Read the first chapter of The Blood Will Dry

1

Stepping out of the car was like opening a hot oven and climbing inside. The sun beat down on my head while a burst of fiery air engulfed me, coating my skin in stickiness in five seconds flat. Even the tiny sundress I wore didn’t help. Not during the worst heat wave Ohio had seen in years. Not when there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the air was sticky enough to curl even the straightest hair.

“Thank God for air conditioning,” I said as I slammed the door shut.

Only Michael’s head was visible from the other side of the car, and under the brilliant summer sun, his golden hair shone enough to blind someone. He shot me a smile that made the already bright day seem ten times brighter, and my knees wobbled just like they had when we’d first met. You would think I’d be over that by now. That a surprise pregnancy and the drama we’d been through with his family would have killed the butterflies that had taken up residence in my stomach. But it hadn’t, and I was starting to think nothing could, because I loved this man more than I could have ever thought possible. It was so intense that it felt like something out of a fairy tale or a Nicholas Sparks novel. A love that would transcend time and death and any other obstacle that got in our way.

“It isn’t even that hot yet.” Michael lifted his head toward the flawless blue sky. It was the same color as his eyes, although not nearly as breathtaking. “It’s only June.”

“Great,” I muttered as I headed to the back door, thinking about our shitty little apartment and the nearly useless window unit.

The thing worked in the broad sense of the word. It sputtered out cool air well enough, accompanied by a fine mist of water most of the time. It was all we could afford at the moment though, and even that was only because Michael had given plasma three days a week last summer so he could save up for the thing. Of course, back then we’d had it in our bedroom because I’d been big and round, and so hot that I’d found it impossible to sleep most nights. After he’d installed the little window unit I’d stretched out on the floor in front of it—totally naked—and sighed in contentment as it pinged me with icy drops of water. It had been such a relief that I didn’t even care that I was covered in goose bumps.

Now the window unit was in Cassidy’s room because she needed it more than we did. Although, with this heat wave sweeping the state, I had been seriously considering moving her crib to the master bedroom for the summer so we could all enjoy the bought air.

The back door squeaked in protest when I pulled it open. I leaned in, smiling so big that it made me feel like that freaky cat from Alice in Wonderland, and my eight-month-old daughter smiled back me. She squealed and her blue eyes shimmered the same way her father’s did when he was happy, while on her head the blond ringlets bounced back and forth.

“Hi, princess,” I said as I worked to get her out of the secondhand car seat we’d lucked into.

She squealed again, this time kicking her feet as well. She actually reached out for me, and it did something to my insides. Caused this pang in my chest that made it feel like she was holding my heart in her hand, squeezing it gently the way she did when she wrapped her fingers around one of mine. It was the most beautiful feeling in the history of the world.

I scooped her up and planted a kiss on her forehead as I turned. Michael was ready and waiting with the shitty umbrella stroller I’d managed to scrape up enough money buy. It was from Wal-Mart, so at least it wasn’t secondhand, but it was nothing compared to the fancy things I saw other moms pushing around at the park. Strollers that were made of chrome and converted for all the different stages in your baby’s life, that had baskets underneath so you didn’t have to lug bags around, and cup holders for that five dollar caffeine fix from Starbucks. Luxuries I knew nothing about.

None of that matters, I told myself as I strapped Cassidy into the stroller. One day things will be better. We have time to make something of ourselves. This is just a pit stop in our lives.

Michael was much better with the pep talks than I was.

I stood so I could look him in the eye, the man I loved so much. Our beautiful daughter was between us, strapped into the cheapest stroller money could buy. Next to us the rusty piece of junk that represented our only form of transportation sat baking in the sun, which wasn’t doing the already faded and chipped paint any favors. It had once been red, but now looked more on the pink side, which was a constant source of teasing between Michael and me. I loved pointing out how manly he looked driving around in a pink car. Not that he cared or complained.

“Tell me this is only temporary,” I said.

He couldn’t read my mind, but he knew what I was talking about. We had this same conversation several times a week. Every time a bill came in that I couldn’t pay or we had to spend the last of the money in our checking account on diapers. We were struggling, but we were getting through. Together.

“It’s only temporary.”

He flashed me another smile and I marveled at his straight, white teeth. Teeth that had seen the best orthodontics money could buy as a young teen. Teeth that represented someone who’d had parents who wanted perfection from their child. So much so that when he’d made a mistake they’d decided the only appropriate response was to cut him out of their lives and focus all their efforts on his younger brother.

“You’re happy?” I asked even though I knew he was.

“I’m happy.” He pulled the umbrella stroller back a few steps, maneuvering it behind our piece of shit car. “I don’t need a big house or lots of money. I just need you and Cass.”

When he held his hand out I took it, allowing him to pull me up next to him. I snuggled into his side, loving his body heat even though we were both sticky and gross from the hot summer day. He kissed the top of my head and I pulled back just enough so I could look up into his eyes.

“I love you,” I said.

“Love you,” he replied, and his grin stretched wider. “Now can we please get out of this damn heat?”

I laughed. “Yes. Please.”

He let me go so he could push the stroller and I linked my arm through his as we walked. The mall was packed today and we’d had to park near the back of the lot. In the stroller Cassidy kicked her feet excitedly and squealed. She was a happy baby, thank God, and had only gone through a few bouts of extreme fussiness during her eight months of life. Michael and I had been told by numerous people how difficult this would be, and they’d all been right. Having a baby at the age of eighteen with no help or support was hard, to say the least. But no one had told us how amazing it would be. No one had warned me that this little girl would steal my heart the first time I held her, or that seeing Michael rock her to sleep would make me love him more than ever. No one had told me that all I really needed to be happy were the two people at my side, and that cable and internet were a luxury I wouldn’t miss as long as I told myself that I was doing all of this so I could be with the man I loved and we could raise our baby together.

Michael could have made a much different choice, an easier one that would have had him at Harvard right now—his family Alma Mater—instead of struggling through community college while working forty hours a week. He could have chosen his family over me. But he hadn’t, and I was determined to never let him regret that choice.

I leaned my head against his arm as we walked. “Thanks for choosing me.”

“Thanks for being so amazing,” he replied.

Even with the heat it felt like a picture perfect moment, which of course couldn’t last when you had an infant in tow. We’d just reached the door to the mall when Cassidy spit up. I tried not to groan, but it wasn’t easy, especially knowing that I wouldn’t have the money to go to the laundromat for at least another three days.

Michael stopped outside the mall entrance and knelt in front of the stroller while I dug through the diaper bag I’d slung over my shoulder. Of course, I knew it was pointless. The bag was the only thing I could afford and it was way too small to fit everything I needed, meaning the extra clothes we had were in the car.

“I’m going to have to run back,” I said, holding the bag out for Michael to take. “Get her inside and out of the heat.”

He stood as he took the bag. “I can go.”

I shook my head just as someone passed us on the way into the mall. When they pulled the door open a burst of cool air swept over me and I almost groaned. All I wanted to do was walk around the mall in the AC for a few hours.

“It’s fine,” I lied and held my hand out for the keys.

Michael frowned as he slipped them into my hand, but he didn’t argue. I knew he was tired. He’d worked yesterday after staying up late so he could study for a calculus test, and then he’d been nice enough to let me sleep in when Cassidy got up at six in the morning. The man was a saint, so the least I could do was hike back to the car and grab the extra clothes. Heat or no heat, I owed him that much.

“I’ll be right back,” I said as I walked backward. “Go inside.”

Michael gave me one last smile before heading toward the door.

I turned my back on him and headed across the parking lot, dodging pieces of gum that were baking in the heat and a now melted pile of ice cream that some kid had probably dropped. The sun was directly over me, beating down on my head like it was trying to scorch my scalp. My body was so sticky from sweat that I knew when I finally did make it inside the mall the first burst of cool air would feel too cold and uncomfortable. I could already imagine how the goose bumps would pop up on my moist flesh and how my already wet clothes would cling to my body, almost as if they had been suddenly frozen to my skin.

I unlocked the trunk when I reached our car and the hinges groaned in protest. A woman with two kids under the age of ten passed and gave me a disgusted look. I knew what her expression said, what she thought when she saw me standing beside this piece of junk. I knew that she could somehow tell my clothes were from Goodwill. I did my best to ignore her judgment, but it was impossible. It wasn’t easy getting used to being trash.

This is only temporary, I told myself again.

It took a few minutes of digging through the trunk’s contents to find what I was looking for, but only because I had so many just in case baby items crammed in there that finding the onesie was like going on a scavenger hunt. I held it up to make sure it was clean and a pang twisted my insides. I’d window shopped at baby boutiques countless times, wishing that I could get Cassidy one of the adorable ruffled rompers in the window or the frilly dress that was as impractical as it was beautiful, but this simple onesie was the best I could do. At least it had flowers on it. At least the pattern was pretty and the fabric was soft instead of stark white and scratchy.

I sighed as I slammed the trunk shut, still picturing the romper with the lacy butt and imagining what my little darling would have looked like crawling away from me in that precious little outfit.

One day she will have that, I told myself. One day Cassidy will have everything.

For just a moment, I truly believed it was true.

The blast happened just as I turned to face the mall. The violence of it threw me through the air in a burst of pain and heat, and I landed so hard that all the air whooshed out of my lungs. I couldn’t move, and all around me the world was engulfed in deafening sounds that made it impossible to think. The crunch of metal and glass came from all sides, and above that was a roar I couldn’t comprehend. It was so loud that I had to cover my ears, but that did nothing to block out the noise. It felt like it would crush me with its strength. Like the world was imploding and I would soon be sucked into the heat and noise surrounding me.

Above me, the previously cloudless sky had turned dark. Black and gray clouds bubbled up as if from nowhere and stretched across the sky, growing bigger and darker with each passing second. There was nothing natural about them. They seemed to be centralized, as if they were all coming from the same spot and pushing their way out in hopes of engulfing every inch of blue, and they were darker than even the darkest storm cloud. Threatening. Terrifying.

I had to gasp a few times before I was finally able to fill my lungs, and even though the air was grimy with dirt, it helped bring my mind into sharper focus. My heart was pounding in my ears as I took stock of my body, wiggling fingers and toes, moving limbs. Everything hurt, but there didn’t seem to be any major damage, and once I was sure I was basically okay, I forced myself to sit up.

That’s when the mall came into view. Or at least the spot where the mall had once stood.

“No,” I mumbled as I scrambled over rubble and glass to get to my feet. “No!”

My legs were shaking as I hurried forward, and more than once I fell to the ground, cutting my knees in the process, but I made myself get back up. I couldn’t trust my eyes. I knew it had to be a mirage and that if I could just get there I’d discover that everything was exactly as it was supposed to be. So I ran, passing mangled cars that had been thrown during the blast and heaps of rubble that had come from nowhere. The cars were now on top of one another, reduced to twisted pieces of metal and glass that looked nothing like the vehicles they had once been, and all around me there were piles of rock or mangled metal that had to have come from the blast.

The sky grew darker by the second, and my heart pounded harder with each step I took. The closer I got, the less I was able to deny what I was seeing. It was as if the mall had been blown off the face of the earth or sucked into the ground. There was nothing but a crater now. A hole in the pavement that when I dropped to my knees in front of it and peered down, seemed to go on forever. It was deep and wide and black and crushing in its magnitude.

“No,” I said again, this time covering my face with my hands.

My body shook with sobs, and when another explosion rocked the ground beneath me, this time further away, I was only half aware of it. It wasn’t until another one exploded through the air that I pulled my hands from my face. In the distance, a fireball lit up the sky. Above it there was a mass of dark clouds, just like the ones over my head right now. The little bit of sunlight that was still able to penetrate the darkness glinted off cars as they went flying, and a few seconds later another explosion sounded to my right, and then another to my left, and another behind me until it felt as if I had been sucked into a war movie.

I knew I wasn’t safe where I was, but I couldn’t bring myself to care or leave. The sobs shaking my body were too violent, too devastating. It felt as if I would explode just as the mall had, and I couldn’t find it in me to care. Not even a little.

It wasn’t until I squeezed my hands into fists that I realized I was holding something. I looked down and blinked, but I had to force my fingers to relax so I could open my hand. The little purple flowers on the onesie felt like knives in my chest, and in that moment I knew I would never be the same.

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HUGE ebook Sale

For the first time ever ALL my ebooks are on sale for ONLY 99 cents each. This may never happen again, so grab them while you can! May 1st-9th only, you can get all seven books in the Amazon best-selling BROKEN WORLD series, as well as over a dozen other ebooks. Young adult, new adult, romance, dystopian, zombie apocalypse, and post-apocalyptic fiction!
 
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Get Letting Go NOW

LETTING GO
Book 4 in the College of Charleston Series

Letting Go-HighRes

Some people like a little chaos. Not Sarah. Growing up in a house of humiliating filth means she has three crystal-clear goals:

  1. Get through college, however she can.
  2. Keep her four-year-old sister away from her mom’s hoarding.
  3. Never, never let disorder take over her life.

Of course, studying, working, and taking care of a toddler mean Sarah has no time for fun. Until she meets Zac.

He’s sweet, he’s funny, they have compatible plans for the zombie apocalypse. But Sarah can’t let him in. It’s not just his three drooly, sloppy dogs—with him in her life, the pristine future she’s working for would be shredded before you can say Down, boy!

Sometimes falling in love is really all about letting go.

 

 

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Liberation is HERE


Liberation
Moonchild Book Two

After surviving the auction and a near death experience at the hands of Asher’s father, Scarlett Moon is more than ready to settle into life in Columbus. She isn’t alone, either. With each passing day her friends look more at home in the warehouse, and even with Asher ready for more than Scarlett can give, she manages to fall into a routine that almost feels like a normal life. She has her best friend back and for the first time in years, Scarlett feels like there just might be hope on the horizon.

But one distress call is all it takes to destroy the serenity the group has managed to build.

It’s been months since the night Paget stormed out of the warehouse following a fight with Asher, and for all Scarlett knew, the other woman had moved on. Only the fear in Paget’s voice when she calls the warehouse tells a different story, and even though Scarlett never liked Asher’s ex to begin with, she can’t help feeling a little bit responsible for the trouble Paget now finds herself in.

The group heads to the seediest part of the city in search of Paget, picking up clues as they piece together what might have gone wrong. The more Scarlett learns about what the other woman has been through over the last few months, the more concerned she becomes. Even worse: there’s no sign of Paget anywhere in Columbus.

With all the clues pointing in one direction, the group leaves the city and heads for the country in hopes of finding Paget hiding among her own people in Hocking Hills. Only it seems the danger may have followed them, leaving nothing but death and destruction in its wake and putting Paget in more danger than ever before. With each turn Scarlett learns more about the woman who used to hold Asher’s heart, and she suddenly finds herself unable to deny how she really feels about him. Only, with Paget in trouble, Scarlett can’t help wondering if Asher is as over his ex as he claims to be.

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New Moonchild Covers

After some feedback, I decided to tweak my covers for Moonchild just a bit. People weren’t getting the steampunk/fantasy/sci-fi vibe and I wanted to give it a little more emphasis. So here’s what I came up with!

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And here are the new covers for Liberation! 


Moonchild is Available NOW!

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In a world fueled by greed and corruption, where airships rule the skies and coal mines have been turned into prisons, Scarlett Moon has one goal: Survive. Being tough and looking out for herself is the only way to stay alive, but when her best friend, Rory, is arrested and returned to the mines, all of Scarlett’s carefully built walls threaten to crumble.

After being rescued by an airship full of pirates, led by the sexy and irresistible Asher Kimura, Scarlett finds herself surrounded by cons and fugitives, and thrust into the middle of a coal-smuggling business. When they take her to Columbus, the one place she never wanted to set foot in again, she wants nothing more than to get away. And her discomfort only grows as she becomes increasingly drawn to Asher.

But everything changes when she discovers there may be a way to rescue Rory. Enlisting the pirates’ help, Scarlett sets out on a mission to save her friend, praying that her overwhelming attraction to Asher doesn’t mean the end to her freedom—in more ways than one.

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Official Moonchild Cover!

Moonchild Title

I’ve been holding onto the hope for a while now that I’d get a big deal for my Speculative Fiction Novel, Moonchild, but after nearly nine months of waiting, I’ve decided to pull the plug on the idea of going the traditional route. Which means readers will get their hands on this book much faster, because I am going to move forward with publishing it myself!

The official release day will be June 21st, but you can get a look at the cover and pre-order it on Amazon NOW!!!

 

Moonchild ebook

In a world fueled by greed and corruption, where airships rule the skies and coalmines have been turned into prisons, Scarlett Moon has one goal: Survive. Being tough and looking out for herself is the only way to stay alive, but when her best friend, Rory, is arrested and returned to the mines, all of Scarlett’s carefully built walls threaten to crumble.

After being rescued by an airship full of pirates, led by the sexy and irresistible Asher Kimura, Scarlett finds herself surrounded by cons and fugitives, and thrust into the middle of a coal-smuggling business. When they take her to Columbus, the one place she never wanted to set foot in again, she wants nothing more than to get away. And her discomfort only grows as she becomes increasingly drawn to Asher.

But everything changes when she discovers there may be a way to rescue Rory. Enlisting the pirates’ help, Scarlett sets out on a mission to save her friend, praying that her overwhelming attraction to Asher doesn’t mean the end to her freedom—in more ways than one.

Pre-Order Now on Amazon

Cover Reveal for Letting Go!

LettingGoBannerLetting Go

The College of Charleston Series, #4

Kate L. Mary

November 2016

Letting Go-HighRes

Some people like a little chaos. Not Sarah. Growing up in a house of humiliating filth means she has three crystal-clear goals:

Get through college, however she can.
Keep her four-year-old sister away from her mom’s hoarding.
Never, never let disorder take over her life.
Of course, studying, working, and taking care of a toddler mean Sarah has no time for fun. Until she meets Zac.

He’s sweet, he’s funny, they have compatible plans for the zombie apocalypse. But Sarah can’t let him in. It’s not just his three drooly, sloppy dogs—with him in her life, the pristine future she’s working for would be shredded before you can say Down, boy!

Sometimes falling in love is really all about letting go.

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New Release: Without Borders by Amanda Heger

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WITHOUT BORDERS
A Wanderlove Novel
Amanda Heger
Releasing April 19th, 2016
Diversion Books
For Annie
London, a month in a Central American rainforest means handing out mosquito
nets, giving medical aid, and teaching children about the birds and the bees.
With any luck, it will also land her application in the “accepted” pile at a
top tier medical school. But as soon as she steps off the plane, Annie realizes
her bug spray, feeble Spanish, and medical supplies won’t help her deal with
her new feelings for Felipe—her best friend’s older brother, who’s much hotter
than she remembers, and who also happens to be the doctor in charge of the
trip.
Gawking “volun-tourists” may keep
his family’s medical clinic afloat, but Dr. Felipe Gutierrez doesn’t have to
like them. Or the way they make snap judgments about his practice and the
people he cares for. But when his old crush, Annie, shows up to volunteer, her
killer curves and kind smile fan the embers of a flame Felipe didn’t realize
he’d been carrying. A flame that makes him question all his preconceived
notions.
As ideas and cultures clash, Annie
and Felipe must decide how far outside their comfort zones they are willing to
go—both for their work and for one another.
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Amanda Heger is a writer, attorney, and bookworm. She lives in the Midwest with three unruly rescue dogs and a husband who encourages her delusions of grandeur.
 
Her debut romance, Without Borders, is forthcoming from Diversion Books. The
story was inspired by the summer Amanda spent in rural Nicaragua, eating gallo
pinto, speaking mangled Spanish, and showing high school students how to slide
condoms onto over-sized plantains.
 
Her stories are represented by Jessica Watterson of the Dijkstra Literary Agency.
 
 

Moving on is NOW Available!

 

 

 

 

Moving On

College of Charleston series, #3

Kate L. Mary

NA Contemporary Romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

╣Synopsis╠

  

After a year with her dying aunt, Bette knows what she wants from life.
1. Keep Aunt Missy’s House
Chris Pressley is the perfect roommate—uptight and damaged and hung up on his ex. And hot. Bette doesn’t date, but she definitely likes looking.
2. Get Her Dream Job
Chris just needs to get away from the happiest couple on campus: the sweet, shy girl he loves and his former best friend. Watching Bette rock her tattoos and her curves even as she builds her own business is an education. That’s probably why he can’t keep his mind off her…
3. Never Compromise
Bette isn’t interested in changing for anyone. But the heat rising between her and Chris won’t leave her the same…
 

 

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 from Lyrical Press

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╣About the Author╠

Kate L. Mary is an author of young adult and new adult fiction, the award winning author of WHEN WE WERE HUMAN, and the Amazon best-selling BROKEN WORLD series. She writes everything from post-apocalyptic tales of the undead to contemporary romance – basically anything that grabs her attention and holds on.

She is also a mother of four and an Air Force wife who grew up in a small town just north of Dayton, Ohio where she and her husband met at the age of twelve. Since their marriage in 2002, they have lived in Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and California. She currently resides in Oklahoma with her husband and children.

 


 

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╣Other Books╠

 

THE LIST
Book 1 in the College of Charleston Series
Available NOW

The List. Twenty things every girl must do before she turns twenty…
The List-highres_edited
Body piercing
Get drunk
First kiss
But thanks to her crazy, over-protective father, Annie Roth is way behind schedule. Good thing it’s her first semester of college, because Annie is more than ready to start checking off items. . .
Fake ID
Skinny dipping
Road trip!!!
Where it gets complicated? Ryan and Chris. Best friends. Both sweet, funny, totally hot, and totally into Annie.
But there are some things on The List that Annie only wants to do with Ryan. . .
Lose it
Get Heart Broken
Fall in love

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No Regrets
Book 2 in the College of Charleston Series
Available NOW

College is supposed to be fun…no regrets

Go to parties

Pick up guys

Maybe get in a little trouble

On the surface Cami is your average, wild teenager out to have a good time, but inside she’s struggling. Almost a year ago her best friend was in a car accident, an accident Cami feels responsible for. Since then, she’s made it her personal mission to experience everything life has to offer, both for herself and for Julie, who will never have fun again.

Then she meets Liam, her cousin’s sexy roommate. Hooking up with a hot British dude seems like the perfect way to start off the school year, but the more time she spends with him, the more she finds herself actually liking the guy. Which totally screws up her plans to live life with no regrets…

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Keep an eye out for book #4 in the College of Charleston series, Letting Go, coming November 2016!

Cover Reveal: Saved by The SEAL by Diana Gardin!

COVER REVEAL

Take a look at this gorgeous cover and tell me you don’t want to read this book!!

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Saved By The SEAL
(STANDALONE Battle Scars novel)

by Diana Gardin

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Synopsis 

He saved her life. She showed him how to live it . . .
When he sees a woman drowning, Grisham Abbot immediately leaps into action. The Navy SEAL forgets his training, his past, and the explosion that forever scarred his body and his mind. He can only remember what he was born to do. But saving Greta Owen is a complication Grisham is definitely not ready for. She’s stunning and gorgeous—like sunlight after months of darkness. Yep, Grisham is so, so screwed.
Greta knows that the smart thing to do would be to run from Grisham. He’s a wounded warrior, and his head is a big-time mess. The problem is that Greta wants to make him her mess. One kiss and she’s completely in over her head. And if this SEAL risked himself to save her, then she must find a way to bring him back to life . . .

New Release: The Turning Point by Marie Meyer

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The Turning Point

Marie Meyer

New Adult Contemporary Romance

 

 

 

 

 

 


╣Synopsis╠

It’s funny how a piece of paper can change your life-a diploma, a ticket . . . a plain, white envelope

For as long as I could remember, I was the girl with the plan. Good college, good medical school, good career. I would save lives instead of standing by helplessly, watching while they slipped away.

That was before my father called for the first time in fifteen years to tell me about the terminal illness stealing his life-an illness that might be stealing mine, too. It was before he gave me the name of a doctor and a plane ticket to Italy. Before I flew across an ocean. Before I realized how brilliantly bright life could be. Before I met Lucas.

He’s everything I’ve always wanted, and the timing couldn’t be worse. I can’t do this to him-he deserves so much better. My head tells me I can’t afford to fall in love with Lucas, but my heart won’t listen. Lucas is fearless about the future, while I’m not even sure I have one. There’s only one way to know what’s ahead and it’s waiting for me at home inside a plain, white envelope.

All I have to do, is open it . . .

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╣About the Author╠

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Marie Meyer was a Language Arts teacher for fourteen years. She spends her days in the classroom and her nights writing heartfelt new adult romances that will leave readers clamoring for more. She is a member of RWA and the St. Louis Writers Guild. Marie’s short fiction won honorable mentions from the St. Louis Writers Guild in 2010 and 2011. She is a proud mommy and enjoys helping her oldest daughter train for the Special Olympics, making up silly stories with her youngest daughter, and bingeing on weeks of DVR’d television shows with her husband.

 


 

 

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╣Other Books╠

 

Across the Distance

There’s a drawer I never open. It holds a picture I never look at. It reminds me of a day I hate to remember, but I’ll never forget.Across the Distance

I’d give anything to be like the other girls on campus. Going to parties, flirting with boys, planning for a future. But that’s not me. And hasn’t been since the day my parents died. The only thing that got me through was Griffin. Even though I didn’t have my family, I always had him. Only, now I’m not so sure I do.

It’s not just the eleven hundred miles separating us now that I’m at college. Or his band finally taking off, and all the gigs and girls suddenly demanding his time. It’s as if everything is different-the way we talk, the way we text . . . the way he looks at me and the way those looks make me feel.

Griffin has been the only good thing in my life since that horrific day. But I can feel our friendship slipping away-and I’m terrified of what will be left in its place . . .

Can’t Go Back

When Jillian moved next door, she refused to get out of the car. I climbed into the backseat beside her and promised to never leave her.APxoCAAAQBAJ

Now, I’m driving her a thousand miles away, so she can leave me. She has to go. What else would she do? Follow me and my band from one cheap bar to another, get hit on by sleazy promoters? Because Jillian would definitely get hit on. She’s the most gorgeous, talented girl I’ve ever known, and she doesn’t even see it.

This scholarship gives Jillian the chance to study at the best design school in the country. It’s what she’s always wanted. I won’t stand in the way of her dreams, no matter how much it hurts to watch her go. I just wish she wasn’t leaving without knowing the truth . . .

New Deal!

I’m excited to announce that a fourth book is coming in the College of Charleston series!

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I’ve been obsessed with watching the show Hoarders for a long time, and it’s been in the back of my head to write something that deals with this fascinating and heartbreak issue. Of course, part of my obsession comes from the fact that I can’t understand the mentality of someone who doesn’t know how to let go, so it only made sense for me to write from a family members perspective. I’m just excited that my editor at Lyrical, Alicia Condon, and my agent, Stacey Donaghy, are both thrilled about this idea as well!

New Release: Inconceivable! by Tegan Wren

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INCONCEIVABLE Cover.jpg

 

 

 

 

INCONCEIVABLE!

Tegan Wren

 

 

╣Synopsis╠

A popular, young royal couple can’t produce an heir? INCONCEIVABLE!

When Ozarks native Hatty goes “whole hog” during karaoke, she catches the eye of Prince John. He isn’t what she expects the heir to a small European nation to be: he’s affable, witty, and isn’t put off by her tell-it-like-it-is demeanor. Their flirtation should be short lived, but a force stronger than fate—Hatty’s newspaper editor—assigns her to cover the royals. After spending time together, she and John soon begin dating, and Hatty finds herself making headlines instead of writing them.

But challenges loom that are even more complicated than figuring out how to mesh Hatty’s journalism career with life at Belvoir Palace. Hatty and John soon find themselves embroiled in an unusual sex scandal: they can’t produce an heir. Tabloids dub Hatty a “Barren-ess,” and the royals become irate. Hatty politely tells them to shove it. But beneath her confident exterior, she struggles to cope with a heartbreak that invades her most intimate moments with John. Pressured to choose between invasive medical procedures and abandoning John’s claim to the throne, the couple feels trapped until a trip to Ethiopia shows them happy endings sometimes arrive long after saying “I do.”

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╣Praise for INCONCEIVABLE!╠

  • “As someone who has experienced infertility, I empathize with Hatty’s struggles. Wren beautifully illuminates the joy, grief, and adventure of creating a family against all odds in this heart warming and impactful story.”  America Olivo Campbell, actress: DeGrassi: The Next Generation, Chicago PD, Mission Impossible 5. Spokesperson for Baby Quest Foundation
  • “I found the insights into infertility invaluable and sensitive.” –Marnie Neve, Board Member, Baby Quest Foundation
  • “Not only was this a very well written and entertaining story (I flew through it), but I feel it’s also a very important story.” –Meredith Tate, author of Missing Pieces
  • “Tegan Wren’s debut novel is by turn funny, heartbreaking and ultimately inspiring.” JDC, author and journalist
  • “I loved reading a romantic story about royals that didn’t end at the wedding, showing us that there’s more to love than falling in it. There’s also staying in it, even when troubles come. For better and for worse.” –Samantha Bryant, author of Going Through the Change

 

╣Excerpt╠

      He leaned closer and sang softly. I recognized the opening lyrics to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” His singing voice was soulful and sexy, and something deep inside me responded, making my heart beat a little faster.

      He stopped and looked me in the eyes. “That song’s about someone who’s alone. But that’s not you. You’re too lovely to be lonely.”

      A nervous laugh escaped my lips. “Are you kidding? Aren’t we sitting in a sanctuary for the lonely?”

      “I don’t feel lonely right now.”

      “Me either.” I blew into my mug, then took a sip. “Have you had one of these?”

      “I don’t think so. What is it?”

      “It’s called a chocolate kiss. It’s peppermint schnapps and hot cocoa.”

      He reached over and picked up the steaming mug. His movement conveyed authority while his neat fingernails screamed uppity. They looked better than mine, damn it. After taking a long pull from the cup, he handed it back. Our fingers brushed together, sending a flash of heat through my body.

      “Thanks for sharing a kiss with me,” he said, reaching over and lifting my chin.

      Our eyes met, and I couldn’t tear myself away from his gaze. Yowza. Was he going to kiss me? Did I want him to?

      “You guys know each other?”

      I flinched at Plato’s words―I hadn’t seen him coming toward us―and pulled back. I sloshed a healthy dollop of my drink onto Farmer Joe’s pants. We both reached for the stack of napkins, but I got there first.

      “Sorry. Here, let me,” I sputtered, dabbing at the wet patch.

      I blotted along his pants, and my hand moved a little too close to the inside of his leg. A burning sensation rose up behind my ears. “Umm. I’ll just let you do it.”

      I dropped the wad of damp napkins onto his open palm. Glancing at his face, I saw a half smile. I closed my eyes and touched my forehead, gently rubbing the area above my eyebrows as I always did when embarrassment overwhelmed me.

╣Review╠

Inconceivable from Tegan Wren is a sometimes funny, sometimes sweet, sometimes emotionally raw love store.

Hatty is studying in a small country when she accidentally crosses paths with Prince John. A whirlwind romance ensues, and the reader is able to follow the happy couple as they fall in love, get married and start their lives together. But being a royal isn’t all balls and tiaras, as Hatty soon finds out. When pressure to produce an heir—from both the country and John’s family—Hatty finds herself in the worst position possible: unable to conceive.

As a mother of four, there were a lot of things about this book that tugged at my heartstrings, especially since I currently have a good friend struggling to conceive. Hatty’s sorrow felt raw, and her intense loneliness as she desperately searched for a solution made her a very sympathetic character. I definitely felt the ups and downs of this couple’s journey!

5stars


 

╣Links╠

Amazon US   Amazon UK

INCONCEIVABLE! on Goodreads

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╣About the Author╠

tegan wrenThe best compliment Tegan Wren ever received came from her sixth grade teacher: “You always have a book in your hand!”

Guided by her love of the creative process, Tegan grew up acting in theatre productions and writing poetry, short stories, and plays. She turned her eye to writing about real life when she worked as a journalist, producing reports for various radio and television stations in medium and large markets in the Midwest and also filing some stories for a major national news network. Wren has both a Bachelor’s of Journalism and a Master of Arts in Communications. After completing her graduate degree, Tegan had the opportunity to teach journalism courses at a major state university. She absolutely loved training the next generation of journalists.

Tegan’s thankful that she’s had the opportunity to travel overseas, and uses those adventures to inform her writing. She also draws inspiration from her own struggles, joys, and life experiences. Tegan and her husband, Patrick, experienced infertility for five years before becoming parents through adoption.

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New Release: Until We Break by Jamie Howard

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Until We Break

Jamie Howard

NA Contemporary Romance

 

 

 

 


 

╣Synopsis╠

  

When Sloane Avery stops to help a stranded driver, she finds more than a broken down car on the side of the road. Luke Evans is faster and sexier than her Maserati, but with her heart still on the mend, she’s not interested in taking him for a test drive. Despite their initial disdain for each other, emotion and passion simmer, complicating their fragile friendship. But when a tragic loss and devastating betrayal send them spiraling, their growing love isn’t enough to save them.

That was five years ago, practically a different lifetime and definitely a different Sloane. Before she’s been hardened by booze, sex, and as much distance as she could get from the past. Now, called home on a family emergency, she’s determined to hold onto her heart the next time she sees Luke.

Except Sloane’s not the only one who’s changed. Luke’s turned his life around. Only the reappearance of Sloane and the reminder of his biggest mistake can put a dent in his plans. Luke is set on fixing what he’s broken. But with her emotions boiling to the surface, Sloane needs to decide if falling in love is life’s greatest gift or its cruelest joke.

 

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╣About the Author╠

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Jamie Howard is a writer, legal and compliance specialist for a worldwide brokerage firm, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Art. When she’s not tapping away at the keyboard or capturing the world through her trusty Canon, you can find her binge-watching TV shows, devouring books, and perfecting her gaming skills. She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs in New Jersey, and is almost always awake early enough to see the sun rise, even on the weekends.

Jamie is represented by Jessica Watterson of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

 

 


 

╣Social Media╠

 

 

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╣Other Books╠

 

Until It’s Right
Coming March 1, 2016
Available for Pre-Order

Haley Mitchell is tired of moping. With her broken heart repaired with a thick layer of duct tape, she’s 27232711ready to put her ex behind her and move on. After a chance encounter in a club, she’s convinced she’s met Mr. Perfect. But when he accidentally gives her the wrong number, the stranger on the other end of her texts becomes her confidant.

Kyle Lawson has always had more luck with computers than women. So when the new temp, Haley, arrives, he has the misfortune of falling for her, only to land firmly in the friend zone. But when he learns the mysterious woman he’s been texting is actually Haley, he keeps the entire thing a secret.

As things move straight from platonic to decidedly hot, Kyle must come clean about his secret texting identity and risk losing the woman he’s fallen in love with.

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New Release: Last True Hero by Diana Gardin

 

We’re celebrating the
release of Last True Hero by Diana Gardin, with excerpt, teasers and a great
giveaway! Thanks for joining us!

 

 Last True Hero (Battle Scars #1) by Diana Gardin
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance (Military)
Published by Forever Romance
Releasing November 10, 2015
Goodreads








Purchase your copy of Last True Hero

Amazon US | Amazon CA | iBooks | Google Play  |  B&N

For seven years he’s
fought for his country. Now he’ll fight for her.
    Army Ranger Dare Conners
has been through hell. He’s left combat behind, yet the memories that refuse to
fade are proving just as dangerous. Ordered to take R&R, he joins his buddy
for beaches, beers, and babes—if that can’t cure him, nothing will. But when he
meets Berkeley, a woman who affects him like no one else, a new kind of battle
begins . . .
    An Admiral’s daughter, Berkeley knows her
life has been planned since birth. The right school, the right boyfriend—and
now that she’s graduated—the right marriage. But after years of being right,
Berkley is ready to be a little wrong. And Dare Conners has wrong written
all over him. The sexy soldier has a body built for sin and secrets he won’t
share. What starts as a fling quickly grows into something more. But summer
can’t last forever, and when the truth comes out, both Berkeley and Dare could
be in for quite a fall.

EXCERPT
    He offers nothing
more. I stare at him for another second, then replace his tags under his shirt.
My fingers linger on the skin at the top of his chest. “I’m sorry.”
    He nods. “Don’t be.”
    We let the silence
wash over us once again.
     I glance at him out
of the corner of my eye after a few minutes. I want to know. I want to know the
answers to all of the questions lurking behind those beautiful eyes of his. And
so I know it’s time for me to go.
      “Dare…”
     He looks over at me,
his hands clasped behind his head. “Berkeley.”
     Dammit. Does he
somehow know I have trouble continuing to speak when he says my name? Does he
know?
     “Thanks for the
beer,” I say, sitting up.
     He doesn’t. “You’re
welcome. Are you leaving me so soon?”
     No. “Yep.”
     His mouth turns
down, and I keep my hands firmly in my lap so that I don’t brush a finger
across his full bottom lip.
     A low rumble of
thunder rolls around us, and I glance up at the sky. A storm is obviously on
its way.         When I look back at Dare, his gaze hasn’t moved from mine.
     “Dare…”
      He begins shaking
his head before I’ve even begun my letting-him-down-easy speech. Does he read
my mind, too?
      “This has been a
really great night…”
      His hand on my chin
stills me. It stills my thoughts and it stalls my words. I’m helpless with his
hand on me.
      “Don’t do that,” he
says softly. “Don’t give me your ‘let-him-down-easy’ speech. Let’s pretend
we’ve moved past that, okay? You don’t want to do this again, then tell me the
real reason. I don’t do bullshit.”
      He releases my skin,
but there’s a burning in the spot now that wasn’t there before.
      It takes me a moment
to find my voice, and Dare waits patiently while another rumble of thunder
rolls over our heads.
      “I’m…I’m super
attracted to you, Dare. But I’m not available to date right now. I’ll probably
never be available to date. It’s…complicated.”
      “You have a
boyfriend.” He says it like a fact, not a question.
      “I do not have a
boyfriend.” It would have been the easy way out. I could have just let him
believe that, but I find myself unable to lie to this sharp, sexy, honest man.
     He stares at me, his
expression unreadable. He rubs his rib again, and I allow my eyes to travel to
that spot. He notices, and stops rubbing. When he speaks again, his voice
hasn’t changed. It’s still soft, and still like a rough edge of a stone left
out in the wind.
     “So…you just aren’t
that into me.”
     I wish he’d stop
searching for reasons. “Some things just aren’t going to work out.”
     “I didn’t ask you to
marry me, Berkeley. I didn’t even ask you out on a second date yet.”
     I raise my eyebrows,
and he quickly regroups. “I was going to. Shit, of course I was going to. But,
if you don’t want to hang out again, I guess I have to accept that.”
     I so don’t want him to accept it. But I nod my head, just as the sky above us
opens, and we leap out of our chairs and sprint for the house.
     By the time we reach
it, we’re soaked. We run around to the driveway, where Dare’s truck is parked,
and he helps me in and buckles me up while the rain pelts him.
      When he finally
makes it to the driver’s seat, he’s laughing. He runs his hands through his
sopping wet hair, and I realize mine must look like a wet dog. Groaning, I pull
out my hair tie and shake my mess of curls out around my shoulders.
     “Shit! I didn’t
realize it was supposed to rain tonight.” He scrubs his face with his hands,
and then turns to face me. “I’m—”
     He freezes when he
looks at me, and my suspicions are confirmed. I’m definitely the hottest mess
he’s ever seen. My hair is flopping everywhere, and I’m sure the small amount
of makeup I had on my face now looks like I’m starring in
The Walking Dead.
     But that doesn’t
matter. I just told him I couldn’t see him again. Who the hell cares what I
look like?
The way he’s staring
at me is causing my new pets, my butterflies, to take furious flight and my
heartbeat to speed up at an alarming pace.
     Then he reaches out
and brushes that stupid strand of hair out of my eyes. The one my mother can’t
stand.
     “I love this,” he
says. “I might as well tell you, seeing as how I won’t get the chance again.”
     His finger follows
an invisible trail along my cheek, pausing at the hollow beneath my eye. “And
these. I fall into these every single time they’re focused on me. It scares the
shit out of me. And nothing scares me, Berkeley.”
     My breath is gone.
I’ve lost it somewhere between his finger tracing a path on my face and the
beautiful words he’s speaking. About
me.
    His finger changes
trajectory, trailing down until he reaches my lips. Which are probably
trembling. “Do you know how long I’ve been looking at these? All fucking night.
All night tonight, and every other time I’ve been in your vicinity.”
    His eyes drop to my
lips then, and he uses his thumb to part them. Hot lava flows from my core into
my every extremity until I feel like I must be catching fire. He’s setting me
aflame. His touch, his words, those eyes on me. I can’t contain the desire that
wells up inside me.
     “Dare.” I breathe.
     His eyes flicker
back up from my lips. “Berkeley.”
      “I guess if you’re
going to kiss me, you’d better do it now. You might not get another chance.”

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY
1
– $50 Sephora gift card
2
– Battle Scar Series swag packs
US/Can
only

About Diana Gardin

Diana Gardin was born and raised combing the coasts of Southeastern Virginia. She is now a happy resident of South Carolina as she married into an enormous Carolina-rooted family. She loves the beach, and even more than that she loves to read while sitting on the beach.

While writing was always a passion of Diana’s, she enrolled in college to become an elementary-school teacher. After eight years of teaching in both Virginia and South Carolina, she decided to stay at home with her first child. This decision is what opened her eyes to the fact that she still very much loved to write, and her first novel was written.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

My Charleston Trip

Have you read my College of Charleston series? Book one is The List and book two is No Regrets (book 3, Moving On, will be out February 2016). If you have, then you might be interested in the pictures from my recent Charleston trip!

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Our first morning in the Charleston area was spent in North Charleston, giving us the perfect opportunity to hit up the Tanger Outlets, which also happens to be where Cami takes Annie shopping in The List!

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I may not have a bucket list (and I’m definitely not in my teens), but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t do some shopping of our own. Here’s my best friend, Erin, and me at the outlets!
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When we finally made it downtown, I had to take a trip over to check out the dorm Cami and Annie–and Chris–lived in. Yup, here it is, the College of Charleston’s College Lodge! On the left is a picture of how it looked when I wrote my book, versus how it looks now. (They painted it without my knowledge.) 

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College Lodge photo courtesy of Post and Courier

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I also swung by the college bookstore to buy myself a little souvenir…

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Right down the street from College Lodge sits the Francis Marion, which where the group goes to eat breakfast for Annie’s birthday in The List and No Regrets. The Starbucks they frequent is in the lobby. Right across the street is Marion Square Park, which I didn’t get a picture. :-(

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King Street is just across the street, and if you ever decide to take a trip to Charleston, you’re definitely going to want to take a walk up this street! It’s gorgeous and a great location to do some shopping – just be sure you bring your credit card! It’s also expensive!

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I mention the City Market a few times in my books. It’s a really fun place to visit that’s open daily, allowing tourists to shop for souvenirs from local vendors.
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Carriage tours are also a favorite tourist attraction.

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Remember how Annie and Cami talked about the dangers of walking on Charleston sidewalks in heels? Here’s why:

Bike Taxis are one thing I haven’t mentioned in my books, but if I end up writing a fourth I’ll definitely add it! These are a lifesaver when you’re trying to cross the city wearing three inch heels – especially after a few drinks!

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And here’s Waterfront Park, which was a favorite place for Annie and Ryan to jog in The List.
IMG_4828The fountain at the main entrance (during tourist season it’s common to see kids running through the water):

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Check out the gorgeous pier:

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The bay (If you look close enough, you can see Fort Sumter in the distance):

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And of course, the Pineapple Fountain (also a favorite place for kids to swim on hot summer days during tourist season):

 

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Erin, and Me in front of the fountain:

And finally, the Ravenel Bridge (It wasn’t lit up at night, so I had to settle for a day shot):

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What’s one of the BEST things about Charleston? The food! If you ever visit the city, expect to be full (and broke) when you leave. Charleston has some of the most delicious (and expensive) restaurants, but it’s worth every penny! While visiting we ate at Magnolia’s, Cypress, The Drawing Room, Toast and Kaminski’s. We also hit up The Rooftop Bar and Henry’s for drinks in the evening.

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Erin and me at Magnolia’s:

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While there, Erin and I also got tattoos – just like Annie. Like I said, I don’t have a bucket list, but this is something we’ve been wanting to do together for a few years, so we decided to just go for it.

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Our last morning in Charleston we took a quick trip out to Isle of Palms. This was the day before the hurricane rains hit (which flooded the downtown area) so it was chilly and windy and threatening rain, but it was still great to be back after four years!

Driving under the Ravenel Bridge:

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Here’s the street view of Isle of Palms:
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Look at this amazing houses on Isle of Palms? The picture doesn’t do them justice, trust me!It was a house like this one that Liam’s dad owns in No Regrets-and where they have their amazing beach parties.IMG_4854

And that’s the Charleston portion of Momcation 2015! You can check out the Walking Dead portion on my October 29th post, which is part of the Band of Dystopian Zombie Blog Crawl for Halloween week! 

Did these pictures spark your interest? If so, be sure to check out my College of Charleston series, available from Lyrical Shine and inspired by this gorgeous city!

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