BookSparks Presents: The Queen Of Blood and The Corridor


Looking For the best in Sci/Fi and Fantasy With a decidedly female twist?
Look no further than
HERE!

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:meganconner:Desktop:queenofblood.jpgAbout Queen of BloodFor one hundred years, Seri’s people have lived under the thumb of the Blood, the cruel and mysterious rulers of Athon. Seri wants nothing more than to put food on the table and marry the hotheaded but handsome Rilen come spring. But when a noblewoman asks Seri to be her handmaiden, Rilen insists she move to the enemy’s castle, and spy on the newly arrived prince. Prince Graeme has grown weary of his family’s curse. The Blood are powerful and immortal, but doomed to live in the shadows, flitting from lover to lover, always in search of the mythic Eterna—the one woman who will sate their hunger. A war is brewing between Athonite and Vidari, between Blood and man. As uprisings sweep through the land, Seri and Graeme find themselves at the center of a storm with only one choice: betray each other, or betray their people.



 
Description: Macintosh HD:Users:meganconner:Desktop:thecorridor.jpgAbout The Corridor: Stel Alaster has never known life without the Corridor. It appeared suddenly seventeen years ago, the only portal to a parallel version of our world—Second Earth. Everyone on First Earth fears Mods, the genetically modified Second Earthers who built the Corridor. They are too smart, too strong, and have powers that can’t be controlled. Any Mod found on First Earth is branded, then detained in the Corridor’s research labs. Only Stel has a dangerous secret. She has a power, too: She can open a portal to Second Earth . . . and several other parallel universes she’s discovered. If anyone ever finds out, she’ll be imprisoned, no better than a Mod or common lab rat. But when the Corridor starts to fail, emitting erratic bursts of energy that could destroy First Earth, Stel must risk everything to save the people and world she loves.
 
 
 

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InkSlinger PR Presents: J.L. Berg: The Ready Series + Giveaway: Ready For You

Fill your e-reader with USA Today Bestselling author's entire READY series now in one boxset! You can to go back to the beginning with Logan and Clare's story in When You're Ready, or get to know Mia and Garrett in Ready for You. And don't miss your chance to meet the swoonworthy guy next door, Jackson Reid, Ready or Not! Make sure to grab all five books now!

TheReadySeries Full iBooks

About THE READY SERIES:

Fall in love with the Ready Series…from the very beginning.
"This is the most beautifully written, heartfelt romance I have ever read.”
"Do yourself a favor. Get this book.”
“J.L. Berg has done it again... 5+ stars for Mia and Garrett.”
From USA Today bestselling author J.L. Berg comes a series of heartbreak, second chances, and sweeping love stories that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Family, future…forever. It all begins here.
Are you Ready?


Read an excerpt from READY FOR YOU:

  “We ordered a late-night pizza and spent some time going through my piles of drawings. It was something I’d never shared with anyone, but I shared it with her. “These are really good,” she said. “They’re all right.” “Garrett, you should be doing this every day,” she urged. “And what about you, Miss Accountant?” I countered. “I’m not an accountant anymore.” After we cleaned up, she made a call to Liv and asked if she could check on Sam. I didn’t hear the rest of the conversation because she ducked into the bathroom, but I did her say, “Shut up, Liv!” a few times, so I was sure Miss Prescott had an opinion about where Mia was spending her evening. As she was finishing up her phone call, I padded into my bedroom and slipped into a pair of loose-fitting sweats. Mia had seen me naked many times over, but I figured dropping my pants in front of her wouldn’t give her a good impression of my intentions for the evening—not that I would mind if she offered. I was just slipping a T-shirt over my head when she came in. She took in my change of clothes and looked down at her black dress. “I don’t have anything to wear,” she said. “I have a T-shirt you can change into.” I pulled open a drawer and handed her an old college T-shirt. Then, I sat down on the bed and waited to see what she would do. Her eyes drifted down to the shirt and back to me. She took in my casual position on the bed, realizing I wasn’t making any attempts to vacate the room for her privacy. She hesitated a moment longer and then swiveled around in the direction of the bathroom. I wasn’t sure if I was more relieved or bummed. I wasn’t positive I’d be able to handle watching her strip down bare in front of me right now, but seeing her flee at the thought of getting undressed in front of me still hurt. Mia returned no less than two minutes later with her black dress tucked in her hands. She nervously stopped at the doorway and looked around as if she were unsure of how to proceed. “Come here,” I murmured. Her dress fell to the floor at the door, and she came to my side as I sat at the foot of the bed. Against my better judgment, my fingers reached out for her, curling around her bare leg and up her thigh. Her breath caught, but she didn’t stop me. “Garrett…” she started to say. “Shh…just allow me this. Just for tonight. We’ll go back to being friends tomorrow, but tonight…just help me remember.” I could see the split decision swirling in her steady gaze. I knew this decision would end me. I knew I’d most likely never recover from a second blow to the heart by Mia Emerson.

rfy-teaser

Giveaway

Want to win a $10 Amazon gift card? Fill out the rafflecopter below!

About J.L. Berg

J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. When she's not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.

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InkSlinger PR Presents: The Ready Series + Giveaway: Ready To Wed

12141498_493527867491057_7090943945907294472_n

Fill your e-reader with USA Today Bestselling author's entire READY series now for just .99c as a special preorder/release day price! You can to go back to the beginning with Logan and Clare's story in When You're Ready, or get to know Mia and Garrett in Ready for You. And don't miss your chance to meet the swoonworthy guy next door, Jackson Reid, Ready or Not! Make sure to grab all five books now for just .99c!
TheReadySeries Full iBooks

About THE READY SERIES:

***SPECIAL PRE-ORDER/RELEASE DAY PRICE!***
Fall in love with the Ready Series…from the very beginning.
"This is the most beautifully written, heartfelt romance I have ever read.”
"Do yourself a favor. Get this book.”
“J.L. Berg has done it again... 5+ stars for Mia and Garrett.”
From USA Today bestselling author J.L. Berg comes a series of heartbreak, second chances, and sweeping love stories that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Family, future…forever. It all begins here.
Are you Ready?




Read an excerpt from READY TO WED:

“I can’t believe they wouldn’t let me carry on my garment bag!” I said with a huff. “Well, it was quite large,” Logan said, pointing to our gate and taking a seat in our designated area. Maddie immediately pulled out a book from her backpack of activities that we’d packed for her, and she began reading – or pretending to read. Either way, she was quite, and I thanked the heavens for the few minutes of peace. I loved her more than I’d ever though possible, but man, could she talk. I guessed I shouldn’t be surprised, considering who had given birth to her. I wasn’t known for being quiet. Especially when I was nervous, I’d babble a lot. “It wasn’t that large! Okay…it was, but crap, they let that duded in front of us bring his guitar.” I pouted. “Hey,” Logan said, pulling my chin level so that our eyes were locked. “It will be fine. Nothing can ruin this week, okay? By the end of this weekend, you will be mine. I wouldn’t care if you were in a burlap sack, Clare. The only thing that matters is that you say those vows and bind yourself to me for eternity. Got it?” “Yes,” I said, a bit breathless. “Good.” He gave me a quick wink before pulling Maddie onto his lap. He took over reading for her, pointing to the words and helping her sound them out. I just watched, loving the picture perfect the two of them made. I would have never guessed, walking into that emergency room several months ago when Maddie had fallen and given herself a concussion, that I would wind up here. Logan had not only healed Maddie that day, but he’d also been healing all of us ever since. About thirty minutes later, the announcement came that our flight was boarding. We packed up Maddie’s things and headed for the gate to check in. With Maddie bouncing up and down in his arms, Logan ran his free hand down my cheek, his eyes suddenly filling with emotion. “Ready to go get married?” he asked. “Absolutely.” Smiling, he grabbed my hand, and we walked toward our future.

wyr-teaser

Giveaway

Want to win a $10 Amazon gift card? Fill out the rafflecopter below!

About J.L. Berg

J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. When she's not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.

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InkSlinger Presents: The Ready Series

12141498_493527867491057_7090943945907294472_n

Fill your e-reader with USA Today Bestselling author's entire READY series now for just .99c as a special preorder/release day price! You can to go back to the beginning with Logan and Clare's story in When You're Ready, or get to know Mia and Garrett in Ready for You. And don't miss your chance to meet the swoonworthy guy next door, Jackson Reid, Ready or Not! Make sure to grab all five books now for just .99c!
TheReadySeries Full iBooks

About THE READY SERIES:

***SPECIAL PRE-ORDER/RELEASE DAY PRICE!***
Fall in love with the Ready Series…from the very beginning.
"This is the most beautifully written, heartfelt romance I have ever read.”
"Do yourself a favor. Get this book.”
“J.L. Berg has done it again... 5+ stars for Mia and Garrett.”
From USA Today bestselling author J.L. Berg comes a series of heartbreak, second chances, and sweeping love stories that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Family, future…forever. It all begins here.
Are you Ready?


Read an excerpt from WHEN YOU'RE READY:

“I’d really love to discover some of those hidden talents.” Oh, hot damn. What did I just fucking say? Shit, I should not be allowed in public anymore. I had just dropped the lamest pick-up line ever, in the middle of the home improvement store, right in front of Clare’s daughter, no less. Thank God Colin hadn’t been around to witness that little slice of failure. I would never have lived it down. Dear God, this woman made me crazy. I never expected to see her or Maddie again. I tried to make myself forget about that night in the hospital, telling myself she deserved better. And she did. But as hard as I tried, those searing green eyes kept making their way back into my thoughts, reminding me of a woman who had shown me another path. A path that could have been possible if I were a different man. If I were capable of giving myself over to another, but you have to have a whole heart to do that, and I’m pretty sure mine was never fully formed. But looking up at those now familiar eyes, I felt the tension ease in my chest, and the ice loosened a bit. Seeing Clare again felt exactly the same. It gave me a deep sense of being connected and tethered. Having come from the family I did, it wasn’t something I’d ever felt with anyone, and therefore I was having a difficult time trusting myself around her. I tried returning to my life, resuming my normal routine, only to be haunted by her face; a constant reminder of what I could never have. After the quiet little pub the other night, I went downtown, finding a spot that was the exact opposite of the one I had just left. I played the part of carefree bachelor, buying rounds of drinks, doing body shots with a few overly eager women. I had every intention of following one of them home. By the end of the night, after most people had made it home, I had a young brunette pushed against the dirty brick wall of the bar, waiting for a cab to take us to her apartment. I didn’t know her name, and I didn’t care. I wouldn’t be around by morning anyway. My hand slid down her bare thigh and pulled it around my hip. She looked at me, seductively licking her lips, her not so subtle way of giving me permission to do whatever I want, wherever I want. It was then that I looked into her eyes and saw...nothing. The brown eyes staring back at me were full of lust, but nothing else. They were the same blank eyes that I had been looking into ever since Melanie. Since her, I’d survived by seeking out women who gave nothing in return. Because it was all I could give back. Knowing the eyes staring back at me weren’t the ones I wanted, I pushed away from the brunette as the cab pulled up to the curb. Cursing under my breath, I didn’t even give her an explanation, just threw her some cash and walked away. "Well, we should let you get back to whatever you were doing. I’m sure you are busy," Clare said. “No, actually. I was mostly done. I just needed a small part for my sink,” I answered, holding up my purchase while nervously wrapping my other hand around the nape of my neck. All right asshat, stop being creepy. Time to leave. "I could help you,” I blurted out. “I've been known to be handy on occasion. I could help you shop, and then install it for you.” The words continued to free-fall out of my mouth, without any sign of stopping.
wyr-teaser

Giveaway

Want to win a $10 Amazon gift card? Fill out the rafflecopter below!

About J.L. Berg

J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. When she's not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.

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When "A Wicked Thing" Just Isn't

22535481
Title:  A Wicked Thing
(A Wicked Thing #1)
Author:  Rhiannon Thomas
Format:  eARC, Audio
Length:  337 pages, 8hrs. 42mins
Publishers:  HarperTEEN, Blackstone Audio
Rating:  2 stars


Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.  -Goodreads


My Thoughts
So...
Sleeping Beauty wakes up and...
Nothing.
For page after page, there is nothing.

She makes little to no progress in finding out about the world around her, and allows herself for be repeatedly cowed by everyone around her.
She often says "to herself" that she should speak up.  When the time comes to do so however, there is nothing.
Crickets!

The prince that awakens her is just as much of am ineffectual pushover as she, and together they manage to be remarkably boring.


One of the few times times that the Princess, (pun fully intended) does decide to grow a pair and sneaks out of the castle...
Lo and behold...she meets a boy!

You would think that things would take a turn for the better from there, but sadly...no.

This is a story that has the ability to go anywhere and be anything; due to the fact that the original  work ends with "happily..."

Instead, what happens is that things happen around the Princess, but never to her.  She sits on the sidelines, while intrigue, murder, and plots take place all around her.  She is always tentative, unsure, and questioning.
Even the point at which she is confronted by the the villain from her past, the outcome is rather lackluster.

This is a beautifully written story.  Which is why, when reading it, one becomes desperate for the time when it will find its wing, take flight, and soar into literary greatness.  This story however, is mired in the quicksand of stage-setting that often marks the downfall of first books in a series.
The author does wonderful job setting the stage for promised adventures in book two.  Book one however, is sadly only the echo of said promise...unfulfilled.





About Rhiannon


Rhiannon Thomas
Rhiannon Thomas is a recent graduate from Princeton University, where she studied English and Japanese, and smuggled bubble tea into the library on a regular basis. She now lives in York, England.

As well as reading and writing YA fiction, she runs the blog FeministFiction.com, where she discusses TV, books, and all kinds of fannish things from a feminist perspective.

I don't hang out on Goodreads much, so if you want to contact me, please swing by my personal website or message me on Twitter.

  

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Take Your Expectations For Dystopic YA To New And More Sophisticated Places With "Hunter"

24397041Title:  Hunter
(Hunter #1)
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Format(s) eBook Audio
Length:  374  pages, 11hrs 24mins
Narrator:  Amy Landon
Publishers: Disney-Hyperion, Blackstone Audio
Rating:  5 Stars

 
They came after the Diseray. Some were terrors ripped from our collective imaginations, remnants of every mythology across the world. And some were like nothing anyone had ever dreamed up, even in their worst nightmares.

Monsters.

Long ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were ripped open, and it’s taken centuries to bring back civilization in the wake of the catastrophe. Now, the luckiest Cits live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the hideous creatures fighting to break through. Others are not so lucky.

To Joyeaux Charmand, who has been a Hunter in her tight-knit mountain community since she was a child, every Cit without magic deserves her protection from dangerous Othersiders. Then she is called to Apex City, where the best Hunters are kept to protect the most important people.

Joy soon realizes that the city’s powerful leaders care more about luring Cits into a false sense of security than protecting them. More and more monsters are getting through the barriers, and the close calls are becoming too frequent to ignore. Yet the Cits have no sense of how much danger they’re in—to them, Joy and her corps of fellow Hunters are just action stars they watch on TV.

When an act of sabotage against Joy takes an unbearable toll, she uncovers a terrifying conspiracy in the city. There is something much worse than the usual monsters infiltrating Apex. And it may be too late to stop them…
-Goodreads

My Thoughts
Joyeaux Charmand is a Hunter.  One of a gifted few blessed with the ability to see and defeat the magical creatures of Otherside, determined to feast on those of the human realm.
Her gift having been discovered at a very early age, Joy has spent much of her childhood training in the sheltered safety of a mountain monastic community.

Now in her late teens, Joy finds herself leaving her mountain home to become part of the most esteemed team of Hunters ever amassed.  Those chosen to protect the elite citizenry of Apex City.


It must be stated from the outset that though this is a dystopic story with both magical and mystical elements, said elements are not the central focus of this read.
The majority of Joy's conflicts and a great part of the story concern the great many battles that are taking place inside her.

1.  Joy's having to deal with the culture shock of coming from the straightforward simplicity of a life lived among monks; to one lived on her own and full of the unwritten rules and social expectations of life of a celebrity in Apex City.

2.  She must also establish her place among the Hunter packs.  Being so young and possessing as much skill as she does, doesn't work to help matters.  Often, Joy finds herself having to prove that she is worthy of her position, recognition, etc.

3.  Joy makes herself an accidental target of political intrigue; when she stumbles upon information that the ruling parties of Apex City are engaging in an active cover up.  Deliberately hiding the seriousness of the Othersider attacks from the citizens of Apex City.

4.  The most emotional conflicts that our young heroine faces are those that concern her personal relationships.  Whether it be the tentative nature of her relationship with her rich and powerful uncle, the losses of her fellow Hunters as the battles escalate, or the juxtaposition of a her professional versus her romantic lives; these are by far the most compelling aspects of the read.

Mercedes Lackey takes special care to explore a multitude of legends and lore when crafting both the belief systems for her characters and the creatures of the Othersiders.  Most impressive by far...
The relationship between Joy and the hounds with whom she shares her work and her life.  A variation of the Greek "hellhounds of Tartarus," Joy's hounds have specialized abilities which make them invaluable to her as a Hunter.

This is a wonderful introduction to the Hunter world.  This book is so well written in fact, that it would be a fine stand alone.

Reviewer's Note.
I read this book in both audio and eBook.
As such, I must commend narrator, Amy Landon on her portrayal of Joy.  She does a wonderful job of helping Joy to maintain her youthfulness; while never letting the reader lose sight if the severity if many of the situations in which she finds herself.  Her honest and straightforward depiction of Joy, makes her a very likable person, and keeps reader attention focused on her during times when there is a lull in plot or action.

About Mercedes
Mercedes LackeyMercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70's she worked as an artist's model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts & Music, a small recording company specializing in science fiction folk music.

"I'm a storyteller; that's what I see as `my job.' My stories come out of my characters; how those characters would react to the given situation. Maybe that's why I get letters from readers as young as thirteen and as old as sixty-odd. One of the reasons I write song lyrics is because I see songs as a kind of `story pill' -- they reduce a story to the barest essentials or encapsulate a particular crucial moment in time. I frequently will write a lyric when I am attempting to get to the heart of a crucial scene; I find that when I have done so, the scene has become absolutely clear in my mind, and I can write exactly what I wanted to say. Another reason is because of the kind of novels I am writing: that is, fantasy, set in an other-world semi-medieval atmosphere. Music is very important to medieval peoples; bards are the chief newsbringers. When I write the `folk music' of these peoples, I am enriching my whole world, whether I actually use the song in the text or not.

"I began writing out of boredom; I continue out of addiction. I can't `not' write, and as a result I have no social life! I began writing fantasy because I love it, but I try to construct my fantasy worlds with all the care of a `high-tech' science fiction writer. I apply the principle of TANSTAAFL [`There ain't no such thing as free lunch', credited to Robert Heinlein) to magic, for instance; in my worlds, magic is paid for, and the cost to the magician is frequently a high one. I try to keep my world as solid and real as possible; people deal with stubborn pumps, bugs in the porridge, and love-lives that refuse to become untangled, right along with invading armies and evil magicians. And I try to make all of my characters, even the `evil magicians,' something more than flat stereotypes. Even evil magicians get up in the night and look for cookies, sometimes.

"I suppose that in everything I write I try to expound the creed I gave my character Diana Tregarde in Burning Water:

"There's no such thing as `one, true way'; the only answers worth having are the ones you find for yourself; leave the world better than you found it. Love, freedom, and the chance to do some good -- they're the things worth living and dying for, and if you aren't willing to die for the things worth living for, you might as well turn in your membership in the human race." 


                                            

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Sourcebooks Fire Presents: The Storm + Giveaway

25835474 Title:  The Storm
(The Rain #2)
Author:  Virginia Bergin
Length:  336 pages
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire

DEADLY TO THE LAST DROP .

Ninety-seven percent of the population is dead. And the killer rain keeps falling. Ruby's not sure she can make it on her own much longer. So when a chance encounter leads her to a camp with the last boy she may ever kiss (it's not easy to date during an apocalypse), Ruby gratefully accepts the army's protection.
But safety comes with a price: If Ruby wants to stay, she must keep her eyes-and her mouth-shut.

Except Ruby stumbles across a secret she can't possibly keep. Horrified, she flips out and fights back-only to make the most shocking discovery of all...

Praise for H2O:
"Creepy and realistic. H2O left me thirsting for more." -Kristen Simmons, author of Article 5 and Breaking Point
"Ruby's candid, addicting narration brought this terrifying and wholly plausible story to life. This is a book you'll devour all at once-from the safety of your umbrella!" -Jessica Khoury, author of Origin and Vitro.

Buy The Book:



http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Storm/Virginia-Bergin/9781492629795?id=6422605348436




From Chapter 17 of The Storm by Virginia Bergin

The prof, the soldier, and the driver bundled out immediately and plonked themselves down in the funny little potted plants and seating area they had—­so you could make-­believe you were at home on the sofa, chatting about which car to buy (or what to do about the apocalypse, in this case). The discussion pretty much reminded me of radio programs my mom and my stepdad would have on: people going on and on about stuff. Angrily. It got even angrier when Beardy claimed that the people in charge wanted to use the cure as some kind of international bargaining thing (“More like a card game!”)—­though quite what trinkets they might want in exchange was not known to him (most probably nuclear missiles, a few countries, oil reserves, that kind of thing).
To be honest, I wasn’t really listening that closely. Every time it felt like my brain was tuning into a thought, I’d just tweak it back to the matter at hand: gotta get out of here, Ruby.
The Princess, whose sign did not show her name but said “Nil by Mouth,” watched from the side door of the ambulance as, in near darkness, I worked my way through every car in there; each one, same thing: battery dead—­and no jumper cables to be found. Useless.
I splopped plastickly-­rubberily past the discussion panel, ignored: ghost girl in a biosuit. There was a dinky coffee machine and a store of creamers, so I grabbed the lot of them, went back to the ambulance, and—­ah! Saw the machine they use to start stopped hearts with. I dumped the creamers and inspected it. It’s basically a giant battery pack, isn’t it?
I had a go with it on a car.
It didn’t work.
Mighty cross about that.
I took it back to the ambulance (lights still on inside) to get a better look at the instructions—­like maybe it was possible to turn the thing up?—­when the Princess tapped me on the arm.
“Yeah, yeah, just give me a sec,” I said.
It’s all probably sounding a little weird to you, the whole situation and the not even speaking to the kid—­it sounds a little weird to me—­but I tell you, I was so trying to keep my brain tuned in on what I needed to do. Anything else at all could not be handled.
I didn’t get the instructions, but I thought it was worth another go anyway. The Princess tried to pull me back—­
“Yeah—­one sec!” I jumped out of the vehicle and—­she slammed the door shut behind me. “What the—­”
Headlights from the road rippled along the line of cars. I hadn’t even heard the engine. I ducked—­way too late.
Prof Beardy, the soldier, and the driver—­they’d ducked too.
I peeked—­saw the taillights of a big, dark army truck disappearing.
“We need to get out of here,” the driver—­who’d stopped blubbering but was still freaking out—­said.
Yeah, I thought. Need to get out of here. I ditched the heart-­starter, and as I speed-­crawled/splopped plastickly-­rubberily for the ambulance, I had a genius moment. Hanging on the wall by the “Let’s pretend we’re at home on the sofa choosing our car” area was a huge road map of Britain, so you could see all the places you could go once you’d bought your fancy car.
I dragged over a spare chair and tried to pull the thing off the wall. It wouldn’t budge. There was some random mini-­tree in a pot, a thing that had probably once looked totally plastic and now looked totally dead. So I grabbed it by the trunk and swung the whole thing at the glass. Big smash. Big mess. I tore the map out. Unfortunately, it was stuck down at the edges, so there were quite a lot of places we wouldn’t be going to.
I turned around and…there they all were, staring at me: the prof, the soldier, the driver.
“I just want to go home,” I told them, trying to scrumple the map into a more manageable size. “Please just let me go.”
I felt my frightened heartbeat.
“I’ll keep my mouth shut. I won’t tell a soul. I promise you! I just want to go home. Please. Please! Just let me go.”
“I could take you,” said the driver, getting to his feet.
“Siddown,” said the soldier. He sat.
“I’m just a kid,” I told them.
I am so not. I was. Once. That’s gone.
“I don’t know how I got like this! I promise you I don’t!”
“Clinically speaking, she is no longer relevant,” said Beardy.
Another set of headlights—­army truck—­blasted us.
I stood and I pointed at the gleaming ambulance. The elephant in the fancy car showroom. “They’ll see that,” I said. “Next truck that comes past, they’ll see it.”
The soldier, who was the only one I really needed to pay attention to (gun), nodded.
“Get out of here, kid,” he said. “Take the back roads.”
About Virginia

Virginia Bergin learned to roller-skate with the children of eminent physicists.
She grew up in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, in a house tied to her father’s job. Her parents, the children of Irish and Polish immigrants – and one Englishwoman – had moved from Liverpool to the south of England in search of work.

Virginia studied psychology but ruined her own career when, dabbling in fine art at Central St Martins, she re-discovered creative writing. Since then she has written poetry, short stories, film and TV scripts and a play that almost got produced – but didn’t.
In between and alongside more jobs than you’ve had hot dinners, she has worked as a writer on TV, eLearning and corporate projects and has 22 broadcast and non-broadcast TV credits, from children’s favorite Big Cat Diary Family Histories (BBC) to the award-winning series Africa (Tigress Productions for National Geographic). Most recently, she has been working in online education, creating interactive courses for The Open University.

She has lived in North Wales, London and Bristol. In May 2015, she moved from a council estate in Bristol to live in rural Somerset, somewhere between Taunton, Chard and Ilminster. Her nearest neighbor is a horse.


Finding Virginia online:
The Giveaway

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Start Passion Blazin' With Clare James and BRAZEN + Giveaway

Today's featured read:
Played by Clare James


The music should be enough. End of story. But Aaron Major is finding out it’s not, and now his agent has hired a firm of suits to help launch his debut album, turning his life into a goddamn circus. Smile here. Play there. Be nice. Well, screw that. If Aaron wanted to spend his time shaking hands and kissing babies, he would’ve gone into politics.

Helping launch the career of country singer Aaron Major should be a cakewalk for PR pro Melody Sharp. Aaron is charming, sexy, and oh-so-appealing when he’s on stage. Off stage, though, he’s her worst nightmare. A stubborn, ornery, reclusive nightmare without a lick of business-or fashion-sense. The only way he’s going to make it in music is with a serious makeover-and quite possibly a personality transplant.

Soon, they’re engaged in a game of give and take, and though it’s Melody calling the shots, it’s Aaron who holds all control…



Played Played Played


About Clare James

Clare James writes contemporary romance and new adult novels with spunky heroines and sexier-than-sin heroes. Her books have made several best-selling lists including the tender love stories in the Impossible Love series; the steamy romantic comedy Dirty Little Lies; and the touching family drama Wednesday. She’s also the author of a new series with Entangled’s Brazen line about the women of Elite PR and their very naughty clients. The first two books in the series are out now!


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