Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Q&A: J.F. Cain, Author of War Eternal: Angels' Whispers


J. F. Cain is a writer with a restless mind who spent years of her life reading and traveling. But of all the places she has been to, her favorite is a house in the mountains where she can focus on her writing. She is a seeker of knowledge who transcribes the results of her studies in her books. Her favorite pastime –other than reading and writing- is scouring libraries. However, she has lately convinced herself that she enjoys shopping just as much, as well as spending time with family and friends –the few that can still tolerate her frequent and extended periods of absence. 
Her latest book is War Eternal: Angels’ Whispers

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK



About the Book:

Alex Meyers, a dynamic, global entrepreneur, has an advantage that no other human has ever had: he is protected by Aranes, the Superior of the Angels. While he is skiing, he dies in an avalanche, but his
all-powerful protector breaks one of the ethereal world’s most important Rules and brings him back to life. Alex falls head over heels in love with the beautiful Angel, who appears to him in human form. But she disappears just as suddenly as she had appeared.
While he searches for Aranes, Alex discovers her true identity and that he actually might be the high-ranking Celestial Abaddon, who is mentioned in the Revelations prophecy as the one who will defeat Lucifer.
The man who fate has thrust among the world’s superpowers is now living a nightmare. He wants to evade Lucifer’s pursuit, find out who he truly is and once again see the only being he has ever loved. And the only way to do it is to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Angels’ Whispers is the beginning of an epic tale set in modern times. The eternal war between Light and Darkness is at a critical turning point: Angels and Demons, invisible to mortal beings, battle for dominance in the physical world, while Guardians, Vampires and Werewolves, who live among the humans, find themselves on opposing sides in a deadly power game.
Thanks for the interview, J.F. Can you tell us how you came up with the idea for the War Eternal series?
J.F.: The image of a female Angel had been stuck in my mind for many months and a story spontaneously began to be woven around her. One evening, totally out of the blue, I decided to write this story. I felt the need to share my personal conclusions from the research I had been doing over many years on various scientific subjects. And the ‘eternal war’ that exists between opposing forces on every plane, from the quantum to the philosophical, was the best context in which I could tell my story. Having read the works of classical and modern writers who have delved into the subject, I now knew how to express my views both allegorically and realistically. But I tried to convey the primordial myth of the search for self-knowledge and cosmic truths in a more attractive way. The views presented in my story are unconventional and are often expressed through symbols and allegories – in myths, the truth always remains hidden. Of course, I do not fail to highlight the predominant role of love and passion, which together transcend space and time and even unite opposites – the human and the transcendent, good and evil – as their common denominator.
I’d like to learn more about Alex Meyers. Can you tell us a little about him? 
J.F.: Alexander Meyers is a handsome, intelligent and tough businessman who wants to revolutionize the energy industry. His aim to save the Earth from the coming ecological destruction is the main reason why the Superior of the Angels supports his efforts. Alex is a skeptic with an analytical mind and is very knowledgeable. Because he is a rationalist, he struggles to accept that there’s a chance he is an incarnated Celestial whose mission it is to rid humanity of Lucifer’s dominance. Yet, despite being a charismatic individual, he has some serious shortcomings. The most important is his inability to feel an emotional connection with any woman. He finally finds love when he meets the Superior of the Angels – that is, he finds love, but not happiness. Because of this love, he will be forced to transcend his personal limits, both biological and ideological. Whether he will be able to stop doubting and finally accept that he may just be something more than an ordinary man remains to be seen.
Can you tell us a little about the other characters?
J. F.: In every epic tale, there are a great number of characters. In my story, there are humans and terrestrial supernaturals, as well as hyperdimensional entities that are active in different worlds. Each character has their own role in this multifaceted story. Some strive to break the bonds of the power holding them hostage – primarily spiritually – so that they can achieve their goals. By taking this step towards freedom, they achieve self-knowledge and also the knowledge of the purpose of their existence. Their weapon in this fight for freedom is doubt, which helps them to grow spiritually and consequently to gain freedom. Of course, there are also those characters that are unable to escape from their confining world theory. They will inevitably fall prey to the power of those who will bring about the changes we will see in the story.
They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader can’t put the book down. Can you give us one of those pivotal points in War Eternal: Angels’ Whispers?
 J.F.: The pivotal point is when the Superior of the Angels saves our main hero, which sparks a series of critical developments. Of course, there are also other points in the story and an important one at the end, which serves as a prelude to the second book.
What’s next for you, J.F.?
J.F.: The second book will be released in April 2018. There will be more action, earth-shattering revelations and unexpected twists that will propel the story to a new plane for readers.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Q&A: Humor Fiction Author Marissa Thomas



Marissa Thomas left her home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to pursue her dream of acting in Hollywood. Without industry contacts, she had to educate herself about the business. In How Not to Succeed in Hollywood, Marissa shares her experiences, both good and bad.
In addition to writing, Marissa is a licensed hair stylist. She also enjoys painting and produced the artwork for the cover of How Not to Succeed in Hollywood.
                                                                               

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK



About the Book:

In HOW NOT TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD, Marissa Thomas offers readers an inside view of one young woman’s journey to fulfill her dream of becoming an actor. The personal and humorous story of Lisa reveals the often difficult and inspiring process of navigating the entertainment industry.
The acting bug bit Lisa during her first elementary school talent show. After receiving positive reviews for her performance from her fellow students and impressed parents alike, Lisa basked in the high she felt from being on stage. She ventured further into the acting world as a teenager when she enrolled in a twelve-week acting program. Although plagued with some doubt about her potential to become an actor, the experience reignited the spark that had originally lead her down the road of performance.

HOW NOT TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD follows the staggered path that Lisa took on her journey to achieve her acting dream. Her love for acting expanded when Lisa entered college and began auditioning for plays produced by the theater department. Reassured by the exhilaration she felt while acting, Lisa made the decision to leave her home and move to Hollywood to pursue her passion, but first she had to tie up a few loose ends. After a whirlwind romance with a fellow student, Lisa found herself moving into her own apartment while juggling school and work, as well as taking the steps to fill out her acting resume. A car accident that resulted in serious physical injuries led to a slowdown in her momentum. However, Lisa’s best friend, Mike, who already had a solid plan to move to Hollywood, gave her the encouragement she needed to overcome multiple obstacles so that she could move forward with her goal.
Marissa wrote HOW NOT TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD to give “anyone curious about Hollywood culture another point of view from someone coming from a completely different world, aka the Midwest, taking the plunge, and immersing herself in a new life.” Marissa says the book is “the story of my life. I can’t tell anyone any surefire methods of getting cast for your dream project. I’m just sharing my life experience. Anyone with a relentless dream has to find sanity in the limbo between a self-motivated fantasy career and the harshness of having to survive real life in the process. We’re all human, and sometimes all you can do is laugh. Set a goal, and break a leg.”

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?

While doing hair, small talk would lead first time clients to ask questions about my experience, where I was originally from, etc.  Talking about taking a break from hair and living in LA, the next question was always about whether I had stories to tell about sets and actors.  The response to my stories, was that I should write a book.  I’d tell them that the idea sounded good, but the only title I could think of was How Not to Succeed in Hollywood.  From there, I used the title, and simply had to write the story

Can you tell us what your book is about?

My book is a comedic accumulation of my experiences trying to get to and survive in Los Angeles to pursue a legitimate acting career.

Can you give us an excerpt?
Pages 82-82
“I’m glad you get to come to opening night of the play,” I said to my boyfriend, casually, while we started digging into our boxed dinner.
“I know. I’m glad, too.  You’ve been working hard, and it seems pretty important to you,” he replied.
“It is. We’ve all been working on it for months,” I reminded him.
“Well, is it because you’ve been spending all this time on it, or is it because it’s something you really want to do?” he asked.
It seemed like a very obvious question. I hadn’t thought about it that way. Why do we put all the time and effort into projects like this? Projects that don’t provide a paycheck, cause us to rearrange our schedules, and even add stress due to the unwritten requirement to provide a quality performance. He really made me think. It wasn’t even a conscious decision on my part. I welcomed the chaos of the production into my life. The answer to his question was as obvious as the soy sauce on the egg rolls.
My mind started to wander. I almost felt like I was becoming a part of an actors’ anonymous group and professing my addiction. My name is Lisa, and I’m an actress. I could picture the scene:  Beautiful people sitting in a circle, each of them with a monologue in hand. And everyone waiting his or her turn to speak about the repercussions, good and bad, that the industry has had their lives. It was like a support group, to help each other through the bad auditions, drop hints about where to find the legit ones, and tips on how to nail them. Who knew how true that statement was? After a brief moment of fantasy, I was back to reality.
“I do. I really want to do it.” I turned back to my food and continued eating. “It’s something I want to pursue.” It felt good to say it out loud, to admit it to myself.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?

Don’t waste time being skeptical of your own skills.   

Do you hear from your readers?  What do they say?

I have heard from my hair clients who have purchased my book, that it made them laugh.  Even though I don’t have a typical professional writing style, that they really enjoyed the story, and they want more.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

One of my best friends picked up the book and started reading random pages.  He was laughing as he read them out loud, insisting that he liked the story, but told me that my writing needed help.  It stuck with me.  Not that it bothered me, since being an author was the last thing on my mind.  Long as my name gets spelled right, I’m very contented being perfectly imperfect.

What has been your best accomplishment?

Seeing my finished product available for sale on Amazon.  It showed me that my efforts have been worthwhile.

Do you Google yourself?

I haven’t.  Since I self-published and tried to contribute to MarissaThomas.net, I’m not sure there’s much more out there to find, yet.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have a few projects that I’ve been working on.  You never know what can happen!

Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  Don’t be afraid to trip and fall on your ass.  Set a goal, and break a leg!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Q&A: Mystery Author Sean Keefer



While growing up in South Carolina, Sean didn't realize it, but he was absorbing the styles, mannerisms, idiosyncrasies, dialects and the culture of his home.   Add to this the time he spent traveling the other Carolina for school and then North America for work, he collected a vast array of experiences and observations from which to draw upon and bring together in his writing.

After studying law in North Carolina, Sean settled in Charleston, South Carolina and instantly became enamored with the people as well as the city.  

One day he started writing and the words, generally, kept flowing. A page became a chapter which ultimately became a book known as The Trust.  After this the process started again and The Solicitor was the end result. Hopefully, if you are reading this you either have, or soon will have, your very own copy of one or both.   

The experience of taking two novels from conceptualization to print has been one of frustration peppered with increasing amounts of reward.  Each step from the first words hitting the page to ultimately holding a book in hand has been a personal reward.

When Sean is not writing he practices Family Law and works as a Domestic Mediator and lives with his Wife and an ever-expanding pack of rescue canines – the current count is 4.  As well, Sean can frequently be found wandering the lowcountry of South Carolina with his camera, playing guitar in assorted venues around Charleston or exploring the underwater world of the southeast.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK


As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?

In South Carolina, where The Solicitor is set, we call out prosecuting attorneys or district attorneys, solicitors. Years back there was a particularly nasty election for the position of solicitor in the judicial district where I live. I began thinking about one of the candidates being murdered and the
new solicitor’s first case being the prosecution of the alleged murderer of his former political rival. This expanded and became The Solicitor.

Can you tell us what your book is about?

Building on the above, after one of the candidates for solicitor in Charleston County is murdered, his friend, Noah Parks is charged with his murder. The story is about Noah’s quest to clear his name and find the real killer.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book?

The main character is a local Charleston, South Carolina attorney who has been charged with murder.  Together with the help of his fiancée, Anna Beth Cross and his best friend, Charleston police detective, Emmett Gabriel, he will attempt to prove he didn’t commit this crime.
There to fight him at every step for the way will be the newly minted Charleston County solicitor, S. Bart Michaels who is intent in seeing Noah convicted for the death of Andrew Stephens.


If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?

I have written legal thrillers for so long, I can’t see myself writing anything else.  If I did, it would likely be a mystery about a dog owning crime solving guitar player.

What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?

My favorite place to write is in a hotel lobby.

Do you hear from your readers?  What do they say?

            I am fortunate to hear from a number of my readers. Their message is always the same.  Quite your day job and write full time.  They tell me they want more books.  I am always flattered and humbled when I hear this.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

            I have never had any tough criticism. Rather, every person who has provided me feedback has given me something that I have taken away to make my writing better. I understand that not everyone will read my books the same way. But I always work to provide readers the best book possible and listen to anything they have to say.

What has been your best accomplishment?

            Receiving feedback from people who have enjoyed my books.

Do you Google yourself?

            I used to, but rarely do anymore.  However, I do have a confession, after I read this question, I did just that. It appears I am still here.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

            Two – one nonfiction book that is being edited and the third book in the Noah Parks mystery series that is in progress.

Fun question – if you were princess or prince, what’s one thing you would do to make your kingdom a better place?

            I would probably abdicate my title and go do something productive with the people.

Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?

            A portion of all proceeds from my writing are donated to canine causes.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Q&A with Self-Help Author Cristina G



Cristina G. was born in Romania during one of the harshest communist regimes that ever existed.

The tenth child of a farmer’s family, she has six sisters and used to have four brothers, now only two.

Aged eight, she read Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and fell irremediably in love with books. Since then she kept dreaming of writing for many years, and she wrote a lot, but never thought of publishing.

In 2012, after living in Italy for ten years, Cristina became a blogger.

In June of 2014, with the help of a British friend, she moved to the UK. Here, although her expectations were not great, Cristina fulfilled the dream she never dared to dream before.

Cristina G. is now a registered author and dedicates her life to writing focusing on human behaviour, emotions and feelings.

Her latest book is the self-help/nonfiction, It’s Never Game Over.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS


Can you tell us what your book is about?

Of course.

My book, It’s Never Game Over, is all about discipline, building self-esteem/self-confidence and finding motivation and inspiration.

It’s about purpose and following your dreams despite the vicissitudes of life.

Can you give us an excerpt?

With pleasure.

Don’t settle for less than you deserve


Since we are born, we are told that we cannot have everything we want in our lives. Then we are taught to prioritise, sacrifice, compromise, adapt, and accept. Which is great. I appreciate all of that. If we learn to master all these without becoming despondent, then we are superhumans. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
We start doing all the above in stages (or all at once) and force ourselves to make all sorts of compromises, for that’s life.
We go to jobs we don’t like because we need to pay the bills or maintain a family;
We are friends with people we don’t have anything in common with because everybody says that we have to accept others’ differences or because we don’t like solitude;
We marry or get into relationships with humans we don’t resonate with because they are not right for us. And the examples could continue indefinitely of course.
All these are choices. Nobody can force us to be friends or marry someone we don’t like or who doesn’t make us happy. Unless your culture is still imposing or allowing arranged marriages.

As you read many times in the previous chapters, everything we do or do not do is a decision. Therefore, if you stay in a relationship with a person who abuses you, it means it’s your decision. Some beasts threaten to kill you or your children if you leave. What happens if you stay though? How do you feel? How are your children feeling? Would you sleep at night knowing that your partner would rather murder you instead of letting you free? Have you ever heard of associations that defend and help these people? They are hugely publicised on TV, radio, internet. I am sure you saw movies, documentaries, shows, celebrities discussing this subject very closely. Then why are still with a person who hits you and your child? Ask for help right now. Please, don’t find excuses. Don’t say you don’t have internet, a phone, or a friend that could help you. You are reading this book which means you have access to something.
In Romania, people get and remain married for 30-50 years. My parents got married at eighteen and at eighty-three they are still together. How many years is that? Would you say it’s extraordinary? Would you think they had a good life together? As their child, I know they were not so happy. But in my country (not only, of course), people still think couples should stay together until death do them part. Some would never even consider separating. Divorcing is a sin in both Orthodox and Catholic religions, and my fellow nationals decide to respect that vow. Regardless of the fact they don’t go to church or believe in God.
However, the youngest generations have started to adapt to the western culture and get divorced 2 years after (2 is just a number, take your pick) they swore eternal love until the last breath. Priests are not so radical anymore. Thank God for that.
In 40 years, I have seen and witnessed very closely several marriages. All of them were love matrimonies between a man and a woman. Nothing remarkable here. Spectacular though, was the velocity with which the endless love turned into pure hate. People who frequented each other for 3-7 years, a week after living under the same roof discovered they knew nothing about the significant other. When in front of the judge they said that incompatibility brought them to take the decision to ask for a divorce.
“For how long have you two known each other?” enquired a judge.
“5 years,” replied the man.
“In 5 years you didn’t manage to understand that you are not meant one for another?”
“No, your honour,” said the woman. “He lied to me. He either hid his true nature or he changed overnight.”

Changing is doable, of course. This book speaks about it. However, only a few people choose to change. The truth is that Love is not eternal. Love can be a caprice, a physical desire, a friendship, an infatuation, or the terror of being alone. Many can’t distinguish between the many types or forms of the most magical sentiment of them all.
Humans are taught, told, and forced to compromise and sacrifice. Women are better than men at compromising but are also very naïve. Women see the true nature of the man they are in love with. They are not fooled, they fool themselves when they think that a man will change for them. And if he doesn’t, women start to pretend….”

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?

You are such a lazy bugger! Get up! Take the pen. Write. Now!

What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?

I can write for fifteen hours every day I sit on my bed rather than on a chair.

Do you hear from your readers?  What do they say?

Yes, often. Besides asking me out, (kidding), my readers say it’s hard to distinguish between genuine authors and business people. 

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

“Good literature takes time. Wait.” This came from a highly educated person who reads a lot. Despite agreeing with him, I took it very badly. I read an awful lot too, and I believe that my books are great. And this is only the beginning. We all need to start somewhere and somehow. If you never take a risk, you never fail. Pardon, I meant to say, “If you never take a risk, you never win.”

What has been your best accomplishment?

English is my third language. I have published my first book one year after I moved to the UK. Previous to that I studied English for almost four months only.
The book, a memoir, Oranges at Christmas in a Communist Country became live on Christmas day of 2015. A very memorable day for all my fellow nationals.
More than an accomplishment, it was an enormous risk and I paid a very high price for it.
Nevertheless, I am very proud of myself because of that.

Do you Google yourself?

Absolutely!

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

More than 15.

Fun question – if you were princess or prince, what’s one thing you would do to make your kingdom a better place?

I would hire a knowledgeable mentor to teach all the newborns, boys, and girls, to speak and understand the same language.

“Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” should not be still perfectly true after so many millions years of evolution.

Evolution of what? The Apple Empire? Oh, sorry, I meant, “Apes’ Empire?”

Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?

Yes, thank you.

My name means nothing to you today, but this will change soon. I am working night and day to give you great stories to read in your tranquil moments. I put body and soul into every book I publish.

Rest assured that my intention is to make you dream, laugh, believe and push you to become a better human every day.

Type Cristina G. in Google, read It’s Never Game Over if you feel like your life is not what you’d like it to be.

If you like my books, why not hit follow and review them to support me?


I would like to thank every each of you for your interest. Without you, I wouldn’t call myself an author.


About the Book:

Title: IT’S NEVER GAME OVER
Author: Cristina G.
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 145 ebook/268 paperback
Genre: Nonfiction/Self-Help

BOOK BLURB: 

It’s the end of the year but you have the impression it’s the end of your life?
Start the New Year with a plan. Don’t make a resolution, make a habit!
Whatever your situation might be now, you have the power to change it.
           Depression can be overcome.
           You can lose weight and find love.
           You can heal and transform your life.
Believe you’re happy, and you’re half way there.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Book Blast: Navy Seal Promise by Amber Leigh Williams & Giveaway!





Title: NAVY SEAL PROMISE
Author: Amber Leigh Williams
Publisher: Harlequin Superromance
Pages: 384
Genre: Romance


He made a promise he intends to keep.

Harmony Savitt is off-limits for navy SEAL Kyle Bracken. Not only is she his best friend's little sister, she's also a single mother and the widow of a fellow SEAL killed in action. This soldier needs to keep his distance. But something between them has changed…

Despite the new complicated feelings he has for Harmony, when his family comes under attack, there's no one Kyle trusts more than her to help him get answers. When that threat extends to her and her daughter, though, he vows to protect them…even if it means putting his own heart on the line.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble



Kyle swung the door open. "Inside."
"No kiss this time?" Harmony asked, testing him. Her chin was high.
"That's right." He spoke quietly enough that it didn't carry into the lobby when he said, "You want to know something I'm afraid of?"
"What've you got, superhero?"
"That whatever's happened between us tonight wiped out everything that came before it. Is that what you want?" he asked.
"Are you kidding me?" For the first time, he saw the nerves behind her brave front. Her chin quavered even as she jabbed him with her finger. "Why do you think I didn't say anything before? You think I want to lose my best friend?"
He didn't reply.
She lifted her shoulders in a helpless shrug. "But I guess...at the end of the day...I'm not half as noble as you are." 


Amber Leigh Williams is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway ends midnight December 29.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on December 30.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

 



Amber Leigh Williams is a romance writer who lives on the US Gulf Coast. She lives for beach days, the smell of real books and spending time with her husband and their two young children. When she’s not keeping up with rambunctious little ones (and two large dogs), she can usually be found reading a good book or indulging her inner foodie. Amber is represented by the D4EO Literary Agency.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Book Blast: Lottie Loves & Giveaway!




Title: LOTTIE LOVES
Author: Samie Sands
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Pages: 210
Genre: Contemporary Romance



“Will you marry me?”
                                                  
Four words I’ve waited my whole life to hear. Four words which I was sure would change my life forever, and it did. Just not in the way I thought it would.

Finding out that my extremely gorgeous rock star boyfriend was about to propose, had the complete opposite effect I thought it would. Rather than catapult me into a future I’ve always wanted, it plunged me all the way back to a past I tried to forget.

Now I can’t get him out of my head. I can’t help but wonder what could have been, how our lives would have ended up if he didn’t leave me behind a shattered mess.

All these memories of the past are dangerous. It’s bringing my past back to ruin my future. And worst of all, it’s taking me right back to him, my childhood sweetheart, my first love…my biggest regret.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon





"Will you marry me?"
It was the words that I'd wanted to hear my entire life. Didn't every girl fantasise over the perfect man going to buy the perfect ring and getting down on one knee in the most romantic way possible, before telling them that they loved them so much, they wanted to spend the rest of their life with them?
I knew that I certainly had.
Me and my best friend Cici used to talk about it all the time. We used to plan our dresses, the music, the flowers—every part of the ceremony down to the very last detail. Of course, the man didn't really matter. We were young enough and naive enough to believe that we would magically meet the perfect man without even trying.
And I really thought that I had. I really, truly believed that my dream had come true.
Me and Danny had begun our love story in a very typical fashion—our eyes had met across a bar, where we'd had long, lingering eye contact, sparking all kinds of emotions within me. The only difference between my story, and that of every other rom-com ever, was that Danny was a genuine up-and-coming rock star, playing on a fairly big stage, and I was a fan who already felt a lot of love for this man. I'd been admiring him from afar ever since I first heard their album a year or so before.
I certainly hadn't expected it to ever go any further than that moment, so when he came and joined me at the bar later on for a drink, despite being mobbed by other members of the audience, I felt like my entire life had been leading me up to that moment. I felt like everything that I'd experienced was all drawing me closer to Danny, the love of my life. Here was a gorgeous man who was destined to be famous, and who could have any girl in the world hanging off of his arm, talking to me, asking me questions, and actually showing me interest.
It seemed like a dream—one that I was terrified to wake up from.
As he flicked his messy auburn hair from his warm, chocolaty eyes and he gave me that smile that had already melted the hearts of the nation, I thought for a dreaded, wonderful second that he was going to kiss me in front of all of those people. But after a few beats of pure terror, he didn't. Instead he handed me his phone number, and he asked if I would like to go on a date with him.
Me—boring old Charlotte (Lottie) Jones—on a date with Danny Boreom, bassist of the (now very) famous band Jax. It didn't seem real.
Yet, it was real, and it did happen.
It was the start of my real life.
After a night out on the town where he well and truly wined and dined me, he walked me home to my tiny flat which must have looked ridiculous compared to the mansion that I now know he lived in with the rest of the band at the time, and he finally kissed me. As his lips met mine, I felt myself flying on top of the world—he was an amazing kisser, and there seemed to be an endless chemistry between us. One that I never wanted to end.
Breathless and turned on by the power of his mouth, I invited him inside. Although he coolly and calmly turned me down, it was still the best night of my entire life, made even better by a phone call the next day to say that he only didn't come inside with me because he wanted to be something real. He didn't want our love to end at a one-night stand, he actually wanted us to develop and for him to become my boyfriend.
Fast forward three and a half years and we were blissfully living together, grazing by every day happily and easily. Although he was away for a lot of the year touring, it didn't seem to bother us. We were so strong and so solid with what we had, that nothing would get in our way.
It was perfect, still a dream come true and that intense chemistry hadn't burned down one bit.
Which made it even weirder that my reaction to Cici telling me that Baz—another member of the band—had just told her that he'd been engagement ring shopping with Danny, wasn't one of pure joy.
"What...what do you mean?" I asked, my heart racing frantically in my chest. I could tell that my voice was breathless and kind of terrified, but my mind was spinning too fast for me to be able to do anything about it.
"Aren't you happy?" She giggled, "I thought that you'd be over the moon to finally be Mrs. Boreom."
"No, no, I am," I half lied. The idea had always been at the edge of my thoughts. I knew that Danny was the one for me, and despite all the car crash relationships around us, we'd even managed to survive the fallout of him becoming mega famous. It helped that I had no interest in the spotlight and that I did everything I could to avoid it, but even despite all of that, I felt like it proved that we could go the distance, and be together forever. So why wasn't I excited for us to take the next step? "It's just a bit of a shock, that's all."
But that was normal, right? Everyone freaked out at first when they learned that they were going to become someone's wife...didn't they?
Of course, I already knew that wasn't true. I'd already been proposed to once in my life before, and that time, I didn't hesitate one bit. Panic didn't even come into the equation, I was happy, over the moon at the thought of becoming his wife. This was nothing like that had been. I felt completely different.
For the first time in a very long time, I allowed myself to think about Joe again, and almost the second that I allowed that vault to open in my mind, I felt myself fall into a tailspin. As his face filled my brain once more, it was almost as if the last five years hadn't happened at all, and that I was still his proud girlfriend, waiting to be his wife.
As the wound reopened, I could barely hear what Cici was saying to me. I felt like I was gaping, exposed, and extremely vulnerable all over again, and I did what I'd always done when I was younger, when things got too difficult for me. I started to talk to Joe in my mind.
Where are you now?
What became of you?
What happened to your life?
It was so strange to have gone from the closest people in the world, to absolutely nothing, and I struggled to imagine that he'd changed one bit. Of course I had, my life was completely different, but I couldn't think of Joe without viewing him as the other half of me. The boy that I'd adored, and the one that I never thought would leave my side.
"I...I've got to go," I finally announced to my friend. "I'll speak to you later, okay?" And then I hung up the phone, without even waiting for her to answer. I knew that I was being rude, acting more than a little strange, but I needed some time. I needed to be alone with my thoughts to try and process all of this.
So quite how I found myself sitting at my computer with my fingers running along the keys, I wasn't quite sure.
Don't press anything, I willed myself. As soon as you do, everything will change.
Since we had gone our separate ways, I hadn't contacted Joe once, and with the uprising of social media I hadn't looked him up either. I just couldn't face it. He was like an imaginary fantasy in my mind now, and I wasn't sure that I wanted to ruin that with reality. What if he was married now? Or into drugs or something? His life could have gone in any direction, and I wasn't sure that I really wanted to find out which one.
Plus, my life really was amazing now. Why would I want to even consider risking that? I had a gorgeous, passionate man who actually wanted to be with me forever, even though he was about ten leagues above me, I had a teaching job that I loved, and friends that would do anything for me. That was a hell of a lot more than most people had!
In the end I forced myself to stand up and to move away from the computer screen before it lured me in. I couldn't do it; I just wasn't willing to take that step into the unknown. It terrified me far too much. But as I wandered aimlessly from room to room, I realised that I couldn't just do nothing either. I needed to calm this beast within me, which meant delving into my past whether I liked it or not.
I stood at the bottom of the attic ladder, wondering what awaited me up there. When me and Danny decided to buy a place together—well, he put the most money in of course, but we still classed it as 'ours'—I shoved everything related to my old life away, not wanting to even consider it. But it was always a comfort, knowing that it was there, knowing that I could access it at any moment if I really wanted to.
And I could feel myself finally taking that step.
I creaked up the ladder, feeling my heart thump and my palms sweat with nerves. This was a mistake, I knew it was, but at the same time I couldn't stop.
There would be no way for me to get married without taking this step anyway. Right now, things were comfortable, but if I was ever going to have a future with Danny, I needed to consult my past first. At least, that was my excuse and I was sticking to it.
Danny knew about Joe anyway. Well, he'd been told some of it, the very basics, so I supposed that I was probably going to have to confess all before we finally took the plunge. With that thought in mind, I tore open the first box I stumbled across, and I ended up looking at the few photographs that I had of me and Joe when we were very young, when we very first met...





Samie Sands is the author of the AM13 Outbreak series; Lockdown, Forgotten, and Extinct. She has also had stories featured in best-selling anthologies.

Her latest book is the contemporary romance, Lottie Loves.

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