Cover Reveal! “Femme Fatale Reloaded” By Kirsty-Anne Still

Title: Femme Fatale Reloaded (Pericolo #2)
Author: Kirsty-Anne Still
Release Date: March 13, 2015
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I used to be fearful. I used to be admired. I used to be the Femme Fatale.

Until I fell.

I fell from my status, from the pedestal I had been placed, and I fell in love.

And that’s where it all went wrong.

I once thrived on one motto – Don’t feel, don’t deviate, kill.

Now, I thrive on betrayal, a reminder never to trust my heart, and the need to be Femme Fatale Reloaded.

It’s time I got myself back to the place I most belong – a cherished, yearned for secret weapon.

However, when a ghost from my past walks into my life again, pledging to be an Abbiati, my life turns upside down all over again.

My biggest problem was never the kill, but the thrill of the chase.

Apparently, love is the most dangerous game I can ever play, and my life is about to spiral out of control.

 

“Seeing as we’re all out of money, is it safe to say this evening is being cut short?”

“No, no, I don’t think the evening’s up quite yet. I reckon we should up the wager,” Andrew comments, leaning into the table. “Strip poker… I’d do anything to see Amelia stark naked and a loser.”

I don’t get time to roll my eyes and make some smart ass remark as Zane suddenly moves, lightning speed accompanies him, and he slams a knife down, nailing it between Andrew’s fingers, narrowly missing dismembering his middle finger. There’s total stillness in the room as he leans in, the creak of his chair is all that sounds out and we all watch with bated breath.

“Dare talk about my girl like that again and I’ll make sure it’s a bigger member I threaten next time, understood?” Zane asks, his voice dangerously threatening. “Well, Andrew?”

“U-understood,” Andrew stutters, his eyes wide, but he does the wrong thing of looking at me.

Zane, noticing, leaves the knife, and reaches up to grab Andrew around the face. He forces him, in a vice-like grip, to look at him. Zane’s fingers begin to go white while Andrew’s face squishes up with the tight hold. He waits a moment before chuckling and releasing his prey.

“You could never get a girl like Amelia, so dream on,” he states, sardonically executing the words. “I already beat two men for treating her any less than she is; don’t think I’ll make an exception for you right now.”

 

I used to be just another Fanfiction writer! That was until one person showed real interest in my work. And then another, and then another, until I had this whole group of people reviewing like crazy and wanting original work from me. I’d spent years writing for free online, I didn’t believe I had it in me to publish something!

But I’m glad I did!! I never imagined pushing my work and striving to reach my ultimate. I never imagined I’d be the girl who started The Viper Rooms! But who am I to deny the inspiration when it hits?

I love writing, it’s a lifeline. I love creating a world that others fall into. I love having the control to make a whole new world. It’s like a dependency, an addictive one. It’s one of the things I’m extremely proud of.

As much as I complain, I love the mini dialogues that go on in my head, the plotlines that attack me when I least expect them to. The ones that jump to life at the most inappropriate times and drive me totally crazy!!

For now I split my life between writing, dreaming, working, and volunteering with children.

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Happy Cover Reveal Day! “What We’ll Leave Behind” By Len Webster

Title: What We’ll Leave Behind
Author: Len Webster
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Find on Goodreads

One chance meeting on a white beach in Thailand would set their story in stone.
Eighteen and fresh out of high school, Stevie Appleton is about to embark on a form of freedom she has never known. When offered the chance to go to Thailand to celebrate the end of high school, she takes it. What she doesn’t know is that saying yes would lead to meeting him.
Having just finished his Bachelor, Julian Moors can’t wait to party away the last three years of university. All he wants from his holiday in Thailand is to relax on the beach, drink and have the time of his life. However, the moment his eyes land on the beautiful blonde reading on the beach, he knows he can’t stay away. All his other wants no longer matter. What does matter is getting to know the girl behind the mockingbird.
Enter Stevie and Julian’s memory vault.
No names. No past. Just right now.
Seven days to fall in love.
Seven days until their end.
Seven days until they both wake up heartbroken.
And four more years until they meet again.

“So, who was the girl you were talking to on the beach earlier today?” Dean asked, nursing his beer.

Julian scanned the area around the makeshift dance floor and bar. No Blondie. He knew the moment he walked away he should have asked for where she was staying. But no. He went for the ‘you’re going to miss me when I’m gone’ approach. But it seemed to turn out to be the ‘I’m walking away and I’ll lose you’ goodbye. A move only made by an idiot.

Staring at the bonfire, he pouted. “Just a girl.”

Dean let out a low laugh. “Sure,” he slowly dragged.

“What?” Julian raised a brow.

“Mate, I’ve seen you in clubs and on campus. Never seen you stumble like you did. You’re normally in and out with the phone numbers,” Dean explained.

“Whatever,” Julian sighed, knowing his mistakes. “Have you spoken to Willa?” he asked, trying to change the subject.

From the corner of his eye, he noticed Dean shake his head.

“She’s giving me the silent treatment after our fight. She hasn’t been herself since we got here.”

Turning his head, Julian stared at Dean and smiled at the concerned glint in his eye. “Maybe you should leave the beach party and go home to her?”

“She’ll probably tell me to go away.”

“Trust me, go talk to her,” Julian instructed.

“I don’t think—”

“Don’t think. Do.”

Dean passed Julian his beer and nodded. “Okay. I’ll go see what’s wrong with her.”

Julian didn’t bother to look if Dean was walking back to the villa. He knew deep down that Dean loved Willa just as stupidly. Fools are the ones in love. And love is for the fools.

Fools, fools, fools.

But wait.

I’m a fool.

Not a ‘love’ fool.

But one of those fools who wait.

“Excuse me, you haven’t seen my friend have you?” her voice asked.

Julian froze and a smile instantly crossed his lips. He quickly turned around to see Stephanie in a white summer dress that hit her knees. She tilted her head and raised a brow at him.

You’re here, Stephanie.

“Your friend?” he asked, his smile not yet disappearing.

She nodded. “Yeah, he’s this annoying idiot. He wouldn’t be hanging out with you. You seem too serious by the way you’re glaring at that fire.”

Pursing his lips, he nodded his head at every word she said. When she stopped talking he let his eyes roam her face. Taking in the glint in her eyes, her cute nose and her plump lips. He kept his stare on her mouth longer than necessary and he knew that.

I’m going to kiss you, Blondie.

I don’t know when.

I don’t know how.

But I will.

His heart twitched at the thought. Friends kissed. He was sure one would be harmless. Clenching his eyelids tight together, Julian ignored the desire in him to want to kiss her right here, right now. It was all superficial. He enjoyed her exterior. The interior, her personality, was one he was going to take his time learning. She had already fascinated him with her book choice and her smart mouth. He wanted to know more.

“Julian,” she said his name so perfectly it was like each letter was voiced carefully.

Once he opened his eyes, he pushed his desired thoughts away. The hesitant look in her eye screamed ‘friends.’ In the end that’s what they’d be. But he’d be damned if he missed out on the knowledge of what her lips were like on his.

Baby steps, Julian.

“I didn’t think you’d come,” he confessed.

Stephanie shrugged. “You wanted me to come for some reason. And well, my roommate booted me out of the room. I don’t know where the other girls are so I thought what the hell.”

“This feels like a booty call. I am offended,” he teased.

She shook her head. “That was lame.”

“Do over?” he asked.

“Not on your life,” she sassed.

Shoulders sagging, Julian spun around and looked back at the fire. “You’re kinda mean, Blondie.”

Seconds passed and she stood next to him, also staring at the flames. “You should be used to it. We’re friends, remember?” 


 

Title: What You Left Behind
Author: Len Webster
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Find on Goodreads
No amount of white sand or distance could bury their past.
Some things are just never meant to be forgotten.
When Julian Moors returned from Thailand he left behind all his belongings, his father and only brother in Melbourne and moved to Sydney. One girl shattered his world and left him with more questions than answers.
Behind the persona, Stevie Appleton tries to outrun her past. Nightmares and memories have started to collide, putting her future and her heart at risk. No one can know the secrets she tries to keep locked away, even if it means betraying the people she loves the most.
Everyone has a story but not everyone has a past quite like Stevie and Julian.
When they meet years later, don’t expect a happy ending. The past holds skeletons and not even these skeletons can be buried.

Looking across the dance room, Stevie noticed Rob standing alone by a table. Guilt settled in the pit of her stomach. It was hard for her to let go of her past and be with him. Something about his eyes and his smile reminded her of the man she left behind all those years ago. Being together was meant to make Jewel, the woman from the bar, jealous but somehow Rob fell deeper. And as hard as Stevie tried, she couldn’t make herself to fall in love with Robert Moors.

Julian.

His name made her flinch. She tried not to remember that name but it had always been hard to. Stevie rubbed the back of her neck at where she had his initial tattooed. It was a spur of the moment decision that he had chosen to do in order to leave her comfort zone. Looking back, she should have had it removed but she couldn’t get herself to do it. Somehow they were the better chapters in her life, even though it was chapters she wished she could just forget. There were days when she wondered if he kept her initial tattooed on his chest. According to him that was where her name belonged. She was foolish to believe him then. They were just a ‘summer fling.’

The times after Thailand had been her darker times. Only her stepbrother, Jarred Harper, brought her back. When she left for London, she vowed to never let her secrets about Julian and Thailand to ever be revealed to Jarred. Sighing, Stevie placed the envelope on the table next to her and glanced back at Rob. It wasn’t something she wanted to do, to tell him it was over, but she couldn’t stay with him. She never had a problem being with men, that she knew well, but Rob was different. Rob was an exception.

If only I met him first, then maybe things could have been different.

Rob had never looked at her the same since she had called it quits. But Stevie knew why he hadn’t. Since he laid eyes on Alison O’Connor, Stevie knew things had changed. No matter how much Rob tried to hide it, she knew he was attracted to the young Sydney socialite. And that secret smile he directed towards Ally as she danced with her little cousin, CeCe, confirmed it.

Shifting her focus back at Noel and Clara dancing, Stevie was envious. Just the way Noel looked at her best friend with such love made her jealous. It was disgusting how jealous she was. She was happy for them but a love like theirs was only for the privileged and the pure. A love like theirs was only for them and no one else. Everyone who watched were intruders. Outsiders looking in.

“It’ll happen for you.”

Turning her head, she instantly smiled at the man next to her. His freckles had always made her smile. If she ever wanted to make someone proud, it would always be him.

“Big talk for someone who already has it,” she said.

Jarred sighed and then gave her a tight smile. “Stevie, don’t be so hard on yourself. What they have, what Annie and I have, you’ll have it someday. You’re a good person that made a mistake. Don’t punish yourself for the rest of your life. You deserve love, just don’t run or you’ll miss out.”

I already had it.

I already ran.

I already missed out.

The guilt weighed heavy on her chest and threatened the resurfacing of the memories she had. She had left him. She gave him no reason or chance. She just wanted to vanish.

I was afraid to be in love with him.

I was afraid that maybe he could love me.

It was too spontaneous.

It didn’t make sense.

“I don’t deserve love, Jarred. You were in London. You saw what kind of person I really am. What I’m really capable of,” Stevie said, remembering those nights he had come to rescue her.

 “Don’t. You’ve come a long way since then. You were lost. I don’t judge you base on those times. I know what a kind hearted person you are. You are responsible for that,” Jarred said, pointing at Noel as he kissed his wife.

It was the only thing she had ever done right in her life and that was making sure Clara found her way back to Noel. Convincing Liam had been easy. All it took was alcohol to get him to open up. Clara had been a tougher task—she had almost given up her happiness for Liam’s.

“I didn’t do anything. It was all them.”

Jarred snorted. “You were the one to convince Liam to go to Boston. You know Clara is forever grateful to you.”

Stevie focused down at the envelope and then back at her stepbrother. “I’m going to miss her,” she confessed in a small voice.

Placing a hand on her shoulder, Jarred nodded then said, “Me, too. You know, one day, someone is going to want to love you the way Noel loves Clara… maybe even more.”

Stevie’s heart ached. She wanted a love like theirs but she knew she never deserved one. Not when she had it. Not when she decided it was better to walk away than feel it. And after that last morning in Thailand, she had decided she never wanted to feel anything as intense as she did with Julian. No matter how much she had wanted to.

The truth is, Len Webster is a romance-loving Melbournian with dreams of finding her version of ‘The One.’ She calls Australia home, but secretly wishes a man with a beautiful accent would whisk her away. She’s been called a hopeless romantic and a firm believer of happily ever afters, which she doesn’t object to.

Having just completed her Bachelor in Business and Commerce, Len can be found daydreaming of her next Europe adventure or swooning over Mr. Darcy. Her best friends are a hot cup of tea, red velvet cupcakes, a warm jumper and her MacBook, ready to write to her heart’s content.

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Book Blitz & Review – “Shattered” By Pamela Sparkman and Deanna Gohn

Title: Shattered (Stolen Breaths #2)
Author: Pamela Sparkman & Deanna Gohn
Release Date: Oct 13, 2014
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Close your eyes for a moment and picture this.

A gorgeous redhead walks into a bar.

No, wait, a wedding reception.

A gorgeous redhead walks into a wedding reception. Poised, polished and flawless – on the outside.

He’s tall, dark, and handsome, exactly like a fairytale prince and he won’t take no for an answer as he leads her to the dance floor.

But this will be no ordinary dance and theirs is no ordinary story. What begins as rhythmic steps on a dance floor fluidly and beautifully becomes the rhythm of two hearts meant to beat as one.

Until the music stops. 

In a moment everything she’s put behind her comes crashing down, threatening to destroy what his love has helped repair and rebuild.

Life throws punches and it hits hard when you least expect it.

What they learn is that sometimes, in order to be truly whole, you have to first be shattered to your very core.

Amazon

Before I even realized what I was doing, I’d reached out and grabbed her hand and pulled her into me; and then I was kissing her.  I’m pretty sure I caught her off guard, since she let out a soft moan.  My hands held her face, and I… forgot how to do this.  My lips froze.  Her lips and mine were touching and nothing more.  The kiss was simple.  It was chaste.  It was precious.  And for a whole minute that’s what we did, touched lips, because I forgot how to do this.  My lips completely paralyzed against hers made this the most innocent and the most sensual kiss I’d ever experienced. 

I slowly, very slowly, backed away. She still had her eyes closed.  She was mesmerizing.  She opened her eyes and looked up at me, her eyes holding mine.

“Don’t say anything,” I quickly told her.  “Just…just let me look at you.”

She complied, and remained silent.  She held my gaze, as I held hers, and I slowly counted in my head all the things I loved about her.  She was beautiful, kind, funny, sophisticated…  The list grew longer as I stared down at her, and I finished my mental list with this realization: she was Maggie, which meant she was everything

“Tomorrow,” I said, “I’m taking you somewhere fun, so get some rest.  And wear comfortable shoes.”  I stepped around her and guided her to the bed, stopping her when she touched the mattress with the back of her knees.  “Lie down, and I’ll tuck you in.”

She still had not said a word, only obliging my requests.  She lay down and I pulled the covers up over her, then reached around and turned off the lamp.  I leaned in, lingering quietly above her, wishing I could tell her what was in my heart.  I placed a kiss on her forehead, a soft whisper of one that lasted for a beat longer than I intended, but not as long as I would have liked, then gently pulled back.

“Night, Maggie,” I said, walking toward the door.

“I didn’t think you would really do it,” she whispered.

“What?  Kiss you?”

“Yeah.”

“I wasn’t going to, but you challenged me.  I guess you could say you made me do it.”

“Is that what I am?  A challenge?”

“You’re definitely a challenge, sweetheart.  It’s a challenge just to keep my hands to myself whenever we’re in the same room.

 

Pamela Sparkman – 

I grew up in Alabama and have always been an avid reader. I had a stack of those Little Golden Books and I can remember reading Three Little Kittens over and over and over again. It was my favorite.

Fast forward and the older I got the more in love with books I became. So, I’m admitting that I am a huge nerd. The only reading I don’t like are those math word problems. And I’m okay with that because no one has ever asked me in real life… “If I give you two bananas and take away six apples, how long will it take the southbound train to collide with the northbound train if Johnny left his house at midnight?” It just doesn’t happen.

So, yeah, books are my thing.

Oh and music. All kinds. Love.It.

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Deanna Gohn – 

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Review

There are so many important elements of a captivating novel – believable, relatable characters you can empathize, laugh and cry with, an entertaining and engaging supporting cast, and a compelling plot.

Let’s start with the main characters.

Joe…no brainer. I immediately loved him to pieces, maybe because there were so many things about his character that reminded me of my husband when we were first dating… =)

I love when characters have little quirks or unique personality attributes and being a master joke-teller was his “thing.” Joe is the kind of guy who goes for what he wants. He doesn’t let anything stand in his way when his sights are set on something…or someone.

Maggie…to be honest, I didn’t really feel like I knew her for most of the story. I saw hints of her past, what the author showed me, but I didn’t feel the effects as much as I would have liked. At least, not until well into the story. I wish I’d been able to get to know her better earlier but I’m glad her history was finally revealed and seeing how she dealt with the hand she’d been dealt really changed my opinion of her for the better.

The secondary characters definitely didn’t disappoint. They all had their own “stuff” going on, making them more multi-dimensional. I especially loved the relationship between Joe and his best friends. I could feel their history and their banter was both humorous and heartfelt.

My impression of the overall story was very good. It was a little slow to start but it gained speed and ultimately captured me. I think the reason why I didn’t love it was because I felt disconnected from Maggie for the better part of the book. Once I truly understood her and her history, things came together and I found myself rooting for her. I wanted her to find her own happiness, to make up for all the past pain.

Overall, I’d give Shattered 4 stars. And I will anxiously await the next installment. =)

Giveaway Time! $50 Amazon Gift Card & Swag!!!

It’s giveaway time!!!! How would you like a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card and your choice of one of my fab SWAG items????

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Soooo easy to enter…just like my Facebook fan page, follow the Twitter accounts listed, and/or tweet a message about Unlikely Venture!

It’s already pre-populated so you don’t even have to make one up!!!!  =)

Click Here To Enter The Rafflecopter Giveaway!

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Book Blitz! “First Comes Love” By Z.B. Heller

Title: First Comes Love: A Chronicles of Moxie novel
Author: Z.B. Heller
Release Date: Jan 22, 2015
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So I met this guy. He has the trifecta of awesomeness; hot, built, and amazing in bed. But the best part of it all is that he loves me. Did I mention that I puked all over him when we first met? No? Well, that’s a different story. Now the whole world wants to barf on us because we are disgustingly in love and let’s face it, the cutest couple on earth. But what happens when our love for each other may not be enough to face the road ahead? As the saying goes, first comes love, then maybe if your lucky he’ll put a ring on it, then comes…oh, the crap in diapers. So far I’ve faced a malicious girl scout, and jealous hoochie and a skunk that I may or may not have turned into a fur stole. Now Miles and I are facing our great challenge as a couple. As I’ve found out, sometimes life isn’t all daises and unicorn farts.

Amazon

A soft knock came from the door and one of the staff went to open it. In came what I could only describe as dollar store rendition of Mickey’s best dog pal, Pluto. This person was wearing yellow sweatpants, a matching sweatshirt, yellow gloves, tennis shoes, and a black felt string attach to the ass with duct tape. To make the situation worse, they were wearing a plastic Pluto head that looked like it was purchased at a Halloween store. It reminded me of those stupid unicorn heads that guys wore at frat parties because they thought they were the coolest ones there.

Dysfunctional Pluto came over to our table and waved at everyone without saying a word. I looked at Renee and Ryan, who were sitting opposite of Dillion and I at the table. Both of them were trying hard to suppress their laughter. Renee waved back at him, and I just looked at Dysfunctional Pluto like he had the plague. Dillion jumped out of his seat and ran over to hug Pluto, and I wanted to pull him back because I thought for sure this person was hiding a weapon somewhere and was about to massacre us. Maybe Miles couldn’t pay the upgrade charge to bring in a real Pluto so they had to substitute with Pluto’s mentally disturbed cousin, Sudo.

Sudo surrounded Dillion in a king-sized hug. He then gave Ryan a handshake and patted Renee on the head. When he came to me, he pulled me out of my chair. He took the long tongue that hung disturbingly out of his mask and made a huge slurping sound as he drew his plastic tongue up from my chin to the top of my head.

“Wow. Thanks, Pluto. That was sweet.” I patted him on the shoulder, but he wasn’t finished. He took his gloved paws and engulfed me in a hug and hooked one of his legs around mine.

He finally released me and signaled to Renee to take our picture. He stood behind me and once again wrapped his giant paws around my waist. His large plastic head rested on my shoulder.

“Pluto, I know you’re a horny dog, but this is the last time I’m warning you to keep your paws to yourself.”

Then Sudo quickly grabbed my butt and gave a tight squeeze.

“That’s it!” I said through my teeth. I turned around and kneed him right in his big doggie balls.

Renee and Ryan gasped as Sudo fell to his knees, grabbed his puppy pals, and let out a moan.

“Jesus Christ, Moxie!” Sudo said, still on his knees.

“What the fuck!” I covered my mouth with both hands. “Miles?”

 “Is it always your reaction to knee Disney characters in the crotch?” Miles stood, still wincing.

“You we’re groping me! What are you doing here dressed up as sudo Pluto?” My hands were in my hair and my eyes went wide. “I thought you were stuck at home working?”

“It’s supposed to be a surprise. It was all planned,” Miles said, his voice sounding less strained.

I turned around to look at Ryan and Renee. “You knew?”

They both nodded, biting their lips to try to contain their laughter.

“What about you?” I eyed Dillion.

“I was told that if I said anything to you, Daddy would cancel my subscription to National Geographic.”

“I still might cancel your subscription. Hasn’t anyone taught you it’s not nice to lie?” I admonished, but Dillion kept smiling because he knew I was the one lying.

“This is so sweet, Miles. But you didn’t have to do all of this. You could have just come with us on the plane like a normal human being.”

“Then it wouldn’t have been as memorable.” He put his gloved dog paws on his hips.

“Why does it have to be memorable? It’s just a… Oh, shit!” It hit me like a lightning bolt.

Miles dropped down to one knee and took my hand in his fake dog paw. “Moxie, from the moment I met you, you surprised me at every turn. I love how honest you are, caring, and even how outspoken you are. You make Dillion and I complete with your love, and I want you to make our family complete. I love you, sweetness. Will you marry me?”

Ryan handed Miles a black box, and Miles, having some issues using his gloved hands, opened it to reveal and large solitaire princess cut diamond. Everything I wanted and dreamed about were at my fingertips. I wanted a future with Miles and Dillion more then I wanted my next breath. Tears rolled down my cheeks, and I clutched my stomach with my hands.

“Moxie, this is the most quiet I’ve ever seen you. Can you please say something so I know that you’re still breathing?” Miles held the ring in front of him.

I looked at the ring and then back to Miles, his eyes filled with tears. This was the moment of fight or flight. “Miles, I’m pregnant.”

 

As a little girl, it was always a dream for Z.B. Heller to become She-Ra Princess of Power. Since this dream was unobtainable, she spent what was probably way too long in college trying to “find herself.” Becoming an artist scratched the creative itch until the stories in her head got to be too loud for her to get anything else accomplished. She lives in St. Louis with her husband, son, and Flemish Giant rabbit, Chloe. In her spare time she likes to read, stalk celebrities on Twitter, and create the type of art people scratch their heads about.

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Obsessing About Mr. Wonderful

I’m giggling because I’m mildly obsessed with Mr. Wonderful these days. Anyone who’s read my blog recently can attest to that.

Could it be because he kinda reminds me of Paul Emerson, ruthless and calculating CEO of Blue Coat Capital?

Check out my novel Unlikely Venture if you’re curious!!!

I found this video on YouTube…first of a four-part series…The Best of Kevin O’Leary. It’s kind of spot-on…I can totally hear Paul saying some of this stuff.

Happy Cover Reveal Day! “Black Number Four” By Kandi Steiner

Title: Black Number Four

Author: Kandi Steiner

Release Date: April 4, 2015

Find on Goodreads

Known as one of the youngest and most ambitious poker players in the country, Skyler Thorne has a reputation to uphold in Vegas this year. Her sole focus for spring semester is to perfect her game and get tournament ready – and have some fun with her sorority sisters, of course. Meeting a care-free pledge with incredible arms adds a whole new element of fun to her semester, but when a shocking discovery about his past surfaces, Skyler finds herself stuck in a game she wasn’t prepared to play.

Kip Jackson is on a mission from his father. His plan was to get in, have a little fun, and then get out – on to bigger and better things. A feisty girl with bright blue eyes wasn’t on his list of things to do, but she quickly moves her way up to the very top. When he realizes completing his dad’s mission means crushing her in the process, he must decide if his dreams are worth the risk – or if he even has the same dreams, at all.

Two secrets. Two hearts. Two hands being played in one twisted game of deceit.

When the cards are on the table, will anyone be left standing?

The perfect poker face can only hide them for so long.

Amazon

There are three things you should know about me.

One, I can read a bluff like a neon street sign. Everyone gives themselves away in some form of a twitch or another, and after a few rounds at the table with me, I can guarantee I’ll know yours. So, throw your best fake smile or confident wink at me, but just know I can see right through you – and we both know there’s no sense in betting all your chips with nothing but a Jack high in your hands.

Two, I have the best poker face in the game. I’ll make you think you’re reading me, show a little sign of being nervous maybe or bite my lip in anticipation of the river, but it’s all part of the plan. I’m building you up to expect the wind to blow one way just so I can pull out an industrial size fan and send your shit flying just the opposite. And if by chance you do get to me, you won’t know – because I don’t let it show, not even a little. If anything, I’ll make you think you actually played right into my hand – making you the nervous one, in turn. The key to a killer poker face is to strip your soul of all emotion and show only what you purposefully want the other person to see. And trust me – I’m the lead singer in the band of No Emotion.

Number three and, perhaps, the most important thing to know about me is this: I know when to fold. I know when to hang in tough, when to push my luck, when to bluff my ass out of a tight situation and when to throw the cards down and run as fast as I can in the other direction. In poker and in life, it’s all about knowing the game you’re playing and how you stand up to the competition. And pace – you have to know when to push and when to sit back and let it ride. Now don’t get me wrong – I hate throwing in the towel as much as any other competitive, adrenaline chasing poker junkie, but I’ve learned even in my short time in the game that there are some hands you just don’t mess with… some cards that forever trump others.

All three of these things are true. If you asked any sports reporter, any poker analyst, any pro standing around watching the final table of this tournament right now – they would tell you all three of these things about me and maybe add in a few notes of their own. Which is why I can’t understand why my hands are trembling, why my skin is slick with a film of sweat as I drop any shred of a poker face I have left and push the remainder of my chips forward – toward the one person who managed to get under my skin, to break me down, to change the game, to flip me on my ass and toss every rule I’ve ever had into a massive wood chipper, leaving me with nothing but the shavings.

The last thing I see before I close my eyes and give one final push of the chips toward the center of the table are the burning blue eyes that will forever haunt me, forever remind me that – even when we think we have a game completely mastered – there’s always the possibility that Chance and his brother, Luck, will show up and utterly screw everything.

“All in.”

 

Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa with her husband. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer.

Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).

When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.

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Women Make Better CEOs…Just Ask Mr. Wonderful

Women make better CEOs.
At least they do to Kevin O’Leary, the shrewd and calculating entrepreneur of ABC’s Shark Tank. But this isn’t conjecture; he’s got numbers to prove it.
According to Mr. Wonderful, female-run companies offer him greater returns on his investments and quicker exits.
“If I want high returns with low volatility, that equals a woman.” You heard it here, folks.
But why? What key attributes make these CEOs more financially successful? Why are 55% of the companies in O’Leary’s portfolio run by women???
“Attributes that I have observed are that they take less risk, they are more goal orientated in terms of setting targets and meeting them. If they say, ‘I am going to expand capacity or we’re going to increase distribution in the next quarter’, they deliver,” he explained. “It’s not an intuitive feeling. It’s actual hardcore results.”
Less cowboyish, less rogue, more strategic…yes, I can certainly see the rationale. =)
However, despite their obvious successes, we still don’t see a lot of female infiltration within venture capital and angel investor boards. It’s still a very male-dominated environment but one thing stands out. Networking plays a huge role and if you’re not rubbing elbows with the right people, you may not get the opportunities and visibility you deserve.
Women have always been great at networking…with other women. There are so many groups and associations and advocates for females in business but they are limiting because they only provide access to 50% of their potential partners. That’s just not good enough. Business people need to be smart and forward-thinking about their goals and understanding how all peers and competitors operate will offer significant insights for how to augment company growth.
Here’s a nickel’s worth of free advice. If you’re trying to run a business or launch a fledgling company, don’t limit your networking reach. Establish relationships with everyone who can possibly have an impact on your growing business. Learn how they work and use it to help shape your own strategy.

Embrace The Power Of The Double-D

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Boobs are power, pure and simple. If you’ve got them, flaunt them. Don’t cover those babies up…use them to get what you want.

Tori Albert is all too familiar with that power…well, at least with the knowledge it exists. But without ample assets in her arsenal, it completely evades her.

Fake boobs are the answer! They’d make up for everything lacking in her life, making her desirable, confident and fulfilled. But in reality, a double-D cup size could never fill the gaping hole in her heart. Only she has the ability to heal herself.

I loved the depth of the characters in this story and I empathized with their realistic struggles. Tori’s journey toward self-awareness was a rocky one at best but completely worth it when she reaches the final destination.

Ryan Ringbloom delivers yet another a powerful message…beauty fades, bums sag and boobs droop. If physical appearance is the only thing giving you validation, you’ll never be fulfilled because to find happiness in others, you have to first find it within yourself.

Fake Boobs is a must-read. Seriously, one-click NOW!

 Synopsis

Tori Albert is eighteen but her confidence level is zero. Her life experience…also zero. She’s a girl lost in the shuffle, hiding in the shadows, craving attention. If only someone, anyone, would notice her, maybe life would improve.

Grant Donovan can’t stop noticing Tori, but she is young, inexperienced and naïve. She is also his best friend’s younger sister. Grant knows the best thing he can do is just walk away. So why the hell isn’t he walking away?

When a late night knock lands across her bedroom door, Tori knows what stands behind it could end in disaster…but how many times does opportunity come knocking?

Just when she thinks her luck is finally changing, things take an unexpected turn for the worse.

With new assets and a new goal in sight, Tori will soon learn her new found confidence isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Unfortunately, some things you just have to learn the hard way.

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Go Big Or Go Home?

Boiling the ocean.

So cliché. We hear those words all the time in corporate America. It basically means you are trying to do way too much within a given endeavor/timeframe. Usually, those projects end up failing because you didn’t focus your efforts on the goal at hand and you let things get way out of control to the detriment of your resources.

But those words also have a lot of relevance for startup entrepreneurs, whose budgets are considerably smaller and time to market may very short. The first step is establishing a reasonable and manageable goal. Building toward that goal requires a well-thought out plan of action, with trackable tasks and milestones. You’re never going to meet your objectives if you’re flying by the seat of your pants. It’s focus that propels you to the finish line.

Courtesy of supplychainsabroad.wordpress.com

Courtesy of supplychainsabroad.wordpress.com

Easier said than done. I know. You’re excited and eager to create something prospective customers will embrace and value. Your passion drives you and ideas flow with no sign of stopping. It’s like you can’t control it…

But you must.

Take a step back. There’s a time and place for everything and even though you’re tempted and desperate to launch something beyond this universe, be thoughtful and careful about your longer term strategy. Start simple and work your way forward. You will have a better chance of meeting success if you keep your initial plans short and your end goals manageable.

This is the time to test. Try something. If it works, great. Incorporate it for the next launch. If it fails, you learned a lesson. Don’t make it a super-costly one.

Go big or go home?

Not always the way.

Go small to start. You have a better shot of winning big.

Courtesy of streetsmartproductmanager.com

Courtesy of streetsmartproductmanager.com

 

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