Sunday. “By the way, I like that color on you,” he mumbles, tapping me on the cheek.



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BLP REVIEW

Tracy

I’ve not been looking forward to writing this review as it just confirms that this is the last book in a series that I absolutely love!!! Freya and the Cedar Tree ‘gang’ grabbed me from the dirty phone call scene in book #1 and I’ve been hooked ever since.

This series gives us strong, protective and fiercely loyal ‘alpha’ males, female leads who have faced more than their fair share of heartache, rough and very tough times and more but have come through it all standing proud, courageous and more powerful than they realise. We also get action packed storylines that twist and turn and have you an emotional mess, great camaraderie (especially amongst the women), laughs, intense attraction and smoking hot sex (especially in the kitchen!!) and HEAD START continues this theme!!

This is Neil and Kendra’s story. We’ve previously met both characters in the series – Neil more so as he is part of the GFI team. It was interesting finding out more about both characters, especially our male lead as he always seemed so laid back and easy going, never hinting at the history he had!!

The suspense in this book was intense. In previous books we’ve seen our Cedar Tree ladies go through kidnapping and life threatening events but the plotline weaving it’s way around Kendra in Head Start had me a total mess. Freya knows how to write one helluva heart-stopping, emotionally draining tale that has you wondering what in the gods name is gonna happen next while at the same time giving us such feelings of family, belonging, love and acceptance..

It’s honestly beyond my understanding why Ms Barker isn’t as well recognised and acknowledged as she should be given the standard of work she produces.

I’m really sad to see the end of the Cedar Tree series but cannot wait to find out what Freya has in store for us next!!!

HEAD START is a definite 5* read that should not be missed!!!


*****

Rebecca

“Have you got the Head Start review done?”

“Ehhhhhhh……………….” avoids answering my blog partner in crime bestie and procrastinates further……….

“I really need that review?”

“Ehhhhhhh……………….” Runs off to reread and write review late as usual…………….

“Where’s your fecking review?”

LEAVE ME ALONE I’M HAVING A COUGAR MOMENT, THAT BOY HAS IT GOING ON!

“But you’ve read it before”

I know! But Oh Boy, second time is just as good…………………

 

Sooooo eventually……………….

Here I go attempting to do justice in any way shape or form to Head Start, Cedar Tree #7, the last in this series and what a way to play out. I loved the twists, turns, surprises and suspense, I loved that the whole gang is in here, the banter is thick and fast, heavy with sarcasm, wit, affection and love, I adored Neil and Kendra, the dynamic between them, his determination to woo and win his woman, her insecurities; so very real and relatable, the hidden layers peeled away to reveal very much a man not a boy and the book boyfriend cougar moments Freya gave me!

If you have followed The Cedar Tree series then you already know as I’ve said before that Ms Barker writes real, heart-warming, emotional, hot books with characters whose banter, friendships and stories will have you rooting for them, getting serious feels for them, purchasing new batteries for toys because the sex is HOT as FUCK, and she effortlessly throws in suspense, intrigue, fabulous funny sarcasm and humour. She dares to go where few authors will risk, writing older characters with health issues, disabilities, the reality and the fantasy seamlessly intertwined and breathtakingly beautiful.

The overwhelming factor for me that makes all of these such an enjoyable read is the amazing banter between all the characters, primary and secondary. The affection, humour and love shines through, the teasing, flirting, arguing, dirty sexy talk and insults flung around through these books make them a pleasure to experience. Like every family, whether blood or choice, they will frustrate and exasperate you – you will be rooting for them while screaming at them!


“What just happened? I asked still a bit stunned when he has me tucked in the passenger seat. “Family; Cedar Tree style. That’s what just happened.”

 

This for lovers of the series will probably be the most highlighted and quoted part of the book, simple but with such impact and is Cedar Tree summed up.

The delightful surprise to this final book, Head Start, is we have a younger man claiming an older woman (I reserve my right to call dibs on said boy toy!), as well as twists and turns with a heavier dose of suspense and intrigue that keeps you guessing  in what for me was the most mystery thriller orientated story of the series, and as with each and every one of The Cedar Tree books it has its own personality, its own quirks, each couple very different, each journey told with such sensitivity, warmth and so flawless that no matter which man, woman, trial and tribulation is being told we are committed, invested and 100% so deeply involved that when we finish it’s sad because these characters are not just fiction that brings a few hours pleasure, they are people who live in our heads, to each of us the image may be different, the interpretation to a certain extent our own, but real, inspirational, giving pleasure and memories that live on long after that final page, reread and loved long after publication.

Neil showed hidden depths and went from being a secondary character with whom I hadn’t really bonded to a man boy of my fantasies, Kendra has a strength and inner beauty I never expected, as a couple they worked so well.

BUT I am going to say here and now in print that if I had to pick just one, only one it would be Gus.

Why?

Because he has the biggest balls…….

Ask Emma!

Read Head Start.

You’ll get it!

But yeah, if it was just one, Gus.

And Caleb.

#greedybitch

#CedarTree

#alphareal

#hotasfuck



About The Author

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Freya Barker craved reading about ‘real’ people, those who are perhaps less than perfect, but just as deserving of romance, hot monkey sex and some thrills and chills in their lives – So she decided to write about them.

Always creative, from an early age on she danced and sang, doodled, created, cooked, baked, quilted and crafted. Her latest creative outlets were influenced by an ever-present love for reading. First through blogging, then cover art and design, and finally writing.

Born and raised in the Netherlands, she packed her two toddlers, and eight suitcases filled with toys to move to Canada. No stranger to new beginnings, she thrives on them.

With the kids grown and out in the world, Freya is at the ‘prime’ of her life. The body might be a bit ramshackle, but the spirit is high and as adventurous as ever. Something you may see reflected here and there in some of her heroines…. none of who will likely be wilting flowers.

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Other Books In The Series

CEDAR TREE SALE UNTIL FRIDAY 13TH MAY!

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Slim To None

Amazon
Nook
Kobo
iBooks
Scribd

Hundred To One

Amazon
Nook
Kobo
iBooks
Scribd

Against Me

Amazon
Nook
Kobo
iBooks
Scribd

Clean Lines

Amazon
Nook
Kobo
iBooks
Scribd

Upper Hand

Amazon
Nook
Kobo
iBooks

Like Arrows

Amazon
Nook
Kobo
iBooks
Scribd

Other Books By Freya Barker

From Dust

Amazon
Nook
Kobo
iBooks
Paperback

Cruel Water

Amazon
Nook
Kobo
iBooks


RELEASE BLITZ ~ Snow Balls by Andie M Long

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Book: Snow Balls
Series: Ball Games #2
Author: Andie M. Long

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Hosted By:Francessca’s Romance Reviews

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Synopsis

Tyler Turner has lived at home in comfort since birth.
It’s Christmas Day and his twenty-fifth birthday and he’s just about to open his money gift from his parents ..

Dear son,
You are dear to our hearts and we love you. Happy twenty-fifth birthday. However as previously forewarned it’s time to stand on your own two feet. Please take this letter as your Eviction Notice. You have three months until the twenty-fifth of March to secure new accommodation for yourself. Obviously if you decide to purchase, rather than rent, then as long as we can see the sale proceeding, the date of eviction can be lengthened accordingly. We, your parents will assist with this as much as possible. If you would like us to accompany you to look at properties or help you get a mortgage, you only have to ask.  The cheque should cover you for a month or two’s rent or contribute towards legal fees. We look forward to watching you on your next adventure as an adult.
Much love, Mum and Dad.

As Tyler gets over the shock it becomes a competition between Tyler and his mother Dora as to whether he’ll stay or go. Friend Lindsay is on hand to help him until the offer of a promotion means she may be leaving too. Will Tyler grow up in time to make the right choices or will Jennifer Lambert and his gaming equipment continue to distract him?

*Complete with British/Yorkshire slang guide as an added bonus to teach you some new rude words 😉


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Purchase Links

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Early Feedback

After reading the excerpt of this book at the end of Balls I knew I would love Tyler’s story and it didn’t disappoint I spent a lovely afternoon with the Turner family loving every word. ~ Our Kindle Konfessions

I’m in love with this novella series and think Andie is onto a complete winner here. I absolutely adore the characters and their witty, British style and slang. ~ Author Beth Ashworth

Andie is slowly making me a Novella convertee, this story was the perfect length to capture Tyler’s story and I adored it from start to finish. ~ Gemma Reads Too Much

Clever, witty, funny and the language used was just so good. Such light and easy reading to help us forget about the strife’s in life; I wish more books were like this. ~ Blissfully Bookerised

 


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About The Author

Andie M. Long is the author of The Alphabet Game series, Underneath and Quickies. When not writing she can usually be found time wasting on social media. If you ever see her doing housework, step away. It means she’s stressed! Prepare to meet the Turner Family in the Ball Games series in 2016 plus other works in progress.

You can stalk Andie Here:

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RELEASE BLITZ ~ One Hundred & Thirty-Six Scars by Amo Jones

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Book: One Hundred And Thirty Six Scars
Series: The Devils Own #1
Author: Amo Jones

Genre: MC Romance

Cover Designer: Francessca’s Romance Reviews
Hosted By:Francessca’s Romance Reviews

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Synopsis

Meadow
I was four years old when I learnt what evilness the world could bring. I fought through life with my scarred soul, wrangled through the dark empty nights where I’d pray I didn’t wake up the next morning. I would shut my eyes and mentally take myself to my happy place.
Red roses
The sound of waves crashing on the sand under my feet.
The final time the cold blade pushed up against my thigh, and I waited for my blood to trickle over the other One hundred and thirty-six scars that covered my skin— never came. Who was this man who just saved me? He had no idea how close I came to ending myself that day. I was ready to blow my brains all over the bedroom walls and I had a nine sitting under my pillow to prove it.

Beast
Some people have families, I had engineered human killing machines surrounding me my whole life. I’d been a part of this unit since I was a baby, raised in a community that was shut off from the real world. A community where we were nothing but empty vessels, until Hella (my best friend) and I escaped. Hella took us to a girl who was in foster care with him before he was summoned into The Army. After finding out yet another complication in my life, I needed space. I booked in to a run down apartment, ready to clear my head. Only my head didn’t clear, because I was haunted every night from the screams that would vibrate through my walls.

This is not a story of a perfect man coming in to save the day. This is a story of what happens when fate interferes and two completely broken souls collide.

*Potential triggers lie within this book.
** This book is gritty and contains dark content.

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Amazon USA –
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What Others are saying:

If love MC and crave a different but absolutely amazing storyline THEN THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU! Its AMAZING! ~ A Brit and A Yank

SO CONSUMING, SO RAW, SO DARK, SO INTENSE, SO GRITTY, SOOOOOO EPIC!! ~ Kitty Kats Crazy About Books

I enjoyed this a lot, I’m eager to see what the author plans for Hella because wow, he was a bit of an arse in this one. I’ll be keeping up with this series for sure, and I’ll more than likely go back and read the Sinful Souls books too. ~ Mj’s Book Blog & Reviews



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Excerpt

Meadow

I never thought too much into what I would do the next time I laid my eyes on the dark knight who swept into my life like a bandit of good deeds—my own saving grace. Would I run? Would I pound him with questions that I’m not sure I want to know the answers for? Women would talk of people saving their lives all the time at the meetings I would attend. They’d say things like, “He was a doctor, he saved my life,” or, “The man who saved me, he was the light in my tunnel of darkness.” I couldn’t refer to my encounter as either of those. My knight was not ‘lovely’ nor was he ‘the light in my tunnel of darkness.’ My knight was darkness, and like fighting fire with fire—I fought darkness with darkness.

My name is Meadow, and this is my story.

Beast

I knew exactly what I would do the next time—if I ever—saw the girl whose screams would vibrate through the run down walls of my apartment during the night. I never knew if they were screams coming from sleep, or screams tearing out from the awakened. But did it matter? The desperation in those screams pierced me like a sharply angled dagger, my very own personal weakness. Like Wolfsbane was to a werewolf or a stake to a vampire. I live in a world where werewolves and vampires don’t exist—daggers or wolfsbane couldn’t put my demons to rest. Because I don’t just have them, I am them. What I’ve endured, has morphed what could have been an innocent child and successful adult, into a demonic creature that even the people who created it, feared. The darkness has been surrounding me for so long, that it’s now the only way I can see.
This is what happens when fate interferes and two completely broken souls collide.

My name is Beast, or commonly known as Agent 316, and this is my story.



About The Author

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Amo is a full-time writer from New Zealand who loves long romantic walks to the wine cellar.
When she’s not creating magic, you can usually find her relaxing in front of the television watching the latest episode of Supernatural or Vikings. (This will be updated as she finds new television shows with hot actors.)
She’s the proud mother of four little critters who are the reason she breathes, but also the reason she drinks.
She’s the wife-to-be to the love of her life. She says wife-to-be because she scares him a little, and he still hasn’t decided whether he wants to wed her or not. Such an exciting relationship.
She loves meeting new people and believes the world needs more kindness.
Gas Arc out!

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BLOG TOUR ~ Autumn’s Rise by R.G. Corr

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Book: Autumn’s Rise
Series: Haywater Novel #1
Author: R.G. Corr

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Hosted By: Francessca’s Romance Reviews

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Synopsis

On the discovery of a family secret and the heart-wrenching events that follow, Autumn Chamberlain has lost what little faith she had in those closest to her. Knowing she can never truly live her life if she remains with her family, and with an abundance of guilt laying heavily in her heart, she escapes the lonely world she felt forced to live in and heads to the seaside town of Haywater. The aim, to look for a new beginning, a fresh start. But she has one clear notion – to never love again.

Talented surfer, Zed Maddison, has always worked hard at protecting those closest to him, until the day he fails. Fighting his own demons, Zed flees his close family; unable to
face them and the remorse he feels before finally arriving in Haywater.

When their worlds collide, Zed has an unfathomable need to protect Autumn and becomes relentless in his fight, forcing Autumn’s defences to the limit.

Can her secrets remain dead and buried?

Or will a revelation destroy everything?

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Excerpt

Her pupils were like shiny black rocks buried within the bluest of oceans. Her newly acquired, goddamn flirty smile was fucking awesome. The curve of her lips brought a desire to my dick that was well overdue. I liked this girl, a lot. But again she’d left me, leaving me with only the smell of her tantalising skin. Jesus, what was this girl doing to me? To see her dance, her body react in the way it was doing right now, filled me full of need. I wanted to pull her to me and shield my arms around her.
When I saw that prick in a suit stroll up to her five minutes ago, I almost ran across the bar. Her face was twisted up in fear, whatever he had said, wasn’t what she wanted to hear. The fact that I hadn’t received that look meant I was going to keep looking at this girl like she was my beginning.



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What others are saying

Wow, what can I say about this book except that it captivated me from start to finish. This début is not only beautifully written but it held a real sense of compassion as the characters were well nurtured and gradually came to life before my very eyes. ~ Perusing Princesses Blog

A story that will captivate your heart. The emotions are real. The characters will have you falling in love with them. The story that lies behind this cover will have you glued right where you are sitting when you start reading this book ~ Goodreads Review

I loved Autumns Rise, and reading it I would never have guessed that this is a debut. The writing is superb and I was totally sucked into the story. I just wanted to give both Autumn and Zed a huge hug. It’s a heartbreaking story but also a story of hope. ~ Goodreads Review


 

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About The Author

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R. G. Corr is a mum of 3 who loves to read almost as much as she does to write. When she’s not working or writing, you’ll find her nose deep in her kindle swooning over her latest book boyfriend.

Having had an overactive imagination for many years, a discussion with a friend at a soft play area, amidst the noise and mayhem of toddlers, finally convinced her to put pen to paper and write her first novel.

Autumn’s Rise, book one in the Haywater series, will be released in February. Book two will follow later in the year.

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TRAILER ~ CRUEL WATER by Freya Barker

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ “CRUEL WATER” Trailer!! ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

 
#CruelWaterTrailer
 
Have a look at this AMAZING trailer by Book Obsession Production of the second Portland, ME, novel by Freya Barker which is live NOW!
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RELEASE BLITZ ~ Cruel Water (Portland, ME, #2) by Freya Barker

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Book: Cruel Water
Series: a Prortland, ME, novel
Author: Freya Barker


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Hosted By:Francessca’s Romance Reviews

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Synopsis

Innocence marked her…

Violation crippled her…

Love left her raw…

The life she carefully rebuilt is challenged when she is confronted with the sins from her past. The carefully applied protection is at once ripped away, leaving her exposed and vulnerable.

Her single night of indulgence with the silver-eyed stranger is only the beginning. He sees right to the heart of her and she is unable to ward off emotions that have been deeply buried. With the sting of betrayal still fresh in her soul, she’s surprised to find herself opening up to the honest integrity of the sharp-eyed, rough-looking biker.

When he lost everyone who mattered, he was left without roots and learned to be content simply living in the moment. Completely unprepared for the feisty blonde bartender with old pain marring her clear-blue eyes, he questions his own rules of detachment, as she unwittingly finds a way under his skin.

Appearances deceive and when the masks fall away, revealing deep, dark secrets, there is nothing left but to hang onto each other and survive the storm.

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Excerpt

I should probably leave right now. I’ve had my beer and my dinner, I should just head home. I’m really not looking to get involved with—nor am I equipped to deal with—a woman who comes with obvious complications. Yet despite the thoughts in my head, my mouth has a different plan. “I’d like to take you out.”
Something flickers in her eyes before she shakes her head and looks down at her hands. “Don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Actually—” I sit up straighter, suddenly determined to get her to agree. “You already said yes.” I hold back a chuckle that wants out when I see her frown in confusion.
“I did? When was that?”
“You agreed to talk to me, so that’s what we’ll do: talk over dinner.” I try for a disarming grin, afraid I’m botching it up and make myself look slightly deranged.
She presses her lips together, but amusement sparkles in those eyes. “Didn’t know you were talking ‘date’, nor can I remember saying yes to anything.” She left that door wide open, and I’ll be damned if I don’t go barging in.
Leaning closer I pin her with my eyes. “I fondly remember a time you were saying yes to everything.”
When the meaning of my words register, her eyes darken and she sharply takes in a breath. “No fair,” she whispers.
“I know,” I whisper back, never losing eye contact.
A war wages on her face before she finally concedes on a sigh.
“Oh fine.”
Despite the grudging response, the words are music to my ears. It’s only later, when I finally do leave the pub to go home, that I remember my earlier resolve to steer clear of complications.
Well, so much for that.


 

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BLP REVIEWS

Tracy  ~  I wish I was better at writing reviews. At times, I struggle to eloquently write what I need to, to fully convey my thoughts and feeling about a read…. hell, I’ve done my best with this and hope you understand what I’m trying to say!!

******


I’m sure we all have a ‘go to’ list of authors whose books we 1-c without even needing to read the blurb. The books that, while they may be emotional and heart-wrecking roller-coaster rides, they help lift us or bring us out of a book funk… Since I read her first ever book, Freya Barker has been way up there on my list of faves ‘go to’ authors!

I flove the Cedar Tree series that Freya also writes but have to admit that the Portland, ME series is fast becoming my out-and-out favourite!

Freya has a tremendous ability to bring her characters and their situations to life in a very realistic and believable way. She writes about likable people who you can feel a pull and connection to, who have multiple layers. They run a gamut of emotions and show and experience feelings and sensations that we can all, to varying degrees, relate to. Some have difficult pasts and histories that have cut deep, caused scars, pain and damage that they hide so well but that, on occasion, come back to haunt or taunt them.

We got an inkling from meeting Viv in ‘From Dust’ (book 1) that something dark and devastating had happened in her past and that behind the smile and lightness there lurked a pain and darkness that, under the wrong circumstances, could pull her under. I loved her and my heart broke for how she felt, what she had gone through and where she could end up without the support, love and care she so deserved.

Ike had experienced his share of pain, loss and guilt and was himself lost and adrift, in need of someone to lighten his life, anchor him and heal the pain he feels.

Our couple had, what was supposed to be, a blistering one night stand but, as is often the case with life, this turned out not to be the case and they were brought together again.
They were two broken people with shattered hearts who were perfect for each other and, if they could overcome their fears and doubts, they could become whole again.

Their story, especially Viv’s, was raw, devastating and heart shredding but so powerful, emotionally charged and captivating that you can’t help but be swept up in the tsunami of feelings and emotions that it evokes and hope like hell you survive the experience.

The inclusion of character we met in the previous book – the staff at The Skipper, Pam (Viv’s friend and therapist), along with Viv’s brothers, the various friends and bar patrons all add to the palpable sense of family, community and friendship that Freya builds in her books.

The attraction, heat, passion and sexual pull between our main characters is intense and the sex is off the charts hot. One of my favourite things about Freya’s storytelling is the very healthy injection of desire, sexual appetite and need that her characters display, regardless of the age ~ as in real life, just because they are no longer horny teenagers doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have active and fulfilling sex lives!! 😉

I absolutely adored ‘Cruel Water’. It’s another fantastic installment in the series and I give it 5 much deserved stars!



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Other Books In the series

CURRENTLY ON SALE!

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”From Dust” (#1)

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What Others Are saying

I have only one thing to say about this novel… Inspiring.

Freya Barker has written a story that is gritty, raw and real. A story about what happens when you have the worst thing imaginable happen to you, and the people who should be your support system, don’t believe you.
~ Kez Korner

A five star sensational read. ~ Obsessed by Books

This is one explosive story, touching on subjects sure to tear you apart at times, but it is written with such skill that makes their story so amazing. ~ Lillians Book Blog

This is a breathtaking story of a damaged heroine supported by an strong man who is still recovering from his own emotional wounds. It takes you on journey towards happiness, forgiveness and above all a hope for a future lived free of a painful past. ~ Jezabell Girl and Friends

 


 

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About The Author

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Freya Barker
inspires with her stories about ‘real’ people, perhaps less than perfect, each struggling to find their own slice of happy.

A recipient of the RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for best first book, “Slim To None,” Freya has since published eight books. She continues to spin story after story with an endless supply of bruised and dented characters, vying for attention!

 

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Other books by Freya Barker

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CEDAR TREE SERIES:

Slim To None (#1)

Amazon UK
Nook
Kobo
iBooks
Scribd

Hundred To One (#2)

Amazon
Nook
Kobo
iBooks
Scribd

Against Me (#3)

Amazon
Nook
Kobo
iBooks
Scribd

Clean Lines (#4)

Amazon UK
Nook
Kobo
iBooks
Scribd

Upper Hand (#5)

Amazon
Nook
Kobo
iBooks
Scribd

Like Arrows (#6)

Amazon UK
Nook
Kobo
iBooks
Scribd



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RELEASE BLITZ ~ Autumn’s Rise by R.G.Corr

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Book: Autumn’s Rise
Series: Haywater Novel #1
Author: R.G. Corr

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Hosted By: Francessca’s Romance Reviews

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Synopsis

On the discovery of a family secret and the heart-wrenching events that follow, Autumn Chamberlain has lost what little faith she had in those closest to her. Knowing she can never truly live her life if she remains with her family, and with an abundance of guilt laying heavily in her heart, she escapes the lonely world she felt forced to live in and heads to the seaside town of Haywater. The aim, to look for a new beginning, a fresh start. But she has one clear notion – to never love again.

Talented surfer, Zed Maddison, has always worked hard at protecting those closest to him, until the day he fails. Fighting his own demons, Zed flees his close family; unable to
face them and the remorse he feels before finally arriving in Haywater.

When their worlds collide, Zed has an unfathomable need to protect Autumn and becomes relentless in his fight, forcing Autumn’s defences to the limit.

Can her secrets remain dead and buried?

Or will a revelation destroy everything?

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Prologue

“Dreams are not just something you aspire to in an alternative life; they can become a reality. There is one person controlling your dream, Autumn. It’s time to awaken your beautiful soul, and take one step after another, until one day, you’ll find you’ve travelled a journey you had no idea you were capable of. Even the small steps matter.”

I had to remember Mary’s words. I was doing the right thing. I was sure. Definitely. I allowed my eyes to travel around the insanely huge living area of Greyston Manor. A place I should consider as my home but a building I could only look at with empty eyes.

“Hello, Angel. I came to see if the rumours were true.” A biting chill instantly came over me at the recognition of a voice and that name, which I hadn’t heard in two years. I twisted my suddenly tense body and felt the raw hatred flow through my veins at the man standing before me. My hands immediately wrapped around each other, creating a tiny shield that the likes of Brent McCann could destroy with just one look. His gaze moved to my one solitary suitcase near the door, before settling his attention back on me. “You’re doing it? You’re actually leaving?” he said, amusement ringing in his tone.

Face him, goddamn it. I didn’t want him to know I was afraid of him, of the power and control he managed to rule me with. “Yes, I am.” I jolted up my chin, facing him fully.

He took a step towards me. Instinctively, I took one back. A smirk crossed his smug, preened face. “Are you going to tell me where exactly it is you’re going?”

Fighting against the power he’d always held over me, I answered as firmly as I could. “No, I’m not.” I prayed my tough exterior was more convincing than the pathetic waver I’d heard in my voice. The sound of my heartbeat was thrashing in my ears. I extended my palms to try and relieve the dampness my fear was creating.

Brent preferred, not only to be in charge but to control pitiful women like me. I knew my brief responses would cause him annoyance, but I had no choice. I was leaving Brent, my parents and this life behind.

I watched as his jaw hardened before he moved quickly. He grabbed my arm; his fingers wound tightly around me until he could sense my pain. I closed my eyes briefly, accepting my weakness. “After all I’ve done, you selfish bitch,” he spat at me. His grip turned harder. I willed myself not to cry any more wasted tears. “Don’t look at me with those pathetic, tear stained eyes. I was your only out. You should be thanking me.”

“Thanking you?” I winced at the screeching noise that flew from my mouth. How dare he? I hated him with every cell of my body. How could he believe I owed him anything other than the dirt under my shoe? “Leave me be,” I pleaded, loathing the beaten sound to my voice.

“Oh, I will, Autumn.” He released his grip, the pain was immediately replaced with a stinging throb that I refused to acknowledge. I watched him, in all of his expensive finery, wander across the room towards the door. Revulsion radiated from inside me. He paused before he turned around slowly and addressed me, “Greyston is in your roots, your blood. You will never be anybody without me, or your parents’ money and their stature. You will fail in this life, Autumn, as you already have.” His dark, callous eyes swept the breadth of my body, “Look at yourself and those damn awful clothes. People will pity you when that isn’t what you deserve. You deserve retribution. You can’t hide. People will see you for what you really are. A cold-hearted failure.”

I jolted at the truth behind Brent’s words. Reaching out, I clutched the dresser at my side tightly, in a bid to still my now trembling body. I despised him and all he represented, but I hated him more for truly seeing me. Underneath my clothes, lay the scars and truths that rendered me as the ugliest of them all. Leaving Greyston and the haunting memories was my only option. It wouldn’t ever take away my guilt or erase my shame. That would remain in my heart until the day my final breath left me, but leaving, was the only way I could continue on this earth.

“I will give you your crazed desire for freedom, for now. I will call you when I’m ready, and you will come running back to me, Autumn, I promise. You have no friends left and your parents… well…” his eyebrows raised in amusement as he chuckled, “…they never really cared about you, did they? That’s got to hurt, knowing you’re not good enough even for your parents. You had to settle for Mary, a housekeeper of all things.” Whoa, one step too far. I curled up my hand and flew at him, the need to defend Mary overruling any self-control I had. But he dodged my fist and burst into laughter as I stumbled for balance. “I made you feel alive for the first time in your lonely, sheltered life, and that sickens you.”

I couldn’t respond. His words were true. There had been a point, in the beginning, when I’d been happy, but slowly over time, he ate away at the smallest parts of self-belief I possessed until I accepted his words as my own.

My shoulders sagged with relief as I spied Mary entering the room, her eyes immediately finding mine. As she registered my upset, her jaw clenched before she shifted her attention to Brent. “Mr. McCann, I wasn’t aware you were visiting, it’s been a while,” she said in a clipped tone. If it was at all possible, she held more contempt for him than I did.

“Why, Mary, you’re making me feel old. What happened to calling me, Brent?” Mary hadn’t referred to him by his first name in a number of years. There had been plenty of curse words aimed at him in private, but certainly not the name, Brent.
Turning her head away from him in annoyance, Mary directed her words to me. “Autumn, it’s time for you to go. The car is ready.” My parents’ driver was to take me to the station, where I would board a train to my new life.

“And where might that be to, Mary? Autumn seems to be holding that piece of information back.”
“I am as uncertain as you, Mr. McCann.” Mary knew exactly where I was heading. She’d helped me. My entire life I had only ever been a puppet on a very rigid, unforgiving set of strings, controlled by my parents. I had adhered to each and every one of my parents’ wishes; achieved the grades they required and lived through the heavy-hearted loneliness of the past three years, the worst three years of my life. Mary had seen me through it all and been by my side, on my brief breaks from Hartshead boarding school.

So I was fleeing, beneath a cloud of my parents’ disapproval, but with a sky filled with encouragement from Mary.
Mary looked back at me, a slight hint of a smile pushed at the corners of her mouth, forcing the last ounce of hope to the front of my heart.

“Goodbye, Brent,” I stated calmly.
He curled his lip in amusement before he strolled confidently out of Greyston Manor.
Mary had somehow made it to my side and had taken my hands in her own without me realising it. “Small steps, Autumn. Remember?” Her eyes glistened with the sorrow she felt. “You got to him. Underneath that arrogant face of his, there was fury.” I didn’t want to get to him. I wanted to forget him.

“My parents, they’re not going to be back today, are they?” I asked with a hint of sadness in my tone. Deep down, I knew they wouldn’t be, their daughter leaving home wasn’t a priority. I should be used to it, but I wasn’t. Mary shook her head informing me I wouldn’t be seeing them.

“You’ve accepted your life for what it was for too long a time. Take back what should have been yours all along. Never settle. Fight for what you desire, what you deserve.” Mary’s focus switched to my suitcase. “How about you take a step, Autumn? Life, it’s waiting.” With a final embrace, I moved and collected my suitcase. With my heart pounding, I walked out of the door.



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What others are saying

This was a beautifully written book, the attention to detail was perfect it really made me feel like I was living the story rather than just reading it. I became totally invested in Autumn’s well being so much so that I didn’t want the story to end. ~ Literary Lust

I loved Autumns Rise, and reading it I would never have guessed that this is a debut. The writing is superb and I was totally sucked into the story. I just wanted to give both Autumn and Zed a huge hug. It’s a heartbreaking story but also a story of hope. ~ Blogging for the love of authors and their books

Deep secrets, hope, heartbreak, survival and twists, laced with humour in between; A BEAUTFUL DEBUT BOOK. The attention to detail and her characters just pulled me right in from the very beginning. ~ Blissfully Bookerized


 

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About The Author

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R. G. Corr is a mum of 3 who loves to read almost as much as she does to write. When she’s not working or writing, you’ll find her nose deep in her kindle swooning over her latest book boyfriend.

Having had an overactive imagination for many years, a discussion with a friend at a soft play area, amidst the noise and mayhem of toddlers, finally convinced her to put pen to paper and write her first novel.

Autumn’s Rise, book one in the Haywater series, will be released in February. Book two will follow later in the year.

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