Saturday, 28 May 2022

The Rising by Kerry L Peresta

 The Rising by Kerry L Peresta Banner

The Rising

by Kerry L Peresta

May 1-31, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

After an assault that landed her in a hospital as a Jane Doe two years earlier, Olivia Callahan has regained her speech, movement, and much of the memory she lost due to a traumatic brain injury. The media hype about the incident has faded away, and Olivia is ready to rebuild her life, but her therapist insists she must continue to look back in order to move forward. The only person that can help her recall specifics is her abusive ex-husband, Monty, who is in prison for murder. The thought of talking to Monty makes her skin crawl, but for her daughters’ sake and her own sanity, she must learn more about who she was before the attack.

Just as the pieces of her life start falling into place, she stumbles across the still-warm body of an old friend who has been gruesomely murdered. Her dream of pursuing a peaceful existence is shattered when she learns the killer left evidence behind to implicate her in the murder. The only person that would want to sabotage her is Monty—but he’s in prison! Something sinister is going on, and Olivia is desperate to uncover the truth before another senseless murder is committed.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Suspense, Thriller, Crime Fiction, Suspense, Mystery
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: March 29, 2022
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 168512092X (ISBN-13: 978-1685120924)
Series: Olivia Callahan Suspense, Book 2
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

“How low you fall points to how high you’ll rise.”
~Matshona Dhliwayo

The stark buildings and barbed-wire-topped walls surrounding the correctional facility reminded me of a Hitchcock movie.

My fingers tightened on the steering wheel. I found a parking spot, and waited in the car a minute, taking in the starkness and finality of a prison compound. My heart did a little lurch when I thought about Monty—my ex-husband and the father of my two daughters—inside. Incarcerated. I guess since I hadn’t seen him since his indictment, it didn’t seem real.

However, I’d learned that having sympathy for Monty was like having sympathy for a snake just before it sank its fangs. “It’s been eighteen months. You can keep it together with this psycho,” I hissed to myself. I hiked my purse onto my shoulder and walked out into the buttery sunshine toward the visitors’ entrance.

I presented my driver’s license, endured a frisk, offered my hand for the fingerprint process, and walked through the metal detector, which of course, went off. With stoic resignation, I endured another frisk, a few hard glances from the guards, and eventually pulled the culprit from the pocket of my pants, an aluminum foil candy bar wrapper.

While I waited for Monty at one of the small, circular tables in the visitors’ room, I scanned the list of do’s and don’ts. Hands must be visible at all times. Vulgar language not allowed. No passing anything to the prisoner. No jewelry other than a wedding band or religious necklace.

I stared at my hands, sticky with sweat. My heart beat in my throat.

I lifted my curls off my forehead and fanned my face with one hand. Three other visitors sat at tables. One woman with graying hair piled like a crown on her head stared at the floor. When she noticed that I was looking at her, she raised her head and threw me a sad smile. A younger woman at another table struggled to keep two young children under control, and an older couple with stress-lined faces whispered to each other as they waited. The room had tan, cinder block walls, a drop-in ceiling with grid tiles that probably hid video cameras, and a single door. No windows. A scrawny, fake plant in one corner made a half-hearted attempt at civility.

The metal door opened. My thoughts were mush, a blender on high. Could I do this? After two years of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and every other kind of therapy the docs could throw at me, shouldn’t I react better than this?

Remember, they’re only feelings.

I squared my shoulders. Wiped my palms on my pants.

As Monty offered his cuffed wrists to the corrections officer, he scanned the room under lowered eyelids. When he saw me, he gave me a scorched- earth glare. After the guard removed his handcuffs, he shook out his arms and rubbed his wrists. The raven-black hair was longer, and brushed his shoulders. He’d been working out. A lot. He wore a loose-fitting top and pants. Orange. As usual, he was larger than life, and in the bright white of the visiting space, surrounded by matching plastic tables and chairs, he was a raven-haired Schwarzenegger in a room full of Danny DeVito’s. I’d once had hope for reconciliation. The thought gave me the shakes now.

He dropped into the chair across from me and plopped his hands on the table. “What do you want?”

I spent a few seconds examining his face—this man I’d spent twenty, long years trying to please, and the reason I’d been assaulted and left for dead by Niles Peterson, a wreck of a man whose life Monty had destroyed as well.

The man responsible for my convoluted recovery from a brain injury that stole my past. Even after two years, I still had huge gaps in my memory, and staring at him felt like staring at a stranger instead of an ex-husband. “My therapist says I need to look back to move forward. I wanted to ask you a few questions, that’s all.”

“Okay,” he grumbled. “I’ll give you a few minutes. Oh, and you’ll love this. I have to attend counseling sessions about how to keep my ‘darker dispositions’ under control, and I have one of those in thirty minutes.”

Resisting a smile, I quipped, “Are they helping?” He rolled his eyes. “What are the questions?”

“I still have problems remembering stuff. There are things I need to… figure out about who I was before—”

“Before you hooked up with my ole’ buddy Niles?” he interrupted, with a smirk. “Before you threw away everything we had? Before you got yourself in a situation that could’ve gotten you killed? Before you started treating me like a piece of shit?”

I was careful not to react. I’d had enough therapy to understand how to treat a control freak that tried to make me the reason he ended up in prison. That part of my life—the part where Monty had been in charge and his spouse had to obey or else—was over. “Are you done?” I asked.

He clamped his lips together.

I folded my hands on the table and leaned in. “I’ll get right to the point. What drew you to me in the first place? What was I like before the accident, from your perspective?”

Monty tried to get comfortable in the plastic chair. Beneath his immense bulk, it seemed like a child’s chair. “Is that how you’re dealing with it?” His lips twisted in disgust. “It was an assault, Olivia. He tried to rape you, for God’s sake.”

I looked away. “It’s over, and he’s in the ground, thanks to you.”

He crossed his arms and glared. A corrections officer lifted his hand. With a grunt, Monty slapped both hands on the small table where the officer could see them.

After a few beats, he sneered, “You mean besides the obvious attraction of an older guy to a high school girl?” “Give me a break, Monty.”

He chuckled. “You were kind of…I don’t know…scared. I was drawn to you in a protective way. You were shy.”

I frowned. “What was I scared of?”

“Your crazy mom had married some jerk that kept you off balance all the time. Don’t you remember him?”

I thought for a few seconds. Nothing came.

“That coma still messes with you, doesn’t it? Well…might be good not to remember. Maybe he did things to you that he shouldn’t have.” Monty raised his eyebrows up and down.

I wanted to slap him, but I kept my expression neutral.

“A brain injury recovery is unpredictable. I still lose memories, even if someone has drilled them into me. I’m trying to use visualization. I have this feeling…that if I can see it, the rest will be like dominos.”

“So you may not ever remember? Even the good things about our marriage?”

I laughed. “We must have very different perspectives about the word ‘good’, Monty.”

Monty’s jaw muscles flexed. “Next?”

“Was I a capable mother? Was I available and…loving to the kids?”

Maybe it was my imagination, but his lower lip quivered. Did the guy have a heart after all? I’d always believed he loved our daughters. I hoped this was true.

“Olivia, you were a good mother. We had our problems, but you made a good home, and took excellent care of the kids. You were at every freakin’ event, every school fundraiser, everything.” He scowled. “I took a big back seat to the kids.”

“What problems did we have? When did they start?”

He leaned in. “You don’t remember our sex life? How terrible it was? Nothing I could do would get you to….” He shook his head. “You couldn’t even fix a decent meal. You should have been grateful you married someone like me so I could…teach you things.”

CHAPTER ONE

“Keep your voice down!” I insisted, embarrassed.

He cocked his head and grinned. “You always had this…desperate need for my approval or whatever. And when you conveniently avoided telling me you weren’t taking birth control it caused a lot of issues that could’ve been avoided.” He snorted. “Like being in here.”

I tried to rein in my disgust.

“So, let me get this straight. Your priority in our marriage was sex and good food and to pin all our issues on your child bride?” My tone hardened. “A young woman who came from a single-parent home? Who had no understanding what a good and normal guy was like?”

He gave me a look that could peel the skin off my face.

“How did you react when I didn’t do things the way you wanted?” I continued.

“Like any man who’d been disrespected. I corrected the issue.”

“How? By yelling? Physical force? Kicking your pregnant wife in the stomach?” This was a memory I had recovered.

A vein pulsed in his neck.

“How often, Monty? Were these reactions a…a lifestyle in our marriage?” “Look,” he snarled, “I don’t know that this is productive.”

“It is for me,” I said, brightly.

I glanced at the closest officer. He had his hands full with an issue at one of the other tables.

“Mom told me that Serena and Lilly floated out to sea one time, on a rubber raft. Do you remember that?”

His eyes found a spot on the wall.

“So you do remember. What happened?”

“Look, they were, I don’t know, four and six or so. I didn’t think it would be a problem for me to run grab a drink from our bag, and come back. I was gone less than five minutes. How could I know they’d lose control of the raft?”

An earthquake of anger shot through me. “You turned your back on a four-year-old and a six-year-old and expected them to have control of a raft? They were babies!”

“Yeah. Well.” He rose. “Looks like this question thing of yours isn’t working for me.” He pushed his chair in with a bang. The correctional officer gave him a look. Monty strode to the officer’s station and held out his wrists. Adrenaline made me a little shaky after he’d gone, but it wasn’t from fear of the man. My therapist would call this real progress.

I left the room and gathered my things from the visitors’ processing center. As I walked out of the prison facility, all I could think about was…why? Why had I married this guy? And stayed for twenty years? I couldn’t even remember myself as a person who could do that.

At least I’d dragged more information out of him. I was determined to piece together the puzzle of the past I’d lost.

***

Excerpt from The Rising by Kerry L Peresta. Copyright 2022 by Kerry L Peresta. Reproduced with permission from Kerry L Peresta. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Kerry L Peresta

Kerry’s publishing credits include a popular newspaper column, “The Lighter Side,” (2009—2011), and magazine articles in Local Life MagazineThe Bluffton BreezeLady Lowcountry, and Island Events Magazine. She is the author of three published novels, The Hunting, women’s fiction, The Deadening, Book One of the Olivia Callahan Suspense Series, and The Rising, Book Two. Book Three in this series releases in 2023 by Level Best Books. She spent twenty-five years in advertising as an account manager, creative director, editor, and copywriter. She is past chapter president of the Maryland Writers’ Association and a current member and presenter of Hilton Head Island Writers’ Network, South Carolina Writers Association, and the Sisters in Crime organization. Kerry and her husband moved to Hilton Head Island, SC, in 2015. She is the mother of four adult children, and has a bunch of wonderful grandkids who remind her what life is all about.

Catch Up With Kerry L Peresta:
www.KerryPeresta.net
Goodreads
BookBub - @kerryperesta
Instagram - @kerryperesta
Twitter - @kerryperesta
Facebook - @klperesta

 

 

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Thursday, 26 May 2022

Vive La Résistance (Donovan Trait #3) by Seelie Kay


Things are gonna get messy…

An illegal union, a banned birth, a Great Lie, and now, genocide. Vampire lawyer Donovan Trait and his wife, chemically-turned Judge Shirley Magnusen, are battling for their lives and the lives of their children. The Vampire Coalition wants them dead, but now the despots have also decided to expand their net, targeting any vampire whose blood is mixed with human or Were. Half-bloods are already treated like dirt by the Vampire Nation. They have been subjected to centuries of discrimination and cruelty at their hands. As the Coalition embarks on a campaign of terror, destruction, and slaughter, millions of half-bloods emerge from the shadows, ready and willing to reclaim their place in the Vampire Nation. The problem is, war cannot be unleashed out in the open in the human world, battles must be fought in other ways. Even with an island of highly-skilled vampire nuns and a few Weres and humans at that their side, it appears the Traits may be fighting an unwinnable war. Their only option may be to sacrifice their own lives in the hopes of setting all other half-bloods free.


Book Links:
Extasy Books * Goodreads


Read an Excerpt from Vive La Résistance


Donovan shifted on the lounger and muttered incomprehensively, then he emitted a rumbling snore.

“Hey, y’all. So yeah, vampires are real and they’re not above doing the dirty to those who share their blood. Take a look at this.” The Tik-Tokker grinned. “You are not gonna believe it. It’s so shady.”
Video of the Coalition camps rolled across the screen. Occasionally, the camera zeroed in a dirty or bruised Millennial, or a guard pushing a group of people into a building, their ankles locked together with some sort of rope. They were seen eating off of metal plates and lined up to fill a metal cup with something from a barrel. It wasn’t water. The liquid was rust-colored and thick, like blood.

“And the dudes running the place have a Marie Antoinette fetish. You know—” The woman mimicked a knife across her throat. “Off with their heads?” She giggled.

A guillotine appeared on camera. About ten people were in line, each with a black hood over their heads and their arms bound behind them. One at a time, they were pushed onto a stage and forced to their knees, their necks positioned directly under the blade. With manic efficiency, a guard released the blade. Most heads flew into a barrel in front of the platform. The ones that rolled off onto the stage were kicked to their final destination. The headless bodies were tossed onto a pile on the ground.

“Oh, grosss,” the woman complained. She leaned toward the camera. “Kind of like a bad zombie movie, isn’t it?” She sat back in her chair and made a face. “Whatever. I mean, like, are we supposed to believe that’s really happening? Isn’t that against the law or something?” She cackled. “As if.” She leisurely stretched her body, her crop top exposing a belly button ring. “I’m so shook.”

The woman tossed her hair over her shoulder and smiled. “Now, I’m not sharing this for the views. It is kind of sus. But if this shit is real, someone needs to get off the pot and do something about it. Aren’t there any woke cops out there who can play the James Bond card? Before anymore—” She swiped her finger across her throat and giggled. Then the screen went black.

Donovan shot up in his chair and blinked. Once. Twice. He shook his head and attempted to gather himself. What the hell? Sure, he had needed the sleep, even if it was only a thirty-minute nap, but the dreams he could do without. It had been less than forty-eight hours since the worldwide kidnappings. Donovan knew preparations for rescue were underway. But he also knew Bengotten and Hannigan were capable of even greater cruelty. He could only imagine the terror and the torture the victims were being subjected to. 

It was difficult to understand how the vampire world was capable of this. He had long prided himself on their natural superiority, their ability to rise up above the petty politics and unjustified violence in the human and Were worlds. Yet overnight, vampires had become the monsters, the tyrants capable of such evil. That astonished him. For the first time in his long existence, Donovan was ashamed of being a vampire. If it was possible, he might very well submit to being turned into a human or a Were. He buried his face in his hands. Yes, he could live as a human. Perhaps he could ask Dr. Alvarez to find a way to turn off his vampirism, maybe using the gene-editing Marilyn could not stop talking about.

 About Seelie Kay:

Award-winning author Seelie Kay writes about lawyers in love, sometimes with a dash of kink.

Writing under a nom de plume, the former lawyer and journalist draws her stories from more than 30 years in the legal world. Seelie’s wicked pen has resulted in nineteen works of fiction, including the new paranormal romance series Donovan Trait, as well the erotic romance Kinky Briefs series and The Feisty Lawyers romantic suspense series. She also authored The Last Christmas, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, The President’s Daughter, Seizing Hope, The White House Wedding, and participated in the romance anthology Pieces of Us.

When not spinning romantic tales, Seelie ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. Currently, she resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, WI, where she enjoys opera, the Green Bay Packers, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine. 

Seelie is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS: Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

Seelie on the Web:
Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Author's Amazon Page



Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Fire & Ice by B.T.Polcari

 


A Mauzzy & Me Mystery, Book 2


Cozy Mystery, Young Adult Mystery, Mystery

Date Published: 08-15-2022

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

 

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After encountering a brief power outage at work, college student Sara Donovan might be allowing her imagination to run wild. The main vault in the Carlton Museum holds the Fire and Ice Exhibit, a collection of rare gems, including the Star of Midnight, a 175-carat diamond. Although all the stones are accounted for, Sara suspects the Star of Midnight was stolen and replaced with a fake.

While conducting her own investigation, what Sara uncovers is beyond even her wildest imagination: a coded message, papers with strange characters, and a mysterious set of numbers carved into an office wall. Despite dismissive historians and other experts, she is certain these clues point to a mysterious centuries-old legend.

Unfortunately, her colorful history of usually being right, but always being wrong, means she must solve the mystery to prove her theory.


 

About the Author

B.T. Polcari is a graduate of Rutgers College of Rutgers University, an award-winning mystery author, and a proud father of two wonderful children. He’s a champion of rescue pups (Mauzzy is a rescue), craves watching football and basketball, and, of course, loves reading mysteries. Among his favorite authors are D.P. Lyle, Robert B. Parker, and Michael Connelly. He is also an unapologetic fantasy football addict. He lives with his wife in scenic Chattanooga, Tennessee.

 

Contact Links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Blog

Goodreads

Pinterest

Instagram

 

Preorder Link

Amazon


RABT Book Tours & PR

Monday, 23 May 2022

Imagine the Kiss by Laura Haley-McNeil

 

Available for 99 cents from 23rd till 29th May!


Two people open themselves to the truth and open themselves to each other.

Her marriage in ruins, violinist Teagan Whitloch Munroe escapes into her music and the solace she finds at the Crystal Creek Ranch. Practicing in the woods helps her piece together her life, but she isn’t alone. When she hears someone hiking nearby, she demands he reveal himself, but the only revelation she gets is a soothing voice that heals the pain in her heart.
Maimed by a crushing accident, the once famous architect Phineas St. Cyr protects the world from his disfigurement by sequestering himself in the woods on the Crystal Creek Ranch. When he hears the intoxicating strains from Teagan’s violin, he can’t resist the beauty that quiets his aching soul, and he yearns to know the woman who creates such beauty.
Teagan finds sanctuary in her friendship with this connoisseur of music, but soon realizes Phin’s hiding more than his hideous scars. As they become entangled with each other, Teagan is stunned to learn they share more than a love of music. They are caught in a web of deceit by someone threatening to reveal Phin’s secrets. His exposed past endangers Teagan, and he can no longer walk away. This time he must face the enemy determined to defeat him. He’ll fight to the finish to protect the woman he can never love. No price is too high to keep buried the secret that will mark Teagan for destruction.

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com

Read an Excerpt from Imagine the Kiss


Chapter One

Teagan Whitloch Munroe was trembling. She was trembling, and she couldn’t stop. She’d been trembling for more than two hours—since she’d left the downtown Denver condominium she shared with her husband, Dr. Wilbert Munroe. What she’d seen inside the condo—in their bedroom—made her want to vomit. A cold knot of disgust and revulsion gripped her stomach.

When she’d walked into the master bedroom, she must’ve gasped. Will was lying on the bed, but he wasn’t alone. He’d lifted his head from the pillow. He looked right at her.

And swore.

He didn’t look surprised. He looked annoyed.

She’d pressed a hand over her mouth.

Blinded by tears, she’d backed into the doorjamb and stumbled into the hallway. She didn’t remember running out of the condo, but she must have. Her legs throbbed, and her chest ached. The only thing she remembered was her husband calling her name. What had he said? Let’s talk? She didn’t know if she should laugh or sob.

And she remembered the dulcet laughter of the naked woman who was servicing him in bed. Teagan’s and Will’s bed. Teagan had thought Ginny Andrews was her friend.

Some friend. Ginny who was svelte and toned. A contrast to Teagan who’d struggled with her weight since she was seven years old.

A shuddering breath rocked through Teagan’s lungs. Tears streamed down her cheeks. She wiped them away.

She barely remembered driving to the Crystal Creek Ranch, throwing a saddle on her favorite horse, Champagne, and racing through the meadows until she reached the aspen forest covering Crystal Peak.

Fighting against the despair that filled her, she wrapped shaky fingers around the reins and urged the Arabian horse through the trees bursting with spring green leaves. Her vision blurred, and she tried to focus on the pink wild roses and purple elephant’s head mingling with the green undergrowth. The splashes of Crystal Creek tumbling over rocks sounded next to the trail. It was happy and musical and far from the darkness that crowded her heart. Her stomach roiled and begged to be emptied of the half sandwich she’d eaten during the orchestral rehearsal that afternoon.

She ran her hand over the horse’s neck damp from perspiration.





About the Author:
A native of California, Laura Haley-McNeil spent her youth studying ballet and piano, though her favorite pastime was curling up with a good book. Without a clue as to how to write a book, she knew one day she would.
After college, she segued into the corporate world, but she never forgot her love for the arts and served on the board of two community orchestras. Finally realizing that the book she’d dreamt of writing wouldn’t write itself, she planted herself in front of her computer. She now immerses herself in the lives and loves of her characters in her romantic suspense and her contemporary romance novels. Many years later, she lived her own romantic novel when she married her piano teacher, the love of her life.
Though she and her husband have left warm California for cooler Colorado, they enjoy the outdoor life of hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and snow skiing. They satisfy their love of music by attending concerts and hanging out with their musician friends, but Laura still catches a few free moments when she can sneak off and read. 

Laura on the Web:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Newsletter

Tales from the Trail by Sherry Blackman

 

Stories from the Oldest Hiker Hostel on the Appalachian Trail

 

Nonfiction / Self-Help / Spirituality

Date Published: February 14, 2022

Publisher: MindStir Media


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During the 2020 pandemic, one thing held true: Scores of people headed out for a day hike on the Appalachian Trail (AT) as if being in the woods, immersed in beauty and mystery, immunized them against an invisible enemy. The AT became a hospital for souls locked up in quarantine, needing to breathe, stretch, and be nourished by the earth beneath their feet.

For decades, the AT has been a sanctuary for seekers, the tired and the lost; those hungry for renewal, the broken and the grieving; and those who want to face and answer questions they have lugged around with them in invisible backpacks. Questions like, what is next for me? Is there a God? Should I live or end it all? How can I liberate my life from what weighs it down? How can I forgive God?

This book pays tribute to those who dare such a grueling and soul-satisfying adventure. It tells the tales of those on a pilgrimage through insightful conversations and encounters, exploring and revealing what angels the hikers wrestle with in the wilderness who call out to name them again. This collection unveils the spirituality of any such journey in sometimes humorous, sometimes heart-wrenching portraits.

Tales from the Trail explores what it means to be human.

 


Purchase Link

Amazon



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Friday, 20 May 2022

Find Your Flavor by Lauren Doyle


 

A Recipe for Discovering Your Ideal Career

 

Nonfiction / Career

Date Published: March 30, 2022

Publisher: Getting Results Inc


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What do you want to be when you grow up?

That may have been fun or easy to answer years ago, but for teens and young adults, it's a question that can be disconcerting at best... and sometimes downright frightening now that the question has become real.

 

Career choice is a huge decision with layers of consequence.


In Find Your Flavor, Lauren Doyle walks readers through the step-by-step process she uses with the young adult clients she works with which include:

Integrating your interests, strengths, and lifestyle desires to create the recipe for the ultimate career success.

The importance of playing, experimenting, and sampling with potential ingredients to be included in your career recipe.

How to distinguish between enduring intrigue v.s. hobby-like interests.

Better understanding and mastering your own mind for more successful life outcomes.

Guidance on how to get your foot in the door (or on the ladder).

Learn to use existing social networks to help you land a position in your chosen field.


She offers specific exercises that help readers put these critical, but often 'invisible' concepts to work to uncover the perfect recipe for choosing the ideal career. Whether you are a teen considering a college major or a young adult about to launch into a professional role, you'll definitely want to read this book and 'find your flavor' that will put you on the path to success and life-long fulfillment.



Purchase Link

Amazon


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Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Upon a Mistake (Il Cuore #1) by Shilpa Suraj

 


There are no second chances, only missed ones...


Five years ago, an accident changed Maya's life forever. From an engaged, MBA graduate with her entire life in front of her, she'd ended up dumped, bedridden, and in enough debt to drown her and her family.
Five years ago, Yash had been looking forward to marrying the woman of his dreams. Then his father died, he lost his job and his fiancee dumped him over a text.
Neither have forgiven each other and neither has forgotten the other. When their paths cross at Il Couer, a vineyard owned by common friends, sparks fly, past hurts are stoked and present dreams are destroyed.
And that is just the beginning. As their lives get entangled, both professionally and personally, they find themselves fighting familial disapproval, professional jealousy, and a mutual attraction that threatens to burn them down.
Can Maya and Yash ever unravel their tangled past? And will the truth of their past define or destroy them? Can you build a future on a posioned past? They're about to find out...

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com


Read an Excerpt from Once Upon A Mistake


Maya didn’t stop walking. Nor did she turn or give him any indication that she’d heard him. She just kept moving, as fast as she could, away from him. 

“Maya.” Irritated, Yash caught her arm at the elbow, halting her headlong rush just as they turned a corner of the house and out of sight of the bonfire crowd. 

The sudden jerk of his hand caused her weak leg to give out under her and she stumbled, hissing in pain. 

Shit! Yash pulled his hand back immediately, feeling like the ass he’d behaved like. 

“I am so sorry,” he said, leaning forward to help her regain her balance. 

Maya swatted his hand away and got to her feet on her own steam. Her cheeks flushed, her chest heaving with the force of her emotions, she tossed her hair away from her face and looked at him. 

All these years later, her beauty still took his breath away. Yash rubbed his chest, a silent gesture to try and soothe his aching heart. 

“What do you want?” she asked, crossing her arms in front of her. If he knew her, she was probably suppressing the urge to flip him off again. 

“I want to talk to you,” he said, leaning against the wall of the house behind him. From the distance, muted laughter floated back to them but here, in this moment, they were in a secluded bubble of their own. 

“We don’t have anything to say to each other,” she tossed back, her angry eyes spitting darts at him. 

Yash wasn’t so sure about that. He thought they had a lot to say to each other. She especially had a lot to answer for. She’d called off their engagement without even an explanation! 

He shook it off. This wasn’t about them. This was about his friend. This was about Yash being a good friend. 

“I don’t know what the hell you and your friends are planning but please let the Thakkar family mourn in peace. For the duration of this weekend, just keep your heads down, don’t create any scenes and leave peacefully the minute this is over.” 

Maya stared at him, an inscrutable look on her face. And then she started to laugh. She clutched her stomach, tears streaming down her face as she laughed and laughed. Yash’s confusion grew as he watched, as did his anger. 

“What’s so funny?” he asked. “I’m not joking. Aakash told me all about you lot and the kind of shit you get up to. Keep all of that out of this weekend and away from any member of their family. They don’t need it, alright? You’ve already taken one family member from them. Let’s not ruin another.” 
Even before the last word escaped his lips, shame swamped Yash in a tidal wave. What had he said? Shit! 

Vikram’s death had been an accident. Everyone knew that. The car’s tyre had burst. A freak accident that no one could have predicted. And no matter what their group had gotten up to earlier that night, there was no doubt that Vikram had been a full and willing participant. Aakash may find it hard to think beyond his grief but surely Yash was better than that? 

Maya’s laughter stopped like he’d slapped her. And in some ways, he supposed he had. He opened his mouth to apologise but nothing came out. 

They stared at each other in the enveloping darkness of the night. The only light, a dim yellow glow from the rear verandah of the house. 

“So no orgies then?” she asked, huskily. 

The word sent a jolt of desire through him as he stared at her lovely profile encased in that soft, faded yellow light.

“Not funny,” he said, his voice hoarse. 

“Who’s joking?” She lifted her delicate shoulders in a tiny shrug. “We weren’t planning to invite any of you fuddy duddies of course.” She wrinkled her nose at him. “It’s not like you lot would be any fun in bed.” 

His eyes dipped to her lips as she spoke, her words painting painfully arousing images in his head. 

“Stop it, Maya.” 

She pouted, one long finger reaching up to trace the low v neck of his soft, white kurta. Her nail scraped through the hair peeking out, sending arrows of heat shooting through him. 

She brought her mouth close to his ear and whispered, “What if we promise to be very, very quiet?” 

The hair on the back of Yash’s neck stood up even as his eyes fluttered close without volition. 

“So quiet, that you wouldn’t even know that in my head I would be screaming as I came, as orgasm after orgasm rolled through me…” 

About the Author:


Shilpa Suraj wears many hats - corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.


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