Book Tour: Balloon Days by Kristi Strong – Genre: Psychological Literary Fiction @kristi2paper @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #BalloonDays

Welcome to the book tour for genre-bending novel by Kristi Strong, Balloon Days. Read on for an exclusive excerpt!


Balloon Days

Publication Date: January 25th, 2023

Genre: Psychological Fiction with Literary Bent

Let Your Perception Be Your Guide…

At the Manhattan-based Center of Balloon Days, you will find a psychotherapy unlike any that came before it. Imagine unlocking your desires and fears and manipulating them in an unparalleled lucid-dream-like state.

Bookish Elliott Bailey, a psychologist at the Center, struggles to prove the perfect life exists, all while helping others with their own troubles. Love-starved Howard Nor’s use of Balloon Days may be allowing him to live in a fantasy while his real life falls apart. Top lawyer, Orson Thatch, develops an obsession with Balloon Days-even if it puts his career and his relationship, with his young son, at risk. All three face a choice: Continue to live a life rooted in illusions or overcome the challenges of reality.

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 “We ensure that all our patients who undergo Balloon Day therapy are ready. And you are ready. Your grief is fresh, your emotion is raw. It is the perfect time to work on your healing.”

Dr. Heller passed the tablet, consent form open, over to Orson. The limit was three Balloon Day sessions per week, ninety minutes maximum per experience. An in-person check-in session at least once a month was required or else the Center would suspend any further appointments. Scrolling down, he noted at the bottom, as Dr. Heller mentioned, the risks stopped when the patient wanted them to stop.

“I’m in full control then.”

Dr. Heller slowly nodded, smiling. “Precisely.”

Images of Madison overwhelmed him. It felt right, as if she was telling him to sign on the dotted line and go with it.

He thought of life without her. He thought of Ryder.

He signed.

Dr. Heller nodded, taking the tablet back. “Your Elite Day Room, B107, is on floor ten. You will take the blue elevator. This will be yours to return to as you please for your scheduled Balloon Day sessions. In addition to the delightful perk of Elite Day Rooms being grander in size, we stagger the appointments, so you will not have to wait for anyone, but there is still a pre-room with the bathroom for you if need be.”

“Thank you.”

“Let your perception be your guide.” Dr. Heller smiled and shook Orson’s hand.

Orson’s waiting room, or the “pre-room” rather, was gleaming white and cozy. As he stepped into the restroom, he noticed an immaculate toilet and sink, complete with a beautiful brass waterfall faucet.

No mirror? Strange.

Although there wasn’t necessarily any reason why he would need to see himself at this moment, not having a mirror there gave him a feeling of invisibility; nothing to reflect his existence, no feedback for his mind. Maybe that was the point. Soon, as he was told, all sensory input would be stripped from him, allowing his brainwaves to shift into a blank canvas. Whatever the hell that meant.

He stepped back out. Slipped his Day Room card into the slot, selecting to use four out of his ten credits. Dr. Heller had suggested buying credits in bulk; Orson figured he would stick with the ten to see how things panned out.

The stunning blue, ice-like door slid open. Orson’s gaze fell to the floor first—the same thick white carpet as in Dr. Heller’s office. He took off his shoes and sunk his feet into the plush, delicate material. The softness against his silver socks, peppered with race cars for Ryder, put him at ease. The air smelled of mulled cider. Soothing sounds of a crackling fire filled the room. White angelic feathers covered all four walls. To his surprise, he suddenly wanted to create art, romantic, dreamy art, the art Madison had inspired. His Day Room was divine.

Scanning the sizable but quaint square room, everything was white save for the cobalt blue of the sky-like ceiling matching the pillows atop the velvety-looking sofa lining the back wall. The ethereal hammock in the middle of the room, hanging diagonally, the thin, clear wires of it barely noticeable, giving it a look of invisible suspension, was pure luxury.

Next, he discovered the control in a small white pocket hanging on the wall to the right of the door. He clutched it in his hand as the lights dimmed further, the white of the room now snow, in the dark.

The button glowed. His promise of refuge. He closed his eyes and envisioned his beautiful wife’s face, as he had remembered her long before she had become bedridden, mostly skin and bones. He pushed it. Instantly, he was as weightless as one of the feathers on the wall.

Opening his eyes, astounded and sitting on the edge of his bed inside his old college dorm, he recognized where he was immediately. The room Orson had during his second year—the year he met Madison. He hopped off the bed.

Everything was as it had been. His desk a mess of pens and papers from studying, political science textbooks opened to random chapters on the floor. A mirror hanging on his closet door showing his reflection, which startled him. Orson was his young and handsome nineteen-year-old self.

Hair darker and thicker, body less muscular in his green t-shirt and jeans—he had been scrawny in his youth. Minor wrinkles around his umber-brown eyes smoothed over. All in all, he was impressed at how little he had changed over the years.

Orson left his room and ambled down a path between the fellow residence halls. He didn’t feel quite in control of his actions. Not quite out of control either.

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About the Author


Kristi Strong was born and raised in (or how we prefer to say it here: on) Long Island. She considers herself to be the human version of her dog—the exceptionally weird and affectionate Rat Terrier named Sophia. Kristi loves to wander the planet with her wonderful hubby as much as she loves being nestled in the same spot of her couch most evenings, curled up with a good book.

Kristi’s writing draws upon her professional experience as a trauma- informed mental health therapist. Highlighting the human condition and the power of resilience—whether it be through fiction or non-fiction—is Kristi’s calling and passion. She has the honor of witnessing all facets of what it means to be human, and she wrote her first novel Balloon Days to remind readers they are worthy and capable of change.

Kristi Strong


Book Tour Schedule

May 29th – Kick-Off – Review – Feature – Feature – Feature

May 30th – Review – Review – Review – Review

May 31st – Review – Review – Review – Feature

June 1st – Review – Review – Review – Feature

June 2nd – Review – Review – Review – Feature


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Book Tour: Obedience by Liza Snow – Genre: Romantic Suspense @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Obedience

Ties That Bind follows their epic love story in a suspenseful tale of hidden connections, the mafia, secrets, and a dark, slow-burn romance that unfolds with delicious tension across the series. Together, can Chandler and Cassandra make it out alive? Only fate knows for sure in this unforgettable tale of love and survival.

Welcome to the tour for Obedience, a suspenseful romance by Liza Snow! Read on for more details!

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Obedience (Ties that Bind #1)

Publication Date: April 4th, 2023

Genre: Romantic Suspense

🔥Teacher/ Student Romance

🔥Forbidden Love


🔥Dark Secrets

🔥Mafia Connections


Growing up, I was mesmerized by a man soaring the skies.
The greatest silk aerialist in the world, Chandler Moreau.

He was once my lifeline, the dream I clung to after my parents died. I’ve always believed he was my destiny. To join him at the Dreamers Academy. To perform for him.

To soar with him.

He’s more than I ever imagined. Far more than a mentor. When I am high in the silks, turning, flying, falling, he’s my lifeline once again. Twisting my heart and my body into knots like the knots of his beloved Japanese rope bondage, Shibari.

I don’t want to live without him. With each lesson, each touch, I crave more. Only he can satisfy me. And only he can destroy me…

But I must keep him safe from the past that relentlessly follows me.


She is my protégé, the student I’ve been waiting to take under my wing for my entire career. Someone with whom I could share my lifelong journey in my family’s circus, Cirque du Lys.

I never intended to fall in love with the student I was supposed to protect—from myself and the demons that lurk in my shadows. But sometimes fate has other plans.

Cassandra, my beautiful butterfly. I know she’s off limits. Forbidden. Still, I want her in my life. My heart. My bed.

My grandfather’s taunting words still linger.
Mieux vaut plier que rompre.
Adapt and survive.

It’s what we must do. Cassandra and I share a history that entwines us more than the silks we’ve spent our lives mastering ever could.

There are secrets from the past that must never be told. And truths that could destroy what we’ve just begun…

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I hadn’t needed to prompt her. She began, pulling herself upward, drawing those silks around her small frame as she went. Climbing high into the air as the two women began their duet. The French lyrics pulled me in every time. It was perhaps one of the reasons that while I simply tolerated most opera songs I’d heard, I adored this song.

Every time I heard it, every time I got lost in those little nuances of the language, it brought me back to summertime in Melun, France. Playing on the hills overlooking the city, lost in the grasses filled with wildflowers. Climbing into Meme’s apple trees. Perhaps the time in my life when it had felt so simple. All there were, were the memories of when I’d been happy.

And if there was any place I wanted to be, as I watched Cassandra ascending above me, knowing in seconds I would be right beside her, it was in those memories again. Bringing her with me.

The first stanza finished, and my mind immediately centered. My hands had already been wrapped in the silks without having to think about it. She paused, and I saw her attention drift downward. We fell captive to one another, and it was all I needed to see. I knew it was my turn to go to her. She was waiting for me.

In the same fashion she had moments earlier, I began my way up the silks beside hers, which had been a deep royal purple color. The entire time I made my way high into the room, I immersed myself in the French lyrics, the strings complimenting every rise and fall of the two women’s voices. Some moments, I’d lose myself in what I was doing, taking careful note of all the little adjustments my body was making. Other times, my attention drifted upward. Until finally, I was just beneath Cassandra.

When I paused again, I took a few deep breaths, steadying myself. Focused entirely on the beautiful woman above me, who was just as attentive to me. I nodded to her, signaling I was ready, prepared to follow her in whatever she had thought to do next.

At the precise moment when I had met her, she had already begun moving herself into a sailor pose above me, legs splitting, and much to my satisfaction, every single part of her in perfect position. All the small details I’d shown her the first lesson we’d had together were as pristine as when I’d helped her myself.

I would have taken more time to truly enjoy how proud of her I felt if she hadn’t twisted downward, dropping her torso straight toward me in a graceful fall. Before she’d completed it, I knew what she’d done. A Rainbow Marchenko. A famous move of Jeanne’s for many years. But watching her as she settled into it, I would have thought it was hers alone.

Cassandra’s hands dropped, releasing the silks. Dangling inches away. The only thing holding her in the air was the precise folds of those green fabrics wrapped around her legs.

Looking into her eyes as she hung there, waiting for me to act, all I could do was smile. She’d been focused, lost in her own world, but she’d come back to me. We were together again in the very place I had wanted to be with her ever since I’d seen her flying through the silks at her audition. I had dreamt about it every time since, every lesson we had, every time I’d watched her from the shadows of the theater while she practiced.

I had taken her to those fields in Melun with me, high in the trees. Trapped us both in those treasured memories, made all the better knowing she was there. 

“I’ve got you, Cassandra,” I called out to her, gently. Steadying myself, my body locked in place. Breathing slow and rhythmic and calm. I watched her take the same breath as I had, waiting for the little drop in the lyrics before the next few lines began.

The moment their voices bellowed into the theater again, she let herself drop in a salto. In a gentle sweep of my body, I caught her gracefully into my arms. Twisted us together, letting the silks take hold of the two of us as we swung across the room, dozens of feet above the stage below us. Falling like two feathers locked together, dancing into the wind.

When the fabrics released us, I swung us outward. Our bodies drifted apart again as she spun around me, both of us still descending toward the floor. As beautiful as she looked, circling outward away from me, the moment she had, I wanted her back. I used my legs to give myself enough momentum to swing forward, latching on again once she’d appeared.

Cassandra had been so close I’d felt her breath against my face while we dangled above the stage. I got lost in the way it felt to be tangled up with her, a mess of bodies and fabric. Consumed by it. Convinced I might never let go of her again.

As we’d traversed the rest of the way back to the stage, I didn’t. The two of us descended together as a singular unit, just her and I and the fabrics. Improvising the graceful fall we were doing, finding little tricks and motions to carry out, all the while never leaving her side.

We’d both reached the floor, perfectly in sync with one another. I heard a gentle thump as we landed. Followed by the sound of both of our light, audible breaths. Steadying ourselves back on the ground.

Even having left the air, the silks still wrapped around us. Neither of us had freed ourselves. Cassandra was still in my arms, something I realized, when I hadn’t been so caught up in what we were doing all those feet above us, was happening for the very first time. 

The sweet smell of oranges overwhelmed me. Her beautiful hazel eyes, those captivating flecks of grays and greens and browns, drowned out the world around us. I watched her breathing softly, holding her to me and those silks holding me to her. 

And in those next few moments, every single solitary thing keeping me from her since the day we had met no longer existed in the little reality we were trapped in. Every fear I had, every reservation, disappeared. I tightened her to me, my hands capturing the sides of her face in a gentle sweep, as elegant as every other thing we’d done those last few minutes.

Our mouths fell together, and I lost myself in her. Trapped in those profound and so unbelievably relieving seconds in which the things that had stood in our way no longer mattered. 

I hadn’t thought anything could have surpassed the experience the two of us just shared. Undeniably, it had been the best minutes I had ever spent in those silks in my entire career. As simple as it had been. And we had barely started. This was only the beginning.

But this moment now was just as wonderful. As perfect as I could have hoped.

Available on Amazon

More to Love:

In addition to the paperback, Obedience is also available in a full-cast narrated audiobook, starring Daniel Zbel and Rapunzaroo, along with a cast of additional voiceover actresses. Brought to life in the way the story is meant to be told, and it will be the best audiobook you listen to this year—possibly for a very long time. You’ll love listening to the two voices of these iconic characters. And don’t forget to read along with them and enjoy a fantastic, immersive experience. You’ll need the paperback copy to fan yourself off from some of the narration!



Book Tour Schedule

May 22nd

R&R Book Tours Kick-Off – – Review – Review – Review – Review – Review – Feature – Review

May 23rd – Review – Review – Review – Review – Review

May 24th – Review – Review – Review – Review – Feature

May 25th – Review – Review – Review – Feature

May 26th – Review – Review – Review – Review – Review – Feature

About the Author


A bestselling independent author from Florida, Liza has been putting romance books into her readers hands for over a half decade, and has loved every minute of it.

Liza lives with her husband, her two dogs and her cat, ten minutes from the beach. When she isn’t writing, you can often find her walking and enjoying outside, with a coffee and a book in hand.

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Book Tour: The Babel Apocalypse by Vyvyan Evans (May 8 – 12) Genre: Sci-Fi/ Cyberpunk/ Dystopian @VyvEvans @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

Welcome to the book tour for The Babel Apocalypse by Vyvyan Evans. Read on for more details!

The Babel Apocalypse Book cover

The Babel Apocalypse (Songs of the Sage #1)

Expected Publication Date: May 2nd, 2023

Genre: Sci-Fi/ Cyberpunk/ Dystopian

Publisher: Nephilim Publishing

“They who control language control everything.” A dystopian, cyberpunk, sci-fi odyssey that will make you think about language in a whole new way.

Language is no longer learned, but streamed to neural implants regulated by lang-laws. Those who can’t afford language streaming services are feral, living on the fringes of society. Big tech corporations control language, the world’s most valuable commodity.

But when a massive cyberattack causes a global language outage, catastrophe looms.

Europol detective Emyr Morgan is assigned to the case. His prime suspect is Professor Ebba Black, the last native speaker of language in the automated world, and leader of the Babel cyberterrorist organization. But Emyr soon learns that in a world of corporate power, where those who control language control everything, all is not as it seems.

As he and Ebba collide, Emyr faces an existential dilemma between loyalty and betrayal, when everything he once believed in is called into question. To prevent the imminent collapse of civilization and a global war between the great federations, he must figure out friend from foe—his life depends on it. And with the odds stacked against him, he must find a way to stop the Babel Apocalypse.

“A perfect fusion of SF, thriller, and mystery—smart speculative fiction at its very best.” – Kirkus

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About the Author

Vyvyan Evans

Dr. Vyvyan Evans is a native of Chester, England. He holds a PhD in linguistics from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., and is a Professor of Linguistics. He has published numerous acclaimed popular science and technical books on language and linguistics. His popular science essays and articles have appeared in numerous venues including ‘The Guardian’, ‘Psychology Today’, ‘New York Post’, ‘New Scientist’, ‘Newsweek’ and ‘The New Republic’. His award-winning writing focuses, in one way or another, on the nature of language and mind, the impact of technology on language, and the future of communication. His science fiction work explores the status of language and digital communication technology as potential weapons of mass destruction.

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May 8th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off)

Cheryl’s Book Nook (Review)

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@shazzierimmelzwaan (Review)

May 9th

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@jlreadstoperpetuity (Review)

@sumbularsalan_thebibliophile (Spotlight)

May 10th

@ameliaveganreader (Review)

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May 11th

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May 12th

@bookshelves4paperelves (Review)

@libertylanecreative (Review)

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review)

Bunny’s Reviews (Review)

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Book Tour: Gathering of the Four by A.E. Bennett – Genre: Dystopian/ Sci-Fi/ Fantasy @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

Welcome to the book tour for A.E. Bennett’s Gathering of the Four, the first novel in the Serrulata Saga!

Gathering Four FINAL

Gathering of the Four (Serrulata Saga #1)

Publication Date: April 2, 2021

Genre: Dystopian Sci-Fi/ Fantasy 18+

“In the Realm, every citizen knows their place.”

Leora of Mae is a young woman orphaned at birth and raised on a remote farm. As a wielder of Xanthcraft, her abilities set her apart from her adoptive family and the other villagers.

Shortly before her twentieth birthday, she learns of her family’s plot to sell her into servitude. Fearing for her life, she flees from the only home she’s ever known—defying societal conventions and breaking the edicts of the Realm.

As she runs, Leora meets Roland Shallowbrook, a traveler on the Thieves’ Road; Lady Aurora Verte, daughter of a powerful member of the gentry; and the White Rider Leopold, a soldier with a secret.

Together, this found family will have to band together to survive.

Set in the far distant future, Gathering of the Four is the first book in the Serrulata Saga.


Leora beat her arms to make the blood and feeling return to them. She hated sleeping in the barn, although the only alternative was on the floor by the hearth in the cabin, which Liza only permitted during the coldest winter months. The cabin had been built before Leora was born and probably could have been modified to comfortably sleep more than three people, especially when one was a child. But Liza would have none of it and had banished Leora to sleeping in the barn shortly after the marking of Leora’s fourteenth birthday. Nial had protested, and a compromise had been made, but  it was now Third Month, so Leora had recently moved back into the loft.

She knew sleep would continue to elude her so, grumbling, she stood slowly for a walk around the small parcel of land that her adoptive parents could call their own—as much as anyone could call anything theirs under the gentry. She made it to the lone serrulata tree on the lawn before she realized she was not the only one awake.

She crouched down and held her breath as she strained to listen to the voices coming from the direction of the farm- house. Concentrating as she closed her eyes, she breathed in and out slowly, then opened them, feeling a surge of triumph. Her skin was tinged lavender, as was everything around her, which meant her Xanthcraft was working. She was now invisible. She still had to creep toward the farmhouse, though. No one could see her, but they could still hear her if she made any noise.

“I don’t care; we made a promise—”

“Promise nothing!”

Liza and Nial were arguing in hushed whispers. Although Leora had heard them disagree in the past, Nial’s voice was more urgent and strained than she’d ever heard it.

“It’s been nineteen years! Years! And now this comet! And we’re starving —”

“—not starving! What are you talking about? The comet means nothing—”

 “—put that thing before your own son—comet a sign—time to let her go—”

Leora shivered when she heard her adoptive mother refer to her as a “thing.”

A slight breeze picked up then, rustling the grass and making it impossible to hear their next few sentences. It died almost as quickly as it had come, and Leora slapped her hands over her mouth at the next word she heard.


She knew Liza hated her, but not even she could be so cruel. Or could she?

“Are you out of your mind?” “Keep your voice down!”

There was a pause, as though a heavy cloud had descended on the field.

“You needn’t be here—will come for her—out in the field—don’t even have to say goodbye—”

“I cannot—cruel.”

“Not cruel—our son—our family—”

There was another dark pause. Leora’s chest constricted, as though a large beast had curled up and taken residence within her heart. Surely Nial couldn’t—wouldn’t—let her go. Not like this! She only had another half of a year before she would be of age and could go off into the world…and leave the family with nothing to profit from. Twenty was the legal age of majority throughout the Realm, no matter a person’s station, and a child under that age could be sold into the servantry. An adult who had committed no crime could not.

Her twentieth birthday was this summer.

Bile rose in her throat. Nial had yet to give his wife a firm no. He had been her one ally against Liza’s, and eventually Preston’s, cruelty. He had tended to Leora’s skinned knees and bruised elbows and other growing pains. He’d mopped her forehead free of sweat during that one winter, years ago, when she’d fallen ill with fluenza. He was the only one in the farmhouse who’d had time to give her smiles and asked about her well-being. He couldn’t abandon her. Not when she needed him so desperately.

“—make it quick—I don’t want to be here when they come.”

“—I will give you that—”

Available on Amazon

About the Author


A.E. Bennett lives in Washington, D.C. She is originally from North Carolina

A.E. Bennett | Newsletter | Instagram | Goodreads



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May 8th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off)

@solitudeinbook (Review)

@ameliaveganreader (Spotlight)

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Spotlight)

@sumbularsalan_thebibliophile (Spotlight)

May 9th

@bookishkelly2022 (Review)

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 @amber.bunch_author (Spotlight)

May 10th

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May 11th

@squeakeysundergroundlibrary (Review)

@takealookatmybookshelf (Review)

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May 12th

@jaslikestoread (Review)

Bunny’s Reviews (Review)

The Faerie Review (Spotlight)

Cocktails and Fairy Tales (Spotlight)


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Book Tour: The Rock at the Bottom by Cynthia Hilston Genre: Historical Romance @cynthiahilston @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #HistoricalFiction

Welcome to the book tour for The Rock at the Bottom by Cynthia Hilston. Read on for more details!


The Rock at the Bottom (Lorna & Tristan Series Book 3) 

Publication Date: March 22nd, 2023

Genre: Historical Romance/ Prohibition Era/ Clean Romance

A big dreamer and successful novelist carries the sins of his father and a secret that leaves him wondering if he is the author or killer of love.

Stephen feels he is marked from day one to lose the ones he loves. His mother dies giving birth to him, and his alcoholic father makes sure Stephen never forgets it. To block out his father’s hate, fists, and belt, young Stephen loses himself in his imagination. Stories become his closest companions and barricades against a family that never wanted him. Once he can look his father in the eye, Stephen swears he will never be the monster his old man is. He vows he will become a published author, if for no other reason than to prove his father wrong.

While his dreams of being a bestselling novelist and falling in love come true, Stephen has much to prove to himself before he can write his own happy ending. Set against the backdrop of Prohibition-era Cleveland, Stephen fights the same alcoholic demons that plagued his father as he tries to begin a life free from his family. He meets equally headstrong Julie and is smitten, but their marriage is as fractured as his career is solid. He can find ten ways to write about being in love, but he has a hard time translating love on the page to love in real life. Julie slips between his fingers like sand, and Stephen sees his father staring back when he looks in the mirror.

Try as he might to rewrite his life, even going so far as to change his name, he has to wonder if he is the author or the killer of love.

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At eighteen, I stood taller than my father. No one had come to my graduation ceremony—no big surprise. Afterward, I returned to my house. We’d moved out of the rundown dump along the Cuyahoga River, for with the passing years, Dear Daddy had climbed the career ladder. With the twenties well underway by that point, the auto industry was booming. Mr. George Richardson, Sr. could turn on the charm when needed, and he used it at his job to great effect. That he could devote himself to his work proved he could have devoted himself to his family…to me.

But no matter where I laid my head, no matter which of the three houses I’d been forced to live in while growing up, none had been my home.

We weren’t so wealthy as to live in one of the leftover mansions from Millionaires’ Row along Euclid Avenue or in the esteemed residences of Bratenahl just east of downtown Cleveland along the lakeshore. The Fifth City, as Cleveland was called back then, was changing. The wealthy had shifted east to the so-called “Heights.” Our dilapidated first city home had new construction beside it. Towers that seemed to touch the sky were underway. My pal Ben and I were leaning toward making a buck working with such projects.

The old man and I inhabited an oversized brick home along Liberty Boulevard. He feigned at making a better name for himself to the outside world. A different woman would come over every weekend. He even threw parties with some of his buddies from work, but I knew him better. His parties were as empty as Jay Gatsby’s. I’d read Fitzgerald’s work shortly after its release the previous year and found it mirrored the current times and trends well. As for how I saw my father in that fiction, I guessed from his vacant stares into the bottom of a bottle, where he thought he could somehow erase my mother’s absence.

So, it was no surprise when I entered the living room that second Saturday in June to find my father in his easy chair, a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other.

“Where’d you get this round of giggle juice?” I motioned toward his empty bottle.

My father scowled, the heavy creases framing his mouth deepening. He dropped the dead soldier, and it rolled until it stopped at my foot. I picked up the bottle, shook my head, and tossed it aside. It gave a satisfying shatter.

Prohibition hadn’t stopped the old guy from getting zozzled whenever the urge hit.

“What d’you want?” He got to his feet.

I stepped up to him, and he recoiled.

“I’m leaving,” I said.

“Then what’re you waitin’ for? Get outta here!” He pointed with a quivering finger toward the front door.

“I have a few things to say first.”

My father gazed up at me and seemed to shrink more. “Well, out with it.”

“I’m a writer. I’ve been writing stories since I was a little kid, and you won’t stop me.”

He snorted. “What do I care about those rags?”

“I thought you’d like to know, Father, that you inspired me.”

He squinted, then raised his eyebrows. “Huh? What’s that?”

“Your hatred inspired me to imagine a life better than this hellhole, and you”—I poked his chest, hard—“are the villain.”

He raised his fist, but I caught it before he struck. As I pushed back with the force of a stronger, younger man, his legs buckled, forcing him into his chair.

“You come to gloat, boy?” His words were the only weapon he had left.

“I came to tell you the truth. I pity you, Father. You’re pathetic.”

His gaze dropped to his lap. The man reached into his pocket and fumbled for another cigarette, then lit it with shuddering hands. Letting out a long plume of smoke, he said, “Maybe, but the fruit don’t fall from the tree.” He jabbed the cigarette at me.

I shook my head. “I’ll never be like you.”

A hollow laugh filled the room. He laughed until coughs overtook him. Then he went quiet, until a sob escaped. “No matter what you think, boy, you can’t change who you are. You were born a killer. No fancy dreamin’ will take away your reality. You think I haven’t tried?”

I turned and took a few steps until I stood on the threshold to the outside. Glancing back at my father, I knew that would be the last time I saw him. “Maybe you should’ve tried harder.”

Maybe you should’ve loved me.

Available on Amazon

About the Author


Cynthia Hilston is a stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married, and lives in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction, although she still dabbles in fan fiction.

In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books, shamelessly watches Hallmark movies and When Calls the Heart, pets her orange and black kitties, looks at the stars, drinks wine or coffee with good friends, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.

Cynthia Hilston | Instagram | Facebook 

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Book Tour: Of Darkness and Fire by Amber Palmer – Genre: Fantasy/ Romantic Fantasy @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #BookTour

We’re thrilled to share Of Darkness and Fire with you all today! This beauty is the first in a now completed and available trilogy by Amber Palmer!


Of Darkness and Fire #1

Publication Date: February 28th, 2022

Genre: Fantasy/ Romantic Fantasy

Over 100 years ago, Aethion was thrown in the middle of what would forever be known as The Great War. Kingdoms were torn apart, countless innocent lives lost because of the greed and lust for power of one man – Lachlan Roarke. His band of misfits called themselves The Horde. Which was fitting, seeing as they tended to overrun and eradicate everything in their path.

He’s the reason I lost my mother. The reason I can’t sleep at night without constant nightmares plaguing my mind. Every time I close my eyes, all I can see is her. Everything I am today is because of her and the night I was forced to stand by and watch as she was murdered.

Now, as the time draws near when I must fulfill my destiny as queen of Helia, we find ourselves on the brink of war once again. The Horde is back, although with someone unknown at their helm as leader.

The time for revenge is now, and I know it’ll be the sweetest thing I’ve ever tasted. It’s my duty to save my kingdom. Not only do I owe it to my people, whom I love and swore to protect, but also to make good on the promise I made myself the night I saw the light fade from my mother’s eyes.

I will destroy all those who seek to destroy me. I only hope it won’t be the last thing I do.

Author Note: This book contains explicit content and darker elements, including mature language, violence, and sexual content. It is not not intended for anyone under 18 years of age.

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You won’t make it. You’re going to be too late.

The voices in my head continued to torment and taunt me as I raced through the gilded halls of the palace. My home. I slipped around the corner of a corridor, chancing a glance briefly at the sentries standing guard by an archway. They reached out for me, tried to stop me, but their shouts fell on deaf ears; I didn’t have time to stop and explain. I was racing against an invisible clock, counting down the seconds until my life was altered—changed so irrevocably, I didn’t know how I would move on.

Their footsteps echoed off of the stone walls behind me. My heart was racing, aching as I pushed myself further, harder than I ever had before. Decades of training should have prepared me for this type of situation, but I was royally fucked. No amount of killing or training could prepare me for this. The cost of my failure would be far too great if I didn’t make it in time. Dark corridors seemed to stretch on indefinitely, drifting into a never-ending time loop.

The screams of my people rang off the palace walls. Pure, unbridled chaos from the world outside these walls continued to reign around me. Helia was under attack. There wasn’t a damn thing I could do to stop it from happening. They were here, The Horde, and they delighted in the torturing of my people. I was a simple fool to believe we could’ve stopped this from happening. My heart seemed to fracture. One particular scream sounded out above the rest into the chilly night air, the only one that mattered in this moment.

No. No. No.

My head was pounding, aching as my magic coiled underneath the surface of my skin. It begged to be set free, physically hurting me to keep it restrained. But I required every single last drop to do what I needed to do.

The door to the throne room came into view as I rounded the last corner, the golden archway contorting into tight vines above the entry. I kicked open the doors, my breathing erratic as I took in the scene in front of me. My mother was lying in the middle of the room. Her body was broken and battered, but her face remained masked in steely defiance. She was beautiful, even as she laid before me. A masked assailant was the only force holding her body up, one hand solidly gripping her hair. My eyes frantically searched my mother’s, instantly realizing my worst fears were coming to fruition. She had accepted her fate. I was too late. She lifted her neck, meeting my gaze, and I nearly gasped. Her eyes were blazing, two beacons calling to me on the darkest of nights. They held within them a  promise to guide and haunt me until the end of my days.

“I love you, sweet girl. Never stop fighting,” she whispered to me, right as a blade plunged into her chest and pierced her heart.

Available Here

About the Author


Amber Palmer is an American fantasy romance author. She was born in Arizona, but raised in Texas. She is the proud parent of three (evil) cats and one puppy dog, and when she isn’t nose deep in a spicy fantasy novel, she’s listening to her bookish Spotify playlists and making notes for her next project! A passionate advocate for mental health, Amber features characters processing various traumas in her work. She is an unapologetic lover of anything spicy, while also making time to game with her husband.

Amber Palmer | Facebook | TikTok | Instagram | Etsy


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