Book Tour Sign Up: A Dream of Democracy by Helmut Siewert & Cheryl Bartlam du Bois (July 11 – 15) Genre: Historical Fiction/ WW2 @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

History Buffs!

I’m organizing a book tour for a historical fiction novel called A Dream of Democracy by By Helmut Siewert & Cheryl Bartlam du Bois, and I am looking for people to review and/ or post promos. The tour will run from July 11th to the 15th. Review copies are available in print for US readers and there will be digital for international readers. 

Sign up below!

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A Dream of Democracy

Publication Date: April 25th, 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction/ WW2

A DREAM OF DEMOCRACY is a ten-year-old boy’s escape from the Russian invasion of East Prussia at the end of WWII in January 1945. With his mother and sister aboard his aunt’s horse-drawn wagon, they fled with thousands of refugees from the barbaric Red Army. Since Hitler and the German Army failed to evacuate or protect German civilians on the Eastern-Front., they ran for their lives on the wagon train west with Russians soldiers on their heals who were determined to seek revenge from Hitler’s previous invasion of Russia–pillaging as they went, raping women of all ages and killing the men and boys.

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About the Authors

Helmut Siewert was born in East Prussia in 1934 and survived the Russian invasion at the end of WWII at the age of 10. He emigrated to America where he became a successful businessman. He now lives in Florida with his third wife after his second wife died.

Cheryl du Bois is a writer and screenwriting instructor who has written many books and screenplays during her career. She has a BFA from VCU and took graduate courses at UCLA and AFI in film and writing. She lives in Florida, where she writes fulltime.

 

 

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Book Tour: Where There’s Doubt by Terry Tyler – Genre: Psychological Thriller @TerryTyler4 @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #WhereTheresDoubt

Welcome to the book tour for Terry Tyler’s latest novel! A thriller called Where There’s Doubt. Read on for more info!

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Where There’s Doubt

Publication Date: March 24th, 2022

Genre: Psychological Thriller/ Drama

‘I can be anything you want me to be. Even if you don’t know you want it. Especially if you don’t know you want it.’

Café owner Kate is mentally drained after a tough two years; all she wants from her online chess partner is entertainment on lonely evenings, and maybe a little virtual flirtation.

She is unaware that Nico Lewis is a highly intelligent con artist who, with an intricately spun web of lies about their emotional connection, will soon convince her that he is The One.

Neither does Kate know that his schemes involve women who seek love on dating sites, as well as his small publishing business. A host of excited authors believe Nico is about to make their dreams come true.

Terry Tyler’s twenty-fourth publication is a sinister psychological drama that highlights the dark side of internet dating—and the danger of ignoring the doubts of your subconscious.

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Excerpt

“Nico is a romance scammer, and this excerpt is from his point of view.”

After the barbecue weekend with Kate I do an impromptu ‘just had to see you’ overnight with Heather because she’s been acting rather strangely via text, and I can’t risk her getting pissed off with me.  I take her roses, and on the spur of the moment I come up with a story about my cousin Dieter (Dieter?  Weird name choice, brain!) who throws the best New Year’s Eve parties.

“Low key, just an incredible dinner with a selected few.  He’s got a stupidly big house in the Northamptonshire countryside—we could stay there, make a weekend of it.”

I chose a date six months away to demonstrate my commitment, but now I wonder if it might be an idea to start talking spring breaks for next year, too.  I need to get her up to speed, because she’ll be the first hit—got to be, because her house will need to be sold.  Andrew, our tame estate agent, is well in with a couple of property developer types who are always looking at places like Heather’s to flip, so we’re fairly confident of a quick cash sale, but obviously we can’t rest on our laurels.  I leave the sales side to Andrew.  Might as well get all I can out of him in return for his eventual pay-off.

He’s getting ten grand—he wants to quit his job and go backpacking.

I leave Heather on Wednesday, and speed straight to Diss to up the pace with Polly.  Down on one knee, the whole works.  The ring is white gold with a pear shaped aquamarine, set off with tiny diamonds.  One thousand, two hundred and fifty pounds, paying for it on credit; we’ll need make a couple of payments so as not to draw attention to ourselves.  Em thought it was better to go down this road than the ‘used to be my mother’s’ story, with some piece of old tat from a pawn shop; Polly’s exactly the type who would take her new engagement ring to be valued.

I don’t want to think about the night I was forced to endure after the proposal; my acting powers were stretched to breaking point, never mind my restraint.  Before we went to bed, she insisted we stand in front of the mirror to practice corny wedding photo poses.

“Come on, it’ll be a giggle!” she said.  That’s how she talks.  Calls a drink a ‘tipple’, and refers to watching romcoms and eating cake as ‘guilty pleasures’.  She has plenty of the latter, usually pink iced cupcakes.  Oh, and then there’s her great friend the universe.  She believes she won the lottery and met me because she asked the universe to ‘gift her’ with these delights.

“You just have to believe, and reach out to the universe,” she tells me.

It really is that simple.  Allegedly.  I’ve been asking it for this four million pound yacht I saw on a programme about the Southampton boat show, but it’s ignored me so far.

That night we stood there, me in a t-shirt and boxers, her in a silky, lace-edged ‘champagne’ coloured slip (I’d have called it off-white but she insists the colour is champagne), and she said, “Talk about hashtag blessed!  Thank you, Universe!”

She told me about her life philosophy during an early email exchange (except that Polly doesn’t ‘tell’ people about things; she ‘fesses up’).  I advised her to be very careful what she tells strangers on the internet, because there are a lot of unscrupulous characters out there.  She took this as an indication of how much I care for her.  You couldn’t make it up, could you?

I’ve had to weather a few meetings with her mother, too, but happily she fancies me as well, and can’t wait to welcome me into the family.

Of course, Polly being Polly, as soon as I proposed it became all about the wedding plans.  The venue.  The guest list.  Buffet or sit-down meal?  A themed wedding, perhaps?  Okay by me; she was so excited about her new project that she was happy just to sit up in bed chattering away, which gave me a rest.  Just when I thought I might have to put a pillow over her face and apply pressure, she got out her laptop and announced that she’d had a wonderful idea.

“A boutique hotel!”

Qu’est-ce que tu as dit, chéri?”  She likes it when I ‘talk French’.  It’s ‘so romantic’.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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Terry Tyler is a writer of post-apocalyptic, dystopian and dark psychological fiction, and currently has 24 books published on Amazon.

When not busy writing she reads a great deal (she is a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team), blogs about TV, writing and any random stuff that pops into her head, likes going for walks in the countryside and takes too many photos of trees. She loves history, Twitter, clever observational humour and is moderately obsessed with post-apocalyptic scenarios generally, and The Walking Dead. Terry lives with her husband in the north east of England.

Terry Tyler | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub 

 

WhereThere'sDoubt copy

Book Tour Schedule

May 23rd

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

Riss Reviews (Review) https://rissreviewsx.wixsite.com/website

@rissreviews_xx – https://www.instagram.com/rissreviews_xx/

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.com/

Books + Coffee = Happiness (Review) https://bookscoffeehappiness.com/

@bookscoffeehappiness – https://www.instagram.com/bookscoffeehappiness/

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

May 24th

@ofmoviesandbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/ofmoviesandbooks/

@jennlynnadams (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/jennlynnadams/

 @what.kerry.reads (Review) https://www.instagram.com/what.kerry.reads/

 @takealookatmybookshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/takealookatmybookshelf/

@mysticforestcrafts (Review) https://www.instagram.com/mysticforestcrafts/

Bunny’s Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

May 25th

 @my_books_and_coffee (Review) https://www.instagram.com/my_books_and_coffee/

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

@marvsbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/marvsbooks/

Timeless Romance Blog (Spotlight) https://aubreywynne.com/

May 26th

@amber.bunch_author (Review) https://www.instagram.com/amber.bunch_author/

 @infinite.readlist (Review) https://www.instagram.com/infinite.readlist/

@genoviareadingco (Review) https://www.instagram.com/genoviareadingco/

@chaptersofvicki (Review) https://www.instagram.com/chaptersofvicki/

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

May 27th

@hodophile_z (Review) https://www.instagram.com/hodophile_z/

 @inspired.j.reads (Review) https://www.instagram.com/inspired.j.reads/

Misty’s Book Space (Review) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

   @bhaneereads_ (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bhaneereads_/

 

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Book Tour & Giveaway: Discovery of the Five Senses (The Urban Boys) by K.N. Smith – Genre: YA Fantasy/ Mystery @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #YABooks #BlogTour

Welcome to the book tour for YA Thriller, Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith! Read on for details and a chance to win one of two $50 Visa gift cards!

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Discovery of the Five Senses: The Urban Boys

Publication Date: September 15th, 2021 (Second Edition)

Genre: Young Adult Action-Adventure, Young Adult Thriller, Urban Fantasy, Mystery/ Thriller

Welcome or unwelcome. Fate has arrived.

“A captivating and poetic tale of mystery, fantasy, and reality tied together by action!” 5-stars, Lars Jackson, Amazon Customer

A suspenseful incident in a forbidden preserve heightens the senses of five friends. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become super-gifts that forever change the world. But furious battles confront the boys as they try to understand their sensory super powers in a race to save mankind. With light beings and mysterious strangers complicating their plight, can the boys defeat the evil Druth before it’s too late?

Get prepared for the twisting and grinding of this award-winning, action-adventure story — an edge-of-your-seat narrative for young and mature readers alike.

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About the Author

K.N. Smith

K.N. Smith, winner of the “Best of” in the category of “Outstanding Young Adult Novel” at the Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Awards, is an author and passionate advocate of literacy and arts programs throughout the world. Her lyrical flair sweeps across pages that twist and grind through action-adventure and urban fantasy in edge-of-your-seat narratives. K.N. has over twenty-five years’ experience in communications and creative design as an award-winning consultant. Reading is still her foremost hobby. K.N. inspires people of all ages to reach their highest potential in their creative, educational, and life pursuits. Visit K.N. Smith at www.knsmith.com.

K.N. Smith | Instagram | Facebook

Book Tour Schedule

May 23rd

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

@bhaneereads_ (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bhaneereads_/

@amber.bunch_author (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/amber.bunch_author/

Bunny’s Reviews (Spotlight) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

May 24th

Cheryl’s Book Nook (Review) https://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com/

@beastreader – https://www.instagram.com/beastreader/

Riss Reviews (Review) https://rissreviewsx.wixsite.com/website

@rissreviews_xx – https://www.instagram.com/rissreviews_xx/

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

 May 25th

@aliciareviewsbook (Review) https://www.instagram.com/Aliciareviewsbooks/

@ofmoviesandbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/ofmoviesandbooks/

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

May 26th

Freelance Writer, Janny C (Spotlight) https://freelancewriterjannyc.com/

@fariha_binte_islam (Review) https://www.instagram.com/fariha_binte_islam/

@louturnspages (Review) https://www.instagram.com/louturnspages/

@marie.sinadjan (Review) https://www.instagram.com/marie.sinadjan/

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Spotlight) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

May 27th

@katreadstoomanybooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/katreadstoomanybooks/

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

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Book Tour & Giveaway: Future Skinny by Peter Rosch – Genre: Psychological Thriller/ Suspense @peterrosch @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Thriller #Books #BookTour #BlogTour

Welcome to the Future Skinny tour! Check out this gripping psychological thriller and enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of five audio editions of the book!

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Future Skinny 

Publication Date: May 24th, 2022

Genre: Psychological Thriller/ Suspense

TW: Body Dysmorphia/ Addiction

Casey Banks is a devoutly anorexic man who discovers he can see the future by binge-eating. His new plan? Perform visions for cash while staying thin by any means necessary. Reading futures proves to be lucrative, but when he ignores a vision of his girlfriend committing a grisly murder, it sets Casey on a dangerous path toward a destiny he’ll do anything to avoid.

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Excerpt

There he is.

The hotel room is dim, but Casey isn’t hard to find.

His body is a beacon of desperate protest underneath a forgiving silk tee. Bone thin. Skin bagging from every corner of his six-foot frame. A good guess would be one-hundred and twenty pounds. He has more hair, just not on his head. Fuzzy wisps of keratin on his arms and thick on the nape of his neck. Inky around the eyes, a dire pigmentation that frames the focus he is straining to hold on the stranger at the other end of the makeshift dining table.

Casey is binge-reading still, and by the look of him, he has been binge-reading far too often.

The spread between the two men is huge, was huge, most of the food has already been eaten.

The client’s eyes are wide but unmoved by the brittle hands Casey is using in lieu of utensils. The fingers clutching each next bite are topped with nail beds of blue. The knuckles on his index and middle are callused to the point of deformity. This client’s indifference is nothing new. Like all customers, he is there to hear his future. It has never mattered how the pig is slaughtered so long as the bacon tastes good.

Lylian is there too. She hasn’t left Casey yet, though their age difference looks as if it’s somehow doubled. Longer hair now, green eyes still bright, the only authentic shines in the room. Her arms are firmly folded atop a roadblock stance halfway between the client and the front door. At her size, her posture is hardly intimidating, but for someone so small, she can explode big.

The air stinks. It isn’t just the food. Beyond cooling grease and the chemically crafted scents of take-out littered about the table, the odors turn human quick. Inhale like you mean it and you can smell the sin. A half-century’s worth of intimacy baking in the manufactured heat of the room’s lone window unit.

The repugnant bouquet is married to the chomp, smack, and slurp of Casey’s consumption. He is eating hard. He is swallowing fast. Wet. In fact, everything feels wet. Rooms like this one have a squish to them that is everlasting. Stray spit won’t make much difference.

The bathroom door behind Casey is open. For now, the smell of upchuck is faint, maybe imagined. There is a beige sink, a matching toilet, and a poky little tub with a basin too small for anyone un-elfin. Any of the three are good for vomit. If Casey were to make sick prematurely, the carpet underfoot would hide it well: it’s a synthetic jumble of colors expertly designed to disappear manmade soils. Casey has a twenty-three-gallon Rubbermaid imitation at his side, just in case. Its corner-store price tag hasn’t been removed. Accidents happen. The only thing closer to Casey than this emergency bin are his and Lylian’s bug-out bags.

The client begins to fidget, he can’t keep his focus on the spectacle in front of him. He looks to the television, then to the table lamp, then back to the black screen of the TV. He actively works at fixating on anything that isn’t the redundancy of Casey eating and eating. There isn’t much to distract a person in this by-the-hour room. Perhaps inadvertently, he lands his gaze on the open black duffle at the end of the bed. The stacks of money define the bag’s canvas. The stranger’s attention sits on the opportunity, hanging there just long enough to visibly concern Lylian.

It starts with a twitch. Her arms uncross and she takes one step forward. Her eyes reach for Casey, but he is lost in his gorge, oblivious to Lylian’s subtle just-in-case preparations.

This client could be one of David’s thugs. Then again, any human being could: all ethnicities, a child, a senior citizen, religious or agnostic. David is an equal opportunity criminal, a true champion of diversity in the workplace.

Lylian puts a hand on the table lamp, wraps her fingers around its base. If this stranger decides to go rogue, she has all she needs to bash the back of his skull.

There is a mumble. It’s enough to break the client’s fixation on the bag of cash. He looks back to Casey, but Lylian remains committed.

“Did you say something’?” the client asks, the words passing through what is left of his jagged, flaxen teeth.

Casey struggles to form a comprehensible answer. His response works its way around the saliva-soaked mass he hasn’t stopped chewing. “How will the world know you?” he repeats.

“Are you askin’ me? You should be telling me.”

The loss of confidence in the client’s voice doesn’t go unnoticed by Lylian. Her grip tightens on the lamp’s base.

With his eyes shut tight, Casey goes adrift on his own question. He silently mouths it a few more times. Then, through quivering lips, he repeats it aloud, changing just the last word.

“How will the world know me?”

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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Peter Rosch is what happens when a Polish drag-racing varsity bowler and a beautiful, but über paranoid, French Canadian Air Force brat get together on a disco dance floor in glorious Albuquerque, NM. An award-winning writer whose decades in advertising, music, and film introduced him to more than a few bad habits. He hopes it wasn’t for naught. Kirkus called his first novel, My Dead Friend Sarah, “a gripping story” in which “Rosch skillfully renders a unique story of a missing woman.”

Level9Paranoia | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

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Book Release Blitz Sign Up: Chasing Ghosts by Kate Anslinger (June 1st) Genre: Mystery/ Thriller @kateanslinger @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

Hey Guys!

I’m organizing a book release blitz as part of the launch of Chasing Ghosts by Kate Anslinger and I am looking for hosts! The blitz will be on June 1st.

Sign up below!

P.S. How gorgeous is this cover?!

FINALDIGITALCOVER

Chasing Ghosts (A Grace McKenna Mystery Novel)

Expected Publication Date: June 1st, 2022

Genre: Mystery/ Thriller

What would you do if you could see haunting images in a criminal’s eyes?

Detective Grace McKenna’s mother has always told her that she has a gift.

When she looks into a criminal’s eyes she can see haunting images of victims who have been wronged.

One of those visions is the face of Jenny Silva, a high school art teacher who has gone missing from the small town of Bridgeton, Massachusetts, where Grace works.

When she makes eye contact with the possible suspect, Jenny’s tortured face flashes before Grace, leaving an unsettling imprint on her.

Grace finds herself making tough decisions to solve a case on her own, where she stumbles across town secrets and gets mixed up in an unlikely love affair.

Sometimes a wrong can find a way to be righted all on its own!

Will Grace be able to solve this case on her own?

About the Author

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Kate Anslinger is the author of the McKenna Mystery novels, a series that follows Detective Grace McKenna on her spree of secretly solving crimes with the help of her gift to see clues in the eyes of criminals. In addition to her life as a novelist, Kate is a ghostwriter, editor, freelance writer and a veteran of the United States Air Force. Her debut novel Saving Jason, touches upon the struggles of PTSD, a topic that is near and dear to her heart. Kate lives on the North Shore of Boston with her husband, two daughters, and Newfoundland pup.

Kate Anslinger | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

 

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Book Release: Insidious Scars by Natalie J. Reddy (May 17th) Genre: YA/ Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Books #FantasyBooks

Happy publication day to author Natalie J. Reddy! Just look at this beauty! Read on for more info about Insidious Scars (Scars of Days Forgotton #5)!

Psst! There’s also a giveaway!

eBook -Insidious Scars

Insidious Scars (Scars of Days Forgotten Series Book 5)

Publication Date: May 17th, 2022 🎉

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance

This is what she’s been training for…

Jyoti has felt like an outcast all her life. Living among Psi with extraordinary power can be isolating and dangerous when you have no power of your own. But in weakness there is strength, a strength Jyoti’s mother has been training her to use to her advantage. When rumors of war begin circulating, Jyoti is offered an opportunity to help protect her people. However, it would mean giving up what she loves most. But when she finds out about a weapon that could cause the destruction of all mankind, she begins to question everything, even her own heart.

What do you do when protecting the greater good means you’ll lose everything you love?

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Excerpt

10 years Earlier

My breath burst from me as I ran up the path and through the trees. Tears blurred my vision, and I tried to blink them away before I fell again. My knees already stung from tripping over a tree branch behind me. I ducked under a low hanging pine tree, not stopping as the needles caught in my hair, yanking strands loose from my braid.

“Come on, Jyoti,” Harmony’s voice called from behind me. “Don’t be like that. We were just kidding around.” 

Sure, they were kidding around and as usual, I was the butt of their jokes. I bit my lip and forced my legs to keep moving until I could see the break in the trees ahead. Just a little further and I would be back at the estate. I needed to get back before they caught up with me, or before they did more than laugh at me and push me around. 

A pathetic scream burst from my lungs as an invisible force threw me forward. I hit the ground face first at the edge of the treeline. Pain shot up my nose and into my forehead as I tried to scramble up, but the heel of a boot pressed down on the middle of my back, forcing me back down in the dirt. My already scraped face rubbed against the rough earth, as soil and the scent of my blood wafted up my nose. 

“Going somewhere?” Harmony’s singsong voice asked from above me. She was the only girl I’d ever met who could sound nice while being so mean. 

“Please,” I tried. Tears streamed down my cheeks and mingled with the blood running from my nose.

“Please!” A girl named Bella mocked me. “She’s pathetic.” 

“Hmmm,” Harmony hummed in agreement. She tossed her blonde hair over her shoulder, her grey eyes narrowing as they met mine. 

“It’s hard to believe someone as cool as Darshan could have such a lame sister.” One of the other girls leaned down, grabbing my braid in her fist. “He’d be able to have more fun with the rest of us if he didn’t have to always babysit you.” My scalp burned as she yanked my head back by my hair. 

My twin brother Darshan was handsome like my father, and all the girls had crushes on him. It’s why they only picked on me when he wasn’t around. Unlike my brother, I was small and still had my baby fat. Not to mention I was pathetically weak. All the other Psi children had been developing powers since they were three. But me? My powers had never come. At first my parents had just thought I was a late bloomer, but the older I got, the more I could feel it. I wasn’t a late bloomer. I was defective. 

“Stop it,” I cried, but my tears and the fact that I was on the ground make my words sound weak and pathetic. As weak and pathetic as I was. I had been such a fool to think that Harmony’s invitation had been out of kindness. I thought that maybe just this once she had actually wanted to include me—to maybe even be friends. But it was all a cruel joke. “Please, just leave me alone.”

“What if we don’t want to?” Harmony leaned down and the girl pulling my hair yanked harder.

“Mummy,” the word escaped my lips in a whimper. They laughed and my face burned in shame. I don’t know why I’d cried for my mum. My dad was more likely to protect or comfort me than she was.

“Are you seriously crying for your mommy?” Bella giggled. “What a baby.”

“If you don’t leave her alone, you’ll be the ones crying for their mommies,” a voice I didn’t recognize said. 

The girl holding my hair let go, but Harmony kept her foot on my back. “Who said that?”

“I’m right here,” the voice said. It was a girl, but I couldn’t tell much else from my spot on the ground.

“Show yourself,” Harmony demanded. 

“Why?” the voice asked.

“It’s cowardly to hide.”

“No more cowardly than picking on someone who isn’t as strong as you,” the voice was suddenly behind Harmony. 

She jerked away from the sound and removed her foot from my back. “We were just playing a game.” Harmony retreated closer to her friends. 

“Well, I love games,” the voice said as I rolled over. “Should we play one now?”

I searched the empty space for an outline of the mystery girl, but I couldn’t see her. She was cloaking herself, and she was very good at it.

Bella gripped Harmony’s sleeve, but Harmony shook her off and sniffed. “I don’t feel like playing anymore. I’m tired of games.”

“And I’m tired of stupid girls who pick on people for fun,” the voice snapped. 

Harmony gasped as someone grabbed her by the front of her blue cashmere sweater and yanked her away from her friends. The other girl’s eyes widened, but they didn’t do or say anything to help her. “Cowards,” Harmony hissed at them, the singsong way she’s spoken while torturing me moments before was gone. With a mild dose of smug satisfaction, I realized she looked scared. I swiped tears from my cheeks with the back of my hand. Good.

“You’re as big of a coward as they are.” The invisible girl shook her. “If I see you bother this girl—no—if I see your face again, I’ll make sure you bleed just like you made her bleed.”

“You can’t say that to me. I live here!”

“Then you better find a place to hide until we leave,” the girl let go of Harmony’s shirt. 

“You can’t—” there was a crack and Harmony’s hand flew to her cheek as deep red blossomed where an invisible hand had slapped her.

“Try me,” the voice growled before shoving the other girl. Hard. Harmony stumbled and fell on her backside. That seemed to be enough to snap her friends out of their scared stupor. They rushed forward to help her, but Harmony shoved their hands away and got up herself. Her eyes met mine, and they narrowed. You’ll pay for this, Jyoti. She hissed into my mind before turning and running off, her friends trailing behind her. 

“Are you okay?” 

I realized the question was directed at me and I looked over to where a girl who looked to be able my age now stood. She was skinny, all elbows and knees, with wild hair and a million freckles. 

I blinked. “What?”

“I asked if you’re okay. You’re bleeding.” She motioned to my nose.

She was right. Blood was pouring from my nose. It dripped down my chin and was soaking into the collar of my shirt. “I’m okay.” I pressed the sleeve of my sweater to my nose and winced. 

“Here,” the girl reached a hand down to me. “I’m Alessia.” She carefully helped me to my feet.

“Alessia?” 

I knew her name. She was the girl my father had said he was going to get from an orphanage. She was going to stay with us. I hadn’t known what to expect, but someone who might be on my side wasn’t it. 

“Are you Jyoti?” Alessia asked. 

I nodded and winced again. Something was very wrong with my nose. Even the slightest movement was making it throb.

Alessia’s brow crunched. “It looks like it’s broken. I broke my nose a couple of years ago. It hurt like hell, but once I got it healed, it was good as new.” She wrapped an arm around my shoulders and led me towards the path that led to the sprawling country estate we were visiting.

We were just walking up the long gravel path through the garden, towards the back door of the house, when I spotted my mother. She stood in the doorway, her hands on her hips, and began shaking her head the moment she saw us coming. 

“What were you thinking?” She asked as we approached her.

I licked my nips nervously, the iron of my blood coating my tongue. “I’m sorry, Mum. I just wanted—”

“Wanted to what?” She asked. “To fit in?” I ducked my head, but she reached out and gripped my chin. It wasn’t a tender touch, but at least she was gentle as she tipped my head back and took in my face. “You’ll never be like them, Jyoti,” her voice was hard as she spoke. “You may as well do yourself a favor and stop trying.”

From the corner of my eye, I saw Alessia’s mouth drop. She stepped forward. “She didn’t do anything wrong. Those girls were the ones hurting her.”

“Of course they were,” my mum snapped. “Thank you for finding her, but I think you should go back inside now.”

Alessia glanced at me, opening her mouth like she might argue, and something in my chest swelled with gratitude. But I shook my head and tried to smile behind the blood and swelling in my face. “Thank you for helping me, but I’m fine now.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course she’s sure.” My mum sighed. “Please leave us.”

Alessia’s hands clenched into fists at her sides, but she nodded and didn’t argue as she turned and ran back inside. 

“Oh, Jyoti.” My mum clicked her tongue in distaste as she gripped my arm and pulled me aside to a bench further away from the house. “Sit. I’ll heal you here, so we don’t drip blood on the Councilman’s floors.” 

I sat, feeling the hard iron against my thighs as my legs swung over the edge of the bench. Even at twelve, my legs were too short to touch the ground. She pressed a hand to my nose, and I felt the familiar burn of her power. My nose cracked, and I cried out, fresh tears springing to my eyes as she set it back in place. A few moments later, the pain eased, and the bleeding stopped. My mum didn’t speak as she moved onto my knees and began healing the scrapes on them. She plucked a piece of gravel from one of the deeper cuts and tossed it aside with disgust. 

“I’m sorry,” I whispered. 

“Sorry?” she scoffed. “You’re sorry?”

I nodded. 

“Why, Jyoti? Why are you sorry?”

“For going with them—for letting them hurt me.” Tears streamed down my cheeks. “For being so useless and weak and an embarrassment to the family.”

My mum’s head snapped up. “Is that what you think you are? An embarrassment?”

I lifted my shoulder in a shrug.

She sighed and leaned back against the bench. “You’re right, Jyoti. You are weak,” she said, her eyes on the surrounding hedges.

I bit the inside of my cheek, trying to push back the sting of her words. 

“But,” she turned and looked at me. “You have never been an embarrassment and you’re only as useless as you choose to be. The question is, do you want to be useless?” 

I shook my head. “No, I want to be useful. But I also want to be strong. Not weak.”

My mum smiled, cupping both sides of my face. “Let them think you’re weak, Jyoti. Let them underestimate you. In the end, you’ll shatter them all.”

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About the Author

Author

Natalie J. Reddy is a Canadian Author who spends her days trying to escape reality by making up stories about the characters in her head.

Natalie realized at an early age that she had a passion for storytelling and that passion followed her into adulthood. There is nothing she loves more than to be pulled into a fictional world whether it’s in her own writing or the writing of others. Natalie is the author of the Scar of Days Forgotten series, a New Adult Urban Fantasy series with characters who have supernatural abilities and dark and sometimes unknown pasts to overcome.

When she’s not writing, Natalie can be found having all sorts of real-life adventures with her husband and daughter or curled up with a good book and a cup of tea.

To keep up to date on upcoming books, subscribe to Natalie’s newsletter at nataliejreddy.com

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