InkSlinger PR Presents: The Darkest Torment Review And Excerpt Tour


Gena Showalter’s THE DARKEST TORMENT is coming in paperback! The Queen of Paranormal Romance, USA TODAY bestselling author Gena Showalter, returns with THE DARKEST TORMENT, the eagerly anticipated twelfth novel in her Lords of the Underworld series! Order your copy today!



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Can Beauty tame her Beast? 
Driven to his death by the demon of Distrust, Baden spent centuries in purgatory. Now he's back, but at what cost? Bound to the king of the underworld, an even darker force, he's unable to withstand the touch of another…and he's quickly devolving into a heartless assassin with an uncontrollable temper. Things only get worse when a mission goes awry and he finds himself saddled with a bride—just not his own.
Famed dog trainer Katarina Joelle is forced to marry a monster to protect her loved ones. When she's taken hostage by the ruthless, beautiful Baden immediately after the ceremony, she's plunged into a war between two evils—with a protector more dangerous than the monsters he hunts. They are meant to be enemies, but neither can resist the passion burning between them…and all too soon the biggest threat is to her heart.
But as Baden slips deeper into the abyss, she'll have to teach him to love…or lose him forever.
Includes Q&A featuring J. R. Ward, Jeaniene Frost, Nalini Singh and more!

My Thoughts
With this 12th installment of her famed Lords Of The Underworld series.  Authoress, Gena Showalter makes it more than crystal clear that her writing mojo as it applies to the "princes of punishment" shows no sign of waning anytime soon.

In fact, this reviewer would deem it a pretty safe bet that both Ms. Showalter and her luscious Lords, will be around for quiet a few more steaming, twisted, sensual, and emotion filled forays of demonic devilment.  
If book 12 stands as any indication of its creator's plans for its future.
With both leading lady, Katrina, and her leading Lord, Baden, thrown together by the manipulations of deceptive gods.
For reasons that neither are fully aware of.
She, fighting of for the lives of her beloved dogs, and he fighting for his sanity.
These two and there individual stories, lay quite the emotional banquet before the reader long before the two are introduced.

It is not until the two stories are allowed to come together, that readers are allowed to sample the full and complex flavors of lies, treachery, murder, mystery, sensuality, pain, and paranormal perfection that work together to make this story delectably divine.

This is a read which is built and thrives on its author's ability to up the ante at every turn.  Whether the stake in question be emotional, plot based, based on character interaction, or action.
There is no stone of exceptional story crafting left unturned in this book, or this series.

Reviewer's Note:
 This series is written as a collection of related companion novels.  As such the order in which they are read has little to no bearing on the overall enjoyment of the series.
The above referenced title may be enjoyed as part of its intended series or as a standlaone.      

Rage mixed with possessiveness and lust, heating Baden from head to toe. Steaming him. He closed in on Katarina at last, dropped to his knees and cupped hers, spreading her legs with a single push. She watched him, wide-eyes sparkling, but she didn’t protest as he moved between her thighs. Her breath caught as he leaned in, flattening his palms on the coffee table where she sat to cage her with his strength.
“What are you doing?” she asked softly. Tremors rocked her sweet little body. Behind her, sunlight streamed through an oversize oval window, illuminating the dust motes dancing between them.
She had used him. At the moment, he didn’t care. He wanted to mark her. Had to prove she belonged to him, and only to him.
“Your loyalty is to me,” he said. As he inhaled, she exhaled; as she inhaled, he exhaled; they were breathing each other’s breaths. “You need me to survive in this world. To protect you and our dogs.”
“I soooo don’t need—”
“Oh, but you do.” He slowly dragged his tongue between the seam of her lips. Liiiick. Tasting her sweetness, savoring it.
She gasped his name, jerking as if hit by a bolt of white- lightning. “I’m not doing this. Not with you.”
“You are. You want more, krásavica, so let me give you more.”
She shook her head.  “You don’t like me anymore.”
“I don’t think you like me anymore, either. Does it really matter?” He still burned for her. “I want you.”
She leaned toward him, melting, only to catch herself. She cursed his name and plucked at the collar of his shirt. “You’re too old for me. Way too old.”
“Age didn’t bother you earlier, when you were grinding on my thighs.” As she sputtered for a response, he added, “You’re too weak for me, but I got over it.”
“I’m not too—you know what? It doesn’t matter. You were a temporary distraction then and you’re a temporary distraction now. Despite our unsuitability, you can still give me an orgasm. One I deserve after putting up with you.”
He knew they were temporary, but her blasé attitude was far from appreciated. However, admonishing her would have been counterproductive to his goal: getting her into his arms, achieving the ultimate satisfaction.
She tangled her fingers in his hair. “You better give me the pleasure you promised me before I change my mind about this.”
There would be no changing her mind. He scowled even as he traced his tongue over her lips. This time, her tongue emerged to greet him. Flames of arousal spread through him, a blistering wild fire that couldn’t be stopped. There was pain because of skin to skin contact, as usual, but it didn’t compare to his need.
The beast protested. She’s our betrayer. She means to harm…means to…She tasted of mint and whipped cream.  She’s dessert.

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And don’t miss the previous titles in the Lords of the Underworld Series!













Don’t Miss each stop on THE DARKEST TORMENT Review & Excerpt Tour!

November 7
Ashleyz Wonderland – Excerpt
 November 8 –Excerpt
 November 9
 November 10
Reading in Pajamas – Review & Excerpt
 November 11
The Book Beacon – Review & Excerpt
The Bookery Review – Excerpt
 November 12
 November 13
Reese's Reviews – Review & Excerpt
 November 14
EskieMama Reads – Excerpt
 November 15
New Adult Addiction – Review & Excerpt
November 16
WTF ARE YOU READING? – Review & Excerpt
 November 17
Book Lovers Hangout – Review & Excerpt
Canadian Book Addict – Review & Excerpt
 November 18
Grownup Fangirl – Excerpt
Ruby's Books – Review & Excerpt
 November 19
 November 20
Natalie TheBiblioholic – Review & Excerpt
 November 21
PBC – Excerpt
The Eater of Books! – Review & Excerpt
 November 22
I Smell Sheep – Review & Excerpt
Bound by Books Book Review – Review & Excerpt
 November 23
evocative book reviews – Review & Excerpt
Sassy Moms Say Read Romance – Review & Excerpt
 November 24
The Opening Hook – Review & Excerpt
Books n Wine – Excerpt
Once Upon a Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
 November 25
Jax's Book Magic – Excerpt
 Pardon My Blurb – Review & Excerpt

author-pic-gena-showalterAbout Gena Showalter: Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over fifty books, including the acclaimed Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, and the White Rabbit Chronicles. She writes sizzling paranormal romance, heartwarming contemporary romance, and unputdownable young adult novels, and lives in Oklahoma City with her family and menagerie of dogs. Visit her at        

Website | Twitter@genashowalter | Facebook | Goodreads


Forever Romance Presents: Split

New York Times bestselling author JB Salsbury makes her Forever debut with a stand-alone unforgettable new novel, with a twist no one will see coming . . .

What do you do when you wake up with no memory of what you did last night?

Lucas spent the first half of his life protecting himself from others, but now his own mind is his biggest enemy. He doesn't know what happens when the blackouts overtake him, but he can recall the feelings—the rage, the confusion, the fear. Thankfully the quiet life he's found in Payson, Arizona has kept the darkness at bay. Until his boss's estranged daughter shows up in town, asking questions she shouldn't and sparking a desire Lucas can't control. Getting close to Shyann is the best thing that's ever happened to him, but when his blackouts return, unleashing the truth he's battled so long to hide, he may just lose her forever . . .

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“You can’t jump.”
She narrows her eyes on me. “Of course I can.”
“Is it safe?”
My grip on her grows tighter and she steps close enough that I can feel the heat of her breasts brush against my ribs. “Lucas, do you trust me?”
“No.” The word comes out on a shaky whisper.
A gentle grin softens her face and with both her hands she works to relax my hold enough for her to slip free. Seconds later she turns, takes four long strides, and disappears off the rock cliff.
A holler that can only be described as guttural exhilaration echoes off the canyon walls and slices through the trees.
I race to the edge and there’s nothing but a circle of white bubbles marring the once shimmering pond.
I wait for her to surface, and just when I’m about to jump in and rescue her, her head pops up out of the water with a feral howl.
“That was amazing!” She waves at me. “The water is perfect!”
With adrenaline coursing through my veins, I allow myself a moment to wonder what it would be like to be as free as Shyann. Everything I do is weighed against the danger of doing it. The threat of blacking out always pulling me back to walk the safer, less risky side of any situation. But something about her makes me want to try harder, makes me want to take a risk like other twenty-five-year-old guys. The sound of her squealing lights a fire in my chest that has me wanting to jump.
Risking a blackout might be worth the few seconds of euphoria I haven’t felt since…I can’t remember.
I think of backing away and yelling for her to meet me at the truck, but something pulls me toward her. Part of me wonders if it’s nothing more than wanting to be close, to keep her safe, because she belongs to Mr. Jennings and I owe him. But even as the thought enters my mind, so does another.
I want her to like me.
I want her to see me as brave.
I want to know what it’s like to be normal.
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New York Times bestselling author JB Salsbury spends her days lost in a world of budding romance and impossible obstacles. Her love of good storytelling led her to earn a degree in Media Communications. Since 2013 she has published six bestselling novels in The Fighting Series and won a RONE Award. JB Salsbury lives with her husband and two kids in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Forever Romance Presents: For The Bear's Eyes Only Blitz And Givaway

The third book in a wild shifter series from USA TODAY bestselling author Kathy Lyons.

Life as Alan Carman knew it is over.  After he was captured and tortured by a mysterious enemy, the lawyer’s latent grizzly-shifter DNA was triggered.  The old Alan is gone, and in its place is a terrifying vicious beast that lives and breathes for revenge.  He will track down the person who did this to him—and it’ll be the last thing he ever does.

Tonya Kappes refuses to let Alan run headlong to his death.  A bear-shifting deputy—and the Gladwin Clan’s beta—Tonya faces Alan with one weapon: the love that’s lingered between them since they were kids.  But the idealistic man she knew has changed…into something raw, primal, and unbelievably sexy, igniting every lustful cell in her body.  And, if Alan can’t learn to love the beast inside himself, maybe he can love the animal in her.


He stared at her and shook his head. “You think because I’m not fur and claws right now that I’m tame? That I won’t tear right through you if you try to Tase me again?”
She held up her bare hands, spread wide. “I don’t want to hurt you. I want to talk to you. Come home with me. Please. There are...things we need to talk about.” She’d almost said more. She’d nearly told him about how much her bear was right now pulsing with want. How his scent was oddly compelling even at its worst. About all the confusion that he created inside her. But she was on an open mic with Mark on the other end. She just couldn’t force herself to be that vulnerable with another man listening in. So she swallowed the full sentence and settled for pleading.
He was still stroking her jaw, the caress of his thumb gentle and soothing. Hell she was so tired right now, a little tug from him and she’d melt into his arms. It didn’t make sense. She was a rational woman, and Alan wasn’t the easy man she remembered. He was volatile and dangerous. But apparently that made her grizzly wet and needy. Maybe she did have a thing for monsters.
“When was the last time you slept?” he asked.
She shook her head. “Not until you’re safe.”
He tugged her closer with just the edge of his nails. They weren’t claws just then. There was no pinprick to his touch. Just the blunt edge of his fingers tugging her forward and she went willingly. “I’m not the one in danger,” he murmured.
“Bullshit,” she answered. But that was as far as she got before his mouth was on hers. Hot. Possessive. Desperate. It was like he was taking everything he could get before it all disappeared.
She met his tongue with her own, arching her neck and dueling with him. Her hands found his shoulders, and she gripped him, dragging him closer or holding on to him for support. She wasn’t sure which. And while her heart exploded into a feverish beat, her mind ceased yammering. It had been full of words and strategies, ways that she could convince him to come back with her. But at the first press of his lips, they were silenced. This was what she wanted. This was what they both needed. So she kissed him back, and in the midst of his desperation, she tried to reassure him.
Yes, she said with teeth and tongue. Yes, I want you, too.
Then he was gone.
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My Thoughts
Just when you thought that things in the Gladwin Clan couldn't get any hotter or hairier. Authoress, Kathy Lyons, brings fans of her Grizzlies Gone Wild series, yet another sweeter than honey episode in this super shifter saga.

Life in Gladwin has always been a game of outsider on the inside for Alan Carman.  As the non-shifting brother of the clan's Max.  Alan and tradition never quite walk hand in hand.  Especially in regard to his role in the clan.
So believing that love for this most extraordinary man would or could be even more unorthodox proves to be as easy as a bear finding salmon during spawning season.

Life for officer Tonya Kapps has been full of gains and losses. Because while she has managed to rise to the position of Beta, within the clan.  Her dream role of Maxiuma to Carl's Max has been shattered like so much glass in a storm.  With Carl's marriage to Becca.  A woman who just happens to be everything that Carl could want, and human.

But when things take place that change everything that both Alan and Tonya think they know about the world both around and inside them.  
There is no denying the force of nature that these two become.

This is the perfect blend of fun, ferocity, story, and sex.  Both this book and is series are to wild not to read.

About the Author:
Kathy Lyons is the wild, adventurous half of USA TODAY bestselling author Jade Lee. A lover of all things fantastical, Kathy spent much of her childhood in Narnia, Middle Earth, Amber, and Earthsea, just to name a few.  There is nothing she adores more than turning an ordinary day into something magical, which is what happens all the time in her books. Winner of several industry awards including the Prism-Best of the Best, Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice, and Fresh Fiction's Steamiest Read, Kathy has published over fifty romance novels, and she's just getting started. Check out her latest news at

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InkSlinger PR Presents: One Snowy Night + Giveawy


New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis returns to Heartbreaker Bay with a fun and festive holiday novella! Order your copy for just $0.99 today!



It’s Christmas Eve and Rory Andrews is desperate to get home to the family she hasn’t seen in years. Problem is, her only ride to Lake Tahoe comes in the form of the annoyingly handsome Max Stranton, and his big, goofy, lovable dog Carl.

Hours stuck in a truck with the dead sexy Max sounds like a fate worse than death (not), but Rory’s out of options. She’s had a crush on Max since high school and she knows he’s attracted to her, too. But they have history… and Max is the only one who knows why it went south.

They’ve done a good job of ignoring their chemistry so far, but a long road trip in a massive blizzard might be just what they need to face their past… and one steamy, snowy night is all it takes to bring Max and Rory together at last.

  My Thoughts
Did you fall in love with the spunky young assistant at Central Bark?  You know the one that we all met in Jill Shalvas's The Trouble With Mistletoe?
Are you just dying to know what happened to her?
Well...look no further than One Snowy Night.  This Christmas themed follow-up novella puts readers right back into the thick of things.  This time with from Rory's point of view. With a little help and back story from the hunky Max Stranton, of course.

See how two people, one dead truck battery, one lovable furbaby, and hundreds of miles adds up to forever.  In this sweet, sexy, and just a little sassy addition to the Heart-breaker Bay series.
Jill makes sure to pack all of the emotion, wit, angst, sexiness, and love into this bite-sized story.  So sit back, relax, and get ready to fall in love.  As you read all the juicy details of Max and Rory's road trip to love in One Snowy Night

Order ONE SNOWY NIGHT in ebook or paperback

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Add to your Goodreads


When Rory came out of the woods, Max really wanted not to care that she was wearing more snow than clothes and shivering, but he couldn’t do it. He watched while with shaking hands she carefully shook off before climbing into the truck. Then she stripped out of her jacket that clearly wasn’t waterproof.
    This left her in a soft off-white sweater that was damp and clinging to her like a second skin. She wore a white lace bra, also damp, and not doing much to hide the fact that she truly was cold. And he was absolutely concentrating on that and how she looked like she needed a hot cheeseburger, and not her nipples, two hard little beads threatening to poke through both the lace and the material of her sweater.
    Had he thought of her as the sweet, girl-next-door type? Maybe if the girl next door was pinup material, because damn. Sitting there with her long waves clinging to her face and shoulders and chest, giving him peekaboo glimpses of her perfect breasts, he couldn’t remember why he didn’t like her and didn’t want to like her.
    “What?” she said, wrapping her arms around herself. “You’ve never seen cold nipples before?”
    Yes, but not ones that made his mouth water to taste. Kiss. Nibble. Suck into his mouth… “Did you see any bears?”
    Rolling her eyes, she pulled a hair tie from around her wrist and used it to contain the wet mass of waves on top of her head.
    He handed her a towel, but she shook her head. “I’m fine.”
    “Yeah, if fine is drenched and cold,” he said. “Take it. It’s not the same one I used on Carl.”
    “I wouldn’t care about that,” she said. “But you might have to stop and put on chains soon and you’ll need a towel for yourself.”
    “We’re not going to need chains,” he said. “I’m in four-wheel drive and we’ve got good tires. Now use the damn towel, you’re dripping all over the place.”
    As he knew it would, this galvanized her into action and she ran the towel over herself in jerky motions. When she was done, she was still shivering, and after a hesitation, she pulled off her damp sweater.
    This left her in a white camisole and aforementioned white lace bra, neither of which were all that significant.
    “You going to stare at me all night or get us back on the road?” she asked coolly.



And don’t miss the first two novels in Jill Shalvis’s Heartbreaker Bay Series, SWEET LITTLE LIES and THE TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE, now available! Grab your copy today!


Don’t Miss each stop on the ONE SNOWY NIGHT Review & Excerpt Tour!

November 2nd
21st Century Upon A Times – Review & Excerpt
JordansBookReviews – Excerpt
Amo& Sarah Book Corner – Review & Excerpt
Booknerd1107 – Review & Excerpt
November 3rd
Ficwishes – Review & Excerpt
Majorly Delicious – Review
Read All the Romance – Review & Excerpt
November 4th
Stacey is Sassy – Review
Moonlight Rendezvous – Review & Excerpt
From the TBR Pile – Review & Excerpt
bi n i b i n i – Review
A Reader Who Reads – Excerpt
November 5th
Meli's Book Blog – Excerpt
Red Hot + Blue Reads – Review & Excerpt
Shannon's Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Shelf_Life – Review
November 6th
K&J Book Promotions – Excerpt
Not Suitable for Work Books – Review & Excerpt
WTF Are You Reading! – Review & Excerpt
November 7th
Bea's Book Nook – Review & Excerpt
BFD Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Fiction Fangirls – Review & Excerpt
Writing My Own Fairy Tale – Review & Excerpt
November 8th
Cara's Book Boudoir – Review & Excerpt
Kelsey's Corner Time – Review & Excerpt
Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf – Review & Excerpt
Once Upon A Page – Review & Excerpt
November 9th
Lightning City Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Captain Reads A Lot – Excerpt
My Secret Romance Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
November 10th
Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt
Romance Reviews and More – Review & Excerpt
With Love for Books – Review & Excerpt
Book Munchies – Review & Excerpt
November 11th
Aly's Miscellany – Excerpt
JOJO THE BOOKAHOLIC – Review & Excerpt
November 12th
Dog-Eared Daydreams – Excerpt
Embrace the Romance – Review & Excerpt
Two Book Pushers – Review & Excerpt
November 13th
Book Angel Booktopia – Review & Excerpt
Renee Entress's Blog – Review & Excerpt
Sofia Loves Books – Review & Excerpt
November 14th
Romantic Reads – Excerpt
I'm A Sweet And Sassy Book Whore – Review & Excerpt
MI Bookshelf – Review
November 15th
Romance Book Nerd – Excerpt
The Readdicts – Review & Excerpt
November 16th
G & T's Indie Café – Excerpt
Talking Books Blog – Excerpt
Cocktails and Books – Review & Excerpt
Wrapped Up In Reading – Review & Excerpt


jill-shalvis-headshot    About Jill Shalvis: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.      

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St. Martin's Griffin Presents: The Infinity of You and Me

A Novel
By J.Q. Coyle
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin
**On Sale November 8, 2016**
Hardcover | $18.99
ISBN: 9781250099228 | Ebook ISBN: 9781250099235

What if every life-altering choice you made could split your world into infinite worlds?

Almost fifteen, Alicia is smart and funny with a deep connection to the poet Sylvia Plath, but she’s ultimately failing at life. With a laundry list of diagnoses, she hallucinates different worlds—strange, decaying, otherworldly yet undeniably real worlds that are completely unlike her own with her single mom and one true friend. In one particularly vivid hallucination, Alicia is drawn to a boy her own age named Jax who’s trapped in a dying universe. Days later, her long-lost father shows up at her birthday party, telling her that the hallucinations aren’t hallucinations, but real worlds; she and Jax are bound by a strange past and intertwining present. This leads her on a journey to find out who she is while trying to save the people and worlds she loves. J.Q. Coyle’s The Infinity of You & Me is a wild ride through unruly hearts and vivid worlds guaranteed to captivate.

Chapter One
The beginning is always a surprise.
(The endings are, too.)
I never quite know what I look like. I’m myself, yes, but diff erent.
Never tall and leggy, but my hair might be long and tied back
or cut in a short bob. Sometimes I’m in jeans and sneakers. Once or
twice, a dress.
I’ve been alone in a fi eld of snow.
I’ve woken up in the backseat of a fast car at night, my father
driving down a dark road.
I’ve been standing in the corner at a party where none of the
faces are familiar.
This time, noise comes fi rst. A clanging deep inside the hull of
a ship— a cruise ship. I’m running down a corridor of soaked red
The ship lurches.
Someone’s yelling over the crackling PA speakers— I can’t
understand the words over the rush of water. Alarms roar overhead.
I shoulder my way down another corridor, fi ghting the fl ood of
people running in the opposite direction, screaming to each other.
Some part of my brain says, Me? On a cruise ship? Never. But if I
was so lucky, it’d be a sinking one.
The rest of my brain is sure this isn’t real, no matter how real it
I run my hand down the wall, the cold water now pushing
against my legs. I’m wearing a pair of skinny jeans I don’t own. I
know someone’s after me— I just don’t know who. I look back over
my shoulder, trying to see if anyone else is moving against the crowd
like I am.
No one is.
Where’s my mother? She’s never here when I go off in my head
like this.
A man grabs me roughly by the shirt. My ribs tighten.
Is this who I’m running from?
No. He’s old, his eyes bloodshot and wild with fear. He says
something in Rus sian, like the guys in the deli at Berezka’s, not too
far from my house in Southie. I shouldn’t be able to understand him,
but I do. “Run! This way. Do you want to die, girl?” I don’t speak Russian.
I’m failing Spanish II.
But then I answer, partly in Rus sian. “I’m fi ne. Thank you.
Spasiba.” The words feel stiff in my mouth. I can barely hear myself
over the screaming, the water rushing up the corridor, and the
groaning ship.
The man keeps yelling, won’t let go of me, so I rip myself loose
and run.
A glimpse of gray through a porthole, only a sliver of land and
heavy dark sky.
I see myself in the porthole’s dark refl ection—my hair chin
length, my bangs choppy, just a bit of faded red lipstick.
We’re on the Dnieper River. It’s like this: I know things I
shouldn’t. I don’t know how.
A woman falls. I reach down and help her up. Her head is gashed,
her face smeared with blood. She nods a thank-you and keeps marching
against the current, soaked.
I won der if she’ll make it. Will I?
I’m looking for my father. I want to call out for him, but I
shouldn’t. The people chasing me are really after him— I know this
too, the way you know things in a dream.
The ship lists, hard, and my right shoulder drives into a wall.
Stateroom doors swing open. The sound of water surging into the
hull is impossibly loud.
And then my father appears up ahead— shaggy, unshaven, his
knuckles bloody. I love seeing him in these hallucinations. (That’s
what my therapist calls them.) It’s the only time I ever see him. I
even love seeing him when he looks like hell, and older than I remember
him, more worn-down. But he always has this energy—
like his strength is coiled and tensed.
“Alicia!” he shouts. “Down!”
I fall to my knees. The water is up to my neck and so cold it
shocks my bones.
My father raises a gun and fi res.
Some men fi re back.
I put my head underwater, and the world is muted. I hold my
breath, can only hear my heart pounding in my ears. My face burns
with the cold, my back tight, lungs pinched. I swim toward the
blurry yellow glow of an emergency light.
When I lift my head, a tall and angular man slides down a wall
and goes under, leaving a swirl of blood. My father shot him. This
should shock me, but it doesn’t. My father, who’s really a stranger
to me, is always on the run and often armed.
Another man, thick necked and yelling, returns fi re from a cabin
My father dis appears around the corner up ahead, then lays cover
for me. “Get up!” he shouts. “Move now!”
I push through the icy water, wishing my legs were stronger and
tougher, feeling small and easily kicked off - balance.
“Just up ahead,” he says, “— stairs.”
But then a little boy with a buzz cut doggy- paddles out of a cabin.
The water’s too deep for him.
I reach out, and he grabs my hand, clinging to my shirt.
“Alicia, get down!” my father yells.
Instinctively, I shield the kid.
A gunshot.
I feel a shattering jolt in my shoulder blade. I can’t breathe, can’t
The boy cries out, but he hasn’t been shot. I have. The pain is
stabbing. “He shot me!” I shout, shocked. I can only state the obvious,
my voice so rough and ragged I don’t even recognize it.
My father pulls me and the boy into a tight circular stairwell, the
water whirling around us, chest deep. As he lifts the little boy high
up the stairs, I glimpse the edge of a tattoo and skin rough with
small dark scars and fresh nicks on his wrists. “Keep climbing!” he
says to the little boy.
Wide- eyed with fear, the boy does what he’s told.
The water is rising up the stairs, fast, but my father props me up
with his shoulder, and we keep climbing. I try to remember what
it was like before he left my mom and me. Did he carry me to bed,
up the stairs, down the hallway, and tuck me in?
“ We’re going to get out,” my father says. “We can jump.”
“We can’t jump,” I say. Off the ship?
“Trust me,” my father says.
I’ve never trusted my father, never had the chance. After he left,
he wasn’t allowed within fi ve hundred feet of me or my mother.
“What the hell am I doing here?” I ask.
My father stares at me. “Is it you? Really you?”
“Yes, it’s me,” I say. Of course it’s me!
My father looks stunned and scared and relieved somehow all at
the same time. “ You’re fi nally here.”
“Fi nally where?”
“ Things have gotten too dangerous,” he says quickly. He reaches
into his pocket, and in his hand I glimpse what looks like a strangely
shaped shiny wooden cross about the width of his palm, but it’s not
a cross, not exactly. “ You’ve got to get lost and stay lost.”
I am lost, I want to tell him, but the pain in my back is so sharp
it takes my breath.
As the water pushes us up the stairwell, my blood swirls around
me like a cape. I can’t die here.
I look up into cloudy daylight.
The ship’s listing so hard now it seems to be jackknifi ng. Suddenly
I’m terrifi ed we’re all going to drown.
I expect to see the little boy’s face at the top of the stairs, but
he’s gone. Instead, there’s a group of men with guns trained on my
father and me.
“Ellington Maxwell.” The man who speaks is the one who shot
me. In the hazy glare off the water I see a jagged scar on his cheek.
“Welcome to our world. This time we hope you stay awhile.”
I look up at the sky again and abruptly it swells with sun. My
right hand hurts and I know this signals an ending . . . Bright, blazing,
obliterating light.
And I’m gone.
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 Praise For The Infiiniity Of You And Me

A fantastically fun mind-bender from start to finish, THE INFINITY OF YOU & ME will thrill its readers and leave them hungry for more.”
—Karen Akins, author of Loop and Twist

“Potter-style magic meets Snicket-y irreverence …”
– People Magazine on Julianna Baggott’s The Anybodies

About J. Q. Coyle
Growing up, J.Q. COYLE was a fan of stories. But more than that, a fan of possibilities. So, it only seemed only natural to write a story in which the possibilities are limitless.

J.Q. COYLE is the joint pen name of Julianna Baggott and Quinn Dalton. Quinn is an acclaimed writer who has published two short story collections and two novels. Julianna is the author of over twenty novels, including Pure, a New York Times Notable (2012).

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