Deck the Halls with #Books: Maggie’s Starring Role by Emily Mims

Hi Everyone! Happy Holidays! The Deck the Halls multi-author event is drawing to a close soon. Here’s a look at participating author Emily Mim’s contemporary romance, plus check out her dressing and gravy recipe. Be sure to enter the event giveaway, too! Enjoy! xo, Celia

Bewitching Book Tours Deck the Halls with Books Event, December 2 through 20

Title: Maggie’s Starring Role
Series: Durango St. Theatre Series
Number: Book Two
Author: Emily Mims
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Company
Release date: Sept. 23, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-951055-16-5
# or Pages: 198
Word count: 68K
Cover Artist: Boroughs Art Department

It’s all about the money, honey.

Maggie Gutierrez’s job is to keep the Durango Street Theatre afloat financially. In other words, she spends her days sticking her hand in people’s pockets in the hopes of pulling out cash. Well, euphemistically.

The Harrington Foundation grant would go a long way to ensuring the theater’s continued survival, but the administrator of the grant is the guy she used to crush on in a big way, and the last time they saw each other…let’s say things didn’t go so well. As in, he blames her for his father’s death.

Soooo…what’s a girl to do? Anything she can to get that grant, including spending time with him, which takes them down a road that might just lead to a forever neither envisioned.

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Maggie’s Starring Role Excerpt

She settled into her desk chair and Kirby sat down across from her. “So are there any questions I can answer for you?” she asked, cursing the faint flush she could feel on her cheeks. She wasn’t sure if it was from wanting to impress him on the theater’s behalf or Kirby himself.

“No. Not a one.” He leaned forward with an unreadable expression. “Don’t get your hopes up about the grant. The only reason I came today was because the Rileys insisted. I have no intention of letting those people award their grant to the Durango.” She caught a smirk starting to cross his face before he schooled it into impassivity.

The rustling coming from the other office stopped. Maggie willed herself not to look up at the gap at the top of the temporary wall. “May I ask why? Don’t we meet the parameters of the grant?” she asked, feigning confusion.

“Actually, you do. If things were different, I would be happy to see them award the grant to the theater. But with things the way they are, I intend to see that they send the grant another direction. I’m sure you understand.”

Maggie’s heart sank as she looked at him. So the grant was lost because of his antipathy toward her. He really was going to take his anger with her out on the whole theater. Damn him, she thought hotly. He was a prick. Some things never change. The grant might be gone, but he wasn’t going to get away with a stunt like this. She’d be damned if she let him walk out the door with no repercussions. He was going to explain himself to everyone at the Durango and the chips could fall where they may. She had nothing to lose. “No, I’m afraid I don’t understand. If we meet the parameters of the grant, why are you so determined that it go elsewhere?”

“Because of your association with the theater,” he said, his voice calm and his expression cold. “I absolutely refuse to work with you. You are directly responsible for my father’s death and I will not work with you, have anything to do with you, or award the grant to the theater that employs you.”

“So let me be clear. You’re mad at me, so you’re willing to take it out on everyone here at the Durango, despite the wonderful proposal, and even though we meet the parameters and need the money desperately. Do I have that right?”

“I wouldn’t have put it that way, but yes. You have that right.” He leaned forward. “Karma’s a bitch, isn’t she?”

“Oh dear. I am so disappointed.” She leaned forward so that they were barely a foot apart. “Especially since your old friend Josh Goldstein, who’s my boss and the executive director of the theater, assured me you’d be fair despite your feelings toward me. Why, he sat in that office next door, the one he’s sitting in right now eavesdropping on this entire conversation, and said you weren’t the kind to take out your feelings about me on the theater.” She looked up and raised her voice. “Did you hear all that, Josh? Guess you were wrong. He doesn’t plan to play fair.”

“Yes, I heard every damned word,” Josh yelled.

“I did, too,” Rachel shouted from her office two doors down.

“So did I,” a deep voice piped up from the lobby.

Kirby’s face morphed from a vindictive smirk to unmasked horror. “You…you knew they were listening,” he gasped. “You knew they’d hear every word.”

“They needed to.” Maggie regarded him steadily. “You’re breaking faith with the Rileys and you’re breaking faith with us. I told you yesterday we both needed to behave in a professional manner. Instead you decided to use the grant as a weapon to pay me back for something in our past that you hold against me. You’re being unfair to the Durango and you’re being unfair to the Rileys. Somebody needs to know. Hopefully someone who will inform the Rileys of your duplicity.”

Kirby opened his mouth but glanced up and closed it again. He muttered something under his breath as he stood up and yanked the door open, slamming it behind him.

Maggie leaned her elbows on the desk and put her chin in her hands. That had been sneaky, but damn it, Kirby had no right to punish the theater because he was mad at her. They deserved a fair shake, and if that meant getting Kirby in trouble for admitting he was using the grant as a weapon, so be it. She giggled as the sound of raised voices filtered into her office. Good. Josh was giving Kirby a deserved ration of shit. And if she wasn’t mistaken, the voice she’d heard in the lobby was none other than Wade Baxter. The Rileys’ grandson. She smirked even as she rubbed her aching temples.

Yes, Kirby, Karma can be a bitch.


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Granny Johnson’s Turkey Dressing and Gravy, by Emily Mims

This recipe is a treasured one from my childhood. We would gather at my grandmother’s home on Christmas Eve, nearly forty of us some years, and this would be on the menu every year, along with a big turkey and candied sweet potatoes and everyone’s favorite side dish.One of my proudest accomplishments is learning to make it just like Granny did. The recipe is admittedly complicated, but the end result is more than worth it!

(1) Two pans or baking sheets of homemade biscuits. Any homemade biscuits will work.

(2) Three recipes of buttermilk cornbread below. (Two if just the 6 of you.)

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups yellow or white cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk or something like ½ and ½ if your bunch doesn’t like buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs

Heat oil in 10 inch cast iron pan, pie pan, or whatever in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes. Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Mix and make a well in center. Add buttermilk and eggs and pour into skillet or pie pan. Bake 20-30 minutes or until golden. (The time kind of depends on the oven. Just watch and don’t let it burn.)

(3) Dressing itself…

Cornbread and biscuit mixture described below.
10-15 eggs, fewer if 2 recipes, more if 3
1-2 cups onions, fewer if 2 recipes, more if 3
Salt to taste

Rubbed sage to taste–I usually end up using most or all of a jar so buy 2.

Whatever turkey juice collects in the bottom of the pan–I always add water to the bottom of the pan to get more juice. If the turkey juice is loaded with butter, so much the better.

LOTS of chicken broth–I’ve seen the time that, with three recipes, I’ve used almost a gallon of broth. The cornbread and biscuits soak up the fluid like crazy. This may seem like a lot, but that’s what makes it moist and creamy. Too little and it will be dry. Don’t try to do this with the little cans–buy several cartons. Better yet, make your own. I collect chicken parts for several weeks-the skin and bones of breasts or the backs and innards of whole chickens or both and boil them for several hours. It’s way cheaper to make your own. If you do buy the cartons, be careful about the amount of salt you add as those are frequently salty already.

Cuisinart biscuits and cornbread. Mix in a 3 cornbread/2 biscuit ratio by volume until cornbread is gone. (Eat rest of biscuits for breakfast.)
Cut up and boil onions until they are soft and clear.
Add onions and cooking broth.
Add eggs.
Add turkey juice and chicken broth until downright wet and it stirs easily.
Add salt (carefully if using prepared chicken broth) and sage to taste.

(Note–at this point if it grew in the pan and you have a lot more than you think you can use, freeze part of it to bake later.)

Bake in large, deep baking dishes like Corningware or a Dutch oven. (It will dry out in a cake pan.) I usually cover mine so it stays moist.

Cook 1 ½ hours or until set throughout but you can and should stir it occasionally so it cooks evenly and doesn’t get hard along the sides of the pan. If it starts to dry out add more broth.

Please, please cook this separately from the turkey itself. With this many eggs, I worry about it not getting up to temperature in the cavity of the turkey.

I usually make the cornbread and biscuits the day before so they can cool completely before I run them through the Cuisinart.

You will need a HUGE mixing bowl to do this. My mixing bowls are those great big metal ones that are actually wider than my sink. Treat yourself to one if you don’t have one.


  • Innards and neck from turkey
  • ½ cup of flour
  • Two boiled eggs
  • Some turkey broth from turkey if desired
  • Salt

Boil the innards from the turkey in 1 or two cups of water. Keep adding water for an hour or two until you have the goodness from the turkey parts.

Brown the flour in the oven 13-20 minutes until it’s light brown.

When dinner is close, remove the innards and the neck. If desired, chop the liver, gizzard, etc. and return to the broth.
Add the flour and stir until it reaches the consistency you desire.
You can also add a little of the broth from the turkey itself to add a bit more flavor. Add salt but do it carefully as some of the ingredients already have salt in them.
Slice the boiled eggs and add to the gravy.

Note: This can be cut down to one cornbread recipe, one sheet of biscuits, 5 eggs, ¾ cup onion plus whatever broth is needed for a smaller dinner. I made it last night to go with a baked chicken and used the juice from the chicken along with the broth. It was good but did suffer some from not having the actual turkey juices.


About Emily Mims

Emily Mims headshot

Author of nearly forty romance novels, Emily Mims combined her writing career with a career in public education until leaving the classroom to write fulltime. The mother of two sons, she and her husband split their time between their home in San Antonio and a second home on Lake Buchanan, and make frequent trips to Tennessee to visit their grandchildren. For fun, she plays the piano, organ and dulcimer, and plays her ukulele and sings in two different performing groups. She says, “I love to write romances because I believe in them. Romance happened to me and it can happen to any woman-if she’ll just let it.”

Web Site | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Bewitching Book Tours Deck The Halls Holiday Extravaganza Giveaway

Emily Mim’s prize in multi-author giveaway: 1 copy of Maggie’s Starring Role and $10 Amazon gift card

Enter the Deck The Halls Holiday Extravaganza Rafflecopter Giveaway –>


Deck the Halls #Holiday #Recipe & Spotlight: Charm Me Again by @TenaStetler

Hello My Dear Readers! The Deck The Halls Holiday fun continues with a look at author Tena Stetler’s paranormal romance. Plus, check out her Fantasy Fudge Recipe and be sure to enter the multi-author event giveaway. xo, Celia

Bewitching Book Tours Deck the Halls Holiday Extravaganza, Dec. 12 - 20

Title: Charm Me Again
Number: Sequel to Charm Me
Author: Tena Stetler
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Mystery
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Release date: December 9, 2019
ISBN 13: 978-1-5092-2973-4
# or Pages: 336
Word count: 85,360
Cover Artist: Kristian Norris

Breaking the curse is only the first step to forever.

Daylan, a warlock, is being haunted, but what the ghost wants is a mystery. His magical powers bring him no closer to an answer—until he encounters Josie, a Yoga instructor.

But when she is kidnapped by an ancient Fae Warrior set on revenge Daylan must rescue her before the rogue claims her as his own. During his quest, his world spirals out of control, and a devastating curse comes to light. Could the ghost hold the answers he needs?

Can he break the age-old curse to save Josie and their future, or will Daylan lose her forever?

Amazon US | Amazon UK |Amazon AU |Amazon CA |BookBub | GoodReads

Charm Me Again Excerpt

Suddenly, the wind changed direction, a thin maroon line formed along the flat bottom of the dark clouds spreading across the sky where moments before there’d been only a few fluffy cotton ball clouds in a sea of blue. The maroon line widened then switched to vertical and spread open to reveal a shimmering interior.

Shadows emerged from the cloud then disappeared. As he was about to comment, huge raindrops plopped on the ground followed by pea size hail that grew to softball size.

Josie ran for cover and he followed. Protected under a ledge, she cupped her hands over her ears as the roaring of the storm combined with huge ice balls smashing against rocks echoed through the canyon. She elbowed him and cocked a brow in question, pointing to the vegetation that remained unharmed.

His eyes narrowed. Something isn’t right. I can feel it. Magic is spinning this storm. But who—how and why? At a loss for answers, he shrugged and urged her further under the ledge to wait out the storm. Brushing the wet strands of hair out of her face, he smiled. She looked like a drowned rat but the fragrance around her reminded him of sweet spring flowers. He leaned into to her and brushed his lips over hers. Immediately, he straightened and backed away. Her eyes were still closed. Maybe I could’ve lingered…

Her eyes blinked open and she licked her lips. After a beat, she waggled a finger in front of him. “Not a good idea.”


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Twinkle Bright – Elves Secret Santa & Fantasy Fudge Recipe, by Tena Stetler

hot chocolate picture Direct from the North Pole, welcome to the Elves Secret Santa party! Here at the North Pole it’s extremely busy, but we still have time for a little holiday fun and shenanigans. Let me introduce myself. I’m an elf and my name is Twinkle Bright because my elf hat has twinkle lights wound all around the scalloped edge and the pointy top.

I make yummy Hot Chocolate for Santa and the elves from a secret family recipe passed down from generation to generation. My hot chocolate keeps everyone warm and toasty inside at the North Pole. Do you like fudge? Great, I’ll share with you my favorite Fantasy Fudge Recipe.


  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 – 5 oz can of evaporated milk (do not use sweetened condensed milk)
  • 1 – 12 oz package semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 – 7 oz jar marshmallow cream
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • You may add chopped nuts if you wish

fudge picture


Bring sugar, butter, and evaporated milk to a full rolling boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Cook for four minutes or until a candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees.
High altitude takes about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and marshmallow cream. Stir until melted.

Add vanilla and nuts. Stir until blended.

Pour into a greased 9×13 pan, spread evenly.

Cool completely and cut into squares.

About Tena Stetler

Tena Stetler is a best-selling author of award winning paranormal romance novels. She has an over-active imagination, which led to writing her first vampire romance as a tween to the chagrin of her mother and delight of her friends.

With the Rocky Mountains outside her window, she sits at her computer surrounded by a wide array of paranormal creatures, with a Navy SEAL or two mixed in telling their tales. Her books tell stories of magical kick-ass women and strong mystical males that dare to love them. Travel, adventure and a bit of mystery flourish in her books along with a few companion animals to round out the tales.

Colorado is her home; shared with her husband of many moons, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a forty-five-year-old box turtle. Any winter evening, you can find her curled up in front of a crackling fire with a good book, a mug of hot chocolate and a big bowl of popcorn.

Web Site | Blog: Authors’ Secrets | Tena Stetler’s Say What Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Amazon Author Page | Newsletter | Pinterest | Instagram | Triberr | BookBub | Tumblr

Bewitching Book Tours Deck The Halls Holiday Extravaganza Giveaway

Tena Stetler’s prize in multi-author giveaway: $15.00 Amazon Gift Card, plus one of Tena’s e-books, winner’s choice.

Enter the Deck The Halls Holiday Extravaganza Rafflecopter Giveaway –>


Spotlight & #Review: Skin Deep by L. R. Couch

Hello Dear Readers,
I recently read a contemporary romance by fellow Champagne Books author L. R. Couch. Check out my thoughts on the story, and enjoy an excerpt.
Happy reading!

skin deep by l r couch book cover

Title: Skin Deep
Author: L. R. Couch
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Champagne Book Group
Release date: January, 2019
ASIN: B07M8355CW
# or Pages: 437

Hot, talent and a heart of gold… resistance is futile.

Keller Scott wants to embrace his inner Buscemi and channel his Dafoe, but damn, if his looks don’t keep getting in the way. He’s dying to be taken seriously as an actor and land some legit roles that don’t feature him shirtless, or worse. His playboy reputation precedes him, but that’s not who he is on the inside. Lately, he’s not even sure where Hollywood’s version ends and the real Keller Scott begins.

Enter Joey Mitchell. When she shows up at his office, vying to be his next Personal Assistant, Keller has no doubt that this Summa Cum Laude, USC grad is perfect for the position. She’s hot; petite and curvy in all the right places. But, a starry-eyed fan girl she’s not. Joey packs a mean left hook, along with some blistering hot pepper-spray. She kicks ass and takes names and doesn’t hesitate to put Keller in his place, a few times. On the outside, she’s all business and confidence for days, but on the inside, she’s broken and barely holding it together. Too many secrets and too much sorrow have taken their toll.

Keller and Joey’s lives collide on a more personal level when her best kept secret steals his heart. What begins as a PR goldmine in a pediatric cancer ward, becomes something else entirely. One amazing kid, with a spirit as big as the sky and eyes just as blue- has love enough to bring out the very best in Keller and help Joey heal.

Amazon US | B&N | Champagne Books | GoodReads

Celia’s Review: Skin Deep

Hot & Heartwarming

Contemporary romance fans, take note—Skin Deep by L. R. Couch may lure you in and steal your heart.

The story opens with the a cocky, rather unlikeable hero named Keller. I have no problem disliking one or both of the main characters when first introduced to them, as long as they grow and change during their hero’s journey. Keller does indeed become a decent human, so kudos to the author for this. The Meet Cute for our hero and heroine is an amusing misunderstanding and an enjoyable classic Rom-Com moment. Joey comes across as tough and smart—-a nice combo for a heroine—with some realistic and heart–wrenching ghosts in her mental closet.

In terms of characterization, both Keller and Joey are believable, flawed characters. At times they’re impulsive and irrational; they make mistakes, and this makes them interesting. The characterization for the rest of the cast is also spot on. I was particularly amused by Keller’s friends. The dialogue is both realistic and laugh-out-loud funny at times. The cast spends a fair amount of time at their favorite bar, so expect some goofy drunk-speak, too. And then there’s Charlie. Oh, my heart…this little boy drew me in and made me misty-eyed on more than one occasion. He provides a strong dramatic hook for the story, helping to move the at-times slow-paced plot along, and also serves as a focal point for our two lovebirds. No spoilers here, but know that thanks to this child, both Joey and Keller have a load of internal and external conflict to process.

The one con for me in this story is the pace. We’re in deep point-of-view (POV) with both Keller and Joey, and this is nice for a character-driven story. However, the pace was significantly slowed by the overlapping action in the majority of the chapters. Whatever plot point happened at the end of one POV chapter was repeated in the opening of the new chapter in the other character’s POV. This backtracking—instead of picking up where the moment left off—caused the pace to drag and sometimes pulled me out of the drama of the moment.

Leisurely pace aside, Skin Deep is a heart-wrenching and hot read. Joey and Keller sizzle during their intimate moments and that’s thanks to the author’s solid writing skills. Bottom line: it’s an entertaining contemporary romance and a good contribution to the genre.

* 4 Stars given on GoodReads. Complimentary copy received in exchange for a review.

Skin Deep Excerpt

Chapter 1 – Keller

Don’t hate me because I’m hot. It’s just who I am, who I’ve always been. Throw in the fact that I’m a Scott, and well, it just doesn’t get any better than that…at least not in Hollywood. My mother is Felicity Scott; Oscar award-winning actress…six times now, not to mention all the other awards she’s garnered over the years. She’s still America’s sweetheart for fuck’s sake. I got my good looks from her. My father? Not so much: gangly red hair and pale as a ghost. Thank God for my mother’s Guatemalan genes.

Chapter 2 – Joey

I seriously hope I don’t regret this. I mean, it’s not exactly what I dreamed I’d be doing when I graduated magna cum laude from USC. All the years I spent fighting and trying to make a name for myself finally paid off when I earned myself an all-expense paid, academic scholarship to the number one school on my very short list.


So, here I am, straightening my tie and practicing my most confident smile in the mirror before heading out the door. […] I grab my bag and head to the interview.


About L. R. Couch

Writing is her passion–romance, suspense, thrillers, and other things that go bump in the night… “I write Romance and I’m not ashamed to admit that I wear my heart on my sleeve. Yeah, I get stung a lot, but I’m also blessed on the regular, because of it.”

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Deck the Halls #Holiday Spotlight on #ParanormalRomance: The Sugar Maple Chronicles by @barbarabretton

Hello Dear Readers, Author Barbara Bretton is here today with her paranormal romance and some movie recs for the holidays. Be sure to enter the Bewitching Book Tours multi-author, holiday giveaway, too! Enjoy! xo, Celia

Title: Enraptured: The Discovery
Number: The Sugar Maple Chronicles
Series: Book Seven
Author: Barbara Bretton
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Free Spirit Press
Release date: October 15, 2019
# or Pages: 255
Word count: 66,000
Cover Artist: Barbara Bretton

Welcome to Sugar Maple – where nothing is quite the way it seems

Chloe Hobbs, knit shop owner extraordinaire and de facto mayor of the picture-postcard perfect New England town, has faced danger to her beloved home before but this time she might have met her match.

When tech billionaire Jack Whittaker crashes his small plane in the middle of the Holiday Street Fair, the town’s future is suddenly in jeopardy. Plunged into a whirlwind of magick and mystery that includes Fae warriors and flying babies, Jack discovers a secret cave where a reflecting pool offers tantalizing glimpses into both the past and the future.

With two lives hanging in the balance, Chloe is in a race against time to uncover the secrets hidden inside the cave before it’s too late.


Enraptured: The Discovery EXCERPT

Are you a worrier?

Since the birth of my daughter last year, I have become a world-class, gold medal-winning worrier. I worry that Laria isn’t getting enough sleep and then, when she’s snuggled down for the night, I lurk in the doorway to her room and listen for the soft sound of her breathing. I worry that she isn’t getting enough milk. I worry about the transition to solids. I worry about childproofing our cottage. I worry about potty training and her first day of school.

Mostly I worry about what she’s going to be when she grows up. All things considered, that’s pretty silly because everyone in Sugar Maple knows that Laria’s future had been determined long before she was born.

But, then again, so was mine.

I’m Chloe Hobbs, the half-sorceress/half-human owner of Sticks & Strings, the most popular yarn shop in New England. (And maybe the entire east coast . . . not that I’m proud of it, or anything.) I’m also the de factomayor of Sugar Maple, one of those postcard-perfect towns Vermont is famous for, a picturesque throwback to simpler times.

At least, that’s what we want you to think.

The truth is, there is a lot more to our small town than meets the eye. My BFF Janice, who owns the spa across the street, is a Harvard-educated witch married to a strapping selkie. Lynette, my other BFF, is a shapeshifter. She and her husband and kids keep our local theater up and running. A werewolf and his sons operate the hardware store.

A Norwegian troll named Lilith maintains both our library and our historical society. Three generations of Fae run the Sugar Maple Inn and restaurant. Don’t laugh, but a team of vampires own the funeral home.

And that’s just for starters.

We have been hiding here in plain sight since my sorceress ancestor Aerynn fled the horrors of Salem centuries ago to found a sanctuary for other magicks like her.

I’m not bragging when I say that for over three hundred years, we’ve done a pretty good job of flying below the radar. The fact that you didn’t know about us is proof of that. Thanks to a protective charm created by Aerynn, we have been able to escape discovery even while living and working among humans. I’ll admit, however, that it was a lot easier before the Internet and drones and smartphones became part of our daily lives.

And there are a few old-timers around town who would say I was the biggest threat of all. We were already a popular stop for tourists looking to experience a trip to nostalgic, old school New England, when the runaway success of Sticks & Strings added a steady stream of knitters to our village. Now I’m not saying knitters are nosier than your average visitor, but nothing much gets by them. A dedicated knitter can sniff out a bargain three towns away and will do anything to reel that treasure in.

But knitters go home at night, something you can’t always say about relatives.


Christmas movies! Is there anything better than curling up on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate, a special someone, and a full slate of Christmas movies ready to take you away? Some of them are universal favorites. Some of them are up for debate. (Die Hard? That’s a no from me but my husband will argue the point for days!) Here are a few of mine. I’d love to know where they rank on your list of must-watch holiday movies.

Miracle on 34th Street – This is a Thanksgiving evening tradition in our house. The holidays don’t start until Kris Kringle shows up.

Holiday Inn – One look at Bing Crosby’s farmhouse and I’m ready to pack my bags and time travel back to 1940s Connecticut.

A Christmas Carol – The George C. Scott version gets me every time. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve watched this classic, I turn into a teary mess when Tiny Tim runs into Scrooge’s arms at the end. Great from beginning to end.

White Christmas – Silly? Yes. Sentimental. Of course. (It’s the holiday season, isn’t it?) Outdated? In many ways. But I still love it.

Christmas in Connecticut – The Barbara Stanwyck original version. (And who doesn’t love S. Z “Cuddles” Sakall?)

I hope you’ll share your own list.

author photo

About Barbara Bretton

Barbara Bretton is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of fifty books. Her titles have been published in twelve languages in over twenty countries by Harlequin, Berkley, Crown, Pocket, and Free Spirit Press. When Barbara isn’t writing, she can be found knitting, reading, and cooking in New Jersey with her husband and a house filled with pets.

Web Site-1 | Web Site-2 | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | BookBub | Amazon Author Page | GoodReads | Newsletter

Bewitching Book Tours Deck The Halls Holiday Extravaganza Giveaway

Barbara Bretton’s prize in multi-author giveaway: 1 $25 e-gift card to Amazon

Enter the Deck The Halls Holiday Extravaganza Rafflecopter Giveaway –>


Deck the Halls with #Books Tour: @CeliaBreslin’s Tranquilli Bloodline & Black Hills Wolves

Happy Holidays, My Dear Readers!

To celebrate this holiday month, I’m taking my vampires and wolves on tour.
Tranquilli Bloodline series  by Celia Breslin December 2019 tour banner Under A Mating Moon  by Celia Breslin December 2019 tour photoAll the full-length novels in the Tranquilli Bloodline are on tour for this one, so you can see all three shiny new, awesome-sauce covers! Plus have a look at Under A Mating Moon from the Black Hills Wolves series.

Visit any stop below for book excerpts, my viewing and listening recommendations for the holidays, and holiday dessert recipes. Plus, be sure to enter the multi-author giveaway, too.

Plus, come chat with me at the Deck The Halls With Books Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on Wednesday, December 11. I’ll be there at 10 a.m. PT/ 1 p.m. ET. Yes, there will be more prizes to win. 🙂

Tranquilli Bloodline series  by Celia Breslin December 2019 tour banner Under A Mating Moon by Celia Breslin December 2019 tour banner


12/2 Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read
12/3 Books 4 Book Nerds
12/4 Horror Made
12/4 The Book Junkie Reads
12/5 Authors’ Secrets
12/6 Roxanne’s Realm
12/9 The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
12/10 Jazzy Book Reviews
12/10 JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder
12/11 Sapphyria’s Books
12/12 Simply Kelina
12/16 Lisa’s World of Books
12/17 Angel’s Guilty Pleasures
12/18 T’s Stuff
12/18 Booklikes
12/19 Ilovebooksandstuffblog
12/19 Fang-tastic Books
12/20 Paranormalists
12/20 Urban Fantasy Investigations


12/2 Paranormalists
12/3 6 Feet Under Books
12/3 6 Feet Under Books on Facebook
12/3 Books 4 Book Nerds
12/4 The Book Junkie Reads
12/4 Ilovebooksandstuffblog
12/5 Sapphyria’s Books
12/6 JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder
12/9 Simply Kelina
12/10 Roxanne’s Realm
12/11 The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
12/12 Booklikes
12/13 Fang-tastic Books
12/16 T’s Stuff
12/17 Jazzy Book Reviews
12/18 Boundless Book Reviews
12/18 Lisa’s World of Books
12/19 I Smell Sheep
12/20 Supernatural Central

Bewitching Book Tours Deck The Halls With Books Holiday Extravaganza Giveaway

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Tranquilli Bloodline & Under A Mating Moon tours are managed by book publicist Roxanne Rhoads of the fab Bewitching Book Tours.

Spotlight on #Vampire #ParanormalRomance: Seducing the Darkness by Shiela Stewart

Hello Dear Readers,
Fellow Champagne Books author Sheila Stewart returns to my blog with her vampire paranormal romance. It has a spiffy new cover and a new excerpt for you to enjoy. Check out another excerpt here. Happy reading!
xo, Celia

Seducing the Darkness by Shiela Stewart new book cover

Title: Seducing the Darkness
Series: Darkness
Author: Shiela Stewart
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: November, 2015 / (new cover, 2019)
Publisher: Champagne Book Group

Trinity was once a fragile girl. Being taken by a powerful vampire prince changed her. Discovering him in the arms of another woman changed destiny. Alone, she’s learned fast how to be tough, how to survive, and how to protect the people in her city from the evil that lurks in the dark. She was managing just fine, until Basil walked back into her life.

Basil Hawthorn has been the reigning prince of vampires since banishing his father to the Realm of Dark Mystics decades earlier. When a prophetic dream makes him realize Trinity’s life is at risk, he decides the only way to save her is to push her away. Doing so is not easy. Trinity is the only woman he has ever loved, ever will love, and he can’t seem to let her go.

When rumors arise of a plan to raise the King and blot out the sun, both Trinity and Basil know they must do everything to stop it. Even if it means working together. Despite the betrayal and the threat, they find themselves drawn to each other. Love has no boundaries, especially in the face of danger. But will they be able to stop the ritual before it’s too late?

Or will the darkness capture them both?

Amazon US | Amazon US (Darkness Series) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Champagne

Seducing the Darkness Excerpt

That damn itch she’d been having lately was back, and it was driving her nuts. Rolling her shoulders, she watched two redheads staggering from the bar’s exit and towards a dimly lit street.

Here we go again. She kept to the shadows as she followed after them. Uneventfully, they made it to their car and drove off. She hoped the cops were out tonight and those two were hauled in to sleep off their drunk.

Turning back to the club, she waited and watched for the next two hours and was glad nothing had happened. So far. But the night was still young.

“Can you smell it?”

She didn’t jump, but slowly looked over at Basil who appeared next to her. She hated when he just appeared out of thin air, but she knew he loved that entrance the best. “Your stink? Always.”

He didn’t sneer at her but slowly lifted his hand and lit the cigarette between his fingers. “The blood of a human. Does it still draw you in, make you hunger, make you want?”

“I’ve got a strong will.” Deliberately, she shifted away from him. It wasn’t only the smoke that bothered her—and always had—but his scent. It pissed her off that he could still make her ache.

She waved the smoke away annoyingly and shifted just a bit farther away. “Why are you skulking, Basil? Because if you’re following me, I am going to so kick your ass.”
“I was in the neighborhood.”

She glared at him and growled her response. “If you’re here to drink, let me warn you now that I won’t allow it.”

“Who am I supposed to drink from now that I no longer am nourished by your blood?”

She chose not to answer that. “Why does it seem that you’re always around, lurking in the dark, around places that aren’t your usual hangouts? Unless….there’s a reason?” The thought stabbed into her, and though she didn’t want to believe it, she had to ask. “Are you trying to take more females of your own? Are you the one abducting young girls?”

With one quick and easy flick, he tossed the cigarette into the darkness. The red tip glowed as it flew through the air before landing on the gravel to bounce and spit out a cloud of red sparkling fireworks. “I will not even dignify that with an answer.”

“It’s so obvious, now that I think about it. I was young when you took me, made me yours. Is that what you’re doing, Basil, making another mate?”

His icy blue eyes narrowed dangerously as he stepped closer. “I have a mate and to think you would even have such a thought sickens me.”

“You don’t have me, Basil.” Her voice grew dangerous. “If I’m so wrong, then do explain to me why you’re always out in the darkness, skulking near all these young girls?”

“The very same reason you are, my dear.” He ran a finger along her face, making her scowl.

She snorted, stepping away from him before he decided to do something stupid, like kiss her. “Please, I hardly think you’re out here looking to find the person or persons responsible for taking four innocent girls.”

Leaning against the building behind them, Basil looked off into the direction of the bar and the people waiting in line to be allowed inside. “You think so little of me and that’s a shame. But I suppose I’ve done it to myself. Yes, Trinity, I am looking to find out who took those young girls, as you are. And why you might ask?” He shifted towards her, sliding in nice and close and making her pulse speed up. He laid his fingers on her cheek, then slowly slid them along her face. “Because I have a feeling I am connected to the reason they’ve been taken.”

She had all but a moment to open her mouth to respond when he closed it with a mind numbing kiss, then pulling away, turned into a dog and scampered away.

Now what the hell did he mean by that?

About Shiela Stewart

Shiela Stewart headshotShiela Stewart is a paranormal suspense author with a writing history that stems back to her youth. Always a dreamer, wondering if her stories would ever reach an audience, she was finally published in 2006 and hasn’t stopped since. It is rare to find a stand-alone book as she prefers series stories. Her longest running series to date is her Darkness series, which is a vampire romance.

Her joy for scary suspense is evident in each of her books. She has had several accomplishments, including fighting for the top spot in the rankings with author Stephanie Myers, receiving glowing reviews as well as interviews on local television and reviews and interviews in The Romantic Times Magazine.

When not writing, Shiela spends her time with the love of her life, William, and their children and grandchildren.. Her strong affection for animals is evident in the many cats she cares for.

Her favorite time of the day is at sunset.

Connect with Shiela Stewart

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter |


Spotlight on #UrbanFantasy: Mostly Innocent by @AuthorJMJinks

Hi Everyone! Author J. M. Jinks is back with another look at her fun urban fantasy story. I was her editor for this one last year, back when I freelanced for Champagne Books. If you like snarky, kickass heroines and heroes with big hearts and a whole lot of brawn, check it out. Happy reading! xo, Celia

Urban Fantasy: Mostly Innocent - JM Jinks author banner

Mostly Innocent Book Cover

Title: Mostly Innocent
Series & #: A Powers That Be Novel, #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Champagne Books
Date of Publication: 10/22/2018
ISBN: 978-1-947128-63-7
Word Count: 72K

If you can’t beat them, seduce them

Meet Layla James, your typical smart and snarky chick—except for the whole succubus thing. After nearly a millennium on Earth, Layla’s settled down in a boring life in Palm Springs, until a smoking-hot hunter comes to arrest her for murder. But Layla knows the rules—she’d never kill someone and incite the wrath of The Powers That Be.

Elijah Daines is a hunter, maintaining the balance of good and evil in the mortal realm, his power stronger than any hunter she’s ever encountered. Plus, he’s a seriously sexy distraction. Too bad he’s accused her of a crime she didn’t commit.

As the killer continues a murder spree that not only frames Layla but threatens to expose the existence of supernatural creatures to humans, Layla and Elijah team up to investigate. Hopefully, they can fight off their escalating attraction for each other long enough to exonerate her and stop the murder madness.

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | GoodReads

Mostly Innocent Excerpt

He edged nearer the counter. I, or maybe my succubus, decided on a whim I would not be intimidated by his power. I wasn’t sure where my sudden courage came from. He had to have sensed my succubus signature. We weren’t a violent race when we controlled our urges. I’m Queen of Control over here. I’m sure he knows I won’t hurt him. Right?

But why is he here? Something must be wrong.

With every step he took closer, I had a better look at him. His dark hair was in slight disarray and his crystal blue eyes scoured my face. He towered over me in every sense of the word. My stomach dipped.
He and Jolene should go back-to-back so I can get an accurate measure of his height.

I shook away my thoughts of him. Given his disapproving glare, he came here on a mission. Greek god or not, he was still a hunter, and I—

I was a product of evil, aka something he hunts.

“Succubus,” he growled. One little word filled with eons of unabashed hatred. It vibrated through me. All hopes of him wanting a new bathroom paint color vanished. No, this visit wouldn’t be pleasant, not at all.

Perhaps I could seduce him. Hell, he could do me right on the floor of aisle nine next to the light fixtures, if it kept him from killing me. I bit my lip. Hunters weren’t typically susceptible to succubi charms. A failed attempt of Aphrodisia could earn me more problems.

I released a breath. Some buried-deep, natural instinct rolled through me again, and I decided to stand my ground. I stood straighter and barked back, “Hunter.”


About J. M. Jinks

J.M. Jinks lives with her husband, son, two dogs, and two cats in Southern California. She is a teacher in the sunlight and a writer in the starlight.

J.M. has always had a love of reading that progressed into writing. She tried to write books even when she was very young, but she never completed a manuscript until she finished Mostly Innocent, A Powers That Be Novel, Book 1.

Since, J.M. has continued writing and immersing herself in the publishing world mostly through Twitter and the AMAZING writing community. Since publishing Mostly Innocent, J.M. has won a few writing competitions (#WriteMentor and #RevPit to name a few) and is currently seeking agent representation. Also, starting in July 2019, J.M. is the social media coordinator and an editor for Mostly Innocent’s home: Champagne Book Group.

J.M. herself loves to read fantasy, historical, new adult, paranormal, urban fantasy, romance, scifi, and dystopian novels. But any book with a great voice intrigues her. She has been inspired by JK Rowling, Sarah J. Maas, Vi Keeland, Richelle Mead, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Scarlett Dawn, Ray Bradbury, Ayn Rand, Coleen Hoover, Laura Thalassa, Erin Watt, Darynda Jones,Karina Halle, and a million more.

Web site | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Email: Jm(at)



Spotlight on #ParanormalRomance: Claimed Series, by @AndreaRCooper

Hello Dear Readers! Fellow Champagne Books author Andrea R. Cooper is here today with not one, but four books from “Claimed,” her paranormal romance series. Read on for info and excerpts. Enjoy! xo, Celia

Claimed by Andrea R. Cooper book cover image

Title: Claimed
Series & #: Claimed, book 1
Author: Andrea R. Cooper
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Champagne Books
Date of 2nd Publication (new cover): August, 2019
Page Count: 313

Renee Maxwell lands her dream job as assistant to archaeologist Damon Cubins in wondrous Turkey. However, she starts seeing strange things after finding a unique crystal. For one, hot Damon now looks like the sexy demi-god and underwear model of her dreams. Her feminist ideals are challenged with each bit of banter and seductive look he gives her, but she’s not falling for his charm.

Time is of the essence for incubus, Damon Cubins, who must find a one-of-a-kind crystal or turn into a full-fledged demon. He has neither the time nor desire for love, but his new assistant tests his resolve. When he discovers she’s got the crystal he needs to save himself, he must make a decision to either romance it from her or walk away. But can he?

BooksToRead | Watch the Claimed Trailer

Claimed Excerpt

After his nod, she breathed out a sigh. She looked as if she anticipated that he would haul her back into the water for a lesson. Her movements reminded him of abused animals. He speculated that most people, who couldn’t swim but who may have grown up around water, would try to learn unless they experienced a trauma or drowning in the past. Could that have happened to her? There was more to this situation than her usual stubbornness. Vulnerability even.

As she leaned over to finish filling her canteen, her ample bosom peeked out. His lust twisted at the thought of the sounds she would make when he kissed her nipples until they pebbled.

Suddenly, she jerked up, spilling some of the water. “Did you get a good enough view?”
He opened his mouth, but no words came out. Without waiting for his reply, she stormed away.

Damon flopped backward, letting his body float. His mind drifted to images of making love to Renee in the river. After he helped her overcome her phobia, somehow. Hmm, he could kiss her down there while she treaded water.

Nah, she’d never go for it.

This is a business trip. No time for sleeping with the staff, no matter how sexy they are when arguing with him.


Fallen by Andrea R. Cooper book cover image

Title: Fallen
Series & #: Claimed, book 2
Author: Andrea R. Cooper
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Champagne Books
Date of Publication: September, 2019
Page Count: 278

She has seduced men everywhere…but never fallen in love. Until now.

Succubus Adeline lost her powers. The crystal that all her kind crave has attached itself to her and rendered her powerless. Unless she finds a way to remove it, she’ll transform into a human–a fate worse than death.

Soon the tables are turned on the succubus, and the succubus finds herself the one at the mercy of desire.

Jack is running from vamps and weres. They want his hidden doppelgänger talents to locate a stone that enables weres to transform at will, but he just wants to be left alone. Now he has a bounty hunter after him.

In a race against time, vampires, and weres, Adeline and Jack travel from Boston to Greece to New Orleans to stay ahead of the hunters.

When Jack confronts a dangerous voodoo queen alone, Adeline learns that love is sacrifice. But will they both survive the lesson?


Fallen Excerpt

She scrolled through her cell as the taxi turned at a light, and Greek swear words were exchanged between their driver and an electric scooter rider. Jack’s eyes closed, and his head rested on the back of the seat, his cheeks pale.

What would she do if the order came from the master vampire who was after him? Jack tied himself to Beth in order to save Adeline. How can I repay him? The crystal latched onto her wrist caught the light. Right, if I don’t get this thing removed soon, all of my kin nearing 5,000 years will put a bounty on me. Visiting the Oracle, on behalf of a witchdoctor, would give her the chance to get information about removing the quartz without dying.

Her gaze glided over the Oracle voodoo doll. No, she’d probably be lucky if the Oracle didn’t strangle them when she met them.

Adeline dug out a mint and shivered when she pushed aside the cuffs in her purse. Snippets of hot memory of Jack on her made her debate sending the cab driver away for a few hours and straddling Jack. She offered him a mint and took one for herself. His hand brushed hers as the taxi took a sharp turn, its tires squealing.

Focus. It’s only his borrowed powers that make you feel this way. My powers. She checked her texts. Most were from men around the world asking when she’d come see them. Delete, delete, delete. Two messages from Renee, one from Damon, and one from her employer. She cringed.

Status update pronto. Never taken you this long to tag and bag a guy.

Yeah, well she’d never been without her abilities before. Working on it. She texted a reply.

Both of Renee’s notes were short, and the last one cryptic. You okay? Any update? And Call us when you can. We have something to discuss with you.

Damon’s text was blunt: Gotten the rock off yet? Or are you being chased?

Meaning by incubi and succubus who craved the crystal to amplify their gift and avoid becoming demons, or ones who already twisted and sought more wars and violence in the world of mankind. Of course, she’d tried everything to get it off. Even offered it to Damon and her succubus cousin, Samara, but the bracelet wouldn’t let go.


Lyric by Andrea R. Cooper book cover image

Title: Lyric
Series & #: Claimed, book 2.5
Author: Andrea R. Cooper
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Champagne Books
Date of Publication: April, 2017
Page Count: 139

No man can resist a siren’s song…

Cassie must convince a CEO to give her interior decorating company a chance at his offices in order to stay in the black. But even using her half-siren voice, he refuses. What can she do to change his mind?

Daniel Davis has a secret he’s paid hundreds of thousands to keep that way. Now when exotic Cassie marches into his office, he can’t stop thinking about her and makes her an offer. Be his date for a high-profile party and he’ll consider her company for his office redecorating project.

After an accident, Cassie gives Daniel her blood to heal him. Trouble is, if she can’t keep him alive, he’ll become a soulless ghoul.

Worse, someone is out to kill him. Can Cassie keep him alive…both in fighting her nature and from whoever is after him?


Lyric Excerpt

Cassie rummaged through Daniel’s kitchen. Where did he hide the alcohol? The refrigerator was full of Styrofoam and plastic containers, a carton of milk, and… Who puts peanut butter in the fridge? She took it out and placed it on the counter. At least she could have a snack while she searched for a beer. Finding the silverware, she dug out a large spoon and dipped it in the peanut butter. They nutty flavor coated her tongue and she sighed with pleasure. Okay, so cold it tasted it good, but smearing it on bread would be nasty work.

Her mouth pasty and dry, she spotted a cabinet at the far end of the cabinets. A wet bar! She seized a bottle of whiskey and downed most of it as she walked into the living room to check on Daniel.

He lay on his back, his legs dangling over the arm of the couch. Dark circles lined his closed eyes, but his breathing was steady and deep. At least the guy didn’t snore. Was he cold? She picked up a jacket that was draped across a leather chair and, a bottle of alcohol hanging in her hand, she trailed the jacket up and over his legs.

When he grasped her arm, she murmured, “Sorry, didn’t mean to wake you.”

He blinked at her with dilated pupils, his lips full and inches from hers. “Am I dreaming?”

The huskiness of his voice sent a shiver through her.

“Then I can do this.” He stretched his other hand, grasping her behind her head and drawing her lips down to his.

He tasted soft and warm and delicious. Like chocolate and oranges. Moaning against his lips, she let the whiskey slip from her fingers and it rattled onto the wooden floor beside her. Daniel’s hands lifted her further onto the couch, until she was partially straddling him and somewhat kneeling. Hot desire shot through her and she nearly ripped off his clothes.

Her hands weaved into his dark hair. Inside, her siren side called, demanding to satisfy her sexual needs, then devour him. No, she must control this. Couldn’t she for once have love? Have a future with a man that made butterflies dance in her stomach whenever she was around him?


Tainted by Andrea R. Cooper book cover image

Title: Tainted
Series & #: Claimed, book 3
Author: Andrea R. Cooper
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Champagne Books
Date of Publication: April, 2019
Page Count: 223

She’s marked for death. He’s an incubus possessed by her enemy…and if she’s not careful, both of them could die.

Carla is the last, true surviving Oracle. If she doesn’t defeat her enemy who stole her ancestral powers, she’ll die within days. Except the woman with Carla’s powers, a woman who is supposed to be dead, has the ability to see the future and is hunting Carla.

Ty has lost everything including his own mind. It’s only a matter of time before his fiancée’s murderer takes over him completely. His only hope is to find a way to stop her, and if that means working with Carla, he’ll do whatever it takes. He just can’t lose his heart again.

When Carla slowly falls for Ty, their secrets place them both in more danger than she ever thought possible

Amazon US

About the Author
Author Andrea Cooper headshot
Andrea has always created characters and stories. But it wasn’t until she was in her late twenties that she started writing novels.

What happened that ignited the writing flame in her fingers? Divorced, and disillusioned by love songs and stories. They exaggerate. She thought. Love and Romance are not like that in the real world. Then she met her husband and realized, yes love and romance are exactly like the songs and stories say. She is now a happy wife, and a mom to three kids (two boys and a girl).

Andrea writes paranormal and historical romance. When not writing or reading, one may find Andrea dancing in Zumba.

She believes in the power of change and counting each moment as a blessing. But most importantly, she believes in love.

Web site | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Blog | Pinterest



Spotlight on #YA #Dystopian #SF #UF: The Unadusteds by @MarisaNoelle77

Hello Dear Readers!
Both this week and next, I have some fun paranormal fiction spotlights for you from my fellow Champagne Books authors. First up is Marisa Noelle with her gripping Young Adult Sci-fi/Urban Fantasy/Dystopian story, The Unadjusteds. Enjoy!
xo, Celia

Title: The Unadjusteds
Author: Marisa Noelle
Genre: YA dystopian, YA urban fantasy, YA sci-fi
Release date: November 2019
ISBN 10: 1948115034
ISBN 13: 978-1948115032
# or Pages: 414

Sixteen-year-old Silver Melody lives in a world where 80% of the population has modified their DNA. Known as the altereds, those people now possess enhancements like wings, tails, and increased strength or intelligence. Although Silver’s parents created the nanite pill used to deliver these genetic modifications, Silver is proud of her unadjusted state.

However, when the president declares all unadjusteds must take a nanite, Silver has no choice but to flee the city with her father and some friends to prevent the extinction of the unadjusteds.

With Silver’s mother in prison for treason, Silver’s father is the unadjusteds’ only hope at finding a cure. But time is running out as Silver’s father is captured by the president’s almost immortal army. Vicious hellhounds are on Silver’s trail, and her only chance to recover her father involves teaming up with a new group of unlikely friends before all humanity is lost.

Waterstones | Amazon UK | Amazon US | B&N | Book Depository



Chapter 1

“Get it down! Get it down!”

The crowd shrieks around me, jostling each other to reach the front.

A girl with swan wings tunnels past me, her feathers brushing my cheek as she takes off toward the school. A boy with scales stumbles and falls onto me. I regain my balance and continue fighting my way to the front of the growing crowd.

“Get it down! Get it down!” The chant grows louder.

A fairy type with wings from a morpho butterfly flutters above the crowd, smiling and clapping in rhythm with the chant. I spot a few unadjusteds among the gathering who hang back at the edges, their fearful expressions far different from the glee of the adjusteds, or as I like to call them, the altereds. They think they’re a class above, some perfect version of a human being. But really, they’re just a bunch of mutated DNA.
I push against the stab of sharp wingtips and pointed elbows, trying to find a gap, trying to catch a breath. Anxiety trembles through my limbs and I hesitate, the crowd pinging me in all directions. An agonized wail from the thickest part of the melee gives me the spur I need. With my head down, I barrel my way to the small clearing. I brace myself, already knowing what I’ll find.

“He’s foaming!” someone yells.

The fairy’s hands fly to her mouth and she screams. She kicks at the air, her ponytail bobbing about her shoulders. Two towering bulks in football jerseys laugh at her and slap each other’s backs.

More screams ripple through the gathering. Finally, I break free from the crushing crowd.
My heart drops.

A boy falls to his knees as thick, white foam pours from his mouth. His eyes bulge and his face turns beet red. His hands clutch at his neck as though he can wrestle away the pill’s effects. Just like Diana.

“Someone call an ambulance!” I bark at the immobile group. “Now!” I toss my cell phone to a girl with pixie ears and kneel so my eyes are level with the boy’s. Gripping his shoulders, I force him to look at me.

“You’re not alone,” I say, placing my hands either side of his face. “Please fight. Try. Hold on. The ambulance is coming.” Don’t be another Diana.

I shudder against the memories. The foam and the bulging veins.

It’s happening all over again.

Blood trickles from the boy’s nose, dripping onto his fresh, white T-shirt. He drops sideways, falling from my grip. His head smacks against the cement.

The pixie girl shouts into my cell phone about the blood and the foam and the gurgling and the choking. Just like I did for Diana over two years ago. But I already know it’s too late.

“What did he take?” I ask the now silent kids at the front of the group. “Which nanite pill did he take?”

“Bulk,” the fairy says quietly. She folds her wings into her back as her feet touch the ground, one foot tucked neatly behind the other.

I look toward the dying boy as his body convulses. He took the bulk nanite pill. He wanted to be a football player, big and strong and immortal with rock-hard skin. It’s a level ten nanite. The paperwork involved takes months, not to mention the expense. All for nothing. His body rejected the change. It happens sometimes.

He reaches a hand toward me, and I hold it as he chokes out one final syllable, but I can’t tell what it is through the gurgling blood.

His hand falls limp. His bloody eyes see nothing; not the lone black bird flapping in the bright blue sky nor the crowd of worried students slowly shuffling backwards toward the school.

He’s dead.


About Marisa Noelle

Marisa Noelle is the writer of middle grade & young adult novels in the genres of science-fiction, fantasy & mental health. The Unadjusteds was released November 2019 and The Mermaid Chronicles – Secrets of the Deep is due out Spring 2020. She is a mentor for the Write Mentor program that helps aspiring MG & YA authors. When she’s not writing or reading or watching movies, she enjoys swimming. In the pool she likes to imagine she could be a mermaid and become part of some of her make-believe words. Despite being an avid bookworm from the time she could hold a book, being an author came as a bit of a surprise to her as she was a bit of a science geek at school. She lives in Woking, UK with her husband and three children.

Web Site | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | The Unadjusteds Web site

Spotlight on #LGBTQ #Romance: Girl Crazy by @RedLJameson

Hi Everyone! The second book in the multi-author Cupid Dating Agency series is out now! Details are below. I’m putting the finishing touches on my first of four books for the series, and will tell you about it soon! 🙂 Reminder: each story in the series is a unique, standalone read. Happy reading! xo, Celia…

 Girl Crazy book cover, by Red L Jameson, The CUPID Dating Agency series, book 2

Title: Girl Crazy
Author: Red L. Jameson
Series: The CUPID Dating Agency
Series #: #2 (standalone read)
Genre: lesbian romance, paranormal romance
Date of Publication: September 24, 2019
ISBN: 9781370721757
Page/Word Count: 113 pages

Join bestselling author Red L. Jameson for her first lesbian romance in this fun, funny, and free-spirited read!

Lia Hamasaki is smugly happy as a top editor at the world’s most prestigious publishing house. She’s been passing for human for more than twenty years—her angel wings carefully protected from sight. Those darn wings are her biggest secret. When she hears news that the Cupid Dating agency has found her match and she has to—by law, she has to!—meet a demon, she’s obviously disturbed. Her secret has been carefully kept for decades through a façade of sophisticated elegance and outright lies, and nothing and no one will reveal her secret.

Saphie is free—free from Lucifer’s dungeon where she’d been head writer for thousands of years, and she’s free from Lucifer’s torture. Not only that, but the ever-romantic demon has just been matched with an angel—be still her punk-rock, poetess heart. But as she meets the angel who could be the girl of her dreams, she realizes she won’t fit into the angel’s elegant world. Further, heartbreakingly, the angel doesn’t seem to want her in the first place.

But the law is the law, and the two opposites have to stay glued to each other for the next forty-eight hours where they have a snowball’s chance in hell to fall in heavenly love. But sometimes, especially when the Devil is in the details, those chances are worth the risk.

Amazon | Apple Books | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords | GoodReads

About Red L. Jameson

Red L. Jameson lives in the wilds of Montana. While working on a military history master’s degree, she doodled a story that became her bestselling, award-winning romance, Enemy of Mine, part of the Glimpse Time Travel Series. After earning her gigantic master’s—the diploma is just huge, she couldn’t stop doodling stories, more Glimpse stories—because she can’t get enough of hunky Highlanders and buttoned-down Brits—and other stories, a paranormal romance series and contemporary series, which grew into the pen name R. L. Jameson, under which she writes cerebral and spicy erotic romance. She’s currently working on another master’s degree, so who knows what she’ll doodle next!

Web site | Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

About The CUPID Dating Agency

The secret is out: angels and demons walk among us. The Cupid Dating Agency, once merely responsible for aligning the fates of compatible humans, have expanded their portfolio. Operators of luxury cruises and charitable organizations are as valued as casinos and trendy bars, and it’s up to the cupids to find the angels, demons, and humans who will run these businesses. Should a heavenly attraction between the participants lead to all sorts of sinful fun, well, that’s just the icing on the cake.

Interested in Book #1? Check out “The Mediator” Spotlight –>

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