Thursday, August 16, 2018

Soul of Stone by Traci McDonald

Author: Traci McDonald

Narrator: Amanda Stribling

Length: 9 hours and 49 minutes

Publisher: TraciMcdonaldAuthor.com

Series: Ice and Stone, Book 1

Released: June 20, 2018

Genre: Romance


Danielle Lyndon, owner of a 200-year-old bookstore in Greenville, Alabama, has built a fortress of suspicion around her heart. A tragic fire has taken the lives of her beloved Grandmother and mother, leaving her with nothing but an ancient collection of magical books.

Facing what seems like an eternity of loneliness and abandonment, her life is inexorably altered late one night when a runaway teenage girl breaks into her store and Danielle receives a mysterious text message…from her dead mother.

The only person who can help her is Aaron Donnell, a reckless, tormented drifter with haunting silver-blue eyes who is searching for the burglar, his younger sister. Aaron somehow holds the answers to the mysterious texts, but he’s arrogant, dangerous, and is clearly no good for her. The problem is . . . . she’s falling in love with him.

Consumed with Aaron’s mysterious darkness and the prospect of locating the source of the texts, Danielle allows him to unwittingly drag her into an insane, mystical world where human trafficking is the usual, black magic reigns supreme, and inhuman power lasts forever.

Are the dark chasms of magic and eternity too wide and deep for love to cross? Is the collateral damage in their battle too high of a price to pay if it leaves someone with their soul encased in stone?



Traci McDonald is a blind author of clean romance novels, including Burning Bridger (Muse It Up, 2015), Killing Casanova (Crimson Romance, 2012) and the forthcoming Soul of Stone. She believes that falling in-love is the greatest risk of all, and her non-explicit romances are about hurting, healing and finding true love. Traci has been blind for 20 years. When she isn’t writing she is an editor for Ink and Quill Press and the co-host for a blogtalk radio show on The World of Ink Network. Traci is an active member of the National Federation of the Blind, on the board of her local writer’s guild, and a speaker for various writing conferences and book fairs. She is a full time wife and mother of three boys, an avid reader, and loves living in a small town on the fringes of Nevada's Mojave Desert.

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This really was a good book I just had a few problems with it. When the book first start it went right into the story which is fine if you are further into the series then book 1. I prefer to know a bit of background when I start out. I would of liked to have known about the bookstore and its history, as well as an introduction to the main character Danielle and her family. I had to pick up pieces along the way. That is just my preferences, so you may like not knowing what is going on. To it just felt like the book took off already in the middle. I don't mind a cliffhanger ending but when it is what seems to me as a major cliffhanger I tend to decide to skip the rest of the series, especially a new series as now I have to wait an indeterminate amount of time before I get to see how it turns out. I am a avid reader and do not always remember to keep an eye on a series. Yes there are some Authors and series that jump out and I am constantly looking for the next book, this sadly was not one of those series for me.

With that all being said the book was actually pretty. The blurb and story line for Soul of Stone sounded very intriguing, so I am not unhappy that I chose to review this book.

The book features a sweet romance, a lot of mystery, some paranormal, and a thriller aspect. The book is very fast paced, but does not bounce around to the point of being distracting.

Danielle meets Aaron when he comes looking for his sister who is after one of the books in Danielle's store. The books are ancient texts from all over the world and the bookstore is more or less a safe house for the books.

Aaron is too late as his sister has already broken into the store and was run off by Danielle and her stapler (read the book to find out what this means). Danielle decides to help Aaron find his sister and is brought into a world of human trafficking and black magic. The more the 2 try to unfold the mystery of his missing sister the closer the 2 become.

Amanda Stribling narrates the audiobook and I really enjoyed listening to her. She has what I believe to be a true southern accent, this book takes place in Greenville Alabama, the deep southern twang was spot on.


I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Traci McDonald. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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When Time Stands Still by Sara Furlong-Burr



When
Time Stands Still
by
Sara Furlong-Burr

Genre:
Romance

It’s
been nearly a decade since Elle Sloan last saw Luke Hutchins. Close
to ten years since she broke up with him over a single phone call,
providing him with little explanation. Since the end of their
relationship, Elle has done everything she could do to move on,
marrying, proceeding forward with her life, almost allowing herself
to completely forget about Luke.



Almost.

Out
of nowhere, Elle receives a phone call from Luke’s mother. Luke has
been in a horrific car accident and, a month later, has just awoken
from a coma. However, instead of celebrating, his family is stunned
to learn that Luke is suffering from amnesia and only remembers his
life as it was before his breakup with Elle. Not wanting to tell Luke
that he and Elle aren’t together anymore for fear it may compromise
his recovery, Elle is asked by Luke’s family to come to the
hospital to see him. Their hope is that she will slowly be able to
jog his memory and cushion the blow. 

Guilt-ridden
over how their relationship ended, Elle readily agrees, finding
herself transported back in time with Luke to the life they once
shared and the future they could have had together.





Excerpt:

   The early spring sun swiftly set on the horizon behind the splendor of the Allegheny Mountains, a welcome change from the relatively flat lands of southern Indiana, where a long drive was bound to put you to sleep. Seeing them in all their splendor, the remaining ghosts from my past came rushing back to haunt me, reminding me of the drives Luke and I used to take at my insistence. He’d grown up here, while I had only been in town long enough to attend—and eventually drop out of—Cogsworth University after two years. He’d chuckle to himself as I’d gazed awestruck at the emerald expanses towering around us as far as my eyes could see. Never condescending of my obviously sheltered life prior to arriving in Roanoke, he’d just smile whenever I would comment on how his growing up surrounded by such beauty must have been comparable to waking up in a fairy tale every morning.

    And it was here in Roanoke where he was awaiting my arrival, completely unaware that his heart was destined to be broken by me once again.












Sara
"Furlong" Burr was born and raised in Michigan and
currently still lives there with her husband, two daughters, a
high-strung Lab, and three judgmental cats. When she's not writing,
Sara enjoys reading, camping, spending time with her family, and
attempting to paint while consuming more amaretto sours than she
cares to admit. She's also an advocate for melanoma awareness, having
been diagnosed with stage 1b melanoma in 2017.





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Chasing the Wild Sparks Wild Sparks Series #1 by Ren Alexander


Chasing
the Wild Sparks
Wild
Sparks Series #1
by
Ren Alexander


Genre:
Contemporary Romance

Throwing
down the marriage gauntlet has never been so wild.

Thirty-something
paralegal, Hadley Beckett and charismatic, local
sportscaster/daredevil, Finn Wilder, disagree about how they should
share their lives together. Having been together for three years,
Finn increasingly pressures Hadley to move in with him, but being
unusually traditional, she wants to be married first, adhering to her
moral beliefs, just as he clings to his own religious upbringing when
it comes to procreating with her. Each is unwilling to negotiate or
concede marriage to the other. Complicating matters is Finn’s
seemingly double life, keeping his private life hidden to the point
of convincing his viewers—Finnatics—and even his coworkers, he’s
single, amid Hadley’s objections. Yet despite their immense
disparities, they are determined to make their relationship work,
even if it means Hadley has to take their future into her own hands.
Then
again, Finn Wilder has his own story to tell.

**FREE
on all platforms!!**


Excerpt 1:
Some of these people here are scary as hell, Hadley.”
Morgan, get off of me!”
The closer I am to you, the further these people are from me.”
Honestly, I think you’re being a tad dramatic, don’t you think?”
Not a chance. I should’ve stopped by an urgent care on the way here and got myself a damned tetanus shot.” I nudge her away and she scornfully asks, “Where’s your man anyway?”
I impatiently state the obvious, “He’s racing on his dirt bike, Morgan. Where in the hell has your mind been all this time?” I sigh as I crane my neck to see if I can see him anywhere. It was such a mistake bringing my best friend with me. She definitely isn’t cut out for live sporting events. If it’s not college football or basketball on TV, she’s not interested. My longtime boyfriend, Finn Wilder, is participating in a dirt bike race about half an hour outside of where we live in Richmond, Virginia. In the past, he’s raced in amateur motocross events, but today, he’s racing for charity, not to mention the event is being covered by the very same Richmond TV station where he is their star sportscaster. When he’s not risking his life.
I’ve been here. I’ve just been distracted by Ma and Pa Kettle over here fighting over the last dip of snuff!” she criticizes loudly, turning up her nose and leaning onto me again, clutching my arm tighter.
Morgan!” I hiss, looking past her to see if anyone heard her mouth. She drags her wavy, dark hair with one hand, draping it over a shoulder, using it as a privacy barrier between her and the riff-raff, as she referred to them earlier. “Why did you come with me if you don’t want to be here?”
Something to do while Ivan is working.” She cringes as she’s jostled. Ivan’s her personal trainer, as well as her boyfriend who works at the gym we belong to. “Excuse you!” she shouts to a group of kids walking down the wooden bleachers.
Morgan, stop!” I again shake her off and stand to see if I can see Finn’s black and blue bike. Morgan tugs on my arm and I plop back down beside her.
What?” I edgily ask.
Have you talked to Finn?” she asks, digging into her purse.
About?”
Hadley, do not play dumb with me. You know what I’m talking about.” I glance down at her duffle bag-sized designer purse as she continues to rummage through it. Oh, yes. Talking to Finn. Nope. Not looking forward to that.
I did not,” I say, returning my attention to the track.
Why not? There it is!” I look over at her to see she's holding a silver compact. “Now to find my lipstick.”
I have a couple questions. One: Why do you have a purse that big if you can never find anything in it? Two: Why do you need lipstick at a racing event?” Morgan’s mouth drops open and she gives me a look that’s a cross between incredulity and disgust. She rolls her eyes and hands me the mirror.
Here, hold this. I can’t believe you actually asked me that question, Hadley Beckett,” she scolds and recommences excavating her bag. “A woman must always look her best, no matter where they are.” She stops searching and gives me a roaming, disapproving look. “You should try it sometime.”
Miffed, I automatically look down at my clothes. I’m wearing a light blue t-shirt with small, dark blue sequins scattered throughout, and blue jeans. “What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” I ask, confusion painting my tone.
I assess what she’s wearing: a dark blue blouse with dramatic ruffles cascading down the front, khaki capris, and brown-heeled sandals. Her outfit’s very classy, as usual for Morgan, but not practical for watching a motorcycle race.
It’s not just your clothes,” she distractedly answers towards her purse. I tug at my light brown ponytail self-consciously and scowl at her. “What do you mean?”
Please, girl. Have you seen your boyfriend lately?” I glance to the track at the mention of him, but from where we’re sitting, I can’t see my #35 yet.
I see him often.” I grab her purse and put it on the other side of me.
Hey!”
I want you to tell me what you mean by that statement. You can’t just say that and expect me to not want you to explain yourself.”
I mean that you look as homeless as some of these people sitting here.”
Shit, Morgan! Keep your voice down!” I loudly whisper, imploring her as I look around us.
Oh, who cares?” Morgan dismisses the people around her with a wave of her hand, her orchid nail polish shining in the sunlight. She lifts up her dark sunglasses so I can see into her dusky brown eyes. “I mean, you’re dressed rather plainly. You have a hotter-than-fuck boyfriend. You should be dressing up your equally hot, little body so it doesn’t look like he’s dating a 12-year old.” My mouth pops open at her observation. “You also could use some more makeup and a cuter haircut.” Her eyes float down to my fingers. “And stop wearing black nail polish. You’re not in a satanic cult, a heavy metal band, or a victim of teen angst.”
Morgan Yates!” I shriek, but the sound of roaring dirt bikes drown out my protest. A flurry of motorcycles emerges through the small tree grove the track snakes in between, and I, along with everyone else in the stands, minus Morgan, jump up and cheer. She reaches around me to snag back her purse.
Finn’s bike is near the front, so I squeal as I hop up and down, clapping around Morgan’s compact still in my hand. The riders begin their last circuit and we all take our seats again.
She says, “You didn’t answer my question, bitch.”
I irritably scoff, “After all of your gushing flattery concerning the clothes I’m wearing and my overall horrid appearance, I forget what you asked.” I glance down at my shiny, black-polished nails before I curl my fingers under my hand. What’s wrong with my nail polish?
You know I love you, Hadley. I’m only trying to help you keep your man.”
I morosely glower at her. “I don’t need help.” Do I?
Really? So how come you won’t answer me? Why haven’t you talked to Finn?”
I sigh heavily and slump my shoulders. “Because we’ve had similar talks in the past, Morgan. He doesn’t want to get married. He has said that repeatedly.”
Hadley, you’ve been dating him for three years and living apart from each other, at that. When are you two going to grow up and stop the weekend-only fuck fests?”
I wince. “Do you have to put it that way?”
Don’t tell me that isn’t what you and that fine specimen aren’t doing every weekend,” she poses dubiously.
No, we knit,” I mutter and look away from her. I practically hear her rolling her eyes at me.
You need to talk to him again, Hadley. Three years is enough for you to have wasted your time on a man who isn’t going to commit to you or give you the children that you want. You’re 33-years old. Won’t he be 34 in a few months?” I swing my head back to her and nod. “His sperm will last forever. You, on the other hand,” she raises an eyebrow and shakes her head sadly, “are in a time crunch. Those eggs of yours aren’t going to wait around forever, you know.” So says the woman who is almost four years younger than me.
Annoyed, I reply, “I know this, Morgan. It’s all I think about lately, but I can’t force him to change his mind and propose.”
Then, you do it.”
No. I can’t do that because I know what his answer will be.” He’d reject me without a second thought.
Well, you have your answer then. If he said no to your proposal, then you would break up with him and move on.”
With whom? I’m in love with Finn. He’s all I want.” I stare at her waiting for her to elaborate, her dark skin glowing in the sun, no doubt from wearing a dark color on an unseasonably warm, mid-April day.
He is not all you want. You want a marriage and kids. He doesn’t. But for some ridiculous reason, you let him string you along, and who knows how long he’ll do that to you. He may never grow a pair. It could be indefinitely, Hadley. I don’t want that for you. You need to give him an ultimatum.”
I shake my head furiously at her. “I won’t do that to him. I know he loves me. He just…” I aimlessly look to the track as we wait for them to finish the race.
She finishes my sentence with what I was not going to say. “He's just getting his milk for free.”
I look over at her, frowning. “Thanks for calling me a cow.”
Morgan laughs, but the smile soon fades from her face. “You are so stubborn,” she accuses me. She sighs. “Remind him of what you want. You deserve happiness. Talk to him, Hadley. Your eggs are going to dry up and blow away.” I know. That’s what I’m afraid of each passing day.
Talk to who?” a familiar voice asks from above me. I angle my head up, squinting, to see my friend Rod.
Nothing,” I dismissively mumble, looking down as he scoots closer to me.
Come on, Hadders. What’s up? Sorry, I’m late. I had to do a couple things and they ran over.”
It’s a Saturday, Rod. What the hell were you doing?” Morgan asks, pushing me forward so she can see him.
He taunts her, “None of your bees’ wax. Are you going to cast a spell on me now?” Morgan reaches behind me and punches Rod’s arm.
Ow!” he cries, rubbing where she hit. “You’re a lawyer, Morgan! You should know that’s assault and battery!”
She starts to protest, but I sit back and put my arms out to restrain the both of them. “Come on, you two! Cut it out!”
He clutches my shoulder. “What’s going on with you, Hadders? Is your man losing the race? I know what you could do to make him feel better,” he merrily insinuates.
Shut up, Rod.”
What? I was going to say buy him an ice cream cone! Damn! You’re bitchier than your friend Morgan over there. Are you on your period?” I shove Rod as he shakes his head, his short, brown hair lightly blowing in the breeze. He laughs while looking over at Morgan, who flips him off.
Those two are natural-born frenemies. I know there is some love there, but not a lot of it lost, either. I’m always the buffer. I love them both, yet it does get tiring refereeing their fights.
Greg Rodwell has been a friend of ours, mostly mine, since he started at the law firm where Morgan and I work, Rhodes, Dryden, Charleton & Associates, about two and a half years ago. She’s a lawyer and I’m a paralegal for one of the partners, Val Dryden, while Rod assists Amos Vaughn. Rod’s first name is in fact, Greg, but nobody has called him that since Morgan started dubbing him as Rod shortly after being hired as a paralegal. Now, everyone calls him Rod at work, even Fred the mailman and the people who work in the building’s cafeteria.
He sneers to Morgan, “By the way, cool shades. It’s so nice seeing you out in the daylight with the rest of us lowly mortals. I thought you’d be sleeping in a coffin, or hanging upside down from a tree branch or a belfry. What gives, Elvira?”
I’m here supporting my best friend and her boyfriend, Ass Rod.”
He huffs, “Name calling. How mature of you, Morbid.”
I intervene, “Please! You two are acting like bratty children!” Leaning forward, I rest my head in my hands.
Rod bumps my arm with his. “What were you talking about before I got here?”
Hadley won’t give Finn an ultimatum,” Morgan interjects before I can blow him off again.
He asks, “An ultiwhatum? I’ve never heard of that one before. I’ve heard of a rusty trombone, a Hot Carl, a Dirty Sanchez, and an Abe Lincoln, but not whatever you just said. Does Wilder do it to you or do you do it to him?”
I immediately straighten. “Oh, my God! Shut up!” I demand as I move closer to Morgan.
That’s disgusting,” Morgan says as she finally takes her compact out of my hand. “You would know that shit.”
What shit?” Rod asks innocently, genuinely looking confused.
Instead of elaborating, I answer Rod's original question, “Morgan wants me to tell Finn that either we get married or break up.”


Excerpt 2:

Raising my left hand, I stare at the bluish metal band on my middle finger. He can’t even promise me a future with a promise ring. I love the ring, but then again, I hate it. It’s a reminder either way. After last night and the things he told me, but I still have doubts. If he loved me as much as he says he does, wouldn’t he want to make me his wife? Instead, I’ll forever be an ambiguous girlfriend, no one of significance in his life. Hell, he won’t even tell people that I am his girlfriend.
It’s a lose-lose situation for me all around.
What’s wrong?” Finn asks, standing in the bathroom doorway with a fluffy, blue towel around his waist, running his fingers through his wet hair. The water enticingly glistens over his muscles, coercing me to want to forget about damned kites. I also note that he does, indeed, have a hickey. Oops. Did he even see it? How is he going to hide it today?
I guiltily drop my hand. “Nothing.” Staring at his neck, I stand and his mouth falls open.
What’s wrong?” I volley back to him and search his astonished face.
Wow.” He shifts on his feet, his hands on his hips and his eyes roaming up and down my body.
I wince. “Is that a good wow or a bad wow?”
It’s a go-change wow.”
I look down at my dress and then up at Finn, perplexed. “What?”
He adamantly shakes his head and scoffs, “Huh-uh. You’re not wearing that dress.”
Why not?”
There are so many reasons why not.”
I put my hand on my hip and argue, “Sorry, but it’s too late to change.”
He walks toward me, clutching his towel. “Becks.”
Finn,” I emulate him. “There’s nothing wrong with my dress. It’s not too short, see-through, or revealing.”
He stops in front of me, towering over and intently staring me down. “It’s enough. Everyone will be staring at you, including me.”
I smile. “It’s a good thing if you do, isn’t it?” He doesn’t answer as he glowers. “Why would anyone else stare? There will be a lot of people there.”
Unsmiling, he counters, “Exactly.”
I scowl at his face. “Everyone stares at you. Why is this any different?”
He clasps one of my breasts, his thumb seeking my nipple through the material, which makes my breath quicken. “Because they’ll be staring at you for all the wrong reasons.”
I reach up and stop his hand. “And your Finnatics lust after you for all the right ones?”
Taking his hand from his towel, he clutches my other breast, more firmly than the other this time. “I don’t dress like this.”
I grin. “Now, that would be funny. You’d be so pretty.”
Frowning at my remarks, he points his chin over to his dresser. “Can’t you wear jeans or sweats?” His thumbs begin to circle, clouding my concentration, and I want to rip off his towel.
Grabbing onto his other hand, I plead, “Finn, stop.” I don’t know if he’ll take that as to stop about the dress or his hand. I hope he doesn’t stop touching me, even though I need him to stop.
He steps against me; his freshly showered body smells so good. “Shit,” he mutters. “It’s a good thing I’ll be there.” Putting his arms around my waist, Finn pulls me into him.
Why? Are you going to be my bodyguard, my babysitter, and my chastity belt?” I retort and quirk up my lip. Without thinking, I grasp the edge of his towel, tucking my fingers into it. His left hand moves from my waist over to my hand and he pushes on it, causing the towel to fall to his feet.
Oh, no.
He lifts the skirt of my dress and whispers, “I’ll be all three and your overprotective boyfriend.”
I clear my throat. “Yes, I’ve noticed.” How ironic. The daredevil doesn’t want me to take a risk, being even remotely audacious. Paired with my cardigan, I could wear the dress when I go to Mass with him if I ever go to church with him. Yet another place he doesn’t want me hanging around him.
I close my eyes as he grinds against my bare stomach. “Finn, we’re going to be late.”
Nodding, he boldly grins. “Yes, we are going to be late.”
I attempt to feebly push him away, but he strongly holds me close to his chest. “We can’t do this.”
Finn’s smile drops and he grates his teeth in frustration. “Becks, come on.” He looks around the room and sighs before restoring his gaze to me. “We haven’t been together a lot this weekend. Let’s take some extra time…just for us.” His fingers stroke my back and my willpower.
I argue in vain, “We’ll be spending the day together.”
He petulantly rolls his eyes and shakes his head, looking down at me pointedly. “That’s not what I mean.”
I glance at the hickey I gave him, still wondering how he’s going to hide it since it’s bigger than I meant for it to be. “We’re already running late.”
Late for kites?”
Rod wanted to be there at 11:00 and he’s already on the road. We have an hour and a half drive.”
Finn snaps, “Damn it. He can wait.” He takes my hand and wraps my fingers around his solid arousal, keeping his hand on mine. “I can’t,” he heatedly insists. He’s past the point of no-return, but I continue to futilely object.
I promised him I’d be there.”
We will,” he replies impatiently. “You promised me you’d always love me, Becks.” He squeezes our hands around him. “Right now, I need you to love me.”
do, Finn, it’s just—”
We cannot go when you’re wearing this dress and I’m this jacked up.” He takes his hand off mine and puts his arms around me as I continue to hold him intimately. Inclining his head, he kisses me, gently at first, but then his lips quickly engulf mine. I feel his desperation with every move of our lips. Why does he suddenly want me so much? Or is it just the sex he wants? Finn’s hold strengthens around me and he begins to twist us and walk us backward to his bed.
Finn, no,” I whisper and move my hands up to his chest. His hands are again up my dress and soon inside the top of my waistband. “Stop it.”
He stops us at the edge of his bed. “Don’t you want me, baby?” he whispers back, staring ardently into my eyes as he starts to peel down my underwear. He knows I do. I put my hands on his to stop him, but he keeps pushing. Letting go of one side of my waistband, he sits on the bed, trying to pull me down to straddle him.
Finn, stop. You don’t even have a condom on.” I move my hips away and he grips me tightly.
Mostly disregarding my statement, his eyes flick up to mine and he says, “You said we’d be alright, Becks.” He pulls on my hips and positions himself beneath me.
My eyes widen in disbelief. “Why are you not willing for me to wear this dress in public, but you’re willing to risk getting me pregnant when that’s the last thing you want?”
He yanks my underwear to the side and tries to ease into me. He closes his eyes and shakes his head. “I’m not. You said we were okay.” I almost hear the gushing of the adrenaline coursing through his veins. I think it’s like a game of Russian roulette for him. Another rush. There’s no way in hell he wants to knock me up, but he loves the thrill of it being a possibility—something else to triumph. What happens if he loses and gets me pregnant? Would he hate me? Would he leave me?
I attempt to lift off him through his steel grip. “No. I said I thought we were. That’s not the same thing.”
Finn immediately opens his eyes and as if I just showed him a positive pregnancy test, he scowls and pushes me back. “Then, I’ll put on a rubber.” He reaches for his nightstand drawer and I slide off his lap.
I fix my dress and step away. “We have to go, Finn.”
Becks.”
I look at him and his eyes fly over my face, pleading with me to reconsider. “Baby,” he says softly. He tears open the package and I watch him work the condom. He then leans back onto his elbows, offering himself up to me with vulnerability in his eyes, but a cocky-as-hell smirk on his face. Finn knows I can’t resist him, yet I think he’s afraid I will.
Finn, what’re you doing? You know we have to go,” I say quietly, but resigned to the fact that we will be late due to the irresistible sight before me.
His deep voice utters, “I want to be the only one who knows the ecstasy under your dress.”
I can’t help my smile. “You are. You already know quite well.”
His vulnerable gaze is now confident when he resolutely states, “Remind me.”
I bite my lip and as if he hypnotized me, I take off my underwear. His passionate brown eyes burn into me, as mine travel slowly over his tantalizing body, draped provocatively on his bed. My gaze locks onto his dick and he boldly reaches down and grasps it. “It’s all for you, Becks.”
My mouth opens in awe from his brashness. In public, he’s so smug and self-assured about his athletic prowess and aptitudes, yet he’s reserved and so secretive when it comes to me. I see every angle of the complex design that is Finn Wilder.
I still must be staring because he coaxes, “Come on, baby. You know you want me.” He gives me a come-worthy grin. Definitely…cocky.
I crookedly smile at him, insolently crossing my arms. “You think you do anything for me?”
He grins devilishly. “You already took off your underwear.” He’s going to be the death of me.
I can always put them back on.”
He deliberately shakes his head from side to side, not taking his heated scrutiny off mine. “No, you won’t.” He licks his full lips and seductively bites his tongue.
I can always go commando to the festival.”
Suddenly, he drops his hand from his erection and snarls with genuine irritation rolling over him, “Fuck no!”
Oh, I will,” I taunt.
His body tenses all over. “Then we won’t be going. You’re mine, Becks! I don’t want you accidentally flashing anyone and people gawking at your naked body.”
Women fawn all over you,” I counter.
I’m never naked.” True. Sometimes the camera catches him without his shirt, though. “I’m yours. Nobody else’s.” Playfulness seeps into his eyes again. Glancing down at his erection and with a mischievous smile, his impish, dark eyes are on my face as he alluringly elicits, “Why don’t you come and get what’s rightfully yours?”
No, I can’t,” I lie, but knowing that the only thing I can’t do is refuse him. If I ever would take a risqué picture of Finn, this would be it. The way he’s leaning back on his elbows and inviting me to take advantage of what he has to offer is beyond a thousand and one words.
Walk away from me, Becks.” Burning his eyes into my wide-eyed stare, he whispers, “I dare you.”



Excerpt 3:
I run past the steps and go down to the edge of the massive hedge, swinging around them, but I misjudge the turn, lose my balance and slam right into the shrubbery. Fuck, that hurt! My arms are scratched up, but I have to keep going. I will not be taken out by a gang of yew bushes. I run around the long arm of the hedge, hoping to catch her on the other side. It’s not crowded up here, so that’s an advantage.
Rounding the other side, I see the clearing to the path and picnic tables on either side. I slow down so I don’t collide with anyone coming out of the shrub-enclosed picnic area, and that’s when a small, aqua-colored cloud runs into me.
She won’t even look at me. I immediately grab her arms and bend so I can see her face. Becks tries to pull her arms away from me, but I strengthen my hold on her. “Let me go, Finn!”
Not a chance in hell.” There’s no way I’m leaving her when she’s so upset. She angles her head to wipe her face on her trapped hand. That’s when I noticed her damp cheeks and her red eyes.
You’re crying.” I thought she would be upset, but not to this degree. I’m in deeper shit than I thought.
She looks at the ground and not at me. “I’m not.” Liar.
I tug at her chin so I can look at her, but she won’t focus her eyes on me. I’ve only seen Becks cry twice. I don’t ever want to see her crying sad tears again. Becks is, though. Because of me.
Yes, you are.” I reach down and grab her wrist again. “Did you know all this was going on with Morgan?”
She winces. “No.”
I pull her to me, but she goes unwillingly. “Let’s get out of here.”
Still refusing to look at me, she grumbles, “No. I need to spend time with Morgan. She just made a huge announcement. I need to be here for her.”
Then why aren’t you? Why did you take off?”
Her eyes blaze with anger as she finally glowers at me. “How can you ask me that? You know the things I want. Now, even Morgan is getting married and starting a family. She said she wasn’t even sure she wanted kids. If Rod beats me to the altar, you’ll have to lock me up in the loony bin.”
Becks, I said I’d think about it.” I already have, though.
She scowls at me and her eyebrows pull harshly together. “No, you won’t. I saw your reaction to her bombshells. You were furious.”
No, I wasn’t.” Yes, I was.
Don’t lie to me, Finn Wilder. I saw you,” she snaps. I’ve never seen Becks this mad at me.
I release an arm. “Can we please go home and talk about this?”
No. You won’t talk about this at home, either. You’ll say that you’re thinking about it. I have no idea how long you’ll take to make a decision if you even make one at all. Meanwhile, my ring finger is ice cold and my eggs are drying up!” Wow. She’s more than upset.
I fling my arms out to my sides in exasperation. “What do you want me to do?” She can be pissed off about all this? Well, so am I! I didn’t want this shit to happen! “I said I’d think about it, but now all you want to do is throw it in my face! Why can’t you give me the time that I need?”
Her eyes widen. “Time? Sure, you have all the time you want! I don’t!”
I won’t take that long, Becks.” I’ve already made my decision. I’m not marrying you. I love you too much.
You’ve already taken three years! How much more time do you need?” She jerks her arm from my laxed grip and crosses her arms, and again, avoiding eye contact with me. “It’s me, isn’t it? You don’t know if it’s me that you really want.” Not true.
Resting my hands on my hips, I take a quick look around to see if we’re drawing a crowd. That’s the last thing we need. “That’s not it. I promise you.”
She angrily sighs. “I forgot. It’s your parents.”
I glance back to her. I can’t believe she’s this dejected. “I told you it was.”
I don’t believe you.”
I shake my head and scathingly retort, “What? You think I’m lying to you?”
Yes. I think there’re other reasons for you not wanting to make the lifelong commitment to me.”
I already have!” I say loudly, probably too loud. I take another cursorily look around and irritably lower my voice. “I told you that we’re permanent and I’ll never leave you!”
You just don’t want us wearing rings to broadcast that fact because then people would see you’re taken.” No, I don’t.
am taken!” I slide a hand into my hair and bite my lip. “Damn it! I told you I don’t care what people say about me. It’s what they say about you!”
Right.” What the hell?
Past frustrated, I motion aimlessly into the air. “That’s the damn truth, Becks! I want to protect you!”
You want to hide me! I feel like your dirty, little secret, Finn!” What? No!
I heave a hand into my hair again. “You’re not!”
Becks says, “Even if you would wear a wedding ring in public, you still don’t want to sign a legal document saying that I’m yours.”
Do you honestly need a piece of paper to believe that you’re mine?”
She instantly nods. “Yes.”
What do you want me to do?” I open my eyes and take a step toward her, stooping as I peer into her eyes. “Do you want me to go out and get you a diamond ring and propose to you?” What am I doing? I throw my hands out again and she glances away from me. “Fine. I’ll do just that. Will that make you feel more secure about us?”
Her eyes are hotly on mine. “Why are you being such a dick?”
What the hell? I just said we’ll get…engaged!” What the fuck did I just do?
You’d only be asking me to marry you just to shut my mouth for a while. You’d put a ring on my finger, but you still would have no intention of ever marrying me.” True.
So, if I got down on my knee and proposed right now, you’d say no?”
Yes. I’d say no.”
Fuck, I can’t win,” I growl, turning away from her. She’d actually reject my proposal now? Really? She would? That inexplicably hurts. Even though I don’t want to propose, that’s a definite blow to my ego.
When I consider it more, I’m not so dead-set on getting engaged. It’s the beyond that. She’s right.
Exasperated by this entire conversation, I sigh. “Why would you say no?”
She sniffs as I watch people walking past. “Because you’d be proposing to me almost under duress. But because you want a future for us!”
Baby, I have one with you.”
She sniffs again and wipes her cheek. “You think you do.” What the fuck?
I feel like she just swung a Louisville Slugger into my stomach. “What’s that supposed to mean?”















Ren
Alexander was born in Wheeling, West Virginia. She graduated from
West Liberty University, where she received a B.S. in criminal
justice. Although interested in that field, her true passion was
reading and writing. She currently lives in Detroit, Michigan with
her husband, two daughters, and two cats. "Chasing the Wild
Sparks" is Ren's first novel.




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