Book Three of the Butterfly Memoirs is Here, but I Have Moved!!!

Yes, once again I have moved to a new website with a new URL….and man am I loving it! But don’t worry, all the blog posts have come with me, so have the characters of The Butterfly Memoirs. Join is as we celebrate the release of Kaitlyn’s story, Lonely Heart. See you there!!!!

MJKaneMedia.com

MJ

#FeatureFriday- Sullivan’s Way by Wilhelmina Stolen

***5 Prince Publishing NEW RELEASE!!!!***

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Historical Romance

A single day shattered her life and set in motion, events that would change the Sullivan family for generations.

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Marnie Joe Sullivan had the perfect life as the daughter of a wealthy Virginia businessman, but perfection wouldn’t last. As the War Between the States ends, she is struggling to keep her family together. After a botched robbery, fleeing rebels leave her mother dead and Marnie at the mercy of a killer. The year is 1867 and Virginia is still home to Confederate conspirators and a killer that must be stopped. Loyalty and love run deep in the Sullivan family and Marnie is no exception. As the eldest Sullivan, she feels obligated to rescue her father from the hangman’s noose. But a jailbreak at midnight lands her in the arms of Marshal Mason Kane.

 Death is never fair. Mason Kane is proof of that. The horror of war and the death of his brother made him a drunk. Consumed by guilt and grief, he finds himself occupying Richmond saloons and starting fights. But a forgotten promise to his brother forces him to put down the bottle and accept a friend’s plea for help. Mason has no idea that the scrawny, mud covered boy he just hit is Sullivan’s daughter and he has no idea just how tempting she is until he tries to mend her wounds. Bound by honor and promise, Mason sets out to find a killer. What he finds is the outlaw Marnie Sullivan. A woman he can’t live without and secrets that lie in the way.

 Amazon     5 Prince Publishing

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Excerpt:

February 2, 1868

Sullivan Settlement, Virginia

Them Damned Confederates

Marnie Joe Sullivan, a well-bred woman of Virginian wealth, sat at the head of her father’s table. Despite her cool exterior, she felt civility’s firm grip slip and a white-hot anger coil its way up her spine. The beast threatened to burst forth in a rage of unladylike vulgarities of which the gentlemen across from her would undoubtedly recoil and offer a hideous clicking sound of disapproval from their forked tongues! No, that wouldn’t do.

“Damn it Marnie! You can’t go!” The abrasive voice manifested itself from the older man sitting across from her. He heaved one foot upward and slammed it against the smooth cherry floor of the great room. The dull clap of the heavy boot vibrated against the stone walls of the Sullivan house, “We have to wait for Lucas. He’ll be back anytime now.” The stub from his missing first finger wiggled uncontrollably as he ran his gnarled fingers over his thinning, silver hair, creating a wild mess. The missing digit was Ike Ritchie’s trophy for his victorious fight in the Battle of Buena Vista in ’47, “Your Pa was crazy for going to Silver Creek!”

With an unwavering face of authority, Marnie lifted her chin and leveled her gaze. A delicate blush of pink rushed over both cheeks, “My Pa is not crazy! He’s grieving.” Her small fingers anxiously examined the delicate embroidery of her handkerchief as her eyes burned into Ike with disapproval. The midnight black of her silk dress couldn’t quench the green fire that raged in her eyes. Since her mother’s death, Marnie had adorned black in every sense of the word, her soul, her spirit, and her will were all shaded black by that day, but not today. Today was a day of action!

An indignant “humph” escaped the edge of her full lips. As if being prompted by the sound, a petite black woman stepped from the hall and stood with folded hands as they waited for their guests to arrive, her slate stare burning relentlessly into Marnie. Yes, yes, I know, Tillie! Ladies always remain calm! As leaders from the settlement below entered the room one by one, Marnie took a deep breath that generated a small look of understanding and approval from the housekeeper.

Marnie’s skin itched and burned from the laces of her corset, causing her to shift in her seat. Thanks to Tillie’s diligent efforts, she was presentable. It infuriated Marnie to know that over half the morning had been devoted to tying, lacing and buttoning her unmentionables just so she might look presentable to the men in front of her. In the time it had taken Tillie to carefully style her unruly blonde hair into the neatly formed chignon, she could have been half-way to Silver Creek. This is ridiculous! I don’t need their help! Will Roark, Louis Porter, and Charlie Wilcox, represented only a handful of families that homesteaded on her father’s land. The men had taken council at this house since Marnie had donned pigtails and played with dolls. They weren’t use to answering to anyone but her father, “Thank you all for coming on such short notice.”

Will looked confused, “Marnie, I don’t know what we could possibly do to help your Pa.”

Ike eased forward and rested his elbows on the table, “Marnie thought you gentlemen might accompany us into Silver Creek.”

Charlie frowned, “Why would we do that?”

“To help me break Papa from jail.” Marnie said hopefully.

Her statement provoked a laugh from Louis, “You want us to help you stage a jailbreak?” He glanced at the other men, “Is she serious?”

“I don’t find anything funny about it. It is possible.” Their snide smiles added to her frustration, “If we go in after dark, there’ll be only one or two guards.”

“That’s insane!” Louis interjected.

“No, it’s not!” With her fists clinched tightly at her side, she demanded an answer, “How can you sit there and do nothing to save him?” Their silence infuriated her. They weren’t taking her father’s capture seriously. “Papa’s been rotting in that jail for three days and God only knows how long Lucas will be gone!” It had been two days since her adopted brother, Lucas, set out for Richmond to find her Uncle, and Marnie’s confidence in the law and Maxwell Richardson was diminishing, “I haven’t seen my Uncle Max in years. How can we be sure he’ll even help Papa?”

“Maxwell won’t think twice about it.” With a dismissive hand, Ike waved her fears aside, “Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if old Maxwell dynamited the jail himself to free your Pa!”

It was because of her father’s selfish act that she sat like a plucked turkey, stitched and tied for the presentation at hand. Her father, Daniel Sullivan never left anything to coincidence. Why had he allowed himself to get caught by the law in Silver Creek? Haven’t I dealt with enough tragedy? Less than a year ago her mother lay lifeless on the floor as Marnie and her sister were ripped from their home and taken for ransom.

Tight lips controlled Marnie’s words. She lifted her chin and fought to steady her breathing. Back straight, shoulders square, you’re a Sullivan, baby girl! Her father’s voice echoed in her mind and unconsciously her posture straightened. Defiance rushed through her as the authority in her eyes demanded attention from each man.

“We can’t wait! Are you going to help me or not?” Marnie gave the table a single strike with her fist, “Someone answer me! My father gave you a roof over your head, and never asked for anything in return. Without his help, none of you would have anything. If Talon Dougal hangs Papa, nothing will prevent him from taking the mountain and everything around it!”

Louis adjusted his collar, “Marnie, we’re all concerned about your father, but he knew not to go. He was safe here. He knew if he went to town he would risk getting caught.”

“We could protect him here, but not in Silver Creek. Hell! We could be hanged right along with him!” Will shouted and Charlie nodded.

Ike agreed, “They’re right, Marnie.”

Twenty-five years ago, through dense forests and jagged rocks, her father carved out a life for not only his family, but for the families in the valley below. Now when he needed them, they cowered in fear like children, “So it will be the same as before? He needed you last year and you didn’t lift a hand to help him. You all wanted to run and hide.” She tapped the table with a finger, discarding the truth for her cause. The people around her father’s table were loyal, but fear made her desperate.

“Now wait just a damn minute little girl!” Her accusations brought Ike up out of his seat. In his younger day, he’d been a boxer, broad in the shoulder and narrow at the hip. Legend of the “Fists of Fury” spread through Texas like wildfire. Even now, his withered frame towered above Marnie. When his expression changed, she braced herself, “You seem to forget I was riding right alongside your Pa when them damned Confederates took you girls, and I helped him bury your Ma!” He shifted his weight from one leg to the other in agitation, “So don’t you go lecturing me about helping spring your Pa from jail!”

The outburst sent a silence over the men. Ike shook his head, “I’m sorry Marnie. I know you miss your ma, but−” Marnie watched him rub his furrowed face and produce a tender smile, “you girls, feel like you was my own and I don’t want to see ya get hurt.” He placed a hand on her shoulder, “We’ll wait for Lucas.” he instructed softly.

Marnie’s head shook feverishly, “We can’t wait. They could hang him at any time. Lucas might persuade the Governor to intervene in the charges against Papa, but Talon is a coward. He won’t wait for a judge or jury.” Marnie forced a wave of moving tears as she let out an, “Oh!” and pushed the handkerchief against her nose. She sniffed and dropped her head. Papa’s running out of time!

Ike eased down in a chair beside her, “Look Marnie, we can’t just go into the jail and ask for the key. He’s a wanted criminal, they’ll be guarding him close.”

“I won’t be moved by tears young lady.” Will interrupted Ike’s careful words, “I’d give my life for Daniel, but our actions have to be thought through. We wait.”

The firmness of Will’s words stilled her tears. I knew it! They’re not going to help me. Marnie refused to lose the fight. She calmed herself and raised her head, “I’m sorry, you’re right.” Her head nodded slightly in agreement and then bent forward with humility, “I know without your loyalty Papa would have been caught a long time ago, and Callie and I would probably be dead.” When she met Ike’s concerned face, the storm in her green eyes cleared, and a crafty smile eased its way onto her pouty lips, “Forgive me.” Her voice was soft, “I’m just scared.  I had to try.”

Ike cocked one bushy eyebrow upward and sighed, “Well girl, Lucas will be back from Richmond tomorrow.”

A half an hour later Marnie walked the last remaining man to the door. Ike shifted awkwardly and moved towards her. When the others had gone, he called Marnie by her childhood name, “Joe, in nineteen years I ain’t never seen you give into a fight. I saw them green eyes clear, and that means one thing. You’re up to something!”

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authorAbout the Author: 

Wilhelmina Stolen is the pseudonym for romance writer, Shannon Hayes. Shannon is a native of Kentucky and makes her home in a small southern town close to the Tennessee line. During her adolescence, her mother’s free spirited nature became restless causing the family to embark on a slew of adventurous moves across the country. The moves provoked a hunger for adventure and romance and introduced her to a wonderful world of history and beauty.

As with most writers, her stories began at an early age with long sessions of seclusion and secrecy. While her classmates and friends were outside playing, Shannon was locked away in her room hammering out ideas on an old 1940’s Royal typewriter.

After finding Mr. Right, Shannon found herself wanting the comfort and security of the small Kentucky town she longed to escape as a child. Fortune smiled upon her and she became the family historian; gathering pictures, wills, marriage certificates and everything else that somehow managed to fall into her lap. Stories flooded her mind and writing quickly became an obsession that turned into the Way of Hearts Saga. The saga spans six generations and three families.

Shannon holds an Associates in Applied Science in Technology, a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration and Management as well as a Masters in Educational Leadership. Visit her author page at www.wilhelminastolen.com to learn more about the saga.

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Wattpad

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter and follow this blog!

MJ

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5 Prince Publishing #NewRelease- Through the Glass by Lisa J. Hobman

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It was love at first sight for Jim.  Felicity was his dream girl.  Beautiful, intelligent and talented.  Sadly for Jim he didn’t quite meet with the approval of Felicity’s mother and eventually she succumbed to the pressure of her mother’s expectations.  Jim relocates from London to the Scottish Highlands to try to rebuild his life and mend his broken heart when an unexpected visitor brings painful memories and tragic news.  Jim has to fight with his own desires to make the right decision.  He lost Felicity once.  Can he survive losing her again?

Amazon     5 Prince Publishing

Excerpt: 

Chapter 1

February 2009 – The break up

“So, that’s it then, Flick?” Jim raised his arms in exasperation. “You’re leaving? You’ve completely given up?” He was past trying to convince Flick that they could make a go of it; work things out; get through this and come out the other side stronger. The past few months had been one argument after another and Flick had spent less and less time at home.

“It’s for the best, James. And please don’t call me Flick.” She sighed, “It’s not my name. Not anymore. I grew up. It’s good in the adult world you should visit sometime, you might like it.” She snorted derisively.

Jim shook his head; sadness oozing from every pore, “Aye, well you’ll always be Flick to me. And I’ll always be Jim. What’s with all this ‘Felicity and James’ bollocks anyway?” His accent always became stronger when he was angry. This was one of those occasions when the true Scotsman came out fighting. His chest heaved as he tried to calm the storm raging beneath his skin.

He almost didn’t recognise the woman standing before him in their bedroom; her fitted designer clothes complete with pearls and a shoulder length smooth sleek hairstyle. Such a contrast to the girl he fell in love with. Back then it was all flowing blonde waves and long, floating skirts. She was softer then; in every way.

“Well, as I said James, Felicity is my name…Flick was left behind at university. She was doe-eyed, foolish and rash…look, there’s no point us going over old ground,” she pulled the handle up on her wheeled suitcase, “I’ll be staying with Polly and Matt for a while whilst I figure out my next move.”

Matt had once been Jim’s closest friend but that friendship had somehow fizzled as his relationship with Polly had intensified. That saddened Jim.

Felicity went on, “Nilsson-Perkins have offered to help find me a new place near the city centre so I can be closer to the main gallery.” She wandered over to him and placed her hand on his arm. “It’s for the best, James. I think you know that deep down.”

He looked, pleadingly, into her eyes, his chest still rising and falling at a rapid rate. “For whom? For me?. I don’t think so.” His voice cracked as he shook his head; he stared intently and for several moments she seemed caught in his eyes. He thought he saw her shield begin to melt but she shook her head and looked away.

Turning back to him she shrugged her shoulders. “It was inevitable when you think about it. We’re from two different worlds…we want completely different things, James.” Her voice softened as she squeezed his arm. Her blue eyes, however, that were once full of love, were ice cold.

She wheeled her case toward the bedroom door and turned back to face him one last time. Her eyes were glassy with unshed tears now and Jim was relieved to see some, albeit small, expression of human emotion from the woman he had witnessed, slowly, becoming some kind of hard, Siberian robot.

“For what’s it’s worth…James…I do love you. You were my first love and so I probably always will. I just feel like…” she paused, clenching her eyes closed as if to find the strength to carry on speaking, a tear escaped. “Like maybe we’re not good for each other. We’ve grown apart. I’m ambitious and you…you want babies and the white picket fence thing…I’m just not ready…I’m not sure I ever will be. In a way I’m doing you a favour.” A sob escaped her throat as she spoke, “This way at least you get to meet someone new and have children anddo all the family things that I’m just not capable of.” She sounded to Jim as though she was trying to convince herself.

Jim’s lower lip began to tremble. “I don’t want anyone else…it’s you. It’s always been you.” He clenched his jaw. “What I don’t get, Felicity, is that you wanted those things too. We were both on the same page. I don’t understand how we changed.”

“We didn’t change. I did. Like I said, I grew up.” She shook her head. “I know that you haven’t changed.” She snorted. “Sorry, Jim but it’s true. In all these years you’ve kept the same hairstyle, the same clothing and the same laid back attitude. You still work in the same second hand book store, you still drive that ancient Land Rover and you still take that bloody dog everywhere you go! You’re not a student anymore, James. Maybe I want more, huh? Maybe I want someone who makes an effort!” Her voice gained an octave as her emotions began to get the better of her.

Jim widened his eyes in horror. “Whoa! Now just hang on there, lassie!” He held up his hands and his stomach knotted at her stabbing words as they sliced at his heart.

He stepped toward her. “You can’t say that I don’t make effort. Just because I’m in no way materialistic doesn’t mean I don’t care. I love you. I always have. You are my world! I don’t need things, Felicity, I need you!” His heart ached as it bombarded theinside of his chest. “I’ve done everything in my power to make you happy. I don’t know what else I could have done. And for the record, I’m not the one who’s given up here!” He raised his voice too, finally giving in to the pent up frustration he’d been harbouring.

“James, we want different things, accept it. Move on…please!” She opened the door and he made a grab for her. She swung around and crashed into his arms. Without thinking he took her face in his hands and kissed her with all the passion he could muster. To his amazement she didn’t slap him; she kissed him back. Dropping her suitcase she seemed overwhelmed by desire, anger, passion, lust, whatever the hell it was; she grabbed at his dark, shaggy hair as he ran his hands through hers; desperate to express his love for her; desperate to make her change her mind.

He moved from her mouth to her neck, his kisses urgent. Her head rolled backward and she moaned, grabbing at his T-shirt and pulling it over his head in one swift aggressive move. Before either could realize what they were doing or how they got there, they staggered backward and tumbled, wrapped around each other, onto the bed; their lips locked as their tongues danced and probed each other’s mouths.

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Lisa J. Hobman Author Pic

About the Author: 

Lisa is a happily married Mum of one with two crazy dogs.  She especially enjoys being creative; has worked as a singer and now runs her own little craft business where she makes hanging signs and decorations for the home. Lisa and her family recently relocated from Yorkshire, England to their beloved Scotland; a place of happy holidays and memories for them.

Writing has always been something Lisa has enjoyed, although in the past it has centered on poetry and song lyrics.  The story in her debut novel has been building in her mind for a long while but until the relocation, she never had the time to put it down in black and white; working full time as a High School Science Learning Mentor and studying swallowed up any spare time she had.  Making the move north of the border has given Lisa the opportunity to spread her wings and fulfill her dream.  Writing is now a deep passion and she has enjoyed every minute of working towards being published. Novels two and three are works in progress so watch this space!

Facebook    Twitter    Blog/Website        Glipho  

 

 

#SampleSunday- A Heart Not Easily Broken- The Deleted Scene

Just like in the movies, books often have deleted scenes. Sometimes, no matter how much we love what we’ve written, an author is forced, (and I do mean forced!) to remove it for the sake of slowing the story down or telling too much information at the wrong time. One of my favorite deleted scenes is from Brian’s POV, and takes place before the start of Chapter One, the scene where Ebony notices Brian watching her from the stage. Chapter One tells you how Ebony saw that moment.

Have you ever wondered what Brian was thinking while watching her dance in the crowd?

Now’s your chance to find out! This scene is normally hidden in the links for Brian’s Musings, but I decided today would be a great day to share. Enjoy!

Deleted Scene: 

“Yo, Brian, where are you going, man? We don’t have a long break.”

I turned to face Derrick, Diverse Nation’s drummer, and my friend since college. “Did you see her? The woman in the little black dress?” My attention went back to the crowded dance floor. Even though we’d stopped playing, it was still packed. Bodies gyrating to the DJ’s choice of music continued to block my view.

“You’re kidding, right?”

I shot Derrick a momentary glance as I lifted the strap of my guitar from around my neck. I knew where this was about to go. Irritation flooded me.

“You’re talking about the black woman, right?” Derrick continued.

“Yeah. What’s your point?” I turned my back on him and focused on the dance floor. Which way did she go?

As if the heavens heard my question, strobe lights shot out into the club as the DJ shouted out the crowd, illuminating the woman who’d stolen my attention.

Long dark wavy hair rested on bare shoulders of a caramel body wrapped in a sheath of black.  The fabric clung to every curve of her voluptuous figure, wearing it like a second skin. The material stopped just below her hips; shapely thighs and amazing calves ended in a pair of open-toe heels.

My body’s response was automatic.

“Brian, man, don’t go there. I’m in no mood to stop a fight tonight.”

I locked on my target. “What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about every last brother on the floor that’s jockin’ her. You make a move and someone’s gonna step to you and put you in your place.” Derrick blocked my path to the steps leading down from the stage, his hand resting on my shoulder. “I’ve got plans with my lady tonight. Spending the night in jail for keepin’ your ass out of trouble isn’t in the cards.”

My fist balled. I was sick and tired of everything coming down to race. Just because I was missing melanin in my skin didn’t mean I had no right to talk to a woman I was attracted to.

I shrugged off his grip and headed down the steps leading to the dance floor. My intention; follow the footsteps of the caramel vixen.

“I could care less about what anyone thinks, D. I can handle my own. I want her. Before the end of the night, she will be mine.”

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If you haven’t read the Bestselling novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, follow this link to read Chapter One! Want to know more about the characters, Visit this link for Character Bios, Diary Post, and Interviews!

If you haven’t read the Amazon Bestseller, A Heart Not Easily Broken, buy your copy today! It’s $3.99 and available for Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and on Smashwords. If Paperback is what you prefer, find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble! 

 AHNEB FINAL COVER

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

ONE CLICK for REVIEWS, FREE CHAPTER READS, ALL SALES LINKS!

For more information on The Butterfly Memoirs Series and a sample of the next book, Jadedvisit this link! 

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

#SampleSunday- The Moment of Change

Happy Sunday!

I had a wonderful time yesterday in the company of authors from a wide variety of genres and ages. Listening to each of them share their motivations for picking up pen and paper (or laptop), to share the stories within, made me think back to my personal experiences.

It also made me think of the moments within my novels in which the characters experience a moment that changes their lives….but it doesn’t mean the change is always good.

This is Ebony Campbell’s moment:

Excerpt:

I sunk down to the tub’s floor, crossed my arms tightly across my chest, and watched the soapy water swirl around the drain. My body shook, as heavy tears mixed with the lukewarm water, rained down my hair and face.

Nothing short of bleach could get rid of Javan’s pungent scent.

I should have waited for Yasmine or Kaitlyn.

I should have paid for the damn book.

The repercussions of my procrastination and stubbornness were coming back to bite me. If I’d accepted Brian’s offer in the beginning, then none of this would have happened.

I would not have a failing grade in class.

I wouldn’t be a victim of Javan’s deceit.

In the end, it was my fault. I’d asked for this.

I deserved every bad thing going on in my life.

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In each of my stories, there is happiness and pain, moments of accomplishment and failure, and deep introspection. Sometimes going to that dark place, our inner cave, requires the assistance of a loved one to find our way back.

Learn more about Ebony’s story…

 

If you haven’t read the Amazon Bestseller, A Heart Not Easily Broken, buy your copy today! It’s $3.99 and available for Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and on Smashwords. If Paperback is what you prefer, find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

AHNEB FINAL COVER

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

ONE CLICK for REVIEWS, FREE CHAPTER READS, ALL SALES LINKS!

For more information on The Butterfly Memoirs Series and a sample of the next book, Jadedvisit this link! 

#####

Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

5 Prince Publishing New Release- Indiscretion by Tonya Lampley!

Join me in welcoming Tonya Lampley to the 5 Prince Publishing Family!

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One careless night and a man’s life is changed forever.

Damon Harris wants a better life than the one he’s currently living. He has a penchant for trouble and a trail of mistakes behind him, but inside he can feel a greater call urging him on to the man he knows he can become. He marries the ideal woman in hopes it might settle him down. But change is hard. Stuck in a self-created prison where the only warden is himself, he’ll do just about anything to break free.

A few drinks, a beautiful girl…was it worth it?

Amazon 5 Prince Publishing

Excerpt:

Damon sat in a red-velvet bishop’s chair in one of the back rooms of St. Augustine’s Cathedral in downtown Chicago. The 100 year-old church’s renowned stained glass window, featuring the Messiah in an array of colors, hung high above him and gently filtered the October sunlight. His eyes rested on the tiny dust particles floating in the air, a useless attempt to distract him from his thoughts.

Three rapid taps on the heavy mahogany door broke through the silence and jarred him from contemplation.

“You ready?” a deep voice asked. Damon recognized the voice of Kurt, who would be his brother-in-law in a matter of minutes. A pretty stand-up guy, in Damon’s opinion. Looked nothing like his sisters, and wasn’t all that close to them, but he had stepped in per Carmen’s request, to fill the role of best man when Damon argued with the original one—his life-long friend Craig. Tempers flared when Craig told Damon he was making the biggest mistake of his life. The conversation ended with Craig refusing to be a part of the wedding. They had since made up, but Craig stood by his original protest. Kurt being in the wedding made Carmen happier, anyway, Damon mused.

Someone knocked again.

“I’ll be there in a minute.” Damon responded. He walked over to the full-length mirror to give himself a once over. The black tuxedo that Carmen picked out hugged the contours of his svelte body. The white shirt gleamed against his smooth ebony skin. He noticed his white bow tie was crooked and slowly straightened it. His palms were moist as he ran them down the silk stripe of his pants trying to remove the uncomfortable feeling.

He rubbed his freshly cut hair, checked his nose and the corners of his mouth. In a few moments, he would enter the sanctuary. He brought Carmen’s image to mind. Good. Sweet. Settled. She possessed an aura of comfort—like baked bread or warm milk. The kind of woman that could hopefully bring him the peace he had been searching for.

Kurt pummeled the door this time. “Everyone is waiting. Carmen’s starting to get nervous. You were supposed to be out here a half hour ago.”

Damon looked down at his shoes, patent leather, polished to a spit shine. Was he doing the right thing? He cared deeply for Carmen, but was it love?

What he wanted was to feel normal, to be satisfied with his life. The ghost of his past emerged again, as it often did, and reminded him that he had made a mess of things—two children by two different women, and a short stint in jail. The reminder rode in on a tide of regret.

He heard someone trying to turn the worn iron doorknob, but he had locked it. It wiggled back and forth desperately and he could hear mumbling on the other side. The rhythm of his breath sped up and a wave of warmth rose up from his feet. He thought of Rachel, the mother of his second son, and the words that spewed from her perfect mouth three years ago when she broke up with him—I can’t be with someone who’s content to do nothing with their life. And when she met Evan Kilgore, M.D. at the hospital where she was taken the night she broke her foot playing softball, she banished Damon to the “friend zone.” He accepted his punishment; anything to still be a part of her life. He never thought she would marry him. He never forgave himself for losing her and wasn’t about to make the same bet and lose twice. He had to marry Carmen. If he didn’t, he might lose her too.

“Go get the key.” He heard Kurt say to someone on the other side of the door, along with another knock.

It was time. Damon stood silent in the room. He expanded his chest and forced air deep into his lungs, but it still felt like he was suffocating. His hands registered a slight tremor and as he straightened his tie a second time, he felt a bead of sweat trickle down his temple. He grabbed the teal handkerchief out of his pocket and blotted it. His legs felt heavy, like someone cemented them to the floor. Why did doing the right thing feel so uncertain? He closed his eyes and tried to steady his breathing. In a few minutes, it would be over. He willed his legs to start moving. Kurt, and Carmen’s sister, Cathy, lunged forward into the room as he opened the door.

The church’s pot-bellied groundskeeper walked up behind them carrying a large metal ring, holding several antique keys. He rubbed his shiny dark beard. “Ev-ry-thin’okay?” he asked with his bushy eyebrows raised.

“We got it, sir. Thanks.” Kurt said to the man who looked around the room, then shrugged before walking away. Kurt turned his attention to Damon. “The wedding planner is going nuts! We thought something had happened to you.”

Cathy huffed, “No we didn’t.” She squinted at Damon. “Why don’t you just admit it and save us all a lot of trouble.”

He looked right through Cathy. “I’m good, man. I just needed a minute, that’s all.” Damon brushed past Cathy, dressed in a silly Cinderella-looking, teal, taffeta dress, and lightly grazed her gloved arm. She gritted her teeth as she placed her hand into the center of his back and shoved him forward. He stumbled three un-willful steps at the forceful blow before he managed to get control of his feet. He closed his eyes and drew in a slow deep breath, taking a moment to gather himself—to deny himself the delightful thought of shoving her back—his mother had raised him better than that. He stretched out his arms and adjusted his shirtsleeves, checking his cuff links. Unfortunately, she was part of the deal.

He continued down the hall and opened the double doors to the sanctuary, where 200 guests sat in pews adorned with teal bows, and music from the harp player greeted him. Damon and Carmen argued for two days over the harp player—a total waste of money in his opinion, as was all of it—the courthouse would have suited him just fine. He walked past the harp player strumming like a fool, down the red aisle runner and took his place at the altar in front of the robed Reverend Mallory and the barrage of burning candles.

“Are you ready, Son?” Reverend Mallory was a large man, his voice even louder. The question he asked reverberated through the church and came to rest in Damon’s ears.

Damon gave a nod. Reverend Mallory opened his Bible and the wedding planner raised her bony arm toward the back of the church, cuing her assistant to start the music. Time seemed to suspend as the remaining eight members of the bridal party entered the sanctuary, waltzing to Carmen’s careful selection of Luther Vandross’s Here and Now, and took their places at the front of the church. Damon was avoiding Cathy’s glare when the collective sound of 200 people standing grabbed his attention. When he looked up, Carmen stood in the doorway, engulfed in a sea of white. Tulle cascaded all around her. She made eye contact with Damon almost immediately and smiled. He wasn’t sure what he was feeling, but he knew her well enough to read the look on her face—that grin and the beam in her eye spoke of her happiness. And when he saw how happy she was, despite everything, he was happy for her. Her hand reached out for his and she took her place beside him.

Reverend Mallory loudly cleared his throat, and began the vows. Carmen recited hers first. Damon silenced the voice inside his head that hinted at the fact, he might not be sure of this marriage. But there were so many people. So much money spent. Too much to lose not to get married.

“Damon, do you take Carmen to be your lawful wedded wife? Do you promise to love and cherish her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, and forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her for so long as you both shall live?

“I do.” Damon adjusted his tie, secretly loosening it. The promises felt really big. He had a long history of preserving his own self-interests. He wanted that to be behind him now. He accepted the ring from Kurt and placed it on Carmen’s finger.

“Do you together promise, in the presence of your friends and family, that you will at all times, and in all circumstances, conduct yourselves toward one another as husband and wife?”

“We do.” He muttered as he searched his heart for certainty. Carmen’s voice broke through his with full conviction.

Reverend Mallory smiled. “You may now kiss your bride.”

Damon lifted Carmen’s veil and looked into her eyes. He needed her. He needed her in order to become the man he wanted to be. She would settle him into a normal life, where he would go to work at his job as a car salesman, come home and eat dinner with her, and go to the grocery store on the weekend. Normal. He grabbed her around the waist and kissed her as a symbol to everyone, and to himself, that this was his new life.

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About the Author:

authorTonya Lampley’s first novel was titled A Taste of Love and was a National Indie Excellence Book Awards finalist. She lives in Ohio with her husband and is currently working on her next book. For more information about Tonya, please visit her on the web at http://www.TonyaLampley.com.

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New Release- Finding Hope (Book 3 of the Matchmakers Series) by Bernadette Marie!

Finding Hope

Hope Keller has lived a perfect and peaceful life. However, she is a mystery, to herself. The one thing that would make her feel whole would be to know about her birth parents and discover who she really is.

Private investigator Trevor Jacobs has a job to do—find Hope for her biological father and get to know her without her finding out. Locating her was the easy part. Falling in love with her hadn’t been in his job description.

When Trevor is asked by Hope to help her find her birth parents he is put into a difficult situation. If she discovers he already has all of her answers it might cost him his heart—and those answers might cost Hope her life.

 Amazon     5 Prince Publishing

Excerpt:

He’d seen it all in his chosen profession. The most popular: the cheating husband. There were bosses who suspected employees were skimming the till. And like the angry wives’, the bosses’ suspicions were usually correct. A missing relative or child was just as common, but this case piqued his interest more than most.

Trevor Jacobs looked down at the manila folder on the passenger seat of his car. He tugged at his collar. The Missouri summer was warming the inside of his car to temperatures that he was sure would kill a man. He picked up the folder and flipped it open.

Finding Mandy Marlow had been a challenge because she’d disappeared when she was seventeen. That had been forty years ago.

The last time her mother had seen her, Mandy’d had a newborn infant in her arms and had come back begging for money. Ruth Marlow, Mandy’s mother, had given him the case’s scant details over the phone. His notes clearly reflected that Mandy hadn’t gone asking for a place to stay or for help with the baby. She had wanted ten thousand dollars and they had refused. She had told them she’d be living with friends. Friends who would love her and her baby, unlike her parents.

He’d finally tied Mandy to a David Kendal, a retired airline pilot living in Kansas City, Missouri.

Mandy Marlow had lived in the Kansas City area approximately seven years after she had left her parents’ house. Her DMV records showed she’d lived in a house owned by David Kendal and exactly seventeen years after she’d last been seen by her family she changed her name to Mandy Kendal. He’d searched marriage records, but he found no record that Mandy and David had actually been married. She had assumed the name through proper channels. However, their names did appear together on the birth certificates of Carissa Marlow Kendal and one Hope Katherine Kendal.

Hope Kendal had been born by cesarean moments after they had pronounced Mandy Kendal dead. She had died of heart failure and had papers that had strictly instructed that she not be revived.

She hadn’t been.

David Kendal married a Sophia Burkhalter only three weeks later. He flipped through the notes. “In a lovely back yard ceremony of the home of the bride’s grandmother Katherine Burkhalter,” the newspaper clipping had stated. Adoption records showed that Sophia, now Kendal, had adopted Carissa, then seventeen, and the newborn Hope only three months after she’d been born.

What a tidy package, he thought. Ex-lover of the dead woman shares custody of his children with his new wife. What a twisted novel plot that would make. He laughed. However, armed with the facts he had, he knew it had been that simple.

A change of heart, or perhaps a shove in that direction, had Mandy Marlow—Mandy Kendal—giving up her children and refusing to fight for her own life.

Sweat beaded on his brow. Trevor reached for his bottle of water. It had grown warm. He drank it down and tossed it into the backseat with the other bottles he’d discarded there. He knew he wasn’t the ideal patron for a car rental company.

He flipped through his notes again and stared into the face he’d become familiar with.

Hope Katherine Kendal.

She stood in a crowded room, but the camera had zoomed in on her. She’d been intrigued by something, or someone. Long blonde hair cascaded behind her shoulders and crystal blue eyes watched him from the photo. She had lips that were full and just a bit pouty. The face that mesmerized from the photo had a cherubic look to her, but a super model’s features.

He knew he’d been fascinated by it too long, too many times. He’d seen it in his dreams. He’d found himself driving down the road thinking about her face.

Trevor checked his watch. He’d been sitting in the cemetery, in his parked car, for over two hours. He’d wait another two hours and then he’d move on.

But he didn’t have to wait any longer.

A blue Miata pulled up between him and the headstone that read Mandy Marlow Kendal. The beautiful blonde that he’d familiarized himself with stood there in person. He felt his heart race a little faster.

The pace of his heart was different from when he was about to confront most of those whom he’d followed. That was adrenaline. This was lust.

Hope stood just outside her car. She was dressed in jeans that rode low on curvy hips. She wore her tie-dyed shirt tucked in, giving her a look of being taller than she was. Her hair fell well down her back in a long tail.

Large sunglasses shielded her eyes, but he knew how blue they were.

She wasn’t moving. He was far enough from her he knew she couldn’t see him, but he wondered what she was thinking when she stood still on the narrow dirt road. She reached through the open window of her car and pulled out a bouquet of flowers.

Another car pulled up behind her. Trevor watched with intrigue. Carissa Kendal Samuel—he’d familiarized himself with her face as well—climbed out of her car and approached Hope.

He watched them exchange a few words and then an embrace. It was amazing how different sisters could be. Hope was fair. Her blonde hair was strikingly different from the dark hair of her sister. Carissa stood a few inches taller than Hope and her figure was straighter where Hope’s was voluptuous.

Arm in arm the sisters walked toward the grave of their birth mother. A smile crossed Trevor’s lips. Right on time.

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5 Prince Publishing Launch Day for Bernadette Marie!

About the Author: 

Bernadette Marie has been an avid writer since the early age of 13, when she’d fill notebook after notebook with stories that she’d share with her friends. Her journey into novel writing started the summer before eighth grade when her father gave her an old typewriter. At all times of the day and night you would find her on the back porch penning her first work, which she would continue to write for the next 22 years.

In 2007—after marriage, filling her chronic entrepreneurial needs, and having five children—Bernadette began to write seriously with the goal of being published. That year she wrote 12 books. In 2009 she was contracted for her first trilogy and the published author was born. In 2011 she (being the entrepreneur that she is) opened her own publishing house, 5 Prince Publishing, and has released her own contemporary titles. She also quickly began the process of taking on other authors in other genres.

In 2012 Bernadette Marie began to find herself on the bestsellers lists of iTunes, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble to name a few. Her office wall is lined with colorful PostIt notes with the titles of books she will be releasing in the very near future, with hope that they too will grace the bestsellers lists.

Bernadette spends most of her free time driving her kids to their many events—usually hockey. She is also an accomplished martial artist with a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do. An avid reader, she enjoys contemporary romances with humor and happily ever afters.

 Website    Blog      Facebook   Twitter     Email

 

 

 

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

 

MJ

 

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#8Sunday- Sexy Proposition….

I’ve you’ve read A Heart Not Easily Broken, you don’t want to miss the story of Ebony’s best friend, Yasmine Phillips. When you last saw her, she wasn’t exactly in a happy place. But somehow, she’s found a way to…pass the time…if her target accepts.

*On a side note, I had so much fun writing this scene! It’s taken from the intended target, Zachariah’s point of view. Seeing and hearing the thoughts that go through his head after the question is very entertaining!*

Excerpt:

“What do you think?”

What did I think? This sexy woman whom I kissed and dreamed about last night was on the phone asking me to sleep with her. What the hell else did I think?

The dog in me wanted to jump in the car, drive back to the hotel, and take her right now, no questions asked.

The stupid romantic side of me needed answers.

“You want us to be friends six days a week and sleep together once a week?” I asked for clarification. With the hangover I was experiencing, I needed to be sure I wasn’t making this stuff up.

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LOL! His reaction cracks me up every time! To read more, purchase your copy of Jaded today!

 

Autumn landscape

A devastating breakup leaves Yasmine Phillips in shambles. Unable to trust another man with her heart, she focuses on the one thing she can control—starting her own business.

When her computer crashes, taking months of hard work with it, she must rely on computer genius Zachariah Givens to save her. A complete opposite of men from her past, she doesn’t expect the passion that ensues. But just as she finds happiness, she learns the truth about the other women in Zachariah’s life.

 

Amazon      Barnes & Noble      iTunes     Smashwords     Paperback

***Read as a STAND-ALONE or as part of The Butterfly Memoirs series!***

Looking for Book 1? Follow this link to learn more about A Heart Not Easily Broken!

Follow this link to more #8Sunday Samples!

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MJ

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Time is Running Out! Don’t Miss Your Chance!

Yep, time is running out! A Heart Not Easily Broken will not be on sale after July 31st, so grab your copy today! Don’t forget to tell a friend, too!

 

If you haven’t read the Amazon Bestseller, A Heart Not Easily Broken, buy your copy today! It’s .99 cents and available for Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and on Smashwords. If Paperback is what you prefer, find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble! 

AHNEB Sale with seal pic 450

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

ONE CLICK for REVIEWS, FREE CHAPTER READS, ALL SALES LINKS!

For more information on The Butterfly Memoirs Series and a sample of the next book, Jadedvisit this link! 

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5 Prince Publishing New Release from Author Susan Lohrer!

cover

“Sometimes love sends you sailing over the edge.”

Kat Cherish, high school principal and activist (a combination that hasn’t been great for her career) heads back to her hometown to mend her dignity only to discover her estranged kid sister is a mess… and their childhood home is for sale. Getting the house back just might be the only thing that can put Kat’s complicated family back together… if she can cope with her mixed feelings for her ex-boyfriend, who’s been hired to completely remodel her house for another potential buyer… and if she doesn’t lose her new job because of the outrageous antics she’s pulling to keep her sister out of trouble.

Excerpt: 

Kat shifted her wrists in the steel handcuffs. Rough, ancient bark pressed against her cheek, and the damp air
intensified the resinous tang of the virgin forest. She’d been here since dawn—long enough to be on a first-name basis with Harvey, the Douglas fir. Which, if she let herself consider for more than a minute at a time, was kind
of a weird development for a grown woman who had a respectable career. She’d consider it in more depth later. Right now she had enough on her mind.

A gust of coastal wind snatched her hat, and chilly rain plastered her hair to her scalp and trickled down her neck, making her teeth chatter. Nearby, a group of men wielded wrenches on a logging machine that refused to start. One of her students, the school board superintendent’s son, retrieved the hat and plopped it back on Kat’s head.

“Don’t worry,” he whispered, “they’re not going to get that machine going anytime soon.”

Alarm nibbled the back of her mind like a classroom gerbil gnawing a toilet paper tube. “There’d better not be a reason you know that.”

He laughed. “I’m just saying.” Then, calling to his friends, he trotted off.

Kat wondered whether she’d still have her job at the end of the day.

The superintendent had made it clear she’d lose it in a blink if the kids did anything more than show up, and Kat had made them promise not to chain themselves to any trees. So far, all they’d done was text the protest’s breaking news to their friends… unless they’d messed with the equipment before she got here this morning. The thought made her stomach feel like she’d eaten fir needles for lunch. She stared up into the dense boughs radiating from Harvey’s trunk high above her.

“You don’t think the kids wrecked that machine, do you, Harv? I mean, they know my career is at stake here.” Harvey only sighed in the wind, branches waving toward the broken-down machine. Yeah, it had Kat a little
worried, too.

She flexed her shoulders, stiff from the hours she’d spent shackled to the tree. She wasn’t against logging; she lived in a
wood-frame house and used reams of paper. What school principal didn’t? And the logging industry in Mills Creek fed a lot of families.

In the last few hours, she’d had a chance to reevaluate her reasons for chaining herself to this tree. This was about so much more than the environment. It was about standing up for someone who couldn’t stand up for herself. Or in Harvey’s case, himself. It was about choices that had been taken away from her. It was about the fact that sometimes, no matter how wrong you were, you couldn’t undo what you’d done.

Her goal wasn’t to stop the logging, this community’s lifeblood. It was to protect something beautiful and precious. If she could win this one small battle, do this one small good deed, save just this one tree, maybe it would somehow make amends in her heart for what she’d let happen to her family.

A Jeep rattled up the steep gravel road and pulled off on the landing, followed a few seconds later by a police car. Kat’s stomach clenched.

A man exited the passenger door of the Jeep. His footsteps scuffed on the dirt road. Craning her neck, she peered through slanting late-afternoon shadows, making out only his easy gait and the set of his broad shoulders. Had they brought in a negotiator? He leaned into the police car for a minute, then stood, head down, hands on his hips, like a man bearing a heavy burden.

She almost felt sorry for the guy. She might look like a waterlogged rat at the moment, but he had no idea what he was up against. A tiny smirk crept over her mouth.

Now that this block of forest had been opened up to clear-cut logging, Harvey would have to watch while his family was torn away, one by one. She knew how he felt because the same thing had happened to her, until she had just one family member left. And she and Lacey weren’t even on speaking terms at the moment.

She dug her fingers into Harvey’s sturdy bark. “What am I doing talking to trees instead of making things right between Lacey and me?”

Soft footfalls on the carpet of needles behind her.

She straightened as much as she could. The chain connecting the two sets of handcuffs slipped and pulled her down with it until she had to slump against the tree trunk.

“Kat, what are you doing?” He sounded as exhausted as she felt. Sounded… disturbingly familiar.

That voice. Evan. Here? Memories grabbed her heart and sliced through it like the blade of the nearby feller buncher waiting to chop
the young trees from their roots—if the loggers could get it running again. She strained her eyes to the left, looking without turning her head.

Evan was watching her, jaw clenched, rainwater slicking his blond hair.

She blinked the water from her eyes.

He was still there.

Not a gorgeous hallucination. A gorgeous reality. Her pulse whumped in her ears.

What was she doing? That was easy—she was running away from her failure to keep her family together. But what was Evan
doing?

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Buy your copy today!

Amazon     5 Prince Publishing

Author Portrait Susan Lohrer

 About the Author:

Susan Lohrer grew up in more towns in western Canada than she has fingers to count them on. She
currently lives in southern BC with her husband of more than two decades, their two teenagers who are still at home, three dogs, and far more aquariums than a reasonable household should contain. She believes life is always better with a healthy dose of humor.

 Website        Twitter     Facebook     Email

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

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