Review for The Boy by Madhuri Blaylock!

Some love for THE BOY and Wyatt. Sweet, sweet Wyatt.

The Bookish Crypt

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*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

“I’ve learned the hard way that tears accelerate nothing and dampen plenty.”

This is the second book I have read from Madhuri and she still manages to blow me away. Her writing style is so badass but surprisingly easy to get through. Madhuri gives life to every single character that it feels life they grow out of the pages and go through their lives around me. This book started off right where the first one ended and it’s intensity kept growing from cover to cover. The grief and passion was tripled in this one and I thought the first one was heart-breaking. There were new difficulties to overcome and I didn’t know what was in store for the characters. Which scared me. This book was so brutal and gruesome that it had me cringing more often than not.
I can’t even choose…

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#WednesdayFreeWrite – BREAK UP

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THE BREAK UP

Dear American Spirits in the yellow box (you fucking sexy bastards):

Numerous scientific reports
countless studies
experts
health care professionals
my mom
agree on one thing:
you are a murderer
and I must quit you

But do they know
can they ever understand
the depth of our love
the desire
the need

Are they aware
you are my first thought
when I wake every morning

Do they understand
how you compliment
my other lover
that sexy dark bastard
coffee

And shit
you + a glass of bourbon
goddamned fucking heaven

Were they in bed with us
when I fucked that boy
then booted him out
so I could fuck that girl
the next morning

Were they on the phone with us
while I sobbed and raged
and then finally calmed
as my mom relayed
the death of my childhood dog

Were they in that bar with us
as we sang our hearts out
to the Backstreet Boys
“I Want It That Way”
totally off key

Were they up
three nights in a row with us
as I finished my Note
only to have the computer crash
and lose all of my work

Were they by our side
as we battled the bulge
and won the war
to be super skinny
and ultra chic
no matter the cost

Were they around to celebrate with us
when I finally got rid of that guy
the annoying one
who lived off his trust fund
and his good looks
but was dumb as shit

They weren’t
not for one single moment
of any of the moments
that make up the whole
of us
me and you
a girl and her smokes

They don’t understand
and they never will

But see here’s the thing
I just found out
that by some dumb luck
I’m knocked up
and me and The Husband
we’re going to give it a go
try on this thing
called Parenthood

So you and me
we’ve gotta part ways
and I know it’s going to be tough
and shitty
and just all around fucked up
but a girl’s gotta do
what a girl’s gotta do

Take comfort in the knowledge
that I never gave into all that peer pressure
to quit you

I held my ground
and stayed strong
refusing to listen to the facts
threats
pleas

Know that this is my decision
and mine alone
no one else
could have made me leave you

And should I make it
to my ninetieth birthday
know that I’ll be back
It’ll be like the old days
(except my ass will sag
and my tits will touch my belly button)
me you and that sexy bottle of bourbon
fucking each other silly
all
night
long

Sincerely and with loads of mad love,
a healthier
cleaner-lunged
stronger-hearted
thicker-thighed
bigger-bootied
sweeter-smelling
fresh-breathed
bright-eyed
fucking gorgeous-skinned
Me


In case you’re wondering, no! I’m not pregnant. But it is true that I only broke up with my beloved American Spirits upon discovering I was pregnant with The Kid.

My #WednesdayFreeWrite series is based on what I write during the 10 minutes allotted my writing group’s Wednesday Prompt. As always, these pieces are works of fiction, erupting from my incredibly over-active imagination. They are unedited and unscripted, super loose and probably my favorite ten minutes of the week. They are perfect in their imperfections and I hope you enjoy.

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DUTCH – An Update

I’ve got some good news and some bad news and since this is my blog post and I get to pick, I’m hitting you with the bad news first.

My pre-order sale of DUTCH has been cancelled and my release date has been pushed back a couple of months.

Everyone who placed a pre-order – thank you so so much for your enthusiasm and support and Amazon will refund your purchase right away. Also, don’t worry – DUTCH is still coming (snicker snicker) (yes, sometimes I have the humor of a twelve year old), just not in October.

And that’s because of my good news.

A writer friend – who shall remain unnamed because I would feel totally weird dropping her name without giving her a heads up that I would be doing so – was reading DUTCH and emailed me to let me know that she thought it was really good but could be even better with the help of a professional editor.

She then went on to discuss her own experience with her editor and how amazing and brilliant and wonderful her editor is, but damn, she’s way too busy to take on new clients. But hey, maybe she could read a sample of my stuff and then refer me to someone else.  I said “holy shit! Thanks”, sent along a sample of my work and the next day received an email from said brilliant editor.

And guess what?

She looked at the first few pages of DUTCH and said “WOW!”

No lie, that was the second line of her email. She added that she thinks I’m a “quality writer with a lot to say” and that she could definitely help me take my writing to the next level. She also understood my writing style right away, without me having to offer a word of explanation, and honestly, I kind of fell in love right then and there.

Then she promptly ripped into DUTCH, as only a good editor will do

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and after reading three pages of her edits, I knew that if I worked with her, I would come away a little battered and bruised and all kinds of exhausted, but a much better writer for it.

Really, I couldn’t say no.

So I didn’t.

We start working this week. I’m thrilled and terrified and fucking stoked for the final version of DUTCH. It’s going to be a couple of months, but I’m confident it’s going to be worth it. So bear with me, stick around for updates, teasers, maybe some grousing and grumbling but know this:

THE KEEPERS ARE COMING

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You’re going to have to wait a bit longer, but they’ll be here before you know it.

I promise.

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Chapter Five of Book III: THE PROPHECY

Today I got sucked into reading my own book, THE PROPHECY, book III in The Sanctum Trilogy – because I’m a total dork and I was too tired to think about what I was doing and did I mention I’m a total dork. Anyway, chapter five made me kind of happy so thought I would share it here because, I don’t know, why the fuck not?

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Book III: THE PROPHECY
Chapter Five

The dark skies threatened rain and in the distance, a low rumble of thunder could be heard, but her fingers continued moving their way up the stone facade, finding joints to use as leverage, pulling herself up, then patiently beginning again. 

Midway, the cold rain began pelting her face, lightly at first but within a matter of seconds, the skies opened and she was drenched. Clearing the top of the cliff, she took in her surroundings, her hand on the blade at her hip, her head cocked to the side, listening. 

She studied the horizon, knowing the weather would break shortly, then checked her watch and frowned. She hated tardiness. 

It reflected a lack of respect.

A belief that her time was not important. 

And it pissed her off. 

She paced, back and forth like a caged animal. Despite the vast amount of space she had to move, she traversed the same ten feet of land, over and over again, growing more irate with each step.

The rain slowed to a mere drizzle, a mist, and still she waited.

Running her hands over her soaked hair, she pushed the water away in irritation.

He smirked, purposefully making her wait, knowing it would enrage her. Her short temper was predictable. And endearing.

He moved from the shadows and into her line of vision.

“Dammit.”

“That is not happiness to see me,” he said calmly.

“You’re late.”

“In fact, I was on time,” he replied, “but could not help getting lost for a moment, watching you tear up the earth like that, so my tardiness is primarily your fault.”

She softened upon hearing those teasing words; he felt her relax just a bit.

“I won’t be bought with your sweet words,” she insisted.

He stepped towards her and twirled a lock of her wet hair between his fingertips, his eyes twinkling with mischief.

“My Sam,” he grinned, “always so tough.”

Sam thrilled at his nearness then gently pushed him away.

“Qi,” she whispered, “it’s been far too long.”

Qi leaned against a tree and studied her, contemplating the many possible meanings of her words, knowing their use was intentional.

“A day away from you is too long,” he replied.

Sam said nothing and for a moment they simply allowed their eyes to roam over one another in ways they would never allow their hands or hearts to do. 

The day Sam spied Qi, as he stood with Maya and Philip, laughing softly so she could not hear the sound but could see the mirth in his eyes, she sensed she knew him, intimately so, from another lifetime, deep in her soul. Maya had grabbed her hand and insisted she meet their friend.

Before the wizard relayed Sam’s name to Qi, he knew her, everything about her shook him to his core and rendered him speechless. It was as if Anastasia had risen from the dead and returned to his side.

But that was years ago, Sam was already married and Qi was a Ramyan. Life predetermined their separate fates. 

And yet.

There existed those precious moments in the timeline of their history.

A first kiss, inescapable, tentative, just a taste.

A hand resting on a back, guiding, innocent.

A glance across a crowded room, finding one another without realizing they were searching.

Another kiss, deeper, more profound.

A night wrapped around one another.

And then years of silence.

Years of leading The Academy.

Building a palace.

Bearing children.

Training warriors.

Plotting.

Planning.

One goal uniting them when nothing else could.

“What did you do to Wyatt?”

“Absolutely nothing.”

Sam laughed, not amused at all. 

“He is not the same,” Sam replied.

Qi paused before he spoke again, choosing his words carefully.

“Of course he is not the same. Your son died and endured a most brutal journey, one you can never begin to understand. And then, he had to deal with the likes of me. It was not pleasant.”

Sam rolled her eyes.

“He had her.”

“Only with my urging,” Qi countered, “otherwise, he did not have her at all.”

“He had her the minute they laid eyes on each other,” Sam insisted.

“In his previous life, yes,” Qi agreed, “but in this new life, this lonely life of the Ramyan, no, he did not have her for she, too, is new at all of this business of living and dying and rebirth. His eyes startled.”

“What does that mean? They startled?” Sam asked, a hint of annoyance in her voice, “green eyes or blue, it’s plain as day that is Wyatt.”

“So says the mother.”

“Do not throw that nonsense at me,” Sam replied, “my giving birth to him is irrelevant.”

“Your giving birth to him is the only thing that matters. It is the only reason we are here after all this time.”

Sam crossed her arms and paced, knowing Qi was right, incapable of admitting it. For to do so meant admitting to so much more. She glanced at him from the corner of her eye, wondering what was going through his mind, seeing her after all this time. Did he even care?

“I will kill her nonetheless,” Sam growled. 

Qi tossed his head back and laughed heartily, amused by Sam’s rarely-seen maternal streak. 

“You will do no such thing,” he growled right back at her, “for I, too, was stunned by his appearance, hardly expecting him to return so oddly changed. More importantly, she has come around. They are more tied to one another than ever before. Fully devoted to the other’s needs and desires.”

Those words did little to calm Sam.

“That was hardly the plan,” Sam replied.

“The plan has evidently changed since we all decided to put this into motion,” Qi stated, his tone matter-of-fact.

“We decided to set the stage for a revolution, not a love match,” Sam hissed, “I am fully aware they are devoted to each other, more so than before. It is precisely why I am here. I want to know what you did to him, to Wyatt, to make him like that. He is putty in her hands.”

Without her having to say it, Qi knew what troubled Sam so about Wyatt, what irked her, and drove her to reach for him after so much time, and so much living, had passed between them. It was not anger, despite her furrowed brow and storm-tossed eyes, it was something quite the opposite. Something sad and perhaps just a little bitter.

And Qi knew to tread lightly. 

“I spent time with him, Sam. He is not soft, even with her,” Qi explained, his tone gentle, “And you should not worry for even though he is tied to her, Dev is equally absorbed by anything and everything about Wyatt. It is a mutual love, shared in the deepest reaches of their souls.”

“It is a sick obsession that will only get in the way of our ultimate goal,” Sam spat, the small vein in her forehead pulsating as her temper flashed. 

“Then so be it,” Qi said.

Sam stopped pacing and for the first time since Qi stepped into her line of vision, she studied him, wanting to do so with her fingertips, not daring to be so bold. 

His weathered, brown skin and the laugh lines around his dark eyes made her ache with a lifetimes-old yearning, a need she could neither understand nor control. His calm in the face of her bluster angered her, made her wish to lash out and hurt him, inflict bodily harm in some manner. His mere presence brutalized her in ways she did not expect, could not foresee; he made her feel unmoored and adrift. 

Qi sensed her conflict and pain and desired nothing more than to pull her into his arms and soothe her soul, but he knew such intimacy would only anger Sam, such were her moods and temper. 

“So be it?” Sam finally asked, cutting through the silence enveloping them, her anger somewhat abated.

“Do not be angry their fate allows them to love one another,” Qi replied, ignoring her question, “and do not begrudge them their happiness. It is a balm for the road that lies ahead, some comfort from the tempest.”

Sam laughed, the sound ringing harshly in his ears.

“Spare me your emotional gibberish, Qi.”

“Oh, Sammy,” Qi stepped towards her and smiled, his eyes so sad, “please let down your guard, love.”

Sam instinctively stepped away from him, then changed course and gave in to a rare moment of recklessness, reaching out and touching Qi’s face, her fingertips tracing the hollow of his cheek and grazing his lips. Incredibly intimate and sensual.

And wholly inappropriate after so many years apart. 

She moved to withdraw her hand, but Qi reached up and covered hers with his own, closing his eyes and leaning into her touch.

Sam gasped, but did not make to move away. Instead she stepped closer and allowed him to pull her into his embrace, Qi’s breath warm on her neck, his hands on her back, everything about him feeling so right.

And so very wrong.

Sam pushed herself away from him, then hesitated, leaning her head against his chest in frustration. 

“It is not fair,” she whispered, feeling childish as the words left her lips.

Qi smiled, running his hands over her hair and kissing the top of her head.

“It never is,” he replied, “ at least for us. For them, it shall be different, of this I am certain.”

“I do not care about them,” she pouted, wearing her emotions on her sleeve.

Qi smiled sadly, kissed Sam again and continued.

“You and I are complicated. Life has intruded upon our journey together in ways that are both painful and extraordinary. We are an impossibility, an ideal. But Dev and Wyatt, they are something quite different and wholly fantastic. 

“I laugh when I think to myself how badly we wanted Jools to fulfill the prophecy, how desperate we were for that to be true. For Wyatt is a greater embodiment of what this battle requires than any of us could have envisioned. He is calm, compassionate, and inquisitive. He is a brilliant warrior and his utter devotion to Dev will see us through the darkness that lies ahead.

“Their love is necessary for us to survive,” Qi whispered, “without it, there is no hope.”

“I hate them,” Sam insisted.

Qi laughed and hugged her to him. She closed her eyes and sank into his chest, allowing the vibrations of his amusement to flow through her. It did not compare to lying naked in his arms, but it was better than the many years of living without his touch, without his laughter.

Without him.

Sam allowed herself a minute more in his arms, then pushed away and studied him for a moment.

“I see Ramyan don’t age,” she noted.

“It seems only fair after the journey we must endure,” he countered.

Sam rolled her eyes. She found Qi to be so melodramatic at times. 

“Wyatt endured the same?” she asked.

Qi ran his fingers through her hair, pushing it behind her ears, as she had worn it the day they met. Sam closed her eyes and Qi smiled. She was so beautiful. Harsh, but stunning. The planes and hollows of her face so pronounced, the fullness of her lips sharply contrasting the angles of her cheeks. Against his better judgment, he leaned close and inhaled her scent, the essence that he carried with him from many lifetimes ago. 

“I cannot speak to Wyatt’s journey,” Qi breathed against the nape of her neck, swearing he could hear Sam’s breath catch, “I can only speak to mine and it was horrid.”

“He returned for Dev,” Sam whispered, the note of bitterness hiding just beneath the surface. 

“As I did for you,” Qi replied.

“Dev and I are nothing alike,” Sam spat, “and I am not Anastasia. I do not belong to you.”

Qi immediately released Sam. 

He did not need her to say it; he knew he had gone too far, stepped over an invisible line she drew between them years ago. When she chose Josiah and her unborn son over him, a decision he would never hold against her, but that hurt nonetheless.

“Of course you do not. I would never want you to.”

Sam glared at him.

Qi touched her cheek and she swatted him away.

“Do not play any Ramyan games with me,” she sneered, “I do not want to be calmed.”

“I would never,” he defended.

“You might not intend it, but it will happen anyway. It’s in your touch. Everything about it soothes me. And I do not want to be soothed by you,” she explained, so frustrated, with herself and her situation.

Qi sensed her struggle, her desires pulling her in very different directions, confounding her.

“Sammy, let me make this easy for you. Just tell me what you want, why you called me here, and I will answer your questions and leave,” he promised.

Sam ran her hands over her hair, not knowing what to do with herself. Why did she call him after so much time? Why did she suddenly need to see him?

“I simply want to know about Wyatt,” she lied.

Qi shook his head.

“Please do not lie to me, love. As much as you try, and often succeed at playing the doting, devoted mother, fooling even your own children, it’s never been about Wyatt for you,” Qi replied, “but I will humor you. Wyatt will be fine. He has Dev and together they are quite formidable. I fear there is little they cannot accomplish and only hope, when this is all said and done, they can both forgive me for the games I have played with their lives.”

Sam sat on a fallen log and looked up at Qi.

“So it all comes back to love, does it?”

“That is a question for the gods. Only they know the path they’ve created for Dev and Wyatt,” Qi said, “I am merely their tool, forcing lives together that were so very determined to remain apart.”

“You could easily be speaking about us right now,” she whispered.

“Whoever said I am not?”

Sam shook her head, a gesture filled with sadness and resignation.

“I should not have called you,” she spoke after several, long minutes of silence, “for that I am sorry. But I cannot help wondering if the Gods have chosen wisely in Wyatt. I watched him say goodbye to Josiah and had to turn away from the sight. It offended every warrior sensibility in my body, so fraught with emotion are those two.”

Qi sat down next to Sam, maintaining a healthy distance from her, resting his elbows on his knees and looking straight ahead, lest he become too caught up in the sight of her.

“Do not let your jealous nature cloud your judgment,” he warned.

Sam laughed.

“I am not jealous of them,” she insisted.

“You are, and that is fine. Theirs is a bond you could never understand, so unique and rare. Josiah has watched over Wyatt for many lifetimes, long before you were ever even a thought. His every concern, hope, and desire is for the care of Wyatt. And now, finally, his aged soul will get some well-deserved rest.”

Sam’s head whipped around upon hearing those words.

“You have seen him…there?” she asked, unable to say the words on the tip of her tongue.

“I have not seen him among the dead,” Qi assured her, “but he has completed his task and will be rewarded.”

“Stop speaking in Ramyan riddles,” Sam slapped her thighs in irritation, “and for the love of the gods, look at me.”

Rather than oblige another of her demands, Qi rose to depart. He could only take so much of her tumultuous mood before he succumbed to her energy. The last thing he wished or desired was to shout at her as she did him.

Sam watched him rise and walk away from her, towards the woods. He could disappear any second, as was his way. She could not allow him to do so with this image of her seared into his memory.

“Qi!” she called after him, “please.”

He stopped but he did not turn back to her.

Sam approached Qi quietly, noting the tension he held in his arms and neck, immediately softening with the realization that this meeting was as difficult for him as it was for her. She came around so they were face-to-face and he had to look at her, witness her remorse.

“I am sorry.”

Qi closed his eyes and nodded.

“Please say something. Do not answer me with your stoic silence,” she paused, “as you did before.”

She caught his attention with that statement and he shot her a surprised look, but remained silent.

Before.

Such a small word holding a tremendous amount of meaning.

Before was when she chose Josiah.

Before was when he said nothing.

Before was when he let her slip through his fingers. 

“I had no choice,” he finally replied.

“We all have choices, Qi,” Sam countered, “I made a choice that day, as did you. And never once did you try to make me yours.”

“You have been mine longer than you know.”

“Not in this body, with these needs and desires,” Sam replied.

Qi glanced at her for a moment, but only a moment, knowing to do so any longer would be disastrous. 

“Our needs and desires no longer matter, Sammy,” Qi stated, hoping her pet name would blunt the sharp truth to his words, “I did then what was necessary.”

“Why did you let me go?” Sam asked the question that had plagued her for years, “why didn’t you fight for me?”

Qi closed his eyes to the pain in her voice, to the knowledge that she had questioned his love for years. 

“It was not that simple,” Qi said. 

“It was. You never even said you love me, nothing,” Sam whispered, “you just closed your eyes, nodded and disappeared. Poof! Just like that.” 

“You must trust me when I say, nothing about you is just like that.”

“Then please, if you love me,” Sam touched his chin, turning him to her, “explain yourself. Because that moment, more than any other, has haunted me and will continue to do so.”

Qi removed her hand from his face, holding it in his own so she could not touch him again.

“You will survive,” he replied.

“I know that. It’s what I’ve been doing all these years. But that is no longer enough. Just help me understand,” she pleaded, “you do not have to love me, but allow my soul to rest without longing for you. Cut whatever tie exists between us and let me go.” 

He often wondered if this day would come to pass, when she would ask him to release her. He told himself he would oblige any wish of hers he could fulfill, no matter the cost, but considering such an occurrence in the abstract was wholly different from its reality. Could he lie to her and tell her what she needed to hear to be free of him? And if he did, could he continue without her?

“I could not do that to Josiah,” he said, choosing to speak the truth.

Sam stared at Qi for a moment, wondering whether she heard him correctly, and then laughed at his ludicrous proclamation.

“You cannot be serious. You don’t even know him,” she stated, then wondered aloud, “what is this? Some kind of male loyalty thing?”

“You are forgetting, we have been plotting this coup together for quite some time. I do know Josiah.”

“Not like you know me!” she exclaimed.

“Just like I know you!” he retorted.

Sam shrank back from Qi, wanting him to take back his words, make them irrelevant.

“As you have been my love for many lifetimes, he has been my friend,” Qi explained as Sam shook her head in disbelief.

“No,” she whispered.

“Yes,” he insisted, “in another lifetime, Josiah and I fought side by side, laughed and learned. He was closer to me than many, save for yourself.”

“No,” she insisted.

“Then you were killed and I died and soon afterwards, the gods called him home as well. And as you can plainly see, we were all sent back to do their bidding. Your journey has been markedly different from ours as it took quite some time for our paths to cross again. But Josiah and I have known one another for eons.”

“Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

“We have journeyed together, preparing for this moment for some time, he and I,” Qi continued, ignoring both her question and her gaze, “Josiah has protected Wyatt for longer than I can imagine, never revealing to me his intentions, or his purpose. But as soon as I met Wyatt, I knew.”

“You knew what?” Sam hissed, “you knew nothing besides the fact you had a dead warrior on your hands.”

“I knew right away Wyatt was hers. That Wyatt was who we had been waiting for, all this time.”

“No,” Sam disagreed, “we were waiting for her.”

“We made her,” Qi corrected, “we were waiting for him.”

Sam stared at Qi for a moment, started to say something, changed her mind and stood. She took a few steps then turned back, only to find Qi standing as well, looking as if he was preparing to depart. 

“Are you leaving?” she asked, failing to hide her surprise.

“Are you?”

She did not know anymore. 

“I came here because of this insatiable need to be near you; I’ve fought it time and time again. And then Wyatt showed up and he and Josiah share this profound bond and Dev pops on the scene and so easily becomes part of that energy. And I’m left with nothing but this plot to save some rotten institution so I can pass it along to Jools,” Sam blurted in frustration, knowing she sounded ridiculous, but unable to stop herself, “it is all too much.”

“It is only the beginning.”

Qi’s words and tone quieted Sam as she contemplated him, wishing for once in his centuries-long life, he would claim her. That this time he would not be so damn good.

But then he would not be Qi. 

She turned away from him, not wanting him to see the devastation in her face, or the desperation in her eyes. 

“And now that Josiah has completed his journey, am I free to love you?”

Qi stood and watched her in silence. Despite her back being to him, he could still make out the determined hold of her shoulders and the proud tilt of her chin. Aspects of her being he had loved many lifetimes ago, elements of herself she never shed. 

Without a sound, he came to stand behind her, allowing her scent to wash over him, that fresh smell of grass and verbena. Qi closed his eyes and wrapped his arms around Sam’s waist, pulling her close, nuzzling her neck, and for the briefest of moments he pretended only he ever mattered.

 Then just as quickly, he reclaimed himself and his place in the universe, and released her.

“You were always free to love me,” Qi replied, “you simply chose not to.”

Sam spun around, Qi’s words cutting to her core. Disbelief and anger clouded her features as she readied to defend herself and argue her reasons for choosing Josiah and Wyatt, for choosing The Hybrid and the prophecy: creating The Hybrid was the only way to bring about the prophecy, their goal for all of these many lifetimes. 

She had little choice in the matter.

But she was very much alone.

As once before, without a word or warning, Qi was gone.

Hope you enjoyed that little tease. There’s more Qi and Sam later, when things have really gone to shit and all hope is lost and bleak doesn’t begin to describe it – they come back around. Together or apart? I will never tell. You’ll just have to grab the book for that piece of info.

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#WednesdayFreeWrite – RESCUE

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RESCUE

I would love to rescue you
all the brown kids of the world
the put upon
the pointed at
the discriminated against
the teased

I would love to rescue you
because when I see your faces
and your pain
and your confusion
I recall all of my own
because I too was once upon a time
a put upon
pointed at
discriminated against
teased
brown kid of the world

But the fact remains
I cannot rescue you
so instead
I’m going to give you some tips
to survive this shit
(because it IS shit)
so you can have the last laugh
and come out on top

You matter, you count
Your accent does not deem you less worthy
being different isn’t so bad

Your brown skin is gorgeous
your cultural heritage is a thing of wonder

It’s okay to be a nerd
and hang with your other nerd friends
It’s all right to be the smartest person in class
especially when surrounded by such idiocy

Don’t be embarrassed by your folks
and their ways
Embrace them
and revel in the magic

Collect your comic books and erector sets
your baseball cards and insects

Be different
be weird
be you

Play sports
even if they say brown kids don’t do that
Take acting classes
even if they say you’ll always be type-cast
Write novels
even if they laugh and wonder what story you have to share

Sing laugh dance
then do it all again the next day

Fall for the girl or the boy or both

Let music seep into your bones
and move your soul

Collect words that matter
and hold them close to your heart

If you want to be a doctor or engineer
that’s cool
but if you have dreams that fall
off the beaten track of your parents’ hopes
know that it’s okay
to step off
and chart your own course

Understand the world is full of hate and horror
and sometimes it might be tossed your way
But it means nothing
and the tossers of such swill are small

Love yourself
your beautiful brown self
and know
you will make it
you have to make it
and survive
and thrive
so when the day comes
and you’re not so small anymore
you can turn around
and share this note of survival
with another brown kid
needing some hope

Rock on with your bad selves
brown kids of the world

You don’t need me to rescue you
You got this.

#IStandWithAhmed


The horrific and unwarranted arrest of Ahmed Mohamed shook me to my core. I say it all the time, but for real: what happened to our humanity? Young Ahmed and other brown kids out there, getting their nerd on, enjoying being kids in a world that makes it so very difficult to be young, have been on my brain all day, so it makes sense my #WednesdayFreeWrite prompt – RESCUE – is a love letter to them and their beautiful brown selves. I’m still feeling very shaken and stirred by seeing that little boy in cuffs, but creating this little call to self-love eases some of my distress.

My #WednesdayFreeWrite series is based on what I write during the 10 minutes allotted my writing group’s Wednesday Prompt. It’s unedited and unscripted, super loose and probably my favorite ten minutes of the week. It’s perfect in its imperfections and I hope you enjoy.

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HARD LOVE by Meredith Wild – Excerpt and Giveaway

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It’s been a few days around these parts of helping friends promote their upcoming and newly released work.

Today it’s my chance to give a little back to Meredith Wild and help out with her HARD LOVE release week extravaganza. The final installment of her Hacker Series, HARD LOVE is being called “sexy and steamy”, “the perfect conclusion” to Wild’s epic love story. And you know me, total sucker for a good romance, so of course this series is on my bookshelf.

There’s an excerpt, there’s a giveaway, and most importantly, there’s Erica and Blake. So enjoy, enter the giveaway, and if you haven’t already, grab the books and get lost in the series. It’s smart, it’s hot, and it’s so damn sexy.


HARD LOVE
Excerpt

We walked the now familiar path back to our hotel, through the dark uneven streets out of Dublin’s city center. A hint of rain and the lingering scent of the fresh flowers that had been sold on the streets hours earlier filled the air.

I held Blake’s hand, admiring the details of the building architecture framing the old streets, greeting the bright-eyed faces that met us on the sidewalk. It was almost midnight, but our schedule was a mess and I was in no rush to be anywhere as long as we were together. Seeing my old professor again had been a flashback to a simpler time in my life. So much had happened since that first meeting in the Angelcom boardroom that he’d arranged with Max’s initial support. I could have never known then that I’d fall head over heels for the cocky investor sitting across from me…that I’d be his wife. But here we were, bound together as closely as two people could be.

Blake caught me closer to his side and brushed a soft kiss over my cheek. “I like Brendan. I can see why he’s become a friend.”

I smiled. “It seems odd to call him that, but it’s true. He encouraged me to build the business when I had so many doubts. He’s the reason I took the path I did.”

“A path that led you straight to me.” He squeezed my hand. “Lucky me.”

I was lucky too. I couldn’t deny it. But I could have never imagined traveling the road I had.

“You’re quiet. What are you thinking about?” he asked.

I blew out a breath and shook my head. “The business, I guess. I can’t help but feel like I…failed somehow.”

He glanced down at me. “You didn’t fail. You learned.”

I scuffed the sole of my boots against the stones as we walked, avoiding his stare.

“I’ve been around the block a few times, you know. You should trust me.”

I smirked. “That’s why I married you, of course. For your business acumen and wealth of knowledge.”

He lifted an eyebrow.

“And your mountains of money,” I added quickly.

He frowned. “You’re trying to tell me you didn’t marry me for my dashing good looks? I might be insulted.”

I pursed my lips, trying to look serious. “If I had to pick one thing that tipped the scales, I’d say it was your exceptional skills in bed. I think that’s where you really excel.”

“Well then”—he laughed, his eyes twinkling—“at least my purpose is clear.”

He gave my ass a firm squeeze. Laughing, I pushed him away as we approached a street performer who was crooning for the barest of audiences. A small group of French-speaking tourists stood nearby, and an older man, dirty from the streets, sat on the opposite side of the street with a sloppy grin.

We slowed to listen as the tourists dispersed. The song was sad, but rich with love—raw and emotional the way he delivered each verse. Blake turned me to him, bringing us chest to chest. Our fingers laced, his breath warm against my hair, he led us into a simple nameless dance. I swayed toward him and closed my eyes, clinging to his muscular frame the way I clung to every magical moment between us.

Straining for the lyrics through the singer’s thick accent, I caught the verses.

When misfortune falls sure no man can shun it.

I was blindfolded I’ll ne’er deny.

Now at nights when I go to my bed of slumber,

the thoughts of my true love run in my mind.

Another moment passed as the young man’s voice faded into the night. The song was a somber one, made light only by his passionate delivery of it. Like so much of life, the pain was what you made it. He’d made something sad beautiful.

I sighed, still tight against Blake’s chest. His body emanated warmth. His heartbeat was a steady reminder of his support, his love—a force that had saved me, changed me, and healed me in ways I’d never thought possible. He tipped my chin up, the glint in his eyes matching the passion in my heart. He parted his full lips, but hesitated, a wordless moment passing between us.

“I’m going to show you the whole world, Erica.”

“I can’t imagine enjoying a minute of it without you,” I whispered.

He stilled our slow dance, tracing a fingertip over my lips, his countenance now serious in a way that threatened my next breath.

“And I’m going to make you fall in love with me all over again. Every morning and every night. In every city and at the edge of every ocean. I’ll remind you why you’re mine and why I’ve always been yours.”

I drew in an unsteady breath, feeling his promise all the way to my soul. Swallowing hard, I found my voice. “I think you’re on the right track.”

I arched toward him until our lips met. Soft and slow at first, the kiss went deeper, stealing every thought that didn’t revolve around his taste and touch.

We broke apart slightly when a gravelly voice interrupted us.

“Go make love to her, lad, before she changes her mind already.”

Behind us, the man who’d made his home for the night in the entryway of a high-end store offered an imperfect grin, pairing his words of wisdom with a friendly tip of his small bottle of liquor.

I smiled, and Blake, by the dark look in his eyes, seemed to immediately accept the stranger’s challenge.

“I plan to,” he murmured, his tone all velvet and delicious threat. My skin tingled and he took my mouth again with a kiss that promised so much more.


GIVEAWAY

Meredith is giving away three sets of The Hacker Series – for a chance to win your own copy, click –>HERE


Meredith-Wild-1873 by Birch Blaze photography

Meredith Wild is a #1 New York TimesUSA Today, and international bestselling author of romance. Living on Florida’s Gulf Coast with her husband and three children, she refers to herself as a techie, whiskey-appreciator, and hopeless romantic. When she isn’t living in the fantasy world of her characters, she can usually be found at www.facebook.com/meredithwild. You can learn more about her upcoming projects at www.meredithwild.com.
Social Media Links:
Wild_Hardwired_TP
HARDWIRED by Meredith Wild (May 12, 2015; Forever Trade Paperback; The Hacker Series #1)
Determined to overcome a difficult past, Erica Hathaway learns early on how to make it on her own. Days after her college graduation she finds herself face to face with a panel of investors who will make or break her fledgling startup. The only thing she didn’t prepare for was going weak in the knees over an arrogant and gorgeous investor who’s seemingly determined to derail her presentation.
Billionaire and rumored hacker Blake Landon has already made his fortune in software, and he’s used to getting what he wants with very little resistance. Captivated by Erica’s drive and unassuming beauty, he’s wanted nothing more since she stepped into his boardroom. Determined to win her over, he breaks down her defenses and fights for her trust, even if that means sacrificing a level of control he’s grown accustomed to. But when Blake uncovers a dark secret from Erica’s past, he threatens not just her trust, but the life she’s fought so hard to create.
Buy the book!
Wild_Hardpressed_TP
HARDPRESSED by Meredith Wild (May 12, 2015; Forever Trade Paperback; The Hacker Series #2)
Despite Blake Landon’s controlling ways, the young and wealthy hacker finally won the trust of the woman he loves. Internet entrepreneur Erica Hathaway broke down the walls that kept her from opening her heart and her business to Blake. Ready to start this new chapter in her life, Erica is determined not to let anything come between them, even if that means giving Blake back some of the control he craves in and out of the bedroom.  But when demons from her past threaten their future, Erica makes a decision that could change their lives forever.
 
Buy the book!
 
Wild_Hardline_TP
HARDLINE by Meredith Wild (May 12, 2015; Forever Trade Paperback; The Hacker Series #3)
Software mogul Blake Landon has met his match in headstrong Erica Hathaway. While his controlling nature and her independent spirit continue to battle, Blake has no intention of letting her out of his life again. Erica has given Blake her trust and her love, determined that they will conquer any challenges together. But when he demands more and tests the boundaries of her commitment, she is forced to face the dark desires he’s kept hidden. As their bonds grow tighter, their enemies close in. With Erica’s start-up in danger, Blake’s frustration grows as he tries to protect her from those who would ruin her only to get to him. Can their relationship survive when Blake’s enemies cross the line and threaten more than her livelihood?
 
Buy the book!
 
Wild_Hard Limit_TP
HARD LIMIT by Meredith Wild (May 12, 2015; Forever Trade Paperback; The Hacker Series #4)
Blake Landon is a man who has everything-wealth, good looks, and the love of Erica Hathaway. The power couple has been through hell and back, and when life has torn them apart, somehow they have always found their way back to each other, more in love and stronger than ever.  On the verge of making the ultimate commitment, Erica uncovers an unsettling chapter of Blake’s history. As she makes peace with her own past and the family who left her behind, she presses Blake to tear down the last walls between them. Determined to know the man he once was, she opens a door to a world beyond her wildest imagination-a world that has her questioning the limits of her own desires. As danger lurks and dark secrets come to light, will the past destroy their promise of forever?
Buy the book!
 
Wild_Hard Love_TP
HARD LOVE by Meredith Wild (September 15, 2015; Forever Trade Paperback; The Hacker Series #5)

Days after their wedding, Blake and Erica Landon embark on their honeymoon-a journey that deepens their bond and promises to fade the scars of their past. Just when their troubles seem safely behind them, scandal surrounding would-be Governor Daniel Fitzgerald’s election threatens their newfound peace. Back home, Blake finds himself at the center of the controversy, haunted by the transgressions of his hacker past that he has no wish to relive.

With Blake’s freedom at stake and their future in peril, Erica will stop at nothing to clear his name. But when Blake defies the authorities and refuses to seek the truth, their world gradually begins to crumble. Will he let his past win? Or can Erica convince him that their life together is worth fighting for-now more than ever…
 
Buy the book!
Hope you enjoyed a little tease of Erica and Blake. I certainly enjoyed helping Meredith release her latest baby.
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#WednesdayFreeWrite – WHAT MATTERS

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WHAT MATTERS

What matters 
is that I saw him
immediately
dark and dangerous
coiled and ready
to lash out with barbed words
and poison

and yet I persisted
because I knew

What matters
is that I felt his presence
before I heard his voice
and despite his best efforts
he could not help
but wrap himself around me
without touching me at all

and yet I persisted
because I knew

What matters
is that he stayed
and chatted
smoked
laughed
because most of those things
are foreign to him
but he was willing
and almost eager
to try them with me

and so I persisted
because I knew

What matters
is that I love her
her darkness and charm
full mouth and perfect tits
just as much as I love him
but she was never to be mine
of this I always knew
whereas I am written
all over his soul
no matter his denials
and denouncements

and so I persisted
because I knew

What matters
is that she released me
from her touch
her kiss
her brilliance
her pussy
so I could embrace him
as I was meant to
with arms wrapped around his neck
lips pressed to his throat
skin on skin
legs tangled

and so I persisted
because I knew

What matters
is that his eyes
so full of pain and bitterness
dance
as they catch mine across the room
and his pulse races
at the thought of me
despite his insistence
I am everything he does not need
crave
adore

and because I persisted
this I know

What matters
are his lips
moving up my thigh
as my hands tangle in his hair
and he sighs
because my touch
is everything

What matters
are his hands
gentle
yet firm
spreading me wide
as his eyes
hooded
and full of desire
claim me as his
with one heated glance
to do with as he will

What matters
are my hands
on his zipper
and my lips
on his waist
as his scent
that is so him and so powerful
engulfs me
while his dick throbs
begging for whatever
I’m willing to offer
mouth
pussy
hands

What matters
is touching
sucking
fucking
each other
blind
stupid
silly

What matters is
his laughter
so easy and light
released into the darkness
kissed into my soul
a sound so sweet
and one I never dared dream
to hear
ever

What matters
are his secrets
whispered into the night
as I listen
and consider sharing my own
then draw back
and resist
because tonight is his
to unburden himself to me
and know that no matter what
he says
does
recalls
I love him
madly
desperately
true

What matters
is him
me
us
until sadly
the ground heaves
reality quakes
and everything we dared trust
is rent asunder
leaving us
with the bitter knowledge
that despite what we foolishly believed
(our love makes us special)
the harsh truth is that
nothing matters at all.


This week, I used my #WednesdayFreeWrite prompt – What Matters – to get back into the heads of my characters, Dutch and Juma, and prep myself for writing book II of their story. My #WednesdayFreeWrite series is based on what I write during the 10 minutes allotted my writing group’s Wednesday Prompt. It’s unedited and unscripted, super loose and probably my favorite ten minutes of the week. It’s perfect in its imperfections and I hope you enjoy.

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Guest Post: Excerpt and Giveaway from THE FIRST LIFE OF VIKRAM ROY by Laxmi Hariharan

Today I’m handing the reins of my blog over to the super cool, very capable, but not quite so filthy – actually she’s not filthy at all – YA author and fellow ogler of sexy, tatted up men with loads of facial hair, my brown sister from across the pond, LAXMI HARIHARAN.

She has a new book in her Ruby Iyer series on the way so let me step back and allow her to do her thing.

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An exclusive excerpt from
The First Life of Vikram Roy

The Ruby Iyer Series—by Laxmi Hariharan

I hear the staccato of shots being fired, followed by yells and howls of pain. Then, the sound of something being smashed and everything goes quiet. The TV no longer chatters. I look to the open door. The recreation room is down at the end of the corridor. The sounds of shots get closer. Without giving myself a chance to think I make a run for the door slam it shut, lock it and it’s as if that’s a signal to the rest of the men to jump to their feet. Without a word, the ten of us scram to our bunks, pull on trousers and shoes.We get our hands on whatever weapon we can find. No guns, none of us have guns. So I grab my cricket bat. (As if that’s going to make a difference?)

Around me the others too are grabbing cricket bats and hockey sticks. Neil grabs an iron rod. An iron rod? Where did he get that from?  We drop to the floor, crouch and wait.

Should I hide under the bed? Nope, no way. Like, that is going to help.

And then a crash as the door is broken down, hacked by what looks like an axe till it’s in pieces on the floor and through it step through two men. One holding a machine gun, the other wielding an axe which he drops to the floor and instead grabs the the gun slung over his back. They are both wearing balaclavas, so we can’t see their features. Of medium height, they are muscular and dressed all in black: Black jeans and sweatshirts, their hair covered by the hoods. Their backs are to the door. They point their guns at us, signalling to us to put our hands up. I hesitate, not looking around but sense that the others too are not sure what to do. The first gunman points his gun at the nearest recruit … a boy just out of his teens and shoots him in the head.

There is a collective gasp from the room. A chill runs through me. Who are they? How did they break through the security measures of the force base? And then they are foolish enough to barge right into the heart of the training facilities of the force and shoot its cadets? Why? Why would they do that? The gunmen gesture to us and this time we follow their orders. We walk to the wall at the back of the bunkhouse and line up, hands on our heads, staring ahead.

An alarm rings out then. Finally! It’s been almost ten minutes since the shooting started. Still, the reinforcements should be here soon. Now all we need to do is keep these gun men distracted enough so they don’t kill us. As if reading my mind, the guy who’d shot the young recruit moves forward, his gun trained on us. I draw in a breath and hold it. The sweat trickles down my back. My heart is racing so fast I am sure if I look down I can see it leaping out of my chest. The gunman passes me, walks to the end of the line; then back to the middle where I am.

“You have no idea what this is about do you?” He asks.

He sounds young, as if he is barely a man himself. And something in his voice … muffled as it is, it sounds familiar. A faint recollection  grabs the edge of my mind, And then I forget everything because he leans close to Neil who is next to me, and smashes the butt of his gun into his stomach. Neil falls to the ground, moaning, holding his middle. I firm up my stomach muscles. I know I am next, I must be. I want to squeeze my eyes shut, but don’t. The gunman leans to the other side, and shoots another man in the head.

This chap collapses without a cry. What the fuck? I want to jump him right then, but that would be really stupid of me. I am not going to help anyone if I get killed will I? There are six of us left in the room now. One of the younger recruits lets out a sob, at which gunman no 2 holds his gun at him, so he shuts up immediately.

The gunman asks me, “Where are the plans?’

“What are you talking about?” I reply, trying to stay calm, struggling not to show how scared I am inside.

He only grins and in response, and without taking his eyes off me, holds his gun up and I know what what he is going to do and I scream. “No!” But it’s too late. This time he’s shot two more guys in succession. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. These guys are desperate, or crazy or both.

Besides me Neil stirs on the ground.

The gunman takes a deep breathe, as if trying to calm himself and says, “Don’t pretend to be dumb. If you don’t get me the blue prints of the security arrangements being planned by the force for Bombay; the one that you and your team mates are being trained for, then all the rest of you die too.”

Only six of us left now. Four young lives, gone just like that. I feel sick. What the fuck are these guys upto? And … and how do they know about the plans? This is top secret. The only reason I know about it, is because I’ve overheard the training officer speaking with the ACP about it on the phone last week. And only because I happened to be waiting outside his room then. And how does this gunman even know that I know the details?

Want to find out what happens next? Click here

Want to find out what happens next? Click here

About The First Life of Vikram Roy (Ruby Iyer Series)

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His family is being held to ransom by a deadly mastermind.

Vikram never should have left his family, but when Vikram’s father brings his half-brother Vishal home, life will never be the same. Vikram thinks things will be better now that he’s gone. He’s met the love of his life, his future looks bright and then everything is shattered. Now, his family’s life is hanging in the balance, and only Vikram can do what needs to be done to save them. From the bestselling dystopian fiction author with over 200 reviews and ratings of her dystopia books across Goodreads, Amazon and other retailers. 

If you’re looking for books like Hunger Games, then this dystopia romance series, The Ruby Iyer Series is it.

About the origins of Ruby Iyer:

Growing up in Bombay, my daily commute to university was inevitably nightmarish. It’s just how public transport is here. The man behind you on the bus will brush up against you. You know you are going to be felt up on a crowded train platform. All you can do is accept it and get on. Or so you think. I did too, until, a young photojournalist was raped in the centre of Bombay in broad daylight.  It made me furious. Nothing had changed in this city in all these years. Then, I had a vision of this young girl who would not back down; who would follow her instincts, stand up for herself regardless of consequences.  Thus Ruby Iyer was born. Make no mistake, Ruby’s her own person. She leads. I follow. You can download the RUBY IYER DIARIES, the prequel novelette in the series free HERE

About The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer

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2015 Readers’ Favorite (Bronze) YA Action

 YA Finalist 2015 IAN Book of the Year Award

Finalist 9th Annual Indie Excellence Awards

When her best friend is kidnapped, Ruby will stop at nothing to rescue him. 

Criminals run the streets of Bombay. Jam-packed with the worst degenerates. The city is a shell of the pride and joy it used to be. Ruby knows something must be done, but it isn’t until her best friend is kidnapped by the despotic Dr Braganza that she knows that she and she alone must save city, save her best friend, save the world from total destruction. Armed only with Vikram, a cop-turned-rogue they are about to embark on a road they may never return from. If you’re looking for fast-paced books like Hunger Games or dystopia fiction like Angelfall, the Ruby Iyer series is perfect for you.

GIVEAWAY

The First Life of Vikram Roy, The THIRD book in the RUBY IYER Series, launches this month. To celebrate the launch of the FIRST LIFE OF VIKRAM ROY I am giving away a $30 gift card. Enter HERE. Winner will be drawn, Oct 1, 2015, and announced in my next newsletter.

DOING MY BIT
All SEPTEMBER earnings from the RUBY IYER SERIES will be donated to SAVE THE CHILDREN: SUPPORT CHILD REFUGEES OF SYRIA. All the RUBY IYER books with their brand new covers, are on SALE all this month at 99p/c & Rs 69/49. Click HERE to buy them.

YOU can also donate to SAVE THE CHILDREN directly HERE