Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Release Blitz for Hacienda Moon by KaSonndra Leigh

Welcome to my stop on the Release Blitz, presented by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, for Hacienda Moon by KaSonndra Leigh.  Please leave a comment or question for Kossandra to let her know you stopped by. 

Gothic Romance
Date Published: 10/31/17

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Centuries ago, his ancestor fell in love with a woman cursed by a jealous witch. No one believed him until it was too late. Eric Fontalvo was determined to prove one thing... that a family curse didn't cause his father's death.

The plan was working until the day he found her...again. Suddenly his life changes forever, and he is forced to question everything he believes.

Moving into an old plantation house was just what Tandie Harrison needed to recover from tragedy. So she writes a book, a story based on a man in her dreams. There's only one problem though... the characters from her novel keep showing up on her doorstep.

And then she finds a diary written hundreds of years ago.

As if that isn't strange enough, she meets him...the man from her dream, someone who reawakens her psychic power along with something else from long ago.

Can Eric and Tandie's love destroy the force keeping them apart? Or will darkness win again?

Hacienda Moon is a new classic tale of two lovers crossing time. A seductive tale of one woman's journey to confront the demons of her past and to find the courage to face her future. It is a mesmerizing novel that explores the deepest depths of human nature, and the characters will hold and haunt you long after you have read the final chapter.

About the Author

Author of the Bestelling Lost Immortals Saga, Pathseekers and Musical Interlude Series, KaSonndra Leigh is also a mother, blogazine owner, reader, gardener, home renovator, and a slayer of undead Egyptian mummies in Tomb Raider. She believes in karma, coffee, and seriously wish that the producers of Xena would bring her favorite show ever back.

Strange things about KaSonndra: Everything. She’s weird, odd, unusual, and generally tends to make people think she swooped down from another planet. Maybe she did. Who knows? She’s also a member of the #zombiesurvivalcrew on twitter. So if you need protection from the upcoming apocalypse, don’t hesitate to call on KayLeigh and crew!

KaSonndra was born in the race-car city of Charlotte, NC, and now live in the City of Alchemy and Medicine, NC, when she’s not hanging out in Bardonia (Lost Immortals Saga setting). Most of her characters are based on people that she has met throughout her travels and adventures. People tend to stop and start conversations with KaSonndra as if she has known them her entire life. Does this freak her out? Not really. Her mom says that one day she’ll get kidnapped by one of these folks. KaSonndra’s response? She told her mom that if it weren’t for these lovely people, then she wouldn’t be able to create such fabulously romantic stories.

A few other tidbits about KaSonndra… She has watched the movie Under the Tuscan Sun almost 200 times. This is her explanation regarding her obsession. She figures that if she keeps watching the film enough times, then suddenly the house that Diane Lane lives in will magically appear in her backyard. Yes! KaSonndra has a huge imagination!

Reading Addiction Blog Tours

Series Release Day Blitz for the Bennett Witch Chronicles

With her magic restored, her best friends living happily ever after together as humans, and the love of her life waiting patiently for her on the other side, Bonnie Bennett is not going to just sit around and let her life pass her by. She’s off to see the world! Join Bonnie as she journeys around the globe, encountering supernaturals in the most unexpected of places.




For information regarding the Amazon Publishing Vampire Diaries KindleWorlds
and their publishing license, please visit their website.
Join our Facebook release day launch party for
tons of giveaways themed to The Vampire Diaries & Bonnie Bennett!


Unexpected news reaches Bonnie Bennett in the form of one last gift from her grandmother; a lake house in the small town of Chrysalis, South Carolina. Eager to see her new property, she decides to go see the place where Grams once lived. Chrysalis has its own secrets, a heady magic, and with the coming of the northern lights, the veil between dimensions is growing thin.

Bonnie faces secrets from a past she knows little about. Why hadn’t Grams ever spoken about this town or the time that she spent there? An evil from the past has resurfaced, and it’s up to Bonnie to figure out the connection and save the life of a young witch that hangs in the balance.

Amazon  |  More Info


When I traveled to Egypt on a mission to rescue a young witch, I thought it would be nothing more than a simple snatch and grab. Instead, what I found was a vengeful god determined to get the attention of the entire world and a girl who was much more than merely a witch. Add a magical cat’s eye gemstone choker to the mix, and things seem pretty dire. But I didn’t volunteer for this mission just to back down when things look like they’re going to be difficult.

Pulling myself up by my boot straps, I follow my locator spell to the Pyramids of Giza, and that’s when things get dicey. I know I need to get this witch back to Mystic Falls and the Salvatore Boarding School for the Young and Gifted, but that’s going to prove to be more tricky than any of us were planning on.

Amazon  |  More Info

GHOST TOWN by J.P. Uvalle

For as long as Bonnie Bennett could remember her life had never been normal. With the troubling past of Mystic Falls behind her, she plans to live life to the fullest. A road trip around the world seems like the perfect idea until Bonnie comes across a small town in Georgia. A town which has a dark and troubling past of its own; secrets lay where the eyes cannot see.

A girl.

A ghost.

She won’t let Bonnie leave.

Plagued by the memories of this ghost, Bonnie decides, the only way to free herself from the place of impending doom is to solve its mystery.

Her mystery.

Why do spirits inhabit Westbrook? What does this girl want Bonnie to find?

Damon Salvatore is no stranger to slipping off the deep end, especially after the loss of his brother Stefan Salvatore, and his immortality, he struggles to live life as a human.

When he discovers Bonnie is in danger, and he is the only one who can save her, will he continue to be held back by the demons that haunt him or will Damon become the hero he was always meant to be?

With time running out to save themselves, can Bonnie and Damon work together to escape Westbrook before they become permanent residents?

Amazon  |  More Info

GRIMOIRES & LIP GLOSS by Kitten K. Jackson

After Bonnie Bennett prevents the annihilation of Mystic Falls by Hellfire, she’s packed her bags and bought her plane tickets, and she’s off to see the world!

In Milan, Italy, she meets a man who needs assistance… from a witch. Believing that she’s going to rescue his sister from a vampire who is hoarding women, using them as human blood bags, she performs a locator spell and races off with him to find her. When things go awry, will Bonnie’s magic be enough to save her from the fangs of a centuries-old vampire and his cohorts?

Meanwhile, back in Mystic Falls, everything seems more peaceful than usual. That’s never a good sign, as something sinister is always afoot. With Damon and Elena’s wedding and the Halloween party at the Salvatore School for the Young & Gifted approaching, could this be the calm before the storm?

Amazon  |  More Info

GROTESQUE by Debbie Cassidy

Leaving Mystic Falls and my friends behind was no easy choice, but I was done looking back. It was time to look forward, to see the world and give magic a rest. There is so much to see in London.

It’s true what they say, the city never sleeps, but I’m about to discover how awake it really is. One wrong turn and I’m right back in the hot seat. An unexpected attack from an unknown creature, an Order of Witches who hide in the London Underground, an Archangel determined to shadow my every move, and suddenly it’s up to me to fix what’s broken.

So much for a magic free vacation.

Amazon  |  More Info

HEXE by Brandy Dorsch

Bonnie Bennett never breaks a promise, and she gave Enzo her word that she’d live her life. Rather than staying in Mystic Falls to wallow in her grief over losing the love of her life, she decides on a trip to Germany, the epicenter of the seventeenth century witch hunts. Excited to explore the depths of her magic in a country rich with witch history, she embarks on her journey, able to breathe just a little easier.

From the moment she arrives in Berlin, Bonnie knows something is wrong. Her magic is weakened, and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t access her full power. Desperate to figure out what’s wrong, Bonnie reaches out to a local coven, only to find their powers have been dampened as well.

Resolved to help her new friends and recover her own magic, Bonnie makes it her mission to figure out what’s affecting their powers. As she digs deeper, Bonnie discovers a centuries-old secret threatening an entire line of witches. Together, they must find a way to restore their magic or risk losing it forever.

Amazon  |  More Info

NIGHTSHADE by Jena Gregoire

Bourbon, jazz, and streets soaked in magic. New Orleans is an infamous supernatural playground, and the perfect place for a witch to feel right at home.

When Bonnie Bennett travels to The Big Easy for some much needed rest and relaxation, she unexpectedly encounters a few familiar faces. Despite their violent history and her resulting efforts to steer clear of Mikaelson family drama, she soon finds herself agreeing to help Klaus when his brother Elijah goes missing. Assuming they could get a little aid from the local covens, they quickly realize the eldest original vampire isn’t the only mysterious disappearance in the Crescent City.

The clock is ticking. With the help of her unlikely ally and a handful of new friends from the French quarter, Bonnie must face off with a dark force fueled by vengeance and hell bent on wiping out every New Orleans witch in existence.

Amazon  |  More Info

PHOENIX GATE by Dylan Keefer

Bonnie Bennett is a witch for hire as she sleuths her way around the world helping those who find themselves in compromised paranormal situations.

While traveling, she is hired to help a couple find their missing son. After infiltrating a secret society, her investigation brings her to Japan where she uncovers a long-hidden family secret.

Imbued with an ancient power carried by Bennett witches for generations, Bonnie must stop the magically enhanced men from summoning the Phoenix Gate or suffer a cruel fate.

Amazon  |  More Info

SCHOOLED BY MAGIC by Marissa Farrar

When Bonnie Bennett is invited to London to teach magic at a prestigious London University, she decides it’s the perfect opportunity to see the city, and discover who she is outside of Mystic Falls.

But she soon learns of mysterious events surrounding the departure of the teacher whose job she is filling, and no matter who she asks, no one seems to have any answers.

Bonnie starts to catch shadowy beings out of the corner of her eye… waiting, watching her… and a discovery in her room makes her question if all is not as it seems.

Was Bonnie brought to London just to teach young witches, or is something far more sinister underway?

Amazon  |  More Info


For Bonnie Bennett, life has been nothing short of chaotic.  It seemed like someone or something was always trying to kill her and her friends, and too many times, she was forced to push her own desires to the back burner so those around her could be safe and happy.

But things were finally looking up for the witch, and the years of bad luck she and her friends had suffered through was coming to an end.

Things are blissfully quiet until a mysterious book is brought into the St. John Armory.

And it didn’t come alone.

Will Bonnie have to once more sacrifice her happiness for the sake of her friends? Or will something wicked overcome them all?

Amazon  |  More Info

STONE COLD MAGIC by Rachel Medhurst

Would she betray the coven to see her love?

After losing Enzo, the love of her life, Bonnie Bennett travels to Stonehenge in England, hoping to discover a magic that will allow her to see him again.

The power of the prehistoric monument, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is guarded by the English coven. When someone murders half of that coven, the protection spell is broken, allowing the magic of the stones to bind with Bonnie’s.

If the witches were killed in order to release the power, their assassin would stop at nothing to take it for themselves. Bonnie is the only one strong enough to stand in their way. Will she be their next victim?

Amazon  |  More Info


Unsure of what is drawing her there, Bonnie Bennett’s travel plans take an unexpected turn when she finds herself booking a ticket to India, a land full of mysticism, supernatural creatures, and ancient secrets.

On her journey to the small village of Simla, she meets Manu, a young, powerful witch just beginning to explore her magical abilities. Without anyone to guide her, she fears the girl may have fallen under the influence of something dark.

Bonnie soon learns the legend of a terrible evil believed to be locked away in a nearby temple. Will Bonnie be strong enough to keep the creature confined to its prison? Or will she surrender to the darkness threatening to overpower them all?

Amazon  |  More Info


Bonnie Bennett has finally finished her trip around the world to “find herself”, only to realize that where she’s always belonged is Mystic Falls – and returning home was as eventful as ever. Immediately thrown into the search for Caroline’s girls, the pair find themselves in the Crescent City with none other than the Mikaelsons.

While there a witch offers her everything she’s ever wanted – Enzo. All Bonnie has to do is a small bit of magic that she’s promised won’t unleash hell, sirens or anything else her past self has already extinguished. There is a cost, but the witch won’t share until Bonnie agrees to help the Big Easy with its current debacle.

Nothing is ever without a cost, but life with Enzo is more than Bonnie can walk away from. Bonnie faces her hardest decision yet, and her choice could be New Orleans’ undoing.

Amazon  |  More Info

THE STORM by Nicole Zoltack

After losing the love of her life, Bonnie Bennett is trying to move on and get away from all the painful reminders of the past. She’s traveled to several different countries, and after a pit stop in Mystic Falls, she’s off to Hawaii.

There, she discovers ominous apparitions searching for a portal to the next world. When Bonnie makes eye contact with one of them, she inadvertently puts a friend’s life in danger.

It’s up to Bonnie to end their deadly curse, but the storm heralding their approach is growing stronger by the day. Will Bonnie be able to save her friend, or will Maleko become a member of the mysterious Night Marchers for all time?

Amazon  |  More Info


Dublin is rife with magic, mystery… and murder.

When Bonnie Bennett stumbles across a dead body with a ghostly form hovering over it, she must discover if the killer is a witch back from the dead—or a monster more vicious than any she’s ever faced.

After more bodies begin to surface, Bonnie finds the murders coincide with the execution of suspected serial killer Doreen Kealy, a madam who was brutally executed centuries ago for crimes too ghastly to speak of.

Teaming up with her friend Matt Donovan, Bonnie searches dark tunnels beneath Dublin Castle and uncovers hidden secrets within the legendary Book of Kells to find out who is committing these heinous murders. But time is against her, and spirits seek vengeance as Bonnie finds herself plummeting further and further into danger.

Who is the real dread of Dublin? Is Doreen Kealy killing again? Or is a creature of the night intent on leading Bonnie to a bloody fate?

NOTE:  Release on this title has been temporarily delayed. More Info

BONE ORCHARD by Kaiden Klein

Small towns keep secrets well, but restless souls never sleep.

Bayou Lafitte was supposed to be just another stop along the way until Bonnie decided to take a popular swamp tour. Before long, she’s pulled into a decade old missing persons case, haunted by the ghost of a girl she now knows is dead.
With all paths leading to nowhere, Bonnie finds herself trapped. The only way to move on is to find out where the girl’s remains are and put them to rest. But first, she must uncover the truth and doing so won’t be easy.

Secrets kept by the residents of this small, bayou town, will make this endeavor one she’ll likely never forget.

NOTE:  Release on this title has been temporarily delayed. More Info

Monday, October 30, 2017

Book Blast & #Giveaway for Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire

Welcome to my stop on the Book Blast, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions, for Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire.  Please leave a comment or question for Jennifer to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter the tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You may follow all of the stops on the tour by clicking on the banner above.  The more stops you visit, the better your chances of winning.  Good Luck!

Son of the Moon
By Jennifer Macaire
The Time for Alexander, Book 3

Publisher: Accent Press
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Genre: Time Travel
Length: 262 Pages
ISBN: 978-1786154651


About the book:

In Nysa, Alexander the Great and time traveling journalist Ashley find their abducted son Paul being worshiped as ""the son of the moon"". Knowing she can’t change history and that Alexander’s kingdom will be torn apart when he dies, Ashley must make the terrible decision to leave her firstborn son in the sacred valley.

Alexander presses on to India, where he and Ashley are welcomed with feasts - and treachery.  They struggle through monsoons, face the might of Porus’s army, and outwit deadly Brahmin rebels. Facing the reality of Alexander’s looming death, Ashley considers the unthinkable - How to save him, and the consequences of cheating the Fates. Book III in the Time for Alexander series"


The battle that day was over by mid-morning. Alexander lost twelve men. The enemy lost half their army and sued for peace before noon.

Alexander was carried into the infirmary where I was helping Usse. His ankle had been shattered by a lance.

“Are you all right?” I asked, rushing to his side.

He stared at me, sweat pouring off his face, and his eyes two wells of pain.

“Would I come here if I was all right?” he gasped.

I sat down next to him and held his hand while Usse took off his sandal and examined the wound. When he probed, my own hand was nearly broken in Alexander’s grip, and I yelped.

“Sorry,” muttered the slender Egyptian doctor, dousing the ankle with hot water mixed with different herbs. He cleansed it and put a splint around it. There wasn’t much else he could do. Now we just had to pray it didn’t get infected.

We stayed for three days while we organized the peace talks with both tribes. Then Alexander decided to pull out and head straight to Nysa. An ambassador for the Assacenian king told us that the child of the moon was being worshipped in Nysa.

The child of the moon was Paul, my baby, now nearly five years old. I hadn’t seen him since he was ten days old.

Alexander left two divisions behind with his general Coenus while we took the rest of the army. We would all join up at the Indus River.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Jennifer Macaire lives in France with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating French chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

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Excerpt Tour & #Giveaway for Three Rivers Run Deep by Piper Stone

Welcome to my stop on the Excerpt Tour, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions, for Three Rivers Run Deep by Piper Stone.  Please leave a comment or question for Piper to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter the tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You may follow all of the stops on the tour by clicking on the banner above.  The more stops you visit, the better your chances of winning.  Good Luck!

Three Rivers Run Deep
By Piper Stone
Fire Devil, Book 1

Publisher: Blushing Books Publications
Release Date: November 3, 2017
Genre: Romantic Suspsense
Length: 332 Pages

Pre-Order from Amazon

* Free Prequel: Standing at the River’s Edge on Amazon | B&N

About the book:

Danger. It’s all I’ve ever known. All I’ve ever wanted.
Fighting fires soothes the raging beast that war created.
Allowing me to live
The rest? Maybe she can understand my hunger. For her. Dominating her. Owning her.

Danger. Domination. Destruction.

The Jackals

An elite team of smokejumpers nestled in the heart of Missoula, Montana.
By day they indulge in their penchant for danger.
By night they exude passion.
Are you ready for their brand of domination?

Prevent. Protect. Preserve. This is their motto.


You’re nothing and deserve to die alone…

“Everyone. Welcome to the stage, Jessica Dunn and Fringe!”

Jessica Dunn exhaled and clenched the neck of her guitar. Words. They were just ugly words. The vibrant lights from the stage ceiling danced across the band’s instruments, swirling in a random yet controlled fashion, neon flashes creating sensual images. She’d been through this before, now thousands of times. Once excited at the prospect of facing an audience, she was exhausted and no longer able to convey her once vivacious personality.

“Go on. You act like you’re heading for your funeral, girl.”

She gave the drummer, and the man she spent most of her time with, the finger. Cody Falcon grinned. Damn, if she didn’t shiver. His dimples and shaggy raven hair always made her swoon. “Do you see anyone that gives a shit out there?”

“What are you talking about?” Cody leaned down, licking her earlobe. “The crowd loves ya.”

“Right. You mean all two dozen or so scattered in the theatre?” She darted a glance out into the audience, shading her eyes from the intense lighting. She and the band once filled massive stadiums. Now they were lucky to get five or six hundred people to attend their performances. They were once considered ‘the’ up and coming rock band, their first single going platinum. The second was heralded as the album of the decade. Now? They were left to play gigs at fairs and two-bit concert halls.

“Stop bellowing like a damn kitten. Get to work.”

After debating her ability to run far away, she adjusted the strap holding the guitar in place and took a step toward the slender opening of the curtain. This wasn’t what she’d hungered for fifteen years before. Act like a professional. Entertain. She brushed her hand through her long red hair and tossed her head back. “You mean tigress don’t you, big boy?”

“That’s my sexy gal.”

Dark + Dangerous + Delicious = D3

Literary Emotions Unleashed…
AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Best Selling author, Piper Stone writes in several genres including romantic suspense, thrillers, erotic romance, dark erotic, Domestic Discipline, spanking, Domination and submission and traditional romance. She has a love of the non-traditional, preferring to create worlds that defy the imagination. Wine and sous vide cooking are only second to her love of golden retrievers and you might find all three nestled in the pages of a book or two.

She has several releases from Blushing Books including Truth or Dare, His Demands – Dirty Little Secrets, Submissive For Hire, His Hidden Girl – Dirty Little Secrets, Becoming – Power Exchange and upcoming books Rescue Me – Maverick and the series Fire Devil.

She will also have several releases with Bethany’s Woodshed in the upcoming months.

You can find her at:

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Book Tour & #Giveaway for Leave the Pieces Behind by Shirley Anne Edwards

Welcome to my stop on the Book Tour, presented by Silver Dagger Book Tours, for Leave the Pieces Behind by Shirley Anne Edwards.  Please leave a comment or question for Shirley to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter her tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck!

Leave the Pieces Behind
by Shirley Anne Edwards
Genre: YA Romance

Bree Apollo is an average fifteen-year-old girl: she loves chocolate, baking cupcakes, and her neighbor, the hunky and all around popular seventeen-year-old Foster Quinn. Except Foster is clueless about her feelings for him, instead treating her like a kid sister and begging for her homemade desserts. As a fellow chocolate lover, he should be Bree’s for the taking, if it weren’t for his oh-so-perfect girlfriend.

After she overhears Foster making fun of her to his friends, she’s devastated. And not even chocolate can take away the pain. She intends to wallow in grief for a boy that was never hers to begin with, but Austen, her eccentric new neighbor has other ideas.

The strange boy down the street always wears a black fedora, walks barefoot, and focuses all his energy on building a treehouse in his backyard. For some reason, he’s elected Bree to help him. At first, she turns him down because he acts too awkward and takes everything she says literally. But after learning of his autism, she decides to help with his construction (forgiving him for not being a chocolate fan), even though she doesn’t know a think about power tools.

As Bree and Austen grow closer, Foster notices Bree no longer worships the ground he walks on. He wants her to go back to that doting version of Bree, but Austen has become more important to her than she’s ready to admit.
Austen may just be the one to help her move on from Foster.
Like two pieces of a puzzle, they fit together perfectly.

I’d become paranoid, not just because my black lab, Hunter, watched me pace my living room, but I swore the chocolate mousse cake I had baked this morning at five a.m. stared at me, too. Sure, a cake doesn’t have eyes, but I baked this one for my neighbor, Foster, and decorated it with white chocolate truffles that could double as them.

As Hunter inched closer to the cake on the coffee table, complete with drool sliding from the corner of his mouth, I may have snarled at him. A first for me. I never snarled at anyone, humans or dogs. But with my nerves jangling like crazy, I decided to blame my hormones. At fifteen, I may have been a few years past puberty, but I, Breanna Charlotte Apollo, had the worst crush on the just-turned seventeen-year-old hunk, Foster Quinn, president of the senior class of Musgrove High and one of the hottest guys I knew.

My longtime crush beginning in the seventh grade had grown into full-blown lust—which, of course, explained why I woke up before dawn on a Saturday morning to bake a chocolate mousse with graham cracker crust cake from scratch. Foster had a bad chocolate addiction, like me. This cake would be my birthday gift for him, a few days late. His birthday had landed in the middle of the week, and I had given him a silver keychain with his initial on it for his keys to the new silver Jeep Renegade his parents bought him.

A way to a man’s heart was through his stomach. Once I gave him the cake, he would invite me to the lake—where he’d planned to go with his group of friends, aka his crew.

Hopefully, he would notice I’d dressed for the lake, in my bathing suit, board shorts and tank top. Even though it was the last weekend of September, the Indian summer still lasted, which I didn’t mind because it meant having more time to hang out with Foster.

His parents owned a house near Devon Lake. Foster and his crew had hung out there most of the summer. I’d never been asked to join, but, now, I had the power of my homemade chocolate cake to convince him this time. People raved about my ooey-gooey, sin-in-the mouth desserts, especially Foster. When I presented him his birthday cake I had made just for him in the pre-dawn hours, maybe then he would finally understand how much he meant to me.

Hunter nudged his nose in the plastic Saran wrapped cake. I swooped it up then inhaled to calm down. I had to leave before Foster left without me.

After wiggling my toes in my flip-flops and then cracking my neck from side to side, I stepped outside to near-perfect weather for swimming. Foster’s Jeep sat across the street, including the man himself with his dad.

Mr. Quinn did most of the talking while Foster listened. Not wanting to intrude, I waited impatiently. Eh, screw it.

“Hey, Foster!” I yelled loud enough for the entire street to hear.

Startled, he turned in my direction. I took a second to soak him in, mainly his face, which had a perfect tan from him spending most of the summer outdoors.

Mr. Q didn’t a wave or a smile. He didn’t seem pleased with my interrupting, but I ignored it as I walked toward them, clutching the pan of chocolatey goodness.

“Hiya, B.A.” Foster used my initials as his nickname for me. He kept his eyes on the cake instead of on me. When I reached him, he ruffled my hair. Instead of giving me a hug or a nudge like he did with his other friends, he always tapped the top of my head—an ongoing thing for years.

My face warmed. Hopefully, he or his dad wouldn’t notice.

“I bought you another gift for your birthday, even though it’s a few days late.” I presented the cake to Foster, who licked his bottom lip.

“It’s chocolate cake,” he said in appreciation.

Mr. Q. dropped the stern act and inspected the cake with approval. “Is this cake from The Tasty Darling?”

My Aunt Crystal and Uncle Ron owned The Tasty Darling, which reviewers and patrons alike had considered the top bakery on the East Coast for the last ten years.

“It’s my Aunt Crystal’s recipe, but I baked it from scratch.” I held it out to Foster. “In honor of your seventeenth birthday. I woke extra early today to bake it, so it’s still fresh.” I wanted him to know how much work I had put into his present. He knew my baking skills very well because he volunteered as my guinea pig when it came to baking new creations.

“Bree, you didn’t have to go through the trouble.” He took the cake and moved to give me a hug.

I embraced him around the waist because I couldn’t reach his shoulders unless I lifted up on my toes. Foster stood over six feet. But I didn’t mind. It allowed me to rest my cheek on the middle of his chest and subtly inhale his woodsy scent I wish I could spray on my clothes.

He patted my shoulder then shifted away. His dad, in his typical weekend wear of khakis and some light-colored polo shirt, complete with leather loafers, took out his cell. “I have a client calling in ten minutes. You’ll remember what we talked about before we were interrupted.”

“Yes, sir.” Foster’s smile dimmed, but his voice still held respect. Mr. Q. demanded respect from everyone, including his son.

Mr. Q clapped Foster on the back, and then nodded at me. “Tell your parents I say hello, and give my regards to your aunt. I’ll have to stop in The Tasty Darling next week to buy her banana bread doughnuts for my office.”

“Sure.” I saluted him, which actually made him wink at me. My cheeks warmed again. Mr. Q was pretty cute for an older man. Foster definitely took after his dad more than his mom. He had the tall, dark, and handsome thing going on.

Mr. Q walked toward the house, his cell to his ear. Foster watched him go, swinging his key chain around, including the one I gave him for his birthday. Seeing him with my gift gave me the major warm fuzzies.

“I think my dad has a thing for your aunt,” Foster announced.

“What?” My jaw dropped in shock. Why would he think—?

He leaned toward me, close enough his chest bumped my nose. “Are you wearing makeup?”

Yes! He noticed! I’d started wearing some makeup since Mom gave me permission to when I turned fifteen in June. I usually wore the basics, such as lipstick and concealer and mascara, but not much on the weekends. This morning, I made sure I looked like the older girls in Foster’s crew who would be at the lake. I wanted him to see me as more mature and not like an annoying little sister.

I thrust out my chest, along with flipping my hair over my shoulders like I’d seen many of the girls in my school do to get Foster’s attention, especially Tori—

All of a sudden, loud booming music blared around the corner, and two cars drove up behind Foster’s car. One of the backdoors opened before the rest, and a girl with a head of bouncing red-and-blond curls jumped out and bolted toward Foster.

He set the cake on the ground and held out his arms. “Tori!”

She jumped on him and wrapped her legs around his waist. I ducked away to stop from getting hit as he swung her around in a circle.

Tori Greeley, who should be my nemesis, blocked me from Foster’s attentions. Not only the most popular girl at my school, she was also his girlfriend of one year.
She exemplified what a popular mean girl should be, much like you would find in some stereotypical teen movie. But instead, she was very sweet, almost as sweet as the chocolate Foster loved. I guess it made sense why he adored her.

While they kissed, I concentrated on the sidewalk. Behind me, the rest of the group emerged from the cars. A beefy arm swung around my shoulder, and Sam, Foster’s best friend, rocked side to side.

“B.A. Baracus, how’s it shaking?” His big hand caused destruction to my hair, messing it up more than Foster had.

I exhaled through my mouth since he had a bad sweating habit. His black Pac-Man T-shirt already had sweat stains under his arms. He loved wearing vintage T-shirts from the 1980s, especially anything to do with old TV shows. He got such a kick calling me B.A. Baracus, even though I never gave him permission, and had only allowed Foster the right to call me by any nickname.

I swallowed a snarky response. He was a harmless goof. We actually had some good conversations, mainly about food since he loved eating. I usually let him be my guinea pig number two for anything I cooked.

“Hey, Sam. You’re going to the lake with Foster?” I played dumb. The rest of the group of three girls and two guys nodded or waved at me. We all recognized one another because went to the same school.

“Yup. Got to get as much sun and swimming in before the summer disappears.” He lifted his sunglasses over his head as he spotted my edible masterpiece on the sidewalk. “Cake?”

I smothered a laugh as his eyes widened and his bottom lip trembled. “Yeah, it’s Foster’s for his birth—”

He lunged for the cake and tore off the wrap, taking a chunk from the side and popping it in his mouth.

I gasped in horror as he licked his fingers free of chocolate and tried to tear off another piece. A sob tumbled from my mouth and everything seemed to slow down. Before he destroyed all my hard work, Foster snatched the plate from him and shoved him away.

“Dude, Bree baked this for me.” He clutched the lopsided cake to his chest and glared at his friend.

At least Sam had the decency to look ashamed. “Sorry. Chocolate is my weakness.”

Tori gave me a one arm hug. “Don’t be upset. Foster will cherish it even if Sam ends up eating the entire thing.”

I wanted to lash out at him, and her, but she sounded so sympathetic. She had always been nice to me, even if I tagged along with her and Foster when I shouldn’t have.

“Foster will probably share his cake with everyone.” I hid my frustration behind a smile.

“Chocolate makes me break out. As for cake.…” She grimaced. “Too fattening.” I’d never seen her eat anything dessert or the least fattening. It showed because of her flat stomach and slender arms and legs. I enjoyed my share of sweets, and I always tasted the food I cooked. I had a normal build for my age and height, but I had a curved tummy and solid hips no one wanted.

“I guess my cake is a winner based on Sam’s reaction.” I hoped he didn’t snatch more chunks before Foster ate some.

“I’ll make sure Foster gets the next piece.” Tori rubbed my arm as he talked with the rest of his boys, while the three girls chatted among themselves. “Even if he didn’t like it, Foster will tell you he does since he loves you like a little sister.”

From anyone else, her comment would have been cruel. She may have meant it like that, but I really didn’t think she did because of how she generally treated me. 

I had yet to witness one unkind action from her. But it still stung. She had unwittingly put me in my place as a side piece in Foster’s affection. Tori was his equal, while I stood on the lower scale in the role of a relative to him.

A rumble came out of nowhere. Not from the sky to show a storm brewing but from a moving van driving by, followed by a white SUV pulling into the driveway of a house two down from my own across the street. The loud sound seemed to snap those around me into action, and they scrambled to the cars to pull out their beach gear.

Foster tossed his keys to Tori. “Warm up the car for me, babe.”

Tori swung the keychain around her finger and strolled past him. When he smacked her butt, she giggled and blew him a kiss.

I gagged, and gagged again when Foster handed Sam the cake. It took everything I had not to stomp over and snatch it from his hands. But this time, he didn’t rip off a chunk. He bowed to Foster and then turned to me. “I’ll protect this cake with my life.”

“You better!” I pointed at him, wondering if I could sit next to him in the car to keep an eye on him.

Foster came to me and set his hands on my shoulders, giving them a soft squeeze. My stomach jumped in response. But I played it cool, waiting for him to tell me to grab a bag for the lake.

“Again, thanks for the cake. I guess I should put it in my house so it doesn’t melt, but I want to eat it at the lake.” He leaned down and kissed my cheek.

My fingers twitched to grip the side of his shirt, but I kept my arms at my sides. “Instead of by the ocean, cake by the lake?”

“I can’t wait to lick your frosting off my fingers as I enjoy the beauty of the lake, surrounded by my friends.” He sent me a beaming smile.

“Sounds like a great plan. Give me a minute to—”

“I’ll catch ya later, B.A.” He then got in the driver’s seat of his new car, revved the engine, and drove away with a car full of his other friends behind him while they left me behind.

Shirley Anne Edwards is a Northeast girl who first found her love for books when she read Nancy Drew’s The Secret of the Old Clock Tower at thirteen. Shirley found her love for writing at a very young age, and since then has let her imagination run wild by creating quirky characters and vast worlds in her head. Shirley is also a brownie addict who loves to bake when she’s not busy writing. Shirley lives in New Jersey and works in the entertainment industry in New York City.

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