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Friday, January 29, 2021

A Thousand Words by M. A. Fréchette

 


A Thousand Words
Unbroken
Book One
M. A. Fréchette

Genre: Dark contemporary romance
Publisher: M. A. Fréchette
Date of Publication: January 29, 2021
ISBN: 9781777069827
ASIN: B08RMRNFHP
Number of pages: 374
Word Count: 99,856

Cover Artist: Magali Fréchette

Tagline: She’s trapped in a nightmare. Unleashing his own could set her free.

Book Description: 

From the outside, Elora Reverie’s life is a dream. A handsome husband; a passion for writing children’s books; a beautiful home. In reality, she’s living a nightmare of abuse in a house that’s little more than a prison.

On a rare escape to a book convention, she’s shocked to win a raffle for a photoshoot with Vincent Voden, a stunning male model. Yielding to the temporary fantasy is an exercise in madness, especially with his phone number hidden in the lining of her purse. But when her husband turns violent, she’s forced to admit her marriage is truly a sham—and she dials that lifeline to Vincent’s safe, strong arms.

Vincent instantly recognized the hopeless look in Elora’s eyes. His mother wore it, too. That’s why he secretly entered Elora’s name into that contest—to shield her, however briefly, in his arms. Now he’s got a second chance to show her love doesn’t have to hurt. When a murderous crime organization re-emerges and targets abused women, Vincent will do whatever it takes to protect Elora from more than just her husband. 

No matter what favors from his violent past he needs to call in to make it happen…

Amazon

Excerpt:

 

Thunder rumbled in the sky, and Elora rubbed her arms at the sound. At least most of the wall was closed off already since the workers were busy focusing on the outside construction.

She slowed as she approached the dining room, her pulse throbbing in her ears. Vincent stood at the window, staring at a familiar paper. She’d doodled on it a few hours ago.

He glanced over his shoulder and gave her a charming smile that sent her heart fluttering. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to poke my nose in here.” He put the sheet on the table and leaned against the chair. “Did you draw this?”

Heat crept into her cheeks that had nothing to do with the temperature. “Where are the other workers?”

“They left early because of the storm. I told Larry I’d let you know, but when I came inside, I found this, and got distracted.” He pointed at the paper. “So did you?”

“Did I what?” she asked, adding an innocent tone to her voice. It sounded… flirty.

He chuckled, taking a step toward her. “Did you draw this?” He grabbed the pad and stopped in front of her.

His scent wrapped around her senses―sweat and the heat of sunlight―and a sudden flush of warmth spread through her. “I was… doodling.”

“It’s great. Are you an interior designer on top of a picture book artist?”

She couldn’t help the burst of laughter escaping her mouth as she shook her head. “No, no. I just enjoy drawing.”

He glanced at the sketch of the sunroom. “Would it be okay if I showed this to Larry? He’d love to use some of these concepts.”

“Richard wouldn’t want me getting involved―”

“I won’t tell him it’s yours.” He took another step closer, and she caught the hem of her shirt, stopping herself from backing away. “If you don’t mind losing the credit for your brilliant ideas?”

She grabbed the drawing from him and frowned at it. “You really think it’s good?”

“I do. You’ve got hidden talents, apparently.” His voice turned husky, and she swallowed hard as she stared at him. “I bet you’re full of surprises, darling.”

Heat engulfed her body at the pet name, and she drew a shuddering breath at the way he stared at her. Not just in interest and lust, but something deeper.

She cleared her throat, putting the paper on the table. “So, are you good at everything?” When his smile turned lewd, she couldn’t help grin. “I didn’t mean it that way. I meant… you’re a construction worker and you model? That’s quite the different professions.”

“And it’s not the only two, either.” He pulled a chair and sat, then motioned for her to do the same. Once she took a seat, he leaned his elbow on the table. “They’re not so distinct, when you think about it. I mean, I need to stay in shape… This incredible body doesn’t happen overnight.”

She giggled. Great. She sounded like a fourteen-year-old infatuated teen. With a loud sniff, she tried to get rid of her embarrassment, but it turned into a snort, and they both burst into a fit of laughter.

When was the last time I laughed like this?

“Have you modeled a while?”

“A few years. I worked construction on a building in the city when an agent approached me. Thought she was kidding when she offered me a contract, but it turned out legit, so I accepted.” He ran his fingers through his dark brown hair. “I don’t take on contracts often since it’s just a side job for me. I’ll usually only say yes if it’s for a charity event or something like that. The Book Fair donated the contest ticket price to an animal shelter, and I just couldn’t resist helping out.”

As she stared into Vincent’s brown eyes, the twinkle behind them seemed to hide a darker side. But it wasn’t threatening; instead, it cradled her.

I’ll have to thank Liana later for putting my name in the contest.

She smiled. “So construction is your primary job?”

“No. I take these jobs when a foreman needs an extra man, and since it’s quiet at my workplace…” he shrugged. “What about you?”

She didn’t mention the sudden shift in his voice; like he wanted to avoid talking about his primary job. Still, she wasn’t one to push considering she wouldn’t give him much information either.

“Just the children’s books, but it’s slow. I have several tasks to do each day, but whenever I get a few minutes, I love to put books together. Stories that’ll inspire children not to suffer alone, feel loved even if they may not have someone in their lives.” She traced a small dent on the wooden table. “But I also enjoy drawing for fun,” she said, glancing toward the paper.

Ever since she had imagined a greenhouse attached to the living room, design ideas had filled her imagination.

A flash of light ripped through the sky, followed by a crash of thunder, and she bolted to her feet. Her breath came faster, memories of Richard throwing objects against the walls resonating in her head. The first time she’d showed fear during a storm, he purposely jump-scared her at every opportunity.

Vincent stood and took her hand, squeezing lightly. She froze, his touch so gentle, yet firm, letting her know he had her.

“Elora?” He tried pulling her closer, but she winced, her shoulder still tender. “Can I see?”

She’d kept the sweater on, covering the nasty bruise that had turned a shade of green, purple, and blue. Unable to speak as he held onto her hand, she nodded slowly. He pulled the clothes to the side, his eyes narrowing on the wound, but he said nothing as he pushed her clothes in place.

“It’s sore, but nothing too horrible.” She tried pulling away, but he took a step closer, closing the gap between them. “I’ll have to be more careful with the boxes next time.”

“We both know that’s a lie.”

Before she could reply, thunder echoed, feeling like it shook the house from the ground up. She yelped, instinct pushing her toward Vincent as he wrapped his arms around her. He held her, and they both stood unmoving. As though even the smallest of breaths would break the moment. The safety she felt with him was… indescribable.

Guilt churned her stomach as she thought of Richard. This was unacceptable. She couldn’t feel these things for another man. She was married, and through better or worse, she loved her husband.

Right?

She pulled away, averting her gaze. “Sorry. Loud noises make me jumpy.”

He chuckled, cutting through the heaviness in the air between them. “These big powerful arms are here whenever you need them.”

She laughed. “Thanks.”

“I should go. I won’t be working here tomorrow, but I’ll be back next week.” He walked to the entrance and opened the door. “Have a good evening.”

She hated that not seeing him for a while hurt this much.

 

About the Author:

M. A. Fréchette writes the darker side of romance.

Being an extremist, she loves both the dark aspects of life and everything sweet. All her stories are either set in Canada where she lives or in alternate worlds she made up while living within her imagination. When not writing, she thinks of the next scene or plot while enjoying her work as a cover designer. Although she has a fascination for monsters, with a bachelor degree in criminology, she understands there’s no need to create the paranormal; humans are capable of inflicting nightmares of their own.

Website: https://authormaf.com/

Newsletter: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/y9t9q3

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMAF

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorMAF

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormaf/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/authormaf   

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/m-a-frechette


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Of Lords and Commoners by Lynne Hill-Clark

 


Of Lords and Commoners 
Of Lords and Commoners Trilogy
Book One
Lynne Hill-Clark 

Genre: paranormal, alternate history, fantasy, 
fantasy adventure, dystopian, occult fiction 

Publisher: Future Classics Publishing 
Date of Publication: 2/22/2018
ISBN: 978-0997635645
Number of pages: 388
Word Count: 100,000

Cover Artist: We Got You Covered 

Tagline: Entertainment that brings a fresh new perspective to cultural and social issues.

Book Description: 

Over 20,000 Downloads

Vallachia doesn’t know much…

But she does know that she loves her simple life.

This becomes even more apparent when that life is ripped from her.

Who will care for her widowed father and younger brother?

But she doesn’t have time to worry about that when she has to learn how to keep herself alive.

Not to mention she has to constantly thwart unwanted male attention.

She quickly finds herself on the wrong side of a brewing battle for vampire domination.

Not knowing whom to trust could have fatal consequences …

For everyone.

Live through the latter part of the Byzantine Empire and into the dark times of the Black Plague, where our heroine finds herself fighting to defend humankind.

The only future Vallachia could have imagined, as well as her wonderfully simple life, disappears when she finds herself in a struggle to figure out the rules of a strange new world - a world that involves superhuman strength, heightened senses and inescapable bloodlust. She must make new allies and learn the ways of supernatural politics during the decline of the Byzantine Empire.

As the pressure mounts, she faces the deadliest pandemic in history as the battle for vampire domination rages across Europe.

This is the first installment of the Lords and Commoners Trilogy written from the viewpoint of a common girl forced to contend with powerful vampires and lords in a struggle to control the world.

Both history fanatics and supernatural fans will love this story as it provides a fresh new look at the dark days of the Black Plague and a glimpse into the paranormal conflicts that are hidden in the shadows.

Fair warning: It will leave you wanting more. So don’t forget to check out the other books in the Lords and Commoners Trilogy…


Meet the Author Video: https://youtu.be/hs1Gf42d2xo 


About the Author:

Lynne Hill-Clark was born in Colorado and raised in a small town of eight hundred people. She received her Master of Science from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and her Doctorate of Psychology from the University of the Rockies, Colorado Springs, where she majored in criminology and justice studies. She has enjoyed living overseas on several occasions; including her time as an American Peace Corps Volunteer in Jordan and a semester abroad in Xin Xeo, China. She is an advocate for Restorative Justice. 












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Monday, January 11, 2021

Alex Mckenna and The Academy of Souls by Vicki-Ann Bush

 



Alex Mckenna and The Academy of Souls
Alex Mckenna Series 
Book Two
Vicki-Ann Bush

Genre: YA, Paranormal, LGBTQ
Publisher: The Parliament House Press
Date of Publication: October 20, 2020
ISBN: 979-8697729533
ASIN: B08HCFGHXJ
Number of pages: 314
Word Count: 61,823
Cover Artist: Shayne Leighton Machova

Tagline: The Dead Need Him

Book Description: 

After surviving a harrowing case, Alex McKenna just wanted to rest. Unfortunately, his plans are interrupted by the ghost of Seven-year-old Haven, who is lost in an in-between realm.
 
Despite his great-grandmother's warning, Alex crosses the bridge between the living and the dead, sending him and his girlfriend into the world of the Academy of Souls, a high school for dead teens who are unable to complete their journey.
 
There, Alex meets Ophelia, Haven's teenage sister, who's been searching for her for more than a century. Together, with a few friends he meets along the way, Alex must cross the treacherous terrain of the Underworld in-between, to save Haven from the clutches of the Soul Gatherer and reunite the sisters.

Amazon    BN     Kobo


Excerpt:

The streetlamps illuminated the black empty sea of asphalt. A quiet calm laced the row of sleepy houses. Alex reveled in the tranquility. So much noise constantly filling his head, any semblance of stillness wrapped around his mind like a child's favorite blanket.

            In the center of the glass, a small sphere of light caught his attention. At first, he thought it was in the yard. Leaning forward and squinting, he realized it was a reflection coming from directly behind him.

            Jumping up, he spun around. Growing in diameter, it was beginning to spin.

            "Hey, whatcha doin?" Margaret said groggily.

            "Stop. Babe, slowly move to your left and come over here by me."

            "Why? What's going on?"

            Margaret gingerly slid to the left as Alex instructed, and then quickly scurried by his side. "What do you see?"

            "It's the vortex opening, the gateway to that girl, Ophelia.”

            "Alex, please be careful. Remember what your Gram said. Don't get too close," Margaret pleaded.

            "She's there, it looks like a bedroom."

            "What's she doing?"

            "Sitting on the bed, she's covering her ears."

            The wind whipped around the vortex howling like a wolf speaking to the full moon.

            "I don't hear anything?" Margaret turned to Alex.

            "It's like a high-pitched howl. It's deafening. Wait. It's quieting down. She sees me."

            "What's she doing now?"

            "She's coming closer."

            Alex leaned closer to the anomaly.

            "Alex, back up." Margaret tugged at his t-shirt.

            "Babe. I gotta do this. Please. Let go of my shirt."

            Margaret reluctantly let the fabric fall from her fingertips.

            Alex inched closer.

            "You are Alex McKenna, right?" Ophelia asked.

            The anxious teen widened her eyes in anticipation.

            "Yes. I've seen Haven. Who is she?"

            "She is my sister."

            "I think she's in trouble," said Alex.

            Ophelia floated off the bed and stood directly in front of the entrance to the living.

            "I've been searching for her for years. She was taken by a man, a Soul Gatherer. I think she is counting on you to help."

            "I think she is, too."

            "Can you?" Ophelia's eyes widened.

            "I can try. Where are you? Is it The Academy of Souls?"

            Ophelia’s chin dropped.

            "Yes. You know about my school?"

            "I do."

            "Oh no."

            "What is it?'

            "The gateway. It's closing!" Ophelia shouted.

            Alex heard the desperation in her voice as he helplessly watched the circle shrink. The wind cried out once again, as it violently thrashed around the outer edges of the bridge between the dimensions.

            "I have to go." Alex tasted Margaret's lips. "I'll be back soon."

            "What the hell? No. Alex. You can't," Margaret shrieked.

            "I love you," his voice trailed.

            Alex stepped into the center of the storm. The vision of Ophelia rippled, traveling to the rim of the circle, and splashing into the void. "This shield is my power to protect against evil, this shield keeps out harm. No dark entities shall pass through this shield. As I will it, so shall it be."

            Sawing to fill his lungs with air, he pushed forward and landed on the floor of the dorm room. Gazing up, Ophelia stood in front of him, her mouth wide open.

            "Ugh. My head hurts. Where are we?" a voice echoed.

            Alex winced. His heart punching the walls of his chest. Whipping his head around in a frenzy, Margaret was lying on the floor beside him.

            "No, no, no, no. What the fuck, il mio amore." Alex scrambled to her side.

            Ophelia moved closer. With her pointer finger, she quickly poked his shoulder and retracted.

            Alex didn't respond. His focus was Margaret.

            "How could you do this? Why did you do this?" his voice strained.

            "I couldn't let you go without me."

            Alex kissed away the saltiness from her cheeks. With the back of his sleeve, he gently patted dry her eyes.

            "Alex?" Ophelia murmured.

            The couple turned to the bewildered Ophelia Wetherton.

 

About the Author 

Originally from New York, Vicki-Ann currently resides in Nevada. Writing Young Adult paranormal, she finds inspiration from events that have been in her life for as long as she can remember. Inheriting the sensitivity to the supernatural from her family, they continue to be an endless source of vision and access to behind the veil.







Newsletter - http://eepurl.com/c-cRc1 






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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Rhyker’s Key Orion’s Order Book Two by M.C. Solaris

 



Rhyker’s Key
Orion’s Order 
Book Two
M.C. Solaris

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: M.C. Solaris LLC
Date of Publication: 12/21/20
ISBN: 9781952655050
ASIN: B08MZJJRZM
Number of pages: 740
Word Count: 220,000

Cover Artist: Mayhem Cover Creations

Tagline: Sexy Shifters. Hot Vampires. Intriguing Immortals.

Book Description:

Rhyker, tattooed bad boy and lethal jaguar shifter, falls for the sweet and caring healer, Keena. Except, she’s determined to keep him in the friend zone... good thing he’s a predator that enjoys the hunt.

Together, can they heal their past and forge a future bonded with true love?

SECOND BOOK IN THE ORION’S ORDER SERIES

Orion’s Order returns in another addictive installment about their secret world of magic and mystery. A world where the most powerful words in the Universe are discovered in the fight against an ancient evil force.

KEENA OLIVER

I am haunted by my past mistakes. Mistakes that I have no idea how I even made. I am an educated mind and spirit healer after all. So how in the holy healer hell did I end up in a relationship where the male who I thought I loved…

Yeah, it’s probably best not to rehash those nightmares. But if I don’t dare open up that box to my past, then how am I ever going to be able to move on? Especially because I so want to move on with a certain sexy male. A male whose lips devoured mine in a darkened corner that one time. A male whose predatory piercing blue eyes practically track my every move. A male who I shouldn’t be fantasizing about every second of every day. Why? Because it would ruin me.

RHYKER KINGSLEY

I’ve had my eye on a certain female for almost a year now. A female who is damn determined to keep me in the friend zone. A female who's been hurt by her ex but refuses to open up to me about it. So, you could say I go through a lot of smokes… a f*cking lot.

Meanwhile, my pack of lethally trained and skilled hunters and I are gunning for an evil SOB who not only signed his death warrant the second he tried to come after my pack sister and mate to our alpha, but also the f*cker poses a threat to our world as we know it. Yet, said ancient powerful bastard has gone off the grid and is all but impossible to track.

Oh, and did I mention that the past seems to be mixing with the present? I mean, the f*ck is this? The revenge year of the shitty exes? 

So, excuse me while I light up a smoke… or two. 

Devour this addictive series at your own risk...

+ Happily Ever After
+ Sexy Paranormal Jaguar Shifter Romance
+ Multiple POV
+ Mature Content
+ This series is meant to be read in order for the best reading experience
----------------------------------------------
RHYKER’S KEY is an adult paranormal jaguar shifter romance. If you like swoon-worthy males, heroines with feminine strength, an engaging plot, satisfying relationships, steamy love stories, happy ever afters, and getting sucked into a supernatural story, then you’ll want to immerse yourself in the world of species!

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/Jp_cqmFCZFQ

Books2Read     Amazon 

Apple Books     BN     Kobo     GooglePlay      EdenBooks

 


Excerpt 1 

Words. She needed to find words so she could respond because that was how conversations went. But words eluded her at the moment because she was still trying to recover from the debilitating tease from a moment ago when his lips were... Wait, you need to respond. But what did he say again?

“What do you use the second bedroom for?” he asked again in that curious feline way of his as he walked back toward her from the hall.

What do you use the second bedroom for? She had to slowly repeat his question in her mind in order for her brain to get with the program and understand what he was even asking. My second bedroom? Oh god, do I tell him what’s in there? She bit her lip in slight hesitation and he noticed, of course.

“What? Is that like your secret sex dungeon or something?” His lips turned up at the corners in a very feline way.

“Sex dungeon?” She laughed. “Of course that’s immediately where your mind goes.”

“Well, where else would it go when I’m with you.” He took a step closer to her. “In your home.” He closed the distance between them so they were separated by mere inches. “Alone.”

Her pulse quickened to a hummingbird’s pace and suddenly, she was back to being in the scorcher of desire.

Noticing her reaction, his mischievous grin transformed into his irresistibly sinful smirk.

She knew he was just playing with her but before he could continue, she broke the erotic tension between them by taking a step back and saying, “Here’s my sex dungeon.” And she didn’t mean for it to come out as husky as it did.

She opened the door to the second bedroom and he peered inside. His brows shot up in surprise before refocusing back on her in a silent question.

She laughed. “No, this is not my sex dungeon. This is my therapy room.”

“Therapy. Is that what they’re calling it these days?” he drawled, walking over to the pole. Without warning, he gripped the pole and lifted his body effortlessly so he was completely parallel to the ground. He gave her a wink and she laughed. As soon as his feet touched the ground, he climbed up the pole with just his arm strength.

“Good thing I had that installed for the highest weight class or else you may have fallen flat on your face,” she quipped, trying not to notice the way his biceps flexed and tantalized her feminine essence.

“Don’t insult me. I always land on my feet.” As if in emphasis of his point, he let go of his grip at the very top of the pole and landed softly on his feet with feline grace.

“So not fair.” She shook her head, still smiling. “I’ve trained for years and yet here you go showing me up.”

“I’ll gladly be the judge of that.” He stepped aside and held his arm out to the pole in invitation for her.

 


About the Author:

M.C. Solaris’s life took an unexpected turn during the super blood moon eclipse on January 20, 2019. She woke up and began writing bios for her imaginary friends that she met that day. As soon as the pen hit the paper (or fingertips to the iPhone), she couldn’t stop. It was kind of like one of those fire hydrants, spewing copious amounts of water all over the place. The characters and their stories just flowed out of her. She is honored to be the scribe, getting to share her friends’ stories. You can read all about her gifted friends in the Orion’s Order series (Book 1 is Calypso’s Heart).

On a personal note, M.C. Solaris is actually the pseudonym of Marina Schroeder, women’s health enthusiast and lover of all things paranormal romance (PNR) and happily ever after (HEA). When she is not curled up on the sofa with her partner’s oversized hoodie, a PNR novel, peppermint tea, and one of her three cats, you will find her either at the ocean with her toes in the sand or in a forest hugging a tree. Well truthfully? There is one more place you might find her: trolling the aisles of Whole Foods for a satisfying combination of salty and sweet while hiding in her partner’s hoodie… like any proper PNR-writing introvert.

Want to get the latest scoop, sneak peeks, and short shares all about her imaginary friends? Go to www.mcsolaris.com/newsletter and sign up for the newsletter.

Welcome to The Order!

https://mcsolaris.com/newsletter

https://mcsolaris.com/

https://www.instagram.com/mcsolarisauthor/

https://www.facebook.com/mcsolarisauthorofficial

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20295545.M_C_Solaris

https://twitter.com/mcsolarisauthor

https://www.bookbub.com/books/calypso-s-heart-orion-s-order-1-by-mc-solaris




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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Marked Dark Kindred Spirits Book One by Athena Floras

 


Marked
Dark Kindred Spirits  
Book One
Athena Floras

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: November 21st, 2020
ASIN: B08MBNHBR7
Number of pages: 108
Word Count: 19 679
Cover Artist: Nicholas Mallet

Tagline: When all hope is lost, love will find a way.

Book Description:

When there is darkness, seek the light…

Sebastian Falls has known his fair share of pain and sorrow in his life. His world is one filled with evil and danger. He’s learned to keep his emotions to himself and not let anyone get close. It’s the only way to not get hurt. But when he meets Ariel Olivier, the shy, awkward girl in his class, he wonders if he should continue to stay in the darkness. There’s something about Ariel that makes him want to let her in.

Ariel Olivier never knew when she got a tattoo on her eighteenth birthday that her whole world would change for the worse. From that moment on, her normal, mundane life turned into something sinister. An evil grows within her and it threatens to consume her and all those she cares for.

There is only one person who can help her vanquish what wants to destroy her, the alluring, mysterious Sebastian Falls. She can’t help but be drawn to him. He comes from the same evil world that is trying to kill her. Can she trust him and her growing feelings or let whatever dark power that is controlling her take over completely?

Amazon     Amazon.co.uk     Amazon.ca

Excerpt:

Ariel Olivier’s wandering mind never rested. It kept her occupied at the most inopportune times, like right now in her Humanities’ class. Mr. Brentwood’s monotone voice as he read a passage in the reference book on religion and its influence on politics was the driving force propelling her thoughts away from the subject matter.

This was her least favorite class. She probably wouldn’t have chosen it if another Humanities subject was available in the same timeslot. But there hadn’t been, so she was stuck with this boring class and Mr. Brentwood’s unemotional and slow-paced teaching methods for the rest of the semester.

The squirrel doing a balancing act on the powerline outside her window had her undivided attention at the moment. It seemed to stare at her, urging her to open the window to let it in. It was cold outside. The puissant wind blew the fur on its puffy tail, making it shiver.

If she could do it undetected, she would have let it in. She hated to see it suffer.

When the squirrel saw she wasn’t budging, it scurried farther down the powerline, searching for another opportunity to come into the building.

She sighed, glancing down at her watch. There was only a few more minutes of class left and then her school day would be over.

She couldn’t wait until she was out of the school. Throughout the entire day, she worried someone would realize it was her birthday and wish her best wishes.

She hated drawing attention to herself. She was shy and reserved. She felt the most at ease when she could sit in class or in the library and not be seen or heard. Being invisible was what she thrived for, because it meant freedom without prejudice. No one could criticize her bad posture when she sat or how her hair curled untamed. Or how she wore only monotone colored clothes and hated patterns of any kind.

She could be herself and not be judged for any quirks, odd habits, or preferences she might have.

Mr. Brentwood flipped the massive textbook closed. The echoing noise it produced sliced into the silence drawing her out of her reverie. She blinked focusing on his words.

“That’s the end of today’s lesson. I’d like you all to read the next chapter in the book and we’ll discuss it on Tuesday.”

All of a sudden, he honed his gaze onto her and he smiled. “I almost forgot one very important thing to mention before you go.”

She shifted her eyes and fidgeted in her chair. Somehow, she knew what he’d say next. She should have expected it. He always did it for all of his students.

“It’s Ariel’s birthday today. She turned eighteen. Please wish her along with me a happy birthday.”

All eyes turned to look in the direction Mr. Brentwood focused. Only a couple of the students knew immediately she was Ariel. The rest seemed to have noticed her for the first time, as if they never knew she existed before now.

She felt her cheeks burning. She wanted to crawl under her desk and hide.

* * * *

Sebastian Falls witnessed the chaos from afar. He cringed noting the scene was stressing Ariel out.

He didn’t know her personally. They’d been in the same Humanities class for the past month and had never spoken to one another. But from the frequent times he’d observed her from the back of the classroom, he could tell she was a lot like he was, an introvert who didn’t like talking in class.

Too bad Mr. Brentwood hadn’t figured that out yet. The worst thing he could have done, he did. Drawing everyone’s attention to the fact it was Ariel’s birthday was freaking her out.

Her cheeks turned beet red and she couldn’t keep eye contact with the students as they swarmed in and offered her happy birthday wishes.

He even caught her eyeing the door. She obviously was contemplating running the hell out of there. If he were in her shoes, he probably would have been thinking the same thing, except his reason was different from hers. She was shy and awkward. He just hated crowds and wanted to be left alone.

Grabbing his books, he made his way out, avoiding the traffic jam around her desk. It was getting too busy and too noisy for his liking. Peace and quiet were what he thrived for. He couldn’t get it at home, but he made damn sure to get it at school.

He walked into the hallway and leaned on a random locker waiting for the perfect time to act. He had no idea how long he’d have to wait—a minute, ten minutes, or even half an hour. But he didn’t mind. It would all be worth it in the end if everything fell into place like he planned. 

About the Author:

Athena Floras is a wife and proud mother of three who loves to read and write suspenseful and romantic stories. When she isn't busy being a mom, she spends her spare time in her den, totally immersing herself into the whimsical, fantastical world of fiction. She hopes the stories and characters she creates will bring readers as much pleasure and entertainment as they have her.

Website/Blog: https://athenafloras.blogspot.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Athena-Floras/e/B018N7U26S

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlorasAthena

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