Wednesday, August 27, 2014

SOMEONE LIKE YOU by Karen Rock @karenrock5





You can't program love…or can you?

Kayleigh Renshaw has come up with the idea for a brilliant "compatibility app," a new kind of matchmaking software. All she needs is a programmer to help her bring the idea to market…and she knows exactly who she wants. But Niall Walsh—a code whiz and her former best friend—has been avoiding her since he returned from Afghanistan. In spite of their history, and some sparks that go beyond friendship, he's proving reluctant…. Is it her, or is something darker holding him back?



The cool air on her wet shoulders made her shiver, and Niall wrapped his towel around her. “Here. I don’t need it.”

She handed it back. “No, Niall. You don’t get it. I don’t want you to come to my rescue. I’m not looking for a knight in shining armor. If I were a princess, I’d save myself.”

Niall’s leg circled in the water, making a mini whirlpool. “So tell me what a non-princess needs,” he said at last.

“Someone who brings out the best in me, supports me, values my opinion and, most of all, is honest with me.”

“I’ll do that, Kay.” He looked sincere, and his insistent tone undid the wall she’d placed between them. “As much as I can. Let’s set up our base of operations in my apartment, and we’ll meet there tomorrow. I’ve got some things for us to go over, and nothing’s final until we both approve.” He pulled off her swim goggles, then trailed the backs of his fingers down the side of her face until they fell away.

Her breath hitched. That didn’t feel like a “friendly” touch. And it definitely crossed pro- fessional boundaries. So why did she want him to do it again? To let his hand linger so she could press her cheek into his palm.

“We’ll disagree at times. But I won’t let anyone, like Major Carlton, act like you don’t exist again.”
She shook her head, trying to get her thoughts back on track. “I didn’t think you’d noticed.”
He studied his wrinkled fingertips, then lifted his eyes to hers, their tortured depths doing something funny to her heart.

“I notice you, Kayleigh,” he said quietly, almost to himself. “More than I should.”



Karen Rock is an award-winning YA and adult contemporary author. She holds a master’s degree in English and worked as an ELA instructor before becoming a full-time author.  With her co-author, Joanne Rock, she’s penned the CAMP BOYFRIEND series with Spencer Hill Press under the pseudonym J.K. Rock. She also writes contemporary romance for Harlequin Enterprises. Her wholesome romance, Heartwarming novels have won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and the 2014 Golden Quill Contest. When she's not writing, Karen loves scouring estate sales for vintage books, cooking her grandmother's family recipes and hiking. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, daughter, and two Cavalier King cocker spaniels who have yet to understand the concept of "fetch" though they know a lot about love. To find out about her upcoming releases, appearance and latest news, visit http://www.karenrock.com or follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/karenrockwrites or Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/karenrock5!
She’d love to connect with you!

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cover Reveal: HOPE FOR HER by Sydney Aaliyah Michelle @sydliyah

The Hope Series by Sydney Aaliyah Michelle is an NA contemporary romance, with the first book out this October!




What do you hope for?

No one ever expected much from him.

Joshua Elijah Griffin, IV is on his last chance. A stint in rehab and a transfer to a new school has scared him into putting his life on track. He’s determined to live up to his family’s expectations, but on the first day of class, Josh meets a girl. He knows his father won’t approve, but in Carrington, he sees a kindred spirit. He's willing to give up everything to be with her.

No one ever thought much of her.

Carrington Olivia Butler is ready to shine. Always in the background, she goes away to college to break out of her shell. Carrington wants to feel special. Josh's attention is exactly what she craves, but their intense and sometimes volatile relationship is more than she bargained for.

As their relationship progresses, Josh’s demons return, and Carrington’s feelings fade, but they aren’t ready to give up hope. They give their love one last shot to survive, but hope, may not be enough.

Releases October 1

Goodreads








Hope For Him (#2) releases in December 2014: What do you hope for, now?


Hope For Us (#3) releases February 2015: What do you hope for, still?



About The Author

Sydney Aaliyah Michelle is a New Adult Contemporary Romance writer, a voracious reader and movie fanatic who Sydney has been blogging at sydneyaaliyah.com for three years, where she interviews people about their tattoos, discusses her favorite movie quotes, reviews books (New Adult & only the ones she loves) and journals about her writing and editing process. Hails from Texas. After surviving 5 1/2 years living in China, she had the courage to finally pursue her passion and become a writer. Sydney’s self-published debut New Adult Novel Another New Life released June 2014. An active tweeter, she is also a JuNoWriMo (2x) and NaNoWriMo (2x) winners who notes the sci-fi action flick “The Matrix” as the best representation of her life in the past. She is blessed to be awake now and doing what she loves.


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Book Birthday: RELUCTANTLY ROYAL by Nichole Chase @NicholeChase

Reluctantly Royal final cover

Maxwell Jameson Trevor, prince of Lilaria, hates his royal role. Despising the limelight, he takes solace in his art studio and steers clear of any drama. But when one of the newly discovered royals passes away, Maxwell's brother Alex asks him to break the news to the old man's granddaughter. Though he hates to be the bearer of doom and gloom, he doesn't want the poor girl to find out from the tabloids. For Maxwell knows all too well how devastating that could be.

Coming from a broken home and modest background, newly ordained Lady Meredith Thysmer has seized her chance to make a better life for herself and her son. She's not afraid to use her best assets to get what she wants. But when the unpretentious yet devastatingly handsome Max delivers his news, her plans for the future come crashing to a halt. In the challenging days ahead, Max's compassion, humor, and steadfast loyalty to Meredith and her son win her over. She quickly finds herself doing something she swore would never happen again: falling in love. And yet Maxwell still refuses to completely drop his guard. Somehow Meredith's got to find a way to seduce this reluctant royal.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Kobo | iBooks | Goodreads


RR Teaser 1

Excerpt

As I turned to leave the room, my eyes fell on a sketch pad and I couldn’t help myself. Sitting back down in the chair I flipped it open and smiled at the drawings inside. Marty had promise for such a young kid. Turning to a blank page, I glanced around and searched for a pencil. Charcoal would be best, but pencil would do.

I started with the lines of his forehead, the curve of his impish nose, the roundness of his cheeks. I was lost in the sketch, enjoying the shadows, the tenderness in his expression, working to capture that moment of utter innocence.

“That’s beautiful.” Her voice was soft.

I looked up from what I was doing, not surprised that she had snuck up on me. When I’m lost in a project, the world disappears; the only thing I’m aware of are the layers of the project I’m working on.

“He’s a good subject.” I turned back to the paper and finished up the shading of the blanket.

“Only because he’s asleep and not moving.” Her quiet laugh sent shivers over my body.

“That does help.” I smiled up at her. “But it’s the contrast. The contrast of him awake versus him asleep. He looks so young right now, so innocent.”

“What do you mean?” She leaned closer to look at the picture.

“He’s so mature, quick-witted.” I whispered the words. “But here he is, looking like the child he is.”

“His teachers say that,” she said. “That he’s quick to pick things up.”

“I’d say so.” I turned and handed her the sketch pad. “I hope you don’t mind that I drew him. The light and shadows were too perfect to resist.” Sort of like her right now. The way the moonlight glinted in her eyes and shone along her hair. Her perfect features would make any artist ache to draw them. Her pixie nose, the heavy eyelashes, the curve of her body hinted at by the oversized sweater she had wrapped around herself. It made my palms itch. Partly because I just wanted to touch her, to see if she would taste as sweet as she looked in that moment.

“Thank you for keeping him entertained.” She stood up. “Can I keep this?”

“Of course.” I stood up and stretched. Her eyes swept over my chest and then back up to my face. Maybe I wasn’t the only one tempted to touch. I hated to admit it, but I had a flare of pride. “I enjoyed hanging out with him.”

I was surprised to realize I meant it. I never would have thought spending time with a six-year-old would have been enjoyable.

“Looks like he did too.” She moved away from the door and I followed her into the hallway.

“Did you get everything settled?”

“I think so.” She frowned.

“What’s wrong?” Her expression worried me.

“Granddad would have hated a large ceremony.” She sighed and headed for the stairs. “But I guess that as a duke there are some things that have to happen.”

“I don’t blame your grandfather.” I followed behind her. “I would want a small ceremony, not to be made into a production.”

“I’m starting to think you don’t like any type of production.” She looked at me over shoulder.

“Not really, no.” I wasn’t going to lie. “I don’t like being the focus, being the center of attention. It makes me uncomfortable.” I wasn’t going to lie, but I hadn’t intended to tell her so much about me.

“And yet you agreed to help me with my grandfather’s funeral.” She turned to me at the bottom of the stairs and set the sketch pad on a table. “Why?”

I stared at her for a minute, enjoying the way her eyes looked up at me, the tilt of her chin, the way her hair cascaded around her shoulders. “I don’t know.”

Unable to help myself, I reached out and touched her cheek with my fingers. Her pupils dilated and she inhaled softly. With one thumb I traced the dip under her plump bottom lip. Her hand reached up to trace my jaw and she took a step closer to me.

“You should be running from me as fast as you can.” She whispered the words. “I’m everything you don’t want.”

“I’m not so sure.”

“I live for the spotlight, it’s my food.” Her eyes were half lidded as she edged closer to my mouth. “And you’ve seen my family. I’m trouble, Max.”

Did I care? I wasn’t sure I was capable of making a real decision as her smell wrapped around my senses. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to taste her, to touch her, to press her against my body. To hear her say my name again.

Dipping my head, I grazed her lips with mine and I was lost. On a sigh, she leaned into me and wrapped her hands around my neck. Tilting her head back, I brought my mouth to hers carefully, softly, tasting. I wanted to deepen the kiss, to hear her moan, to feel the way her body could wrap around mine, but I kept it soft, sweet, and simple. She was in such a hard place, she needed to be protected, treasured by someone.

And right now, I was that person.

RR Teaser 2


About the Author

Nichole Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Suddenly Royal, Flukes, The Dark Betrayal Trilogy, and several short stories. She is also the instructor of Say What? a dialogue class at the Romance Academy.

Nichole lives in Georgia with her husband, energetic daughter, superhero dog, Sulcata tortoise, and two cats. When not writing, you may find her reading, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises.

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Book Birthday: I WANT IT THAT WAY by Ann Aguirre

I Want it That Way is a New Adult contemporary romance and is the first book in the 2B Trilogy Series, published by Harlequin HQN.

I Want It That Way

Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she’s determined to make them come true. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, dating’s the last thing on her mind. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can’t risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, the last thing he wants is noisy students living in the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia’s and Ty’s paths cross, and soon they can’t stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can’t know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.

"A tender, sweet, and sexy story about how life—and falling in love—can never be planned."

—Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You

Amazon | B&N | BAM | Indiebound | Vroman’s | Book Depository | Powell’s| iTunes | Goodreads

IWITW Teaser

Read the First Chapter HERE!


Excerpt

“Where are you from?”

Ah, an actual question. That means I can ask one back.

“Nebraska, toward the South Dakota and Wyoming side, if that helps.”

“I’ve never met anyone from there.”

Michigan was a long way from home. “I usually get ‘not in Nebraska anymore’ jokes, and then I have to decide if I’m going to remind them that’s Kansas or play along.”

“What do you usually do?”

“Play along.”

“You don’t like conflict, huh?” He sounded normal tonight, as if talking to me wasn’t an unpleasant chore anymore.

That was a relief since I’d come to look forward to these moments with him so much. More, maybe, than I’d like to admit.Right. Friends. I distracted myself by considering his question. “Not if it can be avoided. I’m not what you’d call pugnacious, no. But I like to think I don’t back off important issues. What about you?”

“No.” His voice was bleak and quiet. “I don’t. Even when I should.”

Wow, that took a dark turn.

If I could’ve jumped onto his patio without breaking an ankle or waking Sam, I’d have been down there like a shot. The distance between us seemed intolerable, and from the knot in my throat, I didn’t see how I could live another second without touching him, finding out if his hair was as soft as it looked or what he smelled like. I wanted him in a way I never had before.

In high school, I had a boyfriend who played basketball, and we broke up when I left the state. It was a rational decision, and I didn’t miss him that much once I was gone. My freshman year, I went out with a lot of different guys, one date here, two dates there, but I never clicked with anyone enough to focus on them. Sometimes there were hookups with no strings, no expectations. Classes, friends and work seemed a lot more important. The intensity of this attraction was foreign and frightening, if exhilarating. I might already be backing off if I had the faintest sense that Ty was jerking me around on purpose.

Wish he didn’t make me feel this way. It’d be so much simpler if I could friend-zone him.

I realized I still hadn’t touched his verbal grenade. “We all have things we’d do differently in hindsight.”

“What is it about you?” he asked in a wondering tone.

“Huh?”

“You make me…better. Calmer.”

“Like a sedative?” I snickered. It was the least sexy thing a guy had ever said to me, including a junior high squeeze who said my face wasn’t actually that bad.

He laughed, too, a sheepish sound. “I didn’t mean it like that. Just…I’m worried pretty much all the time that I’m dropping the ball somewhere, about to face-plant, but when I come out here and hear your voice, everything backs off like ten steps. I can breathe again.”


About the Author

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.


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Monday, August 25, 2014

Book Birthday: STEALING HIS HEART by Diane Alberts @DianeAlberts

 

Shillings Agency employee Jake Forsythe is not happy to discover that the thief who he has to track down is none other than his ex-partner from his past. Now he’s forced to blackmail her into submission…or throw her in jail.

Tara Harris steals from the rich and corrupted, returning objects to their rightful owners one case at a time. When Jake shows up in her life, at first, she’s thrilled. But then when she finds out that she has to help the man she stole from or go to jail…it’s the choice between two evils.

These two can’t deny the burning passion between them, but when push comes to shove, they’ll have to lay their hearts and their lives on the line.

Amazon | B&N


About the Author



Diane Alberts is a multi-published, bestselling contemporary romance author with Entangled Publishing. She also writes New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling new adult books under the name Jen McLaughlin. She's hit the Top 100 lists on Amazon and Barnes and Noble numerous times with numerous titles. She was mentioned in Forbes alongside E. L. James as one of the breakout independent authors to dominate the bestselling lists. Diane is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.

Diane has always been a dreamer with a vivid imagination, but it wasn't until 2011 that she put her pen where her brain was, and became a published author. Since receiving her first contract offer, she has yet to stop writing. Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, and a cat. Her goal is to write so many fantastic stories that even a non-romance reader will know her name.


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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Addison Moore's Top Ten Movies: BURNING THROUGH GRAVITY blog tour @addisonmoore

Hi all! Addison Moore here! My new book BURNING THROUGH GRAVITY just released 8/12/14 and I thought it’d be fun to share some of the things that help me relax between penning my novels. So here it is, my all-time top 10 movies! These are the movies that I can cuddle on the couch with and watch over and over. There are plenty more that can keep me entertained (I’m easy, I swear) but these are my go-to flicks.

1. The Wizard of Oz (What’s not to love? A lion, a witch, and a wardrobe! Oh wait wrong movie, but you get the picture ;)

2. The Princess Bride (LOVE!!!! And I love the music to Storybook Story. I constantly replay the version by Mark Knopfler. If you haven’t heard it, go look it up on Youtube! Go on, I’ll wait.....See? It’s awesome, right?)

3. Pitch Perfect (Hello?! It’s pure brilliance, except maybe for the vomit scenes. Those I could do without.)

4. Bride Wars (Who doesn’t love Kate Hudson AND Anne Hathaway? Win, win!)

5. Titanic (Seriously? I still cry.)

6. All Toy Story movies (Again, Toy Story 3? In tears.)

7. All of the Shrek movies, too! (I think I out laugh every kid in the room when this is on.)

8. Frozen (See? I’m a big baby!)

9. Safe Haven (There’s just something swoon worthy about it from start to finish. Josh Duhamel = serious yum.)

10. Groundhog’s Day (I can honestly quote almost every line from this movie. My husband and I have it DVRd and play it way more than it’s ever considered normal.)


About Burning Through Gravity


They soared so high so fast they never expected the fall.

Two beautiful souls.
Two seemingly innocent deceptions.

Once they meet, Stevie and Ford explode into one another in a ball of lust, hotter than a July moon. Ford is assertive, dominate and in control, that is until Stevie brings him to his knees. He thinks she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever met both inside and out. Stevie thinks he’s sweet, and sort of goofy—of course it doesn’t hurt that he drips sex like honey.

Stevie is starting to fall hard for Ford.
And Ford is all in with Stevie.
She wonders if he could ever forgive her for what she’s about to do.
She wonders if she wants him to.

They say love conquers all.
But love never met two liars like Stevie and Ford.

His lie cost her a few sleepless nights.
Her lie will cost him everything.


About the Author

Addison Moore is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author who writes contemporary and paranormal romance. Her work has been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine. For nearly a decade, she worked as a therapist on a locked psychiatric unit. She resides on the West Coast with her husband, four wonderful children, and two dogs where she eats too much chocolate and stays up way too late. When she's not writing, she's reading.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

MAD LOVE by Colet Abedi @ColetAbedi



23-year-old aspiring artist Sophie Walker can think of no better place than the exotic paradise of the Maldives Islands to escape the wrath of her controlling parents, the monotony of her boring legal work and her passionless boyfriend. With her two best friends along for the ride and to help her find herself again, Sophie is not prepared for the enigmatic Clayton Sinclair. Clayton comes from another world of privilege that seems like a fantasy to Sophie. Can this man introduce her to the passion & seduction she never realized she was desperately searching for? Sophie quickly becomes ensnared in Clayton's seductive web until a shocking treachery makes her question her judgment and actions

Amazon | Barnes and Noble


Excerpt:

We stand under the canopy next to the seaplane and wait for the W Mal- dives staff to take us to our villas. I look over at Erik and Orie and step close to them, needing their protection. Clayton stands a few feet away, stares at me for a second more then turns toward his friends, who’ve been watching the entire scenario closely. The women, I note, don’t look too happy with me or with him.

Three women from the resort walk over with wet towels and drinks. I take both gladly. I wipe my face with the towel and then take a long sip of the drink. I notice that Erik and Orie are suspiciously quiet. I raise a brow.

“What?”

“You know what,” Erik whispers.

“I think you might get laid on this trip,” Orie says a bit too loudly.

I almost spit out my drink.

“Orie!” My face turns red as I quickly look around to see if anyone heard him. And by anyone, I mean him.

“What? It’s about time, girl,” he says innocently. “You’re the last of your kind. Who else do you know who’s a virgin at twenty- three? It’s a sacrilege.”

“He’s right, you know,” Erik chimes in with a smile. “It’s kind of like the worst thing I’ve ever heard.”

I can’t even manage a response.

photo 4

“There’s gotta be cobwebs in there by now,” he continues as he sips his drink. “It can’t be too pretty.”

Orie holds out his drink and clinks with Erik. “Here’s to our girl finally arriving at the party.”

I choke on my drink this time and Erik hits me on the back. Are they serious? I look over to where Clayton is standing with his friends and notice that his arms are crossed and his head is tilted slightly to the side. Almost like he’s listening. There’s a small smile on his face, maybe from something his friends said or from the TMI that my friends have blurted out to the world. Who knows? But in any case, I feel like Renee Zellweger in the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary, when she walks into the party wearing a bunny costume when it wasn’t a dress-up party and everyone else was wear- ing normal clothes. Except in my case, girl in bunny outfit means VIRGIN. Oh my God, I think I really am going to die.

“Would you guys please lower your voices?” I manage to mutter.

Erik raises his brows and shrugs his shoulders.

“You can’t fault a guy for being honest.”

Before I can give them both a proper lecture on the merits of absti- nence, a nice-looking gentleman dressed in white linen pants and shirt walks over to us.

“Miss Sophie Walker?” he asks with a smile.

“Yes.”

“I’m Iain Summers, the general manager. It is a pleasure to have you here with us at the W Spa & Resort.”

“Thank you so much. These are my friends, Erik Johnson and Orie Pratt.”

“Lovely to meet you all.” Iain motions toward a young Indian man.

photo 2

“This is Bikram. He will be your butler for the duration of your stay.”

A butler? This resort really is no joke. Bikram smiles at us cordially. I like him instantly.

“Nice to meet you, Bikram,” we all say.

“Miss Walker, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Pratt, welcome to our island. If you’re ready, I would like to show you to your bungalow now.” Bikram speaks with a thick accent. He has a general sense of calm about him that you don’t see too often. Who wouldn’t, I think to myself as I look around at the general splendor. Working in heaven every day would be anyone’s dream.

We grab our carry-on luggage and follow Bikram to the golf cart that he’s using to take us to our bungalow. We pass Clayton and his friends, who are now talking to Iain. He is laughing, but looks over at me and nods. I blush and look away. He’s too good looking for words. I’m thankful the golf cart is waiting to take me away from drooling over his perfection. Bikram gets in the driver’s seat, Erik and Orie take the middle seats, and I am unfortunately left at the back of the cart facing behind, which happens to be toward Clayton and his friends. I pretend to study my manicure so I won’t stare. Again.

“Isn’t this unbelievable?” Erik says in excitement as the cart drives off.

“It’s heaven,” I agree. I turn around to face them and smile as Orie and Erik lean into each other, holding hands. They are so in love. I’m so happy for them. This is the perfect setting for romance and it makes me long for what they have. A companion. A lover. A mate. I wonder if it will ever happen.

Bikram takes a left off the dock and heads away from the overwater villas, which have a panoramic view of the Indian Ocean. We’ve booked a beach bungalow because it’s a bit cheaper.

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I’m happy with it but I do kind of wish that we were staying in an overwater one. Perched on top of the ocean every day like that would surely be the experience of a lifetime. My gaze settles on a giant villa that sits at the end of the long wooden path that leads along a row of villas that rest on the sea. Bikram motions toward them.

“Those are the Seascape Villas and at the end is the Ocean Haven.”

“It is enormous!” I’m sure he can hear the awe in my voice. What kind of people get to stay there?

“Yes, it is unbelievable, too. The villa is fifty-two hundred square feet, with a living room and two bedrooms. It is really fantastic. Very luxurious. It is the jewel of the Maldives.”

“How much does it go for?” Orie asks curiously. I’m glad he does because I’m dying to know.

“It is about fifteen thousand American dollars a night right now, in high season.”

“Wow,” I say.

“So it’s like the Hope Diamond of villas?” Orie says to Bikram, who laughs at his comparison.

“Yes, I guess you could call it that, Mr. Pratt.” Bikram says.

“Is it booked?” Orie is never afraid to ask anything. Nothing fazes or embarrasses him. Another one of the amazing qualities I love about him.

“Yes, sir, a guest has just booked the villa for fifteen nights. I believe he’s checking in today. He is a returning guest. He stayed with us last year for fifteen days as well.”

“That’s . . . ” Orie whistles softly.

“A lot of fucking money,” Erik finishes. My thoughts exactly.

Bikram smiles. “Yes, Mr. Pratt. It is a lot of money.”

“Must be nice,” Orie says with a smile, but I know he could care less. Money has never been a driving force for him. He’s more of a live-your- passion kind of guy.

We head down a white sandy path, off the beach and deeper into the lush, tropical island. I marvel at all the foliage and vibrant colors of this small paradise. The beach villas blend in well with the jungle vegetation. I’m struck again by the awesome picture, the live canvas of art that is right here every day for guests to see.

Bikram continues down the velvet sandy path and gives us a quick tour of the resort. Almost all the restaurants are centrally located in one pocket of the island next to the main u-shaped beach and are accessible on foot. All the restaurants and the gym are clustered close together. We’re surprised to hear that there’s a small underground dance club on the island that is open three nights a week. We’re told that we can ask for bikes, but honestly everything is so close that I can’t imagine why you’d need them.

The spa is located in a giant villa across from the overwater guest villas. It looks like the ultimate sanctuary. I can’t wait to have a massage.

Everything is so tastefully done and just reeks of relaxation. Bikram tells us that they have yoga and water classes for free every morning in the main guest pool, which is next to the restaurant where they serve breakfast. We all quickly decide to attend the following day.

“I can book any treatment for you at the spa at any time. There are many wonderful options. And we are very pleased to have Noom with us right now.”

“Who is she?” I ask.

“She is a crystal energy healer,” Bikram tells us. “She is very famous here on the island. Lots of Hollywood celebrities come to see her.”

“Really?” Erik asks. “Hollywood celebrities, huh?”

“Yes, sir. She can cure anything, from physical to mental ailments.”

Erik immediately turns to look at me.

“You’ve gotta see her.”

Gee, thanks. Do I look like I need that much help, I think.

“Yes, you do,” Erik says, obviously reading my mind.

“Would you like me to book a session with Noom for tomorrow, Miss Walker?”

“Yes, please,” I say. If I don’t do it, I know Erik will for me. Who knows? Maybe Noom will be able to help me.

“Around ten o’clock, after your breakfast?” Bikram asks me pleasantly.

“That sounds perfect.” Well, great. I haven’t been here for a day and I’m already in therapy. I guess I can’t complain, because I did come here to have an awakening of sorts.

Bikram makes a quick turn and heads down another path, away from the main resort buildings but still along the sea. He soon pulls up to a straw-thatched bungalow.

“We have you booked at the Beach Oasis.”

We jump off the cart and follow Bikram as he opens the door to our bungalow. I gasp in pleasure. It is spectacular. We have a cozy living area that leads into the master room with a king-sized bed that looks welcoming and plush with its crisp, white bedding. There’s a staircase in the living area that goes up to a deck with views across the sea, for daytime or an evening of star gazing. We also have a private sundeck with access to the white sand beach. And our own circular daybed that sits next to a plunge pool I can’t wait to jump into.

We walk back into the living room and Bikram opens another door.

“And this is your connecting oasis, with a twin bed for Miss Walker. You also have your own private bath.”

The room is pretty and I’m really happy but I can’t help but frown at the twin bed. Will I always sleep on a twin bed alone?

How sad.

w-retreat-and-spa-maldives

“This is so cute,” Erik says as he comes up behind me and puts his hands on my shoulders.

He’s no dummy. He knows how this looks. He knows what I’m think- ing. You are pathetic, my mind screams at me. What were you thinking? Coming to the Maldives, the most romantic place in the world, all alone?

“You don’t like it?” Bikram asks in concern. He can’t miss the frown on my face.

“Oh no, no, Bikram. It is unreal. This is all so wonderful. Thank you,” I quickly answer, hoping I haven’t offended him in the slightest. It’s not his fault I’m a spinster. Or a loser. Or a twenty- three year old virgin loser.

Bikram doesn’t look convinced, so I smile brightly at him and hope I’m a good actress. “I love this.”

He nods slowly then motions toward our luggage, which we notice is already in the room.

“Please enjoy your stay, and if you need anything, I am at your service. I will confirm your appointment with Noom for tomorrow, Miss Walker.”

“Thank you, Bikram.”

Before he leaves, he pauses at the door. “I almost forgot to tell you that tomorrow night is our end of days party on the beach. I would be more than happy to book you a table.”

“End of days?” I ask curiously.

“Yes, tomorrow is a holy day. According to the old island-dwellers, it is either the end of the world as we know it or a rebirth. It is a very spiritual time. We will celebrate life tomorrow night.”

Huh. If it’s the end, I’m dying a virgin. I know Erik and Orie will be more than happy to point this out.

“Please make a reservation. We will be there to celebrate with you all,” Orie tells him.

Bikram leaves us to our oasis. We are all quiet for a moment.

“Sophie, there’s hope for you yet. Maybe the Holy Ghost will pay you a visit tomorrow night.” Erik says to me with a mischievous grin.

“That’s just rude,” I tell him pointedly. “And blasphemous.”

“Oh shit. Did our girl just throw a five-dollar word at us?” Orie laughs.

I look for something tangible to throw at them both and then the real- ity of where we are settles in. This is really paradise. We are the luckiest people alive.


About the Author

Colet Abedi has been an entertainment industry executive for over ten years. In addition to working on many television programs for NBC, ABC, FOX, and most cable networks, she is best known for her work as head writer for the telenovela serials American Heiress and Fashion House, the latter of which starred Bo Derek and Morgan Fairchild, on the FOX-owned MyNetworkTV. Abedi currently has one television series in syndication, Unsealed: Alien Files, and has completed Five Souls, her first feature film. She is also the co-author of young adult fiction novel, FAE. Book one was released July 2013 by Diversion Publishing Group and was an instant online bestseller. The Dark King, the second in the planned FAE trilogy, was released May 2014. FAE was recently optioned by Ridley Scott. Colet is a native of California, graduated with a B.A. in English literature from the University of California at Irvine, and currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three dogs.

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