Tuesday, 21 November 2017

#CoverReveal ; You Came Like Hope by Jyoti Arora

~ Cover Reveal ~


Title: You Came Like Hope
Author: Jyoti Arora
Word length: 53,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Contemporary Romance


Blurb:
Peehu:
“I heard them mourn my death. I lay in the next room. Motionless, silent, and staring at the ceiling.”
Adih:
“When it comes to a broken person, some of them are expert at blinding you. Spend an entire evening with such a person, but you may still not know how he is crushing inside.”
Uday:
“Who would say no to him? He is smart, intelligent, super handsome, rich, suave and sophisticated. He’s perfect!”
Pooja:
“Pooja gave no explanation. She asked no forgiveness. She just arrived in his home, resenting him for being her husband.”
Arunav:
“He had smiled as if nothing was wrong.
He had behaved as if he still had his dreams and hopes.
He had pretended as if it didn’t hurt.
But it did.”
Does Destiny hold the key to our happiness?
Is it always the feeble that is the victim?
Love can be the embrace of heaven. But what happens when it unleashes hellfire?
Lose yourself in the intense narrative of You Came Like Hope as it unleashes a rollercoaster of emotions, uncovers some bitter truths, challenges widespread prejudices, and forces you to reconsider your beliefs.

Releasing on 23rd November 2017!

About the Author:
Jyoti Arora is a novelist and blogger from Ghaziabad. You Came Like Hope is her third novel, coming after Dream’s Sake and Lemon Girl. She is Post Graduate in English Literature and Applied Psychology. Besides reading and writing novels, Jyoti enjoys checking out latest technological innovations, watching movies, and listening to old Bollywood songs.






Monday, 20 November 2017

#Spotlight ; Water Boarding by Bragadeesh Prasanna


Blog Tour by The Book Club: WATER BOARDING by BragadeeshPrasanna


WATER BOARDING
by
Bragadeesh Prasanna

Blog Tour by The Book Club: WATER BOARDING by BragadeeshPrasanna


Blurb


As a torture technique, Waterboarding involves the torturer to pour water over the face of the captive, over a damp towel to give a sensation of drowning. While the mind knows that he is not actually drowning, the captive's body sends contrasting signals to the brain making it a very painful experience. 

Ved, who just got out of a life-changing accident finds out that he has blank spaces in his memory. He is unsure about his past and uncertain about his future but goes through with the present with the help of his friend Sara. Sara slowly builds Ved's past, filling him with people and instances he had forgotten.


As Ved struggles with the financial strain caused by his accident and subsequent medical bills and figuring out whom to trust, Ved is forced to live in the moment, which is dark, terrifying and maddening as his past catches up with him. Will he finally know who he was and how his past actions affect his present? 

Grab your copy @


About the author

BragadeeshPrasanna

BragadeeshPrasanna is a Chennai based writer, who blogs, writes short stories and sometimes lets his stories stretch itself to become a full fledged novel.  His romance novel, 300 days, which released in 2016, received generally positive reviews.  He had also contributed to different short story anthologies like After the Floods (Published by sixth sense publication), From Chennai, with Love (Curated by Chennai Bloggers Club)

When he is not writing or dreaming about writing, he runs a marketing agency in Chennai, which specializes in digital marketing. He loves his scotch and coffee, chicken biriyani, Rose milk and Chennai. You can just type in his full name in Google search bar to reach his blog. No, seriously, try it. 


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Saturday, 11 November 2017

#BookReview ; Murder in Paharganj by Kulpreet Yadav



On a cold December morning, a white woman is found murdered in a cheap hotel in Paharganj, New Delhi. Vicks Menon, an out-of-work journalist, is tipped off by the hotel's receptionist and is the first to arrive at the crime scene, where he discovers a lead. It's the bus ticket used by the dead woman two days earlier. But Vicks is battling personal trouble. He has no money, an alcohol problem, and a nearly broken relationship with Tonya, his estranged live-in partner, a clinical psychologist who specializes in profiling hardened criminals. Moving in and out of the shadows, Vicks pushes his investigation harder as it takes him from Udaipur to Bangkok. On his side, for resources, he has a nameless intelligence operative, and to read minds, a lover who is beginning to trust him again. But above all, his instinct to stay inches ahead of death will be the key to his survival. If Vicks lives, this is one story that will change his life forever.

Murder in Paharganj is a thriller written by Kulpreet Yadav & published by Bloomsbury India. The author retired voluntarily from the armed forces to pursue a career in writing in 2014. Also a motivational speaker now, he has spoken at more than 100 schools, colleges & global corporate brands during last 3 years. Popular for his Andy Karan series, he lives in New Delhi.

 The story revolves around Vicks Menon, a journalist who is out of his job & wants to make a big name for himself. In the process of doing so he reaches at a murder scene first hand even before the police, he finds out the victim to be a female foreign national & finds something to be fishy as he observed multiple high profile investigators visit the scene. His investigation leads him to Udaipur & then to several other cities in order to catch the killer. But will Vicks Menon be able to catch a killer who is clearly one step ahead of him, get a hold on the book to know..

I am always excited to read different authors & hence I was keen to read Kulpreet Yadav’s work as I haven’t been able to check out his previous books. Books under the thriller genre has always intrigued me & made me pick them up in one go, so when I got a chance to review this book I took it immediately. The plot is action packed with lots of different characters helping the story to build up in different directions which shows the vivid imagination & story telling capabilities of the author. Unfortunately in many places the story lacked depth & hence couldn’t reach upto its full capacity. The language is extremely easy for readers to understand & read it at a fast pace which is an important thing when it comes to thrillers, the title is apt too & the cover is lovely. In all, I would surely recommend it to everyone who wants to enjoy a quick thriller read.
Thank you Bloomsbury India for the review copy.



Wednesday, 8 November 2017

#Spotlight ; Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer



AVISHI
by
Saiswaroopa Iyer



Blurb

Long before the times of Draupadi and Sita
Immortalised in the hymns of the Rig Veda
But largely forgotten to the memory of India
Is the Warrior Queen with an iron leg, Vishpala

Brought up in the pristine forest school of Naimisha, Avishi reaches the republic of Ashtagani in search of her destiny. When Khela, the oppressive King of the neighbouring Vrishabhavati begins to overwhelm and invade Ashtagani, Avishi rises to protect her settlement. But peril pursues her everywhere.

Separated from her love, her settlement broken, with a brutal injury needing amputation of her leg, can Avishi overcome Khela?

If stories about ancient India, especially those with strong women characters interest you, then Avishi is a story you must read!

Read an excerpt here:
The structure under the outcast control looked like an autonomous garrison. It was on the Southwestern corner of Vrishabhavati hidden by wild growth and as heavily guarded as the city square. Avishi counted two doors as Vyala carried her inside. From the inside, it did not look as dilapidated as from outside. The guards here were the ‘out-casts’ as the world called them. Unlike the guards of the city, they did not cover themselves with leather torso. Instead they wore loin cloth in various darker shades. Small and big weapons, strings made up of various animal teeth, tusk work and beads made up their ‘jewellery’. To Avishi, it looked atrociously out of proportion. But she also noticed the level of coordination with which the ‘out-casts’ functioned. Like they were trained to fight in an army.
“Untie her.” Vyala instructed Manduka, his forehead revealing wrinkles of dilemma. Manduka was happy to comply. Except for a few scars on his shoulder, the man had an enviable physique. But it was his nose that Avishi felt was the pronounced feature of his face. It was as though it was abruptly turned crooked by his right nostril. She could see that the Outcast Lord made no attempt to hide his displeasure about the predicament she presented him. What worried her more was that she found herself incapable of even walking to the closest stone seat and had to limp leaning on Manduka. The wound seemed deeper than she had imagined it.
“We don’t kill women.” He began and paused noticing her unimpressed glare.
“Is that supposed to impress me? Is that supposed to cover up the other crimes you commit for that monster Khela?”
Vyala shook his head, a resentful smile appearing on his lips, but for only a moment. “Whatever we, the outcasts do would be a crime in the eyes of others…you are?”
“Avishi, the Ganamukhyaa of Ashtagani.”
“But he said that you are a traitor’s...”
Avishi glared back at him showing no inclination to explain. She saw Vyala sit on the stone seat next to where she sat.
“If Khela does not find a proof of your death soon, we would have to incur his wrath! An atrocity against the outcasts would not even be seen as a transgression by anyone.” His lips pursed for a long moment.
Avishi wondered if he expected a solution from her. Something she would have to help him out if she had to escape alive. But before she or Vyala could speak, a sound of heavy anklets was heard. Avishi turned to her right and saw a young woman, not older than seventeen autumns scurry and then clutch at her bulging belly. Her arrival only seemed to increase the gloom on the faces of both the men.
“Brother Vyala, did he not come with you?” Her shrill voice made Avishi think she was even younger than she looked. And impregnated at this age?
“Go back to your room, Majjari.” Vyala hissed.
But Majjari was in no mood to heed her brother’s words. She eyed Avishi, her head tilted to left and brows knitting. Her eyes then brightened.
“So, he sent me a slave!”
“Majjari!”
“Slave, do you know how to groom my hair the way Queens do?” Majjari approached Avishi taking her arm. “And mind you, slaves don’t sit when their mistress stands!”
Avishi had decided that her patience was at its tail end when she saw Vyala hurry and pull Majjari away, making her wince at his grip.
“Listen, you disgrace! Nobody is going to slave for you! Scurry back to your room and dare not show that inauspicious face of yours again!”
Majjari shook his arm away with a hiss. “Wait till I become the Queen, you, worthless dog!” Her tone broke. “I shall make Khela punish you! I bear his prince! Mind you!” The fierce frown stayed on her forehead long after she countered her brother. Avishi saw Manduka intervene and lead Majjari away with endearments that one would use with a toddler.
Vyala’s shoulders slumped.
“You let Khela impregnate your own sister.” Avishi shook her head at Vyala. “Lord Vyala, where do I even begin?”
“You are nobody to judge us Ganamukhyaa. Khela promised us a slow integration with his military if…”
“You loot and kill for him? He gets the spoils hiding behind the dread of Dandaka?”
Vyala’s jaw clenched. “You’ve never been to Dandaka, Ganamukhyaa Avishi. If you did, you would… Why in the name of Mother earth am I even justifying myself to you.” Vyala gathered himself signalling at two other outcast followers. “Take her inside and treat her wound.” Turning to Avishi for a brief moment, he added with a tone of finality. “I shall do my best to not kill you, but I can’t afford Khela’s wrath on my people. Not now, Ganamukhyaa.”
Future still hung in balance. Avishi had to come to terms with the fact that any attempt to escape from here will only complicate things for her. And she truly needed her wound to be tended. The knife that wounded her might have rusted. Tears of frustration threatened to flow out of her eyes. She told herself to bide her time and regain her lost energy.

Grab your copy @


About the author


Saiswaroopa Iyer is an IITian and Venture Capital professional turned author. Her debut novel Abhaya, published in 2015, was a tale set in the Mahabharata period, exploring the legend of Narakasura Vadha. She likes to focus and expand on ancient Indian stories with strong female characters.

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Saturday, 4 November 2017

#Spotlight ; The Blue Unicorn's Journey to Osm by Sybrina Durant

About the Book:
“The metal horned unicorns are doomed!” That’s what Lauda Lead Horn wailed when she first saw the tribe’s new savior. OK, so his horn was not metal. . .and he did not have a magic power. . .and he was really a puny little runt. But doomed? Were things really that bad? 
Well, things were pretty bad in the land of MarBryn. Magh, an evil sorcerer utilized unicorn horns and hooves to create his magical potions and spells. Those he used, to increase his power and to conquer everyone in his path. All of the unicorns from the Tribe of the Metal Horn were now gone . . . except for twelve survivors. 
Before the blue unicorn was born, Numen told Alumna, the aluminum-horned oracle, that he had a plan to bring the tribe back home to Unimaise. His prophecy was, “Only the blue unicorn can join with the Moon-Star. Until then, no new unicorns will be born.” Blue was the last unicorn born. Twenty years later, his horn was still covered with a plain blue colored hide. There was not a glint of metal to be seen on it or his hooves. And he still didn’t have any magic. But he was no longer scrawny and he had his wits. Though no one else in the tribe thought he had a chance, Blue felt ready to make Magh pay for his evil deeds. And he went off to do it alone. That was Blue’s first mistake. If the entire tribe was not standing horn-tip to horn-tip at the proper time and the exact place to help usher the Moon-Star Spirit into Blue’s horn, he would die. Then, the rest of the tribe would really be doomed. 
Readers will follow along two journey paths in this book. Blue is joined in his travels by his mentor Gaiso, the Stag and his friend, Girasol the Firebird as they try to find their way across a danger-filled MarBryn to Muzika Woods. The rest of Blue’s tribe is forced to follow another route due to Nix Nickle Horn’s unfortunate incident with a Manticore. Nix, the great unicorn defender must safely lead the way for Ghel, the Golden-Horned unicorn; Silubhra Silver Horn; Cornum the Brass-Horned unicorn; Steel Horned Style; Cuprum the Copper-Horned unicorn; Tin-Horned Tinam; Dr. Zinko; Iown the Iron-Horned unicorn and the others in an action packed adventure to their destination in Muzika Woods. Both journey paths converge there in the Nebulium Circle.



About the Author:
I'm Sybrina. . .. . .Just one of millions of wannabe author/singer/songwriters out there but I hope, after reading or hearing my books and songs, you'll think my contributions to the world have as much value as any other famous artist out there today. 

Fame is all in being in the right place at the right time but at least with the internet and venues like this, all of us have opportunities to share our creativity with the world. I'm so happy that I am able to share my works with you. That is awesome!

The books I’ve written span a wide range between illustrated picture books, coloring books and YA novels to technical and how-to books. If you’re so inclined you can read a little bit about the inspiration for each one below.

My latest effort is “The Blue Unicorn’s Journey To Osm. It is a book I started writing 30 something years ago and never finished. At the time, it was meant to be an epic fantasy along the lines of novels written by Tolkien, Piers Anthony, Ursula K. Le Guin and other amazing fantasy writers. I’ve pulled out my notes, dusted off the outline and began rewriting and expanding upon the 50 pages I had began. This story is now available as an Illustrated Book for teens and older readers in full color and in black and white, too. The black and white version is a "Read and Color" book. Read a chapter, then color the following pages. How fun is that? There is also a picture book for pre-schoolers called Unicorns From Unimaise - The Magical Metal-Horn Trobe. A longer version of the chapter book will soon be available as an Illustrated Novel with a companion glossary called, The Marbryn Compendium. All of the fantastic fantasy illustrations are by Dasguptarts. There is also a companion coloring/character description book, edited by Calyie Martin. It will introduce potential readers to the myriad of characters, places and things in the story.






Tuesday, 31 October 2017

#BookReview ; You Never Know by Akash Verma



There will be times when you feel you have the best relationship, ever There will be times when it will be the worst that has happened to you There will be times when you know you are getting into something terrible; something that will not stop till it destroys you And yet . . . 
You will be pulled into it so inextricably, unstoppably . . . Dhruv knew Anuradha was his true love. So, despite being married with kids, he still went ahead with their affair. He hid it from his wife and his colleagues. He told lies so he could be with her-it was that amazing! But he couldn't save himself from the dark secret she was keeping. It pulled him into a vortex of danger so deep that he lost all he had. It happened to him and if you think it can't happen to you-think again.

You Never Know is a romantic thriller written by Akash Verma & published by Penguin Metro Reads an imprint of Penguin Random House. The author is an entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of two Internet start-ups in the fashion & food sectors. Prior to this, he was in the corporate sphere in organizations such as Coca-Cola, Big FM & Red FM. He has authored three books till now: It Happened That Night, Three Times Loser & A Broken Man.

Dhruv is the protagonist of the story who works at a company named C&M, his wife Shalini is a psychiatrist & they have 2 kids- Kabir & Siya. As their life was going smoothly Dhruv gets a good news that he is soon to be promoted. Just before the news broke out a new employee Anuradha joins the company in the creative team & unintentionally Dhruv starts to fancy her which is puzzles him from the start. But as the extra marital affair starts, Dhruv obviously had to do lie a lot to hide it. But Anuradha has deep dark past regarding his ex-boyfriend Sid which puts Dhruv & his family in jeopardy. Get the book here to know how sometimes love can force you to hell.

I have read Akash Verma’s work before too hence I had no reservations that this book will be a good read too & I’m glad I was right. Its just a 216 pages book & what the author has achieved to fit in such a small book is tremendous. The story has just the right amount of romance as well as thrill which gave it an edge. All the characters have been etched well & the way each chapter has been written in PoV of different characters is intriguing too. The language is simple, the cover is stunning & the title is apt too. Readers interested in quick reads should surely pick this up.
Thank you Writersmelon & Penguin Random House for the review copy.


Thursday, 12 October 2017

#BookBlast ; Children's Classic Stories Volume I - Retold by Aniesha Brahma

About the Book:
This gorgeous treasury of ten classic stories is guaranteed to delight and entertain young children, bringing the magic of traditional stories to the new generation of children. Aimed at 8-12 year olds, each favourite fairy tale or story has been sensitively retold for young readers.
The series 'Children's Classic Stories' contains total 100 stories in 10 volumes. The stories in this collection show the consequences of greed, pride, and vanity, but also tell of the love that grows from a kind heart and a cheerful nature.

Volume 1 includes the following stories:
01. Little Red Riding Hood
02. Cinderella
03. Hansel and Gretel
04. Sleeping Beauty
05. Snow White and Rose Red
06. The Emperor's New Clothes
07. Rumplestiltskin
08. The Wise Little Girl
09. Goldilocks and the Three Bears
10. Rip Van Winkle


About the Author:

Aniesha Brahma knew she wanted to be a writer since she was six years old. She was schooled in Dolna Day School and went on to pursue B.A., M.A., and M.Phil in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur Univeristy. She currently lives in Kolkata, with her family and five pet cats. She is the author of All Signs Lead Back to You, When Our Worlds Collide, The Guitar Girl and The Secret Proposal. She compiled and edited the 10 volumes series, 'Children's Classic Stories' with love and great efforts.

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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

#Spotlight ; Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien



Carry Me Home
Jessica Therrien

Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

Date of Publication:  September 26, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-947392-09-0

Number of pages: 356
Word Count: 75,000

Cover Artist: Damonza

Book Description:

CARRY ME HOME is a fictional novel inspired by the true story of a teenage girl’s involvement in several Mexican gangs in San Jose and Los Angeles. The members of her crew call her, Guera, Spanish for “white girl” and it doesn’t take long for her to get lost in their world of guns and drugs.

Lucy and Ruth are country girls from a broken home. When they move to the city with their mother, leaving behind their family ranch and dead-beat father, Lucy unravels.

They run to their grandparents’ place, a trailer park mobile home in the barrio of San Jose. Lucy’s barrio friends have changed since her last visit. They’ve joined a gang called VC. They teach her to fight, to shank, to beat a person unconscious and play with guns. When things get too heavy, and lives are at stake, the three girls head for LA seeking a better life.

But trouble always follows Lucy. She befriends the wrong people, members of another gang, and every bad choice she makes drags the family into her dangerous world.

Told from three points of view, the story follows Lucy down the rabbit hole, along with her mother and sister as they sacrifice dreams and happiness, friendships and futures. Love is waiting for all of them in LA, but pursuing a life without Lucy could mean losing her forever.

Ultimately it’s their bond with each other that holds them together, in a true test of love, loss and survival.

“A riveting page-turner…Jessica Therrien broke my heart into a million pieces—and then put it back together again. This book will haunt and uplift readers long after they turn the last page.” -KAT ROSS, best-selling author of The Midnight Sea




Amazon        BN       GoodReads

CHAPTER ONE
For the most part, I remember my childhood as dry weeds and dirt roads, warm sun and birdsong. The silky coat of a mare and filth of pigs in mud. Eighty acres of ranch land is an endless playground for any kid. And in those na├»ve years it was easy to ignore the beer on my father’s breath as I skipped off to fetch him another. My mother’s weepy eyes were nothing to ques-tion, because I didn’t know any better. But time chisels away that purity until there’s nothing left but truth.
Neither one of my parents is happy.
At seventeen, I’m ready to leave. The ranch of my youth is a wasteland of empty, overgrown pastures and rusting barbed wire fences. Much like their marriage, it’s tired and used up. There’s nothing left to give.
Tonight, the air feels heavy. I can smell the tension in the ever-present cigarette smoke. At first the rising pitch of their voices doesn’t bother me. I’m used to them fight-ing. But my heart seizes when I hear him yell, and when Dad’s words become a throat-scratching, red-faced shout, my sister, Lucy, sneaks into my room.
My bedroom has always been a sanctuary for her on nights like these.
She doesn’t say anything. She doesn’t have to. We just listen to the rage as it filters through the walls.
“I’m going out there,” she says.
“Lucy…”
If she were younger I’d stop her. I’d take her little-girl hand and lead her into the quiet closet like I used to, but she’s fifteen now, and there’s no stopping Lucy from doing anything.
My only choice is to follow her.
I find her frozen in the hallway, stiff-legged as a terra-cotta soldier. Mom is just as still, back pressed against the far wall of the kitchen. Dad’s bloodshot eyes are wide and crazed. Wispy pieces of thinning, grey hair have come loose from his short ponytail.
He’s pacing our living room, whisky glass in one hand, a rifle in the other.



About the Author:

Jessica Therrien is the author of the young adult series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, became a Barnes and Noble best-seller shortly after its release. Her trilogy has been translated and sold through major publishers around the world, such as Editions AdA (Canada), EditionsMilan (France), and SharpPoint Press (China).

Aside from her Children of the Gods series, Jessica is the author of a kid’s picture book called, The Loneliest Whale. Her award-winning stories can also be found in a published anthology of flash fiction.

Jessica currently lives in Irvine with her husband and two young sons. She is working on an adult novel and a middle grade fantasy series.





Friday, 6 October 2017

#Spotlight ; Touched by Death by T.L. Martin




Touched by Death
T.L. Martin

Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance

Date of Publication: September 1 2017

ISBN: 9780998395326

Number of pages: 362
Word Count: 105k

Cover Artist: The Killion Group, Inc

Book Description:

What if Death was more tempting than you had ever imagined?

With Grams’s recent passing and a boyfriend who cares more about his next drink than her, Lou Adaire only wants to run. To start over somewhere new — maybe in a town where her family has history.

But when a storm sends Lou’s truck plunging into Tuttle Creek Lake, she discovers exactly what it’s like to fight for your life. To gasp for air only to have your lungs fill with icy water. To die.

What comes next changes everything.

Dark eyes. Consuming presence.

Death. As vague as a dream yet as intense as the lightning flashing above her still heart.

Everything about him calls out to her, tugging at her with the warm vibration of his pull. He’s supposed to take her; they both know it. She wants him to.

When she wakes in the hospital in a new town, she can’t forget what she saw… That impossible sensation of him breathing life back into her, a strong beat playing in her chest and a flutter running down her spine.

Trying to move on with her life in a foreign place is hard enough, but when he comes back for more — his burning touch against her skin, his consuming presence weaving in and out of her life, and his own scars running far deeper than hers — Lou begins to realize there’s more to Death, and to the sleepy Kansas town, than she ever expected to find.

Lou lived. But what if she’s not the only one in need of saving?

*Note to readers: This book contains some profanity, sex, and some scenes featuring child abuse.

Amazon     Goodreads     
Excerpt:
My sweater chafes my shoulder blade, and I wince as it irritates the raw, tender skin. I hadn’t thought much about the injury since leaving the hospital, having had other things to focus on—or focus on avoiding—but now the memory resurfaces in my mind: rain smacking against the windshield, trees and darkness spinning around me, the booming crack of my window breaking, and shards of glass flying at me.
I pull my sweater off. Eyes closed, I reach an arm across my chest and over my shoulder, tracing the tips of my fingers along the thick, three-inch cut that hasn’t quite scarred yet. It’s smooth beneath the stitches. Too smooth, and it feels foreign; a piece of my body I don’t recognize. I’ve always thought scars were meant to represent strength; all this one does is remind me that I shouldn’t be alive right now.
That I’m lost.
Drifting.
My eyelids flutter open, and my breath catches at the sudden touch of strong, warm fingers moving over my own. A slow, gentle stroke glides over the wound, but it’s not from me. It can’t be. My hand is stuck, frozen in place over my shoulder blade as though not daring to move. The mirror before me proves I’m alone in the bathroom, and yet, I feel it again, the same presence I felt several nights ago. Heat radiates behind my body as though someone is standing right there.
Another stroke caresses the wound, and it’s even lighter this time, like a feather brushing over me. The feeling of skin against skin is as real as anything. I can almost hear my heartbeat pounding within my chest. The fingers move past my wound, never breaking contact with my skin, and slowly trail upward, toward my neck. Though the texture feels strong and almost rough, the touch itself is impossibly gentle, treating me like something fragile.
No matter how loud my mind screams to fight it, my muscles are relaxing like jelly under the heavy sensation. My uplifted arm drops helplessly to my side. The warm touch strokes the side of my neck, wandering up further still until it’s almost in my hair. It’s light enough to send a shiver to my toes, and my eyelids start to close on their own, my head rolling slightly forward.
The presence behind me inches closer, and I hear breaths again. Just like the other night, they’re deep and controlled, right by my ear.
I have no idea what’s happening to me. Half of me is struck with a pang of fear, unease over the impossible experience. Yet the other half can’t help but be soothed by the calming tingles running through the length of me. There’s a trust I can’t explain, like a gentle, unspoken lullaby, and I know I’m safe. The heat, the masculine touch, the warm breaths soft as a whisper that rise and fall at the nape of my neck. I don’t want to think at all right now. I just want to feel.
The caress slides back down the right side of my neck, almost skimming along my collarbone, when it stops. Draws back. I hear a hitch in the breathing, a tremble for a fleeting moment, the smallest hint of the effort it takes to pull back. Then the touch returns, but only to my scar, traveling down the length of it with incredible slowness, taking its time. As though savoring every moment of contact with me, in a way I’ve never experienced. A sigh pours from my lips, and when my head falls back, it’s caught by the solid warmth behind me. It’s real enough that I could swear I’m pressed up against the presence right now, a presence that sure as hell feels like a man—tall, strong, sturdy. The feeling is so vivid I find myself thinking in terms of him instead of it. 
A shake breaks his steady breathing again, another warm tremble in my ear, and I feel the tightness of his body rise and fall with each breath.
I’m letting myself go, relaxing every part of me until the only thing keeping me upright is his body, and as I do, the hard curves of muscle tense against my back.
Something in the air changes, and the presence behind me wavers. It’s completely solid one moment, and in the next it’s fluid, as though nothing more than a strong breeze props me up. Soon it’s not even a breeze, just a puff of air, and I’m grabbing the edge of the counter with both hands to keep from tumbling backward.
My legs wobble, struggling to support the rest of me. When I catch sight of my reflection now, my face is flushed. I let out a loud exhale when I remember how to breathe and command myself to get a grip. I’m still feeling like a sloshy puddle when I slip my sweater back on over my head and drag myself to the front door of my room, unlocking it and yanking it open.
I need fresh air like a drug right now, and I can’t stumble down the stairs fast enough. I hear Claire’s bubbly greeting when I fly past the front desk, but I don’t stop until I’m standing on the sidewalk, bending forward with my hands on my knees and soaking up the crisp winter breeze.
What the hell is happening? This can’t just be in my head. I know I’ve been a little off since Grams’s passing, but there’s no way I’d be able to dream up something so freaking real.
It was here. He was here.

Whoever he is.

About the Author:

Author of romance and paranormal, T.L. Martin is also a wife, mother of 3, homebody, animal lover, and hug enthusiast. She resides with her family in Southern California.

T.L.'s novels tend to involve the things she enjoys most as a reader: relatable and flawed protagonists, unexpected twists, slow burn romances, and a lively cast of secondary characters. (Being that she writes both young adult and new adult titles, please check individual book descriptions for any content warnings.)

T.L. is presently branching out into new adult contemporary romance!

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